Friday, January 18, 2008

Conversation: AJ & Chris

[I called Chris before visiting him. We talked about my coming visit, making new English lessons, Tomoe's trip to Japan, a new book we just finished (Prometheus Rising), travel, and the Effortless English business.]

[Telephone Ringing]

Chris: Hello, you’ve reached 932‑7708. Leave me a message. (Beep)

AJ: Hey, it’s AJ. What’s up? Well, I guess we’re gonna –

Chris: Hey, man.

AJ: Oh, hey, good. Gotcha.

Chris: (Laughs) How’s the new year treating ya?

AJ: Yeah, pretty good. Things are going well. Actually, it’s been a great beginning to the year so far.

Chris: How so?

AJ: I don’t know. I had a really good time New Year’s Eve. Went out with a bunch of friends to a party here in San Francisco, yeah, it was great.

Chris: Yeah, yeah.

AJ: A lot of good music, some kinda international music. There was a group from India, some from Africa, bunches of different ones; it was nice.

Chris: Alright.

AJ: Yeah. How ’bout yourself?

Chris: Pretty good, pretty good. A little bit busier. The vacation’s always nice and sometimes you come back to a few too many e‑mails and voice messages, but all in all, it hasn’t been too bad.

AJ: Good, good.

Chris: I finally got going with the gym memberships, so I’m even up to date with some of the resolutions and all.

AJ: Alright, good. Yeah, I’ve got a gym membership, but I need to use it. (Laughs)

Chris: (Laughs)

AJ: I guess that’s my resolution.

Chris: Yeah. Well, cool, man.

AJ: Yeah. So tomorrow I’m flying out. I’ll be there tomorrow.

Chris: Yeah. You’re getting in around 9:00 or so, assuming.....

AJ: Yeah, yeah. And then I’m gonna go ahead and rent a car.

Chris: Okay.

AJ: I guess I can probably just get like a Google map to your house from the Raleigh airport.

Chris: You can, and I can – that’s probably sensible, and I can also send you some directions to sort of maybe supplement that. It’s not gonna be too bad. I don’t think you’re gonna find it to be too difficult ’cause basically you’re gonna – 40 is sort of one of the big highways around here, and that’s gonna run pretty much straight from the airport, pretty close to where I live. And you’re gonna get off 40 onto 54, and then 54’s gonna bring you right into Meadowmont, where I live, so it’s not gonna be too bad. But I’ll send you some supplementary directions.

AJ: Okay, great.

Chris: Yeah.


AJ: What’s the weather like out there?

Chris: It warmed up today. It’s like in the 50s today.

AJ: Oh, that’s not bad.

Chris: Yeah, it’s not bad. Actually last week, we had some surprisingly cold weather where it stayed sorta below freezing for a few days.

AJ: Alright, I guess I’ll pack –


AJ: I was gonna say I’ll pack some warm clothes just in case. (Laughs)

Chris: Yeah, at least like a good warm pair of pants and good coat. So yeah, but, too, if you want to do some hiking and that, whatever you like to hike in. I just started this gym membership, but I have a few free passes, so if you wanna work out there, too, or try that out.

AJ: Yeah, actually, I’d like that. That’d be great.

Chris: Yeah, yeah, man.

AJ: Try to burn off some of the fat from Indiana. (Laughs)

Chris: Did you put in a winter’s layer over the holidays?

AJ: Yeah, damn. It’s frightening. Tomoe was pretty much horrified by the diet in Indiana. (Laughs)

Chris: Is that right?

AJ: Yeah. She’s like, “Oh, my God, I can’t believe that they eat like this.” It’s like, “Welcome to America. Welcome to real America.”

Chris: (Laughs)

AJ: Yeah, you’re like cookies, cakes, just everything with tons of sugar.

Chris: Right.

AJ: Oh, man.

