Ok, it's official. As of 8th March, this will no longer be a Cardiff based blog. It will be a Tenby based blog. We're finally all set to head west. Other than booking the removal van, packing the house, and getting everything 90 odd miles westwards, we're done. And to be honest, I can't wait. Cardiff has just about utterly pissed me off the last couple of years so I'm happy to be going.
This happened before back when I was 20 and ready to get away to Cornwall. I ended up in a place like where I'm going to now. Seaside tourist trap with a long history and miles from home. Back then the things that drove me mad and bought me back home are the exact things I want now and will make me a new home. Being older and wiser, they are boons not curses.
I love Cardiff and the people, but I hate it and them as we well. Hell, who am I kidding, I hate people full stop, but if it's a toss up between sitting in traffic for an hour whilst trying to get the 2 miles to the city centre to join the shopping zombies or getting miffed by tourists for a few short weeks in the summer, then I know which one I'd take.
We were there yesterday just for the day, to look at the house we're renting and show Elis. I can't wait to be out of Cardiff. He looks excited and I want to do lots of seaside stuff with him. Touch wood it all goes well.
Long time readers will remember my fascination with big things, that inevitably led to me being a bit taken in by the whole Giantology viral marketing blog thing, Initially I thought the blogger writing the stuff was real but he was getting hoaxed, but now it looks like the whole thing was back story. I kind of haven't posted much like that since to be honest.
So, after an absence in occasionally posting about giants and seeing it on the BBC's homepage, I had to share this story of a potentially record breaking colossal squid caught in Antarctic waters this week. Whoahhhh! What a monster, and it's still a relatively small specimen I'd think. I have to say I love seafood, but I'm not a massive squid fan. You'd be chewing that guy for a week!In other news, and in a roundabout and extremely tenuous way, there's another return to the land of the giants. We're going to sign the papers tomorrow on the Tenby house, and should be moving west come the 7th/8th of March.
So, why is that a return to the land of the giants? Well, the house we're renting is just around the corner from the place I took the photo of four old fellas that became the basis for the painting I made many years ago called Old Giants Resting. Hey, I said it was tenuous.
Anyway, it seems fitting to trot out an old one, given how much my life has changed and gone in a different direction since then. Now it stands on the brink of a whole new direction. I can't wait. I could do without the cardboard boxes and stuff, but it should be worth the hassle.
I'm really feeling the need to cull a lot of my old sites. The combined time saved doing things like looking at stats or worrying about them gets attractive when you start adding up the minute bits of time. As things go on, I increasingly realise how much of my old work fed my old (and flawed) business model. I can see many hours of my work in there, and whilst it seems a shame to throw that away, what I've learnt from doing them far exceeds any benefits from keeping them up.
So, as I mentioned earlier, I am culling old sites. I will sell some of my more popular properties in coming months, but at the moment I'm closing a few of the redundant ones. So, if you've found you're way here bounced from one of the following:
Then apologies, as the sites no longer exist - they've gone to the great big web server in the sky. You weren't missing anything so don't worry.
In other news, we should find out in the next 24 hours if the Tenby thing is definite, and be booking vans and packing furiously to be out in the next couple of weeks. I've felt rotten all week as I've had a killer throat infection and a cold, so I'm at a bit of a low ebb at the moment. Still, if this all comes off, it'll be worth all the hassle.
Plans for our big move are still in swing - we're waiting on the surveyors report from the buyer and we should be able to set the completion date. We still haven't found anywhere definite to live, but we've centred our attentions on the areas of Tenby and Saundersfoot in Pembrokshire.
We took another trip down there last weekend (where I started the redesign off) and looked at a few likely areas. We managed to put an offer in on one amazing rental place, practically on the beach in Saundersfoot. Unfortunately we were gazumpped, after travelling down to sign the papers this Monday, we were told the house had received and offer to be bought instead of rented. We were gutted.
But it's not all doom and gloom, we have a place in Tenby to visit next week that we can pretty much have if we like it, and whilst not on the beach, it's about 200 yards away from it. Touch wood it comes off as we're expecting to have to be out the end of the month.
From the first visit, here's some snaps of first a horse in the sea at Saundersfoot, and then some shots on the beach in Tenby. It was a bit grey both days, so nothing too spectacular.
