the a,-pa,-rā’-ji,-tā, has arrived! 🥳🎉
go nuts, incense fanatics! 😉
they SAID they were going to deliver HPO Aparajita on friday, but, friday came and went with the shipment leaving east midlands airport (UK) at 21:45…
saturday, i was awoken at 07:41 in the morning with a text message saying that additional shipping fees were due, and they would ship the items back to india in 5 days if it wasn’t paid. 😒
they never said anything about “additional shipping fees” when they sent me the shipping information, last week… 🙄
but they were only $42, so i paid them, which updated their web site to say that “payment is received and recorded for shipment related fees”, at 07:47, but nothing since then…
apparently DHL shuts down, completely, on the weekends… nobody is available at customer service, their “chat bot” is limited in what it can do, packages don’t get delivered, packages don’t get transferred… if it’s in the air at 23:59 on saturday, there’s a crew to land the airplane, but it’s my impression that there isn’t a crew to unload the airplane until monday morning. 🙄
since then, i have gotten three different answers from their “chat bot”, which include “your shipment label has been created, but the shipment has not been turned over to DHL yet”, and “your shipment is on hold in cincinnati, awaiting payment of shipment related fees”… which are contradictory, and, most likely, completely untrue… 😒
and i can’t talk to an actual human about this until monday, which won’t do me any good because, at that point, i’ll be able to get updates from the web site. 😒
according to the web site, it cleared customs at 03:13 in cincinnati, and it was placed on hold in seattle, which, hopefully means that i will get my aparajita early on monday… 😒
and the guy said he was going to send it this way, this time, so that there wouldn’t be such a hassle, like there was the last time i ordered incense from him… 😒
i just got a text message from DHL, saying that two cartons of aparajita are set to arrive at my house on friday! 😉👍👍
we went to the campbell global snoqualmie tree farm, this morning, ostensibly to exercise dogs, but an ulterior motive was to scope out the “firewood” area, which is adjacent to the active logging, but they have logs pulled to the road and stacked, so that (if you’ve got a permit) you can go up there with a chainsaw and lop off firewood-length pieces, put them in your truck, and drive home without having to pay for it… thing is, the permit costs $300, which is about the same as a cord of firewood, but (if you’ve got a permit), you’re allowed to take up to 5 cords of firewood… plus, there’s literally 90,000 acres of trails that NOBODY else hikes on, because you’ve got to have a permit and a key… and, guess what? moe bought a permit when they went on sale, which is a little surprising because the permits sold out within a half-hour of going on sale… oh, and we have a pickup truck now… did i mention that before? we’ve had a ford f150 pickup truck for a little more than a year. it doesn’t get used for much — picking up loads of gravel, wood chips, or, soon, firewood (still got to wrassle up a chainsaw) — but it gets loaned to a whole bunch of different friends who need a truck for this or that…
i wrote to the newest member of the IOTM club last week, both from my hybridelephant.com account, and from my new hybrid elephant gmail account (because i’ve been having trouble with email, which is another story), and i have gotten no response, which makes me REALLY suspicious about this subscription… but, at this point, there’s absolutely nothing i can do about it, except to cancel the subscription and refund their money… which, at this point, is a little extreme, since, basically, the ONLY thing they’ve done is make me suspicious… but they’ve made me suspicious, which is very suspicious, and i really feel like there should be more than i can do to alleviate my suspicion.
the email thing is starting to grate on my nerves… fundamentally, there is NOTHING “wrong” with my email, but because of the fact that it doesn’t (by design) go through one of the “big guys” (i.e. micro$lut, yahoo, google, apple, etc.) i am finding that more and more services are either silently blocking my email, or producing more and more convoluted hoops that i have to jump through to get my email to… the people i do business with, my customers, suppliers, etc… 😒 at this point, i’ve gone back and forth with micro$lop so many times that my host provider is no longer willing to fight with them on my behalf, and has recommended that i route my mail through google or micro$hit to solve the problem… but i don’t see why i should have to pay — especially, i don’t see why i should have to pay micro$not — to solve a problem that micro$hite is causing to begin with. at this point, when i suspect that there may be a problem (like when a customer has an address @hotmail.com or @live.com, or something like that), i send them a response from my hybridelephant.com account, and if i think it may have been “interfered with” in some way, then i send them another response from my gmail account, which usually does the trick. but it’s grating on my nerves because it SHOULDN’T be this way, and i SHOULDN’T have to worry about whether or not my emails have gone through… it’s not like i’m running an open relay, or something like that, i’m just not willing to send my email through one of “the big guys” because, to be quite frank, i don’t trust “the big guys”… and it’s behaviour like i have seen from micro$leaze that causes me not to trust them. 😠
so i got another subscriber to the IOTM club, and at first everything looked okay… but the closer i looked, the more weird it became… everything came out the way it’s supposed to, so, technically, i am in the clear if somebody’s credit card was stolen and re-used, but i still wonder:
specifically, i wonder how a person with one name, in one location, can order something with a card that is for someone else’s name, in a completely different location, on the other end of the country. 🧐
this is very definitely not “normal”, if there ever were such a thing.
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. 🗡🤬
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. 😉
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. 😏
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.
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…
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. 😒
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 (“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 (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
Laccifer lacca Kerr.
Coccus lacca, Kerria lacca.
English : Shellac, Laksha (Lac). Hindi : Lakh, Sanskrit : Laksha, Bengali : Gala, Gujarati : Lak, Telugu : Kommolakka, Lakka, Tamil: Komburrki, Malayalam: Arakku, Ambalu.
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.
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.
Rasa : Kasaya, Guna : Laghu, Snigdha, Sneha, Virya : Shita, Vipaka : Katu, Karma : Kappa, Pitta.
Pachana, Depana, Apasmara, Kushta, Raktadosha, Kasa, Antrasula, Prameha, Atisara, Arocaka, Hidhma.
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(?)
Terminalia chebula fruits – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminalia_chebula
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.
Botanical name : Shorea robusta
Family : Dipterocarpaceae
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
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
Shoola – abdominal colic
Atisara – diarrhoea
Kandu – itching
Sphota – blisters
Effect of rala on Tridoshas
Vatapittahara – Balances vata and pitta dosha
Rala chemical constituents
It is composed of chemicals like hydroxyanone, dammarenediol II, Ursolic acid etc
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
NAGARMOTHA = cypriol
GUGGUL = bdellium
thistles and bugs… hmmmmmm… 🤔
okay, this is what i get for geeking out about incense:
(i ordered some opopanax oil! 😀)
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. 😉👍
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, 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”. 🤣
i inducted another person into the Incense Of The Month Club yesterday, which means that i now have 20 slots left… and it’s further evidence that, while there may not be MANY incense fanatics out there, there are a few of them.
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?
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. 😞
i just sold 10 boxes of Aparajita — an incense which, as far as i’ve been able to tell, is available NOWHERE ELSE in north america, and possibly the western hemisphere — to the Govinda Gallery in washington DC… which is the place that Astrid Kirchherr and Donovan exhibit their work…
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 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.
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 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. 😉
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… 😉
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!
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… 😉
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… 🤦🤦
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!! 😎
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.
the HPOI is leaving bangalore tomorrow. it arrives in seattle on…
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> 😒
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. 👍😉
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. 😒
that makes it easy… 😒
the guy isn’t going to sign up. apparently he rents, and his landlord won’t allow burning incense indoors. 😒
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! 😉
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. 😉
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. 😉
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… 🙄
i got my first inquiry about the Incense Of The Month Club today, which is good, because i was beginning to think that nobody would respond. alledgedly, there will be something that i can actually see, rather than just conceptualise, later on in the week. also, i shipped out 3 packages this morning, including one that wasn’t aparajita.
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.
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! 😉
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… 😒
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.
no order, no more phone calls, or texts… nothing.
i will never figure out these people. 😖
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″
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.
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.
now i’ve got a web site to update. 😉
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!!!‼‼‼😀😎👍👍👍
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 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?
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. 🤬
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. 😒
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.
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. 😒
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.
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. 😒
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‼‼😎👍
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.
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.
they are still making aparajita! i can order directly from the manufacturer!
APARAJITA WILL BE BACK!🎉🎊🎈🎊🎉
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.
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. 😒
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… 😒
i ordered a bunch of tibetan incense from Dakpa Tamdin, in India, this afternoon. it should be here in a couple months or less… it’s coming from india and i don’t even have the shipping details, yet. it may be sooner, but a couple of months sounds about right. keep an eye out here for further details as they become available.
#drumpf is in the midst of impeachment, but it doesn’t appear to be making a whole lot of difference (thus, the mushrooms), but there have been some good things happening.
i have been getting A LOT of incense orders: 13 since the first of october, compared to 5 or fewer per month from january to september. also, i’ve gotten more orders from england and germany, since the first of october, than i have in the entire year previous. i still don’t entirely know what’s happening, but the end result is that i’ve now got more than $4,000 in my hybrid elephant account… which is somewhat startling…
last weekend, moe and i took a mini-vacation to san diego, for one night. ostensibly, moe had to rack up enough airline miles to qualify for “gold status”, because she has been travelling A LOT recently — mostly because of her newfound notariety as the author of a revolutionary book on animal behaviour — which, naturally, means that i have to stay at home and look after the pets.
seriously, folks… i’m married to a famous author! this week, she’s staying at a hotel in times square! it’s probably about as close to famous as i’m ever going to be! 😎
so moe decided that she would find a pet sitter and we would go off on our own (which i really appreciate). she chose san diego because she has been there before, and i haven’t, but i realised that san diego is the home of not one, but two outlets of the Village Hat Shop, which is where i bought my red fedora, and it is also home to the naval amphibious base coronado, which is a building shaped like a swastika.
i saw where it was when we were flying in, but i didn’t actually see the building because we were at too shallow an angle, and you pretty much have to be directly overhead to actually see that it’s shaped like a swastika…
so we flew to san diego to go hat shopping. i bought a pork pie made out of paper (a paper pork pie), and exhibited a great deal of self restraint becauuse i really wanted to take home about half the shop.
we actually stayed on coronado island
we stayed in a hotel room that is so “far above our station” that i almost got a nosebleed. 😉
and we flew home the next day, which was sunday.
i went busking yesterday, which was good, despite the fact that we only made about $20 a piece for 2 hours of busking. today i took two packages to the post office to ship out, and went to the dispensary, where i spent it all on weed and weed-related products.
and no w m y jmushrooms have kikckedk in ahd i heeed to be g oijn go ut for a wal,,k oris oemething lll…. 😁
recently, i’ve been incensing the neighbourhood.
i’ve been taking my thurible outside (because, realistically, that’s the only place i can use it without setting off my smoke alarm), drinking beer, smoking pot, listening to frank zappa, and burning frankincense, benzoin and copal resin — rather like the ethiopian family that lived next door to us, where we used to live, in renton, did…
although i’m reasonably sure that the ethiopian family didn’t smoke pot, drink beer, and listen to frank zappa… 😉
but, basically, i really like burning incense, i really like burning frankincense, because it has the scientifically-proven ability to calm my anxiousness, and i really like “sharing” the good smells with my neighbours… whether they like it or not… 😈
which got me to thinking, yesterday…
i also REALLY like playing music for people. particularly, i really like playing my overtone flute at the oregon country fair, where people passing by have the possibility of hearing my music, but not knowing exactly from where it may be coming.
so, i thought, why not combine the two, and put together a “performance” or a “concert”, or something like that, where i set up somewhere, incense the whole place, and play my overtone flute?
it would have to be an outside venue, because nobody would want “concert” like this inside, where it would be extremely likely to set off smoke alarms, but that’s okay, because if it’s outside, there’s more of a possibility that people will experience the scent and not even be able to tell from where it’s coming… possible places are greenlake, volunteer park and gasworks park.
