Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I Got A Degree For This?
Yes Sir. Whatever You Say Sir.
Jack of Few Trades; Mastered Some.
very succinctly I might add....I also took the liberty of coming up with a 6 word resume for O.J.: "Did You Know I Played Football?"
And, before I forget, here's the Cheese Ball-o-Meter reading for Day 6:
How's that for brevity? In this short post, I have included my resume (twice) as well as the cheese ball update for today.
Have a Happy New Year everyone!
I have really been getting back into wearing hats. Back in the 80's (yes, I'm dating myself here) I used to love to "rock" funky hats.
Anyway, so MB and I were out at a local shopping center the other day. It was one of those centers with a few upscale shops. I wasn't having much luck finding a hat, so as we strolled by the Victoria's Secret, I said, "Let's peek in here. They have other stuff now so they may have a hat." We were greeted by someone the minute we walked in, which ruined my plan to quietly browse around. She asked if she could help with anything and I said I was "just looking" but MB insisted on asking the tarted up (ok, I didn't need to add that -- meow!) salesgirl if they had any hats. I was too embarrassed to look. After all, who goes into Victoria's Secret in search of a hat??
She told him that they didn't have any hats, but that "all bras are half off." MB grinned and repeated back, "So all bras are half off, that's good to know." I couldn't get out of there fast enough after his double entendre. Remind me to shop ALONE next time..
cheeseball-o-meter: Day 5 consumption Level
...which would explain why I've felt queasy and been so "parched" lately
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
I've gotta admit that I'm firmly on the "Twitter Train." I was hesitant to get involved at first, but stuck it out and found that I am lovin' it. I'll admit that it has been a bit of a distraction that has taken me away from focusing on blogging.
The immediacy of Twitter is so alluring, not to mention the ego boost when people actually sign up to follow me! (ok, so this is mostly because I am following them- but let's not split hairs here). Being that I am not on MySpace or Facebook, I've never experienced this type of phenomenon before and, god, it's fun :)
Communicating back and forth with intelligent beings from around the world with the click of a button, learning about lots of new sites, not to mention contests!
My writing style is more predisposed to short spurts than long diatribes. Compared to Twitter, my blog is starting to seem like this static page that rarely sees much activity. (must dust it off occasionally) I've been working it hard, getting out there in forums and commenting on sites, but it remains this tiny spec floating aimlessly in the Blogosphere.
I'm trying to keep all this Twitter stuff in perspective, but dang if it isn't fun :)
boring 'ole blog :(
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Like I already wasn't paranoid enough, just in time for the holiday party season comes this article from ABC news on the dangers of potluck dinners. Food cooked at the wrong temps or sitting out for hours can lead to germ infestion. We all know that. But what cracked me up was the part at the end of the story about tips for ditching your food on the sly or pretending to be on a diet!
photo credit kangotraveler
photo credit aturkus
Something I'm sure all my fellow bloggers notice, is that once you start blogging, you see thing a bit, shall I say "differently."
I only just found out the other day that "Dooce" (aka Heather B. Armstrong) is expecting. As I am not a frequent visitor to her site, I was reading another blog that mentioned the news. Now, the normal person on hearing this would most likely think, "Oh, that's wonderful. How sweet." (with raised voice)
The "Jaded Blogger" (aka me) thinks: Good for her. Now she'll have blogging material for another 18 years!!!
(alright- after my initial thought, I said to myself, "awww. How sweet."- or did I?- kidding!)*
I will not be expecting again. ever. So if I ever start running low on subject matter, maybe I'll have to take up some new hobbies to fill the blogging void or become more green and frugal (if that is possible), as those seems to be the topics du jour. Any ideas?
On a non-jaded note, I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday season. I've made lots of awesome new friends through blogging and I appreciate each and every one of you :) (especially the Brits!)
*all kidding aside, check out her blog for some nice non-tattooed pregnancy pics...
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
photo credit shkumbin
The Blue State Cowgirl has inspired me to seek out some Albanian visitors to my blog. It appears that she has become the "David Hasselhoff of the Eastern Bloc" after she posted her list of obscure Christmas Tunes. Apparently these Christmas Tunes must strike a chord in that part of the world. She is drawing visitors to her blog from Bucharest, Montenegro, Albania and even Bayan Olgii, Mongolia (I am so jealous!)...
