Sunday, March 25, 2007

Kicking Coffin nails, Coming Clean, and Beggin Forgiveness

Believe it or not, I have been so occupied by life lately, I have hardly had the time to read my favorite blogs, much less contribute to my own. When I HAVE gotten around to checking in on my faves, It takes me awhile just to catch up on all the posts I have missed. I really want to apologize to all of you for my lack of comments lately, but I assure you I am doing my level best to at least read your stuff.

I am cheating less and less with the cigarettes now, today being a day without even so much as a butt's worth of nicotine. I just might lick this thing, but I might have to add sleeping pills to the mix, as Chantix seems to be really screwing up my sleep patterns. To those other of you who are trying to kick this insidious addiction, I feel your pain, my friends, I really do.

I think I have discovered a dirty little secret about HD television. Last night, I noticed that a show that was advertised as being broadcast in HD seemed to be remarkably sharper and clearer than the other shows being broadcast on the digital channels. Now, although my new set has a digital receiver, it has only a 480i resolution, no different than the ancient analog set I replaced it with. But, I swear to Bob, that picture was as good, if not better, than what I have been seeing at Circuit City or Walmart on the large wide-screen LCDs and plasma TVs they were selling. OK, I have to admit that the picture probably ISN'T as good as 720 or 1080, but there's something about a cathode ray tube's ability to render shadows and color that I still think is far superior to LCD, or maybe even plasma. However flawed my perception might be, I am damn happy with this television, and at less than half the price of a small HD, at that.

The trees here at Pendragon Hold have decided it really IS spring, and are sprouting new, bright green growth accordingly, except for the two oaks in front, who are still being tentative about this weird weather. The plants in the shade garden are leaping out of the ground, and there should be enough growth of weed grass very shortly to start tying the goats out front again. The WIFE is getting ready to plant out the first two rows of her new terrace garden, and hopefully I can get that last third tier filled in shortly. I just wish WORK (argggggg) would get out of the way of what I want to do around here, which is, ironically.........WORK.....laugh....but at least it's MY work.

On a less than lighter note, I inadvertently caused grief and insult to a fellow blogger in one of my last posts for which I must accept some responsibility, if by no other reason, for not doing something as stupidly simple as dividing a paragraph so that I wouldn't attach one observation to another when the two were not meant to be linked. In the beginning of the paragraph I mentioned reading a blog that made a point to which I responded to, and then later in the same paragraph I made comments that were not meant to be applied to that same person. This is probably why I will never become an acclaimed author of anything written, as it seems I am not capable of what must be some basic rules of writing. There was even a "code" word that came out of an inside joke that I had completely forgotten about until she made reference to it in such a way that made it perfectly understandable why she would assume what I was meaning to say or who I was saying it about. Well, even though she misunderstood that paragraph and that subject, well, technically, it would have appeared to her to be an underhanded assault on her personally, and for that I am rather ashamed. She reacted in such a strong manner I am sure there is nothing I can say that would convince her otherwise, and I will accept her invitation never to grace her radar again, with much regret. If she should happen to come across this post, all I can offer is that I am truly sorry for the slipshod manner in which I tackled that subject which implicated her in a negative way, and I offer her the most sincere apology I can muster. I can only hope I have learned a valuable lesson and do not indulge in such literary laziness in the future.

Now that we know for sure that THE Michael can really screw up sometimes, you that always knew that can chuckle to yourselves and bask in his discomfort. In the meantime, those of you who truly know that he always means well, you can chuckle too.......I deserve it.

Blessed Be.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Still Dancing with Leaves

It's been an interesting time here at Pendragon Hold, our little acre of sand. I am having mixed success with this smoking pill I'm on. I can handle the dreams, they are interesting if nothing else. I even appreciate the lack of panic attacks when I haven't had a cigarette for days. But it doesn't seem this medication is actually ridding me of my cravings, and I can't seem to get much sleep lately. Maybe once I've been on this stuff for more than three weeks it will get easier. I'm not giving up yet.

THE Wife took an additional week off from work and it was nice to have her home taking care of most of that domestic stuff while I returned to work. Now she goes back to work with me tomorrow, but the knee still hurts, and probably will until she gets that next round of injections.

I have some pictures of the terrace garden I completed during this down time, as well as one of a fountain I slapped together for the shade garden, which THE Wife just loves. I knew that old aquarium pump would come in handy some day!

