The Pain of Being an Autodidact

I’ve talked about it before. I’m trying to pick up some mad skills here in Arizona. Right now, I’m working on three skills:

  • InDesign
  • GED
  • General Blog Knowledge (wordpress, writing, etc.)

I know. Three skills is a lot to take on, but I’m running out of time. I only have 4 1/2 months before I’m unemployed. When I have a day off here, I’m cramming on all three of these things. I stop studying/working around 6 p.m. and then just free to read/chat online.

But I want to not only leave with some money in my pocket, but to look back and say, “Here’s what I accomplished.” Or that one guy from MAD TV, “Look what I can do!”

But it is difficult and kicking my butt.

I’m learning InDesign from a book, and it is grueling, but I’ve spent a ton of money on the software and books, so I’m plowing ahead, trying to get a chapter done every two days.

For my GED diploma, I started on learning online through a website named GED Easy, and it is working pretty good. It’s all about online learning through video instruction and they also provide free practice tests that tell me what to concentrate on most. Very entertaining and efficient.

For blog stuff, I’m using fizzle.com. It’s a membership site with guys from the World Domination Summit and I’m learning a great deal on the forums. (Movies take awhile, but they are worth it.)… Read More

Rock Climbing: A Beginners Memoir

On a hot muggy June evening I set out with three other members of the Prince George Alpine Club towards Giscome. The rock face we intended to climb was by the side of the road, across from Eaglet lake which lay shimmering invitingly in the heat of the quiet evening. As we left the city behind I relaxed. The sounds of nature became audible, the swish of wheat in a field, lake water lapping onto the rocky shore and the chattering of birds in the trees.

Because Barb and I were beginners we decided to skip the lower rock face and instead climb a few hundred metres up the rocky cliff to a second rock face. Weighed down with long, thick climbing ropes, harnesses, helmets, drinking water and snacks, we were glad to find ropes, someone had thoughtfully left behind, which we hung onto to haul ourselves up the steep incline.… Read More

Waiting for spring to come

I have an amaryllis, white and pink striped, that has been flowering for weeks. It has another bud which has yet to open. I have another amaryllis, red, which isn’t flowering yet either. I got this one two years ago. Last year I planted it in a huge pot and put it outside for its summer holiday. In October, before frost, I bought it inside, took it out of the pot and stored it in a bag filled with perlite; the leaves turned brown and it went dormant. In January I repotted it and put it beside a sunny south window, soon it was pushing out leaves and sent up a stalk with a large bud. These bulbs can be forced indefinitely, all they need is water since all their nutrients are stored in the bulb. Downstairs I setup a miniature nursery… Read More

Apples to Oranges

Ok, perhaps I’m too green when it comes to grasping the whole political thinking process, but I find it very difficult to wrap my mind around just how this “Why Hillary Will Keep Quiet” rant from Michelle Malkin even comes close to comparing to the Cheney mishap.

Might someone explain the similarities to me – because I just don’t get it!  Because my thought process is…Read More

A Mother’s Touch

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things was when my mother would play with my hair. Just her touch would feel better than anything I knew in my life. I never forgot that feeling. As I grew up and moved away from home, I always yearned for it.

Later in life, during my visits home, I would seek an opportunity to lay my head in her lap hoping that she would just stroke my hair for a few minutes. Her touch still felt comforting in an indescribable way and would take me back to those moments in my childhood.

My mother never knew how powerful those touches were or how they comforted me like a warm blanket throughout my life.… Read More

Muse To Many: L’inconnue De La Seine

Meet the legend, the mannequin, the most kissed of all time. I was the kind of child who, had I known the whole story, would have thought myself fully capable of resuscitating the long dead L’Inconnue de la Seine. The story traces back to the turn of the 20th century, when sociologist Émile Durkheim, and subsequently the French Surrealists, pondered suicide as a fin de siècle phenomenon and an important philosophical question. Ever more curious about such deaths, the public was particularly entranced by a young woman drowned in the River Seine, convinced her demise was a lovesick suicide.

Bodies pulled out from the river were not so uncommon, but the lady’s beauty, it is said, was just that. A Parisian morgue worker, captivated by her delicate, Mona Lisa-like smile or simply hoping to identify her, cast a death mask later copied and circulated about the city.


Soon men of letters—Nabokov, Rilke, Blanchot—would imagine her last desperate act. The girl never was identified, but was muse to many. The figure became a pop-culture icon of the time, with German youth purportedly holding it as a standard of beauty and mimicking the tragically romantic look. In 1960, Asmund Laerdal, a Norwegian toy maker, collaborated with physicians Peter Safar and James Elam to design a mannequin that could be used to demonstrate and teach cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Laerdal named his creation Resusci Anne, and modeled her visage after that of L’Inconnue.

Some call this clever invocation of the drowned unknown an encouraging affirmation of life and all that we can do to save it. But I see myself as a child, perched … Read More

The Mirror Of Dreams: Blind Photography By Evgen Bavcar

The Slovenian photographer was born in a small town near Venice in 1946 and was a wild young thing immersed in books and devices. Suffering two separate accidents in childhood, Bavcar slowly lost his sight. He stole away from our shared visual world, taking care to collect icons and senses along the way. When the lights did finally go out, the artist’s mind was full. With a team of assistants, Bavcar now makes photographs. “I measure the distance with my hands and the rest is done by my internal desire for images,” he explains in the notes accompanying his online exhibition, The Mirror of Dreams, hosted at ZoneZero. In a way, Bavcar becomes the thinking camera.

Evgen Bavcar’s Photography

The photographs, each with a soul and self-sustained, are shadowy by nature, but not indistinct. Etched in light, they mimic scenes of religious exultation and, alternately, gothic reverie. Bavcar speaks to a kind of immortality found in art and specifically in his self-portraits. You see, the genre is broad for a man who has no idea what he looks like. “I believe very directly that I can’t truly nourish the illusion of seeing myself in the mirror. But anyone can be my mirror. . . . If I show you my self-portrait, you become my mirror. In a sense, everyone is my mirror. Therefore, I cannot die like Narcissus in the mirror, identified with the image. I cannot recognize myself in the image. I must renounce that forever.”

The success of a blind photographer seems as likely, perhaps, as that of a deaf musician. Do Beethoven and Bavcar both reflect, from … Read More