workshop workshop workshop work!

my father in law (who is a retired electrician) came up today and got started on electrifying the workshop. he’s basically adding another 20 amp circut to our house, and then running conduit from the back of the fuse box out to the workshop. it was really strange to stand in the non-electrified workshop and say that i wanted electrical outlets here, there and there, and a 4 foot flourescent light fixture there, with a switch over there, and then have him put up boxes and wire them together, and hang a light fixture… he’s coming back tomorrow to finish the job.

while the electricity was going in, i painted the exterior of the workshop with the 5 gallons of “oops” paint i got at home depot for $15 – if i had bought 5 gallons of “exactly the right colour” paint it would have been more like $145, but the “oops” paint was exactly the right colour before i even started putting it on, because of the discounted price, and – lo-and-behold – it turns out that it’s exactly the right colour anyway, which makes it an extra bonus. i’d post a picture of it, but it’s dark outside now and the colour wouldn’t show up correctly, so that’s a job for tomorrow.

nine minute response

so at 10:28 this evening, i posted the following advertisement to craig’s list:

i have two computers, i want musical instruments

I have:
One clone PC in a beige box with Kubuntu Linux, AMD 1.5ghz processor, 800mb RAM, and 6gb hard disk.
One turquoise G3 Mac desktop with a Sonnet G4 upgrade, 800 mb RAM, 6gb hard disk and 18 gb hard disk.
Plus one Sony Trinitron P1130 19″ monitor, one KVM switch with 2 sets of cables, one PS2 keyboard and one USB mouse.

You have:
Woodwind (serrusophone, bassoon, tubax, bass clarinet, alto flute, or suchlike) or brasswind (valve trombone, double-bell euphonium, helicon, fluegelhorn or suchlike) instrument or instruments that you can’t play, are unused and/or unwanted, have sat around in the attic or closet for 20 years, or that sort of thing. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work for some reason, because I am a musical instrument repair technician and a sculptor, so if I can’t fix it so that it will play again, I can make something else out of it.

Write to me stating what you’ve got and we’ll work something out.

at 10:37 (nine minutes later) i recieved an email message from “Metallica” which said:

willing to sell just the pc? or just the processor and ram?

i wrote back to them at 10:44 (sixteen minutes after the original post was approved), saying:

i don’t want money, i want musical instruments. if you’ve got musical instruments, then we can talk.

we’ll see how this plays out. i’d be willing to bet that they don’t respond.

a sigh of nostalgia…

i backed up, reformatted and reinstalled my os9 mac, and i realised that i may have just shut down mac os9 for the last time ever this evening…

i’ve been a mac head ever since the term was coined, way back when. my first experience with a computer that wasn’t running some form of UNIX (yes indeed, i am that old) was with my father’s trash-80, the year i graduated from high school. i got pretty good at manoevering around the proto-DOS interface and programming in BASIC, but my first experience with the technology with which i actually made money for a significant portion of my life was with a Lisa – the proto-mac. the first computer job i had was typesetting for kwik-kopy printing in bellingham with a mac plus, a floppy disk drive and an 80 mb hard disk which i thought was an electronic black hole into which i could throw documents forever and not fill it up. that was back before the operating system used Hierarchical File System – HFS – it used MacFS instead, which meant that you could only have one window open at a time, and no files larger than 20mb. it was back when the mac os was free, and you could get the latest version by taking 4 floppy disks to your local mac dealer. i remember being one of the first geeks in my group to figure out that the mac was more than just a platform, and that it would be an ideal thing if you could get the mac os to run on anything. it still hasn’t happened officially, of course, but it’s closer now than it has ever been before. it wasn’t more than 5 years ago that i was working at essentially the same job, only with a much more modern computer.

so i installed os 9.2.1 on my aqua G3 desktop with a G4 upgrade, and shut it down, and i believe that it could be the last time i ever shut down a mac running os9.

