Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Stumbling Chef?

I decided to do some cooking yesterday. Since this is the Korean Lunar New Years Holiday, I cooked the traditional New Year's soup Ddok Mandu Guk. This is my second time to cook this dish, and it worked out well. You will notice some kimchi in the photo, which I bought at the store. I was surprised that I can tell this is not so good kimchi. I much prefer the kimchi that SY's mother makes. Her kimchi tastes so much better than this from Carrefour.

My Own Cooking - New Years Meal Posted by Picasa

I was pretty full from all that food for lunch - you can see I was still working on those pear slices at dinner time. So for dinner I decided to make some kimchi fried rice. It, too, came our pretty good. And, I found a use for the SPAM. Once you slice it up and put it in the fried rice, it's pretty tasty. But, I felt a little queasy when I dumped out that quivering slab of SPAM onto the cutting board.

Dinner - Kimchi Fried Rice Posted by Picasa

Closeup View - See the SPAM? Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Lunar New Year

This weekend is the Korean holiday of Lunar New Year. Tonight CH and HS came by to deliver some food for me. Since I had already eaten dinner, I had it instead for breakfast, although last night we ate some of the fruit they brought. I don't know what half of the foods are, but they were all good. What you see in the photo is AFTER I ate breakfast, so I'm going to get at least two meals from it, maybe three.

Check Out This Stacking Container! Posted by Picasa

New Year Gift - An Assortment of Korean Foods Posted by Picasa

When we finished the fruit, we played a game I bought yesterday for YS#4. It is called PISA (as in "Leaning Tower of..."?), and is a Jenga imitation. The box contains a stack 18 levels high, and the English instructions say that "expert" players can build a stack 36 layers high! There is a weird dice included in the box, but the English instructions don't tell me how to use it. I noticed that the Korean instructions explain it, but I don't know what they say. We only built it up to about 25 levels before CH lost the game, so I guess we're far from the "expert" level.

PISA - Jenga Imitation Posted by Picasa

It's Magic

I have been having two mild health issues lately. My throat and sinuses have been real dry, which is not too surprising I guess in winter time. And I have a back ache in one certain part of my back. So yesterday I braved the holiday crowds at the Carrefour and got myself a humdifier and a heating pad. The humidifier has a rotating nozzle on top, which can be programmed to be still, or rotate to cover a 60, 120, 180, or 360 degree sector! It also has dizzying array of electronic controls, including an "Artifical Intelligence" mode! Last night CH explained most of the buttons to me, and I know enough to turn the thing on and get it running. CH also said that with the built-in humidity sensor, it doesn't get things drenching wet like my one at home does. The brand name/logo: "IT'S MAGIC".

Korean Humidifier, With Sensor Posted by Picasa

Also, I bought a heating pad for my back. Actually, it is a "Mineral Stone Poltice", and according to the manufacturer's website, it is filled with "Hardwood Charcoal & Biostone". Other than it feels crunchy, it is the same as my heating pad in the USA. Well, not quite - it has an electronic timer, where you set the length of time for your heat "therapy", 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 90 minutes. Actually, this was helpful since I used it yesterday afternoon sitting on the sofa, and fell asleep. When I woke up, I noticed it had shut off after 30 minutes.

Korean Mineral Stone Poltice (Heating Pad) with Timer and Heat Control Posted by Picasa

Here are some of the claims that the manufacturer makes:

* Intended Application of the Device
- Soothing dry heat brings comfortable relief to sore, aching muscles and joints
- Recommended for sports injuries, strains, tired muscles and relief of temporary
arthritic pain
- Delivering heat evenly among all throughout pad surface.
- Removable & Machine washable outer cloth cover.
- Moderate heat therapy for the relief of tired, aching muscles and joints.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Fine Literature

Recently, I encountered a new Korea word "woosoo" (우수). I asked my friend CH what this word meant. He told me it was an old word, used mostly in traditional fine literature. He wanted to know where I had seen this word. Here is where I saw it:

Fine Literature Posted by Picasa

Turns out this means something like "rain water", and this manhole cover must be for a storm drain. Anyway, we both got a big kick out of that, finding "fine literture" on a manhole cover in the street!

Miracle Crab

Several months back, a new sandwich shop opened in our building. It is the "Believe" sandwich shop, where we are told to "Talk, Relax, Drink and Eat". I have examined the menu many times when walking by, and have been tempted by tasty sandwiches. They are named as follows (I've left off the word SANDWICH to ease my typing): Blessing Ham, Praise Chicken, Goodness Pastrami, Prayer Smoked Salmon, Holy Dream Tuna, Amazing Turkey, Miracle Crab, Harvest Sweet Potato, and Kingdom Egg Bacon. While the Holy Dream Tuna and the Prayer Smoked Salmon were tempting, I had been wanting for a long time to try the Miracle Crab Sandwich. Finally I went to the store recently and ordered one. First, the clerk took extreme and painstaking care to prepare my sandwich. I have never seen a sandwich made with such precision. Then, when completed, she proceeded to wrap the sandwich as if it were a precious Christmas gift. Then it went inside a clear plastic bag, and finally in a take-out paper bag. It took as much time to wrap the sandwich as it did to make it!

