Started raining while I was in the bank, but my flat cap did the trick. Now luxuriating with a Divine Hammer DIPA while I wait for the other Esperantists to arrive.
Dum mi atendas la aliajn grupanoj, mi trinkas la bieron Norwegian Farmhouse IPA: hordeo, tritiko, sekalo, kaj aveno, kun Citra kaj Amarilla lupoloj. / “Young, fresh, hazy, and thirst quenching!” @BlindPigBrewing
I have a brother who teases me almost, but not quite, mercilessly / Mi havas fraton, kiu pikmokas min preskaŭ, sed ne tute, senkompate.
Several things came together to get me started with paper journals again.
My brother suggested that we might write one another actual paper letters. I think that was partially just because it’s fun to receive actual paper letters, but also because we’d been talking about reviving an idea we worked on a while back, for collaborating on an epistolary story in Esperanto, which would involve the characters writing actual paper letters, which put us in the frame of mind of thinking about letters.
At about the same time, Tobias Buckell wrote a post about starting a bullet journal, with links to a couple of videos (one a nice review of a particular notebook designed with bullet journaling in mind, the other a video on starting a bullet journal).
As an aside, let me mention that the main bullet journal site has the “reference guide” for bullet journaling translated into many languages, including Esperanto! (They want you to give them your email address and sign up for their newsletter to get the link to the reference guides.)
I’m perpetually vulnerable to diving too deep down this particular rabbit hole, geeking out over anything and everything related: notebooks, paper, pens, etc. Already I have:
- Gotten out and inked a couple of fountain pens that I haven’t used since I was working at a regular job (and had enough opportunities to take notes that I could work my way through a piston converter full of ink before it dried out).
- Rearranged sheets in several of my Levenger Circa notebooks to clear one for daily use as a bullet journal, and used it as such for almost a week now.
- Drafted a handy Field Notes notebook for separately tracking my bodyweight workouts (which seem to call for their own non-bullet journal).
- Downloaded two separate PDF workbooks on Spencerian handwriting, and spent perhaps an hour practicing (my long-ago forgotten) cursive writing.
- Written two letters to my brother and one to my mom.
I’m having great fun. It’s probably a big waste of time, but I’m finding it a at least a little bit useful:
- I’ve probably remembered to do a couple of things I’d have forgotten, because I had noted the task in my journal.
- I’ve probably done a couple of things that I’d otherwise have procrastinated on, because I had noted the task in my journal (and didn’t want to either strike it out nor carry it forward another day).
- I’ve definitely got a much better idea what I’ve actually gotten done, because I have a record in my journal.
- I’ve gotten to play with my fountain pens, the new Mont Blanc pen the Wise Bread founders gave me, my Dr. Grip G2 gel pens, and my Fisher space pens (all excellent pens—each the right tool for one circumstance or another).
I think Steven and I will continue writing one another, at least for a while; it’s fun! I’m continuing my bullet journal—I’m currently on day six. My handwriting has definitely improved.
Basically, it’s all good. Even if there are obvious advantages to just keeping stuff in a computer, it’s not as much fun, and why do stuff if it isn’t fun?
Most nice days there are some folks on the quad with a slackline—a strip of nylon webbing perhaps an inch wide pulled fairly tight between two trees. You—if you’ve got pretty good balance—can walk the line from one tree to the other. Today for the first time, I gave it a try.
My first attempts were not a success—I was able to get up on the line, but not able to balance myself without an assist, nor walk more than a step even with an assist.
I did, however, learn a lot.
The balance work I’ve done as part of my taiji practice—single-leg standing—has been very different. All my experience in taiji has been about establishing a stable base on the standing leg. If you do that, then you can do pretty much whatever you want with your arms or your other leg.
The slackline is completely different. There is no stable base, and trying to establish one is pointless. Instead, you need to just accept the fact that your base is unstable: You need to actively provide your own stability, by constantly adjusting to the constantly moving slackline under you.
I only had a few minutes to experiment before my Esperanto meeting, so I didn’t figure out the trick before it was time to move on. But I think I’ve got the intellectual part figured out. Just like a tray is balanced with your hands and arms and not with your eyes, you need to trust your feet, ankles, and legs to do what is necessary without staring at the line: the feedback via your eyes is simply not fast enough to be useful.
To attend my Esperanto meeting, I’ll be wandering through the quad most Saturday afternoons all spring, so hopefully I’ll get several more chances to play on the slackline. I expect I’ll get it figured out before summer.
I considered putting a note to that effect on the door, but I was afraid there would be people who wouldn’t get the joke. (The downside of having such a diverse group of friends—no matter how pervasive something is in our culture, Jackie and I will know a few people for whom it is utterly outside their experience.)
Party preparations are nearly complete.
I got the study tidy! (Those of you who have seen it in the past month would be astounded.) I need to do a photo shoot of my writing space, now that it is so wonderfully open and inviting, but I have not yet had the time to get good pictures.
This morning I made candy and baked cookies for the party. (The candy is what I call Platonic Candy, because it is candy reduced to its platonic essence: sugar, fat, a little flavoring. The cookies are Ginger Sparkles.)
