Saturday, July 24, 2021

I still don't know our hiking route

JW texted to say he'll be picking me up at 1:30 Saturday afternoon (technically today). It's a 2-hour ride out to whatever site it is that JW has selected, and since he still hasn't divulged the route, I guess we'll just start walking once we park. I'm expecting 2.5 hours out, 2.5 hours back, for a total of 5 hours. 

In looking at the photos of the Hantan River, I didn't see any actual pictures of the path itself; there are only pictures of the scenery. Now, the scenery looks gorgeous, but I also suspect that our walk is going to be very hilly: the river-spanning bridges are high up, but if the path also moves along the riverside, then that implies there are some—or many—uphill sections. Good thing I've been doing stair work, eh? Anyway, if we start walking at 3:30 p.m., it's going to be damn hot, but if we go for five hours, then it'll be around 8:30 p.m. by the time we finish, so things ought to be a bit cooler by then. Just a few hours of sweat and suffering.

So I'm looking forward to the hike but also not looking forward to it. Since I still have no idea what the route is, things are going to be interesting. I have a sneaking feeling that JW's "plan" is little more than pick a spot and start walking, then turn around and walk back. JW's not much of a planner, so one has to be prepared for anything.

Stay tuned. There might be pictures later.

Friday, July 23, 2021

stairs: ratcheting up again next week

For three weeks, I've been walking up to the 10th floor of my building from the B1 level on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Starting next week, I'll be walking up to the 14th floor, where I live, so I won't need to take an elevator up the final few floors as I currently do.

Also, my 10-kg dumbbells and pullup bar arrived. I put the pullup bar together last night, and since I'm nowhere near strong enough to do a pullup yet, I'll do what I did in Switzerland and start with negatives. This is where you boost yourself up with a chair, put yourself in a full-elbow-flex position on the pullup bar, step off the chair, then resist the tug of gravity as you do the downward part of the pullup motion only. The slower you can do this, the stronger you get. That's how I built up to finally doing pullups when I lived in Switzerland. 

As you recall, my goal is two pullups by the end of this year. In Switzerland, back in 1989-90, my record was seven pullups. By next year, I hope to beat that. I'm a lot older than I was, but my experience back then was that, after you get past doing that first pullup, it's easy to add more pullups to your routine.

Meantime, I'm counting on the ratcheting-up to help me continue to lose weight, even as my body resists letting go of body fat. Currently, I burn way more calories walking than I do during stair work (the latter lasts barely 4 minutes, although it does get the heart going), but as the stair work gets longer and longer, I expect that to change, especially since stair work is, for me, so much more intense than walking. And I can finally feel some self-respect around John McCrarey and his hill-tackling Hasher crew. John talks about how he admires my ability to go long when I'm on my walks (18K to 35K, usually), but I tell him I probably couldn't hack the walks he does. His walks may be relatively short at 6K to 10K, but they always involve hills and mountains, and because he's in the Philippines, it's always hot and humid. That would absolutely kill me; I hate heat and humidity. And it's why I prefer to walk in the evenings and at night during Korean summer. My long walks are normally on flat ground, but with stair work, I'm going relentlessly upward, and I can feel the cardiovascular benefits. I'm no longer tired out by the two flights of stairs at work, for example, and that's nice.

Unfortunately, my shoulder still hurts, so I have a few weeks to go, I think, before I'm really ready to do negatives, pushups, etc. Once the shoulder is better, I have a bunch of exercises I'll be adding to my routine: shoulder press, bent-over rows, arm raises, triceps curls, etc.

the future and the sausage project

I'm winding down Week 6 of the Newcastle Diet, and it's all downhill from here, even if it doesn't feel like it (today's lunch was, once again, two chicken breasts and a Paris Baguette salad, and for the rest of the day, it's maybe some artificially sweetened tea plus a whole plate of nothing until a breakfast shake tomorrow... such is my life). I'm starting to think ahead about how I need to behave once this diet is over, and what I plan to be eating. Luckily, the keto diet is pretty permissive when it comes to fatty, unprocessed meats, vegetables, and the occasional keto dessert. Cheese is okay, but in moderation. Nuts are also good, but you still have to watch out because they're calorie-dense. Add to that my two cheat days per month, and I think I'll be okay with that lifestyle. I have cravings, but I'm getting used to eating less.

Keep in mind that, as I've said before, I'll be moving to the Jason Fung paradigm after Newcastle: that will involve intermittent fasting (which I'm already kind-of doing), plus 24-hour fasting. After pondering the matter, I've decided that my "T Diet" will involve eating four days a week and fasting only three; that strikes me as more sane and reasonable than fasting four days a week. So on days with a "T" in them, I'll be fasting.

In thinking about carbs, I think I'm going to try, at least at first, for low-intensity keto, i.e., allowing myself 50 grams of carbs per day instead of the stricter 20 grams. This is a borderline low-carb diet, less austere than out-and-out keto, but for some people, apparently, 50 grams of carbs per day is enough to induce ketosis and autophagy. If I try this and nothing happens after a couple months, I'll scale down to 20 grams of carbs, which is the gold standard.

Calorie-wise, it'll be nice to eat 1800-2000 calories a day. That'll still be less than I was eating pre-stroke, and if I'm fasting every other day, then my two-day average most of the week will actually still be just a bit above the strictures of the Newcastle Diet. Putting my cheat days on Friday (although I will be flexible in case there are social occasions) will allow me to fast on Saturday and still do my weekly long walk, which will speed up recovery after wrecking my blood sugar. I doubt that any of the experts I watch on YouTube would recommend cheating twice a month, but if I'm walking at least 18K on weekends, I feel entitled.

All of the above is nice, but what I really wanted to talk about is sausages. Store-bought sausages fall under the category of processed meats, which are not the best for your health, but if you make your own sausage, you control what goes into it, and my sausages won't have the chemical shit found in store-bought sausages, except maybe for curing salt, which I need to buy soon. I bought a sausage-grinding attachment for my stand mixer, and because I've long been an avid consumer of sausage-making videos on YouTube, I already have many ideas about what sorts of sausages I want to make.

First among the sausages I want to make is the Toulouse, mentioned back in 2018 during my trip to France. A most excellent sausage that was. I don't plan on using casings for any of my sausages, but I'll get them into a sausage shape by using cling wrap. Wrap a tube of meat in cling wrap, twist both ends, and you end up with a perfectly straight, cylindrical sausage. Other sausages I want to make include English bangers, both sweet and spicy Italian sausages, Weißwurst, Bratwurst, Kielbasa, summer sausage, and maybe some dry-cured sausages like Landjaeger, Spanish chorizo, salami, soppressata, and maybe even good old Amurrican hot dogs (which are not dry-cured, of course). I might even try making beef sausages and chicken or turkey sausages, although I have no idea where to find raw turkey. Coupang?

