Friday, July 26, 2013

Top 5 Things to Do When You Get Bored

1.       Conduct a sociological experiment

Materials needed
1.      video-recording device
2.       tree or pole
3.       $10 bill
4.       Stepladder
5.       tape

Find a tree or pole in a well-traveled (walked) area. Find a time when traffic is slow. Using your stepladder, tape the $10 bill to the tree or pole where it will be seen but where it is just out of reach of the average person. Then hide with your camera and wait. Video the people as they walk by and see how many try to reach the bill and how many just ignore it. After the experiment, draw conclusions based on your observations, write a paper and publish it in a journal.

2.       Plan a formal dinner for you and your friends at McDonald's

Materials needed
1.       white tablecloth
2.       candles & candle holders
3.       cloth napkins
4.       silverware & china
5.       permission from McDonald's
6.       Information on napkin folding and dinnerware placement
7.       Place cards with your friends’ names on them

Arrive a few minutes early to pick out the perfect table. Spread the table cloth, lay out the silverware and fold the napkins into the shape of an animal or flower. Set the candles up in the center of the table and light them. Put the place cards at the appropriate seats. Wait for your friends to arrive. Have everyone order their food, and enjoy.

3.       Record you and your friends critiquing an old/obscure television show or movie in the manner of Mystery Science Theater

Materials needed
1.       an old/obscure television show or movie
2.       a recording device
3.       friends

Pop some popcorn, set up the recording device, get comfortable, play the show/movie, and begin making brilliant, insightful and hilarious comments.

4.       Make home-made butter

Materials needed
1. whipping cream (can be normal or heavy but should not be cold)
2. a jar
3. a measuring cup (not necessarily needed)
4. strong arms, able to do a lot of shaking
5. 10-20 minutes

Measure out 1 cup of whipping cream for each ½ cup of butter that you want to make. Once you have your desired amount, pour it into the jar. (Your jar should be no more than 1/3 full.) Close the lid tightly. Shake hard. Keep shaking. Still more shaking. You should see the cream begin to separate into butter and buttermilk. The cream will begin to get “heavy,” become firm and turn yellow. You have butter at this point. You can stop here and have a good soft spread or keep shaking for a harder spread. Dazzle your family by serving your efforts at the next family meal.

5.    Make a maze/obstacle course out of silly string and race with your friends to see who can get through it the fastest

Alternative idea: Set two mazes up in the woods to protect each team’s flag. Use a blue chalk line instead of silly string. The other team must steal their opponant’s flag without getting any of the blue chalk on them.

1.    Silly string
2.    Space
3.    Trees, tables, poles, etc. to act as a foundation or outline for your maze
4.    “Mission Impossible” or “Eye of the Tiger” music
5.    Timer


Go crazy with the silly string while setting up your maze. Play music. Take turns going through the maze as quickly as possible. Time each person. Determine a winner. Go out to eat to celebrate your mad new spy skills.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Verdict: The Life and Times of Lemuel Xandiver - Part 6

“The boy’s fate is for the council to decide, Red Bear” said a gray-haired man stepping up out of the hut behind him.

Red Bear growled and pushed past as the old man motioned for them to enter the hut. The angry native stomped across the bridge and out of sight.

Lem walked through the doorway and looked nervously at all of the stern faces sitting around the center fire. He stopped just inside, not sure what he was supposed to do. Running Wolf walked up behind him and led him to a pile of furs on the floor. Lem slowly sank down onto the unusual seat. The gray-haired man walked around the fire and sat down cross-legged in the only other empty spot.

“I am Standing Elk, the chief of the underland tribe. Your presence here causes us great trouble, offlander.”

Lem looked away embarrassed. His curiosity had led him into a great many problems in the past, but never anything like this before. He didn’t know what to say.

“I’m sorry.”

