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Friday, September 28, 2007

Life Lessons 

The inscrutable Maktaaq has tagged me with creating an imaginary curriculum of improbably practical courses, a sort of term or two of remedial life skills. Apparently the original idea was composed by a wyvern, but when you are reading the writings of whale blubber, that sort of thing happens sometimes.

By the way, the rest of this won't make much sense until you read Maktaaq's post. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Oh, one more rule: you have to take one course with a friend, so let's dig into Maktaaq's calendar, and choose...hm. Your humble narrator already knows how to remove spiders, already created his own board game once (it wasn't very good, but who cares), has no hair and is the regular kind of boy, can't afford the supplies fee on the divination course, already has a bachelor's degree in graphic novels, The Lovely One provides all the massagation he could ask for, and my signature is already the terror of tiny sign-here lines.

So that leaves Intensive Novel-Writing 400! It's very hands-on, and the program is supposed to be quite effective. Sure, it's banned by the Geneva Convention, but what isn't? And I could really use a less-metaphorical-than-usual hanging in a fortnight to push me to finally write a long work.

Hm. I should take bluewyvern's Social Dance for Non-Dancers. My only objection is that I did once take that, and well, maybe I needed more lessons. I should definitely not take a course in small talk. In fact, quite the opposite. My first course:

Silence 101: knowing when to shut up
A brief history of silence, techniques for keeping quiet, how to hold one's tongue, tact tactics, and the delicate art of being thought a fool rather than confirming it. No lecture: course is offered by correspondence and an in-person lab component.

But that's not the course I really need to pass. That would be this one:

Getting Things Done I & II (8 credits)
This is an intensive, comprehensive, practical program in finishing what you started. Topics covered include prioritization, time-management, the last filing system you'll ever need, practical adaptations for the real world, long-term and short-term goal-setting, doing the next thing, and includes an optional rural practicum: git 'er done.

Course resources: the book, and 43 Things.

No joke: I have actually read most of the book, and even primitively tried to implement its system. But I just never followed through with it. I'm better at finishing things now than I was five years ago, but it's still strictly Needs Improvement territory.

Programming for Web 2.0
Could I be more practical, more of the moment? This is a practical course (probably offered at BCIT) that goes from the ground up. Students will be taught the tools and techniques of AJAX and complementary app-development systems like Ruby on Rails, and how to make websites with those neat dynamically-responsive forms that are so lovely. One entire unit is devoted to making your web page mostly white, and Namng for Wb 2.0: remov a vowl.

Assertiveness 201: picking spots, taking names
In this hands-on course, the student will be taught how to stand up for what's right, how to take care of business, and how to not back down. Role-playing dialogues will be used intensively. Keen students may take an optional self-guided unit on BS detection, peer-pressure resistance, and negotiating with used car dealers.

Music 100, 200, 300, 400
In this four-part course, the student will learn to play piano masterfully, and two other instruments competently. For the practical final exam, students will be expected to form a band. Forming a punk band is an automatic Fail.

I think that would about cover it. I'd also take a non-credit Extension course in eating right and not blowing off my workouts. That would be nice.

Following all of these exertions, there is the thesis course:

Ten Thousand Hours: doing one thing as well as you can.
This is a self-directed course in which the student is given ten thousand hours to practice a skill. The particular skill to be practiced will be chosen with the assistance of your thesis adviser, who will look into your soul to suggest the thing you most ought to do.
Prerequisites: a life more ordinary, a soul, a desire to maximize one's potential.
due to the prerequisites, this course is not recommended for undead beings of any form, but vampires will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Since I don't know anybody, I shall tag some people who really ought to update their blogs: Gord (who is faster than me), Andrew Chang, Supafamous Eric, and oh, what the heck, his evil twin Ernie. Bonus Tag: TLO. I'll report back and see if she takes the challenge.

Update: After reading over bluewyvern's post, I can't believe I didn't put in a language requirement. She picked two; I'll pick three: Greek, French, and Mandarin. Aside from my personal reasons for picking Greek, it would be a tremendous joy to read the classics in their own language. Mandarin would be all kinds of practical, both for a world traveler and a Vancouverite (poor Cantonese, so quickly thrown under the tracks!), and adding French is essentially a sentimental choice, though the irony of me being trilingual and still not knowing French might be so delicious I'd end up skipping that course for purely conceptual reasons


I'm already assertive enough to not play blog tag games. But I will try to update soon.
I am looking forward to your TLO's contribution to the curriculum - she's sure to have lots of great courses.

Is TLO the Lovely One? That's what I always guessed it was. I don't know what DH is - darling husband? dead husband?
TLO is indeed The Lovely One. But
DH? I'm not sure I know either. Downhill, as in a form of mountain bike racing?

Where did you see it?
This is actually a very workable idea. Too bad that it's being treated as a joke ("Imaginary Curriculum") and, following the usual fate of blog entries, will presumably end up buried in the archive and forgotten.
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