As it is proving nearly impossible to find a Slovak-speaking tandem partner online as well as in the two cities I split my life between, I am going to approach learning Slovak from a new angle. From the west.
I found a Langenscheidt Tschechisch Sprachlehrgang (Czech training program) at the local Bibliothek (link: http://bit.ly/puBVq), complete with nice audio materials and published in 2007. Sorry, Slovakia. I want so dearly to learn your own special band of the slavic rainbow, but numbers matter. There's just more material out there for Czech, and that's going to have to be close enough for now. I'm abandoning the tandem partner search for the time being as well.
I should be honest. At first I was avoiding any materials not published in English. I get so burnt out from using German during the day sometimes that I just want to curl up in a cozy den of English texts. Lucky for me that's what most of the world is communicating in these days. This Langenscheidt pack seems pretty good so far, though. I like the dialogues and I listen to them on the mp3 player and act them out. So much of Czech reminds one of Russian it is funny. I think the enjoyablity of this program makes me forget I'm learning it through German.
So that's the update. Still at square one, but I might finally make a wee bit of progress, especially after my classes let out for the late summer.