Category Archives: Commentary

Book of Boba Fett, Ep 1 – MINOR Spoilers

I’ll discuss the episode in general but not get into any specific plot points. That should allow any readers to fully enjoy the episode.

Is it just me, or does Fett’s wrist rocket look like Rhodey’s “The Ex Wife” missile from Iron Man 2? LOL

Fans with enough time to stay caught up with Star Wars on Disney+ likely already knows that Boba Fett made his return appearance in The Mandolorian Season 2. Also that at the end of that season, Fett returned to Jabba’s former palace, killed Bibb Fortuna (Jabba’s former Major Domo who took over his operations after Return of the Jedi), then took his place as the head of what used to be Jabba’s criminal empire.

THAT is the background or set up for “The Book of Boba Fett”. The story (thus far) is a combination of Fett trying to assume true control over Jabba’s empire, and flashbacks of what happened to him between “Return of the Jedi” and “Mandolorian”.

The whole news / gossip media is in a tizzy over the “finally” revealed way Boba Fett survived his trip into the Sarlaac’s maw. It’s been a HUGE plot hole, blah blah blah…

Long terms fans know it was revealed decades ago that Fett simply burned and blasted his way out. It was in the Extended Universe books AGES ago. Well, at any rate, one of the first flashbacks we see is Fett waking up in the Sarlaac and then blasting his way out. The closest thing to a revelation in that scene was something I long suspected but never saw officially declared; Stormtrooper armor has an internal cooling system.

Why there was a Stormtrooper in the Sarlaac’s stomach is another question altogether, as there were none at Jabba’s little party in ROTJ.

Boba got his armor stolen by Jawas after escaping (thus confirming what was revealed in Mandolorian), and then spent some time with Tusken Raiders. How that came about I’ll let readers see for themselves.

The non-flashback scenes consist of Boba Fett and his assistant trying to establish their claim to Jabba’s empire. Without giving away any real plot, Boba’s main difficulty thus far is that he insists on thinking like a Mandolorian instead of a Crime Boss. He sees marching into Mos Espa on his own two feet as a show of strength, for example. He’s a Mando and doesn’t need to be pampered like a Hutt carried on a litter by slaves.

Those in the underworld see walking in on foot as not commanding enough fear and respect to have underlings carry you however. Perhaps also as having a weak power base, although that’s never outright said.

Needless to say, that’s already led to a couple of challenges to Boba’s authority. How he deals with them in the long term, we’ll have to wait and see in future episodes.

All in all, if you’re a Star Wars fan, it’s worth a look.

Side Note:

One thing I did appreciate about the episode is that it expanded upon the culture of the Sand People / Tusken Raiders. “A New Hope” really did nothing there, nor did Anakin’s prequel encounter with them. Suffice it to say that there is a tribal culture there; something akin to a Conan-esque barbarian culture. Having seen a very similar portrayal in Star Wars: The Old Republic, I was happy to see that kept as canon for the Star Wars Universe. They even kept the SWTOR idea that Sand People have pets. In the game they were called “Rill” and were basically reptilian “pet dogs”.

In “Book of Boba Fett”, the Rill were replaced with the same critters we saw briefly in Madolorian:

Same role, etc… just a different name and better appearance.

Well, That Bites…

Time for another brief personal update. The post’s tile is partially a pun. I’ve been sidetracked and away from the blog not only due to holiday stuff, but because I also literally got bit by.. something.

My suspicion after doing some internet research is that it’s a spider bite, likely a black widow or brown recluse. I never felt the bite nor saw any spider though. The first day I noticed it, I wasn’t sure what it was and it didn’t look TOO bad all things considered. I decided to wait a day and see how it progressed.

Image via http://billericky.hubpages.com/hub/poisonous-venomous-spiders-brown-recluse-black-widow-most-poisonous-spiders-images

This is a pic from the internet. For new followers, I’m paranoid about personal photos online, hence this pic as a stand-in. My apparent bite is on my calf and looked similar but the center is darker and hard like a scab.