the end of an era… 8)

a sigh of relief…

so i bought a new computer yesterday, and spent most of today getting it set up and running. apparently there is some specific thing that toast avoids doing, resulting in my burning no less than 3 install disks which didn’t boot correctly before i switched to disk utility and actually read the howto for burning an installation CD. i bought a bare system from a local place called InfoTech – stereotypical name, stereotypical geeks – and they didn’t have a problem building a system that was according to my specifications and not installing windoesn’t on it… of course when i had some problems with the install disk for kubuntu 9.04 they couldn’t help me, because there was nobody there that “played with linux”, but they were helpful in that they demonstrated that it was my disk and not the system itself, so everything all worked out in the end. i’ve now got a PC clone with an AMD 2.6 Ghz processor, 2 gb of RAM and a 250 gb hard disk, to which i have added my old 200 gb hard disk, my old external USB CD/DVD writer, and my colour inkjet printer. i also bought a 17″ LCD monitor with the money i saved not having windoesn’t installed, and the whole thing came in just under $500.

the strange parts are that because of the fact that i manually moved my mail information from the old disk to the new disk, kontact announces to me that it is apparently already running on fig (the name of my previous machine, the new one is ginko) and that running more than one instance of kontact may result in lost mail. i’m not sure how to convince it that it’s actually running on a new machine, but fortunately it allows me to run it anyway. also, very likely because of the fact that i didn’t restore it from a backup, all of my old mail disappeared, all of my address book entries disappeared and all of my feeds disappeared, but those are only comparaitively minor irritations. also apparently the new amarok doesn’t exactly agree with the old amarok, and i’m not exactly sure what to do about it, but that, too, is a comparatively minor irritation.

on the recommendation of st. ian, i’m going to reformat and reinstall the old computer with hardy, and i’m going to wipe and reinstall my old, os9 mac, and trade them on craigslist for a musical instrument or two. the fun part is that the advert is going to read something along the lines of “i have this computer and that computer and they’re both functional and have this software on them, you have a musical instrument or two that you don’t want or can’t play or for which you no longer have any use. email me and we’ll work something out”. basically i’ll let the customer determine what they think a PC and an old mac are worth, and then trade me for musical instrument(s) that are approximately worth the same. the bonus is that i get rid of the computers and i get a new addition to my menagerie, and i potentially get a new helpdesk customer as well… 🙂

so…

i actually was IP blocked from cshelpdesk dot net!

in spite of the fact that [email protected] (who is undoubtedly nathan oulman, or one of his minions) said “we dont block anyone from anything” (his exact words), according to tech support goon “Zac O.”, “Your IP was blocked by the servers firewall. This has been unblocked and you can now access the server again.” apparently their server is set to block the IP address of a customer attempting to log in “incorrectly” (whatever that means, nobody has told me yet). it’s very definitely not an using an incorrect username or password, because i allow the browser to remember all of that stuff because i know how clumsy my fingers are, but nobody has seen fit to tell me what it is, other than “incorrect login attempts”.

not only that, but i’ve had to reprimand the tech support goon no less than three times this morning, for closing my issue without answering my question. the little weasel is not going to get out of this without giving me some answers. 8/

at this point, it’s not anywhere near as bad as it was yesterday, but still, i’m thinking very strongly about switching host providers again when my contract expires.

OY… 8/

more computer miserableness abounds… 😛

as of yesterday, i was going back and forth with tech support about that random mysql user that i found a couple of days ago. i had just found the solution when the tech support goon abruptly terminated the email conversation, and when i tried to refresh the page, it timed out, and has been timing out when i try to access cshelpdesk dot net from my network ever since.

however, today, i discovered that not only does everybody else actually get the hybridelephant dot com site, but they can also access cshelpdesk dot net without timing out. in fact, if i try to access either site using the neighbour’s wireless network (hooray for unsecured wireless home networking!) i can get to them without difficulty, which makes me think “IP block”.

what makes me think “IP block” even more is the fact that while i was searching around for more information about cshelpdesk (which has email address contacts, but not a telephone number anywhere that i can see), i came across this blog entry from flatsurface dot com, which is a stunning review of nathan oulman, the apparent owner of anrhost.com (my host provider), dailydns.com (my host service) and cshelpdesk.com (tech support for the previous domains). the part where he says that stuff about “[t]he second time they caused a significant outage for my domains, I bitched. Their response? Block my IP from the support site, and later they simply disabled my prepaid account, in violation of our contract.” struck a very familar, and somewhat ominous chord.

