take a GUE fundamentals course..see what it's all about.:-)
now, thats the one thing i wouldnt do . no insult, but.... i think its just a bit tooooo much with it. while def a good class for serious divers, i think its poss to make that fun and enjoyable with serious knowledge, i dont agree with all the standards and procedures taught in it (not everybody needs a cave derivate course to enjoy diving). i dont agree with equipment whats pushed in it. but yes it is a (arguably) decent attempt to bring quality and knowledge back into diving. with me you will find a gue / dir opponent in most situations. while i agree to take the best out of all available - but keep the vacation diver in mind and the standard gear rentable this days! the other thing is - i am not sure i am comfy (even as experienced diver) to have a 7ft hose wound around my neck to get seriously strangled by somebody panicking......on and on.
as far as i am concerned, take the $1k and sink them into something fun - do the friggin rb course you think about!!! sure you cant afford one right now really - they get cheaper at an unbelievable rate (jeez build your own - after you understand the basic principles). i cant really afford one - guess i could but there is my wife that would poss get me killed if i looked seriously into an ccr. do tech courses. dont do idcs - if you dont have the def. opportunity to use it - staffing idc's with a good cd is major fun. just having it for the card is stupid!
Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows.