Archive for the skills Category

167. Make Something Out Of Wood

Posted in skills on January 6, 2014 by Allen

MC3_3497Making things with your hands is awesome.  Making things with your hands, with the help of dangerous power tools, is downright badass.

In contrast to building stuff out of metal or plastic, creating with wood gives off the impression of eco-friendliness.  It makes you feel closer to your pioneer ancestors, and no other material smells quite so great.

Your project already exists inside that log over there.  All you have to do is chip away at the wood to reveal it. free-small-woodworking-project-plans

166. Deep Fry a Turkey

Posted in skills, soirees on November 20, 2012 by Allen

The three pillars of cool are: Doing things effectively, doing things quickly, and doing things awesomely.  If you deep fry your turkey this year, you will touch upon these three pillars in dazzling fashion.

The deep frier has taken a lot of flak in recent years now that being unhealthy is no longer fashionable.  When you apply this technology to your turkey dinner, however, you not only create an eye-catching spectacle that the whole family can enjoy, but you also cut 6 hours off your cooking time, freeing you up to spend more time drinking beer and watching football.

165. Get your Camera Out In Time

Posted in skills on August 25, 2012 by Allen

Timing is the essence of cool and a great photograph is the essence of timing.  Nothing highlights your coolness quite like a perfectly timed photo.  Smartphones have made this easier but it still requires skill, patience, and a good old-fashioned knack for knowing when something awesome’s about to happen.

And do it gracefully.  There’s nothing worse than seeing someone madly fumble around with their SLR, nearly choke themselves with the strap, and then awkwardly fire off a shot with the lens cap on.  If you want to take quick shots like a boss you’ve got to know exactly how your spirit stealer works.  Familiarizer yourself with the interface, know precisely which pocket it’s in, do a couple of practice reps.  You want to be able to draw and shoot your camera with the cold-hearted efficiency of a gunslinger.

159. Spend All your Foreign Cash before Returning Home

Posted in skills on November 2, 2011 by Allen

Foreign money looks pretty but it’s pretty useless when it just sits around in your desk drawer back home.

It’s called the Cash Game and everyone plays it on the last day of their trip.  The object of the game, quite simply, is to spend every last baht before getting on the plane.  There are two ways to lose:  #1. Under-budgeting, forcing you to make one last stupid trip to the stupid ATM on the Khao San Road so you can afford the stupid cab fare to the airport and #2. Over-budgeting and shamefully having to visit the currency exchange kiosk and getting jammed on the rate.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Spend wisely.

* Remember to save enough coins in your money belt for at least ten minutes in one of those airport massage chairs.  You’ll be glad you did.

155. Succeed on Your First Try

Posted in skills, sweet videos on August 31, 2011 by Allen

You can do this in a myriad of ways, from landing your first job interview, to throwing a knockout punch, to acing a cross court serve.   Like everything in life, it’s not so much what you do as how you do it.  In the case of cool people, they do it in their first go!

Look, what it really comes down to is time management.  The fewer interviews you have to go to, the fewer shots you have to take, the fewer strokes you have to execute, the more time you’ll have to do cool things.  True, always succeeding on your first try can get a little annoying for your friends but nobody ever said that being cool didn’t come at a price.

Practice makes perfect, but wouldn’t it be better to just skip all that boring practice stuff and jump straight to the perfect?

I wrote this post partially as an excuse to upload this super rad disc golf video that my little brothers showed me.

147. Discover a Way to Effectively Clap with One Hand

Posted in skills on May 11, 2011 by Allen

Question:  How many times have you been at an awards ceremony / graduation / sports event / birthday party / concert when something awesome happens whilst you have a drink in your hands?

Answer:  Every single time!!!

An effective one-handed clap is a skill that exists at the very frontier of cool science. Many have attempted but very few people have mastered it, and it is fraught with danger.  It is a delicate balance of form and function.  You need to be able to create enough sound with only one hand while at the same time not look like you’re having a seizure.

And it’s different for everyone.  Some people can generate enough noise by simply slapping their thigh.  Others have found “good echo” from the crevasse on the side of their buttock, while still others shuck slapping altogether and resort to the two-finger-whistle (this is cheating and super annoying for those around you).

Whichever way is most effective to you…. find it!!!  The one-hand clap is a voodoo art and if you can discover it’s secrets, you’re a step closer to cool.

146. Travel Calmly

Posted in skills on May 5, 2011 by Allen

If you go traveling, this will happen to you:  You will miss your bus, lose your passport, be late for your plane, get ripped off at a night market, eat something dodgy and throw up at least once.

You may also:  Get lost in the jungle, be pick-pocketed, get bitten by a monkey, or nearly die in a para-sailing accident because over there the safety cable is “optional”.

If this bothers you , your trip will just be a hassle.  If you travel calmly, however, these events will become your best stories and they will fill you full of anecdotes and tales to recount for years to come.

P.S.: On my last trip  I was tricked into eating dog, had to leap off a dock onto a departing ferry boat, and lost my shoes and had to go barefoot in Cambodia for a day and a half.  These three stories are on pretty high rotation right now.

