Since its popular inception, by some estimates about ten years ago, Caller I.D. (the ability to see the phone number that is calling you) has changed the way we communicate. This seemingly simple convenience has turned communication on its ear and transformed its legions of tacit adopters (Caller I.D. was once exclusively a landline pay service that now comes standard with most cell phones) into a bourgeoning generation of call screeners and selective recluses.
A friend recently started a new job that came equipped with the standard means of communication in phone and e-mail. He was reluctant to give out his new work contact information to family and friends as he feared this would lead to distraction. They had his cell phone number or any of the myriad of personal e-mail addresses should they choose to contact him. The problem surfaced a few weeks into the new job as he would use the office phone to place calls to friends as reception for his cell was not too good in the office or when his cell minutes were low. It seemed that relations, not recognizing buddies’ number on their Caller I.D. chose to ignore his calls at a frequent rate.
At my own home were up until recently we had Caller I.D. block (the evil practice of disabling those receiving your calls from knowing the number from which they originate) people would often not answer as they did not know who is calling. With some friends, they had another phone company provided service that would automatically not receive calls from locations that did broadcast their numbers. This created either a mutually destructive phone call with neither party getting through or the act of having the block disabled on one end or the other albeit temporarily until the phone is dialed again. Some friends knew it was us calling by the fact that their Caller I.D. read Restricted. My own brother called me from a restricted phone the other day (not his usual M.O.). I ignored him unknowingly.
This all leads me to the fact that we are now identified by the ring tones and pictures/icons/avatars or in the most basic case, digits that appear on our friends and families’ phones marked by Caller I.D. We are all marked, tagged, and identified in a matter of rings and just as quickly decided upon by that calls receiver if we are destined for voicemail. The former binary configuration of telephone operation is gone. We no longer answer a ringing phone based on our desire to communicate damning the fact that it could be a telemarketer and not my friend with the baseball tickets for tonight’s game. No, we are now, thanks to Caller I.D., thrust into the more complex game of do I or do I not want to interact with this person.
The further implication is one that has been a hurdle for many forms of burgeoning technology, that is, does this cast us off more from society and interaction. Can what is basically a phone utility actually breakdown the forms of communication? Some say it can and it does as users of Caller I.D. that are perhaps depressed or desiring isolation (the latter being not always a bad thing) cut themselves off further.
So the next time you find yourself calling from an alien number or up against a prompt telling you to leave a message after a paltry three or four rings, the chances are you have been I.D.’d and discarded for later. Welcome to the world of Caller I.D. culture. Maybe you should have tried text messaging your sentiment instead?
Previously, I mentioned the Outback Steakhouse Coffee Steak
Today, I was the sampler of said Steak.
It was not terrible. I’d include pictures of said coffee steak but unfortunately my iPhone has decided that it isn’t serving pictures to iPhoto anymore. What a shame. In any case, the steak itself was just a normal rib-eye with perhaps the most subtle of coffee flavor to it. (edit, pictures added after figuring out how to deal with an insane iphone)
Actually it was labeled an “Espresso” steak, which I think had more to do with the amount of coffee flavor rather than the actual coffee type.
Actually it allows me to talk about service and food in Korea in general. Which is above-average, at least in Seoul.
Okay so the Pros of eating here:
At least in the city, you’ll have no problems with getting good service. While I’ve had to wait for crowds to get seated, I’ve never had to wait for a lazy waiter to serve me. This goes double for the quality of food. Which brings me to my next point.
Great food quality:
I haven’t once gotten sick here due to the food quality. Not only is the food including the outback steak (fine imported meat), but the veggies are fresh and everything is as unprocessed as possible. It is also amusing to see imported American goods tagged with nutrition fact stickers in Korean.
Whenever you go out to eat you will be handed a wrapped & sanitary wetnap for your protection. If you wash your hands before eating you’ll be exposed to many fewer germs since they often travel from hand-to-mouth. Every place I’ve eaten has had a clean kitchen, clean eating utensils, plates, and food.
People here are paid what they’re paid, you do not tip them unless it is a particular skilled service like a haircut (mine cost $10 and is better than any I’ve ever gotten in the US). So all of you people who value price over quality have no excuse!
Reasonable portion sizes:
I’ve lost weight while here and that isn’t for lack of trying. I’ve been drinking and eating out nearly every day but everything I eat here is of a reasonable size and value while retaining the highest quality and service.
Few Dairy Problems:
I can’t eat dairy and there is a good probability that you or someone you know can’t, either. Like most Asian countries Korea doesn’t serve Dairy products with most of its food. Though I must admit that Baskin Robbins is a huge chain here. I see them everywhere.
Do you like Fried and/or Marinated Chicken? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Every block has a beer & fried chicken place. Congratulations, you’re at home
Relatively high meat prices:
While yes, my steak was of a high quality, since there is little-to-no beef production in Korea it had to be imported from Australia and cost me nearly $30 USD after conversion!
Scary food! OH NOSE!!!!1111:
If you’re an east-coast suburbanite fraidy cat you will definitely lose weight here against your will. The food is oftentimes difficult for folks who aren’t willing to try new things. Keep an open mind and you’ll be fine. Though I had to skip the octopus since I still can’t handle eating anything that had tentacles. Oh well, maybe I’ll get used to it some day.
All Korean Nutrition Labels if there are any at all:
If you do have some kind of weird allergy you’re basically screwed. You won’t know what is in any food unless it is imported from America and you’re already familiar. Your best bet is to check out a Korean phrasebook for “I’ll die if I eat…” and memorize that list.
No Grocery Stores:
Here in Seoul, at least, I can’t find a damn grocery store. Even if I wanted to make just a sandwich, I’d have a difficult time finding peanut butter and/or jelly. It might be due to the area I’m in, which is more of a business-y area than a normal residential area.
Overall the pros clearly outweigh the cons for me, so if I’m ever in a position to come back and for some crazy reason food is a factor, it wouldn’t take long to say yes!