Monthly Archives: July 2020

Summer Study Plan

Ever since I ordered my iPad, I have been looking up productivity/study/organization tools and apps on YouTube, to see how others are using their iPads.

Digital note-taking has always been an interest of mine and I’ve tried multiple versions from taking notes on a laptop in Word, to using an Echo pen to record my handwriting along with audio from the lecture.

Two of the apps that I am the most excited to explore are GoodNotes 5 and Notion. GoodNotes is a note-taking app that allows for a lot of flexibility, and has some great features like the zoom box and automatically straightening my perpetually crooked lines. I’ve been playing with that for a few weeks now and love it.

Samuel Suresh doesn’t have a ton of YouTube videos, but the ones that he has posted are quite good.

He takes very creative notes. In this video, as he is talking about the diagram of the heart, he mentions a resource called Crash Course. I looked into this, and it is a website run by the Green brothers that offers free educational videos.

I had been toying around with creating a more structured study regime for myself, to motivate me to do something besides work and Netflix/YouTube…

Enter, Notion. Notion is an app that I just learned about yesterday, via StudyCollab on YouTube. It can do a lot of different things, including project management, wikis, file management, calendaring, collaboration…. Alicia has been using it for her university work, which seemed to fit in nicely with my studying interests.

She was kind and linked a copy of the template she uses for her university work in the description of her video.

With these tools, I’ve come up with a plan…

Because I’m a big nerd and also hate the idea of “free time,” I’ve decided that I’m going to study a different subject every day:

  • Mondays – Language (Mondays are incomprehensible anyway)
  • Tuesdays – Government (since voting happens on Tuesdays…)
  • Wednesdays – Anatomy (Hump Day! –> camels –> biology)
  • Thursdays – Literature (What better than classics on Throwback Thursdays??)
  • Fridays – Research Day (this is where I can do whatever I want)
  • Saturdays – Study Skills (I liked the alliteration)
  • Sundays – Theology (what else?)

I’ve even made a calendar from today through the end of August, outlining exactly which lessons I’ll be doing on which days.

The only thing left to decide is which language I want to study. I put a poll up on my Instagram, to have people vote for either Italian or Chinese. Right now, the vote is split 50/50. I’ll give it until tomorrow morning, then make a choice.

It looks like Thursdays are not filled in for Literature, but really, that’s because I don’t know how long it will take me to read each book. The course has a bunch of different books they discuss, but I feel that to get the most out of the course, I’ll want to make sure that I read the book first. The first book on the list is Romeo and Juliet, so that should be fairly quick. Each week, if I haven’t finished the book yet, I’ll use that designated time to read more in it. This also has the added benefit of forcing me to read more classics (something I always intend to do).

Do you have any self-improvement plans for the summer? Anything that you are doing during these quarantine days that hadn’t previously been a part of your routine?

I’m Going to Mars!

Well, not technically. But I did sign up to participate in a NASA media program.

“When Perseverance launches to Mars, it will carry three dime-size chips with 10.9 million names submitted by people all over the world. Those who already submitted their names can get a special “Now Boarding” stamp on their boarding passes….”

Mars.NASA.gov

Below is my mission badge!

This is really exciting! I cannot wait until they send people to Mars!

Launch is currently scheduled for July 30th at 7 am EDT.

Tiny Photographers

I am coming to love handing over my phone to my goddaughter and her sisters. I always get cute videos and photos. It’s so special to be able to see the world through their eyes and hear their ideas and stories when they are playing on their own.

These are some pretty successful images: of flowers near the rectory, and a kid’s perspective photo of her parents.

I love how she included so many photos of her feet. As adults, how often to we take the time to document the kids in their tiny shoes? Or look at the sidewalk?

All images in this post (except for this one), are courtesy of #RosaliaMercyC!

The Reading Rush 2020

July 20-26, 2020

Ariel Bissett created the “BookTubeAThon” readathon in 2013. It has grown from there and is now known as “The Reading Rush.” It is a week-long readathon with some challenges and giveaways if you participate online. I’m always up for reading and challenges!

The Reading Challenges

  1. Read a book with a cover that matches the color of your birth stone.
  2. Read a book that starts with the word “the”.
  3. Read a book that inspired a movie you’ve already seen.
  4. Read the first book you touch.
  5. Read a book completely outside of your house.
  6. Read a book in a genre that you’ve already wanted to read more of.
  7. Read a book that takes place on a different continent than where you live.

My Lineup

  1. “88 Days to Kandahar” by Robert L. Grenier
    • This one fulfills #4. I reached over to my unread bookshelf with my eyes closed and this is the book I picked.
    • One line synopsis: “The improbable true story of America’s first war in Afghanistan.”
  2. “Pygmalion” by George Bernard Shaw
    • This one fulfills #3 and #6. I always want to read more classics, but find it hard to select them when I’m looking for my next read.
    • This book inspired the 1999 movie, “She’s All That.”
    • One line synopsis: “All of them deal with a man creating a beautiful and perfect woman out of something imperfect, and then falling in love with her.”
    • This looks to be the shortest book at 98 pages, so it’s likely the one I will use for #5. I’ll try to read this one outside vs. modifying the challenge. I may have to buy a comfy outdoor chair….
  3. “The Memory Key” by Liana Liu
    • This one fulfills #2.
    • One line synopsis: “Remember everything. Forgive nothing.”
  4. “War Girls” by Tochi Onyebuchi
    • This one fulfills #1 and #7. My birthstone is an aqua/turquoise color. This book takes place in a future Nigeria.
    • One line synopsis: “In a post-apocalyptic Nigeria plagued by violence and political unrest, two sisters dream of peace, hope, and a future together.”

