Category Archives: hybrid elephant

flurb

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”.

the rest

i finished three gifts, which should be the last of my x-mas “shopping” yesterday… which is the reason i didn’t get around to posting until very late yesterday. i’d post pictures of them, but they’re gifts and i don’t want to spoil the surprise. i’ll probably post pictures after the holidays, if i remember.

i also cleaned up the remainders of several projects that had accumulated on my workbench, which involved sorting of a number of tiny, almost but not quite identical parts into piles, and storing them in film containers, which took quite a bit of time, because the parts were so tiny.

i sent a message to the manufacturer of the penatrating oil that i bought recently, because the directions for the use of the penetrating oil assumes that you’re going to be using it on engines of some variety or another, and i am working on a musical instrument. i’m fairly sure what they’re going to say, but i just want to make sure before i start pouring unknown liquid into my antique horn.

hopefully i’ve got an order of postcards that will be arriving tomorrow, that i will be delivering to florentia clayworks when i get them. i’ve got a rehearsal tomorrow, a rehearsal tuesday, two rehearsals wednesday, an appointment and an optional rehearsal thursday, and three shows saturday.

the next two days posts are already taken care of. nablopomo, if it has done nothing else, has taught me about the scheduling feature of wordpress. when you’re much more organised than i am (which isn’t hard) you can schedule posts ahead of time, instead of using the “Publish immediately” feature in the upper right of the “Add New Post” page. i’ve actually scheduled a few posts over the past month, but i have also been disorganised enough that i haven’t been able to schedule everything, because normally it’s not necessary, i would normally just not post on a day that i had nothing to say. hint: the posts that i scheduled are posts that appear at the same time, down to the second, every day.

friday of the fez and other stuff

#fezfriday photo#FezFriday with Stanley, who is suspicious of hats with brims, but has no problem with my fez, because it doesn’t have a brim.

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.

update

i got an order for 1000 postcards through a recommendation from a long time customer. i’m probably going to get a special order for a kilo of incense from somebody who doesn’t want to pay via paypal, so he’s sending me a checque, which will probably add around a week to the amount of time that it will take until he gets his order.

i got two emails within a comparitively short period of time from a former friend turned raging alcoholic. i’ve gotten three or four emails from him in the past 10 years, and suddenly i get two emails from him within a week. i also have a copy of the last letter i sent to him, almost exactly ten years ago, that starts out with the phrase “you’re delusional, and you’ve been that way for quite some time now.” and goes downhill rapidly from there. i’m glad i’m so obsessive about keeping personal correspondence, otherwise i might not have remembered that this is the same guy who stayed in my apartment for a week right after i had moved to seattle from bellingham, in 1996, and proceded to make a copy of the key to my apartment, so that when i finally threw him out because he was an irresponsible drunken bastard, he came back and cleaned out my apartment while i was at work, and then was surprised when i showed up at his residence in bellingham with the cops… or the fact that he, then, proceded to accuse me of stealing his cheap stereo and rusty scale, which i hadn’t seen in years… the same guy who tried to guilt me into shutting up by asking questions about me finishing my degree, and my relationship with my God and gurudeva…

i wrote a terse email back to him, but i’m not holding my breath.

thanks to xydexx (who falls into the category of people i have known for 25 years or more… scary, isn’t it?)

“You know how sometimes people on your friendslist post about stuff going on in their life, and all of a sudden you think “Wait a minute? Since when were they working THERE? Since when were they dating HIM/HER? Since when???” And then you wonder how you could have missed all that seemingly pretty standard information, but somehow you feel too ashamed to ask for clarification because it seems like info you should already know?”

FIRST NAME: salamandir
AGE: older than dirt
LOCATION: seattle area
OCCUPATION: brain injured, tuba playing freak with a taste for fire
PARTNER: yes.
KIDS: one and done.
BROTHERS/SISTERS: two sisters, one brother, haven’t seen or spoken with any of them for 25 years or more.
PARENTS: mother and father both living in bellevue. haven’t spoken with them in a few years either.
PETS: currently, four dogs, three cats, a parrot and a snake. soon to include a litter of puppies.
THREE TO FIVE THINGS GOING ON IN MY LIFE: 1) [REDACTED] 2) one of the bands i play in is getting more and more frustrating because the only language that all of us speak in common is music, which makes organising things like rehearsals and concerts almost impossible. 3) none of the bands i play in have a gig on new years eve. wanna hire me?
CLOSE FRIENDS: a very few people that i’ve known on and off for 25 years or more, a somewhat larger number of people who i’ve known for 20 years or less, and nobody in between.

also, ROTFLMAOWTIME

update

i didn’t have a rehearsal yesterday, because it’s the “sousa-torium” (i.e. the break between sousa’s birthday and march or so, when we start rehearsing for next year. also, i don’t have a rehearsal tonight, because kiki’s going to the memorial for george shangrow, and anyway, they’re changing the whole story around (big surprise) so they don’t need the band, which is good because i could use the time off. it will also give me time to design a xmas postcard for the BSSB, which we are going to try to do again this year.

i went to help out my brain-injured client again yesterday. he had somehow added a wiget that he didn’t want to his panel. he said he didn’t, but i certainly didn’t put it there, and he’s the only other person to have access to the hardware, so i tend to believe that he did it in spite of what he says. after talking with tamzin, who also has aged, brain-injured clients, i bit the bullet and locked the panel, so that he can’t do it again. it’s obvious that he doesn’t really know what he’s doing about half of the time, and to leave “secret” methods of modifying the interface does more harm than good. also, he apparently has a preference for the “kickoff” style menu, rather than the “classic” windows-style menu, which is a good thing to remember.

something went wrong with one of the stylesheets and suddenly the login page for my blog looked all wonky. the last time this happened was a couple of years ago, when my blog was hacked, so i was pretty worried. i checked, and the blog didn’t appear to be hacked in the same way it was before, but still: the error i was getting was “Failed to load login.css” and i could see that login.css was there, and i looked at it and it looked the way it was supposed to… so i went to the wordpress “support” site, which is probably good for some people, but i have never gotten a usable solution when i have gone there with problems with my wordpress installation. nevertheless, it’s a place to start, so i did. i waited two days and nobody responded to my query… 😐 so i then logged into IRC, went to #wordpress and asked there. the guy who (finally) responded asked if i had tried uploading the file from a backup.

d’oh!

once i had uploaded and replaced the stylesheet, everything went back to the way it’s supposed to be.

getting things done

today i went to somebody’s house in kent to drop off some coaxial cable, then i went to firwood, a suburb to the south of tacoma, to get parrot food, then i went through puyallup to milton, where i picked up an order for busines cards from a client, then i went into federal way to go to costco for groceries and gas before completing the grand circut home. once home, i prepared the artwork for the business card, and placed the order at the printers, did the laundry, and took out the trash.

i’ve got to take photos, and paste up a new page of printing examples for the Hybrid Elephant web site. i’ve got to figure out how to make, and then implement an updateable calendar for the BSSB web site.

i’ve mentioned my aged, brain-injured client in the past. this time he had me come over because, he admitted when i got there, he “got mad” at his computer, recently, and started randomly right- and left-clicking his mouse in an attempt to get it to do something (he never did tell me exactly what). the big result, which i’m still not exactly sure how he pulled it off, was that instead of kubuntu 9.whatever that i had installed for him, he now has a fresh, clean installation of kubuntu 10.04… and a whole bunch of “panels”, which are the linux equivalent of what, on windows, is called the “task bar”, and of which you can make as many as you want, that all do different things if you’re so inclined.

my client knows nothing about how all of the panels got there, he said that he was trying to get a popup window to go away. he did have “knotes” running, which makes popup “sticky notes” on the screen, and he had several dozen notes containing nothing but a date, that were all minimised.

i was a little taken aback that he had apparently successfully upgraded the system, but if nothing else, it’s a testament to how easy linux is to upgrade. once i got him back to a reasonable number (which, in his case, is one) of panels, deleted and removed the “popup” notes, and the KDE “desktop sharing” application, which had apparently been installed with the upgrade, and had him up and running again in about 20 minutes. i didn’t actually lock the panel – which would prevent him from “getting mad at the computer” and randomly changing things, and which i could have done fairly easily – because i don’t want to limit his exploration of the computer. if he’s aware of the fact that “getting mad” at the computer doesn’t automatically ruin the computer, my guess is that he’ll be a lot more willing to “poke around” the computer without getting mad…

what would you do?

so i’ve been doing some maintenance on sedentarysousa dot com. i uploaded the last of the changes, and refreshed the browser, only to get one of those “Firefox can’t find the server at www.sedentarysousa.com” messages.

i restarted firefox. i flushed my DNS cache, and the DNS cache of my router. i rebooted the machine, and the router. i switched browsers five times, i switched machines three times, and i switched platforms twice, but i basically got “there is no server” messages from every browser and machine combination i tried.

i then went to browsershots dot org, which uses a whole bunch of different network nodes, a whole bunch of different browsers and three different platforms, and confirmed that sedentarysousa.com was up and working the way it’s supposed to, and that made me suspicious.

because of the fact that one of my machines is wireless, and my neighbour uses a different ISP and runs an unsecured wireless network, i can switch networks fairly easily, so i did, and sedentarysousa.com showed up without a problem.

aha, i thought. the problem is with drizzle (big surprise). so i called drizzle. sure enough, the drizzle tech support people – two of them! – confirmed that sedentarysousa – and only sedentarysousa – was “offline”.

they recommended that i “contact the host provider” and have them do a traceroute to my IP address, to figure out where the problem lies.

WHAT⁈⁉

let me get this straight… they would rather that the host provider – who is conveniently located in London, doesn’t have a problem with anybody else, and only has a problem with one route connecting – should contact the person responsible for that route to fix the problem, instead of the person responsible for the route that’s having a problem being contacted by ME to fix the problem.

it sounds very much to me as though they are saying “we don’t care, we don’t have to” – which is not the way to keep me as a customer.

very likely, what they are saying, as well, is “we don’t actually know what the problem is, or how to fix it”, which is a valid point, but it makes me feel like they are deliberately misleading me, rather than being honest and admitting that they don’t know – which is also not the way to keep me as a customer.

what really irritates me is that, what with the network being the fluid place that it is, by the time i actually discover what the problem really is, it will have fixed itself and there won’t be any evidence that whatever was causing the problem really was causing the problem. it irritates me that random things like this happen on what should be a very predictable medium. 8P

ETA: so i had the host provider do a traceroute to my IP address:

traceroute to 216.162.193.190 (216.162.193.190), 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
1 216-18-215-65.hosted.static.webnx.com (216.18.215.65) 0.316 ms 0.371 ms 0.436 ms
2 cr3-lax01.webnx.com (67.220.192.102) 0.294 ms 0.357 ms 0.410 ms
3 cust-webnx.ar10.owlax.us.easynet.net (207.162.207.13) 0.576 ms 0.723 ms 0.807 ms
4 ge-7-48.car1.SanJose2.Level3.net (4.59.0.69) 9.538 ms 9.535 ms 9.528 ms
5 * * *
6 ae-93-93.ebr3.SanJose1.Level3.net (4.69.134.237) 21.896 ms 19.398 ms 17.990 ms
7 ae-2-2.ebr3.LosAngeles1.Level3.net (4.69.132.10) 12.894 ms 9.468 ms 9.456 ms
8 ae-71-78.ebr1.LosAngeles1.Level3.net (4.69.146.10) 16.406 ms ae-91-98.ebr1.LosAngeles1.Level3.net (4.69.146.26) 16.362 ms 16.354 ms
9 ae-7-7.car1.SaltLakeCity1.Level3.net (4.69.148.5) 22.380 ms 22.130 ms 22.771 ms
10 ae-11-11.car2.SaltLakeCity1.Level3.net (4.69.133.122) 22.099 ms 22.531 ms 22.291 ms
11 4.53.42.10 (4.53.42.10) 22.579 ms 22.703 ms 22.765 ms
12 208.110.128.254 (208.110.128.254) 38.893 ms 38.961 ms 38.866 ms
13 216.162.207.60 (216.162.207.60) 43.406 ms 42.878 ms 43.912 ms
14 * * *
15 * * *
16 * * *
17 * * *
18 * * *

the place where the timeout occurred was 216.162.207.60, which is Internet Professionals & Network Solutions.

it IS drizzle’s problem! 8|

dreeb

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.

spoons, etc.

yesterday i got up at an ungodly hour (6:30 am) and went to pick up my wanna-be-art-car from one repair shop, and drove it 15 miles to another repair shop where they’re allegedly going to fix it. on the 15 mile drive from one repair shop to the other, the car almost overheated, and smoke was coming out the fresh air vents when i arrived, but ganesha is in charge of this car, so if it’s going to be fixed, then it’s going to be fixed, and if it isn’t, there’s nothing i can do about it.

anyway, that left me in burien with no car. i had my bicycle, though it’s around 30 miles home from there, so i rode to the burien transit center and took a bus from there to international boulevard, where i transferred to another bus that was going to the federal way transit center, and from there i rode my bicycle the remaining 8 miles home.

when i got home, i turned around and went out again, to get an ink cartridge for my printer, so that everything won’t print green any longer, and i also went to the copy shop to get photocopies of the panto music of which i need multiple copies. then i came home again…

when i got home, i used the new ink cartridge to print an invoice, and packaged an order that came in the day before, and went out again to the post office to ship the order.

then i came home again, and searched for, and found a guy who would fix the free lawnmower that i got on freecycle the other day. he picked it up(!) last night.

today, i went to the bank to get cash for the guy who fixed the lawn mower, and when he delivered it(!), i mowed the lawn, taking a break in the middle to go out and buy a gas can and gas, because it ran out of gas and i didn’t have any because my previous lawn mower was electric.

then i got most of the rest of my gear ready for OCF. i still have to pack clothes, and there are probably some miscellaneous things that i haven’t remembered to pack.

i keep finding myself amazed at the fact that in a little more than a week there are going to be feral hippie children immitating the play that i only saw for the first time on monday, and that was an incomplete show, because all of the music isn’t written yet, and we’re still putting the final touches on the script… the final dress rehearsal for the panto here is tonight. i believe the people who aren’t going down early are having another rehearsal on monday, but the next complete rehearsal we’ve got scheduled for the panto is at OCF, a week from tomorrow evening before the fair opens on friday. i’ve still got to determine whether or not i’m bringing my saw. also i’ve got a pink bandana and a trumpet that i have to remember to take for katy.

tomorrow there’s supposed to be a banda gozona rehearsal, but it’s for a performance that i have to miss because of OCF, so i’m not sure whether or not i’m going to it. friday there’s the final BBWP rehearsal before the fire show the night of the fair opening.

as long as we hold it together, the panto this year has the potential for being the best show we’ve ever done. we’re doing a mash up of Red Riding Hood and The Three Pigs: they’re both fairly simple, short stories that have some similar characters – the big bad wolf, and the woodcutter, for example – and they’re both ripe for tweaking the plots a little bit (or a lot) so that they’ll fit together. of course we’ve got the standard gender bending and off-colour jokes which should go over the heads of the smaller members of the audience. if we don’t hold it together, well, it’s OCF, so the probability is very high that nobody will notice, or if they do, they’ll think we planned it that way.

APARAJITA! 8)

aparajitaso my package arrived, and it contains what appears to be the correct stuff, so my anxiety has been pretty much erased…

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. 😀

it’s 11:00 am and i’m anxious…

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 lifeand 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.

wuff…

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 – :mrgreen: – 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.

tah daaah!

hood finished!
finally!

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

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

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

aparajita

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)

ketchup

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)

3D printer could build moon bases – somebody’s finally taken this concept to a logical conclusion, and wouldn’t you know, it had to be an artist.

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?

bleep

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!

Continue reading bleep

spoons &c.

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

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

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

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

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

☻☺

i have been digging through mounds of PHP code recently, looking for <hr> tags and not finding them, and figuring out ways to make links disappear and stuff like that for the past couple of days. i believe i may have actually put the finishing touches on the sedentary sousa web site, but i’m not going to post it until i get approval from the boss lady.

moe’s friend holly is staying with us for a couple of nights. i don’t know her very well, but she and moe are good friends from way back.

more

more car problems. the jeep (a “temporary” car that belongs to moe’s friend micah’s father, curtis, who has it registered in florida, but keeps it here so that he can use it when he visits his property in the channel islands during the summer, and we – read “i” – can use it whenever else we want apart from that) randomly dies for no very obvious reasons, and last night on my way home from rehearsal, i noticed that the oil pressure gauge was fluctuating wildly. it didn’t go below 40, but when i was accellerating, it would go up to 80, and when i started it up this morning, it went straight up to 80, pegged, and stayed there. along with getting lousy gas mileage, it makes me seriously wonder how curtis, who is reputed to be a car “guru”, managed to get this one… but, then again, curtis is a person who owns a large warehouse in florida, full of cars and motorcycles and other stuff that he never uses, while he lives a good portion of the year in philadelphia, so maybe i shouldn’t expect genius from the guy.

i put what is probably the first of the finishing touches on the new sedentary sousa web site, but i’m still not going to post a sneak peek at it yet. if you’re really inquisitive, you can look at this, which is a web site that uses the same overall theme. i’m still waiting on some final content, editing, pictures and other graphics, and there are a few finishing code touches that i’m still in the process of learning about which are yet to come, but it will make the whole site a lot easier to deal with, and most of the updates can be done by pretty much anyone who can type, rather than by me… which is, in my opinion, a very good thing.

it’s really cold today: i have on a long-sleeved warm shirt, a hoodie, a scarf and a hat and i’m still cold enough that i’ve popped out a hand-warmer and have that in an inside pocket to keep warm. it’s really difficult to type with my right hand not working the way it used to, to begin with, and the fact that it’s cold enough that i’m shivering doesn’t help that much.

虋紡跉䘈㝔

Night Lightsokay, the server interruption seems to have settled down. i was in the middle of updating the sedentary sousa web site, and i get this email saying that within 24 hours i’m going to be moved to another server, and before i was able to get in touch with them to find out exactly when, the server went down. it came up again, breifly, yesterday, but then there was some sort of SNAFU at drizzle, and the server was inaccessible to me for most of today. i appreciate the move, but i could have used a little bit more precise notice.

i’ve made about as many changes in the sedentary sousa site as i can with plain ol’ html, and she keeps demanding different functionality, so i’ve brought up the possibility of a wordpress site, that she can update herself. she hasn’t said no yet, so i’ve been researching how to do stuff with the default theme that is more what like what she wants artistically. i’ve got a BSSB rehearsal on tuesday, so i’ll probably end up talking with her more either before or after the rehearsal.

i took the picture on the right on my way to rehearsal wednesday. i didn’t actually take the picture from the location that i wanted to, but everything else was just right. i’ve been driving to rehearsals and seeing that combination of lights and sky for years, and i’ve finally got it together to take a picture of it.

okay, 2010 has actually started now…

the busy season started about 2 weeks ago. i’ve had a rehearsal for the fremont philharmonic, and a rehearsal for the fremont players every week, plus i’ve had a banda gozona rehearsal every other week, plus i’ve had a snake suspenderz rehearsal and/or performance about every other week (next performance is thursday at smokin’ pete’s barbecue, in ballard), the BSSB is starting rehearsals every other tuesday starting next week, and there’s a BSSB performance coming up in may, the moisture festival is coming up in a couple weeks, and after the moisture festival is over i’m going to have two rehearsals for the fremont players per week until the oregon country fair, which is in july.

on top of everything else, i’ve had an order of business cards to print, an order of stickers to print and i’m doing yet another re-design of the BSSB web site, which is about half done. i’m not gonna post a sneak peek until i get approval from the boss lady, liz… at which point, it may be a live site anyway. there’s not an awful lot of actual re-designing going on. more just moving stuff around and making it look “more grown-up” – whatever that means.

i like that word ‘kleep’… it’s sort of like ‘telp’…

so the US copyright lobby is petitioning to put indonesia on the list of potential software pirates, because of the fact that its government supports open source software… if you don’t have your copy of linux and wordpress now, better get it soon, in case the US government decides that open source equals piracy.

i broke down and bought a price gun marker$125 for a little gadget that prints two lines of numbers on a price tag, and is designed to be used at inhuman speeds. presumably it will work, but i won’t be able to find out until after the weekend, because my mother-in-law is visiting for the weekend and her bedroom is also where i store the incense.

i’m playing for the “Vicars & Tarts” party at the palladium tomorrow (yes, we are taking my mother-in-law with us, which should be amusing). i am playing with a whole bunch of musicians i have played with before in various other configurations, but we have never played in this particular configuration, and there’s one guy, colin, who i’ve never played with before. it’s going to be colin on trombone, me on e-flat tuba and greg on b-flat tuba (two tubas! 8) ), roslyn on clarinet, joseph on saxophone, stuart on guitar and a drummer who stuart says i have met before, but i don’t remember who he is.

Continue reading i like that word ‘kleep’… it’s sort of like ‘telp’…

imogene cunningham

Fremont Sunday Marketwe had two people in the audience. thad’s new wife, ada, and halfway through the show, macque came in. there were more people on stage than there were in the audience. apart from that, it was a really fun rehearsal with a live sound system and a real sound guy running the board. if you didn’t come, although you could have, shame on you, and you missed quite a show. hopefully (for your sake) there will be more in the future.

FSM today. i started with $120, i spent at least $60, and i still ended up with about $160, so all in all, i would say that it was a fairly good day. i’m definitely going to have to do something about my boxes. i ripped out the handles of 3 of the 6 boxes of incense i brought today. the ideal boxes would be similar to the cardboard boxes i currently have (which are cartons intended for packing 12 tall glasses), but they would have stiffer inserts, so that things don’t get all mixed together at the bottom of the box, and they would have sturdier handles that aren’t so likely to rip out as the boxes are used. also i’m going to have to break down and invest in a price gun, because having to look up everything all the time is a royal pain in the ass, and i end up selling incense that should be $7.50 for $2.50 because i can’t find it in my price list, like what happened several times today. also i have to remember to bring stock for everything that i display, so that some guy doesn’t come in and ask for a Niruta Ganapathi, and the only one i have to sell him is my sample, like what happened today.

⁂ ✬ ⨀ 文

along with all of the other SNAFUs i’ve been forced to deal with over the past few days (an itemised list would prove too exasperating to compile at this point), and despite any actual evidence that it is true, i have become relatively convinced that i may have H1N1, otherwise known as “HEINEY”. i felt fine on saturday, but, on sunday, the closer i got to the time (7:00 pm) when i had to go to a fremont phil rehearsal i was feeling more and more sick. i didn’t actually feel nauseous until i had already decided not to go to the (essential, required) rehearsal, and about 8:00 i turned into a geyser for about 2 hours. then i had a fever and chills for about 24 hours, whereupon the coughing started and has been going on more or less ever since. i feel more-or-less normal at this point, despite occasional fits of coughing. at this point, i’m so through with being sick… 8/

i bought a new wireless DSL modem/router, because the old modem/router apparently doesn’t work with OsX version 10.6.2 (snow leopard), which is what i am running on my mac now that i’ve upgraded thanks to St. Fred. of course i didn’t find out about it immediately, because when i got home with my newly-upgraded computer and turned it on, it found internet right away and i didn’t think to check where it was coming from. of course, as soon as i tried to connect with the mac from linux i discovered the problem, which was that the mac was wirelessly connecting to internet through the neighbour’s router instead of through mine, and when i tried to switch to my router, it simply wouldn’t connect. of course, moe’s temporary windows7 laptop connected to the old router without a problem, but she got her new mac today, which also runs snow leopard, so i went out and bought a new router, and, after having to call qwest once, drizzle three times, and having to make an adaptor and a cable (fortunately i had the tools and materials in my workshop!!) i finally got it working the way it’s supposed to.

of course, then i had to figure out that the new router makes a difference between networking with or without “wireless access control”. “with” means that i can’t access my mac – wireless – from my linux machine, which is connected with a wire, without jumping through a bunch more, different hoops that i haven’t figured out yet. i still haven’t figured out the right hoops to jump through to secure my wireless network so that my neighbours can’t log in to my network the way i can log in theirs. when i enable “wireless equivalency protection” (WEP), it takes longer, and the password doesn’t work the way i think it should, which means that only the linux machine gets internet, but can’t connect to the mac at all, the mac gets no internet except through the neighbour’s router, and i have to “sneaker net” files from the mac to the linux machine, which is do-able, but not ideal.

on the positive side, i haven’t had to switch host providers again, i got ALL of the data off of moe’s old hard drive, in spite of the fact that her old laptop is well and truly dead. i’ve got the chassis for sale on craigslist, and supposedly there’s going to be somebody come by and pick up the old router this afternoon. also, i’ve become the default insider tech-guru for the *NEW* fremont players web site – http://www.fremontplayers.com/ – which currently points to twankey.com. the “job title” reflects the fact that, despite the fact that i will be designing, hosting and doing maintenance for the site, i will not have to come up with content, which is exactly what i was hoping for.

and now, to clean up my browser a little and give you an idea of what i’ve been reading recently, here is MINI-LINQUE DUMP Ⅳ½

Supreme Court Allows Corporations To Run For Political Office – in spite of the fact that there is a glimmer of hope in the fact that we no longer have a far-right-wing nut-job as president any longer, my general impression is that the country is as broken as ever, and there are certain ways that it is broken now that it wasn’t broken before more level heads took over, which doesn’t say much about the glimmer of hope that i spoke of earlier. The Onion is the only way i’ve been surviving these days. if it weren’t for the onion, i would probably have sworn off all news reporting a year ago.

Nation’s Strangers Decry Negative Portrayal Among Children – once again, from the onion (see, i told you so) this is yet another example of why: ever since i was as young as i can remember, i remember people in the position of authority (my parents, the parents of my friends, teachers, etc.) telling me to be wary of “strangers”, and my thinking that the same “strangers” had something compelling about them. i was determined to find out what it was. now, i am a “stranger”, and i know what they’re talking about: kids, in general, are a lot less concerned about the world in general than adults are, and have a tendency to imagine quite a bit more than adults do. now, as an adult and a “stranger”, i just want to be that innocent again. it doesn’t have anything to do with “your weiner”. “the man” gets a little nervous when “strangers” and kids mix too much, though.

The Phallic Monuments Of Love Valley – who says God doesn’t have a sense of humour?

aparajita

Mavana Aparajita

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:

Cauvery Arpitha

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.

again…

it’s coming down to the time when i should start thinking about switching host providers again. at this point it’s down to either HostGator or HostMonster each of which has their own google “complaints” page – this time i’m doing at least that much more homework… – and both of which have almost identical articles on hostings that suck which is questionable, since it also recommends 1&1… the reason for thinking of hostgator is that they have the balls to post an forum of customer reviews and apparently don’t remove the bad ones. the reason for thinking of hostmonster is that i have a very good friend who is a web designer and he uses hostmonster and speaks glowingly of them. probably going to start the process during the coming week or so, so that when i cancel with 1&1 they can’t screw things up as badly.

pipeline data apparently is apparently aware of the fact that they are running a scam, because when informed that we were going to the police with charges of fraud, they suddenly refunded the $11.95 that they had withdrawn from my bank account after i had cancelled my account with them… up until they were informed that we were going to the police, they had steadfastly refused to refund the money – which they were entitled to because of the contract i didn’t sign – under any circumstances, but when we told them we were going to the police, that is a circumstance under which they will refund it. there’s still no word on the $300 “early termination fee” – i’ve put in a dispute with the bank, and they’ve already started an investigation – but this doesn’t make it look too good for them. it may be a while, but today i’m guessing that i’ll eventually get the “early termination fee” refunded as well.

also… <tee hee> Fart Intensity Detector complete with schematics.

damn!

i have recently discovered that i have been ripped off by two different companies since december. the first one was the host servicie that i was so excited about a few months ago, 1&1 internet, who, i have since discovered, earned an "F" from the Better Business Bureau for “Number of complaints filed against business, Failure to respond to complaints filed against business, Number of complaints filed against business that were unresolved and Overall complaint history with BBB”. they “bait-and-switched” me into a contract for hosting services that ended up costing 12 times more than i would have agreed to, and then, in spite of the fact that their headquarters is in germany, they claimed to not understand when i told them that 4/10 didn’t mean the 10th of april, it meant the 4th of october…

the second company is Pipeline Data Processing, otherwise known as SecurePay, which also has an "F" from the BBB, has a reputation for holding funds, and charging you for things after you’ve already cancelled your account – like they did with me. and they said that it was all in the contract i signed, but i never signed a contract. the contract they sent me when i complained about the $300 withdrawal had a scan of my signature that could have been off a check or something… but i NEVER signed a contract. i was actually lead to believe that there wasn’t going to be any long-term contract.

the thing that pisses me off so much, though, is the fact that i would have learned about these rip-offs simply by typing the name of the company and the word “complaints” into google. instead, i figured that it was okay because the people sounded sincere, and signed up with both of them, and got ripped off. i am not immune to the very big stupid… 😡

i’m going to have to close my business account and open another one, because of pipeline data processing’s propensity for random charges well after my contract was cancelled, i’ve already got an investigation going at the bank, and the pipeline representative recommended that we file a police report for fraud, because they weren’t going to look into it otherwise.

heiney

i did something to my back within the past three days that is causing me enormous pain when i stand or sit… currently i am under the influence of ibuprophen, which diminishes it from enormous pain to a nagging reminder, but at the same time, i think that loading, unloading and re-loading hybrid elephant at the FSM yesterday, and then unloading it again at home this afternoon was no help at all. at this point, i can hope that it goes away or fixes itself soon, because any further medical intervention is more than i can afford.

i made $70 at the FSM. not my best day, but not my worst, either. the next time i know i can go will be in three weeks, because i have a banda gozona gig (in mt. vernon?) in two weeks. also, since i redesigned the site, hybrid elephant has shot to the #1 position when you search for swastika button, which is especially cool since the #2 position is currently occupied by a white supremacist… 8) furthermore, i now occupy position #2 when you search for finest incense in the world, which is exactly what i was hoping would happen!

ned had to cancel, because he’s sick, and his son goes to one of the schools shut down by swine flu H1N1 (pronounced “heiney”). he says that he and his wife and kid have been sick for about a week, and while he doesn’t think he’s got H1N1, the fact that his kid goes to stevenson means that he doesn’t want to take any chances. another school that was shut down due to the overblown H1N1 scare is woodmont, where i went to first through third grade.

The Shit Box™!!

The Shit Box
The Shit Box
The Shit Box™ has arrived, and it is truely awesome. at this point, they’re $25 for pre-orders, and they’re already an indespensible item for camping, travelling and the Oregon Country Fair – no more long lines at the porta-pottys in the morning! i can poop when i want to, in the privacy of my own campsite, and dispose of the “evidence” in the food waste bin without a second thought. it would also be good for Burning Man, but i’m not looking for conveniences for a festival that i will never attend again, so i’ll pretend that i didn’t even mention it.

progress?

i’ve discovered what the problem is with my linux box: i tried to upgrade directly from hardy to jaunty without going through intrepid first. it really wasn’t my fault, i just did what the upgrade application told me to, but that doesn’t make my box any less broken. fortunately, i appear to have found a linux guru on kubuntuforums.net who is the eternal optimist and thinks that i can probably rescue my box without having to reinstall. i’m up for it, but i would also be up for reinstalling if it doesn’t work out. meanwhile i’m learning all about aptitude -f install and dpkg --force-overwrite -i and other arcane goodies that go over the heads of about 90% of the other kubuntu users out there. and my linux box is still broken. oh well…

i got an order for 3000 postcards yesterday, which will ultimately be sent to japan, and i mowed the lawn for the first time this year as well. also i’ve got a BSSB rehearsal later this evening, so despite my broken linux box and my ongoing depression, i’m keeping busy enough that it doesn’t hurt as much.

ETA, 5:00pm: the linux guru i met turned me on to skype, which i now have installed on my mac, so if any of you are inclined to actually talk to me, i can be reached at przxqgl. we didn’t get very far, but i am more convinced than ever that we will actually be able to rescue this box instead of reinstalling it. i’m now doing a remote ssh to the linux box and running all the commands on my mac, which saves me getting confused over which keyboard i’m typing into.

phnerb

i had decided that i was going to go to the fremont sunday market on friday, but then i took ganesha the car to a big community festival at magnusson park yesterday, and not only did it rain on and off for about half the day (and, because of an email screwup, i was the only art car there for about 4 hours), but i was so exhausted that i slept most of the day. i’m still really tired, and i think it’s a combination of the fact that i have been sick for the past 2 weeks, along with the generally depressed feeling that i usually get surrounding anything having to do with SSDI. even though the probability is good that i got approved (this time), i don’t know for sure yet, and there have been enough times in the past that haven’t gone well that being depressed after such an event is fairly common. anyway, i slept until 10:00 am (after having gone to bed at 10:30 last night, after having slept for an hour or so on the couch) and went to the FSM to pay for next week… which means that whether or not i feel like going, the fact that i’ve already paid will be an additional impetus to get me going anyway.

update

happy 4/20. i’d be consuming more holy vegetable, but i still am terrifically short of breath and coughing a lot as a result of being sick still. i’ve been vapourising a bit and even that has been causing me to cough. i suppose i could probably make some ghee or something…

they’re putting on a new roof, so that it won’t leak any longer. it’s only about two years overdue, but there’s no point in complaining about it now. the dogs are being quiet, in spite of the roofers right over their heads, making all kinds of noises which dogs would definitely find suspicious. we’ll see how long that lasts.

the $300 withdrawal from my bank account has had a band-aid put on it, but it’s still an open and sucking chest wound. at this point i’m done talking with people until i hear from the bank concerning my contesting of the charges. moe has taken over talking with the people who actually withdrew the money, and considering that i never actually signed anything, combined with the fact that the first time i ever even heard about an “early cancellation fee” was when i checked my bank account on thursday, she seems to think that there’s a more-than-likely chance that there will be a positive (for me) outcome. we’ll see about that, as well… 8/

maybe i’ll go to the fremont sunday market on sunday. one way or the other, i could really use a day of doing nothing but making money, and there’s a good chance, since i haven’t been there in a while, that fremont will be itching for some new incense.

i got another order on the web site, but no corresponding order from paypal, which makes me seriously wonder about whether or not i’ve got it set up right. it should be that you confirm your order on my site, and then transfer to paypal’s secure server to complete your order, and of the three orders i’ve gotten since the site upgrade, two of them have confirmed the order on my site, but not completed their orders on paypal’s secure server. i wrote to one of them, but she was located in the UK and never responded. the new order came in on friday, from a guy in california, according to the site, but i never heard anything from either the customer or from paypal, so i don’t know what happened. the next step is to write to the guy and see what happened.

i’ve got to get my tabs for ganesha the car. also, i have a fremont phil rehearsal this evening.

fucking cunt-shit on a gold-plated platter!!!

i decided to check my bank account. i have only had one order since i unveiled the new site, and i had around $200 the last time i checked, but i was shocked to discover that pipeline data processing – the company i thought was going to help me process credit cards, before they charged me $45 for a month’s worth of services that i didn’t use because my site wasn’t set up for it yet, and subsequently, on april 7th, cancelled the account without ever processing even one credit card through them – had withdrawn $300 from my bank account yesterday! of course, this left me with a -$100 balance, plus a $35 fee from the bank.

naturally, i called them up to find out what was screwy. i didn’t use their services, i hadn’t incorporated their services into my web site, i had been a customer of theirs for less than a month – i originally signed up for a merchant account on march 16th, and cancelled it on april 7th – and they were withdrawing $300 that i didn’t have from an account that, presumably, they didn’t have access to any longer.

they told me that the $300 was an “early termination fee” and that it was “in the contract you signed”.

i didn’t sign any contract.

the entire transaction went on over the phone, and through email, and they have no record of anything other than a typewritten signature, which was not written by me, on a mishmash of text that they said was a contract.

as you can probably imagine, i was not very happy. unfortunately, since my injury, instead of being able to discuss the reasons for my unhappiness in rational words that actually make sense to anyone (including myself) i raged and ranted and stuttered and drooled and made a complete fool of myself to at least 4 different “customer service” representatives, before i finally got fed up with attempting to find out why a company that makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a day was, apparently, unable to waive a $300 “early termination fee” for services that had never been used, and hung up.

i called the bank and told them that $300 had been withdrawn from my account without my approval. they said that someone would be getting back to me “in writing” – read “by snailmail”. they also said that if my account remained in an overdrawn state for more than 10 days, it would be suspended.

$#%&*@$!!%&*@?##!!!%!?!!

brain injury, paypal, credit card accepting, spam and frustration – in that order

so, now that the moisture festival is over with for another year, i decided to get to work on the “accepting credit cards using some other service than paypal” part of my web site. they have been sending me two or three messages a day concerning different aspects of getting my site set up. i had told the guy initially when i signed up that i wasn’t actually going to be able even to look at email about the web site until after the moisture festival was over, so i was somewhat surprised when i got a statement in the email this morning, saying that my checking account had been billed $33. i called them up, and the customer service lady said that she couldn’t help me, and transferred my call to a sales representative, who, after some convincing, admitted that he had the email where i said that i wasn’t going to be able to start until april, but said he couldn’t help me, and transferred me back to customer service.

this is after i got an email, last week, in my “spam” folder (in other words, it was downloaded directly from the server into my “deleted items” mailbox, which gets deleted when i shut down the computer). the email contained a “From:” address at CheckCare.com – which i seem to recall them saying something about when i signed up with the credit card accepting place – but nothing else that indicated where it was from or who i should contact if i had any questions – which was the primary reason it ended up in the spam box. the email also contained a “Merchant” identification which was “SPAY60102”, which i considered rather odd, and a list of fees, most of which were $0, except for the last one, a “Gateway fee” for $11.85. i called the credit card accepting place and went through a couple of hours of being connected to people who reputedly were going to be able to help me, but finding out that they couldn’t help me and putting me on hold while they transferred me to someone who could. at one point i ended up being put on hold, which was answered by someone who not only doesn’t work for either of the companies in question, but works for one of their competitors. needless to say, i hung up and called in again. as it is, the whole process of getting set up to accept credit cards is way more irritating than a person with a brain injury – such as myself – can handle, and i certainly don’t want to be the focus of two competing companies attempts to get me to give their company money i don’t have to begin with. eventually, after two hours and calling the main number 3 times, a guy answered who, before i had the chance to regail him with the entire sordid story, said that he “was aware of the situation” that had caused me to have to call back three times, and he would figure it out and get back to me… and i’m still waiting to find out whether or not it was spam or an actual bill.

you would think that a company which presumably does hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of business each day would be a little more lax about a $33 dollar refund, but no, the customer service rep that i was connected to said that i would have to talk with a manager if i wanted to complain about the sales representative’s misunderstanding. i said that if it was not resolved to my satisfaction, that i would gladly take my business to a service provider that cares about its customers, so she emailed me a (.doc file!!!) “Merchant Request to Cancel” – which has to be faxed or scanned and emailed back to them, but i don’t have either a fax machine or a working scanner.

they make it as difficult as possible – something which i don’t completely disagree with – to get an account in the first place, but once you have the account they start spamming you just like that was their business, and they make it even more difficult to cancel your account… it makes me wonder how any of these companies stay in business at all, especially with the economy the way it is these days.

coming to the end of another moisture festival

i met ukulele dick at the moisture festival the other day. his “real name”, acording to his schtick, is Banjo Penis. i traded him a copy of serpentine for a copy of his ukulele dick cd and a copy of his “Dick Dujour” cd, Music to Scare Children by. i’ve been listening to them on and off throughout the day, and i must say, the guy is more than just a ukulele player. i also made buttons for him that say “Act Dorky, Live Forever”. i’ve got performances on friday and sunday for sure, and possibly saturday.

the big news, or maybe not so big if you hang out with the right people, i guess, is that circus contraption is breaking up. i have no idea why, but i can imagine, as with most artistic organisations like that, that there were some artistic differences somewhere along the lines.

other news: my SSDI hearing is the 24th. i’m approaching it with an interesting mixture of hilarity and dread. i got to see part of the forms ned was filling out earlier in the week, and he said about 10 things, of which i would think that 1 of which should be enough to get me on the “disabled” list in a perfect world, but because of the fact that the world is decidedly imperfect, i don’t know if it will help or not. we’re going to work on it some more after the moisture festival is over.

also i’m getting ready to be able to accept credit cards on hybrid elephant, but i’ve only gotten one order since i went live with the new site, so i’m wondering if i can’t put it off for another month until i get more of an idea about whether or not people are going to notice it.

despite the fact that i won the battle of the computer in record time – this time – i learned a bunch of things that i didn’t know in the process. the main thing i learned is that the intermittent quiet scratching noise coming from the computer is the power supply fan, which, instead of turning on and doing what it is supposed to do when power is applied, in fact, it rotates weakly, not anywhere near fast enough to be anything like the heat sink that it’s supposed to be, and intermittently emits a scratching sound that makes me think that it, too, is not long for this world.

chautaqua elephant

i played in the Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band/Orchestra in the benefit show for the New Old-Time Chautaqua this afternoon. it’s a mass conflagration of incestuous artistic talent with which i have been associated on the edges of for the past 30 years or so: i play with eben, bernice, clayton and liz in the ballard sedentary sousa band, i’ve played music with stephan, kevin and karl from bellingham in a variety of groups since i was in college, i currently play with thad in snake suspenderz, i’ve played with heather in the fremont phil… the chautaqua has been described as a karass, which is, in fact, a very apt description. but i never realised how intimately involved i was with it until today, when i saw how many of my friends were all gathered together to do God’s will.

in other news, i finally got the problems that i’ve been having with Hybrid Elephant fixed. they weren’t serious or visible problems (the graphics were showing up in the store, but not in the admin part), but they were a concern, especially if i end up switching host providers again, which is not out of the question. as much as i was raving about 1&1 when i first signed up with them, they have pulled a slimy, underhanded move that makes me wonder how they stay in business: they pulled a “bait and switch” move where i thought i was signing up for a $10.00 a month deal with no monthly contract, and in reality i was signing up for a $20.00 a month deal with a $50 rebate, and a 6 month contract. furthermore, i’ve discovered a host service which actually charges $7 a month, and has unlimited disk space, bandwidth, and SQL databases. of course 300 GB is a lot, but there’s a big difference between 300 GB and unlimited, especially when they’re actually going to charge me less than 1&1 said they were going to charge me. so i’m going to wait until my 6 month contract is up, and then switch host providers again.

my name is salamandir and i’m a geek

i’m a geek. i have known it for a while, and there have been several events in my life that have made it sometimes painfully obvious. well, this is one of those events in my life. there is a link on the wikipedia page about cantheism which is in the “External link & sorce” part of the page, the first link is to a “Cantheist website”, which, if you click it, takes you to a pretty green page all about cantheism, with a link at the bottom to Chris Conrad’s web site

that is all very well and good, but what i discovered this afternoon is that it is on a domain that i own and have control over… and i didn’t know it was there.

not only that, but there are apparently other pages in the same directory, complete with graphics, that i not only didn’t know about, but have not linked on my own site, that i know of, in at least 10 years. the date on the page that has a date is september 15, 2000, which may be around the time they were placed there.

upon further investigation, of course, i discovered that they actually are linked to one of the pages that i haven’t looked at since about 2001. i posted the information, and forgot about it. but internet didn’t, and now, without me having to do anything, a page of information that I make available is a resource on wikipedia.

relief… sort of…

as of 10:30 this morning, i have gotten all of the code for the web site back to where it was before the disaster that happened yesterday, which surprises me a great deal. it’s really strange that a few stray characters can be enough to bring the whole site crashing down – although i’ve begun to perceive that the site is really cobbled together from bits and pieces and held together with chewing gum and bits of string – but it’s even more strange that, despite what i thought originally, i had just enough of just the right files backed up that i was able to resurrect it so easily. two of the three contributions that i thought i was going to have to reinstall were actually already installed. i’ve still got to go back and re-upload a huge shitload of graphics – one at a time, because there’s no other way to do it – considering that my punishment for being as cock-sure as i was, and then i’m going to download the entire site and back that up.

BUGGER!

i may have gotten to feeling a little too cocky about my newly acquired PHP skills, and i may have done something that means that i have to start again from scratch… i probably won’t have to re-feed the database, but as far as i can tell, at this point everything else is totally fucked up – FUBAR as a matter of fact… 8/

and it was all because i ASSUMED that my local backup was identical to my remote site, whereas if i had thought about it for more than a second or so, it would have been obvious that it wasn’t… 8/

and because of the fact that today is the opening performance of the moisture festival, i won’t even get the chance to survey the damage until tomorrow.

bugger, bugger, BUGGER!

ETA (090311 1:53 pm PDT) – it may not be anywhere near as bad as i expected (not surprising), but there’s still some FUMTU stuff, and i have to reinstall a bunch of contributions. the biggest loss at this point appears to be a whole bunch of images, which i, fortunately, do have backed up elsewhere. it’s still going to take me a few days to get everything sorted out, though… 8/

skip

new Hybrid Elephant site

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

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

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

& stuff

me in 20 years

when you’re unemployed/unemployable/disabled, you get to a point where it doesn’t matter whether it’s the weekend or not. for me it comes down to working and doing what i do anyway, regardless of what day it is, or facing the possibility of even deeper depression because of the fact that i’m not really doing anything to bring income into the house. i’m a wage slave even when i deliberately try to remove myself from the cycle of wages and slavery.

along the same lines, i got a notice from the “Office of Disability Ajudication and Review” about my disability case the other day. a person who has never met me and knows nothing about me is going to decide whether or not i actually am “disabled”. thrill. if they decide that i am, then i’ll get disability retroactively from the time i first had my injury, a portion of which i will then have to fork over to the attorney who has sat there doing nothing for 2 years while the government decided to pull their collective thumb out of their ass and do something about it. if they decide i’m not disabled, then life continues exactly as it has been, except there is no further possibility of my being able to get disability from the government, ever. at this point, it’s still a 50/50 shot, which doesn’t make me feel particularly good about the chances.

meanwhile, i’ve been working hard on feeding the database, and i’ve run out of photos, which means that i’ve got to run another batch of product through the GIMP before going any further. i get the impression that i’m getting fairly close to being finished enough to go live with it, but there’s still darkness at the end of the tunnel. at this point, i don’t know if it’s because there’s still a long way to go, or if it will just be night when i reach the end.

the fremont philharmonic played at a benefit concert for HonkFest West at the Lo-Fi on friday. it went really well, despite having a substitute trumpet player. we had random dance/movement art going on while we played, including one piece that had a woman stripping, which was excellent. she said afterwards that she had only worked to a live band once before, and that we had blown them out of the water and wants to work more with us, which is amazing and exactly what i want to do – and it’s not because she’s a stripper, it’s because strippers always seem to have work, and if there’s money to be made, i wanna be a part of it.

moisture festival coming up. there’s a possibility that the circus contraption band has stolen april 1st from us, but i don’t know for sure.

boojum

new hybrid elephant logo

happy mahasivaratri last night. i thought i was going to stay up, but i was on the phone or in rehearsal from 9:30 am until 11:30 pm, and i was tired. i did aarati this morning, however. hopefully that will suffice.

i think i found a merchant account/payment gateway that i can afford that will also do away with paypal altogether, which is CardAccept, although i don’t yet know for sure if their gateway will work with my web site. i had a nice conversation with a representative on the phone, who looked at my site and listened to my story and lowered my monthly minimum without my even having to ask, and they’re also the only place that charges for the payment gateway, but doesn’t also have a monthly or annual fee. their charge per transaction is about average: 2.24% + $0.25, but the fact that they don’t charge a setup fee or a monthly fee beyond the gateway has me looking strongly in their direction.

i redid the Hybrid Elephant logo, as well. it’s basically the same as the old logo, but now i have the entire file as vectors, so i can make stickers, banners and other suchlike good stuff.

credit cards and firewood

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.

whuff

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.

hrmph

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

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

hungary glasses sick

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.

success!

my new spam protection, installed wednesday has already stopped 5 birdbrained spambots. sweet!

i’m really pleased! i’m not ready to start posting links for sneak previews yet, but the commerce web site is coming along just fine. i finally figured out how to completely eliminate the right hand navigation column, so now the site only has two columns. i changed the HEADER_TITLE to something more appropriate and something that is less likely to give away the fact that i’m using the same ecommerce solution that everyone else is using. i moved the post code to the correct place for american addresses, and changed it to “zip” code, rather than “post” code. i also made the telephone number optional and completely removed the fax number, which was a larger task than it seems, because of the fact that there was no place to modify the fax number, and i had to do a mySQL query to make a place where the fax number could be manipulated. i also removed the manditory birth date and the manditory company from the user registration.

i still have to insert text for the shipping and returns, the privacy notice, and the conditions of use, and i have to replace the text on the index page. i also need to find out what $model['products_name'] has been changed to so that i can put the product name into the <title> of each individual page… and i have to feed the database. i’ve got about half of the incense inventory entered, and i haven’t even started with the murtis or anything else.

i said that this would be ridiculously easy, and i was right. the hardest thing i’ve had to do so far is find strings in PHP files. i’m still a bit confused when the directions say that i should find a certain piece of code on a certain line of a certain file but when i open that file and go to that line, the code that they said should be there is different from what they said it would be, and the result is that it’s going more slowly than i’d like, but i’m certain that it will all get straightened out eventually.

spam?

i got this very strange email today. it said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

flink

national kazoo day gig last night. it was a real pleasure to play music, but apparently there was some drama towards the end, after all the music had been played and we were packing up and getting out, but apparently not quickly enough to suit the owners of the cafe/theater. i was only partially aware of what was going on. i actually was already packed up and loaded out by the time it became a real drama, and i was outside, so i didn’t even see the drama part of it at all, but apparently sketch was given the bum’s-rush – after having just played a full set, and not having packed up all of his gear or gotten changed or even put on a coat.

we did sell three of our NEW CDs though! it’s so new that it doesn’t have a link anywhere yet… hobbit and thad were up until 3:00 saturday morning folding, gluing and shrink-wrapping the packaging… there will be a CD baby link when i get it. 8)

moe is having problems with the SVBT web site, which is being made infinitely worse by the fact that their host provider has its head so far up its ass that they’d need a team of spelunkers and several days to find it. i’ve been trying to help out, and i actually succeded in backing up the old web site and uploading the stuff that they had to replace it, but now, apparently the database is broken, the PHP experts on staff live in australia, and the web designer is being a 14-carat gold plated prick about the whole thing – but his prick-itude about it may be partially due to the fact that the host provider is being a complete, 24-carat solid gold pile of crap. it would have taken me 10 minutes on my host to do what it took me almost 3 hours to do, manually, one file at a time, on their host. i don’t want to seem like i’m bailing on moe, because if nobody else, i should support her, but at the same time, it’s not my job to fix SVBT’s wonky host provider, and while it is moe’s job, i personally believe that it would be infinitely easier to bail on the host provider and go with some place that actually, you know, provides a usable service….

along a similar line, i got an invoice from drizzle today, and, as i suspected, they’ve charged me again for the screwup that resulted in my account getting deleted and then restated, despite the fact that it never should have been deleted in the first place, which is THEIR FAULT!! and, of course, it’s sunday and they’re not there – i find it somewhat ironic that their automated billing service works on sunday, but nobody else does. it’s not actually going to be “funny” until they have acknowledged that they should not have billed me for something that wasn’t my fault to begin with, which, i suspect, is going to take a while.

slow progress

i’ve been steadily, if slowly, feeding the database. i haven’t done much with the actual site yet apart from changing the colour and making sure that i can get it to do what i want fairly easily. having not done any of it yet (which is why nobody is getting a sneak peek yet), i get the impression that it’s going to take a lot of work, but ultimately it will be very little to nothing that i haven’t done many times previously, and if everything works the way i think it’s going to, it has the option of being easy, or ridiculously easy. the more i work with this, the better understanding i have of why web sites and databases really should work together, apart from the fact that i know practically nothing about databases. it’s bizarre: i spent 5 years testing databases and database installations at three different companies, and i have installed and populated a bunch of different database software packages more times than i can count, but i never really understood how a database works, or why it is different from, for example, a spreadsheet. i wonder how much longer i can hold out before i really learn what it is that i’ve been doing all these years?

the snake suspenderz CD “Serpentine” is mixed down, we’ve decided on a track order, the cover and artwork has been designed and approved – complete with “What’s that on your floor? It looks like a dead mouse.” which has been a part of every recording that i have ever had my hands in more than just playing a part ever since i was just starting out as a musician. we had a rehearsal today, in preparation for saturday, to make sure that we could actually play the… stuff that we’ve been recording for the past month… which, of course, we could, but sometimes it’s nice to make sure, because you never know.

also…

i upgraded to WordPress 2.7 last night, and it’s still pretty shiny and new, but i’ll see what i can do about mucking things up soon enough. at the moment, i wonder about the header graphic, which used to have a pretty purplish gradient in it, but now, from what i can see, is a glaring emergency orange-ish.

ETA: it’s not orange any more, but apparently the upgrade broke my ability to make the header more than one colour. presumably there will be a fix for it eventually, but in the mean time, i changed it to all purple instead of all orange… easier on the eyes…

moisture madness &c.

slow but steady progress on the web site. i’ve discovered Simple Template System, which is a method of creating templates with keywords instead of actual code. one way or the other, it’ll give me some added control over the site that i would have to learn a lot of coding stuff before i’d be able to do any other way. it seems really odd that i was on top of the game in terms of web coding 10 years ago, and now i would have to learn several new coding languages before i would be anywhere close to as competent these days. of course, back then i didn’t have my own business, and i wasn’t doing the work i had always dreamed of doing, so i guess i don’t feel too bad about not being as knowledgable as i once was.

moisture festival is upon us again, and there’s as much chaos and disorganised speculation about how things are actually going to get done as i have ever seen for this early in the process. at this point it appears that we have been tapped for 13 performances, two of which are “burlesque” and one is the panto. alledgedly the plan is to keep stringing them along because, alledgedly, the plan is to eventually have the moisture festival in multiple venues, and then we will have our own venue and do all of the shows for that venue, but that’s in the future. this is now, and the fact that we’ve got 12 performances that aren’t panto, compared with the zebra kings getting 16 performances, and most of the “burlesque” performances (the “variete” performances are pretty much evenly split between the fremont philharmonic, the zebra kings, the sancapators, and the other bands that are involved). personally, i feel as though it is a known fact that RB is not the best person to be figuring out who does what in which shows, and it’s already showing itself to be a bad decision that RB is in charge, once again.

the 31st, snake suspenderz is going to portland for the national kazoo day celebration. we’re getting together some time this week to have a listening/mixing party, where we also intend to finalise the track order. i’ve been on several recordings in the past, but this one is exciting in a way that those other ones weren’t so much: there’s a good chance that i’ll actually get paid for this recording! 8)

i went out and took a look at loudspeakers for my car. first i had to learn a bit of terminology: there’s a difference between loudspeakers and a public address system (or a PA), and further, there’s a difference between a PA system and indoor/outdoor waterproof stereo speakers. i get the impression that any way i want to do this, i’m also going to have to upgrade the stereo in my car, which won’t hurt my feelings too much, but it’s an extra, added $150 or so, depending on where i actually buy it from. at this point, i think what i’m going to do is buy my stereo upgrade from car toys, because they have a deal where any stereo system over $100 that you buy from them is eligible for free installation, and free is always good. then i have to make the decision whether i want a (mono) PA speaker – which i can get for $35 or so – or whether i want to splurge for the indoor/outdoor waterproof stereo speakers, which cost more and likely have to be built into enclosures which also cost more, but will sound a great deal better than mono.

obama has only been president for two days, so i don’t want to get all freaked out about what a good job he’s doing, but he’s already doing things like shutting down gitmo and putting all of bush’s “midnight regulations” on hold before they can be enacted. he hasn’t come out and said that bush should stand trial for criminal malfeasance, but it’s a step in the right correct direction, if nothing else.

moosehead – a great beer and a novel experience for the moose.

??? ????????? ???

we finished recording the rhythmn tracks for the CD today. all that’s left are a few vocal, solo and percussion tracks, and mixdown, and it will be a finished product! also it was farewell to eight years of political BUllSHit and the beginning of an entirely different kind of political bullshit, which will be equally opressive, but right now i’m so fucking tired of bush that anything else will be a pleasant and refreshing change for a short while. i got my order from the theosophical society bookstore, and i made an order from om imports for incense, incense burners and murtis. also, i’m going to start pricing loudspeaker systems for Ganesha The Car. i still have to work on rebuilding the web site, and feeding the database, both of which i have done shockingly little in the past week. banda gozona rehearsal on thursday, and a gig on saturday evening, after moe gets home.

diary of a tired agarbatthiwallah

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.

yem

so i prepared the vehicle for going to the FSM tomorrow. i figured that i would put the dogs’ food in their kennels in the car, to save time – that way all i’ll have to do is get up and let the dogs out, and while they’re outside i can get dressed and then all i have to do is put them in the car and i’m off… which seems reasonable, since i’m going to have to get up at 5:30, and recently (since moe has been gone) i have been sleeping until 10:00 or so (which is offset by going to bed between 2:00 and 4:00). but the doggies were confused when i started doing the stuff that i normally do right after i get up (i.e. getting food ready for dogs), and they only just settled down. i put in 6 boxes of incense and 2 boxes of murtis, along with all of my display gear and my canopy and i can still see out the back window, even with three dog kennels as well. i’ve been wanting to get a roof-rack for Ganesha The Car, but i want one that won’t damage or get in the way of the artwork that’s already there. i carry everything inside, with just space for me to drive when i’m driving Ganesha, and there’s no room for doggies, but this is an entirely different beast. if it didn’t mean creating an entirely new art car, i would think really strongly about a minivan – and, for that matter, if it weren’t for the economy and gas prices, i’d think about it because of the fact that it meant creating an entirely new art car. i’ve also been thinking about getting a loudspeaker for Ganesha, which i can hook up to my music player, so that i can broadcast hindu chants outside my car for shows and parades and suchlike. i’ve actually got enough money that i can realistically start thinking about actually doing something like that fairly soon.

wow…

i was just thinking about it today, and in terms of relationships, i am fairly close to some really famous people. i had breakfast with R. Buckminster Fuller when i was in high school (and he is still one of the people whom i aspire to be like), and Joseph P. Faddlefum, who was on the edge of the circle that timothy leary was in the center of, was my first college advisor and still remains a good friend, but i also know, for example, two people who know the president-elect in some way or another: one of my friends went to occidental college, and was in several discussion groups with him, and the other got a personal, printed invitation to the inauguration (although, at this point, i don’t know why). i’ve rubbed shoulders with people like artis the spoonman, baby gramps, hacki (the famous german clown), fyodor karamazov, and rev. chumleigh, although i get the impression that the first two would probably not remember my name if it came right down to it (even though i’ve appeared on the same stage, at the same time as both of them for 5 years in a row, now). and that’s not to mention the fact that my wife is the “Nuclear FOB” (which stands for “Friends Of the Bobs”), having been a fan for about 20 years or so, and the fact that i personally know matthew bob and amy bob. i know St. Fred, the inventor (among other things) of the exploder control that took microsoft by surprise when they had just released their supposedly “more secure” platform for browser plugins (which was really OLE in a shiny new package), and i worked for a couple of years with the son of Richard Bach, the author of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull.

i’m not that famous, and i’m not sure i want to be, but i guess i’m just as happy being in the background of all these famous people, even if nobody else notices.

in other news, i’ve decided to move my personal web site to it’s own domain (and away from drizzle), so i’ve registered puggry duckling dot com (which isn’t there yet). i’ll move my pages over to there and place a server-push to the new domain… probably tomorrow. who knows how long the server-push is going to remain there, considering that drizzle updates their DNS tables manually whenever they feel like it… 8/

diary of a tired geek

i had another session with the annoying/amusing client i have spoken of previously today. his printer wouldn’t work, and his flash plugin wouldn’t work – which meant that he can’t view the pornographic videos he watches all the time – and he wanted me to make sure that his operating system hadn’t “gotten tired” of alerting him to things… oh, and when a javascript popup window that said his computer is infected with a virus, and wouldn’t go away, he wanted me to reassure him that someone wasn’t watching what he was doing through his computer screen. he’s really annoying because i put things as simply as possible in order to help him understand, and then, when i begin to think he’s getting the idea, he comes out of left field with things like “i used to have a daily devotional icon on my computer [when it was running windows], and before you installed the new OS, i put it on my flash drive, but now it doesn’t work. can i get it to work?” and i have to begin again and explain that icons are not always the same things as programs, and just because you are able to transfer an icon from one computer to another (or, in this case, from one operating system to another), it doesn’t always take the program. sometimes the icon is just a pointer to the program, and even if it actually is the program, this does not automatically mean that it will work there. whereupon he says “well is it possible to get a daily devotional icon that does work?”… 8/ i know nothing about what this guy actually does on his computer, other than research spasticity (he actually had me set up a wikipedia account for him, because he wants to contribute), watch his “daily devotional” program, whatever that is, and view tons of pornographic videos, which he has me clear out of his cache once in a while. he’s really earnest in wanting to know more, and he appears to be fairly bright in spite of having a brain injury, but he doesn’t seem to get it enough that i wonder about him sometimes.

i also nailed up some chainlink fence material to the neighbours’ fence posts. it wasn’t a moment too soon. as i was nailing up the fence material, i heard an ominous crack and the fence gave way. it didn’t actually fall down, but now the only thing that’s holding it up is gravity and friction. my guess is that eventually there will be enough moss growth that the friction will give way and the entire fence will come down.

yesterday we had another recording session with snake suspenderz, which resulted in three tracks that are in the final stages of finishing, and one track that needs a bit more work (hobbit and thaddeus are getting together tomorrow to finish it up). when that’s done, we have one more session, and then a CD release party, or something like that. National Kazoo Day is on the 31st, and snake suspenderz is going to portland for that. there’s also rumours that we have a potential gig in eugene. among the new tracks that we recorded are a song called Serpentine, by howlin’ hobbit, and the standard Don’t Get Around Much Any More, by Duke Ellington.

monday i spent all day feeding my database and learning about CSS selectors and which bits of PHP to change in my new osCommerce installation. i got a whole bunch of the database finished, and got the site more or less into the shape that it’s going to have when it’s complete, but i still have a lot of mismatched headers, things that are showing up on one page but not on the others, or vice versa, bright colours (i’ve been changing things to bright colours so that i can see when things change more easily), and incomplete content to deal with. osCommerce is made for people who are a lot less web-savvy than i am, so figuring things out shouldn’t be too difficult. i think that, for most people, the most daunting part of osCommerce is the piles of PHP/HTML/CSS pages that they potentially have to edit, but it doesn’t bother me at all. actually, i’m a lot more concerned about the database, because i’m still not completely sure about the mechanics of the interaction between the database and the website. how much of it is database manipulation of PHP code, and how much of it is actually due to the effect that the PHP itself is having on the pages i see is still a complete mystery.

another deposit recently and my bank account is over $500 for the first time since i started the business – seven years ago! i’ve noticed that for the past 5 years or so, my bank statement for january is approximately twice what it was the year before, and it’s very definitely the case this year. in fact, it’s almost 3 times what it was last year. despite what the DVR drone said, i think i’m doing something right, and i’m really looking forward to next year as well.

i actually think i’m going to survive monique’s being gone without much difficulty, but i’m not so sure about the dogs. magick and zorah heard me drive up in the minivan today (which is usually moe’s car), and they lost it, and spent a good hour and a half staring at the door and barking trying to get moe to walk through it by sheer force of their doggie wills. it would have been a lot more amusing if i didn’t jerk violently (a lingering side effect of my brain injury) when they bark.

meanwhile, here’s what i have been reading about:
UCL records the sound of jelly wobbling – the university college in london has succeded in recording the sound of jelly wobbling in a soundproof recording chamber. i definitely went to the wrong school.

a little closer to home, YouTube video of man blasting couch with rifle shown at weapons trial – let’s see if i’ve got this straight: the guy thought he would celebrate the fact that he had this illegal firearm, and silencer, without a permit or anything, by filming himself without disguise or attempt to cover evidence that they caught him with, shooting up a couch close to his home, and then post it on youtube… if i were going to film myself identifiably using an illegal firearm to do something, i would be sure that the thing i filmed would get me arrested on it’s own merits, whether i filmed it or not. the fact that this guy thought he could take a film of him doing something illegal and post it on youtube is bad enough, but the fact that he apparently didn’t think about the fact that it might be a factor in getting him caught proves that this guy is stupider than most.

okay, the polish is starting to wear…

i still really like my new host provider, but not as much as i did previously. in order to install AWStats, i have to know the location of httpd.conf, but because of the fact that i purchased a “shared hosting” package, it’s not where the awstats configurator expects it to be… so i call up tech support and ask them where it is, and they say that because of the fact that i don’t have an actual host server (which costs $100 a month) i don’t have the priveledge of adding lines to the configuration file. i say i’m not going to add lines to the file, i just need to know where it is, but they won’t even tell me where the file is located…

hrmph!

so, i guess i’m going to have to be satisfied with the only semi-awesome web stats that are provided… 8/

here we go…

moe left for florida today. she’ll be back in two weeks. whee… 8/

meanwhile, i think i’ve got enough to keep me busy: i’ve got to build a web site and populate a database. i’ve been going back and forth with liz since drizzle FUMTUed hybrid elephant, and there is a bit of worry about whether or not the drizzle affliction has effected sedentarysousa.com. liz also mentioned that she’d like to get the kosher red-hots web site on my host as well. i’m not sure how much, if any web design work will go into that one, but as far as i’m concerned, the less i have to do the better. i’m also thinking about installing AWStats on hybridelephant, because as awesome as my new host is, they don’t have the stats the way i’d like them to be, and AWStats does it for me.

then i’ve got more recording sessions with snake suspenderz. the most recent one generated 3 new tracks, as did the previous three as well, and if everything goes according to the non-existent plan we have set up, the one on tuesday will generate at least 3, and possibly 4 more. then there’s also the fremont philharmonic, which is starting rehearsals for a yet-to-be-determined if we do it CD, plus we’ve got an offer to perform cinderella again at the end of march, and we’ve got the moisture festival coming up, which we have to start rehearsing for pretty soon… like next week…

oh, yeah… i’m also responsible for three doggies who haven’t realised that moe won’t be home tonight like usual. hopefully they won’t turn into the obnoxious pests that they have a tendency to be sometimes. i’m planning on going to the fremont sunday market next week if the weather looks good, and i’m taking the dogs with me so that they don’t have to stay home alone for 12 to 14 hours. because moe’s not here, i’m planning on taking her car, which is a minivan and much more suited to carrying a huge crapload of stuff, and 3 dogs in relative comfort.

now, all i gotta do is convince myself that two weeks will go by a lot quicker than it seems like now. i hope moe has fun, and i’m glad that she’s going to this conference, because it’s good exposure for her, and she’ll build professional credibility by being seen there (if nothing else), but i can’t wait until she gets home.

flurb

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.

this is the beginning

so, i took the plunge and installed osCommerce, and got it running and configured today. it still has all of the default information and sample data, but its going to be ridiculously easy to build a working database. it’s going to be a little more difficult to figure out where the default graphics are (which say “osCommerce” and not “Hybrid Elephant”) and change ’em, but it’s not beyond doing, and i’ve got it installed in a place where i can work on it and get it looking like i want, and then move it into the right place with a minimum of disruption. as far as the stuff i don’t know, i have the php manual in an easily accessible format, and there are numerous osCommerce tutorials out there, so i don’t think it’s going to be that difficult to make it look the way i want as well. wish me luck…

what?

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…

8/

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.

tweebit

okay, now that the “holiday” season is passed, i’ve got a lot of things to catch up with. i’ve got to file my annual excise tax, which means going through all of my invoices and receipts from last year, and filling out some web-form which i inevitably have to call for help to complete because of some technical screw up or another. i also have to get started on re-doing the hybrid elephant web site, which means, among other things, i’m going to deliberately ignore the fact that it’s been more than a month since i updated the counters on the pages with the most hits this month, because, hopefully, by next month they will be replaced or moved anyway. i’m also going to have to call ian to talk with him about the web site in general.

snake suspenderz is working on it’s new CD with me as the tuba player. we’ve got another recording session on wednesday, and another two or three after that, at some yet-to-be-determined time. it’s projected for release sometime in january, though, so it won’t be too long. i’m also going to push hard this time for the fremont philharmonic to record a CD – especially since i now actually know someone who does that sort of thing.

a lot of new stuff

cinderella finished its first week of performances. there was a rumour that we were getting reviewed by the seattle times saturday night, but it snowed, and the reviewer didn’t pick up the tickets he called and asked for. of course that means either that he didn’t come, or he did come but didn’t want to alert us to his presence, which makes me wonder why he called and requested comps in the first place. apart from that, the performances are going reasonably well, no forgotten scenes, missing actors or long dead spaces. there have been a few missed cues and short dead spaces, but we haven’t actually performed this show since july, and we’ve got two more weeks of performances. unlike previous shows, i’m pretty sure we’re going to get it right several performances before we close.

snake suspenderz is supposed to be recording this week… snake suspenderz is actually supposed to be recording today, but we weren’t supposed to start until 1:00, and i’ve got to leave by 4:00 to pick up moe so that we can go to The Bobs show this evening, and besides, sketch already bailed for today anyway, so now we’re shooting for tomorrow. i still have to add snake suspenderz to my resume, and now i’ll be able to add another recording to my resume as well.

i really like my new host providers… no, i REALLY like my new host providers! their helpdesk techs have already been a lot more help than my previous host providers ever were (although somewhat more difficult to understand, because i get the impression that they’re outsourced to india, or mexico or some place like that): they’ve already helped me with importing a database, and fixing a CGI script, and apart from the fact that they provide several hundred times more disk space at less than half of the cost, they’ve also got a lot more user-based control panel, which means that i am the one in charge of creating and maintaining things like databases, domains and subdomains, FTP accounts, and so forth, plus they’ve got services like several different choices for a shopping cart, several different choices for marketing, including some of the most impressive web stats i have ever seen, and probably a lot more stuff i still haven’t discovered yet. this is going to make re-designing the hybrid elephant web site a lot easier! also, my impression is that part of the reason why they make it so easy is because it’s designed to be resold, and to that end, i’ve already got a couple of prospects for domains hooked up. also, i called and talked with ezra, and gave him 1gb of web space and talked about making a BaldManIsWatching.com or something like that, the idea of which he actually sounded really interested in discussing further.

also, really good potential news that may just be a fantasy at this point, so no details until it is more of a reality.

now that i can actually post again…

for those of you who have been paying attention, three days ago i switched host providers. i found one i liked (and i really like them, but that comes later), and switched the DNS settings for hybridelephant.com to point to the new nameservers. a day later, two days ago, the domain status was “ready”. for most people, there was no visible seam between the old server and the new one, unless you happened to hit www.hybridelephant.com for a couple of hours during the time when your nameserver was updating, but since it happened in the early hours of the morning, the probability is fairly low that anybody even noticed.

however, when i hit the URI, i got the old host server. i sort of vaguely anticipated this, and actually waited another 24 hours – so now we’re down to yesterday – before i started futzing with things. at first i thought it might be because the old IP address was stuck in a browser or network cache somewhere, but i rebooted my entire network, down to the router, and it still showed me the old host. this morning it still showed me the old host server, so i called the provider and discovered that, apparently, they’ve got their DNS servers set to manually update instead of automatically getting the most recent data every 24 hours (like everybody else in the motherfucking world – yet another reason why i switched host providers). once they had manually updated their DNS servers, everything worked like i thought it should.

the subdomain przxqgl.hybridelephant.com, however, was a different thing entirely. i knew that there was going to be a bit more difficulty moving the blog because of the database. i managed to download a SQL dump of the database, but then i discovered that myPHPadmin on the new host has a limitation of 8mb on files that are imported to a new database, and the database dump that i had was 12mb… and i had no way to access it other than to open it with a text editor. i found a php script called BigDump that was supposed to import large(ish) files to a new database, but i kept getting this weird error that seemed to indicate that the version of SQL that had created the database that i had downloaded was incompatible with the version of the version of SQL to which i was importing the file, in spite of the fact that they both appeared to be SQL 4.0.

at that point, i called the tech support people at the new host and gave them the problem, and within a few minutes they had figured out that the SQL from which i had exported the database had included CHARSET information that was default on their database host, had removed the offending lines of code from the database manually, and imported the database for me.

in other words, the tech support people actually helped me solve a problem, unlike the previous host’s tech support people who, with one exception, were of the opinion that if i didn’t know how to do it, why should they help me?

i’m still having a little difficulty figuring out where the email that’s supposed to be sent when people access the feedback form is going, but i’m fairly confident that everything will be working again in a day or so.

the difference: old host = 500mb of web space, tech support people who don’t actually help, $250 a year. new host = 500gb (half a terabyte!) of web space, tech support people who know what they’re talking about, $120 a year.

