Monday, December 31, 2007

New Site Design

Latest project was the redesign and updating of ISWS's Silkenfest web site. Pretty happy with the results - just need to figure out how to fix the header so that it acts like a framed page and stays fixed on the screen when scrolling down. The former design had utilized frames and I wanted to get away from that.

Noodling on a redesign for the ISWS site as well since there's been plenty of growth since the original. This time around I am going to work on mapping out the navigation first then the layout. Likely similar colors and layout, but heavily updated coding and arrangement. We'll see what happens!

ECards Are Back!

I used to have a really nice E-Card program at the Borzoi Central web site. When I moved to a new server after getting a reseller account with my web host (made hosting for all my various domains much more affordable) the script would no longer work despite being the same domain name and all. Instead of providing support for the script or allowing a re-install, the script's creator insisted that I would have to shell out $250 for the new, updated program and that they no longer supported the other (interesting since there was no effort in installing it other than providing a download link). So I had to ask myself...why am I going to pay $250 for a program that one day they will decide they no longer want to "support" and insist you pay an exorbitant amount for the updated version. Considering I had already paid around $150 for the previous version, and that I provided the service at absolutely no charge on the site, I could not justify further expenditure. So...that said...beware of ECardMax unless you get thrills by flushing money...because eventually, they will pull the rug out from under you.

So Borzoi Central has been lacking in an ecards program for a while and I occasionally would do a little googling to see if I could find a comparable script. Finally, a month ago, I found something that looked promising. I came upon Maian Script World that had several different PHP scripts to choose from, including an ecard system. I was thrilled to see it was PHP - the former having been CGI driven. I finally had a chance to install it on the site and got some of my pictures uploaded for use. The only thing it lacks from the earlier script is the Java effects - otherwise it trumps the expensive program in spades. Hoorah!

In the future I will be checking out the other Maian scripts such as the blog and the recipe exchange. In the meantime, I will work on getting more and more pictures uploaded for the ecards, and the graphic icons created. So far - the program has received several nice reviews from users.

Coursing Bits

Victor went down to Richmond (TX) for the AHCGH AKC trials this past weekend. Boudie had come back for a running season visit a couple weekends ago and apparently was rarin' to go - his return to the field heralded by winning a 5-point major towards his LCX title at Saturday's trial. Victor said he was in fine form and some fabulous pictures taken by Dan Gauss showing his elasticity. He is an amazingly flexible dog. Unfortunately he introduced his foot to a cluster of stickers during prelims on Sunday which affected his run tremendously - and although he turned in a nice Finals run, it just wasn't going to be enough. Solo more than made up for it by turning in two lovely runs and coming away with his first coursing major! Victor forfeited BOB with next weekend's AKC trial in mind - although it could get a bit nutty attempting to juggle showing Solo and running him on the same day. I guess we can only wait and see what the day brings us!

Catching Up

The holidaze and the accompanying chaos that it brings, has made me somewhat remiss in posting. I hope everyone had a wonderful and joyous Christmas! Victor and I drove down to Houston to visit my father and some of the wonderful in-laws from his second marriage. I am so thankful that they keep in contact with him after Margaret's passing earlier this year. I did reminisce a bit with Dad about some of our past Christmas's when Mom was alive - especially our "tradition" of opening up a nice yummy box of Chocolate Covered Cherry candies each Christmas eve. Houston is about 4 1/2 hours away, and we didn't have a petsitter - so it was something of a "drive-by Christmas". We only got to spend about 4 hours down there, but had a wonderful meal and good company.

As to doggie news - Ginger came into heat (she's in Washington to be bred) and was bred to Harper about the time we were munching on the Christmas ham. Also, the litter Tyler sired was whelped in California, with the result being 1 girl and 4 boys. All boys are chinchilla colored too, a favorite for me. Mom is our Duncan's sister Cinder. I can't wait to see how the little darlings turn out! You can see current pictures on their page in the Talisman Hounds web site.

We also managed to get more pictures of our pups playing out in the yard - both Duri's litter and Sassi's.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Solo's Eukanuba Win Pic

He just looks absolutely delicious. I sure wish the photographer's settings for contrast/lighting had been better - I've done no adjusting to the photo at all - it came exactly like that. A glaring white flash of Borzoi bod. But other than that - it's the best darned win picture I've gotten of him. His first major pic - His finishing photo - sucky pic. His first group placement - sucky pic. So - I can live with this picture, 'cos he looks NICE!

Site Redesign

Well I completed a re-design at my "normal" job today. Here's a screenshot.

It can be so hard to deal with "dry" content - so I figured I would liven it up slightly with more eye candy than it had before. Here's the link.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Forever Borzoi

I got word yesterday that my story submitted for inclusion in the Forever Borzoi book has made the cut! I wrote about what a huge turn (for the better) my life took when I brought Nikki into my home and heart. I had two stories included in the Being Borzoi publication - that publication won an award too! It's a great collection of stories about living with and sharing one's life with Borzoi from various individuals. My stories were about Miss T's adventure when she got loose in the "wilds" of Lancaster, TX and our searching for her with a Bloodhound, and her recovery; and a story about Burni's interesting ex-pen habit we discovered at a show. I had also submitted several photographs so I will be interested to see how the publication turns out!

In the meantime, check out their web site, and consider purchasing one of the books! They donate a portion to NBRF or the CHF Donor Advised Fund (depending on which book you purchase).

Friday, December 7, 2007


Yesterday morning...early early yesterday morning...I took Lumos (Solo/Duri) to the airport for her to begin her journey to her new home up in Oregon. I groggily arrived at Continental at a quarter after 5, parked the van, and took her traveling crate into the office and came back out to get her and her traveling papers. By the time I got back out, someone had parked to the right of me (super-close I might add) and had just opened their door into the side of my van. I was even less impressed when they promptly went to the back of their sedan...and opened their TRUNK! Filled with tiny crates all set up for traveling (little bags of food taped to the top)...and pulled out one with a puppy inside of it!


I carried Lumos inside and set her up, much to her chagrin, in her crate and awaited my turn in line. The fellow parked next to me came in - he pulled out a little parti-dappled dachshund pup and proceeded to dress it up in a little bandana. The counter guy was talking to him as he made copies and then went out to get a cart for the folks that were ahead of me and who also had a large crate. He apparently had seen this guy on many occasions for shipping pups. They began discussing his Christmas "business" and he mentioned that it was way down.

After getting Lumos set up for her day's adventure, I got back in the van to head to work. I noted the license plate on the sedan - Oklahoma. So that meant a minimum of 2 hours away. I am left thinking, if someone constantly had puppies available to ship and could refer to it as "business", why on earth didn't they have a proper vehicle to bring their "commodity" down to the airport for shipping?! With all the pseudo-SUVs out there, they don't even need a van - use a Honda Element, or that cool HHR vehicle. Our Astro van has been a wonderful vehicle - but I would much prefer being able to toodle to work in a Mini Cooper or something else smaller and sportier instead of being in the "soccer mom" category with a minivan! So I was pretty much disgusted at the thought of this fellow hauling puppies in the trunk of his car for the rest of the day.

On a good note, Lumos' flight was uneventful and she arrived safe and sound in Portland (albeit a bit messy) and is now with her new family.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Annual "Rabies Round-Up"

Yesterday we had what I've come to call our "rabies round-up". Our vet comes to the house and gives the majority of our dogs their annual rabies vaccination (some of them, due to their birthday or when they arrived here, get their vaccine near summertime). We also do any exams on those dogs I would like checked - Arthur and Perci were just overjoyed at their prostate exams (not!). Flareon got her stitches removed from her surgery a couple weeks ago (all pathology came back benign - hurrah!) and Lars got looked at for limping (left shoulder - muscle strain/pull).

This time around I also opened up my box of microchips and we chipped several of the Borzoi and Silkens. I have a HUGE fear of needles - they have to practically hold me down to do any bloodwork on me - and I project that fear to the idea of inserting that big bore needle into one of my dogs. Just can't do it - although I give vaccines to the dogs regularly (the combo shots, not the rabies vac).

Now I will likely be in need of medical attention once I get the bill!! Ouch - that hurts!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Eukanuba '07 - A Touch of Success

Solo attended the 2007 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship Show in Long Beach, CA this past weekend. He was dual qualified, having finished from the Bred-By Exhibitor classes, as well as ranking in the Top 25 at the time of the deadline (he was at #4). Sassi had also received an invite from her ranking - but was in no condition to attend thanks to her fancy whelping haircut.

I didn't have the vacation time to spare, so we managed to hitch him a ride and flew Jill out there to show him. Maybe next year I will be able to attend and compete in the Bred-By competition (the invite for that lasts for 2 years).

Super pleased that our "lil boy" won an Award of Merit under judge Dr. Robert Indeglia! There is a candid picture taken during his photo session for the AOM online HERE.