Friday, September 28, 2007

Enriched beer

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has single-handedly made Korea, Korean barbecue, and Korea's famously delicious beer famous. Finally, Korea enters the ranks of developed parody-worthy nations. (See a woefully non-Korea-related clip here, and then go see if has it up yet.)

Plaque bugs?

The Oral-B Vitality protects against them, according to their commercial.

Plaque bugs?

Grey's Anatomy death watch

Everyone's had affairs with everyone, Knight is gone, they're already in Cousin Oliver territory bringing in Meredith's half-sister for some more opportunities for infidelity, they are treating deer, for God's sake.
And Shonda Rhimes is clearly spreading herself too thin with Private Practice.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ahmedinejad pulling a Chavez

He's providing nuclear education to those nations that need it and offering a Coalition for Peace to the smaller nations who resent those nations with UN vetoes.
Plus he's claiming that all the problems in the world today are caused by an unfair settlement of World War 2 in favor of the winners. That means he's pulling a you-know-who.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Après le saut

After the jump: you've seen it all over, you sort of know what it means. What you may not know, which I now find myself disappointed to know, is that 'After the jump' is not a Battlestar Galactica reference.
It's a holdover from newspaper lingo. The 'jump' in a newspaper article is the point where the article is interrupted on one page and continued at that point on another page, with a notation of where to go to continue the article.
That is lame.

The Hills

I'm watching a show called The Hills on a channel called The N. It's about these girls in Southern California who work for Teen Vogue.

It's like watching beavers build a dam. I don't really get what they're all about, but I see them doing something, eating Japanese fusion food and dating humorously bland guys and organizing photo shoots and such and it's soothing to watch, like that plastic bag from American Beauty.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Monopoly money reaches parity with the dollar

After two years of steady rises, the Monopoly$/US$ exchange rate has reached parity. This is naturally good news for any boots looking to take a short shopping-intense vacation to America. I recommend Tanger Outlets.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Stop claiming value, deodorant edition

Secret deodorant and antiperspirant now comes in a 'Clinical Strength'.

The very dosage that you would be given at a world-class B.O. clinic.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Photos! (Chicago, Circle Line New York and a family party

Here are my poorly organized photos of my trip to Chicago, my ride on the Circle Line with Miyoung and my dad, and our welcome home party. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My American Diet

Here's my diet plan for the remainder of my life in America.

  • No prepared food: that means no pudding cups, Campbell's soup, pre-breaded anything, frozen pizzas and nuggets of meat, etc.

  • Nothing that tastes at all salty or has any notable amount of sodium in it: since coming back to America I have been struck by how salty everything tastes to me now, including potato chips, french fries, steak at Boulder Creek, and even ketchup. From now on whenever I eat out I'll be asking for half the normal amount of salt.

  • Half the salad dressing: you don't need every lettuce leaf to be completely drenched to enjoy your salad, and if you do, you've probably blasted your taste buds with salt.

  • Observe fat people: last night at the airport I watched a fat woman count the hours until her plane was to arrive, then call someone at her destination and make sure there would be somewhere to eat when they got there, and then seconds later her fat husband arrive with some big big McDonald's hamburgers and fries and chow down lustily. It was disturbing.

  • Eat at McDonald's: Mickey D's has a couple of healthy, cheap and convenient options that I look forward to eating, including their salads and grilled chicken sandwiches.

  • No drinks: This is the most important rule, I think, because it puts you in a different state of mind. I am talking no juices, soft drinks and diet beverages. Even diet cola has a lot of salt in it, which is important to avoid, even though you can't taste it. I only drink water, black coffee, tea, and occasional alcoholic beverages.
  • When my wife and I go to restaurants, we order one meal and one salad: we have literally not been able to finish a single meal at any restaurant since arriving, except McDonald's, where the servings are very reasonable.

  • Dress smartly: That means clothes that fit well, shirts tucked in, etc. A lot of people let themselves get sloppy fat because they disregard their personal appearance and let the 'It's what's inside that counts' message go to their heads (and gut, and butt . . .)

