Monday, October 31, 2016

Phone Pix 76: Happy Halloween

Have a happy and goulish Halloween! May your front door be accosted by hundreds of kids in costume. We don't get no kids in our neighborhood, every last one of them has grown up and is too old for such foolish things.

I'm too old for Halloween parties, or for wandering the streets of Waikiki amongst the celebrants, so we get our Halloween kicks from doctors' offices, store displays and television shows.

Here's what I've seen this year ... quite tame:

Oct. 24, 2016, Shirokiya Japan Village Walk,
Ala Moana Center, Honolulu, HI

Oct. 24, 2016, Shirokiya Japan Village Walk, Ala Moana
Honolulu, HI

Oct. 5, 2016, Times Beretania

Oct. 12, 2015, Dr. Roy Kamada's Office

Oct. 12, 2016, Dr. Roy Kamada's Office

Oct. 13, 2016, Costco Iwilei

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Are Phone Books Passé?

"Pearls Before Swine" by Stephen Pastis
Phone books used to be useful—very useful. They were the compendium of people who lived within reach … down the hall, next door, across the street, across town, in other neighborhoods.

Phone books listed all the shops, stores, offices, services, clubs and organizations to be found in your general area.

Phone books were heavy. Good for pressing leaves and flowers and soaked-off postage stamps (is the hobbyist in me peeking forth?).

The best thing? They contain addresses and phone numbers, and correct spellings of names.

A couple of weeks ago, a phone book company dropped off our own personal copy (LOL) of the “YellowBook.” I’m not sure who put this one out, there seemed to be no affiliation with the “Yellow Pages” or the local phone company.

I do know that private companies put out their own books, making them profitable by selling ads in the book. I’ve designed and bought ads in many of them for my own clients. The ads were effective, bringing in customers that are hard to identify and/or reach otherwise.

For me, a Yellow Pages listing was a waste of time. I did get a free listing, because every business got one. But in my many years of being in the book, I got only one potential client. And it just didn’t work out.

So we have this YellowBook that’s now sitting unused (as usual) on a shelf in our kitchen cupboard. If I need a number or address or business referral, I just hop on my iPad (previously my computer) and do a quick Google search. 

I can’t remember the last time I used the phone book or yellow pages. My wife, on the other hand, uses them occasionally, but has started asking me to look it up for her because the type is so small. Phone book no, iPad yes!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Waking Up ...

... is so very hard to do.

When I was younger (way, way younger), I was probably like you when YOU were way, way younger. We didn't want to go to bed early, primarily because we weren't sleepy.

And then, we didn't want to wake up in the morning because we were still sleepy and "needed" a few more minutes, or a couple of hours, of additional shut-eye.

Hence the conundrum of younger days: Why did we have to go to sleep when we weren't sleepy, and wake up when we were? No good answer to that one.

But now I'm older, and my problem is that I fall asleep too early, and wake up too early. Waking up is a pain, but not falling back to sleep is even worse.

I never used to be able to nap, try as I might. These days, however, an afternoon nap isn't so hard. The body cells and droopy eyes demand it, actually, so I just give in.

Waking up is so very hard to do.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Phone Pix 75: Pumpkins

Nothing says "Autumn" more than pumpkins. Well, maybe colorful trees. But we don't have those in Hawaii, so pumpkins will have to suffice.

These photos were taken with my mobile phone at Safeway Manoa (first four, Sept. 14, 2016), and Costco Iwilei (last one, Sept. 29, 2016).

Oh my, pumpkin pie!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

It’s Not British Slang for …

So what the heck is a “bollard”? The first time I saw the word, which was fairly recently (this year, in fact), I read it as “bollocks.” Y’know, the English slang word for “nonsense,” or “useless.”

So where did I see the word? In the Atlas Obscura weekly email newsletter of strange and almost unearthy occurrences and locations. An April 8 article (“What Are Bollards, And Why Are They Beautiful?”) talked about photographer Andrew Choate, a resident of California’s Canyon Country.

While photographing the backs of buildings, he noticed a lot of pole barriers. Bollards. Originally metal posts used to moor a ship, they now serve as barriers to separate cars from buildings, fixtures, and … us.

The article opened my eyes and I started noticing bollards wherever I went. Like Choate, I’ve started photographing them whenever I remember to. To wit: 

Oakland Airport Car Rental Center

Costco Iwilei Honolulu In-Warehouse

Costco Iwilei Entrance
(These Serve a Double Duty as Trash Cans!)

