Tag Archives: incense

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. 😏

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

kapoor kacheri

i got some more channabasappa & company incense today. this is probably the last of it, because the rest is all duplicates of stuff i already carry. i got a kilo of kapoor kacheri bathi. this is what i have distilled from the available “knowledge” about kapoor kacheri:

Kapoor Kacheri – Hedychium spicatum

Kapoor Kacheri may also be referred to as Spiked Ginger Lily, Kapur Kachli, Kapur Kachri, Perfume Ginger.

3rd Chakra – personal power, 4th Chakra – unconditional love, 5th Chakra – speaking truth, Grounding, Introspective, Purifying

Anti-allergenic, Anti-arthritic, Anti-asthmatic, Anti-bacterial, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-rheumatic, Anti-spasmodic, Decongestant, Expectorant, Mucolytic, Tonifying

Hydacheium Oil which is also known by the popular name Kapur Kuchari is extracted from Hydacheium that grows to up to 3 feet tall. It has loose terminal flower spikes that have individual flowers that are yellow with reddish stamens. Its antibiotic properties have also increased interest in the medicinal properties of the species.

The root stalk is useful in local inflammations, nausea, asthma, bronchitis, hiccups and in pain. The rhizome of the plant is said to be carminative, stimulant and a tonic. It has been described as useful, specially as an anti asthmatic agent. Clinical trials have been conducted in tropical eosinophilia, with promising results. It counteracts bad mouth taste and smell.

incense smells like the best qualities of camphor, sandalwood and agarwood. it is as though camphor and sandalwood had a baby, and that baby grew up, got together with agarwood, and they had a baby… that baby would be kapoor kacheri. it is quite subtle, and doesn’t hang around for very long. 😉

dashanga

DASHANGA (“Ten Ingredients”) CONSTITUENT INGREDIENTS

6 parts kustha, 2 parts gur, 3 parts laksha, 5 parts nakhla, haritiki, and raal in equal parts, 1 part dapai, shilajay equal to 3 lav, 4 parts nagarmotha, and guggul one part

——

KUSTHA

Kustha (Saussurea lappa C.B.Clarke) is an important medicinal plant which was mentioned in ancient Hindu literature and Ayurveda. It was considered as next to Soma plant which is best among the plants. It grows in the reigions of Himalayas and Kashmir and is used in Ayurveda for fevers, skin diseases, headache etc. Kustha is well known for its cures since the ancient times. Etymologically the word “Kustha” is derived from “Krushnaati rogam”. It means, one that ploughs out or drags out the disease from the body.

Dolomiaea costus, formerly known as Saussurea costus, commonly known as costus, Indian costus, kuth, or putchuk, is a species of thistle in the genus Dolomiaea native to South Asia and China. Rishi (Hindu) mystics of Kashmir especially ate this plant. Essential oils extracted from the root have been used in traditional medicine and in perfumes since ancient times.

Costus is the root of this plant. The root of the plant is the key part used for medicinal or homeopathic purposes. The root is also called by its Latin name radix aucklandiae (root of aucklandia).

It has a large number of names in other languages, including kuṣṭha in Sanskrit; kust or qust in Arabic and Persian; kut, kur, and pachak in Hindi and Bengali, kostum, gostham, and potchuk in Tamil; upaleta and kur in Gujarati; kot or kust in Punjabi; changala in Telugu; sepuddy in Malayalam; kostha in Kannada; kuth or postkhai in Kashmiri; and kosht (קשט) in Hebrew; koto in Swahili; mu xiang in Chinese.

——

GUR = jaggery

——

LAKSHA

Botanical Name
Laccifer lacca Kerr.

Family
Lacciferidae.

Synonyms
Coccus lacca, Kerria lacca.

Regional Name
English : Shellac, Laksha (Lac). Hindi : Lakh, Sanskrit : Laksha, Bengali : Gala, Gujarati : Lak, Telugu : Kommolakka, Lakka, Tamil: Komburrki, Malayalam: Arakku, Ambalu.

Part Used
Resin.

Description
India and Thailand are the main areas in the world where lac is cultivated. Over 90% of Indian lac comes from the States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Orissa. Lac insects thrive on certain trees and the principal lac host trees in India are Banyan, Peepal, Khadira, Palash, Kusum and Ber.

Lac are scale insects (Laccifer Lacca) which live on trees called lac host trees where they secrete the lac resin which is scraped off and manufactured into shellac. To produce just 1 kilogram of lac resin around 300,000 insects lose their tiny lives. A scale insect is a common name for any of about 2000 insect species found all over the world that attach themselves in great numbers to plants and trees. Scale insects range from an almost microscopic size to more than 2.5 cm. They can be very destructive to trees – stunting or killing twigs and branches by draining the sap.

The life cycle of a lac insect takes about six months and consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. With this life cycle, the lac industry obtains two lac crops each year from each tree. Females lay up to 100 eggs, which hatch out into larvae. These small red larvae, roughly 0.5mm, long crawl out of the brood lac (or mother cell) and settle on the twigs. At this stage both the male and female larvae live off the sap of the trees. The lac scraped from the branches is known as crude lac or sticklac. Crude lac or stick-lac, consists of the resin, the encrusted insects, lac dye, and twigs. This is crushed, washed, dried to form Seedlac. Seedlac is then converted into Shellac by hand or machine.

Phytoconstituents
The major constituent of laksha is the resin (70-80%); other constituents present are: sugar, proteins, and soluble salts, coloring matter, wax, sand, woody matter, insect bodies and other extraneous matter; a volatile oil is present in traces. Lac resin is composed of mainly hydroxy fatty acids of C14- C18 carbon chains, such as aleuritic, butolic, C14- C16 mono- and di-hydroxy acids along with hydroxy terpenic acids having the rare cedrene skeleton as jalaric, laccijalaric, shellolic, and laksholic acids.

Ayurvedic Properties
Rasa : Kasaya, Guna : Laghu, Snigdha, Sneha, Virya : Shita, Vipaka : Katu, Karma : Kappa, Pitta.

Ayurvedic Applications
Pachana, Depana, Apasmara, Kushta, Raktadosha, Kasa, Antrasula, Prameha, Atisara, Arocaka, Hidhma.

