Red Clay Rewards  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

OK, it's time for another post. And, despite the odds, I actually have a few things to post about. Allow me to illustrate.........

The naturally humble have it easy. They usually are these people who perform remarkably sacrificial wonders, making life for those around them much better than it would be otherwise. In time, these people are recognized for their selfless contributions to their community. They blush and accept the praises and keep on keeping on. I like these people, but I'm not really one of them. Most of us aren't.

Then there are those of us who mean well. Yes, we too add to the quality of life around us, but we are not as immune to the need to be recognized for exactly how we contribute to our surroundings and the people living in it. And yes, we are handicapped by a need to profit by our efforts. We want to be paid according to our worth, we want that "attaboy" when we go above and beyond, only we don't usually go that far beyond because sometimes we are made to feel as though we are lucky to have a job, much less expecting something special for doing that job well. That's why you have drones occupying sales counters appearing to do nothing of actual value except take your money and pass it on to their masters, because they have never and do not expect to gain any appreciation for their efforts. Yes, I do applaud the selfless volunteer who comforts us, helps us, or provides something we want or need in return for nothing more than having something worthwhile to do. But I also applaud those hearty souls who DEMAND to be recognized as people, as workers, as cogs in the machine who deliver value and have every right to demand something in return, such as a decent standard of living, safe working conditions, and perhaps a pension to reward them in their retirement when punching that clock is simply too much to ask after decades of hard work. We all need SOME sort of quality rest before we kick the bucket.

In this regard I have always been torn. I really, really try these days to perform my job in the best way possible, but I am also loath to get into that "above and beyond" bullshit when it seems that it's simply taken for granted. One thing I do hold sacrosanct is that MY patients, the poor sick souls whom I come in contact with during my twelve hour shifts of servitude in return for my meager pay, do not suffer for having been in my presence, but rather have a much better experience for having done so. I take great pride in how I perform tests on my patients in the least painful way possible, since being allergic to pain as I am, I have a certain empathy in that regard. And, believe it or not, I am actually REMEMBERED for my efforts. I also believe that ANY task I am responsible for, however trivial or straight-forward that task might be considered, can be done better if one only tries. Thus, there are many processes here in this unit that I am directly responsible for having improved, especially in how it impacts the comfort of our patients, and that I take great pride in. So, should I be given credit where credit is due, or should I just "be humble" about it and consider myself lucky just to have a job? Whenever I feel justified in blowing my own horn, I do so with a certain trepidation, firstly for having to feel that I have to do it, secondly living with a certain guilt for having done it period. I struggle with all this daily.

Thus I FINALLY get to the point I meant to get to several paragraphs back. (Yes, I know who damn long-winded I can get; you DON'T have to tell me) We finally had our annual performance reviews this past week, which have been somewhat overdue for a variety of circumstances, including a change in Leadership of the Hospital. I usually dread these things, because it usually goes that I am given a long laundry list of all those improvements I need to focus on, and why I am begrudgingly getting a pathetic excuse for a raise, again, being reminded in a round-about way that I should consider my luck in even being employed. This usually flies horrifically in what I know to be the truth of the matter, but this being a right-to-work state, you open your mouth and dare protest to much at your own peril. I HAVE been on occasion asked to consider some other occupation, after some rather ridiculous drama that I had precious little to do with or was blown totally out of proportion. So, you can imagine my reluctance to sit with the boss and get raked over the coals for another round of imagined insults.

Only THIS time it didn't happen that way.

It was as if the record I had recorded in my head all these thirteen long years had been lovingly removed from it's jacket and played to an appreciate audience for the very first time. All those reasons I have lived with for wanting to be APPRECIATED for what I have done for this unit all these years were suddenly taken out of the cabinet, dusted off, and validated. My boss informed me that I was held in the highest esteem by my peers for my work ethic, my professionalism, my abilities, and on top of that I was given a pretty damn good raise, at least compared to what passes for a raise here in this place. You can imagine the effect this had on my overall mood. I was expecting the worst, and was happily disappointed.

AND, before THAT, THE Wife was given a real big "Attagirl" for HER work ethic by HER boss and given an even BIGGER raise! And she deserved every damn penny of it! Now, you tell me, was this not a good week?

Continuing on with the news, I installed the new air-conditioner in the bedroom, and it hasn't solved my problem at all. I think my problem is particular to ME, since the wife is having none of the problems with noise and clamminess that I am, but then again, I'm not taking sleeping pills either. Maybe I need the pills to. Old age can screw up your sleep patterns anyway. So now we have an air conditioner, the one that USED to be in the master bedroom, installed in the extra-bedroom/Wife's-workshop window.

For some strange reason, the county, which is apparently NEVER going to pave our road, has decided to be nice to us on this Lane and has been spreading red clay over the top of our sand road, which turns into washboard no sooner than they grade it. So far it seems like this clay is actually working to reduce the washboard effect that usually afflicts us on this road. I have had to drive like a bat out of hell over these bumps to keep them from pounding my suspension into putty. (You see, my theory is that if you drive fast enough, you actually spend most of your tire-contact time on the tops of the bumps, instead of allowing the tires to descend into each rut and produce the associated stress. Now that the road is much smoother, I can actually slow down and reduce my risk of an accident.

Most of our lower-cost gas stations (such as HESS) appear to be desperately trying to hold at that psychological $3.99 a gallon of gas, but many of them are already refusing to allow credit cards or are charging extra to use them, due to the fact that the credit card companies have been charging these businesses a percentage on each purchase which now exceeds the profit margin of each gallon of fuel because of how expensive a fill-up is getting. Visa and Mastercard are going to have to re-negotiate their fee structure or they are going to lose gas customer business altogether. So, what will win out; greed or pragmatism? This is capitalist-to-the-extreme America, what do YOU think?

