Snarky Wi-Fi and How I Learned to Love the Ethernet Cable  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

It's a cold, wet, miserable day here at Pendragon Hold, and we just might have another mild freeze tomorrow morning. I'm contemplating wether or not I should round up the plants once again and shelter them in the shed, or just let them take their chances this time, considering it's only slated to get down to 30 degrees.

The old iMac is starting to act up again, and it ain't pretty. The airport wireless network started slowing down on me and on top of that the superdrive seems to be out of commission altogether (that's the thingy you burn CDs and DVDs with, for all you PC people). I ended up having to get another wireless router so that THE resident Daughter could remain connected while I just got an extra-long ethernet cord and hooked up to the modem directly. I think the airport extreme card inside the computer is going bad on me, and guess who's computer is so old and obsolete that they don't make those cards anymore?

THE Wife cannot for the life of her understand why a computer that's only perhaps five years old at the most should be having problems or that I should be suggesting it's time to replace it. Apple makes damn good stuff but you can only go so long before the advances in the newer machines have just left you behind. This baby was a powerhouse back when it was introduced with the Motorola G-5 chip, but almost before it was plugged in and warmed up, Apple decided to go with Intel chips and slowly but surely this machine is not keeping up with the hardware requirements for new software. I've been happy with her for this long, but she's getting long in the tooth and it really doesn't matter if she does what she's asked to do if she up and dies and can't do ANYthing anymore. THAT I can't work around.

However, the fact remains that I don't presently HAVE the money for a brand-spanking new iMac with the thinner frame, the Core 2 Duo chips running circles around this old G-5, with twice as much faster memory, and the ability to run windows programs even better than a PC, as well as a built-in web cam, and a larger screen (20 inch vs my 17 inch). I purchased this one as a refurbished model and I plan to do so again when I have the cash, but we are still talking no less than a grand. I still have this year's property taxes to pay as well as other projects I really need to get started, so..........sigh.........if this is the worst thing that happens to me this year I will be incredibly fortunate.

Several hours later:

I did some surfing and it seems you CAN get an Airport Extreme card from a third-party reseller after all. Most for sale are used but I managed to find a new one, which I ordered. On top of that, there is a disk burner available for my iMac that is actually better than what came with it, in that it will also burn the new double layer disks, plus burn everything faster. THAT I will have to put off for a paycheck or two, but it's nice to know I can get one. Looks like I might be able to keep old Nelly Bell here running a bit longer. Darn!

I have been watching our new president for days and I am amazed at how competent he seems with his new job, as if he's been running powerful democracies for years. I honestly think that he was sent to us at just the right time, for he seems to have the best ideas a leader could come up with during this crucial time in our history, including getting our good name back into the good graces of our fellow Earthlings. Now tell me, wouldn't it piss of the old white guys if THIS amazing young man actually walked away with a genuine peace treaty between the Arabs and Israel? I think the Jews had better get serious with whatever deal this President can wring out for them, because based on their behaviors lately, the State of Israel is losing friends fast and I don't think the Lord Jehovah is going to be able to keep their bacon from getting friend for very much longer. When you have people from the saner areas of the international community accusing the IDF of outright human rights violations including the clear-cut murder of civilians, you really need to examine what side of the line you find yourself. At this rate, Israel is going to spend every dime of the Karmic bank account they earned from the holocaust. And yes, Hamas is even more to blame for stirring this mess up to begin with, but playing into their sick games with massive overkill doesn't cut it these days. Both of these tribes need to just grow the fuck up.

The economists are all upset that in response to an economy going down in flames, most Americans have cut back drastically on their over-the-top spending, which, ironically, almost guarantees the recession getting worse. Well, that's what happens when you base your economic health on ever-mounting credit card debt, encouraging everyone to spend, spend, spend instead of saving and spending sensibly, and making everybody want things that should never be manufactured to begin with just because they are "cool". Tell me, why do electronics have to become obsolete before the consumer even plugs them in or turns them on? Why is fashion the driving force behind design when maybe owning something that actually does the job it was designed to do for a good period of time would be a smarter idea? Remember when people were encouraged to trade in their cars for next years model? Why? The damn car that hasn't even lost that show-room smell yet has PLENTY of miles left to it and why would the new model be THAT much better? It might make plenty of money for the car dealers and the bank, but throwing that much value away for design's sake is just not sustainable. What we need to do is re-tool this economy so that it isn't based on mindless consumption, but rather on quality of life and impact on our environment. Try and make a bubble out of THAT, why dontcha?

