“The reality is that you don’t have to do anything else but plug in. You plug in, listen, and your brain will take care of the learning process…your job: find input. Your brain’s job: figure it out.”
Do you have trouble finding engaging L2 content? Stuff to read and watch and listen to? Do you find yourself wanting to do the “right” thing and immerse, but at a loss for just what to immerse in/with in terms of material?
Well, too bad.
You need to toughen up and be awesome like me.
Because, you see, I never have that problem. Between me (awesome) and my team of experts (who?), I’m never at a loss for L2 content, especially not on these Internets. I know precisely where it is and how to find it: the good stuff, the fun stuff, the FUNBUN (for-native-by-native) stuff that you can start enjoying right off the bat. It’s great being me 😛 . I’d tell you even more about myself but I can tell that it’s getting awkward and annoying for you (I’m not just awesome, I’m also perceptive and considerate), so I’ll leave the rest of to your imagination, and go back to — yawn — talking about you.
OK, so we’ve established that the solution to all your L2 immersion issues is to toughen up.
So go do it.
But what if you don’t want to toughen up? What if you don’t feel like it? What if you just want someone to be tough for you, to do the work for you, to find the good stuff for you and just give it to you, just magically make it appear in your mailbox, to your smartphone, to your PC, whence you can just focus on enjoying it and yourself?
“It is a profoundly erroneous truism, repeated by all copy-books and by eminent people when they are making speeches, that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them. Operations of thought are like cavalry charges in a battle ? they are strictly limited in number, they require fresh horses, and must only be made at decisive moments.”
Alfred North Whitehead [Emphasis Added]
So, I’m a huge fan of not thinking. Or, of as thinking as little as possible. I’m a huge fan of not thinking and not working hard. I know you are, too. Yet I see all kinds of suffering around me and around the world. I see people thinking and working hard. I see you thinking and working hard. I see you vexating:
- “How can I get more of this language into my life?”
- “What should I watch next?”
- “What should I read next?”
- “What should I look at next?”
- “What would be interesting to look at?”
- “I don’t know where to go or what to do or where anything is! Where is all the good stuff?”
- “When does this get fun?”
Well, I want to answer those questions for you once and for all. Conclusively and permanently. I want to take those things off the table for you so you never have to worry about them again. Because you don’t have the time to be scurrying about collecting resources and finding cool stuff and making sure it gets into your ears and under your nose and eyes, and even if you did have the time, you wouldn’t know where to start, and even if you did know where to start, you would run out of steam and energy and stamina so quickly that you just wouldn’t (couldn’t) continue and it wouldn’t be worth it to you. Too much work. Too little time. Too little energy. Too little domain knowledge and expertise.
The Reality of Immersion
The reality of immersion is that you spend all this time looking for decent L2 materials, yet end up keeping very few because so much of what you find is sucks — it’s just boring or a dead end. Experience shows that there is no better consistent motivator for immersion than amazing L2 materials (duh!). Conversely, there’s also no better de-motivator than a lack of good L2 materials. But it takes takes a long time and a lot of experience to find good resources — two things you do not have. You’re stuck in a catch-22:
- You need to know the L2 to find good L2 stuff — a hyper-abundance of engaging and entertaining resources — but…
- You need to find good L2 stuff in order to get to know the L2
It’s the old “need work to get experience, need experience to get work” spiel. A classic bind.
And that’s where IMX: The Immerciless Immersion Inundator comes in.
What Is IMX: The Immerciless Immersion Inundator?
IMX: The Immerciless Immersion Inundator, is a new and unique service, designed to help you, an almost-but-not-quite-as-awesome-as-Khatzumoto person who is learning (getting used to) a language 1. Here’s how it works:
OK, so the basic, overarching premise here is that you are learning (getting used to) a language (we’ve established that already, but I’m repeating myself for the sake of completeness). Which is awesome, because as it happens…
- Our team of experts continuously picks and curates an ever-growing collection of tens of thousands of cool, fun, weird, awesome and interesting engaging online resources, everything from comics and funny videos and clever podcasts to quirky blogs. Not to mention places to shop and all manner and sundry of other things you never would have thought to think of. We have time on our hands, and years of cultural and linguistic experience L2 offline and online content and materials — all things that you do not have 😉 . You don’t know the language. You may not even know its writing system. You don’t know how to spell. You don’t know the culture and its memes. You don’t know the magic words. We know what to find, how to find it, how to keep finding it, what to look for, where to find it and how to get it for and to you.
