About that woman Lynda.

Champion of justice, wielder of bullet reflecting bracelets, looping lassoer of truth (ugh, that’s terrible – yet truthful), and pilot of invisible airplanes.   The world knows her as the iconic Wonder Woman but those who really knew her, remember who played her best – Lynda Carter.

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman

…..hold it!  Hold the press!  Why am I writing about Wonder Women?  I know nothing about Wonder Woman other than the above and that she was played by Lynda Carter who played a staring role in many fantasies during the 80’s.  No, this isn’t about Lynda Carter (and with all due respect she maintained a beautiful presence  after all these years and apparently championed the cause of feminism – you go girl!)

This isn’t about a woman named Lynda.  Well, it isn’t about Lynda directly but it is about what she (Lynda Weinman – a Wonder Woman in her own right)

Founder Lynda Weinman

Founder Lynda Weinman

…started and what now bears her namesake.  This is about Lynda.com

I’ve always had a thirst of curiosity and, one could argue, a thirst for education.  This is especially true later in my life when learning really meant something more than “All I have to do is survive K12” syndrome.  I did well in college and even put myself back in college 20 years later to earn a degree in business.  My most current degree has meant more to me than any previous formal education I’ve had.  It came at a time in my life when I did it to earnestly learn from it rather than just going through the motions to earn a document saying I DID IT!  Well, I did do it and I did it during the most turbulent time of my life (perhaps another article, another time).  After completing my degree I still had a thirst for knowledge.  I don’t ever want to stop learning.  There is so much to learn and so little time to learn it all.  In fact, it seems the more you know, the less you realize you know.  I.E.  There is MUCH to learn. I also have a fear of no longer being relevant (Is this a known phobia?  Does it have a name? Surely it must).  So off to the videos (and books) I go.

I discovered Lynda.com through a friend, then my son showed an interest in it, I purchased a subscription, he learned what he wanted and then my relationship with Lynda(.com) blossomed into a consuming pastime. Even since the first time I laid eyes on Lynda and now, their course offerings have grown beyond what I would have imagined.  As of this writing the number of courses are 1599 (update: just flipped to 1601) and my queue is growing.  Lynda.com is changing the face of traditional education and I love it!

The staff of Lynda.com are driven with passion and a mission of making complex things simple.  I know this because I watched the Lynda.com story on their web site and I’m sure this isn’t biased at all.  OK, I’m being a little facetious but I really do believe they are for the most part genuine.  If you want to know more about what they do, check out their Press page.  They provide a really fantastic product and it shows.  What I love about Lynda is:

  • The vast library of courses available anytime, almost anywhere. (It is a SaaS product if you don’t purchase the DVDs so provided you have a decent high speed connection you are good to go)
  • Access to repeating instruction when you need it.  Watch that video as many times as you want.
  • Professionally produced videos.
  • Progress indicators.  Know where you left off.  What % of the course have you completed and which videos have been viewed.
  • Certificates of completion
  • Transcripts!

So, just a handfull of many great things about Lynda.com.  Co-founders Bruce Heavin and Lynda Weinman – to you I am grateful for taking a leap of faith and starting something grand and of such value.  To the staff and authors of Lynda.com – you rock!  Seriously.  Thank you for your passion, insight, and willingness to share.

Now, get out there and learn!

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Biking is life.

If you know “about” this blog then you know I love cycling. If you didn’t then go click the page above for “ABOUT THIS BLOG”. I haven’t been on a bike since Thanksgiving and if there was such a thing as cabin fever for bikes (or in this case, not being on one) I have it. I have a threshold of 45F before I put my butt in a saddle and start riding again. It’s been that cold for that long. I’m not happy about it and I know my bikes aren’t either. When I can’t ride, I swim (indoors of course unless I am somewhere warm enough to swim outdoors). However, I am happiest on a bike. Mountain bike, road bike, or cruiser. It doesn’t matter. I love being on two wheels.

I think if you devote enough time to a sport or activity you can start to draw analogies of it to life. I find this especially true with cycling.  Specifically mountain biking (MTBing) because…well, read on. First, I choose MTBing because that is where my heart is. I didn’t start riding a MTB

The Trusty Steed

The Trusty Steed – my current ride

when I learned to ride. My first official bike was your typical 10 speed up until the late 80s. I bought my first MTB in 1987.  A Diamond Back Ascent. It was yellow, rigid (no suspension), and by today’s weight as heavy as a cast iron Chevy. Perhaps a slight exaggeration but it sure feels like it now.  I rode this bike for years and I rode it HARD. We had some great times the Ascent and I…and friends. I rode it so hard that I broke the fork at one point. Forks are warranted for life so I had it replaced at no charge. I was quite proud for riding it so hard. It means I was pushing it and getting my money worth. I was happy and I’m sure my steed was happy. MTBs are meant to be riden hard. That’s what they are built for.

With MTBing, you pick a line, ride it, pick a line, ride it, repeat…often in the dirt and on a trail no wider than two feet (we call this single track and it’s what we live for).  It requires a surprising degree of concentration to prevent a trip to the first-aid kit or the hospital. In fact, there is more multi-tasking with cycling than any known sport in existence.  If there is, feel free to shout out.  In MTBing there will most certainly be stretches of ascending and descending. Sometimes an easy climb and sometimes a steep climb. Times when you are coasting or flying downhill.  As in life, there are these times as well.  Ascents can be thought of as trials or goals.  Some are more difficult than others but when that end is achieved you are rewarded with an awesome view or a downhill stretch of adrenaline charged fun.  Sometimes the reward is just pain, but it’s a good pain.  It’s the satisfaction that you made it.  Be happy, your body will recover for the next time and then you’ll find it easier.  Congratulations, you’ve grown, you’ve progressed.  You are moving forward!  I really cannot find a sport more analogous to life than cycling and this is why biking is life.

