Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jim Kruska's disapointment in the first hit on google when James Kruska is typed in.

Okay about 4 years ago I was working at a winter camp at Gyeongsang National University, this is the first hit on google that I get when I type in my name. Apparently some dude that I was working with (I'm not going to mention his name because I don't really know the guy despite him being seemingly a first name basis with me.) was taking some photos that he didn't want to be seen taking. Now I can't really speak too much to this guy's intent but the bars in the foreground are kind of disturbing indicating that the photographer was inside and then later uploading his personal memories of me standing around with a hockey stick next to some kids. I'm just glad that i look thin in this picture.

Jim Kruska's post about making Jim Kruska more Visible on Google

I Jim Kruska, am adding a post with my name to this website in an attempt to make my name more visible on google, Jim Kruska. When I google myself, Jim Kruska aka James Kruska, I get some disappointing web results. Finally the last post about the worst cooking show ever, gave both Jim Kruska and James Kruska some more visibility on the web. Unfortunately, also when I google myself, the name of some lady who was convicted of a dirty crime also comes up.

It is up to me, Jim Kruska, to make sure that my name appears in print enough so that when I Jim Kruska aka James Kruska google's myself Jim Kruska, that there is no confusion.

Thank you for listening
Signing off
Jim Kruska aka James Kruska

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Worst Cooking Show Ever

I searched my thesaurus, but couldn't find enough synonyms for the word bad, or one potent enough to describe Jim Kruska's latest foray into the world of film making. Other films by Kruska have featured him cast in the role as mountain adventurer, sword fighter, but in Kruska's latest project he plays the role of health guru/chef, and as a result viewers would be cautioned against dining in any establishment that features him at the helm in the kitchen. (As a freshman in college he anchored a kitchen of an establishment that went out of business after a malfunction of a walk in refrigerator.)

In standard vlog format, the film starts out with the custom vlogger pose of the person who thinks that the conversations one has with them self is interesting enough to film and put on the internet. However in Kruska's case, the fast eyes that dart about reminds viewers of someone on their first date. Indeed, one gets the feeling that Kruska feels anxious even when talking to himself.

The film then cuts to an unexplained shot of boiling chicken. One is later supposed to piece together that the shot following the boiling chicken is the frozen block of chicken broth that was the product of the boiling chicken from the day before. In the hands of a real film maker, this would have been explained.

The frozen block of chicken broth goes on to set the tone for the rest of the film and how appetizing everything looks next to a frozen block of chicken broth, which Kruska unfortunately refers to as a "chickensicle," and unsanitarly beats with a wooden sword.

As a taster, I would have to say that a saving grace of the film would be that the soup actually tastes pretty good, but as a film critic, I would say that Kruska's career as a film maker is going to be a short one.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Eatin Japanese food in Myeong Dong

I don't make it up to Seoul that often but last week I had some marital business to attend to at the American Embassy. When that was all finished we went to my favorite part of Seoul, Myeong-dong. We don't really go many other places in Seoul, the last time we were there we checked out Anyang and Myeong Dong, that was way back in February. At that time I shot some footage of Okonomiyaki.

Now Myeong-dong is famous in Korea for its ability to attract Japanese tourists who seem to like to go there and buy cosmetics, seaweed, and they also like to eat Korean style energy chicken soup. (Normal chicken soup made from a Cornish game hen prepared with garlic ginseng, a fig, a chestnut with rice cooked in the middle.) Naturally a place with so many Japanese people would also have Japanese food.

Okonomiyaki to me is usually a disappointing dish. It is basically an omelet with a whole bunch of stuff on it, cooked for a long time, and topped off with flying fish flakes and terriyaki sauce. Not bad with a beer but it also leaves me with a feeling of having wasted a meal. The Okonomiyaki in this video was no different, but it is kind of cool to film.

In the second part of the video you can see some Doan Ggass. Don Ccass is Korean for the Japanese Katsu Doan. This is basically a deep fried pork chop that is a Japanese dish that is also popular in Korea. It is served a few different ways. Japanese style is just a bare pork chop. A sesame/terriyaki paste is provided for dipping, and is usually served with a cabbage salad at Japanese style Korean franchises. Korean style don Ggass features the pork already covered in the sauce.

Both styles are okay. My favorite place for the Korean style is a small place near by my school called Kimbab house. There you can get a pork chop, some rice, a salad, a cup of broth some little fruit thingys, and the price is only 4000 won. The taste is great too.

For 7000 won in Jinju, you can get the same meal at a Japanese style franchise, with the taste being okay but nothing really that special.

But for 9000 won, you can go to Myeong dong and have specialty Myeong Dong Don-cass. Here the pork chop is nice an thick. It is also quite tender and served with some rice, a cabbage salad, some pickled raddish (danmooji), and some nice miso/dwenjjang soup.

