Advanced Ding Dong Ditch

Advanced Ding Dong DitchDing dong ditch wasn’t even a thing when I was a kid, which wasn’t that long ago. It was really more the kind of game my parents would play with kids their own age decades ago. The game is simple enough – you ring the doorbell on somebody’s house and run as fast as your little legs can carry you before they make it to the door. Getting the same house multiple times led to bigger scores back then, but these days nobody can really take a joke. If you tried something like that now, you might end up getting shot through the front door of such a house by the people living on the other side.

Thinking about how that great pastime has kind of disappeared with the advance of technology and the increase in paranoia in people over the years, I came up with a way that people might still play the same game today. Sure, it’s still a little mean, but it doesn’t hurt anyone; it’s more an annoyance than anything else, don’t you think? My “advanced” version of ding dong ditch still works today, but it can’t be played at just any random house you find. Also, you’ll need to put in some work to make the game possible in the first place.

What you need to do is find a house that uses a wireless door bell. Those little chimes are connected to a receiver which can be anywhere at all inside the house, that’s not the important part. The important part is that you can ring the bell and get people in the house moving, even if you aren’t standing right at the front door when you do it. Portable bells can be detached from homes and carried around, say in your pocket while you go around a nearby corner to get out of sight.

Now, the range on typical wireless doorbells isn’t that great, so you can’t move too far away or else nothing will happen when you press the button. Also, these bells are usually only good for getting the occupants of a home to come to the door a handful of times. Usually by the third time, they realize the bell has disappeared from next to their door and they go disconnect the receiver in their home to stop the nonsense, ending the game. Now comes the really tricky part.

Returning the bell once the game is over can be difficult since the people living in the house will probably be on the lookout for some creep sneaking around after you rile them up with such a game. But you don’t necessarily need to walk right up to the front door again to return the bell. Placing it in a mailbox could be just as effective – that may keep you out of sight and there’s no way they can fail to find the thing if you put it somewhere so conspicuous. Remember, this game is about annoying people, not stealing from them. Fun is fun, but don’t hurt anybody while you’re goofing off.

The Boxer Rebellion

The Boxer RebellionIt was time. This writing caper was starting to be my undoing. Sitting on my ass hammering away at the keyboard and doing no exercise was adding inches to my belly and stiffness to my unused muscles. I had always been a very fit guy, playing so many sports that I had to keep a timetable to know what equipment and which uniform to put on before I dashed out the door to play.

As age takes hold of you, then the inclination to do some physical activities just for the sake of keeping fit disappears down the toilet. Older people tend to turn to more Bacchanalian pleasures that involve restaurant menus, recipes and wine lists. Oh, and don’t forget the cheese. I have to admit that I found these pastimes a lot more pleasurable than shopping for sporting equipment.

I don’t ever do things by halves. It’s always full steam ahead, like a bull at a gate. So with trying to get fit, I looked at my options, the things that I thought I might begrudgingly like. Walking? Sure, but to walk off this tummy and get a bit of fitness it meant 20 km a day. Who had time for that? Jogging? Too physical and my football knees would last maybe two days, one of them being at the medical clinic buying a knee bandage. Swimming? Yeah, worth looking at, but not in the winter. Even with a heated pool, you still had to brave the ice cold elements walking to and from the car. And a bathing costume. I would have to buy something that was both modest and stomach covering.

Most people overcome this problem I was having by signing up with the local gym. I checked it out. I met with a personal trainer there and he did a physical check on me. We went through some of the more low impact equipment there, a few weights, some treadmill stuff and specific exercises for my ailing back which sitting and writing weren’t helping. Then he suggested some boxing. I blinked twice and looked at him as if to say “You’re crazy!”

Once he explained it to me, I got a better understanding. He didn’t mean for me to jump into the ring with a wannabe Muhammad Ali, he suggested the punching bag and gave me a website on which I could research some boxing gloves that would suit the exercise. To be honest, the only time I ever wore a set of gloves was when I had a fight in the schoolyard with the local bully. The teacher made us put on gloves and go hell for leather. I remember I won because I landed an early blow to his nose. He was a prolific bleeder. Bad luck for him.

