Category Archives: web design

ahhhh! now we find out…

my newly redesigned site uses the enfold theme, which has faulty (under certain circumstances) caching and optimisation routines, so we use lightspeed cache, which doesn’t have those (particular) faults, and works better (under certain circumstances).

except, last year, prior to my site being redesigned (when i was still using the avada theme), i was told (by SOMEONE) to disable lightspeed cache, because it had some sort of incompatibility with… something…

so, i went through the site redesign with a disabled lightspeed plugin. no problem, until i put in the enfold theme, and whatever circumstances that cause the caching and optimisation routines to fail, were happening, which was the cause of the first go-round.

turning on the lightspeed cache fixed the first go-round, but whatever incompatibility i was trying to avoid by having the lightspeed plugin disabled, took effect, which was the cause of the second go-round.

which was further confused by the fact that part of my routine for fixing the first go-round was good enough that it fixed the second go-round well enough that i didn’t find out about it until it was too late.

what i found out, today, via my web developer, is that the people who make the lightspeed cache and webhost python (my host provider) have their own battle going on: on webhost python’s servers (which include mine), the lightspeed plugin causes expired transients to multiply and duplicate. lightspeed says it’s python’s fault. python disagrees…

on the record…

OFF the record, python agrees that there is a bug in their system that they haven’t found yet… compounded by the fact that it was THEIR ERROR which caused the third go-round… 😠 but it’s not for me to say “i told you so”, especially with my already somewhat precarious position with this particular host provider…

and so, i’m caught in the middle. 😒

apparently, for the time being anyway, the plan is to disable the caching modules on both enfold AND lightspeed, keep an eye on the database (which hasn’t blown up since implementing this plan), clear the expired transients manually, and examine other options for a cache.

😒

oy! why won’t this just go away?

at midnight (which was 3:00 in the morning, florida time), i got a message saying that the database was blowing up again. they said it was 183 GIGABYTES

because of the fact that i was asleep (thankfully), i didn’t actually read the message until 7:00 my time (10:00 florida time). i immediately logged into my web server, and discovered that the MySQL disk usage was lower than i have ever seen it before, which is to say 253 MEGABYTES

what this tells me is that there’s something else going on besides this whole “enfold-theme-not-caching-correctly” horseshit.

which is bad.

it also tells me that, whatever it is, we haven’t actually found it… we may have found another problem, but not the one for which we’re looking… yet…

which is bad, but not as bad as it could be.

it also tells me that, whatever it is that is going wrong, the cronjob that we put in place to solve the problem, works, REGARDLESS of the actual problem.

which is good.

but, when it comes right down to it, it is not good for me to be so stressed out about something over which i have very little control.

which is bad.

something has to be done. this is ridiculous.

oh, but it couldn’t have ended there, now, could it?

and the answer is, a big, fat, OF COURSE NOT! 😒

i woke up this morning, and couldn’t log in to my web site… at, like, SEVEN in the fucking morning, i was wide awake because i couldn’t log in to my web site.

at NINE, the web designer gets back to me. he can’t login either. apparently the host provider has disabled the config file that makes everything work — i login using SSH, and there’s the file… everything LOOKS okay, but… the host provider apparently did SOMETHING to my web site. as far as i can tell, everything works, sort of, until you get one or two pages deep, at which point it gives me a “unable to connect to database” error.

😠

so, i file a ticket with the host provider. a couple hours later, (all the while, i’m sweating bullets) they get back to me, apparently, the database blew up AGAIN. they disabled the config file so that nobody could use the web site, because the database was growing by gigabytes A SECOND.

😠😠

eventually (seriously, they took most of the day to UN-disable the config file), the web designer went in and turned off everything having to do with the built-in, screwy, does-not-work, enfold caching and optimisation routines, turned OFF “store transients”, and set a cronfile to delete three rows of a table in the database, every hour.

