Monday, December 5, 2016

Ski Biking $$ 🎓 💪💪

This one is a bit strange.  Take a bike.  Remove the pedals and the gears completely.  Replace the wheels with small skis. Take it to the top of a mountain and get on it.  Put two little skis to strap to your ski boots.  Now go down the mountain, gravity powered - just like nordic skiing.

Ski biking is easier than skiing or snow boarding.  You are sitting down, so you have greater control over your weight shifts (affecting turning) AND you have a steering front ski.  This is much easier than just using your ankles to control turns.

You can't (or rather I can't) do moguls (very bumpy terrain),  nor do you go as fast as regular skiing, but you have a lot more control and it is a lot easier to learn than snow skiing, and a little easier to learn than snow boarding.  It's also involves much less falling on your butt than snow boarding. 

You need to use a ski lift, (and bringing the ski bike on the lift takes some muscle)  so it's priced about the same as skiing - not cheap.   It's significantly less strenuous on the body than skiing, but as I said earlier, you will need some muscles to do it.  Some places let you rent it at the top of the mountain and bring the bike up for you.

More men than women do it, children can do it, and if you are older and can't ski, you might be able to ski bike.   If you are disabled (even missing limbs or partly paralyzed)  then ski biking will be a LOT easier than skiing or snow boarding.

I did it in Breckenridge, lots of places allow it.  Many rent bikes and/or offer lessons.  You can learn more about it (including which mountains allow/rent/teach) here:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Shoe Making $$$ 🎓🎓 💪

Shoe Making is expensive and time consuming, but not that hard to do.

You start by making a plaster mold of your foot (and leg if you want anything boot like).  Around the plaster mold exterior, you wrap masking tape (two layers, criss-crossing).  Then you draw your design on the masking tape, cut the tape and remove it.   Trace the tape designs on paper, cut the paper out, and once again trace the paper on to leather leaving some extra space for seams.

Then cutting the leather out, you assemble it, with a piece of foam and plastic added to the sole, all held together by a combination of glue and sewing.

The main equipment you need is a good post sewing machine (you need one that can easily work around the shape of the shoe, hence the 'post' version).   Most of the rest is fairly standard - exacto knives, hammers, sanders, something strong enough to cut the sole leather.   You may also need a metal shoe anvil for use with the hammer.  All of it the equipment should be in the class, if you take it.

If you have a good eye and a steady hand, you can make something very pretty and useful.    Sandals are much easier than full shoes - they don't have a full heel or full toe, both of which involve multidimensional curves which require a 'last' and some serious stretching/hammering of the leather.   Note, I do not consider boots to be worth paying more for a special class - the extra material is also the simplest part of the shoe - only one dimensional curve, no sole.  Yes it takes more time and material cost, but you don't really need extra instruction on how to do it.  But heels and lasts on the other hand, are both much more complicated and if you want to learn to make them, it's well worth the extra money.

This class is expensive, but you get a nice custom made to order pair of shoes out of it.  It is not easy to get something perfect, but what you do make is high quality and lasts a long time.  It doesn't take a lot of muscle or stamina - aside from lugging all the gear to and from the workshop.   That can become a lot, as my teacher did not have the storage space to let all the students store.

The classes are fairly even when it comes to gender, perhaps a few more men then women.  It has a good mix of older and younger students.   There is no reason a 10 year old child or a 90 year old can't do this, except for the money.

I took classes from Olivier Rabbath, here:

Olivier is a nice french man that's been doing it for quite some time.  He's a bit of a character and really knows his stuff.

Monday, November 21, 2016

SNUBA $$ 🎓 💪

No, I didn't misspell it.  SCUBA stands for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.  SNUBA stands for Surface Nexus Underwater Breathing Apparatus.   It is a combination of Snorkeling and SCUBA diving.

Take a large bottle of air, just like they use for SCUBA.  But instead of wearing it on your back as you go into the depths, put it on a small float/bloat.  Connect a 20 ft long hose from the air to a mouthpiece.  Put on some flippers, goggles, and the mouthpiece and explore the oceans - or at least the top 20ft of the oceans.

SCUBA (with a C) is expensive, hard, and difficult.  It is expensive not just because of the gear, but because it takes a lot of classes - you have to get certified before you can do it alone.  Not to mention time to learn.  In large part because it is not the safest thing in the world - if you don't pay attention to time, you can unwitting give yourself 'the bends' (especially if you go right from SCUBA to an airplane), risking your health and life. If you have asthma (like me), doctors recommend you do not SCUBA.  So that is not on my list. 

SNUBA does not have that risk.  It is far safer, easier, and less athletic.  Not to mention cheaper - no lessons and certification.   You don't go deep enough to worry about the bends, but you still go deep enough to see glorious fish.   It was good enough for me, so I never felt the need to go SCUBA diving.   

You just need to be able to swim, and at least 8 years old.  Men and women both like to do this.    No real age limit, it's easier to do than walking is.

It's become pretty popular - tourist destination that have multiple places to SCUBA diving should also offer one place with SNUBA.

I did it in the Caribbean, but I forgot where. 

You can find SNUBA online for less than $75, but most places try to charge around $100.   So I gave it $$, rather than $.  Here are a couple of places that have it for less than $75:


Monday, November 14, 2016

Fly an airplane $$ 🎓🎓🎓 💪💪

Flying an airplane is a strange experience.  It combines a sense of power-fullness and power-lessness.   Yes, you have the ability to fly, yes you move faster than you have ever done before. 
But, at least in the small airplanes I was taught in, errant wind push you around like you were a feather.

Don't expect to take off or land on your first flight - those come later (if at all).   But on your first class you can definitely take the 'wheel' of a small aircraft and be in total control of it.

