Caveat: Breakdancing to Sad Songs About Autumn

Well, the song is "Autumn," which is kind of the wrong theme, for Spring. But I liked this song, and I thought the kids did pretty well. And now it's stuck in my head.

Little Chloe on the left was breakdancing through the whole song, too.

The Sirius Ban, "Autumn."

Lyrics.

The leaves are changing their colors, their colors
And the sky is coming much closer, much closer
It's clear and blue
Wonderful
Autumn is coming to you

(repeat)

[daily log: walking, 6 km]

Caveat: 一刻千金

picture

I ran across this four-character Chinese aphorism online.

一刻 千金
일각천금
il.gak.cheon.geum
moment-wealth

The second of the two terms, which I rendered, after much equivocation, as “wealth,” is literally “thousand pieces of gold.” The idea is that each moment is precious.

You wouldn’t know that from how I waste my time. Er… or is that the point?

[daily log: walking, 6 km]

Caveat: Didn´t Wanna Fight

I didn't wanna fight with my laziness. I just let it walk all over me. Yay.

What I'm listening to right now.

Alabama Shakes, "Don't Wanna Fight."

Lyrics.

My life, your life
Don't cross them lines
What you like, what I like
Why can't we both be right?
Attacking, defending
Until there's nothing left worth winning
Your pride and my pride
Don't waste my time

I don't wanna fight no more [x6]

Take from my hand
Put in your hands
The fruit of all my grief
Lying down ain't easy
When everyone is pleasing
I can't get no relief
Living ain't no fun
The constant dedication
Keeping the water and power on
There ain't nobody left
Why can't I catch my breath?
I'm gonna work myself to death

I don't wanna fight no more [x6]

No, no, no, no!

I don't wanna fight no more [x7]
I don't wanna fight, I don't wanna fight!
I don't wanna fight no more [x8]

[daily log: walking, \sum_{n=1}^\infty \frac{1}{10^n}.]

Caveat: Sociopath?

I had been kind of making a joke about it in class. I was trying to distinguish the meanings of "sociopath" and "psychopath," which had arisen some time ago in a reading passage in another class the kids had and so they'd asked me.

So I said, "well, Sangjin here is a sociopath, while Jinu, well, he's a psychopath." The kids seemed to find this entertaining to think about, as I explained the way the two boy's personalities seemed to match these concepts somewhat: Jinu is kind of a "wild boy" and rather impulsive and easily distracted, and Sangjin is more just the quietly watching and muttering type, talking about things to himself, but then doing these very charming speeches and showing surprising charisma. 

Later, Sangjin came into the staff room.

"Do you really think I'm a sociopath?" 

I couldn't figure out if he was offended or pleased with the idea, so I equivocated.

He said, "I think maybe I am."

"Well, you don't have to be," I said, not sure what tone of seriousness to assume. He's a very smart kid, but there is something a little bit dark about his personality, for an 8th grader. He'd be a goth if he was an American teen.

"I want to be a sociopath," he insisted, like a cross between a movie villain and cheerful puppy.

"Hmm. Well, just try to be nice to people," I said, feeling out of my depth. 

I didn't really know where to go with it. He's the sort where maybe he was just testing my reaction. If he was willing to work harder, he could be in our highest group of TOEFL students, but he's not really interested in academics. He draws pictures of explosions on his note paper. This isn't really particularly disturbing to me – I remember drawing a lot of explosions at that age. 

I told him he was very smart, and should come in my TOEFL class.

"That is too much work," he sighed. We'd had that snipped of conversation before.

[daily log: walking, 7 km]

Caveat: Can’t Find the Garbage

It must be spring in Ilsan. The mormons come out in their noachian pairs and buzz at the major pedestrian crossways, like well-dressed flies that can't find the garbage. I saw three sets today: walking along Jungang-no, at Juyeop station, and crossing Ilsan-no close to work. Sometimes I talk to them, even, but mostly now I don't.

I'm tired although I had a fairly light teaching load today. I guess I'm still not fully recovered from the horrible cold thing I had.

[daily log: walking, 6 km]

Caveat: no one can tell when she cries

What I'm listening to right now.

They Might Be Giants, "Underwater Woman."

