Saturday, September 30, 2023

so I finish the month with a whimper after 90% bang

I've been at the office for a couple hours, eating chili hot-dog leftovers, apple pie, and chocolate pie. (I'm at the office to get a head start on some proofreading.) My site-visit stats, all month, were mostly above the 2K/day mark, but over the last week, right before this attempted "test" walk and up to now, visits have plummeted to under 300 per day.

9/24: 1852 views
9/25: 1728 views
9/26: 1725 views
9/27: 1086 views
9/28: 930 views
9/29: 330 views
9/30 (today so far): 170 views

It's a bit like watching the Wicked Witch of the West shrinking and shriveling after she gets water thrown on her: Oh, what a world! What a world!

No matter: September has been a banner month at over 69.5K views (I don't think we're going to make 70K). I can't remember the last time my stats were up that high, but I suspect October is going to be pretty meager, stats-wise, especially once I start the walk in earnest. I might be finishing the current month on a quiet note, but this was a hell of a ride.

I'll be leaving the office around 9:30 p.m. Sunday will be devoted to rest and writing a movie review or two, to be schedule-posted during the walk while I'm gone and blogging elsewhere.

she gets more racist flak from "fellow" black people

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!


leaving the motel and heading out to the main street

Fat or pregnant? Better not ask.

Gayang Station, down the street from Gayang Bridge.

Quiet neighborhood next to the freeway that parallels the river.

Some old people were out. They probably jumped into the foliage when I appeared.

accessing the tunnel to reach the riverside path

almost there

and here we are

Keep the river on your left. Easy enough. And the sun is coming up.


"No Fishing"—as if you couldn't tell by the image

This has been here for years.

No shortage of parks on the south bank of the Han. The north is... decidedly less pleasant.

old-school shwimteo

Mrs. Doubtfire, I think

Sir Charles of the Chaplin

Something a little bit Deco about this kind of rounded architecture. It doesn't age well.

mugunghwa (Rose of Sharon)

how to use the water taxi (which I've never even seen)

going right... I always forget this part and have to consult Naver

the National Assembly Building

Hello, ma'am.

A few years back, this cert center was on the eastern side of Yeouido. Now, it's on the western side.

What evil shall we plot today?

water-rescue team

This part of the walk is quite pleasant.

This is where the dwarf kaiju portals in from another galaxy.

equipment for a night market: the Han River Moonlight (Night?) Market

Look way over to the left, and you'll see a gray plastic chair trying to blend in with the silver ones. Clever girl.

I think this is a pangolin sculpture.

Hangang just means "Han River."

I wonder whether this sculpture is a haven for insects.

right before he(?) was eaten

Homelessness is a problem in Seoul.

But some of these guys have bikes.

Professor Bird of Prey takes a selfie. Mr. Dodo is unaware, as usual.

There's no sense of scale, but this was a huge mushroom. Maybe a foot (≈30 cm) long.

It's quiet when it's early morning.

The Yuksam (Six Three) Building looms ahead. It's been years since I've been in there.

Dead boat gets its own shade.

Oho! An old friend appears.

It was finally time to solve the mystery of what this sculpture is made of. From a distance, I'd guess paper.

Nope. I reached out and felt it. It's heavy-duty rubber.

The tongue is a tire tread. Awesome.

This one is titled, Dare I Suck?

I have not mastered the art of writing on the phone's screen with my fingertip.

Recycling gets dumped here. Where it goes next, I have no clue.

The green sign says this is Wonhyo Bridge. Wonhyo's the monk who drank from a skull in a famous story.

Looks to be another homeless-person kit.

the glamour shot of the Yuksam Building

Fall, baby! Fall! (The sign says "Danger!")

Those abdomens are big, delicate, and vulnerable. Ask me how I know.

Quite possibly my favorite of the "danger" cartoons... the guy is falling so fluidly.

I took this shot and still have no idea what this is.

We're about to enter the under-the-bridge portion of the walk. It's not all gloom and doom, though.

We do pop out from under the bridges on occasion.

dying lanternfly

"For hate's sake... I spit... my last breath... at thee...."

Seating under the bridge is very dusty.

I stalk the couple ahead for several photos.

weird concrete "boulders"

Eventually, I passed the couple.

Another sign cautioning about wild animals, this one featuring a neoguri (raccoon-dog).

a black-eyed Susan?

one of the stranger shwimteo out there (and this was only half of the whole)

garbage rickshaw?

whale doing core work as girls look on admiringly

If you've watched "Squid Game," you've seen this girl before.

I swear—the Korean love of abstract sculpture. It knows no bounds.

Up ahead, you see that my path turns into dark asphalt. That's new. Used to be a dirt/gravel path.

The way this path is now paved is freaking me out a bit. The dirt on the side is reminiscent of the old path.

The elleh-clee... the elec-luh... the I-don't-know-how-to-pronounce-that.

Took a break for a bit and sat here.

a nicely overgrown pergola

still paved, still freaky

Above is a vid of the praying mantis you see in the photo below.

ho ho ho

As a kid, I heard that, in Virginia, killing praying mantises was illegal. I later found out that other kids in other states learned the same thing. But it's utter bullshit.

So kill away!

I was so happy to get this shot. These recumbent bikes pass me on the Han all the time.

that cathedral-like feeling as you stand under awesome engineering

Hanam city border: 17.5 km. Tan Creek confluence (where I turn inland): 3.7 km.

Lotte World Tower in the distance

squashed alien face

Tan Creek confluence—I'm about to turn right and inland

Someone graffiti'ed over that graffito.

Moving toward the Tan Creek now. My place is an hour distant.

Tan Creek to the left. I'm about to take a pit stop at a public restroom.

Back on the path.

two buddies just a-chillin'



The Yangjae/Tan confluence, with the Yangjae Creek off to my right.

Yangjae Creek as seen from a small, low bridge, looking toward Seocho and, ultimately, Gwacheon.

Soon, there will be a ramp that leads up to the final stretch before my neighborhood.

We're up the ramp and heading along that final stretch.

The local guardian has only six legs. Insect.

the footbridge to my neighborhood

my apartment building in the distance

After two days out in the sun:

Several days later, and I'm a peeling mess.

It was after I got to my apartment that my right foot decided to start screaming. I was more or less fine during the walk itself. When I took off my shoes and socks and looked at my foot, I saw the incipient blistering and felt the bone-deep sensitivity, but nothing looked severely injured. For the moment, my theory is that the new Skechers might be good for occasional long walks of the 33K sort, but walking in them for two days in a row, at an average of more than 30K per day, is asking too much. It could also be that I'm still a bit deconditioned after nearly a year off my feet as I dealt with my toe ulcer. This leaves the upcoming walk in some doubt, but as long as I can rest and pop my ibuprofen, I ought to survive the trek. We'll see how things pan out.