The rat the cat the dog chased caught died

There’s a sentence I learned in the second class of a course I took the first semester of my second year of studying English in university. The class was called “Theoretical Approaches to English Grammar”.

I don’t remember everything from every lesson in every course I took in uni. I think that applies to most people. But I do remember some things from this class and this course. Among others: It was a hard one. I struggled so hard to pay attention in class, I’d zone out because I couldn’t understand what the professor was talking about, because I struggled with the material, which he would always assume we had read and understood before class, not really explaining anything. I struggled with the assignments, and not being able to understand what I’d done wrong, all I knew was my work wasn’t right. It was also the first course in which I got an A. I couldn’t believe how that had happened. I remember studying in uni with a friend all day before the exam, and I spent the entire evening and night rewriting notes from the main textbook, until about 2am, the exam started at 9, I felt like a nervous zombie, certain I was going to fail.

But we’re getting off topic here now. What I wanted to write about was this sentence, the headline of this entry: The rat the cat the dog chased caught died. Our professor for this class was a rather old man, English, teaching English to mainly Norwegian students at a university in Norway. I disagreed with him on a few things actually. For one, he claimed that as non-native speakers we could not have intuition about the language. He also tried to claim this to a student who was raised bilingual or trilingual with English as one of the languages, without knowing anything about her outside of the fact that she looked very Nordic with her white blonde hair and blue eyes. Another thing we disagreed on was this sentence.

The purpose of this class was to teach us that sentences can be grammatically correct but still make no sense. A very famous example from Noam Chomsky: Colourless green ideas sleep furiously. It doesn’t make any sense. Yet the grammatical structure is completely correct. Adjective, adjective, noun, verb, adverb. The rat the cat the dog chased caught died. Determiner, noun, determiner, noun, determiner, noun, verb, verb, verb. It’s still a grammatical sentence. The only requirements for something to be a sentence is a verb and a subject.  Everything else is optional. There’s really no discussion to be had when it comes to this. What I disagreed with the professor on, was the fact that he said the sentence was nonsensical, but it made sense to me.

It’s not structured like any kind of utterance I would make in conversation, but but I spent a few minutes looking at it, alongside other sentences on a sheet of paper we’d been given for homework. We were supposed to pick out which ones were grammatical, ungrammatical, which ones made sense, and which ones didn’t. There were all sorts of combinations on there. Grammatical and understandable. Grammatical and nonsensical. Ungrammatical and understandable. Ungrammatical and nonsensical. The rat the cat the dog chased caught died, according to my professor, was grammatical but nonsensical, because no one could possibly find any kind of meaning in those words put together in that order. The problem, though, is that I did.

I exchanged about 2 sentences with the professor about this. I’d been taught by him before, he’d given a couple of lectures I attended my first year. He was not the kind of man who would change his mind because a 20-year-old girl told him she disagreed. He told me to just accept it as a nonsensical sentence. I didn’t push any further. But here’s the thing: That was five and a half years ago, and I haven’t forgotten about this sentence since, and as time has gone on, I haven’t changed my mind, either. I can’t put the sentence into a tree structure, the way we were taught to analyse sentences. Not for lack of trying; I tried, multiple times. But it doesn’t work out the way they want the structures to work out. I can put it into my own kind of structure, but it doesn’t look like what they wanted our binary tree structures to look like. But it doesn’t matter, the sentence was never brought up again past this one 10am lecture that particular Friday morning in early September 2013.

I said I haven’t changed my mind. I said the sentence makes sense to me. And now I will attempt to explain it to you. The rat the cat the dog chased caught died.

The sentence has three nouns: rat, cat, dog.

The sentence has three verbs: chased, caught, died.

My proposition to you, is that each of these verbs belongs to a separate noun. And not in any random order: In reverse order. The first noun gets the last verb. The middle noun gets the middle verb. The last noun gets the first verb. The sentence is about three events: a rat dying, a cat catching, and a dog chasing.

The rat died. Which rat? It was the rat that the cat caught. But which cat? It was the cat that the dog was chasing. There was a dog that was chasing a cat which was catching a rat, which died. The rat the cat the dog chased caught died. All this sentence does, is specify which rat, and which cat. Ultimately, the sentence is about what happened to a very specific rat. The rat the cat caught. But maybe there were multiple cats catching rats, at that specific moment. To specify which rat it was that died, we need to specify which cat that was doing the catching. It was the cat that the dog was chasing. And if there was only one dog present in the scenario, then we know which rat that died. The rat that was caught by the cat that was chased by the dog. The rat the cat the dog chased caught died.

