The Heart of the Matter  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

As I steadily head down the "Long and Winding Road" (called life), I have become accustomed to the frequent aches and pains I associate with aging. Getting up in the morning sometimes feels like I've been beaten up in my sleep, and I dare not stretch my body, particularly my legs, to far lest I set off these terrible muscle spasms in my calves which can almost make me cry. But this latest ache, which I fervently hope is noting BUT an ache, had me more perturbed than usual. CHEST pain.

For several days I have experienced this mild but quite noticeable pain right in the middle of my chest, which got bad enough a few days ago to actually wake me in the middle of the night. It's not indigestion, which is a sensation I am quite familiar with. Yesterday at work, I took advantage of working were I do and hooked myself up to a portable cardiac monitor to see what my heart rhythm looked like. With the exception of a few PVC's (premature ventricular contractions), which can be triggered by caffeine (I HAD drank coffee earlier), the monitor revealed that I had what one could consider a rather unremarkable normal heart rhythm. Now, this does NOT rule out entirely that one could be suffering from an increasingly restricted artery due to plague buildup, but it was reassuring nonetheless. As this pain has not gotten any worse and might even be receding, I am going to write this pain off to the possibility that it was nothing more than a taxed chest wall muscle, since I do some serious pulling when helping to move patients around in bed, some of them very heavy people.

My mom died of emphysema, but her heart was strong. I am not aware of any major tendencies towards heart disease in the maternal side of my family, but I am clueless as to what kind of genetic time bombs my Father could have lent me (the bastard!), since he abandoned me at the age of seven and I have not seen him since. I have eaten fairly healthy, including a diet that excludes almost all red meat (we eat mostly chicken, turkey, and fish) and I quit smoking almost two years ago.

Still, it's been proven that although you can moderate your health through diet, exercise, and exposure to environmental toxins, your genetic code is still the premiere dictate as to how long you will live and the quality of your overall health. My mom always looked half her age, till the smoking overwhelmed her good genes, and even now I can pass for someone a few years younger, even with the grey hair and beard. So, I have advantages. I know I cost myself some years by smoking, but they claim that I will overcome some of the potential damage by quitting. I can only hope so, although I have resigned myself to having given up something like 20 years of my potential at least. Still, I want to at least collect ONE of my Social Security checks before I kick. If there's anything left to collect on, that is.

Still…… was disconcerting. I'm not QUITE ready to check out Summerland……..not yet……….

Stakes are High  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

It's been busy here at Pendragon Hold since my last post. THE Wife has been devoting every waking moment to this upcoming Rocky Horror Picture Party she's hosting on the 3rd of October (be there or be rectangular). I have been doing what I can, passing out flyers at work, attempting to explain what a Rocky Horror is to Rocky Horror virgins, while watching with some bemusement the utter joy some of my co-workers have been expressing at the mere thought of attending anything having to do with Rocky Horror. I might even garner the attendance of highly placed Corporate Executives at this shindig, because, after all, this IS the Rocky Horror Picture Show we are talking about here………..

But don't ask me to explain this cult phenomenom, because I can't. I would have much better success explaining why thousands of Americans with mental handicaps show up to protest health care reform, non-existent gun control legislation, and anything else they can dream up as happening to them courtesy of us "communists" who are out to destroy our country. Why would we want to "destroy" our country? Your guess is as good as mine………

A new job has not miraculously turned up in time, thus the offspring has been forced to load up her belongings and move them all back here to the nest. I really feel for her, having such a blow to her self-esteem such as it is, but I also have experienced such turmoil myself, so I can fully understand the angst this generates in a person. Since our whole identities are so tied up in how we make our livings, losing our jobs effects so much of what makes us who we are. There has to be a better way, honestly.

Now that a relatively small segment of the population, recruited by the insurance industry and big pharma and the extreme right wing of the Rush Limbaugh party has totally screwed up the crafting of a sane health care reform package, thanks to the spineless backbones of our democratic party leadership, it seems that what we will end up with is something bearing no resemblance whatsoever to what Obama promised us in his election campaign, so hell bent is this man on trying to gain bipartisan consensus. Watch this so that you can laugh instead of cry.