and apparently it’s a very specific IP block, because it prevents me from seeing the database at Hybrid Elephant and all of cshelpdesk dot net, but it does not block me from seeing The Church of Tina Chopp or Cirque De Flambé, or any of my other domains, or even this site… this does not bode well, and i get the very distinct impression that i’m going to have to switch host providers again, as well as replacing my linux box…

which, by the way, i was out pricing computers today in order to facilitate. i discovered that if i want to buy a computer from frye’s (or just about any “computer store” like that), basically, i have to buy a computer with windoesn’t pre-installed (from the factory, so i can’t “leave it out” for a reduced price, but they’re not strictly “legal” versions of windoesn’t, because they don’t come with install disks or any way of creating them). for a windows-pre-installed complete system (CPU, monitor, keyboard, mouse) i would end up having to pay $500 to $700, which is sort of what i expected. they have “bare bones” systems that don’t come with windows, but they also don’t come with memory, or a hard disk, or KVM (keyboard, video, mouse), and they’re $200 to $500, or i can buy a “boot only” box from Re-PC for around $100 that needs a KVM and some other stuff, but because of the fact that the “boot only” box is used, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to work as long as a new box would. the final option is that i can “build your own” box that uses essentially the same components as the $500 system for about $100 to $200, but that would mean finding a system that i like, researching the components and purchasing them separately, and then putting it all together.

which i can do, but, ultimately, i would rather not do it. as i told the guy at frye’s, i’m not so much interested in building a new machine as much as i am in obtaining a new machine and using it.

every now and then i have to wonder why computers are so complicated… then i remember that at least part of the reason is that they are created by the most infuriatingly dense creatures on the planet, and they are very much like their creators – although somewhat more predictable.

which is why, i suppose, i am more at home with computers than i am with most people. 😐

err… umm… oh.

i had some sort of computer interruption last night that prevented me from figuring out this whole user 123 phenomena – apparently the server got hacked last night, but they TOSed the cracker and went to good backups within 15 minutes of my complaining, which is something… i’m not exactly sure what yet, but it’s something.

however, apparently the mysql user 123 that i deleted yesterday was important for running my oscommerce installation… which worries me enough that i’m going to figure out where it’s configured and change it to something else, because, first of all, having a default user 123 is enough of a security risk, and second, there’s a good chance that i’ll forget that user 123 is important, whereas if i see a user “ekadant” (for example) i’ll realise that it’s important and not delete it without figuring out what it is.

oy!

i was poking around (yeah, i know, bad idea… 8/ ) in the control panel for hybridelephant and i came across this thing that lists the mySQL databases and users of those databases that are on hybridelephant.com. it listed the two databases that i use, but it listed 2 users whereas i’ve set it up so that i use the same username and password for both databases… which i found a little suspicious.

furthermore, the other user was named “123” which i also found somewhat suspicious…

in any event, i was doing something else, so i deleted the user account “123” and went on with doing something else.

bad move.

now, if you go to hybridelephant dot com, instead of seeing the site, you get this error message:

Warning: mysql_connect() [function.mysql-connect]: Access denied for user ‘hybridel_123’@’localhost’ (using password: YES) in /home/hybridel/public_html/includes/functions/database.php on line 19
Unable to connect to database server!

i recreated the user. no luck.
i recreated the user with the password that was indicated on line 19 of /home/hybridel/public_html/includes/functions/database.php. no luck.
i reloaded the database from the backup i made 2 weeks ago. no luck.

it’s well and truly broke, and i done broked it. 😐

oy…

so i started up my linux box this morning and it told me that there were some system updates that i had to download, so i downloaded them and then it said that in order to use those system updates that my computer had to be restarted, so i shut everything down and rebooted…

and when it came back up, it didn’t work!

it put up the login screen, like normal, and it accepted my username and password, but then, instead of loading the desktop, it loaded what looked like a transparent graphic, only it was full screen, and a mouse cursor. no task bar, no menus… eventually a window popped up, associated with the HP printer, that said there was no systray, so whatever application it was associated with was no longer trying to start. i clicked OK – which was the only thing i could do – and it went away.

so, i hit Alt+F1 and logged in to the text interface, which it allowed me to do, and typed sudo shutdown -r now and it rebooted again. this time, instead of the transparent graphic, it stayed with the login screen, but again, didn’t get beyond allowing me to login. this time, when i hit Alt+F1 and logged in, it said that the system was using 95% of 5.9G, and the /tmp directory was using 100% of 1G, the total of which, if i’m not mistaken, is slightly more than my 6G system disk.

