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Rental car companies hate me!

“Happy New Year!”
By Lance Clifford

As I sit here and type this, I am still fighting my New Year's Eve hangover. For some reason I enjoy punishing myself every New Year and this year was no exception. I guess it is because I am always optimistic that the new year will be full of fun and fortune. Well I haven't hit the lottery yet, but I do tend to have a lot of fun.

2005 was a crazy year in both my personal life, and in my professional life. I won't go into the personal stuff but I'll share some of the things that made 2005 an experience for me professionally. Our website's traffic grew at a brisk and steady pace. We had to make some expensive server hardware upgrades, and plan for future growth accordingly. We got hit by the entire planet Earth in October by a little thread now known world wide as the "Charlie Wentzel Thread". If you don't know what I'm talking about, you must live under a rock! The traffic hammered our servers to oblivion, and forced us to make frantic server tweaks to deal with the load.

With the growth we've experienced over the past year, not all of our new visitors were friendly wheelers. We experienced several serious hacker attempts throughout the year, and we even lost our entire Bulletin Board database once. Thankfully we had a complete backup from the night before so we only lost a days worth of data. This is the kind of stuff that ages me 10 years in 10 minutes. For the most part this kind of stuff is behind the scenes, and transparent to you, the reader. My motto has always been "To be successful, you must surround yourself with people smarter than yourself". I truly try to live by this motto, and Pirate4x4.com could simply not exist without my right hand Super Nerd man, Bill Plein. Bill is the kind of guy that can talk to you about computers (even if you have a formal computer education), and make your head feel like it's going to explode from all the technical talk coming out of his mouth. He truly is the brains behind the scenes of this operation. Thanks Bill, I love you man!

I'm very excited for 2006. The most significant change for me in 2006 is teaming up with my good friend Jason Scherer for the UROC Pro National Series. We are both very excited to be working together, and are taking the 2006 season very seriously. I have been working out and jogging every day, and have lost 30lbs since October. No more Fat Bastard behind this keyboard! Jason and I were interviewed in Sacramento a couple of weeks ago for a future episode of "Xtreme 4x4" on Spike TV. The show will be airing in late February, or early March so be sure to check it out.

I expect Pirate4x4.com will have continued growth in 2006. Now that the "Charlie Wentzel Thread" has died off, we now know how much traffic we can handle before being brought to our knees, and what we need to do to grow. We are currently preparing to add a third web server to the Pirate4x4.com arsenal. In laymen's terms, think of it this way; Go to your local Best Buy, and ask them for 6 of the very best computers they offer. Then have them add a few thousand dollars worth of upgraded hard drives and memory, and that's about how much power our three industrial servers have. That's a lot of horsepower under the hood!

In November I was lucky enough to travel to Australia for the WEROC Australian finals. In 2006 I am planning on attending a Russian Expedition, and will be bringing you a daily account of my adventures. Of course we will be attending events like the Easter Jeep Safari, and Jeeper's Jamboree. We will be on the trails a lot more in 2006 as well. From the Rubicon to places further East, keep an eye out for us, and be sure to say hello.


Lance Clifford
President, Pirate4x4.com

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