i would probably also want to set up a sign, or something, letting people know what i’m doing… but it would also be interesting to do that sort of thing without any clues, just to see how people might respond…
and there was much rejoicing…
it actually doesn’t look like that much incense, but remember… 75kg = 165.3467lb — these boxes are dense…
they have weird packing in india… all of them are labeled “CNT:NO1/3” but each of them have a different CNT:NO… i would have thought that CNT:NO1 would be labeled CNT:NO1/3, and CNT:NO2 would be labeled CNT:NO2/3… but i have never shipped anything from india before, so who knows. what i do know is that i had to pay ANOTHER fee before i was able to pick them up, which brings the grand total cost to $1,815.75, or $1.12 per package…
which is still pretty respectable, considering that, as far as i have been able to tell, nobody else in the united states sells these incenses online, and i can probably retail them for $4.00 a piece, or wholesale them for $25 a dozen. 😉
i haven’t opened them all, yet, but i opened this one because it’s one of my favourite incenses. they used to make 999 Lord Krishna Puja Dhoop, but they don’t any longer. fortunately they use the same recipe to make sticks, so i’ve got my supply. 😉
i understand why mr. joy wanted to send me more incense. the three boxes didn’t even fill up one pallet, and it would cost pretty much the same to ship three boxes or thirty boxes. i can see that, now… of the $1,815.75 that i paid for it, only $771.00 went to MSDF, and $1,044.75 went to various different freight companies. it would have been much better for me to order twice or three times as much incense, because i would have had to pay the same amount to ship it…
or not… 😕
on 180329, i finally got some reliable information from the person i had been calling to find out about where the huge piles of incense were. they told me that i had to get in touch with the people who “owned the shipment”, which is a place called USL Cargo Services, in new jersey. the lady i finally reached at USL (a very pleasant, but intensely rushed lady named Roselyn Ramos) said that they had to have a copy of the OBL, and a payment of $221.50 before they could tell me where to pick it up.
great, i thought… it’ll be here soon. i had only called the shipping terminal people in kent (where the Sea Freight LCL Arrival Notice said it would be), THREE TIMES before he gave me that information. i contacted USL, sent the payment and the copy of the OBL, and figured that would be it.
then, on 180411, i got an email from Mr. Joy, the guy from whom i actually bought the huge piles of incense. i was not the direct recipient of said email, i had just been copied on it, because it was from somebody at the shipping port in india named “Parab”, complaining to Mr. Joy that the ISF had not been filed. Mr. Joy responded by saying “Hope the importer is doing the needful.”
so, i contacted roselyn, and she said that the ISF was supposed to be filed (i didn’t get exactly who is supposed to file it, but i gather that one of the options is me, and another option is Mr. Joy) before the shipment leaves the port of origin, and, because of the fact that it hadn’t been filed, i would be charged an extra $400 “fine”, for importing stuff without an ISF. she suggested that i contact Mr. Joy and see if he couldn’t work something out.
which, naturally, Mr. Joy was unwilling to do… 😡
so, with the broker’s fees, plus the $500 “fee” for a “continuous bond” (which, in spite of the name, only lasts for a year), i owe a further $685.55…
AND I STILL don’t know when or where i’m supposed to pick up the huge piles of incense.
presumably, the “where” part of it is at the shipping terminal in kent. the guy at the shipping terminal said that the shipment had arrived and was being “devanned”(?) today… he also said that, once it has been “devanned”(?), and the customs had been worked out, they would send an email to the shipper (Mr. Joy?) informing them of the fact. i’m assuming that the “when” part is going to be some time this week… but i’ve been assuming that for three weeks now, and it hasn’t happened yet.
today, 180416, i got email from “Ravi”, who is also known as “import4”. “import4” is the address i have been instructed to send to, when i am writing to roselyn, so that, when roselyn isn’t available, i can still get up to date information. it contained what i hope is the final “Sea Freight LCL Arrival Charge Sheet”, which totals $907.05… of which, i have already paid $221.50. it also contained a note that said “also we are pending OBL to release your shipment kindly send asap.”
in my communication with roselyn, last week, i was informed that i had to send the ORIGINAL OBL, and not a copy, as i had been told previously. i sent it, and it arrived 180413. i wrote back to “import4”, informing him of this, and he said, yes, they had recieved it… but, if that’s the case, why did he say that it was “pending”? 😐
one way or the other, it looks, at this point, like i’m still going to get 1,632 packages of incense for a little more than $1.05 per package… and NOBODY in the united states sells these incenses on line…
ETA: i sent what i hope is the last payment to people concerning the HPOI. now all i gotta do is wait for them to tell me when and where to pick it up. 😎
i am collecting quite an admirable pile of documents related to my purchase and import of huge piles of incense into the country, and i keep finding out new things which were NOT related to me when i originally made the decision to start the ball rolling, back in january.
i got a “Sea Freight LCL* Arrival Notice” a couple of weeks or so ago, which listed a freight terminal in kent, under the heading “GOODS AVAILABLE AT:”, and an “upgraded” notice about a week ago, which contained the IT number — which, apparently, means “Inbond Transit”… i would have thought it meant “InboUnd Transit” but apparently not. the IT number is the one that the people at the terminal where i pick it up from, ultimately, have been asking for… however, now that they have it, they’re just as clueless as they were before, and they recommend that i contact the people who actually have the cargo, at this point.
i had to call them THREE TIMES before i learned that the people who have the cargo are USL Cargo Services, in east rutherford, new jersey, and when i called them, they were closing down for the (holiday 😡 ) weekend, and won’t be able to figure it out until monday, at the earliest.
they did, however, ask me if i had a “broker”, which i thought about, and then said no — because, technically, i am a “print broker”, but i figured that was not what they were asking about. apparently, one needs a “broker” to “clear” the shipment, at the terminal, before it can be picked up. not only that, but there was another page, labeled “Sea Freight LCL Arrival Charge Sheet” which added up a total of $231.20 worth of extra charges invoiced to me, which had to be paid before i could pick it up, once the “broker” is done “clearing” it. 😕 on top of everything else, apparently i have to mail them an original copy of the bill of lading, two copies of which were mailed to me from india, about a week into the whole process (i.e. about a month and a half ago). if someone had actually told me that i was supposed to do all of this crap ahead of time, it wouldn’t have taken me by surprise when i found out about it now. fortunately, i found out about it before the point where i went down to the terminal in kent to pick it up.
at this point, i have paid a total of $1,037.20 for 1,632 individual packages of incense, which STILL only amounts to 64¢ per package…
once i actually have it in my posession…
all of this meaningless (to me) fol-de-rol to import three huge cartons of incense from india… my guess is that i will actually have the incense some time next week, but i’m not going to hold my breath.
* LCL stands for “Less Cargo Load”, which means “less than a shipping container”. the other term is FCL, which stands for “Full Cargo Load” which means “a shipping container”. the people at MSDF REALLY want to send me FCL freight, but it’s simply too much product… 😕
i got email this morning. this is the official word:
The shipment of 3 Cartons Incense Sticks has been arranged per vessel CORINTHIAKOS Voy. E091, sailing on 28/02/2018.
The delivery is expected by end of March.
i am, officially, getting three cartons of MSDF incense. it’s actually a lot less than they wanted to send me, but what they are sending me is making me a little concerned about where i will store it. it’s 33 dozen 999 Lord Krishna Puja, 63 dozen 7 African Powers and 40 dozen 909 Three Roses. in total, 136 dozen packages of incense, or 1,632 individual packages… which is a little bit less than half of the total incense that i CURRENTLY have.
there’s a chance that i can sell some of it, wholesale, to other agarbathiwalas (i’ve already been in contact with one, who said that she has a friend who might be interested, as well), but it’s still going to stretch my storage ability to the maximum.
i’ve got two print orders that total almost $350 that (supposedly) they’re going to pay around the end of the month… but the end of the month is in two days, so hopefully it’ll be soon.
new and replenished dhoop selections, a new nag champa, and a couple of new things to play around with: black copal resin and palo santo, which set off my new smoke alarm before i had the chance to adequately evaluate it. 😉coming soon, A LOT of incense from MSDF: 33 dozen 999 Lord Krishna Puja (the sticks, not the dhoop. apparently they don’t make the dhoop any longer), 63 dozen 7 African Powers and 40 dozen 909 Three Roses. 🙂
i got an incense order from martinique, but the guy wanted me to ship it to indiana, and gave me a phone number that i should call before i shipped the order.
i called the number and had a very pleasant conversation with amanda, from Incense Incense, which inspired me to try, once again, to contact someone from MSDF. amanda gave me a phone number for someone named manoj, but i have some difficulty using the telephone to places on the other side of the world, primarily because of the time difference, so i went to MSDF dot com and clicked on their “contact us” button (because their web site has NO prices and looks like it hasn’t been updated in 20 years), just like i have done many times in the past with no response…
but, surprise! this time someone answered my email… and it just happened to be someone named manoj… coincidence? “manoj” is sort of like “jim” in the united states: every third guy, or thereabouts, has that name… but one way or the other, i had a contact at MSDF, who confirmed that they have NO US representatives, currently, and offered to send me cartons of incense, rather than shipping containers of incense, at OUTRAGEOUSLY GOOD prices… like 27¢ a pouch for 7 African Powers, and 35¢ a box for Lord Krishna Puja 999…
upshot of the whole thing is that i’m going in with amanda and buying around $500 worth of incense… and we’ll be THE ONLY ONLINE RETAILERS IN THE COUNTRY to sell it! 😎
in other news, the theosophical society has, apparently, discontinued their characteristic “Leadbeater” incense, otherwise known as Adyar Meditation Incense, by Shroff Channabassappa and Sons, and i have been trying to find shroff on the web, as well, to clarify why this is happening, but, so far, all i have found are people who are selling their incense, but no indication that Shroff Channabassappa & Sons are even still in business… which would explain why the theosophical society has discontinued their incense… but if that’s the case, i’m certain that the recipe for leadbeater incense has to exist on line somewhere, and that’s my next goal.
my phone is back in working order again.
the story they gave me, combined with what i suspected, is that the battery “gets used” to having a certain level of charge. the other day, when we were travelling, i didn’t actually plug my phone into the charger for a couple of days, and almost drained the battery before i finally plugged it in. apparently, in cases like that, it’s a good idea, when the phone is finally plugged in, to shut the phone down and restart it, otherwise the battery flips out and causes problems. when it caused problems on my phone, it restarted automatically, and failed to restart, probably because it was lacking power at the time (it was in my pocket). the story they gave me is that, when it fails to restart, it can drain the battery trying to “rescue” the operating system.
now i know: if it fails to restart, plug the phone in to power and hold down the “home” key and the “turn off the screen” key for 30 seconds or so. doing that will, frequently, save a trip to the real technicians.
i’ve gotten 4 incense orders in the past week. one of them i had to refund, because all of what they ordered hasn’t even been in stock for a bunch of years… like, at least two that i can recall, and possibly more than that. i HATE it when that happens. 😡
also, my new credit card service (YAY, NO MORE PAYPAL!) charges a fee, which i have been forgetting to subtract from the totals i have been writing down, which means that where i really am is about $10 less than where i think i am… which is confounded even further by the fact that i lost my tax spreadsheets a few months ago, and, while the electronic version i replaced it with is WAY easier to use, it missed a fair portion of the year because i was getting switched over, combined with the switch in web sites and general forgetfulness.
and another incense order today for $50, which makes the total haul over $200… 👍
when it rains…
i have nobody ordering incense for months, and then, when i’m on vacation, i get two incense orders which i can’t fill, because i’m on vacation… and besides which, one of them somehow ordered more than i have in stock AND he’s an international order for which paypal 😡 never figures the shipping, so yesterday i filled the order i could, and wrote the guy in england with further instructions…
this morning i got another incense order… for two dozen different kinds of incense… 👍 so i put together that order, and shipped them out this morning.
then, i got home and i had another incense order, so i put that together and shipped it out, as well.
i got up early because i was supposed to give a friend a ride to seattle, but when i got there, he told me that he had rescheduled for january, but that he could use a ride to the post office. so i took him to the post office, and checked my box, which was empty. 😒
i got an order for 13 boxes of incense, but when i looked at my active stock, i only had 5. because of the fact that i had to leave to go to seattle, i couldn’t figure out why. when i got back home, after not having to go to seattle, i was able to determine that, while i only had 5 boxes in my active stock, i actually had 30 stashed away in cold storage. so i packed up 13 boxes and made another run to the post office. kaching! $90… 😊
not only do i not have to figure out what’s wrong with the web site, i’ve got another example of how the web site is smarter than i am, despite the fact that it’s 6 years old. 😒
because of the fact that i don’t have to go to seattle, i don’t have anything else to do until my rehearsal this evening, but i also don’t have an excuse to go visit ezra and give him the last vestiges of his living in my house (a few posters, a couple CDs and a folder full of ancient stuff)… which means that i may go into seattle anyway, to deliver the stuff for ezra. 😊
oh yeah, todays the blog-birthday. happy birthday, blog. 😊
so, i’ve got a new customer.