fortunately, my /home directory and my /music directory are on a separate, 200G disk. apparently my OS is bigger than my HD, which, technically (i suppose) means that if i got a new, bigger HD, everything would be copascetic. once again, the battle of the computer has raised its ugly head…

i was just discussing this probability with moe the other day, because of the wonkish behaviour of my monitor, and i pretty much decided that i’m going to go out and buy a new computer system at that time. it’s a good thing i decided it then, because now i’m absolutely certain that that’s what i’m going to do.

it’s going to be a desktop computer with at least a 200G hard disk, and an LCD monitor, and it will not be a computer with windoesn’t preloaded. i don’t know exactly what price i’m willing to pay, but $500 to $700 doesn’t seem too out of the question.

WOO HOO!

they’re here at this very moment, putting up my workshop! 😀

UPDATE: O. M. G. this is going to be OUTRAGEOUS!!1! i realised that it was going to be 10×14, but i didn’t realise that it was going to have 8 foot walls and a 4 foot barn ceiling…!

i mean, i knew… that’s what i ordered, i just never realised that it was actually going to happen… it’s happening! it’s happening!!

Metal Machine Music

a long time ago i heard of this album by lou reed called “Metal Machine Music” which was supposedly so horribly offensive to the ears that the company had to quit making albums because so many people had returned them. of course, being who i am, i was tremendously interested in hearing this gawd-awful piece of noise for myself, but at the time, there were no copies, nobody had it on tape or CD and mp3s hadn’t been invented yet, so i was out of luck. a good friend of mine had actually heard the album, though, and he had assured me that it wasn’t worth the time i spent trying to find out about it, because it was truly awful, and, because i had faith in this friend’s tastes in music, i took his word for it and gave up trying to find a copy.

that was until last week, when i found a bittorrent of lou reed that included the fateful album. of course i had to download it. i even wasted my good share ratio and only downloaded the albums i wanted instead of downloading the whole thing, because we were going on vacation for a week and i had to shut down my computer during that time. i just got around to listening to it today, and i have to say that, while i understand why most “normal” people wouldn’t find it appealing in the least, i find it really interesting indeed, and i am somewhat disappointed that i gave up so easily. actually, i find it compelling in the same way i find the music of john cage compelling. it’s definitely a classic, and while i can understand that it is the reason lou reed is considered to be the founder of heavy metal music, i also find that this particular piece bears a striking resemblence to karlheinz stockhausen, charles amirkhanian or luciano berio.

Metal Machine Music by Lou Reed – it’s worth a listen, regardless of what your friends who normally have excellent taste in music might say.

grf

tired. spent all day at an art car showing in everett. i got paid $100 for going to an arts festival and sitting on my ass all day. i need more days like that. before that was 5 days of no computer access (it turns out that it was on purpose, too) on orcas island. when i returned home (yesterday) it was to discover that my monitor is on the fritz (again) and is looking like it is on its last legs, which means yet another go-round with the battle of the computer. there are a whole bunch of pictures from the san juans that can be seen here, but there’s one picture that won’t upload correctly (i assume that it’s because it’s an animated .gif) which i’ve had to upload elsewhere to get it to show up correctly, which is this one:orcas ferry

more later.

in honour of my having received my CD of Organ2/ASLSP by John Cage

information reprinted from another of my web sites

I have been a musician for most of my life. Throughout my life, I have heard references to many famous musicians, some of whom have had a great deal of effect on my life, both as a musician and as a human being. One of the most profound effects my life has experienced is that which originated with the great artist, musician and composer, John Cage.

He was first introduced to me as a composer of “unusual” music. I have always been interested in the out-of-the-ordinary, and when I encountered a piece of music for the Prepared Piano, a John Cage invention, I knew I had found a kindered spirit. His unorthodox use of chance, creating music by rolling dice or following mathematical formulae, or even determining notes in a score by using star charts as an indicator inspired my own, interesting (many would say bizarre) unorthodox experiments. John Cage also had the honor of being able to study with the great serial composer Arnold Schönberg, who is another of my favourite composers, especially for his oratorio Pierrot Lunaire. One of my favourite characteristics of Pierrot Lunaire, outside of the music itself, of course, is the fact that when I was in high school, and I played it on my stereo, it would give my mother a headache. John Cage, himself, gave quite a bit of insight into his unorthodox way of thinking, and, by extension, his unorthodox music and artwork in his “Autobiographical Statement”, which first appeared in print in the Southwest Review in 1991.

