12 Aug - Russian: 45 mins, Croatian: 12 mins
13 Aug - Russian: 59 mins, Croatian: 3 mins
14 Aug - Russian: 52 mins
15 Aug - Russian: 32 mins, Croatian: 49 mins
16 Aug - Russian: 120 mins, Croatian: 48 mins
17 Aug - Russian: 36 mins, Croatian: 53 mins
I felt like I was in a bit of a slump with my studying after my last post, so at the weekend I decided to block my social media again. I've done this a few times over the past year and I generally find it quite refreshing. At the moment I've got everything blocked except for half an hour a day, when I hopefully remember to log my time for the 6WC on Twitter. I know I won't keep up the block indefinitely - I'm going away for a weekend at the end of the month, after which I'll probably want to upload some photos - but at the moment I am definitely not missing it. Between people posting pictures of themselves breaking Covid lockdowns and people who post aggressively about their political views, I've just been finding social media a bit frustrating recently.
Anyway, as part of this I blocked YouTube too. I haven't done this previously when I've gone on a blocking spree, because I generally only use YouTube to watch things which are educational or to listen to music. But I figured that using YouTube to watch Russian videos which are too short to count for the Super Challenge isn't really a good use of time when I'm behind on the films part of the challenge, and if I blocked it I wouldn't be able to waste time doing this. It was a spur of the moment kind of decision which I hadn't really thought through, because I've also been using YouTube to watch the Russian series, Мухтар, which I've been counting towards the challenge. Oops
Before I blocked everything I'd watched another three episodes of Мухтар last week. I wouldn't say I'm not enjoying it - I actually do enjoy it when I watch it and I feel like I'm starting to make a bit of progress with understanding - but the problem is that when I finish one episode, I have no motivation to watch another one. The nature of the series is that each episode is 100% self-contained; the episode starts with a crime, which will be fully solved by the time the credits roll. This means that there's never a cliff-hanger or similar to inspire me to keep watching and at the moment, when listening to Russian is still very hard work, I'm really feeling the lack of that.
So, on Sunday evening, I decided it was time to try and find a Russian telenovela to get hooked on. I explored various ways of trying to watch Russian TV online. I found a few services which looked promising but then when I investigated them further, it turned out that you needed to buy some sort of box to attach to your TV which seemed way too complicated. Then I found a website called ivi.tv, which seems to be allowing me to watch TV for free. I haven't worked out what the catch is yet!
Anyway, I've started watching a series called 'Татьянин день' which seems very promising. It has 221 episodes, which is comparable to the length of a Croatian telenovela, and it feels like it's got the potential for an equally long and complicated storyline
I've only watched two episodes so far, so there's not a lot more I can say, but it feels like something I have the potential to get addicted to and I think that's what my Russian listening needs at the moment
I think I need to be invested in a storyline and to care whether I understand the dialogue or not to be able to improve my focus. Мухтар doesn't quite provide that motivation because if I don't understand one episode properly, it has no bearing on whether I'll understand the next episode.
I did learn a surprising new word from watching Мухтар last week though: "кинолог". One of the characters was talking about the behaviour of dogs and saying that he ought to know what such and such a thing meant because he was a "кинолог". This was a new word to me, but I figured it must have something to do with films or cinema (кино). Did the character have a degree in film studies? I was confused enough to look it up and it turns out that "кинолог" is Russian for "dog handler". Which makes perfect sense in the context of the series, because the character who was speaking was indeed the dog handler. But I would never have guessed it in a million years
What else? I'm still stuck in Chapter 10 of Colloquial Russian 2. I actually had a moment at the weekend when I was failing to get anywhere with an exercise on participles and I just decided the book was too hard for me and I ought to give up. Some of the grammar points are 100% going above my head now and I feel like I need to go back to something like my Schaum's grammar and just do drills of the more basic grammar points which I still don't feel I've fully mastered. But in the end I decided to persevere. I'm on chapter 10 of 14 after all, and a quick flick through the rest of the book revealed that some of the other grammar topics don't look as difficult. In fact, the rest of the chapter is about uses of по, which is definitely not my specialist subject but equally not an absolutely impossible one.
In Croatian, I'm trying to get back into watching 'Drugo ime ljubavi' while on my exercise bike. A character got shot this week so there was lots of dramatic music I could cycle fast to. I've also started reading a book called 'Narodno veselje' by Pavao Pavličić. He's an author whose crime fiction I really enjoy. This book isn't a detective novel though, but rather a series of reminiscences about life growing up in the 1950s/1960s. So there's no exciting plot, but it's still an enjoyable read. I am generally slower at reading this sort of non fiction compared to a proper story book, but I'm motivating myself with the fact that I'm not allowed to read another instalment of the Twilight series in Russian until I've finished a book in Croatian