Tag Archives: Rant

And Along Came COVID

Fair warning; I am pulling absolutely NO punches this time. If you think you’ve seen me rude and pissed off before, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

For two years, we’ve managed to successfully dodge COVID-19 here. While I was initially a little skeptical of the whole epidemic, it didn’t take long for me to moderate my stance. We’ve taken it seriously and treated it as dangerous without going off the deep end into total panic mongering.

We’ve watched the pandemic drag on for two years also, simply because braindead jackasses refuse to take it seriously. Evidence be damned, even the most basic level of concern for their communities be damned. They’re FREE and they have a RIGHT… to kill other people!

Why am I so bent out of shape at this point? If you didn’t guess, it’s because we came down with COVID about the time of my last post. Doubtless caught from some self-absorbed twit who couldn’t give a damned about spreading it to other people. We’ve both been sick as dogs here for 2 weeks now, and the COVID had screwed up my other half’s blood sugar so badly that it was in single digits and I came VERY VERY close to planning a funeral.

Why? All because there are shitheads out there who are smarter than science and can’t be bothered in the slightest to think about the good of anyone beyond themselves.

I’ll give the anti-vax crowd A LITTLE slack here. The vaccines have never gone through proper, non-emergency standards for testing, etc… and we were leery about getting vaccinated ourselves. We did it though because we are high risk. My only caveat there would be if you don’t want to get vaccinated, keep your contact with the public to a minimum, and self isolate and get tested if you display symptoms.

No, the people I reserve the vast majority of my rage for are ones like Refarmer here on WordPress

The same Refarmer who I’d supported almost since her blog started, and donated a large amount of money to save her badly injured cat. The same Refarmer who also dropped following my blog when I put in a post that nobody was trying to enslave anyone by asking them to wear a mask.

If it was only one illiterate hillbilly on WordPress demanding to put others at risk because a mask makes them “uncomfortable” (try nearly dying and see how fucking uncomfortable THAT is), it wouldn’t be that big a deal. As the above picture shows, there are idiots like that everywhere.

My own godmother went out on a shopping spree while sick with COVID. No mask either. My in-laws are deniers. They don’t understand why we won’t go to church with them either when literally every other week there’s a COVID outbreak there. Hell, we may have even contracted the virus through them.

No doubt some idiot is going to suggest we got COVID *BECAUSE* of the vaccine. The same vaccine we got 2 years ago and never gave us a lick of trouble until it somehow flared up now? We never got any of the booster shots. The kind of mentally ill thinking that goes into something like that is beyond belief. That’s the lengths these human pond scum will go to in order to justify killing others though.

They’re not the only ones that deserve to be ripped to shreds though. The talking heads and politicos on BOTH sides that have been trying to exploit the whole situation should literally be flogged. They’ve ALL played so fast and loose with the truth for personal gain that the average schmuck has no fucking clue what to exactly believe. THAT, in turn, has helped fuel the conspiracy nuts and keep the pandemic alive longer than it should have lasted.

The bottom line though is that freedom is ALWAYS balanced with responsibility, and it’s people with absolutely ZERO sense of responsibility to their fellow human beings that are keeping this damned thing going. I’m fed up with it enough at this point that if I had MY way, anyone infecting somebody else with COVID would be charged with felony assault. The infected person dies, it becomes a murder charge.

Going Under for the Third Time, and Regrouping

Yes, a bizarre phrasing for a title, but there’s an explanation for it. Keep reading to find out how yesterday’s meeting with our lawyer ties to my 6th grade graduation party in Northern California, AND the lessons taken from that connection.

The Actual Meeting:

The meeting yesterday morning went as I worried it might. We weren’t shot down, BUT the lawyer was STILL unwilling to commit to anything yet. He didn’t stay long either, which was also expected. His main purpose was to introduce us to the contractor he was using to do the home inspection. After that, I walked the inspector through the house and showed him everything we and other hired experts had found.

Getting back to the lawyer however, he said he can’t make any decisions until he sees the report from his inspector, AND he still insists that there’s missing paperwork from the original home inspection company. Primarily in the form of a signed contract.

More on the trip to the inspection company’s office in a minute.

So, yes, despite telling the lawyer multiple times we’re hanging on to financial life by a thread, he was non-committal. On one hand, it just plain pisses me off. On the other hand, and looking at the world through the other party’s eyes, attorneys have to under-promise and try to over-deliver. They get sued for malpractice and trashed online by most people for any perceived lack of perfect results. “It looks like you MIGHT have a case, IF…” gets turned into “You said we had a case (even though the IF never came to pass) and I’m going to sue you!”. So it’s yet another example of where the greedy and self-entitled have made life miserable for the rest of us.

So, (again) yes, I understand his perspective and need for caution here. None the less, that does nothing to resolve our short term issues. Likewise, the potential long term victory doesn’t mean anything if we don’t survive the short term disaster.

