I know, I know, I promised some feedback from the awesome two week long jaunt in Japan I experienced back in October 2014, and yes, that was quite some time ago. The thing is though, there are so, SO many photos to organise – never mind the part of actually getting around to writing everything up!
Nevertheless, you’ll be rather pleased to know that at long last I’ve sat down and sorted through all the photos – that’s two Memory Stick PRO Duo memory cards plus my Huawei P6’s memory card worth of pictures – in other words a decent amount of sorting that was done.
Of course, it could be worse – I could have been armed with a proper camera and not just my little point-and-click Sony Cybershot – which if that was the case and I was all professional like, I’d be wading through thousands and thousands of the damn things!
So small blessings then, even if the trade-off is at times some pretty shoddy (and blurry) shots! (I shudder to think just how many photos and how much organising my friends who actually are proper into photography have to go through after a trip like this!)
Anyway, I have to say, the last couple of evenings going through all these photos has brought back some wonderful memories of my short visit alongside Ryan to the Land of the Rising Sun, and so pleasingly I’m looking quite, quite forward to writing up all the text to go along with the pictures.
In short, I hope you’re ready for some tales from Japan – because looking at all these folders sitting in front of me – you’re in for a lot!
Now, where did I put that file with all the attraction ticket stubs and travel guides in it…
Well I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy my extended break from blogging – I’ve pretty much not written anything of substance since mid-October last year, and taking a break from the keyboard in the evenings to rather spend time with either Jess or Chantelle, or just to simply veg out in front of the TV or the XBOX, has been pretty great.
Of course, the blog has kept ticking over with a content-filler posts on a daily basis for the duration my break period, but I’m happy to see that they’ve pretty much run out now, and with that, the year and a bit long little SEO and income generating experiment is now over.
Frankly, I don’t like the fact that my archives are now over-run with these soulless bits of writing and quick posts, which means that from here on in, the blog will be reverting pretty much to its original mission of being a place where I can share all the current goings on in the Lotter Clan life with my friends and family (and in the process create a great memory box for myself!), as well as an easy access storage place for code snippets, tech tips and application how-to’s that are useful to me and my work.
Naturally, this does of course mean that this blog will no longer be updated on a daily basis, rather updating when the whim to post takes me – bad news then for any regular visitors to these pages in other words.
Anyway, naturally there is a literal ton of stuff that I haven’t shared with you over the 2+ months that I haven’t been posting to the site, some of which I’ll catch up on or at least provide synopses for, and some of it that I won’t. (Truthfully, this all hangs off on what I can remember, and what I can’t!)
And that’s that. I’m officially back.
Right. So it’s probably been a month and a bit now, but so far so good. My craiglotter.co.za blog has been running nice and smoothly, powered by its new hosting company, namely the almost always awesome Afrihost.
Back in 2008 Ryan and I picked up on AmpleHosting to provide the hosting for our online venture, and while Ryan has long since left the picture, I had continued up until recently using them for their well-priced and quite flexible hosting packages. They played host the the multitude of sites I built on their service, sites including the likes of codeunit.co.za, houseofc.co.za, cookiesandcakes.co.za, and funakoshikarate.co.za, to name but a few.
Of course, having tired of spending unnecessary time online, I pulled back my online footprint over the last couple of years, in the end leaving only my personal craiglotter.co.za blog and Chantelle’s cookiesandcakes.co.za sites running on the old Amplehosting package.
Not that they were perfect during all those years mind you. They switched servers a number of times without informing us, leaving us to find out about the downtime on our own accord, and more than once they would suspend the account and again wait for us to discover the downtime and contact them instead of the other way around.
As craiglotter.co.za traffic numbers grew (and we’re not talking big – only between 2,000 and 3,000 visits a day), Amplehosting eventually persuaded me to upgrade to a better package, which I did, absorbing the higher monthly cost as part of my hobby. However, it wasn’t long before the trouble began. Time and again I would find my account disabled, and time and again they couldn’t provide me with any information other than saying that my site was overloading the server. This was particularly annoying because the site is nothing more than a WordPress installation, with no other services or crons or anything like that running in the background.
