April 2009 monthly report

This is my sixteenth monthly report. To review introductory comments and the purpose of these reports, please refer to the initial report made for January 2008. For more overall planning and goal-managing, see the Project page. Text in italics is copied from the previous monthly report for reference.

Looking back: April 2009

Physical – This should be pretty obvious by now, but I intend to continue mainly with planche, front lever, handstand and one-arm chin-up. Rather than specifying exactly what I’m going to do, I’ll let it suffice to state how many times I would like to focus on the various areas. My record,if relevant, is noted in brackets.

Planche (39 seconds tucked): 15/16 (44 seconds new record)
Front lever: 16 (48 seconds tucked) 15/16 (60 seconds new record)
Handstand: 12
14/12 (no significant gains)
OAC: 12 (managed negative OAC on left arm first time)

My output this month has been stable and fairly good, as you can see above. It feels like I’m moving slowly, but these reports are a good opportunity to get some perspective and see that I’m at least on my way somewhere. I have a long way to go. In addition to this, I also did four times ten minutes handstand wall run, an exercise which still is unbelievably demanding.

Creativity – After having started some role-playing with a few friends, I have felt an upsurge in my motivation to complete Magneter och mirakel, and would genuinely be stupid not to take this opportunity to write as much as possible. Mainly, I will try to complete the four adventures that will be included in the book, as well as revise the rules (only minor changes, but it still needs doing).

I completed one of them, but this took around ten hours. Extrapolating from this, it was wildly unrealistic to finish four scenarios in forty hours in just one month, especially since I did a lot other things (studying in particular). I still hope I can finish these before the summer, but I will have to work hard. Even though I technically failed this task, it still feels like a success!

Even though I won’t write anything on the novel or the short stories this month, I’ll try to launch an IRC-based campaign in the same setting as I use for parts of the novel. This is not meant to be long-lasting, but it will probably be fun and a good way to explore the setting.

We are getting there, but some technical problems and difficulties to find common spare time to discuss the basic concept delayed the project somewhat. This is nothing to worry about, though, because it seems like we will be able to start shortly.

Education A couple of days ago, I discovered that I have passed a certain limit for reading Chinese books (for children). I’ve found a quite nice level where I can read books and understand the text without using a dictionary. Of course, I still need to look up a few words here and there, but reading like this, I don’t care about understanding everything as long as I get the main point. When learning languages, quantity is king. I will read at least 1000 pages of Chinese children’s books during April!

I actually read 1100 pages, spread over a little more than seven books (three of them haven’t been reviewed yet). As long as I can find interesting books, this is a great way of studying Chinese. My goal was to read for quantity and enjoyment, which I certainly did. With the exception of one of the books, I liked all of them. Studying in this way doesn’t feel like a task that has to be done, it feels like something I can do as a pause from other things. This was exactly where I wanted to go! I think it’s too early to say if this studying method has rendered any results, but I’m confident it will, given enough time.

I have a number of people who are prepared to help me with speaking Chinese (some of them are studying to become teachers and thus need the practice) and I will try to take this opportunity more seriously. Right now, I have two meeting scheduled every week, so meeting ten times for conversation practice in April seems reasonable.

No problem. Apart from the people I already knew at the beginning of the month, I have men with a new guy named Riccardo, who seems nice, and also revived an old language exchange I found very rewarding last semester. I will keep focusing on this, particularly since it might be the case that I go home next semester.

Looking ahead: May 2009

May will probably not offer any big surprises. It’s too early to start deciding what to do next semester and also not quite time yet to prepare for going home or staying in Taiwan. Barring the possibility that the swine flu turns out to be a new Spanish Flu, I think I should be able to predict quite well what I will do in May.

Creativity – I think it’s too ambitious to aim for all scenarios completed this month, especially since it took quite a while finishing the first one. Dealing with two of the three remaining should be okay, though, and this will be my goal.My plan is to test all four scenarios before the summer is over. One or two of them I might be able to try here, but I will try to find enough people to try them again in Sweden. After that, the text will be almost finished and I can turn to the problems of layout and illustrations.

Regarding the online game, I plan to prepare an overall plot, as well as a number of bigger events taking place in the world. Also, I’ll try to get the game itself going. I have no idea where this will end, but regardless of how much we play, every minute I put on this project will be helpful when I start writing my novel again.

Education – Keeping up with the pace of my current courses requires a lot, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t be able to focus on something else. Reading and speaking seems to be reasonable choices, reading because I can do it whenever I want, for however long I feel like, and speaking because it will be difficult to do if I decide to return to Sweden next semester.

More precisely, I’m planning to read 500 pages of Chinese.This will probably not mean that I will read less than last month, but since the texts will be more difficult, they will invariably take more time to understand.

In addition to this, I’m going to continue my quest to finish book four in the series we are currently using in class. I intend to finish the five chapters I have left.

Physical – I need to change something in my routine, I think, because I’m progressing pretty slowly. To start with, I will take five days off, then, I will go on with a schedule similar to what I have now, but I will try to restructure the sessions themselves. These are my goals for next months, which are the same as last month, but taking the five days rest into account:

Planche: 16
Front lever: 16
Handstand: 12
Wall run: 4
OAC: 12

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