The Shit Box™ has arrived, and it is truely awesome. at this point, they’re $25 for pre-orders, and they’re already an indespensible item for camping, travelling and the Oregon Country Fair – no more long lines at the porta-pottys in the morning! i can poop when i want to, in the privacy of my own campsite, and dispose of the “evidence” in the food waste bin without a second thought. it would also be good for Burning Man, but i’m not looking for conveniences for a festival that i will never attend again, so i’ll pretend that i didn’t even mention it.
back to mundane stuff…
they haven’t picked up our trash for two months, ever since we switched to once-a-month trash pickup, so i called to find out what was going on. it’s not that we haven’t paid, either, because we haven’t gotten a bill in two months as well. in fact, they sent the bill on the 14th, and it’s probably already been paid, but that’s beside the point. when i called to switch to once-a-month pickup, they told me that it would be on the first thursday of the month. so i put the trash out and they didn’t pick it up, so i called and they said that they had made a mistake, that they would pick it up on the last thursday of the month. so i waited for 3 weeks, put the trash out, and – they didn’t pick it up… 8/
so i decided on another tack, and put the trash out every week last month. they picked up our recycling (which is most of our waste these days, fortunately) on the second and fourth thursdays, just like they’re supposed to, but they didn’t pick up the trash! 8/
so i called them this morning. they told me that the pickup would be on the first thursday of the month, then they changed their minds and said that it would be on the last thursday of the month. then, realising that they had just given me conflicting information, they said that they would check it out and call me back. about a half-hour later, i talked with the dispatcher for the company that covers south king county waste management, who told me that the real pickup date was the thursday of the first full week of the month. not only that, but she said that, because of the fact that customer service was confused about our pickup dates, our address was not even included on the route list that they gave to the driver, which is why we haven’t had a pickup in two months.
that’s all very well and good, i said, but the fact is that our trash hasn’t been picked up in two months, and i’m running out of space. so the dispatcher for south king county says that she will request a “courtesy pickup” (“for no charge”), since there was a screwup on their end. a half-hour or so later, i heard the garbage truck backing up, and fifteen minutes or so after that, i get another call from the dispatcher, who says that they tried to pick up the trash, but the can was too heavy and their driver couldn’t lift it. we have our own, 33 gallon container, which has to be loaded by hand, rather than paying the county for a 35 gallon container that the truck can pick up, and the driver has a weight limit to spare him having to lift heavy trash bags into the truck, so if i wanted our trash picked up, i was going to have to go down and “portion it out” into chunks that were small enough for the driver to lift.
so i broke it down into three garbage bags and the remaining garbage in the can, and supposedly they’re supposed to come back tomorrow, and of course, now that we’re back on the route list, the next trash pickup is supposed to be next thursday… 8/
i’ll believe it when i see it. meanwhile, if i reckoned correctly, we just paid a bill for $60 for the past two months… when, because of a screwup on their part, we weren’t getting any service at all…
grumble, mutter… and they wonder why i get upset about things like this… 8/
the battle of the computer is over! the linux guru (whose name is francis) and i got my computer working, after three days of mucking about in the inner (read “command-line interface”) workings of the underpinning of kubuntu. when you dig down that deep, you’re not running k/x/ed/ubuntu any longer, it’s actually debian, which is, apparently, a rock-solid piece of software capable of doing many things that k/x/ed/ubuntu screws up, or can’t do at all. it’s now running jaunty jackalope, after having the innards of hardy heron ripped out from its smouldering carcass and having kde4 and the latest linux kernel forcably overwritten. i’m not sure if i really like it yet (it looks way too much like windoesn’t XP), but i can probably get used to it, and/or configure the parts that i don’t like so that they won’t be so annoying.
i’ve discovered what the problem is with my linux box: i tried to upgrade directly from hardy to jaunty without going through intrepid first. it really wasn’t my fault, i just did what the upgrade application told me to, but that doesn’t make my box any less broken. fortunately, i appear to have found a linux guru on kubuntuforums.net who is the eternal optimist and thinks that i can probably rescue my box without having to reinstall. i’m up for it, but i would also be up for reinstalling if it doesn’t work out. meanwhile i’m learning all about
aptitude -f install and
dpkg --force-overwrite -i and other arcane goodies that go over the heads of about 90% of the other kubuntu users out there. and my linux box is still broken. oh well…
i got an order for 3000 postcards yesterday, which will ultimately be sent to japan, and i mowed the lawn for the first time this year as well. also i’ve got a BSSB rehearsal later this evening, so despite my broken linux box and my ongoing depression, i’m keeping busy enough that it doesn’t hurt as much.
