February 2010

1950's House Wife Cat painting

Who is this woman, capable of "doing it all"?

I logged into my MSN Hotmail account, to check my messages for the umpteenth time, and came across this entertaining blurb in the sidebar:

“10 Things Women Do That Drive Guys Crazy” posted in the Lifestyle section by Glamour magazine.  Being curious, I deviated from the boring task of checking spam and reading Facebook updates, and clicked on the link to discover how men “really feel” about the women in their lives.  I always find these articles amusing because I tend to agree with the men on most issues, and have since realized that I must not be a typical female… if jealousy, clinginess, and obsession with commitment are truly “female” traits.  I’ve met some guys who would test that assumption.

This article, however, made me laugh for an entirely different reason. With each declaration, I felt myself dying to point out the similarities between the Pot and the Kettle. (Psst, they are both black)   

So here are my thoughts on your Top 10 Pet peeves, guys:

1. “Hair. In. The. Tub.” – Andrew, 31

Okay, so what about men’s shaving facial hair in the sink?! There is nothing grosser than walking into the bathroom to brush your teeth, and finding a layer of beard stubble clinging to the sides of the sink. Or how about men who cut their own hair using those electric razors, and then leaving the clumps on the bathroom floor, for us to sweep up.

2. “Examining multiple cans of soup” – Dave, 37

Yeah, this one gets me too. Everyone is so obsessed with reading the soup labels, looking for that evil MSG, sodium, and trans-fat, perhaps they should start making their soups from scratch and forget preserved canned food altogether. But I personally like how men can blow $100 on groceries and come home with nothing except snacks. 😉

3. “My girlfriend makes fun of me for laughing at my own jokes” – Chris, 37

Hmmm, I’ve had men make fun at me while I put on my make-up or fix my hair, because I guess they found my primping routine silly. And yet – surprisingly, they suddenly decide I’m more attractive once I’m “all dolled up”.  Go figure.
Do you want the steamy girlfriend/wife, or the girl in sweatpants and a ponytail?  If you answered ,”Steamy, baby!”, then close the bathroom door and live in ignorance while I apply this foundation and cover my dark circles.

4. “Disorganized loading of the dishwasher” – Chad, 27

Actually, that was MY pet-peeve towards certain male counterparts… nothing was getting washed thoroughly. Fortunately, I do all the dishes by hand now. 😉

5. She washes the bathtub before dinner guests arrive – Dennis, 31

Give her props! She wants a nice, clean bathroom that will not gross people out when they use the toilet.  If you don’t have a shower curtain to disguise the mess, they might walk past the tub and go, “Eeew, gross! Look at all your wife’s hair in the drain!” 😉

I personally wouldn’t scrub the tub for guests; it’s one of those chores I loathe to tackle, because it reminds me of that stint working part-time as a housekeeper at a Bed-and-Breakfast. Nasty stuff!

I guess my male equivalent to this mixed blessing would be not picking up after oneself. Men tend to shed their jackets, clothes, shoes and whatnot everywhere, and we walk behind them and toss everything into the laundry hamper.  Except the shoes.  And, hours later, they’re wandering aimlessly, asking
“Where are my jeans? I thought I left them over here.”
“Oh, you mean those dirty ones you’ve worn for 3 days? They’re being washed…. Sorry.”

6. “Women call and have nothing to talk about” – Chuck, 22

Oh, Chuck! Fortunately you have never met my ex-boyfriend! He was King of Calling for Absolutely No Reason… except to tell me that he loved me for the millionth time, because THAT was supposedly reason enough to interrupt the blessed few hours of peace I had.  He would also get very upset if I didn’t want to stay on the phone and talk about how much I loved him in return… indefinitely… or until his train arrived.

