My name is Jared Way. I was born in rural Far Northern California, and became an "adoptive" Minnesotan. I have lived in many other places: Mexico City, Philadelphia, Valdivia (Chile), Los Angeles. And for 11 years, I was an expatriate living in South Korea. In the summer of 2018, I made another huge change, and relocated to Southeast Alaska, which is my uncle's home.
For many years I was a database programmer, with a background in Linguistics and Spanish Literature. In Korea, worked as an EFL teacher.
In June, 2013, while I was in Ilsan in South Korea, I was diagnosed with cancer, and underwent successful treatment. That changed my life pretty radically.
Currently, you could say I'm "between jobs," somewhat caretaking my uncle (to the extent he tolerates that) and getting adapted to life in rural Alaska after so many years as an urban dweller.
I started this blog before I even had the idea of going 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 have come to play a central role in this blog's current incarnation.
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.
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 there is a website that has enabled this vice.
I worked as a volunteer administrator for the site OpenGeofiction on and off for a few years. I created (but no longer maintain) the site's main wiki page: OGF Wiki. I am not currently working as administrator but I remain active on the site.
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.
Starting in April, 2018, I decided somewhat capriciously to build my own "OGF stack" on my own server. This was not because I intended to abandon the OGF site, but rather because I wanted to better understand the whole architecture and all its parts. I built a wiki on the Mediawiki platform (the same as wikipedia). This wiki has no content. I built a map tileserver and geospatial database, which contains a very low resolution upload of an imaginary planet called Rahet. And I built a wordpress blog, which is a separate, low-frequency blog intended to focus on my geofictional pursuits rather than this more personalized, general purpose blog. All of these things can be found integrated together on my rent-a-server, here: geofictician.net
TEFL - my "profession," such as it is.
Online English Grammar reference Grammarist. Useful for settling disputes over grammar.
I just learned that South Korea has a horrible "kimchi deficit," in an article here.
The same article points out, however, that overall, Korea runs a major trade surplus. And they make plenty of money on that surplus, which, apparently, they spend importing cheap Chinese-made kimchi.
The irony is that "cabbage" (배추) is a slang word for money, in Korean, as well as being a main ingredient in most varieties of kimchi. So they make their "cabbage" selling the world smartphones and memory chips, and then spend that "cabbage" for real cabbage from China.
Personally, I'm going to have to look more closely at the labels on my pre-made, store-bought kimchi, because I prefer to avoid food imported from China - the quality issues in the past have seemed quite notable. I do marvel, however, at the fact that China has become such a dominant food exporter in so many product domains: a country with so many people, where people were dying in famine half a century ago, still manages to export vast quantities of food.
The emperor doesn't care that he's naked. He's like, check this shit out, man, and fuck you all.
This "poem" is at great variance from my typical approach for making a poem. But it appeared spontaneously in my blotter - my ongoing note-taking document where my poems typically appear. And I decided to just go ahead and include it. I still consider it poetry, though of a different register.
Yesterday I went to an actual, non-cancer-hospital dentist. That's the first time I've gone to a non-cancer-hospital dentist since I had cancer. It thus marks a milestone.
Observation: I prefer cancer hospitals to dentists.
What I'm listening to right now.
They Might Be Giants, "I Love You for Psychological Reasons."
lately I've taken to vacantly making repetitive movements mistakenly seen as improvements nearing perfection but wisely electing to shun my reflection preferring instead shoe inspection cheese and chalk do not talk but their eyes synchronize with a secret rhythm which is a way one could say that I love you for psychological reasons
mumbling failure in jail my extremities flail and I wail though my arms and my legs to the chair are nailed under the table unwilling unable the torture's medieval the dream is a fable with feeble wings why does the mouse share the house with the louse they won't say but they feel their feelings doesn't subtract from the fact that I love you for psychological reasons reasons I can't really go into now reasons we should probably not get into right now
I'm ashamed to admit I'm afraid of assuming the blame for my lame abnegation of braveness and fame brain in a jar in a car in reverse I'm rehearsing the way I'll replay how to say how to be where you are flammable undiagrammable sentiments pass between animal beings hard to explain but it's plain that I love you for psychological reasons
why does the mouse share the house with the louse they won't say but they feel their feelings doesn't subtract from the fact that I love you for psychological reasons reasons I can't really go into now reasons we should probably not get into right now
On Monday, the US commemorated Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. Dr King's memorial has become the somewhat anodyne fillip to an annual dialogue about race and civil rights, couched in terms guaranteed to offend no one. But he was pretty offensive to those aligned against him, in his era - and those people were offensive right back at him. Not least, consider this bit, written shortly after his assassination:
Those who mourn Dr. King because they were his closest followers should meditate the implications of the deed of the wildman who killed him. That deed should bring to mind not (for God's sake) the irrelevance of non-violence, but the sternest necessity of reaffirming non-violence. An aspect of non-violence is submission to the law.
The last public speech of Martin Luther King described his intention of violating the law in Memphis, where an injunction had been handed down against the resumption of a march which only a week ago had resulted in the death of one human being and the wounding of fifty others.
Dr. King's flouting of the law does not justify the the flouting by others of the law, but it is a terrifying thought that, most likely, the cretin who leveled his rifle at the head of Martin Luther King, may have absorbed the talk, so freely available, about the supremacy of the individual conscience, such talk as Martin Luther King, God rest his troubled soul, had so widely, and so indiscriminately, indulged in. - William F. Buckley, April 9, 1968.
Buckley, in essence, blames the actions of Dr King's murderer on the message he advocated and preached. It is deeply disturbing that in Buckley's view, "submission to the law" is a component of non-violence. This confuses the admonition to "render unto Caesar" for a quite different notion: "submit to Caesar." This is definitely not what any notable advocate of nonviolence has ever had in mind, including Jesus himself.
In light of this, please don't believe that dogwghistle racism and "blaming the victim" are in any way new to the right's discourses contra civil rights. I once thought rather highly of Buckley, but over the years I have seen more and more evidence to support the idea that he was, behind his high rhetoric, yet another defender of the Jim Crow status quo ante.
The only thing actually new in our current Emperor is a certain incisive vulgarity - the content of the message is little changed. Yet it is the content of the message we need to be concerned about, not the manner of presentation.
Last week's bitter cold and Saturday's snow are transformed, by a hazy weekend, into one-degree rain. Typical Korean weather, I suppose: precipitation from the south, and so it's generally a warming trend.
I got not much. Feeling exhausted from last week, but this week has stumbled up upon my doorstep, demanding attention. So ...
What I'm listening to right now.
Gorillaz, "On Melancholy Hill." Like so many great songs, I suspect this one was written on heroin. Such is life.
Up on melancholy hill There's a plastic tree Are you here with me? Just looking out on the day Of another dream
Well you can't get what you want But you can get me So let's stand and see, love Cause you are my medicine When you're close to me When you're close to me
So call in the submarine Round the world we'll go Does anybody know, love If we're looking out on the day Of another dream
If you can't get what you want Then come with me
Up on melancholy hill Sits a manatee, love Just looking out for the day When you're close to me When you're close to me