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 maintain a work-related blog on the Korean portal Naver: jaredway.com.
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).
Geofiction - this has evolved into a significant "hobby" for me. I like to draw imaginary maps, and these sites enable this vice.
I have, in fact, been working as a volunteer administrator for OpenGeofiction for about half a year
now. I enjoy it, and I've learned a lot. I created and maintain the site's main wiki page: OGF
The above work has required my becoming an expert in the Openstreetmap system. Openstreetmap is an attempt do for online maps what wikipedia has done for encyclopedias. I have considered becoming an openstreetmap contributor, but I feel that my current location in Korea hinders that, since I don't have a good grasp Korean cartographic naming conventions.
I originally discovered the above site when exploring this site Urban Geofiction.
Another geofiction site Norscand. They recently linked to OGF, too.
TEFL - my "profession," such as it is.
Online English Grammar reference Grammarist. Useful for settling disputes over grammar.
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.
The other day they forecast snow, but then instead it rained. I don't dislike a rainy day, but snowless, I was drained.
- a quatrain in ballad meter.
I have decided to continue to challenge myself, and therefore the next poetic form I will undertake is a more native (i.e. traditional) English poetic style, called the "Ballad meter." These are alternations of 4 and 3 (mostly) iambic feet grouped in quatrains, with a rhyming scheme a b c b. Much famous poetry in English follows this pattern, such as Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Many well known songs and hymns also follow this meter (or, also, the very similar so-called "common meter" which differs only in having a "tighter" rhyming scheme a b a b), such as the songs "Amazing Grace" and "America the Beautiful," as well as the theme song to "Gilligan's Island." I guess there is no specific name for a single quatrain of ballad meter verse, so I'll just call them daily quatrains - or maybe sometimes I'll try to make more.
I have never successfully done much poemifying in traditional English stress-timed meters - despite being a native speaker, the stress-timed patterns have always felt unintuitive to me, while I have been making efforts at syllable-count-based poetry since middle school. I am much more comfortable with syllable-timed patterns such as predominate in e.g. Italian, Spanish or Welsh. Hence my previous efforts at this "poem-a-day" blog have been on such forms as the nonnet (originally Italian) and englyn (originally Welsh).
Yesterday in my advanced TOEFL cohort of 8th graders, called HS2B, we were doing a listening unit. The book is structured so that along with the multiple-choice questions, there are fill-in-the-blanks dictation scripts of the listening passages. I do a kind of low-key "game show" format as we go through the dictations. The scripts are pretty hard, and the blanks span full phrases, not individual words, so the chances of getting the individual blanks filled in correctly aren't that good. Sometimes I go from student to student, as we work out the the exact wording. The Korean students get hung up on the differences between "a" and "the" (indistinguishable in rapid, natural speech in many phonological contexts), on the presence or absence of past-tense marking, on plurals, etc. I'm a total stickler, because the points determine pay out at the end of the class. If the speaker says "He walked to the office," and the student says "He walk to the office" (phonologically identical in normal speech because of the following /t/ phoneme), they don't get the point.
We were doing a particularly hard phrase. I don't actually remember the phrase - I didn't take note of it.
Several students guessed and gradually they got closer. We went all the way around the room, and Seunghyeon (who insists his English name is Señor Equis i.e. Mr. X - I think the Spanish is a tribute to me, specifically, which is appreciated) finally got it right. I got pulled off topic by some question, so I didn't write the point on the board immediately. When we resumed the dictation passage, I asked the class, "Who's point was that?"
Seunghyeon and Gijun both raised their hands. They argued as to who got the point. Gijun was more plausible, since he is quite good at these exercises, while Seunghyeon is not. But I said, "I think it was Seunghyeon."
Gijun protested. "I should still get the point."
"Why?" I queried.
"Because my wrong answer made it possible for Seunghyeon to get the right answer," he explained. He was referring to the process of elimination of wrong possibilities that we go through for these.
I was dumbfounded by such clever sophistry. I laughed. "I should give you a point for such a clever argument," I told Gijun. "But I guess I shouldn't encourage you."
Gijun acquiesced. He's actually a very nice kid, but sometimes too smart for his own good.
As is typical, I sit and watch Korean TV, and it's mostly whatever is on, as I channelsurf my basic cable.
One show that is in saturation mode at the moment is 보이스, a show that shares some characteristics with the popular American "police procedural" genre. I don't always understand what exactly is going on, but there are a lot of psychos and serial killers. I think far more than there really are, in Korea. At least... I hope so. I don't actually have a particular liking for the show. My point here is only that it part of my daily milieu, at the moment.
These shows always have sound-track tie-ins, and the sound track videos get played during breaks in the programming schedule, so you get repeated doses of the series' theme songs at times other than just when the show is playing. Hence...
What I'm listening to right now.
김윤아, 목소리 (보이스 OST).
시든 꽃도 숨 쉰다 깊은 새벽은 푸르다 노랫소린 더 작아질 뿐 사라지지 않는다 So if you know the right way 멈추지마 또 걸어가 고요해진 마음에 들려오는 멜로디 많은 사람 스친다 매일 눈빛이 다르다 계절의 끝 그 길 위에 고단함을 벗는다 So if you know the right way 돌아서서 또 바라봐 Without any words spoken 전해지는 목소리 멜로디 기억 속 짧은 시간을 부르는 목소리 조용히 나직이
I'm actually pretty sure that the new Space Emperor's reference to an incident (presumably "terrorist incident") in Sweden last week was just a syntactic mutilation such as routinely emerges from his mouth, rather than any kind of premeditated prevarication.
Nevertheless, the media reaction has been entertaining. One thing I ran across, that was amusing, was this cartoon originally posted at a site called The Postillon (although the cartoon predates the reference made to Sweden at the news conference):
I wonder if the numbers of pieces listed (e.g. 3,772,896 connector screws) is accurate, or if the cartoonist just made the numbers up.