Geekosaur Weekly #16: Dropping Duolingo, Studying Poetry, And More

So, I took quite a break from the blog and this newsletter. There are a lot of reasons, but an important one is that it was low priority and I didn’t have much desire or ideas to write. And I guess my Jamstack for the blog doesn’t help, as it not as easy as using wordpress or blogger to write and publish. Not that it’s hard, but a couple extra steps.

I even flirted a bit with Revue, a newsletter website that was bought by Twitter, but for now I think I’ll keep this newsletter as blog posts, as in the end I always find limitations and annoyances with those blog/newsletter services.

But anyway, I plan on returning, even if with a less strict schedule and maybe less posting overall. I still like to talk about what I’ve been up to, and specially recommend stuff that I think is good.

Thought: Dropping Duolingo

I was already a bit unhappy with Duolingo recently. It was so good many years ago when I was using it for French. But now some things that made it great are gone - or possibly, behind the pro plan. Things like the space repetition, which is one of the most important things. You can still go back and redo older lessons, but the whole ‘review words you might be forgetting’ is just not there anymore.

Also, while I’m slowly learning a bit of vocabulary, I’m not sure I’m actually progressing much, and I think with French I was making more progress, as I used Schaum’s Outline of French Grammar along with Duolingo. Of course, I can still use Duolingo along with my (still unused) edition of Schaum’s Outline of German Grammar. But I feel like there’s a bit of pressure to keep Duolingo’s streak going and, while it helps me do a bit almost every day, it might take away from opportunities to learn from books, Youtube channels, and more.

On Youtube, Days Of French-n-Swedish has some great videos criticizing Duolingo, specially after many updates that might have made it less useful. And I think I’m starting to agree with at least part of the sentiment.

Unfortunately, I need to focus on some other stuff for a while, so my German learning might be impacted for now, and I probably won’t start Schaum’s grammar for now, but I guess that’s going to be the direction once I have more time and energy. Also, will try to go back to Youtube - both channels for German learning, and music.

Recommendation

I’ve started the second season of Cosmos, with Neil deGrasse Tyson, and it’s very good. I highly recommend the 1st season, and so far the 2nd season is as good as the first. There’s more information here on Trakt.tv.


What I’ve Been Learning

I already had some desire to learn about poetry, and also read a bit. With Dickinson (on AppleTV), that desire grew, and I ended up getting a a few poetry books on paper and Kindle, and also Poetry 101 (Simon and Schuster) on a Humble Bundle. I started reading the 101 book and I’m almost 30% in, and loving it so far.

What I’ve Been Doing

I’ve been playing Monster Hunter Stories 2 on Nintendo Switch. I’m watching Beastars (S02), Central Park (S02), Ted Lasso (S02) and a couple reality TV shows: Tiny House Big Living and To Catch a Smuggler.

Yesterday I watched The Woman In The Window (trakt.tv link), and I thought it was good. Nothing exceptional, but not nearly as bad as the ratings made me think.

Want To Buy

Currently I want a couple books from Silvia Moreno-Garcia, who wrote Mexican Gothic and Gods of Jade And Shadow. The books are:

Velvet Was The Night

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a “delicious, twisted treat for lovers of noir” about a daydreaming secretary, a lonesome enforcer, and the mystery of a missing woman they’re both desperate to find.


Untamed Shore

Renowned author Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s first thriller, Untamed Shore, is a coming-of-age story set in Mexico which quickly turns dark when a young woman meets three enigmatic tourists.


New Things That I Got

Goals For Near Future

  • Prepare for driver’s licence knowledge test
  • Start some sleep hygiene habits and tracking
  • Exercise more
  • Study German (more immersion, and start Schaum’s grammar)
  • Finish Poetry 101;
  • Restart Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer
  • Finish The Hatmakers, by Tamzin Merchant (audiobook)
  • Spend less time on social media and procrastinating, more on my ‘general learning’ Youtube account (watch TedEd, for example) or working on my goals

Thank you for reading and hope to see you again next time. Compliments and comments (insults as well) are welcome on Reddit, Twitter, and by email at [email protected]