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Thursday, 30 November 2006

Interesting essays I've encountered at work

Part of my job teaching English in Korea involves assigning essays (sometimes too many). The majority of my topics are from a list of TOEFL topics, as it will familiarize students with the type of topics they will face if they take a TOEFL test. Sometimes I take a different route to mix things up and come up with different topics that are of interest to my students. When students are able to to do something they are interested in, they will become more motivated. Ahh, the joys of teaching! :)

My students know that I love food (who doesn't?)--so why not assign the a task of writing about it? I told them to suggest three Korean dishes I should eat. Here is part of an essay written by MJ (nickname), who is 12 years old, and one of my brightest students. His writing is better than mine!

The paragraphs below were written by KKS (nickname)--the topic was "If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?" KKS chose to write about visiting Japan. When I read the following passage I was not sure if he was serious or not (given the history of Japan and Korea). Definitely an eye opener!

Yesterday, I asked him in class if he was serious but he said he was joking and gave me a little smirk. I said, "KKS, what would you say if I told you I was Japanese and not Chinese?" He just laughed! That's it, the next time I go to class I'm going to make some kryptonite out of essay paper just in case KKS decides to pull a fast one on me!

I'm always open for more essay topics...so let's hear your ideas!

Eating octopus balls on the side of the street

One of the great things I enjoy about Korea is how food is accessible from literally every street corner. Whether you're buying fruit, vegetables, dokbokgi (rice cakes in spicy sauce), barbeque, etc...whatever it may be, it will be found on the side of the road.

We've passed by this octopus ball truck a few times on the way home from work in the past. It's not always there so this time I decided to give them a try. I was starving so I did not hesitate to plunk down my 3000w ($3us) for nine octopus balls.

Here's the truck on the sidewalk...it was freezing out last night:

The balls consist of a chewy and crispy outer shell (it tasted like rice flour) and a small piece of octopus inside:

They were topped off with shredded squid, seaweed and some tasty sauce. I thought to myself, nine is not enough, I'll still be hungry--but after my seventh one (Devante helped me out by eating one) I was getting stuffed:

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Subscribe to The Daily Kimchi's RSS feed

If you haven't already, you should subscribe to my site's RSS feed through Feedburner. RSS is an easy way for you to check my blog for new content by using a free news aggregator, such as Google Reader (Google Read FAQ) or Bloglines (Bloglines FAQ).

Most news websites have RSS feeds, which can make it extremely easy to view live, continuously updated headlines. For example, here is CNN's RSS feed page. You can select any category you want and get updated headlines. This is very convenient as I use RSS to see the "headlines" for news websites or other blogs that I frequently visit.

Here's a screenshot of The Daily Kimchi's RSS feed through the built in RSS aggregator in Mozilla's Firefox web browser. As you can see, my blog post titles are there...making it very easy to check for updated posts (in other words, whenever you want to feel hungry or see videos of parking attendants).

Click the button below to subscribe to my RSS feed or click on the Feedburner icon in the right sidebar, as 20+ other readers have already done so.

Also, if you already have an existing feed aggregator from Google, Yahoo, Bloglines, or AOL, you can click on the respective icons in the right sidebar as well.

If you have any questions, you can contact me for help, free of charge!! :)

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Korean bbq--added to the list of things I'm addicted to

I'm addicted to a few things in this world:
  1. Devante (she's just so cute =)
  2. The internet
  3. Newly added-------> Korean barbeque
Alright, I admit my list isn't very complete but lately I've been eating a lot of barbeque. You can never have bad barbeque in my books. Last night after work we went for barbeque to the 24 hour place in Omokgyo. It was delicious as usual. Is too much barbeque unhealthy? Either way, I'm going to continue to stuff my face! Muhahaha!

The garlic roasting in sesame oil is pretty awesome (remember this video?):

Wanna smell my breath after this (you can never have enough garlic)?

On the weekend, we went for barbeque in Sinchon. It was awesome--barbeque in Korea rocks! I have yet to try chicken barbeque. I've had beef, pork, bacon...what's next? Dog?

Look at that flame...burn baby, burn!

Walking through the streets of Sinchon (Devante in front of me; HC in the background):

Playing with my new toy on the streets of Sinchon...hey ladies!

Any Hello Kitty fans out there?

The new Homever parking attendant team

With Carrefour's exit from Korea and its takeover by Homever, this brings a new era with it too--parking lot attendants that is! The new Homever team has replaced the old Carrefour crew. New uniforms, standards, methods and techniques...who would've thought directing traffic would be so complex?