Let us go back to Chomsky’s sentence, colourless green ideas sleep furiously; if we google that and go to pictures, we get multiple variations of this:

colourless green ideas sleep furiously

It’s a tree structure that proves that even though the sentence is nonsensical it is, in fact, grammatically correct. If we google the rat the cat the dog chased caught died, we get pictures of cats and dogs and rats, and a fox, and a crocodile (or alligator, I can’t tell them apart). I did, after some scrolling however, come across this:

largepreview

Read the first sentence of the abstract. “Why is it impossible to process The rat the cat the dog chased ate died?” Impossible to process. Impossible. To process. That’s what they say it is. I have no doubt that this is a proper scientific study. I’ve read many of them, just not on this subject. Richard Hudson is a proper linguist. Not one I’ve heard of until now, but still. I’m sure he’s contributed to his field in his 79 years. And he’s not the only one to claim that the sentence is difficult to process, that it doesn’t make sense. But the problem here is that it makes sense to me. It isn’t impossible to process for me. Yes, one of the verbs is different, but I don’t think it makes much difference here; the paper is about self-embedded structures, and my professor used “caught”, not “ate”, and to most people I don’t think the sentence would make much more sense with one verb over the other.

I don’t think I’m anything special. I often put myself down. I’ve been put down by others for as long as I can remember. For my clothes, my body, my looks, my choices regarding makeup, music… and also for my brain, because I was good in school and the teachers liked me. Do I think I am smart? Yes. I’ve been a bookworm my entire life. I love to learn things. Am I, at times, socially inept and awkward (sorry, Amelie, I just love this expression so much, I just had to use it, but you said it first!)? Also yes. But I don’t think there’s anything about me that makes me any more special than anyone else. But I don’t find this sentence impossible to process. If it had been impossible to process, how was I able to make sense of it?

Or was I wrong in stating that it does not make a difference whether the second verb is “caught” or “ate” like the article does? Is that what makes all the difference in whether the sentence is possible to process? Is the rat the cat the dog chased caught died processable, while the rat the cat the dog chased ate died is not, because it is impossible for the cat to eat the rat at the same time as the rat stays alive? My explanation would not work with the verb being “ate”, because if multiple cats were eating rats, you cannot use the dog chasing one of the cats to pinpoint which rat died, because presumably they all did… In which case, does the fault (dear Brutus… no, I won’t get started) lie with my professor, who presented us with a sentence using the incorrect verb in the first place?

So many questions, so few answers! Let’s talk in the comments below!

Xoxo

Julie

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Spring

I love a good storm, with thunder and lightning and intense, insane rain. But there’s something about winter turning into spring, the sun feeling warm, flowers appearing in the grass, birds chirping, the smell in the air… It fills me with life in a way that very few other things do.

In writing moment, it is Monday morning and overcast. The temperature is okay though. Someone said we’re expected to have good weather until about mid-week, Thursday or so, so I’m excited to see how this week will be. In the meantime, I want to talk about last week, and the weekend before, which were just amazing.

Let me start from the beginning. Weekend before last, so the weekend before valentine’s, I was in London. A friend from Norway came over, and it was a good weekend away from the stress of unemployment, looking for houses, and generally feeling stressed about the situation I’m currently in. It was very relaxing, to walk around in streets and shops, I visited both Westfield shopping centres, bought some things, ate a lot of good food… It was good. I stayed there until Monday evening one week ago.

I was prepared for the relaxed feeling to leave and the stress to come back, but Tuesday was a very relaxing day for me as well. I watched Grey’s Anatomy and Hawaii Five-0 from the last two and three weeks respectively, did some bullet journaling, and went for a walk because the weather was nice, despite doing a lot of walking Friday-Monday as well. I went to bed thinking surely tomorrow I’ll start to feel more like normal.

Spoiler alert: I did not. The good feeling of happy relaxation, of being content, stayed with me through Wednesday as well. Wednesday was the last day of a Pokemon Go event with double XP for catching and evolving pokemon, so I used a lucky egg to double the doubles, giving me 4x more XP than I normally would, and I’d saved a lot of pokemon to evolve for this purpose, so I got a good amount, which was nice. I was waiting for the evening’s Nintendo Direct, when the pokemon app told me a new event would start that day as well, a one week long valentine’s day event with double candy and increased appearance of pink pokemon. Cool! I love it when they do events back to back like that! Also, the Direct was good, some say one of the best they’ve ever done, others I know didn’t like it at all, but I enjoyed it.

Thursday, February 14th, Valentine’s Day… Not a day I particularly care to celebrate, if I’m being honest with you. I find it commercial, it’s just a way for businesses to guilt couples into spending money on each other, and more so, because it’s the universal day for showing your loved ones that you love them, when you should be doing that every day of the year. I find it stupid. Nevertheless, as I’d been feeling good for nearly a week now, which is unusual for me, I was hoping the feeling would last through this day as well. And surprise surprise, it did! Our shopping was delivered early, and we went for a walk after, the weather was so nice we were out for probably an hour and a half, it was lovely. Spring was definitely in the air by now, with sunshine and blue sky, a little bit of a breeze, flowers poking through the grass, birds singing… it was a really beautiful morning. In the evening we got Chinese take-away, and watched three movies. I also received a letter from a pen pal this day, which was nice, I haven’t heard from her in months, apart from a Christmas card!

