My Experience and Tips Learning Spanish (after one month)

As of this writing, I am on a family trip to Spain—a trip that unexpectedly got extended for me after I caught COVID-19. Catching a disease during a vacation is an awful experience that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone, but there is a silver lining. My parents were already going to stay in Spain longer than me and my sister, which means I am staying for a few more days and get extra time to practice speaking Spanish in a place where it’s the language of the majority. (Actually, my trip has been in the Catalan-speaking part of Spain, but Spanish is just as common in the major cities like Barcelona.)

Note that the tips in this blog post don’t just apply to learning Spanish. They apply to learning any language! Also note that I will use the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) a few times in this post: the sound represented by a letter surrounded by slashes means what you probably think it does, unless otherwise stated.

My Prior Impression of Spanish

I’m no stranger to learning foreign languages. For one thing, English isn’t the only language I learned since I was a baby. German is my mother tongue in a literal sense: it’s my mother’s native language, and while my German vocabulary isn’t as fluent as in English, I’d say my skills in it are still pretty good. I also learned French extensively in school, and though my French skills could use some work these days, I spoke it a few times during my trip because some strangers I encountered didn’t know English but could speak French. I even took Chinese classes during high school for a while, but I don’t remember much of the language aside from a few words and phrases, so I don’t count it. Learning languages runs in my family too: my parents met in a Russian college class, and my grandfather on my mom’s side was a French teacher, for a few examples.

Because of all this prior experience, I had often viewed Spanish as a boring language; the one that you learn if you need a foreign language credit at school and want a quick A. I imagined Spanish wouldn’t need any real effort to pick up, especially because in the United States, some signs are in both English and Spanish. But once I learned of this trip last month, I decided to take some time to learn the basics of the language in earnest, and I got much deeper into it than I would have thought. It’s also a much more fascinating language than I expected, and I’ll soon go over that.

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I’ve updated the homepage of this site!

In celebration of the new year, I’ve done something that I have considered doing for quite a while: reveal my real name to the Internet. It’s Cedric Fausey, that’s my real name. The last name is pronounced faw-zee or faw-see.

This name reveal isn’t with much fanfare; it’s not something I’m screaming to the world, instead something I’m merely adding to my homepage so that it’s easy to find for anyone looking. I’m still going to make my content under the handle “cookiefonster”; it’s just that my real name is now out in the public. This reveal comes alongside a rewrite of the homepage’s content to be more focused and present myself better. The content that was there before was cluttered with random images and asides, and I reordered it to be more cohesive.

The new year is, as always, a time of new beginnings, and I hope this update to the homepage has made my content just a bit more presentable. I’m working a job unrelated to music or my other creative content right now, but I still want to present my creative work to the world in a way that’s just the slightest bit less self-deprecatory.

As for what content I plan on publishing to this site in 2022, I’ll be honest: it’s mostly going to be blog posts reviewing episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. I’ve already finished writing reviews of the first three episodes of season 3, and the first such post is going up on January 7.

I say something about every element in the periodic table

Here’s a post that’s unlike the content I usually put on this site. You see, when I was a kid, I had many different obsession phases, one of which was a periodic table phase. And I can’t blame my past self for being so fascinated by the periodic table! There’s just something incredibly fascinating about that table listing names for elements that constitute everything in existence—some substances known since ancient times like copper and gold, some names you hear a lot in science like hydrogen and oxygen, some you hear about in nutrition facts like sodium and calcium, some scary names like arsenic and plutonium, and some weird ones you’ve never heard of like thulium and rutherfordium.

One day a few weeks ago, I thought it would be fun to say something about each of the elements with a twist—each element will have a description with the same number of words as its atomic number, meaning hydrogen will get one word and oganesson (the current heaviest known element) will get 118 words—and that’s how this blog post was born. If you forget which element is which and where everything is on the periodic table, just look it up on Wikipedia or something. Without further ado, let’s begin with the list!

(Also, if you see anything wrong in this list, don’t hesitate to leave a comment correcting it!)

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A horrible dream I had last night

Hey, a blog post that isn’t about you-know-what for once. I had the description of the dream typed up but I’m too lazy to format it with proper capitalization and punctuation. Here goes regardless:

i was at the library on a computer there and was working with this really confusing google doc in chinese and mom over the phone made me do a bunch of shit i didnt want to do, like view it on my phone where a bunch of characters rendered incorrectly, and wouldnt let me go home until i finished with it. then the library closed, but i refused to go home until i found my cats eddie and phoebe who i had taken to the library so i could bring them back home, even though my siblings who had also gone to the library had long gone back home. i went up to the library staff, who had these computers running software that keeps track of pets brought to the library and their current status. a staff member told me phoebe was killed in a fire (but she couldnt pronounce the cat’s name), and i waited and waited and waited to at least know if eddie was ok, but didnt get a response before i woke up and realized it was just a dream. in the dream, i felt like a terrible person for bringing the cats to the library when they couldve been safe at home. is so much fun oh my god

A website that extrapolates from text you’ll input in surprisingly logical yet humorous ways, that at times you can just barely tell is from artificial intelligence.

One such extrapolation from my Homestuck post titles I find especially amusing. See for yourself:

That escalated quickly…

Try this website yourself, maybe with snippets from Homestuck or whatever thing you like. It’s way way way way way way way too much fun.