i like my new host! 🙂

thweeth

Punk Rock Flea Market yesterday. made $50, which is not too bad, but had to spend $10 for parking, because i had to leave at 5:00 because of another gig. i figure 5:00 was about when i would have packed up anyway, but it was nice to have my car easily accessible, even if it was 3 blocks of one-way streets the wrong direction to pick it up once i was packed up. i had to drive about 10 blocks, including around one block twice because i got in the wrong lane the first time. it was really irritating, but i got through it somehow. and it was really nice to drive up, practically to the door, load out, and drive away, rather than having to carry my boxes downstairs, across the entire building – avoiding all of the other people who were also loading out, across the parking lot, and then having to wait while everybody else got loaded out and out of the parking lot before getting to go.

the other gig i had was at the gage academy of art, which used to be cornish, and before that was a catholic school associated with st. mark’s cathedral, on capitol hill. it was snake suspenderz doing two sets out of four (one set on, one set off) while another band, the KlezKatz, performed… with thaddeus, our trombone/guitar player). i wasn’t really expecting a lot from that gig, because i knew that the other snake suspenderz are dirty old men who love to hang out in a warm room and play with naked people just so they can ogle the naked people… well, okay, i’m one of those people too… and, goddammit, i wish that guy hadn’t put that empty easel right between me and the HAWT naked female model with dreadlocks and tattoos. i really didn’t have time to look appreciatively, because i was too busy playing, and by the time i was finished playing she had already put her clothes on again.oh well… 8/

anyway, through some SNAFU about which i didn’t get the entire story, thad actually cut me a check for $50 yesterday, so in all, i did pretty much exactly what i want to do ALL THE TIME and ended up $100 richer out of the deal. now if i could only have four or five of those days every month, i’d be fairly happy.

i got a phone call from fred hawkinson yesterday. he wanted to talk about the possibility of teaming up and getting a job in a music store, or, conversely, opening our own music store, with him doing brasswind repair and me doing woodwind repair. there’s nothing more than just the fantasy at this point, but the thought of actually doing musical instrument repair alone should be enough to keep my spirits up for a while.

now i have to go and play with the ballard sedentary sousa band for the phinney winter festival, and after that i might play with the banda gozona at a gig on alki point, but i’m not sure about that yet.

happy krampusnacht!

grump!

update to my my previous post, i have been recommended by two different geek friends to a new, local host service provider which comes with several hundred times more web space, has all of the services that were discontinued by my current host provider and costs less than half of what i’m currently paying. i’ve got the web site in a “portable” state and can upload it in half an hour, as soon as i sign up and change the DNS with the registrar.

i wrote this in the “Please let us know the reason you are canceling your account.” section of drizzle’s host cancellation form: “you have gotten confused about who my account actually belongs to, and have not been able to figure it out, more than once in the past month, resulting in my being billed twice for an account that i pay yearly for, and i already paid for it once this year, you have discontinued services like telnet, ssh and usenet which i use fairly regularly, and your support personnel have become surly and incompetent. besides which, i have found another local host provider that will give me several hundred times more web space, all of the services i want and cost me less than half of what you guys charge.”

however, i’m still going to have to deal with drizzle for network access until i can find another provider. that’s not as necessary, but it’s still important, and it will happen some time before the next few months have past.

growl!!

okay, some time between now and the middle of january (the sooner the better as far as i’m concerned) there will be an interruption of services for a couple of days (maximum) while i swich host service providers. the last straw for me came yesterday when i called drizzle support with a question about hybrid elephant, only to discover that somehow, unbeknownst to me, the hybrid elephant account information was for someone in spokane – liz dreisbach, the leader of the ballard sedentary sousa band. somehow drizzle got the impression that, back in august(!!) when liz changed the contact information for sedentarysousa.com, she was also changing the contact information for hybridelephant.com. so now, according to drizzle, hybridelephant.com now belongs to liz, despite the fact that hybrid elephant has been under my control for the past five years(!!) and they hadn’t even contacted me to find out whether or not this was actually the case!!

of course the control panel access still belongs to me, but if i hadn’t found out about it, liz would have very likely been billed for hybrid elephant in january, which would have been tremendously confusing and embarrassing for both me and her, but that’s not the complete reason why i’m switching host providers. drizzle disabled telnet/SSH access to their servers back in march or some time earlier this year, and recently they decided to disable news services (usenet) as well, which is something that i use fairly regularly. also, in the past year or so their “technical support” personnel have become extremely surly and incompetent. not only that, but in researching host service providers i came across two, at least, that offer more services, and are less than half the cost of drizzle.

i have been a drizzle.com user ever since i switched away from aa.net, almost 10 years ago, and i have owned the hybridelephant domain since 2002. i suppose i’m lucky to have gotten 10 years of reasonable service from them, but it’s time for a change. now, along with everything else, i have to prepare my web sites to be moved, get in touch with my registrar to change the domain host profile on my domains, contact spamcop to change my “real” email address, and probably a whole bunch of other things that i haven’t thought of yet. 8P~

amis nah yeb stomb

yesterday i was supposed to go to marysville to pick up the business cards for MIVC from troy the printer. i was supposed to pick them up at noon, and i figured that saturday northbound would take me about an hour. at 10:30 – half an hour before i was supposed to leave – i get a call from troy, asking me when i was planning on being there, and when i told him noon, he said that he had neglected to get the business cards actually printed, and asked me if i could come tomorrow – which is today. of course that left me with nothing to do, but i said okay, because if i had picked them up yesterday he would have printed them, but he would have slip-sheeted them before cutting (so that the wet ink doesn’t offset on to the back of the card above it) and i would have had to un-slip-sheet them which is a tedious project that i would sooner not have to do anyway.

so, anyway, i spent yesterday processing photos of my inventory (which will eventually be visible on the Hybrid Elephant web site). about 9:00 pm i got a call from Howlin’ Hobbit who wanted to know what i was doing tomorrow morning. i told him that i was planning on going to marysville, but hobbit tempted me with busking at the Ballard Sunday Market, which sounded good enough to me that i changed my plans for going to marysville from morning until afternoon. i also packed three empty 5-gallon water bottles, because since i was going to marysville, swamp creek was right on the way, and i figured that way i could kill three birds with one stone.

i’m glad i did. i showed up in ballard at 9:30 am, and by 1:00 pm i was $50 richer. we played two extended sets, and made $150 between the three of us. sketch was, sadly, not present for some unknown reason – but in this case that was okay, because it was more money for the rest of us. also, i ran into fred, for the first time in several years, and mentioned that i would be interested in setting up a musical instrument repair shop with him, and he said he would call me. for a brief time there were two different trombones busking at the ballard market, a fact which i find to be somewhat unusual.

after we vacated the market, i went to swamp creek and filled my water bottles, went up to marysville and picked up cards from troy (it’s quite a drive, but he’s the only printer i know who is willing to do printing for me in exchange for computer technical support) and made it home by 4:00. i feel accomplished. if only every day could contain such accomplishment.

web thoughts

it has become increasingly obvious that i am going to have to do a major site conversion for Hybrid Elephant, and i’ve been examining different ways to go about it. i have been focusing, mainly, on learning PHP so i can duplicate the unfolding menus in the left hand frame, and re-doing the design CSS to eliminate the frames without losing their functionality. but learning PHP just so that i can duplicate unfolding menus seems to be a bit much – although not entirely unwelcome as a consequence, it may take me a couple years study to fully understand PHP, and i can find the unfolding menu technology other places in the mean time.

there is a WordPress e-commerce plugin that – i think – will cover the parts of it that i don’t already have covered, make the conversion to PHP a lot easier, and should make things like a database and photos a whole lot easier to deal with as well. there’s also something that i found out about as a result of my searching for wordpress and ecommerce, which is osCommerce, apparently an open-source online merchant system with all the bells and whistles.

whap!

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!

hungary harrison “christian”

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.

Brief Biography
I am a Hindu Christian Dervish Buddhist Thelemic Tinite Antichrist Anarchist Tuba-Playing ? (??? – Canis nyctereutes procyonoides) with a Brain Injury.

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?

hrmph…

so i’ve been looking at a lot of different sites recently having to do with SEO, and been i’ve been becoming more and more convinced that one of the primary reasons why i’m not bringing in more money from the web site is because it is based on frames. in fact, it has been based on frames for 7 years now, and hasn’t caused me or my visitors any perceivable difficulty so far, but it apparently gets in the way of search-engine crawlers, which negatively affects my google rating and results in my web pages effectively discriminated against when people search for them… which disturbs me, because i’m supposedly in business to make money, and a decision that i made 8 years ago (which was when frames were first being introduced to the web) is now getting in the way of my being able to do business more effectively.

all this has increased the urgency with which i am now modifying my web site, although at this point, the urgency is mitigated by my lack of knowledge of things that i could use to replace the frames. there’s a lot i can do with CSS which affect the way people view my pages, but there’s one thing that – i think – i’m going to have to do with PHP, and i don’t know PHP at all. although people have said to me many times that, if i can understand HTML and CSS, PHP wouldn’t be that difficult, it’s still a daunting task to learn an entirely new language and update my entire web site. the observant person will, of course, have recognised that there’s no time limitation on when i get it completed, but my response to that is to say that every day i don’t update my web site is another day where my google rating is negatively affected by the frames, and another day that people don’t find my web site in search engines, and another day that they don’t purchase things from me. obviously, i could hire some PHP-geek to redesign the entire site for me, but how would i pay for it? and, with what i can afford to pay, what guarantee do i have that my web site won’t suddenly appear as a spammer site and be pushed to an even lower rating in the search engines?

meanwhile, i figured out that i can actually build the structure of the dome that i want to build for a minimum of $200, which is almost do-able – if i want to “make do” with a wooden-frame dome – or a maximum of $400, which is a little bit out of my range at the moment, but shouldn’t be too hard to achieve within 6 months if i work at it – for a metal-frame dome. i built a model out of toothpicks and kneaded-rubber eraser, to see exactly how many frame-pieces i am going to need: 35 sections that are 4 feet 11.28 inches (8 foot radius time a chord factor of .61803), and 30 sections that are 4 feet 4.44 inches (8 foot radius times a chord factor of .54653) to build a 16-foot diameter 2V Icosa Alternate dome.

the only problem is that i keep getting catalogues from places that have stuff i really want to buy (and sell), and the result is that instead of having $180 in my bank account, i spent $75 on some ganesha murtis which should be delivered some time early next week.

but at the same time, i also got a business card order from NBAC, which should replace that $75, and it may even do so before the ganesha murtis are delivered.

FSM!

okay, this morning i got up and went to the fremont sunday market. it didn’t seem like a particularly outrageous day, and i was a little confused when 4:00 came around and everybody started packing up. i knew that during the winter they moved up the closing time from 5:00 to 4:00, but i didn’t realise that they had already done it – last week, of course, when i wasn’t there… but as i was packing up, someone came by and bought a small box of Ten Pyo, someone else bought a box of hakubai, and a guy came all the way from bellingham to buy 10 krishna musk, which added $70 to my total. it turns out that, all told, i made $180 – my best day ever at the FSM!

FSM

FSM yesterday. $100, to which i say cool, but it’s really too bad that i can’t make that much every time i go, especially since i have about $300 worth of incense and stuff i have to order, and i’ve only got $200 in my bank account. oh well.

translation? anyone?

???????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????? ???????????????? ????????????????? ?????? (Motty) ??????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????? 1978 ????????????????? 2 ??????? (????????????????????????? ?????????? )

it’s about motty, and it comes from here, but apart from that, i’m stumped… anybody got a clue?

murf

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.

incense nazi

swastika

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

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

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

my outstanding web-stats…

i just took a look at my awesome web statistics page for the first time in about a month (due to the battle of the computer). i discovered a bunch of new links, including three that i find rather amusing. there were links to my conversion utility from a brazilian net review called Os Cuecas (which google tells me means “The Underpants”, hee hee), and then from two brazilian blogs who picked up on the fact that The Death Clock apparently asks for weight and height in “gringo” terminology, but it’s not a problem with a measurement conversion utility from Hybrid Elephant.

also, i’m linked in germany’s wikipedia article about Motty and from a guy in switzerland who uses me as a reference in his page on the differences between african and asian elephants.

incense and burning man

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.

update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SACBO!

the Seattle Art Car Blow Out was last weekend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

printer

my colour inkjet printer hasn’t died after all, it just had a dead USB cable – which i have never experienced before. also it needs new ink cartridges, but, i think that if it gets that, it will work again, which would be really cool, what with the new button machine and all. i spent most of today making a variety of buttons to sell at the solstice festival.

busy busy busy

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

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

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

umph

i’ve got a tenor sax to work on. pictures as soon as they’re taken.

i’ve also got 600MB of And More music to work on, but that’s probably going to happen after i get a good start on the tenor sax, and i’ll have to clear off my keyboard, which is probably going to take an hour or so, since i just cleared off my workbench and most of the stuff has gone into the place where, if i cleared off my keyboard i’d put stuff, so there’s bound to be a certain amount of shuffling stuff, and finding new places to put stuff, and even a certain amount of throwing stuff away (gasp) before any of that happens.

so, what you get until there’s more artwork to look at and listen to is a link dump.

Worshipping Shivling at Home and Energisation of Rudrakhshas need to be reformatted and uploaded to ? ??? ?????

Page2RSS – i get the impression that this is sort of like FeedBurner, except that it works with any web page.

Sign up to be a part of Spencer Tunick’s upcoming art installations. there’s one in vienna, and one in ireland.

The Bongo Project – a project to see if it is possible to communicate with TCP/IP using bongo drums… it is… at 2 bps. remember the 14K modem days? remember 2400 baud modems? this makes even a 2400 bps modem look blindingly fast.

ever hear of Fusarium oxysporum, otherwise known as panama disease? there’s a good chance that you’re going to hear about it eventually, because the CIA has been using it as a way to control (which is to say, eliminate) the coca plants in south america… unfortunately, what they’ve succeeded in doing is wiping out bananas, instead. and this isn’t the first time! the banana that i grew up with, apparently, is banana 2.0, based on the vietnamese cavendish banana, which took over from the “Gros Michel” (“Fat Mike”) banana, a bigger and more creamy version, which was the world’s most popular fruit until the 1950s, when it, too, became extinct due to Fusarium oxysporum infestation. the whole sordid story is over at metafilter.

The Drug Test Consultant dot com – drug tests are a violation of our constitutional right to privacy and protection from self-incrimination (first and fourth ammendments to the U.S. constitution), they are no more than 75% accurate most of the time, and we’re currently in a war against drugs, while at the same time many states (like washington) have legalised medical cannabis. but this company has a franchise to sell people (for $10,000!!!) who are interested in getting started in the business of providing drug testing services to employers. if there was a more apt occasion for me to use the very big stupid category, i don’t know what it would be… 8/

A Kinder, Gentler Torture and America’s Democratic Collapse are reasons why, in spite of the fact that american society is founded on the idea that all men are created equal, it’s definitely not the case any longer… which sort of explains why the drug test consultant dot com folks aren’t so worried about whether or not their products are a violation of our constitutional rights. at the same time, they’re both very good reasons to flee the country while you still can.

FSM

Hybrid Elephant at the FSM

FSM today – i’m still quite amused by the similarity between the FSM and the FSM. as far as i can tell, it was completely coincidental, which of course, makes me thing that the Flying Spaghetti Monster has touched my life with his noodly appendage. i made $76 and paid for a space in two weeks.

the guy with the cool garment

i had a lot of people ask me about nag champa today, and, of course, i didn’t bring any this time. it’s actually kind of funny, because someone up the row from me (i suspect it was the tibetan booth) was selling the exact nag champa that i don’t carry, because it’s really poor quality incense – you can, literally, go down to your corner gas station and buy “Satya Sai Baba Nag Champa” in the blue box… let ’em carry it. it just means that i don’t have to carry it! also one lady asked about three roses, so i should probably bring that next time, as well. also, i had several people ask me what my FNORD bumper sticker meant… what does FNORD mean, anyway… i’ve been giving them a marginally straight answer having to do with worshippers of the greek goddess eris, but i’m not sure if that’s entirely correct, and i’m not sure that they really want to hear the real answer anyway.

the people across the street and down two or three booths from me make the most amazing garmentsit’s difficult to describe, so i’ll let this picture, and their web site describe it for me it’s a hakama, but it’s built with the functionality of a utilikilt.

cinderella rehearsals start tomorrow – for the fremont philharmonic – they’ve actually been going on for a couple of months for the players. it’s a little more than five weeks until OCF this year, and we don’t have all the music and we’re just starting rehearsals… it’s gonna be another OCF performance: full of sound and fury and signifying nothing. also, stuart says we have to learn The Hustle for the ballroom scene, but a long time ago, when the hustle was a “popular” song, i made a solemn vow never to learn the hustle, and i’m not sure i want to break tradition at this late date. besides… <shudder> it’s the hustle… eeewww!

Yoga leads to possession by devils? – i’m tired of these people who don’t know anything about yoga proclaiming unquestionably that it leads to dire and evil consequences… i wonder how many people hear this guy ranting without the first clue what he’s talking about, and because of the fact that he’s “Father Jeremy Davies, exorcist for the leader of Catholics in the UK” will accept what he says without question… also, i wonder about how many such people there are compared to how many hindus in the world…

Prostitution reform has little effect and Masturbate-a-thon are for the “christians” who are getting ready to berate me because of the previous comment.

Cat turns into woman in Port Harcourt, Nigeria – let me see if i’ve got this straight: three cats were crossing the road, when they were struck by a vehicle. one of them escaped uninjured, one of them was beaten to death, and one of them turned into a woman, who is being held by police at a hospital where they’re treating the injuries that she sustained while in the form of a cat… right?

Japanese man discovers woman living in his closet – what more is to be said? except why do unemployed people in japan get to have cell phones?

Continue reading FSM

incense as science!

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)

Incense is psychoactive: Scientists identify the biology behind the ceremony

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!).

Burning Incense Is Psychoactive: New Class Of Antidepressants Might Be Right Under Our Noses

Hippies might have something going with that incense crap

Continue reading incense as science!

snert

fremont sunday market

went to FSM yesterday. made $110, which, if i could guarantee that i was going to make that every time, would make me a lot more confident about saying fuck you to the DVR people. checked email, unloaded the car and went to sleep, because it was way too hot.

woke up this morning. not so hot, but, whaddaya know, there’s something wrong with my monitor. 8/

after trying a whole bunch of different stuff i went to re-pc and bought a new used monitor (21″ dell p1135) for $50, got it home and all set up and discovered that, in fact, it was my video cable and not the monitor itself, which is a good thing because now i have a 17″ monitor that i have to get rid of.