  • Don't take escalators if you can avoid it: You may be thinking this is something that is too insignificant to make a difference. What, is walking one or two flights of stairs going to help me stay healthy? No, but it is a first step to putting yourself in the right state of mind, and that's the really important thing.

I was lucky, because living in Korea forced me to discover some of these ideas. I had no idea that American food was so salty. When I lived in Korea my mother-in-law would let me taste the soup that she made. If I said it needed salt, she knew it was just right, and if I said it was just right, she knew it was too salty. I still eat my food a little saltier than the average Korean, but I bought a bag of Ruffles Sour Cream and Onion potato chips the other day and I had to throw them out because I could not handle the saltiness.

Other things I found out by watching my own self take Korean eating habits too far. Go to any office or house in Korea and you are likely to find lots of juice, honey water, ginseng essence, and rice milk, both in 1.5 liter containers and little personal-sized bottles.

I used to drink three or four of the little bottles in a day, defeating the purpose of putting them in little bottles.
Hey folks, take care of yourself and live a long time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


What a town! Coming in on Southwest (very good) we had an amazing view of the whole city. The downtown area bunched around the coast of Lake Michigan, the water blue like nothing I've seen outside of posters in travel agencies. We hit some of the sites; the Sears Tower (get your tickets online to save time, it's worth the $2 convenience fee), The Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue (it's billed as a shopping area but it's a spectacular museum of architecture as well), and the promenade around the river.
Then we went up to the North side on the Brown Line. I was really impressed with the striking mix of residential buildings from different periods in different styles, the beautiful little backyards, huge trees, and massive wooden decks. Looks like a fantastic place to live.
The people here are incredibly friendly and helpful, kindly answering all my questions about how to get around.
The city is a bit different from what I expected. It's not possible to get a taxi everywhere, as I had expected, leaving Miyoung and I to take the bus from an Orange Line train to our Chinatown Hotel. The Koreatown has as many signs in Arabic and Spanish as it does in Korean.
All told, I am incredibly impressed with Chicago.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Super secret immigrant loophole discovered!

Several years ago I lost my Social Security card along with my wallet getting out of a cab in Seoul, so I went to the Social Security Administration office in Riverhead, New York yesterday and applied for a replacement with my wife Miyoung. Because Miyoung and I had been married for over two years when she got her immigrant visa her Social Security card process automatically went through, but she was told at immigration control at Kennedy Airport that her Social Security card would arrive in three to six months. I was shocked that it would take so long.
Knowing that Miyoung would need either a Social Security card or a document of some kind from the SS office to get a New York State driver's license, I asked the clerk when she could do about the long wait. She was very helpful and surprised to hear about the long wait, skeptical that it would take three months to process, and ran Miyoung's information through the system and found that her SSN had been issued. All we had to do was fill out a form, take a number and wait in line again (not in Korea!) and the three to six month wait went down to five to ten business days.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Reactions of a returning American

Well, I'm finally safe at home on Long Island. It's been a great couple of days, but there's been a lot of adjusting and a lot of things that take some re-getting used to. Here are some of the things that have stood out to me, a long time resident of the Seoul metro area.

  • The trees here are so tall - Korea was pretty much deforested at one point and so the trees in many areas especially in Gyeonggi province were planted deliberately in the last forty years. The trees here in Rocky Point are old growth and they must be six stories tall at least, dwarfing even most of the trees that I saw even in the rural areas of Korea that I've seen.

  • The commercials - Nonstop commercials for the Army and prescription drugs, plus over the counter unproven hogwash pills available at Walgreens. Who am I to criticize Oriental medicine and its believers when the same thing goes on in America under a different name? Plus once the sun goes down basic cable has some of the most shocking commericals imaginable. Ben Stiller's got a new movie out and there's a scene in the commercial of him and his wife having rough sex. What the hell? And a full infomercial for Girls Gone Wild? Unnecessary.
  • So much personal space. I certainly can't complain about that.
  • So much of the food is so much saltier than I remember.
  • All the foods I missed - Cantaloupe, artichoke, cold cuts and Levy's Jewish Rye, Dutch Country Potato Bread and mom's breaded chicken cutlets with spaghetti and Hershey's Ice Cream.
  • My family have got every DVD ever - Deadwood, Battlestar Galactica, The Wire, Arrested Development all on DVD, plus practically every movie I haven't seen in the last four and a half years.
  • A Wii with no controllers - My family've got Wii but my brother in Boston's got both controllers. Thanks Rich.
  • My accent is back - I think the second I got out of the arrivals gate my Long Island accent came back somehow strawnger than it's ever been.

