Thursday, August 12, 2004

Dear Charlie:

So, I had another mahjong marathon last night, right? Not until 2:00 in the morning, but close enough to make me one tired girl this morning.

At any rate, I figured out my fatal flaw and worked to overcome it. You see, I assumed there was a trick that applied to the game in general. Oh, contraire. There's no universal trick. You have to take each board as it comes. Each board has its own trick, if you play it long enough to develop the correct strategy.

Just like battle. Each foe is different, with his own strengths and weaknesses and fighting style. You gotta think on your feet.

*is chuffed with pride* Once I figured THAT out, in less than 3 hours, I figured out the strategy for 5 of the 6 boards on my current game. That's right. In two marathons, I went from only clearing the board on the first shuffle twice in an entire night to clearing 5 out of 6 boards on the first shuffle with at least 75% accuracy.

In other words...reliably. *grin*

Now, that last board.... Well, let's just say that by the time I got to it, I was missing matches that were obvious, so I wrapped it up and went to bed, knowing a tired mind won't see what's in front of it. However, it IS the toughest board I didn't have to buy. Dammit. It still chafes.

But, I think I can safely move to something else once I figure out that board. I won't quit playing such an enjoyable game, of course, but it won't be a vendetta against the luck of the draw, either. Now, I'll just enjoy it, rather than expending all my energy on figuring it out.

Now that THAT'S out of my system....

I'm going back to my desire to learn a little about kanji. Thanks to my weird but steady affection for DragonBall Z, I taught myself katakana. I wanted to be able to write character names in Japanese when I drew them, so I found a handy website and used a few flash cards and, viola, katakana. Hiragana? Well, I can recognize it, but I didn't put in the time on it like I did katakana. *shrug* It's beautiful with all those swirls and swoops -- katakana is much more angular -- but I'm not sure I'll ever devote the attention to detail it needs.

At any rate, the more I learned, the more I recognized that I needed to know some kanji if I'd ever want to be able to read so much as a street sign in Japan.

Now, there's no way I could learn that much kanji without a class and some direction, but I figured it couldn't hurt to be able to recognize some common kanji, right? *sheepish* Plus, I had four distinct kanji in mind to paint on my walls, and I wanted to make sure I got both the correct ideograms and the correct stroke directions.

That's very important, you know. Making your stroke in the wrong direction can change the meaning of the whole deal -- learned that from katakana. Sheesh. Very tricky. And the strokes need to be made in the right order. You can't just trace the design from someone else's work unless you know that THEY know what they're doing. Direction and order matter.

So, that's my next project, and I found two sites that will be QUITE helpful in that pursuit, I hope. I doubt I'll keep you informed of my progress there, as that could well be a life-long pursuit. *grin*


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