- We have taken this material and checked, tagged, labeled, collated, explained and categorized it by hand.
- We focus on material that is for-native-by-native, but that is formed and structured in such a way (due to its content, presentation, visuals and audio) that even someone who is not yet used to the language — still weak, still a noob, still a beginner — can still gain and enjoy immensely from being exposed to.
- We also include brief explanations and background matter so that you know what’s going on with each online resource. You’re not just being thrown to the wolves. No, you’re being thrown to the puppies with a bone, a toy and a good idea how to handle them, play with them, enjoy them and learn their barking and ways…I promise that metaphor would make sense if you were on the medication I’m on 😉 .
- What’s increasingly missing from the Internet is the human touch. People talk about Google being evil and being this giant machine; they talk about their servers and systems and algorithms a lot. Whether or not they’re right is beside the point. The point is that it’s a well-known fact that Google got where it is today because of the quality of their search. But it is a little-known fact that a good deal of that quality came not from good algorithms and software, but from direct human intervention: part of the reason Google search results were so good was because they simply had actual people go in there and tweak them by hand.
- We took a similar approach with IMX: The Immerciless Immersion Inundator. In addition to engaging our vast, combined cultural knowledge, experience and expertise, we also went technical and custom-developed special proprietary tools to scour the Internets for us, harvesting for-native-by-native material that’s good for people getting used to languages…
- …But if all we did was harvest stuff, well, any machine can harvest. Any hoarder can hoard. And you’d be back at square one — starving in a grocery store, overwhelmed with choice but with no idea how to make use of it (let alone get to it). So IMX/Immerciless is not some nameless, faceless, formless, machine-generated, ad-pushing agglomeration of stuff; there are already plenty of places where you can get that. No, the magic of IMX/Immerciless is as much in the metric crapton of material we toss away (because it isn’t right for you) as much as it is in the accumulation of content. It is this manual, human-guided sorting and sifting, this discarding of what is not fun and not useful and not working — as well as the pinpointing of what is — that makes IMX/Immerciless special.
- A dozen or so times a day (to keep things interesting, the time is never quite fixed, so you never quite know when to expect a call from IMX/Immerciless), IMX/Immerciless dips into its living, active treasure trove of materials, and picks out something cool for you to look at, read, watch and/or listen to — an online resource — and then…
- Places it right in the palm of your hand, sent to you to your personal email, puttin’ it right in that inbox of yours that you compulsively check 😉 at which point…
- You do: no showing up. IMX/Immerciless shows up to you, for you
- You do: no more thinking about where to find stuff (thereby moving civilization forward 😉 )
- You do: no more worrying about how to find stuff
- You do: no more fruitless searching for cool stuff
- You do: no more losing motivation because you have no L2ese stuff to enjoy and don’t know or remember where to find any
- You: have your L2 exposure relentlessly, effortlessly, automatically, mercilessly jacked up to 11 and kept that way as long as you’re with IMX/Immerciless
- You just enjoy yourself; you enjoy having entire universes of L2 content delivered to you on a platter, all day every day and..
- Save all that time and effort that would have gotten sucked up looking and searching for and collecting content on your own, so you can…
- Focus on having fun in the language and thus naturally, effortlessly reach…
It’s that simple. Having something cool and L2ese sent to you, all day, every day. Relentlessly keeping you in the L2 loop. That’s the basic idea.
Because of how relentless IMX/Immerciless is, it’s recommended only for people whoare serious about playing the game — who really, really want to get used to a language and are willing to have it injected into their lives continuously and vigorously. Because anything else, for anyone else, would simply be too overwhelming.
The core functionality of IMX/Immerciless is actually included for free as part of the legendary Neutrino program. Neutrino junkies love it and many have said that this element of the Neutrino system alone is worth the entire price of admission — that it would practically be enough for them if that’s all that Neutrino were. Neutrino is, of course, much much more than that. However, not everyone can get into Neutrino due to entry, waiting list and price restrictions. Also, not everyone necessarily needs the full-spectrum, cradle-t0-fluency, addiction engine-powered, total, life-ruining ( 😀 ), life-changing, surrogate parental guidance of Neutrino. Some people might just need a big, strong, consistent helping hand finding and getting themselves to cool L2 stuff.
