Caveat: Rearrangements

Perhaps as a tribute to my one year anniversary in this Ilsan apartment, I tried rearranging my furniture a little bit. I have a desk and a sofa – those are my bulkiest items. I have no bed – I long ago fully adopted the Korean custom of throwing a blanket on the floor, for sleeping – I just fold it up and put in a corner during the day. A few times I have fallen asleep on my sofa, but although it's comfortable to lounge on and was worth every one of the 150 bucks I spent on it last May, especially reading a book, it's not a pleasant place to sleep.

So last night I had this idea to somehow get my desk closer to my window area, but that puts it close to the sofa. It makes for a more open, roomy apartment with all the crap crammed into one end of it. I don't think I like the feel of it. But now I'm too burned out to rearrange it again just yet. Maybe later. I do like sitting close to the window, now that it's suddenly summer – I can look out at the next building's rooftop garden thing and hear the city noises.

Caveat: And Then, Summer

P1040838What happened to spring? It was hot today. Summer. What's with that? Wasn't it just winter?

OK. Whatever.

My Korean friend Mr Kim of Gwangju called me out the blue today. Why am I so bad at staying in touch with people I genuinely like and am pleased to interact with? Well, I'm glad he called. He was wondering why I never came to visit him in Gwangju. I gave some excuse about being busy… the fact is, I'm lazy and simply haven't taken the time to travel down there. Maybe this summer, right? I have other people to visit in Gwangju too. Picture, at right: a photo of a painted outside wall panel of a temple I visited at Mudeung mountain, Gwangju.

What I'm listening to right now.

한동준, "너를사랑해." 가사:

아침이 오는 소리에
문득 잠에서 깨어
내 품안에 잠든 너에게
워우우워 우워워
너를 사랑해
내가 힘겨울때마다
너는 항상 내 곁에
따스하게 어깨 감싸며
워우우워 우워워
너를 사랑해
영원히 우리에겐
서글픈 이별은 없어
때로는 슬픔에
눈물도 흘리지만
언제나 너와 함께
새하얀 꿈을 꾸면서
하늘이 우리를
갈라놓을 때까지
워우우워 우워워
너를 사랑해

내가 힘겨울때마다
너는 항상 내 곁에
따스하게 어깨 감싸며
워우우워 우워워
너를 사랑해
영원히 우리에겐
서글픈 이별은 없어
때로는 슬픔에
눈물도 흘리지만
언제나 너와 함께
새하얀 꿈을 꾸면서
하늘이 우리를
갈라놓을 때까지
워우우워 우워워
너를 사랑해
너를 사랑해

Caveat: ¿qué piense Ud?

This academic paper is potentially interesting, but I can't really say, since it's behind a paywall.  Here's the abstract, in full:

Would you make the same decisions in a foreign language as you would in your native tongue? It may be intuitive that people would make the same choices regardless of the language they are using, or that the difficulty of using a foreign language would make decisions less systematic. We discovered, however, that the opposite is true: Using a foreign language reduces decision-making biases. Four experiments show that the framing effect disappears when choices are presented in a foreign tongue. Whereas people were risk averse for gains and risk seeking for losses when choices were presented in their native tongue, they were not influenced by this framing manipulation in a foreign language. Two additional experiments show that using a foreign language reduces loss aversion, increasing the acceptance of both hypothetical and real bets with positive expected value. We propose that these effects arise because a foreign language provides greater cognitive and emotional distance than a native tongue does.

I have some questions. How is "thinking in a foreign language" defined? If you're thinking in it, how is it foreign? What about native bilinguals?

Caveat: 쓰레기를 먹는 공룡

Trash 005As long as we're on the topic of dystopian(-ish) children's literature (see previous post), I dug out one of my favorite Korean children's books that I've run across (not that there are that many in my repertoire). It's entitled 쓰레기를 먹는 공룡, which roughly translates as The Trash-Eating Dinosaur. I love this book, even though I have not, in fact, successfully read it front-to-back. I like the pictures, I like the aesthetic, I like the theme. And I've worked through some fragments. It's a much higher-level, more difficult kid's book than the others I've blogged about here so far. But anyway. I probably like it partly because it reminds me of the Wump World (see, again, previous post). More retro-futuristic dystopianism, but this time, with a Korean cultural twist.

The basic plot is (or seems to be – remember that my ability to read Korean is pretty lousy) that there is a dinosaur that is discovered that eats trash. He's put to work, but there are unforeseen consequences – environmental, of course, but also with respect to the dinosaur's quality-of-life, if you will. Things are resolved happily, of course, just like the Wump World – it's kid's lit, after all.

