slow progress

i’ve been steadily, if slowly, feeding the database. i haven’t done much with the actual site yet apart from changing the colour and making sure that i can get it to do what i want fairly easily. having not done any of it yet (which is why nobody is getting a sneak peek yet), i get the impression that it’s going to take a lot of work, but ultimately it will be very little to nothing that i haven’t done many times previously, and if everything works the way i think it’s going to, it has the option of being easy, or ridiculously easy. the more i work with this, the better understanding i have of why web sites and databases really should work together, apart from the fact that i know practically nothing about databases. it’s bizarre: i spent 5 years testing databases and database installations at three different companies, and i have installed and populated a bunch of different database software packages more times than i can count, but i never really understood how a database works, or why it is different from, for example, a spreadsheet. i wonder how much longer i can hold out before i really learn what it is that i’ve been doing all these years?

the snake suspenderz CD “Serpentine” is mixed down, we’ve decided on a track order, the cover and artwork has been designed and approved – complete with “What’s that on your floor? It looks like a dead mouse.” which has been a part of every recording that i have ever had my hands in more than just playing a part ever since i was just starting out as a musician. we had a rehearsal today, in preparation for saturday, to make sure that we could actually play the… stuff that we’ve been recording for the past month… which, of course, we could, but sometimes it’s nice to make sure, because you never know.

bleep bloop boing bing…

snake suspenderz is playing at the national kazoo day celebration on saturday. we’ll be playing at the back gate stage at artichoke music on hawthorne in portland. we spent all day today and completed mixdown of all 16 tracks, and we should have a stack of 50 finished, marketable CDs to take with us on saturday.

the fremont philharmonic is in full rehearsal mode for the moisture festival, and i may be playing tuba for the sanca-pators in the moisture festival as well: i heard from a couple of sanca-pators (clayton – who also plays with BSSB and banda gozona – and thaddeus – who also plays with snake suspenderz) that they might need a tuba player, so i wrote to eben, the leader of the sanca-pators – who also plays with BSSB – but i haven’t heard back from him yet. is that incestuous enough for your sensibilities? the fremont phil has got a few other gigs coming up, including a benefit for honk fest west at the end of february. allegedly we’re going to play in honk fest west in june as well, although my recollection is that we were supposed to play last year, as well, and then we cancelled out at the last minute.

moe got home saturday, and i took the doggies with me to the airport, so that they could see that she really was somewhere else and not just hiding from them for the past 2 weeks. they spent almost the entire time she was gone, and they were home, staring at the door and barking occasionally when they imagined that they heard her driving up, as though they were going to cause her to walk through the front door by sheer force of their doggie wills. paddy, our oldest dog now that allie is gone (she’s 11) lost 5% of her body weight during the time moe was gone. she ate all of her food, and i didn’t notice her acting strangely or anything, but moe said she looked thin, so she took her to the clinic yesterday. she doesn’t appear unhealty, but moe is extra careful with paddy, because they are as close to soul mates as a person and a dog can be.

banda gozona played at the central area senior center in a benefit for cascade peoples’ center last saturday, after moe got home. it was the standard oaxacan shindig, which meant a lot of food, a lot of music, a lot of people speaking spanish, and a lot of chaotic disorganisation. i’m beginning to start to get the hang of what we are playing most of the time. it’s only taken me two years of playing with the group. it helps that i’m not the new guy any longer.

also…

i upgraded to WordPress 2.7 last night, and it’s still pretty shiny and new, but i’ll see what i can do about mucking things up soon enough. at the moment, i wonder about the header graphic, which used to have a pretty purplish gradient in it, but now, from what i can see, is a glaring emergency orange-ish.

