Travel Insurance Reviews

Mt Trip to Manila, Philippines cont……..

I returned to Colombo on the 19th morning without any delays. On the way I met one of my colleagues at Bangkok airport and that helped pass the time as well as chat on the plane.

I found an interesting article on the web regarding “don’t know that you don’t know” I found the article to be spot on and very helpful in understanding this phenomenon. http://www.doceo.co.uk/tools/knowing.htm Now I can start to develop some strategy to work around this problem so that I am better prepared to face such an issue the next time around.

I finished documenting the results of the workshop in Manila and sent the results for comments from the client. I am still waiting for the results. Hope I am able to finish this assignment this week as it has the potential to get delayed and get ugly.

In terms of my future travel plans there are no assignments where I need to travel overseas at present. The assignments I have lined up are in Colombo. However things can change very quickly.

And More: In One Sentence™ – “The RX 470 or The RX 480”? [A Very Short Comparison with Sources, Currently Text-Only]

As done a previous “In One Sentence™” article here at The Blog, I’ve been wanting to make posts once in a while that catered to those without much time, or without much patience, or who [like me] suffer from conditions like ADD/ADHD, or perhaps those who ‘just want a quick answer’… Thus, my beginning to write posts that literally ‘sum up’ concepts, comparisons or reviews “in one sentence”, made especially for those ‘in a hurry’…
For this post, I answer the quite-specific Hardware Upgrading question [mainly as it was one that I was asking myself, so I thought I would share my recent findings with others], ‘should you get the AMD Radeon RX 470 GPU or the RX 480’..?

The Short Version

“Should I buy the 470 or the 480?”

The answer, in-one-sentence, is:

“Overall, there is anywhere from a 0-20 frame difference in performance at 1080p between the RX 470 and the RX 480, but with the average difference between the two being about 10 fps at that resolution; so, if that difference is worth the price differential to you (which is anywhere from zero dollars to fifty dollars, depending on where you purchase it from and what model, etc) – then get the 480 – but if that difference is not worth the price to you, stick with the slightly-less-powerful-but-extremely-high-value-for-the-money-right-now RX 470.”

~ The Game Tips And More Blog’s Answer, In One Sentence™

The Long Version

Again, as done a previous “In One Sentence™” article here at The Blog, I’ve been wanting to make posts once in a while that catered to those without much time, or without much patience, or who [like me] suffer from conditions like ADD/ADHD, or perhaps those who ‘just want a quick answer’… Thus, my beginning to write posts that literally ‘sum up’ concepts, comparisons or reviews “in one sentence”, made especially for those ‘in a hurry'[just like how I spent tons of time on the very creative and original titling of these types of posts..].

Where was I? Oh yes, here then is my summation for a Hardware Purchase Suggestion, a very specific answer for a very specific question in Hardware Upgrading [arrived at after many hours of reading, researching, watching benchmarking videos, all while getting distracted by games, health issues and non-computery-or-techie events in life… but you can skip all of that Life Drama of your own and skip all of the time Researching on your own and just ‘get to the jist’ right here], in one sentence – the answer to the question:

“Should I buy the 470 or the 480?”

The answer, in-one-sentence, is:

“Overall, there is anywhere from a 0-20 frame difference in performance at 1080p between the RX 470 and the RX 480, but with the average difference between the two being about 10 fps at that resolution; so, if that difference is worth the price differential to you (which is anywhere from zero dollars to fifty dollars, depending on where you purchase it from and what model, etc) – then get the 480 – but if that difference is not worth the price to you, stick with the slightly-less-powerful-but-extremely-high-value-for-the-money-right-now RX 470.”

~ The Game Tips And More Blog’s Answer, In One Sentence™

The answer above is based on an average viewpoint of all reviews read and videos watched. Of course, there is always fluctuation in the average amount (sometimes the fps was exactly the same, sometimes it was a quick change in difference [eg. in a video benchmark] by 20fps or slightly more for a short period of time). Also, for some people, money isn’t the issue and they want the higher-shelf RX 480 for the capability it offers. No problem, I’m just presenting what I have seen so far, between the 470 and the 480. If you can “easily” afford the faster product, go for that – but for those who are in the situation where $20 or $40 is a “big step” in price at the moment for them, but they really want to upgrade their aging hardware “now” at the same time – then this summation is for them.

As I always say, if you are looking to upgrade any hardware in your system – and if you have the time to do it:

Do your own research, read lots of reviews, check out prices in multiple places/sites/stores and find out which is the best path for you, at that point in time. No matter what the part is, spend as much as you “comfortably” can (to make it more ‘future proof’). What is the most important/best advice I can give, from 20+ years of technical expertise and real-world experience in the field presented without making a new paragraph so it would be easier to read..? It is this: No matter what computer part you are purchasing, if you are not in a place where “money isn’t an issue”, then watch for “The Jump” in price – that leap or huge gap in prices – and purchase a part that is just in front of that gap (before the large price increase); that is the “Price Sweet Spot”, where you are getting ‘the most bang for your buck’ and other cliche phrases. Most of all though – have fun learning and doing it all!

This Message Brought To You By Troy from The Game Tips And More Blog And Free Websites And Other Things That Made It All Happen

List of Some Sources Researched (not including video benchmark sources):

http://www.techspot.com/review/1220-amd-radeon-rx-470/page2.html
http://www.gamersnexus.net/hwreviews/2544-sapphire-rx-470-platinum-review-benchmark-vs-480-gtx-1060/page-4
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/73155-amd-radeon-rx-470-4gb-review-4.html
http://www.pcworld.com/article/3104044/components-graphics/amd-radeon-rx-470-review-a-great-graphics-card-with-a-terrible-price.html?page=3
http://wccftech.com/amd-radeon-rx-480-rx-470-3dmark-performance/
https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/RX_470_STRIX_OC/10.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-radeon-rx-470,4703-4.html

April Nitzsche on WBIR Knoxville

April Nitzsche was recently on WBIR as part of their Workout Wednesday. In the segment April demonstrated some exercises you can do at home and in the gym with kettle bells for a good workout. She also mentioned the new Maryville opening location as well as the Bearden location.

You can also view the video here.

It’s Not Just You ™ – Heroes Of The Storm ‘Screen Shake’ = ‘Motion Sickness’ (Dizzy, Nausea, Headache) [Notification]

Just a quick post to let others know that – if you are experiencing this phenomenon – getting dizzy or even nauseous while playing Heroes Of The Storm lately: It’s Not Just You™… I even whipped up an Example of the effect, for those that aren’t quite noticing it:

Example of ‘the screen shake effect’ I made, in GIF format
(Click to see slightly larger Full Size)

I first came across this in the Official Heroes Of The Storm Forums at Battle.Net. It was originally posted by “Phoenix” a couple of weeks ago, here. Although I have seen it personally in-game (noticed it), I have not suffered the nauseating effects that many may/do suffer with this Special Effect the game offers – even though I have experienced ‘game motion sickness’ from other games. [I did notice when testing and creating the above Example, that it made me slightly queasy however..]. Mainly, I have ‘been lucky’ with not experiencing it because I do not normally play the Heroes that have/produce this effect (the ‘screen shake’ effect). Here is a list of all the Heroes and Spells that can produce this effect, thanks to a helpful post by “Hatsoz” on the Official Forums:


Spells with Screen Shake
Zagara – Nydus Network (R)
Genji – Swift Strike (E)
Sgt. Hammer – Concussive Blast (W), Blunt Force Gun (R), Napalm Strike (R)
Gazlowe – Deth Lazor (W)
Lucio – Soundwave (Q), Sound Barrier (R)
Valeera – Blade Flurry (W)
Zul’jin – Twin Cleave (W), Guillotine (R)
Ragnaros – Sulfuras Smash (R)
Alarak – Lightning Surge (E)
Cho – Upheaval (R)
Karazhim – Radiant Dash (Q) (Only with Volley of Blows Talent Lv. 16), Seven-Sided Strike (R)
Anub’arak – Burrow Charge (E) (Upon resurface)
Li Li – Water Dragon (R)
Diablo – Shadow Charge (Q), Fire Stomp (W), Overpower (E)
E.T.C. – Face Melt (W), Stage Dive (R) (Landing only)
Falstad – Hinterland Blast (R)
Kerrigan – Impaling Blades (W)
Muradin – Thunder Clap (W), Dwarf Toss (E), Haymaker (R)
Sonya – Ancient Spear (Q) (On Hit), Leap (R)
Stitches – Slam (W)
Tyrael – El’druin’s Might (Q) (On sword landing), Angelic Flash (Q) (Teleport to sword), Judgment (R)
Uther – Hammer of Justic (E), Divine Storm (R)





Heroes with No Screen Shake
Valla
Tyrande
Lunara
Kael’thas
Zeratul
Cassia
Probius
Varian
Samuro
Zarya
Auriel
Gul’dan
Medivh
Chromie
Tracer
Dehaka
Xul
Li-Ming
Greymane
Gall
Artanis
Lt. Morales
Rexxar
Leoric
The Butcher
Johanna
Sylvanas
The Lost Vikings
Thrall
Jaina
Azmodan
Chen
Rehgar
Murky
Brightwing
Tychus
Abathur
Arthas
Illidan
Malfurion
Nazeebo
Nova
Raynor
Tassadar

I experimented with every single Graphic Setting available in the game (eventually running it on the Lowest Possible Settings) and could not find a Setting that disabled this effect…. I first tried Physics, then other effects-affecting settings, such as Shader level, and more, until everything was at the lowest possible Settings and still the effect appears in-game.

I even looked through the game directories (folders) for some sort of editable configuration file, but the only ones present were ‘protected’ by Blizzard, by being compressed or encrypted in their own proprietary encapsulation of some sort (which renders the files not easily readable or editable by normal means – this is understandable, as they do not want their game easily ‘hacked’ or negatively affected by end users).

So, for now – unfortunately – there is no solution for this, for sufferers of this effect. The only recourse, until Blizzard puts in an option to Disable Screen Shake, is to avoid the Heroes that produce this visual effect.



Just letting Sufferers know: It’s Not Just You™!
[I will try to remember to return to this Post and Update it once Blizzard adds this option – or a workaround is found]

Monitoring weight loss

There are two schools of thought on how to monitor weight loss:

  • Daily weighing
  • The once-weekly weigh-in.

This is an individual issue. If you are the sort of person who needs a daily date with your weighing scales, then by all means do so. Keep a record of your progress using a chart like the one opposite. You may see weight-shifting patterns emerging and be able to isolate foods that have a negative effect on your weight. If you prefer the surprise-at-the-end-of-the-week, that is fine too. You should still keep a record and watch out for any plateaux where weight loss dries up, which may mean that you need to lower your carbohydrate levels or increase your physical activity.

Whichever your preferred monitoring method, keep a tight-fitting pair of trousers or other item of clothing and try them on regularly to establish how your shape is changing. Your weight may stabilize for a while, and if you are exercising regularly and increasing your muscle-to-fat ratio you may even may weigh slightly more for a bit, but you will be fitter and – in the end – leaner.

Diet Start

TOP ANTI-SNACKING TIPS

  • Try not to snack while watching television, playing video games or using the computer. Eat meals and snacks in the kitchen or dining room, so that you are more aware of what- and how much — you are eating.
  • When you feel a snack attack coming on, run a bath, go for a walk, ring a friend… Do anything that will keep you away from the refrigerator.
  • Don’t go shopping when you are hungry — it is then that you may reach out for that chocolate bar.
  • If you are going to snack, make sure it is a protein snack.

Dietary demons – and how to beat them

  1. Not so well-meaning friends and family members: one of the mostdifficult things to deal with is the friend or relative who tries to sway you off-course. Don’t be bullied into breaking your resolve. Decline politely andexplain that you are relying on them for support. If you are visiting them,take a whey-protein smoothie with you.
  2. Boredom: you shouldn’t get bored following the plans,because there are so many different things to eat and ways to prepare your food. Even if you aren’t a natural cook, experimenting in the kitchen willkeep you motivated.
  3. Alcohol: you are allowed a couple of glasses of wine when you start the
  4. Keep on Tracking Plan, but don’t be tempted to have more. There is nothing like a little extra alcohol to persuade you that you’ll start againtomorrow. Avoid the ‘drunken munchies’.
  5. Snack attacks: the three dietary plans allow for a couple of high-proteinsnacks each day between meals, but you could easily undermine all your efforts by hitting the biscuit jar in a moment of weakness. Clear out anything vaguely tempting from your refrigerator and cupboards, and be very carefulat times when you normally seek comfort food.

Curb your cravings by curbing your carbs

When you start eating more healthily and reducing the amount of potentially addictive carbohydrate-laden foods, you should find that your cravings begin to diminish as your blood-sugar and insulin levels even out. This will usually take about 48 hours when you start the Fast-Track Plan. If you do get a ‘snack attack’, try making yourself a whey- protein smoothie; or keep a plate of cold chicken in the refrigerator for weak moments. You can’t necessarily kill a craving, but you can wrestle it into submission.

Innovative Office Furniture Sets Were Designed by Vitra

These new and innovative office furniture sets were designed by Vitra and are basically practical approaches to the concept of “Citizen Office”.

Innovative Office Furniture SetsInnovative Office Furniture Sets

Innovative Office Furniture SetsInnovative Office Furniture Sets

Innovative Office Furniture SetsInnovative Office Furniture Sets

Innovative Office Furniture SetsInnovative Office Furniture Sets

This term was invented by the company in 1991 and taken to another level with the furniture collections below. Jo Kaiser (manager for the North American branch) gave a statement which summarizes the idea of the project: “we believe you should use an office like you would a city”. In other terms- more comfort while making the most of the available space. Here is further information from the company: “A Citizen Office encourages the occupants to work using a range of postures and to move within the office as much as possible. Working while standing or assuming various casual postures provides variety and relaxation while maintaining employee health. The Citizen’s Office takes us a step further than traditional ergonomics – physical activity is integrated with office etiquette in a natural manner. “

Quick Tip: Fallout 4 – TAB Key Stopped Working And Not Bringing Up The Pip-Boy? Here’s A Possible Fix [Text-Only]

I have been having a ton of fun playing Fallout 4 lately [again, building up my Settlements too much and ignoring the Main Storyline!] and ran into a ‘small-but-game-stopping‘ issue where the TAB key appeared to stop working. “Hitting TAB wasn’t bringing up the Pip-Boy anymore..??”

After doing some Troubleshooting and paying attention to what I was doing and pressing… it turned out to be a very simple issue – the TAB key was ‘locked’ out because of how I had used it in the Console.. Let me explain briefly:

I was playing around with SweetFX in ReShade off and on again, mainly to take Screenshots as I had lost a ton during a recent Hard Drive failure [as in thousands.. I know… but I don’t usually back up screenshots or recordings].
To open the Settings/Configuration for ReShade, the hotkey combination is SHIFT+F2.

Unfortunately, something in this combination of Fallout/ReShade/Windows ‘locks out’ the Shift Key after doing this with the Console open in FO4, and when hitting Tilde again to close the Console, this leaves TAB ‘disabled’ and it no longer brings up the Pip-Boy.

[This can also happen with the ENB series of utilities, which use SHIFT+ENTER to open and close the interface]

The Fix for this was simple, once I figured it out: hit Tilde again to open up the Command Console, then hit SHIFT once, then hit Tilde again to close the Command Console. That’s all there is to it!

Now the TAB key worked and I could bring up the all-important-and-totally-cool Pip-Boy once again! This is just a Quick Tip in Text-Mode only then; but I wanted to get it typed up and posted so that it could start to help out others that have run into this little problem [that seems to occur especially if running ReShade or ENB, in Fallout 4]. HTH

And More: A Simple Explanation Why ‘Loot Boxes’ May Be Considered “Gambling”, In Games Like Star Wars Battlefront II, Et Al… [Editorial]

((Portions of this article
may or may not have
information obtained
from this unidentified
Imperial Officer))

Recently, in the game Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (EA, Dice), there was the introduction of “Loot Boxes”. These are purchasable ‘crates’ that can contain multiple items. These items are generated randomly (RNG, Random Number Generation) and are obtainable by using “RealLife™” Money [my superscript as pun] – and therein lies the problem being discussed.

In an attempt to explain it simply on a Steam Forum Thread a few days ago, I posted the comment below. I replicate it here, to share with others, so that this whole ‘issue’ may be understood more fully:

“If I may pop in, to explain the reason why “loot boxes could be considered gambling”; it is due to a few factors:

– There is an RNG factor in the potential items from the Loot Boxes (the items are random, and some items are worth more than others)

– The inclusion of the possibility of utilizing RealLife™ Currency to obtain them.
[Because of this element, more than anything, it could possibly be construed as “gambling”…]

– Because the items (1) can be exchanged in the game for other items that ‘cost RealLife™ Money (2), they are ‘gambling on the possibility’ that they will ‘save money’ if there are better/higher items in the Box purchased (i.e. they will ‘save money’ if the RNG produces higher/better items in the Box; they will not have to buy much more)

Together, all three points mean the game essentially has “gambling” within it…
I assume the reason why some parents are getting upset about it, is that there is a possibility of a Minor using their RealLife™ Money to obtain the Loot Boxes (in any game).

The solution is simple however; remove the possibility of utilizing RealLife™ money to obtain the Chests/Boxes/etc OR the possibility of getting ‘better items’ that will ‘deconstruct into elements that can accrue to get better items’ (“saving money” if the better items appear via RNG) and there is no longer the possibility of it being “gambling”, as it were.”


The above points, along with the fact that the ‘items’ can actually affect a players’ performance (i.e. a person with more items or better items can actually live longer or do more damage than someone without the items), is the sum of the whole problem that is upsetting many gamers, the entire issue becoming aflame in the recent release (Nov.17th) of “Star Wars: Battlefront II”.

Other games (eg. “Team Fortress 2”), handle this concern for the most part by making sure that the items contained in their ‘loot crates’ are only ‘cosmetic items’ (hats, skins, costumes, etc) that do not affect player performance against other human players. It remains to be seen whether the “RNG Factor” involved in such ‘Crates of Loot’ in these other games, like TF2, are going to still become a ‘gambling’ issue, or not.

Hopefully this helps you dear reader, in understanding the issue at hand and why some people are getting ‘up in arms’ about it at this time. 

~Troy from The Game Tips And More Blog

Gain weight especially fat: Here’s what make you do

1. Food reactions cause fluid to surround invading food particles. When food macromolecules are identified as foreign invaders, your body launches the inflammatory response, which includes flooding an area that’s under attack. Your body will hold onto this water as long as reactive food substances remain in your tissues. This water dilutes these substances and reduces their effects, but at the same time the cells and tissues swell with water. This often accounts for swelling under the eyes and chin, in the hands, feet, ankles, and midsection.

2. Food reactions release hormones that cause fluid retention. To offset the effects of the allergic inflammatory response, the body produces hormones, such as adrenaline. But these hormones cause water retention. The adrenal hormones cortisol and aldosterone increase sodium uptake, and sodium attracts water to cells and tissues.

This action also triggers other hormonal changes, apparently through effects of the pituitary gland, which orchestrates your body’s ‘hormonal symphony.’ These other hormonal changes may include excessive secretion of anti-diuretic hormone, which causes fluid retention. Anti-diuretic hormone is also often secreted in response to stress, and is commonly released by women as part of premenstrual syndrome. The female hormone estrogen, which can be affected by food reactions, also increases water retention. Furthermore, growth hormone, which helps boost the metabolism, can be depressed by food reactions.

Diet Start

Besides these hormones, which circulate throughout the body, food reactions also have strong effects on certain gut hormones (including cholecystokinin and somatostatin), which can cause water retention and swelling directly in the gut tissues. Sometimes, when people experience immediate abdominal swelling after eating, it is due to the influence of gut hormones.

Because women tend to have more problematic hormonal profiles than men, the hormonal elements of false fat tend to be worse for them. For example, when some menopausal women are given extra hormones, their bloating and swelling increase.

When people stop eating their false fat foods, however, these hormonal problems usually stabilize quickly.

3. Food reactions make intestinal membranes swell. There is often pronounced swelling of intestinal membranes, in response to irritation by allergens and in response to hormonal imbalances. This can account for the ‘pregnant’ look that often characterizes false fat. The result of this type of swelling is a feeling of heaviness and congestion in the abdomen, particularly in the small intestine.

4. Food reactions disrupt cell chemistry, causing fluid storage. Food reactions cause a condition called cellular acidosis, which harms cell chemistry and results in fluid retention. Here’s how it works. The inflammatory response, caused by food reactions, causes calcium and sodium to enter cells, and this attracts water. It not only causes swelling, but also depresses the function of the cells’ energy centres, or mitochondria. When the mitochondria are disturbed, it saps your energy.

This action also causes even more release of the stress hormones cortisol and aldosterone, which try to correct the chemical imbalance. But this in turn just causes more fluid retention.

Furthermore, as the food reactions subside, the cells release all of these acidic chemicals into the tissues. This can cause a new round of inflammation and the release of even more protective fluids. Over a long period of time, this tissue acidity can contribute to the onset of degenerative diseases, including arthritis.

5. Food reactions cause capillaries to leak fluids. As you may recall, many food reactions release chemicals, such as histamine, that make blood vessels expand and contract, in the process leaking fluids into tissues. This leakage of fluids causes further inflammatory reactions, with accompanying swelling. Sometimes this swelling can impinge upon nerves and cause aches and pains. It can also cause hives, due to the swelling of capillaries near the surface of the skin.

