Category Archives: rants

smarp 😒

in the past 24 hours i have received 3,500 more-or-less identical spam messages from “Magalu”, or “Magalu Ofertas”, or Magalu Recomenda”, or “Ofertas Magalu”, with “Queima de Estoque Magalu: Televisores 4k a partir de: R$ 698,99 – APROVEITE – [ SOME-RANDOM-NUMBER ]” as the subject line. however they all have slightly different “From:” email addresses that end with @SOME-RANDOM-SHIT.magazineluiza.com or @SOME-RANDOM-SHIT.magazine-luiza.com or @SOME-RANDOM-SHIT.magazineluiza.com.br

my host provider (which recently sold out to a large, foreign corporation, but, in the past, has built a considerable reputation for responding to tickets within an hour) has not responded to my REPEATED ticket updates concerning this spam. 😒

i have taken the unprecedented (for me) step of setting up global filters that actually DELETE these messages, instead of forwarding them. 😠

it’s unprecedented for me, because i am painfully aware of the fact that filters that are set up to DELETE messages frequently delete “false positives” as well as spam, but this sender has been CONSISTENTLY sending me DOS mail-bombs of anywhere from 5,000 to 500,000 spam messages, for a number of years, and i’m as sure as i can be that i have narrowed down the filters to the point where i’m PRETTY sure they’re only going to delete spam, and NOT false positives.

😒

SPAM IS BAD! END SPAM ON INTERENT! (for all the good it will do… 🙄)

annmoistfest ualureival rant

  • 2024, 7 shares, $385.00 – $55 per share
  • 2023, 7 shares, $385.00 – $55 per share
  • 2022, 15 shares, $750 – $50 per share
  • 2021, 4 “virtual” shows, i played for 2 of them, no payment.
  • 2020, 17 shares – cancelled at the last minute, because of the imminent pandemic.
  • 2019, 13 shares, $520 – $40 per share
  • 2018, 11 shares, $330 – $30 per share
  • 2017, ?? shares, $480…
  • 2016, 15 shares, $600 – $45 per share
  • 2015…
  • 2014…
  • 2013, 14 shares, $490 – $35 per share
  • 2012, 16 shares, $720 – $45 per share
  • 2011, 14 shares…

i didn’t even get a printed letter this year — or a check, they’re “direct depositing” them, this year, which is another layer of paperwork — just an email from victoria, the new executive director, with the standard “don’t consider this a paying gig” and “you are likely to get a token amount of money, but it will be more of an honorarium than a fee” horseshit.

some rant, huh? 😒

semitic semantic puzzle

recently i’ve been hearing a lot of what boils down to “if you support the palestinians right to exist, you are anti-semitic”…

which REALLY puzzles me…

because…

originally, the term “semitic peopleINCLUDED “arabs, jews, akkadians, and phoenicians”… the term “semitic” comes from the biblical sons of noah; ham, shem, and japheth. it has only been comparatively recently (i.e. around 1930-ish) that the term “anti-semitic” has come to mean “hatred of jews” in particular…

as an aside, originally “semitic” people were from what we now call “asia”, “hamite” people were from what we now call “africa”, and “japhethite” people were from what we now call “europe”… which brings up a whole different miasma of biblical nonsense concerning “japhethite supremacy” which i am not addressing, primarily because it is biblical nonsense. 😒

does use of the term “anti-semitic” in this way mean it is expected that people will intuitively understand that what you are REALLY saying is that it is OKAY to hate arabs?

or do the people who use the term “anti-semitic” to mean “hatred of jews” really not know that the term originally included arabs as well? considering the state of education these days, it wouldn’t surprise me that much. the only reason I know this is because i looked it up when i was in my teens… i certainly wasn’t taught that the term “anti-semitic” meant anything other than “hatred of jews”…

for that matter, apart from language (which is similar enough already, apart from the orthography), and culture/religion, what really IS the difference between a middle-eastern jew and a middle-eastern arab? if you removed all visible cultural markers (i.e. primarily “clothing”), and had them stand side by side, could you REALLY tell the difference?

it is questions like this that inevitably make me wonder about the possibility that i am some species other than human… 😒

ann moist ual fest ure ra ival nt

mump…

  • 2023, 7 shares, $385.00 – $55 per share
  • 2022, 15 shares, $750 – $50 per share
  • 2021, 4 “virtual” shows, i played for 2 of them, no payment.
  • 2020, 17 shares – cancelled at the last minute, because of the imminant pandemic.
  • 2019, 13 shares, $520 – $40 per share
  • 2018, 11 shares, $330 – $30 per share
  • 2017, ?? shares, $480…
  • 2016, 15 shares, $600 – $45 per share
  • 2015…
  • 2014…
  • 2013, 14 shares, $490 – $35 per share
  • 2012, 16 shares, $720 – $45 per share
  • 2011, 14 shares…

as always, they included a note that says “Please don’t approach this as a paid gig or a money-making booking, because there is no financial guarantee…” blah, blah, blah, only this time they emphasised how much they appreciate our contributions, “each year we are amazed by the dedication and strength of the entire team…” and, once again, blah, blah, blah…

this is the second smallest check i have received since i started keeping track, and the smallest number of shares, from 4 to 10. i’m not the one making the decisions, but from where i sit (on the stage, in the band pit), i don’t see how it might be possible for us to get more than 7 shares, unless we increase the number of shows, or go for more than one week. given that this was the first time away from the palladium, and still being severely affected by the pandemic, both of those things are possible, i suppose.

what happened?

in 1978, i was a just-out-of-high-school musician and composer of “unusual” music. i won the state award for music performance playing a composition that i wrote, which was a companion piece for the bach ‘cello suite number 1 in g, first movement; after playing the first movement of the suite number one, instead of the second movement, i played my composition. it was for solo trombone, which meant that it was in bass clef (like the ‘cello suite), but, unlike the ‘cello suite, it did not have a time signature, key signature, nor tonal center… or, it might be said that it had “multiple, unrelated” tonal centers 😉. it also had a section where the only way to play it correctly meant being able to circular breathe.

as an aside, in another competition when i performed this pair of pieces, i was interrupted halfway through my performance, by someone who came in and started talking with one of the judges, because they thought i was “warming up”… 😒 once they had realised their mistake, and apologised to me and the judge, i was given the unprecedented option of starting over, which, under ordinary circumstances, was NEVER allowed.

not many (who am i kidding, it was really absolutely no) other people were interested in even looking at the music i composed, much less performing it, or even trying it out in rehearsal… even in classes where developing composition skills was the whole point of the class. 😒 eventually i “transitioned” into composing more “popular style” music, and that was that…

in 1978, the composer Wieland Hoban WAS BORN, and he is now famous for “unusual” music, like this performance, by Pavlos Antoniadis of “when the panting STARTS”, a composition written “separately for the pianist’s ten fingers, as an ensemble rather than a unity”…

😖 waaa! it’s no fair! he gets to do it and be famous, and i didn’t! what happened to people’s idea of what music is between then and now? grumble, mutter… 😒

boycott western digital! 😠

Western Digital confirms digital burglary, calls in law enforcement

western digital is, ultimately, responsible for the great cloud drive crack of 2021, and they still haven’t made good. the only thing they’ve done is offer me a 40% off coupon for a new cloud drive. 😠 as if 40% off is going to console me after 40 years of my personal data, artwork, music, and everything else, was summarily deleted by some low-life miscreant who doesn’t even know me. as if 40% off would even REMOTELY convince me to change my mind, and purchase another storage drive from them, EVER… 😠

i say, the more WD experiences shit like this, the better i like it, and if the person or persons who did this, ever need a place to hide out, my house is always open.

Continue reading boycott western digital! 😠

default title entry

last saturday and sunday were the first four performances of the panto during the winter holiday season, in three years. the last time we actually had a panto performance during the holdiay season was in 2019. the panto has been performed at the oregon country fair, last summer, but i missed it because i got COVID19 less than 12 hours before i was scheduled to leave. 😒 it was really fun to perform in a group for an audience again, but i was also acutely reminded of all the “politicial” horseshit that surrounds working for a group of actors and musicians. i was asked to provide a “5 minute warning” which, after two tries, no less than the stage manager told me not to make that noise any longer (this was one of the people on the board of directors, a few years ago, who screwed up the process of printing the posters because she refused to understand how the pricing breaks work, and almost screwed with the process of having the banners created in 2019, because she thought that grommets were not going to be necessary, or some crap like that 😒). also, i was asked to provide two different “ratchet” sounds, but, after two performances, they decided that the quieter of the two (the one that i had actually bought specifically for this performance) was loud enough that the actor couldn’t be heard above it, which means, not only that they don’t have two different ratchet sounds, but, because of the fact that i’m having to “mute” the remaining ratchet, i can’t match the ratchet sounds to the actors actions as well, which is, i’m absolutely positive, going to be irritating and a cause for a “note” later on.

monday (yesterday) i had to get up and take moe’s CPAP machine to the company that made it, because it has been making a strange noise for 6 months or so, and they’ve JUST gotten around to calling her back and making an appointment… but when i got there, they told me that the machine was beyond its EOL, and they would replace it, except that they didn’t have any machines, and didn’t know where to get one. i said, “so, what are we talking about, here? days? weeks? months?” and their response was “i’m not sure”. 😒 i thought it was somewhat unusual for them to have such a blasé attitude about moe’s prescribed medical device, but i brought it home… and, some time between then (around noon) and 7:30, they called moe and said that they had found a machine, which i picked up this morning.

the past couple of months i have been averaging about two incense orders a week. mind you, a lot of them have been for ONE BOX, but, at this point, i’ve stopped trying to get people to order more than one… if they want to pay twice as much (or more) for shipping, as they pay for one box of incense, it’s none of my business… or, i should say, it IS my business… which i would be driving away by telling them that it’s stupid to just order one box of incense. however, at this point, the price for a medium flat rate box is $17.05, my base rate for shipping is $16.50 (which is smaller than a medium flat rate box), and one box of incense is anywhere between $1.50 and $7.50 or so… it’s stupid… but it makes me money, so i’m not going to complain… after all, as far as i’ve been able to tell, i am the ONLY place they can get aparajita, or krishna puja 999 online… 🤷

the snow is mostly gone, but we’ve still got at least two more months of actual winter before things usually start getting back to normal, and despite what that “evangelical” preacher i saw a video of THIS MORNING says about “global warming doesn’t exist because it says so in the bible” (🤬), climate change has already had more than one negative effect on the environment around here, so i’m not going to hold my breath. it really astounds me that we are twenty years into the 21st century, and there are STILL people who believe in angels, demons, jeezis, and “de debbil”, but DO NOT accept the evidence of their own eyes concerning climate change, the economy, abortion, homelessness, health care, gay marriage… people in positions of authority whose word most other people treat with considerably more credibility than mine. 🗡🤬

extremism

i’ve been reading, the past couple of days, about “extremism” on the right, and on the left, as being somehow equal in their “extremism”. i was reading about how alexandria ocasio-cortez had to “stand up” to an interviewer who tried to imply that the two forms of “extremism” are the same, and it reminds me of something my old friend xydexx said about nazis. imagine this:

you and your extended family are having a potluck picnic, and everyone is supposed to provide some food. but when you arrive at the picnic, there, sitting in the middle of the table, is a huge steaming platter of dog shit, surrounded by dishes of actual food, provided by other relatives. do you want to interact with the person who put the dog shit in the middle of the table? and what about the rest of the food… would you be inclined to eat ANYTHING from a table that featured a huge steaming platter of dogshit? would you be inclined to talk kindly and gently with the person who provided that platter, to find out what their story is, to find out what possessed them to bring a huge steaming platter of dog shit to your family picnic? would you be anxious to hear their reasons for messing up your picnic? would you ignore it, hoping that the perpetrator would change, if given a good example?

the probability is very high that you would not do those things, but that you would find out who the perpetrator is, and eject them (forcefully, if necessary) from the picnic area.

that is the difference between “extremism” on the left versus “extremism” on the right: “extremism” on the left is more inclined to help other people, regardless of who they are, whereas “extremism” on the right wants everything their way, and if it’s not exactly the way they lay it out, they’re going to mess up the picnic for everyone.

xydexx has a multi-paragraph statement about this, but that’s basically what it boils down to. in xydexx’s version, the furry fandom is the extended family, and nazis and other fur-haters bring the dog shit, but the argument expands nicely. when people say “there are two sides to every argument” when the discussion is about having a country with universal health care, instead of causing harm to people you don’t like (furries, gays, trans, etc., etc…), you know that whoever is saying it is probably NOT someone you would want to invite to your picnic.

scary…

today is the midterm election.

republicunts are projected to win majorities in both the house and senate, which means that

  1. they plan on impeaching president biden, more out of spite than anything else (because there’s nothing to charge him with, but that won’t make a difference, because democretins impeached #drumpf TWICE 😒), and…
  2. they are actively planning on (and bragging about it)
    1. eliminating social security and medicare
    2. any and all investigations into the crimes of #drumpf, the stolen government documents at mar-a-lago, and the january 6th insurrection will cease immediately
    3. a national ban on abortion
    4. a national ban on birth control
    5. a repeal of gay marriage
    6. further oppression of trans people
    7. making cannabis and other marginally legal drugs illegal again
    8. further wanton environmental destruction, promoting oil, coal, and elimination of endangered species protections
    9. gerrymandering and further voter suppression to make future election wins by democretins a lot more difficult
    10. other horrendously awful, inhumane, and massively unpopular stuff, primarily because they can.

and, if they win, there’s a much greater chance that #drumpf will run for president, again, and if he does, he will likely win, because of the republicunts’ love affair with voter suppression, and that will basically be the end of a democratic united states. 🤬

and if they don’t win at all (preferably), or if they don’t win enough to make a difference, the republican’ts have openly vowed to wreck the global economy, by refusing to raise the debt limit.

i am staying OFF twit-turd… maybe forever, but at least for a couple of days, or until the election FUBAR has died down a little.

payment gateway and business update

officially, square works. i got an order for >$90 from hong kong transferred to my bank account today. i already confirmed that it works for domestic packages, but the fact that it also works on international packages is the final step. now, officially, the only thing i am using stripe for is IOTM subscriptions, and i’ve only got 15 of those left before i shut the whole thing down.

officially, zelle works, but not in the way i was expecting, nor the way that THREE representatives of BECU explained to me. there IS NO “zelle for businesses” (or, if there is, it’s not available from BECU, because it’s “not free”, or something like that… 🤷). what happens is that i, now, have two new accounts at BECU, a consumer savings account, and a consumer checking account (to go along with my “business” checking and savings accounts). when i want to use zelle, i have to transfer money from my business checking to my personal checking, and THEN i can use zelle to send money. i found this out because i ordered a smallish pile of incense from tibet, and they wanted me to use zelle for payment (which i think is a GENIUS idea, because it’s essentially instantaneous, and avoids all the fees that wire transfers or western union entail). so now i have a smallish pile of incense from tibet that i’m expecting some time within the next month or so.

uline has apparently been donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to republican/right wing/homophobic/anti-abortion/nazi/fascist horseshit with more and greater frequency, recently, and i finally got fed up with using their triangular boxes. i found another source of essentially identical triangular boxes, which are BOTH better AND cheaper, so the last 20 or so boxes from uline are going to be the last i use before i switch my brand loyalty to the boxery. i have a half a jillion uline packing slip envelopes, but i bought them before we moved, and i’ll be using them up for years before i’ll have to worry about getting more. 😏

grumble…

moe went to las vegas today. she’ll be back wednesday. the puppy went to stay with someone who is more able to handle a rambunctious puppy who doesn’t realise how big he is. i’m supposed to pick him up on wednesday, before i pick up moe at the airport. the other two dogs are “adults” (and know how to behave), but they are already concerned that moe is gone and won’t be back for a while. under ordinary circumstances, this would be a minor inconvenience, but because of the fact that the north american continent is experiencing YET ANOTHER COVID surge (thanks, republicunt anti-vax morons 🤬), airports are going to be especially dangerous, and vegas (as always) is going to be full of tourists from who-knows-where, who all think that COVID is no longer a concern, because our extremely NOT #drumpf president, joe biden, said that COVID is over. 🤬 and the ones who think joe biden lost the election are the ones who got us this far into the pandemic without any hope in sight, to begin with! 🤬

yeah, i know, it has been a couple months and i really need a mushroom break, but i can’t really take a break from the dogs, and i can’t really take two dogs on a 4-hour hike in the forest while i’m on mushrooms… moe could probably do it… she doesn’t take psychedelics that often, but it’s my impression that the part of her brain that speaks dog isn’t that affected by them. 😉

my stripe problems have vanished. i swiched from stripe to square, disabled the stripe plugin, and that’s the end of it. i’m actually NOT going to cancel my account right away, because i’ve still got 15 IOTM accounts to sell, and i’m really not motivated enough to figure out how to do that on square, in the middle of the run (so to speak). but it feels REALLY good to be quit of them.

oyoyoyoyoyOYOYOY!!! 😒 (part 2, continued)

so, i emailed woocommerce tech support. they told me that they didn’t see a zelle-compatible gateway installed. i told them that i was using “Direct Bank Transfer (BACS)”, according to THEIR instructions, which were given to me by an employee of THEIR company.

then they informed me that their plugin DOESN’T SUPPORT ZELLE…⁈

so i took them through the process of enabling zelle ON THEIR PLUGIN, and enabling zelle at my bank, and THEN they tell me… oh, if you do it that way, YOUR CUSTOMER has to go through this EXTRA STEP to send you the payment, and until THEY do this extra step, their order will be placed “on hold”.

which is NOT going to work on my web site: incense customers are impatient and flighty. if they have to go through this extra step to make a payment, they’re going to abandon their shopping cart, not make a payment, and not get any incense.

which is “BAD FOR BUSINESS™” 😒

i wish this little piece of information could have been conveyed to me A MONTH AGO, when i had three separate email conversations and a zoom call with a woocommerce representative, named bradley gilkerson, who ASSURED ME that it was fully compatible with zelle (false), and that all my customers would have to do was enter their credit card information (false) and it would instaneously (false) be transferred to my zelle account (false) without extra fees for credit card processing (false). 🤬

220909 how many things can you find wrong with this email?
220909 how many things can you find wrong with this email?

so, basically, i have wasted a month, and $200, getting a plugin that won’t work, installed and set up, only to discover that it won’t work, and now i have to UNINSTALL the plugin that won’t work, and find a new, different plugin that WILL work… and (hopefully) do it all before stripe decides that they’re going to cancel my account… AGAIN!! 🤬

oyoyoyoyoyOYOY! 😒

will it ever end?

i got zelle enabled and installed on my web site. i tried to test it, by purchasing incense: entering my information, and checking out. i got a notification from the web site that i had received a new order. i got a notification from the web site that my order had been received, but it had been placed “on hold, while we confirm that payment was received”… and then…

nothing.

i waited 24 hours.

still nothing.

no indication from the bank that either a withddrawal or a deposit had been made, no indication from the bank that either of those things were ABOUT TO happen, and, when i logged in to the web site, there was the order, in “on hold” status.

i contacted woocommerce, maker of the plugin i am using, but it is probably going to take them a while to get back to me, because all of my interactions with them have to go over email.

i actually called the bank, talked to their tech support which is (allegedly) the place to talk about zelle, and went through the entire process of creating a new order, with them watching the back end zelle interface. i got two notifications from the web site, but the bank was unaware that any transaction had taken place at all.

so the bank put in a ticket with zelle, to see if they can figure out what is going on. 🙄

THEN i got email back from woocommerce, which informed me that the woocommerce payments plugin wasn’t completely set up on my site, and that no account had been created. i checked, and the only part of the plugin that “wasn’t installed” was the part where i create an account — WITH STRIPE — so that i can use the plugin to process credit cards… but that’s why i’m using the plugin to begin with: to GET AWAY FROM STRIPE… and besides all that, i am not interested in stripe, i’m interested in zelle, which DOESN’T require that i sign up with stripe… AND i already HAVE a stripe account, and a stripe payment gateway plugin that is completely separate from woocommerce and zelle, and (for the moment, anyway) it appears to be working fine.

i gave them (some of) the information they were asking about, and fudged the rest, but it appears that they lay off work around 4:30 or so, so i anticipate not hearing anything from woocommerce until AT LEAST tomorrow. 🙄

Ƭȟȉȿ Ⱥǹƌ Țħăţ

today i talked, face-to-face, with an actual person at BECU, who told me that “zelle for businesses” is “not a thing”, and that there is ONLY zelle for personal accounts.

however, in order to open a business account at BECU, i had to open a personal account… which has never been used for anything, because i do business through my business account… but there’s no rule that says that personal accounts CAN’T be used for businesses, especially if the only transactions in that personal account are ones that ONLY apply to a business, so i activated my personal account for zelle, and made it so that any money paid to that account automatically gets transferred to my business account, where it belongs.

thus ends the stripe fiasco. all i gotta do now is switch payment gateways on my web site, and i’m quit of stripe.

and good riddance to bad rubbish! 😠

on the other paw, i got two incense orders today, one of which was for 5 boxes of incense, shipped to houston, texas, and one which was for 4 boxes of incense, shipped to ashanti, ghana. the one to houston was addressed to a person named “Nwogbo”, and the one to ashanti went to someone named “Agbogah”… and the one to ashanti was for $5.00 worth of incense! i REALLY DO NOT understand people from remote countries outside of the united states, who order relatively small quantities of incense that i’m POSITIVE are sold locally, and then pay more for shipping than they did for incense. it happens regularly enough that i’ve stopped asking why, and just sending it out, but it’s really mystifying to me.

oh, and on an entirely different subject all together, i have stumbled upon a RELIABLE, LONG-TERM source for mushrooms 🍄 on internet (of all places)… i got the first batch through a twitter acquaintance (which was REALLY weird), and the second batch i got “direct from the manufacturer” — a place called Matrix Genetix — which was an experience so far beyond “really weird” that it defies description… i got an ounce of APEs, which are a strain of cubensis. not my all-time favourite, but, at this point, any port in a storm…

220923 1oz illegal mushrooms

i thought it was the end, but i was wrong. 🤬

this morning, i learned that, despite the fact that my bank allows the use of zelle, it only allows personal accounts to use it. “zelle for businesses” is, apparently, a “pay-for” application that isn’t used by the bank, so i can’t switch to using zelle, like i thought i was going to be able to do for the past couple of days.

argh! 😒

while i was freaking out about that, i got an email from stripe (at 6:30 in the morning), which said:

Unfortunately, following an additional review of your account, we’re still unable to support your business as it falls under our restricted businesses. Specifically, we are unable to accept payments for herbal incense , as mentioned on our restricted businesses list (https://stripe.com/restricted-businesses).

HERBAL INCENSE????

first they said it was tobacco products, then they said it was items “which mimic illegal drugs”, THEN they said it was because i “accept payments for aggregation or grouping of funds” (which i STILL don’t know what they’re talking about, and now i don’t think they know, either), and now it’s because i carry “herbal incense”????

W?

T??

F???

need i mention that there is NO restriction on businesses which carry “herbal incense” on their list of restricted businesses… 😠

so i sent them a response, saying that.

45 minutes later, i got this message from stripe:

In order to provide you assistance with this inquiry, my colleagues and I will be reviewing this case, so we can provide you with the proper information about the verification of your company and the reason for the restrictions of this type of business and once we have a response to this concern we will reach out back to you.

which was followed, half an hour later, by this:

I just wanted to let you know that we have successfully completed our review of your account, and your payouts have been re-enabled.We may be asking for more information down the line, but for now you’re all set.

W??

T????

F?????? 😵

so, if i parse this correctly, on 220823, they said they were going to cancel my account. then, on 220829, they said they weren’t going to cancel my account. then, on 220901 they said they were going to cancel my account for a different reason, and on 220908 they said they were going to cancel my account for yet another different reason, which they emphasised on 220909. then, this morning, (220912) they said they were going to cancel my account for another FURTHER different reason, and then they changed their minds, and said they WEREN’T going to cancel my account. 😵🤬

it’s a really good thing i kept detailed records of this fiasco, because i wouldn’t be able to keep it straight, otherwise. 😠

needless to say, as soon as i can locate another payment gateway that ISN’T stripe, i’ll be switching hybrid elephant to that, because, as it is, this is totally ridiculous! 🤬

stripe — the end 🤬

this morning, i got the following email:

220909 - Stripe - The End
220909 – Stripe – The End

the only mention of “Stripe Connect” (which is an API, and not an actual, finished product) on the “restricted businesses list” is a restriction on “C2C services outside of Stripe Connect” in japan.

as far as i can tell, “C2C” can mean “Customer To Customer”, or “Consumer To Consumer, or “Corporation To Corporation”, or “Cradle To Career”, or Coast To Coast”, or “Coups 2 Cross” (a band), or “Kabushiki-gaisha C2C” (a japanese animation studio), or… there’s no telling which one they mean… and i no longer have the patience to wait for their explanation.

my business is not in japan.

i don’t carry any products that fall into the category of “accepting payments for aggregation or grouping of funds”.

and, on top of all that, stripe monetizes white-supremacist and neo-nazi web sites, which i have known about ever since i switched to them, but was never motivated enough to do anything about it.

they gave me until next tuesday to be off their services.

stripe, again, still! 🤬

i got a message from stripe, this morning. it said:

Unfortunately, following an additional review of your account for Hybrid Elephant, we’re still unable to support your business as it falls under one of our restricted businesses categories. Specifically, we are unable to accept payments for tobacco products, as mentioned on our restricted businesses list.

however, they can’t won’t tell me which products are causing the issue! 🤬

i have stooped to contacting them on twitter, to see if i can get new eyes on the problem, but, at this point, i’m not going to hold my breath that there will be a change in the outcome.

the only thing i can hope for, at this point, is that i can delay their cancelling my account until i can get a new credit card gateway installed and working… and, at this point, it doesn’t look good. 🤬

ETA:

We’re unable to reveal the exact reasons as to why your account presents a high risk, for security reasons, but we do thorough reviews of every account before coming to this difficult decision.

so they WON’T tell me what products i carry that increase their risk, they’ll just shut me down and tell me to go somewhere else. 🤬

#StripeSucks!!!

stripe, again… 😒

as expected, stripe didn’t pull their head out of their collective ass today.

I apologize for the delay and inconvenience this may have caused. I’ll have this shared with my team for further review, and should be back in touch with you as soon as we’re done.Feel free to get in touch with us in the meantime if there’s anything else we can help with.

maybe tomorrow… 😒 #StripeSucks

stripe, still… 🙄

so, friday was the day that stripe said it was going to cancel my account. if the existence of my account is any indication, they have NOT done that… yet…

however, the last thing any stripe employee said to me was “I was able to check that your website products are not related to tobacco products or services. However, I cannot confirm anything for you at this time until a result of this validation is obtained.” so, i’m still not sure they WON’T cancel my account for, alledgedly, selling “tobacco products”. 😒

and, of course, this is a “holiday” (“labour day” was created to distract americans from “may day”, which is actually the holiday for labourers), which means that the earliest i expect to hear about this most recent “validation” is tomorrow… but i’m not going to hold my breath that it’s going to happen at all… in fact, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if i NEVER hear about it from stripe, especially because, as soon as i can settle on which one it’s going to be, i’m going to change credit card gateways to one that actually does their job, and doesn’t make unsubstantiated judgements about things that do not concern them. 🤬

and, thanks to my recent mushroom experience, i STILL give less of a fuck about these things, than i did prior to taking mushrooms, in spite of the fact that i am still very anxious and depressed. mushrooms are good for you (or, at least, for me)! 😉👍👍

🤬🤬🤬STRIPE!!🤬🤬🤬

stripe! 🙄

on 220823, i received a notice from stripe, saying that they were going to cancel my account, because i carried “tobacco products”.

i submitted a request for review on 220823. they said that they would get back to me within 48 hours, to evaluate my request.

on 220826 (72 hours later, 24 hours BEYOND their self-specified limit), i still hadn’t heard anything, so i got in contact with them. they said “the review is taking too long as expected” (🙄) and told me to be patient.

on 220828 (120 hours BEYOND their self-specified limit 😒), i got a notice that said “We have successfully completed our review, and you are welcome to continue processing payments with Stripe.”

on 220829, i got a notice that said “We’re contacting you to let you know that we’ve successfully completed a review of your account based on the information you recently provided to us.” and my account status went from “in review” to “good to go”.

on 220901, i got a notice that said “Unfortunately, following an additional review of your account for Hybrid Elephant, we’re still unable to support your business as it falls under one of our restricted businesses categories. Specifically, we are unable to accept payments for tobacco products…”

i STILL don’t carry ANY “tobacco products”, and since 220826, i have REMOVED AND DELETED any products i carry which MIGHT BE MISTAKEN FOR “tobacco products”. 😒

so, i contacted their helpdesk.

the first person i spoke to said that there was no need to worry, that my account was “good to go”, and not to be concerned. when i asked them if they could explain to me why i received that notice this morning, they shunted me off to a member of their “specialised team”, who wouldn’t answer my question about why i received the notification this morning, but ALSO wouldn’t confirm that my account is “good to go”, either. he said ” I would like to make sure that I’ll provide you with the accurate information so please bear with me while we complete our review to your account.”

so, my stripe account has now gone through THREE (or four) reviews in the past two weeks, and they STILL can’t determine whether or not i carry “restricted products” (even though i clearly DO NOT).

once this whole thing gets settled, permanently, i AM going to switch credit card processors, because STRIPE SUCKS!!! 🤬🤬🤬

and that’s NOT TO MENTION the fact that stripe monetises white-supremacists and nazis, and i have been looking for a reason to dump them anyway. 🤬

what the fuck, stripe? 🤬

tuesday morning, i got an email from stripe, the credit card processor for hybrid elephant. it said:

[Please Read] Closure of your Stripe Account for Hybrid Elephant

We’re writing to inform you that we have determined your business, Hybrid Elephant, is in violation of the Stripe Services Agreement. Specifically, we are unable to accept payments for tobacco products, as mentioned on our Restricted Businesses list.

um…

i don’t sell tobacco products.

repeat, i DO NOT SELL tobacco products, of ANY KIND!

never have, never will. 😒

i went to their list of restricted businesses, to see if i could figure out what was going on. they mention tobacco products, and e-cigarette juice (is it just me, or does the mere concept of “e-cigarette juice” sound just a little bit creepy?), and they also list businesses which sell “illegal drugs, items intended to mimic illegal drugs, and items intended for use manufacturing or using illegal drugs.”… which i take to mean that they’re down on “paraphernalia”, and i HAD a “Pipes” category on the site…

but, because of the fact that i actually haven’t sold a pipe in more than two years, i actually had the “pipes” category removed and deleted from the site today.

they said if i disagreed with their decision, that i could submit an appeal, which i did, on tuesday. they said they would get back to me “in 1 or 2 business days”. according to the way i figure it, “1 or 2 business days” should have been yesterday or today.

their web site DOES NOT list a phone number. moe said that they apparently have a “chat” feature, which i have used in the past, but i can’t seem to find it. if i can locate their “chat” feature, i’m DEFINITELY going to be in contact with them tomorrow. if i can’t, i don’t know what i’m going to do.

they gave me until 2nd september before they’re going to quit accepting payments from my site. 🤬🤬🤬🤬

it KEEPS! GETTING! WORSE!!! 🤬

and there doesn’t appear to be anything at all that i can do about it! 🤬

so…

yesterday, the FBI served a search warrant at Mar-A-Lago, home of the former #SCROTUS, #drumpf. #drumpf wasn’t home, he was in new york, testifying in another legal proceding against him…

but he’s publically losing his shit, which is amusing to watch. 😉

however, forgive me for being skeptical, but, with all of the other fiascos going on — abortion, gun control, healthcare, climate change, nazis/fascists in the government (and elsewhere), and so on — while this is excellent news on the surface, i doubt that it’s going to amount to much.

we can always hope, but i’m not going to hold my breath. 😒

and to think… 😒

at one time i was a major apple fanboy… 😒

admittedly, it was back when the operating system was free, and all you had to do was go into your local computer store with four floppy disks, and you would walk out with a functioning operating system… in the early ’90s…

these days, apple has turned into a proprietary nightmare, which penalises people who buy and sell apple products without going through “proper” channels.

example:

my tablet has been needing service more and more frequently. it got a slight bend in the frame, and, apparently, the way they are made is flimsy enough that the strongest element is the screen… which breaks at the slightest breeze in the wrong direction.

my tablet first started exhibiting the symptom of “not charging” a few years ago. the first time it happened was when it was still under applecare warranty, but i took it to a third party repair shop (one hour device repair) once the applecare had expired. one hour device repair has a lifetime warranty on repairs, so subsequent times it started exhibiting this symptom, i took it back and got it fixed for free… and, usually, got a new screen in the process, because they had broken it in the process of fixing the charge port.

then, a couple months ago, someone (it may have been thaddeus, but i’m not sure) sat on the tablet (or something) which put enough of a bend in the frame that the screen no longer met the edge of the frame… at which point i started needing to get it repaired (for free) more frequently, but, on the up side, they could get the screen off without breaking it.

the last time this happened was last week. i took it in, and they diagnosed a new problem with one of the power management chips. they said that, under normal circumstances, their experience has been that once this power management chip starts to go, there isn’t anything that can be done to fix it.

🙄

so, knowing that apple sells “refurbished” equipment for EXORBITANT prices, the first place i looked was on craigslist, where i found an ALMOST IDENTICAL tablet (the old one is a 3rd gen., and the new one is a 4th gen.) for $690… which is A LOT less than i could get it refurbished (starts around $1,200 and goes up from there). i contacted the guy, and arranged to pick it up (which is what i was doing at dick’s drive in the other day). he said that the applecare subscription expired tomorrow (which is now yesterday), but he was going to extend it a month, so i could get a chance to switch it over to my name.

so, i called applecare, and (after getting cut off mid-call), i finally learned that i couldn’t switch the applecare to my name, because it had to be done by the original owner. so i contacted the guy, and arranged to meet him in issaquah. when he called applecare, they asked him his name, and the serial number of the device…

and then, they told him that it is NOT POSSIBLE to switch the applecare to anybody else. i can’t even wait for the applecare in his name to expire, and then subscribe with my name, because i am not the original purchaser.

if i had bought a “refurbished” tablet (from apple), it would have come with “refurbished applecare”, but, because i bought it directly from the seller, they didn’t have a chance to “refurbish” it, and they aren’t willing to issue a new applecare subscription.

AT ALL!

EVER!!!

🤬

apple has just lost ANY loyalty i may have still had for their products. this is totally stupid! 🤬

it’s never going to be “back to normal”… this is the new normal.

last summer, we had temperatures in the 110s farenheit. this year, europe is having temperatures in the 40s celsius (approximately the same).

the recent COVID19 variants have “stealth” capabilities: they have very few, if any symptoms, and can fool some tests into giving a negative result… but the infected person is still massively contagious, and, because of the fact that there are few symptoms, they are less inclined to do things like mask and isolate, which infects others… and they still have the possibility of developing “long covid”, or monkeypox.

and i remember, way back when the pandemic was first starting up, in early 2020, before they discovered the first vaccines, when the CDC basically said that, if we could get EVERYONE to wear a mask for a month, that we could get ahead of it… but of course, that never happened, because there were too many COVIDiots who believed #drumpf when he said it would miraculously vanish. 😒

AND EVEN NOW there are public media personalities and prominent politicians who are TELLING PEOPLE that there is no pandemic, that it’s a fraud concocted by the chinese to destabilise our economy, that masks are a sign of slavery, and encouraging people to eat horse paste to “cure” COVID symptoms. 🙄

the republicunts, through a largely #drumpf-appointed supreme court, have overthrown Roe v. Wade and are champing at the bit to overthrow gay and interracial marriage, birth control, and transgender health care, and enact a nationwide ban on abortion, with no exceptions for rape, incest, ectopic pregnancy, or, basically, anything else, and the democrats, lead by our so-called “president” joe biden, seems disinclined to do anything about it.

there has hardly been a week go by — sometimes as frequently as every day — when there HASN’T been a mass shooting. sometimes it’s the police killing innocent, unarmed (but, unfortunately, black) people, and sometimes it is people like kyle rittenhouse, who crossed state lines with his mother and an (unlawful) assault rifle to join a riot, ended up killing two people, got away with it, and is now a “celebrity” who appears on talk shows and is interviewed by pundits, or the kid who shot up a grocery store in buffalo because he wanted to start a race war, who was taken into custody by police, completely alive and unharmed, or the kid in texas who shot up an elementary school, or the kid who shot up a black church, who was taken into custody by police, completely alive and unharmed…

and, once again, the republicunts are blaming everything, and everyone EXCEPT the guns, and, once again, the democrats, lead by our so-called “president” joe biden, seems disinclined to do anything about it. 😒

meanwhile we have people like tucker carlson, alex jones, and other news media figures, who are actively fomenting unrest, with disinformation, misinformation and flat-out lies about everything from the most recent presidential election, to “the great replacement” conspiracy, to “Q-anon” madness, and blatantly right-wing, fascist, nazi propaganda. and we have people like the “proud boys”, the “3 percenters”, the “oath keepers” and other blatantly right-wing, fascist, nazi fanboys, who eat it up and spew out their own particuarly putrid brand of garbage, which is duly reported on by the news media.

and they STILL haven’t addressed things like gun control, universal health care, student debt forgiveness, or climate change, all of which are broadly popular and essential. federal minimum wage is STILL less than $7.50 an hour, which isn’t even starvation wages, these days.

