Category Archives: ganesha the car

blah!

i just spent $1,800 on a new transmission for Ganesha The Car. the transmission now works like a dream, but the engine smells funny, it’s running really hot and i have to put coolant in it about once a week, so i took it to have it evaluated to see what’s wrong with it now that the transmission is all fixed…

the heater core is dead. worst case scenario is that it will cost $1,200 to fix.

for a free car, this is certainly costing me a hell of a lot of money… 😛

okay, i’m here…

doughnut joustingi am totally exhausted from SACBO and surrounding festivities, and i’ve been pretty depressed most of the day (the morning after blues?), but i’m slowly coming around. it rained pretty much all day sunday, and there was at least a bracing dampness to the air all day saturday when it wasn’t actually raining. fortunately it cleared up for the actual parade, because i was very clear about the fact that if it was raining, all of my expensive electronic music production gear was going to stay in its respective boxes, which would have definitely put a cramp on our part of the parade. i didn’t vend sunday, but lack of motivation was only part of the reason. now that i’m fairly confident that the transmission on ganesha the car version two is going to last at least a year (because that’s how long the warranty on the new transmission that i bought for it lasts), i can turn my attention to the leak in the pressurised engine coolant system which causes the car to run really hot when it’s not on the freeway, smell funny, and requires engine coolant about every 4 days to a week. it’s annoying that i’ve had to put so much money into this free car to get it working reliably. about the most fun i had at SACBO was watching the doughnut jousting that evolved over the course of sunday afternoon. the crowds were really light because of the rain, but we were determined to make the best of it, which resulted in a couple of microphone stands and some coat hangers becoming targets on which were placed yesterday’s doughnuts, which were the target of jousters on bicycles, unicycles, wheelchairs, and pretty much anything else, armed with pool cues. i spent time with people that i only see once a year (mostly), was part of the centrepiece of the whole parade, and i was inducted into a secret society, the less said about which the better. fremont phil rehearsal tonight, BSSB rehearsal tomorrow, players rehearsal wednesday, LBG rehearsal thursday, BBWP rehearsal friday…

moe was at a sheepdog trial all weekend, and she won! she got a 92, and the person who came in second (who is also moe’s mentor and friend diane) got an 88. i’ll let her tell the story, but we’re all pretty proud of moe and her doggie. 🙂 also, today is our 12th wedding anniversary.

SACBO tomorrow

touch-up for SACBO
tomorrow’s schedule: 7:00 leave for SACBO, 8:00 arrive at SACBO and check in, 9:00 be at the parade start and help get things put together, ≈12:00 pm – 2:00 pm play in the Fremont Solstice Parade, after the parade is over until ≈8:00 pm participate in SACBO, drive home and do it again tomorrow, only with “play in the solstice parade” replaced by either vending at SACBO or not (i still haven’t decided).

it’s definitely rehearsal season…

BBWPlast week, monday i had a fremont phil rehearsal, tuesday i had a sousa band rehearsal, wednesday i had a players rehearsal, thursday i had a banda gozona rehearsal, friday i had a BBWP rehersal, saturday was the banda gozona performance at the seattle version of guelaguetza, and today i had a rehearsal of the beatles-simulacra-band for the solstice parade coming up on saturday. this week, monday i have a fremont phil rehearsal, wednesday i have a players rehearsal, thursday i have my choice of a banda gozona rehearsal (which i am going to miss, because it is in preparation for a performance at the solstice parade in which i am going to be otherwise engaged) or a beatles-simulacra rehearsal, friday i have a BBWP rehearsal, saturday i have the solstice parade, plus SACBO, sunday i have SACBO and a number of options, including vending… and then in a week, monday i’ve got a fremont phil rehearsal, tuesday i have a sousa band rehearsal, wednesday i have a players rehearsal, thursday i have a banda gozona rehearsal, friday i have a BBWP rehearsal, and it continues from there until OCF.

i’m going to OCF with chris this year, and chris wants to get there on monday, which is earlier than i have ever arrived at OCF before. which means that i’m going to have to be extra prepared this year (i.e. no “making a run to town to get things i forgot” this year). we’ve already been scheduled for a BBWP performance at the friday night fire show – which we didn’t do at all last year, and there was such a furor because we weren’t there that they demanded to have us back 🙂 – so i’ve definitely got my work cut out for me, learning the new rap, practicing my poi and my tassel-twirling and the fire-avoidance thing to think about. plus i’ve got to do some homework and come up with sound effects for the beatles thing. we’re going to be in a “Yellow Submarine” float, and they want some appropriate submarine noises, along with the actual keyboard stuff that i signed up for.

tah daaah!

hood finished!
finally!

i called maaco, and they said that it would cost around $200 to clear-coat the hood, depending on how the preparation goes. i told the guy that i would hesitate to spend that much on the car if there was something wrong with the engine, and my budget was around $100. he said that i should bring it by tomorrow, which i’m going to do, but i’m not expecting much. it’s possible that rick at edgewood tire has some suggestions, but i haven’t asked him.

i’m probably going to go get my tuba soldered tomorrow afternoon, or some time in the relatively near future.

i sent $500 to india for 20 dozen boxes of aparajita. i got an invoice for it, so i’m a little less suspicious than i would have been otherwise, but i still don’t know for sure that it’s going to be aparajita that the guy sends me. at this point, it’s wait and see, because i’ve already sent the money. there’s another incense retailer that’s going to buy half of the 20 dozen as soon as i get them, which is good, because i don’t have the space to store 20 dozen boxes of incense.

taking shape

taking shape   taking shape

one of the disadvantages to using “inferior” quality paint, instead of one-shot, is that the black paint has a tendency to flake off in certain areas, and i have had to go back over the already painted portion of the previous two or three lines and fill in the parts that have flaked off. fortunately, apparently, once i’ve gone over them and filled in the parts that have flaked off, they don’t continue to flake (i’ve had to do it a couple of times now), so i’ve been able to continue, but it’s yet another reason why i want to finish painting as quickly as possible and clear coat it before it all flakes off.

the gold, on the other hand, is looking really good, and is not flaking at all.

it rained on and off yesterday, so i couldn’t work on it much, except to touch up some of the places where the paint had flaked off… the tape that, according to the packaging, wasn’t supposed to leave a sticky residue, but, in reality, does leave a very sticky residue, is A PAIN IN THE ASS!

quick update

my host provider has decided that he’s going to stay in business for his existing customers but not take any new customers. it eases my concern about finding a new host provider immediately, but i’m still going to move eventually, because i really don’t like being jerked around like that. the first time you said you were sorry and i gave you another chance, but the second time it was entirely my fault, and i don’t want it to happen again.

The Beatlesin other news, my copy of The Beatles Complete Scores came in the mail today. this is a book that i have wanted ever since it was first published in 1989, and it’s 1136 pages of the actual music by John Lenon and Paul McCartney from the people who would know. this means that i can now work on arrangements of things like Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite for Snake Suspenderz without having to rely on somebody else’s frequently incorrect interpretations of what the chords are… and i can finally figure out the chords for Michelle, which i have been wondering about for 30 years… 8)

now, off to get denatured alcohol. i ran out yesterday and i need it to clean up the sticky residue which was not left by the lining tape on my car, because the packaging said that it didn’t leave a sticky residue, so, in spite of the fact that, when i pull the tape off my car, it leaves a sticky residue, apparently, it wasn’t left by the tape… 😐

oh yeah, i got email from someone who wants to interview “Rev. Guido DeLuxe” concerning the Church of Tina Chopp. she said she was interested in tracking down the truth behind the rumours… she was also born in 1988, which was well after the church had established its presence… i wonder what sort of gibberish i should spout in order to confuse her even more… hey, she wrote to me

finally
i went to an art car show in kirkland last week, and painted about a quarter of a line before i had some serious problems with my purple paint pen and ended up splattering purple paint all over the part that i had already painted, so there was a great deal of clean up last week instead of steady progress. i went to an art car show in fremont today, and had a much easier time of it. i decided that the purple wasn’t turning out the way i wanted it anyway, because it fades in a day and it was taking too long to re-do the purple part, so i decided to change it to gold, which doesn’t fade anywhere near as quickly. i actually was able to finish two lines of sanskrit. i probably would have been able to accomplish a lot more, but the package of lining tape that i bought specifically because it said “does not leave a sticky residue” was actually a lie, and i’ve had to clean up the sticky residue from the lining tape before i am able to paint a new line of sanskrit.

