Thank you for the helpful info!
In the space of time before I was notified of posts, I set up mySQL on my local machine and love it -- I think I'm going to use it for most everything, but for when I do flat file stuff, I'll keep your suggestions in mind, surefire. I like that .htaccess trick.
Oh, and how exactly would you do number 3? (The first 3 in the second list )
I can check the IP and send an email, but how do I trigger it?