Chris: I’m almost sure I didn’t share this story with you, but I won’t keep it long now. I had all these holiday parties I went to- that was at the school and at the shelter before Christmas. And just was like basically just astounded at what people were gonna eat. There were like eight cakes there and three pies, and there were people who would try all eight cakes and three pies.

AJ: Wow.

Chris: And get one of these paper plates, and the paper plate collapsing under the weight of it. I was just like, “Wow. No wonder every other person I work with has diabetes.”

AJ: (Laughs) Yes. Well, two people in my family have diabetes. It didn’t stop ’em.

Chris: Yeah, yeah.

AJ: Yeah. So she’s [Tomoe] happy to be back in Japan right now eating healthy Japanese food.

Chris: Is she there now?

AJ: Yeah, she’s there for two months. She’s visiting her family for a couple months.

Chris: Oh, okay. Well, that’s a good long spell.

AJ: Yeah, yeah. She’s been pretty homesick, so –

Chris: I see.

AJ: – she’s quite happy. And then we’re gonna meet back up again actually in Thailand.

Chris: Oh, you are? Nice.

AJ: Yeah. In March, we’re taking a trip to Thailand and be there a few months. Hopefully I’m gonna do a dive master course as get the dive master certificate and then we’ll –

Chris: I think this is the one you were talking a little bit about.

AJ: Yeah, right, right.

Chris: Going to Thailand to do some diving, yeah, yeah.

AJ: Yeah, and visit our friend, Kenny, down in Malaysia, and just see Thailand again. I missed Thailand, so it’ll be nice.

Chris: Yeah. Well, it’s a little more globetrotting for you, huh?

AJ: Yeah. Can’t get enough.

Chris: (Laughs) You bastard.

AJ: (Laughs) Well, that’s why I’m coming. (Laughs) Right?

Chris: (Laughs)

AJ: To get these lessons finished and –

Chris: Yeah, I can’t really – if things go well, I won’t be able to call you bastard for long, right?

AJ: No, you won’t.

Chris: (Laughs)

AJ: So get it now while you can. (Laughs) And then other people will be calling you bastard.


Chris: Cool.

AJ: Yeah.

Chris: Then I’ll really be a member of the club.

AJ: Yeah, that’s right. You’ll be able to make them feel bad with all your tales of vacation and relaxation and fun.

Chris: I know. It’s been- I’ve burnt out all my good old stories of traveling really pretty much, so I can’t really – it’s been hard to make people jealous lately, to be honest with you.

AJ: Yeah. You need some new ones.

Chris: Mm-hmm.

AJ: Yeah. Hopefully, we can make some good progress. We’ll have a couple weeks. I figure we can – especially once we get in the groove – do maybe two sets per day, one or two sets per day. I mean we may be able to –

Chris: Yeah. I mean, let’s see what we – I really don’t – to tell you the truth, I don’t know what to expect and you – yeah.

AJ: I mean, I can do ’em fast at this point, so –

Chris: Okay. (Laughs)

AJ: So I was thinking that at the very least, like while you’re at work, I would probably crank one out myself –

Chris: Okay.

AJ: – and then maybe when you got back, then we could crank – work on another together.

Chris: Yeah, that’d be great.

AJ: There’d be a mix of voices then on the lesson, mine and yours, and then that’d be nice for the students I think. So I mean I don’t know. I have the feeling we may be able to – if we’re shooting for about 20 or so sets, we may be able to get most or all of them done I think.

Chris: Yeah. That’d be pretty awesome.

AJ: Yeah. And that’s the bulk of the work. After that, we just pay somebody to do a Web site or just use the template I already have, etcetera, etcetera.

Chris: Yep, yep.

AJ: And I know that lots of people are wanting lessons. I get e‑mails asking me, “Do you have more lessons?”

Chris: Good. Keep ’em hungry, man. (Laughs)

AJ: Yeah, that’s right, keep ’em hungry. (Laughs) Say, “Not yet. You have to wait.”