Cookie Fonster’s Vacation Stuff Part 3: Everything Else + Other Updates

(part 2)

So I’m finally back home from vacation now. And I’m kind of sorry that I didn’t make more blog posts after the one about feeding birds. I did consider a few things to write posts about but I just didn’t bother with all that. It’s not that I didn’t do cool stuff, it’s just that I didn’t do things that I felt would make interesting blog post topics. If you want to know, here’s some stuff I did. I went to a super-relaxing warm hot spring pool, hiked around mountains that I got to with a cable car, ate a lot of food, and some other stuff.

The flight home was kind of interesting for a few reasons. The longest of the three flights started 3:30 PM and ended around 5:30 PM because it went six hours back due to time zones. Skipping ahead six hours in the middle of the night is one thing, but skipping back six hours in the afternoon is kind of weird. On the way there, I felt pretty sick after not sleeping for about 20 hours. But this time around it’s kind of different. After a long day of flying in airplanes, I decided that when I get home I would hop right into bed and get a nice well-earned sleep. But somehow I am wide awake a little after midnight writing a blog post in my twenty-fifth straight hour of being awake. I have no idea how such a thing is even possible.

During the vacation, I also thought about my blog posts. I’ve decided to continue my Homestuck posts as I did previously, with a new post every few days. I’m even more hyped than I already was about reaching Act 6 due to some random thoughts I had. But I also had the idea to write a commentary post series on Problem Sleuth, Homestuck’s predecessor. I don’t know when that commentary will start, but I imagine that starting within the next week I might work on Problem Sleuth posts alongside Homestuck posts, with Homestuck posts released more regularly. Before I start my Problem Sleuth posts I’ll write an introduction post similar to my Homestuck commentary introduction post.

I’ll get back to my regular blog posts tomorrow (technically later today), after I get a good night’s sleep.

EDIT: One more thing I forgot to mention. I plan on making a full real-life edited version of Detective Pony, something I’ll be able to feasibly do after I get a summer job and can buy supplies with my own money, stuff my parents would never buy for me.

Cookie Fonster’s Vacation Stuff Part 2: Birds Are Very Stupid

(part 1)

I am in Italy now. I went there yesterday for the first time in my life and I will be there until around the 19th. Since writing my last post four days ago, I spent some time thinking about the next thing I want to write about, when earlier today I did something and thought, this would be a good thing to write about.

My family walked around somewhere for a bit, and at one point we sat on a bench and ate sandwiches we brought. There were some birds there, and we all started tearing off bits of bread and feed them to birds, something I had done before in an earlier vacation. When the first crumb was thrown, a whole bunch more birds came out of nowhere to fight for the food; eventually there was quite a flock of them.

It worked pretty much like this. One of us would throw a bit of bread at the group of birds, and whichever one catches it first eats the whole thing. But when I tried it out with a bigger piece, about half an inch in size, something funny happened. One of the birds grabbed the piece and selfishly flew away with it, as if it’s prized delicious food not to share with anyone else. I did that several times, and each time that same thing happened.

I seriously expected birds to be a bit smarter than this, maybe for each to gather around the piece of bread and start nibbling on it because the pieces of bread were really quite big for the birds, the same way multiple cats eat from the same bowl of cat food. The pieces looked too big for a single bird to store in its beak, but the birds would always fly away with the big piece stored that way regardless.

I think the moral of the story is as follows: never underestimate how dumb animals can be.

Part 3

Cookie Fonster‘s Vacation Stuff Part 1: Airplanes Destroyed My Sleeping Schedule

Now I know I said earlier that I would not make blog posts during vacation. Well, it turns out that I actually will make posts; just not any Homestuck posts. It is only the second day of vacation and I already have a pretty interesting story to tell, so I figured it would make a good post topic. I got access to a laptop to write vacation posts, so I guess that’s what I will do whenever I have something interesting to tell.

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Something I Feel Cluey About

A recent blog post from Wait But Why, a popular blog about pretty much any subject, talked about a weird kind of sadness Tim Urban, the writer of the blog, calls “clueyness”. It’s basically the feeling of guilt you get after declining a friendly offer or request even though the person who gave the offer probably forgot about it entirely. The word was coined from a story his father told him. Tim’s grandfather bought a game of Clue for his children to play. They came over to him and listened to the directions for the game, but when some friends came, the kids immediately left and he put the game away. One can only imagine how his grandfather must have felt back then, waiting for the kids to come back and play with him and then giving up.

Today I came across something that was in my clothing drawer for some reason:

and it’s something I feel pretty cluey about.

I got it for Christmas about five years ago. I dreamt of having music writing software back then, and asked for it for Christmas. I got the disc shown above from my aunt but I never ended up using it for some reason. I think I couldn’t figure out how to install it or something? I did get into music writing software about two years later but I still feel guilty about never using what I got back then.

There’s a lot of other Christmas presents I feel just as cluey about never using, but this one kind of sticks out.

A number makes all the difference when naming a post

Here’s a random interesting thought that crossed my mind.

Right now I’m considering doing a blog post about episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants that scared me as a kid (I’m not kidding, some episodes were seriously terrifying). Consider the post title:

SpongeBob Episodes That Scared the Shit Out of Me

Now add a number to the title of the post:

12 SpongeBob Episodes That Scared the Shit Out of Me

Just by adding a number to the start of a post, the title suddenly seems like a cheap clickbait Buzzfeed “article”. I put “article” in quotation marks because most of those gif-flooded list pages on Buzzfeed barely count as articles.

It’s a bit of a shame how you can’t give articles like this catchy names without seeming like clickbait nonsense. But I wasn’t really planning on giving the article a name with a number in the title anyway.