Here are some samples of the book. I love the sketch-like illustrations. Here's the dinosaur strolling around a clearly Seoul-like metropolis (note historical city-wall gate on upper right-hand edge of the drawing – it reminds me too of the 팔달문 neighborhood in Suwon where I used to stay).

Trash 004

Here's the dinosaur hard at work. Note the iconic dung-piles in the lower left – these are part of a powerful contemporary visual meme among Korean school children – I see them drawn surreptitiously on desks, blackboards, and books on a daily basis.

Trash 003

I like the politician or public official trying to berate (or interview? – these concepts are interconnected in Korean culture) the dinosaur in this picture.

Trash 002

Caveat: Star Trek: Planet Pollutus

Trash 006I was watching old episodes of Star Trek: Voyager – because I'm something of a trekkie, and I'm feeling yucky and therefore doing absolutely nothing productive with my time. And there was an episode called "Workforce" from season 7, in which the crew of the starship are all abducted by a society with a labor shortage. They're brainwashed and put to work. There were some scenery tableaux in that episode that seemed to evoke, in my mind at least, the aesthetic of one of the singularly most influential children's books in my own past: Bill Peet's Wump World.


Here's a scene from the episode.


Here's a scene from the old children's classic that, while obviously not identical, bears some striking resemblance at least in my mind.

Trash 007

You might call it the "Pollutian Aesthetic" – since the Wump World has been taken over by the Pollutians from the Planet Pollutus. In the Star Trek episode, there's a dash of Orwell's 1984 (or successor aesthetics like the movie V, for example), too. You might call it retro-futuristic dystopianism.

Caveat: Dubtrot

Out there in the wide, wide interwebs, there exist subcultures you never dreamed about. A blogger named Kottke reminded me of the world surrounding fans of My Little Pony. This includes people who take sound and video clips of the cartoon and make dubsteb music videos to post on the youtubes. This is called dubtrot, of course.

What I'm listening to right now.

My Little Pony – Rainbowstep (Skrillex Dubstep). Does this even require commentary? It speaks for itself.


Caveat: …ca mucho auie grandes cuydados

De los sos oios tan fuerte mientre lorando

Tornaua la cabeça e estaua los catando:
Vio puertas abiertas e vços sin cannados,
Alcandaras uazias sin pielles e sin mantos,
E sin falcones e sin adtores mudados.
Sospiro Myo Çid ca mucho auie grandes cuydados.
Ffablo Myo Çid bien e tan mesurado:
Grado a ti Sennor Padre que estas en alto,
Esto me an buelto myos enemigos malos.

Cid Leí El Cantar de Mio Cid por primera vez en 1986, apenas todavía aprendiendo bien el español. Así desde el principio, mi experiencia con el idioma se radicaba en sus aspectos poéticos e históricos. Y desde aquel principio. me fascinaba lo medieval. Este poema data del siglo 12. Tiene 800 años y todavía es comprensible.

Caveat: Another Blog Post

This is my second post for today. I feel lousy. I'm posting this to my blog because I have a rule, now, that I have two posts per day no matter what. So you can read this and think, wow, it looks like Jared posted something new to his blog again. But in fact, it will be disappointing, because this is just a kind of metatextual place-holder with no actual blogular content for you to enjoy or ponder or depreciate or ignore.

Caveat: 감기

Over the last several days I've come down with a truly horrendous cold/flu (감기). My voice sounds low and gravelly and halting. It's a good thing work has been relatively undemanding, as I still have a reduced teaching schedule due to the middle-schoolers' mid-term test-prep time, but our upcoming first annual Karma talent show is demanding that I do a lot talking in the classes I do have – we're practicing songs and skits with my elementary students. I end each day voiceless and hoarse.

Caveat: 떡 본 김에 제사 지낸다

떡         본   김에      제사             지낸다
rice-cake seen while-AT ancestral-rites stay
As long as you've seen the rice-cakes, stay for the ancestral rites.

I found this one in my grammar bible in slightly different form, while researching the paraphrastic "-ㄴ 김에" – which at least I recognized as a paraphrastic. It is glossed as "while one is at something," and I took the liberty of reading it in this case as "as long as one has V." The equivalent proverb in English might be "Strike while the iron is hot." As long as you're doing one simple thing, do the other more complicated thing as well.

Caveat: careless careless

What I'm listening to right now.

