Fake Starbucks

fake-starbucksI was amused at how this logo looks like the Starbucks logo (if you squint your eyes just right). It’s for a cafe chain in Japan.

Anonand? That’s a name that might sound exotic to a Japanese person – but it has no exotic appeal to an American.

One of my favorite blogs these days is Tokyobling’s Blog. Why? I love Japan. I have never been there, but that culture fascinates me. The blog’s author is a great photographer and an expat living there, so they have an eye for what a foreigner might appreciate.

Someday I’ll do something with my place-holder blog that relates to Japan.


Spoiled for choice

razor-choiceAmericans arriving in America after having lived more than one year overseas inevitably complain about how there is too much to choose from. Case in point – Schick offers at least ten different kids of razors.

Strictly from an environmental viewpoint, this veers into the overkill zone. The time, energy and resources spent in producing so many different kinds of razors is a waste.

I do understand that Schick’s desire to give the consumer choice (and thereby drive them away from Gillette) is an attempt to grab as much of the market as possible. But I contend that this is just fueling the great American consumption machine. I’d suggest using those resources elsewhere. Designing better mosquito nets to prevent malaria? (Kind of a stretch, but you get my point.) Or have a “red” razor line (that is the same as one of their other lines) where the motivated buyer willingly pays extra to fund initiatives like that.


Jury duty

jury-dutyFor the first time in my life, I was on a jury. It was for a man accused of unmentionable crimes. The evidence was truly shocking.

I learned that actual trials are not always like the TV shows. There were great stretches of extreme tedium. Their were graphic photographs. There were witnesses that contradicted themselves over and over. There was the defendant who did not speak a single word during the entire trial.

I feel like I took a bath in dirty water. The memories will take a while to wash away.

We ruled the defendant not guilty. Very reluctantly. There was not enough evidence to convict him. After the trial ended, the judge told us that defendant had been in prison for the last seven years – and that his case had come back to trial two other times resulting in hung juries! Aaaugh!

Though our judicial system is very flawed, I still feel like it is one of the best in the world.

The picture? I amused myself during some of the tedious stretches by sketching.


And then you HAVE to throw it away

ti-83-plusSo it just died.

My oldest son is taking a level of math such that he needs a graphing calculator. Of course we bought one used on Amazon. It lasted roughly a year.

So for the next one, I bought a refurbished unit. At least that stands a chance of lasting a bit longer.

As it turned out, he needed a more powerful calculator for next year, anyhow.



Hard to throw away

ipod-remoteidol-toySaturday, I spent a little time throwing things away.

But it is so hard to get rid of these things!

One is the iPod Remote. It died. But it was such a lovely piece of industrial design that I was compelled to hang onto it. But I just can’t keep everything. That one went to the landfill.

The other is this strange punk plastic doll that was a MacDonald’s Happy Meal toy. When you push his mohawk, he emits a bizarre electric guitar sound. A child left it behind one day as they were distracted on their way out of the restaurant – and I couldn’t bear for it to be thrown into the trash can. So a year or two later, I am giving it to the charity shop (in America, Savers or the Goodwill).

So what is it that you should get rid of?


Nairobi vs. Denver

toyo-doorhandleThis lovely door handle broke. Toyota took almost two months to ship us a replacement. I thought that length of time was amazing.

Sometimes the “western world” has disadvantages compared with the “developing world”. If I had a broken door handle with this same car in Kenya, I could have gotten a replacement the same day. (Our Corolla is perhaps the most common vehicle on their crowded roads.)

Having said that, if we had an obscure vehicle in Kenya, we could have waited a year for the replacement. One of the aspects of my job when we were there last was to advise people about which car to buy. I always said go for the most common model… parts are easier to get.

The problem with having lived in a different country is that you can never experience the best of each place at once. I guess that is why there’s heaven to look forward to.


That warm sound

warm-soundMy Aunt Mary gave us a set of kids records with companion books. Rachel, our 8-year-old, loves them.

It’s a wonderful thing to hear those scratches and pops that a vinyl record produces. (Ironically, I took this shot when she was wearing headphones – at my insistence.)

Sadly, the belt on the turntable (alias record player) broke during that listening session. Thankfully, there is a shop not far from where we live that can fix it, I think.


It is too late

T-cardBoston has a great public underground train system. London does too. Chicago has its wonderful “L” train network (with a horrible website). San Francisco has the BART.

Denver has two light rail lines. They would love to expand to a third line. The current economy will not allow such expansion. Solution? Go back 50 years. At that point in time, they could have done it. But then Denver was a sleepy western town with no thought of miles of tract homes.

Takeaway? Plan for the future. (Note to self.)