Category Archives: incense

↑ 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.

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

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.

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… 🙄

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

actually, now that i come to think about it

i ended the last post with “i will never figure out these people”, and, after looking, half-heartedly, at the other options on the web for aparajita, i think part of what may be motivating people like kent is the box, and not the incense itself.

the old box is very distinctive, and it was used in, basically, the same form (they changed the colours, slightly, some time between the 1960s and the 1980s) pretty much ever since they started producing incense in boxes… the company has existed since the 1920s, so it’s a very distinctive and recognisable brand…

the new box is just a design change. the incense is exactly the same.

i had a customer a few years ago (who am i kidding, i haven’t heard from him in 15 years), who bought aparajita from me. he was a guitar player from new york, who had actually played with george harrison and ravi shankar, and he bought it from me because i was the only agarbathiwala who carried “the authentic” aparajita. it was through him that i learned about ALL the knock-off, “look-alike” brands of NOT aparajita that were out there. i learned a lot more, once i knew what to look for, and i’ve actually got a collection of “not aparajita” boxes. when mavana changed the box design, he was intensely frustrated, because he said the incense was different. as with everything from india, they have a very strict recipe that they follow to the letter… most of the time, ganesha willing… so the end product is 99.5% reliable… but that other .5% can be REALLY out there.

personally, i have NEVER noticed a big difference between the incense in the old box (yes, i still have several old boxes, and some of the “look-alike” boxes, for comparison) and the incense in the new box…

but, for some people, “aparajita” apparently stopped existing when they changed the box. i found at least two web sites where aparajita was listed, along with pictures of the old box, that said something along the lines of “out of stock, discontinued”…

but, look, people… i’ve got loads of it, right here! 😉

201012 HPOI
201012 HPOI

Ă,-PĂ,-RĀ’-JĬ,-TĀ, agarbathiwalas

i had to go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for moe. the pharmacy was closed for lunch, so i went across the street to the safeway, to get food. as i was checking out, my phone rang. it was an “unknown caller”, which usually means that it’s a robot/scam call, and i am usually able to tell this within a VERY short period of time after answering the call…

so i answered it.

it was NOT an automated fraud call at all, but i had some considerable difficulty understanding the guy, because of the fact that his phone was cutting in and out like a crazy monkey, not to mention the ambient noise at the checkout stand in safeway, but eventually i worked out that it was kent, from laguna beach, who is an agarbathiwala (he didn’t use that word, but that’s what he is) and he is interested in purchasing wholesale quantities of aparajita, for resale in laguna beach.

wonderful… i think… but… 😒

he can’t figure out how to use my web site. apparently he’s accessing the web site on the same cell phone from which he’s calling me. that, combined with the fact that i don’t use my cell phone for web access most of the time, means that he can’t find the incense he wants, and i can’t direct him, because i don’t know what he’s seeing.

also, i tell him that, as far as wholesale orders go, i already put the word out to a number of agarbathiwalas that i know, who, either, didn’t respond at all, or responded by telling me that boxes of aparajita aren’t available in the US, and the only way to get it is to go to india, buy it in bulk, bring it back, and put it into your own packages.

which is patently false, according to my own, personal, recent experience…

so i get the very strong impression that this guy may be one of those people who want to use me and my years of experience and connections to stock their own stores with exotic incense.

which is only exacerbated by the fact that he says, if it can’t be a “wholesale” order, he’ll just mark up my price (which is really reasonable, given what i had to go through to get it), rather than buying at a “wholesale discount”… 😒

he wants to make an order over the phone — another typical ploy used by these people. i, patiently, tell him that i can’t process credit card payments any way other than the web site, and if he wants to order over the phone, it will involve him snail-mailing me a check or money order, which will have to clear before i will ship out anything.

oh, he says, sounding disappointed…

okay, he says, he’ll check out the web site, and make an order.