Now there are two people working the entrance to the parking lot. One guy directs traffic and stops traffic to reduce the annual carnage rate when pedestrians have to cross (ourselves included). Once a car passes the dude, he encounters another attendant which hands the driver a parking voucher--incredible!

I always mimic the old Carrefour parking guys (check out my previous post regarding this matter) to my students and they get a kick out of it. It's always fun to pretend to direct the "bad" kids out of class like they're cars pulling into the parking lot--but that hasn't happened yet (don't worry, I would never embarrass or shame my students).

Here's a picture of the old setup:

Here's a video of the new guy...watch the slick hand movements...it's hypnotizing:

Monday, 27 November 2006

It's snowing back home--when can we expect snow in Seoul?

This morning, in my email inbox, I received four emails from friends and family back home--all with pictures attached showing the snowstorm that is taking place right now in Victoria and Vancouver. It's quite early for snow this time of the year back home (it usually starts around late December and early January). When can we expect the snow to visit us in Seoul? I'm waiting in anticipation (who doesn't like the snow?)...

Here's a little tour of the snow back home...enjoy!

This is a scene from Victoria, taken by Devante's brother (I like the people running in the background; nice pic):

One more scene from my uncle's neighbor's house--notice the tree carnage (similar to the street carnage in Korea; let me refresh your memory...click here, here, here, or here):

Let's move across the Straight of Juan de Fuca over to Richmond...taken by my sister (yes, that is a snowman):

Here's a shot of Vancouver taken by my brother:

Sunday, 26 November 2006

AGLOCO: get paid to surf the net!

I have received some emails from readers of my blog asking how I am making money on the internet. One method is through Google Adsense (Google's program is so successful their stock is now worth over $500US/share!). But another solution is slowly rising back from the ashes...

Back in 2000, there was a company called AllAdvantage that paid users to surf the internet with a small viewbar on their computer. The bar would display ads and AllAdvantage would send checks out to you every month. This was during the huge dot com boom and everyone was cashing in. I managed to make over $700CDN from AllAdvantage (it was a referral network based system), until the company went down along with the dot com bust.

I recently discovered that the founders of AllAdvantage are now back with a new company--called AGLOCO! The concept is the same--you sign up and surf the web as you would normally do (you get paid for a maximum of 5 hours, after which you can close the viewbar till next month; you can turn on/off the viewbar at anytime). Think of it as getting paid to read blogs on Korea, including notables such as ZenKimchi, I'm A Seoul Man, MaryEats or SeoulLife--or to check your email.

The concept is based on viral marketing--the more people in your primary network and your extended network, the more potential you will make.

Here's a scenario as presented by the AGLOCO member calculator. If you refer 10 people and they refer 5 people, and they all surf up 5 hours on the internet, you can make over $9000! AGLOCO will be paying its members in cash or either shares of the company when they release their IPO on the London Stock Exchange.

Here is a picture of the toolbar that will soon be released to the public:

If someone told me that I could get paid to surf the internet (something that I do anyways), I would laugh. But with AllAdvantage I did infact receive checks in the mail (along with my friends and family). The internet boom is coming around again (think YouTube, MySpace, Digg, etc) and I think this would be a great opportunity to jump onboard.

You can sign up for AGLOCO here (my member ID is part of the link). You have nothing to lose--but money! Okay...now let's get back to Korea...

Waiting for the day that I try live octopus...

Eating live octopus is a delicacy in Korea and it is something that I am waiting to try. Last night, after enjoying yet another bbq dinner (yes, I know), we passed by a fellow transferring baby octopuses from one tank to another. The suckers were sticking pretty hard to his rubber gloves--just imagine them in your mouth!

My students who have tried the octopus told me that you have to chew it well, or face choking to death when it gets caught in your throat. I will keep that in mind when the time comes to try it. It doesn't look appealing but it sure does look interesting to say the least. Anyone here tried it before? Pointers?

Here they are...are you hungry yet?

Words don't do justice to explain how much suction these tentacles have...so here's a video:

Here's a video that shows how tricky it can be to eat it (taken from YouTube):

Friday, 24 November 2006

Things you find on the way back from a haircut

This morning, Devante and I ventured to ParkJun, a hair salon nearby to get our hair cut (read about my previous ParkJun experience). On our way home, we found a chair and a couch on the side of the road, in the parking lot of the many condo towers nearby. We checked out the couch but it was in pretty rough shape. The chair was half decent, so we decided to haul it home! Ten steps later, I noticed a grocery cart (from Hyundai...it was far away from its home) so we put the chair in the cart and pushed it home!