Lessons, Regrouping…

Here’s where we get to that tie-in to a sixth grade graduation party decades ago…

I kept my cool, but I was quite fed up at the point the lawyer left the meeting. After a few minutes though, a cold calm hit me and I realized if we’re going to get out of this mess it MAY (hell, probably will) fall upon us to do it ourselves.

Hell, half of the problem thus far is that we’ve gone against our better judgment and trusted “experts” instead. We let a realtor tell us about buyer legal protections and area conditions instead of researching. We let that same realtor give us horrible contract advice when we should have known better. We trusted a home inspector’s word over our own eyes, etc…

On the way home after the home inspector was done, the graduation party comparison hit me. My sixth grade graduation was a (swimming) pool party at a rather modest resort in the area. I went back to the pool area for some reason (I can’t remember exactly why) during the time food was being served in another area. I got shoved into the deep end of the pool by somebody who had snuck up behind me. Hard. Right into the dead center of the deep end.

Harmless prank right? It would have been IF I could swim back then. I had flip flops on also, which act exactly the opposite of flippers if you’ve ever tried to swim with them on.

I came up three times, gasping for air and yelling for help. Third time going down, I knew my air was running out and “this is how I’m going to die?” ran through my mind. That same previously mentioned calm, cold, steely determination hit me, and I kicked off the flip flops and managed to fight my way back to the surface and dog paddle to the edge of the pool.

I survived, but only because I got absolute determination to fight my way out of it and accepted that nobody else was going to save me.

For those who are wondering, nobody was there when I finally got to the edge. Everybody else had been in another area (indoors IIRC) eating, and the one girl who later confessed to me had ran off and left me. The prank I can forgive. She didn’t know. It took a good while to let go of the fact she didn’t grab a life preserver ring or that silly pole for rescuing swimmers though.

Instead she ran off, knowing I was in trouble but more concerned with covering up her mistake.

End of that rant though. The similarities did strike me. We’re figuratively drowning now, and it sure as hell looks as nobody is going to help us. No life guard then, apparently no life guard now.

and Resolutions:

IF I was feeling a little more spiritual at the moment, I might do same naval gazing and speculate if the whole experience today, and my seeing a connection to WAY back then was some sort of spiritual message from my subconscious, higher self, the Divine, etc… Maybe it was. Right now, I’m more worried about resolving the mess though.

After a long talk between ourselves, we decided we could struggle through ONE month of double payments (rent and mortgage) before it took too big a toll on our dwindling savings.

We also decided, after reading context clues from the lawyer, and some feedback from the inspector that it SEEMS like we have a good case. It MAY even be a matter of how many people we can sue as opposed to IF we can sue anyone. The home inspector said, for example, that when he does this kind of work for the lawyer that he normally spends four hours trying to find anything the lawyer can use in court.

That also tells me the lawyer has plenty of experience with this kind of case.

At any rate, the inspector left our place in two hours with dozens of pictures and notes, and just shaking his head at some of the things he saw. Good for us or bad? Hard to say. It definitely means the house is a disaster area, which works in our favor. It could also mean that a judge or jury could decide we should have seen it all ahead of time and it’s thusly all on us.

Getting back to that one month though… We decided that we’ll give the lawyer two weeks to at least present a planned map forward. No expectations of a guaranteed win. Life doesn’t work that way. Without a battle plan though, we have to take things into our own hands.

We’re exploring a handful of options. Trying to turn the mortgage company and their army of lawyers against all involved is one option. An absolutely MASSIVE insurance claim is another. How much would be covered is a huge question however. Lastly there’s just bankrupting out of the house and forcing the mortgage company to deal with it all. That means years of renting and fighting hard to rebuild our finances, but we’d be going in with eyes open and knowing it’s better than living in a house full of asbestos and radon with leaning walls and a collapsing roof.

The only thing I know for sure is we aren’t going down without a fight.

And Then There Was That “Missing” Inspection Paperwork…

Later that afternoon, we went to the inspection company’s office. We told them a story about a computer hard drive crash and asked for a copy of our file so we’d have all our test results to show a future buyer what we’d found and repaired. A necessary deception even though I dislike deceptions in general. The idea was to avoid getting them looking too closely at receipts or actual signed documents, as well as not tip our hand of potential legal action.

We got a folder full of printed out paperwork. No receipts and no signed contract though. No record of any payments in our bank account either. That tells me one of two things:

Either they’re complete screw ups whose oversight caused them to overlook the signed contract that covers their rear in the case of this kind of screw up, OR… There’s some legitimate deep and dirty collusion going on between our realtor, the home inspection company and others involved here.

That last bit may seem like a reach, but there are numerous other pieces of admittedly circumstantial evidence that all point that way. Proof? No. Enough to cause suspicion that something is rotten in Denmark? Yep. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

But then again, we do live in interesting times, don’t we?