Envisioning what I plan to do after Newcastle is over is one of the ways I try to keep sane. Working on sausages will be nice because I can do that on keto and not have to wait for a cheat day, although I'll have to be careful what sauces I use with each sausage. I have recipes for keto ketchup and BBQ sauce, both of which I recently made, and mustard is already fine on keto, but there may be other sauces where I'll have to watch the sugar content. Still, this is all something to look forward to. I'll be so glad when Newcastle is finally over. It's been a long six weeks, and there are four more weeks to go.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

I was thinking something like this the other day

Tom Knighton's Substack essay "Why I Can't Take Climate Change Seriously" is a perfect reflection of my own recent thoughts on the matter. Knighton admits that, in his own memory, the winters of his youth were much harsher than current winters are, so on a personal level, this could be taken as evidence for climate change. But Knighton also notes that climate models routinely and spectacularly fail to predict what's going to happen next, which is reason to mistrust them. Here's how he puts it:

Now, understand, I do think the climate is changing. I know what weather was like in my youth[,] and I know what it’s like now, and there are pronounced differences. In particular, with regard to winter.

We used to have it here in Southwest Georgia.

Now, well, we still do[,] and it’s still cold in the winter. For both weeks of it. (The 14 days aren’t necessarily consecutive, for the record. It’s usually two or three days of cold at a time.)

However, something I noticed is that despite what appears to be clear evidence right before my eyes, the climate models keep getting it wrong. In fact, the track record for those models is rather impressive.

They’re pretty much always wrong.

So how is it that I can see differences in the climate over a handful of decades while the supposed experts can’t seem to model any of it correctly? The answer is simple: They don’t know as much as they like to pretend.


If climate scientists can’t get the models to actually work, then why should we take their predictions seriously? Remember, they want to create irreparable harm to the economy in an effort to combat this problem that they clearly don’t understand well enough to model effectively. 

So yeah, I’m not as concerned as I once was.

Knighton doesn't get into this, but it's a drum that's regularly beaten over at Instapundit: the climate-change crowd never seems to act as if we were living through a crisis. Leonardo DiCaprio sees no hypocrisy in jetting from climate conference to climate conference, for example. Plenty of limousine liberals are in the same boat: preaching the gospel of climate change while enjoying their environmentally wasteful lives. Let them all experience the benefits of walking from place to place instead of polluting the air by using transportation. That goes for Greta Thunberg as well. Another hypocrite. How dare you!

For myself, I think we have plenty of actual environmental problems we can worry about. Air pollution in East Asia is a good place to start. So is desertification throughout the world. Rivers clogged with plastic bottles are a major concern, so let's get some sharp minds working on that problem (I know some are doing so, but let's do more). In my own neighborhood in Alexandria, Virginia, where I'm from, there's plenty of trash along the George Washington Parkway that needs to be picked up. Seeing it lying there is a shame and a disgrace. So I'm all for doing green things where we can, and these things can be done without faulty predictive climate models. Here in Seoul, litter is everywhere because, like in the States, many people feel no sense of responsibility about their own trash—one of the hazards of living in a service economy. The city's response to litter is pathetic: remove trash cans in the hopes that people will be forced to pack out their trash. Instead, predictably, people just leave their empty bottles and wrappers sitting on low walls and benches. This is a bit of a tangent, but I often feel like Buddhist monks ought to be out there doing some actual good by scouring the city and picking up all the trash while preaching the dharma of not trashing the city.

So there's a lot that can be done, and it can be done without politicizing the issue. We can all agree that plastic-clogged rivers need cleaning, and that little kids in third-world countries shouldn't be playing in foul rivulets of sludge flowing between huge mountains of trash. There's no need to kowtow to a mirage of climate predictions that never come true (snows of Kilimanjaro? Pacific islands submerged under the sea? polar ice caps melted to nothing? extinct polar bears?), no need to develop policy based on those models. There's already plenty for us to do, and nothing to stop us from going out and doing it.

"The Father": review

Anthony Hopkins richly deserved the Best Actor Oscar he won, at age 83, for his role in "The Father," which is based on the French stage play "Le père," by Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton. Zeller directed the film (his first-ever cinematic effort). The 2020 production stars Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Rufus Sewell, Imogen Poots, Olivia Williams, and Mark Gatiss. It is filmed in such a way as to have the feel of a stage play, involving very few sets and very few people in any given scene. 

The story, which is about a man's deteriorating mental state as he succumbs to dementia, also has one major dramatic conceit: to give the audience an idea of what it feels like to be the central character (also named Anthony), we see different actors and actresses playing the same people—i.e., Olivia Colman and Olivia Williams both play Anthony's daughter Anne. Thus, we see Anthony looking at a completely different woman claiming to be his daughter, and we understand why he reacts as if she were a total stranger. Scarily, we come to realize that Anthony can no longer tell what's real. There are moments in the movie when the same dialogue repeats itself with different actors saying the lines, as if Anthony were caught in some kind of weird time-loop, and so we come to understand that Anthony cannot even feel the flow of time correctly. Is it morning? Is it evening? Why am I still in my pajamas if it's evening? Anthony cannot remember that his other daughter had been killed in an accident; he keeps wondering aloud as to why she hasn't visited in so long. Anthony also thinks he's in his own flat, but it seems he's been staying with his daughter (and with her maybe-husband—Anne's marital status is unclear) for months, now. Anthony has also made trouble for a series of caretakers, possibly even becoming physically threatening. All of this is forcing Anne's hand as she tries to decide what to do with her father.

"The Father" is less plot-oriented than it is character-oriented. The plot is, I suppose, rather simple. A man descends into dementia, and his daughter must decide whether to keep taking care of him in her home or to put him in an institution. That's the central dilemma for Anne. For Anthony, too, there's something of a character arc in that he begins the movie already in the grip of dementia, but still coherent enough to be in denial about his condition. Well, at least partially in denial: Anthony has moments of weakness during which he plaintively asks his daughter, "What's to become of me?" when he learns she plans to move to Paris to be with the man she loves. But by the end of the film, Anthony seems to realize that it's not reality that's acting "funny," as he puts it, but his own mind. "I don't know what's happening any more," he says tearfully toward the end of the film. It's a heartbreaking moment.

