Game Plan: Learning Russian (take two)

Okay, I seriously don’t know what happened to the post I just spent the last twenty minutes writing. So, redo. 

I would like to say that I’ve been busily writing those reviews I need to catch up on, but truth is I have a renewed interest in learning Russian. And that’s where I’ve been this past couple of days. I promise I’m not goofing off! Here’s proof.

Learning a second language has been one of my goals for years and Russian has been my target language for the past two or three. I’m behind mainly because I keep pushing it to the side. As much as I want to learn another language, work and school are my priorities (and they still are) but I need to make more of an effort to incorporate Russian into my daily routine, even if only for thirty minutes. 

So, my game plan. So I can hold myself accountable.

  1. Practice reading in Russian for ten minutes a day. Currently, I suck at pronunciation. I can read fairly well, but I’m still trying to get the hang of stressed and unstressed letters. Hopefully by reading I can pick this up.
  2. Practice writing in Russian for ten minutes a day. Because I’m a writer. And because writing seems to make things sink in and help me to recognize patterns (in my first draft I listed examples, but I’m too tired to pull it up again. They’re written in my language journal which is tucked away since I’m just about ready to sleep!).
  3. Start a vlog. Which is for my eyes only! Possibly. Maybe. For now at least. Reading and writing helps, but keeping a daily vlog will probably help with my pronunciation.
  4. Add three words to my vocabulary list. Because it’s good practice, especially if I use a partial phrase to help students learn, like “This is a [insert vowels].”
  5. Practice three phrases per week. Because I agree with polyglot Olly Richards. We hardly use single words to communicate. When we do, it is generally spoken in phrases. This will teach me something new.

So there you have it. Game plan! Can’t wait to check back in. See you then

Study Break: Mental Health

Whew, what a day!

Of course most of my day was spent at work. And while I love working at the library, the day can drag on. 

From there I jumped into my Russian language studies. I’ve slacked off on this now that I’ve doubled my efforts at school. Well, to be honest, I also haven’t made a real study plan (until now).

Not to mention that I spent the first half of the week contemplating Aristotle’s philosophy on metaphysics, logic, and politics and that the past couple of weeks I was picking apart the key dialogues of Plato and his Theory of Forms … a mental health break is called for.

Every once in a while you need to take a break from rigorious if not it can be rather taxing.

So here’s to a study break! Except, on this break all I can think of is what to study next in my language learning journey, and posting. I made it through most of Pimsluer’s Conversational Russian and now listening to Pimsluer’s short course. Aside from audio practice, I’m also getting familiar with reading Russian.

But that’s my study break, for now 😊.

Добрый вечер! (Good Evening!)

Is it seriously September already? (2017)

Like, seriously? September? Jeepers.

And talk about checking out. I really checked out, huh? Did a “Summer Holiday: Day 1” and didn’t really come back the rest of summer. I can’t say that I’m back to my regular routine just yet. Truthfully (and I may have mentioned this), I came -|this|- close to throwing in the towel and signing off blogging for a while. Life’s been kicking my butt lately and with my focus on school (since I’m -|this|- close to graduating with a BA in European History, boo-yah!) it’s been kicking my butt double time. 

But (and I may have mentioned this too), I just can’t do it. Give up blogging? gasp Never! Dramatic? Absolutely. But I haven’t given myself good enough reason to quit it so . . . onward!

With more than half the year gone, however, one has to wonder where to go from here. At least, I do. Wonder that is. As far as blogging goes. That is. So as usual, I’m moving onward with no plan in particular, but then again, a plan is so restricting (a half joke here because plans do come in handy, when you stick to it, which I do–honest!–about 60% of the time and really, I have a hard time with the follow through . . . anyway!). 

[Yeah, I had a whole other paragraph and stuff written and then I switched to my phone, hit update on accident and it erased everything I typed. Ugh! Ah well. Moving on . . . round two —>] That’s never stopped before though, eh? Not having a plan. Or at least, not sticking to a plan, or, I mean, following through with a plan. 

