Caveat: gota a gota

Un guijarro, uno solo, el más bajo de todos,
a todo el médano aciago y faraónico.
El aire adquiere tensión de recuerdo y de anhelo,
y bajo el sol se calla
hasta exigir el cuello a las pirámides.
Sed. Hidratada melancolía de la tribu errabunda,
del siglo al minuto.
Son tres Treses paralelos,
barbados de barba inmemorial,
en marcha    3    3    3
Es el tiempo este anuncio de gran zapatería,
es el tiempo, que marcha descalzo
de la muerte             hacia           la muerte.
- César Vallejo (poeta peruano, 1892-1938)

Confieso que no entiendo muy bien este poema. Probablemente me atrajó sólo por su clara temática de muerte.

[daily log: walking, 5.5 km]

Caveat: Starbucks Planet

There was an interesting article over at The Atlantic the other day, pointing to someone who was mapping global cities based on their Starbucks locations. Seoul, apparently, has more Starbuckses than any other city – even New York or, um, Seattle. I like these compartive "same scale," simplified maps of urban areas, for some reason. It's interesting to see the contrasts in density, for example: e.g. the circle for Seoul metro represents 25 million and the circle for, say, Portland represents 1.5 million. 


I am not necessarily a huge fan of Starbucks, but I'm not one to put it down, either – I don't view it as an "evil corporation" or any such thing. Does the fact that I have Starbucks stock in my IRA (what's left of it, post cancer liquidation) perhaps bias me?

What I'm listening to right now.

Flaming Lips, "Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell."

[daily log: walking, 5 km]

Caveat: 방귀쟁이 며느리

There is a Korean folktale called The Farting Lady (방귀쟁이 며느리). It’s pretty well-known, apparently, though I hadn’t heard of it before. There are some English discussions of it here and here.
The series of “roleplay” books we’re using for our Stars-level (younger elementary) students, called A*List, includes a lot of interesting stories, and our recent talent show (“verbal contest”) last Friday included pretty-well-done musical adaptations of Simba and the Tigers, The Wedding Mice, and this Korean folktale, The Farting Lady.
Frankly, I cannot imagine a better topic for a musical performance for first and second graders than a folktale about a farting lady. The kids thought it was fun, although their too-serious demeanor during the performance in the video below somewhat belies that – that’s the pressure of the final show, I guess.
I think it’s interesting that the likelihood of such a drama being performed in a US institution seems to me rather low – unless I’m misjudging my own culture – given the peculiar puritanism in US education that might be wary of frankly addressing the topic of a farting lady.
Preparing for the performance was a little bit difficult, because my Betelgeuse class has been shrinking and currently only has 2 students. So with seven roles in the story, we had to be creative and not really do it as a full-fledged dramatic performance, making it instead more of a dramatized reading with singing. I think they did an excellent job at the talent show, and the judges (some parents) did too – they got 3rd prize.
Here is the video of their performance, with Ken and me as MCs beforehand.

Here are some sample pages from the materials provided by the publisher of the roleplays, called A-List. It is one the best ESL curriculum publishers in Korea my personal opinion – their product is high quality and pedagogically sound.
A-List The Farting Lady page-001_240 A-List The Farting Lady page-009_240
A-List The Farting Lady page-019_240 A-List The Farting Lady page-025_240
[daily log: walking, 5 km]

Caveat: Pervasive Corruption

Yesterday (Wednesday), I had a brief discussion, via Kakao chat, with my friend Peter over the nature of the recent spate of deadly "accidents" and disasters that seem to be befalling South Korea. There was the ferry boat sinking last month, there was the fire at the bus terminal on Monday here in Goyang, and yesterday another fire at a nursing home or something. There were some subway crashes, too, last month. 

The public sentiment seems to be that there is a big problem with corruption as being an underlying cause or correlate of the neglect of public safety in these events. I pondered this after our brief chat, because I decided it might make an interesting debate topic.

I did something I haven't done much, so far, but I consider it to be the ultimate objective of my debate teaching: I went from "chosen topic" to actual debate in a single class period. At the start of class, I explained the topic, which immediately grabbed the kids attention because it was topical. I then crafted a proposition on the fly, which was something like this: "The recent spate of disasters in Korea (ferry sinking, fires, etc) indicates a problem of pervasive corruption."

