Sunday, May 31, 2009

Another Busy Weekend

Well, it was not what you'd call a relaxing weekend, but it was a good one - only far too short.

Saturday, Jo spent the day with her mom, helping her clean out the garage. I spent the day with my dad, and we drove over to Microcenter so he could get a new computer. They had a good deal on a Dell Inspiron 530. It's a lot faster than his old machine, which was about 4 years past retirement. It came with Vista Business, but it also had downgrade rights to XP Pro. We chose the XP Pro option since that's what he's used to, and wouldn't have to deal with a new operating system. I think XP is better, anyway - just my opinion.

We spent most of today doing yard work. Both of my old mowers are pretty well shot, so we bit the bullet and bought a new one from Sears last week. It had its 'maiden voyage' in the backyard earlier today. We both ended up doing more work than we had intended, but the yard looks good.

I finally located the restore CDs for the old E-machines computer I was using as a camera server. I reinstalled XP, and the video capture drivers along with TinCam, so the webcam is back to the camera in front again. So far, it's working smoothly, but we'll see how it goes over the next few days.

I've updated the Store page, now called 'Lamps & Stuff'.' I'll be renaming it Lamps and Things when it goes live. I'm going to be uploading some items this week, if I have time, starting with some insulators. I really need to pare down my collection a bit, so if you need to add to your collection, or start a new one, check it out.

Looks like another trip to Topeka for Monday. They're starting more training at work, and I'll have an all-day class on Thursday - as opposed to the rest of the time when I have no class at all...

Friday is our 38th anniversary, so we'll have our traditional steak dinner Friday night.

I'm going to make this a short update tonight, so for now.....


Thursday, May 28, 2009

More Fees?? I Think Not. Good Bye Auctiva

I got this in my e-mail today:

"Dear Rod,

You are an important member of the Auctiva family. We are proud to have been able to provide you with our eBay listing and marketing tools for free. Because we value your business, we wanted you to be the first to know that, starting in July, our services will no longer be completely free.

We did not come to this decision lightly. This adjustment was difficult for us to imagine after four years of being a completely free service. We are dedicated to providing you with the best service for your hard-earned dollars. The e-Commerce landscape is constantly evolving, and it has always been our promise to you to provide a full e-Commerce solution that will meet your needs today, tomorrow and in the future. As a result, we will have to begin charging for some of our services.

Despite this adjustment, we remain committed to providing you with great tools at a great value and we've worked hard to develop pricing plans that will be affordable for all sellers.

We want to make this transition as easy as possible for you. We will begin implementing the necessary changes on our site to accommodate our new pricing structure during the first week of June. As a valued customer, you'll have 30 days to evaluate and select a pricing plan, and we'll even help identify your best plan choice. "

OK - let's see....

In addition to eBay's insertion fees and final value fee, plus PayPal's transaction fee, Auctiva is going to start charging a fee as well. So why should I even bother to put anything up for auction at all? Why don't I just post photos of merchandise on my website, and say 'If you want this stuff, just let me know and I'll GIVE it to you for free. Hell, I'll even ship it to you for free.' Jeeze.

Everyone wants a piece of the pie.

Thanks, Auctiva, but NO thanks. I'll just go back to using TurboLister and hosting my photos on my own website. At least I don't have to pay yet ANOTHER fee for that.

I'll be closing my Auctiva account shortly.

I'm posting this on my Auctiva Blog, and on my Latest News blog as well.

Good Bye, Auctiva

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Long Weekend Was Too Short!

It seems like only a few days ago that I was looking forward to a long weekend. Come to think of it, it WAS only a few days ago. Now, here it is Monday evening, and it's back to the grind tomorrow. On the bright side, it's only a four-day week - which will, of course, drag on seventeen times longer than the three and a half days that just went by. Such is life....

Since we both busted our behinds the last two weekends in a row, we took this Memorial Day weekend pretty easy. Aside from paying our respects to those that have gone, we didn't do much driving around. We did stop at a garage sale where I picked up a few lamps to refurbish, and I did manage to drag out the grill and put it to good use a couple evenings.

I've posted a few photos on my May Update. You know the drill; if you are reading this blog on its own, and not on my website, just click the "Rod's Lair Latest News" link to your right.

For now, I'll sign off and get to bed at a reasonable time. I've got another road trip tomorrow!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Looking Forward to a Long Weekend

Tomorrow is Friday. Friday is always good, but this Friday is extra good for three reasons:

1. It's payday.
2. It's the beginning of a 3-day weekend.
3. I'm taking the afternoon off.

Of course, it will go by in a flash, but what'cha gonna do? I'm gonna enjoy the weekend, that's what.

I had an appointment with my urologist Wednesday to go over the test results from my kidney stone adventure a couple months ago. He told me it was a calcium-oxalate stone, which is the most common type. He told me to try and stick to low-oxalate foods and beverages, and gave me a document that listed foods and drinks as a guideline. I was pleased as punch to find most of my favorite vices were listed as low-oxalate. I could have kissed him when I saw Coca-Cola on the OK list, but he probably wouldn't have appreciated it very much. I am, as you may have guessed, a confirmed Cokeaholic.

I've registered on, and hope to open up a store there very soon, as well as on my website. I hope to reopen my store on my website over this weekend. I'm wanting to trim some of my stock of ceramic insulators, so I'll have some of them listed and ready for new homes at great prices over the next few days.

I've added a few more photos in the May Update section. My baby robins have all fled the nest, and it's empty, now. Actually, it's gone, now - I took it down and chucked it into my little stove that I burn branches and scrap wood in. I really don't want them to build another nest there next year. It was entertaining to watch the baby robins, but I was getting tired of being dive-bombed by mom and dad robin every time I tried to work out back.