The two citizens of the female persuasion had to toil today, so I'm cooking them a nice dinner tonight; breaded, baked tilapia, macaroni and cheese (THE Resident Twin's all-time favorite) and succotash (so that we aren't forced to choose between corn and lima beans). This is not the every damn day gourmet cuisine that some people manage to create but it fills our tummies and isn't too unhealthy (yea, I know the mac and cheese is questionable). I am so looking forward to spring when we can get some organic produce going, and I hope we can outwit the bugs this year. I'm gonna use the "plant right in the bag of dirt" method for a few seasons so hopefully the tomatoes won't suffer another episode of wilt. I'm also thinking of mixing up the varieties, even throwing in some repellent plants like marigolds and citronella to try and confuse the pests. I refuse to use toxic chemicals on what's going into my body. I'm sure my tissues are saturated enough with the crap they put on the produce I have to get at the supermarket. I will be so happy to see this nation getting back to local production and marketing of produce instead of getting everything from mega-farms on the opposite end of the country or even overseas. Hell, I don't even trust the stuff they are shipping in from Mexico.

I hear on World News Tonight that a single mother of six living with her parents got fertility treatments, and had EIGHT babies, all terribly premature, of course, and I wonder to myself......WTF?! Would somebody PLEASE tell me why the clinic shouldn't be shut down, the doctors all charged and their licenses to practice revoked, and child protective services move in and check this strange family out. They say she filed for bankruptcy last year......and WHERE did she get the humongous amount of money these treatments cost? There are so many things wrong with this picture it's not even funny. And to think, the state can deny her a drivers license if she's unfit to drive......but unfit to parent? This planet defies all logic.

Once again I have regaled you with facts much stranger than fiction, with a few laughs tossed in (you DID observe the LAUGH NOW sign in the upper right hand corner of the blog, right?). Thanks to you fine few, my fingers get a good workout, thus I have no fat fingers, but now if I could only figure out how to harness the power of this blog for the REST of my tubby little body.........hmmmmmm.....

Till next time, if there IS a next time...Blessed Be!

Calm Before the Storm  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

I see it coming. I stand on the two lane strip of bleached asphalt looking to the east and I see a wall of deep purple rising up into the sky, daring to touch Zeus himself, only people around these parts think it's God who rolls these drums, pounding fast and deep and furious and promising winds that will surely tear something up. The peals of thunder in the distance come four, three, two, one second after the fork of brilliance stabs the pines forests beneath it, frying some hapless tree. This is me, a seven year old, staring at wonder at one approaching storm, and this now is me staring in helpless stasis at another storm that comes without color, or thunder, or wet, or anything but pink slips, foreclosures, children crying, and breadwinners preparing to commit suicide rather than face another day of this helplessness.

I am still immersed in the seas of uncertainty I have been wallowing in for years now......daring to accept credit that would ultimately bring me to bankruptcy, fearful of losing home and love and family, paring back all my hopes and dreams and basing my life on a new definition, one more respectful of the concepts of "enough", and "adequate" and "economy" and empathy for that which I tread upon and place a burden on, such as my acre of sand, or the kilowatts of energy I suck from the power lines connected to my home, or the water I draw from my well. Now I look around me and see those orgies of spending on silliness, of keeping up with the Jones only to discover the Jones have always lived far beyond their means and now the Jones are getting evicted. Of seeing "For-Sale" signs in the windows of these pick-up trucks on steroids, driven not by farmers or carpenters but by soccer moms who never once used four-wheel drive and most often drove alone. I've seen properties sold or rented by nice people to not-so-nice families who fly confederate flags or other symbols of hate or exclusion. I see all the quant and cute little shops now closed in St Augustine, because people don't have touristy dollars to waste anymore. And yet, I STILL see advertisements on television for oversized or luxury vehicles that get horrible gas milage, only you can get them for less now. That's right, instead of the price of a modest four-bedroom house, you can get one of these palaces on wheels for the price of a modest THREE bedroom house. But not many people can afford a modest three bedroom house anymore, so maybe a car your whole family can camp out in isn't such a bad deal after all, huh?

The silent hope at MY job, a for-profit hospital, is that they made enough profit before this shit hit the fan that they won't have to start cutting our jobs, thinking of course like bean counters do that patients get taken care of by......ghosts. If anything, our services are needed now as never before, what with the stress of the economy increasing as never before, but then again, getting patients who can PAY for this care.....sigh.....it's going to become a very, very vicious circle and it's going to get very, very ugly if Obama and Congress doesn't get brave and innovative very fast. I won't riot with the rest of the masses. I will simply sit down on the road and let them take me where they want me to starve to death. If my friends or family or country or whoever care enough for me, I will perhaps be helped. We'll see. It took enough of us not really giving a shit about our fellow citizens to get us to where we are at now. How could anybody who really cared about anything except perhaps themselves have voted for George Bush twice in a row? Did I insult anybody just now? Awwwwwwwwwwww. Fuck you and that narcissistic sociopathic self-centered horse you rode in on. How's THAT for an insult?