I do have to get back into practice though. Posting that is. NaBloPoMo is right around the corner. November will be here in no time. May as well get back on it, right? 

So, here I am, 411 Junkie, making the most of the last four months of 2017! (Four months! Can you believe that? 2017 is more than halfway gone! Just 17 weeks until Christmas! Jeepers . . . )


Random 411: The Wonderful World of Amateur Radio

One summer my family was thinking of camping up in the mountains. It’s a beautiful campsite, a popular campsite, but it’s remote. Cellular phones don’t work up there and there is only one place with a landline. This got me thinking about alternate modes of communication. If I can’t use my cell phone and I’m nowhere near a land line, is there any other way to communicate? Any other way to send for help that doesn’t include a whistle or a handheld mirror?

Enter Amateur Radio.

There are so many websites, blog posts, YouTube videos on the subject that I feel bad adding to that mounds of information. However, I’ve heard so many comments like “you can just text” or “well, my phone has GPS.” In fact, someone scoffed at me when I mentioned having a Technician Class license and said: “with the internet and all the advances in technology, you wasted your time getting one.” Usually, I shrug my shoulders with a smile and say something like “well, I am a geek” and walk away. To each his own, you know? 

Well, I just sat through an Emergency Preparedness Seminar. I was reminded that on an island with around 70,000 people–90,000 if you count the visitor population–there are only about 200 first responders/firefighters and about another 200 police officers. If you add the AMR workforce you add around  50 more hands on deck. That is only 450 trained emergency professionals servicing possibly 90,000 people. This doesn’t include the military personnel that’s also stationed on the island, but still, we’re talking 90,000 people. I was also reminded that if you take the worse case scenario and there has been damage to the main infrastructure, it could take up to seven days for outside aid to come in. We’ve been encouraged to build an emergency kit with supplies for 14 days.

What does this have to do with Amateur Radio?  

That’s just it. That’s my point. On an island that is about a five-hour commercial flight to mainland USA, it’s scary to think I cannot call for help. Ninety-thousand people texting and/or calling on their cellular phone. I know technology has come a long way, but again, if you take the worse case scenario and, say, hurricane force winds knocked down two cell towers I may not be able to use my cell phone to call for help. I didn’t want that limitation and/or restriction. 

And while I can charge my radio by an electrical outlet, I can also convert my battery pack to use AA batteries which extend the life of communication and not reliant on electricity.

It may not be for everyone. You need a license and to get a license you need to pass an exam. The exam is 35 questions in which 26 of them needs to be answered correctly. Questions on frequency and FCC regulations. But for someone who can be a sitting duck if the worse happens, having the license and ability to communicate with others is worth the $15 admin fee (volunteers administer the test so you’re only paying for the cost of administering the test, not paying the volunteers, just to make things clear) and $30 for a radio. I don’t need to rely on infrastructure. I can help others who don’t have a license and looking for their family. It makes me think of a saying someone once said to me, “I’d rather carry it and not need it than need it and not have it.”

I have a Technicians license that, I admit, I’ve rarely put to use, but the point is I have it.

And it’s good for ten years.

And since I have it, I can learn all that I want to amateur radio. 

And now that I’ve been reminded how valuable that skill set could be in times of need, I’ll be studying to upgrade my license to a General class this year. 

Cheers to no restrictions and the opportunity to be self-reliant (in terms of communicating of course)!

And at the very least it’s another way to connect with others on a global scale 😉.

There is no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.

Stephen King


What to post, what to post: June ramblings

I have read 32 books out of 60 for my GoodReads goal. Five books ahead of schedule. I’ve watched several movies that I can review, including Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. So why am I having such a hard time posting?

I guess my head is stuffed to the gills (I chuckled just now. I mean, chuckled? That doesn’t sound right. Scoffed? Snickered? Yeah, more like I just snickered. That’s better). Two sides are competing for attention. The academic side and the entertainment junkie side. I can’t seem to snap out of the academic side. I guess it’s all those research papers I’ve written. I’m thinking about all the what-ifs history provides, especially now that I’m transitioning from Russian History into Viking History. 

