the new neighbors finally moved in, a large moving truck eclipsing my window view and shining orange into the living room. since i still haven't seen them, i was eager for a glimpse. i saw a woman taking out cleaning equipment from a car. when i went out i bumped into a man standing in the street. he didn't seem particularly friendly and sort of went out of his way to ignore me, so i thought i'd make the first move. "are you the new neighbor?" i asked. "no, she is," he said, pointing to a ghost inside the house. "i'm just a friend." a late middle-aged woman with a male friend who's not her husband helping her move in? interesting.
after getting some cash from the ATM, i went to the union square korean supermarket and bought a small daikon radish and a container of korean crushed red pepper. i think one of the store owners recognized me from my last visit a few weeks ago, buying up bottles of korean soju and a head of napa lettuce. coming back, i stopped off at market basket to pick up some fresh ginger, some sugar, and a string of bananas.
back at home, i was about to embark on two cooking adventures. my first project was to make some egg nog with my leftover milk and eggs. after researching some recipes, i decided to basically follow the steps i'd normal do for making a dozen flan: 10 eggs, 6 cups milk, 1 cup sugar, 2 tbsp vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, a dash of cinnamon. the tricky part is pasteurizing the eggs first. to the 10 eggs i added about a cup's worth of milk and slowly cooked it over low heat, carefully monitoring the temperature with a digital cooking thermometer. i had to bring everything to 160°F to make the eggs safe, but before i could reach that temperature, the eggs started to curdle (at about 140°F) so i took it off the stove. it's hard to pasteurize eggs (although this was my first attempt). in the future, if i ever wanted to do homemade egg nog again, it might be easier to buy pasteurized eggs from a carton. once that was done, i mixed everything together and poured it into a plastic pitcher, to be chilled inside the fridge. i sampled a small amount, tastes just like egg nog, a touch watery, but good enough.
my second cooking project was to make some kimchee with the leftover head of napa lettuce i bought on wednesday. after calling my parents to get the recipe (i found a few online as well, but i figured my parents had more actual experience making the stuff), i started making some fermented vegetables. i used to collect glass jars but threw them all away, so i had nothing to store the kimchee. i ended up empty a jar i was using to keep dead batteries, and found another jar hiding in the basement. i feel like i've made kimchee before, but it must've been a long time ago because i don't seem to remember when that was. it's actually pretty simple. the main component of korean kimchee is napa lettuce, although you may be able to get away with some other cabbage or lettuce variety. i chopped up the lettuce and threw it into a glass bowl. next i did the same to the daikon, cutting them into flat quarter wedges (you may be able to get away with some other carrot or radish). i then sprinkled everything with 2 tbsp of salt, which in hindsight was probably a little bit too much. salt is added for flavoring but it also pulls the water out of the lettuce/radish, reducing everything in size to about 30% of the original. i tossed in some chopped scallions and frozen hot chili peppers just for kicks. after a few hours, i added some chopped garlic (6 cloves) and some ginger slices. also 2 tbsp of the korean crushed hot pepper (the lid actually popped off when i was bringing it home, but fortunately i had it in a bag and managed to get most of the pepper back into the container), mixing everything well before putting them into jars. i managed to fit most of it into a pickle jar (former battery jar), putting the rest away in a smaller salsa jar (i emptied out some leftover salsa). i tasted some of it and it's way too salty, but maybe that's the way it's supposed to taste. now i'm waiting for everything to ferment. my father told me to add some fish bits to the kimchee to speed up fermentation, but i'm afraid of any residual fishy taste so i decided not to add that piece of ingredient.
i asked my father to come with my to microcenter so i could use a coupon to get a free 4GB thumb drive and for him to check out some mouse options. he really likes trackballs but they lack the scroll wheel found on regular mice. we came across logitech's trackman wheel, which looks like the hybrid offspring of a mouse and a trackball. there was even one where the trackball was the main controller and the scroll wheel on the side, but it only came in a more expensive wireless version. we didn't buy it at the store but i ordered one when i got back home ($24). i cashed my coupon and received a 4GB thumb drive as promised ($10 without the coupon). i felt bad for the cashier because she had to input a bunch of info into the computer, plus it was holding up the line (fortunately there were 2 other lines). i gave my father the other coupon, redeemable for a free 2GB SD card.
i didn't hear a word from client B the whole day after they told me i'd be going down to jersey this weekend to help them fix a buggy interactive. silence from a client can be good or bad, but i'm taking it as a positive after sweating through an entire day, fearful of what they wanted me to do, even more scared of how i'd react to the bad news. nor did i get in touch with them, figuring in this case ignorance would be bliss. i'm not going to worry about it, savor this weekend, battle again in the coming work week.
