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On Being Just Right for Quiet Time

I am enjoying the quiet time that is possible between Christmas and New Years. You can fill it up if you want to with movies and shopping and dining. If that is something you find a hard time making time for in your life then enjoy. I crave quiet and big unscheduled blocks of time. 

So many people take time off from work between Christmas and New Years that I am able to enjoy my work at my own pace. And listen to podcasts. 

My friend Gigi Johnson shared her enjoyment of On Being and now I love it too. There are so many good topics discussed that you will be sure to find something that floats your boat. I also love it because I am reading Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre. It convicted me about my tendency to use hyperbole in my enthusiasm. It also has awakened my heart to good language. Krista Tippett is respectful of language and careful in choosing guests and topics. Check it out online or on Stitcher. 

3 Podcasts that Have Me Hooked

I only started listening to podcasts this Spring. My friend Carole introduced me to Satellite Sisters on the Stitcher platform. Stitcher is an app that assists me to find and listen to podcasts that match my interests. 

 Satellite Sisters can also be found at www.satellitesisters.com.

Satellite Sisters can also be found at www.satellitesisters.com.

My first addiction is the Satellite Sisters. The 5 Dolan sisters are funny, witty and sharp observers of our culture. I do not miss an episode on Sunday or Tuesday.

My second addiction is really new. I just discovered Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert. There was a link to her interview with Brene Brown on Facebook. I am now listening the first 12 episodes to catch up. Yes, binge podcasting.

My third podcast is not quite an obsession. Several of the episodes have had a profound impact on me. I learned about The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes at the World Domination Summit. I still think about his interview with Laird Hamilton and several other episodes.

If you have not yet tried out a podcast, you can dip your toe in the water with a shorter podcast--say 6 minutes. Eventually you will be ready to listen to Mark Maron's WTF for 1 hour 26 minutes when he interviews one of your heroes like Patrick Stewart or President Obama.

Tracks Movie Adaptation: 30 years in the making

"It seems to me the Universe gave us three things to make life bearable: hope, jokes, and dogs. But the greatest of these gifts is dogs." Robyn Davidson in Tracks (the movie)

I first read Robyn Davidson's book Tracks as a paperback around 1984. I found it unfathomable in parts. I yearned for adventure but her adventure was extreme. The environment, and the solitude were all beyond my imagination. I saw a preview for the movie and wondered why it had never been made a movie before now. Maybe it needed the actress Mia Wasikowska to come along.

The obvious comparisons are to Cheryl Strayed's book and movie adaptation Wild. Just comparing the two movies, I prefer Tracks. It is much more respectful of the wilderness as another character in the adventure. Maybe too it was camels and dog that make it more accessible.

It is now available to view on Netflix and I am so glad I did!

Robyn Davidson and movie poster for Tracks

A little more like Juliette

Cairo Time

When I was in the CTI Co-Active Leadership program we did an exercise created by Henry House where we typed one another by our dominant energy type. We all have these energies: charm, sex, beauty, danger, humor, eccentric, and intelligence. One is generally strongest and we lead best when we lead from this energy type. First we went through a list of words and determined as a group those that most applied to one another. Capable was the word that got the most votes for me. I was not surprised. It is one of my strengths and a stumbling block when working with others. Eventually I was typed as intelligence energy with beauty as a secondary type.

The second part surprised me. Beauty energy is not about outer physical beauty. It has more to do with attributes that draw people toward you and may be expressed as queenly or remote or ethereal or down-to-earth. My beauty energy is more earthy.

It has been about 5 years since my leadership training and I am still working out how to optimize my energy type and lean in on my beauty energy.

Cairo chess

Recently I rewatched Cairo Time on Netflix. The heroine's name is Juliette and she is strong and beautiful and graceful and smart. Patricia Clarkson's portrayal of Juliette epitomizes beauty energy. And as I watched it for a second time that week, I thought I want to be more like Juliette.

Cinderella Returns

Mulan
Little Mermaid

I am so glad I raised my children in the 1990s when there were not as many really crappy movies targeting kids as the audience. I have a son and a daughter and on both of their accounts I am glad that the Disney heroines were not yet all princesses all the time. We had Ariel the little mermaid, and Mulan. Even Pocahontas was more empowered and inspired than poor little Cinderella. I went to see the new live action version of Cinderella with my friend Stephanie. It was entertaining to see how they made the mice seem real and created the CGI castle. The moralizing is poured on pretty thick so we are supposed to credit Cinderella attracting the prince--not just with incredible beauty, and a great dress and shoes--but with her kindness and courage. Right. All in all she is a passive heroine. (I liked Drew Barrymore's version better.)