yee haw!!

yee haw!
it’s going to work even better than it did on the mockup! 😀

there’s a minor problem, though, which is that the original paint is cracking when i lean on the hood. and it’s practically impossible not to lean on the hood when i’m working that close to the windshield… but i’m going to have to come up with something, because leaning over on one arm isn’t going to do it: i get too tired, and i have to use too much concentration to be reliable leaning on my arm…

yeah, i know… i’m asking for it…

Ganesha the Car planthe design that i blotted out yesterday was definitely wrong, and i’m really glad i listened to my gut and did it, because it was the right thing to do. the picture to the right is the new plan – although it’s going to be sanskrit writing, and not a blue background (which was put there with a computer, to gauge dimensions) – and i’m already more than aware of the fact that people are going to ask me, and harrass me, and that sort of thing, about the swastika on my car, perhaps even more than with the previous car.

but, see, the problem is that when i look at that plan, i get this gooey feeling right here <taps chest>, that i get when i look at my wife, which is an indication that i have created ART and not just art… and this is just the hood of the car! i can hardly wait to see what the rest of it is going to look like. 🙂

Gajaanana and Eyjafjallajökull

Ganesha the Car, v.2 creationso i got started on the actual artwork for Ganesha the Car, version 2, in spite of the fact that it was spitting rain all afternoon. there wasn’t enough moisture to affect the process, and i really wanted to get started on it, because i’ve got an art-car show in a little more than 2 weeks. i’m still not completely sure of the layout, because sanskrit has some weird length issues, especially since i am essentially transcribing a printed document in calligraphy, but if everything goes according to plan, i should have just about as many names on the hood of Ganesha v.2 as i had on the entire Ganesha v.1… although i still wonder whether i’m really going to have enough room or not. i figured that, since there’s no guarantee that Ganesha the Car v.2 is actually going to be a functioning car for very long, i would put some considerably less “permanent” artwork on it. to that end, i bought a bunch of uni paint pens, thanks to an art-cartist i talked to at SACBO last year. while i am impressed with how well they work in general, i still think that i’m going to get a clear-coat put on after i’m finished, because the paint pens are a good deal less permanent than the 1Shot that i used on v.1

in other news, apparently “Eyjafjallajökull” is sort of like Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in that unless you’re from there, you’d be better off not trying to pronounce it. case in point:

miscellaneous honk blat wak wak wak ungow

one doesn’t tend to notice annoyances that have disappeared, but i just realised that the guy who has been sending me spam with great regularity, at least once a month, for five-plus years hasn’t sent me a spam message since november of last year. i won’t claim sole responsibility for ridding the net of this annoyance, but i would be willing to bet that the multiple reports of his spam i made to the washington state attorney general’s office couldn’t have slowed down his departure too much.

the new Ganesha The Car is probably not going to be a car very much longer. there’s nothing wrong with it currently, but the transmission is on its last legs, and from what the people at the repair shop (not the repair shop from which i got the car, a different one) told me, the ’93 Mercury Tracer (which is also called a “Ford Fiesta Escort” for some unknown reason) is notorious for transmission and engine problems, and pretty much anything that goes substantially wrong with it will very likely cost more to fix than the car is worth. at the same time, i didn’t actually pay for the car to begin with, and the repair shop that i got it from will very likely do things like replace the transmission for far less than other places would, because we fall under the “friends and family” category with the owner of the shop – which is also part of the reason why i didn’t pay for the car to begin with.

in the short term, this means that i have even more impetus to create “temporary” artwork on the car, using paint pens instead of a brush and one-shot. daniel smith’s has a piss-poor selection of paint pens, but i picked up some black, and some gold pens. i’m hoping that i can find a wider assorement of colours somewhere else.

frustration is finding a bittorrent of something that you really want, and downloading 99.3% of it – with 8 “leeches” and a “seeder” who only logs in after midnight – before getting stuck and spending weeks repeatedly opening up your network to a DOS attack while you wait for the remainder to appear… all i need is 1.16 MB of information and then i’ll have the whole thing… is that too much to ask?

a guy advertised “Goldblatt drywall stilts. Rubber is good, but the straps are shot and some minor hardware needs replacing.” on freecycle, earlier in the week, and i responded, because i can probably fix the things that they have wrong with them, and then i’ll have a set of drywall stilts… unfortunately, i didn’t notice that the guy’s email host is christian.net, and the quote that automatically appended to the signature of my message was “Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world. — Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet), 1694-1778″…

he didn’t reply, so i sent him another message this afternoon. the quote that automatically appended to the signature of that message was “The more you complain, the longer God lets you live.” i still have recieved no response from him, but i get the impression that the probability of my recieving a response from him is miniscule at this point. oh well… if nothing else, i can post a wanted to freecycle for drywall stilts. if i’m really lucky, the same guy will respond… 😉

i’ve got to get up and go to a gig that banda gozona is playing for part of Honk! Fest West at 9:00 tomorrow morning. there’s another gig that banda gozona is playing at 3:00 pm as well, which means that i can’t even go home and get some rest between the shows. the music that we’re playing is all stuff that i know the tuba parts for quite well. unfortunately, i’m playing trombone for tomorrow’s gigs, and the trombone parts are really fast, with a lot of notes that range from E an octave below middle C to A an octave above middle C within a measure. i’m reasonably certain that i can play most of the notes, and i’m sure i can play all of the notes at a reduced speed, but the fact that there’s going to be at least one other trombone-range instrument (most likely euphonium, but another trombone isn’t out of the question) makes me a lot more at ease with this performance than i would be otherwise.

spoons &c.

i subscribe to a modified version of the spoon theory, and the past few weeks have definitely been ones in which i have pushed the limits of my spoons, traded one day’s spoons for another day, and that sort of thing. now that the moisture festival is over for another year, it is important that i rest up and gather my spoons for a spring and summer that looks exciting and frightening at the same time.

i am expanding hybrid elephant in a number of ways: i have gotten at least one and potentially three or more new web clients, which may mean that i’m going to need more web space eventually(!), and i have been talking with bfly about teaming up to teach some classes(!!).

i talked with dan from nanda about printing business cards and postcards for them.

i have also decided, now that moisture festival is out of the way, that i’m going to have my tuba “seen to” by someone that can re-solder the outside guard bracing that’s come loose, replace several missing braces that are currently being held together with zip ties, and tackle the third valve slide that is wider at one end than it is at the other, and is just waiting for me to bump it a little bit too hard in the wrong direction so that it will totally lock up and never move again.

i also have a new art car project to work on. i have every intention of putting all 1008 names of ganesha on my new art car, which, of course, will mean that i will have to write them a lot smaller than i did on the previous art car, which will doubtlessly mean more time spent on it. SACBO is in june, so that doesn’t really leave very much time…

푚??

the new Ganesha The Car is back in the shop because of a fuel leak. it should be ready today (ETA: it’s ready, i just have to go pick it up). i drove it for two days and went through a tank and a half of gas before i figured out what the problem was. hopefully it will get slightly better mileage now that it’s not leaking fuel all over the place. jack said he didn’t notice it because when he put gas in it he only put about a quarter tank in, and apparently the leak was higher up on the tank.

