Do you see confidence as a skill?

You know, I never thought of confidence as a skill.  I always thought that confidence was the result of having achieved some milestone or other self-imposed standard.  And I’d guess that a lot of people had the same view that I had.  However, I stumbled upon this video over the weekend and I felt a real shift of perspective.

Watch world-famous business coach Dan Sullivan explain the concept of confidence as a skill and see if you don’t also experience a shift in perspective.

Speaking for myself, I am going to adopt Dan’s advice and move forward.  Should be a real adventure.
WC
 


 

 

 

 

 

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A World of Our Own?

Technology is a beautiful thing. The conveniences it has given us and the simplicity it has made of once tedious work is nothing short of miraculous. But, in the words of one of my readers – are we enjoying the technology or is it enjoying us?

We have so many gadgets to give us creature comfort that we nearly never have to leave the house. As long as we have a computer, a phone, internet connection and a credit card we are set. We could easily begin to feel that really there is no one else in the world for all of the digging in we do in our little nests. We cocoon to coin a popular phrase.

It is any wonder that when we are actually out in the world our behaviour is less than amicable? We squeeze into spaces, nearly sending the car behind us in a ditch, but don’t notice because we have the a/c, stereo system and the cell phone going. We screech down residential neighborhoods at 3 a.m. with our music so loud it’s breaking crystal in someone’s house. We cut into line and don’t see the dismayed looks on other line mates’ faces. We yak to our friends while the movie is playing. Talk on cell phones anywhere, allowing all to hear everything there is to know about our lives, relationships and troubles. Our children run rampant, like wild animals through shopping malls, restaurants and groceries stores because we don’t believe in suppressing their desire to be free beings, even though they are giving everyone else mild heart attacks. We plug in our Ipods and giggle, gaggle and bang out the drum line on the table top, never noticing that the racket is bothering others.

All because of technology? Or is it us? Have we become so embedded in our own toys and gadgets of convenience that we no longer see the other people in the world. Or know that there are other people there? And when we notice them, are we confused by the strange or angry looks, the rude gestures? The stunned, gaping mouths?

It has been said of previous generations that it was all about me. But I’m wondering if that is a thing of the past or the present. Is the me generation still alive and well? If they lost their technology tomorrow, would they have the people skills and thinking skills to survive, to work in tandem with others and make it? Or would they just sit in a corner crying because they can no longer plug in, tune out and float in a world meant only for them? I wonder. Do you?

Can You See Me Now?

Newsflash! Apparently, as of 18 February 2009 a lot of televisions will go dark. Why? Because all the broadcasts will be switching over to digital signals. So, any television (remember that awesome deal you got on a 27 inch screen t.v. at Circuit City?) that doesn’t have a digital receiver will not receive.

You might say, ‘So what? I have cable, no worries.” And that would be true – if you’re willing to pay $30-$100 a month for television it won’t really matter to you. Even if your set doesn’t have a digi-receiver, the cable companies can somehow magically transmorph the signal so that you get it – though likely they’ll just give you a converter box and all will be well with the world. You’ll still get your 227 stations of high grade digitized entertainment.

But what about us schmoes who refuse to pay for television (like me). I have an antenna on the top of my house and I get the broadcast channels, thank you very much. And really I don’t want anymore than that because I actually have to get something done – with 227 channels my ass is glued to the barcalounger and only moves for snacks. What about us? Well, we get a $40 coupon from the government (or so they say) with which to buy the converter box which will likely retail for $60. Though something tells me, that if you’re not low income or can’t prove you’re needy you’ll end up paying the full $60 out of your own pocket. Just a feeling I have so don’t quote me.

Apparently the ‘air” they now use to broadcast television signals the old-fashioned way will be auctioned off for other use. Now, don’t you have to wonder who is going to bid on that air and what the heck are they going to do with it? It seems to me that every square inch of space doesn’t have to be used. We could just let it be, couldn’t we? Nope, it’s going to be auctioned off and it wouldn’t suprise me is Lil Kim of Korea or Imajihad of Iran or Chubby Chavez bought it all up and piped in subliminal messages to us yuglee Americans.

Can you see it now. We won’t have any television reception but strange foreign music will play whenever we turn on the set. Heck, maybe they will even turn on by themselves and order us around. Make us write checks to non-profits for foreign orphans schooling. Suddenly we’ll have the urge to pay $5 a gallon for gas, women will be demanding burkhas from fashion designers and those Eloton John big bug eyeglasses will become all the rage.

Could happen.

If you want to read more about this, you can find it here.

