Wednesday, June 30, 2021

26K

This weekend, I'll be meeting my friend JW in Hanam City and walking back to my place (or vice versa). This will be the first 26K walk I've done since the stroke; for the past four weekends, I've done 18K walks from Bundang back to my place. They're now forecasting rain for Saturday (99% chance), but I'm walking all the same. I don't know whether JW will want to join me for that, but JW or not, I'm going.

My left foot is covered in Leukotape. I've experienced a lot of irritation lately, and I think it's at least partially related to weight loss. Everything's getting thinner. Take sitting in my office chair, for example: I used to be able to sit in my chair all day with no problem, but I think my ass has gotten slightly bonier, so with less ass-cushion to support myself, the bum now hurts late in the work day, forcing me to adjust my position constantly. That's what it's like to be skinnier, huh? Not to worry: I'm still plump. I need to lose at least another 20 kg before I can even think about pronouncing myself thin.

My buddy Charles brought up the issue of yo-yoing. This is definitely a concern. Once I'm done with the Newcastle phase of my dieting, I'll be switching to a hardcore version of Dr. Jason Fung's paradigm, which will involve intermittent fasting and skipping certain days for eating (I'm calling this the "T Diet" as I'll be eating only on days with "T"s in them, i.e., Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday). While I'll be increasing the amount I eat on the days I eat (probably back up to 1200-1500 calories, maybe even up to 2000), I'm hoping the calories will average out to something close to where I was on the Newcastle Diet. This ought to prevent yo-yoing. I'm also going to continue ratcheting up the exercise, so that ought to help, too. Keep in mind that I don't plan to be skinny after 8 weeks; my current plan takes me to the end of December, which is when it all comes together. And rest assured, the Fung paradigm won't be as strict as all that: I do still plan to have two cheat days per month, although in August, I'm going to do only one cheat day because I have a hospital appointment in September, and I don't want my numbers to be ruined simply because of one naughty day.

Right now, although I was delighted by the weight loss that happened over the second week of this diet, I'm frustrated by where the weight isn't coming off: my midsection. The old folk saying is that the first place you gain is the last place you lose, and that would explain why my face is thinning out nicely, but the waist is still as fat as ever. I have a neck now, which is cool, but I'm still the Pillsbury Dough Boy around my middle. Oh, well. With time, I trust, that will all disappear, so I just have to be patient.

But for as much as I complain about the strictures of the Newcastle Diet, the diet drinks, the constant salads, the caloric restrictions, the low energy, and the rest, I'm really not suffering that much. I work at a job that requires more mental energy than physical; the diet drinks aren't all that bad (I actually like SlimFast... Soylent, not so much), and Paris Baguette salads may be among the best things that Paris Baguette makes. (I actually feel sorry for some of the fat staffers there, who probably snack on bread products all day as part of their job.) So all in all, things could be much worse, which is what I said after the stroke happened.

In the meantime, I've got a long walk with a friend to look forward to. We'll see how it goes, and I'll report on it when it's done.

UPDATE: JW texts back an "OK." So we're on. 



back to milk

I've been using almond milk with my SlimFast and Soylent every morning. (These days, for breakfast, it's 460 ml of liquid and only one scoop of formula instead of two. This saves me 100 calories and allows me to eat more at lunch.) But I've found that while almond milk works okay with SlimFast, it's horrible with Soylent. So at the risk of adding calories (because low-fat milk has more calories than almond milk does), I'm switching to low-fat milk for breakfast. 

Now, low-fat milk isn't the same as skim: if I recall correctly, low-fat milk is at around 2%, which is fairly standard for US milk, while skim milk has well under 1% fat. This sounds good to most people stuck in the old way of thinking, but from a keto/Atkins perspective, skim is no good for you. The idea behind those diets is to jack up your dietary fat (it's been found that there's no connection between most dietary fats and body fat: it's the carbs that make you fat, so with fettuccine Alfredo, the problem isn't the sauce, it's the pasta), so you're actually better off consuming heavy cream rather than whole or skim milk, believe it or not. That said, I'm on the Newcastle Diet, which is calorie-restrictive, so I have to watch my calories. 

Which brings us back to skim milk. Skim milk has more calories than almond milk, but it's less calorie-packed than whole milk. That said, at least it tastes like milk. Almond milk's fake taste isn't bothersome until you add in the Soylent, which really brings out the artificial nature of almond milk. I'd almost rather have soy milk, but that, too, is packed with calories and carbs. (Overall, soy milk is not as healthy for you as you might think.) So, for the moment at least, low-fat milk it is. I might have to cut back a little at lunch, but I'd rather do that than suffer through hell for the next seven-and-a-half weeks.



duh

Seen on Instapundit:



find the comma splices

Look at the following annoying sentences (from here) and find the comma splices:

His point is that scientists and science are important, but relying only on “The Science” for decision making is both dangerous and foolish. Science is a methodology for proposing well-developed answers to questions about natural events, it is a tool for proposing answers, not the answer. Skeptical scientists will try and disprove any proposed answer or theory, it is their duty.

I'm also not happy with "decision making" written as an open, unhyphenated compound. But maybe that's just me and my old-school way of thinking.



Tuesday, June 29, 2021

mask mandates are finally dropping

Pennsylvania now joins Delaware and New Jersey in lifting its mask mandate. We can only hope that other states will follow suit, and soon. In my considered opinion, the pandemic has been over for months, and at this point, masks are little more than theater. Look at the irrationality of going to a restaurant. You can't get in without a mask, but the moment you sit down and order your food, the masks come off, you eat, and then you don your masks again once you're ready to leave. Is any of that rational? Is any of that sane? Not at all. It's as if people think the virus can't get at you while you're eating and maskless. No, it's past time for the masks to come off, and since Korea tends to follow America in many matters, I expect the Korean government to tell us in a couple months that we, too, can take the masks off.

A list of states with and without mask mandates is here. The ones without are mostly red states, but to their credit, some blue states have also dropped the mandate, probably because the CDC said it was safe to do so (and why didn't these states listen to the CDC earlier?).



good

It's not law yet, but the Arizona House has passed a bill mandating the sharing of stories from people who have escaped from communistic and socialistic countries. Something like this has been needed for a very long time.

There's a reason why people flee leftism, and that's basically because it's a toxic ideology that leads nowhere. American idiots who subscribe to leftism like to describe people like me as the bigots, the fascists, the oppressors, but in fact, it's leftism that is bigoted, fascistic, and oppressive. Up is down, left is right, freedom is slavery.

I'm not saying the answer is to vote Republican. Republicans these days have proved to be limp-wristed wimps who knuckle under whenever people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez utter their stupidities. Unless they're as pugnacious and unapologetic as Trump, most Republicans deserve to be chucked aside. And if those Republicans are leftover neocons (as most are, given their continued attachment to Dubya-era theocon thinking), then they should definitely be voted out of office and replaced with better people.