Nothing to do but continue to Follow the Evidence, and keep pushing to get people to look at it. Come, Watson. The game is afoot!

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.

My Month From Hell…

As I’ve hinted at a few times, things have been going… rough with the new house. I’m finally ready to begin to tell the story here.

So, where to start?  We looked at several other houses even after putting in the offer on the cinder block place.  Suffice it to say that nothing under $350k here is problem free.  We ended up following through on the block house after all. In case you’re wondering, the law here gives you a limited window to back out of a Real Estate purchase on top of the normal contingency windows (inspection, loan approval, etc…) before closing.

I’m still not sure if that was a mistake.  It’s been a running battle with the seller and his agent ever since.  First it was getting concessions on repairs needed, which needless to say is normal.  Then we couldn’t get them out after closing paperwork was signed.  It took a $500 a day occupancy fee to get them to clear out.  And clear out they did at that point, like greased lightning.  After that was where the real fun began.


Of the three repairs we asked for 1 was technically done, 1 was done half-assed and will need to be redone, and the third was not done at all, BUT it did have a work order falsified by a local contractor to say it was done.


Technically done was the side door to the house.  The framing at its base was unfinished, and it was allowing water in under the door and along the slab.  Did I mention it rains so much here that it makes the tropics look like New Mexico?  He put in a sill plate to seal off the door entrance, but didn’t concrete over the area he’d carved out of the slab to install the door.  End result; there’s a ditch under the carpet in front of the door.


Half-Assed done was the roof.  It’s 8 years old and not in bad shape, but the major swings in seasonal temperatures here have created “nail pops“, where the nails back out of the roof a bit.  That in turn can push up shingles partially and cause them to curl.  All we asked for was that they drive back down the nails and throw some sealant under the loose singles.  Easy job, even if a little time consuming.  Well, they did maybe 2/3 of it and used low grade silicone sealant to (sort of) tack down the shingles.  End result; it needs to be done all over again to keep the roof intact. 


NOT Done was the house electrical system.  It was built in 1959, right at the start of “modern” (ie the last version of) two wire systems that are now retired in favor of 3 wire, fully grounded systems.  So, no knob and tube or aluminum wiring at least, BUT nothing is grounded, which is horrible for modern electronics of any sort.  The seller had already upgraded the circuit breaker box to current standards and had installed 3 prong outlets in the entire house.  No ground though; he just hooked the two wire wiring to the three wire outlets and tried to pass them off as properly updated per NEC code.  Our home inspector caught that they weren’t, so we said that we wanted those outlets properly grounded as a condition of sale.  He agreed, then apparently had a contractor friend forge a work order saying that the work had been done.  “Trust but Verify” as Reagan said.  After we FINALLY got them out of the house, I went through with an outlet tester and found the only areas properly grounded were the kitchen and bathroom where he’d ran new wiring to for previous remodeling work.


Same general idea with the other two jobs, once checked up on.  Partially my fault for allowing closing to go through before they were out of there.  I’m going to plead detrimental reliance however, since our own realtor assured us this guy was a well established contractor with a sterling reputation, and a virtual pillar of the community (huge town of 3600 there, lol)

Side Note: Trying to translate from Legalese to English, detrimental reliance in this case means the victim followed the bad advice of an expert professional on a given matter. Such as an electrician telling you it’s OK to stick a fork in an electrical outlet, with wet hands no less. A few other circumstances apply but it’s essentially malpractice for professionals other than doctors and lawyers.


Then when we got a chance to thoroughly look the place over, the exterior windows (all but two of them were unsealed on the outside.  One of them even had ivy growing into the gap.  Personally, I can’t believe I missed all of that either.  I saw new windows, and new looking bricks with clean, well formed mortar though.  I didn’t think I had to worry about if he’d finished the job and fully sealed the exterior of the windows:

He also left two holes in the exterior walls where the old, in-kitchen hook up for the washer and dryer used to be:

Fortunately, I have many talents:

It’s actually amazing what one can do with a YouTube video or two and simply RTFM 😉

Yes, that’s patched with actual concrete for a proper, similar materials patch.  Same with the smaller nearby hole that I patched.  There are other, smaller holes that I still need to patch though.  These two holes were hidden behind furniture and boxes to deliberately conceal them.


OH, I forgot to mention that the sellers failed to inform us of a roach infestation as well.  When they finally got out, and we went to look at the place, the house reeked of cheap carpet shampoo and roach spray.  There were dead roaches all over the carpet also.  Unfortunately, this area only requires disclosure of wood destroying pests.  Ergo there’s not much we can do on that specific one.  Despite apparently cleaning the carpets, they also managed to leave the house filthy.  Even the aforementioned carpets don’t feel anywhere near clean.