the moisture festival has started for me. i had a show last night, and i’ve got a show tonight, two shows on saturday and either one or two shows on sunday (typical moisture festival scheduling chaos), then there’s one or two shows(?) next saturday, a show the following thursday, friday, two or three shows the following saturday and the closing night performance on sunday 4 april. hacki’s back. he couldn’t get a visa last year, but he got one this year. this is the first year since the first year that we’ve had opening night somewhere other than the palladium. this year, opening night was last week at ACT theatre. we’ve also got four different venues this year – i get the impression that this is the beginning of the actualisation of the fantasy that they were throwing around last year. this year we’re having the comedie/varieté acts at the palladium, the burlesque (read "titty & ass") shows at ACT (because mike hale is a “christian” who doesn’t at all approve of exposed tits, despite the fact that the burlesque shows bring in the most money), and we’ve also got shows going on somewhere in georgetown and some others on vashon island.

i have been having a sharp pain in the joint of my left thunb for about a month. i went to see chris who spent several days poking me with needles, and that seemed to help, but once he quit, the pain came back over the course of several days. i went to see a hand specialist yesterday who said i probably have arthritis – i’m genetically predisposed to it; both my grandmothers had arthritis in their hands. she (the doctor) recommended that i take ibuprophen and go to a specialist that makes splints for when the pain gets intolerable. getting old sucks.

doobie dumb

today i took the old Ganesha The Car up to the shop to get the stereo and PA speakers removed. it actually started, which is better than it was behaving a few weeks ago when i took it out for a spin. i’m taking the new Ganesha The Car to get the stereo and PA speakers installed tomorrow, and then i’m going to the DOL to get the license plates switched. at the same time, i believe i am going to inquire about getting a disabled person permit, since i do receive disability benefits. also i’m going to inquire about “collecter” license plates – i believe the car isn’t eligible for them yet, but it seems to me that any car that is older than 20 years can have collector plates, which basically means that the car is exempt from emissions inspection and doesn’t have to pay for yearly tabs.

i have an appointment with ned on wednesday and an appointment with a hand specialist on thursday (despite feeling a good deal better than it did a couple of weeks ago, thanks to chris and his needles, my left thumb is still painful enough that it is difficult for me to hold my trombone), and then i have a week of performances for the moisture festival starting thursday.

a few weeks ago i went out to woodinville and retrieved a freezer from moe’s friend diane, which works, but has broken hinges on the door. i determined that it was a kenmore stand alone freezer, and found a number to call for the sears service center. i got a number that rang and rang and rang but nobody answered, so i called the sears toll free number, and after bouncing back and forth through automated “if you want parts and service, say ‘parts and service'” menus for about 45 minutes, i finally called the sears store at southcenter and ordered the parts from them. they’re supposed to get here, according to the moron helpful customer service engineer on the phone, by 23 march, and then i have to figure out whether or not i have the correct tools to replace them.

bouncy squee!

the new Ganesha The Car!
40,811.4 miles
i got the new Ganesha The Car today! it’s a white 1993 mercury tracer station wagon (keeping alive the tradition that i never own a car that is newer than 15 years old), which aches for new sanskrit artwork – there’s already plenty of plans for that – and it has a roof rack, which means that i can pile more stuff into it when i go to the fremont sunday market. and it’s got less than 100,000 miles on it, despite the fact that it’s older than the previous Ganesha The Car by 3 years! as soon as the moisture festival is over and the weather gets a little nicer, i’m creating a new art car! 8)

i’ve been having a difficult time the past few days… and, also 卍 卐 ☹

i’ve been having a difficult time the past few days: the process of switching host providers again has gone pretty normally, with the normal SNAFUs which have been more or less worked out over the past four days. there is still the matter of getting my clients to update their nameservers to my nameservers(!!) (i finally figured out how to create ns1 and ns2.hybridelephant.com, which means that now, when i sell host services myself, i don’t have to give my clients the nameservers that belong to my host provider) which should happen soon, but it’s a little difficult to get other people to do something, even when it is important.

also, as an extra added bonus, as a part of switching host providers, my email has been down for a week, and i’m going to have to enter the 50 addresses on the mailing list by hand (once liz has reset her nameservers) so that it will work, because the new host service provider had “never restored a mailing list before” and didn’t know how to do it.

as i posted previously, somebody grafittied Ganesha The Car. i wrote about it in I, Anonymous, and, after an encouraging start, the conversation turned into the “why are you trying to reclaim the nazi symbol?” rant from people who are much more adept at pushing the buttons of a newbie than i am, and it went downhill from there. the day after it was grafittied, i took it in for a check-up, because the “check engine” idiot-light had gone from its normal “on all the time” to flashing, and i wanted to find out what changed. yesterday, i got the call from the repair shop. they said they had found out what was wrong – burned valves on the 3rd cylinder – and they said that it would probably need a new engine before it will pass emissions inspection the next time. 🙁

on the other hand, there have been some good things as well. i have been watching craigslist recently, and bought some swastika jewelry that i found there, which was decidedly not nazi jewelry. one is an american-made gold swastika hatpin with a diamond in the center. it came along with a whole bunch of other hatpins, and the lady wanted $25 for the lot, which i happily paid. the other is a silver native american swastika pin with a card that dates it to around 1907. the guy that was selling it wanted $25 for it and a nazi flag. i told him i was interested in the native american swastika, but i didn’t want anything to do with nazi stuff and he agreed. i took both pieces for an “appraisal” today (the guy said, and i agreed, that what i had didn’t warrant a “real” appraisal, which would have cost $50 per piece) and found out that the silver pin has a “niche market” collectible value of around $100, and the gold and diamond pin – 18 to 20 carat gold, and a 3-point diamond, by itself – is probably worth $150.

also, i bought a number of buddhist swastikas from a place in singapore, out of which i’m going to make jewelry.

and the fact that Ganesha The Car is dying isn’t as bad as it seems. it runs the same as it has been for the past few years, and there’s nothing really wrong with it other than it only runs on 3 cylinders. i’ve been thinking for some time about taking the class they offer at south seattle community college, where if you provide your own car they waive the $400 class fee and you get to participate in converting your car to an entirely electric vehicle. also, tom at the repair shop said that he could probably round up a rebuilt engine that has a 1 or 2 year warranty that would give Ganesha another 5 years or so. and if none of those turn out to be an option, jack (the guy i bought Ganesha from, who is moe’s employer’s father-in-law) has been turned on to watch auto auctions for another cheap car that will be turned into another art car.

and, on top of everything else, they took off the grafitti while they had it at the shop, and didn’t charge me for it. 🙂

somebody grafittied my car!

grafittisomeone grafittied my car!

i was at Hale’s Palladium this evening for the last performance of Aladdin and The Magic Lamp. i parked there and went in around 1:30 pm, and when i walked out of the palladium at around 6:00 pm, there it was. the paint was dry, which, in my mind, means that the guy must have done it around between the time that i left it, and 4:00 or thereabouts.

i asked around and i learned that the guy who tags things with “SEEDR1” is around 30 years old, and was a student at cornish until he was expelled because of a conflict with one of the instructors (big surprise). he is known for his “photo-realistic” grafitti art, but he also tags (which is likely one of the sources for the conflict with the instructors at cornish), and he was probably drunk when he did it (big surprise).

i don’t know who he is — yet — but i’m already closing in on his identity, and it hasn’t even been 6 hours yet. i’m pissed at this guy, because his drunken tag is going to cost me time and money to cover up, but also because tagging a car — any car — is really a lame, juvenile thing to do. if i ever find him, i don’t know what i would do, but i do know that i’m probably going to file a police report regarding it whether i find out his identity, or not, and if it’s possible to get reimbursed for it, by whatever means, from him, it would be an awesome thing.

grafittii’m going to get better pictures in the morning, when the light is better, but i really don’t understand why he did it… to my car doesn’t matter, i would wonder the same thing about such a tag on any car. the guy must have known that it wouldn’t last long, nobody would see it, and — especially because of the fact that it was on an art car to begin with — it is going to be covered up immediately, before i drive anywhere other than directly home.