ETA: it’s not orange any more, but apparently the upgrade broke my ability to make the header more than one colour. presumably there will be a fix for it eventually, but in the mean time, i changed it to all purple instead of all orange… easier on the eyes…

moisture madness &c.

slow but steady progress on the web site. i’ve discovered Simple Template System, which is a method of creating templates with keywords instead of actual code. one way or the other, it’ll give me some added control over the site that i would have to learn a lot of coding stuff before i’d be able to do any other way. it seems really odd that i was on top of the game in terms of web coding 10 years ago, and now i would have to learn several new coding languages before i would be anywhere close to as competent these days. of course, back then i didn’t have my own business, and i wasn’t doing the work i had always dreamed of doing, so i guess i don’t feel too bad about not being as knowledgable as i once was.

moisture festival is upon us again, and there’s as much chaos and disorganised speculation about how things are actually going to get done as i have ever seen for this early in the process. at this point it appears that we have been tapped for 13 performances, two of which are “burlesque” and one is the panto. alledgedly the plan is to keep stringing them along because, alledgedly, the plan is to eventually have the moisture festival in multiple venues, and then we will have our own venue and do all of the shows for that venue, but that’s in the future. this is now, and the fact that we’ve got 12 performances that aren’t panto, compared with the zebra kings getting 16 performances, and most of the “burlesque” performances (the “variete” performances are pretty much evenly split between the fremont philharmonic, the zebra kings, the sancapators, and the other bands that are involved). personally, i feel as though it is a known fact that RB is not the best person to be figuring out who does what in which shows, and it’s already showing itself to be a bad decision that RB is in charge, once again.

the 31st, snake suspenderz is going to portland for the national kazoo day celebration. we’re getting together some time this week to have a listening/mixing party, where we also intend to finalise the track order. i’ve been on several recordings in the past, but this one is exciting in a way that those other ones weren’t so much: there’s a good chance that i’ll actually get paid for this recording! 8)

i went out and took a look at loudspeakers for my car. first i had to learn a bit of terminology: there’s a difference between loudspeakers and a public address system (or a PA), and further, there’s a difference between a PA system and indoor/outdoor waterproof stereo speakers. i get the impression that any way i want to do this, i’m also going to have to upgrade the stereo in my car, which won’t hurt my feelings too much, but it’s an extra, added $150 or so, depending on where i actually buy it from. at this point, i think what i’m going to do is buy my stereo upgrade from car toys, because they have a deal where any stereo system over $100 that you buy from them is eligible for free installation, and free is always good. then i have to make the decision whether i want a (mono) PA speaker – which i can get for $35 or so – or whether i want to splurge for the indoor/outdoor waterproof stereo speakers, which cost more and likely have to be built into enclosures which also cost more, but will sound a great deal better than mono.

obama has only been president for two days, so i don’t want to get all freaked out about what a good job he’s doing, but he’s already doing things like shutting down gitmo and putting all of bush’s “midnight regulations” on hold before they can be enacted. he hasn’t come out and said that bush should stand trial for criminal malfeasance, but it’s a step in the right correct direction, if nothing else.

moosehead – a great beer and a novel experience for the moose.

??? ????????? ???

we finished recording the rhythmn tracks for the CD today. all that’s left are a few vocal, solo and percussion tracks, and mixdown, and it will be a finished product! also it was farewell to eight years of political BUllSHit and the beginning of an entirely different kind of political bullshit, which will be equally opressive, but right now i’m so fucking tired of bush that anything else will be a pleasant and refreshing change for a short while. i got my order from the theosophical society bookstore, and i made an order from om imports for incense, incense burners and murtis. also, i’m going to start pricing loudspeaker systems for Ganesha The Car. i still have to work on rebuilding the web site, and feeding the database, both of which i have done shockingly little in the past week. banda gozona rehearsal on thursday, and a gig on saturday evening, after moe gets home.

diary of a tired agarbatthiwallah

FSM today. it was actually a pretty good day. it started out at 5:30 with dog breakfasts in the car, but i discovered that the FSM offers a $5 discount for early membership renewal, and they were offering 2-for-1-for-$30 spaces – to encourage vendors to brave the cold, damp, limited-daylight early-january freeze – even though i could only use one space anyway, instead of making -$5, i actually came out ahead $10 today (which means that i made $75, if my convoluted math is confusing you). not only that but i had the priveledge of explaining the real meaning of the swastika to three different people, i had one guy from tibet express utter amazement when i told him that despite the fact that i know an awful lot about it, i have never actually been to india, i learned teegan’s name (finally), and i gave her some incense, and i brought tears of joy to a person’s eyes when i said that, in my opinion, Jesus and Ganesha are the same thing. i took the doggies with me, and they went for a walk up and down the canal after the market was over, and they’re asleep(!) at this point. i’m probably going to feed the cats, grab a bite (and not much more than that) and go to bed myself… i forgot how dreadfully early 5:30 in the morning is. 8P

all in all, i would say that it was an entirely positive and uplifting day. i need more days like this.

yem

so i prepared the vehicle for going to the FSM tomorrow. i figured that i would put the dogs’ food in their kennels in the car, to save time – that way all i’ll have to do is get up and let the dogs out, and while they’re outside i can get dressed and then all i have to do is put them in the car and i’m off… which seems reasonable, since i’m going to have to get up at 5:30, and recently (since moe has been gone) i have been sleeping until 10:00 or so (which is offset by going to bed between 2:00 and 4:00). but the doggies were confused when i started doing the stuff that i normally do right after i get up (i.e. getting food ready for dogs), and they only just settled down. i put in 6 boxes of incense and 2 boxes of murtis, along with all of my display gear and my canopy and i can still see out the back window, even with three dog kennels as well. i’ve been wanting to get a roof-rack for Ganesha The Car, but i want one that won’t damage or get in the way of the artwork that’s already there. i carry everything inside, with just space for me to drive when i’m driving Ganesha, and there’s no room for doggies, but this is an entirely different beast. if it didn’t mean creating an entirely new art car, i would think really strongly about a minivan – and, for that matter, if it weren’t for the economy and gas prices, i’d think about it because of the fact that it meant creating an entirely new art car. i’ve also been thinking about getting a loudspeaker for Ganesha, which i can hook up to my music player, so that i can broadcast hindu chants outside my car for shows and parades and suchlike. i’ve actually got enough money that i can realistically start thinking about actually doing something like that fairly soon.

wow…

i was just thinking about it today, and in terms of relationships, i am fairly close to some really famous people. i had breakfast with R. Buckminster Fuller when i was in high school (and he is still one of the people whom i aspire to be like), and Joseph P. Faddlefum, who was on the edge of the circle that timothy leary was in the center of, was my first college advisor and still remains a good friend, but i also know, for example, two people who know the president-elect in some way or another: one of my friends went to occidental college, and was in several discussion groups with him, and the other got a personal, printed invitation to the inauguration (although, at this point, i don’t know why). i’ve rubbed shoulders with people like artis the spoonman, baby gramps, hacki (the famous german clown), fyodor karamazov, and rev. chumleigh, although i get the impression that the first two would probably not remember my name if it came right down to it (even though i’ve appeared on the same stage, at the same time as both of them for 5 years in a row, now). and that’s not to mention the fact that my wife is the “Nuclear FOB” (which stands for “Friends Of the Bobs”), having been a fan for about 20 years or so, and the fact that i personally know matthew bob and amy bob. i know St. Fred, the inventor (among other things) of the exploder control that took microsoft by surprise when they had just released their supposedly “more secure” platform for browser plugins (which was really OLE in a shiny new package), and i worked for a couple of years with the son of Richard Bach, the author of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull.

i’m not that famous, and i’m not sure i want to be, but i guess i’m just as happy being in the background of all these famous people, even if nobody else notices.

in other news, i’ve decided to move my personal web site to it’s own domain (and away from drizzle), so i’ve registered puggry duckling dot com (which isn’t there yet). i’ll move my pages over to there and place a server-push to the new domain… probably tomorrow. who knows how long the server-push is going to remain there, considering that drizzle updates their DNS tables manually whenever they feel like it… 8/

i am a fucking terrorist, damn it!