Anyway, I checked out all the equipment I would need, not a lot really, and from this website I picked a set of gloves and started going to the gym. I found hitting the bag a rather cathartic way to release daily frustrations. Who would have thought that?

Maybe you do not know this about boxing

Maybe you do not know this about boxingI was not familiar with boxing until I started to deal with freelancing. Then texts and photographs show me many things around me and brighten them in an entirely different light. So, I found out a lot about boxing. I knew that boxing is a tough sport that can sometimes be dangerous. I’ve learned some of these things quite accidentally. Did you know these facts about boxing?

The purpose of boxing gloves is to reinforce kicks. Before the boxing gloves were invented, men fought with their bare hands. Today it would look like an ordinary fight. The boxing gloves are what makes this sport recognizable. Bulky, padded gloves give the impression that they are intended to soften blows – as the struggle with mini pillows. In fact, their purpose is quite different. They should enhance the kick and speed up the process of knockout.

Boxing is successfully mixed with other sports. In this way is , for example, originated Piloxing – as a form of recreation that involves a combination of dance, Pilates, and boxing. There is also Chessboxing, sports discipline that combines chess and boxing match. Players are boxing with each other and playing chess alternately. The winner is the first one that makes a final impact – either in boxing or in the chess field. After all, boxing traces can be found in every serious gym, where workouts on the punching bag are an indispensable part of the training. All information about punching bag can be found here: http://punchingbagpro.com/

Boxing is banned in many countries. Blows to the head are very dangerous. Even the great boxing star Sugar Ray Robinson killed his opponent Doyle in the ring 1947. In some way, he predicted that. There is a story that he dreamed this outcome of the match. Such cases are the reason why boxing is banned in Iceland, Iran and North Korea, and relatively recently legalized in Sweden (2007) and Norway (2014).

The man has boxed against bears. As I said, boxing is interesting in combination with other sports, but also in combination with interesting opponents. Thus, in history, twice time had been held matches against bears. The first was in 1937, another 12 years later. Although bears did not go through harsh training, mother nature gave them the talent. Clearly, the bear won both times.

Boxing is actually called pugilism, which means a fight with fists. Yet the name boxing, which is used, is more beautiful and easier. The purpose behind each name is the same – to hit an opponent with the fist and knock him down.

Boxing has 17 categories, based on the weight of the player. That is why boxers are measured before the match. Small deviations can contribute that a boxer does not fall into the same category as his opponent. The weakest category is the mini flyweight, whose fighters are at 105 pounds (about 47 kg).

Being a boxer does not mean to be huge and strong. It is enough to be quick, trained and resourceful. There is a category for everyone. Of course, I’m talking about people. I am not sure which category includes bears and whether they are measured before the match.

Playing with My Fat Cat Tom

Playing with My Fat Cat TomHave you ever used a laser pointer to get a cat’s attention and maybe get them active for a little while? I’ve recently been using lights to encourage my fat cat Tom to get more exercise, and they seem to be working well enough despite the fact he’s so extremely very large. I don’t know what it is about bright beams of light that so incurs the wrath of cats, dogs and other critters, but I know for a fact that when I turn on the light, Tom responds, just about every time. It’s kind of sad in a way – he’s never going to catch that little beam and I don’t think he realizes it yet.

He’s probably going to be pissed when he finally understands I’ve just been playing tricks on him all this time, so nobody tell him or anything, eh? Recently I’ve been trying to think of ways to make our old game new and fresh again for the both of us, and I think I’ve figured out something. What could be better than a single beam getting Tom’s attention and making him run all over the place? How about dozens of beams all right next to each other in a sort of array? I’m talking about LED light bars if you don’t understand.

They may not be laser pointers, but some of these LED systems are so intense they make beams of light all the same. It’s kind of cool to see when using a bar which features many different colored lights since they’re all coming from the same source but don’t block each other out or cause the shades to mingle together into different colors. So far I can’t say for sure which color of light gets Tom the most excited, but I can say without a doubt that he gets kind of overwhelmed trying to lunge at dozens of different lights, rather than the single one we’re both used to using.

