Saturday, September 30, 2023

Liberal Hivemind takes on Bob Menendez

Bob Menendez stands accused...yet again:

When it's Trump, the left says, Roast him! When it's a Dem: Let's not play politics.

doughnut hole? bonus hole?


Day 3 of the Chuseok walk

NOTE: this was a scheduled post that I forgot to remove. I'm still at home and convalescing, and I'm not deleting this post because it already has a comment attached to it.

Up and at 'em! Yesterday's walk was almost 30K; today's is significantly shorter at 26K. There's a weird psychological thing that happens to me between 25K and 30K; I've talked about it before. Up to 25K, my mind categorizes the walk as "short"; from 25 to 30K, though I rapidly start to run out of gas, so that final 5K is a lot harder. It's probably all in my head. Anyway, today's walk leads me to Hanam, and there's one "hillish" hill along the way. Tomorrow's walk, the final day, is another biggie at 35K, but with no real hills. That walk goes from Hanam to Yangpyeong. Weather forecasts have said tomorrow with be sunny and cool, so I'm expecting awesomeness for the final day. A fuller post will appear tonight.

giving up

My lower back seems to have improved after a few hours' sleep, but my right foot is no better this morning. It's not so much that my foot feels achy: it feels injured, as I found out just now when I got out of bed to use the bathroom. That being the case, I suspect it wouldn't be a good idea to keep walking on it, so for reasons of practicality, I'm calling it quits for this experimental walk. It sucks to do this, but with the real walk so close, I now need time to heal. What could have been the cause of this problem? Probably the Skechers. They're the only variable that's different this time around. I'll keep them as my backup pair of shoes on the big walk, but they'll only see the light of day if there's an emergency. 

More later as I continue to ponder the problem. 

Friday, September 29, 2023

only death could break her grip on power

Fuckin' finally! No ululate! for this one. Headline

Sen. Dianne Feinstein Dies at 90

The oldest member of Congress has died, according to sources.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has passed away at age 90, three people familiar with the situation said.

Her cause of death was not immediately conveyed.

Ms. Feinstein's office did not respond to a request for comment.

Ms. Feinstein became a U.S. senator in 1992. She was reelected five times. Before her time in Washington, she was San Francisco's mayor and a member of the city's Board of Supervisors.

Ms. Feinstein's latest husband, Richard Blum, died in 2022.

Ms. Feinstein had been struggling with health issues. She was briefly hospitalized in August after a fall. She was cared for in a hospital for months after contracting shingles in March. Complications from the infection included Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, which can cause facial paralysis. When she returned to the Senate, she was being pushed around in a wheelchair.

Ms. Feinstein had handed over power of attorney to her daughter as part of a battle over Mr. Blum's estate.

The seat held by Ms. Feinstein will be temporarily filled by a person chosen by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat.

All who gain power are afraid to lose it.
—Sith teaching

Frankly, I expect the rest of Congress to follow this example unless and until people set term limits. I'd say that no one gives up power easily, but really, no one gives up power, period.

The woman was a stupid, useless lump who allowed her Chinese spy of a driver to remain by her side for decades. I hope she's long remembered for her blunders.

ADDENDUM: comment seen at Instapundit—"Will she vote in absentia?"

back at my apartment

Day 1: Incheon to Gayang (western Seoul)

Day 2: Gayang to my apartment

Day 2 of the Four Rivers walk sees me back at my place for a night. Today was cloudy until about noon, so it was much cooler, and I think I walked a lot faster. At a guess, the majority of my speed problem comes down to things like ambient temperature and humidity.

Before I get into how today went, though, I want to mention some things I forgot to include in yesterday's entry because I was so damn tired. 

Worm drama. Earthworm carcasses littered the ground for kilometers during yesterday's walk, probably because of the recent rain, which must have driven the little guys out of the soil and onto the asphalt. Then, as the day heated up, the earthworms that were too dumb to figure out how to cross the path dried up and got cooked. Note: Korean earthworms are huge and muscular. I admit I want to know what they taste like, and I might just harvest some for myself. I haven't cut open an earthworm since high-school biology class. Korean earthworms are so muscular, in fact, that some are considered able to "jump" when you try to pick them up (see some smaller Asian jumping worms here). As I passed carcass after carcass, I began wondering how much all of this annelid biomass weighed. Pounds? Tons?

