Updates

It has been a long time since I posted… hence a few updates before I (try to) post here on a more regular schedule.

College I started (and finished) my first year of college. Soon I’ll declare a mathematics major, and afterward either a computer science major or minor. We’ll see. Thus far I’ve learned Python, first-semester single-variable calculus, and first-semester multivariable calculus. I’m rather annoyed with my math department for not offering a second semester of multivariable calculus, but that’s what studying abroad is for.

Writing Still working on editing Perfume, which I retitled The Tapestry. I’m currently doing a rewrite of the whole book. The entirety has been planned out and I am currently at Chapter 11, at about 29k.

Reading If I had a schedule I’d be behind. As I don’t have a schedule, I can consider that instead I’m woefully unread this year. Currently fighting through Ivanhoe, which would be interesting if I had the patience to sit down and read it in one or two sittings.

Hair I’m growing my hair out and trying to figure out things that make it happy. This includes styles, washing methods, what ingredients work well with it, etc. It’s about 25″ long right now, which puts it at about midback level. Or, according to the LHC’s (and other’s) length markers, about one inch below Bra-Strap Level (BSL). Typically I practice benign neglect with my hair, so I fully anticipate that once the semester starts I’ll forget about it completely.

Languages According to the Parisian language school I went to for two weeks this summer, I’m now at a B2 level in French. I’ll be taking FREN 202 this fall and hopefully that will be at a good level for me… if I’m slightly above where I should be for the class I’m planning on taking Italian. (I’d take Russian or Arabic, honest, but the language will be my fifth course on top of a busy dancing and tutoring schedule, so I’m going for something that will be easier to learn.)

Ballroom Dancing I’m part of the Ballroom Club at Colgate University and am planning to lead it with a good friend by junior year, and just with myself and my dance partner by senior year. So I suppose I ought to start coming up with ideas about now. Thus far I’ve learned enough dances to make it into the auditioned dances.

 

 

10 Things I Learned at Camp (pt 2)

For the next two weeks, Mom and my sister were off at camp… which meant that we had only three people in the house. I was cook part-time, and housekeeper, and student.

  1. Reading a biology book cover to cover is fun. In an effort to implement what I was reading in How to Read a Book, I read my biology textbook cover to cover. I can’t really remember much… but I know that there’s a lot of carbohydrates and fats, and of course Mendelian genetics I’ve known since I was twelve. I’ll be going through it again, this time with a fine tooth comb, but I found out that getting the high-level stuff is quite enjoyable.
  2. Blisters are not that bad. I was walking on the treadmill barefoot, because I don’t like my shoes most of the time, and if I have to get shoes on, I’m never going to walk. Hence, a couple of blisters, because I was walking faster than I probably should have. 
  3. Your father and brother will not remember where the bread knife goes. It has a little spot to the right of the bread’s cutting board. It’s made specifically for the bread knife. But aforementioned father and brother believe the counter is the best spot for it.
  4. Movies are awesome. I’d forgotten how awesome. On the 2nd and 3rd I watched about 6 movies off of Netflix.
  5. Days pass really really quickly. Two weeks disappeared in the blink of an eye. I’m not sure what I got done and what I didn’t. (But then again, I can’t really remember what I did today, let alone  a week ago).
  6. I am a minimalist. I may have stated this before, this minimalism thing. It really came home while I was dusting and I realized that the one reason I wanted Mom back was so we could go through everything in the house and throw out what we no longer needed or used.
  7. Reading was easier when I was little. I drew this conclusion because I think I was slightly more disciplined when I was younger. Back then I didn’t know what romance novels were, and thus couldn’t get sidetracked. Also, back then, online lending libraries didn’t really exist.
  8. No one really knows how to boil pasta in this house. I made my brother boil pasta. About two minutes into the process, I realized the water was supposed to be boiling BEFORE the pasta was put in. We had slightly brown smoky spaghetti for lunch.
  9. Cleaning a big house sucks. I’m not sure which part I disliked most… probably the fact that I kept taking breaks every hour or so… and moving really slowly. It turns out if you don’t have much to look forward to that day, everything takes ten times longer than it would if you were anticipating, say… someone coming over at 4pm. Everything moves faster the hour before the guests come.
  10. I’m probably a good candidate for hermitude. The house suddenly seemed very small with two more people in it.

