My Experience With A Technology Exhibit in New York

My Experience With A Technology Exhibit in New YorkIt’s me Morgan, your geeky tech expert and as always I’ll discuss all things technology (which sometimes bores my girlfriend.) Anyway, I want to talk about a technology exhibit I attended in New York City called Gadgets For The Body And Mind. This exhibit lasted a good three weeks but I only attended the first two weeks since I had to return to my video production project that I’m working on for a new client for my freelance business. I saw a lot of geeks there but a few were actually posers because when I discussed technology topics with them, they looked clueless. Here are some highlights of that exhibit.

Someone’s Watching You With Gadgets

I embrace certain conspiracy theories and when I saw a line of popular spy gadgets that law enforcement officials and regular people use to spy on people, I was not too happy. For example, I heard about this super small surveillance camera that can be drilled inside any home appliance or even implanted in your purse or suitcase. In addition to this, an attendant showed me a few GPS systems that look like pocket calculators that can be installed in or underneath cars. I visited a seminar within the exhibit that showcased computer programs that allowed someone to monitor all computer activity and I was really upset when I learned about the latest gadgets in cell phone surveillance. Continue reading “My Experience With A Technology Exhibit in New York” »

My Top 5 Music Bands

When I was in college I worked at the campus radio station and I had a blast there because I was given the late night classic rock show that was hosted by an older alumnus for a long time. I went in the stacks and found a lot of great classic rock albums from rare and established rock artists and it was during my time at the station that I developed a liking for all kinds of classic rock bands. Over the years I purchased albums from artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Moody Blues, The Doors and Fifth Dimension. Altogether I have about thirty albums in my basement and I’m always on the lookout for unreleased material from legendary artists online or at local record stores. Here are my top 5 music: Continue reading “My Top 5 Music Bands” »

My New Kayak

My New KayakI spent some time talking about what happened during my Christmas back in 2014, but I didn’t really get into the gifts I got as much as I covered the gifts I got for everyone else. If you can’t tell from the title here, one of the presents I received (and definitely the largest one for this Christmas holiday) was a brand-spanking new kayak. There’s a lot of water and water access here in New York City, so it was actually a bit more practical than I thought at the time. You can get a look here at the PERCEPTION kayak I got.

Honestly, I was surprised. This was an expensive piece of equipment, or so I think, at least from what I’ve seen after searching for the kayak online. I’m sure my folks got it on the cheap, but still – I think I spent something like $600 total to get gifts for my parents, siblings and a couple other people, and this little boat alone probably cost that much all by itself. I’m not really much for boating or kayaking, but after they spent so much on this tidy little vessel, I think it’s a sport I’m going to pick up.

I really don’t get out enough as it is. Maybe that’s what they’re really trying to tell me, huh? I don’t know about any of you, but my parents have been giving me gifts that have these little, silent notes that go along with them; like they’ll give me socks and it’ll be nice but what they’re really saying is the socks I have now are so full of holes they’re a little embarrassed I still wear them. I think lots of parents are like this when they give presents to their children, or at least I hope they are. Mine sure are.

Thankfully, New York has plenty of water running through it, even if it’s cold and full of snow this time of year. There are plenty of parks, streams, rivers and even some ocean access, if I feel like paddling out to the middle of nowhere. But I think I’ll save that last bit until I’ve got more experience kayaking. I’d sure hate for one of my first few trips to be my last one, you know? Plus, after looking around, I’ve noticed that my kayak doesn’t have a dry storage compartment, or a number of other things the high-end boats do. So I kind of want to stay away from potentially rough waters.

Well I’m awfully happy about my new kayak, even if I’ve never gone before and I have no experience doing such stuff. It’s small and light enough that I can lift it and maneuver it without any help, which is good, since it only has enough room for me to sit in it. With this new tool, I’ll be sure to get out and exercise more regularly, especially since it will be so much more exciting than just lifting weights, climbing stairs or running around the block endlessly.

Christmas: One Month Later

Christmas One Month LaterIt seems a bit odd to be writing about it now, literally a month later, but I didn’t really have a lot of free time to cover Christmas back when the holiday was happening, you know? There were all the phone calls, the visits with friends and family, shopping for gifts, showing up to dinners; it’s one of the busiest times of the year if you ask me. I got a few nice things from my folks, but as the old adage goes, it’s better to give than to receive. I did a lot of giving, too. I don’t think I can remember it all now and it was just barely 30 days ago.

Well my mom, I’m always keeping her in mind. I guess you could call me a sort of mama’s boy, but I’d probably take offense if you actually did call me that to my face; I think some of the guys out there understand what I mean here. Anyhow, she’s always on my mind, so I got her a bunch of good stuff. Some fine Chanel perfume for one, because I know she’s a big fan of that. Even though she’s getting older, she likes to dance – clog dancing of all things. I actually picked up some clogs like these DANSKO ones I found, but I think she knew they were coming when she spied me checking her shoe size.

I can’t forget my old man, either. I can’t explain it but I do love to gift scents, so I got him some cologne too. His usual brand, stuff he’s been using for years and likes a lot; that made that gift pretty easy. Lately he’s been complaining about his feet too, so I looked hard for some orthopedic shoes in the same place where I found those clogs for my mom. I found a number of different pairs of shoes, along with reviews, and went shopping on the Internet once I had a better idea what it was I wanted, specifically. They were both happy with their gifts.

