Monday, January 25, 2010

Off the Wagon

I fell off the Korean food wagon tonight, as I prepared my favorite Salmon dinner (Burp...) Tomatoes weren't so great, not being in season. I'm trying to use Jalapenos in every dish these days, and this was no exception.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I tried to organize a party of 6 people this Saturday to listen to live jazz. Unfortunately, 2 people had to cancel, although they had completely understandable excuses. But that still left 4 of us. The evening started out late, because I kept forgetting the map of the Jazz clubs that I had carefully prepared 2 days earlier. Despite being 30 minutes late, we had a great time. Unfortunately, the #1 jazz club choice, Club Evans, was jam packed. There were no tables free. Fortunately, I had researched and prepared two backups, Club Palm and Moonglow. The Club Palm had one table free, so that's where we went. Just as we sat down, the trio began their music set. Mid-way through, a jazz singer joined them (no longer a trio, I guess). It was really enjoyable. Being a former bass player, I was especially impressed with the bass player's solos.

Bird Seed for Rice

Stumbling Mom asked about the "rice thingies" that I've been adding to my rice. Since I just recently bought some, I still have the package. As you can see from the photo above, it looks like bird seed. The lady at the grocery store explained that these are sold depending on how many different grains are included in the mix. Not knowing any better, I chose 15 - the more the better, right? Other choices were 5, 7, 9, and 12. I bought the smallest pack, 800g, which just perfectly fits one of my many empty Costco sour cream jars!

You add about a cup of this "mix" into the rice, and the result is tastier and more colorful rice. I would be curious what exactly each of the 15 grains are. The product title, according to my dictionary, means mixture of miscellaneous grains. That sounds about right.

Chirp Chirp says The Stumbler.


I asked my Korean teacher to translate the 15 grains listed in this bird-seed, and here is the result. We're not 100% sure about some of these, but it's reasonably close:

할맥 17% pressed barley
찰현미 15% brown glutinous rice
찹쌀 15% glutinous rice
현미 10% brown rice / unpolished rice
검정현미 8% black rice
흑태 black soybean
백태 white soybean
옥수수 corn
수수쌀 sorghum
서리태 small black soybean
황태 yellow bean
팥 red bean
녹두 mung bean
청차좁쌀 blue glutinous millet
기장쌀 millet

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rice System

I've perfected a system to keep from throwing away rice, since I don't eat it as often as most Koreans. Now I make a large pot of rice and freeze the remainder. I use the latest food packaging technology to hit the shelves here in Seoul, the Glass-N-Lock. It's one step above Lock-n-Lock, but the bowl itself is glass (actually, I bought an imitation brand, it was a bit cheaper).

This works pretty well for me. Take a bowl from the freezer, pop it in the microwave for 5 minutes, and you've got instant rice. The only slight problem is the top of the rice is a little dry, maybe from freezer burn? I've been pouring just a little bit of water into the bowl before putting it in the microwave, and that seems to help.

Speaking of Glass-N-Lock, I've also bought two soup sized bowls that I use to bring my lunch a few times per week. The big advantage is the lid seals really well, and I don't have soup leaking all over the lunch bag.

Monday, January 18, 2010


The city, not the airport. I toured the Yeonan Pier fish market, which is similar in style to the Noryangjin fish market in Seoul (although I think Yeanan was bigger). I saw almost every kind of fish and sea creature on display. And afterwards enjoyed a set menu of fresh (raw) seafood at a nearby restaurant. I'm still a beginner at eating sushi, and here's my opinion as of today. I like the tuna sushi the best. The fish meat itself tastes better to me, and I prefer the serving style, that is, the various items you eat with the tuna. Next in line I like the fish sushi. You eat it with just wasabi / soy sauce, but the taste and texture is really good. Finally on my list is the various sea (shell) creatures. These aren't my favorites (that's why their last on the list). However, a few of them are really good. The sea cucumber was delicious, as was the abalone. And I'm slowly developing a taste for oysters - I could imagine eating a huge plate of them.

After stuffing myself with sushi, I visited the statue honoring General George MacArthur. I couldn't help but think, as I overlooked the bright Incheon harbor bustling with activity, that this is what he fought for. I think it is a perfect spot for his statue. Godspeed General.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Phantom Touch

I've been meaning to write this for almost a year, so let's start the new year with this topic: TOUCH. The Midas Touch. Soft Touch. Touch a Nerve. Out of Touch. Finishing Touch. Green Thumb. Black Thumb. Left Click. Right Click.

You guessed it, today's topic is Touch. Specifically, computer input. Mouse clicks, touchscreens and buttons. Or more exactly, a worring LACK of touch I have observed over the past year.

Let's take something as simple as the mouse click. I have noticed again and again that I will click the mouse, even hear and feel the click, but nothing happens. I have to click a second time to make it happen. I have two different mice, one at the office and one at home, so I can't really blame the hardware. Furthermore, this happens with other kinds of computer input. My latest cell phone is completely a touch screen, with tactile feedback (it beeps and vibrates when you "push" one of the virtual buttons). Again, often I will "push" one of these buttons, feel and hear the feedback, but nothing happens. This isn't something that happens once in awhile, but regularly. Regularly enough to make me wonder about it, and write a blog article.

The first thing that came to mind are reports I've heard about amputees who have a phantom feeling in their missing limb (something of course I have not experienced). Or, reports of people feeling their cell phone / pager vibrate when it isn't ringing (something I have experienced). Am I imagining that I've pushed the touchscreen or mouse click? If so, that's disturbing. Has my computer developed a personality, and playing tricks with me? If so, even more disturbing! I am at a complete loss to explain this, but it continues to happen to me with alarming frequency. I am open to comments and ideas what might be going on.

Finally, let me report on the touch screen phone. These are becoming more and more popular here in Korea, and of course with the iPhone, all over the world. While I think there is room for improvement, I really like the concept. The implementation on my phone, with the vibration and audible feedback, is really well done, indeed I think almost necessary (I don't know how iPhone does it). I have heard there are some patent issues with this technology, which means some of the good techniques are limited to certain devices (two-finger zooming is one example I've heard about). One frustrating thing I have with my phone is the input keyboard isn't consistent - when you write a text message the keyboard is slightly different from the dictionary keyboard, but this is more an indictment of this phones software and not the touchscreen technology. Generally speaking, I like it and think more and more devices will be using the touchscreen input in the future. So like it or not, better get used to it.

Happy New Year all, from The Phantom Touch Stumbler