On the "good news" front, I have gotten the new computer, a Mac Mini/22 inch widescreen monitor combo up and running, and after an occasional glitch or two, eventually remedied, I am now technologically current, CPU-wise, and am enjoying better wireless performance and speedier application performance, whatever that means.

As a born-again Pagan, I have noticed with alarming frequency these witch-hunts that have been happening all over the world. Of course, this is not a new thing, since witches and practitioners of magick have historically been the scapegoats of every populace who ever needed something to distract themselves from self-inflicted problems. We Pagans are probably second only to the Jews in this particular persecution category. When you have peoples who adopt an angry white dude living in a cloud city paved with gold as their Major God, well, this is the kind of shit that goes down. Jealous Gods tend to get jiggy when someone DARES to suggest they don't even exist, or at least the people who BELIEVE they exist get all bent out of shape for them. So, any opportunity a shyster preacher or other sort of purveyor of the "truth" gets to associate some usually defenseless, elderly, and of course female with "the devil", he will jump right on that and "save" the community from that hapless victim of religious hysteria. It is now getting so pervasive that even our politicians are getting in on the act, such as our very own Sarah Palin (you remember Sarah, doncha, the one who keeps an eye on Russia from her front porch and might keep having "gifts from God", aka babies, well into her seventies if she can keep Todd on her leash? One of these African charismatic evangelical preachers brought the "gotta clean out these witches" concept to Alaska and recruited Sarah into the ranks of his "Christian warriors" army, which she in turn is doing her damnedest to insinuate into the very fabric of our government.

I have one thing to say to you, Sarah, and ALL you fucking nutcases with your fear of those who don't buy your God.

THIS pagan doesn't turn his cheek.

The Eclectic Pleasures of Rocky Horror, Mac Mini's and the Down to Earth Agony of Unemployment Examined in Black Light  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

I know it's been awhile since my last post; it seems that your humble editor has been lax to the tune of maybe one post a week lately. It's just that a sort of malaise has come over me lately, attributable perhaps to this sense of doom that has it's grip on my inner core. This 2012 bullshit is hard to get out of my system, so hard to discount entirely, no matter how logical I think myself to be. Well, whatever, I'm sure I will get over it eventually and get back to living life as if life goes on forever, much the same attitude that teenagers seem to have. I miss being a teenager, only NOW is the time I should have been one, considering all the things teenagers seem to get away with these days that teens in MY day never even dreamt of getting away with..........sigh.........

The whole purpose of life here at Pendragon Hold of late has been the planning of the Rocky Horror Picture Party that the wife dreamt up. The whole success of this endeavor will hinge on several things, one being that SOMEONE comes through with our need of a video projector to play the movie on the back of the house with. I scouted out all the local rental stores around here in hicksville and it seems that video projectors are NOT a hot item in the rental market. I sure as hell can't afford to simply buy one, not at an average of $600 a pop, especially considering that this might be the only time I'd EVER need to use one. Yes, I know, the other alternatives are big screen televisions, which of course we would risk destroying with all the things you throw at at screening of Rocky Horror. What could they do to a white sheet taped to the wall of a house? ANYTHING THEY WANT TO!

I also am hoping that all the nurses and other folks of the medical persuasion will attend the party as promised. Very few of them even know what Rocky Horror is, but many of the virgins DO seem intrigued............I might even get my boss, bless her brave heart, to come and provide all of us with blackmail fodder!

Just kidding, boss!

On to other news, which is not all good, unfortunately. THE Daughter, the ex-evil twin who got screwed by her last week-long employer, is still searching frantically for a job; ANY job that would at least pay the rent. I think it really sucks what they did to her, and if I had my druthers, I'd take any excuse I could find to sue their sorry asses for hanging her out to dry like that. This girl excels at just about anything she takes on, and she is one of those few women who truly understand what a work ethic is. So, I am asking all my pagan fans (and even those of you who think there's an angry white man in charge up there on cloud nine) to craft some good spells or utter some late night prayers in favor of our little girl getting back on her feet real quick. Yes, we are fully prepared to take her back into our loving embrace until she can recoup, but DAMN, she was SO happy to be making it well on her own! I don't blame her for being so upset in that regard at all; I fully understand the feeling of having to depend on others when you shouldn't have to.