“Perhaps,” replied Standing Elk, “but that does not change the facts. The facts are these: our underland tribe has remained a secret for over one hundred years. During that time, we have not had to face the trials from the offlanders that our brothers who chose to stay on the surface have endured. We will not easily give up the freedom that we enjoy here. Therefore, we will not take any risks that our location might be found. “

“Um, ok,” Lem stammered. “I won’t tell anyone. I promise.”

“No, you will not,” Standing Elk sighed sadly.

Lem began to panic. Were they going to kill him after all? “Wh…what do you mean?”

“I am sorry, but we cannot allow you to leave here. Do not worry. We will not go as far as Red Bear suggested, but you will not set foot up on the surface again.”

“B…but, but, wait. That’s not fair. I have to go back. My mom and dad… You can’t do this!” Lem grew angrier and angrier as the reality of what Standing Elk meant began to sink in.

“I am sorry, but that is my final word. Running Wolf will find you a place to live and help you get settled in. You are his responsibility now.”

Lem glanced over at Running Wolf still shocked at what the chief had said. Running Wolf didn’t look pleased.

“But my parents,” Lem all but shouted as an idea occurred to him. “They’ll look for me. They’ll get the whole town involved. You don’t know them. Won’t it be dangerous to have everyone searching the forest? They might find you anyway.” Lem smiled triumphantly.

“We will ensure that the search takes place on the far side of the island. There will be no danger to us. Running Wolf.” Standing Elk looked at the native boy sitting next to Lem and nodded dismissingly.

Running Wolf nodded back and stood up. “Come.” He looked down at Lem who was still sitting there dumbfounded.


“Come!” Running Wolf repeated sternly. He grabbed Lem’s arm and pulled him to his feet.

“B...but…” Lem stuttered as Running Wolf pulled him out of the hut. He couldn’t believe it. He was a prisoner! He’d never see his family again. His eyes scanned the cavern walls as Running Wolf pulled him back across the bridge and down the path. He’d have to escape. That’s all there was to it. But as he looked around, he realized that would be all but impossible. Guards stood at each entrance. He knew that he’d never be able to get past them.

It began to grow difficult for him to breathe, and his chest felt unusually heavy. Lem feared he might have a panic attack. He forced himself to calm down. They can’t keep me here, he thought. My parents will find me. Or if they don’t, I’ll be able to escape. I can do this! They can’t watch me all the time. It won’t be easy, but I will. I will get out of here! I will!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Riddles to Test Your Intelligence

For all of you know-it-alls out there, let’s see just how much you really do know. These riddles will begin easy and get harder as you go. If you can figure out all five without looking at the answers first, you officially have my permission to introduce yourself as a genius.

Let’s begin with some easy ones.

1.       This is as light as a feather, yet nobody can hold it for long. What is it?
2.       I’m the start of nothing and the end of the sun. I’m also part of the number one. What am I?
3.       How could a cowboy ride into town on Friday, stay for two days, and then ride out on Friday?

Now a little more difficult.

4.       When you have me, you have a great desire to share me. But if you share me, you no longer have me. What am I?

And now for the hardest one of all. Sit up straight. Stretch really well and loosen up your muscles. Take a deep breath. Are you ready? Here goes.

5.       A pregnant lady named her children: Dominique, Regis, Michelle, Fawn, Sophie and Lara. What will she name her next child? Jessica, Katie, Abby or Tilly?

1.       Your breath
2.       The letter n
3.       His horse is named Friday.
4.       A secret

5.       Tilly. She seems to follow the scale: Do, Re, Me, Fa, So, La, and then Ti.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Running Wolf's Favorite Poem

There is an eagle in me and a spotted bird hurrying corn to grow.
The eagle flies to the mountains of my dreams,
flies to the corners of my distant hopes.
But the spotted bird stands among the cornstalks telling me to hoe.
My hands are the tools of my soul.
They make the drum,
the bow,
the flute,
and stretch the skin of the deer.
They work the earth and care for the sheep and plant the corn.
They greet my homeland each morning that I awake.

