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Mark Armstrong And His 7 Dark Secrets

March 7, 2012

Jean Chong, who writes a delightful blog on cycling, was kind enough to nominate me for The Versatile Blogger Award.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Apparently this is given to people who are “naturally gifted in writing,” “pleasing in blog design,” “consistently dedicated,” and who “demonstrate respect for their readers.”blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

This doesn’t sound like me at all, but I accepted anyway… ๐Ÿ˜…blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

The VBA requires that you nominate 15 other bloggers for the award, and share 7 random things about yourself.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

I know many bloggers who deserve such an award, but I’m too shy (and lazy) to nominate them.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

However, I don’t mind sharing 7 random things about myself– see below.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

I decided to create a special illustration for this post– see if you can guess which Deep Dark Secret it refers to. Thanks again, Jean.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels highGoldfish bowl illustration, with puzzled goldfish looking at pair of eyeglasses which are resting on bottom of bowl

blank vertical space, 16 pixels high1. One song that never fails to send me into an absolute trance whenever I hear it is Changes by the late American folksinger Phil Ochs.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

My favorite version of the song is by Ian & Sylvia, and you can listen to it here.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

2. I still reread certain Sherlock Holmes stories.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

3. I once rode a century, which is 100 miles on a bicycle in a single day.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Most of it was across an utterly barren stretch of desert between the north rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and Zion National Park in Utah, in the southwestern United States.

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highCan I explain how I was able to do this and live to tell about it? No. Will I ever ride another century? No.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

4. I don’t like golferย Tiger Woods.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

5. I once lost a pair of glasses when I accidentally wore them in swimming.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

6. As a teenager, I worked at a drug store after school. My favorite part was dreaming up funny ways to decorate our two big windows.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

I never understood that this was a hint that I was interested in visual design.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

7. The only art class I’ve ever had was a required half-year course when I was in 8th grade. For the most part, I didn’t like it.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

What do you think?ย Can a man who wears his glasses in swimming be trusted? Do you suppose Dr. Phil will read this post and invite me on his show?ย Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to subscribe. Justย click on the Subscribe button below the Portfolio Thumbnails in the sidebar at the top right of this page.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

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Hey, Bertie Bott– Time To Brighten Up Your Beans!!

Forgotten Hero: A Tribute To Baseball’s Roger Maris

footer for all future blog posts showing picture of blog author Mark Armstrong, along with short bio and contact information

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31 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2012 7:08 PM

    That sounds expensive. Although losing a contact lens while swimming is also pricey and strangely depressing. My boyfriend would be jealous – he loves biking in Utah. Does sound cool.


    • March 8, 2012 12:59 PM

      Yeah, I think it did cost me a couple of hundred to replace them. But I have a wonderful memory: my 4-year-old niece told me quite seriously: “I’ll buy you a new pair– do they cost more than six dollars?” Which was her life savings at the time. Excuse me, got something in my eye, must reach for kleenex… : )


  2. March 7, 2012 7:25 PM

    The comic is delightful and hilarious, Mark. A person who can laugh at themselves at times, will surely live long and more happily.


    • March 8, 2012 1:06 PM

      I can see I have a long life ahead of me. With many more foibles to come. I could keep going indefinitely here… : )

      Thanks again, Jean, for your very kind nomination and good humor!


  3. Margie permalink
    March 7, 2012 7:25 PM

    Interesting secrets, but not very dark!


  4. March 7, 2012 9:35 PM

    First of all, congratulation for your nomination of The Versatile Blogger Award!

    I wonder why you don’t like Tiger Woods and I wonder as well how you were panicking when you lost your pair of glasses, LOL.

    Nice things of you to share with.

    Best luck for you! ๐Ÿ™‚


    • March 8, 2012 1:24 PM

      Thank you, dear Inge! I’m sure I couldn’t have won without your support… : )

      Poor Tiger! He sulks, he pouts, he whines, he misbehaves. He needs a good role model– me, for example… : )

      I lost my glasses at a family reunion. We searched everywhere before I came to a horrible conclusion. Here’s the funny part: I left a note at the desk when we left, explaining about the glasses in case by some miracle someone found them. A week later, I got them back in the mail. Some guy had found them on the bottom of a lake whose swimming area extended out for a hundred yards. They were unbroken, but the lenses were so scratched, I had to throw them out. It was pretty exciting to see that package, though!!

      Many thanks for your kind wishes, and I’m wishing the same for you! : )


  5. March 8, 2012 5:21 PM

    That song was really nice to listen to. After a hard day’s work it can make one relax quite a bit ^_^

    Can’t imagine how panicked you were knowing your glasses went missing. They are such nifty things but are so easy to misplace!

    Very interesting to see the background of how you became interested in visual design, even if it was not fully shown at first. But you definitely chose the right path : )


    • March 9, 2012 2:35 PM

      Thank you, My Dear Fox! I’m glad you liked Changes and found the song relaxing. As the UK’s hard-working design student, I know you are under a lot of stress. I predict you’ll be listening to that song 50 times a day. OK, make that 100 times a day… : )

      Yes, misplacing glasses is very common, but misplacing them on the bottom of a lake?? Well, uh… hmm. : (

      I was once asked to give a talk to a bunch of 8th graders on the subject of Careers. (Talk about ludicrous– I can’t imagine anyone less suited to address this topic than myself.) I remember telling them that story about decorating the store windows, and advising them that one is always being given little hints about a possible vocation, and that you have to stay alert for them. Too bad I wasn’t alert at the time!!

