My name is Jared Way. I was born in California, and became an "adoptive" Minnesotan. Now I'm contentedly expatriated in South Korea.
For many years I was a database programmer, with a background in Linguistics and Spanish Literature.
I quit my well-paying job and starting in September, 2007, I spent 2 years teaching EFL to elementary kids in Ilsan (suburban Seoul), South Korea. From April, 2010, until April, 2011, I worked a public school position in rural southwestern Korea (Yeonggwang County). I have since returned to Ilsan and continue to work there.
As of June, 2013, I remain in Ilsan in South Korea, but I was diagnosed with cancer, and have been undergoing treatment. As a consequence, the focus and tone of this blog has changed somewhat.
I started this blog before I even had the idea of coming to Korea (first entry: Caveat: And lo...). So this is not meant to be a blog about Korea, by any stretch of the imagination. But life in Korea, and Korean language and culture, inevitably play a central role in this blog's current incarnation. Let's just say... it's a blog about whatever I happen to be thinking, that currently takes place in Korea.
Basically, this blog is a newsletter for the voices in my head. It keeps everyone on the same page: it has become a sort of aide-mémoire.
If you're curious about me, there is a great deal of me here. I believe in what I call "opaque transparency" - you can learn almost everything about me if you want, but it's not immediately easy to find. I also have a professional website: jaredway.com.
I like to take photographs. I'm NOT a photographer. Recently, I've been trying to consolidate my "good" photos and have opted to try hosting them at a webstie called panoramio - partly because I mostly take pictures of landscape or scenery and panoramio is well-integrated with google earth. Here is a slideshow of some of my photos.
A distillation of my personal philosophy (at least on good days):
I have made the realization that happiness is not a mental state. It is not something that is given to you, or that you find, or that you can lose, or that can be taken from you. Happiness is something that you do. And like most things that you do, it is volitional. You can choose to do happiness, or not. You have complete freedom with respect to the matter.
"Ethical joy is the correlate of speculative affirmation." - Gilles Deleuze (writing about Spinoza).
Think about it. We could have built a high speed rail network for the whole country for that price - if you assume $100 million per mile construction cost (very generous), you could get more than 10000 miles of high speed rail.
My blog appears to no longer be down, and the admin site which became unavailable shortly after access to the "front end" was restored is now accessible again too.
Well. That was a lot of hassle, and I'm still trying to figure out some alternatives so that I don't get caught blogless in the future - as if anyone is really paying attention. Heh - I know there are four of you who are. Huge audience, eh?
But I have a bit of a puzzle. My post-count prior to the downtime was 3729. My post-count after the downtime was 3719. Ten blog entries disappeared. My back-up blog kept the 10, and listed 3729 after the import process.
The question is - which 10 blog entries are missing? Where did they go? How do I even figure out which ones are missing? Does it matter?
I think it's a scripting problem, given I have access to the unformatted text files of the before and after - but I was never a scripter. What would be nice would access to the back-end database. I could slap together some SQL in a few minutes to find the missing articles.
Which is another reason to continue looking into alternatives to my blog host. My nearly 10 year nearly flawless relationship with typepad is forever sundered. Ah well. Nothing lasts forever.
My blog has been utterly down for more than 24 hours now, as far as I can figure out. At least it's accessible on the "back end" - meaning I am able to write this post. But it's like talking into nothingness - I'm writing a blog post that no one can see.
I've been putting a lot of energy into trying to extract the content of this blog from the host and configure a new, back-up location for my nearly 4000 blog entries. I've got something that is up-and-working, but getting all the pictures posted with my new back-up blog turns out to be more difficult. I may have to manually download all the pictures (one by one?!).
I'm looking into longer term alternatives for changing my blog host - the down time is pretty annoying but what's more annoying is the lack of clear communication from the host provider to me, the customer, about the situation.
Meanwhile, here is a picture of some doodles I did while taking notes in a meeting a while back. I'm posting it to test a new picture-posting method (which is much more laborious but ensures I have copies of each picture posted in multiple locations).
Note: apologies to readers - this blog has been frequently inaccessible over the last several days. This is due to some serious reliability issues at my hosting provider (typepad) which they are attributing to DDoS attacks by hackers. I hope this doesn't become a regular thing. Meanswhile, I'm looking into alternatives with respect to hosting, but any blog migration to new servers would be laborious and slow-in-coming.... Now back to our regular broadcast.
Less than two weeks ago, it just so happened that the debate topic offered up by our textbook in my Newton2-T반 (elementary 5th and 6th graders) debate class was "School field trips are a good idea." At that time, the kids were all adamantly in favor of school field trips, as is perfectly understandable. It was difficult to get some kids to take the CON position in the debate, so I was forced to choose two of them randomly to take the negative side. Nevertheless, they all did a good job.
Here is the debate.
Lo, the following week - last week - the Sewol disaster occurred. The sinking ferry was almost exclusively populated by field-tripping high-schoolers. Suddenly, the kids all were quite opposed to school field trips. School trips are obviously too dangerous, they explained, absorbing the media hype and unfamiliar with statistical thinking.
I'm not sure that I ever really thought I was, but I also didn't really know how to figure out if I was or not, since I didn't really have enough musical training to understand what tone-deafness even was.
I'm not sure that not being tone deaf helps me much when I'm listening to Korean pop music. Korean culture is weird.
What I'm listening to right now.
Lip Service (립서비스), "냠냠냠."