Friday morning started off a bit stressful – I suddenly remembered my first student loan bill was due, and I’d forgotten to apply for the extension. Thankfully, it was a quick process, all I needed was to tick the boxes of the months I wanted to extend and confirm, and it was granted within the next half hour. A shower later, and I felt good again. Friday was another beautiful day with sunshine and blue skies, so I went for another walk. I love walking during the day in the spring!

On Saturday, it was Community Day on pokemon go, where one specific, previously announced, pokemon appears more frequently for 3 hours, with shiny versions as well. This month it was Swinub, which I was not particularly excited for, but the double candy event was on and I didn’t want to miss out on my opportunity to get another shiny, and furthermore, the evolution, Piloswine, can now be evolved to Mamoswine with a sinnoh stone! What was more exciting was the possibility of getting 10 sinnoh stones from trainer battles and person v person battles during the three hours as well, which I got, as I was only out for about two of the three hours. It was another super beautiful day though, very sunny, lovely and warm outside!

Sunday – last day of the week, for me, as I count Monday as the first day of the week. It was a little bit less sunny, and our Google Home said it was supposed to be cloudy, but the sun was still out a little, and we did still go for a walk, although a shorter one this time. I’d started the day by helping my friend read through parts of her Master’s thesis, so I spent about 2.5 hours on that, which gave me a headache towards the end – I think it was mainly reading intensely on the computer screen, which I’m not used to doing anymore… Food, a shower, a walk, and more food, neither of which helped, so just before 3pm I laid down and had a  nap. It lasted nearly  two hours, so when I woke up it was time for another meal! I made us vegetarian risotto and halloumi cubes (from ASDA), with salad and string beans, which was delicious although not quite as filling. Thankfully, my headache had gone after the nap, but I felt a bit drowsy for the rest of the evening nevertheless. I didn’t write and schedule a Monday blog post, which is what I’m doing right now, and I didn’t set up the upcoming week in my bullet journal either, which is what I’ll be doing immediately after this. But it was still a good day, apart from the headache!

Today is grey and not very lovely, although it’s not raining and it’s not that cold either, so it could still be nice. I might go for a walk later, or I might take a day off, I’ve been walking every day for 10 days straight now, and from Monday through Sunday I walked something like 28 kilometres, based on Pokemon Go Adventure Sync, where it gives you rewards for walking 5k, 25k, and 50k in one week. This was my first week getting past 25k, and as my reward I got pokeballs, great balls, silver pinapp berries, and stardust. My boyfriend got a 5k egg, but I have no room in my storage so I couldn’t get one. Previously I’ve only ever reached the 5k one, which only gives pokeballs in my experience. I’d love to get to 50k one week, but that would require a lot more walking every day for a week… maybe sometime this spring if the weather is really nice!

Have you been enjoying a nice early spring this February?

xoxo

Julie

Revolution Beauty Order and Free Goodie Bag!

I don’t know about you, but I am one of those people that use online shopping carts as wishlists, I’ll always add a ton of stuff and then never check out. Until recently, I’ve had shopping carts full of makeup and skincare on Revolution Beauty, Superdrug, and Beauty Bay – but last week I purchased the content of my Revolution cart. The reason why? They put up a post on Instagram advertising free goodie bags of stuff worth £25 for purchases over £30!

Now, I’m not stupid. I know shops use goodie bags and “free X if you buy Y” as a way to get rid of stuff that doesn’t sell well, that is going out of stock, or that will expire soon if not purchased. So my expectations weren’t high. However, I’ve yet to be disappointed with anything from Revolution, and as I was buying stuff I wanted to test anyway, as opposed to products I already know and love, I figured why not. This is an opportunity for me to test some new things and get some free makeup and who doesn’t like free makeup?

The Stuff I Ordered

I placed my order and it arrived a day or two later. This was in the middle of my beta test of Anno 1800 (read about that in my previous entry here), so it took a few days before I took the time to test everything. So without any further ado, let me show you what I ordered and what I got for free (I did already post about this on Instagram but that was before testing everything):

My order consisted of 6 things: the conceal and define foundation, the PRO foundation drops, their new cut crease canvas which is a full coverage eyeshadow base, liquid eyeliners in black and white, and the Reloaded Marvellous Mattes eyeshadow palette.

I got the two foundations because they seem quite popular, and my current foundation isn’t working so well with my skin at the moment (and I want to stop supporting brands that test on animals). I’ve watched a lot of people with different skin types on youtube using the different foundations to get their opinions, and I just decided to get both and test them out.

I actually really enjoyed both of these foundations, they both went on my face very well, I’d picked good shades for me (F2, for fair skin with yellow undertones), and they didn’t feel cakey or disappear on my skin which some foundations have done in the past. The application was new for me with both of them, as the drops are obviously in a dropper and that’s how you put them on your face, while the conceal and define has a doe foot applicator, which I’m used to with concealers and liquid lipsticks, but have never tried with a foundation before. I’m used to pumps and squeezy tubes! I found them both to go on my skin nicely and blend out well with a wet sponge (I currently have the Real Techniques miracle complexion sponge), and they definitely both gave me coverage, smoothed out my skin nicely, and looked and felt nice on my face.