But seriously… that calling and chatting about nothing WILL end once you’re in a committed relationship (i.e. you’re living together). Pretty soon, she’ll get sick of seeing your face, and hearing all about your boring day at the office, and will welcome that bit of free time to herself.  She might not even answer the phone when you call. hehehe

7. Taking too long choosing from the menu – Ricardo, 39

My smart-ass side wants to reply, “Take her to a restaurant with a reputation for nasty food, so she’ll be forced to choose the only edible thing on the menu” …Or more rationally, “Stop taking her to NEW restaurants.” 
I’m sure she has an established “Gimme the Usual” repertoire of dishes at your favorite date places.

I liken this to the Great Mystery of Life – “DirectTV VS Dish Network”… raise your hand if you know a man who has obsessed for DAYS over that decision.

8. Talking while driving; being distracted – Glenn, 39

Hah! So we miss available left-hand turns… men, however, like to cut in front of people and flick the finger at the annoyed drivers beeping their horns behind us.
They also enjoy lane-jumping, to pass every creature on the highway in manuevers that should be reserved for a NASCAR track.. in some primeval urge to be the leader of the pack.  Not to mention the dangerous joys of spontaneous drag-race competitions with the fellow in the neighboring lane.  Pull over in front of this Taco Bell, and let me out! I’ll walk home.
9. Thermostat Wars – Charlie, 32

Yes! Finally, a point that I’m guilty of engaging in! I like my house warm and toasty, and most of my partners have preferred a slightly chilled room.
There is no right or wrong here… you can’t argue with personal comfort.  We averaged our desired temperatures together and found a median that serves us well.
Although I admit to playing upon his guilty conscience occasionally, by wearing an extra layer or two, like a sweater and coat. 😉

10. “The endless ‘Honey-can-you-do-this?’ list” – Shane, 30

Tired of the never-ending pile of chores? Awwww, poor baby. Hah! Welcome to adulthood!
Okay fine, switch roles for one week:
She can pay the bills, caulk around the tub, and repaint the deck… if you do all the cooking, cleaning, and baby-sitting. But don’t expect her to come running when junior takes off his diaper and smears himself and the walls with its contents. Remember, you’re the Mommy now! And that doesn’t mean letting the toddler run the vacuum while you play video games. 😉

Let’s face it, we humans have our flaws… and choosing a partner means taking their unique quirks into consideration.  Men: Is her disorganization something you can live with, considering how fantastic she is otherwise?  If the answer is yes, than don’t gripe about it! You have plenty of imperfections that she wisely chose to pardon.

I laugh at dating commercials, with their abstract ideals of “true compatibility”, because most long-term relationships are either bolstered or destroyed by mundane acts like this.  Many of my friends are divorced, and none of them confessed, “I’m a walk-along-the-beach-at-sunset type of person, and he wanted to spend his evenings at the bowling alley.”

So, in addition to asking how often a person feels satisfied in their career, and whether they consider themselves religious or spiritual.. they should include
such important issues as “How long on average does it take you to merge onto the freeway?” … and ….“How would you rate the amount of hair you leave in the tub?”

On a sliding scale: from (1) I rarely shed, to (5) I’m cultivating a rainforest.


Ballet Dancing Cats - a work-in-progress

I was almost finished writing a very boring blog, updating everyone on my BlueHost subscription, my new domain TaraFlyArt.com
(which has absolutely nothing uploaded to it yet, so don’t bother heading over there!), and my latest digital work-in-progress for my daughter Mia (pictured above).

I went online to grab a URL I planned to link to an image, and decided to check my e-mail for the fourteenth time… I discovered an alert to a new blog comment, a wonderful bit of praise by artist Jessica Doyle for my last blog, entitled Reflecting on Respect. It was one of those introspective posts that doesn’t promote a product, give an informative summary of my situation, or serve any real purpose except to unclutter my mind a bit by scattering my thoughts out into the virtual winds.
Perhaps a seed will fall and take root, and somewhere in webland, another crazy-cat-artist will emerge – stretching her claws and yawning in flames.

Aside from the obvious appreciation I felt, knowing that she read and enjoyed my blog… Jess touched upon something personal, and most likely, she did it
unknowingly. She stated: “Your humanity, sense of who you are and love for life shines through..”

