osmo, sis

Here’s a hot tip from your pal YS that is of especial relevance to people living in Seoul. If you are like me and come from a land with low population density, and additionally, if people periodically drive you nuts regardless of who they are — then I have found the place for you. The <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seoul_National_Cemetery”>Seoul National Cemetery</a> is next to dongjak subway stn on line 4. It’s a huge area and when I was there, last Monday, there was almost _zero_ people there. It’s difficult to appreciate how unusual this is unless you’ve spent time in Seoul and know how almost every part of the city is peopled-up 24/7.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5467608594/” title=”IMG_0190 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5012/5467608594_1f85a2a322.jpg” width=”500″ height=”374″ alt=”IMG_0190″ /></a>

No _bon daeggi_ sellers, no troupes of rambunctious hikers, no noisy families — no one! So if you’re about to flip out and push someone off an overpass then this is a great place to chill-out.

Right up the back is a new-looking crypt (?). They must’ve run out of holes in the ground because this place is slowly filling with jars.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5467608810/” title=”IMG_0191 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5053/5467608810_a3f7baca51_m.jpg” width=”240″ height=”179″ alt=”IMG_0191″ /></a>

lady n the tramp

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5467010065/” title=”IMG_0187 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5174/5467010065_88e0ac8caf.jpg” width=”500″ height=”374″ alt=”IMG_0187″ /></a>

Here we have the South Korean dish, budae chiggae (부대찌개). It translates roughly as army camp stew and dates back to the times of the Korean war, when local folk didn’t have much to eat so they’d go trash-can diving around the back of Uncle Sam’s. Its got some broken up bits of instant noodles (ramen to the americans, and _Ramyeon_ here), sliced up sausage, some sort of bacon/ham stuff, bean sprouts, clear noodles, _dokk_ (unflavoured pulped & compressed rice), a little bit of spring onion and the ever-present kim chi.

The restaurant attendant sticks it on a burner on the table in front of you. With the lid on it boils up and 5-10 mins later, voila!

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5467010387/” title=”IMG_0188 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5252/5467010387_e97ce10765.jpg” width=”500″ height=”374″ alt=”IMG_0188″ /></a>

You’re ready to ladle a bit out into a small dish and eat. It’s spicy. I’ve read that there can be some flexibility to the ingredients included, along the lines of tofu or mushroom. It’s cheap. The meal pictured was KRW12000 for two people which works out to about $10AUD.

My first reaction to this kind of meal (poverty food, as I call it — there are quite a few dishes that fit into this category) is ‘well, the country is a lot more wealthy now, so why not chuck some broccoli, cherry tomatoes in there and standardise the mushrooms while you’re at it. It’d make it healthier’. But then, this would make it that bit more expensive. But then, that would only be until more farmers started growing those things. One thing I do like about the economy of the whole thing is that there doesn’t have to be 40 cooks in the kitchen boiling up everyone’s chiggae; if you do it at the table (and it’s easy) then that keeps the price down a tad.

This is a meal where east and west could benefit from each-other. Some more greens in this really would be good. And people in cities like Melbourne would lose weight if they could get to a budae chiggae restaurant every now and then. The intense spiciness has the effect of making you feel full before the point when you really are. And, an hour and a half later when you feel hungry again, if you can push through those brief pangs without getting on the doughnuts, then you’ve made your first step away from being a fatty.

for all the cheese in china

And so if a sandwich costs $500 in Australia one must have a cunning strategy to get the money if one was to make a re-entrance. Since I’m fully trained in psychology I was thinking about where that intersects with the great river of money-flow in corporate wastages. That being named ‘psychometrics’. I often scorn business practices here in korea for their top-down approach and associated inefficiencies but truth be told, there are aspects of western corporate habits that are just as kooky. Like expensive team-meeting lunches at expensive restaurants. I’m sure most of the people there would prefer to just have a sandwich at their desk and then go home early with the time they didn’t waste.

Here’s the first two questions from my psychometrics test that evaluates team-members personalities. The information gathered from this can better sort workers into the areas they should be working in.