      Your kind assurance that I eventually chose correctly is very sincerely appreciated. : )


  6. March 9, 2012 5:37 AM

    Hello my dear Mark, you inspired all about lemon… please accept this token of appreciation:
    Enjoy and have fun with it ๐Ÿ™‚ haha
    dolly xoxo


    • March 9, 2012 2:52 PM

      Another award for yours truly? Oh no, I’m not worthy! Really, I’m not– really, I, uh… wait, what am I saying? Of course I’m worthy!! Come to think of it, who deserves it more than me??? : P

      Thank you, Dear Dolly. I can, er, truthfully say that this is the most exciting thing to happen to me since I won a blue ribbon in first grade for having the Best Bald Spot. As usual, I was ahead of my time… : )


      • March 9, 2012 3:05 PM

        hahaaha, don’t forget to add some more toilets dear ๐Ÿ™‚


        • March 9, 2012 8:13 PM

          I’m putting in another dozen tomorrow. I need to be able to properly display all these awards I’m winning. I may have to become a part-time illustrator and a full-time plumber… : P


  7. March 9, 2012 12:01 PM

    Ah Mark! Still waters run deep (with glasses on the bottom)! I love what you did with this and the cartoon! Oh what fun! Listened to Changes. Why have I never heard that beautiful song until today? Love the story of your glasses. I agree with you wholeheartedly about Tiger. What a self-centered spoiled little brat. I wish he’d lose his golf clubs at the bottom of a lake! Now I’m off the read your other posts. I see alittle bit of Fred Mertz from here and I do love all things I Love Lucy! ๐Ÿ™‚


    • March 9, 2012 8:48 PM

      Ah, Linda! I read your posts, I grin from ear to ear. I read your lovely comments, I grin from ear to ear. No wonder my ears hurt!! : )

      Yes, a fool and his glasses are soon parted– or something like that. Glad you enjoyed Changes. I hear that song, I can almost see the petals wafting off the last rose of summer– and it makes me feel happy in a sad way. I must have my head examined one of these days… : P

      And now I think I see Tiger standing on an island tee. I must sneak over there and give his clubs a little push… thanks so much for stopping by!! : )


  8. March 12, 2012 1:21 PM

    Holy cow….a century!!! I didn’t know what that was until today. WOW! What an accomplishment…good job. Didn’t your bottom hurt? I can’t even imagine how my body would feel after that. I think I would break in two…hahaha!

    Awesome illustration and very comical!


    • March 12, 2012 3:14 PM

      Yes, my bottom did hurt. Everything hurt– especially the next day (which was, mercifully, a rest day– otherwise I’d be buried out there). One of those things you can’t really comprehend in retrospect. If I hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t believe it happened myself!! : )

      Thanks, Christine, for your kind comment and support!


  9. robpixaday permalink
    March 28, 2012 6:45 PM


    100 miles? MILES???????????
    :: faints::

    Yeah. Aout the glasses. That makes perfect sense to me because I can’t even see the end of my nose without them (super myopia). And a couple of times I swam into people in the pool when I was a kid. So wearing glasses seems like a DANDY concept!

    Sherlock Holmes!! FABULOUS reads, all. Do you have the “annotated” collection? Pretty interesting.

    And LOL re that art class.
    But wait. You taught yourself all of this?
    BRAVO!!!!! You give me hope. Thank you!!!!!

    Gosh…thank you for that link to “Changes,” too. A real gem.


    • March 31, 2012 5:56 PM

      Yes, Changes is a gem, and after reading your delightful comment, I must conclude that you are, too (i.e., a gem, not a song, though you have a lovely, er, trill… : )

      100 miles… I must have imagined it. No wait, I still have the receipt from the ambulance… : (

      Isn’t there a Holmes story about glasses? The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez? They talked funny back then… : P

      Self-taught… I think that translates to someone who was too dumb to get on the right track and/or just has to learn the hard way. Well, it’s an interesting approach if one enjoys hard slogs and the occasional attack of brain-fever… : (

      You have plenty to be hopeful about, you’re doing great work, yours is a unique voice, and a very necessary one, IMHO.

      Thanks, as ever, for your cheery support! ::jumps up, clicks heels, clutches heart, collapses::


  10. September 29, 2012 10:49 PM

    What wonderful natural talent– loved the insight re lack of formal art training, and the drugstore light bulb…

    I’ve gone to sleep wearing my glasses and wondered where they were next morning – yep, still wearing them (perhaps I shouldn’t have shared that!)


    • October 2, 2012 5:40 PM

      Yes, yes, you should have shared that, and thanks for doing so– it’s mighty good to know I’m not the only one whose glasses play tricks on them!!

      I should clarify: I wasn’t putting down art school. In fact, I consistently recommend it to young artists. Kinda like taking golf lessons if you’re really interested in the game, and learning the fundamentals. An artist will find his own style eventually– no worries there. It pays to have a solid grasp of the basics: one has to know the rules before one can break them in a good way, so to speak…

      Thanks for your lovely comment, and for stopping by– you’re always most welcome here! : )


  11. May 30, 2013 10:37 PM

    This wasn’t so bad man, I expected to be wading through murky waters and dodging crocs or something! Liked the song, betcha cud see the colours falling ๐Ÿ™‚


    • May 31, 2013 9:01 AM

      Wading thru murky waters and dodging crocs– yes, I remember doing that when I was searching for my lost glasses… : P

      You should listen to Over The Rainbow, too, because rainbows always have falling colors. Well, at least on one side… : )


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