I got the black eyeliner because I’m not too big a fan of felt tip pen eyeliners, they dry out too fast, and I used to love a dip eyeliner from Loreal that I had before, except that the tip isn’t very skinny so it’s hard to get a precise line (and Loreal isn’t cruelty free). I found this one a bit hard to use to fill in, but it does draw really sharp lines! And I got the white one because I thought I could use it in artistic ways, or something.

I got the cut crease canvas in white because if I want a more skin colour cut crease I’ll just use concealer (I currently have 3 of the conceal and define concealers so I won’t run out anytime soon). I thought this could be wonderful to use to make those colourful colours really pop and appear true to colour! It’s an old trick, to cover your eyelids in white primer or even smudge white pencil liner all over your lid to make the colours appear more vibrant!

And lastly, I currently don’t have any singles or palettes with these kinds of bright and colourful colours, which is why I got the new Reloaded Marvellous Mattes eyeshadow palette. I have palettes with yellow and orange, I have some reds, I have some pinks and purple tones, and I have palettes with black and white shadows in them, but what I don’t have at all at the moment is any bright green (the ones I have are more olive toned or sparkly), or any blue shades like the two in this palette (fun fact, the darkest blue is an exact match to my iris). I also don’t think I have a hot pink, and I know I don’t have a bright purple like this one. And it was only £4 for 15 shades, so I thought it was a bargain. I did swatches of all the eyeshadows, but I haven’t been able to test them all on my eyes yet. Anyway, here is a closeup of the palette and the swatches:

I rubbed my finger back and forth twice, so four times across each shadow, and I went over each swatch twice. They feel nice, perhaps a bit powdery, but they’re quite pigmented, and I’d say they’re buildable as well which is good. I don’t mind spending a little bit of time building up a shadow. From the shades I’ve tried, I found that they lasted several hours without any creasing or smudging, which is what I’ve come to expect from Revolution eyeshadows. And I can definitely see myself using these shadows a lot!

The Stuff That Arrived

So that was all the makeup I purchased. Now let me show you everything that actually arrived, including the goodie bag:

So I got four products for free. Two palettes, and two singles. One highlight/contour/bronzer palette, one highlighter palette, a single highlighter, and a single gradient highlighter. A lot of highlighters! My initial thought when unwrapping everything was “I’m never gonna have to buy highlighters again if these are good!”

I wasn’t disappointed with any of these products, there wasn’t any that I saw and thought “oh no not this” because I can honestly say I’ve never really noticed these products in shops before (and Revolution is always the first brand I go to whenever I’m in Superdrug). It was quite nice to receive a powder contour kit, it’s something I’d not usually buy, and I’m definitely happy it was powder and not cream. I got the shade light/medium, which is their medium shade; they have one for fair which is lighter and one for medium/dark skin tones which is darker. I’m definitely more on the fair side, but I think I can use all of these shades regardless. Here’s a closeup of the palette:

The top left shade is a nice colour for under eye brightening and other highlight spots – it’s matte so it can be used as a setting powder too actually. The other shades on the top row are quite warm toned so they’re nice for bronzing. They’re all matte too but will add some colour. I’d definitely use more warm tones on my forehead for example, where the sun hits more naturally.

Along the bottom row, the three brown shades are more cool toned, so I’d use those to contour my cheekbones and jaw line, and if I ever get the hang of nose contour too, I think. The 3rd shade on this row is quite dark – but I can actually use that for my eyebrows if I want to! The 4th shade is another highlighter shade, more like a banana powder in my opinion, and I might be able to use this somehow.

The other palette I got was a highlighter palette called the Strobe Lighting palette, and it contains three shades. To the eye they look white, gold, and pink. All three are light enough in colour for me, which is always my biggest concern with highlighting palettes – there are always shades that are just too dark for me, but in this one that’s not the case. This palette also came with a mirror!

I’m not gonna lie, I had some trouble swatching these shades, specifically in that they did not appear on my skin at all. I struggled to see them with my eye, and I struggled to get them to appear on camera. To show you, I tried multiple different angles, and methods of swatching. Here are some swirls on my dry skin of all three in order, if you can see them. The white shade, which is more of a duochrome shade with green in it, shows up alright, but the gold and the pink are barely visible at all…

I then decided to try and swatch them on wet skin, as that’s a trick many use to get highlighters to show up more. At least now I could see them all on my arm…

If you’re curious, this is what they look like just on my fingers, before swatching. They look a bit dry and powdery to me, but when I drag then down my arm, they definitely look a lot smoother, and not chalky at all. But the white is definitely the most vibrant of these three highlighter shades.

