Category Archives: gripes

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? 😒

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.

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. 😒

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… 😒

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. 😡

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… 😐

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.

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…

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.

okay, the polish is starting to wear…

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

hrmph!

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

hungary harrison “christian”

that’s where some guy ordered incense from today – budapest, hungary. he ordered $4.25 worth of incense, so i have to add $50 shipping for $4.25 worth of incense.

personally, i think he should know that it would be cheaper (and probably better quality) to buy it closer to home, but i think the problem is that internet makes normal people stupid. i have many examples of this: regan fraser, brendan fraser‘s brother, was my housemate at one point about 15 years ago, and when he found out that i worked with internet, he begged me to get involved in this scheme that he had to rip people off by accessing their bank accounts over internet. or the client that i currently have who is convinced that his virus protection program “is tired” of notifying him that he has a virus – he’s convinced that he’s got a virus, even though three different virus scanners have given him a clean bill of health…

someone turned me on to a whole pile of information about my great-great-great-grandfather and his descendants that are a part of my family, but not directly related to me. apparently such people include William Henry Harrison along with several other william henry harrisons (I through V, i think).

i submitted the following to There Probably Is dot com, and i really hope they actually post it, but i get the impression that they won’t.

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

Submit your story
I believe in God because … i was raised by parents who were largely agnostic. They may have had some religion, but if they did, they kept it to themselves. I attended a Unitarian church when I was small, but the classes I took were more along creative lines than religious ones, and I grew up thinking of “church” as more of a social club than a place for worship.

Then, when I was first starting college, I encountered people who claimed to be “christian” but were more like parrots than people in terms of what they told me about “christianity”. They couldn’t give me a good enough reason to believe, apart from pie-in-the-sky promises to which nobody in their right mind would pay attention.

I took a class called “Introduction to Personal Philosophy” which everybody informally called “The Fly In The Fly-Bottle” or just “the fly-bottle class” in which there was an assignment that caused me to change my mind. The assignment was “for a certain, set period of time (I chose a month), act as though there is an all-powerful God and see how your life changes.” As soon as I believed that there was a God, I was able to see Him everywhere, although He (and I use the term advisedly) was not what the “christians” said He was like at all. For one thing, He wasn’t always a “He” – sometimes She was a thought, or feeling, or a smell. I quickly learned that when coincidences happen – for example, I went for an entire week where the price of everything I bought ended with 84 cents – that is God communicating with me in a way that I didn’t immediately understand. Everywhere I looked, and everywhere I look to this day, I see God essentially “peering out” from behind everything, saying “Here I am!” There is no question that I have of God that He has not answered, and He guides my every step.

His name is Ganesha.

i guess i’m disappointed with them for discriminating against me, but at the same time, what did i expect from a “christian” web site?

meh!

the battle of the computer has begun again… 8/

i was finishing recovery from the battle of a couple months ago, and (finally) getting around to installing LilyPond. admittedly, the computer was a little busier than normal, because i also had firefox, openoffice, the gimp and my music player running at the same time, and the computer crashed. as i was already running late to get to a client’s place by 3:30, i figured i’d start the whole process over when i got home, so i just shut everything down and took off.

when i returned, at 10:30, i booted the computer and i had a bizarre icon in the “systray”-like thing in what passes for the task bar in kubuntu, which i discovered was the “disconnected” icon for the network manager. this was a little strange, but not entirely unexpected, so i got out the terminal and typed in ifconfig eth0 down and then ifconfig eth0 up, but nothing happened. i fudged around with some of my system settings to see if that did any good, but ultimately i couldn’t get it connected, so i went to bed.