Anyway, Arizona is doing a good thing by helping America remember itself. Leftie people like my buddy Dr. Steve or my former friend Steve Honeywell (leftist Steves!) will bemoan this as more bigotry, but that's because such people have no argument when they hear the stories of people who have escaped from the poisonous ideologies people like my "friends" support.



Monday, June 28, 2021

keto hummus: success!

Above: keto hummus and pita chips. I couldn't eat the chips, so I made those keto tortillas from the day we did Greek gyros. The above chips were for the coworkers: leftover naan painted with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried parsley, then baked in a 200°C oven for around ten minutes. I loved hearing the sizzle. 

My Korean coworker enjoyed every aspect of the food; my American coworker goggled when I told him the base of the hummus was cauliflower, not chickpeas (I'm a believer now; cauliflower does actually work). I went somewhat over my caloric limit in eating my keto chips, but I'll be walking 6 km later today, so that's fine.



I need some rest

My diet and exercise routine, up to now, has been pretty relentless, but I'm starting to feel it. I've become very tired of late, and despite the sugar burst I get with my morning SlimFast (or Soylent: I'm trying to use up my spare stores of Soylent), I'm starting to lack energy. I could feel it this past Saturday when I was getting ready to do my walk from Bundang back to my place: I was tired, and I didn't really want to do the walk, although I did it, anyway.

The solution I'm going with is to cut out part of the Friday workout, which means I'll be doing the pushup and pullup routines only twice a week now, Monday and Wednesday, something I already do with my core routine (Tuesday and Thursday). This might mean having to lengthen my exercise schedule yet again, but I'm OK with that. Thus far, I seem to be ahead of schedule in several respects, especially with regard to weight loss and walking. I haven't checked my blood pressure and blood sugar in a while, but it's on my schedule to do on August 14 (fasting blood sugar) and September 2 (weight). For blood pressure, I'm supposed to be at 130/87 by September 1, but I just watched a video of a guy who has an interesting trick you can do to lower your blood pressure in stressful situations. Watch this:

That's pretty impressive, and I might try it with my BP monitor once or twice to see whether it really works for me as well. If so, that's a nifty trick to use at the hospital so I don't end up with exaggerated numbers like last time. I have a hospital appointment this coming September, and since I get stressed in hospitals and doctors' offices, this trick is good to remember.

Meanwhile, I guess I continue to lose weight. I'm following the calorie-restrictive Newcastle Diet, but I do stray now and again; I've had days where I go over 900 or even 1000 calories, but because I'm walking and doing other exercises, I'm not too worried about the stray days. My MyFitnessPal app continues to scream at me (it's based largely on CICO, which I talked about the other day), but I ignore it and soldier onward. I hope the removal of the Friday workout leads to more energy; I don't like feeling tired all the time.

More later.



Sunday, June 27, 2021

keto hummus: fail

My basement grocery follows the anti-capitalistic "close every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month" schedule that's supposed to allow Mom & Pop stores a chance to operate freely without any big dogs around to compete with them. As I said, anti-capitalistic. This means I couldn't buy a second head of cauliflower after I messed up my first batch of cauliflower hummus this morning, so I have to wait until tomorrow morning to try again. I ruined the batch by adding a near-spoonful of erythritol sweetener in an attempt to take the salty edge off the hummus. Bad move, as it turned out: the whole thing became sickeningly sweet, and I had to throw away the whole batch. Lesson learned. So next time, I'll just add less salt and avoid the sweetener entirely.

But as a proof of concept, my hummus was a success. I once again showed you don't need tahini to get that sesame-seed flavor if you have sesame oil (and I added almond butter to simulate tahini's texture). Pile on all the spices and seasonings associated with hummus, and cauliflower does indeed make for a decent substitute. If you've never tried this before, I recommend it. You'll be shocked at how hummus-like the result is. So here's the recipe I went with, taking into account the mistakes I made:

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower
2 tbsp almond butter
6 tbsp sesame oil
6 tbsp olive oil
175 ml water
small pinch of salt
pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
onion powder to taste
cumin to taste
dried parsley to taste
paprika to taste
turmeric for color (otherwise, your cauliflower hummus will look deathly white)
chipotle pepper powder to taste (optional)

Instructions

1. Cut cauliflower into large florets; wash to remove any dirt.
2. Cut florets down further into bite-size chunks.
3. Microwave cauliflower on high for ten minutes. Dump into food-processor bowl.
4. Add oils, spices, lime juice, water, and seasonings.
5. Blitz until you have a smooth, hummus-like texture.
6. Pour into bowl. Add more parsley and paprika on top for effect.
7. Serve!

This recipe is partially based on a Headbanger's Kitchen recipe. I already know how to make hummus with chickpeas, but I needed help with the cauliflower.

Anyway, I'll try again tomorrow morning, assuming the grocery has any more cauliflower.



the big dietary battle

There's a battle raging between two dietary doctrines in the weight-loss community. On one side, you have the classic, old-school adherents to the calories-in, calories-out paradigm (a.k.a. CICO): build up a caloric deficit, and you'll inevitably lose weight. But this doesn't seem to work for everybody (remember when I wasn't losing weight despite being on 1200 calories a day?), and another theory arose: a hormone-based one called the carbohydrate-insulin model (CIM), which assumes that weight loss and gain have more to do with the hormonal balance in your body than with the number of calories you take in. According to this theory, your body will enter "starvation mode" and adjust your basal metabolic rate if you start restricting calories, so the weight you're trying to lose simply won't come off. Instead, concentrate on eating foods that are low in carbohydrates (meat, leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, nuts, avocados, etc), and you'll have no need to count calories because your body won't be producing hormones like ghrelin (a food-craving hormone) and insulin (a fat-storage hormone that also lowers blood sugar), which means you'll inevitably start to lose fat. Do this intensely enough, and you'll enter ketosis, i.e., you'll switch from burning carbs (which your body finds easy to burn) to burning fat.

So here's my take after two weeks on a severe, calorie-restrictive diet: calorie restriction is a thing, but CIM isn't wrong, either. I think there's room for both doctrines to coexist. Here's a thought experiment I've done before on this blog: imagine eating nothing. What'll happen? In about two or three weeks, depending on the amount of body fat you start out with, you'll starve to death. That seems to be conclusive proof, to me, that CICO is a thing. Take in zero calories, and your body will continue to burn calories until you die. More personally, I finally broke the 118-kilogram barrier once I started the Newcastle Diet, which focuses on severe calorie restriction (also CICO). At the same time, I'm trying to keep my diet keto-adjacent so that I'm not spiking my blood sugar or doing anything to throw off my hormonal balance. I'm also—more by accident than by design—engaging in intermittent fasting, which for me means drinking breakfast around 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. every morning, and eating lunch before 1 p.m., then eating nothing thereafter. All of this together is having an effect. So CIM is a thing, too.