So here's my challenge: While I have had visitors from the Netherlands, Britain (love you Brits!), Denmark, Japan and Saudia Arabia, I have yet to have a visitor from Albania. If anybody you know is from Albania, please get out the word. If I can get someone from Albania to leave a comment, that would be all the more awesome!!!
Being you already know that I am not a big fan of Christmas tunes, I will have to resort to some other tactics if I do not get any Albanian visitors; so, please hope that I do :)
Monday, December 22, 2008
photo credit Kevin Collins
Now that I no longer have the "commode conundrum" post on my blog, I figured it would be a good time to add a new "conundrum" and luckily for me, one came along just at the right time.
Here's the thing: MB spoke with my MIL on Saturday, and before hanging up, happened to mention that he and VC were going to visit my BIL and family to see the Christmas lights at a park near his home and hang out the rest of the day. The BIL and family live about an hour from here. I, being a Christmas lights Grinch, decided I'd stay home and use the valuable time to Twitter instead; well, only part of the time, the rest would be spent mopping and shopping for last minute gifts. "Mopping and shopping" you can't plan posts like this!
Here's where the conundrum comes in. As he was hanging up, my MIL asked him if I would be going along with him and VC to visit the relatives. This may sound like an "innocent" question and maybe it was. However, this has been a point of contention ever since I wanted to skip a rehearsal dinner at the in-laws house (no. I was not in the wedding party) and visit a friend in NYC who I hadn't seen in years instead. This was the only free night we'd be in town - 11 hours away from our home. I was lectured in a phone call from my MIL, that "couples must do things together." So, newly married, I put my tail between my legs, sucked it up and went to the rehearsal dinner to please the MIL. And, as you can see, I got over it quickly and moved on -- lol!
I find it interesting that my whereabouts are still being tracked these 16 years later.
MB and I frequently go to events separately. Frankly, I don't find it that odd. We are not joined at the hip and we get along best this way.
What do you think? Are you part of a couple who does things independently? Has your independence been met with raised eyebrows from family members?
Enquiring minds want to know..
Friday, December 19, 2008
VC attended preschool at a local church. I was also a teacher at the preschool in the next room. One day his teacher approached me to tell me that she was very concerned, because he wasn't COLORING as well as the other kids. She showed me this ornament as "exhibit A":
and pointed out that he had not colored inside the lines. My face immediately flushed, as spontaneously occurs every time I get stressed. (yeah, lucky me) The voice in my head said, "By golly, what a horrible mother! Have you not worked with him on his coloring. hmmm?" Oh, how serious it seemed at the time.
But, how funny it was by the time I got home and realized the lunacy of her remarks. This was a 4 year old and we were talking about his COLORING at a time when he could recite all the planets in order including the number and names of moons of each planet...He even created a song about it! Who knew? What the heck was I doing focusing on helping to build his vocabulary and encouraging his scientific pursuits, when there was COLORING to be done!
VC no longer "colors" so for all I know he may not have progressed much farther than this cheerful ornament that he created when he was 4 -- that I absolutely love!
He is a remarkably creative dude who takes an interest in unordinary things and still remembers the name of Mars' moons: Phobos and Deimos. I can only hope that he continues to color outside the lines. Otherwise I will start to worry..
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Back to the contests I spoke about in yesterday's post: I am learning some valuable lessons about myself as I enter these contests. This week, for example, I came across a contest that asked for frugal suggestions for holiday gift giving, decorating, refreshments, etc.
Figuring I'd have it in the bag (lol) since I live a fairly frugal existence, I happily submitted a couple of suggestions, which were definitely frugal. One even saved big bucks...
Did I win? No. Why? Partly because I quickly knew I was way out of my league -- when participants went all "frou frou" using phrases such as: festive flair, foliage, adorn with a sprig of blah, blah, add shavings of blah and sprinkle with blah.
So while I can do "frugal," I have trouble making my frugal sound all "frou frou." You following?
(BTW: this photo is actually of a "festive" cake topper - which is actually kinda cool!)