<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5452097403/” title=”IMG_0045 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5140/5452097403_bc4a8c92db.jpg” width=”500″ height=”374″ alt=”IMG_0045″ /></a>

[poll id=”2″]

2. In 500 words or more, equate yourself, as you understand you, with a type of cheese.









[Of course, in a proper test you wouldn’t be able to see what answer other people chose. This questionnaire question is limited by the physics of the internet. These are just the first two questions. More will appear forthwith. It’ll be expensive for corporations to purchase my collation and interpretation of the data but worth every cent, in my opinion.]

hmm, looks like the poll doesn’t work. better fix that.

Tea time won’t be the same without my Donna

During the hols my ipod went on the fritz. I wasn’t sure it was dead, but wouldn’t seem to wake up. I suspected it got a bit of water in it. It didn’t come good after a couple of days. It was roughly 3 years I’d had it. It was an 80gig black “classic” model. I was waiting til I got back home and plugged it into its homebase before concluding that it was really in trouble, thinking that perhaps it was the strange voltage in Aust. that was impeding its recharge and return to health.
I plugged it in here and for a moment it said, Recharging, and had a little picture of a battery but that only lasted momentarily. I left it plugged in, hoping that something good would happen. Later that night I woke to go to the toilet and noticed that in the dark the ipod screen was flashing intermittently — every 10 seconds or so — as if it were trying to communicate with some far off creator.
Three years is a short life for a device of its price. I usually think along the lines of, if I get a lot of use out of an object, or if it provides me an invaluable service, then these are the things that make up its real worth. That is, price is less important. But I’m starting to reconsider the worth of Apple and their iPods.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5452753952/” title=”IMG_0124 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5176/5452753952_6d4703b7b0.jpg” width=”500″ height=”374″ alt=”IMG_0124″ /></a>

I wasn’t left totally music-less while in Au. I did have some 60 or so more-or-less random songs on the ipod part of the new iphone. This included Amon Tobin’s Monthly Joints series. Ten tracks that I actually bought and like. Also on there was Something Else, by The Kinks, some Russian rap: Shaiba and a bunch of single tracks like Polk Salad Annie by Tony Joe White, Apache – Incredible Bongo Band, and Bule Bule by Los Rockin Devils.

I got to know that stuff pretty well. It reminded me of times in the past when I actually bought most of the music I had and the arrival of new music was much more irregular. I’m a boy of the cassette era. Skipping tracks on a cassette took time and was imprecise.  Consequently I didn’t skip tracks. Sometimes a cassette would be bought on the strength of one or two tracks. I’d get it home and find that the rest of the album was nothing like the singles, but I’d paid hard-earned, shopping trolley-pushing pocket money to buy it so I’d listen to it and eventually the rest of the music on there would eventually grow on me and find a time and place in my life.
I compare that to some of the music I’ve latched onto in the last year or so and the pattern is different. I D/Ld Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life album and I like it but I rarely listen to anything on it apart from the tracks Lust For Life, The Passenger and Fall In Love With Me. With New Values I went that one step further and deleted all of it except for I’m Bored and The Endless Sea. I think Roxy Music’s self-titled album would get into my top 10 of best from last year but the first five tracks have been listened to twice as often as the second half.

So anyway, in normal circumstances all I would bother with on Something Else by The Kinks is the last track, the classic Waterloo Sunset. But in Melbourne, stuck on the god-awful slow and inefficient Met and V/line I had little other choice than to listen to the rest of the album, and found it grew on me. Same with the Russian rap. As a language, its sound suits rap well. It’s easy to picture those young <strike>turks</strike> Russians all attituded-up and gesticulating with their fingers.

