Wednesday, August 31, 2022

am I being throttled?

My stat numbers have barely moved since I last wrote about them: just 47 hits for the day thus far. I'm beginning to think this isn't natural—that I'm being throttled by Blogger or something. Maybe Blogger has had enough of the rightie memes I've published, or maybe I've been targeted as yet another purveyor of "disinformation." I've never had stat numbers this low, so I'm beginning to suspect shenanigans. Well, if that's the case, then I'll wear my depressed numbers as a badge of honor. Kevin the Throttled! Bow before me!

the gun-grabbers know nothing about guns

Arguing to ban something you haven't even properly researched strikes me as bizarre. And here's Joe Biden telling a crowd (of equally ignorant people, it seems) that an AR-15's bullet travels 5 times faster than a bullet from any other gun. The average fps (feet per second) of a typical bullet varies anywhere from 600 fps to 5,000 fps according to online sources. Taking the mean of those extremes (which, in this case, is also the median), you get a generic speed of 3,250 fps. So Biden is saying an AR-15's bullet travels at 16,250 fps. That's Mach 14, in case you're wondering—about 3 miles per second, or close to 11,100 miles per hour—almost the speed of an orbiting satellite. A single bullet from the AR-15 (which, at 5.56 mm, is a pea shooter), with that much kinetic energy, might be able to shatter a tank at that speed (assuming the bullet isn't damaged by impact with the air first).

The actual speed of an AR-15 bullet is dead average at 3,251 fps.

I'd say Biden needs to think before he speaks, but with his advancing Alzheimer's, it's far, far too late for that. What's worse is the fact that most people who want gun control know as little about guns as Biden does. Biden can prattle on to a crowd, and the audience will just nod absently. (True: we could talk about Dick Cheney's firearms-safety record as well, but so far as I know, Cheney has never made any stupid pronouncements about guns.)

And why the absolutely obsessive focus on AR-15s, lefties?

and they all scattered

So far today, only 45 hits (for whatever reason, my daily count starts at 9 a.m.). Too much birthday talk, so everyone abandoned me today. Serves me right, I suppose. Here's hoping September numbers remain respectable, but if they aren't, well, no biggie.

Leaving work now. Will go home and probably watch a movie.

the paradox of freedom

 Here's a good video on sitcom-writing:

At 14:46, Paul utters his brief version of the paradox of freedom, which I've talked about on this blog. I wholeheartedly agree. As I wrote in 2019:

This is the paradox of freedom: true freedom is, far from being unstructured, veined throughout with structure. The creative freedom and amazing technique you can see in a great painter or martial artist is the result of focus, discipline, and a deep, cultivated understanding of things and the principles that govern them. It's strange, but it's strictures that allow humans to flourish. We are at our best with limits and parameters, as long as we are circumscribed but not strangled. And a society is no different from an individual in this regard: a society without strictures—an organic system of rules and laws and unspoken social contracts—becomes flabby and moribund. Look at New York City before and after Rudy Giuliani's two terms: Giuliani enforced the law, and his policies resulted in a few years of glorious prosperity between long periods of poverty and crime. Sweden is experiencing this problem now; so is France, at least in its big cities. The US has its own similar urban problems. As the folk song goes, When will they ever learn?

birfday lunch

A chili-dawg saga, beginning with ground skirt steak, which I'm increasingly convinced is a gorgeous, all-purpose cut of beef:

The new Kenwood grinder works beautifully—for now, at least. The only problem is that it's hellaciously loud, and I worry about bothering my neighbors. Or summoning the dead.

Below—some hot-dog chili, which was quick and easy to make:

mimicking hot-dog-stand chili, it's supposed to be a bit watery

I'm not sure kielbasa is really the right sausage for chili dogs, but this seemed to work out all right. At least, no one complained:

The cheese is mostly under the chili. And I know the relish isn't traditional.

The boss came in despite normally having Wednesday off, and he brought a delicious cake with him—very light and fluffy in texture without being overly dry. Korean cakes often lack enough butter, sugar, and eggs, but this cake was quite good.

from a bakery called Paris Croissant (not bad!)

I'm not sure what I'll do with myself this evening. Something that will ruin my blood sugar, I'm sure. Or maybe I'll go for a long walk. We'll see. I have the whole rest of my life, after all.

one good thing

It's nice to know, in my old age, that things may come and go, but Stinky Meat lives on.


August 31—my birthday. I'm 53 today. If I'm not mistaken, 53 is a prime number. I always feel a bit weird whenever I reach a prime-number age. Up to 100, the next prime numbers are 59, 61, 67, 71, 73, 79, 83, 89, and 97. How many more of those can I reach?

