Tuesday, May 31, 2022

leaving in a few minutes for another adventure

Election day tomorrow, and the boss has let me leave early again, so I'm departing in a few minutes to re-attempt the 58K walk from my office in Daechi-dong all the way out to Yangpyeong, south and east. Ought to be fun. The forecast no longer shows rain in my future, so I think we're all clear. I plan to rest more often and longer this time; the point is just to make the distance and not give up. This is very much a mental game, now; as I thought over why I failed this past weekend, I realized it was mainly because I was feeling lazy, not because I was in so much pain that I couldn't continue. What plagued me was simple fatigue; I was suffering no strains or blisters or abrasions. So this is really just a matter of will, and this time, I'm gonna do it. I know fatigue; it can be beaten. This walk is possible.


movie-related humor

Hilarious redo of some key Star Wars moments:

The one Canadian guy in the video above does the typically self-righteous Canadian thing by taking digs at US healthcare (yawn—and let's talk about treatment wait times for Canada's infirm; some of those numbers are fucking unbelievable*), but I just watched a video that shows that Canada has more than a few skeletons of its own in the closet, ranging from antisemitism to maltreatment of native populations to weird cults and superstitions to political shenanigans. And given what Trudeau did to Canada's truckers recently, Canadians really have no moral leg to stand on. They willingly live in police state.

Meanwhile, Marvel sucks:


*Direct quote from the above-linked source: "This year, Canadians could expect to wait 5.4 weeks for a computed tomography (CT) scan, 11.1 weeks for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, and 3.5 weeks for an ultrasound." That's insane. In Korea, treatment is immediate (except, ironically, right at the ER's doorstep: I was stroking out and had to wait several hours before being officially wheeled in), and in most of the US, treatment is quite rapid, too. 5 to 6 weeks for a CT? 11 weeks for an MRI? Are you joking? Do you know how much an exuberant tumor can grow in 5-11 weeks? In my one week in the hospital last year, I had a CT scan, an MRI, and a thoracic ultrasound. Total cost of all this was $3000 (including bed & food & physical therapy), which puts US healthcare to shame, but my point is this all happened way faster than it would have in slowpoke Canada. I can't necessarily vouch for the quality of Korean healthcare, but it's undeniably fast. Canada needs to wake up. Its healthcare system is not the envy of the world.

Styx on recession and Uvalde

When you've lost even CNN...

The Uvalde police department ought to be fired for letting those kids die:

war vets

Very sad—and more proof that war is hell:

Hollywood and the erosion of society

Do all our heroes and villains have to be dark, edgy, and deeply flawed? Are there no genuinely good characters that can drive stories?

my Instapundit comment, transplanted here

I recently wrote the following comment over at Instapundit:

PJ Media article headline: "Why We Can't Let Amber Heard's Melodramatic Whining About Internet Abuse Close American Courtrooms"

Yeah, I saw she was supposedly upset about how she's being trashed online. Well... she's American, so she'd better toughen up. (I suspect it's all crocodile tears, anyway. Psychopaths can only mimic shame.) Plenty of American stars who get trashed wear their bad reputation like a badge of honor and strut around proudly. Look at aging Madonna, who owns her slutty past and is even empowered by it.

Quite a contrast with what happens here in Korea, where TV and movie stars will commit suicide if they get hounded by so-called "Netizens." In Korea, a young, good-looking female star gets caught cheating on her boyfriend; she's declared a whore by the online public, and in shame, she quietly hangs herself in her walk-in closet, leaving behind an apologetic note. This is because Korea has a group-first, hive-mind culture, and getting ejected from the hive mind (they use the term wahng-dda shikida, i.e., making someone an outcast) is worse than death. Nothing is as terrible as rejection because what is the drone without the hive?

American society may be changing, but we Yanks still largely think of ourselves as fundamentally monadic—separate and individual. Societal rejection can hurt us, yes, but not to the extent that the same rejection hurts a Korean.

In the end, Amber Heard is still young and, I guess, fairly good-looking (although she's a godawful ugly-crier); her career will pan out just fine once the public forgets all this. In the meantime, yes, we should ignore her dramatic whining. (For what it's worth, I'm not actively following the Depp/Heard case; it's just that a lot of the YouTubers I watch happen to be talking about it.) I have to say, though, it'd be nice if she really felt all the social pressure against her and did the Korean thing. Garbage person.


my new computer arrived on the 27th

Normally, when Coupang delivers something, I get several notifications. The most expensive thing I've ever purchased on Coupang, my new 2019 iMac, arrived on the 27th, and I got no notification at all. Figures. Coupang originally said the computer would arrive on June 2, but sometimes, deliveries come early. I was randomly checking the status of a different order when I saw the "delivery complete" notification for my Mac. I went down to our building's front desk, got the computer (it's a monster), and brought it up to my place. I'm in the midst of setting everything up, but for the moment, the machine works beautifully. A couple pics:

