Posts Categorized: How To…

How to Start A Fire With No Matches Or Lighter

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Everyone knows how to make fire. You just take out a lighter and flick a switch – or strike a match. But what if you don’t have those things? What if you’re stuck in the wilderness with just what you’re wearing between you and the elements? Clue: your new name is “Wolf Food”. Maybe not. The ability to make fire is what separates us from animals. Chimpanzees can use tools and communicate with sign language, but the minute they learn how to build a bonfire this’ll be Planet of the Apes. Fire civilises. It brings light and warmth to the most inhospitable places. It dries us when we’re wet and lets us cook our food. It scares away creatures that mean us harm and stops us from perishing from hypothermia in the desert night. It keeps us alive. So, if there’s one thing you should learn to do  – one thing you have a duty to learn as a human being – it’s how to make fire. Sparks As Bruce Springsteen will tell you, you can’t start a fire without a spark. Well, you can – but using a spark is a classic method. It’s how your lighter works, after all. Sparks…

British Summer Time: 11 Things You Won’t See Anywhere Else

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Ahhhhhh! Is there anything more glorious than a British summer? The intrigue, the confusion, the unpredictability. Sadly, other countries have to suffer the unfortunate condition whereby they endure months of uniform heat and sunshine. Now how is that supposed to keep you on your toes and form character? No, give me the UK summertime any day with it’s biting winds, sudden sleet and lobster red participants. And when you do luxuriate in our finest of seasons, keep your eye out for these idiosyncratic happenings. DOGS OUTSIDE PUBS DRINKING WATER FROM FRAY BENTOS TINS Some locations have their palm trees, tranquil lakes and unusual insects. But I challenge you to find any other country that has so many hot dogs standing in the street noisily lapping water from an oven-baked pie tin.  It brings a lump to the throat every time you witness it, especially if it’s a labrador. BUSINESSMEN LOOKING CONSPICUOUS AS THEY EAT SOLEROS Some things just look out of place when wearing a suit. Limboing. Deep fat frying. And, of course, eating luxury ice lollies. But once the temperature hits a certain point, you simply have no choice except to duck into a newsagents and avail yourself of…

How to Play Guitar: Get Your First Gig In Seven Days

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To become an expert in anything, it takes 10,000 hours practice. Stuff that, we say. You can learn how to play guitar in about seven days. Most of those days will be spent practicing over and over until your fingers feel like they’re made of leather – but it can, we promise, be done. First, gather together all the stuff you will need: An acoustic guitar Some plectra (the plural of “plectrum”) A guitar strap A capo (we’ll explain this later) Three chords Finger tips of steel (these will come with practice) Why an acoustic guitar? Electric guitars are more expensive and they require additional stuff to work, like an amplifier and electricity. You can play an acoustic guitar anywhere. Also, you don’t need to spend a lot on an acoustic guitar. You can pick up a playable instrument new for under £100. If you don’t mind buying second-hand, you can halve that. Take a muso friend with you when you buy your guitar to make sure it’s not a lemon. Or just borrow your muso friend’s guitar. Much cheaper. Plectrums are the little plastic doohickeys you use to strum the strings of your guitar. Get half a dozen, medium thickness from any…

How to Win at Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Every Time

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Poker is cool. It’s like playing snap, except that you can win money. And now that there’s online poker, you don’t even have to put your trousers on when you play. Did you know there are people who play poker for a living? It’s totally a thing. The best players take home tens of millions of dollars every year.They can do that because poker isn’t a game of chance – it’s a game of odds. If you play the odds intelligently and consistently, you can win at poker over and over. And over. If you’ve never played poker at all the game is easy to pick up. Try a few free sites or mobile apps to learn the basics. Once you have the rules down, these eight tips will transform you from a poker rookie to a pro by the time you’ve finished reading. Don’t play drunk The Hollywood image of poker is of hard drinking men in back rooms chomping cigars and sipping bourbon. Truth is, alcohol impairs your judgement – in a specific way – that makes it a no-no for poker. It decreases your inhibitions so you’re more likely to take a chance. To win at poker,…

How to Cheat Death With A Lightning Strike

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Though it’s a common atmospheric phenomenon with over 8 million known lightning bolts flung from the heavens every day, there are still some mysteries that scientists don’t quite understand. We do know that in storm conditions clouds act like giant capacitors, storing up electrical energy. Lightning is the discharge of this energy between the ground and the cloud. With an average 30,000 Amperes of charge, there’s enough electrical power in a single bolt of lightning to power 3500 kettles or to light up 250 houses. The core of the bolt is five times hotter than the sun. We could go into much more detail, but this isn’t a science lesson – the only other thing you need to know is that if you’re hit by lightning, you might die. Instantly. How could you possibly survive that? Fortunately for you, we know. The Facts According to David Hand’s book The Improbability Principle, the chances that you’ll be struck and killed by lightning in the course of your lifetime are 300,000 to 1. Some statistical sources halve that to 1 in 140,000. Either way you look at it, those are pretty long odds… You’re more likely to be legally executed than are…