A friend just texted that 53 is, at least, better than 63. Heh. Ask me again in ten years how I feel about that. All I can say is that, even now, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I watch all these YouTube videos about welding, bladesmithing, and wood-turning, and I think to myself that it might be fulfilling to work with my hands while I'm still able. But I'd also like to be an accomplished writer. Or actor. Or cartoonist. Or architect. I think back to the advice I was given by Mr. Park, the temperamental CEO of SsangYong Paper Company, back in the 1990s when I temped there: whatever you do, dig a deep well. Mr. Park had given the analogy of the man who digs many shallow wells in search of water, never finding it. It's the man who digs a single deep well, by contrast, who gets the water. I recall inwardly smirking at the advice at the time; I was a stupid kid in my twenties back then. But I see the wisdom in the advice now, even if Mr. Park himself was a constantly angry son of a bitch.

Anyway, life is lived forward, not backward, so here, at 53, all I can do is soldier on. I often joke to people that I'll be dead by 60, and after having a stroke last year, I sometime wonder whether the matter is really a joke. Both sides of my family have histories of heart disease and other problems; we're not a very long-lived branch of humanity. And for years, I've pondered—on some level—the fact of my own mortality, which may be one reason why Buddhism appeals to me: it stares in the face of impermanence as it searches for answers. In the end, all we have is this moment, so even as I live life forward, I need to remain rooted in the here and now. We'll see soon enough what lies ahead: the river of time carries us ever forward.


Mikhail Gorbachev died on August 30, 2022 at the age of 91. He presided over the collapse of the Soviet Union and was the architect of the policy of glasnost (openness) that involved many liberalizing changes to Soviet society. Some argue that Gorbachev was less a mover of and more a witness to the collapse of the Soviet Union—a debate I leave to the experts. Whatever his role, he was there at a pivotal moment in human history; now, he either goes to his reward or to the Nothing that awaits us all.

"Top Gun": remembrance

I've just re-watched the original "Top Gun." It's been literally decades since I last saw the movie, and I have no plans to write a review. Instead, I'll offer some impressions. 

Other critics have already noted that the sequel, "Top Gun: Maverick," is a much more mature film in comparison. For me, though, with "Maverick" fresh in my mind, it was interesting to re-watch "Top Gun" and recognize the moments that get a call-back in the newer film—the "memberberries" mentioned in my review of "Maverick"—and to see how the newer film matches the story rhythm of the older film.

The first thing I noticed was the style of the opening credits: "Maverick" pays tribute to Tony Scott's movie by mimicking those credits almost exactly. This includes the slow-tempo Harold Faltermeyer intro that suddenly shifts gears into Kenny Loggins's "Danger Zone." Since I watched "Top Gun" via Amazon Prime Video, I was able to call up trivia as I was watching, and the first embarrassing thing to note is that the Navy actually refers to this aerial-combat school as TOPGUN—all one word—not TOP GUN. That may not seem like a big deal to you primates who read phonetically and don't care about language, but I spend a lot of time as a proofreader, and that's a huge deal to me. (Plus: military guys do notice when you get military stuff wrong, and Hollywood endlessly gets things wrong.)  Luckily, within the world of the movie, there are Navy personnel who wear hats that say TOPGUN, the proper designation.

There's a moment where Maverick is facing off against Jester (the always-cool Michael Ironside, a Canuck actor who inevitably ends up playing Americans), and Goose (Anthony Edwards) yells, "Do some of that pilot shit." In the newer movie, this line is echoed by Rooster (Miles Teller), son of Goose, who ends up as Maverick's back-seater inside a stolen F-14 (which Rooster disparagingly calls a "bag of ass") in the 2022 film. Several other quotes heard in "Maverick" come from the original movie as well, such as when Viper (Tom Skerritt) tells Maverick, after Goose dies, that losing someone is an inevitability, and that "there will be others"—something Maverick says to Rooster in the new film.

I'd completely forgotten that Iceman graduates as first in the class, and while I remembered that Maverick had suffered a crisis of confidence after Goose's death, I'd forgotten the extent to which he'd been shaken. While "Top Gun" feels less developed than "Maverick" in many ways, one of the things the film got right was the poetic parallel between Maverick's crisis and that of Cougar (John Stockwell), Maverick's wingman at the beginning of "Top Gun." Other things I'd forgotten: Tim Robbins is in "Top Gun," in the role of Merlin! And Clarence Gilyard, whom you might remember from "Die Hard" ("The police have themselves an RV!") and the TV series "Walker: Texas Ranger," is Maverick's back-seater for a time, call sign Sundown. We also very briefly see Adrian Pasdar; he's barely in the film, and while you might not recognize the name, I'm sure you'd recognize the face because he's been in plenty of movies and TV shows, including a boxing movie for which I have a soft spot called "Streets of Gold," which also starred Klaus Maria Brandauer and Wesley Snipes.