Obnoxious cyclists. I took some pictures of these uncouth people (you'll see them when I publish the full photo essay), but the pics I took account for only a tenth of what was happening: there were so many cyclists straying into the pedestrian lane, moving back into the proper cycling lane only at the last second after seeing me. I kept entertaining fantasies of what I'd do if I were telekinetic. Imagine a bike path littered with the corpses of people with crushed brains, exploded skulls, and third-degree burns all over their bodies. Or cyclists dropped from great heights or plunged into the nearby Ara Canal. About 15% of the local cycling population would have died by my hand yesterday.

Foot pain. My feet were killing me at the end of yesterday's walk. I took an ibuprofen, which helped, and I examined my feet, which looked fine on the outside. After a good night's sleep, I woke up today and was able to walk pretty fast for the first couple of hours without any hitches. I was slower by the end of the day, but the real pain didn't start until I was at my place and no longer walking.

MapMyWalk. After yesterday's test of the app, I know that I won't be using MapMyWalk on the long trans-Korea trek. It consumes a ton of battery power thanks to the real-time GPS mapping. For short walks, it's fine, but for walks that last over five hours, forget it. I had to pull out my portable charger and waste time recharging the phone while I was out on the trail. I also messed up the app's calculation of my time and distance because I forgot to hit "pause workout" when I went on the subway from Geomam Station to Cheongna International City Station (just 1 stop, but about 8 km distant). I didn't realize this until I was a couple hours into yesterday's walk.

Today's 29K walk, with the weather being cloudy and cool all morning, went much faster, and there wasn't any pain until the very end, which is when I stopped at my place and took off my shoes and socks. My right sole was painfully achy and sensitive at the pads of my rightmost toes—the pinky toe and the so-called "fore toe." As was true yesterday, the toes look fine, but they obviously need some rest. I'm not planning on staying on my feet much longer, so here's hoping the toes get a long night's rest. I took more ibuprofen this afternoon, and the foot has stopped screaming.

Both yesterday and today, I've also been hampered by lower-back pain. Having watched many videos on the subject, I'm guessing the major culprit tends to be a weak core. Since I haven't done much in the way of core work, that's going to have to change. I don't like moving around like an invalid. Along with planks, there are core exercises that can be done while standing, so I need to start doing those.

Today's walk was simple and straightforward; there was nothing to "pre-walk." The weather was fantastic. Not a bad way to celebrate Chuseok. Again, Happy Chuseok!

Righto—here are ten pics from the 178 photos (+ 1 video) I took today. Sorry—the video isn't part of today's uploads, but it'll be out later. If you stick around.

Rosy-fingered dawn.

This construction was here three years ago. Nothing's changed.

Rose of Sharon, South Korea's national flower

South Korea's version of the Capitol Building: the Gukhoe Euisadang/국회의사당, or National Assembly Hall

I finally got up close and touched this sculpture. Turns out the fur is rubber.

As I've said before, I will always love these dramatic cartoons.

A dying spotted lanternfly, native to China and considered invasive elsewhere.

This praying mantis was determined to make it all the way across the path.

It's rare for me to capture the recumbent bikes.

Back at my place. Up the street is my apartment building.

Sadly, my route through Yeouido didn't take me past the famous Goemul sculpture. I've photographed it before (see here in 2020). Was the sculpture perhaps moved? Maybe: I saw some new works of art along the Yeouido portion of the walk today, including a giant replica of the sinister robotic girl from "Squid Game." (The photo will appear in the full photo essay.)

And now: a shower, then bed. Night!

the kind of bullshit I hate

I've ranted about this topic before, but here we are again: I hate it when someone writes a comment, then some asshole comes along and tries to show himself off as intellectually superior by one-upping the comment. As linguist Deborah Tannen has noted, this is primarily male behavior because men are status-seeking whereas women are more connection-seeking. It's a bit of a stereotype, but one rooted in reality, and in Tannen's various books, she has the data to back this observation up. Here's an example of what I mean (click to enlarge):

A bit of context: the Dr. Kranky Instapundit comment was in response to a tweet, probably by a liberal, who observed that "to live in Texas is to live surrounded by guns." Dr. Kranky's response astutely notes that guns are, in fact, everywhere, but not always in the possession of parties who care about you. Along comes commenter JimS, who tries to one-up Dr. Kranky's comment, and it's exactly the sort of unenlightened shit that annoys me.

If JimS had come along to supplement Dr. Kranky's comment, I might not have been quite as annoyed. Instead, JimS did the typical one-upsman thing and full-on contradicted Dr. Kranky's comment. This is like being the second person to reach the top of a hill, then pushing the first person off and claiming the top for yourself. And really, even supplementing the comment would have struck me as obnoxious. A lot of guys play that hand: "Not only that, but..." or "But the real point is..."—as a way of showing they know more, are somehow more profound, etc. It's all one-upsmanship, and I hate it.

We have one commenter on the Instapundit threads who thinks he's enforcing ideological purity. Someone writes, "Well, that's a typically leftist thing to do," then this chump swoops in and commands, "Don't say 'leftist.' Call them what they are: Marxists." Jesus, dude, lighten the fuck up and take the stick out of your ass. We're all on the same side. Give some consideration to the guy's intent and maybe try to honor that instead of bulldozing the guy's comment just so you can make your stupid point.

And of course, I can imagine some smartass coming along and saying, "But isn't Dr. Kranky guilty of what you're ranting about? Why does he get a pass?" First off, Dr. Kranky isn't on the side of the liberal, so some level of confrontationalism is to be expected. Second, I don't see Dr. Kranky's comment as contradicting the original tweet. By adding information, by supplementing the tweet, it's possible that Dr. Kranky is being annoying, but his action is not as annoying as outright contradicting the tweeter would have been.

Lastly, someone might point out the hypocrisy that I myself have been guilty of acting just like JimS. I admit it's very likely that I have, and my commenters are free to call me out for such behavior. If they can do so without risking their own hypocrisy.

Day 2 of the Chuseok walk

Happy Chuseok!

After my roughly 35K start yesterday, it's about a 28-30K walk, today, to my place. When I'm doing the Four Rivers trail in earnest, this is always a weird, surreal stop for me since I'm basically right back home. But my apartment is the best spot at which to stop, and I don't have to pay any extra 숙박비/sukbakbi (fee for overnight stay). I can also grab a meal in my building's basement, or at Paris Baguette, or at a convenience store (which inconveniently closes at 10:30 p.m.). Tomorrow, I'm off to 하남시/Hanam City, which is only about 26K away. On the Han's south bank, Hanam is the first city over as you move east. On the north bank, the first city over is Guri. Expect a fuller post tonight.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

as has been the case for a while...

It's not enough to want to be left alone. It's join or die.

I'm perfectly willing to affirm your basic human rights. But don't talk to me about trans rights as if being trans makes you special. You're human; you have human rights. Just like me.

As for liking your lifestyle... let's put it this way: you can live as you see fit as long as you're not harming anyone or forcing people to embrace your lifestyle. It's enough for me to condone you and your way of thinking, and that's as far as I'll go. I don't think you're an abomination, or that you're going to hell. But I also don't swing that way, so just leave me alone.

in Seogu, western Seoul

Never trust the distance given.

This is not the exact course. I held to the water.

I'm in the unimaginatively named Seogu (West District), in Seoul, staying at the overpriced—and probably foreigner-taxed—Dean Hotel which, as obtains for many so-called "hotels," is actually a motel at the pricier end of the scale (W75,000). The amenities are okay, though, so I'll stay here tonight and avoid the place later, when I do the walk in earnest.

Today's walk was brutal. Distance from my motel to Geomam Station: 2.8 km. Distance from Cheongna International City Station to the Four Rivers starting point: 2.9 km. So that's nearly 6K before I even start the trail. Distance from Ara West Sea Lock Gate Certification Center (아라 서해 갑문 인증센터) to my current motel: 29 km. So that's just under 35K (34.7), but I also walked around to find a late lunch as well as some ibuprofen, so let's call it an even 35K of hell. The difference between today's 35K and my three recent 33Ks is as obvious as night and day: I did the Yangpyeong-Yeoju hikes at night when it was very cool, and I did today's hike in the daytime, when things got rather hot for me. I also stopped a lot to take pictures (I'll be displaying only 10 of the over 200 images I captured), so that slows me down. My post-stroke walking rate has been slowing down, too. That's kind of worrisome, but I'm still figuring out what to do about it. Best solution seems to be to lose weight and focus on endurance cardio. 