I’ve been struggling with the desire to please the crowds VS living honestly for years…
The knowing of oneself, translated into Latin as “Nosce Te Ipsum”, has been a proverb since the early civilizations of mankind… apparently everyone suffers from a lack of self-integrity at one point or another. 😛

It wasn’t always an issue for me. In fact, as a child I had a profound sense of self and a disdain for conformity. My earliest childhood acquaintances, who have
recently crossed paths with me again on Facebook, have made comments to the effect “Geez, Tara, you haven’t changed a bit since 8th grade”.
They aren’t referring to my impressive ability to age slowly.. hehe … rather, my profile picture displaying Dominic, the fire-breathing cat. That Cat-Connection is
“the Tara” everyone remembers.

As a kid, I developed an affinity with my family’s pet cats.. my father’s calico, Hedy, was already a member of the household when I was born. She became a mentor for an imaginative 4-year-old, teaching me to stalk bugs, to sleep curled in the sun, to lick milk from a bowl, to climb trees and scratch furniture. Anthropomorphic cartoons like “The Thundercats” and “The Secret of NIMH” might’ve contributed slightly to my belief that humans and animals could share similar spirits… but I think being an only child, spending many hours playing alone, my obsession with being feline came primarily from enjoying a cat’s companionship.
Pretending to be an animal in human clothing, or having cat-blood, eventually became more than just a game to amuse myself. I convinced myself that it was a truth, and my willingness to defend the belief in animal spirits put me at a disadvantage in my Christian environment. In my soul, I was connected to each cat I’d known and loved. No Scripture could dissuade me to think otherwise; they were simply unaware of the possibility. An oversight Jesus failed to mention. 😛

Not one to practice my beliefs in secret, I informed anyone and everyone that I was, in fact, a cat.
I behaved like a cat in public.
I hissed at my enemies and made scratching movements with my hind leg to essentially “bury them” like stinky feces. You can imagine what these antics did to my reputation! 😉
I had a few friends who were a bit quirky in their own right, but the majority of my classmates and neighbors thought I was simply an odd-ball, and kids can be
merciless towards peers. I was the scapegoat… if someone felt insecure, they could start poking fun at ME, and the whole class would laugh along with them. Perhaps friendships developed in the locker room over witty jokes, of which I was the unfortunate subject… it gives me warm fuzzy feelings to think I might’ve set a standard, “Well, at least I’m not THAT weird!”

My 3rd grade teacher tried to give helpful advice –
“You know, honey, if you stopped acting like a cat, they wouldn’t tease you. You’d have many more friends.”
I told her bluntly that any friend worth having, should accept me as I am. Pretty self-confidant for an 8-year-old, huh.

A few years later, when puberty rocked our worlds, and girls started noticing boys and wearing make-up and V-neck sweaters… I was developing as a young lady who devoured fantasy novels and the notion of other planets inhabited by anthropomorphic creatures. The more I read books and watched movies, I realized that other people shared my point of view.. and I wasn’t quite so strange afterall.
It fueled my confidence to reject a male classmate’s suggestion that I would be more likely to score a date if I stopped acting like a cat. My words to him echoed
my earlier rebuttal of the teacher:
“If a guy really liked me, he wouldn’t ask me to change. I’m not going to waste my time with anyone who doesn’t accept me.”

… I walked this earth for a time, wrapped in a cocoon of reclusive independence, neither seeking popularity nor acknowledging my influence over others.
Until my family moved to a different state, forcing me to attend a new school and reestablish my identity to a whole new group of strangers. I made the decision to tone down the “cat thing” in public, and probably came across as an average teenager, albeit a bit odd in other ways…

I was drawn towards the geeks and rejects who made the effort to dig deep enough into me and not judge what they found.
These weren’t the “Goths”, or the “Punks”, or the popular “anti-conformity” groups who thought that by emulating Marilyn Manson and Johnny Depp, they were “unique”.
Nor were they the “Retro-Hippies” who smoked pot and preached acceptance, or the abstract “Artist” types who took themselves too seriously.
I was intellectual, but not a member of the “Rich Preppy” circle that hosted alcohol parties when their trusting parents left them alone for the weekend.
The kids I hung out with could actually be considered misfits, because we didn’t really belong in any group, although many were band members and thespians.

