Thursday, March 13, 2014

Top trick for travelers

I've just tried this and it works amazingly well. (Remember that this blog isn't called Wild Fiction for nothing.) I flew to a conference in San Francisco this week and since I was flying on Southwest I opted for the early online check in for an extra $12 which meant that I got priority boarding.

I put on a fat suit (uninflated) and then piled baggy clothing on top of it. While in the waiting area I inflated the suit and tripled my size. I was enormous. It turned out that I had to actually let some of the air out once on the plane as I couldn't quite fit down the aisle. They thought I was farting when they heard it.

I got myself seated near the front and everyone looked at me in disgust as they came past. Nobody sat next to me and at takeoff I farted out the rest of the air and returned to a baggy cloth wearing manipulative evil traveler.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Trader Joe's Excellent Service

Today my wife went shopping at Trader Joe's. When she checked out she told the cashier that she didn't want her shopping double bagged. As she got back to the car a handle on the bag broke and the bag fell and a glass bottle of grape seed oil broke and covered the rest of the food in broken glass and oil. My wife took the oil drenched receipt back to the store and told them what had happened. She said that it was completely her fault for turning down the offer to double bag and that she was going to get another bottle of oil.

They wouldn't hear of it. Instead one of them came out to help her clean up the mess in the parking lot and another took her receipt and went shopping with it and filled a new bag (this time no arguments from my wife on double bagging) with her groceries and brought them out to her - no extra charge.

Isn't that incredible customer service? 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Arkansas Black and Grimes Golden

Last Saturday (25 January 2014) I attended a grafting "class" at Arizona Rare Fruit Growers and grafted my first tree.

My father-in-law was with me and he grafted the one on the left. That one is an Arkansas Black. I grafted the one on the right which is a Grimes Golden. The AZ fruit growers association had been on an excursion to a place east of Phoenix just west of Miami called Top of the World where there are a bunch of apple orchards which were originally grown to feed the miners during the boom days. They took a bunch of scions from there and these are two of them.

If they are successful then this is what I believe the Grimes Golden will look like:

And this will be the Arkansas Black:

Here are some notes from Joe Sabol CRFG Board member, ex president, and leader of a California program:

Congratulations! Your new apple tree is happy to have a home. Take care of it and it will live to be 50 or 100 years old!

You have a grafted apple tree, grafted to a root that is a “semi-dwarf” rootstock.  Your tree will never grow to be 30 or 40 feet tall.   This is good news! You can easily keep this tree at 8 or 10 or 12 feet tall! No worries! 

Remove the green or white tape by June 1 this year. Remove all new growth and shoots from below the graft location after you are sure your scion is growing and well connected.  Then, do not let any shoots grow from the rootstock.  Remove all but the strongest bud growing from the top (scion) and then tie this shoot to a stake.  It will become your tree trunk!

Plant the tree in a sunny location, the more morning sun, the better.  A well drained location is best. You may even wish to plant it on a mound.  Water it often when the weather is warm this first summer.   If you cannot plant it in your yard by June 1 this year, you must move it to a 5 gallon container on June 1 or it will quickly become "pot bound" in that gallon can!  Fertilize this young tree with care. Some of our CRFG members water their tree with "Miracle Grow" at half strength, every time they water during the spring and early summer! It will go dormant as winter approaches and all of the leaves will fall.

This first winter, you may prune the top of the tree off.  Yes, cut that single shoot so it is only 18 to 24 inches tall. This will force the side buds to shoot out in the next spring and begin to build the main scaffold/framework for a nice tree. Most back yard apple trees are destined to be in the shape of a vase… with 3 to 5 main branches coming from the single trunk. Do not let your tree have more than 5 main branches at this point.

If you planted your apple against a wall, you may wish to train the tree to be flat, more of a fan shape or even "espalier" the tree! The good news is that apples respond to training. They will quickly adapt to any shape you wish or need.

We want the tree to work hard on building a strong foundation for the future in these early years so, we only let the tree have one or two apples the second year. Remember, it takes 55 leaves to make enough sugar to have that big apple taste just right! So, thin the apples to leave only the biggest one the second year.

