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June 07, 2012

Almost at the end of the beginning

I have a lot more to write about learning, and the luxury of having a year (or so) to study. But meanwhile, the MITx final creeps ever closer. I have, essentially, finished studying for it; I have completed all the coursework, watched all the enrichment material and tutorials, and worked, catastrophically, through the finals review pack, getting stuck on almost every question. I do not know this material well enough. I will certainly pass; but I would like to do much better and I am not sure that I can.

Meanwhile, my friend Flick(a) is off to the South of England Show tomorrow, to do what looks suspiciously like cosplay on horseback. In strong winds and driving rain, according to the weather forecast. What could possibly go wrong? We will go along to watch if the weather forecast improves.

I didn't start with an intention of just doing programming and circuits. I wanted to continue to work on Japanese, and to improve my music, either by learning an accompanying instrument or improving my melodeon or (preferably) both. Japanese has been taking a back seat while Udacity and MITx have sucked all my time. But I made two small strides this weekend; at Chippenham I took a ukulele workshop for absolute beginners with Sue Snell. Jonathan also did every single one of her children's workshops and badgered us until we bought him a ukulele (hey, it's another instrument! We like those.) And then yesterday we arrived at the Jubilee fair to dance out with Chingford Morris to discover that I was the lead musician. I've not done that before, but it went fine; I played for five dances and a social.

I want to structure my days so that they (almost) invariably include 30 minutes of exercise. Not a problem when I'm camping at a festival and walking between venues. But on the chilly, damp days in between it's much harder. Obviously there are things like dancing and badminton to put in the mix, which helps a bit.

The single thing holding my art back most, apart from generally not doing it enough, is that my drawing skills are rubbish. And the patent cure for rubbish drawing is daily sketching. This is an excuse to mention one of my favourite things on the entire internet, the most inspirational 'daily sketching' thread ever -- though Questionable Content is also a good example of what daily practice gives you.

I mean, I know that daily practice is the key to everything. Art, music, exercise, Japanese, probably even circuit design. And I have plenty of time to devote the few minutes every single day to each of them. But somehow it doesn't quite happen.

Posted by Alison Scott at June 7, 2012 12:54 AM


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