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”. 

Supernatural obsession

Ok, it’s a little embarrassing to admit, but thanks to every season being available on Netflix, I’m now quite obsessed with Supernatural. It doesn’t help that people have spotted one of the stars here in  my hometown. Following their Twitter accounts isn’t making things better, either. Am I a stalker? I think I might be a stalker.

Legal and psychological technicalities aside, I just really like the humor. They are right up my alley, especially Castiel and Bobby. Here are some faves I strung together. Y’welcome.

Ok, fine, it’s just me here. You’re welcome, future me. Also, they get bonus points for a freaking Charles Bukowski reference. Man, I miss Boston all over again.

bobby bukowski Cas_trying_to_lie

Brace yourself for my exciting life of toilets

Yep. It’s my last day of get-to-do-anything-I-want while MBF is outta town, and what am I doing? You know it: watching toilet videos, mofos!

I won’t even apologize.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 7.00.47 PMBut what I will share (no, not the toilet video) is how WILDLY the prices vary between Blowes and Home Despot.

Same exact product, 3x the price (check the model number to geek out with me):

Anyway, that’s my story tonight. Shopping for toilets (also overpriced at b’Lowes) and pool thermometers. Yeppp. Dang. Now I’m sad.

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Foxy Shazam stuck in my head

A break from my crusading for environmental and human egalitarianism. I shall now rock out on my day off.

This band is stuck in my head so hard right now. I saw them a couple years ago when they opened for Slash at Stubbs. I hadn’t heard of them, and then I couldn’t forget them. As much as I loooooove LOOOOVE Slash, I think I actually might have enjoyed their performance more. Not that seeing Slash wasn’t great, and not that he didn’t still “have it”. They just.. blew my face off.

They’re basically a bunch of frontmen-type stars who each play their own gig, but then together. So instead of having an epic frontman with a huge feather coat and tight Freddie Mercury pants (which he has, plus FM’s chops) supported by mellow, competent musicians, they have that AND an insane keyboardist, flamboyant trumpet player, and everyone in between. The guitarist soloed and the lead singer jumped onto his shoulders, mid-solo; the trumpet player threw his trumpet high enough to get caught in the lights (it didn’t) and coordinated super-fast high kicks and dips; the keyboardist picked up his full-sized, wired keyboard and played it like a key-tar, then threw it into the crowd and surfed to it, seated himself on the crowd’s hands, and proceeded to play while he and his keyboard surfed around. Go read about the keyboardist. Evidently this kind of stage antics is totally normal for all of them.

And they produced this gem, which I loved from that moment and now (again) have stuck in my head. Look, I can’t stand the often moronic over-sexualization of the female butt. But damned if I don’t love this song IN THE FACE. And if asses aren’t your thing, the second video might be more your speed. I like that song, too.


Boxed up birthday, sans proof

Grr! I am riding high on a finished project—not just finished, mind, but boxed up, taped, addressed, and ready to mail tomorrow—and I’m SO PSYCHED about how well the project and whole birthday package came together, including a hand-written letter from Hogwarts to the recipient.. and then I forgot to take pics of it all.

I mean, I have some store-bought items in there—a quill (a really pretty one), ink, and some branded HP-world junk collectibles from the theme park—but I have a hand-made, all-wool object d’a-freaking-more in there. And I’ve had it finished since January (because no, ah no, I don’t knit during sweaty-hands season). Finished. Finished and filed away so tidily that I couldn’t find it when the night of sending came around. Oh yeah, cause birthday, in the works since January, is on Sunday. I’m so ready. So excited. So.. without pics. Boo. And yay. B’yay.

Ok, here’s what else is in the box, cause… eff, I wish I were getting it!