Medicinal Uses
It is used for liver diseases, Diarrhoea, Dysentery, Intestinal parasites (worms), Injuries, Fungal infections, Eczema, Scabies, Herpes, haemostasis, Internal bleeding disorders, Hiccup, Cough, It is also used for Low bone mineral density, jaundice, dropsy, kidney disease, reduces fat the Adipose persons, joint disorders, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, osteoarthritis etc. It is also helpful in obesity, renal and spleen disorders, jaundice, backache problems, leprosy, ulceration, epilepsy and chicken pox.

——

NAKHLA = charcoal(?)

——

HARITIKI

Terminalia chebula fruits – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminalia_chebula

——

RAAL

Ral is the gum extracted from Sal tree (Shaala). It is the astringent Ayurvedic medicine widely used in diarrhoea, dysentery, skin diseases, stops bleeding, heal wounds, herpes, burn wounds, fractures etc.

Sal Tree
Botanical name : Shorea robusta
Family : Dipterocarpaceae

Qualities, Uses

Medicinal Qualities of Rala
Rasa (taste) – Tiktha (bitter), Kashaya (astringent)
Virya (potency) – shitha (Cold)
Guna (qualities) – Guru – heavy to digest, Snigdha (unctuous)
Karma (action) – Grahi – absorbent, Sthambana – styptic in nature

Indications of Rala
Blood disorders
Excess sweating
Visarpa – herpes
Vrana – It cleanses the wound and hastens its healing process.
Vipadika – cracks in palms or soles with pain
Graha – psychiatric disorders
Bhagna – fractures
Agnidagda – Burn wounds
Jwara – fever
Cough, Asthma
Shoola – abdominal colic
Atisara – diarrhoea
Kandu – itching
Sphota – blisters
Bleeding haemorrhoids

Effect of rala on Tridoshas
Vatapittahara – Balances vata and pitta dosha
Chemistry, controversy

Rala chemical constituents
It is composed of chemicals like hydroxyanone, dammarenediol II, Ursolic acid etc

Controversy
Sarja rasa or sarjaniryasa refers to gum extracted from Copal tree – Vateria indica
Rala is gum extracted from Sal tree

How to get gum extract
How To obtain gum extract from Sal Tree?
A white viscous substance oozes out from sal tree when few strips of bark is removed. On exposure it hardens and change to brown colour. It is collected after 10 to 12 days. Again the substance oozes out and the procedure is repeated. This gum extract can be collected several times in a year.

Features of Sal dammar
Color – Yellow to brown color
Odour – aromatic
Nature – Brittle
Opaque

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DAIPAI ?

——

SHILAJAY ?

——

NAGARMOTHA = cypriol

——

GUGGUL = bdellium

——

thistles and bugs… hmmmmmm… 🤔

——

okay, this is what i get for geeking out about incense:
👉OPOPANAX!!👈
(i ordered some opopanax oil! 😀)

oh… my! 😮

so, i got the channabasappa & company incense today, and it is OUTSTANDING! 👍👍

i got a kilo each of dashanga, and guggal bathi… the dashanga is powdered, with no stick. i’m not exactly sure how to burn it, but i suspect that charcoal tablets will work… and it is an OLD TIME HIPPY scent that i haven’t smelled in a LOOOONG time. because of the fact that i’m not sure how it’s burned, and the fact that it comes in 100 gram packets, i’m not sure if i’ll end up selling it on my web site, but it will DEFINITELY be an addition to the IOTM collection. the guggal bathi is… not what i expected: i knew the scent, but i expected it to be a dark, wet incense, and it is, actually, light coloured and fairly dry… but it, also, is an OLD TIME HIPPY scent that i haven’t smelled for many years, and, because of the fact that it is a bathi (comes on sticks), it will be a lot easier to put on my web site. 👍

THIS is why i made the effort to do business with this person, despite the fact that i KNOW her to be flaky… when she DOES come through, it’s always with SUPERLATIVE product. 😉👍

incense

i FINALLY got shipping confirmation from the flaky incense lady from minnesota — the one who, two years ago, took my money and, 6 months later, STILL hadn’t shipped me the incense for which it paid, so i ended up having to go to the credit card company for help cancelling the order… this time, it only took her TWO months, and the USPS tracking number says that the “USPS in possession of item”, which means that it actually exists in someone’s mind OTHER THAN mine, and the flaky incense lady. i’ve known about her for 25 45 years or so (i’ve GOT to start remembering that my brain injury was almost 20 years ago! 🤕), as “another person who sells incense” like i do, and it seems to me that i used to do business with her a lot more frequently than i have in the past 10 years or so, but that’s only because, more and more in my dealings with her, she became the “flaky” incense lady.

i have actively avoided doing business with her for a few years now, because, back when i made my first bulk order from MSDF, she said she wanted to “go halves with me”, but, then, she “didn’t have the money, but would pay me later”, which she never did… and then, a few months later, said that she had a customer who wanted some bulk MSDF incense (which i had just imported), and she told them to contact me… and they never contacted me… 😒

but she’s “going out of business” — from my point of view, she’s SAID she’s been going out of business for at least 10 years, but whatever. she’s liquidating her supply of incense made by shroff channabassappa & sons — the same company that made “Leadbeater” incense, which is one of my two all-time favourites… and, while she doesn’t have leadbeater incense, she’s got a couple of other scents which i really like, i know would sell well, and, could possibly be additions to my “Incense Of The Month” selection, because, as far as i have been able to tell, shroff channabassappa & sons is out of business, as well. 😉

and, like i said, USPS is in possession of the item, and estimates that i will be receiving it on saturday. whee! 🎉

on the other side of the coin, i also just got email from Aravinda Parimala Works — makers of “Sugandha Shringar Gold”, which has been available from me since before i started the business (thanks to my association with Sugandha Prabhu) — informing me that, despite my inquiring about it 6 months ago and having them assure me that it would be available after the first of the year, at this point “Sugandha Shringar Gold” is completely sold out, and they will have to make more before they can even think about sending me some. 😠

at least they answer my emails in a timely fashion, unlike the flaky incense lady, who replies to my emails when she feels like it, which is, frequently, never. 😒

yawn

nothing has been happening.