OK, that's it, no more news from dry-lake Woebegone. This is what you find at Pendragon Hold, an acre of sand somewhere in N.E. Florida. May Mother Gaia treat you well, as she has us. You can see what pissing her off did for the fine folks in the midwest.........

The Myriad Flavors of Break-Downs  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

As you might remember, last summer the central air went out, for good, after many freon refills, and not being able to afford to replace it, we bought a number of window units. I have been impressed with their overall ability to keep the house bearably cool and dry without raising my electric bill in the process. Matter of fact, I think they have actually SAVED me some dough, thanks to their energy efficiency. Well, unfortunately, the el-cheapo unit I acquired for the bedroom hasn't seemed to be up to the task in several ways, including noise level and ability to control the humidity level. Both of these shortcomings have conspired to rob me of sleep, so we decided it was time to go shopping for an alternative.

After a bit of research and roaming the stores all over town, I have hit on, believe it or not, a small Sears Kenmore unit, which according to online reviews was rated very highly, AND, it was on sale! Me, I like sales. Anyway, I haul this puppy home and wrestle it into place in the window was alot quieter in the store than it is here. However, I DO think that with the fan on low, it IS just a tad bit quieter than the cheaper (quality-wise) unit it replaced, AND, it has a pretty damn high efficiency rating of 10.8, so I think I will have to see how it handles the humidity before I start complaining. Now I can put the old machine in the guest bedroom, which didn't have one at all.

While on the subject of machinery, THE Wife and I had decided that one of our trees had to be felled and I dragged out the old chain saw to do the deed. However, after the chain came off the bar, I discovered to my massive aggravation that the bolts holding the bar onto the motor housing were now rotating when I was tightening the nuts that keeps the chain tensioned, the result being that I can't get the damn chain back on the bar! ARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!

So the hell with it; I have decided to go electric, and not have to worry about gas or noise or pulling on a starter cord or all that nasty exhaust pollution. I have my eyes set on, yep, you guessed it, a very powerful and cost-competitive model at SEARS. I am somewhat amazed at the deals I am finding at this once-vaulted king of the retail scene, which I suppose has had to try hard to compete against the likes of Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowes. I can't afford the hundred bucks for the saw this paycheck, having had to dish out for this air-conditioner, but the tree stump can wait......the old gas hog cut up most of the tree before the quality of it's construction finally doomed it. Maybe I can use that motor, which is still working just fine, on a bicycle or something.............

After having taken the better half to work, while waiting for the Sears store to open, I had me a coffee at the Books-A-Million and thumbed through a few books, the last one being a photographic retrospective of the Vietnam conflict. Sigh, it was a gut-wrenching experience, sitting there paging thru vivid black and white scenes of pain, mayhem, blood and anguish, chronicles of the dismemberment of a country at the hands of both it's own citizens and those who presumed to know what was best for them. As I gazed upon photographs of young men, now my age and older, experiencing what could only be described as a whole different kind of hell on Earth, I was at the same time picturing equally disturbing scenes of young men now experiencing their own unique brand of hell on Earth, in a much drier but equally hot place where once again we presume to know what is best for the citizens of another country not our own. I have to tell you I sat there wanting to allow the tears to come and drown me and relieve me of the overflowing sadness that welled up in my heart and tore at my soul. These were, and now are, my brothers, who but for the grace of joining a different branch of service fighting a different kind of war went I. The men and women of MY generation marched and protested and raised all holy hell and STILL we lost more than 50,000 promising souls to utter stupidity, regardless of good intentions, before the madness ended. I now think of Eddy, my young friend with a wife and kids and a good heart, and I ask you, my fellow Americans, how many are we going to sacrifice to THIS folly before we once again come to our senses? And when are we going to hold accountable the bastards that started this FUBAR to begin with?

To the kind lady who thought I was condemning an entire gender by my last tirade, I am not sure which gender exactly you thought I was placing on trial. Whichever one you thought it was, I can assure you that we are BOTH equally guilty of the sins that BOTH sexes commit against each other regardless of our love for one other. I am, and perhaps will always be, lacking in many respects, and on occasion I will point out trials and tribulations I blame upon my sexual counterparts, but in the end, I assure you that there are no winners here in the halls of behaviors. Each gender commits it's own special sin against the other, but we love each other regardless, and sometimes we survive each other till death do us part. I'm working on that.....really I am.

There are a million things I want to get done this day which won't, but I have to try, so allow me to leave you fine people with these musings, and allow me to invite you back to Pendragon Hold, where emotions run high, because, well, shit has and will continue to happen. That's what makes it such a fun read, I suppose..........

Stay safe, Eddy. We love you, man.........

Good-bye George  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

It was with great and honest horror that I learned today of the death of George Carlin, who passed away at the age of 71 by heart attack. Yea, fine, so he lived a long and interesting life, and was really loved by millions. He will be MISSED!

My all time favorite comic (and hilariously logical) observation that George Carlin ever made was concerning religion. Now, I am, I suppose, what you would call a "spiritual" person, but you call me "religious", and them's fightin' words. LIsten to what George had to say about it.........(Oh, and if this really, truly, deeply, ridiculously offends you, then I suggest you go lock yourself into a closet at the nearest church and never, ever come out here where you might encounter a sinner.

What I really admired about George was that he had the guts to speak the obvious, only he could do it in such a way that you couldn't escape it, you were laughing so hard. And, the man made a LIVING doing this shit! Gods, I hated him! I always wanted to be a comedian, but I've always been afraid people would laugh at me.

Now you see why I can't quit my day job.

George, of every one of the billions of people who have lived and died on this special place we call Earth, I have to say that YOU rank up there with all those who paid BIG TIME for the oxygen you consumed. Thank you for the smiles.

