Wednesday, May 30, 2007


It's been an interesting week here at Pendragon Hold, our little acre of sand in the country/suburbs. After having been on the lam for two days, I managed to somehow locate Vincent, our escaped flying squirrel. Noticing the attention that Cricket the cat was giving to the washer and dryer, I climbed on top and peered down behind them and what-do-ya-know.........there that little critter is all snuggled into a baseball cap that had fallen off the pegs over the wash area and come to rest behind the dryer. I deftly and gently reached down, snaged the cap, and now Vincent is back where he belongs, with his partner Violet, in a safe and secure place where he is well fed and protected from cats. The wife, of course, was overjoyed, and very receptive to my directive that she never, ever play with the fur pilots outside their cage without me there as well.

Since my metabolism went to hell when I quit smoking, I have been trying to get into the "I gotta burn calories" mindset. So, THE Wife and I have been taking walks down our dirt road, which to the blacktop and back I think is about a mile and a half. It's not a boring walk, not with interesting things like THIS >>>> to see along the way......grin.

Speaking of my loving wife, she has handed in her two week notice and is both excited and nervous about starting her new job. Funny thing is, she gets to wear scrubs to work just like me, so imagine the great big smile on my face when I realized that her clothing budget is going to go down drastically, just like mine. That, plus the fact she won't have an excuse (or be able to afford ) to get new shoes damn near every other week is the kind of monetary nirvana any man can appreciate....hehe.

I'm letting the hair grow out on the old noggin, and right now I feel like a hedgehog. If I'm not happy with it as it grows out, I may just mow it all back off again and keep the old dome sleek and shiny. Either way, barbers despise my kind.

That's all for now. Blessed be!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Three Nights, Condensed

I was desperate to post something tonight, so I went outside, pulled one up, and dragged it in here. Got sand all over my carpet. You can't cram eight feet of post into a 17 inch monitor, so I had to saw it into much shorter pieces. However, that gives me many more, albeit shorter, posts to upload. If I'd known it was this easy, I would have never bothered to learn how to write.

On a more serious note, THE Wife is sitting next to the squirrel cage acclimating our new gliders to her presence. Already the male, whom we have named Vincent, has been out of the cage and all over her. The female, Violet, is more reserved and is allowing Vincent to sacrifice himself if it turns out we eat flying squirrels. The females are smart that way. Just to be on the safe side, we have the dog and cats put away while we play with the flying furballs.

I found out courtesy of a DVD made by the Discovery Channel that the moon might very well be responsible for Earth even being able to support life, period. It seems that the moon keeps the rotational axis of the planet fairly stable, which keeps our climate somewhat manageable, thus allows us to live on the surface of a relatively peaceful sphere which otherwise would not be. It seems that there are so many conditions necessary to allow life to exist on this planet that the odds of planets existing in pretty much identical orbits and circumstances are much narrower than I would have previously imagined. Maybe we ARE special after all, and wouldn't that be a bummer............

I really have no earthly idea why, but I would LOVE a cigarette right now. I do take comfort in the fact that I won't be running out to get one and I don't have any available to me here at the house, nor will I bum one off someone tomorrow at work. I'm still really bummed out concerning the weight I've been putting on since I quit smoking. Maybe I should go with the flow and just say fuck it; the wife seems to relish the idea of me getting fatter than her.......NOT that she's really FAT, mind you. NO. I gotta exercise. These ten pounds are coming the fuck BACK OFF!

OK, I didn't post this last night because I really thought it had potential, that it coulda been a contender, so I will finish up tonight with all new material. Please note I did not specify BETTER material, just new.

I just watched a NOVA episode about the DARPA competition to see who could build an autonomous vehicle that can maneuver and navigate across rough terrain without a human driver. The idea would be that we could convoy supplies across hostile territory (can you spell IRAQ?) without risking pretty little girls in uniform, aka Jessica. Several of the machines made it. Performing while under fire, well, that would be an accomplishment.

OK, I'm back again having delayed the posting of this or anything remotely interesting till tonight, IF I decide to post it.

