Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 In Review: Hobbies

Exercise

In the spring I went actively to gym. In autumn I joined a capoeira course based on recommendation from an acquintance. During this year I've lost weight from ~64kg to ~58kg. The New Year's goal for 2011 of 55kg is still out of reach.

Clearly my subconsciousness is telling me that pole dancing is not for me (I don't even have a pole installed, based on ridiculous excuse that I had to take it away temporarily for a renovation) but I don't have other sports goals either. It would be nice to have some goal to daydream about, but it would have to be a honest goal that gives self-discipline to take action beacuse the goal is worth reaching for one reason or another, not just any "you optimize what you measure, that's why it's important to have a goal" goal.

Capoeira classes are a nice form of bodyweight exercise. Capoeira is a kind of bodyweight exercise game, where the movement sequences start like go josekis with standard moves, but the better player can twist them in his favor. The martial art background is visible in narrative justifications ("You can't do that since it gives the other player too easy opportunity to punch or kick") but they have little or no bearing to actually protecting yourself. Frankly I still don't understand what the capoeira game played in roda circle is all about. The downside of capoeira is that musical playing resembles musical pre-school, making it downright embarrassing, and with the same effort, I could be learning an actual martial art. The upside is that it trains the kinds of handstand tricks, bodyweight fitness and quick agility which would be useful in pole dancing floorwork (if that wasn't a thing of the past.)

I'll continue it in the spring because I don't have honest exercise goals and because it gives me motivation to actually exercise instead of finding excuses why not to.

And I want to learn those advanced handstand positions.

Russian Language

Ten years ago I self-studied some Russian and went to 3rd year Russian course horribly underskilled, only to drop from it. So I had not completed a single Russian course before.

This autumn I went to a 2nd-year course, again badly underskilled, did plenty of effort to learn and ended up mid-skilled. It was nice to see progress - having trouble with basic discussions in the beginning, and in the end doing them as well as anyone. Loking at the first chapters and thinking "Was THIS really difficult for me just 4 months ago?" Going to wrong class worked as intended.

The background for this is a doldrum in Chinese self-study - I haven't made progress for a year and wondered if taking distance and seeing effective study would change it. When I return to Chinese study some day, I'll put much more effort to writing, which is important for long-term memory.

World of Warcraft offers Russian language pack for European customers. I made a character, тосивахва pandaren mage ("tosi vahva karhu"), and immersed myself into Russian-language world. It has been very effective in putting in the hours and learning new words, but the vocabulary is somewhat silly.

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