Often, when this fluid leaks out of capillaries, it carries protein with it. This protein in turn attracts sodium, which causes even more fluid retention. The combination of sodium and fluid outside the cells can ‘smother’ cells by making it harder for oxygen to reach them. This contributes to further cell malfunction, and even to the death of cells.

When cells die, even more water is drawn to the area to flush away the dead cells.

6. Food reactions cause gas production. Food reactions allow the proliferation of abnormal bacteria and yeasts, and these factors lead to fermentation of food. Fermentation, primarily of carbohydrates, forms wind or gas, including methane.

Secondarily, it creates by-products of alcohol metabolism, such as the chemical acetaldehyde, and alcohol itself. Both of these substances can impair mood and cognitive function when absorbed by the body.

Food reactions also tend to slow the natural squeezing of food through the digestive tract by the bowel-muscle process of peristalsis. When food transit through the bowel is slowed, more gas and fermentation products are produced. Also, this `constipation effect’ causes more irritation of the bowel lining. This can create even more gas and can also contribute further to leaky gut syndrome, allowing reactive macromolecules to slip through the intestinal wall.

Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine also causes fermentation and gas. This causes pressure and discomfort in the small intestine, because the small intestine is relatively narrow and doesn’t have much room for expansion. Another major contributor to gas buildup in the small intestine is lack of the digestive substance hydrochloric acid, which is abnormally low in approximately 70 per cent of all people over 60. Hydrochloric acid, or stomach acid, also tends to be chronically low in people who are under stress, in people who eat lots of processed foods, and in people with food reactions.

Gas formation is also increased by use of anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, which irritate gut mucosa. It can also be exacerbated by antacids.

In addition, poor digestion also causes increased excretion of the amino acid taurine, which lowers cellular magnesium and slows peristalsis, resulting in more intestinal gas.

Lastly, women’s menstrual cycles upset hormonal balances, and this also impairs peristalsis.

All of these factors are insidious. They feed off one another and contribute to bloating and swelling. The result of this entire range of forces is a swollen, distended belly and puffy, spongy flesh all over your body. Until now, you may have thought that this was fat. Now you know it’s not. It’s false fat — and you can get rid of it in a week or less if you make the necessary effort.

I’m sure you can do it! Every day that you make the effort, you’re going to feel a little better. You’ll look better, too.

Managing the Work/Rest Ratio in HIIT Training

High Intensity Interval Training aka HIIT training is all the rage and there are many different HIIT training protocols available, but to produce the best results it is important to understand how to manipulate the Work/Rest Ratio.    The Work/Rest Ratio is the ratio of time spent working in the high intensity interval to the time spent in the recovery interval and there is no one ideal Work/Rest Ratio. In fact there are three distinct methods you can use to design interval training programs based on how you manipulate the Work/Rest Ratio.
Fixed Work, Fixed Recovery
This is the most common method and often used for group training because it keeps everyone working together.   In this method the amount of time spent in the work phase is fixed as is the amount of time in the recovery phase.   For example the ever popular “Tabata” Protocol is a fixed work, fixed recovery protocol using 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of recovery done 8 times.    Another example is the Sprint 8 protocol which uses 30 seconds of work and 90 seconds of recovery.  In addition, all MX4 programming uses this method either for a 60/30 work/rest ratio or a 4 to 1 Minute Work to Rest Ratio during Density Workouts.
Needless to say there are endless variations of fixed work, fixed recovery interval protocols and each one feels different and allows for a different level of relative intensity.    The advantage of these type of protocols is that they are very simple to design and very easy to track using a simple timer, and if using heart rate monitoring you can adjust the actual work intensity and recovery intensity based on individual heart rate response.   Also this is a very easy way for a trainer to manage a group as mentioned previously.
Fixed Work, Variable Recovery
In this method the amount of time spent working is fixed, but recovery time varies based on heart rate response.  This method is a more individualized way to do HIIT training where each work interval begins after the heart rate slows to a predetermined point correlated with a specific level of individual recovery.  The advantage of this method is it can be customized to each person based on their goal, age and current fitness level.   An example would be doing a 1 minute work interval with a fit 20 year old and setting the recovery threshold at say 120 beats per minute (a relatively low exercise heart rate for a fit 20 year old).  So he would work as hard as he can for 1 minute then go into recovery and stay in recovery until his heart rate slows to 120 beats per minute.
Variable Work, Variable Recovery
This method varies work time AND recovery time based on preset work heart rates and recovery heart rates.   For example using the same example of a fit 20 year old you might set a goal work heart rate threshold at 180 beats per minute – meaning that you keep him working hard until his heart rate hits this work threshold and then immediately begin recovery.    Then you would keep him at a reduced work rate until he hit a predetermined recovery heart rate threshold such as 120 beats per minute.    This is a highly sophisticated and highly individualized way of exercising with precise management of work and rest customized to the individual.
Have some fun and experiment with each of these to prevent plateaus in your workout progress!

The Secret Knowledge of Fourth Graders

As I was reminded in reading all of the June Currently’s, not everyone is on summer vacation yet. So for those of you who are not yet enjoying time off, I wanted to share a fun creative writing activity that works well for the end of the year.

One of my favorite books to share with students is The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups by David Wisniewski.

In this highly-entertaining book, Wisniewski takes several “rules” that children often hear — like “eat your vegetables” — and explains the real reason that rule exists. For example, we don’t eat our vegetables because they make us healthy. The real reason we eat them is to stop them from rising up and taking over the world! Or, we don’t brush our hair to help us look neat, we do it to stop the hair from growing back into our heads and crowding out our brains. The book is filled with hilarious examples and colorful illustrations that my students loved.

I read excerpts from this book over the course of a couple days, and several of my students looked at it in their free-time. We then set out to write our own examples for a class book entitled “The Secret Knowledge of Fourth Graders.”

Here are some of the “rules” students wrote about:

  • Why you need to read “Just Right Books”
  • Why we use number 2 pencils on tests
  • Why you can only check out 2 books from the library at a time
  • Why we take AR tests
  • Why it’s important not to be tardy
  • Why we return library books on time
  • Why we have homework
  • Why we use pencils instead of pens
  • Why we don’t bend the pages of a book
  • Why we stack chairs at the end of the day
  • Why we take standardized tests

The creativity in the “real” reasons why we do these things was fantastic. Here’s an example from one of my students:

We wrote our final drafts on our iPads in Pages using the Visual Report template. That helped tremendously with the formatting.

I’m planning to share several of these examples with my students next year, and I will definitely do this activity again. My students enjoyed it so much that several of them were talking about making other “spin-off” books such as The Secret Knowledge of Minecraft Players or The Secret Knowledge of Readers. I’m sorry that I didn’t get to see how those turned out as well.

If you’ve never read The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups, I highly recommend it. It’s great for sparking creative writing ideas, and it can provide a fun writing activity in the late stages of the year.

What are some other school rules you can envision your students writing about? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

MODERN LIVING ROOM LAYOUTZ FROM HÜLSTA

Hülsta German Furniture Maker showed some really incredible ideas of life that may be adopted by the style-conscious people who want to give their house a futuristic look and ergonomic. The perfect blend of stylish design with bright pink and black give the whole to create a very refreshing, but a look of the space age. The leather was added to an authentic touch and royal with a minimalist effect adding to the “cool factor”. You can either go all black look metallic or deliberately throwing red and white, while maintaining the class and elegance.

LIVING ROOM LAYOUTZ FROM HÜLSTA

LIVING ROOM LAYOUTZ FROM HÜLSTA

MODERN LIVING ROOM LAYOUTZ FROM HÜLSTA

MODERN LIVING ROOM LAYOUTZ FROM HÜLSTA

LIVING ROOM STYLE LAYOUTZ FROM HÜLSTA

LIVING ROOM STYLE LAYOUTZ FROM HÜLSTA

LIVING ROOM LAYOUTs DESIGN FROM HÜLSTA

LIVING ROOM LAYOUTs DESIGN FROM HÜLSTA

Health Benefits of Guava for Health and Beauty

Health Benefits of Guava for Health and Beauty

Health Benefits of Guava for Health and BeautyGuava has a Latin name Psidium guajava is also often described as guava and guava. The origin of the fruit is reportedly from a country where the sport of football was born, namely Brazil, and managed to get in Indonesia through trade channels in Thailand.
Guava and Guava has a sweet taste, and not infrequently there is still sour. Round shape leaves with green skin and flesh have two color variants of white and red are where there is little seed seeds can also be consumed.
Health Benefits of Guava for Health and Beauty - 1
The Nutritional Content of Guava
There are dozens of nutrients stored in guavas and in each of these nutrients plays an important role in terms of health shore up the human body and diligent person to consume.
Here are some nutrients that are embedded in Guava :
• The Water Content Is Not Small
• Contains Fiber
• Calories
• Containing Protein
• Fats
• Contain Carbohydrates
• Contain Iron
• Abu
• Containing Calcium
• Containing Phosphorus
• Contains Vitamin A (Carotene)
• Contains Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acis)
• Contains Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
• Contains Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
• Contains Niacin (Vitamin B3)
With the presence of a number of nutrients above the guava fruit can be said as the fruit is also rich in nutrients. Because of them that many people who want to cultivate the fruit is sweet, while it was for her own use is not only edible but also processed into drugs.
Benefits of Guava
Many diseases are able to be deflected slowly by this fruit, some of which are as follows.
1. Can Fight Cancer
Get used to a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis in order to avoid serious diseases such as cancer that have reported more patients to death. You can prevent cancer in a way that is diligent guava consumption. There is an antioxidant that is able to do this. Lycopene in guava is known it is easier to be absorbed in the body than the tomatoes because the difference in cell structure.
2. as Diarrhea Drug
Diarrhea should be quick to take medication. The medicine is not to be made in the factory, you can use a method that is more secure and healthy as a drink with guava juice three times a day. Guava plant also has antibacterial properties, these properties that you can use to stop diarrhea and dysentery. The antibacterial properties either be created because of the content of karetinoid, vitamin C and potassium in it.
3. Can Lower Blood Pressure
For People with hypertension are often recommended by doctors to familiarize the consumption of foods and beverages derived from guava and mangosteen peel. Why? because the fruit contains potassium, which is said by the results of the study were able to treat hypertension and lowers LDL cholesterol excess.
4. Cough and Flu
Highly vulnerable to extreme weather conditions to make your baby have a cold with a cough. The mother must take action, by giving red guava juice that also contained vitamin C and iron which can inhibit the influenza virus infection.
Health Benefits of Guava for Health and Beauty - 2
5. Can Overcome Constipation
Constipation or constipation is the most frequently encountered problems. If you suffer from the same thing you do not immediately take medicine, try to eat a medium-sized guava fruit which also included a 36 percent fiber needs that doctors recommend.
6. Make More Stomach Satiety
Guava is the food you choose as a booster stomach, because the content of fiber, protein and some vitamins in it is suitable to withstand hunger. If you are running the program for the diet, the fruit seems appropriate to provide chances of success of your endeavors.
7. as Drug Thrush
Thrush occurs because a deficiency of vitamin C as well as drinking water. You can meet the daily requirement of vitamin C by eating guava, besides that because the vitamin content can be overcome thrush was moved at this fruit.
8. Diabetes Mellitus
Drink a concoction of guava which has been boiled and filtered water is believed to be able to treat the disease diabetes mellitus.
9. Younger
Antioxidants are cooperating also with vitamin A, C and potassium in guava able to treat your skin to keep it tight so avoid premature aging.

It is remarkable not properties of guava fruit that previously may not know fully. From now make guava as a table fruit that is ready to wash the mouth after every meal. Hopefully article Health Benefits of Guava for Health and Beauty we share today can be beneficial for you. Thank You.

Franchisee Profile: Bill and Bob Aicklen

Franchisee Profile: Bill and Bob Aicklen

Bill Aicklen and his brother Bob, who is currently based in Texas, will be opening their fifth Workout Anytime gym in May. The brothers opened their first gym in Decatur in November 2009; bought the company’s flagship store in Dunwoody in 2012; purchased the brand’s first franchise location in Douglasville in 2013, and built their fourth store in Rome in June 2013. 

Bill, 63, received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Old Dominion University in Virginia, and landed his first job in the banking industry working in the operations and financial systems department. From there, Bill moved on to spend the next 30 years of his career in the computer software business, performing various roles including post-sales, training and support. 

In 2006, Bill decided that he wanted to get out of corporate America and Bob, who was interested in investing in businesses, invited Bill to manage the operations. 

The first business that the brothers partnered in was an express oil change franchise. They built and operated two stores in Woodstock before selling in 2012 to focus their time and effort on Workout Anytime. 
How did you learn about Workout Anytime? 
We were looking for other business opportunities, and Bob came across Workout Anytime on the Internet. A business broker also presented the concept to us. 
Why did you choose an opportunity with Workout Anytime? 
From a franchise standpoint, it’s an easy business to get into; it’s simple. There’s not a lot of moving parts and you can staff the gym with just one or two people. Also, we both have strong customer service backgrounds and understand the importance of hiring the right people and providing excellent service. 
How has business been since joining the brand? 
We have between 1000-1700 active members at each location. Since we took over the Douglasville store and invested money into upgrading the equipment, we have turned it around. Our club in Rome is based in a small city with very little competition in terms of big name brands, and we have been very successful there. I expect Suwannee to also do well because it’s in a highly concentrated residential area. 
Are you involved in any charities or community outreach?
We localize our charity work depending on the club, and we usually donate free memberships for silent 
auctions. We also partner with Red Cross by allowing them to park their blood drive buses in our parking lots every quarter – the next drive will be in Douglasville at 3pm on May 12. We have also previously put buckets in our gyms for people to donate pet supplies for the Humane Society.

Rörstrandsgatan Popular Extraordinary Penthouse

Extraordinary penthouse in the popular Rörstrandsgatan.

Extraordinary penthouse
Extraordinary Penthouse
This confidential loft with windows on all sides there is an optimal location in the circumcircle Birkastan. A rarity in the design and location where the architect has planned floor in every detail to create an open atmosphere where the different rooms in a natural way integrated with each other. This floor will host a social get-together in a bright environment with plenty of space by nearly 5-foot ceilings in the ridge and a large sunny terrace right next to the kitchen. Beams are tastefully built and floor is one of few lofts that are not constrained by snetak. 
Well-chosen and thoughtful details include floor heating under beautiful oiled oak parquet flooring and dimmable spotlights throughout the whole apartment. In the living room we find a plastered fireplace with adjustable chimney sat on the black painted fire brick. Modern sound systems are drawn into the walls. Windows are fitted with double glazing which means, in principle, completely eliminated the sound inlet and heat protection glass to keep the floor cool in the summer time. The kitchen is very lavish and signed exclusive German manufacturer Bulthaup. The kitchen is consistently white countertops in the unique composite material is white Corian. The machinery in Alufinish come from reputable Gaggenau. The two bedrooms are furnished with site-built wardrobes and the slightly larger bedroom has both big walk-in closet and bathroom adjacent. Both bathrooms enjoy exclusive furnishings and are equipped with underfloor heating. One of the bathrooms have both shower and bath and the other only shower. Modern washing machines and tumble dryers from Miele. 
Rörstrandsgatan is one of Stockholm’s main restaurant streets with wide range of pubs, cafes and bars. Nearby is also an opportunity to cozy walking and jogging along the Karlberg Canal. Or how about a picnic or playing tennis in Karlberg Palace Park, only a few hundred meters away. Good communications in the form of Karlberg station with both commuter rail and bus service as well as St. Eriksplan underground station.
LivingsRoom
LivingsRoom

BeDroom Design
BeDroom Design

Bathroom Desing
Bathroom Desing

Design Schema
Design Schema

Solving the Weight Loss Puzzle Part 1

Have you tried to lose weight and failed? If so, you are not alone. 95% of the people who try to lose weight fail to reach their goal, and even less are actually able to maintain their weight loss once they achieve their goal. Obesity and the associated disease diabetes are increasing exponentially in the America despite the many published health warnings about the health risks associated with being overweight.
Why are people unable to lose weight? People are hopelessly confused about the factors controlling bodyweight regulation. This is not surprising when you understand that every single program, book, and guideline developed by various diet “experts”, including our own government, lacks crucial information, contains misinformation, or contains myths. The list of experts and programs seems endless: Dr. Atkins, Dr. Andrew Weil, The Pritikin Diet, Sugar Busters, Protein Power, Dr. Dean Ornish, the Paleo Diet, the Ketogenic Diet, and all the rest. To make matters worse much of the “information” from different experts seems to be completely contradictory.
Take this short True/False quiz to see how much you really understand about controlling your weight and bodyfat levels.
Eating a low fat diet is the key to losing weight
Eating a low carbohydrate diet is the key to losing weight
Most obese people have a slow metabolism
Obesity is a genetic disorder
Some people have a slow metabolism and some people have a fast metabolism
Exercise is not really effective for weight loss
You can eat all you want and lose weight if you do not eat carbohydrates
Low carbohydrate diets are unhealthy
If you eat foods in the right combinations you will lose weight
The key to weight loss is eating healthy not counting calories
Americans are eating more fat than ever before
Americans are eating less fat than ever before

Sound familiar? It should. All these statements have been made by various “experts”. Unfortunately, all but the last one is FALSE. If you want to control bodyweight you have to understand ALL the factors that govern bodyweight regulation and how they apply specifically to you. Stay tuned for part 2 of this article to learn more!

WORKOUT ANYTIME on Entrepreneur

WORKOUT ANYTIME on Entrepreneur

WORKOUT ANYTIME Franchisee Chris Gately was recently featured in an article on Entrepreneur. The article titled, “Franchise Players: This Man Signed His Franchise Agreement While Serving in Baghdad” was in celebration of Memorial Day, Entrepreneur was profiling Veterans in Franchising. In this Q&A, Chris gives his insight to running a WORKOUT ANYTIME franchise.

You can view the full article here. 

Spotted in a hoarders driverway

the front yard was covered in a variety of junk.

Just run across this while out walking about. I think behind it’s a Corvette, and in front of it was a 1990 is Firebird GTA 

Battlefield Hardline: A Double XP Boost is Currently Active! [Notification]

Just a quick post to notify those interested in Hardline that a Double XP Boost is Currently On! GOGOGO http://battlelog.battlefield.com/bfh/

See You In The Game!

DESIGN ROOM HOTEL LE ROYAL MONCEAU

DESIGN ROOM HOTEL LE ROYAL MONCEAU

DESIGN ROOM HOTEL LE ROYAL MONCEAU

Parisian palace since 1928, the hotel Le Royal Monceau offers a revival directed masterfully by Philippe Starck Different! Parisian palace Since 1928, The Hotel Royal Monceau Dining Room Offers revival has masterfully directed by Philippe Starck Different! It is the feeling that one can have by browsing the different areas of the vast Royal Monceau A desire a little crazy and infinitely poetic break with custom, to avoid chokepoints, to welcome the shift, and while cherishing the precision and perfection, displaying a fondness for the panache and daring, fantasy and excess It Is The Feeling That One Can Have by browsing The Different Areas Of The Will to VAST Royal Monceau sample christmas tree decoration and Slightly Crazy With infinitely poetic break custom, to Avoid chokepoints, to Welcome the shift, and while cherishing The precision and perfection, displaying a fondness pour la panache and daring, fantasy and excess.

37 Avenue Hoche, 08. 37 Avenue Hoche, 08. Champs Elysees, 75008 Paris Champs Elysees, 75008 Paris

TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

Raise your hand if you’re a fan of traditional interior design schemes. Because today we are proud to present a wonderful house of fascinating details are located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Seen on Skeppsholmen, the project has a nice open living room, which covers the dining room, as well as the terrace and garden. On the second floor above the living room is furnished with a bedroom in the attic, and storage facilities well. Basement can accommodate storage / boiler room and laundry area with washing machine. The entire house is a charming and traditional, because of the presence of many moving parts in wood and other interesting colored decorations. We invite you to explore all and be inspired!

TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS BEDROOM CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS BEDROOM CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS KITCHEN CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS KITCHEN CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS BATHROOM CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS BATHROOM CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

Workout Anytime on WBIR-Knoxville Afternoon Show

WORKOUT ANYTIME on WBIR-Knoxville Afternoon Show. Every Thursday WBIR has a healthy living segment that is sponsored by the Governor and April Nitzsche was the guest for this week on their show. April spoke about how viewers can be healthy throughout the day when they have a few minutes to spare to stay in shape in 2014. April talked about how to live healthy, and offer tips to viewers.  You also can view the video here.

Limitations of Organization Capacity Assessment (OCA) tools

Since April of 2002 I have been involved with Strategic Planning, Restructuring, Re-engineering, Organization Revival, Organization Analysis, Organization Capacity Assessment and Organization Development projects across sectors and boarders. Most of the tools that ate used for this purpose can be traced back to a few general tools which were made famous in the latter part of the twentieth century. Increasingly I have felt the need to further customize these tools in a way that they become more relevant to the current context. This customization has been happening in the past and continues at a faster rate at present.

The single biggest reason that I attribute for this need is that; today we live in a technological age which has some peculiar characteristics. The characteristics are that we need to innovate and improve not only our products but also how we do things inside the organization at a faster rate. This is nothing new; most of the thought leaders of our time have made big bucks selling this message repackaged with additional jargon. These characteristics currently affect most of the knowledge based industries. However as time goes by their affect on every organization be it government, private or development sector will grow exponentially.

