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random-acts-of-kindnessFirst off, to the blagosphere, you’ve been there when I’ve needed you most, and recently I’ve failed you.  My adventures have not ceased, my experiences not slowed, but I have not done my due diligence in documenting the mind-expanding experiences of The Brave New.  Is this a personal failure?  I’m… not sure.  I’ve lived life to a fuller extent than I ever thought possible, so I have no real regrets.  I do wish I could share more.  When I have a chance, I’m going to post my “lost articles”, documenting adventures that you’ve not heard of.

But I digress, let’s take a look at the newest series of adventures-  performing a random act of kindness every day.  This is either the easiest or the hardest challenge to date, as it’s open to so much interpretation.  Also, frankly, this is the most important challenge, and one could argue the raison d’être for The Brave New.  If you can truly achieve this one, then congratulations, you get it. So how do we go about attempting a new act of kindness every day?  What IS a random act of kindness?  With something that nebulous, I’ve come up with a few ground rules.

  1. This has to be something new to your mindset. Deliberately pull yourself out of your patterns of behavior to do something nice.  If you didn’t notice you were doing it, it doesn’t count.  It’s still an act of kindness, don’t get me wrong, but it’s neither brave nor new, is it?
  2. This has to be kind for kindness sake. Helping a gorgeous girl with her luggage, or holding the door for a dark-haired hunk at the library doesn’t count unless you can honestly you did it to make the world a better place.  However, if the gorgeous girl is struggling, or the dark haired guy looks sad, maybe you’re actions are justified?  The only person who can say for sure is you!
  3. You have to honestly believe you’re doing a good deed. You don’t have to like it, but don’t let someone convince you that an activity is virtuous just because they say so.  A good example of this is giving money to the homeless-  a good number of people believe this just perpetuates a cycle of dependency, or that they are funding a drug habit.
  4. You can’t do it just to brag about it later. This makes maintaining this site a challenge for this month, but I’ll get to that. Read more »

On to one of my favorite past-times-  seeking and eating out adventurous food.  I like to call this “oral skydiving”, because approached from the right perspective, trying new foods can be every bit the adrenaline-pumping rush of a death-defying jump into the stratosphere.  As an intro to June’s challenge, I wanted to give a list of insane foods I’ve already eaten, and a list of foods I’ve yet to eat but hope to this month.

Things I’ve eaten:

Miracle berries

This is a real term for a surprisingly real thing.  Chew on one of these berries for a few minutes, and your taste buds will actually alter-  suddenly your sweet receptors register a much wider range of stimulus as “sweet”.  I had some freeze dried berries, which you can order at ThinkGeek.com, and then spent one fateful evening devouring lemons, soy sauce, and pretty much any normally inedible foodstuff I could find.  I awoke to find my mouth covered in oral ulcers-  apparently the citric acid from all the lemons I had eaten was not exactly healthy.  C’est la vie!


Cobra blood

I saw Leonardo DiCaprio do it in “The Beach”, so I thought it would be a good idea.  It was by and large not a good idea.  I don’t know what I thought it would taste like-  perhaps butterscotch, with a hint of snake aftertaste.  You know what it tasted like?  Blood.

I drink cobra blood

Cobra gall bladder

With a lasting effect similar to what I’d imagine cocaine would have on a person, this was interesting.  Cut open and dribbled into rice wine, it set my blood on fire, giving me the energy to run around and babble incoherently for several hours.  Afterwards, I fell asleep quickly and easily, awaking 8 hours later completely refreshed.  Interesting note:  I discovered it to be the perfect cure for jet-lag. Read more »

Lets Play with Legos!Rediscovery: Building legos

How Long HAS it Been: 10 years, 5 months and ~16 days.

Why: I challenge you to find someone who’s youth did not include LEGOs.

What it was then: LEGOs were a pivotal part of my childhood.  Some of my first memories involve a red LEGO briefcase I got when I was 3 or 4 for Christmas, filled with basic LEGO blocks.  As the years progressed, this became supplemented with spaceship blocks, medieval castle pieces, and carefully machined mechanical “Technics” parts.  Surprisingly, this allowed for growth not only creatively, but gave me a solid concept of engineering-  I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t understand rack and pinion steering if it weren’t for the Technics cars I built. Read more »

Goosebumps is hard 2 raed lulzToday’s Rediscovery: Read a Goosebumps “novel”

Why: RL Stine was a prolific author during my childhood-  his horror series “Goosebumps” spawned a lifelong interest in horror for me.  Honestly, I was reading Steven King novels by the time I was in fifth grade, so these were a brief stopover until I could get my paws on some real literature, but they were important nonetheless.

How long HAS it been: ~18 years?

What were they then: I don’t remember much, just that the covers were a lot scarier than the stories contained therein.

