Category Archives: hybrid elephant

still very odd…

so i contacted a guy who was willing to help me with my web site. $200 later, i’ve got everything fixed that needed to be fixed, and had an hour’s worth of training on how to actually use it… which turns out to be WAY simpler than i imagined, although there are multiple, duplicate functionalities that, basically, i can’t remove despite the fact that i don’t use them, because they’re simply a part of the core functionality of the web site. if it were my own code, i would find some way to remove them so that they couldn’t be co-opted by evil crackers, and, if i were persistent, i could probably do it anyway, but i’m not.

i was only not able to resolve, immediately, one issue, which is figuring international shipping, and that is only because of the fact that it would cost me an extra $100 for a plugin that i don’t want to spend.

i still don’t know what offended the previous designer to the point that she didn’t want to do business with me any longer, but she’s been a good sport and “allowed” me to take her link off of my site (which i probably would have found a way to do, eventually, anyway), and i will, probably, never know how i offended her so deeply… which is too bad, because i might have been inclined to see if there was some way i could make it up to her…

the upshot of the whole miasma, apart from being $200 poorer, is that i’ve got a relatively modern version of skype on my tablet, so if you’ve got skype and can convince me that you’re someone i should talk to, now’s your chance… 😉

odd… very odd…

i finally reached the point where i have a modern version of skype that works installed on my tablet, and have enough money in my bank account to afford a consultation with the web designer who redesigned my web site back in july. so i hit up her calendly and made an appointment, which was immediately cancelled, because, and i quote:

I’m sorry, but we can not take on work from this account. We do not approve of talking down to anyone doing work on any site, especially women, in the manner which has been done.

um…

W. T. F.?!?!?!?!?

i wrote back to her and got essentially the same response… 😕

i still don’t know what kind of insect got into her bonnet, but pretty much regardless of what i say, at this point, she’s not going to listen, and i would be wasting my time trying to figure it out.

it’s pretty discouraging, though, because i still don’t know how to do basic things like create a new product page, and i’ve got a plugin that won’t update correctly… and there are some things on the back end that need to be changed, and i’m not 100% sure how to change them, and i’ve still got 4 sliders installed and none of them seem to work, and i only really need one… and this lady who very nicely redesigned my site for me, and received payment from me, now, no longer wants to work with me, and won’t even offer an explanations why…

i’ve contacted another designer, who might work out, but i haven’t heard back from him, either, despite the fact that he said he was going to send an estimate “right over”, when i talked to him six hours ago…

okay

i got the third order from the web site, which is very good. the lady ordered three rolls of tibetan simpoi, and paid $6.50 shipping, which i thought i had fixed, but when i looked through the settings, i discovered one place, on a deprecated page, that said $6.50, which was, apparently, where she was going through… so i fixed it, and then deactivated the page (because it is deprecated, and not going to be included in future versions anyway), so now, presumably, shipping will be charged correctly.

and i’m REALLY jazzed that people are ordering from the new web site. it gives me hope for the future.

wump

i got the second order from the new web site. somebody ordered $2.00 worth of incense. the minimum shipping charge was set to $5.00, and the total for shipping was $7.20.

so i updated the flat-rate shipping fee to be a minimum of $8.00, instead of $5.00. i also updated the minimum international shipping fee to $25.00 from $10.00. this will, hopefully, prevent people from ordering stuff that costs less than the amount that it costs to ship the order to those people.

i think, with a bit of fine tuning, the new web site will work out just fine, even if i don’t get to hire the web designer to teach me the things i need to know right away.

greep

so i finally got in touch with the web designer. i took care of the most urgent issue myself, and after going back and forth with her a couple of times, she offered to skype with me, so that i could share my screen with her so that i won’t have to re-create an admin account for her… except for the fact that 1) i don’t want her to fix the problems, i want her to tell me how to fix them, because, ultimately, that is what i originally hired her to do in the first place, and 2) i don’t have a computer that can run skype AND on which i can access the back-end of the web site: i have a four-year-old MacBook Pro that’s running Lion (because i don’t want to have to buy all new software AGAIN) which won’t run the current version of skype, and a linux machine, which won’t run ANY version of skype… i can run skype on my tablet, but it would take a good deal of kluging to get into the back-end of the site with any facility, and, while i could do it, it’s definitely not worth it.

she wants to charge me and i can’t afford it. the last time i had her do anything for me was right after the site went live and i mistakenly deleted all of the content (i was deleting the extraneous admin accounts that she had created and i deleted all of the content they created instead of re-assigning it to me). she had a working copy of the site, and she uploaded it and had the site up and running again in half an hour, and she charged me $126… and, to be honest, that cleaned out my bank account and i’m going to have to wait until next year before i’m going to be able to afford to hire her again.

i’m sure that, if i try, i can probably figure out the remaining issues on my own, but it’s going to take a while.

so…

i got the first order from the new web site the other day, and everything works exactly the way it is supposed to work, EXCEPT…

the customer made the order, and was presented with a payment option, which he chose, and made the payment, but it doesn’t show up on my new dashboard… it’s supposed to show up, but it doesn’t. instead, what shows up is a 404 error, and the suggestion that i might have it in “Test Mode”… except that the toggle at the top of the dashboard definitely says “Live” and NOT “Test”.

i wrote to the web site designer on sunday. it’s now after business hours on monday and i haven’t heard anything from them. they have a “commercial presence” and more than one employee, so i don’t think they won’t respond, but at the same time, the presence of more than one employee makes me suspect that they probably could have at least responded to me by this point… i’ve gotten an automated “we got your message” message, but nothing else. if i don’t hear anything by this time tomorrow, i think it’s going to be time for me to start calling and making an annoyance of myself until i get some answers.

ETA: i figured out how to change it from “Test” mode into “Live” mode by using google, but i still haven’t been able to figure out where my money is.

i’ve got a few questions about the inner workings of the web site, too… i get this customer who is in australia, and he orders $16 worth of incense. the standard shipping is to charge him $10, but when i get to the post office, it turns out that it costs $22 to ship his package. i’ll let it go this time, but that’s something that i definitely want to change.

also, i’ve got a “slider” on the front page. on the back end, there are settings for several different “sliders”, but none of them seem to have any effect on the front page “slider”. how do i add products to it, and make it actually move?

also, i’ve got a number of new products, but no clear way to add them to the catalogue. i’d like to know how to add products to my catalogue, and make them available to customers. as well, there are a few products in my catalogue that are, clearly, “default, generic” products that i don’t carry, will never carry, and don’t want in my catalogue. i’d like to know how to permanently remove them.

news

fairly soon, within the next 24 hours or so, the current Hybrid Elephant web site will go away, and will be replaced by the new Hybrid Elephant web site.

don’t be shocked, it’s actually a good thing. the old web site is made using technology that has reached its “Functional End Of Life” (as they put it when i was a tester), and, because of the fact that i’m a lazy bastard, i didn’t bother to even think about updating it until it was far too late to do any updating, from a practical point of view.

this will be the first web site i have on my server which was not “home designed”. i figured that it would take me a lot less time getting the bugs worked out of the site if i wasn’t already trying to learn the technology at the same time. it turns out that a lot of the new technology is stuff i already know anyway, which is a good thing from the “keeping the web site updated” point of view.

it also features a bunch of technologies that should have been implimented a long time ago (HTTPS, and stripe replacing paypal are the big ones), but, once again, because i am a lazy bastard, i simply never got around to it.

if previous experience is any indication, there may be some intermittent browser confusion, but that should all work itself out within 48 hours or so.