Katniss

You can really see the divide in our culture. On the one hand you have all these little girls with princess gear and a steady diet of Disney maidens. And then we have kick-ass heroines like Katniss in The Hunger Games, albeit in a dystopian world.

Cinderella

As I rode my bicycle back from the downtown theater I pondered how much power I give the Cinderella story in my life. I like to think I have outgrown its appeal. My romantic sensibilities can still be moved by the idea of rescue even though I do not need rescuing.

I just hope that by the time my grandchildren are born we will have moved on to a better narrative for all.

Woman in Gold Lingers in my Imagination

Painting by Gustav Klimt

Yesterday I went to the movies in the late afternoon (I love being a consultant!) to see Woman in Gold. Helen Mirren stars as Mrs. Maria Altman with Ryan Reynolds in this true story of a woman forced to flee her homeland after the Nazi's were welcomed with open arms by the Austrians. Her family's belongings were stolen including the wonderful painting by Gustav Klimt popularly known as the Woman in Gold.

The performances were spot on. The actors were familiar mainly from BBC dramas. The director did a good job of giving us flashbacks that illuminated the depth of family love and their place in Vienna's society without going on too long and becoming a documentary. I especially like how we saw the same episode from Maria's point of view but each time telling another aspect of the story--just the way memory works when we return to them. Ryan Reynolds did a great job of playing a very smart but awkward young man who discovers his big heart and passion as he evolves in his role as Maria's lawyer.

This movie was so much more emotionally resonant than the trailer suggests it will be. I dreamed about the story last night and continue to return to the story in my mind today. I recommend this very good film.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2404425/

Desperately Seeking Focus: Or Going Bat*h%! Crazy!

I moved this month. Just about 15 miles from West Davis to Midtown Sacramento and yet my mental maps are are jumbled and my routines disrupted. It is good to shake it up and I like it except when I am shaken! I have not written much in 3 weeks and everyday I say, "Today is going to be a productive day." Except that it is has not been. I do not have a writing block so much as a loss of concentration.

For example, there are lots of things to write about if one pays attention. Just in the last 3 days I had a serious of bat encounters. First at a meeting, this interloper thought he would participate in our discussions of the Yolo Bypass.

acob Katz caught the bat in his hat and then probably scared the bat by bringing it in to show us.

Then I noticed the title of the new detective mystery I am reading is The Bat by Jo Nesbo. He is an Oslo police detective but this murder takes place in Sydney.

Read about Jo Nesbo's first Harry Hole novel set in Sydney on Adventures of American Julie.

The third bat point is from my dog Lulu. She made two new friends at the outskirts of the farmer's market in our new neighborhood. She won over the affections of Dory and Batman, two dachshund hounds. Batman is a very handsome dog.

This illustrates the main thing about writing: the discipline comes first and then the art. From discipline flows art or at least the opportunity for art. Glad to be back in the writing chair.

You can read more about the Yolo Basin Foundation's bat walks and talks in the Yolo Bypass on Bay Delta Tourist.

You can read more about Jo Nesbo's book and Sydney, Australia on Adventures of American Julie.

World Domination Summit Tickets On Sale: Final Round March 18

You do not want to miss the opportunity to attend the World Domination Summit (WDS) in Portland Oregon this July 9-13. The final round of tickets go on sale March 18 at 9 a.m. PST. For more information:  http://chrisguillebeau.com/wds-2015-tickets-on-sale-soon/ I will be attending for the first time. I bought my tickets in October when the second round went on sale. The first round were for WDS Alumni. I am looking forward to some serious learning and some silly fun. It is part of my personal development plan for 2015.

Check out this video for some high energy inspiration:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRbvBvS4oqk

A True Love Story: Eleanor & Park

Terrific novel by Rainbow Rowell

I hate to even mention 50 Shades of something. The media seems to find the movie premiere so titillating. Television, radio and newspapers are falling over themselves to find some way to titter over the movie and its tie ins. I have no plan to see the movie, even though I read the books at the suggestion of a friend who called the trilogy a story of redemption. When you read you can tone down your mental images of the racier parts of the story, but with a movie you are captive to one interpretation. Sometimes, as with Harry Potter film adaptations, the movies match or exceed expectations for bringing the fantasy to life. In the case of 50 Shades the reviews (including one from a friend) it seems that the fantasy is more nightmare.