 I can’t seem to snap out of the academic side. I guess it’s all those research papers I’ve written. I’m thinking about all the what-ifs history provides, especially now that I’m transitioning from Russian History into Viking History. I want to fill my time chasing down these what-ifs and if I’m not going to do research on it, I want to get lost in a book. It’s just been so interesting.

I hear you whispering: Such a geek. You don’t have to tell me. 

And boring! Well now, that’s subjective.

And now I get to choose a research topic I want to explore for my Viking History research paper final. How awesome is that? Right after researching the Muscovite Law Code of 1649 I get to explore the judicial system of the Vikings. Not that that’s going to be my research topic but I am considering it.

To be honest, the only television show I’ve successfully kept up with is Scorpion and I’m behind two episodes. Yes, yes. I haven’t watched the season finale yet. Again. Weekly research papers. 

Excuses, excuses. A blogger finds the time! 

I have spent some time thinking about what to post. I’m not just researching and stuff. I’ve been kind of combing through past posts and finding what I like and what was liked. It’s interesting to see how things have progressed. I mean, I jumped into the blogosphere just because. I went from random things to deciding on reviews to questioning reviews back to reviews and then just random things. All rolled up into one blog with the title of Information Junkie.

Plus, it’s June. The middle of 2017 is coming to a point. It’ll be that time to review the first half of the year. Not because it’s on the agenda or anything but because it’s a habit I seemed to have developed. And I’m not even a planner type person!

Ah, summer. How badly do I wish life can be more on the Phineas and Ferb side of than the everyday ho-hum making a living side. Which makes me think, what would I do if I had no obligations? This merits some thought. Perhaps another blog post. Hm . . . 

So, what to post, what to post. 

Movie Moment: Huh? Processing in progress

Have you ever watched a movie where you were thinking, through the entire movie, “okay, this is pretty good,” “not bad,” “I’m liking it” and then in the last fifteen minutes or so you’re like “what the heck?”

And then you’re thinking “no, but I liked it” and you have another part of your mind going “did you? did you really?” and you answer back “I did. Seriously. Well, I think I did?”

This. All of this. Like, an hour ago. 

I’m still not feeling well. My mind is still in static mode (remember the snowing TV? Yep, still there). Still tangled and, therefore, a lingering mild headache is still present. So I decided to journal a bit. Which helped. But now and then the slight pounding takes precedence so I stop. I decided to watch a movie while dozing in and out of consciences.

Sliding Doors starring Gwyneth Paltrow (remember her?), written and directed by Peter Howitt. Like I mentioned earlier, I was looking for a distraction, but it started to get a bit interesting. Especially dealing with themes that portray the “what ifs?” and “by chance?” story lines. I’m a sucker for that only because, really, all it takes is a moment to change the course of life. But I won’t get into it just now. So, back to the point of this post.

So, like an hour ago I was really getting into this movie. I like the story it was telling (and I’m not going to go into it because that will be like movie reviewing, which really should be its own post). And then we get to the last fifteen to thirty minutes and I’m thinking “what just happened?” when the credits start to roll.

Reflecting upon this, it could be one of two things. Either a major plot twist through you off-balance, changed the atmosphere so to speak, or a plot point just didn’t make sense and it ended too abruptly for your mind to process it naturally. I’m sure I’m missing other possibilities, but these are the two I could think of with a mild headache and a major “what just happened?” 

I’m still trying to figure out which one is it, but wow. I mean, wow. One moment I’m watching the movie and cautiously enjoying it and then BOOM! “huh?” I did feel that’s the direction the movie was taking so I wasn’t surprised, but I was. Surprised and not surprise. At the same time. It’s an interesting and puzzling feeling, but there it is. 

And if I decide to review this one . . . well, hopefully, I’ll figure it out by then.

Here’s to “huh?” moments!