Category Archives: incense

idea

thurible
thurible
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… πŸ˜‰

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…

HPOI have arrived!

and there was much rejoicing…

180423 75kg of incense
180423 75kg of incense

it actually doesn’t look like that much incense, but remember… 75kg = 165.3467lb — these boxes are dense

180423 package numbers
180423 package numbers

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. 😉

180423 contents
180423 contents

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…

next time…

or not… 😕

the continuing saga of the huge piles of incense

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. 😎

the saga of the huge piles of incense

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… 😕

it’s official

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.

inventory

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. πŸ˜‰

inventory
inventory
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. πŸ™‚

Mysore Sughandi Dhoop Factory

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 27Β’ a pouch for 7 African Powers, and 35Β’ 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 and incense

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.

woo

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.

👍

mump-3

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. 😊

W. T. F??

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

W.T.F??!? 😕

elephant

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!“. πŸ‘Ώ now i just have to figure out what to put it on… or, more acurately, what NOT to put it on… πŸ‘Ώ

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.

apara-squeeeeeeEEEEE-ta!!

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. πŸ˜€

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…

squeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! 😎

customers are actually good for something other than income…

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. 😎

et cetera (and others)

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? πŸ˜‰

growl

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… πŸ˜›

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… 😐