This post didn't accomplish anything. I know that. It doesn't provide any answers. I offered up a few suggestions in my rants and raves in the past, but anybody who would have thought my opinion was valid or meant anything has no more effect on policy than I do. And those that ARE in any real position to effect change don't read my blog. More the pity. I really AM one brilliant muther and people ought to listen to me. After all, me and all those thousands of other geniuses off their medications can't ALL be wrong, can we?



I've been piddling' around the house today, loading laundry, the dishwasher, feeding the goats, with the iTunes cranked up. I might even plug in the microphone and do some singing myself; there's no other ears to damage within the house right now. The neighbor lady seems to have gotten a deal for us from someone with implements of mass dirt moval, to fill in our lake-sized depressions and smoothing the lane out for an amount that only calls for about fifty bucks a household. Damn good deal; I can only hope these people sharing this road, who, incidentally, own the damn trucks that have been mud-bogging in these holes and making them worse, will fork over the dough so we can get this work done. The weather warmed right back up and we might see some rain this week, but there appears to be another freeze coming up soon. I hate schizophrenic weather.

OK, I tried posting this damn thing once already, almost losing the whole post due to my browser blanking out on me, so I better get this done while the gettin's good. May the wind be at your back, the sun upon your face, and may the road rise up to meet you, and may your own economic stimulus be rich and rewarding! Blessed be, from the Wise Old Idiot of Pendragon Hold, the only sane place left on Earth.



"What's in your head, in your head, zombie, zombie, zombie.........heyheyhey........"

A Tale of Two Demographics, and other such Nonsense  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

I want to start this off with an observation...........I am a watcher of people, much the same way bird lovers watch birds.....wherever they are, I observe them, classify them, study them.......sigh......judge them. That last part; judging them....hey, don't start on me; I know damn well it's a pathetic trait and I'm not all that proud of it but I do it so there it is. Anyways......you might have noticed how certain species of humans habitat certain locales, again, much in ways you might find certain species of birds preferring certain habitats, like herons in drainage ponds, or buzzards hanging around Annes' place waiting for.....hehe.......just kidding, Anne. I once visited two different supermarkets in Redneckville USA here near Pendragon Hold, one a Publix, the other a Winn Dixie. You KNOW where I'm going with this, if you know anything about the demographics of these two brands. Even for Redneckville, the Publix was frequented by a somewhat classier variety of fine folk, dressed appropriately, no chewing tobacco in evidence, the language for the most part understandable. THEN, I had had to run down to the Winn Dixie in hopes they might be carrying something the Publix didn't. It was....how shall I say this......like walking into another dimension, onto another planet altogether. The dress resembled a fashion fair of the worst the Salvation Army had to offer (and my daughter is famous for finding some pretty damn good garb at the thrift store, tyvm.), with a mixture of unwed teenage mothers, ball caps over mullets or skinhead chic, with cuss words far outnumbering even passable gibberish. The older dennison's moved about on walkers or barely charged electric carts, and the cashiers didn't appear too eager to interrupt their nail polishing or cell phoning to be bothered by cashiering. I got in and out as fast as possible, just missing a fight breaking out in the parking lot between two good-old boys whose big-wheel pickup trucks seemed to be facing each other down for a handicapped parking space. Oh hell, forget any guilt I might have claimed to have about judging; stereotypes don't just fall out of the sky.

But, meanwhile back on the farm, we have just come out of a three-day stint of that rare event known to our Northern neighbors as "the freeze". You know, that meteorologic anomaly where water gets hard, pipes burst, and plants keel over and die just as soon as they thaw. We dripped our faucets, turned on the lightbulb heater under the tarp over the water pump, and hauled all the delicate potted plants into the outside shed. I know most of you up there past the Mason-Dixon line are gonna yawn when I describe the ordeal we endured at 21 degrees ABOVE zero, but hey, it's a wonder we experience anything resembling cold to begin with here in balmy N.E. Florida. Inside I had acquired an oil-filled radiator style electric heather to supplement the electric central heat which is all that works since the heat pump bought the farm last year. Electric heat is expensive, so if anybody has an old steel plate wood burning stove they are too lazy to load with wood, I will be more than happy to take it off your hands. We gots plenty of wood to burn here at Pendragon Hold!

OK, that's the weather report; now onto politics!

After getting through a bungled oath of office administered by a Chief Justice hand-picked by the coherence- challenged former Commander-in-Thief DUBYA, our intrepid hero, the 44th President of these here United States of America, Barack Obama, has hit the ground RUNNING, and is already straightening out the mess left us by those neo-con bulls in the china shops that used to be our democracy. Oh, and by the way, has anybody (except the KKK) noticed that this guy is BLACK? Well, kinda black; I mean, after all, his Mom was a paleface. Anyway.....he means business, and I have never, even since Kennedy, seen a man more relaxed and in control of his situation as this young man who came out of NOWHERE to lead this nation back to hope and promise. Already he is opening the blinds closed by Cheney and company and brought SUNSHINE back to the halls of government....you know, that thing that WE THE PEOPLE are supposed to own, lock, stock and barrel. Yes, I know, alot of what we USED to own is probably now stowed away in the warehouses of Haliburton and other such affiliated corporations designed to pilfer and pillage the coffers of our nation, but who knows, once our new administration has a chance to breath, we might even get to enjoy a Justice Department practicing JUSTICE and going after those bastards. Hope springs eternal...........



