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Bettering your after-work self Add to ...

What are you doing after work? Sampling fine beers from Belgium to Brazil? Singing opera in Italian? Learning how to collect evidence from a crime scene? Or are you just going home?

There are better things to do with your time than fighting rush hour or spending the evening watching reality shows. After-work adult classes are hot this fall, with hundreds of fascinating and diverse courses being offered by a host of Toronto educators. These are a few of the unusual options available that may open your thirst for knowledge. Enroll and enjoy.

Beers of the World is a popular choice for unwinding from daily stress. Beer expert Roger Mittag leads brew-lovers through select tastings to develop their appreciation for the unique flavours of different types of beer. Plus, master the perfect pour. $228.99. Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sept. 20 to Oct. 25. A Humber College program held at Labatt House in Toronto, 416-675-5005 or .

Stand-Up: Writing and Performance is another class that fills up fast. Seasoned professional Larry Horowitz, director of Humber's School of Comedy, teaches this course himself. "We have a riot in my class," Horowitz says. "After eight weeks, I give them the option of a spot on a regular show at Yuk Yuks in front of about 150 people. It's like an informal graduation. The camaraderie and thrill in performing make it all worthwhile." $245. Thursdays, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sept. 15 to Nov. 3. At Humber Lakeshore Campus, 416-675-6622, ext. 3446 or e-mail .

Opera Italian is a "hands-on" language course with a twist. You listen to and sing pieces from the standard repertoire of Italian opera, including the famous arias by Verdi, Rossini and Puccini. $383. Mondays, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Nov. 7 to Dec. 12. Through University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies, 416-978-2400 or .

Forensic Scientists at Work: Fans of CSI will love this slide-illustrated lecture series where you learn from a variety of experts how forensic evidence is collected, analyzed and then interpreted in the courtroom. $399. Tuesdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sept. 27 to Nov. 29. University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies, 416-978-2400 or .

Harbourfront Centre's Learning for Living offers some of the most fun and innovative courses around. The Diners' Club has participants visit restaurants to learn about a different cultural cuisine each week, tour the kitchen and sample from the menu; $250, Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Oct. 6 to Nov. 10. Acting for the Terrified teaches you everything you need to have the courage to get up in front of an audience; $200. Tuesdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Oct. 4 to Nov. 15. Or learn how to spin, remix and scratch like a DJ with Get Into the Groove; $300, Tuesdays, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Nov. 1 to Dec. 6. For more information on all, call 416-952-4046 or visit . Also check out their Singles Program starting with Skating for Singles on Dec. 6, 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; $10 per session. Others in the series include Cooking, Dance or Improv for Singles, a fresh alternative for mingling.

The Royal Conservatory of Music's Community School lets you test your chops in Rock Band Jam Class, for advanced beginner to intermediate. You'll be matched with others of similar levels and introduced to a wide range of jamming techniques and styles. Bring your own instrument and patch cord. Drum kit, amps and microphones provided. $520 for 28 one-hour classes, Tuesdays, 6 p.m.. From Sept. 20 at RCM World Music Centre, 416-408-2825 or .

Hand Bag Design is just what budding Kate Spades are looking for. T$173 (materials extra). Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for 9 weeks starting Oct. 4. Through the Toronto District School Board at Central Technical School.

De-Cluttering Your Life (and space) is a course everyone could use. $64 (materials extra). Wednesdays, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for four weeks starting Oct. 5 at Etobicoke School of the Arts. To enroll in any of the myriad Toronto District School Board courses available throughout the city, call 416-338-4111 or go to .

The Royal Ontario Museum's course entitled Abstract Painting and Ephemera teaches you how to turn your clutter into art. Ephemera are collectible items not meant to have any lasting value, such as tickets or labels, but when combined with art acquire a true and lasting value and significance. Participants complete an abstract painting using personal ephemera under the guidance of visual artist Bonnie Czegledi. $175 ($155 for ROM members) plus $30 for materials. Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Nov. 8-29 at the ROM, 100 Queen's Park, 416-586-5797, .

Toronto School of Circus Arts has flying trapeze classes aptly described as an exhilarating way to increase physical and mental well being. Curious? Try the Friday night drop-in class or observe any time. "Our students are all ages and come from all walks of life," says Decker LaDouceur, director of operations. "The program is designed as recreational for every level of ability." $490. Tuesdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sept. 6 to Dec. 20. 425 Wellington St., 416-935-0037 or .

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