Friday, September 17, 2021

a kiss goodbye

a pic from last year's reconnoiter

I've scheduled this post to fire off at 3 p.m. today. In theory, I'll have swung by the office to leave a Moroccan-inspired chicken dish (plus couscous) in the office's freezer—to be found, reheated, and eaten by my coworkers upon their return from Chuseok break next week. I also made home-ground Italian sausage for the crew, giving up on skins and links in favor of lumpy chunks of ground meat that, at 150 grams per lump, look like small bull testicles. I made fifteen bull testicles, five for each staffer, i.e., 750 grams of meat per person to take home and enjoy however they like. I'll have to send the crew instructions on how to reheat and serve the chicken, couscous, and Italian sausage, but that's not a chore.

Anyway, after swinging by the office to drop off the food, I'll then proceed to East Seoul Express Bus Terminal to grab the 5 p.m. bus out to Daejin on the east coast. I'm not looking forward to the rain that's been promised this weekend thanks to Typhoon Chantu, which is brushing the peninsula on its way north. Here's hoping the rest of the walk proves not to be as wet as its first couple of days.

I am, however, looking forward to losing a few more kilos during the walk. While I plan to eat a bit more liberally than I've been eating over the past few months, I'll try not to go too hog-wild. With so many of my numbers now much improved compared to where I was in May, I don't want to waste the chance to get even healthier. By next year, I want to be lean and mean. I'm certainly not there yet: I'm still a doughy mess, with at least 12 more kilos to lose. 

We'll talk about goal-setting for 2022 once I'm back from the walk. Meanwhile, follow the trek at Kevin's Walk 5. I'll be blogging there over the next month, maybe longer as I add comments, photos, and whatever else comes to mind. So good-bye (on this blog) for now, and I'll see all you faithful and unfaithful readers in a month!

feels good

I got paid yesterday, giving me a few thousand in the bank to play with as I go off on my adventure. This will be the first month that I can afford not to send any money home to the States: I have enough money Stateside to cover expenses for several months, so I can concentrate on saving money once this trip is done. I paid off my scholastic debt last December, and as of last month, I paid down my credit card. I'll be racking up some credit-card debt during this trip as I go from pension to pension, motel to motel, but that'll be easy to pay off upon my return to Seoul. I usually spend, on average, about $2000 on these hikes, divided between my Korean check card (linked to my bank account) and my American credit card (which was only recently replaced). The check-card debt is basically already paid off, and a $1000 credit-card debt can be paid off in one go. Financially, I'm in a good place.

Now, let's make some Moroccan-inspired chicken!

one last alert!

Remember to switch over to Kevin's Walk 5 to follow my east-coast walk, starting September 18 (or feel free to visit before then; I've been blogging at that site since last year, so there's plenty of catch-up reading waiting for you). I'll be blogging and uploading photos in the afternoon and evening every day, once I'm done with the day's trek. See you there!

Thursday, September 16, 2021

an interesting defense of the Matrix sequels

I don't agree with the general thrust of this guy's analysis, but he does make a compelling argument for offering the Matrix sequels more respect than they normally get:

Note that even this guy has trouble defending "The Matrix Revolutions," though. Like me, he appreciates how "The Matrix Reloaded" subverts what we think we know after watching "The Matrix." (And as I've argued elsewhere, I think the Wachowskis should have ended the series right there, on that cliffhanger.) But his defense of "Revolutions" brings up some points I hadn't considered, so all in all, I think his video is worth a watch.

My problem with "Revolutions" comes down to a few basic points: (1) the Wachowskis succumbed to the temptation to end everything with a huge final battle, which is typical for a big-budget movie series; (2) the character of Morpheus, who started off as such an important person at the beginning, is reduced to copilot status by the end, thus wasting his metaphysical and theological potential; (3) Neo had already gone through the christic death-resurrection-ascension cycle in the very first film, so giving him another Christlike death in "Revolutions" was, to say the least, awkward (although his body was carried away in a manner evoking Viking legends, which was a cool touch); (4) the Wachowskis apparently lacked the imagination to explore the idea that the Matrix is a many-layered onion, with every layer realer than the previous one. I know that some argue the onion-Matrix would have been too obvious of a move, but I think the many-layered notion would have given the Wachowskis whole new universes to explore, or at least to hint at. Ever read the end of the Narnia series? CS Lewis presents a vision of heaven in which, paradoxically, each level up seems smaller from the outside, but the moment you break into the next level, you discover it's actually bigger on the inside. The Wachowskis should have gone in a similar direction.

I could add some minor annoyances, such as the unnecessary death of the Keymaker, the very brief appearance of the Merovingian (with his bizarre laugh), and the underuse of great actors like Harold Perrineau and Monica Bellucci. Looked at backward, it's like a logarithmic graph of awesomeness: "Reloaded" is orders of magnitude better than "Revolutions," and "The Matrix" is orders of magnitude better than "Reloaded."

Still, it's true that the universe of the Matrix provides us with plenty of food for thought on many different levels: artistic, philosophical, theological, etc. So some of what the guy talks about above does, in fact, resonate with me. In a comment on a different Matrix video, I wrote the following (edited for content):

I never thought of the Oracle as evil, so this was an interesting take. The way I saw it, there are SFF stories in which good characters affirm human freedom and the power of choice, while evil characters affirm some sort of determinism. 

Take the Star Wars movies, for example: a good character like Yoda says, "Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future," affirming that futures are nebulous because people make choices that alter the shape of the possibility-trees. Luke also believes that his father Vader can still choose to be good. Meanwhile, Vader and the Emperor use words like "inevitable" and "destiny," showing their loyalty to the idea of determinism. Good is freedom-affirming; evil is freedom-denying.

So I saw a parallel in The Matrix when the Oracle affirms the power of choice (as does Neo himself in Revolutions when he answers Smith's "Why? Why do you persist?" by saying, "Because I choose to"), all while Smith speaks of inevitability and seeing a certain future.

A set of fantasy novels I read long ago, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever (Stephen R. Donaldson), also has good characters who believe in choice and freedom pitted against evil characters who think in terms of destiny and inevitability. The evil Despiser creates a complex plot that our hero Thomas Covenant follows almost to the letter, like a rat in a maze, but Covenant (and his companion Linden Avery, who is arguably the protagonist in the final trilogy and tetralogy) manages to find ways to defeat the Despiser at the last moment through the exercise of freedom.

But I've seen other people argue that the Oracle's obvious manipulativeness hints strongly at the idea that her plans for humanity are not benign. She is just another layer of control—keeping humanity docile—however much she claims that Neo should "make up [his] own damn mind." So interpreting the Oracle as evil, as you do, is certainly plausible. Well argued. And thank you.

"많이 좋아졌네요" (wow, much improved)

I did my 1.5 staircases early this morning, then took down my numbers. 

BP: 122/81
BS: 91 (then 30 min ltr) 79
PR: 72
WT: 101 or 101.5

Blood pressure was much better than expected: almost a classic 120/80. Blood sugar was interesting: I took two readings, the first of which may have been too soon. 91, then 30 minutes later, 79 (metformin kicking in?). Either way, both readings are pretty good. Pulse was 72 beats per minute, and depending on how I rocked back and forth on the scale, my weight registered as either 101 or 101.5 kilos (222.7 lbs. or 223.8 lbs.).