i’m excited! see you on the flip side! 😎

it’s time to get that negative horseshit off the top of my blog… 8/

OCF is fast approaching. today is the 26th of june, and i leave for OCF on the 5th of july. instead of driving, this year i’m getting a ride with michael marconi. the fremont philharmonic has several changes in personnel, and hasn’t had a single rehearsal. allegedly, we’re going to have two rehearsals with the cast members who haven’t already gone to the fair to set things up, and allegedly we’re going to have one or two rehearsals without the cast, presumably to rehearse for the ritz, which we haven’t heard from yet… in fact, i’m going to write to matt now…

i’m really trying not to stress too much about not having any rehearsal, but i guess what i’m saying is that, despite the fact that i know it won’t do any good, i’m stressing about it anyway. i’ve got two new pieces of music out of who knows how many more, and there’s a good chance that we won’t be able to rehearse this, even once, with the entire crew, until thursday evening, before we have to start performing on friday morning. it must be worse for kiki, since she is actually writing the new music. fortunately, it’s for the oregon country fair, so even if we totally screw up, it’s highly likely that nobody will notice.

i’m having the hybrid elephant web site re-designed. i decided that it would take a lot less time for someone who already knows how to use all of the new technology do it than it would for me to learn how to use the technology, and do it myself. it’s still not exactly what i want, but we’ve already put a method of payment in place that doesn’t involve paypal, so that’s a really good trade-off… and, while it is not exactly what i wanted, it largely has all of the things that i want, more or less where i want them, it’s got some really cool new features that i didn’t have in the old site (starting with a SSL certificate, so no more doing business over an unsecure network), it uses wordpress and woo commerce, so it will be really easy to add on to, and it’s going to be A LOT easier to keep up to date, so i won’t have to do this whole thing again in 5 years…

woo

when it rains…

i have nobody ordering incense for months, and then, when i’m on vacation, i get two incense orders which i can’t fill, because i’m on vacation… and besides which, one of them somehow ordered more than i have in stock AND he’s an international order for which paypal 😡 never figures the shipping, so yesterday i filled the order i could, and wrote the guy in england with further instructions…

this morning i got another incense order… for two dozen different kinds of incense… 👍 so i put together that order, and shipped them out this morning.

then, i got home and i had another incense order, so i put that together and shipped it out, as well.

👍

broken

i’m pretty severely broken today.

i think that, possibly, the only reason i even noticed is because of the 5HTP that i’ve been taking for the past 6 months or so, but it hasn’t done anything to relieve the symptoms, which are: to start with, i wasn’t even motivated to get out of bed until well after noon, despite the fact that i woke up around 5:00, when moe left for a 5-day trip to alberta… in fact, it’s 7:00 pm now, and it feels as though it should be around 1:00, based on when i normally get out of bed.

and, sad to say, a majority of the time i spent in bed this morning was poking through farcebook, and checking email. then i got up, turned on the computer and started poking through my RSS feed, when farcebook got boring.

i’ve been reading a lot about micro-dosing with LSD, and the effects of mushrooms on PTSD survivors, and how LSD apparently cures farcebook addiction, and all of these things have driven me to the inescapable conclusion that i really should take those 100 dried mushrooms that i found a couple years ago… except that i don’t know whether they retain their potency, and i really need to do some more research before i actually do it, for my own comfort.

anyway, all but two of my plants have died, and, when i was kneeling on the floor scrubbing the toilet, it made my right knee hurt so much, when i got up, that it’s a miracle i didn’t fall. i hobbled over to the bed and it was 45 minutes of heavy breathing on my back before the pain had subsided enough that i could get up and hobble around again. then, after my knee had more or less recovered, i went to deposit one of moe’s $3,500 checks for all of the travelling that she’s been doing recently, and then i went down to auburn to the post office, where i hoped to ask them if they’ve seen the package for which i payed $35, which was shipped from italy on march 4th, and still hasn’t shown up at my house yet… but by the time i got there, it was closed. 😐

oh, and i haven’t even remotely been motivated to eat anything. i forced myself to eat at jack-in-the-box while i was out, and i’ve had a couple of protein bars. i really need to find out where i can get less than a dozen bottles of soylent, because i really like the idea, it’s probably 10 times more healthy than jack-in-the-box… and it’s named after a movie that gives most people the squicks. on the other hand, the smallest number you can buy on their web site is 12, and if i don’t like it, it probably wouldn’t do to try to foist them off on other people.

i’m having the hybrid elephant site redesigned. since i’m not doing it myself, i’m switching “platforms” from oscommerce to wordpress/woo-commerce. i don’t know if i like it so far, but i remember when i was working on oscommerce, at first it really looked horrible, but the closer i got to what i wanted, the more i liked it. an advantage to switching platforms is that i will have a way to process credit cards that is not paypal, about which i am REALLY jazzed, and, even if the site doesn’t come out exactly the way i like, it will be worth it, just for that.

mump-3

i got up early because i was supposed to give a friend a ride to seattle, but when i got there, he told me that he had rescheduled for january, but that he could use a ride to the post office. so i took him to the post office, and checked my box, which was empty. 😒

i got an order for 13 boxes of incense, but when i looked at my active stock, i only had 5. because of the fact that i had to leave to go to seattle, i couldn’t figure out why. when i got back home, after not having to go to seattle, i was able to determine that, while i only had 5 boxes in my active stock, i actually had 30 stashed away in cold storage. so i packed up 13 boxes and made another run to the post office. kaching! $90… 😊

not only do i not have to figure out what’s wrong with the web site, i’ve got another example of how the web site is smarter than i am, despite the fact that it’s 6 years old. 😒

because of the fact that i don’t have to go to seattle, i don’t have anything else to do until my rehearsal this evening, but i also don’t have an excuse to go visit ezra and give him the last vestiges of his living in my house (a few posters, a couple CDs and a folder full of ancient stuff)… which means that i may go into seattle anyway, to deliver the stuff for ezra. 😊

oh yeah, todays the blog-birthday. happy birthday, blog. 😊

W. T. F??

so, i’ve got a new customer.

he’s from india. he’s a doctor. he wants me to ship him $100 worth of incense that, it is my understanding, is VERY easy to find in india, but which is practically impossible to find in the united states… in fact, as far as i can tell, mine is the only on-line, retail store in the united states which sells it…

here is a guy, who is 150 kilometers away from the manufacturer of this incense, who wants me to ship $100 worth of this exact, same incense to him, from half way around the planet

W.T.F??!? 😕

elephant

i got my annual enormous shipment of incense today, and turned around and got half of the shipment i received, ready to ship out again… it came from maspeth, new york, and is being shipped to minneapolis, minnesota, by way of seattle…

weird, but whatever works…

also, i got the latest Operation Mindfuck element today, which is a sticker that says “WARNING! This object does NOT exist!“. 👿 now i just have to figure out what to put it on… or, more acurately, what NOT to put it on… 👿

i shipped out a devotional statue to basel, switzerland, after going back and forth with the guy in email since saturday. first he didn’t read the we DO ship internationally, BUT…” page and then he took his time when it actually came to making the extra payment, but it all worked itself out in the end, and his statue shipped out today.

apara-squeeeeeeEEEEE-ta!!

so, about this time last year, or thereabouts, i got an order for aparajita from a customer who wanted to resell it. i made a deal to sell half of my existing stock to them at cost, but that left me with a quickly diminishing stock, and, because of the fact that i had bought the aparajita (in the “old” box) from a दस्यु who sent me 170 boxes of a 240-box order, and then vanished into the ethernet, leaving no forwarding address or any other way of contacting him, i was, once again, DESPERATELY searching for a new supplier of my best-selling incense.

shortly after that, i found one(!!), and ordered more aparajita at a cost that allowed me to reduce my price from $7.00 a box to $4.00 a box. 😀

fast forward to yesterday.