What really set me off regarding the entire situation is that when the violations of the closing contract came to light, EVERYONE involved with the transaction (including our own agent) just threw up their hands and said “oh well”.  They got their money, so they don’t care.  Take advantage of my good nature and risk my possible wrath.  Rub it in my face that you did so, and guaranteed it’s going to get ugly.  So, I’ve spent the last two weeks going through real estate laws and building codes online at night after working on the house all day.  What have I found, you ask?


Well, first the renovated bathroom, all the exterior windows, the new side door, the new electrical panel (circuit breaker box), and hell maybe even the new-ish A/C system were all done without the required building permits.  The holes in the wall, the unfinished windows, the improperly wired / switched out electrical outlets (along with several other things) are all building code violations.  Digging into some of the outlets to check the wiring turned up things like this:

That’s the hired electrician sitting there, staring in disbelief

Yes, that’s gravel pouring out of the outlet.  I wasn’t sure what to make of that at first, but a little research turned up that cinder block walls sometimes use “aggregate” (pebble) material as insulation in the hollow center portion of the block.  This jabroni doesn’t even know how to keep the crap out of the ‘gang box’ for the electrical outlets though.  I found jury-rigged, mismatched and spliced together wire in other outlet boxes and wood chips from the wood paneling in others.  The electrician that looked over the house recommended a whole house rewire.  The previous owner also left uncapped gas lines where he had his grill tied into the house gas system, where there was a gas powered space heater that he removed and where the dryer was. 


Sooooo… long story short, we went from something that could have been settled easily with a “My bad, we ran out of time.  Take care of it and send me the bill”, to escalating this up to the point where I’m out for blood.  We’re going to sue the previous owner for breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation.  I’m also going to do everything I can to get his contracting license, and that of his electrician friend, pulled for the building code violations and fraudulent work order as well.  Oh yes, and go after his realtor for the same reasons as well as acting in bad faith.  Somebody’s losing their real estate license or is at least going to end up with one hell of a fine to the state department of real estate and Realtor’s Association.

SICK Cat Too…


And if all that wasn’t enough…  One of our two cats got really sick and turns out to have a massive internal cyst in her abdomen area which will require surgery.  The HIGHLY reputable vet hospital (extreme sarcasm noted, I hope) only took $1500 dollars to make the diagnosis of a cyst.  We haven’t even gotten to treatment yet. 

 
So yeah…  It’s been a hell of a month. And there’s no resolution in sight for ANY of it yet…

A friend recently posted in her blog about “letting it go”. Normally good advice but…

NOW it’s “Beer for my Horses” time:

What Ever Happened to the Truth?

OK, trigger warning here: I’m going to be getting “political” here, and discussing racial and police issues. If that’s not your thing, I understand. It’s why I’m putting up the warning.

So what sparked this? We’ve been catching up on TV lately. We missed quite a bit of shows during our moving prep, the actual move, and the time our furniture was MIA. We got into the most recent Season of CBS’s S.W.A.T. reboot.

Overall, it’s a really good show; a rarity among reboots. They went off the deep end trying to show support for Black Lives Matters at the start of this last season though.

The episode involved trying to break up a chain of terrorist attacks that were designed to hit South Central and stir up racial tensions to the point of actual violent conflict. All this while the neighborhood is planning an annual remembrance event of the Rodney King beating.

LONG story short, the episode spins the riots following the King verdict as the fault of the police because they didn’t step in and restore order. They even have the Commander of the SWAT Division of LAPD get up in front of the community and apologize to them for not disobeying orders and trying to help (he was a patrol officer at the time).

The thing is, I was in San Diego at the time the riots broke out. I was staying with my dad the cop AND (his idea) I was also working as a private security guard in the Miramar area of North San Diego at the time. Believe me, I was paying CLOSE attention to everything that was happening.

Still can’t believe I went to work the nights of the riots completely unarmed, but otherwise looking for all the world like a cop. Pinkerton had dark blue uniforms.

ANYWAY… The truth is people in the neighborhoods where the rioting was taking place were actively shooting at any police that came into the area. Not only that, they were shooting at fire trucks and ambulances trying to help as well. The police pulled back and focused on containment because the alternative was to turn South Central into a full blown war zone, and be accused of a race massacre.

Back in those days, the police were also outgunned. The military weapons and transports that we see police using nowadays came about after the riots.

That’s a big part of why the national guard was mobilized to deal with the riots.

What’s My Point?

First, let me say that NONE of the above facts justify what happened to Rodney King, or others like George Floyd. The idea that Rodney King’s 1986 Hyundai could even do 120 MPH as police claimed is laughable. Even my dad called BS on that one. Early Hyundais were complete crap. You couldn’t get them going 120 if you dropped them out of the space shuttle.

Black Lives DO Matter.

If we’re ever going to get to a solution for all of this though, things have to be dealt with honestly. Both sides are going to have to see each other as human beings. Policing needs to change, no doubt about that. You can’t drive the police out of neighborhoods or try to eliminate them completely (as a few cities have tried) and then complain when they’re not where they were chased out of though.

