Caveat: Poem #669

is strange,
since each night
we surrender
to the brain's stoppage,
as if it's protesting
the fruitless hours of doubting,
and has decided to walk out,
leaving us alone with our body.

Caveat: para llevarme lejos

El viento en la isla

El viento es un caballo:
óyelo cómo corre
por el mar, por el cielo.

Quiere llevarme: escucha
cómo recorre el mundo
para llevarme lejos.

Escóndeme en tus brazos
por esta noche sola,
mientras la lluvia rompe
contra el mar y la tierra
su boca innumerable.

Escucha como el viento
me llama galopando
para llevarme lejos.

Con tu frente en mi frente,
con tu boca en mi boca,
atados nuestros cuerpos
al amor que nos quema,
deja que el viento pase
sin que pueda llevarme.

Deja que el viento corra
coronado de espuma,
que me llame y me busque
galopando en la sombra,
mientras yo, sumergido
bajo tus grandes ojos,
por esta noche sola
descansaré, amor mío.

– Pablo Neruda (poeta chileno, 1904-1973)

[daily log: walking, 7.5km]

Caveat: 새도 가지를 가려 앉는다

I found this aphorism in my book of aphorisms.

새도 가지를 가려 앉는다 ga.ji.reul ga.ryeo anj.neun.da
bird-EVEN branch-OBJ be-picky-FIN sit-PRES
Even a bird is picky [when choosing] a branch to sit on.

This advocates for the thoughtful, intentional life, I think. One should choose one’s place, setting, friends, career with care.
I’m not sure what an equivalent English aphorism might be.
[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: On the possible intersubstitutability of stressors

The show last Friday went OK, I guess. I was so tired over the weekend. I didn't really get much done. Unfortunately, I need to start preparing, because next week I'm going to the US.

This is not a planned trip. My uncle, who is like a second father to me, has been in the hospital. I need to go see him.

So I took my original developing plan to go to the US in the fall, and simply accelerated it. I have already bought a round trip ticket to Seattle. My uncle is in Portland now – he was in Alaska when his problem developed, and had to be air-ambulanced out to Seattle. 

I'll give more information later. But basically the one stress of the show has been replaced by a very different kind of stress, as I prepare to go to the US.

[daily log: walking, 4km]

Caveat: Poem #666

Well, the devil is in the details.
You could read this poem and wonder.
But the darkness lurks beyond.
There, above or outside.
And couched in symbols.
In plain sight.
Count it.

[daily log: walking, 1.5km]

Caveat: and the stern winds brood

The Vast Hour

All essences of sweetness from the white
Warm day go up in vapor, when the dark
Comes down. Ascends the tune of meadow-lark,
Ascends the noon-time smell of grass, when night
Takes sunlight from the world, and gives it ease.
Mysterious wings have brushed the air; and light
Float all the ghosts of sense and sound and sight;
The silent hive is echoing the bees.
So stir my thoughts at this slow, solemn time.
Now only is there certainty for me
When all the day's distilled and understood.
Now light meets darkness: now my tendrils climb
In this vast hour, up the living tree,
Where gloom foregathers, and the stern winds brood.

– Genevieve Taggard (American poet, 1894-1948)

[daily log: walking, 7.5km]

Caveat: A man who wears many hats

Today is the big show. It'll be a long day, but the end is in sight. The results will be what they are, and there's not much left to be done except just do the show.

Last night my student Gary, a third grader in one of the lower level classes, was putting in extra time preparing his role. He's kind of the main character for the particular little play that we're doing in that group, and as all the teachers have complained to me, the play is a bit difficult for their level. So he has a lot of English to memorize, and it's quite a bit beyond his level. In my defense, the students did choose the skit themselves, after having read through it and several easier choices several times. So they had some idea what they were getting into.

Gary was feeling pleased with himself because he'd managed to get it pretty well mastered. So he took ALL the animal hats that we are using as costumes for the skit and put them ALL on his head. 

I asked him if that meant he intended to memorize all the other roles, too. He quickly removed the hats, but not before I took a picture.


Wish us luck.

[daily log: walking, 8km]

Caveat: Foki Afa Galande

What I'm listening to right now.

Heilung, "Krigsgaldr." This looks like part of some weird Scandinavian neo-Paganist thing. But it is interesting. I find these "back-to-roots" European nativist movements culturally intriguing, but feel it's regrettable the way they get coopted by various racist and authoritarianist ideologues. I have no idea what specific ideologies are associated with this Danish group, but if they turn out to be offensive, I offer my apologies in advance. I mostly just find it linguistically and culturally interesting, and would remark on the interesting coincidences with ancient cultures all over the world – these performers are not that different from e.g. efforts to recover or reconstruct Native American pre-contact cultures. I think the non-English parts, below, are no variety of modern Scandinavian, but rather intended to be some kind of "proto-Nordic" as recovered from some ancient runic inscriptions – that's what is linguistically interesting to me.