Saturday, out of the blue after being out of touch for more than a year, my old buddy Joe called and asked us if we'd like to go with them to see "Classical Mystery Tour", a show performed by a Beatles tribute band in concert with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. All four of them were once with the show "Beatlemania" at one time or another. Joe works the stages at the local music and sports events, and sometimes scores free tickets to plays or concerts. I must admit, these guys were pretty damn good. It was hearing what it would have been like had the Beatles performed some of their best works in a live concert, complete with the orchestration. What was really hilarious was when this guy in the back row of the orchestra pulled out his lighter and waved it. Nobody uses lighters anymore in a closed, no smoking venue, but a couple of inventive audience members pulled out their cell phones and started waving THEM. Next thing you know, the whole place is lit up the screens of cell phones waving back and forth to "Hey Jude". It was nice to see Joe again and to get out on the town for once, something we hadn't done in ages.

I still have enough leaves piled up around here to cover the state of Texas. I will, however, deal with them eventually. That's what life is all about; "Dances with Leaves".............

Friday, March 09, 2007


There are many people, my wife included, who avoid the stress of knowing what's going on in the world by simply avoiding knowing what's going on in the world. Looking at this avoidance strategy from a certain angle, well, it certainly works. But then there's the mantra that one who is forewarned is forearmed. I have never been one of those who can ignore what's going on outside my personal space because I know well how those events effect me in one way or another. Governance, the price of gas, food, strange weather or geologic events, all these things trickle down to you no matter where they happen. Not wanting to know about them won't make them go away, but knowing you might perhaps better fill that tank of yours with gas or stock up on some extra foodstuffs could make the difference when that disaster you would rather not know about shows up on your doorstep.

Along these lines intrudes that saying, "ignorance is bliss". Well, let's reverse that saying to read, "bliss is ignorance". Think about it.

I would dearly love to simply chuck my TV and radio out the window and never see a newscast again or listen to another talk show. I would dearly love to putter around my house, working on the garden, reading some good books, listening to music I like, never having to experience any kind of stress. And I know what would happen sooner or later. I'd go mad. Life isn't and never was nirvana. The human mind did not evolve to exist in a world of denial and sheer relaxation. The human mind was designed to survive, to strive, to excel, to seek, to question, to exalt. You can't do any of that weeding a garden 24/7. Sooner or later your world closes in on you and you might as well go into a coma for all the stimulation and relevance you are experiencing.

I read a blog post recently which decried the amount of time a person imagined she was spending in the virtual world of blogger, feeling disconnected from the REAL world and avoiding real relationships. Yes, if one actually became a hermit and never left the house, did not have outside employment that brought them into contact with "real" people, and had all their needs provided by delivery, I could see how this could be a problem. I also know that people spend time in these virtual worlds doing different things, such as gaming, chatting, and a host of activities which can be accessed by a keyboard. Me, I write to a blog, and I read other blogs, and I go to work, and I shop for groceries, watch TV, read books, work around the house, and interact with my wife, in more ways than one. Blogging is only a part of my total experience, and it adds much more to it than it detracts, at least in my estimation. Although I know people by virtue of blogging, I do not discount them as people I could never meet or get along with in the real world, because I understand that the world from which they blog is as real as mine is. They experience the "real" world in much the same way as I do, yet despite the disparity in our locations and cultures, we still get to share those experiences in a way that once was not possible. Yes, I understand that the internet is not the optimal way one should go about finding a love interest or a mate for life, but that is not a concern for me, as I have that one taken care of. But I also understand that to discount someone online as just another loser for attempting to find a connection via the virtual world is somewhat of an arrogance that can only make one's desire to find a connection ANY where a difficult proposition. If you think you are not going to have to suffer thru a date with a "loser" because you met him in the "real" world, you might be somewhat deluded. A loser is some one labeled as such by some one else who's requirements haven't been met. If your requirements include a sugar daddy with perfect teeth and a convertible, well, hell just might freeze over before you get real and realize that most of the population on this earth isn't as perfect as you, and aren't in any hurry to jump thru any hoops for YOUR benefit.

We all yearn to return to simpler times when we weren't overwhelmed with so much stimulus, trying to keep up with so many distractions, faced with more choices than we can make comfortably. Well, those times are over, and this is the world we have made for ourselves. They call it progress. It's really up to us, as individuals, what level of comfort we are going to have with our information-intensive society. As for myself, I have gleaned the best of this new world from what I have access to and can afford. I now pay my bills online, and never have to drive to the video store to get movies. I forsake HDTV for the cheaper yet vastly better SDTV which gives me a much better picture and more channels than I used to have. I can't afford cable but I live happily without it. We have one pay-as-you-go cellphone which we hand off to each other depending on who needs it most. I watch ABC World News tonight and listen to NPR in the car, which satisfies my news needs, although I can supplement that on the net as needed. I am connected, I am aware, and I am entertained; none of this overwhelms me.

