Category Archives: blog

Public Speaking Tips from ZeFrank

Public speaking is weird and special. Therefore, you should prepare for it. Here is some advice from one of my favorite public speakers, Ze Frank. I also included video of his funny Ted talk, “The Human Test”.

  • Don’t imagine that the audience is naked. Whoever thought of that has a different reaction to naked than I do.
  • Things to think about when you are creating your talk: don’t imagine what the talk would be like, be yourself.
  • There is no standard format, do what works best for you; you’ve probably been asked to speak because you know something about something. Make your talk center around that something and go from there. If you are going to speak about origami, then do your talk in the style of origami.
  • Don’t be overwhelmed – if you’re afraid, say so in your talk – have an honest talk.
  • If you are struggling to have a point in what you are writing – you may not have a point AND IT’S OK TO SAY THAT.
  • Preparing for your talk: don’t read – that’s public reading, not public speaking.
  • In your day-to-day, benchmark what “exciting” feels like. Try to bottle that up and release it in your talk.
  • When you are ready to practice your talk, do it in an empty room from start to finish without stopping. Only make corrections when you are done with the entire thing. Listening to yourself speak in an empty room will be absolutely horrific. If you can get through that, you can get through speaking on a nice sound system. Not stopping ensures that you don’t over practice the beginning and under practice the end. It also helps you learn to improvise when you forget.
  • Your mind should do two things – one side should keep the talk moving while the other handles distractions, loud noises, sneezes, etc. It really works – but for it to work, you have to practice that start-to-finish process in an empty room at least three times.
  • When it’s time to get on stage, it’s okay to be excited, scared, uncomfortable. Sometimes we confuse excitement with anxiety. Take a temperature of how you are feeling at that moment, and make that your baseline – what is normal. That way you don’t get into a spiral that you’re getting freaked out that you’re getting freaked out, that you’re getting freaked out… and if you start to freak out or freeze up, just tell the audience that. You’re already a badass for being on stage, they will have patience.
  • If you don’t know how to start, just look out at everyone and say “hi”.
  • DO NOT PAUSE after you tell a joke. If people start to talk or laugh loudly, start talking again after the peak. Think of it as a kind of surfing.
  • If you make a mistake, don’t point it out or dwell on it. just keep going. The audience has already had to sit through the mistake once, they don’t need to hear any more about it… and they will forgive you.
  • If you see someone in the audience that doesn’t like you or is giving you evil looks, ignore them. They will try to suck your soul out of your eyeballs.
  • If you need inspiration, watch a video of Spalding Gray.
  • You’ll do great.

Why I want to dive

One of my goals (they’re goals, not resolutions) for 2019, is to get my scuba certification. Here’s why I’m so interested in diving:

  1. I’ve wanted to dive ever since I was nine. I saw it on television, and wanted to do it. Anytime I saw diving in person or in a movie or on television, I was front and center watching. The first time I got to scuba dive was 1987. It was everything I wanted, and I wanted more (still do). When we visited Epcot a couple of years ago, we went to the Coral Reef restaurant. I had my nose pressed up against the glass for over two hours watching the activity in the aquarium.
  2. Atmosphere. It is as close as you can get to truly being weightless like in space (and it’s cheaper). I’ve experienced “weightlessness” (being neutrally buoyant – not floating or sinking) a couple of times in a pool. It intrigues me and I love feeling it.
  3. Lots to explore.  71% of the Earth is water. I’ll never run out of places to go. I wouldn’t with the other 29%, but the 71% that is water is less crowded, doesn’t have traffic, cellphones… you get the idea.

4. Friends. Most of the people I’ve connected with related to scuba diving are pretty interesting, friendly people. From people in my area to some in other parts of the world. I have a large number of divers around the world friend me on Facebook and share their adventures.

5. The environment. This was the year I saw just how horrible we treat our oceans. TONS of plastic winds up underwater, threatening sea life around the globe. As a diver, I can pull this type of plastic when I encounter it and as while on land, I can reduce how much single-use plastic I purchase. I’m sure some in my area (which is landlocked) think reducing their single-use plastic will not make a difference, but it will. Reducing single-use plastic will make companies think of alternatives.  Already, IKEA and Dunkin’ Donuts are eliminating single-use plastic by 2020. Locally, Kroger stores are eliminating plastic bags by 2025. 

6. I’m intrigued by the gear and how it works. When it comes down to it, you’re talking about life support equipment. Innovations in scuba gear bring all kinds of gear enhancements. I remember when there weren’t BCDs and the tank was just strapped on your back (my excursion dive in 1987 was with a tank harness/no BCD). Drysuits are more common, so are full face masks. From unique slate designs and clipping mechanisms to Kirby Morgan’s M-48 full face mask, I think it’s all cool and I already know I’m a complete gear nerd.

How to Use A Public Restroom

In a discussion with a friend, I brought up the topic of using a public restroom and how you navigate that task.

You can seriously overthink this topic, but no one can do this as thoroughly as Dan Benjamin and Merlin Mann did in episode 85 of their podcast, Back to Work. 

