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Step 1: Teaching in Korea FAQ
Step 2: Read The Top Posts of 2006
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Sunday, 30 December 2007

The Daily Kimchi: 2007 Year in Review

Can you believe how fast 2007 has gone by? It's like the older you get, the faster time flies. Anyways, 2007 has been an awesome year for us. Let's see here...we spent the first half of the year in Seoul, South Korea. We were happy to come home in the summer. We got engaged in the fall. I got a job in the winter. What's next?? Anyways, thanks to everyone out there for still kickin' around and reading my blog. Cheers to you for a happy new year!

Anyways, let's take a look at the top posts of 2007, shall we? Let's go month by month...this will be a great recap to a fantastic year.

January
February
March
April
May
June
Phew! That took me a while, but here are six months worth of "Top Posts" that have been posted on my blog. I added in some of my favorite posts too. Anyways, I have decided to split up my 2007 year in review because going through 600+ posts is taking much longer than expected. If you're a new visitor, read up because you're missing out! If you're a loyal reader, time to take a trip down memory lane. Happy New Year!

Win A Free Ruff PC Laptop!

The Thinking Blog is currently running a contest that is going to giveaway a free Ruff PC Notebook. One of the finalists, the evil John Chow has made it into the final round of voting! John has decided to GIVE AWAY the notebook to one lucky reader that posts a comment on his blog! The only way you can win, is if you vote for him in the poll. If he wins, you win!

Yes, you read that correctly. Make a comment on this post and you will be eligible to win a free Ruff PC notebook. Given my prior luck with online contests (512MB flash drive, FOREX Trading book, Halo 3 Legendary Edition), let's hope I can bring home the bacon yet once again! Get voting!

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Just thought I'd take a moment to wish everyone out there a Merry Christmas! 2007 has been quite the year for us! If you've been a long time follower of this blog, thanks for sticking around. I recently surpassed 600 posts, which is hard to believe! Anyways, thanks to all my readers for visiting and leaving comments. Wishing everyone a happy holiday season--be safe!

Christmas lights at City Hall, from 2006:

Saturday, 22 December 2007

The iPhone is Coming to Korea...

...that is if Steve Jobs allows it! Recent headlines in South Korea mention that mobile carrier KTF is looking to secure the rights to the iPhone in Korea. Seeing that Canada doesn't even have the iPhone yet (the USA's largest trading partner!), if Korea gets the phone before us Canucks, that ought to make some people irate here (seeing that Europe already has their juicy hands on the iPhone)!

Korea has some pretty interesting cellphones. Too bad I never got to experience the fully loaded models as I chose to go with a simple flip phone on a pay-as-you-go plan. Why buy a cellphone in Korea when it can't be used anywhere else in the world? You've probably heard about the Apple iPhone by now.

Remember when I posted about my brand new "Jesus phone"? That was a glorious day in my life as the iPhone is one incredible device. Unlocking the iPhone myself was a nerve wracking experience. However, once I was successful it has been smooth sailing since. Too bad the majority of Canadians can't experience it yet, because it hasn't been released in Canada!

For those who went and bought an iPhone in the USA and brought it back home, you've had to scour the internet forums to figure out how to activate, jailbreak, and unlock your iPhone. Well, I figured I would put my iPhone experience to use and start a new blog about it. That's right, if you have an iPhone or you're considering buying one, check out some of the guides and posts on my new blog, iPhone in Canada!

The following posts might be helpful to all you Canadians out there that are reading my blog and considering an iPhone:
So there you have it, another blog run by Gdog. If you guys and gals are looking for an interesting read over the holidays, give the site a visit and tell your friends! Now that I just started my Christmas holidays (I don't start work again until the second week of January!), look forward to a few more posts here!

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Watch Full Streaming TV Shows Online For Free

Wow, this has probably been one of the longest stretches without an update to the blog. I've worked everyday this week so I'm no longer sitting at home surfing the internet all day (and night, haha). Anyways, I just stumbled across something that might help all those TV junkies in South Korea right now (and Canadians as well).

As you are probably aware, all the major US networks now stream full length TV shows on their websites. However, this is limited to residents of the US, so if you're elsewhere, you're SOL (Google if you don't know what it means), unless you know how to circumvent this problem (yes, I'm speaking to all you computer nerds out there).

Sure, you can download the shows using Bit Torrent but that takes a while. TVLinks has been shut down. To bypass this, you need to "hide" your IP so you can access the full streaming shows from FOX, CBS, ABC, MTV, etc...how to do this?

First, download the HotSpot Shield from Anchorfree.com ...install it...and that's it! You're ready to go. Now your websurfing is also "anonymous" for that extra added security. This program creates a mini virtual private network (VPN) for you, enabling you access to full length TV shows. Time to burn away a weekend when it's -15 degrees in Seoul!

1. Download the HotSpot Shield and install.
2. Visit any major network website, either FOX, CBS, ABC, MTV, etc...
3. Grab your favorite snack (aka a bowl of kimchi) and enjoy.