😠😠😠😠‼‼‼

this better be the last of it for a while, because i’m just about ready to throw in the towel.

database update

the database is fixed. 😌

what happened? that’s complex.

recently, i had my web site redesigned. the new design uses the “Enfold” theme, which uses a lot of what they call “transients” to maintain the look and feel of the site, regardless of the platform on which it’s being viewed. “transients” are sort of like cookies, except that you can’t opt out of them, and they don’t contain any personally identifying information. some of these “transients” expire immediately when a person leaves the web site, and others persist, for a few minutes to several days. they persist on your computer AND on my server… in the one of the tables in the database…

the “Enfold” theme has automatic caching and garbage collection routines that are supposed to handle these expired “transients”, but, because it’s a wordpress theme, it doesn’t do all the jobs very well… or, sometimes, at all… which is why i also use a caching plugin that actually, you know, works ALL the time, and not only some of the time… 😒

except that, for some reason, prior to my site upgrade, “someone” (and i have yet to identify who, but it was either my web designer or my host provider) recommended that i disable the caching plugin, because of some issue with the new version of wordpress… or something like that… as i said, i don’t remember. i distinctly remember disabling the plugin on someone’s recommendation, i just don’t remember exactly who, when or why. 😖

one way or the other, my caching plugin was disabled, which meant that, when i installed the new theme, it was relying on the not-working-the-way-it-should, internal cache… which, basically, didn’t work, causing the table in the database to expand beyond my disk space allocation. 🤯

it didn’t show up in my cPanel because i wasn’t looking at the SQL disk space, which is “below the fold” of my browser, and i just didn’t scroll down far enough to see it. 😕 during the nightly automatic backup, it was overwhelming the server for everybody, not just me. i had to pay my web designer for two days of poking through piles of arcane SQL code and deleting bits and pieces of it. it was not fun.

the solution was to enable the caching plugin(!), and to install a “transient manager” plugin, so that i can delete the expired transients from the wordpress dashboard, and not from the SQL database,… which requires A LOT more “knowing what to look for” and “knowing how to delete stuff without damaging other stuff” than i have on board, personally.

databases

my first direct experience with databases was in the late 1980s or early 1990s, when i got a “job”, “working” for this… guy…

i don’t remember his name — possibly “henry” — but i remember his attitudes: he was always right, nothing he thought of had ever been thought of before, he was the richest, smartest, trendiest, most “on-top-of-it” dude that ever hit the face of the planet, and GAWD HELP YOU if you EVER got in his way.

needless to say, the “job” didn’t last long. it started with him demonstrating how generous he was, by buying me a disk caddy, so that i would have somewhere to keep all of the disks i was going to accumulate working for him. then he started asking me about computers. at the time, i was NOT a “computer geek”, nor did i want to be one (my father was one of the original “computer geeks” and i DID NOT want to be like my father), but i knew about computers because i had been working as a typesetter for a few years. he asked me what i didn’t know about computers, and one of the first things out of my mouth was “databases”, so he signed me up for a week of training with “FileMaker”…

what i learned was a bunch of recycled stuff from my already ample knowledge of microslut word and excel, with a bunch of “hypercard-like” stuff which i sort of vaguely understood (but nobody i knew used hypercard for anything, so i never really knew what i had missed until years later), and, at the same time i was doing this training, i was helping this… guy… clean out his house, because he was going through a divorce, or some awful shit like that, and he, basically, had to move EVERYTHING that was “his”, out of one house and into another, that was a few houses down the street…

which is where i learned that his “rich” persona was heavily financed by several HUNDRED overdrawn credit cards — he had been using one credit card to pay off another credit card, and when he ran out of credit cards, he would just start up a new one, and use it to pay off the previous ones… FOR YEARS… — at which point i decided that working for this guy might not be such a good idea, if i wanted to get paid.

quite apart from the fact that working for him was REALLY annoying…

so, ultimately, i spent a week learning really complex software that i never got to use for anything, and that was it, until i got my job at software.com, testing email servers, in 2001.

and, for all of my work with databases at software.com/openwave, i still don’t have a really solid grasp of what they are… where they “live”, what they do, how they work… anything… all i know is that, under the right set of circumstances, you can give “commands” to a database, and it will perform certain functions with a variety of different “objects”, the outcomes of which can be used in a multitude of different ways, depending on what is contained in your database.

i get the impression that databases are a lot like the world wide web, in that they both have a lot of objects (web sites) that are linked together in a somewhat-haphazard, but definitely organised way.