this morning i got up early and tried to get the network connected, because i had to transpose a part for the ed mcmichael memorial that i am playing for tomorrow, and, as the network was disconnected on my main computer, that meant that i had to transpose the part on windows (which is the only other place that i have lilypond installed). so i fired up windows and, lo and behold, the “Local Area Network cable disconnected” icon was there, as well. 8/

so then i fired up MacOsX, which went out and found internet without a problem – naturally. but i then realised that the macs are connecting directly with the router via wireless, whereas linux and windows connect to the router by way of wires, which go through an ethernet switch. so, i unplugged linux from the switch and plugged it directly into the router, and it worked. 8/

so i’ve narrowed down what is wrong, and at this point i have ordered a new ethernet switch, which should be delivered in 3 days or so, but the only computers that currently have network access are the wireless computers (mine and moe’s) and linux – and, despite everything, i still haven’t gotten mac and linux to talk to each other. 8/

and, to make matters worse, i had to resort to using a flash disk “sneaker net” to ferry the transposed part from windows to linux, where i could print it.

i guess i should be glad i know how to figure out what’s wrong with this mess of wires and computer-junk, because if i didn’t, then i’d really be screwed.

happy 4/20

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

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

damn!

my car broke.

i was on my way home from BBWP rehearsal and it started making the “loose belt” sound, which was quickly followed by a “thump” from underneath the car, the “charge” light came on, the lights went really dim and it stopped making the “loose belt” sound.

then, when i was most of the way home (fortunately) it stopped going forward and i had to leave it by the side of the road.

we’ll see what happens in the morning, but it doesn’t look good at this point. 8(

whew!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading whew!

random busy

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

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

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

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

stuff

i took a 24-exposure roll of pictures of the lunar eclipse the other day. none of them came out, which really disappoints me because i had ideal lighting – i was out in the middle of nowhere with no artificial light pollution – i had a SLR with a telephoto lens and a tripod, and no trees or anything like that, but i totally forgot about aperture and exposure settings, and so i ended up with 24 clear, not-a-speck-on-them negatives. i feel like a lousy photographer, especially because there were a couple of the pictures that i would have been really proud of if they had come out, but i couldn’t even hit one out of 24, and it’s all because i forgot something as basic as aperture and exposure. 8/

i’m feeling really isolated because i’m in my tiny, crammed-full-of-boxes office with the door shut because apart from the four dogs and three cats that we normally have, there are no less than three temporary dogs (two of which are going home tomorrow, thankfully), and they keep on chasing the cats in here, or coming in to “check up” on me every five minutes, which is really distracting. i’m trying to be nice to moe, because of the fact that she couldn’t really help it this time, but at the same time, seven dogs puts me just about over the edge, especially when i wasn’t really expecting it… so i isolate myself and hope that it doesn’t get to be too much before tomorrow morning.

i went to the “Seattle Freeze” this afternoon. i wasn’t sure whether i was going to freeze, or whether i was going to take pictures of people trying to interact with frozen people until it was time to freeze. i decided to freeze, which is a good thing because it was only for 5 minutes, and compared to the total number of people in westlake mall, the number of people who actually froze was infinitesimal. i took a few pictures, but the only one that is more than just a small crowd of people milling around is this one.

big dog, small car

the huge hairy shape in the back of that convertible is a dog, who was barking at passers-by.

my first acupuncture appointment of 2008 was this afternoon. the treatment was to make the tips of the fingers of my right hand less numb than they have been, and it very definitely worked, although it was also the most painful acupuncture appointment i have ever had. not only was there a needle in the top of my skull, but there were needles in the tips of all five fingers, and in at least two places on my shins, and they were in exactly the right position to hurt really bad when i tried to move over so that i would have some place to put my hand so that it didn’t hang off the edge of the table. ever since my injury my right hand has had the sensation of being asleep and having a heavy glove on all the time. it’s been going away very, very slowly, and at this point the only place that still feels like it’s asleep is my fingertips, but they’re definitely more “awake” since acupuncture.

i also got word that the Big Bois With Poise is going to be in the moisture festival this year…

the moisture festival… aah, the moisture festival.