Who needs furniture when you can find it for free? Keep an eye out in your neighborhood for free furniture (this will make a great addition to our two existing computer chairs that we also found on the streets of Mokdong)!

The yellow sticker indicates it's up for grabs...

Thursday, 23 November 2006

How to call home for cheap from Korea--SkypeOut

When we first arrived in Seoul, everyone recommended to call home using calling cards. It's much cheaper for us to call Canada than vice versa. Times have changed. The traditional land line is being pushed aside by voice over IP technology (VoIP).

Calling home using a calling card is cheap. However, there is an even cheaper way--it's called Skype. If both you and your friends and family have Skype downloaded on their computers, you can call PC to PC for free. But if you want to use Skype to call a land line, SkypeOut is the best solution. For those who haven't used SkypeOut before, it's the cheapest way by far to call North America using VoIP. By using SkypeOut, Gdog & Co. can call home at a rate of $0.02US cents/minute! There are no monthly fees and the call quality is excellent.

All you need is a computer with internet access and a microphone (a microphone headset is recommended as it eliminates feedback). The best part about SkypeOut is that you can use it from any computer in the world--as long as Skype is installed and there's internet access. You just log in with your credentials and off you go! If you're not using using Skype to call home, you should start already. It's the most economical way (let me know if there's a cheaper method)!

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Ashley restaurant in Homever + 88 cent boxer shorts

There's a restaurant in Homever called Ashley. It's a high end steakhouse along with an interesting salad bar that I will be trying out on your behalf this weekend (hopefully).

What caught my eye was the slogan on the bottom corner of the menu: "Ashley - Restaurant for lassie women"...lassie meaning young, unmarried women.

Here's a promotional poster for lassie women and their dates...look, it's Shallow Hal!:

...and here are boxer shorts I bought for 880w ($0.88 cents)...what a deal!

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Just when you thought my birthday was over...it's not!

On Monday, the REAL day of my birthday, after work we went to...can you guess? That's right, Two Two Fried Chicken! Devante, myself, HC, Anyways, and ATL (she's taking me to see The Departed this week; how do you like your new nickname?) all went and ate fried chicken late at night (our favorite past time). Near the end of our meal, m&m (if she's reading this, you now know who you are) shows up with a surprise ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins (they also pitched in and bought me a ceramic heater; a coworker's birthday was on Sunday--so work bought us a cake too; so this was my second cake of the evening)!

The six of us devoured the cake like a hungry pack of wolves inside Two Two. It was quite the experience, finishing an entire ice cream cake without plates and only forks. ;-) Chicken was on me that night since I felt everyone was already doing too much for my birthday (hey, that's just the way I am).

My sister also mailed me a package to work! Inside were gossip magazines for Devante (she has an addiction to Perez Hilton) and some candy for me with a very nice card (the shipping cost from Canada exceeded the actual cost of the magazines+card+candy!).

Thanks to everyone who made my quarter-century birthday so memorable (gee, I shouldn't put it like that but oh well)! :)

My new digital SLR: Canon EOS Digital Rebel 400D/XTi/Kiss Digital X

For my birthday (gee, talk about a great birthday weekend) I got the new Canon Digital Rebel 400D/XTi/Kiss Digital X digital SLR camera! I've been patiently waiting to enter the world of dSLR photography and now was the perfect time for me to do so (no taxes on electronics + cheap prices make for a great deal). My trusty Canon SD400 will still be my side (especially when I need candid videos of the Homever parking lot guy), but this new digital SLR will enable me to have greater control over the pictures I take (and it's more fun too).

If you're looking to buy a digital camera in Seoul, the best place to buy a camera is in Namdaemun. I've checked out Yongsan and Techno Mart, but they cannot compete with the prices of the camera shops in Namdaemun. Especially if you are looking for a digital SLR, as Yongsan was overpriced and Techno Mart stalls did not have the new model. The shops are located near Namdaemun Market and there are many to choose from. I decided to make my purchase from Canon Plaza, an authorized retailer of Canon products. If you want a good website to compare online prices, check out Omi. It will give you a good ballpark of what prices to expect--and to know if you're getting a deal or not.

The model I bought (with a generous donation from Devante I might add; yes, I know I'm very lucky) was the Japanese model--the Kiss Digital X. It's the exact same camera as the 400D/XTi (English menus, not to worry), but since it has the Japanese warranty, it was a lot cheaper. I bought the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens to start with, a one gigabyte compact flash card, an extra battery, the Lowepro 100 AW slingshot bag, and the owner threw in a free UV filter!