Then I went to the hospital. 

Of course, some of my numbers were way up thanks to hospital-related stress:

BP: 159/93
BS: 76
A1c: 5.7
PR: 119
WT: 101.3
HT: 185.1 cm (6.07 ft.)

So at the hospital, my BP was 159/93, and my pulse was 119 (partly from stress, partly from rushing back and forth between the blood-sample office and the diabetes center). But when I consulted with the diabetes doctor, she said my fasting glucose was 76 and my A1c, which is what I was really interested in, was at 5.7. That is, frankly, much better than I expected. Technically, 5.7 is the high end of non-diabetic. The doc did note the high blood pressure and pulse, but I showed her my records from this morning and explained the stress factor, so she understood my situation. According to her, I'm on the verge of shaking off the diabetes. Lose some more weight, and we're golden. She also noted that my triglyceride count is way down and much improved, so no more hyperlipidemia. 

I think what I've been doing has been the right path forward, and the icing on the cake is that the doc is taking off one of my meds (metformin, formerly twice a day, is now once a day, which is nice, but I'm still not happy about being on metformin at all). I hope to take off more meds on my next visit, which will be on December 16th.

The stroke center, meanwhile, also affirmed that I have greatly improved, and they dropped the dosage on some of my meds, but not the number of meds (as I've said, Korean docs are cautious and conservative). So I'm on my way, it seems, to being free of diabetes and possibly losing the rest of my meds. I have a feeling they'll keep me on BP meds, though, as long as I keep stressing out every time I visit the hospital. But we'll see how that goes. If I get really serious about cardio, I might finally be able to see the doctors without feeling any stress. Meditation will probably help as well. 

All of this helps define where I go from here. I'll be setting new goals for 2022; luckily, I've already met most of my goals for 2021, except for strength. But that can wait another year. I've got the rest of my life ahead of me, after all.

ADDENDUM: something occurred to me: at the hospital, I was weighed in at 101.3 kg, which is about halfway between the 101 and 101.5 kg I weighed at home. Here's the wrinkle: at home, I weighed myself while only in my underwear (don't try too hard to imagine that... I still don't look like Hugh Jackman or Chris Hemsworth). At the hospital, I was weighed with my clothes and shoes on. Clothing and shoes can add 1 to 2 kg to your final weight. A lot of people don't believe me when I say that, but try it: weigh yourself à poil first, then put some clothes and shoes in your arms and weigh yourself again. I guarantee you'll be 1-2 kg heavier. So does this mean the hospital is saying I'm actually under 100 kg? If so, that's a big milestone for me. Not that it matters overly: I count on being 90-some kg by the time I reach Busan.

ADDENDUM 2: looks as though I won't be cooking for the office tomorrow, despite having a nearly completed Moroccan-chicken dish in the fridge: the boss has been waiting for a phone call from our Korean franchise owners, who are supposed to give us a road map of where to go with future textbooks, but despite their having promised to call the boss by 4 p.m., there's been no call thus far, so the boss is saying "fuck it" and giving us both the rest of today off and tomorrow off, which means an extended Chuseok weekend for my coworkers and more final-prep time for me before I start walking in earnest on Saturday. Sometimes, life is really good, although I admit I'm disappointed I can't feed my coworkers. I'll make the dish tonight, anyway, and freeze it. I hope it'll still be good come October.

another alert!

Remember to switch over to Kevin's Walk 5 to follow my east-coast walk, starting September 18 (or feel free to visit before then; I've been blogging at that site since last year, so there's plenty of catch-up reading waiting for you). I'll be blogging and uploading photos in the afternoon and evening every day, once I'm done with the day's trek. See you there!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

two sets of numbers tomorrow

I've been fasting for the past two days to help get my weight back down to 101 kg (I gained a couple kilos last week). Nothing but liquid thus far. Technically, if you consume anything with any nutritional value, you're breaking your fast, but in my case, every liquid I've consumed has been zero carbs, zero calories, and no other nutrients, so I hope this means I'm still fasting, although I suppose we should keep the cephalic response in mind. It's been a rough two days, but I go to the hospital tomorrow morning and can eat freely (cheat day!) right after my visit, starting in the early afternoon.

Got my 140-minute walk plus resistance training ahead of me tonight, then I'm doing 1.5 staircases one final time tomorrow morning, very early (6 a.m., God help me). I'll allow myself to rest for maybe 90 minutes, then take down my numbers: weight, blood pressure, and fasting blood glucose. That'll be one set of numbers. 

When I get to the hospital, I'll get another set of numbers, which will almost certainly be higher. In the case of BP, that'll probably be because of stress; I hate being in hospitals, and calming exercises don't seem to help (probably because I haven't mastered them; letting go of the ego is hard). I expect my weight to be heavier because I'm weighed, at the hospital, while wearing clothes. As for blood glucose... I don't know. What I'm really curious to see is my HbA1c ("A1c" for short), which is the glycated-hemoglobin reading—a three month average of your blood sugar (see this post for an explanation of how a single blood sample can yield a three-month average). I was probably around a 9 before; 5.7 is consider the high end of normal. I'm hoping to have dropped to a 6.

So I'll have two sets of numbers to give you by Thursday afternoon. Make your predictions and place your bets while you can.

new post at Kevin's Walk 5

Oh, and I forgot to put up alerts about my blog: remember to switch over to Kevin's Walk 5 as of this Saturday, which will be Day 1, Leg 1 of the new walk.

And here's my newest post over there.

"we obey traffic laws, don't we?"

Pro-vaccination folks will often trot out some form of the "we obey other laws, don't we?" argument when talking about why a vaccine mandate is okay. The idea seems to be that we allow our personal freedoms to be circumscribed as a way to preserve civil society, so why not apply that thinking to vaccinations?

There are deep problems with this argument. First, most laws go through a rigorous vetting process (which might even include protests by the citizenry) before they actually become laws. They are not simply pronouncements made from on high by a government intent on oppressing its people. I'm not a legal expert, but I don't think a vaccine mandate is a law. Is it? Have we completely done away with legislative processes? Is no one disturbed by such governmental high-handedness? Are we all really that passive? Second, the nature of most laws tends to be consistent with Kant's categorical imperative: act in such a way that the reasoning behind your action can be universalized. This is why stealing is generally wrong: if everybody adopted a me-first attitude and stole other people's property, society would collapse. By contrast, if you universalize altruism, society only benefits.* I fail to see how Kant is applicable here because we're still in the process of understanding the virus, and we regular citizens are having a hard time getting trustworthy data about the situation. What rationale, given all that doubt, can justify suddenly dictating that everyone must get jabbed while also complaining that "our patience [with the unvaccinated] is wearing thin"? Third, in a previous blog post, I wrote:

I've heard the counterargument that we follow all sorts of regulations all the time and never dispute them, so why dispute a vaccine mandate? "Do you treat seat-belt laws the same way?" A seat-belt law is usually backed by actual statistics, and it's reasonable. What's happening with COVID is simply not reasonable, and it's not based on the actual statistics. This is not the same thing at all as seat-belt laws and other, similar laws. So I side firmly with the "open the whole country back up and let herd immunity take care of the rest" crowd. Sure, COVID is highly transmissible, and I think that allowing us all to get infected is probably the best way to get rid of the virus. Herd immunity. You can't clamp down fearfully on the economy forever; that, too, will kill millions of folks, especially in poorer countries.