he’s from india. he’s a doctor. he wants me to ship him $100 worth of incense that, it is my understanding, is VERY easy to find in india, but which is practically impossible to find in the united states… in fact, as far as i can tell, mine is the only on-line, retail store in the united states which sells it…
here is a guy, who is 150 kilometers away from the manufacturer of this incense, who wants me to ship $100 worth of this exact, same incense to him, from half way around the planet…
i got my annual enormous shipment of incense today, and turned around and got half of the shipment i received, ready to ship out again… it came from maspeth, new york, and is being shipped to minneapolis, minnesota, by way of seattle…
weird, but whatever works…
also, i got the latest Operation Mindfuck element today, which is a sticker that says “WARNING! This object does NOT exist!“. 👿 now i just have to figure out what to put it on… or, more acurately, what NOT to put it on… 👿
i shipped out a devotional statue to basel, switzerland, after going back and forth with the guy in email since saturday. first he didn’t read the we DO ship internationally, BUT…” page and then he took his time when it actually came to making the extra payment, but it all worked itself out in the end, and his statue shipped out today.
so, about this time last year, or thereabouts, i got an order for aparajita from a customer who wanted to resell it. i made a deal to sell half of my existing stock to them at cost, but that left me with a quickly diminishing stock, and, because of the fact that i had bought the aparajita (in the “old” box) from a दस्यु who sent me 170 boxes of a 240-box order, and then vanished into the ethernet, leaving no forwarding address or any other way of contacting him, i was, once again, DESPERATELY searching for a new supplier of my best-selling incense.
shortly after that, i found one(!!), and ordered more aparajita at a cost that allowed me to reduce my price from $7.00 a box to $4.00 a box. 😀
fast forward to yesterday.
i decided, because of the fact that i was down to 4 dozen boxes, that it was time to order more aparajita. i figured i would duplicate my previous order, because, while aparajita is my best-seller, i don’t have any indication that it’s becoming more popular — i did have a supplier tell me that they didn’t carry aparajita any longer, because it has a “too medicinal” smell that “people don’t like”…
so i ordered 7 dozen boxes, and figured that would be good enough…
then, this morning, i got another email from the lady who originally wrote me back in the first sentance of this post, and she wants to order 50 boxes, like last time…
so i wrote her back with the good news about the new supplier, and she changed her order from 50 boxes (a little more than 4 dozen) to 100 boxes (around 8 dozen)…
which meant that i, then, had to call the supplier(!!) and change my order from 7 dozen to 15 dozen…
now i REALLY have motivation to work out the problems with the new web site! 8)
what do you know? 😎
i got a phone call this morning from someone who (judging solely by the way he spoke) was from india, although he told me that he was calling from new jersey, and his phone number is in western new york…
and, naturally, he was inquiring about aparajita — these days, when someone calls me from the web site, it’s guaranteed that they either want to talk about aparajita, or they’re wondering where they can get Spice…
what i told him satisfied him that the aparajita i was selling was the authentic stuff, and he said he would place an order (which hasn’t arrived yet, but i’m sure it will), but the interesting part comes next.
he said that he knew the people who owned Sri Satyanarayana Parimala Factory, in Mysore, so i told him about my search for “The Real” aparajita, which included my finding out about Cauvery, and he said that Sri Satyanarayana Parimala Factory actually manufactures incense that is sold by Cauvery. he also says that he knows all of the incense manufacturers in mysore, and is available by phone if i have any questions about with whom to do business.
what i came away with, from that conversation, was that Cauvery, which i suspected was making erzatz aparajita, is actually re-packaging legitimate aparajita in “old style” boxes (which immediately disproves the 2 complaints that i have gotten in the past 5 years, that the aparajita i was selling “smelled wrong” or had a “moth-ball”-like smell), AND that the most recent purchase i made is ALSO “The Real” aparajita, and, as i said before, i will be able to sell it for significantly LESS than i am currently selling it…
and the only difference is that it will be in the “new” box. 😎
i just made my first order from the distributor for sri satyanarayana parimala factory!! it’s gonna ship tomorrow! i’ll have real aparajita by next week, and i’ll be able to sell it for a lot less! 😀
i broke down and paid for a year of VPN service. now the IP address of my linux box is in stockholm, sweden, the IP address of my mac (which is in the same location) is in southhampton, england, and the IP address of my phone is in austin, texas. i imagine that this may present a bit of a problem when i log into the moisture festival artist’s WIFI, but i’ll deal with that as it happens, rather than worrying about it now.
i got an order for 50 boxes of aparajita from essence of the ages, which is run by what appears to be a “christian” woman. i don’t know why she’s buying incense from me (apart from the fact that i am the only vendor in the western hemisphere who sells what she wants to buy, and she has customers who want to buy what i have to sell) but i think it’s pretty amusing. the up side of it, for me, is that it makes the occasion of my buying my first incense from the actual distributor for sri satyanarayana parimala factory EVER, possible… 😎
the panto starts next week. we’re doing amazingly well. we had our first official, complete run-through last wednesday, and there are still two more rehearsals before we open. we’ve still got one more piece to learn before we open, but that’s pretty standard. and the shows have been selling out really quickly, which is really good.
my “old school” stereo system works exactly the way i was hoping it would, and tomorrow (or monday, at the latest) i plan on making a trip to pacific custom cabling to get another ⅛"-mini-stereo-to-stereo-RCA cable, and then both of my computers will be hooked up to it. for the first time EVER i will have a decent-quality stereo behind my attempts to compose music with reason and/or sibelius. what is the world coming to? 😉
yesterday, i got an incense order for ambica hare rama special flora… over the telephone… 😐
first, the guy wanted to know if i had any hare rama incense. i told him that i did, then he hung up. then he called back, and wanted to know how many boxes i had. i told him, and then he hung up again…
so i went in to check and make sure that i actually had 41 boxes, and it turned out that i only had 34 boxes… but before i had the chance to call him again, he called back again, and wanted to know why he couldn’t pay without a paypal account. i told him that he could pay, even without a paypal account, and talked him through the process. paypal apparently wouldn’t accept his shipping address, about which there is nothing that i can do, and i told him so…
and he hung up again…
oops, i forgot to tell him about only having 34 boxes of incense. but before i could dig his phone number out of my semi-smart phone, he called back AGAIN, and told me that paypal wouldn’t accept his shipping address, and wondered if there was any way to place an order that didn’t involve the web site… 😛
i HATE taking orders from out-of-state customers over the telephone, principally because i don’t have a way to process credit cards other than through paypal, and i told him so. he suggested a snail-mail payment using a money order — i haven’t even heard of a money order for, like, 15 or 20 years… i didn’t even know they still existed… 😐 — but, apparently, they still exist, AND (apparently) they’re STILL a more trusted method of payment than a cheque.
they just take longer… because of the fact that this guy is ordering from bowdoinham, maine, it will take a week or so until his payment reaches me, during which time, theoretically, it is possible for somebody else to buy exactly the same incense, and (because i only have 34 boxes), if that were to happen, then it would take even longer for me to get his order to him.
after i took care of his immediate worries, i started calling around to find more ambica hare rama incense. both of my “regular” suppliers don’t carry it, so i checked, and the place i got it from last time (in 2006) was the “old time hippie” incense supplier with whom i originally started this business (in 1998), who is flakier than a croissant and doesn’t even answer his phone most of the time these days… and when he does, he inevitably wants to suck me into an hour-long, off-topic conversation about how durbar incense is much more preferable than masala incense, and nobody carries durbar incense any longer, and… which is one of the reasons i don’t use his services any longer.
so, once again, i am down to writing to someone with a gmail.com address, IN INDIA, to POSSIBLY get this obscure incense that nobody else carries in the united states any longer…
i really should start charging a lot more to do this… 😐
i just talked to a guy on the phone, who is in the united states, who RELIABLY (or so it seems) imports Aparajita Special Herbal Durbar direct from the manufacturer in india, and will sell it to me for a per-box price that means that i can actually reduce the price… and, presumably, is not the दस्युः i ordered from last time…
after a short hiatus (during which i couldn’t remember how to reset my admin password), i now have the new incense available to everyone… so what are you waiting for? go and buy some! 😎
i went out today, and when i arrived home, i discovered that the mail delivery person had been there, and left me a note that said i had a package that was too big to deliver, and that it could be picked up at the post office (that is the 3rd closest to our house, but that’s another matter entirely). so i went down to the post office, where the korean person i talked to behind the counter informed me that, because of the fact that i received the notice today, the probability was very high that the package wouldn’t actually be ready for pickup until friday.
meanwhile, i could actually see the package on the shelf behind her… i mean, usually a package from india is pretty distinctive, and this one had bands around it that said “INDIA POST” in large, distinct, english and devanagari letters…
i said why didn’t she go and take a look anyway, and, so she went back to the shelves where the packages were, and, after staring at the package for about five minutes, she realised that it was mine… and then she spent another five minutes checking the serial numbers on the package against my drivers’ license, and having me hand write my address into their little touch-screen pad (which i deliberately made as illegible as possible), before handing over the 40-pound package.
which, naturally, was full of really high quality incense from india… 😎
the real, authentic Aparajita Special Herbal Durbar, made by Sri Satyanarayana Parimala Factory
so i finally got in touch with someone from mavana regarding where to obtain authentic aparajita on this side of the world. they wrote me back and directed me to Wonder India (they have a couple of different URIs, but nothing is there), and they sent me a bunch of samples, including, most significantly, a box of AUTHENTIC aparajita special herbal durbar manufactured by mavana, doing business as the Sri Satyanarayana Parimala Factory in mysore.
notably, they are NOT cauvery, and have nothing to do with them… which makes me really wonder what is the situation with intellectual property in india, because the incense i got from mavana, today, is, substantially, the same incense that is produced with the same name by cauvery as well… 😐
however, and this is the big difference, this company is located in the united states, and has a relationship with mavana/sri satyanarayana parimala, and they CAN get, essentially, unlimited quantities of real, authentic aparajita!
and they are a lot less likely to rip me off, send me less product than i ordered, talk in some weird, foreign language, and all that other stuff that has frustrated me so much in the past.
moe has gone to southern oregon for the national sheep-dog handling finals — yes, we have not one, but two championship-quality dogs in this house, thanks, in part, to moe, who is the dog-whisperer to dog-whisperers… 😎 (and that guy who is “The Dog Whisperer” really doesn’t know what he’s talking about most of the time… really… you should hear moe rant about how cesar milan is wrecking dogs, when she gets to ranting about him)
but, of course, the down side to all of this, is that moe is gone for a week, and i have to stay here, because i have a performance on saturday and it would be too far to drive back from klamath falls for, especially since we’d either have to take both cars, or i would have to drive from klamath falls to seattle for a 2 hour performance, and then drive back to klamath falls to pick up moe and her dogs and gear… which would be especially important since we just bought a trailer/pop-up-tent/RV-like-thing, and that isn’t going anywhere without a vehicle to tow it.
so, the upshot of the whole deal is that i am alone for a week, with an ancient, decrepit dog, two ancient, decrepit cats, a bird (who is neither ancient nor decrepit), and an ancient, decrepit snake… i guess, since i am verging on ancient and decrepit myself, i’m in good company, but i would really prefer it if i was with moe, or she was with me… there’s nobody but stanley to talk to, and, while some of the things he says are definitely amusing, he doesn’t always respond the way a human being would…
the performance is with the sousa band, at Festa Italiana, and they’re probably going to feed us… which is always the right thing to do for musicians that you hire to come and play for your party… 😉
apart from that, i’m still going back-and-forth with the incense guy from india. everything was going as expected until he quoted me a price that is essentially what i charge my retail customers for what would essentially be a wholesale purchace. when i responded, he didn’t come back with an answer for a few days, and then, this morning, he came back with a response in which he, basically, offered me the same incense for a quarter of the price, but only if i order more than a certain amount of it… which i would do, but i don’t want to seem too eager, because i know that if i can put him off long enough, the price has a very good probability of going down even further… and if not, it will also give me time to build up my bank account to the point where i can actually afford to buy a whole pile of incense from india… 😎
i still haven’t gone out to busk with my didjeri-flute/delay/amp setup yet, but i have been out busking with my tuba at least twice in the past week. a couple of days ago, i went out to the ballard sunday market, ostensibly to play with hobbit, but as we were getting set up, we were joined by julie b. who plays “delicious violin” (really, it says so on her cute little business card), who hobbit knows from the pike place market… and with a very little prompting from hobbit, we played quite acceptably, got a couple of inquiries about whether or not we were available for house parties(!) and made some generous tips for playing for a little less than 2 hours… i get the impression that, with a little more prompting, we could either add a violin to snake suspenderz (on a more-or-less temporary basis) or we could simply bill Accidental Rhino as a separate band and have twice as many gigs… either way is fine with me.
