Friday, December 30, 2011

Grocery List

I very seldom use a shopping cart or even a shopping basket while grocery shopping. The strategy behind this is that I won't overbuy or purchase things that I'm physically unable to carry hugging whatever items I have with my arms full as it is already. The larger items are easier to pick up than the little items. So the little items are gathered off the store shelves before the larger items since I can usually reach for and grab a given larger item one handed if I follow that procedure of order while cradling the little items in my makeshift kangaroo pouch. No, not with my t-shirt pulled up and out but more with the items held like a halfback holding a football to his tummy with his forearm. I'm not recommending the method. Just mentioned it in a blog gist type of way. I was just about done shopping when I noticed that oranges were on sale. But than I already had all the items I had planned to buy cradled in my arms. So I had to put those items down on the top of the orange pile where the topography of the orange pile is flat. This lady shopper next to me starts excavating the oranges below my stack of groceries on the north face of the mesa of oranges. Yes, I did think that was odd of her. If not impolite too. "Why don't cha sift through the oranges stacked on a different quadrant," I thought loudly to myself wishing she'll perhaps hear my thoughts. But she was deaf. This is due to the influence of the word S-A-L-E on people's minds. Anyways, later when I ate an orange at home, it was junk. On sale, but nonetheless, junk. The skin on the orange was thick and the individual segments were huge. And the membrane on the individual segments were though not as thick but reminiscent of a pomelo. The taste was nothing to write home about either.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Oh, Well.

"....this month got away from me, which I think is pretty common in December." (David Lebovitz)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Surely T'is the Season

it felt cold around here with temperatures dipping into the lower 70 degrees the past few days. It's probably the reason I noticed little room size heaters being sold at the hardware store. Are room size heaters sold year round? Perhaps, but you never notice them on the store shelves until winter arrives, it's not like Xmas trees. They're there but your eyes or radar don't make them out by the same token that $1.50 polish hot dogs sold at Costco don't pop in your mind unless you're hungry at the moment even though you drove by the store earlier during the same day without note.

in other news, strangely I haven't seen any Ala Wai ducks lately. They're usually flying around in formation above the canal.

in world news, if the passing of "Dear Leader" brings democracy to North Koreans, "20 million citizens who basically missed out on the 20th century," economically speaking, the blessing in disguise, er, disguised as bliss, might eventually spell disaster for the South Korean economy. The North Koreans will work for peanuts manufacturing the same products that South Korea churns out. For example, $5 for an 8 hour day is astronomical wages to North Koreans on a good day. That's just an arbitrary figure but I'm sure that factory workers in the South make much more than $5 a day and thus how will the South compete with the Northerners in this market scenario. With a Free North Korea, the threat from north of the border moves from nuclear to one of economic, and possibly the same fate awaits South Korea that befell Taiwan after global outsourcing in that region of the world shifted to China to the mutual exclusion of the Taiwanese.

went shopping at Long's Drugs (CVS). As such, this is a public service bulletin that the mania has commenced at the stores. It's more probably last minute shopping for normal household items because people want to avoid running out of stuff this holiday weekend. Save the elbowing for Monday's sale on gift wrapping paper. Take a pic of the wrapping paper and blog about it. What title would so fit a post so appropriately about discounted Xmas wrapping paper? The parking lot was filled while cars were taxiing in line bumper-to-bumper waiting for a stall to open up while the drivers exuded so much holiday spirit that they musta thought Santa knows. For example, somebody honked in anger, and the adversarial party honked back with even more thump. Perhaps they were fighting over who should be the one to run over the Xmas grinch. Mind you, this was only 2pm. It's Tuesday isn't it, the 20th? Obviously time is of essence. The salvation army worker manning the red kettle was ringing her bell with the regular non-stop rythme. Btw, aren't they suppose to wear a red suit, she wasn't. Good luck to her anyways. No, she wasn't a celebrity bell ringer or the mayor. Just an hourly worker. President Obama would never dare drop a coin in the salvation army kettle because true to form the republicans would jump all over the gesture characterizing it as a craven campaign promotion. Amazingly, inside Long's the atmosphere was very subdued. The consensus being I'll stay and shop for hours just so nobody gets my parking stall. I didn't mean myself. I exited as soon as I was done.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


