This year's last chance to blog
Help! I’m stuck inside a Christmas decoration!
Ah, it’s the last day of 2013, and my last chance to write that promised blog entry about something not thesis related! It seems like time has been in fast-forward since November. Many things have been happening, but I just haven’t had the time to sit down and write for myself. I’m taking myself by the collar now though. Just two short reports in the meantime, before I get ready for the New year's celebrations.
Hammy birthday to me
In November and in time for my 30th birthday, I passed the exam for my amateur radio license. I didn’t even have the time to blog that I was in a ham radio course in the first place. In hindsight those three weekends went by so fast – together with the intensive thesis writing – that they were over before I knew it! The amateur radio course was anyway a nice break for my brain from all the thesis writing. As it’s been a while since I studied any math or physics or memorized so much information, it actually felt that I was activating another part of my brain.
The course takes you through the basics of what one ought to know as an amateur radio operator. There’s a little bit about electrical fundamentals, a little bit about radio components, and a little bit on wave propagation and radio modes. Another part of the course dealt with proper conduct over radio, the phonetic alphabet, radio- and country codes. The theoretical parts took a little longer for me to study, and it took a while for me to grasp how AM and FM actually work. Any comprehensive knowledge would probably require me to enroll in a Physics class. But the memorizing bit was easier. In the light of the recent news hype on Swedish gradeschool kids scoring way lower than their Chinese counterparts, I do think that my schooling in the Philippines has drilled me to memorize more than any other people in the room. On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that I can retain this memory for very long. Ask me what Brazil’s or Switzerland’s country codes are in a few months and I’ll try to jog my memory. But what isn’t used has a tendency to be forgotten.
This brings me to another point: a project for 2014 to set up a radio here at home and try to do DX-ing (long-distance radio communication). My impression from previous JOTAs is that that DX-ing could be an exciting hobby. What is good about radio is that you don’t even have to sit for long hours or always be on the air. “Modern” communication over Internet and mobile makes us take for granted that you can contact anyone, anywhere, anytime. The radio has its own old-fashioned and timeless charm in that contacts are often unpredictable. You have to use some fantasy to imagine what the other person’s radio shack might look like. The people on the other side could be a tent in a forest, an island or a lighthouse (at least in theory) anywhere where your signal is recieved.
I also recently got back from spending Christmas with Liz and family in Germany. It’s been a while since I was there. The last time was almost two years ago for Fasching (Mardi Gras). It’s nice to keep in touch, and to remind my nephews that I exist in real life and not only as a tiny picture in Skype! I think they used to believe that Lea and I were the same sister, heheh. I better put things right!
It was an activity- and food-filled week as it always seems to be around Christmastime. One day, we went swimming in a large swim center; the next day, I went skating with the kids. It was my first time in hockey skates and I was a bit worried at first if I could make it. Well, I faked it till I made it. Hockey skates not that different from tour skates, it seems, except that I can do smaller circles with them. Also, my older nephew who is 7 years can skate backwards with them and I can’t. Ah, well! I guess I can learn that in the future.
Alright, more blogging in 2014! I’m off to the future now. Many warm wishes and hugs!