Kudos should also be given to the actors working around Hopkins. Both Olivia Colman and Olivia Williams do marvelous work, with Williams in various roles and Colman, normally known as a comic actress, delivering a soulful, dead-serious performance as the probably-real Anne. Rufus Sewell, of whom I'm a huge fan, is excellent as maybe-husband Paul, who may or may not exist; Mark Gatiss is just as good in his several roles, and Imogen Poots, despite her relative youth, plays the role of a maybe-caretaker with aplomb.

I found "The Father" thoroughly depressing. I went into the movie with the eager expectation of getting some insight into what's happening to President Joe Biden, for whom I have little sympathy. Instead, what I got was an empathetic film that shows what's going to happen to all of us who are lucky enough (or unlucky enough) to survive to old age. What "The Father" shows us is our eventual fate. At some point in the near or far future, assuming I don't die early and suddenly, I won't be coherent enough to continue writing reviews. Aging, and the attendant loss of independence, can be a sad thing, and this movie puts a painful spotlight on that situation. I recommend "The Father" for Anthony Hopkins's stand-out performance, but do go into the movie knowing you'll come out feeling shredded.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

la Migra calls

I got a text, a few days ago, from Immigration. Two texts, actually, a few hours apart. The first text said that, because of the virus, my F4 visa's period of validity has been extended from this coming August 31 (my birthday) to next April 30. A few hours later, I got an update saying the extension would be only until this coming November 30. Damn. Well, an extension is an extension, I guess, and my F4 is good for three years, so once I get the renewal process over with, I'll be good until 2024. They apparently don't want us visiting the immigration office right now, thanks to the virus. My boss, meanwhile, thinks I should apply for an F5 visa, which is for long-term residents of Korea. I just might, at that.

I am now without my credit card

I discovered a weird charge for $7.08 on my Chase Amazon card, dated yesterday. I have no idea where that charge came from, and I think it might be fraudulent, so I just finished talking with Chase customer service about the problem. Upshot: they've deactivated my current card and will be sending me a new card, set to arrive chez moi in 7-12 business days. Once I get the new card, I have to call a special number and activate it, and I'll have to update every service I use that uses that card. That includes Amazon and CubeSmart, the public-storage facility where I'm keeping all my Stateside stuff. 

CubeSmart may be a problem. If the Chase card doesn't arrive before the 6th of August, I'll be unable to pay CubeSmart my monthly fee, which means I might incur a penalty. August 6th is the 12th day of the 7-12-day window the representative mentioned during our conversation. I suppose that, if the card does arrive on the 6th, I might still have time to activate my new card and update my CubeSmart account because Seoul is 14 hours ahead of DC. But I'll be cutting it really close, so let's hope the new credit card arrives well before August 6th.

Just what I need, right? Another thing to worry about.

the Hantan River

I'd never even heard of the Hantan River, but my buddy JW has proposed that we walk along part of it this coming weekend. I went to Google to see what the riverside might be like, and it looks nice—more of a pure walking trail than a bike trail—so I told JW I'd be curious to try a segment. JW's planning our day, which could turn out to be a shit-show since he sucks as a planner, but I don't care. I'll just go along with whatever he plans. 

The river is fairly long and narrow, and much of it seems to be close to the DMZ, so we'll be up north. I saw that, at one point, the river features a huge footbridge that spans it. That looks neat. It's called the 하늘 다리, or Sky Bridge. I wonder if JW knows about it. (Actually, I see that there are several bridges.) Maybe we should make a project of walking the entire river, from wherever it starts to wherever it ends. Not a bad way to spend future Saturdays.

I suspect that what's going to happen is this: we'll drive to a site in his car, pick a direction, walk the riverside trail for 2.5 hours, then walk back to his car. Saturday is going to be super-hot, though, so I've warned JW that I'd rather start walking in the late afternoon and be done by evening or nightfall. I'm envisioning 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. or 10 p.m., about 25 kilometers. I suspect JW has a very different idea that I'm not going to like, but I'll grin and bear it.

One way or another, it looks to be an interesting weekend.

keto soba

Not as good as I'd hoped, but edible:

I definitely give the pasta credit for being able to retain sauce. The oatiness, though, will take some getting used to. Overall, not horrible, but not great. I think I might try naengmyeon next, both Pyongyang-style and Hamheung-style. That means I'll have to find some brisket.

ordered allulose and tried it

There are artificial sweeteners favored by the keto crowd because they have a low glycemic index (erythritol, for example, has a GI of 0), no calories, and they supposedly do nothing to affect your blood sugar (although there is the cephalic response to consider, in which the liver responds to sweet tastes by producing insulin, whether the sweetness is from real sugar or not). Erythritol is considered keto; so are monkfruit, inulin, and allulose. Monkfruit by itself apparently tastes sweet but really weird, so it's normally processed and mixed with erythritol, which means you get that "cooling" effect when you eat it (like when you ingest mint). Splenda, which I use, mainly because I bought a 1000-pack of it years ago and still have a ton of it, is considered verboten for keto-heads (sucralose = bad), but I use it, anyway.

In my pantry, I have erythritol and monkfruit (which is 75% erythritol, so it's almost the same thing). I was curious about allulose, so I bought some, and it arrived the other day. When you open the allulose bag (powdered form), you're greeted by a puff of vanilla, so it's obviously slightly flavored. Taste-wise, it tasted sweet, but not overpoweringly so. But here's the thing: when I made a cup of tea and dumped two heaping spoonfuls of allulose into the liquid, there was almost no sweetness at all. This is disappointing. Color me unimpressed with allulose. When I start making my own keto desserts, I won't be using it as my sweetener of choice.

Somewhere in my pantry, I also have a huge tub of powdered Stevia that I've been thinking about throwing away. The thing's been sitting in my cabinet for years. The stuff is horrible, but I see so many keto-heads who swear by it. I might just have a bad version of the sweetener; most keto folks use it in liquid form, with an eyedropper. Now that I'm on Coupang, perhaps I can buy some liquid Stevia and chuck the stuff I have. Maybe the liquid form is better.

So: I've got allulose now, but it feels like a sweetener of last resort.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

lest I forget

So far, no other country has accomplished the feat of landing people on the moon. Other nations are catching up fast in the space race, but for now, putting people on the moon is an American achievement—something to be proud of. Others will follow eventually, of course, and that will be their own triumph. But the history books will always note that America was first on the moon. Now let's do Mars.