I couldn’t call myself popular, but as more people began to accept and acknowledge me, I felt what can only be described as an addiction to gain more admirers and “fans”. I actively sought opportunities to display my talents, exercise my wit, flaunt my charms, and find validation.

In and of itself, being sought after and appreciated isn’t a bad thing. Every artist who promotes him or herself through galleries, concerts, fairs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is trying to connect with an audience of approving people willing to buy into their image.
However, I began to lose sight of what made me, well… me. The more I suppressed the less favorable aspects of my personality, the more dissatisfied I felt with my life, my friendships, and the pressures of living up to expectations.

I’ve spent the last 4 years attempting to unravel the mess I’ve made, judging each facet individually to separate the real self from the perceived self. I’ve endured many moments where my faith and beliefs were put under scrutiny, forced to answer my own doubts and grow stronger as a result. I recently decided that I’d finally come to that point of self-acceptance once again, after having stepped out of the limelight to spent some quality time surrounded by a few close friends and new babies, who are blessedly non-judgemental. LOL

Unfortunately, with my fledgling art business and a new fan base growing, I’ve put myself in the position once again where I find myself constantly wondering “What do my followers want?”:
Will they enjoy reading this blog? Were they expecting a new painting for Valentine’s Day, or activity in my Etsy shop? Will they be disappointed if I create a religious parody – like a Madonna cat holding a bird in swaddling clothes? How many people did I offend with my portrait of Kittney?

This is who I am… one minute, I’m illustrating portraits of Victorian gentlemen… the next moment, I’m fantasizing about cats wearing Vegas show-girl costumes and nipple tassels. 😛

I honestly know that I wouldn’t last 10 minutes as a super-famous celebrity, before throwing in the towel, changing my name, and moving to a cabin in the woods. Sometimes the fear of disappointing or offending a potential fan is paralyzing. I’m not quite sure what The Image is that I’ve established or where the boundaries are, but I’m dying to tear them down and scream “Let me BE who I am!”
Let my artwork be honest, served from an inspired place in my soul, and not merely fast-food-in-a-greasy-bag for the masses.

I’ll sign off with this flashback to the 1990’s…click to view…because I’m feeling a bit bitchy tonight. 😉

“I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother, I’m a sinner and a saint, I do not feel ashamed…” – Meredith Brooks.

Britney Spears Cat character

My playful teenage kitten in her school girl uniform 🙂

As I was coloring my Kittney Flears illustration …(Britney Spears + cat)… my mind wandered onto the topic of world peace. One might wonder about the connection between the two, but for me, it’s plainly obvious. I was using a reference photograph for her school girl uniform; a sexy pose taken of me wearing my junior high school uniform, which surprisingly still fits – 16 years and 3 kids later. Albeit just barely.
Looking at the picture brought back a flood of memories from the nine years I spent attending a Christian school, and being fed Bible verses and theology for breakfast, Math, and Phys. Ed. My always-scattered thoughts jumped from one mental image to the next, until finally coming to rest on the recollection of a particular sermon.
Dealing with the subject of world-wide salvation, we were told that if everyone on this planet accepted Christ, the world would finally know true peace… because Jesus is “the Prince of Peace”.
Of course, the majority of our world religions teach the idea of “living in peace and harmony” with your surroundings, in some form or other. Unfortunately, people get consumed by the rest of their particular dogma, instead of focusing on the basic principle of Respecting One Another. Honestly, if you think about it – the Christian’s 10 Commandments, the Buddhist’s Eightfold path, the Islāmic Pillars of Faith, all deal with “doing right by others” and showing respect for your peers, your authority figures (human and divine), and those less fortunate.
Sure, there is much more depth to their individual teachings… entire books in fact…

But if we, as a human race, made the collective decision to Respect Each Other – each and every person, showing respect/compassion/empathy for each and every person on this planet… I believe we would achieve world peace. Without converting everyone to one’s own religion. Without warring to establish superiority.

