Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Adventures in lawn care

So here’s a story for your morning coffee. This evening, I finally mowed the grass for the first time of the season, so that I was no longer THAT neighbor…the one with the wild, unkempt yard. Well, in so doing I got a little too close to a yard ornament…an access pipe for our sewer line.

Last year, I was able to run over the pipe top without incident. Apparently, over the winter the soil has settled just enough so that the top of this plastic pipe sticks up about, oh, say, lawnmower-blade high. I was trying to avoid the thing anyway, because I thought that to be the smart thing to do, and in retrospect, it sure would have been. But the self-propelled lawn mower’s wheels got really good traction at precisely the wrong moment. The mower went three inches further than I intended and white plastic shards went flying.

So now I have to spend the morning digging up the ground around the top of the pipe so that I can attempt to replace that busted cap. Maybe I should buy two of them while I’m at the store…

Theoretically, this should not be a very difficult task. But hey, at least the yard is mowed.

Playing on XM: Reverend Horton Heat

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Sheetz and Star Trek

I love Sheetz. It's not the cheap gas prices or the standard perks of a modern convenience store. No, I go there for one thing: the food. It's cheap gas station food taken to the level of science fiction.

Just like Captain Picard calling up his cup of Earl Grey, I step up to the flatscreen computer terminal and touch my way through the food menu:

"Hot dog," I request.
Cheese? it asks, and presents me with two options.
"American," I reply.
"Ketchup, mustard, onions, jalapenos, and chili"
How many would you like prepared this way?
", wait, belay that request. Jalepeno and cheddar-filled soft pretzel!"

A quick touch of the "Place Order" button and I wait just a few moments as all of the molecules are coalesced and assembled via transporter technology. I grab a drink, pay the cashier for my order, and then my food materializes on the counter. Just like Star Trek!

Now, yes, between you and me, I understand that there are people behind that counter preparing my food. I can see them. I talk to them. But as I stand there tapping my way through the order, I'm taken away, in my mind, to my own little starship in that clean, utopian vision of the future. Hey, it's my lunch hour, I'll spend it in whatever fantasy I choose.

But no, this is just normal, modern technology in our daily, very human lives. The food is prepped by people just like you and me. It's not like they are holograms to satisfy our mundane expectations. Or are they?

Playing on XM: some crappy CCR.