Meanwhile I just devoured a novel, Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell. This novel illuminates the process of falling in real love. It is not categorized as Young Adult fiction, though when you buy it Amazon suggests you may also like books by John Green (best known for The Fault in Our Stars) whose books are generally found on Young Adult fiction shelves. The main characters Park and Eleanor are teenagers. The novel captures the emotions and thrill of first love. I like how the author has the characters study Romeo and Juliet in English class so she can contrast the superficial love between Shakespeare's young lovers with the deeper soul connection between Park and Eleanor. I could not help but contrast it with the twisted love in 50 Shades.

I also like how Rainbow Rowell portrays domestic violence and the vulnerability of children after divorce without becoming too graphic. When a mystery solves a murder without the gruesome CSI type details and with a focus on relationships it is called a "cozy" in the publishing world. Eleanor & Park is the cozy equivalent in adult fiction.

I finished the book yesterday and I still find myself thinking about the structure of the novel, the themes and the story. Eleanor & Park is wonderful and if you want to read about real romance in a story with substance, I recommend you read this book.

Oh the Glory of Selma!

The movie Selma is a must see. The theme song “Glory” by John Legend and Common is a must listen.

I just returned from watching the movie Selma with my friend Petrea. Coincidentally we had agreed to read The Warmth of Other Suns about the great migration of Black Americans to the north and west to escape the violence of Jim Crow. Then we scheduled our girls night out to see Selma and we had an urgency to finish this terrific non-fiction book.

Isabel Wilkerson’s wonderful account of three individuals who amplified the experience of 6 million Americans fleeing an intolerable situation, sometimes leaving everything behind, to seek freedom and opportunity for a better life. They often met the same racism though less formal. It helped us understand the climate of fear that Black Americans in Selma faced as they asserted their right to vote.

I braced myself for what I…

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Grantchester Thrills

James Norton and Robson Green play  Rev. Sidney Chambers amateur sleuth  and police detective, respectively

Grantchester on PBS Mystery is so much fun to watch. I love the casting. I love the time period (195Os). I love the black lab puppy Dickens.

So inspired by the first episode, I ordered the book it is based on James Runcie's cozy mystery novel, The Shadow of Death. I am enjoying the novel just as much. (Now I have read all three books and give them all a thumbs up!)

Noticed one irritating discrepancy between the book and the television script, the victim in episode 1 was an Ulsterman and they had him drinking Jameson whiskey. Whereas the book got it right: he drank Bushmills.

Episode 2 was just as strong, introducing more entertaining characters and deepening others. I am thrilled to report there are a total of 6 episodes to enjoy. And three books by James Runcie.

Rob Bell's Podcast Inspires Sometimes

 Rob Bell

Rob Bell

I started listening to Rob Bell's podcast in January. It is hit and miss. Sometimes I find myself tuning it out as Rob gabs on and on. He is best when he interviews someone. The guests are from varied perspectives--entertainment, theology, art, and more.

I am listening to his April 25, 2016* podcast with Krista Tippett. I have featured her on this blog before because I love her podcast On Being. She has a new book, Becoming Wise. I have ordered it but I have not read her book yet. She has a new podcast to accompany it. Both of her podcasts are available on Stitcher. 

I have only found Rob Bell's RobCast on https://robbell.com. Sometimes I am frustrated listening to it because Rob Bell sometimes gets in the way of the guest, or goes on and on about himself. I guess a lot of people like him so much, they like these episodes. I find them annoying and find Rob Bell comes off as precocious. 

He is best when he interviews Elizabeth Gilbert--except for the excess giggling. The interview with Krista Tippett is solid. Look at the guests on the website and dive into the one that looks most promising to you.

*I realize this appears as though I am writing about the future. This blog was actually completed in April 2016 but I cannot figure out how to change the publication date! Uffda SquareSpace.

Happy Penguin Awareness Day!

Fiordland Crested PenguinIt is Penguin AWARENESS Day not Penguin APPRECIATION Day. Fiordland Crested Penguin

Because man is doing a lot of unhelpful stuff threatening penguins.

Fiordland Crested Penguin

Melting ice and overfishing in Antarctica is crashing the food web the penguins depend upon. For specifics from an eye-witness, read Fraser's Penguins: A Journey to the Future in Antarctica by Fen Montaigne.

Fiordland Crested Penguin

People are doing a lot of good stuff to protect their habitat and make it to another generation. Like Dr. McSweeney in New Zealand.

Beach without penguin

Be aware. Do good stuff before they are gone.

This post "Happy Penguin Awareness Day!" is featured on blogs associated with On Your Radar Media Company.

What will you be reading in 2015?

warmth

I went to the movies with my friend Petrea and she presented me with my Christmas gift and a challenge. She gave me a list of 30 books to read to "understand the world" from Vox. She emphasized TO UNDERSTAND THE WORLD. It is almost magical the way books can illuminate and inform. Anyone who reads avidly knows you cannot remain the same after reading a powerfully written book. This list is entirely non-fiction,  We agreed to read Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns and discuss it. Then we will select another one. We are both very busy, and we both read to relax. So we will see how it goes. We are not committing to read the entire list.

If you want to read any or all of the books on the list TO UNDERSTAND THE WORLD, then here are Vox's recommendations:

  • Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam
  • A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Anthony Marr
  • The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care, T.R. Reid
  • And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts
  • The Gift, Lewis Hyatt
  • The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design, Richard Dawkins
  • Social Democratic America, Lana Kentworthy
  • Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky
  • Gang of Five, Nina Easton
  • The Art of Political Murder, Francisco Goldman
  • Longitude, Davis Sobel
  • The Design of Everyday Things, Donald A. Norman
  • Bad Pharma, Ben Goldacre
  • Rise of the Warrior Cop, Radley Balko
  • Getting Better: Why Global Development is Succeeding--and How We Can Improve the World Even More, Charles Kenny
  • Marvel Comic: the Untold Story, Sean Howe
  • The Teacher Wars, Dana Goldstein
  • Out of the Vinyl Deeps, Ellen Willis
  • City: Urbanism and Its End, Douglas Rae
  • The Cult of Pharmacology, Richard DeGrandpre
  • The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson
  • The Triumph of Politics, David Stockman
  • The Human Nature of Playwriting, Samson Raphaelson
  • Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
  • What would Jesus Deconstruct? John D. Caputo
  • Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner
  • The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2013 Presidential Election, John Sides and Lynn Vavreck
  • The History of White People, Nell Irvin Painter
  • The Practice of Everyday Life, Michel de Certeau
  • Six-Word Memoirs on Love & Heartbreak, Edited by Smith Magazine

Is it me, or does this list seem American-centric for an understanding of the WORLD? What would you add to our potential reading list?

What is the best book, new or old, you read in 2014?

by Sonali Deraniyagala

This question was posted on Twitter and 14 different authors responded. I had not read any of their books, so I pulled out my two journals from this year and looked at the list of books I read. I keep track because I have a memory like a sieve and sometimes I can remember the contents but not the author or title. It is my cheat sheet.

I read many memoirs. I read my favorite of the year in January. Sonali Deraniyagala's account of the tsunami that took her family earned these comments: "WOW! Such courage." The book is Wave and it is a relatively quick read. Today is the 10 anniversary of the Asian tsunami, so go to your local independent bookstore and buy it and read. It will also clarify what is important in your life before 2015.

Best fiction novel was Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This was a book I traded for on my Tour de France adventure. I loved it and passed it on to Grace Julie. When the ebola crisis hit I felt a connection to the people suffering in Africa that I might not have felt except for reading this novel. This may sound silly unless you are an avid novel reader. A good novel creates sympathies where none existed before--for me an interest and care for the people of Nigeria.

Americanah

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque was the best older book I have read this year and part of my reading list for the World War I anniversary. Every time there is a news story on the anniversary I think about this book. It is so profound and so beautifully written. What is friendship? Why war? What does it mean to be an adult?

What is the best book, new or old, you read in 2014?

Grantchester Looks Terrific!

Clicked through to the PBS.org website mulling over whether I want to watch Downtown Abbey this season. I spied the preview to Grantchester. Stars the James Norton who played the hero defense attorney/preferred suitor to Georgiana in Death Comes to Pemberley. (Confess I have watched PD James' 3 parter Britain a couple of times.)

http://video.pbs.org/video/2365365854/

Yes! Looks fabulous. When is it on?? Have to wait until January 18 (television), or in my case January 19 on-line.

Meanwhile, are you watching Downton Abbey? Or have reached burn out?  I am on the fence. I rewatched an episode the other day and was surprised how tedious I found it. Give me a reason to tune in...

2 Mysterioso Presents for the Holidays

The Silkworm

I downloaded Cuckoo's Calling over a year ago. Without opening it, it got lost in the shuffle and I forgot about it. Then I was hungry for new fiction to read. I went to my favorite local bookstore, Avid Reader, and saw Cuckoo's Calling in paperback. I remembered that I already owned it. I cracked it open and then devoured it. Wow! How can Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling be so damn good? I love the main character Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin. I loved the storyline and how there is just enough gore without reveling in it. I also like the pace. Instead of rushing through like the "24" clock is running, it unspools the way it would if a real private eye is working the case and this allows for more character development. 

