Caveat: Tree #1875 “영광군”

This tree is a guest tree from my past. I took this picture in April, 2011, at the rural public school where I worked, in Yeonggwang County, South Korea.


CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 2.5km;]

Caveat: Tree #1371 “Strong winds”

This tree is in neighbors Mike and Penny’s yard. It looked like it was about to be blown away by strong winds this morning.


picture[daily log: walking, 2.5km; dogwalking, 2km]

Caveat: Tree #1362 “Rainy day”

This tree was among others of its kind, across the street from where I was working in October, 2012, along Ilsan-no (Ilsan Road), in South Korea. This neighborhood was my “home” (where I worked) for 9 out of the 11 years I was in Korea.

picture[daily log: walking, 5km; retailing, 8.5hr]

Caveat: Tree #1330 “Inversion”

This tree was in the sea.
Some customers came into the store today, as they will do. Trying to be friendly, and seeing they were likely out-of-towners, I asked, “So, are you up fishing? Hunting?”

This one customer was a smart-alec. He answered, smooth as can be, “No, actually. I’m up here to visit gift shops. I’ll do a little fishing on the side if I have time.”

picture[daily log: walking, 5km; retailing, 8.5hr]

Caveat: Tree #1310

This tree saw the clouds part – but that was yesterday.
More and more frequently, Art asks me for help with his computer problems. This is very hard for me. Art is and always has been a loyal Apple customer – his computers are all, always, only MacBooks. I hate Apple systems and OS design with a passion, and it’s always been challenging for me to even accept that he sees it differently. But even getting past that, I have to deal with the fact I really don’t know much about how they’re supposed to work. Add to that the fact that Arthur has his own idiosyncratic ways he thinks things should be done, and I really simply can never, ever please him at all.

Case in point: the other day he received in the mail from Amazon two large SSD external drives he’d ordered. He has a huge stockpile of saved stuff on his computers and hard drives, and he needed more storage (though arguably this is mostly because he doesn’t remember how to “clean house” on his computers anymore). Well he got these hard drives and couldn’t get either of them to work. I took a look at them. They were clearly labeled “for Windows.” Now it’s true that often these type of external drives are cross-functional, but I wondered how he’d managed to order them. You can’t really assume they’re cross-functional.

I told him I’d take a look at them on my computers. First I tried on my Linux machines, but no luck. So I booted up my rarely-used Windows partition, and pretty soon I had both of them working. I had to create partition tables – apparently they shipped without them, but expected Windows to attach to them and create the partition tables, or something like that. Once that was done, I could create partitions on each one and format them. I took them back downstairs and Arthur plugged them into his MacBook and sure enough, they were read fine, now.

Rather than thank me, Arthur complained that they drives weren’t displaying the way that he was used to, in his Mac OS finder tool. He considered this unacceptable – but it’s just a different display – the drives are not functionally different. I suspect they display differently because they’re still Windows formatted (NTFS), rather than generic (FAT32) or Mac format.

Why do I bother?
picture[daily log: walking, 5km; dogwalking, 3km]

Caveat: Poem #2028

My uncle's not good company,
he's really getting old.
The room he's in is loud and hot,
because he's deaf and cold.

– a quatrain in ballad meter.

Caveat: Tree #1107

This tree was in the distance when a dog watched a duck.

picture[daily log: walking, 4km; dogwalking, 3km]

Caveat: Tree #1073

This tree waited while the dog waited at the top of the ramp to the dock.
We had a Christmas that was so low-key that it really wasn’t very christmassy at all. I made fish curry for dinner.

picture[daily log: walking, 4km; dogwalking, 3.5km]

Caveat: For Advanced Conlangers

“Conlanging” is the accepted name for the hobby of inventing new languages. I have been a conlanger since around age 7 – I remember inventing a language for my stuffed animals – specifically, a tribe of stuffed raccoons – at around that age, and though I don’t have my notes, I remember it being fairly sophisticated for something created at that age.

Like many conlangers, it’s only ever been a kind of side hobby, for me – though it dovetails nicely with another hobby I used to have as a child and that I resurrected in my post-cancer years and that has actually become a major avocation: geofiction. And of course, like many conlangers, I was, as a young adult, drawn to linguistics, where it eventually became one of my undergrad majors at the Univ of Minnesota. I don’t regret that, at all.

Anyway, this post is about conlanging, not geofiction. For some years now, there have existed some interesting websites and computer applications for inventing languages and storing the data. But I found a site yesterday that takes it to a new level. The site is called I actually rather dislike the name, but I think it’s probably good marketing. Anyway, the site is created by people who clearly are quite knowledgeable on matters linguistic – to a level I’ve never seen before. I went ahead and paid the $25 “lifetime” access – we’ll see how that pans out, as I’ve seen many a website offering those terms that lasts 5-10 years before disappearing or radically altering its business model such that the guarantee doesn’t eventuate. But anyway, how could I resist. Let there be more conlanging, then – at a higher level of quality than ever before.

As an incidental, I haven’t posted much of my conlanging work online, at all, but a very incomplete exemplar can be found in this article about the Mahhalian language, which I created about 6 years ago originally.

