How to Learn Foreign Languages for Free

Some people mistakenly imagine that learning a second language is expensive, that only wealthy people can afford to pay for the language teachers, textbooks, courses, travel expenses, etc. This is simply not true. You don’t need to be able to travel to a country where your target language is spoken everywhere. You don’t need to pay for any expensive classes or even textbooks. It is possible to learn a second language without spending a single cent on this endeavor. Some people also assume that it is impossible to learn another language unless you have a lot of free time. Again, this is not completely true—learning a second language does indeed require plenty of time, effort, and commitment, but it is doable also for a person with a very busy schedule. [Read more…]

How to Efficiently Learn and Memorize Foreign Languages

How to learn a foreign language is a question that has interested me for a long time. After all, I wanted to learn many languages. More importantly, I wanted to do it efficiently. By now I speak six languages. In this post I will share my favorite language learning techniques and explain what worked (and didn’t work) for me.

Since this blog post is going to be about what worked for me, I must remind that if your memory works differently than mine, then you should do whatever works for you. There is no right way how to learn foreign languages, no magical one-size-fits-all approach that will make you able to speak many languages. People learn differently, thus what works for one person may not work for somebody else. [Read more…]

Neurotypical People Are Weird (Part 1)

(Note: The following text is a satire.)

Neurotypical people are weird. They do all kinds of silly things. They are emotion-obsessed, easily distracted by novel stimuli, and insist upon participating in silly social rituals that they consider mandatory. Their odd lifestyle choices and preferences in how they like to communicate would be their own problem and none of my business, but, alas, I routinely have no other choice but to communicate with a neurotypical person.

If neurotypicals only engaged in silly activities and left me alone to live as I prefer, then I wouldn’t care. After all, other people are free to live as they want. But instead they actually demand me to imitate their nonsensical behavior. Unfortunately for normal people like me, communication with neurotypicals is made harder by the fact that they mistakenly perceive themselves as “normal” and their own typical communication preferences as normative. In order words: They expect me to accommodate their preferences, and they tend to become offended whenever I don’t feel like wasting my time on elaborate linguistic constructions that are nothing but empty lies. Whenever I am reluctant to follow their silly norms, they will complain that I am being rude towards them. [Read more…]

Gendered Advertisements: Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer Awareness Posters

Marketing people have a problem with limited creativity. The moment their target audience are primarily women, they will go for the most pink and over-the-top feminine advertisement design imaginable. Once the audience are men, they will go for macho imagery. Such strongly gendered advertisements with extremely feminine or masculine images are off-putting for some people. Not every person who is anatomically female adores pink. Not every person who is anatomically male likes macho imagery. [Read more…]

How Pale Silverpoint and Metalpoint Drawings Really Are?

A silverpoint drawing by Leonardo da Vinci.

A silverpoint drawing by Leonardo da Vinci.

Looking at online images of silverpoint or metalpoint drawings, you will probably notice that many of them look very light and pale. Is this the norm? Why are they so light? And most importantly—how comes that only some metalpoint drawings look so pale while others appear much darker? Different computer monitors display images differently, thus you cannot be certain whether some artwork appears on your monitor the way it was intended to look like by the artist who scanned/photographed their work. Moreover, with image editing software like Photoshop, it is possible to alter how light or dark some digital image looks like. So how do these drawing actually look like in real life? [Read more…]

Metalpoint Drawing: Horse Head

Here is my latest artwork. This is something I have been working on lately. This is a metalpoint drawing featuring a horse head. Image size is 30 x 22 cm. This image is drawn with 24 karat gold, palladium, and aluminum on a specially prepared surface.

A metalpoint drawing is made by dragging a piece of metal (usually a wire) across a surface prepared with an abrasive ground. As the metal is drawn along the surface, tiny particles of metal are left behind, creating a mark.

Original drawing is available for sale. The price is €600. Contact me if you are interested in purchasing it. Shipping is possible to anywhere in the world.

Metalpoint drawing of a horse head.

A metalpoint drawing featuring a horse head.

[Read more…]

Decluttering Your Home

I periodically browse websites about interior design, because I consider beautiful interior an art form, and I am interested in all kinds of art. One of the buzzwords I routinely notice in American websites that discuss interior is “decluttering”—the art of getting rid of superfluous and unnecessary stuff. Decluttering seems to be trendy among Americans right now; Googling for “how to declutter your home” gives you a lot of results for various online guides. There are websites devoted to teaching people how to throw away and organize their stuff. Numerous people have made careers by consulting clients who feel like they need help with decluttering. The basic premise is reasonable—if your home is full with stuff you don’t even use, it creates a mess and makes it harder to find the stuff you do need. However, whenever I spot yet another online article offering tips on how to declutter your living space, I cannot help but wonder how humanity even got to the point where such advice on decluttering is necessary at all. [Read more…]

Why Consumers Should Treat Clothing as Unisex More Often

Clothes are strictly gendered. In stores, some are marketed as only for men while others are marketed as exclusively for women. Clothes that are marketed as “unisex” are a rare sight in shops. Thus many consumers tend to imagine that men’s clothes always differ from women’s clothes. On top of that, there’s also a social stigma against wearing clothes that were designed for the other sex. This is why, when they go shopping, majority of consumers only browse the isles that are marked as intended for their gender, and they don’t even glance at the stuff that can be found at the other side of the store.

The reality is different. A lot of clothes are essentially unisex, because there simply is no real difference between men’s and women’s version, the only thing that varies being tags, placement in a store, and marketing. Sometimes male and female products also do not cost the same, which is how we get gender-based price discrimination aka the pink tax. That’s one more reason why shoppers would benefit from comparing things that can be found in men’s and women’s isle. [Read more…]

Overpriced Snake Oil

While grocery shopping, I always compare prices between similar products and read the labels. Especially the fine print. The smaller the letters, the more carefully I read some text. I expect sellers to lie and try to mislead me. Once you start to examine the ingredient list of every food you contemplate purchasing, you will notice a certain interesting trend, namely, people who make food want to rip you off. And I don’t like getting ripped off.

I assume most people must have noticed that there exist real products and various substitutes. For example, real ice cream is made from milk, various “frozen desserts” are made from vegetable oil. Alternatively, there exists real butter and various butter substitutes. Or you can get real chocolate or fake one that’s made from weird ingredients. Recently, I wrote about how these fake products are sometimes incorrectly labelled in an attempt to mislead the consumer. Today I will instead explain how such fake products can be more expensive that you might imagine. [Read more…]