"Top Gun" is also pretty painfully rooted in the 80s. The poofy, flammable hairstyles; the synth music; the speed and rhythm of the editing; and the painfully corny dialogue all took me back to a different era.  I guess every movie is trapped in its own time period. "Maverick" has a lot of corny dialogue as well, and I imagine that that will age poorly, too, but for the moment, the dialogue in "Maverick" benefits from its recency.  We'll come back to the movie in thirty-some years, assuming I'm still alive and conscious enough to remember this sequel.

Having now watched some of the "DVD extras" that came with my iTunes purchase of Maverick, I know that Tom Cruise, as a producer on the new film, had a great deal of creative control. Cruise is also a pilot (that's his own P-51 Mustang in the film, and that's really him and Jennifer Connelly flying together as the credits roll), and he insisted on all the main actors' receiving flight training as a way to up the realism factor. I think that this, coupled with Joseph Kosinski's direction, helped make "Maverick" a better-paced, better-edited film (no disrespect to Tony Scott, to whom "Maverick" is dedicated). There were many moments, during the various dogfights in "Top Gun," where it was hard to follow the action, and certain missile-launch sequences looked like repeated footage. None of those flaws appear in the new film, where it's much easier to track who's doing what, and where.

All that said, re-watching "Top Gun" was a nostalgic experience. It also brought back some naughty recollections: one thing I remembered from seeing the movie as a horny teen was all the tongue action between Cruise and Kelly McGillis during their major love scene, and yup—I hadn't misremembered that. Lots of lingual sparring going on. I vaguely recall some rumors, back in the day, about how Kelly McGillis was actually a lesbian (she did, in fact, come out). That might have been titillating news back in the dinosaur era, but with everyone being trans and non-binary these days, lesbianism is boring... and I can't for the life of me figure out how I veered from nostalgia to sexuality in this paragraph. One-track mind, I guess.

Above, I mentioned story rhythm. While the new movie isn't a beat-for-beat repeat of the older movie, "Maverick" does contain some of the major beats from the first film, right down to the triumphant landing on the carrier and the Ewok-like celebratory crowd that surrounds the pilots. A few things are substantially different in the new film, though: Cruise was dangerously close to sporting a unibrow in the 1986 film, and his buck teeth were front and center back then. Both are gone now. A quick trip through Google Images shows that Cruise's teeth have changed at least twice. Pics of him when he was a young'n show what my brothers would have called "the mouth of madness" (an expression they borrowed from the title of a horror film from way back when: "Into the Mouth of Madness")—he had really bad teeth. I don't blame him for wanting to straighten that mess out (was it dentistry... or Scientology?).

While re-watching "Top Gun" was fun, I doubt I'll be watching it again. I saw it via Amazon Prime Video, which means I didn't buy the film, and I don't plan to. I think of my collection of purchased movies as a sort of personal Hall of Fame, and while "Maverick" easily makes the cut, I'm not sure that "Top Gun" does, especially with the perspective of thirty-six years. 

Instead, I'll end with a plot-related question: at the end of "Top Gun," Maverick symbolically lets go of Goose by throwing his dog tags into the sea, but in the new movie, one of the major issues is that Maverick hasn't let go of Goose, and Iceman has to remind Maverick of the same thing Viper had said in the first movie: it's time to let go. I mean, sure, I can see how one can symbolically let go of a person but still feel lingering attachment, but cinematically speaking, Maverick's inability to let Goose go seems to cheapen the throwing-away of Goose's dog tags. I hope I'm making sense here. What do you think? Does the premise of the new movie cheapen the resolution of the old movie?

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

well, that was exciting

Like an eager kid at Christmas, I finally unboxed my Kenwood meat grinder (Kenwood is British, so the machine is labeled a "mincer") and set it up so I could make ground beef for tomorrow's chili dogs. But damn—when I flipped the "on" switch, the thing powered up like a loud jet engine. It was after 10 p.m. when I did this, and I didn't want to disturb my neighbors, so I instantly shut the grinder down. I'll grind the meat and make the chili tomorrow morning. This means getting up early, but I have little choice.

That problem aside, I took the time to read through the Kenwood's instructions and look over the parts. Everything is much sturdier and more serious-looking than my meat-grinder attachment for my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, not to mention bigger. This machine is apparently meant to grind meat in quantity. It's even got a nifty reverse switch for when the grinder gets jammed. I don't know whether "reverse" means the meat will get vomited back up the funnel it went down in order to reach the grinder, but I'm enough of a curious monkey that I'm going to have to try the reverse switch at some point.

