Category Archives: Announcements

What Did We Get Ourselves Into?!?

Oy vey… It’s been one of those days, and a LONG one to boot. Why? We brought THIS home:

Do NOT be fooled by it’s appearance!!! Tis a dread, snarling beast with a foul temper and long sharp teeth!

I should have known when the other people at the adoption agency were all like:

LOL, If she could read, she MIGHT have a complex by now.

Seriously though, this little tornado was all over the house from one end to other for almost 5 hours straight!

You name it, she attacked and chased it. The poor octopus toy there never stood a chance. 😀 She was up and down both cat trees, frequently jumping from the top of the one that’s inside the house proper (the other is in the sun room).

She tried to jump on top of that book case also, LOL.

At 1:30am she finally settled down. It’s now 2:30 and she’s running about again.

She’s a cutie, but we’re going to have our hands full with little Trinity the Tortie here. She’s batted water out of her bowl all over the hardwood floors, and goes from “Pet me, NOW!” to “Now I’m going to bite and claw your hand or foot” in .0005 nanoseconds too.

Kidding aside, it’s apparent her foster home didn’t have the kind of accommodations (and toys) that’s she’ now enjoying. We’ll have to see how she gets along with our other cat Machi.

So far, it’s been interesting. When Trinity was first taken out of her carrier (at the adoption center) she ran into Machi’s and hid curled up next to her. Then when we took them both out, Trinity growled and tried to swipe at Machi (who is twice her size). Once we got them home, Machi hissed at Trinity, who was still in her own carrier. Since then, they’ve avoided each other. More like Machi has avoided her.

So yeah, the next few days will be interesting. Both in terms of seeing if this 14 week old wild child ever powers down, and if the two cats can get along.

Writing??? Blogging??? Maybe Tomorrow…

Image via

Ever feel like that picture above? I’m sure most of us have. If you haven’t, you’re likely new to writing, or not analyzing your work and growing as a writer.

Needless to say, normally we’re talking about writer’s block here. Maybe that actually IS what I’m dealing with, in a warped sort of way. I know what I want to write, that’s the irony here. I’ve had numerous posts all worked out in my head. I just can’t get to the point of putting them “to paper”.

I’ve been staring at the screen for this post for a few days now actually. I wanted to figure out the “why”, and have something more to write than complaining. Long story short; I feel like I’m chasing my tail here AND that I’ve got other obligations.

Chasing My Tail:

This is much akin to previous posts I’ve made discussing my frustration with blogging. It’s been a TON of work, and the “ROI” (return on investment) has been pretty minimal. On anything but a very short post (ie Book of Boba Fett – Chapter 2), I spend about an hour working on the post. Hunting pictures, researching and fact checking to various degrees, proof reading and editing, etc…

I’m subscribed to numerous other blogs, which I actually DO read also. That can take another couple hours out of my day. What do I get back? A dozen likes out of 777 followers, with 2/3 of the “likes” being from people that never read the post. They’re just trying to trade fake “likes” as if this was Facebook or Twitter.

My original goal with creating this blog was to build an audience for books I’d write and sell. I’m sure not accomplishing that here. Somehow I have to get that whole goal back on track.

As much as I’d like to make it all about the fake likes and followers who don’t follow, there IS the other side of the coin to look at. Put out a better product and people will want it. I’ve spent the last few days pondering how to improve the blog.

WordPress supposedly just released a vast new array of customization options. Exploring those tools and trying to make heads or tails of them is on the agenda. How successful will I be? Who knows. Every new “improvement” to WordPress seems to just turn it into a bigger mess. I actually miss the “good old days” of… sort of. LOL. My current template has a few things I don’t like though, especially the fact it puts the reply button at the TOP of a post instead of the bottom. The biggest variable will probably be what features / tools are paid (isn’t everything on WP anymore?).

The actual writing itself… I realize I’ve been writing just to write (filler essentially), and I’ve been overly concerned about self-censoring to keep an audience. I have to write for ME first, otherwise there’s no authenticity. Readers can tell when that’s the case.

I’m still going to make every effort to be polite, etc… What will change is that I’m not going to avoid doing topics like martial arts because I think nobody is interested. There’s more to life than recipes and nature pictures. Those will still be here however. 🙂 I’m going to experiment a little with social issue posts and calling out the media as well. I want to do it in a calmer, more productive way than previously however. Focusing on where and what the manipulations are, for starters.

I don’t know if I’ll actually change anyone’s mind. I hope to at least make people think however. There’s just so much BS out there anymore. Most of it is just pointless ego aggrandizement also. For example, I saw an article online today that talked about how psychologists are coming to appreciate all the contradictions in Buddhism. Trouble is, there aren’t any. Some stuff, such as “If you see the Buddha on the path, kill him”, has a deeper meaning and is meant to provoke thought. More often the apparent contradictions are simply warnings against both extremes.