Back here on the home front, I'm in the process of clearing away a tree which was competing for space with another one and lost the contest. However, it will provide us with some quality fire wood here at the hold, and the goats are loving all those leaves they are pigging out on there in the yard.

My good friend Eddy, of whom I have spoke a number of times on this blog, surprised us with a phone call from over there where all that sand is. They also have alot of mean, nasty, highly excitable, RELIGIOUS people over there that like to shoot at good guys like our friend Eddy. It won't happen because Eddy is under our direct protection, i.e. our intent (which is a force to be reckoned with) that Eddy remains safe until we can elect a sane person to our White House and get his sweet ass back home. He's doing OK, although there's not much he can say about what he, or they, or Obama is doing. Security and all that. But, just as it would anybody, all those gunshots going off at all hours of the night kinda fuck up his sleep. And he's not even living in the hood.

We didn't get to perform any Summer Solstice ceremonies due to circumstances with work and time off and other considerations this year, but all over the world it seems that the longest day of the year is being celebrated more than ever. I suppose more and more people, Christian, Pagan, or whatever, are becoming more sensitive to the complexities of the seasons of our home planet and are striving to find meaning in whatever stands out as being so special. I really think we need to enjoy this one holiday as much as we can for as long as we can because there WILL come a day when our actions as a species might very well make the longest day of the year a living hell for life on Earth, due to increased temperatures and the effects of a climate gone mad. Then, we will be celebrating the Winter Solstice as one of the few days a person can go outside without their air-conditioned suit and not suffer heat stroke.

Now wouldn't THAT be a bummer?

Oh, and Jules, I am so sorry that I haven't gone into great detail what we do with this Summer Solstice thing from a Wiccan Standpoint, but rest assured there are PLENTY of references you can google about Litha, and I PROMISE to address OUR approach to it either here or over at PPP when I get the time. Thanks for asking!

I leave you all with one observation/plea. You wives, those wonderful persons that you are that decided to stick with us men as partners, for better or for worse, and get so aggravated at the "worst" part of the deal, which we, the men, seem to deliver on a regular basis. Yes, sometimes we do and say things that with cursory glances seem to indicate we are quite capable of being very bad and insensitive bastards. I can only ask that when these situations raise their ugly little heads, that you glance PAST the occurrence and ask yourself, before you launch your thousand ships of hurt, "did he really MEAN what he said or did in the way I am taking it, KNOWING him for all these years as I do? Is this MAN of mine REALLY capable of being such a bastard? Could it be POSSIBLE that he had no idea what he was doing when he "innocently" proceeded to do what he is now soooooo in trouble for doing?"

Or, would you rather just let him know that even after all these years of commitment and love and devotion and sticking around that no matter how sticky the situation of your lives got, you STILL don't seem to GET him, and maybe he should just say "fuck it, why do I even try anymore" and just walk away? You don't think about these things from THAT angle while you're having your little judgement day tantrum, do you? Of course not, and I'm sure you'd like to either blame the hormones or just stick with the fact that men are pigs.

Whatever floats your boat.

Just stand informed, ladies, that we are on this Earth for SOME purpose, and yes, maybe we have a hard time figuring out just what that purpose is, but it's not helping us live up to whatever that potential is when you stick knives into that frail and easily breakable thing we call our self-respect, self-esteem, or whatever it is the shrinks seem to think we need to stay sane and not just go wallow in the gutter with the rest of the gutter-snipes. So, complain when you need to, we understand, and will join you when our "macho" allows us to, but remember.......

We hurt to. And sometimes YOU aren't so damned pretty, either.

End of rant.

These are the days of our lives, this is what I do, and we wish you all good days within the confines of your own special places. Blessed be!

Watch this Space..........  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

I know it's been a few days since my last post, but hang in there, fans. I just did my usual 2 day stint and am a bit bushed, but will be back into the swing of things tomorrow, same bat-time, same bat-channel. AFTER, I finish chopping up the tree I cut down several days ago, that is.

Lazy Days and Thursdays  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

It's a lazy summer afternoon, I have the day off, THE Wife doesn't, and I am taking the time to attack my ever-present chores with the speed of a snail on downers. I threw the goats some hay to shut them up (goats are ALWAYS hungry, and ALWAYS vocal, so who cares what shuts them up as long as it does), checked the mail for all those INCREDIBLE offers BECAUSE I DESERVE TONS OF FREE CREDIT and MUST RUSH IN NOW TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HUGE, HUGE, SAVINGS and other rubbish like that which will end up in the burn barrel. The big tomato which turned reddish yesterday is redder today but not quite ready to pick. The recycle bins are full to the brim with pop bottles and wine bottles and rum bottles and all that plastic jazz which makes our world go around, so they will have to go to the curb for pick-up in the wee hours of tomorrow morning. I positioned the ladder and brushed on another coat of thin paint over the top runners of the arbor (which, thanks to the humorous word-play of Dandy Donn I might name ANN) (get it? Ann Arbor?) I unloaded the dishwasher and loaded it again and for the umpteenth time wondered how three people can generate THIS many dirty dishes in the course of a single day. I will continue to take half-hearted stabs at accomplishment throughout the day but refuse to fall victim to the "gotta-get-it-all-done-simply-so-I-can-start-all-over-gettin'-it-done again" mindset which would thoroughly ruin my easy day off.

One of my co-workers, an atheistic young dude of the nursing persuasion, bought himself a brand-new iMac and we have been trying to coordinate our times -off so that I could demonstrate to him the wonders of iChat AV, the Apple audio and video messaging program which is truly the video phone that science and industry has promised us but never delivered. We got connected today and he was indeed impressed. He has relatives in England he wants to have telepresence with who also own Macs, so I hope I am helping him make that happen.

