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June 29, 2005

So you really want to learn Japanese?

I've been working at learning Japanese for almost a year now. It's been quite an adventure. I browse around some Japanese learners' message boards for fun; every few weeks a newbie posts a message asking for advice on learning Japanese, and every few weeks I write the same tips.

Rather than repeatedly rewrite them (or cut/paste them), I've written them up into an essay titled So you really want to learn Japanese? I make no claims about its completeness, and what works for me may not work for you. Maybe someday I'll look back at it and laugh.

Permalink | Posted by Joe at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2005

Final warning

When they start laying off people who provide essential services, it's time to kick the search into high gear. The final warning came yesterday. Yikes.

Still, it's refreshing to update, take a look back on the past accomplishments (or lack thereof) and see what new opportunities might be out there.

Permalink | Posted by Joe at 03:48 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2005

The hunt begins...again.

It's been 4 years, but it's time once again. This evening I'll finish up the document and start prospecting. A 12% pay cut will do that to a guy.

Permalink | Posted by Joe at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)

Fun statistics

It's interesting to look at the referrer stats for the main page. I get a little traffic from the forums where I post, presumably other forum members trying to find out who in the heck that wacko named "Qbe" is.

Some of them are a little more questionable, like the guy who keeps visiting from the Google search for "crack Lispworks". Well, guess what? My site doesn't have a Lispworks crack, nor does it have an Allegro Common Lisp crack or a Corman Lisp crack. Hey bozo, if you want to use Lispworks, go buy it.

And then there are the inexplicable, like the visitor who arrived from a web search for "Arnold Murray". Yikes, that's an old one. Unfortunately his search page didn't give him the exact page he was trying to find.

Permalink | Posted by Joe at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2005

Good Day for Good Neighbors Fans

Good Neighbors is finally starting to come out on DVD. I just got back from Best Buy with a copy: 4 DVDs, 21 episodes plus the 1977 Christmas special plus lots of extras. My wife and I have been waiting a long time for this. "Good Neighbors" was one of our favorite shows when we were in high school.

Permalink | Posted by Joe at 03:52 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2005

Finished: Pimsleur Japanese

Whew! It's been a long road, but today I "finished" lesson 90 of Pimsleur Japanese.

In July 2004 I decided (for various reasons) to start learning Japanese. I'd never had any interest in learning an Asian language, and hadn't learned a new language in years. In order to get a feel for pronunciation I got the 10-lesson Pimsleur Japanese course from the library. I'd never used a Pimsleur course before, but figured that it was as good as any other for coming to terms with pronunciation.

After 4 lessons I was itching for a chance to go out and speak the few phrases I'd learned to a native speaker. After 6 I had a dream about speaking Japanese to a receptionist at a local business. After the 10 lessons, I went back and did them all again to be sure that I really knew the material. Then I started borrowing the 30-lesson courses from the library, using them in conjunction with textbooks and (since March) private lessons.

Now that I've done the 90 lessons, I'm half-tempted to go back and do them again, this time generating a vocabulary list. I know that I've forgotten a fair number of the words and expressions in the course, due to the Pimsleur emphasis on not writing them down (that's why I put "finished" in quote marks--is it really finished when I've forgotten 30% of it?). However, I'm also half-tempted to get started on another course.

When I started I believed, as Mr. Speaker said in another thread, that "these silly things never really work". I've long since changed my mind. The Pimsleur method certainly isn't perfect, and the Japanese program has its own limitations, but overall it's been a very positive experience. The course has provided some good intellectual stimulation, it's been a good way to spend time which would have otherwise been wasted, and has provided quite a few "Farber moments" when I've seen the faces of native speakers light up (or at least not laugh) at the sound of their language. Nowadays I can't stand to listen to the radio when I'm driving the car; I have to have a language tape or CD (Pimsleur or otherwise) playing instead.

And thanks (at least in part) to this course, I've rediscovered the fun of learning languages. I plan to keep working at Japanese--I still have a lot to learn--but Pimsleur has helped me come a long way already.

Permalink | Posted by Joe at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

Hello world, part 2

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? Actually, almost a year. Wow. The old weblog software stopped working sometime last summer, and I never got around to fixing it. Instead I took up learning Japanese and starting a new business, both of which would have provided a lot of good material for /var but took up the time I would have used to fix the old log. A few months ago I switched web hosts and lost all hope of fixing it.

Instead, I'm going to try Movable Type for a while. If you want to see the old /var, you can find it here. I plan to write updates more often than last time. Finding time is difficult, though. Life is too hectic these days.

Permalink | Posted by Joe at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)