Min Warb Naseu
Wilr Made Thaim
I Bormotha Hauni

Hu War
Hu War Opkam Har a Hit Lot

Got Nafiskr Orf
Auim Suimade
Foki Afa Galande

What am I supposed to do
If I want to talk about peace and understanding
But you only understand the language of the sword
What if I want to make you understand that the path you chose leads to downfall
But you only understand the language of the sword
What if I want to tell you to leave me and my beloved ones in peace
But you only understand the language of the sword

I let the blade do the talking…
So my tongue shall become iron
And my words the mighty roar of war
Revealing my divine anger´s arrow shall strike

All action for the good of all
I see my reflection in your eyes
But my new age has just begun

The sword is soft
In the fire of the furnace
It hungers to be hit
And wants to have a hundred sisters
In the coldest state of their existence
They may dance the maddest
In the morass of the red rain

Beloved brother enemy
I sing my sword song for you
The lullaby of obliteration
So I can wake up with a smile
And bliss in my heart
And bliss in my heart
And bliss in my heart

Coexistence, Conflict, combat
Devastation, regeneration, transformation
That is the best I can do for you

I see a grey gloom on the horizon
That promises a powerful sun to rise
To melt away all moons
It will make the old fires of purification
Look like dying embers
Look like dying embers
Look like dying embers

Min Warb Naseu
Wilr Made Thaim
I Bormotha Hauni

Hu War
Hu War Opkam Har a Hit Lot

Got Nafiskr Orf
Auim Suimade
Foki Afa Galande

Hu War
Hu War Opkam Har a Hit Lot

Ylir Men Aero Their
Era Mela Os

I found some vague gestures at translation, and will only offer that the part I used as this blog post's title, "Foki Afa Galande", seems to correspond to a meaning "land of shining meadows".

The official video of the same song released by the group is interesting, too.

Heilung, "Krigsgaldr."

[daily log: walking, 7km; children herded, ~∞]

Caveat: I’ve become impossible

Today is "Buddhamas" (Buddha's birthday, observed, in South Korea, as a single middle-of-the-week holiday).

It's a day off from work, but in the middle of such a busy period, with the talent show coming up and putting in extra hours every other day this week, its feels less like a bonus day and more like a deserved moment of rest. So that's what I made it. I have been reading a novel. I used to read novels all the time, but in fact I think this is the first novel I've worked on in 2018. I simply don't read fiction anymore. I read history – a lot. I read poetry, and online blogs about all kind of topics from politics to linguistics to philosophy. But I haven't been much for novel-reading.

I haven't decided if I like this novel. So I'm going to remain mysterious about what it is. If I actually finish it, it will be my first novel in over a year, and maybe I should report on it.

Meanwhile, what I'm listening to right now.

Nine Inch Nails, "We're In This Together."


I've become impossible holding on to when
When everything seemed to matter more
The two of us
All used and beaten up
Watching fate as it flow down the path we
Have chose
You and me
We're in this together now
None of them can stop us now
We will make it through somehow
You and me
If the world should break in two
Until the very end of me
Until the very end of you
Awake to the sound as they peel apart the skin
They pick and they pull
Trying to get their fingers in
Well they've got to kill what we've found
Well they've got to hate what we fear
Well they've got to make it go away
Well they've got to make it disappear
The farther I fall I'm beside you
As lost as I get I will find you
The deeper the wound I'm inside you
For ever and ever I'm a part of
You and me
We're in this together now
None of them can stop us now
We will make it through somehow
You and me
If the world should break in two
Until the very end of me
Until the very end of you
All that we were is gone we have to hold on
All that we were is gone we have to hold on
When all our hope is gone we have to hold on
All that we were is gone but we can hold on
You and me
We're in this together now
None of them can stop us now
We will make it through somehow
You and me
Even after everything
You're the queen and I'm the king
Nothing else means anything

[daily log: walking, 2km]

Caveat: 1320 feet

[This is a cross-post from my other blog.]

I continue to be really busy with work, so I don’t have a lot of time for mapping or server stuff.

I have been progressing further on Makaska. The hydrology is pleasing, and contours feel like they’re falling into place and that it will be possible to actually finish them in a finite amount of time.

Another thing that needs working on to make a truly “US analogue” midwestern state such as Makaska, is that there need to be realistic county and township divisions. This means replicating the kinds of the errors and styles of 19th century “compass and chain” survey methods.

I am quite pleased with my results – not yet uploaded because I want to make sure the townships I’ve laid out are in sync with my ideas about where the rivers and county lines will go and I want everything to have a name, of course. Anyway, here is a screenshot in JOSM.