The lady who was our waitress seemed pleased that I ordered a beer using the Southern Gyeongsangnamdo dialect so she replenished my salad, and danmooji, whenever it ran out.

I have never eaten Katsu don in Japan, but I did have Katsu donburi one time in the Japanese countryside. Katsu donburi, takes the same pork chop and terriyaki sauce, and puts it over rice with an egg. I have to say that the Myeong dong Don-cass rivals the quality of the Katsu donburi pork chop that I had four years ago in Japan. Unfortunatly Myeong Dong Don-ccas doesn't have Katsudonburi (Don-Cgass Deop bab) on its menu. But if you want to have Katsu don in Korea, Myeong Dong is the place to go.

Buying a Hanbok

I went Hanbok shopping today with my fiance and her family. Her mom seems quite chummy with the owner of a silk factory, so we went to the factory store to go pick out colors for silk. My fiance chose a pink color for the skirt and a yellow top. I ended up with burgundy pants, a white shirt, and a dark blue jacket. There is also a patch that has silver embroidery of fire breathing turtles. My fiance's sister in law, and mother also ordered some silk and had some measurements taken.

This will be the first tailored outfit that I have ever had. I'm quite excited, actually. The outfit is 100% silk, and it will be sewn by hand. I think it will take one month to make.

Another interesting point about the day was the fact that after my fiance's mom paid for the outfits, the owner of the shop took us all out for lunch. I thought that was quite nice.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I finally had shellfish that I Enjoyed

I can't believe that I have never done this before. Last night I had dinner at a shellfish restaurant that grilled shellfish. I have never enjoyed shellfish until last night.

It was in a tiny shack of about 7 tables. Outside were some tanks that kept some giant scallops, clams, sea squirt, abalone, and other stuff that I don't know what it was.

The meal began with a guy bringing yeon tan and putting it in a hole in the middle of a table. A Yeon Tan is an artificial charcoal that is made from petroleum products. He then put a grill in the middle of the table and proceeded to add the shellfish. Before he did all of that though he gave us our side dishes which were some shrimp, a canned peach, some peanuts, and some saucess. Also at the end of the table were some chillie peppers mached up with some garlic and some kind of sauce. That mash up went into a metal bowl with some water, along with scallop and some other shells.

That sauce became an amazing spicy garlicy broth, that simmered away at the table. Along with all of that was a giant scallop shell that had some foil and shredded mozzerella cheese that melted on the grill.

Other shells were added to the grill and were eaten with the various sauces. At the end of the meal we ordered some intant Ramen. The ramen came with some shrimp and other shells in it. This made for a wonderful broth.

I should try this kind of food again except next time take some pictures.

Missin Michigan

I love the time we live in now. I love how easily information can travel through the air and overseas. If I had to watch only Korean television shows I probably would have a much move vibrant social life, or perhaps would have taken up some new hobby. I would probably be fluent in Korean, and weigh ten pounds less. Fortunately or Unfortunately I can usually see whatever television program that I want to see.

Two weeks ago I was reading "The Daily Beast," and read a story about the real life of male prostitutes. The story was based on the HBO television show, "Hung."

Later that week I was able to watch the pilot episode of "Hung," and was drawn to the show because it took place in Detroit. There haven't been many shows that take place in Detroit. Haven't been many movies either, so when I a Michigander see things in Michigan, I always tend to shit myself.

It also helps that the show isn't too bad either. The show is about a high school basketball coach who becomes a male prostitute and blah blah blah, who cares, you can see the ruins of Detroit on full display, inland lake McMansions, and all the other highs and lows of everything that is both right and wrong with America.

On the one hand the main character "Ray," is a likable guy who seems to have strong family values, but on the other he is a male prostitute who is chasing after the dream of wealth. That is much like a lot of Michigan and America these days. In a lot of places in Michigan you can find places of utter desperation. Homeless people beg for hand outs by saying that they are out of gas, because people might be more likely to help someone out who can afford a car rather than some junky.

On the other hand you can find fabulously wealthy people who are the meanest dirtiest cunts that the planet has to offer. You can find people whose business have been failing for years, but refuse to change. You see that in hung. You see Detroit's abandoned sky scrapers, acre wide abandoned factories, with no one to accept responsibility for them.

But Michigan is also a land of plenty. Plenty of corn, cherries, and most of all water. Scenes of "Ray," living in a cottage next to an inland lake makes me miss the days when a good swim or fish was only a mile away. Seeing that show makes me want to start a fire, crack a beer, and become food for the mosquitoes as the sun sets.