Monday, September 03, 2007

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

It's back. September 13th. I know where I'll be.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
And incidentally, if you like things a bit more NSFW (Danny DeVito with his shirt off NSFW) then by all means click here.

More on the Wonmisan gash

I found an article from the June 26th edition of the Bucheon Herald (for some reason their website doesn't allow you to directly link to individual articles) which identifies the excavation on Wonmisan as the creation of an embankment for the extension of the Meolmoe Street (멀뫼로). These pictures tell the story as well.

Here's a map with the current location of Meolmoe Road (멀뫼길) marked in red. I can only assume that Meolmoe Street will be an upgrade of this road, which goes under the name Meolloe from Sosa Station to the intersection at Bucheon Stadium. It continues on at both ends, Southward uder the name Buil Street (부일로) and Northward as Yeowol Street, I believe. It would seem natural that this stretch of road between two streets get an upgrade.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Wonmisan unmasked

Hey Wonmisan fans. As you may or may not know, there has been a flurry of crane and bulldozer shenanigans up on the south-southwest face of old Wonmisan (원미산) in the last few months. This is not new. But last week I noticed a particularly good view of it from Holy Family Hospital (성가 병원) when I was visiting my father-in-law after his cataract surgery. The next time I went visiting I brought my camera and snapped this photo. I'm too lazy and tired to delve into the Korean internet and attempt to find out what's up, so I figured I'd post the pic and give myself a nice rest before attempting what promises to be an unrewarding slog through Daum and Naver. Anyway, enjoy.

Perry DeAngelis is dead

I am way behind on this, but I have not been listening to many podcasts these days. I went on iTunes today to fill up my iPod for my flight home when I found that Perry DeAngelis, one of the voices of the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe podcast has died. He was ill, but I didn't know how ill. I was really looking forward to his triumphant return to the show after the last two weeks' absence due to illness.
Perry was the irreverent member of the skeptical rogues on the podcast. Imagine what it takes to be 'the irreverent one' in a skeptical organization.
Perry was not a scientist, and he provided a perfect counterpoint to host Dr. Steve Novella's steely scientific view of skepticism, showing that there's a passion to skepticism that persists side by side with it's logic.

Here are some choice quotes from Perry.

Listen to this audio clip of Perry reacting to a question about bacteria and birds. Perry will always be remembered for his staunch support of monkeys in the age-old 'monkeys versus birds' debate.

'The amount of years that she will live longer than us because of her [vegetarian] diet is directly proportional to the horror of her life.'

'Astrology is as vacuous as the space it worships.'

'And remember, "chi" spelled backwards is "crap"'

'How can two mathematicians come to two different conclusions? Well, one of them's a dick.'

From an essay Perry wrote about an illness induced hallucination:
'Stemming, I suppose now, from the dance number that had been on the television, there were two alien woman that haunted me during this time. One was a tall slender Latin woman in a pink body suit, and the other was shorter and heavier. They ridiculed me endlessly because I knew they were aliens, but since I was Executive Director of a Skeptical Society, I couldn’t tell anyone! It was like they were trying to upset me to illicit a reaction. I tried to remain stoic, but I think eventually I broke down and cried.'
I strongly recommend that you go to the iTunes store, search for the words 'Skeptic's Guide' and subscribe to the show or subscribe from their website, and just start at the beginning and work your way up to the present. I have only recently started writing about logical fallacies specifically, but I've been listening to the skeptical rogues gallery talking about them since last April, and it has invaluably enriched my life. And all that time Perry has been a big part of that.