As mentioned above since we have to improve the way we do things inside an organization we run into the human dimension of things. We are also aware of the “change management” that needs to happen inside the organization to facilitate the “keeping up” with the changes that drive our organizations toward bigger and better things. However we don not consider that some of the changes required may be limited by the knowledge / intellectual capacity of the staff (here staff include owner directors, CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and CKOs). In some organizations we may have staff that has reached the limit of their intellectual prowess. When an organization reaches this level it is said to have arrived at the door step of “mediocracy”

The current tools that most of our contemporary consultants use for organizational diagnosis will not help identify this issue of “mediocracy”. However there are some characteristics that are peculiar to these organizations where they have reached the glass ceiling of intellectual limitation / mediocracy. Let me take a few cases from assignment that I have done in the past and elaborate this.

The 1st example that I would like to take is an ICT company that started over 25 years ago. The organization has been fairly successful in keeping up with the changes in the ICT technology; and has been making above industry average, earnings per share. However in the early 21st century there was a need to re-strategize to keep up with the faster pace of change in the ICT technological environment. I was invited to develop a new strategic plan for this organization. By this time I had already identified some of the key markers of an organization that has reached its pinnacle based on the intellectual capacity of its staff; and I was able to identify them in this organization during my first meeting with the senior management of the organization. I suggested to the Managing Director who invited me that the organization not only needed a new strategic plan but it also needed a corporate renewal plan and a VRS. This suggestion was not looked at favorably and I was asked only to develop a strategic plan.

The markers that I identified were:

1. The organization starts adding parallel value chains to the existing organization structure.

2. Organization does not move forward or backwards in the value chain

3. The organization does not spawn new businesses that are “stars” / neither are they known for any innovation (other than the innovation of some of the principles / 3rd party brands that they may represent)

4. History of young star performers leaving the organization on a continuing basis

5. Boasting of people (the young starts) who have left the organization and gone to achieve great things as been trained at this organization.

6. Long serving staff in a particular discipline / technology / expertise

7. Some staff that leave the organization after a few year (not the stars) join the organization again as a manager or a senior in the same field of expertise

8. Staff talk of the same obstacles that they face every year (one years experience repeated over many years) as opposed to innovating / re-engineering / work-a-rounds to overcome obstacles

9. Large number of managers based on technical areas as opposed to value addition

10. Staff do not take up higher education or professional development

11. Average age of staff moves parallel to the age of the organization

The above 11 markers as identified by me is a clear indication that the organization has run out of ideas and the incumbent staff are not able to get the organization out of the hole that it has dug for itself. They need fresh blood and a new playing field to continue being profitable. In its current state it will just survive but never reach its former glory / heyday it enjoyed in the beginning of its existence.

The 2nd example that I would like to take is a research organization set up to do applied economic research. This organization too has been in existence for over 30 years and had enjoyed considerable success in the early part of its existence. This organization too displayed the following common markers as identified by me earlier.

They were:

  1. Long serving staff in a particular discipline / technology / expertise
  2. History of young star performers leave the organization on a continuing basis
  3. Boasting of people (the young starts) who have left the organization and gone to achieve great things as been trained at this organization.
  4. Some staff that leave the organization after a few year (not the stars) join the organization again as a manager or a senior in the same field of expertise
  5. Staff talk of the same obstacles that they face every year (one years experience repeated over many years) as opposed to innovating / re-engineering / work-a-rounds to overcome obstacles
  6. Large number of managers based on technical areas as opposed to value addition
  7. Average age of staff moves parallel to the age of the organization

In addition they displayed the following:

  1. Doing (research) work in traditional / theoretical / safe areas as opposed to doing applied / non traditional / contentious issues based research (Not competing in your space as mentioned in the mission but trying to compete in the space that you perceive to be good at / running back to mama so to speak; relying on your academic training as apposed to innovation)
  2. Contempt / arrogance towards younger organizations (doing applied research) and relying on the age of the organization and past performance as a mark of value (of research) as apposed to quality, (rigor), and relevance to current context.

The above may be considered anecdotal by some; but over the past 8 years across 19 countries I have come across these markers with increasing frequency across private, government and not for profit / development sector organizations which are not considered to be in the knowledge driven sectors.

The question is; are we at the stage that this initial varying degree of prevalence of the markers in other sector may become the norm across organizations and sectors? Only time will tell. However, I am convinced that we are seeing the beginning of another divide that will start another wave of brain drain as organizations start to realize this phenomenon and start to poach intellectual staff from all over the world.

Fast-Track principles

This is a diet, or a way of eating, that will:

  • Lower insulin levels and stabilize blood-sugar levels
  • Banish food cravings
  • Eliminate energy peaks and troughs, and mood swings

Enhance concentration

  • Re-educate you into a way of eating that will increase your vitality and improve your overall health
  • Help your body to burn fat and normalize your weight.

It is vital that you understand the principles of this diet and follow it responsibly. If you are fundamentally healthy, but insulin-resistant and experiencing any ofthe accompanying symptoms, this plan will help you redress the balance and find a level of carbohydrate intake with which your system can cope. The Fast-Track Plan offers you a kick-start and is aimed at women with a BMI of over 35 and men with a BMI of over 25.

Diet Start

For the period of this plan you base your diet on an approximate ratio of 50 per cent high-quality protein/20 per cent low GI carbohydrates/30 per cent healthy fats. You begin the first two weeks of the diet by restricting your carbohydrate intake to 20g (3/4oz), your protein to 150g (5oz) Biological Value and healthy fats to a minimum of 40g (1 1/2oz). On a very simplistic level this means:

  • 3 cups low GI vegetables per day.
  • 1 portions of protein three times per day and portion twice per day as a
    snack. (A portion of protein is the equivalent to the size of your palm.)
  • Around a half to a whole teaspoon of allowable fats at every meal.

Within 48 hours your body will start to burn its own fat as fuel, as your body switches into benign dietary ketosis.

Ketosis

Being in ketosis means that your body burns fat because it isn’t taking in sufficient glucose to meet your energy needs. Under everyday conditions the carbohydrates that you eat are converted to glucose, which is the body’s primary source of energy. Whenever your carbohydrate intake is limited to a certain range, for a long enough period of time, your body will draw on its fat stores — turning this into a source of fuel called ketones. When you burn a larger amount of fat than is immediately needed for energy, the excess ketones are discarded in the urine.

Dietary ketosis has received a bad press because it is often confused with ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition most often associated with insulin- deficient, type 1 diabetes.

Benign dietary ketosis, however, is a natural adjustment to the body’s reduced intake of carbohydrates, as the body shifts its primary source of energy from carbohydrates to stored fat. The presence of insulin keeps ketone production in check so that a mild beneficial ketosis is achieved. Blood-sugar levels are stabilized within a normal range and there is no breakdown of healthy muscle tissue, as long as sufficient protein is included in the diet.

Measuring ketosis

On a rapid weight-loss diet you will usually start to burn fat instead of sugar within the first 48 hours. To measure the ketone levels in your urine, buy urinary test strips, called lypolisis strips, from any pharmacy, which will show you if your carbohydrate/insulin balance is at optimum levels for fat burning. You should do this twice a day: before breakfast and before your evening meal. Your levels need to be between trace and small (0.5-1.5 mmol-l).

Caution: if your levels rise to above moderate (4 mmol-l), you are not eating enough and should increase your low GI carbohydrates until the ketones are reduced to between trace and small (0.5-1.5 mmol-l). Always drink plenty of water: at least eight large glasses per day.

Speedrun – Hitman: Absolution – Contracts (The First Hit)

After playing through the first Contract (“The First Hit”) properly, I noticed that the only requirements were to kill the target. It didn’t seem to matter if you got spotted or anything else, so I thought – that would be perfect for a Speedrun!

Level: Hitman (Absolution) – Contracts (The First Hit)
Time: 21 seconds
Score: 95,186
Runs: About 4-5

After a couple runs of seeing what the fastest path might be (leaping over the log takes more time than running around imo), I changed to a smaller resolution and turned the graphics down to low settings to help with speed. I don’t know if this is the fastest possible route, I just found it worked well instinctively after a few runs.

Bandicam seems to have some trouble with H:A, the fps keeps popping through, and seems to lag it out a bit. I even tried disabling SLI. I thought it might be my NVIDIA cards, and in the end, I ended up running it on an AMD/ATi HD 6870 even smoother than dual GTX 560Ti’s (this game prefers AMD videocards).

Good luck with it and See You In The Games!

fantastic paintjob on this speedboat

http://darkdraggon.tumblr.com/page/3

How to Organize your Summer Reading

Summer is the perfect time for me to make some progress on the massive stack of books that I accumulate throughout the year. You know that stack — and if you’re like me, that stack may have spawned offspring and multiplied into several stacks around the house. And given the number of summer book studies I keep reading about, I know the stack will continue to grow. Like last week, when I saw that Misty was going to read Number Talks, and I had to get the book.

Or this morning, when I read that Beth at Thinking of Teaching and Brenda at Primary Inspired are hosting a summer book study of Building Mathematical Comprehension: Using Literacy Strategies to Make Meaning by Laney Simmons. I want to read that, too!

With all that I’m currently reading, want to read, and have finished reading, I needed a way to keep track of all these awesome books. Then I remembered GoodReads (this is very distinct from the GoodReader app that I’ve blogged about before).

GoodReads is a social media site focused on reading. I first started using it in 2010 after I finished reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller (if you haven’t read this book, it is a must-read).

She referenced the site in the book, and I used it through my computer for quite a while. Eventually, as I got busier, I started using it less. I recently got an email update about a friend who was using it, however, and it reminded me that I should revisit the site. My how GoodReads has improved since I used it last! First, GoodReads has mobile apps now to help you keep your reading interests up-to-date.

Now, I’m not such a bibliophile that I need to give status updates of what I’m reading non-stop. But these mobile apps have a fabulous feature that I love: a scanner. (Here’s the view of the app from my iPad. The iPhone version is very similar.)

The scanner allows you to scan the barcode on books and then add it to a virtual shelf. Your GoodReads account has 3 default shelves: read, currently reading, and to-read. Shelves are like tags, and you can create your own shelves based on topics or any other organization you’d like. Books can also be housed on multiple shelves at once.

I love using the scan feature to quickly organize the books that I’m reading or plan to read. Given the iPhone app, it’s also a dangerous helpful feature when I go to bookstores and see books that I’d like to read someday. I just scan them in, and it pulls all sorts of data for me about reviews of the book, average rating of the book, page count, etc. For eBooks I’ve purchased that don’t have a scannable barcode, I can also search by title or author.

In addition to using this to manage my summer reading, I expect to use this app more in my classroom library to inventory my collection, identify books that I’ve read or want to read, write recommendations for my students, and so on.

If you decide to give GoodReads a try, feel free to connect with me there. I’d love to connect with other teachers to see what others are reading.

What are some books that you’re planning to read this summer? Any other ideas for ways to use this app? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section, and I hope to connect with you on GoodReads!

Happy summer reading!

It’s Not Just You™ – Fallout 4 Crashing with NVIDIA’s SHARE Game Recorder (Possibly Relating To The High Resolution Texture Pack) [Notification, Text-Only]

Updated 2017-06-19: I found one cause of the crashes with SHARE and Fallout 4 (for me) – The HRTP

Just a quick post to say that, if you are experiencing Fallout 4 CTDs (Crashes To Desktop, where FO4 closes without any messages or anything and you are left staring at your Desktop in Windows), I want to let you know It’s Not Just You™ – as I am finding I am experiencing this as well, lately…

I haven’t looked into Forums specifically for this, but perusing Forii off and on over the past year or so, where many are talking about Fallout 4 and Crashing, it seems to happen a lot to people anyway, for just about any reason, unfortunately. I myself wasn’t experiencing this very much though (gladly), until just recently when playing FO4 again [and spending way too much time building up Settlements instead of getting Quests done], I was testing out different Game Recording Programs and started seeing this happen.

I’m happily playing Fallout 4, getting frustrated at the Building mechanics or shooting some Raiders attacking my Settlement, when all of a sudden, BOOM – desktop image and icons. No message, nothing. Fallout 4 has closed itself instantly. I of course start it up again and begin to see where I last hit QuickSave or the game automatically Saved for me – but this has happened a few times in a row now where BOOM – the desktop greets me and icons appear. No message, nothing.

So, I tried to pay attention to what I was doing or what was running as Background Tasks – and the one thing I found, that when I changed it, the crashes stopped happening?.. I was recording with SHARE, NVIDIA’s new version of ShadowPlay, their game recorder that is included with their Graphics Driver. Interesting. I have up ’till now had no issues with SHARE, enjoyed testing it out, taking Screenshots with it and testing out the various Quality settings and forgetting about all of those tests and never writing about it. It seems to have great performance (very small performance ‘hit’/effect) and has a decent amount of options/features.

I then tried some other game recording programs I have purchased over the years, Playclaw, Bandicam, Mirillis’ ACTION, and none of them had any Crashing occur while I was using them (although Fallout 4 didn’t seem to like to start up with Bandicam running sometimes [but when I started the game first then Bandicam, it recorded fine]). Hmph. That’s too bad, I was liking SHARE. There could of course be a myriad of things that could be causing this (I have sometimes run into the game not starting up, with a black screen then shutting itself down again/closing, no matter what game recorder I am using – and again, there are people with high-end Intel CPUs and NVIDIA 1080’s with CTDs…); but for me, it seems to be SHARE, at this time. I might go and mention this in the Official NVIDIA Forum, if noone else has recently. Perhaps this is just a temporary issue in this game and their Drivers, in this version.

I am running NVIDIA GPU Driver Version 382.53 in Windows 10 64-bit, on a GTX 1060 3GB GPU, as of the date of this post.

I know this was a Text-Only post, but I took this screenie of the Driver
Version (so I would remember it) and didn’t want to waste it

I mention all of this because, I was not really experiencing any Crashes-To-Desktop with Fallout 4 prior to thinking of testing out SHARE for a while, just a bit ago. I am Level 42 in the game, after ‘starting out a second time’ and enjoying playing again, taking notes and screenshots for some future posts on it, while I slowly build and shoot my way through The Commonwealth… Where was I? Oh yeah, the crashes. It’s sad, but I want others to not feel alone (you’re not, really, go look up “Fallout 4 crash desktop”..). If you are experiencing Fallout 4 closing without any error messages recently, just letting you know – It’s Not Just You™…


Update 2017-06-19:
For my personal battle with this, I did some more testing and found that I was able to use NVIDIA’s SHARE to record with, for quite a long time (hours), when I disabled/uninstalled the High Resolution Texture Pack DLC…
I am not sure if this is the only related aspect to it (as CTDs happen for even GTX 1080 users and higher capability systems than mine and it happens to those not using the HRTP or SHARE at all), but for now, it seems that this issue may be directly related to that [for me] as it crashes far more often than without running the HRTP – and I have no crashes when recording with other Game Recorders and The High Resolution Texture Pack…

Is it that the HRTP is ‘too much’ for my little 1060 with only 3GB of VRAM and SHARE together? 
Is it related to how the game then uses more RAM (I have 16GB of RAM installed) with the HRTP and possibly a symptom of some RAM issues, perhaps?
I’m not sure of a solution yet, so I cannot say – but if you are experiencing this problem of ‘Crashing while recording Fallout 4 with SHARE’, try disabling the High Resolution Texture Pack for FO4 – it worked for me, just now. (Alternatively, use a different Game Recorder for the time being..). HTH

ROUTINE FOR PUTTING ON WEIGHT

Plenty of rest and exercise, a good diet of fattening foods and no worries—those are the essentials

PUTTING on weight is very much more difficult than taking it off. Even thosefew extra pounds which can make all the difference to the appearance, comfort and, no doubt, general health, can be quite a problem.

Before embarking on a diet, it is always advisable to seek the advice of your own doctor. This is particularly important if there has been a sudden or prolonged loss of weight for no good reason and without affecting normal appetite. Where loss of weight is the result of an illness or operation, it is usually quite quickly and easily regained after recovery. The routine to be described will help in such cases, subject to the approval of your own doctor.

We are concerned here chiefly with that large army of men and women who are anxious to put on weight but who are the thin type by nature. Such people are born worriers, with excitable and energetic natures and over-active bowels, whose food does not remain in the intestines long enough to be properly absorbed.

Diet Start

Essential in the fattening process are:

  • Keep calm and stop worrying. That is obviously a counsel of perfection to those who easily get worked up, but it can be achieved by cultivating outside interests that take your mind away from the source of anxiety (it may be professional, domestic, financial, or all three).
  • Take plenty of rest. A minimum of between 8 and 9 hours in bed at night, plus between 10 and 30 minutes after every meal.
  • Avoid rushing about, but take regular exercise. On no account jump up immediately after a meal; take life at a leisurely pace. Strenuous games are good if you really enjoy them, because they create appetite; so does any form of outdoor exercise, however mild.
  • Eat well and regularly, and concentrate on the fattening foods (list follows). But be careful not to stuff between meals or you will defeat the whole object and be unable to eat your main meals, which are far more important. You must also avoid over-eating, with the inevitable danger of indigestion and biliousness. Aim at three good meals a day, plus any extras (such as sweets, etc.) which you really fancy and a hot, preferably milk, drink last thing at night. The housewife should take as many meals out as she conveniently can because she will not have the worry of preparing them.
  • Cut down your smoking. It diminishes the appetitite, so, if you must smoke at all, only after meals, please.

Sugar, sweets, jam, marmalade, fruits in syrup, treacle, honey, Golden Syrup.

Cakes, scones, pastry, cereals, bread, biscuits, puddings.

Thickened soups and gravies, sauces made from flour, butter and/or milk.

Fried foods, cream, salad dressings, butter, dripping.

Pork, duck, goose. All fat meat and bacon. Tinned fish in oil.

Sweet wines, beer, stout, spirits, sweet aerated waters.

Dried fruits. Bananas, grapes, plums. Potatoes, peas, dried beans, parsnips, beetroot.

Cod-liver oil, Virol, olive oil.

Salt with food.

Foods with very little fattening value

Meat extracts. Marmite. Clear soups. Gelatine. Egg-white.

Green vegetables and salads. Vinegar. Tea. Coffee.

SPECIMEN DIET FOR PUTTING ON WEIGHT

Minimum: 1 pint of milk per day

On waking: Cup of tea, preferably with milk and sugar.

Breakfast: Cereal or porridge with milk and sugar or honey or syrup.

Bacon, egg, fish, etc.

Toast, butter and marmalade.

Coffee or tea.

11 a.m.: Coffee, cocoa or milk and a biscuit, or try this cocktail: One teaspoonful Spanish olive oil sandwiched between layers of orange juice in a wineglass. You can increase the quantity of olive oil gradually.

Lunch: Thick soup, if liked (if this makes it impossible to eat main course, substitute tomato or orange juice as an appetiser instead).

Meat, fish, game, poultry, etc.—both fat and lean. Serve with gravy, roast or fried potatoes and a green vegetable or salad with plenty of oily or cream dressing.

Pudding and / or cheese, butter and biscuits.. Coffee.

Tea: Tea with cake or bread and butter or banana sandwich.

Dinner: Thick soup (see Lunch).

Fish, meat or poultry, with gravy, at least one vegetable from list of Fattening Foods; one green vegetable or salad with cream or oil dressing.

Steamed or boiled pudding or milk pudding or ice cream.

Cheese with bread or biscuits and butter.

Coffee.

NOTE: Cocktails, wines. etc., may be taken as desired and obtainable. Stout or beer is good.

Bedtime: A hot drink, preferably containing milk.

Does Weighing Yourself Help You to Lose Weight?

Do weight changes translate into fat loss?
On a day to day basis a scale is an extremely poor tool for giving you information on changes in bodyfat levels which are very small.  Daily weight changes are mostly accounted for by four factors:  bowel movements, urination, starch and sugar intake, and blood volume.    Since your blood volume typically does NOT vary that much the other factors are more relevant.
Bowel Movements and Urination vary a lot between different people anywhere from 1.3lbs to 5.7lbs in a single day.    This is one of the reasons to consistently weight yourself after you wake up and go to the bathroom and before you eat or drink much.
However, the biggee when it comes to daily weight fluctuation, is usually glycogen storage levels.    Glycogen is just the storage form of glucose aka blood sugar.    All starch and sugar ultimately end up as glucose, glycogen or fat.     
For example, on the front end of a low carb diet you will show big weight loss which is almost all water because you store glucose/glycogen with water – hence the term carbo “Hydrate”.  Muscle and organs contain the highest levels of water, and this is significant because most of your bodyweight comes from muscles and organs. 
  
So daily changes in weight are NOT a good reflection in changes in bodyfat levels!
Can daily weighing help with long-term weight loss and fat loss?

In order to answer this question let’s review the scientific studies that have looked at this issue.     The recent advent of WIFI scales is allowing much more accurate weight records because prior to that people had to take the time to write down their weight each day.
In a recent WIFI scale study called the Weight Trial here were the results:
Over a six-month period, those who weighed daily lost about 13 lbs more than the control group.
Even those who weighed themselves up to five times each week lost less weight than the daily weighers.
Daily Weighers were more likely to do things like eating less food and watching less television so clearly the weighing helped by changing behaviors!
Although this study did not measure body fat, it is quite likely that the body weight loss did translate into significant fat loss.
For certain groups, daily weighing is a bad idea such as people with eating disorders and other psychological disorders including extremely low self-esteem.     In addition, daily weighing does not work for everyone.   For some people the inevitable plateaus or variations in weight loss can very frustrated and quit the whole process!

So daily weighing may be helpful for you, but it is not perfect and it does not accurately measure changes in bodyfat levels so it is important to do use some method of body composition testing to measure these changes which should be your ultimate goal!