Costco Iwilei Food Court

Oakland Airport Hertz Rental

Kuakini Hospital Hale Pulama Mau Driveway

Kuakini Hospital Hale Pulama Mau Entrance

Makiki Post Office

Safeway Beretania Down Escalator

Safeway Beretania Cart Return

Silliman Aquatic Center Entrance, Fremont, CA

Target Entrance, Pacific Commons, Fremont, CA

They’re actually quite unnoticeable because we're so used to them just going about their daily work. But now that I’ve called your attention to bollards, I bet you’re going to notice them all over the place.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

It's Bosch, B'Gosh

I found another excellent drama series that you can only see if you are a member of Amazon Prime—Bosch, about an LAPD detective introduced by novelist Michael Connelly. Connolly also authored The Lincoln Lawyer, which was developed into a 2011 movie starring Matthew McConoughey.

Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch is a veteran detective in the Los Angeles Police Department. He's pretty high profile, earning fame years earlier when Hollywood paid him handsomely to use his name for the lead (he calls it "technical advisor") in a highly rated TV series.

Bosch has appeared in 20 Connelly novels, The Black Echo (1992) being the first.

Personality-wise, Harry Bosch is uncompromising, a pretty serious guy who has a problem with authority. When told not to do something (which is pretty often), Bosch goes ahead and does it anyway. And that of course, gets him into trouble. But ... it usually turns out that he's right.

Bosch enjoys a solid supporting cast: 
  • Partner Det. Jerry Edgar (Jamie Hector): Clothes horse, efficient, smart and loyal.
  • Boss Lt. Grace Billets (Amy Aquino): Tough, understanding, down-to-earth with an uncensored mouth.
  • Bureau Commander Dep. Chief Irvin Irving (Lance Reddick): Always watching for threats to position and career.
  • Ex-wife Eleanor Wish (Sarah Clark): Former FBI agent, expert profiler, professional poker player.
  • Teenage daughter Maddie Bosch Madison Lintz), rather innocent but smart, headstrong, impulsive and curious.
  • Girlfriend, rookie cop Julia Brasher (Annie Wersching), not very ethical, recurring after season one.
I've just finished season one, which was based on three of Connelly's books. I'm now watching season two, based on three different books. Season three will start soon (either this fall, or early 2017) on Amazon Prime video.

I recommend this series, which I watch on my Roku 3. It's smart, it's gripping, and it's so damned entertaining. I think you'll like it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Pronunciation Counts

I like Alton Brown, and his show "Good Eats," but like most Anglo-Americans, he murders a lot of Japanese words, mispronouncing: 
  • Dashi (flavored broth) as DOH-shi. It's DAH-shi.
  • Konbu (kelp) as KAHN-boo. It's KOHN-bu.
  • Oishi (tasty) as o-WEE-shi. It's OY-shi.

To the practiced ear of someone like me, who's grown up with a familiarity of Japanese terms, it just sounds silly. Correct pronunciation of foreign words is important; American, Canadian, English or Australian accents must be left on the table.

Forget the pearl-shaped tones. Be harsh. I heard a comedian once say that when you speak Japanese, you have to sound constipated. Funny, and pretty close to the truth.

Putting the ac-CENT on the wrong sil-LA-ble makes the speaker sound goofy. Hispanics usually have no trouble with Japanese words and names because their language generally follows the same rules as Asian languages.

And, to further confuse the Caucasian tongue, in Japanese the letter "A" is always pronounced "ah." "E" is pronounced "eh," "l" is pronounced "Ee," and "U" is pronounced "oo." Only "O" is pronounced the same—"oh."

When I moved to Los Angeles in the mid-'50s to attend Woodbury College, my professors (and practically every Caucasian I met, by the way) called me "Maya-MOTTO." So wrong. I always had to correct them: "It's 'MIA' as in 'Mia Farrow,' and 'moto' as in 'Mr. Moto.' MIA-moto.

"Think of the Japanese samurai, Miyamoto Musashi."


... (Silence)

All of this reminds me of the time I dropped into a knife shop in a New Orleans shopping mall and overheard the store clerk talking to a well-dressed young man about Japanese swords. He obviously was trying to impress a naive buyer and make a sale.

He kept pronouncing katana as ka-TAH-na. Over and over again, ad nauseum

I couldn't stand it anymore, interrupted and corrected him in front of the potential customer: "Excuse me, but it's not pronounced 'ka-TAH-na' ... it's pronounced "KAHT-a-NAH."

His forehead squinched and his shoulders sagged. The customer laughed, thanked me and walked out chuckling.

I felt a little bad about ruining his sale, but a yonsei (fourth generation, pronounced YON-sei) Japanese-American has got to do what he's got to do.

P.S., And it's "kara-OH-keh," not "Kerry-oky." That one's just plain STOO-pit.