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Thirty Years Ago...

Thirty years ago, I was preparing to move to Los Angeles to attend USC. If I could tell myself what I know now…

1) Do not drop the physical sciences degree four units short! The English and journalism degrees won't get you far.

2) Do not drop the computer science degree, either. Sure, the courses are boring and you will do more interesting stuff at work in the computing center, but darn it… uhg!

3) Do not pursue the teaching credential. It isn't going to happen, so stop it. Now! (And you'll keep repeating this teaching career mistake. Get over it.)

4) Do more than work and study. Two years at the Daily Trojan and nobody will remember you because you didn't hang out or attend any events. That's not how to network. Clips alone aren't the ticket.

5) Enjoy LA more. You'll miss it later. Riots, earthquakes, and all, you'll always consider LA "home" in some way.

I graduated in 1990, after three years, with the fall 1990 semester for my pr…
Recent posts

The Career that Wasn't

Newspaper (Photo credit: Wikipedia) When I was an undergraduate, my goal was to teach high schoolphotography, yearbook, and newspaper. If I could undo the last 27 years of my career... I would. In a heartbeat. Accepting a job that seemed right changed my life and took me away from that path.

Instead, I ended up trying to make my skills work, somehow, from job to job. But, I always long to be back at the high school, teaching photography and media arts.

The disappointment in myself doesn't fade. I should have made that lousy (abusive) job work long enough to clear my credential and do what I wanted.

So, I went after the MA, Ph.D, and MFA all with the goal of teaching full-time. I've had one full-time, tenure-track post, and it was as bad as the high school job that I left.

It's my social skills, or lack thereof. It's the way colleagues (especially supervisors) run over me and get me to do their work. It's many things. Too many.

All I wanted to do in life was teach a…

Insecurity and Relationships

Insecurity is the greatest challenge for me in relationships.

I seldom feel confident as a partner, friend, mentor, or coworker.

In my marriage, I rarely believe I am as intelligent overall as my wife. I know I am not as emotionally balanced as she is. I know I lack her ability to deal with people. I know all the ways in which I fall short of her. I rarely feel that my talents complement hers.

This insecurity means I constantly worry that I have failed her. She could have found a better companion, someone with whom she would enjoy life and enjoy more success. That's a challenge for a relationship, since I'm always fighting the sense that she would be better off without me.

I think to myself, if only I were more successful, more popular, more charming, and more fun, her life would be better. Instead, she's stuck with me holding her back financially and socially.

Similar thoughts impede my friendships, my teaching, and my career. Doubts take over, consuming me at …

MFA Film Project - The End is Near

Cinemeccanica movie projector from circa 1950 in small cinema of folklore and arts union. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Since January 2016, I have been working towards my MFA in Film and Digital Technology. During these 18 months, I have had a number of medical issues, yet I did complete my coursework on time despite hospital visits, surgeries, and other minor disasters, including a car accident that totaled our beloved Jeep Cherokee.

What I don’t blog about, for many reasons, is that my wife and I are also foster parents. I won’t write much about that, but want people to understand that not only am I “the autistic me” trying to do my best to obtain job skills, I am also a parent with special needs children who are worth every minute they require for special services and our love.

My studies, teaching, our medical adventures, the children… it all adds up and has made completing the MFA film project a race against the clock. It also is going to require more funds than I had anticipated.

If…

Comic Sans Is (Generally) Lousy: Letters and Reading Challenges

Specimen of the typeface Comic Sans. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Personally, I support everyone being able to type and read in whatever typefaces individuals prefer. If you like Comic Sans, then change the font while you type or read online content. If you like Helvetica, use that.

The digital world is not print. You can change typefaces. You can change their sizes. You can change colors. There is no reason to argue over what you use to type or to read as long as I can use typefaces that I like.

Now, as a design researcher? I'll tell you that type matters a lot to both the biological act of reading and the psychological act of constructing meaning. Statistically, there are "better" and "worse" type for conveying messages. There are also typefaces that are more legible and more readable. Sometimes, legibility does not help readability, either, as a type with overly distinct letters (legibility) can hinder word shapes and decoding (readability).

One of the co…

Life Plans... Delayed by Life

A spinal nerve with its anterior and posterior roots. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) My MFA in Film and Digital Technology was supposed to be finished in December, 2016.

It wasn't.

Instead, I had one infection after another, anemia, emergency room visits, blood and iron transfusions, a pinched spinal nerve, surgery… and more infections. Add in a car accident and family things and life overtook my life plans.

This happens, but I do not like it when a schedule slips. Unfortunately, lots of my scheduled tasks have slipped.

Now, I need to finish my MFA paper and film, a screenplay that's past-due, and several other projects. Plus, I need to find a job after I finish the degree.

When I feel well, I need to work a lot to make up for the time I have lost and will inevitably lose in the future.

The panic caused by being off schedule causes my schedule to slip more, but I'm doing my best not to panic. It's hard for me to not be distracted by the distraction that is life.

THE Question Starts: You're Married... So...?

The wedding vows are complete - you may now kiss the bride. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) When I talk to groups, the three lines of questions are generally: school, workplace, and relationship.

There are plenty of books and experts on the school issues. Plenty of debates, too. Whatever you want to believe, there's probably an "expert" with that opinion. As an educator, I have plenty to say on the subject of school and being different.

As with school, there is an abundance of expert opinion for parents, educators, and autistics regarding success in the workplace. Again, I have strong opinions and most of those are related to the social aspects of school and work dominating our culture. "Emotional intelligence" is given too much weight, in my view, as we judge introverts, creative individualists, and anyone not charming as being somehow defective. We've made introversion a disability — or at least a professional liability.

But, the questions that seem to be…