god damn it, it’s a fucking good thing i don’t live in south carolina, otherwise i’d be guilty of a fucking felony and face a fine of fucking five thousand dollars… i wonder what shit-for-brains asshole came up with that idea, and if they’ve ever read the fucking bill of rights before they accepted their fucking job… >8/

diary of a tired geek

i had another session with the annoying/amusing client i have spoken of previously today. his printer wouldn’t work, and his flash plugin wouldn’t work – which meant that he can’t view the pornographic videos he watches all the time – and he wanted me to make sure that his operating system hadn’t “gotten tired” of alerting him to things… oh, and when a javascript popup window that said his computer is infected with a virus, and wouldn’t go away, he wanted me to reassure him that someone wasn’t watching what he was doing through his computer screen. he’s really annoying because i put things as simply as possible in order to help him understand, and then, when i begin to think he’s getting the idea, he comes out of left field with things like “i used to have a daily devotional icon on my computer [when it was running windows], and before you installed the new OS, i put it on my flash drive, but now it doesn’t work. can i get it to work?” and i have to begin again and explain that icons are not always the same things as programs, and just because you are able to transfer an icon from one computer to another (or, in this case, from one operating system to another), it doesn’t always take the program. sometimes the icon is just a pointer to the program, and even if it actually is the program, this does not automatically mean that it will work there. whereupon he says “well is it possible to get a daily devotional icon that does work?”… 8/ i know nothing about what this guy actually does on his computer, other than research spasticity (he actually had me set up a wikipedia account for him, because he wants to contribute), watch his “daily devotional” program, whatever that is, and view tons of pornographic videos, which he has me clear out of his cache once in a while. he’s really earnest in wanting to know more, and he appears to be fairly bright in spite of having a brain injury, but he doesn’t seem to get it enough that i wonder about him sometimes.

i also nailed up some chainlink fence material to the neighbours’ fence posts. it wasn’t a moment too soon. as i was nailing up the fence material, i heard an ominous crack and the fence gave way. it didn’t actually fall down, but now the only thing that’s holding it up is gravity and friction. my guess is that eventually there will be enough moss growth that the friction will give way and the entire fence will come down.

yesterday we had another recording session with snake suspenderz, which resulted in three tracks that are in the final stages of finishing, and one track that needs a bit more work (hobbit and thaddeus are getting together tomorrow to finish it up). when that’s done, we have one more session, and then a CD release party, or something like that. National Kazoo Day is on the 31st, and snake suspenderz is going to portland for that. there’s also rumours that we have a potential gig in eugene. among the new tracks that we recorded are a song called Serpentine, by howlin’ hobbit, and the standard Don’t Get Around Much Any More, by Duke Ellington.

monday i spent all day feeding my database and learning about CSS selectors and which bits of PHP to change in my new osCommerce installation. i got a whole bunch of the database finished, and got the site more or less into the shape that it’s going to have when it’s complete, but i still have a lot of mismatched headers, things that are showing up on one page but not on the others, or vice versa, bright colours (i’ve been changing things to bright colours so that i can see when things change more easily), and incomplete content to deal with. osCommerce is made for people who are a lot less web-savvy than i am, so figuring things out shouldn’t be too difficult. i think that, for most people, the most daunting part of osCommerce is the piles of PHP/HTML/CSS pages that they potentially have to edit, but it doesn’t bother me at all. actually, i’m a lot more concerned about the database, because i’m still not completely sure about the mechanics of the interaction between the database and the website. how much of it is database manipulation of PHP code, and how much of it is actually due to the effect that the PHP itself is having on the pages i see is still a complete mystery.

another deposit recently and my bank account is over $500 for the first time since i started the business – seven years ago! i’ve noticed that for the past 5 years or so, my bank statement for january is approximately twice what it was the year before, and it’s very definitely the case this year. in fact, it’s almost 3 times what it was last year. despite what the DVR drone said, i think i’m doing something right, and i’m really looking forward to next year as well.

i actually think i’m going to survive monique’s being gone without much difficulty, but i’m not so sure about the dogs. magick and zorah heard me drive up in the minivan today (which is usually moe’s car), and they lost it, and spent a good hour and a half staring at the door and barking trying to get moe to walk through it by sheer force of their doggie wills. it would have been a lot more amusing if i didn’t jerk violently (a lingering side effect of my brain injury) when they bark.

meanwhile, here’s what i have been reading about:
UCL records the sound of jelly wobbling – the university college in london has succeded in recording the sound of jelly wobbling in a soundproof recording chamber. i definitely went to the wrong school.

a little closer to home, YouTube video of man blasting couch with rifle shown at weapons trial – let’s see if i’ve got this straight: the guy thought he would celebrate the fact that he had this illegal firearm, and silencer, without a permit or anything, by filming himself without disguise or attempt to cover evidence that they caught him with, shooting up a couch close to his home, and then post it on youtube… if i were going to film myself identifiably using an illegal firearm to do something, i would be sure that the thing i filmed would get me arrested on it’s own merits, whether i filmed it or not. the fact that this guy thought he could take a film of him doing something illegal and post it on youtube is bad enough, but the fact that he apparently didn’t think about the fact that it might be a factor in getting him caught proves that this guy is stupider than most.

to do

i gotta put up chainlink along the back fence, because the neighbour’s fence is falling down. currently it’s got holes big enough for even the largest dog to get out and go exploring… 8/

okay, the polish is starting to wear…

i still really like my new host provider, but not as much as i did previously. in order to install AWStats, i have to know the location of httpd.conf, but because of the fact that i purchased a “shared hosting” package, it’s not where the awstats configurator expects it to be… so i call up tech support and ask them where it is, and they say that because of the fact that i don’t have an actual host server (which costs $100 a month) i don’t have the priveledge of adding lines to the configuration file. i say i’m not going to add lines to the file, i just need to know where it is, but they won’t even tell me where the file is located…

hrmph!

so, i guess i’m going to have to be satisfied with the only semi-awesome web stats that are provided… 8/

here we go…

moe left for florida today. she’ll be back in two weeks. whee… 8/

meanwhile, i think i’ve got enough to keep me busy: i’ve got to build a web site and populate a database. i’ve been going back and forth with liz since drizzle FUMTUed hybrid elephant, and there is a bit of worry about whether or not the drizzle affliction has effected sedentarysousa.com. liz also mentioned that she’d like to get the kosher red-hots web site on my host as well. i’m not sure how much, if any web design work will go into that one, but as far as i’m concerned, the less i have to do the better. i’m also thinking about installing AWStats on hybridelephant, because as awesome as my new host is, they don’t have the stats the way i’d like them to be, and AWStats does it for me.

then i’ve got more recording sessions with snake suspenderz. the most recent one generated 3 new tracks, as did the previous three as well, and if everything goes according to the non-existent plan we have set up, the one on tuesday will generate at least 3, and possibly 4 more. then there’s also the fremont philharmonic, which is starting rehearsals for a yet-to-be-determined if we do it CD, plus we’ve got an offer to perform cinderella again at the end of march, and we’ve got the moisture festival coming up, which we have to start rehearsing for pretty soon… like next week…

oh, yeah… i’m also responsible for three doggies who haven’t realised that moe won’t be home tonight like usual. hopefully they won’t turn into the obnoxious pests that they have a tendency to be sometimes. i’m planning on going to the fremont sunday market next week if the weather looks good, and i’m taking the dogs with me so that they don’t have to stay home alone for 12 to 14 hours. because moe’s not here, i’m planning on taking her car, which is a minivan and much more suited to carrying a huge crapload of stuff, and 3 dogs in relative comfort.

now, all i gotta do is convince myself that two weeks will go by a lot quicker than it seems like now. i hope moe has fun, and i’m glad that she’s going to this conference, because it’s good exposure for her, and she’ll build professional credibility by being seen there (if nothing else), but i can’t wait until she gets home.

interesting/amusing/annoying

so in restoring the Church of Tina, i discovered that, for some (obvious now, but then it was a) mysterious reason, the entire site worked the way it was supposed to, except for this page, which is part of the church of tina’s elaborate disclaimer. instead of getting the page, i was getting a “403 – Forbidden” error (similar to the much more common “404 – File Not Found” error, which you have undoubtedly seen before). i didn’t remember it being forbidden before, and so i renamed the file, and re-uploaded it in an attempt to straighten out the problem, but it was still showing up as forbidden. then i looked at the page with my linux terminal and discovered that the reason why it wasn’t working was because the permissions had been reset to 600 – which means the owner of the file (presumably me) can read and modify the file, but if you’re not me, then you can’t even see the file. when i reset the permissions to 644 (i can modify the file, and everyone else can read it), it reappeared on the web site like magic – no more 403 error!