And thanks to some of the Korean food videos I've been watching, I now know there's a better solution to loosening any meat that's stuck to the grindworm: instead of stuffing bread down the funnel, use ice. That's a simple, elegant solution. (Oh, yeah—the Brits apparently call the grindworm the scroll.) I might take some photos tomorrow when I start the thing up again.

what I've been dealing with for a week

A Great Eye, wreathed in flame:

A bit of research indicates that conjunctivitis, colloquially called pink eye, comes in three major forms and a few minor forms. The three major forms are viral, bacterial, and allergic. Viral is by far the most common major form. Minor forms of conjunctivitis are often related to STDs like gonorrhea and syphilis. Detail-oriented doctors will determine what type of conjunctivitis you have (via swab and Petri dish), then prescribe the appropriate meds for it. Less scrupulous docs (like mine) will play the odds and prescribe meds for what they guess you probably have. I was given eye drops of the hangsaengje/항생제 variety, i.e., antibiotics. If what I have is viral, then antibiotics won't work: I'd need anti-viral meds.

Last night, I over-applied the meds I got from the pharmacy, and my eye was left throbbing in agony. Eye drops normally have some combination of disinfectant and vasoconstrictor: the vasoconstrictor narrows the swollen capillaries, thereby reducing redness, while the disinfectant deals with the underlying viral or bacterial infection. A mild disinfectant could take the form of mere saline solution; the medicine I have (I haven't checked the label to see the specific chemicals) is probably a bit more aggressive than saline. Today, I'm following the instructions to the letter: no more than 1-2 drops per application, with a max of three applications per day. So far, no pain. But as you see, my eye is still pretty inflamed.

If this keeps up for a week, I'll go visit an eye specialist. The pink eye I've had in the past has always gone away in a day or so, so this is not normal. Another note: this morning, my eye was still painful from yesterday, so I came into work wearing only one contact lens. I've done such a thing before; I remember hearing, years ago, that wearing a single lens can fuck up your brain, but I've found that not to be the case: you can get used to anything, including seeing clearly out of only one eye. And as you can see, I'm still able to type.

It burns!

I've settled on chili dawgs

Tomorrow's my birfday, and I'm making my own celebratory meal. To that end, I'm getting the ingredients, tonight, to make chili dogs (Costco run!), and I'll bring in enough food to feed my office and maybe one or two other offices down the hall. So, yeah: tomorrow's a cheat day. Expect pics. Shopping list:

  • hot-dog buns
  • Kirkland franks
  • beef to grind
  • shredded cheese (not sure whether I want to bother with cheese sauce or not)
  • relish (or pickles to mince into relish)
  • chips?
  • Costco dessert?

I'm trying to figure out how to do my shopping and get my walk in (despite the rain) today. I think I'm going to have to walk late tonight, maybe even past midnight, so I can do my meat-grinding and other prep at a reasonable hour (don't wanna disturb the neighbors). The days continue to be unseasonably cool: it's about 67°F (19.4°C) right now. Poncho weather!

the funniest line in "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective"

Ace Ventura sees Lieutenant Einhorn (Sean Young) for the first time and says,

"Holy... Testicle Tuesday!"

It's Tuesday, so this seemed apropos.

Oh, yeah... in "Ace Ventura," Einhorn turns out to be a man who's posed as a woman for years. Would such humor pass muster in today's oversensitive America? No need to answer.

some good-lookin' budae-jjigae

I don't normally put bacon in my own budae, but I'm open to trying it.

Monday, August 29, 2022

August: a good month for stats

Looks as though I'll be closing out August with almost 30,000 hits for the month. This is mainly thanks to several peak days over the course of the month: 1246, 1193, 2339, 2477, and 2566 just two days ago. I still have no idea why these peaks happen, and I'm aware that my stats are padded by bots and other non-human visitors. Still, it boosts the morale a bit to be at a more-or-less normal stat level (20K-ish for the month; I used to take 30K for granted), so I'll take what I can get. September and October will both probably suck, especially once I start blogging in earnest over at Kevin's Walk 6.

visit to the eye doc

Ah, Korean health care.

