Learning by pod

July 12, 2006 at 1:58 pm | Posted in French Lessons, Japanese lessons, Language Study, Mandarin Lessons, Podcasts | 3 Comments

I recently got a search hit for Japanese Pod 101 and I thought it would be a good idea to go into more detail with my language learning experiences through the medium of pod-casting instead of the one sentence aside I had previously.

Besides JP101 I also use Chinese Pod. I think they may be jointly owned; although they have different sponsors the similarity in their site design is remarkable. Though that’s just mild speculation on my part and has nothing to do with their product.

The great benefit of both is the ability to download lessons on a variety of topics and abilities in a fun, up to date setting that is by far an improvement over my previous audio systems – language CDs. However, just like those CDs I’d often get distracted or start pondering something or other while commuting. The easiest time to listen. As a result I’ve tended to not absorb or learn as much as I could or should. 

One of the features on JP101 (not sure about CP) is a feature providing sub titles on ipod and some other mp3 players. My Imate doesn’t appear to have this function but for everyone else it’s great!

Both as a language learning tool and a money earner (they definitely deserve it) the hosts (who are fantastic) recommend visiting the site to download a plethora of other materials. It’s these additional materials and helpful community on their forums that put both pods above the rest. They have 7-day free trials that should help if you’re undecided as well as basic and premium packages.

The audio is an important part of the learning process and the added materials help to round everything out although it’s important to note, generally, and for me to acknowledge that without dedication all of these wonderful tools will not lead to growth.

This blog is part of developing that dedication. If you have the motivation take a look at the pod-casts.

I would have liked to tell you about a French pod-cast but sadly there is no French equivalent that I’ve found of equal value. If you have a suggestion please let me know.

… but is it art?

July 12, 2006 at 12:27 pm | Posted in Sydney, Travel | 1 Comment

This week’s field trip was to the Museum of Contemporary Art at Sydney’s Circular Quay with Rhiannon. It was good to see it with someone and compare notes and our notes for the MCA were not good. You can check Rhiannon’s thoughts here. We spent about 20 mins which is totally indicative of the experience. I suppose the first thing to note is they are quite anal about my water bottle. Requesting that it be in a bag not just unopened. So odd given most of their pieces were projected onto walls so in the unlikely event that it spilt wouldn’t really damage anything. Also only last week was I sipping water in front of unprotected million dollar paintings at the NSW Art Gallery. The MCA clearly has a complex. It is also sad that this is the what I’m taking away from the Museum.

I’ve had to re-write this review any number of times as I end up going into either a rant at the lack of accessibility or a self-justification for not being culturally literate enough to appreciate the value of the art. From what I could glean from the pieces and their highly informative (read: sarcasm) descriptions most of them were relating to pain, death and war. Frankly I’m sick of it. I realise that those themes have their place but like my thoughts of the World Press Photos I wish that joy and happiness could get a look in once and a while.  

I took a picture of the building but it didn’t come out very well which is apt for the MCA.

We had coffee near the Opera House and looked out over the Quay in the afternoon light, watching ferries, the tall ships, water taxis and the Spirit of Tasmaniaas they sailed around. Plenty of tourists to people watch as well. Much better than the MCA! 

Unless you’re an art or more importantly a contemporary art lover the MCA is a definite miss.

Catching up is hard to do.

July 12, 2006 at 12:06 pm | Posted in General, News, Random | Leave a comment

Since the last post things have been going well, although I have been procrastinating, which explains the delay. Even so I managed to visit more of Sydney and I’ll cover that in another post soon.

What are some of the other things that have been going on? 

First, The Daily Show is now in sync. Very good news!

Second, despite my train being delayed last night and having the choice of going back a station and getting a bus or walking over the Bridge and home I chose the latter. It was pretty cool, with the a full moon illuminating the harbour and the Opera house. However, any idea I had of walking to work has been put on hold. Not through distance or time but more from the pollution. Doing that every day would probably do more harm than good. The night ended quite well with drinks and food out with friends till the bar closed.

Next up, had a pretty good week at work, we had our end of financial year drinks and alcohol supplied by the company is a lot of fun. Definitely different to the public sector! Also I’ve realised that the views that I glimpse of the water every so often are one of my favourite things. Brief respite and relaxation from the hustle and bustle. 

Lastly, at my apartment complex this morning I was getting ready, when the water stopped. Just stopped. A bit of a problem when you still need it. At least it was complex wide, unfortunately they hadn’t told people that the water was going to be turned off unlike previous times. Very annoying. Oh well at least we saved a bit of the city’s water today.

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