There's another wrinkle: "we obey other laws, don't we?" begs the question of whether people do, in fact, obey the laws that are on the books. And the answer, of course, is that people don't, so if someone tries to use the "we obey other laws, don't we?" argument on you, just answer, "No, actually, we don't." Here in South Korea, rule of law seems applicable only in courts. Not to say that this is a lawless country, but people here are very selective about which laws or regulations they'll obey. The degree of compliance even varies according to certain factors like sex: women are much more likely to be masked up when on the bike paths, I've noticed, while most mask-policy violators tend to be men. And to be fair, Americans are selective about which laws to obey and disobey. We pick and choose just as Koreans do. And we often violate laws without meaning to: I once heard a police officer lecture a crowd about how people go through their days in unknowing violation of multiple laws. (Tao Te Ching 57: the more laws there are, the more criminals there will be. With enough laws on the books, everyone's a criminal.) The argument that we obey other laws, so why not the vaccination mandate, assumes absolute obedience to the law in general, which simply isn't the case anywhere.

From where I stand, no matter how you look at it, getting vaccinated ought to be a choice. (Saying that, as Eddie Izzard puts it, the choice is between "cake or death" is, in practical reality, no choice at all. Mask up or be arrested or fined? Yeah, that's a choice!) And here's some advice for the vaccine scolds: once you're vaccinated, shut up about the people who've chosen not to get jabbed. Be happy: you already magically believe the vaccine confers some sort of protection (which hundreds of anecdotes refute), so what other people do is none of your damn business unless, like most lefties, you hold in your head the two contradictory thoughts of "the vaccine is effective against the virus" and "I'm vaccinated but in danger because of the unvaccinated."


*I can sense that you contrarians will want to drag out your counterarguments. Take it up with Kant. As for me, I'm still a 90s man: talk to the hand.


Comedian Norm Macdonald has died of cancer at age 61.*

I'm not sure I ever really got Norm's humor. Like a lot of people on the right (and like a lot of people on the post-80s SNL), Norm never struck me as all that funny. Don't get me wrong—there are some genuinely funny righties out there, but in general, the left has traditionally been better at humor. (At least until they all decided to become humorless, moralizing, self-righteous scolds.)

Then again, I did just watch two videos of Macdonald that were uploaded in the Instapundit comments section, and those were kind of funny.

RIP, Norm.


*Corrected from 66.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

checking off the checklist items

Monday (lunch only)
Finish proofing Units 6 and 7 of the Book 7 textbook.
Late afternoon: shop for Middle Eastern chicken & Italian sausage ingredients.
Walk 140 minutes. Do resistance work.
Begin prepping Middle Eastern chicken (sauce, chickpeas, zucchini, pistachios, feta).
Repair pants pocket.

Tuesday (fasting)
10 a.m.: visit rental office & talk about handling October rent.
Reserve pension for Friday night.
Haircut, 10:30 a.m.
Proof Book 7, Unit 4.
Review all Book 7 mistakes w/designer. Continue proofreading Book 3 (Unit 7).
Bring pork belly home from office.
Do 1.5 staircases. Do resistance work.
Walk 70 minutes.
Prep Italian sausages (pork belly + ground pork) as parting gifts for Friday.

Wednesday (fasting)
Morning: get ticket to Daejin (east coast).
Continue to review Book 7 mistakes.
Review Book 3, Unit 7, with designer. Proofread Book 3, Units 8-9.
Walk 140 minutes. Do resistance work.
Prep more of Middle Eastern chicken (raisins, figs, herbs, chicken, couscous).
Start finalizing the packing of the backpack.

Thursday (hospital appointment + cheat day!)
Do 1.5 staircases in the early morning—6 a.m.
Visit hospital, 9 a.m. Learn new numbers. Pick up new meds for 100 days.
Review Book 3, Units 8-9, with designer. Proofread Units 9-10.
[No walking or resistance work. It's the day before the big trip east.]
Finish Middle Eastern chicken (throw everything together). Pack pistachios separately.

Friday (leave for Goseong + month-long cheat day begins!).
Finalize packing. Take everything to office (to leave for bus from office).
Review Book 3, Units 9-10, with designer. No time for 2nd proof of Book 3.
Serve food for office party and dole out sausages.
Leave straight from office for the east coast, 3:30 p.m.
Arrive destination (Haedang-hwa Pension) by 9:30 p.m.

you defund the police, but I'll keep my private security

The hypocrisy never ends: 

'Defund Police' Squad members are biggest spenders on private security.

It’s a tight race among “defund the police” Democrats in this year’s chutzpah Olympics, but New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other House members of “the Squad” are well-positioned to take home the gold. Fully embracing the politics of “good for thee, but not for me,” AOC, Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, Massachusetts’s Ayanna Pressley, and the newest Squad member, Missouri’s Cori Bush, are among the most vocal advocates for defunding — while also being, according to Federal Election Commission reports, among the biggest spenders on personal security.

All these legislators support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed the House last summer but has stalled in the Senate. Pressley has also sponsored the BREATHE Act, a bill supported by Black Lives Matters leaders, who believe the Floyd Act doesn’t go far enough. The BREATHE Act, which calls for total elimination of federal law enforcement agencies, particularly those assigned to curtail illegal drug and immigration activities, would initially apply only at the federal level but would ultimately affect state and local policing in these areas as well.

What really gets me is how these people got voted into office. Are we stupid or what? And speaking of stupid voters: Gavin Newsom poised to survive recall effort. California really loves fucking itself in the ass, doesn't it. And the state's voters never goddamn learn. At least I can say I knew from the beginning that Larry Elder didn't stand a chance.

I'm no longer in any hurry to move back to the States. Not when the stupid is this ambient. Sure, South Korea has its own brand of stupid, but here, I'm a foreigner, so I'm at least a little bit at a remove from most Korean politics (especially since I can't vote in major elections). This gives me the dubious luxury of watching my home country smolder from a distance.

a discussion of the ethics of hunting

I thought this was a pretty fair take:

Frankly, I don't understand trophy hunting, either. Hunting for food, on the other hand...

happy now?

Friday, 5 p.m. bus to Daejin. Walk to pension from Daejin Station. 

I've also made my reservation for Friday at Haedang-hwa Pension. Assuming the bus takes about 3 hours to get to Daejin, and it's a 7-kilometer walk from Daejin Station to the pension, I won't be at the pension until 9:30-ish. Which is fine. I just need a place to sleep.

I should note that much of my walk stops at various pensions along the way, but if I find a motel versus a pension, I'll be much more likely to stay in one of those. Pensions can be very nice, but you often have to call ahead and make reservations. I don't like doing that; I'd much rather be able to walk right in, get my room, and then chill.

Day 1 of the walk ends at a motel, luckily, and while I've listed Day 2 as ending at a pension, I looked at the map again and saw there's a motel just 300 meters farther down the way, so I'll most likely be staying there. I plan to check the motel situation at every stop; if a pension is the only option, then I guess I'm stuck with a pension for the night.

the Critical Drinker takes on "The Matrix Resurrections"

Pretty close to what I'm thinking, actually:

And if we continue to see Matrix movies whose titles keep up the "Re" trend ("The Matrix Reloaded," "The Matrix Revolutions," and now "The Matrix Resurrections"), what titles can we expect next?