AND IT’S NOT GETTING BETTER!

in fact, in many ways, it’s getting WORSE!! 🤬

at this point, as far as i can tell, the ONLY hope for a reasonably un-polluted, reasonably progressive future, with more or less equal rights for everyone, is a massive general strike… and that’s probably not going to happen, because a big chunk of people can’t be bothered or don’t care, and another big chunk of people believe they CAN’T go on strike, because of rent and food worries…

but, as far as i can see, those two big chunks of people are just delaying the inevitable, because the chaos that WILL ensue WHEN (not if) civilisation collapses will be WAY worse.

annual moisture festival…

i got my MF check today… 😒

  • 2022, 15 shares, $750 – $50 per share
  • 2021, 4 “virtual” shows, i played for 2 of them, no payment.
  • 2020, 17 shares – cancelled at the last minute, because of the imminant pandemic.
  • 2019, 13 shares, $520 – $40 per share
  • 2018, 11 shares, $330 – $30 per share
  • 2017, ?? shares, $480
  • 2016, 15 shares, $600 – $45 per share
  • 2015,
  • 2014,
  • 2013, 14 shares, $490 – $35 per share
  • 2012, 16 shares, $720 – $45 per share
  • 2011, 14 shares…

as always, they included a note that says “Please don’t approach this as a paid gig or a money-making booking, because there is no financial guarantee…” blah, blah, blah…

the fact is, the moisture festival is STILL one of my “top paying gigs” every year, and the fact that i’m on SSDI doesn’t matter.

at the same time, $50 a share is as high as it’s been since i started keeping track… i wonder if this means that i’m one of those people who has been making money because of the pandemic? 😒

urgh!

from the inside, looking out, life is pretty decent: we’re busking again, there are gigs on the horizon, nothing serious is wrong with the house, i’m getting my art car made… i’ve still got a big, scary thing that hasn’t happened for 2 years, but was pretty much essential to my life for some time before that (which is the oregon country fair)…

but from the outside looking in, 50 years of my life, and most of my identity, has been summarily dismissed by the supreme court, which has indicated its willingness to overturn roe v. wade, despite the fact that there isn’t a single state for which the overturning of roe v. wade commands more than 30% support…

which, of course, is PRIMARILY due to #drumpf, who, despite being impeached TWICE, managed to jam through three supreme court “justices”, two of whom are credibly accused sexual predators, and the other is amy coney barrett, who thinks that a woman’s place is barefoot and pregnant.

and all of that is coming from EXACTLY the same people that gave us matt gaetz, who is under investigation for human trafficking and sex with teenagers, and jim jordan, who is accused of enabling a sexual predator, and roy moore, who is accused of sexually predating teenagers at a mall, and madison cawthorn, who idolises hitler, and films himself fucking his cousin in the ear, and another guy who is a long time republican politician who was convicted of possessing pornographic images of children, and the “jewish space laser lady”, and on, and on, and on, and on, and FUCKING ON!!… 🤬🤬🤬

and the chance that ANY OF THEM are going to face real justice of any kind is vanishingly small. 🤬

and that’s not even to mention the fact that #drumpf, himself, along with ALL his cronies, and partners in crime, are STILL running around free, and having rallies, and spewing misinformation, disinformation, and OUTRIGHT LIES to anybody who will listen, which, apparently, is about 49% of the population of the country…

seriously, politics has gotten so over-the-top, blatantly FASCIST, pretty much ever since #drumpf was elected (but, honestly, i see the first inklings of fascism in the 1970s, when nixon and mcgovern butted heads)… the country, and the world, has gotten so right-wing, “christian”, and “conservative” that it’s beyond merely frightening, and everything i’ve seen seems to indicate that it is going to get orders of magnitude worse before there’s any hope of it getting better…

and, if that wasn’t bad enough on its own, don’t even get me started on climate change… 🤬🤬🤬

this is friday, right?

today is the day one hour device repair said they would repair my device… because they couldn’t do it tuesday, because the right person wasn’t in. so i took my device in to redmond, watched the guy open up the shop, he took my device, said the board tech would be in in about an hour, and he would text me when it was ready, and i went home.

when i got home, i got a text from the guy. he said that his board tech had called in sick, and they’d have it done tomorrow.

except that i have to, you know, USE it tomorrow… 😒

fortunately, i have printouts of all the required pieces of music for tomorrow’s rehearsal, because there’s almost a 100% guarantee that IF they actually have it done tomorrow, it WILL NOT be in time to take it to the rehearsal, and i’m still not 100% convinced that they’re not going to break the screen in the process of taking it apart… which, naturally, will mean that it will be EVEN LONGER until i get it back. 😒

this time, instead of being one step forwards and two steps back, it’s actually been two steps forward and one step back. i wonder how long i’ll be able to keep up this pace? 😒

here we go again… 🙄

i’ve got a zoom class this evening, a telehealth appointment tomorrow, and a moisture festival rehearsal on saturday…

… and my tablet decided to stop charging this morning. 🤬

i got in touch with the technician that replaced the charging port (odd that this seems to happen on an almost yearly basis… odd indeed… 😒), and informed him that it had quit charging again, and he said i should bring it in. so i left an hour earlier than normal, and headed up the east side of the lake to redmond, where the technician confirmed that it was, indeed, a faulty charging port, said that they would fix it on warranty, and ordered the new part. 👍

problem is, i’m fairly sure he DIDN’T also order a new screen at the same time… and this particular model of ipad is NOTORIOUS for screen breakage when you have to open it up FOR ANYTHING… kinda like they had to do last year (and the year before) when they replaced the charging port. it turned into a two week job, during which time the screen of my tablet was BROKEN, which precluded me from using it for ANYTHING… 😒

and that can’t happen this time, because i have zoom classes, telehealth appointments, and moisture festival rehearsals AND PERFORMANCES in the next three weeks. i can get through the rehearsals and performances with my old-school hard-copy music, and the zoom classes and telehealth appointments THEORETICALLY can take place on my phone, but it will be at least three levels of hassle that i would rather avoid, if i had the choice. 😒

cancelled

my circus class, yesterday, was cancelled.

my DBT class, yesterday, was cancelled.

my counselling session, today, was cancelled.

when i woke up this morning, it was 52°F in the house, despite the fact that we’ve got what everybody else says is “the best HVAC product on the market” supposedly heating our home… except that “the best” is hooked up to the ductwork that was done by “the worst” general contractor, who was ron zeising, former owner of our house — seriously, i get the impression that he put things in like the heat pump/furnace/central air conditioning unit with the SOLE INTENT of driving up the price of his house, because, while it is “the best” HVAC system available, it’s air-handler is only about half what the square footage of the house requires, and the ductwork is a COMPLETE MESS of new, old, and whatever the hell he had left over in the scrap bin, which, at it’s BEST, only delivers about half of the heat to the rest of the house… but our crawl space is 15°F WARMER than the rest of the house… which, of course, has encouraged critters to make nests under the house, further deteriorating the already sketchy ductwork. 🤬

so, instead of spending that money to remodel the upstairs bathroom (take out the jacuzzi we don’t use, and put in a sauna that we will use), we’re now having to throw $6,000 at critter-proofing the crawl space, and totally replacing all the ducts under the house. 😒

and, to top things off, the guy who is currently my “medication manager”, dr. uzowulu, asked me if i worry a lot, and when i said yes, his response was to tell me not to worry so much, and pray instead. 🤮

goo dot gl 😒

goo dot gl URL redirect QR code
goo dot gl URL redirect QR code
a few years ago, i got a QR code from google, attached to their URL-forwarder at goo dot gl, that resolved to वृत्तिः from “Unknown Album”, which i promptly had made into a sticker, which i have been sticking to various different things, and handing to strangers i meet on the street, for a few years now.

i INTENDED to use goo dot gl’s analytics to determine how many people had hit the link, and where they were located. apparently that was only a SMALL FRACTION of the information i could receive from the QR code.

what i didn’t know is that they shut down their URL-forwarder at goo dot gl in 2018 and i only JUST found out about it.

fortunately the QR code, and the URL-forwarder continue to work, but…

goddam it, gewgel… when you stop using something important, you should make it somewhat more obvious. 😒

now, admittedly, i INTENDED to use the goo dot gl analytics, but i only logged in to see what was happening for the first time, today, so i really was NOT paying attention, but still… you would think that a company as big as the big G could be a little more public about things like this.

aaarrggghh! it happened again!!

that’s A³R²G³H² for those of you keeping track…

i have discovered YET ANOTHER thing that fell victim to the crack of 2021, and that was the user manual for our fireplace!

particularly, this exact diagram (found, and re-downloaded by MOE, who is the undisputed google-master of this house) which is found on page 28 of said manual:

211111 wood-stove diagram
211111 wood-stove diagram
this shows the position of the flue/damper (labeled “burn rate air control”) and the automatic startup air control for the woodstove. the flue/damper is a thing i am familiar with, but the postion and manufacture of this particular woodstove, plus it’s relative “new-ness” from my standpoint, makes it very difficult for me to remember the correct position, which is VITALLY important when starting this stove, in order to prevent huge clouds of smoke from coming out of every non-welded join in the entire stove and chimney…

and the “automatic startup air control” is something i have never experienced in a woodstove before… it’s got a mechanical timer, and it gradually closes vents at the bottom of the fire, so that it has plenty of air to start with, but not so much air after 30 minutes or so…

and WITHOUT the information in this diagram, i have a very difficult time remembering the correct position for these things, which makes it REALLY frustrating, when i have to start a fire, as i did this evening. 🤬🤬🤬

fortunately, i have MOE to rescue me when technology fails. i now have this manual re-downloaded and stored away in an obvious place on my new cloud server. 😉

my guess is that this sort of thing is going to become, more-or-less, a standard occurance chéz salamandir, so it’s a good thing i’m starting to keep track of it now… i think… 😕

the pond, nazis

200412 first morning
200412 first morning
across the street from our house is a pond. it normally has about 10 feet of water in it. you can see it in this photo of the “first morning”, which was taken last year. the pond started losing water in early spring of this year, and it has been mostly dry for almost four months.

today, after 3 days of rain, the pond FINALLY has water in it… not 10 feet of water, or even 10 inches of water, but it’s a start… and it’s going to have to rain A LOT MORE before we’ll be back to the “normal” 10 feet of water. 😒

but “climate change” and the coronavirus are chinese frauds, and we need to prevent the teaching of Critical Race Theory to junior high school kids in public schools. 😒

211006 the "pond"
211006 the “pond”

seriously, i’ve been removing flyers for patriotfront dot us, and flyers for somebody who is running for school board SPECIFICALLY on the platform of “mask CHOICE, not mandate” and “no CRT in schools”, from the bulletin board at the local convenience store… 😠 i’ve been replacing them with my “ultimatum to world leaders”, with a link to ABillionPeople.org, but it’s been being taken down almost as soon as i put it up, so i’ve been trying to get “creative”…

but it’s really disturbing to me that there are actual nazis living in my community. 😠 if he gets elected (which i hope doesn’t happen, but around here, who knows), i wonder how much actual school board experience he has, because the pandemic is not going to last forever, and once he discovers that public primary schools AREN’T teaching “critical race theory” he’s not going to have much of a platform left… but, by then, he’ll have discovered that the school board buys school books for the district, and i’m pretty sure he’ll have something to say about that. 😒

interesting…

fecesbook was down for around 6 hours, today… down, like, completely down, DNS not working, routes not functioning, nslookup and whois not working, domain for sale…

it’s back up, at this point, but, allegedly, fuckerberg lost 7 billion dollars as a result of the outage, and is now only the fifth richest person on the planet. still no word on exactly what caused it. 😉

FecesBook
FecesBook

bat out of database hell, sideways

in a new twist, the web designer that i worked with prior to the current web designer i work with — the one who blew a gasket for some still-unknown reason — was, as a part of what i was paying her to be a web designer, to delete the old web site files, once i had successfully been migrated to my new site.

unfortunately, apparently she blew a gasket before she actually did that.

and i didn’t know until… well… today.

my current web site is running PHP5, but there was an error which showed up in the log which was an uncaught variable that doesn’t exist in PHP5… in fact, it doesn’t exist until PHP7.4… and, upon further investigation, we discovered that it came from a document that is from osCommerce, which lead to other osCommerce documents, which lead, basically, to the entire osCommerce web site, which has been trying, and failing, to run PHP7.4, and generating WEIRD errors.

it had been beheaded — i.e. it didn’t have an internet-facing interface — but it is all still there.

it should be deleted. 😠

database hell updated

quoth the web developer: I’m going to guess, they’re going to come back and tell us they see nothing wrong. However, they will modify the server and then when I get back in there to test it again, it’s going to work. They just have a problem admitting when they’re wrong so they’ll fix it but tell us that it works fine.

quoth i: i don’t care how it’s fixed, i just want it to be fixed.

they have access to the dashboard, but they’re in a different time zone, so i have to be patient. 😒

ETA: i just got an email notification that says: A user with username “webhost-python” who has administrator access signed in to your WordPress site.

and then a note from YET ANOTHER technician who i HAVEN’T TALKED TO BEFORE (😠), who, apparently, tried the login, looked through the ticket history and decided that they don’t know enough to do anything about it, saying “I will assign this to our developers and they will get back to you.”

so, it begins…

tomorrow… 😒

database hell, okay?

i gave the web developer my login to the open support ticket at the host provider. there hasn’t been any obvious action yet, but i’ve emailed with the web developer, who worked out a temporary solution which may work out if his attempts to communicate with the host provider don’t work out… but, as i said, he hasn’t even logged in, much less done what the host provider asked of me, which was to “clearly lay out the issues you’re facing and the solution you need done to resolve this issue”.

210606 screenshot SQL error
210606 screenshot SQL error
the issues are that i can’t add new content (the “not HTML” difficulty and its results), and i get weird SQL errors, which only appear once, and then go away. i don’t get them on a regular basis: sometimes i get them the first time i hit the site, when i boot my computer in the morning, and sometimes i get them in the middle of the afternoon. frequently i get them when i’m hitting the base URI, but i’ve also seen them when i’m hitting deeper content.

i don’t know what the solution is, because i don’t know what is causing it. my web developer seems to think it’s the database engine at my host provider, because he has some sort of advanced tool that tells him when things aren’t working correctly. my host provider says he’s full of shit, that his proposed “upgrades” will break things for everybody else, and won’t even talk to the him unless he logs in as me. unfortunately, i know little enough about database engines that any input i can offer would be totally meaningless.

i feel a little bit better, because, now, instead of "doing this as a courtesy as this is not included as part of your Web Maintenance", they have now, actually charged me money, so i am, actually, paying them to fix my shit, and the temporary work around that he proposed, while not ideal, would certainly fix the problem for at least a year.

but i seem to recall going through another database fiasco last year around this time, and, if this is going to become a regular occurrance, i think i’ll pass, thanks. 😒

ETA: the web developer has logged in as me, and given a detailed description of exactly what is wrong, exactly why he thinks it’s wrong, examples of identical installations that follow his guidelines that don’t experience the problems i’m having, and a variety of different solutions to the problems he’s found. the host provider has yet to reply. because of the fact that they’re on eastern time, there’s a good chance we won’t hear anything until tomorrow.

blargh! 🤬

i’ve noticed a couple of things that are… screwy… about my web sites.

intermittently, i get random SQL errors. they only appear once, and when i reload the page, they disappear, but it’s sort of alarming.

and then there’s the “not HTML” FUMTU, which usually works, but has decided not to for a few days now.

so, i contacted my web developer, who said that my database needed “upgrading” to prevent these, and future problems.

not knowing that much about databases, i contacted my host provider, who said that the “upgrades” he proposed are actually DOWNgrades, and implementing them would break the databases for EVERYONE who shares the server i’m on.

so, i got back to the developer, who said that the reason he stopped using this host provider two years ago (which was about the same time i started using this host provider) was because “their policy” was to avoid communication with “third parties” (i.e. i’m a customer of the host provider, and the guy who i pay to know more about the web than me is a “third party”).

while they didn’t actually deny that this was “their policy”, the host provider went out of their way to emphasise that i am their customer, and if i wanted to include my web designer, i would have to give him my login, because they weren’t going to create a special login for him.

so i did that.

i figure, whatever happens, i can change my password once this whole thing is resolved. it is also A LOT easier than trying to convince the host provider to create a login for someone who is not a customer of theirs…

then they switched their tactics, and had a different technician chime in (one with whom i have not talked about this particular problem), who stated “let your developer know that it is already upgraded and using a stable version. If he is unable to diagnose this issue then another developer may be needed…”

this was AFTER i gave my web developer my login, so that he could participate in the “conversation”…

i wanted to say “HE’S RIGHT HERE! TALK TO HIM, NOT TO ME!!” 😠🤬😠🤬

but i didn’t…

but i wanted to… 😒

the web developer was busy yesterday, and (like most “businesses”) he doesn’t work on the weekend, so i’ve pushed back the impending storm until monday…

but…

the web developer has already said “we’re doing this as a courtesy as this is not included as part of your Web Maintenance” and “if they can’t do what we’re asking them to do our hands are tied.” AND the host provider has already said “we do not have a way to resolve something like this as the server itself is not causing the issue and the database server is already up to date.”, which gives me the very strong impression that, when monday comes around, the web developer is going to show up and make demands, the host provider is going to say no, and we’ll be right back where we started.

and all of this is IN SPITE of the fact that i am paying BOTH of these entities to make sure that my shit is kept up to date! 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

🤬

this morning is the second in a row that i have woken up at 4:00 in the morning, and can’t get back to sleep. 😒

it is THIS EXACT PHENOMENON that makes me want to give up internet forever and go live in the woods, like a hermit, not interacting with anyone! 😠

when HTML is not HTML

i’m REALLY glad someone else is maintaining my business web site these days. 😒

seriously, if it had been left up to me, i would have given up a LONG time ago, and would probably be out of business, because the web design business has gotten REALLY confusing.

example: the places in WordPress where HTML code is not, actually, HTML code…

210603 not html
210603 not html

there are places which display HTML code, and where that code occurs on the back end, it is actually rendered as HTML code in the browser, but if you want to edit the HTML, you have to copy the ENTIRE page, go to another location (or use an actual text-based code editing tool) and paste the ENTIRE page into that location, make the edits, save them in that other location, copy them from that location, go BACK to the original location where you copied the original code from and paste the new code in, and THEN save the original location…? 😕

210603 not html rendered
210603 not html rendered
and, oddly enough, if you try to edit the HTML code without jumping through the copy/paste hoops multiple times, you end up screwing up the page entirely. 😠

and, to make matters even worse, as far as i can tell, there’s no way to tell which locations are HTML, and which locations only LOOK LIKE HTML… you’re just expected to know. 😠

as far as i can tell, backed up by a professional web designer who does this for a living, that’s the routine that works, and it has actually worked for me, in the past… but not this morning… which is frustrating beyond belief…

in my day, if something LOOKED LIKE HTML code, it WAS HTML code, and could be edited as such, wherever it occurred. 😠✊

woo… and hoo… 😒

they’re starting the process of “permitting” buskers at the pike place market (i.e. they’re starting the process by which one applies for a “permit” to be a busker). 😒

because of COVID, they’re not actually allowing buskers at the pike place market… yet… but they’re starting the process of permitting them, so that when they get the okay from the health department, buskers can, officially, “return” to the market. 😒

but, if my memory serves, they’re only allowing tubas on a case-by-case basis, they’re not allowing any other cup-mouthpiece brass instruments of any kind, regardless of how quitely they’re played (but loud, obnoxious, reed-mouthpiece, brass saxophones are perfectly fine), and they’re not allowing ANY electronic amplification of any kind, for any reason. 😒

oh yeah, i forgot… technically, the “official rules” say “MUTED” tubas… i don’t actually own a tuba mute. very few tuba players i know own a tuba mute. tuba mutes can cost $300. i don’t know of a NON-tuba-player who can even describe what a tuba mute looks like… i’m not going to buy a tuba mute just to play at the pike place market. i’ve said it before, and i’ll say it again. tuba mutes are ridiculous! 🤬

not only that, but i no longer have a busking partner. 👎😒

so, do i apply for a permit, or not? 😒

þe olde hear ȝe… ƿhat are ȝe talking about??

i’ve griped about this before, but it has surfaced again, so here’s another…

“ye olde” stuff, and people who yell “hear ye” are NOT using the same word, and it all has to do with three, but primarily two obsolete letters; ƿ which is called “wynn”, þ which is called “thorn”, and ȝ which is called “yogh”.

ƿ is pronounced like “w”. þ is pronounced as a voiceless “th”. ȝ is pronounced like “y”.

it also has to do with the fact that the letter “y”, itself, is a relatively recent innovation, and it wasn’t really decided exactly what the letter “y” was going to “do” until the late 1800s or early 1900s. prior to that time, the letters ƿ, þ, and ȝ were in reasonably common use, and people used “y” for wildly different reasons, depending on what flavour of proto-modern-english they were speaking.

“þe olde” is pronounced “the old”. when we were in the process of figuring out what “y” did, some enterprising printers got it into their heads that “y” could be used as a substitute for þ, and then things got out of hand.

again, while we were in the process of figuring out what “y” was supposed to do, the letter ȝ was falling out of fashion. “ye” — which was originally spelled “ȝe” — is the nominative case of the second person plural pronoun, which, in modern times, is “you”, and some other enterprising printers figured that they could use this new fangled “y” thingy as a substitute for ȝ, and, thus, instead of “hear ȝe”, we now have “hear ye”, even though the letter ȝ is actually more closely related to the modern letter “g”.

and then there’s ƿ, which sort of looks like “y”, if you squint — and, considering that corrective lenses were still a curiosity, there must have been A LOT of printers who couldn’t see very well. but the fact that it is pronounced like “w” means that it can only come down to stupid printers who didn’t know, or couldn’t see the difference, and mistakenly set ƿ as “y” as a typographical error.

and the fact that people don’t just KNOW this stuff is something i find very frustrating. 😒

updated 😒

because of the fact that they were, for the most part, MAGA chuds, and not real, honest-to-god terrorists, they didn’t do anything more than break a bunch of windows, urinate and smear feces all over the walls, break furniture, steal nancy pelosi’s stationery, and a bunch of other meaningless, mindless vandalism, and then claim that it was all ANTIFA’s fault (hint: it wasn’t).

oh, and one guy, who was trying to steal a picture (of tip o’neill), accidentally tazed himself in the balls and died, and a lady carrying a gadsden “don’t tread on me” flag, was trampled to death, bringing the death toll to five. 😒

the FBI has currently made around 80 arrests, with more, allegedly, in the offing, but the FBI is “having difficulty” identifying people like the “Q-shaman” and “Bigo”, whose identities and general locations i knew about two days ago, while the insurrection was still in progress. (“bigo” has, since, been arrested, and, my guess is that it won’t be too long until qshaman is also in custody)

it’s really a good thing that these people weren’t more organised or had a better idea of what they were going to do once they had stormed the capitol. there were a few of them that had sort of a clue; the right-wing social media was rife with people encouraging kidnapping, murder, and general mayhem, for at least a month beforehand, but there were a only few of the MAGA chuds that actually came equipped for such things. for most of them, once they had broken into the capitol, they had no clue what to do next.

pelosi has invoked the 25th amendment, and said that if trump’s cabinet won’t remove him, congress will impeach him, AGAIN… they PROBABLY won’t have enough votes to remove him from office (again), but he’ll go down in history as the only president ever to have been impeached twice.

ETA: trump’s cabinet is resigning, rather than invoking the 25th amendment. this points out that they knew they were wrong, even before this whole thing started blowing up. if their own base hadn’t screwed up so badly, they all would have gotten away with it! #ImprisonALLTheMotherFuckers!! 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

ETA: donald trump’s personal accounts have been banned from all social media. not only that, but apple and google have given parler (the right-wing twitter alternative, for people who have been banned from twitter) an ultimatum: either put together a realistic moderation policy or be banned from downloading. this, of course, caused a run on parler, and it’s currently offline all together.

it’s too bad they couldn’t have done this four years ago…😒

ETA: moe gets vaccinated next week. nobody knows when i get vaccinated. they say “may – december, information on phases 2, 3 and 4 coming soon”. “people experiencing homelessness” get vaccinated in april. 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

😒

it's officially an attempted coup, now...
it’s officially an attempted coup, now…

MAGA chuds have overrun the US capitol, in washington DC.

the capitol police let them do it. 😒

tear gas was deployed in the rotunda. at least one person has been shot.

the mayor of washington DC called in the national guard. the national guard said no. they’re sending in the national guard from some other state (virginia?), because the washington DC national guard could, potentially, come under the control of the acting POTUS (because biden hasn’t been inaugurated yet), which would not be ideal, at this point.

so this is how america dies. 😒

VEWPRF green things

VEWPRF was made only a little bit more tolerable this year because the pandemic has made everything else so awful that there didn’t seem to be as much energy put into the decorations and the public displays of “christianity” that there usually are…

but, because of the pandemic, we did NOT have things like the profusion of money-making gigs for performers, and the big, lavish dinner parties, and the exchange of massive quantities of commercial products, and the mass, forced, fake “love for all” like we usually have, either, so it all, sort of, evens out into a generic awful that has been, more or less, constant, since… oh, i don’t know… march? january?

so they’ve discovered a vaccine for COVID19… at the same time that they’ve discovered a new varient of the COVID19 virus. at this point, they’re pretty sure that the vaccine will work for the new varient as well, because of the fact that it’s a mRNA vaccine, rather than one based on dead or disabled virii, but, in part, because of the fact that it’s a new vaccine technology, the anti-vaxxers are even more suspicious of it, and quite a large number of them have already said they won’t get it…

what i’ve heard is that people who know seem to think that, if we can achieve masking, social distancing, and vaccines for 100 days, we MIGHT be able to “open up the economy” again around june of 2021… but, with the republican’ts and other assorted “christians”, anti-vaxxer/anti-masker idiots who will fight anything they don’t understand, and deliberately refuse to understand anything that’s not in the bible, i sincerely doubt that we’re going to see ENOUGH masking, social distancing, and vaccines to accomplish much of anything other than the opportunity for the idiots to say “see, it didn’t work”…

and the more “important” you are seems to be the determining factor in who gets the vaccine first. #drumpf got it, in spite of the fact that he’s already had it, and he’s (allegedly) already taken hydroxychloroquine as a “prophylaxis” (which it’s not, despite all the hype he gave it). my brother, who is a RN, got his last week. i don’t know IF i’m going to get it, let alone WHEN… maybe when i turn 65…

thailand has had 4 deaths from COVID19… FOUR! 😒

201111

Trump Tees Up a New Type of Coup: In Plain Sight
by Ted Rall, 201111

Donald Trump revolutionized political campaigning. It was by accident. Because he was too lazy to prepare for or memorize a stump speech, he ad-libbed his rallies; TV networks gave him $2 billion worth of free airtime because something he said might prove newsworthy. Because he was cheap, he made appearances at any random dump that would have him for free; he used the money he saved on big data research that paid off handsomely.

Now the president is attempting to revolutionize the art of the coup d’état.

Leaders of broad-based movements who want to overthrow an existing government usually agitate for revolution in plain sight. The activism of a popular front attracts new recruits.

A coup is the opposite of a revolution. Unlike revolutionaries, who need the masses to succeed, coup plotters require secrecy. A coup is usually carried out by a very small group of insiders. Coup schemers are not interested in, or have concluded that they cannot, obtain popular support. They do not seek to transform society. They simply want power. It is an attempt by a minnow to swallow a whale.

Without the protection of millions of adherents and operating outside constitutional norms, politicians and/or military men who plot a coup must take over the government by surprise. Leaders of the outgoing regime have to be in prison or dead, and thus powerless, before their supporters realize that their nation has been seized by a small faction. A coup d’état is over before it begins in the event that some element of the conspiracy comes to light before the zero hour. The classic example of a failed coup is Operation Valkyrie, the 1944 attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler and overthrow of the Nazi government of Germany by a group of military officers. The plot unraveled when Hitler survived a bomb attack and went on the radio.

Successful coups include the 2004 overthrow of democratically-elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti, whom the CIA kidnapped and spirited away to the Central African Republic, whose president Ange-Félix Patassé had himself been deposed in a coup a year earlier, the Taliban-supported takeover of Pakistan by General Pervez Musharraf in 1999, and the bizarre 1993 self-coup by Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who illegally shelled and dissolved parliament.

All of these events seemingly came out of nowhere. By contrast, Donald Trump is laying the groundwork for a coup attempt in plain sight.

Defying tradition, Trump is still refusing to concede the election since the Associated Press and other media organizations called the race in favor of Joe Biden on Saturday, November 7th. Without presenting evidence of fraud or other wrongdoing, he has filed several lawsuits challenging the legitimacy of the vote count.

Most top Republicans are supporting Trump, or remaining silent and refusing to congratulate Biden. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the floor of the U.S. Senate. “President Trump is 100 percent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options,” said McConnell. “Let’s not have any lectures about how the president should immediately, cheerfully accept preliminary election results from the same characters who just spent four years refusing to accept the validity of the last election.”

Asked whether he planned to congratulate Biden, Ron Johnson (R-WI) replied: “Nothing to congratulate him about.” Even as world leaders called to acknowledge Biden’s win, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

Roger Stone, the political adviser and loyalist pardoned by Trump, previewed the possibility of a post-election military takeover in September. If Trump lost, Stone said at the time, he ought to declare “martial law,” invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807, nationalize state police forces and round up critics and political opponents including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “the Clintons,” and journalists because they’re involved in “seditious activities.” On November 2nd Stone said Former CIA Director John Brennan, Former FBI Director James Comey and other former officials who offended Trump “must be tried and convicted of treason” and then “they must be hung by the neck until dead.” Stone is still tight with Trump: news just broke that the president had the IRS wipe away Stone’s bill for back taxes, which totaled $1.5 million.

Attorney General William Barr, following Stone’s recommendation, ordered the Department of Justice to investigate irregularities and improprieties in the election.

In order to enforce martial law Trump would need, and has, widespread support among the police. He would also need the military. Though inherently reactionary, active-duty troops have moved away from the president in recent months. So he is replacing top Pentagon brass with compliant loyalists likelier to follow his illegal and unconstitutional orders.

On November 9th Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who refused to deploy troops against Black Lives Matters protesters in June. “In my experience, there would only be a few reasons to fire a Secretary of Defense with 72 days left in an administration,” Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) and an official in Obama’s Pentagon, said. “[One] would be because the President wants to take actions that he believes his Secretary of Defense would refuse to take, which would be alarming.”

“Two White House officials said later on Monday that Mr. Trump was not finished, and that Christopher A. Wray, the FBI director, and Gina Haspel, the CIA director, could be next in line to be fired. Removing these senior officials — in effect decapitating the nation’s national security bureaucracy — would be without parallel by an outgoing president who has just lost re-election,” reported The New York Times.

In a major, unprecedented transition-period shakeup, policy chief James Anderson, intelligence boss Joseph Kernan and Esper’s chief of staff Jen Stewart have also been fired from the Pentagon. Anderson’s replacement is retired Army General Anthony Tata, a nutty far-right white nationalist who called Obama a “terrorist leader,” said Islam was the “most oppressive violent religion I know of” and used a racist slur against CNN host Don Lemon. He will do whatever Trump wants.

What’s going on? Stupid impetuous drama? Or a real coup?

If it turns out to be a coup, it may well prove that teeing it up in plain sight improves its chances of success. Trump’s supporters, disproportionately prone to violence and more heavily armed, are watching and waiting. They can only pitch in as paramilitaries or freelance goons if, like the rest of us, they see the dark days ahead.

Then Trump’s coup becomes a counterrevolution.


Coups For Dummies
by Clay Jones, 201111

On November 10, 2016, President Obama hosted President-elect (sic) Donald Trump in the White House. Vice-President Joe Biden hosted vice-president elect (sic) Mike Pence in the VP residence. First Lady Michelle Obama gave a White House tour to Melania Trump. Today, it’s November 11, 2020, and instead of inviting the future president of the United States to the White House, Donald Trump is hiding inside his bunker in denial he lost. What makes this even worse is that he has enablers. These enablers are helping Donald Trump thwart democracy.

Republicans are pointing out that Democrats whined about the 2016 election. This is true. I whined. I didn’t like the results. I still don’t like it. But while I said the election was tampered with and Russia meddled, I never said any ballots were fraudulent. No Democrats opposed the transition of power. Today, the Trump administration is not allowing a transfer of power.

The Trump Administration could still pursue legal challenges over the election while allowing the process of a transition to happen. That would be in the best interest of the nation. Instead, offices are not being created for the transition, funds aren’t being released, and the next president isn’t even being given security briefings. These were all acts afforded to Donald Trump when he was the incoming president (sic).

The United States condemns leaders of other nations who refuse to leave office and give up power after losing fair elections. Now, our leader (sic) is refusing to give up power and is hiding inside his palace sending his minions out to help him stage a coup. Donald Trump has not been seen since last Thursday.

Mitch McConnell is supporting Trump’s legal challenges even though there isn’t any evidence of massive voter fraud. Lindsey Graham is telling Trump not to concede. McConnell and Graham both won their Senate elections last week but neither one of these two men refused their opponent’s concessions.

Ted Cruz says allowing the media to declare the winner is not how we do it in America. Except, he was more than happy to accept the media’s declaration of a winner in 2016. He was more than happy to accept their declaration in 2018 when he won reelection to the Senate.

When asked if he had congratulated President-Elect Joe Biden yet, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, whose state went for Biden, said he doesn’t have anything to congratulate Biden for.

Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana said, “We have got to allow our courts to hear these allegations of voting irregularities by the president.” You may as well allow the courts to hear allegations of lizard people running our government too because you have just as much evidence of that as you do of voter fraud.

North Carolina’s Thom Tillis was finally declared the winner of his race yesterday and he said about the presidential election, “Every vote legally cast must be counted.” Who says they shouldn’t? Who says they haven’t been counted? Guess what. Tillis didn’t stop his opponent from conceding saying, “Every legal vote must be counted” bullshit.

Isn’t it fucked up that right after you elect someone, that they make a pronouncement against democracy and fair elections?

Attorney General William Barr is releasing the Justice Department’s legal hounds to fight Trump’s loss in the courts. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani is holding press conferences outside dildo shops claiming the election was stolen from Trump.

It’s funny Democrats stole the election for Biden while simultaneously losing the Senate and seats in the House. It’s also funny that it hasn’t occurred to any of these Republicans claiming fraudulent ballots, that they also have their names on those “fraudulent” ballots. If we’re going to wipe out who won the election, that should also mean we wipe out all those Republican victories. Should we wipe out McConnell’s, Graham’s, and Tillis’ victories?

Each government department is being told to prepare their budgets for next year as though the administration will still be operating. As if they’re still going to be in town and not all applying at Fox News at the same time. And Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the nation’s top diplomat has said there will be a “smooth transition…to a SECOND Trump administration.”

What the fuck? The top diplomat or the world’s leading democracy is telling the world we don’t obey election results anymore. Pompeo said the eletion has not been decided. It has LITERALLY been decided.

Can you imagine the outrage if instead of conceding the election the day after, Hillary Clinton had refused to admit defeat, mounted legal challenged, and claimed the election had been stolen? Can you imagine if instead of inviting Trump to the White House, President Obama had refused to release transition funding?

In Michigan, Trump beat Clinton by 10,704 votes in 2016. In 2020 in Michigan, Biden beat Trump by over 146,000 (and still counting). In case you’re a Republican, 146,000 is greater than 10,000.

In Pennsylvania, Trump beat Clinton by 46,765. In 2020 in Pennsylvania, Biden beat Trump by over 48,000 (and still counting). In case you’re a Republican, 48,000 is more than 46,000. Now, Trump is suing to overturn the election in Pennsylvania.

As the counting continues, Biden is heading for a 306 electoral vote win. That’s the exact same amount Trump won with in 2016. How are they going to win the presidency by overturning one state without any actual evidence of election fraud? They would need to overturn more than one state. Maybe they can do it in Georgia where the two GOP senators are calling for their own Republican Secretary of State to resign because they don’t like that his count shows Donald Trump is losing.

This is banana republic type shit here, people. This is a coup attempt. Maybe people like Pompeo are just trying to appease Trump for now. Maybe Pompeo is a coward. He wants to appease Trump’s base for when he runs for the Senate in Kansas or even for the presidency in 2024, if Trump doesn’t. Or maybe, he’s afraid of being fired two months before he’s scheduled to lose his job. Trump is already lashing out and firing people.

Maybe people like Mitch McConnell, John Kennedy (not the good one), Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Thom Tillis, and Ted Cruz are all just big, fat ass kissers. Or…they’re trying to steal an election and are engaging in a coup.

I predicted before the election that Joe Biden would win… but I did not predict he’d take the White House because I was afraid the Republicans would try to steal the election. Even before the election, Trump said the only way he could lose was if there was corruption and voter fraud. Boy, did I call it or did I call it?

We know this about Trump supporters: They are all cowards. They have made their party into one of a cult. They put one man before their nation. They are putting one man before democracy. They don’t care if they turn our democracy into a dictatorship.

The Trump administration will NOT legally continue, but the resistance must.

#drumpf lost, but…

it’s official now: #drumpf is our lame-duck president. the first time a president hasn’t won re-election since 1992.

big surprise. 😒

but democrats didn’t take the senate, and democrats actually lost seats in the house… which means that the changes that #drumpf made in the supreme court (a “lifetime-appointed” body) are going to be a lot more difficult to chalenge, and expanding the supreme court is, also, pretty much out of the question… and #drumpf got to choose three supreme court justices, who are, now, going to determine whether or not his claims of election fraud are actionable… a qanon believer is on their way to the senate… “nothing, fundamentally, is going to change” says our “new” leader.

meet the new boss. same as the old boss.

