Day 118: Play a Chatroulette concert
Sitting down, guitar in hand, I belted out a country tune last night to strangers on Chatroulette, a webcam chatroom where strangers meet. It was an original I wrote years ago for a rather unsuccessful act I deemed Davey Coal. In typical Chatroulette fashion, I’d say each listener heard roughly four seconds of each song before skipping to the next “rouletter”. Each pair of...
Day 117: Contact a death row inmate
Hi - This is my first time writing to an inmate, so please bear with me. I thought I’d just write a quick note to tell you about springtime in Washington, DC. It’s that time of year again when you can smell chlorine drifting through the breeze, as pools get ready to open around the city. Students in the Washington are eagerly awaiting the end of the school year, and hordes of...
Day 116: Walk backwards across a city
Time is not static, but rather it bends, arches and twists itself in unison with one’s actions. If I have learned anything since being beaten like a rag doll on the first day of this project, it is that. But I was reminded last night that a person’s perception of time can also be manipulated by outside influences. I wobbled groggy-eyed and dazed out of the newsroom where I work and...
Day 115: Befriend an ex-girlfriend
An ex-girlfriend once said that dating me was like dating a robot, a confusing experience devoid of emotion. Unsure of exactly what she meant by this, I recall awkwardly patting her on the back and asking if she was upset because she required food. Several months later, I told my mother about my former girlfriend’s claim. “You just have to meet someone who accepts you for who you...
Day 114: Hold a burial ceremony for a deceased...
Weekend post “Day 56: Serenade a dying houseplant” obviously did not work out the way I had hoped. REMEMBERED TIME I believe it took 33 minutes and 21 seconds to bury the plant and hold the ceremony. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 113: Rub a stranger's head
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME I estimate I rubbed the taxi driver’s head for 10 seconds. (I explained the project beforehand and asked the driver if I could do so. He happily agreed. The picture above was taken from Flickr and not from the actually experience.) ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 112: Drink a glass of raw egg
REMEMBERED DETAILS I broke a brown egg and dropped it into a glass with my right hand. I turned to my left and stood thinking about drinking the egg for several seconds. I poured it down lifting the glass with my right hand, turned and walked to my left. I did not say anything throughout the entirety of the experiment. ACTUAL EVENTS What happened on day 114? Find out here. REMEMBERED TIME ...
Day 111: 'Karate chop' through a block of wood
Better learn balance. Balance is key. Balance good, karate good. Everything good. Balance bad, better pack up, go home. Understand? - Mr. Miyagi, The Karate Kid (1984) REMEMBERED DETAILS I took one practice “chop” with my right hand. My girlfriend was holding the block of wood in two hands. There was a streetlight to my left side during the experiment. I asked if she was...
Day 110: Escape from duct tape handcuffs
Bewick’s Garage was a modest-looking gas station and automotive repair center in Dunmore, Pennsylvania. Speckled with pale yellow gas pumps there seemed to grow out of cracks that fractured the small lot. About a decade ago, news circulated throughout the local community that one of the two brothers who owned the shop, which stood as one of the last private outposts in a town stuffed with...
Day 109: Do 100 consecutive push-ups
From The New York Times, 2008, An Enduring Measure of Fitness: The Simple Push-up: Based on national averages, a 40-year-old woman should be able to do 16 push-ups and a man the same age should be able to do 27. By the age of 60, those numbers drop to 17 for men and 6 for women. Those numbers are just slightly less than what is required of Army soldiers who are subjected to regular push-up...
Day 108: Dance on a bar
I rarely fallen victim to the “Monday blues” or even it’s much-hated forebear, the “Sunday blues” — each used to characterize the glum despondency at the start of a work week. Rather, I believe Mondays to be invigorating fresh starts for all of those who care to take hold of their professional reins and marshal themselves toward a brighter, more fruitful...
Day 107: Attend a Passover Seder feast
Weekend post REMEMBERED DETAILS The Seder Passover reading started with a woman, whom I met at the feast, named Lauren. She read the opening paragraph, which welcomed us all to the table. The readings went in a clockwise fashion paragraph to paragraph, with the person at the head of the table reading the second paragraph after Lauren. We dipped parsley into salty water on two separate...
Day 106: Sing the UK National Anthem to a group of...
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME I estimate it took 3 minutes and 31 seconds to sing the British National Anthem to a group of Brits. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 105: Call a psychic hotline
Often times people need to find something that is lost… whether this is a physical object (a special ring, photos, or maybe even a pet) or something much larger (such as in love, career choices), it is good to have somebody with decades of experience to turn to for the guidance you need. Pixie has been helping people find what they are looking for ever since she was very young…she even helped...