I'm going to try to make keto soba tonight, to be eaten tomorrow. Apparently, I can make an entire batch of keto noodles for only 500-some calories. Add the dipping sauce and the Korean version of furikake (which often goes by a brand name like bap-chingu 밥 친구 or bap-irang 밥이랑—"rice friend" or "with rice"*), and the entire dish is just beyond 600 calories, which means I can still enjoy my double-size chocolate shake in the morning and be only a little bit beyond 800 calories after eating four servings of keto noodles. That's great because I actually have only three servings of Keto King noodles left. I'll be under my 800-calorie limit for once. It does mean I won't be getting any vegetables beyond a little seaweed, though.

To make the dipping sauce for the faux soba (fauxba?), I need to make a dashi first, to which I'll add a bit of ginger, mirin, and either tamari or liquid aminos in place of soy sauce. (I wonder if those are available on Coupang, or will I have to go with iHerb?) The dish ought to be fairly simple. Alas, I couldn't find bonito flakes at the grocery where I work, so I simply bought some dried pollock. Purists will scream, of course, but I'm just making do, and I can't be arsed to visit the SSG Food Mart to buy the real thing (same goes for the furikake).

Tonight, then, we embark upon the Great Keto Soba Experiment.


*I'm aware that furikake and bap-chingu are not the same thing in terms of ingredients. But think about the context in which they're both used: they're both most often sprinkled on rice, and sometimes other carbs like noodles. They also don't taste that different.

things I've bought

My buddy Tom finally convinced me to sign on for Coupang, a Korean service that feels a bit like a cross between GMarket and Amazon. Find an item and order it. For the longest time, I had the Coupang app on my phone, downloaded when Tom first started telling me about how wonderful it was (I had coworkers years ago who told me they'd been using it, so I've known about Coupang for a long time). 

I was unable to complete registration, though, because the name as written on my bank account is not the same as how it's written on my alien-registration card. I rectified that problem yesterday when I was at the bank to make my monthly wire transfer (I'm paying down my credit card; I've been free of scholastic debt since last Christmas, and it still feels wonderful): I asked the teller if it would be possible to change the name on my bank account from being written in Korean to being written in English. It took a few minutes, and I had to sign a form or two, but the process was pretty painless. With my bank-account name now matching my alien-card name, I finished the registration process for Coupang and set about ordering some things. "So what did you buy?" I hear you bray.

Got myself one of those pullup bars that you hang in a door frame, and I also got a 2-fer set of 10-kilogram weights. My shoulder still hurts, but I can now do biceps, triceps, shoulder, and lat work in the comfort of my own place, without having to make a spectacle of myself in our park. Tom says that, ever since he's been on Coupang, he hasn't gone shopping anywhere because Coupang also delivers groceries, which makes his wife happy. I don't know if I'll ever get to the point where I order that much, that constantly (I like grocery shopping), but I'm beginning to see the utility of a service that generally delivers for free, and (according to Tom) very efficiently. Tom told me to "get off GMarket," which he thinks will be gone in two years. Tom generally has a good sense for businesses, and while I don't think GMarket will be gone by 2023, he's probably right about how good Coupang is. If Coupang has certain hard-to-find items like Gillette armpit deodorant, that'll make me very happy.

So the retail therapy continues. Yes, I'm a consumer in a consumerist society, worshiping in yet another temple of consumerism, but the people who regularly complain about consumerism are no less consumers (and hypocritical ones at that) of their slave-labor-produced iPhones and their hoity-toity Starbucks lattes.

when a bitch stops being bitchy

Enjoy the politically incorrect title of this post; not many people have the balls to say what they mean anymore, for fear of being labeled some kind of bigot.

I was in our basement grocery over the weekend when one of the cashiers saw me standing on line to use a self-service checkout machine. She called me over to take care of me so that I wouldn't have to wait. This lady and I have a tense history, and I normally think of her as an arrogant bitch given how she's treated me in the past. She's made a point of speaking to me in a rude and curt way, of using English (bad English) with me after I've spoken to her in Korean, and even of holding me up in line while she took a long, dramatic swig of a drink because she was apparently so thirsty that she just couldn't wait. She's the kind of woman who you could tell was really beautiful once, and she still carried with her the natural arrogance of many beautiful women, despite being well beyond her prime, and well past middle age.

Out of the blue, as she was ringing up my things, she suddenly asked in English, "How long you stay in Korea?"

There were at least two ways to take the question: "How long have you stayed in Korea?" or "How long do you plan to stay in Korea?" I knew it was the former that she meant, but I answered with the latter.

"Until I die, maybe," I replied in Korean.

She switched to Korean: "Your Korean is very good. Your pronunciation is really exact."

I normally bristle at what I see as a condescending remark made by Koreans when they hear a simple "hello" from foreigners. "Hello," says the foreigner in Korean. "Wow, you speak Korean so well!" says the Korean. Linguistic expectations in this country are extremely low, despite the presence of so many Korean-fluent foreigners on TV. (To be clear, I'm far from fluent. I'm middling.) But I sensed this might have been some sort of olive branch, so I replied with my standard, "I still have a lot to learn." I think she smiled.

So huh. That was strange. The bitch wasn't a bitch for once. She called me over, for one thing. Normally, that would be unheard of, as she usually does her best to ignore me. Then she offered me a compliment after I spoke Korean to her (I've heard her trying to use her bad English with other foreigners in the past). Maybe she's lowering my defenses so she can launch some kind of frontal assault...? Nah. I'll just take this as a rare, random kindness and leave it at that. And I won't be surprised if she goes back to being bitchy. 

The heart of woman is a mystery.

why 99% of movies today are garbage

 Great videos:

I think this guy makes a lot of sense. He's one of the founders of

Monday, July 19, 2021

a few noodle ideas came to me

I've got these keto noodles sitting in my freezer. They're ostensibly spaghetti noodles, but as I said in my noodle post, they might actually work better as noodles in some sort of Korean or Japanese soup. I looked up a recipe for soba (see here), where you pile your noodles on one side of the plate and put a tub of cold dipping sauce on the other side (it's usually a rectangular plate). To make the dipping sauce keto-friendly, I'd have to use tamari or liquid aminos instead of regular soy sauce, but that's not a big deal. I've tried both (I have both in my kitchen cabinet), and they work. And with soba, there are a million variations.