The walk was also eventful, although the announced rain never appeared (damn you yet again, AccuWeather). A cute young lady startled me out of my reverie, early in the walk, as she whipped past me on her bike. She yelled the Konglish "Fighting!", which I guess means anything encouraging from "You can do it!" to "Keep going!" to just "Yeah!" She giggled a bit when me saw I'd been startled. Barely an hour or so ago, as I was leaving the motel for a pharmacy errand, the front-desk guy (a different staffer from the one who got me my room) started quizzing me about where I was going. He asked me to leave my room-key card with him. I got a little incensed and asked him why he wanted me to do that. He explained that our motel was located in what was basically Drinker's Alley, and a lot of hotel guests get so pickled that they can't even find their room key.  With that explanation, I was a bit less incensed. I told the guy I don't drink, and he was fine with letting me go. 

Despite the heat and all the sweating I did today, it was a fun walk. A couple weeks from now, daytime temps ought to be even lower, which may help my walking rate to speed up. My feet felt as if they'd taken a real beating, but when I looked at them this evening, they appeared to be perfectly fine. Go figure. That may not be the case after three more days of distance walking.

Having an encumbrance might also be slowing my walking rate, and my current pack weight is half my backpack's base weight, so the full backpack could conceivably make things worse. We'll soon see how it all goes. 

Here are ten photos for your delectation:

around 4:50 a.m., leaving my motel

a decent shot of Geomam Station

finally at the starting line


signal fires

left alone with big, fat Fatty / she was such a naughty nanny / big, big woman! / you made a bad boy outta me

lots of pairs and groups there today

I always take pics of the gorilla.

Gayang Bridge (left) and the tower/platform on the right.

tired, tousled, terrible 

I'm exhausted and off to bed early for what I hope will be 7.5 hours of sleep. Up at 5 a.m. to start the process all over again!

poetry repost

One of my favorite poems of all time, authored years ago by yours truly:


the doctor said
don't you pick those scabs
so I
pick pick pick
and I
pluck pluck pluck
then I
lick lick lick
and I
suck suck suck
so the doc says STOP
and I say OK
then I
lick lick lick
and I
pick pick pick

the Hollywood strikes are ending, but Disney loses

Wisdom from Gary at Nerdrotic:


I remember the joke from "Raising Arizona." Criminals Gale and Evelle, two brothers, have stolen one of the Arizona quintuplets. They stop at a convenience store, with Evelle looking for balloons to give to the tyke.

"These blow up into funny shapes at all?" asks Evelle, holding up a bag of balloons.

"Well, no. Unless round is funny," says the shopkeeper.

Oh, but balloons are so, so much more.

jiu-jitsu black belt takes down criminal

Haw haw.

those nutty enviro-activists

Day 1 of the Chuseok walk

Rise and shine! In theory, I got up at 5:00 this morning and was on the road by 5:30, give or take 15 minutes. Today's walk starts from my motel; it's about 3 km to the official Four Rivers trail starting point, 28 km from the start to Gayang Station, then another kilometer or two to my motel in western Seoul—about 32K in all.* If I remember to, I'll post information from my pedometer and from MapMywalk (an app that I've barely used since that first time).

There'll be a fuller blog post this evening.


*But as this entry points out, I actually have to wake up earlier and take the subway to a point that's close to the starting point. Add another 3K to walk from my motel to the subway station, so it's really going to be a 35K walk to start this whole thing off.

I'd forgotten about that. It's been a few years.

UPDATE: I was up at 4:15 a.m. and out the door by 4:45. When I got to Geomam Station, the train didn't arrive until 5:55.


Arrived in Incheon pretty late after a series of delays and disasters. Didn't arrive until just before 10 p.m., then got to my motel (the Grand! W50,000 a night, which is a bit on the steep side, but not shockingly so).

I belatedly rediscovered something I had forgotten: the buckle of the leather belt in my Gregory backpack's belt harness (I'm too fat to use the backpack's own native belt harness) is broken. I'd forgotten all about that. Basically, the backpack is currently unusable, which is a shame because I'd packed it full, drinks and all, and weighed it: 12 kg, which is light—about the weight of an infant that's a few months old. Having relearned that I couldn't use the Gregory, I switched to a smaller pack and filled it with half of my stuff, leaving out the camping gear. The result was a 6-kilo pack, which I suppose was better than nothing. So that's what I'm using for this trip, carrying only the necessities. 

Another delay happened because I realized I had a few housecleaning chores to take care of. While my apartment never gets roaches and rarely gets mosquitoes, it does get fruit flies, so I had to do all my dishes, rinse out the drain trap, and make sure there was no exposed food waste to attract any pests.

