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)


Silly + Legal = Sillegal.

I read these in the newspaper this morning. A survey of 4000 people was taken by a television show (which featured a legal drama program) to vote on the top 10 crazy laws in the UK. I assumed it was a UK television network, though the article wasn't clear. Anyway, here are the results:

1. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament (27%)

2. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British king or queen's image upside-down (7%)

3. It is illegal for a woman to be topless in Liverpool except as a clerk in a tropical fish store (6%)

4. Eating mince pies on Christmas Day is banned(5%)

5. If someone knocks on your door in Scotland and requires the use of your toilet, you are required to let them enter (4%)

6. In the UK a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants, including in a policeman's helmet (4%)

7. The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the King, and the tail of the Queen (3.5%)

8. It is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing (3%)

9. It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour

10. It is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls of York, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow (2%)

I thought these were pretty funny. You've got to think carefully about #8. I cannot vouch for the truthfulness of these, so before you go hunting for a Scottish archer within the walls of York, please check with your UK legal advisor first. And whatever you do, don't die in Parliament while wearing a suit of armour!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Cool Car

I'm not one who usually oogles over cars, but I must make an exception in this case. Twice this year I have seen this Mercedes Benz driving on the road, and my eyes popped out! I've included a couple photos from the internet, but they don't do it justice. This car has such a radical look, when you see it contrasted with other cars on the highway it really stands out.

I have no idea if this is available all over the world or not. But keep your eyes out - if you see one there will be no mistaking it. If you are reminded of a crescent moon shape, that's the car. Oh - the model is the CLS-350.