Here is a screenshot of the toolbar that you can close easily...yes, that is an episode of Hell's Kitchen with that bloody bloke Gordon Ramsay...did any see the season finale? "You f***** PIG!"


You'll see a "toolbar" across your browser at first, but this can be closed. It's for advertising. There will be a small green icon in your taskbar showing you that the HotSpot Shield is working. Now you can enjoy your TV marathons of classics such as Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader? and Kid Nation!

Monday, 10 December 2007

Finger Skateboards: Coming to a Classroom Near You

Sometimes you spot the neatest or weirdest things when you're teaching English in Korea. It could be a box cutters for kids, clumped up Pepero sticks, and middle school stress. I've been waiting to post the following videos of the latest fad (maybe it's old school now) that was hitting up my classrooms. What am I talking about? None other than "finger skateboards"!

I had so many kids bring these things into class. Just a regular skateboard that could be manipulated by your index and middle finger. Kids were doing jumps and and all sorts of crazy stuff. The skateboards reminded me of the pink skateboard that came with Kermit the Frog that McDonald's gave out 20 years ago (anyone remember that thing?). Anyways, check out some of the tricks below...

Video 1:


Video 2


Video 3


Man, now I know how the rest of you feel out there that have morning jobs! Today I got called and worked my first shift, it was a half day in a grade one class--which started at 1pm! The kids were pretty interesting so it was a good day overall. One kid told me he couldn't do his work because he felt like "he was dying" and that he "needed to go to a hospital to get brain surgery"...nice try kid! I've heard those ones before...LOL

More updates to come! How are you doing?

Friday, 7 December 2007

How to Sell Used Stuff in Korea

For those that are near the end of their teaching contracts in Korea, there is always one big question that stays in the back of your mind: "How am I going to get rid of all my stuff in my officetel/apartment?" After living in a country for a year, you tend to accumulate a lot of "things". These could consist of plants, kitchen utensils, furniture, books, clothes, kimchi cutters, chairs, etc.

Well, I'm going to tell you what I did to get rid of our stuff after our year of teaching English in Korea came to an end. To start off, we didn't really need anything in our officetel as it came fully furnished. We did end up acquiring some "things" over the year and by the time it came to sell or give away our stuff, we realized we had some work to do!

There are a few ways for you to sell your used "junk"...they've worked for me in the past so they might work for you too.

1) Dave's ESL Cafe: Buy/Sell/Trade Korea Forums - if you haven't registered for an account with these forums, I suggest you do so. The website receives a lot of steady traffic, so by creating your advertisement "post" there will generate some sales. Lots of goods are bought and sold through these forums (just watch out for some of the bitter and lonely weirdos there! Avoid them like the plague!).

2) Work N' Play Classifieds: these forums don't have as much traffic, but it's worth posting as I have sold and purchased items here in the past. It's a great way to find some good items for cheap as some moving sales are posted here, but nobody shows up--leaving the deals for you!

3) Facebook: Ahh, Facebook. What would my life be without you? Here, you can take advantage of the massive Korea network and post your stuff up for sale. Then, once you get a lead, you can "poke" (or Superpoke!) the other person to death until they give in and buy your third-hand rice cooker that doesn't really work. Awesome!

4) Craigslist Seoul: Ahh, Craigslist. The perfect marketplace for shady transactions, such as that discounted iPod that "fell off the back of a truck". I'm surprised there aren't more people using Craigslist in Seoul. Looking at the Books & Magazines section, there have only been 1 or 2 ads every 3 or 4 days...it's still worth a shot.

5) Post a list up at work...this is one of the easiest ways. New teachers are always looking for kitchen appliances and other stuff.

Okay, so you've read my long-winded rant about the above marketplaces. Now what? I'm going to make this easy and list it for you step by step.

1. Pictures: You need some decent pictures of your stuff, so try to at least clean or make your stuff presentable, then snap a picture of it. If you're running Windows XP, download and install the free Image Resizer from the Microsoft PowerToys page. Resize your pictures (this makes the biggest difference in the world when you're emailing them to someone) to 640x480 resolution.

2. List your stuff with pictures: go to the above mentioned websites and start listing your stuff. Make a brief description of what you have for sale (its condition) and how much you want for it. This will save you time answering emails from strangers. Willing to take offers? Add in "OBO" (or best offer). Post some pictures by hosting them for free at ImageShack. Take a picture of a few items at once to save time...Put down a contact number or email so people can contact you.


3. Sell smart: try to sell all your kitchen stuff for a flat rate, or all the plants you have in a set. This makes it easier for you and the buyer.

4. Give away stuff: mention that the first three buyers will get something for free to attract attention.

5. Have your buyers come meet you close to your house. Trust me, you don't want to be the one lugging a toaster oven half way across the city to make 20,000w.

6. Too lazy to sell? Good on you, and welcome to the club. Just pass on the good fortune to the next group of teachers coming to your school. That's what we did we the stuff we weren't able to sell. This will keep the circle of love going...yay.

