Tokyo Damage Report

un – EFFING – believable

Un fuckin’ believeable.
Wake up and turned on the ol’ Internet radio, only to get this message: “HA, this site is no longer free! You want to hear Chezchnian rappers, you have to pay money from now!” OK, whatever, Sergi.


Then I check my website. My account has been suspended. Naturally the host-server company hasn’t bothered to send me a warning, prior to the suspension. They sent me an email saying basically, “You are in violation of the contract! You are suspended! You have 2 weeks to correct the problem!  What problem? Who knows! If I had to tell you, you wouldn’t feel sufficiently punked! IF you want to re-open your account (and I really like the way they use the hypothetical tense, like, “IF you are still such a sucker-ass mark that you even think about continuing to use our service. . . “)
If you want to reactivate your account, you have to call customer support!  Who has no idea EITHER why the account was suspended! Because the person whose job it is to suspend peoples’ accounts doesn’t write a file about it for the support staff to read! Put on your detective hats! Good luck, Elery Queen!”


So I call Bluehost, only to find out that my phone has also been disconnected. 


I run around the apartment yelling FUCKKITY FUCK FUCK FUCKER!  For a good 5 minutes, before heading out – and as I exit, who do I see? For the first time ever? The guy who just moved in next door to me, all in his suit and getting ready for work, all looking at me like “WTF is your problem?” So, rad!

I ride my bike  to the phone company office – almost crashing 3 times on the way –  and have the following exchange:
ME: Do I owe you guys any money?
PHONE GUY: Just ten dollars.
ME: Hmmm. . . Allright then, if it isn’t the money, then why ain’t my phone working? Can you check it?
PHONE GUY: Well, actually it IS the money.
ME: What? You cut my phone service over ten dollars? What kind of gangster shit is that?
ME: You DIDN’T just cut my phone over ten damn dollars?
PHONE GUY: It’s not the money – it’s the deadline.
PHONE GUY:You’re past it.
ME: Well, allright then! Here’s ten dollars.
PHONE GUY: Thank you for choosing Softbank!

Since I almost crashed 3 times on the way to the phone-office, I finally decide to take my bicycle to the shop where I bought it – the brake pads are pretty invisible by this point, and the gear teeth are so worn down that I skip a gear every 10 seconds, even on level ground. 


I’m telling you this: Don’t anyone ever buy a bike over 100 bucks: the more you pay, the more time you got to spend maintaining the fucker. In my childlike purity, I had assumed that the bike was expensive because it was MORE DURABLE AND BETTER BUILT than the average k-mart bike. NO. Apparently these spandex-shorts-and-brain-helmet guys actually will pay more money for the privilege of spending all weekend tinkering with their bike.  But anyway, shit has gotten to life-threatening stages, so I ride the douchey-douche thing all the way to the bike shop – about 40 minutes. I’m kind of worried because that shop keeps odd hours. But as I roll down the street, I am relieved to see the bike shop open. “Ahh, Schultz, you were just being paranoid. Jeez, today is not so bad!”
I go in and say, “Can you look at it?” and the guy says, “Did you really buy it here? Or at the other shop down the street?” I’m like, “Fuck!” it turns out that


A) out here, in the middle of nowhere, there REALLY ARE 2 high-end bike shops within 300 meters of each other!

B)  I DID buy my bike at the other shop, and

C) and it IS fuckin’ closed at 3PM on Friday.

I am so mad, I bang my forehead repeatedly against the roll-down gate of the closed storefront. Then I go back to the first store and say, look, can you fix my bike for money? And they basically tell me to go fuck myself because I didn’t buy it at THEIR store.

(then I have fun hanging out with my friends)