I’ve got a number of siblings, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and other relatives too. While I didn’t pick up presents for literally every person in my family, I did get a few things for the closer ones. My older brother got a new wallet because he’s always wrecking his wallets somehow; I swear he’s a brute even if he doesn’t realize it. My little brother got some clothes, nothing special. He’s still in school and strapped for cash like practically every other college student in the USA, so it was an appropriate gift, I think.

That’s as far as I’ll go with this. Did any of you get something special this Christmas for the people in your family, or maybe your friends? I’d kind of like to hear about it. It’s always interesting to me what people gift to each other, especially in those cases where the gift was really poorly received. I don’t mean to make fun or anything, but I’m sure we’ve all gotten a gift and wondered just why the heck someone would buy it for us, am I right?

Sergers and Good Gifts

Sergers and Good GiftsSo, I like some strange things, yoyos and Swedish fish are not the least among them, but I do have to say that I am not the craftiest person on the face of the planet. Well, I do know some origami, but you know what I mean. The thing is that sometimes craft skills really do come in handy. This is something that both my mother and aunt impressed on me when I was young. They were amazing at everything from baking cakes to patching the holes in my socks to hemming my jeans. Of the two, my mom was always the one who loved sewing the most.

I mention this because Christmas is coming up. Well it’s actually not for a while, but it seems like the holiday shopping season starts very soon now. Maybe because the stores are already starting to put out holiday decoration, I have been thinking about what to buy mom for her present. To be honest, I am not that good at buying gifts for people. To be perfectly honest, most of the presents I give to people are met with an “Oh.” Instead of an “Oh!” For some reason, however, this year it seems like I should put in some extra effort in the gift-buying department when it comes to my relatives and the people in my life that I love dearly.

Since my mom is such a good sewer and she loves it so much, I wanted to get her something to help her with it. Since I am a bit of a techie, I wanted it to be something mechanical. Obviously, she already has a really nice sewing machine, but this meant that I didn’t know what to get her.  So, it took me a while to come up with what I wanted to buy since I don’t know really anything about sewing. After quite a bit of research, and learning a lot about sewing that I didn’t know, I settled on a really good serger.

Apparently sergers are kind of like sewing machines on steroids. Okay, I don’t really know anything about sergers, so they probably aren’t like that at all.  But, I did research the best ones really well, and one model claims to make 1500 stiches in a minute! I’m not crafty, but speed is right up my alley, so this seems as good as anything as far as I’m concerned. I’ve already bought it and it is sitting in my closet waiting for its giftwrap job in the sparkly Santa Claus and reindeer wrapping paper that I have left over from last year.  It’s pretty big, so I hope I have enough paper. I mean, I suppose I could fork out the $3 dollars for more, but I kind of like the sparkly Santas. I hope that she likes it. And, I also hope she doesn’t come over and end up getting into my closed before December 25th. Here’s hoping she likes it.

Boxing with a Buddy

Boxing with a BuddyHi all! I have been posting a bit about the things that I am interested in recently, and one of those things is keeping fit. Now, I fully admit that I am not the mos obvious choice as a buff fitness guy, but I am actually hoping to change that. That’s why I have decided to take up the quintessential tough guy sport—boxing. The whole reason that this came about is that my friend, Louis, wants to start learning, and he invited me to join him.

I really wasn’t expecting take this up before Louis mentioned it, but I actually think that learning to box will be the perfect complement to the things that I am already doing, which mostly consists of weight I lifting right now though I have also tried a couple of other things lately. I’ve read up on it a bit and really think that  is the perfect sport for not only gaining muscle and learning how to defend yourself, but also for increasing speed and agility. And, I think that it will be a ton of fun to at least try out.

I am starting to do everything that I need to in order to get started learning how to box. My friend already found a good club to join, so this really means tracking down the proper equipment, this includes everything from gloves to tape to mouth guards. One of the best resources I have found regarding the things I need has been in the form of this website. There are a lot of great, and very detailed,  product reviews as well as some other tips and insights that have been really useful to a newbie like me. I’ve already sent the link to Louis to look over.

I am actually pretty amazed a how quickly everything is coming together. I have even managed to whittle down my choices regarding the perfect boxing gloves to buy. I haven’t 100% decided yet, but I am pretty close. I know that I could probably rent or borrow a pair to begin with,but they are just so cool. I am even thinking about hanging them on my wall for decoration (though ‘m sure that my girlfriend would hate it). Even past the coolness factor, I think that buying a pair of gloves will help me mentally commit to boxing. They area major purchase, even though they are far less expensive than I expected them to be. I hope that what this will mean is that I will value the experience of boxing more by buying the gloves, and  I will practice it more regularly than I do most other things. Anything to keep me motivated to keep practicing!

It turns out that I’m pretty fired up about this new idea, and I hope that it helps me to become stronger, healthier and more quick witted and alert. It is such a strange thing to think about potentially stepping into the ring, even just for practice, but I think it will be exciting and a lot of fun try with Louis too.

My Recent Small Game Hunting Trip Experience

My Recent Small Game Hunting Trip ExperienceThe best place for game hunting is undoubtedly North America, so I thought. You can find quite a big variety of animals including elk, deer, mule deer and other hunting game in a quite picturesque background and stunning regions. Having said this, I think that it goes without saying that small game hunting is even easier here. I had gone on a hunting trip recently with my friend who’s a Finnish native. He’d invited me over to Finland for the hunting trip. Since I’d some time off and would have made the time anyway as I love hunting, I immediately accepted his offer.