I visited my old internal-medicine doc (a.k.a. my doc) for the first time since my stroke. The visit was quick, as usual—over in about five minutes. The doc saw me walk in; I said, "Long time!"; he asked what was up, and I explained that I get minor eye irritations maybe 2-3 times a year, and they normally go away in a day, but this latest irritation had been going on for a week, which was why I was visiting. The doc barely looked at my eye, and he quickly prescribed eye drops that I probably could have obtained without a prescription. When I went to my usual pharmacy for the meds, the lady there told me to put 1-2 drops in my eye three times a day. So I've now got this little eye-dropper bottle I'll be carrying with me between home and work. Fun. I'll be curious to see whether the drops help (I'd gotten drops last week directly from a pharmacy, and those don't seem to be working). 

Check in with me in a few days.

how stupid/uneducated/ignorant is Gen Z?

Interesting video on Gen Z by Lauren Chen:

This is a Rumble video, not YouTube, so there may be one single ad at the beginning, after which it's an ad-free viewing experience.

masks, lockdowns, etc. finally seen by some authorities as harmful

PJW on how the left is finally coming around to what the right has known for at least two years: masks, lockdowns, and other COVID measures don't work.

I hadn't heard of Dr. Leanna Wen, but she sounds like a real piece of shit.

a sad phrase if ever I saw one

I just read a headline about a guy who got run over. He was described as

a 59-year-old man sitting on his walker

To be clear, when you click the article and look at the photo, you see it's one of those convertible walkers that has wheels but can fold into a sort of chair. Still, it's a sad commentary if you're only 59 years old and need a walker. True: I don't know the guy's circumstances (knees are shot? terminal/congenital illness?), but even if we factor those circumstances in, the situation is no less sad. If you're 59, you ought to be walking around and active. Anyway, the guy is dead now.

more images

What getting old is like:

Sunday, August 28, 2022

some images

The sign being held up is juvenile, but the reply is hilarious:

Thought this was a grandma, then I looked closer and saw it was Burgess Meredith:

Exercise for the reader: now go back and fix all the comma errors. I'm really thinking of starting a new thing called Fixed It for You. It would deal exclusively with fixing the often-poor punctuation, spelling, diction, and grammar found in memes.

time marches on

The gray on my head can't be hidden any longer, and this coming Wednesday, it's my birthday, the last year I can say I'm in my "early 50s." To me, "early 50s" means 50-53; mid-50s is 54-56... and after that, it's the late 50s from 57 to 59. I know that friend and fellow blogger John McCrarey likes to say "age is just a number," but I notice that the people who trot out that proverb are all old.

All I care about is that I'm still able to put one foot in front of another for distances ranging from under 15K to over 60K in a single session. My knees can be somewhat the worse for wear, but I'm not out to perform stunts. My feet can hurt, but as long as the pain isn't excruciating, I'm just fine: I've lived with pain for years, at this point. It's the price you pay for distance walking. And as long as I can walk, I'm a happy man.

That said, the body continues to fall apart. I've got another toe infection I need to deal with, and my left eye has been suffering from conjunctivitis for about a week. (Wikipedia says the three main causes of conjunctivitis are viral, bacterial, and allergic. I'm trying a Claritin thing right now, to tackle the allergy angle, but it doesn't seem to be helping. Viral infection is apparently the most common cause of conjunctivitis by far.) I'll be visiting the local doc tomorrow about my eye, and I might have to see a specialist about my toe; there's one in the Jongno area of Seoul. So, yes, my body is betraying me every chance it gets. So far, though, it's not enough to stop me from walking.

But, like a walker, time marches on, and I ain't gettin' any younger.

yet another video on China's real-estate Ponzi scheme

I continue to watch with morbid fascination:

another China problem: TikTok

I've never used TikTok and have no interest in it. I have less and less interest in social media in general, which is why I'm essentially off it. No Twitter (remember when Twitter said the lab-leak theory was disinformation, but now that theory is the strongest one we have about COVID's origins, with Obama-era America being complicit in the virus research?), no Facebook/Meta (seen Zuckerberg's latest admission on Rogan about FBI meddling re: Hunter Biden's laptop?), no TikTok (garbage), no LinkedIn (hackable), nothing. Sure, I'll throw up the occasional TikTok video, but you know... maybe I shouldn't.  Maybe merely embedding a video is enough to allow TikTok to spy on me. Maybe I shouldn't support social media in any of its forms. These days, it's good to be an introvert. Unplug from human pollution.

a bit like wanting to escape North Korea

People don't want to live inside an all-seeing, all-controlling police state? The hell you say!

Saturday, August 27, 2022

the walk through the night

In the summer, if I'm to keep walking, I have to walk at night when it's cooler. On weekdays, I normally walk at night, anyway, no matter the season, because of my work schedule. But I can't walk during the day on summer weekends when the weather is hot. So, nighttime it is. I decided to do a 26K walk to Hanam City, so I scheduled the walk for late Friday night, timing the walk such that I'd arrive in Hanam just as the Saturday-morning buses and subways were starting up, making the return home easy.

