Just pulling your chain Jeff.
I completely agree about avoiding auto-adjusting. It's too blind a process.
Believe it or not, the BEST trick to learning to be a better photographer is a basic, Photo 100 class with a black and white darkroom lab. (Shock!) You can find one at nearly any community college. It's all about fundamentals.
At the very least you'll finally understand what all those funny looking tool icons in Photoshop really mean!
[Edited 2003-11-25 04:31:13]