Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cell Phone Spy

In Korea, cell phones have their own area code(s). In the past, each major cell phone company had a unique area code, say 010, 011, 016, 017, etc. However, recently the government is transitioning ALL cell phones to the 010 area code, as part of the number portability plan (similar to what we have in the USA, where you can move your number between different carriers). When someone buys a new phone or service, and has an non-010 area code, they change that person's number to be in the 010 area code.

So for example, say I had the phone number 017-123-4567. When getting a new phone, they would try to assign a new number as close as possible. I might get something like this: 010-9123-4567. So, suppose you sent me a text message using my old number. For some period of time (say a month?) the text message would be routed to my new number, and you would receive a text message showing my new number. (Bear with me, there IS a point to all this....)

A few days ago, I received a text message that appeared to be a change of number message. The odd thing was I didn't know him! He wasn't in my phone's address book, and I didn't remember anyone with his name. I was about to send a reply message asking who he was, when I realized the message hid the complete phone number: something like 010-1234-****. Well, I just ignored it.

There is another service here in Korea, using cell phone text messages. When you use your credit card, you receive a text message within a few minutes from the credit card company, showing the name of the vendor and the amount of your purchase! It's a pretty cool feature, and allows you to know almost immediately if your card is stolen and someone tries to run up a bill. And I don't think there's any charge for this service, either. (No, I don't have it myself, although I do get a text message from the bank when a deposit is made).

Last night, I received another text message with this fellow's name. Turns out it was one of these credit card purchase notices - looks like he bought a package of cigarettes with his credit card last night. Apparently he has accidentally registered my cell phone number with his credit card company, and I'll be receiving notices whenever he makes a purchase! Furthermore, my Korean teacher told me this happened with her son's phone before. She called the credit card company, and they had no method to correct this type of mistake! It only stopped when her son's phone number was changed. At least I will be amused following the purchase of a complete stranger.

Missed Photo Ops

Twice today I missed out on good photo ops. I gotta carry my camera with me everywhere I go. First, I saw one of these viola or cello players carrying her instrument in a hard case on her back, like a backpack. I didn't want to be too obvious about taking her picture, so i walked on past her for about 30 yards. She was busy typing a text message, so I figured I had the time. When I turned around to take discretely take her photo with my cell phone, she was nowhere to be found! I have no idea where she could have gone - especially with such a huge instrument on her back.

On the way home in a taxi, we came upon an accident between a cement truck and a miniature motor scooter (not much bigger than a skate board). Amazingly the scooter was still in one piece, but there was no sign of the rider. I believe he must have been on the way to the hospital, and the police were interviewing witnesses. A cement mixer and a scooter - it doesn't get any more unfair than that.

Beer O'Clock 2

Trevor and MY are finally ready to open the new Beer O'Clock. This time they have a partner in crime, Clark. This one is located in Shinchon, on the second floor corner, with lots of windows and a terrace. My job was to install the video and sound systems, and it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately I'm getting too old for this work, I think. Crawling on the floor, balancing on ladders, and lifting heavy boxes is not as fun as it used to be 10 years ago! The real shocker was when I had my head up in the corner of the ceiling trying to hook up the speaker wire, and I realized the wire and my tools were all blurry! When you need reading glasses with your head in the ceiling, I think that's a sign...

Here are the technical details. A Yamaha 300 watt power mixer. Microphones are available for announcements and any game nights (I remember Pictionary night being particularly fun). The speakers are from Boston Audio, mounted one in each corner of the room. There are three large screen HDTV television / monitors are mounted around the bar. Two of them are 42 inch PDP displays, and one is a 32 inch LCD screen.

This is the mixer and the computer:

Here is the wiring closet:

And the four speakers:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Number Name

Well, I was first introduced to the concept of a number in a name from listening to my Dad's Tom Lehrer records. The introduction to one song went something like this:

I am reminded at this point of a fellow I used to know who's name was Henry, only to give you an idea of what an individualist he was he spelt it HEN3RY. The 3 was silent, you see.

Then I barely remember an interior design store back in the USA that was called Decor8.

In Korea, I continued to encounter this phenomena. Beginning with the singer and dance sensation "Se7en" (his official American website here).

Then we had an office supply store mysteriously called "5ffice". Mysterious, that is, until one day it finally dawned on my thick head that the number 5 in Korean is pronounced "OH", thus giving you OH-FFICE. NOW I get it. I believe this chain has been bought up by Office Depot, however the 5ffice website seems to be still active.

Now we have a singing group 8eight.

So, I have examples using 3, 5, 7 and 8. I guess I need to search for names using 1, 2, 4, 6, and 9. How about S2mbler?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I'm sure Young Stumbler #1 won't approve, but I'm wearing my slippers in the office this week instead of my regular shoes:

A few weeks ago, I noticed my foot was sore. I thought the reason was that my shoe inserts (shoe liners, shoe pads?) were getting too old. So, I bought a few sets of new inserts. As I was installing them into my shoes, I happened to rub my heel with my hand, and felt a small bump. While I think my shoe pads needed replacing, the real cause of the pain was this lump. Over the next few days I noticed the middle of the bump turned a little bit black.

Well, I finally went to the doctor yesterday at lunch time. I thought he would freeze it off or maybe apply some acid to remove it. Well, instead, he surgically removed it under a local anesthtic! With CH helping to translate, I understand that this was some kind of corn. I do feel sorry for CH, having to watch the doctor slice into my foot - yuck! The doctor even gave me the corn after removing it! (no, I didn't keep it, I gave it to the nurse to throw away). Then he gave me several stitches IN THE HEEL. OUCH! It hurt so bad he had to give me a second round of anesthetic shots mid-way through the procedure.

Of course in a few days, everything will be all better. But yesterday, I felt that the cure was worse than the problem! My foot hurt far more than it did before I visited the doctor. Walking is real fun now, using only the balls of my feet. This morning it was feeling better, and hopefully by the end of the week it will be normal. I have to go back today to have it cleaned and inspected. Fortunately the doctor's office is just next door to my office.

Oh, I am not allowed to get it wet. No problem, it turns out there are waterproof bandaids just for such a situation. Don't worry, I won't be sharing any gross photos of my sliced and stitched-up heel - just this photo of my unfashionable sandals with socks.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Incredible Popcorn

I saw this package of popcorn at the store, featuring a photo of ME!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Modern Millie

Young Stumbler #3 was in a most excellent musical this weekend. She played the role of Ruth. It was a wonderful production, with great music and a very entertaining play. Here are a few photos:

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Airplane Food

Normally airplane food, even in business class, is nothing to write home about. But on the flight yesterday, the meal was especially good. I don't know if that is because of the new plane, or just a change in the menu choices.

I forgot to photograph the first salad/soup course, but it was good, and they served a tomato soup that I actually liked. Next was the main course, which I selected steak, mashed potatoes and green beans:

Next they brought fresh fruit and cheese plate:

Finally ice cream with hot fudge sauce and whipped cream:

New Plane

There was an airplane problem in Seoul apparently, and they had swapped planes for my flight to Atlanta. Turns out this plane is the first in a new fleet of long range Boeing 777-200LR aircraft to be used by Delta. From talking to the crew, it will be used at first on flights that are even longer the Seoul-Atlanta, say flights to Sydney or Dubai. The cool feature of this plane is new lay-flat seats/beds in the business class cabin.

They were very nice as a bed. I slept for more than 8 hours with no problems. As a seat, I think they need to go back to the drawing board however. I felt like I was sitting too high and too far forward. There were lots of neat shelves, controls, etc., but I felt like I had to reach back to get to them. Anyway, I enjoyed it while I could - this plane won't be regularly flying the Seoul routes anytime soon.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


I'm sitting in the airport lounge at the Seoul Incheon International Airport. This is a fairly new lounge in the new A-Concourse. Apparently Delta flights will be served from this new concourse, as this is my second flight from here.

You can see my plane out the window (with the Delta tail), and another JAL plane as well.

Recycling Claws

I stumbled upon this scene this morning, which is the morning after recycling day. I posted a photo before of all the bags of recycled material, but this was the first time I've seen the next step. He picks up several bags at one time and drops them into this huge truck.

BTW, I've noticed that the recycling consists of probably 60% plastic. There's probably dozens of scientific papers written about this, but I wonder why there are fewer jars and cans?