nothing has been happening politically, nothing has been happening socially, nothing has been happening musically, nothing has been happening in regards to the COVID virus… i now have A LOT of “free” time: every other week i have a one-hour appointment with kate, and every week i have my one-hour circus class, but that’s it. 😩

i’ve been spending a lot of time hiking on taylor mountain.

i shipped out two incense orders, today. i’m averaging between two and six orders a month, and, before i got cracked a few months ago, i actually had over a thousand dollars in my bank account… but then i got cracked, and spent it all on replacement hardware and a pile of recovered, possibly useful data.

i have expanded ZIP files for about a tenth of my fonts collection, from the recovered data. mostly TTF files, and just a small fraction of the fonts i used to have. fortunately, my recollection is that my entire >10,000 font library is backed up on CD, somewhere… i’m sifting through the rest of the recovered data slowly, and more or less randomly: it’s totally discouraging to look at this huge pile of recovered data, which took me a couple decades to accumulate, but which is now many, many schrödinger’s cats with random file names, EVERY ONE OF WHICH has to be opened to determine whether or not it’s corrupt, and if it’s not, what general pile it goes in, which all have to be sorted again, later on, and then, probably, sorted at least once more before they’re back in more-or-less the place where they’re supposed to be. 😒

so, it’s something to do, but, literally, i would rather be doing ANYTHING else… 🤬

i ordered some “performance masks” from J.W.Pepper a few weeks ago. they were back-ordered (without my knowledge), and, when i talked to a customer service drone on monday last week, i was assured that they would be shipping out later that week, but i still haven’t seen or heard anything. they’re called “performance” masks, because they look like you’re wearing a mask, but, in reality, the mask has a hole in the front, that your mouthpiece goes through, which makes it practically useless as an actual mask… but the new rule at the market is that the only buskers allowed MUST BE masked, so it’s either wear a “performance” mask, or don’t busk. 😒 but i can’t busk at all, until the “performance” masks are delivered, and, as far as i can tell, at this point, they’re still on back order, and who knows when they’re going to arrive. 😞

so, what, exactly, is “the needful”?

i am now preparing for imminent arrival of HPOI

aside: study the etymology of the words “imminent”, “eminent”, “immanent”, and “emanant”. look for sources.

they sent me an air waybill… or an airway bill… or something like that… and are, allegedly sending me a commercial invoice tomorrow. the customs agent seemed to think that it was those two documents that i needed to clear the shipment myself, but, because of the fact that “TRITAN TRADEX, LLP” advised me to “do the needful” but didn’t tell me what “the needful” means (i’m assuming it’s because they think i know what i’m doing… 🤣), i’m getting anxious again.

i emailed the customs agent, but they haven’t gotten back to me yet, and, because of the fact that they mentioned that the air waybill and the commercial invoice are all i needed, i’m having to assume that means that i’m going to be receiving the shipment within a few days, i’m going to hope that they reply VERY soon…

but, on the up side, i’m getting 99 dozen boxes of ANOTHER incense that nobody else in the united states imports for resale on the web. 👍😉

okay, here we go…

i have become more and more aware of the existence of “subscription services” (and have actually signed up for a few, myself), where you sign up, and pay a chunk of money, and then you get pins, or buttons, or stickers, or candy, or what-have-you, once a month for a year.

my impression is that they’re really “trendy”.

so, i have decided that i’m going to have a go at creating one myself.

mine is going to be the “incense of the month” club: you sign up and pay a chunk of money (i’m thinking between $75 and $100), and, in return, once a month, for a year, i’ll send you between 10 and 25 sticks of special, rare, unavailable anywhere else on line or off, incense… and maybe a little blurb about the incense, and a sticker or a button or something, if i want to add some extra zip to the whole thing.

at this point, i believe i’ve got enough “special, rare, unavailable anywhere else on line or off, incense” to fill 25 or so subscriptions for a year… honestly, i can’t imagine more than a handful of people subscribing, at all, but i’ve been wrong before…

i think, at this point, the hardest thing for me may be the fact that, in order for this to even come close to having a chance, i’m going to have to “talk it up” on “social media”, the whole idea of which turns my stomach.

so, anyway, look for the "incense of the month" club announcement coming in january.

incense

since monday, 200608, i have gotten SEVENTEEN new incense orders, which works out to 3.4 new orders a day, in 5 days. 🤨

under ordinary circumstances, i get 3 or 4 new orders A MONTH. 😖

someone must have mentioned my web site on their podcast, or something.

also, it may be that someone mentioned my web site on a podcast about ravi shankar or the beatles, because by far and away the most incense i have sold since 200608, has been aparajita. now there are approximately 35 boxes left before i run completely out. 😒

tibetan incense

i ordered a bunch of tibetan incense from Dakpa Tamdin, in India, this afternoon. it should be here in a couple months or less… it’s coming from india and i don’t even have the shipping details, yet. it may be sooner, but a couple of months sounds about right. keep an eye out here for further details as they become available.

before the mushrooms kick in…

#drumpf is in the midst of impeachment, but it doesn’t appear to be making a whole lot of difference (thus, the mushrooms), but there have been some good things happening.

i have been getting A LOT of incense orders: 13 since the first of october, compared to 5 or fewer per month from january to september. also, i’ve gotten more orders from england and germany, since the first of october, than i have in the entire year previous. i still don’t entirely know what’s happening, but the end result is that i’ve now got more than $4,000 in my hybrid elephant account… which is somewhat startling…

191102 moe
191102 moe
last weekend, moe and i took a mini-vacation to san diego, for one night. ostensibly, moe had to rack up enough airline miles to qualify for “gold status”, because she has been travelling A LOT recently — mostly because of her newfound notariety as the author of a revolutionary book on animal behaviour — which, naturally, means that i have to stay at home and look after the pets.

seriously, folks… i’m married to a famous author! this week, she’s staying at a hotel in times square! it’s probably about as close to famous as i’m ever going to be! 😎

so moe decided that she would find a pet sitter and we would go off on our own (which i really appreciate). she chose san diego because she has been there before, and i haven’t, but i realised that san diego is the home of not one, but two outlets of the Village Hat Shop, which is where i bought my red fedora, and it is also home to the naval amphibious base coronado, which is a building shaped like a swastika.