The Matrix Reactivations?

The Matrix Redistributions?

The Matrix Reduplications?

The Matrix Rectal Invasions?

The Matrix Reimplantations?

The Matrix Regenerations?

The Matrix Republicans?

The Matrix Reciprocations?

The Matrix Reinvigorations?

The Matrix Refrigerations?

The Matrix Redecorated?

The Matrix Retardations?

The Matrix Regurgitations?

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Monday, September 13, 2021

well, another change in plans

With thanks to commenter Paul (Daeguowl), I now know that Jejin Station isn't operating: it's part of the Donghae Bukbu rail line, which has an interesting history that you can read about here. Parts of the rail line used to be in operation between North and South Korea, but that hasn't been the case in years, and Jejin Station in particular shows up on some maps as a "planned" part of a line.

So it looks as if I'm back to the old plan, i.e., going out to the east coast the way I did last December: express bus out to Sokcho, then a local bus up north to Goseong, and then a cab the rest of the way to Haedang-hwa Pension (I've already made my reservations). 

It's going to be a long trip: about three hours by express bus to the east coast, followed by a slow, one-hour bus ride to Goseong, with the final few kilometers done via taxi. I'll be one tired hominid by the time I arrive at the pension. 

And I plan to come prepared, unlike in December: I'll have some snacks with me (the pension has a sign that advertises a mat-jip but there's no actual restaurant on the premises... there's a convenience store somewhere up the road a few hundred meters, but it's not worth the trouble, especially if it's closed in the evening), just some victuals to get me through the first morning of my east-coast hike. I'll be curious to see whether the "no trespassing" signs are still up as they were in December. I'm hoping not.

ADDENDUM: Paul just commented with a better suggestion: take the bus from East Seoul Terminal to Daejin, which puts me 6-7 km away from Haedang-hwa Pension—easily walkable. Paul says the tickets are going fast, but I suspect I have time: I'm going on the 17th, the Friday before Chuseok season starts. How many families are heading to the beach at the end of the summer right at Chuseok? I bet I'll get a ticket easily enough. I'll check the KoBus site (or another ticket-reservation site; there are several) about getting tickets online. If that fails, I'll go visit East Seoul Terminal and get a ticket that way.

the plan for this week (I think)

Subject to change, of course:

Monday (lunch only)
Finish proofing Units 6 and 7 of the Book 7 textbook.
Late afternoon: shop for Middle Eastern chicken & Italian sausage ingredients.
Walk 140 minutes. Do resistance work.
Begin prepping Middle Eastern chicken (sauce, chickpeas, zucchini, pistachios, feta).
Repair pants pocket.

Tuesday (fasting)
10 a.m.: visit rental office & talk about handling October rent.
Haircut, 10:30 a.m.
Proof Book 7, Unit 4.
Review all Book 7 mistakes w/designer. Continue proofreading Book 3 (Unit 5).
Bring pork belly home from office.
Do 1.5 staircases. Do resistance work.
Walk 70 minutes.
Prep Italian sausages (pork belly + ground pork) as parting gifts for Friday.

Wednesday (fasting)
Morning: trip out to closest train station & get ticket to Jejin Station (east coast).*
Review Book 3, Unit 5, with designer. Proofread Book 3, Units 7-8.
Walk 140 minutes. Do resistance work.
Prep more of Middle Eastern chicken (raisins, figs, herbs, chicken, couscous).
Start finalizing the packing of the backpack.

Thursday (hospital appointment + cheat day!)
Do 1.5 staircases in the early morning—6 a.m.
Visit hospital, 9 a.m. Learn new numbers. Pick up new meds for 100 days.
Review Book 3, Units 6-8, with designer. Proofread Units 9-10.
[No walking or resistance work. It's the day before the big trip east.]
Finish Middle Eastern chicken (throw everything together). Pack pistachios separately.

Friday (leave for Goseong + month-long cheat day begins!).
Finalize packing. Take everything to office (to leave for bus from office).
Review Book 3, Units 9-10, with designer. No time for 2nd proof of Book 3.
Serve food for office party and dole out sausages.
Leave straight from office for the east coast, 3 or 4 p.m.
Arrive destination (Haedang-hwa Pension) by 8 or 9 p.m.


*I only just discovered there's a train station, Jejin (제진), which is only 3.7 kilometers away from Haedang-hwa Pension. I can take the KTX out to Gangneung Station, then grab the local Donghae Bukbu Railway line up the coast, get off at Jejin Station, and walk to the pension. Hey, if it keeps me off a bus, I'm all for it. Buses are uncomfortable for long-distance rides. I'll have to visit a train station and talk to an agent about the best route out there... will likely do that Wednesday morning.

news from New York

Via The Epoch Times comes this bit of news:

NY Hospital Will Stop Delivering Babies as Maternity Workers Resign Over Vaccine Mandate

A hospital in upstate New York won’t have the capacity to deliver babies after six employees in its maternity ward resigned instead of taking the COVID-19 vaccine as part of an executive order handed down by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo several weeks ago.

Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville said it will work with state officials to ensure that the maternity unit doesn’t shut down permanently, officials said, WWNY-TV reported. Six employees who were employed in the unit resigned, while seven more who are apparently not vaccinated are undecided, Lewis County Health System Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cayer said.

Due to the staffing shortage, the hospital won’t be able to deliver newborns, Cayer said.

Beliefs and actions have consequences.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

going home now

Eight goddamn hours of work later, and I'm ready to call it a day. Worked from 3 to 11 p.m. And now, the real work week begins as Monday looms. I can tell this is going to be a tiring week, what with everything happening at once: final prep for my trip, shopping for Friday's office meal (plus the cooking), and of course, the ton of proofreading I still have to do. 

This weekend, I did a second proofreading of Book 7 in an eight-book series we're creating for use—maybe—by our company's new franchise branch. Or possibly by our main branch. I no longer know and can't say I really care. Our higher bosses tend to be scatterbrained and visionless; they're not particularly original or proactive, only reacting when they see something they don't want and asking us—always at the last minute—to make changes. Will our book actually be used, or will all this effort be in vain? The belated, out-of-the-blue, and thoroughly unprofessional "we've decided to go with a different set of books" scenario has happened before, more than once. We're supposed to start working on a totally new textbook series once we're done cranking out Books 3 and 7 of the current series (will we get to finish all eight books? your guess is as good as mine), and since I'll be gone for a month, I'm going to have to play catch-up upon my return. Not a problem: I have hours to make up, anyhow. I'll be toiling away for several weekends.

Anyway, I now walk home. I'll eat a final bowl of chocolate pudding tonight, and then I'll be fasting for three-ish days (although, as I said earlier, I might sneak some salad in there somewhere) before my hospital appointment on Thursday. Meanwhile, there's meal prep, trip prep, and other stuff to take care of. Better to be busy than to be bored, right?

Ave, Charles!

Charles offers a thoughtful 9/11 remembrance. Check it out.

back at the office

I'm at the office, and I'll be here until, oh, 10 or 11 p.m. tonight, working on the last four chapters of proofreading I've been given to do. 