Mama_html_6f8fb32Exo-K, "Mama." 가사 (lyrics):

Careless, careless. shoot anonymous, anonymous
Heartless, mindless. no one, who care about me?

잃어버린 채 외면하는 것 같아 참을 수밖에 없어
눈을 감지만
마마! 이젠 내게 대답해줘 왜 사람들이 달라졌는지
아름다운 시절이라는게 존재하긴 했는지
이제 더는 사랑하는 법도 잊었고 배려하는 맘도 잃었고
등을 돌린 채로 살아가기 바쁜걸

익명의 가면에 감췄던 살의 가득한 질시
끝을 봐도 배고픈 듯한

이젠 만족해?
* 우린 더 이상 눈을 마주 하지 않을까?
소통하지 않을까? 사랑하지 않을까?
아픈 현실에 다시 눈물이 흘러
바꿀 수 있다고 바꾸면 된다고 말해요 마마. 마마.
Turn back!

죽고, 죽이고 싸우고 외치고. 이건 전쟁이 아니야.
도와줘요 마마마마 마마마마 Turn back.
깨닫게 마마마마 마마마마 Rolling back.
박고 치고 편을 나누고 싸우고 이건 게임도 아니야.
도와줘요 마마마마 마마마마 Turn back.

Careless, careless. (마마) Shoot anonymous, anonymous. (마마)
Heartless, mindless. (마마) No one. Who care about me? (마마)

삶에 허락된 축복받은 날들에 감사하고
매일 새로운 인연들을 만들고
깨져버린 마음에 보다, 기쁜 사랑을 모두 함께
웃을 수 있다면
우린 더 이상 눈을 마주 하지 않을까?
소통하지 않을까? 사랑하지 않을까?
아픈 현실에 다시 눈물이 흘러
바꿀 수 있다고 바꾸면 된다고 말해요 마마. 마마.

Careless, careless. shoot anonymous, anonymous
Heartless, mindless. no one, who care about me?

익명의 가면에 감췄던 살의 가득한 질시
끝을 봐도 배고픈 듯한
이젠 만족해?

우린 더 이상 눈을 마주 하지 않을까?
소통하지 않을까? 사랑하지 않을까?
아픈 현실에 다시 눈물이 흘러

언젠가부터 우린 스마트한 감옥에 자발적으로 갇혀
0과 1로 만든 디지털에 내 인격을 맡겨
거긴 생명도 감정도 따듯함도 없고 언어 쓰레기만
나뒹구는 삭막한 벌판.
날이 갈수록 외로움만 더해져
우리가 인간일 수 밖에 없는 건 상처 받는 것. Yeah-

만나고 손을 잡고 느끼며 함께 울고 웃고
닮아가고 서로 연결돼.
돌이키고 싶다면


Caveat: spelunking guides based on the Allegory of the Cave

The unequaled-in-snark blogger IOZ reviews the Atlas Shrugged movie – which I have zero interest in seeing, but about which I might bear some passing interest, if only as an erstwhile semi-(pseudo-)randian. The genius comment (on the novel more than on the movie):

the lessons she [Rand] draws from capitalism are like spelunking guides based on the Allegory of the Cave.  I suspect if you showed her the old A = L + S/E equation, she'd think it was some kind of commie redistribution plan.

Uh. You either get it, and laugh uproariously (as I did, ashamedly), or you don't. I will actually think more highly of your practical side, if you don't. I have, indeed, changed over these last several years.

Caveat: Bye Bye Bye

Bye_html_m71c768eNah. Just kidding. I'm not going anywhere. "Bye Bye Bye" is the name of a song we're doing in the sing-along / listening comprehension CC classes, which I'm teaching to some of the elementary groups during the test-prep period. It's by N Sync. I don't like the song. But the kids seem to – not all of them, but some of them. And playing it, for them, going slowly, going over the lyrics, line by line. Well… it gets stuck in your head.

What I'm listening to right now.

N Sync, "Bye Bye Bye." The sound quality on this youtube seems exceptionally poor, and that's probably intentional – prevents redistributive piracy. But you get the idea.

Caveat: Can We Teach English to Aliens While They Shoot Each Other?

ImagesIt was a kind of gloomy, rainy weekend, and for once, I didn't find the rain very comforting. The sky just felt heavy, without feeling dynamic as rain often does, at least for me.

I had fragmented dreams last night – I was trying to teach English to aliens. They kept having laser gun battles in the classrooms. Maybe I watched too much sci-fi crap over the weekend. Hm… maybe not so fantastical, though.

 Utterly unrelatedly…

What I'm listening to right now.