I also had left my portable cell-phone charger at the office, so I had to stop by there to pick the charger up. Now, some motels come equipped with things like WiFi and charger cables, but some don't, so it's always good to be prepared. Hence the need for my charger.

As a result of all these delays, I left for Incheon more than an hour later than I'd wanted to. The subway ride included two transfers, and the final two segments of the ride west were crowded, presumably with holiday people going to Incheon to see family. Upon arrival at Geomam Station, I had a nearly 3K uphill walk to the nearest motel. Every time I've come here, I've stayed at a different motel. I don't know why. They're all generically good; I find them to be a good way to start the Four Rivers journey. 

I'll be waking up at 4:15 a.m. and out the door by 4:45. I'm not getting much sleep tonight as I switch to morning-person mode, but I'll do what I usually do in such cases: find a quiet, shady place to take a few naps along the way. 

Here are a few random pics taken tonight:

A clever bit of graphic design: letters forming a cow's face. 

The French says, "A house of rarity."

a Grand Hotel sign... and my pants

bed, backpack, window

humble fridge

At least Gwenyth Paltrow's head isn't in there.

Righto—more later! Time to sleep a little. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

today's luncheon

It was a good luncheon. My Korean coworker didn't throw anything away this time. Basically, lunch was a strange combination of hot dogs and pie—foods that I don't normally associate with each other. But the boss was in the mood for these two things, and I am but to serve. The boss brought the dogs and some not-homemade sauerkraut; I bought the buns, and I made two pies: apple and chocolate. The boss tried both and liked them despite how deformed the chocolate pie turned out to be. 

Apple pie: I ate the burned part, and it was fine.

Small, tight buns cannot contain massive sausages.

The chocolate pie, which should have been fridged. 

my burned-but-tasty piece of pie

The filling caved in a bit, but not too much.

Despite being soft and mushy, the chocolate pie held its shape after I took a slice.

more or less held its shape

I really should have refrigerated the chocolate pie until it was ready to serve. Leaving it out during the hot-dog course was a mistake: despite the four sheets of gelatine I added to bolster the magic coagulants in the sugarless pudding mix I used, the pie wasn't as firm as a panna cotta. Still, the pie tasted fine. Where it fell down was (literally) the texture. Note to self: practice chocolate pies before serving them to unwitting officemates. And maybe make the pies the classic way next time. Overall, though, the pie had the right balance of chocolates. I even used a bit of cocoa mass, which is the purest of pure chocolate, but because I added sugar and cream, the impact of the mass was blunted. 

Everyone enjoyed the hot dogs; both the boss and coworker complimented the chili. As I predicted, cooking six dogs was enough: I ate three; the boss ate two, and my skinny Korean coworker ate only one. These were the pornographically huge Kirkland pork dinner franks, so my Korean coworker cut his up into three pieces. 

With nothing being thrown in the garbage, I'll call this luncheon a win. I have to think of what to do for October before I leave on my long trek. I have some ideas. 

switching to walk-blog mode

I'll be blogging my walk from Incheon to Yangpyeong in approximately the style I'll be using when I do the Four Rivers walk in earnest starting on October 14. What this means is that I'll take a whole slew of photos as I go, but I'll initially put up only ten per day. Once I'm back from the Chuseok walk, I'll slap up the rest of the photos for the people patient enough to go through each of the daily photo essays.

This very post was scheduled to appear at 9:30 p.m. today (Wednesday). Depending on how early or late I left work, I might already be in Incheon, crashing at a motel, with the plan to wake up at 5:00 a.m. and be out walking by 5:30. Thursday's going to suck because it'll be a bit hot, but the rest of the weekend is slated to be awesome, with max temps descending from the high to mid-70s (26º to 23ºC), and no rain. Finally: some real, daytime walking weather! I'm looking forward to this. And it's been a few years since I had a full pack on my back.

diabetes stats

And right after a bread post, no less!

I was sure the USA would have won this hands-down:

We're fourth place behind Pakistan? Oh, the shame. Work harder, fellow Americans!

But that's raw numbers, not percentages. This is more like it (from 2015):

New and detailed data from the new International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Diabetes Atlas, released at this week’s World Diabetes Congress in Vancouver, Canada (Nov 30-Dec 4) reveals that, unsurprisingly, the United States has the highest prevalence (11% of the population aged 20-79 years) of diabetes among developed nations. This league table includes countries of the European Union plus Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Israel, Andorra, Norway, Switzerland, and the U.S. itself.

And in terms of estimates of absolute numbers of people with diabetes in these nations, the U.S., with almost 30 million people with diabetes, has around two thirds the number of cases of all the other 37 nations in the developed nation league combined (46 million).

In terms of prevalence, Singapore finished a close second to the U.S. (10.5%), followed by Malta (10%), Portugal (10%), and Cyprus (9.5%) in 3rd, 4th, and 5th place respectively. The countries with the lowest estimated prevalence in the 38 nation league were (lowest first), Lithuania, Estonia, and Ireland (all around 4%), followed by Sweden, Luxembourg, the U.K., and Australia (all around 5%). Canada, the host nation for the World Diabetes Congress, has the 12th highest prevalence, at 7%.

"5 minute" baguettes

I'm going to have to try this. It looks primitively rustic, but plausibly good.

This could prove to be revolutionary.

ADDENDUM: the "five minutes" refers to the amount of actual work you do, not to the amount of time needed to make and bake the bread. The total making/baking time comes out to several hours. This is ideally an all-night process.

a cute wall of flesh

A nice rendering of the voices in my head.

do you agree with Neil or with Konstantin?

I side more with Konstantin when it comes to the moral issues surrounding trans rights.

sometimes, I hate Apple

Putting aside the question of Apple's corporate wokeness and its use of Chinese slave labor to make its products (a fact roundly roasted by Ricky Gervais a couple years back), I've been, in my home life, an Apple loyalist since high school (Apple IIc) if not before. These days, my desktop computer is a large, 2019 iMac with a 27-inch screen—as large as some of the smaller home TVs of yore. Generally speaking, I enjoy using this computer, built atop the bones of suicidal Chinese laborers, but every once in a while, Apple does things that annoy me. This thought was triggered by something that happened only a few minutes ago: another software update. Barely two weeks ago, Apple flagged me with a software update for my then-current operating system, Ventura 13.5. The update was for 13.6, which I numbly and obediently installed (OS installation means you can't use the computer for the better part of an hour, so you're probably better off performing the installation right before you go to sleep). Today, though—just a few minutes ago, in fact—I was flagged again with another OS update, this time for a completely new OS called Sonoma (14.0—yay?), filled with all sorts of newfangled features I will probably never use. 

These days, I suspect that the lifespan of a computer is determined more by its hardware than by its software. The software continues to advance and accelerate, and the hardware is "pre-built" to have a bit of flexibility in that regard: you can indeed upgrade your OS multiple times. But only up to a point: somewhere in the future waits the OS that will be so advanced and so memory-intensive that your computer's hardware simply won't be able to handle it. It's a bit like how one's aging brain becomes increasingly unable to handle the rapid acceleration of modern global culture—a problem that didn't afflict people centuries ago, at least not as badly as it does now. Sure, you might be able to upgrade your hardware—adding memory, maybe even switching out your processor—but even those upgrades have limits, just like starting to exercise late in life has only limited benefits compared to exercising from one's youth. Eventually, though, even those physical upgrades reach their limits, and you have to get a new computer. Because of the software. Software drives everything. No "drive" pun intended.

Since I'm leaving for Incheon later today, I suppose I might as well set my computer to updating. It's a helpless feeling to be so at the mercy of one's surrounding culture. I pretty much have to update if I don't want to fall behind. Things wear out fast these days, especially tech-y things. It's enough to make me yearn for items of comparative durability: knives that last for years and only need sharpening, etc.

I've got an apple pie baking right now. Started before 10 a.m. to give the pie time to cool down before I go to work. Luncheon today: hot dogs and toppings, apple pie, and—if it's any good—a chocolate "pie" that I also whipped up last night. I added too much butter to the Oreo crust, so when I baked the "pie," the crust shrank into itself and turned from a pie-plate-shaped circle to a flat, pizza-crust-like disk. I shrugged and transferred the crust to a cake pan with straight, vertical sides, then poured the pie filling atop it, letting it set in the fridge like a side-crustless cheesecake. There may be luncheon photos later. We'll see. I'm proud of my hot-dog chili.

Vivek and I are on the same wavelength

I suspect that Vivek Ramaswamy is going to get flak for advocating an economic pivot toward India because he's ethnically Indian, but I don't care what race of politician advocates for this: I'm all in. It's a solid policy. Pivot away from China and pivot toward India. 