I’ve Been Stumbled…

Recently, I noticed I was getting some enormous  hits on this post. One I did sometime back and actually was a recipe that my buddy Ger had passed on to me, that his sister invented.

I was intrigued by all the hits and discovered that there were some folks at StumbleUpon who have stumbled on to my blog – thanks to that post. How flattered was I? Very. But I really have to give a big Hat Tip to Ger for that – thanks Ger!

 They also seemed to like Really Stupid Shit the original and Really Stupid Shit Part Deux. I have to say food and stupid shit is sure popular.

That I have made it to the StumbleUpon universe and gotten on their radar is really rather exciting and really good for my stats. I wonder too, if that isn’t where some of my new readers/commenters have come from. If so, hey, thanks a bunch and welcome.

Don’t know if they will stick around or not, but I sure hope so. I ordered some extra RAM for my computer so I can download Foxfire and then I add the stumbleupon tool bar. Soon, I’ll be stumbling too.

Well, actually, I’ve sort of stumbled all my life, so this really dovetails nicely. So, to all you stumblers out there, welcome to the party and I hope you enjoy yourself.

Oh and btw, Ger has a hysterical product on his site which you can find here – it is sure to cwack you up.

Keep stumblin’!

WC

A Lovely Day In The Neighborhood

 

Okay, so I’m having breffy with Zelda the other day and we’re talking about her dogs…truth be told we’re always talking about her dogs or her cats or her plants. She’s really into the animal kingdom.

Anyway, she decided to take them for a walk the other night which was naturally a bit of a funny disaster. The big dawg (huggy) got away from her to play with a little chihuahua that her Korean neighbors were walking. Apparently there were a few seconds where little chi-chi was flying like a trout on the leash but that’s another story.  So, while big dawg was doing that Lexy (beagle number 1) was just running – anywhere. I guess she ran til she got tired and Zelda found her panting by the side of the road.

Then there is beagle number 2 – a chubby little tri-color who is really a real life version of Deputy Dog. You gotta love him. But he won’t walk. He is afraid of the outside. Literally – no kidding. So Zelda carried him – all 35 lbs of him. You got the picture? Big dawg flailing and going after little chichi like a piece of bait, first beagle just running and Zelda trotting behind carrying second beagle.

So, solution? Dog trainer? Nope? Walk the dogs separately? Nope? Dog Whisperer? Nope. You ready???? She’s getting beagle number 2 a stroller.

Oh yeah, they make strollers for dogs. I can’t wait to see it and I promise I’ll post a picture as soon as I do. Talk about your gullible boomer. Zelda! What are you thinking? 😉

WC

Have You Painted Your Cat Lately?

Apparently, people still are finding ways to waste their money. A new trend appears to be having your cat painted for about 15 grand a pop. And if you want to keep up with the Jones’ you have to do repaints every three months. Can you imagine having nothing better to do with 60 grand a year than to have your housepet painted? Duh!

That being said, they are pretty impressive paint jobs.

(HT to FC for the pics!)

WC

Wrong on Climate Change?

(Here is a compelling article published in the Times Online, that challenges, conventional wisdom on the issue. WC)

February 11, 2007

An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change

Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist, says the orthodoxy must be challenged

When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works. We were treated to another dose of it recently when the experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the Summary for Policymakers that puts the political spin on an unfinished scientific dossier on climate change due for publication in a few months’ time. They declared that most of the rise in temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to man-made greenhouse gases.

The small print explains “very likely” as meaning that the experts who made the judgment felt 90% sure about it. Older readers may recall a press conference at Harwell in 1958 when Sir John Cockcroft, Britain’s top nuclear physicist, said he was 90% certain that his lads had achieved controlled nuclear fusion. It turned out that he was wrong. More positively, a 10% uncertainty in any theory is a wide open breach for any latterday Galileo or Einstein to storm through with a better idea. That is how science really works.

Twenty years ago, climate research became politicised in favour of one particular hypothesis, which redefined the subject as the study of the effect of greenhouse gases. As a result, the rebellious spirits essential for innovative and trustworthy science are greeted with impediments to their research careers. And while the media usually find mavericks at least entertaining, in this case they often imagine that anyone who doubts the hypothesis of man-made global warming must be in the pay of the oil companies. As a result, some key discoveries in climate research go almost unreported.

Enthusiasm for the global-warming scare also ensures that heatwaves make headlines, while contrary symptoms, such as this winter’s billion-dollar loss of Californian crops to unusual frost, are relegated to the business pages. The early arrival of migrant birds in spring provides colourful evidence for a recent warming of the northern lands. But did anyone tell you that in east Antarctica the Adélie penguins and Cape petrels are turning up at their spring nesting sites around nine days later than they did 50 years ago? While sea-ice has diminished in the Arctic since 1978, it has grown by 8% in the Southern Ocean.

