Category Archives: hybrid elephant

the next phase of operation mindfuck

230131 postcards
230131 postcards

they’re here.

now i have to (once again) pester the web designer into showing me how to make a product that has multiple purchase choices: one postcard, two postcards, three postcards, four postcards, five postcards, multiple 5-postcard packs… that sort of thing… he’s showed me how to do it once, with the jagannath pins that i had a few years ago, but they all sold out, and the item got deleted in one of my “clean up my web site” binges.

new scheme… will it work?

for a few years now, i have been playing around with this app for my tablet called FRAX, to which i was pointed by my friend gunnar, who is a fractal maniac. i find it really easy, and somewhat meditative, to generate an infinite variety (they’re fractals, after all 😉) of magnificently detailed, wildly psychedelic patterns, and i can crank out 4 to 6 images per hour, for several hours, before getting “bored” with it.

i have maintained for some time that “boredom is a state of mind i never visit”, and, while it’s true, from the outside one might presume that it’s boredom, when it’s really something else… but i digress…

the other day, i went through the photostream on my tablet (which i am finally getting organised enough that i can find what i’m looking for, some of the time), and discovered that i have 91 frax drawings in a directory, which started me thinking…

2017-12-26 16.03.22
2017-12-26 16.03.22

what if i made postcards out of these drawings, and sold them on my web site?

2019-03-08 19.08.12
2019-03-08 19.08.12

i’ve got more than enough raw material, and they wouldn’t take that much tweezing to get them to fit on a postcard…

2021-12-31 23.41.06
2021-12-31 23.41.06

and i can buy 100 18 point postcards (the really thick ones) for less than $20, which means that i can sell them for $1.00 a piece and make a profit (assuming that people buy them, about which i am not as certain).

2022-07-29 06.48.09
2022-07-29 06.48.09

not only that, but i can send them out to the IOTM club, which is coming up a lot sooner than i realised.

2023-01-19 18.36.21
2023-01-19 18.36.21

so, yesterday, i ordered 100 of five different fractal drawings (not necessarily the ones depicted here)… we’ll see what happens next.

2023-01-19 18.45.52
2023-01-19 18.45.52

🤣🤪

in my attempts to break free of #twit™ #turd™, i have created a reddit profile. i joined the r/incense subreddit, and almost immediately got banned for “spam”. the “spam” i am guilty of disseminating was the phrase “i’ve got resins for sale: pure frankincense, copal, and loban (seperately)… i’ve also got a big chunk of palo santo.” which i posted in response to ONE person.

it’s not “spam”. i didn’t advertise anything, i didn’t include links to my business, and i didn’t “mass mail” anybody: this was in response to ONE person.

nevertheless, the moderator that banned me was disinterested in discussing it, because “we both know what spam is”, and, as i am a “newbie” at reddit, i didn’t feel like arguing about it…

but… 😉

i was searching for other subreddits which may or may not be similar to r/incense, when i came across this post… in r/incense 🤣

someone else's reddit ad in a subreddit from which i was banned... 😉
someone else’s reddit ad in a subreddit from which i was banned… 😉

and it got 14 upvotes! 👍👍😉 this is, also, NOT spam (as it is on my own web site): a link to 999 Lord Krishna Puja Agarbatti, if anybody reading this is interested in purchasing some. 😉

W000T!! 😎

221220 hybrid elephant iphone!
221220 hybrid elephant iphone!

i’ve had this sayagata-pattern iphone case for an iphone that i have never owned, and, probably WILL never own, simply because its got a cool pattern on it. i was showing it off to moe, a week or so ago, and complaining that i didn’t know of anywhere i could get an iphone case with pictures that i want on them, and moe recommended about a dozen places that make custom iphone cases… because, these days, her “google-fu” is orders of magnitude better than mine… 😖

so, i had one made. now my phone exactly matches my car. 😎

default title entry

last saturday and sunday were the first four performances of the panto during the winter holiday season, in three years. the last time we actually had a panto performance during the holdiay season was in 2019. the panto has been performed at the oregon country fair, last summer, but i missed it because i got COVID19 less than 12 hours before i was scheduled to leave. 😒 it was really fun to perform in a group for an audience again, but i was also acutely reminded of all the “politicial” horseshit that surrounds working for a group of actors and musicians. i was asked to provide a “5 minute warning” which, after two tries, no less than the stage manager told me not to make that noise any longer (this was one of the people on the board of directors, a few years ago, who screwed up the process of printing the posters because she refused to understand how the pricing breaks work, and almost screwed with the process of having the banners created in 2019, because she thought that grommets were not going to be necessary, or some crap like that 😒). also, i was asked to provide two different “ratchet” sounds, but, after two performances, they decided that the quieter of the two (the one that i had actually bought specifically for this performance) was loud enough that the actor couldn’t be heard above it, which means, not only that they don’t have two different ratchet sounds, but, because of the fact that i’m having to “mute” the remaining ratchet, i can’t match the ratchet sounds to the actors actions as well, which is, i’m absolutely positive, going to be irritating and a cause for a “note” later on.

monday (yesterday) i had to get up and take moe’s CPAP machine to the company that made it, because it has been making a strange noise for 6 months or so, and they’ve JUST gotten around to calling her back and making an appointment… but when i got there, they told me that the machine was beyond its EOL, and they would replace it, except that they didn’t have any machines, and didn’t know where to get one. i said, “so, what are we talking about, here? days? weeks? months?” and their response was “i’m not sure”. 😒 i thought it was somewhat unusual for them to have such a blasé attitude about moe’s prescribed medical device, but i brought it home… and, some time between then (around noon) and 7:30, they called moe and said that they had found a machine, which i picked up this morning.

the past couple of months i have been averaging about two incense orders a week. mind you, a lot of them have been for ONE BOX, but, at this point, i’ve stopped trying to get people to order more than one… if they want to pay twice as much (or more) for shipping, as they pay for one box of incense, it’s none of my business… or, i should say, it IS my business… which i would be driving away by telling them that it’s stupid to just order one box of incense. however, at this point, the price for a medium flat rate box is $17.05, my base rate for shipping is $16.50 (which is smaller than a medium flat rate box), and one box of incense is anywhere between $1.50 and $7.50 or so… it’s stupid… but it makes me money, so i’m not going to complain… after all, as far as i’ve been able to tell, i am the ONLY place they can get aparajita, or krishna puja 999 online… 🤷

the snow is mostly gone, but we’ve still got at least two more months of actual winter before things usually start getting back to normal, and despite what that “evangelical” preacher i saw a video of THIS MORNING says about “global warming doesn’t exist because it says so in the bible” (🤬), climate change has already had more than one negative effect on the environment around here, so i’m not going to hold my breath. it really astounds me that we are twenty years into the 21st century, and there are STILL people who believe in angels, demons, jeezis, and “de debbil”, but DO NOT accept the evidence of their own eyes concerning climate change, the economy, abortion, homelessness, health care, gay marriage… people in positions of authority whose word most other people treat with considerably more credibility than mine. 🗡🤬

↑ 221110 – HPOI (sort of)

i can’t use zelle for accepting payments, because it makes the customer have to go through an extra step, with which they are not familiar (and, i suspect, somewhat skeptical), but it turns out that i can use zelle for making payments to people in other countries — in this case, tibet — a lot easier and faster than i could using a wire transfer or western union.

it turns out i was somewhat skeptical, myself… i made a payment of almost $300 to someone i only sort of vaguely know, from tibet, and didn’t hear anything back from them for a few days, which made me wonder… and then, yesterday, i got an alert from my bank that the payment hadn’t been collected because the person i sent it to was not signed up with zelle, which made me very concerned, especially since i read the other day that zelle, and the bank that’s behind zelle (key bank? i don’t remember… one of the lesser-well-known ones) are being sued by… germany, i think, or something like that… because of all the zelle scams that have been cropping up.

it turns out that they were just getting their shit together, as well, and hadn’t completed the process of signing up, because i got a notice today that the payment had gone through, and then i got a response from the person in tibet, saying that they had received my payment, and would be shipping me a medium-ish pile of incense soon.

it seems to me to be a payment method that is RIPE for scams, but, when it’s not used for scams, it is a GENIUS way of transfering money. 😉

payment gateway and business update

officially, square works. i got an order for >$90 from hong kong transferred to my bank account today. i already confirmed that it works for domestic packages, but the fact that it also works on international packages is the final step. now, officially, the only thing i am using stripe for is IOTM subscriptions, and i’ve only got 15 of those left before i shut the whole thing down.