#drumpf lost

it hasn’t been officially announced yet, but biden won. however, as biden, himself, has said, “nothing, fundamentally, will change”… so, now, it’s “fascism light”, rather than “fascism extra-bold”, but, essentially, the same font. 😒

we’ve got a couple months of a lame duck session, wherein #drumpf has every occasion, opportunity and encouragement to screw things up even more badly than he already has, and then, naturally, when he finally steps down, the first thing to happen is that biden will pardon and absolve him of any crimes that he may have committed.

but at least he didn’t actually win… again… woo. 😒

tesla tequila
tesla tequila
in other news, tesla (the overpriced electric car, not the scientist) has come out with a branded tequila, which, in unbranded bottles, runs around $45 a bottle… but in their fancy, tesla lighting bolt bottle, it costs $250 a bottle, but you can’t get it, because it already sold out the entire run, within hours of its being announced.

if you ask me, it looks more like a bottle of cologne than a bottle of tequila. 😒

so…

the fence is (allegedly) being fixed on thursday, by the guy who is the friend of the neighbour who is (still) being a dick about paying for the fence, despite the fact that the dead tree which destroyed it was on his property. 😒

the guy who is (allegedly) fixing the fence has already run down a whole list of (bogus) complaints he had about the current fence — i get the impression that he’s not particularly impressed with the quality or consistency of the fence materials, despite the fact that we had the fence made by a different company than the one which made the gates, and that the whole thing was built during the peak of the first round of COVID…

but i get the very strong impression that the guy is going to do everything possible to get away with doing a halfway job and begging off, never to be heard from again, which is why i’m going to be keeping an eye on the work progress, when it happens. 😒

election day is (finally) tomorrow. in spite of the fact that he was impeached, we managed to survive (barely) four years of #drumpf, and i’m not sure, even now, that we’re going to vote him out tomorrow… and, even if we do, i’m even less sure that he’ll leave without making a BIG fuss, and/or flagrantly cheating… and even if we do manage to eject him into the sun, there’s going to be A LOT of #MAGA #chuds who will be stubbornly unwilling to accept it, and even if we are actually able to eject him into the sun, they’re not going to be so “easy” to deal with, nor will they just “go away”, once the solar ejecting has actually been accomplished.

i keep saying it’ll take us at least a hundred years to recover from #drumpf, and i’m not sure we have a hundred years left, even if we do, miraculously, make him and his cronies just vanish.

in other news, i made a new page for the Incense Of The Month Club, but i can’t figure out how to put the background image on it that i want, so it’s not linked anywhere, yet. i bought a 1½” diameter button press (because why not), and now i’ve got to round up some civic organisations which want buttons for some campaign or something.

also, i never heard back from kent.

good. 😒

1½" diameter buttons
1½” diameter buttons
pins & buttons
pins & buttons

FUCK 2020!

our BRAND NEW, not even three months old yet, 6-foot security fence, has been destroyed by a falling tree.

200925 FUCK 2020!
200925 FUCK 2020!

200925 FUCK 2020!
200925 FUCK 2020!
200925 FUCK 2020!
200925 FUCK 2020!

it was a dead tree, on the neighbour’s yard, that fell… it didn’t even have the decency to fall all at once; it broke off about 20 feet up (remember, it was dead), and the broken part fell on our fence… it didn’t hit the shed, and nobody got hurt, which is a good thing, but still…

FUCK 2020‼‼

the date of up

today is our 22nd wedding anniversary. i got monique a yellow rose tree to replace some of the cat-killing lillies that are in our front yard… or possibly to screen the (finally finished, two months late) fence from the outside dogs… who HATE the fact that, when they come to fence-fight, our dogs go inside, or don’t go inside, but don’t fence-fight, and get TREATS for not fence-fighting… i suppose i’ll let her decide where to put it, but those are the two spots i would choose.

as i said, the fence is finally finished… only two months later than it was supposed to be, but it makes SO! MUCH! DIFFERENCE! i actually watched DJ come up on the front porch (nobody was home but me), and when he got no response, he went around the side of the house, came across the 6-foot fence, and DID NOT come up on the back deck, or start hammering on the sliding glass door! 👍 seriously, i feel sorry for the kid, because his parents are totally overwhelmed, and have only the slightest clues how to deal with an autistic kid… and, apparently (i haven’t actually seen anything, but i’ve heard WAY more than enough to get a good idea), part of the way that they DO have of dealing with him, involves a fair amount of yelling and hitting… 🙁

i still haven’t found a place that i can walk, comfortably, when i’m on mushrooms, but, because of the fact that we’re, essentially, surrounded by state forests, watersheds and suchlike, i’m sure that i’ll find something, eventually. it’s been tough, though, particularly with the voluntary quarantining, social distancing, and constantly decreasing supply, i’ve been wanting to take mushrooms A LOT more than i have, recently.

i’m making a sculpture out of found objects, in a disused gohonzon that i’ve been carrying around for AT LEAST 20 years. so far i’ve used two 11 balls from two different sets of pool balls, a single, spike-heel, patent leather shoe that i found in the parking lot of the hospital where my father-in-law died, a grey ball from a track-ball-mouse-thing, several random pages from a gideon bible, a pair of reading glasses, a couple of old, but new-in-container antenna decorations from ivar’s fish and chips, a fishing lure, a couple of random vacuum tubes, a bunch of organ stops, a bright green, micro-fibre duster, and various parts of an old telephone… and liberal quantities of hot glue. it’s almost finished, but i still have to figure out what to make the “mouth” out of, and i’ve got to take apart the phone to get the cradle for the receiver out of it, because that’s the part that i’m using. i’ve been working on it for a couple of weeks now. it feels strange to be “creative” after such a long time. but it feels strangely like home. it’s really good to have a workshop that i know where everything is (even though i’m still unpacking stuff), and not have to move stuff out of the way, or figure out where to put the other unfinished projects before starting.

it’s taken almost four years, but i think the united states is beginning to realise that, possibly, electing drumpf may have been a mistake… although we didn’t ACTUALLY elect him, the electoral college did that, but that’s an entirely different story. and it’s taken the fact that drumpf WAS IMPEACHED, along with 150,000 needless deaths from COVID19 (and climbing hourly) because of his incompetence, constant, blatantly overt lying, corruption and crony-ism, and weeks of protest over dramatically increasing police brutality… and we’re still not getting rid of him and reversing course on everything he put in place, we’re just talking about the possibility that, maybe, it might have been a mistake to elect him. 😠

and it doesn’t look like, if he’s actually voted out of office in november (which there is still a signifiant probability that he won’t be, for one reason or another), it’s going to get significantly better any time soon, despite the fact that, IF he’s voted out of office, the replacement will be a democrat. joe biden is the presumptive democratic candidate, and the only reason why joe biden is looking AT ALL good, at this point, is because drumpf is looking so PHENOMENALLY awful. joe biden waffles too much on things like cannabis and “black lives matter”, is less than exemplary in his recollection of his personal contributions to history, has a tendency to get confused and/or forget what he’s saying which, some have said, is a precursor to dementia, and he has a creepy, huggy, kissy, fondling attitude towards, especially, younger women and girls, that makes my skin crawl. 😖 unfortunately, from my point of view, the only logical candidate is vermin supreme, and if this weren’t such an important election for drumpf to LOSE, i would vote for him without reservation.

in response to the murder of George Floyd by police

200531 Serve and Protect sculpture, Salt Lake City
200531 Serve and Protect sculpture, Salt Lake City

increasingly violent protests have been escalating globally. if we had all listened to colin kaepernick, way back when, we might have avoided this.

meanwhile, drumpf has issued an executive order making antifa a “terrorist organisation” — meaningless, as antifa isn’t an “organisation”, but convenient, because now drumpf can claim anybody is antifa, and have them arrested — and inciting violence on twitter with rhetoric recycled from the republican side of the ’60s-era race riots.

and “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” means the same thing 50 years ago as it does now.

COVID19 has facilitated increasing fascism. it’s just a matter of time before drumpf declares martial law, and/or someone assassinates him.

something that would be supremely ironic, in drumpf’s case: “assassinate” is a word that begins with not one, but two “ass”es…

aparajita

ravi shankar’s 100th birthday was the 7th of april.

ravi shankar’s favourite incense was aparajita.

at this point, i believe i am responsible for THE ONLY retail store in the united states which sells aparajita, online.

i am aware of several local retail stores which sell aparajita in their store, but not online. i’m fairly sure that there are others, in other cities. i am also aware of at least two retail stores (i won’t give them the satisfaction of a link) who say that they sell aparajita online, but they’re either perennially “out of stock”, or flat out rip people off, and hope that nobody notices. i have no doubt that there are others of that sort out there, as well.

recently, i had to prevent a guy from los angeles from buying ALL of my aparajita. he said he was working with ravi shankar’s family and the ravi shankar foundation on a special 100th birthday celebration. problem was, his credit card failed stripe, and the order was automatically cancelled… and then i learned how to set an item limit, so that people like him can’t just swoop in and buy all of my stock…

i’ve actually had this happen before: a few years ago, i stocked an incense that was made for the theosophical society by shroff agarbathies, that shroff called “Adyar Meditation Incense”, but the theosophical people called it “Leadbeater Incense”, and it was fantastic, rose, agar, and sandalwood, and i was the ONLY agarbathiwala outside of the theosophical society that carried it… but then the government of india put some sort of restrictions on the export of sandalwood, and shroff stopped making it. i found out about it when someone from florida (i suspect a theosophist, actually) bought TWO KILOS of adyar meditation incense, in 100 gram packages, and when i tried to order more, i couldn’t.

fortunately, i held back some for my own, personal “stash”, but since then i have been very wary of people who buy a huge quantity of one particular incense.

and, the fact is, i’ve been having some trouble locating a supplier of aparajita… AGAIN… 😒

my contact at mavana stopped responding to my emails, the mavana web site died, both of the suppliers (one in florida, one in new york) that carried it have gone out of business, and all of the other suppliers i’ve talked to say that they won’t carry it because aparajita smells too “medicinal”, whatever that means… 😟

my only hope is the fact that, in india, it is still popular enough that it’s being “copied” by at least two incense manufacturers… they haven’t got the recipe for the incense, but their labeling and package artwork is a direct rip-off of the authentic aparajita.

so, i guess i may have to actually travel to india eventually… 😒

🤬

#drumpf is still “winning”… demolishing sacred native burial grounds and tossing 70 million people off of SSI and SSDI so that he can build his ill-fated wall; dr. stabby, cruella devos, and a whole range of people who have never done anything in government being appointed to important positions of power in the government; endless war in the middle east; not taking a presidential salary, but taking more golf excursions than the past 4 presidents COMBINED, despite a campaign promise that he wasn’t going to play golf; muslim ban; climate-change; etc., etc., etc., etc., ETC…. 😒

but all we hear about, TODAY, is the fact that flerfer “Mad” Mike Hughes died in yet another attempt to take his home-made, steam-powered rocket up to 5000 feet so that he could photograph the “lack of curvature”…

as though the news that some crazy person dying while trying to prove the impossible is, somehow, more important news than the distaster immediately destroying the planet… 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

arf! 🤬

the word that i just got is that we are, indeed, going to yakima.

i don’t have any more details, yet, however:

1) the guy who complained about us not being colourful enough is eric. eric is the guy we were supposed to contact when we got to salem, but when we got there, and called his number, we were informed that he no longer works for the oregon state fair, and we should call someone else.

2) eric is also the guy who was supposed to be responsible for procuring the signs that didn’t exist at the oregon state fair, a fact which cost us a fair amount in tips that didn’t come in because (as was clearly demonstrated) people didn’t know that we were NOT being paid a substantial amount by the fair to be there and entertain them. to counteract this for yakima, we demanded to be paid $2,000 if yakima had signs, $2,200 if they didn’t have signs, and $2,500 if they said they would put up signs, but don’t actually do it.

3) deni apparently “went to bat” for us, and got us hired in spite of eric’s complaints that we weren’t colourful enough. whether or not this means that the issue of the signs (see item 2) that we put into our list of demands (or, for that matter, ANY of our list of demands) has been met remains to be seen.

part of this is because hobbit is so broke that busking to bring in some money NOW is more important to him than clearing up questions such as this. i trust hobbit — more or less — so i’m fairly sure that he wouldn’t deliberately put me into a situation which, ultimately, would leave me screwed, but, because of the fact that he’s so broke, i can’t be 100% sure, and even if i was 100% sure that hobbit won’t screw me, i still have significant reservations about deni, and i’m actually fairly sure that eric would deliberately do things to fuck with me, knowingly or not, simply because he has done so in the recent past. 🤬

so… whee… we’re going to busk for 10 days in yakima. woo. 😒

hopefully it will be more “productive” than salem was.

No Revolution

No Revolution
by José Tirado

There will be no revolution so long as Netflix remains cheap,
No revolution while the Super Bowl continues,
And the bombs killing kids in Yemen get yawns.
There will be no revolution today,
Or tomorrow, since there is a big sale up the street,
And people are camping out the night before.
There will be no revolution because people are weary
And besides, Game of Thrones is ending
And Avengers: Endgame has taken all my hope quotient for this year.
There will be no revolution while people work 2 jobs
But can´t afford homes in their cities
And the countryside is too poisoned, too addled with meth
To worry about that stuff.
There will be no revolution so long as Teen Vogue has better articles
Than the New York Times.

There will be no revolution that poses for selfies.
There will be no revolution with kitten pictures.
There will be no revolution on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday as those are “holy” days.
There will be no revolution on Mondays because that would be asking too much.
There will be no revolution on Wednesdays because that´s hump day and people are
Getting excited for the weekend.
There will be no revolution while the Earth cooks since
If the “earth dying is not inspiration enough”
We´re fucked anyway.

There will be no revolution since guillotine makers are out of fashion
And nobody is angry enough to hold hands.
There will be no revolution now since Biden jumped in the race
And will probably take the word with him
Leaving Bernie fuming.
There will be no revolution because paying bills takes more of our time than reading.
There will be no revolution because Coachella with Bey is more riveting than
Talking to our neighbors.
There will be no revolution because no one has neighbors anymore.

There will be no revolution because the stars aren´t aligned for it.
There will be no revolution because Fox can´t say the word.
There will be no revolution at night because most people are too tired to drive.
There will be no revolution at noon because the days are getting hotter.
There will be no revolution since apparently “America is great again.”
There will be no revolution since no one saw the preview or billboards
Or heard anything on their morning drive to work.
There will be no revolution because the pamphlets aren’t printed in Spanish.
There will be no revolution while our guns are turned on each other.
There will be no revolution since “they” have bigger guns.
There will be no revolution since getting hurt would be too expensive
And my co-pay doesn´t cover “wounds inflicted in liberation struggles. “

There will be no revolution since many are too busy looking for 80% work.
There will be no revolution once we get 15$ an hour.
There will be no revolution since the rich tell us there is no need for one.
There will be no revolution because the economy is booming.
There will be no revolution since the only boom in our economy
Are bomb makers and bunker builders.

There will be no revolution since Jesus is coming anyway so it won´t matter.
There will be no revolution on Christmas, Hanukah, Eid or any other big holiday
Since people will be buying bullet-proof vests and hiring security
So they can pray safely to a compassionate God
To please, take away the need for a revolution.

oy! 😖

the continuing saga of the mailing list fiasco has reached a new plateau:

so, it started out that one of the subscribers to the list sent a message to the list that didn’t go through, for some unknown reason (demons).

when his message didn’t go through IMMEDIATELY — as he was used to them doing — he started looking around for other addresses, and he found two of them. one goes to the list owner, and one is a “machine only” address that sends bounce notices to the owner. it is not for sending email TO, and it is definitely not for sending mail to when your message doesn’t go through, because that triggers the MTA on the user end to blacklist your message.

i found out about this whole fiasco about 6 hours into it, when he sent mail to my personal address, asking me if there was something wrong. i noticed that he had sent mail to the machine-only address, and got blacklisted by micro$awful, so i wrote to the host provider to see if there was something that could be done to reverse the problem.

the host provider’s response was to accuse me (and my mailing list) of sending spam, and they have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sending spam. 😒

they generously offered to set me up with a new IP address instead of arbitrarily closing my account, but the new IP address they gave me didn’t have a PTR (pointer) record, or a RDNS (Reverse DNS) record, which only made the machine that controls the email list mad, because usual mailing lists have a PTR and a RDNS record, and the end result was that i was blacklisted by a number of services with which i have been exchanging emails without a problem for years.

fortunately, these other services were ones for which i could submit delisting requests myself, which takes the host provider and their sensitivity about spam and spammers out of the loop.

nevertheless, i started losing patience, and i might have said some things in my communications with the host provider which ended up making things a whole lot worse, ending up with yesterday, when they asked me to move my web sites to a different host provider immediately.

at EXACTLY THE SAME TIME, the PTR and RDNS records that they installed on my new IP address took effect, which meant that i can no longer send email from my local email client, because it’s not the same server that my VPN has been talking to for more than a year, and i lost it. i didn’t actually curse at them, but i did everything but that.

while i was in the process of figuring out that it was my VPN that was my primary problem, i had, simultaneously, to explain the mistake to the guy who sent the original message, re-assure the members of the mailing list who were trying — and failing — to send messages to the list that they weren’t actually the problem, despite the fact that their email addresses were not interacting correctly with the mailing list, and fend off the more and more insistent demands that i leave, immediately, from the host provider.

long story short, i didn’t sleep very well last night. 😠

at about 3:30 this morning, i finally wrote a letter to macque, saying that i was no longer able to host the web sites he has me hosting, i was no longer able to maintain the mailing list, and that i was retiring from the hosting business.

then i checked, once again, with micro$awful, and determined that I HADN’T ACTUALLY BEEN BLACKLISTED AT ALL!

the WHOLE THING had been caused by “demons” in the machine! 😖

and, to top things all off, we’re scheduled to go to the beach for a week, starting monday, which meant that, if i was going to move, i would have to find a new host and give them the information they need to move my web sites in 3 days, or wait a week, and do the same thing when i got back from vacation. both of these options made going on vacation TO BEGIN WITH not a very exciting prospect, and i was getting severely depressed about it.

and, to put the cherry on top, it turns out that sketch, the drummer for Snake Suspenderz, died yesterday, which made me even more depressed… primarily because he, being dead, didn’t have to worry about all the CRAP that has been going on in the world, while i, being not dead, had to deal with seven times MORE CRAP and had no say in the matter, whatsoever.

then, things started to get better… kind of…

the first thing that happened is that, when i told them that i would be moving my web site in two weeks, that micro$awful hadn’t really blacklisted my IP address, and that i had dumped the client that had caused the whole fiasco, they let up a little bit, and allowed that, since i had paid access until july, that i could stay until then. with a bit more discussion back and forth, they relented even further, and allowed me to keep my web sites where they are.

but i’m still giving up being a host provider for people who don’t know how it works, because it’s WAY too stressful.

so, in the end, i can go on vacation without having to worry about internet SHIT, either while i am on vacation, or after i get home; i will no longer have to deal with people who don’t know doing things that they shouldn’t do and feeling awful about it afterwards, and i won’t ACTUALLY have to move my web sites that aren’t going away anyway (which is an entirely different ball of wax)…

but sketch is still dead, which means that, either, Snake Suspenderz will break up, or that we will find a new drummer… neither of which are very attractive alternatives at this point.

hrmph!

i am done with the moisture festival for another year: 13 shares. we’ll see what a share costs in about a month, but i’m not holding my breath.

during the fremont phil part of the run, i broke my tuba: the mouthpiece receiver came loose, which made playing the instrument sort of interesting, but not absolutely impossible, which is why i took it to the repair shop today, instead of when it happened.

i’m still recovering from the flu. i’ve got a persistent cough which, according to what i’ve read recently, may never go away, although it seems to be, so i don’t know yet.

and, while i was busy with the moisture festival, a subscriber to one of the mailing lists i maintain, who has an email address at micro$awful, unknowingly sent email to the wrong address, and got the mailing list blacklisted from sending to addresses at micro$awful. the host provider’s response to this was to believe micro$awful, and to say that if i don’t move the mailing list to a third-party, commercial SMTP provider, that they were going to refuse to provide service to me any longer. i don’t want to do that, but i am running out of other choices very quickly, and informing micro$awful that their automated blacklister made a mistake is almost impossible. i’m getting really tired of dealing with other peoples’ screw-ups, and, once again, am debating whether or not to just toss all of my “web clients” except for my wife, and just deal with my own domains. it would be so much easier than explaining stuff to people who don’t understand, who don’t pay attention, and who do continue to do the stuff that makes problems happen which i can’t fix.

now that the moisture festival is over, i’ve got a band-mate’s saxophone to work on for a couple days, and moe and i are going to the beach in a week or so. hopefully that will give me the chance to get back to normal for a while. 😒

snarl!!! 🤬

one of the down sides to vaping, as compared to smoking, is that, every now and then (even under the best of circumstances), i have to charge my battery. the “newer” battery models (and quite a few of the older ones, as well) have a micro-USB connector that you plug into a micro-USB charging cable — which are ubiquitous — and then plug the cable into a USB outlet, in your computer, in an outlet strip, in a USB charger, or in a brick in the wall.

i don’t have one of that variety.

the variety of battery i have takes a special type of charger. i suspect that it’s just a matter of swiching out the micro-USB connector (which frequently fails anyway) for a “screw-on” charger, but i haven’t taken apart a micro-USB charger (yet) to find out. it looks like this:

screw-on charger
screw-on charger

the problem is that, after a while — usually somewhere between 3 days and 3 weeks — they just quit working. when you screw them on to the battery, the light turns green and nothing happens.

i finally got tired of having to go and buy a new charger every couple of weeks, so, in desperation, i took one of the no-longer-functioning ones (of which i have MANY) apart, to see what makes it tick. what i found makes me want to spit!

what i found was cheap, probably chinese electronics, with two wires coming out of the charging end, which i expected. what i did not expect was that the wires WEREN’T EVEN SOLDERED to the screw-on attachment, which had a hexagonal piece on the end, which locked into the plastic case to prevent it from spinning.

not soldered wires! >8(
not soldered wires! >8(
the black wire was just layed down, flat, and the screw-on connector was laid on top of it, and the red wire was completely disconnected from the connector, which — naturally — prevented the charger from doing anything other than sitting there with a green light, looking pretty.

THIS IS PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE!!! 🤬

they build these things, EXPECTING them to fail, so that people will have to go out and buy a new one! 😠

i don’t have time, right now, but i am fairly good at soldering wires, and you can bet that, when i have the time, i am going to jigger up one of these gadgets that has BOTH wires correctly soldered in place, and take them to local vape shops and see if i can sell them.

’cause this is RIDICULOUS! 😠🤬😠🤬😠🤬

i knew it was going to happen eventually…

16 years ago, in 2003, hybrid elephant requested, and was granted a paypal “business” account.

i never trusted paypal to do what they claimed to be so good at, so i didn’t keep any balance in my account. i had it there so that people — even people without paypal accounts — could pay me with a credit card, and i didn’t have to worry about checking whether they actually, you know… had a credit card, and that sort of thing.

i had the paypal account as a convenience, and, at first, because there wasn’t anything else like it available for “small” businesses like hybrid elephant.

a few years ago, when i had my web site “professionally” re-designed (my skills with HTML went out the window once i had my brain injury), i switched from using paypal for payments to me, to using stripe for payments, primarily because i hated paypal so much. stripe is only slightly better than paypal, but, significantly, they’re not paypal, which, for me, made all the difference.

since then, i’ve only used my business paypal account for payments to host providers, registrars and web designers, and for a few purchases of tools and materials… and nothing else.

—–

this morning, i woke up to email that said “Your account has been limited”.

immediately, i figured it was spam, but then i looked at it. the last time paypal posted such things online, they posted a few pointers for distinguishing real paypal email from fake paypal email. they included things like “real paypal email will address you by your full name, and not by “member” or something like that”. this email addressed me by my full name, and informed me that i had violated their acceptable use policy, and because of that, they were permanently closing my account.

😒

i contacted my current web designer, who was of the opinion that it was spam/phishing, and recommended that i log in to my paypal account and call them. i logged in to my paypal account, and was immediately transported to a new page that said

You can’t use PayPal anymore

At PayPal, we value a safe community for our customers to do business. We noticed activity in your account that’s inconsistent with our User Agreement and we no longer offer you PayPal services.

Any bank or credit card information linked to your PayPal account cannot be removed nor can it be used to create a new account. You can still log in and see your account information but you can’t send or receive money. Any money in your balance will be held for 180 days, after which we’ll send you an email with instructions about transferring your money.

😒

so, i called them, and, after waiting on hold FOR TWO FUCKING HOURS an “agent” told me that i had been found guilty of violating paypal’s appropriate use policy and there was nothing i could do to change their decision to ban me from their service. the “agent” also informed me that i would be unable to use that credit card number, or email address, to establish a new account in the future. when i asked them to give me some idea of what i had done to deserve such a punishment, they told me that in order to find out what i did, i would have to “seek legal counsel, and file a subpoena.”

at that point, i yelled “FUCK YOU” and hung up.

😠

they said they’ll send me any balance after 180 days (because they want to get all the money they can from your account before they close it), but, because my account had zero balance, the next thing i did was to contact my bank, have them put a hold on any further money going from my account to paypal, disconnect the card that paypal hasd, and issue a new card, with a different number.

at this point, i feel like i deserve this: i only yelled “fuck you” one time, and it was appropriately directed… and i handled the rest of it a lot better than i would have 15 or 20 years ago…

adulting award
adulting award

Pat Robertson’s Weird Way of Doing Sex

pat robertson should not be allowed to broadcast his hate on national television. it astounds me that he still has a platform… although it astounds me that people still go to church, so maybe i’m the crazy one here… although i would much rather be considered “crazy” than i would to convert to that sex-crazed mainiac’s way of thinking. seriously, i don’t understand why HOMOSEXUALS having sex the way they do threatens anybody, and certainly not to the depths of the fabric of society. the fact is, whether pat robertson likes it or not, people have been “doing sex” the “weird way” since long before pat robertson was around, and they’re not likely to go away just because pat robertson and his ilk somehow get a law passed. people like him would do well to pay attention when someone like, oh, i don’t know, Jesus Christ, maybe, says “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

it makes me wonder about the beam in pat robertson’s eye, particularly since he seems to be obsessed with “weird” ways of having sex. it makes me think that he might not be getting enough, himself. 😒

Pat Robertson’s Weird Way of Doing Sex
by Rev. Dr. Guido Super DeLuxe, 190226
download here

@fedex #SUCKS!! 😠‼

monday, i got a text message that said i should expect a fedex delivery on tuesday that required a signature.

tuesday i waited at home ALL DAY, and my package never arrived…

which didn’t surprise me an awful lot, since half the state was at a standstill because of the weather, but that, to the contrary, notwithstanding…

i called and requested that the package be held at the distribution centre, because, even under the best of circumstances, fedex delivery drivers have a less-than-exemplary record when it comes to deliveries to my address… they told me to call again tomorrow.

wednesday i called, again, to request that my package be held at the distribution centre. the helpdesk moron told me that it wasn’t even in my state yet — it was in troutdale, oregon (BIG surprise 😒) — but that my request for the package to be held was in the system, and that i would get a phone call or text message when the package had arrived at the distribution centre.

thursday (today), i got a text message AT FIVE THIRTY IN THE MORNING informing me that my package had been put on a delivery truck, and was going to be delivered to my address by the end of the day.

fedex drivers have EXTREME DIFFICULTY finding my address, under the best of circumstances. but today, there is enough ice, snow and slush — despite the fact that it hasn’t snowed since tuesday — that, even if they COULD find my address, they couldn’t drive their truck to my house, and would, very likely, have to park two or three blocks away and deliver it on foot.

which they won’t do. 😠

so, i called AGAIN, to find out why this had been done, in spite of the fact that i had requested it not be done this way. i was informed that the shipper had “put restrictions” on the package, which didn’t allow fedex to do anything but deliver it to my address.

i asked them why i wasn’t informed of these restrictions the first time i called, on tuesday, but they couldn’t answer that.

i asked them why the shipper is allowed to put restrictions on a package that the recipient can’t change, in spite of the fact that it is the recipient’s property, for which he paid, but they didn’t have an answer for that, either.

they said that if i show up at the distribution center between 5:30 and 9:00 pm this afternoon, the distribution center MIGHT let me have the package. if not, they’ll try to deliver it again tomorrow.

they won’t leave the package (and if it’s what i think it is, i don’t blame them), but i have things to do today, and can’t sit around all day like i was able to on tuesday. if i go to the distribution center this afternoon, they don’t have to let me have the package, in spite of the fact that it IS MINE, AND I PAID FOR IT! if they try to deliver it tomorrow, they’ll very likely run into the same snow, ice and slush that they’ll run into today.

so, in the past five minutes, i have gotten another text message, informing me that a “delivery exception” has taken place, and that they will try again tomorrow. i called AGAIN and informed them that nobody had been to our house, but the delivery had been delayed AGAIN. they called to “get authorisation” for me to pick up the package, and they were able to obtain it.

now, my package will be available, at the distribution centre

AFTER EIGHT PM THIS EVENING!!!

i don’t know about anybody else, but if i’m not performing, or have some other obligations, i like to end my day around 6:30 or 7:00, and by 8:00 i’m pretty much done for the night…

it would be SO much easier if we weren’t so reliant on “modern technology”… 😒

@fedex #SUCKS!! 😠😠😠😠😠😠

ETA: it was what i thought it was: my new 12.9″ ipad pro, which is going to take the place of my 3 music notebooks weighing a total of 40 pounds, which i am forced to carry with me when i go anywhere with my tuba or trombone. this is definitely going to lighten the load a substantial amount…

BUT… i picked it up by going to the distribution center around 5:30 and waiting. they searched for it, and had it to me by 6:30.

now, i say @fedex #SUCKS for not having their shit together AND having their head up their ass! 😠😠‼‼

#WTELF?????

okay, i’m confused… it was my impression that, when police are called because person A has shot person B, that, by definition, we are talking about what is called a “crime”.

there’s this item at Raw Story, Three killed, four wounded in California bowling alley shooting about the police being called to a bowling alley, where they discovered multiple shooting victims, including three who are dead, and no suspect available.

to me, that sounds like it is definitely what they would call a “crime scene”.

but, here’s the thing:

The Torrance Police Department said officers responded to a shot-fired call at the location found multiple gunshot victims. Two men were taken to hospital, two opted to seek their own medical attention, and three were pronounced dead at the scene.

if they were part of a crime, and shot at the crime scene, why were they allowed to “seek their own medical attention”? wouldn’t the fact that they were part of a crime scene necessitate the police wanting to know everything possible about their gunshot wounds?

… which includes records that a doctor at a hospital could easily, efficiently, and accurately provide them, but which usually aren’t accepted by the person, about themselves, after the fact…?

especially if people, you know, actually DIED as a result of this “crime”…?

😕

it is as though the police are, essentially, saying “oh, yeah… some guy shot and killed three people and wounded four others, but don’t worry, it’s not a serious crime that we’re talking about here.”

😒

THIS is why nobody respects cops

this is scary dangerous!

i got a very alarming email today, from lara trump. it said:

President Trump will keep cutting through the fake news filter, and deliver our message straight to YOU — the American people. Now he wants to be sure that you’re all signed up to get REAL NEWS UPDATES straight to your phone.

SIGN UP NOW
The more we can bypass the fake news media, the less power they have to manipulate the news, distort our message, and unleash a flurry of attacks aimed at distracting us from our agenda.

It’s time to take power into our own hands. So please, sign up for texts today to get REAL NEWS straight to your phone.

Lara Trump
Senior Advisor
Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.

so, drumpf is encouraging people to get the news straight from him, so they won’t be “distracted” by the truth…

and she’s the senior advisor for "donald j. drumpf for president, INCORPORATED"…

i sure won’t be signing up for it, but i get the distinct impression that a whole bunch of american citizens will. 😒😓

MA⸘G‽A

MAGA — or Make America Great Again — has become the rallying cry of the right wing, these days, but i have a few questions about whether america was that great to begin with, compared to other countries.

first, i have to consider how we determine what “great” actually means? how is america more “great” than france, or india, or estonia? what measures do we use to determine how “great” a country is, compared to another country, especially when there are countries that have more than a million citizens, and, at the same time, there are countries that have only a few thousand citizens. presumably, they’re not saying that a country is “more great” because it covers more of the surface of the earth, or that it has more occupants than another country.

it has always been my impression — and this was the case WAY before #drumpf was president — that a country is sort of like a football team, or a soccer team: you root for the people who are the closest to where you are. in the same way, barring any other difference, a person who was born in germany thinks that germany is the “greatest” country, and a person who was born in ethiopia thinks that ethiopia is the “greatest” country, regardless of ANYTHING ELSE that may be different about those two countries, compared to each other.

to continue, my impression has also been that, pretty much regardless of what the german, or ethiopian, may say about what the “greatest” country is, a person who was born in america would, very likely, disagree with them, which makes me wonder what a person from another planet — let’s say “jupiter”, for conversation’s sake — would think about these earthlings and their petty squabbles over whose piece of earth is “greater” than anywhere else on earth.

from a person from jupiter’s point of view, ALL places on earth probably have good points and bad points, some places on earth are probably more scenic than others, more crowds, or more serenity, but, from the point of view of someone from jupiter, they’re all just places on earth: nice places to visit, but why would anyone want to live somewhere other than jupiter?

forget “Make AMERICA Great Again”, lets “Make EARTH Great Again”! earth is the only planet we’ve got, and if we ruin it, we don’t have another planet upon which we can fall back…

but that brings up my next point: how can we say that earth is the greatest planet in the solar system? if ANY of the other planets weren’t there, or some other planet WAS there, life as we know it on earth would, very likely, be considerably different. and, of course, if the sun wasn’t there, or was in a different place, or a different size, life as we know it on earth may not have come into existence at all, in the first place. so how can we be so egotistical as to say that “earth is the greatest planet in the solar system”? all it would take would be for one thing to be slightly different, and the world that we know would be unrecognisable.

personally, my belief is that we would all do a lot better if we were to give up the notion that america ever has been “great”, if for no other reason than it would necessarily make every other place on earth “less great”.

america is the place where i was born, but i don’t hold some attraction to america that i don’t hold for every other place, even though i haven’t even been to those other places. for me, america is not, and never has been “great”, it just “is”… in the same way that jamaica or ethiopia or denmark just “is”. nowhere and nobody is “greater” than any other place or person, just as nowhere and nobody is “lesser” than any other place or person: they all have value.

the sooner we realise that, the more likely it is that we will be able to do away with #drumpf and his ilk.

WTELF

which stands for “What The Ever Loving Fuck”…

it’s a good acronym. i’m going to use it more frequently.

in the mean time…

—–
RE: payment?
From: Sales <[email protected]>
To: salamandir <[email protected]>
Date: 180806 08:13 am

We do not accept payment over the website.

Once your order is processed we will contact you with any questions, your total, and to collect payment.

We do not utilize PayPal, however we can do your Master Card.

Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.
—–

they don’t accept payment over the web site, AND they don’t accept paypal?

it takes a little longer to fulfill my order — which i made on sunday, they haven’t “processed” it yet, although they have “confirmed” it…

but this seems to be my kind of business! 😉 👍

american’t

things that have been happening recently, that are reasons why i don’t want to be here any more:

#drumpf has finally got his “muslim travel ban” to stick. apparently, third time’s a charm.

“zero tolerance” and “family separation” for brown people, but, apparently, not for white people who show up at our borders “illegally”, whatever that means. criminal charges for the parents, regardless of why they’re really showing up, and separation from their children, simply because they thought that american’t would be better than wherever they’re from.

rumours of between 2,000 and 3,500 children who have already been separated from their parents, with no obvious way to reunite them with their parents. rumours of toddlers being forced into courtrooms to defend themselves.

and it’s all “the democrats’ fault”, but it would go away immediately if the democrats would agree to taxpayer funding of the wall on the mexican border… which mexico was supposed to pay for, but which mexico has flatly refused to pay for…

drumpf has announced a tariff on imported solar panels, and is encouraging the coal and oil industries, while saying that human-caused climate change is a myth.

they’re in the final process of more than decimating medicare, food stamps and welfare, while giving massive tax-cuts to the one percent, who have been buying up stocks rather than letting the wealth “trickle down”, like it failed to do the last time we tried it.

net neutrality bit the dust last month, and the only reason why things haven’t gotten worse IMMEDIATELY, is because washington, and a couple other states, went against federal mandate and imposed their own net neutrality legislation, which is bound to cause problems (drumpf has specifically said it will) when washington needs help from the federal government at some point in the future.

drumpf has announced the creation of a “space force” to augment an already heavily bloated military, while cutting things we actually need, like health care, education and housing.

anthony kennedy just announced that he will be retiring from the supreme court next month: drumpf is going to get to appoint ANOTHER supreme court justice… which means that we’re going to be battling against his repressive policies (specifically, abortion rights and same-sex marriage) for at least another 20 years beyond whenever we finally get him out of office.

yet another mass shooting by a white, american guy, who was taken alive, unlike what would have happened if he were brown. drumpf offers “thoughts and prayers”, but no actual action to bring these white, american guys into check. meanwhile, another unarmed black guy who was minding his own business, but “matched the profile”, is killed by white cops who won’t face any consequences for their actions, because they were afraid for their lives.

americans, generally, encouraged by SCROTUS drumpf’s very blatant actions since he weasled his way into office, have gotten more blatantly racist than i have seen since i was little. sure, there are more cell phone photos and video recordings of these things for me to see, but i don’t remember seeing blatant racism like this, even during the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

seriously, drumpf is systematically destroying everything that made this society even remotely worth living in. this is why i wish i had died when i had the chance.

bleh

new year blah. had dinner at the akers’, went to bed at 10, and listened to the neighbours blowing stuff up and frightening the animals until two in the morning.

#SCROTUS #drumpf threatening to blow up the world… again… among other, somewhat less horrendous alternatives… blah, blah, blah.

panto blah, sickness blah… i’m actually just starting to feel relatively normal, after having the season’s cold compounded by being around panto people who all have similar colds, for about a month. the panto, itself, is as good a show as we’ve ever done, considering that we’re doing the same show, cinderella, with essentially the same script as the one we did 10 years ago. however, they’ve sold the palladium and nobody’s told me what they’re going to do with the moisture festival, for which they’ve already scheduled the bands: the philharmonic is one of them, snake suspenderz is not. 😕 blah… everybody’s acting as though the moisture festival is happening, but nobody seems to care where it’s theoretically going to happen. it would be great if we could continue using the palladium, but if we’re not, presumably someone has started making arrangements to have it somewhere else.

bleh.

bleugh…

i’ve been sick for the past couple of days. i hope i’m going to be well enough to perform in cinderella on saturday, because that’s when it starts. dress rehearsal is tomorrow, and i haven’t even marked all of the sound effects or where to use them, so it’s going to be touch and go. i should be well enough to make rehearsal tomorrow, but i’ve already loaded the first batch of sound effects into my car. i’ve still got a huge box, plus the bell, which has it’s own stand…

i’ve volunteered to play trombone for a SANCApators performance at Teatro ZinZanni in redmond, in february. reheasals start during the run of cinderella, but the sancapators rehearse during the week, and cinderella is on the weekend, so there won’t be any conflict.

