@grayson mentioned the utility of personal threads in building community, and I thought I’d bite the bullet and be the first. I’ll post here about whatever seems relevant, whenever I feel like it, and welcome comments to whatever extent folks feel inspired to respond! (It didn’t seem worth making a whole additional part of the forum when stuff like this was the intended goal of the “Life” forum to begin with, but I suppose the post could always be moved if it personal threads seem to be cluttering things up?)
Right now my intended “new forum post” trigger is “new beeminder goal or substantial change to existing goal” – it turns out I have twenty-eight Beeminder goals (egads) so I won’t try to start out by recapping all my current goals, but I’ll describe a new one I started today: translating La Nouvelle Héloïse extremely slowly!
I’ve been idly reviving my undergraduate French by doing duolingo (and Beeminding it, of course); in a year or two, I will need to demonstrate reading competence in French as part of my PhD program, and I thought it couldn’t hurt to start early.
I’ve also been increasingly intrigued by the Goldlist method of learning vocabulary (video link). It’s not worth drilling flashcards when I’m not actually trying to really learn French, but meditatively sitting with a notebook to enjoy writing out words with nice pens… that fits well with my current interests!
But one needs a source of words, for Goldlisting. I study 18thC British literature, and everything I’m reading for my special fields exam kept mentioning Rousseau – et voilà! Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloïse. I found online editions in French and in English, added them to my Goodreads, and was ready to go!
Except that I was going much too slowly to track my progress by the page. I’d never get anywhere if I couldn’t have a little progress bar filling up… so, enter my fanciest Complice-Beeminder integration to date:
I can “append” the number of words I read in any given session, and append more than once over the course of the day, and when I am done for the day and check off the task, my total words get sent to Beeminder!
The rate is still set extremely low – just 50 words a week – but I can ramp it up as I grow more serious about this task, and Beeminder’s running total will help me keep track of how many of the ~8000 words in volume 1 I have managed to get through.
In forty minutes, encountering 25 unfamiliar words that I added to my goldlist, I read four and a half sentences of the author’s preface. I am looking forward to getting faster over time.
 Yes, I started this time-intensive recreational reading project while I am meant to be studying for my special fields exam. It’s a productive form of procrastination, I’m not going to resist it.
N.B. It felt really weird to write “oulfis’s” at the top, but the S is silent… “oulfis” is pronounced like “ull-FEE,” so the possessive must be “ull-FEES,” so it must be written “oulfis’s” with the S… right?