Will Tennyson is a Canadian weightlifter whose videos I watch on YouTube. He does various challenges, including engaging in keto for a week and having 10,000-calorie cheat days (lots of doughnuts; he loves doughnuts). For him, his default mentality is CICO, and you can see it works: he burns so many calories during a workout that he remains, at age 26, ripped as hell. When he's eating normally (well, normal for him), he usually has healthy fare, but not always things that nutritionists and dietitians would normally recommend. For example, he eats protein bars, which many dietitians these days do not recommend because of their sugar content. But on CICO, this doesn't matter: Tennyson does a workout and burns all the calories he takes in. So again, CICO is a thing, not a "failed theory," as nutritionist Autumn Bates would say. At the same time, I watch Dr. Ken Berry, who beats the drum for keto and the carnivore diet, both based on CIM. He claims to have seen the positive effects of these diets in hundreds of his patients, and I think I've seen some benefits myself from living keto-adjacently.

Conclusion: both CIM and CICO have a place for people trying to lose weight. You don't want to create hormone imbalances or spike your blood sugar, but at the same time, you don't want to be stuffing yourself with food, however good (and good for you) it might be. I suspect that, after this austerity is over, some form of it is going to continue (except for my beloved cheat days), representing a lifestyle change that incorporates both CIM and CICO into my new life.



on the culinary agenda today and July

Cook projects!

I still have leftover pitas (naan, really) from when I made Greek gyros before my stroke (don't worry: the flatbreads had been frozen, so they're fine). I've decided to foist keto hummus on my coworkers, so I'll be making that today. Keto hummus involves using cauliflower instead of chickpeas. Chickpeas aren't necessarily that bad for you, except that they're very carby, which means you can have them only in moderation. Cauliflower has become the keto substitute de luxe for several beloved foods (rice, pizza crust, potato), and while I consider myself a cauliflower skeptic, I saw a recipe for keto hummus that struck me as plausible, so I'm giving it a try (along with the keto tortillas I'd made earlier).

So today's goal is to make keto hummus and to fry up those flatbreads until they turn into chips that can be used for dipping into the hummus. Of course, they don't have to be hardened chips, but that's what I'm feeling like doing, so there we are.

Later in July, it's my month to do the cooking (we just enjoyed my coworker's wife's kimchi-jjigae, which I ate a ton of because it's low-calorie and low-carb), so I'm planning to do burgers and dogs, but keto style. I now have a keto-bread recipe that I think will work for both hamburger and hot-dog buns, and making a sugar-free chili isn't that hard. Foisting a low-carb menu on my coworkers wasn't the original plan, but you know—stroke. And I can't have a cheat day, so this seemed like the best option.

I'm also frying up some halloumi today to have along with my lunch, now that I've freed up 100 calories by having only a single scoop of diet formula in the mornings. The halloumi's been sitting in my fridge for almost two months, so it needs to be used up before it goes bad. I'm going to divide the halloumi into four pieces, then eat a single piece with every meal, along with my chicken breasts. It really sucks to be on a calorie-restricted diet, so you do what you can to shake things up. Today, for example, I'll probably have some of that keto hummus along with low-carb tortillas, both to taste-test the hummus and to avoid eating the same damn salads I've been eating all this time.



the scale says 111.5 kg

I think I'd put myself at closer to 111 kg, but the scale says 111.5, or 254.6 lbs., down from a pre-stroke weight of 128 kg, or 286.6 lbs. (I didn't have a poop when I weighed myself this morning, hence the extra 0.5 kg.) I really didn't expect to have lost much if any weight this week, but I guess the Newcastle Diet is really working. I haven't weighed this little since I-don't-know-when, but it seems my evil plan to make myself disappear is succeeding. Will I lose even more weight by the end of next week? We can only hope. It might mean I can finally shave off this damn beard if I make my secondary-goal weight of 110 kg. (The actual goal weight is 100 kg.)

No delusions, though: I'm still fat, as I see by looking down at myself this morning. There are still ripples and bulges that all need to go away; my stomach still pokes out of my tee shirt, and frankly, that's going to mean losing another 10 kg at least. In fact, I'm thinking my goal weight of 100 kg may need to be readjusted down to 90 kg if I'm truly to see a skinny me. I wonder whether I can reach 90 kg in another eight weeks.

So that's the news this morning. It's pretty good news, I'd say, but I've still got a long way to go, so we're not there yet. Eight more weeks of calorie-deficit hell.


PowerLine Pics of the Week













stay tuned

I'm planning to weigh myself in the morning, so stay tuned.



Saturday, June 26, 2021

liberals used to advocate for free speech... what happened?

This is incredible (seen in Instapundit comments).

In the 1960s, liberals would have applauded this sort of speech. Now, they sit around lamely accusing people like me—a moderate—of fascism. What happened?




Yeonmi Park revisited

Salient points: 

 • Young people radicalize in universities, but even after graduating and being exposed to reality, they don't change their worldview, and these adults are the people in charge of YouTube, etc. 

• People who go to TED Talks maybe want to change the world, but they want to do so by censoring individual liberty.

• "Something about Marxism is very appealing to good people," but these people don't understand how that point of view brings destruction eventually.

• "Humans are not logical."

• The left, however well-intended, wants to give government the power to make arbitrary decisions, but this comes after four years of fighting against the [Trump] government. How does this make sense, when the powers given to the government will last beyond whatever administration is currently in place? Whoever is in power will want to use the tools of power for their own purposes.

• The US was created to give power to the people, not government.






I've got gym rings now

I won't be using them for a while, not for several weeks, but I now have gym rings to help me as I continue my pullup journey. I don't have any spot inside my apartment where I can use the rings, so I'm going to have to go to the park next to my building. These will be for what are called jackknife pullups, where your butt is on the ground, the rings are at about waist height, and you raise yourself off the ground while your heels are still in contact with the earth. The heels provide a wee bit of support, but this is pretty close to a legitimate pullup. I'm currently still mastering horizontal pullups (I think I mistakenly called these Australian pullups last time; those are actually more intense), where your feet are on the ground and your body is at a 45-degree angle as you do 3 sets of 25. Harder than it looks, as I said before. I may have to change my schedule again to allow myself more time to master them. For my core, I think I've finally mastered the leg raises, so I'm moving on to frog raises next week: these are like leg raises, but you do them with your knees somewhat bent on the way up, then you straighten your legs on the way down. 3 sets of 30. Not going to be pleasant.