i got a notification from the letter-carrier yesterday, indicating that i had a package that they hadn’t delivered because i wasn’t home, and the package delivery required a signature… naturally, i wasn’t home, so i went down to the post office today to pick it up.
it’s really bizarre to me, because of the fact that we live so close to the border between king and pierce counties, that the post office to which i had to go to pick up my package, is the third farthest post office from my actual location: the first is in milton/edgewood, but that “doesn’t count” because it’s in pierce county, and the second is in federal way, which is in king county, but it’s on the “wrong side of the freeway” from where i am…
anyway, i went down to the post office, wondering what it was, because i wasn’t expecting a package. when i got there, they took a lot of information from me for a “normal” package – signature, printed name and street address – and the lady went back to retrieve the package… and it turned out to be from india, which i was totally not expecting at all. of course this made me wonder even more what it was, and i opened it up as soon as i got out to my car… after all, it isn’t every day that you get an unexpected package from india… 😎
i seem to recall, a month or so ago, corresponding with a “mr. sriram” from india, regarding the possibility of my doing business with his company, and it may have been that i asked him if he could send me samples, but it was long enough ago that i don’t remember…
but the incense smells OUTRAGEOUS!! it smells like the kind of incense that i remember getting in the early ’70s when it’s not lit, and lighting a stick immediately transports me back to when incense actually smelled good, and not like it does today, which is like a chemical factory… the paperwork that came inside the package doesn’t have an email address, so i’m going to have to hope that my recollection is correct, and that i have an email address somewhere for “mr. sriram” at srinidhi solutions… ’cause their incense is AMAZING! 😎
okay, it is actually indian incense and shipped from kalimpong, but it was made according to tibetan traditions, with tibetan ingredients and under the supervision of a tibetan guru who was instructed by the panchen lama. they’re all available online, under the "Dakpa Tamdin" label. so far, my favourite one is Meenling Surpoa.
get it? up… date…
well, i thought it was amusing…
i am feeling a good deal better, although i am still not back to 100% health, yet. i still have a lingering cough that comes up at random times, particularly whenever i lie down, but i’m a lot better than i was a week ago.
the brakes in my car have to be replaced, to the tune of $800. moe claims that this car is “nickle-and-dime-ing” me, but the previous car (of which she approved) had already cost me almost $3000 by this point in our relationship, including $1500 for a replacement transmission, and this car has only cost me $450, plus the proposed brake work, and it appears, in spite of the fact that i’ve had to replace the timing belt, and now i have to get all four brakes and wheel bearings replaced, that this is going to continue to be a functional car for a lot longer than the previous one was. and, because of the fact that it’s a honda and not a ford (or whatever the previous car was, i don’t remember), i can actually take it to jack to have the repair work done for (hopefully) cheaper than edgewood tire quoted me. i’m also going to try to enlist the aid of the friend who worked on my brakes the day i had my brain injury (although, again, hopefully, i won’t have another brain injury), which has the definite possibility of saving me a good deal of money.
i got a reply from the incense people regarding the meaning of the word “pieces” and, as i suspected, it was entirely due to the fact that they were translating from hindi to english. if it weren’t for the fact that i have to think about providing at least part of the money for my car, i would already have sent the guy $100 for incense. as soon as i actually get paid for the postcards i made last month, i will probably do that anyway.
we had a recording session with a real, live, professional recording technician, last night, which went outstandingly well, and we’ve got another session with him tomorrow night, which, if it goes half as well as last night’s session did, will make a real, live CD of the fremont philharmonic a lot closer to being actual reality than it has ever been before. also, friday is a New Old Time Chautaqua benefit show in olympia, for which i have been recruited as a sousaphone player. it should be fun, if nothing else.
today is may day. everybody go home and don’t work. also, friday is Bongwater Day, for those of you who are interested.
i got email, the other day, from a person who claims to be a representative of Dakpa Tamdin incense manufacturers in india. i have, in the past, carried a number of different dakpa tamdin fragrances, the most recent of which has been the “kelsang dikibhatso” cedar-sandalwood fragrance pictured to the right. unfortunately, it’s one of those incenses that nobody in the US carries in bulk, and is obscure enough that nobody wants to carry it, similar to aparajita. i wrote back to them with a request for more information, and received my reply today.
this is a good thing, because it means that they are actually at the address they gave me (unlike the guy who claimed to represent aparajita, but suddenly stopped replying to his email address after i sent him $500 for incense and he didn’t send the entire order)… however, because of the difficulties between english and hindi, i am not sure exactly what they claim to be able to send me, and how much it will cost:
Thribton Kuensel : 30-32 sticks – 80grams? :? Rs. 130/-
Shingkham Kuenkhyap I (maroon) : 30-32 sticks – 80grams : Rs. 90/-
Shingkham Kuenkhyap II (yellow) : 30-32 sticks – 80grams? : Rs. 60/-
Ribo Sangtsoe (red) : 30-32 sticks – 80grams? :? Rs. 30/-
Meenling Surpoe (black) : 30-32 sticks – 80grams : Rs. 20/-
Sambara? (red) : 30-32 sticks – 80grams : Rs. 15/-
Thribton Kuensel : 30-32 sticks – 80grams : Rs. 15/-
at the moment, 130 rupees is approximately $2.50, and 15 rupees is approximately 25¢, which sounds pretty good, until you get to shipping it from india:
Regarding shipping & packing, Normally, we use to pack in special made ply wood box, which consist of 200 pieces (?each bundle = 100 pieces). Then shipment goes upto Delhi, further cargo agent will handle it.
this sounds suspiciously like the arrangement that i got into with the दस्यु that claimed to represent aparajita, not to mention the fact that it’s not very clear whether his use of the word “pieces” refers to the same thing, which it appears not to in this case.
now i have to tread carefully, decide how much money i can risk sending to the other side of the planet with no assurances that i will ever see ANY return from it, and figure out how to ask this person to define the word “pieces” in their email to me, without offending them.
well, i haven’t heard anything from sri dhall in india, which leads me to believe that the probability that i’m going to hear from him again is remote… दस्यु 😐
i’ve got some new leads, however, so all is not completely lost.
so the guy from india (is name is sugam dhall) hasn’t responded to my email message concerning the discrepancy in quantity between what i ordered and what i was delivered, so i stripped out the domain name from his email address and plopped it into my browser… and it didn’t work. 😐
if the domain doesn’t work, there’s a really good probability that the email server doesn’t work either, which could explain why i haven’t heard anything from sri dhall in almost a month…
so, i went to the console, and typed in whois and got another email address for him (and, oddly, discovered that his domain name expires on my birthday), so i wrote to that one as well… we’ll see how that one works out… of course i probably won’t hear from him until monday, considering how 11:30 am friday, here, is 1:00 am saturday, there…
170 boxes of aparajita arrived today… but i ordered 240, and i haven’t heard anything from the guy in india since he said he would send me the tracking number three weeks ago… which he never did… 😐
at this point, i’m satisfied that the incense i’m getting is the authentic aparajita, but if the guy in india starts jerking me around with quantities, i’m not gonna be very happy…
after the panto ended for 2011 (it starts again on saturday, and runs for two weeks. get yer tickets now ’cause they’re selling out fast!) i got started making some hobo nickels. they’re not classic hobo nickels, of course, but they’re in a similar vein… and, hey… they’re only a nickel… and, as long as you don’t try to use the result as “currency”, they’re perfectly legal. 8) i broke most of my jewelers’ saw blades on the first couple of them, getting the technique right and re-adjusting my fingers. i went out to tacoma screw, to get more jewelers’ saw blades, and they didn’t know what i was talking about. i went to rockler, and they had them, but i’m not sure they’re the right ones, because they say they’re only for wood… and they’re 28 teeth per inch, and i’m pretty sure that the ones i need are more like 35 to 50 teeth per inch… i’m pretty sure that if i made the trip to hardwick’s, in seattle, that i’d be able to walk in and say i needed extra-fine jewelers’ saw-blades and they’d point me towards a bin of ’em… i went in there one time, and i said i was looking for a vice, and the guy asked me if i had considered smoking… 😉 i made nickels like this A LOT, between 1986 (when i got out of the tech school, and realised that i could make them) until 1994, when i started having to limit my workshop space because of where i was living. they just kind of faded into past memory, and were only re-realised a few weeks ago.
i put in the order for another 20 dozen aparajita on the 15th. i still haven’t heard anything, but they are making the incense to order (SQUEEEEE!!!) so i’m not being as paranoid about it… i’m still being paranoid (after all, it’s sort of a natural state of existence for me), just not as much. i’m probably going to email again on friday if i still haven’t heard anything by then.
i got this good-luck token in the mail the other day. it’s a little bit bigger than a US quarter, or a little smaller than a US half-dollar. i didn’t remember where it came from, at first, and because of the fact that i bid on it at ebay, it didn’t come from anybody i knew, or from an address with which i was familiar, which was pretty exciting, until i remembered where it came from.
after having gone to meet her, i figured out where the lady who knew who i am knows me from: she knows me because i am associated with Howlin’ Hobbit… although she was really disappointed when i didn’t drive up in my elaborately-painted art-car she was just as happy to take a picture of me wearing my hippy-hat
we spent christmas eve driving: we got up around 5:00 or so, and drove to salem, oregon, then we drove north and stopped just south of portland, then we drove into portland and visited a couple of different places before heading back, around 7:30 pm… by the time we got home, i had had about as much driving as i could stand for a while, so i spent most of the rest of xmas at home, being a hermit-crab. we took our annual trip to double-bluff off-leash dog-park on new-years’ day, and got there just as a polar-bear swim was getting over, which was kind of odd, because normally we are the only ones there on new years, and this year there were huge crowds of people, and music blaring… and an ambulance…
the second order of aparajita is in process. i may actually be able to lower the price by $1, which everyone should like… 8)
okay, i’ve been REALLY busy over the past week, ending with a snake suspenderz gig and four panto performances in the past three days… which, oddly enough, has already resulted in my having, in my hot little hands at this very moment (well, not this very moment, because i’m typing – and that rather badly, because of the fact that my hands are cold – but you get the idea) cash and checks amounting to more than $250… and i’ve got another $100 being transferred to my bank account from paypal…
today i took an order from Rev. Mary, who called me on the phone this morning inquiring about aparajita… she didn’t say who she was, but she was raving about how much she likes it, and said that she wanted to buy 5 boxes. we talked for about half an hour about how much incense has changed since the 1960s and the “new trends” in incense. she then said that she would order from the site. when the order came in, it was for 12 boxes, which makes me think that it may be about time to contact that guy in india who has been spamming me with requests for the past year, who i finally convinced to shut up and go away…
anyway, back to rev. mary… i had no idea who she was when she called. i have since (obviously) discovered who she is and where she’s coming from. i’m rather amused that an old-time gospel preacher’s wife has latched onto my incense, but i’m not sure that she could be even more bizarre than i first imagined. she’s an old lady (the picture on her web site was taken at least 20 years ago, judging solely by what she sounds like), and it could very well be that she’s a “reformed” hippy, or, possibly one of those weird cross-breed hippies that took jeezis instead of LSD… or, she could be pre-hippy, a real old-time gospel preacher and just really like quality incense regardless of what religion its maker and seller belongs to, OR she could be really ignorant of everything (although how one could order incense from hybrid elephant and not come away with the impression that i might be hindu is somewhat beyond me, it may be that i am a little too close to the subject to be very objective) and has no idea that i’m not a “christian” as well…
anyway, she ordered 12 boxes, which means that i only have 10 left… and that’s including my “personal” stash…
the entire Voynich Manuscript is now online, where intrigued people (like me) can pore over it, download pages and wonder what Emperor Rudolph II of Germany thought was worth 66.4 troy ounces of gold…
i bought some new stock: Golden Nag Champa and Woods, as well as some “reorder” stock, Pradhan’s Royal Life and Shivranjani. i’m really glad to have found a new supplier for pradhan’s royal life, as it is one of my best (and best selling) champa fragrances, and the supplier i was getting it from previously is the notorious sughanda prabhu, who is practically impossible to get in touch with, and has recently gotten out of the incense business(!) but used to provide the best quality incense i have ever found anywhere… but the shivranjani i bought was because i needed more, and it’s not that common in the united states, however once i bought it, i realised that the supplier i usually get it from sells it for about half the price that these new guys sell it for, so i think i won’t change suppliers for that fragrance…
bleh… seeds… 😛 ptui…
i’m SO glad mother-in-law is gone… she’s my mother-in-law, and i’m grateful for her existence, without which there would be no moe, but if she can exist somewhere that’s far enough away from me that she can’t come over, rant about how my liberal views are going to make a mess of our country, decide our house isn’t good enough, try to make it better and end up making it worse, it would be just fine with me… her predictably abortive attempt at painting resulted in paint splashed from floor to ceiling, and ripped wallpaper where i took off the tape that she had me put down so that she wouldn’t paint beyond a certain, random point… it’s in the “spare” bathroom, that i don’t use very often, so i don’t have to see it every day, but it’s irritating that it was functional if consistently ugly, and now it’s functional and inconistently awful, and moe and i are left to clean up the mess.