It’s racist if they’re in black neighborhoods, and it’s racist if they don’t respond (fast enough) to calls in black neighborhoods. Is it any wonder cops are quitting in record numbers and cities can’t find replacements for them?

I’ve seen the impact firsthand there. We left Sacramento and California completely because it LITERALLY took 7 hours for police to respond to any call that didn’t involve gunfire. That’s IF they responded at all!

I won’t fault Shemar Moore (lead actor and producer) or CBS for trying to shine the spotlight on race issues as relates to police. They’ve done it before and up till this point had done a very balanced job of showing both sides of the issue.

I’m REALLY disappointed at the spin they put on the whole situation in this episode however. It was blatantly and unabashedly anti-police, dishonest, and only served to deepen mistrust of law enforcement, especially in minority communities. Nothing in that episode was going to promote communication or healing.

Maybe I’m expecting too much in hoping for Shemar Moore’s character to instead say “We have every right to be pissed about what happened that day and still happens too often. We can’t blame the police when some of us burn down and loot our own neighborhood, and shoot at the people who come to help us though.”

I’m only going to add one other point here: I am NOT saying that the entire neighborhood was involved in shooting at police, etc… I’ve said time and again that the vast majority of Black people, like ALL races, are good people. Like all races, there’s a small percentage of bad apples though. That small percentage did ALOT of damage though, and to their own neighborhoods.

Anybody comes in here with a racist reply about that’s how “all of those people are”, it’ll be an insta-ban from this blog. I don’t have the time or patience for ignorance and hate.

Frustrations

Frustrations have once again kept me from doing any posting here.

First, let me get my warning out of the way; RANT ahead!

At first, I thought it was annoyance over cutting ties with the person I used to collaborate with on my Witchfire stories. Well, sort of collaborate. We tried to create a shared world with some crossovers for our stories. That ended over their insistence upon demonizing anyone they disagreed with politically or socially, and me saying one time too often to look at other POVs and not stereotype entire groups just because a media talking head and their sheeple said so.

So many of the problems in society today are caused by people on BOTH sides of various issues having blinders on like that. Sadly most of them are otherwise decent people. They just can’t be bothered to work past their personal biases. Too easy to hate because somebody told them that their personal problems are the fault of that group over there. Old trick though; it’s worked for Hitler, groups like the Proud Boys, and the FAR Left as well. “Hate! Fear! Follow me blindly! I’ll lead you to salvation”.

95% of the time these would-be saviors are only exploiting people for their own selfish ends by playing off one group against another.

Need I say it AGAIN?!? Judge people as INDIVIDUALS instead of using group-think and blindly applying labels that promote conflict and division.

AND THEN THERE WAS THE BLOG…

First, let me say I hate some of the new changes to WordPress. Even using a spacer insert is harder now since there’s no box, just a little circle now that you move up and down. The (picture) cropping and resize tool doesn’t work for me. They’ve even done away with the ability to select specific font size from a drop down. Now it has to be keyed in if you want to change it. Every “improvement” to the block editor seems to make it a bigger mess.

Some sort of background changes have me locked out of replying to or even liking half the blogs I follow AGAIN. This is the third or fourth time it’s happened since I started here. If I haven’t liked or commented in your blog in a while and I usually do, that’s very likely why. This change no doubt so WP can data mine blogs more easily.

Then we get back to PEOPLE as relates to blogging…

First, there’s my ongoing gripe over USERS masquerading as followers. If you’re doing THIS, you’re not reading and you don’t care about anything anyone else has to write about:

Doing that regularly just says you’re only using people to gain followers and pad your fragile ego. It’s happening increasingly from people who I’ve made effort to genuinely interact with on WP too, or at least used to. And I’m talking them doing 20+ likes in 1 or 2 minutes. I have a few pics of THAT also. I figured 8 likes was enough to make the point though.

If you don’t have time to read and have no desire to do so, just don’t reply instead of using people for your vanity. I’d rather have 5 followers like Refarmer, Joanne the Geek, Sheree, BigSkyBuckeye and a few others who will actually read, than have 10,000 fraud followers.

Then there’s another issue that’s been simmering for a long time also; appeasement and self censorship. I left and loudly denounced Twitter for similar experiences, but really WP isn’t all that different in a few regards. I speak out against some of the heavy handed aspects of the SJW movement (even though I support the overall movement / idea), then I’m evil. I have to push anything spiritual over to another blog because I might offend religious people. Can’t believe in chi and God after all *rolleyes*

Same idea with some of my adult writing. I sort of give that one a partial pass as I don’t want people to have to worry about anything vaguely NSFW here, and WP is absolutely one of the worst sites out there for providing any sort of age check tool for that kind of content. Even just an “Are you 18?” button pop-up would be nice!

Maybe NextDoor.com is a better overall comparison. Can’t write anything there other than garage sales and recipes without offending somebody. I’ve felt increasingly the same way here.

