Caveat: summer’s blood was in it


for Philip Hobsbaum

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

- Seamus Heaney (Irish poet, 1939-2013)

Caveat: Tree #1612 “보문사”

This tree is yet another guest tree from my past. It’s in the courtyard of a Buddhist temple called Bomunsa (보문사) which is on an island west of Seoul. I visited the temple during an excursion in August, 2013.

A large, twisted tree in a Buddhist temple courtyard, seen from higher vantage point, on the right, with people (tourists) standing around and several temple buildings nearby, the largest cut by the frame on the left

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 2km;]

Caveat: 주인 보태줄 나그네 없다

I found this aphorism in my book of Korean aphorisms.

주인 보태줄 나그네 없다 bo.tae.jul eops.da

master support-give-FUTPART traveler not-exist-PRES

The supportive guest does not exist.

All guests become a liability to their host. This seems similar in meaning to the aphorism attribed to Ben Franklin, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”

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Caveat: Tree #1610 “A very flat place”

This tree is another guest tree from my past. I took this picture of a tree at sunset in a very flat place, just south of Winnipeg in late 2009. I was already living in South Korea at that time, but I’d returned to North America to do a road trip and visit friends and relatives.

A silhouette of some trees sometime after sunset, lingering bands of light in orange, pale green, blue, a very flat horizon

Yesterday and today I’ve been struggling with a problem with some backup processes on my blog server. So I’ve been working on that, and my outdoor projects have been on hold. The issue is still not entirely within my understanding. So I’m still working on it.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 2km;]

Caveat: 10 years ago today, I was diagnosed with cancer

A photo of my diagnosis paper from the Korean hospital where I was being treated; it's all in Korean but it says I have cancer

I wrote about it on this blog at that time. I wrote:

The doctor said: “You have cancer.” Well. No ambiguity, there.

It was stage 3 cancer of the tongue, with possible metastasis in lymphs of the neck. The metastasis on the left side of my neck was confirmed after surgery, though pre-surgery, diagnosis had been more optimistic. Anyway, lymphs were removed, along with the tumor at the base of my tongue. My tongue was reconstructed with spare parts from other parts of my body – I have a weird bioengineered transhumanist tongue.

The statistics at the time of diagnosis was about a 65% survival rate. That later dropped to around 40% survival rate, due to the additional complications during and after my procedure in the hospital. I beat those odds. I had a 9 hour surgery. I was in the hospital for almost a month. I underwent 6 weeks of radiation a few months later, which I discovered is an amazing weight-loss program. Would recommend.

I’m still alive. Presumably, cancer-free. Either that, or I’m a ghost with a very convincing schtick.

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Caveat: Grants-Hogarth University and surrounds

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

My low-effort brag-post for this week is the neighborhood around Grants-Hogarth University, in the imaginary city of Ohunkagan (including an enclave jurisdiction called University Village). The mapping is currently in a time-warp, not yet having reached 1920, and it’s not really complete, but I’m running out of things to post. There are some easter-egg type jokes in the map, including “Chomsky Hall” near the intersection of Government Avenue and Binding Road, thus near the Government & Binding station on the elevated railway.

Screenshot of the map window on the OpenGeofiction site, showing an area mapped of an area around a lakeshore with lots of detail, including a university campus and a golf course

This neighborhood is found on the opengeofiction map here:

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Caveat: me deba entonces a los manicomios


País mío no existes
sólo eres una mala silueta mía
una palabra que le creí al enemigo

antes creía que solamente eras muy chico
que no alcanzabas a tener de una vez
Norte y Sur
pero ahora sé que no existes
y que además parece que nadie te necesita
no se oye hablar a ninguna madre de tí

Ello me alegra
porque prueba que me inventé un país
aunque me deba entonces a los manicomios

soy pues un diocesillo a tu costa

(Quiero decir: por expatriado yo
tú eres ex patria)

- Roque Dalton (poeta salvadoreño, 1935-1975)

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Caveat: Tree #1605 “A migratory tablesaw”

This tree (probably the one kind of barely visible on the right) was there when I finally got the tablesaw moved over from my treehouse to my greenhouse-shed-thing. It was quite difficult to move – too heavy to carry and not able to fit through the treehouse door without extensive disassembly – but I moved it and reassembled it successfully.

A picture of a structure that appears to perhaps be half-shed, half home-made greenhouse (clear plastic siding). There is a table saw visible through an open doorway, and some trees and greenery on the right in the background
You might wonder why I had the tablesaw in the treehouse. I’d put it up there a few years ago because a) I was working on the treehouse a lot and it was handy, but more importantly, b) because I was terrified Arthur would do something with the tablesaw under one of his sudden compulsions to be “handy” but where he doesn’t remember how to operate it safely.

Art and I spent a very long, tedious afternoon at the clinic. He had an appointment – it was just a follow up on the lab tests from before – but the doctor was running behind and so we had to sit around a lot.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 5km; dogwalking, 3.5km]

Caveat: Tree #1604 “Starting engines”

This tree (the one out across the water, I guess) was there while I got the engines started on the boat for the first time. We’re not going out in the boat yet, I’m just doing maintenance on a sunny day, since those are pretty rare.

The foreground is the back of a small boat, with two outboard motors mounted, the smaller has its cover off. Across the blue water is a green hillside of trees, and above, blue skies

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 6km; dogwalking, 3km]

Caveat: 금년 새다리가 명년 쇠다리 보다 낫다

I found this aphorism in my book of Korean aphorisms.

금년 새다리가 명년 쇠다리 보다 낫다

[keum.nyeon myeong.nyeon soe.da.ri bo.da nas.da]

this-year bird-leg-SUBJ next-year cow-leg MORE-THAN is-better-PRES

A bird’s leg this year is better than a cow’s leg next year.

This has an easy equivalent in English’s aphorism, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” and such variants.
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Caveat: Tree #1603 “Secret pond”

This tree is hiding.

Some trees by a pond, the pond barely visible, obscured by greenery, and some of the greenery is reflected in the water, camouflaging the pond

I ran across an unrelated, but humorous, alarming expression (courtesy of the internet): “Happier than a greased alligator at a family water park.”

Maybe there’s an Alaskan alligator in that pond?

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 4.5km; dogwalking, 4km]

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