Caveat: Fishing Report #(n+23)

We went fishing today. It was an inauspicious start: Arthur slept in and I found the motor wouldn’t start. The battery was dead. I suspect this is because the newly installed plug for the downrigger spent time submersed in standing water – there is no master turn-off switch for the downrigger wiring – this has always been true. We need to remember to make sure the wiring tails with the plug-in ends on them are raised up and unable to fall into water.

And it was raining.

We charged up the battery using the battery charger and the long extension cord. We got the motor started at around 8, and by 8:30 we had finally departed the dock.

The inauspiciousness continued, as we trolled without result up and down (or rather, down and up) San Ignacio Island. We crossed over to just west of Tranquil Point. And within half an hour, we caught one. At least we were sticking to our established pattern. We trolled for another hour eastward, until just off Batan Point, northwest of Caldera Bay, we caught two at once – one on each downrigger.

So we spun around and trolled through the same spot again. And we caught two more. This was more auspicious. We trolled through the same spot 3 more times, and caught two more. It was raining fairly steadily and Arthur was feeling overwhelmed by all the cutting and packing ahead of him, so we decided 7 was enough, and headed home. We tied up at the dock at about 3:10.

Year-to-date totals:

  • Coho: 10
  • Kings: 0
  • Halibut: 0
  • Other: 1
  • Too-small fish sent home to mama: 12
  • Downrigger weights left on the bottom of the sea: 1


Caveat: Some Random Blogposts

I am experimenting with a new little feature on the right-hand column of this here blog thingy™: random posts from the whole set of past blogposts.


Caveat: Tree #311

The neighbor, whose house burned down in August, apparently got some insurance money, and is rebuilding. He’s hired someone to put in an improved driveway and a new house-pad, higher than the old house. I’m a bit skeptical in the way this new project has overflowed onto the tribal lands to his east – his new driveway cuts off from the road almost a 100 feet east of his property line. But the new driveway does afford a nice view of the charred but still-living tree down by the water-line where the old house was.
Here is a view of the new house-pad down the old stairs, the lower part of which we had to destroy with the chain saw during the night of the fire, to prevent the fire from spreading up the stairs.
picture[daily log: walking, 2.5km]

Caveat: Testing the leaflet widget on the blog

[This is a cross-post from my other blog (see previous blog entry)]

Here’s a live leaflet of my own tileserver with my own planet (stripped of detail because I want my database small as I test things). Welcome to Rahet. UPDATE, OCTOBER 2019: Being a dynamic window on the map, rather than a snapshot, means that since the “planet” shown is much changed, this view is not the view that existed when this blog post was written.

Here’s a view of Tárrases over at OGF on standard layer.

Here’s a view of Tárrases over at OGF on Topo layer. [UPDATE 20210530: The OGF Topo layer is no longer functioning.] [UPDATE2 20230315: The OGF Topo layer is once again functioning, and has been for over a year.]

That’s pretty cool.

Music to map by: Cold, “Bleed.”

CaveatDumpTruck Logo

Listening files links

Listening files links!


HtMSftTOEFL Intermediate







말하기 쉬운 한국어 2


Caveat: Author Profile


[UPDATE 2018-02-09: This page was created in 2013, and I have not updated it. I am putting it here because I have closed the site where it was originally hosted. Most of it is still broadly accurate.]

My name is Jared Way. I have created this website for interacting with my current students, as well as to present myself professionally. I also maintain a personal blog if you want to see more about me.


Brief Background

In 2007, I returned to teaching after working for many years in information technology (database programming and business systems analysis). I had worked as a high school teacher in the United States in the 1990’s.

I came to South Korea and I worked for several hagwon (after-school academies) in Ilsan (Goyang City), Gyeonggi, South Korea, from September, 2007, until August, 2009. In April of 2010, I started a one-year contract at Hongnong Elementary School in Hongnong, Yeonggwang County, Jeollanam, South Korea. This was a rural, public school. After that contract ended (April, 2011), I returned to Ilsan and have been another hagwon there since then until the present (January, 2013).

In most of my positions I have worked as speaking or listening skills teacher, with a focus on iBT (TOEFL) preparation or debate-based curricula. I find that debate, especially, is an excellent way to teach integrated languages skills to Korean students, regardless of level or age.

Personal Data

South Korea has a distinct culture and it is extremely common for people I barely know or have just met to ask me questions that would be considered rude or “too personal” in an American cultural context. I think just putting this information online for people to see is easiest.

  • Marital Status: Single (widowed – my wife passed away in 2000).
  • Children: 1 step-son, age 25. I have no current dependents.
  • Age: 47 by Western calendar (48 by Korean reckoning).
  • Height: 178 cm. Weight: 85 kg.

Why Korea?

At some point a some years ago, I became fascinated with Korean language and culture. I have a background in linguistics, and the Korean language is both fascinating to me but also intensely challenging. I have decided that I welcome this challenge, and although it may take a very long time, I hope to stay in Korea until I feel I have reached some degree of competency with the Korean Language. That is one of the reasons why I choose Korea instead of some other location to pursue my teaching career.

Nevertheless, for me the teaching work is more important than the language study, which is perhaps why, after five years in Korea, I’m continue to struggle with the language at a fairly low level – it is often hard to find time and opportunities to study and practice effectively.

