Halloween Jell-O Shots

Happy Halloween!  The guys at myscienceproject.org spend a lot of time working on Jell-O Shots for some reason, and they’ve got an awesome collection of Halloween Jell-O Shots and how to make them.

Clockwise, from Top Left: Candy Corn Jell-O Shots, Eyeballs In Toxic Jell-O, Gummy Worms In Lime Slime, and Great Drunken Pumpkin Jell-O Shots

Last year, my friend Danielle made the candy corn jell-o shots and, not only did they look perfect, they actually tasted good too!

Also on their list of recipes?  Intensive Jell-O Ward, Jagermeister Black Jell-O Shots, Apple Cider Jell-O Shots, Brain Hemorrhage Jell-O Shots, Coconut Malibu Eyeballs and Boo-Berry Black Light Jell-O Shots.  Click here for the whole list and how to make them

Note: you should only be making/having these if you’re over the age of 21. Trick or treat!

The tragic tale of Funk Roll Brother, a.k.a. how I broke my leg

Yours truly, "Funk Roll Brother," in the emergency room with a broken leg.

I broke my leg playing roller derby in Central Mass on October 16th.  Let me clarify that — I shattered my fibula and broke my tibia, the only two bones that connect the knee to the foot.  It’s still unclear whether the injury came from a hit, a loose toe-stop, or just simply bad luck.  Either way, a natural reaction would be to either hate the team we were playing against, or to start regretting playing the sport in the first place.

However, it is amazing how supportive everyone in the roller derby community has been, both before and after my injury.  I love these people.

I remember everyone worrying after a small blowup occurred on the track at my first bout (August 14th, Quadfathers vs. CT Death Quads) and everyone thought for sure there’d be a fight in the parking lot.  We had all been hitting hard, getting aggressive, yelling — but 40 minutes later we were all hanging out at the afterparty, drinking, dancing, joking and taking pictures.

My team, the Quadfathers, got pretty much hammered on Saturday, October 16th against CMRD’s Mass Maelstrom (only my second bout).  The final score was 183-50, and there were many frustrations throughout the bout – one blog from the Albany All-Stars’ Sin & Tonic referred to Maelstrom skater Muchacho del Oro as “a villain,” but it’s absurd to expect a great player to go easy and let up.  And he’s so good, despite his ridiculous shiny gold pants.

With 4 minutes left in the bout, I was hit while jamming (for you non-derby fans, that means I was the one trying to score points) and went down hard.  For a split second, I saw my leg go one direction, and my foot the other.  I crawled off the track and immediately stopped moving so they’d call off the jam – I knew something was broken.

The EMT rushed out to start checking me over, while my girlfriend grabbed my hand and occupied my field of vision – she knows I’m a hypochondriac, so if I saw blood or tried to look at my leg it would feel twice as bad.  For some reason, though, the EMT didn’t think anything was broken – just a “pop” to the knee.  He put ice on my knee and advised me to keep my foot moving, even though I screamed in agony every time I tried to.  The EMT and Reffin’ Ain’t Easy helped me off the track, and the ambulance was called.  (Interestingly enough, when the ambulance arrived, a teammate of mine had hit the floor and thrown up on the track – I started freaking out, thinking he was stealing my ambulance!  He ended up getting checked out at the hospital, too, but I’m glad to say he’s OK.)

I was taken to the emergency room where the paramedics’ first question was why I had ice on my knee – they were more concerned with the fact that I couldn’t keep my foot in line with the rest of my leg.  They started mummifying it, and took me in for x-rays.  I had broken both bones in the lower half of my right leg, essentially meaning there was nothing connecting my knee bone to the foot bone. (And yes, it hurt like hell.)

A few shots of the damage and the treatment done to my right leg.

10 hours later, I was finally taken in for surgery – when I woke up, I had been given bionic parts.  My right leg now contains a metal rod, dooming me to awkward airport check-ins for the rest of my life.  I also woke to see great friends, teammates and family waiting for me with flowers, cards, and smiles.  I even got a lollipop in the shape of a skate.