Author unknown

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Hidden Village: The Life and Times of Lemuel Xandiver - Part 5

 Surrounded by stern-faced natives all with arrows notched and pointed at him, Lem began to think that maybe he should have listened to Running Wolf and left the dragon alone.

Nervously, he watched them. For what seemed like an eternity, no one moved. Then, one of the men jumped down to a lower ledge on Lem’s left and started to speak in a language he didn’t understand. Lem watched the man feeling confused. Surely they must realize he didn’t speak their language. Suddenly, a voice behind him made him jump as it replied in the same language. Lem turned to see Running Wolf standing there, eyebrows drawn together and lips pursed angrily.

“You should not have come,” he growled at Lem. “The hidden village is forbidden to all offlanders.”

“What will they do to me?”

“I do not know. None has ever dared to intrude before.” Running Wolf sighed. Even though he was angry at Lem, he couldn’t help also being impressed. When he said that no offlander had intruded before, what he really meant was none had ever been able to find them. But he was also upset. He had been assigned the task of watching Lem ever since the first time he had entered the forest. He would definitely get in trouble for this.

“Come. We must go see Big Elk. The council will decide your fate.” Running Wolf jumped down to a lower ledge to the right that Lem hadn’t seen before and hurried off without looking back.

Lem only paused for a moment. He knew that if he followed the young native, he would undoubtedly face some punishment for his actions, but this hidden world was too tempting to leave. Anyway, he reasoned to himself, it wasn’t as if he could escape. He didn’t have any illusions that he would be able to get away from them if he tried.

Lem looked over the edge of the platform he stood on and cautiously climbed down to the one below it hurrying to catch up to Running Wolf.

They walked down a pathway beside the stream, through the rocky cavern. Lem couldn’t see the guards anymore, but he knew they were still there, watching him.

Up ahead, the ground rose higher, and a large archway loomed over the path. As they walked nearer, their road became rockier. They had to climb over the large boulders that had fallen away, or been knocked out, to create the opening. At one point, Lem even had to scramble up a large stone on his hands and knees. Watching his feet the whole way, he didn’t notice what lay on the other side of the archway until he made it to the top of the hill and stood directly underneath it.

On the other side, the whole scene changed. Gardens grew high up on the ledges soaking up the sunlight that streamed in from the various holes in the ceiling. Huts, that appeared to be made from some sort of thick bark, lined the walls of the cavern and another tall waterfall ran down from high above on the far side to feed a stream that met the other one in the middle. More trees and flowers dotted the floor and ledges in the unusual village.

Lem gazed around in wonder. It was beautiful, and the people milling about working on their everyday tasks seemed to be happy, especially the children who hovered nearby, curious about the intruder.

But the most surprising sight of all was the dragons. Lem counted seven that he could see. Some of them slept quietly in the shadows, but others ran around with the children or lay down next to the huts.

“Tame dragons?” Lem mumbled in surprise.

“Yes,” answered Running Wolf a little reluctantly. “But they can still be dangerous to strangers or when they feel threatened. You would be wise to avoid them.”

“Is that the one that come to the school?” Lem asked excitedly pointing to a dragon with an unhealed would on its leg. The dragon sat in front of a hut with a little boy who watched Lem’s progression curiously.

Running Wolf frowned but didn’t say anything. He just kept moving ahead. Lem tore his eyes from the dragon and looked at the path in front of them hurrying to catch back up. Their destination seemed to be a large round hut set on a rock platform in the middle of the cavern. The stream split in two and circled the platform coming together again on the other side. A small bridge led over the stream to the hut.

As they crossed the bridge, the door swung open and a tall native man, who appeared to be in his mid-twenties, stormed out. Through the open door, Lem could see a circle of older men sitting on the floor around a fire inside.

“So this is the intruder,” growled the newcomer glaring at Lem. He leaned down and stared Lem straight in the eyes. “You know our secret now,” he hissed. “I hope you realize that this means we cannot let you live. You must die. And I will take great pleasure in the being the one to kill you.” His lip cured up in a snarl and a maniacal gleam lit up his eyes at the thought.