Monday, December 29, 2008

Things Are Getting Hairier

Look how much I've changed since arriving in Korea in September. Am I finally becoming a man or just getting hairier? Most likely the latter...

Green Update

Sure enough, the Kumquat seeds have made their way into the soil. I decided to plant them with haste because I read that citrus seeds, unlike most other seeds, have to be planted immediately into damp, pressed soil so they do not dry out. The key to growing these guys is keeping them moist at all times. Kumquats are generally not grown from seeds but are more commonly grafted onto orange trees in places like China and Japan. The kumquat can be eaten whole, candied, or made into a marmalade. Let's see how they do.

Here are a few dried avocado skins. They have shriveled and hardened to form some nice organic shapes. I haven't come up with a use for them yet but I think they could be made into some nice handmade jewelry or painted ornaments.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Green Update

One of the persimmon seeds that I began germinating more than a month ago has finally lifted its head and emerged from the soil. The seedling has grown about three inches in just two days. There are two more seeds on the way but they are still keeping warm beneath the soil.

In other good news, my succulent has been budding for the past week and it should bloom any day now. This guy has shown plenty of new growth within the month of December and I expect it will grow well through the winter.

Aaaaalso, I went grocery shopping today at Lotte Mart and they had Kumquats in the produce section. Sweet. I had my first-ever taste of Kumquat this summer back in Philly and I am happy to add these juicy little nubbins back into my fruit repertoire. You can count on seeing Kumquat seeds in the next green update.

Sustainable Greg only wishes he had such a knack for fruiting plants.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all! Its weird not being home for the holidays..its during these times that I wish I could spend some time with family and friends. I miss you all and hope you are having a happy and healthy Christmas. Much love.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Graphic Tees

Koreans love to wear tshirts saying things in english that they cannot understand. These graphic tees make some bold statements that are essentially jibberish. Despite their lack of proper grammar, spelling, or meaningful content some of them actually turn out to be mistakenly creative. Although the majority of them are just downright hilarious...

False of a Contented Man

Don't say it's over I'm waiting for my man ... here's a doodle in my sketchbook from when my pen exploded the other day, it got all over me, but this is what is happening so far

Walking to school this morning, I saw a girl wearing a long sleeve tshirt that read:

Girls Just Wuna Hawaii Num

That is all...for now.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Here is another sweet mini motorcycle...


Pictures from the weekend in Seoul are riiiiiight here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Outside...

[A collection of Jessie Berry's mouths]

Here is a link to celebrity "mouth eye" photographs.

Korean Happy

A quick video of an impromptu sidewalk parade in Seoul...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

No...Thank You, Cilantro

Caitlin and I took a trip to Seoul this past weekend to meander the art galleries and to see Miso, traditional Korean stage. While in the largest city in South Korea, we took full advantage of the foreign food presence. It was a gift to the taste buds to eat something that did not taste like fish, sesame, or cabbage. On Sunday night before coming home, we ate at the Taj Restaurant. We ordered the Tandoori Chicken, Dal Makhani (black lentil curry), and Tandoori Khumb Aloo (vegetable and yoghurt stuffed mushrooms and potatoes).

Before getting on the bus home, we stopped in the foreign grocery mart to pick up, to us, what are a few pantry rarities - black beans, pita bread, hummus, wholegrain cereal, cumin, cloves, chick peas, lentils...but I have to add that my favorite pickup was a freshly-picked batch of cilantro. This is my favorite herb and I have been pining for that robust scent it gives off when you slice into the leaf. I brought my own seeds to grow the herb but I have to wait until the spring to cultivate them because they would otherwise fail indoors.

So, the first thing I did when I got home was pick up four avocados and get to the guacamole-making...

Mmm..fresh dirt still on the leaf.

There is nothing like a break from Korean food than a big ol' bowl of Guac to get you through the week. I know that the avocados are not in season and they probably lost a little bit of their luster on the shipping journey from New Zealand, but I could not resist a familiar taste. I know its a sustainbility sin not to buy local, but I can guarantee that I get my spinach from the patchwork just down the street.

A petition for creating a national sustainable food and agriculture policy can be found here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dirty Thieves

At approximtely 10:52:48 on Monday night, my bike was stolen from the ground floor of the Avalon school building. Whoever it was, the thief managed to take off with my bike even though the wheels were locked in place. Out of the four or five bikes down there, he managed to abscond with mine..why mine? I guess this is confirmation that I did have the coolest ride on the block. Its a shitty feeling to have your bike there in the morning and then, when you are happy to get off work and anticipate an enjoyable ride home, there is an empty void in its place.

I already put up threatening bilingual fliers in the hallways and around the street posts of my area demanding the bike's return. What irks me most is that Caitlin left school around 9:45 and the bike was still there. I left a little after 10PM and the bike was gone...15 minutes! I would have loved to have caught him in the act and broken all of his dirty little fingers. Welp, not much we can do about it now.