Well, the wait was worth it. I really liked the sandwich, and actually went back the next day and ate one again. If I go again, I will branch out and try some others. For the curious, the crab was not big chunks of crab meat, but it was small pieces of crab made into something like tuna or chicken salad. It was served with several vegetables, including lettuce and tomato, and the bread was slightly sweet. I don't know if this is a chain, or a one-of-a-kind store. The fact that we are extremely close to two churches may have influenced the theme of the shop.

New Sandwich Shop Posted by Picasa

Sandwich Menu Posted by Picasa

Miracle Crab Sandwich Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

SPAM Gift Set

Well, I've been waiting for some inspiration to make a post since I arrived in Korea. I have done a few interesting things, but no good photos. Finally, when shopping yesterday afternoon, I discovered the perfect item for my inspiration. I should explain that this weekend is the Lunar New Year, which is celebrated over a 4 day or so period here in Korea. On this occassion, people buy gifts for friends and family, and the stores make it easy by selling ready-to-go gift sets (sometimes they are already gift-wrapped even). At the grocery store, I was walking down the aisle when I ran into the SPAM Gift Set display. I was stopped dead in my tracks. I just couldn't believe it. As I later told CH, in America, if I bought someone a SPAM gift set, they would probably think I was angry at them. This was such an incredible display - I wish I had my camera with me to photograph it. To make it even more unreal, all the store display ladies these days are dressed in traditional Korean Hanbok clothing. It was so unusual to see a lady dressed in tradional clothing talking on her radio, or selling SPAM Gift Sets. Anyway, I could not pass this up, so I am now the proud owner of a SPAM set:

Handsome SPAM Carrying Case Posted by Picasa

Maybe I Can Play Tic-Tac-Toe with SPAM? Posted by Picasa

What am I going to do with all this SPAM? The only use I have seen for it, which would be acceptable for me to eat, was in fried rice. All the flavors of the fried rice seasonings I think would hide the SPAM taste. Problem is, I don't know how to make fried rice - I think I'll search the internet for a recipe. But, in any event, even if I throw away the SPAM, I will forever have an attractive SPAM briefcase to take to meetings and on trips.

Sunday night, my friend JI and his girlfriend SY2 took me to the Hongdae area for dinner and to see some live bands perform. At the restaurant, I saw that the last Sansachun poster missing from my collection, of Han Ga In (한가인), was on display. As it turned out, JI was friends with the owner. After we finished eating, he asked the owner if I could have that poster for my collection, and he happily agreed. Of course, I had to carry around a poster with me the rest of the evening. At the club listening to the bands, JI and SY2 decided to decorate my poster as you can see:

Last Missing Sansachun Poster Posted by Picasa

Let me end up this post my admitting finally that Mrs. Stumbler was right - I am going bald. All my life, I have told my friends and myself that I would never go bald. My hair has always been extremely thick. It has turned very gray over the years, but I have never started going bald (or so I thought). Recently, Mrs. Stumbler said that the light from the window was showing a bald spot on the top of my head! It couldn't be - "my hair is always too thick". Both my hair cut ladies, in USA and Korea, noticed it to. But I refused to believe it. Finally, I took this photo of my head, and am forced to admit it - I am going bald. Interestingly, the Korean haircut lady told me to hit my bald spot with my fingers, it would make the hair grow more !!!! What's with that?

Going Bald Posted by Picasa

Well, I have a few more posts in my mind, and need to collect a couple more photos before writing them. In the meantime, I'll be busy hitting my head as I work.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Las Vegas

Well, I arrived Wednesday night here in Las Vegas for a trade show. I had some mixup with my airplane tickets, but it worked out okay because they sent me on a flight which arrived a little earlier. My Korean friend CH had his flight delayed, so he waited for me at the airport and I gave him a ride to his hotel. I woke up Thursday morning, and got out my computer to check email, only to discover that I had left my power supply in the Atlanta airport. So, I began my trip in Las Vegas by driving around looking for a Radio Shack (thanks to John for helping me navigate over the phone). Finally got my computer running okay. Here are some random photos of events so far.

Here's my hotel - you'll notice it has a roller coaster.

My Hotel - New York New York Posted by Picasa

CH and I got together one night for dinner.

Dinner at the "Big Kitchen Buffet" Posted by Picasa

Can someone tell me who this singer is? I think I remember the announcer saying "Jade" somebody, but am not sure. I belive also she must be an artist signed to Sony, because she was singing at the Sony booth. I remember also she is from Australia, and her music was quite good.

Sony Booth Had Live Performers (Who is This?) Posted by Picasa

Cute Three-Wheeled Electric Car Posted by Picasa

The SANYO Blimp Posted by Picasa

I had a funny thing happen yesterday. I recently changed the ringtone on my USA cell phone to be the same song as Korean cell phone (for my Korean friends, it is Chaeyeon's song Dagawa 다가와 ). Well, yesterday in the trade show I was meeting with some company at their booth, and I kept hearing my cell phone ring. I would check it, and there would be no call. This happened about 5 times during our meeting. Finally, just after I finished the meeting, I was walking away and it happened again. I looked around, and found the problem. In the next booth, there was a company selling portable video players, and they were using this music video to demonstrate their product! I should also say that this incident was probably the only time I actually heard (or thought I heard) my phone ringing. Here at the trade show, the noise is to loud that I have missed almost every call to me.