Chris: “We want ’em to be so good this time that –”

AJ: That’s right. (Laughs) “They’re gonna be so good that your mind will explode with English after five minutes of listening.”

Chris: (Laughs) Yeah. I mean the future plan needs to be selling English microchips I think.

AJ: Yeah, that’s true. Just download the English language.

Chris: Straight into the brain.

AJ: Yeah, of course, at that point, we’re out of business. (Laughs)

Chris: (Laughs) We might be out of life units, too.

AJ: Yeah, that’s true. We’ll probably be dead, so it shouldn’t – we’ll be okay. (Laughs) We’ll have enough time to find another business.

Chris: Well, with all this Prometheus Rising stuff you have exposed me to, we gotta think of the future, right?

AJ: That’s true. That’s true. Yeah, pretty interesting, huh? It’s an interesting. He’s an interesting guy.

Chris: Yeah. I read it over break. I didn’t get to the marketing book, but I did finish his book. Yeah, it was really good. He’s a little spacey sometimes, but mostly I really liked it, yeah.

AJ: Yeah, yeah.

Chris: When did you stumble across him?

AJ: Let’s see. I stumbled across him a couple years go. This essay he wrote on the Internet called ePrime. Have you heard of that?

Chris: ePrime. I think that was stuff that – maybe I’m getting confused, but I almost think that was – that one of the guys that wrote a book that Albert Ellis was into that.

AJ: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That could be. I mean it’s not just this guy’s invention. It’s basically the idea that the English language is not – its structure is not kind of in line with scientists' thinking, especially the whole physics and uncertainty principle. And so basically the idea is that you remove the verb “to be” from the English language. So you never say, “He is black.” You say, “He seems to be black. He appears black. He looks black to me.” So you include the idea of perception in everything you say.

Chris: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, okay.

AJ: And that gives it a more accurate – it basically introduces the uncertainty that it’s not something "is" something, it’s something "seems" or "appears" or –

Chris: And you’re also not essentializing things. Yeah, yeah.

AJ: Exactly, exactly. So you make it clear that you’re describing your perceptions or characteristics, that it’s not necessarily an inborn essence or –

Chris: Mm-hmm.

AJ: So interesting. Hard to do. I actually tried doing it just with writing where you can edit, but it’s pretty damn hard to eliminate “is” and “are” and “was” from the language. But it’s fascinating. I’ve read a couple things that he wrote in ePrime and it is, it does come across as far more rational and clear. You could see where if people would stick to that during discussions and debates that you really would be getting – there’d be much more room to find a common ground or at least to agree at what you’re talking about.

Chris: Right. And it’s good to not – I mean it really introduces sort of a healthy skepticism into what we’re all over confident about, too.

AJ: Exactly, yeah, exactly, ’cause you never – well, basically exactly that, that there’s always some degree of uncertainty, small or large, but it’s always there. So anyway, I found that essay by him and I was like, “Oh, this is really fascinating,” and then I ended up eventually getting that book Prometheus Rising which is also very interesting.

Chris: Yeah. Yeah, it’s good stuff. Well, we’ll have time to delve in, won’t we?

AJ: Yeah. Yes, we will.

Chris: Talk more about it. I’m trying to think what – is there anything else you need to know, anything you’d particularly like to do or make sure you get in while you’re here?

AJ: Nothing in particular. I mean I’m pretty much open for anything. Maybe I’ll bring my discs and we could maybe go out to your disc golf course again if you want. (Laughs)

Chris: Yeah, yeah, sure.

AJ: A little strolling out there.

Chris: I haven’t been out there since you were here. (Laughs)

AJ: Oh, yeah. (Laughs) Yeah. I’ll bring a disc or two, a couple of ’em I guess, and – yeah, I don’t know, just anything. Good veggie food and –

Chris: Yep.

AJ: Yeah. Looking forward to it. It’ll be, yeah, one of my secret motivations is to get this thing launched so that you’re free to come out and travel a lot, too.

Chris: And play, man.