I am at one with the universe, my home, and my wife.......what more could I want?

PS. My extended "vacation" is now over; I return to work tomorrow. THE Wife is doing well, and although it hasn't been as easy as I hoped, I'm still valiantly on the road to kicking my habit. Till next time, well, you know.......BB!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Digital Nirvana, Full Moon Frolics, & Cool Turkey

Well, I had to remove the TV from the box to get it in THE Daughter's car, but that did the trick, and I got it home. After getting it inside, switching it out with the old set, pulling some cables and hooking a fewer new ones up, and letting the set scan the airwaves for signals, we now have a TV that not only displays a fantastic picture from the DVD player, but also brings in a few digital channels which are crystal clear. However, this is off the old rabbit ears that I've been using with the old TV, which DOES bring in a few strong digital signals, but not all of them, so I took those same rabbit ears and hauled them up on the roof, using an extension cord and extra long coax cable, and found that from up high, I can pull in just about all the digital channels. So, I guess I will have to shell out for some sort of outside antenna if I want to take full advantage of this state of the art wonder.

The numbing agents they used on THE Wife's knee must now be wearing off, because she is complaining about knee pain once again. Considering the state of her knee all told, I am not surprised, and I'm confident that the pain will go away once she's had those lubricating injections. Plus, she DID just have a couple of holes cut into her knee, then inflated with water, so one would expect some post-op discomfort from all that manipulation.

This anti-smoking medication is working, in strange ways. I am starting to get the same physical symptoms I usually get when I try to quit on my own, which is the feeling of a knot in my stomach, or a bloated feeling. I am having fewer cigarettes, and when I do, they don't seem to do anything for me, which I figure is the effect the pills are having in blocking my nicotine receptors. I'm not having the panic attacks I usually have simply thinking of the idea of not having a cigarette, but that might be simply because I DO have cigarettes available to me and am still smoking......I won't really know until the seventh day when I am expected to stop altogether. We'll see...........

There is a full moon tonight, so, you who follow this wicked coven might know, we will be having a full moon rite to honor the Goddess, and maybe cast a few spells.
I just hope the eclipse doesn't dampen the power, nor the cloud cover obscure her altogether. At least the rain seems to be over.

I know I am boring the hell out of my loyal readership by now, so perhaps tomorrow or the next day, I will try and construct something awe-inspiring to post over at Freedom's Place, which unfortunately will get buried by the already awesome stuff that my fellow bloggers are creating there. I am in such good company there, as I am sure you all agree.

Till then, Blessed Be!

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Joy of Logistics and Wounded Knees

DAMN! I KNEW I should have gotten the wagon or hatchback version of this car of ours. I drove over to Walmart this morning to pick up that new SDTV I told you guys about, and guess what? Damn box won't fit into the car! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Took THE Wife to her follow-up with the knee Shaman, who was very pleased with how well it all turned out. She is actually doing much better pain-wise than she was before the surgery. She'll get her lube job in about two or three weeks.

It rained last night and all day, which saved me from the horrors of hard labor out in the terrace garden, although before the rains yesterday I did dig up about five loads of dirt (what everybody else would call dirty sand) and dumped it in with the shredded leaves already there. So today, after the doctor visit, we went to the supermarket, and THE Wife got to drive around in one of those electric carts, showing me what to pull off the shelves. Luckily, no one was injured or killed in the shopping of these groceries.

The smaller of the two twins has come from Tampa for a visit. I am hoping like hell that HER car doors are just big enough to fit that damn TV in the back, although she's driving a compact car that isn't much bigger than ours, if it is at all. She's doing really great at her new job and has been promoted several times already.

