A beautiful, clear day up a mountain next to Seoul. Halfway through a special kind of awesome.
30 May 2011
Hiking in Korea is a special kind of awesome.
Rest areas along trails have equipment such as inversion foot-things, dumbbells, bench press, parallel bars, 3-5kg hula hoops, slant boards, rings (you know, in case you need to throw in a few muscle-ups on your way up the mountain), and clocks on trees so you can time yer combo sets. Continue the ascent and rest for complimentary tea "for the health" at a mountain Buddhist temple while bowing to the statues and lighting incense. Or just taking fotos. Then, en route to your summit of choice, stop again to partake in trail snacks and makkoli, offering melon to everyone who passes, because they look in need of a fruity refreshment, and because you decided to dine exactly in the middle of one of the paths with stairs. When you finally reach a top, somewhere between .3 and 7.6 kilometers and 2.5 hours later (this estimation comes from inconsistent trail signs), go back down along the old Seoul Fortress wall, working up a thirst and appetite for more makkoli and haemul pajon (seafood & green onion pancake) when it's all over. Don't forget to stop at the air compressor station to clean your boots (or dry your sweaty pits)! Then, before recharging with salty foods and rice wine, use the wet hand napkin provided to towel the dried sweat & dirt off yer faceneckarms. Dive into the pancake like you haven't eaten in a week; drink the makkoli by the bowlful like it's nectar from the goddess. Finish your meal, and happily exhaustedly tipsily laugh your way down the street to the bus, stopping to take pictures next to the tinker truck overflowing and adorned with every household or hiking need imaginable. Notice your bus about to depart while attempting to make an interesting photo with mundane street rubbish. Run to catch your friends (and the bus); flop into the last row, tired, happy, satisfied.
Hiking in Korea is a special kind of awesome.
19 May 2011
Ok. Something I neglected to address (admit? it's easy to deny sensitive ideas about weight): even though I claim to be all naturally powerful, more so than the average female, explained because I'm not a small or short or average-sized person, the fact of the matter is that my strength:weight has always been, well, not so great. Which is probably why I've never been able to do a pull-up. And since I've never been able to do one, they automatically have become The Enemy. Nobody wants to admit that gravity defeats them EVERY TIME they challenge it with such a simple body-weight exercise; nobody wants to face their weaknesses, the ongoing reminders that they're still not strong enough to move their own personal body weight with nothing holding them down except the planet's pull. Except when they do, so then they can finally beat it. Finally.
A few months ago, I made the decision to get over it: stop making excuses ("My shoulder might come out of its socket." (not if you use correct technique, you big baby!) "This gym is a piece of junk! It doesn't even have bands, how can I ever practice pull-ups in this country! (middle finger to YOU, pull-ups!!!)," etc.). Show some humility. Swallow my pride. Do what I gotta do to beat this gravity bastard. And now, I can pull myself back up from what I estimate to be about 28% depth, from my crown to my clavicles. Starting from a jump to the top of #1, then going down as low as I can and then pulling myself back up. I can do that six times without stopping, and jumping only on the first one. And then 5, 4, 3, 2, 2. Or sometimes 5 x 5. Or 5 x 4. It's true, consistency is key. Three times a week, these bitches make their way into my combos.
NONETHELESS, I'm still very irritated by you XYs, being all strong and able to defeat The Enemy with one fell swoop, (seemingly) without effort. I just needed to admit some things to the interwebs after that previous display of annoyance.
Ok! Now that that's taken care of...back to school for this gravity hater.
Have a lovely weekend, yall^^
It infuriates me beyond measure the strength that men inherently possess, that 99.999998% of women will never, ever EVER be able to compete against a man in any event of athleticism. It makes me crazy with frustration that MEN are physically able to do at LEAST one chin-up or pull-up OFF THE COUCH without working for it AT ALL EVER EVER EVER. Seriously, show me an able-bodied dude who CAN'T do a pull-up. Anywhere. Ever. EVER. It makes me crazy with frustration that I work my ass off doing a bunch of moderately crazy shit that a super low percentage of women (or men, let's be honest) could (would?) ever do, and some XY walks in off the street, up to my heavy ass squat bar and puts it on his shoulders and does a really ugly squat with it, or ten no problem, then goes over and busts out ten or 20 wide-grip pull-ups. And i have NEVER been able to do one chin/pull-up in my entire athletic life!? (That "dude walks in" scenario didn't actually happen, but it COULD, and that's the part that makes me CRAZY. Though, I should acknowledge that it could also happen if a woman walked in, however, the likelihood is greatly diminished.)? I have been working on it for 2 months straight, doing lots of hangs, slowly descending-things, etc every time I go to the gym, and I can do like, 28% of a full-one unassisted, which is approximately 7% more than I could 2 weeks ago, so it's getting there, slowly; I'd like to be able to do ONE or TWO complete unassisted chin-ups by the time I leave Korea, but I HAVE TO WORK SO HARD TO MAKE IT HAPPEN which is fine because I ENJOY working hard, but for a chin up!? and you fuckers just walk up and do them with little-to-no effort!! the sense of accomplishment I'll get to feel when it actually happens will be unmatched, but STILL!!!! ) ARRRGGGHHHHHH I HATE IT SO MUCH!!!!! JUST BECAUSE YALL ARE DUDES MAKES YOU BLOODY STRONG FOR NO REASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Women have to actually TRY to be strong, and so few are actually willing to do it! I'm 6 feet tall with longer/broader everything than (most of) my similarly-chromosome'd sisters, and actually am a naturally strong person because I need to be, in order to exist, right? Proportionally, I mean. So though my proportional natural strength is greater than that of most women, because it needs to be (and, thank you dominant tall- and strong-person genes, I suppose), I will NEVER be strong like men are strong. And it ANGERS ME DEEPLY. You could argue that it's a fair trade-off, because I am something of a fish, but that doesn't count because swimming is the one natural ability I was made with, one thing that i'm better at than most people, without trying. So I get it when dudes can do strong things without trying, but come on, JUST FOR BEING BORN!? Dudes get to do pull-ups without trying!? Not to mention the more defined musculature after only a few weeks of regular lifting?!? I have serious penis-envy.
10 May 2011
09 May 2011
It's that time of year again. Lanterns, parades, kids getting too many days off (public) skool to run around eating rice- and sugar-based treats. If you look closely, there is an infant doll face thing in the middle of that white lotus flower near the kid's head. May 10th is Buddha's Birthday. Kinda similar to Christmas, but for Buddhists? Maybe? Except it hasn't really morphed into a consumerist holiday in these parts. Just beautiful colorful handmade paper lanterns decorating every inch of every temple. I could get used to this.
06 May 2011
My mandarins, pears and apples ajoshi.
His makkoli (6% alcohol unfiltered, carbonated rice wine)-drinking technique is most peculiar. He keeps the bottle in a black plastic bag, and pours a small sip of it into his 50-ml paper cup, then downs it. Pours again, drinks. Pours. Drinks. Pours, drinks, poursdrinkspoursdrinkspoursdrinkspoursdrinkspoursdrinks, followed by a repeat performance with water.
I've only observed this phenomenon from some meters away, on various weekday afternoons or evenings. From the first pour to the last, I would guess his little cup was filled and emptied twice, totaling merely 100ml of makkoli. Only Buddha knows more precise quantities & frequencies.