Day 104: Attempt to communicate with an orangutan
I probably became a journalist because I find it impossible to stay still for periods longer than 10 minutes. Moving from one story and town to the next may be the only way I prevent my brain from torpedoing out of the back of my head in a restless frenzy. And like other children of the internet age, if I’m forced to concentrate on a mundane task for an extended length of time, I become a...
Day 103: Undergo ear candling
Ear candling is an alternative medical procedure that advocates claim can improve general health by lighting one end of a long, hollow candle and placing the opposite end into the ear canal. Practitioners of ear candling, also known as ear coning, say the candle extracts ear wax by allowing smoke to enter the ear and by creating a vacuum like effect in the canal. Some say the practice can be...
Day 102: Give 20 dollars to a stranger
While working for a New York-based Japanese newspaper in 2006, I frequently prowled the city’s streets for stories. Sometimes my soft-spoken foreign boss named Metsuko-san accompanied me, and I took pleasure in watching his encounters with the movers and shakers of the city. I eventually noticed that Metsuko-san didn’t pay even the slightest bit of attention to requests for money by...
Day 101: Memorize the US presidents in order
Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th US president, was said to have a “photographic memory”. Legend has it that when Roosevelt walked into a room full of acquaintances, he would call each person by name, quickly recounting the prior conversations he had with the individuals. Roosevelt is also said to have been able to dictate notes to his assistant, hold conversation with others and read...
Day 100: Eat from a public trash can
REMEMBERED TIME I believe it took 23 seconds to pull a few pull a few small pieces of food from a public trash can and eat them. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 99: Impersonate a retail worker
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME I believe I walked around the 14th Street Urban Outfitters in New York City asking customers if they “needed help with anything” for 9 minutes and 11 seconds. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 98: Undergo a stomach waxing
Humans are effectively naked in comparison to the 5,000 or so other mammal species. And scientists are still at odds on drawing a unified conclusion of why humans shed their fur millions of years ago. But Mark Pagel, head of the evolutionary biology group at the University of Reading in England, told Scientific American in 2007 that evolutionary scientists primarily look to one of about three...
Day 97: Become an ordained minister
Everyone needs a friend named Louie. Louie is the type of name you give to a male baby who at six years old will likely hide candy bars in his sock drawer. It’s also the name given to charismatic, unpredictable adolescents who you are just as likely to sing show tunes as they are to rob other children for lunch money at school. Louies are confusing anomalies who don’t understand themselves and...
Day 96: Construct a floor-to-ceiling pillar out of...
Though constructing a pillar out of books was admittedly a rather unusual experience, Matej Kren created an entire house made of books in 2010 for the Museo d’Arte Moderna in Bologna. According to MAMbo, it was designed to destabilize visitors’ experiences inside the space. The MAMbo websites explains: Scanner is an installation specifically conceived for MAMbo, the artist’s...
Day 95: Play the lottery
In line at gas stations and convenience stores, lottery enthusiasts shout out scores of random figures that I’ve never attempted to understand. “Two of Pick Three. 45-23-54-34-78 on Powerball.” While I wait, my eyes often trickle down the green lottery ticket machines to the candy rack or fall onto the backs of the ticket purchasers themselves. Rather than become impatient as...
Day 94: Barter at a convenience store
In 1992, a curious pre-teen fad emerged: The game of Pogs. Play involved striking flimsy decorated cardboard chips with “slammers” — heavy, circular objects that looked like quarters on steroids — and it spread like wildfire across Dunmore Elementary School. Each day amid a sea of Tater Tots and thawed hamburger meat, shiny slammers popped up and down from pint-sized...
Day 93: Work as a merchant at a flea market
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME I estimate I sold raw chocolate from Fine and Raw chocolate at the Brooklyn Flea market for 17 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 92: Tell a deep secret to a group of strangers
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME I believe it took 19 seconds to tell a group of strangers at Sophie’s in New York City a secret I have never told anyone else. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 91: Visit the home of Frank Lloyd Wright
Every great architect is - necessarily - a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age. Frank Lloyd Wright REMEMBERED DETAILS Our tour group was first greeted by a brown-haired woman in a brown long coat outside Frank Lloyd Wright’s former garage in Chicago. An older man in a blue trench coat joined us several minutes later. We were led from outside...