Monday, May 30, 2005

And I Didn't Even Get to Do That

About an hour and a half into clearing our front garden of the ten foot by ten foot pile of rocks, shovelful by shovelful, wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow, it hit me:

This is the same thing I'd be doing if I killed a guy in Mississppi in the late sixties.

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Grocery Store
A Play in Two Acts

Act I
Doth thy carte offend thee?

I just returned from the grocery store, which for brevity I shall simply call The Really Overpriced Grocery Store That's On The Way Home. On the way inside, I stopped to grab a cart (because I'm a thinker, see?), when something strange caught my eye.

This store has a dispenser of sanitary cart handle wipes.

Ha! I thought. These pathetic snobs can't even touch a shoppping cart that someone before them has handled? What kind of hyper-sensitive society are we living in, anyway? I mean, sure, the last shopper may have had some fingernail fungus or other similar fingernail life-forms going on, but is it really necessary to sanitize the cart handle?

What's the worst that could be breeding on there? Well. Hepatitis C, maybe?

I looked around the store entrance furtively. These shoppers looked clean, but who can really tell? They might be infested with sores, or maybe the scurvy. Honestly, there's some class-A whack-jobs out here. It's like a damn Fellini film.

I grabbed a wipe and wiped that cart for all it was worth. I didn't stop at the handle, either. I sanitized the crap out of that cart, even lubing up the little squeaky cart-tires for good measure. The pina-colada cart-freshener I threw in at no extra charge.

Intermission —Snacks and frozen treats in the lobby
A complex man!

Why is it that the idea of Domino's Cheeseburger pizza fills me with revulsion and cynicism for the future of mankind, and yet I love with a deep and abiding passion the tiny grill-marked burgers of Chunky Sirloin Burger Soup?

Act II
The Manne of Meate Is Surlye

It's my turn. Yes, it's my turn. I know there's an old lady here, but I was here before her. I'm not making some sort of judgment call that I am better then her, although it is important to note that she will probably not be around as long as I will and shouldn't really be eating meat at her advanced age anyway. It's not like I'm taking her seat on the bus. I was here a good 70-80 seconds before she was.

So, the red snapper, please.

Thank you.

But wait, there is more meat that I want from you. Please, do not look at me exasperatedly, as if you had far better things you could be doing. You're either getting me two one-pound packages of ground turkey —the dark meat if you please (I care about my health but only in a token sort of way)— or you're going to be slinging meat for someone else. Maybe breaking a crab's knees with that silver hammer thing, which I will grant you looks kind of fun. The choice here is not "get Kaf his meat or gaily skip through a field barefoot". Okay?

Did you just roll your eyes at me?

Look, I told you I wanted the Rocky Junior chicken. Not Rocky Senior! I don't know what the difference is, either, but I'm already coughing up some serious dough for this chicken because someone thoughtfully slapped a Free Range sticker on it, so I think I should get the choice. Frankly, I'm reluctant to eat a Senior range chicken with this elderly woman standing next to me and eyeing me as if to say "Why, why must you order so much meat, young man?"

Yes, that's all. Thank you for being so surly, Meat Man. You really made my day.

exeunt all

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Cingularly Unfunctional

You know what? I'm getting a great deal on my nationwide calling plan! For the ten minutes of each day that my phone actually has a connection, it's great!

But I must say that I'm paying a mere 60 dollars a month for two phones! 60 dollars! That's such a great deal that I don't mind the fact that the phone works neither at my office nor my home. And it has a really cute picture of a smiling panda on the display. And that's worth thirty dollars a month right there. I'm not sure why it has a panda, or how to get rid of it, but I must say that Cingular Wireless gave me a really great deal on this phone.

Nine dollars I paid for this phone! Can you believe it? This phone, that doesn't seem to have a volume control, is awkward, unwieldy, and uncomfortable to use, and whose battery leaps from its protective sheath like a lemming from a cliff every time the phone is more than softly placed on a pile of papers. It is very, very good at holding down papers, by the way, as it displays the comforting message "Network Search" for 23 out of the day's 24 hours.

In fact, this wonderful phone that I am paying only 60 dollars a month for only functions while I am driving to and from work. As we all know, that is the best and safest time for any important and potentially distracting conversations that will take your mind off less pleasant things like, I don't know, brake lights.