Bike until you're dead.

Bike until you’re dead.

Excuse me. Mr. Balboa, sir?

I’ve been thinking about inspiration lately.  Wait, I think about it a great deal of the time.  I think about it when I don’t think I’m thinking about it.  Does that even make sense?  Well, if you think about it, it does.   Whoa, I just lobbed a meta-think bomb there.  INCOMING!!! Doesn’t that blow your mind?

(Disclaimer: I’m not a huge fan of Tim and Eric, but I do like that clip)  I keep things around that once inspired me or continue to do so.  Every once in a while I go back and revisit them.  I believe we all need those reminders.  In an old office I used to spend most of my time, I had a few things adorning the wall to help me get through the day or to that next milestone.  One of them stated the following:

Believe in yourself –
in the power you have
to control your own life, day by day,
Believe in the strength
that you have deep inside,
and your faith will help
show you the way.
Believe in tomorrow
and what it will bring –
let a hopeful heart carry you through,
For the things will work out
if you trust and believe
there’s no limit
to what you can do.


-Emily Matthews

Great isn’t it?  Well, it is.  Really.  There is however, one slight problem with the above.  It reeks with idealism.

idealism

Now, idealism isn’t a bad thing in and of itself but I choose to be a realist.  Idealism is OK in manageable doses.  I heard Emily’s song from childhood thru exiting college (If you were lucky enough to go to college and exit with a degree.  Awesome!  You did it!!!).  I sang this song to my children as well.  Why?  I want them to believe in themselves.  I want them to better me.  I want them to have hope where there doesn’t seem to be any hope.  I want them to LIVE.  I don’t want to send them out in the world though without being prepared for the very real world it is.  There’s that word “real”.  This is where the realist in me comes out.  Let’s revisit that song again…

Elder – You can be anything you want to be!

Youth – I’m going to be an astronaut!

Elder – Son, your (insert anything that would prevent that here) isn’t quite good enough.

Youth – I’m going to sail around the world!

Elder – You threw-up 8 times in 2 hours the last time you where out on the ocean.

Youth – I’m going to be a ride at Disneyland!

Elder – Whoa, …whoa, …that’s just absurd.

POP!  POP! POP!  Did you hear that?  That was the sound of Hope bubbles exploding.  I am not advocating just going around and popping Hope bubbles.  My parents did not do this with me (I know that’s what you thinking from the above dialog…not true) and I did not do this to my children.  Well, not with such cold hearted tactlessness. (my children might tell you a different story.  God forbid they read this).  Emily’s song is appropriate for youth because it builds a dream of hope our children so desperately need.  Sometimes it even works and  their dreams become reality.

For myself, inspiration was found in music, nature, art, and leaders of thought.  That’s where I pull my strength from.  I know this isn’t anything unusual.  In fact, it’s quite common.  What might not be as common, is finding it even from the most mundane and normal.  It’s about looking beyond the surface and seeing what’s underneath.  It’s about trying to find beauty, where on the surface it obviously isn’t.  Inspiration.  Motivation.  Inspirivation.  Whatever you want to call it, is needed to feed the soul like a body needs water.

There was another quote that hung on the wall of that office.

“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much can you take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

-Rocky Balboa

Excuse me.  Mr. Balboa, sir?  That’s how surviving is done.  Never.  Ever.  Quit.

Not a real blog article, just an update.

I’ve been writing an article about company culture and it’s starting to become a novel.  Perhaps novelette.  A blog too long does not get read so I’m trying to keep it short.  I’ll post it soon.

Beyond that, I am busy with several courses on Lynda.com and a course on getting my CAPM.  Also getting items in order to renew a passport for a trip to Alaska later this year.  Totally thrilled!  It’s been a long time coming.  I haven’t been on my bike since Thanksgiving so I am a very sad cyclist and got the itch pretty bad to get my butt back in the saddle.  I have been swimming though.  I’ve never been a good swimmer but I have improved greatly.  It’s been a fantastic sport as a whole body workout and great for breathing control  (I should do an article about swimming.  *making note to self)

That’s all I’ve got right now.  Stay tuned!

LOLJKOMGRUSERIOUS?

TED talks are great sources of inspiration. Insightful, funny, mind-blowing, innovative, creative, are just a few adjectives that come to mind describing these masterful vignettes of Technology Education and Design. I’ve been pouring over TED talks when I can find the time (or if I feel the need to balance out my binges of wasteful time from watching Fringe, The Walking Dead, or Burn Notice which can be argued isn’t a waste of time…but I digress). I recently watched a TED talk that I felt was particularly spot-on. I did not grow up with all the cool toys (tools) my children have never known life without (Wireless, smart phones, social media, awesome video games, and a host of other distractions). I also grew up when personal communication was either face-to-face, through snail mail, or on a landline. Face-to-face communication was a necessary skill and I was taught to look people in the eye. It’s a show of respect and attentiveness. Even as I have adapted to the tools we have today I have caught myself deviating from the old ways. It is for this reason I find this talk particularly poignant. It is one of the longer talks I’ve viewed on TED so if you can keep your ADD in check it will be worth it. Enjoy.