i received my copy of drive-in cult classics volume 3 the other day. i ordered it from deepdiscount.com during their black friday sale for $5. it features 8 low budget exploitation movies from the late 60's and 70's, spanning 4 double-sided dvd's packed in a thick slipcase. having watched 2 of the movies, i went online and ordered volume 1. these are the movies i like to watch, featuring subversive plots, strange and outdated dialogue, bad production value, random violence, and frequent boobage.
the first movie was the babysitter (1969), and that title alone is warning enough that something bad is going to happen. a late-middle-aged couple hires a babysitter named candy wilson from "the agency" (what is this, nanny service slash modeling?) to look after their infant daughter while they attend a dinner party. candy (patricia wymer) is the kind of girl all wives should be afraid of, all blonde and innocent but with a breathy voice like marilyn monroe or jackie kennedy that oozes raw sexuality. the husband george maxwell, played by george e. carey (who like an older jimmy stewart that dabbles in exploitation films), tries to get frisky with the wife before they leave, but she rebuffs him, reminding him the last time they got frisky she got pregnant (at her age? maybe she's taking 1960's hormone treatment, if they even existed). once the adults are gone, candy calls up some friends to come over and have a party that involves guys rocking out on instruments while girls go-go dancing naked. when the maxwells get back home, candy manages to get her friends to leave just in time before she's caught. however, she accidently leaves her shoes in the basement and when they go down to get them, she confesses to george that she invited over some friends while they were gone. george doesn't think it's a big deal (not like they trashed the place) and drives candy home. cue porno music because it's about to get crazy! george can't help noticing candy's legs, and candy can't help noticing george is noticing, so she starts flirting with him ("that's a green light mr.maxwell...that means you can go"), and they decide to get some late-night tacos instead. they seem to hit it off, but when candy hints that she may want to take it further (maxwell: "maybe i better take you home", candy: "you don't have to...if you don't want to"), george gets flustered and finally drives her home. the next day candy comes back because george forgot to pay her for babysitting, with the wife conveniently away at the hairdresser, and their other coed daughter having a lesbian tryst with a friend in the sauna (that's a whole other story). then suddenly it goes from "i'm twice your age candy!" (try 3x, grandpa!) to "let's go swim naked in the pool and make out!" from there it's all downhill (or uphill, if you think like me): george and candy escalate their romance while the girlfriend of a jailed biker is trying to blackmail george because he's also the district attorney (oh, did i forget to mention that?). the blackmail goes accordingly to plan, but not before candy shows her dark side and pays the biker chick a visit along with several goons. george is ready to hand in his resignation letter but his boss wants nothing to do with it while looking over a stack of photos of george and candy caught in the act. as a matter of fact, the boss is sort of impressed, and decides to keep one of the photos while handing george the rest. george goes home to his wife, who also has copies of these photos. instead of getting mad, she decides to stop her sex embargo because she thinks it's her fault that george has gone astray.
next up was weekend with the babysitter (1971). it's kind of a sequel of sorts to the previous movie, starring the same actor as the husband who has an affair with the babysitter who coincidentally enough continues to be named candy wilson (but played by a different actress, susan romen this time). digging around a bit, i discovered george e. carey not only wrote the stories for these two babysitter movies, but he also produced and starred in. can you say dirty old man conflict of interest here? despite only 2 years since the last movie, carey seems much older in this film (maybe it's because it's in color). this time around he's a movie producer (surprise surprise) named jim carlton who's having marital problems with his wife, a former movie starlet. she's leaving with their son to visit her mother, but she seems to have forgotten she booked the babysitter. young hot babysitter named candy wilson. candy wilson who rides a motorcycle. in a miniskirt. i sense trouble ahead. this time around candy is a brunette, and looks european. so the wife and kid take off, leaving poor old jim alone with candy. after fixing both of them a drink (jim: "how old are?" candy: "old enough"), candy volunteers to take jim out and meet some of her friends to see how the youth generation talks and plays after reading a screenplay about teenagers that's lacking in authenticity. her friends are a group of bohemians who say "groovy" and "dig it" all the time and teaches him how to smoke pot and introduces him to motorcross. at first everything seems pretty platonic, and jim doesn't seem to be interested in candy at all, despite the fact that she's practically hanging from his arm all the time. candy takes a stoned jim back to his empty house, undresses him on his bed, and gives him a kiss before leaving. he wakes up, she's making breakfast already in the kitchen. just like in the first movie, the relationship went from no sparks to incendiary in a matter of montage. meanwhile, we discover the wife is a heroin junkie who is coerced by her pusher to take jim's boat out on the high seas for a drug buy (apparently there's a seafaring community of narcotraffickers). she's in rough shape, and even gets talked into having lesbian sex with the pusher's girlfriend. in the end jim comes to his wife's rescue with the help of candy and her biker friends, but his relationship with his babysitter by that point has fizzled out.