That's it for tonight! I'll write more over the weekend.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Road Trip Today

I took a nice little road trip today, to Osage City, Kansas. Seems like they've got me going all over Kansas these days, but to be completely honest, I don't really mind all that much. Sure, it puts a lot of miles on the minivan, but it's doing fine, and gets pretty respectable mileage - it averages about 24 MPG most of the time. And, of course, it makes for some decent mileage checks. Besides, today was a really nice day for a drive in the country.

Main Street, Osage City, KS

I took a wrong turn at one point, and ended up in a little town called Scranton. I noticed a couple interesting looking antique shops there, so we may have to take a Saturday day trip in the near future.

I've posted a few more photos in the May Update section (if you are not reading this on my website, just click the 'Rod's Lair Latest News' link in the sidebar to your right).


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Photos Added

I just added a few photos to the May Update.

Things have started to get busy, again, but hopefully I'll still have time to get some things accomplished. I'm still hoping to get the patio out back finished this summer, and I've got a whole host of other projects lined up. It's going to be a busy summer.

If you are not on my website, just click the 'Rod's Lair Latest News Section' link in the sidebar on your right.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Busy Weekend (Again)

Well, it was a busy weekend, but we got a lot of things done that have needed done for quite a while. Saturday, Jo put a first coat of primer on part of the patio I've been trying to build for the past couple of years. I got all the weeds/tree seedlings/leaves cleaned out of the rock garden alongside the garage. Now, maybe I can find some nice, shade-tolerant plants to put in there so it will actually look like a garden. I also raked about 3 tons of leaves away from the fence on the east side of the yard. Afterwards, we were pretty beat, so we just took it easy and watched Casino Royale with Danial Craig.

Sunday, we spent a good part of the day with Jo's mom for Mother's Day. I cut a bunch of branches out of her two Ceder trees, and Jo helped trim the shrubs out front. After all the work was done, we picked up a couple pizzas from Little Ceaser's. They were OK, but I still prefer Pizza Hut.

We now have four wee little baby robins in the nest on my power meter out back. Momma Robin had quite a day Saturday, alternately feeding the little ones with bugs out of the leaves I raked up, and squawking at us as we worked.

I'll have some photos in the May Update in the next day or so. Right now, it's late, and time for a bath and bed.

It's rough when you have to go back to work to rest up from the weekend....


Saturday, May 02, 2009

New Lamp

Here's a new lamp I just finished last night.

Blue Bottle Lamp

It's made from a blue bottle I found at a recycling center (and it's certainly been recycled), and a blue glass shade I found on a 'bargain table' at Lowes. I made a base from a couple scraps of wood which were cut into circles using a router attachment for my Dremel. I stained them and applied several coats of polyurethane to protect the finish and give a nice glossy finish.

I used a diamond-coated glass drill with the Dremel to cut a 3/8" hole in the bottom of the bottle for the lamp pipe. I fabricated a support for a socket inside the bottle, and added a candelabra-based LED night light bulb for the light inside the bottle.

I used the bottle cap as a base for the glass shade. I buffed the paint off of the cap, and soldered brass wire for the shade support. The cap was painted a metallic blue to match the bottle.

I hope to be creating more lamps like this in the near future. I may have some of them for sale on my website - you'd have to fight my wife for this one!


Thanks, I'll Just Get a Powerball Ticket Now and Again...

I got this in my e-mail the other day:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to notify you of the TESTAMENT of my late client, MR.XHEVAIR LLAKAJ a citizen of ALBANIA who unfortunately lost his life in the Madrid Bomb Blast of March 11,2004.

The deceased (MR.XHEVAIR LLAKAJ) (a contractor) came to Spain on business survey/holiday with his wife and their only daughter when they met their tragic death. My client before his death made a deposit of Twenty Eight Million, Seven Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (US$28,700,000.00) with a finance institution in Spain .

However, I am searching for a trust worthy person or the relatives of the deceased regarding his deposit, as the holding financial institution wants him/her to come forward for the endorsement of the re-investment documents, hence I am seeking your assistance to present you as the next of kin to my late client, since my client died with his wife and their only daughter.

This transaction is very confidential as I can re-draft his LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT to bear your name as the TRUSTEE & EXECUTOR (NEXT OF KIN). This transaction shall be executed under legitimate and legal procedures that will protect you from any breach of the Law as I shall provide every documents pertaining to the deposit to ensure successful transfer of the funds to your account.

It is in this regard that I decided to solicit your assistance, by presenting you as the Executor and Trustee (Next of Kin) to my late client. Although, I have agreed on the following sharing ratios: 35% for your assistance and 65% for me but this is still open for negotiation.

Kindly revert back to me urgently on your interest to lay claim of the deposit. You are to send me your complete Names, Telephone and Fax numbers, Present contact address, and Occupation for more information on how to release the inheritance sum via this email address:

Jose Perez Otero

OK – let me get this straight.....

You are a lawyer representing some poor (rich, actually) Albanian citizen who was blown up in a terrorist attack. He deposited 28 million bucks in some bank in Spain. You are looking for someone to pose as next of kin, and you will give them 35% of this 28 million just for illegally posing as someone else. And – out of 45866 gazillion e-mail addresses - you just happened to pick mine. Right. If you are a ‘barrister’ (lawyer), then I am Harry Potter.

Please tell me people aren’t still falling for this scammer nonsense. This scam is old as the dinosaurs, but unfortunately, not as extinct.