Jul 312017
 

How To Of The Day: How To Break A Rack In Pool

From the rough-and-tumble tables in biker taverns to the low-key games set up at family-friendly pizza joints, pool is a game accessible to just about anyone, regardless of skill level. For most amateur players, the most intimidating part of the game comes at the very beginning, when one player is required to break the rack, which begins with racking the balls well in the first place.

Racking the balls simply means placing them in the frame so that they are all touching each other. If the balls aren’t touching, they won’t break apart correctly, which can disadvantage the player who breaks. Breaking the rack sets up the beginning of the game, and if done correctly, can offer a significant advantage to the player who gets to break. Whenever breaking, always try to use the lightest stick available and make sure to chalk the tip well before you hit your shot.

Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

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How To Of The Day: How To Jump From A Speeding Car

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May 292017
 

How To Of The Day: How to Jump From a Speeding Car

It’s a classic Hollywood scenario. The bad guy cuts the brake lines, the good guy gets in the car, and chaos ensues on a steep road. While you’re unlikely to be the target of a villainous act like severed brake lines, it’s not unreasonable for brakes to fail. If you find yourself in a runaway car with no means of slowing yourself down, your best bet might be to bail. Here’s how to do so in a way that ensures your best chances for survival.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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How To Of The Day: How To Climb A Rope

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Apr 012017
 

How To Of The Day: How To Climb A Rope

From those awkward days in early gym class to Marine trainees racing through obstacle courses, rope climbing is a time-honored practice of testing and building your physical fitness. At one time, rope climbing was even an Olympic event, pitting agile athletes from around the world to see who could race up their rope the quickest. Rope climbing is not only a great workout for the upper body, it’s also a useful skill, whether you’re looking to do some technical climbing or scale Mount Midoriyama to become the next American Ninja Warrior.

There are several methods taught for proper rope climbing technique. The biggest difference between each technique is how you use your feet. No matter what method you use, you should always start by jumping up to grab the rope at the highest point possible. This helps give you a head start and provides some wiggle room for you to position the rope between your legs.

Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

 

How To Of The Day: How To Survive An Earthquake

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Mar 282017
 

how-to-survive-an-earthquake

The Gulf Coast and East Coast have hurricanes, the Midwest and South have tornados, and the West Coast faces tsunami threats. No area of the country is without their own special brand of natural disaster to worry about. Earthquakes, however, span state lines, cross mountain ranges, and traverse climates. With the increased practice of deep wastewater disposal in the oil and gas industry, even the typically stable Midwest and central areas of the country are seeing an exponential rise in the number of earthquakes strong enough to get your house shaking (e.g., before 2009 there were an average of two magnitude 3+ earthquakes in Oklahoma; last year there were 907).

Surviving an earthquake starts far before the tremors begin, with careful preparation and planning. You should have enough food and water (a gallon per person per day) to last a minimum of three days, and communicate to friends and family where to meet and how to contact each other after an earthquake, assuming phone lines and electricity are down. Finally, take time to go through your house and secure tall, heavy pieces of furniture and appliances that might topple over. After an earthquake, be prepared to experience powerful aftershocks, and try to get to an open area as soon as it’s safe to do so. During an earthquake, the best survival techniques depend on your surroundings, so heed the tips above.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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How To Of The Day: How To Wash Your Hands Like A Doctor

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Jan 112017
 

You think you’re warding off disease, but if you don’t spend enough time washing your hands in the correct manner you’re fooling yourself.

Use the simple guide below to wash your hands like a doctor.

How to Wash Your Hands Like a Doctor

January has been the month of the cold that would not die at the McKay household. First one half of the family got sick, then the other, then the first half again. It was a downright pandemic around here. Productivity, morale, and my gains — my poor, poor gains! — have suffered greatly.

It’s gotten me thinking about how to better handle getting sick in the future, and how to prevent getting sick in the first place. When it comes to the latter, proper and regular hand-washing is one of the most important weapons in your cold and flu-fighting arsenal.

In the past I’ve admittedly been a short and sloppy washer. And I’m not alone; studies have shown that only 5% of people wash their hands correctly.

So we talked to Bryan Canterbury, ER doctor at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, MA, to get his tips on how to wash thoroughly like a right-old medical professional. His doctor-endorsed guide is above.

According to the CDC, you should wash your hands:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

Skip the antibacterial soap; it’s not only no more effective at getting rid of germs than regular soap, it may lead to the development of resistant strains of bacteria (i.e., the “super bug”). The antibacterial label also tends to make people careless about washing their hands the right way, figuring the soap will take care of the germs itself, which isn’t the case.

