WET  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Greetings and welcome to a very wet episode of The Chronicles of Pendragon Hold. It seems it's now monsoon season here in the relatively unknown NorthEast section of sunny Florida, having rained steadily for an entire week, and more forecast to drench us for days to come. Today the sun has put in a brief appearance, as if to assure us that he's only taken a brief sabbatical. And all this comes after yours truly was expressing fears of another drought coming on.......one must be very, very careful what one wishes for....you just might get it! In SPADES!

The gardens are holding up, a bit battered and overwatered but not yet showing signs of flat-out drowning. AND, during our close examination of the tomato plants, sure enough, we discovered the first wave of tomato horn worm invaders, whom we picked off and disposed of, having gotten to them before they could really chow down on the plants. Other various plants are showing signs of having been munched on, but the munchers remain a mystery as they are not being caught in the act. Hopefully we can deploy some natural defenses before the word gets out that there's a smorgasbord laying about at Pendragon Hold.

We already have some tomatoes, though, and the beans look promising. The squash rarely does well around here and they don't seem to want to improve on their record this year so far. The strawberries are aggravating in that they put out one or two ripe berries at a time, instead of a basketful all at once. Maybe I have the wrong kind of plants or not enough of them.......this is all a learning experience.

We had hoped to drive down to Casadega, that spiritualist camp we like to frequent occasionally, but the constant rain is putting a botch on that idea. So, instead, THE Wife is inviting her friends over for small party, including karaoke. I still have my old discs and a mish-mash of equipment cobbled together to play them with. I don't know if I ever mentioned it, but I was once a karaoke GOD! Well, maybe in my own head.......Gods know none of us except those who really CAN sing actually sound anything like we think we do. All I know is people would clap rather than throw rotten fruit at me. Hopefully everybody will be too drunk to care one way or another......hehe.

I just watched the remake of an old pagan classic, "The Wicker Man", this time starring Nicholas Cage. This version, originally cast on an island off the British Isles, has been Americanized, this time centered in the Pacific Northwest, and other minor liberties have been taken with the story line, but overall, I guess it's not bad if you aren't a pagan and don't know any better. By that I mean I didn't like the tone of the movie and how it portrayed pagans. It didn't paint a very pretty picture, overall. Please, if you do see it, remember it's only fiction that takes some real liberties with reality. No pagan I know thinks the Gods require sacrifice of that sort, nor is Wicca so rabidly anti-male. At least not most versions of it.......



Meanwhile, out here in the real world, I would like to send out a shout to my rabid republican man, the ex-vice-presidential dude of that last FUBAR some people have the nerve to call an AD- MEN- IN- STRATION. Yea, they were in menstruation all right. On the rag, every one of them. Anyway, my dog "Cha-Ching Cheney" is doing something we Democrats never figured out how to do......actually shrink the Republican Party! Yep, the more this idiot talks, the smaller the party gets. There is only so much outlandish crap you can feed your posse before they get wise to your shit. Seems Americans, even conservatives, are getting wiser by the day. And we have Mr "sell the country to Haliburton" himself, and yes, to his leg-humping friend, Dope-Fiend extraordinaire, Hush Puppy Limbaugh, to thank for that.

Keep yapping, dogs. It's music to our ears.

Ch-Cha-Cha-Changessssssss  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

"But I've been afraid of changing 'cause I built my life around you........"

Ah......fear of change......the hallmark of the aging American human. Which is amazing when you consider that we "baby-boomers" have participated in more change in our lifetimes than any other generation before us. From the DC3 to the Space Shuttle, from the mechanical wind-up alarm clock to the digital thing on our wrists that, yes, can also tell time, we have seen technological advances that are leaps and bounds beyond the slow crawl of progress that occurred before WWII. Then there is our social progress, if you can really call it that. We are doing things in public and even at home that we NEVER would have allowed ourselves, by law, to do. On the purely technical side, we demonstrated the evils of scientific progress by exploding a whole passel of nuclear bombs, two of them in the midsts of people, mostly civilians, albeit enemy civilians. As for social "progress"; well, kids are walking around with their pants around their knees, four letter words adorning their "hoody" shirts, having "non-sex" oral sex with each other as soon as their parent's backs are turned. When I was fifteen I was afraid of adults. I am now VERY afraid of fifteen year olds. My how the world turns..........