i go to the pharmacy, pick up moe’s prescription, and am on the way home, when the phone rings, again. it’s kent, again. he can’t find the incense he’s looking for. also, he wants to know how long it takes me to ship things out, and how i ship things. i explain it as succinctly as i can, and get off the phone, because, well, i’m driving… 😒 but the phone rings again,it’s kent, again and he STILL can’t figure out my web site. 😒

i expect that, by the time i get home, he will have made an order, and called me to ask why i haven’t shipped it out yet… 😒

but…

then he texts me. i’m back at the point i was at when i was checking out at the safeway, with all the ambient noise, but i’m at home, and there’s no ambient noise, there’s just this text message, which is a photo, and nothing else. i know it’s from kent, because it’s the same number that he has been calling me from, but there’s no text, just a photo. the photo is, from all appearances, a photo of a computer screen which has four overlapping photos of a VERY OLD box of aparajita.

by this time, i have gotten home. i text back that the manufacturers of aparajita changed the design on the box a few years ago, and text him a couple of photos, one of the new box, and one of the old box, with the reassurance that it’s exactly the same incense, only the box has changed.

and then…

nothing.

no order, no more phone calls, or texts… nothing.

i will never figure out these people. 😖

sigh…

getting old sucks. 🤬

i got home this afternoon, and took the small doggie outside, and, as i was going down the stairs from the deck, my right foot hit a slippery spot on the third step from the bottom, and i fell, bruising my back and legs, and scraping my right arm, which reached out for support, but reached in the wrong direction, because of my brain injury. 😒

the dog experienced a rather rough landing, but she wandered off without more than an “oof” when she hit the ground. she’s fine.

i lay on the ground for a few minutes, deciding whether or not anything was broken (as far as i can tell, nothing was), and breathing hard, because my back REALLY hurt, while the doggie wandered, obliviously, around the yard.

fortunately, i had my phone, so i called moe, who called the neighbour, who came to help me, but all she actually did was pick up the doggie, because i couldn’t bend over.

at this point, i have taken ibuprophen and applied ice, and i can sit down without too much difficulty, although i can still REALLY feel my lower back, and i probably will be able to do so for the next few days.

in other news, i got my first order for 10 boxes of aparajita today. the guy actually wrote me while i was in the process of updating my web site, and wanted to make a “special order”. my guess is that i’ll have two or three more orders for 10 boxes, before the week is out… at $90 bucks a pop… 👍😉

also, i got a new monitor. the old one is an VGA 17″ flat screen from a few years ago. the new one is a HDMI 24″ flat screen from this year… it’s awesome, how much real estate is in the difference between 17″ and 24″

the end of (this) saga

okay, as i reported here, the HPOI arrived on friday, at 1730. i went to WFS, but was informed that i had to get the shipment cleared through US customs, before i could pick it up.

customs operates under “normal” business hours, i.e. 9-to-5, M thru F, so i figured i was going to have to wait until monday.

the “carrier certificate” that WFS gave me said that i had to pay an ISC fee, which worked out to $89 if i paid it online, or $125 if i paid it in person, so, while i was waiting — saturday and sunday — i took the opportunity to pay it online, so that i would have yet another impediment taken care of before monday.

the “carrier certificate” also, CLEARLY said that the date that storage charges started accruing was 201012, which was further impetus to get things rolling as quickly as possible.

note, that THIS ENTIRE TIME i have been getting EXTREMELY CONFLICTED messages about whether or not i would need a broker. at this point, everything i have heard leads me to believe that i would NOT need a broker to pick up my shipment of incense.

this morning, i contacted customs, got their new address (because they just moved, and nobody at WFS knew where), and went down to clear my shipment.

when i got there, i talked with a US customs agent, who told me that, because my MAWB said that the value of the shipment was more than $800, but less than $1,000, i would have to have a broker clear the shipment.