i saw where it was when we were flying in, but i didn’t actually see the building because we were at too shallow an angle, and you pretty much have to be directly overhead to actually see that it’s shaped like a swastika…

so we flew to san diego to go hat shopping. i bought a pork pie made out of paper (a paper pork pie), and exhibited a great deal of self restraint becauuse i really wanted to take home about half the shop.

we actually stayed on coronado island

Hotel del Coronado - you see that large, famous, historic hotel over there? where we stayed is right behind it, in the Glorietta Bay Inn.
Hotel del Coronado – you see that large, famous, historic hotel over there? where we stayed is right behind it, in the Glorietta Bay Inn.

we stayed in a hotel room that is so “far above our station” that i almost got a nosebleed. 😉

and we flew home the next day, which was sunday.

i went busking yesterday, which was good, despite the fact that we only made about $20 a piece for 2 hours of busking. today i took two packages to the post office to ship out, and went to the dispensary, where i spent it all on weed and weed-related products.

and no w m y jmushrooms have kikckedk in ahd i heeed to be g oijn go ut for a wal,,k oris oemething lll…. 😁

idea

thurible
thurible
recently, i’ve been incensing the neighbourhood.

i’ve been taking my thurible outside (because, realistically, that’s the only place i can use it without setting off my smoke alarm), drinking beer, smoking pot, listening to frank zappa, and burning frankincense, benzoin and copal resin — rather like the ethiopian family that lived next door to us, where we used to live, in renton, did…

although i’m reasonably sure that the ethiopian family didn’t smoke pot, drink beer, and listen to frank zappa… 😉

but, basically, i really like burning incense, i really like burning frankincense, because it has the scientifically-proven ability to calm my anxiousness, and i really like “sharing” the good smells with my neighbours… whether they like it or not… 😈

which got me to thinking, yesterday…

i also REALLY like playing music for people. particularly, i really like playing my overtone flute at the oregon country fair, where people passing by have the possibility of hearing my music, but not knowing exactly from where it may be coming.

so, i thought, why not combine the two, and put together a “performance” or a “concert”, or something like that, where i set up somewhere, incense the whole place, and play my overtone flute?

it would have to be an outside venue, because nobody would want “concert” like this inside, where it would be extremely likely to set off smoke alarms, but that’s okay, because if it’s outside, there’s more of a possibility that people will experience the scent and not even be able to tell from where it’s coming… possible places are greenlake, volunteer park and gasworks park.

i would probably also want to set up a sign, or something, letting people know what i’m doing… but it would also be interesting to do that sort of thing without any clues, just to see how people might respond…

HPOI have arrived!

and there was much rejoicing…

180423 75kg of incense
180423 75kg of incense

it actually doesn’t look like that much incense, but remember… 75kg = 165.3467lb — these boxes are dense

180423 package numbers
180423 package numbers

they have weird packing in india… all of them are labeled “CNT:NO1/3” but each of them have a different CNT:NO… i would have thought that CNT:NO1 would be labeled CNT:NO1/3, and CNT:NO2 would be labeled CNT:NO2/3… but i have never shipped anything from india before, so who knows. what i do know is that i had to pay ANOTHER fee before i was able to pick them up, which brings the grand total cost to $1,815.75, or $1.12 per package…

which is still pretty respectable, considering that, as far as i have been able to tell, nobody else in the united states sells these incenses online, and i can probably retail them for $4.00 a piece, or wholesale them for $25 a dozen. 😉

180423 contents
180423 contents

i haven’t opened them all, yet, but i opened this one because it’s one of my favourite incenses. they used to make 999 Lord Krishna Puja Dhoop, but they don’t any longer. fortunately they use the same recipe to make sticks, so i’ve got my supply. 😉

i understand why mr. joy wanted to send me more incense. the three boxes didn’t even fill up one pallet, and it would cost pretty much the same to ship three boxes or thirty boxes. i can see that, now… of the $1,815.75 that i paid for it, only $771.00 went to MSDF, and $1,044.75 went to various different freight companies. it would have been much better for me to order twice or three times as much incense, because i would have had to pay the same amount to ship it…

next time…

or not… 😕

the continuing saga of the huge piles of incense

on 180329, i finally got some reliable information from the person i had been calling to find out about where the huge piles of incense were. they told me that i had to get in touch with the people who “owned the shipment”, which is a place called USL Cargo Services, in new jersey. the lady i finally reached at USL (a very pleasant, but intensely rushed lady named Roselyn Ramos) said that they had to have a copy of the OBL, and a payment of $221.50 before they could tell me where to pick it up.

great, i thought… it’ll be here soon. i had only called the shipping terminal people in kent (where the Sea Freight LCL Arrival Notice said it would be), THREE TIMES before he gave me that information. i contacted USL, sent the payment and the copy of the OBL, and figured that would be it.

then, on 180411, i got an email from Mr. Joy, the guy from whom i actually bought the huge piles of incense. i was not the direct recipient of said email, i had just been copied on it, because it was from somebody at the shipping port in india named “Parab”, complaining to Mr. Joy that the ISF had not been filed. Mr. Joy responded by saying “Hope the importer is doing the needful.”

so, i contacted roselyn, and she said that the ISF was supposed to be filed (i didn’t get exactly who is supposed to file it, but i gather that one of the options is me, and another option is Mr. Joy) before the shipment leaves the port of origin, and, because of the fact that it hadn’t been filed, i would be charged an extra $400 “fine”, for importing stuff without an ISF. she suggested that i contact Mr. Joy and see if he couldn’t work something out.

which, naturally, Mr. Joy was unwilling to do… 😡

so, with the broker’s fees, plus the $500 “fee” for a “continuous bond” (which, in spite of the name, only lasts for a year), i owe a further $685.55…

AND I STILL don’t know when or where i’m supposed to pick up the huge piles of incense.

