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That was odd...

NaNoWriMo Day three

NaNoWriMo Day three

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Several months ago, I ordered a game for my PSP. Today (while out job-hunting) I finally went around to the store and picked it up. That game is called My Spanish Coach, and I purchased it because having more than one language is a marketable skill, and I need as many of those as I can get my grubby little paws on. I just spent the last fifteen minutes realising that I really don't know Spanish. Sure, I know how to count in Spanish, but that's about it. Beyond a smattering of words that are semi-useful to know as a tourist (Donde esta el baño, no hablo español, etc...) I really have a preschooler's grasp of the language.

This makes me sad, as I really want to connect with that part of my heritage. My grandmother is directly from Mexico, and I feel horrible for not being able to speak it. Hence, my purchase of this game. I kind of figured that since it's fun I will be more likely to keep at it, rather than the absolute hell that was seventh-grade Spanish class. Sixth-grade Latin was a fun class for me, but not really that useful, in retrospect.

Anyway, I picked up the game and at the beginning it has a placement test to see how much of the language you already know, so you don't have to sit through lessons that you already have down cold. The first ten or so questions were about numbers, and I was getting pretty confident with how quickly I was blasting through them. 'This is going to be a piece of cake!' I thought to myself. That's when it hit the colours section.

Now, what you need to know about this game is that during the placement test, if you get two wrong answers in a row, it boots you out. My first two words were 'Yellow' and 'Brown'. I know now that 'Yellow' is 'Amarillo', but I'm slightly concerned by the fact that 'Brown is translated as 'Café'. Now, I'm no translator, but I was pretty sure that 'Café' meant 'Coffee'. While that is certainly a shade of brown, I don't think that is the proper word for it. According to Babelfish (I know, not the best translator out there...) 'brown' best translates as 'Marrón'.

Man, I am using the crap out of the Character map utility with this post. I do wish that I had a keyboard with all of the letters mapped on to it. Or at least a way to bind ctrl+shift+(insert letter) to the letters I need. Hrm. Well, let's put that on the shelf with all the other things Nick wants but will never follow up on. Crap, that shelf is getting pretty full. If I put too much more on there it will collapse and I will be crushed under a pile of 'enh, maybe later'.

Where was I? Oh! Yeah, the whole 'can't speak spanish' thing. Anyway, I got placed in the 'Doesn't know his colours' section of the game. After about seven minutes of that, I got my colours down pat. Except for Brown, but I've already stated why. Also, Purple. That one was conspicuously absent. The game has all of the primary colours, but only two out of three of the secondary. What's up with that? Also, I still need to learn how to modify the colours, so I can say things are light grey, dark green, and so forth. Also, whether or not I can say something is yellow-green by calling it 'amarillo-verde'.

After colours came days of the week. That lesson went pretty smoothly, except that I kept mixing up martes with jueves. Miercoles was easy, since it's the same length as wednesday. Sabado I gathered from watching Telemundo and listening to the Spanish-language radio station. Domingo I know because it's pretty close to the Latin Dominicus. Same deal with Lunes. Viernes was also giving me trouble, until I associated it with 'venerable'. I love etymology, you know? So, with the exception of the jueves-martes hiccup, I was through that lesson pretty quickly.

Next on the menu was months, and that's where I'm setting it down in order to type up this post. It's also where my Latin class is screwing me up. You see, I learned the Latin names for the months, so I keep trying to say those in place of their Spanish names. Needless to say, I get confused when 'Februarius' is not on the choices, but 'Febrero' is. Also, I keep trying to say 'Martius' in place of 'Marzo' So, I'm still working on that. It's probably going to take me at least another ten minutes or so of playing for me to get that down pat. Overall, it's a pretty nifty game so far.

I do know that my pronunciation is phenominal, though. Of course, it would have to be, what with years of listening to it on television, the radio, and visits with my grandmother. Unfortunately, listening doesn't impart understanding. So, I still have to slog through lessons that are fairly cleverly disguised as reaction-time games. After spanish, I'm going to learn to pick up my typing speed. I just need a game that will get me engaged for that one.

I'm fairly certain that my short attention span for things that are borderline-interesting is what does me in. I enjoy things where I can disconnect my brain, and I love things where I have to concentrate to make sure it works. Stuff that won't let me do either? Not so much. It's a character flaw that need destruction. Either that, or I need to figure out a way to make stuff that's semi-interesting so incredibly captivating that I can't bear to have it leave my attention.

Typing is one of those things. I can look at the keyboard and type about thirty to forty words per minute, but that assumes that I am doing nothing but typing what is in my mind. The instant I have to look at things other than the keyboard, I slow down to about five to fifteen words per minute. The sheer use of the keyboard has been letting me type faster though, as I no longer hunt for each letter; I know where they are in relation to each other. Unfortunately, that only works when I am looking at the keyboard.

I am not good at typing without looking at the screen. In fact, as soon as I start trying to type when not looking at the keyboard, my rext stnater lookind lihe this. I'm in the right general area, but not quite on-target. That's what I mean when I say I need to learn to type. Accuracy when typing blindly is what I need. Maybe I need to close my eyes and trust in the Force, like good ol' Ben Kenobi taught us. Hang on, let me try. is ir workinf?

Holy crap. That was pretty awesome. Also insanely close, seeing as how I was hovering my hands over the keyboard, just visualising it. Whee! Sorry, but that was pretty awesome. Let me try it again, but with a longer sentence that uses all the letters of the alphabet.

jacjkdaqs love my bug spjrnc of qiartz.

Damn. That was supposed to read 'Jackdaws love my big Sphynx of quartz'. I am pleased with how close to the letters I am getting, but 'close' only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Soon enough though, I will be able to type without looking at the keyboard. Not sure what that will do for me, but it's something to look forward to. Probably it's another marketable skill, but I'm not entirely certain.

Man, I'm getting pretty tired. In case I didn't already say, I'm trying to break out of being nocturnal. That is something that I know is important to many jobs out there, so I'm doing my best to acquire that sleeping pattern. Unfortunately it's playing hob with my memory, so I can't recall whether something was said yesterday, two weeks ago, or even just a moment ago. It's all blending together in one lump simply labeled 'the Past'. Assuming of course that it even makes it to that pile.

Luckily, I haven't been forgetting anything incredibly important. Just things that I intend to do, and today forgetting what I was doing while I was doing it. That was an uncomfortable moment. I've also noticed that I am having issues with spelling, of late. Hopefully that's simply because I am in a semi-perpetual state of exhaustion, and not the sign of some more insidious problem. Creutzfeldt-Jakobs comes to mind, but the simple fact that I can spell that one without pausing seems to be an indicator that I am still in control of my vocabulary. Most likely the spelling errors are a case of exhaustion mixed with fast typing.

Wow. I think that with the exception of this paragraph, I've typed almost all of my daily quota on things that are not related to the fact that A) I have a quota, B) I am trying to reach that quota, or C) I am a horrible example of a human being, and my writing skills are why the phrase 'Justifiable Homicide' exists. I think I'm still about a couple of hundred words away from my quota, though. And this post showed so much promise! I suppose that's what I get for not having played more of the game before sitting down and typing.

I need to think about what I'm going to post on tomorrow, since it's Election day and all that jazz. I'm not all that political, but I do have a few issues that I vehemently support, so I know who I'm voting for. He's got a lot of positions that I personally don't agree with, but I think he would be best to lead this country out of the hole it has dug for itself. I do wonder though, about how the two main parties have essentially balkanised themselves after 2001. Though, that may be a post for another day. Quite possibly tomorrow, but no promises.

Anyway, that's all for today's post. Thank you all for reading, and be sure to come back tomorrow for another post. Goodnight everybody, and make sure you go out and vote tomorrow. It's important. Besides, you have no right to bitch about the government if you don't.
  • It could be worse. You could have learned the language by watching Cuban TV and listening to Salvadoran grunts taunt guerilla radio operators (who tended to be upper-class girls suffering from revolutionary delusions), which leaves you with a great vocabulary for reading the Latin American edition of Military Review but not much else. Well, the Army wasn't paying me to be a tourist. *shrug*

    Also, touch-typing is overrated. I can do 55+ wpm using "hunt & hit".
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