February 22, 2010

    My roommate walked in and told me of something crazy. Something so inspiring I cannot do justice by writing much about it. I have to show you. The potential it has to change the world – I mean WOW! Now, before I show it, please realize the technology is still first generation; like comparing the Mark I computer (the size of a room with capabilities of a squirrel) to that of a modern laptop.  This game was displayed at the 2009 comic con.  Rundown,:you put on head set, concentrate on the ball, headset reads thought theta waves and turns fan on depending on level of concentration, you control the direction of fan with knob. Okay - enough said.

    Ok so maybe you won't find it as cool as I hoped. But just think, accessing the ability to move objects with the mind. What next, accessing the internet? downloading information directly into the brain? This is Matrix stuff here. Paradigm shifts in all fields - education, science, social networking, communication rather than e-mail you have t-mail (thought message). Ok, I’ll stop being so dramatic…

But what if????

February 16, 2010

'Ailuropoda mellanoleuca'

    One of my regrets from traveling was missing the chance to see China.  I don't mean Hong Kong, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, or fields of never ending rice patties.  No no no, what I missed out on was hunting for the elusive creature of China!

    Now, I don't mean bang bang with a huge spark and projectile.  I'm talking a grand expedition, an epic adventure, a quest to the mysterious hidden mountains.  The living spaces of the wondrous Ailuropoda melanoleuca, which by the way means "cat-foot black and white".  Oh yes, this vicious creature stalks its pray on quiet feet likened to a cat, and it's powerful jaws capable of tearing through the tough, chewy, fibrous parts of... bamboo???

    Well folks, I don't need China!  That's right, rather than a safari into the wilds of Asia, one simply needs to learn how to navigate a concrete steel jungle, looming towers and spires of apartment buildings, winding river-like subways and dangerous metallic creatures with bright white lights.  After an unknown amount of subterranean travel time, one would reemerge from the bowels of the Earth to find oneself a few blocks from Starbucks - a most important stop for warmth on these cold snowy days.  Then onwards across the street to the National Zoo in Washington D.C.

    I have tried to see the pandas many a times.  After the nth attempt during the warm months, I finally tried after a snow storm.  Huzzah! Who knew that pandas needed snow to encourage them to romp outside!!!!!   And here he is... Tian Tian

February 10, 2010

Another Tribute to Korean food

The other day, I introduced a group of friends to the wonderful world of Korean style food! And then today, I swooped in again to add another item to their foreign foods repertoire.  The first was rather simple to make.


This one was simple too, it just took an epic amount of time and some really large pots!  Oh yes, that is a river of cheese (which was hard to find in Korea) and yet, that is Korean red pepper paste!

dalk galbi

The beauty of this style of cooking, at least this is how I have come to find it, all i have to do is find things I like, and put it into a pot. Although there is more to it than that, this hap hazzard method seems to work out fine. Believe me they taste better than they look.

February 09, 2010

ninja sucker punch (1) - Cerebral cortex (0)

    Lately, I have found myself wanting to write.  There was no particular topic I had in mind, no defined purpose really -simply an incredible urge.  So I sat down, put together two quick pieces and WAHM!  I’ve risen to the ranks of many a men and women before me.  I am now officially a blogger!  New to this secretive world of blogging, I have found myself exhilarated by the potential to make a difference, or make a smile; in some way I hope to invoke some deep emotional reaction to what I have to say.  

    So I sat… and I sat… and I sat… I would type a sentence then delete it.  And follow the same procedure again and again; the monotony clearly showing in my desire to introduce fist to lap-top screen.  What to say - wanting to write is grand but without content I’ll have a really poor attempt to record the happenings around me.  What I need is inspiration. There is a small college here; I’m bound to find something.  How about my friends?  They are funny... I think.  But putting those into words is much harder.

    How about other people’s blogs?  I can get inspiration from there.  Two blogs that I follow, Lamentations of Matome and The Life of Lyn, have great content.  They are wonderful writers but their thoughts aren’t mine. 

    Then I realized, I must read everything I can.  I must write as much as I can.  And then, I'll eventually find my groove, the potential that slumbers deep in my soul will awaken... waiting for the right inspiration to ninja sucker punch me squire in the cerebral cortex.