presumably, the “where” part of it is at the shipping terminal in kent. the guy at the shipping terminal said that the shipment had arrived and was being “devanned”(?) today… he also said that, once it has been “devanned”(?), and the customs had been worked out, they would send an email to the shipper (Mr. Joy?) informing them of the fact. i’m assuming that the “when” part is going to be some time this week… but i’ve been assuming that for three weeks now, and it hasn’t happened yet.

today, 180416, i got email from “Ravi”, who is also known as “import4”. “import4” is the address i have been instructed to send to, when i am writing to roselyn, so that, when roselyn isn’t available, i can still get up to date information. it contained what i hope is the final “Sea Freight LCL Arrival Charge Sheet”, which totals $907.05… of which, i have already paid $221.50. it also contained a note that said “also we are pending OBL to release your shipment kindly send asap.”

in my communication with roselyn, last week, i was informed that i had to send the ORIGINAL OBL, and not a copy, as i had been told previously. i sent it, and it arrived 180413. i wrote back to “import4”, informing him of this, and he said, yes, they had recieved it… but, if that’s the case, why did he say that it was “pending”? 😐

one way or the other, it looks, at this point, like i’m still going to get 1,632 packages of incense for a little more than $1.05 per package… and NOBODY in the united states sells these incenses on line…

ETA: i sent what i hope is the last payment to people concerning the HPOI. now all i gotta do is wait for them to tell me when and where to pick it up. 😎

the saga of the huge piles of incense

i am collecting quite an admirable pile of documents related to my purchase and import of huge piles of incense into the country, and i keep finding out new things which were NOT related to me when i originally made the decision to start the ball rolling, back in january.

i got a “Sea Freight LCL* Arrival Notice” a couple of weeks or so ago, which listed a freight terminal in kent, under the heading “GOODS AVAILABLE AT:”, and an “upgraded” notice about a week ago, which contained the IT number — which, apparently, means “Inbond Transit”… i would have thought it meant “InboUnd Transit” but apparently not. the IT number is the one that the people at the terminal where i pick it up from, ultimately, have been asking for… however, now that they have it, they’re just as clueless as they were before, and they recommend that i contact the people who actually have the cargo, at this point.

i had to call them THREE TIMES before i learned that the people who have the cargo are USL Cargo Services, in east rutherford, new jersey, and when i called them, they were closing down for the (holiday 😡 ) weekend, and won’t be able to figure it out until monday, at the earliest.

they did, however, ask me if i had a “broker”, which i thought about, and then said no — because, technically, i am a “print broker”, but i figured that was not what they were asking about. apparently, one needs a “broker” to “clear” the shipment, at the terminal, before it can be picked up. not only that, but there was another page, labeled “Sea Freight LCL Arrival Charge Sheet” which added up a total of $231.20 worth of extra charges invoiced to me, which had to be paid before i could pick it up, once the “broker” is done “clearing” it. 😕 on top of everything else, apparently i have to mail them an original copy of the bill of lading, two copies of which were mailed to me from india, about a week into the whole process (i.e. about a month and a half ago). if someone had actually told me that i was supposed to do all of this crap ahead of time, it wouldn’t have taken me by surprise when i found out about it now. fortunately, i found out about it before the point where i went down to the terminal in kent to pick it up.

at this point, i have paid a total of $1,037.20 for 1,632 individual packages of incense, which STILL only amounts to 64¢ per package…

once i actually have it in my posession…

all of this meaningless (to me) fol-de-rol to import three huge cartons of incense from india… my guess is that i will actually have the incense some time next week, but i’m not going to hold my breath.

* LCL stands for “Less Cargo Load”, which means “less than a shipping container”. the other term is FCL, which stands for “Full Cargo Load” which means “a shipping container”. the people at MSDF REALLY want to send me FCL freight, but it’s simply too much product… 😕

it’s official

i got email this morning. this is the official word:

The shipment of 3 Cartons Incense Sticks has been arranged per vessel CORINTHIAKOS Voy. E091, sailing on 28/02/2018.

The delivery is expected by end of March.

i am, officially, getting three cartons of MSDF incense. it’s actually a lot less than they wanted to send me, but what they are sending me is making me a little concerned about where i will store it. it’s 33 dozen 999 Lord Krishna Puja, 63 dozen 7 African Powers and 40 dozen 909 Three Roses. in total, 136 dozen packages of incense, or 1,632 individual packages… which is a little bit less than half of the total incense that i CURRENTLY have.

there’s a chance that i can sell some of it, wholesale, to other agarbathiwalas (i’ve already been in contact with one, who said that she has a friend who might be interested, as well), but it’s still going to stretch my storage ability to the maximum.

i’ve got two print orders that total almost $350 that (supposedly) they’re going to pay around the end of the month… but the end of the month is in two days, so hopefully it’ll be soon.

inventory

new and replenished dhoop selections, a new nag champa, and a couple of new things to play around with: black copal resin and palo santo, which set off my new smoke alarm before i had the chance to adequately evaluate it. 😉

inventory
inventory
coming soon, A LOT of incense from MSDF: 33 dozen 999 Lord Krishna Puja (the sticks, not the dhoop. apparently they don’t make the dhoop any longer), 63 dozen 7 African Powers and 40 dozen 909 Three Roses. 🙂

Mysore Sughandi Dhoop Factory

i got an incense order from martinique, but the guy wanted me to ship it to indiana, and gave me a phone number that i should call before i shipped the order.