Another thing I noticed just recently in my watchful way concerning people........Pagans also are not particularly pretty people. Yep, when you see a great gathering of these folk (folk which I count myself amongst, thank you), you see humanity of just about every shape, size, color, and weirdness quotient. Sometimes you might even get embarrassed for yourself and the rest of our kindred by the way many of us act, blithely, in public, eliciting all kinds of stares and laughter and......yes.......judgement. But, you know, another thing I've noticed about this judgement is that you can discover a wonderful, liberating sort of LICENSE when you realize that YOU yourself are the very same sort of person you judge to be so strangely, weirdly, wonderfully different, and it's all GOOD! Yep, you step back and look at yourself and see all the flaws and the extra weight and lack of downright hotness you lost to the years and you simply don't give a damn because you are so damn beyond all that superficiality. Now, this is not to say that you won't spy that occasional HOT chick dancing around the drum circle, but...sigh....those days are long past when whether who was hot even matters anymore. What I now know is that television people are just that; all those pretty people live in that box, not out here with the rest of us.

I'm watching a Foreigner concert on Soundstage on PBS. DAMN these guys have aged well! "Hot-blooded, just check me and see............"











And so a heroic pilot neatly places a jetliner turned glider smoothly onto a nice calm river and saves a grateful load of airline passengers, but tell me........who mourns that poor flock of Canadian Geese that got sucked into that pair of aerial blenders? Here you are, migrating from point A to point B like all your ancestors have done for millennia, minding your own damn business and SMACKSUCKSWISHSPIT.............damn! What a way to go! So.....who mourns for them?

We went to Walmart and found some nice basic natural cotton fabric to make some robes to wear during our circles, and hopefully THE Wife will get them sewed up in time for Imbolc, our next Wiccan Sabbat. Somehow, jeans and T-shirts don't seem to add to the ambience during a full-moon rite, ya know what I mean? Pics will be forthcoming.

I remember the Clinton years as a bright spot in my portion of American History, and it taught me that a certain rather large segment of this populace simply can't accept peace and prosperity, because with Jesus coming and all, well, he'd look kinda silly fucking up peace on Earth and goodwill amongst men, now wouldn't he? So, they have to keep the pot stirred so that Jesus even has a reason to climb out of the grave and save all these pathetic ass-wipes. I give up. If people will be people then his will be done and that'll be the end of it for all of us. Maybe these next years will force some sense down our collective throats or maybe it won't. I'm hopeful. Sort of. Conservatives just can't be happy. So will any of us ever be? News at 11.

Patience........It's Coming......  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

I have so many observations and opinions bubbling throughout my grey matter I couldn't possibly conjure up a post vast enough to do it all justice on a work night, so guys, please bear with me till the weekend, and I will try and put together a deluxe episode of The Chronicles for your reading pleasure.

Suffice it to say, the history that has been occurring all week is just so overwhelming, it makes me think if only I was this cognizant during the Kennedy years......sigh.........imagine..........

On THIS day............  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

For more than eight very long, arduous, scary, aggravating years now, I have had plenty to say about a country I had lost faith in, that I no longer felt love for, that I had fell out of favor with, all thanks to a class of humans who sought power and riches at the expense of an entire nation, as though they somehow were divinely entitled to excess while driving the country of their birth into the ground, and spitting on the sacrifices of our forefathers.

On THIS day, I became once again, a PROUD American, who has been given a gift greater than any promise this country has ever made to me. The following is OUR gift, to embrace or squander as we see fit. WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH IT?

Nothing from Nothing leaves Nothing  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Having been referred to Christopher Hitchen's "God is Not Great", I took a gander at the synopsis in Wikipedia, and behold, there lies one of the few rational examinations of ANYthing you will find that includes within it's covers words such as religion, God, or faith. I think the man is brilliant; and then you guys glance back at ME and say, "But, THE Michael, aren't YOU a religious person?"

No, I am not.

