Caveat: a high-end graveyard

Dear Empire, I am confused each time I wake inside you.
You invent addictions.
Are you a high-end graveyard or a child?
I see your children dragging their brains along.
Why not a god who loves water and dancing
instead of mirrors that recite your pretty features only?
You wear a different face to each atrocity.
You are un-unified and tangled.
Are you just gluttony?
Are you civilization’s slow grenade?
I am confused each time I’m swallowed by your doors.
- Jesús Castillo (American-Mexican poet, born 1986)

[daily log: walking, 1km]

Caveat: 장마

The Korean rainy season (장마) mostly seems to start like clockwork, right around July 1st each year. You can see it on my phone's weather forecasting app.


Or looking out the window works, too. Actually, it's been raining on and off already for the last few weeks. But the monsoon doubles down and just rains all the time. 

The rainy season is probably my favorite season in Korea. Despite the sticky warm temperatures, the green dampness reminds me of my childhood on the far north coast of California, which is climatologically part of the Pacific Northwest.

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Relocating the mapmapmaker

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

Huge changes are afoot in Lucianoland.

After almost 11 years as a resident in Korea, including a productive career teaching and an intense battle with cancer that nearly finished me, but which my excellent doctors here helped me to overcome, I am forced by circumstances beyond my control to move back to the US.

I am thus currently very busy (overwhelmed) with the preparations for the move. Once back in the US – within a month – I have no idea what my job prospects will be or even what sort of work I will do.

I may be too busy to map or participate in OGF much. Then again, I may actually participate in OGF more, as I seek a way to deal with stress and just to relax doing something familiar and comforting in my down time. I can’t predict.

Anyway, if I don’t respond for long periods, you know what’s happening.

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Caveat: Actually not paper

This is a giant paper airplane. But it's not actually paper, but rather, styrofoam, I think.

Mostly I liked it because I thought some of my students would find it cool.

[daily log: walking, 7.5km; carrying heavy box to post office, 0.5km]

Caveat: 잘될거야! 걱정마~

Curt and I were discussing my situation and imminent departure, and all the accompanying uncertainties.
He used the phrase, 잘될거야! 걱정마~ which he helpfully wrote down for me because he knows I learn best visually.
I more or less understood it but had never tried to parse it grammatically.

잘될거야! 걱정마
well-become-FUT-BE-FAM(?)! worry-DON’T
It’ll turn out alright. Don’t worry.

The “-야” verbal ending (not to be confused with vocative -야, which attaches to nouns) is one that I see and hear all the time, but I’ve never seen it explained in any of my grammar books.  I’ve labeled it “BE-FAM” above, for “BE, familiar” – meaning it seems to be a kind of slangy version of the copula that does’t get explained in grammar books. Or maybe I’m wrong and it’s something else, but anyway, I get the meaning of it.
Later I accused him of “irrational optimism,” which he took badly, but in fact I see that as a positive trait: irrational optimism is stronger than rational optimism, because the latter is subject to sudden dissolution in the face of facts.
[daily log: walking, 7.5km; carrying heavy box to post office, 0.5km]

Caveat: is there a 5-year cycle?

There is an apparent 5-year cycle to my existence. Maybe. Well, for now.
Five years ago this week, I found out I had cancer. That radically altered my life and outlook.
Now, I am once again undergoing a transformation in my life and outlook, partly in response to “fate,” such as it is.
picture[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Today’s announcement

My sixth-grade student Seoeun raised her hand, yesterday, as if she had an urgent announcement.

"Yes?" I prompted.

"Today is today," she said gravely, and without hesitation. It was clearly something she'd planned out in her head, as one does when working in a foreign language.

"Um, yes," I agreed. "Why are you telling me?"

"그냥" [geunyang = just because], she offered, shrugging.

"OK, good to know," I said. And we moved on.

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Oh windows registry, how I missed thee!

One thing I did when I was in Portland two weeks ago was I bought a new laptop computer. I wanted to buy in the US because I could get a laptop with the Windows operating system in English – if you buy a laptop in Korea, it will speak Korean to you (meaning all the system error messages, all the setup and config, etc.), and Microsoft has a ridiculous policy whereby if you want to change an operating system's language, you have to buy the operating system again!

The reason to buy in Oregon, specifically, is that Oregon has no sales tax. So I bought the computer there. And now I have it here in Korea.

After more or less being content with my Linux-based resurrection of my old Korean desktop, it's a bit rough transitioning my computer habits back to Windows. Of course, I use Korean-speaking Windows at work, but I won't be taking my desktop back to the US, so I needed a new laptop for all my home-based stuff, especially my geofictioning and server-development hobby, such as it is. 

Windows 10 is smooth and professional, of course, but it really gets on my nerves. It makes assumptions about the way a person might want to work, which run counter to how I prefer to work.

I have hacked the registry numerous times, already, to get it to behave the way I want. In each case, the steps are as follows: 1) hack the registry to make visible some system option that is already built into the system, 2) set the option the way I want. Why do they hide these options? 

First and foremost, I had to kill off the deeply annoying Cortana. What is this, Clippy on opioids? Smooth but insidious, I was compelled to kill it off during my first hours of ownership. I have since had to find ways to prevent the system from insisting on connecting to my Microsoft account (if I want to share things with Microsoft, I'll do so on a case by case basis, right?), to prevent it from going to screen saver when I leave my computer unattended (how is this not a default-accessible option?), and to better manage how it behaves with respect to its power-management options. 