AND, I have finally saved up enough green backs to get a replacement for this venerable old iMac G-5 of mine which has served me so well for all these many years. I would be happy to stick with her till the mother board finally bit the dust if it wasn't for Apple moving on to Intel chips for their computers. With this release of Snow Leopard (OSX 10.6), Apple no longer supports the old motorola architecture, so I can't run many of the new applications which are Intel-only. Yes, she still surfs the web fast enough, but there are plenty of things I want to do that I just can't do with this now somewhat obsolete old beauty. Anyway, she is going to be replaced by a refurbished Mac Mini, a nice little 2 ghrz Intel Core Two Duo which I will have to perform some surgery on to upgrade the slow, small hard drive and increase the memory, which will end up giving me a machine which will run circles around this old G-5. I'll be pairing this compact little machine with a nice, reasonably priced 22 inch wide screen monitor which is an improvement size-wise over the 17 inch screen built into my iMac. All for several hundred clams less than even a new refurbished iMac would have run me, which would take me close to forever to afford. Here's to another five years of virus-free computing!

Yesterday I got a flu shot; just the regularly scheduled flu preventative, NOT the vaccination needed to prevent that nasty new bug, the SWINE flu. Being so adverse to needles that I am, I am happy to report that I didn't even feel this shot, so talented was the lady who nailed me! Hopefully, the staff will be up for the Swine flu shot the first week of October, being on the front line as we are in Critical Care. Funny thing is, I might even have a natural immunity to the Swine flu, considering that I was one of those hapless military members who got shot up for it the first time the Swine Flu raised it's ugly head, back in the early seventies. Can't be sure, tho, so I'll be happy to get the new shot.

Right now we're watching something about Pink Floyd on VH1. Did I mention I love satellite TV?

As for politics, well, let me sum it up with this: There are now two Americas; the one we grew up with and the one that a whole white-trash, right-wing, racist and IQ-challenged segment of our population would want to see happen, something like an Iran with a chewing tobacco mentality. A place the Taliban would think of as being over the top. A place that corporate America masturbates itself to sleep every night just thinking about.

The most obvious and logical solution to our present day dilemma is too go ahead and complete the job that the Confederacy tried to perform back in the 18 hundreds; split the nation in two and give them what they want, and preserve the union with those who actually understand what the union has always been meant to be from day one. Just let all the ultra-libertarian/Republican/Conservative pasty white people move South of the Mason-Dixon Line, and the rest of us honest, educated, caring, intelligent, forward-thinking genuine Americans will stay North, always ready to accept the escaping slaves, the newly enlightened, and the persecuted free thinkers that discover the hard way what living in "Dixie" really amounts to. Of course, we will require them to once again raise their hands and swear to protect and defend the REAL constitution of the United Free States of America, from ALL enemies, both foreign AND domestic, or just go back and wallow in some more white power and corporate butt-fucking. And NO, we will NEVER send one penny of "foreign aid" to them no matter how thick the smoke of hatred and intolerance becomes as their new "nation" becomes a new fascist regime that rivals the old reich and the fires begin again.

And we'll keep the nucs, thank you.

Until I get off my lazy ass and post again, this is Alex Pendragon, "THE Michael" signing off.........

Blessed be!

P.S. My favorite "Kind Lady" is back at her blog, thinking that maybe it would be nice to return to, if you are as much a fan of "Kindness" as I am, get your ass over to her blog and comment, and comment often. Our world is MUCH better with her in it.

Oh, and let Anne Johnson know that she has more than ten loyal readers. She's that amazing creator of "The Gods are Bored", as IF you didn't know that.........


Posted by Alex Pendragon

When I was younger I was a connoisseur of fine conspiracy theories and predictions of the end of the world. Having had to get on with my life and just forget about all the bad things that could befall a world, my concentration eventually wondered off those rosy subjects and resumed the fine art of living.