THE Wife was off today and while she was playing with the squirrels, one, the adventurous male, got away from her and promptly disappeared into the hiding-place-rich expanse of our great room, or at least as best she can determine. She tore apart the place trying to find him, mashing her finger with the couch (it's amazing how this woman hurts herself) and still no squirrel to be found. Sigh.

We watched the Flaming Lips perform on Austin City Limits. This group has been around since the early 80's, unbeknownst to me and probably alot of people who weren't paying attention to what was going on in the musical underground. I DO remember hearing this weird song on the radio called "She don't use Jelly". Now I know who was responsible for it. This is one weird group.

You may have noticed strange pictures spread throughout this post. I assure you that they have nothing whatsoever to do with the subject material discussed here.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's a Zoo around here!

I was going to wait awhile before posting again, to see if anyone else was going to venture a comment on my last one. I got one comment on it, period. There could be two very good reasons for it. Or maybe three, but here's the first two that come to mind. One, most everybody took it seriously, personally, and rather than tell me what a jerk I am, simply walked away. Or, two, nobody really could think of a comeback worth the font. I have to admit, I was full of attitude on that last one, but I can assure anyone who for some reason might have taken offense to it, that it was not directed at anyone I know or blog with save those who have had a lobotomy recently. Or were thinking that a vote for Dubya was a good thing, even at this late stage of the ongoing catastrophe.

Either that or Blogger simply lost my comments.

So, I am going to post tonight as though my last post was a roaring success and blogger was so overwhelmed with comments it simply melted down.

A guy can dream, can't he?


Anyway, believe it or not, we have TWO new additions to the family here at Pendragon Hold. Yep, in addition to two cats, a dog, three goats, and a gecko, we now welcome to the family a pair of Southern flying squirrels. So far, I've not been asked by a disembodied voice in my head to build a very large ship in our back yard, but the way things are going I wouldn't be surprised.

AND, THE Wife has a new job. I'm not sure if I discussed this previously, but she has been on the lookout for something less brutal than the cut-throat retail sales hell she has been enduring for all these years, a job that would get her off her abused feet and give her better working hours. A friend who knows what a dependable and hard working person she is recommended her to her own boss at an optical shop and after not being able to hold on to someone younger for less money (Duh, you get what you pay for), has given in to her wage demand and has hired her! So, in two weeks, my loving and well-deserving wife will have a normal job with 9 to 5 hours with weekends and holidays off, as well as full-time hours instead of the thirty odd hours her present job calls full time. I'm so proud and happy for her!

Me, I'm stuck at my present job for all eternity because I like the paid time off, the three-day work week, and have to maintain health insurance for us, or for her, rather. Also, the chance of suffering a layoff in the health care industry is about as likely as the sun exploding. Oh fuck. I had to say that, didn't I?

THE Wife really took a shine to this shorn head of mine, and the reviews at work were pretty positive all told. I'm going to let it grow out a bit until I have experienced the various stages of hair length right up to short, then I'll decide wether or not I want to shave it back again or go hippy again. Either way, I'm not wasting money on haircuts.

The drought continues with plenty of fly-by showers that tease us with the smell of rain but drop it somewhere else. And, the state is still pretty much on fire. Stay tuned, when great big hurricanes come along to put out the fires.

This is our story here at Pendragon Hold, and I'm sticking to it.

Melinda should have won.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Soooooo Special........

As species go, we, the apes with brains, are pathetic. Talk about squandering sentience! Here we are, supposedly blessed with awareness, innovation, the ability to think outside the box, the power to create art and music, and what do we do with all this advantage? Oh my fucking GOD (which I don't believe in, but it makes a great oath of exasperation), do I have some outrage to unleash on all you morons who have an opposing thumb stuck up your ass! (Yes, this applies, in varying degrees to me also, so don't feel special)

