Cappadocia in central Turkey is highly recommended.  Imagine the Moab if it had been inhabited for 4000 years by a succession of Hittites, Christians fleeing Romans and Persians, Greeks and Turks and you have some idea.

These faerie chimneys exist in the thousands and some are still inhabited.  One fellow showed me around his chimney house.  More in the extension.


Progress Report

I’ve been using the technique I described in Procrastination Buster for most of this week now, and I’m finding it a very efficient way of processing stuff. Although it may appear to be very different from the techniques described in Do It Tomorrow, it is actually based on very much the same principles. It is essentially a method of converting an open list into a series of closed lists (in this case numbering two items each). The advantage compared with Do It Tomorrow is that it is more flexible and can be fitted a bit more easily into irregular time slots. The disadvantage is that some work items will take longer before they get dealt with than others. I’ve still got one difficult item which I put on the list at the beginning of the week and remains unactioned. That’s almost certainly a lot less items than would be left over with a conventional To Do list, but with Do It Tomorrow, I would have actioned all the items either the day they came up or the day after.

Here are a few pointers which have surfaced for me this week while using this method:

  • To Do lists always tend to suffer from list expansion - in other words they tend to grow faster than one can process the items. In order to avoid this happening it is important to keep the list well weeded by throwing out unnecessary items.
  • As a guide you should be able to complete at least one circuit of the list during the course of an average day (bearing in mind that you will be actioning about half the items on the list on each circuit). If you can’t do that, you should take some time to weed the list.
  • If you find yourself further from the end of the list at the end of the day than you were at the beginning, you are seriously trying to do too much! You need not only to weed the list, but look at your commitments too.
  • Just as with Do It Tomorrow, you don’t necessarily have to do the whole of every item. You can always do part of it and then cross it out and re-enter it at the end of the list. This achieves the little and often ideal which I recommend in my books for dealing with major projects.

I’d be interested to hear from you in the Comments or in the Discussion Forum if you try out this method - and how you get on with it.

Progress Report


From a book review of a recent biography of Beethoven by Doctor Mai: Diagnosing Genius: The Life and Death of Beethoven.

“The cause of Beethoven’s death was liver failure due to alcohol abuse. The autopsy was performed by Dr. Johann Wagner, who was assisted by Dr. Karl von Rokitansky. Rokitansky was a resident in pathology, and Beethoven’s autopsy was the first one he performed. He subsequently performed 59,786 autopsies in his outstanding career as a pathologist and became famous for his observations on the gross features of pathologic abnormalities of organs.

At Beethoven’s autopsy, Wagner and Rokitansky found — besides cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol abuse — ascites, splenomegaly, pancreatitis, and thickened bones of the skull. The eighth cranial nerves were wrinkled and shriveled because they had been compressed by the thick skull bones, a finding consistent with Paget’s disease of bone, which can cause deafness. Other conditions that have been put forth as the cause of Beethoven’s deafness — including head trauma inflicted by his alcoholic father, syphilis, and otosclerosis — lack credibility. There is also some question of whether lead poisoning caused Beethoven’s illnesses. In 1996, a lock of his hair was found to contain high levels of lead. Lead poisoning was common in Europe during Beethoven’s time because wine contained lead that had leached from its containers.”


I'll Run It Off

Many of WW’s former co-workers, male and female, are runners. She often ate in the cafeteria with them and learned what they liked. It was CARBS CARBS and CARBS. One woman had pasta, bread rolls, and mashed potatoes on her tray for lunch. She was a doctor to top it off.

When the conversation got around to what WW ate and what they ate, many of these runners merely said: “I’ll run it off.” Of course they won’t and can’t. The 1200 calorie, high sugar muffin they have in the morning will take about 2 hours of cross-country running to run off. As for the doctor’s lunch, well there is no way for her to run it off and still do her work.

But, even if they could burn up the calories, this is a seriously misleading and incomplete picture of the problem. The high carb shock is still there and the deadened insulin sensitivity it produces is a lasting problem contributing to weight gain and poor blood sugar control thereafter. Burning off the calories is a good way to feed free radical damage to the mitochondria and other vital tissues, including your brain. You don’t burn this dangerous high sugar fuel without paying the price of oxidative damage. So, even if you do manage to burn off all those calories, you have done damage to your body in multiple ways.

This is a problem with the “calories in, calories out” theory of weight management. True as it is in a long-run thermodynamics sense, it misses the bigger picture of sustainable health. And many studies do show that the weight loss in low carb diets is greater than can be accounted for in the caloric reduction which they promote. This shows that the thermodynamic model is difficult to apply to the human body and that accurate measurement of energy expenditure is yet to be fully accomplished.

With all the promotion of “energy drinks” it is difficult for many to understand that the kind of fuel you are making your body burn when you eat these carb-laden meals or drink these so-called energy drinks is a sort of fuel that burns fast and hot and does real damage. And you do further damage just putting it in your tank because it wrecks your metabolic health.

You would not run nitrous oxide or alcohol in your car to double its power output without expecting to pay the price. Why do people fall for a theory just about that dumb when it comes to how they “fuel” their bodies?