In a strange way, my friend, being a hard core atheist, holds me in the much the same regard as his Christian associates, in that I am dumb enough to consider the existence of something like supreme intelligence as really being possible. Well, ya know, I consider HIM fortunate to be able to hold me in such regard when most Christians would love to burn BOTH of us at the stake, all in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, of course. Myself, all for the grace of the Flying Spheghetti Monster, goes him, if truth be told, so all told we get along well enough. I know I would prefer his ilk to guard my back when all the chips are down. At least I don't have to worry about him wanting to save my soul by killing me.

Summer Solstice draws near, happening this friday. This is the longest day of the year, thus the perfect time to pay homage to the Lord Sun, the ultimate expression of masculinity, the height of nature and life in general having it's way on this Earth. This day gives me the most of my personal power, that half of the equation that represents the male gender, with all of our good nature and bad. As essential to the whole that I hold my kind to be, I also realize that my gender is most responsible for the violence that plagues mankind and this planet in general. Yet, I also know that my half of the equation is responsible for strength, protection, responsibility, and SPICE. A man held RESPONSIBLE is the best thing that could happen to a woman, and vice versa. Ladies, bash us all you want, but you can't live without us, and you know it, and preen and primp accordingly, as your evolutionary biology dictates. All I ask in how you approach us is that you refuse to allow the worst of us to get away with shit and thus diminish ourselves in the glorious scheme of things. We males really do count for alot in this wonderful dance of life, we just have to take responsibility for our power and allow ourselves to enjoy the wonderful fruits of life that only our women can provide to us. So, bash us when need be, but love us equally when you can. We WILL repay the kindness.

It's a Hot, lazy day here at Pendragon Hold, and I need to slowly pay attention to some need around my own pace, of course.

Clean Pipes and Opinions Revisited  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Today THE Wife is resting, recovering from HER turn at that rite of old fart passage, the diagnostic colonoscopy. After suffering the indignities of the "cleansing ritual", we showed up bright and early (UNGODLY O'CLOCK in the friggin' morning, EST) and got the test over and done with. She was lucky in that she is in no way sensitive to the Propophal like I was and was immediately sent to LA LA Land while they did the deed.

The verdict? A CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH, see me in five years!

And now, a recap of the past few days...........The arbor is finished with the exception of maybe some paint touch-up, completed this time with paint brush and roller as not to tempt fate and screw my back up again like I did with the power painter. Not bad, huh?

Once again I had to patch the goat pen to thwart the efforts of our two escape artists, the twins (goats, not the offspring). How those little twerps can squeeze those beer-barrel bodies through those narrow spaces is an amazement in itself.

The Evil Twin, who will forever from this day forward be known as " the offspring in residence " (no, not "Resident Evil") comes home every work day to regal us with tales of total stupidity as she fields calls from clueless customers seeking to get their PC's to connect with the internet. As long as they continue to sell the Microsoft operating system known as WINDOWS (windows to WHAT, exactly? To HELL?) and run it on these boxes laughingly referred to as "Personal Computers", my daughter will always have a job, so I suppose I should be happy that Apple still has a limited market share overall, although it is the FASTEST GROWING segment of any computer company, thanks mainly to market dominance by the iPod and now the wildly popular iPhone. Now, to all you out there who insist you have NEVER had problems with your PC's or Windows, I salute your astute common sense and ahead-of-the-curve problem solving ability. Consider yourselves in a special class of people. My experience however has proven to me that you are the exceptions, not the rule.

On the spiritual front, THE Wife, High Priestess and Matriarch of Pendragon Hold, is now a legally ordained minister, able to perform weddings (or in our culture, Handfastings) and other duties associated with ministers. So, if any of you pagan's-at-heart want to "jump the broom" or need counseling in the ways of Wicca, drop her a line and she'll see what she can do. Just don't ask her to wear a pointy hat. (Oh, you thought I meant a "witches" hat, didn't you? Shame on you! The POPE wears a pointy hat to, ya know! hehe)

Me, I'm happy to remain financial officer. Just send me money if you are so inclined. If it makes you happy, who am I to stand in your way?

The garden? Well, the green-bean bushes are resilient as hell and are producing more than we can keep up with. ONE tomato bush has remained with fruit promising to deliver salad fixings in time. There are what appear to be lima bean pods still maturing, and we harvested our first cucumber. However, the damage wrought by the hailstorms is VERY evident, and the bugs have attacked the damaged plants with gusto, so those are still struggling to fulfill their destiny. The herbs are all doing well, and overall, I think the garden has been at least a partial success. Next year we will try to incorporate lessons learned in how we plant it out.

Which brings me to today's rant, concerning our place in this world we share with tomatoes, bugs, and other living things that we are busy either dominating or killing off. If most of us look around, the world we view has already been altered immensely by our presence, either by development or by the effects of our impact, such as roadkill, pollution, etc. We think that what we are looking at is "the norm", when in fact, if you could hit rewind, the world you would suddenly find yourself in would be so alien to what you are used to it would shock you. The world before us evolved to function according to an immense diversity, life forms interacting with each other to support each other in a very complex web of interdependency, which we as humans damage and alter inexorably when we "tame' the wilderness to suit our need for order and cleanliness. Even now we require waste disposal plants and clean water "technology" in order to support ourselves in a world that used to do that same job merely by existing and doing what it evolved to do. We grow crops to feed ourselves when all other species fed upon food plants that grow naturally and even depend upon that predation to further their life cycles. Myriad organisms live to break down waste materials that in OUR world we have to go to great and sometimes expensive lengths to deal with artificially. And in order to provide ourselves with all these material "riches" which are supposed to make us happy, we manufacture poisons that never existed in nature, with which nature has no way to deal and thus is threatened by. Why, thanks to our "intelligence", have we discovered methods of soiling our own nests that nature could never have developed? Why, being at the very top of the "food chain", and ethically the stewards of this incredible biological treasure chest, are we proving that what we are best at is utter destruction and even slow suicide? Knowing what we now know, unless we deliberately choose to ignore the horrible truth for some sort of questionable gain, WHY do we continue down this path that leads ultimately to the very end of all things?

