Tuesday, December 24, 2019


This is my attempt to translate the beginning of Evgeny Onegin:

"My uncle, man of worth and honor,         
Made us respect him fast indeed         
When he fell ill and looked a goner.
His fine example all should heed.
He knows what suits him like no other,    
But oh my God, it's such a bother           
To sit with him both night and day              
Not daring once to step away.
It feels so crass and insincere
To humor someone who's half-dead,
Adjust the pillows on his bed,
To bring him tablets, wipe a tear,             
And sigh and think the whole way through:
When will the devil summon you?"

A youthful scoundrel thought this, driving
In a swift carriage through the din.
By Zeus’s will the sole surviving
Inheritor of all his kin. 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Year in Nerdiness

Third post of this type.
Last year I spent 435 hours on Mandarin listening comprehension.
I started doing at least one hour a day of ChinesePod on 12/07/17. That streak is still alive. I missed several days, but every time I did 2 hours the next day to compensate for that. I've now spent a total of 731 hours on Mandarin listening comprehension. I'm now on my 102nd Upper Intermediate ChinesePod lesson.
What's my level now? Well, I understand about half of what is said in this video:
The funniest part is at 2:25, where the guy says that the machine is writing the name Jacquet Droz in English cursive. ying1 wen2 zhe4 ge cao3 xie3 de ming2 cheng1. It's a French personal name. But I guess all Latin-character writing is "English" to some Chinese people.
That thing costs $367,500. I didn't look for a Chinese video of it. I just searched for the Jacquet Droz signature machine, and this was one of the first things that came up. The rise of Japan gave the luxury industry a boost. The ongoing rise of China will make Switzerland even richer.   
Back to the year in nerdiness: In September I lost a lot of my enthusiasm for piano practice. 
That's normal. Nerdy enthusiasms come and go. I'll probably go back to practicing a lot at some time in the future. Outside of work I don't force myself to do anything. Which is why I can't predict which of my hobbies will get most of my time in 2019. It's all meant to be fun.