so, you can imagine that it was something of a surprise when, the other morning, i woke up, checked my email, and discovered two somewhat alarming notices. the first was warning me that i had used up 90% of my disk space on my server, and the other was warning me that a “table” on my main database was malfunctioning… or something… and collecting 251 GB worth of data… which, somehow, was NOT showing up in my cPanel, which says “Disk Usage 18.43 GB / 292.97 GB”…

and, of course, it happened on a sunday, when nobody’s in the office, and on mothers day, when even fewer people are in the office, and during a PANDEMIC… 😒

so, first thing this morning, after waking up to a broken heat pump, and a wife who wrenched her back, i wrote to my web designer, who said, oh yeah, we’ve seen this kind of thing before, it’ll cost between $200 and $500 to fix it…

and I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT’S WRONG… 😖

deliberate misdirection

this weekend, at “some point” — which means for 30 minutes, some time between 0:00 saturday and 24:00 sunday — the Hybrid Elephant web site will be updated to a new, more “appropriate” design in which i had A LOT more say than the previous one…

see this post for as much of a reason as i ever got.

thanks to rick cano at DesignWorks NW

which means that, on monday, everyone should remember to flush your cache (all my browsers are set to zero cache, already) and buy some incense from my new web site, okay? 😉👍

now that it’s over…

i discovered that the reason i, and, significantly, my clients, including the fremont players, were getting our emails “randomly” blocked by places like @gmail.com, @hotmail.com, @msn.com and so forth, was because my host provider’s data center was a known spam haven. my impression is that everybody knows to avoid Limestone Networks — the one admin i was able to convince to talk to me, said the following:

To give you an idea of the problem Limestone is we escalated the /18 your IP is in more than 6 years ago (March, 2011 to be exact), and despite rejecting several thousand emails a day since then in all that time I am aware of exactly one legitimate sender this has affected: You.

Limestone is not the worst spam haven on the Internet, but it’s not for lack of trying.

so they do business, or, more likely, have someone else do business for them, as IonBlade. i was desperate when they stepped in and assured me that they could fix everything — it turns out that my problem was my VPN provider all along, but i didn’t know that at the time — and i was already 6 months in before anything started to seem wrong.

so, i started looking for a new host provider in january, did my homework this time, and settled on WebHostPython, which actually offers me about 5 times what anyone else has offered, for a little bit less money… a definite step in the right direction.

however, i still had to notify the VPN provider of the change in my IP address, and while they dragged their feet getting it straightened out, i went for a couple of weeks not being able to send SMTP mail. of course i could use IMAP, but i don’t like keeping potentially incriminating evidence on someone else’s computer, and, these days, you just never know what they’ll decide is incriminating evidence… my SMTP started working yesterday, which brings to a close the battle of (someone else’s) computer, once again.

webhostpython has already helped me clear up a lot of IP and DNS cruft left over from 10 years of switching web hosts and not knowing what to clean up. i’m hoping that they’re still going to be my host provider 10 years from now, because, honestly, i’m FED UP with switching host providers. 😐

wow…

i actually got my first “paypal donation” from the button on the left… $1.11 from someone who i don’t know named zach edminster. whoever you are, if you’re reading this, zach edminster is appreciated… 👍 😎

i got some more training on the web site. i also got an order for $130 worth of incense and bric-a-brac from someone in north carolina.

plotz

drumpf continues to be a gold-plated asshole. his “muslim/immigrant ban” has been halted, temporarily, but he’s still building a wall, continuing with construction of two major oil pipelines, removing restrictions on coal companies dumping waste into streams, removing the affordable care act, blatantly censoring publically funded government entities like the parks department, the department of agriculture, NASA, and the environmental protection agency, firing people who resist him, and filling all available government positions with his cronies, who he has been encouraging to do similar things. he has gone on record opposing environmental restrictions by saying that his “friends” have businesses and they can’t borrow… 😠

i am getting an upgrade on the hybrid elephant web site. should be ready monday, with no down time. i’m wondering how long i can do this before i have to go out of business. reluctantly, i’ve spent about $1,000 on my web site in around a year, and i am pretty sure the web site hasn’t provided me with a commensurate amount of income. 😒

panto check came in. $100 less than last year. i’m not sure why, but it’s still the single greatest source of income i have for the entire year. next up is moisture festival. i know of at least a week’s worth of performances with the phil, for sure, and i know that snake suspenderz is “in”, but there’s still no clue how many shows, and/or whether or not we’re going to be a “show band”. i really need to find a new band and/or get us playing more frequently. 😐

