When I went to replace my cheap-but-sturdy Okabashi sandals, I was under the impression that they were typical foreign-made discount crap that I just happened to have found two decent pairs of (8-10 years of heavy use, and only one strap out of the four has broken). The fact that I found them heavily marked down at the end of the summer season at a drug store contributed to this impression.

Um, no. The Japanese-derived name was chosen by founder Bahman Irvani when his family fled from Iran to Buford, Georgia in 1981, based on his interest in reflexology and Japanese design. They’re a 100%-made-in-USA footwear company with decades of community involvement and military support.

And they’ll give you a discount if you send back your old ones for recycling.

Their site gives no hint as to which “oka” and “hashi” they used to form their name. It could be “hill bridge” 岡橋, which is a surname pronounced either Okahashi or Okabashi, but all the companies I found in Japan with those kanji use Okahashi. It could be “land + end” 陸端, a kanji compound that seems to be primarily used in China. It’s unlikely to be “hill + top” 岡端, because that compound gets read as Okahata or Okahana instead of the valid “hashi” reading. Pretty sure it isn’t “male-deer + chopsticks” 雄鹿箸. Highly unlikely to be related to okabasho, “unlicensed red-light district” 岡場所.

Given the reflexology connection, I’m guessing it came from a foot chart. Specialized jargon often gets excluded from dictionaries. Although “Land’s End” has a nice ring to it…

“They all look alike” never goes over well

The bar employee who previously insisted that George Floyd had a history with the cop charged with killing him now claims that he mistook Floyd for another black employee. Oopsie.

“You can have the English language…”

“​…when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.”

I need a style checker that replaces phrases like “subconscious bias” with “accuracy and precision”.

My reflexive reaction

The Economist: Our model says Biden will beat Trump.

J: Really? What does your actress say?

Metaphor alert!

Porch cat has decided that even though it gets him shot in the face with water, jumping up onto the window/door screens and hanging from them by his claws is the most effective way to request a meal. He knows that even if I give him a time-out today, the handouts will arrive on schedule tomorrow.

Artificial Stupidity, getting worse

(J talking to himself, not saying anything similar to Al*xa)

FireTV: “Who did you want to call?”

J: “Nobody. I wasn’t speaking to you.”

FireTV: “I couldn’t find a contact matching ‘nobody i wasn’t speaking to you.’”

J: “I’m not trying to make a call.”

FireTV: “I couldn’t find a contact matching ‘i’m not trying to make a call.’ If you want to check your contacts list, please open the Al*xa app.”

J: “Al*xa, stop.”

I have never made a call using this or any Echo device. I have never allowed the app access to my contacts. Like many unwanted “features” Amazon has added (like looking up randomly overheard things in Wikipedia or auto-detecting “depression keywords”), there doesn’t seem to be any way to turn it off.

Hell, if there were any actual “AI” involved in the product, it would have learned by now that there is no internet-connected waterfall in my house, and started consistently parsing the words “water pump on”.

“You drive 15 miles, what do you get?”

“A haircut!” I gave up waiting for the local Sport Clips to reopen and went to their Marina location. 2-minute wait, minimal nuisance (just had to hold my mask while she trimmed around my ears). I tipped $20.

Speaking of masks, the WHO has finally gathered enough evidence to confess that there never was any real threat of asymptomatic transmission of Corona-chan. In a better world, I’d have been able to write “confess shamefully”, but nobody involved in The Great Lockdown is up to admitting error or taking blame.

Good news, bad news…

Good: the local Sport Clips finally re-opened this morning!

Bad: the wait is already 146 minutes!

Good: the announced “peaceful” “protest” to loot and burn the strip mall it’s in never happened!

Bad: it’s already 84°F at 10:30 am!

Good: the high for Friday is supposed to be only 64°F!

Bad: with rain!

Since I expect to have video interviews next week, it’ll be nice to get a haircut this week. Also, if I start a new job soon, I could take advantage of the 0% financing deal Toyota’s offering until July 6th (or just pay cash, but for 0%, why not?). And my local dealer currently has one on the lot with exactly the options I want. It’s even the right color.