Don't get me wrong, Korea has lovely coasts, but not the kind that can take a dock, or the kind that allows one to be alone, since in the most remote of places here you can always see at least 5 other people.

At any rate, "Hung," is a pretty good show, it is even better if you were born in Michigan.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Just What the Hell is Wrong with Rain?

Right I got to give this guy some props for having that dance off with Steven Colbert, but he has been going down hill from there.

First he planned a U.S. tour, then totally flaked on it, and has gotten the pants sued off of him for doing so. The picture above shows him outside of the Hawaii court where he got sued. At that place he got served with another lawsuit in L.A. and did the punk ass move of dropping the serving papers to the ground.

Hey Rain, guess what, they are still going to get your money, you should have just played the damn concerts.

Then came Megan Fox.
In a few interviews in Europe, Megan Fox indicated that she would like to meet Rain and that he was kind of hot. You see Rain played the bad guy in Speed Racer. When I was a kid I saw a few episodes of Speed Racer and wasn't impressed. However, Megan Fox was in Transformers and became a personal friend of Optimus Prime. How does someone turn down the chance of being 2 degrees away from Optimus Prime. Optimus Prime is totally awesome and can turn into a peter built truck and stuff. He also has a laser cannon arm and is a robot, and Megan Fox knows him.

So come on Rain. What the hell is wrong with you? You would think that after you screwed over all of your American fans when you canceled your tour, you would at least try to do something totally rad and meet Optimus Prime. Now instead of making every American man jealous and making them hate you, they just hate you the way Boston Redsox fans hate Bill Buckner.

Plan to rip out Nick Kune's Femurs

I may have mentioned this before but, I will be getting married in October. My fiance, has a schoolgirl crush on K-pop boy band 2 p.m. member Nick Koon, (I don't know how to spell it.) Anyway 2 p.m. will be coming to Jinju this Thursday. I think being jealous in this situation is healthy as a sign of my love, so I think a plan to rip out this guys femurs is well warrented. I'm only going to stick to this plan if he A: Shows interest in my love. B: Is rude to her in anyway, or C: comes within 20 feet with lust in his eyes. So here is my plan.

First step: buy some chickens.

I'm still failing the "Idiet," so I need some chickens to make chicken broth. Korea doesn't sell canned chicken broth so whenever I make one of those "Idiet," soups it is always an ordeal because if I want chicken broth, I have to boil a chicken or two for a few hours and freeze the stock, and then add whatever beans or tomatoes to it later.

Step two: Practice pulling the thigh bones out of the chickens without removing the legs. I swear if Nick Kuhn tries anything with my woman, I'm going to make him an excellent dancer. Without thigh bones he'll have more gumby like motions on stage. I'll actually be doing him a favor.

Step three: I'll invite him to a public bath, give him a forget me now and gentily turn up the heat in the water. Usually in chickens the thigh bones come out pretty easily after a couple hours of boiling.

Step four: Buy some boshin tang dogs.

Step Five: Rabid fans of 2 P.M. would probably be sad that one of their members is femurless and want to extract their revenge on me. That is were the soup dogs come in. I'm sure that the dogs that Koreans make soup out of would like to extract some revenge on humans some how. Now I know that dogs like bones so if a murauding horde of middle school girls were to attack me. Then I could use the dogs as a canine sheild by throwing the popstar femurs into the attacking host. This would give me an ample opportunity to escape, and to apologize to such a promising young man like Nick Kuhn.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What the hell happened to me?

Initial Hope
This post is more a reflection. I feel like Korea changed me a bit. I'm finally starting to realize it. When I stepped of that plane in 2004 I was a hopeful college student. I came here to develop some devastating Taekwondo skills, which I did to some extent, but nearly five (no exactly five F me) years later I'm not as lean and and nearly as mean as I was.

Please don't ask me Questions that I don't know the Answer to

My day at work started like this. It was 8:00 in the morning. I sat down in my chair an turned on my computer. One co-teacher approached me with a text book to see if the text book had a sentence wrong. I looked at the sentence. It seemed fine to me so, and said so. Then another co-teacher chimed in and started saying real conditional unreal conditional blah blah blah. I really couldn't take that at eight in the morning, so I gave a rather terse response, "It's really not that important, the sentence is fine."

That response kind of shut them all up but I feel bad because I can't really explain why the sentence was fine, and for the life of me I don't see why it is so important. It really made me feel like a bit of a failure, because after that indecent I criticized them in my mind. "Why the hell do you care about that stuff, I still can't have any kind of meaningful conversation with the majority of these kids." Then I felt disappointed in myself because I have been there for two years and I can't have an English conversation for more than twenty second with most of the student body. And frankly I don't know how to change things. I can type out worksheets, I can make Korean and English vocabulary lists (I learned a lot of Korean that way). I can search for and plan activities, but I'd say that only about 1/10 of the students honestly try. The rest either use my class to dick around, or they just can't. (Those kids that started middle school, not knowing how to read English...guess what they still can't.)

