10 Lessons I Learned from my Family: Lesson 1

In honor of my sister’s birthday (Happy Birthday Beth!) I’m writing a post a day for the next 10 days on lessons I learned from my family.

Beth is 1 year 10 days and 2 minutes older than me so we grew up very close and shared a lot of good times.  She turned 29 this morning and in 10 days I’ll turn 28.  In the next 10 days I’m going to reflect on all of the things my family has taught me over the years.  So without further ado…

Lesson 1: Confidence is all in your head so fake-it till you make-it.

I’m lucky to have grown up in a loving family with 3 sisters, a mother and a father all under one roof, I’m the youngest and I had guidance from all of my family.  In addition to all of that my family was super supportive – I was regularly reminded that I was smart and attractive and I could do anything I wanted in life (the truth of their comments didn’t matter but the support meant the world).

As I grew into an awkward teenager I found it really easy to lose all the confidence and spirit I’d had before.  Pimples, voice-cracking and being smaller than all the girls made it hard to hold on to that built-up confidence level.

As I got into High School I realized that the guys who had all the friends and were going on dates with girls (because that’s about the only thing I thought about as a teenager) were the ones who were willing to talk to them.  And the guys willing to talk to the girls were the ones with confidence.

One day I was sitting at the dinner table when I realized that I could feel completely comfortable and confident at home with my family and it made me able to be the outgoing and interesting version of myself.  At that point I decided there was no reason I shouldn’t be able to act that way at school and around my friends.  I decided that the next day I was going to just act like that.  I started smiling at strangers with a big smile instead of a meek smile, I acted like I wasn’t afraid to be goofy or tell a weird joke even though I secretly wondered if people thought I was stupid.

Gradually over the next few months it became easier to act like I was confident because I was getting more confident.  I was beginning to realize there was no really good reason for worrying so much about what everyone thinks.  Sure, I got teased a little, but in the end my ruse won out and the confidence started to grow.  Now (over a decade later) I’m completely confident with myself, I’m not afraid to look like a fool – and my friend will tell you that it happens sometimes 🙂

Leave a comment and tell us what you think about confidence or your family’s lesson!



Delicious Twist on Normal Chips & Salsa

A little bit of guacamole mixed with some On the Border Mild Salsa makes for a delicious dip for some Tortilla Chips.

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How to Become a Project Finisher

Are you a Project Starter?  Do you want to be a Project Finisher?

The folks over at Harvard Business Review have written a great little article on the type of people who are great at beginning projects but terrible at finishing them.  I happen to be a shining example of this type of person so they really struck home with me.

Heide Grant Halverson (the author) did a good job of showcasing just how a simple mindset change from focusing on what’s been done (to-date thinking) to focusing on what is left to be done (to-go thinking) can really help us move projects forward to completion.

I really like the psychological trickery here but I’d like to go one step further to say that I’ve been nice & lucky with next-step thinking in order to keep myself from seeing a mountain of work left to do and getting overwhelmed I find that focusing on the next 1-3 tasks really keeps me going.

Do you have any great ideas, tips or tricks to keep yourself motivated to see a project through to completion?  Drop them here in the comments!

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The Hard Way? No, the COOL Way!

This video made me drool! I love seeing how things are made and when you showcase tremendous innovation mixing old and new technology you get some of the coolest carbon fiber work ever.

Thanks to Mark Mann for the link!

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The Coolest Soccer Ball on the Planet!

This is by far – The Coolest Soccer Ball on the Planet!

The Ball is a CTRUS C1 by AGENT


CTRUS Design Process from AGENT. on Vimeo.

Article from Gizmodo.com

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Our ‘New’ Antique Radio – 1948 Philco 1262 Radio and Phonograph

For Christmas I decided to do something a little more special for my wife (and a little bit for me). I had been looking at some classic pieces of furniture to liven up the house but without any luck.  I’m a generally stingy person so instead of looking in antique shops I was perusing Craigslist for some good deals.  I’d had my eye on an old style liquor cabinet or maybe even a radio.  I wouldn’t have even thought of the radio if my Mom hadn’t had my Dad’s old radio restored for him a few years back – it’s a beautiful 1940’s Philco table-top model that still plays any music you can find on the AM band (mostly radio-disney, but that’s another story).

