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Monday, March 21, 2011

Green peeve 1: Staggered automatic doors.

I know I'm critical of a lot of things. Mac n Cheese, shopping malls, plasma TVs, my school's English book, and all that stuff. However, I do make an effort to be constructive, to do more analyzing and informing than complaining. That is, until today.

Because, even though I know useless complaints about tiny details won't get anyone anywhere, sometimes it just feels good.

So here's one thing that's been pissing me off lately:

Homeplus (basically a Korean Walmart, owned about 20% by Korea's Samsung and 80% by England's TESCO, or so I hear), being a gigantic store, has gigantic entrances. Whether for fashion or insulation or some other purpose, the entrances always have two layers of doors. That is, you pass through the first set into a sort of antechamber, and then, after about two or three more meters, you pass through another set and into the store proper. Maybe because doors are difficult to open, or because shoppers are too exhausted after agonizing over which of the seven thousand varieties of Pringles they really want, or because touching things is dirty, some of the doors are automatic.

But that's not the peeve. I have come to accept that there are a billion stupid, crappy, destructive things about the world that I will never be able to change. I just go about my business and avoid them as much as I can. Plain old automatic doors go into this category.

No, the problem is not with the doors themselves, per se. It's with their arrangement. Have a look at the diagram:

AAAAA:Automatic sliding door
/: Gap between doors
HHHHH: Hinge door
GGGGG: Glass plate. )

In an effort to use my body rather than electricity, I usually go in through the first set of HHHHH doors. Notice, though, that I can't continue straight through, because the next set of doors is AAAAA! For no good reason that I can think of, I am cornered into an environmentally unfriendly act, like when they drop two tiny, pointless strips of beef into the would-be-vegan soup at the faculty cafeteria. Of course, I can try to take the H-H diagonal path; but even then, it's hard to avoid tripping the A sensors across from me. Theoretically, it would be possible to enter at H, slink spy-style until the center of the G's, cut into the middle before I trigger the A's on the right hand side, and then pop in through the other set of H doors. But, in the real world, I'm already white, ponytailed, and usually wearing torn-up clothes appropriate for bicycle rides ( during which nobody will see me for more than about three seconds at a time). I don't need to appear any more freaksih by looking like I'm playing hide-and-seek (alone) in the store entrance.

Unable to realize my low-impact ambitions, I tend to opt for the freegan strategy: wait for someone who has no qualms about using AAAAA doors and the sneak in right behind them. Nice and close. Creepily so. Sure, I go through the door that I hate. But I don't cause it to open, and therefore don't contribute to any pointless use of fossil fuels. Just drafting, along for the ride.

Veritably, life is like a hornet's nest.

Does anyone else out there have any particularly peeving green peeves they just want to vent about? Or suggestions for me? Or other ways that you apply this dumpster-diving methodology to your life?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

DGCL's CSBS at my house! Almost!

Sometime back around December, as I must have mentioned, I started frequenting the "Daegu Green Consumers League"'s Tuesday-night "Vegetarian Dinner for the Good of the Planet." Each week, we gather at "The Warehouse" (the name of the meeting place), and a woman named Mina cooks a meal for us. There are about five regulars (I now count myself among them) and another five or so who come from time to time. Nobody else - except my buddy/neighbor/co-chef Suzie - is a vegetarian, but everyone tries it once a week in order to reduce the strain they know meat-eating places on the planet.

Last week, Mina went on a trip and wanted to cancel the event, but I wasn't gonna let that happen. Instead, I coerced Suzie into helping me host. So, we invited the League over for dinner. Here's what we made:

An unplanned leftover salad (my creation)! Mini sprouts, baby greens, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, old bell peppers, a few kinda squishy cherry tomatoes, a beet I didn't know what to do with, and roasted perilla, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds. Dressed with olive oil, white wine vinegar, and some Italianish herb mix so kindly procured and exported by my mom.

Croutons made with multi-grain sesame bread, olive oil, and just a hint of salt and pepper. All credit to Suzie for these.

Suzie's pumpkin/carrot soup, with just a hint of curry.

Potatoes Donatella-style. I learned this from my host mom in Padova in 2005. Just cube the potatoes, swish them around in a mixing bowl with a bit of oil, salt, and rosemary, and then roast them for an hour. Suzie added a little twist: steam the potatoes first, so that they're a little squishier on the inside, but still nice and crispy outside.

I also woke up at 6 that morning to makee a giant pot of chili in the slow cooker - kidney beans, black beans, tomatoes, tomato paste blended together with an onion/bell pepper/garlic/red pepper powder sautee. It came out tasting OK, but was a little ugly, so there's no picture.

For dessert:

Some fresh fruits (yes, unfortunately, mostly imported, but all bought at about 11pm the night before from the shelf of past-expiration date stuff that the store was going to throw out anyway...) that we used to make:

Low-energy CHOCOLATE FONDUE, the heat source for which was just 3 tiny little candles. Amazing.

And here's everyone having a great time:

This was my second time co-hosting the event with Suzie. It's a bit stressful in the moments beforehand, trying to whip everything up in the one-hour gap after work and before everyone shows up, but it really winds up being a blast making good food for your friends - particularly if you can make stuff they're not likely to have tried, even if the ingredients are all available.

Ah, also, the whole meal cost just about 5 bucks a person, and that's counting about five servings of leftover chili, too! I deceive you not!

Mina's out of town next week, too, which means that the 지구를 위한 채식 밥상 is coming to my place.

The menu is:
-Suzie's roast sweet pumpkin appetizer (uncharted territory for me.)
-Indian style cabbage curry (I made a test batch today - easy and delicious^^)
-Thai style curry with potatoes, coconut milk, and whatever other vegetables are available when I swing by the organic shop tomorrow (also going to be a bit of an experiment).
-Mixed-grain rice, perhaps with some sweet potato slices mixed in for good measure.
-And perhaps, if everyone is lucky, my patented peanut-banana-soy milk-powder of roast grain supershakes.

Can I just say, nothing beats food with friends?