way back when i was arranging all of this, i specifically remember (backed up by email from 200824) arun giving me precise numbers: “USD 7.45 PER DOZENS”, which amounts to $357.60 for 48 dozen boxes. i also specifically remember (backed up by a different email from 200824), arun telling me “Please note Air freight is additional.”, so when he sent me a proforma invoice that said $986.40, i presumed that it meant “$357.60 for the incense, and $628.80 for shipping”… but it wasn’t itemised, and i overlooked that point.

i SHOULD HAVE gotten an itemised MAWB, but i didn’t.

so, i spent some time on the phone, talking with brokers, who quoted me around $400 just to get my foot in the door, and then i connected with lisa, from Frontier North America — a very nice, helpful lady who is going to get my business the next time around — who assured me that, because i was actually paying more for shipping than i was for the actual product, that she would clear my shipment, and provide a surety bond, for $182.22, so i said go for it, and half an hour later, my shipment was cleared through customs.

miracle. 😒

then, i went back to the airport, to WFS, who informed me, because i didn’t have a broker, who could clear my shipment on friday, after business hours (despite the fact that customs was CLOSED for “normal people” like me), that i had to pay a $110 storage fee — which was EXACTLY the thing that i was trying to AVOID by picking up the paperwork on friday, after normal business hours — and then they had a problem charging me the storage fee, because i had already paid the ISC fee, and they couldn’t charge me as a “guest” because the computer wouldn’t let them create two different accounts with the same MAWB number. finally, they told me that their web site wasn’t meant for people with iphones, which meant that i would have to go home to use my computer at home to “set up an account” so that they could charge me a storage fee, before i could pick up a shipment that i was already there to pick up… 😒

 

 

 

 

 

 

fortunately, after talking to two other managers, i finally talked the third manager into waiving the $110 storage fee, and, after scanning my drivers’ license (because my passport wouldn’t fit in their automatic scanning device 😒) they “gave me permission” to pick up my HPOI.

and i managed to get through the whole thing without swearing, losing my temper, or stomping out of various offices, as good as it would have felt.

201012 HPOI paperwork
201012 HPOI paperwork
201012 HPOI
201012 HPOI
201012 HPOI
201012 HPOI
201012 HPOI
201012 HPOI
201012 HPOI
201012 HPOI

now i’ve got a web site to update. 😉

second to last HPOI post for 2020

the HPOI arrived yesterday.

according to the people at Worldwide Flight Services (which is the umbrella company that handles British Airways Cargo in seattle), i have to pick up documentation, take it to customs, so that it can be cleared, pay an ISC fee (Importer Service Charge, which is, basically, their way of “legally” taking a cut of my action), and then they can release the shipment to me.

customs is closed over the weekend. also, they just moved, and nobody at WFS knows what their new address is… 😒

and, because of the fact that WFS doesn’t accept credit cards, i would have had to pay $125 for the ISC fee, if it weren’t for the fact that i actually went down to the airport last night to pick up the documentation (so that i don’t have to go through that step on monday, when customs is open), the guy pointed out that i can pay the ISC fee online, and it will only cost $89… so i did that.

the “documentation” they gave me is, basically a “carrier certificate” which is a receipt for services rendered by the carrier (which is what i pay the ISC fee for), four copies (out of at least seven, total) of the MAWB, one for the destination airport, one for “my agent” (which is me), one for the consignee (which is also me), and one “extra copy”, a “MAWB/CBV Acceptance Statement”, which basically, says that the shipment isn’t anything vague or illegal, is being shipped by a legitimate shipper who is not a criminal, and is being received by a person who is not a criminal, and a MYSTERY ENVELOPE which is stapled shut, THREE TIMES ON BOTH ENDS, which, from indications of the writing on the outside, was stapled shut in india, when the shipment was loaded, and i have NO CLUE what it contains…

now, all that’s left is for me to wait until monday, contact customs, find out what their address is (i think it’s in burien, but i’m not sure), go down and get the documentation stamped, and then go back to the airport to…

PICK UP HPOI!!!‼‼‼😀😎👍👍👍

whew…

okay, this is an interesting development…

i got a phone call, yesterday, from suni, at CEVA Logistics, whose first language is english, and who doesn’t pepper her communications with bizarre, multi-letter acronyms that i don’t understand…

and, what she told me was, essentially, that arun has been right all along — which makes me VERY glad i didn’t send that email that i felt like sending him a few days ago…

basically, they’ve shipped out today, at 0700 bangalore time, on BA118, there’s a stop over at london heathrow, and then it’s on to seattle, on BA49, and i should have 31kg (68.34lb) of incense by friday at 1730. someone at the airline is supposed to contact me immediately upon arrival — although how is still somewhat of a question… they don’t have my phone number, and if they have my email address, it’s not on the MAWB. the only address that IS on the MAWB is my street address, so, theoretically, they could snail-mail me, but that would take longer than it took for the incense to get here, so i don’t think that’s a viable option… and i still don’t know exactly how they are supposed to contact me, but i suppose i’ll find that out on friday…

and a WHOLE BUNCH of my customers are going to be extremely happy. i guess this is probably as close to being a “drug dealer” as i will ever get… 😉

okay, that last bit is a lie… i actually was a drug dealer, for a while, about 30 years ago. i sold weed and acid to a few friends for about 6 months, until the supply dried up… but it’s that sort of feeling. 🤣

this

this is my imaginary response to the email that i got from arun’s customs clearing agent, melvyn.

obviously, since i’m posting it here, you can presume that it is because, if i actually sent it, i probably would NOT be receiving any incense from arun, any time soon.

On 03/10/2020 00:34, sspf wrote:
> Importer Security Filing (ISF)
>
> It is USA Govt Compliances. Hence consignee Clearing
> aware about this.

so, when you said, on 200930 that i wouldn’t need a customs clearing agent, you were… what?

wrong? 😒

On 30/09/2020 01:04, Arun Mysorein wrote:
> Hello, No need for any agent, you can talk to airline ,
> take delivery order
> and get the goods from the airport.

it should be fairly obvious, at this point, that this is NOT the way it’s going to happen… 😒

> It should filed
> online 72 Hrs before the last departure air/ seaport station.

meaning that, if you notify me when the shipment is loaded on the airplane, it’s already too late.

could you PLEASE notify me 72 hours BEFORE the shipment is loaded, so that i won’t have to pay more than i already do, for things that i won’t use?

> If we file from here the agent
> will take $ 100 for this service. It is better consignee
> Or their agents do at their end.

so, let me get this straight: $100 is too much for you to pay, but it’s perfectly okay for ME to be saddled with extra fees and fines because i don’t know these things, and, because YOU think it’s okay to tell me the EXACT OPPOSITE of what i should know in order to AVOID paying these extra fees and fines.

and, once again, MELVYN references an agent, which, you have assured me, i don’t need! 🤬

if i hadn’t already sunk more than $900 into this incense deal, i would cancel it right here and now. 🤬

this is NOT the way to do business and have me as a customer. 🤬

GAH!!! 😠

so i wrote to arun at mavana, concerning my impression that he had not given me all the information. he wrote to his customs clearing agent(!), melvyn — and copied me — who informed him (and me) that the consignee’s customs clearing agent(!) should have been aware of all this…

the immediately previous email i got from arun said that i would not need a customs clearing agent, or a single entry bond. now, his customs clearing agent tells me exactly the opposite! 😒

melvyn also said “If we file from here the agent will take $ 100 for this service. It is better consignee Or their agents do at their end.”

in other words, it’s better for the consignee (me) to pay this, rather than “us”, because “It is USA Govt Compliances.” and it costs “us” more money that the consignee could be paying.

the problem, if all of the web sites i’ve been reading are correct, is that, from the consignee’s (my) point of view, the customs clearing agent’s fee is $125, the single entry bond is a minimum of $75, and that’s before we start talking about fees for the ISF.

so, it’s an extra $100 from them for the ISF… which they are, apparently, unwilling to pay…

or it’s an extra $200 from me before we even get to the ISF… 😒

and i know, from past experience, that if the shipment gets loaded without the ISF being filed, then i have to pay $400 for a continuous bond, rather than $75 for a single entry bond, plus i get to pay another $400 (or more, the maximum is $10,000) for importing without an ISF. 😒

i’m guessing that i’m going to have to pay more money to get this HPOI into the united states. 😒

this had better be worth it. 😒

gah!

first the guy doesn’t know what ISF means, then he says i have to file an ISF, but doesn’t give me all the documentation to do so, and the only “resource” i have is a web site whose “toll free, 24/7” help line has a recording which says to leave a number, and they’ll call back (and they don’t), or leave a message that includes ALL of my contact information, including my social security number, on an un-secure (not https) web form — NO THANKS, FRANK! 😠

then, literally EVERYTHING i’ve read seems to indicate that, along with the ISF, i have to have either a “continuous bond” or a “single entry bond”, and a customs clearing agent, but the guy says neither of those things are necessary: “you can talk to airline , take delivery order and get the goods from the airport.” not only that, but i can’t even find where i’m SUPPOSED to file the ISF, except this, same “resource” that wants me to submit the information over an un-secure web form.

so i broke down and started up kmail, to retrieve the email addresses for the people i was in contact for the last HPOI go-around, two years ago, and contacted one of them, with the information i have… the last time i was in contact with them, they were USL Cargo Services, but i hit their web site, and it says that, as of a year ago, they’ve merged with another company, and are now CEVA Logistics… but their uslcargoservices.com web site and email addresses still appear to work, so we’ll see what happens… just to make sure, i also completed the easy-to-use form at cevalogistics.com as well.

grr… 😒

as i suspected…

the information that the guy has been giving me regarding the ISF is, substantially, wrong… which leads me to believe that the other information that he has been giving me is also wrong.

hopefully, the whole story about how he’s the CEO of mavana is not wrong, as well, otherwise i’m going to be REALLY pissed off!

the main concern, at this point, is the “continuous bond” — which only lasts for a year, so it’s not really “continuous”, but only in relation to a “single entry bond” which costs $10 for every $10,000 worth of product imported, with a minimum of $75 — and the “customs clearing agent” fee, which is $125. both of these “extra, add-on” fees were sprung on me at the last moment, last time, and ended up with me having to pay “extra, add-on” FINES before they would let me have my stuff.

all of this information is coming from TurboISF, a web site that i found after the last HPOI came in, when i was still seething about having to spend almost the same amount in “extra, add-ons” as i spent for the incense itself. hopefully, i have been alert enough to avoid the fines, this time. 😒

Ă,-PĂ,-RĀ’-JĬ,-TĂ,

part of what i am worried about is the ISF, which nobody told me about last time, which resulted in my having to pay a $400 fine for “importing without filing an ISF”… but, apparently, the ISF is only needed for ocean cargo… and, if it is needed for air freight, nobody has told me about it yet… but nobody told me about having a “broker” or a “continuous bond” last time, either, and i ended up having to get one at the last minute, at extra, added expense…

but, i paid the money this morning… i initiated an international wire transfer to india, so they’ve got my money, now, and if they don’t actually send me incese, at this point, i will be extremely pissed off.

aparajita! 👍

the latest is that i send them $1,000 and they send me 48 dozen boxes of aparajita, by air freight.

i have to wait until tomorrow to wire them the money. i tried today, but international money transfers have to be done on the same day, and, apparently, that day ends at 1300 hours, PDT, so i have to try again tomorrow.

this appears to be A LOT easier than the HPOI that i ordered two years ago… and a lot less expensive… but i seem to recall that a lot of the charges the last time around were ones that were added on by freight companies, intermediaries, and the federal government, so it’s not over yet. 😒

incense of the month club

this is the basic layout, so far:

people sign up in one of three two ways, either:

1) they pay $10, and get however many sticks of whatever the incense of the month is, that month. they can do this for as long as they like, up to $120, or 12 months. they don’t get anything extra.

not this… the “Incense Of The Month Club” is a subscription service. if people don’t want to “subscribe”, they can’t be a part of it.

also, it will make it SO much easier determining who gets what

21) they can pay $100 lump sum, all at once, for a “mundane” account, and get 12 months of however many sticks of whatever the incense of the month is, that month. that’s $10 a month, with 2 months free. they don’t get anything extra, but they do get 2 months free (woo hoo! free! 😒). this decreases in price by $10 a month, so in february, it costs $90, in march, it costs $80, in april, it costs $70, and so forth, until it costs $10 at which point it sticks at $10 and they can go month-to-month with the level 1 people. they get the first two months free, and after that, the price goes down $10 a month. basically, people who sign up in january get two months free, people who sign up in february get one month free, and after that, they pay $10 a month until december.

32) they can pay $8.50 a month, $102 total, lump sum, all at once, for a “VIP account”. they actually pay less per month, but, because of the fact that they’re actually paying more, overall, as well as getting however many sticks of whatever the incense of the month is, that month, they also get 🎉🎊EXTRA GOODIES🎊🎉, such as buttons, OM stuff, stickers, little good luck charms, random incense, and other bizarre stuff i have lying around. this offer is good for the first 3 months, and then it vanishes, leaving level 1 or level 2 for those people who want to sign up late, and as a motivation to sign up earlier.

i have 22 “limited edition, vintage” incenses, in packages ranging from 112 grams up to 750 grams, which means, theoretically, i could do this for two years (if i wanted to repeat two of them), but, for now, i’m a lot more interested in seeing how it works, and if anybody actually signs up, before i want to go making plans too far in advance. the incense i’ve got means that if, by some miracle, i actually get 25 people who sign up in january, i can send them anywhere between 5 and 15 sticks per month. if you count in the shipping, that comes out to almost exactly what they would pay for one pack of incense that you CAN find on the web.

this should be interesting. keep your eyes peeled for upcoming information about the Incense Of The Month Club‼‼😎👍

okay, here we go…

i have become more and more aware of the existence of “subscription services” (and have actually signed up for a few, myself), where you sign up, and pay a chunk of money, and then you get pins, or buttons, or stickers, or candy, or what-have-you, once a month for a year.

my impression is that they’re really “trendy”.

so, i have decided that i’m going to have a go at creating one myself.

mine is going to be the “incense of the month” club: you sign up and pay a chunk of money (i’m thinking between $75 and $100), and, in return, once a month, for a year, i’ll send you between 10 and 25 sticks of special, rare, unavailable anywhere else on line or off, incense… and maybe a little blurb about the incense, and a sticker or a button or something, if i want to add some extra zip to the whole thing.

at this point, i believe i’ve got enough “special, rare, unavailable anywhere else on line or off, incense” to fill 25 or so subscriptions for a year… honestly, i can’t imagine more than a handful of people subscribing, at all, but i’ve been wrong before…

i think, at this point, the hardest thing for me may be the fact that, in order for this to even come close to having a chance, i’m going to have to “talk it up” on “social media”, the whole idea of which turns my stomach.

so, anyway, look for the "incense of the month" club announcement coming in january.

aparajita update

i got prices from arun this morning. it looks like around $300.00 USD plus shipping for 40 dozen units (which works out to around $1.75 retail per unit, before shipping). why they didn’t send me the shipping charges is still a mystery, but it probably has something to do with COVID19, as that is the excuse for just about everything, these days.

at this point, i’m going to assume that the shipping (air freight from bangalore) is going to be TERRIFICALLY expensive, possibly amounting to more than the total cost of the incense itself. if that is the case, i may want to get more incense, to even things out a little.

i should also get in touch with the three or four other incense sellers that have contacted me, recently, and see if they’re willing to front some money for some rare, desirable incense, at which point i could, theoretically, purchase more than 40 dozen.

whew?

the latest about aparajita:

no good news, i’m afraid. i’m down to my last two boxes of aparajita, and then i am COMPLETELY OUT… for retail sale.

(my “personal stash”, of around a kilo, is the exception, of course.) 😉

HOWEVER, i am cautiously optimistic. an email i sent on 12th april has JUST been responded to by mavana’s representative in india, a guy named arun, with whom i have dealt extensively, in the past… 15 to 20 years ago…

he didn’t respond to any of my direct questions regarding aparajita, he asked how i was getting along in these times of global pandemic…

the global pandemic is fine, and all that, but I WANT MY APARAJITA, GODDAMNIT!

and it’s not JUST for me: i’ve got two other retailers who are breathing down my neck for it, and, just a couple of months ago, i had to PREVENT some unknown miscreant person from swooping in and buying ALL my remaining stock, just prior to ravi shankar’s birthday celebration — the only reason he wasn’t successful is that the first of his two credit cards was declined, which gave me the chance to go in to the web site and make the changes necessary to prevent him from doing so again — so i KNOW the demand is out there.

incense

since monday, 200608, i have gotten SEVENTEEN new incense orders, which works out to 3.4 new orders a day, in 5 days. 🤨

under ordinary circumstances, i get 3 or 4 new orders A MONTH. 😖

someone must have mentioned my web site on their podcast, or something.

also, it may be that someone mentioned my web site on a podcast about ravi shankar or the beatles, because by far and away the most incense i have sold since 200608, has been aparajita. now there are approximately 35 boxes left before i run completely out. 😒

aparajita

ravi shankar’s 100th birthday was the 7th of april.

ravi shankar’s favourite incense was aparajita.

at this point, i believe i am responsible for THE ONLY retail store in the united states which sells aparajita, online.

i am aware of several local retail stores which sell aparajita in their store, but not online. i’m fairly sure that there are others, in other cities. i am also aware of at least two retail stores (i won’t give them the satisfaction of a link) who say that they sell aparajita online, but they’re either perennially “out of stock”, or flat out rip people off, and hope that nobody notices. i have no doubt that there are others of that sort out there, as well.

recently, i had to prevent a guy from los angeles from buying ALL of my aparajita. he said he was working with ravi shankar’s family and the ravi shankar foundation on a special 100th birthday celebration. problem was, his credit card failed stripe, and the order was automatically cancelled… and then i learned how to set an item limit, so that people like him can’t just swoop in and buy all of my stock…

i’ve actually had this happen before: a few years ago, i stocked an incense that was made for the theosophical society by shroff agarbathies, that shroff called “Adyar Meditation Incense”, but the theosophical people called it “Leadbeater Incense”, and it was fantastic, rose, agar, and sandalwood, and i was the ONLY agarbathiwala outside of the theosophical society that carried it… but then the government of india put some sort of restrictions on the export of sandalwood, and shroff stopped making it. i found out about it when someone from florida (i suspect a theosophist, actually) bought TWO KILOS of adyar meditation incense, in 100 gram packages, and when i tried to order more, i couldn’t.

fortunately, i held back some for my own, personal “stash”, but since then i have been very wary of people who buy a huge quantity of one particular incense.

and, the fact is, i’ve been having some trouble locating a supplier of aparajita… AGAIN… 😒

my contact at mavana stopped responding to my emails, the mavana web site died, both of the suppliers (one in florida, one in new york) that carried it have gone out of business, and all of the other suppliers i’ve talked to say that they won’t carry it because aparajita smells too “medicinal”, whatever that means… 😟

my only hope is the fact that, in india, it is still popular enough that it’s being “copied” by at least two incense manufacturers… they haven’t got the recipe for the incense, but their labeling and package artwork is a direct rip-off of the authentic aparajita.

so, i guess i may have to actually travel to india eventually… 😒