I now have every reason to fear change. Change more often that not brings about some new adaptation to the society I live in, be it having to find a new job or trying to figure out how to get by without health insurance. The idea of having anything to retire on, even Social Security, is a joke at best. There is one store left to shop at, Walmart, and this is as much the average American consumer's fault as it is Sam Walton's. We want everything, but don't want to pay for it. So, we DON'T get everything, like affordable health care, and fewer and fewer people can pay for anything, thanks to massive unemployment. I used to think it ludicrous that people would ever pay a buck for a bottle of water, even when the same identical stuff is being piped right into their own homes. Now I am beginning to wonder if all this pollution is simply to create a market for bottled air. Yea, clean bottled air that has a federally mandated percentage of actual oxygen in it by volume, since less and less of that will be available to us within the atmosphere. Oh, what, you thought oxygen grew on trees? Well, yea, it does, and how many trees are there now?

Here in the good old U. S. of A., even our very psyche, that intangible thing that made Americans who they were has gone through a troubling overhaul these past ten years. For many years, the bad guy was identified as that barbarian communist or nazi who would DARE torture our heroic fighting men in order to extract valuable intelligence, like when the allies were planning to bomb Dresden or something like that. That was considered an outrage that international "rules of war" would simply NOT allow, not if we CIVILIZED peoples had anything to say about it. Now we have a Machiavellian ex-president.....oh, I'm sorry.......ex-VICE-president going around the country lecturing the current administration on what a bunch of sissies we've become for wanting to "coddle" terrorists. That's right, one of the men who by all rights should even now be under investigation for violations of domestic and international laws, including torture, is somehow able to run around openly touting how no nazi regime had anything on THEM! I want to puke. I want to puke on a bunch of cowboys and I want them to wallow in it before I force them to eat it. See? I can think like them when I really want to.

If I did not already have more or less unbreakable ties with other human beings already, namely my wife and family and those I work with, I pretty much would adopt the life of a hermit, if only I could find some remote wilderness to hide in. Alas, I doubt there IS anything that remote left save for the windy, desolate plains of the Dakotas. People for the most part just piss my off, not because there are no decent, kind, thinking individuals out there......somewhere.......but because as a collective, we are running ourselves willy-nilly over the cliff and nobody wants to risk mentioning it, for fear of being called names, like tree-hugger, liberal, atheist, communist, rapper, Miss USA, or Walmart shopper. We watch the degradation of our ecosystem in high definition on PBS and the Discovery Channel and the best you can expect of us is to want to send somebody money, knowing they will fix it and make it all better, after which you will go outside and dump more chemicals and fertilizers on your fine-trimmed lawn, drive your SUV (by yourself) two blocks down to the convenience store, and buy some corn and petroleum based product all gussied up in non-recyclable packaging, then come back to sit on your butt and watch some obscenely overpaid "college graduates" kick around a football and try and kill each other. Ah, isn't this the LIFE, though?

It may be the life but it's going to be a short, AND expensive one, my friend. You are busy clogging your arteries with those Hardy's thick-burgers that REAL men eat and then you are going to end up in my Critical Care Unit, and if you're lucky, you will have insurance to pay for the bypasses which might keep you alive for another ten years IF you stopping eating crap and start exercising. OR, the bill will bankrupt you and you'll go into a deep depression after you lose your house and SUV, the wife and kids, and the stress brings on an even worse cardiac infarct. You see, people don't really GET what life is really all about until LIFE smacks them upside the head and suddenly the clouds part and you wonder why you were wasting all those years chasing after that American DREAM which in reality has been nothing but a chrome-plated nightmare waiting to eat you alive. You heard it over and over again, didn't you, that money cannot buy you happiness, but I guess it wasn't the RIGHT people saying it to you, so you couldn't hear it. Now do you hear it? CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

No, you can't stop the merry-go-round and no, you can't get off, save shooting yourself, if you consider that an option, but it isn't a solution. The only solution is realizing that it's NOT all about you, or your family, or even your country. It's the whole ball of wax, my friend, that is imperiled, and you have to actually start CARING about shit going on past those four suburban walls of yours. You have to come to the realization that Tricky Dick Cheney, Rush "pill-popper" Limbaugh and those fine "journalists" at FOX "news" are the closest thing to an anti-christ you are ever going to know, and that there really IS a hell to go to if you keep listening to these sirens from the far right wing of the neanderthal party. Use your brain. You HAVE one, you know.........it's that thing behind your eyes. Brain, meet man...man, meet your possible salvation.