What are some of the "states of mind" we as individuals can adopt to reduce our impact on our world? Well, there's an amazing number of things we can do without, if we think about it.

Are you a slave to fashion? Imagine how much of your income you are contributing to the manufacture of textiles when you have to go out and buy a new pair of pants, a new shirt or blouse, a new skirt, a new HOT outfit, etc, etc, when maybe you could possible SURVIVE on two dresser drawers full of T-shirts and jeans? Hey, I know you need maybe a suit and a few nice dress-up items, but once you are past the dating scene and are secure enough in your self-esteem, you could make a few clothing items last awhile and not fucking worry about looking so damn cool all the time. I could care less how hot you look, or that you are sporting the LATEST fashion. REALLY, I DON'T CARE! An neither should YOU! If you happen to have one of these corporate office jobs that demand the old neck-tie and suit, get two of them, and wear them out before even thinking about getting new ones, and for Flying Spheghetti Monster's sake, does it HAVE to be Italian? All I'm saying is a little cloth goes a long way and NO, you don't HAVE to get your threads at the Salvation army, but if you can get away with it, by all means do so.

The car you drive. Oh-boy, here we go......... Do you REALLY buy a car to make a STATEMENT? Do you drive a sports car because you deep down inside need to be Luke Skywalker flying his X-wing fighter while you are driving to the supermarket? Do you HAVE to be faster than the dude in the lane next to you? WHY? Are you driving that humongous leviathan four-wheel-drive SUV because you own a working cattle ranch fifty miles from the nearest town and there's no pavement in sight, or do you drive that big piece of shit ONLY because you think you DESERVE to? DO YOU DESERVE TO? WHY? Look, we all have to get from point A to point B, and in this day and age, doing that is one of the BIG contributors to Global warming. So, aside from the cold hard fact that gas is getting pretty damn expensive, getting back and forth in the most efficienct way possible should be your major priority instead of stroking your ego. Most Europeans and Asians already use rail and bikes because they always had to due to the fact that their fuel has alway been priced much higher than ours. Now that elephant is visiting OUR rooms and it's time to grow up and acknowledge it. Driving a high milliage vehicle no longer means you're a geek; it means you're not STUPID and CALLOUS.

The house you live in. Are you paying 30 times the amount of money (over the life of the loan) for a poorly constructed brick and stucco McMansion built on a quarter acre of land in a development where everything is groomed to pristine regularity and if you even THINK of painting your roof white a team of lawyers will appear at your door with a writ of habius-we-want-you-out-of-here-for-disturbing-our-nirvana? Are your "membership dues" (for having the privilege of living where you are living) almost half of what you paying for your mortgage? Does the amount of pesticides and herbicides and pool cleaning chemicals and pest control measures equal the toxic load of a small country?

Does all this really add to the quality of your life? At what cost? Do you even have a CLUE as to the cost?

Take stock of every THING you could haul out to the curb and get rid of in a garage sale. Why did you EVER, to begin with, acquire any of that junk, and after having acquired that stuff to begin with, probably at great overall cost, why do you NOT need it now? What do you estimate it cost the environment because you bought it , thus encouraging enterprising entrepreneurs to produce that stuff to begin with? Where will all that now worthless STUFF end up, especially when it doesn't sell and you end up putting it out with the garbage? Do you think perhaps you would be much RICHER and better off if you had never paid good money for those material goods, devoting that money instead to sustainable living practices which could have enriched YOUR life AND the environment, perhaps by paying for a solar power system for your house and a hybrid electric car and other more less harmful ways of spending your money?

WHO is the superior intellect? Man, or Dolphin, or Great Ape, or even African Grey Parrot?

This is what's coming out of Pendragon Hold, this is what I do, and I'll see you next post, Gods willing.

A Whole New Journey  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Ho-boy...where do I start? Right now we're listening to the second coming of Journey, that 80's epic rock band ONCE fronted by Steve Perry, only now reincarnated with an amazing new/old voice performing vocals by the name of Arnel Pineda. This HAS to be the ultimate rock and roll cinderella story if there ever was one. I remember way back in the day when I was stationed at various Naval bases and one of the places you spent your meager paycheck was at the Enlisted Men's Club, where there were few women, lots of booze, but sometimes some pretty damn good bands. One of the mainstays of the entertainment venue at EM clubs was the Philippino touring group. I said then, and it's been proven over and over again, and especially now with THIS example, that Philipinos are the ULTIMATE musical mimics. I have no idea why, but these guys can sound like any rock group who ever recorded with eerie accuracy. And now, thanks to You-Tube, the legendary rock group Journey has found a new front man to replace their intransigent and broken legendary lead vocalist Steve Perry with a young man who sounds as though he's channeling one of the best rock vocalist ever to moisten a microphone.

I won't even try to delve into the politics of what happened with Steve, who it is said suffered a fractured hip (yes, Kansas, we rockers are getting on in years) and never seemed to be able to recover to the point that he was willing to tour or record again with the group, but that aside, what happened since is somewhat amazing. It seems that the rest of the group was quite willing and able to continue touring, and needed to find a new front man, but where in the HELL do you find ANYONE, regardless of talent, who can front the band against such a legend as Steve?

Enter You-tube. They find this amazing young Philippino singer who sounds JUST LIKE Perry singing with his own group called ZOO, doing cover songs, including Journey. So this young man, Arnel Pineda, who has certainly paid his dues, gets a call from people in the States claiming to be the legendary Rock group JOURNEY, asking him to audition for them. Yes, of course, he HAD to think somebody was pulling a prank on him. But it was REAL, and right now I am watching a DVD concert video of this young man in concert with THE GENUINE ARTICLE, sounding just like the missing yet who-in-the-hell-could-ever-copy Steve Perry. I can't imagine what Steve must think about all this, but the band HAS stated that they had repeatedly asked Steve to come back with them to tour and never got a reply, so if that is true, then he'll have to suffer from the flatterery this young man pays him.

Just like the Eagles, another LEGENDARY rock group has done, Journey has struck a deal with Walmart (shudder) to distribute exclusively their CD's, and it's very reasonably priced at around eleven bucks for a THREE disc set (concert DVD included), and it's worth every penny and MORE. I HATE that you have to give your business to Walmart to enjoy this band, but I suppose it's a perfect business solution for the band considering that the record companies of late have such a piss-poor record of promoting our classic rock bands while allowing them to actually have any of the money earned for their efforts. Personally, I would have preferred that iTunes had distributed the music, but that's a new era in music promotion, best suited to the clueless generation. I guess I DO appreciate the fact that I have the actually DISKS in my possession for my money, even though I immediately loaded them into my iTunes for listening.

I DO appreciate modern music. BUT, there's something about this EPIC arena rock that we old fucks grew up with that just doesn't seem to be duplicated by this younger, albeit more talented, generation. I think perhaps it's the content of the music, the lyrics, and the story it wrote about a generation that was trying to survive a whole new way of thinking about and doing things that totally overwrote the story of the previous one. We had to had to shout out to the universe with ENERGY what was going on with us, none of this polite, reserved, and in many ways boring stuff that our parents were forced to accept by the system. So, I welcome back Journey, and it's fresh new blood, a perfect blend of the best of the young and old, a force that will ALWAYS have to be reckoned with. At least until we kill ourselves with our excess.

New Ink and more of my foul language............  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Well, I've had more than a week off due to another back injury, but I've recovered (I fervently hope) and it's back to the grind tomorrow. In the meantime, let's catch up on all the exciting things that have been happening here at Pendragon Hold, shall we?

I haven't had a cigarette long now.....six months? Eight? Not sure, but one thing I do know is that there's a price to pay for giving up one vice; you gain another, which in my case so far is 15 pounds. I'm not big enough to hide much extra baggage, and it pisses me off that I have closets and drawers full of perfectly good clothing that I can't fit into anymore. I have all but given up on any kind of junk food or deserts, but that's only kept me from gaining even more. Now I have to find some sort of excuse to exert myself in an effort to burn the calories I didn't use to have to. I miss my high metabolism........sigh.

The local offspring (I'm gonna have to get rid of the "evil twin" moniker; this girl has paid her dues and has matured remarkably) finally hauled THE Wife over to the local ink-smith and got her tattooed. Here's THE Wife's backside in all it's Goddess-graced glory...........

They both keep making these "you ought to get a green-man on your arm" noises and yes, I think that would be cool if it wasn't for the fact that the process has so far been compared to something between "hot, burning knives slicing thru skin" to "being branded by a sadist". Since I am allergic to ibuprofen and PAIN, I have decided to forego the experience and suffer the pristine consequences. Stop snickering.

The offspring has had an ongoing possibility brewing with a newly rediscovered old friend of the male persuasion up in Georgia, which has kept our phone line near melt-down for weeks now, and the not-so-young object of her percolating desire pulled a no-show on her by not arriving at the bus station for a visit. The drama has taken somewhat of a toll on her emotions and I am not too happy about it myself. However, they are in the process of possibly recovering their momentum, and as for myself...well....I don't mind him eventually coming for a visit, as long as HE BRINGS THE FORTY BUCKS SHE WASTED DRIVING TO THAT DAMN BUS STATION TO GET HIM, ONLY HE WASN'T THERE! I'm easy......really I am. But gas isn't cheap anymore, and neither is my 'little girl's" emotions.

The arbor I have built remains half-painted since I screwed up my back, but hopefully we can finish it off this weekend, if we don't get rained out again. I will post pictures of the finished project as soon as the job is done.

THE Wife's BGF up in Georgia sent us some Deadwood, Season One DVD's to watch and I must admit, the inclusion of realistic, as well as colorful, language of the period sure has added to the ambiance of the production. I tend to get a tad bit "realistic" with my language at times as well, but truly I use it for emphasis rather than due to any inability to speak plain, clean, concise english. I'm sorry, my gentile readers, but referring to our fearless leader of the free world as "That fucking feeble-minded MORON" delivers a much more concise and accurate description of this man and my feelings towards him than any polite reference ever would, and I will not be altering my descriptives anytime soon.

I was just watching a World News Tonight (ABC) report concerning the the fare increases the airlines are having to charge to attempt to make up for the outrageous increase in fuel costs. SouthWest Airlines, that low cost pioneer that has always been ahead of the curve, isn't having those problems. It seems that these geniuses took out an insurance policy several years ago that locked in their cost per gallon of fuel. So, at least until this policy expires or the company that issued it goes bankrupt, they won't be gouging their passengers. Isn't that rather unusual? If you HAVE to get somewhere THAT fast, fly them......they deserve the business.