So soba is one idea. Another is something like Korean naengmyeon, although I'll have to see what it takes to make keto gochujang if I go the bibim-naengmyeon route. I could also use the pasta to make Japanese ramen or Korean ramyeon, and there are plenty of other Korean soups that are made with noodles. I'd also be curious to try jjajang-myeon, but making that keto-friendly will be hard.

Upshot: I have many alternatives at my fingertips. Can't do any of them yet, not as long as I'm still on the Newcastle Diet (I think I may have gained back at least a kilo after yesterday's foray into pasta), but once I'm off the diet, I'll see what magic I can work with keto noodles. I do like their texture. More on this as it happens.

where does anyone stand on vaccines? and why get one?

Trump gets no credit for his Operation Warp Speed, which expedited the process of making COVID vaccines (some curmudgeons note these are less vaccines and more like gene therapy... I see a lot of terminology-related complaints in the comments at Instapundit). At the time, the left was against vaccines because, well, Trump. Now, of course, the left has done its usual 180 and is entirely pro-vaccine, and they once again paint the right as anti-science troglodytes who want to kill Grandma (despite the fact that Andrew Cuomo, Gretchen Whitmer, and other Democrat governors have done a pretty good job of that themselves). Then today, I saw this quote at Instapundit from John Hinderaker:

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were themselves the most prominent of anti-vaxxers, and if some people took their skepticism too seriously, they have only themselves to blame. But there is more: Drew Holden did an excellent job, back in November 2020, of reminding us that anti-vaccine sentiment was widespread on the Left right up to the 2020 election. . . . Did the Democrats’ relentless attacks on the vaccines that were expedited by President Trump get some people killed? I suppose they probably did. But I am not aware of a single Democrat who has expressed remorse for discouraging people from taking advantage of the vaccines, or who has acknowledged their party’s 180 degree turnabout as soon as the election was over.

This is because the left has no memory and no firm principles, and is deaf to its own hypocrisy. (You could make similar arguments about the right, but that's for another post.) The left also has no sense of shame, which is great when your agenda amounts to little more than raving loudly for the sake of raving loudly. If you're a liberal, I'd respectfully advise you to do what you can to dissociate yourself from this lunatic fringe. I mean, the right has its loonies and bigots, too, but come on, man!

Meanwhile, I have to wonder why a conservative rag like The Epoch Times keeps trying to undermine Trump's work by reporting on vaccine-related illness and death without ever reporting anything good about the various vaccines that are out there. What's more, plenty of people on the right pronounce themselves suspicious of vaccines, which were rolled out rapidly thanks to Trump's efforts. So the message is mixed: is the right for or against vaccines? It's hard to tell these days. It also doesn't help matters that after you get vaccinated, you enjoy no special benefits or privileges. What's the point, then, of getting vaccinated? 

I personally think the vaccines probably do help to slow the spread of the virus, but I've seen some arguments that simple exposure to the virus can be enough to help a healthy person build immunity. I don't understand virology enough to have a strong opinion either way, but from what I've seen, getting vaccinated doesn't strike me as imperative, but it also doesn't seem as though it would hurt, either (unless, like The Epoch Times, you're obsessed with focusing only on the small number of deaths resulting from getting jabbed).

I don't really know what to think about any of this.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

let's talk noods

So! I made three kinds of noodles, or as the hip chefs and home cooks say, noods. I went from least labor-intensive to most, which meant that I started with the Todd's Kitchen recipe, where the noods are mostly almond flour with psyllium husk and eggs, and everything is done by hand. Now, according to Todd's recipe, the only liquid in the dough comes from the eggs, but I ended up adding oil in an attempt to make the dough wetter and make the pasta less prone to breaking (oil is used in regular pasta, so this isn't as crazy as it sounds). Alas, the result was still a shit show, and thus began a lesson in the uselessness of almond flour when applied to pasta-making. What I ended up with reminded me a bit of sujaebi dumplings, hand-pulled or ripped and adding texture to the soup.

They look terrible. I tried running the pasta through my pasta maker, but that only made things worse. If I were to do this again, I might add a third egg, not oil. Behold:

Despite the awfulness, I forged ahead and boiled the pasta, anyway:

Looks like dog food:

And here it is with a bolognese sauce I'd made from some tomato soup:

Looks pretty gray and nasty. But strangely, the pasta didn't taste all that bad. I'd definitely make this again, but as dumplings for some kind of keto sujaebi. To that end, I'd shape the pasta differently, to the extent that shaping is even possible.

Next up is the paleo pasta. The dough is half almond flour (warning!) and half tapioca flour (also warning), which is very carby and is meant for paleo dieters, not people who are flirting with keto like yours truly. The dough formed a nice enough ball, so I had high hopes that this would turn out like in the video. Well... it did, and it didn't. Behold the dough ball:

Things still looked promising when I flattened the dough out. For the Todd's Kitchen dough, Todd used a knife to cut his noodles, and I think I can see why: the dough was simply too crumbly thanks to the almond flour, so you have to roll it out and knife it. With this paleo dough, it was also suggested to cut it with a knife. I did try running it through my pasta roller first, but the dough kept breaking up, so I bowed to reality, rolled the dough out with a rolling pin, and used a knife to cut thick noodles like in the video. Below is the flattened dough:

And here are the noodles, all cut up. Note that many of the noodles broke when I lifted them off the cutting board to pile them up. This proved to be an omen of things to come:

Boiling noods:

Pasta drained and on a plate. Note how many noodles are broken:

I plated a serving for myself:

All in all, I didn't like the paleo noodles. They initially held their shape better than Todd's noodles did, but then there was the experience of eating them, which was a little weird. I went through three distinct phases while chewing on the noods: (1) I tasted nothing; (2) there was a taste after some chewing, and it wasn't entirely unpleasant; (3) with continued chewing, a very unpleasant, gritty feel appeared (probably the almond flour).

The tapioca flour had the consistency of cornstarch. I suspect that, had the noodles been made of nothing but that, the texture might have been better, but keto people would pay an even steeper price in terms of carbs. Might as well eat regular pasta at that point. As things stand, these noodles were not keto at all, and I doubt I'll be coming back to them. Luckily, I used up most of the tapioca flour with this one recipe, so it wasn't such a huge waste.

So I was 0 for 2 at this point, and all my hopes now rested on the Keto King's recipe (it's not really his, though: as with his keto bread, he got this recipe from someone else). I was actually kind of excited to see how the recipe would work out, given its very different set of ingredients, which included vital wheat gluten and oat fiber. The Keto King's recipe was the most labor-intensive of the three, requiring a stand mixer, which I now possess.

