Thursday, September 24, 2009

Let's Eat

I was reminded last night of a class I took in college. I don't even remember the title or the overall subject matter of the class, except that is was in the humanities category, probably a history or literature class. The one lecture that I remember was about (sit down for this) EATING! I remember the professor spent the whole class talking about how mankind had a history of combining celebrations and eating. Celebratory feast. In the USA we have many examples of this - of course there is Thanksgiving, New Years, Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, and many other holidays where we will gather with family and friends to celebrate the holiday and share a (usually large) meal. On a smaller scale, you might invite a few friends to dinner to celebrate a birthday, a new job, a retirement, etc.

In Korea, I have previously attended a Korean wedding and also a special birthday party that is given for a child's first birthday. Both of those events include the guests dining together, often from a large buffet with endless food. Last night I attended a Korean funeral for the first time, expecting it to be a short solemn gathering. There was certainly an air of solemnity, but I was surprised to find that the funeral included a full dinner! All the family and friends arrived throughout the evening, paid their respects to the immediate family, and dined together at tables next to the chapel area (for lack of a better term).

While I haven't been to all that many funerals in the USA, I don't recall eating at any. I thought about it last night, and I this dinner + funeral combination is a good idea. It doesn't need to be full-fledged New Orleans' style wake with a Dixieland Band and a parade, but having all the family and friends eat dinner together seems like a good way to celebrate the life of the person who has passed away. Please pass the kimchi...

Friday, September 18, 2009


I've been doing circuit board layout all week long, so last night at dinner when my friend gave me this puzzle to solve, I was surprised. It used the exact same part of my brain as circuit board routing, and it took me only a few seconds to solve.

Rules: You must connect 1 to 1, 2 to 2, and 3 to 3 by a line (the line can curve, it doesn't have to be straight). But the lines may not cross each other, and the lines cannot go outside the border.

It was so easy, I made a slightly harder version by adding 4 and 5 to the puzzle:

(sorry for the poor sketches, I'm learning to use my computer sketch pad. So far, the results look like something a 3-year-old kid would draw).

Monday, September 14, 2009


Sunday my neck and shoulder was very stiff. I remembered the previous week's haircut, and how relaxing the scalp massage was. So, I asked an online Korean friend WH if he knew anyplace that gave scalp massage like the hair shops. He found for me the "Chinese Royal Massage" office, just a few blocks away from my office!

While scalp was not a choice, "neck, shoulder, and back" was available and only about $12 for 30 minute massage. Since that was what was hurting, I decided to go for it. (Other choices that I could translate were foot massage and aroma-therapy).

The first problem was changing clothes:

The "training clothes" that they gave me to wear wouldn't fit me! (I've had this problem before at the Dr. Fish place). So, I just wore my t-shirt and jeans, and went to the lay down on the special table.

I'm not sure if he was a China man or Korean, but this strong, stout man began giving the massage. At first it was pretty relaxing, similar to the head massage. But as he progressed the massage became stronger and stronger. While the massage was titled "neck, shoulders and back", he seemed to focus on the back. My back normally hurts, and the muscles are all in knots anyway - no doubt this style of massage was probably good for me. But I wasn't sure I was going to survive it. In the end, with some strange leverage, he was using his whole body weight to loosen my muscles. I have a stooped posture, and one set of exercises he did was stretching my arms back, thus straightening my back. I did feel a bit taller when it was over.

Conclusion? Well, whatever tightness I may have felt on my arrival was gone, only to be replaced by pains in places I didn't know I had. As soon as I can walk again, I'll post my final opinion.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Too Far

I forgot to mention this on my last overseas trip. You've perhaps heard how the airlines are clamping down and charging extra fees these days. For example, to check a second bag, to check even one bag, overweight bag fees, etc. Well on my last trip they ruled that I was overweight, and I had to wear this tag througout my whole journey!

While I am too heavy, I think this is going a bit too far.

Monday, September 07, 2009

French Toast

Over on Facebook, I recently confessed about my indulgent, high calorie, high-fat breakfast that I sometimes enjoy. Here's a photo.

Extra-thick bacon from Costco (probably means extra fat and calories, too). French Toast prepared with thick, soft, white bread having no nutritional value whatsoever. Sprinkled with cinnamon and drenched with pancake syrup. No need for butter, and the toast was prepared in the frying pan with plenty of butter. Lowfat milk, however, tops off the meal along with a cup of black tea.

Knob and Post

You don't see the old knob and post wiring method very often these days. But I saw this at a popular restaurant this weekend.

I'm guessing this might be low-voltage lighting, although I wasn't brave enough to lick my fingers and touch the wire. I've been bit one time here in Korea by 220VAC, and I don't want to repeat that again. I did get a few odd looks while taking photos of the ceiling, but then again, I'm used to getting odd looks in Korea so it didn't bother me.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Quick Dinner

Quick and simple dinner from the 7-11 (well, actually it was the Family Mart).

One can beer, SPAM/egg triangle kim-bap, and boiled quail eggs. The breakfast dinner of champions. Yummmm