How To Win A Competitive Eating Competition

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What is competitive eating? Let me answer that with another question. What do you think it is, idiot? Yes, competitive eating is exactly what you think it is, cramming various food items into your face (and stomach) over a particular period of time. Whoever eats the most, wins the toast (if it’s a toast eating contest). But how do munching mavericks like Kobayashi, Joey Chestnut and Sonya Thomas achieve these feats? Watch and learn (and then eat). THE BACKGROUND You might think it’s just some crazed restaurant owner who tries to drum up business by having various local lunatics chow down on an unfeasibly large amount of carbs, but that simply isn’t the case. There’s not one but two official food eating federations: the International Federation of Competitive Eaters (IFOCE) and the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters (AICE). Both groups oversee and invigilate feats of food eating all over the world. But there’s a major rule differential between the two. With AICE food has to be eaten as presented with no mashing, blending or dunking. With IFOCE anything goes, squish it, poke it, rub it, they don’t care as long as it gets in your tummy. Now there are eating…

How To Make Make Friends In A New City Abroad

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Staying in a foreign country, whether you’re passing through as part of a gap year or staying on a bit longer, can be tough. You’re on your own, you don’t speak the language and everything is new and different. That can be cool for a while, just you against the world. But human beings were designed to be social animals and everyone tires of their own company after the 2nd or 3rd day. So, how do you make friends in a foreign country? The truth is, the rules aren’t all that different to making friends anywhere. In fact, it may even be easier to make friends abroad because you’ve got one key, cool thing going for you; you’re foreign. That automatically makes you 23% more interesting than normal. It also gives you an excuse to behave in ways you might avoid at home; to be a bit more proactive and outgoing. And here are nine ways you can channel that new found, exotic behaviour into finding friends: Learn the Language To our everlasting shame, we’re well aware that most of the world speaks English. About 1 in 4 of the world’s population, according to British Council statistics. In most of the…

How To Mix The Perfect Martini (Shaken Or Stirred)

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The Martini was invented in a time when cocktails were simple, subtle concoctions; the work of alchemists rather than acrobats. Few drinks can match either its strength or sophistication. One martini and all the worries of a stressful day have dissolved. Two and you’re James Bond, getting ready to fleece SMERSH operative Le Chiffre at baccarat. Three and, well, gentlemen do not speak of what happens after three Martinis. Except to say, it’s never pretty. In moderation the humble Martini remains the king and queen of cocktails. There are only two real ingredients; gin and vermouth. And it all begins with finding the right gin… Look at the labels With gin and tonic, a heavily flavoured spirit like Bombay Sapphire will shine through the fizz. With a Martini, you can afford to go for a gin that’s less crowded with big flavours; something more subtle. You can get a good idea of what flavour to expect from the labelling. London gin is a spirit distilled with a selection of natural botanical ingredients. There are up to eight of them and one of them must be juniper berries. It can’t have anything added after the distillation process expect for  pure water or the tiniest…

How To Become The Pope & Lead the Catholic Church

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Is your food cart that sells ‘Hot Bitter Sausages’ not doing so well? Are things looking dicey at Snappy Snaps? Are your parents losing patience with your vocation as a ‘Action Poet’ and are planning to kick you to the curb? Sounds like you need a new career. Have you considered becoming pope? The money’s decent, the uniform’s thrown in and you get your own mobile. Sounds pretty sweet, doesn’t it? So what steps do you need to take in order to get in that big golden throne and wearing that pointy hat? Just watch and learn… BECOME A CATHOLIC I know, right? I had no idea. I always assumed that line about ‘is the pope Catholic?’ was just a crazy gag, but it turns out the pope IS Catholic. So you need to be Catholic too. So firstly, you have to believe in God. If this doesn’t apply to you, then being a pope might not be your thing. If you find that you do believe in God, but were raised in some different branch of the church, or another religion, you’ll need to begin the RCIA or Catholic education classes. Research and find a local Catholic church and…

How To Pack A Backpack For Your Gap Year

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If you’re planning a year of travelling – then you’ll have to learn how to pack. Like the snail and the tortoise, you’ll be carrying everything you need to survive. Where do you even start? Fortunately for you, we’ve been around the block (world) a few times and in our travels have formulated the ultimate packing list. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how you pack for a year abroad in just two bags. Choose your Bags Your main bag is for anything you don’t immediately need. Most long term travelers choose a back-pack, because you never know when you’re going to have to carry all your worldly good from one place to another. Suitcases are far too heavy and cumbersome. You may not need as big a bag as you expected though… a 45-50 litre back-pack is probably all you need – keeping in mind that you’ll be strapping a sleeping bag to the top. Try not to buy your bag online – you’ll need to make sure it’s solidly made, has enough pockets for and – of course – it fits comfortably. Waterproofing is essential. And a word about sleeping bags even though this piece is called “how to pack…