except for the fact that I would not have reset the permissions so that nobody could see it, and the only people who administrative permissions on the file (which would supercede my permissions) are the host providers – drizzle!

i don’t know this for sure, and i can guarantee that if they did do something strange like change the permissions on the file without telling me, that they wouldn’t admit to it, but i would bet that the subject of the file in question contacted drizzle and complained, and drizzle arbitrarily changed the permissions on the file in order to get her to shut up and go away.

they were sneaky enough to not just delete the file (because then i would know that they had been up to no good), but they did something to the file that wouldn’t be perceived by someone who is using windoesn’t, and only perceived by someone using mac or *ix by looking at it with the terminal, which nobody uses these days…

goddamn drizzle anyway… i can’t wait to get another ISP… 8P

DRIZZLE!!!!

here is yet another reason why drizzle.com is not going to be my ISP much longer: they assumed that when i requested a change of host providers for hybridelephant.com, they automatically assumed that it also meant cancelling my internet service – which was wrong, and i took care of it last week. what i didn’t realise is that they also cancelled The Church of Tina Chopp, resulting in an interruption of service for several days. it’s on its way to being fixed at this point (i still have to wait the requisite 24 to 48 hours for the DNS changes to propagate), but that is yet another reason to get away from them as quickly as possible.

i should have listened more carefully when i was told last march that drizzle was incompetent. now it’s come back to bite me in the ass… 8/

flurb

moe goes to florida for two weeks for her annual conference starting sunday, which means that i’ve got two weeks of taking care of three dogs on my own while she’s in key west playing with dolphins and manatees. it will probably be okay except for the fact that i’m planning on going to the fremont sunday market next week, and i’ll probably have to take the doggies with me so that they don’t have to spend all day in their kennels with no bathroom breaks. i’m actually looking forward to taking the little dog – zorah the cute – to FSM because i get the impression that she will be the cause of a significant boost in my sales.

i saw ezra today, and talked with him about setting up a domain or two for him. he wants a “legitimate” web site and one that is “not so legitimate” and he wants control over both of them, but not any immediately visible connection between the two. i said that it would be not too difficult, and now have the task of researching domain names, while his job is to 1) get a new computer to replace his broken one, and 2) to come up with content so that once the domain name(s) are registered, they can be populated without me having to do much other than the technical end of things.

i got a whole pile of incense samples from sugandha prabhu, but none of them are incenses that i want to carry, and part of the reason is because there’s no guarantee that i will be able to get more if sugandha prabhu disappears, which is a probability that i have been prepared for, for a couple of years now. sugandha prabhu inevitably comes up with the most outstanding incenses available anywhere (and also guides me towards the incense that nobody else carries) but he’s also one of my most flaky suppliers, and i don’t know from one day to the next whether or not i’m going to be able to get more from him. i currently have more than ½ a kilo of majmua durbar, which is a tremendously popular incense, that is apparently not going to be delivered because they stopped making it without telling anyone, despite the fact that sugandha prabhu sent me a little bit less than ½ a kilo just a little bit more than a month ago with the promise that the rest of the kilo would be “coming soon”… if it weren’t for the fact that i now have two or three months worth of free incense (i can’t sell the samples he sends), i would be a bit more perturbed than i am with sugandha prabhu currently.

i found the place where the graphics are stored for my new osCommerce web site, but it’s going to take me a while to sort things out and get everything working. it’s probably going to be at least a month or so before i have a tentative web site that is worth viewing, so don’t expect me to post links to it just yet.

this is the beginning

so, i took the plunge and installed osCommerce, and got it running and configured today. it still has all of the default information and sample data, but its going to be ridiculously easy to build a working database. it’s going to be a little more difficult to figure out where the default graphics are (which say “osCommerce” and not “Hybrid Elephant”) and change ’em, but it’s not beyond doing, and i’ve got it installed in a place where i can work on it and get it looking like i want, and then move it into the right place with a minimum of disruption. as far as the stuff i don’t know, i have the php manual in an easily accessible format, and there are numerous osCommerce tutorials out there, so i don’t think it’s going to be that difficult to make it look the way i want as well. wish me luck…