On Friday I’ll put up a great deal of updates. I’m not sure what they’re about yet.

10 Things I Learned at Camp (pt 1)

I was a counselor at the Romanian Archdiocese’s summer camp this year (7-13 year olds). I had 4-8 girls in my cabin. This is a post of all the things I learned during the two weeks of being a counselor.

  1. “I Can’t Fall Asleep” only happens the first night at camp. I’m not sure what the purpose behind this statement is, but I’m guessing it’s testing out the limits. I simply told them that it takes 15 minutes to fall asleep, and that I’d tell them when the 15 minutes were up. (I, of course, fell asleep in about 5 seconds). After the first night, we only had moans and groans about nap time, which persisted the whole two weeks.
  2. The inventor of “three more bites,” “you can’t have any more spaghetti if you don’t finish your broccoli,” and other such statements was a genius. I don’t know where I absorbed these things from (I certainly never did it consciously), but they burst out of me on the second or third day of camp, after one girl after another had ignored the ‘icky’ part of her meal in order to grab a second helping of the ‘yummy’ part. Having  stated that everything on the plate must be finished, I firmly held my ground and most, if not all the girls, ate everything on their plate before having dessert, lemonade, or second helpings of spaghetti.
  3. “No dessert if you don’t…” is a fantastic incentive for listening to your counselor. One of my girls was a little wild child, running with the boys to capture grasshoppers, hornets, bees, wasps– you name it, she was trying to find it. As a counselor, my job is to keep the girls together at all times while keeping them interested, happy, and what-have-you. Grasshopper Girl did not understand this, and would go running off while I used the facilities, or had to make sure that the table in the dining hall was cleaned, or whatever. She taught me more than the other girls combined, including the fact that revoking dessert is usually a very powerful motivator.
  4. Taking away dessert for a long time is not a good idea. Grasshopper Girl lost her dessert for a week after repeatedly going past the safety boundaries near archery. I quickly, to my chagrin, realized that, having lost dessert, Grasshopper Girl could not be threatened with anything.
  5. A little bit of dessert for good behavior is also a great incentive. Grasshopper Girl was speedily told that if she was good, she could have a little bit of dessert. (This was a win-win, as she got a little dessert, and the other girls and I could split the rest of hers.) The interesting thing about this is that Grasshopper Girl was happier to have a bite of chocolate chip cookie after the archery incident, than she was to have a whole chocolate chip cookie BEFORE the archery incident.
  6. How to Shout. Grasshopper Girl and Miss Ballerina (who stayed with her grandmother and little brother in their cabin because she didn’t like sleeping with strangers), must have some deafness (or really, really good concentration), because I learned how to shout without hurting my voice (too badly). With as many acres as the property has, and as noisy as kids are, (and as tired as your feet will get), shouting is sometimes the only way to make your voice carry. I have scared people before by shouting for the girls while being next to other campers. The idea, if you want to learn to do it, is to suck your stomach in as you’re shouting. 
  7. Kids are nice once you know them for about three days. Many, many of the older boys  think that a lot of dumb things are cool and funny and awesome. Like twisting a waterbottle until the cap shoots off and then inhaling and breathing out the water vapor formed. This actually is pretty cool, but they don’t quite understand the concept of throwing away the waterbottle and the cap after using it, instead of leaving it in the grass. They drove me nuts, until I saw a couple of instances where they were being ‘normal,’ instead of trying to impress people. What I saw then impressed me, and made me be a whole lot nicer to them in future encounters.
  8. You can get a whole lot done without talking. One morning in the second week I didn’t speak to my eight girls from 8am (when I woke them up) to about 10am. Two hours in which I got them: dressed, teeth brushed, hair brushed, beds ‘made,’ up to the dining hall, fed, table cleaned, down to prayer (with skirts and head coverings on). I had to talk partway through because one wasn’t feeling well at all. They thought I’d lost my voice, and asked me, at one point, if I’d answer the priest if he asked me a really, really important question. I’m glad they don’t understand anything below a certain level of decibels, because I was talking to the priest right in front of them at breakfast. 
  9. Twelve year old girls are impossible. They need to change their shirts, pants, sunglasses, all the time. They don’t have anything to wear, despite their entire suitcase being all over the cabin floor (I don’t have any energy to make them clean it up during nap time or at bed time, when they should). The younger girls take the older girls’ example and start with the same idea.
  10. Kids have to learn to do things by themselves. Little Questioner, the seven-year-old whose grandmother stayed with us in the cabin, is one of the sunniest, happiest people I know. She also has a question for everything (“What time’s breakfast?” “Are girls swimming before boys?” “Do I need my sneakers?” “What are we doing after nap time?” “How long is church?”), despite the answer being mostly the same. If she has a water bottle in her hand and is in a room full of tables, she will ask, “Where can I put my water bottle?” I learned and implemented (sometimes not very nicely), the art of asking HER the question, or guiding her through the thought process of how to find a cup so you can drink water from the water cooler