I know, it sounds counter-intuitive, but I have never considered having embraced Wicca as having become religious. For one, my beliefs, or shall we say "preferences of desired states of existence", were not born into, or indoctrinated into, or forced into, as most of religious people are found to have attained their labels. Second, nothing in Wicca flies in the face of reason as long as you don't get stupid and declare to yourself that anything one must "believe in" rather than "know" can't be taken with a grain of salt. When I stated earlier that my faith allows for possibilities, I meant that to apply in both directions, as in abandoning one assumption while embracing another, depending where facts might lead me, or where facts cannot dissuade me. My logic alone insulates me from believing that a jealous, bipolar white guy lounging in clouds above us runs this universe, or that I have anything to fear based on what the bible claims I should. My logic DOES, however, allow me to believe in Gaia as a living organism, symbiotic, vast, complicated, and yes, sentient to a degree we might not be capable of recognizing. I have gazed upon the wonders as delivered by the Hubble space telescope and surrendered any idea that we or this planet are the center of the universe. And my logic allows me to believe that magik might be the best tool available to me to connect with the subatomic level of all of creation, if only because physicists haven't gotten around to a straight-forward method of doing the same thing, perhaps with something that has buttons and wheels and works like an iPod. Me, I prefer my wand........no USB cable needed.

My own inclination to wish bad things upon bad people comes from my own evolutionary inclinations, and that I consider my own cross to bear and not the fault of some demon or fallen angel. I will not come out of a church screaming for the head of an infidel while in the same breath describing my God as loving. I will not resist stealing something that is not mine because a commandment was written on stone, but because it is a basic, rational rule worked out within civilized society for everyone's protection. And yes, I will lust after my friends wife, especially if she's hot, which is NOT to say that gives me any license whatsoever to act upon that lust, especially to the detriment of my own spouse. So the bible and all who wrote it can go fuck themselves. We do not need weird God to draft our codes of conduct for us.......and they sure as hell haven't had any success making us abide by them anyway. We have both the death penalty and the highest murder rate outside of the Middle East, so what does THAT tell you?

Yes, I believe in things that will not soon or cannot be proven, but not at the expense of my common sense and ability to question. And unlike religious people, the ones living according to codes which should make them the nicest, safest people in society to live around, I do not find excuses within my spirituality to assault other people who are different from me in race, creed or color. I can find plenty enough reasons to fear people without getting their God or their religion involved. Assholes are assholes, no matter what pew they poop in.

Dog  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Thanks to a dirty, overweight dog, yours truly, THE aging and out-of-shape Michael, has once again sustained a back injury (pulled muscle) and am at home on painkillers and muscle relaxers instead of at work injuring my back the smart way. Thus, I am burning PTL (paid time off) on my own dime and using my own insurance rather than billing the good folks at workman's comp.

I woke up with my back on fire, which means I did something yesterday, and the only thing I could think of was picking up this fat canine and hauling him to the bath tub. Shiloh does not like baths, so he does not rush headlong into getting clean, thus I have to drag or carry the beast, and now that he's in his elder, crippled condition he has been putting on the pounds (Just like his daddy.....groan), which is probably how I hurt myself. You never know you did it WHEN you do it, thus I have been rudely awakened to the injury today and will have to undergo another two weeks of light duty and physical therapy. Oh.....joy.

It's a few hours later and I am in a fog and I think the pain has receded. When did I take that last pill? What color is that cloud? I love the world, it's so cute.............

The non-resident twin made it back from a road trip to Georgia. It's raining now and the mercury has dropped. Boy, you'd think it was winter around here or something........



OK, so it's the next day, I'm still here recuperating, and the weather has taken a turn for the wet. It HAS been wonderfully warm these past several weeks, but now another one of those damn Canadian cold fronts has passed thru, sucking all the moisture out of the warm air here and dumping it while dropping the temperatures to the just cold enough to be miserable zone. According to the weather widget here on my desktop, it's supposed to freeze tomorrow night, so I'll have to go out and turn on that light bulb hanging with the water pump, as well as drag some of our more delicate plants inside. I think maybe Winter is sort of here. OUR version of it, at least.

There's been a lot of hue and cry about the mounting civilian casualties that the Palestinians are suffering during the incursion by Israel into Gaza. Yes, those civilians that the brave and mighty warriors of God called Hamas are hiding amongst. Yep, those brave boys who began this mess by firing rockets into Israel and refusing to cease even as the Israelis came in to put a stop to it. The same militant terrorists who can't ever seem to do wrong in the eyes of the international community no matter what they do to Israelis while stating in no uncertain terms they wish to kill as many of them as they possibly can, down to the last man, woman and child. But of course, we're supposed to forget all that and condemn Israel for their "disproportional" response to being attacked. I know, many will complain that these unguided rockets rarely hit anything of consequence, and the actual death toll due to these attacks is miniscule in comparison, but Hamas knows this. The real value of these rocket attacks is that they provoke terror on the Israeli side, and they have been all along hoping to provoke Israel into responded with force so that they can use their predictable use of overwhelming force against them for propaganda purposes. Well, as usual, it's working; more civilians die so that Hamas can scream and yell about Israeli aggression. The bread is being buttered on BOTH sides, my friends.