Weighed myself this morning and wasn't surprised to see "104 kg" pop up on the scale, so I've reached my weight-gain limit of 2-3 kg. (Remember that I was at 101 kg at the end of the Newcastle diet.) I'm therefore going to be mostly fasting the next three days (maybe there'll be a salad in there somewhere), like a wrestler trying to make it into a lower weight class, and just in time for my doctor's appointment on Thursday. 

My expectation is that my BP will still register as somewhat high, so the docs won't be dropping my BP meds. Blood sugar (fasting glucose, A1c) will be much lower than in June, and while I hope the docs decide to take me off some of those meds, I have a feeling they won't. As for blood thinners, much depends on how they assess the strength of my heart. If they recognize my heart is a lot stronger, four months on, and after loads of stairs training, then maybe they'll take me off blood thinners, which would be nice (I have a huge, mysterious bruise on my upper left arm; it's not fading, and I have no idea where it came from, but it's there likely thanks to the blood thinners.) We'll soon see how reality matches my predictions.

Righto... back to work. More later.

"Fuck Joe Biden"

Did you enjoy "Fuck Trump," "Cheeto Hitler," and "Orange Man Bad"? Well, you're in luck! We're now in the era of "Fuck Joe Biden."* The chant is spreading through stadiums across America, according to Instapundit, which also remarks:

This seems to be happening all over. It’s amusing to see Democrats respond by demanding respect for the office, and the separation of politics and sport. Too late guys. Enjoy the new rules you made.

Separating politics from sport? Colin Kaepernick, anyone? Nike and China? Allowing trans women to compete in cis-female events for the sake of ideology? Fuck you and your hypocrisy.


*As a side note, some idiot Korean commenters at ROK Drop seem to think South Korea has full freedom of speech, and to say otherwise is to engage in "drama." I got dinged by these fools for saying you'd have a hard time wearing a "Fuck Moon Jae-in" tee shirt in South Korea. I guarantee you this: you will never see thousands of Koreans chanting "Fuck Moon Jae-in" at any point during Moon Jae-in's presidency. Ripping apart a huge American flag? Sure! Because that takes no courage at all! But criticizing the Korean people or the government? That's a joke. (Unless your government is headed by Park Geun-hye, of course. Then it's OK to criticize. To be fair, after all that was revealed about Park's administration, I'm kinda glad she's out of the picture, and I'm impressed with how civilized the protests against her were [contrast those protests with BLM riots and pillaging in the US]. That said, you'll never see Korean leftists openly reviled the way Park Geun-hye was.)


Wake me when liberal South Koreans start burning or ripping apart the South Korean flag in public. Then maybe we can talk about real freedom of expression. (Liberal Americans don't realize how good they have it, and they certainly have no fucking clue what living in a fascist police state is like, despite how heedlessly they fling around the word "fascism." South Korea's not a police state, but there are definitely lines you cannot cross, especially as an expat.)

ADDENDUM: a quote seen in the Instapundit comments:

How could this be? He got 80 million votes! He's the most popular president evah!

Alert 1

Here's the first of several alerts: I'll be switching fully over to blogging at Kevin's Walk 5 as of Friday afternoon, so change channels accordingly. I'll put out one such alert every day, Monday through Friday, and if you haven't been paying attention, then too bad for you.

9/11 remembrances

John McCrarey thinks back to 9/11/01.

I was working at the Department of Education in Washington, DC on that beautiful September morning. I was having a meeting with my staff in the conference room. Someone mentioned a plane hitting the World Trade Center building in New York, but we assumed it was just a tragic accident. During the meeting, the phone in my office kept ringing. I ignored it at first, but the persistent callbacks convinced me to interrupt my meeting. The caller was my then-wife, Carol, who worked for the Department of Justice. She asked if I’d heard the news–a plane had hit the Pentagon. And things started going crazy throughout the city.

Dr. John Pepple has some profound 9/11 insights.

Twenty years ago something of extreme importance happened – we all know what it was – but to understand it, we must go back to 1989 when Ayatollah Khomeini issued his fatwa against Salman Rushdie. I understood this to be a message to the West that said, “We Muslims intend to rule you Westerners.” At the time, I assumed everyone understood this message, but it’s now clear to me that almost no one did. I was puzzled by the lack of demonstrations supporting Rushdie, but I now know that the vast majority of leftists did not get the message (or if they did, they didn’t care).


drone strike kills apparent friendlies

Styx on the drone strike that supposedly killed terrorists on their way to Kabul's airport:

So ten kids got vaporized, plus a US aid worker, and the truck was likely carrying water and supplies. Great job, Potatohead.

third time's a charm

And once again, I've failed to walk 35K. Walked to Bundang, then grabbed a cab home. Part of the problem was that I realized, as I was walking, that I still have a ton of proofreading to do at the office, so walking until 7 a.m., then sleeping and getting up late again, just wasn't feasible. No matter: in a few days, I'll be doing plenty of walking. Most of the upcoming trip will involve short legs of no more than 25K, although there are maybe three days when I do over 30K. I have no built-in break days this time, though, so I can't afford to flag. Based on tonight's walk, however, I think I'm now light enough that I won't have to worry too much about foot problems. I might still get blisters at some point, but my feet currently feel more comfortable than they've ever felt, and I owe it all to being nearly 30 kg lighter. (As I said last week, I may have gained a kilo or two, but I can still cinch my belt down to the same hole as before.)

So Sunday will be another work day for me, which I guess is nice because I can whittle down my comp-hour debt a bit more. I also have resistance training and stair work to do, although I may do only truncated versions of both activities, saving the full versions for the weekdays. Sometimes, wrestling with my conscience is a chore, but sometimes, I'm OK with making things easy for myself. Life is too short to spend it feeling bad all the time.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

a scary thought on 9/11: are we finally edging closer to civil war?

I've long contended that, if American society were ever to break down into civil war, the side with all the guns would make short work of the other side. Rhetoric on the right is becoming increasingly bellicose, which evokes in me the dual paradoxical responses of "About fucking time" and "It's gonna be bloody."

But a resigned part of me thinks a civil war is what we've been creeping toward for a while, now, and maybe it's exactly the sort of purge the country needs. I've been quietly advocating for people to take up arms and take back their government for some time; others around me are still refusing to see the need to stop talking and start acting. To that extent, I regret not being in America when the call to arms goes out; I'd happily crack some heads in the name of freedom. Hell, I even have a list of people I'd like to see swinging from lampposts, starting with Joe Biden, but including Pelosi, Nadler, Schiff, Liu, Zuckerberg, Dorsey, Krugman, Cuomo (both brothers), Maddow, Olbermann, Stelter, Lemon, Zucker, and so on. It's a long list, this roll-call of pathological liars. It also includes most of Hollywood.

And one fact needs to be faced: if the right finally gets up the courage to engage in violence, it has to remember that this reckoning is past due. It not, as the left will attempt to say, a matter of, "Aha, see? We knew the right was violent all along!" The right has stood by silently while the left has pillaged, marred, and devastated, all while suffering few to no consequences for its actions. Up to now, it's seemed to me that nothing could possibly provoke the right to action, and I've expressed that disappointment on this blog repeatedly.

Don't misunderstand: I'm not champing at the bit for war, and I'm not some unheeding advocate for violence. All my life, I've been taught by various people—and so have you, most likely—that violence is a last resort, only to be used when self-defense is the last option. Well, folks, we're there, now. The time for talking peaceably has come and gone, and the entire country is about to go over the cliff unless people of stout heart and sturdy conscience do something. Evil people need to be held to account, made to feel extreme pain, then disposed of, preferably slowly and dramatically.

I'm also not unaware that I have friends on the other side of the aisle, many of whom would likely be horrified to read my thoughts on the current situation. To the extent that these friends are reasonable folks who deplore violence and favor dialogue, I'm not talking about them, and I'd be happy to air disagreements with them in the spirit of dialogue. Such friends represent hope for the future, and besides: even if I can't convince them of the rightness of my point of view, I can live with them in a spirit of principled disagreement while remaining friends. I would hate to see any harm come to them, and I would hope they would appreciate a libertarian attitude of "live and let live."

No, the ones I'm talking about are the ones I listed above, who are beyond saving and immune to discussion. I'm talking about the AOCs (and the rest of the Squad), the Bernie Bros, Antifa, BLM, and all the other race hustlers, grifters, and shit-stirrers who deserve a painful death.

And now, at long last, I'm starting to see the right openly contemplate the need to pass beyond words to actual action. I don't normally like Sarah Hoyt's stilted, awkward prose, but in a recent post, she says these things (boldface emphasis mine):

WE THE PEOPLE ARE SICK AND TIRED of your [shenanigans]. You [hell-hounds], you filthy spawn of the ass of Mao, you disgusting [maggots] on the corpse of communism. Get back to the hell that created you, before we send you there.


Do not threaten Americans. Do not threaten Americans when our patience is already thin. OUR patience.

You’re not our father, you’re not our mother, and you’re most certainly not our president.

You are at best a demented and corrupt despot manipulated by overgrown children who don’t know they’re playing with nuclear fire.



Now go. While you can.

We the people have had it with you.

Is the right finally waking up? I hope to God this is so. And Larry Correia desperately needs a proofreader, but he has this to say in a similar vein (emphasis again mine):

And then some of you will ask, but Correia, what’s your solution? LOL. What solution? Shit’s probably going to get weirder. My solution? Buy ammo and food storage. Make friends with your neighbors and be useful to your community. Don’t live anywhere run by [Democrats].

[Best-case] scenario is the opposition party finds its spine and actually fights for something. That might stall the doomsday clock a bit. Realistically? They’ll screw it up. Or win (depending on how “fortified” the mid-term election is) and squander it as usual. Note however, I’m not saying the two parties are morally equivalent. That’s for cowards. Republicans suck, but the DNC as currently constituted is pure Satanic evil incarnate.

As our elected leaders continue to suck and fail, I expect to see a lot more civil disobedience happen. This isn’t a shocker. The left has already made it very clear that the rules don’t apply to them. The left burns, loots, murders, whatever. It all gets a pass. The right gets slightly uppity and it’s a [world-ending] crisis that requires the full might of the federal government to come crashing down on [its head] and 24/7 news coverage for months and special commissions[,] and anybody who tangentially agrees with those uppity types needs to be driven from society for their extremist ways.


This lop-sided shit can’t last. The government doesn’t have a monopoly on force. Force got delegated to it by the people because the people trusted the government to use that force fairly. That’s the real “social contract[,”] and when it breaks[,] bad things happen.

And for the fools cheering this madness on, we have this system for a reason. We have laws for a reason. We create laws the way we do for a reason. The founding fathers weren’t stupid. They were smarter than you idiots. Quit trying to gut or destroy every protection they put in place. That shit is there to protect you. But these stupid motherfuckers are not going to quit pushing until a critical mass of Americans just says fuck it and [goes full-on] Rwandan machete party.

We're edging closer, I think, to a real, honest-to-God civil war. When even the pundits are starting to sound bellicose, you know it's getting bad (even the normally staid Glenn Reynolds recently wrote a sharp-tongued article—not calling for war, mind you, but certainly more vitriolic in tone than his normal stuff). Unlike the Civil War of the 1800s, the borders for this one won't be well-defined—it'll be neighbor versus neighbor—but the aftermath might end up with a divorce that somehow involves geography. I have no idea what that might look like, but it seems to me the end of the Union is upon us, and bloody divorce is the only way out. I don't say that with any joy.

change in plan

I'm still at the office, slogging through the second of four chapters' worth of proofreading I need to get through today. My buddy JW texted that he was back from golf (his "business meeting"), and because it was so hot midday, he wanted to do our 35K walk starting in the late afternoon tomorrow. I told him that would mean ending the walk around 1 or 2 a.m., which would make it too late for us to take a train back to Seoul. I added that I was okay with staying in Yangpyeong and leaving for Seoul on Monday morning, but I didn't know what his situation was. Ultimately, we decided to take a rain check on the Hanam-Yangpyeong walk... we'll do it after I'm back from my east-coast trek.

But I'm still walking this weekend. I'm going to leave the office late tonight and do 35K to Bundang and back. I'll then sleep a few hours, wake up, do the stair work and resistance work that I failed to do today, then go to the office again to finish proofreading the three remaining chapters left to me (I was given seven chapters to proof). I've been wanting to get in at least one 35K walk before I do the big walk, both for the sake of conditioning and to ram home the point that I'm back to 100% when it comes to distance walking. As the weather cools down, I'll eventually start looking at doing another 60K crazy walk. The previous two happened around February, but I might do one before this year is up.

Saturday work

At the office until late today. I've got a mess of proofreading to finish. 

Walking 35K tomorrow (although I haven't heard back from JW as to whether he'll be accompanying me... I suspect he's not keen to do 35K). Blogging this weekend will be minimal.

More later. Maybe.

9/11: reflections on twenty years

A hellish story in pictures. We begin on a bright September morning:

I was in DC, between classes, at the Catholic University library when I heard the news that "the twin towers had collapsed." Like much of the country, though, I still didn't understand fully what was going on, but over the course of the day, the news filled in the details. I wonder, today, whether I would trust the news to report any sort of massive disaster in a fair and objective way.

The Muslim world cheered the destruction, and America divided into camps: those who felt we had to strike back at the enemy, and those who felt we needed to pause and understand why the enemy had done this. I wasn't sure where I stood back then, but I know now, and I can say that there's a reason why you don't bring into your country a populace that already has its own jurisprudence and laws for daily life, and that generally refuses to assimilate into the greater society over the years. 

Look at France and its Muslim communities: sure, there are some Westernized, Gallicized Muslims in France who say they are as French as any other Frenchman, and maybe they are. But in the French banlieues are the unassimilated Muslim masses who, generation after generation, live in a state of incestuous amplification, walling themselves off from the greater society while nursing their resentments, violently defending their neighborhoods to the point that French police have declared certain areas "no-go zones." 

The story of immigration in the West has normally been one of integration within three generations: the fresh-off-the-boat arrivals re-create the society they've left behind; the first generation of native-born Americans (or Frenchmen, etc.) speak two languages and straddle both Old World and New World cultures; the third generation, grandchildren of the fresh-off-the-boat crowd, are more or less fully assimilated into society. This is not what is happening in Muslim enclaves in France, Germany, and other places in the West. Is it racist to see this as a problem? Sorry, PC people, but I think not. It's a huge problem that we collectively don't have the guts to face because we're all so afraid of the "racism" label. The truth is this: those with values antithetical to the values of your community have no place in your community.

Whatever the controversies, America knew it had to rebuild. But first, we would start with the language of symbols—rays of light to represent what was lost:

Eventually, the Twin Towers were replaced by the Freedom Tower.

Who was it who said that skyscrapers are now basically terrorist magnets?

In terms of symbols, the following image was one of the most poignantly iconic for me:

DC was a confused place when 9/11 happened. As we all found out later, DC's disaster plans hadn't been updated since the 1970s. A lot of us started talking about how much worse this all could have been: DC is connected to Virginia by several bridges; off the top of my head, I can think of the 14th Street Bridge,  Memorial Bridge, and Key Bridge. Those could all have been blown up, creating bottlenecks and untold chaos. There was chaos and gridlock, anyway, but things could have been so much worse.

So where are we now as a nation, twenty years on? At each other's throats, it seems. I'm actually happy to be away from the insanity here in Korea. I disagree completely with Biden's and the far left's insane agenda, and I want no part of it. 

It's also unclear that we learned any deep lessons from 9/11; when GW Bush misguidedly attacked Iraq, I was against that war because I knew what it would lead to, and I was proven right while my rightie and rightie-sympathizing friends all advocated for war at the time. Sorry to say "I told you so," but I told you so. Attacking Iraq was stupid even if Saddam Hussein was a monster, which he undoubtedly was. A tense stability in the Middle East would have been better than the mess we made when we toppled Saddam's government and replaced it with what we thought was something more democratic. 

But the arrogant neocon contention that "everybody everywhere wants [American-style] freedom" has shown itself to be hollow and empty, and with the advent of Trump, a new vision of pacifism tried to take its place. Trump started no new wars, had no democratization agenda, and lost no troops in places like Afghanistan. Our current Drooler in Chief, barely into the first year of his first term, has already lost over a dozen troops and stranded God-knows-how-many Americans in a Taliban-dominated hellhole. But the greater point is that Biden, the left, and anti-Trump elements of the GOP are still beholden to the neocon/globalist way of seeing the world, thinking they can export American-style freedom and keep bringing in those dollars. This is why Trump was hated by everyone, not just the left: he represented a new way of dealing with foreign powers and managing the US's economy. The globalists didn't like that, so Trump had to go. Hence the 2020 Steal. Do you really think Joe Biden earned his supposed 80 million votes? Then you're the loony one.

So with little to nothing learned from the bloody nose we received on 9/11, and with American prestige now effectively in the gutter thanks to the current idiot in the Oval Office, my beloved country flails and quails, unable and/or unwilling to face certain stark truths about itself, among which: "a house divided against itself cannot stand." (Matt. 12:25, Mark 3:25, then later, Abraham Lincoln) Truly, where do we go from here? I ask progressives, who supposedly believe in the ideal of progress, how much we've advanced in twenty years. Have we advanced at all? Or are you one of those leftists who think the very notion of "progress" is an artifact of white supremacy? A progressive who sees progress as bad?

to-dos before the journey

1. get bus ticket to Sokcho

2. talk to rental office about paying my October bill while I'm away

3. buy ingredients & prep final meal for office (for the 17th)

4. repair small hole in left pocket of cargo pants

5. become conversant with new backpack's various straps

6. get meds from hospital on Thursday

7. finish proofreading Book 7 (2nd proof) and Book 3 (1st proof) @ office

8. get haircut

9. stick everything in backpack (don't forget all meds)

10. what else? there's always something else....

Friday, September 10, 2021

I do like Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a black conservative/libertarian public figure who has made a name for himself as an incisive intellectual, author, and radio host. He is currently running for governor against the vile Gavin Newsom in California's recall election. 

Here is Elder, always eloquent, in his own words:

Personally, I think Elder's campaign is doomed. A white woman in a (gorilla?) mask only just tried to attack Elder by throwing an egg at him. The alt-media types are outraged, but the leftie mainstream media is almost totally silent, or it has spun the incident in a way that's unfavorable to Elder. Imagine the outrage were Elder a black Democrat and the assailant a white conservative. With the system so deeply against him, how can Elder hope to win, and why would the man even want to run in the first place? Hope springs eternal, I guess. Elder will have to fight an uphill battle to win the recall election, and I think the Democrats will pull a 2020 and cheat their hearts out to make sure Elder doesn't win.

I give the man credit for trying, though. In the end, he'll lose, and ultimately, California will have to burn first before it can truly rise from the ashes. But will such a purge ever happen?

a surprisingly funny Babylon Bee video

I'm not one of those people who think The Babylon Bee (conservative answer to The Onion) is all that funny. The funniest thing on that site tends to be the headlines; the articles themselves often feel like pale, flaccid attempts at imitating The Onion in its heyday (because let's face it: these days, The Onion itself is not really that funny). But the following Bee video did make me chuckle a bit, so I now pass it along to you:


My buddy Mike asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I told him I wanted a shoebox full of Jell-O Sugar-free Chocolate Pudding, which is awesome. It doesn't taste unsweetened at all. I was having trouble finding the 59-gram box of it, though, which is why I turned to Mike, and he came through for me—big-time. The box that arrived from America wasn't a shoebox (Mike didn't take my request that literally), but it was big, and it contained twenty boxes of pudding, so I'm set for the next little while. (Set? Get it? Pudding has to set? Oh, fuck off—you know that was funny, dammit.)

You make the pudding with milk, and it firms up in five minutes (unlike Jell-O gelatin, which takes 4 hours, or 3 if you're impatient, as I often am). Now, the keto diet, which I'm on, frowns on the use of skim milk (skim milk has little to no fat, but keto is a high-fat diet, so you're better off with whole milk or heavy cream, especially heavy cream, which is calorific but very low in carbs), and that means I have the pleasure of making my pudding with whole milk and maybe some heavy cream thrown in. The cream adds calories, but not carbs.

I specifically wanted the 59-gram box because that makes 3 cups of pudding. There's an easier-to-find 39-gram box that makes 2 cups' worth of pudding; I didn't want that. I want my 3 cups. Mike tried several stores, and I think he said Wal-Mart had what I wanted in the end. Bless you, Wal-Mart! And many thanks to Mike for making me one happy addict.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

thoughts on "The Matrix Resurrections"

The Wachowskis are doing it, despite having denied wanting to do so for a long time: they've been filming "The Matrix Resurrections," and there's even a trailer out (along with a trippy ad campaign composed of fourth-wall-breaking teasers). 

I really loved "The Matrix," and I enjoyed the subversive nature of "The Matrix Reloaded" far more than many critics did, but I was thoroughly disappointed by "The Matrix Revolutions" and its epic failure of imagination. And while part of me loves the idea of seeing the further adventures of Neo and Trinity (Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss both return, but in this story, they apparently don't remember each other as lovers; Laurence Fishburne is not back as Morpheus,* but Yahya Abdul-Mateen seems to have taken his place), I dread whatever contrivance the writers had to come up with to explain how two characters who most definitely died in "The Matrix Revolutions" are suddenly alive again. 