What I didn't anticipate was that my walk would turn into a little adventure. Here was the first bit of excitement: as I was passing the Jamshil Bridge, I saw that a TV drama was being filmed by the waterfront. Instinctively, I took out my phone camera, hoping to snap a quick pic of the car and crew, but I should have realized that the whole area would be crawling with minders whose sole purpose was to stop shutterbugs like me. One such minder came up to me and politely said that filming and photos weren't allowed, so I said okay and kept walking. 

At around 1:30 a.m., I began to notice some gentle raindrops. Having checked the weather forecast Friday afternoon, I hadn't seen that any rain was predicted for early Saturday morning, but when I checked the forecast again while on the trail, I saw that they were calling for a brief shower between 2 and 3 a.m., so I was feeling the precursor to that. I decided simply to walk on, although I felt a bit betrayed by, which is not the most reliable site to begin with. We also have to consider that Korea is mountainous, and predicting weather in mountainous terrain—which produces chaotic effects—is a dicey affair at best.

The showers struck almost exactly at 2 a.m. I didn't have any rain gear with me, but I'm generally okay with walking in a summer rain, so again, I simply continued walking, switching my cell phone from my shirt's chest pocket to my pants' hip pocket to offer the electronics some small degree of protection from the wetness. The skies pissed fairly heavily for a good 20-30 minutes (thunder and lightning, too!), leaving me utterly drenched and ready to participate in a fatties' wet tee-shirt contest. It's been unnaturally cool and pleasant, even during the day, for the past week, so the rain was a bit cooler than anticipated. As I walked, I thought about stopping under whatever shelter I might find, but it occurred to me that I'd end up cold and shivering: the best way to stay warm was to keep on walking. So I pushed on. 

As I said, the downpour lasted 20-30 minutes, causing enough accumulation for there to be rivulets and deep puddles along the path I was walking. Then, all of a sudden, the rain stopped. I was soaked, but I knew my body heat would dry me out within an hour. I had a sopping-wet handkerchief, though, that I knew would have to be air-dried, so I took it out and held it in my hand as I walked, allowing my arm swing to help with the drying.

The night, already cool, was even cooler after the rain. Had this been the typical "hot August night" (Neil Diamond), the standing water on the ground would have begun to evaporate, turning into oppressive humidity. Luckily, it was too cool for that to happen. As I kept walking, I began, slowly, to dry off. 

Normally, a walk to Hanam City should take about five hours plus a few minutes, assuming I'm unencumbered and not taking any breaks. I did stop, though—several times—once to take a snack break (nuts, beef jerky, and dried blueberries), and a couple more brief times to get out my eye drops and deal with a festering eye problem that's been plaguing me for almost a week. I also paused often to snap some nocturnal-walk photos; the trail is a lot more peaceful at night. In all, last night's walk took six hours. Another reason for the slowness may have been the rain, which made walking difficult even after the downpour had stopped thanks to the aforementioned puddles and rivulets. I arrived in Hanam City around 5:15 or so, then headed to a familiar bus stop to catch the 9303 bus back to Seoul. 

I had anticipated foot pain, but I brought some ibuprofen with me, and that did the trick: no pain at all. I don't want to get back in the habit of relying on drugs (which I generally haven't needed since losing all that weight last year), but if it's a choice between lying in bed all day with a hurt foot or going for a 26K walk, I'd rather walk while chemically enhanced. 

So I caught the 9303 and enjoyed a rapid ride because, at 6-something in the morning on a Saturday, there's not much traffic to contend with. Got off at Jamshil Station, walked to a taxi stand (I almost never catch taxis at taxi stands), and rode home. Blearily ate some snacks, fired off those previous blog posts, and went to sleep with my inflamed eye. 

So that's the story of my unanticipated adventure from Friday night to Saturday morning. I've got pictures with captions to show you now, so enjoy. 

Let's start off with some Friday-afternoon pics. I left work a bit earlier than usual, which allowed me to see and assess, in the daytime, a lot of the flood damage that I normally see only at night. Daylight makes a big difference in terms of visual impact.

(Click any pic to enlarge, then right-click and select "open in new tab" to see at full size.)

This is the turnoff point that transitions from the Yangjae Creek to the Tan Creek in the direction of Bundang to the south. Note how the wooden walkway terminates in a huge pile of mud—silt from the recent flood. You also see the leftward-curving sidewalk next to the bike path, and it's blocked by the same pile of mud, thus forcing us walkers to walk on the bike paths.

a pretty impressive pile of... what? garbage? other detritus that isn't typical garbage?

