Gotta pick the right slogan

And another jumps on the funny t-shirt/stuff bandwagon. Cracked has started doing this too, even disguising ads as articles. To the consternation of their commentors. Ooooooooh

I would love to have this mug though.

Scroogled Keep Calm Mug view 1
That logo can be replaced with any company giving you free stuff in exchange for your details

I’m not quite sure why Microsoft is seen as the bogeyman here, considering Google had/has ‘Don’t be evil’ as their slogan. Perhaps because Microsoft is a huge company with 90% market share for operating systems and it’s so edgy to take it to the Man, man!

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Except that Google has a 70% market share for search. So not so much the underdog.

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Poor Naver. Anyway, when two titans like Microsoft and Google fight, or Superman and Zod if you will, we’re the ones that suffer. There are other ways, is what I’m saying.

Or as my mum says κλωτσιοντε τα μουλαρια αλιμονο απο τα γαιδουρια, when mules fight woe unto the donkeys. (Yeah, can’t get the accents). Since mules are bigger than donkeys, and apparently Greece is full of both.

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The American Donkey and Mule Society is totally a real thing.

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Not sure about you, dear reader, but when a company has a slogan like ‘Don’t be evil’ I am doubly wary of what they are doing. Consider meeting someone who’s personal motto was ‘Don’t be evil’ or ‘Don’t kill anyone today’. “Hi, my name is John. I believe not killing people is just super. Let’s be friends.” How would you react to that?

This touches on what an appropriate slogan should be. One would imagine a corporate slogan would be forward-looking, a slogan that can inspire and perhaps even tell you what the company does. Perhaps Google went with ‘Don’t be evil’ to show they are different to all those other massively powerful companies out there. Here’s the thing, society expects you not to be evil. We even have a whole system set up and a place to send people that decide they’d rather not play by society’s rules. Making an expectation like this your motto suggests you are anything but. There’s a whole tvtropes page for it.

Then there’s our ubiquitous master (this is a real slogan for one of our products), Facebook. Somehow I ended up at the wikia page for a Doctor Who novel The Tomorrow Windows. My Facebook feed now has an ad for The Tomorrow People, a series that sounds suspiciously similar to Heroes.

I think my new hobby just became clicking on Facebook sidebar ads to see what other ads those ads spawn. Either I’ll rip a hole in the fabric of reality or lose my sanity. Let’s see which happens first.

Cooking Time: Bulgogi Chimichanga

Had some pretty intense weather last night. On the way to work this morning I saw two ships had run aground, an oil tanker and a containership.

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I love Mexican food or Tex-Mex food. Not sure, actually, since the only frame of reference I have is food of this kind that I’ve had in Korea. Still, I make burritos or chimichangas as often as I can. For both, I use this recipe because it is very easy to make with whatever you have (though I use my version of refried beans with whatever meat I have on hand). The recipe below is for bulgogi chimichangas, which are like closed burritos. No beans in this one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Signature plating beauty mark on the left

Ingredients

  • 400 g marinated bulgogi meat (see directions here)
  • 1 tbs sesame oil (add to meat before cooking)
  • 150 g spinach, sauteed and then roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 100 g cabbage kimchi (donated by a friend’s mother)
  • sesame seeds
  • tortilla bread

Method

Heat some oil in a pan. Add your bulgogi and cook until it changes colour. Cooking the emat shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes since it is very thinly sliced, remember. Add your spincach, kimchi, and cooked rice. Cook for another 3 minutes and then remove from the heat.

In a clean frying pan, heat the tortilla until it becomes soft. You’ll know it is soft when it starts to slightly puff up. We need the tortilla soft so when we fold it it won’t fall apart. See video below

Once that’s done, spoon (heh) your filling onto the centre of the tortilla, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and fold. Place the chimichangas seam side down on baking paper on a baking tray and bake in a 200°C oven for 15 minutes. A real chimichangas would be deep fried, but I’m not into that. This recipe makes 8 chimichangas using an 8-inch tortilla. YMMV depending on how big your cup of rice is and how much filling you use for each chimichanga.

How to bulgogi

Bulgogi is pretty widely availbale in Korea. If not, ask the butcher to slice some Scotch fillet for you as thinly as possible. The marinade needs (for 400 g beef)

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbs water
  • 1 onion, chooped in a blender
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed (I always use more)
  • 30 cm stalk spring onion, sliced
  • sugar (optional, supposedly makes the meat more tender)
  • nashi pear, sliced (optional, same purpose as the sugar)

Put all these in a plastic bowl (apparently metal reacts with the contents but I’ve never had this problem), cover and refrigerate for anywhere between 30 minutes to overnight. I typically add the sesame oil after the marinating has finished because I don’t want the oil to overpower the other flavours.

Back up to recipe

Top 4 News for the Week

Top News from the desk of George

1. An unknown coworker burnt one of those steamed buns in the microwave on Thursday morning (think pizza pocket, but with fillings like kimchi, pizza, or red bean). The whole office and corridor smelt like burnt red bean all day. On the plus side, I now know what burnt red bean smells like. The culprit was not reprimanded so, dear reader, you can guess his rank in the office.

In related news, I’m not allowed to bring Indian food for lunch.

2. People everywhere seem to be impressed by the weather phenomenon they call ‘snow’. There is no shortage of ‘OMG it’s snowing’ pictures on my social media feeds when there’s even a slight patina of the white stuff on the ground. So my new hobby is posting pictures of when it is not snowing. It has not snowed in Ulsan for a while now, though I heard that it snowed last Christmas. SInce I was away at the time it may as well not have happened.