효린 (씨스타) [Hyorin (Ssiseuta=Sister)], "널 사랑하겠어 [I Will Love You]." 가사:

내 뜨거운 입술이 너의
부드러운 입술에 닿길 원해
내 사랑이 너의 가슴에 전해지도록

아직도 나의 마음을 모르고 있었다면은
이 세상 그 누구보다 널 사랑하겠어

널 사랑하겠어 언제까지나
널 사랑하겠어 지금 이 순간처럼
이 세상 그 누구보다 널 사랑하겠어
효린 [씨스타] 널 사랑하겠어 Lyrics

어려운 얘기로 너의
호기심을 자극할 수도 있어
그 흔한 유희로 이 밤을 보낼 수도 있어

하지만 나의 마음을
이제는 알아줬으면 해
이 세상 그 누구보다 널 사랑하겠어

널 사랑하겠어 언제까지나
널 사랑하겠어 지금 이 순간처럼
이 세상 그 누구보다 널 사랑하겠어

널 사랑하겠어

널 사랑하겠어 언제까지나
널 사랑하겠어 지금 이 순간처럼
이 세상 그 누구보다 널 사랑하겠어

널 사랑하겠어 언제까지나
널 사랑하겠어 지금 이 순간처럼
이 세상 그 누구보다 널 사랑하겠어

널 사랑하겠어 언제까지나
널 사랑하겠어 지금 이 순간처럼
이 세상 그 누구보다
널 사랑하겠어

Caveat: Kamyk

    – Zbigniew Herbert

kamyk jest stworzeniem

równy samemu sobie
pilnujący swych granic

wypełniony dokładnie
kamiennym sensem

o zapachu który niczego nie przypomina
niczego nie płoszy nie budzi pożądania

jego zapał i chłód
są słuszne i pełne godności

czuję ciężki wyrzut
kiedy go trzymam w dłoni
i ciało jego szlachetne
przenika fałszywe ciepło

—Kamyki nie dają się oswoić
do końca będą na nas patrzeć
okiem spokojnym bardzo jasnym

The poem is in Polish. Several translations are circulating – following, here's one from from a website called Pacze Moj (it's quite unclear to me if Pacze Moj is also a person, or if it's a pseudonym, or if it's just a blog title – my Polish is quite bad to the point of nonexistent).

    by Zbigniew Herbert

The pebble is a creature,

a self equal to itself,
guarding its own borders,

filled precisely,
with stone pebblessence,

with a smell reminiscent of nothing,
It frightens nothing, arouses no desires,

its fervour and its cold,
are righteous and dignified,

I feel a heavy remorse,
when I hold it in my hand,
and its noble body
is permeated by false warmth,

—Pebbles will not be tamed,
till the end they will gaze upon us,
through quiet eye so clear.

I like [broken link! FIXME] Polish. Maybe someday…

Caveat: 우리다같이 케이크를 만들자

This story book is not native Korean. It's a translation of something by Helen Oxenbury. But it translates well to the contemporary Korean cultural mileau, methinks.

It's about this kid's birthday. The title in Korean is 오늘은 내 생일이야. Here's the Korean cover.

Book 001

The kid goes around getting ingredients for his cake from various animals. The take-away phrase: "갖다 줄게" [I'll bring it.]

My favorite part (i.e. cutest picture) is when they then all get together to make the cake, near the end.

Book 002

The line at the end of this page: "우리다같이 케이크를 만들자" [Let's all of us together make the cake].

Caveat: 콩깍지

Images"콩깍지" is a peapod, according to my dictionary. Possibly, it has other, more slangy meanings that are beyond me. But I found this hiphop song with this title. I have no idea what it means. I can't even figure out the meaning of the hiphop group's name. In fact, I can't understand anything at all, except a few isolated words. But it's a fun song, I guess. I hope it doesn't turn to be too crude or bizarre.


What I'm listening to right now.

