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…

How to Survive Comic Con

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Look around you. Are you unable to leave your property due to piles of comic books? Do you have more action figures than Facebook friends? Are you wearing a cape? If so, you may well be a self-proclaimed nerd, geek, dweeb or Big Bang Theory cast member and a visit to a Comic-Con (or a Comic Book Convention to the confused) is almost certainly in your near future. Not that there’s just comics. Now these Cons feature movie stars giving previews of their latest efforts, panels on TV shows, signings, toy sales and all sorts. But if you’ve never attended one before, or you’re being dragged along by what we refer to round here as a ‘reading friend’, then here’s a quick guide on being there and not going insane. BEFORE YOU GO Apparently you can’t simply dress like Captain Violence and saunter into your local convention centre like you owned the place. Depending on which Comic-Con you’re attending (a stipulation that applies to most of these tips) there will almost certainly be a complicated membership registration/badge purchase system implemented. This will have to be done well in advance, as will, if you’re visiting one of the bigger conventions like…

How To Live Anywhere In The World For Free

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Shh. We’ve got a secret to tell you. Being an adventurer, gallivanting around the world and seeing everything it has to offer doesn’t have to cost you the Earth. You don’t have to be a posh toff  to safari in Africa or a trust-fund Tarquin to summer in the South of France. The secret’s this: the most expensive part of any trip is always accommodation, but it doesn’t have to be. You can stay in any country in the world – for free. The types of accommodation on offer range from sharing a hut with Asian villagers to having free run of a Californian villa. It doesn’t matter whether you want a taste of adventure or a brush with luxury. And here’s how. Work for your room If you’re prepared to graft for your bed and breakfast, paying your way by working is one way to avoid handing over any money. It’s also a good idea when you’re starting on a trip or need to refill the savings account when you’re on a big trip. Teaching English as a foreign language and working as a rep are popular choices  we’ve covered before. Other perennial favourites include picking fruit for a…

How To Apologise (& Mean It)

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We live in an age of apology. Every day some celebrity, sport’s star or politician tells the world that they are sorry for some indiscretion they were caught performing. And as you may have noticed, very often they are not good at it. Especially if they don’t actually mean it. But you can make a verbal recompense for something and appear legitimate. Just try these few simple techniques… FIND OUT WHAT YOU DID There’s nothing worse than launching into a fully fledged apology without actually knowing what it was you did. Before you go anywhere near the S word, establish the facts. You can do this by saying, ‘Look, there’s been a lot of crazy accusations flying around, tell me exactly what you heard.’ If they reply, ‘You know exactly what you’ve done.’ then you are screwed and you should throw yourself to the floor begging forgiveness. Otherwise get all the information you possibly can, just to make sure full remorse is necessary. WARNING: Clip has some bad words in it. SETTING Heading to a neutral space for apology reasons is the cowards way out. You know that whoever you’re saying sorry to will probably not freak out in a restaurant…

How To Buy Jewellery For Your Man/Woman

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Buying jewellery for another person is like buying them underpants – only much, much more expensive. A piece of jewellery is a very personal thing. So why do we even buy jewellery for other people? Well, for all the reasons that it’s so bloomin’ difficult. When you gift jewellery to someone, it’s special. You’re telling the recipient how you feel about them, in all kinds of subtle ways. No pressure there, then. General Rules Every time you buy a piece of jewellery it will be a unique experience. Just like the person you’re buying for and the occasion that warrants it. But there are some general rules you can use in every situation. Take a friend Assuming the purchase is a secret, take a friend with you. It can be an entirely neutral third party or a friend that knows a bit about the person you’re buying for. Either way, they bring a second opinion to the table that will be valuable when you’re planning to spend half your savings. Match your spending to the occasion Never spend more or less than you have to. Match the occasion and the circumstances. An engagement ring, for example, is going to set…

Self-Help Advice From Alan Partridge

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Do you long to be more interesting? A charisma leviathan, part man, part God? There can be only one blueprint. Norfolk’s answer to Jesus of Nazareth, Alan Partridge. Some say Partridge is a fictional character played by comedian Steve Coogan in several series, some TV specials and a mildly disappointing film, but we say those people are crazy. How could anyone invent Alan Partridge? Except, perhaps, a genius mind like Nietzsche, Kant or Jilly Cooper. Partridge is both the everyman and the ubermensch. Women want to be him and men want be him with the women who want to be with him. How could you, a normal man, with a man’s courage, ever be like Partridge? Well, we’ve been studying the formula and we’ve broken it down in our laboratory to seven component parts. Gentlemen and strange ladies, here’s how you can be more like Alan Partridge in seven steps of varying difficulty. And to top it off, we’ve got a collection of Alan Partridge’s best clips. 1. Be a ladies man Though divorced from the love of his life Carol, who bore him children Fernando and Denise, Partridge doesn’t let that cramp his bachelor style. At one time, between…