I did also look up one of my favourite youtubers, Sophdoesnails, and she spoke about this palette in this video (at 5:28 if my time stamp doesn’t work). She also said that the duochrome white-green shade is more pigmented while the gold and pink are more subtle, so at least I know now that it’s not just my swatches that are messed up, this is how the palette is made. I did use them all on my skin, but I like a more blinding highlight sometimes and had to use the white over the gold to get the result I wanted, but if you like a more subtle look and gold and pink tones, you’ll probably like this a lot!

The third free product was a large single highlighter, the Skin Kiss highlighter in the shade Ice Kiss. Up close it looks like this:

This is one of the three original Skin Kiss highlighters from Revolution, and it’s described as a white with a hint of gold to it. Soph also made a video about these highlighters, which you can watch here if you’re interested. Personally I’m a bigger fan of a straight up white highlighter or more silver toned than gold toned, like the Limited Edition one from the Imogenation Highlight to the Moon palette with Revolution, so if I were to pick a Skin Kiss I probably would have gone with something more like Frozen Kiss over Ice Kiss, but I can make this work too, it will make me glow! Or sparkle…

I swatched this highlighter both wet and dry as well. Dry, it is quite chunky, a bit powdery and chalky. No joke, when I turned my hand to do the wet swatch, powder fell into my lap from the swatch. Granted, I did kind of pack it on here, but still, it was chalky in the pan too and people have commented this in reviews on the Revolution website. Wet, it looks a lot smoother in my opinion, and the gold comes out more as well.

Others have also said it’s quite glittery, which I can see when Soph applies it to her face in the video as well, so some of you might not like that. When dragging my fingers down my arm instead of swirling around on my hand, this is what the dry highlighter looks like:

I think a little goes a long way, and with how huge this pan is, if this is the kind of highlighter you’re looking for, I think it would last you ages!

The last free product was this gradient peachy toned highlighter, the Revolution Gradient Highlighter Sunlight Mood Lights, and up close it looks like this:

This was probably the product I was more unsure of if and how I would use. When looking at it, it doesn’t look like it’s all that glowy or highlightery, it almost looks more like a blush with a little bit of shimmer in it. Hell, I’ve seen blushes with more shimmer to it than this highlighter has! I can use the lightest part as cheekbone highlight if I want to, for a more natural glow, but the darkest part is definitely too dark for that. What I’m thinking is that the darker part might look quite nice as a blush especially when we get closer to summer and I’ll want more glow to my skin than I do right now (too much shimmer everywhere just makes me look oily/sweaty). Here are some swatches from different parts of the pan, as you can see, it’s a very natural glow, not in-your-face at all.

Believe it or not, that darker shade is from the middle, while the one below is actually from the darkest side of the pan! I definitely think this might be more of a blush-highlight combo for summer if I manage to get a bit of a tan or something, rather than a highlight for me, especially now during winter where my skin is white borderline blue… But it could look really pretty with a nice base and just some eyebrow pencil and mascara for a fresh summery look, don’t you think?

Did the Free Stuff Actually Add Up?

Now, the Instagram post from Revolution said the value of the goodie bag would be £25. So was it really? I went on their website to see if I really got free makeup worth almost as much as my original order and the short answer is yes. When everything is full price, the items add up to £25 exactly, with two products costing £8, one costing £4, and one costing £5:

However, I also discovered something when I was browsing the website searching for the products. Each of the products I received was the only one in its category that wasn’t currently on sale! I took some screenshots to show you:

The Powder Contour: I got the palette in light medium, which is £8, but the fair and medium dark palettes are currently on sale for only £2.40 each, which is70% off. I thought it could be a coincidence but it continues:

There are two gradient highlighters, the sunlight one I got which costs £4, and the peach one which is on sale for £1.20. That one is also 70% off at the moment.

And as if that’s not enough:

ALL of the skin kiss shades EXCEPT for Ice Kiss which is the one I got, are on sale, £2.50 instead of £5, which is 50% off (and a bargain for how much product you get in one pan, just saying – if this is your thing go grab some!).

This COULD all be a coincidence, but it doesn’t really feel like it, when EVERY product in each category is on sale EXCEPT for the ones that were in the goodie bag I got. I’m not complaining, I got free stuff, but still… Are they not on sale because they’re in the goodie bags? Do they want people to buy all the other items that are on sale and receive the items that aren’t in the goodie bags? Or is it simply for people like me who wanted to check if the price of the free items added up, so that we can’t complain we didn’t get the full £25 value that was promised? What do you think?

Have you ever purchased items simply to get free stuff with it? If so, what did you think of the free stuff? Let’s talk in the comment section!

xoxo

Julie

Anno 1800 – Beta test

From January 31st through February 4th, I was lucky enough to get to beta test the game Anno 1800 – a city builder strategy game set in the 19th century. This is a game I came across a few months ago on youtube when watching videos about upcoming city building games, and the trailer was in multiple compilations, and I thought it looked really good and it made me really want to play the game! I did watch a few people play earlier Anno games on youtube as preparation so that I knew a little bit about what I was getting myself into, mainly Anno 1404 but also Anno 2070 and a tiny bit of Anno 2205, which are the three last games to come out in the series. Despite 1404 being the oldest of these 3, I actually liked the look of it better than the futuristic 2070 and 2205, but that might just be because I love history and I didn’t connect with the futuristic buildings in the same way. So I was really excited about 1800 coming out this year, a game set in the past, but with today’s graphics and all. And I was lucky that I got to play the beta for a few days, especially now that the release has been delayed from February to April!