Namdaemun is littered with camera shops...if you're a Canon or Nikon (or name your favorite brand) user, you'll be in heaven:

Canon Plaza...that's the guy I dealt with, he spoke good English:

They have a lot of lenses here...take your pic!

My new baby...here's the front:

...and the back:

Here's a cool feature...the 2.5" LCD automatically turns off once your face nears the sensor:

Now...where should I go to take pictures? Recommendations?

Eating king crab in Seoul...my birthday dinner!

Now, there's such a thing as eating crab, but there's also such a thing as eating KING CRAB! That was my experience as Devante took me out for dinner to the king crab restaurant downstairs (I've previously posted pictures about this place here and here). The owners even helped us sharpen our dull kitchen knives (click here)! We say "hello" them almost everyday. We went on Sunday night as we work evenings. I've passed by this restaurant everyday for the past four months, salivating at the sight of the crabs.

The moment we entered, the lady helped us pick a crab. The one she helped us decide on was approximately two kilograms (it costs 39,000w/kilogram--roughly $20us/lb!). Alrighty, let's have a seat inside now (on the heated floors I might add) and see what's coming up next!

Here he/she is...asking me not to eat him/her for dinner. Devante wanted no part in seeing this crab die!

Stop moving so I can get a clear picture...this was an enormous crab:

Inside the restaurant...we're both still mastering sitting on the floor and eating (it kills my back):

The side dishes were amazing. Salad, a few shrimp, tofu, pickled garlic, kimchi, soup, that veggie dish in the middle (I don't know the name...someone help me) and also an octopus dish that came soon after:

The moment you've all been waiting for...holy "crab" look at the size of this thing!

For your enjoyment...I'll be nice today:

This was the best we could do. I tried really hard to finish all the crab...but I think the side dishes did me in (damn you, side dishes!):

We can't forget the shell bucket!

On our way out, the owner gave us a bottle of champagne! I have no idea how she knew it was my birthday, but she said "present"...we were both surprised so we're going to return with a small gift from Homever.

Feeling like eating *burp* crab? Here's their number:

Monday, 20 November 2006

Lotte World...a "Lotte" fun--part 2

...okay, so we've now exited the indoor theme park. We're outside and the amusement park reminds me of pictures of Disneyland. The outdoor park is called "Magic Island" and there are various rides scattered throughout.

The first ride we went on was called the Gyro Drop...and wow, was it ever amazing. We got strapped into seats, the ride slowly elevated to about 150-200 feet, paused for three seconds and then WHAM...we were free falling to the bottom! It was an incredible rush!

Next, we took in some bumper car action. It was fun going Kamikaze style into random Koreans and watching them react to my non stop laughing (most of them were only "bumping" their friends, but I managed to change that, hee hee). Afterwards, we went on a roller coaster called "Atlantis."

Now, Lotte World has faced some bad publicity for its recent string of events in the past (including the death of a man on this very same roller coaster!). I guess this made the ride even more..."enjoyable!" What surprised me was "Atlantis" had a height maximum--I just made it by a few inches. The ride was incredible as my body took a nice beating from the quick and sudden jolts--I felt like Tom Cruise in Top Gun going crazy (but not to the point where I'm jumping on a coach on Oprah).
The image “http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/3d/Cruiseonoprah.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. "LOOK AT ME, I LOVE KATIE HOLMES!" -Maverick

Does this look similar to Disneyland?

Here's the guide map to Lotte World...

If you're considering going to Lotte World, you must experience the Gyro Drop:

Bumper car etiquette...there is no such thing!

All that bumping took its toll on my hunger. Time to eat some sweet, buttery corn on a stick:

The ride snapped pictures of us and they were for sale afterwards--being the sly guy that I am, I took pictures of the pictures (Devante and I are hidden behind the guy in the back; that's Anyways and HC riding shotgun)!

We had a great time at Lotte World...but once nightfall came, it started to get really cold. Do you want to visit Lotte World? Take line 2, the green line to Jamsil. I suggest going early as they open at 9:30am.

So we decided to have curry for dinner at Everest Restaurant, located in Dongdaemun (exit 3; turn left down an alley, then take a right, up the stairs). The food here is incredible and they are always jam packed. Care for some garlic naan?

How about some butter chicken? Man, it was darn good...what a way to end an awesome day!

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