In Finland the most commonly used hunting breed is the Finnish Spitz. It is the national breed in Finland and has been used to hunt game like Grouse and Capercaillie. The hunted game is usually used for feeding the family. But there are strict rules regarding the hunt here. You are allowed to hunt only a particular number of birds.

We were to hunt in the wilderness around Lapland. We had driven down to Lapland where we stayed for three whole days in a hunting lodge built on a lake’s edge.  My friend is a very good hunter as his father and grandfather had excelled at the sport and had taught him all they knew. The terrain had startling variations from moss enveloped boulders to plain raw marshland. Without hunting dogs for company, you can easily get lost here.

The dog scents the prey and gives a signal – a unique kind of bark- and at the same time keeps the bird under it spell by waving its tail. On the cue from the dog we approached the area without disturbing the bird. The hunter needs to be quite agile, sure footed and strong to accomplish this. We managed to have a good hunting. Though my friend used gunpowder I prefer using air rifles over gunpowder, as it offers better power, range and good shot placement.

Especially for hunting small game and some pests an air rifle is of great help. These rifles have evolved into serious and effective hunting tools today. While bow hunting is a more traditional form that can be used in areas where the firearms are banned, an air rifle too can be used in such situations. This has made the air rifles quite popular. There are several models available now and you can choose according to the power or accuracy you need for your hunting.

With air rifles you can hunt with precision and accuracy that was not possible in the past. Air rifle hunting is all about precision. Since the rifle has power restrictions, you need to check on the accuracy by testing the pellets before you use them and also how well you handle the air rifle. Doing a good amount of practice shooting at different ranges will help you to hunt game easily. I tried targets that resemble the actual size of small game that I want to hunt. When you shoot such target in field conditions, you can easily get the required practice.

Guide on How to Win Arguments

Guide on How to Win ArgumentsHey everyone! I’m back. Life’s good and bright as always. I had a big argument with my friend which is what egged me on to write this post. Being struck with a smart idea and not being able to make people accept it can be quite frustrating. The art of persuasion is definitely a skill you should master, as I found out to my chagrin! While I did not have geek freaks like me giving expert advice, as I did not know about it then, here I’m to enlighten you people on how to win an argument. I’m certain to use these tactics now, which comes a bit late as it is as I lost the argument to my friend.

What you should do?

  • Be unfazed even if you’re passionate about what you’re talking. Staying cool can win an argument easily. Why? Because you can control your emotions and not let them rule you.
  • Facts should be used to strengthen your position. No matter how solid the other party is hard facts cannot be refuted. So the best way is to use statistics, quotes, surveys etc. to support your argument. Trust me! This works like magic.
  • Logic is the next best tool you can use to oust your opponent
  • Ask pertinent questions. The right questions will give you an upper hand in the argument and leave the answering part, which is the most difficult one to your opponent.
  • Appealing to worthy motives and higher values always works effectively. Queries like ‘isn’t this what we would like for our children to have in future?’ will hit head on.
  • Listening is very important as this is when you can know about the weakness and faults in your opponent. And better still you can latch on to something useful and informative.
  • When you hear a good argument, you should concede to it, but not leave it as such. You need to use a stronger point that tips the scales in your favor.
  • Analyze your opponent and know what his values, beliefs, weaknesses and strengths are. This can help you build your argument in your favor.
  • You should be prepared for a neutral ending of the argument where both your views are accepted.

Things you should avoid

Direct attacks on your opponent personally like challenging his honesty, integrity or lifestyle should be avoided. The issue here is not your opponent, but the views he has. Stop maligning each other, so you can get to the root of the matter and solve it.

Sometimes a skilled opponent can distract you by some extraneous matters. But keep your mind focused on the task at hand. Be firm and refuse to be sidetracked.

Sneaky ways can also be used to win arguments like using punchy one liner, which can stagger your opponent and stop him in his tracks. Humiliating and ridiculing is also a good sneaky tactic. Provoking him is also a way to distract him and win the argument. Exaggerating the position taken by the opponent also helps to give you an upper hand.

Though these are better avoided, you can try them out when the other tips do not give you the result. I had to use services of mobile nail technician to paint my nails with flowers as a penalty for losing the argument. Now guys do you want to be in such a state. Take my advice to heart and win your argument. Best of luck!

Tips for Mountain Photography

Tips for Mountain PhotographyHiking is one of my favorite things to do. It’s good exercise, gets me out of the house and away from my computer; it gets me plenty of fresh air too, and that’s always nice. I went on a long trek recently and took many photos while I was out and about. That’s another major passion of mine – taking pictures of pretty much every interesting place I go. I wouldn’t say I’m really a professional photographer, but I’ve been doing it for so long that I’m more than confident in claiming I could pass on some good advice to others who wish to get the most out of their cameras.

In fact, I have a few solid tips for mountain photography, specifically. Not every mountain is the same, mind, but many of them are similar. Due to this what works well on one mountain will more than likely work just as well on another mountain. My biggest tip for amateurs and professionals alike is not to wait for that “golden hour” approaching sunset and following the sunrise. There are many opportunities to take extravagant pictures outside of these two hours or so in the other 22 hours of the day. Also, if contrast is causing you to take bad pictures, consider getting a graduated neutral density filter.

Besides beefing up your camera, you might also consider investing in other aspects which could play a part in determining the quality of your mountain photography. I don’t know about you, but I tend to take better pictures when I’m wearing comfortable clothes that don’t restrict my movement. I don’t mean baggy shirts and pants, because those can get caught on natural fixtures and cause you to trip or take a tumble. But I do wear the best foot protection boots to have a comfortable walk. I choose combat boots for men. They’re tough, durable, and they give me better support than many hiking boots I’ve owned. The best example of these would be a nice pair of tactical boots by Rocky, which I acquired recently.