NYC INTERIOR DESIGN FIRMS STYLE

NYC INTERIOR DESIGN FIRMS

NYC Interior Design Firms Thomas Britt knows how to create a glamorous interior better than anyone, so when he promised to give “a sort of sense Adrian” an austere industrial building, he knew exactly what to do. Like Adrian, the legendary costume designer, knew glamorous is a quality difficult to achieve. To achieve this, Britt sought inspiration from its customers: a couple, both in the international financial world, and their adorable son.

“My goal was to create a smart home NYC Interior Design Firms of the 21st century of a young international couple,” says Britt transform their building generic six-story ceiling in Tribeca in a family home. His plan, executed with Valentino associated Samsonadze was to create the illusion of architecture, where there was none, and stresses the unconventional combinations of colors, luxurious fabrics, mother of pearl and lacquered antiques and modern art (paired collect works of Indian and Pakistani artists, but also pieces of Americans, including Louise Nevelson and Sol LeWitt).

Britt set a young voice in the lobby, the space on two floors, with steel stairs steep. “We needed to warm up to Hall and to make it more attractive,” says Britt, who has cleverly divided into individual zones (soft, floor to ceiling curtains dramatically tied back) in order to reduce its appearance. It has saturated the wall in red paint, then hang it on three “triumphantly scaled” diamond-glass mirrors your own design.

You can also add a touch of light to the room. That no one can find a Louis XVI console painted lobby of a fossil old, put a couple of lamps ‘iceberg’ 1940 FRENCH plaster on it.

A small back room in the rear portion of the first floor is equally joyous. Cozy the pupal stage, the room is dominated by a Diva like gold bed in an alcove and partially hidden by thick curtains turquoise. red pillows on the bed making it pop blue and gold. Small tables inlaid with mother of pearl to add an exotic touch. An Indian dhurries with blue, gold and red pulls together.

As in many houses in the city, the main parts of the population are on the second floor. Britt treatment living room double height, is a huge expense. The palette is crisp set by the booty white curtains, 22 feet high huge red border. A high-level white towers of Murano glass chandelier in a white sofa, chairs and red carpet red and white barrel. “When you’re in this room, do not know what country you are,” said Britt NYC Interior Design Firms. “You can be anywhere. The decor is influenced by all the places I’ve been”.

NYC INTERIOR DESIGN FIRMS
NYC INTERIOR DESIGN FIRMS
NYC INTERIOR DESIGN FIRMS

Trip to Hyderabad Cont

The day of leisurely travel to Hyderabad turned in to an interesting experience for me. Here’s how it went.

There were of course no issues in getting to the Airport or getting checked in. At the checking counter I asked the Jet Airways staff if there were any restrictions of taking a bottle of liquor to India. At which point I was told “NO SIR”. When I checked in however they were unable to check my baggage through to Hyderabad since I was changing from International to Domestic (Still Jet Airways) I was told that I need to put my bag through customs at Chennai.

Things went smoothly from there; got through Immigration, went and bought 500ML bottle of Black Label, went through security, boarded and arrived in Chennai on time. Jet airways must be congratulated for on time flights between Colombo and Chennai. Their service too was quite good.

Things turned in to a big process when I got to Chennai. First I had to go through Immigration, it was smooth, then through Customs, also no issue, then physically had to come out of the International Terminal and go in to the Domestic Terminal. I was told that Jet Airways staff would be there to guide the transfer passengers, however there were no staff and there were no sings to direct. I asked for instructions and got to the Jet Airways counter without any trouble. Yes I did change some money as well. At which point I was told that I need to put my luggage through the security scanner again so had to Drag my bag to the end of the terminal and re-put the bag through the security scanner (X-Ray) then had to come back and join the line to check the bag in for a second time. Luckily there weren’t many passengers in line. While I was doing this I was also carrying the Duty Free Bag with the bottle of liquor inside it and in plain sight of the Jet Airways staff.

So I checked in the bag and went to the Taj Restaurant to quench my thirst; well things really went wrong there, apparently for some Gandhi commemoration the bar was closed. I thought I was back in Sri Lanka where for any frivolous thing they close all the bars. Never mind survived on a cool fresh lime soda.

When it was time for me to go through the security to board the domestic flight I had to put all my hand luggage again through the security… nothing new I guess. Then came the surprise they said “Sir you cant take wine in the plane, you have to put it into the main luggage” I promptly pointed out to the security guy that I am connecting from a International flight and that I did bring the bottle on board as hand luggage and I was told that it was allowed by the airline staff the time of boarding. “No sir it is not allowed in domestic flights” came the answer right back at me. Knowing not to argue with them went back to the counter. Then the fun started….. apparently the process was that they had to get my checked in luggage out of the cargo container put the bottle back in to the check in luggage then re scan the luggage through the X-Ray machine and so on. No drink can be worth all that trouble. They also agreed with me that the bottle might break in the luggage and I will have to wear a whiskey perfume during my stay in India.

So I was on the verge of throwing the bottle down the drain when one of the assistants who help with the luggage suggested to the girl at the counter to check the bottle in as a separate piece of luggage. That was funny; I had a grin in my face because it sounded ridiculous. But guess what, he got a small box put the bottle in, taped it up, put fragile stickers on it, and got the girl to weigh it. Guess what, the scale returned a value of zero kilograms. I thought now they are going to make a fuss again, but to my surprise no they checked in a weight of 2 KG the minimum weight of a check in luggage (Good to know I thought) and gave me a baggage tag. So I thought this is all going to be a waste as the bottle is surly going to break. So deciding to ignore a package with a streak of whiskey behind it at the Hyderabad Airport baggage belt went through the security and got in to the boarding area.

Then came the next surprise, the flight was delayed for two and a half hours. Man now I know why they don’t allow liquor in the domestic flights as they are apparently always delayed and they don’t want disgruntled customers having a few to get over their frustrations of having to wait for an eternity. Well that is the consensus of the few guys I got chatting to.

Finally the plan did arrive and I made it to Hyderabad. Went to collect the luggage and to my surprise the small box did make it intact. When I saw that it brought a grin to my face so get to the hotel and yes had a drink and went to sleep. So now from tomorrow morning I will be busy with the assignment. Looking forward to it.

My Trip to Pakistan – Islamabad December 2011

This is my first trip to Pakistan after 9/11. The last time I was in Pakistan was in 2008, most of the contacts I had made during my last visits have not resulted in any business. However I was able to secure a training assignment which; believe it or not took 2 years to secure. It just goes to show how some clients work. The need for this training was identified over 2 years ago but due to financial and other ground realities they were not able to run the training course in Pakistan.



The travel plans were made and I set off to Pakistan on the 9th of December. The journey started well as I got upgraded to business class and had a pleasant journey to Karachi. I was scheduled to take a domestic flight from Karachi to Islamabad. Things started to go bad when I landed. I made my way to the check in counter to learn that the PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) flight to Islamabad was cancelled. They just did not bother to contact the agents or the passengers to inform them of the cancellation. The PIA ground staff were however polite and quickly arranged me to stay at the Airport Hotel and take the first flight out to Islamabad on the 10th morning. I had to call my client and the hotel in Islamabad to inform them of the changes to my itinerary. Hurrah to mobile roaming!


My perceptions of an Airport Hotel were based on the other airport hotels which I had stayed in (Dubai, Bangkok, Amsterdam); however the Airport Hotel in Karachi is another matter altogether. It is a real dump. I am not running down Pakistan or its people as I have stayed in very good hotels in Karachi and Lahore on my previous visits to Pakistan. This was a real house of horror. The rooms were dirty and smelly, the bathrooms were dirty and the dining hall was something else altogether. The table cloths were full of food stains and looked like they have never been bleached since the day they were made.


The management of this hotel needs major overhauling if it is to be an airport hotel. The staff of the hotel belongs in a farm looking after animals and not in a hotel serving weary travelers. They have no idea of how to handle guest in the hospitality industry.


I left the hotel early morning (on the 10th) and made my way to the airport to catch the flight to Islamabad. Things ran smoothly from then on and reached Islamabad on time. I was met by the Islamabad Hotel (http://www.islamabadhotel.com.pk/ ) representative at the airport and was taken to the car park to embark on the short drive to the Hotel. In the car park I saw this amazing site of a fork lift being used to move cars that had parked violating the parking rules.

I settled in at the hotel and met the client in the evening to prepare for the start of the training. The training on Institutional & Organizational Development will run for 5 days with 25 participants.


The first day of the training went well and the atmosphere in the training room was good and positive the client was very happy at the end of the day and was keen to keep the same momentum during then next 4 days.


The second day of the training also went along as planned and was well received by the participants. After the training I went to the shops (Jinnah Super Market) with one of the participants as my guide. Islamabad boasts of quite a few good shopping areas with some well stocked shops in clothing. The main thing that struck me is that you do not see poverty on every corner. Islamabad seems to have a majority of middleclass to upper class people living in the city. Quite a contrast to Karachi and Lahore where you do see poverty as it is common in other cities of South Asia.


The third day of training went smoothly without incident. After the training I met the managing director of a company which I met last when I was in Lahore in 2008. We were unable to build a working business relationship since we last met (9/11, war in Sri Lanka and the deterioration of the security in Pakistan which led to the Sri Lankan cricket team being attacked). We discussed the opportunities for joint collaboration and agreed to take the business relationship to the next level. Only time will tell is we are able to do this.


The fourth day of the training too went well and we will be going out for dinner with all the participants. We all made our way to Monal Restaurant located about 4000 feet above sea level (http://themonal.com/monal.htm ) at the top of the hill at Margalla Hills National Park for a night time view of the city of Islamabad.

I recommend to all who visit Islamabad to go for dinner at this restaurant, the view and the food was exceptional and so was the service. After dinner we went to Gelato Affair (www.gelatoaffair.com ) at the Gole Market to have dessert. The ice cream selection available was enormous and great tasting.


The last day of training went according to plan and was able to conclude the training program on time as planned. The participants were appreciative of the efforts of the trainer and received excellent feedback through the training evaluation. After the customary goodbyes and promises to keep in touch we concluded assignment.


The trip back to Colombo was on schedule; unlike while arriving at Islamabad the flight back to Karachi was on time and managed to arrive at Karachi without any hassle.

Raw Gameplay (Unedited) – Battlefield Play4Free (32 Players, Saiga-12 Won from The Daily Draw)

Battlefield Play4Free is a Free-To-Play title, where it doesn’t cost anything to join in, but you can purchase weapons, armor, clothing and other items for Real Money by purchasing Tokens that you can then use in the in-game Store. There is also a nice feature where you can win prizes (weapons, armor, clothing, etc) from a game called The Daily Draw, where you choose a card from a draw of eight and it will generate an item for you.

The items range from temporary one-day use weapons and clothing, to seven day usage, to permanent items your character (Soldier) can use in the game forever (for example, a scope that can be attached to a gun for that soldier for all time). This is great for those who can’t afford to purchase many in-game items, as it not only offers the possibility of getting some great gear ‘forever’, it also gives a nice preview of a weapon, mod or clothing, so that you can see what it will look like/feel like, if you decide to splurge and purchase it for yourself (supporting the game and developers as well) sometime in the future.

In this video, I present ‘Raw Gameplay’ (unedited gameplay) of BFP4F after winning a Saiga-12 Shotgun for one day’s usage on my Medic via The Daily Draw. I had joined a 32-player server (running a Rush map) that was nice and full (16 soldiers per side). After getting the kinks out and getting used to the controls again after not playing for a while, I think things picked up as the game went on.. I was soon having fun arming MCOMs and healing and reviving. Near the end, I realized that my Aircraft controls weren’t set/got reset, as my mouse wasn’t ‘inverted’ and I couldn’t fly the helicopter at all, haha.

Recorded game: Battlefield Play4Free, Online FPS
Recorded with: Bandicam (Registered Version) @ 864p
Recording codec: MPEG-1, 70% Quality, 30fps

This video was also a test of a few things (though not an ‘Official Testing Video’): I was messing around with different settings (resolutions, quality settings) to see how low I could set things before the quality suffered too much. This is of course, something VERY relative and what looks ‘good enough’ to one person, looks ‘like crap on a cracker’ to another person. What I was testing here was, what seemed good enough to upload to YouTube (since it recompresses anyway) and still be enjoyable, while making the recorded file as small as I could via Quality settings (which limits the bitrate somewhat) and resolution size (the larger the resolution, the more bitrate/filesize that would be required).

As I have stated in earlier articles talking about Quality, Bitrate and Filesize, I still find that going below 60% produces too many compression artifacts (macroblocks and ‘trails’, Gibbs effects and more) for many games, especially if there are large dark areas (which would get compressed more highly and have these compression effects occur in them). This doesn’t happen with all games however; some games are fast-moving and/or do not have many darker/flatter areas and using 50% quality doesn’t look too bad, even with the MJPEG codec. It’s a balancing and testing game, as some games (especially with text) look fine and others look very bad (the compressor will try to allocate more bits around edges like text and compress even more highly then, the flatter/darker areas in a scene). I have done recordings of news streams and other things however, that allow for a very low quality recording setting (down to 20%), but that is mainly because the source itself is of a low quality (many streams are highly compressed and there is not much ‘extra’ compression artifacts produced by recording it in a lower quality/bitrate, especially if you are going to downsize for the final output video).

For most games, I found I could go down to 70% Quality comfortably – as long as the resolution stayed ‘higher’ [720p or higher]. With lower resolutions, the bitrate/quality reduction means too many ‘casualties’, as 30% of a 1080p recording isn’t that many pixels when you consider the screen size; but one-third of a 480p recording is a huge amount of the already small screen being ‘lost’ to compression. Thus, with some testing (again to what looks “ok to me“) I arrived at a middle ground of 864p, which maintains decent clarity of text and is large enough to discourage overcompression of darker/flatter areas. For keeping recorded files small and downsizing to 720p HD, it looked fine to me in tests – and on some games, doesn’t look that bad even if you wanted to upsize to 1080p HD (clear text was maintained, etc).

So, enjoy this first installment in an ‘unofficial’ Video Series here at The Game Tips And More Blog: “Raw Gameplay” of Battlefield Play4Free. If you like the game, play it, tell others about it and buy some stuff from the Online Store and support it!

See You In The Game!

Any gameplay videos or animations uploaded are only one example of one possible path of game play and is not representative of the gameplay experience of the entirety of the game material as it is non-repeatable in exactness (movements, actions, viewpoints, etc) to a high degree of accuracy (especially in regards to online multiplayer play and interactions) and therefore is not a representation of a large portion of the game content (this includes complete Walkthroughs/Playthroughs, Raw Gameplay Footage and Tutorials). All material and content uploaded attempts to respect copyright and is presented for Educational and Entertainment purposes only, utilized under Fair Use and can be construed as Free Advertising. No copyright infringement is intended and cannot be inferred. Any possible representation approaching any infringement, to those seeking infringement action, requires double notification and will be honoured by permanent removal of the infringing material.

Fast DietaryTrack rules

During this first two weeks you need to:

  • Eat about 150g (5oz) of protein per day, which should come from a portion about the size of your palm at each meal, plus two all-protein snacks per day.
  • Eat around 20g of carbohydrates per day. A simple way to work this out is to use a set of measuring cups (a cup holds 250m1/8 fl oz). You should aim to eat approximately 3 cups of low GI vegetables or 2 cups of low GI vegetables and 1/2cup low GI fruit — at least half of which should be eaten raw.
  • Get 30 per cent of your daily calorific intake from fats, which may include: olive oil, walnut oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, homemade mayonnaise, flaxseed oil, small amounts of butter, small amounts of sour cream
  • Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily; you can also drink herbal teas, but avoid alcohol, soft drinks, tea and coffee, because caffeine interferes with ketosis
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners, which can stimulate insulin secretion
  • Rev up your protein levels by including at least one whey-protein drink per day
  • Eat enough — otherwise you may start to burn muscle tissue
  • Avoid starchy, carbohydrate-heavy foods such as pasta, bread and potatoes
  • Beware of hidden carbohydrates in sauces and dressings
  • Check the labels of all foodstuffs and avoid all processed foods
  • Not give up!

Diet Start

Dietary Q&A

Q. I have been restricting my carbohydrate intake for days now and I have no energy. I thought this plan was supposed to make me feel better, not worse.

A. Your body is adapting to the metabolic conversion of burning fat for energy instead of glucose. This takes about three days in most people, which is why it is usually best to start the diet over a weekend when you are able to relax more. After three days you should see a rise in your energy levels, but if you continue to feel lethargic or unwell, stop the plan and check with your doctor.

Q. Will I get enough fibre on this plan?

A. Fibre is provided by the inclusion of fibrous vegetables and fruit, and is increased if you eat most of these raw. However, if you experience constipation during the initial stages, try adding psyllium husks or psyllium- husk powder to your whey smoothies, because they comprise 100 per cent soluble fibre. Psyllium husks are pure dietary fibre, composed mostly of cellulose. They swell when they come into contact with water and release

a gelatinous mass (mucilage) which passes through the colon and aids easy elimination.

Q. Why does a lowcarbohydrate diet cause bad breath?

A. When you are on the Fast-Track Plan and restricting your carbohydrates to around 20g (3/40z) per day, you will be burning ketones, which may cause your breath to smell a little unpleasant. Don’t worry, this is easily masked by chewing parsley-oil capsules or by using a natural breath-freshener spray. Make sure that you drink plenty of water because this will help to neutralize the odour.

WORKOUT ANYTIME on Cincinnati.com

WORKOUT ANYTIME on Cincinnati.com

The article was written by Cincinnati Enquirer Business Reporter Bowdeya Tweh and was based on interviews coordinated with Tony Petrocelli and WORKOUT ANYTIME Vice President of Development Randy Trotter. The article begins with details about the opening of the WORKOUT ANYTIME in Montford Heights. The article gives information about the gym and about the company, as well as information on development plans in Ohio.        
Workout Anytime

You can view the full article here, and view contact information about WORKOUT ANYTIME’S new gym in Montford Heights here.

Chronic Illnesses and Diet part 3

Visualization and Chronic Disease

To the ten steps of the Body Clock Prescription, I’d suggest adding visualization, another powerful tool for controlling chronic disease. Life consists of moving forward into images. You get to the dry cleaners to pick up your laundry by making a mental picture of the journey and moving forward into that picture. No picture, no laundry. With visualization, you are going to create an inner picture in order to realize your intention, not just in the outside world of the dry cleaner but in the inside world of your immune system.

The first step is to get the knack of meditation so that your mind and body are in a receptive posture for visualization. Let’s assume that you’ve learned to enter a meditative state; riding on the letter M, your mind can enter a new space within your consciousness. From here, you can take one step forward into your imagination and make a picture of what you want to accomplish in your body.

The effectiveness of this approach was initially proven in an experiment conducted with doctors suffering from terminal or advanced cancer. They were shown accurate images of their own cancer cells and of their immune system cells and were asked to create a realistic visualization of the immune system cells attacking the cancer cells. Most of the doctors successfully curbed their cancer — not to the extent of actually curing it, but in most cases there was measurable improvement. Since then, numerous experiments have shown that a less accurate image of the enemy is just as effective.2

Diet Start

About twenty years ago I used to meet one evening every month with a group of other doctors, including Dr. Bernie Siegel, one of the pioneers of visualization. Bernie shared fascinating examples of the kinds of imagery cancer patients chose to promote healing of their illnesses. It seemed important that the image be accurate in its intent; it was disconcerting when patients chose wimpy defensive images that were the imaginary equivalent of trying to beat their cancer with a wet noodle. People who chose aggressive images did better; lions, tigers, sharks, polar bears and knights in shining armor do better work than a little girl gathering up cancer cells into snowballs and throwing them over the fence.

But what’s a good image if you have chronic inflammatory disease? In this case, redness, heat, swelling and pain afflict some part of your body as it reacts to an enemy that the doctor hasn’t been able to discover or that has disappeared from the scene of the crime, leaving your immune system in a perpetual dither. You need a picture that is soothing but not self-defeating by way of quieting your immune reactions to the point of defenselessness. This is where a chemical or an abstract image may be more appropriate. By chemical image, I mean something along the lines of `Let’s put out the fire’. Remember that inflammation is an expression of your body’s fire burning out of control. Whether it is in the skin, the digestive tract, the lungs, the heart, the nose or the eyes or, for that matter, whether or not it is producing palpable heat, some kind of uncontrolled fire is at the bottom of a lot of chronic illness. Parkinson’s disease, for example, has been characterized as a fire in the brain. And the oxidative damage in the chemistry of autistic children constitutes a kind of fiery injury to their RNA and DNA.

If you are going to employ visual imagery to quench the fire, then why not use pictures that are more effective than merely aiming a fire hose or throwing ice water at it? Instead, try mobilizing your body’s powerful natural resources for quenching the inflammation, calling on your body’s clouds to release rainwater on the brush fires of the prairie where the inflammation resides. This could be your intestine if you have colitis, your joints if you have arthritis, your skin if you have dermatitis, your lungs if you have bronchitis and so on. You can even get technical and make your raindrops into vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and other potent antioxidants. Communication between your meditating-visualizing brain and the resources of your body is more dynamic and more specific then you know.

When Bernie Siegel began talking about people’s responsibility for their own health and healing in the face of serious illnesses such as cancer, people accused him of ‘blaming the victim’ by placing an unreasonable burden of guilt on the sick person. But you can’t really take control of your health without believing that your health is to some extent under your control. Even a person who has been a victim of some catastrophic accident must believe that he or she can exercise control over healing, to at least a small but critical degree, through the expression of intention in prayer or visualization or by the exercise of sheer willpower.

