Saturday, February 14, 2009

Party-time, excellent

It happens regularly around here. The boss determines that the staff needs to congregate for one reason or another and then when the no-holds-barred Soju-styled wrestling begins. Because I'm willing to stake my liver's still functioning areas for Korean immortality, I abide and tip back with my superiors.

From left to right (the So Jun crowd .. city school): Yuna, Ju Yeon, Hyun Mi, Yong Mi, Me-me

Around the horn from left to right (Sam Jin ... country school) Hyun Gung, Jin Sun, Ju Yeon, Garrett

Mr. Kim and I drinking makoli

I like this photo because I showed it to a friend and they said, "you look so happy!" Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. I was goded into allowing Mr. Kim to feed me with his chopsticks. What isn't visible in the picture are my insides seething with fiery rage.

Monday, February 2, 2009

MacGruber conquers bread, booze and a board game.

Remember McGyver? Who doesn't? The Korean's do that's for sure. I can't tell you how many times I have heard a "McGyver" reference out here. His character name, as well as the words "delicious", "hello", and "O'bama", are deeply entrenched into the Korean lexicon. What's more impressive, and somewhat unbelievable, is all Korean's know that Richard Dean Anderson played MacGyver. Yes, the same guy that pulled a German tank over a crumbling bridge with a roll of 12 pound test fishing line and a can of cheese whiz is still very alive and very active, though is operating in a different part of the world and under a different moniker long after the show hit rerun status on TNT.

Do you believe me now? Tiger, the man pictured, was printing off some sheet music for the church band.

While I normally operate under the guise of your "average swingin' dick", or often times the "village idiot" depending on the amount of idiots relative to that particular village, I've been constantly surprising myself of what I'm made of in the gray matter department. My all time favorite Jerry-rig moment is when I used a rock and several wood shims to replace a broken alternator bracket that the dealer wanted 60 dollars to replace. Spending 60 dollars for a bracket on a 150 dollar car didn't make much sense then, nor does it now. So when I wanted some homemade bread out here in Korea and scoffed at buying an overpriced oven, I knew I had to be resourceful.

"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought." - Jonathan Swift

They, everybody, mocked me when I said I was going to make pita bread in a rice cooker yet they would turn out to be the same ones who sung my praise in between bites of fresh, light, wholesome goodness.

Soon-to-be bread.

The pita was a success but I knew there was going to be a sizable learning curve when it came to producing a delicious loaf of olive bread. Using the same rice cooker the next day, I opted for a basic bread recipe though I made some simple modifications including the addition of chopped olives, a little garlic and some basil.

Bread rise-ith

What do the internet and sex have in common? No matter what harebrained idea you come up with, it's already been done, and with that said, has been recorded and posted online. I took direction from the countless other derelicts who have successfully cooked bread in their rice cookers. My favorite "derelict" has to be this Japanese cook. (I'm not sure what makes me laugh the most; the angry narration, the 70's synth-jazz-fusion backing music, or the Heaven's gate suicide coat the cook is wearing)

The finished product. Mashita! Had it not been for the fact that I gave two pieces away to neighbors, I would have eaten the whole loaf within 4 minutes.

And the most creative use of a condom goes to ...

While I am a moderately experienced beer brewer, what use are skills if you aren't constantly trying to expound on them? Since I was unable to find balloons at Lotte Mart to hand craft an airlock, I called the philandering Englishman upstairs and scored an undersized Korean condom. Move over Boons Farm, there's a new wine maker in town!

From right to left (most simple to most complex): Strawberry wine, Asian pear wine, Asian pear and apple with a brown sugar sugar base.

Now we've got food and alcohol but what about entertainment? A couple of weeks ago a foreigner busted out a Twister game that she had brought from Canada. It was a huge hit amongst the ex-pat crowd but I thought we could go a step further. One game of Twister isn't nearly enough to go around a town the size of Masan. Here is my w3,000 (USD 2.75) equivalent.

Required materials:
1. Non-carpeted flooring
2. Four rolls of tape (much better than the board as the board tends to shift)
3. Something that plays Mp3's or CD's

Alexa and I have had in depth conversations about optimal Twister dimensions. She is a tall glass of water at 6'1, and sinewy as all hell. Consequently, she opts for a more conservation, stretch based mode, whereas I play more of an aggressive, power based game. While fundamentally different in how we approach the sport, we've had great discussions about how to adapt the game to the small apartments in which we reside (we're both very passionate about the game if you couldn't tell). We used a live game at Collin's house (how there were 26 people in a 350 sq ft size apartment with a game of Twister in full swing is beyond me) as proving grounds and determined that widely spaced squares are a disadvantage to the exceedingly short folk, so much so that they bitch incessantly about it. In addition, the largely spaced board was like hockey on an Olympic sized sheet of ice. Basically too much finesse with not enough body contact. At "Hohnplaza" however, the stars really aligned and we really knocked it dead with the layout. Think of the playoff intensity and the overall intimacy of the diminutive Montreal Forum, minus the overturned cop cars following a Game 7 loss. For those wondering, we've determined that 20 cm squares with 10 cm in between squares work best. The first test run included a homemade spinner but this provided to be unreliable as the paper clip affixed to the pen attached to the cardboard tended to be not so random. If I'm only known for the following contribution to society for the rest of my life, let it be this; instead of a manual wheel to determine "left hand - green," I recorded the 16 possible twister combonations in audible form followed by 20 seconds for player movement and made them into Mp3's. I then put them on a USB drive and loaded them in Windows Media Player and put them on shuffle mode. We now have an efficient, 100% non-bias, 100% sober Twister move announcer!

I understand that these brainstorm sessions aren't going to necessarily challenge electricity or the internal combustion engine for invention supremacy but it sure beats the shit out of my college buddy, who in a pinch, used Bag Palm as an anal sex lubricant.