We brainstormed some as to what would be some PRO and CON reasons, and I ran to my desk for a moment, went online, and found a recent and older editorial from the Korean English-language press on the topic of corruption, which I printed out. We did not read these exhaustively – rather, I presented the materials as a sort of instant research resource. Then we assigned sides and I said, "OK, 20 minutes." After the kids had prepared their ideas, we had our debate.

Normally the class has four students, which is perfect for debate – 2 to each side. However, one student was absent, so I stepped in and took a position in the line-up. When I do this, I handicap myself by denying myself the opportunity to adequately prepare – I have to speak completely off-the-cuff. As such, I would say my 2 speeches are less well organized than those of my students, even if they are, obviously, of higher quality in terms of referentiality and nativeness of the English. 

So here's the debate. I think these students did really well with short notice and a difficult topic. Even though I'd told my friend Peter I thought there was, indeed, corruption, notice that I'm taking the CON side of the debate below, with my student James, against the girls Jisoo and Andrea.

Caveat: Visit from a former student

Just this instant, coming back from my last class of a very busy day (Wednesday is currently my busiest schedule), a former middle school student was visiting – he's 11th grade now and he seems vaguely "broken" – in the broken-spirited way that high school students so often seem. 

I felt a little bit sad – and he was feeling sad for me having heard about my cancer. So we commiserated, briefly. I think that Korean students often project that "broken" feeling – it's similar to soldiers in the midst of boot camp, maybe. 

Well, anyway. It's nice to see former students.

[daily log: walking, 5 km]

Caveat: every where is Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun and Die Die Die Die Die Die Die Die Die Die

I have a student named Clara – a third grade elementary student. She's quite smart and charming and has a better focus than most 3rd graders when she wants to. But she also is a bit morbid and strange sometimes – a kind of proto-goth-girl, personality-wise.

She will say these unexpectedly morbid things, sometimes. I was going through some drawings we did in class last month, cleaning out a folder on my desk, and found this picture. It seems innocent enough, until you study the caption ("every where is Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun and Die Die Die Die Die Die Die Die Die Die") and try to puzzle out any kind of meaning at all to the sequence of symbols at the bottom. It strikes me as a kind of accidental surrealism, and I was compelled to an outburst of [broken link! FIXME] apophenia in reaction, as is intended in surrealism, I suppose.


[daily log: walking, 5 km]

Caveat: Baekseok Burning

Apparently there was a giant fire at the Goyang City Bus Terminal earlier today. Seven people died. It's weird when disaster strikes somewhere that is intimately familiar to you – you think: I could have been there


The bus terminal building has a HomePlus store in it – it's a few subway stops away from here.

What I'm listening to right now.

Depeche Mode, "Never Let Me Down." 

[daily log: walking, 5 km]

Caveat: Nightmares and Mist

I had diffuse but unpleasant nightmares this morning waking up. I do not actually have nightmares that often, but these dreams had me convinced I was dying or having some kind of paralytic attack in my bed, and I could not escape. As a result, I felt unrested and eerie all day, and the strange misty weather added to the atmospherics, making for a grim mood. I tried to escape by playing simcity, which I havent played in ages, but I ended up angry at the game. Heh.

Caveat: Verbal Aftermath

The "verbal contest" was a successful event, with the main failing being that, since we failed to a full start-to-finish dress rehearsal we underestimated how long it would go – which is always the case with such things, I suppose. 

I was co-MC. Ken was the Korean-speaking MC while I was the English-speaking MC. So not only was there the job of preparing the students for their many various speeches, songs, roleplays and debates, but also there was the matter of being on the ball and saying the right introduction at the right time. 

Anyway, I think it went pretty well. Certainly, the parents were for the most part pleased with it and we got some positive feedback. 

I did not take any video or pictures, because I was in it, up on stage most of the time. I'm hoping that next week I can get copies of the video files that Curt and Razel made and post some pictures or videos from it. Meanwhile, I can only discuss it.