I have grown very fond of Korea and Korean culture.

Additional Materials

Below is a list of other materials I have made available online [UPDATE 2018-02-09: all links are broken!].


Songs that might be fun for the kids

I needed a place to “stockpile” video links of songs I think have some teaching potential or entertainment value for my students.

They Might Be Giants, “Walking My Cat Named Dog.” Originally by Norma Tenaga, 1966.


I’m walkin all around the town
Singin all the people down
Talkin around, talkin around.
Me and my cat named Dog
Are walkin high against the fog
Singin the sun
Singin the sun

Happy, sad and crazy wonder
Chokin up my mind with perpetual dreamin…

I’m driftin up and down the street
Searchin for the sound of people
Swingin their feet, swingin their feet
Dog is a good old cat
People what you think of that?
That’s where I’m at, that’s where I’m at.

Happy, sad and crazy wonder
Chokin up my mind with perpetual dreamin…

Dog is a good old cat
People what you think of that?
That’s where I’m at, that’s where I’m at, that’s where I’m at.

They Might Be Giants, “Elephants.” 


they’re not the largest mammals
but they’re biggest on the land
so when I say “please step away”
I know you’ll understand

they’ve got two tusks up front for fighting
or digging in the dirt
so you can see how easily
you’d end up getting hurt

get out of the way
get out of the way
the elephants are coming through your town today

they’re great communicators
with waves called infrasound
seismically clear – you’d barely hear
them travel through the ground

and while the cows all stick together
and congregate at home
the bulls go out and walk about
they’d rather be alone

get out of the way
get out of the way
the elephants are coming through your house today

did you hear about the farmer… 


They Might Be Giants, “Omnicorn.”


omnicorn. like no other creature ever born
on its head is every manner of horn
the omnicorn’s the one
the one

omnicorn. hiding over by the edge of the pines
now it’s running past the hunting lodge sign
no one will see it go

I’ve been to museums
I’ve seen the no-see-ums
I know what I’m talking about

omnicorn. even rarer than a unicorn
it’s got every single kind of horn
omnicorn’s the one
the one

omnicorn. leaping over someone’s mobius strip
left behind from a vacationing trip
that’s something to talk about
omnicorn go
omnicorn go
omnicorn go
omnicorn go




Color Song


What color is the sky?

It’s blue.

It’s blue.

It’s blue.

The sky is blue.

The sky is blue.


What color is the sun?

It’s yellow.

It’s yellow.

It’s yellow.

The sun is yellow.

The sky is blue.


What color is the grass?

It’s green.

It’s green.

It’s green.

The grass is green.

The sun is yellow.

The sky is blue.


What color is an apple?

It’s red.

It’s red.

It’s red.

An apple is red.

The grass is green.

The sun is yellow.


The sky is blue.
The sky is blue.





Phonomimes, Phenomimes and Psychomimes

This is a list of Korean phonomimes, phenomimes and psychomimes. In Korean, phonomimes are called 의성어, while phenomimes and psychomimes (without distinction) are called 의태어.

Most are reduplicative, but not all, cf. 날씬. Most are adverbial, but not all, cf. 똑똑하다 which is only allowed with the verbal suffix -하다 (there exists an adverbial 똑똑 but the semantics are completely different, as it seems be simply a phonomime “knock knock”). Many of them show variants with an alternation of vowels (mostly within the old Korean vowel harmonies). Most of them appear to derive from “native Korean” (pre-Chinese substrate) but a few have hanja (i.e. are borrowed from Chinese, e.g. 당당하다) – these might not belong, strictly speaking, to the same category but I have included them anyway because the semanto-phonotactics are the same.

There are quite a few, and I have posted [broken link! FIXME] several [broken link! FIXME] blog [broken link! FIXME] entries about them in the past, but I have decided to maintain a simple consolidated list as a separate page, as I have never found one online that exactly presents them in just this way, as a simple list.

The distinction between them is quite vague and unclear. When does a phonomime become a phenomime? When does a phenomime shade into a psychomime? I don’t know that such distinctions are even useful – one can use a phonomime metaphorically to pass into the other semantic categories. What’s interesting to me is their existence as a broad and seemingly fairly active semantic category, collectively.

Actually, the relation in wikipedia between the articles on “ideophone” and on “sound symbolism” (which includes discussion of phenomimes and psychomimes) overlaps substantially, without either article seeming to be aware of the other. In fact, there is other work in other places,  too, that doesn’t tie this together very well. In general, the “internet’s” understanding of this phenomenon seems quite fragmented and poor. This is another motivation for posting this updatable “page” on my blog space.

Personally, I’m not sure what to call these, collectively. “‘Mimes”? “Reduplicative adverbials”? “Sound symbolic sememes”? I’ve seen the term “mimetic words.”  I think I like “ideophone.”

So here is a list, in 한글순서 (Korean “alphabetical” order) – roughly, I haven’t worked too hard to make sure the vowels under each consonant are in correct order.

  • -ㄱ-
    • 갈갈 [] = greedily, ravenously, avidly
  • -ㄲ-
    • 꽹구랑 꽹꽹깽 [ kkwaeng.kkwaeng.kkaeng] = gongingly
    • 깡충깡충 [kkang.chung.kkang.chung] = bouncily, “hoppingly” 
    • 깡총깡총[kkang.chong.kkang.chong] = bouncily, “hoppingly”
  • -ㄴ-
    • 날씬 [nal.ssin] = slimly, slenderly
    • 늘씬[neul.ssin] = slimly, slenderly
  • -ㄷ-
    • 당당하다 [dang.dang-hada] = to be stately, to be imposing, to be dignified, to be fair
    • 드르르 [deu.reu.reu] excellently, smoothly
  • -ㄸ-
    • 똑똑 [ttok.ttok] = “knock, knock”, “drip, drip”
    • 똑똑하다 [ttok.ttok-hada] = to be smart, to be clever, to be bright, be be explicit, to be distinct
    • 띵가띵가놀다 [tting.ka.tting.ka-nol.da] = to play around, to goof off, to dink around
  • -ㄹ-
  • -ㅁ-
    • 말똥말똥 [mal.ttong.mal.ttong] = wide-eyed staringly
    • 멀뚱멀뚱 [meol.ttung.meol.ttung] = wide-eyed staringly
    • 말랑 몰랑 물렁 [mal.lang mol.lang mul.leong] = softly / tenderly (as a texture of food)
    • 말캉 몰캉 물캉 [mal.kang mol.kang mul.kang] = softly / tenderly (as a texture of food)
    • 말랑말랑하다 [mal.lang.mal.lang-hada] = to be soft, to be tender, to be spongy
  • -ㅂ-
    • 보글보글 [bo-geul-bo-geul] = boilingly, bubblingly
    • 바글바글 [] = boilingly, bubblingly
    • 부글부글 [bu.geul.bu.geul] = boilingly, bubblingly
    • 바삭바삭(-하다) [] = to be crispy
    • 방긋방긋 [bang.geut.bang.geut] = broadly [as in a smile]
    • 반짝 [ban.jjak] = sparklingly, twinklingly
    • 번쩍 [beon.jjeok] = sparklingly, twinklingly
    • 반짝반짝 [ban.jjak.ban.jjak] = sparklingly
    • 비슬비슬 [] = reelingly, totteringly, in a staggering or faltering manner
  • -ㅃ-
    • 뽀글뽀글 [ppo.geul.ppo.geul] = boilingly, bubblingly
    • 빠글빠글 [ppa.geul.ppa.geul] = boilingly, bubblingly
    • 뿌글뿌글 [ppu.geul.ppu.geul] = boilingly, bubblingly
    • 빡빡 [ppak.ppak] = crustily, tightly, narrow-mindedly
    • 뼉뼉 [ppeok.ppeok] = crustily, tightly, narrow-mindedly
    • 빤짝 [ppan.jjak] = sparklingly, twinklingly
    • 뻔쩍 [ppeon.jjeok] = sparklingly, twinklingly
    • 부둑부둑 [bu.dok.bu.dok] = damply-drily, a bit damply mostly drily
  • -ㅅ-
    • 섭섭(-하다) [seop.seop] = disappointedly, sadly
    • 살짝 [sal-jjak] / 설쩍 [seol.jjeok] = stealthily
    • 싱글벙글 [sing.geul.beong.geul] = smilingly
    • 살살 [sal.sal] = gently, softly
    • 설설 [seol.seol] = gently, softly
    • 솔솔 [sol.sol] = gently, softly
    • 술술 [sul.sul] = gently, softly
    • 슬슬 [seul-seul] = gently, softely
    • 살금살금 [sal.geum.sal.geum] = sneakily
    • 새콤달콤하다 [sae.kom.dal.kom-hada] = to be sweet and sour
  • -ㅆ-
    • 싹독 [ssak.dok] = choppingly, snippingly
    • 썩둑 [sseok.duk] = choppingly, snippingly
  • -ㅇ-
    • 아삭아사(-하다) [asakasak] = to be crunchy
    • 옹기종기 [] closely together
  • -ㅈ-
    • 정정당당하다 [jeong.jeong.dang.dang-hada] = to be fair and sqaure
    • 주렁주렁 [ju.reong.ju.reong] = richly, with fullness
  • -ㅉ-
    • 쫄깃쫄깃(-하다) [jjol.git.jjol.git] = to be chewy
  • -ㅊ-
    • 추룩 추루룩 추루룩 [chu.ruk] = downpouringly
    • 찰랑찰랑 [chal.lang.chal.lang] = lappingly, sloppingly
    • 출렁출렁 [chul.leong.chul.leong] = lappingly, sloppingly
  • -ㅋ-
    • 콜콜 [kol.kol] = gurglingly, deeply
    • 쿨쿨 [kul.kul] = gurglingly, with snores, [sleeping] soundly
  • -ㅌ-
    • 통통(-하다)  [tong.tong] = plumply
    • 퉁퉁(-하다)  [tung.tung] = plumply
  • -ㅍ-
    • 퍽퍽 [peok.peok] = thrustingly, with repeated thrusts
    • 팍팍 [pak.pak] = thrustingly, with repeated thrusts
  • -ㅎ –
    • 흔들흔들 [heun.deul.heun.deul] shakily

 [last updated 2015-10-09]

Caveat: Some Quotes

This quote is the closest thing I have to a guiding principle. It is succinct but philosophically profound and has layers of complexity. It summarizes Deleuze’s ethical thought, in the context of his work on Spinoza.