In his typical "I'm the decider, but it ain't my fault" fashion, Dubya has been "disappointed" by the Walter Reed Army Hospital scandal, and heads have rolled. It was bad enough for the poor schmuck who happened to be in command at the time the news media got wind of the piss-poor care our injured soldiers were getting, but the Army Secretary did the perfectly natural thing you'd expect a republican appointee to do and returned the guy who helped it get that bad in the first place. He in turn payed the price for doing stupid things with a democratic congress in control. Now the NEW general in charge of Walter Reed is going to have to figure out how to fix the problem under the same circumstances that allowed such an outrage to occur in the first place, much like the Iraq war, Katrina, and all those other stellar examples of Bush Administration management style. The lesson here for all you young, patriotic American kids just itching to jump into the fight: They are much more willing to break you than they are to fix you. If you are still in such a hurry to be a real "American hero", well, you only have yourself to blame if you come back in less than one piece and they don't seem to be in any hurry to put humpty back together again. You were shown the ugly truth of the matter. This goes for you to, Mom and Dad America.

Meanwhile, the El-nino/Global warming influenced weather is tearing up the nation with tornadoes and blizzards on a grand scale. OK, so some so called "experts" want to claim that this is simpy a "cyclical" situation. Fine. When this "cyclical" situation becomes such the norm that the toll in lives and property begins to mount like never before and it seems like we are under attack by nature herself on a more or less constant basis, maybe these nay-sayers will wake up and notice something ain't quite right. Imagine the White House having to be "hardened" due to high risk of a "catostrophic weather anomoly". Imagine property insurance of ANY kind becoming a thing of the past. Imagine reinforced concrete being the ONLY approved building material for new home construction. Imagine the evening weather report including the day's casualties. Oh, forget imagining it. You won't have to. You may simply have to survive it.

Well, already THE Wife has deemed that I have been on the keyboard much to long, so I will wrap this up. I will mention that this medication I'm on seems to be having an effect. Till next time, as always, Blessed Be!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Adventures on Vacation

Today THE Wife had her knee "scoped". The doc went in with his fiber-optic thingamajigs, looked around, cleaned out some floating debris, did a bit of smoothing, and even took pictures. It seems the knee is not as bad off as the MRI's led him to believe, and she'll be getting her second lube job in several weeks. So she gets a week off to watch me work outside, which all you husbands know really turn those wives on. It's either that or simply perverse pleasure.

I am finally going to bite the bullet and replace this circa 1985 Sears LXI color television with a new digital model. Yes, I'd love to land me one of those 42 inch plasma jobs, but I haven't had that much disposable cash since around 1985. So, it looks like I'll have to settle for what they call an SDTV, which is nothing more than a regular TV with a built in digital tuner, so that although you can receive digital signals, you just don't get HD. However, for me, it's still going to be a great leap forward. For one thing, this TV we've owned for all these years that refuses to die lacks any of the higher quality inputs, such as S-video or component video. Just having those inputs alone, when viewing a DVD, will be fantastically better than what we've been seeing. Plus, I live out where I get all kinds of noise and ghosting on these analog channels, which will be cured altogether by digital signals, which you either get, in all their beautiful clarity, or you don't get at all. So, for less than $300, I'll at least still be able to watch a better TV than I do now, even if it isn't HDTV, which I'm not exactly sure I like that much better anyway, from what I've seen in the stores.

Tomorrow, barring any thunderstorms which have been predicted as a possibility, I will be getting out to the terrace garden to shred all those poor, innocent piles of leaves that have been lounging around, minding their own business. Hopefully, they will understand, in their own leafy way, that their impending doom in the maw of my shredder is for the greater good of all plant kind, at least the kinds of plants we hope to grow in this terrace.

I took my second stop-smoking pill this moment. I've taken two so far and nothing weird has happened, thank Bob. No seizures, no hair growing out of strange places, no sudden urges to sacrifice animals or local republicans. I still have five days before I'm supposed to go cold turkey, but for now I'm smoking as usual with no lack of my usual cravings. I don't think any real side effects (like nausea) will show up till I start taking the 2 pills per day or the 1 bigger dose pill after that, and I suppose the effect on my cravings won't show up till then either. I choose to remain optimistic that I am burning thru my last carton of coffin nails.

I suppose I could slip in some rage against the machine, but it seems so pointless lately. I haven't seen the Democrats make any real, concrete attempts to reign in King George, and it all seems as though that we are destined to follow the same course as of all the empires that rose and fell before us. Pax Americana. Hail Dubya!

UPDATE (Next day.....)

Didn't get this out last night. Woke up to rain showers, so there went my day shredding leaves. Instead I'll be taking THE Wife across the river to the Barne's and Noble Bookstore, a place she loves to browse. That is, if the rain lightens up enough for me to trust her on her crutches. Day three of my Chantix treatment. Why do I have this strange kinship with badgers all of a sudden?

Till next post, Blessed Be!