Since he wanted more juggling supplies, I asked if he could do some comparison shopping for me on the various online juggling sites we purchase from. He was able to look for the 6 items he wanted and provided me with the best prices he could find. This saved me a lot of time and also helped avoid shopping errors. What if I had purchased the short-bearing diabolo vs. the long-bearing diabolo that he wanted?? (Of course, everyone knows that the long-bearing diabolo is best, so this is just an example.) I would have incurred shipping charges to send the diabolos back.
Large size elves (aka husbands) can also do some leg work for you. If I send MB out with a written list of locations and with all the necessary store cards so that I can earn points for my purchases, I've found that he has become so proficient that he now asks if I have any frequent buyer cards that he needs to take with him before I even have to bring it up.
Some may call this laziness on my part, but I prefer to call it "resourcefulness." Spreading around the work helps to "spread the Joy" since I will inevitably be in a much more congenial mood come the holidays :)
Looking for more ways to avoid holiday stress? Check out http://www.familyaware.org/and http://blog.parentbloggers.com/
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
photo credit briemarie
Ok, so I admit that I've become a total "contest whore" (in a good way) now that I've discovered the previously unknown world (to me) of internet contests. It started innocently with the "leave a comment on this post" contests and quickly morphed into my becoming involved in the jump through hoops contests, e.g.:
(1) Not a member? Register here
(2) Rename your neighbor's dog
(3) Subscribe to my feed
(4) Join the Foreign Legion
(5) Check out this site and tell me what color you like best
(6) Wear your shirt backwards today
(7) Put this widget on your sidebar
(8) Learn to speak "Bushman"
(9) Follow me on Twitter
(10) Name a star after someone you love
(11) Tweet about this giveaway
(12) Dance without moving your arms
(13) Write a blog entry and link to this post
(14) Drive around the block and then hit "enter"
Ok, Ok, Ok. Beads of sweat roll down my face as I try to carefully complete the complex tasks before the deadline for entries. Because you know that in the end, I will be one of 500 other contest participants who have the chance to will a week's worth of toilet paper, a belt to prevent my jeans from gaping, some organic pencils (I kid you not) or a "silvertone" pedant.
If there's a competition and I find out about it, look out. Move aside. Step AWAY from the Computer!
I was recommending a site to LC where she could promote her giveaway. When we spoke a couple of hours later, she had already checked out the site, and she said, "Oh, I see you've entered to win a messenger bag. Good luck." So I guess the "cat's outta the bag." My nasty habit has been exposed.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got an urgent deadline to meet....
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
photo credit simon davison
Events of the last two days have convinced me that it is time to reign in my control as unofficial Comptroller of the Computer at our house.
When the computer crashed this weekend, I was on the verge of a breakdown. Seriously? Seriously.
Against my better judgment and after much whining by a male member of the household who is over age 13, I agreed to install a program that I did not want to install. Long story short: The computer crashed.
Having had enough problems installing extraneous crap over the years, I know that all it takes is one program to disturb the delicate balance that enables it to run like a charm (on most days). Everything is (or was) set up just the way I like it. When I got up yesterday morning after a sleepless night, I remembered that I would not take my customary walk down the hall to turn up the heat and boot the PC as soon as I got out of bed. There would be no booting today :(
Not to get all melodramatic, but it was like suffering a loss. Ok, so that is a bit melodramatic, but you get the point. My friend LC told me she read that the computer can be considered an extension of ourselves. So it is no wonder I took it personally.
After calling several repair services only to find out that the minimum charge per hour was $110, I decided to tackle the problem with the windows re-install myself. After 10 hours, I had the computer back to about 95%. The last 5% I will wait for another day. Biggest bummer is that my win-tv program does not work, as I suspected would be the case since it is a very temperamental program. With a name like Hauppauge, it has to be!!
So, here's hoping I "grow a set" and stand up the next time I, as Comptroller of the Computer, am approached to add a new program to the computer. I'm not doing anything without a proper "work order" and retain ultimate "veto" power, because, sure as heck, I'll be the one cleaning up the mess. As always.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Friend: "Ours is artificial"
which got me to wondering if said friend is set for a career selling "certified pre-owned vehicles" or, as my friend Philsy came across recently: "Last Night's Bagels" (as opposed to the not as tasty sounding: "Day Old Bagels")...