Most annoying of all though was the fact that they continued to disable my account without contacting me about it, and with my advertising links starting to bug me about server uptime, Amplehosting’s lack of immediate support, or more importantly, friendly, helpful and knowledgeable support, eventually drove me to cut ties with them and move craiglotter.co.za over to Afrihost, the ISP which has now been serving me well for the last couple of years, and most importantly, a company who in particular continues to impress me everyday with their always over the top customer service.
So yeah, no more money for Amplehosting then.
Sure, they have well priced packages, a good billing system and a generally friendly 1st level of support – but if you’re running something with a little more traffic than your aunt’s local baking site, I wouldn’t bother.
Customer service. It’s really important to get it right.
Oopsie, I really haven’t been posting much to the blog lately have I? (Hint: If you see continuous comic book art, cosplay or joke posts, then you can be sure that the blog is running on autopilot mode.) The truth is that I simply haven’t felt like sitting down to write down my thoughts or recollect the happenings of the past week for quite a while now, and besides, I have been far to preoccupied in the evenings anyway, what with finally finishing up on Chantelle’s now finally completed Cookies & Cakes website, playing loads of Lord of the Ring: War in the North multi-player with Ryan (not to mention all the epic FIFA battles), and actually sitting down to watch some excellent movies like Serenity (thoroughly enjoyable) and Dark Knight Returns Part 2 (even more so)!
So what is worth mentioning that you might have missed out on? Well Easter 2013 was a little bit of a let down thanks to poor weather and no Internet service for the duration of the long weekend. What it did however involve was plenty of trips through to the mall, Easter egg fun with Jessica, loads of quality family time, a thoroughly enjoyable braai evening with Mom, Dad, Ryan and Michelle that culminated in a VERY entertaining game of 30 Seconds, followed by a delectable selection of cupcakes for dessert. Other highlights were a stop for Belgian Waffles at the Belgian Waffle House in Strand, the purchase of plastic bowling pins for Jessica, and the making of our own mouth-watering pizza to eat while watching the frankly rather disappointing final instalment in the Twilight movie series.
The next couple of weekends after that saw lots of gaming for me in terms of multi-player Lord of the Rings: War in the North, even more quality family time with Chantelle and Jessica (hello Stodels!), the occasional feeding of the ducks in Strand, a surprise visit from Monty and Cheryl to say hello to little Jess who had said that she was missing them, and probably the most enjoyable of them all, a big braai evening with Andri, Malcolm, Gary and Michelle, with the kids all playing together and the adults eventually getting stuck into some seriously competitive 30 Seconds battles, though we had to ease the rules a little for the ladies, resulting in the girls playing 45 Seconds as opposed to the guys’ 30 Seconds! :)
Oh, and I headed out to Newlands to catch a Stormers game, the first time I’ve been to Newlands in absolute years!
Okay, that’s probably everything that really needed mentioning, so now that we’re all caught up, I’ll do my best to start posting things more regularly to these here pages!
And I’m back. Yes, yes, I know the blog has been ticking over in terms of at least one new post a day, but to be fair, I do have filler posts scheduled all the way up to March next year! Anyway, I took a couple of weeks off from blogging, meaning that there is a fair bit of catch up reporting that I need to get to in terms of sharing all that is going on in our lives at the moment, and I will get to it in the next couple of posts, I promise.
As for what is happening right now, well Jessica has been living with Oupa and Ouma Montgomery for the last week thanks to her creche closing last Friday, we’ve played host to good friend Retha who is down visiting after her extended stay in Spain, Chantelle is working super hard at her Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes baking venture, and I’m patiently waiting for tomorrow to arrive so that I can finish up with work and kick off a nice and relaxing two and a bit weeks’ of vacation.
Oh, and here’s a picture of Jessica helping Mommy with her baking to tide you over until all the real life posts start rolling in…
Ag you know what, why not?