So again, that’s where IMX: The Immerciless Immersion Inundator comes in. There are three basic plans available for IMX/Immerciless: Daily, Annual and Lifetime. If you’re on the fence about all this, I’d definitely recommend just trying out the “Daily” plan, where you literally only pay one day at a time, so you can just dip your toe in briefly, and then take it right out again if need be (or keep it in there for as long as you want your immersion life jacked up to 11 😉 ).
- Daily: Good if you just wanna try it out, take things one day at a time
- Less than a coupla bucks and change a day
- That’s less than milk
- Less than a cup of coffee! 😀
- Annual:Half the price of daily
- Less than a dollar day
- Bonus: 1 Year of Free Access to AJATT Plus
- Lifetime Universal: The whole enchilada. For less than the price of three annual plans, get lifetime access to all current and future IMX/Immerciless languages.
- The cheapest of the bunch
- Plus: a bunch of awesome extra free bonuses (scroll down for more info)
Intention Is Nothing, Convenience Is Everything
If you want to make immersion happen but don’t know where or how, if you want your life gently, inexorably, effortlessly overrun by the language you are trying to get used to, I can think of few better ways than with IMX/Immerciless. IMX/Immerciless is better than an air ticket. IMX/Immerciless is better than moving to the country — you and I both know that simply moving to the country doesn’t make a difference. But we also both know that you check your email, especially your smartphone email, even when you pretend not to because you’re avoiding that chick you accidentally made out with that one time (although you kind of think it’s cool that you have the problem of avoiding attractive people none of this is autobiographical by the way).
Now, a part of you is going: “Well, what about just putting up a couple of posts now and then with ‘here are some cool links’ and let people come in and dip on on that? Or putting up stuff in a forum, or…”.
Lol. You’re so cute! I just wanna pinch your cheeks and kiss you! Whosabiggutebwayby! Whosabigcutecwuddlywuddly bwaby! If only human behavior worked like that, dawg.
“Just putting up a couple of posts now and then with ‘here are some cool links’ and let people come in and dip on on that? Or putting up stuff in a forum, or…”? Yeah. Did that. Do that. Done tried it. Don’t get me wrong, it helps. For example, every single post in the AJATT+ forum is required to contain an OL2L — an Obligatory L2 Link, a link to something in an L2, so we keep touching the language and not just talking about it (a common trap on language forums, in addition to the incessant flamewars and method conflicts).
But none of that is enough by itself. Wanna know why? Because if it were enough, it would be enough — you’da done been going to town already. But the fact of human behavior is that humans being look at and listen to and do and eat what is put right in front of them. It is the principle of propinquity. Human behavior is a function of the environment, especially what is closest at hand, such that even within the same environment, the closest thing at hand virtually always wins. That’s why you take a good number of notes and pictures with your iPhone, but you practically never look back at them again — despite the best of intentions. Why? Because it takes more clicks and swipes to look at your pictures than to take them.
The road to nothing is paved with intentions. Intentions are nothing. Intentions are not worth volume of air it would take to fart them. Convenience — in your face time — is everything. Human behavior is swayed not just in miles but in feet and inches and micrometers. That’s why teenagers who live near liquor stores drink more liquor. They’re not bad people; it’s just a bad environment. People who move their lawn furniture just ten feet closer to the door eat more outside. They don’t appreciate the summer more, they just have a more convenient environment. Convenience is the name of the human game. You will look at, touch, do, eat and mate with the things that are physically closest to you.
That, and OK, so, let’s say there are all these links and guides to online resources sitting pretty in blog and forum posts all over the place. What’re you gonna do, go through them all? And what? Bookmark them? HA! And then what? And categorize them like a good little girl? And then what? We all know how many times you go through your bookmarks again (NEVAAAR!). Gathering dust like photo albums in an attic. And as soon as you mildly change devices or configurations, you’re screwed again because the same bookmarks aren’t there.
Not to mention that (and this is the bitter irony), the more of these links you got, the less likely any one but the latest, topmost ones are likely to get seen, because, well, there’s just so many of them. Stuff gets lost in there. All those gems. Way out in the back there, hidden deep in the corners and cracks of old archives. Again, the Attic Effect. And all of this is assuming you even know where the gems are to begin with, which is unlikely, because your dependent on other people finding and introducing you to them, and because of the volume and inconvenience and the language/cultural-knowledge/savviness barrier, you don’t do much finding or discovering on your own.
