Thursday, 27 February 2014

Of Russian to the Finish Line

I had a go at an old GCSE Russian paper over the weekend. The results were not encouraging. I've realised that my vocab is far too light. Whilst I can now get my tongue around many of the Russian letters that for so long I guessed at, there seems to be little point if I don't know what they mean. Also, I get the complicated grammar and how tenses are structured etc but could I reproduce it to prove it in an exam at the moment? No.
On Sunday I hastily checked the date of the first exam paper and worked out I have just 13 weeks to turn this all around. I may even have less for inside 11 weeks a baby is due and I'm assured that such events can have a somewhat disruptive effect on schedules and routines.
The next few weeks I expect to be nothing but painful. To borrow from Churchill "I have nothing to offer myself except blood tears and sweat". To get over the line here I'm going to have to throw everything I have at it.
Suddenly it's become all or nothing and very personal....

Friday, 14 February 2014

Of Stress and How to Find it

I have to confess to being at a big of low with the Russian language studies at the moment. You see I've just discovered it's even more difficult than I realise and I've always realised its a tough son of a Kalasnikov language.
I soon learnt that Russian is obsessed cases. It has six in all more than in the German language even. But I could cope with this finding for, and like German, the cases follow a logic which once learnt is easy enough to understand and implement albeit after hours of practice. Yes it does mean that a word may have any one of six different forms depending on the role it's playing in the sentence but I managed to cope with this discovery reasonably well too. But what is threatening to push me over the edge here is what I realised on a trip to Dublin and back yesterday. Whilst reading out loud to Mrs P in the car having first got through five pretty tough going pages on Russian pronunciation it dawned on me that Russian letters are pronounced differently in accordance to where the stress is in the word. Hah! Not such a big deal you might think, if, like in some languages, the stress as a general rule falls at the front, middle or back of a word. But in Russian it doesn't. As far as I can tell the stress can fall anywhere and you simply have to remember with each word as you learn it where it carries the stress.
I'm beginning to think I was born 40 years or so too early. Surely by 2050 there will be a pill you can take or at least a headset you can wear that will have you speaking fluent Russian at the drop of a Ushanka...

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Of 2014+

This is my first blog for this year. I'm not sure why but I seem to have had a dose of "bloggers block" and I'm not convinced I'm fully shot of it yet.
Anyway, I thought I'd share some of my goals for the year. They do say they peer pressure can help you achieve goals so they're better posted online than kept in a drawer somewhere

Overall Goal for 2014 : To improve who I am, become the best father I possibly can be and make an effort to improve the lives of others

1. Russian :

Get GCSE Russian by the summer. (This is the b......d!)

2. Stay Fit 

Swim at least 3 times each week and do sets. Run at least twice and match minimum times.

3. Shop, Store, Prep and Use Food Well

Shop wisely but above all stop wasting so much food. There's so many people going to bed hungry in this world. throwing away food is just wrong.

4. Read More Self Improvement Books

Read a book each month. I've just read Dan Pink's "To Sell is Human" wow it's good.
Begin with one on good parenting

5. Learning and Development

Keep a better record of the things I learn -- get to know and use Evernote much better

6. Do More Family Stuff

Communicate and appreciate

7. Do at Least One Thing Each Month Because It's New or Challenging 

To be published here end of the year