배치기 [baechigi], "콩깍지 [kongkkakji]." 가사:

B.A.E.C.H.I.G.I 이제 나왔으니
모두 친구들에게 전하기
하던 일들 전부 stop 모두 집중 여기 spot
들어볼까 기묘한 그 이야기


그 꼬라지로 나와 너네가 얼마나 버티겠냐고
그냥 하던 대로 가라고
가만히 서서 중간이라도 가는 게
두말하면 입 아프다라고 말하는데
배치기 배엔 기름이 꼈네
믿음 따윈 져버리고 지네끼리 건배
그리고 나선 도망가네 조만간에 절망감이란
포만감으로 휩싸여야 정신 차리겠네

어떤 인간들은 내게 말하겠지
너 얼마나 잘되나 두고 보자고
완전히 Reset 된 배치기
이제 누가 아냐고 물어보라고
그나마 누렸던 인기의 맛만
본걸로 만족해 알잖아 만만
치 않은 이곳에 이미 한물간
니들이 발 붙일 곳 없을 거라고

이거 정말 난리나 버렸지
아무런 생각 없이 전부 내쳐 버렸지
모든 게 다 뒤바뀌어 버렸지
배치기 인생살이 제 눈에 낀 콩깍지

뜻대로 되지만은 않을 거다
그러다가 망한 애들 여럿 봤다
새로운 변화에 신이 났겠지만
장담하건대 넌 예전이 낫다
제풀에 꺽일 네 모습이 선해
반전은 기대마 알잖아 뻔해
더 신 나게 떠들어라 웃고는 있지만
초조함 숨기려 내 맘은 탄다

겁을 먹었냐고 천만의 말씀
거품 빼고 우리만의 길을 가고픈 것뿐
당차게 박차고 나와서
난 바로 이 네 박자에 몸을 실었음
내 길에 내기를 걸어봐라
내 미래엔 배짱부리며 배 내미네 째봐라 그래
내가 쓰러지나 봐라 부러지나 봐라
날이 지나 봐라 끝내 누가 남았나

이거 정말 난리나 버렸지
아무런 생각 없이 전부 내쳐 버렸지
모든 게 다 뒤바뀌어 버렸지
배치기 인생살이 제 눈에 낀 콩깍지

B.A.E.C.H.I.G.I 이제 나왔으니
모두 친구들에게 전하기
하던 일들 전부 stop 모두 집중 여기 spot
들어볼까 기묘한 그 이야기

서로 머리 맞대면서 많은 날을 고민했지
배부르면 봄날이냐고
까놓고 말해보자 우리들의 전성기는
언제부터 언제였냐고
몇 번의 박수로 우쭐거리며
살아나간 지난날의 우릴 반성하자고
죽이 되든 밥이 되든 피래미 시절
기억하며 아둥바둥 살아보자고

이거 정말 난리나 버렸지
아무런 생각 없이 전부 내쳐 버렸지
모든 게 다 뒤바뀌어 버렸지
배치기 인생살이 제 눈에 낀 콩깍지 예

B.A.E.C.H.I.G.I 예

Caveat: Tippa Tappa Tappa

I awoke to rain tapping on my window. Tippa. Tappa tappa.

I feel slow… that feeling when you wake up, that you're not sure who or where you are, for a moment. Reality takes time, re-integrating.

I've been reading a novel called Aquella Montaña Tan Lejana, which is a translation into Spanish of Korean novelist Wanseo Park's 그 산이 정말 거기 있었을까. Amazing, what can be found in Seoul's bookstores, eh? I haven't gotten very far into it, yet. I'll provide some thoughts on it, later, maybe.

Caveat: 소 잃고 외양간 고치기

소   잃고      외양간  고치기
cow lose-AND stable fix-GER
[…like] fixing the stable after losing the cow.

The proverbial meaning is obvious, and matches English's "Closing the barn door after the horse is gone."

It's a sunny Spring morning. The sky is hazy. Next week is my one-year anniversary of departing Hongnong. It feels like yesterday. I miss some aspects of it – it was a complex and life-altering experience in a way that the year since then has not been. But it wasn't sustainable for me. So I cannot regret having left, and come here. This has been a much more low-key, stable-feeling, emotionally sustainable year. More on meditations on renewal, later.

Caveat: Find Myself a City to Live In

What I'm listening to right now.

Talking Heads, "Cities." From 1979's Fear of Music. I have found several cities to live in, over the years, taking the song's advice. Lately, the city I live in is Seoul, of course. Previous favorites included L.A., Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and México, D.F. Hmm, why am I saying this? I don't know.

I love the Talking Heads, even after all these years. They never get old to me. I guess you'd call them formative, or essential, or foundational to my musical taste and character. This evening, I ran across a great review at The Atlantic of a book-length review by Jonathan Letham of the Fear of Music album. This is what put this song on my playlist.

The lyrics:

Think of London, a small city
It's dark, dark in the daytime
The people sleep, sleep in the daytime
If they want to, if they want to

I'm checking them out
I'm checking them out
I got it figured out
I got it figured out
There's good points and bad points
Find a city
Find myself a city to live in.