  • “Ethical joy is the correlate of speculative affirmation.” – Gilles Deleuze

Here is a compilation of other quotes I like.

  • “Poetry is not a civilizer, rather the reverse, for great poetry appeals to the most primitive instincts.” – Robinson Jeffers
  • “Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are between two opposites who never meet.” – Andy Warhol
  • “Love is not for the faint-hearted, or for the self-possessed” – I think Rumi (Persian poet)
  • “Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice.” – un attributed internet meme.  (This is a corollary of Clarke’s law, I guess. )
  • “Live each day as if you will live forever.” – Unknown (to me, anyway)
  • “Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear.” – William E. Gladstone
  • “Long live freedom and damn the ideologies” – Robinson Jeffers
  • “But two Kwakiutls in the same blanket…” – Tony Curtis (as the Great Leslie, in The Great Race)
  • “If they can get here, they have God’s right to come.” – Herman Melville
  • “So unprincipled are judges and lawyers that they will even tell the truth if it serves their purposes.” – Robert C. Black
  • “I think we all agree, the past is over.” – George W. Bush
  • “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.” – Richard Feynman
  • “we are the world’s first adolescent civilization.” – David Brin (in a comment on his blog, regarding our own civilization)
  • “With enemies like libertarians, the state doesn’t need friends.” – Robert C. Black
  • “Life is dangerous. No one has survived it yet.” – Unnamed Siberian tour guide quoted in The Economist, Mar 24, 2007.
  • “la vida es un río que pasa y que deja sólo la tierra húmeda” – Augusto Pinochet (en su autobiografia Camino Recorrido, book 1)
  • “La vida es corta… pero ancha” – autor del blog “futuroperfecto”
  • “Pero la vida es un rio / Que te moja con la edad” – Synteks Aleks (musical group) song: La historia de un hombre
  • “nuestras vidas son los rios que van a dar a la mar, que es el morir” – Jorge Manrique (poeta s. XVI).
  • “Mundus Vult Decipi [the world wishes to be deceived]” – James Branch Cabell
  • “The time of your life is the one commodity you can sell but never buy back.” – Robert C. Black
  • “the great redeeming feature of poverty: the fact that it annihilates the future.” – George Orwell
  • “The global economy is like a zebra roller-skating through a Volkswagen factory in China on the Fourth of July and it’s snowing.” – Max Eichler (parodying Thomas Friedman)
  • “Life is a partial, continuous, progressive, multiform and conditionally interactive self-realization of the potentialities of atomic electron states.” – John Desmond Bernal
  • “So many words, and so often I grope for them knowing that there’s a correct one but lacking the nous to bring it to articulation. Fearing senile decay. Errrrgh.” – Ann Gillidette
  • “En el fondo el cínico es un cartesiano y un kantiano derrotado: le gustaría disponer de un conocimiento absoluto y una voluntad recta, pero lo considera imposible.” – D. Innerarity (filósofo español – en Dialéctica de la modernidad)
  • “Me get it, cookie is sometimes food. You know what? Right now is sometime!” – Cookie Monster
  • “Good bye, New York. Howdy, East Orange.” – Bob Dylan
  • “Oprah is transcendent; she is a cultural treasure.” – David Letterman.
  • “when the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.” – J. M. Keynes.
  • “Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.” – Mark Twain.
  • “With only 300 bits, you could assign a unique barcode to each of the ten-to-the-ninetieth elementary particles in the universe.” – Seth Lloyd.
  • “It is possible to serve honorably in a dishonorable war.” – Unknown (to me, anyway)
  • “Boredom is your ‘fuller life’ calling you, and your fear of hearing that call.” – Gary Zukav
  • “Religion is like a penis.  It’s fine to have one.  It’s fine to be proud of it.  But please don’t whip it out in public and start waving it around.  And PLEASE don’t try to shove it down my children’s throats.” – Unattributed internet meme
  • “no existe la seguridad, solo existe el amor” – overheard in a trance track
  • “A libertarian is just a Republican who takes drugs.” – Robert C. Black
  • “It’s a good deal, but some poor people remain, oddly, un-fucked.” – Jon Stewart
  • “A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” – James Madison
  • “…doors open to anyone with the will and heart to get here.” – Ronald Reagan (on immigration)
  • “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” – Oscar Wilde
  • “Cake’s existence is have eat cake.” – One of my middle-school students in 2007
  • “There is great chaos under heaven, and the situation is excellent.” – Mao Tse-tung


Caveat: Faith-Based-Atheist

I’m a “faith-based atheist.”

What in the world is that?

It means that, unlike an agnostic, I’m certain about god: specifically, that there isn’t one. But such certainty isn’t something that submits to any kind of objective proof: just as the religious person must accept the existence of his or her god(s) as a matter of faith, so must the true atheist rely on belief over material evidence – after all, how do you prove god doesn’t exist? Anything short of this standard-of-proof makes one an agnostic, not an atheist.