Y'all ready? Alright Drop it
냠 냠냠냠냠냠 빼고 싶어요! 냠 냠냠냠냠냠 그만 먹고 싶어요! 냠 냠냠냠냠냠 답이 없어요! 냠 냠냠냠냠냠 길이 없어요!
햄버거햄버거햄 햄버거햄버거햄 햄버거햄버거햄 햄버거가 맛있어요! 아메리카노메리카 메리카노메리카 메리카노메리카 메리카노 맛있어요! 냠 냠냠냠냠냠냠 냠냠냠냠냠 냠냠냠냠냠냠 밤이 되면 더 땡겨요!
평생의 숙제 끝나질 않은 살들의 축제 줄지 않는 내 무게 살과의 전쟁 아 아이고 머리야 칼로리 계산하다 하루가 다가겠네 O. M. G 또다시 먹방놀이 내 배는 보라돌이 들려 살찌는 소리 내 뱃살아 I'm sorry 꼬륵 꼬륵 꼬륵 꼬륵 꼬륵 꼬륵 꼬르륵 후룩 후룩 후룩 후룩 후루룩 머릿속엔 라면뿐~
서울가서 김서방집 찾기 seo·ul·ga·seo gim·seo·bang·jip chat·gi Seoul-go-CONJ Kim-mister-house search-GER [Like...] going to Seoul and searching for Mr Kim's house.
This plays on the ubiquity of the "Kim" family name in Korea. Looking for Mr Kim's house is a futile and aimless search, because there are nothing but Mr Kim houses. It's like finding a needle in a haystack, groping in the dark.
RIP Gabriel García Márquez. Ayer murió a la edad de 87 años.
Últimamente confieso no ser tan admirador de su obra, y sin embargo debo decir que durante un período de mi juventud fue un escritor cuya influencia en mi fue muy fuerte. Su novela Cien años de soledad fue probablemente el primer libro en español que leí de forma continua, de comienzo al fin. Creo que fue durante un fin de semana lleno de nieve y frío mientras vivía en Saint Paul en 88. Fue la primera vez que contemplaba la idea que quería estudiar la literatura española. Después de cinco años, esa idea se fijó y fue el comienzo de mi carrera académica de estudios graduados. Mis intereses se ampliaron pero llevo una deuda al autor colombiano porque fue él quien al principio me introdujo a la literatura española.
"La vida no es sino una continua sucesión de oportunidades para sobrevivir."
Lo que estoy escuchando en este momento.
MC 900 ft Jesus, "Buried at Sea."
is this a sound or just a dream? in my world nothing is quite what it seems
white shroud clear blue sky the sea swells a bit when sailors die
was that a word? is this a clue? you're so very far away but i'm sure it's you
feathers fall birds in flight they bury me slowly is it really still night?
was that a word? is this a clue? you're so very far away but i'm sure it's you
feathers fall seabirds in flight in my world nothing is
[daily log: walking, 5km]
Note: this blog post was delayed 9 hours in posting due to my blog host being DOWN. It was down a lot yesterday, and there have been a lot of technical issues recently, apparently. One reason I tolerate the annoyances of the typepad blog host - and PAY for it (there are so many FREE blog hosting options these days that paying for mine as I do is a bit of an anachronism) - is reliability. Moments such as that one yesterday give me pause....
It being Thursday, and 내신, I only had two classes. So I had some time to kill at work. One almost never "desk-warms" in hagwon life, as is so common when working as a public-school English teacher in Korea.
I was surfing wikipedia.
I spent almost two hours reading various pages of Roman and Byzantine history. I was really getting into it. I found out about the Empress Pulcheria, and the machinations of the Byzantine court around the Council of Chalcedon. It was very interesting. I think that woman would make a good protagonist for a novel.
My classes went well. I like teaching debate to elementary students - they're too young to realize it's boring, and they get excited by it.
It rained. That's good, as the sky needed cleaning - the spring smog/fog/dirt-from-heaven was getting unbearable. My advice: don't visit South Korea in spring, despite the pretty flowers everywhere.
Work has slowed down quite a bit for me, now that the first 내신 (test prep period) of 2014 has started. I have no middle school students except for my Saturday 특강. I'm staying busy with things, though, and getting a bit more caught up feeling with various longer term tasks for work. I'm not really feeling like it's a vacation, just a more at-ease period.
I've been feeling paranoidly hypochondriacal about various twinges and difficulties in my mouth. I have a 3-monthly CT scan scheduled in a few weeks and will find out if my hypochondria has any merit.
Life goes on.
Here are some pictures I took of my whiteboard artwork.
티끌 모아 태 산이다 ti·kkeul mo·a tae san·i·da dust gather-PRES big mountain-be Gather enough dust and it is a big mountain.
The word 태 [tae] gave me a moment's difficulty, as there was nothing in the Korean English dictionary(s) to indicate the meaning "big," but that's clearly what it means and I vaguely recalled running across that meaning before. I looked in the hanja dictionary, however, and found it easily - it's that character 太 which means big. So in this proverb, it's a kind sinism, I guess.
My aphorism book gives the charming, Dr Seussian translation of "Many a mickle makes a muckle." I had never heard this English aphorism in my life, so I ended up researching that, too. I guess it's mostly dialectical, limited to north England (Northumbria) and Scotland. It means lots of little things (mickles) add up to a big thing (muckle). Etymologically, however, they both derive from Old Norse, meaning "a big thing," which is odd.