The reply I've heard to this idea is that India is rife with corruption, but at this point, all big governments are rife with corruption, and it's something of a joke when one government points out the corruption of another. (To be fair, I'm guilty of playing this game myself.) 

True: there are degrees of corruption, but I don't possess a god's-eye perspective on the matter, so I can't say which government is the most corrupt. (A solid metric would have to start off by defining what corruption is.) Anyway, below is a short video commentary on Ramaswamy's modest proposal:

I should note that the policy of pivoting away from China and toward India has been kicked around on Instapundit for years, with varying degrees of acceptance and rejection, so this isn't exactly a new idea, nor is it really original to Vivek. I'm just glad he supports it.

Icy Mike vs. Blackie Chan

Icy Mike found out about Blackie Chan, who claims he learned how to fight from Icy Mike's YouTube channel. Can a person get good at fighting just by watching a YouTube channel and practicing alone? You've probably got to have a load of natural skill.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Tulsi speaks out

bus tix failure and Plan B

After work, I went to Express Bus Terminal Station, marched up to the Express Bus Terminal ticket area, and tried to get myself a ticket to Sangju for either tomorrow (Wed) or the next day (Thu). The machine said there were a few tickets for tomorrow morning, but I'm working tomorrow, so leaving in the morning isn't an option. Otherwise, tomorrow afternoon and all day on Thursday, there are no tickets at all: everything came up maejin/매진, i.e., sold out.

No sweat: we just move to Plan B. Always have a Plan B. Instead of Sangju-Andong, I'll do the first four days of the Four Rivers walk as a practice walk: a backpack on my back, my new Skechers on my feet, a full load of equipment inside the pack, a supply of water, and a backup pair of shoes in case the Skechers decide to give up the ghost. What's good is that I really like the first four days of the Four Rivers path, so this'll be fun. It'll also be a longer distance: 120 km as opposed to the mere 90 km of the Sangju-to-Andong route.

This means that I'll have to leave tomorrow night because I'm meeting my buddy Tom on October 2, which is a Monday. So the schedule is:

Wednesday night (9/27): train out to Incheon
Thursday (9/28): walk from Incheon to Gayang Station (western Seoul), 32-33K
Friday (9/29): walk from Gayang Station to my own apartment, 30K
Saturday (9/30): walk from my apartment to Hanam City, 26K
Sunday (10/1): big-ass walk from Hanam to Yangpyeong, 35K
Monday (10/2): meet Tom

That ought to be a great test for my new shoes: I'll be encumbered and walking long-ish distances every day for several days in a row. And by staying local, I don't have to worry about Chuseok traffic. I can just hop on a subway and head out to Incheon, and when I'm done on Sunday, 10/1, I can eat lunch in Yangpyeong and take the subway back to Seoul. Easy peasy.

Sangju-Andong can wait for another time.

Honest Trailers takes on "Barbie"

This is a job for... Epic Voice!

off to buy bus tix

With this being the Chuseok season, there's a chance I might not be able to take a bus out to Sangju City to do my four-day, Sangju-to-Andong walk. Not a big deal. I can try to get a train ticket to Sangju, or I can do a local 4-day walk from, say, Incheon to Yangpyeong (total: approx. 120 km). I also have a choice of departure date: I can go to Sangju tomorrow—even though the forecast is for rain for part of the day—and walk through Saturday, or I can wait until Thursday and walk through Sunday.

The more I think about it, the more I think a Thursday departure to Sangju might be better—either by bus or by train. Whichever way things turn out, I'm off to try to get a ticket. (Come to think of it, coming back to Seoul at the end of the Chuseok holiday might be a nightmare, too.)

the phenomenon that is pickleball

Pickleball! It's taking the nation by storm as everything goes to shit!

fuck around and find out

This sort of thing needs to happen more often. 

A pastor is out demonstrating for the rights of the unborn; whether I agree with his stance or not is beside the point. The point is that he's there prayerfully, with a mike and speaker system but not haranguing passersby, just making his opinion known. A very young leftie professor comes up to him; they have an exchange that gets more acrimonious as the leftie's language becomes nastier. She eventually grabs at and refuses to return the pastor's microphone; the police are called over; the lady refuses to comply, so... her ass gets arrested. Good. As I said, this needs to happen way more often. If you try to stifle free speech and/or use physical violence, you should feel the consequences right away. You're the one in the wrong.

Sky News Australia continues to mock Biden

Insults from halfway around the world—I shouldn't love this as much as I do. If we were talking about some average 81-year-old, I'd hesitate to engage in ageism and mockery of debilitating conditions like dementia. But we have to remember that Biden made the choice to run for president, and once he got frauded in and then fucked everything up for nearly three years, he's made the absolutely bonkers choice to run again. So, no: Joe Biden is fair game for insults as far as I'm concerned. If an octogenarian movie villain executes a plan that kills entire cities, and the hero then takes him down brutally but slowly with an axe and a blowtorch, does the audience weep for the old man? Of course not. It doesn't matter that he's old: it matters that he's evil. His death only brightens the world and is nothing to mourn. When Vader tosses the Emperor down that shaft, that's an applause moment: there's sympathy for the bastard. I hate to put it this way, but where is America's Darth Vader?

Here's Sky News having a bit of fun with Joe Biden, our evil old man:

PJW on Russell Brand

Paul Joseph Watson on the Russell Brand flap and government's attempt to control independent media:

the Merrick Garland shit-show

Dem-weaponized Attorney General Merrick Garland deserves to be strung up inside a brazen bull and slowly roasted over a period of hours. And it's pretty obvious that Ray Epps is an agent provocateur. Whether he's an FBI plant, I don't know, but given all we've discovered about FBI agitation on January 6, I consider it likely.

Monday, September 25, 2023

under 2K/day yesterday, today... and the rest of the month?

This has been a banner month for site visits. I've been over 2K visits per day for most of this month, with September already well over 60K visits for the month, and five more days to go. Only starting yesterday did the visits really drop down to under 2K: 1852 visits yesterday, and we're looking to be under 2K today, too. So maybe things are finally normalizing at the very end of the month. I'm at 64,397 visits for September; will pass the 65K mark in a day or so. I doubt the rest of 2023 will be this good, and I still have no idea why September was this good. One does not question the gods; one merely thanks them and moves on.

2 from Chris Chappell

"Is Going Green Destroying the Environment?"

"China Is Literally Falling Apart"—an introduction to "tofu dreg construction":

As I've said: China is basically North Korea writ large these days.

what's the antonym for "hemorrhage"?

What do you call a massive influx of something into an entity? An outflow, for warm bodies, is called a hemorrhage. What's the influx called?

he can expect a lot of name-calling from the virtuous

If you're a black Democrat politician who switches sides to the GOP, you can expect to be treated as an apostate by your ex-fellow Dems. They might not put out a death fatwa on you, but rest assured they'll call you all the names that they claim are racist when certain unreconstructed rightie bigots use them. Because hypocrisy means nothing to these fuckers.

the vegan/vegetarian joke

Traumatized by the chipmunk video? Wash your brain out with this cute joke about vegans and vegetarians as told by a little kid (YouTube Short).

another brutal chipmunk video

Don't click. Chipmunks are hit with exploding tannerite rounds and huge 9-mm rounds. Those soft, little skulls don't stand a chance. This one's pretty brutal. Stay away.

your bit of randomness

I was suckered at first:

You quickly realize it's not a real snake: the strange, plasticky way the light glints off the body; the fact that the "snake" doesn't coil and writhe when the chick grabs it by the neck; the arrow-straight path the "snake" takes when moving toward the lady... there are all sorts of clues that this isn't genuine. That said, it's hilarious. I'd expect Aussie chicks to be pretty brave in the face of all the wildlife in Oz that wants to kill you, as well as the harmless wildlife that just looks scary. This young lady looks ready to wrestle a boar.

knockout via kick

I tend to think that using a kick to knock someone out is implausible at best—not least because you often have to turn your back to your opponent—but there are plenty of videos out there, many showing an MMA context, in which someone executes a beautiful kick and scores a knockout. Speed, strength, timing, and coordination are all factors—and a little luck helps, too. Here's an nice example of a knockout with a reverse* kick:


*The video title calls this a spin kick, but I was left wondering whether this was a reverse turning kick. In a spin kick, the leg is generally straight, and it whips around in an arc. In a turning kick, the body turns partially, and the leg is pistoned backward in a horizontal stamping motion. When you watch the video above, you'll see, at the very last moment of the knockout kick, that the leg does piston out a bit, and the kicker's foot slams full-on into the opponent's face; had this been a true spin kick, the foot would have whipped across the opponent's face like a slap. Before that moment, though, I can see why people might call this a spin kick. But I'm not totally convinced.