i called the number and had a very pleasant conversation with amanda, from Incense Incense, which inspired me to try, once again, to contact someone from MSDF. amanda gave me a phone number for someone named manoj, but i have some difficulty using the telephone to places on the other side of the world, primarily because of the time difference, so i went to MSDF dot com and clicked on their “contact us” button (because their web site has NO prices and looks like it hasn’t been updated in 20 years), just like i have done many times in the past with no response…

but, surprise! this time someone answered my email… and it just happened to be someone named manoj… coincidence? “manoj” is sort of like “jim” in the united states: every third guy, or thereabouts, has that name… but one way or the other, i had a contact at MSDF, who confirmed that they have NO US representatives, currently, and offered to send me cartons of incense, rather than shipping containers of incense, at OUTRAGEOUSLY GOOD prices… like 27¢ a pouch for 7 African Powers, and 35¢ a box for Lord Krishna Puja 999…

upshot of the whole thing is that i’m going in with amanda and buying around $500 worth of incense… and we’ll be THE ONLY ONLINE RETAILERS IN THE COUNTRY to sell it! 😎

in other news, the theosophical society has, apparently, discontinued their characteristic “Leadbeater” incense, otherwise known as Adyar Meditation Incense, by Shroff Channabassappa and Sons, and i have been trying to find shroff on the web, as well, to clarify why this is happening, but, so far, all i have found are people who are selling their incense, but no indication that Shroff Channabassappa & Sons are even still in business… which would explain why the theosophical society has discontinued their incense… but if that’s the case, i’m certain that the recipe for leadbeater incense has to exist on line somewhere, and that’s my next goal.

my phone and incense

my phone is back in working order again.

the story they gave me, combined with what i suspected, is that the battery “gets used” to having a certain level of charge. the other day, when we were travelling, i didn’t actually plug my phone into the charger for a couple of days, and almost drained the battery before i finally plugged it in. apparently, in cases like that, it’s a good idea, when the phone is finally plugged in, to shut the phone down and restart it, otherwise the battery flips out and causes problems. when it caused problems on my phone, it restarted automatically, and failed to restart, probably because it was lacking power at the time (it was in my pocket). the story they gave me is that, when it fails to restart, it can drain the battery trying to “rescue” the operating system.

now i know: if it fails to restart, plug the phone in to power and hold down the “home” key and the “turn off the screen” key for 30 seconds or so. doing that will, frequently, save a trip to the real technicians.

i’ve gotten 4 incense orders in the past week. one of them i had to refund, because all of what they ordered hasn’t even been in stock for a bunch of years… like, at least two that i can recall, and possibly more than that. i HATE it when that happens. 😡

also, my new credit card service (YAY, NO MORE PAYPAL!) charges a fee, which i have been forgetting to subtract from the totals i have been writing down, which means that where i really am is about $10 less than where i think i am… which is confounded even further by the fact that i lost my tax spreadsheets a few months ago, and, while the electronic version i replaced it with is WAY easier to use, it missed a fair portion of the year because i was getting switched over, combined with the switch in web sites and general forgetfulness.

woo

when it rains…

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

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

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

👍

mump-3

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

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

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

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

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

W. T. F??

so, i’ve got a new customer.

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

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

W.T.F??!? 😕

et cetera (and others)

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

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

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

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

growl

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

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

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

and he hung up again…

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

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

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

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

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

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

more new incense! 8)

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

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

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

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

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

okay

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

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

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

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

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

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

incense!

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

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

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

Incense!

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

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

↑ ⅕

get it? up… date…

well, i thought it was amusing…

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

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

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

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

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

more incense squee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

miscellaneous random

the entire Voynich Manuscript is now online, where intrigued people (like me) can pore over it, download pages and wonder what Emperor Rudolph II of Germany thought was worth 66.4 troy ounces of gold…

i bought some new stock: Golden Nag Champa and Woods, as well as some “reorder” stock, Pradhan’s Royal Life and Shivranjani. i’m really glad to have found a new supplier for pradhan’s royal life, as it is one of my best (and best selling) champa fragrances, and the supplier i was getting it from previously is the notorious sughanda prabhu, who is practically impossible to get in touch with, and has recently gotten out of the incense business(!) but used to provide the best quality incense i have ever found anywhere… but the shivranjani i bought was because i needed more, and it’s not that common in the united states, however once i bought it, i realised that the supplier i usually get it from sells it for about half the price that these new guys sell it for, so i think i won’t change suppliers for that fragrance…

bleh… seeds… 😛 ptui…

i’m SO glad mother-in-law is gone… she’s my mother-in-law, and i’m grateful for her existence, without which there would be no moe, but if she can exist somewhere that’s far enough away from me that she can’t come over, rant about how my liberal views are going to make a mess of our country, decide our house isn’t good enough, try to make it better and end up making it worse, it would be just fine with me… her predictably abortive attempt at painting resulted in paint splashed from floor to ceiling, and ripped wallpaper where i took off the tape that she had me put down so that she wouldn’t paint beyond a certain, random point… it’s in the “spare” bathroom, that i don’t use very often, so i don’t have to see it every day, but it’s irritating that it was functional if consistently ugly, and now it’s functional and inconistently awful, and moe and i are left to clean up the mess.

i’ve got a busy few weeks coming up… i’ve got two rehearsals on wednesday, a gig on friday, a gig on saturday, and a gig and a rehearsal on sunday, then next monday (which is krampusnacht) there’s a rehearsal, wednesday there’s a rehearsal, friday there’s a gig, and next saturday is the start of the panto run, which is two shows saturday and sunday, excluding the 24th and 25th, and the 31st, and the 1st, and then two shows saturday and sunday for two more weeks, ending january 15th. if anybody is interested in coming better get your tickets soon, because we’re selling out very quickly. 8)

whuff

i realised, once again, why i don’t schedule more than one gig per day yesterday…

i’m beginning a couple weeks of relative busy-ness, and it started off with partying and not getting enough sleep saturday night, and continued abruptly yesterday, when i got up way too early and went to the ballard sunday market with snake suspenderz and busked for approximately 1½ hours before we were run off by a string quartet which was playing vivaldi and bach. while they were playing acceptably well, they set up 20 feet away from us and wouldn’t fess up when confronted with their rudeness… and then we discovered that it’s apparently a “new policy” that buskers have to get up and move every half an hour…

by the time we had played for half an hour or so with a classical accompaniment (which was really confusing, at best, and downright distracting most of the time) we decided to bag it, especially since i had to go to my second gig anyway, which was the ballard sedentary sousa band at the ballard locks… which was, fortunately, just down the street.

it was clear from the start that i wasn’t going to be able to play my best, because i had already been playing my best for an hour and a half at the previous gig, but this was on my trombone and that was on my tuba, and i figured that would account for something… but if it did, i probably wouldn’t have noticed anyway, because by the time we were done playing i was getting really tired… then the BSSB-at-the-locks concert was followed by the traditional beer-and-pizza-in-walter’s-back-yard, which got me home around 6:00 pm.