Since then, I’ve been recovering at my father’s place in Massachusetts, in the same house where I grew up.  The zombie-leg staples are out, and I’m doing physical therapy to maintain flexibility and strength.  (I’m also hoping using the crutches and walker will give me awesome arm tone.)  I’ve been told to stay here for 4-6 weeks, and I should be back to “normal” shortly after Christmas.  It’s tough, but dem’s the breaks…

The well wishes from everyone have been awesome, including shout-outs on this video and the Capital District Men’s Roller Derby FacebookThank you so much to everyone who’s been helping and supporting me through this.  I love you all.

What type of profile picture is most attractive to other people? 8 tips to maximize your sexy!

Dating site OKCupid has over 1.5 million users and periodically pulls some interesting data about its users.  For example, what profile picture will get the most “likes” on Facebook, or requests for a date?

 

What type of profile picture is most attractive? You'd be surprised.

 

The 4 Big Myths About Profile Pictures

Myth #1: It’s better to smile.

For women, smiling is better than not smiling, but the profile picture that’ll get the most responses is a flirty face looking directly at the camera.  (Interestingly enough, a flirty face looking away from the camera is the worst option for women.)  For men, an unsmiling picture looking away from the camera gets the best responses.

Myth #2: The “MySpace angle” is lame
You know this picture – hold your cell phone just above your head and take a self-portrait at a slightly skewed angle.  Believe it or not, it’s single-most effective shot for women to get a positive response.

Myth #3: Showing off your abs (or your boobs) is dumb.
Truth?  If you got it, flaunt it.  Men who show off their muscles in their profile picture get a response 9 out of 10 times, whereas a picture of them drinking or traveling will only get them 4 or 5.  For women, a cleavage shot (with the camera slightly looking down their shirt) will get twice as many responses as a normal picture.

Myth #4: Show your face.
Your picture should be of you, yes, but if your face is in the picture… well, it doesn’t matter.  An artsy shot of just your shoulder will get as much attention as a close-up of your face.

Maximize Your Sexy: 4 More Profile Picture Tips

1. Do you want people to “like” your picture, or actually talk to you?
If you want an intelligent conversation, a picture of yourself doing something interesting (traveling, playing an instrument, etc) will more likely lead to a real exchange of messages.  If you’re just interested in a hookup or some cheap compliments to boost your ego, then go with a boob or ab shot.

2. How old is the picture?
Truth about profile pictures: the more attractive the photo, the more likely it’s out-of-date (a year older or more).  So if she looks really hot, you’re probably actually thinking she looked really hot in 1997.  For your profile, go with the more recent photo, not your high school yearbook picture.

3. Camera flash adds seven years to your face.
Soft light hides wrinkles and blemishes, but a bright, harsh light will bring them out.  No matter what age, a picture without flash got a higher rating on OK Cupid than a picture with flash.  Always.

4. The best time of day to take your photo is in the afternoon.
There’s a “golden hour” right after sunrise and just before sunset, but generally speaking the best time of day to take your photo is between 1:00 and 7:00 p.m.

If you still have absolutely no idea what picture is best, try MyBestFace – if you upload a few pictures and analyze attractiveness of others, it’ll measure composite features and decide which one you should be using as your default profile picture.

Happy Coffins – have a funeral with a smile!

Image courtesy of AOL News

'Happy Coffins,' introduced last week by the Lien Foundation, are intended to help take the fear out of death.

Death is a funny thing.

I’m sure when the first person said “Hey, maybe we should give them a pillow” there was a similar reaction to this: Happy Coffins.

Debuted last week in Singapore by the Lien Foundation, Happy Coffins are designed to make funerals less grim.   These decorated coffins include designs such as jeans, wine bottles, and even quirky expressions like “Hello, coffin, you seem to be nice.”

They even have a website where you can choose your Last Playlist – a soundtrack for your own funeral.  (If that’s not weird enough, there’s a different website, AndVinyly.com, that lets you get your ashes pressed into your favorite vinyl record.)

According to AOL News, the Happy Coffins currently available are 12 winners of a design contest with over 700 entries from 33 countries around the world.

