My Typical First Hurdle and the Power of Spite

I’ve noticed something that consistently happens to me whenever I set out to tackle one of these sorts of life project things. I get sick. I get sick almost immediately. Every time.

“I’m finally going to try and run a mile. Oh, but I guess I caught a cold instead.”

“Maybe I’ll try to run a 5k this year, but first, maybe I’ll try some gastroenteritis.”

“This year I’m going to to consolidate all my projects and ideas and things I want to get done and start actually finishing them. Oh, let’s have a nice bout with influenza first.”

This is not something I knowingly pursue, and in fact I’m unsure how I would be trying to do this every time. The consistency of it is enough to make me angry at the universe. So here I lay, trying to keep my body temperature feeling consistent and slugging down Aquarius Zero and Ibuprofen (which I can at least enjoy pronouncing as “ibupurofen”) and trying not to breathe on anyone.

What I’ve learned from the universe seeming to inflict me with varying intensities of temporary disease over the years is that it’s very easy to stumble on that first hurdle and let yourself get set back for days, weeks, even years. So each stumbling is a choice. Let yourself lose that fire you had before something comes along to take the wind out of your sails, or come out of it with a renewed strength to spite the fates. Spite, I find, is one of my core motivators.

I eventually did run that mile for the first time years ago. I ran that 5k later and lost 40 pounds in the process (I gained 20 back, but hey, I still call that a success.) This is where I say “screw you, universe. I’ve got things to get done.”

Just as soon as all my muscles stop aching and I stop hearing what I presume is the sound of blood moving through my veins.

Studying Kanji Again

In America we have spelling bees. English is, as far as the written characters themselves go, not a terribly complicated set of characters. How to spell complicated words is pretty much as far as we go in the measurement of skill in just the characters themselves. Japanese goes to the other extreme, as if they looked at their character set and went “okay, that’s complicated, but how can we make it more complicated? Let’s take a bunch of stuff from this other language, rename the characters several times, but also keep the original names.”

Yesterday I saw the word 御御御付け (“omiotsuke” as in “miso soup”) on some variety show were someone was being tested on obscure kanji readings and it occurred to me that in America we will probably never have a show where a bunch of famous people cheer someone on as they try to spell things, with random, raucous bursts of laughter, shock, and applause. Our language just doesn’t leave much room for it. Neither does our culture, it seems, as we seem to have designated Jeopardy to be the only show where actually knowing anything is still celebrated.

So I’m getting back into trying to learn kanji. When it comes to studying, everyone has their own little quirks for how they most easily learn. Fortunately in this case, someone recommended to me an Android app simply called Japanese Kanji Study that lets you choose a number of study methods. Kanji is grouped into sets based either on standard Japanese education or the more vaguely defined structure for the JLPT (wherein “this might show up” is the theme for those.) When I last took the JLPT kanji study wasn’t something I focused on, but with this app I’m somehow more eager to do so. I’m about 2/3 back through the N3 range, which has a lot more variety than I remember, but it looks like I’ll be able to check off my N3 goal fairly quickly. This is a rare app that a) costs more than $0.99 and b) seems worth the cost of unlocking all the features (I think it was $12.99). Compared to the price I’ve paid for physical study books that seemed much less effective for me, this seems like a pretty good deal.

Personally, I like to queue up a block of kanji and just force myself through it exclusively through the writing practice, failing repeatedly until I’ve burned them all in to my brain, then I’ll go back and review all the previous sets to see what I forgot. So far it seems to be working rather well.

I should also mention Aedict as being the best version of a Japanese dictionary I’ve found for Android, being unsurprisingly based on Jim Breen’s old wwwjdic web dictionary.

The List

As mentioned in the last post, my resolution was to make a list and then start checking things off of it. It’s a set of standard resolutions with a whole pile of other “I really just want to find time to get this goofy thing done” things. The two I’ve already completed/removed were sorting out what I wanted to go on my NES/SNES minis. Low hanging fruit to be sure, but still something I wanted to get done.

The remainder of the list, vaguely in order of priority, and certainly not in order of simplicity/time consumption, is as follows (and only slightly censored to preserve some of the items where knowing the title might ruin the surprise):

  • Arthur – Teach Arthur the Alphabet
  • Stories – Write <That Story Finally>
  • Business – Work out selling art online for Shoka
  • Exercise – Do 5 Continuous Chin Ups or Pull Ups
  • Education – Catch back up to the N3 JLPT
  • Education – Get to where you could pass the N2 JLPT
  • Exercise – Get back to 88kg
  • Gaming (Android) – Learn to use Unity and publish an Android game
  • Gaming (Table Top) – Make a Deck Building Game
  • Gaming (Table Top) – Make a Lego-based Dungeon Crawling Board Game
  • Gaming (MTG) – Build an Unstable MTG Cube
  • Gaming (MTG) – Rebuild my old elves deck
  • Collect the History of Violence Movie List
  • Get back on Social Media
  • Art – Draw Things and post them on Social Media
  • Gaming (Table Top) – <Board Game Sorta>
  • Gaming (Table Top) – <Internet Reference> Dice Game
  • Gaming (Android) – Publish another Android game
  • Gaming (Pokémans)  – Catch ’em All
  • Start on N1 kanji
  • Gaming (Ani-Mayhem) – Finish Ani-Mayhem Rule Cards
  • Gaming (Ani-Mayhem) – Actually play a game of Ani-Mayhem
  • Gaming – Sort out SNES mini games
  • Gaming – Sort out NES mini games

Most of these are solo projects, though several involve some friends of mine who have helped develop some of these ideas (or started them in the first place and the goal is to get us to actually do something with them).

I’m holding back on crossing out “Get back on Social Media” for when I’ve proven to myself I can get to doing this stuff consistently. Getting Shoka to start actually using her own blog is also a part of this. Here’s hoping.

It’s a blog, then.

So among my long list of things on my 2018 resolutions list (the first was to make the list in the first place) is “rejoin the Internet.” Those few who follow me on Twitter/Instagram will have noticed I’ve been posting a bit more. Those following me on Facebook will have seen a smaller bump, as I’m becoming less and less interested in consistently updating things there. The inability to force it into a chronological list still makes me angry, even after all this time.

So I’ve settled on a blog. This is where I’ll be making updates on the rest of my list of things I want to finish in 2018. It’s mostly gaming related, though there’s a variety of other categories in there.