Look, I have just about had my fill of Israel and it's entitled behavior over the decades, and I would cut off all this support first chance I got, especially in response to their illegal settlements and continuing oppression of Palestinians. But a spade is a spade and Hamas has no justification for it's actions. If the Palestinian people want to be free from danger, then perhaps it's about time for them to stop harboring these killers and then maybe they would not suffer the consequences for it. There is just no way that Israel can hit back at these cowards without hurting the so-called innocents so long as the "innocents" are used as human shields, which is really the despicable act being perpetrated here.

We need to end this thing once and for all, forcing Israel to make the necessary concessions in return for a Palestinian homeland that is NOT full of crazy people constantly shooting at them. Obama has the chance...maybe he can make a difference where no one has before.

Meanwhile, back here at Pendragon Hold, we are fortunate to have Shiloh, the intrepid lard-ass dog protecting our borders. Hey, ho, way to go, oh-Shiloh.........

One Path Ends, Another Strays, Another Continues.....And Life Goes On.  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

This is going to be a long post. I am starting it tonight but will have to work on it tomorrow, and maybe even Sunday, to complete it to my satisfaction. I have a few subjects to explore and I want to delve into them deep enough to do them justice, and perhaps, to "give you your moneys worth". So bear with me, 'cause here we go................

First off, I discovered what happened to one of my favorite podcasters, an intelligent young philosopher and academic know in the pagan community as Deo, his podcast titled "Deo's Shadow". Now, Deo was not one of your run-of-the-mill pagans who spouted mysterious bullshit and new age catch phrases. What was fascinating about Deo was his brave examinations of the state of Pagan affairs, never falling into the trap of blind faith, but one who was willing to take on many of the myths we have cherished and blast them to smithereens if he even suspected that there was no factual support of the belief of dogma or no historical proof for the existence of any sort of myth or popular story in pagan tradition. Another words, he would not hesitate to "call bullshit" on anything that painted the Pagan tradition as new-age nonsense. I really respected how he could "have faith" without falling victim to blind versions of it. Read more about it here.

Thus, I was able to enter the craft, with his able assistance, without being so bubble headed as to think of Gods and Goddesses as real entities that commanded our fear and respect the same way the bankrupt and violent God of the Monotheists demanded of us. I knew that they were no more than metaphor of our own expressions of deity and divinity, and that I was actually calling upon that which resided deep within me and those around me rather some fluffy-cloud palace in the sky populated by angry bearded white men surrounded by winged eunuchs. Yes, I did then and still do regard Magic as Paganism's version of prayer, only it is done standing up and on level ground rather than on bent knee and quaking in fear. And even though I well know that I only have anecdotal evidence to support my belief in the power of magic, it is enough for me, as I only care about results and not so much whether or not happy accidents are of equal value or validity.

Another approach I can take in arguing my case for belief is what happens to humans (or maybe even intelligent apes and dolphins) when they find themselves in the middle of some awe-inspiring setting or event. A machine, even the most sophisticated artificially intelligent robot you could imagine, would record something happening, down to every precise and clinical detail, but would it experience the emotion that experience wrought in a human? No, it would not. We, the sentient life-forms that evolved on this planet can experience AWE and there has to be a reason for that. The hive mind of an ant colony is one of the most efficient forms of life we know of, but can a worker ant write poetry? Can a nurse ant be amazed by a Rembrandt? Can a warrior ant appreciate the raw energy of an AC/DC rif or the rush of a song performed by Gaia Consort? Why do WE? What possible reason could there be for a human being to stare at the stars and see anything but points of light, boringly so? A robot rover might get stuck in a hole, and exhaust every subroutine in it's databank in an effort to extricate itself, but a pagan might craft a spell in one last desperate attempt to get out of that same hole and find success. It may be something as simple as spell-craft being a problem-solving tool that gives that one last measure of effort that results in success, but why argue the point if it works? The utter-none-believing atheist is going to give up at about the same point as the robot, as there is nothing beyond the totally rational to draw on. I'll take my chances with magic. If it does not or can not work as an atheist would insist, than how worse off could I possibly be?

Regardless of wether or not the weight of the world weighed to heavy on him to remain on the Pagan Path, I respect his decision and most of all, his honesty as to his motivations, knowing full well he owes no one any justifications for how he lives his life or what he chooses to believe in. I do want to thank him and his wife Mandy for their insights, even if they strengthened my path rather than diverted me from it. At least he had the good taste to not be caught in a compromising position with a Southern Baptist or Evangelical preacher......hehe..........

