Day 136 - The Best Gift

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
Smog Level: 0/3

Drawing and Languages

Learning to draw is kind of like learning a language. You need to figure out how to express every conceivable object that you think you’ll need to use, and, like a drawing, words are just symbols for things that exist in the real world. Learning a new language is like learning a new medium or style, depending on how different the language is to your original one. I was thinking this while trying to give drawn examples of what words mean, and how I can’t speed draw dimensionally-accurate chairs very well. I can do a mean fridge, though!*

Daily Double

Buncha Men Watching a Game of Chinese Chess
This is common to be found all over.
I’ve redoubled my efforts of learning a couple words a day to slowly grow my vocabulary, working on words that might be more useful. Right now I’m going over body parts. Hands are “shǒu” [show] so I thought of the police yelling “SHOW ME YOUR HANDS!” Then the other shorthands are only useful if you know some Chinese. Shǒuzhǐ is finger, which is like “hand only,” and zhǐ doubles as “point.” Arm sounds like the swearword “shǎbī” [shah-bee]** as “shǒubì” [show-bee] and somewhat similar tones. Impossible to mistake the two!

When I returned home, the cleaner asked me a question in her heavy accent. It turns out to be one I know, but didn't understand. It clicked after a moment of replaying it in my head, and I was able to answer only to hit another roadblock the very next sentence. Tīng bù dǒng, tīng bù dǒng ({I don’t understand}x2).

After she finished up and I Ok’d her to go, I snagged some dinner at the jiaozi place. Very hungry, I ordered 3 steam plates of them. “3?!” the guy at the counter said as if no one could eat that. They're really not that big... Like, 10 small pot stickers in each?

Just the normal number of people you'll have around at all times in public.
Occasionally, I'll think about how I haven't been alone in public in forever.
Even late at night, there are a few people wandering around.

While sitting there, I finished the book Eloquence: How to turn a perfect English phrase” by Mark Forsyth. Man, that guy makes learning English grammar and history interesting. He wields the language in an engaging way and keeps it funny. Another great book by him is “Etymologicon” which goes over the history of English words. Next in line is “Smarter Faster Better” by Charles Duhigg, which shows some promise. Problem with a lot of these books is they often reference the same material. Upside is that I know the examples very well and from several interpretations. Downside is that I don’t learn new entirely new things. 

The Best Gift I've Received

Turns out that Audible allows you to share your library with one other adult, who doesn’t have to be a relative. Amazing. Dr.Steve prefers to listen to his books while going about his daily life, and so he has amassed quite the library that I am now allowed access to. Best gift ever. 

On my way home from the jiaozi place, a guard tries to make conversation with me. He asks a question, but I have no idea what his initial question is, even after he repeated slowly for me. Tīng bù dǒng!

*You bet your ass, I can speed draw an accurate fridge...

**Stupid B*tch!

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]

Editing Music
NYC Girl
The Orion Experience

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