Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Culture Tuesday

I got some culture in this lazy holiday - went to the theater. The Shin-Yeon Arts Hall, specifically. Chose a play at random, called "The Absurd Scandal".

That's a loose translation of the Korean title "기막힌 스캔들". That, in turn is a very liberal translation of the original title of this Marc Camoletti play "Pyjamas Pour Six", or even it's English title "Don't Dress for Dinner" (see also here). Despite growing up in and around theaters and drama folks, I have never heard if this play nor this playwright before. He apparently is famous for an earlier 1962 play called "Boeing Boeing" which ran for over 20 years, and to which this 1982 play is a sequel.

This section of Seoul has a bunch of small theaters, kind of a mini-arts district near Hyehwa Station on line 4. The play was a performed with just five actors and one set, however I noticed online that they rotate four cast members through each role, making a total cast of 20. The play ran about 1-1/2 hours, and kept the audience in stitches most of the time (it's a comedy). Even with my poor Korean, I was able to get about 1/3 of the language, and actually understood almost the entire story just from context and body language.

In a departure from the plays I've seen in America, the program or flyer didn't list the actors and actresses names (though they are listed on the website, and were also posted on a wall in the entrance hallway). Also, I noticed they spelled the author's name incorrectly ("Comoletti" instead of "Camoletti"), but at least they gave him credit. There was no intermission, I guess because this theater is so small there is no lobby. I made a rough count, and I'm guessing there is seating for 150 to 200 patrons.

This was a good experience, and reminded me a lot of seeing plays as a kid that my Dad was involved in as Technical Director or otherwise. I will definitely go back to this area and catch some more plays in the future.

Oh, and lots of good restaurants nearby.

Here's one which served spicy barbeque chicken, although I ordered a beef and seafood fried rice with cheese-filled-rice-cake "extra". Wow, it was great!

EDIT: This theater's seats were exceptionally comfortable, and looked like they were Duoback (a Korean name brand of office chair supposedly designed to be an ergonomic fit to the back). However, my back was KILLING me for about three days after this play. I can only attribute it to the fact that I was hunching down to avoid blocking the view of the fellow behind me, and also leaning to one side to see around the person in front of me.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Humidity Wars

It is that season again, time to begin my battle with the dry winter air. I've never used the heating in my home; somehow it absorbs heat, too much heat, from the neighboring homes. At least this is my theory. Consider today - it minus 7 degrees Centigrade outside, yet in my home it is nearly 27 degs!

I can't complain (too much) about this, but the dryness is another matter. Here you can see the indoor humidity is 33%, where I've read 40 to 60% is ideal. On occasion I've been able to get it just above 40. Today no such luck, despite both my humidifiers running full blast:

Looks like I'll be getting a third humidifier this season, or else my nose and throat are going to become fossilized.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What's this Cup Stuff?

Coffee cups, that is. Or in my case, tea cups. I noticed my coffee pot labels indicate it holds 10 to 15 cups. I know they use a smaller than normal cup when defining the capacity, but I didn't get anywhere even close to 10 cups.

Finally I measured things, and here's the results. First of all, the pot fills up at 5-1/4 cups, or 42 fluid ounces. According to Wikipedia, the standard coffee cup unit of measure is 6 ounces. So that means only 7 "cups" in the pot. If we believe 10 to 15 cups per pot, thats only 4.2 or 2.8 oz per cup - mighty small if you ask me.

I measured the few coffee cups in my cupboard. I would say they are typical coffee cups, not huge or tiny. The measure between 8 and 10 ounces. This explains why I'm only getting FOUR cups from a 10 to 15 cup pot!

Interestingly, there isn't a universal standard for one cup. Again, according to Wiki, the cup varies all over the place. Extrapolating from common measures, it should be 236.59 grams. But US law declares a legal "cup" as 240 grams. Almost like the mythical story of Mississippi declaring pi to be 3.00. Leave the US, and definition of the "cup" is even more uncertain, if at all.

So grab a pint of beer, and let's toast the metric system. It's been around for more than one deca-score years, and can be easily mastered in one fortnight by even the slowest of students. Cheers!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Beef Butt

Made a quick Costco trip yesterday, as always ignoring my number one Costco rule: Never ever go on a weekend! Bought a pack of the cheapest beef I could find (I'll be boiling it in soups or stews).

When I got home, I tried to translate the name. My dictionary said It was stupid or foolish! I finally found an excellent description of Korean beef cuts on the Seoul Eats blog.

According to this, I have the beef butt. A rump roast or round roast. I suppose this might refer to a fool...