puppies are still alive. mother (sis) is also still alive. the puppies have turned into alligators, so when they’re not actually feeding, sis has to wear a t-shirt or something to prevent the puppies from biting her tits off. we’re going to either visit, or to pick up a puppy (depending on as yet unknown other circumstances) on the 11th, and if we don’t pick up a puppy at that time, presumably we’re going to pick it up on the 17th… and then moe is going to some conference, somewhere, and i’m going to be left by myself to take care of three adult dogs and one 8-week-old puppy… thrill…

more odd WTF…

there’s been some BIZARRE things going on with my old web-site designer… there was this thing, which resulted in this thing, and i thought that was the end of it…

but then, after installing a new web-site security plugin that actually logs IP addresses and usernames, i discovered that there are HORDES of cracker/script-kiddies who are trying to use my erstwhile web-designer’s username (which, of course, i deleted months ago) to try to break my site…

literally, HORDES

like, in the past two weeks, i have probably blocked at least 200 different IP addresses who tried to login using her user name, everywhere from the united states to nepal, iran, the philippines, australia, russia, israel, brazil, saudi arabia, india, greece, indonesia, italy, france, canada, britain, korea, belgium, barbados, malaysia, madagascar, pakistan, romania… moldova?!?

so, this is my working hypothesis:

i finished my initial work with her, originally, in july, when the web site had been finished.

some time between july and november, she was cracked (which is very definitely NOT a good thing, especially when the product you are selling is web design).

because of the fact that she recently finished working on my web site, she automatically assumed that the people who cracked her were related to me in some way or another (this is a prime example of the “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” logical fallacy).

i don’t actually know people who crack web sites (any longer), but that won’t make an awful lot of difference to a person who has just been cracked… they have to calm down and think logically, which a person who has just been cracked is not inclined to do.

and, of course, since i am no longer even allowed to work with her any longer, there’s no way of my finding out whether or not this is true… 🙁

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…

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.

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. 😐

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.

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. 😎

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.

SAAS

i had my first, tentative experiences with SAAS over the past couple of days, and i can say, without hesitation, that if this is the direction computing is headed, i’ll get off the train here, because SAAS SUCKS!!

i was using the RVSiteBuilder that comes with my cPanel-powered web-hosting package. while cPanel does a very good job of making sense of the arcane unix commands i would have to be using instead, rvsitebuilder makes the job of creating valid html templates for web sites almost impossible.

for example:

i wanted to put in my own header, so i uploaded the graphic, which automatically got placed in the template i was working on… however, i come to find out that the SAAS has automatically converted it, resized it, and buried it under three html layers, so that when i “right-click” and choose “view graphic”, instead of getting the graphic i want, i get a thing called “headergraphic.gif” that’s one of those transparent, 1×1 pixel monstrosities, that gets resized to whatever you need. when i finally gave up on the thing, and dug my graphic out from underneath all that other crap, i found out it was resized in the html, which causes it to load more slowly, because the browser has to load the whole thing, and then figure the dimensions and resize it on the fly.

i told it that i wanted a template that is 1000 pixels wide, but because of the fact that the header graphic was resized, i had to narrow the template to 800 pixels. then, when i tried to add sidebars, they were the wrong size…

the css was so confused… there were five different css files, three of which weren’t being used at all, but, because of the fact that the index had linked to them, they had to be loaded with the rest of the template. the remaining two were full of selectors that had transparent, 1×1 pixel graphics as background colours… not just one or two, but ten or twelve different selectors and classes. there were a fuck-TON of javascripts (read “security vulnerabilities that advertise a site willing to be exploited”) that weren’t being used, as well as a huge pile of “stock” graphics which weren’t being used at all.

to make matters worse, it was just assumed that one (in my case, me) simply knows how the software works… that is, when it works… 😐 i actually had to start my “project” three times because the SAAS “froze up” and i had to quit the browser and re-start in order to go forward… if you have an application running on one server, that’s sending instructions to a machine that’s connected to another server over open internet, you’re GOING to run into problems when the server on which the application is running QUITS RESPONDING… 😛

and when the software was working, it gave cryptic and/or ungrammatical clues about what needed to be done next… several of the workspaces that i worked through had “Save” buttons that were different sizes and colours, and were located in inconsistent places.

