The How to Do Anything Better Guide - page 3

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How to Do a Cool Yo-Yo Trick

USF junior Joseph Harris is the No. 2 ranked yo-yo master in the country. He is sponsored by a major yo-yo company,f2_advice_yoyo proudly displays the calluses on his fingers, and competes nationally in the most difficult of yo-yo divisions: the two-handed category. While the business and math major doesn’t intend to make a career out of the sport he took up at age 10, he says “yo-yo is a lifestyle. It’s never going to leave me.”

For those who have mastered classic tricks like Walk the Dog and Around the World, Harris explains how to do The Dog Bite:

  • Wearing a loose-fitting t-shirt, hold the yo-yo in the palm of your hand, string side up, with the string around your middle finger.
  • Bend your arm so that your elbow points forward and your hand is beside your ear.
  • In one fluid movement, extend your arm, palm facing up, lock your elbow, and release the yo-yo with a flick of the wrist. When the yo-yo hits the bottom of the string, it should spin. This step is crucial and must be practiced and the spin perfected before moving on.
  • Flip your wrist over so your palm is facing down, and bring your hand toward your shoulder.
  • Give the yo-yo a tug back and let it brush your shirt. The yo-yo should then catch onto your shirt and stick there. 

Joseph Harris is available to provide entertainment and education at gatherings of all types. Contact him at (415) 309-4260 for more information.

 

How to Raise Multiples (and maintain some sanity)

f2_advice_multiplesAs the parents of 18-month-old quadruplets, Conor McNulty ’02 and Gen (Caridi) McNulty ’01 have learned a thing or two about navigating the world of child-rearing. The two, who met during Conor’s first day at USF, are parents to Molly, Libby, Ally, and Russ. Here they share a few lessons learned about raising multiples.

Establish a schedule. Nurses initially put the babies on a strict feeding and napping schedule while they were still in the hospital and the McNultys kept that up at home. The routine, says Gen, helped her and Conor adjust as much as it helped the babies. As an added bonus, family and friends are familiar with the schedule and know when their help will be most useful.


Remain flexible. As important as a routine is, it’s equally important to understand that babies may decide to change their schedules—and quickly. “When you finally get it right, they’re ready to change,” says Gen. That’s when it’s time to stick as closely to the schedule as possible and not worry when you don’t follow it exactly. And if that simply doesn’t work, it might be time to create a schedule that will work with the new reality.

Be patient. When things get rough (like having four babies teething at the same time), Conor reminds himself that it’s a phase the kids will pass through soon enough: “They’re only going to go through each phase once.” Still, says Gen, “sometimes you just have to breathe and get through it hour by hour.”

Seek out support. Other parents can be an invaluable source of knowledge, moral support, and a sense of community. Knowing that others are experiencing the same challenges—whether with one child or several—helps tremendously in reassuring yourself that you’re not crazy. “Or, if we are, at least we’re crazy together,” says Gen.

 

How to Save the Planet

The climate crisis is a defining problem of our time. If we want any hope of leaving a healthy planet to our grandchildren, we need to do more than use compact fluorescent light bulbs. To take a serious stand against catastrophic climate change, consider these nine actions as recommended by the faculty of USF’s Environmental Studies Program:

(1) Hang your clothes out to dry (laundrylist.org) rather than using a gas or electric dryer. Then quench your thirst with water from the most efficient water delivery system there is: the tap. Not only should you (2) drink local unbottled water, you should also (3) eat locally. Join the sustainable food movement (sustainabletable.org) and become a “locavore” by eating food grown within a 100-mile radius of home (localharvest.org).

Next, put some tap water, or locally roasted shade-grown coffee, in a reusable bottle and (4) walk or bike to work (bicycling.511.org). If possible, move closer to your work so that you have no excuse to drive a car. Walkable, bikeable communities are generally safer and more enjoyable places to live. If you are moving closer to work, then you might as well (5) rent or buy a smaller house or apartment that is more energy efficient, or retrofit your existing home to reduce your energy demand (greenbuilding.com). Then, with all the money you save on energy and gas bills, you can (6) install photovoltaic cells and a solar hot water heater to meet all of your household energy needs. Find out how muchf2_advice_world you could save and find a contractor at findsolar.com.

So far these are great individual actions, now (7) take similar steps in your workplace, or at least consider the environmental implications of your job, as many college graduates are pledging to do (graduationpledge.com). You may be working less because you are saving so much money, so use your time to (8) volunteer with an organization that is working to address local environmental issues (e.g., restoring local ecosystems, improving air quality, promoting smart growth, supporting local agriculture, etc.). Finally, so that you can see the connection between the small efforts in your community and the global change needed to set humanity on a sustainable course, (9) get connected with at least one international organization by going to wiserearth.org, a networking site for individuals and organizations working “toward a just and sustainable world created by community.”

Without slowing and ultimately reversing the trends we’ve set in motion, global inequality and all of its associated problems will only get worse, and cost us far more than the cost of acting now. You don’t have to be a front-line social justice activist to be a leader who fashions a more humane and just world. Instead, start by hanging your laundry out to dry.

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