James29's Spanish and French Log

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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:54 am

Well, I just added season 2 of Ingobernable to my Netflix list! It looks great. I'll finish the novela I'm currently working on before I start it. I also noted a couple new novelas on Netflix that look good. There is a new 60+ episode novela Netflix original based in Colombia that looks good. I like the Netflix originals because they have the audio description feature which I like so much. I've got lots of good shows in my list now.

I'm also reading the Raul Garbantes books. I'm going to meetups and speaking at work with customers every week. Not much new in my Spanish world. I feel like my comprehension has really skyrocketed with all the novela watching I have been doing. There is rarely a situation I see in a novela where I am confused. I do sometimes get frustrated by the plots or the amount of characters. Sometimes I simply cannot remember who is who or what the backstory is.

French is totally on the back burner. I may have to go to Quebec again sometime in the near future. That might cause me to brush up on French before the trip.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:40 pm

It is time for another update. I finished the first book in the Raul Garbantes Kindle bundle I bought. It was a nice collection of three short-ish stories about a murder detective. The stories were easy to read and they were very straightforward. The plots were not complex at all. I liked the lead character. He reminded me of Jack Reacher and Harry Bosch. I think I'll like reading Garbantes books. They are nice and short. The length of his typical book seems to be about 200 pages. This way I can read a book in a long weekend or something. I read one of the short stories (probably about 50 pages) in one sitting. It is good to read again. I am picking up words I lost and learning just through exposure.

I'm also continuing with the telenovela Guerra de Idolos. When I'm done I'll do a more thorough review. I'm somewhere about episode 51 out of 76. I don't really like it. It is not bad so I'll finish it, but it definitely does not have me too excited. My biggest complaint is that the story is too complex. There are WAY too many people and subplots. My comprehension is fine and my inability to follow the story is more because of the story being complicated than it being in Spanish. I'll find myself hearing dramatic music and have to think to myself, why is this dramatic again? Who is this person and what is their relationship with the other person on the screen? At least it has zero drug dealing in it.

I met a Spanish professor at a local high school and had a nice long talk. Near the end she asked me if English was my second language. YES! My Spanish was flowing wonderfully and she assumed I was a native Spanish speaker. It also helped because she never heard me speak English. That was a cool experience.

When I have to call companies I work with I always press the Spanish option and make their employees speak with me in Spanish whenever possible. That is cool. It is like a captive audience that cannot say no. They don't understand why I am requesting Spanish because there is really no need for it other than I just want to practice. I've noticed that some companies seem to have captured my phone number and whenever I call in I get automatically routed to the Spanish system. Cool.

Unfortunately beach season is over and I did not get to do much Spanish at all this year on the beach. Hopefully there will be a trip in my future over the winter or something. We'll see.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:46 am

Over the past few weeks I've been thinking much about the role Spanish has played in my life since I started studying the language about nine years ago. At first it was an escape for me that challenged my mind. I was in a job that was a good job but not challenging. As an ambitious hard working guy it was hard for me professionally to feel trapped in the job. I did not want to jump ship because I knew it was the right career path for me and I knew my path was leading to a great future. However, it was really tough to go to work every day and do something that did not challenge me or allow me to reach my potential.

I turned to Spanish and found a great challenge. I devoured the language and it became my "project" that was there to satisfy my desires and ambitions. It was a new type of challenge that I had never tackled. It was much harder than I had anticipated it would be but that made me all the more intense about the quest to conquer the language. The Spanish journey in many ways helped me through. It gave me goals that I could work for and conquer. I could see my progress and track the successes of my Spanish endeavors. It helped me see so many things from different perspectives and generally made me a much more well-rounded person.

Then, things at work started transitioning. The things that had held me back previously were out of my way and I was off to the races with my business. I knew this was going to happen all the time and I had just been waiting for the day I could devote my energies to the dreams I had professionally. All of a sudden my life had gigantic challenges and I had commitments that, at times, seemed impossible. I had some very high highs and some low lows in the first few years of my business. All the while during this time I was using Spanish for my peace of mind. It was a comfortable place I could go to relax, think and "get away" for a few moments every day. My Spanish was good at this point and I could simply read books and watch TV. It was amazing.

My Spanish has gotten quite good. Over the past couple of years it has become part of my life and it still provides me a great "get away." For the past few years I have been combining Spanish with one of my other hobbies... jogging. I spend quite a bit of time on the treadmill every day just jogging and watching telenovelas. The fact that I can combine these two time consuming activities into the same time slot in my life is great. It lets me run more than I did before and it lets me get more Spanish time in than I did before. Truly a win-win.