this time last year i was frantically trying to get the schedule from them so that i could get the typesetting finished and get the printing done on their program, and not getting anywhere because they had their heads so firmly implanted in their asses (collectively), and by the time the moisture festival was over, i was so dissatisfied with the whole thing that i wasn’t sure whether or not i was even going to be a part of it this year. now that this year has actually happened, i’m still attracted by the fact that it was the single highest paying gig i had last year, and this year the phil is going to play more than we did last year (which still isn’t enough, in my opinion, but there’s not very much i can, or desire to do about it). i haven’t had anything to do with the people that made life so miserable last year (although the likelyhood that that will change is dramatically increased the closer to actual production time we get), so i don’t really know anything, but from what i’ve heard so far, the chaos that i waded through last year doesn’t even scratch the surface of the chaos that is currently going on, so the probability that the phil is going to play more, and/or BBWP is going to perform more is a definite probability.

time to take brownies out of the oven.

rant + gripe

i have written my representatives several times concerning, among other things, getting bush and his cronies out of office and reversing the direction this country has been headed for the past few years. i have always gotten nice “we’re as concerned as you are, but there’s nothing we can do” responses from my democratic representatives, but my republican representative constantly comes back with this:

One of the most difficult questions raised by these provisions is: What are high crimes and misdemeanors? The conclusion reached by most scholars is that clear criminal law violations represent impeachable offenses, whereas misconduct that is not necessarily criminal but that undermines the integrity of the office (such as disregard of constitutional responsibilities) may rise to the level of an impeachable offense.

when george w. bush took office, he made the following affirmation:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

it is evident to me – and to around 60% to 75% of the rest of the voters in the country currently – that he failed to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” by deliberately misleading us, repeatedly, over a period of two years following september 11, 2001.

False Pretenses – at least 935 false statements about the national security threats that didn’t exist!

i’m pretty sure that at least one of those misleading statements were illegal in some way or another, and even if they were all legal, the resulting mess that was created, without a doubt, contained many aspects that were illegal, and of which, bush and his cronies were definitely a part. to me, this very clearly represents “high crimes and misdemeanors”, and yet, my elected representative, and, presumably, the constituent which elected him (of which i was apparently not a part) says that there are questions about what constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors.

it’s really frightening to me that this country is going the direction it is these days, and the fact that my elected government representative would be so deliberately ignorant of it frightens me even more. and for the icing on the frightful cake, we have mike huck-a-bee and his drones – chuck norris chief among them – who want to change the constitution to more perfectly match the “word of god” on things like birth-control, abortion and homosexual marriage, but not when it comes to other biblical laws like eating shellfish, keeping the sabbath or shaving. and people think that he’s exactly what this country needs!

<shudder>

and, on top of that, i don’t have a job or health insurance, my country is sending old, brain-injured men to war, while at the same time, claiming that there are no homeless vets, and it’s illegal for me to commit suicide. i wonder why?

depression

i just got back from dropping moe off at the airport so that she can go to florida for 2 weeks. she took the ipod with her, so i have to load any music i have onto my computer (because hers is the computer that has the itunes library on it, i haven’t gotten around to installing rockbox yet), and currently i don’t have any music loaded. i don’t have any rehearsals for anything, because the BSSB and the banda gozona are on winter hiatus and we haven’t started rehearsals for the fremont philharmonic because stuart isn’t back from bogota yet. and very good friends of mine are acting like second-graders, tattling about each other behind the others’ backs and expecting me to make sense of it.

bleah! 8P

paypal gripe

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

busy, busy, busy…

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

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

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

sigh…

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

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

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

more brain injury/SSDI stuff

University of Washington Neurological Vocational Services – Harborview Medical Center

Dear Sir/Madam:

We have appreciated working with you for purposes of vocational rehabilitation. As per our discussion, we unfortunately need to terminate our service arrangement at this time for the following reason(s):

We have been unable to identify a funding source for your service. Please consider WorkSource and call us as we may know of a community program in your area.