What’s still more difficult, is to strive for an ethical existence when the most commonly invoked “cause” (or source) of human ethics (namely, the alleged “higher powers”) have been unequivocally rejected. It seems to me that the only ethical atheist is one who accepts that his or her belief is indeed just that – a belief, not a demonstrated “fact.”

Atheists who assert some kind of exceptionalism for their own beliefs vis-a-vis the beliefs of non-atheists strike me as hypocritical. I’m profoundly uncomfortable with many atheists – of the secular-humanist stripe – who attempt to position themselves as rationalists – I think it’s not only philosophically perilous but ultimately unethical due to this inherent hypocrisy.

Despite this, I’m also displeased with the tendency of humanists (again, i.e. “secular humanists”) to categorically place human beings in the center of things. Such pre- (or even anti-) Copernican posturing is just as irrational as the traditional, god-centered systems they presume to criticize – in my judgement, anyway.

With the categorical rejection of the transcendental and god-centric, I believe that  there must come a similarly vehement rejection of the anthropocentric. So… but what’s left, then?

Let me get back to you on that one. Does this make me sound like a nihilist? This is a possibility.  I’m most comfortable with a sort of aesthetic take on the whole matter, a la Robinson Jeffers Inhumanism.  But that doesn’t really resolve the epistemological issues – which are what seem to most interest me.

Another issue is how I can reconcile my committed atheism with my frequent self-description as a “Buddhist.” However, one has to understand that Buddhism, in most conceptions, is doctrinally agnostic with respect to the theist question. To attempt to paraphrase Gautama Siddhartha, as I have understood it: when asked about the existence of deities or God, he reportedly answered that, like everything else, it was both true and not true. Thus there is room within Buddhism for both atheists and theists, as well as whatever falls in between. 

[Last updated 2015-10-08]

Caveat: Life-since-high-school

Lately, because of facebook, I’ve been “reconnecting” with people I haven’t interacted with or known about for up to 25 years. People from high school!  Jeannine, Kray, Richard…. People from elementary school! Tammy. People from the Mexico City time! Aura, Vlady.

Anyway, questions crop up:  Didn’t you go to university in Missouri? (No, it was Minnesota). I heard you joined the Army? (Yes). Is it true you were married? (Yes). And then you got divorced? (Um, not exactly – separated-then-widowed).

Being a fundamentally lazy person, I have decided to answer a whole pile of these questions at once. I’ve created a year-by-year timeline of my life-since-high-school. Each year has 2 to 6 telegraphic sentences summarizing what I recall as the salient aspects of that year.

I can now point interested people to it – if they’re interested. More me out there, for all the world to see: I believe in transparency – it cleanses the soul.

[UPDATE 2021-05-20: While doing some link-rot maintenance, it came to my attention that I posted almost exactly this blog-post 2 years before, here. Anyway, the below timeline is out-of-date by about a decade, now, and it’s long been superceded by my Year-In-Six-Sentences category.]