AJ: And play, yeah. We can scuba dive and go to Thailand and India and Latin America and Europe –

Chris: (Laughs)

AJ: – and keeping working. That’s what I love about this business is that I can do it from anywhere. I go to Mexico and just bring the computer and keep on working.

Chris: Yeah.

AJ: It’s quite nice.

Chris: Well, I still have to get over my – get out of my own little box. It’s hard to sort of believe that that would be possible.

AJ: Well, you believe it when it happens.

Chris: (Laughs) It’s easier to believe it when it’s actually already happening?

AJ: Yeah. I was the same. I had this so irrational period that I just would never get anybody – I think it told you. That was my thing in my head for the longest time, for like a month as I was putting it all together. I just kept thinking, “What if I don’t get any person, not one? All this for nothing.”

Chris: Yeah, yeah.

AJ: And actually this week, I’m having a huge week this week. I don’t know. I guess everyone’s New Year’s resolution is to learn English, because –

Chris: Yep. I was sorta wondering if you would _____. You had mentioned that it had been sorta slow and I was like, “Yeah. I wonder if –” it might be slow but maybe it’ll pick up and even triple what you normal make up for the slow time.

AJ: Yeah. And that’s exactly what’s happened. This week has been unbelievable. It far exceeded my best week ever.

Chris: Awesome, really.

AJ: Yeah, oh, yeah. I think before – God, it’s probably 40‑50 percent more than my previous best week.

Chris: That’s great.

AJ: So, yeah, fantastic. Hope some of that continues.

Chris: (Laughs) Yeah, man.

AJ: So yeah, it’s fun when it’s growing, too. Kinda creates more of a critical mass of people who’ll be using the forums. I don’t know. Yeah, it just kinda a lot more fun, too. A little more of a community.

Chris: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

AJ: And one fun thing for me, too, is that with all these members all over the place, it’s kinda meeting one or two of ’em every time I travel which is what I’ve been – I did that in Mexico a little bit –

Chris: Right.

AJ: I know we’ve got a couple Thai members. I think maybe I’ll just post it on the forums wherever I’m traveling and try to meet up with some of the people. It’s kinda cool.

Chris: Yeah. And that’s all sort of one more thing that you can sort of build the community and then share that sort of community building with the blog and all, too, right?

AJ: Yeah.

[End of Audio]

Listen To This Article at:
The Effortless English Podcast.


nguyen said...

you're so great. I think your new podcast is even much more better than watching movies for real talks because all actors and actresses need to learn scripts before acting. At the first time it's a little difficult to me to hear what Chris was saying but after that, second time everything was OK, I got used to with his voice. Thanks again. Bye

Sri Agustiani Monoarfa said...

Sounds are so interesting even i have to read the texts to understand the conversations but i think it's much better to learn understand English, YOU ARE RIGHT that we need learn in real English. This conversation is helping us to understand english very much. Thank you so much!

And if you like diving don't forget to visit Gorontalo, North Sulawesi in Indonesia. There are a lots of amazing place for diving!
Don't miss it AJ!

HunterX said...

wow! I have registed flow english.
I have still listened effortless english.So I need to listen both effortless and flow english.
AJ, Please give me some idea to learn.

FELIPE said...

It was a good idea about this audio. I think we all need practicing with real conversation. Don`t forget Colombia, it has nice places to visit and to dive. You will be welcome here!!

Milad said...

Hello AJ
I have already received your 7 rules and been impressed of it.
Your ideas are fantastic, so I have decided to get your lessons, but there's a problem.
Actually, here in Iran we can not buy anything by internet from out of country, because of lack of credit cards.
Then, I need you to give a resolution please.
I know you a great english teacher.
Best Regards,
Milad Vazirian, Tehran, Iran

pencila said...

MR.A.J really, you are fantastic
i think it seems to be better than a movie or a pre-planned lesson.. Frankly your podcast expresses a very spontaneous English
many thanks