If you can manage it, don’t go hiking with your digital gear. The added weight of a camera, tripod, screens and other equipment can turn a relatively pleasant uphill trek into something much more strenuous. Consider bringing along a wheeled cart and pulling it behind yourself, if the gradient of the hill you are climbing isn’t too steep for it. Remember, an expansive vista doesn’t always make a great picture; you could put a lot of effort into climbing up high, only to be faced with poor picture opportunities anyhow. I suggest a cursory hike first, without any gear, to see if it would be worthwhile to haul your equipment up too.

Last but certainly not least, when you are looking to take the perfect mountaintop photograph, remember that you must go very wide to get all the elements of the scene you see within the picture you are taking. The best landscape shots make the viewer feel as if they are standing there, where you were when you snapped the shot. If elements like the tops of trees or the sides of surrounding hills are cut off, then you’ve got a picture that isn’t as good as it could be.

The Joy of Motorcycle Riding

The Joy of Motorcycle RidingOne of the greatest joys of motorcycle riding should be immediately apparent to anyone who has been stuck in traffic in their bigger, bulkier cars, trucks or vans; motorcycles are just so amazingly mobile. They can squeeze into, through and out of spaces which those larger vehicles could never hope to pass. They represent the perfect ride for people who want to go fast, and that’s why I recently bought myself a new bike. Again, since my last new bike didn’t really last as long as I’d hoped it would. No, I didn’t get into any nasty accident or anything, but I fear I pushed it too hard.

This time, I’ll be sure to treat my ride a bit more respectfully. I’ll be sure to keep up fluids and ride the thing safely, wearing my newly acquired Fox Racing Boots when I do. I don’t know about you, but I think at least some motorcycle accidents could be prevented by wearing boots with a proper amount of traction. It’s a lot easier to stay upright and on your bike if your feet aren’t slipping off the pedals, right? It’s not that I wasn’t wearing protective gear before, but I think I could have been better equipped than I was when I trashed my last new bike.

I love going fast. I know that’s not for everyone, and I know it can be pretty dangerous to move quickly, especially when riding a motorcycle and being surrounded by much bigger vehicles in traffic. If you’re a kind of speed freak like me, then I can’t recommend enough some proper protective gear, like boots. More information regarding good protective gear can be found right here. I’m certainly no expert on the stuff, so I recommend you take a look at that link if you’re looking to steel yourself against potential accidents, road rash or much worse.

I’ve been through a couple little accidents myself. I only call them little though, because I was never seriously injured. My rides, I’m afraid, were not as lucky as I. One time I had to fall onto a side and start sliding, so I wouldn’t ram into this massive truck that stopped all of a sudden up in front of me. My bike got out of my hands and kept flying, but I ended up stopping, so I avoided the worst of the accident. My bike though, it ended up bent in half on itself, like it was just some toy a little kid might break while they were playing with.

Living through something like that would make most people rethink their stance on motorcycles, I know. But I just love going so fast! While you’re out riding your own motorcycle, I recommend that you observe all the normal safety rules you’d follow while driving in a car. That will help you to avoid accidents, like I have. Always leave enough room between yourself and the vehicle in front of you so you can stop in time to avoid a collision, even if they go jamming on the brakes like that trucker did to me.

7 Pool Party Awesome Ideas

7 Pool Party Awesome IdeasHey everyone, I’m back again, with another new post. It’s about a pool party, of all things. The other day, I was given the task of coming up with a very cool pool party, something that would be both entertaining and memorable for all the guests being invited. It wasn’t the first party I’ve had to plan and with how well it went, I doubt it will be my last, either. For completing the task with great success, I’ve rented  some awesome above ground pool, click here for more information!

I came up with 7 great ideas to make the event one that would stick in the minds of our visitors. Fortunately for anyone else out there planning a pool party, I’ve decided to share those ideas here:

Fairy Jars

I’m not going to tell you go track down some fairies and stuff them into jars. But I read about something with this name before and it’s pretty cool. All you have to do is find some jars, or any solid, clear containers with lids, then fill them with a mixture of glitter and the stuff from inside glow sticks. Shake it up and you’ve got an amazing light source.

Swimming and a Show

Depending on the crowd you’re looking to entertain, your party might go over much better if you add a movie to the mix. Lots of things are better with a movie added – like dinner, a date, and even swimming. Just don’t play anything like Jaws or Sharknado and you’ll probably be fine.

Specialty Ice Cubes

While alcohol and swimming don’t mix, there are all kinds of safe drinks you could dress up by encasing various herbs, spices and edible flowers in your ice cubes. Not only will these add a unique look to everyone’s drink, but some of them can actually be quite flavorful.

Floating Candles

Getting back to lighting for a moment, there are other alternative sources of light which can really make your pool party look like something out of a favorite fictional story. Did you know there are candles designed to float on the water’s surface? You’ll never have to worry about starting a fire with these candles, that’s for sure.


Most traditional makes of s’mores use a big, bright campfire to make the sweet confections. You can also make them with coal, utilizing small terracotta pots or other containers, just as well. For your next pool party, you may be able to thrill your guests with tasty food if nothing else.

Glow in the Dark Fixtures

Along with the other special lighting effects, you could even go as far as to make your plates, forks, spoons, knives and other fixtures glow in the dark. Combining these with the aforementioned fairy jars and floating candles will make your pool party a sight to behold.