Granted, the first time I saw snow falling I too was impressed. I was inside my tiny gositel when it began. The romanticism vanished the first time it snowed and I happened to be outside. As a portent it was pretty fitting, since I was on my way to my dodgy hangwon owner’s office in Bangbae.

A few years ago it was my department’s job to shovel the snow out from the shipyard driveway. Because Ulsan was ill prepared for snow, the roads iced up so I had to walk home in the snowstorm. I remember seeing a man carrying a pizza he had bought from the department, about 40 minutes walk away. I imagine he was bringing it home for his kids, them gathering around the table very excited to have a treat like pizza, only to lose all faith in their father when he opens the box to reveal a frozen solid pizza.

3. Some people (in this case Koreans because I’m in Korea and aside from the “1.5 million foreigners” everyone is Korean) have no qualms about bringing outside food into Starbucks. They then precede to eat it as noisily as possible, as if they are auditioning for a chip commercial or one of those awful soju commercials. (at 28 sec)

Not even the most ridiculous soju commercial. Though Son Dambi looks a lot like one of my exes.

For their part, Starbucks doesn’t seem to mind since they haven’t put up any signs discouraging the practice. There are No Smoking signs, however. They also have this gem

toilet sign
The better translation for 고장 is trouble, or in this context ‘out of order’. The rest of the Korean is telling female customers to use the toilets in the adjacent department store. Too bad for the foreign engineers’ wives who don’t read Korean.

4. Our magazine New Horizons is almost ready for printing. The project manager from Höegh LNG (pronounced ‘Herg’, as in iceberg) I interviewed mentioned our logistics system and how everything is traceable all the way back to the steel mill. This article Use of Smartphones during Work Hours Emerging as Significant Problem mentions our m-PASS mobile after sales service. Shipbuilding engineers use it to monitor equipment status and find the right contact point on our side.

The choice quote from this article echoes what the engineer from Höegh LNG said:

“The system has led to our greater confidence in the ships built by Hyundai Heavy Industries.”

The ‘significant problem’ in the title is workers using their personal phones when they should be working. The company my cousin works for (he drives a bus) has a strict no phone policy. If they catch you using a phone you will be reprimanded and possibly sacked. The company recommends drivers keep their phones in their lockers rather than with them during a shift. He tells me some drivers keep their phones with them ‘in case of an emergency’ but it’s better in this case for the employer to be the first point of contact rather than the driver: the last thing anyone wants is a distraught driver at the wheel endangering the lives of passengers. In an emergency the company recalls the driver to the depot and then tells him of the emergency.

Cooking Time: George's Chicken Soup

I’m getting a cold. I’m pretty sure I already have a cold and it’s just a matter of time before my heroic defenders are destroyed. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten. Never!

To help my Spartans out I decided to make chicken soup last night. Here’s my recipe.

Ingredients (for 2, or dinner and breakfast in my case)

  • 200 g chicken (thigh, breast, whatever), torn into strips See note below
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 100 g broccoli, cut into tiny little trees
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 150 g cooked rice
  • 1 tbs parsley
  • 1/2 tbs thyme
  • 250 mL water
  • 250 mL George’s Chicken Stock
  • pepper & salt to taste

Method

Bring your water to the boil. If you’re like me, you’ve made chicken stock and keep it frozen in the freezer. Now’s the time to add it to the water.

Add the chicken, broccoli, celery, parsley, and thyme (and salt/pepper) to the pot. Because the chicken has been cut into thin strips it will cook very quickly. Cook for how soft you want your vegetables. For me, 10 to 12 minutes is enough because I like my veggies with a bit of crunch. I may develop a taste for babymulched veggies when I’ve lost all my teeth.

Not shown: pine nuts, fresh parsley, or almond flakes
Not shown: pine nuts, fresh parsley, shaved almonds, or other faux plating

Add your cooked rice just before you’re done cooking: you want to heat the rice, not dissolve it into the soup.

Must investigate dissolving rice into soup further

Note on chicken: Do not use smoked chicken for this recipe. I do not recommend this because the flesh has the same texture as rubber. Roast chicken works well, especially if you’ve cut the meat into strips by hand or knife. If you are using raw chicken, it is best to  boil the chicken in water first. When it’s done cooking, remove the chicken and let it cool. DO NOT THROW OUT THE WATER. Remove the white stuff with a sieve (ohhh, we got an aristocrat over here) or a spoon. You will use this water as your chicken stock. Of course, adding more chciken stock to this couldn’t hurt.
Back to recipe

Saying "You're Welcome" is so passé

So yeah, LinkedIn articles. This one is telling you not to say “You’re welcome” when someone thanks you for something. Instead say

“I know you’d do the same thing for me”

The reasons for saying this seemingly self-serving phrase instead are given as

1. It conveys that we have the type of relationship where we can ask each other for favors and help each other without keeping score.

Erm, no. If you feel the need to remind the person that you can ask each other for favours without keeping score then you really can’t ask each other for favours without keeping score.

2. It communicates confidence that you’re the kind of person who’s willing to help others.

How does it communicate that you’re willing to help others? A better way to do this would be to say “Any time”. This is what I usually say. One commentor wrote ¡de nada! which is a cool thing to say since English speakers tend to pepper their speech with non-English words to show off.

3. It activates the norm of reciprocity, making sure that you feel obligated to pay the favor back in the future.

Maybe it’s just me, but this reminds me way too much of this scene in The Godfather

Godfather: Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this justice as a gift on my daughter’s wedding day.

I’m also beginning to notice that some of these articles exist in an echo chamber. Though this one seems like a hamfisted attempted at selling the books mentioned.

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In Korean, the textbook ‘You’re welcome’ is kinda unnatural. It’s far more common and natural to say 아니에요