The dough ball formed by the stand mixer looked promising:

As with the other doughs I'd made, this one needed to rest a bit before I could work on it. So I let it sit for thirty minutes, then I flattened it and sent it through my pasta roller. It went through fine until I got down to setting 6. (On this roller, 0 is widest, and 9 is narrowest.) At setting 6, the dough started ripping a little bit, so I didn't dare move the rollers any closer together. Here's some rolled-out dough:

Here's another bit of dough that has been flattened but not rolled out yet:

And here are the noods. They came out pretty well, and they look very brown:

Below, a closeup of the spaghetti. I had to hand-pull the strands apart because they rolled out of the spaghetti roller still fused (which also happens in the Keto King video). I didn't bother hand-pulling every single strand; I pulled pairs of strands. Then after doing the spaghetti, I decided to switch to the fettuccine roller because I knew that would mean less work pulling the strands apart. Closeup:

And a closer look at the fettuccine:

Here's what the pasta looked like after boiling. Not that different, really:

Tired of the spaghetti sauce I'd made, I pulled out a frozen hunk of creamy seafood sauce that had been sitting in my freezer for months. It thawed pretty well, but I added some extra heavy cream and shredded Gruyère to it just to jazz it up. So here's the Keto King's pasta, in a bowl with seafood cream sauce (it could use some minced chives on top):

Finally, I boiled a single batch of spaghetti, thinking I might eat that, too, but in the end, I bagged it up and separately bagged up the remaining piles of pasta. Everything's in the freezer, now. I might take the pasta samples in to work to let my coworkers try them out. Or not. I haven't quite decided. I'm actually tempted to just throw away the remaining Todd and paleo pastas, but as I said, the Todd pasta might be good for a keto sujaebi, so I might still use that pasta. The paleo pasta, on the other hand, is rough enough that I might want to just chuck it. I need to think about this. Boiled Keto King spaghetti:

So today's progression was from least labor-intensive to most labor-intensive, but it was also a progression from least successful to most successful. One lesson learned is that pasta with almond flour is weird and kludgy, and while it can be made to work, the simplicity of almond-flour recipes is undermined by the breakability of almond-flour pasta.

In the end, the Keto King recipe wins hands down. The pasta from that recipe is a plausible replacement for regular pasta in terms of taste, texture, sturdiness, and macros. However, I ended up thinking that, because it's so dominated by the oatiness of the oat fiber, it might actually be better used as pasta in a Korean soup. In truth, it tasted a bit more like myeon than European pasta, so I'm curious to see what sort of keto Korean soup I can make with it.

Although Todd's pasta was the lamest in terms of looks, it didn't taste bad, and as I said, I think the breakable chunks might make for good dumplings in sujaebi. So the big loser ended up being the pasta that looked the best in those videos: the paleo pasta. Not the result I'd been expecting, but I will not be making the recipe again. If there's some way to fry the pasta in flavored olive oil and create crackers or something, I'll be more likely to salvage the pasta I've already made. Even then, the pasta is so carby that it really should be reserved for a cheat day. All the same, while I might try salvaging the paleo pasta I have, I won't be making another batch of it. I'm filing for a divorce from paleo. (And I still don't get how this pasta is in any way paleo-friendly. Paleo is about avoiding processed foods.)

So there's today's pasta adventure in a nutshell. I ended up with interesting noods, and even the bad points of the experience contributed to my learning.

how dumb can you be?


"3 Texas House Democrats Test Positive for COVID-19 After Fleeing to DC"

three pastas

I'll be making and testing three recipes for pasta today. Two are explicitly keto; one is more paleo. If you want to see the videos for these recipes, they are embedded below.


As noted before, buying tapioca flour may have been a mistake. Tapioca flour is 11 grams of carbs per 12 grams of flour, so it's almost all carbs. I may have to reserve this recipe for cheat days since the resulting pasta is probably close to being real pasta (which is why it looks so good in the video). Anyway, I'll be eating a small serving of each pasta today, in the name of science, then I'll be behaving myself for the rest of the coming week.

Here are the macros for each pasta (macros per serving, I mean):

Keto King Pasta
Calories: 140
Carbs: 11 g (2.5 net)
Protein: 16 g
Fat: 5.5 g

Todd's Kitchen Keto Pasta
Calories: 204.75
Carbs: 17.925 g
Protein: 9.75 g
Fat: 13.225 g

Paleo Pasta (the video bills this as "almond-flour pasta," but half the flour is tapioca starch)
Calories: 250.875
Carbs: 32.84 g
Protein: 6.94 g
Fat: 11.69 g

I'll have to do more research to get net-carb figures for Todd's pasta and Paleo pasta. (Net carbs are total carbs minus fiber and/or sugar alcohols like erythritol.)


I'm down to 107 kg (235.9 lbs.). I haven't been that weight since senior year in college. To put that in perspective: when I got back from Switzerland, having lived there my entire junior year, I weighed 200 pounds (90.72 kg), the result of lots of hiking. Switzerland is where I discovered my love of walking and exploring. When I got back, my mother said she almost didn't recognize me. Alas, I regained a lot of the weight I had lost over the course of senior year, bringing me up to 230-ish pounds. And I thought that was bad at the time. Little did I know that I would later balloon up to 300 pounds (136.1 kg) well after college. I weighed that much right before my 2008 hike, but three months of walking with a 60-pound pack on my back brought me back down (down!) to around 255 pounds (115.7 kg).

So now here I am, back to my senior-year weight. I suppose this is a good thing—much better than my pre-stroke high of 128 kg (282.2 lbs.). I still have 7 kg to go to reach the psychologically significant weight goal of 100 kg (220.4 lbs.), then another 10 kg after that to reach my Switzerland-era weight of 90.72 kg (200 lbs.). Do I want to drop lower than that? Well, we'll see how greedy I am once I reach 90 kg. Will I reach 90 kg on the Newcastle Diet? Not likely. I'm going to have to keep working at the weight loss long after Newcastle is over, and I'm hoping that Dr. Jason Fung's intensive version of intermittent fasting (which involves 24-hour fasts as well as regular intermittent fasting) will get me there. Anyway, 107 kg is cause for celebration. Let's see whether I can lose any more weight over the coming week.