My efforts to have the kids have a less-than-fully-scripted debate for my "Newton  반" classes was pretty disappointing. Razel had more success with just working out a scripted debate and making the kids memorize their appointed roles in the PRO or CON teams. I still remain committed to avoiding fully scripting debates, however.

The best successes were the Noraebang-style (karaoke) song-and-dance to pop songs – those are always entertaining and Irene did a great job working out some clever little choreographies for them. The little ones from the Phonics and Stars classes were the absolute best in my opinion – they did such a great job memorizing and putting on their little shows – which were actually pretty long. Maybe next time we should combine these classes into and do a single larger production. 

I will make a separate entry about the play my two lonesome "Betelgeuse 반" kids did. It's culturally interesting, too. I'll leave that in suspense until I can get some video of it. 

It was hard because I was so tired – I have been more tired than usual, I think, because Spring is fading into Summer, and because I'm eating so poorly (which is my own fault, I guess, but, as Ken commented recently, "Eating really is just a chore for you now, isn't it?" and I had to agree). Anyway I guess I did OK.

We went out for "meat" hoe-sik (회식) after. So I was out late after work and then ended up going to bed at almost 1 am. That is a problem because Saturday morning I actually have to wake up early and teach in the morning, rather than the week-day afternoon and evening schedule. 

That's my journal for the KarmaPlus 2014 annual talent show "verbal contest."

[daily log: walking, 5.5 km]

Caveat: Showtime

We did our show today. It was huge and exhausting. I'll give a more detailed update this weekend.

[daily log: walking, 5.5 km]

Caveat: Practice Practice Practice

This Friday, we are doing an annual talent show at KarmaPlus, for the elementary kids… except that they think it's bad to call it a talent show, which I guess is a term that has some negative or at the least insufficiently academic connotations for a presumeably rigorous after-school English academy. So it's being called a "verbal contest" – which personally I think sounds much dumber. But whatever.

We are doing a lot of practicing. All the time. Extra classes and extra hours. Basically the last week or so I have had zero downtime or break at work.

So I've been very busy last week and this week. Hopefully we'll have a good result on Friday. I'll try to post some video or result when it's over.

[daily log: walking, 5.5 km]

Caveat: 내가 중이 되니 고기가 천하다

This is an aphorism from my aphorism book.
내가 중이 되니 고기가 천하다
nae·ga jung·i doe·ni go·gi·ga cheon·ha·da
I-SUBJ monk become-SO meat-SUBJ be-plenty
I become a monk and meat is everywhere.
If you need it, it is rare, if you don’t need it, it is everywhere. Monks don’t eat meat, so once you become a monk, suddenly there is meat everywhere, whereas normally in Korean society, until very recently, meat was uncommon.
Last night my coworkers went out for meat for hoe-sik. I chose not to go, because I was very tired and because it was late and because eating meat didn’t sound very appetizing – I wanted something soft and neutral.
Shall I become a monk?
[daily log: walking, 5 km]

Caveat: Teacher’s Day Ironies Reconsidered

Hallabong_rollYesterday, on Sunday, I was thinking about Teacher's day again, because I was trying to eat one of the gifts I had been given. Most of the sweets the students gave me, I regifted to others, but this "Hallabong roll cake" that Minseo gave me I kept and tried to eat because I have a sentimental attachment to this orange-flavored roll cake, because in 2007 I'm pretty sure it was this kind of roll cake that was the very first thing I ate in Korea, given to me as a housewarming gift by my new employer at that time.

Hallbong_box_400The name Hallabong is a reference to Jeju Island, famous for its mandarin oranges and hence various orange-flavored things. It was hard to eat the cake. I probably shouldn't have tried to eat it – it ends up being dry and difficult and I have to wash it down with coffee or something.









On Saturday, however, I received a note from a student in commemoration of Teacher's day, too. It was a touching note.


At first, I thought maybe she had been inspired to write the letter by something her father said about my recent grumpiness – because it just so happens that her father is a teacher here at Karma . Pete is a teacher with whom I have had my difficulties in the past (difficulties which I commemorated, perhaps coincidentally, in a [broken link! FIXME] blog entry for Teacher's day, 2008) but who is no problem now – probably mostly because we don't interact much because he is a high school teacher, which I don't teach.

