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 more-or-less completed my little "studio" (as I'm jokingly calling my new storage unit). I assembled the frame, put on the plastic top and sides, bought another tarp as a floor and put down some plywood down the center to be a walkway into it. I'll get my pile of possessions sitting under the ad hoc tarp in Arthur's driveway moved into this slightly less temporary arrangement.
Let's look down in this river for food. The water is flowing swiftly. There are a lot of dead fish. We can speak to our friends. Tilt heads at the sun. Taste the autumn. Spread our wings. Dive down. Caw.
My phone surprised me this morning. It announced an emergency, but it was only a test. Some kind of national wireless emergency test message. But my phone made noises I've never heard it make before - it was a bit alarming, until I figured out what it was about.
The Korean government sends out advisories and warnings all the time - flood warnings for some area nearby, heat wave advisories, extreme cold advisories - those messages were part of the background of my everyday life in Korea, and I rather enjoyed getting them, because they would give me opportunities to decipher some Korean language.
But that kind of thing doesn't happen in the US, right? The US is in the technological dark ages... until today!
Not much to report today. I went off tromping on the southern property line again. Slow going, my search for those other two stakes. It's fully overgrown. I'm trying for a precision method, laying string on the southern lot line, perfectly straight with the right compass bearing, from the one stake I found. It's tedious because then you need line-of-sight: trees to be moved...
Here is the mouth of the Saint Nicholas River, taken during our afternoon walk.
I started building my new "storage unit" today. My stuff that I shipped from Minnesota - the stuff Art didn't want in his house, like all the furniture, etc. - has been sitting in his driveway wrapped in a giant plastic tarp to keep it hopefully dry. So we bought a sort of kit "garage tent" which are quite popular up here in Alaska. And I started building it today.
It's going to be set up in what I call Arthur's "moss garden" AKA his front yard. It's not much of a yard, and he said he'd rather it be there than in the driveway. I can tell it's hard for him to accept this particular thing - it's because it doesn't fit in with his view of how his property should look. Hopefully it will be temporary and I'll transition to a more permanent shed at some different location in the future.
As sometimes occurs, a vehicle drove by. Some days, there are no vehicles driving by. But when a vehicle drives by, Arthur knows who they are, about 80% of the time - it's a small community, up here, and he knows the people who live along his road.
So sometimes the vehicle stops. The window rolls down. A conversation happens.
In the SUV there were a husband and wife. The wife was driving. The husband had a sling type apparatus on his arm. They were going to a medical appointment in town. A story ensued - the man had fallen down on his boat. The wife apparently knew about Arthur's recent experience. She said something to the effect of, "We can't have all this falling down!"
Arthur concurred with his dry, laconic humor: "Yes. Fallin' down ain't all it's cracked up to be."