I have been going through the “blahs” lately. Some of it is rather deep-seated stuff that I’ve been struggling to understand. One thing I realized was that I’ve felt for years like I cheated myself by never completing a university degree. For the last four or five years I’ve subconsciously come to realize that it is too late- short of a massive life change like winning a million dollars, it is simply not feasible to take four or five years off to go and get a degree.
Today, though, as I contemplated the universe and my very limited place within it, I decided that what I really wanted was knowledge, not the piece of paper- although there are plenty of times I wish I had the paper as well, it isn’t my main regret. And so I’ve decided to take some more specific steps to educate myself. And of course, given my nature, that means a healthy dose of gadgetry.
- Read more thoughtful and classic books: I already read a great deal, although most of it is “fluff”. I’m going to start adding more “thoughtful” books this year, things like War and Peace or Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit that I read in 2007. As part of this I will be expanding my use of e-Books and canceling my Science Fiction Book Club membership. I will also (somewhat counter-intuitively) be retiring my iRex Iliad: it was a great experiment and I *love* the e-Ink display and portability, but the battery and start up time problems of the device have made me disinclined to use it. I’ve ordered a Sony e-Reader PRS700: another “imperfect” early-adopter e-Ink device, but the battery life and startup features should no longer be an issue. I fully expect to replace this device within a year or two as well- but hopefully it will because something much better arrives, not because it turns out to be unsuitable
- Complete some on-demand lectures: I have been reading advertisements about “The Great Courses” series by The Learning Company for years, and have often been intrigued by the idea of “participating” in college-level lectures by some of the best rated lecturers in the world. I took the plunge today and ordered three; one (Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning) is a downloadable audio lecture that I will listen to on my iPod. The other two (Einstein’s Relativity… and Tools of Thinking… ) I ordered as DVD lectures since they have more visual components. This of course led me to the realization that I’ll need a portable DVD player to watch these since I want to do at least some of this while I’m exercising, and thus I ordered a Sony portable DVD player
- Play games on my Piano: I stopped taking lessons on my piano over a year ago, partly due to lack of time/energy, partly as a result of feeling like I had hit a wall in terms of trying to teach my defective brain and flawed body to work together effectively. Just recently, though I bought a music learning “game” called Piano Wizard which is getting me to sit in front of the piano again at least. I am pretty certain now that I will never learn to play music effectively, but I seem to be able to make at least some very slow progress if something like this “tricks” me into thinking my mistakes aren’t critical. I plan on picking up the Wizard Academy technique books to go along with the software later this year once I’m sure that I can stick at it for a while