How some things have a way of repeating themselves. The UPS deliveryman recorded the reason for my undelivered package as .... "package delayed, security check by gov't or other agency -- beyond UPS control." Somebody must have sent me a banned agricultural item or even better some hazardous material. Then later that evening when the deliveryman gets back at the UPS delivery depot, "The receiver is not listed on the building directory." The driver has made numerous deliveries to me and to this address within his route, and knows from experience that for our building, the directory board has only ring-up numbers, not the names of the individual residents themselves listed next to the apartment numbers. A 4-lb. package in an humongous 8x8 cardboard box is costing me $40(USD)(UPS) now add two inconsistent excuses to that. The better alternative was to have my package routed to a UPS store to hold for me and picked up at my convenience, but there's an inexplicable $5 UPS surcharge for that option. My internet items cost $90, so the $40 shipping is expensive enough to tack on an additional surcharge. Meanwhile, UPS's competitor FedEx doesn't charge to hold your package at their nearest FedEx outlet. I talked to a UPS person on the toll free number about this, inquiring, "Don't you have to make a deliver attempt of the same package to some address anyway? Like what's the difference?" Her reply was, "UPS stores are franchises," from which I gathered that the franchisees make a $5 bonus instead of being a team player. Okay I can see the sense for oversize packages or if the contents are diamonds and paying an extra $5 is minuscule in context.

Anyways, the UPS supervisor talks to the delivery driver and his newly revised reason for the non-delivery is that, "The building's ring-up phone wasn't working." I am beginning to lose track of the different variations of the theme. "But we'll deliver your package this afternoon." So I'm steaming when the deliveryman arrives and had some angry words for him to suit the occasion. It turns out that our building's entry ring-up phone isn't working. What's deceiving is that my phone rings and receives voice transmission but the party at the other end standing at the ring-up board can't hear anything back even though the lines are connected. This time the driver used his cellphone, so cellphone to cellphone. Well bozo your story would have been believable if you had only stuck to a single rendition, offense taken, offense meant. There's enough things that conspire for miscommunication as it is. When you don't keep your story straight it will trigger suspicions to the contrary. Last year the same UPS driver falsified his delivery times and I had words with him although I kept it between ourselves not the UPS office. When he argued back, I reminded him rather loudly that all he is is a lowly delivery boy wearing a brown shirt. So if isn't too much of a giant leap quit acting like the prince of the city as if your 'services' and attitude are indispensable. In the larger picture, Honolulu is getting so third world with the makeup of the immigration that the third world attitude is becoming pervasive. To do good is to do yourself bad if you get the gist. And it doesn't take much. According to the latest US Consensus figures, Hawaii as a whole only gained around a net 4000 local people in the last 10 year period. By appearances, this UPS deliveryman arrived here from a third world country at an early age with his parents and is trying to rid his brain and shake his ass of whatever lingering inferiorities lurking beneath the punk exterior. They really had it too easy.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Up the Canal and Back Down Again.

Eventually you reach the Bora Bora of your goals. That would be as near to an unofficial motto as any. The team .... ♪♪ Some of us will grow up to be lawyers and kings, and some of us will end up in Sing Sing ♪♪. I'm not quite sure I have the lyrics right. No, no google. People sue Google for giving them carpal tunnel syndrome. I've been watching kids canoe practicing for decades on our city's glorious Ala Wai canal world renowned for it's sparkling waters rich in natural and vital nutrients. A glassful will make you glow at night for weeks. By the same token, ever seen a healthy looking health food freak. The majority of these young paddlers will never ever be fast enough to make the elite racing teams, but on a daily basis they inspire residents and pedestrians alike to get up off their fat okoles and undertake some of form of exercise of their own.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Orange Monday

This morning, I took a spin around Waikiki and the sidewalks were filled with people who ran in yesterday's marathon. They're easy to spot because they're wearing the official orange T-shirt emblazoned with the 2011 Honolulu Marathon logo and orange it was every where. What struck me about today's post marathoners was that they weren't hobbling around. Were not. I finally saw two orange shirt people who were actually the only hobblers out of the thousands that I passed by. Traditionally, the marathon hobble is what marathoners did the next day. Musta gone outta fad or something. Even if they didn't happen to be wearing their finisher's T-shirt you knew right off the bat that they were limping around because they did the marathon the day before. So, I thought to myself perhaps the hobble that I remember was the marathoners that I saw later on the day of the marathon a few hours later. But even if that was true, how was it that this year's marathoners were able to get fully recuperated, or seem that way, by the very next morning? Both body and soul. Either there's a miracle potion that came in their marathon packages or they loaned their marathon T-shirts to a person who accompanied them to Honolulu.

