Day 31: Feed a donkey
REMEMBERED DETAILS My friends and I fed two donkeys named Mojie and Josie for day 31 of the project. Mojie, a dark-haired male, was the first to be given an apple. He knocked it out of my hand and swallowed it whole, after it fell to the ground. Josie, a gray-haired female, following her counterpart by knocking an apple out of my hand and eating it from the floor. I gave Josie the first...
Day 30: Ride on a gondola
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME I estimate that we rode the gondola for 6 minutes and 21 seconds. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 29: Walk across a state border
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME I estimate that it took 36 seconds to walk across the New York-Vermont border. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 28: Walk in deep snow barefoot
Joe had the best bicycle out of all of us, a blue-and-white Giro with thick, saucer-like rims that regularly propelled him down ramps, across ledges and over flights of broken concrete stairs. It was the summer of 1994 and the dawning of a new breed of sport — one that had the ability to make 13-year-old boys salivate in unison and one that marketers would soon label “extreme”. Chest out,...
Day 27: Build a bird feeder
A quick story For me, the patio was that peculiar section of the yard where soccer balls were prohibited from being kicked, baseball bats banned from being swung and in-line skates exiled, as if they were part of a guerrilla movement determined to destroy wicker furniture. For the rest of the family, it was a place of refined dining, where man gracefully broke bread with the beasts and...
Day 26: Host a toilet paper unravelling...
Welcome to the world’s first toilet paper unravelling competition. Week four of The Time Hack is nearly complete, and it’s now time for you to get involved in one of the experiments. The rules for the competition are simple: 1. Time yourself unravelling a full roll of toilet paper as fast as you can from a holder - either wall-mounted or freestanding will do. 2. If you can, film...
Day 25: (Attempt to) Walk on homemade stilts
While many may associate stilt walking with circus performers or others in entertainment, stilts gained notoriety in southwestern France in the late 1800s as tools for traversing rough landscapes. Sheepherders used them to achieve better fields of vision in an effort to keep a closer watch over their flocks. Stilts were also used to avoid getting stuck in the marshes and heavy brush that dotted...
Day 24: Create a Gatorade slide
On a crisp autumn day in 2007, I found myself in Eugene, Oregon, an offbeat college town with all the Bohemian trimmings. I was vehicle-less, circling the U.S. with an empty wallet as part of web project called Around America in 2.0. With a video camera, I was transported by volunteers from town to town, a human baton, crashing with and being fed by strangers who contacted me through the...
Day 23: Participate in an in-studio radio...
Weekend Post To listen to the interview, go here. REMEMBERED TIME I was interviewed by a BBC World Service presenter today about The Time Hack. I believe the interview lasted 9 minutes and 45 seconds. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 22: Attempt a headspin
Weekend Post REMEMBERED TIME With the assistance of a friend, I believe it took 1 minute and 18 seconds to complete five headspins. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 21: Cook a meal in a fireplace
Three months ago, my mother called me to tell me that a squirrel had “committed suicide in our fireplace.” “I don’t know what happened. Your father opened the flue for the first time this winter and down he fell. Poor guy. He must have been so sad,” she said. But the problem wasn’t the masochistic squirrel. The problem was the flies. Apparently, flies were...
Day 20: Walk blindfolded around the block
Without fail, my older brother would violently yank my night light out the wall each evening upon coming into our shared bedroom, throwing it at the foot of our bunk beds. “For the last time, stop plugging that thing in. There’s nothing to be scared of in here,” he’d say, waking me up. It was him. I could tell by the faint sound of Bill Joel rattling the headphones around his neck. Now don’t get...
Day 19: Bob for Nerds
Mark was always better than me at sports. Football, basketball, baseball, skateboarding – he dominated them all, even the “grungier sports.” Not only that, but he was also a clique-crossing social amoeba who could fit into any awkward social crevice and emerge victorious. He was the crush of every girl I knew, and the envy of every boy. With the endurance of an American Quarter Horse and...
Day 18: Have dinner with a homeless person
*Note: The events described below, including quotes, have been pulled from memory and may not necessarily be accurate. Please refer to the audio recording linked to under the “ACTUAL EVENTS” heading. A short time into my first reporting gig, I found myself ducking in and out of tunnels in an impoverished area of Harlem just after dusk. It was late fall in 2006, and my newly...
Day 17: Recite the alphabet in a public space
Julie had round, deeply engaging brown eyes – the kind that could stop traffic or prompt the sustainable creation of world peace, if given the right opportunity. She was beautiful and spoke with a zest for literature that made my knees tremble so furiously that I felt, at times, they might actually be rattling out the rhythms of Van Morrison’s greatest hits. I was five minutes early for my first...