I still wouldn’t have anywhere to go in the short term, since that company will still be 100% remote for a while, but 240,000 miles is good enough for the old Camry Hybrid.

Well, that’s a new one

Just got email from Amazon offering me a $5 discount on Kindle books by John Varley, because I recently bought Irontown Blues (after the price finally dropped from over $10 to $6.99). Unfortunately, when I clicked through, the only book included in the offer was Millenium.

Yes, the basis for the Kris Kristofferson/Cheryl Ladd film that was memorably slammed in one of Scott Thompson’s Buddy Cole routines on The Kids In The Hall:

“You see, one day, some American thought, ‘hey, I want to make a terrible movie in Canada; everybody else has!’”

Supplies! (bread, that is)

Costco, today

And yes, that’s $4.59 for 2 pounds, the equivalent of 129 standard yeast packets (7 grams) at 3.6 cents each.

Still looking, Mauser? I could mail you this one (packed in April, good for two years) and go back for another…

Safeway, today

Dear Amazon…

Actually, I prefer Mary Ann…


How do you sell a $329 toaster without revealing how big the interior dimensions are? The Japanese spec page has it; was that too hard to translate? Or would revealing that the largest item you can fit inside (the optional baking dish) is 7.6x9.5 inches make people realize just how overpriced it is?

By the way, the US price is $100 higher than the Japanese price…

A change in the whether…

“Beautiful day to open all the windows and get some fresh air in here!”
neighbor’s house is getting power-washed
“Even nicer than yesterday! Time to open all the windows!”
neighbor’s house is getting painted

I timed my grocery/pharmacy run for 1pm, since it’s been a good time to avoid entry lines recently. It’s 72°F outside, and most people were putting on their mandatory masks just before entering the store, because they’re friggin’ hot and they steam up your glasses.

They will not wear them next week Friday when it’s predicted to be 80°F, especially not the homemade or jury-rigged ones. Fortunately, it’s unlikely to escalate into a Michigan Mask Murder scene. And, yes, the attempts to pin that one on Trump are particularly ludicrous. Not a lot of hardcore wacky gun-toting right-wingers yell at security guards for “disrespecting” their women and name their murdering sons “Ramonyea Travon”.

Picture Is Very Unrelated. Fortunately.

Metaphor alert!

My new Chinese bookcase is a shoddy knockoff of my other Chinese bookcase. Seriously. Instead of solid bamboo plywood and countersunk screws, it’s a single-ply top with edging to make it look solid in pictures, and easily-stripped screws that stick out enough to snag something. I’d have made one myself, like I did for the kitchen storage, but I really like the look of the natural-finish bamboo plywood; maybe I’ll just buy a box of tongue-and-groove bamboo flooring and use that next time.

Unrelated, the bakery department at my local Safeway is now repackaging their bread flour and selling it in 5-pound bags. Still can’t buy yeast anywhere, and not only is King Arthur Flour out again, they still haven’t shipped the order I placed 15 days ago, despite yeast going in and out of stock on their site twice since then. Fortunately I still have plenty, and the grocery stores are all fully restocked with baked goods.

I don’t need to bake bread today, but I’m doing it anyway, because I’m adapting an old family recipe for the bread machine. My mother reported that the first conversion was better than the original on the first day, but didn’t keep as well. Since the original was for 2 ~1.5-pound loaves, I could have just cut it in half, but the machine we both have can make a 2-pound loaf, and scaling to that size left me with 1.2 eggs and 4.7 tablespoons of butter, so I rounded them both down.

Version 2 converts it to tangzhong to make it stay fresh longer, and adds back the missing fat by replacing some of the milk with half-and-half.

Oh, and Safeway even had toilet paper in stock, in two Brand X varieties they’ve never carried before. Still low on most cleaning supplies, but flour and yeast are the only things selling out as fast as they show up (assuming they do; I hadn’t left the house in four days).