After a month of searching I finally found a radio with a grainy picture of a Philco radio with a style I thought I liked.  I sent an email and waited a week but with no response.  I sent another one and waited 2 weeks but no response.  I was almost ready to give up but I just couldn’t find anything else I liked on Craigslist so I sent a last ditch email that said

Subject: Need Christmas cash?

Love your radio on Craigslist!  I’m in XXXXXXX Kansas and I have cash, I’d love to come by tomorrow and check it out/pick it up.

Call me on my cell at XXX.XXX.XXXX.



And it worked!  He had been out of town until then so he wasn’t responding to emails, I drove to his place and picked it up just a couple days later.

1948 Philco 1262 Radio and Phonograph

Not long after Christmas I even found a really cool original magazine ad from the mid 1940s advertising the very same radio!  We’re planning to frame it and mount it above the radio.  Erin and I are looking forward to listening to some old radio broadcasts, perhaps off our friend’s website oldbroadcasts.com.  Until then, I’ll be taking this thing apart and piecing it back together with fresh parts!

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PROOF that Zombies are Real.

This is unequivocal proof that zombies exist and they’re coming to get us.

This ant’s brain is being controlled by the parasite, I can’t think of anything scarier than that!

They’re starting with Ants and working their way up to us, check them out here: Zombie Ants

Put your brain caps on, get out the shotguns and print off your map to the Zombie Safe House.

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iTunes Gets a Facelift – iTunes 10.0 released

I was working on my computer this evening when it politely asked me to run updates.  After a quick update to iTunes I was surprised to find a completely new look!  Check out the facelift to iTunes with the rollout of 10.0.  The jury is still out but first impressions are good.

The icon is completely different as well:

What are your impressions of the new iTunes?  Were there any functionality changes that I haven’t run across yet?

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Day Trip from Kansas City – Atchison, KS

A couple weeks ago Erin (my fiancee) and I were able to sneak away for a little day trip out of town.  We really didn’t have time to go far but we wanted to see something new so I did some researching.

I remember a friend’s father saying that the trip to Atchison was a beautiful one and there were some pretty cool sights.  After some research I settled on a plan, told Erin to mark most of her afternoon off the calendar and relax.

We hopped in the car about 1 in the afternoon after Erin’s hair appointment and headed North.  The drive was nice because we took the relatively small highways and it was far enough we felt like we were getting somewhere but not so far we got tired of driving!

It was an hour and 15 minute trip one way to our tasty lunch at Paolucci’s off 3rd street.  After that we went for a walk down by the river and enjoyed the pleasant weather, the nice view and the Memorial.

We went to leave Atchison but on the way out of town we came across the Atchison Santa Fe Depot Visitors Center & Museum.  On a whim we stopped and found a really cool Santa Fe train museum there!

The museum was all outside and with all the cool old trains we had to get the requisite conductor looking photos.

All-in-all we had a great time and it made for a very nice day trip out of Kansas City to Atchison.


ZAP Car found where it belongs!

The other day I was scouring the city in search of an obscure part for my car.  One of my stops was the local Pick-N-Pull.  A “you pull it” style junkyard.  Or salvage yard, whatever you word you want to describe it’s the same thing, a bunch of junk dead cars with some parts on them that may, or may not be, good anymore.

Lo and behold I was on my way out into the yard when I spotted this beauty!

ZAP Xebra Home in the junkyard

ZAP Xebra Home in the junkyard

This is a ZAPCar Xebra.

Now let’s be honest, this is exactly where this car belongs!  3 Wheels in the most unsafe arrangement and a top speed of 40mph and a range of 25 miles???  That has to be the least appealing vehicle on the planet.

The sad part here is that ZAP used to have a good name in the Electric vehicle field and stood a fantastic chance of being the FIRST major manufacturer of electric vehicles.  Unfortunately they categorically trashed their good name and their business’ future.  In fact, Wired wrote an intriguing and telling article about them here.

So ZAPCAR, we laugh at you.  With derision and a little sadness that you could’ve been so much but you were so little.  (pun intended)

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