The SA blog awards is a showcase of the very best of South African blogs. We endeavour to bring South African bloggers to the forefront of peoples attention, both locally and internationally, increasing exposure for South Africa’s great bloggers; and in the end reach out and touch people who are outside the realm of blogging and have them discover the fantastic world of blogging.
I’ve never bothered entering the annual SA Blog Awards before, but for a change, why not also try and jump in on the ‘pat on the back’ act? The website has certainly been around for long enough and has enough followers now I would think.
I would really, really appreciate it! :)
(Note: I really picked a shitty year to decide to enter though. They’ve pretty much chopped away most of the categories, leaving no real category for either Rugged Rock or CodeUnit to fall under. Oh well, I’ve tried to place them in the closest fitting categories that I could find! May as well make a long range effort…)
Okay, I guess it is time that I resume with some live life blogging again (thank you my carefully crafted blog buffer – an intricate process I might add, filled with pen marks and printed out calendar pages if you must know), now that I’m no longer feeling like something the dog dragged in for supper via the gutter, no longer constantly bending over to pick up the chunks of my lungs that I have coughed out, or clenching my nostrils as the seemingly endless hammers go to work in my brain.
Shame, it has pretty much been a month of on and off sickness in the Lotter household over here in Gordon’s Bay, with little Jessie forced to do a course of antibiotics half way through and who still coughs and wakes up with a snotty nose each and every morning, a Chantelle who alternates between splitting headaches, a throat on fire and who knows what else, and myself whose infected chest has prevented me from being active for at least four weeks now! (Which is torture indeed for all those around me who are now forced to endure a Craig who hasn’t been able to release his energy for quite some time now. That said, I have been sleeping three times as much as what I normally do!)
Thankfully though I ended up not missing out on too much karate time over this period, but that happens to only be due to the three week long Gushku that was attended by Sensei Birgitt and a handful of others from our dojo in Germany of all places, under Dai Hanshi Ward who made the trip through from Canada. But as for gym and my lovely long morning walks? Ha, forget about it!
(On that note, would have loved to make the Germany trip, but damn, I don’t have that kind of free cash lying around any more, never mind the three weeks leave I would have had to try and sneak in past the bosses!)
Anyway, while we were pretty much constrained to home for the most part (I was even forced to work out of my home office a couple of times – not Chantelle though, she has no other choice but to go in), we did get up to one or two small family-related shenanigans, like a braai at Mom’s place with Claire, Riley and the rest of the family (plus extended) in celebration of Riley’s 30th birthday, a final evening of FIFA with the boys in our old four-man format, a evening out at Cattle Baron with the friends, followed by Scattegories and cake as a sending-off for my good friend Terrance Brown who has left South Africa behind in order to go and teach English in Japan. We slept over in Bellville, enjoyed breakfast with the Montgomery clan, visited with Dean, Zania and Zandea for the first time in literally months, made homemade pizza, watched Jackie Chan (okay, only I did that one), did a couple of slow walks with Jessie in the pram, finished up the cement slabs/brickwork under the carport (wait a minute, wasn’t I meant to be sick over this period?), so yeah, we didn’t completely rest on our laurels despite the sickness permeating number 5 Country Mews, which I guess is a good thing.
Still, I’m pretty sick of winter and all of its associated germs now. Summer had better get here soon…
Anyway, it looks like we’re over the worst part of it now, and I’m going to try my hand at karate again this week.
Hopefully I don’t die. (But if I do, rest assured that there is still at least a month and a half worth of buffer blog posts to keep you entertained.)
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Whew, okay, I’m back to wreak more havoc with the written word, having taken a bit of a break from blogging thanks to a) the really enjoyable X-Men Origins: Wolverine xbox game, b) the really enjoyable Marvel Anime: Iron Man, c) the really enjoyable Wolverine and the X-Men animated show, d) the NOT so enjoyable experience of having my blogs hacked and having to clean up and restore everything, e) loads of fun family visits, f) the NOT so fun daily extended commutes, and finally the most IMPORTANT reason in explaining away my tardiness in these pages: