Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 210: Duct Tape Wallet

     This particular challenge was inspired by my sister, who made me a wallet using nothing but pure duct tape. I thought it was the coolest thing at the time (its still pretty rad) and so did my classmates. I used the wallet for years till it was too torn up and have since had to resort to using an uncool wallet to hold my moneys. So I found out the hard way that duct tape wallets are hard to make. I followed some of the varying tutorials on the web long enough for me to realize that they were all just winging it. These people didn't know the right way to make a duct tape wallet. That's when I took a turn off the beaten path and decided to find my own way. It was a patchwork job for sure, but it turned out pretty alright, although it was pretty small. Check out the pictcha-s.

Day 209: Knot Tying

     I felt like I needed to try more practical challenges that would help me out in the real world. I need to be mastering things like knot tying, hunting and fire starting if I want any chance at the upcoming apocalypse (I think I got lucky that one time, day 140: So I grabbed an old shoe string and I looked up some YouTube videos and I practiced some basic knots for survival sake. As it turns out, there's like a thousand different types of knots, and a shoestring is knot that great for tying. I did my best to mirror the technique of the people on YouTube and I got a couple down. The bowline knot was the easiest for me. I think my survival practice went well, but I could always use more.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 208: Chocolate Chilies

     I had some time to kill before work today, so I made a stop at a store that I felt would surely lead me to new oddities to try; Whole Foods. I perused through the isles of Boulder-Bath soaps and eco-friendly tampons, on the hunt for my new thing. It was a weird experience just being in a store that was so, green. It wasn't bad, just weird. I eventually found myself checking out the candy section (cause some things just don't change) and found a bar of dark chocolate that had chunks of cherries and grounded up chili peppers in it. It was an intriguing combination, I could dig a chocolate and cherries bar, but I couldn't imagine how a chili pepper chocolate bar could be any good. I bought the exotic candy bar and was pleasantly surprised when I bit into it. The chocolate and chili pepper flavors were really bold, but it worked. I thought that the candy was going to taste like straight garbage but the flavors seemed to go together well. If your still skeptical about trying one of these babies, let me just say that I'm not really into chili peppers and I still liked it. I suggest that you go out and buy a bar to try. Who knows, maybe I just turned you onto your new favorite treat.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 207: Interview Training

     I had an interview for a position as a BASE (Before and After School Program) program staff member at a school down the street from me today. I was mostly excited and a little bit nervous about the interview because I had gotten a call earlier today from another BASE program who had unfortunately called me to inform me that they were not going to choose me as their newest member. I have been trying really hard to get a position at the BASE program, and that call that I had just received had kind of shot down my spirits. The thought of being denied for both positions was terrifying, so I decided (for my own good) to revamp my entire interview strategy. I didn't want this interview to end up like the last. I didn't want anymore partially answered questions and awkward silences. I wanted an interview that I could be proud of. That's why I enlisted the help of none other than Brian Krueger; the internet entrepreneur, author, lecturer and business leader extraordinaire. Brian has a heap-load of helpful vlogs (video blogs) on his channel that are specifically designed to give "me" (of coarse referring to anyone that is watching his vlogs) the skills I need to land my dream job. He has videos that explain the importance of an organized resume, how to dress during an interview, how to prepare for tricky questions, and even how to overcome 'interview nervousness'. His videos were quite helpful, they taught me that I had a lot to learn. For more practice, I had my little brother help conduct a mock interview with me. A mock interview is essentially when you have a pretend interview where you use the sample questions that are provided on Mr. Krueger's site. The pretend interview is designed to help you realize the flaws in your interviewing technique that you may not have known before. It was actually really helpful. Another exercise I tried was to briefly summarize my qualities and attributes into one manageable paper. I would then reference the paper that had my strengths and the job-related experiences to back them up. This was to help me recall events and experiences that the interviewer my find to be relatable to the job. After about an hour or so of interview practice, I (for the first time so far) felt ready for the interview I was about to participate in. It will be about a week before I hear back from the job, but all I can say is that Brian Krueger helps me out a great deal and I'm feeling good about how the interview went. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 206: Non-Alcoholic Beer

     I think of non-alcoholic beer in the same sense that I think of things like vegan bologna and scripted reality TV, they just don't make sense. It just seems a little pointless to me, that's all. I had never had a non-alcoholic beverage -well I guess I should rephrase that. I  have had non-alcoholic beverages like milk and water and soda, and stuff, but I have never had a non-alcoholic drink that was pretending to be alcoholic (get it?). So that's  why I found myself awkwardly standing in front of Walmart's beer section as I performed a Google search of "O'douls" to try and get the scoop on these near beers. I found that there is, in fact, alcohol in a bottle O'douls, but there isn't enough to really make a difference. My studies told me that there is ten times more alcohol per volume in an average beer than there is in a bottle of near beer and that you would "Die from a bursted stomach long before you ever got a buzz." if your actually tried to get drunk off of them. It said that you would have to down roughly 50 O'douls to feel drunk. I kept reading to try and find out if it was legal for a minor to buy said beverage in Colorado but I couldn't find much of anything. So I decided to wing-it and go try and buy the drinks anyways. The cashier didn't seem to care either way (and that's why I go to Walmart) when I tried to explain the situation. I took the 6 pack over to Mouse's and we cracked one open while watching a movie about a ninja that becomes an all-star basketball player (Its totally real: Kung Fu Dunk). It became way too clear why I had never hear of O'douls before, its cause they suck. There really wasn't much to say that would make the poor O'douls feel good about themselves. They were gross and overpriced and I felt like a total tool caring them around in Walmart. On the other hand, I learned to continue to stay away from O'douls.

Here is where my beer-search led me:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 205: Tomato Ice Cream

     "Don't knock it till you try it" has never rang so true. I decided to make tomato ice cream and we (Mouse, Mac and I) were all a little weary about the whole thing. What you do to make tomato ice cream is simple; boil tomatoes, skin them, cut them, then throw them in a food processor, then fold the paste into a bowl of vanilla ice cream. So we had a heaping bowl of tomato ice cream in no time. I had made up my mind earlier that this was going to be totally nasty and was pleasantly surprised when it wasn't as bad as I thought. But don't get the wrong impression here, it definitely wasn't that good either. It was just good enough for me to be able to eat without fear of puking all over the apartment. The aftertaste wasn't bad but I'd have to say that, on a scale from 1 to 10, tomato ice cream would have to place at a 6.95 or so. It really wasn't that bad, but there is still ice cream out there that is considerably better.

Day 204: Attend The Renaissance Festival

     The renaissance festival is a place that I never thought I'd go, not because I didn't want to, it just never really seemed that interesting. So I went down to check things out. Mouse and I endure some pretty heavy traffic to get there but we were men with missions. After we got through the driving and parking fiasco, all that was left was to pay $15 bucks at the ticket both and we'd be in. Once inside, we wondered to a renaissance employee that was dressed like a medieval street performer. It was right about then when I realized that wearing tie-die to the renaissance festival was a good way to volunteer myself for punishment. The street performer made eye contact and shouted out "Sir, next time remember to separate your laundry" which got some laughs from the crowd. I had no choice but to stand there and laugh at my stupidity. I was reminded from many people throughout the day that I wasn't fitting in with my T-shirt. I wanted to explain how ridiculous some of these characters looked, but I refrained. We watched some acts and listened to some music, but mostly just wandered around till I felt like I had successfully gotten my $15 bucks worth. The renaissance festival is an interesting place, full of interesting people. But it seemed to remind me too much of amusement park I used to work at. Everything was overpriced and kind of low quality, and so things got boring. That highlight was definitely the parade that tore through the festival. There were drummers and fire breathers and even Jack Sparrow riding an Elephant (which seems inaccurate on several levels). For the most part, it was a good time, just too much traffic and tie-die.

Day 203: See Deer Tick In Concert

     Deer Tick is a band that I really like and have been planning on seeing them live for quite some time now. I heard that they were playing a free show in Keystone (which is 81.5 miles away) and invited Mouse and David to come along for the ride. We made it up to the show after some minor (but time consuming) car troubles. We made it just in time to hear "These Old Shoes". The crowd was small, but that just made it easier to get to the front of the stage. John Mccauley (Lead singer and guitar) and the rest of the band played some favorites of mine like "Art isn't Real" and "Mange", and then they played a couple of songs that I had never heard before. I guess its stuff off the new album. But long story short, it was a great time, with great music and great friends. We finished off the night skating the skatepark that was close by and grabbing some Chipotle.

Day 202: Melatonin

     Melatonin is a supplement that my friend David gave to me after I was complaining about my bad (but getting better) sleep schedule. Apparently, this stuff is supposed to knock you out cold, bring you into the deeper stages of REM sleep, and help you wake up and feel rejuvenated. So I took a couple that night and (like I was instructed) was knocked out almost instantly. My sleep was great and I woke up feeling wonderful. David warned me that melatonin is known to cause nightmares because it throws you straight into the deeper levels of sleep. Although I didn't have any nightmares (that I can remember) I was in such a deep sleep that I slept through my alarm. I didn't have too much to do the next day so it wasn't that big of a problem. Those little pills really did help me crash out on my bed. Now all I have to do is figure out how to wake myself up.

Day 201: Dream Job- Ice Cream Taste Tester

     My work (Target) suffered a massive power outage for 8 hours yesterday (don't worry, I wasn't there, so they can't pin this one on me) and lost like tens of thousands of dollars in temperature sensitive foods. Basically, all the milk and meat, and more importantly, ice cream were just getting tossed. I was helping out with the throwing away of dairy and meat products when this tall employee with a name tag that read "Westwood" came up to me. He asked me if I liked ice cream and responded with the only answer my good judgement would allow, "yes". I then explained that I happened to work at an ice cream store for the past two year and that I considered myself an expert on the subject. If you know as much trivial knowledge about ice cream as I do, then  your fat, or a former employee. So anyways, Westwood sent me to get spoons to help me with my newly assigned mission. I was to preform a quality test on the ice cream to see if if was still good. I, along with another employee named Brad, strolled down the ice cream isle to pick out products for testing. I asked Westwood if we could try any of the flavors and he responded with "We just lost 30 thousand bucks bucks, I don't think a couple of Popsicles are going to are going to do much more damage". So we took Westwood's advice and reached for some of the fanciest ice creams in stock. Anything from Drumsticks to Klondike Bars were far game. I gave a good college try while I was grabbing ice creams, and I put even more effort in while I was eating it. We individually unwrapped and unopened each product, sampled it, took note of the quality, then sampled it again. We did this till we had our full and where satisfied from our study. I still can not believe that I was actually getting paid to eat ice cream, like a lot of ice cream. That was a pretty good day at work.

Day 200: Bacon Cupcake

     I heard that this cupcake joint down the street from me sells a bacon cupcake so I went down there to investigate. What I found was shocking, not only do they bake and sell fresh bacon cupcakes, the create a whole mess-load of other concoctions for you to enjoy. I ate my lunch (1 bacon cupcake, 1 chocolate cupcake, 1 medium coffee...I already know that I make terrible decisions) on the couches that they had inside. All I have to say about the bacon cupcake is that it is not as notable as you might expect. It's not super awesome, but its also not really horribly nasty. It was just, pretty good. I don't really have any complaints about it, it just wasn't as extreme as I thought it was going to be. I finished the rest of my "lunch" and proceeded to regret my dietary decisions for the rest of the day. You get me every time bacon cupcake.

Day 199: Vegan Soap

     Yep, they make it. Its called "Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap" and its about $3.50 a bar. I guess I shouldn't be surprised after some of the things I've seen people buy at my work They make vegan-everything and so it should be obvious that they make vegan soap also. They had several scents to choose from like peppermint but I felt it best to go with the modest lavender when buying my first bar of vegan soap. I used it in the shower and, I gotta say, its pretty good stuff. Its not an overpowering scent but it also works really well. It gets the job done, and with a name like "Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap" I had no choice but to support it. I like using it, but I don't like paying that much per bar. We'll see if I splurge on some more magic soap in the future.

