Sunday, March 25, 2007

Update 03-25-07

Well, it’s Sunday night, and I’m just wrapping up some of today’s business. Another weekend rockets by…..

I managed to get my taxes done today – early for me. I usually procrastinate until the last weekend before April 15th. I’m happy to say we’ll be getting a pretty good refund this year – 660 bucks! I would have been a tad concerned if it would have been 666 (but would still be happy to take it)!

Now that the tax stuff is done, the way is clear for doing the big changeover on the website! I’ve already deposited the money to cover the costs, and will probably begin the process very soon. I had targeted mid-April for the changeover, but I don’t see a lot of reasons not to move the schedule up a bit. Again, there may be some outages with some of my e-mail addresses and the website, but it shouldn’t be too extensive. I will make an announcement here as well as on the home page of my website when this is imminent. For those on my e-mail list, you’ll get an e-mail, announcing the change.

I’m excited about the changes, not to mention saving a considerable chunk of change as a result! I’ve got a lot of new things planned, so stay tuned.

I’ve been busy in my shop, and will have some new items to show you soon. I’m going to wait until I get everything done with the website to put up any photos.

I’m going to keep it pretty short tonight, so I’ll say good night for now!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Backyard Stuff

It was a cloudy but very pleasant day today, so I got industrious and did some work in the backyard. It felt wonderful to get outside for a while after being cooped up all winter. I have a few photos of today's putzing around - just click the title above, or the March 2007 link to the left if you're on my website. Here's a photo of me finishing up the rock garden on the east side of the house. The next step is planting some neat stuff in here.

All too soon it will be time to head to bed, and get ready for another Monday. It didn't help that they decided we needed to start daylight savings time a month early this year. I guess some genius figured we could save more energy by doing it early. Nice. I wish the same genius could figure a way to keep the Oil Bullies from raising the price of gas every two or three days. Idiots.


Saturday Night Update

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve updated this news blog. To tell the truth I’ve just been so busy, and completely overwhelmed with other stuff, I just haven’t felt like taking the time to do anything with it. I’ve had a number of things on my mind (what’s left of it..), and a number of things needing to be done. I needed to get all the license transfer stuff done with the new van, and I had to work in a visit to the service shop to get a minor problem with the airbag system taken care of. They had to replace a front impact sensor, but happily the factory warranty was still in place, so it didn’t cost me a cent!

Aside from that the new (well, new to me) Caravan is doing great! I’ve noticed it has a much bigger gas tank than the Kia had, so gas-ups are running around 30 bucks. I’m sure that will go up as spring and summer approach and the Oil Bullies crank up gas prices for the summer driving season.

The medical crises continue pretty much unabated. My uncle just underwent triple-bypass heart surgery, and is slowly recovering. He’s doing OK, but there’s a long road ahead for him. My dad and Jo’s mom are both doing OK, so far.

I have come to a point where I have to make a change with the website. I’m going to be switching both my hosting and domain registration to Their prices are very reasonable, and they seem to have their act together at a level far beyond, who I host with now. They used to be HostSave when I first signed on with them several years ago. Since they were bought out, and became about 2 years ago, the prices have steadily increased, and the quality of service has steadily decreased. I have had numerous problems lately and they seem to be increasing in frequency. I’ve had several issues with not being able to FTP, the website being down intermittently, and lately I’ve had problems with my domain e-mails getting out. In addition, it seems that several ISPs have blocked the entire range of IP addresses used by Apparently, a large number of spammers use as their hosting service, and seems to allow it, or at least not take any action against them. The result, of course, is that legitimate e-mails – like mine – get blocked as well, simply because I happen to be using the same servers, and IP address. charges me about 30 bucks every quarter – or 120 dollars a year to host my website. In addition, my domain is registered through Network Solutions for about $35.00 a year. My renewal is coming up in August, so I have a few months left. But I think I’ll move my registration to GoDaddy as well. I think they charge somewhere around $6.95 a year. As far as hosting goes, I can get the same storage I have now (5GB) and 250GB bandwidth (I have 200GB now), plus more e-mail addresses than I’ll ever use, SQL database (in case I ever have time to figure out what to do with it), multiple FTP accounts, web-based FTP, blog, and lots of other goodies. All for about $75.00 a year; about half what I’m paying now. I’ll pay the hosting once a year instead of every three months, and will pay the domain registration for several years in advance.

I’m targeting mid-April for the big changeover. I want to get my taxes done first, to see where I stand – hopefully, I’ll get a refund. Once the process starts, the website and e-mail may be off-line for a short period of time while all the technical voodoo happens. I’ll have an alternative e-mail available during that time. I don’t think it will take very long to get everything done, and get the Lair back on line. The switchover may well be completely transparent to most of my visitors. I’m working on the Spring version of the website, so when the change happens, you’ll see some new stuff.

One of the things I want to do with the website is to expand my e-commerce section. I have been looking into a few ideas for this section to hopefully create another income stream. There are some exciting things I’m looking at, but I’m going to keep that my little secret for right now. My job is going well, no worries there. But I have to look at a few things for the future. I’m no spring chicken anymore, and someday (I hope), I’ll be looking at retirement. Social Security is a frigging joke – even if they don’t give it all away to a bunch of damn illegal aliens who don’t pay a dime into it – and I need to look at something to supplement it; something I’ll enjoy doing.

I’ve spent a fair chunk of change equipping my shop, and will probably spend a good deal more as time goes on. I have some pretty good capabilities now, and have plans to enhance that capability. I’m working on some new stuff, and I’m planning on having lots of new items in my on-line store after the change takes place. It’s an exciting time around Rod’s Lair!

Well, I’ve been quite the chatterbox tonight. It’s approaching midnight, and the groggies are beginning to mess with what’s left of my mind. So I’m going to fix a couple crackers with peanut butter (not Peter Pan, BTW), and read my new Artist’s Magazine, then grab some sleep. Maybe I can dream up a few more harebrained ideas!