Of course, I say this having just finished decorating our "Faux Tree." But, by the looks of it, you'd never know ;)
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Act I: Scene I: Carma is at the computer wasting time.
My first order of business will be to designate times that I must enter the "internet-free zone" and remove myself from the computer. Lately, I seem to be drawn in by some invisible force as soon as I dread doing something around the house, i.e. cleaning bathrooms, dusting, and pretty much any other mind numbing household chore. I can easily waste an hour just puttering (or mostly tweeting) around.
Act I: Scene II: Carma is still at the computer wasting time.
Second order of business will be to teach VC some better organizational skills. Right now his general vibe is: "Oh, I forgot to do that; Oops. I can't find it." This will definitely pay off down the road in helping to prepare him to be a productive member of society. By helping to get his act together, a secondary benefit will be allowing me more time to spend on the internet (kidding).
On a more serious note, as I enter the "Second Act" of my life, I'd love to present a more confident self-image and start believing that I am worthy of success. This will be the hardest of all, but if I can succeed, I believe the rest of my "acts" will receive a standing ovation, even if it is just from myself :) awwwww....
To learn more, please visit: http://www.bigtent.com
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
1. As a senior in high school, I sported a crew cut
2. I have "burned" water before. Coincidentally it was during a lengthy phone conversation with LC
3. I waited in line at Tower Records in NYC in the 80s to get my t-shirt autographed by Paul Young (?who) at Tower Records. I was almost crushed in the stampede that occurred when the doors opened. There's 5 hours of my life I'll never get back :(
4. When I was a child I was obsessed with drawing mushrooms
5. I painted my front door bright red a while back; to quote my soon to be teen: "red doors are beast!"
I have been friends with LC (aka Lori) for almost 7 years. We talk regularly about such important topics as whether the dentist changes the plastic coverings on the handles of the light after each patient.
This picture simply does not do us (or my chest) justice, but those girlfriends shirts Rock!!
I would like to share with you that in addition to having 20/20 vision, LC is an accomplished artist. Seriously talented. You can view her paintings on her Still River Studios blog. I have purchased three of her paintings and consider them to be "mini-masterpieces."
This month she is hosting a giveaway. Anyone who signs up for her newsletter will be entered in a drawing to win a giclee of her stunning painting "Sanctuary."
This is an awesome piece of artwork that I know you will want to have!!! So, visit her studio and sign up for her newsletter now...
I almost forgot, I have to tag 5 people. Here we go:
- The Mad Asthmatic
- Johnny Truant
Monday, December 8, 2008
photo credit dabawenya
Alternate Title: You say "Stationary"....
For the past few months, I have been venturing out into the blogosphere and occasionally leaving comments on other blogs. I know that I love receiving comments on my posts (hint) and I like to do the same for others.
Up until yesterday, it has been met with great results.
"What happened yesterday?" Well, I'm glad you asked.
I was visiting a blog that is very, very new. Yet, it has a big following. I decided to leave a comment on one of the posts. So, I left a semi-humorous quip and then, after noticing a misspelling in the use of the word "stationary," in a large font in their heading referring to the kind of stationery you write on, I added, "Not to be a stickler, but I think you mean the kind of stationery with the "ery."
I checked back a few hours later and one of the writers for the site replied,and I quote:
"Thanks Carma, but please read this:
A look at Internet search patterns indicates that more users search for stationary than stationery (see table). This ranges from over twice as many searches for “email stationary” than “email stationery” to an approximately 6% preference for “business stationary” over “business stationery”.
Hence the reason I used ’stationary.’ Thanks for stopping by!"
It included a hyperlink to the following table:
A look at Internet search patterns indicates that more users search for stationary than stationery (see table). This ranges from over twice as many searches for "email stationary" than "email stationery" to an approximately 6% preference for "business stationary" over "business stationery".
email 67.8 32.2
wedding 60.4 40.6
personalized 55.2 44.8
business 53.7 46.3
Under the table was this sentence: It's probably about time to return to an early age and correctly spell the word as stationary.
I'll admit that I was a bit taken aback by her response. Way to make me feel like a buffoon!!