if i were testing this SAAS, i would not give it a passing grade, however, unfortunately, i get the very strong impression that this isn’t going to go away. that impression is only accentuated by the fact that, when i was working as a tester of network-enabled software, i logged many, many, MANY bugs against such SAAS, and, for the most part, those bugs WERE NOT FIXED and the software was released to a population of users who didn’t care that the email software didn’t work because they were too busy playing angry birds (which does work).

by the way, i “rolled my own” template for the new neighborhood acupuncture clinic in ballard/fremont, and it works and validates (thank you very much), and it took me half as long as doing sort of, but not exactly the same thing with an application that is supposed to make it easier

also…

i found out what is wanted with BSSB web site… it turns out that she likes the “fold-up navigation menus” and wants them on the BSSB site… and, when the BSSB site has enough content to permit “fold-up navigation menus”, that’s what she’ll get. of course, i’m in charge of web design… the actual content has to be someone else’s responsibility…

otherwise the site may well end up looking like The Church of Tina Chopp… 8)

miscellanty

i’ve been asked to make The Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band web site look “more like the Sweetgrass Rods web site”… except, to me, with the exception of the specific content, the two sites are actually quite similar: similar layout, similar breakdown, similar navigation… without changing the actual content, i don’t see how i could make the sedentary sousa site look more like the sweetgrass rods site… it’s a mystery known, at this point, only to the client, who knows what she wants, but can’t always convey what she really means… which means that it truly is a mystery…

we had a snake suspenderz rehearsal today. we’ve got a few gigs that we are talking about, including one tomorrow night at an open-mike in white center (not exactly “white”, not exactly “center”). also, there’s another open-mike that’s looking for fresh meat, and there’s a “pretty much sure thing” for a SACBO birthday party, next april, which is in the works. we added another song, and worked on a few endings that needed work. there’s a good chance that we’ll be at the ballard sunday market this sunday. all it took was a little shove in the right direction to get this band up and running again… i hope it’s more than just a few gigs this time…

damn…

10,150 spam messages… over ten thousand IDENTICAL messages… 😐

what on earth motivates people to do that? it’s SO annoying, and all it does is result in the email address and IP address being blocked from further communication… why? does somebody pay them to do that? if not, then why? 😐

i went busking with snake suspenderz this morning. we played for a little more than an hour, and i made $30, which i think is adequate. we got rained out, which isn’t fair: last time we busked, there was a 60% chance of rain, and it cleared up and was nice and sunny. today, there was a 40% chance of rain, and we got rained out. somebody said that 60% plus 40% equals 100% but i’m not exactly sure if i follow their logic…

one of my web design clients has asked me, twice now, how to “delete a youtube video posted by someone else”… it would be amusing if it wasn’t so sad.

update

i’ve been working on a new web site template for the mercer island vet clinic, which is essentially finished, but it hasn’t had the content added yet, so it’s not live.

i’m about a week away from my first colonoscopy, which starts in a week with multiple degrees of laxatives and purgatives and a clear-liquid fast… which should be a “thrill”… and then, to top it all off, i get an anesthetic that causes retrograde amnesia and i have to get a ride home, because i won’t be allowed to drive for 24 hours afterward, so i’m probably going to have to take the bus to the clinic, which is the same general location that they took me when i had my brain injury. 😐 then i have to schedule another appointment with dr. wackaloon to talk about my allegedly-high blood pressure. what i maintain, which is what i maintained before i tested “high” at his office the last time, is that i run a little higher than normal, which has been reinforced by the fact that i have been checking daily for 26 days, and my average is 143/95 – which is a little higher than normal… but my life is not as “relaxed” as i would like it to be, so it’s understandable…

the ballard sedentary sousa band is performing at the mural amphitheatre on sunday, for folklife. i pulled off a miraculous save and got the last remaining parking pass when it’s original recipient (clayton) wasn’t at the last rehearsal to claim it… which means that i’ll be able to park relatively close to the amphitheatre, for free, rather than having to pay to park a couple of miles away and take the bus there and back, which will also mean that i may actually spend more than the requisite hour or so that i have to be there.

the unauthorised authorisation dialogue went away when i realised that i have the leap.cc site in my RSS feed as well… i deleted the site, and the dialogue went away and has not come back. as far as i can tell, there’s still no site at leap.cc, although the domain itself doesn’t expire until 2013… weird…

spoons & web design

i am just now realising how many spoons i expended over the weekend. apparently, without realising it, at least monday was also involved. it’s a good thing that this is a slow week, which will give me the chance to rebuild my spoon reserve a little before the next time…

meanwhile, i have volunteered my services as a wordpress admin to seattleartcars.org which is currently run by a committee consisting of several (i.e. more than 5) highly creative people who don’t have any idea how technology works, and one or two curmudgeonly geeks who (understandably) don’t want to allow people they don’t know – or people they know, who they know have no clue how technology works – access to their computers, but don’t have the time or inclination to administer a wordpress site themselves… well, it turns out that the one curmudgeonly geek upon whose server seattleartcars.org currently lives, isn’t even really the host provider, but apparently he’s running WHM or something which makes pretending to be a host provider a lot easier than it would be otherwise… he doesn’t even have his own nameservers, which is something that i’ve had for 3 years, even though i don’t have something like WHM installed (because it’s not necessary for the type of web-hosting i provide)… in any event, what the committee plus geeks approach has bought them is a wordpress site with a bunch of plugins that nobody knows how to use, nobody who has the time to update the site, and a geek who hosts the site, but doesn’t want to give anybody new administration priveledges… i’ve already made some minor (i.e. for the most part invisible) revisions to their site, but i continually run up against at least one person who says that they’re “going to take care of everything”, and at least three others, including the geek/host-provider, who only read the first couple of sentences of their email messages and/or don’t respond to direct questions the first time… or the second time… or the third time…

i’m beginning to wonder if i really want this job, especially considering that, as far as i know, it doesn’t pay anything…

security for the paranoid

You have been poking around where you shouldn't have been, and are now BANNED from Hybrid Elephant!i’ve been reading all about the hacks that are common on wordpress and OSC software recently and getting paranoid again. a while ago – after i was hacked the first time – i did some basic things to help me deter hackers: i renamed the OSC administration folder to something less obvious, and i wholesale deleted my file manager (which i never used anyway), but that did little to asuage my raving paranoia, so, along with more standard and practical approaches, like .htaccess, i have also installed a number of things to dissuade unfettered poking around my server, including (but not limited to) exploit scanner, NoSpamNX, and Simple Trackback Validation on my wordpress installation, and IPTrap, OSCSec, SiteMonitor and SecurityPro on my OSC installation.

i’m particularly proud of the “Banned” page, which you can find if you go poking around my server looking for links that you probably shouldn’t have… 👿

but despite all of this experience-based prophylactic action, i’m still paranoid, and it doesn’t help that my more sophisticated clients are expressing their paranoia as well.

video…

well, i’ve still got some details to work out – there are no visible transport controls, you have to right-click (or option-click) on the video to get it to stop playing – and i bit the bullet and bought some software to convert the video files to shockwave/flash in order to get them to stream and load in a reasonable amount of time. they’re here if you want to take a look. they’re kinda small, but they load a lot faster than yesterday…

urg…

i’ve been on a crash course about video conversion and coding for web presentation of video format files over the past three days. i’ve learned a lot, but i still have a lot more to learn, and i’m sort of wondering why i need to know this crap stuff…

i’ve currently got a video on the Sedentary Sousa web site, that works… if you give it a minute… i think… 😐

my guess is that the main problem is file size. the video i’ve currently got loading is the smallest i could make with this particular software (Toast) and for some reason i can’t even get it to import into something that is supposed to be for twiddling with video (iMovie), and, at 16MB, that’s not anywhere near small enough.

i know that YouTube uses flash (.flv) files, which cuts down on file size a lot, but i also know that flash is deprecated in HTML5, and, as far as i have been able to tell, .MOV, .M4V, .MP4 and such like are not deprecated, but the file size is ridiculous… nobody is going to wait around for a 16MB movie to load, unless they are there specifically to see that movie, and in that case a 16MB movie is not going to be satisfactory…

grumble, mutter… 😡

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|

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.

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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?

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.

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.

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.