ETA, 5:00pm: the linux guru i met turned me on to skype, which i now have installed on my mac, so if any of you are inclined to actually talk to me, i can be reached at przxqgl. we didn’t get very far, but i am more convinced than ever that we will actually be able to rescue this box instead of reinstalling it. i’m now doing a remote ssh to the linux box and running all the commands on my mac, which saves me getting confused over which keyboard i’m typing into.
so my linux box had a bunch of package updates that it had to install, so i finally got around to installing them today, and when they were done, it told me that i had a version upgrade (jaunty jackalope) that i could install, and so i decided to install it as well. strangely enough, there was something wrong with the upgrade and the ultimate result was that it lost the mouse and keyboard, which meant that i couldn’t log in.
fortunately (sort of), i have the /home on a secondary disk, and i have my calendar backed up on google, so the only thing i can’t immediately access is my email database. i have access to my email accounts, just not the already sent and received email that i have on my computer.
so, the battle of the computer begins again, but it’s all a lot more under control, sort of, than it has been in the past. i have to figure out why the computer apparently isn’t seeing the CD-ROM drive on startup, and i have to figure out why the computer isn’t seeing the mouse and keyboard when it boots from the hard disk, but i have a computer, and a calendar, and the ability to fill orders (if i get any) without too much difficulty, so it’s not a reason to panic and run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off…
i had decided that i was going to go to the fremont sunday market on friday, but then i took ganesha the car to a big community festival at magnusson park yesterday, and not only did it rain on and off for about half the day (and, because of an email screwup, i was the only art car there for about 4 hours), but i was so exhausted that i slept most of the day. i’m still really tired, and i think it’s a combination of the fact that i have been sick for the past 2 weeks, along with the generally depressed feeling that i usually get surrounding anything having to do with SSDI. even though the probability is good that i got approved (this time), i don’t know for sure yet, and there have been enough times in the past that haven’t gone well that being depressed after such an event is fairly common. anyway, i slept until 10:00 am (after having gone to bed at 10:30 last night, after having slept for an hour or so on the couch) and went to the FSM to pay for next week… which means that whether or not i feel like going, the fact that i’ve already paid will be an additional impetus to get me going anyway.
so “the hearing” happened today.
i got up and almost immediately i perceived that my mood was somewhat sour. it’s not too surprising, because i was up until 1:00 or so last night, playing a gig with snake suspenderz. it was also sort of expected, since, in my meeting with the attorney yesterday, he said that it would be considered “appropriate” for me to act as though i was stressed out and out of sorts, so i didn’t worry about it too much. moe and i got dressed and left for the hearing about the time that i would normally be getting up. strangely enough, the office building that the hearing happened in was a block up the street from top pot doughnuts, so i had doughnuts for breakfast, which while pleasant, gave me a massive sugar rush, followed by a crash which happened just about the time i was going in to the hearing room. moe went first, so they swore me in, and then almost immediately told me to go sit in the hall while moe testified. i’m not exactly sure why they separated us, but it seemed like they deposed moe for about 45 minutes, and then they deposed me. the testimony was more or less the same as it was in my “practice” deposition, yesterday. they discussed what “listing” i fell under and ultimately decided that it was 1202, which is “organic mental health” concerns, which include things like brain injury, with a possibility of 1210, which is “autistic spectrum” mental heath problems, which includes asperger’s syndrome. the psychological “expert” didn’t want to go with 1210 because i haven’t actually been diagnosed with asperger’s, but he agreed with me, and with ned, that i have probably had asperger’s my entire life. the psychological “expert” also asked me about my contrived (but entirely legal) name, which confused me, as it has nothing whatsoever to do with anything even remotely close to my reasons for applying for disability.
what it comes down to is that i won’t know for sure whether the judge decided in my favour or not for four to six weeks, but the attorney said that, according to his experience, there’s a 99% chance that he’ll decide in my favour.
i suppose i should be eccstatic, but in reality, i’m exhausted and depressed and my mood is still sour. i really want to get stoned out of my mind, but i’m still having major coughing spasms. i may get drunk, for the first time in my life, because i can.
happy 4/20. i’d be consuming more holy vegetable, but i still am terrifically short of breath and coughing a lot as a result of being sick still. i’ve been vapourising a bit and even that has been causing me to cough. i suppose i could probably make some ghee or something…
they’re putting on a new roof, so that it won’t leak any longer. it’s only about two years overdue, but there’s no point in complaining about it now. the dogs are being quiet, in spite of the roofers right over their heads, making all kinds of noises which dogs would definitely find suspicious. we’ll see how long that lasts.
the $300 withdrawal from my bank account has had a band-aid put on it, but it’s still an open and sucking chest wound. at this point i’m done talking with people until i hear from the bank concerning my contesting of the charges. moe has taken over talking with the people who actually withdrew the money, and considering that i never actually signed anything, combined with the fact that the first time i ever even heard about an “early cancellation fee” was when i checked my bank account on thursday, she seems to think that there’s a more-than-likely chance that there will be a positive (for me) outcome. we’ll see about that, as well… 8/
maybe i’ll go to the fremont sunday market on sunday. one way or the other, i could really use a day of doing nothing but making money, and there’s a good chance, since i haven’t been there in a while, that fremont will be itching for some new incense.
i got another order on the web site, but no corresponding order from paypal, which makes me seriously wonder about whether or not i’ve got it set up right. it should be that you confirm your order on my site, and then transfer to paypal’s secure server to complete your order, and of the three orders i’ve gotten since the site upgrade, two of them have confirmed the order on my site, but not completed their orders on paypal’s secure server. i wrote to one of them, but she was located in the UK and never responded. the new order came in on friday, from a guy in california, according to the site, but i never heard anything from either the customer or from paypal, so i don’t know what happened. the next step is to write to the guy and see what happened.
i’ve got to get my tabs for ganesha the car. also, i have a fremont phil rehearsal this evening.
i decided to check my bank account. i have only had one order since i unveiled the new site, and i had around $200 the last time i checked, but i was shocked to discover that pipeline data processing – the company i thought was going to help me process credit cards, before they charged me $45 for a month’s worth of services that i didn’t use because my site wasn’t set up for it yet, and subsequently, on april 7th, cancelled the account without ever processing even one credit card through them – had withdrawn $300 from my bank account yesterday! of course, this left me with a -$100 balance, plus a $35 fee from the bank.
naturally, i called them up to find out what was screwy. i didn’t use their services, i hadn’t incorporated their services into my web site, i had been a customer of theirs for less than a month – i originally signed up for a merchant account on march 16th, and cancelled it on april 7th – and they were withdrawing $300 that i didn’t have from an account that, presumably, they didn’t have access to any longer.
they told me that the $300 was an “early termination fee” and that it was “in the contract you signed”.
i didn’t sign any contract.
the entire transaction went on over the phone, and through email, and they have no record of anything other than a typewritten signature, which was not written by me, on a mishmash of text that they said was a contract.
as you can probably imagine, i was not very happy. unfortunately, since my injury, instead of being able to discuss the reasons for my unhappiness in rational words that actually make sense to anyone (including myself) i raged and ranted and stuttered and drooled and made a complete fool of myself to at least 4 different “customer service” representatives, before i finally got fed up with attempting to find out why a company that makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a day was, apparently, unable to waive a $300 “early termination fee” for services that had never been used, and hung up.
i called the bank and told them that $300 had been withdrawn from my account without my approval. they said that someone would be getting back to me “in writing” – read “by snailmail”. they also said that if my account remained in an overdrawn state for more than 10 days, it would be suspended.
i’m still sick. i went to see a doctor (i am uninsured, so it cost two arms and half a leg!) today. the good news is that i don’t have pneumonia, but i do have bronchitis, so now i have an inhaler (which cost the other half a leg) which is good for 20 days. the doctor said that i would probably be feeling better in a week or so, but that the inhaler would help me get through the banda gozona gig that i have on saturday, the fremont philharmonic rehearsal on monday, and the snake suspenderz gig on thursday. dr. wackaloon (no shit… okay, so he’s not really dr. wackaloon, but his real name is closer to “wackaloon” than you might think) said my blood pressure was a little high – 150/100 – my pulse was high and my oxygen level was low, so he told me to check my blood pressure again in a week, which is another reason to have a sphygmomanometer, one of which i have wanted for about 15 years. he also didn’t believe me when i said that my profession was “freak”. oh well.
gah… i’ve been sicker than i have been in a long time over the past few days, which has left me in a fouler mood than normal, and it hasn’t been being helped at all by the person i mentioned in my last post. i’m on the uphill swing, at this point, but i’m still pretty sick, which is going to be interesting, since i have to take a five-mile walk to pick up Ganesha The Car from the shop this morning, and later on i have a fremont philharmonic rehearsal, which is probably not going to end up happening, because i’m so sick.
i was reviewing my web statistics a few days ago, and discovered that the person, a nandita prabhu who has several other blogs as well as the one linked in my previous post (which no longer exists), posted a new entry in one of her blogs called Plagiarism, where she outlines the process by which she gets artwork to post in her various blogs. she says things like:
People allow me to use these copyright images (I take their permission)
I think it is “Ok” for my readers to “borrow” the content of my blog but please ask me before you decide to do so.
To sum up, You want to borrow something that’s fine all you have to do is “ASK”.
not only that, but all of her blogs are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License, but the images that she hotlinked from me, and the images from other sources that i checked on his “The Broken Tusk” blog (which is now deleted) all had very clear watermarks or other indications that they were actually copyright to other places, and there’s no indication, not only that she has permission to relicence the images, but that she has permission to use the images at all.
strangely, when i received email from her on friday, she said
i had no idea of this at all. Infact I have been doing this from so long and i had no idea its wrong. Is it a problem even if i say that the pic is from this website ( like source) ?
and other things that, if i hadn’t actually read her blogs – all of them – would make me believe that she has any idea that this is the wrong way to approach “borrowing” other peoples’ artwork.
normally i don’t give much credibility to any laws governing “intellectual property”, but in this case, she’s coming across to me as one thing, and she’s posting on her blogs something entirely the opposite, which makes me very suspicious indeed. it seems to me like she is trying to come across in her email as a clueless newbie, and in her blog as a person who has her shit together, which is not a way to gain my confidence in the least.
i commented on her blog, and have received several emails from her. i guess i’m going to have to wait to see how this all works out, but at this point, i don’t hold out much hope. i’m certainly not going to prosecute myself, but considering how many other web sites she “borrowed” artwork from (several of which replace the hotlinked graphics with ones that say things like “this image stolen from…” – i’d be willing to bet that someone else will, unless she gets her shit together.
i took Ganesha The Car to the shop today to get the automatic lock swich replaced, because it had stopped working. fortunately i didn’t have to pay for it, because of some design and printing that i had done for the shop earlier in the week. but it turned out that it wasn’t the switch that was broken, so now i have to take it back on friday so that they can take the door panel off and investigate the wiring. also, El Elefante Híbrido is apparently an article more or less about Ganesha The Car (from what my limited spanish plus a web-translator-thing tell me), but it’s too bad he tried to hotlink my image (which is how i found out about him). if i knew enough spanish, i would comment about hotlinking graphics, but i don’t, so i probably won’t do anything except be thankful for the traffic he’s sending my direction.
snake suspenderz has a gig at the skylark cafe on the 23rd, and earlier that day i’m meeting with the lawyer, because on the 24th is my hearing to determine whether or not i’m going to get disability. according to my impression, there’s still a 50/50 chance that i’m going to be approved, and if i don’t, it will be pretty much the same as it is now, but i’m under increasing amounts of stress because of it. then, on the 25th, i’ve got an art car show at magnuson park, which is either going to be really exciting or really relieving, depending on what happens the day before.
i got Bruno Bozetto’s “Allegro Non Troppo” on DVD, and i can play it on my mac, but the “Command+Shift+3” screen-capture function is disabled, for, perhaps obvious, but not very convenient reasons, which means that i’m going to have to figure out some other way to capture the picture of the snake that’s the primary character in Stravinsky’s “The Firebird”, which i want to propose as the snake suspenderz logo. i also got the 14 Sequenzas by Luciano Berio on CD the other day. i played Sequenza V (dedicated to the memory of Grock) for a juried audition when i was in college, and i know the guy, Stewart Dempster, for whom it was written. when i played it, there were two women in the jury who were trying, in vain, to suppress their giggles, and when it was all over, i whispered to them that it was okay to laugh, because it was written for a clown, at which point they cracked up.
along with the Odd Factoids (in the place of most news reporting, which is simply too depressing to read any longer), here’s a couple of links that i read recently:
God Hates Shrimp – the logical (if there is such a thing) response to God Hates Fags.