ADDENDUM: I used a BMI calculator to see how far I'd need to drop to reach the Newcastle Diet's goal of losing 10 BMI points in two months. According to the calculator, I need to drop down to about 80 kg. This is, frankly, below where I want to be, and at the rate I'm losing weight, I don't think I can make that goal by mid-August, anyway. But I guess I'll try. Strength training may be key, here, because built-up muscles increase your metabolism, and my metabolism, left to its own devices, is notoriously slow.

To be clear: a BMI over 30 puts you in the "obese" category. Between 25 and 30 is "overweight." A BMI of 24 is considered on the heavy end of "normal."

3 hours, 33 minutes

Saturday's walk to Jeongja Station took 3 hours, 33 minutes, or 3.55 hours, from 6:05 p.m. to 9:38 p.m.. That's a walking speed of 5.07 kilometers per hour, so I beat my time from last week. I hadn't intended to walk that fast, but I think because I'm getting lighter, walking faster is now possible. That's a better-than-expected time and speed, for sure, so I'm delighted. (People still passed me, though. Koreans walk as if pursued by demons. I often joke that female walkers look to be powered by anger.) 

Tomorrow, I'll weigh myself after my morning ablutions, and I hope we'll see yet more progress. I'm not too hopeful, though, because my belt is telling me that I've been stuck at the same hole all week, and I had hoped to advance another hole. I have three more holes to go on that belt before I have to punch more (I have a leather belt-hole punch), and who knows? If I get thin enough and run out of room on this belt, I may have to go and buy a new belt. I actually have a smaller belt that I can use right now, but I'm already on its final hole, and this belt isn't made of punchable material (it's one of those super-strong weaves), so I really would have to buy a new belt. My current leather belt now wraps halfway around my back, which is hilarious. If I keep losing inches around my waist, it might get to the point where the belt almost wraps around me two times.

A word of caution, though: as good as all this news is, I still have at least 10 or 20 more kilos to go before I can pronounce myself thin. I'm not thin: I still bulge and sag everywhere, so it's going to be a while before I can truly complain about loose skin from rapid weight loss.

One more week of stair work up to the 10th floor, then the following week, I ratchet up to the 14th floor, which is where I live in my building. Knee pushups continue, albeit slowly. Just 2-3 reps, maybe 2 sets. I'm not even bothering with the next phase of pullups (Australian pullups). I'll restart once my rotator cuff is better, which may be a few more weeks.

Stay tuned for news about my weight tomorrow morning sometime.

Saturday, July 17, 2021


As my country continues its slide down the shitter, I've been thinking a lot lately about a 1987 TV miniseries called "Amerika," which I watched with morbid fascination back when I was a high schooler. "Amerika" came out a few years after "The Day After" did (1983); both were part of a subgenre of Soviet-dominated nightmare scenarios providing a dark vision of a seemingly plausible near future. (Remember the original "Red Dawn"?)

I looked "Amerika" up on Wikipedia to refresh my memory. The story begins with the Soviet Union (and a communist-dominated UN) having occupied the United States for ten years after a bloodless takeover that had more to do with America's own internal weaknesses than with the strength of the USSR. Kris Kristofferson plays a maverick former presidential candidate named Milford who is tossed in a camp and finally released. He eventually becomes a leading light in a resistance movement against the Soviets, while his old friend Peter Bradford, played by Robert Urich, has become a politician who tries to better his constituents' existence by collaborating actively with the Soviets.

While searching for this miniseries, I stumbled upon a pretty good article titled "Amerika: It Can't Happen Here—A Lesson from History." The article has several annoying typos, but its content is worth a read. It confirms my suspicion that the miniseries, taken as a text, was ahead of its time, which makes me think a re-watch is in order. Shoddy copies of "Amerika" are available for viewing on YouTube, but if I can locate a better-quality copy somewhere, I'd rather watch the show that way.

My country is indeed in danger of collapsing because of internal rot. Some people blithely go about their business as if nothing were wrong, or as if the left's policies weren't destructive. America is geographically very wide, so I can imagine how things that are happening (and it's mostly in the big cities) don't touch normal folks in the small towns and out in the country. I saw something similar when I was in France in 2018; where my buddy Dominique lives (Le Vanneau-Irleau), France is still the France I remember. But travel to a big French city, and the evidence of rot is everywhere. Is this really how the West ends? In decay, thanks to a lack of pride and fighting spirit? There are times I think it's good I'm in Korea; I'm not sure, any longer, that I want to be in the States when the Jenga tower finally falls.

it's like Christmas

I went a bit nuts while at the B&C Market today. I had only wanted to buy bread pans, but then I began thinking about other kitchen stuff I needed, so I also ended up buying whatever popped into my head. Those B&C items are all on the left: loaf pans, utensils, thermometers (2 kinds), a small scoop for dough, and bottles for chia pudding (which looks like ass).

An iHerb delivery also arrived today, and that's what you see on the right. There's a huge bag of whey protein, some tapioca flour,* pork-rind panko, more flaxseed meal (I'm running low), and a resupply of vital wheat gluten. I think that, tomorrow, I'm going to experiment with several different recipes for keto pasta. It's about time I broke out the new pasta maker, anyway. It came months ago, and I haven't used it yet.

Is this what retail therapy feels like?


*Probably a mistake. It's 11/12 (92%) carbs, according to the nutrition label (serving size: 12 g; total carbs: 11 g). I bought it because I saw a super-simple recipe for what I thought would be keto-friendly pasta... turns out it's more for paleo people, hence the liberal use of the starch (although, technically, paleo dieters are supposed to avoid processed foods) and the good-looking pasta that results. You mix the tapioca with almond flour, but even almond flour is somewhat carby at 6 grams of carbs per quarter cup. If you're limiting yourself to 20 g of carbs per day, then you're condemning yourself to eating a very tiny amount of this pasta. Another guy has a pasta recipe that's almond flour plus eggs, psyllium husk, and xanthan gum—far less carby, but the pasta is a bit weird-looking when you boil it.

seen in the Instapundit comments section

I thought this was hilarious:

This one is obviously Photoshopped:

Watch out, race-baiters:

I wonder about this, too:

As I've said, Michael Moore makes people who hate America pay into the American economy when they watch his films, so he's actually doing us all a service:

Sadly, I'm not on Twitter (left in 2016 before the election), so I don't know Nurse Erin:

the philosophers speak

Dr. Vallicella discusses Andrew Sullivan's thoughts on Critical Race Theory. Sullivan's argument has shades of things I've written about the sources of today's crisis (see my posts here and here and here, for example).