Lyrics.

underwater woman
underwater lady
no one on the shore will ever know what’s in her heart

fiercely alive, will to survive
able to thrive on her own
self contained, properly trained
hydroponically grown

underwater woman
breathing underwater
brushing her hair, eating a pear
no one can tell when she cries
away away away

she scans the ocean floor
with ultrasonic blips
nothing but rocks and sand
and the broken wrecks of ships

underwater woman
underwater lady
no one on the shore will ever know what’s in her heart

laughing uncontrollably, who is she talking to?
holding up a shell like it’s a telephone
frantically digging through a pile of old papers
intently staring at a photograph

underwater woman
breathing underwater
brushing her hair, eating a pear
no one can tell when she cries
away away away

[daily log: walking, 6km]

Caveat: mi voz condecorada

Si mi voz muriera en tierra
llevadla al nivel del mar
y dejadla en la ribera.

Llevadla al nivel del mar
y nombradla capitana
de un blanco bajel de guerra.

¡Oh mi voz condecorada
con la insignia marinera:
sobre el corazón un ancla
y sobre el ancla una estrella
y sobre la estrella el viento
y sobre el viento la vela!
– Rafael Alberti (poeta español, 1902-1999)

[daily log: walking, 6 km]

Caveat: 너무 많은 기침

Wow what a horrible flu this is that I have right now.

I woke up at around 4 am because I was coughing. I took some cough suppressant, drank some tea, and after a few hours, I went back to sleep again. 

I had very strange dream-snippets. 

In one memorable dream fragment, a student was following me around, poking me and invading my space and being generally annoying. I had this weird lucid-dreaming insight: I thought to myself, in the dream, "well, this is a dream, so it doesn't matter what I do…" I spun around and punched the student. There, that took care of that. Actually, I don't normally harbor impulses like that, but I think I know what it's about.

I woke up with a kind of spasmodic turn and the sun was shining into my eyes.

I spent the day watching Korean documentaries and sneezing and dozing. I finished that Tolkien book I've been reading, but didn't have the gumption to start something new. 


Unrelated quote of the day:

"If I owned a dam and decided to donate it to charity, would I be giving a dam? I'm sure that might be a first because no one really gives a dam." – the internet


What I'm listening to right now.

Junip, "Always."

Lyrics.

Droning chords and distant bells
Humming over empty shells
Holding on tight onto a dead sky

Nomadic moves across a lawn
Inch by inch into the dawn
Holding on tight onto a dead sky

Turn a deaf ear no matter what they might say
Always
Turn a deaf ear pushing you further away
Always

Droning chords and distant bells
To what's been over since the fall
Holding tight to what's been felt
Holding on tight onto a dead sky

Turn a deaf ear no matter what they might say
Always
Turn a deaf ear pushing you further away
Always

[daily log: coughing, 6k]

Caveat: Spring smog over Hugok

Walking to work, the haze was terrible. Here is a view up 강선로 (gangseon-ro) heading toward Hugok neighborhood, where my work is.

picture

This is why I hate Spring in Korea. The smog is partly natural (the Gobi Desert dust – 황사), but I suspect also partly due to the fact that we are 300 km east of Beijing, and Spring breezes prevail from the west (while in other seasons they tend to come from other directions).

Anyway, I'm sick and grumpy.

I want to sleep.

[daily log: walking, 6km]

Caveat: Trying to return to the habit of posting debate videos

The HST반 kids (9th graders) this evening had written essays on the topic of Korean North-South reunification, but they only had about 10 minutes to prepare their speeches after we formed teams. They are allowed to read their notes, but these three kids really impressed me, as they are coming close to approximating what I think of as an "American" debate style, cramming their ideas into a short, timed speech (in this case, 1 minute).

[daily log:  walking, 6km]

Caveat: Transporting Guinea Pigs from Point A to Point B

What I'm listening to right now.

Parry Gripp, "Guinea Pig Bridge at the Nagasaki Bio Park"

Lyrics.

Guinea Pig Bridge!
(Guinea pig, guinea pig , guinea guinea guinea pig)
Guinea Pig Bridge!
Transporting guinea pigs from point A to point B
Utilizing the latest guinea pig bridge technology
Conveniently and safely!
(Guinea pig, guinea pig , guinea guinea guinea pig)
Guinea Pig Bridge!
(Guinea pig, guinea pig , guinea guinea guinea pig)
Guinea Pig Bridge!

[daily log: walking, 6 km]

Caveat: His Cup Runneth Over

During break between classes, a student named Jinu, a 9th grade boy with a bit of swagger and machismo about him, was standing at the water-cooler in the hall, filling a paper cup with water.

Four 9th grade girls from the HSA class, next door, walked by, giggling and carrying on, and paused to actually talk to Jinu about something. 

He was clearly much flattered by the attention. As a result, he didn't pay attention to his cup in the fill-position in the water cooler. The water kept running into his cup.

