I've decided to defer enrollment at LAMA. Missing out on that scholarship put me through a frenzy of thinking over the last week.
If I go, I'll have some assurance that I'll reach a professional level in two years, and I'll have access to a network of classmates and instructors before I even start looking for gigs. On the other hand, I'll have to fund my entire education with student loans. Unemployment has taken its toll on my savings account. LAMA looked a tad more appealing before they extended the program from one to two years, increased tuition by 15%, and denied me a scholarship.
The alternative is to get a job. I think I'll enjoy earning money again, even if it's not in music yet. It'll be a necessity soon if I want to keep eating. This will leave me free to explore the local music scene, take any gigs that come my way, probably take some private lessons. I also dig the idea of making it on my own, rather than getting help from an overpriced institution. (I love reading about Frank Zappa getting all his training from the library.)
Biting the bullet, signing up for those huge student loans, and attending LAMA is definitely the safe option, at least in the short run. I won't have to find a job or worry so much about supporting myself. I'll be more or less taken care of until loan repayment starts. But I've learned to be skeptical of the safe option; it's not always best for me in the end. A year ago, I took the unsafe option of embarking on my current adventure, and I'll never regret it for a second.
So now the plan is to work for a while, maybe with computers again, maybe in a music shop, and search for some cheaper options to weigh against LAMA. The big downside is I'll have far less time to practice. I think I'll be okay with that as long as I'm still progressing.
Don't worry about the blog. I intend to keep it going indefinitely. I still have plenty to learn and plenty of discoveries to share.