moving about. learning Chinese, practicing Tai Ji Quan, doing Qi Gong, or simply going out running. resisting the monkey impulses.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bound up with the technology

I was bravely adding high Frequency characters to my Treo, using PlecoDict. Will I ever learn these things?

It's good to find helfpul tools and resources, and better to combine them. I experimented for a while with an online flashcard sharing tool (I bet their number has grown now, so I won't even bother linking). It tied me the the machine, and doesn't give me that waiting-for-the-train learning opportunity that the handheld does.

I really like PlecoDict though, with its embedded Oxford dictionary (I now use the paper version as a paperweight), and it's one of the reasons I'm sticking with the greasy old Palm, rather than lusting after the lovely iPhone. I'm definitely iCurious though, and would gladly flash my gadget cash that way if Pleco was there.

Dictionary of the 500 Most Frequently Used Words Yong Ho, Hippocrene Books, 2001
PlecoDict Chinese dictionary and study aid for handheld computers and smartphones

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Really don't know what's going on

It could be a sign of increasing awareness, or it could be a sign of stagnation or regression, but I get the feeling often that the meaning of a conversation, in Chinese that is, can slip by me completely. Despite the grammar and vocabulary being in theory known to me. The same could be said for many things other than Mandarin, truth be known. Could be me just rattling around the conscious/competent matrix.

So, in our class, I could be struggling to pick an "easy" word like 那 (nà, there) out of my head. I know I know it but what is it? Or in skype chat with a language partner (I've got a couple of those now), to fail to read a critical 就。 Or watching a movie in Mandarin for an hour and have no idea what's going on. It was Shuzhou River – a bit David Lynch-ey, so maybe no suprise.

I reckon words are leaving my vocabulary as quick as they enter.

Also, I thought I was confused with the new "v3" Chinesepod. They've suppressed the lesson numbering system for example. But I think I've worked it out now. They have provided personalised feeds, which can put the lesson transcript straight into my itunes. And I finally grokked the whole calendar business. Wheee!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Chatty chat chat

Yesterday, spent most of my lunch break (wu xui) chatting with a Chinese person on Skype. I had posted a notice for language partners on the Chinesepod forum, and consequently this person got in touch.

Although my level of understanding is really terrible, I think, we were still able to keep a (typed) conversation going to and fro. I needed some help here and there. Sometimes I would recall the word or phrase, having been reminded. Mostly in pinyin (which can be confusing without the tonemarks) with occasional hanzi. When I know the characters, hanzi is more efficient, but if I don't then I am likely to be stumped.

I picked some (probably obvious) chat abbreviations. e.g. "hao d" instead of "hao de" and l for le. These words occur _a lot_ in Mandarin. Doubtless there are many more for hardcore chat heads.

Next time, we will try audio.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Naah, there's no such thing as chee ... is there?

An account of a skeptic/hostile's encounter with reiki, when he was the young Luke Skywalker. As the slightly older version, he reflects:
about five minutes later, I felt really tired. Two minutes after that, I sort of slumped in my chair and the taiji teacher asked me what I was feeling. I said that I could still feel the pain but it’s like it was a thousand miles away. The throbbing was like hearing a drum in the distance. I also felt totally relaxed and calm, like after a total body massage.

He stopped and said that was the power of reiki, and I remember feeling a bit sheepish. Not only did the treatment work to alleviate the pain, but it worked DESPITE me thinking that it wouldn’t. That really surprised me. There was no hypnotic suggestion or chalking that experience up to the power of belief, etc.

I didn’t know what to do with that experience for many years, and, to some extent, I still don’t even today.
In the blogging tradition, I've stolen the punchline, right? If this sort of thing interests you (the boundary between what you know, and what works, and the fractal nature of that boundary) read the full post from Formosa Neijia.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Slight changes to blogrolls

Repulsive Monkey:
Ni Hao: Running in Suffolk, Virtual Mandarin, Chinese with Ease, Manchurian Candidate
Zai Jian: Peter Bojanic

+ : nothing
– : all running blogs


Saturday, December 10, 2005

Fresh wiki

I just noticed that ChinesePod have put up a wiki. Let's go!

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Chinese Pod

This is brilliant!

Daily Chinese lessons (99% Mandarin) on my ipod --

I try to keep it handy, play one or two now and again even when working on other text in English.

It's slightly below me content-wise (it might catch up with my level of intermediate incompetance in a few months) but it's really really helpful for tones, idiomatic expressions and life/culture insights.

xie xie ni men, Ken he Jenny!

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Bingo! Thanks Bryn and Sergey!

Here is a marvelous list of sword-related resources, amongst a rich tai chi site: form lists, books, videos. All nicely referenced. There's a list of the Yang style sword movements! It will be interesting to compare to the list we've been given (which I may find time to type up, or not).

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

uh! templates.

That Blogger search thingy went skewwiff. Maybe it conflicts with the adsense stuff. Any blogger template wizards got a clue what went wrong? Time for a fresh template perhaps, but it will take time to back up all my customisations. Not tonight.


Saturday, July 30, 2005

Easy video

I knew my monkey-mind would come in useful!

I've borrowed a little DV camera from a friend and I've played with it a tiny bit. My sexy Manfrotto tripod came in useful. Using iMovie, it's as easy as picking fruit to set up a timeline of clips. I needed to scrabble around in the help to work out how to trim video and audio clips, but from then on it was easy. Transistions are a right pain though - they seem to adjust the length of the clips in unpredictable ways.

It's going to take me an hour or so to run through my forms from various angles, then another hour to put it together on a DVD (hello iDVD!). Don't wait to buy it from me though, I recommend Wang Hai Jun's Chen Style Tai Chi 18 Movement Form.

Just doing the camera test (web-quality Quicktime 8MB, about 4 min) with Start ... Pounding the mortar ... lazy tie coat, I've noticed loads of inadequacies already - so I'm confident that this techno-learning is going to be juicy fruitful!

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Monday, November 15, 2004

unicode oddness

I've no idea what this means (it's a part of the Great Wall, obviously - and Blogger will undoubtedly have scermabld the characters) but it's a recent China photo from Flickr.


Friday, July 30, 2004

Computing in harmony

My eyes are dry, my wrists are sore, my legs are stiff from sitting. Clearly, I need to sort out my relationships with the machinery I use. Perhaps I should start at the centre, by getting one of these motherboards.