So one awkward question you can ask, when you’re forking out those extra taxes for climate change, is “Why is east Antarctica getting colder?” It makes no sense at all if carbon dioxide is driving global warming. While you’re at it, you might inquire whether Gordon Brown will give you a refund if it’s confirmed that global warming has stopped. The best measurements of global air temperatures come from American weather satellites, and they show wobbles but no overall change since 1999.

That levelling off is just what is expected by the chief rival hypothesis, which says that the sun drives climate changes more emphatically than greenhouse gases do. After becoming much more active during the 20th century, the sun now stands at a high but roughly level state of activity. Solar physicists warn of possible global cooling, should the sun revert to the lazier mood it was in during the Little Ice Age 300 years ago.

Climate history and related archeology give solid support to the solar hypothesis. The 20th-century episode, or Modern Warming, was just the latest in a long string of similar events produced by a hyperactive sun, of which the last was the Medieval Warming.

The Chinese population doubled then, while in Europe the Vikings and cathedral-builders prospered. Fascinating relics of earlier episodes come from the Swiss Alps, with the rediscovery in 2003 of a long-forgotten pass used intermittently whenever the world was warm.

What does the Intergovernmental Panel do with such emphatic evidence for an alternation of warm and cold periods, linked to solar activity and going on long before human industry was a possible factor? Less than nothing. The 2007 Summary for Policymakers boasts of cutting in half a very small contribution by the sun to climate change conceded in a 2001 report.

Disdain for the sun goes with a failure by the self-appointed greenhouse experts to keep up with inconvenient discoveries about how the solar variations control the climate. The sun’s brightness may change too little to account for the big swings in the climate. But more than 10 years have passed since Henrik Svensmark in Copenhagen first pointed out a much more powerful mechanism.

He saw from compilations of weather satellite data that cloudiness varies according to how many atomic particles are coming in from exploded stars. More cosmic rays, more clouds. The sun’s magnetic field bats away many of the cosmic rays, and its intensification during the 20th century meant fewer cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and a warmer world. On the other hand the Little Ice Age was chilly because the lazy sun let in more cosmic rays, leaving the world cloudier and gloomier.

The only trouble with Svensmark’s idea — apart from its being politically incorrect — was that meteorologists denied that cosmic rays could be involved in cloud formation. After long delays in scraping together the funds for an experiment, Svensmark and his small team at the Danish National Space Center hit the jackpot in the summer of 2005.

In a box of air in the basement, they were able to show that electrons set free by cosmic rays coming through the ceiling stitched together droplets of sulphuric acid and water. These are the building blocks for cloud condensation. But journal after journal declined to publish their report; the discovery finally appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society late last year.

Thanks to having written The Manic Sun, a book about Svensmark’s initial discovery published in 1997, I have been privileged to be on the inside track for reporting his struggles and successes since then. The outcome is a second book, The Chilling Stars, co-authored by the two of us and published next week by Icon books. We are not exaggerating, we believe, when we subtitle it “A new theory of climate change”.

Where does all that leave the impact of greenhouse gases? Their effects are likely to be a good deal less than advertised, but nobody can really say until the implications of the new theory of climate change are more fully worked out.

The reappraisal starts with Antarctica, where those contradictory temperature trends are directly predicted by Svensmark’s scenario, because the snow there is whiter than the cloud-tops. Meanwhile humility in face of Nature’s marvels seems more appropriate than arrogant assertions that we can forecast and even control a climate ruled by the sun and the stars.

Twinkies, Anyone?

When I was a kid, I loved Twinkies. In fact, I still do. There is no other highly processed, prepackaged lump of sugar and starch that I love more. In fact, as processed, prepackaged lumps of sugar and starch go, Hostess just can’t be beaten. They are the king of the heap in this department.

Now as time wore on, after my childhood Twinkies became evil things – things that would make you kill another human being, for example. Hence the Twinkie Defense. Of course it could only have happened in California and San Francisco, as the rest of the world just isn’t that stupid.

Also the word Twinkie is sometimes used as a term to objectify women who are overly sexual and not too bright. Like we need another one of those.

But despite all the abuse the poor Twinkie has gotten over the years, it is still one of America’s favorite junk foods. So imagine my awe and surprise when I discovered that there are many things one can do with a Twinkie to make really cool deserts. There is actually a twinkie desert recipe page. Can you believe it? Below is my favorite recipe – but you can find many more here .