I'll do my Week 2 weigh-in after tomorrow's long walk, so stay tuned for that. To be frank, I'm not all that optimistic. I don't feel as if I lost any weight over the course of this week.



Friday, June 25, 2021

dissatisfaction leads to revision

I found some major flaws in the cartoons I'd put up, so I redid them today. You can see the originals here. Below are the revisions, with explanations.

In the first pic, the first problem was scan resolution. I don't know why, but our office copier, which doubles as a scanner, originally scanned the pic at 150 dpi instead of the standard 300 dpi that it defaults to. So I re-scanned the picture. Second was the problem of the guy's craggy-looking forearm. True, it's still a bit craggy-looking (thanks to my shaky hand), but I "straightened out" the forearm slightly by redrawing it. Still can't decide if the character on the left is a woman or a man with a mullet. I guess the tits mean it's a woman.

Huge problem in the next pic. If you go back and look at the original, you'll note that the woman's arm and shoulder don't match up, so I had to adjust that. I had two choices on how to solve the problem: (1) move the woman's arm back a bit until it matched the shoulder, or (2) move her back in a bit so that so that her arm didn't seem so implausibly far forward. I chose the latter. Here, too, there was a resolution problem, so the image below has been re-scanned. I also worked a bit on the face of the kid under the car. There was something wrong with his eyes in the original.

In the next pic, I used Photoshop's "dodge" tool to lighten the background around the evil spirit's eyes so that the "jiggle lines" would be more visible.

In the Kim Sisters' picture, the sister on the far right had problems with her ear. As any artist can tell you when studying body geometry, the typical human ear goes from about eye level to the bottom of the nose. Never noticed this? Look at yourself in a mirror, and you'll see what I'm talking about. In the original drawing, the sister's ear was far too long, so I adjusted her hair to make her ear look more proportional. I thought about adding a gradient to the background to make the pic more dimensional, but I was lazy and decided that that would be too much work. Here's the result:

For the last picture, my favorite, the problem was fairly subtle: one stripe on the tiger's muzzle seemed to have strayed too far, so I cut it back. Compare the following pic to the original pic:

I think the above pic is a bit more restrained-looking now.

Anyway, there you have it—my adjustments. Would you have caught the mistakes I pointed out had I not explained what they were? Sometimes, it takes an artist's eye to see these problems, and while I'm not much of an artist, I do dabble.



one via Bill

Yeah, I've wondered about this myself:

And people thought Trump was bad. What an idiot.



Thursday, June 24, 2021

yet another dietary change coming

In the morning, starting tomorrow, I'm going to be having only one scoop of SlimFast (or Soylent) with two cups of almond milk. This will reduce breakfast by 100 calories and allow me an extra 100 calories for lunch. I have some halloumi I need to use up before it goes rotten, which is one reason why I'm doing this. I also want to add raisins to my salads on Tuesdays and Thursdays; it always feels as if there's something missing, and I think raisins will hit the spot. An ounce of raisins (about 30 grams) is 90 calories, so this is a decent trade-off. On the days I eat Paris Baguette salads, a loss of 100 calories at breakfast means I can eat an extra chicken breast at lunch, and God knows I crave the protein.

Week 2 is proving hard. Keeping sane is paramount. Judging by my belt holes, I don't think I lost any more weight, but we'll see on Saturday. So stay tuned.



new illustrations for our textbook

I can show these off because they're for the company, not a private thing.

The first pic is for a chapter on chocolate:

The second pic is for a chapter on hysterical strength:

This third pic is for a chapter on Halloween—an evil spirit is scared by a pumpkin:

The next pic is for a chapter on The Kim Sisters:

And my favorite of the bunch is for a chapter on love:

I was tickled by the idea of a tiger falling in love with a deer, which is normally a prey animal. There's just something about the tiger's attempt at a smile and the doe's innocent earnestness that gets me every time I look at this illustration. Will the relationship work?



good Lord

Over at ROK Drop is a pic of a mutant, 32-legged octopus, brought to you below:




two from Bill

More toons via Bill Keezer:

 

I think this one's funny because it preempts Lisa Simpson, who is normally portrayed as a flaming liberal on "The Simpsons." You'd think, though, that this would be a sentiment that liberals would agree with, but that ain't true these days:



Yeonmi Park's interview with America Uncovered

A former e-friend of mine thinks I've taken "a deep dive into fascism" and is no longer my friend. His utterly delusional point of view has nothing to do with reality, and he's exactly the sort of person who could benefit from watching—really watching—a video like the above interview. Leftists used to believe in what Yeonmi Park talks about. What happened? But I can sense my ex-friend is too far gone, so that's another friendship on the funeral pyre.



Wednesday, June 23, 2021

on shitting, pissing, and other matters

Much has changed as a result of my current diet. I'm eating a lot healthier, and my sleep habits have changed: I'm actually becoming more of a morning person, which means I come into work earlier now. I normally call morning people pussies for going to sleep so early, and that applies to pretty much all of my married friends, almost none of whom have the stamina to make it past midnight, but now I'm becoming one of them, and I don't know whether to be happy or sad about that. I have a new mental clarity that I haven't had in a while, and it's allowing me to chug ahead with my current book project, which I hope to finish by the end of this year. So that's a welcome change.

But the two things that have really changed as a result of my new healthy habits are my shitting and pissing routines. Diabetics are infamous for needing to urinate frequently, but for weeks now, my frequency of urination has gone way down. It used to be like clockwork: I'd drink something substantial, and forty minutes later, I'd be headed to the pisser. And pooping—that's really changed. I used to be a twice- or even thrice-a-day pooper. Now, I'm lucky if I poop every other day. (Ever since that scary week where I didn't poop at all, I've doubled my fiber intake, and now things are more regular.) So things have been nothing short of revolutionary on the pooping front.

I also haven't missed diet drinks. I thought I would, but I'm apparently fine drinking water, fruit tea, Earl Grey, and fizzy water (Trevi, which I assume is named for the famous fountain in Rome). I do think occasionally about having a Coke, but I've become so numbers-obsessed that I immediately put such thoughts aside, knowing how thoroughly a single 500-ml bottle of Coke would wreck my blood sugar. As I wrote before, though, I do have massive cravings for other things, like pizza and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Those must be reserved for cheat days. I'll be glad when this current austerity is over so I can go nucking futs and have my one or two cheat days per month.

So far, I'm surviving the second week of this austerity, but the second week is proving harder than the first week. I'll get through this, though, because my stroke has given me a sense of purpose, and the Newcastle Diet was constructed with clear goals in mind. Clarity helps; strictures help. It's easier to know what to do when things are well defined.