And Then So Clear

first business card for MIVC since 060315. that can’t be true, but i can find no business records for anything before that… although i had backups of a file called 070312-MIVC-BC.qxp, so i must have done a business card for them since 2006… but i can find no business records for them. bizarre.

being a professional computer geek for eddie, who is almost completely blind, and completely (utterly, hopelessly) computer-illiterate. i went over there today to get the “lay of the land” so to speak, in terms of where he was with computer hardware. he’s got Win98 2nd edition, and he was trying to run a HP all-in-one printer/fax/scanner (which gives me a non-standard warning message about not being compatible with something on the system, joy) and a HP flat-screen monitor that defaults to 640×480 and 16 colours in W98, and gives me a strange message when i try to boot gutsy from a live CD – something about re-setting the resolution to 1024×768, which i would have done if i could have remembered the arcane command that you type into the text-based interface – which is, in fact, dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg – which i knew was written in my linux grimoire, but not currently accessible to my memory. however, during my download and burning of the hardy CD i read the system requirements and figured that a 500mhz pentium III might not run something that modern anyway, so i dug around and located CDs of kubuntu 7.x and 6.x as well, so if i can’t get hardy working, i’ll have a couple of back ups. i figure i’ll go back tomorrow with a USB hub and a 4g flash stick and back up all the data, and then install whichever kubuntu will run. his internet is on a dial-up connection, and i’ve never had to deal with a modem and linux, but it shouldn’t be too difficult.

i downloaded 2g of YMO tracks, which is all of their studio albums and a whole pile of live stuff including a couple of rehearsals. i also downloaded a gig or so of sanskrit chants, which i’m going to burn to CD and take to FSM with me, so that i can have appropriate music in my booth.

Federal judge rules students can’t be barred from expressing support for gay people – a principal at a south florida high school testified that he “believed rainbows were “sexually suggestive” and would make students unable to study because they’d be picturing gay sex acts in their mind” – but, apparently wearing “other symbols many find controversial, such as the Confederate flag” was okay. the fact that the students had to get the ACLU and a federal court involved before their first amendment rights were restored says something about both the students and the society in which we live currently.

Will you marry me – temporarily? – this is coming from iran… why don’t we have such things in this country?

Childish superstition: Einstein’s letter makes view of religion relatively clear

Polar bear listed as threatened species – and just last night i was sitting next to an elderly lady who was ranting about the fact that there is no global warming, because we’ve been having unseasonably cool weather locally recently. hello? wake up and smell the coffee… kthxbye…

Musical SpongeBob™ Digital Thermometer – good for oral, underarm or rectal use, plays “SpongeBob SquarePants Theme” at the end of temperature taking… what every home shouldn’t be without.

Continue reading And Then So Clear

yes, i’m still here…

Hybrid Elephant @ The FSM

it’s just that i’ve been really depressed, and not much is happening in my life recently. i went to the fremont sunday market (flying spaghetti monster) last weekend, and made $80. i’ve got a banda gozona rehearsal thursday and a performance saturday (cinco de mayo, oddly enough, on 1st may… oh well). i got an inquiry about whether or not i ship internationally and i’ve decided that i really should post that on the web site somewhere, so it’s more obvious – yes, i ship internationally, but (for example) to the UK i have to require $25 USD extra to cover shipping costs, which, for most people that order incense from me, would be more than their total order. in general i recommend that if it’s not a domestic order, that the customer should order at least $100 worth of product, or to find some place “closer to home” from which to order.

i’m slowly making progress on my most recent stencil project, which is a picture of gurdjieff. after toying around with various ideas and size possibilities, i finally cut it out – it took two tries, because the first one i got confused and cut out one of the eyes in reverse. it’s taken a while, but it looks like it will do. now i’ve just got to figure out where to paint it where i won’t get caught arrested

gurdjieff stencil

i’ve been really depressed recently, because i’ve been dealing with DVR for the past few months and just came to the point where they’ve finally decided that they can’t help me make Hybrid Elephant more profitable. one of the ways they said they might be able to help is by helping me work out some sort of out-building on our property that i can use as a workshop/recording studio – i had in mind a 20 foot shipping-container-sized office, which would mean less time spent constructing it and more-or-less guaranteed working things like lights and electricity… but after stringing me along since january they’ve decided that they can’t (or, more likely, won’t) help me, because Hybrid Elephant is not “niche” enough, and too “fringe” for their liking…

so if any of you want to buy me stuff to make me happy, Middlesex University Teaching Resources would be a good place to start… they’ve got all kinds of geeky stuff. anything would be fine. surprise me.

other than that, here’s a link dump from the past few days:

John Cleese reports on laughter – appropriately enough…

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies – this person took the concept that any food can be made better by adding bacon to one extreme… and before you say “eew” think about it a little bit… it actually sounds pretty good, and i’m tempted to try it.

McCain opposes equal pay bill in Senate – meanwhile, the world continues on it’s way to hell.

The very first McDonalds commercial – meanwhile, the world continues on it’s fast track to hell-in-a-handbasket… 8/

The Trailer to Chemical Wedding – which is coming in may. this will either be a total misrepresentation of uncle al, or it could be very interesting.

A Closet Of Curiosities – which is a music blog courtesy of my old friend spreznib, with whom i hope to be making our own music soon.

happy 4/20

now that i’ve got that out of the way, i want to gripe about DVR again. they strung me along for 4 months after not even paying attention to me for almost 5 years, and then, yesterday, i got their notice in the mail that they won’t be doing anything for me anyway, which i could have told you if it weren’t for the fact that all the time between january, when i first met with them, and yesterday, they said they actually could do something for me. basically the notice i recieved yesterday told me a whole bunch of things that are wrong with my business, some of which i can actually change without any suggestions, and all of which can be changed fairly easily as long as i can find some helpful suggestions for what i can do instead. but then it said that, given the fact that my business was so fucked up, they won’t be able to help me, without a clue as to what i should do to change it, or what i should do next. great… even the print brokering, musical instrument repair and pipe-making are beyond the capability willingness of DVR to help me out. and with no suggestions for what i can do to change it, i’m basically right back where i started, not making an even remotely livable income and without the possibility of ever making a livable income in the future.

yes, i am fundamentally against work, but i figure, with my talents, there should be some way for me (and everybody else, if they want it) to make an acceptible income doing what i like to do, but with government agencies that are supposed to help people like me shooting me down every time i try to move forward, it’s getting really discouraging, and right now i don’t know what i’m going to do next. 8(

moisture venting

diemo

the moisture festival opening was last night. the fremont philharmonic played a grand total of 4 tunes, and then vacated the stage, while artists with artificial music, and artists who performed with the zebra kings performed for 2 hours. this was primarily because of RB deciding that we would play the first half, and then conveniently scheduling all the artists that had artificial music for the first half, while saying that the zebra kings (which includes RB himself) would play the second half, including hacki’s performance, and godfrey daniels’ performance, both of whose music we have actually been rehearsing for the past month, unlike the zebra kings, who sound as though they haven’t played together since last year. i really think that once they actually get a professional theatre manager, instead of RB – who is a contractor and a musician on the side, but is definitely not anything like a professional anything – the moisture festival will actually be fun to play. until then, there are, by definition, going to be problems that are a direct result of having the person making the schedule one of the performers as well.

also, the program this year is a joke compared to the program that i produced last year! they actually copied my format – they used a different title font (they actually used papyrus, a “distressed” font that i find particularly annoying), but everything about the format is essentially the same. they even used some of the same ads. also, they cheaped on the printing, which means that the greyscale graphics are at a larger screen density, and coarser than they were last year, and the “colour” cover is on cheaper paper, with no UV coating, and is only colour on one side – and i’d be willing to bet that they paid at least twice as much for it than they did last year. of course they didn’t post the actual schedule in the program, and included numerous warnings that the schedule can change at a moment’s notice. in general, i say “ha ha!”

i took a whole bunch of pictures, but only three of them are worth looking at, because the rest of them were taken from the back of the theatre, with no flash, which means blurry at best. i like the picture of diemo, though. i got down on his level and snapped the photo, and then i was able to turn the camera around and show him the picture, which was really cool. he seemed to like it, too… 8)

passing time

snow! in march!

the opening night of the moisture festival is today. i’ve got to be there no later than 5:30, and we begin playing at 6:30. until then, i am waiting for UPS to deliver 1000 postcards i had printed for margot lovinger, which, according to the UPS web page, has been “out for delivery” since 4:45 this morning. the last time i remember this happening, the guy came shortly after i was forced to leave, and because of the fact that it happened on friday, i wasn’t able to actually recieve the shipment until monday. there’s a good chance that will happen again with this shipment, because i have to go help bill nelson with another one of his computer problems tomorrow morning. if it weren’t for the fact that his computer problems inevitably turn out to be much easier to solve than he makes them sound when i’m talking to him on the phone, and if it weren’t for the fact that he is enthusiastic about paying me, i would consider telling him to find another helpdesk geek.

snow? in march??

well, my UPS shipment just arrived, so i’m outta here.

woof

four punks

Happy Easter, Purim, Narouz, Eid Milad an Nabi, Small Holi and Magha Puja!

also, happy day-after-the-Punk Rock Flea Market. it was a good one. i made $85, and i actually sold a Ganesha murti, which was the goal that i set for determining whether or not to attend the next one. i still have to unload the car, but i’m still sitting around in my bathrobe at 12:00 in the afternoon, so i don’t think it’s gonna happen soon.

one of moe‘s friends spent the night last night, because it was easier than driving an extra 2 hours from her place to get to a herding trial that both she and moe were going to yesterday and today. unfortunately, that meant that her two herding dogs also spent the night, and what with our own herding dog, and the herding dog that belongs to her that moe is taking care of because she’s pregnant (lucy), that meant about a hundred dogs, most of whom spent their time trying to herd the cats, trying to stare down the cats, and/or barking with that sharp, high-pitched, irritatingly insistant bark that herding dogs have. fortunately they also had the idea of getting take-out from Naan N’ Curry – renton’s other outstanding indian restaurant (the other one being Pabla’s), so after stuffing myself with lamb jalfrazi and chicken pakoras, i retreated to the bedroom and read the sacred magic of abramelin the mage while moe did her doggie thing in the living room. moe and her friend got up at some ungodly hour this morning and went to the 2nd day of their herding trial, and, hopefully, i won’t have to deal with that many dogs again until lucy has her puppies in about a month.

guess what?

I AM A TERRORIST!

there are almost a million terrorists in the united states AT THIS VERY MOMENT!!!

are you afraid yet?

the U.S. government’s terrorist list has, as of this posting, 927,436 terrorists, and at the rate it’s increasing, over 20,000 records per month, there will be a million U.S. citizens on the list by july!

are you afraid yet?

and people wonder why i wear a button that says “I AM A TERRORIST!” 8/

whew!

yesterday was full of incense orders, appointments, and rehearsals. i got up in time to go to my 10:00 appointment with the DVR lady and her business consultant (more about this later), and discovered that i had a $35 incense order. so i put the order together and was printing out the invoice when i realised that the person to whom i am sending it lives in the UK, which means that i have to figure out extra postage, and then write to them requesting that extra postage before i ship it. as of 1:30 today (more than 24 hours after i sent the request, i still haven’t got a reply from them. i hope it doesn’t turn out that they only notice when their order doesn’t come and they file a complaint with paypal… 8/ ). in any event, the result of all this was that i left about 15 minutes late for my appointment. fortunately i was able to call and let them know, so they woudln’t decide that i wasn’t there and decide not to help me at all.

i ended up getting to my appointment about 5 minutes late, but then i ended up sitting in the lobby for about 15 minutes before someone came out and told me that the appointment was actually scheduled for 10:30, not 10:00, and that the business consultant hadn’t arrived yet. 8/

finally the business consultant arrived, and she, the DVR lady and i talked about Hybrid Elephant for about 2½ hours. she ended up saying not very much that made me feel as though they actually are going to help me, including a blanket statement, which she did clarify later on, that the DVR won’t help people who are interested in self employment. she did qualify this by saying that those people who do get help from DVR with self employment are a lot more likely to be people who fit into the “niche markets” rather than the “fringe economy”, and that, on the surface, Hybrid Elephant sounded a lot more like the latter than the former. however she did say that it has very definite “niche market” potential, and that i should endeavour to work more towards developing those things, which included print brokering and musical instrument repair – neither of which are entirely out of the question, although both could use some help that i either can’t afford, or don’t know how to give them before they become anything like sustainable business material.

i had hoped to come home and take a shower before going to my 3:00 appointment with ned, but as it was i had just about enough time to come home, slam down something to eat, throw my trombone in the car and head out again. i made it to my appointment with about 15 minutes to spare, and when it got out, there wasn’t much point in driving more than i had to, so i drove up to ballard and took a nap until it was time for my BSSB rehearsal, from which i got home at 10:00, at which point i was so tired that i fell asleep on the couch.

that being said, here are a few things that i have found interesting from the past couple of days:

Cats Help Shield Owners From Heart Attack – this makes me wonder a lot about what toxoplasma gondii has, if anything, to do with it… and i, personally, can’t imagine how toxoplasma gondii could not have anything to do with it, considering how prevalent and insidious the microbe is…

The day the wiretaps go dead is about warrantless wiretapping, and how ordinary citizens can secure their communications against such travesties of democracy, while our supposedly democratically elected leaders are going about the business from a completely different angle: House Steers Its Own Path on Wiretaps. we can only hope that they will continue to be successful, if we want to keep democracy around.

finally, we have Crazy ‘Pot Will Make You Sell Your Children’ Warning from Otherwise Sane Senator, which just goes to show how far we have yet to go… 8/

Continue reading whew!

flash from the distant past

Hybrid Elephant at the Fremont Sunday Market

i went to the fremont sunday market yesterday. i didn’t do as well as i did last week, but i still made $60, which is nothing to sneeze at.

i had this really strange experience, but first, a little back story.

when i was living in bellingham, before i moved to mount vernon (let me see, mental calculations, approximately 15 years ago – gawd, am i really that old?), i was doing graphic design work for almitra, who was trying to pull together a “new-age” business, or commune, or teaching center, or something like that. she was also my introduction to the the himalayan academy, because she had found the 500 pound sphatika lingam that ordains their temple. looking back on it, i don’t see why i worked for her as long as i did, not only because she was one of the truly crazy people that have plagued my life, but also because she didn’t actually pay me in money, but rather in tangible goods, like an african aligator-skin drum, and a Mac LCII computer (which she ended up having a good friends of mine steal back from me), but this all happened before that.

one of the things that i designed for almitra was a deck of cards called “Words of Power”. they were triangular cards with a sri yantra on the back, and various words and their “interpretations” in fancy print on the front. i don’t remember all of the words, but they were all in a very fancy typeface that was very distinctive, and there were enough individual words to make a deck of 50 – 75 cards. all almitra did was come up with a list of words, and this idea, i did all of the design work and had the cards printed at this place in mount vernon, near where i lived several years later. after the cards were printed, i gave them to almitra, keeping a couple decks myself for my portfolio, and quickly forgot about them. i remember finding them when we moved from renton to auburn, but they’re currently buried somewhere in the pile of boxes in our dining room, and have been for at least two years.

Words of Power cards

yesterday, i was at the fremont sunday market, and i had occasion to see one of the people who really appreciates fine quality incense that i have come to know. she was a vendor as well, and someone i first met last year when i went to the FSM (i can’t help but think of the Flying Spaghetti Monster when i use that abbrevation). she had a table where she was giving “readings from a real, live psycho”, and – and this is the really weird part – she was using a deck of “Words of Power” cards as her medium.

Readings with a live psycho

i was passing by, and i saw the cards, and, without saying anything, i picked one up and turned it over to make sure that they really were the same cards i designed, and then i said “i designed these cards.” she immediately responded by grabbing the card back from me and saying “no you didn’t!” she said that she had a mystical relationship with the cards, and when i came back, a little later, with my camera so that i could take a picture of her with the cards, she said “no, no!” and tried to hide them from me – she was in the middle of a reading, though, and i got a shot of her and the cards anyway.

i haven’t even thought about those cards in 15 years! and almitra is one of the many truly crazy people i have dealt with in my life. i couldn’t have possibly imagined that anyone would use something that a crazy woman came up with as a legitimate vehicle for discerning the future before i actually saw it for myself.

blah

i had another acupuncture appointment today, and once again he put needles in all five fingertips of my right hand. he even told me that the middle fingertip point is called “old dragon”, which is a little amusing considering “the bird” flies from the middle finger. he also said that, in china, the sensation i got when i wriggled around last time and “agitated” the needles in my legs, is what they go for with all the needles, but he doesn’t do that because most western folks can’t handle it. i could probably handle it as long as i knew it was coming, but even i have limits, and for me, the fingertip needles are that limit… although i will say that i have a lot more sensation in my fingertips now than i had before the treatment.

i’m going to the fremont sunday market again tomorrow. i hope to be a little bit better prepared than i was last week. i got a bunch of milk jugs which i filled with sand to use as weights to hold down the canopy – they said that they require 20 pounds per leg, and the milk jugs only weigh 12½ pounds, but i’m hoping for at least 2 more jugs, and possibly 4 more, to join them later on.