  • 1983. I graduate from Arcata High, Arcata California. My summer internship at a civil engineering office turns me off of the idea of pursuing engineering, careerwise. I walked a lot in high school – mostly in the fog.  I start college at Macalester College, St Paul, Minnesota – the main reason for my choice of Macalester: it’s very far away from home. I meet my best friend Bob on day one (he is still my best friend 25 years later).
  • 1984. I change my declared major from math to religious studies – not out of any sense of religiosity, but because I’m looking for answers, and because a math professor left my self-confidence in ruins. I work for Mondale Campaign that summer.
  • 1985. I study art history in Paris in January term. By May, however, alcohol and drug issues have caused me to drop out of college. I live in my car, first passing through Duluth and Ottawa, and then up and down the East Coast (mostly Boston, New York City, with a week in New Orleans). By fall, I’m living a few blocks from Barack Obama (not that I, like, know him or anything) on Chicago’s South Side, and working in a hardware store. My unabiding love for instant ramen is formed during this period.
  • 1986. I travel to Mexico and end up with a job at Casa de los Amigos, a Quaker meetinghouse / leftist hostel in Mexico City. I travel to El Salvador for a few weeks in the fall, and get to see a civil war up close and personal.
  • 1987. After a year working in Mexico City, I travel (somewhat aimlessly) with a friend by horseback in the mountains of Michoacan (southwestern Mexico). I meet lots of interesting people, including many indians, hippies, a draft dodger or two, and a dangerous, drunk, angry man with a gun. That shoots bullets.  Eventually, I return to Minnesota.
  • 1988. I enroll at the University of Minnesota (having forfeited my scholarship at Macalester by dropping out in 85).  My declared major is computer science, but soon changes to linguistics. I dabble in languages: Portuguese, Medieval Welsh, Japanese, Russian, Ancient Sumerian, Georgian (Kartuli). I work hard at a book bindery (book-making factory). I study hard. Bob and Mark are my housemates, among others.
  • 1989. I graduate (cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from the Univ of Minnesota (Twin Cities), despite the “lost semester” from Spring of 85 at Macalaster on my transcript. My major: Llinguistics; minor: Computer Science; undeclared minors: Spanish, Botany.  I return to Mexico, spend 2 months in Guatemala, and 2 weeks in Cuba. I become very sick.  Return to Humboldt County.
  • 1990. I’ve ended up in Eureka, somehow – broke and directionless. I deal with this directionlessness by enlisting in the U.S. Army, as a truck mechanic. I complete my training in South Carolina, and narrowly miss getting sent to Kuwait for the first Gulf War. I end up in South Korea on December 28th.
  • 1991. I am stationed at Camp Edwards, Geumcheon (about 7 km from my current home) – 296th Support Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division. I drive a giant camo green tow truck (named Rocinante) around northwest Gyeonggi province. I am a competent mechanic, but an indifferent soldier. The Army is downsizing in the wake of the end of the cold war, and when it’s offered, I grab honorable “early out”discharge.
  • 1992. I live in Pasadena (in the house my great grandfather built around 1910), taking art classes and trying to learn Arabic. I’m a bit aimless on the job front – I remember working as a temp at a Robinsons May department store warehouse. I move back to Minnesota, and Bob and I become housemates again. I start working in a bookstore. I meet Michelle and Jeffrey (her son, who is 5 at this time).
  • 1993. I do graduate-level coursework in Spanish Literature and Literary and Cultural Criticism (Lit-Crit), as well as the Dakota (Native American Great Plains) Language, at the University of Minnesota – tuition is cheap because I’m an alum. I work in a bookstore. At some point, during an initially platonic camping trip on Michigan’s U.P., Michelle and I begin dating.
  • 1994. Michelle and I move in together. Then I spend 6 months studying the Mapuche (Native American Patagonian) Language in Valdivia, Chile, and I get to see Buenos Aires, Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia, Uruguay, etc. I’m back in Minnesota with Michelle and Jeffrey for Christmas.
  • 1995. I work nights for UPS to save up money (which means I can say I’ve been a card-carrying Teamster), and I apply to graduate schools.  My first choice is UCLA, but I start at the University of Pennsylvania in August, in Department of Romance Languages, because of Michelle’s eventual East Coast job prospects.
  • 1996. Work very, very hard at Penn., teaching Spanish to lazy, over-privileged Ivy League undergrads and taking qualifying exams. Michelle and I get married in a pizza joint in Minneapolis over the summer (the Judge came on a motorcycle). Michelle and Jeffrey then join me in Philadelphia, after she graduates in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.
  • 1997. I resign from the graduate program at Penn, very unhappy with departmental politics. I get to try to be a “soccer dad” with Jeffrey for several months, while Michelle puts in ungodly hours with Merck, Inc., in her new job as a chemical engineer. I start teaching high school Spanish and Social Studies that fall, with an ungodly commute to Moorestown, New Jersey. Neither Michelle nor I particularly like living in suburban Philadelphia.
  • 1998. Things begin to break down with Michelle. I’m not doing very well with it. In August, we decide on a “trial seperation,” but I’m not able to handle this well, and by September, I’ve run off (somewhat irresponsibly, I realize) to stay on my uncle Arthur’s land in Alaska. I cut trees and brush with a chainsaw (in the rain), and shovel gravel (in the rain), and write (in a white van, in the rain). In November, I give up on Alaska and on solitude, and I go to LA to stay with my father, who has recently divorced my stepmother, who I have sometimes idolized. This is a very bad period for me. Closing out the year with a bang, I attempt suicide while parked alongside the Pacific Coast Highway north of San Simeon, and nearly succeed.  Time-in-hospital (the parallels with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance are, um, disconcerting).
  • 1999. I begin working at ARAMARK Corporation in Burbank, as a temp in the finance department. I prove sufficiently competent that they offer me a permanent position. Michelle and I occasionally discuss getting back together (long distance, her still in Philly and me in L.A. (well, Burbank)), but we both clearly have difficult-to resolve “issues.”
  • 2000. Michelle commits suicide in June: “So there!” I work hard at ARAMARK.
  • 2001. I migrate from the finance department at ARAMARK into the IT department, working as a programmer.
  • 2002. I rent a horrible apartment in North Hollywood. But work is going well – workaholically, in fact.
  • 2003. I migrate again, at ARAMARK, into the Sales and Marketing department. I develop the infamous National Accounts Data Analysis intranet site for my company, basically on my own, and it’s a huge hit. I am promoted and recognized for this. Failure in life… success in business. I move into the tiny house next to my dad’s on the hill in Highland Park. I take my first trip to Australia to visit my mother.
  • 2004. I solve some amazing technical challenges for the Sales department, but I’ve created bad blood with my former colleagues in the IT department. Company politics get nasty. I resign in December. But, in 5 years, I’d managed to get promoted 4 times and quadruple my original salary.
  • 2005. I spend 6 weeks in Europe, 2 of them with bestfriend Bob who is there for an audition in Utrecht. I fall in love with Lisbon. I then come back to LA and start a new job with HealthSmart Pacific as a Database Administrator and Applications Designer. I move to Long Beach, but I end up commuting part time to Orange County.  I hate commuting, even though driving for 45 minutes along the Pacific Coast Highway each way is oddly resonant.
  • 2006. I put in several months of ungodly 80-100 hour work weeks. So I resign, and try to succeed as an independent database consultant.  My heart’s not in it. I take a second trip to Australia. I move back to Minneapolis. I find a wonderful apartment near Lake Calhoun in Uptown.
  • 2007. Some interesting projects, but the computer gig is losing its lustre. I decide to return to teaching – I have overcome my prior financial difficulties. Jeffrey has started college, and the trust fund I’d created for him will cover costs, so I’m free, financially. I apply to overseas jobs. I start teaching at “Tomorrow School” in Ilsan, Gyeonggi, South Korea, in September.
  • 2008. Tomorrow School gets taken over by LinguaForum, which in turn gets taken over by L-Bridge. I spend a week in Australia with my mother in August – with a brief visit to Hong Kong.
  • 2009. I continue at L-Bridge until September. I love teaching elementary-age kids. Am I happy? Not completely. But I’m happier than during most of the above. So, all things being relative, it seems like a good “career.”  But nevertheless, since more than a few days’ vacation is unheard of in the hagwon biz, I decide I need to “check in” back in the U.S., so I resign my job (with the idea of re-taking it, or something similar, upon return) and go back to the U.S. for a few months.  I put 10000 miles on my pickup truck in 3 months, and then sell it.  I spend 10 days at a Buddhist Monastery outside Chicago.
  • 2010. I return to Korea, but the job market isn’t what I’d hoped.  I enroll full-time in a Korean language school, and hunker down for a long-term job search, living at a cheap hostel in Suwon (south of Seoul).  I travel to Japan (Kyushu) in April, and start a new job at Hongnong Elementary (public school) in rural Jeollanam Province, at the end of that month.  I really like being an elementary school teacher, and I make a lot of friends among my Korean co-workers, but my principal (boss) is xenophobic (hates foreigners) and the housing situation is unstable (4 different apartments over a 1 year contract).
  • 2011.  I let my contract at Hongnong run out, and with some sadness, I say good-bye to Yeonggwang County and return to Ilsan.  I work at Karma Academy.  I have a more stable housing situation (like!) and fewer elementary students (not like!).