Somebody needed to feel intellectually superior by attempting to discuss Buddhism and psychology together though.

So, bottom line is that I intend to do quite a bit of experimenting and try to find what feels right (write? lol) for my blog.

Better Things To Do:

OK, so the video doesn’t have much to do with the topic, beyond the name… Well, and I suppose the major argument I had with my almost-ex spouse over the state of our lives. Suffice it to say somebody is far too comfortable in their comfort zone and is FAR too poor at communication and working together. Spending time trying to meet my own ends of the change I insisted upon IS part of what I’ve been occupied with though.

There’s our whole housing situation as well, which is still hanging in limbo.

My recent spider bite situation let me know just how deteriorated my overall health is also. The antibiotics had me sleeping for almost 2 days straight. I was wiped out for a good week afterwards too. I need to finally get back out into the real world and get a job to help out. I need to get my health back to the point I can actually work a full day though.

That’s a hard realization for somebody who used to train 3 hours a day at two different martial art studios back in the 90s. The ex and I were pretty fit back in the day.

So yes, priorities are readjusting. At the same time however, there’s no reason I wouldn’t have enough time to do my blogging too. I just need to be a little better organized than I have been previously. 🙂

And congratulations if you actually made it all the way through this rant. 😀

Skyrim 10th Anniversary Edition

Yes, that’s correct. Bethesda and their masters at Microsoft are putting out yet another version of Skyrim. Just in time for the game’s 10th Anniversary, it will be released next month. Probably on the 11th, just like the original was.

Why It’s NOT A Good Thing:

The new edition will include improvements that will allow the game to take advantage of higher settings and performance available to newer machines. THAT part is good.

However, is also reporting that the upgraded code will break all existing mods for the game, and that the plan is to make the basic version of ‘Anniversary Edition’ a forced upgrade of ‘Special Edition’. Ergo, players won’t have any say in the matter for keeping their previous version and the literal TONS of free content for the game produced by other players.

The ‘upgrade’ from MS Visual Studio 2015 to the 2019 version will change the ‘under the hood’ code that free content producers use as “hooks” to connect their content to the actual game. There are roughly 40,500 free mods to plug into the game at Skyrim SE Nexus alone. None of which will work moving forward.

The ability to easily “mod” their games has been a trademark and selling point for Bethesda games for almost 2 decades. They publish a free editor to allow players to create content. For the last few years however, they’ve gotten greedy and were no longer content to make money off of their own work. Now they want to make money off of others’ work as well.

The “Creation Club”:

The Creation Club is Bethesda and Microsoft’s attempt to monetize the work of others AND to increasingly move towards monopolizing distribution of all player created content.

It allows those folks the ability to charge for their work, BUT with Bethesda taking a sizable chunk of any money earned under the guise of quality assurance and providing a virtual store front for the mods. In the mean time, Bethesda releases new updates to their games that break mods which don’t come from their hosting site. That was almost weekly when I last played Skyrim SE (almost a year ago). That in turn left the mod developers scrambling to make patches.

It’s quite the extortion racket that Bethesda has going there. Maybe they were a good acquisition for Micro$oft after all.

Speaking of extortion and bad business… The “full” edition of Anniversary Edition (beyond the forced game engine upgrades) will cost $40 and consist almost entirely of paid mods from their “Creation Club”

TES VI… Some Year, MAYBE…

Let’s not also forget this is yet another stalling tactic for Bethesda to avoid doing any development of Elder Scrolls 6, despite years of fan outcry for the project. That should came as little surprise though when Bethesda’s president went on record as saying they’re “not a two button vending machine and will make what we want”.

And people call Trump a narcissist. How a company stays in business when they’re so deliberately blind to their market is completely beyond me…

Follow the Evidence! :D

Yes, a Grissom-ism from CSI… Hell, THE Grissom-ism

What am I talking about? The battle with our “new”, should be condemned house.

The last few days have been rough, so I haven’t posted anything much beyond replies. First, we went to a lawyer that had a killer rep for litigation. All we got was excuses for why it was perfectly OK for everyone involved with the transaction to screw us over. Georgia is a “caveat emptor” (buyer beware) state, and the lawyer tried to tell us that excuses blatant fraud and breach of contract. He even looked me straight in the eye and told me that realtors have no fiduciary responsibility to their clients. BIG mistake there. I was a realtor. I know the state and national standards for realtors.

As best I can figure reading their body language, the two lawyers didn’t want a case that wasn’t an easy, no work win, and they actually enjoyed the idea that some out of state people got screwed by a local.