As we walk toward the ramp that leads to my neighborhood, we see this huge pile of wood, probably flotsam that got snagged along the banks of the creek and got pulled away from the water (by human action) for some mysterious purpose. I imagine all of this going through a bunch of wood chippers and being used in whatever way wood chips are normally used. The pile is blocking the bike path, so it's the bikers' turn to stray into the walking path. I ended up thinking that this pile would be a wood sculptor's wet dream: look at all the free material! I've also dreamed about becoming a wood sculptor.

I always love my straightaways.

Korean-style orb-weaver, not quite mature (they're huge when fully grown)

another spidery neighbor

I took this photo thinking the huge female I'd seen before had disappeared, but this was the wrong pylon.

a daytime view, looking east, of the Lotte World Tower in Jamshil

the smaller spidery neighbors of the big female, who was, in fact, still there

No, this isn't the big female I'm talking about. This is, I think, a smaller female.

There she is! Livin' large. These are also called Joro Spiders, it turns out.

And now for the night-walk pictures. I left my place at 11 p.m.

If I'm not mistaken, this is Olympic bridge. The tower in the middle is supposed to symbolize the Olympic flame or something. The bridge's brute, austere architecture always makes me think it looks Soviet.

a subtle hint that you're not supposed to go into the restroom

BMX at night

white roses (there were red ones, too)

the first raindrops—I should've realized something was up

The blur in this selfie comes from water on the camera lens: the phone had been in my pocket during the rain, and despite my efforts to protect the phone from wetness, it still got wet. Not to worry: the phone is fine, and everything dried out eventually.

On my walk blogs, I've talked about how these cartoon pictures of people suffering a disaster always tickle me (special love reserved for pics of drowning kids, like in this entry). I like the drama of this one; the sign says to be cautious of the slippery surface in snow or rain. What evil force could have pushed the biker so violently backward off his bike? I'm thinking he was about to hit Darth Vader, but Vader saw the danger and struck first telekinetically.

The trend for the past few years has been to use these special projectors to project ads or signs onto the pavement instead of painting on the ground. This allows multiple signs or ads to rotate through in the same spot, so I decided to hang here a moment and photograph each sign as it rotated through. This first sign shows the bike-path speed limit and says, literally, "Deceleration in operation," but more naturally, "Slow speed (i.e., slow-speed policy) in force," or even more naturally, "Slow down to below 20 kph." The word gamsok (감속) means "deceleration," and unhaeng (운행) means "operating" or "in operation." See why it's often hard to arrive at a natural translation? Saying deceleration in operation tells you nothing. A sensible translation conveys the intent of the words and not their literal import. Slow down; not above 20 kph.

The previous sign rotates out after about 15 seconds. In blue, it says "Han River Park." The white and yellow text says, "Safe speed." And there's the big 20 again. Even if you don't speak or read Korean, you easily get the import of the sign.

Be careful of pedestrians. Absolutely go slowly.

Han River Park

I decided to start taking spooky "the path ahead" pictures. This one's sort of chiaroscuro.

I always think of this as "the fairy bridge," with its eldritch blue lighting.

fairy-bridge straightaway pic

By this point in my walk, it was so late it was early, and yet there were still bikers on the path. A lot of these bikers were young folks, many dressed in their Spandex as if for a normal daytime session of cycling. I'm used to seeing random old folks out at weird hours; these people can't sleep (they want to meet death with open eyes, I guess). But seeing so many young folks tooling along was just weird. Oh, yeah—and everyone was heading out of Seoul east toward Hanam; almost no one was coming from Hanam west into Seoul. Go figure.

the alternate route that I will probably never explore

spooky straightaway

one of many bridges I crossed under

or in this case, am crossing under (double bridge)

the place where I sat down to rest, eat some snacks, drink some water, and tend to my bloodshot left eye

another spooky straightaway

Water-source protection area, says Google translate. I thought sangsuweon (상수원) meant Upper Suweon. I was, as always with these things, wrong.

the official notice that you're now entering the Hanam city limits

a wide straightaway

Because this is a water-source protected area and managed as such, there is to be no fishing, swimming, camping, cooking, throwing of garbage, crop cultivation(!!), polluting of water, etc.

I focus on the word "waste material" because... always, there's something there to undermine the sign—garbage, in this case. It's like a pile of cigarette butts under a "No Smoking" sign, or that thing about kickboards I'd photographed the other night.

Hanam Misa District Water Intake Facility Construction Information

The penultimate part of the path to Hanam is this packed-earth trail exclusively for walkers and topped with a thin layer of gravel that somehow always ends up inside my shoes, forcing me to pause, un-shoe myself, and get rid of the tiny-but-irritating pebbles. Han River off to the left, and the city lights belong to the city of Guri on the north bank; Guri sits opposite Hanam, which is on the south bank of the Han.