Cybersecurity Bill Proposes Unprecedented Government Power Over the Internet – yes, i am still a terrorist. get used to it.
so, now that the moisture festival is over with for another year, i decided to get to work on the “accepting credit cards using some other service than paypal” part of my web site. they have been sending me two or three messages a day concerning different aspects of getting my site set up. i had told the guy initially when i signed up that i wasn’t actually going to be able even to look at email about the web site until after the moisture festival was over, so i was somewhat surprised when i got a statement in the email this morning, saying that my checking account had been billed $33. i called them up, and the customer service lady said that she couldn’t help me, and transferred my call to a sales representative, who, after some convincing, admitted that he had the email where i said that i wasn’t going to be able to start until april, but said he couldn’t help me, and transferred me back to customer service.
this is after i got an email, last week, in my “spam” folder (in other words, it was downloaded directly from the server into my “deleted items” mailbox, which gets deleted when i shut down the computer). the email contained a “From:” address at CheckCare.com – which i seem to recall them saying something about when i signed up with the credit card accepting place – but nothing else that indicated where it was from or who i should contact if i had any questions – which was the primary reason it ended up in the spam box. the email also contained a “Merchant” identification which was “SPAY60102”, which i considered rather odd, and a list of fees, most of which were $0, except for the last one, a “Gateway fee” for $11.85. i called the credit card accepting place and went through a couple of hours of being connected to people who reputedly were going to be able to help me, but finding out that they couldn’t help me and putting me on hold while they transferred me to someone who could. at one point i ended up being put on hold, which was answered by someone who not only doesn’t work for either of the companies in question, but works for one of their competitors. needless to say, i hung up and called in again. as it is, the whole process of getting set up to accept credit cards is way more irritating than a person with a brain injury – such as myself – can handle, and i certainly don’t want to be the focus of two competing companies attempts to get me to give their company money i don’t have to begin with. eventually, after two hours and calling the main number 3 times, a guy answered who, before i had the chance to regail him with the entire sordid story, said that he “was aware of the situation” that had caused me to have to call back three times, and he would figure it out and get back to me… and i’m still waiting to find out whether or not it was spam or an actual bill.
you would think that a company which presumably does hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of business each day would be a little more lax about a $33 dollar refund, but no, the customer service rep that i was connected to said that i would have to talk with a manager if i wanted to complain about the sales representative’s misunderstanding. i said that if it was not resolved to my satisfaction, that i would gladly take my business to a service provider that cares about its customers, so she emailed me a (.doc file!!!) “Merchant Request to Cancel” – which has to be faxed or scanned and emailed back to them, but i don’t have either a fax machine or a working scanner.
they make it as difficult as possible – something which i don’t completely disagree with – to get an account in the first place, but once you have the account they start spamming you just like that was their business, and they make it even more difficult to cancel your account… it makes me wonder how any of these companies stay in business at all, especially with the economy the way it is these days.
i met ukulele dick at the moisture festival the other day. his “real name”, acording to his schtick, is Banjo Penis. i traded him a copy of serpentine for a copy of his ukulele dick cd and a copy of his “Dick Dujour” cd, Music to Scare Children by. i’ve been listening to them on and off throughout the day, and i must say, the guy is more than just a ukulele player. i also made buttons for him that say “Act Dorky, Live Forever”. i’ve got performances on friday and sunday for sure, and possibly saturday.
the big news, or maybe not so big if you hang out with the right people, i guess, is that circus contraption is breaking up. i have no idea why, but i can imagine, as with most artistic organisations like that, that there were some artistic differences somewhere along the lines.
other news: my SSDI hearing is the 24th. i’m approaching it with an interesting mixture of hilarity and dread. i got to see part of the forms ned was filling out earlier in the week, and he said about 10 things, of which i would think that 1 of which should be enough to get me on the “disabled” list in a perfect world, but because of the fact that the world is decidedly imperfect, i don’t know if it will help or not. we’re going to work on it some more after the moisture festival is over.
also i’m getting ready to be able to accept credit cards on hybrid elephant, but i’ve only gotten one order since i went live with the new site, so i’m wondering if i can’t put it off for another month until i get more of an idea about whether or not people are going to notice it.
despite the fact that i won the battle of the computer in record time – this time – i learned a bunch of things that i didn’t know in the process. the main thing i learned is that the intermittent quiet scratching noise coming from the computer is the power supply fan, which, instead of turning on and doing what it is supposed to do when power is applied, in fact, it rotates weakly, not anywhere near fast enough to be anything like the heat sink that it’s supposed to be, and intermittently emits a scratching sound that makes me think that it, too, is not long for this world.