Archive for the ‘Hobbies’ Category

How to Make a Bat-Dog Halloween Costume

.Bat Dog.

Step 1

Make sure you dog has giant bat-ears. If not, figure out how to make some, or you’re out of luck.

Step 2

Remove the shaft from a broken umbrella. (My umbrella broke on Friday on my way home from work. Perfect timing!)

Step 3

Remove three of the eight sections of the umbrella. Save the extra fabric. It can be used to hide the innards or for accessories.

Step 4

Add a bat logo without violating anyone’s copyright (or without getting caught).

Step 5

Attach the umbrella to your dog’s harness with a mix of string, rubber bands, and safety pins.

Step 6

Use your dog’s cuteness to help you get lots of chocolate that your dog can never eat. Oh the delicious irony!


How To Make Great French Toast

This is the first item I am crossing off my 101 goals in 1001 days list. I really liked my French Toast experience, and I am happy to recommend it. Here are my tips for doing it right (based on my vast experience (of cooking it once)):

  • Follow Alton Brown’s Recipe. I thought it was exceptionally tasty and very easy, even for a novice like I am.
  • Use a loaf of Challah bread. If the loaf has raisins, then even better.
  • When slicing the loaf make straight cuts. This allows the whole slice to make even contact with the pan.
  • Cut the slices a few hours before you need them, and leave them out. This helps them dry out and lets them firm up a bit.
  • Don’t heat the honey for 20 seconds. This is dangerously long. Five or eight seconds should be fine.
  • Add cinnamon and a little vanilla extract to the egg mixture.
  • Use fresh eggs that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. (No, you won’t taste any difference, but they are better for your health and your soul.)
  • Keep the heat on medium low, NOT medium. Otherwise they will brown or burn too quickly without the middle cooking.
  • I didn’t try it this time, but I bet that some cooked bananas, apples, or peaches would be an excellent addition to this meal.
  • The oven serves dual purpose of finishing the cooking process and holding the pieces till they are ready to be eaten. So, don’t skip this step.

Good luck and bon appetite!

Challenge: 101 Goals in 1001 Days

goals101 Goals in 1001 Days is such a great idea, I just cannot resist it.

This challenge is to prepare a list of 101 things you would like to do in the next 1001 days. You can choose to start the list today or work on your list and start in the next week. This site is the originator of the idea and the rules:

Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

Here are some other people doing this challenge. Have a look at their lists to get some ideas.

I am creating a page to track my goals and I will post different challenges and results as I go. Now, that I am back from my honeymoon in Greece, and my honey is back in school and spending a lot of her time doing schoolwork, I will have some free time to focus on personal development projects (and maybe doing more posts here too).

Also, tomorrow is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I’m not Jewish, but I figure this is a perfect time for new resolutions. This holiday is not about drinking, but about self-reflection and self-improvement.

3 Reasons to Complete Personal Challenges

GoalsWhat I like best about assigning yourself challenges is:

1) They are a surprising learning opportunity

Changing your habits of TV/Exercise/Sleep/Cleaning/e.t.c., sheds a big light on your relationship with those habits. If you want to know how you use the letter “b” in your writing, try using the letter twice as much or try writing without it. If you want to know the impact that TV has on your life, try giving it up.

2) They are a gateway to continued good habits

When you exercise everyday for one month. It is almost effortless to exercise a several times a week the following month.

3) They teach you how to integrate good habits into your life

Logistics are a big stumbling block to adopting good habits. For example, sometimes the hardest part of exercising is figuring out when to do it, where to shower, how to pack a bag, and how to handle laundry. When you force yourself to exercise, you also force yourself to solve and practice all the logistics involved.

Completing Challenge #8: Learn to Play a New Song

A GuitarThis musical challenge has a surprise ending, just like the “I see dead people” movie and the “guy crying in the bathtub” movie. To compete this challenge you need to perform the song that you just learned this week for someone else.

If you need chord charts or lyrics for the performance, I suppose that is OK. If you are really dreading this, your alternate option is to perform this song for yourself by making a recording of it.

Me? I’ll be playing a Damien Rice song for my fiancee. I don’t like performing, but I am crazy about her.

Personal Challenge #10: Complete a Crossword Puzzle

Crossword!I suspect that most people have never completed a crossword puzzle before. Maybe you’ve picked one up and filled out a few answers and gave up, but have you really completed one?

I’m planning on doing next Monday’s New York Times crossword puzzle. I’m doing the New York Times one because it is considered by many to be the best. I’m doing the Monday one, because it is the easiest.

I’ve give everyone a week for this challenge. Try to find one close to the level of difficulty that you can handle. Spend a few sessions hammering away at it. Don’t forget to get the next day’s paper to get the answers (but put it away until you are really done with the puzzle).

Good luck!

Result for Challenge #5: Week with No TV

Turn Off the TV One problem I find with my bad habits is that they are often strongly associated with other environmental factors. When I eat dinner on the couch, I always turn on the TV. So, the only hard part of this past week was trying to break that association.

I know lots of people who have quit smoking, and they have the most trouble in the environments that they associate with smoking. Perhaps when they get in the car there is a trigger to light up. You also see this all the time in bars. I bet there are millions of smokers who failed an attempt to quit while they were at a bar, because they associate, too strongly, smoking with bars and drinking.

I completed this challenge and tonight I watched TV for the first time in ten days. I watched a new episode of Mythbusters on Tivo (while eating dinner, of course).

Personal Challenge #8: Learn to Play a New Song

A GuitarYou know that guitar under your bed? Or that keyboard that you haven’t touched in forever? It is time to bring ’em of out storage and dust them off.

For this challenge, you have to learn one new song in the next week. That’s right: Just one song. If you only know three chords, this might be a little harder. But don’t worry, there are millions of three-chord songs. Just ask one of your musically-inclined friends. (Ask someone who knows at least 5 chords.)

So, go visit your favorite tablature site. After you realize that your favorite tablature site isn’t around anymore, find a new tablature site.

You have one week to complete this challenge. Full points will be awarded for instruments other than guitar and piano. However, points will be deducted if you don’t sing while you play.

Good luck!

Result for Challenge #4: Teach Your Dog “Take It” and “Drop It”

Dog with Bone I have seen real progress with my dog. So, I have decided to end this challenge.

It is a refreshing change to see her instantly and cheerfully stop a game of tug of war, with the words, “Drop it”. Giving her a treat and then continuing the game is one effective way to reward this good behavior.

Remember the rules of tug of war with your dog:

  1. You are the one who starts the game.
  2. You are the one who ends the game.
  3. You win every time (or almost every time).

If you are not winning at tug-of-war, then you are in serious danger of promoting dominance and aggression in your dog. Your dog must be crystal clear that you are the leader and you are in charge.

The Power of a Life List


At the age of fifteen John Goddard listed 127 goals he wished to experience or achieve in his lifetime. The list is impressive and audacious, but the results have been truly incredible.

I am astounded at the contents and success of this list. How many of these have you done? How many of these do you think you could you do? What would you put on your list? Do you have one? Why not?