I hate talking on the phone while I'm driving. I have enough trouble avoiding the fleet of white minivans going sixty in the fast lane and Johnny Acura Integra going eight thousand miles an hour in the slow lane without worrying about the phone. In fact, I don't even like having a cellphone. I don't want to be reachable, and I also don't want to have to worry about my cellphone popularity.

Everyone else seems to be talking on their phone all the time. They must know a lot of people. And those people must be really interested in everything the phone people are doing. I only got my cellphone so I could call my wife, or she could call me. In case there's some sort of invasion and we can't be near each other. Then we can call each other and spend those last few hours crying into the phone, waiting for our painful deaths.

But, of course, all I really use the phone for is this sort of thing:

"Honey? It's me. What kind of pickles do we buy again?"

So, in the interest of furthering the pickle discourse and to avoid the potentially disastrous mis-purchase of any and all condiments, I called Cingular Wireless. If you've never called them, I highly recommend it. The best thing about calling them is that you have to navigate through a button pressing menu so esoteric and torturously labyrinthine that you have to trick them into talking to you. The only way I managed to get an actual sentient (and I use the term in its broadest sense) human on the line was to press the button for "report a lost or stolen phone". I mentioned this to the being on the other end of the line, complimenting him on his company's dedication to customer service and he said "Oh. Yeah. You have to do that."

"Well, I was wondering if there's a reason I don't get any reception at work, or at home, unless I am in one particular area of the kitchen, hanging out the window where my soft flesh is exposed to nature and may, in all likelihood, be nibbled by ambitious raccoons."

"Where do you live?" he asked speculatively, and I told him.

"Oh. That's a really bad coverage area. Have you tried climbing on the roof, or holding a lightning rod in your teeth?"

Encouraged, I asked him if their merger with AT&T would help my reception in any way.

I think he may have giggled at that. "I, um, I don't think so. Have you considered moving?"

"It hadn't, honestly, occurred to me."

"Well, you do have the panda, right?"

I had to agree that the panda really made it all OK. I should really be glad they aren't charging me more for that little scamp.

"Is there anything else I can help you with today?"

No, Cingular, I guess not.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


What's that? Am I still here?

Yes, I'm still here. I was not here for a while. I was even in Hawaii for a while there. But now, resolutely and steadfastly, I am here.

And what knowledge do I bring you from Hawaii? Not much, really. But I brought you chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Everyone brings chocolate covered macadamia nuts. I think you can probably buy them here. But in Hawaii, or in Maui anyway, which is where I was for a while of the while I was not here, they sure have a lot of them. The nuts. With the chocolate. It's a little known fact that you are legally required to buy at least three (3) boxes during your stay on the islands. If you don't, then you anger The God of The Volcano. And then there's trouble.

The God of The Volcano has some sort of royalty deal going with Hawaiian Host, maybe.

Where did we go, exactly? To Hana, which is the best place you can go, if you are going. It's only accessible by driving a menacingly small road that clings to the edge of cliffs and features locals driving very fast over one-lane bridges. But it's nice and mellow and relatively untouristy, after the day-tripper types have returned to Lahaina for the evening. There is only one hotel in town, the Hana-Maui, which is crazy, crazy expensive, so we didn't stay there. We did, however, partake of their extremely good Mai Tais and Pina Coladas. Highly recommended.

As is the Heavenly Hana Inn, a Japanese style bed and breakfast where we spent a couple of nights.

We also stayed in a treehouse for a couple of nights, which was slightly less deluxe and more oh-man-I'm-in-the-middle-of-rainforest. It had exciting features like giant spiders and mosquito netting with holes in it over the bed. The giant spiders didn't seem to be doing that great of a job of combatting the eight million mosquitos, but they assured me they were trying their best. The treehouse also featured an outdoor toilet and shower which made us feel very adventurous and tough, so that was nice. The tree that the treehouse was built in was a guava tree so we'd be sleeping fitfully, dreaming of ungodly predators nibbling our soft underbellies, when we'd be woken by a giant crash as a guava, filled with ennui, finally leapt to its death on the jungle floor below.

All in all, a good trip.

I promise to be slightly less silent in the coming months.

By the way, if anyone has emailed me in the last, say, three months, at the address, I won't have gotten it. Address any concerns or frippery to kafkascampi AT gmail DOT com. See how I did that there, with the capital letters and all? Smart like a whip.


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