Rest In Peace, Dear Humphrey

Monday, January 27, 2014

Last June, I bought a parcel of lettuce, that I immediately stored in the fridge, and left for a couple days. When I took it out to make a salad and washed it, I found a very small snail.

A New Hobby

Monday, January 20, 2014

A good friend once called it "the magpie instinct," for there are certain things—fripperies—women, in general, are suckers for and can often be found hoarding for no reason: tarot cards, pretty stationery, postcards, glorified vaseline in pretty tins. Particularly everything scented, from personal perfumes to stickers to diffusers to candles.

Tarot of the Imagination, by Ferenc Pinter, my favorite Tarot deck of all time, not a slumber party diversion so much as a work of art. I ask you, how could one not covet this?

I think you see where I am going with this: I am the first to admit my "magpie instinct" is quite strong, and thus it is that I collect all of the above, as funds allow. Note I say "as funds allow", for pretty things that do not directly contribute to survival are considered by others as "luxury goods" and are therefore expensive.

Let's do the math, shall we?

A scented candle from Diptyque or Voluspa that burns for 100 hours goes for anywhere from 40 USD to over 150 USD, about 40 cents to a dollar and a half per hour. A small candle from the Korean company Aronica that burns for about 40 hours goes for 10k KRW, about 25 cents per hour. (Of Yankee brand I will not even speak.) Add in the factor that scent selection is limited, especially at the lower price points, and you have a very pricey hobby on your hands. So after doing a little research, I set out to make my own.

There are generally three things that go into a candle: wax, wick, and additives, such as fragrance and dye. For wax I chose soy, because I've found soy burns cleaner and doesn't give off the oily smell that paraffin does when burned, not to mention paraffin is a known source of environmental toxins*. For a wick, I chose wood, because in my experience wooden wicks produce almost no noticeable smoke—except when being lit and put out—while cotton wicks produce a low level of near continuous smoke. Plus, the crackling sound wood wicks make is really neat, almost like a mini fireplace. Additives are the most costly, costing me around 3300 KRW (about 3 USD) for every 200mL candle I make. I don't bother with dyes, because they're one more additive to morph into harmful compounds when burned, and when in doubt, the creamy surface of a plain wax candle goes with any container or interior decor scheme.
Though this pumpkin-colored candle by Luminology, against pastel mint porcelain, is quite adorable.

This brings me to a total of 8500 KRW for a candle that gives me about 50 hours of burn time. About 17 cents per hour is far cheaper even than the cheapest decent candle on the market, for a product that's tailored specifically to my tastes... not to mention that it's the making of the candle that's the fun part.

So lo, my first batch of candles:

Freezer Burn!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Now that "Figure Queen" Kim Yuna is all set to retire (though you can bet your imaginary gold medal that politicians will be demanding that she reemerge when the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics roll around four effing years from now), I thought I might post a retrospective of my favorite programs...

When is a Bolognese is not a Bolognese?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

In my travels on the virtual spiderweb that the denizens of the planet Earth so like to frequent, I have come across a unique creature called a Heston blumenthal (note to self: assess the possibility that the Linnean name of this species will be subject to change based on phylogenetic evidence). What is most interesting about H. blumenthal is that it is the first discovered species that subsists on entropy: that is, in order to get from point A to point B, H. blumenthal adds several steps that increases the total amount of entropy generated, and by this process seems to thrive.

Greetings from Yangyang

Thursday, August 15, 2013

There are those moments that are so perfect that the picture practically takes itself. This was one of those moments.

I think every summer, I make at least one visit to Gangwon-Do (Gangwon Province). I'm not the only one: the rugged natural beauty makes the place a popular summer holiday destination for nature-lovers: mountain ranges and cliffs overlooking a sea teeming with life, supported by freezing nutrient-rich currents that come following the coast from the north.

When I go to Gangwon-Do, it's usually to trek Seollak-San with my college's Alpine Association. This summer, my destination was a little further south, the quiet coastal village of Yangyang.

A quick note about eating out

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I wonder if this guy is still around. He reminds me of my high school history teacher, by the way, so if you're reading this, Mr. Trupe, hi!
I live on Daehakro, which was once an artsy area of Seoul packed with indie theatres, quiet and genteel caf&eacutes and bookstores catering to the students of the many nearby colleges (yes, believe it or not, Daehakro means "College Street," and it was named that for a reason).

Good Eats

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's been quite a while since my last post, during which I did a rather hellish OB/GYN round and a physically exhausting but also highly entertaining GS round. And now it's finally summer holidays! So an update on what I've recently been up to, and things I would like to do during my newfound (and short-lived) freedom. Predictably, it's all about food.

In fact, it's high time I updated my bookmarks list, mainly because the traffic I contribute to certain food blogs and cooking channels on Youtube far, far outstrips the sum total of the visits I make to those websites to the right column in the past year. In addition to Smitten Kitchen, 101 Cookbooks and Simply Recipes, I've discovered Foodwishes, Cooking With Dog, ShinShine, and Eat a Duck I Must (the last title which I find really cute: a phonetic approximation of the Japanese "itadakimasu" into English). I've also found the various guides to ethnic food to be a rich repository of surprisingly excellent recipes.

So some of the things I've recently cooked:

A Deceit of Lapwings

All happy people are more or less dissimilar; all unhappy people are more or less alike.