i’ve got a busy few weeks coming up… i’ve got two rehearsals on wednesday, a gig on friday, a gig on saturday, and a gig and a rehearsal on sunday, then next monday (which is krampusnacht) there’s a rehearsal, wednesday there’s a rehearsal, friday there’s a gig, and next saturday is the start of the panto run, which is two shows saturday and sunday, excluding the 24th and 25th, and the 31st, and the 1st, and then two shows saturday and sunday for two more weeks, ending january 15th. if anybody is interested in coming better get your tickets soon, because we’re selling out very quickly. 8)
i realised, once again, why i don’t schedule more than one gig per day yesterday…
i’m beginning a couple weeks of relative busy-ness, and it started off with partying and not getting enough sleep saturday night, and continued abruptly yesterday, when i got up way too early and went to the ballard sunday market with snake suspenderz and busked for approximately 1½ hours before we were run off by a string quartet which was playing vivaldi and bach. while they were playing acceptably well, they set up 20 feet away from us and wouldn’t fess up when confronted with their rudeness… and then we discovered that it’s apparently a “new policy” that buskers have to get up and move every half an hour…
by the time we had played for half an hour or so with a classical accompaniment (which was really confusing, at best, and downright distracting most of the time) we decided to bag it, especially since i had to go to my second gig anyway, which was the ballard sedentary sousa band at the ballard locks… which was, fortunately, just down the street.
it was clear from the start that i wasn’t going to be able to play my best, because i had already been playing my best for an hour and a half at the previous gig, but this was on my trombone and that was on my tuba, and i figured that would account for something… but if it did, i probably wouldn’t have noticed anyway, because by the time we were done playing i was getting really tired… then the BSSB-at-the-locks concert was followed by the traditional beer-and-pizza-in-walter’s-back-yard, which got me home around 6:00 pm.
i actually tried to take a nap between 7:00 and 7:30 or so, but the doggie-alarm kept going off every time a twig snapped outside, until moe got home around 8:00. i finally went to bed at 9:30 and was asleep almost immediately.
i’ve got a ninja concert at the good shepherd center with the fremont philharmonic this evening, and a rehearsal with the sousa band on tuesday, wednesday i have a snake suspenderz rehearsal, and thursday is my “weekend” this week. then i’ve got a gig with snake suspenderz at chumleighland on friday… which has the distinct possibility of leaking over into saturday as well… and possibly another ninja performance with the fremont phil on saturday, then the ballard sunday market on the 14th, and on the 15th is the party that we were hired to do as a result of the sunday market…
and then there’s the “Garden Party” at krissy and chris’ on the 20th, which the fremont phil is probably not playing for in any official capacity, but we’re probably going to be there, and i’m going to bet that we’ll play a little. and then, next month, we’ve already got a two-gigs-in-one-day scheduled, on 18th september, when we’re scheduled for the pike place busker festival and the seattle symphony day of music at beneroya hall…
plus i got an incense order today, for the last of my old tulasi deepak stock, which, because, from what i’ve been able to find out, they don’t make it any longer is another incense that i have carried that nobody else carries…
i made my monthly backup, which is now in the process of downloading. i’ve discovered that, pretty commonly, and regardless of platform, if i download using http, i get about ¾ of the way through the download, and it just ends, for no obvious reason, but if i download using ftp, everything appears on the local end without a problem… thus proving, once again, that a simple, text-based application that is designed to do one thing perfectly will always beat out a big, bulky application, most of which is code for the GUI, which does a whole bunch of things, but there’s no guarantee that it does any of those things perfectly, when it comes to getting things done the right way, the first time…
listen to me… you’d hardly guess that, buried deep in the inner core, was a dyed-in-the-wool mac-head… 🙂
rob sagan has been placed… yay!
i have had two “incomplete” orders for incense since the 1st of january, one from the netherlands and one from taiwan. they’ve ordered $4 and $12 worth of incense, respectively, got up to the point where paypal figures out shipping and realised that it would be 5 to 10 times as much just for shipping as they would be spending on actualy product. i’ve been wondering about why people do that for a while:to me it seems fairly obvious that, to someone outside the united states, a shop that is in the united states and sells things that are imported from india is going to charge a lot more to ship things outside the united states than some local shop that sells the same items imported from india. a friend of mine says that it’s because, overall, over the past 20 to 50 years, people, in general, have gotten stupider. i was talking with him about college experience these days (since moe is currently in college as well) and what it comes down to is that, even 20 years ago, expectations were a lot higher than they currently are, and i think that there’s a direct correlation to the general consumer on internet… no wonder there are so many people who think that the email message they got telling them that they had won $500 million dollars in the nigerian lottery is anything other than a scam… it definitely doesn’t say much for the education system, or internet – the “information superhighway”…
more turmoil in egypt, which includes the last of the internet connections finally going down… there’s a “million man march” scheduled, and the word is that the military has said that they won’t fire on civilians… but i’ve heard it all before, and until mubarak is under lock and key, either in egypt or elsewhere, i’m going to remain skeptical of anything i hear about the stability of the egyptian government…
ETA: apparently Egypt President Mubarak announces plan to retire in Sept. but i don’t think that’s going to be soon enough for most people… we’ll see how it all works out… fairly soon…
so, back in june of 2010 i ordered, and received a shipment of aparajita from someone who was not the manufacturer. i figured this was as close as i was ever going to come to actually getting in contact with the manufacturer of aparajita, because i had emailed them pretty consistently over the past 10 years or so, with decreasing results (i.e. first no response, then bounced messages, indicating that the email addresses on their web site were no longer functioning).
however, yesterday i got what appeared to be spam (it was from someone i couldn’t place, to someone else i don’t know at yahoo.com.in – india – and it had a vaguely-holiday-like message), but upon closer inspection (which i do with every spam message that ends up in my inbox) i realised that it was from mavana.com – the manufacturer of aparajita!
anyway, apparently one of the reasons aparajita is so difficult to find in the US is because they don’t have a distributor in the US, and one of the first things that the guy said in his reply to me was that if i were interested, i could be a distributor for them.
!! ☺☺ !!
and not the search engine, thank you very much…
at this point i don’t even care whether or not there’s a demand for it, and i don’t even really care whether or not i actually end up as their distributor in the US (although that would be a perq… 🙂 ) but the mere fact that i have actually gotten in contact with the manufacturer of this incense, which i have been looking for, in wholesale quantities, for twenty years, is just fantastic!!
thanks to Howlin’ Hobbit, i was able to sort out the “hidden file” dilemma that i had yesterday – of course i could have edited the “live” version using
vi, but i was feeling stubborn – and the immediate result has been that one person who has been spamming my web site for 3 days now is no longer able to. whee! 🙂
my popgun is defective. i bought an orchestral-quality popgun, and i have been popping enthusiastically for around 10 years, mostly at cirque de flambé and fremont players functions, but it has been getting harder and harder to get a reliable pop out of it. first, the ball-end on the handle stripped its threads, which is understandable, since it is made of wood. however, i glued it back in place and the glue holds for about 5 pops at which point the ball-end comes off again. gluing the ball-end is an annoyance that i have learned to live with, although there have been a couple of times where i nearly lost the ball-end over the side of a ferry, or that kind of thing. completely replacing it involves coming up with another hardwood ball, and then drilling and tapping it out to the correct thread to match the otherwise very sharp end of the handle. then, the end-cap that holds the cork in place so that it doesn’t go “pop” and shoot the cork across the stage, disappeared. at the time, fred was a member of the band, and he volunteered to make me a replacement end cap, because he had the necessary tool (a metal lathe). then the bottom cap retaining screw disappeared, but i was able to make a replacement, because i have a tap-and-die set for miniature screws. of course the cork itself has been replaced two or three times, and i’ve got a collection of replacements in my workshop… but the problem i’m currently having is more insideous: the plunger has worn down to the point where it doesn’t seal. now it appears that i have a choice: i can either figure out some way to make two, perfectly circular washers out of something like linoleum, that are exactly .125″ larger than the inside diameter of the tube…
or i can buy a new, orchestral-quality popgun
apparently i have the skills and a steady-enough hand (everything is a lot more free-form since my injury) to cut new bits of linoleum that will work, and i have a leather-punch in the workshop that has a big-enough hole that i was able to create a new, more effective plunger, and now POP!! and all is right with the world again… 🙂 which is a good thing, because i don’t remember where i got the popgun… there are a couple of possibilities (and i’m pretty sure i could order one online, which would take too long), but i know for sure that one of them has gone out of business…
i like tools that can be taken apart and fixed when they stop working. it’s so much easier and less expensive than buying a new one when the old one breaks… 🙂
ETA: so this morning i got an order for one box of green rose incense from india, of all places. unfortunately, i would be willing to bet that one get green rose incense in india for a lot less than i have to sell it for in the united states. not only that, but the shipping costs alone, to get it to india, are more than ten times what the incense would cost, by itself. i wrote back to the guy, but, considering that it’s from india, the probability is fairly high that he doesn’t speak english, or, worse, speaks “hinglish”…
why do people do this? what is it that prevents them from thinking these things all the way through before doing something stupid? i suppose we will never know…
i’ve been very productive today, and it’s not over yet. i fixed my popgun, built a pig-rail for our whelping box, and fixed our front door so it closes reliably without having to be “finessed”.
i had another person who ordered $5.00 worth of incense, and then paid a $6.50 shipping charge. i sent it to them, because they’re from california and i don’t have any reason not to – a lot of times people will order a small amount of incense and then request that i ship it out of the country, at which point i usually tell them that they either need to order more, or buy it locally, because the shipping is usually a lot more – but at the same time, i have the shipping rates pretty clearly posted, so people don’t have an excuse if they order domestically and end up paying more for shipping than for their incense.
snow is mostly gone, but is still there in dirty piles along the edges of the roads. it’s currently 46°r; F and raining on and off, so what remains of the snow should be completely gone by tomorrow.
i just got an incense order for $15 from denmark. according to USPS, the charge for shipping to denmark is around $70. i’ve got it fairly clearly spelled out on the site, but nobody seems to pay attention to things like that…
except for that one person who sent me an insulting message because they found my new page about K2 and didn’t like what it said, but that’s to be expected.
i’ve got the opportunity to be a part of the Great Peninsula Future Festival with my art car, but it’s still in the shop, and i’d have to come each day before 9:30 am, and then go home every night, because moe is going to be in atlanta at a conference. i’d be getting $25 for gas, and there would very likely be other people i know there, but getting there before 9:30 would be kind of a trick. of course i get to the fremont sunday market before 9:30, but it isn’t two days in a row… and the car is still in the shop, and given that it’s being worked on by jack, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to be ready in time.
however, my inquisitiveness is piqued, because the packaging is slightly different from what i would have expected, and it contains some elements that are what i thought to be indications that it was not the “right stuff” after all.
a number of years ago, when i first started searching for aparajita (example B), i came across example A, which was definitely not the right incense: it was a different colour, and smelled distinctly different, both when it was and was not burning. also, example A was one inch shorter than the authentic example B. i distinguished this by saying that it was “Cauvery imitation aparajita” and that was recognised by several of my incense-geek friends as being one of the characteristic differences between the authentic “Tabla Brand” aparajita and any fakes that were floating around.
