Saturday, 31 October 2009

Books in the Gym


I get bored very easily when I exercise. I find exercise boring. I have some very good friends who seem to love lifting those weights at the gym, doing those martial arts or pounding the pavements and get the rush off the second wind as the blood pumps etc etc.
Not me. But I have to work out otherwise I would turn into a big ball of lard. Not surprising considering my love for cheese, beer and pizza. Hmmmmmm, perhaps my diet doesn't help. Anyway, I DO go to the gym, a lot. How do I stave off the boredom?
Audiobooks. Talking Books. Books on Tape. Three of the most common names for those story tapes/CDs what have you that you can get for all the best novels written. And not only novels. There's nonfiction too. And podcasts. You name it and you can get it.
All of which are a marvelous resource for listening practice! They are all out there. Some available as torrents, often legally, so be good and watch people's copyrights etc. But remember to choose something you are interested in rather than something worthy, as you're more likely to listen to it all, and enjoy it more too.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

a note about light pollution


I wanted to remind people that we have an amazing sky. I know, I know, a strange thing to say, but it's true. I was reminded of this in a recent late-night drive across Spain. I was at a rest-stop, miles from anywhere in central Spain, and could see not one light from a house or road on the horizon. There was not a cloud in the sky and what a view! I could see galaxies, shooting stars, satellites and the nebula of the milky way and was in awe.
I have seen this before of course but not for many years. The last time I think was in Australia, camping in the desert. When you are away from it all, from the cities, the crowds and the spill of sodium light just look. You will never be disappointed.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Bobby Mc Ferrin and the Observation Test

Discussing expectation and prediction in my class the other day I came across this video link of Bobby McFerrin and music. It's a lovely video and says something about the universality of music, although what that actually is I have no idea.

video


I also can't recommend highly enough this observation test. I couldn't embed it so you need to follow the link.

http://viscog.beckman.illinois.edu/flashmovie/15.php

Can you count how many times the guys in white t-shirts throw the ball to each other?

No?


Watch the video again and this time ask yourself if you fancy a banana?

Did you see it?

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Spanish Motorway!


I am currently in Spain, having crossed the Iberian peninsular by car and am enjoying the sun and the drive. The drive, long, long drive was fun and I'm overjoyed to tell you, though you probably don't care to know it, that there is a great new motorway between Salamanca and Avila! It saved me probably an hour, is straight as an arrow and empty. It makes me wonder though how Spain can afford to build and maintain its excellent road network when we seem to struggle to do so in the UK. We do ok in Portugal, but if you want a half decent road you have to pay the toll. There are tolls here in Spain too of course but I don't think they've thought them through. Almost all of the motorways I know in Spain that are tolled have a fine 'A' road next to them, often practically parallel. So the though is... pay and drive 15 % faster, or not.
I guess I'm just tight. Heading back soon. Vrrrrrroooooooooooooom!