i decided, because of the fact that i was down to 4 dozen boxes, that it was time to order more aparajita. i figured i would duplicate my previous order, because, while aparajita is my best-seller, i don’t have any indication that it’s becoming more popular — i did have a supplier tell me that they didn’t carry aparajita any longer, because it has a “too medicinal” smell that “people don’t like”…

so i ordered 7 dozen boxes, and figured that would be good enough…

then, this morning, i got another email from the lady who originally wrote me back in the first sentance of this post, and she wants to order 50 boxes, like last time…

so i wrote her back with the good news about the new supplier, and she changed her order from 50 boxes (a little more than 4 dozen) to 100 boxes (around 8 dozen)…

which meant that i, then, had to call the supplier(!!) and change my order from 7 dozen to 15 dozen…

squeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! 😎

catsup

i’m still more or less stuck on the new web site, but i’m not really worried about it, because i continue to get orders from the current one… yes, i’m not always getting all the emails i should be getting regarding customer orders, but i continue getting the most important ones. also i still haven’t discovered an alternative for paypal, but both of those things may be mitigated by the fact that i may be hiring a professional to “do it for me” at some point. at this point, such a thing would only happen after a disaster, such as somebody cracking the site in a way from which i can’t recover on my own, or something like the current version of PHP or the database no longer being supported, or something like that. it remains a fantasy, but part of the current fantasy for the near future.

today i helped ezra move a four-foot-by-four-foot “painting” from his apartment in the central district to a recording studio in fremont. it barely fit in my car. the word “painting” is in quotation marks because the object looks like, and functions like a painting, but is, actually, made from scraps of vinyl. we also spent some time wandering up and down the burke-gilman trail discussing recent events, future plans, fantasies and miscellania. he’s going to lisbon for a couple of weeks, and then he’s doing a residency in central oregon for a month… my son is thinking of moving out of state, and perhaps even out of the country, on a more-or-less permanent basis.

i’ve gone through one “artist” who said that they would make a vector representation of my raster-based file. i don’t know whether or not they actually made a vector represntation of my file, because they responded with a “proof copy” and then stopped responding… which, i suppose, i should have expected, considering that i found out about them on “fiverr dot com”, which is, allegedly, a place you can go to find just about anything for increments of $5. i’ve sent a preliminary file to a “professional” in florida, who claims to do the same thing, although more “reliably” and, predictably, for more money, but they, too, said they would get back to me in 24 hours, and that hasn’t happened yet. fortunately, i haven’t actually forked over any money, yet, but this person’s web site had many, glowing testamonials from seemingly responsible, professional businesses and suchlike, so i’m hoping that the only reason i haven’t heard from her yet is because it’s sunday.

once i actually receive a vector drawing based on my raster drawing, i’m going to give it to the local guy who does vehicle wraps, and get a proof from him, and then, if i like it, i’m going to get a vehicle wrap on my car. i may, actually, be able to fit all 1008 names of ganesha on my car, due to the fact that i can, more acturately, render the typeface size because it’s from an electronic file, and not painted by me… 😎

slowly…

one step forwards…

sometimes one step back, sometimes two steps back, sometimes more… but…

i’m actually making some significant progress on the new hybrid elephant web site.

of course, it doesn’t help that i’m also being forced to deal with the new problem, which is that the connection to the server is being reset, sometimes two or three times, before the page is loaded… and it’s not limited to the new web site, which means that if the new web site broke something, it broke it BIG TIME rather than just being a local phenomenon…

some day it’ll be done… i’m hoping that it will be sooner, rather than later. 😐

customers are actually good for something other than income…

what do you know? 😎

i got a phone call this morning from someone who (judging solely by the way he spoke) was from india, although he told me that he was calling from new jersey, and his phone number is in western new york…

and, naturally, he was inquiring about aparajita — these days, when someone calls me from the web site, it’s guaranteed that they either want to talk about aparajita, or they’re wondering where they can get Spice

what i told him satisfied him that the aparajita i was selling was the authentic stuff, and he said he would place an order (which hasn’t arrived yet, but i’m sure it will), but the interesting part comes next.

he said that he knew the people who owned Sri Satyanarayana Parimala Factory, in Mysore, so i told him about my search for “The Real” aparajita, which included my finding out about Cauvery, and he said that Sri Satyanarayana Parimala Factory actually manufactures incense that is sold by Cauvery. he also says that he knows all of the incense manufacturers in mysore, and is available by phone if i have any questions about with whom to do business.

what i came away with, from that conversation, was that Cauvery, which i suspected was making erzatz aparajita, is actually re-packaging legitimate aparajita in “old style” boxes (which immediately disproves the 2 complaints that i have gotten in the past 5 years, that the aparajita i was selling “smelled wrong” or had a “moth-ball”-like smell), AND that the most recent purchase i made is ALSO “The Real” aparajita, and, as i said before, i will be able to sell it for significantly LESS than i am currently selling it…

and the only difference is that it will be in the “new” box. 😎

secret

i’ve begun updating the hybrid elephant web site. so far it’s still pretty much the default OSC installation. i have removed the right column, and haven’t done anything else, because the instruction manual i’m following says that it should fill up the entire screen, and what i’ve got fills up the entire screen in the header and footer, but the “content area” still acts like it’s got a right-hand column, which is kind of awkward… i’ll figure out how to fix it eventually, and then i’ll have an “up-to-date” web site…

but, to be honest, the one i’ve already got still works fine… more or less… it still doesn’t figure the shipping for international orders, and it still ONLY uses paypal which is not my first choice, but it’s the only one i’ve been able to force to work even slightly reliably…

however, i’ve discovered a number of things that the newer version does, which the older version doesn’t do, and there appears to be two ways of upgrading: one is to slowly and steadily upgrade, version by version, from v.2.2 RC2 to v.2.3.3.4, making whatever changes are necessary to the database so that it will remain "compatible" with the "new" web site… the other one is to do a complete, new install of v.2.3.3.4 and start over again from scratch… you can guess which one i chose.

but it’s not anywhere close to ready to give anyone a "sneak peek", so i won’t.

et cetera (and others)

i broke down and paid for a year of VPN service. now the IP address of my linux box is in stockholm, sweden, the IP address of my mac (which is in the same location) is in southhampton, england, and the IP address of my phone is in austin, texas. i imagine that this may present a bit of a problem when i log into the moisture festival artist’s WIFI, but i’ll deal with that as it happens, rather than worrying about it now.

i got an order for 50 boxes of aparajita from essence of the ages, which is run by what appears to be a “christian” woman. i don’t know why she’s buying incense from me (apart from the fact that i am the only vendor in the western hemisphere who sells what she wants to buy, and she has customers who want to buy what i have to sell) but i think it’s pretty amusing. the up side of it, for me, is that it makes the occasion of my buying my first incense from the actual distributor for sri satyanarayana parimala factory EVER, possible… 😎

the panto starts next week. we’re doing amazingly well. we had our first official, complete run-through last wednesday, and there are still two more rehearsals before we open. we’ve still got one more piece to learn before we open, but that’s pretty standard. and the shows have been selling out really quickly, which is really good.