and if the guy is an artist himself, what was going through his mind as he spray-painted his tag on my piece of artwork? how would he feel if i spray-painted a tag on one of his pieces of artwork? maybe, because of the fact that his artwork is mostly grafitti to begin with, he wouldn’t mind so much, but i would be willing to bet that if he created a work of art that wasn’t grafitti, and someone spray-painted on it, he would be offended at the very least, so why would he expect any less from me?

i’m not really surprised that someone grafittied my car, but what i am surprised about is why it has taken this long. i’ve been driving ganesha the car for 5 years, and this is the first time anyone has done anything nasty to it… and really, thinking about it, it isn’t really that nasty, except in a vile, putrid, disgusting sort of way. and the guy managed to paint on one of the few places on the car where i won’t have to repaint the actual artwork on the car in order to cover it up, so apart from being really lame and annoying, it’s not that bad.
i am writing in I, Anonymous about it, though, because i know a lot of people read it, and very likely the guy who did it will either find out about it personally, or from one of his friends.

and, by the way… the guy who tags SEEDR1 is an worse than an asshole. he’s an anal polyp and he deserves to be removed from society’s colon immediately. the guy i caught in the act of trying to rip a bumper sticker off of my car apologised and admitted that he was being an asshole, and he got forgiven by me, because he stood up, admitted what he was doing, and that he was an asshole. this guy is worse, and he is not getting forgiven. die in hell, scum!

this is the state of ermerika, not iran…

i was accosted at the coffee stand down the hill from my house today. as i was conversing with the barista (who burned my mocha, again) this incredibly fat woman (really, she was wider than she was tall. i don’t know how she was walking) came up and said “you have a swastika on your car!”

Incredibly Fat Woman: you have a swastika on your car!

me: yes, i have a swastika on my car.

IFW: that’s offensive, my husband is black.

me: i’m sorry you feel that way, but the swastika and the shatkona, the six pointed star design you see on the roof, is a symbol of Ganesha, the Hindu God of Removing Obstacles, and has been for ten thousand years! the nazi symbol you’re thinking of hasn’t even been around for 100 years…

IFW: i don’t know where you think you are, but this is the state of ermerika, not iran…

me: yes, and in America we have the freedom to worship the way we want, and display symbols that may be offensive to others. this is my way of getting back at the nazis who abused the swastika, by blatantly using it as a symbol of peace and goodwill.

IFW: … 😡

me: (as i’m driving away) how can a symbol be guilty for the acts of a madman?

i suppose i shouldn’t be surprised by things like this any longer, but this really affects me on a very deep level. what she said, "this is the state of ermerika, not iran", as though America is not "The Land of The Free", but instead the land of the intolerant bigots who refuse to accept the chance that there might be someone who thinks differently than they do… i’m tempted to go back and see if i can make friends with this woman and her husband, just to show them that the swastika is not to be feared… but i fear that if i show my face (or my car) around that particular coffee stand again, that i’ll probably be killed…

merry xmas… 😐

phnerb

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.

update

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.

plagiarism

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)

and

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.

and

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.

random

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.

Continue reading random

skip

new Hybrid Elephant site

okay, i’m getting really excited now. after what seems like years of not getting anywhere, i’m finally coming down to the last stretch of work on the new site. i’ve still got some products to add to the database, i’ve still got a few things that need tweeking, and i still need to add a whole bunch of content, but i have a fair idea of where that’s coming from and a fairly good idea of how to incorporate it into the site without too much difficulty. there’s still an annoying difficulty, which is that when i put the “ganesha” directory anywhere in the new site, for some reason (including permissions, which i have already checked and they’re all set correctly), the contents of the directory don’t show up, and links to within the “ganesha” directory come back as “403 Forbidden” which is exceedingly strange. furthermore, when i link to where the “ganesha” directory currently lives, there’s no problem, but i get the impression that it can’t stay that way, because when i “move” the domain from the old site to the new site, everything that’s where the old site currently is will be two directories in back of the root directory, and while i can develop that way, i’m about 50% sure that domain-forwarding will make it impossible in real life. i’m not worried, though. things will work out, as always.

ganesha the car got a tune up for the first time in 3 years today. it was close to $400, but the guy took off almost $100 of that because i paid in cash, and because i’m going to make him more business cards. he’s also got a flyer that i’m going to design and (probably) print as well. it was really strange, because i dropped off ganesha the car yesterday and he gave me a ride home in his huge-ass black cadillac with a license plate that says “CHR1ST”. this is the guy who, when i showed up wearing my “it’s just a vegetable” shirt, gave me evil looks all afternoon. i guess he’s willing to look askance at my propensity to sacrifice the Holy Vegetable when it means that he’s going to get kick-ass business cards.

i got a call from "the attorney" the other day, about the notice i received. he said there is nothing to worry about – like i believe that, especially coming from an attorney 8/ – but it was good to hear him say it if nothing else. he said that we’re one to two months out from "the hearing", and he needs to collect updates from me, and various other folks.

hrmph

i was supposed to go to the FSM today. now that it’s later in the day and it’s raining, i’m kind of glad i didn’t, but i wasn’t so glad when i got up at 5:30 this morning and got about half a block down the road before i discovered that i had a flat tire. i was even more irritated when it cost me $100 to replace the tire, because it had a hole in the side wall. and to make matters worse, the guy said i need new brakes as well. it seems like i just got new brakes recently.

i suppose it’s just as well. i would much rather have a flat tire close to home, so that i can bring the car back home and go back to bed for a couple hours rather than being stuck somewhere. and it’s raining hard enough that it’s just as well that i didn’t make it to the FSM anyway.

spam?

i got this very strange email today. it said:

you drive like you have sand in your vagina. your car smells like ass and I thougbt my friend crapped her pants but it was just your nasty car. I hate you.

i’m puzzled that anyone would respond that way to me. i’m not surprised that people react to my car, that happens all the time. what puzzles me is the combination of stuff that, if taken separately, would each represent a valid, if totally ludicrous complaint about my car and/or its occupants… but taken as a whole, i just have to sit back and wonder who they are and why they were so upset with me.

i don’t know what it must be like to have sand in ones vagina, but i can’t imagine that it would be very comfortable, and it would probably limit ones mobility quite a bit. i don’t know about anybody else, but i use my car to enhance my mobility, and if they saw me driving, then they would doubtlessly be aware of that. also, i am a very contientious driver: i make mistakes from time to time – i just got a ticket from one of those automated corner-watcher-robot-flashy things in federal way – but most of the time i’m a very safe driver, whether it’s on the street or on the freeway.

and if they saw me driving, then how can they be sure that it was my car that smelled like ass? i have driven through some mighty smelly areas within the past week or so, and the smell was definitely not coming from my car. if they saw the car while it was parked somewhere, i can understand why they might react that way, even though i know for certain that my car doesn’t smell like ass. it also doesn’t smell like what you would expect a car to smell like, and i’m pretty sure that some of the numbskulls around here would not be able to tell the difference. but at the same time, it makes me wonder how they saw me driving poorly enough to know that i drive like i had sand in my vagina?

and to wrap the whole thing up, they say “i hate you” – in case what they said previously hasn’t sunk in yet. well, personally, i would think that if a person was wound up enough to say the other things about me, saying “i hate you” is overstating it a little. it’s as though they thought they weren’t being clear enough about their feelings, and wanted to make sure that i knew what they were talking about. it also makes me think that they were just ranting to rant and picked me because my email form was easily accessible.

i think, and this is all just conjecture, because i’ll never know for certain (the return address on the email response form was [email protected], and i’ve already tried and failed to sent email to that address), but it’s possible that this was written by one of the teenagers that sped past me on the freeway this afternoon, only subsequently to get pulled over by the police. my guess is that they got pulled over for speeding and/or reckless driving because they incredulously and minutely examined all sides of my car – at freeway speeds – before blasting forwards at about 90 miles per hour… whereupon the fuzz, who was in an unmarked car to my right rear, and who i knew was there, flipped on their lights and went after ’em.

i guess feedback is one of the reasons why my feedback form is there, but sometimes i really wonder whether such things are good to have in a place where just anybody can get hold of them… 8/

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.