It ran into the little tray underneath, and filled that, and onto the floor. The girls kept chatting with him, and laughing. Jinu was only paying attention to the girls. The amount of water on the floor reached his shoes. The girls laughed more, and finally one of them gave away the game, pointing at the floor.

Jinu jumped back, embarrassed. The girls laughed more, and ran away down the hall.

I felt like I had watched a vignette in a sit-com.

[daily log: walking, 6 km]

Caveat: 끈 떨어진 두레박

This is an aphorism I saw in my book of aphorisms.

끈 떨어진 두레박
kkeun tteol.eo.jin du.re.bak
cord fall-PPART bucket
A bucket with a fallen cord

Apparently it refers to a person who wanders without friends or relatives. Although I have friends and relatives for whom I am immensely grateful, I admit sometimes I easily fall into a pattern of perceiving myself this way.

[daily log: walking, 6 km]

Caveat: Pumpkin Porridge on a Sunday

picture

I've developed a bit of a tradition (I don't always follow it, but a couple times a month) of spending my Sundays doodling my imaginary maps and architecture schemes, listening to strange music, and buying and eating take-out pumpkin porridge (단호박죽). 

So that's what I did with my Sunday. 

What I'm listening to right now.

[UPDATE 20180330: Video embed changed due to link-rot. The new embedded video is a different remix of the same song, and not the one in my mp3 collection. It's similar enough, but the lyrics might not match…]

Absurd Minds, "Herzlos."

Lyrics.

Unwahr ist, was nicht meinem Wahren entspricht.
Unwahr nenn ich alles, was das Wahre verbirgt
Und unwirklich, begrenzt oder einengend ist,
was Täuschung und Wahn, was vergänglich ist.
Unwahr ist Begrenzung durch Zeit und Raum.
Unwahr – die Tränen in meinem Traum.
Was unwahr ist, das BIN ICH nicht.
Denn ICH BIN das Wahre, denn ICH BIN das Ich.

So bist du also wieder einmal hier. Und dennoch hälst du an deinem Unglauben fest.
Es ist der eine, starre, unveränderbare Glaube der Welt,
dass alle Dinge in ihr geboren werden, nur um wieder zu sterben.
Und doch ist dieses Leben ein Spiel,
aber du bist zu den Glauben gekommen, dass es die einzige Wirklichkeit ist.
Die einzige Wirklichkeit jedoch, die es gab und je geben wird ist das Leben.
Meißel nun in alle Grabsteine: Hier ruht niemand.

(… herzlos.)
Das verstehst du nicht, denn du bist mein Traum, der zu mir spricht.
(Du bist herzlos.)
Was willst du von mir? Denkst du immer noch ich bin außerhalb von dir?

Das freie Denken kann nicht durch irgendwelche Grenzen gebunden werden.
Die wahre Bewegung, die allen zugrunde liegt, ist die Bewegung des Denkens.
Und die Wahrheit selbst ist Bewegung und kann niemals zum Stillstand,
zum aufhören des Suchens führen.
Deshalb liegt der wahre und wirkliche Fortschritt des Denkens
nur im umfassendsten Streben nach Erkenntnis,
die überhaupt nicht die Möglichkeit des Stillstands
in irgendwelchen Formen der Erkenntnis anerkennt.
Meißel nun in alle Grabsteine: Hier ruht niemand.

(… herzlos.)

[daily log: walking, 1km ; falling down, 1 m]

Caveat: Jared Tackles Japanese Origins

Not me. Rather, Jared Diamond, a famous some-sort-of-scientist, wrote this article quite some time ago, that I just ran across. 

Any discussion of the origins of the Japanese, he points out, is ideologically fraught in a way that the origins of most other cultures on Earth is not. Korea has similar problems. This is because Japanese and Korean cultural identities, as modern constructs, rely overmuch on pre-modern myths that still undergird modern nationalisms. Many Koreans will tell you with a straight face that Korea was "founded" in October 3rd, 2333 BC. If such a precise date seems implausible, well… they don't care. 

Anyway, I found Diamond's article interesting reading.

[daily log: walking, 6.5 km]

Caveat: The Norm of Disengagement

I had bookmarked this article about education after reading it, with the intention of writing something about it. I found the article interesting in its reflections of the paradox of public education – that by virtue of being compulsory and free, it necessarily cannot be excellent for all, and those who seek excellence are compelled to opt out. 

Anyway, no need to summarize it. Just what's on my mind at the moment. I'm tired and have to work tomorrow morning.

[daily log: walking, 6 km]