Related, the canned fruit Amazon had as “arriving today” yesterday was revised to “delayed, not yet shipped”. The other canned fruit, which was supposed to ship later this week, has an actual tracking number that promises a Thursday delivery. The Gevalia Mocha Latte k-cups are still just “temporarily unavailable”, but I don’t actually need more until the end of May, since I found 12-packs at Walmart to supplement my remaining supply. (they also often carry that particular brand of Splenda-sweetened canned fruit, but I’m not out of that yet, either)

My house is getting disturbingly clean. If this goes on, I’ll be out in the garage opening boxes that have been taped shut for over twenty years. I wonder what’s inside.

Anyone have apple and cherry trees on their island? I’ve got peaches, oranges, and pears.


Oh, for fuck’s sake. Monterey County will require masks starting Thursday. Because standing in line without them outside of the most-sanitized stores in modern history is sure to increase the body count, which currently stands at 4 in a population of 434 thousand, with none in the past eight days, and only 144 active cases left.

On the bright side, the obviously-unconstitutional law that made it virtually impossible to buy ammunition in California was struck down, and the state’s attempt to delay the injunction was also struck down. It’s headed for the 9th circuit, but by doing his job for the past several years, Trump has made that less of a problem than it used to be for civil rights cases.

Pantry, fridge, and freezer…

On a whim, I went south of town to the Nob Hill grocery this afternoon, which had (gasp) pasta in stock, and not just that frou-frou organic gluten-free spinach crap. I passed on the boxes of lasagna noodles, though, because if I made my lasagna, I would eat the entire thing before it had time to cool; it’s that kind of week.

They also had 5-pound bags of rice, and plenty of packages of curry roux, which will come in handy given the promise of thunderstorms all week long. I’ll likely make dry curry rather than the usual sauce-y stuff. (I didn’t need another bag of rice, but I might as well extend my supplies until at least mid-June)

Their selection of onions and peppers was better than either of the nearby Safeways. No raw chicken, but plenty of beef and pork in various cuts, and about two dozen cooked rotisserie chickens. Also plenty of lunch meat, cheese, and bread, which I didn’t need.

I did round out my stock of canned tomato products, and bought two packages of Italian sausage to throw in the freezer with the ground beef and pork I already had. Half of the Costco strip steaks in the fridge will get grilled tomorrow, and the other half vacuum-sealed and frozen, to be cooked sous vide sometime.

They even had significant quantities of milk (limit 2/customer), but the only non-organic whole milk was in gallon jugs, and I only use the stuff for cooking. I’ve got some ultra-pasteurized and a big can of dry whole milk in the pantry, though, so I’d rather wait for the next truck than buy too much fresh and have it go to waste.

I resisted the twin siren calls of Honeycomb and Reese’s Easter Eggs. I can only spend so much time on the elliptical.

Amazon has confirmed shipment of my monthly order of canned fruit and coffee, and I’ve got a big bag of Costco oranges to work through.

Now all I need is a new job! (yes, I was laid off over the phone last Monday; I’d speculate on how a public company plans to get by with only one senior system administrator who didn’t know it was coming, but I signed the non-disparagement agreement…)

(And in case you’re wondering, it’s actually improved my mood considerably. I’ve been on call 24x7 without a break for more than 13 years, and I’ve never had an honest-to-gosh forget-your-laptop vacation. I have plenty of cash in the bank and no debt but the mortgage, and once the severance check arrives, I’m good through at least September.)

NHK Dry Curry recipe after the jump (the link went stale):


Got bread?

Corona-chan’s Vortex Of Panic™ has no power over me. I have a Zojirushi bread machine and I’m not afraid to use it!

Not shown in use (you’re welcome): Toto Washlet electronic bidet seat, my other weapon against out-of-stock staple goods. One bulk pack of toilet paper lasts me a very long time now.

I wanted one of these after my first trip to Japan in 2007, but it took quite a few years for Toto to build up their US distribution, and I refused to go with off-brand or imported conversion kits. If I’m going to place electricity and water in close proximity to my genitals, I insist on the best.