So, what does “respect” actually mean?

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines respect as:
1. a relation or reference to a particular thing or situation, (i.e. “with respect to our earlier discussion”)
2. an act of giving particular attention, (i.e. consideration)
3. a high or special regard, (i.e. esteem)
4. a particular, detail (i.e. “valid in some respects”)
It comes from the Latin word respectus meaning “the act of looking back” from the verb respicere “to look back, or regard”.

In its obvious form, it means to esteem someone, to place a high value on them. But taking its additional meanings into account, it can also mean showing deference, reflecting back upon previous things, taking careful consideration, thought before action, and so forth.

To respect someone is to take their feelings into account, before you commit an action for or against them. It means to consider the past and the consequences of past actions. It means to thoroughly consider all the options, and every aspect of a situation. To give people your undivided attention, and to listen carefully.

Doesn’t it seem as painfully obvious to you, as it does to me, that if we began to practice Respect in our daily lives… there would be more peaceful encounters, more open communication, and more understanding… less misunderstanding, arguing, and violence. If Respect were adopted worldwide.. just imagine what a difference there would be!

If husbands and wives paid close attention to each other’s needs, if children admired their parents, and parents were considerate of their children… if neighbors and strangers acted in kindness and compassion, government officials took the time to reflect, and people truly valued their leaders.

Perhaps if we give consideration to our planet and our universe, and towards whichever Gods or Ideas that we believe in… then the Powers which judge us might take a second look, regard us a bit more closely…

…and conclude that this pitiful race of human beings does have some merit and worth to them, afterall.

My original acrylic painting "1950 Housewife Cat"

The Housewife who can "Do It All" unfortunately doesn't exist.

I’m awake at 12:40AM. I’ve been awake for 21 hours now. Jake is still awake as well, and I’m feeding him on my lap as I type one-handed, with two fingers.  The room is dark, and every so often my hand strays off track on the keyboard and my words start to look juhe yhis… so I slowly back-space over them and begin again.

We’ve had a trying day. This blasted blizzard destined to engulf us has caused tension and stress to build in our community – just listen to some of the angry comments made by frazzled customers wanting their milk and eggs (to the frazzled associate who can’t stock the shelves fast enough to meet demand).
It makes me want to call a Time Out on everyone, reminding people to show some respect and understanding for one another.

The commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself” is especially appropriate for this Valentine Season. I do wish, however, that a synonym of “love” would be “acceptance”… for when we truly love someone, we accept them as they are.
“Appreciation” is listed, though, and that is another excellent mode of feeling that tends to get taken for granted.

This Valentine’s Day, I join the thousands of stay-at-home parents who simply want to be appreciated for our contributions.  Forget the chocolate and flowers.
We may not commute to our jobs every morning, and receive a monetary paycheck to show for our efforts… but we still have a demanding workload which unfortunately doesn’t end at 5:00PM.

I can safely assume that quite a few eyes are rolling.  I once worked a full-time job outside the home, and listened to my co-workers’ tales of stay-at-home spouses who “sat around watching trash TV, eating cereal in their pajamas at 3:00PM” and who apparently never did a lick of housework.  Of course, I believed the stories… and I thought, “Wow, it must be nice to stay home and have all your needs provided for. Relaxing, yet incredibly boring.” 