As I follow my exercise calendar, I've now ratcheted up on most things, except for my core. I've gone from 3 sets of 40 wall pushups (done while standing) to 3 sets of 35 incline pushups, which require a fence or something a little below chest height to lean on and push against. I've gone from 3 sets of 40 wall pullups (also done vertically) to 3 sets of 25 Australian pullups, where you hold onto a low pullup bar while standing on the ground and leaning back at, in my case, a nearly 45-degree angle. This sounds easy, but for someone as weak as I am, it's actually hard to get through 3 sets of 25. So I stop mid-set if I have to, but I've taken a vow to always finish every set. For stair work, I've now started to go from the B1 level to the 7th floor (up to now, it's been the 5th floor). The stair work is the only truly intense cardio exercise I do, and I'm counting on it to start strengthening my heart once I get to a point where I'm walking up to the 26th floor. To repeat, I haven't changed my core-work schedule because I still haven't totally mastered 3 sets of 30 knee raises, although I did get through 3 sets yesterday without stopping. I'll move on to frog raises next week.

So with calisthenics and stair work ratcheting up, I can only hope the weight loss will continue. I can tighten my belt to the point where I have only three or four holes left; if the weight loss truly continues, I'll eventually have to punch more holes into the leather. How thin will I be by Christmas? I don't know, but we'll see. I'm starting to see a bit of thinness peeking through my face, but my torso tells me I'm still quite fat, so I know I have a long way to go.

And this is one reason why I'm bothering with exercise: as I lose weight, there's the problem of loose skin to worry about, so what's going to fill it, if not muscle? Obviously, with the limited routines I'm doing, I'm not going to take care of the entire loose-skin problem, but the muscles will help at least a little, and all the moving around might help to tighten up the skin somewhat. At least, that's what I hear on YouTube.

I haven't weighed myself yet this week; I'm waiting for Saturday to do that, and to see whether I can lose another 3.5 kg. At a guess, I'd say no:  Week One on any diet is almost always about water weight, and as I've said before, the body can get used to anything, including austerity. So it won't surprise me if I lose barely a single kilo, despite the current calorie deficit, but the Week Two weigh-in will definitely be more interesting and informative than Week One.

That's it for the moment; stay tuned for more later.



the maps are done

I've slapped the route maps up on Kevin's Walk 5, so go have a look if you want.



walking better than running?

I continue to  learn:

The problem I see with this point of view is the testimony of dedicated runners who claim to experience a "runner's high" while running. For these folks, running is a pleasurable experience, which seems to go against the idea that the body gets a major hit of cortisol during the run. If the runner's high comes from endorphins (associated with pleasure), then that would probably counteract any negative effects from cortisol. I'm not saying the lady is flat-out wrong, but I get the feeling her explanation needs to be unpacked a bit more.



Tuesday, June 22, 2021

something I'm working on for you

Just for you, Dear Reader, I'm working on mapping out my route along the coast this September and October. When the maps are ready, they'll appear on Kevin's Walk 5, so stay tuned for that. I know that some of my readers are really into route maps, so this effort is for them. Don't touch that dial; I'll update you when the thing is done.



my oversensitive phone

One major problem with my new Samsung Galaxy S21 is its oversensitivity. If I keep it in my pocket, it inevitably turns on by itself. I mentioned a while back that it once dialed Emergency Services (119 in Korea). I've managed to avoid that problem since, but the fact remains the phone's haptic interface (i.e., its touch screen, from the Greek haptein, to touch) is far too sensitive. This isn't just a butt-dialing problem: every time I have to use the interface (which is a thousand times a day), I have to touch the screen twice to do anything because whenever my fingertip hits the screen, the screen is so sensitive that there's a kind of "slipperiness" that prevents me from hitting any of the on-screen buttons the first time around. Things work on the second try, but rarely on the first. There may be a way to dial down the screen's sensitivity; I need to look into that. Google doubtless has all the answers.

First-world problems, right?



Monday, June 21, 2021

the problem with going down the keto rabbit hole

So while I'm not doing anything close to a true keto diet, I am trying to stay fairly keto-adjacent because that keeps me in a low-carb zone. The problem, though, with learning more and more about keto is the ever-increasing list of esoteric ingredients. Every new keto video I watch features a new ingredient. Right off the bat, I learned about almond flour, psyllium-husk powder, chickpea flour, coconut flour, whey-protein isolate, xanthan gum, and the sweetener erythritol. I bought all these ingredients. I already knew about soy-sauce alternatives like tamari and various aminos (e.g., coconut aminos) thanks to my attempt at making seitan. Also thanks to seitan, I learned about vital wheat gluten, powdered mushrooms, and nutritional yeast. (I have all these ingredients, too.)

That's already a lot to know about, but the rabbit hole has no end, and that's what I find frustrating. Along with the above, I'm now aware of other sweeteners like monkfruit and allulose. I also know about oat fiber in powder form (for making keto breads), chia seeds, and flaxseed. Where does it stop? A lot of these ingredients are related to bread and pasta because people on keto are often desperate to have some form of the food they used to eat. There's a price to be paid, though, because these foods are not carb-free; they're just minimally carby. But seriously, where does it stop? How many goddamn ingredients do I need to know about? Maybe it's better just to go paleo and stick to unprocessed foods. That seems to be a much easier guideline to follow (although you'll recall Adam Ragusea's pooh-poohing of paleo, among other diets). Anyway, I've ordered a few extra keto ingredients for the pantry, but I've decided that that's it. I don't want or need anything more. And what the fuck is inulin?



pizza cravings

I found myself craving pizza yesterday—craving it hard. This probably had to do with the pizza videos I found myself watching on a YouTube channel called Weeds and Sardines. Up to now, I've been fine with watching all sorts of food videos, which is something I used to do even before the stroke. But yesterday, for whatever reason, I saw those pizza videos and really wanted a pizza, by which I mean a whole pizza. I've eaten whole pizzas before, of course; that's a 3000-calorie-plus meal right there (usually eaten over two sessions, lunch and dinner, not all at once). And here in Korea, what's called a "large" is an American medium, so I normally order family size (in fact, with Korean Papa John's, I have no choice but to order family size if I get the thin crust; they don't offer thin crust in anything less than family size). But I can't have any pizza until I'm off this austerity, and that means waiting another nine painful weeks. All I can say is... this austerity had better be worth it.

Some of the pizza vids I saw:



Sunday, June 20, 2021

OMAD

Watch this video about a One Meal a Day (OMAD) experience:

Your mileage may vary, of course. Based on my own current dieting experience, I'd combine OMAD with calorie reduction. Trying to stuff nearly 3000 calories down your gullet in the space of an hour seems insane to me, and it makes me wonder whether the guy was actually doing OMAD right. True, he's a weightlifter, so that amount of food might be appropriate for him, but for my own needs, I think that staying under 2000 calories a day is more appropriate. He is probably right, however, about the various hacks you can use to get through the day. I'm especially interested in apple-cider vinegar, which I recently saw is being sold at Costco in unfiltered form. ACV, as it's called, is supposed to be good for blood sugar.



the new addition

I went into the office today to start making up lost hours and to get ahead on our next project. After a couple hours there, I left to go on a major errand: the purchasing of a stand mixer, something I've been wanting since forever. The B&C Market was selling both KitchenAid and Kenwood versions—both companies are good, but for us Yanks (Kenwood is a British company), KitchenAid is the gold standard. So I went with KitchenAid, which was also the more expensive option. Behold:

I'm pretty much out of counter space, so I'm not sure where I'm going to put the mixer, but I'm sure I'll figure something out. I also bought a new printer this weekend, but I'm kind of regretting that purchase because it belatedly occurred to me I could have spent less money just getting my current printer repaired. I haven't thrown away the old printer, so my desk is now more crowded than ever. I might still get the old printer repaired, in which case the new printer might go to my office. Whether we're talking printers or stand mixers, space is at a premium right now, and I'm kind of wishing I had the money to move into a bigger apartment. But that's not going to happen for a while, if ever. My Korean relatives all live in apartments and seem fine with that arrangement; I suppose I could get used to that, but after seeing what life is like in the riverlands, I feel as if I'd like to move into a house out by a riverside eventually. That's a question for the far future, though, when I'm old and gray. For now, I hear my buddy Tom's voice in my head: "If you live in Seoul, you go from living in a box to living in a bigger box." How true.

ADDENDUM: forgot to mention that I'm eventually going to buy a grinder attachment and start making my own sausage. My boss has a friend who makes sausage; I tried some of it and thought it wasn't bad, but it was supposed to be Italian sausage, which means you need to add fennel seeds for that distinctive Italian-sausage taste. (By the same token, sage is what makes an American breakfast sausage.) The sausage was missing the fennel seeds, so it was kind of bland and boring. When I finally make my own sausage, I won't make that mistake.



Dictionary.com's latest grammar quiz: verb tenses

I got 100% on this. Care to give it a try? Answers are after the quiz. Highlight to see them.

1. The verb tenses can be split into which 3 primary categories?

a. action, linking, and helping
b. dynamic, static, and auxiliary
c. past, present, and future

2. The continuous tenses (such as the present continuous tense) refer to actions that happen over a continuous period of time. What other name can they be called?

a. progressive tenses
b. continental tenses
c. active tenses

3. Identify the verb tenses: My nephew WAS WAILING when they ARRIVED but HAS BEEN LAUGHING at my playful dogs ever since.

a. past perfect / future / present perfect
b. past continuous / future / present continuous
c. past continuous / past / present perfect continuous

4. Choose the sentence that uses the FUTURE PERFECT TENSE correctly.

a. Seema warned me that my wax art project will have melted in the sun if I left it out for too long, and unfortunately she was right.
b. Hurry! Agatha will have eaten all the cookies by the time we get home if we don’t leave now!
c. They will have gone for a hike, but took very long getting ready and it’s swelteringly hot now.

5. Identify the verb tenses: In another week, Adiba WILL HAVE BEEN BABYSITTING for the neighbors for two years, so it SURPRISES me that their dog WAS BARKING at her like a stranger.

a. future perfect / present / present continuous
b. future perfect continuous / present / past continuous
c. past perfect continuous / present continuous / past perfect

6. Choose the sentence that uses the PAST CONTINUOUS TENSE correctly.

a. Edgar was writing a letter to his cousin when the package arrived.
b. Kenji and Anaya were freezing in their tracks after the kite flies away.
c. I was outside when my neighbor ran by, asking if anyone was seeing his German shepherd that had slipped out of his home.

ANSWERS (highlight to see)

1. c

2. a

3. c

4. b

5. b

6. a


How'd you do?

For what it's worth, my religion quizlet is still up.



thoughts as I embark on Week 2

The first week of any diet is proof of nothing. It's when you get beyond Week 1 that you start to see whether your program is producing any results. For this reason, I'm very interested to see what happens to me during Week 2. 

But now, a confession: I went over the 800-calorie limit on a couple days, probably getting close to 1000 calories on some. I did this by, on one day, eating a whole avocado instead of a half-avocado. (Avocados, being fatty, are keto-friendly but packed with calories.) On other days, I used nothing but whole milk in my morning diet shake. I also have some Dream Cacao chocolate candies that I generally don't touch, but on one or two days I've eaten some. These chocolates are at 72% concentration, so they're considered keto-safe when eaten in moderation, but the point is that they're calorific, which means eating them puts me over the Newcastle Diet's 800-calorie limit. I've used up my milk, though, and I'll be buying nothing but almond milk from now on, and if I eat Dream Cacao, it'll be only on Saturdays when I do my 18-kilometer jaunt (as you know, walks keep the blood sugar down). In the larger scheme of things, these sins aren't huge, but they do take me over that prescribed limit, which is why I'm bothering to issue a mea culpa.

Our staff is going to have a lunchtime meeting this week, and we're going to a local Chinese restaurant. I'll be eating vegetarian, but the dish is still going to be slathered in a carby sauce that will set me back in terms of blood sugar and other numbers. The Newcastle Diet is supposed to go on for eight weeks, but my calendar has me down for ten. I'm going to need that extra time to reset my numbers after the staff-meeting meal.

As I've said in other contexts, it sucks to have to think this way—counting calories, worrying about numbers. I'd rather just enjoy my food instead of constantly weighing, measuring, and pre-planning. But this is life, and even after I'm done with the austerity, it's very likely the calorie-counting will continue. It has to. As I now know, it's a matter of life and death for me. I can't afford a second stroke, and that's what motivates me to behave. And believe me, I've never behaved this well before. Meanwhile, the intensity of my exercise continues to slowly ratchet up, so this hopefully means I'll continue to lose weight. 

Wish me luck as I move into Week 2.



Saturday, June 19, 2021

6:43 to 10:32 p.m. (and Week One weight results)

So today's walk from Bundang went from 6:43 p.m. to 10:32 p.m., no stopping. That's slightly slower than last week, but not by much at a total of 231 minutes (3.85 hours). So: 18 km in 3.85 hours is 4.67 kph, a slight drop from last week, but I'm not concerned. I was really booking last week, and today, I decided to take things a bit easier.

I'm sure you're also curious about the diet. I weighed myself after having a piss tonight, but I still haven't taken a shit today, so this will skew my weight. The scale says 115 kg, but if we factor in what's in my guts, I'd put myself closer to 114.5 kg. Having started the diet at 118 kg, that's an impressive loss of about 3.5 kg in a single week. Can I maintain this? I doubt it. The body can get used to anything, and even this punishing regime will in time become second nature. (We're not there yet: I still crave Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.) So I expect to plateau, despite the strict nature of this diet. My only hope is stair work, which will continue to ramp up over time. I'm doing relatively little stair work right now (five floors), but that's going to change. Now, if you saw the video I put up earlier, you know that that guy cut calories until he was eating 900-1200 calories a day, and he was also exercising by jogging. He ended up losing 75 pounds in 3.5 months. So maybe similar weight loss is possible for yours truly.

So that's where things stand. I've lost a good bit of weight in a week; I still look fat, of course (that won't change for a while), but getting down to 115 kg puts me around my Dongguk University weight from about 2014-15, back when I was going up Namsan almost every night. Here's hoping the trend continues. Stay tuned for Week 2!



fire in Icheon kills at least 38

Yesterday, my coworker pointed me to an article about a fire that had broken out in a Coupang warehouse and shipping center in Icheon, which my coworker noted is not far from Yeosu, a city I've been through several times on my walks. The fire has killed at least 38 people, and the death toll is likely to rise. At least one firefighter was also killed. The fire may have been caused by a spark that ignited volatile material being used by workers on site; they had been installing insulation in a basement.



guess what came in the mail

I ordered trekking pole feet for my trekking poles, and they finally arrived. Behold:

And they fit! Miracle of miracles. So both of my trekking poles have good feet again, and I'm now almost set for this fall. I just have to order new shoes. Every pair that I order fresh gets ruined after 600-plus kilometers.



more on intermittent fasting

Interesting video that follows one man's attempt to try intermittent fasting for two months:

As you see in the video, though, there's nothing in there about the role of exercise. From what I've read so far, exercise has far less influence on weight and health than does diet, but this doesn't mean a person can simply slack off, nor does it mean that exercise has no influence at all. I do like how there's a review of the pluses and minuses of various diets, though.



inspiring weight-loss video

Here's a dude who lost 75 pounds in three-and-a-half months:

To be clear, this guy wasn't on the Newcastle Diet, but he severely restricted his caloric intake to 900-1200 calories a day. That's going to have some sort of effect, obviously.




Yeonmi Park's Fox interview

For what it's worth, here's North Korean defector Yeonmi Park on Fox:





war wounds

The blackened toenail is nothing. Since 2017, I've had a series of blackened toenails. The bruising, however, is disturbing. At a guess, this is thanks to overly tight socks. And sorry about the scarily long big toenail; I plan on visiting a pedicurist for the very first time. When I cut my toenails, I tend to bleed, and I'm sick of that. Now that I'm on blood thinners, a bleeding toenail is something I can't afford.

Below: the girl who drew my blood at the hospital on June 10th didn't know what she was doing. And when the needle goes in, it's too late to ask for someone else to do the blood-drawing. You just grimace manfully and take the pain.




Friday, June 18, 2021

100 miles in 7 days

Here's a video for you:

I'm proud to say I've done more than this guy. He's happy to have averaged a little over 30,000 steps a day, but if you go back and look at my walk blogs, you'll see I've gone as high as nearly 60,000 steps, and on my crazy walks to Yangpyeong, I've done over 80,000 steps. So while I'm happy for this guy and his achievement, I'd say he's still a puny man.



core (and other matters)

It's becoming obvious to me, as I do my exercises, that I'm progressing fine with my chest and arms (i.e., I'm on schedule according to my workout calendar), but my core needs a lot of remedial work. Exercise philosophies like Pilates emphasize the core, probably because it consists of several important chains of muscles that are vitally important throughout one's life. This, I now know, is where I'm weakest. (And that's saying something because I'm weak all over.) So I've adjusted my workout calendar slightly to reflect the fact that my core needs remedial work. I'll get where I want to be eventually, but it's just going to take a few weeks, maybe a month, longer than anticipated.

Meanwhile, I haven't weighed myself since early this week; I plan to weigh myself on Saturday, which will be the one-week mark of this ten-week austerity. I'll be curious to see how much a person can lose in a week after eating about 800 calories per day. Of course, a single week isn't proof of anything. In the first week of any diet, you're bound to lose around 5-10 pounds, most of it being water weight. The ensuing weeks will determine whether my enforced calorie deficit is actually producing results. My fear is that my body might get used to functioning at a loss, and I might end up plateauing. That would be a nightmare. I'm hoping, though, that as I ramp up my exercise (especially stair work), the weight will continue to go down. I guess we'll see, so stay tuned.



from #3 Ajumma





Thursday, June 17, 2021

the next phase: swearing off diet sodas

I've been relying on Sprite Zero; Coke Zero; and sugar-free, lime-flavored Pepsi to get me through these current dark times, but the more I read about the dangers of diet sodas, the closer I'm coming to the conclusion that those days must end. The artificial sweeteners in diet soda are associated with the harming of gut bacteria, and may actually contribute to the furtherance of metabolic syndrome. There's also something called "cephalic phase insulin release," in which your brain registers the sensation of tasty food, especially something sweet (and that includes things that have been artificially sweetened), and signals to the pancreas that it's time to produce insulin. This ultimately contributes to an increase in insulin resistance—the very thing a dieter like me is trying to avoid.

On YouTube, Dr. Becky Gillaspy recommends transitioning from sweet snacks to savory—nuts, natural beef jerky, celery stalks, and the like. That's a very tall order for me and my sweet tooth. I mean, I've been doing without sweets (except for my morning SlimFast) since starting the Newcastle Diet, trying to stick to the 800-calorie-per-day limit, but there are definitely times when I'd love a Snickers or some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I often find myself dreaming about finishing this diet, eating more reasonably (i.e., eating more), and having cheat days. But it looks as though the current austerity is about to become even more austere: as of today, I'll be dropping diet sodas from my diet, but I will allow myself a maximum of two cups of artificially sweetened tea per day (I use Splenda).

Things just get better and better, don't they?



skepticism about intermittent fasting

Just seen on Instapundit: an article casting doubt on the benefits of intermittent fasting: "A Potential Downside of Intermittent Fasting: A rigorous three-month study found that people lost little weight, and much of that may have been from muscle." Here's an excerpt:

The new research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, is one of the most rigorous studies to examine time-restricted eating, which involves fasting for 12 or more hours a day. Many followers of the diet, which has been popularized in best-selling diet books and touted by celebrities, routinely skip breakfast and eat all their meals between roughly noon and 8 p.m., resulting in a daily 16-hour fast.

Research over the years has suggested that the practice spurs weight loss and improves metabolic health, although much of the data has come from animal experiments or small studies of relatively short duration in humans. Experts say the diet works because it allows people the freedom to eat what they want so long as they do it in a narrow window of time, which leads them to consume fewer calories over all.