Pool Games

Besides swimming, some of your guests might really enjoy some fun games in the pool. That depends on the type of guests you are serving, though. If you are hosting a children’s party, be sure to find an ideal pool for the family games, that everyone can enjoy! I’m not talking about anything as simple as Marco Polo either – look into pool darts, water polo, basketball and other games which translate well from solid ground into the water.

Manliest Hobbies that Exist

Manliest Hobbies that ExistIf you’re a guy and you have an Internet connection, then you’ve probably heard about manly men doing manly things. Hell, even without modern contrivances, history is so packed with examples of truly manly men that you can see what it really means to be a man just by opening a book, magazine, newspaper or other bit of media. If you ask me, it’s hard to nail down any single action or activity as being a manly thing to do. However, there are hobbies a guy can take up to both feel and appear more masculine, or manlier. Here are 10 such hobbies, each guaranteed to make a guy radiate machismo.

10 Writing and Playing Music

You may not think of making music as a particularly manly activity, but the Nordic peoples of Finland, Denmark, Norway and the surrounding areas would disagree strongly with you on that. There was once a time, long before the written word, where stories were passed down in those communities by bards – men who played music and told tales to entertain others. Some of these bards, called Skalds, were actually quite combative men. They would relate their firsthand experiences in battle, making their stories that much more believable and intense. These days, playing digital piano will suffice.

9 Blacksmithing

There are few hobbies more satisfying to a guy than pounding a lump of steel into a killing edge (or something less lethal, like a bowl for holding food). Few of the other hobbies on this list are as physically demanding as this one, which makes blacksmithing as much a form of exercise as something to do in one’s spare time. If you don’t mind working in high temperatures with hot metals, then this might be the perfect, manly activity for achieving that sense of validation.

8 Gambling

I’d wager that men have been gambling since before recorded history. There’s something about the thrill of risk and the satisfaction that comes with rewards that makes gambling a highly entertaining proposition – so entertaining that men with weaker minds get hooked on the stuff pretty quickly. Poker, blackjack, pinochle and other card games aren’t for everyone, but if you’ve got the self-control and wherewithal to stop before getting fleeced, there are few hobbies which are inherently manlier than this.

7 Sampling Whiskeys

This is one of my personal favorite activities, so I might have a bit of bias here. However, history is loaded with examples of men judging the masculinity of themselves and the guys surrounding them based on who can hold their liquor the best. I’ll admit this one is fun, but I still prefer riding a longboard to drinking – one leaves me feeling like crap the next morning and the other manages to combine fun and fitness fairly well.

6 Martial Arts

Let’s face it: the manliest among us are often our greatest warriors. You don’t need to be a studied historian to see that war heroes and others who aren’t afraid to put their lives on the line often end up in positions of power in countries. Just look at the United States of America and all the great warriors who rose to become presidents of that country – Dwight Eisenhower, Theodore Roosevelt, Ulysses Grant and others. It’s no secret that women look for strength in their partners too, and there are few better ways to demonstrate manly power than being able to protect yourself and those you love.

5 Hunting

Real men provide for themselves and their families without complaining. These days, that means getting a decent job and making enough money to live relatively comfortably. In the past when we were all hunters and gatherers, it meant being able to bring home enough game that you and yours didn’t starve to death. Fishing lumps in with this nicely, and bow hunting is a way to hunt on land and in the water. Plus it isn’t cheating, like using firearms.

4 Brewing Beer

This micro-brew phenomenon which has thousands of small-scale breweries popping up all over the world is a really major event in the history of beer. You, too, can try your hand at coming up with a tasty brew. All you need are the right tools, a little research, and a whole lot of guts. Because it’s illegal to sell your concoction without all kinds of testing, permits and other costly procedures, you’ll have to taste test it yourself.

3 Photography

Sometimes, picking up a hobby as a man is more or less exclusively about impressing the ladies around you. I’m not ashamed to admit it, and other guys should take the same stance, I feel. Photography is a good way to show your artistic side to girls, and it’s a far cry from many of the more violent hobbies I’ve listed here. Typically, you’ll come up with stories to tell based on the pictures you take, and these anecdotes and other tales can be even more enthralling than the actual photos.

2 Mountaineering

It’s hard to think of many hobbies manlier than mountaineering. There’s an inherent struggle, the risk of personal injury, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with topping a monstrous mountain. Still, this one is an acquired taste; it’s certainly not for every guy out there. You may feel more at home playing golf or enjoying another sport that doesn’t take you hundreds or thousands of feet into the air. There’s nothing wrong with that.

1 Lifting Weights

I’ve put this one at the top of this particular list because being big and strong is an inherently manly thing. Lifting weights and exercising are two of the most masculine things a guy can do, and building mass through toning muscles gives men an unmistakable appearance – a body that tells people, “I’m strong and I know it.” Thankfully, lifting weights is also easy enough for any guy to start doing it. Just don’t push yourself too hard when you’re first beginning, and things should fall into place for you if you keep up the work and maintain a regular workout routine.

The Making of Barbecue Party

The Making of Barbecue PartyI’m the kind of guy that likes barbecue so much, I don’t even need a special occasion to do it. Sometimes I prepare food just for myself, using a grill or a smoker. But there’s something about barbecuing a ton of food for a big gathering of people that just feels right to me. Maybe that’s why I go out of my way to cook out for my friends so often. At least they’re nice enough to bring along some meat when we all get together; all I usually buy is fuel for the fire. But then I do all the cooking too, and everyone usually likes the finished product, so that probably has something to do with the way things work.