There MIGHT be time left to save ourselves, IF you can remember how to use that thing.........

Needles and Dearly Departed  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Welcome to another lazy weekend here at Pendragon Hold, that little redoubt of pagan peace out on the edge of suburbia. No neighborhood association here, my friends, we'll sport a fine-trimmed lawn when hell freezes over.

THE Wife has finally received her botox injections, a procedure involving very long needles and a toxin once responsible for millions of deaths during the middle ages. Imagine harnessing the grim reaper himself in order to look young forever! Only in this case, it truly is a treatment of last resort for my poor darling lady, who suffers from a chronic injury to her Brachial Plexus, a gang of nerves in her shoulder that in all probability was over-stretched and injured in an auto accident/ whiplash injury a few years before we met and married. The botox deadens the area in question for months and sometimes even years in duration, allowing the muscles to perform normally without the confusing signals it receives from the brain along the damaged nerve pathways, trying to tell muscles to pull or push with no rhyme or reason, resulting in aggravation and inflammation and chronic, ever increasing pain and misery. She received her injections Thursday, and already the pain is starting to ease off, with the full effects beginning to tell in about a week. One side effect, however, is that the entire shoulder area tends to droop dramatically, putting a strain on muscles and joints, forcing her to wear an arm brace until the proper tone returns to the area. Hey, everything comes at some price; at least it doesn't make her bark like a dog or contract a weird sort of cancer.

"Houston, we have TOMATOES!" Yep, folks, save some new plague or hailstorm or invasion by bugs, we should have a bumper crop of 'maters this year, along with a nice variety of other veggies. The clover has covered the septic mound in a nice carpet of green, and there is even a whole spread of clover growing all on it's own in the tomato garden area, I believe from dormant seed brought back to the surface when the area was tilled. I'd forgotten that I must have planted a crop of clover in that area years ago when preparing the first gardens. There are even rouge squash or cucumber plants sprouting up here and there, again from previous gardens. Reminds me of Jeff Goldblume in Jurassic Park......"Life will find a way...."

I hear thunder in the distance, and THE Dog is cowering at my feet as I type this post. Yea, him, my brave and loyal companion, Shiloh. Hey, we all have our terrors; some otherwise bad-ass guys are afraid of clowns; Shiloh is afraid of thunder storms. The garden, however, is going to LOVE this storm and the pure H2O it will deliver.

We just watched the Bill Maher movie, "Religulous". It was OK, but it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know, that organized religion is the pox of mankind, the one reason we will NEVER achieve peace on Earth or Justice for all people. Yes, I know, many of you will protest that you are good people and I shouldn't judge, but, c'mon people, when was the last time you saw a horde of atheists banding together in efforts to deny people something or spew hatred? And when was the last time that decent, kind, actually-Christ-like peoples picketing against a fundamentalist group that was displaying egregiously unchristian behaviors? Yea, I thought so. No, I do not personally lay claim to any sainthood due to my personal spiritual beliefs, because I am either a decent person or I just flat am not, and no religious affiliation is going to make me any better than I choose to be. Apparently, the threat of hellfire hasn't changed the bitter, hateful attitudes of a large segment of the Christian, Jewish, or Islamic population, or the myriad flavors thereof. Judge me by my actions, or shut up about it. God ISN'T on my side OR yours.

I would like to send some good thoughts out to two blogger friends who have decided to retreat from their blogs for awhile if not for good. My friend Buffalo, a brother-in-arms in many ways, has put "Buffalo's Ruminations" to pasture, and my good Lady friend Kindness has taken a sabbatical. Both of these people have been a part of my life for years now in their own special ways, and I am already missing them terribly. However, they cannot escape the place in my heart within which they will always reside. I can only hope that when I put MY keyboard out of it's misery, that I will be missed half as much, for then I will have earned some measure of validation for all the keystrokes I contributed to this grand cacophony we call the web. This is truly what I call the "web of life".