my “old school” stereo system works exactly the way i was hoping it would, and tomorrow (or monday, at the latest) i plan on making a trip to pacific custom cabling to get another ⅛"-mini-stereo-to-stereo-RCA cable, and then both of my computers will be hooked up to it. for the first time EVER i will have a decent-quality stereo behind my attempts to compose music with reason and/or sibelius. what is the world coming to? 😉

now…

i was going to post yesterday, but then i spent two nights ago not sleeping very well and having dreams that i wished i wasn’t having — and waking up on more than one occasion, specifically to end a particularly annoying dream, only to have it resume, more or less, when i succeeded in getting back to sleep — so when i finally got up yesterday i was already in a sour mood… and then i turned on my computer and the sour mood increased about ten-fold, which was not made any better by the fact that i couldn’t get my backups to work the way i wanted to, because of the fact that the crack used a “new, different” way of intruding, which the host provider was less than forthcoming about explaining…

i actually had everything fixed by 11:00 am or so, but my mood was so bad, and it was so hot, that, by that time, all i wanted to do was watch the god-damned-noisy-box, smoke cannabis and drink… first mountain dew, then water, then beer. seriously, the temperatures have been in the low-90s and upper-80s, but it has been more humid than i have ever seen before (around here, it’s par for the course in illinois and alabama), and the overall effect is that the temperature is oppressively hot, which made the god-damned-noisy-box even more inviting… if i had a swimming pool, it be a lot better…

but, unfortunately, if i had a swimming pool, realistically, it would only get used a week or so a year, and the rest of the time i would have to maintain it… so it’s probably better this way… it’s a lot more realistic to dream of a sauna, because i’d use that year round EXCEPT for the really hot days…

anyway, if i had posted yesterday, this would have been that post:

the oregon country fair is in a little more than a week. i had in mind to distribute QR code stickers for music at the fair, but they haven’t even contacted me with a shipping date yet, and i placed the order almost a month ago. so THIS is the reason why NOT to use StickerRobot when time is sensitive. they may make the best stickers in the world (for all i know, they haven’t delivered them yet), but if a simple, square, black-and-white sticker takes them a month, i am less than impressed.

the panto this year is Dick Whittington, which i have wanted to do for two years now. it should be a great show, although i haven’t seen it yet. we’ve got some of the music, we’re getting more tonight, and, as usual, we’re probably going to get new music when we arrive at the fair… at this point, the fact that we’ve never performed the panto all the way through, even once, doesn’t faze me very much… we have almost exactly the same routine every year, and it invariably comes out on the other end as a finished work of art. the real fun is working together to make it a work of art… and the reactions of the audiences when we perform.

average

rick has been transferred to the university of washington medical center, because he is not losing fluid fast enough to suit his cardiologist. they’re planning on keeping him for at least a week, and then who knows what will happen. he’s already collected a pile of boxes at the facility that he’s staying at in puyallup, and that’s not to mention the stacks of boxes that fill his actual home. he may go back to the facility in puyallup, or he may go home, but that’s all dependent on whether he gets the fluid out of his legs. i don’t know much, and it’s hard for me to find out about his condition, because, despite the fact that i have been providing a lot of rick’s transportation the past month or so, i’m not related to him, so the doctors won’t tell me anything… and what i do know makes me wish i didn’t even know that much. 😐

between the fremont philharmonic, and snake suspenderz, i actually have a total of 15 performances at the moisture festival… i remember when the fremont philharmonic alone had 20 performances (and it wasn’t too many years ago, either), but things have changed, and i’m really lucky to have as many as 15 this year. we’ve had one fremont phil rehearsal, and the fremont phil shows start in 3 weeks. the snake suspenderz shows start in 5 weeks and we haven’t had any rehearsals at all… which i think is probably a mistake, but who listens to me anyway? 😐

i plan on trying to make contact (again) with the two smoke shops in the tacoma area that have said they’re interested in buying bongs from me. at one – Kronik – the owners (a husband and wife) just had a baby a couple weeks ago, and they said that they were going to be open the day after, but i went down there a week later and encountered the guy, who was looking rather dishevelled and disorganised, and he said to contact him again in another week. the other one – Sinful Glass – the manager said that she had to talk about it with the owner, who had just changed the schedules, so there was some internal confusion, and she hadn’t talked to him the last time i called. both places have had a couple weeks to “settle into the new routine”, and i definitely think it’s time to harrass them again. 😉

also, i’ve managed to reconnect with barbara, who is someone i know from bellingham. she is still living in northport, and now i have a current email address and phone number for her. 8)

pzfthqgler

i re-evaluated my bong-making facility, and modified it somewhat to accomodate some additions to the glass-bottle-drilling area so that i can actually fill the bottles with water while i am drilling them. apparently being full of water “stabilises the bottle on a molecular level” and makes them less likely to break. i haven’t really noticed that much of a difference yet, because i’ve only actually tried it with one bottle, but if i can break fewer bottles than i have been so far, it will be an improvement. i went to another smoke shop yesterday, and they responded positively, but didn’t actually buy anything. they told me to call again today, so i’m going to do that later this afternoon.

we’re gearing up for the moisture festival again. the first rehearsal was supposed to be yesterday, but, typically, it got cancelled at the last moment. the moisture festival will be 10 years old this march, and it’s actually smaller than it was last year. last year we had shows in four different venues, and this year we’re only filling two venues. it makes me wonder what they’re planning on doing with all the $100 “donations” they got last year, that they said were going to make this years’ moisture festival “something really special”… 😐

the fremont phil has 5 days of performances, which is two less than last year, which was three less than the year before… and i’ve heard some “rumblings” from the powers-that-be in the moisture festival that they’re thinking of getting entirely new bands next year… nothing official, at this point, but the fact that it’s out there is something to shudder about.

on the other hand, snake suspenderz is playing (on stage) two nights, on which i am also performing with the phil, AND we’re also “subbing” for stuart’s band, the Super 8s, one night as “the pit band” or “the house band” or whatever you may call it… so that’s something.

rick has been going through hell recently. it started when i dropped him off at the emergency room of good samaritan hospital (the same one i did my rehabilitation in, after my injury). he proceded to almost die and is now recovering at an “assisted living facility” in puyallup: basically it’s one of those “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” places, where 95% of the population is never going to be released… but at the same time, if rick were to be released, the only place he has to go back to is so moldy that it’s very likely toxic, and rick has a self-admitted ambivalence toward living in squalor… i remember thinking, as i was moving the boxes of crap from rick’s storage place to his house, that i could very easily be contributing to a future episode of Hoarders… i want to help, but i’m not sure how much good it will do… 😐 i’ve been taking him to various different doctors’ appointments, when he can’t arrange transportation, but i don’t know how much more i have in me.

froward

i went on a “jaunt” today, to six “smoke shops” that i researched on the intar-toobs, and returned with one, solid “yes, sell me more!”, two “come back in a while/when the buyer is here”, two “i’ll pass, thanks” and one condescending old fart who wanted to pay half of what i was asking, and said he could do the same, because he had “a drill press and diamond tipped drill bits too”…

yeah, but i’d like to see how many you break or scar up in the process, mack… 😛

but the one “yes, sell me more!” was from a place that already had a lot of really good looking glass, and seemed fairly busy… he said he could get me a good deal on stems and actually gave me a “down-stem” to experiment with.

i learned a whole bunch of “new” terminology: the bongs i have been making have a “thumb-carb” which is considered “old school”. the “new school” way of doing it is to have what’s called a “slide-carb” which consists of a down-stem and a bowl. the rubber bit that goes between the bong and the down-stem is called a “grommet”, even though it’s not really a grommet. “thumb-carbs” are looked down upon by the younger folks, but us old-time hippies prefer them… 😎

growl

yesterday, i got an incense order for ambica hare rama special flora… over the telephone… 😐

first, the guy wanted to know if i had any hare rama incense. i told him that i did, then he hung up. then he called back, and wanted to know how many boxes i had. i told him, and then he hung up again…

so i went in to check and make sure that i actually had 41 boxes, and it turned out that i only had 34 boxes… but before i had the chance to call him again, he called back again, and wanted to know why he couldn’t pay without a paypal account. i told him that he could pay, even without a paypal account, and talked him through the process. paypal apparently wouldn’t accept his shipping address, about which there is nothing that i can do, and i told him so…

and he hung up again…

oops, i forgot to tell him about only having 34 boxes of incense. but before i could dig his phone number out of my semi-smart phone, he called back AGAIN, and told me that paypal wouldn’t accept his shipping address, and wondered if there was any way to place an order that didn’t involve the web site… 😛

i HATE taking orders from out-of-state customers over the telephone, principally because i don’t have a way to process credit cards other than through paypal, and i told him so. he suggested a snail-mail payment using a money order — i haven’t even heard of a money order for, like, 15 or 20 years… i didn’t even know they still existed… 😐 — but, apparently, they still exist, AND (apparently) they’re STILL a more trusted method of payment than a cheque.

