So, why not just learn ruby but learn it in a context that has nothing to do with web frameworks? For example a program that can play music, a terminal script that automates something or a program to procedurally draw fractals.
You will learn ruby quicker because you won't have to get bogged down in details about how rails decides to do things.
If you find that you like the language more than what you are used to and wish you could write your webapps in this language you now have a solid reason to learn rails.
Exactly! ... one of the most confusing things about Rails is how much you're told not to understand some of the heavy lifting done by the framework, the monkey patching and all kinds of magic tricks all over the place.
I've done webapps programming for long now and I recently followed the Rails tutorial from beginning to end just to make sure I could remember some now obvious stuff about testing, etc. and I understand it can be completely overwhelming if you try to learn all the Ruby + Rails + RSpec + SCSS + jQuery combo at once.
Try something simpler, build something with Shoes (http://shoesrb.com/) or if you're into web apps, something like Sinatra would be a better fit.
I've got a Raspberry PI... I can totally make something rubyish on it.
What Rails does for me is help with the mindset of a structured framework of good practices that is otherwise easy to let slip. So you can transition those to (say) Express.js , and then you value frameworks like Tower.js more (IMHO).
Start with Sinatra (it's more the Express of Node). Rails is great, but it's very convoluted and heavy. Ruby is a great language, so make sure to bifurcate the two.
That process will give you an understanding not only of the sort of ways the framework is useful, but the sorts of people who answer questions about it on stackoverflow, the community, tutorials, existing basic MVP bases, etc.
Code jams are great for this sort of thing.
...but, what? You want to learn it because you don't want to, and want to add the 'rails' checkex to your CV? O_o
Do yourself a favour and don't bother.
Not the CV, couldn't give a rats, I build every project in the language I think it should be built in, but basically because some people I respect say it's cool, and I'll never know if I don't learn it.
I'm not so keen on the meetup scene in Melbourne, but I suppose that's another thing to try.
You might even find that Sinatra does everything you need. :-)