<object data=”http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/track=3343613338/size=venti/bgcol=FFFFFF/linkcol=4285BB//” type=”text/html” classid=”clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000″ width=”400″ height=”100″><param name=”movie” value=”http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/track=3343613338/size=venti/bgcol=FFFFFF/linkcol=4285BB//”><param name=”quality” value=”high”><param name=”allowNetworking” value=”always”><param name=”wmode” value=”transparent”><param name=”bgcolor” value=”#FFFFFF”><param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”never”><object data=”http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/track=3343613338/size=venti/bgcol=FFFFFF/linkcol=4285BB//” type=”text/html” width=”400″ height=”100″></object></object>

So apart from the fact that the damn things keep breaking on me, I’m debating whether its such a good thing having the whole 80gigs of my music collection at the ready. There’s whole days of stuff in there that I never listen to but it’s difficult to find because iTunes’ filing structure is so primitive and inflexible.

I might just stick with the hard-disk space that’s available on the phone, or perhaps get a nano.

kids can’t climb trees like they used to

Heading back to s.korea in a day or so. It’s been nice in Melbs but long enough. Saw _True Grit_ yesterday. Another quite nice story told by the Cohen bros. Had a look at ‘In Press’ one of the local, free music magazines and found that I recognise less than 30% of the names of bands now. A little bummed to see I’m missing Swervedriver’s visit by less than a week.

It was fun doing things with my girl, J-e for the week and a half she was here. She ate steak everyday, made herself bacon and eggs in the mornings, was amazed and scared by seagulls and turned on by horses in the passing paddocks. Even Colac was bearable when she was here. After departure the rose-tinted hue faded and all I could see were the freaks and bogans again.

However, the Trocadero, a longtime-running eatery in Colac has changed hands and menus. Good mid-eastern style food available there now — things like felafel. And according to mum they’re doing very well.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5452157713/” title=”Trocadero, Colac by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5171/5452157713_31dbf95fc4.jpg” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”Trocadero, Colac” /></a>

I always like getting to the vic markets for a borek and a bee-sting. It’s great that those things don’t change.Not so great that this hasn’t changed.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5452158621/” title=”IMG_0167 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5053/5452158621_98df6237a9.jpg” width=”500″ height=”374″ alt=”IMG_0167″ /></a>

This blind, or partially blind guitar busker has been frequenting the main sit/eat spot forever. He plays billy joel and rubbish like that. Today he was just standing there, occupying the spot but not performing = squatting. He held out an empty juice bottle and loudly announced “can someone put this in the bin”, minutes after he’d walked inside and bought it without assistance. Being blind or partially blind is tough luck but it’s no excuse for being a talentless arsehole.


So who was heartily endorsing events or products in the magazine on the way over ->

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5420193250/” title=”IMG_0048 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5256/5420193250_8b7bb57b5e_m.jpg” width=”179″ height=”240″ alt=”IMG_0048″ /></a>

Nickless Cage. Yes, not surprising. He’s married to a Korean you know…

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5419589307/” title=”IMG_0050 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5014/5419589307_0eaa0ddd1c_m.jpg” width=”179″ height=”240″ alt=”IMG_0050″ /></a>

Jacko. Yes, okay. Still very popular in Asia.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5420194688/” title=”IMG_0053 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5135/5420194688_2477490814.jpg” width=”374″ height=”500″ alt=”IMG_0053″ /></a>

Oh look. It’s Jimmy Wales. Well that’s different.


If you came across a locked wireless network called ‘Han Solo’ where would you start for guessing the password?

– chewbacca

– chewy

– Millennium Falcon

– Millenium falcon

– Luke Skywalker

– loves leia

– shot first

– Harrison Ford

– Greedo

If I had to sum up my opinion of Melbourne this time in one short sentence I’d say that – Everyone is driving Mazdas.

These economic lushtimes that Australia is experiencing can be seen in Melb in that there are heaps of new cars on the streets, but when I look at Geelong, it’s the same as I always remember it. Unoccupied shops in the CBD and plenty on underutilised youth sitting around cradling their skateboards.

For me there’s always a short period of adjusting to the price of things here when I’m back but it’s extra strength this time due to the KRW being so wussy against the AUD. A bottle of pretend-healthy softdrink from Spencer St Stn : 80 000 dollars. Two dim sims : 43 000 dollars. And so on and so on. I’m really curious what kind of wages normal people are on these days.