they just take longer… because of the fact that this guy is ordering from bowdoinham, maine, it will take a week or so until his payment reaches me, during which time, theoretically, it is possible for somebody else to buy exactly the same incense, and (because i only have 34 boxes), if that were to happen, then it would take even longer for me to get his order to him.

after i took care of his immediate worries, i started calling around to find more ambica hare rama incense. both of my “regular” suppliers don’t carry it, so i checked, and the place i got it from last time (in 2006) was the “old time hippie” incense supplier with whom i originally started this business (in 1998), who is flakier than a croissant and doesn’t even answer his phone most of the time these days… and when he does, he inevitably wants to suck me into an hour-long, off-topic conversation about how durbar incense is much more preferable than masala incense, and nobody carries durbar incense any longer, and… which is one of the reasons i don’t use his services any longer.

so, once again, i am down to writing to someone with a gmail.com address, IN INDIA, to POSSIBLY get this obscure incense that nobody else carries in the united states any longer…

i really should start charging a lot more to do this… 😐

musical instrument repair

a friend of mine came over this evening to have his clarinet repaired. the A key pad had come de-laminated (which happens to old clarinet pads occasionally) which interfered with his practice, and his avocation as one of the clarinet players in some local orchestra or another. it turned out that the G♯ key needed its pad replaced as well, so i did that, while i had it apart. in his words, “even with coming all the way here, it was cheaper and faster than other instrument services.”

i even let him watch, which is something he probably could not have done in any other musical instrument repair shop. 😎

acetocella

acetocella is the company that made Acqua della Madonna, a sparkling water that came in a gorgeous cobalt-blue teardrop-shaped bottle that i have been wanting to get more of, ostensibly to make bongs. the water is just sparkling water, nothing really special, but the bottle is a work of art…

although, if this photo, gleaned from googlemaps street-view, is any indication, acetocella may be out of business. i don’t really know what makes a place “no longer in business”, particularly in a case where that business is located in another country. if any of you out there have experience with this sort of thing, particularly in italy, could you tell me for sure whether or not this business is still in business, or whether it is an abandoned building that is being used for storage…

Acetocella

i don’t hold out much hope. i wrote to their “info @ acetocella dot com” address and it bounced almost immediately with a “sorry, no mailbox here by that name ” message, which is not a good sign…

things are winding down…

Hybrid Elephant has filled a number of incense orders in the last month, as well as dealt with people who order from outside the US and don’t read the shipping policy. i still haven’t figured out a work-around for it, even though i know one exists, because i haven’t been motivated enough.

there are now reviews for The Fremont Players, thanks to Æther Pie (otherwise known as “Princess Perpetua of Montague”). seriously, simon told me to “pick and choose” some “appropriate quotes” from the reviews, and post them on the web page. because of the fact that i’m doing this with HTML and not PHP, i made the copy changes, and then Æther Pie made the format changes… 121224 steampunk salamandiri’m also making some headway on the James L. Acord Bronze Foundry site, despite their lack of communication. there’s now a static page, and i’ve got a little more than half of the requests they made on the ‘redlines’ that they sent me working… although the other half are either not possible, or possible making more drastic changes in their template than i am comfortable making without some intensive research.

i was given a pair of steampunk goggles by my mother-in-law as a xmas gift this year. they’re made so that i can unscrew the frames surrounding the lenses and remove them… which means that i can replace the lenses with my prescription lenses (i just got new glasses a couple of weeks ago). i was also given a HD-PLC Ethernet Adaptor starter kit, so i now i can wire our entire house for ethernet — most importantly, the workshop, where the wireless adaptor reaches, but the OS9 mac doesn’t want to recognise our 50-character, un-changeable wireless security password. with the HD-PLC ethernet adaptor, i can make an end-run around having to wire separate ethernet cables, and i can move things like our two humongous hard disks out to the workshop, where they won’t take up as much room or accumulate as much stanley-dust as they do inside the house. i was also given a copy of The Practical Pyromaniac… heh heh heh… 👿

we’ve done two weekends of performances of Sleeping Beauty & The Pea, and things are going well, in spite of the fact that i played my B♭ sousaphone a couple months ago, and i think i may have done more damage to my brain then i had done when i had my injury… seriously, ONE day of playing the B♭ fingerings, and now i CAN NOT remember the C fingerings… AT. ALL. 😐 strangely enough, apparently the only way around this problem is to NOT think about it, and, as much as possible, NOT look at the music… the problem is that i’ve got three more weekends of panto performances, and two snake suspenderz gigs coming up within the next few weeks, and i’m not sure how i’m going to get through it.

i’ve got a Big Bois With Poise gig on new year’s eve, at the Hale’s Palladium/Moisture Festival Benefit party. because of the fact that we have been on national television twice now, we are billing ourselves as “The World Famous Big Bois With Poise”, and we were actually requested to come and perform for the new year’s party… of course they’re not going to be paying us anything, but we get into the party for free, where everyone else has to pay $50, so it’s an okay deal. because of the fact that we’re going to be performing indoors, we’re doing the “short dudes” act, rather than the “big boys” act — i.e. we’re going to be on “short” buckets, and dressed in diapers and bibs. we’re also going to try to memorise auld lang syne instead of our regular BBWP chant, but i don’t hold out much hope… 😎

grawlf…

i’m getting more and more convinced that what i really SHOULD do is drop kubuntu all together, and install debian with KDE. kmail is still doing bizarre, but not really obtrusive things, like “forgetting” my password, and losing mail if i move the folder that it’s in somewhere else. amarok still randomly stops playing occasionally, and crashes rather than shutting down “nicely” EVERY TIME… there are all kinds of minor annoyances that have crept into kubuntu that i strongly suspect would not be there in debian, and with KDE, i wouldn’t have to learn new software. the only thing i’m skeptical about is whether or not i will be able to transfer my mail to the new system, and (once again) whether or not i would be able to get all of my genealogical data back… both of those things are items that i could have the answers to, if i wrote to the appropriate user groups, i just haven’t gotten around to it.

i had two gigs over the weekend: one with snake suspenderz at the gage drawing jam, and one with the sousa band at the phinney holiday festival. the gage was more or less as advertised, i.e. we sat in the back of the room and nobody paid attention to us, but there was no free beer this year. we made $50 a piece (because our drummer was not there). the gig at phinney was more crowded and chaotic than it has been in the past, because they put in an elevator and a fire-escape in the places where we used to fill up the hall, so they had to twist everything ninety degrees, which made the stage about a quarter of the size it used to be…

really, honestly, if they don’t provide us more roomy accomodations next year, i won’t be going. it’s crowded and chaotic enough already, but expecting a 40-piece band to fit in a room that is only big enough for about 75 people, and then cramming 200 more people into the space (most of whom aren’t even attending the concert in the first place), SIMPLY DOESN’T WORK… 😐

i’ve got a new web design client, for whom i’ve also (already) made business cards… and there’s a good chance that i will make at least 4 more business cards for him, and, once he gets is ducks in a row, there’s even a possibility that i will be doing a lot more printing for him as well. at this point, i haven’t done a lot with the web design part of it, in spite of the fact that he paid me what i consider to be A LOT of money up front which i haven’t even come close to spending yet… and it appears as though i may not have to do any of the actual design part of the job anyway. a member of the fremont players does web design “on the side” and knows A LOT more about HTML5 than i do, and, because of the fact that this guy has already paid me what i consider to be A LOT of money, i can actually afford to pay her $20 an hour to do the web design for me. 😎

more new incense! 8)

Incense!! 8)i went out today, and when i arrived home, i discovered that the mail delivery person had been there, and left me a note that said i had a package that was too big to deliver, and that it could be picked up at the post office (that is the 3rd closest to our house, but that’s another matter entirely). so i went down to the post office, where the korean person i talked to behind the counter informed me that, because of the fact that i received the notice today, the probability was very high that the package wouldn’t actually be ready for pickup until friday.

meanwhile, i could actually see the package on the shelf behind her… i mean, usually a package from india is pretty distinctive, and this one had bands around it that said “INDIA POST” in large, distinct, english and devanagari letters…

i said why didn’t she go and take a look anyway, and, so she went back to the shelves where the packages were, and, after staring at the package for about five minutes, she realised that it was mine… and then she spent another five minutes checking the serial numbers on the package against my drivers’ license, and having me hand write my address into their little touch-screen pad (which i deliberately made as illegible as possible), before handing over the 40-pound package.

which, naturally, was full of really high quality incense from india… 😎

Incense!! 8)
with my logo printed on them!
(yes, it’s on purpose)

ooh! aparajita… AGAIN!

aparajita from sri satyanarayana parimala
the real, authentic Aparajita Special Herbal Durbar, made by Sri Satyanarayana Parimala Factory

so i finally got in touch with someone from mavana regarding where to obtain authentic aparajita on this side of the world. they wrote me back and directed me to Wonder India (they have a couple of different URIs, but nothing is there), and they sent me a bunch of samples, including, most significantly, a box of AUTHENTIC aparajita special herbal durbar manufactured by mavana, doing business as the Sri Satyanarayana Parimala Factory in mysore.

notably, they are NOT cauvery, and have nothing to do with them… which makes me really wonder what is the situation with intellectual property in india, because the incense i got from mavana, today, is, substantially, the same incense that is produced with the same name by cauvery as well… 😐

however, and this is the big difference, this company is located in the united states, and has a relationship with mavana/sri satyanarayana parimala, and they CAN get, essentially, unlimited quantities of real, authentic aparajita!

and they are a lot less likely to rip me off, send me less product than i ordered, talk in some weird, foreign language, and all that other stuff that has frustrated me so much in the past.

don’t read this!

The Old Hippie over at Beyond Chronic has detailed instructions on how to make exactly the same bongs that i have been making recently… i want to say “great minds think alike” but i also want to make a profit with these things, and i can’t do it if everybody’s already out there making their own… 😐

ETA: here’s all four parts —

Part 1: Make Your Own Glass Bong for $37
Part 2: How To Choose Your Bottle.
Part 3: The Magic. And how to make it happen.
Part 4: How to smoke from your bong!

bother

i need the 3rd trombone part for a march that we are playing in the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band. i have searched all over internet for it, and finally i found a place that offers it for sale — by itself (i.e. i don’t have to buy the entire score) — but they only offer it through “digital print”, which is to say, i pay money, and they offer me a way to display it on my computer screen (i.e. “digital”) and supposedly print it once from my screen… which is fine, i can display it on my screen without a problem. the problem is when i come to print it, the software downloads, but then it flashes a message that says “There has been a download error. Do you wish to try again?” and doesn’t get any further than that. 😐 so i call them up, and tell them what browser i’m using and they recommend that i use internet exploder

hah… hah… 😐

apparently their software that prints from an adobe acrobat file is ONLY usable on “windows and mac OS”…

cool, i have a machine that runs mac os… unfortunately their software doesn’t run on that, either. so i try a windows VMWare box on my wife’s computer (which is a mac)… with internet exploder no less, but it doesn’t work there, either… 😐

so i call my friend rick, who owns an actual windows machine, with internet exploder, and ask him to see if he can get the software to print. after some seemingly encouraging preliminary tries with the software, i even went and picked him up and brought him back to my place so that we could use my printer, because he doesn’t have one… however, it turns out that it doesn’t work on a dedicated machine running exactly the right software, either.

when i talked to the guy on the telephone, he said that “digital print is a new application that they’re trying out” and that “it doesn’t work for everyone”… at this point, i would be surprised if it worked reliably for anyone, but that’s also taking into account the fact that, when i was a software tester, all i had to do was be in the same room with a test machine in order to make it malfunction in some unexpected and entirely un-reproducible way…

at the same time, i understand that sousa was one of the founders of ASCAP, and that he was one of the progenitors of what we now know as copyright law, but at the same time, it was my impression that most of, if not all of sousa’s music was in the public domain, so i don’t really understand why this company can get away with being the ONLY source of this particular 3rd trombone part… and also i really wonder why they can ONLY sell me a “digital print” version, but they can’t send me a printed copy or a .pdf file that i can print outside of their defective web-based program.


i looked online to find out if there’s anybody locally that carries acqua della madonna, which made the extra fancy blue bottle out of which i made a water pipe. apparently, “THIS BRAND HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED“. the company that makes it, Acetosella, has a web site that is entirely made out of shockwave/flash applications, and when you click their “Acqua della Madonna” link, they come back with “Pagina in costruzione”… which, considering that the bottle i’ve got seems to indicate that it was filled in 1999, makes it very likely that they no longer make acqua della madonna…

to me this is an indication of one of two possibilities: the first possibility is that i keep the bong water pipe for myself (which is extremely likely, since it is a very cute bottle-bong)… the second possibility is that i sell it for $75 pr more, because it is no longer made… which would be nice, but i don’t expect it to happen.

week end

i went to deliver 10 “bottles with holes in the right place” to the pike place pipe palace yesterday, and came away with $100 american dollars and the promise of more in 3 weeks to a month or so… which makes me very happy indeed. now i wonder how many other smoke shops in the area would also be interested. i don’t drink that much beer, but my impression is that i’ve got friends who work at hale’s brewery, and, if nothing else, i’ve also got a lot of beer-drinking friends who would be more than happy to let me have their recycling. all of this goes towards the ultimate goal of “drink beer, get paid”… or to put it less succinctly, but more accurately:

  1. drink beer
  2. make bongs
  3. profit!!

next step is to get the fancy ones on the web site… 😎

okay

so the idea that i had for art the other day has taken on an entirely new, and monitarily positive aspect…

but i should start from the beginning, since this is being told for the first time.

idea factoryi was sitting in my workshop the other night, and i had just finished a beer, and i realised: i have diamond-tipped drill bits, and a bench motor, and i know how to use them: it wouldn’t take much to take this otherwise useless empty beer bottle and re-purpose it for my own, moist, innermost desires… so why don’t i modify this beer bottle, and make an entirely new, “useful item” out of it.

so, i drilled a hole in the bottle, and rumaged around in the boxes of miscellaneous bits and pieces i have (quite well organised, mind you) until i found a glass pipe stem and a collet that the pipe stem goes through, that was left over from a water-pipe from years ago, which didn’t make it…

and i quickly discovered that i had drilled the hole in the wrong place, so, of course, i had to drink another beer, so that i could try it again. 😉

the second ideaonce i got it right — and verified that it was, indeed most exactly correct — i started casting about for empty bottles likely candidates, and quickly came up with the first idea, which turned out to be an empty bulleit burbon bottle… which is part of the hoard of empty whiskey bottles i have been inexplicably saving for about a year and a half, not knowing exactly why i was doing it…

now i know… 😎

i figure i can easily retail devices like this for $25 to $50, or wholsale them for $10 to $20 a piece. so, i went to the pike place smoke shop and told them that i could drill holes in bottles, and wondered how much they would pay me for finished beer-bottle water-pipes. they were very excited to learn this, and it turned out that i don’t even have to hand over finished water-pipes. they are just as happy to receive bottles that have holes drilled in the right places, so that they can put in their own doo-dads and mark them up the way they want. they said they would pay me $10 a bottle, for regular ol’ beer bottles, and left the door open for negotiation on “specialty” beer bottles… which i am assuming includes the antique grolsch bottles, the “Arrogant Bastard Ale” and the “Dead Guy Ale” bottles…the third idea

and it also means that the really fancy ones, like the bulleit bottles, and the fancy italian water bottle and stuff like that can be finished and retailed at my own web site for whatever i think i can get for them. 🙂

so i dug around and actually produced 10 “regular ol’ beer bottles” — although i’m not certain that they won’t take the “new” grolsch bottle and the “Hobgoblin” bottle as “specialty” bottles (to be honest, if they do, i DON’T CARE) and drilled holes in all of ’em… i actually drilled holes in 13 bottles, but i broke three of ’em, because i was being impatient and working with tools that were almost worn out… diamond-tipped drill bits wear out really fast when they’re used for a project like this. i figure ⅜" and ½" diamond-tipped drill bits are going to become sort of like #2 jewelers’ saw blades, in that i will always have a whole bunch of them, and about half of them are going to be worn out, or almost worn out.

now all i’ve got to do is alert my beer-drinking friends to save their bottles for me… 😎

Stanley says "chirp"
Stanley sez “chirp”

okay

moe has gone to southern oregon for the national sheep-dog handling finals — yes, we have not one, but two championship-quality dogs in this house, thanks, in part, to moe, who is the dog-whisperer to dog-whisperers… 😎 (and that guy who is “The Dog Whisperer” really doesn’t know what he’s talking about most of the time… really… you should hear moe rant about how cesar milan is wrecking dogs, when she gets to ranting about him)

but, of course, the down side to all of this, is that moe is gone for a week, and i have to stay here, because i have a performance on saturday and it would be too far to drive back from klamath falls for, especially since we’d either have to take both cars, or i would have to drive from klamath falls to seattle for a 2 hour performance, and then drive back to klamath falls to pick up moe and her dogs and gear… which would be especially important since we just bought a trailer/pop-up-tent/RV-like-thing, and that isn’t going anywhere without a vehicle to tow it.

so, the upshot of the whole deal is that i am alone for a week, with an ancient, decrepit dog, two ancient, decrepit cats, a bird (who is neither ancient nor decrepit), and an ancient, decrepit snake… i guess, since i am verging on ancient and decrepit myself, i’m in good company, but i would really prefer it if i was with moe, or she was with me… there’s nobody but stanley to talk to, and, while some of the things he says are definitely amusing, he doesn’t always respond the way a human being would…

the performance is with the sousa band, at Festa Italiana, and they’re probably going to feed us… which is always the right thing to do for musicians that you hire to come and play for your party… 😉

apart from that, i’m still going back-and-forth with the incense guy from india. everything was going as expected until he quoted me a price that is essentially what i charge my retail customers for what would essentially be a wholesale purchace. when i responded, he didn’t come back with an answer for a few days, and then, this morning, he came back with a response in which he, basically, offered me the same incense for a quarter of the price, but only if i order more than a certain amount of it… which i would do, but i don’t want to seem too eager, because i know that if i can put him off long enough, the price has a very good probability of going down even further… and if not, it will also give me time to build up my bank account to the point where i can actually afford to buy a whole pile of incense from india… 😎

i still haven’t gone out to busk with my didjeri-flute/delay/amp setup yet, but i have been out busking with my tuba at least twice in the past week. a couple of days ago, i went out to the ballard sunday market, ostensibly to play with hobbit, but as we were getting set up, we were joined by julie b. who plays “delicious violin” (really, it says so on her cute little business card), who hobbit knows from the pike place market… and with a very little prompting from hobbit, we played quite acceptably, got a couple of inquiries about whether or not we were available for house parties(!) and made some generous tips for playing for a little less than 2 hours… i get the impression that, with a little more prompting, we could either add a violin to snake suspenderz (on a more-or-less temporary basis) or we could simply bill Accidental Rhino as a separate band and have twice as many gigs… either way is fine with me.

OY! 8/

so i woke up yesterday and i immediately noticed that i was getting A WHOLE BUNCH of PHP “deprecated” notices on my web site.

i’m getting all these “deprecated” notices because my site has recently been moved to a server with a different IP address, because the server that i was on previously has been having MAJOR problems with the CBL, and the new server either ONLY serves PHP 5.3, or doesn’t have the notifications turned off, so that nobody sees the notices that the code may be deprecated. i’ve been fighting with my host provider (AGAIN 😐 ) for the past few weeks to fix the CBL problem, so, now that it has apparently been fixed, i don’t want to ask them to go in and make a trivial change to something i can’t change myself, when i can do something constructive (which will also make my web site more compatible, for longer) anyway, so i set about doing something myself.

i rallied around and found the solution to that particular problem, fixed it, and was feeling pretty good about myself, because i had “successfully diagnosed and resolved an issue that i don’t quite understand” when i got an email from a customer of my web site, telling me that he had experienced A WHOLE BUNCH of PHP “deprecated” notices on my site… so i wrote back and told him that i had fixed the ones that i could see, and if there were more, i didn’t know about them, so any help that he could offer would be greatly appreciated. in return he sent me a link to the osCommerce public contributions page which had a zip file with precise descriptions for how to upgrade my site from PHP 5.2 to PHP 5.3 all at once, without having to track down and eliminate the deprecated notices one at a time…

and it turned out that it was A LOT more complicated than it first appeared… and it turned out that it was a REALLY good think i had specific instructions, because there were a few little details about PHP that aren’t really that intuitive, and, while i thought i had the problem fixed, what i had done, ultimately, made things worse. 😐

ultimately, it meant making the following changes in about 100 different files, in multiple locations throughout the site:

OLD PHP5.2 NEW PHP5.3
ereg(‘whatever’) preg_match(‘/whatever/’)
eregi(‘whatever’) preg_match(‘/whatever/i’)
ereg_replace(‘whatever’) preg_replace(‘/whatever/’)
split(whatever) EITHER
explode(whatever)
OR
preg_split(‘/whatever/’)
DEPENDING ON OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES (which i still don’t understand)

the “whatever” parts were the ones that ecaped my attention originally… so, i got started fixing the problem for real, and then the power went out. 😮

this is september, there’s no snow… it hasn’t even rained for the past couple of months, and the power went out?!?

FRUSTRATING!!!!!!!!! 😡

so i sat in the dark for a while and cooled my jets, then i went for a walk…

and when i got home, THE POWER WAS STILL OFF so i rummaged around in the workshop with a flashlight and located a couple of battery-powered lanterns, which made things slightly better, at which point i sat in the “dim” until moe came home, at which point we went to bed, because there wasn’t anything else to do.

some time in the middle of the night – i’m not sure when, because all of our clocks are electric – the power came back on. i remember getting up and stumbling around the house turning off the lights which were still on, but nothing more than that.

when i woke up this morning (and the power was still on), i went back to my PHP coding, and i think i’ve got it all fixed — after “thinking” i had it all fixed once before, only to discover that a single period – . – that was left out of one file meant that the whole site was replaced with an incomprehensible PHP error…

so if you notice something wonky about the main Hybrid Elephant site, i would appreciate it if you would send me a note, saying what the error is (copy and paste from the web page) AND (especially important) the URI of the page that you were viewing… hopefully it won’t come to that, but if it does, that would be good… 😎

thanks.

incense!

i got a notification from the letter-carrier yesterday, indicating that i had a package that they hadn’t delivered because i wasn’t home, and the package delivery required a signature… naturally, i wasn’t home, so i went down to the post office today to pick it up.

it’s really bizarre to me, because of the fact that we live so close to the border between king and pierce counties, that the post office to which i had to go to pick up my package, is the third farthest post office from my actual location: the first is in milton/edgewood, but that “doesn’t count” because it’s in pierce county, and the second is in federal way, which is in king county, but it’s on the “wrong side of the freeway” from where i am…

Incense!anyway, i went down to the post office, wondering what it was, because i wasn’t expecting a package. when i got there, they took a lot of information from me for a “normal” package – signature, printed name and street address – and the lady went back to retrieve the package… and it turned out to be from india, which i was totally not expecting at all. of course this made me wonder even more what it was, and i opened it up as soon as i got out to my car… after all, it isn’t every day that you get an unexpected package from india… 😎

Incense!

i seem to recall, a month or so ago, corresponding with a “mr. sriram” from india, regarding the possibility of my doing business with his company, and it may have been that i asked him if he could send me samples, but it was long enough ago that i don’t remember…

but the incense smells OUTRAGEOUS!! it smells like the kind of incense that i remember getting in the early ’70s when it’s not lit, and lighting a stick immediately transports me back to when incense actually smelled good, and not like it does today, which is like a chemical factory… the paperwork that came inside the package doesn’t have an email address, so i’m going to have to hope that my recollection is correct, and that i have an email address somewhere for “mr. sriram” at srinidhi solutions… ’cause their incense is AMAZING! 😎

stuff

moe has gone to san diego for a week, to attend a veterinary assistants conference… which means i have all four dogs to myself for a week… fun…

i don’t mind the dogs as long as someone else takes care of them most of the time (i was raised around dogs from a very early age), but i’ve never liked taking care of them that much… and, with a dog who is a little more than a year old and still very much a puppy (apart from the fact that he is a border collie and currently stands an inch and a half taller than his mother), and another, ancient and decrepit dog who likes to bark, suddenly and loudly, at nothing, for no very obvious reasons, my patience is being severely tried, and moe has only been gone for two days…

i have two gigs on sunday (again), one with the ballard sedentary sousa band (at the ballard locks, at 2:00 pm), and one with snake suspenderz (on mercer island, at 7:00 pm), which means that i’m going to be gone for longer than rye’s bladder will hold out, so moe arranged for some friends to come over and give the doggies some “relief” in the evening… which is absolutely okay with me, given the circumstances.

i had the windows in my car tinted the other day, which is very good, because now, when people are “just walking by” my car, on sunday, instead of being able to look in the car and see my new, fancy tuba in the back, they won’t be able to see anything… however, in the process of applying the tinting film, the guy broke the passenger side rear window… or something, it worked the last time i tried it, but i haven’t used it since i bought the car, which is when i “tested it out” the last time. my impression is that when the previous owner pulled off the not-professionally-installed (i.e. defective) window tinting film, it left a whole bunch of residue which, subsequently, gummed up the motor… anyway, they couldn’t tint that window, because it wouldn’t go up and down, so i took it over to edgewood tire last night, and had them “cut the cable and insert a wooden wedge” to make the window “go up and down” — sort of — but, because of the fact that it was held in place with a wooden wedge, there would have been no point in locking the door, or (for that matter) tinting the windows in the first place, so i ponied up another $250 to fix the window, which leaves me with very little money… but money has been coming in at a surprisingly high rate recently… not very large quantities (with one significant exception), but frequently enough that i’m not too worried about how little money is in my hybrid elephant account at the moment… 😉

↑ ⅕

get it? up… date…

well, i thought it was amusing…

i am feeling a good deal better, although i am still not back to 100% health, yet. i still have a lingering cough that comes up at random times, particularly whenever i lie down, but i’m a lot better than i was a week ago.

the brakes in my car have to be replaced, to the tune of $800. moe claims that this car is “nickle-and-dime-ing” me, but the previous car (of which she approved) had already cost me almost $3000 by this point in our relationship, including $1500 for a replacement transmission, and this car has only cost me $450, plus the proposed brake work, and it appears, in spite of the fact that i’ve had to replace the timing belt, and now i have to get all four brakes and wheel bearings replaced, that this is going to continue to be a functional car for a lot longer than the previous one was. and, because of the fact that it’s a honda and not a ford (or whatever the previous car was, i don’t remember), i can actually take it to jack to have the repair work done for (hopefully) cheaper than edgewood tire quoted me. i’m also going to try to enlist the aid of the friend who worked on my brakes the day i had my brain injury (although, again, hopefully, i won’t have another brain injury), which has the definite possibility of saving me a good deal of money.

i got a reply from the incense people regarding the meaning of the word “pieces” and, as i suspected, it was entirely due to the fact that they were translating from hindi to english. if it weren’t for the fact that i have to think about providing at least part of the money for my car, i would already have sent the guy $100 for incense. as soon as i actually get paid for the postcards i made last month, i will probably do that anyway.

we had a recording session with a real, live, professional recording technician, last night, which went outstandingly well, and we’ve got another session with him tomorrow night, which, if it goes half as well as last night’s session did, will make a real, live CD of the fremont philharmonic a lot closer to being actual reality than it has ever been before. also, friday is a New Old Time Chautaqua benefit show in olympia, for which i have been recruited as a sousaphone player. it should be fun, if nothing else.

today is may day. everybody go home and don’t work. also, friday is Bongwater Day, for those of you who are interested.

more incense squee

dakpa tamdin kelsang dikibhatsoi got email, the other day, from a person who claims to be a representative of Dakpa Tamdin incense manufacturers in india. i have, in the past, carried a number of different dakpa tamdin fragrances, the most recent of which has been the “kelsang dikibhatso” cedar-sandalwood fragrance pictured to the right. unfortunately, it’s one of those incenses that nobody in the US carries in bulk, and is obscure enough that nobody wants to carry it, similar to aparajita. i wrote back to them with a request for more information, and received my reply today.

this is a good thing, because it means that they are actually at the address they gave me (unlike the guy who claimed to represent aparajita, but suddenly stopped replying to his email address after i sent him $500 for incense and he didn’t send the entire order)… however, because of the difficulties between english and hindi, i am not sure exactly what they claim to be able to send me, and how much it will cost:

Thribton Kuensel : 30-32 sticks – 80grams? :? Rs. 130/-
Shingkham Kuenkhyap I (maroon) : 30-32 sticks – 80grams : Rs. 90/-
Shingkham Kuenkhyap II (yellow) : 30-32 sticks – 80grams? : Rs. 60/-
Ribo Sangtsoe (red) : 30-32 sticks – 80grams? :? Rs. 30/-
Meenling Surpoe (black) : 30-32 sticks – 80grams : Rs. 20/-
Sambara? (red) : 30-32 sticks – 80grams : Rs. 15/-
Thribton Kuensel : 30-32 sticks – 80grams : Rs. 15/-

at the moment, 130 rupees is approximately $2.50, and 15 rupees is approximately 25¢, which sounds pretty good, until you get to shipping it from india:

Regarding shipping & packing, Normally, we use to pack in special made ply wood box, which consist of 200 pieces (?each bundle = 100 pieces). Then shipment goes upto Delhi, further cargo agent will handle it.

this sounds suspiciously like the arrangement that i got into with the दस्यु that claimed to represent aparajita, not to mention the fact that it’s not very clear whether his use of the word “pieces” refers to the same thing, which it appears not to in this case.

now i have to tread carefully, decide how much money i can risk sending to the other side of the planet with no assurances that i will ever see ANY return from it, and figure out how to ask this person to define the word “pieces” in their email to me, without offending them.