So enjoy your weekend and make a delicious Twinkie desert for your family which you can enjoy while watching a Sunday night video. Cheers!

Twinkie-misu
By Larry Coons

Items Needed:

Box Hostess Twinkies
1/2 cup strong coffee, cooled & sweetened
1/4 cup Kahlua (optional)
1/2 gallon coffee or coffee & chocolate ice cream
Chocolate shavings or sprinkles

DIRECTIONS: Slice Twinkies in half lengthwise. Spray 9 x 5 loaf pan with cooking spray. Put five Twinkie halves, cream side up, side by side in pan. Mix coffee and Kahlua (optional); with pastry brush, apply liberally to cut side of Twinkies. Spoon about a 1/2 inch layer of softened ice cream over Twinkies. Repeat until you have used enough Twinkies & ice cream to fill the loaf pan. Cover tightly with foil and freeze several hours or overnight. This can be served from the pan in slices or unmolded, garnished with the chocolate and served. Serves about 10.

The Joy of Creating

My good pal JG lives in Texas now. I miss her but I also envy her, as Texas has a certain something about it – where you just feel like the individual is king. You know? She sent along some pics of recent innovative inventions out her way. I’m in awe frankly, the ingenuity it took to come up with these is amazing. 😉  WC

Now you did know I was funning ya, didn’t ya? 😉

Writer Chick Predicts…

You know when I was a kid I used to love to read or hear about all the crazy, whacko predictions the psychics of the day would make about the coming year. What was really hilarious was how they would (later) try so hard to make the facts of something somehow mold into a prediction they’d made.

So in the spirit of that – I, Writer Chick, shall also make a few predictions sure not to come true – and if any do, it will be purely accidental.

I predict that in 2007:

  1. Fat people will be outlawed in NYC and if apprehended with a box of oreos, booked for possession of trans-fats.
  2. Teddy Kennedy will become the new spokesperson for Jenny Craig (maybe Kirstie will lend him her old body shapers?).
  3. Global warming will cause hot, fresh pizzas to rain from the skys during hurricanes that rail for 30 minutes or less.
  4. Britney Spears will create her own underwear line called Now you see it – Now you don’t.
  5. In a tell-all book, Madonna will reveal her favorite moisturizer is embalming fluid.
  6. Al Gore will invent a hybrid vehicle that runs on gas and electricity and call it the Priestess.
  7. The ACLU will file a class action lawsuit against the State of Texas in behalf of beef cows, citing slavery and wrongful death as key points.
  8. Apple will unveil its latest innovation, the BlogPod.
  9. Stem cell researchers will successfully replicate a conscience and offer it to Hillary Clinton for beta testing.
  10. Arnold Schwartzeneger will ‘come out’ as a Democrat.
  11. Rosie O’Donnell will admit on Oprah that she is the victim of a botched sex change operation.
  12. The first transexual Miss America will be crowned.
  13. The New York Yankees will win the World Series – by accident.
  14. Scientists will discover that land masses and ice masses surrounded by water experience erosion, thereby diminishing the size of said mass.
  15. Inexpicable accidents and scandals will befall any opponents to Senator Clinton in the bid for the Democrat candidacy.
  16. Barak Obama will blame his ears on President Bush (why not? everything else is his fault.)
  17. In a daring move, CBS will replace anchorperson Katie Couric with Barney the purple dinosaur – hoping to capture the heretofore untapped demographic of oversized stuffed animals everywhere.
  18. The medical community will unanimously agree that living is dangerous to one’s healthy and Congress will pass a law that all newborns henceforth will be tatooed with the Surgeon General’s warning of same.
  19. Michael Moore will premeire his first film based on fact in his biopic called Fat Like Me.
  20. Maureen Dowd will marry Jim Gilchrist and become a born again Libertarian and start her own newspaper called North of the Border.
  21. Bob Woodward will admit on 60 Minutes that everything he has ever written is lies and promote his upcoming book, All I know is I Can’t Tell the Truth.
  22. In an attempt to increase environmental awareness, major designers will develop a machine that can make fabric out of matter recovered in landfills. And use the fabric in their new spring lines. (clothes pins will be issued to all attendees at the Spring showing.)
  23. Jimmy Carter will become the new spokesperson for Jiff peanut butter, making the claim that it has a little known use as mortar (as demonstrated in the habitat for humanity model homes).

and finally….

We’ll all be going to Hell in a handbasket. 😉

Okay, those are my predictions…anyone care to offer some of theirs?