Friday, April 19, is National Rice Ball Day

While this isn’t a food blog, I will share the basic riceball recipe. Several sites out there have it very, very wrong.

Riceballs, or onigiri, are a traditional comfort food. They are used as a kind of “walking food” or something you take along with you to work, or into the fields, and eat as you work.

In my youth, we used to pack it into our bags and sneak them into Disneyland, so we wouldn’t have to eat the expensive, and mediocre, Disneyland food. It was a comfort food for picnics.

Photo: Onigiri and Umeboshi by Kanko

The onigiri, also called a musubi, is less of a walking food today, as it’s widely available at convenience stores.

The most common form used to be a ball of rice stuffed with a single umeboshi (pickled ume apricot), and wrapped with nori (seaweed aka laver paper).

I think things have changed, and a triangle is more common, and umeboshi shares the spotlight with other fillings, like tuna mayo, katsuobushi (shaved bonito), and salted salmon. In Hawaii, they pioneered the use of Spam on a rice loaf, which is known as “Spam musubi”, and was enjoyed by President Barack Obama, introducing the country to the Hawaiian savory lunch favorite.

Recipe for Onigiri

Making onigiri is simple. You need only four ingredients: warm-to-hot Japanese rice (or calrose rice in the US), a sheet of nori, one umeboshi (or other filling), and a bowl of salt water.

Please note that there’s no vinegar, and no soy sauce. This isn’t sushi.

An analogy: Sushi : Onigiri :: Steak Dinner : Cheesesteak Sandwich.

So back to cooking. Wash your hands, and then coat your palms and fingers with the salt water. Take a half cup to a cup of rice, and put it into your palm, and then using your hands, form a ball. Be careful to let the rice cool so you don’t burn your hands.

The first time, it’ll hurt, but, over time, you will get used to the pain of hot rice.

Using your thumb, punch a hole into the rice, right into the center of the sphere. Shove an umeboshi into there. If the umeboshi is too big, you can use half.

Close up the hole, and then wrap the ball in nori. You can press the nori onto the rice, to make it stick. The steam will soften the nori, and help it adhere.

Onigiri with umeboshi will last nearly one day without refrigeration. The umeboshi is like a preservative. I suspect it might be the toxic pit emits some chemicals that stunt or slow bacterial growth. The pit contains a little bit of cyanide, or a chemical that becomes cyanide in the body.

I know people think that ume is a health food, and perhaps it is, but the pits are toxic, so don’t try to shell them and eat the nut.

Now, try to ignore the pain in your hands, and be careful not to swallow the ume pits, and enjoy your rice ball. It’s national rice ball day!

Gone Missing from the Keyboard

Numerous things have pulled me away from doing tech work, the big one being a mishap that flooded our apartment, and necessitated my moving, temporarily, to my mom’s. Since I sell on Ebay, I have a ton of “inventory” that needed to be moved, sold, etc. I also moved all my computers.

So I spent a lot of time selling off things.

I also had to drive my friend to medical appointments and other stuff because he’s also had some relatives having serious health issues. Then, the landlord moved slowly on repairs, so I had to complain to the city housing department inspectors. It’s like dominoes tumbling 🙁

New Techie Stuff

JavaScript Date and Daylight Saving Time – I observed some confusing behavior from the JS date function, until I realized it was adjusting the time I saw because Daylight Saving Time applied on some days.

How to Reduce Your Bounce RateI got my bounce rate down from 90% to less than 50%, without altering the articles. It’s depressing to see high bounce rates in Google Analytics. The issue could be that GA has no way of knowing if someone is reading your articles or exiting the page. Using Google Tag Manager, it’s possible to send a signal to Google Analytics when the reader scrolls to some point on the page.

The readers scroll, and the bounce rate drops!

Oldies Reposted

Adding a WP-CLI Command to Your Plugin – an old article explaining how to create a shell command that runs inside your WP installed environment. This way, the command can access the site’s database, site configuration, use WP libraries, etc.

Interesting Link

I’m not sure what aNewDomain is – a group blog, some kind of article bucket for linkbaity articles, a tech news site, or a politics site. I just saw some familiar names, Ted Rall being the main one. I have been an on-and-off fan since he was writing for Maximum Rock And Roll.

Gina Smith, author of iWoz, founded the site, and I always liked her writing in the SF Chron and Examiner, but never kept up. I also saw John Dvorak and Jerry Pournelle in the list of authors… so more familiar names.

Smith recently wrote the awesome linkbait INFOGRAPHIC: Why You Should Google Yourself More. For reals! It’s something I’ve started to do, trying to ghost myself on the Internet.

Photo copyright 2019 John Kawakami.

January 5, 2019 Update

The holidays left me stuffed, and so busy that work became an afterthought. My friend also had some medical issues and I ended up being a driver for most of the month. I swear, driving takes a lot out of me, physically and mentally. There are only a couple updates this month.

Remove Docker’s Cached Intermediate Images

Sometimes, you need to blow away Docker’s cache because an external resource changed. This is a hack to do it by inserting a “no op”.

SEO Keyword Research for Docker

Google says that advertisers are paying $35 per click for ads on some Docker-related pages. They aren’t the pages I’m writing; not yet anyway.

External Articles

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December 18, 2018 Update

This month, our “hobby” server took a big dump, and we said, “screw it, we need to install the ‘new’ server.” This “new” server is a few years old, but switching servers is such a huge pain in the ass that we avoided it.

Besides, the old server has been pretty reliable. We’ve had to replace the power supply, a hard drive, and memory, but… not bad for 10+ years. Fsck even fixed it up, but re-racking a heavy 2RU, decade+ year old server is a terrible idea.

I’ve got three new articles, and the first two are from this upgrade:

One new page is an aggregation of a series from a while back about fixing my personal computer:

  • The Crashing Computer Series – Long notes about how I diagnosed and fixed my crashing personal computer (it was RAM). Don’t do what I did.

I’ll try to share one article I’ve read that’s tech/internet in each post.

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