You know what irks me about this? I got the notification of this sweeping change to how I use my domain email at 9:40 on a Friday night and was told the change was going into effect on Monday. Lucky for me (in this instance anyway) that I happened to be doing a lot of work this weekend and saw this email.
Had I missed it, I would have started bouncing emails on Monday. This is simply shortsighted and poor service by Dreamhost. I can understand their need to make this change, but the lead time on it was just not acceptable.
Now, to the issue at hand. Like the OP I use catch-alls in lieu of giving out my real address. I forward to GMail because their webmail service is vastly superior than anything dreamhost offers or any fat client. I used to create aliases every time I needed to create one, but that was a giant hassle as I use a new address for EVERY site I visit.
Dreamhost MUST support “auto-aliases” as described by some posters above. Allow each user to specify a special email prefix (e.g. “supersecret-”) which will be the “key” to the catch all. For instance, “Yahoo@mydomain” would bounce unless I had that alias setup, but "email@example.com" would forward. This is impletemented by many other hosts…
Again, I’d like to re-itterate that I am disappointed in the way Dreamhost has handled this issue. I replied to their email letting them know this, but I imagining they also broke another email customer service rule by having all replies to their messages routed to dev/null, as I haven’t received a reply.