Also interesting was the "dumbing down" of the spelling to cater to the masses...
I was still smarting this morning, but my spirits lifted when I checked back and saw the following comment from another reader later in the day:
"I have to tell you: I’m holding the AP Stylebook open in front of me, and it’s supposed to be “stationery”. (sorry, I’m a copy-editing nerd.)"
Can't wait to see what kind words the reply contained.
I will not allow this blip on my blogging radar to deter me from further comments, but rest assured, they will be on other sites!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
photo credit Akuppa
So here's my latest dilemma:
This week two former co-workers, who I haven't seen in 11 years, sent me emails the same day asking me to join their friends list on Facebook.
I do not yet belong to Facebook and I doubt I will ever belong, unless you happen to convince me otherwise. I am happy blogging and tweeting and those two activities burn way too much time already.
The thing is, when I received those friend invites out of the blue, I felt that somehow I needed to get in contact to let them know I got their emails. I needed it to be known that I wasn't snubbing them, but I did not have any way to reach them without a Facebook login.
Then I quickly came to my senses. Did they seriously want to be "friends" with me? Or was it all a "facade." Did they want solely to add another "friend" to their list? DUH... I was amazed that they still had my email address. Maybe they could have emailed once over those 11 years....
I am all about cultivating new friendships through blog follows, twitter, etc. The keyword being NEW. Do I really need to re-connect with "old friends," who haven't given me much thought until they opened a Facebook account?
Not that I'm bitter....
P.S. Thanks to my fellow "Bloggers" who have added me to their blogrolls. Much obliged...There is still room for plenty more ;)
I was ready to run for the hills. But, being that we live in what I like to refer to as "suburban hell," there are not any hills anywhere in the vicinity and I am not a fast runner. Although, as I continue to listen to "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," it is all I can do to resist putting on my running shoes..
If you've read my previous post, you know that I am still searching for bloggers who blog on Blogger to follow me. It won't cost you anything and you'll get a fine follower in return :)
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
- when shopping for gifts online I always google for coupon codes/promotional codes before ordering. You can often get free shipping or receive a discount on your purchase
photo credit jenn_jenn
- save store circulars so that in the event an item is out of stock at one store you can hopefully obtain a price match at a competitor
- decorate with live houseplants that you can then enjoy after Christmas or buy a live tree to plant outdoors. We've done this several times over the years and saved on our landscaping budget
- use low energy LED Christmas lights; you will make up for the initial purchase after a couple years of use, at which time you will see reduced energy bills...
VC's current favorite game is Payday. If you have never played it, the game teaches kids about managing their payday money while making deals to earn more money. Unfortunately, there are plenty of "mail cards," which translates into lots of bills --just like real life- hooray!! You will get a kick out of some of the cards, especially our favorites: a bill from Tick Tock Inc. "We cleaned your clock" and Pearl E. White DDS, "Drilling, filling and billing" and another from Dr. I.M. Blurred ...you get the point.
This year, tired of endless rounds of Uno (another favorite), VC asked for some oversized graph paper and a while later came to us with a new Trivia Game that he created for us to play. Fun was had by all, especially me, since I won the inaugural game!
Lastly, this isn't exactly a "game," but VC is teaching me to bounce juggle and we compete against ourselves to see how many rounds we can get before messing up. We did plenty of bouncing over the Thanksgiving weekend. Curious? Here's one of our bounce juggling collaborations:
For those of you who have already seen this video on my YouTube account, our newest YouTube video features diabolo and juggling (and some awesome editing by VC). You can watch it here
For more fun and games, please visit: http://www.ea.com/ and http://blog.parentbloggers.com/
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Suppose there was someone who is not a blog reader, who frequently gives you books to read assuming that it is a book you will enjoy. Suppose said person followed up frequently on your impressions of the book. Suppose that the past few books are non-fiction set in the Middle East (not that there is anything wrong with the Middle East).
This is the position I find myself in. The current book is over 350 pages, in a tiny font. It is a critically acclaimed book that whenever a customer sees me "reading" it, they exclaim, "Oh, that book is wonderful!" I started reading the book in earnest, but quickly realized it was not my "cup of tea" [This is a hint as to the book title. See if you can guess it.]