Getting back to the story, by the end of the day, my calf was showing some swelling, and I wasn’t feeling so good. Long story short, we spent almost 3 hours waiting in the local ER, got literally one minute of face time with an actual doctor (who barely looked at the alleged bite), and sent with some antiseptic wash and a prescription for major antibiotics.

Aside from the lousy ER experience though (and they were not that busy BTW), the whole event has been pretty mild for what was likely a bite by a dangerous spider. I felt lousy for a few days, and slept ALOT, but the wound is slowly healing as opposed to the horrific click bait pics out there of widow or recluse bites just rotting away huge areas of flesh.

At this point, the worst of it all is that the Doxycycline antibiotics make me sick to my stomach, even if taken with food. That’s minor in the grand scheme of things however. 🙂

The big trick is going to be catching up on all the Christmas stuff I still have to do. We’re hosting not one, but TWO dinners this year. Christmas day will be five people, and then Sunday will have 11 of us after the out of state in-laws finally make it to town.

I could have just left everything at Sunday only but Christmas is supposed to be celebrated on Christmas, dangit. 😀 😀

Four Years…

Yep, 4 ‘Glorious’ Years…

This was actually about a week ago. Things have just been a mess here, and I didn’t get around to this sooner.

It’s hard to believe I’ve actually been here this long, and how little I feel I’ve accomplished beyond dealing with a never ending, ever escalating series of disasters that keep me from doing any real writing.

Gibbs Rule Number 36?

Rule #36: If you feel like you’re being played, you probably are.

That’s where I’m at now with the house lawsuit. Our lawyer has been waiting for a report from his own hired inspector to detail everything I’ve already gone over in-depth. To a degree, I understand that. As much as I’ve educated myself the last two months, I’m NOT a professional building contractor nor an inspector.

The lawyer has the report now, and is apparently eager to move forward. We got a copy of the report, and TO ME, it looks very weak at best, if not outright torpedoing our case. Worse is that it backpedals on multiple things that I’d discussed with the inspector while he was at the house.

He left out the picture of the extremely shallow foundation slab, and blew off the vertical cracks in the walls, saying that the uneven foundation was just normal settling for a 63 year old house for starters. That’s HUGE, as it’s the biggest expense in repairing the house, and the keystone of the lawsuit.

Only that top grey bit is concrete, that’s a few inches of clay beneath it.

He also said that most of the problems should have been evident during a walkthrough.

Our lawyer is saying that the inspector is talking about a “walkthrough” by the previous inspector. In formal debate and even more so in law however, wording is everything. Buyers do a walkthrough. Inspectors do an inspection. If I’m opposing counsel, I’m going to pounce all over that wording and apply the proper or common meaning. Then I’m going to make it look like the buyers were idiots who didn’t pay the slightest bit of attention and are now crying over their own lack of due diligence.

The reality is, I specifically asked the inspector we first hired about the roof and foundation (among other things), and he LIED his ass off about ALL of it, telling us it was fine. Combine that with the seller having furniture and boxes hiding several issues and it was easier than it should have been to get burned.

That’s getting off track however. The main point is that I’m having a REALLY hard time believing that our lawyer wants to go to court with documentation that makes our case look so weak. I was undefeated in debate in high school and collage and I’d NEVER use that paperwork to support an argument. It plays right into the other side’s hands. My mom, on the other hand says “Trust him, he’s supposed to be working for your benefit”, etc… (and that I always see backstabbers everywhere).

Yeah, well… Guess what? The original inspector was supposed to be working for our benefit, and so was the Realtor that we hired. I think we all know how THAT worked out.

So yes, at this point I am wondering it this lawyer is just setting us up to fail while collecting thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees along the way. Gibb’s Rule #36.

While we’re at it, numbers 3(A), 8, 35, 39 and 40 also seem to apply here. To say nothing of number 13

Available as a mousepad on Etsy… And a coffee cup. Not by me.