You can watch the gamescom trailer for Anno 1800 here, and the trailer for the beta that I got to play here!

I haven’t played any of the other Anno games before, this was a series I hadn’t heard of until I saw the trailer for 1800. I also don’t self-identify as a “gamer”, I just like playing some games from time to time, and I can get sucked in and get addicted and play a game non stop for hours or even days, which is exactly what happened over the few days I got to play this game. Having never played an Anno game before, I prepared by watching a few youtube videos, and there are people out there who have been making videos while playing the beta as well. I particularly like League of Ungentlemanly Warfare, but I also know Geekism has been playing it, and others as well, you can just search for “Anno 1800 beta” on youtube and you’ll find them! I also had to start over a few times, as I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing and I tried and failed a little, but ultimately I’m very happy I got to play this free beta and test out the game, so I know for a fact I will want to buy it when the game comes out!

Bottom line is, I really enjoyed playing Anno 1800. I enjoyed learning how the game works, working my way up from farmers to workers and eventually to artisans, which was the top upgrade level in the beta, although I know there will be more in the full game. I enjoyed learning how to set up trade routes and using multiple islands to maximise the space and potential of each – for example, I ended up moving all my animal farms to separate farming islands as my city grew, and the majority of my food farms as well, although those are dependant on finding islands with the right fertility.

I started playing single player to learn the basics of the game, and then my boyfriend and I started a multiplayer game together. We then started another multiplayer game with a third person, and I got really far into that! I also had a second single player game at this point, but I liked the three person multiplayer game better as I’d gotten a lot further over 2 days of playing it. On the last day, I actually started from scratch in a 3rd single player game, and I plated on full speed for about 11 hours. I got very far into the game, but I could not get my expedition ships to find the new world. Every time, it turned into a zoological expedition or I lost the ship or it returned early. So I didn’t get to discover the new world and I was unable to provide my artisans with all their needs and wants. However, I got very good at playing the old world, in my own opinion, and these are skills I will take with me into the full version of the game when it releases. Hopefully I’ll be able to reach the new world then!

Between now and then, I want to go back and watch as much beta play by others as I can, to try and learn from their skills, ideas, and mistakes (because we all make them, there’s no denying that). Specifically, I want to focus on city layouts, and learn from what they do, and also how they utilise the parks and other decor to make their cities pretty. I also want to learn how the use the different beaches to maximise functionality as well as beautification – because I want to be able to create functional islands, as well as beautiful ones. And any other tips and tricks I can pick up as well…

I want to leave you with a little slideshow of pictures I took from the main island of my last single player game, to show what I was able to do. I know it’s not the best, that things aren’t even, and that I have a lot to learn, but I’m really happy with this and how it turned out! Also, can we just appreciate how beautiful the details of this game are? The textures, the colours, the fact that when it rains you can see splashback in the mud, and if you zoom in on the sea you can see the fish, and the movement of the fountains and the trees and aaah just everything, this game is so beautiful! Enjoy!

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Are you looking forward to this game?

xoxo

Julie

February and 2019 in my bullet journal

I have to admit, I’m not always the greatest at inventing headlines. This blog post is pretty self-explanatory: I just wanted to show off the bullet journal pages I’m currently creating and using, what I love and what works for me!

So firstly: Back to Basics in 2019. My “back to basics” pretty much just means I have gone back to using just a notebook and a pen, although I am staying in the same notebook as before. This is a Nuuna L, in the style Milky Way. I started this book with the month of July 2018, as I had 4 pages left in my old one when June was over. Since I’m continuing in the same book, there weren’t a lot of spreads I needed to recreate when 2019 started, as I make fewer monthly pages and more long-term lists and trackers, as I like to see things over time. I did post about my January pages over on my Instagram account (fearless20_12, go follow me!), but this is the first time I’m blogging about bullet journaling in a while. If you want to read my previous bujo entries, there will be links at the bottom of this entry, or you can go to the category “bujo” and read them there.

The future log I’m using is the same as from my first bujo, which you can see if you scroll down a little on this entry here, the 4th and 5th picture in that entry show what I consider my perfect future log as it suits my needs perfectly and have done since I started in 2017.

I want to start with February, as that’s where we’re currently at in the year. I don’t make elaborate cover pages or anything like that, just some headlines that make it clear to me when flicking through my journal that this is a new month. I like faux calligraphy, and I sketch in pencil first, then go over with pen. For February I just made a title across the page and a calendar showing the layout of the month.

I don’t like my monthly overview to be in calendar form, I prefer a list like you can see on the right-hand side here. Sometimes I’ll draw lines across the page to see which days belong together in a week, I did that for January as I didn’t have a calendar next to it, but I didn’t feel the need for it for this February Overview.