[handwritten]recommend EnSo for your business needs. Good luck.[/handwritten]

Again, our best wishes in your future employment efforts.

except that EnSo is a place that gets personal assistants for people with developmental disabilities, and doesn’t have any way to deal with a person with a brain injury who wants help with his business.

i also talked with the legal assistant for the attorney that is supposedly handling my SSDI appeal yesterday. she says that there is a fourteen to sixteen MONTH waiting period for a hearing, and they just submitted my request for a hearing in july, so it’s probably going to be september to november of 2008 before i even hear anything from them… what do they want me to do in the mean time? the only way they are willing to "expedite" the waiting list process is if the person requesting the hearihg is dying. they also said that the hearing is where most people get approved. i wonder how many people go homeless and starve while waiting for a hearing because they don’t have enough money to shop or pay rent… i wonder how many people die because they’re waiting for a hearing and they can’t get it "expedited" because they’re "not dying"… but, instead, our government is apparently willing to ignore our lying president and fund two wars over a commodity that is going to be gone in 50 years anyway…

and people wonder why i’m depressed…

however, there is a bright spot in all of this. i called the woman at EnSo, and she told me that she had received email indicating that DVR had actually got a new director and was eliminating their waiting list. she forwarded this article to me and encouraged me to call DVR and “light a fire under ’em”, which i did. the result is that instead of 2 years, they have me down to 3 months, so it’s possible that, by january, i might have some help with my business… but i’m not gonna hold my breath, because i’ve been burned by government organisations that were supposed to help me in the past.

it would have been a lot easier if i had just died four years ago…

i’m depressed again. 8/

i have made the preliminary artwork for a new business card, but they want something that can’t be done in that format for artwork, and while i know that it can’t be done, aphasia prevents me from telling them why, which reduces the probability that i’m going to be the one that prints it for them, even though they’ll get exactly the same response from any printer.

i went to a punk rock flea market recently, and actually made enough to pay for my space, plus an extra $5. among the reasons i didn’t make more money is because somebody complained that they were “allergic to the smell” of the incense i was burning, which resulted in my having to put the incense out and they turned on an enormous fan to “clear the air” in the underground space in which the flea market was taking place. i have made approximately $100 in the past two months. the only incense order i have gotten for two months has been for a variety of incense that i don’t normally carry, which i had to special order, which meant that i had to order $100 worth of incense, $17.50 of which was for the special order, and the rest of which turned out to be 100% incense that i already had, and in the process of figuring this out, i discovered that there was another $50 to $75 worth of incense that i don’t have, but i need because i’m running low. and i can’t return what i received because it was part of a special order, and i would have to return the entire order, including the stuff that i have already shipped out. i’ve actually got a new product – chandrika soap – which will probably sell pretty well, except that nobody knows i have it, because of the fact that i can’t figure out where to put it on my web site.

i went to the neurology vocational services unit at harborview hospital, on the recommendation of someone at the brain injury association, but they couldn’t help me except to recommend that i get in contact with an organisation that provides life-planning services for developmentally disabled people, which isn’t any help at all. the lady said she would get back to me within a week, but she didn’t. i called the brain injury association out of desperation, because i knew from past experience that they probably couldn’t help me anyway, because they never have before, and i was right. people say that i worry too much about things that i don’t know, but i feel like i’m pretty well assured that nobody can help me, simply because everything i’ve tried in the past hasn’t helped, so i don’t know why i should get my hopes up.

i’ve been cleaning up my office (for a week now… 8/ ) because i want to get out my keyboard and work on some musical ideas, which means that i have had to clear space on a table that usually gets used for storage because my office space is so small. i’ve actually got it cleaned up enough that i’ve been able to get out my keyboard, but i’m depressed enough that i don’t feel as inspired as i did a week ago, when i started on the project, and, if things go the way they have been going recently, by the time i am that inspired again, there’s a good chance that the table will have reverted to storage again, which will be complicated by the fact that my keyboard is at the bottom of the pile and i’ll have to clean up again before i am able to work on anything.

meanwhile, my beloved wife has been working her shapely little ass off, seven days a week, for who knows how long now. she’s frustrated because instead of quitting her job and going back to school, which is what she wants to do, she’s had to work non-stop for months now. we took a week’s worth of vacation last month, for the first time since my injury, four years ago, and went camping. the first three days of which started at 7:00 in the morning when they started on the construction project that was conveniently located across the street from where we were camped. we ended up moving our campsite, which took most of the fourth day, and ended up that we were camped right across from the porta-potties because the sewer system was what they were working on at the construction site. i hate to think what’s going to happen if she gets sick and can’t work, or if she gets in a car crash or something.

He liked to pick them good guitars and listen to them ring…

i called the Neurology Vocational Services unit at harborview hospital yesterday, to see if i could get some help finding work. i talked with a guy for about fifteen minutes, told him that i was a brain injury survivor, that i didn’t have any insurance, that i hadn’t worked in over a year, and he encouraged me to come in for an initial consultation next week. he told me to bring whatever medical records i have, because they couldn’t help me if there wasn’t a neurological aspect to my injury. he then asked me if there was a nerological aspect to my injury. i said, “well, my neurologist seems to think so.” but that wasn’t good enough. he wanted me to present him with concrete proof that my injury had a neurological aspect, and warned me, again, that if there wasn’t a neurological aspect to my injury, that they couldn’t help me.

i haven’t even seen a doctor, much less a neurologist, in almost four years. the only piece of evidence that i have that i even had a neurologist at this point is a CD of images, and a note that he gave me to show to the department of clownland security goons at the airport, saying that i “had surgery for a vascular malformation in his brain, and has metal clips in his head” when i set of their metal detectors. i read this note to him, and he said that it sounded like i qualified, but he still wanted me to bring along whatever other evidence i have, and said, again, that if there wasn’t a neurological aspect to my injury, that they couldn’t help me.

i’m sorry if the nine inch scar on my scalp and my misshapen skull isn’t good enough for you… 8/

so i dug around and found the CD of x-ray and CT images that i have, and looked through it today. i don’t know if that’s good enough for them, but it did make me cry, which i found very odd…

four years ago, and i’ve pretty much recovered from the actual injury, and it makes me cry when i look at pictures of my brain in a state of chaos… and the guy insisting that i had to bring evidence of a specific injury, otherwise they can’t help me… it made me cry even more.

and people wonder why i’m not more encouraged to find things that will help me get back to work. bleh.

it’s just paper that has been blessed by the treasury wizards…

when does money stop being money?

apparently when there’s only one serial number…

i checked the dryer a few days ago and discovered a dollar bill that had somehow fallen out of a pocket and gotten caught between the drum and the frame of the dryer door and gotten moodged. it used to be that one could take “mutilated” money to one’s local bank and get it replaced, if there was still one serial number visible. i took it to my local bank, but they couldn’t take it, because, apparently, in order for the bank to get “paid” for the mutilated money, they have to have one serial number completely visible, and at least 4 digits of the other serial number visible… and they can’t have just any four digits visible. they have to have either the first four digits, or the last four digits… and guess what?

my “mutilated” dollar bill has one serial number completely visible, and three of the first digits (the letters at the beginning of the serial number don’t count as digits), and the last digit, but nothing in between.

in order to get my “mutilated” bill replaced, i have to go to the federal reserve bank, in seattle, 35 miles away. and with gas at almost $3.00 a gallon, that’s a waste of money.

i’m going to be in seattle on saturday, but i’m going to be a part of the “punk rock flea market”, which goes from 6:30 in the morning until midnight, and, what do you know, the federal reserve bank of san francisco, seattle branch, isn’t open on saturdays anyway.

at this point, i’m thinking very strongly about just throwing it away, or making artwork out of it or something like that, because it’s clearly not money any longer, but at the same time, i can’t get beyond the fact that it looks like money – because it used to be money. it still has the vestiges of the treasury wizards’ blessing on it and that’s hard to overcome, despite the bank’s refusal to take it…

paper money has it’s advantages, but still, i wish we had metal money, or something that would stand up to being put through a washer and dryer without dying… 8/