The reason for the second part is that James Marcus Bach (http://www.satisfice.com/blog) found a solution to the original one. His solution was much different than what I had in mind and he adviced me how to change the wording. Nicely solved and thanks for the tip!
Please remember, I don't want you to ruin the puzzle for anyone in the comments section so if you want to solve this, send me an e-mail or ping over Twitter so we can sort out the details. Thanks!
So here goes!
What comes next in the series (you need to replace X's with correct letters to continue the series) and present your logic:
gra, avar, rvtXX