I have always railed against allowing dogma and ignorance to displace intellect and rationality, but one can also fall prey to the fundamentalism of intellect as easily as so many are led into blind obedience to religion, to the detriment of one's own identity, one's very soul. Yes, relying strictly on present evidence that it might be the case, I can easily agree with the sentiment that once the synapses stop firing in our brains, everything that made one who they were ceases forever, never to be duplicated again in any shape or form, but as a thinking sentient life-form, I have the capacity to imagine that the sum total of human intellect is far in excess of it's parts, and that the imprint imbued upon these oddly shaped globes of grey jelly can survive it's biological matrix. Like the theory, far-fetched as it may sound, that this Earth, both the rocky globe itself and the intricate web of ecology that adheres to it, is in and of itself, a complex organism, to which we humans refer to as Gaia, I have an equally plausible gut feeling that the life-force of each and every separate being in this universe, even existing beyond their biological shells, form an intricate weave of a whole, more powerful, and perhaps more wise mind, to which we as individuals spring and to which we shall return, for reasons, for purposes, and by mechanisms we may very well never be capable of understanding as free, detached individual mental beings. Or not. I am not trapped and held prisoner to any theory, dogma, or belief, even those which I create myself. Wisdom is truly the ability to learn how wrong you have and will be at any given time in your life about anything, and to seek the truth beyond that fact.

I also wished to blog how I was feeling about something that has befallen a close personal friend of mine, but in light of the fact that he has shared his situation with me in confidence, I have decided upon closer introspection to not disclose the details of this very private matter, since I would have to reveal enough details of who and where he is as to make it possible for the wrong people to guess his identify, and that would not be worth the risk. Suffice it to say , if this person is reading this, I want him to know that he is in our thoughts, and he has our love and support.

LIfe at present is quiet and comfortable here at Pendragon Hold on the edge of disaster. This economy has already taken it's toll on many families throughout this country, and indeed the world, and war continues to be our species favorite past time. It HAS to be our favorite or it would not have survived the so-called age of reason. I have come to the conclusion that Homo Sapiens has reached it's evolutionary potential, and that the only advancements into a truly rational era will come with our successors, Homo Superior. Only with genetic mutations that allow for intellect to overcome and control chemical and hormonal instinctive behaviors will a "thinking" ape be able to escape the curse of eternal warfare with itself. The fact that Homo Superior has to branch off from present day humans might very well doom him before he even starts, since we fear difference so much we might very well exterminate any hint of evolutionary advancement, lest it supplant us. I can understand the fear to some extent but I'm afraid we have had our chance and we didn't make the grade. So, yes, we could get off this planet and out into the universe, but it would not be a positive development, since we tend to destroy or sully everything we touch. Yes, our time has come, and all that remains is how we make our exit. If it turns out that many of us are actually raptured before the terrible "end of days", then I hope the God responsible, when he's finally finished with his silly little opera, quits his day job, because frankly, he sucks at it.

So I leave you with yet another sober little study, yet I hope that your day brings you peace, love, prosperity, and balance, and that you will come back in hopes of reading something perhaps a little brighter and better yet, funnier. We ALL could use a good laugh, couldn't we?

Storms Passing  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Addendum: I didn't get this out yesterday, it is now Wednesday morning and a line of thunderstorms approaches the hold, promising to ravage us with high winds, some much needed rain, and maybe some thunder and lightening. It will drop the temperatures some, but not enough to make one think it was truly winter again. THE wife has headed to work, and once again I remain behind to take on the chores. So, without further ado, I give you the latest installment of The Chronicles of Pendragon Hold........

Today is payday number one. Number one? Yes, we have TWO paydays this week, THE Wife's today, mine day after tomorrow. AND, we have a Tuesday tradition in which I go pick up THE Wife, deposit her check into the teller machine, then take her to lunch at Panera's. It's our only dining out experience we get to enjoy anymore. With their two-fer special, we split a half-sandwich or salad or cup of soup between us for less than $10.00. It's hard to believe that ten bucks is a deal on anything, but it is these days.

You've probably noticed that the decline in gas prices has halted and is heading back up even faster than it had dropped. Of course, they are quoting all kinds of asinine reasons for this sudden turn-around, but the truth of the matter is that certain interests have been placated for now, and it's time to return to the business-as-usual practice of ripping off the public simply because government no longer protects us against such crimes. They do it because they CAN. Plain and simple.
Of course, these price increases might be short lived if this economy skips the recession altogether and goes for flat-out depression, in which case precious few people will be buying any gas at any price, what without a job to get to or a paycheck to purchase it with. Only THEN will supply and demand have any real meaning.

Speaking of the economy, I am trying to remain philosophical about the situation and not worry about mine or my spouses employment, but the news keeps coming bad and worse, and aside from attempting to trim my spending as much as possible now, I honestly don't know what the hell I am supposed to do about it. This is one thing I hate about capitalism the most; this sense of a total lack of real control over my own destiny. Oh, sure, I could find some bootstraps somewhere, pull like hell on them, and find myself sipping cocktails on the deck of my Yacht. And I am quite sure that person sipping that cocktail would be some mere husk of what I was as a person, because I honestly don't how anyone can achieve such opulent overabundance in material wealth without having hurt at least one person. I would have no problem winning a lottery or such other means of landing some cash, but if I have to become a victor in a game of winners and losers, then I choose not to play the game.

