Friday, May 6, 2011

Seoul Grand Park Zoo. Also A Very Slight Amount of Buffy

Hello, readers.

Today, I ventured out to a zoo with my school, and students. I rode a ski lift with two of them (students, not schools. Physics, you know).  We flew over a pond, some sheep, and a very small mountain. It was a very slow trip. We were unafraid. Except for that one time, when one of the students said, "I'm taking the S.A.T. tomorrow." And I said, "Are you nervous?" And she said, "A little bit."

Note: She meant the U.S. S.A.T., not the Korean one. She has plans on going to the Ivy League. Or, at least, NYU.

Here is a picture of that which we were not afraid.

Inside the zoo, there were lions, and tigers, and bears, and not a single oh my. Some gibbons, though. And a polar bear. And a hyena that looked at me for a long time in the nocturnal room. We were by ourselves. It was dark. Pretty sure no one got possessed. But we'll talk about Buffy, some other time. I've only just got around to finishing Season 8. Must process the death and stuff, first.

Here are some pictures of animals that may or may not have been sad about where they were.

These are animals called, "Jungang High School Girls." There are, approximately, at last count, about 700 or so of these things. Usually, they wear muted, black uniforms. Today they wore a lot of flannel. And denim. It was like if grunge happened in the 80s and in Korea. One student wore a leather jacket, a short, black-and-white striped dress, and sunglasses. She was perhaps aware that, among other animals at a zoo, there are usually boys.

Flamingos. Pink ones, I believe.

A sort of fox. Saw one in Tokyo. That one was awake and running and later I discovered a fox shrine that possibly incorporated her or him into being. This fox was cute and sleepy.

Yes, that child is holding up a sign to that monkey. Yes, that monkey is reading it. If you would like to have a New Yorker style caption contest, then, by all means, get to it.

Not entirely sure why they decided to build a giant, sacrificial, stone altar in the middle of the zoo, but there you go.

Barbary sheep worshipping at the "Ball of Food We Can Eat."

The rare, and difficult to properly pronounce in Korean, "Pororo." I do not know why he is angry.

That is one leopard asleep on another. Lovely, and a little bit tragic. Life, you know.


Happy Friday, readers. Happy Birthday, sister.  Your gift is in my imagination. Perhaps it will be in the mail, soon.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Vegan Bakesale

Hello, readers.

I am sitting at my kitchen table. It is a very small kitchen, and a much smaller table. Much of the table is covered by cookies and truffles and Cyndi Laupers.

Also, I've opened the windows and there's a nice breeze. Sometimes it smells like sesame oil.

Yesterday, I promised pictures and words concerning the Vegan Bakesale Fundraiser what occurred this past rainy Sunday at a bar in Itaewon called Roofer's. Enjoy.

This would be the table with many, many people buying things. People bought so many things that, in fact, the bakesale raised 942,000 won to aid Mercy Corps and JEARS in their efforts to save humans and animals in Japan.

The things the many, many people were buying looked like this.

A table of yum. Cupcakes and pies and brownies and truffles and, well, let's get a bit closer, shall we. Note: You can see the alien and Sae Hee (baker of the majority of gluten free stuffs and blogger at VeganBeats) in these pictures. One of them owns an animal-shaped pencil case and princess umbrella. I will leave it up to you, readers, to decide who is who and what is owned by whom. I enjoy being needlessly mysterious.

These are Cyndi Lauper sugar cookies. They are named this, I assume, because they are what one wants to eat when the working day is done. Some of them were in the shape of people. I do so enjoy biting the heads off of things.

This is a name-tag for the cookies. The circled bit in the corner is not an indication that they came from the 6th floor, but that they are gluten free. There was a whole corner of gluten free wonder. Here's some more.

Until yesterday, I had never heard of this carob, a delicious sort of almost chocolate like raisiny thing that dogs, and humans, can equally enjoy without worry.

Ah, tropical yum. What is surprising about these, is the perfect amount of salt that accompanies each bite of sugary nutty goodness. Also, I flashbacked to Asheville, N.C. when I saw this note that the cookies contains nuts. It is always nice to know what one is getting into. It is also nice to know that you can eat things without worry--so, yay for considerate and skillful food makers.

Here are pictures of other delicious looking things that I assume were also delicious because by the end of the sale most of them were eaten by happy looking people.

Lemon cupcakes.

Jelly doughnut muffins.

Mostly empty table.

Vegan doggie treats. Yes, they exist. No, I didn't try one. Yes, I was tempted.

For more photos and descriptions from two of the fantastic baker people who made this happen, you should visit Alien's Day Out and VeganBeats.

And with that said, readers, I must bid you adieu. Monday is my day to watch The Game of Thrones and Doctor Who in a self-made double feature of tragi-whimsical wonder.

Happy Deliciousness, readers.


p.s. More pictures if that is your cuppa.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Seoul, I Love You

Hello, readers.

It is Sunday morning here, the rain has stopped, trains are rumbling by, and very soon, I will begin to write a review for a book concerning alligators and ghosts and bird men. Before I do that, though, three things.

1) Yesterday, I attended a Vegan Bake Sale at Roofer's in Itaewon. It was organized by the alien, among others. She made sure there was gluten free stuff. I took many pictures. Tomorrow, I will post them along with my comments. Spoiler: :)

2) A friend has been accepted into the Clarion West Workshop--one of those once-in-a-lifetime amazing/cool/terrifying/traumatizing things wherein people of like-mind exile themselves into an enclosed structure for six weeks and write, eat, sleep, fail, and fail better at various things (mostly writing and sleeping). This sort of thing costs money. My friend is not rich. If you feel like chipping in to help, you can and should go here. She will appreciate it. You will know she appreciates it because, depending on how much you chip-in, you will receive her appreciation in the form of tarot readings, hand-made postcards, or origami's containing secret messages. 

3) I have been using my oven. Here are pictures.

Muffins made, for the most part, with sorghum and a bit of coconut flour. I replaced the eggs with a flax seed slurry. Such slurries are made by grinding some amount of flax seeds and then whisking that with some boiling water. Depending on how bindy you want your flax seed slurry to be, you can play with the ratio of liquid to flax seeds. A bit thick would be 2 parts water to 1 part flax. Something more eggy, is generally in the 3:1 range.

One of the things good and right with the universe is pizza. 


I have been playing with the recipe by the Gluten Free Girl. What I've found, for my mix of flours and current location in space-time, is that adding a bit more yeast and allowing 2-3 hours of rising time results in a crispy, tender crust.

And then there was bread. I am not completely happy with the bread I've made, as it is not exactly the fluffy, sometimes crispy, often airy and crumbly stuff I remember as bread. It is something a bit denser. I have gone with more liquidy dough. I have allowed a bit more rising time. I have decided that more experimentation needs to be done. Here's what has been made so far.

One of the things that Gluten Free Girl says about gluten-free bread dough, is that one should not expect it to act like gluteny dough. She suggested allowing the mixture to be more goopier. So I did. I think maybe this one was a bit too goopy. But that depends on what one wants, of course. This is the bread resulting from that above goopness.


I cooked it in a not bread pan, as you can see. I like the cracking. This is what it looks like on the inside. It was tasty and there were air bubbles and it toasted well.

Below, there is a less goopy gluten-free dough. Also, a picture of the finish ball of bread. I did not take pictures of the inside because it was morning and I was listening to the audiobook version of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer and pictures slipped my mind.

And now, to work. Have a happy weekend, readers.