What is it now: I’d like to report that this was a frivolous and easy task, that I blew through the entire book in 20 minutes, uninterested and unstimulated.  Sadly, after picking up “Say Cheese and Die” from the children’s section of my local library, I found it to be… surprisingly engaging.  Sure, the characters were undeveloped and far too many of the sentences end with exclamation points, but overall it’s a story I’d enjoy reading to a child, and a story I enjoyed for myself.  It was like a campfire story told by someone with a mild case of fetal alcohol syndrome. Read more »

Carl Orff's Carmina BuranaWhat can I say, Carl Orff is a badass. Don’t YOU enjoy early 20th century German opera? I don’t think I’ve listened to this since I was a sophomore in high school, when I played the first suite in the high school symphony.

This was actually pretty interesting:  I don’t think I’ve listened to opera since the last time I heard Carmina Burana. Or before. And may not again.

So, here it is, in all it’s glory- Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. 42 minutes and 3 seconds. Not a bad soundtrack to design, write, work-out, or commit high-espionage to, so fire it up and tell me what you think!

The box of legend.  Behold and lose all hopeToday’s Rediscovery: Play “Super Ghouls N’ Ghosts” on a Super Nintendo.

Why: Super Ghouls N’ Ghosts is an affront to humanity.  Generally accepted as one of the hardest games ever made, it gives you the luxury of playing out the fever-dream of a madman, where realistic jump physics, no save points, a haplessly waddling protagonist, and two-hits-til-you’re-dead seem wholly appropriate.  You play as King Arthur, of legend, who somehow has developed a beef with Satan, and then you strap in and learn the important lesson that life’s just not fair.  It ground me up and spit me out as child, but this time things will go differently.

How long HAS it been: ~19-20 years

What was it like then: When I was young, my parents would let me rent a game for the SNES every weekend, in exchange for mowing the lawn and whatever yardwork was required.  Around 1991 and 1992, Nintendo was shoveling out crapware, and it was difficult to determine what games were actually games, and what were just cruel jokes where the consumer was the punchline.  As an 8 year old, I had no way of recognizing that the game with the knight fighting zombies was just such a joke.  Hell, as an adult I think I’d still gravitate towards the box art that suggested I kill zombies.

SUPER GHOULS N GHOSTSI’ll never forget popping that cartridge into my Super Nintendo, and having my spirits shattered like an eggshell prophylactic.  (Did that simile work?  I feel like it worked.  Yeaaaaaah, simile.) I played for hours the first day, and never got past the first half of the first level.  I played for hours the second day, and still couldn’t even fathom beating the first level.   Only by the end of the weekend had I even glimpsed the beginning of the second level.  I’d mowed the lawn AND weed-wacked for this?!  All I had gotten out of it was an OCD-like drive to memorize every detail of everything ever, an addiction to Shasta, and a burning hatred for ghouls and/or ghosts.

What is it like now? I took the time to track down the original cartridge.  I spent a week steeling myself, training and meditating for the unrelenting challenge to come.  I enlisted the help of a cohort, a young woman with the reflexes and instinct to slay whatever forces are thrown our way.  With home-popped popping corn and a determination unparalleled by most SNES gamers, we were ready. Read more »

PriestToday’s Rediscovery: Going to See a Movie By Yourself

How Long HAS it Been: ~9 Years

Why: Unlike previous rediscoveries, this one was not one of nostalgia.  It was to repenetrate a social barrier that I need to constantly remind myself is ridiculous.  Seeing a movie in theaters by yourself makes sense, yet most people never do it.  Why?  If you go to movie theaters to talk with your friends, you’re an asshat, plain and simple.  Short of saving on popcorn and performing the tried-and-true awkward arm-stretch maneuver with your high-school sweetie, there’s no reason to go to the movies with people, I guess.  As proven in January, movie going is not really a social experience.

What Was it Like then: Similar to nervously asking a girl out on the phone in high school.  I went once during some down time at a debate tournament, and it was nerve wracking.  What if someone in the movie stood up, pointed, and tilted their head back to scream whilst inhaling, ala Invasion of the Body Snatchers?  For the first 10 minutes, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I shouldn’t have been there.

What is it like now: Priest was pretty epic.  For a post-apocalyptic sci-fi western vampire movie about a disgraced catholic martial arts expert, it was every bit the explodogasm and intellectual journey one would expect it to be.  I felt like I was unable to nudge people around me knowingly during awesome lines, though there were never any moments of “We’re going to need more holy water”.

Notes: I should do this more…  Except that ultimately I’m beginning to forget why I should go to the theaters at all.  The digital revolution has left me with an arsenal of movies that make it somewhat dumb to go to the theater at all.  So maybe there’s not much to learn from this after all?  Yeah, I think it’s that.  Sorry to have wasted your time folks.  Welp, best be hittin’ the old dusty trail…

Brave Newbie Writers

Phil WarrenPhil Warren (81)
Founder and editor of The Brave New, Phil Warren is now an accordion player, a minister, a sonic weapons expert, a director, a photographer, a public speaker, and a bunch of other things. Mostly he's an adventurer though. An adventurer who smells nice. Except when he doesn't.
NickNick (6)
One part Burner and one part Engineer; I’ve lived through twenty-five-and-a-half winters, and aim to keep it that way. My world is a strange one, and it’s my goal to make it stranger.

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