Finally, if your main scaffold branches try to grow straight to the sky, you may want to pull them down gently, and over time, have these branches grow at more of an angle, even horizontal for the first few feet!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Jean Claude Van Damme vs Chuck Norris Split

If you haven't seen Jean Claude Van Damme's (JCVD) Volvo advert then I suggest you take a look at it.

And in case you were thinking of trying that note the warning at the end of the video that points out that this was done by professionals on a closed circuit.

Now take a look at Chuck Norris' response.

Note that Chuck's stunt does not carry any warnings about professionals or a closed circuit so feel free to try this one at home. I guess this stunt was easier because they were going forward unlike the JCVD stunt which was going backwards.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Make it a Great Speech

I attended Ryan Avery's Make it a Great Speech this evening. Here are my notes from the speech.

Three Items:

    1. Simple
    2. Impactful
    3. Relatable

1. Simple always wins. i.e. keep the speech simple.

Intro should always tie back to conclusion.

Body should be three stories that all match the same theme.

You can't be the hero of your own story. Someone teaches you something.

In each of the three stories there should always be a constant object, place or person. In the Trust is a Must speech the constant was the bunny slippers.

Write your speech like a poem instead of by paragraph. When writing your speech create a new line for each pause you want to take. Write it like a poem. It will be much easier to remember the text and also remember when to pause.

Number one sense that links us is smell. Can you smell your speech? Use a different colored highlighter for each of the five senses and read through the speech and highlight where each sense is used in the speech.

Drop the prop. Let the audience create an image in their own in their own minds, you don't need to take props onto the stage.

Active voice vs passive voice. Tell them what is happening. Leave "was" out of the speech. Use active voice.

Book coming out: Speaker, Leader, Champion by Ryan Avery

2. Make it impactful. Look for opportunities and not excuses.

Video all your speeches.

Never give a speech again, only send a message from the heart.

Simon Sinek's golden circle
Why, how, what
Why do you want to do something?
How will you do it?
What will you do to change the world?
This is the right order to ask these questions. Find your why and the rest will follow. Most people go in the opposite direction which is 1. What 2. How 3. Why

Chelsea's blog:

Ryan's blog:

You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great - Zig Ziglar

Make an impact on yourself first. Setup visualization stations all over the house. Not about assuming to be champion but training to be it. Ryan had his name as the 2012 world champion written in prominent places like on the white board and a print out in a binder at work so he was always seeing it.

Triangle of success. Reduce what you are doing to focus on the one item you want to succeed at. Top says success and bottom says focus. Need to reduce doing too much and focus on one thing.

3. Make it relatable.

Never tell a joke again, tell a failure.
The best way to be relatable is to use your family. Using anything else could be offensive to someone.

Dress to relate. Dress appropriately for the audience.


How you practice is how you will play. i.e. practice every speech like you're giving the final one on stage.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Banana Update October 2013

Our banana has already started to have babies and it's only been in the orchard for 4 months. You can see a small one at the base here and there's another peeking out from behind.

The banana now stands at 5 feet tall. That's 60 inches. It was 18 inches tall when I planted it 4.5 months ago: Goldfinger Banana

What you see around the base of the banana is our first batch of compost that has been brewing in our compost barrel since 14 June 2013.

Moro Blood Orange

We have a new tree in our orchard as of 10/10/2013. A Moro Blood Orange.

It currently stands at exactly 3 feet tall and comes from Willits & Newcomb Citrus Nursery. We bought it from Costco about 2 weeks ago.

Costco are clever. They know how blazingly hot Arizona gets so they only sell their citrus trees in the fall. The last one that we bought was a Navel Orange from them around a year ago, also in the fall.

The blurb on the ticket on this orange tree reads: This Italian variety is the earliest ripening blood orange. Medium size fruit has reddish-orange rind and deep burgundy flesh. Juicy fruit has rich orange-raspberry flavor, a distinctive aroma and few seeds. Fruit ripens December to April. Medium size tree produces fruit in clusters near the outside of the tree. An attractive ornamental.

Care instructions: Water regularly during first growing season to establish a deep, healthy root system. Do not over-water! Feed monthly during growing season with a citrus fertilizer. Remove all growth below bud union.