Write about self-defense or martial arts, you’re violent.

Talk about RESPONSIBLE gun ownership (and I have a very negative opinion of some gun owners), and you’re going to go out and do a mass shooting.

OK, enough said. The point is I’m sick to freaking death of judgy fucks presuming they know what others are thinking and feeling, AND that said judging fucks have the imagined godlike wisdom to tell others with absolute certainty how to live their lives or even what they should say. Yes, I’m sick of the “this means you’re a that and need to change NOW” crowd.

I’m NOT advocating people be allowed nor encouraged to run around acting like asses with no filter either. Can’t we find a happy medium though?

Truth; I’m frustrated at feeling like I can’t be me. I’m shutting away and compartmentalizing pieces of me to try to appease people who are never going to read my writing or buy any book I write anyway.

I’m not sure how quick I’m going to really get back to posting “full time” here again. I do know that when I start though, I’m going to be more ME. Politics I will still refuse to cover. The waters there are just too muddied, the real truth too hard to find and I think everyone is corrupt. Adult content is staying at SilksErotica.

Anything else is one the table though. I’ll do my best to discuss topics in an intelligent, calm manner. I’ll try to be positive and upbeat too. Trust me, I’m sick of bitchy posts here

Don’t like a particular subject in the future? I’ll make sure the headlines are clear so you can bypass it. That, and a return to days having regular topics, are as good as you’ll get.

Honolulu Car Rental Price Gouging

I got an email about this from my friend in Hawaii. It seems with the return of tourism to Oahu (which had been down 90% for almost the entire pandemic), that the demand for rental cars has gone through the roof compared to availability.

No doubt the car rental offices were selling off their fleets to help cover operating costs during the pandemic. Now that it’s ended, their short sighted move has caught them flat footed. In typical predatory capitalism fashion they’ve decided to charge over $700 a DAY for basic rentals and over $1000 if you want a convertible:

$1,000 a day to rent a car? Low supply, surging demand are pushing up prices in Hawaii (hawaiinewsnow.com)

Normally, I’m quite pro-capitalism. I understand that TO A DEGREE, supply and demand are going to factor into cost. Doing so covers the cost of increasing the supply to meet demand.

HOWEVER… Where do we draw the line in this kind of instance? Where does the law of supply and demand become predatory capitalism? I’m not sure I have an EXACT answer there, BUT, 10x the normal going rate would seem to be across that line. We rented a Mustang GT convertible a year and a half ago for our honeymoon and only paid $100 a day, which is still pricey compared to most other locations.

Wouldn’t an ethical business simply go out and buy some cars from local dealerships to increase their fleet size? At $100 a day rental rate, the car loan note can be paid for on 5 days of rental per month.

Just because you CAN do something doesn’t make it right. Look at the price hikes on insulin as another example. Somewhere along the lines the idea of business ethics got flushed and replaced with the SHORT SIGHTED idea that the only duty a business had was to provide as much short term profit as possible to it’s investors. If one has NO ability to ponder consequences, that sounds great also. In the long term though, it destroys a business’s reputation and customer loyalty. Look at Banks and Airlines as two other examples. They’re both hated.

Worse, these greedy businesses are only fueling the call for Socialism or outright Communism by people who don’t understand these are even worse alternatives.

Dirty Laundry

Sort of a two-fer here with a double meaning. First after my most recent post regarding my mother, I decided it was time to draw a line. Time to follow Dr Henry Cloud’s advice and set some Boundaries.

However, given that I planned on using this video as part of the follow-up AND it does an amazing job of showing how I feel about the media, there’s indeed a double meaning to this post

Side note: The encouraging thing is that the video has 14,000 likes and over 1300 comments supporting it. People DO actually get it.

My Own “Dirty Laundry”

Getting back onto the main topic however… It’s time to finally stop the madness with my mother. I had previously written her, shortly after my last post, and more or less said the same things to her. No surprise; her response was “Maybe we just shouldn’t talk anymore since I always seem to piss you off. All that matters is that you two are happy anyway.”

I’ve stewed on that for a couple days. Here’s my reply to her:

Well, that was certainly an interesting reply… textbook narcissism and emotional manipulation: “We shouldn’t talk anymore, all I do is piss you off, and all that matters is you two are happy.”

I almost didn’t reply, but, I’ll give it one last try taking a more adult approach.  Yes, the last email was pretty fiery.  I solidly SHOULD have done better there.  That level of anger rarely accomplishes anything productive. 

THAT said, how many times over the past ten years have I tried to explain to you how bad my neck and back were though, only to have you pay lip service to understanding while your tonality and body language made it clear you thought I was BSing everyone?  Even medical paperwork wouldn’t convince you.  It’s easy enough to research how frequently spinal surgery fails and the best case scenario is almost always a chain of repeated surgeries with more and more of the back immobilized and in pain.  It’s just a matter of how soon.  SO, yes, I was very frustrated.