Day 198: Take A Pregnancy Test

Ah haha
     You may think that It's absurd for someone like me (a boy) to think that its necessary to take a pregnancy test, but I justify it as being a thorough role model for any potential kids of mine. With all these crazy stories you hear on TV, maybe a boy giving birth doesn't seem that far-fetched after all. Or, maybe I just really needed a challenge for the day and I happened to be in the maternal department of King Soopers (Either way, you choose). So Kalin and I picked up a test, Weather it was for a genuine curiosity of my "bun in the oven", or simply because I am in the middle of a self induced project that tends to get me into awkward situations from time to time. We unboxed the test and read the instructions that were illustrated with crude drawings of a woman peeing for reference. And so I did my best to mimic the drawing as I peed on the absorbent end of the stick, which proved to be way messier than I had anticipated. Tensions were high while we awaited the results (not). Unfortunately, I am not the proud mother of the child that would shock all of humanity with the genetic impossibility of it's existence. But I must say that I am relieved that I don't have to experience that whole person-living-inside-you and that whole birthing thing. That would be a little too much for me.


Day 197: Grass Jelly

     I bought this stuff called grass jelly at the same store that I picked up that basil seed drink nonsense, so things weren't looking good from the start. I bought it as an extra back-up challenge I could rely on if I was slacking and desperate for a new thing to try for the day. So surprise surprise, I used up my back-up challenge within 4 days of buying it. I really was slacking that day. I had worked for most of the day and then spent a while skating with some friends. The day was ending quicker than I would have liked and I still needed a challenge. That's when I reached inside the mini fridge and pulled out the grass jelly to enjoy while I watched an episode of Arrested Development. I quietly sipped from my semi-liquid-but-mostly-jelly beverage only to find that (to absolutely no surprise) I didn't like it. Still, I kept sipping. I knew that the best way to get through it and to make a lasting memory about the experience was to just down as much of the beverage as fast as possible. So I began chugging and that was rudely interrupted by a large and slimy chunk of grass jelly pulp. The mixture of the disgusting taste and unexpected appearance from the pulp made me spit up a good portion of the drink. I was totally grossed out and was not about to try anymore of it. I feel like I gained more experience from getting halfway and semi-puking then I would have if I got all the way and didn't puke at all. So I declare that this challenge is here by completed. I really need to stop buying things at that Asian food store.

Day 196: BMX

Still got it

     So after that whole massage mishap I had to find something to take my mind of it. So I turned to the decaying carcass of an old bike I had lying around. I decided that I wanted to make a BMX bike out of it. BMX bikes are ridden for racing and to preform tricks with. I have a bike already (Day 130:, its the one I rode to Boulder with. But the bike I have is whats known as a single speed road bike, which means it only has one gear and it meant for long distances at high speeds. This BMX on the other hand, was intended for just riding around the neighborhood and to solidify my wheelies. So I got to building, I bought a seat at handlebar grips and then I painted the handlebars flat black. I took off the front brake (for style points) and filled up the tires. Then, It was ready to ride.
See, this is a two-part challenge. Part 1 is building the bike, and part 2 is riding the bike. So Mouse and I hoped on our respective bikes and set out to shred the town (or try to anyways). We tried wheelies and bunny hops, then we tried some more advanced maneuvers like peg grinds (although I could only do pedal grinds) and riding backwards. Its safe to say that we aren't very good (yet), but were trying. It was still a lot of fun.