That's why I am so attracted to the idea of being able to live in a sustainable fashion that is not dependent on some soulless corporation giving me money and benefits in return for my labors, until such time they can do away with me. To be able to harvest my own power from the sun, my own vegetables from my garden (grown organically to boot), and eating chicken and eggs from my own coop is a very attractive alternative. Only this society makes that sort of lifestyle a very difficult proposition, in many ways. First off, I do not have the infrastructure for off-the-grid power in place as I never have been able to afford it. Then there are property taxes and all those other associated property-based taxes and fees which must be payed with money and not eggs. Bastards will NOT take eggs......... Health care is another burden which requires a wage-paying job, unless you want to endure the humiliation and pain of attempting to get some sort of medical care at the local emergency room, along with all the other marginalized citizens. Then there's the cost of living in this society which requires you feed Walmart money in return for things you think you need to live.

I honestly think I could wean myself away from the mainstream of this society if I could only start over with the idea of divorcing myself from it entirely my sole goal in life. Thirty years ago, that is. Hindsight is indeed twenty-twenty, but something else we need to factor in is that we are different people now then we were those thirty years ago. Back then the most important thing to me was sex, drugs, rock and roll, and how to get my paws on a muscle car with a hurst four speed shifter and a hemi. Well, fast forward to today and my priorities do not at all resemble those of my youth. Now, I seem so much more aware of the world around me and the sad shape it is in, and the idea of wanting a gas-guzzling, tire-burning conveyance seems downright silly. That really big and fancy house I imagined living in would be one hell of a thing to maintain, physically and fiscally. Fashion....well.....that is an alien concept as opposed to what it meant to a young man desperate to blend in while claiming to stand apart. There are so many dreams I had as a youth that life has revealed to me as bankrupt from the beginning, yet I am still immersed in a society chasing those same dreams with just as much vigor and just as much damage to the world as a whole.

With a new depression looming, now would be a fine time to rejuvenate that old tried and true and often failed idea of the commune, if only for the duration of the hard times, and I would be more than happy to throw my lot in with a batch of old hippies who would love to give the concept another try. Who knows, maybe from the ashes of our old ways of life might rise a new, more sustainable society that our kids can thrive in rather than see themselves handed a third-world existence much like what Mexico has now fallen into. If we could somehow bury the idea of the corporation once and for all and return the fruits of our labors to us, the actual laborers, then I think we might could tamp down on this ridiculous consume -everything approach to life and adopt a survival strategy for both us and the planet we all depend on.

Till then, I will ask the God and Goddess for favor, not for riches, but for enlightenment and fulfillment of the soul. The rest will follow.

Transistions and Visitations  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Hello and welcome to the new look of Pendragon Hold. Thanks to all the positive responses I have received concerning this new template, I am now making the final transition from "These Thoughts Escape Me" to "The Chronicles of Pendragon Hold". It has been a number of years since I began this journey with "Madness, Musings, and Melancholy", and with each step up the evolutionary blogging ladder, I think this blog has improved in many ways, and it has made me many friends from all corners of the world that I never would have encountered otherwise. Since the content depends strictly on what happens here at the Hold and whatever bug might climb up my ass, the quality and quantity of posts has varied throughout the years, but I dare say this blog has never been boring. I hope you will stay with us as we grow older, and maybe even wiser. We'll share the journey with you.

The non-resident twin, her husband and the grandkid have come and gone now, and things are quiet here today, what with the wife at work, the resident twin at her job, and yours truly holding down the fort on his day off. The grandkid received a model rocket for yule and of course his Grandpa (that's me) took him out to find a field big enough to fly it in, as well as show him the finer points of range safety, such as not picking up a rocket and staring into the engine nozzle if it doesn't ignite. There was no wind, and the bird flew straight, high, and true on her maiden voyage, and the recovery was gently successful. It brought back memories of my own young adulthood when I was still enough a kid at heart to get elected to the office of President of the Nasa/Houston Chapter of the National Association of Rocketry back in the early 80's. I even managed to set an altitude record for a certain class of rocket, which, of course, was promptly broken by some &%@**&@^ no more than two weeks later. That record still stands and I have lately been sorely tempted to take up the sport once again just long enough to win my record back. Such dreams of over-the-hill rocketeers..............

So Saturday night we all sat around the fire out in the shade garden, sharing the balmy winter night and flames with visiting friends, family, and some good wine and/or hot chocolate. Earlier that evening we tried out the legendary combination of The Wizard of Oz viewed with the sound track replaced by Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. OK, yea, I admit there are quite a few spots that the music seems to complement what's happening in the movie, but overall I was not impressed. That MIGHT be due to some missing secret ingredient, if you know what I mean..........

So, on this quiet day, I wish you all good fortune, and that you continue to visit us here at the Hold, for as long as electrons travel to distant lands over copper highways, and we can all afford the toll. Blessed Be!