one second everyday — april 2020

april was the homeliest of months, calm and quiet, and just what the WHO ordered. after coming south, we did nothing besides work, study, eat and putter around in the garden.

improbably, there are now pumpkins, tomatoes, physalis, sage, mint, lemongrass, chives and lettuce growing… as well as an ever-expanding collection of succulents, and passionfruit. :| the hands want to keep busy, i guess, and things grow, little by little. i’m ok with this.

advance care directive

this is a bit of a heavy topic and the middle of a pandemic is probably a weird time to mention it, but… have you thought of how you want to die?

these days, many countries let citizens choose in advance what kind of healthcare treatment they want to receive, in case they’re not able to decide for themselves at the time the treatment is required. it’s called an advance care directive.

in portugal, the testamento vital specifies a bunch of situations on which you can decide things in advance. perhaps you don’t want to participate in clinical trials or experimental treatments, don’t want to be reanimated, or maybe you just want to delegate these choices on someone you trust. you print this sheet of paper, fill it out and take it to a health center for it to be checked and registered. after that, it stays valid for five years and your doctors can access it along with your medical history (you get an email when they do).

we did ours some years ago, mostly because me and the boy were not married but still wanted to make sure we could decide for each other, in the worst case scenarios. i encourage you to think about it and make a plan. we’re all going to die sooner or later — better do it on our own terms.

bonus material:

analogue wednesday #225

soft bits from R4R-97, double-exposed in collaboration with gianni in australia.

a chinese text adventure

chinese studies are going well, even if, naturally, no one knows whether the exam will actually take place next july. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ still, this is no excuse to slack on the learning, which at the moment means mostly learning new characters and making sure i don’t forget the old ones.

to do this, i’m revising whatever skritter throws at me everyday, using beeminder to make sure i study characters at least 2 hours/week… but it’s often not enough. to reach fluency in the 1200 characters needed to take the hsk4, one has to practice reading them fast and in context — not just in flashcards.

books like graded readers help, for sure… but progress is slow, and honestly, it’s hard to focus when there’a wall of characters in every page, staring at you.

meanwhile, sometime ago i found out about escape, which is a text-based adventure. remember those? you move a character around with text commands, receive a description of what the character is seeing at every step, and try to interact with the world in order to achieve a certain goal. the twist here is that it’s done in chinese, for people learning the language!

i find it a really clever and unexpected use of these text-adventures, as a story is slowly built in your target language, sentence by sentence. and there’s also an integrated dictionary, just in case.

i’ve died a number of times already on my quest to escape, but it’s been lots of fun. :)

analogue wednesday #224

14 years on, there’s no one else i’d rather self-isolate with. :)

from R4R-97, double-exposed in collaboration with gianni, in australia.