Saturday, November 15, 2008

strange Saturday

There's little stranger than going from a solemn, tear-filled memorial service to a laughter-filled evening out with friends. I'm still trying to process the experience.


Karen's wish

Karen Armstrong wants the world's religions to coexist in harmony. Your thoughts?


Friday, November 14, 2008

another 11

I walked 11 miles again today. Same route: up to Fort Hunt Park, around the loop, and back home. Took some aspirin at the end to stave off any pain; that seemed to help. The knees ache a bit, but I think that's just part of getting older.

When the weather's as warm as it is, I wonder what I'm doing here in Virginia. It'd be nice to be back on the road; staying home just leaves me itching to travel. But this is a petty concern, not really worth complaining about. Things could be worse.

In other news...

Many thanks to the auction winners; I've sent you all emails.

Renovation's probably going to continue right up until the end of the month. We're a bit hung up about what color scheme to use for the kitchen and dining room. Mom had convened her three sons yesterday to get their opinion, which ended up being countermanded today by the renovators themselves. To me, it feels like a waste of time for Mom to ask our opinion if she's going to be so easily swayed by the renovators, but Mom hasn't exactly had a grand plan going into this renovation. Like George Bush Sr., she lacks "the vision thing." Easier to react than to act, I guess.

I'm supposed to be off with friends tomorrow for most of the day, but I just learned that the memorial service for the person in our congregation who recently passed away is tomorrow at 2PM; will have to change the schedule.


Mom's Friday bathroom reading

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

why I don't bike on the bike path this time of year

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Thursday, November 13, 2008

auction reminder: one hour to go!

UPDATE: We're closed to further bids until Monday.

We've got bids on four different items over at Kevin's Wares, and an hour before I close up shop and declare winners. Why not visit and make some bids?

Not to worry: we'll be open for bidding again in a short while; as promised, time limits will be extended on unsold items.


Craigslist freaks

Craigslist has proven to be a decent place to advertise, but it's also a haven for freaks. I've been contacted by two.

The first freak contacted me after I'd posted an omnibus tutoring ad. He asked me to help him cheat on a take-home math midterm by doing the midterm for him. The second freak, who emailed me yesterday, was responding to an ad about voiceover work. This guy, also a Kevin, wanted me to help him deceive his boss somehow, I guess by impersonating Kevin on the phone.

I sent a long and moralizing message back to the first guy, who probably went and found some other person to cheat on the test for him. I haven't uttered a peep to the second guy, whose email gave off a sinister vibe.

Life lesson: use Craigslist with caution.

[NB: Craigslist anonymizes email addresses, so the people who write me can't know my true email address unless I reply to them. I felt safe doing this with the first freak.]


standing among the smoking ruins

In a fascinating article, conservative thinker and humorist PJ O'Rourke looks at the shambles-- and sham-- that conservatism has become over the past thirty years. The short version: many, many wasted opportunities.


LUNCH! (courtesy of Mom)

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

a quick yes or no question about Citibank

If I establish a Citibank account here, can people in Korea wire cash to it in the normal Korean "gyaejwa-ichae" or "gyaejwa-songgeum" style?

I've heard rumors that this is possible, and there's a chance I may have some proofreading work coming to me from Koreans in Korea. A lot of Koreans send each other cash through quick and simple ATM wire transfers, not via PayPal or other means familiar to Americans. Bank account numbers are bandied about like phone numbers in Korea; one simply tells the payer one's bank name and account number, and they go to an ATM and send the money to one's account-- no fuss, no muss.

So-- is it a "yes" for Citibank? Should I start up an account?



I did eleven miles on Tuesday, walking up to Fort Hunt Park, doing the one-mile loop around the park, then walking back home. Took some aspirin once I got home in anticipation of the knee pain I'd experienced on previous walks since coming back to Virginia.

The weather was cold and gray; it started raining not long after I got back. About 1.3 miles away from home, I looked down into a ditch and saw an enormous headless carcass-- a deer, I think. I took a picture of the thing and will put it up once I again have access to the family computer. My friend Chuck in Irrigon needs to take a gander at it; he insulted Virginia's honor by implying that we have tiny deer here, which just ain't so. I wish I could have photographed the fox that had been gnawing on the deer seconds before I took my shot, but it was too skittish and quick.

The house is looking better and better. I've got new pics of the renovation, but as I said, they'll have to wait until after all the sanding and painting has been done. Sit tight.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

a new detour on the bike path...kinda reminds me of a certain renovation project

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


The upstairs looks like the aftermath of a gunfight in a drug lab: white powder is everywhere. The crew spent most of Tuesday sanding down-- and then spray-painting-- the ceiling. The parents had been told to stay out of the house for several hours, so they went on various shopping errands while I stayed home and did... well, very little, aside from concoct a decent corn chowder.

The workers themselves were quite a sight by the end of the day, especially Mr. Jeong's big brother, who's in charge of the sanding and painting. The guy looked like an albino raccoon, the upper half of his face totally covered in white, and the lower half pristine thanks to the protective mask he'd been wearing all day.

I took several short trips upstairs and found the atmosphere nearly unbreathable. The work that Mr. Jeong's big brother and his Guatemalan assistant Julio (no Juan in sight this time around) have been doing, for this house and for others, can't be healthy. Despite the masks, no one seems to wear any eye protection, which strikes me as insane. But the workers said that eyewear just gets in the way, which I suppose is understandable.

Tuesday was all about the ceiling. Wednesday, the team plans to attack the walls. The upstairs, already as white as heaven's anteroom, is going to be even whiter by the end of the day. I plan to spend a few hours away from the house, just walking.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008


1. Our family received the sad news that a beloved member of our congregation has passed away from cancer. She was the mother of two very talented kids; her entire family was active in the church. I had found out about her cancer only a few days ago, which was shocking; to hear news of her death so soon is almost too much to process. My thoughts are with the family.

2. It's now the upstairs that's been blocked off as the renovation crew sands down the spackling. We spent a chunk of yesterday evening covering almost everything upstairs in huge plastic shrouds. This means the computer's not accessible today, so I'm BlackBerrying all blog entries.


Monday, November 10, 2008

OK... new procedure

I've written an update at Kevin's Wares regarding the new bidding procedure: basically, you just need to send an email with the item number and amount of bid. I'll update as frequently as I can so that people have an idea how much to bid.

I'll eventually be sweeping through all the brush art posts, adding thumbnail images and changing the wording of each post to reflect the new procedure. Can't do it right now; too busy with renovation.


"Night at the Museum"

I saw "Night at the Museum" with my brother David last night. David had brought the Netflix DVD over a few weeks ago, and it had sat around, just waiting for an opportunity to be watched. Last night, the parents were out at the Kennedy Center enjoying a violin performance by a Korean lady who'd gone to Juilliard; my brother Sean was going his own concert but had told us not to attend: the group he was gigging with apparently sucks.

So David and I went out to Taco Bell and grabbed two manly meals before heading back to watch this kiddie flick.

One-sentence review:

"Night at the Museum" was enjoyable at the kiddie level despite numerous plot holes and logical inconsistencies, not to mention the philosophical problems that arise when we begin to speculate on the inner lives of previously inanimate wax figures, statues, and bones; Dick Van Dyke's hilarious takedown of Ben Stiller with a jumping, spinning back kick was, in itself, worth the price of admission.


morning sky

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

"gyeongjae wigi shinsok haegyeol": speedy solution for the economic crisis (or so we audaciously hope)

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Sunday, November 9, 2008

enormous antipodes

Fascinating, Captain. We may be living in a universe subject to a phenomenon called "dark flow." The basic idea, based on a recent* theory, is that all the matter in the universe is being pulled toward two enormous "structures." I find myself imagining the universe as a sphere, with these gigantic, gravitationally charged clumps on opposite poles, and all the matter in the universe flowing toward these clumps, leaving the universe's center empty. From the relevant National Geographic article comes this wild suggestion (which is actually a variation on a theme that has bounced around scientific circles for decades):

The presence of the extra-universal matter suggests that our universe is part of something bigger—a multiverse—and that whatever is out there is very different from the universe we know.

Multiverses aren't new. Dungeons and Dragons players have known about them since the 70s; they're a regular feature in science fiction, and have analogues in religion-- the latter having generated plenty of cosmologies featuring "parallel" worlds or a tiered cosmos. See this Wikipedia article for more.

Nevertheless, it's fascinating to speculate on the existence of enormous clumps of matter pulling "the rest of us" in different directions. The article isn't quite clear on what it means for these structures to be "extra-universal." It might be possible to render the problem mathematically, but in terms of the prosaic imagination, how does one visualize anything being "outside" the universe?

From a philosophical perspective, we should note that the terms "universe" and "reality" aren't synonymous. A "multiverse" would, despite the multiplicity of universes, still constitute one reality (a point I've touched upon in discussions of religious pluralism; I think my book mentions this). There's no escaping the unifying factor. If our universe is an egg in an egg carton, sitting with a bunch of other eggs, all those eggs are still encompassed within the context of the single egg carton. Even if we ratchet upward a notch-- many egg cartons inside a crate-- there's still only one crate. Many crates inside a truck? There's just the one truck. Many trucks on the planet? Just one planet. And so on. No matter how high you go, there's always a single, unifying context-- one reality.

Here's a loopy thought. The article doesn't say whether the clumps of matter are on exactly opposite sides of the known universe; that's just what I'm conjecturing, based on what little information the article provides. But what if we truly are talking about enormous antipodes? With all the matter rushing to opposite sides of the universe-bubble in which we live-- galactic clusters behaving like chromosomes-- one begins to wonder whether we're inside an incomprehensibly huge cell... and the cell is undergoing mitotic fission, splitting apart to make two cells. If our universe is one cell... what larger organism are we part of?

Yes, I'm just being spooky. Halloween isn't that far in the past, and the notions of infinite progression and regression are alluring.

But, loopiness aside, I can't help wondering what it is that we're a part of.

*I have a sneaking suspicion that this theory isn't that recent, but has instead been tossed about the scientific community for a while before finally making it into public view.

UPDATE: This is the 1000th post of Kevin's Walk! Only 4000-some more to go before I catch up to the number of posts at my other blog, which came into existence in 2003.


well, so much for that

I tried making Rachael Ray's "Asian" stir-fry sauce, the one she says is so easy-to-make and tasty.

It sucks.

I ruined two New York strip steaks with it. Never again. This is a reminder of why a lot of Asians view Western riffs on their food with some suspicion. East-West fusion dishes, whether made by Westerners or Easterners, can be fantastic, but they can also fail miserably.

Here, for your amusement or horror, is Ray's recipe for the stir-fry sauce (which, upon second viewing, looks like something I should have avoided from the beginning):

3 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup yellow mustard

Add near the end of the stir-fry. (This sauce was offered with a beef pepper steak. I seriously doubt it would work with any other meat-- not even chicken, which is the most forgiving of meats.)