Then I discovered, when I had the time to even notice, that the world had gotten totally fucked up environmentally while I was busy getting married and advancing my myriad "careers" and attempting to garner all those material things that living in a democracy demanded you garner if you were a true capitalist worth his salt. Not much time had passed after I left my adopted home of Alaska for the final time when I discovered that one truly cannot ever go home again, because global warming has pretty much fucked that far-northern wonderland I loved so much. I now live much further south in a hot, humid pile of sand over run with human beings whom for the most part I detest being involved with, if only due to their apparent inability to see the doom they so happily are participating in bringing down on all of us.

And, as if it could not possibly get any worse (knowing the world is going to end badly enough, thank you very much), I have been noticing these programs on our new satellite television which examine in excruciating detail all the prophesies that portend our ultimate doom, as foretold by Nastrodamas and the Mayans and their damned calender which ends on December 31st, 2012. According to all these fine folks of yesteryear with their unique inside track to the future, this is indeed the final day of mankind, even without the return of one pissed-off Jesus, ala' Armageddon.

So if anyone might wonder why my mood is a bit off these days.............

Yes, as a young Catholic, I did indeed lose some sleep over the promise, as told to me by the evil nuns, that the world would be destroyed by fire, perhaps even within my own lifetime. Then the U.S. and Soviet Union decided to threaten each other with very big bombs for decades (the very young and impressionable years I spent growing up) and THAT robbed me of even more sleep. Later, I came across the convoluted predictions of Nostrodamas, who if you interpret his quatrains according to what history has revealed, could very well have predicted every bad thing that ever happened from his time to well past this one. I was still very much a victim of indoctrination into dogmas of just about any sort that made the slightest bit of sense to a yet-to-be-well-rounded mind, thus all this conspired to make me believe that our days were numbered, one way or another.

So many decades and events have come and gone, and the end of civilization has not transpired as predicted so many times by psychics, prophets, scientists, and con-man evangelicals thirsting for the end times. Yet, that ONE very important date remains to haunt me, despite my logic screaming at me to just IGNORE it like I should have all the other scare stories of our times..........2012.

You see, one thing that comes with soaking in all the wonders of the universe is the realization that this planet and everything that lives upon it exists entirely thanks to a very narrow set of accidents that places it in the right orbit around the right star at the right time with just the right tilt and with a nice little moon in orbit around it that is not to close and not to far, along with a whole mess of other happy happenstances which allows life to exist and evolve and result in me sitting here at a computer typing this post. However, it will only take one out of a whole host of natural occurrences to totally erase this wonderful existence of ours, such as a meteor strike, a really energetic solar flare, or something beautiful yet very deadly shooting out of the galactic center and sterilizing this whole solar system. The fact that this planet has lasted in it's present life-friendly state this long is a testament to the idea that some sort of divinity actually DOES exist and likes us, at least for now.

Yet, according to the Mayan calender, all these fun and games and puppies and kittens and blue whales and purple mountains majesty ends in the year 2012, just three years from now. Exactly HOW it all ends and even what "ENDS" means exactly is not revealed, but there are no days to scratch through after that year, period. Perhaps the Mayans actually thought that they would exist as a society up to that point in history, and knew somehow that there would be nothing beyond that point to record on anybody's calender, and thus they ended it there.

There are two things I have to look forward to from this day forward, and neither one gives me much pleasure. The obvious future I see is the disaster that mankind has visited upon his one and only home, and I have my doubts as to our ability to pull ourselves back from the brink. The other, much more final fate I sense and dread so much, is this arbitrary date set for our demise, which is so similar to the dates that spelled the end of the dinosaurs and other epochs that almost resulted in the total extinction of life on this planet. 2012.

Perhaps this will only be another upset of the order, and renewal of the entire ecosystem that this planet has been subjected to throughout it's history. You have to admit, the extinction of the dinosaurs was bad news for them, but paved the way for mammals to get to work and evolve into creatures that could play the blues and paint the Mono Lisa. Perhaps we have had our time and just didn't make the grade, and thus it is time to make room for another organism to take it's shot at sentience. Maybe those tube worms around those hot vents on the bottom of the ocean will find life on this planet much more pleasant once WE get bitch-slapped and taken out of the equation, and get to evolve into another stab at higher intelligence, only this time actually a HIGHER intelligence that doesn't resemble or act like Rush Limbaugh.