Afternoon rain used to be the norm around here for the longest time, at least around eight to ten years ago. Now the storms are back, only now they are bringing high winds and hail with them. It seems that Mother Gaia is speaking, but are we listening? In the upper midwest the corn fields and many towns are under water. You know, when you alter the weather, and pave over so much of the damn earth while filling in swamps and watersheds, what in the FUCK do you EXPECT to happen? That water used to have a thirsty earth to soak into, but now it all runs off into drain systems that can't possibly handle it all and SOMEBODY ends up treading water. Whenever we start ANY development project, we ought to stop at the first thrust of the shovel and ask ourselves what happens if we keep digging? Are we aware of all the consequences of our actions and is there some design considerations we can adopt to negate any of these consequences? Most of the development along the beaches of this country never would have happened if those questions had been asked.

OK, enough bitching and moaning for one night. This is THE Michael, and this is what I do. You guys go do what you do and do it well. Blessed BE!

Because of Eddy  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

My friends, I have been humbled. It was nice to see the comments trickle in lamenting my decision to go to ground for awhile, but this last one, well, if I were the type of pansy-ass metrosexual that would allow such a ridiculous thing, I would have almost shed a tear. This is the comment sent in by my good friend, Eddy, who is in Iraq now dodging IED's and insurgents in an effort to protect us from THEM. You DO know who THEM are, right? Neither do I...........

Eddy has left a new comment on your post "Sabbatical":

I got one for you. DRINK WATER DRIVE ON!! Come on man your my only contact with the civilian side. I barely even get to talk to my family because of the seven hour time difference.
This hell they like to call Iraq does not allow for outside newspapers, so your my only good insight into what's happening. I don't trust the news on the internet, and the Star newspaper is completely military bias.
I understand every good writer as to take a break and recollect his thoughts. Luckily I know you well enough to know that this wont be too long, but just long enough to come back on fire about something or someone.
My friend I miss you and I hope everything works out. Take care of that aging temple (body) of yours because I will want to come back to work with someone who is actually worth working with.

Eddy is very special to me and THE Wife for a variety of reasons. We love his youthful energy and outlandish humor. We love his dedication to his job, his family, and his country. And we appreciate that this young man is fairly mature for his age, and lament that he is NOT typical of the average young American. For one thing, he actually has a work ethic, has a twisted sense of humor that illustrates his lust for life, and thirsts for genuine knowledge about the world around him, including what sort of God and Country he should be giving his allegiance to. I wish more young men were like this guy. And I am gong to have a personal bone to pick with DUBYA if this amazing young man is harmed in any way. It's not that I am not aware that shit happens in the course of life, but I AM very aware that his being over there in this particular circumstance really didn't have to happen. If he had been deployed to Afghanistan to hunt down Bin Laden, I would be rooting him on, but that's not where his life is being imperiled. If Eddy dies in Iraq........well, Eddy is NOT going to die in Iraq because we intend him not to, and after all, we are WICCA. End of discussion.

So, I have examined this whole "why I do this" reasoning for this blog and thanks to Eddy, I have had an epiphany. I am not here to compare myself, ability wise, to the likes of Don Coppens (Homo-Escapiens), Ann Johnson (of The Gods are Bored fame), or the infamous DNDB* Buffalo. They have their style, I have mine. Mine suits me just fine and that's all it need do. My blog is a chronicle of life on one square acre of Florida sand, not a novel on Opra's Best Seller list. Mine is written in "real-speak", and my particular speech patterns are not that well polished, since I do not have a job on radio. Hell, I do not HAVE a face for television OR a voice for radio, so this forum suits my talents to a T! I also have opinions that not everybody has to agree with, which is just fine, because if I DID live in a society where they HAD to agree with me, I think this would be one scary place to live. Well, let's just say SCARIER.........

As I finish up this post, the skies are darkening outside as a thunderstorm approaches. I am going to assume that this is not some dark omen due to the fact that we are due a 40% chance of thunderstorms today. Yes, this "sabbatical" of mine was short-lived, thanks to Eddy and ALL of you who suggested that I might be missed. Thank you. I will do my best to repay the kindness and encouragement you have all given me by doing what I always have since the inception of this blog.......chronicle, bitch and moan, and try to score a laugh or two while doing it.

*Damn-Near-Dead-Biker hehe

P.S. I hope you guys like the new lay-out.


Posted by Alex Pendragon

Sigh........I remember those halcyon days when this blog had upwards of a dozen and sometimes more readers, fans, whatever you want to call them, they were people who came here and kept me company from afar. I don't know; maybe I did alot more ranting and raving back then and perhaps it was my mad musings that attracted them.........I would hate to think that my writing skills have devolved so much as to have cost me my readership. I never did think that my writing skills were anywhere near as attractive as those on my blogroll, but there were times when I was hailed as having had that talent. Times change, people get bored, then move on to more interesting spots on this wide, wild web of ours.........

I am not blaming anyone in particular except perhaps myself; those that were here and left I am sure had real-life reasons for not hanging around. Even those who are still with me can attend a post on a less-than-regular-basis, but reading them and seeing all the comments THEY have to deal with, well, it is an amazement they EVER have time to stop by and leave a comment. That very fact has made them very special to me. My wife, THE Wife, every God and Goddess in the Pantheon bless her, will probably never understand why I seem to NEED this forum like I do, but perhaps you, my readers and fellow bloggers, understand full well what blogging can do to someone who otherwise might be a very lonely soul, surrounded by physical beings who have no clue concerning the world you live in. I do know that people blog for a whole variety of reasons, and can easily walk away from it, while others really can't, not if they have any hope of retaining their sanity.

