Category: About This Site

Time for a Brighter Theme?

I changed the website theme a few years ago, but now that President Obama’s days are numbered, it might be time to change things up a bit with a new website visual theme. Donald Trump won the election. That fact doesn’t thrill me, other than that it means Hillary Clinton lost, but I’m cautioiusly optimistic about the prospects for the country with him in office.

True, he’s no prize, but I’m still hopeful that his Presidency will work out well for the country. And it’s that optimism that makes me think it’s time to change the theme. It will take some time to find one I like and to tweak it to work well with my content, so watch this spot for news of the change.

The Instructables Bump

Last week saw a huge jump in this site’s visitor count…

Doesn’t matter which counter I check, they both show a bit of an increase after Christmas, with a huge jump on January 2. All that is attributable to an Instructable that came up last week which on a $200 Paint Job; the writer included a link to my Cheapskate’s Paint Job post. The big jump happened when that Instructable was featured in the email newsletter. Traffic has dropped off a bit since then, but from the Google Analytics info it looks like there is still some traffic coming from that link.

You know, I was thinking of putting up an Instructable on the Rustoleum paint job, but never got around to it. Probably ok that it went this way; I would’ve felt guilty about posting a link to my own post in an Instructable, but since someone else did it, it’s all good!

Twenty K!

A milestone slipped by me over the weekend; 20,000 visitors to this site, as measured by my Sitemeter account. Fifteen thousand went by without much hoopla, but thought I’d at least mention it for twenty.

Looking back at my other posts celebrating other milestones, the pace is picking up a bit; 10,000 was towards the end of June last year, so it took about nine months to add 10,000. Before that, I hit 5,000 in early December of 2008; adding 5,000 took a little over six months. We’ll see how quickly 30,000 comes. The one constant is that Google is my best friend; direct hits to the site are few & far between, but there’s a pretty steady stream of referrals from Google searches. The most recent favorite is my post on the Citroen CV2 Rat Rod, but the Ford Freestar trailer wiring post and the Plymouth minivan instrument cluster post remain perennial favorites.

At the risk of letting the exuberating get out of hand, I celebrated the occasion by picking up a roll (chocolate-covered Bavarian cream-filled Long John!) from Sunshine on my way to work today.


Yeah; I really know how to live.

Pick A Resolution, Any Resolution!

This is kinda fun…


For those (like me) who have so much that needs improvement, they don’t know where to start.

It’s funny that that resolution came up (after several clicks on the “GIMME MORE” button), because I had already started this post about resolving to add to my blog more often/regularly. I’ve got a backlog of about 40 or so draft posts waiting to be finished & published (even after weeding through them a few weeks back), plus a number of others that I’ve got in my head and collected supporting files, links & images on my drive for… After giving this issue some thought, it seems that I get stuck most often because I’m trying to be too thorough in what I assemble for a post. Maybe I need to think of this blog as more of a step above a Tweet or a Facebook Status post than any kind of journalistic endeavor, because a journalist I am not.

If I check Google Analytics or Sitemeter to see what brings people to my site, it’s usually for the somewhat random stuff I’ve posted about in the past, like the Citroen 2CV Rat Rod that I know next to nothing about, or fixing the instrument cluster on the Plymouth van we no longer own, or wiring the trailer lights on our Ford Freestar van. A few people jump here directly, but lately more people are interested in how I painted my BMW with a roller than what I think about the latest political development… I don’t expect this blog to ever be anything more than just a hobby for me, so it really shouldn’t matter whether people hit my site directly or via a search engine. If I spend several hours composing a post in order to share my two cents’ worth on a given topic, it really doesn’t do much more than get it off my chest. So maybe in the big scheme of things — in blogging anyway — less is more.

So, I’m off to get a cup of coffee to tip my cup to this new resolution, and to get me past my post-lunch slump. Cheers!

WordPress 2.8.4

How about a break from politics today…


I took the dive yesterday & updated my WordPress install. I’ve been a little lazy about that lately… Came to rely on Powweb’s InstallCentral to do the updates, but that method tends to lag pretty far behind. When I updated yesterday, InstallCentral only took it to v.2.7. While there was an interface improvement over the 2.6.x install I had been using for a while, it was still months behind the current version; with the security holes in earlier versions I wasn’t eager to find out how bad things could get, especially after the trouble the website had a month or so ago — hackers completely took it over twice before we got the Joomla install updated & locked down. I’ll take their advice & stick to taking my vitamins and avoid the open heart surgery.
The upgrade wasn’t without glitches though; since upgrading, Google and the other search engines seem to have forgotten me. According to Sitemeter, yesterday saw 41 unique visitors and 78 page views; today, 5 and 5. Since most traffic here is from search engine referrals, things have been a bit quiet. Once I update the code for Google Adsense and all that, things should improve. Until then it’s just the handful of faithful direct hits from various places and the RSS subscribers; thanks for clicking, people!

