Photoshop


Photoshop at work!

I enjoy reading, but lately I’ve really enjoyed reading computer books. Well, with the computer books I read, it’s not actually reading. Most of those books for dummies and idiots are hands on guide to using various programs. I’ve learned a lot about computing reading those books, despite being neither a dummy nor an idiot. Maybe I’m just a nerd, but I love reading those computer books. I can now do many things with many programs. The downside is that someone is always asking me how to do certain things on the computers.

I learned to type on an old typewriter I found in our attic on Wood Street. I also found an old typing manual from which I learned how to type. When I was in the Marines, I took that typing manual with me and in my free time I did every single exercise in that book. And now I can touch type. So, it was a natural progression for me to start reading computer books to learn how to use programs.

I used to buy the books despite being very expensive. Then, they almost immediately became obsolete. I would use them once and remember all the commands that I planned on using. I had a huge pile of expensive, obsolete computer books that I eventually gave to the used bookstore. I always had the latest software and I always read the latest books. I still don’t understand how the latest knowledge on computer programs is directed at dummies and idiots. Apparently there’s a huge market. I don’t buy these books anymore, but they’re available through the Chicago Public Library for free. Some branch in Chicago always has the book I need.

Photoshop has been the most difficult program for me to use. The main reason I bought the program was because my iPhone used it to download the pictures to my computer. But then I found other uses for Photoshop.

I’ve been writing my blog for years. No frills, nothing fancy. Just plain vanilla text and formatting. Then, some of my readers started asking me when I would upload pictures with my posts. I was truly surprised! I had readers! That’s right! Readers! As in more than one. And they were actually reading my blog! They thought pictures would enhance my blog. So I started taking pictures for the blog. I must admit that Photoshop has improved my pictures due to my lack of photography skills.

I read every Photoshop book available through my library and I learned quite a lot. Last May, I went to an educational seminar in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, where I attended two Adobe classes where I learned more about how to use Photoshop. I never realized how many commands are available. I know I’ll never even use half of them, but it’s nice to know they’re available.

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On the road


CD Book from the Chicago Public Library.

For someone who spends so much time on the Internet, I also spend a lot of time on the road. Since I’m on the road a lot, I feel like I’m wasting time I’m not on the Internet. True, I occasionally check my e-mail on my iPhone while I’m driving and I do study road maps while on the Internet. The best of both worlds! Years ago, I tried listening to books while driving. That was back when most of them were on cassettes. I quickly gave up because it involved too much work. So lately, I once again felt the need to occupy myself productively while driving. While studying Russian, I listened to the oral activities on an mp3 player via my car radio. But it just wasn’t the same as reading. I remembered the audio books. Most books are on CDs now and are much easier to manage while driving. The first one I heard was On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Because I imagined writing a blog entry, titled “On the road”! I also listened to Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, but decided against writing a blog entry titled, “On the River Niger”! How would that be possible while driving my 2005 Pontiac Vibe?

I went to the library to check out their collection of audio books. I immediately gravitated toward Jack Kerouac because On the Road has been on my “To Read” list since the 1980s. I have always heard about that book and any book that constantly attracts my attention deserves to be read–at least in my book. I had no idea what it was about, but I knew I just had to read it. I was intrigued by the fact that it was written on one continuous sheet of paper. I tried to imagined how Kerouac could have written his book lugging his manual typewriter and roll of paper while driving all over the country. To think that I complain whenever I have to lug my laptop computer around with me! Anyway, the book was an interesting read because I was disappointed by its plot, but enticed enough by the writing style to continue listening to the end. The reader of the audio book made it very interesting in the way he acted out some of the scenes. He added so much to text. If I were reading the actual book, I would have finished reading it because it did captivate me in a way I had not expected.

Kerouac has this enormous vocabulary that occasionally upstaged the action of the novel. For instance–however, I don’t recall all the details nor the exact wording–in one scene Kerouac and his friends find themselves released from jail after a night of heavy drinking, carousing and fist-fighting. They have no money and they don’t know where their car is. Jack says, “whereupon we pondered our dilemma.” Somehow, the high diction added to the incongruity of their situation. Of course, I would never associate with such friends for very long, which is why I never wrote my own On the Road.

When I was in high school, I inherited a manual Underwood typewriter that was in the attic where my new bedroom was located. Since I was little, I wanted to be a writer, so this was my perfect opportunity. I spent a lot of time in my unfinished-attic bedroom typing away on that typewriter. I also found a roll of paper and inserted it into my typewriter. This was before I even heard of Jack Kerouac! Now I wouldn’t have to stop writing to insert a new sheet of paper! I can’t say what I wrote was very interesting since I spent most of my waking hours cooped up in that attic. I don’t know what ever happened to my manuscript(s) (Depending on how you count everything I wrote on the scroll), or if anything I wrote was very good. But I enjoyed my time as a writer, living in squalor in an unfinished attic, living the Bohemian lifestyle. Minus the Kerouac road trip and alcohol.

Pass me another CD.