When we made the decision last spring for me to stay home, I was under the impression my days would be filled with hours of creative freedom while the kids played peacefully or watched cartoons. hehe
I seriously did not understand the responsibilities of stay-at-home parents and how stressful their days actually are.   Once I accepted the position, I became solely in charge of all laundry, dish-washing, child-sitting, litter-box cleaning, vacuuming, mealtimes, you name it.  When the kids are up all night with fevers or bad dreams, I stay up with them… and sure, he would have helped… if he hadn’t slept soundly through their tearful sobs.  
And why should I wake a grouchy ogre, who will only complain about needing “a good night’s sleep” because he “has to work in the morning”?  Apparently we stay-at-home parents should be able to function fully on 2 hours of un-interrupted sleep.  Cause, you know, we don’t work… we sit around watching Spongebob and soaps.

When they destroy their room, I clean it  up… over and over again.  I rebuild the couch each time it’s torn apart to make mountains for climbing.  I put screaming children to sleep at nap-time,
referee their fights, discipline them, and read them stories.
There is bath-time, diaper changes, taking out the garbage, sweeping the floor, making beds, folding clothes, re-folding clothes after the kids dug everything out of their dresser…. the time I get to spend online is due to my being trapped in the living room, unable to walk away until I trust they won’t strangle each other, climb the bookshelves, or throw objects at the flat-screen TV (which I’ve been told to guard with my body, and life, if necessary).

When Dearest walks in the door, and plops on the couch to watch TV and relax… chores are still looming, kids are still hungry, he adds his favorite pants to the growing laundry pile and expects them to be immediately washed.
When do I get to relax?  I don’t… unless I mutiny and refuse to do it anymore.  I tried that once.  I took “a day off work”, and Nobody volunteered to take my place. Imagine that. 😉
  I called in sick, and the laundry sat there. And the dishes piled up… and the kids smeared chocolate ice-cream all over themselves.  When my fever subsided and I ventured out to inspect the situation, it was utter chaos… waiting for me to resume my duties.

I’m not complaining to gain sympathy, and I have no regrets in my decision to become my family’s caretaker.  Without overtime pay, holidays and weekends off, and sick leave.  A little appreciation would be nice, though. And some acceptance… 
    I’m not going to be on top of my game every day, and that’s okay.  We need to practice patience and understanding with everyone around us. 
If your store runs out of bread, thank the associate for their hard work and then grab some flour and yeast to bake your own.  If your favorite pants don’t get washed for a couple days, or God forbid, you don’t have a clean shirt to wear… Take the initiative and throw a load into the washer.
Let’s show some love, and I guarantee that the thanks you receive will be sincere and you will be appreciated in return.

A frustrated and confused TaraFly.

Perhaps I should invest in a brain upgrade...

I am 99.7% sure that I will be using BlueHost.com for my new website home.
I like their Zen-Cart integration, the WordPress plug-in, the ability to host PHP files (for my Zazzle shop-builder!), the survey and mailing list features, even a phpBB style message board …reminiscent of my former life chatting away on Lady Morraine’s Hall of Torque and The Elder Scrolls forums (circa 2003), under the alias of “Pemberley” – or “Pemmie” as I was affectionately nicknamed. My “LadyPem” Hotmail account was a throw-back to those days.

Ahh, I was such a Morrowind geek. Actually, my first real photo-manipulations were gaming related: I attached my head to my character’s body, and I cut-n-pasted Dominic’s father and brother into a screenshot of Balmora at dusk. I wanted to create a shot of Dominic attacking a cliff racer, but I never finished it.
They were reeeeeally baaaad attempts, and fortunately I don’t have the files anymore. 😉 hehe

Anyway, if we turn our attention back to BlueHost:
I’m not a bells-and-whistles person, so many of their claims were actually turn-offs… So they offer 2,500 POP/imap e-mail accounts?! Who needs 2,500 email accounts?
To put that into perspective, our local Wal-Mart – which does over $150 million worth of business annually and was awarded “Supercenter of the Year” twice – staffed a mere 800 associates during their peak holiday season.
So, I repeat, who the hell needs 2,500 email accounts?!
FYI: Pop/imap basically means downloaded-to-your-computer e-mail vs stored-on-their-server email – like Hotmail. Either way, it’s waaay too much e-mail! 😛

Which can only make me wonder: are they using their “unlimited disk storage” and infinite domains as a smoke and mirror effect to disguise a fatal flaw? Hence the .3% of uncertainty.