135. Be Awesome at Shuffling Cards

Posted in skills, sweet videos on November 24, 2010 by Allen

Or any kind of card manipulation for that matter.  The sweetest part of any poker hand is when the dealer goes from a Tornado Box Opener  to a Buckeye, into a Ribbon Spread followed by a Riffle Shuffle and a Card Spring Flourish before finally dealing out the cards.  This is how you achieve full croupier status.

The only drawback to becoming awesome at card manipulation is that it requires practice.  Unfortunately, at the beginning this practice usually results in cards flying everywhere.  That sucks.  To fix this problem, you can do one of three things:

1.  Get good quickly.

2.  Have 10 or 15 different decks of cards on the table.  If one blows up all over the place, let it go.  Just grab the next deck and keep on practicing.

3.  Have a couple of kids running around picking up all the cards when they fall to the ground.  To them, you’re just playing 52 Pickup, and all kids love 52 Pickup.

Remember, it’s not wether you win or loose, it’s how you make the cards dance!

133. Know the Lyrics to Songs

Posted in skills on October 19, 2010 by Allen

And sing with your friends.

There is no greater feeling of community than suddenly breaking into song with a bunch of people and perfectly belting out the lyrics.  It can happen at anytime, the right song comes onto the radio and BAM, instant karaoke bar!

Basically what the group of you are saying is, “I know this song, you know this song, we all know this song and we’re awesome because of it.  Now let’s share it with the world!”

132. Break a Record

Posted in skills on October 11, 2010 by Allen

Any record.  We are a culture obsessed with peak human achievement.  Remember how, as a kid, you constantly read The Guinness Book of World Records?  You were preparing yourself for now.

It can be anything from tying knots in cherry stems with your tongue to getting the high score in Donkey Kong.  The important thing is that you now own that particular activity.  The next time one of your friends tries to see how many marshmallows they can stuff in their mouth, they’ll know that they’re competing against you!

You Are Legend!

129. Make a Killer Sandwich

Posted in skills on September 14, 2010 by Allen

Guy 1: “I’m going to make myself a sandwich, you want one?”

Guy 2: “O.K., sure.”

Cut, slice, open, cut, spread, sprinkle, place, cut.

Guy 1: “Here ya go.”

BITE!

Guy 2: “Mmmmm…Woah!  Dude, what’s in this?”

Guy 1: “Sliced tomatoes, havarti cheese, cucumbers, sprouts, spinach, sundried tomato turkey breast, bacon, avocado, granulated garlic dijon mustard, lightly toasted multigrain bread.  Just a few things I had in the fridge”

Guy 2: “This is amazing!”

Guy 1: “It’s what I do.”

What’s better than making your friend an awesome drink?  Making them a killer sandwich.

126. Save a Falling Drink

Posted in skills on August 26, 2010 by Allen

Let’s break this down moment by moment.

You’re at a party chatting with a group of people.  Suddenly, while trying to emphasize a point in the story they’re telling, your drunk friend makes an exaggerated hand gesture and knocks the drink out of someone else’s hand!

Because you are constantly in a cat-like state of readiness, you see this happen even before it happens.  You lunge.  Everything is in slow motion.  You are acting on pure instinct.  You can see the matrix.

Just before the drink hits the floor, you catch it!  Didn’t even spill a drop.

You return the drink to Ol’ Butterfingers’ hand and casually whisper, “The first one’s free.”

122. Learn Kung-Fu

Posted in skills on August 4, 2010 by Allen

Or any martial art for that matter.  Hell, even Tai Chi, when done right,  looks pretty damn cool. Especially with a snowfall of pink cherry blossoms in the background.

As always, you want to be kind of casual about this.  A clean backfist to kill an annoying mosquito or the occasional roundhouse to close the fridge is ideal.  Leaving your hook swords out when company comes over is a little tacky.

Now, I’m not saying that demonstrating the Plum Flower Fist is the best way to win an argument, but it sure would be nice to know that tool’s in your belt should you need to be more “convincing”.

121. Have a “MacGyver Moment”

Posted in skills on July 23, 2010 by Allen

Sometimes you just don’t have the right tools for the job.  Now you have to improvise.

The beauty of the “MacGyver Moment” is threefold:  1. The satisfaction of finding some materials that might work 2. The thrill of assembling it all together into some fandangled contraption that seems to work, and finally 3. The awe and admiration on your friends’ faces when everyone realizes that the aforementioned gizmo totally works!

All you need is a little resourcefulness, a garage full of nicknacks, and the audacity to try something crazy.  Remember, cool readers, Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity because of a “MacGyver Moment” (or so saturday morning cartoons has led me to believe).

118. Start the Campfire

Posted in skills on July 4, 2010 by Allen

In this day and age of lighters, kerosene, and arsonists, starting a fire is not actually that hard to do.  When camping, however, a certain degree of status and tent village celebrity is reserved for the woodsman who gets that campfire ablaze.

The fire is the lifeblood of the entire campsite.  Without it: no cooking, no warmth, no light, and presumably, no protection from cougars and bears.  Until it’s lit, everyone is in danger, and once it’s crackling, an enormous sense of relief and awe descends onto the entire campground.  This, perhaps, is why the Fire-starter is so revered.

As the Bearer of the Blaze, you must know your surroundings.  Which pieces of wood will burn, how much kindling do you need, which section of the newspaper is nobody going to want to read this weekend and can therefore be used as an ignitor?   Be sure to create your pyre with care because you only get one match.  Using a second match is to forfeit your cool altogether and admit that nature has defeated you.  A good fire is a nice little reminder to nature that humans are in charge!

115. Do things “One-Handed”

Posted in skills on June 17, 2010 by Allen

At the very core of this exhibition of awesomeness is dexterity.  The more casual you can be about it all, however, the cooler you’ll appear.  Like most things in life, the less attention you draw to it, the more amazing it will be.  Let your friends be all, “Whoa, did you just flip that pancake with one hand!?”, to which you respond, “Uh, yeah, I guess.  That’s how I always do it.”

Shuffling a deck of cards, peeling an orange, catching an impossible over-the-shoulder touchdown, these are all simple activities, made cooler, when done one-handed.  Look, cool people are so busy doing cool things that they simply don’t have time to use both hands.

113. Conceal your “Swivel Head”

Posted in skills on June 7, 2010 by Allen

There are a lot of attractive people walking down your street right now.  These people should be stared at.  The challenge is to do it gracefully.

First of all, let’s clarify the two types of ogling.  There are times when you don’t want to be caught, and there are times when you do.  Many beautiful relationships and restraining orders have come as a result of blatant staring.  If that’s part of your game, lech away.

There are, however, many times when being caught rubbernecking just won’t do.  Maybe you’re with your significant other.  Maybe you’re with your mom.  Maybe you just want to try being subtle for a change.  Whatever your reasons, there are a few techniques that can help to satisfy your hungry eyes.

When you’re in a car:  Rear view mirrors.  Too easy.  That’s what they’re there for.

When at the beach:  Sunglasses.  No one can see your eyes.

When walking along the street:  Storefront windows.  Reflections make fantastic cover.

When you need to turn around to check the backside:  Drop something.  Magicians call this technique “misdirection”.  Whoever you’re with will be distracted enough not to notice your stares whilst the hubbub of picking up your items will allow you all the diversion you need to do a 180 and drink it all in.

Remember, a good long leer can brighten your day.  It’s what the summer’s all about.

111. Walk n’ Read

Posted in skills on May 29, 2010 by Allen

What a fantastic way to multi-task.  The biggest complaint about walking places is that it takes so much time to get there and the biggest complaint about reading is that there just isn’t enough time in the day to do it.  Walking and reading is the solution to both problems.

Granted, this requires a certain amount of concentration and peripheral vision to avoid collisions but the air of intrigue you create as you saunter down the street is pretty awesome.  “Who is that egghead, what are they reading and why is it so much more interesting to them than the world around them?”

It doesn’t really matter where you’re going, if you walk and read you can be sure that whenever you get there at least you’ll be smarter

109. Politely Avoid Street-Side Solicitors

Posted in skills on May 20, 2010 by Allen

You know that sinking feeling.  You’re walking down the street, you’re probably late for something, you look up and there they are.

It sucks because you know they’re there for a good reason.  You really should get involved in their cause.  You feel like you ought to at least hear what they have to say.  The problem is that never before has your time felt so limited and valuable.

Your eyes dart across the street, “Maybe if I just cross over to the other side now it won’t look like I’m trying to avoid them.”  But of course, there’s canvassers over there too.  They have created a drift net of social responsibility, and you’re trapped like a dolphin.

So what do you do?  Telling them you don’t have time right now will only make you feel more guilty.  They know you’re lying.

Here are three options to try, use whichever seems most appropriate at the time.

1) Take out your phone and pretend to be in a deep conversation (imagine you’re breaking up with someone)

2) Pretend to suddenly see someone you recognize from years ago further down the street, raise your hand to wave at them, yell out “Hey, Marlene!” and rush right past them.

3) Fake a sneeze attack right into your bare palms and make it seem like you’ve now got snot on your hands.  They won’t approach you now, nobody wants to be near a sick person.

Problem solved.

107. Look Comfortable Holding a Baby

Posted in skills on May 7, 2010 by Allen

It’s going to happen.  You just need to be prepared for it.  At some point this year you’ll end up visiting family or friends who’ve just had a baby.  Invariably you’ll be asked if you want to hold the baby.  Everyone in the room will be so excited and proud so obviously you can’t say no.

A baby is a little bit like a pillow case full of quarters.  The weight distribution is all skewed and unpredictable.  Also, babies are super lazy, they won’t help you out at all.  If in doubt, support the head and the bum (the two most likely weight deposit areas).

And now the moment of truth.  Once in your arms, the baby will do one of two things.  It will either laugh, or it will cry.  If it cries it means you aren’t funny enough, but, if it laughs and you look even remotely comfortable holding it: Gateway to Cool Country.

P.S. Don’t let the baby get too comfortable or it will poop.  Nothing’s worse then feeling that low gurgling rumble against your forearm.  As far as accessories go, Stinky Baby is less cool than Happy Baby.

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