I’ve dealt with physical pain for decades. It had it’s ups and downs, also where I’d go through brief periods where I felt like I was getting better. As soon as I pushed myself more though, back to square one. Honestly, that’s even worse, because it makes you (me) feel like the problem is me, and not a physical issue… That I’m not just useless but choosing to be useless. To have you come along and continually make snide remarks and ask me when I’m going back to work, even after showing you all the evidence… Yeah it hurts, especially when the facts are so easily verified.

It’s easier to believe the worst of me though.  Always has been.  “Call a person a cow enough and they’ll start eating grass”.  It used to be one of your favorite tag lines.  Why am I the only one it doesn’t apply to for you? Didn’t grandma do the same thing to you and you rabidly HATED it?

You’ve never seen how it took me FAR longer than it should have to do the things you have seen me accomplish around the old house like staining the patio.  You never saw how sore I was afterward either.  Likewise, I could tell you about how I felt better after the decompression treatments, pushed myself into helping with the recent move and hurt my back again.  That I’m recovering from thanks to home decompression units.  As I tried to explain in the past though, this is a thing that takes time, and every time I push it, I only set things back.

It’s one thing to ask and genuinely try to understand and / or offer helpful suggestions.  It’s another to browbeat.  It’s yet another when 10 years of explanations aren’t enough.

Grandma’s toxic influence as an excuse only goes so far, especially when you say you’re over it now.  I know it is still a factor though.  I’d wager that you’re doing the same thing I did for years with our overall family dynamic; buried the problems and pretended that cured it.  The trouble is, it never does.  It all comes bubbling back up, especially when one doesn’t mean it to. 

I’ll even give you credit for part of it being frustration at being unable to do anything to fix the situation.  Typical parental feeling, even if expressed in an unhealthy way.  I don’t think you’re a monster, I’m just tired of the criticism.

I’ve got to voice a couple of other LONG terms suspicions here also…

First, accident or no, I didn’t ask to be born, and *I* am not responsible for how your life turned out.  Yes, I feel like you’re still acting like I owe you something there.  That despite the fact that overall, your life turned out pretty good.  We have had our issues, and things were rough with ****** (my first step dad for you readers), but it all has gone pretty well since, even if you didn’t become some big career success, whatever you imagine that to be.

Secondly, but related, I’m a unique human being with my own hopes and dreams.  It’s not MY job to live the life you wish you’d had.  Enough said there; it stands without need of further explanation.

And as a side note, moving to Tennessee was ONLY about the need to escape a state that’s falling apart and get someplace where we could afford to live.  It had ZIP to do with family in any way.  Family was what kept us there as long as we were.

OK, that’s the end of this one.  Things need to change.  It’s that simple.  You have every right to ask reasonable questions and make suggestions, etc…  Badgering and browbeating though, no.  Likewise, I do NOT want to hear that this is “dictating terms”, etc…  It’s setting healthy, clear boundaries.  Something I should have done earlier, and under calmer circumstances.

IF you can accept that, we can work at fixing things and maybe both of us getting some real healing out of this for once.  If you want to walk away, I’ve made peace with that too.  This will be strike three for me though.  I’ll either have peace with you in my life (even if it takes some work from both of us), or I’ll have it without you.  The choice is yours.

Wrapping it Up:

And there you have it. This is the kind of stuff I don’t like posting about because I think it too easily becomes a toxic pity party. Some blogs have built a pretty substantial following on that too. *I* don’t want to be that person though.

Why post it at all then? Personal accountability to follow through on what I wrote here, and to let readers know I’m acting on the issue, not wallowing in drama that will pop up here over and over.

Personally, I feel pretty good after writing that to her. Ball’s in her court and I reached out as much as I felt I could under the circumstances. She flushes the relationship, it’s on her and I won’t look back.

OH, and if you’ve never read “Boundaries”, do so. There are too many people nowadays that will run roughshod over your life and call you a bad person for saying “no”. This will help you see you’re not the crazy one, and how and when to draw healthy boundaries.

Where Do You Draw The Line?

Yes, I’ve been away for a few days here, but trying to at least answer followed posts. I’ve been dealing with the fallout of yet another battle with my mother. I’ve tried for years to get along with her, and when she gave me her wedding (ring) set, I’d hoped we’d truly rounded a corner in a lifetime long shitty relationship.

Image from depedkto12.blogspot.com

This time around, it was over my spinal problems and how I’m supposedly not doing anything to contribute to the household here. I’ve shown the woman my first MRI report from years back, tried to explain it over and over for almost a decade, and she refuses to accept any of it. At best, I should just got get surgery because I have insurance. As if it’s that simple.

After dropping hints repeatedly, trying to explain the problem and it’s side effects, etc… I finally had enough after our last phone call. I snapped and sent her a fairly strongly worded email saying I was sick of it, and if she spent not even half the time she did researching my grandfather’s alzheimers, she’d know what I’ve been going through. Also that I was sick of her efforts to bully me and destroy my self respect.