I’m certain there were a few other things I learned, but currently these are the ten things I learned in two weeks of being a counselor at camp. Part 2 deals with what I learned while being with my father and brother at home, while my mother and sister are away at camp. It’ll show up sometime in August.

Accomplishment #8

I cleared out my inbox and parts of my archives and parts of my folders (then stuffed foldered emails into four folders: Writing To Do (which will be deleted ASAP), Scott Young, School, College Reference). School is for Romanian literature in the public domain, and College Refreence will disappear May of next year. I cannot wait. College searching is no fun when you have to put everything on hold for two weeks. All I can do now is locate textbooks for something to do in the next few months (and that is a whole other complicated thing I tried but didn’t succeed at today, because the parents have been away all day and I find I need an older-person opinion).

Also, I read a lot of things on how to edit, in preparation for Camp-NaNo-which-will-be-called-Editing-Month. After reading all those, I figured out a ‘quick’ 13 step process that I think will work best for me. Here it is, reproduced for your benefit. (you can find all the resources I used by googling ‘how to edit a novel’ and clicking all the links on the first page, then googling ‘one-pass revision’ and using the Holly Lisle link that pops up)

1. Read through. Check for bad plot, bad storytelling, etc. Use Chuck Wendig’s two column thing for the writing and storytelling.

2. Re-outline the beast as you read. (chapter, plot, core conflict and changes, comments)

3. Have the theme, subthemes, micro summary, main character story arc, and blurb written down. Print them out, hang them somewhere where reference to them is easy.

4. Do 10 scenarios. Find the best way to tell the story.

5. Do the re-re-outline, based on one of the ten scenarios. (same as the re-outline)

6. Take a deep breath. Print out the manuscript if you’re going to print it out. If not, save the Scrivener file somewhere, back it up, and duplicate the first draft somewhere. Don’t touch the first draft).

7. Print out the One-Pass Revision checklist which you either have created or will create.

8. Begin the One-Pass Revision. Take notes in a notebook next to the computer if necessary. Keep revising. NEVER GIVE UP.

9. Having finished the one-pass-revision, you will have good scenes, lovely grammar, and pretty spelling. Few typos, also. Make it clean, now, by making sure that there’s only black text. If you do the print-out, this is the ‘type-everything-onto-the-computer’ stage. Once you’ve done that, you’ve got

9b. Fix any typos you may have made while typing up.

10. Print out again, this time in ‘book’ form (or perhaps a Kindle). Read the whole thing out loud. Fix any malingering typos or weird sentences.  fix the typos on the laptop.

11. Give the manuscript to an ‘editor’ or ‘agent’ (or very good friend you trust to critique it)

12. Make any other needed revisions suggested by the agent-editor-friend.

13. Regale in awesomeness.

Tomorrow comes the step of assigning each of these steps to a certain day in July. I’m definitely not expecting to FINISH this in July, as actual real-life camp will interfere for 14 days, but I am planning on getting at least part of this done. Wish me luck!

Sad

I never thought I could be this down for this long, but apparently I can, and it’s very easy.

So, because life is hard (the American college system, shall we say, boggles my mind, especially since there’s no one course I can take. Which I love and hate at the same time).

I’m stuck questioning everything I ever wanted to do, life is weird, Dad is making me play ping pong, I have a blister on my foot (which you know, doesn’t bother me, but it feels like a good thing to put in there at the end of a mini-tirade).

So. Life sucks, yadda-yadda, I get sick hearing myself talk about it, so I’m not going to continue.

The point is, I’m going to post one accomplishment (major accomplishment) a day until July 6th, when I head off to summer camp. Some may not be so major by your scales, but to me, for the day, they’ll be major. So, here we go.

 

(I don’t have one yet today, but there’s still four hours to go)

An Interesting Day

I am snacking on spinach.

Baby spinach, to be exact.

I’m writing my second blog post in a day because I feel chatty, and my friend isn’t online because it’s 3am where she is, and Facebook feels like a waste of time. Besides, there’s still Camp NaNoWriMo to win, and I need 22,000 words by… whenever the end of April is. The end of five days or so. Strangely, I’ve written more today (or I will have written more today) on this blog than I have written on any novel in a day yet this month. (The point I am trying to make is that this word count will be high. :D)

If this were yesterday, I would now probably be studying madly at some literature or history, but instead I have f.lux installed, which has currently made my screen look orange and pretty cool… if I could just get used to the fact that the normally blinding bright light is… yellow.

Normally, at this hour, I would have to have the room light on, even if I’m just using my computer screen, simply because the contrast between the computer screen and the room puts a strain on my eyes, and I don’t like the lack of contrast with a dimmer screen. Of course, now the computer screen is at about 40% brightness level, simply because I am now conducting an experiment.

Normally, at this hour, if I had had the schedule I have had today, I would be quite awake and eager to go. I am pleasantly sleepy.

To explain:

Today I woke up at 5:00 (all times are now on the 24 hour clock), got dressed, said prayers, went downstairs, ate a breakfast I can’t remember (probably peanut butter sandwich), came upstairs, tried to write at my novel (which… I am not even going say a word about how slowly this is moving. 500 words a day is too fast for this thing), stopped at 5:45 on that, then tried to concentrate on physics.

“Nope!” said Brain, “Nope nope nope! Remember that willpower being finite thing? Remember all that other stuff?”

“Shut up, Brain. I’m going to close my eyes and banish all your thoughts and concentrate on my breathing.”

“Well, okay.” says Brain, properly chastised. He’s quiet as I concentrate on my breathing. It’s like a little mini-meditation session, and it’s awesome. And relaxing. Tomorrow, I am going to do this for 15 minutes!

“Okay. Back to physics,” I said.

“Nope! Nope! Nope nope nope! Remember that productivity stuff you were going to read?”

“Okay… back to mini-meditation.” I said.

Brain is again quiet.

The third time Brain spoke up, I said, “Fine. Okay. I’m going back to sleep.” I told Bouchra I was going back to sleep until 7. She told me to have a good sleep, and I did.

Problem was, when I woke up I really didn’t feel like doing any work. So I consciously made a decision not to work until after lunch. I was gonna have a nap, then get right into work. Right?

Wrong. I found out some really cool stuff. I wrote a blog post  I found out some more cool stuff. I finished  a book that’s due at the library tomorrow and has been in the house four weeks. And it’s even a book I liked! I just felt lazy to read it.

I invited a friend who was in the area over to eat lunch with the family. We and he and his mother enjoyed an hour eating lentils and pasta and trying not to cringe at the fact that our food storage was dangerously low. All the same, it was a pleasure to see how that guy enjoyed eating food. I now think I want to learn to cook. A bit more.

After lunch, I realized I had some tabs open. So instead of jumping into work, I jumped into clearing off the tabs. Then I remembered I still hadn’t looked up willpower. (the good thing is, it’s a muscle, and that’s all I wanted to know. Another thing about it is that depleted stores can be restocked by consuming glucose. Good to know.)

Bouchra, by then, was heading to bed, so we talked a bit and she said, “I will be disappointed if you don’t have at least a number total in the 100s by the time I wake up.”

So I set in to work. I grabbed my big round chair that folds up, put on my sweater, went outside, and sat on the porch to read analyses of literature. It was really cool, but an analysis of Ion Creangă does not make me want to draw like an analysis of Mihai Eminescu does. After 20 minutes I threw in the towel because the wind outside was really getting annoying (despite the fact that the clear blue sky totally made up for it), and came back inside. Decided to read a romance novel after trying to tackle the analysis again, but it was really boring and nothing was getting through to me.

