Sunday, February 01, 2009

Moving house...

Hello all...TeeJayDoubleTee is migrating....

This blog is now closed. I will retain the address, etc...

Meet the New Blog, same as the Old Blog (but better)!


See you there!


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New addresses to link to...

So it is all coming together. My Wordpress blog is up, and is a mirror of this one. I'll be keeping this page for a while, but will eventually abandon ship when the new one officially launches. I am still looking for a better background color for the look and some items also need to be tweaked and re-arranged. You can find it here

I am also working on getting the photography gallery up and running. For the time being I am fooling around with a decent site for the month and will decide on something in a week or so. I like the look so far and it even has a gallery in it. It is a series of abstract work that I have done. You can find that place by going here

Please comment on the state of my affairs. Send m your suggestions on colors, fonts, etc...I have wanted to use Helvetica, but I don't think I can. Trebuchet MS will have to do for now.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Goodbye to PayPal...Good riddance.

So I have used EBay for a few years now and have never had a problem. I have also used Paypal for the same amount of time and, also, no problems. A few weeks ago that changed.

Just for fun I tried to apply for a PayPal Credit Card. After a short credit check, I was denied--big surprise there. In my mind and experience, that was the end of the matter, and I went on my merry way. Then I began to receive statements from PayPal stating that I owed them a monthly payment for charges to my PayPal Buyer Credit account. Thinking that this was a phishing scam, I disregarded the notice. The next month I received the same statement, but with a higher minimum payment. So I began to call PayPal. What they wanted to pay the account were the routing and checking account numbers of my own bank. I spoke to my bank. They advised me to not give them the numbers.

In the end, after formally disputing the charges*, I made the payment using my checking account. I now have a zero balance. I wanted to close my account, but PayPal would not let me. The letter I received from them regarding my dispute was a form letter sent to buyers/sellers and had nothing to do with me. This morning I called PayPal and was able to close the account.

PayPal is not a financially secure way to build credit. Although they are affiliated with a bank, they do not seem to be governed by the FDIC, as the bank is actually in Luxembourg. Now, my facts may be incorrect, but on-line research has shown me that I am not the only one to have gone through this and there have been far worse scenarios. Some people have had their entire bank accounts frozen by PayPal and it has taken months to thaw them out. It all seems pretty shady to me. Plus, the unofficial rumor is that EBay trying to discourage any seller who does not accept PayPal, which seems discriminatory to me. Perhaps it is not.

So...I am no longer using PayPal. No worries for me. Good riddance.

On more positive notes...I am currently beginning a move from this blog to a WordPress site. I hope to have my actual whole website up soon, before I head off to Europe, at least. It will be a basic page with links to my gallery page as well as others, including the blog. When the times comes, I'll set up a re-direct for everyone.


*I withdrew the dispute before paying the balance. The letter arrived a few days later, and, like I said, did not address the subject of my dispute.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ups and Downs...

I don't know what was happening in the past few weeks. A friend told me that Mercury has been in retrograde, and that we must all watch our speaking, thinking, and actions. Sounds like we should all stay in bed. The good news is that, I think, it is no longer retro, so things should be getting better. Here's how my life has been...

I wasn't able to get any work done, although I have been granted extensions on my two courses from last semester. That has changed in the past few days, as I am almost finished with most of what I started two months ago, and only since Wednesday. Even I am impressed.

My Credit By Evaluation (CBE) for college has been turned over to yet another evaluator. Apparently the first woman didn't supply the proper work for the needs of the college. So I have to go through this process again. I am left feeling discriminated against. For instance, if I had been in the armed forces for two years, I would have been granted automatic college credit for doing so. This does not apply to an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts, 120 credits from the culinary school I attended, or the 18 years I spent working in the field. Logic says that if I had learned how to kill someone at 1000 yards with one shot I would have no problem getting the 16 credits I am asking for. Just remember, I only feel as if I am being discriminated against. No one can sue me for 'feeling'.

Mom's mental state has shifted slightly, and she is becoming a little more disoriented and confused than before. Thank the Big Wheel that we hire the caregivers when we did. It makes this transition smooth and easy. Overall though, her health is solid, her mood is up, and she is safe, warm, and loved from all angles.

I have my tickets for my spring trip to the Balkans. On the schedule are the two AA conventions (Croatia and Greece) and a side trip to Serbia. Serbia celebrated two years of AA this past November, which makes me grateful to be sober and witness this kind of 'seed planting' of sobriety at this time. I am looking forward to the experience. I am going to keep things loose in terms of destinations. I am flying into Vienna and will take a train to Zagreb. This means I leave to return to the US from Vienna as well. I will have to explore that city and give it its due.

As promised, the enclosed picture is of the new baby, the Canon 50D. I have the 50mm L series lens attached for the full effect. That's a lot of glass, as they say.

What a time to be alive!


P.S.--Nice job America! Now let's get to work!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Oh my...My, oh my...

My new camera arrived -- with it my new lens. These represent an enormous upgrade in both cost and commitment.

I have been fooling around with it for a few minutes, after charging the battery, of course.

Oh my.

A Canon 50D with a EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens.

Oh my.

It puts the Rebel XTi to shame. It's so heavy. It's so solid. The bokeh is so smooth. 15 mega pixels. Almost noiseless shutter....just a soft 'thwwwppp'--no click or anything.

I'm in love again. I'll post a picture tomorrow...