#SCROTUS #drumpf just reduced the size of two national monuments, Bear’s Ears, and Escalante, in utah, to about half of their original size. he wants to eliminate all national monuments, completely, and open the areas for oil drilling and mineral exploration. it’s probably illegal, and there’s already at least one lawsuit filed over it, but that won’t stop him from running rough-shod over it while he has the chance. DAPL has already sprung a couple of leaks, and there are lawsuits over that, as well, but you can’t put oil back in the ground, once it has been extracted… and spilled. meanwhile, there’s a rumour that democrats are going to force a vote to impeach him soon, but as long as the republicretins are in the majority, it’s not going to go anywhere. there’s eventually going to be action from special prosecutor mueller – he just subpoenad Deutsche Bank’s records concerning #drumpf’s accounts, and those of his family (although faux/fake news/jay sekulow (of the ACLJ, a “christian” hate-group) says that he hasn’t), which, allegedly, was the line across which, if he stepped, #drumpf had vowed to fire mueller, but it just happened this morning, so there’s no news on whether he will actually follow through. my personal opinion is that, if he fires mueller, i’m going to start fomenting revolution, and i’m not alone. on the other hand, if he doesn’t fire mueller, then he can definitely be more easily impeached, because his criminal activities, not to mention his treason, will be much more obvious… but once #drumpf is impeached, we’re going to have to impeach pence, and ryan, and the whole list of “republicans all the way down” before anything is going to change… and the only other option is for mueller to declare the 2016 election null-and-void, because of #drumpf’s treason and collusion, but, by then, it’ll be too late to do it over… and it’s never been done before, so nobody’s really sure whether or not it even CAN be done…

i want to be the person he shoots

people suck! 😠

when you’re out for a walk, and you see someone walking a dog on a leash, and it’s OBVIOUS that the dog is in pain, and it’s OBVIOUS that the person on the other end of the leash is TOTALLY OBLIVIOUS about the condition of their dog… how do you respond?

according to my wife, the veterinary technician and veterinary hospital manager, whose specialty is animal behaviour, there’s not an awful lot you can do about a situation like this.

so, anyway, i was out on a walk, and i saw two ladies with dogs on leashes. one of them, the lady in front, had a smaller, black dog that was acting more or less normally, ahead of its human, sniffing the ground, doing normal dog things.

then there came the lady behind. when i first noticed her, she smiled pleasantly, as she was pulling the dog leash over her shoulder, and leaning into it, to get the dog to go faster. it was plain, from her behaviour, that the dog wasn’t pleased at all with the idea of going any faster, because she had to maintain constant pressure on the leash to get him to go as fast as he was.

then i noticed the dog…

i have never felt so sorry for a creature so quickly… the dog was OBVIOUSLY in pain…

he was a medium-sized yellow lab, or a lab-mix of some kind. he was panting, heavily, and drooling almost to the point of foaming. he was an older dog, who used to be a lot fatter than he is now, because he had a lot of loose, flabby skin around his belly. there was something seriously wrong with his hips: his lower abdomen looked distended, and he was walking stiff-legged, taking tiny steps and doing most of the motivating work with his front legs… and it looked like he’d been doing it for a while, because his front legs were a lot more muscular.

as they were passing me, once again, the woman put her shoulder into dragging the dog faster than he, clearly, was able to go. he whimpered, and attempted to waddle faster, which he was clearly not able to do.

never have i wanted, more, to deck someone. 😡 i had to hurry away before i did something stupid, because, if i had hung around any longer, i WOULD HAVE done something stupid.

smoke

that’s right, smoke. as in “from a forest fire”, not “smoking pot”.

the air quality is as bad as it was last week when i wrote about being depressed because of climate change, only then it was from fires in canada, and this time it’s fires in cle elum. because #drumpf is so enamoured of screwing things up, i’m guessing that climate change is going to become a more-or-less permanent feature of life on earth, and i’d better get used to it… but DAMN it’s hard. 😡 🙁

i don’t even know where to start… he’s said that there were “two sides” to the story about the woman who was killed by a so-called “white supremacist” who drove his car into a crowd of protesters, and he’s emboldened the KKK and the nazis to be even more blatantly horrendous than they have ever been in my lifetime, he’s repeatedly ranted at south korea for doing things that south korea has been doing for years, and he’s got us on the brink of world war 3, he cancelled the infrastructure projects that would have at least partially saved texas from the results of hurricane harvey, and once it was over, he hustled down to houston with his (third) wife who was wearing stilletos, and congratulated people for turning out for his “rally”, he’s gone through three communications directors, he’s fired most of his advisors, which is good because most of them were blatantly obvious nazis, but it’s bad because it leaves him without advisors, and more likely to pull some blatantly horrendous horseshit out of his ass, like his recent attempt to ban transgendered troops from the military, or his attempts (plural) to ban muslim immigrants, which is one of his campaign promises, or his attempts (plural) to build a wall between the US and mexico, and have mexico pay for it, another one of his campaign promises, which mexico has repeatedly and emphatically refused to do, so he’s trying to get the US to pay for it…

i’m generally a pacifist, but i’ve been siding more and more with the antifa, these days. 😡

salamandir update

i haven’t been writing much because i’m severely depressed, and have been for some time.

the primary reason is #SCROTUS, who has, once again, alerted the world that, at his leisure, he’s going to dump the entire nuclear arsenal of the united states — his exact words were “fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen” — on a country about 0.013 the size of the united states (north korea), because their “crackpot leader” has been spouting off again. personally, i’d put #drumpf and kim jong-il in the same boat, in terms of being totally insane. and, of course, kim jong-il responded by saying drumpf’s proclamation was a “load of rubbish” and announced a missile test that is going to end 30 to 40 miles off guam. as much as i disliked the gentleman (an alert reader will notice that i don’t refer to drumpf using that term), when obama was president, i could sleep through the night knowing that, when i woke, world war 3 would not have started. 😡

this whole mess was compounded by the fact that i went off 5HTP while i was at OCF, and, apparently, it’s a medicine that you have to take for a while before it starts working. it’s been a month, and i’ve been taking it again for about 3 weeks, so i’m assuming that it’s taking effect — as before, i’m aware of the fact that i’m depressed, but i can function, more-or-less, anyway — but the whole thing with drumpf, ending the world, messing with my (lack of) health insurance, being an ignorant, racist asshole who golfs while the world — which he set on fire — is burning, really doesn’t inspire me to do an awful lot. 😕

this has also been compounded by the fact that climate change has gone from the wettest winter on record, to the longest period without rain on record, and, because of the fact that there have been massive forest fires in british columbia, the weather has been hot and smoky for about a week. i was in tacoma the other day, and i haven’t seen that much smoke there since the infamous “aroma” days. i was in seattle, yesterday, and it was so smoky that i couldn’t see west seattle from I5. the air-quality rating has been “unhealty” for two days… in SEATTLE!! it’s the worst i have EVER seen it, and it’s just going to get worse… and they’re not predicting rain until — MAYBE — sunday. 😡

but because of the fact that drumpf appointed one of his oil-company cronies to the head of the EPA, they are no longer allowed to use the words climate change, which, to them, means that it doesn’t exist. 😡

a ray of hope, snuffed out…

to continue the post started here, it appears that #drumpf “leaked” code-word-protected intelligence about the current US fight against #daesh to russians, and the media is all up in arms about it. the washington post (a decidedly UN-“fake news” source) reported about it in detail yesterday…

but drumpf and his surrogates have stated that this is 100% false — however, after saying that it’s 100% false, drumpf actually tweeted an admission that he had, indeed leaked classified information — but they are bolstering this claim by saying that he has the right to do so, because he’s the president.

Trump Says He Divulged Intelligence to Russians Because He’s Such a Great Guy

furthermore, there have been several other “legitimate” news sources that say that drumpf is a “shoe-in” for the 2020 election, in spite of the democretins gearing up to regain the majority in the 2018 election.

i’m not sure how the world is going to survive eight years of oprobrious orange “leadership”, but if this goes on much longer, it’s looking as though I won’t survive that long. 😡

a ray of hope…

a ray of hope that could very well be the headlight of an oncoming train…

turns out comrade drumpf is under investigation by the FBI. so, like the legendary nixon before him, he fired the director of the FBI this morning.

yeah, that’s not the same as admitting that he’s done something wrong, but if it walks like a duck…

it’s just a matter of time before he’s EX-president drumpf, and it can’t come too quickly for my liking.

the only problem is that when comrade drumpf gets arrested and/or impeached, the next toadie in line is pence, and, while i hate drumpf with a white-hot passion, pence would be 10,000 times worse.

neighbours

i’ve had some difficulty with some of our neighbours… not the ones that live around us, but ones that live further away. one lady was kicking her dog, and when i scolded her for kicking the dog, she suggested that i should kick her, so i did… poor impulse control is common for people with brain injuries, but i didn’t kick her anywhere near as hard as she was kicking her dog, and she had no reason to kick the dog to begin with… but that’s not the point…

the other neighbour is the guy a few blocks away, who i wrote about earlier, who i didn’t kick, but i felt like it, and i was left wondering how i should deal with this guy who was being a dick.

i figured it out…

this evening, as i was walking past their houses, i performed The Turkey Curse. i will continue to perform The Turkey Curse every time i walk past their houses until i am satisfied that they have been properly cursed.

people suck! 😠

i ran into another stray dog down by the park. this time i had my phone (but still no treats, DAMNIT!) but i couldn’t get the dog to come to me… if i had had treats with me, i’m sure he would have come to me, but without, he stayed JUST out of reach, and when i stood up, he walked off in the other direction. i’m fairly sure i’ve seen him before, but on the other side of the main thoroughfare, and fairly far from where he was at the time…

so, i got in my car (i was just returning home from a run to the post office), and tried to catch up to him. i found him in the front yard of the place i’ve noticed in the past, because of the fact that their car has a “HILLARY FOR PRISON” bumper sticker – i went by there again this evening to confirm that the address is, in fact, 11224 S. 384th St., Auburn, WA, 98001. i parked the car out of the road, and crouched down to call the dog to me again, and he looked like he was going to come to me, but then a guy who i hadn’t seen before asked me if that was my dog. i said no, it’s not my dog, but he appears to be lost and i want to capture him and call the number on his tag. at that point, the guy asked me if i was law enforcement. i said no, and he asked me what interest i had in the dog. i said that i was concerned because he was running loose in the intersection, and almost got hit by at least two cars. then the guy said that, if i wasn’t law enforcement that i should “get the hell out of my driveway, we don’t need your kind around here”…

i said “if you say so…”, got in my car, and spun out as i was leaving his driveway. 😠

first, i wonder if something can’t be done about dogs wandering loose in the south part of king county. this is the second time in two weeks that i have run into stray dogs that i’ve tried to rescue. the other time, i actually succeeded in rescuing two dogs, whose owner apparently lives on the same street as my new “friend”, and, if nothing else, i think i should probably warn him that his neighbour is a supreme dick…

second, i wonder what i can do about this guy. i’ve had my share of negative interactions with the local constabulary, otherwise i would call and report him for harboring a stray dog and “intimidation”. there’s not a lot that the cops could do about it, under the best of circumstances, but they could go and tell the guy not to be such a dick, and he’d probably listen to them, for a while anyway… it’s times like these that i’m sorry i don’t live closer to my friend gordy, because i have used gordy as an “intimidation shield” a couple of times, to great effect, and my impression is that this guy would have thought twice about being such a dick if i were accompanied by someone like gordy.

ketchup

i isolated 10 “good enough” tracks from the raw files, but none of them were more than 6 minutes, and i wanted at least one that was 10 minutes or more, so i’m going back to fort worden next tuesday to try it all again. i’ve also bought a recording device of my own, which should make things more interesting, if nothing else.

i woke up the other day and tried to log in to my email account and discovered that everything was offline, and when i went to the host provider to determine why, i discovered that my account had been suspended because they received a spam complaint about me… except that, when i looked at the complaint they received, i recognised it immediately as one that i had sent to an upstream provider a couple of days before, and what they had done was forward it to the upstream provider on the “From:” line, instead of reading the headers to determine that they were, in fact, the people responsible… and, because of the fact that i NEVER receive spam complaints, they arbitrarily suspended my accounts, instead of reading the headers to determine who was actually responsible. 😕 since then i have received about 10,000 spam messages, in 1000 message increments, from people whose php servers have been compromised such that, simply by reading the headers and knowing where to click, i can actually see the spammers online interface on the compromised server…

but I was the one whose account was suspended for spamming. if it weren’t for the fact that i’m still recovering from my bout of changing host servers every few months, a few years ago, i would seriously consider switching, but… in spite of everything, the host server i currently use has been better than any of the others that i have found, for the price.

by the way, here is the place to get your email headers analysed, and here is the place to get information about the IP numbers you’ll get from analysing your email headers. basically it’s the same thing that spamcop used to do. i suppose there’s a way to automate it so that i don’t have to go through all the steps to figure out who gets the LARTs, but i like getting my hands dirty, because i know it’s being done correctly this way. 😏

i have a gig next saturday with the fremont philharmonic at “dudefest” and another gig on sunday at the peace arch in blaine with the sousa band. i’m probably going to spend sunday night in bellingham… depending…

the book of farce

i have been dealing with a difficulty for some time now, in that, because of the fact that i hate, loathe and despise farcebook, i miss out on some important infrastructure in some of the bands in which i play. more and more frequently, i show up to rehearsals or what-have-you, only to discover that a bunch of stuff has been thoroughly discussed on farcebook, and i know nothing about such discussions. furthermore, there have been several changes in the way the music for the ritz is being scheduled, which includes the fact that there is now a farcebook group for musicians who have played, or hope to play at the ritz…

which makes the whole “hate, loathe and despise farcebook” attitude a definite detriment in actually accomplishing forward momentum concerning things that are of definite importance to me and my band-mates…

but it adds to the whole “hate, loathe and despise farcebook” attitude A LOT, because the more we all use farcebook, the richer mark zuckerberg and his CIA cronies become… but that’s not the point of this gripe, so i’ll keep that part out of it as much as i can… 😐

150222 Frank Zappa the Catanyway, i have a cat named Frank Zappa, who has become somewhat of a minor celebrity among my wife’s friends, and there has been significant pressure on her to create a farcebook profile for him, so i figured this would be a good compromise: i bought a used ipad to put it on, so i wouldn’t sully my actual computers with the zuckerbergian menace, and i created a profile for my cat…

and i have been up to my eyeballs in farcebook, ever since. literally, i have had it open and i have been actively scanning for at least 10 hours a day. we went to the beach, and i brought my ipad. i have had it at every rehearsal, and the only times that i haven’t had the farcebook app open is when the ipad freezes or has some other software weirdness (which is a lot more frequently than i would have expected) or when i am asleep. farcebook has taken over my life and i am struggling to get it back, because i have far more interesting things to do with my days than re-posting image macros, mild amusement over LOLcat videos and feeling outrage for about 30 seconds when some new bit of lunatic politics is forced under my nose, only to have it fade immediately upon finding some new bit of lunatic politics, LOLcat video or other image macro getting shoved under my nose.

i don’t want to lose my connections with people like Tom Noddy and Joe Zimmer, i don’t want to lose the ability to plan and scheme with friends concerning things that interest me, but i simply CAN NOT allow my whole life to be swallowed by a thing whose only desire is to suck me in and eat me. 😡

HTML formatting in email is EVIL!!

i know, i’m fighting a losing battle here, but it has to be said… 😐

when you send email, the person who receives it has to play along with your rules, or they don’t get to read what you had to say. that’s the bottom line.

when you send an email that is formatted using HTML, you are assuming that your recipient has an email client that is “smart enough” to interpret the HTML, otherwise the message looks something like this:

<body>
    <table width=3D"620" cellspacing=3D"0" cellpadding=3D"0" border=3D"0" a=
lign=3D"center"><tr><td bgcolor=3D"#F0F0F0">
      <table width=3D"578" cellspacing=3D"0" cellpadding=3D"0" border=3D"0"=
 align=3D"center">
        <tr>
          <td height=3D"16"></td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
          <td>
            <img src=3D"http://s.ytimg.com/yt/img/email/digest/email_header=
.png">
          </td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
          <td height=3D"16"></td>
        </tr>

        <tr>
          <td align=3D"left" bgcolor=3D"#FFFFFF">
            <div style=3D"border-style:solid; border-width:1px; border-colo=
r:#CCCCCC;">
              <table width=3D"578" cellspacing=3D"0" cellpadding=3D"0" bord=
er=3D"0" align=3D"center">
                <tr>
                  <td height=3D"22" colspan=3D"3"></td>
                </tr>

                <tr>
                  <td width=3D"40"></td>
                  <td width=3D"498">
                    <div style=3D"
  font-family:arial,Arial,sans-serif;
">
                                <table cellspacing=3D"0" cellpadding=3D"0" =
border=3D"0">
    <tr>
        <td bgcolor=3D"#FFFFFF" align=3D"left" width=3D"50">
          <img src=3D"https://yt3.ggpht.com/-qroilmK3p5o/AAAAAAAAAAI/AAAAAA=
AAAAA/iFjUrN4F6lA/s50-c-k-no/photo.jpg" height=3D"50" width=3D"50">
        </td>
        <td width=3D"16"></td>

      <td>
        <div style=3D"
  font-family:arial,Arial,sans-serif; font-size:18px; color:#333333; line-h=
eight:24px;
" height:"59" dir=3D"ltr">
         =20
<a href=3D"http://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=3DUIzdYgZkFkg&u=3D/cha=

most people could probably read it, if they took a while, but it’s really frustrating…

also, HTML formatting takes a simple phrase like “i’m on my way. see you soon.” and turns it into two or three pages of, for lack of a better term, GARBAGE to one who doesn’t have an email client that is also a browser…

now i know that most email clients these days have software that renders HTML incorporated into their inner workings, including mine… but the important difference is that while my email client came with the ability to render HTML turned on by default, one of the first things i did was to turn that ability OFF, and here’s the primary reason i did so:

if you write an email message that is formatted by HTML, when you put in a URI, you also put in some “descriptive phrase” that is “automatically” linked to the URI, like this — <a href="http://www.somewhere.us/">descriptive phrase</a> — you don’t actually write the code out any longer, because the software does it for you these days, but that’s what it amounts to…

so, if i were to put a link to microsoft in my HTML-formatted email message, it would end up looking like this — <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/">microsoft</a> — and because of the HTML rendering capability of my email client, it would look like this in the resulting email message: microsoft.

those of you who are observant may notice that, while my link says “microsoft”, the link actually points to MicrosoftIsEvil.com. for those of you who aren’t so observant, click on the link, or (because of the fact that you’re reading this in a browser) mouse-over the link and look in the lower left-hand corner of your browser window, and you’ll be able to see the link in a pop-up window…

however, in my email client, and, as far as i know, in most other dedicated email clients, there is no such pop-up window. i could have created a special URI that automatically opens a “back-door” to your computer, and sent that URI to you in an email message with the “descriptive phrase” being something that you might be interested in reading… and because of the fact that you read it in your email, when you clicked on it, thinking that you were going to get an interesting article, you would never know that i had opened the “back-door” of your computer and now have the ability to send email, AS YOU, as well as doing other things like stealing your identity, installing viruses and malware, denying service to other web sites, pirating software, and any number of other things that you Don’t Do To Other Peoples’ Computers®

things may be a little different if you’re using IMAP and a “WebMail” application, but the underlying concept is the same: some evil person impersonates somebody else (whose computer they have already compromised) and sends you a specially designed URI in HTML-formatted email, and because IT APPEARS TO BE from someone you trust, you click the link without looking at where it points to first, and…

BOOOOOM! you’ve got a big mess that you don’t have the first clue how to clean up… and, because of the fact that i’m a computer geek, i get more than my share of phone calls saying “hey, can you help me? my computer is broken…” 😐

and about 95% of the time it’s because someone wasn’t paying attention when they opened an email message.

so PAY ATTENTION, because i have a tendency to “fix” peoples’ computers by installing linux, which doesn’t have anywhere near the same vulnerability to viri that windoes’t or mac does. 👿

and, while linux is a smart operating system, it doesn’t automatically fix stupid users.

idiot…

i went for a walk this morning, and, as i usually do, i brought along a little bag of dog treats, because i don’t want to have dogs barking at me, early in the morning, and i’ve discovered that if they’re distracted by food, they usually don’t bark.

i came around the corner and met one such dog, who was behind a fence. he barked until he realised that i was passing out treats, whereupon his entire demeanor changed, and he couldn’t wait to be my friend. i gave him a treat and headed down the street, where i met a guy who was walking the other way. he asked if i walked that way regularly, to which i responded in the affirmative. he then went into this rant about this “evil dog at the corner”, who barked at him when he was walking by. he said that he was afraid of being bitten, which is why he carried mace with him, which he showed me.

i told him to look at it from the dog’s point of view: here is a strange man (guaranteed to be a person who gets barked at anyway), who responds to my presence by making sharp, barking noises, himself and adopts a defensive posture… he’s bound to be up to no good, so of course i’m going to bite him. mace just makes matters worse, i told him: you may not get bitten (you probably will, regardless), but the next time the dog sees you, he’s definitely not going to be happy, and things will probably get worse from there.

on the other hand, i said, my approach is completely the opposite: here is a similar, strange man, who makes cooing and clucking noises, gets down on my level, and offers me treats… i’m definitely going to be suspicious, and maybe i’ll bark once or twice, but i’m probably not going to bite, and if i see him again, i’ll be a lot more interested in being his friend.

the guy looked at me as though i was crazy, and went on his way towards the dog, who i could hear barking loudly as i wandered down the street in the opposite direction…

moe’s right: most dogs are better than most people… 😐

phgnaw… 8P

snake suspenderz did another gig for ERA Living on tuesday. we knew about it several months in advance, and “submitted the appropriate paperwork” so that we would (alledgedly) get paid on the day of the performance.

as is becoming rather common with gigs for ERA Living, we were not paid on the day of performance. they apologised profusely (like they did the last time) and assured us that we would be contacted the next day concerning payment.

we were not contacted. 😛

last night, i wrote a “carefully worded” email to the lady that books these gigs, and told her that, in the future, if we are not paid on the day of the performance, we WILL NOT perform!

this morning my email box is full of apologies from people i don’t even know, and assurances that we should expect a check “early next week”…

my impression is that we submitted the appropriate paperwork A MONTH AGO so that we would get paid on THE DAY OF THE PERFORMANCE, and this whole business of having to wait another week because they didn’t cut the check on time is HORSESHIT

ESPECIALLY since they’re not paying us enough anyway… seriously, these gigs are for upscale retirement homes where the residents get gold name-tags, and there are huge fireplaces, libraries, catered food whenever they want, and so forth… they can afford to be paying us $600 for two hours (which is what we ask for, AND GET from other places) out of petty cash, but they only budget $400 for these gigs, and absolutely can’t go any higher…

on top of that, they consistently SCREW UP and aren’t able to pay us even $400 on the day that we perform, despite the fact that we get everything set up with them a month in advance… 😛

but if we refuse to play, the old folks who make up the audiences get whatever other groups want to bend over for their money, and, honestly, the old folks really enjoy the music we play…

i wonder how many catered dinners they would have if they didn’t pay the caterer the same way they’re not paying the musicians? 😛

snrg

for a couple of years now the fan in my computer has been making an evil buzzing noise when i first turn on the machine. i discovered that if i take a bottle of canned air and squirt it into the fan, it stops… after a while…

fast forward a couple of years, and multiple cases of canned air from costco (i.e. at least 10), and it’s actually been taking longer and longer to get the fan to quit buzzing, and the buzzing has been getting more loud and evil sounding, especially since i re-oriented the box, so i finally decided to open it up and see if i could fix it.

i found a lot of dust… which i cleaned out outside, because i’ve had previous experience with trying to clean dust out of a computer while inside, and it results in making everything taste like the inside of a computer for a couple of weeks… 😛

but it didn’t stop the buzzing, so i broke down and bought a new fan.

it cost me $9.00. 😐

i don’t know why i don’t just put my computer in a place where it’s relatively easy to disconnect and clean, apart from general laziness and lack of caring, and i wonder about the habit i have of stacking stuff on top of the computer, and/or putting it in obscure, difficult to remove places even more when the solution to my problem ALL ALONG cost me less than $10.00… 😐

i’ve been working in the computer industry long enough that i should have known it was going to turn out that way… 😐

hey, bono… i’ve found what you’re looking for…

AUTOMATIC SONGS-OF-INNOCENCE REMOVAL TOOL — Apple finally sees the point of millions of disgruntled people like me. hopefully they’ll learn something from it, although i’m not going to hold my breath… 😐

also, Apple puts up support page to get U2 album out of your iTunes — Too many people don’t want U2 anywhere near their libraries

The U in U2 stands for “Unwanted”!!

😡

the U stands for "Unwanted"

Not pro Bono: Apple’s audio junk mail made spammers’ lives easier

Apple: take this fucking U2 album off my iPhone, NOW. I do not want it, I did not ask for it, it takes up space, it’s my device. Go to hell.

Just say BO-NO: Mark Hosler of Negativland on Apple’s ‘U2rusion’

Got iTunes? You got a U2 album. Here’s how to delete it.

unfortunately, it’s not how to delete it. because of the fact that it’s “in the cloud”, it doesn’t necessarily take up space on my device, but i can’t immediately delete it using any of the methods recommended — using iTunes on my computer doesn’t even show that i have a U2 album, so re-synching my device doesn’t do anything, and there’s nothing to un-check, and you can only delete something once you have downloaded it from the cloud…

i don’t use twitter, but i am outraged, and i reflect that guy’s twitter: Apple: take this fucking U2 album off my iPhone, NOW. I do not want it, I did not ask for it, it takes up space, it’s my device. Go to hell. 😡

DON’T SAY THE PLEDGE!

in honour of the eleventh of september…

DON’T SAY THE PLEDGE! — "Under God" compromises the patriotic message of the Pledge

"Under God" wasn’t part of the original Pledge of Allegiance. Those two words were added to the Pledge in 1954, when the country was in the grip of McCarthyism and communist witch-hunt hysteria.

Before 1954, the Pledge affirmed that we were “one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Indivisible means we can rise above our differences, religious or otherwise. Liberty means the right to act and speak freely no matter what one’s faith or philosophy may be. And Justice, of course, means equal rights for all, regardless of whether or not we believe in a deity. The Knights of Columbus — a Catholic men’s group — led the lobbying effort to add “under God.” Now the Pledge is twisted, with divisive religious language that implies true patriots must be believers.

With “under God” added, the Pledge is not a statement of patriotism. Instead, extremist preachers and politicians point to the language to validate their view that those who don’t believe in God don’t belong.

Religious or not, don’t say this altered Pledge
Until the Pledge is restored to its inclusive version, we can take it upon ourselves to refuse to participate in what’s become a discriminatory exercise. (Note: A Supreme Court case — West Virginia vs. Barnette — gives public school students the absolute right to sit out the Pledge, for any reason. Public schools might not tell you about this right, but if anyone questions you about sitting out the Pledge, contact the AHA’s Legal Center.)

Whether you are religious or not, you can make a statement for true inclusiveness. Support liberty and justice for all, and support indivisibility. Stand up for America by sitting down during the Pledge of Allegiance until the inclusive version is restored.

STAND UP FOR AMERICA BY SITTING DOWN!

spam WTF?!?

i’ve got a directory of addresses to report spam originating from certain domains. quite a few of these domains include an upstream domain (which, theoretically, is responsible for making sure the hosted domain doesn’t send spam) that is enom dot com.

just out of curiosity, i typed host enom.com into a terminal, and it gave me 98.124.253.221

then i typed dig -x 98.124.253.221 soa which told me that rightside.co is the SOA for that IP address. whois rightside.co gave me enom dot com, which uses nameservers provided by akam.net

rightside.co or The Rightside Group owns enom dot com, and a bunch of other registry-related web sites…

host akam.net returns nothing….

salamandir@Gingko:~$ host akam.net
salamandir@Gingko:~$

however, i have a sneaky way to get around things that return nothing in my terminal, and that is DomainTools dot com. they tell me that akam.com is owned by Akamai Technologies… the people who are responsible for serving between 15 and 30 percent of all web traffic…

so, to conclude, quite a number of the people behind the domains responsible for the spam i receive on a daily basis, ultimately, buy their server time from akamai technologies.

i’ve read that up to 80% of all internet traffic is spam, and it’s all coming from a company that serves between 15 and 30 percent of all web traffic…

how does that make ANY sense whatsoever?!? 😛

grr…

apparently pierce county wants to display a banner that says "In God We Trust" in the county council chambers. only two council members (out of seven) think that might not be such a good idea…

if you know me, you should know that i’m not a “conventional” person, especially when it comes to religion. part of the reason for that is experiences like the one i had when i was twenty-<mumble-something-into-my-hand>, and i was going to a halloween party with some friends. we were dressed in costumes, i was wearing a black, horned mask with red tilaks, one of my friends was wearing a chimpanzee mask, and one of my friends was wearing a santa-claus mask. as we walked to the party, we happened to pass a “christian” “storefront ministry” called “Set Free Fellowship” which was having an anti-halloween rally. we passed by without incident, but as soon as we had our backs to them, about 10 of the “christians” rushed us, knocking me to the ground, and surrounding me, pushing me to the ground when i tried to get up. then one of them who, i presume, was the “pastor” started chanting “thereisonlyonenameunderheavenbywhichamancanbesaved” over, and over, and over, and over… when i asked him if he could say anything else, he responded with “thereisonlyonenameunderheavenbywhichamancanbesaved”, when i told him that a parrot could say the same thing, he responded with “thereisonlyonenameunderheavenbywhichamancanbesaved”… at that point, i got up — they didn’t push me down again — and started wondering where my friends had ended up, and when the police were going to show up. evidently the people surrounding me were thinking the same thing, because they faded back into the storefront and didn’t bother me again. i wandered down to the end of the block, and met up with my friends. one of them had been punched and elbowed in the face. the other one had managed to call the police, who said that they would be there within 2 hours… we all agreed that we did NOT want to wait that long, and got out of there.

it is that kind of experience which goes into my feeling as though anything representing a “christian” “god” is not going to be very good at representing me.

personally, i believe siva is mahadeva. that’s fine. other people may believe kṛṣṇa is mahadeva. that’s not only fine, but it doesn’t contradict what i believe. some people believe that Jesus is mahadeva. that, too, is not only fine, but doesn’t contradict what i believe… if you can’t understand how i can believe in a God who can be more than one God, in more than one religion, at the same time, without contradiction, then you should start there and figure that one out before you criticise me for not believing in the “correct” “god”…

HOWEVER, if it belongs to a group which claims to represent me, it is my wish that they not display this banner. it is the “current” motto of our country (which it has been since only 1956) but it replaced the original motto of our country, E Pluribus Unum (which means “Out of Many, One”), and, personally, i like the old one better.

if you live in the area, i encourage you to contact the city council and tell them to vote against R2014-80.

so, yeah… that thing that was supposed to happen today…

we were going to have a new front porch installed today. it has been in the works since wednesday, when monique made the payment to the lumber yard and i demolished the old front porch. the lumber was supposed to be delivered “first thing friday morning”, and by this time we would have at least the framework for a new front porch installed.

so i woke up this morning, and wondered where the workmen, and the lumber delivery were. by 10:00, i was worried, and called the lumber yard — the first time i had contacted them. they informed me that my delivery was supposed to be delivered first thing monday morning. when pressed, they admitted that they couldn’t schedule us before monday because they weren’t able to get payment until after the delivery schedule for friday had already filled up. problem was that they neglected to inform anybody about it: not me, not monique, not the contractor… nobody.

so i called monique, who called the lumber yard and reamed the guy a new one… but what about the contractor?

that’s what i want to know… 😐

i called him this morning — again, the first time i had actually contacted him (wisely, moe has been handling everything). he wasn’t answering, so i left a message and asked him for an update when he would get started. he never called back. i called moe, moe called him, and left a message, and he never contacted her. the guy from the lumber yard called him. he never contacted him, either… 😡

needless to say, we are NOT having a deck installed this weekend. we ARE going to have to use the back door for at least a week until this whole FUMTU gets sorted out.

fortunately, i succeded in installing new door hardware that actually works, so that using the back door is actually an option, and i bought a magnetic broom and swept up the nails and screws that got discarded in the process of demolishing the porch, so that the dogs can actually go into the front yard again, albeit by a somewhat more circuitous route.

GRR!! 😡

ETA: so moe finally got a call from the contractor… at 10:30 pm here (which is 11:30 pm where she is currently)… apparently the lumber yard did contact the contractor, but nobody bothered to contact us, the customers… the contractor said that, when he learned that the lumber wasn’t going to be delivered until monday, he re-arranged his schedule to start on monday, and went fishing today… which is why he wasn’t answering his phone all day… so he’s as much to blame for this whole clusterfuck as the lumber yard goons. he said he would “try” to get our lumber order re-re-scheduled for monday, and if he can, he’ll start on monday. if he can’t… 😡 😡 😡 😡 😡 😡 😡

we’ve got two people scheduled to come by on sunday to bid for replacing the front porch.

bugger +1

according to this, the bug that i reported yesterday has been “RESOLVED FIXED” in Kontact 4.13.2…

i am running 4.13.1, so it should be an easy upgrade…

this guy recommends that i use PPA/Backports to install 4.13.2, but 4.13.2 is not a part of the current PPA/Backports repository, and there’s no telling when (or even if) it will be added…

in other words, they fixed the bug that i am experiencing, but i can’t get to the proper repository to install the fix because i choose not to run on “the bleeding edge” and like to keep my installation on the “Long Term Service” (LTS) version as long as possible.

ETA: i tried removing and reinstalling kontact 4.13.1… it didn’t help.

<repeated head-to-desk maneuver> 😡

1 in 10 Americans think HTML is an STD

1 in 10 Americans think HTML is an STD — the other day i was at a friend’s house when my phone rang. it was my mother-in-law, who very rarely calls me, but when she does, it’s usually something fairly important, so i answered. she proceded to ask me “tech-support-geek” questions (something about filtering spam, i think) and i had to remember not to use “computer geek” language when i told her the proper techniques. this is the woman who has to have the difference between a browser and an operating system explained to her, repeatedly… to give her a little credit, she does have a neurological disorder that affects her memory… but so do i… 😐

Tech Support Cheat Sheet

i would give a copy of this to her, except that she doesn’t understand how to read a flowchart…


Continue reading 1 in 10 Americans think HTML is an STD

dear 183.60.243.188

dear 183.60.243.188, CHINANET Guangdong province network, Data Communication Division, China Telecom, CN.

you have been banned from this network.

TWICE.

once on 140127 and once today, 140208.

the reason you have been banned is because you tried to access a part of our web that is off limits to people who aren’t supposed to be there, in other words, the “admin” section of our web site. the reason you aren’t supposed to be there is because people who access our admin section should know the password, and be honourable and “sattvah” enough NOT to do evil with the information that resides there (which is one of the reasons why i decided to put the “admin” section of the web site somewhere OTHER than in the directory called “/admin”)…

because of the fact that you tried, TWICE to access that part of the site, without a request to lift the ban the first time, the possibility that you are EVER going to be allowed to access any of the site, at all, in the future, is, at this point, practically non existent.

get a clue, spam-boy… you’re not going to break in, so you might as well just give up.

snicker

i have owned ebeneezer dot net and ebeneezer dot org for many years… like “more than 12″… when i first bought ebeneezer dot net, ebeneezer dot com was owned by somebody else — it may have been Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s organisation, but i don’t remember — anyway, it was for sale, but i figured i didn’t need a “COMmercial” address for a church, so i turned down their offer of $5,000 to buy their domain.

a couple of years later, i noticed that ebeneezer dot org had become available, and i purchased that, as well, and moved my “dot net” domain to a domain — “dot org” — that was more suited for a church anyway. at that time, i noticed that “dot com” was also available, from the company that hosted it when it was in use. i still wasn’t interested in a commercial address, so i didn’t even bother looking up the price.

today, just for a laugh, i looked up ebeneezer dot com again. this is what i found:

ebeneezer dot com
Ebeneezer.com — The Leading Ebeneezer Site on the Net

dot com is now owned, apparently, by frank schilling. if his marketing department is to be believed, all i have to do is register “dot com” and the money will start pouring in… all i would have to do is pay frank schilling’s price… which, i guarantee is going to be a hell of a lot more than $5,000…

as the current, and past owner of dot net, and dot org, i sincerely doubt that is going to happen… even if i did have the unreasonable (given that i registered ebeneezer dot org, AND dot net for free 😐 ) price frank schilling is, undoubtedly, demanding for it.

also, it just occurred to me… it could very well be that the fact that i own dot net and dot org contributes to the fact that dot com is probably never going to be purchased by some upscale retailer or restaurant… i mean, who would want to be accidentally confused with this kind of nonsense… my name could be frank schilling’s curse… although, given that “His registry, domain marketplace operation and assorted name-holdings are estimated to be valued in the vicinity of $500 million”, i kinda doubt it.

i think i know too much EVER to be enticed into thinking that i can make money, solely by owning a piece of “property” on the internet. it may have been possible once (although i kind of wonder, even about those people who have made their fortunes on the net), but it’s certainly not possible any longer.

this is… amusing??

as you may or may not know from the news, george zimmerman has, once again, made headlines by doing something extraordinarily stupid for someone with as much public “rep” as he has currently, but that isn’t what i am referring to.

apparently the national report has a couple of articles, including Mainstream Media Falls for George Zimmerman HOAX – Social Media Abuzz and a poll whose question is Which Ethnicity Will George Zimmerman Murder Next?

under ordinary circumstances, i would think this was “too current” to make jokes about, but, at the same time, i think that george zimmerman deserves both to have people laugh at him, and to go to jail… and, i’m sure that, eventually, people will realise that the national report has about as much credibility as the onion, but considering how many people read articles from the onion and take them seriously, it wouldn’t surprise me too much if someone took this and ran with it…

… which would be HILARIOUS! 👿

Don’t Like Spam? COMPLAIN ABOUT IT!