THE Local Daughter (formerly the Resident Daughter) has come to wash her laundry and dine with us, bringing with her a jug of Pina' Colada mix and her knack for cooking great salmon patties. Summer rains outside, good company within, we are indeed rich people. Filthy rich, if you ask me.

Cheap Plastic Knobs, Wet Dogs, and Miracle-Grown Tomatoes  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Ladies and Gentlemen, and I mean that most sincerely (except where such designations do NOT apply), in what might have seemed to be eons in passing, this blog has produced ho-hum posts which could have easily competed with staring at dirt for the boring post of the year award. So, as a reward for all your months (please, let's not snicker and mutter "more like YEARS, Bozo...." of forbearance with this blog, I hereby bring you a truly exciting post in which all kinds of things happen, avoid happening, nearly happen, and challenge the very concept of happening to begin with. Please do not be puzzled and wish that I had been more succinct, because I do not have any idea whatsoever what succinct actually means, or if it applies to this post to begin with.






Today, in the kitchen of Pendragon Hold......no, wait, that was last night...well...anyway....in the kitchen of Pendragon Hold, the knob on the Hamilton Beach electric grilling machine broke, which is something that CHEAP PLASTIC knobs have a habit of doing, which apparently did not deter Hamilton Beach from using said cheap material in it's timer knobs. Thanks to the enormous savings that resulted from not using a more robust material for it's knobs, SOMEBODY at Hamilton Beach, the CEO I am suspecting, made himself a nice little chuck of change and I have a less than stellar experience with their product, thus, in the end, YOU JUST COST YOUR FUCKING COMPANY MY FUTURE BUSINESS, YOU DICK WEED! I hope said individual, be he/she/it the CEO, the designer, or whoever, understand exactly what results when quality control is simply a concept best left to people who give a damn.

So, I went out and bought a George Foreman Grill sans any knobs; not by choice, but because it was the only brand PERIOD available at either Target OR Walmart. Perhaps Hamilton Beach did not have a presence on those selves due to their lack of quality control. Who knows. Thus, the reputation of George Foreman as a spokesman now rests in the experience I will have with this grill, which I will have to use in conjunction with a separate timer, which WILL color my experience with the appliance, which avoided the problem of timer knob material altogether by omitting it. This is the year 2009 and this is the best we can do. We are doomed.

Meantime........

I finally finished the fence and gate which subdivides the back forty of Pendragon Hold. This fence, aside from it's original intent, is serving a bonus effect, which is to keep Shiloh the wonder dog and fat-ass Norwegian canine from digging holes in our septic mound, messing up the clover I sowed trying to stabilize the soft sand of said mound and providing a future graze for the goats.

Next comes the chicken coop. Stay tuned and I promise you will be amazed as I describe the step by step process involved in building something on-the-fly for the very first time with no regard whatsoever to plans or blueprints or other mundane directions. I'm a build-it-as-seen-in-my-mind's-eye kinda guy, so this whole process is bound to be somewhat hilarious.

After much hemming and hawing (does anybody really KNOW what a hem OR a haw is, exactly?), the prescription arm of the insurance company has approved THE Wife's botox and is shipping it to her Neurologist so he can inject the nasty stuff into her neck and shoulders where it will perform it's strange magic. Just like before, of course it's approved for her condition, and the co-pay is only $25, but of course it took almost a week to arrive at that conclusion, as if THE Wife were the only person out of the thousands insured by this company who ever needs it. I'm much to happy that she's going to get it and that it will work again as well for her as it did before to complain about the rigamarole involved in making it happen. There's a reason fate made me her man.....I get things done.

Now we move onto the tomato patch, where every plant but one was planted in a bag of ORDINARY potting soil, while one lone plant was planted in a pricey bag of Scott's potting soil with Miracle Grow plant food mixed in. Sure enough, the plant in the Scott's bag is at least a third-again as large and robust as all the others, although I can arguably state that this is only due to the ARTIFICIAL fertilizer enrichment of this soil and that this is NOT organic. I have been using fish fertilizer for the other plants, which hasn't produced the same results, but IS organic. So, what does this teach us? Hmmmmmm. Perhaps the proof will be in the flavor of the finished products, I don't know for sure. Stay tuned as the growing season progresses.

