Only because getting a haircut is difficult right now.

Irregularly scheduled

Breaks are good. Hiatus is normal. Unless you’re a regular writer with a regular crowd, it’s probably not something you need to talk about too much. I will say, it’s no small coincidence I start writing around the same time I start riding again. Yes, ‘riding’ and ‘writing’ kind of rhyme. I’d be riding much more, had I not seized my chain and damaged the tensioner pulley on my rear derailleur, at least the parts are here (or in the mail.) I’d be writing a lot more if I only sat down and did it, and I suppose inspiration struck this morning.

Inspiration certainly has been lacking. Pandemic and quarantine bring about an everyday kind of blah. I’m insanely privileged to have a stable job - in fact we’re doing better than we have in years, being in the webconference industry and all, and so my problems are largely on the scale of the First World. If I had any complaints, it would be that wearing a mask to the store is somewhat tedious, and that more people are outside walking their dogs or whatever, which means Outside is more crowded than usual. What a silly complaint. I do my best to seek out less-crowded areas and trails, which is something I did already. Strange how isolation can feel stifiling when you’re inside, but very freeing when you’re outside and there’s no one in sight.


I’ve had trouble translating this phrase. Something like “It makes people look good!” or “It improves your social standing!” from the song Ponpokobushi, by ネクライトーキー (Necry Talkie) who are fantastically delightful in every way. I’ve not put a lot of effort into any kind of translation, other than the words I pick up here and there. It’s, uh, kinda nice to just enjoy something without feeling compelled to understand it. Who knows, maybe they’re singing about ghouls. The album MEMORIES seems to be a bunch of covers from vocaloid songs, which is really cool. 夕暮れ先生 (Yuugure Sensei) is my favorite from the album. I just love their energy. I was able to snag their discography (thus far) a few weeks back, although they’re available on Spotify and YT Music.

I started the year with a fresh breath and a new focus on passing the JLPT N4, and I was studying diligently until about March. The idea comes and goes, but my biggest blocker is the use of spaced repetition systems (SRS) for studying. These are tools like Bunpro for grammar, WaniKani for kanji, or Anki for flash cards. No doubt Bunpro has helped me learn and understand more grammar than I would have been able to do alone, but it’s not without its frustrations. I feel more like I’m memorizing a set phrase than the particular grammar point. I see the first few words and I know what the grammar point will be. I think there’s room for that - being able to read and internalize real-world sentences and phrases, but it doesn’t help with output. Somewhere along the line, I forgot to just have fun with the language, and I certainly stopped working on output at all. Were I to start up again, I might focus on:

  • Input (recognizing new kanji & compounds or grammar points)
  • Recall (using an SRS to quickly pull the information back out)
  • Output (speaking and writing in the target language)

Truly, it feels pretty good to understand even basic Japanese. I’m really happy and proud of myself for knowing both hiragana and katakana, and understanding the grammar that I do. I suffer from comparing myself to others, which can make picking up new resources kind of difficult. Being scared of failure is normal, but I haven’t really failed. If anything, I’ve failed at keeping up with something I enjoy, so maybe that’s what holds me back. Fear of disappointing myself? So, who knows. Maybe I’ll go ahead and try again sometime soon.

Enemy wheelbarrow spotted

Battlefield has long been one of my favorite series. Out of the entire franchise, I’ve played:

  • 1942
  • Desert Combat mod
  • Vietnam
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • V

I never owned 2142, though I played it. Never played the Bad Company series either, nor was I particularly interested in Hardline or BF1. 4 has been my overall favorite, I’ve clocked in almost 900 hours over…6 years or so? Wow. Almost 700 hours, according to Battlelog. There’s still a lot of fun to be had. I really like the co-op nature of the game. One player can certainly make a difference, but even someone with a crazy high K/D ratio doesn’t matter if they aren’t playing the objective. There’s a ton of ways to play, and a handful of ways to win. BFV introduced some pretty fantastic squad play (squad revive is amazing, revive timers for medics are brilliant, also you can finally play as a girl which seems to bring a huge amount of scorn against the game which is hilarious; bros so fragile) but if I had any major complaints, it would be the microtransactions. People are like “It’s not BF1942?” and I’m like…that’s good. It never will be, either. I think Dice could have done everything right (and they did a LOT right in BFV) and the rose-colored glasses squad would be like “muh historical accuracy! where’s market garden? who cares about Norway or France?” so…long story short, I applaud Dice for making the game they wanted to make. I had a lot of fun playing BFV this spring, and I’ll probably spend some time playing it again this summer.

That’s everything for now, I hope you all stay safe, healthy, and sane out there.

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April Elizabeth

Sometimes writer, always hungry.

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