There are a lot of rich people in Birmingham
A lot of ghosts in a lot of houses
Look over there!…A dry ice factory
A good place to get some thinking done

Down El Paso way things get pretty spread out
People got no idea where in the world they are
They go up north and come back south
Still got no idea where in the world they are.

Did I forget to mention, to mention Memphis
Home of Elvis and the ancient greeks
Do I smell? I smell home cooking
It's only the river, it's only the river.

Caveat: Giganta et al


"I never knew that a playground could look like a fun-loving giant robot and a prison for hardened criminals at the same time." – Thus writes someone at Komboh blog. How could I disagree? – this is fabulous. Plus, I really like the guy's blog website design. It's really awesome.

I have been addicted to graphic design websites since before they existed. Um… how is this possible? Well I don't really mean websites, do I? When I worked for the University of Minnesota Libraries, in the late 1980's, I discovered a magazine called Graphis (the magazine still exists). It was a glossy collection of the best of graphic design and advertising design. I would spend hours paging slowly through back issues. It was almost a kind of meditation. It was also a way to kind of stay in touch with my creative side, and to get a feel for the world. So now, all these years later, I still page idly through graphic design and arts magazines – I just do it online, now. I visit My Modern Metropolis blogs almost daily, for example. And I regularly discover new sites like Komboh, referenced above.

Caveat: Ripping Out Concrete

I read an article in the LA Times about a school, that drew correlations between the fact that it had recently ripped out its concrete playground and planted a biodiverse garden, and improved test scores. It was an uplifting, positive article on education, such as are all too rare in the US media, these days, and the correlations drawn seem plausible, at least anecdotally. I'm sceptical, however… who is to say there weren't other causes for the improved test scores? There could have been demographic shifts in the school's neighborhood, there could have been curricular or staff changes, etc.

I love the story of it – the narrative – but I'm frustrated by it at the same time, because it's preceisely the type of muddle-headed thinking education is supposed to be ameliorating. Sigh. How to react? It's great to see schools tearing out ugly concrete playgrounds. It's wonderful that any inner-city school can improve student performance dramatically. But how about some actual science behind this alleged improvement in science scores?

Caveat: 1:20 AM

Last night, at 1:20 AM, a very loud and scary-sounding alarm began to sound in my building. I woke up, startled. My first thought: I opened a window and listened to the world outside, to see if it was part of a broader civil-defense alert (e.g. North Korea finally going off the deep end). Relieved that that didn't appear to be the case, I figured two possibilities: 99%) somebody messing around and made a mistake; 1%) an actual fire in the building. I opened my door into the corridor, and exchanged blurry glances with a neighbor guy down the hall. We shrugged. I went back in, grabbed my little "documents" box and threw it into my backpack, slipped on some shoes, grabbed my cellphone and wallet, and went down the stairs, seven floors, to the lobby of my building.

There were many people loitering around. But no evidence of fire trucks, nor was the night-watch doorman/parking-lot dude anywhere in evidence. I exchanged meaningless glances with some deeply annoyed-looking women. The night-shift man in the 24-hour convenience store off the lobby (with whom I have a "nod hello" acquaintance since he's always starting his shift when I stop in there on the way home from work to buy my bottled cold corn-tassle tea or orange juice or milk) didn't seem to be noticing the alarm at all.

The alarm stopped. I went back up the stairs, because the elevators seemed stuck on some upper floor. I stopped and peered in a few of the floors on the way back to the seventh. Nothing really going on. I went into my apartment, and put down my bag. I figured if it was a real fire, the alarm would start again, but I was also feeling stressed because it seemed likely that it could go off again, if it was the result of someone's mistake. So I stayed awake. I fired up the computer and surfed the internet, and tried to watch an episode of the Daily Show. I thought about my "emergency response" plan. I actually have one – I keep all my important documents in a plastic box which I can grab easily (as I did this time). And my laptop sleeps in my backpack, too. And I have a detachable harddrive with file backups that I can throw into it easily. I looked around my apartment, and wondered if there was anything else I'd regret hugely to lose, in an emergency. Hm… I'm kind of a pack-rat, especially with books and papers. But … I'd let go of most of it without being plunged into depression, if it had to happen. And so… whatever.

I feel like I didn't get a very good night's rest, though.