But it gets worse than that, because, you see, links die; bookmarks die; URLs die; online resources disappear. They grow old and die; they change; they become invalid or incompatible; they get taken down. Not all at once, sometimes never, but there’s a gradual, inexorable change. Someone has to curate them. But who has time to go through years of archives of discussions and book lists and blog posts and forum posts and microblogs and images and tweets and link lists, checking for duds? Who’s doing that for you and when? Answer: no one and never.
Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind, Out Of Life: If It’s Not Getting In Your Face, It Does Not Exist
To repeat: ease and convenience is the name of the game. You will look at, touch, do, eat and mate with the things that are physically, effortlessestly (real word :D) closest to you, and the closer they are brought to you, the more they are in your face, the more you will do them. When it comes to your behavior, distance is the enemy; effort is the enemy; jumping through hoops is the enemy. Any barrier between you and your L2 is the enemy. IMX/Immerciless is about removing those barriers; IMX/Immerciless is about inundating you with immersion. Getting you to the good stuff, keeping you immersed, giving you the best of what’s old and what’s new and what’s unique, and making sure it always works.
The fact is, you’re busy. And if the stuff doesn’t come to you, you’re not going to go it it. You just have too much going on in your life.
In a sense, online resources are very much like the world food supply: it doesn’t matter that there’s enough of them and that they’re out there. If they’re not in your face, they might as well not exist. In fact, we can take the food metaphor even further: imagine if you were suddenly given all the food you would eat for a year, just given all of it, right here, right now. What would happen? Well, you would be annoyed is what would happen. Because you would suddenly have all this crap to store. Literally, tons of food to store. And if you didn’t store it right it would go bad and rot and then you’d have vermin issues. And it wouldn’t matter how good it was or wasn’t, having it all there, plonked down on you in one go, would be a massive burden and a cause of stress rather than happiness, relief or comfort.
Well, L2 materials are like that. You need to eat them regularly in order to grown big and strong in the language. But it’s no use trying to eat them all at once. And it’s no use you being given them all at once. You’ll just break the shelves. You’ll just hurt yourself. You’ll just attract vermin. You need to have them split up into meals, into little portions, into little dishes and into even littler bites. And yeah, over time, you’ll eat through a house, but only one bite at a time.
Speaking of Food, What Flavors Does IMX: The Immerciless Immersion Inundator Come In?
IMX/Immerciless comes in multiple flavors (i.e. languages); you choose your poison. All content in all languages is fun and edgy, but also PG-13/family-friendly/work-safe unless otherwise stated.
|[Not Safe for Work. Click to View.]|
|Italian||[To Be Announced]||[To Be Announced]|
|Dutch||[To Be Announced]||[To Be Announced]|
|Finnish||[To Be Announced]||[To Be Announced]|
|Arabic||[To Be Announced]||[To Be Announced]|
|Portuguese||[To Be Announced]||[To Be Announced]|
|Russian||[To Be Announced]||[To Be Announced]|
|Swahili||[To Be Announced]||[To Be Announced]|
As always, AJATT pricing rules apply: early birds always win. The price always goes up, not down. Now and early is the best offer you will ever get. And if you get in on an early price, you get to hold onto it despite all future increases as long as your membership remains current. Such is the way we do things here 😉 .
But Isn’t the Internet Free?
It is, and you don’t have to pay for anything ever. You don’t have to buy anything. It’s cool.
“If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product”, so goes one of the more famous Internet aphorisms; I don’t know who said it originally and…I’m not gonna bother find out; maybe Straight Dope knows 😀 . So…
- You know that thing called spam? And that other thing called malware? There’ll be none of that.
- You know that “RTFM (Read the F###ing Manual)” attitude you get from tech people, especially Linux tech people 2? That won’t be making an appearance.
- You know those ridonkulous, interrupting ads that are bigger and longer than the effing content you’re not even sure you wanted to see or read? There’ll be none of those.
- You how know your entire personal life and all your sick I mean quirky interests are documented in excruciating, indelible, digital detail on Facebook and Gmail and Google search? Nope. None here.
And why? Because all of those are properties of free web services. The Internet is “free”, but there’s a hefty far king fee in privacy and security. The price of free web services is all of your privacy and most of your security — because someone pays the piper; someone pays for those powerful servers that have literally replaced snail mail, radio and now even television over these past several years — think of how much it takes to simply store all that information, let alone deliver it to you in real time (I mean, is it me, or do all YouTube videos load really well these days? No waiting, no hanging, and all despite the lifting of the 10-minute limit); someone pays for the programmers who go unwashed and unloved (lol) while they create and maintain all these marvelous tools. And on the security front, spam accounts and bad information, with all the accompanying processing burdens they create and the damage they cause legitimate users, are endemic to free web services.
