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.
Pointer Sisters, "You Gotta Believe." The remarkable video is by Nina Paley, who has been blogged here before.
[Intro] Doodle wop a-rat-a-tat boom I'll make the sound of a jet plane zoom Doodle wop a-rat-a-tat boom I'll make the sound of a fire
[Hook] You got to believe in somethin' Why not believe in me? You got to believe in somethin' Why not believe in me?
[Verse One] What have I, I done to you To make you mean And treat me the way you do? Go on and wave your flag, brother Start your revolution I'm willin' to let you do your thing Tell me why are you plannin' a compromise?
Take the chain off your brain Take the chain off your brain Stop, take a look at yourself Stop ridiculin' everybody else
Quae te dextra mihi rapuit, luscinia, ruscis, illa meae fuerat invida laetitiae. Tu mea dulcisonis implesti pectora musis, atque animum moestum carmine mellifluo. Qua propter veniant volucrum simul undique coetus carmine te mecum plangere Pierio. Spreta colore tamen fueras non spreta canendo. Lata sub angusto gutture vox sonuit, dulce melos iterans vario modulamine Musae, atque creatorem semper in ore canens. Noctibus in furvis nusquam cessavit ab odis, vox veneranda sacris, o decus atque decor. Quid mirum, cherubim, seraphim si voce tonantem perpetua laudent, dum tua sic potuit?
- Alcuin (Anglo-Saxon poet, theologian and Carolingian administrator, 735-804)
Some months ago, the whiteboard in room 212 had been coming loose. There was worry that it would fall down at an inopportune time, so Curt told Mr Park (the 과장님 - literally "supervisor" or "chief" but really he's a kind of glorified handyman and janitor at Karma) to add some reinforcements to its support. He duly attached some extra screws with fat washers to hold the whiteboard in its place on the wall.
I guess for whatever reason, one of the girls in my HS2-M cohort noticed these rather larger features in strangely placed, apparently random locations on edges of the whiteboard.
"It looks like a CC camera," she observed. It did rather, if you didn't look too closely.
"Someone is spying on you," I observed, perhaps teasing a bit.
Another girl turned and pointed at the "official" CC camera, mounted on the ceiling in the corner of the room. "Of course," she observed.
Such CC cameras are ubiquitious in Korean life, and as far as I can figure out, are actually legally mandated for settings like schools and hagwon. Presumeably, they serve to provide reassurance to parents that nothing bad can happen to their children because there is a record of classroom activity. And I know Curt has spent money to make sure they are all working and well-maintained, which supports the idea that there's a regulation requiring them - but I don't know this for certain.
"That one is unofficial," I clarified, pointing at the screw-with-washer on the whiteboard. This obligated me to spend several minutes explaining the word "unofficial." Which, of course, is exactly the sort of conversation I most like to have with my students: relevant, student-driven, but, hopefully, full of new information and/or vocabulary.
After that, one of the other girls, Gayeong, asked, "Who would want to spy unofficial?"
"Kim Jeong-eun," I joked. One of the other kids laughed.
"Oh no!" Gayeong declared, and mimed an insincere, mocking look of shock and terror. The North Korean leader is mostly an object of derision and gallows-humor for typical South Korean middle-schoolers. He's not taken very seriously.
But then a soft-spoken and shy girl, who happened to be sitting closest to the whiteboard, really shocked me. She leaned forward, toward the "camera," and in an earnest whisper said, simply, "Fuck you."
"Jiwon," I declared, both impressed by this very idiomatic experession and dismayed by its vulgarity. "What's that about?"
Of course, even without teaching them, all the kids know this type of English - it's too ubiquitous in American pop culture (movies and music) for them not to know what it means and how it's best deployed effectively.
Jiwon just shrugged and smiled. "He's a bad person."
The Chainsmokers (with Coldplay), "Something Just Like This." The video is "unofficial," but cute and sappy. This was a song chosen by one of my middle-school CC classes recently. I'm letting them choose their own songs completely, now. It's going pretty well, actually.
I've been reading books of old The legends and the myths Achilles and his gold Hercules and his gifts Spiderman's control And Batman with his fists And clearly I don't see myself upon that list
But she said, "Where d'you wanna go? How much you wanna risk? I'm not looking for somebody With some superhuman gifts. Some superhero, Some fairytale bliss. Just something I can turn to. Somebody I can kiss. I want something just like this."
Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo Oh, I want something just like this Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo
Oh, I want something just like this I want something just like this
I've been reading books of old The legends and the myths The testaments they told The moon and its eclipse And Superman unrolls A suit before he lifts But I'm not the kind of person that it fits
She said, "Where d'you wanna go? How much you wanna risk? I'm not looking for somebody With some superhuman gifts. Some superhero, Some fairytale bliss. Just something I can turn to. Somebody I can miss. I want something just like this. I want something just like this."
Oh, I want something just like this Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo Oh, I want something just like this Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo
"Where d'you wanna go? How much you wanna risk? I'm not looking for somebody With some superhuman gifts. Some superhero, Some fairytale bliss. Just something I can turn to. Somebody I can kiss. I want something just like this."
Oh, I want something just like this Oh, I want something just like this Oh, I want something just like this