Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Adventures in Unemployment: Masterclass

As the days since I last punched a time clock start piling up, the need has arisen for me to find a way to spend my now abundant free time. Productively, that is, since I can kill a staggering amount of time watching shitty TV and playing Playstation. So for the sake of my sanity and to give my brain a workout, I've decided to take a master class in history with a very distinguished professor.

A few weeks ago, I started listening to the audio books of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples by Sir Winston Churchill. I love to read, but, thanks to some learning defects passed on to me by my folks, I do so at a snail's pace. So audio books have proved to be the great equalizer for me. I have my all-time favorite book: Animal Farm to travel tomes and everything in between. Among my collection is also all 4 volumes of Churchill's narrative history of the UK and her children nations. All 55 1/2 hours of it. That's right, more than two full days of the incomparable Christian Rodska reading Sir Winston's words.

What's that you say? Sounds like a snooze to you? Well, I'm in heaven.

My name is Greazy Tony; and I'm a huge history dork.

As I listen to the pages of history turn, I also have a few Internet explorer windows open for easy Googling of people, places and things I want to know more about. Plus, I have a Google map of Great Britain and Western Europe up for reference, and a Microsoft Word document available for note taking. It's 21st century education at its best, and I'd like to tip my cap to Billy Gates for the assist.

I've always been interested in history, so much so, that I ended up with a history minor in college by accident. I just kept taking classes that interested me, and by senior year, my advisor told me that all I had to do was file the paper work to get the minor. But, even though I enjoyed it, I didn't really dive in all the way, doing only what I had to do to get my grade. Like when my Western Civ II professor told us that she had no attendance policy and the final was 100% of our grade. I didn't buy the book or show up for another class until the final, which I got a 64 on. That's passing baby!

Fast forward almost 15 years and I actually want to learn this stuff. For my own edification, which would shock the hell out of 19 year old Greazy. So, for the foreseeable future, while I'm out of work, I'll be in class with Sir Winston. I just hope he grades on a curve.

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