Over the past several months I trained for my third marathon. Everything was going great and this one was going to be a real success. Instead of dragging myself through boring miles and miles on the roads I was able to watch some great telenovelas. Unfortunately, I came down with some sort of really bad cold/flu type of things at the worst possible time and was in horrible condition for the marathon. I ended up dropping out the day before the race. This was the smartest thing I have ever done because I was in no shape to run anything let alone a marathon. This was a huge let down. I spent so many months getting ready for this and then by just a chance of nature all my planning and training went up in smoke. I'm just now starting to think again about my next challenge and think I may just start getting ready for another marathon in the spring. Oh well.

My Spanish has been much more of the same. I'm somewhere around episode 58 out of 76 in Guerra de Idolos on Netflix. It is watchable and I'll finish it up but I would not recommend this novela. I'll do a thorough review when I am done with it. I'm also slowly working my way through the kindle bundle of books by Raul Garbantes. I am liking it. He has a detective character named Goya who is pretty well developed and I could read a number of books with this guy.

I do random conversations and meetups as well. Occasionally, but not too often anymore, I'll have a random talk with one of my old language partners from Spain or Latin America.

It is amazing how time flies and I have not been that good about updating this log. It is probably because I no longer need that little nudge every week to focus in on my Spanish and what I have done.

That's it for now.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:50 pm

Yikes, it has been over three weeks since I've updated my log. I have gotten out of the regular weekly habit.

I have finished the novela Guerra de Idolos. I wrote a brief review for the telenovela thread. It was not the greatest show but it was not terrible either. I would not recommend it unless you are a huge music industry fan.

I started season 2 of Ingobernable. Wow, the difference of going from Guerra de Idolos to Ingobernable was striking. Ingobernable is so well done and intense. Everything from the screening to the audio to the music and dialogue is just better quality. Too bad the seasons are so short. I'm not totally sure what I'll watch when I'm done with season two.

I continue to plod along in the Kindle bundle by Raul Garbantes and liking it. I usually only get to read on weekend mornings for 30-60 minutes so I am not making fast progress. It is good to keep some reading in the mix.

I had long and intense meeting with a customer at work this week. I did wonderfully. I definitely take longer in Spanish but I don't have any problems with the language whatsoever. I am not perfect but it does not really matter. I had my native speaking employee sit in with me and we discussed the meeting after and it is clear that language is not an issue. There are some things I say in kind of a round about way but no big deal.

I still do my weekly meetup and also occasionally talk with old language exchange friends online. Not much new there.

I'd really like to spend some time doing some advanced grammar study. I don't know when I'll have a chance to do that but I've got it there waiting for me.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:54 pm

I guess I am not too good at updating my log now. My home laptop is linked up to my treadmill and I don't like to unhook it so I only use the internet before or after work at work. Anyway, I'm still doing Spanish every day. I'm watching the Colombian telenovela La Ley Secreta. I like it. A reviewer described it as Charlie's Angels in Colombia. It is about a group of undercover women who infiltrate cartels. It is perfectly solid. It seems to have the same "formula" as La Nina which was also produced by Caracol in Colombia. The Spanish seems to be pretty standard Colombian Spanish. They don't talk with vos or anything strange like that. It has the audio description feature which I love.

I was traveling and stopped in at a Mexican restaurant I used to frequent. There were still some of the old staff there that remembered me. it was pretty funny. There was a new waiter from Colombia who waited on me. It was slow so we spoke quite a bit. He had just arrived from Colombia. He thought I was a native Spanish speaker with some really strange accent he could not place. I don't think my Spanish is THAT good but he was being serious. He probably had not heard a lot of Spanish from other countries or many Americans like me who learned Spanish.

I finished the Raul Garbantes book a while ago. I have a trip in January where I'll be on a plane for hours and hours so I'll probably wait until then to start another book.

Not much else going on. I usually go to the local meetup and I periodically talk with language exchange partners online.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:31 pm

Things are still chugging along with my Spanish! I'm mostly just watching telenovelas while I jog on the treadmill. I'm almost done with La Ley Secreta. It is a Colombian show produced by Caracol and Netflix. It is pretty solid. It is about a group of undercover agents (mostly women) who infiltrate a narco organization. The narco theme is mostly backdrop and the cops are the good guys so the narco stuff does not bother me too much. The Spanish is noticeably Colombian... duh... and I'm doing fine with it. I'm not sure what I'll watch when I'm done with it. I've got a few things on my list. I'd like to whiz through a shorter series or novela before diving into something with 60+ episodes again.

