Of Blogging, Pinterest and Mandarin Chinese

Egghead.  Bookworm.  Such were the endearing terms applied to me in my youth.  My bookworm-ness has gone electronic so I don’t have overloaded bookcases any more, but my Kindle weighs a few electronic tons, if you want to look at it that way.

I morphed into a geek when at the age of 26 I built my first computer by hand and hooked it up to my first modem.  I was connected to the rest of the world.  That was in 1978.

My day job is doing quality assurance for software development.  I can see that 0.1% of you know what that means.  Kindred souls!

So now, in year 61, I’m trying to stretch a bit and equal out my right brain / left brain usage.  I’m walking on the wild creative side, but with baby steps… I’ve learned to have fun with this blog.  That was the challenge my loving spouse, Cee, threw at me.  (See my About page.)  She runs four creative challenges in WordPress.  I usually end up sitting around bored when she is on a photo shoot, but I finally discovered that I could take pictures on my iPod (which I brought so I could read a book while I was waiting) and blog about it.  The result was a my “I Remember When…” blog.  That’s when I turned a corner and discovered that blogging could be fun.  Show things and talk about them.   Reach out and share your world, but use pictures, not just words.

pinterestThen there’s Pinterest.  I can get lost in Pinterest because that’s where words and images come together to spark emotion.  My right brain and left brain can hug.  I’ve started a graphic quotes board, See How I Think, and I’ll be showing some of my selections in this blog from time to time.  I’m also going to challenge Cee to work with me on creating our own art.  That will teach her to challenge me!

So what does any of this have to do with Mandarin Chinese?  I have studied Spanish, Russian, German, Latin and Greek, languages that all have common roots.  They have an alphabet, with letters that represent sounds, as well as concepts.  Now I’ve started studying Chinese.  Mandarin doesn’t have an alphabet.  It isn’t phonetic at all.  It has (gasp!) pictures instead of letters.  Pictures for words.  Pictures like stick drawings to represent ideas, concepts, emotions, thoughts.   I’m turning my head inside out to learn this language, but it is fascinating.

I saw a TED talk, “Learn to read Chinese … with ease!”.  The speaker, ShaoLan Hsueh, has designed a new system of learning that decodes Chinese words.  I love it.  It makes sense to me.  If you want a little taste of reading a language that doesn’t have letters, watch the talk.

So that brings us full circle.  Baby steps to see the world in images as well as words, and to share both with you.  Thanks for coming on the journey with me.

9 thoughts on “Of Blogging, Pinterest and Mandarin Chinese

  1. You are ambitious to attempt Chinese. Bravo! My mantra is to learn something new every day. You are no doubt a kindred spirit. Sue
    Womenlivinglifeafter50.com

  2. I took Chinese for one year in high school, and of course I forgot everything I learned, lol! Best wishes on your new endeavors. 🙂

  3. The expression ‘it’s Greek to me’ is inadequate. One can more or less work that out, given time and hard work based on the alphabets one knows. Chinese, however, is simply something else!

  4. Wow, that’s brave learning Chinese! Such a different language to those we’re used to.
    I’m in the 0.1% who knows what QA is! I’m no good at it, I don’t have the patience. I always miss something. Fortunately I only need to do “developer testing”, then pass it across 🙂
    I’m also trying to bring out my creative side via my blog!

  5. Hey, Chris, based on your post I’m a couple years older than you. I do understand your day job. Back in the early 80s I was supervisor of customer service for Enable Software, an integrated system. By the mid 80’s I taught advanced Enable programmers and was a contributing writer and technical editor of several software books. Now? Now I know less than most kids in elementary school.
    I stink at languages other English, but know a few Russian phrases and words picked up on a couple trips to Moscow. I’m envious of your language ability. I’ve always admired people who can speak several languages.
    You’ve hit the nail on the head with your philosophy of creativity and pursuing new knowledge. That’s what keeps us living life to the fullest.

  6. Wel, I never elected to be a member of the 1%, bit now thanks to your post, I’ve learned that I’m part of the 0.1% ! Great post! Signed, former professional Software Quality Assurance Engineer Babsje.

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