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how to make bubble rings

On Friday I received my new GoPro camera so I spent the weekend playing around with it. I enjoyed taking videos of the kids, but I’m not going to post that here.  Instead, here’s how I make bubble rings.

Bubble ring

​Bubble rings are great fun with kids.  There is a bit of a wow factor and they enjoy swimming through them.  If they are good enough swimmers they like learning to make them.  This is simple fun in the pool without having to go buy anything new at the store.

​With a little practice you can make them anywhere the water is calm enough.  I’ve heard people say you need a deep pool, as in at least nine feet deep.  That isn’t true.  I’ve formed them within two feet of the surface.  The photo above was taken in an eight foot pool.  I have at times blown four or five while rising from the bottom with the last being right near the top.

It’s kind of like learning to whistle, you’ll need to try it a bunch of times before you get the hang of it, but it is not as hard as learning to whistle.


​You will want a mask.  You are going to be swimming upside down.  You don’t want water running up your nose and you don’t want air from your nose breaking up the rings.

Upside down

​Swim with your back facing the ground.  Try to keep your hands and feet from stirring up the water above your head.  I find keeping my hands down near my waist is ok if I’m pushing water up as long as I’m being careful about turbulence.  Holding them out to the side or above my head is only ok if I’m not pushing water up.

Tip your head back a little so your lips and chin are high up then push out a quick burst of air and slam your lips shut right away.  It’s kind of like saying the letter P, but unlike saying P you need to close your lips right away.  You do not need much air and you want it to come out quickly.  Be careful not to destroy your ring with turbulence from your hands or feet.

If you get a big dome-shaped bubble or a bunch of bubbles instead of a ring, you may have used too much air, blown out for too long, had your neck too straight or too bent (your head should be tipped back a little), or destroyed it with too much turbulence from your hands or feet.

Recently I’ve read that sticking out your tongue and then pulling it in while blowing out can help. I’ve given it a try at the end of this video and you can see that also works.  I didn’t quite clamp down my mouth tight enough after the burst of air on that try, but it worked anyway.


Just keep trying and you’ll get the hang of it.  If you are still having difficulty, try filling your cheeks and lips with a little air and just blowing that out.  Play with the shape of your mouth.  Most of all, stick with it, you’ll get it.


Matt framed by a bubble

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impact driver

Do you ever drive screws into wood?  Do you have an impact driver?  If you don’t have one, go get one, right now.

I have always used a drill to drive screws.  However, screws longer than 2 1/2 inches often strip out before I can get them driven all the way in.  Up until now I’ve always avoided 3 inch and longer screws unless I really needed them.  Then one day I saw a video of someone driving a 4 inch screw with an impact driver.  That looked way too easy.  I had to have one of those.

I did a lot of research online and it seemed to me the Makita won hands down.  All the other brands had devoted followers, but for each one I found people saying their tools from that brand had broken down and they replaced them with Makita tools.  I did not find anyone saying that about the Makita tools.  The one downside I found is the batteries don’t last very long if you don’t use them.

Naturally, I had to try out driving the 4 inch screws, so I went to the local hardware store and bought some just to try them out.  This may be the smallest and lightest of all my power tools, but I think it’s my new favorite!

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weeping angels

My daughter and I have been watching Doctor Who lately. There are a few episodes that involve one of the best types of monster I’ve ever seen. They are called the “Weeping Angels”. As a defense mechanism (and a curse) they are “quantum locked” and turn to stone any time anything living looks at them. When in stone mode they look like statues, like the stone statues of angels you’ve seen before.

And you can’t kill a stone.
‘Course stone can’t kill you either.
But then you turn your head away.
Then you blink.
And oh yes it can.

I think they are great because you can have a suspense scene where the monster is visible to the victim and within arm’s reach with no obstacles in its way for a long time before actually reaching them. Every time they look away just for a second or the lights flicker or they blink the monster gets closer. And yet you never, ever see them move. Awesome.

You’re life could depend on this.
Don’t blink.
Don’t even blink.
Blink and you’re dead.
They are fast, faster than you could believe.
Don’t turn your back.
Don’t look away.
And don’t blink.
Good luck.

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the little snow blower that could


I swear I left a couple of cars somewhere around here.

I am thankful we own a snow blower.  It may just be a little Ariens, and the snow may have been taller than its cowling, but it got the job done.  I doubt my back could have taken shoveling two feet…

A car with style

A car with style

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up goer five

Recently the web comic xkcd described the Saturn V rocket using only the 1,000 most common words in the English language.  At the time I laughed, shared the link with a friend, and moved on.

Today I came across a New Scientist article talking about how we communicate science topics and how this comic inspired the Up-Goer Five text editor, science explanations, movie descriptions, classic work rewrites (such as the Hamlet link at the start of this page), and so forth and so on.  Can you guess what the item titled “Mouth” on the Hall of Fame page is about?

If you have a little time browse though some of those links and have a good chuckle.  Then think about how you choose to explain anything to anyone.  Perhaps using simple language, without going to the 1,000 word extreme, will help get your point across a little easier.

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adventure living

My 16th skydive - 1995

My 16th skydive – 1995

I haven’t posted much here lately, because the vast majority of my online time has been spent porting Adventure Living to WordPress.  It was a nightmare to get that done while making sure all the old URLs continued to work, but it’s up and running now.

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fruit christmas tree

Fruit Christmas Tree - 2012

Fruit Christmas Tree – 2012

From time to time my wife will get involved with one of the kid’s school parties.  When she’s asked to bring a snack, she can’t bring herself to bring sugary treats such as brownies the way the other mothers do. Instead, she needs to be a little creative using fruits or other healthy snacks.  It turns out the kids love them even more than the sugary treats.  Every time all the fruit is gone in a flash.

She started this practice with a fruit peacock back in 2006 for a party for our daughter’s kindergarten class. She made a fruit turkey for a class Thanksgiving party one year. This year she made a Christmas Tree for our son’s first grade class.

Fruit Peacock - 2006

Fruit Peacock – 2006

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the north pole

Jim as Santa Clause

The Waters kid’s Christmas Party is the best day of my year – I got to visit with over 250 kids; it was fabulous! — Santa “Jim” Clause

At the building where I work there is a grid of support columns labelled with letters and numbers. This makes it easy to find people because they can say something like, “I work on the second floor in the cube at Pole F95.” Pole F95 is at the northern edge of the building. Sitting in the cube on the second floor at Pole F95, or The North Pole as I like to call it, is a guy who dresses a little weird at this time of year.  I can always tell this time of year is coming when I see his beard growing longer.

At the company holiday parties each year hundreds of kids stand in line just for a chance to sit on his lap and tell him of their dreams. He refers to these parties as his favorite day of the year.  He truly enjoys bringing a little happiness and humor to the lives of all those kids.  He often stays long past the scheduled end of the party to ensure every child gets to sit with him and be photographed.

Those of us working with him sometimes have to struggle to remember to call him “Jim.”

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