The Majority Drools

Good stuff. I listen to TFM a lot, too, and he says basically the same. I think people are so addicted to their tiny smidgen of power in the voting booth that they suffer serious cognitive dissonance when the idea of democracy as a failure is floated, yet they complain about everything every day and it was their own dumb voting decisions that put them into that situation. It is the lack of criticism which makes “democracy” so inherently self-destructive.

Well said, Styx!

I absolutely had to post this LOL ūüėÄ

It Pays to Be Solitary

This article from was so close to the mark, I had to link it here:

Interesting article and I agree wholeheartedly with the comment by Spaghetti_Monster_02 below… shame about the TEDx vid (someone feels a suicidal need to associate themselves with arbitrary authority), but hey, there y’go…

Swings and Roundabouts

So here’s the thing‚Ķ the Air Force had their interview session at the end of last month, and decided not to re-sign me, and to some extent, I am actually sympathetic to their POV. However, that meant that I had to start looking for something new (which has evolved into a continuous process over the years; it merely becomes more intense at certain points).

As part of this, I approached my previous employer on the off-chance that they might reconsider and take me on (bearing in mind that they always seem to have some kind of retention problem). My old manager seems to want me back also, and she said that she would try to find some arrangement with the senior management…

Fast-forward to today, and I had already set up a couple of online conflabs with recruiters (one in the morning, one in the afternoon). The first was a pre-interview discussion with the recruiter before going to see a place in Daegu tomorrow afternoon (and I am going to do that, so off to bed early-ish tonight), and wouldn’t you believe it, Skype settings were out and we had to use the cell phone instead‚Ķ the second was with another recruiter discussing what I was looking for, optimally, by which time I had sorted the sound out on Skype, but he didn’t have a camera‚Ķ

Anyway, as this meant another brief jaunt to Daegu, I let my previous manager know about it. She in turn took this as a cue to contact Head Office in Gangnam re the “Andrew Situation” and apparently, the latter think that I should go to Seomyeon (literally around the corner from my old employer, YBM) in Busan for training at the end of the month before resuming duties in March.

Ahhh, but there will be a fly in the ointment: there was much bad feeling between myself and the upper echelons last time, firstly because I already had accommodation, was happy with it and did not like the size or state of what they were offering me, refused to move out and expected them to pay for it; and they did‚Ķ because, of course, it was actually part of their contract. Secondly, however, they surveyed me regarding the perceived efficacy of their “training”, and I gave them rather low scores; I gather that they were not pleased‚Ķ whatever.

This time, of course, the situation is very different. The accommodation offered by the Air Force last year was basically a single high-schooler’s room with a (very small and rather shitty) ensuite bathroom; I arrived with little less than a house full of furniture and a pile of books and other stuff to follow, and there was no way that it would all fit in, even though it might otherwise have been possible. Why? Essentially because each room was allocated fixed furniture (i.e. was intended to be permanently resident there until replaced) and this had to stay in the room. However, I had – only a short time before – purchased both a new (large) desk and a very new bed; and I was not prepared to part with any of my stuff, so I had to find a place in town. Luckily the Air Force has its own coaches, and one of these does regular rounds each day ferrying people to and from the town with a set route. That part wasn’t too bad, but it did cost me ‚ā©400,000/month plus utilities. Hint: the AF doesn’t offer any financial assistance for external accommodation‚Ķ

Now if I go back to Daegu, I will have the same problem again if I go back to my old employer; Chris, the Canadian who came up from Seomyeon to take my place, finishes his contract soon and you can bet he doesn’t have any of his own furniture. At the same time, another possible job in the centre of town would require me to find a new (unfurnished ) place thereabouts, which is unlikely to be as cheap (!) as its predecessor there. This situation arose because (in the course of my travels around the country) accommodation would alternately be unfurnished (and therefore a right pain) and then furnished, then unfurnished, etc., until I decided that I had to be obstinate and insist upon places being unfurnished to avoid forever having to buy stuff and then get rid of it, again and again, despite the fact that it was new because the next place did not have sufficient space.