Sigh. I'll get used to it. 

Meanwhile, just for the heck of it, I got it running dual monitors, by hooking the laptop up to my desktop monitor as well as the laptop's. Thus, in the picture below, I can do email and websurfing on one monitor, while I hack around on my server on the other monitor.


[daily log: walking, 7.5km]

Caveat: Many Lines

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

I have drawn many, many lines.

The contour work for Makaska is coming along. I made the decision to complete ALL the contours before placing infrastructure, and so far except for one little experiment at the southwestern border (which was meant mostly to give some hints to my southern neighbor since he’s building a metropolis right across the frontier), I have stuck to my plan.

Overall, I feel happy with my progress. Below is a current screenshot in JOSM. The contour work is divided into 6 separate “degree square” files (you can see the “edges” of each layer file) but I can load them all into JOSM to view my progress, although for actual work I’ll close all of them except the one where I’m working. I also have the “pseudo-PLSS” layer loaded, which is a grid of mile-square “sections” based on the fictional 1841 survey. I think it’s looking pretty good.


I could probably load it right now, except for the band  across the middle, including Freeborn, Battle Plain, Lac Perdu, and Taylor Parishes.

Music to map by: Silvio Rodríguez, “La gaviota.”

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Caveat: those alligators of sentimentality

The toy plastic alligators are a part of my teaching schtick – the kids enjoy them, including even the normally standoffish middleschoolers. But these "made in China" toy alligators break easily. I go through one every month or so, and some months I don't have one that works.

These past years, I frequently save the plastic alligators, whether out of some misplaced sentimentality or because I've got some vague notion of trying to repair them – I did successfully open and repair one once, so it's not an impossible proposition.

As I clean my apartment, I found my alligator graveyard. I briefly considered including them in a shipment back to the US, but I quickly realized that was silly sentimentality, and utterly unnecessary. I snapped a photo of the defunct alligators, assembled forlornly on my floor, and added them to my current trash bag.


Goodbye, alligators.

[daily log: walking, 8km]

Caveat: happimess

I haven't had to deal with planning for a major move in a long time.

I went to buy some standard-sized boxes at the post office. It costs a little more than foraging for free boxes, but I like using standard-sized boxes where they are all the same. It helps me feel organized. These will boxes that I will ship back to the US – probably as "surface mail" which takes a long time on a boat but isn't that expensive.

The boxes from the post office are post office branded. They have a slogan in Korean and English printed on the side. The English slogan is a bit weird, because of the font they used. It sort of seems to say "May your day be filled with happimess" but I think the "m" is just a bad effort at a "sloppy" cursive-style "n".


My mess isn't making me happy. It's giving me stress. That's why I'm starting so early – it'll help to stretch the packing experience out over the next month or more.

[daily log: walking, 8.5km]

Caveat: The Big Decision

Well, the details are not nailed down at all, but I've made it "official" – as much as such things can be in Korea. 

I am ending my career as a Korean hagwon teacher and moving back to the US within the next 2 months. Exact dates will be determined eventually.

This is really hard for me, and I hate feeling like I am letting down the people (coworkers and students) at Karma, where I have been working these past 7 years. But it feels necessary.

More later, I guess.

I met with my friend Peter this morning, and we talked for a while and had lunch before I went to work. He's back in Korea having just finished his Master's in Korean Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS (which is in DC). Very impressive accomplishment, in my opinion. And now he's networking and thinking about his next move – some kind of job, obviously, but he seems willing to take his time and find the right gig.

His quizzing me on the whys and wherefores of my big decision were helpful. He has a way of getting me to think clearly about my intentions and motives. 

[daily log: walking, 9km]

Caveat: nosostres…

This video (in the embedded tweet, below) is interesting to me, not because I necessarily would want to make any kind of linguistic prescription vis-a-vis the Spanish language, but rather because it represents a spontaneous, "folk-linguistic" solution to the the perceived need for truly gender-neutral language in Spanish, which makes the non-gender-neutral aspects of English look pretty minor by comparison. 

I think the substitution of "-e" for "-o/a" is perfect, and much more natural than the annoying, text-based substitutions I've seen before, like -@ or -x, which are unpronounceable and unnatural.

As a linguist, I retain my skepticism about the need for these kinds of solutions, but I nevertheless understand why people want them. I would only point out, by way of semantic counter-example, that the Korean language has a complete lack of gender markers (nouns, pronouns, etc.): it is literally impossible to know the gender of someone out of context, on linguistic cues alone. Yet this fact has hardly managed to create or support a gender-neutral culture. The belief that such is true (or necessary) is just a sort of naive and unscientific Sapirwhorfism.

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Field work for mapping Ohunkagan

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

I haven’t mapped anything, these last two weeks. But I thought about mapping a lot. That’s because I spent the last two weeks in Seattle and Portland for a family emergency, driving around and thus getting lots of ideas and thoughts for Makaska. Certainly I had already been intending the main metropolis, Ohunkagan, to have some similarities with Seattle (although with a Minnesota climate), situated as it is on an isthmus, but getting to drive around there and around Portland, too, gave me some more ideas, anyway. Call it a kind of “Field research” for eventual mapping.

This is a pretty short entry, then, just to give an update of what I’m up to on the geofiction front.

Now that I’m back in Korea, I may have some more time and opportunity to do more mapping.

Music to map by: Taylor Swift, “Delicate.”

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