I did it in Texas, and it was a gift, but places in NY area tend to charge more than $100.  If you can get it for $150, that's a good price. While basic control of the plane is easy in air, dealing with an emergency, taking off, and landing all take a significant amount of training.   It takes a bit of muscle, but not a huge amount.

Flying trends male and older.   People over 40 are more likely to have the time and money to spend on this hobby.  You can start as a teenager, but it's rare.  Note, in Alaska, some places need an airplane to get, so it may be more female and younger there.    You can turn this into a job - if you are young and talented at it, particularly in Alaska.

Most small airport should have someone selling lessons of some kind.   Do a google search and you should be able to find it.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Flyboarding $$ 🎓🎓 💪💪

Take a jet-ski.  Attach a giant hose to the jet, so the water goes into it, rather than the lake/ocean.

Connect the other end of the hose to a rig you strap to your feet.   Turn the jet-ski on via a remote control and the water press will thrust you up into the air as high as the hose.    Live out your James Bond Jet pack fantasy!

Most people handle 5 -10 ft, some get as high as 35 ft in the air.

If you are good, you can do tricks.  If you are a beginner you can slam into the water and give your friends a laugh.   It's not as easy as it looks.  One of the key things is you can't point your feet - it's all about balancing - keeping your center of gravity above the water jets. Most of that is done in the ankles - they have to be bent the right amount.  Point your feet down a tiny bit and you move forward.  More and you slam head first into the water. 

This sport is new and there are variations - jets attached to your back, jets attached to a bike, jets attached to a chair.   In all cases you are going to be balancing and most people think it is easier to balance on your feet than anything else.  Also, at some point the jets tend to point directly down into the water, most people would rather be pulled under by their feet than by any other part of their body.

It costs about $100 to try it out.  If you fall in love it costs about $10,000 for the entire setup (including the jet ski which is half the cost).   It's not easy, but it's not the hardest thing to try.  I managed to do it by the end of my 15 minutes.

This is by far a guy thing.  James Bond fantasy, remember.    It's also mostly a younger thing - 20 and 30 year olds dominate the market, but older users are welcome.  Most places won't take you unless you are at least 16, but if you find the right place, they will take a 13 year old kid.

I tried it in Texas ( )   but you can try it on Long Island:

Monday, October 31, 2016

Holographs $$$ 🎓🎓 💪

Holographs are 3d pictures made using a laser on film.  You shine the right light on the film (doesn't always have to be a laser light), and you get the 3d picture popping up.  Holographs are actually better resolution than normal printed photos - theoretically you could take a holograph of a leaf and use a microscope to view the nucleus of bacteria on the leaf. 

All you need is a dark area to take the holograph, the right laser(s), the right film, and a bit of knowledge.   And a good subject for the holograph.  I used a small fire hydrant I made in a glassblowing class.

It is a bit expensive - both to learn how to do it and to set something up in your home.   It's not that hard to do any one kind of holography, but there are a lot of techniques and variations to learn.   So to truly master it, you can easily spend thousands of dollars.   Also, you are working with film and chemicals, not merely computer chips, so there are quite a few expendables you need to purchase.   But it takes no muscle.

Holography trends male, and older.  Yes, kids like to view holography, but it is just hard enough to deter all but the most determined teenagers from trying it.   Classes are very small - you work in a dark room.  That's another reason why it is so expensive.

I took classes here:

Monday, October 24, 2016

Indoor Sky Diving $ 🎓 💪

Picture a multistory building with a glass tube in it, more than 5ft across.  At the bottom of the tube is a grill.  Underneath the grill is the biggest freaking fan you have ever seen - totally filling the tube.   This is a vertical wind tunnel that can let you fly like a bird.

When the fan is turned on, the wind is so strong that it literally BLOWS YOU UP INTO THE AIR.  You wear a special suit - that is loose and baggy to catch the wind, helmets, etc.  Sneakers are fine - but no loose shoes (flip flops).

You can use it to learn how to skydive - or just for the shear FUN of doing it.  If you do it often enough you can learn how to do tricks, but the first time you try it you will need an instructor to show you how to simply stay floating.  They will also show you some

It is very safe.   You can't fall very far even if the power is cut (the fans slow down gradually, bringing you down gently).  They say you don't have any trouble breathing in the wind, but I think they are underestimating that issue.  If you have allergies (runny nose), asthma, or similar issues you may have some issues breathing.   I would at the very least take any appropriate medication.  Basically, stick your head out of a car window at 55 MPH  If you can breathe fine while doing that, then you won't have problems.  But it is at the very least very annoying.  Do NOT do it if you are sick.

The cost for a simple try was reasonable - but they "get you with add-ons".   Anything besides the most basic experience costs more.  Want a 'high' flight?  Costs more.  Want a video?  Costs more.  Want to rent a nicer helmet - that makes it easier to breathe?  Costs more.  The training for your first flight also makes it more expensive than later ones.   Also, location and time will change the price - weekend premium.  They offer group pricing, which helps somewhat, as does bulk purchasing for one person.     If you are a teenager and fall in love with it, you could get a job doing it.

It is not that hard to do the basics, but it takes a while to learn to do the harder stuff.  It doesn't take any muscle - young children can do it.

While this is cheap, easy to learn and easy to do, it is not located near everyone.

It trends young and male, but there are women doing it.  Kids as young as 3 can do it.  There is no upper age limit.  They do have a weight limit.  But you can do it even if you are a paraplegic.   They do offer parties, if you have the money.

I did it twice, once in Vegas

and again with my niece and nephew while in Austin Texas  at a chain iFlyworld