But the new research found that overweight adults who were assigned to routinely fast for 16 hours daily, eating all their meals between noon and 8 p.m., popularly known as the 16:8 diet, gained almost no benefit from it. Over the course of the three-month study, they lost an average of just two to three and a half pounds — only slightly more than a control group — and most of the weight they shed was not body fat but “lean mass,” which includes muscle.

Obviously, this is only one study, and there's a certain level of subjectivity when it comes to dieting, i.e., your mileage may vary. But as I said before, it's good to listen to the skeptical voices. This actually helps you to make more-informed choices. As to this article, I've actually heard this news before, that fasting can cause the body to cannibalize its own muscles. So this study is nothing new, but one should still be mindful that fasting comes with risks.

I should note, though, that the above excerpt is misleading when it says "eat what they want." You can't subsist on chocolate cake just because you're now on a 16:8 schedule. The nutrition you take in—and its quantity—is still vitally important if your goal is to lose weight. So the onus is still on you to both eat healthily and control your portions (that last part is what I've always found most difficult; I've spent most of my life as a big eater).



Wednesday, June 16, 2021

before

Me at 116 kg. We'll count this as "before."



ouch

You reap what you sow. At least sometimes.



beard (for Charles)

I thought I had blogged this, but I apparently hadn't, so let me blog this now, for my buddy Charles and for anyone else reading this: I now appear to be losing weight fairly rapidly, and when I hit 110 kilograms, I will shave my beard. The damn thing needs to come off, anyway: it looks like a normal beard on the bottom, but resembles pubic hair on my cheeks, and I hate it. I'll still allow stubble to grow when I'm on a long walk, but I think there's a reason why I've spent most of my adult life clean-shaven. The bearded look just isn't for me.


Keywords: beard, shave, shaving, pubic hair



post-walk weights

I went back to my walk blogs to see what my post-walk weights were.

2017: lost 10 kg, from 126 kg to 116 kg
2019: lost 6 kg, from 125 kg to 119 kg
2020: lost 12.5 kg, from 128.5 kg to 116 kg

I obviously need to dig a bit deeper to find the requisite stats, but the reason why I was looking for those numbers to begin with is that, today, I weighed myself after a decent poop, and I'm now at 116 kg. I think I was 115 kg back when I taught at Dongguk and was walking up Namsan almost every night. So this puts me 6 kg away from my shave-the-beard goal of 110 kg (my ultimate goal is 100 kg, or 220 pounds). It occurs to me that I should take some "before" pictures before I lose too much weight, just for the sake of comparison.

Expect updates to this post, assuming I find the missing stats.

UPDATE: found the missing stats, so I've updated the above numbers. I'm currently at the post-walk weight I'd been at both in 2017 and last year, but I think I'm going to drop well below that very soon. The austerity seems to be working, but we'll see how far things have gone when I weigh myself again on Saturday.



ROK Drop on Yeonmi Park's insights about today's America

Yeonmi Park is one of the more famous defectors from North Korea. She studied at Dongguk University (where I taught from 2014 to 2015; I think she was there when I was there), then she moved to America, where she apparently attended Columbia University. The blog ROK Drop quotes an article in which Park describes the America she sees:

One of several hundred North Korean defectors settled in the United States, Park, 27, transferred to Columbia University from a South Korean university in 2016 and was deeply disturbed by what she found.

“I expected that I was paying this fortune, all this time and energy, to learn how to think. But they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think,” Park said in an interview with Fox News. “I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different, but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying.”

Those similarities include anti-Western sentiment, collective guilt, and suffocating political correctness.

One thing the American left constantly does is ignore the testimony—and it's always the same—coming from defectors and escapees from totalitarian regimes. The left ignores its own fascistic tendencies and ceaselessly accuses the right of being the fascists, all while denying the existence of things like cancel culture (the denial of something bad that's actually happening, especially with the intent to either delude or to pretend everything is all right, is called gaslighting). As long as this continues, American academe will keep dropping in prestige. At this point, I wouldn't recommend to any Korean students that they study in America; the value of a college education in which all your professors are woke stooges is nil. Even science education, the last bastion against wokeness, is crumbling under the weight of all this postmodernist political correctness. It's a sad thing to witness from afar. Meanwhile, defectors from various regimes warn again and again that America is going down a dark path, and these people all see the shades of the countries they escaped from rearing up in what is supposed to be the land of the free and the brave.



Tuesday, June 15, 2021

art from a former student

I used to work at a tutoring center in Centreville, Virginia, called C2 Education. One of my students, a Komerican named Nathan, apparently liked me enough to keep in touch with me even after I left the company. He had been in the habit of writing me emails every few months to update me on his life, and I guess I got used to receiving those updates, which gave me a chance to update him on my life as well. For over a year, though, Nathan stopped writing, and I had to wonder whether it was because I had betrayed certain right-leaning tendencies in my last email to him (I still wouldn't call myself a full-on rightie, but by the standards of the far left these days, I'm basically Hitler). I needn't have worried: Nathan recently wrote again after a year, and along with his email, he sent two paintings he'd done (painting is a new hobby of his, taken up during the pandemic). So without further ado, here they are:

reminds me of the Matterhorn, with its famous flank


Pedro Pascal would be proud



another sacrifice

I realized that, even though I've started losing weight on my new austerity, I'm actually ingesting closer to 900 calories a day, not the 800 that's the limit on the Newcastle Diet. So I have to make one more sacrifice: when I make my diet shake in the morning, I will use nothing but almond milk from now on. I've been making the shakes with half whole milk and half almond milk, but whole milk is too calorific. So—no more whole milk. Sadness.



is keto stupid?

I hope I've made clear by now that I don't totally buy into the keto diet, especially in its pure form. I'd rather call what I'm doing "low carb" because that's closer to where I am. In the video below, Adam Ragusea trashes the raw, paleo, and keto diets. The criticism of keto basically amounts to the idea that very few people on the diet are actually eating macronutrients in the proportions required for true ketosis to occur. With keto, you're not merely reducing your carbs—you're trying to persuade your body to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. This means ingesting a scary amount of dietary fat. With no more than 20 grams of carbs per day, the rest of your macros come from protein and fat, with the percentage of fat at around 70-80%, and the rest (around 10% or so) coming from protein.

It's important to hear the skeptics on this point, I think. Diets are complicated things, and being aware of all sides of the issue can only help. Ragusea concludes his video by suggesting that the main thing is to cut out the processed carbohydrates in your diet. I'd go further and suggest that such a diet needs to be paired up with an exercise regimen that gets you moving, whether aerobically or anaerobically. Not that I'm in any position to give health advice to anyone, of course. Anyway, here's Ragusea's video: