Baby steps back

I realized last night that my schedule has been completely, 100% borked. Blame the winter, blame the rains, blame traveling. Something has thrown me way way off since… well a long damned time.

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Yesterday, I made a goal to get my unread emails down to below 1000. It was a modest goal: just handfuls of emails down and a huge glut to go. But I did it, dammit. I fucking did it.

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Putting a bow on 2016

Putting a bow on 2016

As I’m staring down a stack of papers representing my taxes and contemplating meaning in a world gone insane, I’m clearly procrastinating. Because instead of finishing either of those two necessary tasks, however noble or banal each is, I’ve cleaned every surface in my house and also decided “yes, I should catch up on my journaling from 2016.” Because priorities. 

 

New this year: stickers on the book!
 
So 2016 is all scrapped up and ready to go sit on the shelf with his buddies: eight other Farmer’s Alamanc planners and three rando planners I used before the OFA became my clear go-to. They represent over 10 years of hoarding papers. 

 

Some of the randos with the final version of what is basically a really lazy memoir
 
Or at least, 10 years of putting my paper hoarding to some sort of creative use. 

I can’t let go of paper. Ticket stubs, business cards, wedding invitations, even those little tags on tea bag strings. For years they sat in envelopes waiting for…well I didn’t know what. But finally after years of stacks of papers sitting around, I finally found a way to scrapbook/journal with all of that crap. As a result, I can get rid of most of the papers but keep the key elements that remind me of something that happened on a particular day: cards and notes, wristbands, ribbons, parking passes. They all go on their appropriate date page. And then I can throw the rest out. It’s still really weird, but at least now I have a hold of it. 

And as a bonus, I have a solid book of alibis* going back years. So that’s nice. 

 

alibis stacking up
 
*h/t to MBF for coining that. 

Duolingo cheat codes

Ok, not really. But I did wonder how fluency and progress were measured, and how I could boost my fluency score. Duolingo is pretty up front about it: it’s keeping your “strength bars” full. Aka, refreshing your lessons. Oh, and also something about how much vocab you know and how important those words are, etc. Pfft. Details.

Once I had a basic idea of their metric, I played around a bit with it, and made myself a 2% per day fluency goal. No probs.

I was chugging along, doing about 30 minutes of practice daily: a new lesson or two and as many reviews as it took to get my 2% (about 8 review lessons some days). I got to 41% fluent and wondered how far I could get doing just reviews, no new content. Around 47% is where things ran off the rails for me. Getting from 47 to 49% took 22 review lessons. Getting the last 1% took me 21 lessons, filling all of my past lessons to full. So, all my completed lessons look gold now:

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And my daily xp (about 10 xp per lesson or review) looks like this, which netted me 2% daily over the last week.

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And consequently, I’m now at 50%! I can’t imagine I’ll be gaining much from here without doing a ton more new lessons and keeping on with lots of reviews. In fact, I wonder if I can keep my 2%/day pace up. (In fact, today I haven’t yet hit my 2% goal. All those reviews went to just getting a single percentage point.) My goal is to hit 100% in 25 more days. We’ll see!

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Hat tip to Mags for inspiring me to hit the Duolingo mean streets daily!

Gamifying language learning

Well, as a gamer at heart, I of course found a way to hack the achievements presented in duolingo. (An awesome free language app, btw.) 

I noticed my fluency rating had slipped from 22% down to 12% in the app over a few weeks. My bad for not being consistent. 

When it slipped after I completed two daily lessons, I knew it was time for action. And since I quit WoW Monday, what other achievements am I getting? None, I tells ya. 

  
So I kept clicking “practice weak skills” over and over until my fluency rating came up from 9 to 12%. It took about 8 lessons to do it. 

Then I noticed a link to my dashboard. Voila! The web version has tons of other options like progress tests and timed tests. Neat!

After a timed tests I was back up another 5 percentage points: 17%. Oh, now it was ON. 

After a few more tests, all easily within 30 minutes or so, I was back to my original 22%. Then I beat that. 

  
Today I’m at 27% after two timed tests and my normal daily new lesson and one practice of weak skills. 

   
Commence project “new life goals”. Or “I think I’m addicted to leveling”. 

What’s the deal with my language thing?

Why? Why the hell am I still pretending I’ll ever learn even close to 50% of the world’s native languages? This:

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”  Nelson Mandela.

I voted today. I can’t believe my country is coming even a little close to electing a ridiculous xenophobe. Now it’s more important than ever that if we can’t walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, we can at least understand what he’s saying when he tells us what it’s like.