OK, yes, it’s just a TV show and Gibbs is just a now retired character from the show. He was a somewhat flawed character also. None the less, many of those rules do indeed make sense. There are occasional nuggets of wisdom in the turd pile that is TV programming philosophizing.

While we’re at it, let’s not forget what Shakespeare had to say about lawyers…

Under Pressure: Our Personal “Doomsday Clock”

That slightly dramatic picture is part of DC Comic’s “Doomsday Clock” event that rebooted the DC universe for the 1 millionth time and incorporated The Watchmen reality into the main DC reality (sort of).

The melodrama is because today is the day we have our second meeting with our attorney and his home inspector at our recent purchased house. It’s no exaggeration to say that how this meeting goes is going to shape the direction of our lives for years. We’re less than a week away from a first mortgage payment on a house that isn’t (IMO) even safe to move into. In the mean time, our overpriced, it was supposed to be short term lease is up and we have to either pay even more to stay OR move out. To where though?

It’s been two months of constant searching for a clear path out, with every explored option only leading to further trouble and obstacles. For example, we got the test results back yesterday, and the flooring is definitely asbestos. The ceiling tile and attic insulation are cellulose though.

We’re rapidly running out of cash here, and there’s certainly NO way we can afford the $100,000 plus price tag on the costs to restore this house to where it should be. That does not include ANY upgrades either, by the way.

The stress is eating us both alive. At my personal worst, I had stage 2 hypertension and was slowly getting that under control. That’s gone. My spouse has a heart murmur and type 2 diabetes. We’re at the point of sleeping 12 hours a day from the stress.

Side note here; I frequently use superhero imagery and metaphors because I find in 80 years of existence, they’ve explored it all, no matter how over the top. A case and point is from the original “Secret Wars” back in the 1980s. The villains managed to drop an entire mountain range on the hero team, described as 150 Billion tons. Hulk held it up and saved the team. THAT is the level of pressure we’re feeling right now.

For anybody wondering about the exchange between Hulk and Iron Man, The Hulk had Banner’s mind at that point (like the last Avengers movie) and Rhodey was acting as Iron Man at the time.

There’s extreme stress over no direction out of this mess, there’s self-recrimination over not catching some of the issues ourselves, there’s tremendous anger at the people we hired to look after our interests and were legally and morally bound to do so. Yes, even frustration that the lawyer has been completely non-committal thus far.

The Options:

Working blind, we’ve come up with a few options or scenarios thus far:

If the lawyer is reasonably sure he can come through and win a case, we ride out whatever he has planned, SOMEHOW. Understandably nothing is ever a guarantee in legal circles. There’s a HUGE wildcard here also, since we don’t know if he can do anything about the mortgage payments while this is all being resolved.

If he says no case because the problems are something we personally should have noticed, then we’re stuck either trying to negotiate with the mortgage company to escape the house or get it repaired, OR we have to destroy ourselves financially and bankrupt out of the house.

In an ideal world, this would be so clearly bad that the lawyer would just be able to make a phone call, send evidence to the mortgage company and we could walk away. The mortgage company’s army of lawyers could then sue the hell out of everyone else involved in the transaction. As long as we recover our losses, I’m perfectly fine with that outcome.

I guess in a truly ideal world, massive punitive damages would be included also. I can dream, right? LOL.

Whichever way this goes, the wildcard of short term housing is still in full play. Long term also if we’re forced to bankrupt out of this mess.

Yeah… NO Pressure…

Guess I’ll have a little better idea in about 3 1/2 hours from now… Maybe…

Either way, today is our deadline. We HAVE to make some hard decisions one way or another. Doomsday clock is ticking, heh.

The House War Goes On…

So yeah… Not much posting the last week. Things are still pretty overwhelming here. Every time we think we’ve hit rock bottom, something else turns up wrong with the house we never should have bought.

It’s like a BAD reboot of the movie “The Money Pit”, except it’s so over the top nobody would find the story believable.

So let’s see… It started after closing when we FINALLY got the seller out, and were able to do the final walk through that we SHOULD have been allowed to do before closing.