My title refers to the fact that the 19th century North American grid style was based on the mile, which is 5280 feet. A standard township was made up of 36 “sections”, 6 miles by 6 miles square. Each “section” was divided into quarters (160 acres, 2640 feet to a side) and those were further divided into “quarter quarters” (40 acres, 1320 feet to side). So in recreating the survey process for my fictional place, I “paced” my way across my entire state in 1320 foot lengths, imagining my surveyors stretching out their chain over and over. By doing it this way, I could introduce random “mistakes” that would render the result realistic, and I could account for the way the curvature of the earth forces periodic resets of the alignments of the north-south meridian lines.

So my grid contains these inconsistencies, and in a few places, I have deliberately failed to “walk” perfectly north/south/east/west, forcing a later realignment.

In the picture above, the little “tic marks” on the north-south “base meridian” are 1320 feet apart.

Music to map by: 블락비, “닐리리 맘보.”

CaveatDumpTruck Logo

Caveat: not such tall tales

"You know, it's just not right." – Yeoeun said, looking over at me wryly and shaking her head disconsolately. She put her hands on her hips, for emphasis. She's an 8th grade girl, who was standing and looking up at several 5th grade boys who towered over her in the hallway.

[daily log: walking, 5km]

Caveat: 웃음조절장애

Sometimes my middle school students talk to me in Korean, even though they’re perfectly capable of expressing themselves in English. Partly, this is to indicate a different pragmatics: it shifts control of the discourse from me to them, since I’m the one with limited Korean ability. I think they derive some satisfaction from that. So, especially during times of just chatting or joking around, they’ll start talking in Korean, but still talking to me. This is remarkable, because half the time I don’t understand them, but I fake it pretty well, and I guess they enjoy the notion that they’re “teaching” me, too.
On Friday night, some girls in my HS2M cohort had the giggles. Well, certain types of 8th grade girls often have the giggles. I said, somewhat jokingly, “Are you going to stop laughing? Ever?”
One girl, Gayeong, said, painting a serious face for just a very short time, “But, Teacher! I have 웃음조절장애!”.
I laughed pretty hard. “웃음조절장애” means, roughly, “Laughter control disability” – with the same formal or vaguely medicalized discourse level. It’s the way a Korean child psychologist might talk about it, if it were considered an actual disability. So it was a joke.
I’ll have to remember the experession.
[daily log: walking, 1km]

Caveat: 100% 보이스피싱!

My Korean cellphone service provider, KT (Korea Telecom) likes to send me public service announcements via text message. Mostly these seem useless – though one time it warned of some flooding up in Paju, where I might, conceivably, have been going. Mostly I just scan the messages and try to get the gist of them, and then delete them.

I got one a while back that had me stumped. It said:

검찰, 경찰, 금감원을 사칭하여 현금이나 계좌이체를 요구하면 100% 보이스피싱!

I read the message, and despite having a general idea of the gist of the message – something about inappropriate impersonation of police or prosecutors, some kind of warning about a scam – I nevertheless was unable to the parse the last word. That last term was "100% 보이스피싱!" – well, the transcription would be [bo.i.seu.pi.sing], which I knew would be some kind of English borrowing – the last syllable -싱 [-sing] gives it away, since it's a fairly rare syllable in Korean, and certainly doesn't occur at the end of words. It was clearly the English "-ing" ending, which the Koreans love to borrow, sometimes inappropriately. But sounding it out, the best I could come up with was "boys pissing". Unfortunately, that seemed like an unlikely bit of English borrowing for a public service announcement from my cellphone carrier. Were people impersonating boys pissing? Was this a problem?

After having given up on figuring it out on my own, I plugged it into the googletranslate, which gave me the obvious choice: "voice phishing". It was a warning about voice-phishing, not about boys pissing.

I think it was more interesting, before. Although kinda weird, right?

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Finger-knitting

In principle, I really enjoy the annual talent show concept we do with the elementary-age kids at Karma English Academy. It takes me back to my own elementary years, at the "hippie" Centering School in Arcata, where for each hour we spent doing math or reading, we spent 5 hours doing drama, art projects, and other "touchy-feely" stuff that was built on creativity and kid autonomy. My strongly held notions of the best pedagogical methods with children are substantially derived from this experience.

But in practice, there are issues. One is the somewhat poor planning that is inevitable in such undertakings in the Korean context, in my experience. Though actually, that doesn't bother me so much, though it can create some stress.

What creates the most stress, though, is differing philosophies vis-a-vis the purpose and goals of the project. In my mind, the main purpose is to give the kids autonomy to create (and/or fail to create) their own expressions using English. I will grant a secondary purpose that it serves to provide some positive "marketing" or publicity for the hagwon. But I don't believe it should be some kind of slick, professionalized production.