This all got real old, real fast…

I hate to refuse an offered job which is actually what I want, but because of everything that has gone before, I am likely to blow a gasket tomorrow. It was because of all of this shit that I learned to say “no” in Korea; and so there is also a Plan D in the back of my mind which involves a D-10 visa and staying put in Jinju for a couple of extra months. Just sayin’‚Ķ

The final point of attrition is this: this same company released me early last year (they said that I had agreed to it, but I hadn’t), so I lost my final month’s salary payment, my severance pay, had to pay another month’s rent and utilities on the old apartment because I couldn’t move out immediately, had to lay down five million deposit on the new place plus the first month’s rent on the new place, and of course, all of this went down at the most expensive time of year for moving, which cost me another 1.3 million‚Ķ oh, and I also had to pay for my operation in the University Hospital‚Ķ do the math (as they say). In addition, as they have proven quite incapable of recruiting sufficient students for a quorum for both their weekday and weekend courses, for five of the ten months I was actually working there, I only received half salary (as payments depend on lessons, right).

What kind of mood would you be in at this point?

There is a whole set of issues relating to the employment of foreigners to teach English here. Long-term readers (all two of you) will recall my previous remarks, long, long ago, of my co-worker whose (American) friend decided to leave because every employer here seemed to expect new employers to be twenty-something graduates with two suitcases and a drink problem, yada yada yada, and that is certainly demonstrated as fact by experience, but another is that many outfits consider bean-counting to be good business practice rather than efficient operation and profitability, resulting in the kind of race to the bottom more characteristic of the average App Store. That means that very often, the foreign teacher is accommodated in something rather reminiscent of an English shoe box, and if you are the kind of person who likes to study, learn by tinkering with shit and collect books and things, it’s not conducive to comfortable life. That’s the issue.

So tomorrow may be fraught. Frankly, I am not in the mood to do anything remotely involving “negotiation” and you can bet your last <insert financial units of choice here> that the management of the company have decided what they want, and that’s not what I want.

Watch this space…

The Next Day…

What a surprise! It seems that the company is now solvent and confident enough to offer the full assistance to the employee to help pay for their independent accommodation; the only snag being that the previous incumbent will still be there until he leaves, and therefore my manager will have to help me find a new place (and it will have to be unfurnished, of course‚Ķ). This is because‚Ķ he has to familiarise me with the materials, which have been simplified (and one probably altered completely). I will then have to go to the company’s offices in Busan, where he used to work (and come to think of it, so did I, but‚Ķ different company) for some pertinent training.

Before all of that transpired, there was the appointment at the adult hagwon that had been arranged by a recruiter the previous day. I had located the place in a side road close to the Banwoldang subway station and went in but, oh dear‚Ķ clearly a good place, but wanting me to do things that I don’t have either experience or interest in. Debate, IELTS, movies, no thank you, and I said so. Apparently they were expecting me to just walk in and sign up; but I didn’t, not least because I had to go to the other place possibly also to discuss signing up. Embarrassing; but this has been a regular occurrence with recruiter-mediated interviews over the last few years.

Something odd has happened in the recruitment process in Korea‚Ķ I’ve been having more joy sometimes doing the whole thing myself. I kid you not. Increasingly I am being told about possible positions but being oversold in some way‚Ķ I had already been thinking that despite efforts on my part to avoid it, people looking at my resume were seeing things that weren’t there, as if reading between the lines and filling in the white space with what they were looking for. This will never work, because it means they are making assumptions without discussing things properly with me beforehand, possibly also misrepresenting me to the customer, and wasting everyone’s time. Might I also suggest that the recruiter should have been asking about whether I had anything else under consideration (which I did).

So now I have to pack everything up again and get ready to go back to where I have been before… but hey, look on the bright side: you get the full salary and they give you a monthly wedge for your digs, and with that kind of remuneration, you can afford somewhere decent, even in Daegu.

Edited February 9th, 2019

Cancer Update: Third Quarterly Check

Things seem to be proceeding in a satisfactory fashion… but once I sat down and started writing, this blog suddenly became unexpectedly long!

After visiting Daegu again last Tuesday, I made sure to text Professor Kim on the Friday morning reminding him about letting me know the results as soon as possible – and reminded him again by text the following Monday morning (just in case, you understand). He very kindly obliged a short while later with his usual reassuring “nothing to worry about” response.

However, as if a mere text message (from the Male Professor Kim) were not enough, his locum last Tuesday, (the female) Professor Kim actually called me yesterday (Tuesday) lunch time to pass on the news. Which surprised me, firstly because I tend to receive very few calls on my cell phone at any time, and secondly precisely because of that exact time, as it would otherwise (probably) be one of those annoying advertorial-type robotised calls from the phone service provider (in this case, LG), which has been a regular irritation ever since I first signed up with them. Unfortunately I have (after fifteen long years here) still not learned enough Korean to understand what their automated calls are actually about, so they remain a noisy, jangling and rather pointless mystery. I realise that this is Korea (where English is not the native language), but surely, by now, there is a sufficient quorum of native English speakers to justify at least a minimal English language service?

We might now ask the question: where to from here on? As this is the third of four quarterly blood tests, the last will be in February and will include a (hopefully final) CT scan to give a visualisation of any otherwise undetected neoplasms. Not sure right now how frequently after that it will be necessary to keep checking, but rest assured that despite a constant feeling of tiredness (due to having to hit the bathroom several times each night), I am feeling well, with only the odd twinge of still-unsettled fatty tissues resulting from the operation itself to remind me that it ever happened… and starting to think about what I will be doing next year.

Looking back over the previous twelve or thirteen months, the remarkable thing has been how painless the detection, treatment, removal and convalescence have been in the course of all this. Using the robot for a laparoscopic procedure avoided a lot of the tissue damage that would have resulted from a more conventional (i.e. open) abdominal technique, and hence faster recovery and much less post-operative pain. There is no doubt in my mind, however, that I would have been much happier remaining in my previous job than having to find and secure a new one. This would have made the immediate post-operative period much less stressful – not to mention less expensive.

Something does need to be said, however, about the reactions of other people to the process, as my rapid recovery may have made them think that everything was normal. I assure you that this is not the case; although I may appear to be walking around in my typical manner, it is simply not possible to lose a foot of irreplaceable large intestine and not experience adverse effects. That part of the body is largely responsible for the removal of water from your solid wastes (as digestion is largely focused in the stomach and small intestine), and removing it compromises this function. This means that you need some kind of pharmaceutical intervention – the Lopmin capsules – to slow down the natural process of peristalsis and increase the residence time of food in the gut, thereby allowing it to remove water to a more normal consistency of stools. Alas, perhaps, my gut seems to be quite sensitive to Lopmin and the result of this is that I have made a habit of coming off the treatment temporarily at weekends to allow it all to pass out, as even the most minimal daily quantity still seems to be slightly too much, resulting in a regular ‘plug’ of drier material which is difficult to void at first. Having said that, the feeling afterwards is wonderful, but you do start to feel somewhat bloated by the mid-week…

Part of the reason for this is that the differing lumen diameters at the two joined ends make voiding (and retention) more difficult than they were originally. The part of the gut removed was that which (under normal circumstances) is perhaps less involved with desiccation and more with storage prior to voiding. This meant that semi-liquid digested food would otherwise be difficult to contain until at least some of the storage function could be restored – but to achieve that, the narrow lumen in the upper part of the anastomosis (the point where the upper and lower ends were joined) has to expand sufficiently, and the simplest way to achieve that, it seems, is to relax the smooth muscle in the gut wall so that the wall itself can expand to accomodate what needs to be, er, retained. It is no exaggeration to say that without Lopmin, retention would be impossible and I would always have to be a short dash from the nearest rest room; I kid you not. So that bloated feeling does at least give some reassurance that you are not going to shed a stinky load in a public place at five seconds’ notice, which was much how it was immediately after the operation. For this reason, I am also hanging on to my small supply of adult diapers…

All of which has meant that another regime of health management has had to be incorporated into my lifestyle. It is not hugely taxing, as in reality it amounts to little more than acquiring a few additional minor habits, but one’s social life is affected by all of this, and diet also. For example, I would not wish to be out every Friday or Saturday night because nowadays I am using this time to allow the release of several days’ stools, meaning that I have to stay at home for convenience; likewise, it is not a good idea to eat too much because what goes down must, eventually, come out, and one may become rather bloated by midweek without some attention to what one is eating. Finally, it is worth remembering that there is something of a moratorium on alcohol consumption with a view to avoiding the retardation of the healing process, at least for the first post-operative year.

The impression has come upon me that my apparent wellness has demonstrably been misleading to onlookers, who think that I am fully recovered and able to resume everything one hundred per cent. right now, but this is far from the truth. For example, I have been told that it would be helpful to lose weight, and I cannot do this if people constantly insist on offering me food. Sugar in particular is known as the primary fuel of cancer, and it has been proving difficult to transition to a more suitably ketogenic diet; the environment here does not seem to support it – indeed, from a sugar-avoidance point of view, Korea is getting worse due to a rise in the presence of franchised, Westernised-style restaurants, coffee shops and other places like the Paris Baguette and Tous les Jours-style bakeries. Professor Kim’s original admonition to avoid carbohydrate and err towards more animal protein has one unfortunate aspect, in that it requires spending more on food at a time when my salary is being squeezed by things like paying for my own accommodation, and repayment of the operation (and other associated) costs. Whic I think is also slowly tapping this job on the head!

At work, the offerings at the restaurants are essentially for younger people who need a lot of energy for their daily exercise, and hence there is a lot of carbohydrate available in the form mainly of rice. I am not saying that there is anything bad about the rice, as it makes the other food easier to eat, but it is a kind of food to avoid most of the time if a recurrence of the cancer is to be avoided, for reasons which have been discussed here previously. Anything alcoholic (other than, say, wine) necessarily tends to have associated sugar components if only to make the alcohol more palatable, so this should really be avoided, too. Even the beverages we have in our office are essentially laced with sugar and sweet creamers, as they come in sticks and the ones without sugar are virtually undrinkable. It is for this reason that I recently purchased a new coffee maker (as the old one was truly dying the death), as strong black coffee is actually a good thing – especially when you stagger out of bed of a weekday morning. Maintaining a low-carbohydrate diet is proving unexpectedly difficult, however.

All of which is making me think that a situation like last year would be much better – same style of employment, housing and diet – but that would mean losing this job and (probably) relocating to a new city, too. The bottom line, however, is that the expense of changing my diet (and other elements of lifestyle) would be far easier if I did not have to lose so much each month on renting my apartment, something which is almost unheard of among foreign English teachers in Korea. So we come to the run-up to Christmas this year with something of a quandary – stay in the current job and lose money on rent which would otherwise be helpful for my diet, or give it up and find something more suitable.

Decisions, decisions…

Third Quarterly Check: November

Here we go again…

A brief(ish) mention of my overnight trip back to Daegu for the third quarterly blood sampling to check that I am still non-cancerous… and how time flies! After some confusion about exactly when my (ahem) employer was going to permit me to take a day off, I got permission for Tuesday (today) and so went to work yesterday morning with a sports bag (black, of course) packed with bed wear and a second set of everything, made my way by taxi to the local train station, and… had to wait two hours because I was too late for the 6:15 train to East Daegu Station. What a surprise. Not.

Some time later (over two hours later, in fact) I was finally able to board the waiting Mugunghwa [1] train and make my leisurely way to my destination. Alas! The arrival time was 10:40 p.m. and I had been out of bed at 6:00 a.m., so the evening was to pass by slowly with me trying not to drop off, as I first had to make my way to my now-customary doss close to the University Dental School (and I knew about this because I stayed there the first time I wentto Daegu, because the new apartment, just across the road, was standing vacant), then went to see if my favourite small watering-hole-cum-eaterie was still closed, as it had been the last time I was there…

Imagine my surprise to discover that it had actually changed ownership, and the new incumbent had installed a huge, stainless steel booze dispenser with taps for not only Guinness and Indica, but also Lindemann’s Kriek (cherry ale)! A customer could simply refill their glass at a rate of 340 won for each liquid ounce. But I stuck resolutely to a small amount of vodka and tonic, which cost a mere 4,000 won and did not appear to be the cheapest (because the cheapest vodkas available in Korea resemble battery acid all too closely…). This was used to wash down a small plate of cheesy potato fries with a hot chili sauce, after which I went back to my room, thinking that 12:30 a.m. was still a bit late considering that an early awakening was necessary (even on a day off work) due to having a 9:30 a.m. appointment.

Back to the room, picked up two cans of Somersby and drank part of one after a shower… and woke up in agony later that morning, having absent-mindedly allowed myself to have a quick stretch, and forgetting that this usually results in a painful Achilles tendon… I lay on the bed cursing in agony until the pain subsided, but thereafter was hobbling around (I can still feel it now that I am back home). Morning ablutions and packing completed, I handed the room key back and wandered out into the morning sunlight.

I made my way to the hospital via the subway and didn’t have long to wait before seeing “another” Professor Kim (female this time) and she asked me how things have been, and I responded that there seemed to be no problems other than occasional twinges from the robot’s entry wounds, and she said that this was normal. They also said that some time before the end of the first post-operative year, they would like me to a second CT scan, and of course, this immediately creates issues, as I have a job that I am expected to do and have to travel between towns each time there is a check-up, and the cost of this also adds up. So I will have to get back to my original Prof. Kim about that to arrange a time.

Interview concluded, I paid for my tests, got the receipt and went to the open phlebotomy parlour, waited my turn and put out my left arm for the attentions of Dracula (actually a young female phlebotomist). I had to strip off a number of items of clothing beforehand, as the November weather had been getting to me and I was now wearing an extra layer or two, then put them back on again a few minutes later. There must be a more efficient way of doing this!

Then I paid another visit to Jamie, my former manager, who was in attendance in her office down the road even though there were no lessons on a Tuesday, and gave her an update about how things were going in Jinju over a small cup of warm tangerine tea. The university buildings were very quiet, as usual, and our conversation was punctuated only by the brief presence of a maintenance technician (I would never refer to such a person as an ‘engineer’ like they do here) to reload the photocopier with a new toner cartridge, plus a small number of phone calls. Then I said goodbye, and returned to the subway to get back to East Daegu Station.

As luck would have it, there was a KTX going south and due to arrive in only a few minutes. The problem? The girl behind the ticket counter had quite a strong accent and I had difficulty hearing her over the counter, but we eventually understood each other and I grabbed my ticket and quickly made my way down to platform 7, and was soon on my way. Without even time to grab anything to eat or drink. But I got back to Jinju, grabbed a taxi home, picked up some more allergy pills on the way and made my way back to the apartment.

Anyway, I arrived back feeling rather tired – not a lot of sleep the last couple of days – but lessons are basically finished for the duration and much of what remains is merely paperwork, which will occupy the rest of my time this week. The second CT scan will have to wait until next month. Perhaps. Possibly. Maybe. We’ll see what happens – the results of the blood tests should be available soon.

1: “Mugunghwa” meaning, we are told, “Rose of Sharon”. Sounds a strange name for a flower for a country in East Asia, but who am I to comment?

The Love (and Lack) of Reading

With space dwindling on all my drives, I lost it this weekend and ordered a new 2TB hard drive for my main machine.

The fact that my new KT Internet keeps flipping out every morning is hardly pleasing me, either…

It seems to be one of those things these days… when I was younger and didn’t have the level of personal technology that I have now, you would routinely find me with my nose in a book or a magazine novels by Michael Moorcock, Fortean Times, that kind of thing. Alas, my needs these days, where moving between cities has been costing an arm, a leg and perhaps several other limbs over the years, things have contracted. I am not buying books routinely, not because I dislike books or even that I cannot afford them; no.

The trouble has been that I have encountered a number of impediments to relaxed and undisturbed reading. Many of the apartments have been unfurnished and without a bed to sleep on, never mind a comfortable reading chair; and when I got my last pair of glasses, the lenses (courtesy of Carl Zeiss, would you believe) came with a varifocal profile and two reading dimples placed in a position for an upright (rather than comfortably recumbent) head position. In addition, the kind of central room lighting here is terrible for extended sessions of reading, but I never seem to move between apartments without losing more appropriate reading lamps. My own personal preference is low-intensity ambient lighting, especially for reading, ideally from proper bulbs and not from LED shit, which is enriched in blue-wavelength emissions known to damage human eyesight [1]. So my actual domestic environment for reading has not been good for a long time. I really want to change that, and with a little reaasonable effort, that’s precisely what I aim to do over this coming winter.

In the meantime, however… ironically, the oldest working HD that I have is the original 80Gb drive I used to build my first machine in Korea back in 2004. The only reason I don’t use it any more is because all the new mobos I’ve seen don’t have IDE interfaces any more – only SATA.

If not for that, I’d still be using all my IDE drives because – so many years after I bought them – they are all still working. The biggest are 500Gb and they are now idle due to a preference on the part of the mobo manufacturers for SATA; go to Gmarket and, likewise, you will see that IDE drives are rarely new. This is the way the technology has gone since I arrived here.

Contrast that with the stupid 1Tb Western Digital drive I bought the other year. Never worked. Until I came to Korea, WD drives never failed. I still have a ten-year-old WD 160Gb portable that works, even though the USB situation has changed since then. And back at home in the UK, I always bought WD and never. had. any. issues. with them.

That last one, however, I refused to exchange at the time because hey, if it fails you have to send it to their office in Malaysia (!!!) at your own expense (by which they mean by international courier, of course). Which meant that to get a replacement would cost more than buying the original, and when confronted by that and having therefore wasted the money on a dead loss, I ordered a replacement from Seagate and WTF, no. trouble. ever.

So this time it will be another Seagate, at a fair price, twice the size of the previous one, which has filled up to about 85% in the space of three years. Well, I can’t imagine why, of course, it’s another great Mystery of Asia… but in particular, I really think it’s about time to drain my fifteen-plus years of e-mails from Yahoo, which seems to have gone so far downhill (and seems to have become some kind of disgusting NWO shill, if much of its so-called “news” is anything to go by). That, however, is currently just under 290Gb in size, and it will have to be dumped somewhere, and if I decide to dump my Facebook, too… well, you can see where this is leading.

As for the cancer front, unbelievably (for an English bod like me) the next blood test is scheduled for Guy Fawkes’ Night – November 5th! The day when a pre-Elizabethan crowd failed to blow up the old Houses of Parliament with King James actually in attendance. That’s on a Monday, too; time to book a day off in advance! But as always, I’ll let all two of my readers know what happens…


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 ‚ā§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 ‚ā©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)

Bang on the Button

Came across this on FB randomly this evening, and I agree with him all the way… so I’m sharing it here, too:

Max Igan: Everything is a Lie

Max is saying precisely what I am trying to adumbrate in these pages.