it was interesting, too, because i found that same, or similar “cauvery” incense in a number of places, and not always with that packaging. it was always more or less the same incense, but it was presented to the public in a variety of ways, including the imitation aparajita package.
the last time i was able to buy “authentic” aparajita incense, it was in the package example C, which was significantly different from example B, but was essentially the same incense, in that it was the same colour and odor as example B.
but i was initially very suspicious when i opened my package and discovered the “Cauvery” logo on the packages inside, example D. however, they are the same colour and odor, both when they are and are not burning, as example B.
of course, because of the fact that they’re manufactured in india, i will probably never know for sure what’s going on with the packaging, and whether or not “Cauvery” is making “authentic” aparajita. but at this point, i’m very happy with the outcome. 😀
supposedly, my 40 pound package from india arrives today. i’m anxious because i don’t know whether or not it’s actually going to be the product that i ordered: the guy sent me a picture of an incense box, but there’s no telling whether or not he actually put boxes that look like that, containing incense that matches the box, in the package that he sent me… which is going to be a real bummer if it turns out that he didn’t, because i have no way to get my money back if the product isn’t what i wanted. i’m also anxious because if it is the product that i wanted, i’m not only going to be able to make a fair amount of money from it almost immediately (i pre-sold half of the orde to a company in chicago) and, if nothing else, i will have a guaranteed supply of this incense for my own, personal, enjoyment for the rest of my life… and i’ll be one of only two companies in the united states (the other one being the company to which i sold the other half of the order) that carries this incense online.
aum ganganapataye namah
ETA: 1:45 pm, it arrived, and it’s the right stuff. more soon.
friday the banda gozona performed at folklife. friday was also the day that my mother-in-law, father-in-law, and his wife came to visit, for the combined holiday, moe’s sheep trial, and my mother-in-law’s 60th birthday. i left at 3:00 and didn’t get home until 9:00, whereupon i discovered one of our doggles loose in the bedroom and the bathroom totally trashed, with ibuprophen tablets spilled all over the place, and what looked like a few chewed ibuprophen tablets among the trashed counter contents that were on the floor.
i’m actually surprised that moe and her relatives aren’t at home – i was unaware of their plans, but i anticipated them being at home, in which case this wouldn’t actually be an emergency, but… i’m not sure, but it looks to me like it could be an “accidental” overdose on the part of the guilty party (paddy), so i call moe, who isn’t answering her phone. i call her father’s cell phone, and he’s not answering either, which i find quite strange, since he is, presumably, in the same general vicinity as moe, and i know for a fact that her sheep trial doesn’t start until tomorrow, but i am faced with a possible overdosing dog and i’m starting to freak out, so i call our good friend micah, who is a veterinarian, and he’s not answering his phone either.
now i’m really freaking out… 🙁
eventually i get hold of moe, who has been out to dinner with her parents, she comes home and vomits the dog, who wasn’t overdosing on anythign except toilet paper (she had eaten almost an entire roll, which was sitting on the counter), and everything was fine, although it left me (and everyone else) totally exhausted.
yesterday, i got an order for postcards, and i spent most of the day going back and forth with a trained, experienced graphic artist who (apparently) can’t differentiate between a file that is 250 dpi and RGB with exactly the same file that is 300 dpi and CMYK. when we finally got that all worked out, i went to a going away party for möppi, rebeccah and diemo, who are moving back to germany next month, and i got home, totally exhausted, at 10:00 or so.
today, i got up at an ungodly hour (8:00 am), feeling nauseous – – but not actually nauseous enough to throw up (which i figured would make the nauseous feeling go away), and made it to folklife for a (relatively) early (1:10 pm) performance of the ballard sedentary sousa band. i didn’t actually get sick, although there were a few touch-and-go moments in the morning before i left, but i wanted to get there fairly early, because, unlike the banda gozona performance, which resulted in my possesion of a parking pass, so that i wouldn’t have to pay, the powers that be apparently figured that the ballard sedentary sousa band only needed two parking passes, which went to the two most senior members of the band, so in order to park, i would have to search out a free spot (practically impossible, given the location and time) or pay $15 to park until 2:30.
i got home at about 3:30, absolutely exhausted, and submitted the order for the postcards.
now, completely bereft of spoons, i’m going to spent the rest of my “holiday” weekend sleeping.
wesak was last thursday. i watched the monks at the buddhist temple down the street putting up decorations, but i totally spaced out mentioning it until now.
the aparajita is supposed to arrive on wednesday or thursday of this week. it’s down to the wire and i still don’t have tracking details from india, but the guy called me(!) to tell me when the shipment was supposed to be here.
Quantity discrimination in salamanders – they can tell the difference, but only when the ratio is 2:1 or greater… but these guys get paid to discover if salamanders can count. i obviously went into the wrong profession…
Man crosses English Channel in chair carried by helium balloons – including “coming down quickly to avoid restricted air space, missing a power line and then bouncing a short distance before coming to a halt” near dunkirk. once again, it appears as though i went into the wrong profession. what was i thinking?
so the guy emailed me this morning and said that he’s shipped out the incense sticks, so it’s just a matter of time at this point. he said that he’d get back to me with tracking details when he gets them, and until then i can’t be 100% sure that he’s acually sent me anything at all… and, of course, i won’t know for sure that he’s actually sent me authentic aparajita or a fake until i actually recieve them, which, according to the schedule, will be ten days from now.
so i sent money to india to get aparajita incense…
wouldn’t you know, right as they were getting ready to ship me the product, a cyclone strikes and no shipping can be done because of inclement weather…
i hope the Remover of Obstacles has His finger on the pulse of things here… 😐
i called maaco, and they said that it would cost around $200 to clear-coat the hood, depending on how the preparation goes. i told the guy that i would hesitate to spend that much on the car if there was something wrong with the engine, and my budget was around $100. he said that i should bring it by tomorrow, which i’m going to do, but i’m not expecting much. it’s possible that rick at edgewood tire has some suggestions, but i haven’t asked him.
i’m probably going to go get my tuba soldered tomorrow afternoon, or some time in the relatively near future.
i sent $500 to india for 20 dozen boxes of aparajita. i got an invoice for it, so i’m a little less suspicious than i would have been otherwise, but i still don’t know for sure that it’s going to be aparajita that the guy sends me. at this point, it’s wait and see, because i’ve already sent the money. there’s another incense retailer that’s going to buy half of the 20 dozen as soon as i get them, which is good, because i don’t have the space to store 20 dozen boxes of incense.
so apparently i can get no less than 20 dozen boxes of aparajita(!!) for a ridiculously cheap price, and get it shipped directly to my door in less than 10 days for $200, or i can get it shipped “the long way” and it would take around a month, and i would have to clear the product at customs, and it will cost about $180.
you can guess which direction i am leaning… 😉
apparently i can also get 50 or 60 dozen boxes, and get the same carton shipped for the same $200 to my door, or $180 with hassles at customs.
quite apart from anything else, i don’t know what i’d do with 60 dozen boxes (720 boxes) of incense. i don’t know where i’d store them. i have just barely enough money to pay for 60 dozen boxes without shipping (i can do 20 dozen, but it will set me back a little). with shipping, however, it puts me well over what i can afford…
on the other hand, i’ve been looking for a reliable supplier of aparajita for 10 years, and have given up hope of finding one more than twice.
ETA: i’ve also got a call into another big time incense geek who may want to split it with me… hope! 8)
it’s raining and blustery today, so i can’t work on my car, which gives me some time to catch up on some other things.
moe and i are getting an african grey parrot named stanley this evening, and i’ve been fixing up a corner of the living room to accommodate him. it’s exciting, but it’s also as though we were getting a 3-year-old child, in terms of intelligence and need for taking proper precautions. moe has been wondering how long it’s going to be until stanley learns how to bark like magick, and conversely, wondering how long it will be until he learns to yell at magick for barking… which, i suppose, is just as valid as me wondering how long it’s going to be before stanley learns to make the jews-harp noise, or the tuba noise, or the flex-a-tone noise, or the glass-marble-in-a-bottle noise, or any one of a number of other noises which usually results in one or more of us yelling at magick to quit barking and be quiet. moe says that parrots are kind of like kids, in that they’ll quiz you to find out what they shouldn’t do, and then focus all their time and ability to doing that very thing. exciting is one way of putting it.
i got a phone call(!) from india(!!) this morning, from a guy who wants me to consider becoming a customer of his enterprise, which is the manufacture and export (from india) of incense, murtis and other hindu/hippie stuff. i’ve gotten a number of email inquiries like this in the past, and while i generally delete them without responding, i perked up when this guy said that he could get aparajita. i still don’t know in what quantities or for what price, but this is a lot closer than i’ve ever gotten before, and if i play my cards right, it could mean a lot more than just aparajita, as he apparently also has lines on narmada shivalingams and rudrakhsha beads. 8)
Briton ‘gets Chinese accent after bad migraine’ – more people having problems with their brain and ending up with problems with their language. i’m beginning to wonder if this is a new problem, or if things like this have been going on all along.
Burials in Tibet – the original headline included the words "not for sensitive souls"… it shows how a different culture chooses to honor those who have died. what’s wrong with that?
the past three days have been spent going through just my inventory of incense with the price
gun labeler, individually pricing all of my incense. i plan on doing the same thing for the murtis as well, but they will only take a couple of hours. now i won’t have to fumble with a huge sheaf of papers when someone asks me how much something is, and i will charge the correct price for the things for which i can’t find the prices.
i got the flyers that i had printed for Edgewood Tire & Complete Auto Repair today. that’s another easy $200. i also got the paint pens that i’ve been waiting on, so either tomorrow or sunday i’m going to start working on Ganesha The Car Version 2.
moe and i are going to start the “cook once a month” thing again… tomorrow, i think. i was really happy with cooking once a month for the few months we tried it last year, but about october or so we didn’t do it, and are only just resuming the practice. for those of you who don’t know, it involves planning ahead to have a dozen or so recipes that you’ll make, buying a whole bunch of groceries, and spending an entire day doing nothing but cooking, packaging and freezing individual meal-sized portions for the entire month. it is a massively cheap way to do it, because you can buy a lot of the groceries at costco (we ended up spending about $300 a month, and that was with a couple of times going out to fancy restaurants), and it has the added benefit of freeing up time every other day of the following month that would have been used cooking for that day. quiche is among my favourites. and lentil soup. and now that we’ve got a medium sized freezer with new hinges (!!), we’ve even got a place to keep it all instead of having to limit how much we make because we only had a tiny freezer. 8)
Why I won’t buy an iPad (and think you shouldn’t, either) – enough said. Cory Doctorow is God!
i just got another inquiry about aparajita from someone who has bought it from me in the past. maybe i’ll be able to send him some eventually…
also i got my bow today. it was supposed to be delivered on wednesday. shar music is where i bought it.
aparajita is one of the incenses that prompted me to go into the business of being an agarbatthiwala. it is an incense that is characteristically used by devotees of ravi shankar and george harrison. it used to be very common, and places like tenzing-momo and zenith supplies carried it as a matter of course, and even more obscure places carried it, along with a million other, less well known incenses.
that was then, this is now.
you would think that i could contact them through mavana dot com, but the first time i wrote them, about 3 years ago, there was no response from either of the two email addresses listed on their contact page, and the last time i wrote them, the message to one of the addresses bounced almost immediately. the last time i was able to find any aparajita at all, it was through an incense supplier i know in port townsend (who is also an old hippie, and beset by the health of an old hippie, which means that he has spent a large portion of the past 3 years in the hospital, thus making him somewhat unreliable as an incense supplier), who knows a guy in chicago who had a bunch of aparajita that he wanted to get rid of, and i bought all he had, which was 4 dozen boxes.
that was about 6 months ago, and i just sold my last box to a very disappointed customer in marietta, georgia, who had thought that i had more in stock.
to make matters worse, in my search for a reliable source of this smelly gold, i have discovered that there are at least two other indian incense manufacturers who have decided to take advantage of the situation by producing fairly sophisticated knock-off packaging which contains nothing like the authentic aparajita. the following is a picture of the packaging for one of the “knock-offs” which i bought a quarter kilo of before i realised that it was not the same thing:
i have been looking for a reliable source for this incense for around 10 years, and i know that my search is not in vain. i have heard rumours from a couple of different customers that aparajita is apparently still available in india, but the manufacturer doesn’t want to send any less than an 8′ by 8′ shipping container of it outside of india. also, i looked for another variety of incense (amber aromatics “sital flora”, which is largely a neem scent) for 25 years before i found some, whereupon i bought a kilo of it, and still have more than ¾ of it left, so i know that eventually a source will be found.