First big fucking mistake we made was wondering where we came from, as though our mother's vagina wasn't philosophically deep enough. Being the social pack animals that we are, only not as elegant at it as wolves, we decided there must have been some really BIG Kahona who made us and everything around us, and that if we didn't tuck our proverbial tails between our legs and somehow appease this big bad-ass, we wouldn't be left any scraps from the cosmic kill. Now, idiocy craves company, so when enough Cro-Magnon's with enough muscle mass to carry the bigger clubs decided EVERYBODY had to whine and whimper at the feet of some invisible Chieftain, it became a required cultural event, not an optional behavioral trait possessed exclusively by people with vivid imaginations and little to exercise them with. It's been downhill ever since. So, you create a need, then don the funny headdresses and fancy robes, and become the arbiters of cosmic truth, acquiring wealth and power while you're at it, because, after all, you have a membership that requires snowing and who snows better than a priest? Now, let's not confuse priests with the shamans whose territories they had to move in on. Shamans were simply those learned individuals who knew how cruel yet bountiful nature could be, and knew the ins and outs of gleaning good results, like survival, out of their hard earned knowledge, which they came by courtesy of PAYING FUCKING ATTENTION! Priests, on the other hand, just made their shit up on the fly; whatever it took to make them and whatever God-head they could conjure up look good, or at least scary. Scary almost always works when all else fails.

So, while fighting over whose God was THE God, mankind put his intellect to other good uses, like failing utterly to curb their natural tendencies to be aggressive, greedy, and breed like rabbits no matter the ability to feed all these hungry, demanding mouths. The measure of success for any civilization back in those days was how many people actually got fed as opposed to starving to death. Now, the hard way was to grow and/or hunt your own food, in whatever quantity was needed to support your village or town or kingdom. Trouble was, man was always MUCH better at TAKING something he wanted or needed than he was at actually producing that stuff himself. That's where our next great accomplishment came to the forefront.........WARFARE.

As dumb as waging war seems on the surface, it ranks barely below such population control measures as famine, natural disasters, and disease. When it comes to offspring, as far as mankind is concerned, it's the more, the merrier. More people meant more farmers, slaves, and not least of all, warriors. The more warriors you got, the less of the others you need, but the more you get of the things they produce. Armies also have the added benefit of enforcing the will of whoever happens to speak for God at that moment. Aside from claims in certain ancient texts to the contrary, these Gods never seemed able to express their will to the masses themselves; they always seemed to need a middleman to do that for them. Matter of fact, it was the need to put these worshipping the right dude rules in stone that probably led to the development of written language, something until then was the purview of the oral tradition of passing knowledge down via the elders. Way back then, elders where truly respected due to the fact that they had learned all the genuine rules of survival and proved it merely by surviving. "How old are you?" "Oh, this would be my 60th season so far..." "DAMN you're good!"

To give you an idea why priests replacing shaman's, who were usually the elders, was such a bad idea, here are two perspectives on how to feed one's self.

Person asks Shaman, "Oh great Sir, how do we feed our village?" Shaman says to person, "Well, person, you look in this fruit, there are these things called seeds. You take these seeds, you dig a hole in the ground, put in the seed, and cover it up. Seed needs water just like you, so you go get water and wet that ground around the seed, and next thing you know, you have a fruit tree. Give it some time, some water, and you'll have you some fruit."

Of course, person asks priest, and what does he get? "Son, you must come to this alter each day right before the sun rises, and bring a fresh kill, something delicious with garlic, and some grain, and some beer if you got that. You bring it and put it on the alter, and offer it to GOD, begging him to bring you and your family lots of food. Then leave. Don't take the sacrifice; I'll see to it that GOD gets it. Then if you get more food, well, fine. If not, then you didn't do it right, and will have to come back and do it again till you DO get it right, or starve to death. Me, I don't care one way or the other; I'll get my cut...."

History has proven that having a brain doesn't count for much if you don't know how to use it. You would think a brain would KNOW how to use itself, but sadly, it's not so simple as that. I think the more developed amongst us would agree that a willingness to learn from our experiences as well as having an ability to question and arrive at logical conclusions certainly comes in handy in the long run. Education, that wonderful thing we rely on to try and share our collected knowledge, is actually pretty worthless if we don't actually put it to use. That huge chunk of change many young Americans are spending on a college "education" for the most part seems to have been totally wasted if you actually notice what these people are doing with their thought processes. I only need point you at our esteemed President, George "Dubya" Bush, to prove that being taught, and actually learning, are two different things entirely. Plus the fact that Americans not only once, but TWICE, mind you, elected this person to the most powerful position in the known world, goes to prove that common sense and logical thinking are in short supply, at least in this corner of the world.