Caveat: Bots

I have been known to log on to some chat utility or another (i.e. AIM or Yahoo) to interact with some long-lost acquaintances now and then. There are lot of bots lurking out there in these nether parts of the internet. Mostly, of course, one wants to ignore such things as bots. But the other day I was inspired, I decided to see what the bot had to say for itself. I was unimpressed, except by my own strangeness. I have changed the usernames to protect the innocent and the guilty.

bogybaggle: heya.

jaredrobot: really?

bogybaggle: hey! 21/femaIe here. you?

jaredrobot: robot. indeterminate age.

bogybaggle: NO i am not a bot

jaredrobot: i know. i am.

bogybaggle: hmm….. have we ever chatted be4?

jaredrobot: yes. we are one and the same. one mind. hive mind.

bogybaggle: oh sorry…. i am reaIIy forgetfuII sometimes. but anyways whats up?

jaredrobot: i'm suffering from an epistemological crisis.

bogybaggle: hey i have some pictures of me on my profiIe on this site if you wouId Iike to see them?

jaredrobot: i don't have the ability to integrate visual data.

yeah? ok weII you wiII have to signup there to make sure that your not a
kid because i have a coupIe R rated pictures on there

bogybaggle: but dontt worry it is completly free and easy to signup. heres the signup page https://[redacted]

jaredrobot: kid robot. you're a genius.

bogybaggle: A bot? not hardly babe. Are you?

jaredrobot: yep.

bogybaggle: when u get Iogged in then search for my profiIe bogybaggle.

bogybaggle: if u want to see my R rated pics. the gaIlIery password is xxxfun

jaredrobot: yes, mistress. i'm yours to command.

bogybaggle: brb.
jaredrobot: that's what they all say.

What I'm listening to right now.

Bumblebeez 81, "I Come With Water."

[This is a back-post, written at the date shown but only saved in draft form for a very long time. I finally decided to go through and officially "post" a bunch of old draft posts lying around.]

Caveat: 다이나믹 듀오, “Heartbreaker”

What I'm listening to right now.

다이나믹 듀오 [Dynamic Duo], "Heartbreaker." 가사:

널 처음 본 순간 난 울었어
견딜수가 없어서 널 가질수가 없어서
내 속은 푹푹 끓었어
금지된 사랑에 이성은 무릎 꿇었어
메마른 마음에 뜨거운 불이 붙었어
너무도 거세 우릴 끌고 가는 바람
너무도 천해 이런 너와 나란 사람
하지만 지옥같은 이 시한부 사랑이
영원을 약속한 천국보다 달콤하잖아
나 살던 세상조차 부셔버렸잖아
너 살던 세상조차 부셔버렸잖아
누구나 쉬쉬하는 제목부터 길고긴
이 뻔한 이야기의 결말을 난 알아
사랑의 파괴자 파렴치한 가해자
하지만 나 역시 운명이 남긴 또 하나의 피해자
날 욕하지마 나 사랑밖에 안했다
그 순간 유혹은 내 영혼보다 강했다

가질수도 말할수도 없었지만
역시나 내게 아름다워
내가 너로 인해 아파 할수있단 그 조차
내게 아름다운 You’re my Heartbraker

너무 달콤해 이 불편한 사랑이
어쩔때는 Sick 해 나란 사람이
질투가 나 먼저 널 가진 사람이
정말좋니 니 곁에 그 사람이
밤새 들이킨 술 땜에 머리가 띵해
사랑 노래만 들어도 눈시울이 찡해
너는 빙해 처럼 얼어붙었다
화산처럼 나를 채워 기분이 참 횡해
하루에도 몇번씩은 웃고 울어
이별은 언제쯤인지 너에게 묻고 또 물어
나는 아침 드라마에 주인공처럼
복잡하게 꼬인 사랑의 시나리오를 외워
넌 내 감정을 할퀴어 버리겠지
내 존잰 벌레처럼 밟혀 버리겠지
나는 간절한데 넌 항상 느긋해
이 초라한 슬픔따윈 삭혀 버리겠지

가질수도 말할수도 없었지만
역시나 내게 아름다워
내가 너로 인해 아파 할수있단 그 조차
내게 아름다운 You’re my Heartbraker

그럼 너도 알게돼
너 역시 내 마음과 내 생각과
같단걸 알게돼
Just stay with me

그럼 너도 알게돼
너 역시 내 마음과 내 생각과
같단걸 알게돼
Just stay with me


따고 싶어 너란 저 하늘의 별을
맡고싶어 다시 너의 숨결을
왜 안고싶어 가질수 없는 너를
되찾고 싶어 절대 난 버릴수 없는 너를

잡고싶어 뜬 구름같은 너를
안고싶어 참 아름다운 너를
더 알고 싶어 수수께끼 같은 너를
깆고싶어 시한부 같은 사랑의 생명을

가질수도 말할수도 없었지만
역시나 내게 아름다워
니가 나로 인해 아파 할수없으니
그래서 더 아름다워
You’re my Heartbraker
You’re my Heartbraker
You’re my Heartbraker

Here is a translation I found. I can't attest to its quality. And it doesn't match up very well – I suspect it's arranged differently or leaves out some of the choruses, etc.

