No, no, Not NO! PART 2

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In my first part of my blog I promised to post my reasons for choosing the symbol for Aleph Null as my avatar. I've taken it from a Novella to a short story by just skipping a jot of stuff, but it's still a bit long. So I'll post it here and leave a link to the original Blog.

How did you choose your avatar?

Ole's Aleph Null:

As a child and teen I was fighting two battles. One, of course was with my gender issues which I was aware of by age two. The second was something not understood at the time, at least by my school system, I had a learning disability: AD/HD. It was finally diagnosed 9 years ago when I was going back to medical school for a few courses.

ADD is Attention Deficit Disorder. HD is as you may have surmised Hyperactivity Disorder and they usually present together; hence ADHD, but neither is as simple as it sounds. Not much ever is.

ADD is really not about attention but about the way the brain processes information. While some things just may not register, the same person may Hyper-focus on other things. Often people with this disorder are lateral thinkers. They don’t work their way through a line of facts to reach a logical conclusion as a linear thinker would, instead they recognize 3 or 4 scattered facts and reach the conclusion laterally. In women it’s called intuition!

The HD part in my case isn’t so much what you’d think of: My “Hyper” was the need for the new; I always sought new things and ideas. I grew bored very quickly: Still do!

Of course when I was a kid no one had a clue about any of this. They thought if you were smart you learned things and if you didn’t you were stupid or lazy.

From the first grade on I tested off the charts for my age group for verbal skills, reading, retention and logic. Math was a disaster and spelling not so good. I was an atrocious speller even though I knew the words and meanings and used them properly.

From grade one I could open my books the first week of school read them once, stay moderately alert in class and take the exam at the end of the year for an A. It worked for English, History, and Science. Well, for most subjects. By 3rd grade I was reading at 7th grade level and by 8th at college level. Most subjects were easy straight A's while others were impossible. My mind soaked up some things and rejected others. It was just the way my mind worked, but it was so frustrating! They tested the hell out of me.

My abilities/disabilities were both a blessing and a curse. In high school I was taking a mix of advanced placement classes for straight A’s and a few remedial catch up classes for D’s. I was also taking college level correspondence courses from the University of Wisconsin because school bored me.

In my senior year of high school my dad had a heart attack and cancer. He had to retire before 60! It was too much! To my great shame I dropped out of high school and finished my degree through the university. Still, even though the courses were harder, I felt ashamed!

I did have one success in algebra that caused an obnoxious teacher to be set down a peg but it’s another story.

OK, you're asking yourself about now, what has all this to do with Aleph null? Well, though I couldn't do the math worth a damn, I was fascinated by science and quantum mechanics and the thought experiments of Einstein and others made perfect sense to me and I kept up with trends as best a layman could.

Sometime in the '70's I read a popular (for non-mathematicians) book about quantum mechanics that featured a chapter about Georg Cantor and transfinite numbers, and though the concepts were simplified for the audience the concept of 'aleph null' was discussed. It also said that a mathematician had postulated in a doctoral dissertation that aleph null could be used to represent a point in space where parallel lines intersected. Given my dual nature, the thought of parallel lines intersecting resonated with me.

Many years later when I was looking at information on languages and alphabets, I'm an inveterate and insatiable reader; I discovered that in Syriac it was Alaph or Olaf depending on the dialect. Ole is the familiar form of Olaf, my grandfather's given name and my chosen pen name. I'm Danish on one side and German/Irish on the other.

So a name I like, tied to a concept that intrigues me: in my unusual mind it makes perfect sense!

If anyone wants the whole story, PM me.

I apologize for the length.

I, and I'm sure others, would love to know how and why you chose your avatar.


We grew up separately together...

Andrea Lena's picture

...I'm a college drop out. The years between leaving and returning were filled with self-doubt, shame, and regret. I think the reason I picked this particular picture of Dominique Sanda is that she looks so relaxed and confident; two things for which I still long. I'm not of any Norse extraction, but I do like a Cheese Danish on occasion, and I'm ethnically considered a mutt. I wondered why I enjoy the smell of Alpo? And I'm glad you sent me the 'whole' story. Thanks!


To be alive is to be vulnerable. Madeleine L'Engle
Love, Andrea Lena

Cheese Danish qualifies...

Ole Ulfson's picture

to be at least a 2nd cousin: And I am part Irish!


We are each exactly as God made us. God does not make mistakes!

Gender rights are the new civil rights!

My Avatar

littlerocksilver's picture

Originally, my avatar was just a picture of a little girl who I thought looked like the main character, Fanny O'Donnell, in my story "The Narragansett Fork". As the character of Fanny developed over several stories, I realized she probably represented the person I would most liked to have been like.

The picture is a charcoal drawing of a young girl done by Mary Cassatt, one of the great impressionist artists. The girl is not particularly pretty, but in her expression one can see a bit of bemusement as she approaches puberty. There is the appearance of a keen intellect, something that I don't have.


I have ADD too

I dont get "hyper" in the traditional sense, but I have trouble focusing on one subject and not getting...hey, was that something shiny?

What was I talking about again?


I'm glad I'm not the only one here, Dorothy,

Ole Ulfson's picture

I wonder if there are others...

They say that 4% to 6% of the population is ADHD.

I was never Hyperactive either, in the sense of running wild and causing trouble: But as soon as I grasped a subject, I was ready to move on to something new, RIGHT NOW!!! And I was bored SO easily...

It affects every one in different ways.


We are each exactly as God made us. God does not make mistakes!

Gender rights are the new civil rights!

Avatar choice

Just logical, I guess. Besides, there is a certain resemblance... :-)


Thanks, PB...

Ole Ulfson's picture

I wish I could relax like that!


We are each exactly as God made us. God does not make mistakes!

Gender rights are the new civil rights!

Strange but true. yes I am.

In one of my previous lives my teacher translated a dream concerning my totem Which was and is the White Wolfe. This totem will be making a staring role in several of my stories. My problem is that I have changed to a great extent I was able to express that through my avatar. That came from my inner struggle to learn how to express my inner femininity and to find a part of me that could stand up for my self. I needed to find a female role model I could identify with and to an extent emulate.
Seeing Neytiri in Avatar with her ability to totally express her emotions and be her own person, her fierce, wild, untamed protection of her people, her world, and her mate. This spoke to me in volumes. This was the type of person I really was, inside of me. That part of me that had been beaten down but not broken who was made to act tame, the wild side needed to get out. The Neytiri character spoke to my condition to my heart and my soul.

BTW I to have ADD and I have had many a battle trying to turn it into an asset. May be we need to create a club for all of us to share comical and uplifting stories.

With those with open eyes the world reads like a book