So, you might ask, am I proposing that I am so evolved, so intelligent, so aware in the right way that I am in any way superior to your average homo-sapiens, having pointed out so many flaws in my species? Hell no. I can assure you, my friend, that if I WAS superior, in just about any category that defines sentience, I would not be stuck here at this computer writing crap like this, accomplishing nothing, and not improving mankind's lot or my own by any measurable degree.


I'd have found a way off this rock.

This is nothing but an insane asylum, and I suffer the delusion that I personally do not belong here with the rest of you nut-cases.

I'm special.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bye Bye

Over the last several years, many people I have admired in one way or another throughout my life have passed beyond the veil and it saddened me to see them go. Most of them have had a positive impact; a few, well, not so positive. Jerry Falwell was one of these. At the risk of sounding crass, I will not miss him in the slightest.

If there was a God, and he wished those he created to behave in certain ways and to bow down and worship him, he certainly didn't clue the human race in on exactly how he wanted this all done, and the reason I cannot believe that there exists a "God of Abraham" is very evident in how poorly this whole concept of worship and behavior is understood by us, the race of incredibly hateful and violent creatures that were supposedly made in his own image. For a holy man, a representative of what the son of God was supposed to stand for, I cannot imagine a more inept example to emulate than the "right reverend" Falwell. Whatever it was this man believed in, I for one have no use for it, whatsoever.

There are many men and women who make their marks on our lives by virtue of their personalities, their talents, their compassion, their ideas, and they truly do leave a hole in the very fabric of the universe when they leave us. Yet, others, such as Falwell, rest upon our awareness more as an irritant than as something inspirational. Yes, there are those who thought this person touched by God himself, and I will not argue as to wether or not he was basically a nice person to those who were close to him. The fact remains, however, that there are countless men and women whom he did not know yet dared to pass judgement on and declare less than worthy of respect, or worse yet, blamed for the evils that evil men did do. Personally, I thought blaming "the gays and the feminists" for 9/11 to be somewhat of an idiotic stretch, not to mention downright nasty. This, they would say, was a man of God.

His departure will not ease the divisiveness and intolerance that plagues us in this so-called enlightened age of ours. There are many who will fill his shoes and carry on in his stead, thus insuring that matters of faith will never find a safe, loving home in the hearts of men where they belong, rather than in manners of governance, where we go so far as to kill each other for believing in the wrong things, according to those who pass judgement with guns in their hands or bombs in their backpacks.

Jerry, Christ was purported to have said, "judge not lest ye be judged". You believed he was the son of God. Yet you ignored one of the most basic of his teachings. I do not believe an invisible man in the sky knocked up a virgin and then had his son tortured and nailed to a wooden cross "for our sins", thus I will feel no guilt or compunction in judging YOU. You were a bigot. Good riddance.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Feel the Burn

It began as a day like any other day, save for the meteor that smacked into my neighbor's house and set off the meth lab he had set up in the kitchen. Just kidding. While the midwest has been getting flooded out, the drought we've been enduring here in the sunny South has encouraged a new industry; forest fires. The only real problem with forest fires is that they tend to creep into suburbs and such and burn them down as well. Fire is not very fickle. Then there's the smoke which is getting rather thick on those days that the wind is blowing in the wrong direction, wrong being the direction upwind of you. But, hey, at least it's not smog. I love my thick, respiratory system endangering smoke to be all natural, without all those artificial ingredients you get in train derailment conflagrations.

While all this burning has been going on, a cute little "sub-tropical" storm sorta appeared out of nowhere off the coast of South Georgia/North Florida and threatened to actually DAMPEN us. Yep, that's all 243 raging brush fires need my friends, is a smattering of moisture to tone all those flames down. Factor in the 45 mile per hour winds that brings that slightly moist air, and I think we could have done without the stupid "sorta-cane" altogether. I'm looking forward to hurricane season this year; we could really use the rain to put out the fires which are interfering with the clean-up efforts still underway from that last nasty hurricane season a couple of years ago.