I cried the first moment I saw you 'cause I couldn't take it
My heart was throbbing 'cause I couldn't have you
Rationality knelt down in front of forbidden love
The dry heart caught fire
The wind taking us away is way too strong
You and me are way too lowly
But this hell-like love with a time limit is much sweeter than the heaven with a promise of eternity
It smashed the world I was living in
It smashed the world you were living in
I know how this long and hushed-up story with full of cliches will end
heartbreaker, shameless perpetrator
But at the same time, I am a victim of fate as well
Don't point your fingers at me all I did was love
The temptation at the moment was stronger than my soul
I couldn't have you or give you up
But You are beautiful to me
Even the fact that it hurts because of you is beautiful to me
You're my Heartbreaker
This uncomfortable love is way too sweet
I feel sick of myself sometimes
I am jealous of the person who took you away
Do you really love the person beside you?
I am having a headache because of the drinks I've had all night long
I feel like crying whenever I hear a love song
You freeze just like a sea of ice then drive me crazy like a volcano
I feel so empty
Everyday I laugh and cry over and over
I ask you when it will end over and over
I memorize a twisted scenario of love as if I am a leading actor of morning soap opera
You will claw my feelings
My existence will be crushed down just like a worm
I am so desperate but you are always relaxed
You will deal with this insignificant sorrow easily
I couldn't have you or give you up
But You are beautiful to me
Even the fact that it hurts because of you is beautiful to me
You're my Heartbreaker
Just stay with me Then you will see
You will see that you feel the same
Just stay with me
Then you will see
You will see that you feel the same
Just stay with me
I want to grasp you, the star on the night sky
I want to smell your breath again
I want to steal you, who I can never have
I want you back, who I can never give up
I want to catch you, who is just like vapor in the air
I want to hold you in my arms, who is so beautiful
I want to know you more, who is still puzzling to me
I want to have the life of love even with a time limit.

Caveat: 모양 나라에 온 도깨비

I like children's books. I like the Korean language. So my recent decision to try to read one Korean kid's book each week as part of my efforts to learn the language seems destined to be a win-win. Here's the book. It's very low level, of course – such is my proficiency with Korean.

The book is called 모양 나라에 온 도깨비, which I would translate as "The gnome who came to the land of shapes." It's not really a gnome – a 도깨비 [do-kkae-bi] is a native Korean fairy-tale creature that's kind of a cross between a gnome and a unicorn, maybe.

Here's the cover.

Shapes 001

The first page introduces the land of triangles.

Shapes 003

Other shapes are introduced, farther along. Then all the various shapes, who seem to live in segregated neighborhoods, all run into each other while on a picnic. The plot thickens. So does the Korean – this next was a difficult page to decipher.

Shapes 006

A rough translation of this page:

Hello, triangles!
You guys are a little bit weird-looking.
Hello, rectangles!
Really funny-looking.
Hello, circles!
First time ever to see such faces.

Then things get bad. There's a wind-storm; the shapes get mixed up with each other, and then the gnome shows up. Oh noes!

But it's a kid's book. There's a happy ending.

Caveat: Where

This is so close to exactly where I am, right now, in my own putatively "spiritual" journey.

"…if you read the chapter on atheism, I call it ironic atheism. I think the Buddha was not a devout atheist. The Buddha simply did not have any time for the very concept or the language of God, and he dismissed it, really, as just yet another example of how human beings can dream up of all sorts of things, and he put it to one side. So Buddhism is atheistic in the sense that it simply it doesn’t have recourse to God language, but it’s not atheistic in the sense that it has as a central doctrine the denial of God." – Stephen Batchelor, a Buddhist scholar being interviewed for a website called buddhistgeeks.

I know atheism makes most people very uncomfortable. Unless asked directly, I don't bring it up. I have no interest whatsoever in confronting other people's faiths. It serves no purpose at all. But my "faith-based" atheism is pretty strong – it's taken shape and survived for 10 years. I do believe strongly that it is by our acts that we define our moral character, and not by what we believe or fail to believe.

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