Remember this bad boy I picked up off the streets coming home from a haircut? Well, with all garbage in Seoul, you're supposed to get a sticker so the garbage men can come pick it up. We didn't have time to get rid of this with packing and all, so we ended up abandoning it in the lobby of our building the night before.

We were like ninjas as we gingerly moved it downstairs and into the corner without any of the security guards spotting us. Yes, I know, we're bad, slap me on the wrist for the idea. I'm sure someone will pick it up and make good use of it--I hope!


Happy Selling (or happy littering your stuff downstairs in the alley next door)!

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Vegetarian Restaurants in Seoul

Any vegetarians out there? Any vegetarians out there in South Korea? Recently, one of our coworkers asked us if we'd want to join her at a vegetarian restaurant located at Sinsa Station, near Apgujeong. We decided to make it an adventure and last weekend we made the long trek to eat some...veggies. I have never visited a vegetarian restaurant before, as I am a pure carnivore at heart (Veggies have feelings too when you cut them up...)!

Anyways, we finally made it to our destination, a vegetarian restaurant that was recommended by one of the Seoul tourism websites. What we saw when we went in was not very appetizing. We either came at the wrong time of day, or they just weren't busy enough to keep their "buffet" stocked with fresh items. It was not a memorable meal, but since it was only 6000w per person we decided to give it a go anyways!

There were four of us in this restaurant on the second floor of a building...along with three others:


Here are some pictures of the buffet...you know food is no longer "good" when it's been sitting on a warmer for the entire day!


"Make your own salad" gone wrong...


Some more veggie dishes for your viewing pleasure. Notice the refrigeration unit in place to keep the dishes at a safe temperature--oh wait, there is no cooling unit!


Near the end of the line...we have some dessert. Remember to keep an eye on that watermelon platter:


This was my plate: some rice, veggies, a bun, samjang, a pepper, some lettuce, and half a bun. I now know how a rabbit feels...


Remember the watermelon platter? Well, that was by far the best part! It was the only tray they refilled and when I saw the "fresh" platter I pounced on it...this was the aftermath on my plate:


...and here's my dish being placed at the "SELF SERVICE" window...now that I think about it, I definitely got my money's worth in watermelon!


I know there are better vegetarian restaurants out there, as one of our coworkers had raved about a couple in Insadong. I think this time it was just unfortunate we went to the wrong place--doh! In the future, I will stick with my meat-eating ways...and avoid vegetarian restaurants! ;)

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Eating Beard Papa's Fresh'n Natural Cream Puffs

Everybody loves dessert and sweets, right? Well, if you ever venture into Aberdeen Mall in Richmond, as "Asian" mall, you will find one of the hottest franchises that have touched upon the shores of Vancouver. Some of you may have already heard of this chain, especially you foodies out there. It's called Beard Papa's, the makers of "fresh'n natural cream puffs" or also "The World's Best Cream Puffs".

The franchise started in 1999 in Japan. Since then, its popularity has exploded and there are now over 300 locations around the world, including stores in China, Hong Kong, Korea (I don't know where the location is--someone fill me in), Taiwan, Indonesia, Australia, the USA, and others. The location at Aberdeen Center has been constantly busy, with long line ups on the weekends. We were lucky enough to find the Beard Papa's location without a line up during the week. Let's take a closer look to see just how good these cream puffs really are.

Here's the front of the Beard Papa's location...right at the top of the escalator leading to the food court:


There was a mini line up, which was pretty surprising because the past few times we visited Aberdeen the line ups were absolutely atrocious--the lengths some people go to for a cream puff! It reminded me of the line ups outside the Cino's Cheesecake locations in Seoul. Notice how there is a 2 dozen limit...TWO DOZEN! Who the heck can eat two dozen cream puffs? I hope it comes with a stomach pump!


Even though the line ups are long, they do move relatively fast. One person pumps the whipped cream custard into the cream puffs, then another sprinkles icing sugar, then another helps box the cream puffs and work the register. It's just one long assembly line...


So let's take a closer look. Their cream puffs are larger than normal and there is a lot of filling. I think after eating one, you are done for the next few hours.


After taking my first bite, I do have to say these Beard Papa's cream puffs are damn good! The pastry has a crunchy outer shell yet once you bite into the middle it's soft and flaky. The custard cream filling is chilled, creamy, and has a nice hint of vanilla flavor. Although it was really good, I don't think these things are going to help your waistline!


Here's a rare sight...no line up outside Beard Papa's in Richmond!


Just what the heck is behind the Beard Papa story? Click here to watch the full story...

As you've probably noticed, I haven't much time to update my blog as I've been really busy lately. The last time I told you about our travel plans that included NYC, London, and Dubai. However that has recently changed gears as I recently got hired to work with one of the school districts in Vancouver! So that means we'll be settling down here for now. ;) Don't worry as I will continue to keep the updates coming, but I'm not going to post randomness for the sake of posting. Laters!

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