For people with chronic illness, the lines of causation are more ambiguous than they are in an accident. However irrational it may be, all of us feel guilt for things that happen, like the ill-timed flareup of cold sores just before an important public appearance. Feeling guilty won’t get you anywhere, but feeling responsible is the key to taking charge. If you feel like you’re the passive victim of the event, you may miss a chance to engage your body’s resources for healing. Only by feeling that you can take responsibility for your own health will you be able to make the changes that are necessary for regaining that health in the face of chronic illness.

Quick Tip: Team Fortress 2 – What To Do With Those Naughty and Nice Winter Crates (Winter 2013)

By now, most of you have seen these Random Drops, Crates that are either “Nice” or “Naughty” – but, “How do you open them..”, you may have asked? Well, this post is just a quick note to answer this question I have already started seeing on game forums and Question/Answer websites. Answer: You Can’t Open Them (Yet)…

Soon hopefully, keys should be available for purchase at the Mann Company Store (Steam/Valve/TF2), most likely for $2.49 USD, if keys and dropped crates combinations of the past are anything to go by [I assume they are dropping them now, to allow people to collect some before the keys go on sale – to sell more keys]. So, if you get these [I have already started getting them when playing, hence the screencaps], just wait a little bit longer, until the keys themselves go on sale. Then, if you want to open them, just purchase keys and unlock them! Soon™… (Remember, you will need one key for each crate)

See You In The Games!

Becoming a GI Joe

All carbohydrates have a value on what is known as the `glycaemic index’ (GI), which indicates how quickly that carbohydrate is metabolized by the body and converted into glucose. The lower a food’s GI, the longer it takes to be converted. Foods with the highest GIs are the ones that will have the most profound and immediate effect on your blood-sugar levels. All the carbohydrates on a weight- loss and insulin-balancing regime should come from the lower ranges.

There are two indexes: the glucose standard, which rates glucose as having a GI of 100 and the white bread standard, which is based on white bread being equal to 100. Other carbohydrates are assigned comparative ratios based on these figures. It doesn’t really matter which index you adhere to, for they both give a pretty good – and sometimes surprising – insight into the speed with which certain carbohydrates are assimilated into the bloodstream.

Diet Start

Below are a few GI values of common foods, based on the glucose standard. Of course you are not expected to remember each specific food’s value, so to make things easier, opposite are two simple tables showing you how to classify fruit and vegetables into those with a low GI value (under 20), those with a medium value (20-60) and those with a high value (over 60).

Density values

Each carbohydrate can also be evaluated by its density value. This is the amount of usable carbohydrate in relation to fibre and water content – the more fibre and water a vegetable or fruit contains, the less usable carbohydrates it will have. The most dense carbohydrate foods are pulses, wholegrains and starchy vegetables, particularly when they are cooked and their fibre is broken down, these will raise your insulin levels, so always be aware of this. The table opposite contains a list of low-density carbohydrates that should form the basis of your carb intake on a low-carb diet.

Not only do many fruits feature highly on the GI scale, but a few should also carry a carbohydrate density warning sign. Bananas, dried fruit and concentrated fruit juices are all a bad idea if you are trying to balance your blood sugar levels. It is best to avoid these totally until your blood sugar and weight have normalized, and then carefully re-introduce them into your diet.

Focus on fibrous vegetables that can be eaten raw or steamed – the type that lose a lot of water whilst cooking. This will mean increasing your intake of leafy green vegetables, such as Swiss chard, green cabbage, kale, bok choy, rocket, spinach and endive.

Speedrun – Hitman: Blood Money – A Vintage Year (Silent Assassin, Pro Difficulty, Suit Only, Targets Only, “No Coins”)

Messing around trying another Speedrun, this time booting up some good’ol Hitman: Blood Money, “A Vintage Year” level.

Hitman is a wonderfully crafted, enjoyable game. In my opinion, every single installment in this series has been. People have enjoyed the ‘puzzle-play’ aspects of it, people have enjoyed the gunplay, the stealth. Players have also enjoyed trying to run as-fast-as-they-can through levels that were probably not designed with this intention. Now, Hitman: Blood Money may not win any awards for “realism” in some areas of gameplay, but I personally have something against the concept that an Assassin, wearing a nice suit, most likely a millionaire, is carrying around twenty dollars in pocket change. Heck, I am sometimes annoyed at the jingle in my own pocket of a couple of quarters when I come across them. Thus, my personal aim with this level: to do a Suit-Only, Targets-Only, Silent Assassin, ‘No Coins’ Speedrun (on Professional Difficulty). I am probably not the fastest at this sort of thing, I have only done a couple of intentional Speedruns in the past; but it was still fun to make and I figured it was ‘decently fast’, so I wanted to share. Enjoy!

Recorded game:  Hitman-Blood Money, First/Third Person Shooter/Stealth/Action
Recorded with:  Bandicam (Registered Version) @ 1080p
Recording codec:  MPEG-1 @ 80% Quality (Default Setting), 30fps

This was actually not as hard as I thought it would be – after finding out that Delgado.Sr is snipe-able up out on his balcony. It was his Son that gave me trouble (as it seems to do with everyone, after a few forum finds on the subject). I started just pushing him down the stairs and also setting up the Barrels to fall on him; but eventually I settled on just a good-old-fashioned-assassin-stand-by: the single bullet to the head. This felt ‘right’, after sniping dear-ol’Dad, anyway. Instead of pushing the Guards at the bottom into the water, I just walked non-chalantly by them, as they didn’t seem to care anyway.
[On the actual Playthrough, I seem to get some guards’ attention, but I assumed this was for going into the areas I wasn’t supposed to, not for being witnessed killing anyone]

I also wanted to do things like ‘leave nothing behind’, such as ‘just dropping weapons’ (like the Sniper Rifle) to save time. This sort of stems from the multitude-of-coins thing… Don’t get me wrong by the way, I appreciate the time so many have taken to figure out their own ways to complete Hitman levels by using distractions. I just for some reason [OCD?lol] find it hard to extend my fantasy thinking within the game ‘that far’ – to where a so-called Silent-Assassin-slash-Hitman is always carrying around and actually utilizes enough laundry money to make the homeless cry on every mission. [I didn’t actually mean to rant here, hah] I just think if an assassin wanted to throw anything around to distract guards, it could more realistically at least be a found weapon of some sort, as opposed to a ton of coinage everywhere (pebbles could even make more sense).

At any rate, whether you use coins (a mechanic that is indeed offered directly within the game) or you don’t, there you have it; not the fastest run [or the most ‘Silent’ lol], but hopefully an enjoyable little watch, nonetheless.

See you in the games!

Reminder: Diablo II – 2014 Ladder Reset is May 27th

That’s right, this is just a quick reminder that tomorrow is the Diablo 2 Ladder Reset for 2014!
So get ready – stock up on energy drink and tell your friends you won’t see them much for the next while – and get on that Ladder! Have fun playing, my wonderful readers – and enjoy being on the Top Of The Heap
(at least until the botters get going)
See You In The Games!

Currently June (?!)

Oh, how I love to start the month with Farley’s Currently over at Oh’ Boy Fourth Gradeespecially when I actually remember that it’s the start of the month and don’t have that revelation about a week in. 🙂

Here we go…

Listening:  I got to see Sara Bareilles perform at a small Atlanta venue on my birthday a couple of weeks ago, and wow – can she ever sing! She’s been in heavy rotation on my playlist ever since.

Loving: The first couple of weeks of summer vacation are always the best because it feels like there’s so much free time ahead. A quick glance at my calendar would remind me that this summer is going to fly by very quickly, but for now, I’m thrilled to have a little breathing room before the hustle and bustle of another school year kicks in.

Thinking: Math is on my mind a lot right now. I’m finishing up my final project for my math endorsement (an algebra unit), and I’m joining multiple book studies about math-related books this summer. My students did very well overall on the year-end standardized tests, but I feel like I’m still scrambling to make sense of the best way to teach the Common Core. I need to figure out something that will allow me to differentiate more without creating oodles of additional work on my end. If anyone has the magic solution, please let me know.

Wanting: We bought a new desktop computer last year, and it was intended to be mostly for my school/blogging/TpT use. That worked for a little while, but my husband has slowly taken it over and claimed it as his. He’s been working crazy hours (he’s an attorney), and his work is often more deadline-oriented than mine, so I’ve given in. But now that I’m getting ready to start my doctorate, it might be time for us to give up on the idea of sharing a computer. I have a work laptop that I use sometimes, but it’s got some crazy restrictions/configurations that limit the programs I can install, etc. For most people, it’s not a big deal, but when you’re a tech-geek like me, it’s frustrating. So last week, I made a big pitch for me to get a new iMac desktop, and he agreed! There were some intense negotiations that went into the process, but in the end, we made a deal that we can both live with. I’m going to be responsible for generating the extra income to make the payments on it (we got it financed over 18 months), but between some tutoring jobs I’m taking and TeachersPayTeachers, I think I’ll be able to swing it.

Now I just need to hold on for Monday when my precious new toy will arrive!

Needing: I need to get organized and prioritize what I need to accomplish this summer because there’s no world in which I’ll have time to tackle my ever-growing to-do list. I need to create some realistic goals with deadlines to keep myself reasonably on-task. I also need to cut out distractions like randomly checking Facebook or email or Twitter every 10 minutes.

3 Vacay Essentials – 1) Shade – I have the misfortune of being allergic to almost every type of sunscreen that exists — including the ones that say they’re hypoallergenic and made for sensitive skin. Put some of that sauce on me and stick me in the sun, and my body breaks out in a terrible, lobster-like swollen rash that is WAY worse than any sunburn I’ve ever had. So I stick to the shade as much as I can, and I visit my dermatologist every year to make sure that I’m not getting skin cancer. Not fun, I tell you.

2) Books – This used to be a huge ordeal before the advent of the Kindle. I like having lots of summer reading options, ya know?

3) Beverages – Hydration is important! And there’s a whole slew of summer drinks that I could put on the list… But seriously, I’ve been drinking at least 64 oz of water each day of this vacation before I even touch anything else, so I think I’m doing well.

Big thanks to Farley for continuing to host this linky. Every month I find so many amazing blogs and learn lots about my fellow bloggers. If you aren’t participating already, you should definitely link up!

,
Have a great June, everyone!

It’s Not Just You™ – Battle.Net Issues with Logging In Today [Notification]

Just a quick post to let others know that if you are having logging in to Battle.Net today (August 1st) that lots of people have been having problems as of this morning. Blizzard has addressed this with a quick note via their twitter, seen at:

https://twitter.com/BlizzardCS/status/760100687111938048

Retry or Go Back To Bed? Hmmm….

For those playing Blizzard/Battle.Net games this weekend, hopefully it will be up soon – just letting you know, It’s Not Just You™ !

Tips For Rustic Dining Room Setting

The Rustic look is a perfect balance of masculinity and femininity. You take the simple and unsophisticated woodsy elements of country living and add a feminine touch by complimenting and giving each piece a voice.

Rustic Dining Room
Rustic Dining Room
Rustic Dining Room
Rustic Dining Room
Rustic Dining Room

Keep your walls and furniture light in weight and color, unfinished and whimsical in nature. Think bare essentials, and the more imperfections the better!

With dark wood or contemporary dining furniture you can transform the style with a nice weathered look by sanding it lightly or painting it a creamy pastel color first and then sanding it.

Add textural interest with a soft faux finished wall, an antique area rug, or by stenciling a simple pattern on the doors of your hutch and/or buffet.

If your resources are limited you can use whatever furniture you do have and accessorize with rustic objects. Throw a handmade crocheted or lace tablecloth over a buffet for an authentic touch or hang dried flowers in artistic way on the wall.

It’s OK to mix old with new objects like taking a colored glass bowl and filling it with acorns or pine cones. You can also fill a ceramic vase with wildflowers and set it on the dining table for a rustic tone. Just remember, thoughtful simplicity is key…

Eat more and more, do you know chemicals in foods blow you appetite?

In a very real sense, everybody has direct reactions to foods. Direct reactions are reactions caused directly to cells by chemicals in foods. Among the most obvious direct reactions are those caused by alcohol. If you drink alcohol, you are almost certain to experience sedative effects, due to the direct effect of alcohol on your brain cells.

Often, people with Asian heritage react quite negatively to alcohol, and the common belief is that they’re allergic to it. Technically, though, they don’t have an allergy; they have a sensitivity — because this is a direct reaction, which doesn’t involve the immune system. I believe that it’s clearer and more sensible to say simply that Asians often have a food reaction to alcohol, since food reactions include both allergies and sensitivities.

Diet Start

Direct reactions, however, can eventually involve the immune system, because sooner or later the immune system is called in to repair the mess that direct food reactions cause. Therefore, the symptoms of direct reactions can feel much like allergies. Because of this, direct food reactions are sometimes called false food allergies.

Alcohol has obvious direct actions, but most direct food reactions are more subtle. Often, direct reactions occur when chemicals in foods bind with the cells that produce histamine; these cells are called mast cells. When this happens, it can cause the release of histamine. The food chemicals that are most likely to do this are lectins, which are most often found in wheat, peanuts, and beans. Another cause can be certain partial proteins, or peptides, that are found in tomatoes, strawberries, shellfish, pork, chocolate, and eggs.

Other foods that often seem to cause direct food reactions are mustard, pineapple, papaya, buckwheat, and sunflower seeds. Ironically, one patient of mine had terrible digestive symptoms, including severe heartburn, and took large amounts of digestive enzymes to help the problem. However, his enzymes were full of papaya, which he later found he was reactive to. When he stopped taking the digestive aids, his digestion improved immeasurably. Moral of the story: don’t trust common knowledge about what’s healthy — trust your own experiences. Everyone is different.

Other foods that sometimes cause direct reactions are those that contain high levels of natural histamines. Histamines are formed in foods that are allowed to age and ferment. Therefore, histamines are often found in aged cheese, sausage, and salami.

Other foods that can cause direct reactions are those that contain the partial proteins tyramine, phenylethylamine, and octopamine. These chemicals, like histamines, can cause blood vessels to expand and contract, which causes tissue swelling. In the head, blood vessel constriction and expansion can cause migraine headaches. That’s why people who get migraines often shun the foods that are high in these partial proteins, such as wine, aged cheese, citrus fruit and yeast.

Another common foodstuff that often causes direct reactions is the artificial sweetener aspartame. Aspartame is mostly composed of the partial protein, or amino acid, called phenylalanine. In some people, it acts directly on brain cells, causing symptoms such as agitation and depression. In other people, it causes blood vessels to contract and expand, triggering migraines. In most people, though, it causes no reaction at all.

Many people also react to MSG, or monosodium glutamate, with headaches, nausea, dizziness, heart palpitations, and confusion. Others react to various additives, including nitrates, sulphites, and artificial food colours.

Another name for direct food reactions is pharmacologic reactions. That’s a good description, because it implies an important point: foods, like drugs, are chemicals. Not all drugs are good for you — and not all foods are, either.

Now let’s look at the last type of food reaction: immune complex reactions. This type of reaction is not well known. But it should be. It can be a killer.

Foods, like drugs, are chemicals. Not all drugs are good for you, and not all foods are, either.

SWIMMING POOL DESIGN IDEAS GERRR……

SWIMMING POOL DESIGN

SWIMMING POOL DESIGN

Here are some tips on how to keep your energy bill is lower and save valuable resources of the Earth at the same time.

* Heating your swimming pool: Depending on where you live and heat that is during the spring months and summer, you may not need to heat your pool as often as you think. The houses are in hot desert climates and do not need to heat the pool at night or when he decided to entertain. By heating the water, taking into account alternative methods of heating used to heat water. Energy from solar panels on your home is an excellent way to harness the sun’s energy to heat your pool.

* Cleaning the Pool: Many use automated equipment, which operate in the pool when the pool is empty. While helping to keep the pool clean when you’re in, but also the use of electricity 24 hours a day. Try to reduce the frequency to an automatic cleaning to be used. Also choose to use less chlorine, and to consider alternatives such as cleaners, detergents, ozone. Keep the cover over the pool when not in use also helps keep the debris in the air cleaner, leaves and twigs.

* Keep all plastic and vinyl toys away from the game: Even if I do not believe that the maintenance of the environment around the pool with pool toys the child is also important. Many pool toys are made of vinyl or PVC, also known as polyvinyl chloride. These types of toys, release toxins and chemicals hazardous off-gas. Try to select the pool toys that are made from natural organic materials and the safety of your children, and help keep the pool a greener place to play in.

* Use other sources of water in your pool: In your geographic area, using other methods to collect water in your home into account. Options could include rainwater that can be used to fill your pool, and the plumbing in your home for showers, baths, basin and toilet. This measure can help you reduce your water bill and conserve water on Earth. For many municipalities, geographic, you can earn additional benefits by LEED, or the benefits of saving tax on income tax time. Greywater reuse for your home is a viable option for many homeowners.

Owning a pool should be an enjoyable experience, after all, you deserve to relax and entertain in the warmer months of the year. Despite owning a pool should not be at the expense of its portfolio, the precious resources of the Earth or the health of your family. Follow these tips to green the pool and enjoy all the benefits of reading and resting in the sun.

SWIMMING POOL DESIGN

SWIMMING POOL DESIGN

SWIMMING POOL DESIGN

SWIMMING POOL DESIGN

SWIMMING POOL DESIGN

SWIMMING POOL DESIGN

The Incredible Pistol Squat

The pistol squat requires mobility and strength from the entire lower body and core, and once you work up to being able to complete them you can get a great lower body workout anywhere with no equipment. 
Most people will not be able to perform the pistol squat properly without working through several progressions that help develop the specific mobility, strength and stability required to get through the exercise for repetitions.
Pistol Squat Progressions
There are two basic ways to progress to a full pistol squat. Either use a progressively lower bench or step, or use something to hold onto while doing a full pistol to help pull yourself up and progressively use it less and less until it is no longer required.
For the step progression, you can use actually stairs or use a chair to start.    Stand facing away from the chair or staircase and put all your weight on one leg keeping the other leg straight with the hip flexed slightly so the non-standing foot is held off the ground in front of you.     Flex the hips and reach back with your butt towards the staircase or chair and lower yourself down under control keep your arms straight and in front of you parallel to the floor to counterbalance your hips moving backwards.    Let the standing knee and ankle flex along with your hip as you reach your butt backwards and go down.    However, you MUST keep the heel of the standing leg down and this requires a lot of flexibility of the soleus tendon (soleus is the single joint calf muscle).    
Try to lightly touch your butt down to a stair or the chair then drive the standing foot down, squeeze the glute extending your hip, knee and ankle to the starting position.  Perform sets of 5 – 10 reps each leg.    Overtime find progressively lower steps, benches or individual stairs so that you are progressively squatting lower and lower until you can perform a full squat on one leg all the way down to the ground and back up again keeping your non-standing leg straight and parallel to the floor while the hip is flexed.
The second option to progress to full pistol squats is to hold onto something that you can pull on while doing a full pistol squat thereby assisting the stance leg.    You can hold onto a suspension trainer, a cable machine handle, door frame, chair or table, or resistance training band or rope anchored above you.    A great way to do this is to anchor a suspension trainer or resistance band above you to a secure point then grasp the two handles and pull on them as required to do a full pistol squat.    Over time progressively use less and less assistance from the upper body, switch to just one hand, then lessen grip and assistance until you can perform full pistol squats.

Videos:  https://youtu.be/It3yvU0fomI or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPksQCbeVZw

HOW TO DECORATE A KITCHEN MINIMALIST

A café is a place where people meet, talk and relax. The ambience of a café is loved by many people and that is why many of them visit one daily after work so that they can talk and share things with their friends and relax after the long day. One can decorate their kitchen with a café theme so that they have a coffee shop at home, or they feel the same. Creating the same theme as that of a coffee shop is a brilliant idea to add a different touch to the kitchen and make it nice and cozy also.

Minimalist Decorate a KitchenMinimalist Decorate a Kitchen

Decorating the kitchen with a café theme is not at all difficult or expensive as many would think it to be. People have two options when they want to incorporate a café theme; they can either completely change everything in the kitchen or they can use what is there, and use it and still create the theme. The things that one can use along with the colors and the final touches, is what matters the most.

A basic thing that one can add to the kitchen which will be useful also and will also help to create the café theme is to use a table with four chairs in the space. The chairs should be comfortable and for this one can add cushions to it. The table should not be crowded with too many things and under table you can opt for a modern carpet or rug.There are several types of these rugs you can get including wool area rugs, contemporary rugs and even discount area rugs that you can find online.The other thing that one can do easily is to paint the walls of a different color. The color should be bright and be chosen keeping in mind the natural light that comes in the kitchen.

Near the table that one keeps in the kitchen, one can place a book shelf and place some nice coffee table books or books of art and poetry. Another thing that can be done to create the café theme is that one should only be able to see things related to a coffee shop in the kitchen. The table should only have sugar and coffee beans etc, the counters should only have the appliances that are used in a coffee shop like the blender or the coffee maker. It is not that the kitchen cannot have other useful appliances; all that one needs to take care of is that these should be kept in the cupboards and should not be seen as this can ruin the café theme that one wants to create.

How to Get Rid of Cellulite

Although the vast majority of woman have some cellulite somewhere on their body – nobody likes it!   So what the heck is cellulite anyway?  Cellulite is pockets of fat that have squeezed between bands of tissue, called septae, that are located below your skin.

Women of all races get it, while virtually no men do. That’s because the septae of men are different from women. Men have stronger bands that are cross-hatched allowing them to keep fat in place more effectively. Women have weaker, vertically oriented septae that allows fat to squeeze through easier.

Both thin and heavy women have cellulite. However the higher your level of body fat the more noticeable the dimpling will tend to be.  Unfortunately dieting does necessarily help eliminate cellulite. Losing weight helps sometime, but in some cases weight loss makes cellulite worse.   This occurs when skin becomes saggy after significant weight loss.