When I finished Cuckoo's Calling and Amazon Kindle asked me to rate it and informed me there is a second book, The Silkworm. Without hesitation I downloaded the second book. I took a few hours break to digest the first book. Now I am in the midst of the second mystery and it is just as satisfying.

I hope Robert Galbraith writes at least one mystery a year because I like this detective with his strengths and warts. I also like reading a novel set in London.

If you have a family member or friend on your gift list that has not yet discovered these mystery novels--they make great gifts. You can give e-book gifts too through Amazon.

Ready to Launch?

I opened the e-mail from Michael Hyatt asking me to check out Jeff Walker's video on launching new products. One of my clients, Bay Delta Live, is getting ready for a public launch in February so it was timely.  I watched all four videos and gleaned lots of good ideas for our upcoming launch. Jeff takes tried and true marketing strategies and applies them to the new technology available on the internet. He calls his product The Product Launch Formula. There is just 13 hours left to sign up for his latest workshop series.  Check it out if you are interested.

Jeff Walker

Making Moments with Carlos Whittaker

I was texting my daughter from the Storyline Conference in Chicago and she asked if I went to Carlos Whittaker's workshop, Making Moments. Sarah Harriet follows him on Instagram and is a fan. Alas, she plugged him too late. I had already missed his workshop. Instead I stalked the book table hoping to buy his book Moment Maker. The plan was to get him to sign it for Sarah. Finally, mission accomplished and he handed my camera to someone else so I could be in the picture too.

At Storyline Conference meeting Carlos Whittaker

That afternoon and next morning I carefully read the book so I could give it to my daughter when I got home. It is very inspiring as Carlos is willing to take risks and, as a result, has enjoyed some amazing moments in his life. He lives with an open heart and it fills his life full of adventure.

In addition to Instagram (LosWhit) he has a blog, Ragamuffin Soul. He is a worship leader and writes and records worship songs. He is a devoted father and husband and many of his moments are inspired by his love for his family.

He also shares the potential humiliation that can follow when you wear your heart on your sleeve and do not think your moment making through. These make for great laugh-at-myself-later moments.

Check out tweets @loswhit, cd Ragamuffin Soul, and Facebook page Carlos Whittaker.

Michael Hyatt is a Prolific Writer

Author and coach Michael Hyatt

Chris Guillebeau and Jon Acuff recommend identifying people in your field whose work you admire and follow them so you can find inspiration and learn from them. Several times Michael Hyatt was mentioned in a list of admirable bloggers. I checked out his web site and it is impressive.

He offers a This is Your Life podcast, a blog, publications, keynote speaking, and conferences. In a blog post called "Pick My Brain" he wrote:

Here are seven ways you can get access to me. These are arranged from least expensive to most expensive.

  1. Search my site. I have written more than 1,400 blog posts on this site. Chances are, I have already addressed your question or issue. Just use the search box in the upper right-hand corner of this page. My weekly podcasts are another free resource.
  2. Subscribe to my updates. I currently publish two new blog posts a week, along with a new podcast. I write on self-development, leadership, productivity, platform-building, and publishing. By subscribing, you’ll never miss a post. Learn more …
  3. Buy one of my products. You can find them all in my store. They represent my best thinking on various topics, including platform-building, publishing, public speaking, and more. I have several other products in development. Learn more …
  4. Join Platform University. This is my members-only site, designed to give you the inspiration, training, and resources you need to take your platform to the next level. The community forums are my favorite feature. I personally participate in them. Learn more …
  5. Come to one of my conferences. I host three different conferences a year, along with my business partner, Ken Davis. They are designed for public speakers and platform builders. These are a great place to connect with me personally. Learn more …
  6. Book me as a speaker. I have been speaking publicly for more than 25 years and have keynoted hundreds of events. I currently do a limited number of speeches each year for corporations, conferences, and trade associations. Learn more …
  7. Hire me as a coach or consultant. I love coaching and consulting, but I have limited time available for it. Therefore, I am very selective. I also charge crazy-high fees. But if you think you could benefit from one-on-one interaction with me, send me an e-mail.

Not sure how he has time to produce all of these products--even with help. I subscribed to his email and the deluge began. I am impressed with his productions schedule.

After listening to a number of podcasts and reading a number of blogs, I am underwhelmed with the quality. The ideas are not very original and the headlines often do not seem to align with the content. There is a lot of functionality on the website though. And he must have a very strong work ethic.