Her response was that “maybe we shouldn’t talk anymore since she always seems to piss me off”. Typical emotional manipulation and playing the victim card. If she’d listened the countless other times I tried to explain it all, it never would have hit the point it did.

I shouldn’t be surprised. She reacts poorly to any criticism. I’ve cut her out of my life for years at a time on two previous occasions too. This is the woman who ripped into me verbally if I brought home a B and had my first step dad beat me for Cs while I was in school. When I went to college, I was supposed to take double a full time load and work full time at a “real” job. I got crucified for any little mistake to the point I went from a major extrovert in elementary school to an isolationist level introvert from about the fourth grade on.

Oh yes, and I was told I was too much of a wimp to go take martial arts so I could learn to defend myself from all the bullies that I attracted. Belts in 6 styles later (Shou Shu Chi, Tae Kwon Do, American Sport Karate, Parker Kenpo, Tracy Kenpo and Wing Chun), I guess she can kiss my ass on that one.

Never got any credit for it either after I’d achieved it.

At this point, I want to just tell her “Fine, kiss off!”.

All the self doubt she beat into me over the years always seems to factor into situations like this though. *I* should be doing more, I should do something different, word things better, be more understanding.

She’ll quickly point out this verbal abuse goes back generations also and blame her behavior on that. It’s as close as she comes to taking responsibility. Otherwise she just blames me for not tolerating it.

I’ve worked hard to grow the last few years. Longer than that really, but it’s been a snowball; slowly picking up momentum and mass. Every time I start to do better, she seems to want to throw a boulder into my calm pond. I’m at a breaking point here, or rather the relationship is.

So, yeah… When is enough enough? Because where I’m sitting right now:

Another Lesson in Why I Hate the Media

Some of my longer term readers may remember my posts almost a year ago where I supplied stories from multiple news services about how the Wuhan Institute of Virology was reported to be an unsafe wreck, and almost certainly responsible for the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. The main post with those links was about media bias in general, but here are the links to the actual Wuhan stories:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/14/state-department-cables-warned-safety-issues-wuhan-lab-studying-bat-coronaviruses/

https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/06/asia/coronavirus-china-wuhan-lab-origins-explainer-intl-hnk/index.html

https://www.thedailybeast.com/leaked-cable-shows-us-officials-flagged-safety-issues-at-wuhan-lab-years-ago

My point in the earlier post was that the media in general was more interested in discrediting the Trump Administration than reporting the truth. Wuhan was called a hoax, the lab was (not) imaginary, and we were told it was all racism and xenophobia.

Well, guess what? NOW, we have the media reporting the news of the 2018 reported unsafe conditions at the Wuhan labs as if it’s a brand new story. EVERYBODY on the Right and Left is jumping on it. Even Fox, who banged the drum pretty hard on the story while trying to defend Trump, is treating it like something new:

https://www.foxnews.com/world/top-state-official-coronavirus-bioweapon-accident

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/03/08/josh-rogin-chaos-under-heaven-wuhan-lab-book-excerpt-474322?utm_source=pocket-newtab

BTW, when every outlet from MSNBC to Fox is pushing the exact same angle, watch out! It means the entrenched swamp on both sides is all working together with the same goal. Conflict is coming.

This is NOT about Trump. The leadership (at the very least) of both sides should have known via national security briefings. Instead of doing anything before we had a global pandemic, they first chose to ignore it and then play political gamesmanship after all hell broke loose.

Was the media asking tough questions and getting to the bottom of anything? NO!

All the media did was help the bureaucracy point fingers at the other side and treat the public as idiots to be demagogued and lead around by the nose like idiots.

We the people need to start demanding better of our media; less bias and commentary, more hard facts and objective reporting. The media as it stands now is a biased, conflict driven joke. I pick usually on the “mainstream” media (as if Fox isn’t mainstream with it’s massive viewer base), but this time I’ll use an example from Fox.

THAT a headline to a story at their website.

Pig In A Blanket… REALLY. Is THAT “fair and balanced”? It’s nothing resembling proper journalism. It’s sensationalist, inflammatory red meat for the base, WWE level “color commentary“, and if Cuomo wasn’t such a creep, it’d be outright libel.

Is it REALLY so hard to just report the facts and allegations against him as they stand and give the public credit for the ability to draw it’s own conclusions on IF or how big a scumbag Cuomo is? Both sides do this all the time though, and Fox just spent FOUR YEARS bitching about how the rest of the media did to Trump EXACTLY what they’re doing here. Hypocrisy on all sides.

And the thing that irks me the most about the Wuhan story is that I successfully ignored the news for months only to see that damned story plastered EVERYWHERE.

I really hope people are getting fed enough enough to actually say “ENOUGH”.