The other glitch was with the Akismet antispam plugin for WordPress; it was deactivated by default after the upgrade, but when I activated it, all the admin pages came up totally blank. The site was working fine, but being able to see things on the admin side is somewhat important. Things were working fine before I clicked to activate Akismet, so I figured that wasn’t up to date, so I had to go in via ftp and kill the plugin folder for Akismet before I could get back in and see anything. Very pleased that it wasn’t any more complicated than that! And installing it again was again, easy.

One of the beautiful features introduced in v.2.7 is the one-click upgrades; inside the dashboard, WordPress will throw up a flag when an update is available, and present an Upgrade Automatically button that will do the hard work to bring an installation up to date. You can also download the update from the same screen, but why bother? Of course, it’s a good idea to use the Export Tool in the dashboard to back up all the data that makes my blog mine… Just in case, you know. Hopefully future upgrades won’t include surprises like today’s did.

Just for fun, I downloaded the current version and put a second install on my (hosted) server; had I realized it was that easy I wouldn’t have bothered with the InstallCentral dance… Why did I wait so long? And that’s another one of the goofy things with Powweb’s InstallCentral control panel; it will only do one WordPress installation for you. That second install is for testing and setting up a replacement for the Joomla-driven Groove website; I’m getting tired of wrestling with Joomla just trying to put up the simplest content, so I’m making the executive decision to move the site to WordPress. A couple of weeks ago I tried adding some YouTube videos to an article on the site, and for some reason Joomla decided after I pasted in the code to link the videos that one line of that code wasn’t needed. That would be fine if the embedded video would show up in the article, but it doesn’t. I tried every trick I could think of and searched around to no avail. Other articles with embedded videos continue to work fine… Anyway, I’m moving the site to WordPress because using Joomla is like having a bureaucracy the size of the Federal Government to manage a small company; way too complex and way too many hoops to jump through just to accomplish something simple. WordPress is a great tool with lots of expansion possibilities, and I think it’ll be perfect for Groove.

Ten Thousand Visitors!

How cool is this; when I wasn’t even watching, visitor number 10,000 came knocking at my site yesterday afternoon!

From the SiteMeter report, it looks like number 10k was someone in the Army looking for info on wiring up a Freestar to pull a trailer, a trial I went through a while back. I’m glad I took the time to write about that, because that’s been one of the top ranking pages ever since. Seems that the wiring on that van is goofy enough that a lot of people go looking for answers on it. Sure isn’t like the old days when you’d just splice in an off-the-shelf wiring kit…

Overall, visitor stats are on the upswing, as evidenced by SiteMeter’s graph showing visits & page views; last June saw 393 unique visitors with 674 page views; with a week left to go in June, the site has already seen 853 visitors and almost 2000 page views!

That doesn’t mean a whole lot, I know — lots of sites will see more traffic in a day than this one will see in a year — but it’s kinda cool for a site with no constant theme other than stuff I take the time to write about, little direction, and very little in the way of disciplined regularity. One cool side effect of the rise in visitorship is that Google Adsense revenue is on the rise as well; when I checked this morning, I had a whopping $17.60 banked! Much closer to the magic $100 mark than I was last August, when I had about three bucks in it. That’s right, folks; just keep on clickin’ those ads! Party at Dave’s when I get my first check!

History Schmistory

Barack Hussein Obama was crowned inaugurated as President of the United States today. Many in the news media, who should be a little more objective about the event, breathlessly talk of this “historic event” and gush over how wonderful it is. Sure, it’s historic in that we have a black skinned man in the highest office in the land, just a few short decades out of some of the ugly history of racism…

But what makes this presidency so wonderful?

Wonderful that so many people cast uninformed votes and elected a man largely because of the color of his skin? Wonderful that Obama has so many questionable associations that still get ignored by the fawning media? Wonderful that Obama still hasn’t provided solid proof of his purported US citizenship, driving us toward a potential Constitutional crisis? Wonderful that Obama has a radically socialist agenda for our country, and wonderful that when parts of his agenda fail miserably he’ll have a scapegoat at the ready in President Bush and the economic troubles inherited from his Presidency?

Wonderful that we’re blowing $170 million on a big party to swear him in, and there’s hardly a peep in the news complaining about it (in stark contrast to the fallout over Bush’s $40-something million ceremony four years ago)? Wonderful that before taking the oath of office he’s already talking about pushing another $700 Billion economic stimulus plan through Congress?

I could go on, but it’s just too depressing. So depressing that it’s spread to the visual theme for; yes, things got a little darker around here today, and I think the somber mood might have to stick around for the duration of the Obama Administration (if you find yourself offended by that, maybe you can just think of it as being dark in homage to Obama’s skin color.) I won’t be throwing shoes at effigies of Obama like the overgrown children did to a Bush balloon in DC yesterday, but I won’t be throwing any parties either. I will, however, respect the man and the office he holds, and will not take cheap shots at him. How many on the other side could have said that about someone they so vehemently disagree with?

The only thing I can be hopeful for in the next four years is that the strength and resiliency and perseverance of the American people will overcome any damage brought on by changes in economic and social policies effected by the Obama Administration. More importantly, I have hope in life eternal through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior; with that I am content. I have no need for the savior so many see in President Obama.

The hype surrounding this inauguration — and the afterglow of the campaign hype — is building some great expectations for the Obama Administration. How long will it be before some of Obama’s ardent followers become disenchanted by his failure to live up to their expectations? Following the transition period, I have a feeling that President Obama has a few more insights into some of the things President Bush has done during his administration, and perhaps a more realistic respect for the man. Whether that lasts at all… Well, I’m not very hopeful about that. But I’m ready to change my mind if proven wrong.

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life. Winston Churchill

5,000 Visitors!

Where was I when this new milestone was passed? I dunno, but it blew by on Nov. 30 and I totally missed it. Come to think of it, 4,000 went by just as stealthily, but I guess you shouldn’t have too many milestones.

According to Sitemeter, somebody from Kirkland, Washington, was my 5,000th visitor; he/she did a Google search for “Pat Rooney Hawaii” and ended up here, probably because of the post I wrote a while back about my cousin Pat’s site. Of course, it’s not exactly 5,000 visitors — lately my cookie setting to ignore visits from the default browser on my laptop has been ignored — but close enough.

I’ve got scripts for both Sitemeter and Google Analytics running on my site; most days their numbers jive, but others… Wow are they off.

Pushing 3,000

Just two short months ago — June 10 — hit the milestone of 2,000 site visits, as recorded by Sitemeter. I commemorated that event with this post.

Now it’s August 17, and it looks like that number will likely break the 3,000 barrier sometime today. Two months; how about that! It took about 21 months to get to 1,000, 7 months to get to 2,000, and 2 months to get to 3,000. Most of the hits still come from Google searches. Others come from comments I’ve made on Jalopnik, Neatorama or elsewhere.

Even though the numbers are climbing and Google has been a good referral, the visitors that come here to read what I’ve written for the sake of reading what I’ve written are few. Most come here looking for something specific then they’re gone. I guess there’s nothing terribly compelling to draw people here. I’ll have to do some thinking on that…

Oh, and the Google Adsense ads that were added… So far I’ve earned a whopping $3.29. At this rate it’ll be decades before I get to the $100 mark that’ll warrant a check from Google. Patience.

The King Of Unfinished Projects

Yes, that’s me alright. I love to take on a new project, and am just as ready to set it aside to start the next one.

That’s true not only in my home improvement projects, my bike projects, my automotive projects, my work projects, etc… It also holds true right here on my WordPress blog. Right now I’ve got 50 posts that I’ve started, worked on a bit (some more, some less) and have abandoned. 50 of them. That’s pretty pathetic.

So my new project(!) is to clear out some of the dead wood from my pile of WordPress drafts. The first of that group was the ebike post that went up this weekend; I started that particular post back in October or November. Seven months to complete a post is really pathetic.

Some of them I will have likely lost interest in (obviously), and others have more than likely become out of date and wouldn’t make sense to finish up & post. At any rate, I hope to have some slightly fresh content gracing this collection of 1’s and 0’s in the very near future.