Alligators_at_work2_380After asking both him and Habin about about, it, however, I'm pretty sure it was her own idea, and not influenced by any parental promptings.

Regardless, it was an uplifting note to receive from a student. It helps me feel less glum about teaching.

She mentions my character drawings, so I will conclude with some recent snapshots of some whiteboard characters here.




[daily log: walking, 5.5 km]

Caveat: My favorite tree

Ilsan_redwoods1_300They are not native to Ilsan, but they are planted everywhere: Chinese "dawn redwoods." They create their own little eco-niche wherever they cluster. They are both exotic yet familiar to me, given my own upbringing amid the the redwoods of northern California. At left is a picture taken along a path to and from work among the high-rise apartment blocks.


[daily log: walking, 3km]

Caveat: a natural part of life

Sometimes it takes a friend to give us back our own wisdom and allow us to see it. My friend Mark, with whom I only have the most fleeting contact most of the time but who is nevertheless still one of my closest friends, wrote this email to me earlier today.

I saw your blog and decided to send a note.  I know we all have down times.  You probably have had some in Korea, but I have been impressed at how much you have enjoyed the entire experience, and how worldly you are compared to me.  I think bad times are a natural part of life.  And then something happens and it turns around.  I certainly believe in the ability of people to just decide to be happy.  I've done that.  But the time has to be right.  I guess people need to wallow in their sadness for a while first or something.  

Take these words as your inspiration, you may recognize them:

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. 

Hope you have a great day, and know that we love you.

He quotes the thing I wrote some years ago and had sitting here at the left side of this here blog thingy. 

What I'm listening to right now.

The Arch, "Let It Beat Us."

[daily log: walking, 6 km]

Caveat: Teacher’s Day Ironies

Today is the day Koreans call 스승의날 [seuseunguinal], "Teacher's Day." There was even a googledoodle dedicated to it.



I received some gifts from a few students – all food… which is, arguably, a bittersweet type of gift at best given my difficulties eating.

And… I guess it's all ironic since I've been feeling like I'm decaying into a bad teacher.

The thing that has me most disturbed is that I seem to be experiencing some kind of cognitive dysfunction – I'm forgetting things a LOT, and I'm losing my flair for keeping organized. This is impacting the quality of my teaching substantially – the other day I gave the wrong lesson to a class – and Korean teenagers being Korean teenagers, the kids said nothing for almost 20 minutes – perhaps puzzled what was going on, perhaps finding it mildly entertaining, or I-don't-know-what.

I've always had something of the "absent-minded professor" in me, but this is not sustainable, and it's the primary reason I say (as I said in this blog the other day) that I don't enjoy teaching anymore – because I feel like I'm getting bad at it.

I'm constantly forgetting things, repeating myself, losing my place, worrying that I'm making a fool of myself in front of my students. The hypochondriac in me fears some kind of creeping new disability, either consequent to the radiation, for example (it's possible – cognitive difficulty is a listed possible side effect), or else some other unrelated thing (e.g. proto senility or alzheimers, etc).

[daily log: walking, 5 km]

Caveat: but not that much


Despair is not the end of the world
We go on in all our hopelessness
and all our frustration and all our pain
We go on-
Because what alternative
Do we have really?
Death is not a happy option
And loneliness at this stage
Even worse pain-
Tolerance is now the holy word
Forbearance Patience
Stoic quiet –
Despair is not the end of the world
But it’s not lovely either
We go on thinking maybe some day some how
It will be better
It will-
But not that much.

– Shalom Freedman (American-Israeli poet, b 1942)

[daily log: walking, 5 km]

Caveat: Conflicts

I know that lately, I have had a shorter temper than usual, and that I haven't been doing well with managing conflicts at work. Last week I had kind of lost my temper with someone with whom I normally get along fine, because I was angry about something else. This pattern has been happening a lot, though I'm pretty confident it doesn't carry into my classroom conduct. 

Nevertheless, it's made for some tension in the staff room, and today I had the impression I was confronted about it. I say that I had the impression because with meetings in Korea you never really know what the main purpose is – was my conduct something that came up incidental to other things discussed, or was my conduct the main reason for a meeting where other things were discussed the majority of the time? One never knows.