Day 16: Backwards clothing lunch
Weekend post (Photo taken prior to leaving for lunch.) REMEMBERED TIME I believe my lunch, at which I wore my clothing backward at 88 Palace in NYC’s Chinatown, took 1 hour and 18 minutes. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. (Note the timer restarts at 1 hour.) Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 15: Ride a mechanical bull
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME I believe 2 minutes and 35 seconds passed between the time I started the timer, got on the mechanical bull, fell off and stopped the timer. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 14: Learn Swahili
I lived in a damp, dimly-lit communist-style building washed in dirt and navy blue paint on the outskirts of Prague in 2003. I slept on a wooden slat covered by an itchy foam pad, and muscular women with names I couldn’t pronounce cooked hardboiled eggs each morning for the residents of the kolej (Czech for “dorm”). I was 20 years old and studying at Charles University near the center...
Day 13: Get a manicure
At no time in my life have I ever sought to beautify or enhance my fingernails or toenails in any way. To me, nails are irksome growths covering my distal phalanges that I’m told look “disgusting” after a game of baseball with my friends at the park. They are those envelope-shaped keratin buildups on my hands that my girlfriend picks at when I’m reading on the couch. ...
Day 12: Send balloon mail
Having just purchased 20 helium-filled balloons as part of my previous task two days prior, I thought it best to not waste the precious gas by using it again for day 12 of the project. There is afterall, a helium shortage in the US poised to become part of a larger worldwide crisis. Reserves of helium, the second lightest element in the universe, are running low and some experts contend that...
Day 11: Watch paint dry
In the early 1990s, summertime in Pennsylvania fizzled with a host of activities revolving around baseball, climbing trees and jumping into any water my friends and I could foresee accommodating our bodies. But those hot summer days were short-lived and were quickly met with cooler temperatures. Autumn seemed to pass in an instant, and it wasn’t long before winter struck. And we all knew that...
Day 10: Walk a mile with 20 balloons
It was September in my third year of elementary school in Pennsylvania, and the classroom was ornately adorned with balloons in observance of student birthdays that had passed that month. The classroom swelled with the odor of sharpened pencils, new book bags and birthday cake. Dressed in our fresh, month-old sneakers purchased for the new semester, we jumped, climbed and galloped around Ms...
Day 9: Eat a red hot chili pepper
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME I believe it took 6 minutes and 20 seconds to eat the chili pepper ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 8: Duckpin bowling
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME From start to finish, I believe my duckpin bowling experience lasted 53 minutes. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?\
Day 7: Wake up to a bucket of water
Willpower plays a large role in the successful completion of this project. I must admit I have fully felt the weight of working full-time and completing a relatively taxing project just within the first week of The Time Hack. But no surprises here. I ancticipated I would feel drained – well, until my prefrontal cortex housed behind my forehead strengthens, that is. In a Wall Street Journal...
Day 6: Rethink a dining utensil
The history of the common fork is surprisingly intriguing. Used in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome as tools used for cooking and carving meats from a cauldron or fire, forks didn’t make the leap to the kitchen table until as late as the 7th century in noble courts in the Middle East and Byzantine Empire. And even then, they weren’t seen even among wealthy households for another 300 years. Prior to...
Day 5: Jump from a moving car
I consider myself to a fairly intelligent individual. Maybe not always the brightest, but hey, I went to college, I’m a journalist, I play Cranium, etc. But no matter how hard I try, Newton’s first law has never sat quite right with me. I have been reciting it backwards, forwards and sideways since the age of eight, but to this day, some minute fraction of my brain, maybe even just a small...
Day 4: Map my genome
I tend to receive rather unusual Christmas presents from my family. Among other things, for the past five years they have been donating farm animals, like chickens, pigs and even llamas, in my name through Oxfam to South America and Africa. To say the least, my family is composed of six wonderful, out of the box thinkers. But this year, I received a rather unusual present for even the Danzico...
Day 4: Explainer
Day 3: Lie in the street
Walking on the sidewalk and staying out of the street are for many of us unconscious acts. But do you remember when you were first made aware of the consequences of chasing after a stray soccer ball or the dangers of crossing without looking? Everything I have ever learned about staying out of the street (and women, but that’s an entirely different story), I learned from my elementary school...
Day 2: Trapeze school
As a Christmas present a few years ago, I gave my sister a voucher for a two-hour lesson at the Trapeze School of New York City on West 30th Street in Manhattan. I watched her participate in this activity, not knowing that I would one day attend the school myself. Inside what is essentially a 70-ft bubble-like tent, the Trapeze School offers classes for novices or more advanced high-flying...
Day 1: Fight a boxer
Milton, a 23-year-old boxer from New York City, agreed to fight me in a space in New York’s Lower East Side for the first day of The Time Hack project. We intended to spar at a boxing gym, but were turned away – so we packed up our equipment and cleared out a friend’s apartment. Milton is a 160-lb resident of Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood, a working actor in the city and an...