i actually tried to take a nap between 7:00 and 7:30 or so, but the doggie-alarm kept going off every time a twig snapped outside, until moe got home around 8:00. i finally went to bed at 9:30 and was asleep almost immediately.

i’ve got a ninja concert at the good shepherd center with the fremont philharmonic this evening, and a rehearsal with the sousa band on tuesday, wednesday i have a snake suspenderz rehearsal, and thursday is my “weekend” this week. then i’ve got a gig with snake suspenderz at chumleighland on friday… which has the distinct possibility of leaking over into saturday as well… and possibly another ninja performance with the fremont phil on saturday, then the ballard sunday market on the 14th, and on the 15th is the party that we were hired to do as a result of the sunday market…

and then there’s the “Garden Party” at krissy and chris’ on the 20th, which the fremont phil is probably not playing for in any official capacity, but we’re probably going to be there, and i’m going to bet that we’ll play a little. and then, next month, we’ve already got a two-gigs-in-one-day scheduled, on 18th september, when we’re scheduled for the pike place busker festival and the seattle symphony day of music at beneroya hall…

plus i got an incense order today, for the last of my old tulasi deepak stock, which, because, from what i’ve been able to find out, they don’t make it any longer is another incense that i have carried that nobody else carries…

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…

flurb

thanks to Howlin’ Hobbit, i was able to sort out the “hidden file” dilemma that i had yesterday – of course i could have edited the “live” version using vi, but i was feeling stubborn – and the immediate result has been that one person who has been spamming my web site for 3 days now is no longer able to. whee! 🙂

my popgun is defective. i bought an orchestral-quality popgun, and i have been popping enthusiastically for around 10 years, mostly at cirque de flambé and fremont players functions, but it has been getting harder and harder to get a reliable pop out of it. first, the ball-end on the handle stripped its threads, which is understandable, since it is made of wood. however, i glued it back in place and the glue holds for about 5 pops at which point the ball-end comes off again. gluing the ball-end is an annoyance that i have learned to live with, although there have been a couple of times where i nearly lost the ball-end over the side of a ferry, or that kind of thing. completely replacing it involves coming up with another hardwood ball, and then drilling and tapping it out to the correct thread to match the otherwise very sharp end of the handle. then, the end-cap that holds the cork in place so that it doesn’t go “pop” and shoot the cork across the stage, disappeared. at the time, fred was a member of the band, and he volunteered to make me a replacement end cap, because he had the necessary tool (a metal lathe). then the bottom cap retaining screw disappeared, but i was able to make a replacement, because i have a tap-and-die set for miniature screws. of course the cork itself has been replaced two or three times, and i’ve got a collection of replacements in my workshop… but the problem i’m currently having is more insideous: the plunger has worn down to the point where it doesn’t seal. now it appears that i have a choice: i can either figure out some way to make two, perfectly circular washers out of something like linoleum, that are exactly .125″ larger than the inside diameter of the tube…

or i can buy a new, orchestral-quality popgun

apparently i have the skills and a steady-enough hand (everything is a lot more free-form since my injury) to cut new bits of linoleum that will work, and i have a leather-punch in the workshop that has a big-enough hole that i was able to create a new, more effective plunger, and now POP!! and all is right with the world again… 🙂 which is a good thing, because i don’t remember where i got the popgun… there are a couple of possibilities (and i’m pretty sure i could order one online, which would take too long), but i know for sure that one of them has gone out of business…

i like tools that can be taken apart and fixed when they stop working. it’s so much easier and less expensive than buying a new one when the old one breaks… 🙂

ETA: so this morning i got an order for one box of green rose incense from india, of all places. unfortunately, i would be willing to bet that one get green rose incense in india for a lot less than i have to sell it for in the united states. not only that, but the shipping costs alone, to get it to india, are more than ten times what the incense would cost, by itself. i wrote back to the guy, but, considering that it’s from india, the probability is fairly high that he doesn’t speak english, or, worse, speaks “hinglish”…

why do people do this? what is it that prevents them from thinking these things all the way through before doing something stupid? i suppose we will never know…

i’ve been very productive today, and it’s not over yet. i fixed my popgun, built a pig-rail for our whelping box, and fixed our front door so it closes reliably without having to be “finessed”.

friday of the fez and other stuff

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

i had another person who ordered $5.00 worth of incense, and then paid a $6.50 shipping charge. i sent it to them, because they’re from california and i don’t have any reason not to – a lot of times people will order a small amount of incense and then request that i ship it out of the country, at which point i usually tell them that they either need to order more, or buy it locally, because the shipping is usually a lot more – but at the same time, i have the shipping rates pretty clearly posted, so people don’t have an excuse if they order domestically and end up paying more for shipping than for their incense.

snow is mostly gone, but is still there in dirty piles along the edges of the roads. it’s currently 46°r; F and raining on and off, so what remains of the snow should be completely gone by tomorrow.

dreeb

i just got an incense order for $15 from denmark. according to USPS, the charge for shipping to denmark is around $70. i’ve got it fairly clearly spelled out on the site, but nobody seems to pay attention to things like that…

except for that one person who sent me an insulting message because they found my new page about K2 and didn’t like what it said, but that’s to be expected.

i’ve got the opportunity to be a part of the Great Peninsula Future Festival with my art car, but it’s still in the shop, and i’d have to come each day before 9:30 am, and then go home every night, because moe is going to be in atlanta at a conference. i’d be getting $25 for gas, and there would very likely be other people i know there, but getting there before 9:30 would be kind of a trick. of course i get to the fremont sunday market before 9:30, but it isn’t two days in a row… and the car is still in the shop, and given that it’s being worked on by jack, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to be ready in time.