Regardless, I can only acknowledge my mistake and apologize. Unfortunately, I'm not even sure what's going on, except to say that on the one hand, I've been depressed and that surely affects how I behave, while on the other hand it seems that communication downward to me as staff, especially at the middle-school level, has been even worse than the usual bad that is typical of Korea.

What to say? I'm miserable and everyone can tell, I guess. 

What are my options? The Korean approach is to say: cheer up. This is in the command form – which is to say, just do it. The Jared approach is to quit and do something else, but my recent cancer and health issues mean I don't have the freedom of movement that I used to have. I am "married" to the Korean healthcare system, now, for better or for worse, and because of that, I am "married," too, to my job.

Curt says I need to deal with my stress better. He's right, of course.

I have been having problems with my old bicycling crash injury with my foot (when I shattered my 2nd metatarsil bone in 1993 using the perfect combination of exceptional velocity on Bloomington Avenue in Minneapolis, with an open manhole and my bike). This pain flares up every several years (last time was summer of 2012) like a kind of proto-arthritis in my right foot. The consequence is that one of the few things I do to work off stress – take long walks – isn't working as well lately. I'm still walking to work and home every day, but it goes slower, and I feel less motivation to go out exploring on weekends or in the morning.

There have been times since the cancer surgery when I have wondered if it was even worth it. This is one of them.

[daily log: walking, 5 km]

Caveat: Dreary Sunday

Whenever the weather is overcast and drizzly like today, I am taken back to my early years, growing up in Humboldt. Actually it isn't necessarily dreary, as there is a certain enveloping comfort to this weather too. Nevertheless, today was dreary – perhaps more on the inside than on the outside. I am really unhappy with my writing (err, lack of writing), with my Korean study (err, lack of study), with my health (err. . . you get the picture). I am constantly tired and reliably unmotivated. I don't even look forward to maintaining this blog, lately. As with work, I keep at it mostly for the structure it provides.

[daily log: walking, 1km]

Caveat: 2098년 지구 멸망

My student Sunny, who has a characteristically sunny disposition to match her English nickname, ran into my classroom and, using a red marker, wrote on the whiteboard the phrase shown in the picture below.
2098년 지구 멸망
2098: end of the world
Her writing that wasn’t intended to be a reaction to the phrase Sally had written earlier (as part of an effort to give herself prompts for a speech she was working on), “When you get all that new homework,” but the conjunction proved humorous.
I’m not at all sure why Sunny thinks the world will end in 2098 – it’s some local pop culture reference, clearly – a movie or TV show or webtoon that the kids are all soaking up. She took the time to explain that it didn’t matter to her personally, because she would be dead by then. I asked her if she really thought so, and she said confidently that she would only live to age 83 – which, given her birthyear is 2003, puts her demise a decade and a half before the deadline.

Caveat: Symbols Untethered

I had another strange but memorable dream last night – one of those dreams where you still remember it vividly and in great detail hours later.

I had returned to Los Angeles, only to find myself caught up in some kind of crime drama – like a TV show, I guess. I was trying to find these counterfeiters, but ended up in this woman's apartment who had a child, and the child kept giving me "gifts" of small, living animals. First he gave me a mouse. Then, he gave me a bird. Finally, he gave me a snake. I stuffed each of them into my pocket, even as I was thinking to myself, "I really shouldn't put them all in the same pocket." 

I walked out of the woman's apartment, onto what appeared to be a typical Mexico City streetscape, and found that my car was missing. I had some memory of having driven my old Volkswagen bug to the location, but its distinctive dirty-white color and spots of rust were nowhere  to be seen.

I walked down to the main street and caught a passing bus, which, despite everything looking like Mexico City, was nevertheless a bus clearly affiliated with Los Angeles. When I boarded the bus, I found I only had Canadian coins in my pocket. I held them and examined the for a long time, puzzled and amazed to find such a conjunction of Canadian money, having no recollection of why I would. There were 3 pennies, a nickel, a quarter and a loonie.

The bus driver was kind, and let me ride anyway, refusing the money. He seemed to find it amusing that I had only Canadian coins, and tried to make conversation with me – I was the only person on the bus. Then, a friendly family of Haitians, dressed as if for church, boarded the bus and began to sing, and I looked out the window of the bus to see not Los Angeles, nor Mexico, but Korea.