i just currently don’t know who it is. if any of you get a crazy idea to go shopping in india for incense, let me know and i’ll put in an order.
happy 4/20. i’d be consuming more holy vegetable, but i still am terrifically short of breath and coughing a lot as a result of being sick still. i’ve been vapourising a bit and even that has been causing me to cough. i suppose i could probably make some ghee or something…
they’re putting on a new roof, so that it won’t leak any longer. it’s only about two years overdue, but there’s no point in complaining about it now. the dogs are being quiet, in spite of the roofers right over their heads, making all kinds of noises which dogs would definitely find suspicious. we’ll see how long that lasts.
the $300 withdrawal from my bank account has had a band-aid put on it, but it’s still an open and sucking chest wound. at this point i’m done talking with people until i hear from the bank concerning my contesting of the charges. moe has taken over talking with the people who actually withdrew the money, and considering that i never actually signed anything, combined with the fact that the first time i ever even heard about an “early cancellation fee” was when i checked my bank account on thursday, she seems to think that there’s a more-than-likely chance that there will be a positive (for me) outcome. we’ll see about that, as well… 8/
maybe i’ll go to the fremont sunday market on sunday. one way or the other, i could really use a day of doing nothing but making money, and there’s a good chance, since i haven’t been there in a while, that fremont will be itching for some new incense.
i got another order on the web site, but no corresponding order from paypal, which makes me seriously wonder about whether or not i’ve got it set up right. it should be that you confirm your order on my site, and then transfer to paypal’s secure server to complete your order, and of the three orders i’ve gotten since the site upgrade, two of them have confirmed the order on my site, but not completed their orders on paypal’s secure server. i wrote to one of them, but she was located in the UK and never responded. the new order came in on friday, from a guy in california, according to the site, but i never heard anything from either the customer or from paypal, so i don’t know what happened. the next step is to write to the guy and see what happened.
i’ve got to get my tabs for ganesha the car. also, i have a fremont phil rehearsal this evening.
i keep getting both closer and further away at the same time. i suppose the ultimate effect so far is that i’m getting neither closer, nor further away from going live with the new web site. i’ve arbitrarily decided that i want to go live with it around the middle of next month, but that’s an entirely arbitrary deadline and depends a lot on my getting past a couple of what appear to be impossible obstacles, only one of which i have the remote impression that i can fix. the optimist in me says that’s the reason why the business is named after the Remover of Obstacles, but the pessimist in me isn’t willing to concede defeat yet.
the other problem is a seemingly simple problem that gets worse once i actually got around to figuring out how to fix it: the total amount of the order in a customer’s shopping cart is transferred to paypal without any problem. i figured out how to get the shopping cart on my server to figure out the shipping charges without any problem, but when it switches over to the paypal servers, it somehow forgets to add the shipping charges to the shopping cart total, the result being that i would have to request that they fill out shipping as an extra charge again – which would make the customer suspicious, under the best of circumstances, and probably cost me quite a bit in sales, if nothing else.
to add to the problem, in a way that is entirely to my liking, but in a strange sort of way, i’ve actually got another incense order this week, which makes four in the past week (one of which i had to refund because it was made from a page that doesn’t really exist). i haven’t been talking too much about it because i don’t want to jinx anything just yet, but it seems like i’ve gotten far more business this year than i did during the same period of time last year. which means, of course, that the more i sell while i’m still getting the new web site ready, the more i’m going to have to update the new site when it finally goes live, because the amounts of product that i have at that time will be different than it was when i first entered it into the database. the longer time goes on after the database goes live, the less i will have to worry about discrepancies, but it’s likely to be a major headache the first couple of times i run out of product and have to cover my ass.
and that’s not to mention the fact that i’m getting more and more concerned about my relationship with paypal at all. it seems like when i first started doing business with them there wasn’t anywhere near the stigma that there is about doing business with them now. and, to top it all off, there have been things like PayPal Warning dot com, and feedback from people like the lady at the bank about paypal’s reputation suffering, frauds, ripoffs and other wonderful stuff that i don’t want associated with my business.
the obvious solution to the paypal problem mentioned above is to get a “real” merchant account from somewhere, get an SSL certificate – again, from somewhere, and who knows how i’m going to pay for it – and “roll my own”. there are a number of interesting alternatives, including ProPay, which requires that i limit my credit card transactions to $1,000 and has a $35 annual fee, along with the 3.5% + $0.35 per transaction fee, which i think is a bit much for me. there’s also National Merchant, which has no annual fee or signup fee, and has a “discount rate” which is $0.25 + “as low as 1.99%” – but there’s no obvious indication of how high that “discount rate” might go.
there’s also 2Checkout which i haven’t investigated yet, but i get the impression that it’s more of a replacement for paypal than it is a “real” merchant account. there’s also costco merchant credit card processing, which has no obvious way of connecting it to the web (is that what a “payment gateway” is? i’m still learning a lot of terminology for these sorts of things), and i understand that they pull your credit rating as a part of their verification process, which automatically makes your credit rating go down. and there’s also washington mutual, whose representative was way too ready to sign me up, assuring me that their merchant servies were the cheapest, and offering me $250 cash if they couldn’t meet or beat any competitor’s prices. the lady was eager enough to sign me up that i was a little suspicious of her motives. i said i would come back in an hour, but that was yesterday, and i didn’t come back.
instead i talked our neighbour into sharing their hydraulic ram firewood splitter and split the four big rounds of firewood that we’ve still got from last year into about the same amount of firewood that we already had. i figure i’ll go back on monday and actually talk with her about some of the details before i sign up with anyone.
i started working on the database at 9:30 this morning. around 12:00 i took a break to mail out an incense order that came in about 10:30. around 2:00 or so, i realised that i had better get working on the remaining graphics that have to be added, so i hooked up the scanner and took a whole bunch of photos, and did some design work, figured out some of the remaining things that i have to know before actually going live with this thing. about 5:00 or so i finished the basic design work, and tweakage, and went back to feeding the database. it;s now 9:30 pm, and i just finished
i read a web site the other day for a company that basically sells what i downloaded for free and am configuring myself. they want $50 a month for 100 products, and it has to be on their server. i’ve already uploaded 214 images, and i haven’t even started on the murtis, jewelry, shirts or buttons. i got a good deal. now that i’ve actually done one (and seen how ridiculously easy it is), i just might see if i can get a couple of clients like that myself.
either a very confused person who thinks that i still have a link to primo incense on the old web site just ordered $109 worth of primo incense, or, perhaps something more sinister is going on. i got an order for $109, but no email. i just happened to be looking at the paypal site and i noticed that an order came in an hour ago, but i never got an email for it… i have the primo pages there, but as far as i know, they’re not linked anywhere, and that’s primarily because i haven’t actually carried primo incense for a couple of years. i have a bunch of it. and i’ve been selling it at the FSM, but i don’t have it posted on the current web site, because it’s too confusing. it’s too bad i had to refund their order, because they ordered over $100 worth of incense, and with two exceptions, i was actually able to fill it. the exceptions were that they ordered a dozen primo mini-packs in amber and i only have the mini-packs in yellow rose, and they ordered one 15 gram magnolia, and i would have to make it up, because the only primo magnolia i currently have is a bulk pack of 125 grams.
i’ve been sick since saturday, which means that i didn’t go to the FSM as planned on sunday. i suppose i could have gone, but getting up at some ungodly hour sunday morning and then driving for an hour and setting up is definitely not what i wanted to do, so i didn’t. i’m still sick, but i’m on the uphill side of it: i feel better than i did yesterday at this time, but i’m not back to 100% yet.
i picked up my new glasses today, and the world is significantly more visible, but only from a distance. i was actually prescribed either bifocals or “reading” glasses, but since bifocals give me a headache and my vision insurance only covers one pair of glasses, i’m going to have to tough it out until i get a spare $500 to spend on “reading” glasses. i’d just buy a pair of cheap reading glasses from the grocery store if they did any good, but they don’t.
i finally got things worked out with the customer and shipped a package of incense to budapest today. it’s the same person that ordered $4.25 worth of incense back in november. i know for certain that i am not the only business to carry the kind of incense they ordered, though, and i’m definitely wondering about how thoroughly they searched for it in hungary before ordering it from me… although i am willing to ship $30 worth of incense to hungary as long as they are willing to send me an extra $25 for shipping.
we finished recording the rhythmn tracks for the CD today. all that’s left are a few vocal, solo and percussion tracks, and mixdown, and it will be a finished product! also it was farewell to eight years of political BUllSHit and the beginning of an entirely different kind of political bullshit, which will be equally opressive, but right now i’m so fucking tired of bush that anything else will be a pleasant and refreshing change for a short while. i got my order from the theosophical society bookstore, and i made an order from om imports for incense, incense burners and murtis. also, i’m going to start pricing loudspeaker systems for Ganesha The Car. i still have to work on rebuilding the web site, and feeding the database, both of which i have done shockingly little in the past week. banda gozona rehearsal on thursday, and a gig on saturday evening, after moe gets home.
FSM today. it was actually a pretty good day. it started out at 5:30 with dog breakfasts in the car, but i discovered that the FSM offers a $5 discount for early membership renewal, and they were offering 2-for-1-for-$30 spaces – to encourage vendors to brave the cold, damp, limited-daylight early-january freeze – even though i could only use one space anyway, instead of making -$5, i actually came out ahead $10 today (which means that i made $75, if my convoluted math is confusing you). not only that but i had the priveledge of explaining the real meaning of the swastika to three different people, i had one guy from tibet express utter amazement when i told him that despite the fact that i know an awful lot about it, i have never actually been to india, i learned teegan’s name (finally), and i gave her some incense, and i brought tears of joy to a person’s eyes when i said that, in my opinion, Jesus and Ganesha are the same thing. i took the doggies with me, and they went for a walk up and down the canal after the market was over, and they’re asleep(!) at this point. i’m probably going to feed the cats, grab a bite (and not much more than that) and go to bed myself… i forgot how dreadfully early 5:30 in the morning is. 8P
all in all, i would say that it was an entirely positive and uplifting day. i need more days like this.
moe goes to florida for two weeks for her annual conference starting sunday, which means that i’ve got two weeks of taking care of three dogs on my own while she’s in key west playing with dolphins and manatees. it will probably be okay except for the fact that i’m planning on going to the fremont sunday market next week, and i’ll probably have to take the doggies with me so that they don’t have to spend all day in their kennels with no bathroom breaks. i’m actually looking forward to taking the little dog – zorah the cute – to FSM because i get the impression that she will be the cause of a significant boost in my sales.
i saw ezra today, and talked with him about setting up a domain or two for him. he wants a “legitimate” web site and one that is “not so legitimate” and he wants control over both of them, but not any immediately visible connection between the two. i said that it would be not too difficult, and now have the task of researching domain names, while his job is to 1) get a new computer to replace his broken one, and 2) to come up with content so that once the domain name(s) are registered, they can be populated without me having to do much other than the technical end of things.
i got a whole pile of incense samples from sugandha prabhu, but none of them are incenses that i want to carry, and part of the reason is because there’s no guarantee that i will be able to get more if sugandha prabhu disappears, which is a probability that i have been prepared for, for a couple of years now. sugandha prabhu inevitably comes up with the most outstanding incenses available anywhere (and also guides me towards the incense that nobody else carries) but he’s also one of my most flaky suppliers, and i don’t know from one day to the next whether or not i’m going to be able to get more from him. i currently have more than ½ a kilo of majmua durbar, which is a tremendously popular incense, that is apparently not going to be delivered because they stopped making it without telling anyone, despite the fact that sugandha prabhu sent me a little bit less than ½ a kilo just a little bit more than a month ago with the promise that the rest of the kilo would be “coming soon”… if it weren’t for the fact that i now have two or three months worth of free incense (i can’t sell the samples he sends), i would be a bit more perturbed than i am with sugandha prabhu currently.
i found the place where the graphics are stored for my new osCommerce web site, but it’s going to take me a while to sort things out and get everything working. it’s probably going to be at least a month or so before i have a tentative web site that is worth viewing, so don’t expect me to post links to it just yet.
