Five Helpful Public Speaking Tips
I work in web marketing and social media for Alltech. A couple of years ago I was building a website for a conference we were hosting for dairy and beef farmers. I was surprised to see my name on the agenda. I had been drafted to give a talk on social media for farmers to an audience of about 500 people and I knew that it was pretty crucial that I did well. I took a deep breath and decided that I would be great, I would not allow myself to be nervous. No problem.
Public Speaking Tip #1: Don’t wet your pants!
I had to stop for a minute to remember the last time I gave a presentation. It must have been in graduate school. I had to speak at a large geology conference. I went to the bathroom right before my talk and as I washed my hands I leaned against the edge of the countertop. There was a puddle on that countertop just waiting for some idiot to get too close. It immediately soaked into the front of my pants. I don’t remember anything else I learned at that conference but I do remember that lesson on capillary action.
Public Speaking Tip #2: Get some guinea pigs!
I wanted to make sure I was well prepared for the dairy and beef conference. Creating a presentation is tricky because there are so many things you could say but you have to whittle it down into a cohesive story.
I got home from a very long trip the other day. My family was happy to see me. The dogs were even more happy to see me, but just for a minute. I think they forgot that I had been gone two minutes after I walked in the door.
I had really good intentions about unpacking, doing my laundry, putting the suitcases away, fixing all of the things that had broken on the house while I was gone. I did do some laundry. I did fix a couple of things. I started to unpack. But then, I quit. My suitcases are still in the living room. They are almost empty.
Two days went by. Last night when I got home I found that the dogs had started helping me unpack. The smaller more evil dog (Weez O) had gotten into the suitcase and found a big bottle of aspirin and a big bottle of expectorant (gross).
Claude. Not the evil Weez O. Notice the sock in the background. That sock is no more.
He chewed up the bottles and spread the pills all over the floor. When I walked in the dogs proudly showed me what they had been up to. My son and I cleaned up all of the pills. While I was getting the vacuum cleaner the less evil dog (Claude) was considering eating some of the aspirin. Only then did I realize that they might have eaten some of the pills. Duh.
I didn’t have any idea how many pills were left in the bottles, how many we had thrown away, how many were in the vacuum cleaner. Darn. I started considering whether I should take the dogs to the hospital. They seemed fine but I didn’t have any way to know if they had been poisoned.
I decided to make them vomit. One time I accidentally made the smaller evil dog vomit when I thought he was eating a sock, so how hard could it be? I tried using my finger which was really stupid. Luckily the dogs tolerated this. They let me keep my fingers. Dogs create a lot of foam when you are trying to gag them. Yuck. I tried a spoon. I tried a bigger spoon.
Finally I looked online and found that you can make dogs vomit by squirting Hydrogen Peroxide down their throat with a turkey baster. I found our turkey baster. It looked like it might be from the first Thanksgiving. The bulb was shot so I taped it on with some psychedelic packing tape. My wife helped hold the dogs. It didn’t go well but after following them around the yard for 15 minutes with a flashlight they did finally vomit. The smaller evil dog had in fact eaten a lot of aspirin, and a sock. The big dog hadn’t eaten any aspirin. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Unpack your suitcase as soon as you get home.
My stove uses not one but two types of fossil fuel.
We have a gas stove and an electric oven. That is cool because you don’t have to wonder if the stove is lit but you can pretend to be all precise with the flame when you are making macaroni and cheese on the stove for your son.
Somehow we were talking about the gas stove and the electric oven and I decided it would be good to be science dad and explain energy conversion. I told my kids how gas was chemical energy that was converted to heat while our electricity came from Continue reading
Forks Next to Knives and even a Spoon
I recently ditched Dish Network for an Apple TV. When I started exploring my new Netflix account I found a ton of documentaries. I am a geek so I was excited about many of the documentaries. I was intrigued about all of the food documentaries. Food, Inc. Fast Food Nation, lots of them that I had never heard of. I watched a few of them and I find this a very interesting phenomenon. Some of the documentaries seem pretty scientific on the surface.
Forks Over Knives follows a pair of doctors who have researched the benefits of plant-based diets for the last couple of decades. They had some really intriguing info about the health benefits of a plant-based diet. They never referred to this diet as vegan which made me a little curious. I was most interested in a population study that tracked cardiac disease in Norway during World War II. The Nazis took away all of the livestock early in the war and they showed a graph that showed an almost immediate reduction in heart disease shortly afterward. It also showed heart disease returning to original levels after the war, when we can assume the livestock were reintroduced. I wanted to learn more about this and found an interesting blog post that went through some of the claims in the documentary. For instance, why did they fail to mention fish as part of the Norwegian diet. Surely they ate even more fish once their livestock were taken away. Why did they fail to mention fish as a staple of the Japanese diet. Why did they use rural Chinese diets, which include some meat, as proof that meat should be completely removed from our diet. Continue reading
Democracy is Tough
I used to curse congress for their inability to agree on anything. I am now amazed that they pass even one bill per year and my new found appreciation is due to my family’s complete inability to name an odd puppy that we adopted on a zip line trip in the Red River Gorge. We took my son and a friend zip lining for his birthday. The zip line office is apparently a very popular place for locals to abandon puppies because there is a good chance that some ridiculous tourist will take them home. When we got there to check in there was a large Rubbermaid bin with three puppies (down from the original four). One of the puppies looked exactly like our full-grown dog might have looked as a puppy. Since we adopted our dog when he was a year old we missed out on his puppy-hood and so we did the only sensible thing and adopted this puppy. We named him Zip of course.
That should have been that but our daughter wasn’t on the trip and she rejected the name Zip as soon as we got home. For two solid weeks we all proposed names. Eventually we had about 50 names but none that were unanimous and none that stuck. So we called a family meeting and put all of the names up on the chalkboard wall in our breakfast room. We completely filled the wall. Then we took turns vetoing names. We were finally left with five names that no one hated but no one actually liked them either. In desperation we decided to take turns rescuing two names each from the veto list. We voted on those eight and of course none of the names received four votes. A lot of them received three votes but no one was willing to budge. Of course someone had vetoed each of them only minutes before. To make matters worse my daughter seemed to be pressuring one of the other voters (her little brother).
We realized that the kids liked the name Link and my wife and I liked the name Lincoln so we decided to compromise and give him two names. Unfortunately everyone continued to call him “tiny” or “little dog” so we went back to proposing new names. We are under pressure from the vet to name the dog and start some serious training since he seems to be mostly Rottweiler and could possibly eat us if we aren’t able to call him by name. I don’t know if democracy can survive in the house much longer. Everyone but me has independently declared a different name for the dog. I am still proposing new names, which isn’t helping matters either.