The Censors! The Censors! … Er, Please Hold My Beer While I Platform Myself…

I’m not going to spend much time on this because I have had a surprisingly tiring week even though we had a day off on Wednesday for Independence Day (1). I have four new bookcases due for delivery about midday tomorrow (which is thankfully a Saturday) and would like to spend as much time between now and then examining the backs of my eyelids, because a big cleanup and rearrangement of my apartment plus necessary job-related work will be keeping me busy.

Having said all of that…

We find ourselves in the middle of what appears to be a Silicon-Valley-sanctioned take-down of a number of personalities online. The reasons we are being given are clearly spurious, and the results may be catastrophic for those taken down. However, I feel that there is an important point to be made here; several points, possibly.

The first point is that accounts are being taken down from what appear to be (in their most basic forms) free sites for which (at the beginning) no levy was made by the service provider and which the account owners may eventually have developed into something lucrative as it became possible for them to receive remuneration. Names such as Facebook, Twitter etc. are being mentioned. More advanced arrangements are different, of course, because of their scale (the particular case of Alex Jones springs to mind here).

Second point… quite apart from the fact that many of these platforms are on the skids anyway, why is everyone complaining about being suspended or banned from their services? Have you not done some research and found other platforms like MeWe, BitChute and Steemit? Even more importantly, have you not examined the options for self-platforming, the better to avoid these things if you are not looking for remuneration but just want to express yourself? I’ve been doing this for five years now. The cost is not great and there are plenty of free add-ons that you can use. Why worry about whether FB and the like approve of your viewpoint when you could have a platform of your own? I pay sixty Singapore Dollars per annum for the right to express myself, with other add-ons like free fora and chat rooms for no extra cost. The sad part? Despite repeatedly stating that I have made these private spaces available for people to use, and from which (at least within reason) they are far less likely to be cast out on their ear, they don’t make use of them. There seems to be an element of psychological dependency involved here. Or is narcissism for free more important to you?

If you don’t agree with your chosen platform’s attitude, you’re a fool to stay with them when other free or paid alternatives are available, and since those alternatives are available, what is it that keeps you there like a frog in a hot cooking pan? What are you afraid of? You could start up your own blog, fora and social web site as well as e-mail, chat site etc.

Hint: go beyond your comfort zone, look for your own platform. You could start at a place like They have everything you need. Just choose a nice-looking WordPress site template (like I did), pay your annual subscription (about ₤40.00/year) and start blogging. Look at the services available in your cPanel and add them. But don’t complain about the cost. If you like to go out regularly for a drink, if you waste a lot of the food you buy and then do not eat or if you drive a lot, those can only be false economies at best and you have better things to do with your time and money. You also get private e-mail and all kinds of other things at no extra cost (unless you decide that you want more).

I express my attitude here at (among others). I also have presences at (for example) the Vivaldi browser community (again, a free platform, better than its predecessor at Opera, and 5Gb of free e-mail account!!!). Dig into my blog to see my involvement with both of them historically. My personal blog there costs me money but I could have five times as much server space and not bat an eyelid, financially, each year as one year’s subscription to a 5Gb disk space (and unlimited bandwidth) would still be less than one month’s winter gas bill here in Korea. I kid you not. Do not complain about false economies!

Understand that there are elements of both false economy and hypocrisy involved not only in the deplatforming of established users but also in not voting with your feet because you are too cheap and lazy to platform yourself and tell your existing platforms to go take a hike. There, I said it.

Remember, as long as you stay with them, they own your opinion and control it.

What are you afraid of? I’ve done it, and so can you, so bite the bullet.

1: Independence from Japan at the end of WWII, that is…

Cancer Diary: Update 2018-08-08

As it happens, I made my way to Daegu yesterday evening, happening to be at the station shortly before the KTX departed from Jinju, which is turning out to be something of a pain for travel, as I live in the extreme north of the town, whereas the train station is some distance out to the south in an area which is currently being developed; somewhere in between is the bus station, but every time I go there, the buses are already fully booked. This is what happens when you cannot afford a car!!!

It turned out to be an evening of minor pleasures and pains: I got down to the Kyeongbuk National University Hospital area and decided for practical reasons to book in to the Mellow Yellow motel first, and here was a pleasant surprise: cheaper rooms available for ₩40,000 a night. I didn’t stay in for long because I was hungry, and made my way across to where the Pasta & Burger restaurant was – or rather, used to be; it was locked up!

Thereafter, I thought: “Hmm, what about the WaBar?” – so I made my way there, but even using Google Maps on the cell phone, it couldn’t be located, because it, too, was no more.