It’s a shame, really. I thought we would have a lot more fun after I got my Vision X LED Light Bar and tweaked it a bit to get the different colors I was looking for, but Tom didn’t really go for it. I’m just going to stick with laser pointers in the future. However, the need to get some value out of the items I purchase drove me to repurpose my light bar and find another use for it. This was actually kind of easy since there’s a closet in my house with no light sockets inside. I just plastered this bar to the ceiling in there and things are more than bright enough now, not to mention all the colors and everything.

Well, if you take anything away from this babbling, it should be that sometimes simple solutions really are the best. Or maybe what I mean is, if you have something that works, you don’t necessarily need to fix it? I’m not really sure. Tom and I are back to using the simple laser pointer and we’re both much happier though, so I guess it’s kind of both.

Pranks with Musical Instruments

Pranks with Musical InstrumentsMusical instruments and the people who play them are kind of linked after a while, you know? It’s like the fisherman who gets used to using his particular fishing pole, or the dancer who learns to be nimble on her feet while wearing a specific set of shoes. The tools of the trade are often as important to the trade as the experience of the person using those tools. I think this is why it’s so very easy to play pranks on musicians, both of the professional and amateur level. In fact, I’ve come up with a few good ones that will get any brass player mad, pranks that are sure to make any guitarist produce a grunt.

One of the easiest ways to frustrate a guitarist is to spin all his strings out of tune while he isn’t looking. Just wait until your friend or whoever gets up to go to the bathroom or something – any break where you’ve got a minute without them around will do the trick. Just grab at the tabs up by the guitar’s neck and start turning them in either direction. While you can make the next song your buddy plays sound like garbage, do be sure not to make the strings too tight, as they could snap and cause some injury. Pranks are supposed to be funny, not cause harm.

If you know someone who happens to play brass, there’s a great way to get them miffed. By simply changing the valves on a horn, you can cause it to make all kinds of unwanted noises instead of the music the user is looking to play when they blow into it. The information over at http://trumpethub.com/ is actually very useful for this since the site outlines a number of facts for many different kinds of trumpets. Once you know how to switch those valves, you can do the same thing with tubas, trombones and other horns, too.

Speaking of brass instruments, there’s a kind of mean thing you can do with any instrument which requires air to be blown by the user. Woodwinds will also work here, so if anyone has been annoying you with a flute lately, this is how you get back at them. By smearing the mouth piece with something super-hot, like maybe habanero pepper juice, you can totally throw somebody off their game. Just make sure you don’t slip anyone something they’re allergic to when you do this. That would be bad.

These are just a few ways to fool with musicians. They were the few I could think of right off the top of my head, so I’m sure there are lots of other pranks I just haven’t considered – or maybe I just don’t feel like sharing my best ideas out in the open like this. Anyhow, if you manage to get a good laugh using one of the techniques I’ve outlined here, be a dear and come back here to share it with the rest of us. What good is a great prank if nobody sees it, am I right?

Life Lessons That Golf Teaches Us

Life Lessons That Golf Teaches UsWhen I met up with my friend in our usual nook at the local café, he was looking all geared up for some meaty argument. We usually argue about anything that takes our fancy and find that it brightens up the atmosphere and, we also get some useful information out of it. The topic this time was about golf and how it was only fit for the rich and famous. I opposed vehemently saying that while this was the case a decade back, there have been many changes in the sport.

First and foremost, the game is much more relaxed than what it was before. I told him that the strict dress code has been done away with. You can turn up on the course wearing casual attire too. With that issue solved amicably, we moved on to our next. And the next contention that my friend had was that joining the golf clubs is quite an expensive affair with only the elite being able to do so. But the situation has changed entirely now. Almost all towns have a pay and play option in their clubs that is open to all. And all you need to play the game is available either for hire or purchase. Golf has certainly become an inexpensive sport and I informed him that taking golf lessons given by a professional was cheaper now too. This was certainly news to him.

Golf clubs give the right atmosphere to meet up with friends or new faces and form relationships. Everyone in the family can join in the game. Further the sport unlike a football, baseball or basketball involves a stationary ball, which makes it easy for learning the basics.

Though basics are easy to grasp, to play the game expertly you need to understand how to swing and have the mental focus to put the lessons to use appropriately. Calculating the score and handicaps you have further keeps you stimulated and active.  So it is not a lazy sport as many claim it to be.