I've got a trip coming up in a couple weeks and I'm starting to think about a good book. I'll have a ton of time in airports and on airplanes so I'm going to get a good book to read on my Kindle.

I had a few phone calls with new Spanish speaking customers and a meeting. My Spanish was outstanding! I felt like a super hero of sorts coming in to save the day with my Spanish. Hopefully there will be more days like this in the future.

I don't do much in terms of "studying" because my Spanish is at a good enough level that I don't worry about it. I am thinking about making a resolution to work through the C level grammar book I have in 2019. I took a few minutes and looked through it. I don't think it would be too hard at all (in fact it would probably be easy) but it would be a good exercise to work on my Spanish from a different angle.

Well, that's it for now.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:34 pm

Quick log update as I fear I won't be able to update for the next few weeks as I'll be traveling quite a bit. I have not been able to decide which telenovela to start next on Netflix. I had a few free minutes free yesterday and I decided I'd just try out the first episode of La Doña with Aracely Arámbula as the star. I ended up watching the first two episodes and LOVE it so far. It is an incredibly cheesy storyline but they seem to be pulling it off well. She is a very different character than she was in Los Miserables. It is a refreshing change from all the Narco related novelas there are out there. She plays a woman who has a chip on her shoulder about men because she was sexually assaulted by a group of men when she was young. She goes on to be a cold blooded business executive. She frames a small time landlord so she can steal his property and build a gigantic parking lot for her property developments. Unfortunately for her the hero landlord has a young too good to be true lawyer who defends women who are falsely accused by their abusive husbands. He sets out to free/save his dad from Arecely's false accusations. It seems like it will be great. I seem to like the Mexican DF stories.

Anyway, I'm going to be traveling for a while for work and am going to bring my kindle. I hope to get some good reading in on the beaches and on the planes. I'll try to read another Raul Garbantes book. I'm going to skip Netflix for a while. When I get back I'll probably start La Doña again from the beginning.

I've been doing regular meetups and those are fun. I always get to meet new Spanish speakers. I also occasionally get to talk with some of my old skype partners.

That's it for now.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby NoManches » Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:06 pm

James29 wrote: I'll try to read another Raul Garbantes book. I'm going to skip Netflix for a while. When I get back I'll probably start La Doña again from the beginning.

I've been doing regular meetups and those are fun. I always get to meet new Spanish speakers. I also occasionally get to talk with some of my old skype partners.

That's it for now.


Should have posted this earlier since you might not see it until after your trip...

But, have you heard of Enrique Laso? I'm reading a trilogy he wrote starting with a book called Los crímenes azules. It BLOWS most of the Raúl Garbantes books out of the water in my opinion.

It is a detective/mystery book and I really love it and instantly thought it would be something you would like based on what I've read in your log over the years.
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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:56 am

NoManches wrote:
James29 wrote: I'll try to read another Raul Garbantes book. I'm going to skip Netflix for a while. When I get back I'll probably start La Doña again from the beginning.

I've been doing regular meetups and those are fun. I always get to meet new Spanish speakers. I also occasionally get to talk with some of my old skype partners.

That's it for now.


Should have posted this earlier since you might not see it until after your trip...

But, have you heard of Enrique Laso? I'm reading a trilogy he wrote starting with a book called Los crímenes azules. It BLOWS most of the Raúl Garbantes books out of the water in my opinion.

It is a detective/mystery book and I really love it and instantly thought it would be something you would like based on what I've read in your log over the years.


Great suggestion! That is the sort of stuff I like. I ended up buying Grisham's El Cliente. I've read most of Grisham's stuff and have always liked the early books. For some reason I missed this one when it initially came out. I read a full 1/3 of it on the plane and have now gotten to somewhere around 40% done with my beach time. It is a great read so far. Using Spanish does not use mental energy anymore. I can read and read and read and it feels relaxing. There is something about the translation that is really nagging at me. I think I'll post this on the Spanish thread. The lawyer for "el cliente" is a woman. The translation NEVER refers to her as una abogada. They always use abogado. It makes no sense to me.

I also watched 5 episodes of La Doña on the plane. I really like the series so far. It is so incredibly cheesy if I stop and think about it but they really pull it off.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby IronMike » Tue Jan 15, 2019 6:00 pm

You were mentioned in the post about Fitness and language, thought you might want to come by and contribute!
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