There is a definite genetic component to cellulite which does run in families.
Hormones also are part of the equation with cellulite, but science has not figured out exactly how hormones contribute to cellulite.  What is known is that cellulite starts at puberty which is a time that many hormone levels change significantly in females.

Getting Rid of Cellulite

Getting rid of cellulite is easier said than done.  Even treatments like Liposuction are not necessarily effective.    In fact Liposuction often makes cellulite worse by leaving your skin even more puckered looking than it was before.

Dermatologists are quick to point out that there is no magic cure for cellulite, but there are ways to make it look better!   Two of the keys are working out and dropping excess weight sensibly (1lbs per week! – faster weight loss can exacerbate the problem!)

Resistance training is key.   As you increase your muscle size and decrease body fat your skin looks smoother.     If you lose fat while you simultaneously build muscle your cellulite will improve.
It is also important to work on the health of your skin as you age to make it more elastic so that as you lose fat the skin pulls tight rather than sagging.    

Certain topical treatments that increase collagen in the skin, like Retin-A or creams with retinol or vitamin C, cannot hurt and may help.   

Maintaining adequate water intake is also key for skin health and elasticity – 6 – 8 glasses of water per day is key.

If you have faithfully tried everything and your cellulite is driving you crazy and you are prepared to spend some serious dollars – Cellulaze – is an FDA approved therapy.  Cellulaze involves inserting a lazer under the skin and projects heats in three directions and literally liquefies fat as it cuts the septae around fat cells which can reduce the puckering while also encouraging collagen regrowth.

Cellulaze claims a 70 – 80% improvement in cellulite that lasts a full year.  It is most effective for active women with mild to moderate cellulite who are not significantly overweight and who also have good muscle tone.

Unfortunately, Cellulaze is not cheap – costing $5,000 – $7,000 depending on the size of the area being treated.

My Free Font, Just For You™: LED SCREEN GTAMBLOG CAPS+ 2.0 (with Download Links)

An awkward name perhaps, for an odd little, simple version of an “LED Screen / Scoreboard Style Capitals Only” font (including Punctuation and Accents!) – but years ago, I contacted the author of a similar-styled font, to ask specifically for Commercial Use of his font, that looked somewhat like this one [I have been using it “Officially” here at The Blog since then – you can see Examples of it all over this site, on the images].

Today, I found Fontstruct, an easy-to-use, free, online Font creation utility – and thought “why don’t I make my own version this font, not only for ‘The Blog’ to use, but for others to possibly use as well?”.
And so, here is an ‘LED Screen’ or ‘Dot Matrix’ style font (also usable as a ‘Pixel font’) – with punctuation and a couple of ‘accents’ – but capitals only, as traditional LED Screens or Scoreboards (“Score Screens”) would have used; made by my hand, Just For You™…

I am distributing it as “LED SCREEN GTAMBLOG CAPS+ 2.0” by ‘Troy from The Game Tips And More Blog’, at various Font sites, such as those below (for Downloading, Updates as I add more and/or am approved by them). [If you prefer, contact me via email and I can also send you the TTF or Zip of the Font, from me, directly]:

  • Fontstruct (where I created the font by hand): 
  • https://fontstruct.com/fontstructions/show/1459839/led-screen-gtamblog-caps-2-0

  • Fontspace: 
  • http://www.fontspace.com/thegametipsandmoreblog/led-screen-gtamblog-caps-20

Feel free to Comment on those sites, or here (Suggestions, Questions, And More) or contact me via e-mail if you have any questions about the font, at:
[email protected]

Usage License: (Creative Commons, Attribution License, 4.0)
You are free to utilize this font for ANY purpose whatsoever, including Commercial Use and Monetization of any kind, Royalty-Free; the only condition being that you mention my name somewhere, anywhere, during use of this font.
If you would like to make a Donation, on behalf of using this font, you may do so via PayPal, using my email ([email protected]), but this is not required at all, to use this font for any purpose you desire.

As some of you may know, I have been playing around with Fonts off and on, creating them for various images/headers/etc here at The Blog over the years, compiling at least 4-5 fonts or so from scratch, with varying levels of completion… I ‘m not sure when I’ll get around to finishing all of them – but for now, I hope this font can perhaps be useful for some quick images, videos, or whatever you may want it for – Enjoy!

Edit:
 I may return and add some images and examples of the font… Soon™
Also, although I have made this font by hand at the Fontstruct website, I always suggest that you Scan any files you download (just in case), with an Anti-Virus utility of some sort – whether it is Windows Defender (built-in to Windows 10, after downloading) or via an online scanner/website, such as VirusTotal.com or similar.

And More: Corel’s VideoStudio – Crashing When Using ‘Open With’ To Import Clips Into VideoStudio [Fix/Workaround]

Just last Month, I picked up version 20 of Corel’s recently-updated video editing suite “VideoStudio” (nomenclature “X10”) and am having a lot of fun learning what it can do and how to do it all (coming from mainly editing videos with Sony’s Vegas ‘Movie Studio’ line of products [now taken over by MAGIX]). However, I quickly ran into a little issue with importing clips using the “Open With” option in Windows and wanted to share what I found…

Normally, in Windows you can ‘right-click’ a video file and mouse-over the menu option “Open With..”, which brings up a sub-menu of known applications, to ‘send’ the file to (‘opening the file with the chosen application’). Doing this, whichever application you select will startup and the file will be sent to it to work with.

However, doing this with a video clip and VideoStudio x10 I found, every time the program would open up, it would immediately ‘crash’ (close/stop/etc). Hmm… time for some Troubleshooting! I double-checked that the file in question was not corrupted excessively by playing it, testing it in a couple of video/media players, and even tried a few other clips that were ‘known good’ (that VS worked with before). Each time, using “Open With…”, the Splash Screen for VSx10 would show up and then just as the program itself looked like it was opening, the entire thing would crash and show this message:

Example of the “Corel VideoStudio has stopped working” Error Window Pop-Up
when trying to import a clip into VideoStudio X10 utilizing the “Open With” shortcut in Windows

I then went to the Corel ‘Official’ Fora [Forii?] and did some searching to see if anyone ran into this same issue. Unfortunately, all I could find were people experiencing ‘general crashes’, that is, crashing and non-starts without it being specifically associated with utilizing “Open With..”.

I then decided to try these same ‘testing files’ on some other video editing programs I have installed, such as Sony’s Vegas Movie Studio (now owned by MAGIX, the same company that makes the Movie Edit Pro product line, which I have no experience with yet, at this time). Using the “Open With..” command, Movie Studio was able to open and import all of the video clips without issue – so then, what’s up Corel? /tilthead

I thought of trying VideoStudio ‘on it’s own’, not importing or ‘sending’ anything to it – just opening the program and seeing if it works… Everything opened fine! I was just playing with the program the other day in fact, learning some of the features it offers [I’ll have to write a short ‘Review’ or at least a ‘First Impressions’ sometime of it]. So why was it being ‘fussy’ (to use the highly technical term)? I tried opening and closing the program a few times thinking about it, when I noticed that when I opened VideoStudio X10, I was being greeted by a nice-and-helpful “Welcome” StartUp Page…

The “Welcome” Section of VideoStudio
(Click to see Full Size)

Indeed, ‘The “Welcome” Startup Page’ offers a lot of helpful information on opening VideoStudio. There are Tutorial videos on some of the New Features for that version and even Basic Tutorials and Help File links. But wait – no editing interface! No Timeline, no Media Library to add clips – that’s it! That’s the problem! I went into the Settings to see if there was a Preferences option where I could set the Section to open VideoStudio to be – not the “Welcome” section, but the “Edit” section – the tab/area where all of the editing/mixing and importing takes place. There it was: Default Startup Page – and it was set to “Welcome Book”…

The Corel VideoStudio X10 Preferences Window
showing the Default Startup Area/Section which is shown when the program starts
(Click to see Full Size)

A simple pull-down menu change to “Edit” and that was it! Now, VideoStudio is opening to the “Edit” section/area every time. So, I tested it out: right-clicking on my video clip and mousing-over “Open With..” and then clicking on “Corel VideoStudio” – it worked! VS opened up and in a few seconds more, my little video clip was right there on the Timeline, waiting patiently to be edited. Woohoo!

Example of Corel VideoStudio x10 Starting Up In The EDIT Section
(Click to see Full Size)

Here is a video version of the steps above, made showing the error when trying to use “Open With..”, what happens and how to change it, as well as the final ‘working’ result of changing the option (after I finally figured out what it was):


[VIDEO NOT YET COMPLETE, IT WILL APPEAR HERE ONCE FINALIZED AND UPLOADED TO YOUTUBE]

Hopefully this will help any of you dear readers, who use VideoStudio and were running into this error/crash/issue when opening clips with VS (trying to use “Open With..”).. Enjoy and Have Fun editing your gameplay clips once again!

~Troy from The Game Tips And More Blog


[I’m calling this a Workaround, since this is more of that than a true ‘Fix’… It does not solve the base issue of VS not being able to import a clip using “Open With” without taking taking these steps (whether this is more Microsoft’s fault or Corel’s fault is beyond the scope of this post …and being more experienced in computer hardware than computer software (programming, etc), I would not have completely isolated the very base cause of the issue anyway – or at least, could not offer a 100% explanation of what is occurring)]


Note: I am not affiliated in any way with Corel and I have not, and I will not, be compensated for mentioning VideoStudio or any other of the products herein, in any way.  I have used other video editing products than these in the past, and will do so in the future, including free editing applications, such as VirtualDub, AviDemux, DVDVideoSoft products and more… I am merely an enthusiastic gamer-and-sometime-editor and wanted to share information that I discover about these products to help other gamers record-and-edit and have fun doing it, if I can do so.

Kneeling High to Low Chop – The Best Core Exercise You are Not Doing!

Core stability is a big buzzword in fitness, and for very good reason.     The ability to keep the core stable is essential for proper movement and prevention of injury.      Stability has three aspects related to the planes of movement:
Sagittal Plane Stability– is the ability to prevent flexion and extension of the core from the low back to the top of the head.
Front Plane Stability– is the ability to prevent lateral flexion of the core from the top of the head to the low back.
Transverse Plan Stability – is the ability to prevent rotation of the core from the top of the head to the low back
Stability is about preventing movement – not creating movement!   All muscles can act as stabilizers, movers, or absorbers, but the muscles of the core spend a lot of time preventing movement in many activities from running to walking to jumping.    This is why exercises like the plank are considered functional because the plank is about using core muscles to prevent movement of the core as opposed to exercises like a crunch which is about creating movement.
To have a strong and stable core it is important to perform stability exercises in all three planes of movement.     The plank and side plank do a great job of challenging muscles to prevent movement in the sagittal and front planes, but that leaves the Transverse Plane.    This is significant because the vast majority of injuries occur in the Transverse Plane with Frontal Plane injuries close behind.
It is also important to note that rotational movement (movement in the transverse plane) is fundamental to human movement in general and the generation of explosive force in many activities from Golf to Tennis to Boxing.
One of the best ways to develop rotational stability in the Transverse Plane is doing high to low anti-rotation chops in a half kneeling position using either resistance bands or cable resistance with a rope handle or pole attached.
Execution

The anchor point of the resistance band/location of the cable handle should be position up high.     Your body should be facing perpendicular to a line from the handle/anchor point straight down and across your body.     You should be in a half kneeling posture down on one knee (the leg closest to the cable/band should flexed with foot flat on the floor and hip and knee bent at 90 degrees.   
The other knee should be down on the floor (use a cushion or mat!) with shin and top of foot along the ground directly behind the knee.   It is important that the knee is directly under the hip.  It is also important that the spine be held straight with a straight line from top of head through the spine and hip to the knee on the ground.    Extend the spine fully and keep your spine fully elongated throughout the exercise.
Reach across the body and place both hands on the resistance band/rope spread apart with hands shoulder width apart.gripping the band/rope.
Keeping the shoulders and hips facing forward the entire time pull the rope/band directly down and across the body and pause in the bottom position making sure there is no movement to in the shoulders or hips while maintaining a fully lengthened spine.   Then slowly return to the starting position.    Form is VERY important in this exercise.
Here are two great instructional videos:
http://www.stack.com/video/3730538400001/elite-performance-with-mike-boyle-increase-core-strength-with-anti-rotation-exercises

http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/abs-and-core-exercises/videos/half-kneeling-stability-chop

speed camera major malfunction? Or lazy police not reviewing photos? New Orleans police failed to review tickets generated by the automated cameras, and one guy has 10 tickets over 7 years for his parked truck

Actually, make that 11. After the first story ran last week, Schultz received another ticket on Saturday night. A security camera shows this one was actually triggered by a New Orleans Police Department vehicle speeding down the road, but as usual, Schultz was the unlucky recipient of the fine.

http://www.thedrive.com/news/20011/new-orleans-speed-camera-keeps-issuing-speeding-tickets-to-parked-cars

End result? More proof cops don’t give a shit about their jobs, and neither does the mayor or city of New Orleans. 2 cops certified that the two tickets initiated by speeding police vehicles (as seen in the video) went to Shultz. That’s just bull shit. Cops are speeding in a residential neighborhood, and other cops that are supposed to look at the damn photos, are not, they are rubber stamping them all. 

How to Overcome a Negative Habit



Habits are powerful.  Unfortunately, they often are created outside our consciousness and without our permission. However, we can consciously change habits. Habits shape our lives far more than we realize— they are so strong, in fact, that they can cause our brains to cling to them at the exclusion of all else, including common sense.
At the same time, positive habits can change our lives for the better. So how are habits created and what can we do to influence them in ourselves and our clients?
Three Parts of a Habit
The Cue: a situational trigger that is based on a reward you are seeking.
The Routine:  a physical or emotional action you take to obtain the reward.
The Reward:  the satisfaction you get by following the habit.

The Steps to Changing a Habit
Identify the Routine:  You must identify how you go from a particular cue to the routine of the habit and the reward it gives you.
Understand Cravings and Rewards

The first part of a habit is the cue, but before the cue there is some type of craving.  Cravings drive habits.   Understanding cravings is key to figuring out habits.  In a habit, there is a specific reward that satisfies a particular craving.    In other words, figure out what you are getting from the habit because you ARE getting something from it!
Rewards are powerful because they satisfy cravings. But we’re often not conscious of the cravings that drive our behaviors. For example, when developing the air freshening product Febreze marketers discovered that people craved a fresh scent at the end of a cleaning ritual.  They found a craving that people were not aware of.     This craving is so strong that without added scent most people do not get satisfaction from an air freshener that just removes odors from the air – they have to smell the scent!   It is exactly the same phenomenon with breath freshners which can be made to eliminate odor WITHOUT any taste/scent, but no one buys them!
Most cravings are like this: obvious in hindsight, but difficult to discern when they are in control of your behavior. It is critical to discover the cravings that drive habits to be able to change or create habits!   To figure out which cravings are driving particular habits, it’s useful to experiment with different rewards. For example, say your reward is having a cookie after studying every night.  The next time you study deliberately substitute something else for the cookie such as going for a short walk or having a cup of tea instead. 
The next time eat an apple and another time change call a friend for call, etc. What you choose to do instead of eating a cookie is not important.  The key is to test different hypotheses to determine the exact craving that is driving your routine.   Are you craving the cookie itself, or a break from work? If it’s the cookie, is it because you’re hungry? (In which case the apple should work just as well.) Or is it because you want the burst of energy the cookie provides? (And so coffee may work just as well.) Or is it where you eat the cookie and who you are with?  Do you go to a specific place to get and eat your cookie?  If so maybe the real craving may have to do with a desire to socialize.  
As you test four or five different rewards, use this technique to identify patterns.  After each activity, note the first three things that come to mind after your reward behavior. This can be emotions, random thoughts, reflections on how you’re feeling, or just the first three words that pop into your head. Then, set an alarm on your watch or computer for fifteen minutes. When it goes off, ask yourself: Do you still feel the urge for that cookie? The reason why it’s important to write down three things— even if they are meaningless words— is twofold. First, it forces a momentary awareness of what you are thinking or feeling.
By experimenting with different rewards, you can isolate what you are actually craving, which is essential in changing a habit.
Determine the Specific Cue for the Habit

This is the trigger that initiates the craving for the reward.   So it is very important to learn the cues for habits.   Common cues including being in a particular place, being with a particular person, a particular time of time of day, a specific emotional state, etc.    Asking yourself these five questions can be very helpful for identifying cues:
Where are you when the urge for a reward hits you?
What time is it?
What is your emotional state?
Who else is present?
What did you do right before you had the urge?
Have a Plan!
Once you understand the habit you want to change you need to create a plan to change the habit!   The easiest way to do that is have a specific plan of action whenever you experience the cue or cues.    For example, if you smoke when you have coffee know this and plan to do something else deliberately whenever you have a cup of coffee.   The plan is key or you will slip right back into the old routine.
Another example is having a few beers every night when you get home.  Through the first three steps you discover that having the beer helps you relax after a stressful day.    You also learned that going for a 20-minute walk or doing Tai Chi gives you that same reward of feeling relaxed.   So now you plan to either go for a walk or do Tai Chi ever day as soon as you get home (or even better before you get home!).

Cut your Protein why no Sugar?

The case against sugar is a complex one. Besides the fact that refined sugar is a totally unnatural substance that has been stripped of its nutritional value—fiber, vitamins, and minerals—apart from the calories it provides, sugar in concentrated form is very hard on the pancreas. The pancreas, which is responsible for the production of insulin and therefore the regulation of blood sugar and energy levels in the body, has adapted through evolution to deal with a steady flow of glucose in small quantities such as those that result from the intake of complex carbohydrates.

One of the biggest beauty cons of all is the idea that if you eat lots of protein your muscles, skin, hair, and nails will grow strong and you will stay young. Like the old-fashioned high protein diet for building up athletic strength, it doesn’t work. The human need for protein has been grossly exaggerated. At the turn of the century, respected opinion held that we need between 120 and 169 grams of protein per day. Then Chittenden showed in human experiments that far better performance and health were possible on fifty grams, a much lower amount. Another scientist named Hindhede set the figure at thirty grams. Then Oomen in Amsterdam and Hipsley in Canberra discovered a population in Australia which develop not only full health, but exceptional muscular structure and performance on a diet of merely 15 to 20 grams of protein per day.

Diet Start

Later in the United States, the American Research Council’s Food and Nutrition Board agreed on a daily requirement of 70 grams for adults. One member of the board, named Sherman, described how this figure was arrived at. The evidence the committee examined indicated that a much lower amount was needed, somewhere around 35 grams, but there was agreement that if so low a figure had been set there would have been a public outcry, so a corresponding “margin of safety” was decided on and the 70-gram figure was published. But because the scientific basis for the figure was nonexistent, the word “recommendation” was chosen instead of “requirement.” Current recommendations for protein intake hover about the 50-gram mark, although there is strong evidence now that we probably need even less.

Your body needs amino acids, the constituents of protein, for its metabolic processes, for growth and the repair and maintenance of body tissue. Proteins are made up of twenty-two different amino acids; all but eight of them your body can manufacture itself. These eight, which have to be taken in through your foods, are referred to as “essential” amino acids.

A large portion of a protein molecule is made up of nitrogen, and one of the important things about taking protein is that it helps keep a good nitrogen balance in the body, so there is as much nitrogen coming into the body as there is leaving it. This balance helps maintain body health and muscle strength, so that you don’t go into what is known as a negative nitrogen balance, when you lose muscle tissue from your body. To keep your nitrogen right, 10 to 15 percent of your total calorie intake should be from protein.

But when a greater percentage than this of your calorie intake comes from protein foods, then your body goes into a negative mineral balance and you start gradually losing precious minerals and trace elements such as zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and chromium from your system. These nutrients, so easily lost from the body, are vital not only to physical health but also to emotional stability and well-being (more about minerals later). Wachmann and Bernstein of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University investigated the high protein diet and came to the conclusion that the protein-rich (especially the meat-heavy) diet plays a strong role in the genesis of osteoporosis, a softening of the bones, particularly in women after menopause, caused by the loss of minerals. This is probably because of the high protein diet’s tendency to leach valuable minerals (in this case calcium) from the system. And purely from the point of view of physical beauty, many of these lost minerals, such as sulfur, selenium, zinc. magnesium, and calcium, can make the difference between prematurely aging skin caused by a rapid collagen and elastin breakdown, nails that split, or hair in poor condition, and radiant looks glowing with strength and health.

Finally, the breakdown and metabolism of proteins in the body lead to the formation of a number of complex by-products such as urea, nitrogen, and ammonia, which can be toxic. These wastes need to be eliminated. This isn’t always easy, and it puts great strain on the liver and kidneys. This is why, on the well-known high protein reducing diets, you are advised to drink large amounts of water in order to water down these poisons and help excrete them.

Choosing a Sensible Diet, Healthy Appetite

So you like to eat! That’s normal. A healthy appetite is one of the greatest assets in life. The whole body seems to respond to the sight, smell, and taste of a well-prepared meal. Every organ responds to the occasion. The glands work more vigorously, the digestive organs operate more efficiently, and the nervous tensions relax. That is why eating is such a pleasure, especially when you are healthy.

Many people, however, are neither sick nor well. They are somewhere in between. They drag themselves around, feeling half dead much of the time. Yet, they are not sick enough to go to bed. What is the cause of their trouble? Many times it is due to a faulty diet. Some victims of nervous conditions could be completely cured if they would only learn to eat properly. The same is true of many others who suffer from digestive complaints. They could all find relief from their miseries by choosing better meals.