And I did, right up until sunset, when I held to my resolution of not exposing myself to blue-light after sunset. I went downstairs to eat… and this brings me to the baby spinach.

I wasn’t hungry for dinner, nothing in the fridge looked appetizing, and I was not in the mood for a peanut butter sandwich. In fact, I wasn’t really in the mood for eating at all. But, I told myself, staring into the slightly-too-bright fridge interior, in a matter of months I am going to have my own apartment. And I will have to force myself to eat.

So I took out the bag of baby spinach, cut it open… took out the bean dip my mom makes (traditional Romanian food called fasole bătută (fah-SO-leh buh-TOO-tuh), literally ‘beaten beans’. It’s amazing and we use it as a bread spread, or eat it on its own… or recently, in vegan burritos that have become something of a staple in the house. I can’t quite remember what we ate in other Lents (I’m Eastern Orthodox, so our Easter varies from the Catholic’s version. This year it’s May 5th). Then, after having spread the bean dip and scattered spinach on a tortilla, I took and washed a tomato. Then I remembered something I wanted to tell my sister, so I picked up the bag of spinach and took a leaf to chew on.

Eventually I realized this stuff is good. Much better than the boiled spinach my mom and dad think are amazing.

So here I am, snacking on spinach.

Writing a blog post. Quite having fun with the blog post, actually.

And Bouchra, I am afraid you are going to be disappointed. Total work time is 34 minutes. It has been glorious. I recharged, I learned some things.

I don’t see this as a lack of self-discipline. (I did exercise self-discipline. I stopped reading a pretty interesting book at sunset. And I think I’m going to bed at 21:00.) I see this as a natural call from my body that 6h+ days and going to bed at 23:00 is not good for me.

It’s not a failure. It’s a phase of a learning process. And frankly, I feel really calm. I have no idea what’s going to happen tomorrow, but I’m determined that I’ll do work.

Life, I have discovered in the past hour, is really boring if I can’t read after sunset and the only thing to do is write introspective blog posts when I’m pretty much all thunk out. Honestly, without light, there is pretty much nothing to do except jump around and do push-ups or go downstairs into the really bright lights that I don’t particularly want to confront right now.

The plan for tomorrow

Wake up at sunrise. Technically, this is at 6:09. However, seeing as it starts getting light out about 24 minutes before that, I’m going to wake up at 5:30, then go out and see the sunrise.

The best thing about this house is that there is a certain point where I can both see the sunrise and the sunset.

I shall call it thinking time and it shall be mine. And it will be my thinking time.

After that

Work. I’ll take a notebook up to jot down ideas up there, about things I am going to do tomorrow. It shall be awesome.

I have no minute goal. I have no word goal. All I want to do is get one important thing done, be it the physics test, or the literature book, or a perfect history test score.

That’s about it. 🙂

The Problem of Math, Sleep, and Keyboards

Every once in a while I get an idea and it becomes an obsession. Like tiny houses, or songs, or… school, or teaching math, or whatever.

And I couldn’t really even call these things an obsession, because I’m totally capable of turning off the song or ignoring tiny houses (I’ve seen most of what I care to see… all that remains is getting money and building one. Expending resources for research on building doesn’t help as much as expending resources on getting into school to make money to build the house). In fact, they’re less ‘obsession’ and more ‘really interesting.’

Like the fact that

The number of syllables in Cantonese number words are less than the number of syllables in English number words… therefore making Cantonese people memorize faster as opposed to English people. [1] Or, the fact that the Asian number system is so simple (21= two tens one) it allows a child of four to count to 40… whereas in English, a child of four can count to about 15. [2] [3] [4]

My conclusion came in two distinct stages:

  1. My kids will learn math in Cantonese. This presented a slight problem later on down the road, unfortunately, as I don’t know Cantonese, and as I’m not Cantonese, nor do I plan on having a Cantonese husband… and as Cantonese has no shared root-words with English… I unfortunately had to scrap this idea.
  2. * As Romanian is slightly better than English when it comes to logicality (21 = douăzeci și unu, doi= 2, zece= 10, unu=1. The instead of i in două and the i instead of the e in zece are grammatical things, and și (pronounced she) means and), but not as good in syllable count, my kids will learn math in Romanian first. This is good, because they will learn the ‘weaker’ language first (Romanian isn’t exactly the primary language in any country except Romania), and have it cemented in their brain. Then we can work on English, because Romanian is latin-based, and English smart-words are latin-based.