The electrical was left ungrounded despite a contractual obligation to bring it up to code:

And once there were no longer boxes and crap blocking them, we discovered holes in the cinderblock walls:

We found windows that were installed without being properly sealed, the worst hidden by ivy:

We can’t even find a contractor that will look at the windows either. If it’s not a $15,000 full replacement job, they can’t be bothered. We did get an electrician to come out and look at the outlets and grounding issue however. When they did, this happened:

That’s Vermiculite ‘insulation’ pouring out of the wall through the electrical outlet’s box. More on that later. Right now, the biggest electrical company in Chattanooga, that even handles major industrial work, doesn’t want to touch this house.

Given the trouble with the outlets, we peeled back the wood paneling in the den and found TERMITES! In an all brick house mind you.

I got up into the attic and found that the home inspector lied his arse off about the condition of the roof. The rafter beams aren’t even flush against the crown beam of the roof:

Note the weathered look of the plywood decking on the right side vs the newer look on the left side also. Oh and those boards aren’t painted with any kind of wood stain. Nobody knows what it is yet, but the folks that have looked at it don’t think it’s black mold. You can also see wiring left hanging loose randomly, oh and the elephant in the picture; the crown support that’s supposed to be vertical is crooked as hell.

The roof itself has rotting decking, and a few rafters that need to be replaced as well, and it’s sagging in multiple spots:

The section around the chimney has actually gotten worse just in the month we’ve had the house. Why? The foundation is falling in everywhere. I already sort of covered that in my “Follow the Evidence” posts. This post is already getting REALLY graphic intense too. Suffice to to say that checking the house with a laser level didn’t find a level room in the house. Some walls were not only unlevel, they are leaning also.

We’re looking at $50,000 to $60,000 or higher to fix the foundations and walls. That will involve tearing up all the floors to add supports to the interior walls. So we’ll need to install new flooring afterwards too.

So another $10,000 to $20,000 for flooring on top of the $60,000 for the foundation and $15,000 for the walls. We haven’t even touched the improvements done without permits also… Things like the gas water heater plugged into an overhead light fixture’s socket:

THAT is why you want all work to have the legally required permits.

What doesn’t have a permit? All the windows except 1 were replaced (and left unsealed and without trim), a new side door was put in (without properly reinforcing the door way, leading to the accelerated roof collapsing), the new instant hot water heater, electrical rewiring of the kitchen, a completely renovated bathroom, a new electrical breaker box (sitting right on top of an outlet), new electrical and plumbing for the relocated clothes washer and dryer. Probably a few other things I’m forgetting right now as well.

So, then comes the kicker, part 1… Weeks later, we finally get our radon test results back…

We’re sitting at 3.13x the EPA maximum sort of safe limit for radon gas. Per other sites, that means we have a 1 in 30 chance of getting lung or some other cancer.

We also have an asbestos inspector come out and gather samples for testing. Long story short there, the flooring tile that I showed in my previous post is 90% likely to be asbestos.

Note how level the floor is also.

That vermiculite ‘insulation’ that I mentioned up towards the top of this post? Turns out that almost certainly contains asbestos as well. The primary (ie almost exclusive) mine location for it in the US up until… 1990 I think I read, had the vermiculite contaminated with asbestos.

The ceiling tiles and bottom most layer of attic insulation MIGHT also be asbestos. The technician that gathered the samples was a bit more optimistic about them.

Combine all of that with a dozen other issues I mentioned, like ant and roach infestations, and the utilities for the two neighbors behind us cut through our yard, and kind of close to the house (undisclosed easements), which in turn prevents us from doing anything like adding a garage without having to relocate the neighbors’ underground utilities, and the house is a freaking mess. We’re looking at a good $100,000 to $150,000 to make the house right, on a house valued at $250,000 (and is really only worth the land it’s sitting on).

It could even be more depending up how much asbestos abatement is needed.