Alot of the Koreans tell me that bike theft, both cycles and motorbikes, is very common and there is nothing you can do to prevent it (even if you do a good job locking up your transport). Caitlin had her first bike (luckily a cheapy) stolen over the summer and got a second one when I arrived. Now everyone is storing their cycles up on the second and third floors, out of reach from the thieving scoundrels who roam and pillage the ground level.

Good thing Christmas is approaching...I think I am ready to move off the training wheels and up to a shiny new red bike.


I love these little moped bikes. They are handy for a quick zip around downtown, deliveries, or a good way to curtail traffic. They have a very simple body, consisting mostly a metal frame joined to a small motor. This one in particular is not as stylized as most I have seen but I will be sure to send a glimpse of the cooler ones within time.

I think as city populations continue to grow, transportation options like this are a better decision for urban commutes. They share movable space with pedestrians, are less dangerous than higher speed vehicles, and they save on fuel costs. Even though walking and bicycling are the most efficient options, I wouldn't mind having one of these little nuggets around.

Avoiding The Truth

When you just can't bare to face to facts...

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Gear

Within the past month, a thrift shop has opened up right behind our school. Called "the Beautiful Store," its profit goes to the Church situated right above it. It has quality clothes and accessories for cheap prices. Anyway, I snagged this cap at first sight. I have never seen such a splendid fruition of color and context of this sort. The front shows three silver-stitched, caped Norsemen charging into unknown battle, set against an aquamarine and 80s-spectacular background...

Oh, and did I mention...


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Elementary Class

I have one elementary class that I teach three times a week. This class is a handful of 9 and 10 year olds (except one 13 year old). The rest of my classes are middle school students - the kids who are too awkward to speak, are always picking at their faces, combing their premature mustache hair, and being little text-happy socialites during class.

These are photos of my youngest students from Halloween Day:

This is Jack. He does not shut his mouth in class and always raises his hand to ask if he can draw a picture on the board of his classmates with boogers coming out of their noses. He cries when I give him detention. I think he has a rash on his stomach.

This is Adam. He is quiet and never pays attention. Often, he just stares blankly at the wall in a world that I imagine to be full of dancing toothbrushes and jello squares. He also has strapped to his ankle a .22 caliber rubber-band gun.

This is Brandon. He is quick, witty, and loves to draw. Brandon calls my teaching illustrations "ugly" and thinks he could run the class better than I can. He prefers to draw massive battle scenes depicting the Japanese pillaging helpless villagers rather than do his schoolwork. I let him draw.

This is Sun. He is 13 and is bored with the work. He can only tell me so many times that "Lisa has the red shoes" before passing out on his desk.

This is Amy..I think she has a crush on Adam.

This is Alice. She draws little hearts next to her name on every test and homework. Her penmanship and pronunciation are excellent. She sits in the very front desk and always raises her hand. Can you tell shes the best student in the class?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Where Is That Dude?

For those of you who haven't seen Seth Nyer lately...he's not working the fryer Sunday nights at Chuck's. He's in Johannesburg, South Africa and he's busy working at a cologne store on Tuesday/ Thursday afternoons. Here are some snapshots of the big guy:

Seth had gotten a tradition tribal piercing the week before from his buddy, Kaiser. He said its hard to sneeze with the hoop in, but he doesn't even think about it much anymore

Monday, December 1, 2008

Persimmon Sprout

After four weeks of germination, two of the persimmon seeds have finally begun to sprout. I potted one of the seeds, hopefully it will begin to grow indoors as the temperatures get colder outside.


Jo-Eun Villa was host to a Grand Thanksgiving Potluck Feast this weekend. In total, 22 friends gathered round yonder floor to chow down, share some drinks and get holiday cozy. Among the delicious items on the dinner menu, Caitlin and I contributed pomegranate chmpagne, spinach-walnut pesto dip, honey-ginger carrots, deviled eggs, stuffed mushrooms, and a healthy mixed-greens salad. The food and company were both delicious, so much so that we turned on the heated floors and shared in a communcal after-dinner-nap.

This is my friend and co-worker, Simon Chin. He is very adamant about learning as many slang phrases and gang signs as he can. Currently, he has demonstrated his knowledge of the following lingo: whatchyamacallit, lemme take a stab at it, savage!, fresh. Although none of these have any practical function in our culture, he has picked them up quickly and doesn't falter to use them in casual conversation. He has even thrown out, on his own accord, the typical-American-nondescript phrase, "It's know?!"

"Aw, man."

Stuart savors every bite.

Other menu items included:

warm wassle [with rum]
potato soup
candied yams
boiled cabbage
mashed potatos
thai curry
boiled and pan-seared chicken
korean sweet chicken
[no oven big enough to cook turkeys]
korean potato pizzas
7 pumpkin pies
kahlua coffees

It was nice to get a taste of the holidays in Koreatown. Everyone contributed to a tasty feast and wore their Sunday-best. Overall the weekend was just know? Awesome.

The rest of the pictures from the weekend can be seen here.