officially, zelle works, but not in the way i was expecting, nor the way that THREE representatives of BECU explained to me. there IS NO “zelle for businesses” (or, if there is, it’s not available from BECU, because it’s “not free”, or something like that… 🤷). what happens is that i, now, have two new accounts at BECU, a consumer savings account, and a consumer checking account (to go along with my “business” checking and savings accounts). when i want to use zelle, i have to transfer money from my business checking to my personal checking, and THEN i can use zelle to send money. i found this out because i ordered a smallish pile of incense from tibet, and they wanted me to use zelle for payment (which i think is a GENIUS idea, because it’s essentially instantaneous, and avoids all the fees that wire transfers or western union entail). so now i have a smallish pile of incense from tibet that i’m expecting some time within the next month or so.

uline has apparently been donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to republican/right wing/homophobic/anti-abortion/nazi/fascist horseshit with more and greater frequency, recently, and i finally got fed up with using their triangular boxes. i found another source of essentially identical triangular boxes, which are BOTH better AND cheaper, so the last 20 or so boxes from uline are going to be the last i use before i switch my brand loyalty to the boxery. i have a half a jillion uline packing slip envelopes, but i bought them before we moved, and i’ll be using them up for years before i’ll have to worry about getting more. 😏

grumble…

moe went to las vegas today. she’ll be back wednesday. the puppy went to stay with someone who is more able to handle a rambunctious puppy who doesn’t realise how big he is. i’m supposed to pick him up on wednesday, before i pick up moe at the airport. the other two dogs are “adults” (and know how to behave), but they are already concerned that moe is gone and won’t be back for a while. under ordinary circumstances, this would be a minor inconvenience, but because of the fact that the north american continent is experiencing YET ANOTHER COVID surge (thanks, republicunt anti-vax morons 🤬), airports are going to be especially dangerous, and vegas (as always) is going to be full of tourists from who-knows-where, who all think that COVID is no longer a concern, because our extremely NOT #drumpf president, joe biden, said that COVID is over. 🤬 and the ones who think joe biden lost the election are the ones who got us this far into the pandemic without any hope in sight, to begin with! 🤬

yeah, i know, it has been a couple months and i really need a mushroom break, but i can’t really take a break from the dogs, and i can’t really take two dogs on a 4-hour hike in the forest while i’m on mushrooms… moe could probably do it… she doesn’t take psychedelics that often, but it’s my impression that the part of her brain that speaks dog isn’t that affected by them. 😉

my stripe problems have vanished. i swiched from stripe to square, disabled the stripe plugin, and that’s the end of it. i’m actually NOT going to cancel my account right away, because i’ve still got 15 IOTM accounts to sell, and i’m really not motivated enough to figure out how to do that on square, in the middle of the run (so to speak). but it feels REALLY good to be quit of them.

up. date.

the most recent payment gateway to be tried is square. i checked authorize.net, but they want a $25 a month fee above and beyond the credit card processing fee, and sometimes i don’t make $25 in a month. square seems to be a viable alternative which comes highly recommended by at least one business-owner that i know personally (despite the fact that my web developer says “this one is one of the worse gateways” – he also accuses me of “refusing” to use paypal, however, which just goes to show how much he really knows) and i actually signed up for a square account a few years ago, when i bought a credit card reader for my phone… which i never used because i never needed to. apart from the fact that i have to go through all 323 products that i sell, one at a time, and mark them “sync with Square” (i’m still not certain what it even means, yet, but i’m sure i will find out soon enough…) i’m hoping that this will be the end of my credit-card-processor search for a while, because i’m done with it.

harvested one plant today. i was manicuring it, yesterday and today, and i found a small patch of mold on one of the buds, so i snipped it off, finished manicuring it, and gave it the chop. the other plant still has a couple weeks to a month before it’ll be ready, but, because of the mold on the other plant, i’ve got to be even more aware than i am normally, if i don’t want a moldy mess instead of nice fat buds…

221003 moldy bud
221003 moldy bud
221003 close up of the mold
221003 close up of the mold

however, currently, i have a fine crop of nice fat buds, so i’m hoping to keep it that way. 😉

221002 selfie with buds
221002 selfie with buds
221002 buds before manicure
221002 buds before manicure
221002 buds before manicure
221002 buds before manicure
221002 buds before manicure
221002 buds before manicure
221003 buds after manicure and chop
221003 buds after manicure and chop

oyoyoyoyoyOYOYOY!!! 😒 (part 2, continued)

so, i emailed woocommerce tech support. they told me that they didn’t see a zelle-compatible gateway installed. i told them that i was using “Direct Bank Transfer (BACS)”, according to THEIR instructions, which were given to me by an employee of THEIR company.

then they informed me that their plugin DOESN’T SUPPORT ZELLE…⁈

so i took them through the process of enabling zelle ON THEIR PLUGIN, and enabling zelle at my bank, and THEN they tell me… oh, if you do it that way, YOUR CUSTOMER has to go through this EXTRA STEP to send you the payment, and until THEY do this extra step, their order will be placed “on hold”.

which is NOT going to work on my web site: incense customers are impatient and flighty. if they have to go through this extra step to make a payment, they’re going to abandon their shopping cart, not make a payment, and not get any incense.

which is “BAD FOR BUSINESS™” 😒

i wish this little piece of information could have been conveyed to me A MONTH AGO, when i had three separate email conversations and a zoom call with a woocommerce representative, named bradley gilkerson, who ASSURED ME that it was fully compatible with zelle (false), and that all my customers would have to do was enter their credit card information (false) and it would instaneously (false) be transferred to my zelle account (false) without extra fees for credit card processing (false). 🤬

220909 how many things can you find wrong with this email?
220909 how many things can you find wrong with this email?

so, basically, i have wasted a month, and $200, getting a plugin that won’t work, installed and set up, only to discover that it won’t work, and now i have to UNINSTALL the plugin that won’t work, and find a new, different plugin that WILL work… and (hopefully) do it all before stripe decides that they’re going to cancel my account… AGAIN!! 🤬

oyoyoyoyoyOYOY! 😒

will it ever end?

i got zelle enabled and installed on my web site. i tried to test it, by purchasing incense: entering my information, and checking out. i got a notification from the web site that i had received a new order. i got a notification from the web site that my order had been received, but it had been placed “on hold, while we confirm that payment was received”… and then…

nothing.

i waited 24 hours.

still nothing.

no indication from the bank that either a withddrawal or a deposit had been made, no indication from the bank that either of those things were ABOUT TO happen, and, when i logged in to the web site, there was the order, in “on hold” status.

i contacted woocommerce, maker of the plugin i am using, but it is probably going to take them a while to get back to me, because all of my interactions with them have to go over email.

i actually called the bank, talked to their tech support which is (allegedly) the place to talk about zelle, and went through the entire process of creating a new order, with them watching the back end zelle interface. i got two notifications from the web site, but the bank was unaware that any transaction had taken place at all.

so the bank put in a ticket with zelle, to see if they can figure out what is going on. 🙄

THEN i got email back from woocommerce, which informed me that the woocommerce payments plugin wasn’t completely set up on my site, and that no account had been created. i checked, and the only part of the plugin that “wasn’t installed” was the part where i create an account — WITH STRIPE — so that i can use the plugin to process credit cards… but that’s why i’m using the plugin to begin with: to GET AWAY FROM STRIPE… and besides all that, i am not interested in stripe, i’m interested in zelle, which DOESN’T require that i sign up with stripe… AND i already HAVE a stripe account, and a stripe payment gateway plugin that is completely separate from woocommerce and zelle, and (for the moment, anyway) it appears to be working fine.

i gave them (some of) the information they were asking about, and fudged the rest, but it appears that they lay off work around 4:30 or so, so i anticipate not hearing anything from woocommerce until AT LEAST tomorrow. 🙄

Ƭȟȉȿ Ⱥǹƌ Țħăţ

today i talked, face-to-face, with an actual person at BECU, who told me that “zelle for businesses” is “not a thing”, and that there is ONLY zelle for personal accounts.

however, in order to open a business account at BECU, i had to open a personal account… which has never been used for anything, because i do business through my business account… but there’s no rule that says that personal accounts CAN’T be used for businesses, especially if the only transactions in that personal account are ones that ONLY apply to a business, so i activated my personal account for zelle, and made it so that any money paid to that account automatically gets transferred to my business account, where it belongs.

thus ends the stripe fiasco. all i gotta do now is switch payment gateways on my web site, and i’m quit of stripe.