I saw the luxuriant, green rice paddies of high summer, and men and women stooped over working the muddy fields wearing those traditional, broad-brimmed, conical, straw hats. One old man looked up at me as the bus waited at an intersection and smiled. The Haitians got off the bus and the bus driver told me that it was the end of the line.

I got off the bus and looked around. I was in the middle of the nowhere, and it was hot and humid. I felt a movement and remembered the animals in my pocket. I pulled the snake out – it was pale and yellow and lethargic, its beady eyes slitted closed. It was evident it had eaten the mouse – there was a bulge in the snake's length. The bird had disappeared. I pulled out a length of chain, like a broken necklace, instead. Somehow this had replaced the bird. I felt sadness.

I woke up.

I wonder if I'm having strange, symbolically overloaded dreams because I'm spending less time on my computer at home? Or is it the springtime weather? 

[daily log: walking, 5 km]

Caveat: Skeleton Dreams

It was one of those dreams I kept waking up from and then returning to, this morning way before my normal waking-up time.

It was a skeleton dream . . .

In the dream, I was disassembling my skull in some kind of medical theater, using instructions schematics that looked to be from the 19th century. I was demonstrating how the skull is made of pieces which fit together like an intricate puzzle, to Dr Jo (my radiation specialist) and Dr Neuhaus (my doctor when I had Typhoid in Mexico City in 1986 and nearly died in the scary Mexican healthcare system). Why these two men? The two things linking them is a) being doctors during major healthcare crises, and b) speaking with German accents like mad-nazi-scientists in B-grade thrillers – Dr Neuhaus was German-Mexican, and Dr Jo is Korean but did all this studies and internships in Germany and thus speaks English Germanly.

Once my skull was apart – and how is it that I was working on it so easily, being "inside" it? – then my brain came apart like a package of instant udon noodles (soft but cold and tangled together) but each curve had a clear purpose and role. I knew them all perfectly and spoke about their functions to the watching doctors. I needed to fix what was wrong, but then I mixed up two strands and couldn't remember which was which.

With increasing panic I look to my instructions but they blur in front of me, because … my brain was coming apart. And it went on and on.

That was my dream. 

For the record, what I did to my computer on Monday (which has knocked me off the internet for the last few days) was that I was trying to put Linux on it, and I made a stupid mistake by not paying attention, and so I had no operating system for a while. It was actually a problem I handled with equanimity – much more so than the problem I'm continuing to have with my phone (battery). I think it might be time to get a new phone.

I wonder, though, if the dream and the computer/phone problems are connected. I think they are.

[daily log: walking, 5km]

Caveat: Merry Buddhamas

Today was Buddha’s birthday, sometime around 4xxBC, according to the traditional Chinese lunar calendar used in Mahayana Buddhism.
Tnh308To celebrate, I broke my computer yesterday by accident and thusly dedicated myself to reading and meditation. I read a major portion of a book by the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching. It’s more didactic than inspirational, but it’s a well-written summary of Buddhist dogmas, such as they are.
Perhaps I should break my computer more often.

What I’m listening to right now.

David Bowie, “South Horizon.” This is from the album called Buddha of Suburbia which is quite appropriate given the day and my location in that acme of Kburbia: Ilsan.
[daily log: walking, 3 km]
[Note: this post was written on the date and time shown on the post, but due to technical difficulties I was unable to publish it until 2014-05-07 14:40.]

Caveat: please stand by

this is a place holder sent from my phone. i guess i did something stupid and now not only do i have problems with my phone but with my comp too. so my ability to post to my blog is limited. im fine – maybe its just a message from fate to keep my life low tech for the holiday. see you later and merry buddhamas.