This is probably my favorite part of the walk, nuisance pebbles aside.

Hanam City proper in the distance—a part I never visit as it's mostly residential.

A sign about ice-freezer operation.

Air-quality meter saying all is well, as is always the case after a rain.

Voluntary self-quarantine: healthy and safe!

A restaurant or something with its lights still on. You can't see the text of the bright sign, but it says, bizarrely, "Farmacia," which sounds like a Spanish or Italian word for a pharmacy. Why would the place be named that? Do they sell something medicinal or medicine-like?

now entering the gay section of the path (just kidding—I don't think Koreans get rainbow symbolism)

The right side of the path is a weird mixture of restaurants, utility buildings, tourist spots, and farms.

More chiaroscuro straightaways.

By this point, it's past 4 a.m., so the old people who take super-early-morning walks are out in force. They pass by me in various states of wakefulness; some look deadly serious and alert as they tromp along straight-backed like energetic soldiers; others hobble like zombies, slack-jawed and seemingly unaware of what they're doing. Even stranger is that the interval between individuals is always about 200-300 meters. There are occasional pairs of people: male-female couples (obviously married) as well as friends of the same sex, walking and talking. Part of me resents the presence of these other walkers because I want to enjoy this part of the path in total silence. But in a city of 12 million people, the math is against you: probabilities are that some other weird motherfucker is going to be out at this hour, with the same idea as you of taking a nice stroll. That said, I seriously doubt any of these people are walking 26K.

I wish the pic had come out crisper, but I found another American-style orb-weaver and had to take the shot in memory of the lady we lost close to my neighborhood.

Ease on down, ease on down the road.

I'm guessing the flower's a bit crumpled because it's still nighttime.

Actually, dawn is here. Those are mountains across the river.

A first distant look at Starfield, the huge mall where my bus stop is located. 2 or 3 km off.

the ice freezer that that sign was referring to

The last part of this portion of the trail features some very nice parkland that I keep telling myself I should visit later, but I somehow never get around to visiting it. I should take the subway to Hanam, walk over to the park, and just stroll around it sometime. I wonder if it has any picnic spots. If yes, I might suggest a picnic to my Korean buddy JW and his family.

a double whammy of Starfield and parkland

footbridge inside the park

This water fountain is pregnant with symbolism for me because it indicates the psychological end of the path to Hanam City. It's not the actual end of the path (1-2 km to go), but it's the first water source in a while, and everything after this point feels like icing on the cake, which is why I call this the psychological endpoint. When I hit this point early Saturday morning, I filled my empty 500-cc water bottle, guzzled the water down, then refilled the bottle so I could have something to sip in a leisurely manner while I waited for my bus on the opposite side of Starfield.
the final shwimteo on this path

the final restroom before crossing a stream and going to Starfield

another happy AQI indicator

restroom: front (note the stag shadow)

a look down at the area where I cross a stream and head up a ramp to go to Starfield

Before crossing that stream, I took this dawn shot.

up the ramp

Sadly, we're fully back in civilization. That tower is a big Hanam landmark.

Every city has to have an erect dick.

A very paved straightaway.

A sidewalk that takes you alongside Starfield. The bus stop is at Starfield's front.

A glimpse of the "Starfield" sign on the back of the mall as I cross toward the front.

almost done crossing

Here's the Shinsegae store's entrance at the front of Starfield. Shinsegae ("new world") is both old and posh.

moving along the front of Starfield toward my bus stop

saw a glove along the way and took a pic by reflex

not sure why this is a "bus drop" and not a "bus stop"

a bit of weirdness to cap off an adventurous night

the stop itself

I needed to take the 9303 to Jamshil Station, then a cab from Jamshil to my place.

Lost dog. The sign says, "Looking for lost kid."

I'd waited for nearly 20 minutes before taking the above shot. Saturday-morning 9303s don't come frequently.

closing my infected eye so you don't see the huge globs of mucus

Whew... at last on the bus and headed toward home.

whipping by the Olympic Bridge

off the bus and passing a sculpture on the way to a taxi stand

another sculpture in front of the old Lotte Department Store

I'm on Olympic-daero, a street with lots of Olympic sculptures.

Final pic of the trip. What sport is that? Reminds me of Pyramid in "Battlestar Galactica."

So I got a bit more excitement than I bargained for. A TV drama I couldn't photograph, a 30-minute deluge, and a big ol' orb-weaving spider. What more can a man ask for?