i found out why the guy from england doesn’t mind paying the extra shipping to get incense from me:
even in the United Kingdom, the only place he’s been able to find this particular incense is Hybrid Elephant.
under the circumstances, how can i refuse?
i got the first incense order of 2009 today, but i ended up refunding it, because it was for $18 worth of incense and they wanted it shipped to great britain, which would add an extra $35 to the cost, and i can’t see receiving a package that is worth more than its contents making someone very happy. people keep doing this: ordering a relatively small amount of incense and then asking me to ship it to obscure places like brazil, turkey or england. don’t get me wrong, i’m happy that customers from that far away are coming to me for incense and stuff, but there has got to be some way of letting such people know that the shipping costs are going to bite them in the ass…
i just got email from the guy. apparently he is fine with the extra cost (which i can’t figure out, but under these circumstances, i won’t argue with him), but now he’s got to resubmit his order… wonderful.
since thursday i’ve filled an order for business cards for NBAC, and taken but not yet filled an order for business cards from MIVC, and filled an order for $50.00 worth of incense, which comes around to $207 and some change. let it continue!
that’s where some guy ordered incense from today – budapest, hungary. he ordered $4.25 worth of incense, so i have to add $50 shipping for $4.25 worth of incense.
personally, i think he should know that it would be cheaper (and probably better quality) to buy it closer to home, but i think the problem is that internet makes normal people stupid. i have many examples of this: regan fraser, brendan fraser‘s brother, was my housemate at one point about 15 years ago, and when he found out that i worked with internet, he begged me to get involved in this scheme that he had to rip people off by accessing their bank accounts over internet. or the client that i currently have who is convinced that his virus protection program “is tired” of notifying him that he has a virus – he’s convinced that he’s got a virus, even though three different virus scanners have given him a clean bill of health…
someone turned me on to a whole pile of information about my great-great-great-grandfather and his descendants that are a part of my family, but not directly related to me. apparently such people include William Henry Harrison along with several other william henry harrisons (I through V, i think).
i submitted the following to There Probably Is dot com, and i really hope they actually post it, but i get the impression that they won’t.
Submit your story
I believe in God because … i was raised by parents who were largely agnostic. They may have had some religion, but if they did, they kept it to themselves. I attended a Unitarian church when I was small, but the classes I took were more along creative lines than religious ones, and I grew up thinking of “church” as more of a social club than a place for worship.
Then, when I was first starting college, I encountered people who claimed to be “christian” but were more like parrots than people in terms of what they told me about “christianity”. They couldn’t give me a good enough reason to believe, apart from pie-in-the-sky promises to which nobody in their right mind would pay attention.
I took a class called “Introduction to Personal Philosophy” which everybody informally called “The Fly In The Fly-Bottle” or just “the fly-bottle class” in which there was an assignment that caused me to change my mind. The assignment was “for a certain, set period of time (I chose a month), act as though there is an all-powerful God and see how your life changes.” As soon as I believed that there was a God, I was able to see Him everywhere, although He (and I use the term advisedly) was not what the “christians” said He was like at all. For one thing, He wasn’t always a “He” – sometimes She was a thought, or feeling, or a smell. I quickly learned that when coincidences happen – for example, I went for an entire week where the price of everything I bought ended with 84 cents – that is God communicating with me in a way that I didn’t immediately understand. Everywhere I looked, and everywhere I look to this day, I see God essentially “peering out” from behind everything, saying “Here I am!” There is no question that I have of God that He has not answered, and He guides my every step.
His name is Ganesha.
i guess i’m disappointed with them for discriminating against me, but at the same time, what did i expect from a “christian” web site?
FSM yesterday. i didn’t do so well – i only made $65 – but at least i made my nut. i finally got my phone working as a music player, and i rigged up some battery-powered computer speakers to be a portable music player for FSM. i discovered, however, that the music that was on my phone was “inappropriate” for the FSM… not that it was “bad” music, just “inappropriate”: i wouldn’t expect to be hearing The Residents (for example) in a shop that sold spiritual doodads, and my impression is that most people would actually be driven away by a shop that played The Residents anyway. fortunately i have about 2gb of specifically spiritually-oriented music (mostly hindu chants and suchlike), so i loaded them on my phone, so i’ll be ready the next time.
i’m still somewhat frustrated with the music player on the phone though. it only holds 4gb total, takes forever to update the library (especially when i have removed files), and updates the library every time i start the music player, even when i haven’t removed the card since the last time i started up the music player. also, it will only play .mp3 and .wma files. i don’t use anything that can create .wma files. i assume it’s windows media because linux will play .wma files with caffeine. and it won’t even allow me to put .ogg files on the card. apparently the act of initializing the memory card puts some kind of discriminatory software on it, because it says that it’s copying the files, but they never actually show up, even when i have it mounted on my computer. it will take .flac files, but they don’t show up on the music player, which isn’t too surprising. from what i’ve been able to see, apparently verizon, LG and micro$not are close pals… 8/
the size of the memory card really amazes me. i recall when an 80 megabyte hard disk was an electronic black hole, that i could throw files in for ever and not even come close to filling, and that 80 megabyte hard disk was the four times the size of my mac laptop, and had a SCSI interface to my computer. now a 4 GIGAbyte memory card is small enough that i have to be careful not to break it – or lose it – and it’s not even the smallest memory card – or the one with the most capacity – on the market these days.
i decided to do a major overhaul of the Hybrid Elephant web site, which involves updating every incense page with graphics of the products, and confirming that i actually have all the incense i’m trying to sell. so far there haven’t been any major catastrophes, but i didn’t know, for example, that there are several varieties of incense that used to be displayed on the site that i don’t actually have any longer, and i’m unable to get more. it’s gonna take a long time – which is to say more than a week – to get all the kinks worked out before i post the new pages, but there are already changes that you can see (or can’t see any longer) on the site, and there’s likely to be more as the next week or so progresses.
just got a confirmation for the Punk Rock Flea Market on december 6th. trolloween rehearsal tonight at BFD.
Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused.
i bought a swastika at the FSM yesterday, and despite my feelings about nazis’ stealing the swastika away from what it truly means, i find it kind of amusing that i can now make jokes about how i am an “incense nazi”… but, at the same time, i also appreciate that if i am able to make jokes about being an incense nazi, the important part is that it’s not about other people, and it’s obviously a joke, whereas most commentary surrounding nazis and swastikas definitely is not considered to be very funny.
also i made $99 at the FSM yesterday, which is one sixth of the repairs that i had to make on ganesha the car over the weekend. only five more days like that to go…
things are starting to come together concerning burning man. i have a way to get there (plan A, which was plan B has finally worked through most of the major difficulties) and people who will share driving and expenses. the gig at the queen anne farmers’ market went off without a hitch, the parade went off without a hitch, and the overall result has left me with $30 for gas, which i will add to the approximately $250 that i’ve already got. i’m going to the fremont sunday market this sunday, which will likely net me around $60 more, and the snake suspenderz gig at smokin’ pete’s next thursday should be icing on the cake.
on the other hand, i’ve made a more and more rare contact with sugandha prabhu, my long time friend and incense supplier (his name is steven, but i’ve known him as sugandha prabhu for almost as long as i’ve known him), and he says he can get me majmua durbar and aparajita, which, as far as i’ve been able to tell, are not available anywhere else. i’ve got an email in to him asking if it’s okay for me to send him money after the first of the month (and after burning man), but he’s getting more and more difficult to get hold of (i called him 3 or 4 times over the past 6 months or so, and he’s only just gotten back to me), and i’m not sure if he’s even checked his email. i’d really like to get the incense from him soon, but i’m not sure whether or not i can wait until after the first of the month, especially when he’s been so difficult to get hold of in the first place: i feel like now that i’ve actually got in touch with him that i should “strike while the iron’s hot” so to speak, otherwise he might not get back to me, or might not have the incense, or the prices may have changed… or he might have actually died… i know he’s been in and out of the hospital for the past few years with kidney problems which aren’t getting any better, and i’ve known him for 30 years or thereabouts and he’s never been that healthy to begin with… so it’s really a concern… especially since majmua durbar and aparajita are two of my personal favourite incenses, i’m running perilously low on both of them, and i know that if i don’t get them now the likelyhood that i’ll be able to get them in the future is that much less.
as i said in a previous post, a lot of things have been going on. one of which is that my windows computer died, and i haven’t even been motivated to fix it, apart from possibly retriving the data that resides on the hard disk. i suppose at some point i’ll have to figure out something to create music on, but that shouldn’t be too difficult. the fact that my laptop died motivated me to create a database for hybrid elephant, which will streamline the process of ordering and invoicing considerably – up until now i’ve kept paper copies of all my orders and invoices, which i will probably still do, but this will provide a way to find a particular invoice, and give me a way to keep track of inventory that will automatically warn me when i get below a certain point so that i can order more, and a whole bunch of other things that i probably haven’t even discovered yet. and i’m going to start doing business with a supplier that i have known about for a few years , but have never ordered from, other than personal stuff – for some unknown reason, because they carry a lot of merchandise that i really like, is really authentic, would go very well with the stuff i already carry, and is insanely inexpensive.
i found this image on internet, of a devotional shop in india, which really inspires me, but i’m not sure how realistic a business like this is in the united states. i have never been to india, but from everything i’ve read and every picture i have seen convinces me that india is my home, much more than the united states will ever be. i feel more at home with pictures of india than i am with real live united states.
i’m going to move my desk, my computers and the incense and murtis part of the business out into the dining room, and move the pile of boxes in the dining room into the office. this will do two things: first, it will put my computer out in the main part of the house, so that i can interact with moe more readily without having to stop what i’m doing and go in the other room, and second, it will give me more space to create a workshop of sorts, because i truly am going crazy not having a real workshop. the main part of the moving isn’t going to happen until after i come back from burning man, however.
yes, i am going to burning man this year, as compared to 2003, when i bought a ticket(!) and was all set to go, and then had a brain injury instead. actually i was out of the hospital in time to go to burning man, but i was still pretty fragile, and was having a lot of trouble speaking and getting around by myself, and moe (or somebody) would have had to go with me, to make sure nothing bad happened. i’m pretty sure that i can do it myself at this point, and not only that, but i’m getting in for free. i don’t know for sure how i’m getting there, yet, but all things will fall into place eventually.
i went to FSM on sunday and made $84, which is not too bad, but when i get started with this new supplier, i expect a dramatic increase in sales. i’ve been collecting ideas for buttons for years (i started my first button banner when i was 15 or so), and i actually sold about $10 worth of buttons, including five swastika buttons to an asian guy who said he collected them. moe is using the canopy next week, and the week after is the last week before burning man. i haven’t decided whether or not i’m going to the FSM that week (the 17th), but i’ve got a week or so to decide. i probably should go, because however i get to burning man, i could use all the money i can scrape together.
the punk rock flea market happened, and it because of the fact that i know the guy who runs the whole thing, i got to include my art car in my set up, which was considerably more space than i have occupied in previous PRFMs. i also discovered that apparently i am one of only four vendors that have been to all four PRFMs. i made $75, which is as much as i have made in the 3 previous PRFMs combined, which is enough to make me antipate the next one. i woulda posted pictures except i forgot to bring my camera. oh well.
the banda gozona has a rehearsal on thursday, but i’ve been so busy with other things that i haven’t been able to attend many perfornances with them this year. i’ve been recruited to play with yet another band, this one with my old friend hobbit, and my new friend thaddeus, called Snake Suspenderz. my first rehearsal with them is next monday. next tuesday there’s a BSSB rehearsal, and next wednesday is the briar sea scare parade, which is going to feature Ganesha The Car.
for the place to purchase your new psychedelic anti-depressants, we have a wide variety from manufacturers such as Auroshikha Agarbathies, Srinavas Sugandhalaya, Sarathi Perfumery, Hem Manufacturing, and a variety of others. among our best frankincense fragrances are Auroshikha Frankincense 10g for $1.75 – catalogue #AUI003, Tulasi Frankincense cones 12 cones for $1.50 – catalogue #TUC004, and Hem Frankincense 20 sticks for $1.25 – catalogue #INS060. buy now before the price goes up… 8)
the actual paper is very technical, and will cost you $7 if you actually want to download it. here are some more non-technical user-friendly summaries (if you happen to download a copy of it, please send me a copy, thanks!).