We’ve found lots of other stuff wrong with the house at this point. One of the most severe turned out to be a potential good though however. Half the house has MAJOR foundation issues:

that’s the beam from an auto adjusting laser level. You can judge how much the house is drooping via the width of that picture. 2 1/2 Cinder blocks. Roughly 2 1/2 feet or 3/4 of a meter. If you go the entire width of the house, there’s a 5 to 6 inch drop from back to front. 15 cm for those elsewhere. We had called a foundation repair company to look at the place when we saw cracks in the outer wall:

The company representative, who seemed very knowledgeable, was freaked out by what he saw and rescheduled for next week when he can bring the company’s head structural engineer with him to figure out the best fix.

So WHY on Earth is this GOOD news you ask?

Because, the seller bragged on putting a new door in that wall, as well as new windows all over the house. Here’s where following the evidence comes in. A door and window won’t mount, much less open and close in an opening that’s shifted sideways diagonally. The seller had to extend those openings to allow for the door and windows to fit. Ergo there’s no way he could NOT have known the house had foundation issues and bad walls. Of course, he said exactly the opposite on his Seller’s Disclosure paperwork.

First piece of proof:

Look at how wide and tall that trim work is around the door. I guarandamnedtee you that when I pull that off, there’s going to be a massive gap around the door with uneven measurements around it. THAT so he could make the door fit despite the sinking corner of the foundation.

The window has the same kind of trim:

It ALL explains why he demanded to redo the threshold for the door himself as part of our closing contract. Can you say fraud, misrepresentation and breach of contract, boys and girls? 😈

He also had to have gotten a look at the substandard foundation for the outer wall while putting that door in:

Now you see, that’s about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of concrete with mud underneath that’s been compacted to clay. Thing is, the building standard AND legal code for a concrete slab foundation is a minimum of 4 inches thick IF you’re going to put nothing heavier than a single story wood building on top of it. Thicker is better when you’re dealing with the weight of stone walls.

So all of this LOOKS LIKE gross negligence on the home inspector’s and appraiser’s parts as well.

Follow the evidence to the logical conclusion.

Well, we’ve got an appointment with another lawyer this afternoon. If he says we still have no case, I’ll have to say Georgia is more corrupt than a third world banana republic.

Today’s the first day I’ve felt good in two months.

Too bad (for him) that Bubba was too stupid to think us dumb city folk could understand what it takes to properly frame a door or window.

She Didn’t Make It

I mentioned in my “Month from Hell” post that on top of everything else, we had a really sick cat on our hands.

If you look closely, you can see she was bloated around her mid section, but insanely thin around her hips and “waist”

After Banfield passed us off immediately to a pet emergency center (after telling us for ages she was just overweight), and we got jerked around by that pet hospital for a week and $1500, we took her to another pet ER. They did surgery and cleaned out what turned out to be some sort of a massive infection in her mid section. The Internal Medicine vet and the Surgeon had never seen anything quite like it.

After a day recovering in the pet hospital, she came home with us. She seemed to be slowly getting better despite not eating or drinking much at first. We took her with us to the new house today so we could get some work done while still keeping an eye on her.

New space, so (particularly being an indoor only cat) she was a bit nervous, but seemed to be adjusting, and enjoying the attention. We packed her up in her carrier to take her back to the current (rental) house, and when we opened the carrier, she was dead. 😥😭😟

We had her ten years… adopted her probably a little earlier than she should have been put up for adoption, given how small she was. She was almost all of what got me through many of the bad days I’ve had over the years. $7000 total spent (which REALLY hurt our house repair budget) and all we got with her was two days.

I miss my baby kitty. I’ve cried off and on all night. I want to scream but nothing will come out. The worst part is I can’t stop wondering if she’d still be alive if we mistrusted Banfield sooner or at least hadn’t taken her on the trip today. 😫 I don’t know if what happened was that bounce back phenomenon where a dying person or pet seems to recover temporarily, long enough to sort of say good bye, or we did something that killed her.

I’ve been miserable to the point of not being able to post (and I’ve had numerous topics lined up ready to go) or reply much for almost two months. Now this…

Life has been nothing but one giant shit sandwich since we began the move out here.

R.I.P. Chloe. There are NO words for how much you’ll be missed…

The Superfriends Live On!

For those not blessed enough to know, the Superfriends was the DC Comics Saturday Morning Cartoons show from 1973 to 1985:

There are, as it turns out, quite a few of these remakes on YouTube. This one is even kind of close to the animated original:

So why the big deal? 12 years running was probably a record on Saturday morning cartoons. More than that, I had a really crappy childhood. Even my family was a bad influence. The fact that I turned out halfway decent with a sense of right and wrong, can largely be attributed to this show. 🙂

Granted, nowadays I like more sophisticated plots, but this still takes me back to a time when heroes were heroes and villains were not poor misunderstood victims whose violence and cruelty should be excused.

This gave me another idea for a fun topic on the blog. I already have Friday Night 80s started. I’m going to start posting some of the best of Saturday Morning Cartoons on Saturdays.