This iMac has a 27-inch screen, which is at least twice the diagonal width of my laptop's screen. It's also got a teeny little wireless keyboard with the "Chiclet" keys that Macs have made (in)famous. I noticed that the Korean/English key is located in a different spot from where it is on a regular Windows keyboard here in Korea; that's going to take some getting used to. The computer was supposed to come with a terabyte's worth of memory, but I haven't verified that yet (looks more like 800 GB). The mouse is also wireless; it can be recharged, though, as can the keyboard. I have plenty of USB sockets in the back of the computer, so I no longer have to play musical chairs with my various peripherals.

I'm in the midst of re-downloading what I can, as well as purchasing new versions of old programs (which is a drag) like MS Office, Photoshop Elements, and Adobe Acrobat Pro. More hits to the wallet, and it's a pain to reinstall everything. Luckily, I didn't lose much, this time, when my laptop died: I have my entire movie-review-book manuscript archived in the Cloud thanks to Google Drive. Re-downloading everything will be a snap, especially since I haven't gotten very far with the manuscript yet. Still, I'd like to get back into my laptop if I can, if for no other reason than to be absolutely sure I've rescued everything I can. Alas, I think the poor MacBook Air has been definitely killed by yours truly; there may be no resuscitating it.

In the meantime, I'm writing this blog entry on my new computer. Feels good!

Monday, May 30, 2022

"lonely death" (godoksa, 고독사) in South Korea

I've never thought specifically about the problem of lonely deaths in modern South Korea, but it's not surprising to find out that it's very much a thing here. There's plenty of alienation, especially in the big cities, and in a group-first culture like Korea's, people without a personal support network easily fall through the cracks and disappear. I stumbled upon this rather sad video in which we hear the testimony of a "trauma cleaner" whose job is to be on the scene after someone's death, to organize and collect that person's affairs, and, if possible, to give those possessions to relatives or friends who might be interested in them. Here's the video:

Singleton that I am, I fully expect to die alone someday unless I happen to fall in love and belatedly start a family. But the window of opportunity for that is dwindling fast.

60K walk, attempt 2: a wrinkle

It looks as though it's going to rain early Wednesday morning, so I guess I'm going to have to bring along my jacket. Not tragic, and I'm not expecting much rain. There'll be plenty of rain soon once it's summer and monsoon season arrives, but right now, we're past April showers and only into the barest foothills of summer. Whatever rain is coming Wednesday morning (likelihood is below 50%) will probably be minor.

So let's do this!

the exercise plan this week

So, I've decided: I'm going to stick to the program—for now, anyway—and do my new regime every day, except, obviously, for tomorrow and Wednesday's cardio because I'll be re-attempting the walk to Yangpyeong, starting Tuesday evening and going on until Wednesday 11 o'clock or so. (I mean to finish this time.) Wednesday afternoon or evening, I'll do the weights and calisthenics portion of my regime, and I'll resume the whole package (weights, calisthenics, cardio) on Thursday. Friday will finish off the week, and on Saturday, I'll just do a modest 18K walk down to Bundang so as not to strain myself. I think this plan is doable. As for eating: yes, I'll be eating something tomorrow and probably snacking along the route.


the gun-grabber's obsession

my brother played with The Who!

Here's a pic my brother sent me. It's of a concert where The Who were performing. And who was there to help out with backup cello? My brother Sean! Check it out:

Sean, circled, with Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend 

I may not be famous, but Sean is on his way!

couldn't happen to a nicer guy

They're calling him a "lockdown Nazi" over at Instapundit. Same guy who doesn't follow the guidelines that he expects regular California citizens to follow. I'd urge Californians to leave the state, but they would only take their toxic voting patterns elsewhere.

60K, attempt #2

We have this coming Wednesday off because South Korea is having another election day, this time for local and regional offices. I think I'm going to try the 60K walk again, starting Tuesday night and ending Wednesday around 11 a.m. 

One hitch: according to my new schedule, I'm supposed to be fasting Monday through Wednesday. If I do this walk, though, I don't think I'll be able to do it on an empty stomach, so I may end up eating at some point, maybe right before the walk, and possibly snacking along the way. That carries the risk of forcing me to poop while on the trail, but I know where the functioning bathrooms will be, so that shouldn't be too big of a problem. 