Well, here it is. Based on templates I made recently for another of my sites, I've given my oldest and favourite blog a major overhaul. I think this is about the 6th version of the site. From the heady early days on blogspot to the move to its own domain, this is the one site that I've maintained regularly the longest, albeit with varying degrees of attention on my posting.
Gone are the reams of links and clutter on the navigations and footers, gone is the old and sprawling digital gallery and empty articles sections and gone are a lot of old legacy formatting and layout issues I created for myself over the years. Fixed are all the broken images from earlier sub-domain abuse and slip-shod forward planning, optimisation issues and a bitty behind the scenes maze.
I've been moving towards cleaner sites a while now. Minimal clutter, table free CSS layouts and larger fonts for readability's sake. The maxim 'less is more' is increasingly becoming my outlook with my sites and the number of them I try to maintain and make earn my keep.
So, what's changed? Well, the emphasis here is now towards my digital photography and other creative efforts. The old and sprawling digital galleries full of my work are dead and gone. There were thousands of mediocre images in there for every good few I posted here on the blog. My life's cluttered enough as it is, and with no time or will to maintain them, they got the chop.
Now the digital gallery section references back to the blog. One day when I have time I may make some 'best of galleries' to feature there - but as it stands now you can quickly see what I feel are my best photographs via the digital gallery pages.
Also gone are the old sub sites - the blog, articles, reviews, etc that were still lingering in the odd place. Also gone from the main page are all the eclectic links I'd built up for some of my favourite things. Instead there's an all new links section so I may be more inclined to add new stuff and leaving me able to increase the signal to noise ratio on the blog.
There's a brand new contact me form, which I've found has cut down on my spam considerably on other sites that I've used it on. I've also added a brief about us page for anyone interested enough to want to read it. Gone are all the blog buttons and chicklets that used to sit at the bottom of the page as well - pointless and noise making, I've got shot of the lot.
You'll notice there's a links to my other creative work in the left navigation with links to the headlines of my other postings on my other blogs. I'll just mention it's not being done for vanity purposes. Firstly it may entice surfers over to the other sites, and secondly there are some other related benefits to it that I won't discuss here.
There's also a brand new digital photography store section, which I'm still working on. I've increasingly been moving into affiliate marketing on my sites as a means of generating cash with great success. Previously I thought my path to self-sufficiency lay in the AdSense ads and similar schemes, but affiliate is the way for me from now on - hence the distinct lack of AdSense ads on the site now.
A lot of what I intend to do with the store section won't be seen directly, it'll generate revenues via search marketing - but it's nice to have something there for those who surf in via organic results to have a look around, or to reinforce the offers that people arrive at via other means.
I'll end by saying thanks to the people out there who drop in once in a while and check what I'm up to - you all continue to be a big inspiration, even if I don't insinuate my presence as much these days. Any comments on the new look would be appreciated. This blog will be five years old in the summer, so with the new direction, I'm thinking there'll be many more anniversaries in the future!
Nothing wrong with the normal host, but to tackle the local search problem I have with this site, I'm planning on moving this domain to UK hosting in the next few days. This will tie in with a complete new look for the site, some new sections and a few other dramatic changes.
Things will invariably be broken, however, not as broken as they were. If you've had to put up with the flood of past posts reappearing in your RSS reader, then my apologies. I've had to manually fix around 600 posts which has taken the best part of a week to do.
I've been putting it off since before I finished at the Beeb, but given the redesign here, I had to bite the bullet it and fix them all. I've literally relived my recent life in blog posts the last week or so. I deleted a few old posts that had me scratching my head, and cursed Firefox 2's automatic spelling mistake highlight feature as I've had to correct loads of my old bad spellings.
That's over now though, and I'm itching to get the new site up but want to do it all at once and do the domain move as well. As a result, there could well be some weirdness the next few days.
Well, I had been working hard on getting this site fixed up for its relaunch. I'd also promised myself I would no longer do impulse sites or indeed, any more new sites (unless there was a good reason).
Best laid plans of mice and men - I had a brainwave after realising I could use Google's custom search engine service to my own advantage. As a result - Online Bingo Seek was born and quickly put together and delivered unto the world. I can see a lot of potential for using this technology in the future as well - it's a great service. Now I've done that, I can get back to the work of sorting this place out.
I'm doing some work on the domain and old blog posts - if you see lots of old crud appearing on the RSS feeds then my apologies - I'm going back and scrubbing some of my older posts and giving this site a new lease of life. If stuff's broken, it should sort itself out shortly. Stay tuned. :)