Don’t Like Spam? Complain About It. — i have been a contributing member of spamcop for close to 10 years — since february, 2004, even before i was directly involved in the electronic communications industry — and, every now and then, i get the impression that what i am doing doesn’t actually accomplish anything… so when i read an article like the one linked above, it does me a world of good to see that people like brian krebs recommends that people use services like spamcop. it is also a good source of information that i wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else, like detailed information regarding the origins of the flashback worm, and the fact that people like me are labeled “abusers” by the people who send out spam…

what it comes down to, is that, if you’re fed up with spam arriving in your inbox, the best thing you can do to stem the tide, is to complain about it, early and often. you may not notice a significant change in the number of spam messages you receive, immediately, but over time, not only your personal allotment of spam will decrease, but the amount of spam everybody receives will decrease, and everybody will be happier…

well, everybody except the people who are really the abusers, but we don’t care about their feelings anyway. 😎

backwards masking

i’ve been interested in the phenomenon of backwards masking ever since i first became aware of it, which was probably shortly after it was first reported in the late ’70s. it was incredible to me that people could be saying one thing, forwards, and, completely unconsciously, be saying a completely different thing, backwards. so, naturally, when i went to college and had access to a “professional” recording studio, with the ability to record things and play them backwards, i investigated this phenomena quite extensively. and, naturally, what i discovered is that 99% of the people who talk about “backwards masking” are completely full of shit and don’t know the first thing about the subjects in which they claim to be experts… or, for that matter, any other subject.

at this point, i would be thinking “big surprise”, but, at the time, i was still an impressionable 20-something, and was under the impression that these people “didn’t know” something on purpose, as though they were lying to the rest of us, or talking from ignorance. since then i have become aware that these people are just plain stupid, and no amount of “compassionate” education will sway them from their improbable course.

i started my “education” on the topic of backwards masking with a record (remember them?) called “Flee Pasts Ape Elf” by Orchid Spangiafora, in the late ’70s. at this point, i knew what i had heard on the news-media of the time, i.e. newspapers, radio and television, but when i was confronted with this album, it gave me a whole new perspective on what they were really talking about, and i started experimenting with my own sounds. one of my first finished examples was This Should Be A Love Song in 1979, which, among other thing, demonstrated that all speech didn’t have “ulterior motives” when played backwards. i then went into a period of examining language and developing an “alphabet” of symbols that i could use to transcribe what i heard backwards into a phonetic schema that i could then, recite forwards, record, and reverse, to make intelligible speech when played backwards, despite the fact that, when i was reciting it forwards, there was no hope of understanding what i was saying. i remember working the phrase “ritsbal yeh nawkus!” into a presentation that i was giving to my cross-cultural perspectives class, knowing full well that nobody in the class knew that i was really telling everyone to “suck on a lobster”.

i have, since, become aware of people like david oates of Reverse Speech and other people, like him, who claim that people unconsciously say things in reverse that they might never say, or even imagine, if they were saying them normally. it is my impression, having studied this phenomeonon since the mid-1970s, that people are far too stupid, forwards, to expect that, even subconsciously, they would be planning their speech to reveal the innermost secrets of their lives, in reverse, at the same time. a good example of that is the famous speech given by gary greenwald, in which he claims that Aleister Crowley was one of the most feared satanists of the 16th century. quite apart from everything else, aleister crowley would have been the first person to tell you that he was NOT a satanist, and he most definitely did NOT live in the 16th century — greenwald was only 400 years off, but who’s counting? with that level of obvious scholarship, why on earth would anyone believe that anything else he has to say is anywhere close to accurate?!? and yet, approximately 51% of americans currently believe the drivel he was spouting 25 years ago.

it is this sort of thing that convinces me that i am not human: i had to have been born somewhere else, and was kidnapped and adopted by my human parents and raised as human, because this sort of deliberate ignorance on the part of the majority of people, makes absolutely no sense to me at all.

just in case there are any republicans reading this blog

the government has been shut down for almost 2 weeks, because the republicans want to defund the affordable healthcare act.

which the republicans voted to fund six months ago.

they’re arguing that “obama doesn’t want to negotiate”, but all the negotiation was completed, done, over with and ready to move on SIX MONTHS AGO and the republicans decided to change their minds at the last minute.

during the intervening six months the republicans also changed the standing rules of the house, so that only the republicans could ask that the government could be re-opened, in case of a shutdown…

and NOW they’re hoping that nobody noticed this little change, so that they can blame the shutdown on obama…

i think it’s time to dump THE WHOLE LOT OF ‘EM and put together a government that ACTUALLY represents all of the people, rather than just saying it does. 😛

Sony Super-Audio CD

quite a number of years ago, i bought a CD of “The Antiphonal Music Of Gabrieli” subtitled “The Glorious Sound of Brass” by the Philidelphia Brass Ensemble, The Cleveland Brass Ensemble and the Chicago Brass Ensemble. it was, i believe, one of the first purchases i ever made on a, then, brand new service called “amazon”, but the current iteration of that service has no record of my purchasing anything like that, so it might have been some other online service.

i have been playing music by giovanni gabrieli for a long time, and he is one of my favourite brass composers, so i figured that this would be an excellent addition to my music collection. however, when i received the disk in the mail, i put it into my CD player and…

nothing happened.

this was before computers had CD players on a regular basis, and the dedicated audio CD player that i had was a sony “diskman” that someone had been throwing away, so i searched around and found another dedicated audio CD player that didn’t have such a sordid background and put the disk in that and…

nothing happened.

then i took a closer look at the CD itself. what i found was this TINY inscription that said this disc is designed for use in super audio cd players only on the back of the box.

no problem, i figured. i’ll just put it into my (at the time) “state of the art” work computer (which did have a CD-ROM drive) and it’ll play there… no, i didn’t think i’d copy it into MP3 files, because this was before MP3 files existed.

but i was mistaken. it didn’t play there, either…

but it is gabrieli, and i’m sure the music is SUPERB, so i didn’t send the disk back. i held on to it, on the off chance that, at some point i would run into someone who had a “super audio CD” player.

which brings us to today… close to 15 years later, and i have tried it on every single computer i have owned, and a bunch of other peoples’ equipment, and i have STILL never heard this CD.

i have, since, learned that sony introduced the super audio CD in 1999, and by 2007 it was considered a failure, and not significantly better quality than standard CDs, but that didn’t make the fact that i have this one disk of music that i really like any easier to listen to… or copy into a format that i can listen to — which, i suppose, is what all this copyright/piracy gibberish that i hear bandied about in the news, is all about to begin with…

but, come on… this is all music that was recorded previously — the SACD is a combination of three other 12″ LP records, released between 1955 and 1980 — and i paid for the music… NOT the incomprehensible file format, or whatever it is that makes this particular disk NOT PLAY in the audio equipment that i HAVE. 😐 furthermore, i’m NOT going to buy a SACD player, which are now “audiophile” equipment, and cost anywhere up to three times what they did originally, so that i can play this ONE disk.

bottom line: does somebody out there have a SACD player that i can hook up to my computer, so i can make FLAC copies of the music? i have a digital pre-amp that plugs into my computer and has RCA inputs, and i have RCA cables, so all i need is the player, and you’d be able to get it back after i’m finished… i’d really appreciate it…

skript-kiddie stupidity

i have been getting a lot of comment-spam recently, that is along the lines of this:

{
{I have|I’ve} been {surfing|browsing} online more than {three|3|2|4}
hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
{It’s|It is} pretty worth enough for me. {In my opinion|Personally|In my view},
if all {webmasters|site owners|website owners|web owners} and bloggers made good
content as you did, the {internet|net|web} will bee {much more|a
lot more} useful than ever before.|...

i don’t really understand the purpose behind such things… moreso than i don’t understand why people send spam at all, i mean probably 85% to 90% of ALL internet traffic is spam, and, as far as i have been able to tell, only a very minute fraction of a percentage of internet users actually think spam is a good thing, but… this is a new low: a person who uses a faulty, undoubtedly third-party script to drop faulty comment spam into a blog that WILL NOT publish it the way it was received…

it makes me understand a lot more how people like ken at popehat have policies like pasting. although i’m sure that, in this case, what they’re most interested in is a hyperlink, and i’m not going to do that for ’em, because their comment is obviously spam… and low quality spam (if there could be such a thing).

put this into a perspective that we can relate to…

Don’t panic: Earth has at least 1.75 billion years to go, scientists say — saying it like that makes it seem like there’s something that we, as living individuals, could do about it. putting it into a little more realistic perspective, i.e. 100 years is 3 to 4 generations, that is 52,500,000 to 70,000,000 GENERATIONS they think we will last until the sun gets too hot…

i’m pretty sure they will have completely forgotten about me, and my son, and his offspring, and their offspring, and their offspring, before we even have to think about worrying that we’re approaching the end of the world. we have a better chance of ending the world ourselves before then than we do actually lasting that long.

get over it. the sun is eventually going to get too hot for humans to live on earth, but, unless we act a lot more sensibly than we have been the past 2000 years, we’re very likely to drive ourselves into extinction a long time before that will happen.

OY!

a while back — a year and a half ago, or thereabouts — i decided that i was going to make a separate directory, on an external hard disk, that contained all of my essential data, data that i had created, so that when i upgraded my system, i wouldn’t face the potential of losing everything when a system upgrade didn’t go the way it was supposed to… and, the last time i did a major upgrade of my system, it worked exactly the way i expected it to work, and i was very happy.

basically, instead of my “home” directory being at /home/salamandir on the primary hard disk of the computer, i had a home directory at /media/home/salamandir and everything was fine, i just had to remember to change directories when i was downloading something, because i knew (from first-hand experience) that if i forgot, and downloaded to /home/salamandir/Downloads i would have difficulty finding the data afterwards.

so i did the intermediary system upgrades on my linux box, yesterday. it wasn’t a full upgrade, but there were some more things than normal, and it “hung up” when it got to the point where it asked me if i wanted to keep the configuration file that “i” had “modified”, or if i wanted to download a new configuration file, but when i answered that i wanted to keep the configuration file that “i” had “modified”, the installation procedure proceded as normal.

then i rebooted my computer, because i like to do that, to make sure there aren’t any delayed configurations, or things that don’t get installed at reboot that aren’t working the way they’re supposed to, and that’s where the problems started.

i rebooted, and the first thing i noticed was that the external disks, including the 3TB disk that i have partitioned into a “home” and a “backup” partition, weren’t mounting the way they were supposed to. i didn’t notice this until later, but the reason why the “home” and “backup” partitions weren’t mounting correctly was because, for some (as yet unknown) reason, they had been converted from /media/home and /media/backup to /media/salamandir/home and /media/salamandir/backup

what this meant in the short run is that it couldn’t find the directory that contains my wallpaper graphics, and my “dropbox” folder was “moved” from where it was supposed to be.

this would have been an entirely different problem if i had noticed that immediately, but as it is, i tried to re-establish my directories where they should be, and succeeded only in overwriting (or something, i still don’t know what) the directory in /media/salamandir/home/salamandir — which is where ALL my data from the LAST time this happened, now lives… because i was under the impression that if i kept my data on an external hard drive, that it would be safe from random deletion and/or disasters… like this one is turning out to be.

/media/salamandir/backup (which contains backups of my “real” home directory: i.e. configuration files and nothing else) is still intact, /media/salamandir/home/salamandir-new (a directory i created when i was still trying to deal with the loss of data the last time) is still intact, but /media/salamandir/home/salamandir is NOT intact… which includes all of the printing clients that i have worked for in the past year-and-a-half, ALL of my genealogy data, a huge pile of my (irreplaceable) music files, and who knows what else.

the only good part about this whole thing is that i BELIEVE all of the data is still there: usually it takes a while for the computer to actually delete a couple of gigabytes of information (which /media/salamandir/home/salamandir certainly is), and it didn’t actually do anything that seems like actual deleting, so what i suspect is that i just overwrote the file that tells the computer where everything is, and if i could just replace that, everything would be cool…

but, so far, i haven’t been able to figure out how to do that. 😐

the last time this happened, my computer was down for 5 days, and it was only because of the fact that i was willing to let go of a whole bunch of my data that things eventually made their way back to “normal” again. i’m pretty sure i DON’T want to go through that again. 😐

i think it’s time for me to take a break from my computer for a few weeks… possibly longer… 😐

grmf! 8/

that was exciting…

for about 2 seconds… then it was irritating, frustrating and downright evil. EVIL i tell you… 😡

i woke up this morning and turned on my computer, only to discover that all of my web sites had been cracked by some adolescent script-kiddies from borneo who want the world to think that they’re dangerous terrorists.

i’m here to tell you that they’re not. they’re punk kids who use other peoples’ code to spray their graffiti and then “lulz” when people scramble to make it all right again.

Mati pucuk dan lemah, anda anjing dalam pakaian kanak-kanak.

Adolescent Script-Kiddie Ass-ociation

this guy is a real hacker… and he is so good that you punk kids aren’t even worthy to lick his shoes… 😡

oh… by the way… i’m back up and running with my web sites intact, inside 12 hours, so regardless of how big a mess you made, I WIN!! 😐

OY!

i thought i was fairly clear about my disapproval of “K2” and suchlike stuff, but this makes me wonder how muddied my explanation might be, without my knowing it… 😐

i got an email (for a change, most people call me with questions of this nature, which may be a sign that i overlooked) which said “Do you sell anything like K2?”. i responded with a link to the page mentioned above — http://www.hybridelephant.com/K2.php — and figured that would be the last i would hear from that particular potential customer…

which is fine with me, as far as i’m concerned. if someone wants to go out and poison themselves, instead of taking a substance that has never killed ANYBODY in recorded history*, i’m certainly not going to stand in their way, but i’m also certainly NOT going to sell them the poison, and i’m going to do my best to inform them that the substance they want to take, is, in fact poisonous, but if they’re still dead set, i’m not going to stand in their way…

but this is where it gets weird. i logged in this morning and found a response. the guy had written me back, and said “I checked the link but I didn’t see K2 for sale. Can you advise?”

… 😮

so i responded, yet again:

the reason you didn’t see it is because it is not available from Hybrid Elephant. i do not sell things that are deadly poisonous if you ingest them.

if you want cannabis, go out and buy cannabis, don’t buy some erzatz knock-off
that might kill you. you’ll get ripped off, at the very least.

that’s my advice.

i hope that’s clear enough for him…

because if he writes me again, i’m going to LMAO at him…

ETA: he wrote back… LMAO! 😀 apparently he “can’t find cannabis” where he lives… it’s my guess that he’s too young to know where to look to begin with. either that or he simply hasn’t looked hard enough.


* i know there are spurrious reports of people who were using cannabis and died in a car crash, or that sort of thing, but, technically, those people didn’t die as a result of using cannabis, they died because of a car crash. the LD50 for THC is 1,270 mg/kg, which works out to over 115 grams of THC (not “of cannabis”) for a 200 pound person, in a limited period of time… which is not possible in this universe… seriously, more than 10 grams of cannabis in a limited period of time, and the 200 pound person that i am familiar with would most likely be asleep, and unable to ingest any more… 😉

in reality, there have been no deaths that come about as a direct result of using cannabis by a human being, in recorded history.

bleh

the moisture festival check is in.

i had 16 shares last year, and made $720, or $45 per share.

this year, the moisture festival’s “big 10th anniversary celebration,” according to the moisture festival, i had 14 shares, and made $490, or $35 per share.

i’m pretty sure they’re wrong. according to my calendar, we played 6 shows as snake suspenderz, but i only got 2 shares for snake suspenderz. i’m really not sure how they figured out the philharmonics’ shares, because according to my calendar, i played 10 shows with the phil, and they paid me 12 shares.

there’s a possibility that i am still going to get one more share ($35) for the volunteer show, but i’d be willing to bet that, without a great deal more hell than i am willing to raise, i won’t see any more money from them this year.

i’m certainly NOT going to be donating another $100 this year, considering how badly they abused my $100 donation last year, and whether i’m even going to consent to play in the festival next year depends a lot on how much i have calmed down about the whole fiasco in the mean time… 😛

grumble, mutter, gripe, complain, moan…

ETA: i think i figured out the checks, but they’re still wrong: the check for “band shares” is $420 or twelve shares, 10 of which were with the phil, and two of which were snake suspenderz… but i’m still missing one share, and it’s still 12.5% less than i would have earned last year… 😐

it’s a great show and i’m honoured to have been performing in it for as long as i have, but despite all of the cameraderie that i experience while the festival is going on, i’m in it 51% for the cash, and the fact that it has been less and less each year is making a very strong statement about whether or not i will be performing in the festival next year.

one or the other…

Michelle Shocked or Ted Nugent?

35 years ago, it was my impression that these people were FUCKING SCREWED UP… now… they’re so far beyond FUCKING SCREWED UP that there are no words to describe it. but, strangely enough, both of these people are not FUCKING SCREWED UP in the way that i would have expected 35 years ago…

my understanding is that they’re both “christians”… i recently found out that the word “cretin” originally started out life as a coloquial european pronunciation of “christian” which was used to mean something like “everyman”, and that it eventually got applied to dwarves and the mentally infirm…

and to aging wannabe rock stars, apparently…

HA HA!!

HAH HAH!when i was in training to be a tech support drone for microsoft, they told us that “in 10 years, the default format for all web documents will be the microsoft word .doc format”…

WRONG!!

it is now more than 10 years later (actually, it is almost 20 years later), and Google kills support for old MS file formats in Google Apps…

i knew when i heard it that micro-slop was having a pipe-dream, believing that their proprietary document format was going to become a public standard…

a "smart" spammer??

i may have worked out why the mailing lists that i administer have been not delivering messages to all of the registered members of those lists recently. it was because of a “smart” spammer.

if you recall, Rule #3 of The Rules of Spam states that Spammers are stooOOpid, so how could a “smart” spammer even exist in the first place?

in this case, it’s a matter of degrees. you can be smarter than the ordinary spammer, but if you’re a spammer yourself, you’re still pretty stooOOpid compared to those of us who aren’t spammers.

the “smart” spammer shared my IP address, and was very definitely sending out spam, but he was not flooding the net with spam, like most spammers do, he was trickling spam out at a rate that was just below the point at which my host providers’ spam alarms would indicate. thus, while other, more brash spammers got the mallet immediately, this “smart” spammer continued to share my IP address for several months before he got the mallet.

of course, this was also complicated by the fact that, for several weeks, my host providers’ answer to all of these problems i was having, was to delist my IP address from the CBL without actually attempting to discover why that address was listed at the CBL to begin with. which is where persistence comes into play. instead of accepting that “the host provider knows best” and closing the work ticket the first time they requested delisting, i actually checked CBL myself, to determine whether or not what the host provider had told me was true, and when it turned out that my IP address had been relisted, i called them on it… and then, i called them on it again, when they told me that everything was the way it should be… and then, i called them on it again… and again… and AGAIN! 😐

i think they finally got the idea, because as of 10:00 this morning, my IP address had not been listed at the CBL for 24 hours, which is the longest time it has not been listed in 2 months.

let’s keep it that way, okay?

grump

who?
i’m hoping that this will be the only political post for a while, because the political news that has been coming across my RSS agregator has been universally driving me crazy. sometimes (well, more times than not, actually) i think it would be better for everyone if we eliminated all laws, as well as all national borders, and be done with the whole thing. 😐

we’re in trouble…

In Artificial Intelligence Breakthrough, Google Computers Teach Themselves To Spot Cats on YouTube and Janken (rock-paper-scissors) Robot with 100% winning rate – people gave computers these skills because they thought it would be "amusing" to see a computer doing them, but what they don’t realise is that, once the computer realises it has these skills, my guess is that it won’t be too long before we’re their slaves, providing raw materials for their batteries… 😛

oh… crap.

i had to refund someone’s money the other day. they had ordered one box of incense, but, because of the fact that they ordered it from bizarre-istan, paypal neglected to figure shipping correctly, and as a result, they had only paid $1.50 for something that would cost me $35 to mail to them. i wrote and told them of my dilemma and said that if i didn’t hear anything from them, i would refund their money. i didn’t hear anything from them, so i refunded their money.

there would be nothing unusual about this transaction, except for the fact that it is exactly this type of transaction that is referred to in a previous interaction that i had with paypal, which wasn’t so cordial…

just what i needed… another reason to wish that i could afford to cancel my paypal account… 😐

today is the first day…

today is the first day that Snake Suspenderz is performing(!) at the moisture festival(!!). the fact is, i’ve been trying to get Snake Suspenderz into the moisture festival for four years… pretty much ever since i started playing with them… and since i’ve been a part of the moisture festival for nine years (i.e. ever since the beginning), i figured that it wouldn’t be much of a problem to incorporate my cronies into the huge mass of crony-ism that is the moisture festival… but it took my “losing my temper” and sending a ranting email to a couple of people who, presumably, don’t have any more control over who gets into the moisture festival than i do…

it’s another one of those instances that i rant about from time to time, where something that i want to do turns out to be an “old-boys club” and if you’re not associated with one of the “old boys” you CAN NOT get in… i know for a fact that i have ranted at least once in this blog about the oregon country fair, and burning man, both being events that are purposely designed to get people to stay away except under very specific circumstances… which usually involve large quantities of money, or sex (and not the pleasant kind) with the right people, and sometimes both. 😐

nevertheless, apparently my ranting to my peers was enough, and we got scheduled for two “inside” gigs, the first one of which is today, where we appear on stage and play our three-song, 10-minute “mini-set”, and then hang around until the end of the show so we can take a bow with the rest of the performers, and two “fluffer” gigs, where we play for 45 minutes(!) outside the palladium, for the crowds waiting to get in (in other words, “fluffing the crowd”, which is why they’re “fluffer” gigs)…

in other words, we’ve gone from playing no shows, to playing four shows, and two of them are basically us, and a captive audience of people who are already ready for a good time…

i don’t know exactly what i said, or exactly how i said it, that made the difference, but whatever it was, i guess it had the proper effect, because we went from having no appearances to having more appearances than most of the other moisture festival performers, including two 45-minute shows where it’s nothing but us, which is more than most moisture festival performers…

don’t get me wrong, i’m still extremely suspicious of “old-boy clubs” and refuse to get involved with them for the most part, because i dislike nepotism and crony-ism to the extreme, but apparently ranting and losing one’s temper is one of the ways to get things done when one is dealing with such things.

<gong>SPAMMMMMMMMM!</gong> (and not the fine potted meat food product)

so i got this fine potted meat food product spam message today, which read:

Hello,

We are in the process of promoting a website about drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Would you be open to the idea of placing a text link ad on this page: http://www.hybridelephant.com/K2.php?

We hope to hear from you soon, so we can discuss rates and other pertinent details.

Thanks.

Stephanie Harper

first of all, categorically, NO!!! i AM NOT interested in doing business with anyone who uses spam as a marketing tool, regardless how appropriate it seems on the surface…

but then i looked at the message a little more closely… you see that part about “promoting a website about drug and alcohol rehabilitation”?

did they even READ the page at http://www.hybridelephant.com/K2.php, or were they just trolling for pages whose titles seemed appropriate… ’cause if they actually read the page, they would quickly realise that i am not suggesting that people who use alcohol or drugs go into rehabilitation, but the opposite… i am proposing that ALL “drugs” be legalised, which is an entirely different ball o’ wax…

the message also had a toll-free phone number and a web site link (which i have removed, because i don’t want anyone to get the idea that i support what they’re doing), so i called “Stephanie Harper” and got a computerised-voice answering service that said there was “NOBODY AVAILABLE. TRANSFERRING TO VOICE MAIL.” but i didn’t leave a message because there’s a very strong probability that they’ll ignore it anyway, and i don’t want to waste my breath. i then went to the console, and did some arcane and mystical things to discover that the domain is “owned” by a company called “Domains By Proxy” whose motto is “Your identity is nobody’s business but ours.®“… in other words, they don’t want to tell you who they are…

if i were running a company that marketed web sites by “directed mail”, i would want people to be able to find out about my business. sure, there’s the web site link, but that’s what i say about who i am, not what other people say about me… and, if i were a legitimate business (which, because they market using spam, it isn’t to begin with), i would give a way to get in touch with me that doesn’t involve a WHOIS privacy company. i did a more conventional google search and discovered that “Stephanie Harper” is, sometimes, “Valerie Elden”, or “Ella Easton” or “Derek Holden”, and they’re searching for all kinds of pages on which to put their filthy dreck, using the form

We are in the process of promoting a website about (X). Would you be open to the idea of placing a text link ad on this page: (Y)?

We hope to hear from you soon, so we can discuss rates and other pertinent details.

and they make a habit of randomly spamming, because i found a number of pages, from a number of different web sites (both legitimate and less-than-legitimate) saying, essentially, the same thing this one does, i.e. WTF, spammers? i also discovered that, despite their fancy looking front page, their “web site” has only two pages and is powered by wordpress… not the way to make me believe that they’re a legitimate company doing legitimate business with anyone… 😐

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

oh. my. GAWD!

i have never liked paypal, and i have been trying for quite a while, to find a way to get around having to use their services for ANYTHING… and this is exactly the reason why:

PayPal Requires Destruction Of Antique Violin

I sold an old French violin to a buyer in Canada, and the buyer disputed the label.

This is not uncommon. In the violin market, labels often mean little and there is often disagreement over them. Some of the most expensive violins in the world have disputed labels, but they are works of art nonetheless.

nevertheless, PayPal, in their “infinite wisdom”, apparently decided the violin was a “counterfeit” and instructed the buyer to destroy it (search for the word “destroy”) rather than sending it back to the seller to get his money back… which the buyer did.

i’m sorry, but this is inexcusable. at this point, i still don’t have a reliable alternative to paypal, but it’s coming VERY soon… the less of my money these PIRATES take, the more i will like it. 😛

completely random rant

i subscribe to a lot of news sources by RSS. usually, most feed-generators give the author one of three choices for their feed: post the entire article (which i do), post the first few sentences of the article and provide a link to the rest, or provide only the title and a link.

i really don’t understand why people would do anything other than the first option, although it likely has to do with cookies and hit counters and google-ratings and suchlike things, but what really irritates me is when i get a link – like this one – which links to an article which i find interesting, but it’s not the whole article… 😐 it’s only the first of three pages, and you don’t find that out until you’ve read to the bottom of page one, only to find that annoying little “1 | 2 | 3 | Next page »” link and the even-more-annoying “View as a single page” link, which usually results in the entire article re-loading from the beginning, which means that i have to figure out where i have read to already before i can continue reading. some places don’t even bother with the “View as a single page” link, which means that, in order to read the entire article, i have to search for the “Print” link, which, frequently, isn’t there… it gets REALLY annoying when (as in articles by The New York Times) where they don’t include the “view as a single page” or “print” links, and the article is 7 pages or more… and the most annoying thing of all is when the “print” link only prints the first of a multi-page article, and not the entire article… at that point, i generally give up and move on to less annoying material.

my impression is that the reason why they break articles into pages is to make them more like printed magazines, but they’re NOT PRINTED, and breaking them into smaller bites only adds extra “clicking” and encourages loss of interest (which is why i choose the “post the entire article” option). i’m sure that they think there is a logical reason for this, but it’s annoying and they shouldn’t do it.

that was “interesting”…

if, by “interesting” you mean “screaming in mind-wreaking terror”… 😐

i got cracked* this morning.

about 2:00 in the morning, someone compromised a “soft” password on one of my wordpress sites and defaced every PHP index page that they could find…111110 web site hack

when i started up my computer this morning, i was confronted by this, rather than the expected page on hybridelephant.com, przxqgl.hybridelephant.com and several other web sites that i host. it was a shock, let me tell you.

FORTUNATELY i have a backup… 🙂 and a backup of a backup… 8) and i was able to put everything right within a few minutes of discovering that it was wrong, but finding out how was a little more tricky.

i logged into the administration sides of the web sites i manage, to determine if anything other than PHP pages had been tampered with, and i discovered that i couldn’t log in to one of them… so i clicked the “lost password” link and discovered that it didn’t know who i am… so i decided to get a bit more forceful: i logged into the database with MyPHPAdmin and discovered that the administrator account (which had a “soft” password that “could be remembered easily” by someone who has never had to do DBA stuff before) had been changed, and then deleted…😐

once i regained control of the database (and DELETED the admin account with the soft password) and removed the file that he sneakily uploaded to a plugin directory that i had deleted (which is why i knew it was there), i went to work to discover as much as i can about the cracker as possible. i learned that he uploaded files from 66.23.237.186, which is located in new york, but he also has close associations with 46.38.130.10, which is located outside of louisville, kentucky, but he’s apparently all for iran and down on saudis, so it could be that he’s using those IP addresses as proxys, at which point he could be anywhere… i also have a “DecodedBase64.bin” file i retrieved from the file he encrypted and uploaded to the deleted plugin directory, which potentially has a little more accurate indications of who he might be, but executing it on any of my computers is totally out of the question. that’s probably as close as i’m ever going to come to actually knowing who he is, but that’s a fair amount more than i could have expected.

and the client gets a STERN talking-to about the value of very strong passwords… i’m fairly sure that she won’t do it again.

Continue reading that was “interesting”…

oh my GAWD what have i gotten myself in to?

continued

spamcop is working, however…

when i send email from me at salamandir dot info to a friend of mine, whose email address i provide (spreznib at hybridelephant dot com) it bounces with the following message:

ERROR: Your message could not be delivered.
The mail server generated the following error message:

This message was created automatically by the mail system (ecelerity).

A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed
[email protected] (reading confirmation): 550 High probability of spam

Arrival-Date: Fri, 04 Nov 2011 20:10:45 -0400
Reporting-MTA: dns; smtp.centurylink.net

Action: failed
Final-Recipient: rfc822; [email protected]
Last-Attempt-Date: Fri, 04 Nov 2011 20:10:45 -0400
Remote-MTA: dns; mx1.thewebhostserver.com
Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 550 High probability of spam
Status: 5.0.0

when i check mxtoolbox dot com, it tells me that 208.47.184.3 (the IP address for smtp.centurylink.net) is on a couple of blacklists, because SOMEBODY has been sending spam from smtp.centurylink.net without encountering the HAMMER

however, when i call qwest/centurylink, they say that it’s not 100% sure that their server is on a blacklist, and i should investigate “other problems” because of the fact that they don’t show anything wrong, they can’t do anything…

 

 

 

 

 

 

this is the sound of me, repeatedly faceplanting on the desk… 😛

this is why paypal SUCKS!

so – naturally – i haven’t heard anything about whether or not the email that i received from "[email protected]" really was from paypal or not, and the person i talked to last week said that i would hear from the fraud department in two to three days, so i decided to call and see if they knew anything…

why do i always decide to torture myself early in the week… 😐

i talked to one person who had a very strong accent of some kind or another (to the point where i had to ask them to repeat their greeting, because i didn’t understand what they had said AT ALL). when i had confirmed that i had, indeed, called paypal, and not some place in madagascar, i explained my problem, and was promptly put on hold to wait for the fraud department.

half an hour later, i was greeted by an american girl who couldn’t have been much older than 20, who assured me that if i hadn’t heard anything, that my email was probably fraudulent. i then explained that the email had two parts, one of which matched the guidelines for a “real” email, and the other of which matched the guidelines for a fraudulent email, whereupon she changed her tune, and said that the email was real. i proceded to tell her about the fact that i traced it to a uu.net account, whereupon she changed her tune again and said that it was clearly fraudulent, which, she said, was made obvious by the fact that i hadn’t heard anything…

at that point, i politely ended the conversation, and proceded to hit myself in the face with my keyboard, because it is more comfortable… 😛

THAT is why i don’t keep a balance in my paypal accounts… it’s just not worth the risk. 😐

paypal’s response was to have me send the spam message to spoof at paypal dot com, which, if my previous experiences are anything to go by, is the last thing i will ever hear about this message… 😐

oh well…

my car stereo experienced an electronic hiccough yesterday, but taking out the suspect fuse to determine if it was bad or not (it wasn’t) fixed everything.

yesterday had a phil rehearsal in preparation for trolloween. today has a BSSB rehearsal in preparation for the sousa bash.

we have a number of houseguests starting thursday and ending sunday.

THIS is the way to start the week… 8)

i got another email, purportedly from “service at paypal dot com”…

this time, the subject line was “Notification of PayPal Account Transaction”…

usually, if paypal sends me a “Notification of PayPal Account Transaction” i get another email (from myself) with details from my web site about the transaction that just occurred. this time, i just got the notification, and nothing else.

this time, instead of addressing me as %%FIRST%% %%LAST%%, they had my full name, although they didn’t say how much the transaction was… so i logged into my paypal account and looked.

no big red number at the top of the page… my account is balanced. i don’t owe anything… as it SHOULD BE 8)

i’m still not sure where the spam message i got from uu.net came from – and i’m still going to call them (bleh, ecchth, ptui) and see if i can find out, because it’s still a major concern – and i STILL want to cancel my paypal account, but those things are less of an immediate event at this point, and i’m willing to let them try to explain themselves (especially about the message from uu.net) before i leap to a decision.

this isn’t really the way to end the week, either…

i got an email message, purportedly from “paypal at paypal dot com” with a subject line that read “Keeping Your Account in Good Standing”…

if you’ve ever had the displeasure of actually calling paypal, you’ll probably recognise their “security pointers” that they broadcast over the telephone while you’re on hold, which say things like “an authentic email message from paypal will address you by your first and last name”, while a bogus message will address you as “paypal user, or paypal member”…

the message i received addressed me as “%%FIRST%% %%LAST%%”…

i often receive email that has obviously been designed as html, and rendered as text because i don’t let my email client render html, for security reasons. the message is usually flagged, and if i want to allow it to render the html, i click on a button and it renders all of the non-executable, local bits of the html it can find, and if it has left anything else out (like scripts, calls to external web sites, images, and that sort of thing), i get the opportunity to click yet another button to get the full effect (hint: i very rarely click the first button and i have a policy of NEVER clicking the second button. if i want to see it that bad, i’ll usually go to my browser instead of my email client).

when i looked at the source of the message (as text only), i found that it had a malformed html section which didn’t trigger the first flag. in the html section, it actually had my first and last name, instead of “%%FIRST%% %%LAST%%”

the message said that they had noticed that i had a negative balance, and since it was only $0.30 – which was listed as “$%%NEG. BAL. AMOUNT%%” in the text version of the message – the account had been brought to balance, as their way of saying “thanks for using paypal”…

“cool,” i thought. “they have finally seen the light, and have taken steps to resolve a very, very frustrated customer”…

WRONG!!

when i logged into my paypal account, there was the big, red -$0.30 at the top of my account.

furthermore, when messages come from paypal, they have specific IP addresses referenced in their message headers, which this message did not have. this message referenced IP addresses which are associated with uu.net – a NOTORIOUS, OLD SCHOOL source of spam.

what i read in this situation is the following: some spammer has access to my paypal account.

what i’m supposed to do (according to paypal) is report it to their spam control department. unfortunately i know, from past reports to paypal’s spam control department, that they won’t accept reports from me, and even if they did, they won’t do anything to solve the problem.

now i REALLY want to cancel my paypal account… 😐

this is definitely NOT the way to start the week…

hybrid elephant had $0.00 in its paypal account (which is normal, i HATE paypal, and you’ll see why in a minute).

on 10th february, 2011, after someone made a $22.00 payment for something that they decided they didn’t want, i refunded $22.00 to that person, and had a $0.00 balance when i was finished. i consider this to be normal.

on 4th september, 2011 (the last time i had to refund any money), i had $0.00 balance, a person made a payment of $33.00, i refunded $33.00, and had a $0.00 balance when i finished. it was a nice, normal transaction.

today, i had a $0.00 balance, a person ordered $7.00 but didn’t include the extra $30.00 for shipping (they’re located outside the US), and so i refunded their $7.00 order… but now i have a -$0.30 balance: NOT a “nice, normal” transaction at all… but that’s not the part that makes it really bizarre.

i called them up, to find out what’s their problem. after 45 minutes of wangling around with an automated anti-service drone that wouldn’t let me talk to a real person and only wanted to give me my account details, i finally got a real person, who put me on hold for another 15 minutes while he got a “specialist” to help me.

the “specialist” told me that when a person’s money is refunded, there is a transaction fee of $0.30, and if i had never had to pay it in the past, that i was “lucky”. she said if she put my account on hold while they “investigated” it, that there is a good possibility that i will owe substantially more than $0.30, for previous refunded transactions that haven’t been charged the $0.30 transaction fee.

the only options i have are NOT paying the fee, and having my account put on hold, cancelling the account all together, or biting the bullet and paying the $0.30 transaction fee (which i have NEVER had to pay in the past).

if she had said that they didn’t charge a transaction fee for refunded transactions in the past, but that, as of some recent date, they decided to add a transaction fee for refunded transactions, i would very likely sigh and pay the $0.30, but because of the fact that she said they had ALWAYS charged a transaction fee for refunded transactions, i am livid.

i have been a paypal member for 7 years, and 7 years worth of $0.30 “forgotten” transaction fees, regardless of how few of them there have been, could potentially add up to substantially more than i am willing to pay, and my only other option is to close down the hybrid elephant paypal account and move to a “cash only” plan which wouldn’t be anything close to satisfactory for anyone.

at this point, i might as well just shut down the entire business. 😛

oh my GAWD, what have i gotten myself into?

so i sent an email message this morning to a friend of mine, who has an @hybridelephant.com email address.

i sent a very similar message to him yesterday, which got through without a problem.

today, i got a “Mail Delivery Failure” notice, one minute after sending the message, with the following piece of insightful information:

This message was created automatically by the mail system (ecelerity).

A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:

>>> <REDACTED>@hybridelephant.com (reading confirmation): 550 High probability of spam

—— This is a copy of the headers of the original message. ——

X-BINDING:
X-Spam-Rating: None
X_CMAE_Category: 0,0 Undefined,Undefined
X-CNFS-Analysis: v=2.0 cv=Yv2NtvkX c=1 sm=0 a=BUl4cw8wsZUA:10 a=IkcTkHD0fZMA:10 a=QZ0zsqwyAAAA:8 a=9BvCZD0AAAAA:8 a=ivGNPCBhAAAA:8 a=2EfxiS_7of43nIBC7_sA:9 a=i3_x7-eabgX1RcdejPkA:7 a=QEXdDO2ut3YA:10 a=HCwVASBe7R0A:10 a=xM-QfRgW2ikA:10 a=h1z2HnThejPjI9jbmxDx3A==:117
X-CM-Score: 0
X-Scanned-by: Cloudmark Authority Engine
Authentication-Results: smtp03.embarq.synacor.com smtp.user=<REDACTED>; auth=pass (LOGIN)
Received: from [XX.XX.XXX.XXXX] ([XX.XX.XXX.XXX:35639] helo=ginko.localnet)
by smtp.centurylink.net (envelope-from <REDACTED>)
(ecelerity 2.2.3.47 r(39797/39798)) with ESMTPA
id A8/D2-28819-8B8C59E4; Wed, 12 Oct 2011 13:04:57 -0400
To: <REDACTED>
Subject: physics is to math as…
From: <REDACTED>
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2011 10:04:55 -0700
X-Benediction: Tina Chopp is God! Praise Her or DIE!!
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: Text/Plain;
charset=”utf-8″
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Message-Id: <REDACTED>

my email-message-header-reading skills are a little rusty, but if i’m reading this correctly, smtp.centurylink.net (208.47.184.132) received the message from me (helo=ginko.localnet), smtp03.embarq.synacor.com (208.47.184.2) authorised me as an approved sender, and then rejected the message because it looked like spam, despite the fact that the Cloudmark Network Feedback System they use says that it isn’t.

so, i sent it again. same result, so i called tech support.

bad move… 😐

after calling them twice and spending more than an hour on the phone…

and having me resend the message again… 😛
 
(albert einstein said “a definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”)

and doing a bunch of other pointless, useless activities, such as shutting down and restarting both my client and my computer (with the predictable lack of results), the lady said she was escalating the issue and promised that i would get an email within the next 24 to 48 hours.

i didn’t even have to wait that long. i just got email from [email protected] which said:

I am sorry but the issue you are requesting assistance with is an unsupported issue. CenturyLink is responsible for making sure the modem is properly connected to the internet which it is. Also , for your email of <REDACTED> to be accessed at www.mycenturylink.com and so limited support on a few email software clients. We do not provide assistance with specific computer, hardware, software issue(s), port forwarding, advanced modem configuration, gaming devices/issues, the inability to access certain web sites, and so forth.

My recommendation is that you contact the original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or the customer service department of the product for the type of assistance you are requesting. Please bookmark the following link: http://www.ctlhelp.com. At this site you will find the exact same level of support that you get when calling in or chatting with us but without the hold time. As an added bonus you will find assistance on several topics like the ones mentioned above that CenturyLink does not provide support for.
You can find an overview of our support boundaries…

… blah, blah, blah, fucking blah… 😐

so, what it comes down to is that THEIR email server is telling me that i’m sending spam, and that they don’t support whatever problem i’m having with their service. 😛

not so random rant about the shit box

the other day i was “confronted” by a customer (it’s sort of difficult to say that it was a “confrontation” in the normal sense of the word, because the entire interaction took place over email, but bear with me, because it was a confrontation) concerning the fact that, along with the religious items and incense i carry, “there is a product called a ‘shit box‘”. he was concerned that i am causing my customers offense, and he demanded that it be renamed or removed at once. when i told this customer that i didn’t have the power to rename the “shit box” he accused me of “writing an essay” about it, when, actually, i wrote three or four very terse statements. this is the “essay” that he accused me of writing.

thanks for the advice, buddy, but i don’t do business that way, and here’s the reason why.

St. Francis of Assisi said “when the devil says to you again, ‘You are damned,’ you answer him confidently, ‘Open your mouth and I will shit in it!'” and Yunmen Wenyan said, basically, “The Buddha is a dried shit-stick.” if such illuminated personages as St. Francis and Ummon used the word “shit”, then it’s apparently okay for me to use the word. not only that, but jesus said “that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man” and if saying the word “shit” defiled a person, then St. Francis would not have said it.

at the same time, i am quite familiar with people who are pretty well defiled, despite the fact that nothing but bible scripture spews out of their mouths: people like jerry falwell and james dobson and robert schuller and harold camping and creflo dollar and benny hinn and jim bakker and peter popoff and bob larson and…

on the other hand, if it is automatically assumed that anything with the exact combination of letters “S”, “H”, “I”, “T” defiles a person, then, automatically, that makes referring to shittim wood (a common feature of the old testament book of exodus) something that a “christian” would not want to recite, for fear of “the word”…

and that doesn’t even take into account those people for whom english is a foreign language, and to whom the letters “S”, “H”, “I”, “T” are meaningless and something else is used in its place… which includes, by the way, both St. Francis and Ummon…

further, if people are going to be offended by the “shit box” what would they have me call it? Eco-Friendly, Portable Toilet is an accurate description, but it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue the way “shit box” does, and calling it an “eco-friendly, portable toilet” won’t really help you when you need to go, and you’re in a tent, asking for it in the pitch darkness of the middle of the night…

not only that, but i didn’t actually name it myself, anyway. that honour goes to the people at The Brown Corporation and i wouldn’t presume to rename something simply because a person like one of these tells me to to do so… even if i did have the power to do so…

WHICH I DON’T!!

finally, i am a weird duck. i don’t do things for the same reasons that most other people do them, and that includes being in business. i am in business PRIMARILY to give thanks to Ganesha, and then to provide quality products and servies to my customers… and i do that in spite the fact that i use language differently than most people, and that i am not offended when someone says “shit”. if a person is offended by the fact that i carry the “shit box“, there’s nothing i can do about it, and if they’re so offended that they choose to buy their incense or devotional statues somewhere else, there’s nothing i can do about that, either… and, to be honest, i would rather that they go somewhere else anyway, because their uptight, holier-than-thou attitude is just going to piss me off.

The language and concepts contained herein are guaranteed not to cause eternal torment in the place where the guy with the horns and pointed stick conducts his business.
     — Frank Zappa

hybrid elephant rant

i’ve been getting A LOT of international orders over the past couple of weeks (i.e. 4, in the past two weeks). this is unusual for a couple of reasons: one is that i very rarely get four orders – period – in that amount of time, and the other is that it’s unheard of for me to get four international orders from different countries (germany, switzerland, great britain and france) in that short a period of time… it’s even more unheard of that i’ve also received orders from the netherlands and from russia(!) within the past month…

i’m guessing — maybe — a european blogger bought incense from me and then blogged about it, or something like that…

however, as much as i appreciate the business, the big problem with all of these international orders, at this point, is that i don’t have any reliable way of determining how much shipping is going to cost, because the orders are anywhere from less than half a pound (i.e. 2 or 3 boxes of incense) to several pounds, and the shipping rates, taxes and tarriffs, and so forth are different for every country that i send to, and the USPS makes figuring out what the shipping rates are as difficult as possible. i’ve found the USPS International Mail Manual, but every time i use that, the price they give me at the post office is different: anywhere from $15 lower to $25 higher depending on who waits on me… and the people at the post office don’t understand where i’m getting the prices i’m getting, and why i’m not getting “the real” prices online, despite the fact that i’ve given them the URL for the manual and had them look it up themselves a number of times.

and, the fact is, i know that it’s possible to set up international shipping with zones in OSCommerce, because Arbroath Fisheries uses OSC and they figured out my – international – shipping without a problem… 😐

and, once again, not that i don’t appreciate the opportunity to communicate with my customers, but i think it would be really nice if i didn’t have to communicate with them because of the fact that, indirectly, i didn’t get their order right and they are going to have to pay me more money before i send it out. 😐

this is why i don’t subscribe to things like this…

despite my interest in geneaology, i usually don’t just arbitrarily subscribe to things like ancestry dot com and genealogy dot com. however, i have recently subscribed to both of them, because i finally got around to uploading a GEDCOM file of my research (8 generations). almost immediately they send me this message that says i have “hints” about some of the people in my family tree…

my sister, my father, and my grandfather.

i know about these people… i know more than i would like to know, and probably more than they would be comfortable knowing that i know… i know what the “hints” are, and i don’t care

what they didn’t tell me in the “potted meat product that isn’t quite SPAM” was that they also have “hints” for 65 other relatives who are far more removed than my grandfather… such as Otto Tobe Biver, my first cousin twice removed, and Sarah Davisson, my grand aunt of wife of great-great-great grand uncle, and Charles W. Hammond, my great-great-great-great-grandfather…

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)

oh well…

i suppose it had to happen some time…

i guess i am destined to be one of those stubborn old codgers who won’t give up their physical hard disks and wired connections when everyone else has gone to the cloud, but you’ve got to draw the line somewhere, and turning my perfectly good, perfectly functional laptop into a “fondle-slab” — which may or may not work, even if the hardware will support it, and is guaranteed not to work if the hardware won’t support it — is where i draw the line. ‘Lion’ Apple Mac OS X 10.7: Sneak Preview – OS X 10.6.8 is as high as i’m willing to go with this crap.

now, i’m going to play with my OS9 macintosh, which actually is a macintosh, thank you… 😐

xtranormal

so a while ago i got the idea to make animations that were reciting the books of tina chopp…

i actually went so far as to create the first 6 cantos of the book of children… before xtranormal changed how things are done… i had to buy “xtranormal points” in december, so that i could finish an unfinished animation. but now it turns out that i will make no more animations at xtranormal after i run out of “points”, because they have now made it so that you have to pay to make animations.

previously, they had a few scenarios that were free, and you had to pay to make more elaborate movies – which was just fine with me – but now you have to “pay” what they’re calling “xtranormal points” in order to make any animations. it would be fine if you were able to accumulate these “xtranormal points” in less offensive ways than “convincing your friends to sign up” and that sort of thing, but they’ve actually got a way to “buy xtranormal points” with actual money, and that goes against my grain…

especially when they originally offered the service for free… 😐

not only that, but i guess they assume that people don’t really care what their animated characters look like, because they now have a bunch of “new” characters, like “chuchus” and “luchadors” and “dummies” and “presidents” and “historical figures” and “fútbol” that are very definitely not appropriate vehicles for the dissemination of profound spiritual knowledge… or something like that…

in any event, i will not be using xtranormal in the future, unless they change things again. i’m not ruling anything out, but i don’t want to have to pay for things like this.

i suppose that if i had thought about it a little bit, i could have anticipated this, but it’s still anoying. 😐

the rapture!!

so far, the rapture hasn’t happened… i’m preparing to have a big ol’ laugh at harold camping’s expense when the day is over… 8)

unauthorised authorisation dialoguein other news, i got a new unauthorised authorisation dialogue, like the one i got back in august of last year, but it’s for a different site… the site, LEAP.cc, is the site for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which i have visited a while back, but there currently is no site there, and, instead, it asks for an authorisation (which i have NEVER provided), so i’m thinking that either they’re not in business any longer (not very likely) or someone has hacked their site. needless to say, i didn’t enter anything into the fields, and it’s acting pretty much the same way as the twitter dialogue that was coming up last year, so i’m going to guess that it’ll go away eventually.

the rapture still hasn’t happened… i’ll let you know something else comes up… 8)

Scientists confirm Extraterrestrial genes in Human DNA – for some reason i thought this was appropriate, despite the fact that it was originally posted in 2007…

Family Radio, which is harold camping’s “ministry” is offline… it’s the end of the world as they know it…

i don’t know whether this is funny or not…

in 2007, i did the programs for the moisture festival. since then, they consistently have not found a printer that does as good a job for as little money as i did.

now they’re almost to the point of admitting it. the reason?

apparently i don’t play for the fremont philharmonic!

kiki, the band leader (this year) is listed twice, but i’m not listed at all, in the program.

i pointed this out to tim and macque – “members of the board” – and they assured me that they would bring it up with RB, who is in charge (more or less) of the schedule and programs… but RB is the same person who, last year, gave me his “personal assurance” that the fremont philharmonic would be scheduled for “at least one burlesque show” this year – and despite what my brother-in-law thinks, burlesque is THE reason why i have been involved with this production for as long as i have – only to find out that the burlesque shows have already all been taken by the zebra kings, that RB “doesn’t remember” talking to me last year, and that’s very likely the way it’s going to stay for the indeterminate, forseeable future. RB is also the person who drove me to the brink of violence, back in 2007, when he missed an important deadline BY TWO AND A HALF WEEKS and i had to get the interior pages photocopied, rather than printed (which would have made my programs even prettier, and cost even less), and drove me to say that i would, NEVER AGAIN do the moisture festival program…

so i don’t know if my complaining about it will make the slightest bit of difference…

and my impression is that the only way to “fix” it, in the long run, is to do what i said i would NEVER AGAIN do…

in the mean time, i have been asked to sit in with the SANCApators next wednesday… another share in the event that made me the most money of any event last year – although it’s probably going to be difficult to beat this year, when i got paid over $1,000 for the panto…

ETA: it is more-or-less as i suspected: i got a personal and “sincere” (whatever that means, coming from RB) apology from RB for not being in the program: he said that it is entirely his fault, that kiki sent him the list of names with me on it, and he sent the list, minus me, to the printer… he said that “if they get it reprinted” he’ll personally make sure that the correction is made… but, honestly, as far as i know, they have never had enough money to do a second printing, especially with two weeks of performances left, and the turn-around time for getting a 50-page program printed makes reprinting the program for the last week highly unlikely… i must have been crazy (it was the brain injury… that was it), but i offered my services as a typesetter/printer. RB said that they may take me up on the offer, because the person who has been printing the programs (a friend of sandy, who took over from me in 2007, when i said i wouldn’t do it again) may be leaving next year…

THIS is the way it SHOULD work!

i am now running amarok 2.4.0!

and the fact that it still has the same bug that 2.3.2 had, and appears to have introduced a new bug where the track-bar in the transport controls apparently doesn’t work, is irrelevant to the point that i then had to rescan my entire (200gb) music collection, and all was right with the world again!

i complained about a bug and as a result of my complaining, there is now a fix for anyone who has the same problems!

a few weeks ago, someone (and i don’t remember who, but it was someone i didn’t know anyway) made some comment to me about how bugs never get fixed in open-source software because nobody knows who to complain to – and proceded to rave about how wonderful micro$not software was, and how it hasn’t had any major bugs since 1998, and that sort of bullshit… and this is exactly why i can categorically say that the guy didn’t know what he was talking about.

ETA: i also got a personal message from one of the people who helped me out with this:

valoriez wrote:If you were serious in that offer, I might have some business to bring your way. A young friend is going to be cataloging the instruments available to students at Kent-Meridian High School, of which some will surely need repair. I would value your opinion as an expert about the best way to proceed, once they are sorted and catalogued. Are you interested?

am i interested?!? 😀

groan?

so “lucid lynx” appears to work well… which is to say, once i had got it installed, it hasn’t crashed or done anything non-computer-like…

dolphin (one of the file managers that i’ve been able to find) doesn’t work any longer… i invoke it in various different ways, but it doesn’t show any files (fortunately, i know that they’re there, otherwise i’d really be freaking out). instead it says: “Could not start process Unable to create io-slave: klauncher said: Error loading ‘kio_file’. this is probably a “non-computer-like” behaviour, but i’m fairly confident that i can, actually get it straightened out within the next few days…

however, amarok, the music player, has some difficulties… so much so that i actually logged a bug on the “new” version (2.3.0) yesterday. it plays music files of all kinds quite the same as it did in its previous version (2.2.4, or something like that), but instead of track lengths, it says that all the tracks are 0:00 minutes long. also, when i view the tags for an individual track, sometimes i can change them, and sometimes i can’t, even though all the files are set to permissions 644…

of course, the immediate response to my bug (as was the case pretty much all the time when i was testing software for a living) was that i am “doing it wrong”, and that i have to upgrade to a version (2.4.0) which, from what i understand after having read a bunch about the process, actually won’t run on lucid… apparently lucid doesn’t have some important piece of the puzzle necessary to run the version of amarok that doesn’t have problems with track lengths and tags… or not, nobody’s exactly sure what’s going on at all. 😐

not only that, but, following the instructions that i, finally, was able to find for upgrading to 2.4.0 on lucid, only upgraded me to 2.3.2 – which isn’t really that surprising, because, from what i have been able to find out, 2.4.0 really won’t run on lucid – which has exactly the same bug as 2.3.0 did.

this is one of the reasons i’m REALLY glad i don’t test software for a living any longer… i don’t have the patience to reply to the “developer” and explain to them that i’m not “doing it wrong”, what i’m doing is EXACTLY the same thing that any other bozo would be doing on their computer, and if they perceive something as a bug, they’re not going to be as satisfied a “customer” as i would be… only i’m NOT a software tester any longer… and i only posess the patience to fume and rant on my blog about how amarok 2.4.0 WON’T WORK on lucid, without some forcing and installing some non-standard bullshit that nobody except the developers truly understand! 😛

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… 😡

daily bleh

i made my monthly backup, which is now in the process of downloading. i’ve discovered that, pretty commonly, and regardless of platform, if i download using http, i get about ¾ of the way through the download, and it just ends, for no obvious reason, but if i download using ftp, everything appears on the local end without a problem… thus proving, once again, that a simple, text-based application that is designed to do one thing perfectly will always beat out a big, bulky application, most of which is code for the GUI, which does a whole bunch of things, but there’s no guarantee that it does any of those things perfectly, when it comes to getting things done the right way, the first time…

listen to me… you’d hardly guess that, buried deep in the inner core, was a dyed-in-the-wool mac-head… 🙂

rob sagan has been placed… yay!

i have had two “incomplete” orders for incense since the 1st of january, one from the netherlands and one from taiwan. they’ve ordered $4 and $12 worth of incense, respectively, got up to the point where paypal figures out shipping and realised that it would be 5 to 10 times as much just for shipping as they would be spending on actualy product. i’ve been wondering about why people do that for a while:to me it seems fairly obvious that, to someone outside the united states, a shop that is in the united states and sells things that are imported from india is going to charge a lot more to ship things outside the united states than some local shop that sells the same items imported from india. a friend of mine says that it’s because, overall, over the past 20 to 50 years, people, in general, have gotten stupider. i was talking with him about college experience these days (since moe is currently in college as well) and what it comes down to is that, even 20 years ago, expectations were a lot higher than they currently are, and i think that there’s a direct correlation to the general consumer on internet… no wonder there are so many people who think that the email message they got telling them that they had won $500 million dollars in the nigerian lottery is anything other than a scam… it definitely doesn’t say much for the education system, or internet – the “information superhighway”…

more turmoil in egypt, which includes the last of the internet connections finally going down… there’s a “million man march” scheduled, and the word is that the military has said that they won’t fire on civilians… but i’ve heard it all before, and until mubarak is under lock and key, either in egypt or elsewhere, i’m going to remain skeptical of anything i hear about the stability of the egyptian government…

ETA: apparently Egypt President Mubarak announces plan to retire in Sept. but i don’t think that’s going to be soon enough for most people… we’ll see how it all works out… fairly soon…

regarding the shutdown of internet in egypt

In the spirit going back to Magna Carta, we require a principle that: No person or organization shall be deprived of their ability to connect to others at will without due process of law, with the presumption of innocence until found guilty. Neither governments nor corporations should be allowed to use disconnection from the Internet as a way of arbitrarily furthering their own aims.
     — Tim Berners-Lee

Egypt: Tor Use Skyrocketing as Users Route-Around Internet Blocks

they’ve got to realise that as soon as they shut down regular internet access, that would immediately drive initiative to gain alternative access…

i already use Tor and a couple of other anonymizing software packages, but i’m seriously thinking about things like freenet or openmesh

Communicate if Your Government Shuts Off Your Internet
3 Projects to Create a Government-less Internet
Get Internet Access When Your Government Shuts It Down

this would normally go in the massive link dump on monday…

but by monday there’s a possibility that nobody would be able to read about it… 😐

Internet Shut Down in Egypt – “But Biden Says Mubarak is No Dictator” what would you call someone who deliberately shuts off the only means of communicating with the outside that most of his – dissatisfied – constituents have? is this a prelude to a massacre? or worse? will it happen in the US next?

social notworking

listen to this while reading the following post: Have Sex and Die! from Mothra! an opera about insects by Pliny Keep

i got a “connect” message from LinkedIn today, for someone i know only vaguely. i thought about it for a long time before i acceded to their request, and almost immediately i discovered that one of my customers, a guy who, previously, i had only known because he was a repeat customer of my business, was now a “2nd degree” connection. it’s this kind of connection that makes me really wonder about the whole concept of “social networking” and whether, ultimately, it will be good for us, both as individuals and as a society…

not that i can do anything about it, of course… 😐

but i still dislike the idea of facebook, principally because most of the users are unaware of how they are being blatantly, obviously, manipulated, mislead and spied on at the same time. i was talking to a stranger this afternoon, and the subject strayed to the ubiquity of smart-phones. she commented that she doesn’t know most of what the smart-phone can do, and, although she has a facebook account and a twitter account, she doesn’t know “how they work”… and yet she has a smart-phone, and isn’t worried about how much information is out there about her, specifically, because she “has a boring life: nobody would want to know about it”.

if that were only the case, these days… 😐

and yet i can’t help imagining that i’ll eventually sign up for a facebook account, or something like that. so far, i haven’t drunk any of the new water, and i still have a plentiful supply of untainted water, but the desire to connect with other humans tempts me at times. one of those times was last night, when i went to a fez-up with hobbit and fezmonger and his wife, and i was left out of the conversation when i was the only person without a facebook account.

tempted, but, as i said, i still have a plentiful supply of untainted water…

the book of children


since geico made their xtranormal commercial, things have changed: apparently the characters and sets that used to be free are no longer free, which includes the character and the set in chapter 6. i don’t know if this is because they have introduced new free characters, or if it is because they changed their business model (which they didn’t tell me about). one way or the other, i had to spend actual money to get this published, and if i’m going to have to spend more money to get future books published, i’m probably not going to do so… fortunately i made hi-res downloads of all the books…

spam, AGAIN…

so i just thought i’d put it out there… since, apparently, some people just won’t take a hint

every spam comment that is submitted to my blog is marked as spam (which is why it doesn’t immediately appear as a comment: for that, i have to approve your comment, which won’t happen if it’s spam) and shuttled off to a “spam” folder, where i get to take it apart, dissect it, and add any domain names, IP addresses and specific key words to my blacklist and my anti-spam plugin, so that any further spam which contains ANY of the previously mentioned items will also be marked as spam.

in other words, any message that I DON’T LIKE will be dissected and any domain names, IP addresses and any key words that i find therein, will be added to my blacklist,
GUARANTEED!

i currently have almost 300 IP addresses (blocked at the /16 or /24 level), and almost 600 domain names blacklisted, and EVERY SINGLE SPAM COMMENT that gets submitted to my blog just makes the possibility that you will be able to post a comment on my blog that much less likely

just give it up, already… go and bother someone else, why don’t you? 😐

another week closer to the eschaton…

Think US politics are absurd? Brazilians elect actual clown to Congress – brazil has its collective shit together in more than two ways that i’ve noticed recently… maybe american politicians should be paying more attention to the brazilians…

60% of countries will be bankrupt within 50 years – the only hopeful thing about the future is that i will very likely die before that happens.

Drug cops smash into wrong house, terrorize elderly couple and Pot raid at school turns up tomatoes – if it were legal, they could be spending their time going after real criminals instead of hassling immigrant grandparents, and kids about their tomatoes… 😐

Why Comcast can (but probably won’t) read your e-mails, IMs – every now and then i need to remind myself why i am NOT a comcast customer. this will do for a couple of years, until something else awful and terrifying is revealed about their policies…

GPS directs driver to death in Spain’s largest reservoir or Un hombre fallece tras hundirse su coche en la presa de La Serena – i, for one, welcome our new, robot overlords… or not…

Caught Spying on Student, FBI Demands GPS Tracker Back and Student finds tracking device on his car; FBI demands it back – what…?

Hello, this is your ISP. You have been disconnected from internet. Have a nice day. – if micro$awft gets its way, this could happen to you if you get any kind of malware or virus. more reason to use linux, of course, but why would anyone think this is a good idea to begin with is a little mystifying.

Android phone auto reverts jailbreaks – i agree, that people who are required to pay for a piece of hardware to make their lives easier, should be able to use that piece of hardware for whatever they choose. the company from which you buy a cell phone does not retain an “interest” in the hardware, once you buy it… much as i like the approach taken by the makers of the android cell phone, i don’t think they should be able to arbitarily “take back” a phone that has been modified.

Woman screamed about God while destroying art and California Stem Cell Agency Rewards Blasphemy While Admitting the Humanity of Embryos Slated for Destruction – yep, people are still concerned about what other people do being “blasphemy”. in one case, a woman broke into a protective plexiglass housing and destroyed a piece of art, and in the other, people, for whom it did not make any difference, were “forced” to comply with the wishes of the people who were crying “blasphemy” and take down an otherwise inoffensive piece of art. i wrote to the contact person for CIRM (i encourage you to write to him as well) and sent him this:

i am not offended by any language, but because of the fact that you have seen fit to remove the poems in honour of stem cell awareness day, i can no longer see them, and that offends me.

No-one has the right not to be offended.
     — John Cleese

A truly great library contains something within it to offend everyone.
     — Jo Godwin

What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.
     — Salman Rushdie

Being offended is a natural consequence of leaving the house.
     — Fran Lebowitz

The most efficacious method of dealing with deviancy is to ignore, to the furthest point of our tolerance, those items which we find offensive.
     — Ilbert Geis

Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world.
     — Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet), 1694-1778

by the way, if you’re interested, the poems that were too “blasphemous” to post on CIRMs web site, can be seen here. USAToday is good for something after all.

Insane Clown Posse is actually a Christian band, and nobody knew – i knew there was a fundamental reason why i didn’t like them apart from their encouragement of drunken violence…

spam, again…

i don’t often admit to hating pretty much anything, but i will admit, whole-heartedly, to hating spam with a white-hot passion… 😛

i’m going to use this as an example of how i determine something which is not labled spam, is actually spam.

the following is a text-dump of the entire message, with the headers intact. the only thing i have done is to obscure my host server.

Return-path: <x>
Envelope-to: [email protected]
Delivery-date: Fri, 01 Oct 2010 03:40:48 -0700
Received: from hybridel by x with local (Exim 4.69)
     (envelope-from )
     id 1P1d2m-0005OP-Im
     for [email protected]; Fri, 01 Oct 2010 03:40:48 -0700
To: "salamandir" <[email protected]>
Subject: Enquiry from Hybrid Elephant
X-PHP-Script: www.hybridelephant.com/contact_us.php for 122.163.114.169
From: "Randall Tuttle" <[email protected]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-Mailer: osCommerce Mailer
Content-Type: text/plain;
  charset="UTF-8"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Message-Id: <E1P1d2m-0005OP-Im@x>
Sender:  <hybridel@x>
Date: Fri, 01 Oct 2010 03:40:48 -0700
X-Bogosity: Unsure, tests=bogofilter, spamicity=0.583091, version=1.2.0
X-UID: 
Status: RO
X-Status: R
X-KMail-EncryptionState: N
X-KMail-SignatureState: N
X-KMail-MDN-Sent:  

We noticed that you are not at the top of the search engines for a number of your key terms.
We have helped companies similar to yours to achieve top organic rankings. Please reply to this
message and we will prepare a special proposal for you, to show you how we can achieve similar
results for you.

first, i look at the subject line: “Subject: Enquiry from Hybrid Elephant

this is not labled “spam” because it’s an enquiry from my web site, which means that if it turns out to be spam, i can’t report it, because it doesn’t have a message path that can be traced. i get a lot of spammers trying to abuse my response form (hint, it only sends to me, so it’s not much use for spamming), so that increases the probability that it is, actually, spam.

next, i look at the sender name and email address. usually people who submit legitimate enquiries to my business have an email address that doesn’t stand out. this one – From: "Randall Tuttle" <[email protected]> – stands out: “Randall Tuttle” has an email address that includes the name “rachelle”? the probability that it actually is spam just went up to 99.98%. i have never seen an example of a message that comes from someone who is apparently male, which has an email address that includes a female name, unless they were trying to mislead people in some way.

as i said, because of the fact that it is an enquiry from my web site, i can’t report it, but i can delete it without even reading further.

but i am going to force myself to read further, because deep down, i am a masochist… or something like that…

We noticed that you are not at the top of the search engines for a number of your key terms.

now i’m starting to get perturbed… i knew i shouldn’t have read any further… patience, patience… 😐

yes, i know that. it is because i haven’t gotten to the top yet. if you google “html escape sequences” you’ll probably notice my site within the top 5 on the list. that is because i have offered the only complete list of html escape seqences on the net, for the longest time, without changing its URI. i haven’t been offering incense for anywhere near as long as i have had that list of escape sequences on the net. not only that, but i just upgraded from a flat html structure to a php/database structure within the past couple of years. one of the advantages is that if you search for specific products, like “aparajita special durbar incense” you will find my web site on the first page, despite the fact that i have upgraded my web site recently.

yeah, i’m not at the top of the list for all of my keywords, but i’m getting there, and if i leave my web site alone for long enough, i’ll probably get there without using possibly illegal and most likely nefarious ways to get there sooner, which is what you’re probably suggesting…

We have helped companies similar to yours to achieve top organic rankings.

organic ratings? organic ratings!? nothing about the web is “organic” in any sense of the term. and if they were, in some miraculous way, “organic” ratings, then why would a person named “Randall” be trying to sell them to me, writing to me from “rachelle”‘s email address, at gmail.com?

Please reply to this message and we will prepare a special proposal for you, to show you how we can achieve similar results for you.

reveal more about how my mailserver works to you, and give you new and innovative ways to break into my web site and email server, so that you can “prepare a special proposal” for me? i don’t think so, especially since you haven’t actually proven to me that you have actually done that for anyone.
 

PLONK!!!
 
for those of you unfamiliar with the term, “plonk” is the sound a spam message makes when it is deleted,
or the sound of a person’s email address being added to a “do not send” or “banned” list.

 
oh, by the way, the form gives me a little bit more information about the sender than he probably realises:

X-PHP-Script: www.hybridelephant.com/contact_us.php for 122.163.114.169

aha, his IP address. a quick “host 122.163.114.169” tells me that his computer is named “abts-north-dynamic-169.114.163.122.airtelbroadband.in” which is a dynamic range coming from AirTel Broadband, in india.

yeah, i’m really going to respond to a person who didn’t give me his real name, offering sketchy SEO services from a wireless connection in india… 😐

by the way…

LinkedIn Zeus spam run targets prospective business marks – i’ve been getting this spam for three weeks and i haven’t picked up the ZeuS trojan yet…

of course, i haven’t been clicking on any links in mail that crosses my desk labled as “spam”, and i have been reporting messages that claim to be from LinkedIn that are labled “spam” for three weeks… i have opened (as text-only, not as html) precisely one message that claimed to be from LinkedIn that was labled “spam”, about three weeks ago, to determine that it was, in fact, spam, and that has been it.

once again, the principal reason that email should not be sent as “formatted” or containing html code, is because, if it is, you can’t tell immediately that things are not as they should be. most people don’t think to look at the bottom of their screen, at the status bar of their email client or browser, to make sure that the link that they think they’re clicking is actually the link they’re clicking. most people assume that when they see a link, if they click on it they will be taken to the site indicated in the link, but that is NOT TRUE and especially so when the link is in an email message.

if i type in a link – http://www.hybridelephant.com/ – if that link is “active” (which this one is not), most people would assume that clicking it will take you to the site indicated, which is Hybrid Elephant. however, if you see the words Hybrid Elephant with no link, unless you look down, at the status bar of your browser (because you are viewing it in a web page, which is formatted using HTML), you won’t know that the link takes you to somewhere you may not have been expecting.

email was originally intended for communication on a very basic level. the web was intended for delivering “richer”, more “complete” content. you can say “check this out” without saying it in letters that are “formatted”. it may be “cooler” to say it in bold, purple, 72-point letters, but if you send such a message, the only thing you’re doing is forcing people who may not want it, to get a large quantity of essentially meaningless code along with a relatively short message, and sending people the possibility of getting their machines infected with a virus without you or them knowing about it, until it’s too late.

it not only saves space, but doesn’t have the potential for screwing up someone’s entire machine, as this LinkedIn/ZeuS spam tries to do.

HTML in Email is EVIL!
TEXT-ONLY EMAIL!
THE WEB IS THE PLACE FOR HTML-FORMATTING!

😛

another week closer to the eschaton…

The City That Ended HungerBuckminster Fuller said that we, as a people, have posessed the technology for 50 years (and he said this almost 50 years ago) to create a world where nobody has to work to survive. Why Bother Working At A Job You Hate? and The RICH Economy are my attempts at changing the world’s consciousness, but it may be that Belo Horizonte, brazil’s fourth largest city, has taken it one step further. brazil has a number of other interesting features upon which i have commented previously.

meanwhile, back in hell america, Building sand castles on Florida’s beaches is illegal – this is how BP is hoping to make you think that the oil spill is gone.

What the TSA isn’t saying about Full Body Scanners and Your Right to Opt Out – Say “I Opt Out.” Every Time. – has an interesting URI – Don’tScan.Us – and is there to remind everyone that, when travelling by air, you have the right to say “I OPT OUT” when confronted with a TSA request to what amounts to a strip search. also Portable, rapid DNA analysis tech developed – Big Brother doesn’t care whether or not you have fingerprints, and is interested in your DNA instead… more orwellian doublethink: Welfare is Employment Rights are Privileges War is Peace Illness is Health Collapse Is Recovery

Judge orders lesbian reinstated to Air Force and yet the congress in it’s infinite wisdom has decided that, even though a judge also ruled that DADT is unconstitutional, they’re not going to do anything to change it at this time. correct me if i’m wrong, but the judge that said that DADT is unconstitutional basically said that it’s against the law for the military to enforce the law as it currently stands, and still, congress feels that it’s okay to leave the law as it stands, right? that settles it, our government, and likely the governments of the countries in the rest of the world as well (since they all cooperate with each other, more or less) is irreparably broken. it’s time for that major shift in the way people think that i’ve mentioned before to actually start happening now…

and, by the way, now there’s Irrefutable Proof the Bush Tax Cuts Were a Miserable Failure – and we’re still losing to these morons…

despite the fact that Yes on Prop 19 Holds Steady Lead, 47%-42%, in Latest SurveyUSA Poll, this is what supporters of prop 19 are up against: Ex-Drug Czar Bill Bennett: Showtime’s “Weeds” is “Damaging,” Jonas Brothers Should Fight Prop 19 – regardless of whether prop 19 passes or not, however, Federal judge rules Colorado’s medical marijuana law is no defense for US drug charges. california can legalise all it wants, but until the federal government changes its mind, people will still end up going to jail for smoking a joint. and, while we’re at it, T-Mobile Claims Right to Censor Text Messages – big brother just got a little bigger and a little less like your brother.

along the same lines, according to Chapter 69.51A RCW on Medical "marijuana" (which is actually called “cannabis”, but i’m not arguing at this point), apparently i wouldn’t qualify anyway… oh well… 8/

Twitter blames website upgrade for re-introducing XSS holehopefully, the last word on my battle with twitter and their most recent cross-site scripting bug… which is still gone on my machine, but presumably that’s because i deleted my account before this latest round happened, and when they re-introduced it, i didn’t have an account to infect any longer…

twitter… 😐 feh.

Trojan poses as skeleton key jailbreak utility – but it only works on iPhones… wait, what? 8) heh heh heh… i am so glad i’m not a mac-head any longer…

GoDaddy.com Goes on the Auction Block – recently i read a couple of articles detailing how a whole bunch (<200) of wordpress blogs hosted by godaddy got hacked. i don’t know whether selling godaddy will make things better or worse, but it’s one of the reasons why i don’t use godaddy to begin with.

IE captain flees Microsoft for Google – when i was first getting into testing software, back in 1996, i attended a planning meeting in advance of the release of IE3 (which was still crawling with bugs, in spite of bill gates’ claim that micro$not released “bug free” software), and chris wilson was there, although he wasn’t as “important” then as he later became. however giving up micro$hit for google is sort of a lateral move for someone who is allegedly as “important” as he is… and, given that he is ultimately responsible for such travesties as IE4 and IE6, i would think that google would have second thoughts about hiring him…

How do you copy 60 million files? – yet another reason why linux rocks, and you should use it and not that crap operating system from redmond.

Nuclear Winter And Peace – look… another article by Fidel Castro… you might get the impression that he’s actually changed the way he thinks recently, and that i agree with him now…

pubic schools billboardOops! Billboard spelling error creates embarrassment

The true history of the Koran in America – reports of qur’ans in american libraries go back at least to 1683, and the first qur’an to be published in america was in 1806, over 100 years later. both thomas jefferson and john adams owned one and read it frequently… just sayin’…

Pope’s astronomer says he would baptise an alien if it asked him – unfortunately, is not a joke… nor is this: Christian group declares jct 9 on M25 cursed, although it took me several readings to confirm that it was, in fact, totally serious… what?!?

Church of Body Modification – this has been the subject of a bunch of spam messages i have been receiving recently, but it’s a real thing, and it looks fairly interesting…

Fabrican – it gives the reference to “jeans so tight you must have sprayed them on” a whole new meaning…

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|

another week closer to the eschaton…

i don’t use facebook for a large number of reasons. primary among these is that, despite the fact that a lot of my current friends are facebook members, there are certain people from my past that might want to get in touch with me, and i would prefer it a great deal if they did not know how to get in touch with me. not being a member of facebook is a good way to accomplish that. among the other reasons, in no particular order, are these: Facebook users ‘are insecure, narcissistic and have low self-esteem’, Understanding the latest Facebook privacy train wreck, Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook, More Reasons Why You Should Still Quit Facebook and Does what happens in the Facebook stay in the Facebook? i’m not going to rant about this, despite the fact that i could rant for quite some time about facebook, because whatever i say, people are going to do what people are going to do, and one of those things is to use facebook in spite of it’s obvious and blatant flaws.

reminder: THIS is the reason why i am no longer using LiveJournal for anything remotely blog-related. i know enough about how these things work to realise that there’s probably a lot going on that i don’t understand, and that i don’t know about, but there’s one distinct advantage to having a blog located on a server over which you have exclusive control, and that is that you don’t have perverts sysadmins stalking poking their noses in where they’re not supposed to be. if you’re looking for an alternative, i can host your domain and you can run your own version of wordpress there, and i promise i won’t comment on flocked entries. contact me for more details.

Death by iPod – this is directly related to last week’s link detailing people still falling for scams, despite the fact that they’ve been running essentially the same scams for at least ten years… society needs a collective brain upgrade. examples: Google squirrels into human brains with Scribe experiment and Russia Uses Microsoft to Suppress Dissent

Windows malware dwarfs other viral threats – “The vast majority of malware – more than 99 per cent – targets Windows PCs”. another very good reason to use linux.

50 Mind Blowing Facts About America That Our Founding Fathers Never Would Have BelievedSheriffs want lists of patients using painkillers – for example…

Stuffed Pony Blown Up By Bomb Squad Suspicious ‘FurReal’ pony blown up near elementary school – it was a battery powered, stuffed pony, in the vicinity of an elementary school… because the clowns at clownland security didn’t have anything better to do…

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Unconstitutional – this actually happened a few days ago, but i haven’t seen it in any of the regular news at all. the “christians” will say that it’s further evidence that they are a “persecuted minority”. meanwhile Self-Described ‘Christian Counterpart To Osama Bin Laden’ Arrested In Plot To Bomb Abortion Clinic and Self-labeled ‘Christian counterpart of Osama bin Laden’ allegedly planned clinic bombing – “christians” are the real terrorists.

What does it take to be happy? About $75,000 – money can’t buy happiness, but apparently $75k a year will get you pretty close…

New research restores psychedelics’ medical respectability – first they were used as medicine for thousands of years, then they decided that they have no medicinal value, now they’re saying that they might have medicinial value after all… i wish they’d just make up their minds and stop decieving us. sign The Vienna Declaration to advocate for evidence based drug policy and strengthen the call for policies driven by evidence. join the movement to end the failed war on drugs!

Cannabis Yoga – to help you come down from your stressful life. this is not a joke.

Noam Chomsky to become new X-Factor judge – this is a joke.

but i don’t believe in gravity!

i’ve subscribed to a number of anti-evolutionist blogs (for entertainment purposes only, mind you). this one, from It’s Harvest Time typifies the combination of laughable, and frightening ignorance which i frequently find so disturbing that i question my own sanity in subscribing to wingnuts like this. i originally wrote “freaks like this” but then i realised that it would be a significant put-down for freaks – like myself – and i decided that a hardware reference would be more along the lines of what the guy actually is.

Stephen Hawking’s Recent Stupidity
British Professor Stephen Hawking, one of Britain’s most noted professor [sic], was quoted recently giving his explanations on the origins of the universe. Let me give an EXACT QUOTE – “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” FROM NOTHING! This man believes that the universe was created BY ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! I don’t [sic] who you are – that’s STUPID! Don’t laugh, though. This is a quote from the atheists’ best! This is a prominent professor of theirs [sic]! This is not one of their uneducated paupers on the streets of downtown Detroit; this is the VERY BEST THEY HAVE TO OFFER! And, rather than believing in a Creator who created the universe with nothing, for a specific purpose, they would rather believe that the massive amount of matter and order in the universe came from nothing! How pitiful!

Evolution
NPR (National Public Radio) has been trying to figure out recently how humans became the dominant species. Again, instead of believing in an intelligent Being who created the world with a divine plan, they believe that over a period of BILLIONS OF YEARS, the human race evolved from primates. That is the most laughable theory I have ever heard. Evolution is philosophy, not science. It is not science because it has NEVER BEEN OBSERVED. No species has even been witnessed to evolve into another. No organism has ever been witnessed to reproduce another organism of a different species. IF IT HAS NOT BEEN OBSERVED, IT IS NOT SCIENCE. As laughable as it is, they are “making it as sure as they can.” It’s weak, but it’s the best they have.

to say that he disagrees with stephen hawking would be one thing, but to say that the man is stupid is another thing entirely, and when he offers no proof whatsoever that stephen hawking is, actually, mentally deficient in some way, it borders on libel. personally, i have a tendency to think that it’s possible that stephen hawking may have thought about these things a fair amount more than i have, and, while i don’t completely agree with him about the creation of the spiritual universe, i have a tendency to think that his theories about the creation of the physical universe are more correct than not.

i would point “rev.” bob board (who doesn’t have a wikipedia page, to give you an idea of how significant the world considers his opinions) towards something like this:
since i get the impression youtube is where he has gotten most of his current ideas about evolution. i also believe that he’s a lot more likely to watch an animated cartoon, even a poorly drawn one, than he is to read a book, no matter how simple it is…

but i doubt it would make any difference in the way he thinks…

twitter!!

Twitter bug creates account hijacking peril – i’m not sure that this is exactly related to what i have been experiencing, but it does explain a lot, especially since i didn’t start experiencing a problem until after i had “disabled” my twitter account…

now to determine whether or not there is a way to prevent cross-site scripting in wordpress…

growl, grumble, gripe, complain… 😡

ETA: it is as i feared: WordPress 3.0.1 – Cross Site Scripting Issue and Twitter XSS Proof of Concept – it doesn’t work if you’re running NoScript (which i am), but there it is… i suppose now it’s just a matter of waiting until somebody comes up with a fix for it…

further growl update II

apparently either something was “stuck” in my computer that i deleted when i deleted and re-uploaded my blog yesterday, or something else is going on, because so far, the unauthorised authorisation dialogue that has been plaguing me for the past three days has now flown the coop… grr. it’s back again… 8/ it’s like it waits until i’m actually typing a post before it shows up… weird!

apparently the process of disinfecting those two files that i discovered yesterday completely re-did the way the blog “plugins” work, because when i booted up this morning, i suddenly discovered that wordpress does, in fact, keep track of things that it seems to have been forgetting for a while now. maybe the thing that is supposed to email commenters when there’s a new comment will suddenly start to work now…

also, i’m sorry to say it, hobbit, but i have miraculously discovered a bidding war over the collection of conan books which is now up to $22 and the auction still has 9 hours before it’s over…

further growl update

i’m fairly sure that the authorisation dialogue message that (still) won’t go away is somehow connected to my blog. when i shut down my computer yesterday, there was an authorisation dialogue box on my screen, but when i started up this morning it wasn’t there. so, i paid very close attention to what i started up, and the order i started things up, and kept track of the processes that were running on the computer. it didn’t show up again until i logged into my blog, at which point it showed up almost immediately.

so, i deleted all of the files except for the database and re-uploaded everything. in the process of re-uploading the files, i discovered a couple of files that were infected from last year, that i probably missed when i was cleaning up last year. 8/

of course, when everything was uploaded and the database got reconnected, the first thing that happened was that the authorisation dialogue box came back, so i’ve got a couple of other options, the first of which is rebooting my local computer, to see if there is something that is stuck in my local machine.

growl update

i went to the twitter web site and quickly determined that there wasn’t a way to connect with a tech-support drone who had any hope of giving me a cogent answer to my (primarily twitter-related) problem – one of the reasons i was so hesitant to get wrapped up in this whole thing to begin with… 8/

anyway, i went to the #kubuntu IRC channel on freenode and met up with someone who, once he had seen the picture of the dialogue box, had the idea that it might be a gnome dialogue, which is odd, considering that i am running KDE. admittedly, i do have a few gnome applications installed (synaptic, for example), but as far as i know, none of them are using the gnome-keychain application from which this seems to be a dialogue box, so he suggested that i remove it, which i did.

after logging out and logging in again, it looked as though the dialogue had vanished (a good thing), so after waiting around for half an hour or so, i quit the IRC client.

almost immediately the authorisation dialogue came back… 8/

i then began shooting down processes that looked suspicious, starting with anything even remotely gnome-related. eventually i shot down enough processes that my system became unstable, so i had to completely shut down the machine and restart.

at this point, the dialogue hasn’t come back yet. i’m not sure whether it’s because of the fact that i removed software, or whether it’s because of the fact that i hadn’t actually shut down the computer, or if it’s because both of those things happened… at this point, i’m not completely convinced that the dialogue won’t come back again.

ETA: it’s back… 8/

another thing i learned about was the existence of yet another browser, rekonq, which has some interesting quirks and probably won’t replace firefox any time soon, but it’s an interesting addition to the collection.

GROWL!

i didn’t want to, but i signed up for a twitter account, allegedly so i could “keep in contact” with the previous host provider…

no, this isn’t going to be another gripe about my host provider, although it starts out seeming that way, bear with me…

of course, it didn’t work, and i don’t have services provided by that service provider any more anyway, so i decided to cancel my twitter account. after all, i never used it, and i only signed up for it in the first place because i thought it was going to facilitate something that, in fact, it didn’t. however, i found that it’s not so easy to “cancel” your twitter account.

you can – allegedly – “deactivate” your account, which is a “permant” method of “temporarily” disabling your account (whatever that means), but your account might still be visible for up to 48 hours after it has been “deactivated” due to “network propagation” (whatever that means)…

something i didn't install wants accessso i decided to “deactivate” my account, since there doesn’t seem to be any way at all to cancel it outright. it was actually deceptively simple. i say it was “deceptively” simple because, although i did it this morning, and my computer has actually been shut down for most of the day, i still keep getting an “authorisation dialogue” from something i didn’t install, but which says that “twitter api” at “twitter.com” wants access to something on my computer…

REPEATEDLY 😡

i click “cancel” and it goes away, only to come back about 5 minutes later. i don’t enter anything, and click “OK” – which i would assume would produce an error message, and… it goes away, only to come back about 5 minutes later…

it’s 11:00 at night, and i don’t have time to try and figure out what’s going wrong, but you can bet that i”m going to have a stern conversation with a couple of tech-support toadies at twitter tomorrow.

network/s/ing

i am writing this from portland. to be specific, i am writing this from the back yard of my mother-in-law’s house. when i booted up my battery-powered laptop, it automatically found a network, and logged me in. it also found 3 other networks, for which i don’t have the password stored in my computer.

my impression is that i can go pretty much anywhere in pretty much any metropolitan area in this country, and be able to log on to the network with not an awful lot more than a password. this particular network’s password was (probably) supplied by my wife, who set up her mother with wireless ethernet last christmas, but it shouldn’t take any more than asking someone to be able to log in to any network. i just heard someone on the radio this morning who was saying that, inevitably, they’re going to include wireless networking, or wifi hotspots in new buildings, the same way that new buildings currently are wired with electricity, sewers and running water. i shouldn’t have to do more than ask someone to get free access to internet, in the same way that i shouldn’t have to pay someone to get water, or go to the bathroom.

and yet, that’s what google – the “don’t be evil” company – is out to make happen. it’s not bad enough that google anticipates the keywords that you type in, based on information that they have gathered from your previous searches, or that google is willing to sell that information about you to other people without your knowledge or permission, but on top of all that, they want to make you pay to get what should be equally free to everyone.

yeah, i know that you can go into a restaurant and get a fancy glass of water, but you’re also going to get quite a bit more than that in a restaurant, if what you’re starting out with is water, and when water is all you need, paying for all of that other, admittedly desirable, stuff, is starting to be more of a “luxury” item than anything else…

here’s an option: give free high speed internet to everyone, but let google and verizon build their “private, for-pay” internet and have them deliver that “private, for-pay” internet in a way similar to that in which fine food is delivered at a restaurant, and see how long it is before people realise that “private” and “for-pay” means that regardless of how raunchy, evil and nasty they want to be, someone is going to be aware of their actions.

host headaches

so i was forced, once again, to switch host providers.

i was having a conversation with the (now) previous host provider, who said that there was nothing to worry about, and then, two days (literally) later, i get an email from him that says he’s going out of business – again… he gave me a date of 18th septembr as the date… then, he sent me email the next day that said that the original message was sent “as a draft”, and that the actual date was 9th september.

i have gotten so tired of people jerking me around – this guy was doing okay, with the exception of saying he was going out of business a few months ago, but then changing his mind and deciding that he was going to stay in business for his existing clients – but after i got the “draft” message, i decided to be proactive and rustled up a couple of potential new host providers, and began the process of moving. whether or not he was going to change his mind, i’d simply had enough of his being able to jerk me around.

i switched the DNS numbers two days ago, and there was the requisite 48-hour chaos period while the new DNS propagated, but it appears that everything has settled down at this point.

shortly after i switched the DNS numbers, the (now) previous provider called me to see how the process was going. i get the impression that he was waiting for me to get out of his system, because now, none of his domains are available. this is a guy who is apparently a high school student who “lost his job” and can’t run his service any longer. the problem i have with that is that hosting web sites is my job, and if i don’t have a host provider, I will go out of business.

i switched to a professional host provider, not a “skript kiddie”, that has a proven, international record (no, i did NOT go back to 1&1), and i’m actually paying less than i was with the previous host provider. hopefully this will be the last time for a good long while, because i’m totally over it.

we are all equal versus i’m better than you

i was driving home this afternoon when i had a realisation: this society is screwed up, mentally, and it comes from the fact that there are two very powerful, but entirely opposite messages being propagated from a very early age. one message is that everyone is equal: things like the constitution, the bill of rights and even the pledge of allegiance emphasise the fact that nobody is better than anybody else, and that all of us are just human beings. the other message is that there are some people who are better than other people. this was driven home to me by a bumper sticker i saw on the back of the car in front of me that said “Cougar Pride” and had the name of some elementary school on it.

of course, what it said to me is that the students of whatever elementary school it was are indoctrinated to believe that their school is better than the other schools in the area. it was intended, most likely, to elicit pride in the school’s sports teams, but it clearly was intended to represent the entire “cougar” population, regardless of whether or not they were on a sports team. and it obviously doesn’t matter to anyone that the population is being indoctrinated, because i’ve seen exactly the same message on bumper stickers for every school that has thought about it in the slightest degree.

i see things like this all the time: “our sports team is better than yours”, or “our city is better than yours”, or “our religion is better than yours” — but we’re all equal, all just human beings, nobody is “better” than anybody else.

society is going to continue to be screwed up until we start teaching our children consistent messages and stop being contradictory.

another week closer to the eschaton…

Crabs provide evidence oil tainting Gulf food web – oil spill? what oil spill? wasn’t that two weeks ago? 8/

and, while we’re on the subject of oil, 2,487.5 mpg! Catchy headline unneccessary – “We find it incredibly thrilling to report mpg ratings that require a comma so we’re going to write it again: 2,487.5 mpg. Wow.” that’s right, they’re talking about two “prototype” internal combustion, gasoline powered cars, in measured competition one got 437.2 miles per gallon, and the other got 2,487.5 miles per gallon… detroit is still hyping their 20 – 25 mpg cars as “energy efficient”, “fuel saving”, and other preposterous blather, despite the fact that mileage on my cars hasn’t changed significantly in over 30 years. apparently, we “umayrakins” are swallowing it hook, line and sinker, and begging for more. it’s my understanding that you can’t sell a car in europe these days that doesn’t get at least 40 mpg… what do we have to do to get these “prototype” cars into mass production?

oh, and by the way, Senior U.S. scientist rescinds previous claim that ¾ of oil from spill is gone, says most is still there and Top Expert: Geology is “Fractured”, Relief Wells May Fail … BP is Using a “Cloak of Silence”, Refusing to Share Even Basic Data with the Government – what? were they really thinking that we would believe that they could clean up two months worth of oil spill in less than a month? and once they got the well plugged up, the first thing BP did was go back to it’s habit of not sharing information with anyone again… it all goes back to that link that i found a couple weeks ago, where the guy was claiming that the BP gulf disaster may have triggered a ‘world-killing’ event

Time To Terminate Western Civilization Before It Terminates Us – right on! its about time somebody said it! it’s about time we all get down to learning at least Ten Reasons to Become Self-Sufficient and Ten Ways to Get There

It’s time to presume the web is guilty – it’s an interesting way to look at it, but i think he may have something there. especially considering that Trojan-ridden warning system implicated in Spanair crash – when i was a software tester, there was this thing called “good enough” which was a state where the software still had bugs, but it was “good enough” to release to the public, because the bugs that it had were small, inconsequential, difficult to show, or inconsistent enough that there wasn’t an immediate need to fix them. there were exceptions to the “good enough” rule, which included software on which peoples’ life depended, such as avionics, medical software, and that kind of thing, but when i was a software tester, the concept of a virus that spread through email was something that had only recently been realised and hadn’t been around for more than a couple of years, and most of what appeared on the web was presumed to be innocent. now we’ve gotten to the point where software testers can’t assume that “good enough” really is good enough any more, and even when it is completely bug-free, software may be vulnerable to a specifically designed attack. moral: your computer is suspect. be wary of anything it tells you, and watch your back at all times.

cardinal francis george, head of the u.s. conference of catholic bishops, has gone on record regarding proposition 8, saying no court of civil law has the authority to reach into areas of human experience that nature itself has defined. he obviously hasn’t seen this video, shot at the honolulu zoo on november 11, 2004, of a chimp raping a frog. that’s about as natural as it comes, and if nature intended for a frog to provide oral pleasure to a chimp, then two people of the same sex having the right to marry, or an individual’s choice to use cannabis shouldn’t be far off, right?

Church Vows to Burn Qur’ans Without Fire Permit – the church said they were going to burn qur’ans, but the gainsville fire department said that they can’t burn books without a fire permit (shades of Fahrenheit 451, anyone?). now the church says, permit or not, they’re going to go ahead with their “protest”, because islamic law “is totalitarian in nature,” islamic teaching contains “irrational fear and loathing of the west” and that the qur’an teaches that jeezis “was NOT the son of ‘god'”. again, i would ask, is "christianity" that much different? change “irrational fear and loathing” to the east, and remove the negative from the last statement, and i would say that the similarities are striking…

there are a couple of things from LiveScienceOne Common Ancestor Behind Blue Eyes and Age Confirmed for ‘Eve,’ Mother of All Humans – that i’d be willing to bet are going to be abused massively and frequently by “christians” who will say that they just prove that “eve” exists, even though it’s only about 196,000 years older than the “young earth creationists” claim, and even though both of the articles specifically say “this doesn’t mean she was the first modern woman”… it’s just a matter of time before they latch on to this and try to twist the meaning of the words to fit their own schemes…

How Can You Control Your Dreams? – i have never seen, and probably will never see inception but lucid dreaming has always held a great deal of interest for me.

Simon’s Cat – that is all.

another week closer to the eschaton…

let’s start off with a bit of double-you-tee-eff, shall we? Topless sunbather accused of sensuously rubbing in sun cream – keep in mind, this happened in italy, where it is legal for women to go topless on the beach everywhere, and not just in secluded areas. apparently, however, that was okay with the mother of the teenage boys the sunbather was accused of troubling, it was when she started rubbing on the sunblock that the mother started to get upset. i wonder if anyone thought about asking the teenaged boys what they thought?

Radio, RIAA: mandatory FM radio in cell phones is the future – they’ve decided that we can’t have the music ourselves, but now they want to mandate that, in the future, all mobile devices will come equiped with an FM radio, so that other people can program our music for us… or something like that. honestly, the whole copyright system is so screwed up that i don’t pay that much attention to it any longer, except when it involves copyrights that i hold…

so i did a little bit of research into whether washington state has a water rights law that prohibits homeowners from harvesting rainwater. what i discovered is that rainwater collection is a complex issue, but homeowners are not prohibited from having a rooftop rainwater collection system, and that under certain circumstances, it is perfectly legal for property owners to have cisterns of 30,000 gallons or more. Rainwater Collection in Washington State is the place to start. i understand what the people are saying about modern folk thinking that we have to ask permission to excercise our inalienable rights, though. it’s time that changed.

Warning to Travelers About New, Drug-Resistant ‘Superbug’ – it’s the end of the world as we know it, and i feel fine…

Voogle Wireless – don’t… be… evil!

Senate Passes "The ______Act of____" – H.R. 1586 started out as one thing (TARP taxes), became another thing (an aviation bill), and is now a batch of spending policies… and it has one of the most unlikely names imaginable.

Marijuana legalization in Mexico gaining support – now all we have to do is convince our “leaders” to do the same thing… if the people lead, eventually the leaders will follow, even if it is begrudgingly.

Why hemp could save the world – this is an article by D.M. Murdock, otherwise known as acharya s, who i’ve been reading about for 20 years or so. she’s got a lot of interesting things to say, and this is one of them.

Science supports medical marijuana – this is a response to a journalist who is apparently misinformed concerning science and cannabis, but it’s good reading all on its own.

Taking God to School is an article about how we should be bringing back “Prayer, The Ten Commandments, learning about creation, readings from the Bible” in public schools. as you have probably already guessed, i think this woman is not only wrong, but crazy, and possibly dangerous, but apparently that doesn’t matter, because “God is not bound by policies and politically [sic] correctness”. that phrase catches my eye. first of all, i don’t know who they’re fooling by saying that they know what we should be doing in our public schools when they can’t even use proper grammar to form a sentence, and if they’re claiming that “god” isn’t bound by political correctness, then they are, essentially, saying that their “god” isn’t politically correct. for people who have such a hangup about conformity, it’s rather unexpected for them to acknowledge that their “god” isn’t politically correct, and it makes me wonder if even they don’t take what they say seriously…

Muslims Seek to Censor Gospel of Christ – another one from “christian” news wire that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, this one is about muslim leaders having a press conference to plead with legislators to do something about “christian” protestors demonstrating in the public forum around mosques. of course the public thoroughfare around any place of worship is fair game for protesting, but let’s put the shoe on the other foot: what if muslims were “spreading the gospel” of mohammed outside a “christian” church? the “christian” leaders would be having seven kinds of a hissy fit, and demanding that laws be drawn up immediately to prohibit such a thing (see Strippers protest church for a change), so why the furor about muslim leaders heading them off at the pass? not only that, but it’s only a press conference, nevertheless these “christians” somehow interpreted this as their “potential for violence” and say that “gentle christian saints” (HAH!) will be holding their own “press conference” outside the mosque. then, there is something that made me wonder even more about these peoples’ sanity: they say that “Islam is not a religion, nor a cult, but a total and complete 100% system of life. It has religious, legal, political, economic, social, and military components.” — and “christianity” isn’t? and “christianity” is somehow different from all that? and “christianity” is somehow better than that? never, in the 2000 years since jeezis, has there ever been any evidence that is the case. PERIOD. “The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.” that means ANY religion, whether it is “christian” or muslim. they shouldn’t get a special law that prohibits islam any sooner than they should get a special law that prohibits “christianity”. people who get upset about things like this are stupid to think that they’re going to get special treatment just because they happen to believe in the right things, and they’re stupid to post things like this on the web, because there are people who will, undoubtedly, work out the flaws in their logic and see how stupid they are…

Man tries to get his name legally changed to Boomer the Dog and Unicorn Being a Jerk – now there’s some craziness that i can get behind… 8)

suck update

in a dramatic about face, flickr/yahoo actually admitted that memoriasdopac.org.br was, actually, abusing their priveledges as a flickr API subscriber, and cancelled their account.

the thing that amuses me is the way they put it in the email they sent me:

We’re very sorry for the previous email we sent to you.

The site you reported is abusing Flickr resources, and we will take the appropriate action on their account and Flickr API key.

that’s all very well and good, i suppose, but wouldn’t you rather have done that in the first place, rather than giving me some bullshit answer about rotating my graphics and then rotating them back, when i very clearly said what was wrong right from the very beginning?

i suppose responses like that are among the reasons why i’m not a software tester any longer. i tell people what’s wrong, they tell me it’s not, i tell them it is and show them where, they acknowledge that i’m right, and i get snotty about it.

easy solution: LISTEN TO ME THE FIRST TIME! – which NOBODY has tried… i suppose, adding to the reasons why i’m not a software tester any longer… 😐

spam sucks, but this really sucks…

apparently Memory of the PAC is up to no good… it’s supposedly a “Program of Acceleration of the Growth (PAC) in the slums of Rio de Janeiro.” and they supposedly offer images as “the result of the first year of this documentation”…

the only problem is that they’re apparently hotlinking flickr, because i was poking around this morning and found a link to a copyright picture of me (the original is here, for reference)… i don’t know precisely how they’ve done it, but it appears as though they have copied & pasted significant portions of flickr’s code into their own web site, so that they are essentially offering photostreams from flickr as photos from rio de janeiro, and are incorrectly offering photos, including photos which are copyright to me (and, very likely, thousands of other people as well) under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 Generic license.

i realise that there’s not an awful lot i can do about it, but i sent them a DMCA takedown notice (which i anticipate having exactly zero effect), and i’m currently in a failing discussion with the drones at flickr, who say they can’t do anything about it either, and recommend that i go through my entire photostream, one at a time, rotating, and then rotating back each photo, which will change the URI for the photo, which will mean that (theoretically) they won’t have them any longer, but for a service that i am paying for, that sounds like entirely too much work that i have to do to maintain a copyright on files that are served from flickr machines.

DO NOT USE MY GRAPHICS

spam sucks!

on saturday, i was present when a post to freecycle south king county arrived, with an offer of a tunturi recumbent bike. naturally, i replied instantaneously, but i got no response. two days later, i replied again, but no response. two days later, i replied a third time, but again, no response.

there has been no “taken” message posted to freecycleskc, so i decided to do a bit of sleuthing, and discovered that the person who posted the message has only posted one message, started their account shortly before posting that message, is not currently online, and hasn’t been online since saturday. to me, this is an indication that the post offering the recumbent bike is a ruse to get people who will be sent spam the “chance” to respond, so that the spammer will have their email addresses, which, then, will be added to spam lists that are circulated among other spammers.

i wrote the list owner for freecycleskc, a person with the charming email handle “PrayingMommy4”, who isn’t concerned, because the person “gave very good answers when they applied for membership a few days ago”, but i’m not convinced. to me, this has all the earmarks of a spam harvester, in fact it may be an automated process… 8/

a few days ago, i got a google alert for my name, which was a link to a spammer’s discussion group, where they were discussing this “opt in” list that had my email address, and other email addresses from spamcop.net on it, and the spammers were wondering whether or not this was “really” an “opt in” list or not. the conclusion of the discussion is that it was “really” an “opt in” list, but they recommended that they “not use” the spamcop.net addresses.

by the way, it’s off topic, but are there any speakers of what i assume is turkish out there, who can tell me what this is all about?

i have NEVER signed up for any “targeted” lists with my spamcop.net address, so any list that includes my spamcop.net address is, by definition, going to be reported as spam. automated processes and clueless list owners don’t make this any easier, but i’m going to keep reporting spam until i stop getting spam.

imagine a day where 100% of ALL EMAIL TRAFFIC ON INTERNET are legitimate messages, and not a single UCE of any kind… it’s possible, you know…

colour me frustrated… again…

Incoming BP CEO: Time for ‘scaleback’ in cleanup⸘⸘⸘WHAT‽‽‽ maybe in his dreams… 😐

Swastika no longer viewed as Nazi symbol – reading just the headline, one would be inclined to think that the movement to Save the Swastika might be having some effect in enlightening people who think that (卐 ≡ nazi), but when one actually reads the article, it would seem that the Anti-Defamation League is probably more aptly named the “Anti-Swastika League” because, while they’ve admitted that the swastika isn’t just a nazi symbol, they’re still of the mistaken opinion that it’s a “more generalised symbol of hate”, which is also incorrect, as any hindu will tell you. hindus and buddhists, and, for that matter, jews, should express their outrage about this (here is the letter i wrote them, if you need some encouragement or an example): it’s racist and against the very principles they stand for, for the ADL to say that the holy symbols of another religion are a “generalised symbol of hate” without qualification!

and while i’m on the subject, i feel really sorry for the lack of intelectual development displayed in Culture Served Raw – A Universal Symbol of Hate – remember, we’re talking about TEN THOUSAND years of history as a symbol of good, compared to 90 years as a symbol of evil. not only that, but the blogger in question won’t even approve any comments that don’t agree with his preconcieved notion of how evil the swastika has been, and is completely ignoring the fact that it’s only been a relatively short time that it has been anything but a symbol of good. one thing i learned very early, is that the only way to change history is to remember it differently. it’s clear that this blogger is doing exactly that, and i feel sorry for them. Swastika, a “Universal” symbol of hate? – “I understand the aversion toward the swastika in the West but to say it is universally a symbol of hate could create more intolerance, not less.”

Researcher demonstrates ATM “jackpotting” at Black Hat Conference – a number of years ago, when i was working as a software tester, one of the projects i worked on was for Triton Systems, testing a little gadget that supposedly was able to do standard ATM functions from your desktop, with the aid of your computer. they actually gave me one of their little desktop gadgets to fool around with (unfortunately, they didn’t give me any actual money to go with it… cheapskates…), and i found a number of ways to crack their proposed software and make the gadget do all sorts of things that it wasn’t supposed to do. my understanding at the time was that they used essentially the same software for their stand-alone ATMs that they used for the desktop gadgets, and ever since then i’ve wondered whether or not it was possible to do the same things on their stand-alone ATMs. apparently it is.

Collecting rainwater now illegal in many states as Big Government claims ownership over our water – it’s illegal to collect rainwater in washington? i’ll have to look into that… and if it is, get a rain barrel or two… 8)

President Wyclef? – gawd help the haitians… they’ve already suffered enough…

A priest in eastern Europe has been accused of drowning a baby boy as he baptised him. – death by superstition? i thought that had been eliminated from our society years ago… 😐

jeez, first it’s uganda wanting to kill gays, and now a Kenyan gets 14 years for sex with donkey; blames devil – something must be wrong with that whole region of the world…

U.S. Copyright Group ‘Steal’ Competitor’s Website – another blatant case of the pot calling the kettle black…

Seattle’s Aerial Transport Lifestyle System – it’s the future… right?

and, last, but certainly not least, The Blue God of Judaism – a blog by Rabbi Robert dos Santos Teixeira, LCSW, that will examine the similarities between YHWH and Siva. maybe he’ll address my question concerning the ancient biblical patriarch worshipping a sivalingam

Continue reading colour me frustrated… again…

okay, now i’m getting really fed up here…

卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍

the jewish anti-defemation league has declared that the swastika is a generalised symbol of hate. okay, that’s all well and good, the swastika not only represents naziism and so-called “white supremacy”, but it also represents Ganesha, the Lord of Removing Obstacles, and less than 100 years ago, and for 10,000 years prior to that, the swastika was a symbol of love, peace, good luck and auspiciousness for EVERY CULTURE, AND EVERY PEOPLE ON THE PLANET INCLUDING THE HEBREW PEOPLE!

let’s put that in perspective, okay? if we use this image to represent 100 years – 100 years – this is how long the swastika has been a symbol of love, peace, good luck and auspiciousness:

100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years
100 years100 years100 years100 years100 years

religious adherants pie chartand this is how long the swastika has been a symbol of nazi and so called “white supremacy”:

80 years

is that something that a normal person should consider reasonable: that a symbol with 10,000 years of history as a symbol of love, peace, good luck and auspiciousness should “magically” be transformed into a symbol of hate, because of less than 100 years of recent history?

the cross, originally a symbol of death, has been “magically” transformed into the symbol that represents the religion with the largest number of adherents in the world, and that took less than two thousand years. the swastika is FIVE TIMES older than that, with a history to match, and yet it has taken less than one hundred years to “magically” transform it into a symbol of hatred. no matter how hard i try, i can’t seem to figure out exactly how that works.

not only that, but according to Adherents dot com, hindus and buddhists, for whom the swastika is still a holy symbol, in spite of the nazi-obsessed west, account for 20% of the world’s population, whereas judaism accounts for less than ¼%…

something is definitely wrong here. i don’t discount the fact that the jews have had a rough time of it in the past, but when a fraction of a percent of the population can state, with authority, that the swastika is a “generalised symbol of hate” and the 20% of the population who hold the swastika as a symbol of holiness can’t do anything about it, something is definitely wrong…

卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍卐卍

blargh!

Rarely Seen Pictures Of The Devastating Consequences Of The BP Disaster and You Are Not Authorized to See These Pictures of the Oil Spill – i was gone for a week and the oil spill got worse… 🙁 the problem i see is that they’re still referring to this as “The BP Disaster” when, in reality, it’s a disaster that affects every being on the planet, and most directly the wildlife, which doesn’t have the option to relocate when things get too awful in their part of the world. i keep looking at the pictures of eyes of the oiled beasts and thinking that it could, just as easily, be human eyes at which i am looking…

also, there are apparently Live feeds from the Gulf of Mexico ROVs which are, at this point, showing that the oil spill has been shut off showing that their cap has sprung a leak, and even if you can’t see it, they’re planning on releasing the cap within the next 24 hours anyway. good work, BP… 😐

more of the “can’t leave well enough alone” syndrome that we’ve been suffering through, and if the gulf oil spill weren’t disaster enough, now the FDA nears approval of genetically engineered salmon – i would think that there have been enough science fiction movies produced in the past 50 years or so to put some fear into the types of people who would think of ideas like this. but, apparently, if i did so, i would be wrong. just goes to show how our rulers are stupid, stupid, STUPID!!

and, speaking of “can’t leave well enough alone”, Poachers kill last female rhino in South African park – it reminds me of that native american aphorism, which goes “Only when the last tree has died, and the last river been poisoned, and the last fish has been caught will we realise that we cannot eat money.”

GodBlock – “a web filter that blocks religious content. It is targeted at parents and schools who wish to protect their kids from the often violent, sexual, and psychologically harmful material in many holy texts, and from being indoctrinated into any religion before they are of the age to make such decisions.” okay, i realise that turn-about is fair play, but i was under the impression that any internet filtering was wrong, and that we were above all that…

speaking of GodBlock, Forget about Noah’s Ark; There Was No Worldwide Flood – if the bible-thumpers won’t listen to their own scholars regarding the “truth” of the bible, then the entire human society is screwed, and there is nothing that we, as sensible humans can do about it. 😐

Tuli Kupferberg died. i’ve said it before, and i’ll probably say it again: all of the cool people of my generation are dying. i say stop it!!

Dwile Flonking? – what. the. fuck??

Continue reading blargh!

by the way…

one of my articles was published on American Dream Or Bust a while ago, and i just got around to checking it out.

some doofus named bill commented in such a way as to make him look like a complete, raving loony, or a “christian” racist, or, possibly, a combination of the two. i tore him a new asshole (scroll down past the database error messages to read the comments).

i find it really disturbing that people like bill are in control of what happens in the world – not bill specifically, of course, but people like him. we are never going to change the fucked-up situation the world is in until people like bill are marginalised to the point where nobody pays attention to them any longer.

沰⅘ – ⅂ℐℵΚℨ & stuff

Microsoft hides mystery Firefox extension in toolbar update
also
Cyber War: Microsoft a weak link in national security – this is why i don’t use windoesn’t: I should be the one to decide whether or not to install software on MY computer, regardless of how “important” or “necessary for correct functioning” it is. the fact that microsoft thinks it can get away with installing something that i don’t know about, on MY computer is insulting to my intelligence and very definitely goes to show how evil this company really is. i would expect nothing less from a virus, and microsoft is – supposedly – better than that. 😡 and, the fact is, originally, microsoft didn’t intend for its software to be used on “critical networks” and was (and to a great extent, still is) only in the software business for the money, not caring to ensure that their software actually works the way it is supposed to. this was driven home to me a few years ago, when i was working as a “vendor” at microsoft (i had access to microsoft facilities to work on microsoft projects, but i was actually working for another company, so my microsoft-issued ID card had “V-” in front of it), testing windows XP. not a single bug that i logged (and there were a lot of ’em) got fixed during the 9 months that i worked there. needless to say, most of them are still out there on your windows XP computer, and will never get fixed – because microsft “isn’t supporting” windows XP any longer. 😡

and, speaking of evil companies, the latest word is that BP buys Google ads for search term “oil spill” – so that it can attempt to “direct internet users to its website as it attempts to control…” flack from detractors, who are just about everybody these days. they should listen to Buzz Aldrin’s Answer To The Gulf Oil Spill

i’ve had people tell me that i should really have a more positive attitude. i say Does a positive attitude make you more motivated to learn from your mistakes? and i find, like the researchers (at the Journal of Organizational Behavior) did, that a negative attitude is more conducive to learning from your mistakes. so i’ll keep seeing the dark cloud, and leave the silver lining to others.

and, from there, directly into the random, things-that-make-you-say-WTF category…

Quantum Jumping? – “Quantum Jumping is the process of ‘jumping’ into parallel dimensions, and gaining skills, knowledge, wisdom and inspiration from alternate versions of yourself.” what… the… fuck?!? he seems to be about as random as gene ray, but somewhat more commercially oriented.

Prefixes & Words Based On Latin Number Names – now you know what it means to say “for the duoquadragesimary time, learn these things!” 🙂

Testing the flotation dynamics and swimming abilities of giraffes by way of computational analysis – the latest, up to the minute research on the problem of whether giraffes can or cannot swim. according to this research, apparently they can. what do you know…

finally, Chinese internet addicts stage mutiny at boot camp – you WILL NOT survive an attempt to control geeks in need of internet.

US drug war has met none of its goals – good ol’ gil’s working his way up the totem pole, and he’s still saying exactly the same thing he was saying ten years ago… i’d wonder about why nobody has taken any notice, but it would be a futile gesture. :/

Continue reading

qwest SUCKS!

UPDATE: i got a comment from "steph at qwest", to which i am responding here. whether i actually got a response from a human being or not has yet to be determined, but either way, i feel like ranting again, so here goes.

i called them at 5:30 pm yesterday, because internet had not been working all day, and i had to go through the same automated bullshit again, which “detected a problem” and connected me to a live person, who asked me what lights were on my “modem” (which is actually a router, but i’ve given up trying to educate these clowns), and then told me to pull the power cord out of the back of the “modem”. when i told him that i couldn’t do that, but that i could turn it off with a power switch, he didn’t know what to do, and so i had to wait on hold while he went to find out. he returned and said that i should turn it off and leave it off until he came back, and i had to wait on hold again while he did some sort of mysterious thing. when he came back and told me to turn on the “modem” again, he was sort of surprised by the fact that it returned to having no “internet” or “DSL” lights lit, couldn’t give me a reason why it should not be working, and was about to put me on hold again when, suddenly, the connection lights lit up. i told him this and he wondered why it should have taken so long, but as long as it was working, that was good enough for him.

i am really frustrated with these people, because they read from scripts, complete with scripted “compliments” (which i can tell are scripted because they come at totally inopportune moments, and are identical, even down to the inflection and tone of voice, coming from at least three different “technicians”), don’t have any clue what they’re really doing, talk down to me, and say everything is all right, when it’s not exactly all right. i realise that networking is a complex business: i have worked in the electronic communications industry for 15 years, and i know that some things don’t have straightforward answers. to give me “pat” answers demeans my intelligence, and when they’re scripted to the point of inflection and tone of voice, it makes me feel as though they think they’re talking to an idiot… when, in reality, it’s very likely that i know more about how their network actually works than they do.

it turned out that they had fixed whatever had exploded, and internet had been “fixed” for two hours when i called them, but nobody had thought to call and tell me. also, almost as soon as i hung up the phone, my connection lights turned red, and then went out all together, and it was a half hour more before they would do anything more than light up green for about two minutes, and then go red and go out for 10 minutes or so… 😡

qwest sucks

so, about 10:00 this morning, i was sitting there reading my email and there was this huge explosion outside, and shortly thereafter, all of my internet connectivity vanished. i called qwest and went through their automated disturbance detector, and it detected a problem (big surprise) and connected me to a human representative, who promptly hung up on me. so i had to call and go through the automated bullshit again before i could get connected to another human representative, who couldn’t get any response from my line. i told him that it was probably because there had been an explosion before i called, but he persisted in trying to run his “tests” anyway, and when that didn’t work, he called in his supervisor to run the tests, just to make sure. the representative i talked to didn’t sound like he was an “outsourced technician” (in other words, he didn’t have an identifiable ethnic accent), but his speech was strange, like he was reading from a script and didn’t actually know what he was doing. he said that they had alerted the technicians that would see what the problem was, but he had no idea when it would be fixed. it’s currently 4:30 and there’s still no internet. and this is from a company who claims that their internet connections are 99.99% reliable. 😐

i can still access wirelessly via our neighbour’s unsecured wireless router, which i suspect is a cable, rather than a DSL.

ketchup

it’s raining and blustery today, so i can’t work on my car, which gives me some time to catch up on some other things.

moe and i are getting an african grey parrot named stanley this evening, and i’ve been fixing up a corner of the living room to accommodate him. it’s exciting, but it’s also as though we were getting a 3-year-old child, in terms of intelligence and need for taking proper precautions. moe has been wondering how long it’s going to be until stanley learns how to bark like magick, and conversely, wondering how long it will be until he learns to yell at magick for barking… which, i suppose, is just as valid as me wondering how long it’s going to be before stanley learns to make the jews-harp noise, or the tuba noise, or the flex-a-tone noise, or the glass-marble-in-a-bottle noise, or any one of a number of other noises which usually results in one or more of us yelling at magick to quit barking and be quiet. moe says that parrots are kind of like kids, in that they’ll quiz you to find out what they shouldn’t do, and then focus all their time and ability to doing that very thing. exciting is one way of putting it.

i got a phone call(!) from india(!!) this morning, from a guy who wants me to consider becoming a customer of his enterprise, which is the manufacture and export (from india) of incense, murtis and other hindu/hippie stuff. i’ve gotten a number of email inquiries like this in the past, and while i generally delete them without responding, i perked up when this guy said that he could get aparajita. i still don’t know in what quantities or for what price, but this is a lot closer than i’ve ever gotten before, and if i play my cards right, it could mean a lot more than just aparajita, as he apparently also has lines on narmada shivalingams and rudrakhsha beads. 8)

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

Briton ‘gets Chinese accent after bad migraine’ – more people having problems with their brain and ending up with problems with their language. i’m beginning to wonder if this is a new problem, or if things like this have been going on all along.

Burials in Tibet – the original headline included the words "not for sensitive souls"… it shows how a different culture chooses to honor those who have died. what’s wrong with that?

i just noticed this…

look at this image:error

that is an image that i created a number of years ago: it’s a screen shot of an error message that i was given by internet explorer exploder immediately prior to rebooting my computer, because IE had crashed so spectactularly that it brought down the entire machine. i don’t remember when it happened, but it was a number of years ago, because it is number two in my set of computer errors that i started putting together before my injury and after i started testing software.

now have a look at this collection of pictures. from what i can tell, this is a list of other places that my screen shot ended up, usually with headlines like “Why IE is Better: Can Firefox do THIS?”…

i’m not sure whether to be honoured or irritated…

snep

Regarding "christianity" and the Virginia Governor’s reason for declaring Confederate History Month

7,500 Online Shoppers Unknowingly Sold Their Souls – this is what happens when users fail to read the TOC. i find it interesting and educational to realise that in the commercial world there are two significant industries that refer to their customers as “users”: computer software manufacturers, and drug dealers. perhaps this is one of the reasons why.

Dead man elected mayor of Tennessee town – why is it that all i can think of is that line from the Tom Waits song What’s he Building?, “I heard he has an ex-wife in someplace called ‘Mayor’s Income, Tennessee’.”

finally, i have read in two different blogs about the croatian girl who fell into a coma, and when she awoke, she could no longer speak croatian, her native language, but she could speak fluent german, a language that she was just beginning to learn when she fell into a coma. i find this an interesting paralell to my opera, which sprung to life in all of its complex glory when i lost what passes for normal consciousness as a result of my injury. stories like this have far reaching implications that involve just about every part of my life, and is one of the primary reasons why, in spite of the fact that i agree with him more often than not, i still think that p.z. meyers and his ilk are sadly mistaken when they conclusively state that “god” doesn’t exist. it may not be the old man with the beard that oversees all from his abode in the clouds, but Something that doesn’t exist wouldn’t be able to cause miracles like that.

Continue reading snep

spammers

okay, this is getting ridiculous, but at the same time, i’m really glad i got myself far away from 1&1 internet services, and now i’m going to recommend that my associates distance themselves from 1&1 as well… and you spammers have succeeded in irritating me enough that i’m ranting about it in public. 😯

it started out with a spam message that “made it through” the spamcop defense, but didn’t make it through my local instance of spam assassin that i run on my local mail host. one of the reasons why i’m satisfied with doing so is that if i use a web-based service like yahoo, hotmail or gmail is that, none of my mail, contacts, calenders and that sort of thing “live” on a computer over which i have direct, physical control… and my information is my information, thank you. it also makes it a hell of a lot easier to parse headers and report the spam messages that do manage to sneak through my defenses (which are around 5 or so a week, these days). spam assassin puts the messages that it detects into my wastebasket, without any prompting from me, but if i’m feeling obstreperous, i’ll pull it out and report it anyway, which is what i did with a message that looked like it had come from me: it had someone else’s name, and my email address in the To: line – which is notoriously easy to spoof. it also had a URI that tracks directly back to oneandone.com.

yes, a host provider that i used, and then discarded a year ago when they tried to scam me, hosts spammers.

and spammers dumb enough to think that i might respond in any way other than the way i did, to a message that looks like it came from myself!

that’s all the justification i need to avoid them. 😐

cloud computers and me

seriously, i wonder how conscious even the computer geeks are with this one: we are moving towards a “cloud” computing environment, where “computers” are basically fancified “dumb terminals” and all of your data, all of your information, all of your applications and even your operating system live online, on computers over which other people have control. this is for a variety of different reasons, the most public of which is so that you the individual, and frequently un-savvy end user, don’t have to spend as much money on a computer, and you don’t have to worry about whether you remembered to update your system when something needs updating. it also has the added benefit of making it so that you can synchronise your phone, music player, computer and whatever else people sync, all from one place, and it makes it so that if your computer dies for some reason, your data will still be safe.

all of these things sound like they are exactly the kinds of things the general computing public has been clamoring for, but there are some devious, sneaky, and definitely privacy ignoring facts about “cloud” computing that i don’t think people have realised.

first, and foremost in my mind, is the fact that every inroad that i’ve seen (including moe’s new “smart” phone, which is why this rant is coming out now) to make “cloud” computing more mainstream has been with the condition that whatever data you store on your “cloud” (read “gmail” or whatever) account is, essentially, public data. it has the air of privacy – you are assured that your data is your data, and not someone else’s – but because of the fact that it is living on google’s (for example) computer systems, any data that you store there is automatically a part of google’s covert attempts to data mine your information.

which means that if you are friends with a terrorist, someone who might be a terrorist, or even someone who the police think is a terrorist, but they’re wrong, google, and google’s allies – which includes the police, homeclown-land security, the CIA and who knows who else – knows about it.

what moe says is that google already has all that information anyway, but it doesn’t stop with terrorists. google has data mining access to any document stored on their systems whether it is in their terms of service or not, and my guess is that, especially these days, if someone has a document stored on google docs that makes them look like a terrorist, that somebody in the law enforcement community will find out about it.

i have a gmail account, but i never use it. i don’t use google docs, and i use google maps only when i have to. i don’t want a “smart” phone, i just want a phone that works to make telephone calls, and possibly to send text messages. it would be nice if it were a decent music player, as well, but if it’s only a crappy music player then all it will do is make me frustrated, and i already have enough of those kinds of things in my life anyway.

“cloud” computing also takes a big bite out of software piracy, because instead of having a disk for a program, which can be copied, the program actually lives on someone else’s computer, and you access it, as long as you have paid the requisite fees. the owner of that program can make changes in the program, change the functionality, upgrade or even delete that program and you have no say in the matter, even if you have paid the requisite fees. and, at this point anyway, you have no recourse.

it’s getting to the point where i’m probably going to have to be satisfied with the computers i’ve got, because when it becomes illegal not to use “cloud” computers, it’s going to be too late.

rant

ever since my injury, i have been unable to distinguish between a sneeze, a yawn and a cough until they happen. essentially, what that means is that i will be all ready to sneeze, and a yawn happens instead, or i’ll have a tickle in my throat that feels like it’s going to be a cough, but when it comes out it’s acutally a sneeze. furthermore, a sneeze will turn into a yawn, or a coughing fit will end up being a run of five or more sneezes.

all in all, i would say that i have more or less recovered from my injury. i still have problems getting my right hand to do what i want it to about half the time, and i still require a lot more sleep than i did before my injury, and moe could probably enumerate some other things that aren’t as obvious, but biting my tongue and not being able to tell sneezes, coughs or yawns apart are the most frustrating aspects of my injury that still haunt me.

linque dump Ⅴ, rants and others

i got a spam comment from Anonymous – Operation Titstorm this morning. while i agree with anonymous’ motivation for such action, i am not part of the australian government and not in a position where i can do much of anything except agree with their motivation for their actions. go anonymous, but please go do it somewhere where it’ll make a difference, okay? mass spamming of random blogs is a really good way to make a lot more people not want to deal with you any longer.

Google shuts down music blogs without warning – this is the same company which has recently announced a “1GB bandwidth internet connection to every home” deal that is in the works. making it even more likely that, whether you like it or not, google will have access to all of your data. the fact that google already has their hands in pretty much everything from where you’re going to be to who you’re going to be there with and everything in between, their Gmail was marketed with “never delete another email, EVER” propaganda (which nobody seems to remember these days), and they are in bed with the CIA and have a team of specialists ready to scan every bit of information the unwitting public feeds into their jaws makes their “Don’t be evil” company motto a bit of a malapropism.

People browse by search (or ReadWriteWeb faces the Facebook Login problem) – of course, the problem is confounded by the fact that people don’t seem willing to actually learn what this computer-thingy on their desks is for to begin with. a very good example of this is one of my clients, who regularly calls me because he thinks his “anti-virus software is tired” of zapping viruses on his windows machine, or the fact that he can’t type into his computer because the keyboard is unplugged and he didn’t realise it.

Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to ‘eradicate’ their beliefs – no, hate crime laws are an effort to crack down on hate crimes… if your beliefs are the direct cause of the hate crime, then you’ve got something to worry about. if not, claiming that hate crime laws are an effort to eradicate “christianity” just makes you appear to be really, REALLY stupid, regardless of where you obtained your law degree. even a fifth grader can see that constitutionally protected speech does not apply, when it is clearly written into the law to begin with… ☹

New National Security Distraction: Arabic Language Students – a white-bread american physics major from pomona college is a terrorist, according to TSA officials and the FBI, who spent several hours handcuffed, under arrest and being questioned by no fewer than seven law enforcement officials, but unable to obtain legal council, because he tried to board a plane with… wait for it… not liquids, not matches, not a bomb. arabic flash cards. TSA Supervisor: You know who did 9/11? George: Osama bin Laden. TSA Supervisor: Do you know what language he spoke? George: Arabic. — therefore, you are a terrorist, because you are learning arabic… WHO TRAINS THESE PEOPLE ANYWAY?!? it’s a wonder that i am as nice to strangers as i am… 8/

finally, Security patch results in BSOD – i think this may actually be an improvement in windowsdoesn’t operation. at least now you go directly to the BSOD, rather than thinking your computer might actually be doing what it is supposed to before you go there. this is exactly the reason i don’t use microsoft products any longer. they’re releasing internet explorer eight with the same unfixed bugs in it that i reported to them before they released IE three, and they still haven’t even made an attempt to fix them. why people think that microsoft cares about anything other than making as much money as possible while exerting as little actual work as possible is totally beyond me.

Continue reading linque dump Ⅴ, rants and others

harping

once again, The Onion, asks asks the same question i have been wondering about ever since the earthquake in haiti became news: why are we helping haiti now?

i mean, it’s not as though their lives (those of them that actually survived, that is) were going to be significantly worse because of the earthquake… they were a poor nation with no natural resources before, what’s so “special” about them now that they’ve had an earthquake that we have to rush over and help them out. when they get back to their standard of poverty that they had before the earthquake, are we going to abandon them again, or does the fact that they’ve had an earthquake mean that we’re going to try to help them out of the poverty that they once had… and if so, what was so special about the earthquake anyway?

and what must the haitians think about us “rich americans” who are sending food, water and medical care (now, but weren’t sending any kind of help to speak of, last month), and are also sending solar-powered bibles and “volunteer ministers” trained in “touch assist”? if they didn’t already, i’m pretty sure that haiti has universally decided that the united states is full of crazy people. i know i have… but then again, i live here.

and gay marriage… i’m gonna harp on that subject, while i’m in a harping mood. it seems very odd that we’ve got two, essentially warring factions, the anti-gays and the gays: we’ve got states which now allow gay marriage that didn’t before, and different states that have decided that they won’t allow gay people to get married, where, once upon a time they could. we’ve got one state that used to allow marriage and then decided that it wouldn’t several times, and is now in the process of changing its mind again… and on top of that, we’ve got at least two federal legislators who have said that any law that prohibits gays from getting married is unconstitutional, as well as more than a few who would like to see the constitution amended to prohibit anybody from getting married except one man and one woman. and along with everything else, we’ve got ENTIRE COUNTRIES which have decided that gay people are, if nothing else, people, and yet we’ve got other countries which want to kill all people who aren’t exactly like the people who are making the laws.

it’s times like these that i remember what one of my first spiritual teachers, Dr. Elizabeth McDonald Burrows said about issues becoming “more dualistic”, more “black-and-white”, and how, at these times more than any other, it is important to become aware of the fact that there are A LOT of different shades of grey.

it’s also times like these that i seriously wonder if i am really decended from the same monkeys everyone else is… 8/

link dump ? for a change

now that i’m finished frantically trying to put out a raging forest fire with a watering sprinkler (for the moment, anyway), i’ve got the time to post a whole bunch of things that i’ve been reading recently, that make me go everything from “hmmm” to “AARGH! *#%&!!?!”…

first up, in the “AARGH! *#%&!!?!” category, Religious Tefillin Prompts Scare On Plane – the way i see it, a 17-year-old jewish kid was putting on his tefillin (“phylacteries“, for the uninitiated) in preparation for morning prayer, while at the same time, one of the flight attendents, who thought he was a terrorist, diverted the plane, where he was met by clown homeland security and a bomb squad. there’s so many levels of stupid here… my mind boggles… 😐

continuing to boggle my mind, in more ways than one, Slime mold validates efficiency of Tokyo rail network – more evidence (as if we needed it, which apparently we do) that the creationists are wrong… in more ways than one.

which brings me to the fact the following symbol, a full colon followed by a dash::–is called “dog’s bollocks” by typographers (much in the same way that the name for the symbol that represents “the artist formerly known as ‘Prince'” is called “bruce” by typographers: they’ve got to have something brief to call it), according to the Oxford English Dictionary. the interesting part is when someone delves into The Secret History of Typography in the Oxford English Dictionary… it just goes to prove that you can read the dictionary and find vulgar, 60-year-old emoticons. the only thing remaining is to see how long it will be before the L33T kiddies figure it out and start using it themselves…

there’s a rare (she’s been spending all of her free time studying these days) post from moe, about her new birthday present – yes, another dog. we are now, once again, officially a four-dog family. and the new one is obsessed with staring at the cats, in order to try to get them to move… it’s really funny… or frustrating, depending on whether or not lucy’s been at home all day.

and finally, this evening, Man Stuck In No-Man’s Land – a story from right around here… and it’s from the onion. it’s good to see the onion doesn’t ignore the little people… 🙂

Continue reading link dump ? for a change

why are people SO FUCKING IGNORANT?!?

Ugandan president urges softening of anti-gay bill – this is the ugandan president, saying – once again – that he is not going to allow the “kill gays” bill to pass. an admirable effort, if it actually happens, however, despite repeated assurances from the ugandan president, i still doubt will actually come to pass.

at the same time…

Witch-doctors reveal extent of child sacrifice in Uganda – this is somewhat of a surprise, considering their stance on killing gays. you get the impression from the first article that uganda is mostly a country of mortified “christians” who want to avoid the gay plague. there’s no clue from the first article that uganda is also a place where “crime is directly linked to rising levels of development and prosperity, and an increasing belief that witchcraft can help people get rich quickly.”

if they’re really just mortified “christians” then i would suspect them to shun “witchcraft” as well, but somehow these supposedly “christian” ugandans are more mortified about gays than they are child-murdering “witch-doctors”.

it’s as though they’re saying “it’s perfectly normal for us to want to kill gays, because they’re evil, but when it comes to getting ahead, a little child sacrifice, especially if it is someone else’s child, couldn’t hurt anyone.”

“(Homosexuality) is not allowed in African culture. We have to protect the children in schools who are being recruited into homosexual activities.”… but if there’s even the remotest chance that doing so would help us get a little bit ahead, we’re not above mutilating or killing children, either…

i’m not sure i even want to try to understand that one… 😐

somebody grafittied my car!

grafittisomeone grafittied my car!

i was at Hale’s Palladium this evening for the last performance of Aladdin and The Magic Lamp. i parked there and went in around 1:30 pm, and when i walked out of the palladium at around 6:00 pm, there it was. the paint was dry, which, in my mind, means that the guy must have done it around between the time that i left it, and 4:00 or thereabouts.

i asked around and i learned that the guy who tags things with “SEEDR1” is around 30 years old, and was a student at cornish until he was expelled because of a conflict with one of the instructors (big surprise). he is known for his “photo-realistic” grafitti art, but he also tags (which is likely one of the sources for the conflict with the instructors at cornish), and he was probably drunk when he did it (big surprise).

i don’t know who he is — yet — but i’m already closing in on his identity, and it hasn’t even been 6 hours yet. i’m pissed at this guy, because his drunken tag is going to cost me time and money to cover up, but also because tagging a car — any car — is really a lame, juvenile thing to do. if i ever find him, i don’t know what i would do, but i do know that i’m probably going to file a police report regarding it whether i find out his identity, or not, and if it’s possible to get reimbursed for it, by whatever means, from him, it would be an awesome thing.

grafittii’m going to get better pictures in the morning, when the light is better, but i really don’t understand why he did it… to my car doesn’t matter, i would wonder the same thing about such a tag on any car. the guy must have known that it wouldn’t last long, nobody would see it, and — especially because of the fact that it was on an art car to begin with — it is going to be covered up immediately, before i drive anywhere other than directly home.

and if the guy is an artist himself, what was going through his mind as he spray-painted his tag on my piece of artwork? how would he feel if i spray-painted a tag on one of his pieces of artwork? maybe, because of the fact that his artwork is mostly grafitti to begin with, he wouldn’t mind so much, but i would be willing to bet that if he created a work of art that wasn’t grafitti, and someone spray-painted on it, he would be offended at the very least, so why would he expect any less from me?

i’m not really surprised that someone grafittied my car, but what i am surprised about is why it has taken this long. i’ve been driving ganesha the car for 5 years, and this is the first time anyone has done anything nasty to it… and really, thinking about it, it isn’t really that nasty, except in a vile, putrid, disgusting sort of way. and the guy managed to paint on one of the few places on the car where i won’t have to repaint the actual artwork on the car in order to cover it up, so apart from being really lame and annoying, it’s not that bad.
i am writing in I, Anonymous about it, though, because i know a lot of people read it, and very likely the guy who did it will either find out about it personally, or from one of his friends.

and, by the way… the guy who tags SEEDR1 is an worse than an asshole. he’s an anal polyp and he deserves to be removed from society’s colon immediately. the guy i caught in the act of trying to rip a bumper sticker off of my car apologised and admitted that he was being an asshole, and he got forgiven by me, because he stood up, admitted what he was doing, and that he was an asshole. this guy is worse, and he is not getting forgiven. die in hell, scum!

linque dump Ⅱ

Graphics of the Americas Exposition and Conference – i’ve been invited to this by the 4-colour printer that i use, but i’m not sure if i want to go or not.

Microsoft loses Word patent appeal – which means that microsoft will have to stop selling the current versions of Word 2003 and Word 2007… before they get started paying i4i $290,000,000, and altering Word so that it no longer contains the XML-rendering code for which microsoft didn’t pay…

Christian leader supports death penalty for gays – and the debate continues, only this time it’s in the united kingdlom…

The ‘green’ mayor? McGinn wants to legalize pot and tax it, too – we’re getting closer to making cannabis legal, and this guy is my home-town mayor on top of everything…

Swastika Christmas card with harmless message – it’s too bad i can’t show this story to the lady in my previous post

this is the state of ermerika, not iran…

i was accosted at the coffee stand down the hill from my house today. as i was conversing with the barista (who burned my mocha, again) this incredibly fat woman (really, she was wider than she was tall. i don’t know how she was walking) came up and said “you have a swastika on your car!”

Incredibly Fat Woman: you have a swastika on your car!

me: yes, i have a swastika on my car.

IFW: that’s offensive, my husband is black.

me: i’m sorry you feel that way, but the swastika and the shatkona, the six pointed star design you see on the roof, is a symbol of Ganesha, the Hindu God of Removing Obstacles, and has been for ten thousand years! the nazi symbol you’re thinking of hasn’t even been around for 100 years…

IFW: i don’t know where you think you are, but this is the state of ermerika, not iran…

me: yes, and in America we have the freedom to worship the way we want, and display symbols that may be offensive to others. this is my way of getting back at the nazis who abused the swastika, by blatantly using it as a symbol of peace and goodwill.

IFW: … 😡

me: (as i’m driving away) how can a symbol be guilty for the acts of a madman?

i suppose i shouldn’t be surprised by things like this any longer, but this really affects me on a very deep level. what she said, "this is the state of ermerika, not iran", as though America is not "The Land of The Free", but instead the land of the intolerant bigots who refuse to accept the chance that there might be someone who thinks differently than they do… i’m tempted to go back and see if i can make friends with this woman and her husband, just to show them that the swastika is not to be feared… but i fear that if i show my face (or my car) around that particular coffee stand again, that i’ll probably be killed…

merry xmas… 😐

AAAARRRGGGHHH!

that’s A4R3G3H3 for those of you who are keeping score…

you may or may not have noticed that my web sites have been down for the past 24 hours. this was because at 4:00 friday afternoon, i got an email from my “new” host provider that he was going down for “4 to 5 hours (maximum 10 hours) for upgrades” and wanted to know if it was “okay with you if we start them this evening”… and then proceded to start the upgrades without even making sure that it was okay with me or not.

also, he informed me that my rates would be increasing by almost 300% because he is having trouble breaking even. 😯

needless to say, i have – once again – embarked on the task of finding yet another host service provider – my fourth switch in less than a year… 🙄 i will probably be switching in january, after the panto is over.

more stuff after the panto.

death for xmas…

the way i see it, the possibility that uganda is not going to pass the “kill the gays” bill, and instead offer the option of “counseling and rehabilitation” will make it far more likely that the “christians” in the united states – who have been slapped in the face by the ex-gay ministry folks who have recently been forced to break ties with a guy who has been their affiliate for decades because of his “bizarre and unorthodox” therapies, and who are up against the psychologists associatiation saying that being gay is not a disease and not a choice, and who are also, ultimately, behind the “kill the gays” bill in the first place – will use the fact that uganda is saying that “counselling and rehabilitation” is “preferable” to their original plan is more justification that “counselling and rehabilitation” are effective “treatments” for this “disease”.

much as i hate to say it, i hope that uganda passes the “kill the gays” bill, so that it will be made plainly, blatantly, horrendously obvious to even the most uneducated “christian” on the planet exactly how “un-Christian” this legislation actually is. anything less will just give the “christians” more fodder, weak and meaningless as it is.

are you smarter than a fifth grader?

this is another "advantage" to having a google alert for the term "swastika": i got up this morning and discovered a whole bunch of new articles, which included the following honeys.

College prof: Christian crosses like swastikasStudent: ‘I felt humiliated and that my spirituality was being demeaned’ – oh, boo hoo, you’re “not allowed” to make your religious emblem in a class where my religious emblem is banned as a matter of course, regardless of what you believe it means. now, maybe, you get the idea of what it must be like to have a religious symbol discriminated against because of stupidity!!

along the same lines, there is STILL IN PURSUIT OF THE DREAM, which is the story of writer who was originally scheduled to read from her book at a public library, and was then un-invited, because some person – not associated with the library – discovered that her book contained the images of “werewolves, vampires, and the swastika”. she invokes ray bradbury’s Farenheit 451, and i would tend to agree with her. this is definitely censorship based on an image in a book, and nothing less.

especially when you consider that high school students are being taught this stuff. there really should be no reason, apart from america’s bizarre aversion to the swastika, why people should raise anywhere near as much of a fuss about it.

HOW CAN A SYMBOL BE GUILTY FOR THE ACTS OF A MADMAN?!?

but the one that really got to me, the one that makes me believe that we may actually have hope for a saner, less swastika-obsessed future, is the letter to the editor regarding an incident in which "I 卍 OBAMA" was carved into a massachusetts golf course last weekend, which was written by A SIXTH GRADER entitled Swastika predates use by Nazis. if a sixth grader has the requisite knowledge to correct a newspaper article, what does that say about the person who wrote that article? i’ll answer that, so that there will be no doubt in your mind what i am striving for here: it says that the person who wrote the article is either uneducated, or deliberately trying to pull the wool over our eyes. either way, it doesn’t say much about their integrity. we deserve better than that from our public news sources, and if it takes a sixth grader to set the record straight, then it’s time we took a closer look at who we are allowing to report our news.

the more you obsess about nazis and swastikas, the longer it will be until we disassociate nazis and swastikas! the way to get over the nazi thing is to have it be okay for people to use the 卍 symbol, and the 卐 symbol in ways that are not connected with nazis! it’s exactly the same thing your mother tells you after you skin your knee as a kid: the more you think about it, the longer it will be until it goes away. if the general world consensus is that we sould continue to think about nazis every time someone says 卐, then there are a lot of hindus, buddhists, native americans – and jews – who are going to be out a significant amount of their cultural history.

for more swastika pleasure, i invite you to peruse Sun Wheel – The Ancient Swastika and start thinking about something other than nazis for a change…

thanks.

Continue reading are you smarter than a fifth grader?

the war on xmas

the closer we get to xmas, the more i am feeling like a jew at a nazi rally, and i am aware of the irony of such a statement a lot more accutely than those of you who may be shocked at the reference.

what i would really like, is to magically transport myself to somewhere where they don’t celebrate xmas for the month of december – and possibly the months of november and january as well – just to get away from the hype that is going on. the commercialism and the politics of the holiday are really starting to get to me, and i still have 10 days until it’s over for another year.

it’s not that i don’t celebrate xmas, and it’s not even that i don’t believe in the “christ” and “god” that are behind the current incarnation of the holiday so much (although that’s another part of the story). what is really disturbing to me is the combination of not being able to turn on the television or the radio without hearing either commercials for products that i know won’t work (like Windows 7), or seeing news reports of people complaining because the greeter at walmart said something, or didn’t say something that was offensive to them… or not… 😐

i was brought up in a family that celebrated the commercial aspects of xmas. we didn’t even have a regular church service that we went to that was on a day other than sunday, and the church services that we went to all the time were pretty ecuminical and inclusive of traditions and cultures that were not specifically “christian”, so when i grew up and learned that some people believed that xmas was for stuff other than getting loads of toys and candy, i didn’t quite understand, but i didn’t really notice that much when the checker at the grocery store wished me a “merry xmas”. as i developed more of a relationship with sanatanadharma (which is what “hinduism” is really called) i started noticing the discontinuity a lot more: the “peace on earth and good will toward men” compared to the war, hunger and poverty that exist in the world, the constant fighting between catholics and protestants, the constant fighting between the christians and the non-christians, and the growing furor over “the war on xmas” came much more to the forefront, and i find it quite distressing.

things like the reference to a woman who compared santa to a swastika take on a meaning that is not immediately obvious to people who believe the swastika is an evil symbol, for example. i can see how santa is a lot like a swastika, and i wouldn’t mind seeing both of them in more common usage, but if there’s going to be an uproar over whether or not to have a swastika in a public display, then there certainly should be just as much uproar over whether or not to have a public holiday that celebrates santa – even if santa is not the "reason for the season".

and, for that matter, if you think about it a little more than most "christians" have, jeezis himself is not the “reason for the season” either. people celebrated the winter solstice for a long time before jeezis showed up, and it’s really only been within the past 200 to 500 years that we’ve had anything at all like what is currently celebrated as xmas, so all of those "war on xmas" fanatics really don’t have a leg to stand on in the first place. but in general, i think that the hindus and jews and buddhists and muslims and animists and even athiests have gone out of their way to accommodate all of the fanatics who insist that they are to be greeted with the phrase "merry xmas" instead of the more ecuminical "happy holidays" in fact, the only reason we have been as accommodating as we have been is because the "christians" are a majority of our population and if we weren’t so willing to give up what we believe in order to make peace, most "christians" wouldn’t have the slightest problem killing us!

what would jesus do, indeed?

i keep feeling like i am totally alone in a society of people who would have no problem killing me if they happened to find out that i don’t believe the way they do, but at the same time, i feel compelled to inform these ignoramuses that they aren’t the only ones on the planet, and that other people – people who believe differently than they do – have just as much right to exist as they do, and what jesus would really do is get along with everyone… which is supposed to be "The Christmas Message" anyway.

HE is a terrorist! 8)

Colton Harris-Moore, the barefoot boy bandit, outfoxes sheriffs – i know people who live on camano island (like rev. chumleigh, for example), and i know that this is entirly likely, there are a lot of hippie survivalist types living out in that area, and it is fairly close to a place where i was thinking about making a homestead and surviving off the land many, many years ago. i am in awe, although i will say that he probably wasn’t stupid enough to shoot at the cop, he’s probably going to get blamed for it, especially with all of the other “cop-killing” uproar there has been around here recently.

Continue reading HE is a terrorist! 8)

VEWPRF, xmas, hinduism…

i’m getting fed up with the VEWPRF (primarily xmas) hype early this year. fortunately now i’ve got a gadget in my car that i can plug my music player into so i don’t have to listen to the radio. when i’m not listening to my own music, i usually listen to the classical music station, but even they are playing xmas carols far too frequently. i just got a package of CDs from india, including “Om Arunachaneswaraya Namaha” and “Ganesh Gayatri Mantra”, both of which are more than an hour of chanting, which should cover the period of time that i’m suceptible to going off on local “christians” too much.

speaking of which, Rudiments of Language Discovered in Monkeys – more indisputable evidence that evolution is real and the creationists are wrong, wrong WRONG, regardless of how much they claim that they’re “inspired” by “god”… if any further evidence was needed.

i feel a little guilty for going off at “christians” since i am a believer myself, but i accept that science probably has a lot more clear idea of what is going on in the world than the 2000-year-old myths of a society that i do not feel a part of. i don’t deny that those myths may have value to some people, but my impression is that they are far more detrimental to most people who claim to live by them than they would care to admit. and, largely, i can say the same thing about the myths to which i adhere, in spite of the fact that they are, for the most part, totally the opposite of “christian” myths. the difference, i think, is that i admit that my myths are myths, and act accordingly. sure, i occasionally do odd things like wear a tilak, but i’m not “religious” about it, and i certainly don’t let it go this far

we played for the lenin lighting on friday, and it was cold, but it wasn’t anywhere near as cold as it would have been in new york. i dressed for it, and kept my mouthpiece in my pocket when we weren’t actually playng, but there were a lot of complaints that it was too cold. the emcee was pat cashman… who?

Artists’ lawsuit: major record labels are the real pirates – it’s about time, but i think that $50 million to $6 billion may not be enough to get the message across. remember, we’re talking about warner, sony and EMI… and it is only canada. let’s wait to see if it’s effective, and then try something like it in the untied states. definitely a step in the right direction, though.

Continue reading VEWPRF, xmas, hinduism…

aparajita

Mavana Aparajita

aparajita is one of the incenses that prompted me to go into the business of being an agarbatthiwala. it is an incense that is characteristically used by devotees of ravi shankar and george harrison. it used to be very common, and places like tenzing-momo and zenith supplies carried it as a matter of course, and even more obscure places carried it, along with a million other, less well known incenses.

that was then, this is now.

you would think that i could contact them through mavana dot com, but the first time i wrote them, about 3 years ago, there was no response from either of the two email addresses listed on their contact page, and the last time i wrote them, the message to one of the addresses bounced almost immediately. the last time i was able to find any aparajita at all, it was through an incense supplier i know in port townsend (who is also an old hippie, and beset by the health of an old hippie, which means that he has spent a large portion of the past 3 years in the hospital, thus making him somewhat unreliable as an incense supplier), who knows a guy in chicago who had a bunch of aparajita that he wanted to get rid of, and i bought all he had, which was 4 dozen boxes.

that was about 6 months ago, and i just sold my last box to a very disappointed customer in marietta, georgia, who had thought that i had more in stock.

to make matters worse, in my search for a reliable source of this smelly gold, i have discovered that there are at least two other indian incense manufacturers who have decided to take advantage of the situation by producing fairly sophisticated knock-off packaging which contains nothing like the authentic aparajita. the following is a picture of the packaging for one of the “knock-offs” which i bought a quarter kilo of before i realised that it was not the same thing:

Cauvery Arpitha

i have been looking for a reliable source for this incense for around 10 years, and i know that my search is not in vain. i have heard rumours from a couple of different customers that aparajita is apparently still available in india, but the manufacturer doesn’t want to send any less than an 8′ by 8′ shipping container of it outside of india. also, i looked for another variety of incense (amber aromatics “sital flora”, which is largely a neem scent) for 25 years before i found some, whereupon i bought a kilo of it, and still have more than ¾ of it left, so i know that eventually a source will be found.

i just currently don’t know who it is. if any of you get a crazy idea to go shopping in india for incense, let me know and i’ll put in an order.

damn!

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

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

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

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

heiney

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

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

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

garbage drama

back to mundane stuff…

they haven’t picked up our trash for two months, ever since we switched to once-a-month trash pickup, so i called to find out what was going on. it’s not that we haven’t paid, either, because we haven’t gotten a bill in two months as well. in fact, they sent the bill on the 14th, and it’s probably already been paid, but that’s beside the point. when i called to switch to once-a-month pickup, they told me that it would be on the first thursday of the month. so i put the trash out and they didn’t pick it up, so i called and they said that they had made a mistake, that they would pick it up on the last thursday of the month. so i waited for 3 weeks, put the trash out, and – they didn’t pick it up… 8/

so i decided on another tack, and put the trash out every week last month. they picked up our recycling (which is most of our waste these days, fortunately) on the second and fourth thursdays, just like they’re supposed to, but they didn’t pick up the trash! 8/

so i called them this morning. they told me that the pickup would be on the first thursday of the month, then they changed their minds and said that it would be on the last thursday of the month. then, realising that they had just given me conflicting information, they said that they would check it out and call me back. about a half-hour later, i talked with the dispatcher for the company that covers south king county waste management, who told me that the real pickup date was the thursday of the first full week of the month. not only that, but she said that, because of the fact that customer service was confused about our pickup dates, our address was not even included on the route list that they gave to the driver, which is why we haven’t had a pickup in two months.

that’s all very well and good, i said, but the fact is that our trash hasn’t been picked up in two months, and i’m running out of space. so the dispatcher for south king county says that she will request a “courtesy pickup” (“for no charge”), since there was a screwup on their end. a half-hour or so later, i heard the garbage truck backing up, and fifteen minutes or so after that, i get another call from the dispatcher, who says that they tried to pick up the trash, but the can was too heavy and their driver couldn’t lift it. we have our own, 33 gallon container, which has to be loaded by hand, rather than paying the county for a 35 gallon container that the truck can pick up, and the driver has a weight limit to spare him having to lift heavy trash bags into the truck, so if i wanted our trash picked up, i was going to have to go down and “portion it out” into chunks that were small enough for the driver to lift.

so i broke it down into three garbage bags and the remaining garbage in the can, and supposedly they’re supposed to come back tomorrow, and of course, now that we’re back on the route list, the next trash pickup is supposed to be next thursday… 8/

i’ll believe it when i see it. meanwhile, if i reckoned correctly, we just paid a bill for $60 for the past two months… when, because of a screwup on their part, we weren’t getting any service at all

grumble, mutter… and they wonder why i get upset about things like this… 8/

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

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

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

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

i didn’t sign any contract.

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

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

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

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