Hand sanitizer will work in a pinch — use a big glob, make sure it’s at least 60% alcohol, and rub it over every surface of your hands. Sanitizer’s not a good choice when you’ve got actual grime on your hands, and it doesn’t kill all germs, but it’s almost as effective as hand washing. It won’t lead to super bug-dom, either; hand sanitizer breaks down bacteria in a different way than the anti-microbials in antibacterial soap do. Here’s how Dr. Canterbury recommends using sanitizer:

“In the hospital, we use hand-sanitizer in-out of each patient room. But we are told to soap-and-water after the bathroom and before/after meals and when hands are visibly dirty — and I think that’s great minimum criteria throughout the day no matter your work/life setting; more if possible to prevent catching a cold, flu, pneumonia — or worse.”

There you go, how to wash (or sanitize) your hands like a doc. Until next time, keep your noses, and your hands clean.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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How To Of The Day: Store And Stack Firewood

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Jan 052017
 

Stack your firewood to last the Winter and to dry perfectly with this handy graphic.

store-and-stack-firewood

After you split firewood, you want to stack it up and store it to begin the seasoning process and prepare it for burning. Firewood should be stored for a minimum of 6 months, and during that time you want to ensure it loses as much moisture as possible by exposing it to ample sunlight and air circulation. As noted above, while both elements are important, sun exposure should be prioritized over wind direction. If your backyard or property has inconsistent wind patterns, the stack should be aligned so that it catches the west-to-east winds which are common in North America.

You’ll know when your wood is ready for stove or fireplace by sight and sound: Check the ends of your firewood for hairline cracks that spiderweb across the grain, and bang the wood together; a low thud sound means you’re good to go, but a sharp clap means it still needs time.

If you’ve waited six months and your wood still doesn’t seem ready, your stack may be out of whack; check the guidelines above for tips on how it might be improved.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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How To Of The Day: Make Perfect Pancakes

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Dec 302016
 

Pancakes are delicious, but it’s easy to screw them up if you’re not careful. Before you make your next batch, check out this handy graphic with tips on how to get them just right.

make-perfect-pancakes

Let’s start by admitting that the nature of a perfect pancake is a subjective thing. Some people love thin, almost crepe-style pancakes, while others crave flapjacks that are heavy and almost cakey in texture. In the middle of those extremes is what we’re after — a pancake that’s got crispy edges and a moist, but not too dense inside. If you want to make the sort of hotcakes you’d find at an all-night diner in the middle of a long road trip, where heavy ceramic mugs accompany warm jugs of maple syrup ready to pour over golden stacks of butter-covered pancakes, these instructions will guide you.

The key to creating these divine cakes starts with fresh ingredients: don’t use flour, baking soda, or baking powder that’s more than 6 months old, as it weakens key interactions that make the difference between great flapjacks and mediocre ones.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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How To Of The Day: Treat A Bee Sting

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Dec 222016
 

treat-a-bee-sting

Were it not for their stings, bees would likely be viewed with the same playful fascination we give to butterflies and worms. But the reality is that housed in their little yellow-and-black bodies is a powerful stinger attached to a nasty little sac of venom just waiting to let you know you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.

To be fair to bees, most stings are carried out by vespids, a classification of insects that includes things like wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets. While they look like bees, vespids are far more aggressive and don’t have the common decency to produce something delicious, like honey, as a means of making up for their brutish behavior.

Even though bees and vespids are thought of as summertime nuisances, the likelihood of stings actually goes up in early fall. At this time of year, populations of yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets are at their highest, and in preparation for winter, their diets have shifted to focus on more sugary foods, like our sodas, candies, and ice creams. The result is a greater chance of an encounter with a pest that’s more keen than usual on getting what you have. If you find yourself at the business end of an angry stinger, follow these steps to neutralize the pain and prevent excessive swelling.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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How To Of The Day: How To Survive Inside A Plummeting Elevator

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Nov 272016
 

how-to-survive-inside-a-plummeting-elevator

Falling to your death in a steel box seems like the sort of risk you would want to avoid, especially when the alternative is merely the inconvenience of walking up a few flights of stairs. Luckily, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission report that elevator accidents are exceedingly rare, and more likely to happen to elevator repair professionals than people merely cruising between floors. Still, the notion of an elevator cable snapping and sending you on a deranged amusement ride, no matter how improbable, is scary enough to warrant memorizing a few survival tips.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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How To Of The Day: How To Paint A Room

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Oct 042016
 
How to Paint a Room

Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

Painting can be one of the hardest and dullest of all household projects, which is why many people put it off. When done wrong, painting is time-consuming, frustrating, back-straining, messy work. When done right, it’s still all of those things, but to a lesser degree. As with any chore or project, careful preparation and patient execution are your friends. Take the time to do it right and you’ll avoid ending up with a splotchy mess of a room.

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How To Of The Day: How To Remove Bumper Stickers

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Jul 242016
 

For all Prius owners… How to remove bumper stickers and car decals.