DVR didn’t call me, rather as i suspected. i’m going to call them first thing monday, but they’re very quickly losing credibility with me. i already have low expectations about what any government agency can do for me, and when they say they’re going to do something and then don’t, it confirms my low expectations, regardless of how rosy the outlook has been in the past.

i’ve been looking at grafitti stickers recently, and have some interesting ideas, including a picture of george gurdjieff and a picture of aliester crowley, posterised and rendered in black and white. i know exactly what pictures i want to use. it may be that the pictures get stencils made out of them as well. i’ve got a whole bunch of spray paint left over that’s waiting to be used for something nefarious.

moe and i are going to maneki this evening to help one of her friends/co-workers celebrate their birthday.

random busy

my appointment with DVR was tuesday, and i presented the lady with the business plan that ian and i came up with. rather like the term paper that ian and i came up with 20-some-odd years ago, it was 95% bullshit, but presented in a way that made the lady say that it was very impressive, and not entirely because, not too infrequently, the DVR interviews people who are disabled and interested in self-employment, but when they are given the task of coming up with a business plan, they don’t. the next step is later on this week (and if it doesn’t happen by the end of the week, i’m supposed to call her), when either she, or a business consultant calls me to arrange an appointment.

i must say, DVR has done a lot more for me already, just in my mood, if nothing else. most of the other government organisations i have worked with since my injury have said they would help, but very quicly demonstrated that, in reality, they weren’t interested in me at all. i’m not holding my breath yet, but what they have told me about what they do with what i have already done makes me think that Hybrid Elephant could actually be an income-producing venture in the not-too-distant future.

i’ve been in rehearsals for the moisture festival for a few weeks now. the fremont philharmonic has a new trombone player, silveradept, who i recruited on internet. i’m so glad i’m not doing the program this year. i don’t even know where they are with the program, but they just posted the (tentative) schedule on their website on monday, and the moisture festival starts on the 27th. for something that puts itself off as a professional show, they really aren’t that professional.

also, depending on which (of three different) bands you’re talking about, i have also been in rehearsals for Honk Fest West for a while, which is the 21st through the 23rd. the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band starts rehearsals next week, which is a good thing because they are also performing for Honk Fest.

fremont sunday market

i took Hybrid Elephant to Fremont Sunday Market yesterday, for the first time since january of last year, when, if memory serves me correctly (which it doesn’t with a regularity that i find extremely alarming), i made on the order of $35 for a 9½ hour shift when i went a year ago. yesterday was substantially better – i made $110 – and good enough that i’m seriously thinking about going back a lot sooner than a year from now. i had at least 5 people ask me if i was going to be back next week (i wasn’t sure, but i might be) and one lady that wandered under my canopy, looked around, looked at me, and said "The incense guy!" and ran off, only to come back about 2 minutes later and spend around $40.

so, yeah… i think i’ll probably be back fairly soon. i actually made enough money to buy a membership in the fremont sunday market, which means that i’ll get an assigned booth space that will be reserved for me every week, whether i’m there or not. i’m going to have to get some sandbags for the canopy legs, however, because i spent most of the day trying to prevent the canopy from flying away whenever the wind blew in the right direction.

however, nobody showed up who read about it here (except maybe john and kim, who didn’t say that they read about it here). i know that there are several people in the seattle area who read this blog regularly, but at the same time, because of the fact that nobody said that they had read about me going to the FSM on internet, that meant that i didn’t have to figure out what to do if they had: i was thinking about 20% off your incense purchase, or something like that. oh well…

i just realised that the Fremont Sunday Market has the same abbreviation as the Flying Spaghetti Monster… and knowing john and candace as i do, they probably meant it that way… 8) it makes me wonder how well pirate fish, or flying spaghetti monster fish for your car would sell at the FSM… and nobody else had them… 8) and it would be a really good thing to include along with the “christian” booth and the scientology booth… 8D

oh, also if you want a free TrafficGauge, all you have to do is answer a few questions for the Puget Sound Congestion Information Survey at the university of washington. i’ve already been making very good use of mine… 8)

another victory against wage slavery!

well, i’m back from troy’s with 500 business cards for NBAC, and now i know all the juicy details about why troy quit MMP. apparently there have been substantial changes happening that i didn’t know about. bart is now “general manager”, which means that instead of being back in the press room, being useful, he’s now up front, surfing the net and goofing off. bart says that he’s going to “do something” about the fact that numerous jobs have been going on the press without being spell checked and okayed by the customer (i actually used to have a proof stamp, that had to be initialled by the customer before i would put jobs on the “to-be-printed” pile – that stamp disappeared shortly after my injury [i suspect carl was behind it], and when i got out of the hospital, nobody knew where it was). troy was tired of taking flak for it, and complained to bart, but bart was apparently too busy surfing the net and goofing off to do anything about it once he left the press room. finally, one of the new (sales)girls came back and read troy the riot act for printing a job that hadn’t been proofread, and he told her to eat shit and die. when mike told troy to apologise to her, troy told mike to eat shit and die, and walked out.

good for him. it wasn’t enough that he was working from 3:00 am because of where he lives, and it wasn’t enough that he was only making $17 an hour when the industry standard for a press operator with his experience is more like $30 an hour, he shouldn’t have to put up with taking the blame for doing stuff that wasn’t his fault to begin with. of course this means that now bart will either be forced back into the press room, or he will have to hire a new, presumably competent press operator who is willing to work for $17 an hour.

also, apparently, mike is under the impression that quark xpress has been purchased by microsoft. i don’t know where he got that idea from, but it was probably from sharon, who is doing my job now, and who hates quark, despite the fact that it is consistently more reliable than adobe.

printing stuff

i’m going to troy’s shop in marysville today, to take him the paper and then pick up the NBAC business cards. they ordered ’em on friday, and i may just be able to deliver them on monday. troy is no longer working for MMP issaquah any more. i don’t really blame him much: mike is the guy who bought MMP from carl, right after my injury. a couple of years ago, he offered me a job (actually he offered me my old job back) which i refused because he insisted that i use inferior software for most of the jobs. i don’t understand why the people who don’t actually use or understand the software are in the position of telling the people who are, what software they are going to use. especially when the people who are going to be using, and who understand the software quite intimately (me) inform them that the software that they want to use is inferior and won’t get the work done as quickly or accurately. but that’s apparently the way it is in MMP-land. i won’t mess with his fantasy, but i’m not gonna work for someone who doesn’t want to get the job done right, and get it done right the first time. presumably he’s still got bart, as well, but with all of the work that went through MMP when i was working there, i sincerely doubt that one press operator is going to do it for him. on the other hand, troy has been doing work for me for free, and now i wonder whether or not he’s going to be able to afford to do that any longer. i’ll ask him today.

my awesome web stats

thanks to my awesome web stats, i learned that i have had over 1000 hits on a particular page on my web site. i wonder if i should offer a prize for the person who guesses which one it is? now i know that this doesn’t sound like much, but keep in mind that, while it has been in the same place, more or less, on the net since 1997, it contains no pornography, and it is completely un-advertised.

also, i got my new business cards today. 8)aum ganganaapataye namah

random blah

my depression is getting to be more tolerable, but that’s partially because i now have close to 5 days worth of music loaded on my computer. i’m really liking this open-source alternative to iTunes a lot, especially because it apparently has the ability to go out and find the names of the tracks that got lost when i burned them onto windoesn’t-format CDs that abbreviated the names to 8+3. it also apparently has the ability to find track names based on cover art, because i had the album name of an album by The Insect Trust (and there are only two of ’em), but i couldn’t either find, or automate finding the track names. but when i applied cover art to the album, suddenly it knew the track names as well. admittedly, the track names were in the .jpg file that i cut up to get the cover art (the front and back of the album had originally been scanned and then combined into one file), and i figured i would copy them off the other half of the .jpg, but then, suddenly, they were there and i didn’t have to. also it has a script that finds the lyrics to whatever song is playing… although it doesn’t work as well as it could (it can’t find the lyrics for Fliperama by Tom Zé, or Black Cat by Gentle Giant).

also, i got my first incense order of 2008 yesterday, and while it was only $25, it doesn’t take too many orders like that to make a living, and, if i recall correctly, i didn’t get my first incense order of 2007 until february.

i talked to moe last night. she was taken into the pool where the dolphins were, and she got to meet them. she says that if i want, i can go and “meet” the dolphins for a weekend. apparently the husband of one of her co-workers is an employee of the FAA or something like that, and they’re always getting free airline passes to go to various exotic places. and when i’m not “meeting the dolphins”, i’ve got a potential job, of sorts, helping the father of another co-worker get several warehouses full of stuff sold on ebay. of course, it wouldn’t be with moe, because somebody has to stay home and take care of the dogs – there’s no way we’re taking four dogs on a cross country airplane flight – but if things work out the way we’re hoping, moe and the dogs and i will be there together in a year or so.

hybrid elephant update

i paid (heh) my state taxes today… which is to say, i filed my tax return, but i didn’t owe anything. i’m not really sure how that works, because i actually did around $1,200 worth of “taxable” business (i.e. that which isn’t mailing stuff to people who are out of state), but i’m not complaining – if i could complain, it would be because the lady from the department of revenue i talked to on the phone about how to correct the errors in my tax return was wrong, but i don’t know that yet, and i’m hoping that everything is as cool as she assured me it was. i also did about $1,100 worth of mailing stuff to people who are out of state. this year’s inventory came to $1,066.89, and this year’s filled orders came to $2,454.85 which is about twice as much as it was last year, although about $1,200 of that was stuff that didn’t cost me anything to produce, and i didn’t have to buy anything in order to be able to fill their orders. i’ll never figure out why this business of print brokering actually makes money, but as long as it does, i’ll keep doing it.

shortly after i had the irritating, irrational phone conversation with the lady at paypal yesterday, i received the following email from “teresa”, who is one of the uncountable number of paypal agents i have talked to in the past:

I went in and tried to request a debit card to your po box and I
received an error I believe this error was due to the length of your
name. I have escalated this to the debit card processor for review and
you should receive a notification within 24-48 hours. I do apologize for
the inconvenience this may have caused you.

i don’t know if teresa was the person i was talking to yesterday, or before that, and i don’t know whether or not the lady i was talking to yesterday has anything to do with this whole fiasco, but it appears that i am, once again, waiting for 24 to 48 hours for a mysterious email from some unknown body that either will, or will not tell me that i am, or am not eligible for a paypal debit card. just to make sure, i actually purchased $20 worth of swastika jewelry from ManWoman yesterday, so it’s possible that all this uproar is for nothing anyway.

paypal gripe

i am apparently ineligible for a paypal debit card because i have “insufficient transaction history”, despite the fact that i have been a paypal member for 3 years. when i have to purchase something, i have had to transfer money to my bank, because i have a debit/mastercard from the bank that allows me to make purchases as though they were credit card purchases, but the vendors that i make purchases from don’t accept paypal as a payment method. when i don’t have enough money in my bank account, i have to transfer money from my paypal account to make purchases, which takes two or three days. so i have made transfers from my paypal account, but apparently that isn’t “sufficient transaction history” for them. according to paypal, i have to make at least $20 (in two purchases of $10 each) from my paypal account before they can issue me a paypal debit card. unfortunately, because of the fact that the vendors that i purchase from don’t accept paypal as a payment option, i am apparently ineligible for a paypal debit card. the lady i just got done talking to said that all i have to do is make two $10 purchases from my paypal account to be eligible. this is after i have waited two months for a paypal debit card that i have applied for twice, and gotten zero response from paypal during that time that even came close to explaining why i was not eligible. if i were to go to a bank (like i did recently when i changed banks) they would not hesitate to give me a debit card regardless of what kind of transaction history i had, but with paypal, apparently you have to make purchases through paypal before you can be eligible for a paypal debit card, regardless of how long you have been a paypal member, and regardless of what your transaction history is. is that stupid or what?

hybrid elephant stuff

i have to file state taxes for hybrid elephant before the 30th. if last year is any indication, i owe about $50 in state taxes. i also want to buy a canopy so that i can sell incense even if it’s raining, and i want to buy a membership in the fremont sunday market.

after waiting 2 months for a paypal debit card, i think i may have gotten through to them that i do, indeed, want a paypal debit card. i applied, waited a month, and nothing happened, so i called them and discovered that no application had ever been made, so i applied again, this time with an operator on the phone, who confirmed that i had, indeed applied. i waited another month, and nothing happened again. so, i called again today and complained mightily. she said that i would get email confirmation within 48 hours, and you can bet that if i haven’t gotten email confirmation in 48 hours and 1 minute, that i’m going to call back and complain again. if i do get email confirmation, she said that i would actually receive my paypal debit card within 7 business days, but i’m going to wait for the email confirmation before i start holding my breath. they did okay when their system had been compromised a few months ago (even though i had to wait a month before i got my money back), but this is getting ridiculous.

hybrid elephant, non-incense stuff

The Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band was written up in the Seattle Times on saturday. there are more pictures if you click the javascript gallery at the times site, or on the static page at the BSSB web site. there’s also John Philip Sousa’s favourite recipe, in case you ever wanted to know. the library of congress apparently offers a whole bunch of JPS miscellanea including scores, instrumental parts, audio files and scrap books… 8) looks like i’m going to have some web pages to update with new information here pretty soon…

someone wrote to me asking about baaṇalingams (which is another name for narmada sivalingams), so i steered him this direction, which, oddly enough, is the result of about 1 hour’s worth of research of on the web, but i didn’t have anything anywhere close on my site, so i put together a new page for it.

busy

Punk Rock Flea Market

the punk rock flea market was yesterday. i worked from 10:00 am until 7:00 pm, and i made $30. but my table fee was $25, so really i only made $5, which isn’t an awful lot considering that i worked 9 hours. i did make an awful lot of contacts, though, including the curator for Form/Space Atelier, the gallery where the PRFM was held.

i got another order from the 90210 zip code, and now i’m almost totally out of the most expensive incense i currently stock(!), Zhingkham Kunchhab Chhoedtrin, which is bhutanese temple incense. i have now sent two emails to the manufacturer, Nado Poi Zokhang but it is my understanding that the chinese government has outlawed the exportation of incense from bhutan, so i’m not sure whether or not i’m going to be able to get more.

also i sent out an order to the UK recently, and the recipient hasn’t received it yet, which concerns me… but the USPS computer system has been down all day (at least that is what they would have me believe), so they can’t tell me whether or not the package has even reached their system or not. 8P

ganesha – the remover of obstacles

last night i got pulled over by the cops. i had just run a red light, along with the car next to me (which happened to contain liz dreisbach, the leader of the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band, and apparently the cop had been hiding in the shadows on the cross street. but it was midnight, and there was nobody else around, so i think he didn’t have anything better to do anyway. i pulled over and he gave me a warning: “safety tip, when your light is red, that means mine is green”. then he sniffed and said “sandalwood?” to which i responded “yeah, i sell incense” and grabbed a business card, which i keep on the dashboard for just such an occurrence. he thought i was handing him my license, and said “no, that’s okay” but then he saw that it was my business card and said “oh, is that a business card?” and took it, peered at it with his flashlight, and then let me go.

i am firmly convinced that Ganesha Vinaayakeswara was watching over me, and that is precisely why i have Aum Vinaayakaaya Namah painted right over the driver’s side door

aum vinaayakaaya namah

not only that, but when i got home, i discovered that i had a $50 incense order from someone in the 90210 zip code.

busy, busy, busy…

mal, one of the witnesses on my wedding certificate, has recently moved here from alaska, and he left his car in my front yard last weekend so that he could go back to alaska for the holiday.

6:00 am, moe gets up to go to work. i stay at home (like usual) and go back to sleep when she leaves. approximately 7:00 am, the dog barks, but as it’s the dog that irrationally barks at anything at all for no reason whatsoever, i tell her to be quiet and go back to sleep. around 8:00 am, i am woken up by the telephone. it’s moe telling me that mal called the clinic, wants his car, and that i should call him, which i do. i learn that the reason the dog was barking was because mal was knocking on the door of my house – and i wasn’t answering because i was asleep and not paying attention to the dog, who was obviously telling me that someone was at the door… 8/

so i get up and call the printers to change the delivery address on the two packages that are scheduled to be delivered here soon. i talk to a guy who tells me that he’s got to call UPS and make sure that he can, and he will call me back. then i get into mal’s car, with a minor hiccup when mal’s car alarm apparently won’t let me in (fixed by replacing the battery in the remote), and head up toward microsoft to give mal’s car back around 9:00 am. while i’m on the way, i call the printer again and tell them that i called and the guy said he would call me back, but didn’t. the lady says sure, they can change the shipping address on the packages, but it will cost me $10 per package, is that okay? i say, no, it’s not okay! she takes my order numbers and puts me on hold, and while i’m on hold, i get another phone call from the printer – which i assume was in response to the message i left them on friday – to get the physical address so that i can get my packages delivered…

sigh…

so anyway, i give the lady the proper physical address, i don’t have to pay anything, i called UPS and they’re on board with the whole thing, although they might have to deliver one of the packages tomorrow, because it was out for delivery when they got the change of address (which means that i have to stay home all day, on the off chance that they actually are going to deliver it today). i also made a few changes in the Ballard Sedentary Sousa web site, and had a terse but productive email conversation with liz about tomorrow’s recording session and what’s going to happen afterwards.

and i printed out godfrey daniels music from stuart’s web site so that i can play the tuba part at the party.

rehearsal tonight, recording session tomorrow, rehearsal wednesday… thursday and friday are free, so far, but there’s a possibility that i’m going to have to go whip a computer back into shape on one of those two days. then there’s the punk rock flea market saturday, and the Phinney Neighborhood Holiday Fiesta on sunday, more rehearsals next monday and wednesday, the party on friday, and then two weeks of puss in boots performances…

bleh

i’m anxious.

one of my postcard orders is supposed to be delivered tomorrow, and when i called UPS to confirm that, they told me that it was addressed to my PO box, and they don’t (or can’t, i’ve never been sure of which) deliver to PO boxes, and i can’t change the delivery address, only the sender can do that. so i put in a call to the printer and asked them to change the delivery addresses on both packages, but (of course) they were closed because it was saturday, and i probably won’t hear back from them until tomorrow… but that’s when the first package is supposed to be delivered, which means that i likely won’t get a package by way of UPS tomorrow.

i have a rehearsal tonight, at 7:00 pm at hale’s, but it’s only 11:00 am, and i’m antsy. i realise it’s the weekend, but there should be more for me to do, to keep my mind out of the worrying and depressing that i’ve been so apt to do recently.