* This is, of course, subject to change.

Second really-interesting thing

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. A book written by Mihaly Cziksentmihalyi (Yes, I can spell that. I use the mnemonic: Chick-sent-me-HIGH, which does not exactly connote the proper pronunciation, but helps with spelling).

Mom borrowed it from the library and had it around the house for 2 weeks, then sent it back before I had the opportunity to say, “MINE!”

That said, I do know the basic idea:

Scratch that. I have no idea.

Basically the state of flow is one where you are completely involved in what you are doing in the moment, and you’re creative as well and you’re feeling enjoyment (we discussed that in Thought Pattern).

Now, I feel as if I’ve been feeling that. Because, *ahem* yesterday, by 1:30pm, I had worked six hours and 22 minutes.

More, in fact, than I worked on Tuesday, and about the sum total of work the previous Wednesday to Friday.

Before lunch!

How?

I woke up at 5:00am, sat down to work by 5:45, got stuck in a physics problem for an hour and a half (I have no idea where the time went), and then started in on literature study sheets.

And let me tell you something. When a literature study sheet about a poet makes you itch to draw something or write a poem or do something creative, you know the poet is a good one. (The poet in question is Mihai Eminescu, and according to Romanians, he is the best poet that ever lived.) I mean… I actually copied down a paragraph in its entirety describing his style merely because it sounded so musical.

So I had a lot of fun yesterday. And, unlike previous days, I wasn’t ridiculously bouncy until 8pm, when I hit 8:08 hours of work. It was pretty awesome.

Which leads into a small problem:

Sleep

Something in my brain psychology, at some point down the line, has changed.

Waking up before dawn leads to at least an hour productivity before 8am, when the household starts work… which leads into me being in a state of high gear… allowing me to crank out 4-6 hours of work before lunch if I make sure that this thought pattern is broken:

  • lazy to work >> check Facebook >> lose time OR lazy to work >> get awesome idea >> act on idea >> lose time
  • to break it, just do this:
  • lazy to work >> close eyes and concentrate on breathing for 15-30 seconds OR do 2 minute exercise set >> work
  • or, if that doesn’t work
  • lazy to work >> change subject of work.

Waking up while the sun is up, on the other hand, leads me to believe that

  1. The rest of the family is awake
  2. I can relax on FB/make noise/what-have-you

According to the schedule I made out last night, at this hour, I should be doing physics. However, I have only worked 5 minutes today, and that’s because, at 5:45am, when I sat down to work, the words were swimming, I was tired, and I went back to sleep for an hour.

I feel totally awake now, just lazy. And I’m writing a blog post while I still have the English words to write it.

As it’s very hard to go to bed before 10pm in this household, there is the problem of getting enough sleep. I could wake up at 5am and sleep 6-7 hours a night, but be ‘productive’ (until sleep dep kicked in), or I could wake up at 6-7 am, sleep 8-9 hours a night, but be ‘unproductive’ (until I figured out a ritual/switched up my brain psychology)

Therefore, the problem of sleep is:

Should I focus on changing my brain psychology or changing my sleep schedule?

To rephrase that… 1 or 2?

  1. Wake up at 6am, create a ritual to establish flow (though the only ritual I have so far is wake up when it’s dark out), and go to sleep at 10pm.
  2. Wake up at 5am, work, nap, eat, work, go to sleep at 10pm.

I’m leaning towards #2. Not only is it simpler to fall asleep than to go to work (around the world I found that I have a talent for falling asleep… anywhere), but according to my research, biphasic sleep may actually be the natural way to sleep. [5] [6] [7] [8]

Naturally, however, the worst possible time to go for a sleep schedule change is ten days before you head out across the pond to visit family in Romania… right? Right. Despite that… this sounds awesome.

The problem with biphasic sleep is that the rest of the world isn’t on biphasic sleep.

My conclusion: I’m going to test out the following schedule:

  1. Wake up at 5am, work, eat, nap at 13:30, work, go to sleep at 23:00 (or slightly earlier if need be.)

And then go from there.

 

Lastly, keyboards

The Romanian keyboard requires five diacritic marks, two of which do not exist in any other keyboard. They are ț, ș, ă, î, and â. The ones that don’t exist are ț, ș, and ă. (the diacritic is the little comma under the s and t)

On the standard Romanian keyboard I’m using, these keys take up the place of  ; ‘ [ ] \

Which means that it’s really hard to type in quotes “like this”, unless you hit the option key at the same time (I use Mac products, so I’m not sure what the Windows/Linux does).

Which means Romanians normally do one thing:

  1. Write without diacritics and rely on innate knowledge of the language to read anything written without diacritics. It works pretty well. I myself have a diacritic in my name, but make do without it. Most words that have diacritics don’t have a version without diacritics, and if they do, context helps remove and ambiguity.

But I don’t like doing that, and since people can learn keyboards pretty quickly if I use them (I type in Dvorak Simplified Keyboard), I simply added the Romanian Standard keyboard to my list of keyboards and started working.

At the beginning, it was a problem of remembering that R is R, not P, and then I was on my way to doing quite well.

That’s not the problem now, though. Now, my fingers are incapable of typing Romanian using the Dvorak keyboard (if, by any chance, I get lazy). Sometimes I have to stop and think… “Wait. Okay. Language I want to communicate in is… English. Wait, this is a Dvorak keyboard, not QWERTY. Where’s P again?” And then 3 seconds later I’m up and running and writing my 60-90wpm speeds.

 

To conclude:

  1. Math is cool. 
  2. My kids are learning number sense in Romanian before English.
  3. I’m going to try being biphasic for a while. Also, f.lux
  4. Keyboards are weird.

Thought Pattern

Have you ever tried to pull a tractor tire behind you?

I haven’t either. But judging from the sweat running down peoples’ faces when they attempt it (or the blood-hue of their faces), it’s hard work.

I don’t feel like that’s what I’m attempting when I work. I feel like I’m trying to move a mountain with my mind. And while I’m trying to move a mountain there’s an hourglass with sand in it that’s steadily trickling down and down and down to gather into an ever-growing heap of sand at the bottom.

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A New Challenge

A good friend of mine is doing this, and I figure it’s a great way to get productive. At least, it’s working for her. 😀

The problem with me is that while any productivity system will work wonderfully for a period of time… in the end the only thing I fall back on time and again is the motivation or the self-discipline to make it work. Productivity systems… do not work for me.

So. Here it is. I have 44 days until May 7th, when I’ll be heading out to Romania. (Actually May 8th or so, but I figure that 44 days is better than 45). That is just over 7 weeks.

I’m going to commit to 5 hours of work a day for the rest of March. After that, I’ll take a short break on Monday, assimilate things, and add on another hour. I’ll be spending no more than 2 hours on the internet a day. I’ll reduce this further in April.

I’ll also be aiming for:

  • 2 short essays a day
  • 1 long essay a day
  • 10 events added to the timeline a day

Happiness

… considering the fact that I am happiest when productive, it’s a wonder that I don’t post these things on time.

Perhaps it’s a certain type of productivity, or perhaps I don’t feel that writing down random thoughts on random subjects to be productive. Or perhaps I get lazy.

At any rate, at some point I shall fix it.

I mentioned that I am happiest when productive. This is not a random statement. It has been carefully studied over a period of 69 days, using a wonderful little gadget called Illuum.

The entire point of the app is to figure out what makes you happy. You input how happy you’re feeling based on a number from 1 to 9 (9 being happiest), and then you write down what you did that day.

This is what I’ve found:

  • I’ve been happy 52 days of 69, sad 1 of 69, and middling-well 16 days of 69.
  • My happiest day of the week is Sunday (possibly because it’s my only break day.)
  • My saddest day of the week is Friday (can’t think why)
  • I’m happiest when I have finished a task, went [gone] somewhere, or watched something.

What have you found?