This post is unrelated to the umbrella topic of this blog....but this is just so good, I had to share it.
Actually, it is a little related, as you will see at the bottom.
Learning is great, and it sure is a good thing I think so, since I have a significant amount of graduate education left to complete. I have a increasingly large pool of interests and I am going to tell you how I keep up with some of these things. You're going to read this and think I have a lot of spare time, which I assure you is not the case. The truth is, I have developed some excellent multitasking skills (I'm listening to an Audiobook RIGHT NOW. Granted, it is something I've read before, which is why I am able to split my concentration)
Reading. I love, love, love reading. School provides me excellent opportunities to read journal articles and textbooks, which, though they are important and necessary are not always great fun. I'm also a fan of the less (much less) scientific genres. Right now I'm reading several things- The Kitchen God's Wife, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Look Unto Me (the devotions of Charles Spurgeon), and re-reading a book about the First Ladies by Margaret Truman, among other things. I like to keep up with my reading through www.goodreads.com, which I highly recommend. I don't get to update my goodreads page much, but it really does help me remember what I want to read next.
Podcasts. Podcasts may be one of the most wonderful things I've discovered in the year 2010. Prior to 2010, I was under the vague impression podcasts had something to with whales. Nope. It's like talk radio...well sort of...for your ipod. You can get all kinds of great things (for FREE) like sermons, lectures, hilarious people saying hilarious things, whatever you want. For a while this summer I tried learning French by podcast. That was difficult, and didn't really pan out. But I may try again. Oh, and did I mention there are FREE AUDIOBOOKS you can get chapter by chapter in podcast form? Yes. you can. most classics, at least. Check out librivox.org or search librivox in the itunes store, I find them most reliable.
Online Music Lessons:
I used to be able to play the guitar....and when I say play, I mean "knew 7 to 10 beginner songs". I took lessons for THREE YEARS and that was the extent of my skills. We all have our weak points. I hadn't touched my guitar in about 8 years until this summer, when I decided to relearn. (and hopefully, surpass my former glory) I found free online lessons and so far I'm on lesson three, and I can play the chords for Johnny Cash's "ring of fire" very, very, slowly with a great deal of concentration. I call that success! I'll keep you updated on how this goes.
iTunesU. I haven't used this yet. You would think that I would feel as though I have enough classes already, and I do, but I just can't stop myself. I just downloaded an entire class' worth of lectures on CS Lewis from some seminary somewhere. I don't know when I will get to listen to this, or if it will be good, but I am more than excited. Perhaps I will listen to this in the car? (and now EVERYONE wants to carpool with me, right?)
Pandora- This has very little to do with learning, and is fast turning this post into a list of websites I like. This site is great for listening to music....it helps me know what I may actually want to purchase on itunes. www.pandora.com
Other people's blogs- This is a great way to learn....and be entertained. Here are a few I like:
Favorite craft blog: http://www.rufflesandstuff.com/ (and NOW this post is related to crafts)
Favorite food/nutrition blog (right now, at least, I keep finding so many good ones): http://nutritiontokitchen.com/ (and NOW this post is related to cooking)
I could mention a few more but I've got to get back to work in a minute (this post is brought you by the letter B, as in "I am taking a BREAK from studying") Friends, if you have a blog, I will find it. and I will read it. Especially if you tell me the url.
Other people in real life and not on the internet- Listening to other people talk is one of the most interesting things in the whole world. Provided, of course, they are saying interesting things. I will tell you about several such people. (if you are omitted, pray, do not be offended, I know so many conversational geniuses I simply cannot include them all here). My friend Jessica is like my History and English tutor. She keeps me sharp on all that good stuff, and tells me awesome stories about people from days of yore, and reminds me to read things like poetry. I, in return, use my inexplicable knowledge of trivial literature/history facts to quiz her. (Hey Jessica, What was Louisa May Alcott's father's name? No googling) My dad is another such fountain of knowledge, albeit knowledge of a different sort. Thanks to him, I have a vague understanding of words/concepts like "capital", "start-up costs", "mergers", "valuing", a good though somewhat undesired knowledge of how to kill rodents and check the air in my car tires, and much, much more. From my friend Sammy, I have learned how to appreciate the complexity of hip-hop dancing. From listening to my dear friend Whitney, I have absorbed enough information about art to at least not completely sound foolish at a museum. Example: Before: "oh yes, the frame is lovely" After: "Yes, Monet is a lovely example of impressionism".
I could go on. (Not about Monet, but about learning from other people)
Movies and Television: I know that you can't stop hearing about how we're all getting too much screen time and TV is contributing to the obesity epidemic, and yes, I think that is true. However, in the right dose, TV and movies can be an excellent channel for LEARNING!!! yay! I like tv as much as the next person (the 30 rock premier was NOT as funny as it should have been, I watched it on hulu this weekend) but I've come across some really interesting things in the past few months- I saw Food Inc. a few months ago, and it was pretty interesting, a little shocking even. Now, I'm not ready to start raising my own chickens....but I like to challenge my own perceptions every once in a while. Also, recently I watched a based-on-real-life movie called "A Man Called Peter", which is about Peter Marshall. I knew about Peter Marshall because I'm sort of a huge fan of the inspirational novel "Christy" which is by his wife, Catherine Marshall. He was from Scotland and had a lot of really interesting things to say/do, which the movie portrays fairly well.
Okay, okay. That's enough of that for now. Back to work!!!
PS I wrote this REALLY quickly, please forgive any grammar/spelling/bizarre sentence construction errors.