Flip the page, and I like to have a place to write down notes and to-dos for the month. This kind of works as my goals page as well, so if I have something specific I want to accomplish for this month this is where I will write it down

Next to it, I like to have my habit tracker, or focus areas, as I like to call them. They’re not as much things I want to make a habit out of doing every day, but more like things I want to make sure I focus on doing. These are both important things, such as working on my housing and job situation, and what one might consider less important things, such as playing games (board, card, PC, console) and reading. I have them in this order as it kind of reminds me of the food pyramid, where the most important and heavy things are at the bottom, and the lighter things that are less vital are at the top. And because of that, the goal is to have more circles around the dates at the bottom calendars, and fewer the higher up we get, while still also focusing on doing those. That’s not to say that that’s always how it’ll turn out, but it’s a nice idea. The top things might not be essential for life, but they’re things that are essential to me on a mental and emotional level, they’re important for my well-being!

And then I jump straight into weeklies! In January, I really liked the column style with vertical writing space, so I’m continuing this for February. This means each thing I write down takes up more lines, but I’m okay with that as I haven’t always got a lot of things going on at the moment and therefore it fills out the days a bit more. I’m also trying to remember to write down smaller things, even in retrospect, so that I document my days a bit more. This can be things like I found a new TV show I want to watch, or I watched a movie, or I did my nails or tested a new makeup product.

The goal, for me, is to underline and show off to myself that I have a life and that I do things, even when at the end of the day I feel like today has been the kind of day where I haven’t really done anything at all. I started doing this almost two years ago, when I got an extension for my MA thesis, because I was so stressed and struggled a lot with anxiety, and day after day I felt like I was doing nothing, so I started to write down everything I did in bullet points, and it really helped me to see that even though I hadn’t been productive working on my thesis, I had done other things and they are important too – laundry is important so that I have clean clothes to wear, a walk is important for my mental and physical health, and so on.

Usually I have Saturday and Sunday in the same column, but seeing as there were only 3 days at the end of this week, they got a full column each.

And the blank page… It fit there. I was thinking I want to use it to write down some notes and thoughts over this weekend, as I’m beta testing the game Anno 1800, which was supposed to come out at the end of this month but has been delayed until April now. I have a separate sheet of notes of bugs I’ve encountered in the game, but I’m thinking it’ll be nice to write down notes about actually playing the game, strategy, things I come across that are useful and that I want to remember for when the full game comes out, and it’ll be nice to have it in my bujo as I’m more likely not to lose the notes here!

And that’s it for February! The rest of the month will just be pages of columns as the ones I made above. But now I want to talk a little bit about the collections I’m currently using.

Firstly, my most recent one (and yes we’re kinda moving backwards in time, so we’ll end with the first collection in my book). When January started, I wanted to start getting back into blogging more regularly; I’d done some posts last autumn, but it wasn’t consistent. I set myself a goal of posting once per week, which I kept. I want to continue that for February, and hopefully eventually increase to maybe two posts a week, or one post consistently and extra posts when I feel extra inspired to write.

I also discovered I have a lot of drafts, some that are nearly complete blog posts, others that are just a headline and some bullet point notes. Most of them are good, and I want to keep working on them and eventually post them to my blog for you all to read. So I wanted to make a spread to keep track of the status of these entries, and this is what I came up with. I dedicated two pages, and I have some columns on each page. The first one is for the idea for the blog post, or the working title. Next is D for Draft, S for Scheduled, and L for live. This way, I can easily look at all my posts at once and see if I want to work on any of them for the upcoming week or so! I’ve already nearly filled up the left page just from my drafts…

Next up is my social calendar – this is a spread I needed to remake for 2019, as my test run only ran from July through December of 2018. This is less of a calendar and more of a tracker, I mostly fill in things in retrospect, unless I know something is set in stone, but I really liked how my first one turned out, and I wanted to continue this into 2019. What I’ve done here is give colour codes to people or a group of people, and made a list of abbreviations: call, snapchat, video chat, message, and stream. Then draw a dot, write the initial of the person if multiple people have the same colour, and then write the abbreviation next to it so see what kind of social I was with that person on that day.

When it’s all filled out, it looks like this. It’s a bit messy, but I really like it! I don’t fill out everything, for example there are a couple of people I snapchat or message every single day, but then there are others that I almost never talk to, and when we do talk I do write it down and what kind of interaction we had.

I want to say, this idea wasn’t completely my own – I did take inspiration from a post I found online somewhere; unfortunately, I only have a screenshot of the person’s picture and not their name or username or even what platform it was from, so I cannot give them credit…

I know some people make goodbye and hello pages in between every month. I am not one of those people. I usually just jump straight into the next month with my calendar and overview, simply because I can’t be bothered to do it. However, I felt the need to separate 2018 and 2019 a bit, and just made a very simple transition that looks like this. This actually took me a really long time to draw out, the goodbye/hello spread, the new social calendar, and the word “January” for last month’s monthly page was the length of the entire “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” film! I hate drawing the number 2, it’s so hard to get even!