Jump to the 18:20 point, that is where the fun begins. And don’t eat anything while listening. After this episode, you will just wait until you get home to use the restroom.

http://5by5.tv/b2w/85

Take more than 30 seconds

This is exactly what happened with the Covington Catholic video on Friday and the way the media covered it. I said from the beginning only 30 seconds of video was being judged and there was more to consider.

With this CovCath story, you’ve seen how anyone can tell a story, how it can be slanted one way or another, how it breeds hate and divides people. You can also see the lack of substance and research most media entities put into bringing you the whole story. In the coming days and weeks you will see how hard it is to untangle, as if that is even possible. The worst damage is already done.

This isn’t new. Dave Rubin addresses this issue in the first two and half minutes of the video.

I’m a complete automation geek

I used the magic of IFTTT, Alexa, and my TP Kasa switches to get really lazy about turning the Christmas tree on.

This will save me an average of 9 seconds rather than reaching and plugging it in. More time for working out!

EDIT > As a friend pointed out, I do not need IFTTT in the equation. Routines in the Alexa app utilize the TP-Link Kasa devices.

New Queen Biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” Will Rock You

Early word is that Rami Malek  will take home all the awards for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. After seeing the film last night, I agree. Somewhat.

He goes big and bold… But it’s the small moments and expressions that truly elevate his performance.
– Kimber Myers, The Playlist

Critics will knock this film for trying to match the actor’s look to the real person. They will also have issue with the Live Aid performance of the film, completely reenacted from the 1985 concert. I think Malek will get an Oscar nomination, but not a win, in particular due to the timing of the film’s release. He deserves to win and will get several awards, not the Oscar. He won’t win for the look, but how he nailed the mannerisms, accent, and especially the tone of Mercury’s speaking voice. If you ever heard Mercury speak in an interview, Malek’s voice in the film is keenly in tune and at times, so real it is scary. The rest of the cast nail their portrayals as well.

queen

Queen fans are quite familiar with the history of the band, the hits, the albums, the stories. How Freddie Mercury was the driver and the other three, while certainly musically gifted, were along for the ride. They were the wealthiest rock group in 1980. And to this day, there are many musicians and performers that list Queen as one of their primary influences.

It’s difficult to make a film about Queen and Freddie Mercury and bring anything new to the table. That said, the film is engaging, particularly in documenting Queen’s rise to fame, yet turns into a concert film of sorts when documenting the Live Aid concert in 1985. A concert film of four men pretending to be Queen. It isn’t a great problem, the music is good, as long as you keep in mind you’re seeing what Brian May and Roger Taylor want you to see about Freddie Mercury and those surrounding the band.

The movie, as it is, is fine. But it could have been so much more… I couldn’t help but feel disappointed.
– Joanna Langfield, The Movie Minute

I have three issues with the film. First, the musical timeline is inaccurate. “Fat Bottomed Girls” appears as a performance in 1974, on Queen’s first tour of America. The song was part of the 1978 album Jazz. The epic “We Will Rock You” from 1977’s News of the World appears much later than 1977 in the film, part of Mercury’s tardiness for rehearsals, and withdrawal period from the rest of the band – which is also made to appear it was years when Queen was quite productive musically between 1981 and 1985, releasing Greatest Hits, Hot Space, and Works during that period. Other points in the timeline are inaccurate, but it is the placement of music that flags the errors most.

My second is the treatment of John Deacon in the film, brilliantly played by Joseph Mazello. Deacon was the quiet one in Queen, opting to stay in the background, even wearing a sweater vest in some performances while Freddie was in leather pants wearing a crown far upstage. John Deacon left Queen when Freddie died in 1991, only playing three other performances. He retired from music and is still involved in the financial decisions regarding Queen, but I caught hints of some passive aggressiveness in how he is presented in the film. For instance, there’s not any history of where he came to Queen. His contribution of “Another One Bites The Dust” gets a nod (in the wrong order in the timeline of course), but there isn’t much else presented about John Deacon. My hunch is May and Taylor aren’t happy he left Queen and Deacon isn’t happy they are touring as Queen + Adam Lambert. Deacon (accurately portrayed as a gentleman in the film) isn’t going to make waves about it publicly.

Lastly is the end of the film. It’s basically the Live Aid performance followed by credits of what happened to Freddie afterward. I would much rather seen how Innuendo, Queen’s final record with Mercury while he was alive was made. Interviews and documentary footage of those sessions shows Mercury as productive as possible, showing up on time, creating a huge catalog of song in the time he has left. While the ending would have been sad, people know how it really ended. But this is a movie, and we have to have everyone walking away energized and happy.

Again, I would say you are seeing Queen and Freddie Mercury as Brian May and Roger Taylor want you to see it. Some critics call it “sanitized”. I would agree with that assessment. While they reveal a couple of things that were not widely known about Freddie (his relationship with Jim Hutton for example), it’s a tribute more than being historically accurate.

It’s a satisfying, hammy turn in a movie with no other meat on the bone.
– David Ehrlich, IndieWire

I saw Queen live in 1982 from the front row. That isn’t possible now of course, so if you want to experience Queen as close to the original lineup rather than the “+Adam Lambert” version (which I don’t agree with, by the way), see the film. Don’t expect it to be a historically accurate reenactment, enjoy the story and the music. Because the music was truly something to enjoy when it was happening. That is the part that can’t be rewritten or changed – it will endure forever.