Lee and Sister Geraldine Tan came up with the idea, and first tried the idea out on residents of a senior home in Singapore – of the 10 they asked, only five liked the idea.  Of those five, three helped design their own casket and even took turns posing for pictures with it.

Some say it’s distasteful to try and do this to death: “I’m sure people have differing views about the desirability of Happy Coffins,” said Lee Tan.  But don’t forget, we once though it was inappropriate to walk down the aisle to anything other than “Here Comes The Bride” and now everyone seems to want to dance to Chris Brown’s “Forever.”

What do you think?  When you bite the big one, do you want to lighten the ceremony for the grieving friends and family with a Happy Coffin?

Getting married on 7-7-07, 10-10-10, 11-11-11… what’s the big deal?

People are strange creatures.  We trust Chinese fortune cookies as wisdom, but if your Happy Meal said “You will live a long and prosperous life,” you’d laugh at it.  We bought gallons of water, flashlights and batteries in preparation for Y2K.  Tap water is bad to drink in any city, it seems. We think a fried chicken sandwich is healthy if we don’t eat the bun – where do these ideas come from?

We believe them.  Somewhere along the line, it got in our heads that certain things are true without any basis or evidence.  We believe in all sorts of superstitions like black cats and four-leaf clovers that we might as well call them stupidstititions.

So when 7-7-07 became the biggest wedding date of our lifetime, people started rushing to tie the knot on other “lucky” days like 9-9-09 and most recently 10-10-10.  What’s next?  11-11-11 is a Friday, but  12-12-12 is a Wednesday.

Is there a cosmic significance to any of these dates?  “Well, it won’t happen again for another 1,000 years.”  That’s true, it won’t.  And it also won’t be 10-12-10 for another 1,000 years, either.  We’ll see 4-14-11 in 6 months, but it won’t be the fourth month and the 14th day and the 11th year again until 3011.  Who cares?  The Jewish calendar says we’re in the year 5771, and other ancient societies would be arguing different dates too if they hadn’t been killed by the Roman Empire or by diseases spread from European colonization.

Over 30,000 couples got married on 10-10-10.  More than twice that on 7-7-07.  “A lot of repeating numbers are lucky in a lot of cultures. With divorce rates what they are, you need to have everything going for you that you can, I guess,” said a wedding company owner in Denver.

No one gets married with the intention of getting divorced (except maybe gold diggers), but we’re aware that many people do get divorced. However, if you examine the numbers closely, you’ll find that the saying “Half of marriages end in divorce” is actually a myth, too.

First of all, the divorce rate has gone down steadily since 1980, and rapidly in the last 5 years.  Per 1,000 married women, it was 22.6 in 1980 and steadily dropped  to 17.3 in 2005, according to the National Marriage Project.  In these tough economic times, people might be sticking together to save money because in 2009 it was only 16.4 divorces per 1,000 marriages.

A New York Times article also explains the myth that one out of every two marriages end in divorce, analyzing the numbers so you don’t have to.  The truth?  It’s never been more than 41% and, as the divorce rate is going down, it’s probably in the high 30’s now.  So the odds of getting married (and staying married) are in your favor.  Really.

Younger generations are also more patient about marriage than previous ones, and that wisdom that comes with age may be helping.  27% of couples who got married between 1975 and ’79 got divorced, compared with only 16% of those who got married between 1990 and 1994.  The average women get married now is between 30 and 32, where you’re less likely to make stupid decisions than when you’re 18.

So relax.  Don’t put too much stock in your wedding date.  Just remember your anniversaries, and you’ll have no trouble being in that majority that actually has a successful marriage.  And if you’re looking for a wedding DJ, I’m available.  :)

Is 45 too old for trick-or-treating?

Some Halloween costumes I've worn over the years: Deaf Chef, Michael Phelps, Baby Spice, Flava Flav.

The last time I went trick-or-treating, I was probably 13 or 14. I’ve worn costumes many times since then (most of which had nothing to do with Halloween).

