I just made up another word... Dictionary of Jen:

"confirmationbiatis" 

[kon-fer-MEY-shuhn-BAHY-tuhs]

The condition of suffering from chronic or extreme confirmation bias. Afflicting otherwise healthy, smart, normal individuals, this malady usually flares up after controversial events, especially political in nature.
{See itoldyouso}

 

After owning two businesses for two decades, I finally got a real job... dream job actually! Combining my passions of technology, education, and skydiving, I was hired in January 2017 by the United States Parachute Association as Director of IT. Sadly, I am no longer taking on new web programming projects, but I'm still skydiving and teaching certification courses through Xcelskydiving and of course writing! Also, I am still available for public speaking events... just email me. This blog site serves to display my numerous previously published works as well as satisfy my continued urge for sharing my insights... you know, those thoughts you have at 4 o'clock in the morning.

published in Skydiving Magazine January 2008

Secrets of a Female Tandem Instructor

Sun slowly overtakes the shadow in the hangar as the overhead door moans, opening to reveal a bright blue sky. My manifester has not yet arrived, so I busy myself closing a tandem rig, taking out trash, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom... The first group of tandems walks around the corner. I greet them, briefly introduce myself, and apologize for the toilet brush in my hand. I get their paperwork started, then take their payment, start them on the training video. They are a 30 something aged group of guys who brought their family out to watch. Stereotypically, the big guys are jumping, and their wives just watch their kids and mumble how they would never jump out of a perfectly good airplane.

After the video finishes, I start training them for their tandem jump. Slowly the realization comes over one man’s face, as he then asks, “So, we’re jumping with you? You’re a tandem instructor?”

I’m still surprised and laugh at times when I get this reaction, although I understand it: from their perspective, they see a small framed gal, 5’5 and 110 pounds, who is cleaning the bathroom and taking care of office work.

Let me share with you my anecdotes -- more for encouragement rather than instruction -- the secrets of a female tandem instructor…

  • 1 January 2008
  • Number of views: 2867
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Everyone credits Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Sherpa as the first to summit Mount Everest. But that is certainly not true....

  • 14 May 2018
  • Number of views: 425
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Goal setting, self-improvement, advancement, augmentation, progress, development... It's a constant and insatiable chase to an over-glorified, vague end game that never ends.  I like activity, but I don't like that race. So, here's what being a lazy drummer taught me about getting better at stuff.

  • 29 April 2018
  • Number of views: 523
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Do you know what 120 mile per hour wind sounds like? That's the wind flowing past your body in freefall. It sounds like...

  • 29 April 2018
  • Number of views: 480
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"What's wrong with you?"
"For being so smart, you sure are stupid."
"You're being lazy."

The mean person saying these things to me is... me. These phrases come from the tape recorder in my head that plays over and over. We all "beat ourselves up" with our dysfunctional internal dialogue. It's not helpful. But how do you erase these phrases and record better ones?

  • 11 March 2018
  • Number of views: 767
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Rule Number One: Be Lazy

My new job has me with set office hours, so even though I'm sure I'm still getting some exercise, I have struggled with feeling more sedentary. But how do I ride this change without ill side effects?

I bought a treadmill desk.

  • 5 June 2017
  • Number of views: 2041
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Risk Management vs. Risk Assessment

A skydiving student of mine remarked to me recently, “My non-skydiving friends just don’t understand why I skydive.  They don’t take chances with their lives.”  I replied, “That’s not true.  Do they ever drive on a two lane highway? When another car comes from the other direction, there’s a closing speed of 120 mph, same as our closing speed to the ground when we are in freefall, yet at a distance of only a few feet.  The difference is, I can see this huge planet Earth coming at me 10,000 feet away, but I can avoid hitting it at deadly speed simply by pulling a little handle.  On the highway, you never know what that guy in the other lane will do at the last second. He could be messing with his cell phone or under the influence… or eating his sandwich or texting grandma.”

What are the risks we accept unaware, without thinking? 

  • 19 March 2017
  • Number of views: 2495
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The only thing that stays the same is that things change...

After being DZO of Skydive Kansas for 21 years, I accepted a full time position at USPA as Director of IT. I'm still traveling to teach courses as an eXaminer with Xcelskydiving. But I have never believed in spreading thin or watering down. After much contemplation, I made the bittersweet decision to close my dropzone. In an email to regular jumpers, I explain by starting with:

The only thing that stays the same is that things change.

  • 11 March 2017
  • Number of views: 3223
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