Get home and call bluehost tech support- give them my URL and password. Tech support promptly transfers me to “the abuse department” – as if I’M abusing THEM!!! – like I got a site full of child porn or KKK propaganda or something! I give my URL and password again. The abuse lady has no idea why I got canned. She says, “Waayhul, it looks lahk Y’all mayde our servah slow dahn.”
ME: OK, I’m not really technically advanced like you and your kinfolk, so when you say “slow server,” the only thing that comes to mind is that  my site got too many hits?
BETTY SUE: No, that’s not it. (she’s still doing the accent, but I’m tired of typing it). If you look at the cpanel and then go to file manager , click home, and then check the menu for ‘slow mysql queries’  – there’s your problem.
ME: Can you fix it?
BETTY SUE: That’s not our responsibility.
ME: I’m looking at some of these ‘slow queries’ and it’s all normal stuff like, someone asking to leave a comment, or someone clicks on a category like ‘punk shows’ or ‘art’. Isn’t that pretty normal?
BETTY SUE: You got over 2,000 of those queries!!! (in the same tone of voice you’d normally say, “You got a kitchen full of human spleens!”)
ME: Um, can’t you help me fix it?
BETTY SUE: I’ll transfer you to tech support
ME: But I just CAME from –
DUDE: this is technical support. Can I have your URL and Password please?
ME: (gives it)
DUDE: Looks like you got some slow  mysql queries.
ME: How do I fix it?
DUDE: Well, you’d have to go into the database and reprogram it.
ME: So all I have to do is get a degree in IT, with a sub-major in .php scripts and database management, within the next 2 weeks, before you permanently delete my site?
DUDE: Whelp, let me see what I can do from here – first of all . . .
ME: FUCK my phone is running out of batteries –
DUDE: . . . query string X plus 9 slash dot logfile, then . . .
ME: god damn it – hold on, where’s the charger –


Call back now that my phone is plugged in, and get this other tech guy, Darryl. Darryl is so stoned – I think he actually had the phone INSIDE a bong. I was hearing echos, anyway. Maybe he actually got a pen-knife and a little tube and made the phone INTO a bong. Whichever it was, Darryl could not do anything besides muttering “Jussa momen’” and “M’shorry to hear’at shir.”

ME: My account got suspended.
DARRYL: M’shorry to hear’at shir.
ME: OK, can you tell me why my service is cut?
DARRYL: Jussa momen’
ME: . ..
(1 minute)
DARRYL: Looks like the server was slowin’ down, and. . .
ME: OK, how can we fix it?
DARRYL: Jussa momen’
(2 minutes)
DARRYL: OK, looks like you gotta, . . . uh, gotta slow mysql queries.
ME: Darryl, sorry, but I’m calling from Japan. I’m paying international rates.
DARRYL: M’shorry to hear’at shir.
ME: Can we kind of . .
DARRYL: Jussa momen’
(5 minutes)
DARRYL: Yeah, um. . . yeah, if you go to our helpdesk site, theres’a , uh, a fourth file down, uh, search for CPU exceeded, ‘sa keyword for that. Fourth file down, it’ll tell you what’a do.
ME: Darryl. What.
DARRYL: M’shorry to hear’at shir.
ME: Daryl. Listen to me. I’m not cussing at you, right? I’m not raising my voice or getting abusive, right? I’m not doing nothing in-appropriate. Right?
DARRYL: Uh. . .yeah?
ME: So before I go, can I just get a little thank you?
DARRYL: Thank you.
ME: (click)

No sooner do I get off the phone with Darryl than my Japanese teacher calls:

SENSEI: Hi, Steven! You know that job you wanted me to do?
ME: Working on my Kanji dictionary?
SENSEI: Yeah! I can’t open any of the files you sent. Hello ? Hello. . .???

Then I go to the helpdesk that Darryl told me about, and it’s all:


ALTER TABLE employee ADD INDEX(overtime_rate);


Now let’s run the query.


EXPLAIN SELECT firstname FROM employee WHERE overtime_rate/2<20;



| table | type | possible_keys | key | key_len | ref | rows | Extra |


| employee | ALL | NULL | NULL | NULL | NULL | 2 | where used |



So that was Friday.

The following day, I got a hold of a bluehost tech guy who was helpful: He didn’t fix my database, but he graciously ALLOWED me to access my own site for long enough to install a plugin that would, he said, help with the database problem. And once my site was back up, I instantly saw the REAL problem: Not only were ALL their tech people wrong, but the problem was just like I said waaay back at the beginning: it WAS that my site got too many damn hits! I got picked up by some famous site called There are whole websites out there dedicated to explaining “the reddit effect” (i.e. your site gets too much traffic and then your host-server dumps you), but apparently the bluehost staff never heard of it.

Damned if I could explain the real problem to Bluehost: since they wouldn’t let me see see my own site, I couldn’t see my own stats (spiking) and my own referrals (from — let alone show my stats to the abuse department and say, “Hey! Doofus! Here’s the culprit! Plus reddit is  already on some new trend, my 15 seconds are up, put me back online already!” It was a classic Catch-22. I can’t see the site, so I can’t prove it’s not fucked up. I can’t prove it’s not fucked up, so they won’t let me see it.


15 Comments so far

  1. Animefood April 27th, 2009 11:04 am

    dude… your site is awesome and I am glad to see you fixed it… been a fan for years and years

  2. TRex April 27th, 2009 1:17 pm

    You have shamed this eliteniy Trek Fuel owner, oh!

  3. TRex April 27th, 2009 1:22 pm

    And… Reddit is an aggregate suck hole with an event horizon. Just sayin.

  4. Patheos Grierson April 27th, 2009 6:12 pm

    Matt Heaton the chronic liar and owner of Bluehost is a pigfucker. A snake can be trusted more than him.

    Bluehost is in Utah and hires a bunch of inbred Mormon kids that don’t know crap about tech support. Bluehost is a total shit company. Bluehost Sucks!

  5. admin April 27th, 2009 7:22 pm

    You shouldn’t be mean to people just because they’re from a certain state. Even Utah.
    Anyway, I appreciate your flame!

  6. admin April 27th, 2009 7:23 pm

    @TRex: I am guessing that “aggregate suck hole” means you don’t like Reddit?
    Why is that? I’m not trying to be a smartass – i really know nothing about them.

  7. admin April 27th, 2009 7:25 pm

    @ animefood: I can’t tell if your comment is spam or not.I must be getting old. . .
    Anyway, if not spam, thanks for taking the time to give me props.
    If spam: doodle-doodle-doo.

  8. Sarah April 27th, 2009 10:44 pm

    That sucks arse. Getting popular means your site gets canned.

  9. TRex April 28th, 2009 12:01 am

    Regarding Reddit, while there are occasionally informative or amusing links it seems to be mostly members trying to drive traffic to sites or ask rhetorical questions from their parents basements. Fark at least has amusing titles.

    But that’s just my opinion.

    PS; your “spam protection” is flaky!

  10. slider April 28th, 2009 12:23 am

    You’ve got an interesting viewpoint on 日本, and some fascinating articles. I’ll admit I found your site through Reddit, but I’ve read Pinktentacle & some 外人 sites for years. You really cover a whole different sector of the life there. I’m always fascinated to find out how others managed to transplant – if you find my explanation below interesting, perhaps you could post an article on how you ended up across the ocean, and how you manage to support yourself there (I gather you write reviews for magazines but I didn’t think that paid enough to support someone in Tokyo). 私はあなたのサイトをまた読みます。

    FYI if you haven’t been exposed to these sites and their effects before: is an “aggregator” site (the biggest is Users submit links, and other users vote and discuss whether they are interesting or not. They are a popular cross between a forum and a news site. Once a link gets enough popularity, it can get onto the front pages of the site for a while, where millions of people may see it – naturally this wreaks havoc upon small websites, and is called the “Slashdot effect”. Tools like Coral CDN (, mirrors your site for 24 hours and takes the load off you) can help soften the blow.

    Since you have been noticed, some people (like me) will stick around and one of your future/past articles might be hit again. Your host’s reaction to the traffic was typical and justified, but their ignorance of the cause is disturbing. A competent host would automatically get you up again after the surge fades, or at least contact you personally to let you know what is going on. You should probably re-evaluate your choice of hosting, or consider being hosted by service providers. can host you for free, and you can keep your domain for $10/yr. They can also easily handle spikes like this since they are a massive site. Usually self hosting is only necessary if you are running scripts (PHP/ASP/Ruby etc) or need heavy DB access – you don’t appear to be doing those things so the added control paid hosting gets you may not be worth it. See

  11. admin April 28th, 2009 1:13 am

    @Slider : Thanks for your explanation. Yeah, I agree that taking my site down for a few hours until the “spike” is over is a normal thing to do.

    I’ll check out the WordPress hosting. I also heard good things about Dreamhost.

  12. Steve April 28th, 2009 6:56 pm

    I hate to say it, but I’ve been enjoying your misfortune for years. I felt guilty about clicking those tags before I finished reading the rant!

  13. AnokPanda April 29th, 2009 1:36 pm

    This maybe explains why I was unable to leave a comment on the skull fuckery article the other day. It would have been my first comment on the site’s new home; now it is this lame explanation. I only mention it in case it hints at some other hidden problem. Or maybe I am a bot and am unable to defeat the spam protection, ooh nooos, I’m becoming self aware.

  14. UglyJoe April 30th, 2009 5:54 pm

    The irony here is that your old straight-outta-1996 site design wouldn’t have had this problem.

  15. admin April 30th, 2009 8:22 pm

    @UGLYJOE: ああそうだね。

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