So much depends on the right choice of food. This human body in which we live is a superb machine. It is capable of operating smoothly for seventy or eighty years, provided that we treat it well. But if we fail to supply it with the materials it needs, the results may be well-nigh disastrous.

Every time we open our mouths to eat we make an important decision concerning our future.

Good health always begins in the garden. A well-balanced diet naturally includes plenty of wholesome fruits and vegetables.

Diet Start

What we choose to eat will either help to keep us strong and healthy or it will leave us weakened and less prepared to meet the stress and strain of living. The kind of health and the length of life we enjoy probably depend more on the type and quality of foods we choose than on any other factor. The choice is up to us.

It was the Creator’s plan that the foods we eat should keep us young and healthy. Many bring on premature old age by wrong eating habits.

Unfortunately, a great many people never give much thought to their diet. They will eat anything they can get their hands on or that may appeal to their perverted appetites. In their minds one thing is as good as another—or as bad. They will eat at any odd time whether they are hungry or not. No wonder they are sick! The human digestive system was never intended to sustain this kind of abuse.

Don’t Be a Faddist

On the other hand, there are some who react quite differently. They take great pains regarding what they eat. They are so careful to avoid anything that they suspect might cause them trouble. They are so particular in everything they do. Every now and then they go on some newfangled diet in the hope of winning back their lost energies. This means that they often deprive themselves of the very things they so much need. Such people are slowly starving themselves in the midst of plenty.

In most cases there was nothing radically wrong with such people. They simply didn’t know how to feed themselves in a proper manner. They were not intelligent on some of these most vital issues of life.

It should seem perfectly obvious to everyone that our bodies are built up entirely from the things we eat. We have no other way of getting these important substances into the system. Yet how few of us really think very much about this. To keep well we must develop different tastes. Our appetites need to be educated. For instance, we must realize that we cannot continue to eat devitalized foods without paying for our folly.

Foods that are highly flavored with sugar and condiments are usually devoid of some of the most important elements needed by the body. The seasonings often cover up the natural flavor to satisfy an abnormal appetite. But such foods may be completely lacking in the vital elements necessary to maintain a person in good health.

Rules for Choosing a Sensible Diet

Choosing a sensible diet is not so difficult. There are a few simple rules that anyone can follow. First of all, it is important to have plenty of variety in your diet. Don’t be satisfied with the same old humdrum meals. Look around for something new and different—avoid monotony. Find new ways of preparing food. It is a fact that the more variety you have, the less you are likely to suffer from some dietary deficiency.

The second rule is to learn something about the different materials your body needs. For instance, if you are going to build a house, you will have to buy certain supplies, such as timber, glass, bricks, plaster, nails, paint, and many more. In the same way the human body needs different building materials for the important job it has to do. These things are essential at every age of life, but more particularly during those rapidly growing years of childhood and youth. They are also necessary when one is recovering from some serious illness or injury, or during pregnancy and lactation.

What are these different materials? Doctors refer to them as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and water. These are the materials of which the body is composed. They are present in our foods. When these various substances are absorbed into the blood stream, they are usually stored in the liver and other organs until they are needed. With the exception of water, each must undergo certain changes before being used in the human system. Myriads of chemical reactions are taking place within your own body at this very minute. This is what keeps you healthy and strong, so that all your organs will be working at full capacity.

From our foods we get the materials out of which the bones, muscles, nerves, skin, and all the internal organs are formed. From our food we also derive the energy we need in carrying on all the activities of life. In addition, we must have other important chemicals that are needed to regulate the activities of every organ in the body. Unless these materials are present in our daily diet, we are likely to suffer from some deficiency. Sooner or later we will find ourselves in real trouble.

The average diet of many families today is lacking in certain of these nutrients. Sometimes the trouble is due to insufficient protein. At other times it may be a loss of vitamins or minerals, which may have occurred during the preparation of the food. Some people try to make up for a deficient diet by taking extra vitamins in the form of pills. These may help, but they will never take the place of good food in supplying the needs of the body. There is always danger in trying to follow some haphazard, unbalanced diet. Only a sensible way of living will enable us to enjoy a full and satisfying life, free from diseases that could have been avoided.

Sample Dining Room Minimalist Design Idea

Sample Dining Room Minimalist DesignSample Dining Room Minimalist Design

Sample Dining Room Elegant DesignSample Dining Room Elegant Design

Sample Dining Room Classic DesignSample Dining Room Classic Design

Sample Dining Room DesignSample Dining Room Design
Sample Dining Room Elegant DesignSample Dining Room Elegant Design

Overweight and Food Sensitivity Rule No 1: Delayed Reactions

These are the single most common cause of false fat.

Arguably, delayed food reactions cause as many health problems as some of the most horrific of life’s various risk factors, such as smoking or stress. The effects are often subtle and accumulate slowly, but the harm is undeniable. Without a doubt, delayed food reactions cause weight gain. Because 300,000 people die each year from obesity-related problems, anything that exacerbates weight gain is a serious issue.

Therefore, the average person’s ignorance about delayed food reactions is a serious public health problem. Don’t let yourself be a victim of this lack of knowledge!

Delayed food reactions are very similar to classic allergies. The biggest difference is that when you have sensitivities, you often don’t notice symptoms right after you eat. Sometimes it can take as long as three days for symptoms to appear. The reason for the delay is that this type of food reaction is caused by a different antibody than the one that causes classic food allergies, and it takes longer for allergens to come in contact with this antibody. This antibody, IgG (or immunoglobulin G), is found only in the bloodstream, so food molecules need to reach the-bloodstream for problems to occur. As long as food macromolecules stay in the digestive tract, no symptoms may appear. Sometimes food molecules move out of the digestive tract almost immediately, but sometimes they don’t.

Diet Start

When reactive food macromolecules do eventually meet up with IgG antibodies, the antibodies wage the same basic type of battle fought by IgE antibodies, which cause classic allergies. The IgG antibodies call the immune system into the fight, and histamines and other chemicals are released, causing swelling and other symptoms.

The IgG antibodies are by far the most common antibodies in the body. They’re three times more common than the IgE antibodies that cause classic allergies; that’s one reason delayed food reactions are more common than classic allergies.

Because IgG reactions are delayed, people are often unaware of their real cause. If you feel a symptom on Monday morning, it may be hard to link it to something you ate Friday night.

Another reason people are often unaware of their IgG reactions is that these reactions often don’t occur in obvious places, such as the skin, as do classic IgE allergies.

Even though an IgG reaction may not be obvious, it can still be very harmful. For example, if you’re allergic to bee stings and get an IgE reaction on your skin from a sting, you’ll be sure to notice and treat it. However, an internal IgG reaction to a food may ultimately cause you much more generalized, systemic swelling than a bee sting; it’s like getting a bee sting to the whole body. But because your reaction is spread over your whole body, you may not be very aware of it. All you’ll notice is that you don’t feel good and have more bloating and swelling. After you’ve read this book, though, and learned what to look for, I guarantee that you will notice how drastically food reactions affect your body.

Another antibody that can cause delayed reactions is IgA. IgA fights at the front lines — at the mucous membrane sites and in the digestive tract itself — trying to stop allergens from being absorbed by the body in the first place. To do this, it stimulates secretion of mucus, which blocks absorption.

Studies show, though, that almost half of all Americans don’t secrete enough IgA. Non-reactive people secrete 3,000 to 5,000 mg of IgA every day, but some reactive people don’t secrete much at all. If you’re low on IgA, sooner or later a reactive food molecule will work its way through your intestinal wall and cause a reaction. The more reactive foods you eat, the more likely you’ll be to use up your supply of IgA and lose your front-line force against food reactions.

Therefore, if you do ‘cheat’ and eat an allergenic food, it’s smart not to eat too much of the food. One jam doughnut might get blocked by IgA, but three doughnuts may overwhelm your forces and push you past your allergic threshold.

Another factor that depletes IgA is use of certain medications, including antibiotics, antacids, ulcer drugs, cortisone and aspirin. Again, as you can see, it’s not just what you eat that can hurt your metabolism and make you fat.

The Amazing Power of Focus

I frequently like to put on music while I work, and I sometimes do that in my classroom, too. I’ve rotated through many Pandora playlists, and I use Spotify a fair amount. I like the music on those sites, but they’re more for entertainment than work.

I’ve finally found a resource that really seems to help me and my students get into the zone and focus.

Let me introduce you to my favorite new website, [email protected]

This website allows you to listen to instrumental music from a variety of genres that has been specially selected to get you into a state of “flow.” The music is sequenced in an order that draws on neuroscience and research about the impacts of music on productivity. They have a huge section documenting the science behind the playlists. 
I tried this site while reading some really dense texts for a PhD class, and I really felt like it helped me stay focused and productive. I cruised through the articles in record time! I also had it playing while I worked on writing this morning, and I do feel like it’s impacting my personal productivity. It seems to be helping my students as well. 
They have two membership levels — a free version and a paid version. The free version gives you 60 minutes of each playlist before stopping. You can listen to the playlists multiple times, but it will always be the same playlists. The paid version allows you to set a timer, customize playlists, listen to unlimited music, and track productivity for $4.99 billed monthly or $45 billed annually. I’m currently using the free version, but I suspect it won’t be long before I upgrade. It’s having a big impact on my productivity. 
If you like to have music on in the background while you or your students work, I’d definitely recommend giving [email protected] a try. I’d love to hear about your experiences with it in the comments!

I like www.focusatwill.com so much that I’ve become an affiliate with the site. This means that if you click the links above and subscribe, I’ll receive a very small commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CRF, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Cellulite Breakdown and Essential Detoxification part 2

Beware the Heavy Metals

Whether or not you go for music of the same name, heavy metals in your body are something you want to get rid of. These elements, the concentration of which has increased dramatically in our air, foods and water since the Industrial Revolution, can seriously interfere with your body’s metabolic functioning and thus challenge its wellbeing. Mercury tends to suppress the levels of white blood cells involved in the immune response. Cadmium displaces the essential element zinc needed for a great many of your body’s enzyme systems and renders them inefficient and even inactive (including those that build new collagen and elastin for skin and connective tissues). In the West we now have a concentration of lead in our bodies some 500 to 1,000 times that of our pre-technological ancestors. High levels of this heavy metal age us prematurely, interfere with our mental processes, suppress immunity and contribute to depression. Aluminium, another heavy metal, detrimentally affects the central nervous system. It has recently been associated with the development of pre-senile dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Diet Start

The presence of all of these elements in excessive quantities (and their concentrations in the human body appear to be increasing with each passing decade) generally interferes with the metabolic processes on which good body ecology and therefore the absence of cellulite depends. It is important to do everything you can to eliminate them from your body. (The alginates, forms of fibre found in seaweeds, also chelate heavy metals and adding sea plants to your diet on an ongoing basis is a good idea, after your applefast is finished.) You also need to be aware of ways you can protect yourself from allowing heavy metals to build up in the first place. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Steer clear of tobacco smoke and exhaust fumes
  • Don’t buy fruit or vegetables from shops in the street where they have been exposed to leaded exhaust fumes
  • Don’t cook in aluminium pans
  • Eat plenty of fibre and nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits.

More Than An Apple A Day

Now let’s get down to the programme. An applefast can be done by any healthy person provided of course your doctor agrees. It was taught to me twenty years ago by Dr Gordon Latto, a British medical doctor who uses nothing but food and breathing and a few herbs to heal even the most complex and chronic conditions. He is almost 80 and one of the most remarkably healthy and vital men I have ever met. The applefast lasts for two or three days (never more, except under doctor’s supervision). You eat only raw apples — as many varieties as you want — for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as in between. Eat all you want, but chew well and always crunch up the seeds too. They contain valuable nutrients that help the process.

During the applefast you need to give up all tea and coffee although you may have as much mineral water or herb tea made with mineral water as you please, sweetened with a little honey if you prefer. The best herb tea of all for The Breakdown is solidago or golden rod which you can get from a good herbalist. Like nettle, it has natural diuretic properties to help shift some of the stored water in your tissues but, unlike nettle, it actually tastes pleasant.

Don’t be surprised if you suffer the odd headache during this dynamic two or three days clear out. (Especially if you have been a dyed-in-the-wool coffee or tea drinker.) This is a sign that the whole process is happening rapidly. If you do, then take a 20-minute epsom salts bath and lie down in a darkened room to rest for 15 minutes afterwards. (More about this in a moment.)

External work on your body is important too to trigger the detoxification process. Start now to incorporate skin brushing into your daily routine. After the applefast is over continue doing it but begin to use other techniques as well to enhance lymphatic drainage, to help break up hardened connective tissue, and to keep the detoxification process going while you are rebuilding new, strong connective tissue and ground substance.

Workout Anytime Featured in Franchise Times

Workout Anytime was recently featured in the Franchise Timesin an article titled, “Nest Eggs: Done right, a rollover of retirement funds can be smart option”.

The article is a trend piece on franchisees using their 401(k) to purchase their business. John Heifner, Workout Anytime franchisee, gives great insight into how he went about purchasing his Workout Anytime with the use of his 401(k). He went on to say “Starting our third year, I can start thinking about funding a retirement again instead of keeping my money more fluid for cash flow.”

Click HERE for the full article or begin reading below:

Nest Eggs

Done right, a rollover of retirement funds can be smart option

By: Jeffrey McKinney
More franchisees are using their 401(k) retirement funds to finance the purchase of a franchise. Who should consider the move? Experts explain the do’s and don’ts, including warnings about strict IRS rules.

Jeremy Turner’s decision to pretty much tap out his retirement funds to buy a Lawn Doctor franchise was very clear: He calls it the best option he had after banks would not lend him the money.
Turner withdrew $70,000 from his 401(k) plan and another $30,000 he and his wife had in savings to start the lawn care business in St. Louis in 2010. Turner says he discovered companies charge around $5,000 to help complete the financing process. “I would not suggest that someone try to do this on their own because of tax and other risks involved,” he says.

The Question of Alcohol in you Diet

Alcohol, like caffeine and nicotine, is a drug. As such, it is capable of bringing about serious damage to mind and body when taken over a long period of time. Made from the fermentation of carbohydrates with yeast enzymes, alcohol is rapidly absorbed through the digestive system, affecting coordination of the muscles, nerves, and vision. It also stimulates stomach secretions, inhibits mobilization of lymphocytes so that the body’s ability to fight infection is reduced, and causes sludging in the red blood cells, thereby reducing oxygen to the heart and lungs. And it affects the brain, adversely affecting the specific centers that govern self- control, judgment, and personal inhibitions.

Alcohol is a depressant. The transient feeling of well-being that goes with a couple of glasses of whisky or a dry martini—the “lift”—is followed by a series of miseries to which your body is subjected, not the least of which, for a woman, is the effect drinking alcohol has on the liver. And the insidious thing about the detrimental effects which alcohol has on health and beauty is that they occur even to the average social drinker, not just to the serious drinker and the alcoholic.

A joint study by Dr. Charles S. Leiber of the Section of Liver Disease and Nutrition at Bronx Veterans Administration and Dr. Emanuel Rubin of the Department of Pathology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine showed that too much social drinking can cause serious damage to the liver, even though the drinker may feel fine, act normally under the influence of alcohol, and not be an alcoholic. Leiber and Rubim took a group of healthy nonalcoholic volunteers and put them on a carefully controlled eight-day drinking regimen. Then they tested the subjects’ livers to see what changes, if any, the alcohol had caused. The amount given to a particular group was considered equivalent to the average intake of a business executive-7 ounces of 86-proof whisky per day for the first four days, 11 ounces for the new two, and then 14 ounces for the last two. The results were surprising: there was an increase in the fat levels in the subjects’ liver of from five to thirteen times, all in only eight days, and in spite of the fact that the diet of the subjects had been supplemented with vitamins.

Diet Start

Similar studies have turned up similar results. Researchers have also found that liver-cell damage and the increase in fat in the liver can be reversible if the drinker abstains from alcohol for long enough. But longterm damage to the liver resulting from daily consumption of alcohol over the years can be irreversible. Persistent drinking can also be a precursor not only to specific diseases of the liver such as cirrhosis, but also to other toxic conditions in the body.

Next to the skin, your liver is your body’s largest organ. In many ways it is also the most important. One could, for instance, live without a stomach if necessary but never without a liver. It is the body’s chemical purifier, performing more than five hundred different functions, many concerned with detoxifying the system from all the drugs, pollutants, and poisons you take in every day, including alcohol. If the liver is overworked or worn out by excess alcohol consumption, eventually and unavoidably your whole body suffers. Biochemists used to believe that excess alcohol was no more damaging to the liver than too much sugar or too much fat in the diet; that the real damage to the liver came only from malnutrition. But these theories have been disproved. Both the quantity of alcohol you drink and the duration of time over which you drink it are important factors in determining liver damage.

Because the liver is responsible either directly or indirectly for controlling levels of many hormones in a woman’s body (particularly estrogen), when liver damage occurs as the result of a diet too high in fats or of drug taking or long-term alcoholic consumption, the endocrine balance can be severely upset, leading not only to disruption of the menstrual cycle but also indirectly to feelings of depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue.

These troubles may have another cause, also related to alcohol. In order to metabolize alcohol, your body calls on its reserve of many B- complex vitamins which act as coenzymes in the process. When one eats foods containing natural concentrations of carbohydrates or sugar, such as grains and fruits, the B-complex vitamins necessary for their proper digestion and assimilation are provided by nature in the foods themselves. But the B-complex vitamins have been discarded in the processing of highly refined sugars and alcohol. So the body’s own reserves can easily get depleted when you drink alcohol and eat refined sugars. Results of this depletion are many, the most common of which can be fatigue, a craving for more alcohol or sweets, or diverse emotional complaints from severe premenstrual tension to simple feelings of chronic misery.

These are just some of the reasons why the Lifestyle Diet excludes alcohol in quantities of more than a glass of wine a day. This may seem like a tremendous sacrifice to you if you are used to taking a great deal more, but once you eliminate stimulants such as coffee, tea, and alcohol from your life and begin to experience the enormous sense of well-being that comes with the low fat, low protein, complex carbohydrate diet (and all the other important things that also go with discovering and expressing your potentials mentally and physically, such as deep relaxation and exercise), you will never miss it.

The link between carbohydrates and insulin resistance

The hormone insulin plays a major role in the metabolism of carbohydratesand their conversion to energy in the body. When you eat carbohydrates, they are converted into glucose in the bloodstream, which triggers the release of insulin. This virtually escorts the glucose to the body’s cells, where it can be used as energy. If there is too much glucose, the insulin turns it into glycogen, which is stored in your muscles and liver ready to be converted back toglucose when it is needed.

However, in the high-refined ‘carob’ world in which we live, we often have too much glucose floating around in the bloodstream, and then insulin converts it to fat. And our body cells may become so flooded with insulin that they cease to be responsive to it, so the pancreas keeps producing more and more insulin in an attempt to get energy to your cells. This is known as ‘insulin resistance‘.

Diet Start

Over a period of time, less and less glucose gets used as energy, and more and more gets laid down as fat. Since insulin also sends messages to the brain to tell you that you are hungry, more and more insulin means increasing cravings for carb-laden food.

The only people who are benefiting from refined foods are:

  • The dentists who have to patch up your decaying teeth
  • The pharmaceutical companies who have to sell you drugs to sort out the symptoms of your ailing immune system and your susceptibility to chronic and degenerative disease
  • The food manufacturers, who are only really interested in profit. If you add to this a high intake of caffeine, alcohol, smoking and a lack of exercise, then you will almost certainly be taking a wobbly walk down the road to ill health.

Is it enough just to cut out refined carbohydrates?

Totally banishing all things processed and adopting a healthier diet based on fresh produce is a definite start, but if you have a weight problem linked to insulin resistance, it may not be enough, because if you are still eating a diet that is too high in the wrong sort of carbohydrates — coupled with not eating enough protein or fat to slow down the rate at which these excessive carbs are hitting your blood-sugar levels — you will still have problems. A low-fat/high-carb diet can give you a nasty shock every time you jump on the scales.

The thing to remember is that all carbohydrates have an effect on your blood sugar, and every gram of carbohydrate consumed is equal to one gram of glucose in your bloodstream. So if you are eating more than your body can burn for energy, or can safely store as glycogen in the liver, the rest will be turned to fat.

The key factor in balancing blood-sugar levels and banishing thesymptoms of insulin resistance is controlling your intake of carbohydrates. In order to do this effectively you need to know which ones have the greatest impact on your blood sugar and which do not.

Initially, this will need a little time and effort on your part as you learn about the different sorts of carbohydrates. You may find that the changes you have to make to your diet are quite drastic, but before long — as you start to feel and look better — you will be amazed at how little you miss the wrong kinds of carbohydrates such as processed and sugary foods. Youwon’t feel the need to pile your plate high with potatoes and pasta, because your newly balanced blood sugar levels won’t be crying out for acarbohydrate fix.

Are You Ready for NaNoWriMo?

I plan to encourage my students to participate in NaNoWriMo again this year. For those of you who aren’t familiar, November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. It’s the month where tell your inner-editor to hush so you can just let the ideas flow on to the page. It’s about getting something done without worrying how perfect it is, because you can always go back and revise in December.

Last year, as October drew to a close, I introduced NaNoWriMo to my class. I explained the premise, and gave them the option of taking on the challenge. We talked about word count goals and commitment to writing outside of the classroom. Then the fun started. Student after student signed up, each cheering each other on as they dedicated themselves to writing a book. In the end, I think all but two students decided to participate. We had weekly lunch meetings where students could eat and share their writing with friends, and although not all students met their goals, they definitely started to find their voices as authors.