Day 195: Massage

     I knew full and well at the beginning of this project, that I would be getting myself in some strange situations. So far, I've been welcoming to the idea of out-there challenges for me to try. Not only do they make for great blogging material, but I am often surprised to find that some of these far-fetched challenges may turn out to be enjoyable. So, When Mouse told me that his on-and-off girlfriend's brother needed two willing participants to act as test dummies so he could practice for his exam for massage school, I immediately volunteered the both of us. I had never had a massage before (although I planned to) and I especially had never had a massage from a man before (and I hadn't planned to) but I couldn't pass up the experience. So Mouse and I met up with Edward  and his sister at Mouse's apartment. Edward is a massage therapist in training and needed to work out the kinks in his massage routine. He was a bigger guy, and had a serious sort of demeanor. I never would have pictured him to be the kind of guy that was into massages, but I try not to be so judgy about what people are into. Edward had a giant suitcase that folded out into a massage table and he began to prepare the area soon after shaking hands. He waited till he was finished with his preparations to inform us that this would be a nude massage. Mouse and I were both a little uneasy about the idea, I mean, I didn't start the day off expecting to be massaged by a large man, in a one bedroom apartment, in the nude, while both Mouse and his off-and-sometimes-on girlfriend were in my company. I'm still trying that whole have-an-open-mind thing, but this was still real weird. the massage itself was about as weird as you might assume. I was lying on the table with a thin bed sheet covering my package (ha yup), while Edward worked away. I had Mouse play skate videos in the background to help me relax (and it actually worked). Edward was thorough to say the least, he started from the neck and back, then he moved to the arms and lower back, and then "Hey!" I squealed as he got to the butt cheeks. It was way too weird, but we powered through it and he continued to legs and feet. From there I was told to flip over onto my back. Edward then fastened the bed sheet kind of like a diaper around me to keep me from feeling as naked as I really was. Then he massaged more muscle and loosened up some joints. After he was done with his practice he had me critic his performance. Sadly, I had no idea what a good massage was supposed to feel like (because I'd never had one), so I couldn't say much. Mouse and I did find that we were both incredibly relaxed and limber for the remainder of the day. As far as that whole I'm "welcoming to the idea of out-there challenges for me to try" thing, I still think that its true, but I don't know if I'll be getting another massage anytime soon.

Day 194: Hike Chautauqua

     I've been working at my job (Target) in Boulder for about a month and a half now, and I can't help but think that I haven't been getting enough of the Boulder Experience. That's why I decided to pack up a couple of friends (Kalin and Mouse) to come along as I hiked Boulder's iconic mountain, Chautauqua.

Chautauqua is that giant flatiron mountain you see when you are driving into Boulder. Its the same one I stare at through the window at work when I'm bored.

So we drove out there for a beautiful day of climbing and hiking. The trail wasn't very difficult but it did seem to end shortly, so we decided to find our own path. We passed a group of rock climbers who were in the middle of scaling the ridiculously steep wall of the flatiron.

We stopped for a couple of scenic photo-ops and then just kinda hung out there for a while. The view from that spot was incredible. I could see all of Boulder and even the little spec that was Denver. I could see lakes and valleys and the roads that connected them.

 Soon after that, we headed back down the mountain so Kalin could eat lunch with her Grandma. The weather was beautiful and so was the view, today was a good day.

Look how steep that wall is!

Day 193: Basil Seed Drink

     Basil seed drink is a beverage that looks like a thousand tiny little eyeballs floating in slime. Its not particularly pleasant looking but I've been told that the flavor is pretty alright, so I got me a can and tried it out myself. The flavor really wasn't that bad, it was sweet and mild, unfortunately the texture was a different story. Each sip of the drink brought down tiny slime balls and I really wasn't enjoying it. Little by little, I took down the glass of liquid basil seeds and each time I did so, I grossed myself out. The fact that I kept mentally associating the tiny basil seeds to tiny eyeballs was not helping my case. So I found out the hard way that although something may taste good, it may be hard to swallow at times. I think I'll be keeping my distance from basil seed drink for a while.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 192: Storm Chasing

     The weather over here has been all outta wack for the past week or so. There's been a whole bunch of storms that have been reeking havoc. The torrential downpour from some of the recent storms caused enough flooding to drag away the trash cans that were set out in my neighborhood. Mouse and I decided that the best thing for us to do was to grab a couple cans of pineapple soda and get as close to the storm as possible. Here are a couple of pics from our storm chasing adventure. 

     Turns out photographing something that moves at 3,700 miles a second is quite difficult. We were on our little storm safari for a couple of hours and, between the two of us, we took a boat load of pictures and these are the best pictures we could get. Enjoy!

Day 191: Celebrate 7/11 Day

     Word got out that on the 11th of  July (7/11), the convince store/ gas station known as 7-11 has their annual 7-11 day (get it? 7-11 is the date and its the store name! Eh whatever, I thought it was clever). And on 7-11 day, all the stores give out free slurpees for all to enjoy. It was obvious that it was my duty to help the convince store who introduced me to the delicious-slush-like beverage by joining in on the 7-11 festivities and picking up my own complementary slurpee. So Mac and I drove down to the nearest 7-11 and found that the parking lot spared absolutely no open spaces. Then we walked inside to stand behind the 20 other people that also heard about 7-11 day. The line trailed along till we finally reached the slurpee machines where we found the "free slurpee" cups. They were tiny, 7.11 ounces to be exact and it was a bit of a let down to see such a small cup, but then I reminded myself that it was free and that seemed to cheer me up instantly. We escorted our semi-liquid drinks outside where we enjoyed all 7.11 ounces of tasty goodness. We watched other slurpee enthusiasts fight for parking spots and complain about the size of the cups then we decided to renter the store for a second round of blue raspberry flavored slurpees. Lesson of the day: I'll probably just pay the $1.19 for a generously sized slurpee next time.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 190: Pluot

     Another exotic fruit challenge coming your way... A pluot is a fruit thing that is a hybrid that was devolved by Floyd Ziager. Its a lot like a plum and a little bit like an apricot (at least that's what the the picture above is making it seem like). They are super juicy (like make-a-giant-mess-on-your-white-shirt-juicy) and sweet. The skin of the fruit was a little weird but nothing too out there. It made for a pretty delicious challenge for the day.

Day 189: Creative Visualization

     I was researching this stuff and it seems like all the people that make videos about creative visulation are all a little bit out there. I found a heap load of uber earthy hippies that kept saying things like "spiritual" and "feelings", I don't know if I liked it. But I thought that I'd give their methods a go. Creative visualization in a nutshell, is basically the act of concentrating on something you want really badly. This thing that you think about can be anything, from higher self of steam to higher gas mileage. All you do is think about what you want and try to associate that goal with good feeling and positive vibes, in other words, its total bull plop. Your creative visualization journey ends the second you try to obtain this goal. That's when you have to ask yourself "Hey, am I really cut out for this? Am I the kind of person that assumes that my greatest accomplishments in life will be handed down to me on a silver platter as long as wish them to be true?" If this sounds like something you would say, then creative visualization may be for you. And for the rest of you, I'll meet you back in reality.
     So I bit. I tried the meditation that the yuppie hippies offered me. I concentrated about a pretty reasonable goal, I "thought" about landing laser flips (its a certain skateboard flip trick that has eluded me for way too long). I thought long and hard and I tried to picture the smile that I would wear when I would land them. Twenty minutes passed as I mentally landed the trick frame-by-frame. I was feeling good about my daydream training and was eager to try them. Unfortunately, I have yet to land or even stick a single laser flip since my pre-meditated practice (probably cause creative visualization is stupid). I'm starting to think that this whole creative visualization thing is a bunch of malarkey.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day 188: Oil A Baseball Glove

     I bought my Brother a baseball glove today so we could play some catch and whatnot. It was way too stiff to play ball so I decided that I would break in his glove just like how my dad broke in mine. I looked up some popular methods and decided to take the shaving cream route. It says to dab small amounts of shaving cream into the pocket and the inside of the glove. Then you place a ball in the pocket, twist rubber bands around the glove and let it sit for like 2 days. I remember my dad putting the glove under my mattress so it would break in faster so I placed Sean's glove under my couch cushion and sat on it while I watched Netflix. In no time Sean should have a mint condition glove, but for now, I guess I'll keep watching Archer on Netflix.