We have been getting teased with minor sprinkles of rain, but no real soakers for awhile now, and I am hoping that this is not a portent of the upcoming summer season. We have experienced drought conditions before, and yes, we do have a well, but it costs electricity to pump that water and the plants always seem to much prefer the rain water over this sulfurous stuff we pull out of the ground. Perhaps we'll have to get THE Resident Witch working on some rain spells. If it's up there to bring down, she can giter done!

It turns out that this N1H1 wonder-bug that's come out of Mexico is no more virulent than the regular flu, which is quite capable of killing thousands of unlucky and otherwise compromised individuals anyway. However, it is also quite possible that when THIS bug returns for the normal flu season, it could mutate into something quite a bit more problematic, or it might not. No one knows for sure. So, let's just keep our fingers crossed and sanitized, shall we? I still think Stephen King was a prophet........








Also, Shiloh the amazing mutt finally got a B A T H today, something he hates having to endure with a passion. I swear, this dog has the thickest, most waterproof coat an animal could possibly sport, and is not the easiest thing in the world to wash. Being the "dirt-dog" that he is, he is usually five or ten pounds lighter once you wash out all the sand he picks up from his habit of digging holes and laying in them. Now he's a clean machine.........and happy it's all over.

By now you are beginning to wonder just when the awesome part of this post is going to show up, the part I promised you would be so phenomenal it would make you want to change your religion, your sex, or your bank account pass word.

Wonder no more. You were dreaming. I never promised any such thing. But have a nice day and come back again. You never know when something phenomenal might happen..........hehe........

A Post about Posts, Post Holes, and Damn Good Customer Service  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

It's been Hold Improvement here at Pendragon Hold. For most of the day, yours truly has been digging post holes, hauling around heavy sacks of concrete, and running back and forth getting fence posts and fencing. In one fell swoop (which is actually probably going to take a few swoops at least, work-day wise) I am finishing off the back of the goat pen bordering my neighbors yard, which Houdini goat continues to penetrate when I forget to plug in the electric fence, extending out past our septic mound and across to where the picket fence surrounds the terrace garden. This will give the goats a grazing area to romp around in while keeping them away from the main garden area and the rest of the yard which I haven't re-fenced with new woven-wire fence yet. The idea is also to allow them to ravage one sector of the back forty while the other sector recovers from their ravaging.



This lousy economy has really brought customer service back to the forefront, and I for one welcome it. I purchased a huge, hunking 330 foot role of 48 inch goat fence from Tractor Supply for around $300, and discovering that I couldn't get it into our little Focus, the guy who brought out the fencing for me volunteered to haul it out to my house in the back of his personal pick-up. No charge. THAT was pleasant enough, but when I went back and purchased a metal gate for another $50 the next day, ANOTHER guy there brought it home for me in HIS truck, once we discovered it was just slightly too large to get into my car. I offered as to how much I appreciated the deliveries, and he returned as to how much they appreciated my business. Imagine that. Home Depot would have offered to rent me a truck. So, please, if you notice small businesses such as these in YOUR locality going the extra mile without being asked, then spend the extra dollar or two it might take to patronize them rather than the big chain stores, because the little guy has always struggled against the Chain monsters, even when times were relatively good, and deserve our loyalty now more than ever.

Last night we had a pleasant Beltane ceremony and a dinner for a guest and THE now-non-resident Daughter. The temperatures are climbing and it hasn't rained in more than a week now, so it was a pleasant night, dry, not too cool, with a stray drop of rain falling on occasion.

THE Wife has been in quite a bit of pain these past several weeks, with pain and numbness descending down her arm. This is after a neurosurgeon declined to attempt to treat her surgically. Her neurologist is ready to treat her with another round of Botox, which is the only treatment which has worked for her, so of course all of a sudden the insurance company wants to "pre-approve" the treatment, so I have no idea when we're going to be receiving the drug. I hope like hell it's soon.

I wish I had more to report concerning the goings on here at the sandy edge of civilizations, but things have been fairly quiet and uneventful, all told, which is good, actually, since I would not really care to be reporting on the local death toll from H1N1, attacks by displaced Somali pirates, or why black helicopters are circling our home in the night. That would be more atmosphere than I care to handle right now. But, hey, you never know..........that dragon egg I dug up in the back yard; I swear that crack in it is new...........