Highly Motivated

I finally know what will motivate my wife to happily run errands: $193 million dollars. Give or take a few million.

Today she actually volunteered to run errands so should could buy lottery tickets as the jackpot was higher than the GNP of many third world countries. And it was even raining! She normally avoids going out in the rain as if it could melt a person like the witch in the Wizard of Oz. But today the rain was just water and it wasn't going to stand between her and untold millions.

My friend George always said he didn't want to win the lottery for less than $90 million. He said what with taxes being taken out and all, anything less just wasn't worth it.

My wife is a bit more realistic—she was interested in the jackpot even when it was a measly $80 million. So we went out a week ago to buy tickets. No one won. We went out again three days later to buy more tickets when the jackpot neared $120 million. No one won.

But I had a lot of work to do and didn't want to go (despite the one-in-forty-million chance of winning more than enough money to buy a Senator). So she said, "Then I'm going by myself—but don't expect me to tell you if I win."

Now, my wife has always said that if she won she wouldn't tell anyone that she won—but in the past that didn't include me. She didn't want crazies, friends or relatives calling and asking where their 10 million is, then being disappointed when they only get a million.

She's got a point—except when the point gets so sharp she won't tell me, then that's going too far. I'm forced to remind her of a little thing under California law called "Community Property" which means that I get half of the winnings even if she goes out by herself to buy the ticket.

This didn't seem to concern her. She claimed she could keep it a secret from me, but I think that when contractors arrive to build a new sun-room I might get suspicious, and should, even if one small Tiffany-blue box arrives Fed Ex. Even I would know something was afoot.

Personally, I think that a $193 million dollar jackpot is simply excessive unless, of course, I win it, in which case it sounds pretty good. But really, wouldn't it be better to spread it around—have 193 people win a million, instead of one winning 193?

See—I'd be happy with a million. I'd be happy with a half a million. I'd be happy with any positive number that has at least three zeros, even if one of them is after the decimal point.

Of course, I tend to think that best part of the lottery is that it gives me a seemingly good reason to dream about how I'd spend money I'll probably never see. I wonder if the dreamy anticipation is actually better than the reality. Of course, for me to know for sure I'd have to win, so I may never know.

I do know, though, how my sense of money has changed over the years—which makes me think I could get jaded after a while. A long time ago $5 was a huge amount of money to me. Then it was $50. Now $500 seems like a lot, $5,000 a whole lot, and $50,000 a whole heck of a lot.

I read a bunch of stuff online that said that lottery winners weren't happier after the initial thrill of winning. I find that hard to believe. I know that money can't buy you happiness, but I imagine it could buy something resembling happiness.

OK—my wife's back, she's actually shown me the numbers—at least this seems to be a real ticket. I looked up the winning numbers on the web and our numbers are exceptional only because not a single one matches any of the ones on my wife's ticket (notice it's her ticket now).

I guess this means we'll have to continue being bottom-feeders in the retail ecosystem. That's OK—hunter-gather shopping is primal fun. Last week I bought my wife a fun faux fur coat for a mere $40. But it's relative—right? I thought that $40 was cheap—but 90% of the world thinks $40 is a whole heck of a lot of money. So I guess I'm lucky after all.

Daniel Will-Harris

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I don't know about you, but I am somewhat addicted to eBay. There's just so much interesting stuff there. But if you buy on eBay, you know that bidding too soon only allows others to see your bid and outbid you. Bidding at the very last second is called "sniping" and it's the best way to win with the lowest price.

While sniping can be annoying to the people you beat (or when you get beat), the truth about auctions is that you should decide on your top bid and not go over it. If someone outbids you, that's life.

My problem is I tend to forget to bid at the last minute—then the auction ends and I've missed it. So now I use a site called AuctionSniper that allows me to bid my top bid at the last second (or any number of seconds before the end of the auction). I think of it as "set it and forget it." I bid the amount I'm willing to pay and then just see if I get it or not. This helps me avoid getting sucked into a bidding frenzy and continually upping my bid over what I'd originally meant to pay.

AuctionSniper' s well designed and easy to use. The cost ranges from.25 cents to 1% (but never more than $5). That's very low if it means you win the item you want, or, like me, you might otherwise forget and kick yourself.


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So you're wondering where to get support for Fusion these days? Web Site Pros now has both e-mail and phone support up and running.

OFFICIAL FREE SUPPORT: e-mail support@netobjects.com

NEWSGROUPS: If you don't have a newsreader, you can access the groups through the web at: http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&group=netobject s This lets you read and post to newsgroups through your web browser.

SITES: http://www.GotFusion.com was created by the men and women who volunteer their time to the Fusion Technical Support Newsgroups is a great resource for everyone who uses Fusion.

http://www.fusionbuilders.com - List your own site here for free and see what others are doing with Fusion—and also find links to useful Fusion components.

PAID TELEPHONE SUPPORT: $35 per incident: NetObjects Fusion Support: 877-729-8625 (Canada 904-650-6951), Customer/Sales Support 877-650-8171 (Canada 904-680-6950).

Before you call, you need to buy a PIN number. This is the tricky part:

Go to www.netobjects.com - click on Purchase (in the upper right corner).

Select any item to buy (don't worry, you won't actually buy it).

Click on the yellow "Begin new order" button on the upper left of the screen.

You'll have a new blank cart. From the dropdown list, select 1, 6 or 12 incidents. Once you finish ordering you'll get the magic PIN number necessary to actually speak to support on the phone. Yes—it practically requires tech support to find out how to pay for tech support, and hopefully WSP will streamline this in the near future.

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A reader suggested this simple, free program that will search your site for dead links and missing files. It's fast and simple to use, so give it a try.


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I made chocolate chip cookies for the first time in a long time yesterday, but once I'd started I realized we didn't have any brown sugar. I know that brown sugar is just white sugar with molasses, and I had molasses, but I didn't have any molasses—so I used corn syrup.

Well, the cookies turned out very interesting—very smooth and chewy, but with less flavor than the normal chocolate chip cookies. My wife suggested that I roll the each piece of dough in coconut then put it on the baking sheet—which I did, and the results were fantastic—and a new cookie is born!

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When I was really sick a few years ago, I realized I would have given every cent I had to get well. Luckily I didn't have to do that, but it does put things in perspective.




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The SchoomozeLetter is ©1998-2005, Daniel Will-Harris, all rights reserved. If you'd like to use any article on the web or in print, please ask for permission. If you're an agent or publisher looking to publish these pieces, just drop me a note.