But the Third Little Pig was Smart…

…and built his house out of brick.

…What the hell is going on?  And who has ever heard of a little pig? They thought as they read this, lol.

That’s where we’ve been actually.  Our lease is up in a couple of months and given how hyper-inflated the market is out here, we figured it was best to start house hunting early.

No, we did NOT actually try to get on the show. LOL

…Well, when you’re already well trained in real estate yourself, AND hire the best agent out there… house hunting doesn’t take long.  We’re already under contract with a place sort of near our current location.  The place is solid brick and cinder block, even the interior walls.  Hell, the front of the house is cinder block with an outer double row layer of brick.  I figure anything short of a direct hit from a tornado isn’t going to scratch the house, lol. We definitely won’t be worrying about the severe storms that come through the South. 🙂

The interior cinder block walls are the biggest interior challenge. While sturdy as well as good insulation, they’re drab and give the place a little bit of a prison or military base feel. We’re exploring various options for wall treatments; everything from paint to faux rock treatments or even putting drywall over the cinder block. 

A SHORT Diversion into Home Buying Tips:

Image via Not the broker we used, but a good pic I found.

Coincidentally, good visualization / imagination skills like mentioned above are a HUGE benefit to you when house hunting. Before I got my real estate license, I used to think that shows like House Hunters were even more scripted than they are. Time and again, I saw people reject otherwise great houses over cosmetic issues like paint colors. Paint is CHEAP. Even cheaper if you’re willing to put in a little sweat equity and do the work yourself.

Concern yourself with the structural issues of the house as well as what type of terrain it’s on and what kind of neighborhood it’s in (low crime, good schools). Those are what’s important, NOT if you’ll have to upgrade the counter tops from formica. That’s minor in the grand scheme of things. It’s also strictly your ego speaking if you say you NEED to upgrade the counters immediately because they’re formica laminate. Backtracking slightly for the moment, by the type of terrain the house is on, I’m referring to two important factors:

First; is the area known for soft land that creates foundation repair issues? Those can be incredibly expensive. Ask anybody in Florida.

Second; is the house situated at the bottom of a hill or slope? If so, rain water can flow up against the house and erode the foundation as well. Inversely, a house at the highest point on it’s lot or property will have water naturally drain away from it, helping keep the foundation safe. These drainage issues are also why good gutters are important on a house.

Meanwhile, Back at Stately Silk Manor…

Getting back to the place we bought, the kitchen is fairly dated, but it’s got a quaint, country look to it that I like. Redo the stain on the cabinets, or MAYBE paint them white (I like natural wood and stone surfaces), and they’ll look great. We will upgrade the counter tops later as money allows. The stove is also ancient.  I’m torn there.  It’s got that old fashioned country look also. It’s built similar to an old school British oven, so it’s more versatile than a modern oven. Let us not forget that things back then just did not break (unlike the junk made today).  On the flip side, I love to cook and I could so easily see a large 6 burner gas stove sitting where that antique electric oven is now. 🙂

There’s other stuff also.  No garage, and we consider that a necessity for Ginger (the ’67 Mustang) and the other half’s Subaru. We’re looking at a prefab steel building to hold us for the time being until we can afford to get a garage built that would match the house’s construction and style. The house also has a circular driveway, but it’s made of (tightly packed) gravel. Functional, but (again) when time and money allow, we want to pave it, MAYBE even with paving stones if money ever allows.

So, that’s us lately.  Not much else to report as the hunt ate up all my would-be blogging time last week. I’ll probably do a post or two in the near future with home buying tips.

In the meantime:

FINALLY!!! Scrivener 3 for Windows!

As I’m starting to gear up for more writing, I decided to check yet again to see if the oft promised and never released Scrivener 3 was released for Windows.


Not only that, they even kept their word and gave me my upgrade from 1.x for free!

I have to be honest, at this point I’ve just downloaded it and am beginning to work through the tutorial. The only thing new that I’ve seen thus far is the ability to easily insert pictures and videos into your project. I’m not even sure if the videos have to be linked via YouTube or something similar.

Some stuff, as noted in the description I… borrowed from the Scrivener home page has been moved around and “cleaned up”. I’ll see if this ends up to be better organized or not. At this VERY early hour, the two things that I can report are:

  1. That gawdawful, clunky Windows 95 era interface is FINALLY gone
  2. The new version is 64 bit, so it’s a good deal more responsive.

I suspect my previous review will hold true that you can do anything with Office that Scrivener can do. It’s just a question of IF Scrivener has finally made it easier and cleaner to do it with them; one tool instead of 3 or 4.

If you own a copy of 1.x you’re eligible for either a free upgrade or half off depending upon when you bought it, so check it out:

Scrivener for Windows home page at Literature and Latte

Beyond that, I’ll report back in a day or two how things have been going for me.