I'll also try to take longer rest breaks this time: when I rested this weekend, it was only for about 10 minutes at a time. I somehow couldn't lie still for my usual 30-minute nap. I'll have to force myself to stay off my feet longer in hopes of recharging myself enough to walk the whole distance this time. This past attempt felt like a failure of character, more lack of will than lack of endurance.

I normally get things right on the second try, though, so I'm hopeful that a second attempt will end in success. We'll see soon enough.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

adventures in "kottage" pie

I'm supposed to eat keto on Sundays, but I wanted to do a cottage pie, so at the very least, I had to keep the peas in. I did switch out the potatoes with cauliflower mash, making the dish much lower-carb than the original, but peas themselves are fairly carby, so this isn't a truly keto cottage pie. It's nonetheless far enough removed from the original to be called "kottage pie." So that's what I made tonight. I'm slow at prepping food, so this took me a few hours. Here are some photos. 

a mixture of ground skirt steak, onions, and mushrooms, with a
bit of ketchup, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and wine thrown in

peas and carrots; had to peel and dice the carrot I used

cauliflower mash: cauliflower, cream cheese, Grana Padano cheese, salt, pepper,
whole garlic cloves, and caramelized onions, all blitzed in my food processor

the kottage pie I made for tonight's dinner

making the two other kottage pies to be eaten later

layering on the mash

The Death Star is complete.

my pie after baking; the cheese helped with the browning

a glimpse into my pie

another glimpse

half eaten

You will hear people swear up and down that cauliflower mash tastes just like mashed potatoes. Well, I'm here to tell you that no one will ever mistake cauliflower mash for potatoes, so if you hated cauliflower before, you're still going to hate it as a mash. 

That said, I didn't mind the mash as much as I thought I might. It wasn't mashed potatoes by any means, but it also wasn't horrible. I'd do it again, in fact. It can be appreciated on its own terms, and since I don't hate cauliflower, it works well enough for me. I might use a different cheese next time, though. This time, I used Grana Padano, mild and mellow relative of Parmigiano. It was all right, but I think I'd prefer Gruyère. 

Come to think of it, I might also want to try making fritters with mashed cauliflower, almond flour, eggs, and cheese. That might be kind of cool. Fried food can be keto as long as you're not using regular flour to make a regular batter. And the oil you use needs to be avocado, olive, or coconut: other oils are considered inflammatory and therefore unhealthy. 

Anyway, tonight's culinary adventure ended fairly well, and I have two more servings of kottage pie to eat over the next two weeks, so that's cool. 

funny Korean tigers

My boss had a card sitting on his desk. I didn't open it or anything, but because I was intrigued by the card's front image, I snapped a photo of it:

Korean folkloric depictions of tigers are somewhat varied, but these made me think of house cats high on catnip. I enjoy their silliness. When I draw tigers, I tend to make them silly, too:


I agree with the spirit of the meme below, but to be statistically fair, we'd need to factor out the gun violence in the major cities of other countries of the world before we compare rankings. Always compare like with like. And even controlling for that variable won't stop gun-control enthusiasts from arguing that the mere presence of guns is what makes this an American problem. There's actually some truth to that: here in Seoul, where gun control is the only reality citizens know, there's no gun violence to speak of. People here can be violent, of course, although even if we talk about violence in general, Seoul is nothing like any big American city. I'm against gun control and very pro-2A, but I think I could sit down with someone from the opposite side of the aisle and at least discuss our differences.

That said, I think the point of the meme below, and the argument it represents, is that gun violence in the US is mainly confined to the big cities, and if we're to be frank, it's mainly gang-related, and if we're to be even more frank, it's mainly black-on-black violence that oh-so-noble entities like Black Lives Matter conveniently ignore in their ongoing pursuit of the straw man of white supremacy. Meanwhile, school shootings constitute, statistically, a vanishingly small minority of gun deaths, and they make the news precisely because they're rare. That, too, is something the media will never have the balls to utter.

By contrast, I totally agree with this:

We're all thinking this after Uvalde:

And here's why BLM is utter bullshit:

This gave me a chuckle:

I'm sick of the term systemic racism, frankly. 

Inconsistently applied logic = hypocrisy:

Saturday, May 28, 2022


I did end up taking some pictures, as it turned out. When I got to the Han River during my walk, I saw that people had put out a bunch of sculptures. I doubt this is a permanent display, so I took pictures of all the artwork while I could. Some of the works' titles strike me as a little "off," and the works feature the Korean love of abstraction, but the sculptures seem interesting and entertaining. Enjoy the pics!

Pretty sure I've seen this one before. 

I call this one "City Pig" given the city on its back.

My brother Sean, a cellist, might relate to this one.

Note the sloppily inconsistent spelling of "human."

And now, we take a break from sculptures to bring you this sign, which warns people not to set up shade tarps or tents.