Sometime last year, a few days into September I think it was, I decided I wanted to get better at posting on my Instagram and WordPress again, and I made this post tracker. It’s kind of like a year in pixels, where I just fill in the square on the days that I’ve posted. The Instagram one is looking a lot better than the WordPress one so far, but hopefully that’ll change over the course of the next few months! And I just have a little sticky note tab at the top so that I can easily find this page. I always make and keep up an Index but I hardly ever go back to it, I mostly just flick through the book until I find what I’m looking for…

You know those movies or franchises you always say you’re gonna watch because “everyone” knows these films, but then you never get around to it? I decided I want to get around to it. So I made this list, I set aside 2 spreads for it, so 4 pages, and wrote down everything I could think of, including all of Star Wars, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And some stand-alones and trilogies, too… Some of these I’ve seen before, most I have not, but hopefully, now that I have them all written down, the urge to fill out the square and complete the spread is there and I will want to continue and actually watch all of these films…

Okay so. Hair washing. I feel like this has become more socially acceptable than it was when I was a teenager, where you were “gross” if you didn’t wash your hair every day and also your hair got greasy if you didn’t wash it every day because you were washing it every day. I managed to push it back up to every other day in the last half of my teen years, which was still within acceptable I think, but never beyond that. Dry shampoo wasn’t as widely available to me, and everyone said you could only use it if you had blonde hair otherwise your hair would look white or grey (which btw it doesn’t if you use it correctly, in my experience with multiple shades of brown from light golden to dark almost black. And you can get coloured dry shampoo too now).

For me, I was 19 when I was finally able to push my hair washing days further, and the only reason I could do it is because I went to Africa and got my hair braided. I had the braids in for about 3 weeks (they kept sliding out of my hair…), and during that time I was not able to wash my natural hair at all. Or I tried, but it didn’t go very well. When I took them out and washed my hair, I found that I didn’t need to wash it as often, as my scalp wasn’t producing as much oil. In the beginning, I only washed my hair about once a week, but now I mostly go 3-4 days between. I find I have to wash it more frequently in the winter than I do in the summer, and summer 2017 I got to a point where I suddenly realised I had no idea when I washed my hair last. At one point I think it was about 8 days. I had a lot going on in my life emotionally especially, with the extension of my thesis and my grandfather being ill and passing away that August, and also being home alone taking care of the house and being at work all summer… So that’s when I started this tracker.

In my first bujo, I had different colours for BedHead, Lush, purple products, deep conditioning and others that I can’t remember; for this one I kept it a little more simple, but the setup is the same. I colour in what product, what date, and whether it’s morning or night (for early afternoons I put it kind of in the middle). And as you can see, I haven’t washed my hair two days in a row since early July, and the only reason for it then is because I had a school reunion on the 7th and people were drinking and I felt gross the next morning and I’m pretty sure someone spilled beer in my hair, so I washed it again. For the most part, I’m happy if I can put 3 or 4 non-wash days between the days when I do wash it though! Oh and the reason I’ve chosen to do this is that my hair is very thin and fine, it damages easily, and extensive washing is one of the things that damages my hair – I’ve also completely stopped using hair dryers, curling irons, and flat irons, except for rare occasions a few times a year at most. Plus I’m lazy and not having to wash my hair every day is so nice! And I save money on products as well, that’s another bonus.

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THE LAST ONE! The first page I have in my bullet journal after my future log, which you can kind of see through the paper, is a measurement page! I don’t count the number of dots, I count the number of “squares” if I were to connect the line between the dots. I reference this page every time I make a new spread, to know where to put my lines, approximately, so it’s very useful to me. So across each page I have 40 spaces or squares, and I’ve also measured 1/2 of that, 1/3, 1/4, and 1/5. I very rarely need anything more than this. And it’s the same down the page as well – 56 spaces or squares, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, and 1/5 for good measure (this 1/5 going each way is the one I use the least). Sometimes I’ve needed even more measurements, like when I drew a weekly calendar sideways on one page, but this happens so rarely that I didn’t bother drawing it out on this page. And the little heart shaped paperclip is just to mark where my future log ends and my collections begin, as I had quite a few at the beginning of the book before the first month, some of which I use and have shown you, and some that didn’t work out.

When it comes to making new collections in my bullet journal, I usually just flip the page and use the next available one, or I’ll make it at the end of a month before the next month. As I only use weeklies or a daily/weekly hybrid, whatever you want to call it, where I have the week drawn out at once over two pages, I know exactly how much space I will need for the future, as opposed to if I were to do dailies where I give as much space as necessary to each day and each day is different and I wouldn’t be sure how much space I’d need until the end of the week.

Do you bullet journal? What’s your favourite or most useful spread that you have in your book? Let’s talk in the comments down below!

xoxo

Julie

Related posts: My First Bullet Journal // The Bujo Cateogory