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.

geek joy

stylesheets rock!

i uploaded some information i found out recently that will augment the pages on Ganesha The Car nicely. because of the fact that i found it in a variety of other places and rewrote the code from scratch, i didn’t take the time to write a new stylesheet, i just uploaded the information – which produced a page that looked okay on linux, looked bizarre but readable on mac, and was totally unreadable on windoesn’t.

then i went in and put in minimal stylesheet information and – voila! – it looks great regardless of which platform and (to a lesser extent) which browser i am using. it went from looking like a 12-year-old put it together to looking a lot like the rest of my site, and i only used two selectors: .center and .background – but because of the fact that all the other selectors were already defined, i didn’t have to do anything else.

yeah, i’m getting excited about HTML code… i’m a geek, what do you expect?

in other news…

i started the day with a phone call to verizon wireless, to check to see if there were any specials for my “new every two” plan. i checked it out online last night, and determined that i can get a LG VX9400 and as a result of it being my “new every two”, i would only have to pay $30 for it. the nice lady on the phone checked, and said that, yes, it would, in fact, be only $30 for the VX9400. so i decided that instead of waiting the requisite 2 to 4 business days for delivery, i would go down to the verizon wireless store at the supermall and pick one up in person.

when i got to the store, a nice young man named jayson (or something like that, i was too distracted with anger to remember details like that very clearly) asked me for my customer ID (which is my wife’s cell-phone number) and looked me up and said that a VX9400 with no accessories would be $98.50 before tax. i said, no i looked it up online, and it was only going to be $30, because this was my “new every two”. he said, no, the “new every two” only applies to the primary number (which is my wife’s cell-phone) and my number is an “add on” number, which doesn’t apply for the discount. when i offered to look it up online for him, he said, in a very condescending tone, that it doesn’t matter where i look it up, nor who i called, it was going to be $98.50, not $30, and there was nothing i could do about it.

at that point, seething with anger, i walked out of the store, and walked around the supermall. while i was walking, i called moe, and then i called verizon wireless, and by the time i got back to the verizon wireless store, i had bought the phone (i went home and printed out a receipt for $30) and everything was taken care of. i went back into the store and told the guy that i got the phone for $30, and that he sucked. then i walked out.

it’s my recollection that we went through exactly the same thing at the verizon wireless store in the supermall, two years ago, the last time i got a “new every two” phone. it really makes me wonder about what they teach their sales associates in training, if they really teach them that the rules don’t apply when you’re actually in the store, and that they are free to charge whatever they want (the non-discounted price for the VX9400 is $70 if you already have existing service, or $95 if you don’t already have service), or if they just assume that people are going to be stupid enough to believe whatever some nice man in a verizon wireless uniform tells them, just because he’s wearing a verizon wireless uniform. if people really are that stupid, we’re in deep trouble, and there’s no sign that things are going to improve for those of us who still have part of a brain left.

the only reason it hasn’t affected me more than it did is because i went from there to the post office, and while i was there, a old, local guy asked me if that was my car, and wanted to know how much it had cost me to paint all that stuff on it, and when i said i had done it all myself, he said “cool!” – which i took as quite a compliment, seeing as how he was in his 60s or 70s, and seemed really interested…

camp cirque de flambé post-burning-man party tonight at 7:00. it’s possible that moe will be there as well, which would be nice for me. i hope to give out the remainder of my “I Survived Burning Man 2008” buttons to the people i haven’t already mailed them to. BSSB at the Kenmore Oktoberfest tomorrw.

incense nazi

swastika

Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused.

i bought a swastika at the FSM yesterday, and despite my feelings about nazis’ stealing the swastika away from what it truly means, i find it kind of amusing that i can now make jokes about how i am an “incense nazi”… but, at the same time, i also appreciate that if i am able to make jokes about being an incense nazi, the important part is that it’s not about other people, and it’s obviously a joke, whereas most commentary surrounding nazis and swastikas definitely is not considered to be very funny.

also i made $99 at the FSM yesterday, which is one sixth of the repairs that i had to make on ganesha the car over the weekend. only five more days like that to go…

busy!

clown-in-trainingbusy!

i had a rehearsal on monday with snake suspenderz, a rehearsal on tuesday with the the ballard sedentary sousa band, a parade in Brier today (from which there are pictures), and there’s going to be a gig in queen anne with snake suspenderz tomorrow. i have also been running around buying last minute things for burning man, like a patch kit and bicycle pump so that i can take my bicycle, and closed-toe shoes (it has been so long since i’ve worn anything other than birkenstocks, i don’t even know what size “normal” shoe i wear) and a first aid kit. i plan on getting the oil changed and the brakes looked at on both cars this weekend. plan B has, more or less predictably, turned into “very likely plan A”, which means that i will be driving to burning man, most likely with stuart and heather.

update

as i said in a previous post, a lot of things have been going on. one of which is that my windows computer died, and i haven’t even been motivated to fix it, apart from possibly retriving the data that resides on the hard disk. i suppose at some point i’ll have to figure out something to create music on, but that shouldn’t be too difficult. the fact that my laptop died motivated me to create a database for hybrid elephant, which will streamline the process of ordering and invoicing considerably – up until now i’ve kept paper copies of all my orders and invoices, which i will probably still do, but this will provide a way to find a particular invoice, and give me a way to keep track of inventory that will automatically warn me when i get below a certain point so that i can order more, and a whole bunch of other things that i probably haven’t even discovered yet. and i’m going to start doing business with a supplier that i have known about for a few years , but have never ordered from, other than personal stuff – for some unknown reason, because they carry a lot of merchandise that i really like, is really authentic, would go very well with the stuff i already carry, and is insanely inexpensive.

Devotional shop in Kanchii found this image on internet, of a devotional shop in india, which really inspires me, but i’m not sure how realistic a business like this is in the united states. i have never been to india, but from everything i’ve read and every picture i have seen convinces me that india is my home, much more than the united states will ever be. i feel more at home with pictures of india than i am with real live united states.

i’m going to move my desk, my computers and the incense and murtis part of the business out into the dining room, and move the pile of boxes in the dining room into the office. this will do two things: first, it will put my computer out in the main part of the house, so that i can interact with moe more readily without having to stop what i’m doing and go in the other room, and second, it will give me more space to create a workshop of sorts, because i truly am going crazy not having a real workshop. the main part of the moving isn’t going to happen until after i come back from burning man, however.

yes, i am going to burning man this year, as compared to 2003, when i bought a ticket(!) and was all set to go, and then had a brain injury instead. actually i was out of the hospital in time to go to burning man, but i was still pretty fragile, and was having a lot of trouble speaking and getting around by myself, and moe (or somebody) would have had to go with me, to make sure nothing bad happened. i’m pretty sure that i can do it myself at this point, and not only that, but i’m getting in for free. i don’t know for sure how i’m getting there, yet, but all things will fall into place eventually.

i went to FSM on sunday and made $84, which is not too bad, but when i get started with this new supplier, i expect a dramatic increase in sales. i’ve been collecting ideas for buttons for years (i started my first button banner when i was 15 or so), and i actually sold about $10 worth of buttons, including five swastika buttons to an asian guy who said he collected them. moe is using the canopy next week, and the week after is the last week before burning man. i haven’t decided whether or not i’m going to the FSM that week (the 17th), but i’ve got a week or so to decide. i probably should go, because however i get to burning man, i could use all the money i can scrape together.

the punk rock flea market happened, and it because of the fact that i know the guy who runs the whole thing, i got to include my art car in my set up, which was considerably more space than i have occupied in previous PRFMs. i also discovered that apparently i am one of only four vendors that have been to all four PRFMs. i made $75, which is as much as i have made in the 3 previous PRFMs combined, which is enough to make me antipate the next one. i woulda posted pictures except i forgot to bring my camera. oh well.

the banda gozona has a rehearsal on thursday, but i’ve been so busy with other things that i haven’t been able to attend many perfornances with them this year. i’ve been recruited to play with yet another band, this one with my old friend hobbit, and my new friend thaddeus, called Snake Suspenderz. my first rehearsal with them is next monday. next tuesday there’s a BSSB rehearsal, and next wednesday is the briar sea scare parade, which is going to feature Ganesha The Car.

