greg from support, you might be the very same person from support which told me to post here and hopefully get an answer....but in any event here are the various errors:
following in my logs
Mysql::Error (Access denied for user 'larrabeemysql'@'shekel.dreamhost.com' (using password: YES)):
the exact same username, password, and host name work perfectly in php.
I am not putting the @shekel.dreamhost.com part in, i am simply providing the portion in front of the "@" just like i do in php without any issue.