Limp Fish, Part II – And More, Postscript Songs

i don’t honestly know why, but i have been getting a lot of business from outside the country recently. the most recent occasion was two days ago, when someone from leicestershire ordered a durga murti. i think i like out-of-the-country business, but i’m not completely sure yet.

two days ago, i replaced the (brand new) power supply, and got a refund for the one that i replaced. today i discovered that, because of a screw up at re-pc, i will not actually be recieving the $27.14 refund for up to thirty days. meanwhile, i applied for a paypal debit card, which has yet to be delivered, and i have more than $100 in my paypal account. i would growl more at re-pc except that they have been very helpful to me over the past couple of months, but it really irritates me that i have to wait thirty days before i get my refund.

in other news, i have joined the Grand Council of Bearded Men, which will make me eligible to compete in the World Beard & Moustache Chamionships in anchorage, alaska next year. of course there’s no hope of me actually winning such a championship, but it’s a step in the right direction.

penis enlargement

i have been getting comments in my blog that are spams recently. it’s a very good thing i have a moderation queue, and only accept comments from people who have registered, otherwise i would be bitching more about it.

in other news, my brand new power supply that i bought less than a month ago as part of my ongoing battle with the computer, failed yesterday: i cycled the power, and when i tried to start up the machine again, it didn’t even budge. i panicked, asked advice from my net-geek friends, and then took the whole CPU to re-pc this morning and had it officially diagnosed. it’s a good thing it failed yesterday, though, because if it had waited until today to fail, then i wouldn’t have been able to get a refund from re-pc, because it would have been more than 30 days since i bought it.

why?

i sent out a shipment to australia, and a shipment to chicago. one postcard order has been shipped from the printer and should arrive here on the 26th, and another one is at the printers and ready for printing. UPS made a delivery a couple of days ago, and now i’m all set for the punk rock flea market that’s a week from sunday. oddly enough i have positive balances of close to $100 in both the bank and at paypal, and i have at least one more payment that’s pending. so why am i so depressed and out of sorts?

when it rains…

i went to a banda gozona rehearsal last night. we’re gearing up for a festival of santa cecilia on sunday, which is presumably when we get paid for the year. along with that, memo sent me $60 for taking care of the valves and slides on his alto horn. then when i got home i discovered that UPS had been here, but they didn’t leave the package. so today i got up and there was email from kelly, who wants some postcards, and another email from a guy in australia who wants incense. i took care of the postcards and emailed kelly, packed up incense and emailed the guy from australia, went to the post office and the bank, and came home, where i intend to continue working on the brochure for chris, typesetting the poster for sandy and waiting for UPS to show up.

oh, also i bought $90 worth of the holy vegetable yesterday. considering how it’s going, that should be enough to last me through the end of the year.

i was right… 8/

sandy didn’t even look at the artwork that i submitted, which was based on the puss in boots engraving by doré, but went with the cartoon-style image that her friend came up with… but she did ask me to “put the text in” since i have “so many cool fonts”…

i should typeset it in cuniefont, or something equally unreadable… 8/

hybrid elephant, non-incense stuff

i’ve got a potential client, the society of veterinary behavior technicians, who wants a (as in “one”) 24″x30″ white foamcore sign, printed in three colours, black, green and purple. so far, i’ve gotten five estimates, from around $55 (for 2 colours) all the way up to $90, with most of them falling between $60 and $75. i’ve also discovered that it’s fairly easy to buy foamcore, canvas, grommet machines, and other sign making materials from a variety of web sites out there, which makes me want a vinyl cutter more than ever. some day…

also, i’ve got a postcard order from eva funderburgh, who got postcards from me earlier this year. this time she wants 1000 4/4 matte cards with an aqueous coating on one side… and, wouldn’t you know it, the old mac has gotten to the point where i can’t even rely on photoshop to work correctly most of the time. it’s now, officially, time for 1) reinstall the old operating system (clean install), or, possibly 2) install a newer operating system (OS10.4), or even 3) install the new hard disk that i got during the last battle of the computer, and install, but at that point i’m not sure if i’m going to install the old system or the new one. one step at a time, as always, but i don’t hold out much hope for the mac at this point… it’s a good thing i got linux working as well as it is… 8/

weird contact from india

someone sent me email with the contact form on Hybrid Elephant yesterday, which i just noticed was from a yahoo address in india. it was confusing. it said:

info

contect details

it was apparently from someone named s.m.patel and it had an IP address that resolved to here, which is apparently a Ram Mandir in indore (not this one, but south west, on the other side of indore, in between Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport and Sirpur Tank, in Angad Kapoor’s Region)…

anybody have any clue what it means?

grr!

paypal has changed the “add to cart” button from the one that i like – infernal button – to one that clashes with my nice, clean web site – infernal button, which means that i have to go through and change all of the buttons in my site. i wish they would give me a “heads up” before they just do things like this… 8/

help for those addicted to microsoft

i have decided that i’m going to become a community distributor for OpenOffice.org, as a way of making it easier for the computer illiterate to get things accomplished without having to resort to using microsoft products. OpenOffice is definitely preferable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that most computer virii in existence these days are made to take advantage of “features” in microsoft office that leave the affected computer open to all sorts of nasties. others are, of course, that it is cross-platform compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux/UNIX, it is 100% compatible with microsoft office, and that it is completely free of cost. to that end, i have added a page to the Hybrid Elephant web site containing FREE downloading information, and i am downloading ISOs of the three disks required, so that i can start out by giving copies of them to my (computer illiterate) clients.

bizarre

so i’ve apparently got a customer, or something… his name is lamar, and he has been trying to get me to sign up for a number (i think it’s 4 now) of “social networking” sites, the most recent being wayn dot com (WhereAreYouNow), but looking at their terms and conditions, i wouldn’t go anywhere near them if i had to (which i don’t). in the past he’s added me to a “friends network” at facebook, friendster, and myspace. i have no idea who he really is, although some time back i interacted with a guy named “lamdon” who was a representative for nado poizokhang, one of my incense suppliers, and “lamar” might be the same guy… or he might be a guy that bought incense from me a couple of times last year. i really have no clear idea of who he might be, other than, perhaps, a persistent spammer. at the same time, if he’s a customer, i don’t want to alienate him, at least not without figuring out who he is first…

busy

i’ve got to mail a package, and then take some extra computer parts to re-pc, and then get to issaquah by 1:00 to pick up business cards for NBAC, and then go to north bend to deliver the business cards to NBAC, and then potentially, go to the bank and deposit the check from NBAC for the business cards. then i haven’t yet decided whether or not i’m going to go home, because there’s a Puss In Boots rehearsal at hale’s tonight at 7:00, and i think it would be more efficient to go directly there rather than going home first, even though the rehearsal is at 7:00. but if i go directly to hale’s from there, then i have to have my tuba and related goo-bah, which i have to think about now… and if i do end up deciding to go home, then my tuba will already be in the car.

but i’ve got an appointment with ned at 3:00, which i didn’t realise until just a moment ago, which throws a wrench in the whole scheme of things… 8P

i’ve got something going on every day this week: i’ve got a trolloween rehearsal with the fremont phil on tuesday, then trolloween on wednesday, then a day of the dead gig with banda gozona on thursday, and another day of the dead gig on friday, then i think there is a gig at meany hall with banda gozona on saturday, but i’m not sure (relevant messages came through in email during the time when my email/schedule was malfunctioning). then, next tuesday is john phillip sousa’s birthday with the BSSB (tickets to the sousa bash are sold out, but if you want to go, i can probably get you in, standing room only), and next friday is my high school 30th reunion planning (i’m OLD!), which i’m not sure i’m going to go to, because i didn’t get along very well with those people when i was in high school, and i can’t think of any reason, other than time, that i would get along with them any better now. then next saturday is a performance of the fremont phil for the opening of a new park in fremont. next sunday is WORLD ART CAR DAY, and it is also the veterans’ day performance of the BSSB at the north shore senior center, and then, theoretically, there is a recording session for the BSSB on a week from next tuesday.

more blah

i have a Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band performance at the oyster festival in shelton tomorrow, for which i have to leave at 11:00 tomorrow morning. i’ll probably be getting back around 5:00. liz is going to pay us for gas.

they finally decided on a design for the business cards, but they’re only going to get 500 of them to start because there’s something going on with their addresses that’s going to change before they would be able to run through any more. they asked for light green paper with some flecking or texture, so i decided for them that they want sage green classic crest cover, and if they don’t we can change it next time. by this time next week i will probably be $70 richer than i am now… at least. whee.

depression is coming back again. i bit the bullet and sacrificed my last bong hit. i actually split it in half and put it in my vapouriser, which will make it last longer, but this is the longest i have gone without cannabis since my injury – at which time i didn’t really notice it anyway. i’ve basically had two bong hits that i’ve been vapourising slowly for a month now. i hope i make enough money to buy more at some point. it’s pretty miserable and depressing without cannabis.

blurdge

photo by starrchilde, who was driving with her kids outside of loisville, kentucky. if you look carefully you can even see the sign.

by the way, DON’T SEND HTML IN EMAIL!! it’s rude and it uses up a lot more computer resources than plain text. web browsers and email clients are two entirely different programs with entirely different functions. if you want to communicate something on the web, i expect to see HTML code, but when i get two pages of HTML code in email, especially when it’s to convey a FOUR WORD message, i’m going to get pissed. make email messages PLAIN TEXT by default! if you can’t learn how to control your email client, or you use a web-based email service that doesn’t give you the option, then you need to learn, you need to get a different service (i know yahoo, gmail hotmail, and even AOL have a plain-text-only option), then you DON’T deserve to send your HTML crap to me. next time, i’ll block your IP address at the server level, so any further email to me, from you, will bounce. i’m not kidding.

Frownland – Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band, Trout Mask Replica

the depression is slowly lifting, and the table is still clean enough that my keyboard has not been covered up yet. i still haven’t been inspired enough to do anything with it yet, but i’m leaving the option open.

they agreed that what they wanted couldn’t be done on the artwork for the business card, but they changed the font to one of those “fonts in word” which may or may not be a “real” font. fortunately, it’s a font for which i have a “real” analogue (Americana), and i changed it for ’em. haven’t heard back yet, but as this is the third go-round with artwork, i’m hoping that they’re gonna be happy with it pretty soon. i still have to talk with them about paper (shudder) which is a whole different miasma to which i’m not looking forward.

i updated the schedule for agilityfun, and posted the updated schedule at noon on monday. i then wrote an email to diana at 2:00 that said i had updated the schedule. at 4:00, diana wrote me and said that doug had sent an updated schedule on the 26th, it wasn’t showing up, and they need me to update it right away. O_o i wrote back today and said that they need to flush their cache, which moe said was “pretty confrontational”. i think it’s “pretty confrontational” that diana assumes that i’m not gonna update the schedule unless she reminds me, but i guess part of being a person that “removes your obstacles” is being able to respond to confrontation with another level of happy, which i’m not sure if i posess any longer.

meanwhile, my Os9 mac is dying slowly, and i’m seriously considering breaking down and putting OsX on it. i somehow, magically, came into possession of an actual DVD of tiger, and even though the only software i currently keep the mac around for is Os9 stuff (quark and photoshop), i’ve run both of them on moe’s OsX laptop, so i know they work. the only problem is that the processor is a 900mhz G3 with a “Sonnet” G4 upgrade, and i don’t know the first thing about whether or not OsX will actually run on it… and if it doesn’t, i’m not sure whether or not i’ll even be able to “downgrade” back to Os9.

i’ve gotten started putting my gallery on flickr, but i abruptly discovered that they want me to pay if i want to have more than three “sets”. i’ve currently got about 25 “sets”, including the stuff that i took on our recent vacation, but i don’t know if i’ve actually got enough money to pay for a “professional” flickr account (one of the reasons why this blog is on hybridelephant is because i don’t have enough money to pay for a livejournal account any longer). also, if you’re not logged in (as me, i don’t know whether or not it works if you’re logged in as anyone else), you can only see two of my three “sets”, although when i’m logged in, i can see all three of them. here is the set that it leaves out. i just uploaded the sets today, so i’m going to wait until tomorrow before i start raising a stink about it.

The Battle of The Computer is over, and, once again, I have won!

i’ve resurrected my computer: i got the operating system installed: i’m now running a shiny new version of Feisty Fawn, despite what walt mossberg says, kubuntu linux is vastly preferable to anything micro$not ever produced, if for no other reason than it is free, but there are many other compelling reasons it is preferable as well, such as it installs more quickly, and is easier to configure than any version of windows that i have ever worked with. not only that, but apparently SCO has filed for bankruptcy, which means, at least for the moment, that we can continue to use free, open source software with impunity, while having a hearty laugh at the expense of those who would have made it otherwise. after i got feisty installed, i searched around and discovered that sigrot isn’t a part of debian any longer (for what reason i know not), but signify is, however signify isn’t as easy to configure, so i found an archive that had sigrot on it, installed it, and now i have my email signature, complete with rotating, random quotes again. i even got xscreensaver working better than it was before.

meanwhile, SixApart has seen fit to let barak berkowitz go and get themselves a new CEO, which makes me even more glad that i bailed from livejournal when i did.

i didn’t make that much money at the punk rock flea market, despite the fact that i was there for almost 12 hours, but i did manage to make $30 without realising it (it was 6:30 in the morning when i arrived, and there’s a good chance that i was, for all intents and purposes, asleep when i did it), which makes me wonder if i could do any better in tacoma. if nothing else, it would mean not having to get up at a ridiculously early hour and drive fourty-fiive minutes before getting there. my boxes of stuff are still in the car, but moe’s car is blocking the driveway, so i’ll have to get them out tomorrow.

i’ve also got some “i am a terrorist” articles to post as well, but they’re going to have to wait until tomorrow as well.

1058

okay, here’s one of the reasons why i have been grumpy and out of sorts for the past 3 days, since i got back from OCF.

i applied for a paypal account for my business back in, oh, i don’t know exactly, somewhere in 2004 or 2005. i applied for their “expanded use program” and they said that they had sent me an expanded use enrollment number on my bank statement in february of 2005, but i never received it. ever since then, about once a month, i have called paypal and tried to work it out to the limit of my frustration, and then given up until next month, having failed to complete my expanded use enrollment. at this point, i don’t even recall why the expanded use enrollment was so important to me, but it probably has to do with money i could be making if i completed it, or something like that.

since then, i have lost count of the number of paypal “associates” i have talked to, but at least ⅔ of them have had extremely heavy indian accents and have spoken quickly enough that i found it very difficult to understand them. not only that, but around ½ of them have given me a completely different story than the other ½, something about how i have a visa card, and there is a policy where they don’t allow more than one expanded use number to be sent for a visa card – which doesn’t really make any difference, because they never sent it me the first time.

finally, two days ago (the day after i got back from OCF), i talked to yet another associate who told me (once again) to look at my february 2005 bank statement (who would have guessed that it would be necessary to save a document for that long) and read off the charges to her. when i read off the charges and they didn’t include a charge from paypal, she wanted me to fax the statements from february and march (just to make sure). i don’t have a fax machine any longer, and they don’t accept email attachments (probably a good thing, considering their general incompetence), so i had moe fax them from her place of employment the next day (yesterday). today i called them…

AND THEY HAVEN’T RECIEVED THE DOCUMENTS YET!

they said that it takes 24 to 48 hours for them to receive faxes, which doesn’t make any sense to me. according to how i understand fax is supposed to work, fax is supposed to be a way to transmit printed documents on an almost instantaneous basis… but they said that it takes 24 to 48 hours. and then, on top of that, they wouldn’t confirm their fax number for me. i don’t know who has my bank statements but i’m thinking more and more that i may have directed moe to fax my bank statements to an unknown and potentially harmful recipient.

not only that, but the first associate i talked to said that she was putting me on hold while she went and checked whether the documents had been received or not, and then hung up on me. the second associate i talked to was very apologetic about the first associate hanging up on me, but she wouldn’t even go check on the documents because it hasn’t been 48 hours yet.

i used to be very nice to telephone drones when i had occasion to call them, but that was a very long time ago. since then i have actually been a technical support engineer (telephone drone) for microsoft, and heard all the phone calls from the other side, and now i have absolutely no patience with idiots, pointless policies, people who assume that they’re never going to talk to me again, so why bother being nice, and outsourced people from another country who don’t know what they’re taking about and can’t speak the language anyway.

if it weren’t for the fact that i actually use my paypal account on a regular basis, i would close my account and go somewhere else in an instant.

and to make matters worse, i have no cannabis and no way to obtain more… and the country is going to hell in a handbasket and there’s nothing i can do about it.

>BP

1021

today i went to the burien strawberry and arts festival with my art car and a small pile of incense. i made $69.

i’m really surprised at how many people looked very closely at various aspects of my car, but didn’t ask me about it at all, because i’m fairly sure that, for the most part, the people in burien have absolutely no clue what it means. there was also a “christian” booth on the other side of the festival site, and people with shirts that said “Jesus Loves You” were very carefully avoiding even looking at my car, as though just looking at it might mess up their “christianity” somehow. there were a few western folks – like, maybe five, total – who asked me what it said, and there were a few indian people who knew what it said without having to ask, including one guy from nepal who read off the names like he was reading the newspaper (which made me feel very happy and very sad at the same time), and said that since he came from nepal he hadn’t been chanting as much as he used to. it turned out that he was a vendor up the row from me, and his business is called “Ganesha Imports”, which struck me as particularly amusing.

then, the guy in the booth next to me got ripped off while i was watching. it was rather distressing, actually: there were a couple of kids – seriously, they couldn’t have been older than 14 or so – hanging around my car, and when the guy’s back was turned, one of them swooped in, grabbed all his money, and was gone before he (or i) could do anything. the guy said he lost around $450 (he was selling gold and silver jewelry), plus his ID and wallet. fortunately he didn’t keep his car keys in the bag as well, but i’m gonna keep my eyes open tomorrow and report that kid if i see him again, which wouldn’t be too great a stretch… especially since the guy he ripped off is not going to be there tomorrow…

moe is in portland. apparently her mother had a mild stroke or something, because she was in the hospital a couple of days ago. moe hasn’t said anything specific about what happened, other than to assure me that her mother is okay, but she’s planning on coming home tomorrow, so i should know more then.

1017

i got a business card order from NBAC today. i looked on my computer in the place where such things are kept, and discovered that i had backed up their folder, so i dug around to see if i could find the backup. i found a backup that has a NBAC folder, but it says it’s from last year, and the NBAC folder is empty (which irritates the hell outta me, but i did it, so i irritate the hell outta myself… 8/ ). the really irritating part is that i remember making a fairly recent backup, because i have a receipt from NBAC that’s dated february of this year. and i even recall debating where to store it (for some unknown reason, all of my backup disks are spread out through two rooms of the house, and most of them are in the PILE OF BOXES somewhere), and putting it on the shelf, surprisingly close to the backup disk that i found from last year… except that a more recent backup is nowhere to be found. it’s possible that the card from february was a reprint – in fact it’s likely – but i think i provided artwork for it anyway, because i believe that’s when i gave my red flash drive to troy.

and the thing that makes it really irritating is that i have had almost exactly the same problem with NBAC files at least twice in the past, and i remember specifically, getting really pissed off the last couple of times and vowing that it would never happen again… and “the next time” it didn’t happen and i figured that the problem was fixed – or, more likely, i didn’t pay any attention to it because it was working the way it was supposed to this time.