I proceeded to read only every other page. The next day I decided to skip ahead 20 pages and then would read a page and skip ahead another 20 pages. Today I finally skipped all the way to the last 3 pages. Realizing I might be "quizzed" about some of the content, I spent a few minutes randomly selecting pages throughout the book.
How would you handle this situation if it were you? I had already hinted to her that it could only be read in short spurts (she told me it gets better..), but had trouble revealing my true feelings on the book...
Oh, and it gets worse, the book lender told me today that she has another book that [I will love] and it is set in Saudia Arabia! Help is needed, FAST..before I'm back to birkas again..
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Simply pick up an unfinished wood item at your favorite craft store or from a woodworking catalog. (In this case, a clock*; but you can also do the same treatment to other unfinished products and make them look gift-worthy.) "Marbelize" the item using foam brushes and two colors of paint or white paint and a grease pencil. There are plenty of faux marbelizing techniques to be found on google. Put on a sealant, and voila:
Even my son was fooled by the rich marble look. Buy the wood items in bulk and decorate them all at once. You can personalize the gifts with monograms. Store extras in a closet for those last minute emergency gifts....
*this item is a bit more complex because the clock face was ordered separately and inserted in the wood, but you get the idea.
About a week ago, she wrote a touching post about a conversation she had with her young daughter about the death of her grandpa. It ended with a funny quip and was "stumbled" by a couple of folks, which led to a boatload of views. With that many viewers, the crazies have come out of the woodwork and some have posted derogatory comments that I will not repeat here.
If you have ever had any interactions with Y, you will see that her graciousness shines through in all that she does, down to the "xxoo" at the bottom of her emails :) I am hoping that a few idiots will not break her spirit...With all the other crap that is out there, her inspirational blog is a much-needed breath of fresh air...
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
If so, you are not alone.
Stop the commercial!!
photo credit Dano
Join me as I try to figure out where the heck I am headed with this blog and with the nagging voice inside my head.
MB has suggested I make a list of the things I might be interested in so we can narrow down the search. Hopefully this will require more than a mini post-it. My endless quest to be successful at SOMETHING. ANYTHING.
I know this is a common "mom dilemma," having seen countless Oprah shows on the topic. The one saving grace is that I am a darn good mom. I would challenge anyone to find a child more loved and doted on than VC! So I am doing a fine job in the "mom area." It's the big boundless area outside the "mom area" that I want to conquer even if it's only for my own peace of mind. My mind is tired of running in circles. It needs it's own Select Comfort mattress at this point. I wonder what it's Sleep Number will be?
Does any of this gibberish make sense? Anyone relate?
I am very much in need of some levity to recover from my sour mood. And, I think I just found it, in the way of Man Bras!!! Check out this link:
Who knew it was a "untapped market with huge growth potential" - there I go again with the unintended innuendo. (This is an actual quote from the story.)
But perhaps I shouldn't be ROTFL. The manufacturers will probably be the ones laughing -- all the way to the bank. The one that will be located on the other side of my retirement shack..
Monday, December 1, 2008
I learned about her site while working out late on Thanksgiving and tuning in to Dr. Phil, in lieu of watching the dreadful parade. The episode was a repeat of "Extreme Moms." It featured moms at both extremes: from free range to helicopter moms and was an eye-opener.
Ms. Skenazy allowed her 9-year old son to ride on the Subway alone after she dropped him off at Bloomingdale's. He purchased an ice cream on his own and took the subway home, without incident, I might add. This may sound horrifying to some moms, but Dr. Phil was non-plussed. This is a boy who lives in NYC and is accustomed to riding the subway. His mom's idea is that if he never gets the freedom to do anything on his own, how will he be able to function in the world as he grows up?
After showing the video of the boy's subway adventure, Dr. Phil posted a map of the route he took and it was covered in red dots (somewhere around 300 if I recall correctly). You guessed it, those red dots represented the location of all the pedophiles and sex offenders that lined his route. Of course, it is sensationalism like this that makes us moms paranoid in the first place!!
The bottom line is that we have got to start loosening the reigns at some point, so as not to stunt the growth of our children. I am experimenting with this bit by bit and VC seems none the worse for wear! If anything, it has given him a greater sense of confidence...