Caveat: 아이도 사랑하는 대로 붙는다

Ya kids. …
This is an aphorism from my aphorism book.
아이도 사랑하는 대로 붙는다
a·i·do sa·rang·ha·neun dae·ro but·neun·da
child-TOO love-PRESPART ASSOONAS-ABL take-side-of-PRES
As soon as the child is loved [he] takes [your] side.
The aphorism book had 데로 but I really think it’s a typo (or alternate spelling?), because there’s nothing in my grammar book about a nominal particle 데 plus ablative, whereas 대 + 로 have a plethora of possible meanings in many different constructions involving preceeding verb participles or nouns. So in my transcription of this aphorism I have presumed to make a “correction” – I hope it’s the right thing to do.
I chose this aphorism because it was one about children that was closest in spirit to the idea behind Korea’s “Children’s Day” which is a national holiday dedicated to kids – I would say the American holiday that comes closest in spirit is maybe Halloween, which is basically for kids too, but Children’s Day isn’t loaded with historical / vaguely spiritual baggage – just a day for kids to do fun things and not have to go to school. Parents take their kids to the park, to various activities, etc., and gifts are generally given to them, too.
According to the book, what the aphorism means is that people will support you when you treat them with kindness and respect. That’s a good thought.
The irony, in my opinion, is that if you’re not a kid and you don’t have any, it’s a kind of boring day where you feel out of place no matter where you go or what you do. So I just sat in my apartment, kidless, and battled my phone, which is having its battery problem again (it thinks its battery is empty when it’s fully charged).
What I’m listening to right now.

Muse, “Sunburn.” I like this song but I had never seen the video until just now posting. I don’t like it and it’s probably a little bit inappropriate for Children’s Day. Oh well.
[daily log: what?]
[Note: this post was written on the date and time shown on the post, but due to technical difficulties I was unable to publish it until 2014-05-07 14:40.]

Caveat: 10 Months Cancer Free

It was a strange day. The weather felt weirdly midwestern. I took a walk in the morning it was quite windy but already warm. Then, lacking motivation, I forgot to eat (as I often do on days off when I do not need energy and can be lazy). It is a bad habit, I know. Food is such a hassle, and when my body does not demand it, I have little interest. Oops. . . I had said no more ranting about food. Well, but. . . it is what I deal with. Actually aside from that (or because of it?), I had a very relaxing day. I have dedicated this weekend to one of my more obscure, bizarre hobbies: world-building. Basically, imagine writing only the appendices to Tolkien or Frank Herbert, without the novels. It has been a sometime hobby of mine since childhood – it is good escapism.
[daily log: walking, 3 km]

Caveat: Three Whole Days

Because of the unusual alignment of the lunar and solar calendars (chinese/korean traditional vs gregorian), I turn out to have a three day weekend. Childrens day is monday and Buddha’s birthday is tuesday.
I have no plans. I will relish my solitude.

Caveat: Ah Nevermind

There is some irony in the fact that two days after making a longish, melancholic post about the prevalence of alcohol consumption in Korean society and my own awkward relationship with it, I went out on hoe-sik (회식) again with coworkers last night and managed to consume as much alcohol as I have in many years. 

I was trying to eat "normally" with everyone, and for whatever reason, I was using beer rather than water to "wash it down" – the washing it down is the only way to eat so many foods for me, but using beer was something I should perhaps be more careful about, as I managed to get quite drunk. I didn't really act weird. I just kind of abruptly said I needed to go home and walked home (it was close) and immediately went to sleep. But the "hangover" effect this morning was unpleasant. Sigh.

Well, my coworkers had been insisting, and now they got me to do it. I'm not sure it was very satisfying for them – I didn't get weird or belligerent or philosophical or anything interesting, which is probably what they were hoping. Ah, nevermind.

[daily log: walking, 5 km]

Caveat: Orphan Black Found

When I was in the hospital last summer, my former coworker Grace gave me a bunch of tv shows to watch – mp4's and avi's on a thumb drive. One show that she gave me that I never watched last summer was a show called Orphan Black. ORPHAN-BLACKRecently, I started watching the episodes and found myself getting into it. I downloaded the more recent episodes and this morning I caught up to the most recent episode available. Contrary to my initial impression that it was a mediocre Canadian production in the sci-fi/thriller genre category, the series is in fact extremely well-written and well-acted too. Since the show is about clones, many of the lead roles all belong to one actress, and she does a good job switching back and forth. I've become quite riveted by the series, and recommend it.

[daily log: walking, 2.5 km]

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