But most of my colleagues are incapable of granting kids autonomy, and so letting them fall down on their own is unacceptable. If the kids can't do it, you do it for them. This is built in to the Korean educator's mindset, I suppose. It's partly why kids spend so much time sitting in class, learning so very little. But it has definitely led to some unpleasant conflicts on this year's go-round. I hate to see teachers doing things for the kids. Help them, sure… nothing wrong with that. Show them how, sure. But don't take over the kids' projects because the work the kids have done doesn't meet some ideal standard.

One younger, lower-level class is doing a little play entitled "The Frog's Tail Tale" – a script I found and adapted from somewhere online, based on a traditional West African folk story about how the frog was too proud of his tail and angered the gods, so he had it taken away.

So the kids need costumes, and all the animals' tails play an important part in the story, so that is the focus of our costuming. Grace suggested we do "finger knitting" to make the tails, and it seemed like a fun, creative idea. I got some yarn, I taught myself the basics of the skill well enough to be able to teach the kids, and then we spent a few classes learning finger knitting, and making tails for our animal characters.

Of course, the kids' output was fairly low quality. One of the other teachers said, "Oh, you'd better do it for them, then, so it looks good." I started to argue about it, but such conversations devolve quickly into a kind of debate where we talk past one another because our foundational notions of child pedagogy are incompatible. We don't even share definitions. Previous years have taught me this. And I'm tired of arguing about what are fundamentally cultural issues like that. I live in Korea, now. I feel the onus is on me to just go with the flow. 

I shrug.

And I sit at home, these last few days, finger-knitting animal tails for our play.

I could see myself adopting this as a hobby as an old man, to pass the time sitting in a rocking chair somewhere.


[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Everthing okey dokey 참지마 그냥 욱해

So busy.
Burnout mode…
What I’m listening to right now.

블락비, “닐리리 맘보.”

Ha Ha Yeah BBC follow me
Bounce like this eh eh
Bounce like
Block B in the House
Z and pop time Muzic
is officially over now
Bye guyz
Hi ladies
징한 놈들 나왔다
빠라 바라 밥
나팔을 불어라
어디 몸 좀 풀어 볼까나
다라 다라 닻을 높이 올려라
뻣뻣한 몸치 박치들
우리 보고 배워
쿵치 타치
Rhythm AH
We bobbin’ to the music music
This song is groovy groovy
눈 깜빡 해도
아른거리는 아우라 baby
둔탁한 비트 위로
짖어대 왈왈 eh hey
Move Right now
어디 수위 좀 높여 볼까
떠들 준비들 되셨나
우예 모두 놀라
윽박 지르는 거야
다 꿈 깨 발악해
점잔 떨지 말고
Everthing okey dokey
참지마 그냥 욱해 욱해 Yeah
아무나 다 데리고 와
Rock and roll
Let’s go
닐리리 라라라
닐리리야 닐리리맘보
닐리리 라라라
닐리리야 닐리리맘보
닐리리 라라라
닐리리야 닐리리맘보
We bobbin’ to the music music
This song is groovy groovy
작정하고 나와라
사람마다 정신 나간 Holiday
이 곳 분위긴 여름바다
걸리적 거리는 윗도리 탈의해
어수선하게 벙찌지 말아
양치기 소년 같이
사방을 전전하며 Blah Blah
동해도 내가 다이빙하면
아담한 풀장
죄다 박살내라
Click Clack boom pow
Come on everybody just tap tap
Twist your body
아무리 죽을 힘을 다해서 덤벼도
쨉 쨉도 안돼 안돼
제대로 놀아줘
This is real B.B
We be big pimpin’
박수치고 손들어 이건 바이킹
탈진할 때까지 계속 샤우팅
우예 모두 놀라
윽박 지르는 거야
다 꿈 깨 발악해
점잔 떨지 말고
Everthing okey dokey
참지마 그냥 욱해 욱해 Yeah
아무나 다 데리고 와
Rock and roll
닐리리 라라라
닐리리야 닐리리맘보
닐리리 라라라
닐리리야 닐리리맘보
Go left go left go left right left
Go left go left go left right
우예 모두 놀라
윽박 지르는 거야
다 꿈 깨 발악해
점잔 떨지 말고
Everthing okey dokey
참지마 그냥 욱해 욱해 Yeah
아무나 다 데리고 와
Rock and roll
Let’s go
닐리리 라라라
닐리리야 닐리리맘보
닐리리 라라라
닐리리야 닐리리맘보
닐리리 라라라
닐리리야 닐리리맘보
We going to the top forever
We going take it to the next level

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Snailgater Unigater Babygater

My 9th grade student Seunghyeon draws excellent doodles on his TEPS Test listening practice answer papers. He's no slouch at getting the right answers, either, and has a phenomenal passive vocabulary in English, certainly better than your average American native speaker, I would estimate. He doesn't talk much, though.

Anyway, he paid a tribute to my alligator characters on the top of his most recent answer paper, the other day.


[daily log: walking, 7km]

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