And the best way to keep casual people out and serious people in; the best way to keep spam out; the best way to not have intrusive ads, the best way to not have your personal information and your email address mined and auctioned to third parties as if your life were a piece of meat, is for there to be a charge. Here’s an example close to home: this main AJATT website, the PORAB (Plain Ol’ Regular AJATT Blog) alone, has seen a modest 15,000 legitimate comments in its existence so far, but nearly 500,000 spam comments. That’s about 30 spam comments for every legitimate one. Dunno about you, but I’ma not too interested in repeating that kind of statistic in other contexts.
What about open source software? You’re paying with time and effort. The time and effort you spend figuring out how to use it. The effort you make if you’re a contributor — adding features, fixing bugs, helping noobs. Either you value your time or you don’t. Either way, you pay.
“What about WikiPedia?”. WikiPedia has ads, too, mate. You know that thing once or twice a year where there’s that big blue or yellow text bar at the top of the screen and a picture of Jimbo Wales with his awesome, rugged, manly beard and a message about how WikiPedia needs you? That’s an ad. We (well, some of us), pay for WikiPedia. I gave like 50 Japanese cents because I’m generous and not afraid to show it 😀 . You, too, should try paying it forward sometime; be cool, like me 😛 . 3
We’re…I’m…not trying to be big or popular or well-loved or big here; I’m not about those vanity metrics of how many people use a service. None of those things matter to me like snuggles and blankets. The point is to make something good, something cool, something incredibly useful, offer it to someone like you, who can actually appreciate and benefit from it, no fuss, no mess. The point is to do all that, and to focus on keeping it working smoothly and making it even cooler — not running interference on spambots and trolls wreaking havoc; that’s a massive waste of time and energy. Even if they were successfully (likely) and decisively (unlikely — they’re a moving target, constantly evolving) dealt with, the energy and intelligence spent doing so would be energy and intelligence wasted on defense (damage prevention), and that would no longer available to be used on offense (active improvement, sexy new powers and capabilities, boldly going where no one has gone before).
Have you ever been in one of those groups or clubs that just seems like a bunch of angry people with an infinity of negative rules, rules about what not to do? Yeah. None of that. I would rather not offer IMX/Immerciless at all, than risk exposing you and myself to the security issues, the hassle, the overwhelming volume and the annoyance that a “free” service entails. Not to mention the ads that are needed to make it worth it. Screw that. You need more real stuff in your life and your mailbox, more ham, less spam. Useful and interesting things, discovered, tagged, categorized, collected, collated and curated by human beings. That’s what you need.
Safety isn’t just icing on the cake. Safety isn’t just a “nice to have”. Only safety makes community possible. In addition to the existing database of online language resources compiled by me and the AJATT expert team, IMX/Immerciless will also soon be allowing for member-submitted resources. The idea is that if you discover something online that you don’t think is in the IMX/Immerciless Immersion Inundator collection yet, and would desperately like to share it with the community at large, you can do so. The potential for catastrophic spam abuse in such a situation is so immense that it boggles the mind.
Sure, the Internet is “free”, but your time isn’t, your attention isn’t, your safety isn’t, your privacy isn’t, your emotional comfort isn’t, your electricity isn’t. All these are precious and in short supply, yet being sold for a song online.
Your membership fees by their existence alone, in addition to keeping hookers, drug dealers and super powerful server providers in business, also keep spammers and trolls firmly out. Years of AJATT experience have shown: nobody pays money to be bag of douche, but plenty will do it for free.
Anyway, yeah. Give it a try. It can’t hurt. You can quit any time. In and out, wham bam. And if you get on the annual or lifetime plans, you can always quit and get a refund within sixty days — that’s a whole lotta time to try it and see how into it you are.
Oh — and speaking of wham bam — tell your Mom hi 😛
- (what do you think? I stop I acting arrogant now, or let it run a few more paragraphs?) ↩
- For the record: I love Linux; my best friend is a Linux; we’ve adopted a Linux baby; I eat Linux food all the time; my daughter is dating a Linux person, OK? It’s great at what it’s good for: I wouldn’t run a server on Windows; I wouldn’t try to engage in word processing or recreation on a Linux box. ↩
- Yeah, I bet you didn’t even know you could give fractional increments of Japanese currency, did you? I don’t know, either. Can you? ↩