[Last updated 2011-07-31]

CaveatDumpTruck Logo

Caveat: Art

Sometimes I make efforts at “visual arts”

Below are some past works that I’m sufficiently happy with to share them, in a smallish format.


Above:  Azul, 1992


Above: Abstract, 1993


Above: Kitchen, 1991


Above: Lines, 1988


Above: Motion, 1988


Above: Mujer, 1993 (this is actually Michelle)


Above: Old Man, 1993


Above: Sancho Panza, 2006


Above: Way Family Home (San Marino, CA), 1991


Above: Self-Portrait From Photograph at Age 5, 1999


Above: Icon, 1995

Caveat: Korean Reference Grammar

These are the grammar points from the first two volumes of the Korean language textbook I was using in February and March, 2010.  Given that I finished the courses, I should, in theory, know all this grammar perfectly.  So much for theory.

외국인의 문법
– Things from the textbook, that I
should already know


(terminative inflections), formal register

declarative: Vc+습니다
/ Vv+ㅂ니다

interrogative: Vc+습니까
/ Vv+ㅂ니까

imperative: Vc+으십시오
/ Vv+십시오

propositive: Vc+읍시다
/ Vv+ㅂ시다


honorific V-stem infix (precedes most
other affixes): Vc+으시+
/ Vv++


“how” Adv: 어떻게


“too, also” topicalizing N
suffix particle (follows most other affixes): N+


“the, as for…, speaking of…”
topicalizing N suffix particle (follows most other affixes): Nc+
/ Nv+


predicate affirmative suffix / copula,
“be”: N+이다

(this makes a noun “N” into a
conjugable predicate [verb] “to be N”)


deferential 1st person sing. pronoun,


contraction “my”:
<= 저의
(deferential “I” + genitive case particle)


demonstrative prefixes

“this”: +N

“that [near listener]”: +N

“that [over there]”): +N


“who”: 누구
(note obligatory contraction 누가
<= *누구가)


“we”: 우리
(note that this word often doesn’t seem to accept case


demonstrative pronouns (derived from
demonstrative prefixes +

“this”: 이것

“that [near listener]”: 그것

“that [over there]”): 저것


subject case particle: Nc+
/ Nv+


interrogative pronoun, “what
[thing]”: 무엇


object case particle: Nc+
/ Nv+


note that +
(1.2.2) “overwrites” subject and object (an
perhaps others?) case particles


“where”: 어디


dative case particle “to [action
verbs toward a place], at [a time], in [stative verbs in a place]”:


locative case particle “at [a
place], from [a place], in [action verbs in a place]”: N+에서


“when”: 언제


past/perfective finite verb infix
(invokes vowel harmony with verb stem): V+{//}+

(and note common contractions [some
mostly obligatory, with asterisk]:

<= 하였,
배웠 <=


(numerals, chinese origin)

(used for money, minutes, dates,
months, calendar years, phone numbers, addresses, etc.)


predicate negative suffix / copula,
“not be”: Nc+
/ Nv+

(this makes a noun “N” into a
conjugable predicate [verb] “not to be N”)


“which”: 어느


non-finite verb oppositional suffix,
“but, however”: V+지만














































Back to Top