Later in my life, I attended the Cornish School, where John Cage worked, and performed in the tiny performance hall which had been the original reason he invented the prepared piano, and it felt to me like I was following in the steps of someone I respected very much. At that time, I was also composing a lot of music using various numeric and geometric techniques. Somewhat later, during my first year at Fairhaven College, I performed Cage’s famous piano piece called 4’33” – which is, basically, four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence, in three movements which are delineated by the performer opening and closing the cover of the piano keyboard. There is a web-based rendition of this famous piece of music, which is performed in one movement, sans piano. Oddly enough, my rendition of 4’33” was performed on an old, upright piano which, only moments before the start of my performance, I had managed to knock over on its back (I had to have about 6 other people help me lift it back upright again), and the keyboard had completely locked, so if I had had to play notes, I would not have been able to do so.

In 2001, I read of another performance of music by John Cage which I found to be particularly inspiring, which is a performance of an adaptation of Cage’s piece for piano called “As Slow As Possible”. In the small town of Halberstatd, Germany, in an old, abandoned church-turned-pig-farm-turned-performance-hall, an organ is being constructed for the performance of a piece called “Organ2 – ASLSP” (movement 5 of which can be heard here), which, when complete, will be the longest musical performance in human history, taking 639 years to finish. The performance started on 5 September, 2001, and for the first 17 months the only sound was silence, punctuated by the wheezing of the solar-powered organ bellows. The first three actual notes of the performance began on 3 February, 2003, another note was added in July of 2004 and another note was added in July of 2005. According to what I have read, an intermission is planned in 2319.

I have always had a lot of respect for people who make their living doing unconventional things. I have tried very hard to be one of those people, because it has become evident to me that the people doing unconventional things in their lives are among the only people in existence who are having even the slightest bit of fun that isn’t heavily influenced, and in most cases totally controlled by someone else. John Cage has always been a powerful influence in my life because of his ability to be unconventional and extremely successful at the same time.

the pile of shed

a pile of shedwith the help of St. Ian of The Holy Snake, we now have a quite large pile of shed in our back yard, and the place where the shed used to be is more or less clear and ready to have the new workshop(!!) built there. while i was at it, i removed the outdated and obsolete technnology otherwise known as a television antenna from the roof. i plan on re-using about 90% of the shed to make the new workshop even cooler than it will already be, and the pole from the antenna would be perfect for hanging a Hybrid Elephant banner from at the fremont sunday market… all i gotta do is actually design and produce a banner…

in other news, there’s a snake suspenderz gig at the issaquah art walk on thursday, a BSSB performance at the ballard locks on sunday, after which moe and i are leaving for a week of well deserved vacation at the doe bay resort, thanks to pliny the younger general manager.

beetlemania part deux

ten lined june beetlejust like last year only this year… makes me wonder if they have some kind of metaphysical meaning. the life cycle of the ten-lined june beetle indicates that the adults are drawn to light (check) and they emerge as adults in june or july, laying eggs in august. the pupæ spend two to three years underground, near coniferous trees (check) before emerging.

1 grid unit equals approximately 1.5 mm. total length approximately 3.3 cm.

growl

i’m in the process of taking down the shed, and i’ve been taking it easy and going very slowly, because i’m not using the correct tools. i should be using my two medium pry-bars (one hexagonal and one flat). if i were using the correct tools, i probably would have completed the job by now. what i’m using instead is MJOLNIR (my 5 pound sledge hammer, named after the Hammer of Thor) and one of my claw hammers.

i HATE knowing that i have the right tools, and if i had a workshop i’d be able to put my hands on them immediately, but because of the fact that i haven’t had a workshop in 4 years, i don’t even know where i packed them, and will very likely have to go out and buy replacement tools to be able to finish the job of demolishing the old shed so that i will have the space to build a workshop!

HATE!!!