If I have to die, perhaps horribly, it's the least I can hope for..............come 2012.

Chaos Theory  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Welcome to the Chronicles of Pendragon Hold, where triumph and tragedy goes hand in hand; ying and yang, light and dark, joy and sorrow, it's all residing on the same coin we call life. Today the coin flipped tails for our little girl (at least OUR little girl, who would insist she's damn well a woman many times over by now). After having accepted an offer for a job that would have been one hell of a promotion over her customer service job with AT&T, she was summarily let go after one week at her new job, just like that, without any explanation.

This is one of those "right-to-work" states where workers HAVE no rights, so what in the hell does she do? She left a perfectly good job that was paying the bills for another that promised more pay and better working conditions and was totally FUCKED for it. That's what happens in America, where your fortunes can change in the blink of an eye and there's no recourse for it. This is the world of the Republican party, those God-fearing people who make it possible for people to piss on each other, as if this kind of behavior is something Christ was all about, unless of course, it happens to THEM, and then all of a sudden they become strangely liberal. Well, friends, let me tell this country that claims to be "free", you had better have friends or family willing to lend you a hand in tough times, or you are SCREWED. Yep, the gutter is free of charge, my friends.

However, so far, so good here on the home front. Our jobs so far are intact and feeding us and our bills well enough, although we are constantly reminded by events all around us that this can change at the drop of a hat. We hold our hats with clinched fists these days. We take nothing for granted here at Pendragon Hold, and are thankful for every day that goes by without major drama of some sort or another.

The tree I sacrificed to the Gods of video is slowly being put to right. So far I have two humongous piles of brush, one large trunk slowly growing shorter as I take logs off, and dozens of small to medium limbs being reduced to fire logs. I will have to build a custom log rack to accommodate all this fresh wood, to keep off the ground to properly dry out and season. It's good to have physical labor. It keeps the joints lubed and calories burnt. There will be many a fire in the sacred circle for many years to come thanks to this tree. Thank you, tree.

THE Wife is working diligently on the Rocky Horror Picture Party. When this chick gets the rag on for a project, then project better watch out, cause project is gettin' done, and done right. I just hope I can rope enough of my co-workers into coming out and participating in this madness. Tim Curry would be SO pleased, I'm sure.....

Tonight, courtesy of our satellite and VH1 Classics, I am getting to watch "The Band...The Last Waltz" for the first time in years. Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Vann Morrison, Neil Young, Joani Mitchell, Neil Diamond, Muddy Waters, Eric fucking GOD Clapton, etc......... Right now, I love my satellite.

Having just gotten over a major electrical issue, which thankfully was resolved quite accidentally (you wiggle, bang, or otherwise smack something upside the head diagnostically under the hood of a car and you can fix just about anything), the car is now having air conditioning problems, which I hope I can fix by adding some freon, which in order to do so I have to remove a wheel AND the inner wheel well skirt to get to the charging port. Whoever designed this system was one evil bastard, and I hope he goes to his grave haunted by his sick idea of "accessibility". Wish me luck.

I'm watching on Animal Planet a story about one of these people who undergo extreme plastic surgery in order to resemble an animal, in this case a guy who thinks he's really a tiger. On the heels of this health care debate we are having in this country, I really question the ethics of the surgeons who cater to this man's self-centered issues, when there are kids out there with birth defects who might never get the help they need due to their socioeconomic situation. Yes, it's a free country, and this is just one more example of how "freedom" is abused, when there are people in this country enjoying the "freedom" of being out of work, being evicted from their homes, and living on the street. Oh, I'm I sounding "socialist"? Let me apologize..........

This is a wonderful world, and it's a fucking evil place if ever there was one. It's a verdant planet occupied by millions of species of ants and ant eaters and lions and tigers and bears all going about their business trying to get out of our way and not succeeding very well. It's a world with blue skies and muddy waters, beautiful sunsets and mass graves. The grass always grows greener on the other side of whatever divides us. And life goes on, or whatever passes for life, here, there, everywhere.

However, since last night, when I started this post, I am happy to report that I can end this episode of The Chronicles on a somewhat happier note. Baby girl has a job interview tomorrow.

Blessed be!