Well, I have inflicted MY need upon all of you remaining friends a smidgen to long, and I think it's time I put TTEM to rest for awhile. Here on the home front I face an uncertain future, what with gas prices, food prices, a recession looming, a job in jeopardy, you know, all the standard American terrors we all face at one time or another in this "great" nation of ours. I doubt that electing Obama is going to have an instant effect on the lives of any of us, since it takes so long to recover from the disasters that the Republicans aways deliver to us after one term or two, but hopefully we will eventually see a country that resembles the one that George DUBYA Bush took away from us. I can only hope. But, in the meantime, I want to rest my weary obligation that comes with maintaining a blog, and the sadness, however unjustified it might be, that I feel when I see how out-of-favor my blog has become. Perhaps I just need a recharge, to be free of the intense worry that lately has robbed me of some of my sleep, and then I can bounce back to blogging and perhaps deliver to you, my friends, the kind of blog you really can't live without. I will continue to enjoy those of you on my blogroll I have come to love and respect. Just wish me well, and perhaps send a graceful prayer, however you construct them, to whatever deity or cartoon character you are on good terms with. I am not picky.

Blessed be you all.............till then.

History, Past and Present  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

History did not stop for me when President Kennedy was shot, when Bobby and Martin Luther were gunned down. It did not freeze when Nixon resigned in disgrace, nor when the Pueblo was captured by the North Koreans. History kept on as Reagan kept poking the Russian Bear, and time marched on as the wall came down between two very different Germany's.

And this week, I am very much aware of History as Barack Obama, a mixed race Senator from Illinois clinched the nomination of the Democratic Party, no less amazing for having wrestled the nod from the first really serious female contender. All that remains to be done is for Obama to ask Hillary to take the V.P. spot, providing of course that she and her husband Bill can behave and not spout something stupid, as they have both been known to do.

This election will prove once and for all wether or not the American electorate can learn from their mistakes. To elect McCain would prove once and for all that the glory days of this nation have come to an end.

On the home front, THE Wife received another round of Botox injections in her shoulder to control her headaches and back pains. I got a good workout with the physical therapist, already sore from what he did to me yesterday, and thankfully I have a one day break before my next round of torture. I am crossing my fingers and hoping that I can get back to full duty this weekend.

I've been watching the award-winning series "Planet Earth" which spans something like 5 discs, that I've been renting from Netflix. It's an incredibly beautiful and fascinating documentary about life on this planet, and once again I am reminded that despite my half-century of living on this world, I STILL haven't experienced even half of the wonders it harbors. I can't imagine ANYone, conservative, liberal or whatever, watching this series and not coming away with an understanding of what we stand to lose if we keep on doing what we humans do so well; clear-cut, strip-mine, and destroy everything we touch. But then again, there are people who club baby seals to death for a living. I suppose it takes a soul to have a conscious, and perhaps there are only so many souls to go around. The worst of the worst DO seem to be lacking something in their eyes when you look close enough.

Well, I gotta get out there and tie out the goats and spray some organically nasty stuff on the garden. May your day be a good one, my friends. Blessed be!

All Hail Breaks Loose..........  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Well, I'm at the painting stage on the arbor project and I have discovered that a quart of paint delivered via a Wagner Power Painter doesn't go very far. Plus, it's amazing how much of the surrounding landscape can get painted when you are simply trying to paint one particular project. That includes me. Go figure.

Today we harvested our first haul of green beans for dinner, and man, were they GOOD! We planted this garden, what, maybe a month ago, and already we are reaping what we sowed! The catnip bush is huge, and the cat gets a nice high every now and then. The cute little baby cucumbers are sprouting all over the place, and the herbs are doing quite well. The tomatoes, however, have suffered some casualties, and it remains to be seen if any of these surviving bushes will deliver a ripe fruit before this mysterious ailment strikes again. I hope to get some lady bugs ordered in the mail to head off any future infestations of veggie eating pests. If nano-tech wants a killer application, I suggest they design pinhead sized hunter-killers programmed specifically to eradicate whatever pest you program it too, then conveniently hibernate until the next growing season.

Then,they will mutate and kill us all, but, hey, it would have been cool while it lasted, at least for organic gardeners.

I continue to suffer this puzzling dryness in the left eye. I may have to resort to magik if this keeps up. Anyone out there have a supply of newts you can send me if I need that "special" ingredient? Wink........

THE Wife is still researching that perfect tattoo. Now she's focused on an owl, which she considers her familiar, or perhaps her "totem" animal. If anybody has any cool graphics or designs they would like to send for suggestions, we'd be pleased as pagan punch to entertain them. (


This section of the post is next-day, and I went and done done it again! I have injured my back at work on numerous occasions over the years, and this time I somehow managed to pull the same shoulder muscle I injured this last time AGAIN, this time simply by holding up a paint sprayer........while attempting to finish painting the arbor.


OK, next day again, and it seems I have injured a new muscle group, rather than the one I hurt last time at work. I'm off the rest of the week and will be getting physical therapy until Friday when the Dr. decides if I am able to return to full duty.

Meantime, we have been hit twice now by some kick-ass thunderstorms, complete with marble sized hail, which has done a number on our garden. The tomato bushes, sunflowers, and potatoes have been knocked over, and the leaves of our squash have been peppered by the hail stones. It remains to be seen as to wether or not these plants can overcome these physical insults.

AND, today while I was at work waiting to go to Company Care to check out my back injury, we had a staff meeting in which we were told that the unit was way over budget, and of course, who gets cut back.......of course, you got it; the PCT's. So now the staffing levels only give us one PCT instead of two when the unit is full and one Secretary, although they want to cross-train us to do both jobs (without any increase in pay, of course). How exactly this is going to impact me personally I don't know yet, but I have a bad feeling that things are going to get even tighter around here at the hold, as if sky-high gas and grocery prices weren't bad enough.

Well, that's the dirt that's fit to print, and then some. I'll keep you guys posted as things continue to deteriorate...........yep, that's me, always the optimist!