A New Blogging Topic:

All of that leads me to a decision here… I’m going to start a new blog topic or series here on avoiding getting burned the way we did. I’ve learned FAR more than I wanted to about home inspections, building codes, etc… and it’s time to pass that on.

The sad reality is that you often can’t trust your realtor or home inspector to look out for you. Your realtor is all too often focused only on closing the sale and moving on to their other clients, especially if you’re under $400,000 in home value. Too many home inspectors are more interested in keeping their referral business from the buyer’s and seller’s agents to be thorough also. They won’t risk blowing up a deal to save your butt. The standard contract from the international inspector’s association includes a hold harmless clause in their contracts too, no matter how bad a job they did.

So yes, lots of new info coming your way soon.

It’s a Stone Building…

So, OF COURSE we have… TERMITES!

Yes, the latest round in the bad comedy that refuses to die; our new house.

Well, a bit of background: Intuition told me (partially based on the condition of the electrical outlets in the room), that we needed to tear down the wood paneling in the den. We needed to know if there was anything bad hidden back there…

Well, sho’nuff…

I thought it was just dry rot at first. It’s a 62 year old house after all.

Side Note here: For those who haven’t spend weeks learning building practices and codes like I’ve been forced to… Building a frame like this to mount wood paneling to a stone wall is a standard practice. The boards are called “furring strips” and APPARENTLY the primary reason for them is so you can run wiring and such between the stone and the wood paneling.

Well, as the pics show, subterranean termites SOMEHOW got through a solid concrete slab foundation, devoured the bases of the furring strip assembly, and then worked their way up the wall:

The mud tubes going up the wall are nature trails for termites… Not that they didn’t make a mess of the wood also. The first picture is about 1/2 way up the wall.

Note that despite the furring strips, the electrical was still cut into the cinder blocks and newspaper (AKA kindling) was used to sort of plug the hole.

To quote AC / DC; “It’s criminal. There ought to be a law. Criminal. There ought to be a whole lot more.” Oh that’s right, there ARE. We just don’t believe in actually enforcing building codes here.

Excessively snarky commentary inserted here.

Keep in mind that this IS a brick and cinder block house, so it wouldn’t be all that bad IF that was as far us as the little bastards went, BUT:

THAT is the ceiling. It means that the termites MAY (probably) have gotten into the roofing and / or the natural wood plank ceiling in the den. If they’ve eaten up the rafters or the plywood under the roof shingles, we’re talking multiple tens of thousands of dollars of damage.

Sometimes I think God really does NOT hate me, nor have a sick sense of humor, BUT then I ask myself… “WHO gets termites in a brick and cinder block building?!?”

Blasphemy aside, depending upon how things go with attorneys we’re interviewing, this MAY all turn into a series of posts on what NOT to do when buying a house, as well as several DIY fix up projects.

OH… And before anybody brings it up, we DID pay for a pre-purchase WDP (wood destroying pest) inspection, which was rubber stamped good to go.

By the time we’re done suing people, I’m retiring to the Maldives.

And the Latest “Reboot It, Reshoot It” Award Goes To:

The CW Network (yet again) for their planned reboot of Babylon 5:

J. Michael Straczynski Explains Why Babylon 5 Had to Be Rebooted (Gizmodo Article)

Image via TVSeriesFinale.com

“You cannot step in the same river twice, for the river has changed, and you have changed.”

The above image from TVSeriesFinale.com was actually attached to an article about why Babylon 5 will never be rebooted. THAT was 2018 though, and they failed to account for the CW Network’s obsession with reboots (and DC Superheroes). Yes, announced a day and a half ago, The CW is indeed working on a reboot of Babylon 5.

Never let the tackiness of whipping a dead horse stand in the way of pandering for profit. You name it, the CW (and CBS) will reboot it.

Will it be the same without Jerry Doyle (and the other originals)? Questionable. Such is modern TV (and movies, music and even video games).

*sits back and waits for the announcement that Buffy and Angel are being rebooted… or maybe FIREFLY!*

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.