I was way out in the boonies on monday night. No internet. Spotty cell. Jami sent me email and my blackberry must have grabbed the email when my reception was working at some point.
I immediately positioned myself so my blackberry could work a little. It was still spotty, but I did manage send email to my host support and to try lots of stuff to get things working again. Eventually, I was just too tired and hoped that the host support would fix it while I slept. I woke a few hours later at about 5am - there was a response from support asking me for information about my account (if they read what I sent them, they would see that I sent them that information in my first email - how frustrating). I replied giving them the information they wanted. I packed up my stuff and headed to the nearest town with wifi.
I spent the next three hours replying to my hosts really stupid attempts at "support" until they finally "escalated" me to real support where my wait could be several days. At the same time, I tried all sorts of stuff to get it working including bringing in a great friend from JavaRanch, Ernest Friedman-Hill. He looked things over and used some special database tools and eventually concluded that nothing could be done and then he went to work.
I got an email from my friend David Rizzi and I asked if he had knowledge of mysql and php - yes, lots! My laptop battery was almost spent, so I packed up, got in my car, headed home for missoula and, en route, called David and told him the situation. David then tried a bunch more angles than Ernest, but came to the same conclusion: there is nothing to be done.
I then did some thinking: the real problem is the host. I need somebody that knows host issues, mysql, php .... and maybe know a few things about how to hack a system in order to fix it. So I called my old friend JD Childs. JD did everything Ernest did and everything David did and then wriggled around a bunch of cracks and crannies. He also worked their support channels in eight different ways and finally managed to get some inside information about how the host upgrade upgraded their database stuff - and the database upgrade landed in a common problem with default language stuff. So JD had figured out what the exact problem was. And he came up with some rather clever ways to get the fix in without having official permission to make those changes. But those things didn't work. But JD did convey enough information to me which I passed through the main support channel and an hour later the database came back online.
Sometimes when I'm in a funk I think about how I make lots of articles and videos and pay for the forums and get lots of hate from mean people in return and that I should flush it all. And then when the chips are down, I realize: wow - I have a lot of really excellent friends!
Heaps of thanks to Ernest, David and JD. These three have no interest in permaculture stuff, but when the shit hit the fan here, these three stood up and did what they could to help a friend.
I was in the wilds of central washington tracking down video footage of all sorts of great stuff. I did get video of Michael Pilarski's works - I hope to have some more great skeeter videos soon. There were two other things I was gonna get video of before heading home: one of a large honor system farm store, and one of a permaculture farm where they have a lot of systems feeding systems feeding systems combined with a strong tie to the way things were done on a farm 100 years ago + permaculture.
I guess I'll just have to go back and get that next spring.
Yesterday I went out and got them huckleberry jams, huckleberry sauces, huckleberry chocolates, huckleberry pretzels, huckleberry taffies .... I also threw in a permies.com t-shirt and the new permies.com mugs came in while I was away - the new 20 ounce glass mugs. I also found some good stainless steel spatulas that are the best for use on a cast iron skillet - so I threw in one of those to each box.
The boxes are now packed and ready to roll out - I'll take them to the post office this morning.
I hadn't thought of beer since I'm not a beer drinker. I know that folks like a local beer called "moose drool" - maybe I shoulda sent some of that.
As for a little help: I appreciate the offer. And if a few bucks trickle in to my paypal account (paul at richsoil dot com) I wouldn't object - after all, permies.com runs way in the red. But the thing that would have 20 times more value than money is links. Links from blogs, web sites - even from the social networking stuff. Links to a thread, links to a forum, links to the forum home page, links to my articles, links to my youtube videos, links to my youtube channel .... I spend a huge slice of damn near every day trying to figure out how to get a few more links to help build our community here. I feel a bit like "the man who planted trees" by planting five or six links every day. And when I see that somebody else has made a link here or there, that feels mighty good.