As usual, I used the best smoker equipment to prepare the various meats my friends brought to be cooked – this is a splendid example. There’s something about that smoky flavor and the way smoked meat kind of falls apart in the mouth; it’s just perfect if you ask me. Sure, it takes several hours to cook thoroughly, with additional cooking time needed to really get the flavor of your smoke chips or pellets into the food, but I don’t mind at all. Neither do my guests apparently, since many of them managed to show up well before the time I advertised, so I could start smoking their share of the food early.

I know what you’re going to say – how could smoking possibly be better than grilling if it takes so much longer to get food ready to eat? I used to think exactly that myself. In fact, I used to use the usual grill but reverted to awesome smokers after tasting the meat prepared at a friend’s birthday party. I kind of talked his ear off that day, asking all kinds of questions about how he prepared his food, what specific wood chips or pellets he was using, the kind of smoker he used, and on and on. But it paid off. He was very informative, and now I make some of the best smoked meats anyone I know has ever tasted.

There were ribs, chicken, burgers, dogs, pretty much every kind of meat you could want at a grill out and enough of everything that everyone who was visiting got what they wanted. Usually something runs out before the event is over and then someone ends up wanting some of that specific thing when there is no more, but that wasn’t the case this last time. I just love when people bring enough to feed everyone; there are few things more annoying than cooking tons of food and having it still not be enough to satisfy all my guests.

We’re already making plans for our next barbecue party too. More than a few people recommended steaks, and while I do like grilling steaks, I also know they can get pretty costly, especially for the choice cuts of meat. Really though, I don’t care how much they cost, as long as I don’t have to buy any of the food myself. I think I’ll let the others work out who will buy what on their own time. I do all the cooking, after all.

About Digital Modern Piano

About Digital Modern PianoHey everyone! It’s Morgan and today, I would like to discuss digital modern pianos. I love music and what is even better, is making my own. I like to play with the piano keys, writing down lyrics, and simply expressing what I can create from the top of my head. This past weekend, I bought a digital piano from this local music store a few blocks away from me. My last one was pretty old, and I thought it was about time that I purchased a new one. When I first walked in the store, I noticed the wide variety and I could not take my eyes off any of the brand new, untouched digital and acoustic pianos.

Not a lot of people know the difference between a digital piano and an acoustic piano. Not unless they actually play piano or grew up in a house with them like I did. The traditional piano most people know is the acoustic piano. The acoustic piano creates sounds with hammers hitting the strings. It is called acoustic to separate itself from the digital and so people know how to differentiate while describing it.

A digital piano replicates the sound (and sometimes the feel) of an acoustic without the use of strings and hammers. Another difference between digital and acoustic is the digital piano comes with sample beats and sounds that the piano player can incorporate into their music at the touch of a button. Some digital pianos have the ability to record music.

Recently, I visited a website dedicated to digital pianos and I read the reviews on the home page. Many decent reviews on digital pianos expressed how much they loved the piano brands because the sound is clear and allow them to put their own recorded beats and sounds into them. It is also versatile in the fact that it can come with pedals and a stand like the acoustic piano, or it can come in the form of a simple keyboard.

Digital pianos are each made up of a keyboard with sensors, a sound bank, amplifiers, and microphone, speakers, and/or headphone jacks. Also, the quicker and harder I press the keys on my digital piano, the louder the sound it makes! Other sounds can be heard from these pianos and each key is weighted to give that “piano-y” feel.  Each digital piano has a chip that goes with the sound and loudness of the keys when played.

There are many advantages and disadvantages when using a digital piano. The advantages are the portability of moving the piano from one place to another (very light), it can be played silently, doesn’t need to be tuned, comes with many sounds, records voices and sounds, and not a lot of maintenance is involved.

A couple of disadvantages should come to mind. The quality of the sound isn’t perfect; it will still sound “digital”. Also, there is limited sound that can be produced. Like any kind of technology, digital pianos may face bad speaker output, bad amplifiers, or poor key action. When I had my old digital piano, I had many issues with sound coming out of the speakers. At first I thought it was the speakers themselves, but I tested them out and they were good. One of the keys didn’t play as hard as it did when I first bought it.

Whichever you decide, be sure it is right for you. I love digital pianos and I still like to play acoustic. Everyone has their own preference. Just be sure to do the research before investing in an instrument that may not be up to your standards. And remember, ask questions and test the piano out before buying!

Art of Bow Hunting

Art of Bow HuntingHunting isn’t my favorite thing to do, but it is an activity I like to partake. Since the beginning, man had to learn how to protect and provide for their families. The hunter would find his target and get himself ready to aim and capture his prey. The same thing follows today. The art of bow hunting has a long, thorough history that many aren’t aware of. The difference is that these bows and arrows have improved through the miracles of 21st century technology.

I went on a hunting trip with a friend and his uncle last fall. It had been a while since I’ve been in the deep woods, looking for some deer or rabbit, and preparing myself to hit my target. When I went with my friend, his uncle gave us some advice about choosing the right tools to use.  Additionally, there is so much strategy involved. Before going out and buying an arsenal, it is important to learn modern bow hunting and the importance of a good quality bow.

Luckily, the bows and arrows used today shoot further and deeper than the ones hand-crafted by the hunters thousands of years ago. These bows are not only harder to break, but they are pretty light weight. Carrying the bow isn’t a hassle when it comes to its weight. Knowledge and shooting dexterity is important if you want to get the perfect, precise hit.