As with any other game, practice is necessary for playing a perfect game of golf. But what I’ve learnt playing the game is that when you practice an erroneous move it will become a permanent defective move that you cannot come out of. The stretch and swing postures should be perfected before you start practicing the moves. And to do this, you need to be highly disciplined and patient.

Golf instructors mainly focus on three aspects namely the grip, setup and alignment. These positions are static and do not involve any moves. This makes them easy to practice even while at home when you are watching the TV.

There are also certain specific routines that each golfer has for his shots that are unique and what makes them good at the game. The new range finders also help in making the game easier to play. When you get your own shot routine you can focus, relax and put all your effort in to the shot.

My friend was convinced finally that golf was indeed a game for everyone. As a parting shot I believe that golf teaches the player to persist till the complete round, which is what we need to do in life too. If we keep moving forward and try our best it helps us improve our life and fare better.

My Foray Into Amateur Boxing

My Foray Into Amateur BoxingI recently had the opportunity to experience amateur boxing. No, I’ve not enrolled in boxing classes. I got invited to photograph an amateur boxing championship. One of my friends was taking part in the competition and wanted me to take some mind blowing pictures of him in various boxing moves. I’d a great time taking the shots and got interested in the game in the process.

Boxing is certainly a challenging game. It may look very crude and rough at the outset, but I soon learnt that it is done in a highly methodic way. To take part in a competition, you need great boxing skills. It is not sufficient, if you are in excellent fitness state. You need to be fighting fit which is an entirely different matter.

I’d the opportunity to talk to some of the boxing trainers who enlightened me on how they train for the sport. Boxing in a very tough sport and to train for the boxing competitions, you need to do several intense workout sessions. Here are some of them

  • Should run a minimum of 5 miles without getting exhausted
  • Half an hour jump rope
  • Punch the heavy boxing bag nonstop for 15 minutes
  • Should be able to spar with any other amateur and double the minimum of 3 rounds.

I haven’t included the exercises like pushups or sit-ups that you need to do to as the training is the only way to make you fit for the above sessions. If you’re able to do them than whatever training exercises you do are sufficient.

Amateur boxing is a very demanding sport and the competitive fighting does not depend on just the skillful moves or the better fighter, but on how many direct hits you score. It can at times take on an aggressive form with the one making the more throws, getting the higher score.

You need to have the stamina to do the punching or running that is needed. My friend uses best boxing gloves, click here for reviews to get more powerful throws. To score in a competition, you need a combination of skill, endurance and power.

Amateur boxing needs the following main characteristics to pass muster

  • Endurance is very important in boxing whether you do a defensive or offensive move. If you don’t possess the needed skills, you can get knocked out easily. There are two main endurance types you should have namely, leg and shoulder endurance.
  • Proper defense should be known to keep your opponent at bay. Pay close attention; protect your face and body appropriately to prevent serious injuries.
  • Your punches should be done at fast pace. Even if you’re tired, your hands should deliver fast punches on your opponent, if you intend to score.
  • Next to the speed, power is another important feature you should possess. Power is not just wild swinging, but exercising the proper technique. The punching move you exert should be efficient and effective to knockout your opponent.

While it is okay to think on fighting strategies, your defensive moves and stance should be done automatically. If you don’t know to respond instantaneously, it is hard to make it to the competitive level or win one.

Back into Bike Riding

Back into Bike RidingI am going to admit that I have a thing for motorcycles. My dad used to restore old bikes in our garage when I was a child. So, I grew up with them around. To me, they are the essence of cool. I love everything about them, from the sound of their engines to their slick style. I love all of the brands and styles, from the American-made classics to choppers to dirt bikes.

Recently, I fixed up my old bike that has been in the shed for a while. It looks great now, and I have been riding a lot and I have really gotten back into it and the lifestyle. I have really stated riding regularly and I have even been socializing with a couple of people that are really into dirt bike (which I am fairly new to). It’s been a lot of fun, and I am glad that I have had the opportunity to take up riding again.

My bike is nice, but my gear is pretty basic overall. Right now I have a good helmet and that’s about it. I’m thinking that for safety (and just because they look amazing) I should invest in a pair of motorcycle boots and maybe even a good jacket. The problem is that there are so many styles of boots and jackets, and buying them is so personal, that it is a lot to consider. For the boots, I found a great site that offers reviews at http://motorcyclebootshero.com/.

I am really excited to be riding again, but I realize that I am not 100% back in the game yet. Part of riding a bike really is about style and attitude. I can’t wait until I get my new stuff so that I can be riding in style.

Back into Bike Riding

Swimming Pools and Shamrocks

Swimming Pools and ShamrocksMy brother, Ian, and his family recently bought a new house. They have a beautiful plot of land now. Since they know that I like to garden, they have asked me to help them with it. I have spent part of my summer driving between their property and various local greenhouses and gardening shops to get it finished for them. He has provided a lot of the labor, and we have really enjoyed working together. To be honest, I was a little worried at first. I am more used to indoor plants and container gardening. I have to admit that this has been my biggest project to date, and it has been a lot of work. Having said that, I have really enjoyed it. Now that it is almost finished, and it has turned out really well, I thought that I would write a little update here.

Hardscaping First

Their house already had a small patio space to one side, but it was really too small to use for entertaining. In addition to that, my Ian and his wife decided that they wanted an above ground pool. This meant that there was going to have to be some additional hardscaping. We actually ended up putting in a brand new deck that wraps around their swimming pool. It looks beautiful now that it is finished. As I have been helping Ian out through the whole process, this part of my summer landscaping challenge was really a learning process, even for me. We have all had to do research. Regarding the pool, I found possibly the best place to start was this buying guide.

Plants and Plans

The rest has been more straightforward. In addition to the deck, we also put in a small retaining wall along the back of the property. It is curving and made of stones with moss tucked in for effect, so it is very pleasing to look at, and it has allowed for a border of tall grasses and some flowers for colour.  The growing season and soil are okay in his area, but he is not much of a gardener. Because of this, I tried to always stick to perennials that are hearty and easy to grow with a little bit of burgundy shamrock to honor our roots. His land already had some nice, mature trees and hedges. So, there was nothing to do there other than give some of them a good trim.

My brother says that he couldn’t be happier, and I’ve been told that they are already using the pool spending a good deal of time out in their new garden even though not all the plants are in yet. I hope to finish up this week and I’ve already bought Ian a green man as a present. I am really happy that I was able to help him with the whole thing. It was a great bonding experience for the both of us.

Fish Finding and Gift Giving

Fish Finding and Gift GivingI think that everyone knows someone who is impossible to shop for. Either they already have everything in the world, or the things that they want are so obscure and technical that they are impossible to get. For example, my brother, Ian, once told me that he wanted a subwoofer for his car, but he forgot to tell me which one he wanted.

My Uncle Mark’s 50th birthday is coming up in three weeks, and he is the epitome of this type of person to buy for. (Sorry Uncle Mark, but it’s true! And, you should probably not read this if you don’t want to spoil your surprise.) Every year everyone on my side of the family goes in on a gift together to ship to him because he lives about 300 miles away. This year it is my responsibility to try and fin him something that suits his personality, which is very different from mine.

Uncle Mark loves sports and the great outdoors. He is into everything from biking to hiking to disc golf to fishing. I want to buy him something that will help him on one of these hobbies. I’ve decided against buying him anything for biking, hiking and disc gold because I really have no idea what he needs. Besides, how many flying discs can ne man need? Added to that, he loves fishing the most, so that is the place I am looking.

I started off by looking at fishing rods, but then I realized that they are not exactly the best thing to giftwrap and ship. Tackle won’t work either because I have no idea what types of lures fish like or even what fish are in Uncle Mark’s region. After nixing those two possibilities, I was at a loss for a while and ended up having to do a lot of looking around.

Fish Finding and Gift GivingI found a great guide at Fishing Gadgets Hub. I think I have found the perfect gift here. Uncle Mark has both a kayak and a small rowboat that he fishes from and these fishfinders use sonar and GPS to help track down the best places to go to get the best catch.

It’s amazing how small and lightweight these are. There are different types of fish finders, some are portable and some attach to the boat. I think a portable one will be the best choice for his, as he can switch it back and for the between his two boats. Even more, they are the perfect price for our family gift and it is easy to ship.

Now, all I have to do is confirm my idea with my family and make the order. Gift shopping is complete, and I actually think Uncle Mark will love this.