I checked Google for customer reviews, which are always good for a laugh if nothing else. The majority of the comments were favorable… i.e. you get what you pay for, no serious complaints.
One man, however, trashed BlueHost mercilessly, and although he made a valid point in one instance, I couldn’t help but chuckle at his stupidity throughout the rant. It reminded me of last summer, when I was shopping for my printer, and found that bad review written by someone who obviously hadn’t read the manual first.

First of all, his grammar was terrible! Grammar is a pet-peeve of mine, although I’m by no means an expert. WordPress and I battle constantly over my use of passive voice and complex expressions.
This guy, seriously, was a flake. Immediately, I checked his name and location,
because I give allowances to foreigners who deal with translation issues. He was from the States and had a red-blooded American-sounding name to me. Therefore… a flake, with poor writing skills.
He apparently hosts his e-commerce business on multiple websites, all sharing the same script… what he actually sells isn’t mentioned, but I’m conjuring up an infomercial about striking it rich with real estate investments. Who else would host a business on multiple servers?? He probably used all 2,500 email accounts!
(If he’s smart, he’ll hire a ghost-writer, or he won’t sell much of anything. hehe)

So first he complains that his script isn’t working on BlueHost, although the exact same script runs perfectly on GoDaddy. The techs explained that it was a coding error on his part, and he naturally disagrees.

Then he makes his one valid point… in one instance, his entire site vanished… all his files had disappeared. Now that IS a serious concern for an e-commerce site!

It took me a few minutes to understand what happened exactly, as I initially thought perhaps the server went down. This wasn’t the case. I discovered that BlueHost offers HTML-editing of your site from an online dashboard… similar to a blog dashboard. You make the changes in their editing program, hit some form of “update” button, and your site now sports the new look! Okay, so that is pretty cool… especially for those minor tweaks that I make to my site, whenever I’m hosting a Zazzle sale or auctioning a painting on eBay.  They will also do a periodic back-up of all the site files, so if you screw something up while editing, you can rely on a previously saved version.
Ironically, the site did its back-up AFTER his files were mysteriously erased, and before he caught the problem. So his archived files were also blank. Bwahahaha!

Okay… at this point, I’m laughing my ass off at his stupidity.. as he rants about customer service’s inability to retrieve the old files: they explained to him that their back-up is a “courtesy” and shouldn’t be solely relied upon. Everyone knows to keep copies, except this poor schmuck. (…and he’s been in e-commerce for years…)

Personally, I’m an old-school web-designer, if I can even call myself a designer with my limited HTML skills. I created my first site – titled “The Ghost of the Pot Roast” – in 1998, a mixture of cheesy poetry, pictures, and inside jokes shared with my friend, Carolyn. It was supposed to be a joint effort, but she was too busy advancing her career and getting college degrees, that I wound up running it myself and threatening her (for over a year) with torture just to get an updated Bio from her.
Anyway, I’m from the FTP Class (a proud graduate of FileZilla), and was taught to save all my files offline, simply make edits whenever necessary, and re-upload them. It would never occur to me to keep my entire script saved on my host’s dashboard, without a back-up or four. Well, except for that one time with Blogspot…

Perhaps the techs were right about his scripting errors, and he did something to wipe his own files clean. LOL With my Blogspot disaster, a simple html edit to include the “Stumble” button wiped out the entire posting function! I must’ve deleted one or two essential characters by accident. *oops* But in that one instance, I hadn’t saved their original script first, and I had no way to fix it.

Anyhow… this is the direction I’m planning to take, and anyone with a personal experience working with BlueHost, Zen Cart, etc. is welcome to comment here. If you happen to think another web host is more reliable than BlueHost for my needs, feel free to make a recommendation and I’ll go check them out. 🙂

Note of caution, hehe: If you suffer from gross grammar and an enlarged ego, your comments may become the subject of humor in my next blog. 😉