OCF 08 – a retrospective

milestonei left home for OCF at 6:30 am on wednesday. my first stop was the fred meyer’s in puyallup, which i got to before they opened, so i had to wait outside for 10 minutes or so until they got around to unlocking the doors. i got water, but neglected to get bug spray, a fact which i would intensely regret later. the trip down was relatively uneventful, however when i got off the freeway south of portland for a food and pee stop, i noticed that as soon as i stopped moving forward, the temperature in Ganesha The Car shot up to the red zone. i put some water in the radiator (which was completely empty) the temperature went back down to the normal range almost immediately, but it was a little frisson of anticipation that made life interesting.

before the fairi was actually able to get through the H.I.F. (Hippie Ineptitude Factor) surrounding checking in with little difficulty, but i didn’t realise that there is a big difference between asking and informing when it comes to announcing that your plan is to drive in to chelamela with a full load to be delivered to morningwood odditorium. if i had informed them of what i was doing, i would have been able to drive in without any problem, but because i asked if it would be okay for me to drive in, i was told that i couldn’t drive in without a van or a pickup load of stuff. so i waited for a gator (gaiter?), which is a motorised utility vehicle with a long string of carts that it tows behind it, to ferry my load to the stage. i then found a camping spot behind the stage, in the middle of a huge swarm of voracious mosquitoes which proceded to cover my back with about 5000000000 mosquito bites (of course, they chose the only place on my body where i can’t kill them or shoo them away, and where i can’t scratch). so i got my tent set up as quickly as possible, which was a chore, because it was hot and sweaty, which made the mosquito infestation even worse, and there wasn’t quite enough room under the bushes, so i had to incorporate the undergrowth into the structure of the tent, and got my stuff loaded into it, inflated my (new) bed, and then went back to the outside where i left my car, and parked in scoff-lot. i got finished with all the essential stuff around 3:00 pm or thereabouts, but because of the fact that the ritz was only open for showers (no saunas until thursday 8/ ) i had to put up with an extremely itchy night.

before the fairthursday was spent finishing the stage and wandering around gawking and taking pictures of the places that i knew would be full of people within the next 24 hours. it’s really odd to see nobody there, when you know that when everyone else sees it, they’re going to see everyone else as well. it really makes me want to come back in the winter, to see what the fair site is like when there’s really nobody there. i’ve got some friends in eugene that might actually make it possible for me to do that, at some point…

i also got attacked by huge swarms of voracious, bloodthirsty insects – something that very rarely happens to me – so i decided to go into town to buy bug spray… and ice… and beer… well, okay, the ice and beer were for other people, but i was going into town anyway, so i made the run so they didn’t have to, and that meant that i had beer when i got back. i blocked off my parking space in scoff-lot and told the guy at the gate that i would be back in half an hour, which i was. however, when i came back in, another guy told me that blocked spaces in scoff-lot were taken immediately, and that i should head for outta site parking, which is about a mile further down the road. this is where i learned the difference between asking and informing the people of what i am going to do. the next guy i came to (there were three or four of them along the road) i told him that i was going to scoff-lot. he told me that scoff-lot was full, and i said that was okay, so he let me get through. i drove up to scoff-lot right behind the tow truck, but because of the fact that i not only was able to say that i blocked a spot, but because of the fact that i was able to say that it was in row J, the guy let me in anyway – much to the chagrin of the people who were being towed to the dead lot, which is all the way at the far end of the site. and when i got to row J, what do you know? my spot was there, right where i left it… i am certain that at least part of this is because of the fact that i invoke The Remover of Obstacles ON my car, especially because, all the way back in, everyone was telling me that scoff-lot was full and the fact that i had blocked off a parking space didn’t make any difference.

still, it’s a LONG way from scoff-lot to chelamela when you’re carrying four bags of ice. stuart and i went back for the beer with a black plastic garbage bag, so that i wouldn’t have to carry it in alone, and so that we wouldn’t be stopped and potentially asked to share, which is definitely a possibility.

the discowe had a dress rehearsal thursday evening, immediately followed by a disco, which was an incarnation of the same un-namable evil that first manifested when disco was still popular, 30 years ago, so i took pictures of it from a distance, and then immediately left to go to the ritz, where i sweated out about half of the mosquito stingers in my back and got to feeling relatively clean again.

the lizard in the gazeeka boxfriday was the beginning of the fair for most “ordinary” people, which meant that it was the beginning of a working weekend for me. we did two shows a day, one at 12:00 noon, and one at 3:00 pm. on friday, we also did a 10:00 pm burlesque show. because of the fact that Big Bois With Poise were Short Dudes With Boobs this year, an act which doesn’t include fire, we opted out of the fire show. in spite of the fact that we didn’t use fire this year, they asked us to perform anyway, which gives you an idea of how intensely popular BBWP has become. the band really didn’t have much to do during the burlesque show (a fact which depressed stuart to the point where he said that if we do the show next year, we should ask for a specific slot to be an act, like everyone else, and then just vacate the stage rather than sitting there for the entire show), but because of the fact that i had BBWP duties, i also decided that it would be fun to be a part of the gazeeka box as well, so maque gave me a lizard costume and i was his ex-wife’s attorney, much to the amusement of everyone.

the cast and bandthis year’s panto is the traditional tale of cinderella, with the expected panto gender-bending, marginally obscene innuendo and horrendous puns. we’re getting good enough at this that this year we didn’t even have as many problems with the feral children who see every single performance and screw things up by anticipating lines and heckling us. at one point simon called a girl up onstage who had been anticipating his lines, and taped her mouth closed with gaffer tape, much to the amusement of everyone. the audiences absolutely despised the ugly stepsisters, who were played by chris huson and dan “the body” goodman. i actually heard him introduce himself to a group of tourists as ‘dan “the body” goodman’, which i found to be really amusing. we did actually get three new pieces of music on thursday at the dress rehearsal, and there’s still more to come, but presumably we’ve got a while to rehearse now that OCF is over. it was all 100% original, 100% new music, including a couple of pieces by amy bob.

i was standing in the food line at hospitality camp when a person i didn’t know came up to me and said “you’re salamandir”… i didn’t know what to say, so i said “yeah…” it turned out to be the mother of a friend of ezra’s from bellingham, who ezra refers to as “jordan(e)”. it seems oddly coincidental that i would have to go to the oregon country fair to meet a person who i know from bellingham, but oddly coincidental is a very good way of describing the oregon country fair.

friday was also my birthday. i’m 48 now, an age which i, in my wildest dreams, never imagined that i would actually reach. whoopie. 8/

saturday night the fremont philharmonic played at the ritz. i took off right after our 3:00 performance was over, and got there about 5:00, so i was well and truly sauna-ed by the time the rest of the band showed up, which was around 8:00. when i walked up, tuba in hand, i was met by a woman who said “NO tubas!” in an authoritative voice that i recognised immediately to be a joke, and, later on, i talked to lem and david, who were part of the ritz crew responsible for music. i was very suprised to learn that they don’t allow bands with drum sets to play. “at all?” i inquired, and they responded yes, which concerned me a great deal. it turned out that the guy who i thought was responsible for us getting to play, peter toms, aka professor petrol von huffenfuel, isn’t actually a part of the ritz crew, but the fremont philharmonic is apparently grandfathered in, so we weren’t kicked out for having a drum kit. i finally got around to arranging “Rubber Duckie” for the phil, and, of course, we played that. we also played “Il Ballon di Quaqua”, with a great effect. i talked to david on sunday and he said that he had frequently seen bands that had the entire ritz singing along, but he had never before seen a band that could get the entire ritz dancing. we also were offered a gig at a nudist colony near portland.

gnomesthe fair had to put up with an infestation of gnomes this year, which was amusing and frustrating at the same time: the gnomes were rowdy and rambunctious, and always getting into trouble. they broke in to our back stage area and drank all our tequila, and from there it went from bad to worse. they were ubiquitous. sunday, they were seen shaking down a vendor in the meadow, and when confronted, became belligerent… i think tricky bunny was a part of them, but i’m not sure, because they were wearing annoying gnome costumes, and avoiding my camera. also, i was walking up the eight saturday and i was accosted by a huge flock of people in flamingo costumes. they all gathered around me, honking and cooing and fanned me with their wings for about five minutes, and then flew off again. once again, it is my understanding that tricky bunny was a part of that as well, but i couldn’t tell. as i was walking away from the encounter, i wondered how one could take a picture of such an experience that would come anywhere close to reflecting what i actually experienced.

lightsi met a whole bunch of people, including positively stephie, who had vibrating massage bugs that felt really good on my mosquito-bitten back, and a family of neon people, the father of which works at adobe and will probably be looking for the pictures i took of them.lights

i saw a sign, of which i was not able to take a picture, unfortunately, which said “The Oregon Country Fair – Psycho-Spiritual Rejuvanation For Everyone”. it’s kind of ironic that i would see that, because i was talking with ned a week ago, and he was saying, based on what i have told him, that things like OCF are like medication for me, which is absolutely true. it’s just too bad that OCF only happens once a year. it’s even more ironic because i realised even more this year that an observation i made about OCF last year is also absolutely true, and that is that OCF is basically a big, hippie-oriented mall without the mall. it’s strange that i should get so much benefit from something that, at it’s lowest common denominator, is specifically designed to extract money from unsuspecting tourists.

there are a whole bunch more pictures which are the only things left of OCF 08. so go look at them… you know you want to…

finally

first i had to retrieve the camera from moe, then i had to title all of the pictures, then i moved them from one place to another and screwed up my picture archiving tool, so i had to get that sorted out, and decided that there wasn’t much that could be done (apparently digicam can’t deal very well with albums that aren’t located on the hard drive), but, finally, there are a whole bunch of pictures of SACBO.

SACBO!

the Seattle Art Car Blow Out was last weekend.

on friday i went on the “cruise” which was supposed to be a way to show everyone in seattle our art cars, but ended up being a chaotic mess that started at golden gardens and then headed downtown, where many people drove around the seattle sculpture gardens many times in both directions, at the same time, trying to catch up with each other. we completely blew off a drive around alki – because there wasn’t enough time – and then drove to georgetown where we took a “tour” of the historic georgetown steam plant (which was a lot cooler than it sounds – and by “tour” i mean two “proprietors” opened up this huge, historical, fully functional, four-story tall, steam-powered electric generation facility to 35-or-so artists. they had their hands full keeping us out of the high-voltage stuff – there were several times when one or the other of them was heard shouting “BE CAREFUL! HIGH VOLTAGE!” – and the huge steam-powered vacuum engine, and the room which had two or three antique trucks, one of which was a firetruck, a couple of small-gauge steam-powered trains {anacortes railroad? i didn’t know anacortes had an antique steam-powered, small-gauge railroad…} and a steam-powered machine shop, with a couple of huge lathes, a couple of milling machines and a brake. i went up on the roof of the building, which is right next to the north end of boeing field. it’s so close to the runway that when a plane takes off they were no more than 100 feet above us – it felt like you could reach up and touch the landing gear as it folded up) and then went to a party.

saturday, i showed up at 8:00 am, and parked my art car in the upper burke lot. i had two different people, one of whom should have known better, ask me if “that’s an art car”, which i found absolutely puzzling (of course it’s an art car, that’s why i said i was part of the art car blow out…?). i then picked up my tuba, two books of music, my stand and chair, and walked the block-and-a-half to lenin, where we were playing. later on that day, somebody asked me why i had made the car, and i said that it was because i play in the fremont philharmonic, and if i were driving an ordinary car i would have to park at least two miles away and walk, carrying all my gear, to where we were playing, and then walk, carrying all my gear, back to where i parked when we were done. i really like driving an art car, if for no other reason than i get to park in the middle of fremont during the solstice festival. because of the fact that i had all of my tuba-related gear, i didn’t set up to vend anything substantial, but i did put out my buttons (which i made in the two days prior to SACBO), and made $30. i even sold 2 swastika buttons!

playing in the parade was an interesting mix of an honour, exciting, extremely frustrating, and having people being downright rude to us. we were supposed to set up in front of lenin, right on the street, so that we would be able to interact with the Master of Ceremonies, Professor Petrol Von Huffenfuel. but first we had to evict the person who had been sitting on that spot since 5:30 pm the previous day – who was more than a little miffed that we came along at “the last minute” and took his spot, and then, once we got set up, two or three rows of people crammed themselves in in front of the band, put down blankets, and refused to move… then two or three more rows of people crammed themselves in between the first two or three rows and the band (which was supposed to be in front), and stood up, which meant that i, who was sitting in the band (which was supposed to be in front, with nobody in front of us) couldn’t see… 8/

so i only got a view of the solstice parade through the crowd, and i left the parade grounds as soon as it was over, because i was so frustrated with everyone.

as i mentioned in my last post, saturday was also our 10th wedding anniversary, so instead of going to the pizza party at the fremont historical society, i went to salty’s on alki and met with the most beautiful woman in the world, where we shared the best table in the house and ate amazingly outstanding food until we couldn’t eat any more. getting married to monique was, without a doubt, one of the smartest things i have ever done in my entire life. i love you, sweetie! 8)

sunday i decided that instead of going on “the caravan” (which turned out to be a repeat of friday’s chaos, only in reverse), i would go directly to fremont and set up hybrid elephant with a bunch of new stuff, including some original music CDs (i actually sold one, as well, which really made my day), and the buttons, on a fancy display that i came up with recently. when it was all over, i made $150!!!! i sold eighteen 20-stick packages of incense (at $1.50 a piece) to a single person (obviously another incense fanatic), plus i sold two ganesha murtis ($15 and $20), two rudrakhsha malas ($14 each) and an original music CD ($10). i sold a lot of incense to a whole bunch of people.

and i really like sitting around on my ass, under a canopy, on a beautiful, warm day, doing nothing more than talking with people and encouraging them to think in a different way (which most of them are perfectly willing to do, and the ones that aren’t are blatantly stupid and wrong about it), and having them give me money.

there are some pictures, but most of my pictures are in the other camera, which is currently in moe’s posession, so they’ll get posted later.

busy busy busy

i went to the fremont sunday market last sunday, and made $97, plus i got three orders for incense and one for a sivalingam necklace, as well, which was enough to finish paying off the button machine that i’ve been paying on for about a month now, so i got a new toy – a one inch button machine, which i have been dreaming about owning for close to 20 years, if not more. unfortunately, my colour printer has decided to quit working, so i’ve got to figure out what to do about that (the most obvious choice is to go to rePC and purchase another one, but there are other options as well).

cinderella rehearsals are in full swing, twice a week. we’ve only got 5 more rehearsals (one is tonight) before the oregon country fair. i plan on going down on wednesday and coming back monday.

the solstice parade and art car blowout are this weekend. i’ve still got to wash my car and it would be nice if i could figure out a way to play CDs in my car, because my ipod died, and i recently got a recording of a guy reciting Sri Ganapati Sahasranaamavalih (which is playing now) which would be really cool to play around Ganesha The Car.

ignorant savages!

Ganesha The Car has been kicked out of another parade – only this time it was early enough that i didn’t actually drive to the parade. it still irritates me that people can be so outrageously ignorant.

i sent the following description to the 4th of july parade coordinator in everett

a 1996 mazda protege with a prayer consisting of the first 100 names of the
1008 names of Ganesha, the Hindu God of Removing Obstacles, written in
sanskrit all over the outside, and a Ganesha Yantra on the roof. in sanskrit,
the name of the prayer is “Sri Ganapatisahasranaamavalih” which means
the “1008 names of Ganesha”

photos and a more complete description can be seen at
http://www.hybridelephant.com/ganesha.html

NOTE: PLEASE LOOK AT THE PHOTOS AND DESCRIPTION ON THE WEB SITE CAREFULLY.

the car has two swastikas on the back corner panels, and a swastika on the roof.

IN CONTEXT, THESE SHOULD NOT BE INTERPRETED AS SYMBOLS OF NAZI HATRED!

the swastika and the six-pointed star (commonly called by its jewish
name, “magen dawid” or the “star of david”) in combination, are ancient
symbols of Ganesha, and represent good luck, peace and love. the combination
bears a similar meaning to the “taijitu” or “tao symbol” from china.

the swastika and the six-pointed star have meant good luck, peace and love for
at least 5000 years, and they still mean it to this day, despite the people
that claim the swastika means nazis. IT DOESN’T, THEY’RE WRONG!

it is because of ignorant people less than 90 years ago that the swastika has
come to mean anything other than good luck, peace and love.

this car is, among other things, my way to reclaim the swastika from those
ignorant few who have turned it into a symbol of hatred, and return it to its
original, beneficial meaning. IT WORKS!

i have postcards, the back of which contain an explanation of why the swastika
is not what most american people erroneously think it is, which i am willing
to hand out to people at the parade, but i have also been kicked out of
parades in the past, because of people who refused to understand, and i would
like to avoid that if possible.

this is the response that i got from them:

Thank you for your quick response. I appreciate your detailed
description and respect your views. However, we are unable to fund your
participation in our parade due to the sensitive and controversial
nature of some of the symbols on your car. I am very sorry and wish you
the best of luck in the future.

Sincerely,

Laura Baird – [email protected]

the response came back quickly enough that i get the impression they didn’t even look at the web site, and they certainly didn’t have time to look at the photos… 8/

broken car update

i called and talked with someone from jiffy lube.

i know, jiffy lube is not the place i want working on my car. but they did the work that resulted in my car being broken, so i have to start with them.

the guy i talked to on the phone said that he would send someone out to pick me up so that i could get the keys to them. i figured that he had called a tow truck, but half an hour later i got a call from someone else, who couldn’t find my house (i live in a remote “unincorporated” area of king county between 5 “cities” – only 2 of which actually are cities – and i live at the end of a gravel road that you have to drive down another gravel road to get to, so i’m constantly fielding phone calls from people who have something to deliver but can’t find the place), and when i said “i assume you’re driving a tow truck” he was rather surprised and said “no, what’s wrong with the car?”

so i told him: late last night, as i was on my way home from a rehearsal in seattle, the car suddenly started making the “loose belt” noise, which was quickly followed by a thump from under the hood, the “loose belt” noise stopping abruptly, the lights going dim, and the charge light coming on. i was on the freeway at the time, and i figured (it turns out, rightly) that if i turned off the engine, i probably wouldn’t be able to get it started again, and i was on the freeway at 10:30 at night about 30 miles away from home (damn it!) so i kept on going until the car ceased moving forward, about 5 miles from home.

he said he was not driving a tow truck, but he was lost and couldn’t find my house, and he would deal with the car once he had the keys. i took three more phone calls from him over the next half an hour before i walked two blocks to the street that he said he was on – which he wasn’t – and eventually met up with him and we went to where the car died.

indeed, the serpentine belt – which they replaced two weeks ago – was completely broken and only a small bit of it remained in the engine compartment. not only that, but the other belt, which was also replaced at the same time, was in the process of coming loose as well. the guy had brought a new serpentine belt and a socket set, but i could have told him that it would not be possible to replace the belt from above, and he confirmed that he had talked with the guy who had done the work originally, who had told him that it was a difficult job, even from underneath the car.

it also turns out that the serpentine belt is attached to the water pump as well, and the fact that i drove it for 25 miles at freeway speeds with no water pump means that likely the head gasket is blown and the water pump may be frozen. as i (correctly) surmised, jiffy lube doesn’t routinely fix head gaskets or blown water pumps.

i have the lowly pæon’s assurance that jiffy lube will pay for any necessary repair, but as he is a lowly pæon, i don’t put much confidence in his word. also, because of the fact that he didn’t come in a tow truck to begin with and – get this – they “have to find a tow truck that will give us a good deal”, they won’t even have the car to the jiffy lube until “some time later today”. when i asked what that meant, he started evading my questions, not very effectively. i got him to admit that they’ll have at least a diagnosis on the car by 4:00 pm, but that doesn’t do me much good if the head gasket or the water pump is blown.

fortunately i don’t have an actual performance until friday, but i’ve got a BSSB rehearsal tonight and a BBWP rehearsal on thursday. and my beautiful art car is sitting (on county property) far away from where i am now, with who knows what going on to it that i have no control over, and i’m stressed to the breaking point! AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

UPDATE: i hit save on this post when the phone rang. it was eric, the half-a-bee manager of the jiffy lube, who said that he had worked on the car personally, that the head gasket and water pump appear to be in working condition, they changed the oil (again?) and coolant, and charged the battery and it is currently idling just fine. he said he would drop it off to me.

while it is a huge relief, i am still going to drop it by a real mechanic, today to have it checked out to make sure there isn’t anything else wrong with it. and i’m going to think twice before i go back to jiffy lube for anything! 8/

ANOTHER UPDATE: it is now 2:30 and i’ve taken the car to a real mechanic who says that – in spite of the “check engine” light, which has been on almost ever since i first bought the car – i can “take this car anywhere”. he also suggested that i bring the car to him for oil changes, because “we’re cheaper than jiffy lube” which is another good reason to go there.

this is precisely why i invoke Ganesha, Lord of Removing Obstacles on my car: the mechanic said i was extremely lucky. he said he had driven his car and the alternator went out and he got – maybe – ten miles before it quit. i drove for 30 miles on the freeway with no alternator and no water pump, and i didn’t blow out my engine.

and the “christians” say that ganesha doesn’t exist… 8)

damn!

my car broke.

i was on my way home from BBWP rehearsal and it started making the “loose belt” sound, which was quickly followed by a “thump” from underneath the car, the “charge” light came on, the lights went really dim and it stopped making the “loose belt” sound.

then, when i was most of the way home (fortunately) it stopped going forward and i had to leave it by the side of the road.

we’ll see what happens in the morning, but it doesn’t look good at this point. 8(

yep…

Pakistan’s Decorated Vehicles – these are far more decorated than Ganesha The Car, which is what i was originally thinking of when i first started work on it. if i ever want to get Ganesha that decorated, i’d better start working on it. these are good inspirations for what i can do…

Talking About AT&T’s Internet Filtering on AT&T’s The Hugh Thompson Show – the editor of Boing Boing Gadgets was interviewed by Hugh Thompston, but the interview didn’t go the way Hugh’s corporate sponsor, AT&T, wanted it to, so they cut it, right after the (hand-picked AT&T) audience voiced their opinions about AT&T filtering their email, and started over. here is just the video, and here is a FAQ about the EFF’s lawsuit against AT&T for violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency. “AT&T: Your World. Delivered. To The NSA.”

Elephants Evolve Smaller Tusks Due to Poaching – more blasphemous evolutionary facts that further negate the jeezis-people’s divine intelligence. what with the mounting evidence over the past 200 years, you would think that evolution would be getting a better rep these days. but at the same time, mike huckabee is supporting a state constitutional amendment in georgia which would reclassify most birth control as abortion. this is to put up a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and, eventually, make birth control illegal. it used to be that i would seek out people like this in order to blast holes in their arguments, but since my injury, all i can do is shake my head, because anything more than that and i end up sounding more idiotic than they do.

Surge To Nowhere – Don’t buy the hawks’ hype. The war may be off the front pages, but Iraq is broken beyond repair, and we still own it.