This afternoon, while I’m at Esperanto, Jackie will prepare her contributions to the party comestibles.
In the evening we’ll do our final cleaning up.
Sunday we’ll be able to laze about lazily all morning, until people start showing up for the party.
Yesterday’s weather report was kind of alarming, predicting that several inches of snow were possible. Today’s forecast is better, with less snow expected. Hopefully the weather won’t keep too many people home from our party.
We have a bunch of things we’re hoping to do this year, and most of them require some amount of preparation—preparation which will have to occur in the winter and spring.
My plans stretch out to the end of July, because the last week of July I’ll be in Lille, France to attend the 100th Universala Kongreso de Esperanto.
As preparation for that, I really want to spend half an hour almost every day practicing my Esperanto. That should be plenty—I already read and write the language and I’ve attended international Esperanto gatherings in the past. But just a bit of practice listening to spoken Esperanto (podcasts and such) and a bit of practice actually conversing (with my local Esperanto group, and such other folks as I can find) will go a long way toward making attending this kongreso a rich and satisfying experience.
About a month before that will be the solstice, and right around then—second half of June or very early July—is the only good chance do the Kal-Haven trail walk that we’ve hoped to do each of the last two years. (In those weeks because only then are the days long enough to finish the walk in daylight.)
As preparation for that, we need to go on several walks each week, including a very long walk roughly every other week, working our way up to being able to walk the 33.5 mile trail.
Several months earlier—just one month from now—we’re going to have a little party for people to come see our townhouse. We’ve fixed the date as February 1st, and are thinking of it as a celebration of Groundhog’s Day Eve, or Imbolc, if you prefer. Invitations are forthcoming. If you don’t get one, it is surely an oversight—let me know.
As preparation for that, we need to finish unpacking!
Without a specific deadline, but very soon now, I want to finish revising my novel so I can get it out to first readers.
As preparation for that, I need to spend an hour or two every morning writing.
Normally at this time of year we’d also be planning our garden, but Jackie has convinced me that working a garden plot this summer will be more than we can manage.
We went to a local storytelling event last night. There were about six storytellers, telling stories over the course of most of two hours (with a 15 minute break). They served beer and wine, but we’d been to Whiskey Wednesday, so we didn’t get further alcohol.
There’s an active community of storytellers in town. As a writer, I’m extremely aware of the difference between writing stories and telling stories, and I’m endlessly fascinated by storytelling. The stories I write in English wouldn’t lend themselves to telling (although they read aloud okay). But the theme of the events (monsters and dragons) reminded me of my first Esperanto story, which was about monsters, and it occurred to me that story would probably work for telling pretty well.
Somebody ought to get some Esperanto storytelling events going.
This event, which was in English, was pretty cool. They had a good number of children in attendance (drawn, I suppose, by the monsters and dragons theme). They’re talking about making a monthly thing out of it, and I just might make my way downtown to listen to stories on a regular basis if they do.
Speaking of storytelling, I’ve been continuing to use Zombies Run when I run, because I enjoy the storytelling aspects. (And I am enjoying hearing the story unfold, quite a bit. I’ve got quite a bit more to listen to, but I’m already looking forward to replaying season one. In particular, I’ve been playing so far without zombie chases, and I’m sure adding those will change things enough to make it extra-replayable.)
Not really related to the storytelling aspect, but interesting to me, is that using the game has had an impact on my training runs.
The game is set up to give you training runs about 30 minutes (or about 60 minutes). The story is divided into 5 or 6 audio clips that dramatize the story. Between each pair of clips, the game plays 1 song (or 2 songs) from your running playlist.
Early in the season like this, my fitness improves almost every run. (Especially because the weather often makes it impossible to run day after day, so I’m getting my recover days in.) Normally what happens is that I’ll find a distance I can run at my current level of fitness, and I’ll run that distance pretty often for a while, until I get fit enough to run further. (Later in the season I mix it up more with a weekly “long” run.)
In years past, at this point in the season, I’d be running my regular 2.2-mile loop for most of my runs, and my times would be gradually improving.
Now, though, all my runs are about 30 minutes. But, as my fitness improves, instead of finishing a standard length sooner, I’m running for a standard period of time and having to run further.
The last two runs there was still story to go when I got back, and I ended up having to run around the apartment complex. In order to be sure I’ll have finished the story by the time I’ve finished my run, I’m going to have to start running a longer route! (The game has a feature for making sure that a route that runs longer than an episode doesn’t leave you bereft. It’s called “radio mode” it goes on playing stuff from your playlist, still alternated with audio clips, but these audio clips don’t try to advance the story. They just provides some local color. So, if you finish a mission, but end up running another 10 minutes to get home, it switches seamlessly to those bits.)
Once the weather improves a tiny bit more, and I’m running more days per week, I’ll probably ease up just a bit on my all-zombie running, which will make it easier to mix up the distance a bit more.
Maybe I’ll also practice telling a story in Esperanto.
I was really pleased with this picture of Darcy, Dan, and Omar telling a couple of undergrads how much fun it is to learn Esperanto as a member of our group.
The Esperanto@UIUC table by Philip Brewer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.