Monday, December 5, 2011

McMackin Out As Hawaii Football Coach

Ain't McMackin's fault that UH ended up with a 6 - 7 losing season with all the injuries on the team including one of the top quarterbacks in national ranks and possibly the best ever in the history of UH at that position. What draws the fire is McMackin status as the highest paid state employee at $1.1 million per year. The governor makes around $117,000 per year. However, even the $1.1 million amount wasn't something McMackin negotiated as an ultimatum. It's was handed to him more as sour grapes in response to coach June Jones ignominous early departure to Southern Methodist University. In June Jones' case he refused to hand over $400,000 due the University for breach of contract even though the SMU payroll overlapped the same $400,000 pay period so essentially a zero net loss though Jones promoted it as homage. In stark contrast, McMackin is forgoing $500,000 of his next year's $1.1 mil salary which he is legally entitled in full as severance. At any rate, for the most part, college head football coaches' salary are way out of line with their actual worth. Unless they're coaching top 10 perennial powerhouse teams where they're a step way from a head coach position in the NFL, college coaching is essentially a minor league level either the provenance of coaches who can't quite make the grade on the NFL roster, or a haven for fumbling coaches who were booted out of their NFL positions. About the only notable exception is Jim Walsh of the San Francisco 49'er's who decided to leave the Super Bowl champions and coach Stanford University at the most inopportune time since the 49'ers went on the win a few more Super Bowls. Customarily the generous salaries of the college head football coaches is justified on the basis that the huge revenue that a football team rakes in is money enough to spare a million or two to attract the best coach money can buy to pursue a winning season a token amount to the overall investment if ya know your math. However, the bulk of the football's revenue comes from the tv rights to broadcast the games live which the local fans don't get to watch live unless they subscribe to the pay-per-view broadcast. There's no professional sports team in the islands if that's a factor. Understandably, I haven't had the opportunity to watch a UH football live game on tv for a while and I'm not sure whether the delayed broadcast applies to away-from-home games as well. If tv revenue underwrites the generosity of the coach's salary, than the other side of the ledger should include the cost to upkeep the on-campus training facility and practice field in the same stroke of the pen without the point shaving. The talk now is finding McMackin's replacement and paying him $500,000 per year, period.

Friday, December 2, 2011

But Still

There's two kinds of shoppers at the checkout counter that irritate me. There's more but these two species are all that I'm able to think of at the moment. There'll be a Part II sequel if this rant receives plenty 'likes'. Ever seen those 'like' and 'dislike' buttons with the thumbs down or thumbs up symbols which for some strange reason the widget isn't available for blogs yet. Or perhaps the widget is available for lack of a better term. After I recently posted about the "Speed Tester" to ping your download speed, a Brad responded with a cautionary tale (paraphrasing), "didn't you know Speed Tester was around for a while already." Score one for the readers' "dislike" button. There's the type of shopper who shops accompanied by an entourage. It might have been just a spur of the moment kinda thing. But still. Oh, a flash mob. When the group gets to the checkout line the people with the shopper stand between you and the shopper who's busy punching in his/her PIN on the machine, so anybody in line directly behind the group including me isn't able to advance an inch until the shopper has paid for his groceries or sundries, etc, and the group departs en masse. Why don't the shopper's friends skudimooch around the shopper and stand at the end of the checkout counter and perhaps make themselves useful by bagging the groceries since they're not doing anything anyways except occupying space and being in people's way in the same process.

Just the other day, there was .... "there happened to be" .... this lady in front of me in the same checkout line. After she unloaded her groceries from the shopping cart and placed them on the conveyor belt, she proceeded to walk in front of the shopping cart to punch the buttons on the pay machine. And that's where her cart stayed. Between her and me. To her credit she did load the bagged groceries into the abandoned shopping cart then push the cart with her outta the store. Hurrah. I still thought that was odd of her though.