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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vindicated. For once. (A victory for the good guys)

This really has very little to do with the Neverending Necklace itself, but everything with my position as its webmaster (giggle).
I never had training on how to create and maintain a website, but I can be taught by trial and error. Over the years, I had the pleasures to explore the many possibilities as well as limitations within my software.

Really, I'm enjoying all the tools that are available and I make use of them where I find it applicable. But I don't like captchas in particular, so I leave them out of all my websites and hope for the best.

One of the more frustrating issues of course are the constant spammers who try to direct you to their questionable sites via form submissions. I promise I don't need any Viagra, male enhancement or the company of exotic girls. And I don't gamble, either.
But these spammers just don't get it.

On one of my sites is a form ("form A") that they particularly like to use, and a bulk of the submissions came from the same email address over and over, several times each and every day.

So here is what I did.

Suspecting that this one prolific spammer just bookmarks the pages with forms on them, I copied that page and linked that new version ("form B") to my site under a different file name and title, so visitors could still submit their legitimate info and never knew the difference.

It would have stopped the spam, but I wanted more.

I took the original version ("form A") off all the links from the site but kept it published. (That way, it still was a valid link in their bookmarks and could be used for their devious little attempt to get me to buy their crap.)

On "form A", I entered the email recipient using their own email. Now they not only got their own spam back but all the others as well.

It went on for about half a year. Today I got a notice as webmaster, that their email account was cancelled.

I'm ready to change the next form whenever they find it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Let the "Hope" Section Begin!

It was only yesterday that I had posted the idea of the beaded section for Japan, and already the first dedications came in since early this morning.

Keep the dedications coming, because it encourages me on the long and winding path to create this panel for Japan's disaster victims.

And today was when we heard the first good news: first about the heroes who sacrifice their own health and perhaps even their lives by staying with the damaged nuclear power plant. They made this decision in order to hopefully avert the worst case scenario of a meltdown, while putting themselves in harm's way so other people were spared.

Then, there was the miraculous discovery of the surviving baby and the older woman, who could be reunited with their families.

In every tragedy, there are glimpses of hope, bright shining slivers of light that defy the darkness of the past.
Let's hope there will be more good news and let's hope that people will never give up in the face of despair.

Today I started picking out the many beads that are necessary to create this special section.

A design is already in place, and this panel will be very unique. It will be the first panel that actually has the appearance of an image made entirely from beads.
Wait until it's ready - you'll like it.

But as I had mentioned, that technique requires careful planning and it is extremely time consuming.
In a careful estimate, I anticipate this section to be finished by the end of next month. (April 30th)

And I NEED your support. Dedicate beads to give this work its meaning, without your input it is only a fragment of the messenger it can be.

Dedicate your beads now, it's easy and free:

I promise I will keep you posted on all the progress!

Monday, March 14, 2011

There are events that can throw you off your schedule... say the least.

On last Friday was to appear a continuation of the Neverending Necklace story, but something infinitively bigger had taken precedence.
(I will continue that story in just a few days)

Japan needs us right now. Expert emergency personnel, funds, prayers, goods, services and moral support.

The Japanese need to know that the world is pulling together to help them any way possible.

And they need to know that we care. I am as sad over this catastrophe as anybody, and I would like to offer a message of encouragement and hope to those people who have lost so much.

"Dear Japanese, please be strong, keep faith in life and the earth and know that you are thought of."

We are their family now, and together we can allay their fears and soothe their emotional wounds.

There will be a long time of grieving, of cleaning up, of burying, of despair and endless tears. But Japan will rebuild the part that was taken by the earth and the sea.There will be a new beginning amid hope for a new future.

Please help me make a special panel with dedications as encouragement to those stricken by sadness and grief.

Dedicate beads to the people of Japan. It's easy and free.
Once all beads o the special panel are dedicated, I will send a list of the dedications to the Japanese Ambassador in the US.

Spread a little kindness and help comfort the victims of this tragic disaster.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Making the World's Longest Necklace. How crazy is that?

As if we didn't have already enough world record attempts floating around the atmosphere, cluttering people's sense of aesthetics.

Well, the Neverending Necklace wasn't really designed to dilute the pool of 5-minute-fame-holders. Notoriety is not what I was after when I incepted the idea of raising money and awareness for a local Veteran's charity.

It all started out with a very well written and researched article in our local paper, the Palm Beach Post. It talked about Chris Noel and her wonderful charity that made it its mission to help Veterans who are disabled and/or homeless.

It left an impact on me, as my memories brought me back to my own teenage years, back in time and far away.

I grew up in a part of Germany that had US troops stationed all around us. The American soldiers and their families were a part of my upbringing, and when I was in High School, some classmates and I had befriended a few GIs.

The emotional recollections about their time in Vietnam were detached to a sheltered German teenage girl, but we all felt the dark clouds that shrouded these men's pain in hazy attempts to camouflage their experience.

Not to forget that Germany's own war-torn past was something our parents and grandparents had lived through.

War was not pretty. Not heroic. And very undesirable to say the least.

In other words: I grew up hating a monster that I had never encountered, but that was described to me vividly by those who I loved and trusted.

War would forever become a permanent resident on my shit list.

So - a cause helping Veterans was personal. I decided I would help.

That was almost 13 years ago and I have learned a lot.

For one: don't attempt to "help" without a concise plan. And, above all, try to be financially stable when you decide to implement a novel fund raising idea.

But, the Neverending Necklace was born, and with it the commitment to make it a messenger of peace. And love. Love & Peace.

At the time I owned a nature store selling rocks, fossils, birding supplies, tea, incense, books, gifts, gem stones and beads.

The idea was simple:
choose beads and dedicate them to people you love. Each dedication was $1.00 and that money went to the Veteran's Charity.

I could raise a little money and the new project was quite popular in my store. However my dreamy bubble burst when I had to close shop for the lack of traffic. Rent was high and sales low, and somehow this equation just didn't work.

The necklace, at the time about seven feet long, went into hibernation...

Read more in tomorrow's blog

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

So, What Do You Do With a Blog?

Not that I don't know that already, but it's a question I asked myself after I sat staring at the white and very virgin text box.

And because you don't want to read about me and my humble life (which is just like Millions of other regular lives), I hope to give you something of value.

Something that will keep you intrigued or at least entertained for a couple of fleeting moments.

I'd like to share my knowledge about pearls and beads and, of course, the Neverending Necklace.

While I have been working on making the World's longest and most endearing string of beads, I have also accumulated a wealth of information and some wisdom to boot. 

"Pearls of Wisdom" and "Beads of Knowledge", so to speak.

Grab a cup of tea, hold on tight and follow this blog. You just might find some gems along the way...