February 06, 2010

A look at the last 10 months

 10 months ago:

I used to ask myself "what would it be like to take a dart and throw it at a map - then pick up my things and go to where ever it had landed." Although my trip through South East Asia wasn't what I had in mind, it was one hell of an adventure.

Ten months ago I was working full time in South Korea teaching English to over worked, extremely exhausted children. My girlfriend and I woke up to the typical sounds of horns, children walking to school, and farmers blaring advertisements from their megaphones that were connected precariously to the truck. By the time the fog of sleep lifted the sun was already fast approaching the 10 o-clock position. I looked out the window down the road to the SK gas station. It was busy with its Thursday morning visitors and the mountain in the distance looked beautiful bright green from the newly grown buds of spring. It was a rather typical morning. We took our time eating brunch, walking to school and preparing for class.

Then, things changed fast. I was presented with the most interesting situation - DEPORTATION. Who would have known that work visa's are to be issued by the city one intends to work in. Finally after a week of interrogation we were told to leave the country. As it turns out we were not officially deported, it would look bad on the country, so instead we had an exit order to leave the country in 30 days.

So, there I was sitting in a hot tub in the gorgeous city of Malacca (aka Melaka). The city was beautiful, and the owner of the hostel was wonderful. His name: Howard and he was in his late 30's or early 40's. He was a long distant biker and his personality was something of an energetic child. His hair looked as confused as the construction of the city.

If you've seen Malacca, then you know what I mean. Buildings are constructed around old housing. Rather than tearing down and building up, they simply add walls and turn the outside walls into indoor rooms. There are modern buildings up against ancient ones, incomplete concrete pours and re-barb hanging out everywhere. This pretty much sums up Howard,the biker, the tour guide, the party friend, the hostel owner.

So, there I was... sitting at the Hostel in Malacca, wishing I had a dart and a map. But you know what, this was good, real good. Instead of a dart, I had Aileen's adventurous spirit guiding me and the Lonely Planet my map.


    Oh South Korea! You are a land of many splendors and surprises, a land of exciting culture, beautiful scenic views, fond memories - oh yeah - and a little thing known as Kimchi.  For those who don't know what kimchi is, it is this delightfully spicy, slightly vinegary, mildly fishy tasting concoction of fermented cabbage, or radish... or anything a Korean can pickle.  I highly recommend you go out and buy some from your local Asian market.  Also include on that list, lots of toothpaste, breath mints, and a sign that says "YES that is kimchi you smell on my breath and yes I tried mouthwash."
    Typically as a foreigner when one thinks of South Korea, the things they love and can't live without; Kimchi is not usually the first on the list.  Now hold on all you avid Kimchi fans.  I know what you must be thinking. "Kimchi is the greatest thing Korea has offered the world!"  But, for a moment, we need to consider those things that transcend mere tantalizing of one's palette. We mustn't forget all the other wonders of South Korea: Jim Jil Bangs (huge saunas), noribangs (karaoke), the beaches, the mountains, the plethora of festivals, the never ending night life - the list could go on and on and on and on... Well, you get the point.  But none of these things ignite those emotions so closely tied a full happy stomach. 
    Kimchi is a very versatile food, it can stands out like the platypus or be like a chameleon.  It can hold the center of attention or fade into the subtleties of flavor playing the harmony notes.  Often, one would find it simply as is ready to eat warm or cold.  Sometimes it is the main ingredient as in kimchi dumplings or kimchi soup, but other times it is the spice added to a porridge or broth.
    I have a love hate relationship with this food.  On one hand its smell permeates all open spaces, and the fermented acids can have a burning sensation to the nostrils that leaves the innocent light headed and nauseous.  Not to mention the smell one carries for the rest of the day after eating it.  But on the other hand eating kimchi, at least for me, always meant some good memory was to be had.  And the taste can vary so widely that no two kimchis are exactly the same and each happy memory can be associated with a particular kimch.
    Ok, maybe the last thing was only quasi true, but a lot of my happy memories are associated with eating… and being that kimchi is hard to come by in the States I do find myself craving it.  Every time I get a chance to sneak a bite, I know that that day will be the best kimchi memory to date.