Thursday, December 27, 2007

Korean Bedding

Korean bedding is a little different from that in America. The sheets are thick and textured, no blanket, and the bedspread is thick and quilt-like. Also, my bed is quite firm. Softer beds may be available, and I KNOW that harder beds are available. I have been sleeping like this all my time here in Korea since Nov 2004. I have been reasonably happy with this, and I think the firm matress helps my back.

Well, I recently made two small changes to my bedding. First, I got a Korean electric blanket. Unlike in America, where the electric blanket goes OVER you, in Korea they are placed UNDER you like a matress pad. My plan with this was to not use the built-in floor heating. However, I've had it almost a week now and it has only been cold enough to use it one night!

But the biggest change I did almost as an afterthought. When we bought this bedding, the bedspread came with a plain white quilt-like insert to be used in the winter. As the bedspread itself is so thick, I don't remember ever using this insert. Well, the other day I decided to try it out. It was quite an ordeal - I had to turn the bedspread inside-out, and the quilt-like insert was tied in place using short strings provided. The big challenge was to then turn it back outside-in. Once I wrestled it back to normal, it was an amazingly heavy thing. When I sleep now, I am reminded of the lead aprons you wear when having an X-ray taken! I can't explain it, but I really enjoy the weight of this heavy bedspread on my as I sleep.

Here's a glimpse of the inner quilt:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Chrismas Turkey

Trevor and Mi-young at Beer O'Clock prepared a Christmas dinner for 25 of their customers last night. I don't know all the details, but apparently most if not all of the meal was procured from Costco. They baked two turkeys at their home, and I think cooked all the other food at the small kitchen in the bar. The result was most satisfying. Note to self - check out the frozen vegetable section at Costco - I think I missed that section during my previous visits.

Here is an example of the place settings:

Santa and Rudolf were in attendance:

Proof that there IS turkey in Korea:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Stumbling Senior?

Something terrible happened to me for the first time ever in my life yesterday. I went to the store, and received a SENIOR CITIZEN DISCOUNT!!!!! I feel just terrible.

Trip Wrapup

We had an excellent dinner the other night at CH's home. CH and HS prepared a delicious meal for The Stumbling Girls, and took great care to not serve anything spicy. Their effort was much appreciated. We really enjoyed their 11-month old girl ES, who is just about to learn to walk. I think within 1 month she will be running all over the place.

Here is YS#4 eating kimchee!!! She really gave it a try:

Me and Mrs. Stumbler eating duck:

Here are the girls as the prepare to head home:

And YS#4 on the plane:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Twilight Zone

The other night we had some weird things happening here at the officetel. Mrs. Stumbler and I were watching one of the DVD's from my movie collection, and Young Stumbler #4 was sound asleep (this is important to the story). First, I should say this movie was titled "Object or Beauty", which neither of us had heard of before. We looked up a review online. Some people hated it, some people loved it. But one reviewer said "this movie will never be shown on TV, so you can only see it on DVD".

Well, we began to watch the movie. During the movie, one of my two printers suddenly came to life, and printed out a piece of paper all by itself. We checked YS#4, who was sleeping and could not have printed it. We picked up the paper, and all it said was "2007/12/10". Shaken up, we ignored this and resumed watching the movie. A few minutes later, the OTHER printer suddenly printed out a piece of paper, this time a blank one! I think there is a ghost in my computer system somewhere.

Then finally the movie was over, and I switched to the TV and was flipping though the channels. I changed to one of the movie channels, and was surprised to see that the same movie, "Object of Beauty" was just ending on the movie channel! It had been showing on the movie channel AT THE SAME TIME as we were watching it on DVD! That's too weird for me...

As for the movie, it was okay, but not great. Let's just say that I won't be saving this DVD to watch again.

Curry Rice

I made some Curry Rice the other day, and took some photos along the way. This post is meant to encourage my friend John to cook up some of the Curry Rice packages that I mailed to him from Hawaii earlier in the year. If anyone wants the recipe please request in the comments and I'll email to you.

Carrots and Potatoes:

Onions and Peppers (my recipe calls for green peppers, but I didn't have one)

Cubed chicken - you can also use beef, shrimp, or even omit meat entirely.

Cook it

Boil the Curry Sauce

Add the meat and vegetables

Sorry, no final photo of the food. Too busy eating it to take a picture.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pottery Arrived

The Stumbling Mother reports that her Korean Pottery finally arrived after a long journey across the Pacific Ocean. I must admit it looks really nice:

TSG in Seoul

The Stumbling Girls came to Seoul this week for a short visit. We haven't really done anything especially adventurous. We spent a whirlwind day shopping the day after they arrived, visiting Costco and E-Mart. Now the kitchen is fully stocked. Here are a few random shots of Young Stumbler #4...

Here she is struggling with her tennis shoes after eating dinner Tuesday night. These shoe laces continue to be a problem...

Making breakfast!!!

Waiting for our food at the Pancho's Mexican Restaurant in Itaewon (I hear there's a better place to try next time...)

We stumbled to the Korean National Museum after eating Mexican. Big mistake. Never visit this museum after eating a large lunch and on a weekend.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

SPAM Received

The Stumbling Brother finally received his SPAM gift set all the way from Korea. It was quite a long haul for this case of SPAM. First of all, I decided it would be easy to carry it home from the store instead of taking a taxi. My arm was about 2 inches longer by the time I arrived home that night. Next, I tried to convince The Stumbling Parents to bring "some SPAM" back home for their son. They agreed until they saw the size of the gift set - it was bigger than their suitcase! Finally I took it with me on my business trip last month to Hawaii. But not before I spent several hours on the internet and telephone with various Government agencies trying to learn if it was legal to bring SPAM into the country. Finally a kind doctor at the Department of Agriculture (or was it Food and Drug Adminstration?) told me that canned pork was okay, but canned beef would be a problem.

So, for the first time ever, I checked the "I am carrying meat into the country" box on the customs form when I arrived in Honolulu. The clerk asked me to show them the meat, which I did. He got a good laugh at all that SPAM. He opened up a file cabinet with over a hundred books of regulations, but when I explained my various phone calls with the USDA, he agreed that SPAM should be no problem and let me go. Whew... I was sweating for awhile there.

The last leg of the journey was by UPS Ground (from Hawaii????), where it encountered a train delay somewhere en-route from Canada to Tennessee. CANADA??? Why was my package in Canada in the first place? I am so confused. So this SPAM gift set has gone from Seoul South Korea to the Hawaiian Islands to Ontario Canada and finally to Alabama. To The Stumbling Brother... Bon Appetite!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I see occasionally very unusual road diagram signs here in Seoul. For example, some interchanges (IC in Konglish) are notoriously complicated. The diagram of one of these ICs looks like something from an advanced organic chemistry book. And I've never have my camera handy. But the other day CH and I were driving to a meeting, and we came to this stop light. I was able to whip out the camera in time to snap this photo. It's not one of the complicated IC diagrams, but it is interesting. You've heard of "U" turns of course, and probably you know "P" turns. What on earth is this one? I named it a "Q" turn (fortunately we were only turning left and didn't have to follow this crazy path):

Briefly, U turns of course turn you around so you're going in the opposite direction. In Seoul, sometimes at a busy intersection that has cloverleafs, and you can't turn left directly. Instead you cross through the intersection in the right-hand lane, then turn right immediately on the cloverleaf. With this manoeuver, called the "P" turn, you end up effectively making a left turn.

Dumb and Babo

Awhile back, the movie "Dumb and Dumber" was recommended to me. I'm not quite sure why - perhaps I look like someone who is dumb? Or perhaps I look like I enjoy dumb movies? Anyway, Sunday night I had nothing to do so I walked around the corner to the DVD rental shop. I looked for it myself at first, and despite that fact that I know the Korean alphabetization method, I still haven't quite figured out how this shop arranges the movies on the shelves. So finally I had to go ask the clerk: Do you have the movie "Dumb and Dumber"? She started laughing at me! She nodded yes, and proceeded to get it for me. I still am not sure why she was laughing at me.

Well, I watched the movie and really liked it. I guess I am a person who enjoys stupid movies. Later I read on the internet that this movie launched Jim Carrey's career. Also, I'm not sure how I missed this movie. It came out in 1994. You would have thought I would have had a chance to see it in the 13 years since. I would place it in the same category as Airplane! [1980] and Young Frankenstein [1974], although not quite a good as those classics. Interestingly, I noticed that Terry Garr, whom you may remember from a 1968 episode of Star Trek, appeared in both Young Frankenstein and Dumb and Dumber.

Title explanatory note: in Korean, DUMB = BABO (바보)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Slow Sunday

I was pretty slow and lazy yesterday (Sunday). I was bored, so I decided to go visit an area near the Han River, not too far from the nearby Costco store. I walked around some, and especially enjoyed the Han River Park in this area. Problem was the cold and wind. I couldn't walk very far on the river parkway because it was so cold. Later I learned it went well below freezing yesterday afternoon and evening! Here are some views

Here is a stop for the new "water taxis" recently introduced. I've never been on one, and believe me, yesterday was not a good day to be on the water.

I got a kick out of this sign. Since I like puns, this sign on a tall building under construction was especially interesting. From the English point of view, the name "Viewtiful" is a good pun on Beautiful and View, both of which this building will have being right on the Han River. What makes this more interesting is that in Korean, the words Beautiful and Viewtiful are spelled exactly the same. At first I thought it was someone's Konglish mistake, but on further thought I believe it was intentional.

Next, I've never seen a crooked power pole before:

Finally, some more good Konglish.

To help to make happy life with those whom you want to be in this moment

To help to enjoy leisure time through various culture marketing and find beauty of life.

I wish I had held the camera steadier, can't quite make out the third one.

Monday, November 12, 2007


I burned myself yesterday with boiling water. I was making a Korean dish which required boiling some noodles, similar to cooking spaghetti noodles. The food is called JJajangmyun (짜장면). It is usually better to have this dish delivered, but I happened to have some in the freezer and decided to cook it.

When it came time to put them in the strainer in the sink, I made a mistake. My pots in Korea don't have a long handle, but instead have two small handles on opposite sides of the pot. I don't have any pot holders, but instead just us a kitchen rag as a pot holder. Well, I only had one rag nearby, so I foolishly tried to carry the pot to the sink using only one hand and one handle. I almost made it to the sink when the pot fell from my grip. I got boiling water splashed on my arm - BUT I was able to save most of the noodles!

I immediately put it under cold water and used some ice on it. But it still hurt pretty bad. I tried to visit a nearby clinic which my colleague CH told me was open on Sundays. Indeed it was open on Sundays, but it had closed just an hour eariler than my accident! I went back home, applied some lotion to the burn, and took some Tylenol. I took a short nap, and when I woke up it felt MUCH better. This morning it feels even better. There was a slight sting when I took my shower, but I'm not worried about it anymore and don't plan to try the clinic again. It sure looks much worse than it feels. I took the photo this morning, but yesterday after it happened my arm was MUCH redder.

I will not be boiling any more water until I go to the store and buy some of these:

Credit to Sue at My Korean Kitchen for the JJajangmyun photo which I shamelessly stole from her site.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Island Time

Once more I took a short trip to Hawaii. I didn't take many photos this time, but got a few odd shots. First, for those of you old enough to remember the movie Airplane!, you may remember Jimmie Walker (J.J. from Good Times) appeared in the beginning of the movie. His character washed the airplane's windows and checked under the hood for the oil. Well, when I was waiting on the airplane, I happened to see this very same sight right outside the window! He didn't check the oil, but this guy was washing the windows with what looked like a very long dust mop. I wasn't able to catch the cleaning mop in the photo, but you'll have to trust me - the guy on this lift was actually cleaning the windows:

And here's old JJ doing it his way:

Here's what bi-bim-bap looks like on the airplane:

Here's my first animated GIF - this is the plane chasing it's shadow as we land at Incheon. (Looks like you have to click on the photo to get the animated effect)