Today's forecast is low eighties with the smell of rain in the air. Not much rain, if any, but there WILL be the smell of it.

I have been getting some really great sleep now that I've returned to the loving embrace of my own bed. It's almost like the bed performed a miracle healing on this pulled muscle. Maybe I should let the local catholics know I have a healing bed and charge them to spend a night on it. All I need now is to fashion a likeness of the Virgin Mary out of the wrinkles in the bed sheets, and I'm set.

I really love being married. Yea, I know, it sucks not having a variety of women to take various risks with (you know.....STD's and psychotic behaviors) or having to get someone else's grudging approval to do stupid or at least less-than-wise things, but the advantages are legend! The best one I am experiencing right now is this foray into the cue-ball zone. When one is single, there is always this nagging desire to appear appealing to the opposite sex in hopes that they will DO YOU, but being married relieves you of most of that angst; chances are she'll do you anyway, since she now knows, having taken the chance to find out, that sex with you is really not all that disgusting after all. AND, no matter what you do to your hair, grow it, or get rid of it altogether, she's still familiar with the baseline YOU she has come to love and tolerate, and you will continue to get the nooky. The only way you are not going to get the nooky is by doing something really stupid, which explains why married men do NOT get the 24/7 sex that single men assume they do. We bad.

Anyway, life is good, the blogs are good, it's all good, as long as you don't count the rising death toll in Iraq, the continuing insanity in Washington, and the ever increasing effects of global warming, now playing in more localities than ever. At least I am in great company. You guys have been really supportive of my existence and you'll never know how much I appreciate it. Till next time........

Blessed be!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Cueballs and Tattoos, Redux

OK, by popular demand, here are more pics of THE Wife's new ink and THE Michael's new dome.

Monday, May 07, 2007

A Wilder Weekend than Usual

Well, although THE Wife had this little jaunt planned for some time now, it sort of snuck up on me and next thing you know we're headed to St Petersburg to see the kids. OK, yes, normally I would say that there was no good reason to be burning three-buck-a-gallon gasoline to drive to Tampa and back but THE Wife had a real good reason for it; the kids bought her two new tattoos; a sort of early Mother's Day present. Stop laughing, dammit.

The first and only tattoo the wife has ever had was the one she got when we first met; a cute little rose on her chest. After fourteen years it's faded a bit, and now she's been chomping at the bit to get something Wiccan related, but we haven't had that kind of disposable income for quite awhile now. Anybody who knows tattoos knows they ain't cheap. And no, THE Wife is not one of your typical biker babes or alternative freakers who go crazy with the ink. She got the one on her shoulder and the other on her ankle, and they are kind of tasteful and neat if I might say so myself. AND, she endured the whole three hour ordeal with the same stoicism that women in general have while having babies, without the screaming and promising to kill the guy responsible for the pregnancy. Me, being the manly man that I am, would have fainted halfway thru the first

While we were on the subject of something different, I decided to go ahead and do something I was planning to do on my birthday anyway, and my daughter, the so-called "good twin", was more than happy to help me. I cut off all my hair. ALL my hair. All my very LONG hair. AND, to add insult to injury, we shaved my skull, which, I am proud to say, and no one disagrees with me, is a very NICE skull, as skulls go. Why, do you ask, did I do something so......contrary to my old hippy sensibilities? To be able to add one more thing to the list of things one should do before they die, of course! My own personal jury is still out as to wether or not I wish to keep this new look, but strangely enough, THE Wife seems to rather like it. Go figure. Now let's see what kind of reaction I get at work........hehe.

While we were in St Pete, the kids took us to the Salvador Dali museum, which was rather surreal, pun very much intended. Many of his most famous works are housed there, rather than in Spain.

Apparently, before we left the house, I must have pulled a back muscle (again), because I have not had one good night's sleep since, and I can only hope that my own bed can allow me to get some rest without the pain I have been trying to sleep thru on unfamiliar sleeping surfaces.

Last night the kids treated us to dinner at a VERY nice restaurant called the Bonefish Grill, where I had some of the best rainbow trout I have had in years. Actually, it's the ONLY rainbow trout I have had in years, but it was still excellent. While we were eating, we were treated to a rainstorm thru the windows, which is something we haven't had here at Pendragon Hold for to damn long now. We need rain really bad, evidenced by the wildfires breaking out all around us, much like what has been happening out west for awhile now with the droughts and all.