Finally, I thought: “Well, the sausages and chips at the Brewer’s Brothers are not amazing, but I do know that it’s still there.” – and it was. So I ordered said sausies and chips, and washed them down with three bottles of Chat Noir French cider (I shouldn’t, but…). Then made my way back to the motel, which by this time was quite a way.

That was when the fun began: very often, since my body started settling down in the post-operative phase, the urge to let it all out falls late at night rather than preferentially during an earlier hour of the day. It kept me up until about 2:00 a.m., so I didn’t get a lot of sleep before the alarm got me up, but in the morning I had plenty of time to complete relieving myself before hitting the subway to the hospital.

I actually had to wait about an hour before being dragged into the Professor’s consulting room, but we had a fairly lengthy discussion about how I had been feeling and the fact that I had been experiencing a quite strong reaction to the Lopmin muscle relaxant, so that I had to reduce dosage to a virtual minimum to avoid shitting dry, fossilised wood… he in turn told me that the only real concern based upon the previous set of test results was that my Vitamin D level was very low. I pointed out to him that I was taking some quite strong Canadian oil capsules for the Vitamin D, but he said that sunlight exposure would be more important (as Vitamin D is synthesised in the skin when exposed to sunlight).

Food-wise, red meats are apparently no longer frowned upon (as according to him, newer research has cast doubt upon their presumed link to carcinogenesis) and as these are a good source of cholesterol (which is very important, because Vitamin D is also synthesised from cholesterol), and I was definitely doing the right thing abstaining mostly from the stodgy work meals and taking vitamin supplements. I need to get more exercise, more sunlight and eat, therefore, food containing more Vitamin D precursors to make them available in the skin; and lose more weight.

The next test appointment was made for November, and the Professor apologised for not forwarding materials to me for his proposed review of the surgical method, but excused himself due to the recent death of an elderly relative. I again reminded him that I need some materials such as photos, diagrams, and information before I could do as promised, then bade him goodbye until the next time, and stepped out to get my blood samples taken…

The next port of call was my former office up the road and getting them up to date on what I had been up to, what had been happening and what they also had been doing. Not surprisingly, they were only running a weekday course as there had not been enough prospective students for any of the weekend courses; one student was unable to do her video presentation due to some unspecified illness. Again, I bid my ex-manager Jamie goodbye until November and made my way back to the subway, and thence to the East Daegu train station for the journey home.

Alas, the minor pleasures and pains had not ceased yet: I was too early and the next KTX to Jinju was not for another three hours!!! So I got the ticket and then walked down the concourse to see where I could sit comfortably while I was waiting. Holly’s was the place, so I got a coffee and dug out my charger to keep the phone going while I hit Facebook on a dodgy wifi link.

After returning to Jinju, I got a taxi back to the local Top Mart and bought some meat, yoghurt and other stuff, and then picked up some more cider on the way. My intention was certainly to hit the sack early tonight, but make sure that I was going to sleep!

Next week, I will be back in work, trying to avoid falling asleep because there will probably be no lessons until the end of the month and a lot of the “work” therefore involves sitting down at my desk; no doubt co-worker Jonathan will have some pithy observations about the period of my absence. Results from the latest batch of tests will be due soon, who knows, maybe by Friday. So now, I’m waiting.

Cancer Diary: Update 2018-08-03

Time for another one…

Three months (almost) since the last update, as we head towards the second quarterly blood sampling (which falls next Wednesday, how nice to have it during a vacation!), it’s probably a good time to take stock of the whole situation. What has been happening over the last three months?

Firstly, it has been difficult settling in to my new job, to the extent that I am already starting to think about what comes next. The reason for this was that the spring semester was so fragmented – we arrived here (co-worker Jonathan and I) pretty much in the dark about what was happening, and there were constant interruptions to lessons due to things like mass medical examinations and a week-long training exercise in Jeju which we only found out about relatively late in the proceedings; by the end of the semester, my scheduling was a mess. I have no desire for that to be repeated when the new semester begins in September.

Speaking of which, despite actually being in the middle of my vacation as I sit here typing this, I have already had to go in to the office three times in the last two weeks due to only belatedly being informed about writing up the new schedule for the fall semester. These (there are two: one for writing and one for speaking, as each class has two lessons each week) were completed last night, and it was hardly taxing (bearing in mind that later changes, i.e. during the semester itself, are expected, and after the way the last semester went, I can certainly believe it), but as we both (Jonathan and I) agreed, we could have put it all together in less than a day, at least two or three weeks ago; he (Jonathan) was actually on vacation in Thailand when he started getting text messages about it last week! As my spatial relationship with our office is less than optimal due to the public transport here, this is especially annoying (as I do not have my own car, of course) – the most convenient bus, which takes me actually into the base, comes only once every hour.

Another thing is that since the vacation is an extended period (due to having an extra five days of “business trip” allocated just before it began), I have been slipping back into my nocturnal habits, as I have never been a “morning person”, but with about nine more days to go I am getting up earlier to re-condition myself back into the necessary timeframe.

The big surprise (perhaps) is just how much sleep I have been needing during this vacation. There is little doubt in my mind that the stressful combination of having (and then paying for) the operation, being fired and having to find both a new job and new accommodation during the convalescence period all whilst already in the new job and planning and executing lessons has left me drained, but again, both Jonathan and I have been complaining about the fact that in too much of our non-teaching time, we have been essentially left to our own devices, and since we really only need maybe two lesson plans per week, this has led to a lot of thumb-twiddling (in his case, playing his favourite game on his Alienware laptop; in my case, reading e-books; in both cases, often falling asleep at our desks). This is a terrible waste of time, not to mention the fact that it is so unhealthy.

On the other hand, health-wise, things have felt fine: no pain, I am usually awake and alert with little tiredness after a mug of rocket-fuel fresh coffee in the morning. However, this lifestyle makes weight loss difficult, so I am increasingly trying to cut things out, especially wheat-based and other starchy products, as I may not have much opportunity normally to exercise them off. Another disadvantage of this new position is that the food given in the restaurant often has a high energy content, as it is intended for younger service staff who are expected to maintain a much higher exercise level; consequently, I have reduced the number of visits to the canteen.

Paradoxically, my main ‘issue’ seems to be the minimal medication prescribed for me by the Professor: the Lopmin capsules, to which my gut seems quite sensitive, to such an extent that, firstly, I had to reduce regular dosage to the minimum possible (one cap at a time), and secondly, with the obvious dehydration to be expected during a hot Korean summer, approaching weekends normally see me come off the medication temporarily so that I can empty my bowel properly. This has become a problem and I will have to mention it to the Professor next Wednesday; recall that the reason for the medication is to help the resected bowel stretch and slowly normalise its function (thus avoiding the need for frequent visits to the bathroom). Also, although in this situation additional dietary fibre should be advised, in practice this has often led to excessive loosening of the bowel (and too many visits to the bathroom), so I am also being careful not to consume too much fibrous food regularly.

Since the bowel has effectively become a trap for digested food due to this medication, there is also a ‘feedback’ sensation which recalls one of the symptoms experienced prior to the removal of the tumour: a feeling of nausea due to the backlog of partially-digested food, which has also been putting me off eating somewhat, which actually cannot be a bad thing – after all, if you are overweight, you can be pretty sure that in most cases, it’s due to (a) eating too much, (b) not enough exercise or (c) both. Something to bear in mind…

Another thing to bear in mind is that as well as reducing the amount of unnecessary biochemical energy (as sugar), there are also dangers inherent in consuming too much protein regularly. As it happens, another mail from Joe Mercola slurped its way into my Inbox overnight (1) and in it, he discusses the excess foods to avoid, the reasons why you should do so, and the benefits of intermittent fasting, something I have been trying to do but the medication seems to be getting in the way, as its action leads to accumulation of digested food in the remanent large intestine and difficulty in voiding it, making my abdomen alternately swell and contract. I have, however, been reducing the amount of yoghurt in my diet, which I was consuming in large quantities as soon after the operation as circumstances would allow (essentially for a convenient form of digestible protein), but the disadvantage is that most mass-manufactured yoghurts are firstly largely devoid of the fat content of a traditional yoghurt (due to the food industry’s reaction to Ancel Keys’ flawed research)(2) and secondly, to compensate for the alleged lack of flavour of fat-depleted yoghurts, due to the addition of digestible sugar, which nowadays, I presume, is largely fructose, which brings terrible effects of its own (3).

An additional point we might bear in mind is that a number of online health advisors (for example, Joel Marion (4) and Mike Geary (5)) have been pointing for years at the digestible carbohydrate content of dairy products as a possible reason why many people seem unable to lose weight and keep it lost. This is probably because of too much focus on glucose when there is in fact a variety of digestible saccharides coming into the body from a variety of foodstuffs; the focus on just glucose is therefore illogical and misdirected.

Anyway, I am feeling okay and looking forward to a brief trip back to Daegu next week for the blood sampling and a discussion of things with the Prof., and in the following two weeks I shall be back in the office. Hopefully, several issues will be resolved by then – a set of four new bookcases to be delivered from Gmarket (after an erroneous attempted purchase of cupboard doors without the attendant bookcases to which they were supposed to be attached – it can be difficult to extract information from Gmarket web pages sometimes!) and a few other bits and pieces. But I remain confident.


2: See, for example:

3: Take a look at:

4: For example,

5: For example, (but see the whole site)