However, the debate comes up every October – how old is too old for trick-or-treating? A Dallas mom has a rule that if you’re too old for a Chuck-E-Cheese party, you’re too old.  Another blogger says, as long as they still get in the spirit and dress up, teenagers are okay to trick-or-treat.  This one says if they have their drivers’ license, they should be doing something else for Halloween.

One Illinois town even banned all kids above 8th grade from trick-or-treating.  Parents who allowed their kids to go from door-to-door asking for candy would be fined $25.

Meet Stan, the 45-year old attorney from Wichita who still goes out every year:

This is what Stan wrote about his October 31st compulsion:

I have a sweet tooth the size of Alaska. That’s why when Halloween rolls around at the end of October, I’ll break out the old shopping bags and go begging.

Some people may say I suffer from a case of arrested development, but where on the law books is there a statute of limitations on trick-or-treating? I should know–I’m a lawyer.

At 45, it’s not easy to look like a kid. I’m five-ten and two-hundred plus pounds.

But I’m nothing if not ingenious. Last year I taped wrapping paper and ribbon around some cardboard boxes and went as a stack of Christmas presents. All you could see of me was my baby blues through the eye holes.

I keep an up-to-date computer database on the best and worst neighborhoods for candy. It’s based on a somewhat complex program that considers the number of lit and unlit porch lights, size of pumpkins, types of treats, etc.

As far as getting caught, the closest I ever came was three years ago at my parents’ house.

But the best part of Halloween for me is the rest of the year. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to offer clients a Starburst from the Wedgwood jar on my desk, then pop one into my own mouth. And only I know my Halloween secret.

Is it fake?  Could be.  Nevertheless, I’m curious as to what you think.  How old is too old?

Note: You’re never too old to wear a costume and act ridiculous for a day/night at work or a party.  Are you looking for couples costume ideas, by the way?

5 Date Tricks To Make Him Want You

Maura Kelly from Marie Claire wrote this list of Five Subliminal Tricks To Try On A Date that I wanted to share with you. If you’re worried about how to get from Date #1 to Date #2, this cheat sheet may help.

1. Reach out and touch.

Being touched by someone, even briefly and unintentionally, increases liking for the person. Men love it when a girl laughs and touches their shoulder.  We have no idea why.  Make it seem accidental or natural, like touching his hand briefly and saying, “I know!” will definitely get his mojo rising.

2. Get the dude to hold a hot cup of joe.
According to Ruud Custers, a psychology professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, research has shown that when you get someone to hold a cup of coffee, he will see you as a warmer person whereas the opposite is true for anyone holding a cold drink. It’s a weird association thing, but basically if one thing is hot, then it’s easy to assume everything in the situation is hot.  Including the date.  So pretend you’ve got to get something out of your bag and ask him to hold your coffee for a minute.

3. Be smooth. (Or soft. Or fluffy.)
A very recent study published in the Science journal found that when participants were asked to work together to assemble puzzles, they would say that cooperating with their partners went less “smoothly” if their puzzle pieces were covered with sanding paper. See? It’s that crazy word-association stuff again. In other words, go to a restaurant or bar where the chairs and couches feel good, or wear a smooth or soft sweater.  Ask us to touch it.

4. Imitate him.
Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. A study out of Raboud University, in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, found that waitresses who simply repeated the orders of their customers back to them received larger tips. Occasionally repeat something your date says and ask, “Is that right?” or some other comment.  Don’t play the Shadow Game.

5. Make sure he’s in a place full of things he likes.
More association stuff!  Ruud just finished a study about how if we are in a place (like a bar) in which there is a stimulant (like a band) that another person finds pleasurable, he will come to associate the pleasure of that stimulant with the people around him. So stalk his Facebook profile, and take him to see a band or a club that plays his kind of music, or maybe see a movie that he’s likely to be a fan of.

The truth?  Men are simple creatures.  If we have fun on a date, whether it’s because of the other person or not, then we’ll assume the other person had something to do with it.  “I had a really good time last night” could have nothing to do with you, but the psychology of it is that he’ll (and you’ll) interpret it as “I had a really good time last night with you.”