Dr. John Pepple discusses the leftist hypocrisy of being for open borders while not wanting more Cubans and Haitians. As for the Cubans, Pepple notes, they're obviously not wanted because they tend to vote Republican. Democrat-voting minorities are preferred.

another 18K day

Today, I once again walk down to Bundang's Jeongja Station, another 18 kilometers. But this morning, I'm off to B&C Market to buy some bread pans. One of the frustrations of the keto diet is always finding out about the need for new ingredients and new equipment. I've got pork-rind panko and allulose sweetener coming from iHerb. I'm curious to try the allulose because, unlike erythritol, it supposedly doesn't produce that strange "cooling" effect in your mouth (as when you eat some mint).

I'm treating today as a quasi-fasting day; I drank a big shake this morning, and that's it for the day. I'll do my walk from about 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., then I'll weigh myself tomorrow morning, and we'll see whether the diet has helped me lose yet more poundage. 

There's some chance of rain today, so I'll be taking my poncho along again. They were forecasting an 80% chance of PM thunderstorms yesterday, but that seems to have dropped to a mere 35-38% chance today. Maybe the poncho will act as a talisman to keep the rain away. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

everyone's got a theory

Here's a doctor who says you can get rid of diabetes without abandoning carbs or counting calories simply by going full-on vegan:

By this point, I've researched a ton of different diets and been exposed to several theories of weight loss. My own conclusion is that the diets that are out there all get something right, but I'm probably going to have to experiment more before I find a diet that truly works for me. Thus far, the Newcastle Diet is bringing my weight down through simple calorie reduction combined with a sort of inadvertent intermittent fasting plus all the exercise I'm doing and the "keto-adjacent" way I've been eating.

The above video suggests that you can eat natural carbs, and you'll reverse diabetes anyway. This goes against the prevalent theory among keto/Atkins/carnivore advocates that carbs are the enemy because the ingestion of carbs stimulates insulin production, which in turn stimulates fat production because insulin is a fat-storing hormone. So who's right? The doctor in the video certainly speaks with a great deal of conviction... could he be on to something? I don't know. I might be curious to try the method he describes, but I'm going to give keto an earnest try first, and we'll see what happens.

Whatever I do—and this is where most diets overlap—it won't involve processed carbohydrates, and very little in the way of processed meats* or processed anything else. Most of the popular diets out there generally advocate some form of naturalism, and Dr. Becky Gillaspy's low-carb approach emphasizes the idea that people like me, who have a sweet tooth, need to retrain ourselves to eat savory. Several of the experts I've watched on YouTube refer to the body's "cephalic reaction" or "cephalic response" to the sensation of sweetness, which is a warning that, if I do go full keto, I can't have keto-friendly sweets every single day—they'll have to be, say, a weekend thing. Keto does allow for certain artificial sweeteners like monkfruit, allulose, and erythritol, but aside from that, it emphasizes naturalism like the other diets. No keto advocate claims you should be eating keto-friendly sweets every day. Such sweets are occasional indulgences for when the cravings strike hard.

That said, I'll try my hand at making some keto desserts once the Newcastle Diet is done in August. So expect photos. Some keto-friendly meals and desserts I've seen actually look really good, but some do look rather lame. (I saw a keto-croissant recipe that produced croissants that were so ugly I wanted to cry. Why bother attempting something as difficult as croissants if that's the best you can do? Better simply to eat something else.)

So what do you think? Is going vegan The Way?


*I have a sausage-grinding attachment for my stand mixer, though, so I'll be making my own sausage. The advantage of doing this is that I won't be putting in the chemical additives that make processed sausage bad for you.

coworker issues

revisiting the "do fats hamper bread rise?" question

Here is a long quote from a baker discussing how to make keto bread. The quote sits beneath a video she made showing the difference between using whole eggs and egg whites only:

I have been receiving questions on why we need to use egg whites and not whole eggs for making keto bread. So today, I am going to show you the differences [between] using egg whites and whole eggs.

First of all, why do we need eggs in keto bread? Eggs [work] as a binder, [and they provide] bulk, structure[,] and moisture as well. How [many] eggs we use would depend on the type of [low-carb] flour and its quantity. For example, coconut flour is very absorbent[, so] it needs more eggs while other [types of] flour may need less.

Regular wheat flour is light and rises so well due to the protein from gluten. On the other hand, [low-carb] flours are non-gluten and [contain] more fats as they are made from seeds, nuts[,] and coconut. Hence, keto bread tends to be heavier [and] denser[,] and [it does] not rise as much as regular bread[,] even with baking powder and yeast. That is why by adding more protein into the bread, it will help to boost the rise. And when the bread rises more, it will be lighter, softer[,] and fluffier.

All this while, I have been recommending to use egg whites instead of whole eggs for making keto bread because the protein from egg whites helps to boost the rise of the dough while the fats from the yolks [hinder] the rise. Additionally, using egg whites will also make the bread look lighter in color and prevent any eggy taste.

Both versions with egg whites and whole eggs will rise as the latter still [contain] some egg whites. It is just a matter of how much they rise [that] will ultimately affect the texture. So if you prefer to use whole eggs, feel free to do so. I know that there are people who love eggs[,] and they don't even mind the eggy taste. This video is just to show you the differences for better understanding so that you can choose which option to go for.

In this video, I used my latest Keto LSA Bread (v2.0) recipe which is made from [linseed or flaxseed, sunflower seed and almond]. Here's the link to watch the video -

If you choose to use egg whites, here are some ways that you could use the leftover egg yolks[:]

1. Scrambled eggs (add some whole eggs)
2. Steam eggs (add some whole eggs)
3. [Low-carb] fried rice
4. Egg tarts
5. Crème [Brûlée]
6. Egg custard
7. Ice cream
8. Pasta sauce
9. French Buttercream
10. Lemon Curd
11. [Caesar-salad] sauce
12. Hollandaise sauce
13. Mayonnaise
14. Flan
15. Indonesian layer cake
16. Lemon bars
17. Lemon tarts
18. Aioli
19. Chewy cookies
20. Salted Eggs (Cured eggs)

If you have any other suggestions, do leave a comment below.

So I bolded the important part. This lady seems to agree that fats do reduce the rise of a bread, which appears to confirm my intuition. She notes that, for normal breads, the rise has a lot to do with the gluten in regular wheat. In a comment, my buddy Charles noted that cakes have a lot of fat, but they rise just fine. I think this lady's response would be that cakes are made with wheat flour, so a cake's rise is about the gluten in the wheat. Make of that what you will.