and good riddance to bad rubbish! 😠

on the other paw, i got two incense orders today, one of which was for 5 boxes of incense, shipped to houston, texas, and one which was for 4 boxes of incense, shipped to ashanti, ghana. the one to houston was addressed to a person named “Nwogbo”, and the one to ashanti went to someone named “Agbogah”… and the one to ashanti was for $5.00 worth of incense! i REALLY DO NOT understand people from remote countries outside of the united states, who order relatively small quantities of incense that i’m POSITIVE are sold locally, and then pay more for shipping than they did for incense. it happens regularly enough that i’ve stopped asking why, and just sending it out, but it’s really mystifying to me.

oh, and on an entirely different subject all together, i have stumbled upon a RELIABLE, LONG-TERM source for mushrooms 🍄 on internet (of all places)… i got the first batch through a twitter acquaintance (which was REALLY weird), and the second batch i got “direct from the manufacturer” — a place called Matrix Genetix — which was an experience so far beyond “really weird” that it defies description… i got an ounce of APEs, which are a strain of cubensis. not my all-time favourite, but, at this point, any port in a storm…

220923 1oz illegal mushrooms

🤬🤬🤬STRIPE!!🤬🤬🤬

stripe! 🙄

on 220823, i received a notice from stripe, saying that they were going to cancel my account, because i carried “tobacco products”.

i submitted a request for review on 220823. they said that they would get back to me within 48 hours, to evaluate my request.

on 220826 (72 hours later, 24 hours BEYOND their self-specified limit), i still hadn’t heard anything, so i got in contact with them. they said “the review is taking too long as expected” (🙄) and told me to be patient.

on 220828 (120 hours BEYOND their self-specified limit 😒), i got a notice that said “We have successfully completed our review, and you are welcome to continue processing payments with Stripe.”

on 220829, i got a notice that said “We’re contacting you to let you know that we’ve successfully completed a review of your account based on the information you recently provided to us.” and my account status went from “in review” to “good to go”.

on 220901, i got a notice that said “Unfortunately, following an additional review of your account for Hybrid Elephant, we’re still unable to support your business as it falls under one of our restricted businesses categories. Specifically, we are unable to accept payments for tobacco products…”

i STILL don’t carry ANY “tobacco products”, and since 220826, i have REMOVED AND DELETED any products i carry which MIGHT BE MISTAKEN FOR “tobacco products”. 😒

so, i contacted their helpdesk.

the first person i spoke to said that there was no need to worry, that my account was “good to go”, and not to be concerned. when i asked them if they could explain to me why i received that notice this morning, they shunted me off to a member of their “specialised team”, who wouldn’t answer my question about why i received the notification this morning, but ALSO wouldn’t confirm that my account is “good to go”, either. he said ” I would like to make sure that I’ll provide you with the accurate information so please bear with me while we complete our review to your account.”

so, my stripe account has now gone through THREE (or four) reviews in the past two weeks, and they STILL can’t determine whether or not i carry “restricted products” (even though i clearly DO NOT).

once this whole thing gets settled, permanently, i AM going to switch credit card processors, because STRIPE SUCKS!!! 🤬🤬🤬

and that’s NOT TO MENTION the fact that stripe monetises white-supremacists and nazis, and i have been looking for a reason to dump them anyway. 🤬

what the fuck, stripe? 🤬

tuesday morning, i got an email from stripe, the credit card processor for hybrid elephant. it said:

[Please Read] Closure of your Stripe Account for Hybrid Elephant

We’re writing to inform you that we have determined your business, Hybrid Elephant, is in violation of the Stripe Services Agreement. Specifically, we are unable to accept payments for tobacco products, as mentioned on our Restricted Businesses list.

um…

i don’t sell tobacco products.

repeat, i DO NOT SELL tobacco products, of ANY KIND!

never have, never will. 😒

i went to their list of restricted businesses, to see if i could figure out what was going on. they mention tobacco products, and e-cigarette juice (is it just me, or does the mere concept of “e-cigarette juice” sound just a little bit creepy?), and they also list businesses which sell “illegal drugs, items intended to mimic illegal drugs, and items intended for use manufacturing or using illegal drugs.”… which i take to mean that they’re down on “paraphernalia”, and i HAD a “Pipes” category on the site…

but, because of the fact that i actually haven’t sold a pipe in more than two years, i actually had the “pipes” category removed and deleted from the site today.

they said if i disagreed with their decision, that i could submit an appeal, which i did, on tuesday. they said they would get back to me “in 1 or 2 business days”. according to the way i figure it, “1 or 2 business days” should have been yesterday or today.

their web site DOES NOT list a phone number. moe said that they apparently have a “chat” feature, which i have used in the past, but i can’t seem to find it. if i can locate their “chat” feature, i’m DEFINITELY going to be in contact with them tomorrow. if i can’t, i don’t know what i’m going to do.

they gave me until 2nd september before they’re going to quit accepting payments from my site. 🤬🤬🤬🤬

it KEEPS! GETTING! WORSE!!! 🤬

and there doesn’t appear to be anything at all that i can do about it! 🤬

another weird incense customer…

i’ve had an incense customer since 2018. he has always ordered the same variety of incense and nothing else, and, except for his first order, which was for three boxes, he regularly orders 10 boxes at a time… but that’s not the weird part.

the weird part is that, apart from the time between 2020 and 2021, when his orders all came from the same location, he has ordered from a different residential location, in two different states, EVERY SINGLE TIME

and, as i said, he regularly orders 10 boxes of the same variety of incense at a time. 😕

makes me wonder… is he an AirBnB owner, or something like that, and is stocking up for his residences? is he a renter that burns incense so much that he has been evicted, and has to find a new place? is he ordering gifts for random people? what? 😵

a long time ago…

229430 hemp stalks for casting  i ching
229430 hemp stalks for casting i ching
a long time ago…

(and i know it was a long time ago, because it was when i put a lot more faith (or whatever) in such things, which i have not done since well before my injury…)

i learned that there was some sort of mystical presence unlocked when, instead of using yarrow stalks, you used hemp stalks to cast i ching hexagrams.

i have always thought it was an interesting idea, and, to that end, now that it’s legal to grow hemp, i have now accumulated 50 appropriately sized hemp stalks which are intended to be used to cast i ching hexagrams.

however, because of the fact that i no longer place much faith (or whatever) in “techniques for divination”, i wonder what i should do with them? 🤷

i understand that i ching, particularly, is used as a valid form of self exploration, as well as a meditative practice, especially when the ancient, and far more meditative form of casting (which uses yarrow/hemp stalks), is used… but i don’t feel tremendously inspired to take up, or incorporate, another ancient practice, along with the ancient hindu, taoist, and muslim practices in which i currently engage.

i could put them up for sale on my web site, but that would seem to imply that i have multiple sets of stalks… and, while i do, there aren’t that many, currently, and only one of them is prepared enough to sell…

🤷

rejoice!

they DIDN’T break the screen of my tablet, which means that i picked it up TODAY, and it charges, just like it should! 👍 now i KNOW i’ll be able to use it for the moisture festival!

and, speaking of moisture festival, i got a call YESTERDAY to determine if i was up for playing in a band for tim furst (fyodor karamazov)’s wedding TOMORROW, and, naturally, i said yes… because i haven’t played music for long enough that if i were a normal person, i probably would have forgotten how to do it by now… and the fact that they’re paying me $100 doesn’t hurt… 😉

also, i ordered 12 dozen boxes of Sugandha Shringar Gold incense, from india, at the beginning of march, and i just took delivery of what moe calls “a big box of incense” (but i know better, because i have gotten “BIG” boxes of incense, in the past, and they were more than HALF AGAIN as big as the one i got today)… but it’s for an “old time” incense, which has been around for AT LEAST 50 years, and it’s somewhat rare.

but it is a PRIME example of how “those indian people” use sanskrit… well, okay, devanagari, because hindi is written with the same alphabet, and i don’t really know which one they’re thinking of when they do this… but the insence is called “Sugandha Shringar Gold”, which it says on the english language side of the box. on the other side of the box is what one might assume is the name of the incense in hindi (or sanskrit), written in devanagari letters. if you don’t actually read devanagari letters, you might assume that it is the hindi, or sanskrit equivalent of “Sugandha Shringar Gold”… it says “सुगंध शृंगार गोल्ड” except “sugandha” is already a sanskrit (and hindi) word that means “incense”. “Shringar” is a place name, of a place in india… and the rest of the name? “गोल्ड” is the word “gold”, spelled out in devanagari letters — “GOLDD” — and they do this ALL THE TIME! i’ve seen NUMEROUS boxes of incense, and other things, which have devanagari writing on the box, but are, basically, the english words, spelled out in devanagari letters. they don’t use the hindi words, or the sanskrit words, they use ENGLISH words, spelled out phonetically, using devanagari letters. 😒

irritating!

kapoor kacheri

i got some more channabasappa & company incense today. this is probably the last of it, because the rest is all duplicates of stuff i already carry. i got a kilo of kapoor kacheri bathi. this is what i have distilled from the available “knowledge” about kapoor kacheri:

Kapoor Kacheri – Hedychium spicatum

Kapoor Kacheri may also be referred to as Spiked Ginger Lily, Kapur Kachli, Kapur Kachri, Perfume Ginger.

3rd Chakra – personal power, 4th Chakra – unconditional love, 5th Chakra – speaking truth, Grounding, Introspective, Purifying

Anti-allergenic, Anti-arthritic, Anti-asthmatic, Anti-bacterial, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-rheumatic, Anti-spasmodic, Decongestant, Expectorant, Mucolytic, Tonifying

Hydacheium Oil which is also known by the popular name Kapur Kuchari is extracted from Hydacheium that grows to up to 3 feet tall. It has loose terminal flower spikes that have individual flowers that are yellow with reddish stamens. Its antibiotic properties have also increased interest in the medicinal properties of the species.

The root stalk is useful in local inflammations, nausea, asthma, bronchitis, hiccups and in pain. The rhizome of the plant is said to be carminative, stimulant and a tonic. It has been described as useful, specially as an anti asthmatic agent. Clinical trials have been conducted in tropical eosinophilia, with promising results. It counteracts bad mouth taste and smell.

incense smells like the best qualities of camphor, sandalwood and agarwood. it is as though camphor and sandalwood had a baby, and that baby grew up, got together with agarwood, and they had a baby… that baby would be kapoor kacheri. it is quite subtle, and doesn’t hang around for very long. 😉

dashanga

DASHANGA (“Ten Ingredients”) CONSTITUENT INGREDIENTS

6 parts kustha, 2 parts gur, 3 parts laksha, 5 parts nakhla, haritiki, and raal in equal parts, 1 part dapai, shilajay equal to 3 lav, 4 parts nagarmotha, and guggul one part

——

KUSTHA

Kustha (Saussurea lappa C.B.Clarke) is an important medicinal plant which was mentioned in ancient Hindu literature and Ayurveda. It was considered as next to Soma plant which is best among the plants. It grows in the reigions of Himalayas and Kashmir and is used in Ayurveda for fevers, skin diseases, headache etc. Kustha is well known for its cures since the ancient times. Etymologically the word “Kustha” is derived from “Krushnaati rogam”. It means, one that ploughs out or drags out the disease from the body.

Dolomiaea costus, formerly known as Saussurea costus, commonly known as costus, Indian costus, kuth, or putchuk, is a species of thistle in the genus Dolomiaea native to South Asia and China. Rishi (Hindu) mystics of Kashmir especially ate this plant. Essential oils extracted from the root have been used in traditional medicine and in perfumes since ancient times.

Costus is the root of this plant. The root of the plant is the key part used for medicinal or homeopathic purposes. The root is also called by its Latin name radix aucklandiae (root of aucklandia).

It has a large number of names in other languages, including kuṣṭha in Sanskrit; kust or qust in Arabic and Persian; kut, kur, and pachak in Hindi and Bengali, kostum, gostham, and potchuk in Tamil; upaleta and kur in Gujarati; kot or kust in Punjabi; changala in Telugu; sepuddy in Malayalam; kostha in Kannada; kuth or postkhai in Kashmiri; and kosht (קשט) in Hebrew; koto in Swahili; mu xiang in Chinese.

——

GUR = jaggery

——

LAKSHA

Botanical Name
Laccifer lacca Kerr.

Family
Lacciferidae.

Synonyms
Coccus lacca, Kerria lacca.

Regional Name
English : Shellac, Laksha (Lac). Hindi : Lakh, Sanskrit : Laksha, Bengali : Gala, Gujarati : Lak, Telugu : Kommolakka, Lakka, Tamil: Komburrki, Malayalam: Arakku, Ambalu.

Part Used
Resin.

Description
India and Thailand are the main areas in the world where lac is cultivated. Over 90% of Indian lac comes from the States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Orissa. Lac insects thrive on certain trees and the principal lac host trees in India are Banyan, Peepal, Khadira, Palash, Kusum and Ber.

Lac are scale insects (Laccifer Lacca) which live on trees called lac host trees where they secrete the lac resin which is scraped off and manufactured into shellac. To produce just 1 kilogram of lac resin around 300,000 insects lose their tiny lives. A scale insect is a common name for any of about 2000 insect species found all over the world that attach themselves in great numbers to plants and trees. Scale insects range from an almost microscopic size to more than 2.5 cm. They can be very destructive to trees – stunting or killing twigs and branches by draining the sap.

The life cycle of a lac insect takes about six months and consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. With this life cycle, the lac industry obtains two lac crops each year from each tree. Females lay up to 100 eggs, which hatch out into larvae. These small red larvae, roughly 0.5mm, long crawl out of the brood lac (or mother cell) and settle on the twigs. At this stage both the male and female larvae live off the sap of the trees. The lac scraped from the branches is known as crude lac or sticklac. Crude lac or stick-lac, consists of the resin, the encrusted insects, lac dye, and twigs. This is crushed, washed, dried to form Seedlac. Seedlac is then converted into Shellac by hand or machine.

Phytoconstituents
The major constituent of laksha is the resin (70-80%); other constituents present are: sugar, proteins, and soluble salts, coloring matter, wax, sand, woody matter, insect bodies and other extraneous matter; a volatile oil is present in traces. Lac resin is composed of mainly hydroxy fatty acids of C14- C18 carbon chains, such as aleuritic, butolic, C14- C16 mono- and di-hydroxy acids along with hydroxy terpenic acids having the rare cedrene skeleton as jalaric, laccijalaric, shellolic, and laksholic acids.

Ayurvedic Properties
Rasa : Kasaya, Guna : Laghu, Snigdha, Sneha, Virya : Shita, Vipaka : Katu, Karma : Kappa, Pitta.

Ayurvedic Applications
Pachana, Depana, Apasmara, Kushta, Raktadosha, Kasa, Antrasula, Prameha, Atisara, Arocaka, Hidhma.

Medicinal Uses
It is used for liver diseases, Diarrhoea, Dysentery, Intestinal parasites (worms), Injuries, Fungal infections, Eczema, Scabies, Herpes, haemostasis, Internal bleeding disorders, Hiccup, Cough, It is also used for Low bone mineral density, jaundice, dropsy, kidney disease, reduces fat the Adipose persons, joint disorders, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, osteoarthritis etc. It is also helpful in obesity, renal and spleen disorders, jaundice, backache problems, leprosy, ulceration, epilepsy and chicken pox.

——

NAKHLA = charcoal(?)

——

HARITIKI

Terminalia chebula fruits – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminalia_chebula

——

RAAL

Ral is the gum extracted from Sal tree (Shaala). It is the astringent Ayurvedic medicine widely used in diarrhoea, dysentery, skin diseases, stops bleeding, heal wounds, herpes, burn wounds, fractures etc.

Sal Tree
Botanical name : Shorea robusta
Family : Dipterocarpaceae

Qualities, Uses

Medicinal Qualities of Rala
Rasa (taste) – Tiktha (bitter), Kashaya (astringent)
Virya (potency) – shitha (Cold)
Guna (qualities) – Guru – heavy to digest, Snigdha (unctuous)
Karma (action) – Grahi – absorbent, Sthambana – styptic in nature

Indications of Rala
Blood disorders
Excess sweating
Visarpa – herpes
Vrana – It cleanses the wound and hastens its healing process.
Vipadika – cracks in palms or soles with pain
Graha – psychiatric disorders
Bhagna – fractures
Agnidagda – Burn wounds
Jwara – fever
Cough, Asthma
Shoola – abdominal colic
Atisara – diarrhoea
Kandu – itching
Sphota – blisters
Bleeding haemorrhoids

Effect of rala on Tridoshas
Vatapittahara – Balances vata and pitta dosha
Chemistry, controversy

Rala chemical constituents
It is composed of chemicals like hydroxyanone, dammarenediol II, Ursolic acid etc

Controversy
Sarja rasa or sarjaniryasa refers to gum extracted from Copal tree – Vateria indica
Rala is gum extracted from Sal tree

How to get gum extract
How To obtain gum extract from Sal Tree?
A white viscous substance oozes out from sal tree when few strips of bark is removed. On exposure it hardens and change to brown colour. It is collected after 10 to 12 days. Again the substance oozes out and the procedure is repeated. This gum extract can be collected several times in a year.

Features of Sal dammar
Color – Yellow to brown color
Odour – aromatic
Nature – Brittle
Opaque

——

DAIPAI ?

——

SHILAJAY ?

——

NAGARMOTHA = cypriol

——

GUGGUL = bdellium

——

thistles and bugs… hmmmmmm… 🤔

——

okay, this is what i get for geeking out about incense:
👉OPOPANAX!!👈
(i ordered some opopanax oil! 😀)

oh… my! 😮

so, i got the channabasappa & company incense today, and it is OUTSTANDING! 👍👍

i got a kilo each of dashanga, and guggal bathi… the dashanga is powdered, with no stick. i’m not exactly sure how to burn it, but i suspect that charcoal tablets will work… and it is an OLD TIME HIPPY scent that i haven’t smelled in a LOOOONG time. because of the fact that i’m not sure how it’s burned, and the fact that it comes in 100 gram packets, i’m not sure if i’ll end up selling it on my web site, but it will DEFINITELY be an addition to the IOTM collection. the guggal bathi is… not what i expected: i knew the scent, but i expected it to be a dark, wet incense, and it is, actually, light coloured and fairly dry… but it, also, is an OLD TIME HIPPY scent that i haven’t smelled for many years, and, because of the fact that it is a bathi (comes on sticks), it will be a lot easier to put on my web site. 👍

THIS is why i made the effort to do business with this person, despite the fact that i KNOW her to be flaky… when she DOES come through, it’s always with SUPERLATIVE product. 😉👍

incense

i FINALLY got shipping confirmation from the flaky incense lady from minnesota — the one who, two years ago, took my money and, 6 months later, STILL hadn’t shipped me the incense for which it paid, so i ended up having to go to the credit card company for help cancelling the order… this time, it only took her TWO months, and the USPS tracking number says that the “USPS in possession of item”, which means that it actually exists in someone’s mind OTHER THAN mine, and the flaky incense lady. i’ve known about her for 25 45 years or so (i’ve GOT to start remembering that my brain injury was almost 20 years ago! 🤕), as “another person who sells incense” like i do, and it seems to me that i used to do business with her a lot more frequently than i have in the past 10 years or so, but that’s only because, more and more in my dealings with her, she became the “flaky” incense lady.

i have actively avoided doing business with her for a few years now, because, back when i made my first bulk order from MSDF, she said she wanted to “go halves with me”, but, then, she “didn’t have the money, but would pay me later”, which she never did… and then, a few months later, said that she had a customer who wanted some bulk MSDF incense (which i had just imported), and she told them to contact me… and they never contacted me… 😒

but she’s “going out of business” — from my point of view, she’s SAID she’s been going out of business for at least 10 years, but whatever. she’s liquidating her supply of incense made by shroff channabassappa & sons — the same company that made “Leadbeater” incense, which is one of my two all-time favourites… and, while she doesn’t have leadbeater incense, she’s got a couple of other scents which i really like, i know would sell well, and, could possibly be additions to my “Incense Of The Month” selection, because, as far as i have been able to tell, shroff channabassappa & sons is out of business, as well. 😉

and, like i said, USPS is in possession of the item, and estimates that i will be receiving it on saturday. whee! 🎉

on the other side of the coin, i also just got email from Aravinda Parimala Works — makers of “Sugandha Shringar Gold”, which has been available from me since before i started the business (thanks to my association with Sugandha Prabhu) — informing me that, despite my inquiring about it 6 months ago and having them assure me that it would be available after the first of the year, at this point “Sugandha Shringar Gold” is completely sold out, and they will have to make more before they can even think about sending me some. 😠

at least they answer my emails in a timely fashion, unlike the flaky incense lady, who replies to my emails when she feels like it, which is, frequently, never. 😒

so, there’s this…

220112 ΣΩΤΗΡ ΚΟΣΜΟΥ button
220112 ΣΩΤΗΡ ΚΟΣΜΟΥ button
so there’s this, which is a prototype (flong!) of a 1½" button for next month’s IOTM VIP goodie…

however i’m not sure about it. it’s an absolutely delicious double (or triple!) entendre, for those few who “know about such things”, but how many people spent the first 30 years of their lives studying obscure religious facts? and, i’m afraid it could be taken to be VERY offensive to… um… just about anybody else…

under normal circumstances, i wouldn’t care in the slightest, but this is, allegedly, representing my business, and i would be sending them out to people who don’t know me…

[ETA 220114] — it’s an 18th century drawing of what the ancient roman god Priapus might have looked like. ΣΩΤΗΡ ΚΟΣΜΟΥ (soter kosmou) means “Saviour of the World”, and it was usually inscribed below the penis face. however, in a bizarre twist, the figure of “a man with the head of a rooster and an erect penis for a beak” may have also been a representation of st. peter, in which case, ΣΩΤΗΡ ΚΟΣΜΟΥ refers to jesus. it’s one of the reasons a penis is sometimes referred to as a “peter”. 🤣

derp

since 22 november (a week ago monday), i have gotten 8 incense orders, and i’m back to almost $500 in my bank account, after having been, basically, wiped out in june. i sent out the final incense of the month to my first two incense of the month clients, which means that i have, officially, been doing the incense of the month club for a year, now. my business is as strong and as vital as it has ever been, and i am beginning to rebuild from the cloud disaster in june, but, every day i realise there’s another picture, or document, or bit of information, that i HAD on my old cloud drive. i’m still reeling from the loss of approximately 50% of my music collection. 😒

i’m learning to free mount on the unicycle, which is an important step in learning to ride the unicycle while playing the tuba. i have to be able to mount with no hands, not holding on to anything except the tuba, and i have to be able to ride away, while holding the tuba, without falling down. at this point, i’m ALMOST to the point where i can mount the unicycle with no hands. at this point, i can mount the unicycle with a pole in my left hand, to help me balance. if everything goes EXACTLY RIGHT, i can ride away after a couple seconds of wobbling and balancing on the pole. also, i am pretty sure i have learned how to turn left… which is important. turning right is a lot easier. i’ve been able to turn right for a while now. it turns out, turning left involves looking left, preferably at where i’m intending to go, and adding a little bit of extra “oomph” with my hips at just the right time. who would have ever thought that riding a unicycle would involve looking as much as it involves balance?

yawn

nothing has been happening.

nothing has been happening politically, nothing has been happening socially, nothing has been happening musically, nothing has been happening in regards to the COVID virus… i now have A LOT of “free” time: every other week i have a one-hour appointment with kate, and every week i have my one-hour circus class, but that’s it. 😩

i’ve been spending a lot of time hiking on taylor mountain.

i shipped out two incense orders, today. i’m averaging between two and six orders a month, and, before i got cracked a few months ago, i actually had over a thousand dollars in my bank account… but then i got cracked, and spent it all on replacement hardware and a pile of recovered, possibly useful data.

i have expanded ZIP files for about a tenth of my fonts collection, from the recovered data. mostly TTF files, and just a small fraction of the fonts i used to have. fortunately, my recollection is that my entire >10,000 font library is backed up on CD, somewhere… i’m sifting through the rest of the recovered data slowly, and more or less randomly: it’s totally discouraging to look at this huge pile of recovered data, which took me a couple decades to accumulate, but which is now many, many schrödinger’s cats with random file names, EVERY ONE OF WHICH has to be opened to determine whether or not it’s corrupt, and if it’s not, what general pile it goes in, which all have to be sorted again, later on, and then, probably, sorted at least once more before they’re back in more-or-less the place where they’re supposed to be. 😒

so, it’s something to do, but, literally, i would rather be doing ANYTHING else… 🤬

i ordered some “performance masks” from J.W.Pepper a few weeks ago. they were back-ordered (without my knowledge), and, when i talked to a customer service drone on monday last week, i was assured that they would be shipping out later that week, but i still haven’t seen or heard anything. they’re called “performance” masks, because they look like you’re wearing a mask, but, in reality, the mask has a hole in the front, that your mouthpiece goes through, which makes it practically useless as an actual mask… but the new rule at the market is that the only buskers allowed MUST BE masked, so it’s either wear a “performance” mask, or don’t busk. 😒 but i can’t busk at all, until the “performance” masks are delivered, and, as far as i can tell, at this point, they’re still on back order, and who knows when they’re going to arrive. 😞

gress

why is the opposite of “progress” not “congress” rather than “regress”?

i got in contact with the vehicle-wrap artist that did the actual artwork for the previous car, and he, also, sent me an .eps file containing the original artwork, so i’m sure i have backed it up, now… although i haven’t backed it up to the cloud drive, yet, because i can still only access it through a web browser on my linux box, and not at all on my mac laptop… and i am worried that they’re not going to be able to make it work on my mac laptop, because i did the steps to auto-mount a network drive, at startup, and it took my password and chewed on it for 30 seconds or so, and then rejected it… i THINK it’s because the cloud drive wants me to login to /cgi-bin/ but the ancient mac will only let me login to the base server URI. and on the linux box, it allows me to specify the login directory, and accepts my password, but never gets beyond that, to actually logging me in — it just repeats its request for a username and password, over, and over, and over, and over… 😕 hopefully, when the guy comes over this evening to give me the keys, he will be able to conclusively address these issues.

ETA: he addressed those issues like a boss, and had BOTH the ancient mac and my linux box wrapped around the NAS’s little finger in about 10 minutes… the old mac, apparently, doesn’t like the domain name, and REALLY doesn’t like the fact that my username has an @ symbol in it, but it eats up the intranet IP address like it’s going out of style, and, because of the fact that it’s ONLY addressing the NAS from the intranet, i just gave it the administrator username instead of my username… and the linux box was, basically, the same, once we figured out how to do it… and connecting monique’s computer was easiest of all: just gave it the intranet IP address and everything was kosher. 😎

there’s A LOT of music in .zip or .rar archives in my recovered data, so, once i get to the point of actually expanding those archives, i will have a significant part of my music collection back… for that matter, i’m pretty sure i “backed up” my music collection to CD, around 10 years ago or so, which means that, once i find where i’ve put it, there’s a good chance that my music collection will be back to 75% to 80% of what it was prior to the crack.

the western digital support personnel that i talked to on 210724, who said that someone would be calling me “monday or tuesday” lied, because it is now wednesday, and i HAVE NOT received a call from them… which only strengthens my suspicion that they are NOT going to try to contact me until after 210731, which is their deadline for making a claim through their data recovery program. 😒

the process of categorising partially corrupt files is both time-consuming, and ultimately frustrating, because, once i have rough-categorised the files, i have to go back through, re-open every file again to determine what it is, re-name the file, and then categorise it AGAIN… and A LOT of the file names started with the date that they were last looked at, which, frequently, is a complete mystery from inside the document, so even when i have them renamed, and categorised, i still can’t complete a time-line for stuff that was modified more than once… which will, very likely, cause major headaches in the future, particularly with documens created for other peoples’ printing. 😒

seriously, whatever anonymous skript-kiddie did this to me — who has never even met them before — just for “lulz” — better hope that i don’t run into them late at night in a dark alley, because, if that ever happens, the result will NOT be positive for anyone. 🤬

on a lighter note, i got my physical copies of questionable content, the electronic copies of which were lost… i’m slowly getting everything put back together.

but i still have to rewrite the IOTM blurb about patchouli for next month, because it’s coming up really soon, and it’s the only IOTM blurb that i didn’t get back… which is a real shame, because the old one was really amusing, and i don’t know if i can remember all of what i said.

the answer

the answer is a 4TB NAS, two bays of 2TB each, in a RAID1 array.

this serves a dual purpose: the NAS is my “cloud drive”, and the RAID1 array is my backup.

i can “backup” the backup, to “the cloud” or to an external 2TB device (like a flash drive) on a regular basis if i want, at that point, for extra security.

the answer costs around $800, for them to come in, set it up, get all my devices talking to it, from the antique mac to the bleeding edge kubuntu box, and hand me the keys.

i can afford the answer, without having to get “household funds” involved.

why?

because someone send me almost $1,200 for one of my huge boxes of incense, that’s why. 👍

in other news, i paid them $600 and they’re mailing me back the remains of the old NAS, and a disk full of either data, or not-data. 😒 whee.

i might have known…

so, the weird weirdness with my web site was ENTIRELY caused by the osCommerce web site…

which i haven’t even thought about since 2016, because the previous web designer was supposed to have deleted it, once i had successfully migrated to wordpress…

but which wasn’t deleted (despite the fact that it was one of the things i paid her to do 😠), and continued to “function”, without a “head”, for FIVE YEARS

if nothing else, i suppose, it says something about osCommerce’s resiliancy and ability to continue to function despite being headless and updateless for the past 5 years. i wonder if i could treat wordpress the same way, and expect the same result. i suspect, probably, not.

it’s still there, physically, but it has had it’s hooks into the system removed, so it is no longer functioning. the next step is to figure out which parts are wordpress parts and which parts are osCommerce parts, and delete the osCommerce parts.

in other news, ezra has come up with an idea that needs internet and a web host to work, and, well… i’m the next best thing to a web host, these days… apart from the FUMTU with osCommerce… 😉

bat out of database hell, sideways

in a new twist, the web designer that i worked with prior to the current web designer i work with — the one who blew a gasket for some still-unknown reason — was, as a part of what i was paying her to be a web designer, to delete the old web site files, once i had successfully been migrated to my new site.

unfortunately, apparently she blew a gasket before she actually did that.

and i didn’t know until… well… today.

my current web site is running PHP5, but there was an error which showed up in the log which was an uncaught variable that doesn’t exist in PHP5… in fact, it doesn’t exist until PHP7.4… and, upon further investigation, we discovered that it came from a document that is from osCommerce, which lead to other osCommerce documents, which lead, basically, to the entire osCommerce web site, which has been trying, and failing, to run PHP7.4, and generating WEIRD errors.

it had been beheaded — i.e. it didn’t have an internet-facing interface — but it is all still there.

it should be deleted. 😠

database hell updated

quoth the web developer: I’m going to guess, they’re going to come back and tell us they see nothing wrong. However, they will modify the server and then when I get back in there to test it again, it’s going to work. They just have a problem admitting when they’re wrong so they’ll fix it but tell us that it works fine.

quoth i: i don’t care how it’s fixed, i just want it to be fixed.

they have access to the dashboard, but they’re in a different time zone, so i have to be patient. 😒

ETA: i just got an email notification that says: A user with username “webhost-python” who has administrator access signed in to your WordPress site.

and then a note from YET ANOTHER technician who i HAVEN’T TALKED TO BEFORE (😠), who, apparently, tried the login, looked through the ticket history and decided that they don’t know enough to do anything about it, saying “I will assign this to our developers and they will get back to you.”

so, it begins…

tomorrow… 😒

database hell, okay?

i gave the web developer my login to the open support ticket at the host provider. there hasn’t been any obvious action yet, but i’ve emailed with the web developer, who worked out a temporary solution which may work out if his attempts to communicate with the host provider don’t work out… but, as i said, he hasn’t even logged in, much less done what the host provider asked of me, which was to “clearly lay out the issues you’re facing and the solution you need done to resolve this issue”.

210606 screenshot SQL error
210606 screenshot SQL error
the issues are that i can’t add new content (the “not HTML” difficulty and its results), and i get weird SQL errors, which only appear once, and then go away. i don’t get them on a regular basis: sometimes i get them the first time i hit the site, when i boot my computer in the morning, and sometimes i get them in the middle of the afternoon. frequently i get them when i’m hitting the base URI, but i’ve also seen them when i’m hitting deeper content.

i don’t know what the solution is, because i don’t know what is causing it. my web developer seems to think it’s the database engine at my host provider, because he has some sort of advanced tool that tells him when things aren’t working correctly. my host provider says he’s full of shit, that his proposed “upgrades” will break things for everybody else, and won’t even talk to the him unless he logs in as me. unfortunately, i know little enough about database engines that any input i can offer would be totally meaningless.

i feel a little bit better, because, now, instead of "doing this as a courtesy as this is not included as part of your Web Maintenance", they have now, actually charged me money, so i am, actually, paying them to fix my shit, and the temporary work around that he proposed, while not ideal, would certainly fix the problem for at least a year.

but i seem to recall going through another database fiasco last year around this time, and, if this is going to become a regular occurrance, i think i’ll pass, thanks. 😒

ETA: the web developer has logged in as me, and given a detailed description of exactly what is wrong, exactly why he thinks it’s wrong, examples of identical installations that follow his guidelines that don’t experience the problems i’m having, and a variety of different solutions to the problems he’s found. the host provider has yet to reply. because of the fact that they’re on eastern time, there’s a good chance we won’t hear anything until tomorrow.

blargh! 🤬

i’ve noticed a couple of things that are… screwy… about my web sites.

intermittently, i get random SQL errors. they only appear once, and when i reload the page, they disappear, but it’s sort of alarming.

and then there’s the “not HTML” FUMTU, which usually works, but has decided not to for a few days now.

so, i contacted my web developer, who said that my database needed “upgrading” to prevent these, and future problems.

not knowing that much about databases, i contacted my host provider, who said that the “upgrades” he proposed are actually DOWNgrades, and implementing them would break the databases for EVERYONE who shares the server i’m on.

so, i got back to the developer, who said that the reason he stopped using this host provider two years ago (which was about the same time i started using this host provider) was because “their policy” was to avoid communication with “third parties” (i.e. i’m a customer of the host provider, and the guy who i pay to know more about the web than me is a “third party”).

while they didn’t actually deny that this was “their policy”, the host provider went out of their way to emphasise that i am their customer, and if i wanted to include my web designer, i would have to give him my login, because they weren’t going to create a special login for him.

so i did that.

i figure, whatever happens, i can change my password once this whole thing is resolved. it is also A LOT easier than trying to convince the host provider to create a login for someone who is not a customer of theirs…

then they switched their tactics, and had a different technician chime in (one with whom i have not talked about this particular problem), who stated “let your developer know that it is already upgraded and using a stable version. If he is unable to diagnose this issue then another developer may be needed…”

this was AFTER i gave my web developer my login, so that he could participate in the “conversation”…

i wanted to say “HE’S RIGHT HERE! TALK TO HIM, NOT TO ME!!” 😠🤬😠🤬

but i didn’t…

but i wanted to… 😒

the web developer was busy yesterday, and (like most “businesses”) he doesn’t work on the weekend, so i’ve pushed back the impending storm until monday…

but…

the web developer has already said “we’re doing this as a courtesy as this is not included as part of your Web Maintenance” and “if they can’t do what we’re asking them to do our hands are tied.” AND the host provider has already said “we do not have a way to resolve something like this as the server itself is not causing the issue and the database server is already up to date.”, which gives me the very strong impression that, when monday comes around, the web developer is going to show up and make demands, the host provider is going to say no, and we’ll be right back where we started.

and all of this is IN SPITE of the fact that i am paying BOTH of these entities to make sure that my shit is kept up to date! 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

🤬

this morning is the second in a row that i have woken up at 4:00 in the morning, and can’t get back to sleep. 😒

it is THIS EXACT PHENOMENON that makes me want to give up internet forever and go live in the woods, like a hermit, not interacting with anyone! 😠

woo hoo?

the first HPOI that i bought, way back in april of 2018, included 26 kg of MSD 7 “Africanas” Powers.

i bought it because, at the time, i thought it was a requirement to order more than one scent, when you’re ordering in bulk from the manufacturer. i now know this to be false. i made a number of assumptions about the first HPOI that i, now, know are false.

nevertheless, today, 3 years and a few weeks later, someone actually BOUGHT ONE POUCH of 7 “Africanas” Powers…

and, oddly enough, i still have pretty close to 26 kg left. my guess is that it’s going to last me a while. 😉

another one

i now have four people on the Incense Of The Month list, one of whom is a person i gifted a membership to… so, three “random” people, and one “deliberate” person.

it’s a REALLY good thing i decided to keep records, because, otherwise, i would already be completely hosed. i’m still not sure what to do at the end of this year, when my original two have run their course… of course, i will send 12 months worth of incense to everybody, regardless of when they signed up, but how to deal with the ones who chose to sign up after two, three or four months is something i didn’t think about when i was first starting this… i suppose i’ve got the rest of the year to figure it out, but that doesn’t mean leaving it until the middle of december before deciding, as tempting as that sounds…

it also means that there are only 21 slots left before i close the IOTM club to new entries… 😉

that was way easier than it was the last time…

so, i went down to pick up my HPOI this morning.

i didn’t have to spend three quarters of the day dealing with testy customs agents, indifferent import brokers, and recalcitrant shipping managers, and paying almost $500 to various people i had never heard of before, who had practically nothing to do with my shipment…

i arrived, was directed where to go, submitted two documents, had the lady scan my driver’s license, and then she gave me a piece of paper (with my scanned driver’s license on it), and told me to go “down the hall, to your left”, where i walked into a big wire cage. on the other side was a warehouse, full of wares. a friendly-looking guy with a grey beard under his mask, came up, asked to see my paperwork (😉), and then told me to pull around to the sally-port and he would meet me there. i backed my car up to the sally-port, and the guy came with a forklift, carrying three big boxes… i loaded them into my car, and drove away.

total elapsed time, LESS THAN 20 minutes.

total money that exchanged hands, $0.00!

210320 HPOI
210320 HPOI
210320 HPOI
210320 HPOI
210320 HPOI
210320 HPOI
210320 HPOI
210320 HPOI
210320 HPOI
210320 HPOI
210320 paperwork
210320 paperwork

it’s SO! MUCH! EASIER!! when i know what i’m doing, have done “the needful”, and have everything ready BEFORE i show up… 😎

and, i think i may have enough incense, now… 😉

today is 210319, and asses have officially been kicked!

so, here’s an interesting twist…

the people i have been talking to on the phone, at US customs (two different CBP air cargo officers, to date), have all been demanding two things: one, that the document they need to see is the “bill of lading”, and the commercial invoice and the master airway bill that i have are not good enough (pay attention to that last one, because it’s important), and, two, that the shipment be manifest in their system, which (allegedly) doesn’t happen until the flight leaves the ground, before they can even think about releasing it.

okay, “bills of lading” are for ocean cargo. if it’s air cargo, the “bill of lading” is called a…

wait for it…

“master airway bill” 🤦

so the broker i’ve been talking to (the one who cleared my shipment the last time) recommended, now that i actually have an email address for US customs air cargo, that instead of going at them on the phone (her precise words were “Customs does not have much patience, and if they have to read too much or explain too much they will just send you to a broker, as they are not obligated to clear low value shipments.”), i should just send them the MAWB and the commercial invoice, with the flight information, and ask them to clear it “under section 321”. so i did.

half an hour later, this was their response:

> Please be advised that AWB 125-91897142, arriving today 3/19/21 on BA49, has been entered and released.

they got the date wrong. this is not for a shipment arriving TODAY, it is for a shipment arriving SUNDAY… 🤦🤦

however…

because of the fact that they actually GOT the master airway bill number correct, i SHOULD BE able to bypass customs on sunday, and just go pick up my shit.

and the broker agrees.

so, come sunday, one of two things will happen. either:

one, i go down to WWFS, pay them their cut, and pick up my shit, or…

two, i go down to WWFS, get the run around, leave, come back on monday (after having talked with a CBP officer on sunday about why their release wasn’t actually a release), and have to pay them their cut PLUS a 24-hour storage fee, before i can pick up my shit.

i pray to the incense god that it’s going to be the first option, because i really don’t have the energy for the second.

ETA: it’s not arriving sunday, it’s arriving TONIGHT! (which is why they got the date “wrong”… it turns out mr. joy gave me the wrong date). because of the fact that it’s already been cleared through customs, AND i have beat the rush (and the $36 extra charge for paying them in person, using CASH ONLY 😒) by paying my ISC online, i can go down FIRST THING TOMORROW and pick it up without incurring extra fees whatsoever!! WOOT!! 😎

today is 210318, and i feel like kicking some ass

the HPOI have left india, and are now in london. their estimated departure from london is 210319 14:25Z, and their scheduled arrival time is 210321 17:25PDT.

i’ve been on the phone since 9:00 am (it’s 11:00 am, now) and talked with two different customs agents, and four different… i don’t know what they’re called, but they work for US customs, WWFS, and british airways cargo service, and they are PARTICULARLY annoying… and i’ve FINALLY gotten someone who understands that i’m trying to avoid extra storage fees, understands that the US customs office is closed on sunday, AND has the ability to find, and send me the document (the bill of lading) that US customs says doesn’t exist in their system. as soon as that happens, the shipment can be cleared through customs before COB friday, so that i can pick it up sunday and avoid the additional storage fees! 👍

not only that, but i’ve got their name, phone number, email address and physical address, so if they DON’T send me the bill of lading in a timely fashion, i can, physically, go down there and STRANGLE them and STILL have all the paperwork before the US customs office closes for the weekend. 😈

as soon as i have the bill of lading, i can do everything but FORCE the customs flunkies to clear the shipment, in spite of the fact that they, pretty clearly, couldn’t give a flying fuck whether or not i will EVER be able to pick up my shipment.

GRR! 😠

it’s happening again! 😱

the HPOI is leaving bangalore tomorrow. it arrives in seattle on…

SUNDAY!! 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

and, because of the fact that it doesn’t leave until tomorrow, the people at US customs won’t even TALK to me, because my shipment isn’t in their system yet… despite the fact that i’ve got ALL the paperwork they want, plus a “Certificate of Insurance” which they didn’t ask for, but they want anyway. <grumble, mutter> 😒

so, what, exactly, is “the needful”?

i am now preparing for imminent arrival of HPOI

aside: study the etymology of the words “imminent”, “eminent”, “immanent”, and “emanant”. look for sources.

they sent me an air waybill… or an airway bill… or something like that… and are, allegedly sending me a commercial invoice tomorrow. the customs agent seemed to think that it was those two documents that i needed to clear the shipment myself, but, because of the fact that “TRITAN TRADEX, LLP” advised me to “do the needful” but didn’t tell me what “the needful” means (i’m assuming it’s because they think i know what i’m doing… 🤣), i’m getting anxious again.

i emailed the customs agent, but they haven’t gotten back to me yet, and, because of the fact that they mentioned that the air waybill and the commercial invoice are all i needed, i’m having to assume that means that i’m going to be receiving the shipment within a few days, i’m going to hope that they reply VERY soon…

but, on the up side, i’m getting 99 dozen boxes of ANOTHER incense that nobody else in the united states imports for resale on the web. 👍😉

that’s it…

i did it. i just paid $1,480 to be shipped three cartons, 99 dozen boxes, of an incense that, as far as i have been able to tell, you can’t get, online, ANYWHERE ELSE in the united states.

there must be something wrong with me. 😒

woo?

someone new just signed up for a VIP IOTM club account. i’ve had two members for two months, and now someone new signs up…

so, do i start them where i started everybody else? or do i start them at the same place as everybody else, and extend their account past the first of next year? or do i just arbitrarily end their account in december, because they were late signing up? do they even expect their account to end in december?

or what? 😕

for now, i’m starting them with everyone else, because that way i don’t have to figure out who has which account, but i imagine that i’m going to have to straighten this whole thing out, eventually.

and it couldn’t have come at a better time, because now i am even more confident that my impending purchase of HPOI will turn out well! 😉

there is something wrong with my head.

that is a statement, not a question. 😉

i am beginning the process of importing another HPOI in a few days. 999 Lord Krishna Puja Agarbatti has become one of my best sellers. it was part of the original HPOI, which arrived three years ago, and, while i have sold NONE of the other two incenses, i have almost completely sold out of 999: of the original 33 dozen, i’ve probably got 4 dozen left… so, this time, instead of getting one carton of three different kinds of incense, i’m getting three cartons of one kind of incense… 33 dozen boxes per carton, 99 dozen boxes total, $1.24 a box, with a 400% markup… and, if current trends hold, that should be enough to get me through the next few years… sending out one, two, or three boxes a week… 😉

and, once again, as far as i can tell, NOBODY imports 999 to the united states… NOBODY… 😕 it’s weird, but i’m not going to argue.

it seems odd, however, that i am not anywhere NEAR as worried about it as i was, even for the last HPOI, which was not even a year ago. i think part of this is because I gave the shipper some knowledge that he didn’t have: he was going to arrange ocean freight again, and i told him air freight would be better. he said that air freight wasn’t possible, because of the “flammable nature of the product”, to which i responded “that’s strange, because i just received the same product by air freight in october of last year”. he said wait, while he confirmed this, and a week later, he sent me an invoice, and it’s coming by air freight. 😉 then there’s also the fact that i made contact with the customs agent AHEAD OF TIME this time: she knows that i am going to be expecting a shipment which will need to be cleared, and as soon as i have details, she’s going to be available to make sure that i don’t have to go through the hassles that i did last time. 👍

we’ll see how it goes. the fact is, i could be a little short on money, which would mean that i would have to borrow from the home account, but even that doesn’t worry me that much. it would probably only be a couple hundred dollars, and, for sure, i could pay that back within a month or so. i feel confident that i’m going to have enough money to cover it, though, and that, in the end, it will be something that brings in money for a while. 👍

and it appears that the antidepressants are working. 😉

weird

i got 2 orders for one box of aparajita, each, yesterday.

i got 2 more orders for one or two boxes of aparajita last night. they both came from the U.S. (most of the time, when i get orders overnight, they’re from countries in the eastern hemisphere).

i didn’t take the first two to ship out because i wanted to fill the other two, and i had to go to my circus class this morning.

while i was at my circus class, i got another order, for one box of aparajita, and one other item.

ETA: while i was putting together the three new orders i got, i got ANOTHER order for two boxes of aparajita. 😕

as far as i’ve been able to tell, there’s no way of telling where people heard about Hybrid Elephant, short of asking them at check out, and there’s no way to guarantee that they’ll answer at all, much less answer correctly.

i find it very weird that i can go along for months with one order per week, or less, and then, suddenly, i’ll get 5 orders within 12 hours, and they’ll ALL be for one box of aparajita. 😕

the only thing i can figure out is that someone must have mentioned Hybrid Elephant, or aparajita, on their podcast — and i’m still not completely sure i understand what a podcast is, or how it gets distributed, so i have, literally, no idea whether or not i’m even CLOSE to correct. 😒

although i won’t argue with the money, that’s for sure. 😉

if anybody is paying attention…

the Incense Of The Month Club 👉SIGN UP SHEET👈 is now available. go and sign up for a year’s worth of rare, vintage, not-available-anywhere-else incense, and, maybe some other goodies, as well.

go… sign up now! you know you want to… 👍😉‼

also, i broke down and signed up for a facebook page. i am now @HybridElephant, so you can “like” me on facebook, and tell all your friends… or whatever you do on facebook these days… 🙄

someone must have mentioned hybrid elephant

someone must have mentioned hybrid elephant on their podcast or something like that, because i have gotten FIVE incense orders today, including two that were for one box of aparajita… yes, the way things work out, i charge them more for shipping than i do for the incense — does it sound familiar? 😉 — but i decided that i’m not going to argue with them any longer. if they want to order one box of incense, that’s fine… unless they order a box that costs $1.50 or less, in which case i’ll write them and find out if that’s REALLY what they want to do, because that’s kind of ridiculous.

one from spain, that came in over last night, and then four from north america that all came in within an hour of each other. in reality, i have no clue why they are clustered like that. the podcast thing is the only thing i can think of that would cause clusters of orders like that, but i really don’t know. if it is because of someone’s podcast, i wish they would let me know about it. i don’t have a lot of social media connections, but i don’t have none, either.

i put the preliminary Incense of the Month Club page up. nobody’s responded yet, but i haven’t mentioned it much, and it’s still not showing up where i thought it was supposed to, but that’s something i’m going to have to discuss with the web designer.

in other news, #drumpf still hasn’t conceded, and he’s filed a whole bunch of lawsuits, most ALL of which have been tossed out for lack of evidence.

ETA: 201119 i’ve received two MORE orders, for one box each… REALLY weird… 😖🤯

so…

the fence is (allegedly) being fixed on thursday, by the guy who is the friend of the neighbour who is (still) being a dick about paying for the fence, despite the fact that the dead tree which destroyed it was on his property. 😒

the guy who is (allegedly) fixing the fence has already run down a whole list of (bogus) complaints he had about the current fence — i get the impression that he’s not particularly impressed with the quality or consistency of the fence materials, despite the fact that we had the fence made by a different company than the one which made the gates, and that the whole thing was built during the peak of the first round of COVID…

but i get the very strong impression that the guy is going to do everything possible to get away with doing a halfway job and begging off, never to be heard from again, which is why i’m going to be keeping an eye on the work progress, when it happens. 😒

election day is (finally) tomorrow. in spite of the fact that he was impeached, we managed to survive (barely) four years of #drumpf, and i’m not sure, even now, that we’re going to vote him out tomorrow… and, even if we do, i’m even less sure that he’ll leave without making a BIG fuss, and/or flagrantly cheating… and even if we do manage to eject him into the sun, there’s going to be A LOT of #MAGA #chuds who will be stubbornly unwilling to accept it, and even if we are actually able to eject him into the sun, they’re not going to be so “easy” to deal with, nor will they just “go away”, once the solar ejecting has actually been accomplished.

i keep saying it’ll take us at least a hundred years to recover from #drumpf, and i’m not sure we have a hundred years left, even if we do, miraculously, make him and his cronies just vanish.

in other news, i made a new page for the Incense Of The Month Club, but i can’t figure out how to put the background image on it that i want, so it’s not linked anywhere, yet. i bought a 1½” diameter button press (because why not), and now i’ve got to round up some civic organisations which want buttons for some campaign or something.

also, i never heard back from kent.

good. 😒

1½" diameter buttons
1½” diameter buttons
pins & buttons
pins & buttons