Other Fun Activities

Read-In on Wednesday, July 22, at 6 pm.

Reading Rush Book Club: “Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid. I’ve already read this book, but I might join the book discussion live show on July 25 at 2 pm EDT. For the book club, they will be using hashtags #rrsuchafunage and #rrbookclub on social media.

LOTR Buddy Read: Fellowship Ch. 1-7

Several of my friends mentioned that they were going to read or re-read The Lord of the Rings series this summer, so I has been on my mind to re-read them myself. I have read them, but it’s been quite some time and I’m not overly familiar with the plot or all of the characters.

However, it wasn’t until my friend, Katie, started posting as she read on Facebook that I was really motivated to read it now. I’m quite far behind her (she’s already on Return of the King, and for me, Frodo and company are just leaving Tom Bombadil’s house), so I spent some time creeping on her Facebook page to see what her comments were at each point. This will make my buddy-read a little asynchronous.

(A quick comment about formatting…. I think I’d like – for myself – to write these out on my blog, so that I can reference them later in their entirety. However, I’ll also be cross-posting to Facebook, to allow others to participate/comment as they wish. Because I love sharing stories with others. There will be spoilers and, in general, these will be my initial reactions vs. anything really well thought out.)

Chapter 1: A Long-Expected Party

I’m not really sure what to think of Bilbo; he seems rather rude and condescending to other hobbits. At some point in the distant past, I’ve read these books before, but not particularly attentively. I’ve watched some of the movies (but still haven’t made it through The Hobbit) and the scene where Gandalf is trying to get Bilbo to leave the Ring felt more oppressive and ominous than in the book version. Bilbo is kind of a jerk with the presents he left – highlighting flaws in others.

(My first encounter with Bilbo was when we were assigned The Hobbit to read in the 7th grade. I didn’t want to read it and I kept calling him Biblo.)

Chapter 2: The Shadow of the Past

It was a little surprising to me that Frodo got to be 50 years old before his adventure began. Also, if hobbits’ lifespans aren’t that much longer than humans’, why don’t Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin have wives and families? Gandalf seems to be far more cautious about drawing conclusions than I am. Was Sméagol always evil/selfish/murderous, or was that just the influence of the Ring? The Ring seems to corrupt more quickly and more fully the more the owner wears it and uses its powers.

Chapter 3: Three is Company

What of the morality of Frodo selling Bag End to the Sackville-Bagginses, when he knew that the Enemy was coming after the Ring and knew the name “Baggins”? The Sackville-Bagginses may have been grasping after Bag End for some time, but did they deserve death?

Frodo kind of complains a lot – his heavy pack, how much weight he will lose on the journey – before they even begin. Is he really this self-absorbed, or is he more nervous than he lets on?

Sam seems to be portrayed as a bit bumbling and naive, but he’s shouldering adversity and change remarkably well.

I do not trust these cloaked riders sniffing around. Why are they deterred by the Elves?

Chapter 4: A Short Cut to Mushrooms

Sam is shown to be more thoughtful and perceptive than he was initially made out to be. I’m kind of getting a Mary vibe from him. Frodo is the focus and Sam is happy to support him however he can and ponders things within his heart.

All of their songs remind me of the cadences sung at march in the military.

Already, we can see how much Frodo needs his friends – Pippin gave good advice about the road being quicker (that fortuitously wasn’t taken) and helped immeasurably with Farmer Maggot.

Mrs. Maggot was a little funny with gifting Frodo a basket of mushrooms when he used to steal their mushrooms as a youth. Maybe Bilbo wasn’t so much of a jerk before, and hobbits just like to give snarky presents?

Chapter 5: A Conspiracy Unmasked

I low key love all of Frodo’s friends right now, when they tell him they know all about his mission and refuse to let him go into danger alone.

What is the tall, white tower that Frodo dreams of?

I’m kinda mad at Frodo for not having left earlier. I know, it increases the plot tension….

Katie

Hmmm…. I get where Katie’s coming from. As a third-party observer, we are sitting here with our popcorn, yelling at him to get going before the Enemy catches up with him. But, I think it makes a lot of sense for Frodo to drag his heels here. Hobbits are the homebodies of the fantasy creatures in this world, so leaving Hobbiton has to be hard for him – I get that he wants to stay as long as possible and drink it all in, especially if he thinks it’s likely he may never return.

Birthday celebrations and gift-giving seems to be a pretty big part of hobbit culture, so I get why he wants to have one more birthday at home.

Chapter 6: The Old Forest

“They do say the trees do actually move…” – Ents?

“But the hobbits came and cut down hundreds of trees, and made a great bonfire in the Forest…” – now I’m a little horrified. How did the trees and the hobbits become enemies? Who was the first aggressor?

It’s funny how the forest herded them. Sam catching on that their sudden sleepiness is suspicious – he’s a smart cookie!

Tom Bombadil sings and the trees obey. The hobbits arrive at Tom’s house and are bathed in a golden light. He’s such an interesting character. I’m not sure what to make of him.

Chapter 7: In the House of Tom Bombadil

Frodo: “Who is Tom Bombadil?” Goldberry: “He is.”

Tower in the middle of a circular plain, an old man and an eagle – Frodo’s dreams seem prophetic.

Very odd were Tom’s interactions with the Ring. Frodo just gave it over (with no resistance) and Tom didn’t become invisible when he put it on. Tom seems to be able to see Frodo when Frodo has the Ring on.

I’m a little confused over the significance of this interlude at Tom’s house. What am I missing?