If you watch the preview trailer for "Resurrections," you'll note that Keanu hasn't bothered to change from his bearded, long-haired John Wick look. Maybe he's now too old to be convincingly clean-shaven. I don't know. I do know that the movie is coming out around Christmas in the States, and while half of me is aching to see it, half of me thinks nothing will top the fun and excitement of the first film.

Here's the trailer, which does look intriguing:


*One of the greatest scandals of "The Matrix Revolutions" is how Morpheus gets sidelined in favor of playing up Captain Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith), with whom the audience is given no real time to build up a connection. Morpheus was a John the Baptist figure in the first film, announcing the arrival of the One, but not suffering John the Baptist's fate. It was almost as if the writers didn't know what to do with Morpheus once his purpose had been served. "The Matrix Reloaded" strongly hinted at a subversion of the character by making it seem as if everything Morpheus believed in had been a lie; it might almost have been better to kill Morpheus off at that point, when he was at his lowest, leaving the memory of Morpheus to motivate the survivors somehow. Instead, Morpheus got turned into Chewbacca the copilot while Niobe expertly piloted the ship, and he had nothing left to do but witness the results of Neo's final battle with Smith at the very end. As character arcs go, Morpheus' arc has to be one of the most disappointing I've ever seen.

can vultures be cute?

Decide for yourself:

pressing on my belt (and the next weigh-in)

I'm going on a 35K hike this coming Sunday, not Saturday, to accommodate by buddy JW's business schedule. I'll actually be coming into work on Saturday so I can do as much proofreading as I can, and also to start making up for the 34 hours I still owe the boss thanks to my week-long spell in the hospital (I made up some hours already, hence the below-40 number of hours I still owe). Next week is going to be a bit of a circus because (1) my hospital appointment is on Thursday, and while I won't be working the whole day that day, I do plan to come to the office somewhat late; and (2) I'll be leaving for the east coast a bit early on Friday, which means I'll probably come to the office early to compensate for that fact. I'm also cooking food for Friday, having decided to step up and take care of September's office-party meal and also have a bit of a cheat day (although, actually, the entire east-coast walk is going to be a month-long cheat day, with the caveat that I won't go totally nuts on the carbs).

Right now, I'm feeling a bit of weight gain. I can still cinch my belt down to what used to be the second-to-last hole (I punched four new holes into the belt), but it's a tight fit, so I may have gained an inch or so around the waist. Because I'm doing a long walk on Sunday, I won't do my weigh-in and stats until Monday morning. I'll be very interested to see how a 35K walk affects my blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight (assuming I fast once I get home from that walk). I'm sort-of fasting today, and while I'd normally fast on Saturday as well, I plan to eat early in the day (nothing past 1 p.m.) to give myself some sustenance, as well as the time to digest whatever I eat and get it out of my system by late Sunday morning. Messing with my digestive system isn't something I like doing, but it's hard to imagine fasting on Saturday, then walking 35K on Sunday on an empty stomach. A man has to eat.

So that's where things stand. This week and next week, I'll do what I can to empty out my fridge so there's nothing that can rot for a month while I'm away from home. Most of the perishables are already gone; there are a few things left, but they ought to be eaten or thrown away by next week. (Come to think of it, I'll be fasting on Wednesday, next week, in preparation for Thursday's hospital appointment. Once I'm out of the hospital (hopefully with the news that my numbers have mostly improved), I'll probably have a cheat meal plus a cheat snack that same day: the doctors will no doubt prescribe another 100 days' worth of medicine for my next checkup, which will be around late December, I think, so I'll have plenty of time to work off any indulgences. (September 16 + 100 days = about December 27, which is a horrible time for an appointment since I'd like to eat freely at Christmas and not have to worry about my numbers... postpone until late January, guys?)

Righto—more later.

via Bill

A letter or editorial of some sort that makes a good point:

On April 27, 2020, the Portland Press-Herald reported, "Rye [New Hampshire] police are advising surfers to catch a wave elsewhere or face the prospective of a fine.

"Rye Police Chief Kevin Walsh said his officers are weary of chasing off surfers in groups as large as 10 who are ignoring beach closures.

"Many are parking in church lots and on private property, so Walsh is seeking permission from these property owners to ticket and tow the vehicles. Police may also start issuing tickets to surfers for trespassing on the beach."

Chief Walsh's efforts were in vain. Guarding 19 miles of ocean from 10 surfers did not work. Covid spread across the state. 

Masks did not work. 

Social distancing did not work. 

Plexiglass did not work. 

Bumping elbows instead of shaking hands did not work. 

Separating loved ones from their dying relatives did not work. 

Shutting down the economy did not work.

Vaccines don't seem to be working, either. Israel, the most vaccinated country in the world, is suffering its worst covid wave yet.

Sweden didn't lock down, and it did little worse than anyone else and fared better than some. It is time to live again.

Americans need to live like Americans again. Two centuries before Chief Walsh, another New Hampshire leader—General John Stark, the hero of the Battle of Bennington—wrote to his men, "Live Free Or Die."

We need to be worthy of General Stark and go back to being Americans.

Yes, everybody with an ocean
Across the U.S.A
Go out and be surfin'
Even Californi-a
Go put on your baggies
Huarache sandals too
This is, this is what we do
Surfin' U.S.A.

General Stark and his men and the Green Mountain Boys of the Republic of Vermont fought a Revolutionary War amid a smallpox epidemic in which one-third of those infected died.

Not 0.5%.


They did not Zoom the war. They fought. They were not going to allow an actual plague to keep them from living before they died.

What has living like inmates locked down on death row achieved?


The New York Daily News reported, "Daily coronavirus cases are four times higher than they were following Labor Day weekend of last year, with the number of daily deaths twice as high as they were this time in 2020, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

"Since the global health crisis emerged in late 2019, the United States has recorded more than 40 million COVID-19 cases, including just 4 million in the last month alone.

"Health officials noted the biggest difference between this year and last is the delta variant. They blamed the 316% increase over last year’s daily infections on the highly contagious covid 19 mutation as well as a large number of Americans refusing to become vaccinated against the fast-spreading disease.

"According to data from Health and Human Services, hospitalization rates are also up 157% compared with Labor Day weekend 2020, leaving medical facilities packed to the brim and their staffs exhausted and overwhelmed.

"What’s more, intensive-care units across several states are inching closer to full capacity, which could force doctors to make life-and-death decisions."

The report is a bunch of Bolshevik propaganda.

But the Pandemic Panic Press inadvertently makes my point. A year ago, we had no vaccine. Now we do, and with half the population vaccinated, cases have quadrupled, so nothing works.

Blaming the unvaccinated for the increase is ridiculous. Last year no one was vaccinated, and we had one-fourth the cases we have now.

We know why.

The government and the media are manipulating the data.

At some point, we have to quit being babies and go back to being Americans.

Oh, sure. Take precautions. I am not really sure just what those precautions are because none of them have stemmed the spread of covid. I was vaccinated. That seemed to work. But you do you.

Above all, live.

You can nitpick the above argument (I can see some holes in the reasoning), but can you really deny the claim that nothing has been working? I think herd immunity is our best defense. Those of us who can afford to get infected (and that's most of us) should get infected, then benefit from the resultant immunity. Soon enough, the virus will have nowhere to turn to.

Also via Bill: