Tag Archives: Exercise


I’ve been doing the New York Times’ Scientific Seven Minute Workout for a few months now, and I’m noticing more results than I ever did just by running for an hour every two or three days, but with a few caveats—I work out for at least an hour, not for seven minutes; I record the time I spend doing these exercises, adding fifteen seconds to each whenever I do them; I eat whatever the hell I want (like a singularity, I can consume an entire pizza in less than a second); I walk or bike everywhere I go, and only get inside cars on weekends. I started this workout with a lot more dedication than usual because of its simplicity: I don’t have to waste my time or money going to a gym, I don’t have to embarrass myself in front of everyone sweating like a pig, flushed like a pig, outside, and all I need is a floor and a chair.

It’s a pain in the ass, it’s agony, but I love it. I’ve never sweated so much in my life, actually. The sweat drips from my hair like streams from mountain rocks, mountain lichen; by the time I’m done it looks like someone has spilled water all over the floor. I’ve noticed, also, that while the temperature here is almost always over ninety degrees Fahrenheit, or thirty degrees Celsius (or so…), and while I’m drenched with sweat minutes after stepping outside, my shirt blossoming with darkness, my hair plastered to my forehead, the heat just doesn’t really both me that much. I’ve accepted the sweat, and life goes on.

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The Second Day of Freedom

I have broken the shackles of wage slavery---at least for a little while.

Now I lead the most pleasant existence: when I woke this morning the entire wall was packed with bright white clouds, it looked as if the whole apartment building had flown up into the sky. The boy was screaming, Kim Eunok was caring for him, and actually we had switched off last night sometime between two or three in the morning—I had stayed up with the hungry young monster as he woke and screamed and chugged enough milk for a full-grown hippo about once an hour, hour after hour, and my wife and I had switched off after her aching boobs woke her from her nap. She started pumping them, and the regular wheezing and beating of the strange, pink, breast-shaped machine which she used to accomplish this task, eased me into an exhausted and dreamless sleep.

Kim Eun Ok sits contentedly while nursing our child and watching a popular American Idol ripoff called Nanin Gasuda, or "I'm a Singer."

I ran this morning with my camera and took dozens of pictures of Haeundae Beach and Camellia Island as the sun burned off the fog. The early morning heat and humidity drenched me in sweat after a few minutes, and flushed my flesh to such a deep shade of crimson that I looked like a peculiar kind of devil, holding an ipod in one hand and a bulky black camera in the other, rather than the usual pitchfork.

People who came her from facebook probably just want to get another look at the labor-intensive boy.

The glossy green leaves and rotting pink lemonade flowers blurred past me, I thought of how everything I have written for my novel is so idiotic that I must start myself on some new project about contemporary life rather than interstellar colonization, I dreamed of making music videos, and stopped to snap pictures of glassy half-unfinished skyscrapers rising from the canopy of tropical trees and fog, and then my thoughts drifted to my students—one of whom is the successful owner of a clothing store, a woman who is seemingly juggling a dozen rich handsome young Korean men at any one time, and wrapping every last one of them around each of her pale marble fingers; then there is another ambitious young woman who is fighting to escape to the West; and finally, four young children, two twins among them who want to play heads-shoulders-knees-and-toes endlessly, and then two sisters whose irreverence is equaled only by their really amazing ability to speak English. I do not teach English in South Korea so much as talk to people who have either studied a great deal or not at all.

Reminds me of an odd movie I once saw called Zaerem 2.

Interacting with so many people on such an individual level excites me: I can see deeper into the world, and discover things I never would have imagined otherwise.

Today I will write, read, edit, attempt to put the baby back to sleep after he wakes up, and post advertisements around the neighborhood and possibly the rest of the city, and hope to god that we can get between five and ten new students within the next few weeks, so as to break even, at least, and lose the financial anxiety that hangs over everything that I do now. We have about three months left until the money from work and all the bonuses I wrangled out of my school runs out; if we aren’t making $2000 a month by then, I’ll have to find a new (and I shudder to say) regular job.

My ineluctable destiny.

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From Phlegm to Apothegm

Today I ran from 구포 (Gupo) to 하단 (Hadan), a flat and gentle distance of about ten or fifteen kilometers; I believe I spit about ten or fifteen times, and while I never hawk up phlegm I do make it a point of honor to spit as far as possible while running, and may be capable of firing a salivitic projectile a full two meters, which makes me rather dangerous, particularly to those who dishonor me or my friends; such copious spitting, combined with copious sweating, coated my face in a flaky mask of dried sweat, and depleted the blue reserves of hydrogen dioxide stored in my fuel tanks, to the extent that I was forced to replenish my supply by cupping my hands under the faucet on the left in the men’s bathroom of the Hadan subway station, which was actually occupied by a number of women who do a good job of impersonating men; I cupped these sturdy little hands under the faucet approximately ten or fifteen times, and drank the cool liquid therein with a loud, luscious slurping sound that could be heard over the flushing urinals (all of which possess movement sensors and therefore flush constantly due to the pranks of ghosts) and surely echoed out through the entirety of the station and even up into downtown Hadan proper, which I was then visiting for the first time, having never possessed a single reason to go there; while gulping down my fuel I did not look at myself in the mirror as I think I look even worse than usual while under physical duress, or while recovering from it.

I witnessed a number of surreal oddities, or surrealities, as one always does when one walks out the door in South Korea. On a particularly long stretch of strange, soft turf by the highway—one which was so long it stretched out and vanished into the horizon, like a railroad, or an illustration of perspective—I came upon an old man who was calmly walking backwards in a straight line. Earlier in the run I passed a (different) old man who was sitting on a bench while singing loudly to himself and kicking his legs back and forth like a child or a king upon a throne; such a sight will surely be included in further literary works in the same way that the caged panther Dante once saw in Florence lunging back and forth behind its bars lunged its way into the first lines of his Inferno.

Near Sasang-on-the-Nakdong a number of old men were rolling up mats made of straw, for no reason, to the pounding synthesized rhythms of some distant but seemingly nearby speakers; later on a sign only in English directed one ninety meters through an eerie field of wet elephant grass to a Migratory Bird Observation Tower, though no tower was to be seen anywhere except for the towering and excruciatingly-loud construction equipment somewhat downstream that no doubt frightened away most of the humans in the area as well as all of the birds. Despite the manifestly polluted quality of the Nakdong, which is not a river of water so much as a slurching worm of green sewage and waste, coated in scales of plastic wrappers, old men were sitting around everywhere and fishing. Few young people were to be seen, as the thin ones do not exercise while the fat ones are too embarrassed to do so; many elders were training on peculiar jungle gyms for the impending conflict with Bokan, or North Korea. Because communists make frequent use of monkey bars and merry-go-rounds in their invasions of southern capitalist neighbors one can have little doubt that the elders of Daehan Minguk will be well-prepared.

As I moved the apartment tenements shifted position against the flowing trees of the mountains, and the gate of a vast, unknown fortress was seen tucked into their slanting diagonals.

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There it is again! Blubber sloshing in my stomach, heavy liquid swaying up and down with my footsteps, nauseous, disgusting! A very distinct feeling, but it only comes when I walk up the stairs, and I must extinguish it! Is this how it feels to be fat? A chubber? Nothing I do changes the fact. I feel I could limit every day to a handful of cold rice, and spend the whole of that day sprinting away from exploding machine guns, and still steadily apply pound after pound of greasy flesh to this belly. By the time I escape Busan I’ll be a hutt, I’ll have lost my legs to evolution, and I’ll be slithering on my skin…no more pants, just a button-up shirt.

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