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.

update

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

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

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

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

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

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

credit cards and firewood

i keep getting both closer and further away at the same time. i suppose the ultimate effect so far is that i’m getting neither closer, nor further away from going live with the new web site. i’ve arbitrarily decided that i want to go live with it around the middle of next month, but that’s an entirely arbitrary deadline and depends a lot on my getting past a couple of what appear to be impossible obstacles, only one of which i have the remote impression that i can fix. the optimist in me says that’s the reason why the business is named after the Remover of Obstacles, but the pessimist in me isn’t willing to concede defeat yet.

the other problem is a seemingly simple problem that gets worse once i actually got around to figuring out how to fix it: the total amount of the order in a customer’s shopping cart is transferred to paypal without any problem. i figured out how to get the shopping cart on my server to figure out the shipping charges without any problem, but when it switches over to the paypal servers, it somehow forgets to add the shipping charges to the shopping cart total, the result being that i would have to request that they fill out shipping as an extra charge again – which would make the customer suspicious, under the best of circumstances, and probably cost me quite a bit in sales, if nothing else.

to add to the problem, in a way that is entirely to my liking, but in a strange sort of way, i’ve actually got another incense order this week, which makes four in the past week (one of which i had to refund because it was made from a page that doesn’t really exist). i haven’t been talking too much about it because i don’t want to jinx anything just yet, but it seems like i’ve gotten far more business this year than i did during the same period of time last year. which means, of course, that the more i sell while i’m still getting the new web site ready, the more i’m going to have to update the new site when it finally goes live, because the amounts of product that i have at that time will be different than it was when i first entered it into the database. the longer time goes on after the database goes live, the less i will have to worry about discrepancies, but it’s likely to be a major headache the first couple of times i run out of product and have to cover my ass.

and that’s not to mention the fact that i’m getting more and more concerned about my relationship with paypal at all. it seems like when i first started doing business with them there wasn’t anywhere near the stigma that there is about doing business with them now. and, to top it all off, there have been things like PayPal Warning dot com, and feedback from people like the lady at the bank about paypal’s reputation suffering, frauds, ripoffs and other wonderful stuff that i don’t want associated with my business.

the obvious solution to the paypal problem mentioned above is to get a “real” merchant account from somewhere, get an SSL certificate – again, from somewhere, and who knows how i’m going to pay for it – and “roll my own”. there are a number of interesting alternatives, including ProPay, which requires that i limit my credit card transactions to $1,000 and has a $35 annual fee, along with the 3.5% + $0.35 per transaction fee, which i think is a bit much for me. there’s also National Merchant, which has no annual fee or signup fee, and has a “discount rate” which is $0.25 + “as low as 1.99%” – but there’s no obvious indication of how high that “discount rate” might go.

there’s also 2Checkout which i haven’t investigated yet, but i get the impression that it’s more of a replacement for paypal than it is a “real” merchant account. there’s also costco merchant credit card processing, which has no obvious way of connecting it to the web (is that what a “payment gateway” is? i’m still learning a lot of terminology for these sorts of things), and i understand that they pull your credit rating as a part of their verification process, which automatically makes your credit rating go down. and there’s also washington mutual, whose representative was way too ready to sign me up, assuring me that their merchant servies were the cheapest, and offering me $250 cash if they couldn’t meet or beat any competitor’s prices. the lady was eager enough to sign me up that i was a little suspicious of her motives. i said i would come back in an hour, but that was yesterday, and i didn’t come back.

instead i talked our neighbour into sharing their hydraulic ram firewood splitter and split the four big rounds of firewood that we’ve still got from last year into about the same amount of firewood that we already had. i figure i’ll go back on monday and actually talk with her about some of the details before i sign up with anyone.

whuff

i started working on the database at 9:30 this morning. around 12:00 i took a break to mail out an incense order that came in about 10:30. around 2:00 or so, i realised that i had better get working on the remaining graphics that have to be added, so i hooked up the scanner and took a whole bunch of photos, and did some design work, figured out some of the remaining things that i have to know before actually going live with this thing. about 5:00 or so i finished the basic design work, and tweakage, and went back to feeding the database. it;s now 9:30 pm, and i just finished

i read a web site the other day for a company that basically sells what i downloaded for free and am configuring myself. they want $50 a month for 100 products, and it has to be on their server. i’ve already uploaded 214 images, and i haven’t even started on the murtis, jewelry, shirts or buttons. i got a good deal. now that i’ve actually done one (and seen how ridiculously easy it is), i just might see if i can get a couple of clients like that myself.

either a very confused person who thinks that i still have a link to primo incense on the old web site just ordered $109 worth of primo incense, or, perhaps something more sinister is going on. i got an order for $109, but no email. i just happened to be looking at the paypal site and i noticed that an order came in an hour ago, but i never got an email for it… i have the primo pages there, but as far as i know, they’re not linked anywhere, and that’s primarily because i haven’t actually carried primo incense for a couple of years. i have a bunch of it. and i’ve been selling it at the FSM, but i don’t have it posted on the current web site, because it’s too confusing. it’s too bad i had to refund their order, because they ordered over $100 worth of incense, and with two exceptions, i was actually able to fill it. the exceptions were that they ordered a dozen primo mini-packs in amber and i only have the mini-packs in yellow rose, and they ordered one 15 gram magnolia, and i would have to make it up, because the only primo magnolia i currently have is a bulk pack of 125 grams.

hungary glasses sick

i’ve been sick since saturday, which means that i didn’t go to the FSM as planned on sunday. i suppose i could have gone, but getting up at some ungodly hour sunday morning and then driving for an hour and setting up is definitely not what i wanted to do, so i didn’t. i’m still sick, but i’m on the uphill side of it: i feel better than i did yesterday at this time, but i’m not back to 100% yet.

i picked up my new glasses today, and the world is significantly more visible, but only from a distance. i was actually prescribed either bifocals or “reading” glasses, but since bifocals give me a headache and my vision insurance only covers one pair of glasses, i’m going to have to tough it out until i get a spare $500 to spend on “reading” glasses. i’d just buy a pair of cheap reading glasses from the grocery store if they did any good, but they don’t.

i finally got things worked out with the customer and shipped a package of incense to budapest today. it’s the same person that ordered $4.25 worth of incense back in november. i know for certain that i am not the only business to carry the kind of incense they ordered, though, and i’m definitely wondering about how thoroughly they searched for it in hungary before ordering it from me… although i am willing to ship $30 worth of incense to hungary as long as they are willing to send me an extra $25 for shipping.