I’ll Run It Off

Infinite canvas

“The infinite canvas is the idea that the size of a digital comics page is theoretically infinite, and that online comics are therefore not limited by conventional page sizes. An artist could conceivably display a complete comics story of indefinite length on a single ‘page’. Scott McCloud introduced the concept in his book Reinventing Comics.

Although McCloud asserted that this freedom was one of the most important qualities of the online comics medium, relatively few webcomics have taken advantage of it; most produce work in more traditional formats such as the serialized comic strip and the rectangular page, rarely exceeding two screens in height.”

Infinite canvas

Credit Card Survival Tool


I have two friends who’ve been carrying these slim, multi-tools for a few years now and swear by them. I’ve only used the mini-screwdriver and bottle opener, but those functions alone seem worth it. It’s stainless steel and will add some weight to your load, but no more than the average metal beverage pop-top. Why junk up your keychain when you can slip another “card” into your wallet? Added bonus: can opener, straight edge, knife edge, et al.

– Steven Leckart


Credit Card Survival Tool
Available from Fishboy

Also from Amazon

Manufactured by BCB Survival USA

Credit Card Survival Tool

Home Organization: Label your drawers next time you move

Frequent movers know that it’s a pain to get used a the layout of a new kitchen when you move into a new home, especially if you live with other people who are putting away objects willy-nilly because no one really knows where anything is supposed to go. Reader Jan suggests a smart solution:

We created a pile of post-it notes, one for each category of kitchen object: silverware, bowls, Tupperware, etc. We affixed these to the kitchen cabinets and drawers to establish a hypothetical organization for everything.
We then walked around and imagined working through different activities with this organization: making a sandwich, setting the table for dinner, cleaning up after a meal and storing leftovers, etc. We also considered whether a particular cabinet or drawer seemed sufficient in size and ease of access for the labeled contents. Problems could easily be remedied by simply moving the post-its around until everything felt right.

Once everything seemed right, we unpacked. It was easy to see where everything needed to go. And the best part? We left the labels on the drawers for the first month so everyone in the family could find everything while we got used to the kitchen.

The same idea could be extended to all corners of a new place. I can think of a handful of post-move household arguments caused by a why’d-you-put-this-there/that’s-not-where-that-goes debate that would have easily been avoided with this method.

Home Organization: Label your drawers next time you move

What It Takes to Be a Successful Coach

I wrote this article several years ago about coaching. However most of what I said applies to other businesses too, and bears repeating.

During the time I have been a coach, I have been regularly astonished by two things. The first is how little some quite well-known coaches are earning after years of being a coach. The second is how quickly some other people start earning large sums of money at coaching.

I have noticed that it is frequently possible to identify the people who are going to “fly” the second they come onto the scene, well before they start being successful.

So here is a list of things I think these people have in common. Not all of them of course will have all these qualities in equal measure, and I am sure there are other factors which I have omitted.

* They see coaching as a business, and take a business attitude to it.

* They are quite clear about what they want to achieve, and work to long-term (3-5 years) rather than short-term goals.

* They know it takes time and effort to build a business, and they start putting that time and effort in straightaway.

* They adequately fund their business.

* They are confident in their own abilities, particularly their business abilities.

* They concentrate more on improving their business than on improving their coaching (though obviously the two go hand-in-hand; it is a matter of emphasis).

* They see marketing as their number one priority.

* They find ways very early on of distinguishing themselves from the common herd.

* And without any exception I can think of, they are excellent public speakers.

It all goes back to what I’ve written before: our profession is coaching; our business is selling coaching services.

What It Takes to Be a Successful Coach

The dashed line in use

“I’ve had trouble justifying my excitement about this intricate visual detail, so I thought it would be good to collect a bunch of examples from over fifty years of information design history, to show it as a powerful visual element in ubicomp situations.

Even though the dashed line has emerged from a designer’s shorthand and from the limitations of monotone printing techniques, it has a clear and simple visual magic, the ability to express something three- or four-dimensional in two dimensions.” (Thanks Stephen!)

The dashed line in use

How To: Predict the weather without checking the forecast

How-to web site wikiHow offers a beginner’s crash course to predicting the weather with nothing but your wits and senses. For example:

Take a deep breath. Close your eyes and smell the air.

  • Plants release their waste in a low pressure atmosphere, generating a smell like compost and indicating an upcoming rain.
  • Swamps will release methane just before a storm because of the lower pressure, which leads to unpleasant smells.
  • A proverb says “Flowers smell best just before a rain.” Scents are stronger in moist air, associated with rainy weather.

In all, the post describes 10 different methods for predicting weather by observing smells, animals, the sky, and more using your sharp senses. If you’ve always wanted to pick up some grass, look up at the sky, inhale a full puff of air, and declare in your best down-home country twang: “Looks like there’s a storm a-brewin’, mother,” this guide should give you a good start.

How to Predict the Weather Without a Forecast [wikiHow]

How To: Predict the weather without checking the forecast