Types of bows are the traditional longbow, recurve bow, and compound bow. The traditional bow is the most basic and it is straight until it is strung. Afterwards, it does curve. The recurve bow has more muscle to it; devices are generally not used with this bow. The compound bow has a lot of cables and pulleys and is the most commonly used bow these days. The wide variety of bows allows the hunter to figure out which one works for him.

The shafts of the arrow can be made from a myriad of materials. Traditional wood is still used to make these shafts. Other materials used are: fiberglass, carbon, aluminum, and an amalgamation of aluminum and carbon. The arrow heads, also called “points,” come in an array of colors, materials, shapes, and sizes. The hunter has to decide which material to use based on the situation. Broad heads are used to hunt large game, as well as smaller animals. There are varied blades used such as removable, fixed, and expandable.

I’ve applied many strategies to my hunting each time I would go. As a beginner, you have to start off in baby steps.  Learn how to position the arrow (nocking), pull the arrow in the right spot (drawing), steady the body properly, and release the arrow. After learning these steps, judging distance should be understood through practice and sight skills. Understanding the land, learning the signs placed in areas, and knowing the kill is best.

Methods such as still, stalking, and glass are helpful to understand. Still is simply standing still or moving around after periods of time until you find the game. Glass is using a scope or binoculars before stalking the target. Stalking method, which is the one I usually use, is simply locating the game and positioning myself for that sweet shot.  It doesn’t matter which one you use, be sure it makes you the most comfortable.

After the hunting trip with my friend and his uncle, I was able to kill two deer and later, took home some meat.If you are looking to improve your skills, practice these methods and see what works for you. It took me a long time to figure out what I felt suited me.

The Philosophy of Golf

The Philosophy of GolfSome people like basketball; others like baseball. Personally, I like golf. It’s a great chance to be outdoors, spend time with friends, and I get to use a putter. Instead of mini-golf, I decided to go to a real golf course and spend time with a couple of guy friends. My intentions of going to this golf course were to practice my swing and work my personal best. I was a tad rusty since the last time I actually went. It was five years ago with some family members of mine. After some poor performance issues, I decided to get back into it full swing (pun intended).

For several weeks, I’ve been practicing and going to a laid-back golf instructor for some lessons. I have never taken real lessons before, and at first I was hesitant because none of my friends or family have gone to a professional for help. They had learned from their friends who played in high school and college. The instructor, who I will call “Matt,” taught me a few tips to work on my swing and strengthen my focus. Lord knows my focus has been pretty nonexistent with work and everything else. I figured golf would be a good release for me.

I wanted the perfect golf swing. I’ve heard of this universal perfection of the golf swing, but I just want to be able to follow the rules of golf while swinging the ball as far as I can without having to conform. Still, I thought going to a golf instructor would be a nice idea to get pointers. Because of Matt’s laid-back attitude and open-mindedness, I was able to learn that the best way to get that swing is through visualization. Visualization is picturing yourself doing something and doing that act successfully in your mind. Matt said that is what I had to do. So, every day, I’d picture myself making that hole in one. I pictured myself keeping my composure and making that ball go in the hole with minimal swings. I simply want to perform well.

Another tip Matt gave me was in order to produce desired results, I should get a distance measurement device. The device was a lifesaver. GPS, smartphone, and watch distance measurement devices are pretty helpful to work on the swing since it gauges measurements and conditions. These handheld devices definitely bettered my performance more than I expected.

Not too long ago, I went to the green with my friends to show how much I had improved. I left behind the doubt and negativity, and used my visualization techniques and practice to show off what I could do. They were amazed of how much I had improved since they last watched me. Before, I was pretty rusty, but now that I learned what I could accomplish, that rustiness disappeared! I urge those beginners who want to take up golf as well as golf enthusiasts to take the time to do what I have done to improve my swing.

Introduction to Longboarding

Introduction to LongboardingHey guys, it’s Morgan, better known as KnitWit to some of you. In case you didn’t know, I love hobbies. I like doing yo-yo tricks to impress neighborhood kids and their parents. I also enjoy folding sheets of paper to make a bird or a miniature kite. Aside from yo-yos and origami, what I really like to do is longboarding. What is longboarding you might ask? Longboarding is riding a longboard, which is similar to its skateboard counterpart. Compared to the skateboard, the longboard is more stable, has more traction, and more sturdy.  I’ve seen a lot of these longboard users at the local park and liked seeing the twists and turns performed. I wondered if I could do that since I was once someone who was into roller blading and skateboarding. Plus, it is another hobby I could put on my bucket list. I was ready to roll (Okay—bad pun)!

I visited a website dedicated to teaching beginners about how to buy a longboard kit and how to ride one. I knew it was a good place to start researching about longboards.  I wanted to get a longboard that I could use on the street, so I looked into the kinds that were used for that type of environment. I looked into wheels, bearings, and trucks to make sure I can get the sturdiness that I needed. Smaller wheels are better to speed on, but bigger wheels makes going over pebbles easier.

Bones and Sector 9 are reputable brands for bearings and seem to have positive reviews. If I want the wheels to move swiftly, then I need to buy them ASAP. The T-shaped connectors between the wheels and board are the trucks, so I wanted to make sure they were the right ones for my board. There are lots of longboard brands such as Arbor, Globe, and Madrid. Punked Decks looked like a suitable brand, so I purchased one of their 30” board kits.