My school made a change in its curriculum. At the beginning of this semester I was designing communicative lessons that simulated situational English. For a while I was running some pretty good classes with that. Then the students seemed to get bored with it. Then the principal decided that the third grade students should use one of the periods that I was using to take practice tests to get ready for some big test that they have to take in October. I don't blame him, he has to boost the school's standing somehow. It actually made my life a bit easier, but it made my co-teachers' jobs a bit harder, because they also had to take on about 2 extra extra classes per day each. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays all feature zero hour classes, as well as seventh and eight hour classes. Some days my co-teachers are teaching seven hours a day. As for the students they seem to hate school now, which has made classes that I teach that much more difficult. I do thank my co-teachers for putting a few questions from my self generated material on the tests so they have to pay attention in my class.

05 Remembered
The second time I came to Korea I did a free tesol course. In many respects I got what I paid for, because I learned a whole bunch of games and activities that I can bring into a classroom, but I still don't really know that much about English grammar. Korean middle school text books don't make it very easy either.

When you try to come up with ideas for classes a government issued text book has stunning material like this:

Let's talk 1

Sujin: Minho do you think that we can save the animals?
Minho: I'm sure we can save the animals. What about you sujin?
Sujin: I don't think we will.
Minho: Cheer up Sujin, you should be an optimist.

Just what the hell am I supposed to do with that for 45 minutes?

The grammar part doesn't get that much better.

Language Focus

Can you tell me where the library is?
I don't know what the hell is going on with this text book?

There is no teachers edition of the text book in English to tell me what the hell the point of the exercise is. I spent about two hours on the Internet learning about adverb or adjective phrases, whatever, I don't know why this is important, and not many people can tell me. I just want to have something to teach to the student other than Minho and Sujin's opinions on whether or not animals will be okay.

Remembering Me
Back when I was in high school and college I was pretty awesome. A bit like Napoleon Dynamite, but in someways pretty awesome. You see back in those days I thought that if I developed martial arts and break dancing skills, I would be more attractive to women. I actually never got around to being a competent break dancer, but I tried, and I genuinely enjoyed dancing at high school dances, and for a while some kids would put together nice little underground dance parties in a warehouse that was next to a fruit market. More importantly back in those days I despaired a bit, because I had a lot of things that I wanted to say to other people, but not many friends, and especially a girlfriend to tell them too. My solace had always been my car that always pumped the hottest underground hip hop beats of the time. Talib Kweli would rap about America's hypocrisy, and how hard it was to stay strong. That time I was making $150 teaching Taekwondo seven days a week. I learned a hate for something I loved. From teaching all the time and not having any strong opponents, my skills started to decline.

But hip hop was the sound track to that time of my life. Mos Def and Talib Kweli helped me to feel the city of Kalamazoo breathing, chest heaving, against the flesh of the evening, on me. My car was the place where hip hop would soothe my soul.

This Afternoon
I don't know what happened with me and my relationship with hip hop. We grew apart I guess. Just last week I posted a video of 9 Korean teenage girls dressed as Nazis doing a strange dance and singing about how they will grant all my wishes. Why am I accepting this? Where is is my inner dead prez? Where is Jill Scott on "The Roots Come Alive Album," reminding me that she can still sing despite having on all of her clothes? Oh yeah, I'm forgetting it because I've got a nine to five now. My needs are being met. The only thing I have to worry about is why there is is past tense verb in a second conditional sentence that seems to be set in the future. (I also have to worry about a crazy fuck to the north with his bombs.)

I remembered all that hip hop this afternoon though on youtube. In a personal sonic combination of typing lesson plans, nodding my head and hearing the aural pleasure of Nas's Hero I felt the power and righteousness of 400 years of oppression and creative expression ripping the strings of candy shop pop music that tethered my soul. Just check this out. If freedom had a sound it would be that. Now pressure cookers tick, cultural pressure cookers sound and look like this, and if you add too much water or turn the heat up too high, they explode.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Here is an Interesting story in the Times about Korea


I sometimes entertain romantic notions of escaping my life as an English teacher to go work on the high seas. That can actually get somewhat dangerous here since Chinese fishermen have also been known to attack Korean boats. It is a bit of a difference of culture that someone would be ashamed of working hard to make ends meet. These people would be lauded in some cultures for being upright men and doing whatever it takes to take care of their familys. I'll admit that I don't want to become a professional back scrubber, but I think that working on a fishing boat would sure teach me all the Korean that I want to know.