How to Remove Bumper Stickers

Unlike your average sticker, bumper stickers and car decals are made to last. They stand up to high winds, rain, snow, road chemicals, sun damage, and other harsh conditions to stay stuck to your favorite ride. Whether you have unwanted dealership advertising decals or the leftover political stickers of a previous owner, you can remove them from your car using a few simple household items and a little bit of patience.

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How To Of The Day: How To Give A Manly Handshake

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Jul 202016
 

This instructional video teaches men how to properly shake hands.

Enjoy!

Whether you’re first meeting someone or greeting them for the hundredth time, a good handshake is important. A strong shake conveys confidence, strength, warmth, honesty, and a host of other good character traits. The fact that well-executed handshakes create a positive first impression isn’t just anecdotally true, either, but has even been born out by several research studies.

So if you want to learn how to impress compadres and strangers alike, we offer this complete multi-media guide to giving a great handshake.

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How To Of The Day: How To Jump Start A Car

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May 272016
 

You’re walking out of your apartment and notice a good looking gal with the hood of her car open, looking at the engine with desperation. You go over and ask what’s wrong. The car battery is dead, and she’s late for class. She asks you if you can give her car a jump. You look down at the ground, kick some rocks, and offer to call AAA instead.

You have no clue how to jump start a car.

Every man should know how to jump start a dead car battery. You never know when you’ll need this knowledge to aid a stranded damsel in distress, or help yourself get out of a jam. While jumping a dead battery is super simple, you’d be surprised by the number of men who have no idea how to do it. And even if you have learned how to jump start a car before, it can be easy to forget what cables go where. Positive on negative? Ground the positive cable on the car with the good battery? Red cable is negative?

To help you avoid looking like a putz when asked to jump start a car and to help prevent you from shocking yourself when you do it, this article offers a complete multi-media rundown on how to jump start a dead car battery. But first…

How to Tell If Your Battery Is Dead

Before you try jump starting a car, you need to determine that the battery is the reason the car isn’t starting up. If you turn the ignition and hear the engine cranking, a dead battery isn’t your problem and jump starting it won’t do a darn thing. However, if you turn the key and the car does absolutely nothing, then there’s a good chance you have a dead battery on your hands and jumping it may be your ticket to getting back on the road.

Your 60-Second Illustrated Crib Sheet to Jump Starting a Car

How To Jump Start A Car

Click image to see the full-size illustration.

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How To Of The Day: How To Make A Torch

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Feb 152016
 
How To Make A Torch

Click to enlarge

Whether navigating the woods in a survival situation or hunting for treasure deep in the tunnels of an ancient temple, knowing how to make a torch with just a few common supplies is a valuable skill. Need fire and don’t have matches on hand? Read up on how to start a fire.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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How To Of The Day: Start A Fire In The Rain

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Jan 262016
 

The Art of Manliness put together this handy visual guide that makes it easy to remember the steps to get a fire started in the rain.

Start A Fire In The Rain

Knowing how to start a fire is one thing; knowing how to do it in the rain is a whole other. Whether you’re a frequent camper, or an avid hiker, it’s an important skill to have. In an emergency situation, it may very well be the difference between life and death, as fire provides not only warmth, but food as well. (Note that cutting bark from a tree should in fact only be done in an actual emergency, as this can damage and even kill the tree.) Follow the tips above and you’ll never be without the skills to start a fire, even on a damp and rainy adventure.

As a bonus, learn how to make your own char cloth (firestarter).

Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

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How To Of The Day: How To Write A Thank You Note

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Jan 042016
 

How To Write A Thank You Note
The holidays are over and you likely have gifts you need to write thank you cards for. Here’s how to do it with class.

Enjoy!

A great thank you note is a lot more than a piece of paper with “thank you” written on it, however. This primer will have you writing thank you notes so good, people will want to give you presents just to receive one.

Thank you notes are a terrific way to show your gratitude, and this video from the Art of Manliness YouTube channel covers all the ins and outs of writing the best thank you note possible. You’ll learn things like:

  • When it’s appropriate to write a thank you note.
  • What stationery is best to use.
  • You should always use a euphemism when referring to a gift of money (like generosity, kindness, or gift).
  • Ways to show your appreciation for gifts and hosted events by describing what you liked about the event, or how you plan to use an item.

If your note is for someone you don’t see very often, adding a little news about your life can make your thank you note even more appreciated. With the holidays coming to a close, don’t delay, and get those thank you notes sent out as soon as possible.

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How To Of The Day: How To Iron A Dress Shirt

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Dec 192015
 

Ironing a dress shirt is one of those things most people don’t know how to do right. As no one wants to walk into a meeting looking like you just took the shirt out of the laundry basket, here are some tips from Business Insider and The Art of Manliness for properly using your iron on a dress shirt.

How To Iron A Dress Shirt

Click to enlarge

 

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