I tested the board after it was put together. Braking, carving (snake-like curving while learning left and right), and pumping are some techniques beginners should learn before trying out any tricks. After practicing for a bit, I started to get a hang of the longboard. I was ready to try out a trick or two.

The first trick I learned with my new longboard is slaloming. Slaloming is weaving in and out of obstacles with a set of cones or on sidewalks. You can build a lot of momentum without needing to use your foot. After watching a couple of videos, I finally got it down. Before doing this trick, a beginner should work on their pumping (keeping speed without needing to keep pushing with a foot). Other tricks include kick flipping and the Ollie. It took about a week or two to really get it down, but after learning from the other longboarders and watching them closely, I was able to do a kick flip. Success is mine!

Some tips you should follow? Use a board that works for you, not just because someone recommended the type. Don’t be afraid to ask longboard experts questions if you have any. Think about the environment—are you riding in the city streets or on hills? Last, but not least, see if any of your friends are interested in riding. I started making new friends ever since I began, and now I practice tricks with them. If you are as interested in longboarding as I am, be sure to have fun!

Full Body Workout with the Power Rack

Full Body Workout with the Power RackSo, I was feeling out of shape lately since I have been busy with work. I live in New York City and that should be enough to tell you what it is like living there. Everything is fast-paced with the morning rush, crowds, and tourists trying to get from one notable NYC site to the next. Another thing about New York City is the food. Pizza, hot dogs, and other delectable dishes are easy to get and with the bodegas, there is plenty of junk food to snack on. Anyway, back to feeling out of shape. I figured that I should do something about it. I don’t want to go to the gym, especially since I don’t want to shell out money each month. I heard about a product that can help me exercise and burn the excess fat. So, I hit the sports store and found a piece of equipment that caught my eye.

I saw the power rack and figured, “Eh, why not?” After receiving and putting it together, I wanted to try out some exercises I saw when reading a couple of men’s fitness magazines. I didn’t just want to drop weight; I wanted to add a few pounds of muscles to my frame. Ladies would like to see KnitWit with some bulging biceps and appearing “yoked”. This simple piece of kit for full body workout blew my mind when I started to exercise six times a week, for three months.

At first, I was having trouble getting into it. I’m not used to using a power rack, but after watching a few weightlifting videos online, I became determined to build my dream physique. First, I did the power rack squats. These squats beef up the quads and strengthen the hamstrings and glutes (yes, my butt muscles). First, I put the bar hooks a bit lower than shoulder length. Next, I set the safety bars to a position that would help me squat at a depth of my choice. With my feet shoulder-width apart, I let the barbell sit on my shoulders. It was a struggle at first to bend my knees and make my thighs go parallel as I went towards the ground. Luckily, I had a friend who has experience with weightlifting to spot me. I do four sets of 8 repetitions with a minute to rest in between.

The second exercise I love doing is the power rack bench press. This exercise builds mass on your chest and triceps while working the abdominals.  I simply set the bar to the height I want, lift the bar carefully, and press the weight off my chest. Again, my friend was making sure it was done safely. I do about 4 sets of 6-8 reps with 3 minutes in between.

Some other exercises that I learned were shoulder presses, dips (for chest and triceps), and partial curls for my biceps. I did these exercises and after the first month, I noticed how easy it was to twist a jar of pickles! Okay, I’ve never had problems opening a jar, but all kidding aside, I did notice how easy it was to pick up boxes and carry groceries in a single trip. If you are looking for a piece of equipment to use for workouts, definitely buy the power rack. All I know is the power rack was a great investment for my overall wellbeing.

What I Learned from a Martial Art Class

Martial Art ClassYou know how you just tend to put on a few pounds during the colder months? Well, it’s definitely warmer outside now, but I was still having a hard time shedding that winter fat until just recently. Even my girlfriend was starting to comment about it and bug me to do something, so I went looking for a quick way to get rid of those extra pounds. I got a lot more than I bargained for in the process.

I had taken some self-defense classes in the past, but that really was in the past – many years ago, when I was still just a little guy. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program I enrolled in turned out to be more than just a self-defense class though. The experience was a highly positive one and that’s why I feel the need to share it with you here. Not only did I get rid of that extra weight, but I got into better shape than I’ve been in for years thanks to Jiu Jitsu.

I’m breathing easier, I have more energy and my girlfriend and I both notice that I’m generally in a better mood since I started my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program. I’ve read up on the positive effects of exercise on the body and mind, and it seems like I’m just enjoying the benefits which come naturally with getting up and getting active. At this point, I couldn’t really imagine going back to a lifestyle that didn’t involve some kind of physical fitness regimen.

As for the class itself, I’ve learned a lot already. It started off somewhat slow, but it’s not like you can just jump into some new fighting style and immediately be proficient at it, right? I went down several times in my first couple weeks, but I’m definitely better now than I was then. I’ve learned how to read people in a sense, looking at their body language to tell which way they’re going to move, or which arm or leg they’re going to swing or kick with, and then react accordingly.

I’ve got to admit, it does feel kind of nice having this knowledge about ways to hurt people who might attack me. There’s a certain peace of mind that accompanies being able to handle yourself in a fight. It’s a good feeling, and if that was all I got from my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, I would still be happy with the experience.

The world is a dangerous place, you know? You never know what somebody’s going to say or do and it’s best to be prepared for a fight or flight situation so you don’t end up being just another victim. Thankfully, I haven’t had to use anything I’ve learned outside of class, but again, it’s better to be prepared rather than defenseless in the off chance that something bad does happen. I know, I probably sound like a Boy Scout right here, but they do teach a few solid lessons.

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