out of the woods

so just about all i blog about these days is how the web design gig is going. that probably has something to do with the fact that i’ve been dreaming CSS lately. well this post won’t be any different. and i’m still f’ing dreaming CSS…

we recently hit a landmark accomplishment. when we were first figuring out how much money we’d need to make off the graphic design gig to be able to maintain our current standard of living, I threw out a figure of $600 base. that wasn’t including insurance or taxes. We figured, when we could, we’d put away about $200/week for taxes, which would bump that number up to $800, and after looking at insurance plans you can get on your own the grand total was about $1000/wk. Well thanks to my benefactors at Whole Foods, I have insurance for myself and the kids (and erin after i hit 400 more hours worked) for somewhat less than $200 a paycheck (which is every two weeks). the 20 hours a week at WFM has been netting me about $200/wk. now, the medical benefits are brand new, and i haven’t seen my cards yet, but presumably that’s more or less settled. the last piece was being able to make a minimum of $600/wk from the freelance graphic design gig.

well, we just got a check for last week that was $602 and the next check is $600+ also. I prefer to see this as a trend rather than a fluke. for one, erin’s been kicking a whole lot of arse. her designs are awesome, and she’s getting to be almost as fast as me, sometimes faster because i work in the PC 3 days a week. We’ve also been taking a lot of E-Comm sites which pay more. This next check does have a 10 page E-Comm site which is a rare occasion, but erin took the design and is highly amused that the guy offered me a job for the work i/we did. how many times is that now? (i think 3, maybe 4…) the challenge at this point will be to nail that goal every week and then we’ll be in really good shape.

in other news, i’m still using safari. i switch back and forth between safari and firefox — mostly because i have some pages that have the passwords saved in firefox and i don’t know them…well, and i just figured out a couple days ago how to get safari to save passwords…but also, i like being able to open firefox and restore my last session by default. also, there’s some specific pages that i load regularly that are designed specifically for firefox (for work), and i need the web developer extension in firefox for the e-comm stuff. but for everything else i use safari and safari is my default browser. really, the only thing, other than the plugins, keeping me from using it more is the restore last session feature.

also, i think wordpress doesn’t like safari…

and the xbox debacle…

so many moons ago, i started talking about building a media center to consolidate the tower of stereo equipment that gavin liked to play with into one computer that did all that. at the time i was at albertsons’ and my friend, mike, talked me into building an xbox media center. after getting all the equipment needed and doing research on hacking the xbox OS to allow non-microsoft software to be installed by both using a modchip or a “softmod” (requiring a specific game and memory card and game save), i decided to order a modchip. i googled, found a vendor, picked out a reasonably-priced chip that does not require soldering and waited for it to arrive. and waited. and waited. while waiting, i attempted to use the xbox as we had been using the ps2, as a dvd player. often, it would freeze and start skipping and having errors at night. i decided that this was most likely due to the xbox overheating, and some microsoft support docs and stuff i found on the internets seemed to confirm this. so i started to “ice my xbox” — wrap an icepack in a towel and place it on the hottest part of the xbox — with mixed success. in the end, i submitted a complaint to the better business bureau after many attempts at trying to get ANY KIND OF RESPONSE AT ALL from the vendor who i paid for the modchip i had not received and what did the BBB say? that they had been unable to contact the vendor either. so i called the CC company to reverse the charges. meanwhile, there’s no point in looking for another chip because the xbox is a flaming pile of crap! we aren’t going to be able to use it as a media center if we can’t leave it running (albeit unused) for a couple hours while gavin naps or does other things. so i listed it on ebay in an attempt to recoup my losses and get some funding for a real media center computer.  well that busted.  2 listings and no bites.  so i listed it on amazon, where it sits now.  i’ve gotten two inquiries thus far.  when you get a message via amazon marketplace it has a form-generated message saying to never ship to a different address than what is listed for the customer.  so my first message was “will you ship this to someone else in germany.”  riiiight.  the next one seemed innocuous and seemed like i might actually get a sale.  in fact, i did get an email saying it sold and then a followup email from the “customer” saying ship it asap, please.  the problem was the address was in nigeria.  that was the first signal.  the next was that the email said they were giving me a $115 shipping credit — to my knowledge something amazon does not do — as i understood it, they either give you 3.99 or 6.99 for expedited shipping, so that was the second red flag.  the third was the email said something about payment not going through until a tracking number was supplied for shipping.  that sounded odd.  then, when i went to my amazon seller account, oddly enough it said i hadn’t sold anything recently.  THOSE DAMN NIGERIANS WERE TRYING TO SCAM ME!  so i politely sent an email back saying if you would like to purchase the xbox please do so at this address and copied the link to where it still sat for sale.  i then did all the spoof/phishing/scam reporting stuff that amazon has available.  so i’m in the market for a media center.  again.  my estimated cost before shipping is a little over $600.  which is more than the xbox was (which was the reason we got the xbox instead — cost).  still it’s not so bad, but we need to wait until this thing sells.  but thanks to the nigerians, it’s all boxed up at least…




2 responses to “out of the woods”

  1. Mike Avatar

    Dude, if you still have that xbox, I happen to have all the stuff to softmod it and some extra hard drives I was thinking about throwing away…

  2. Mike Avatar

    Dude, if you still have that xbox, I happen to have all the stuff to softmod it and some extra hard drives I was thinking about throwing away…

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