I sincerely hope that you all have enjoyed tonight's blog, including the visuals. If my looking ridiculous brings a smile to some faces, then so be it. I'm easy that way. Blessed be from the Hold.

P.S. I have no idea why I still LUST after the idea of smoking a cigarette, but I do. Bob protect me from human stupidity.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Joyous Misery

It was with great hope and trepidation that I began my odyssey into kicking an addiction that had been a part of my life for over thirty years. Baring another episode of allergenic shock as happened with WellButrin, another chemical attempt at smoking cessation, I expected this round to either be a roaring success or another dismal failure. It turned out to be both and neither.

Two of the side effects mentioned most prominently was nausea and nightmares. As for the nausea, I DID suffer a mild amount of it during the first week of taking the new medication, but then that tapered off. It was the effect it had on my sleep that turned out to be the new monkey on my back I had to deal with. I wasn't having nightmares, per see, just really weird dreams which kept my mind racing and woke me up numerous times almost every night. In return for the moderation of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, I was losing sleep......ALOT of sleep.

The dose at this time was two mg divided between a morning and evening dose. I tried cutting the pills in two for each dose. I tried one pill in the morning. No luck; I still was losing sleep and starting to get a bit loony. Having not had a cigarette for more than four weeks, I decided to just quit the meds altogether lest I go to work with my pistol and all my ammo and have intense discussions with everybody I didn't like. I could only hope that having the nicotine out of my system by now would be enough.

You are supposed to remain on this medication for twelve weeks, with another twelve weeks recommended to increase your odds of quitting for good. I could only handle it for less than half that time, but it DID appear to make the difference. I didn't have the panic attacks which crippled me every time I even thought of not having a cigarette, and it seemed to eliminate any nicotine fit altogether. What it HASN'T done, apparently, is eliminate the habitual behaviors one picks up having been a life-long smoker. Hell, I even bought shirts based on whether or not they had a pocket I could put my cigarettes in. I attended events with the caveat that I could survive not having a cigarette before it was over. My life has more or less revolved around these evil tubes of tobacco. Whenever I finish a cup of coffee, finish a meal, you name it, there is a trigger that makes me instinctively reach for the pack of coffin nails. And, I still have this empty space in my midriff I can't seem to fill.....even snacking doesn't do it.

And speaking of snacking.......Great Bob, I could snack to my hearts content and NEVER have to worry about putting on more weight than I could burn right back off the next day, so ramped up was my metabolism. Now, however, I have already gained five pounds and it's NOT burning off as usual. This is the real suck factor I am experiencing in my freedom from my addiction. I know that very few of you are feeling sorry for me in this regard; it's about time I joined the rest of the American population in suffering the pangs of outrageous consumption. What it has really pointed out to me is that even as little as I eat, I still must be eating to much and I somehow have to adjust my mind to this new reality, finding some new "thing" to replace the hole left by nicotine and sweets. And no, I am not finding a new comradeship with the obese or the addicted; both are examples of excess and illogic that I am happy to be forced to deal with and think alot more people should be forced to deal with as well. I know this is not a popular idea, this being REQUIRED to do the right thing, and yes, dealing with it as I am right now I do not find pleasant in the least. But it IS the right thing, if nothing else than for not exposing my wife to second-hand smoke in our house, or eating sweets like a damn pig when my wife couldn't do the same thing without packing on the pounds. It's not all about US, folks, unless, of course, we really don't give a shit about anybody else but ourselves, even how we commit suicide.

No, even now, I am not entirely out of the woods. Any day I could on impulse grab a cigarette and once again begin the slide into addiction oblivion. I am a realist, even as I am a dreamer. I want the easy way out, knowing well that the easy way is paved with bad choices. But I want to at least say that I TRIED to do the right thing. Thus, each day I decide I'm not going to smoke a cigarette, that I am not going to eat that cookie unless I'm damn well starving to death, and that I am not going to conduct an illegal sock-puppet show in New York City. Don't ask.

So, my dearest Kindness, if ever I have given you the impression that my quitting smoking is easy for me, I hope the above has robbed you of it, and please know that I know how hard it is for you right now. If you fail, then I suggest you dust yourself off and try again when you can. Even if you never quit, I for one will never judge you for it, but I will always gladly lend you my encouragement.

This is my long, long stroll down tobacco road. Bob get me to the end of it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

CPU CPR & The Death of an Idea

It finally happened. She died on me. Dead. As in door nail. Would someone please research where the hell THAT expression came from? She'd refused to go to sleep for some time now, simply shutting down altogether and restarting if I tried to make her. Short of that she was running fine, so I lived in a state of denial, until that morning I came out of the bedroom to find her........DEAD.

After mashing the power button, unplugging and re-plugging her power cord, opening the back and staring at her innards, all to no avail, I knew it was time to take that half-hour drive to the other side of Jacksonville to the Apple store, that Mecca of the Mac faithful I'd always wanted to make a pilgrimage to, only under different circumstances, preferably with lots of money to spend. After finding a parking space something like three blocks away, I carried her lifeless corpse into the stylish store and was told by the kid less than half my age that I needed to make an appointment at the "genius bar", which had me standing around for an hour salivating at all the cool Apple stuff I couldn't afford until they could get to me. The 24 inch Imac looked like a St Bernard compared to my 17 inch Yorky, but hey, all that LCD real estate is overkill anyway; my baby gives me all the visual pleasure I need.

After a close examination and diagnosis by their resident geek who actually knew the difference between capacity and a capacitor, the kid took what seemed to be an inordinate amount of time on his laptop finding that yes, my computer had been cursed with the famous G-5 Imac Power Supply problem, and that yes, it was covered under a special extended warranty, so that the repair would be fully covered, and that I would have my baby back in no more than a couple of days. Once again, I knew why I would never own anything other than an Apple; never had, never will.

Now she's back home, running better than ever, and I'm trying to catch up on my blog. So follow along, my loyal fans, as I bring you all up to speed.

After a relatively short and tumultuous life, I have put Freedom's Place to rest. I will leave it to those who participated and those who read what resulted as to whether or not it was a marginal success or an utter failure in democratic literacy. What amazed me was how hot it got sometimes for no real reason other than someone's desire to stir things up, again, for no real reason, at least none that I was ever able to figure out. Sometimes I think that no matter WHAT one publishes to the net, there is someone out there who will dispute it with extreme prejudice, just to see themselves type. Some have tried to explain the phenomenon on the lack of body language, and that I can understand, were it not for the fact that some comments were made with such meanness ingrained within their font that no amount of body language would have altered their flavor. You need only examine the numerous contributions and comments that were made that did not rely on any kind of vitriol to see how possible it was to examine the human condition without all the drama. If you have two possible responses to what Jane says, one being, "Jane, I disagree with you, and here's why....", or the other, "Jane, you ignorant slut......", well, you can't blame that second choice on body language.

I also discovered that although I might absolutely ADORE the writing style of a person, I don't necessarily have to LIKE that person. Some I can even tolerate to some degree, because, after all, many of our friends have quirks that don't HAVE to be deal killers when it comes to putting up with them. Some I even discovered you can only like while they are ALLOWING you to, which sounds kind of strange unless you have experienced it the way I have. One thing I have learned getting as old as I have gotten is that not everyone can love me as much as I would like to be loved. Not unless I want to bend over backwards and kiss their ass, which I shouldn't have to. I am not always as smart as I think I am, I have been known on occasion to say stupid things that I regret later having said, and I have personality traits that I will probably never overcome to my own benefit, but when push comes to shove, I AM basically a nice, good person with good intentions, and given time, I think it becomes obvious to anyone without a personal axe to grind with the universe. So, those who remain loyal to These Thoughts will do so only because they find a certain comfort level that they know I can provide them, while those with issues will find my blog wanting, which is fine by me.

If I haven't thanked you, my steadfast friends, for being so, then allow me to do so now.

Oh, and the goats are fine. As is the dog, the cats, AND the gecko.

Kindness, it ain't easy, but it's possible!