The Young Writers Program for NaNoWriMo has some great teaching materials to get your students psyched for NaNoWriMo and to teach them about narrative writing in general. You can check out their website at http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/. In addition, there’s still time to order a NaNoWriMo classroom kit which comes with a student goal setting poster, NaNoWriMo stickers to track progress toward a goal, and buttons for those students who participate or finish. The classroom kit is free (and awesome), but they request a $10 donation for the materials — a small price to pay to get your students excited about writing.

In honor of NaNoWriMo, I’ll be hosting a month-long link-up that will start on November 1 and run the duration of NaNoWriMo. Whether your class officially participates in NaNoWriMo or not, I hope you’ll join me in sharing the great writing work that’s happening in your class. Grab the button, spread the word, and meet me back here on November 1st for a writing extravaganza!

In the meantime, check out the Educators’ section of the Young Writers Project. I’m sure you’ll find plenty to get you (and your students) excited for a month full of creative writing!

Who’s in?

Peanut Benefits for Health

PEANUT BENEFITS FOR HEALTH

Peanut Benefits for Health – Peanuts are legumes that take the benefits to the area of the roots are forming pods, do you know if the bean plants it has the advantage of a very remarkable in the area of agricultural land, the reason is because the beans are plants that collaborate with types of mycorrhizal fungi to synthesize N in the air become available to the plant, N that includes nutrients that are needed by plants in large enough quantities, land former planted beans have levels of N were pretty much up intake N for the next crop is still there. Not only useful for agriculture, but peanuts also have benefits for our health.
Peanut Benefits For Health - 1
Now let us try to discuss specifically about the benefits of the bean plants to our body and how much is the benefit that we can take from this pod peanut plants. Consider the benefits of peanuts below:
Peanut Benefits for Health
1. Helps To Increase Fertility
For you are the woman I’m sure you’ve got the point. Peanuts contain folic acid, according to research women who ate peanuts 400 micrograms of folic acid have a lower risk of having a baby born with a serious neural tube defects up to 70% at the time before pregnancy and early pregnancy
2. It Can Prevent Painful Gallstones
During 20 years of research have shown if by consuming 1 ounce of peanut butter a week can reduce the risk of developing gallstones by 25%.
Peanut Benefits For Health
3. Can Help Reduce Depression And Stress
Peanuts are a good source of tryptophan, the role of these substances can increase serotonin antidepressant effects (which can affect the atmosphere in the heart) if there is an increase in the amount of serotonin in the blood.
4. Can Improve Memory
The beans have a content of vitamin B3 or also often called by naisin content is also beneficial to maintain the health of the brain and improve memory.
5. Lowers Bad Cholesterol
Peanuts contain cholesterol substances that are good for our bodies, as well as the good cholesterol can reduce cholesterol levels and can control the evil by means of dominating it.

Hopefully article Peanut Benefits for Health can we share today can be beneficial for you. Do not forget to always visit the website abouthealthbenefits.xyz to seek other health articles. Thank You.

The Incredible Benefits of Grounding – Walking Barefoot on the Ground!

Anyone with small children knows they want to try to ditch their shoes every chance they get – but if you think about how you feel when you are barefoot you will probably realize that you  also feel better when you can walk around barefoot.  Researchers have begun to unravel why being barefoot directly on the ground can in fact be very good for your health!
Your immune system functions well when your body has an adequate supply of electrons, which are easily and naturally obtained by barefoot contact with the Earth.
Research has shown that electrons from the ground have measurable antioxidant effects that can protect your body from inflammation. For hundreds of thousands of years on the planet humans have been in direct contact with the ground without anything that would block the flow of electrons into our bodies.
However in modern time’s pavement, wood, rubber, plastics and many other forms of non-conductive material are between our feet and ground blocking the natural flow of electrons.
The surface of our planet has a negative electrical potential. So when we are in direct contact with it electrons flow to your bod through a process called “grounding”.   Grounding causes positive physiological effects that promote optimum health.
Specific researched benefits include improvements in blood viscosity, heart rate variability, inflammation, cortisol dynamics, sleep, autonomic nervous system (ANS) balance, and reduced effects of stress.
When you connect directly to the ground without any non-conducting material between you and the electron field of the planet there is an improvement in the balance of two sides of your autonomic nervous system:  the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
How Shoes May be Impacting Your Health
Materials like metals are excellent conductors of electricity (aka electrons!). The human body is also conductive because it contains a large number of charged ions (called electrolytes) dissolved in water.
Other non-conductive materials, such as plastic and rubber, have very few free or mobile electrons. Traditionally shoes were made of leather, which is a good electrical conductor. However almost all modern shoes contain rubber and plastic which block the flow of electrons from the earth to your body.
The Health Benefits of Grounding
Your immune system body has evolved a method of destroying bacteria and viruses by generating reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are delivered by immune cells. However, these ROS can also cause extensive damage to healthy tissues. ROS are usually positively charged molecules that need to be neutralized immediately to prevent damage to the body after destroying bacteria or viruses.   This is one of the key functions of anti-oxidants which are most important in immune cells to protect them from the ROS they generate!
Anti-oxidants essentially provide a supply of negative charges. Food based antioxidants (such as Vitamins C and E) and anti-oxidants your body produces are critical but a regular supply of electrons grounding can supply them as well.
Evolution facilitated the process of grounding by providing conductive systems within your body that deliver electrons from your feet to all parts of your body. This system has been integral to human physiology for thousands of years. Negative electrons are always available, thanks to the Earth, to prevent the inflammatory process from damaging healthy tissues.
All of this was interrupted when we started to wear shoes with rubber and plastic soles, and no longer slept in direct contact with the ground. Several experiments have proven that a person who is grounded is less stressed and more relaxed.
So have some fun, kick your shoes off and get back to nature!
How to get the benefits of Grounding
Grounding is simple in warmer climates – simply spend time barefoot in direct contact with the earth.   Even better do this on a beach walking along the edge of the water because the flow of negatively charged electrons will be highest here because sea water is an ideal conductor of electrons!    Any amount of time will help but the more you can do it the better!  Even better spend some time laying on the beach or ground with your body in direct contact with the ground without any artificial fabrics, rubber or plastic between your skin and the ground.
For those of us who do not live in warm climates staying grounded during colder months is a bit more challenging but doable! There are actually grounding mats available that plug in to the grounding wire port of a normal 3-prong outlet or a grounding rod (US and Canada only). The earth’s natural electrons flow right up through the ground wire and onto the mat, even if you’re in a high rise. Most mats come with an outlet tester you plug in to the outlet so if your outlet is configured properly.

The 2017 Extra Life 24-Hour Gaming Marathon, In Support of The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals [Post Updated All Weekend]

Wow, it’s that time again – time to try to play some games for a cause – in my case, I play as much as I can through the weekend for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation (as I was born and raised in the province of Alberta, Canada).

This year actually ‘sprung up’ on me, as I haven’t been feeling well these past few weeks… I have had a bit of a fever [38C/100F+]  the entire time and have been extra sore and slow (I say ‘extra’ as I myself have a condition, called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis – which is basically an infection of the brain and spine that causes Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue symptoms (pain and tiredness, respectively) – a condition I have had for 12 years now [wow it’s been that long]). So, playing for this charity every year is special to me and something I have tried to do every since I heard of Extra Life back in 2015.

Image Link to The Extra Life main website, where you can see all of the other wonderful people participating in this event, many of them streaming their marathon Live on Twitch and other streaming sites! (Link opens in a new window)

Due to my own illness then, I cannot play 24 hours straight through, but I count my gaming hours Playing For The Kids™ over the entire weekend of the event (in this years’ case, Saturday November 4th and Sunday November 5th), hopefully tallying 24 hours in total.. (in the case that I am not ‘up to it’ for that long, I allow myself to count my wife’s gaming time, as she generously tries to play beside me and add hours, for a “Total Household Hours” amount). [I always hope that in the spirit of the event and the intention, that my dear readers and those at Extra Life find this acceptable]

As has occurred in past years, I do not have the ability/energy to set up and maintain a constant Stream of some sort yet (through Twitch, YouTube and other streaming services); but what I do is I share some details and Screenshots (and Videos if I can) of what I am able to play, here at The Blog, in an ongoing and updated post – one that I will be adding to as the weekend progresses (including Sunday Night), right here!

So, follow along with me as I Play For The Kids™ all weekend, updating this very post as I go – and if you wish to take part, you can Pledge/Donate directly to the Extra Life charity via the Logo/Image just below or through this link for 2017: https://www.extra-life.org/participant/247989 – and whether you pledge anything or not, feel free to just return to this posting for gameplay time Updates, Screenshots, some Video Clips from the weekend – and more!

See You In The Game!

Update, Saturday 12:30PM MST: Beginning The Marathon, with the initial post above and gathering snacks and drinks to start Playing For The Kids™!

Update, Saturday 7:30 PM MST: As usual with this event, I always try to play some good’ol Minecraft Hardcore Mode (you only get one life!), to see how far I can get during the marathon.

Usually, I don’t get too far and starting out this year was no exception. I spawned in a new Hardcore world – in a wintery biome which I found out later was “Cold Taiga” – which meant, although there were plenty of Trees for Wood to use, there were no seeds to find and plant right away for food, there were no large hills in sight (for easy access to Stone and Coal to cook any foods I might come across) except in the far distance – and as night fell, I died right away to a band of two skeletons and a zombie that came out from behind one of the many, many trees…. Wow what a harsh start!

I began another Hardcore world, hoping to spawn in a relatively easier biome – and I did… I quickly collected Seeds from the Grass around me and began a Garden to grow Wheat RIGHT AWAY, heh. I had to cull some of the many Pigs I found around me in order to eat, planning on replenishing their numbers later on. I then carved out a little Mud Hut in the hillside nearby and settled in for the night…

Updates on that World as I play more – but for now I have to stop and take another break. More to come!

Total Gameplay Time: ~2.0 hrs

Update, Sunday 10:30 AM MST: I played last night right up until I fell asleep, starting a “Just One Life™” character in Fallout 4 (where I stop playing and delete that character upon dying just once), and was popping into various games for short periods of time, like Marvel Heroes (which has Daily Login Rewards, with small ‘gifts’ every few days you enter the game – and a Free Hero available at the no doubt-difficult-to-get-to, Day 300) [Even if I do not have the energy to play for a while, I try to pop in to register a login, heh – to see how far I can go].

I also popped into The Elder Scrolls: Legends, a Virtual Collectible Card Game based on The Elder Scrolls series [a good game for slow-paced-yet-still-kinda-flashy-and-enjoyable gameplay that you can play against the CPU/AI only, if you desire to]. I also ran a few Benchmarks and did a few quick driving tests in Grand Theft Auto V, trying out some settings I saw in YouTube videos online (to see if I get the same framerate with the same hardware) – but I felt a bit weird at the concept of playing GTA games for this Event [shouldn’t I be playing games kids would play, or at least Family-Friendly games? lol], so I didn’t stay in Los Santos very long.
Today, I plan on playing as much as I can, continuing my Minecraft: Hardcore Mode world, and my Fallout 4 “Just One Life™” character, along with some Elder Scrolls Online gameplay, hoping to get up to 24 hours in Total. I’ll also post more Screenshots next Update. Here I go!
Total Gameplay Time: ~ 5.0 hrs


Update, Monday 9:30 AM MST: Well I played as much as I could… 
In Minecraft, I continued my Hardcore Mode world (actually Marathon 2017 World 2.0, as I died without even leaving the first Biome in the first one (above)), making a nice Garden along the shore of a River nearby…
When night fell upon the world, since I was out on a ‘walkabout’, looking around the Biome, I quickly dug into the nearest hill, making myself a small mudhut house to Craft and Cook in… I should have maybe stayed in it all night, but I thought I would get started on collecting more Food, by killing a few Spiders and using their silk to make String, crafting a Fishing Pole.. And what happened? Two Skeletons came out from behind a tree and as I ran back toward my little ‘second mud hut’, they cornered me and filled me full of arrows, as I weakly flailed my Rock Sword back and forth… I hope my ‘Deeds Will Be Remembered’ [hehe Diablo2]
To make myself feel better, I popped in an out of a few games for the next few hours… I tried out Need for Speed: Most Wanted, which seemed like an open-world racing game, with good graphics.
Playing that game reminded me of a ‘test’ I wanted to do (I love running Benchmarks and Tests, heh) with Grand Theft Auto Five (GTAV), where I saw a video of someone running it on High Settings, to test out the differences between how it performed on two different CPUs (Processors, referring to the ‘main engines’ of a computer). So I started up GTAV and ran the Benchmark (to see if I got similar results) and drove around the city a bit.
While the game looked good, I felt a little weird playing such a ‘mature’ game during a Marathon for children’s charities [lol shouldn’t I be playing ‘family friendly games’? or does it matter?], so I just took a few Screenshots (of course), and then left it for now, for something else.

The Beta for Paladins, a MOBA-slash-FPS game by the makers of Tribes:Ascend and Smite, was going on, so I popped into that game, going through the Training and playing for a while afterward.


Total Gameplay Time: ~ 10.0 hrs

Alas, just like before, I couldn’t quite make the 24 Hours on my own… My own illness [where I am sore a lot and get tired easily] keeps me from playing for very long at one time. However, as I stated earlier, what I like to do, is include the game playing time that My Better Half does alongside me, as part of a “Household Total”… If I include her generous contribution, the new total becomes:

Total Household Time: ~23.0 hrs


Haha – even with her inclusion, I did not ‘quite’ make the 24 Hours in total… But, as stated above, I hope that in the spirit of the Marathon and its’ intention – and mine – I hope that what did accrue would be acceptable… In fact; I do not think that ‘total game time’ is the main goal of this Marathon… This time is perhaps to literally ‘take time’, to think about those that are much more unfortunate than us, and in the case of this Charity, much younger than most of us… During this Day or Weekend, whichever it is, I think, we remember those out there, those that are in need. In this spirit/state-of-mind; I thank you Dear Reader, for following along in this small adventure. Whether you donated at all or not, I hope that you played a little bit of some game, took a little bit of time, to think about those that are in much more pain and need than most of us are. And I thank you for following me on this small journey. Take care, my unmet friend – and perhaps See You In The Game.

Teacher Toolbox Trio Linky Celebration!

Since the advent of Teachers Pay Teachers, my teaching toolbox has changed quite a bit. There are so many things that I’ve made or bought for my classroom, and there are many others that are on my wishlist. To recognize that, I’m hosting a Teacher Toolbox Trio linky party.

Here are the rules of the trio:
1. Share a product that you’ve made that you couldn’t live without.
2. Share a product that you’ve purchased that you love.
3. Share something from your wish list that you’re hoping to get for next year.

If you’re not a seller on TpT, no worries — just share two products you’ve purchased that you love!

1. Something I’ve Made

The Classroom Economy Megapack was my first major project for TpT, and without question, it was the one that I used all the time last year. It has everything I needed for setting up my classroom jobs, monitoring daily behaviors on a clip chart, running my classroom economy, and giving students free/very low-cost rewards. Unlike my units that were used here and there, this was on display in my classroom all 180 days, and my kids loved it. This is the one thing that I could not live without.

2. Something I Purchased

Erin’s “A Roller Coaster Day” sub plans were amazing! I had to go to an all day district committee meeting on a Friday in May when the kids were already getting a little crazy, but they LOVED this. The sub said it kept them engaged all day, and given that I was already at the stage of the year when all of our required curriculum had been taught, it was perfect. It will be a permanent addition to my sub folder, and she’s also made one for grades 5-6. You can follow Erin’s blog: I’m Lovin Lit. 

3. Something on My Wish List

I’m really planning to focus on math facts and mental math skills early in the school year, and Laura Candler’s Mastering Math Facts has been on my radar screen for a while. I’m hoping to snag a copy before I go back in July. (Yes, July!)  Laura’s blog is Corkboard Connections.

The Linky Celebration

This is more than just a party — it’s a celebration! I’ve been meaning to do something to celebrate hitting 100 followers for a while now, and as I near the 150 mark, it’s definitely time! If you link up through the tool below, you’ll be eligible to win a $25 gift certificate from Teachers Pay Teachers — enough to possibly clear off some items from your own wish list!

clip art from KPM Doodles
I’ll be using a random number generator to select the winner from those who link up. The linky celebration will end next Friday, June 14 at 11:59pm EDT and the winner will be announced on my blog on Saturday.
Can’t wait to discover some new products and see some of your favorites! Be sure to link up below, and please include the Teacher Toolbox Trio icon and/or another link to Eberopolis in your post.

Happy linking!
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And More: Share and Tell – Imitating The GTAV Title Logo Style [Commentary]

I recently created a logo for The Blog, done in the style of the GTAV game logo (Grand Theft Auto Five Title Logo, seen Left). I had a lot of fun figuring out how to imitate the look of it and wanted to share a bit of how I did it, in case others want to give it a try too, or just to enjoy the ‘Behind The Scenes’ story of things… Originally I was creating this to be used on Headers for posts here at The Blog (since I was playing GTAV lately), but I also put it on a Wallpaper posted at The Blog’s Flickr page – but then decided that from now on, I will not put ‘my logo’ on Wallpapers that I want to share with everyone, I will just use whatever game logo the game is at the time, reserving ‘my logos’ mainly for use here [I was feeling bad for ‘forcing them onto others’ if I were to put them on Wallpaper for sharing with everyone…]

Just below this paragraph then, is The Blog logo, re-done in the style of the game logo from the game GTAV (Grand Theft Auto Five)… Created entirely in Corel’s Paint Shop Pro, I first had to find a font for the lettering. I found a few of them (Pricedown is one, GTArussian is another, the name of the last one escapes me at the moment). I typed out each word separately, so that I could place them really close together (like the GTAV logo has for its’ words), overlapping some of the ‘tails’ of the text (which was fine, for me). The “B” behind the ribbon was something else… Baskerville, that’s it.

My version of The Blog logo, done in the style of the GTAV game title logo
(Click to see Full Size)

The ribbon was its’ own element, blanked out (white with no text), placed on top of the “B”, which itself was made in layers of outlines and a Gradient, using the original game title logo (“GTAV”) as the source for the green shades (clicking with ‘the dropper’ on the far sides of the green area in the “V” in the GTAV logo). The spiral design was found online by an anonymous maker [let me know if it is you, I’ll give you Credit!], which I had to colourize and then placed in a way that was similar to the GTAV logo, on a layer below the text “B” vectors, so that it ‘shows through’ within the “B” area.

The text on the ribbon was made with a font that escapes me at the moment, but the colouring for it was hard to figure out, as it looks like it is directional (as though a light were casting highlights from one direction). I figured out to use the Bevel effect in the Layer Styles of Paint Shop Pro, to emulate a light source coming from the bottom-left, for the text ‘The Blog’. It turned out great for imitating the lighting on the text ‘Five’ in the GTAV game title logo ribbon! The hardest part was getting it to ‘curve’. I don’t know how to create a line and make the Text follow the line yet, so I simply used the Mesh Warp function, to ‘move it around’ manually and get it to seem at least a bit like it is curved.

A few layers of black and grey for ‘outlining’ the text and entire composition (made by ‘expanding’ the selected text and then Filling with Black or Grey, moving the white text in front of it each time) and it was complete…

I’ll mainly be using it in Headers and Screenshots in posts almost exclusively here, at The Blog. I just thought that some might like to hear a bit of ‘Behind The Scenes’ or ‘Commentary’ about it – hey, there are a lot of people that (like me) watch Commentaries! Haha

I hope you enjoyed my little Share and Tell – and if you play GTA Online – See You In The Game!

Original GTAV game logo design by Rockstar, Take-Two Interactive

[Personal Note/Declaration: I am not associated with, nor do I receive anything in any manner or form, for mentioning Corel or Paint Shop Pro. I am merely an enthusiastic user of the program (I have played with it off and on since it was owned by JASC). For fairness and completivity, I shall mention another great graphic editing program, The Gimp (now just called GIMP?) – which is Open Source and entirely Free – all of the steps above can also be performed with this free program]

The Game Tips And More Blog’s Ludo Ludi (Game Play) #1-3

I wanted to start a video series that was Random Gameplay Video Clips that I have collected over time. I started out calling it FLASHBACK, creating a logo for it and everything; but I wanted a way to archive/share them out a little bit faster/easier, rather than ‘Featuring’ them every time, so I came up with the concept of “Ludo Ludi”.

It means “game” and “play” in Esperanto. The idea was to not label the gameplay clips or state what they are, in order to have other people enjoy the “surprise reminiscence” of the games. Viewers could try to guess what they are for fun or just enjoy them as part of a playlist where they didn’t know what was coming next. For the most part it would be easy to guess them of course; if you played the game, you’ll know what game it is and what class I played, etc.etc. But, I still thought it would be entertaining to have a bunch on a playlist of some sort, with no obvious names, having a transitory video (without logos/intros) of something loopable such as static – as though changing the channel on a television – in-between videos. With Youtube’s Playlist and Randomize features, this can now be done and one can sit and reminisce on games of yesteryear with my video clips showing snippets of gaming moments recorded from a wide variety of games! Everyone with ADD/ADHD can just click the Next button on the playlist to skip to the next one if the current one isn’t holding their interest! Everyone is a winner! With this in mind then, I now present one long paragraph and the first three installments of :

The Game Tips And More Blog’s New Gameplay Video Series, “Ludo Ludi (Game Play)”





Enjoy and See You In The Games!

Deals And Sales – ‘Things Goin’ On This Weekend’ (Weekend of August 11th, 2017) [Notification]

Just a quick Notification of some things going on… Once in a while, I try to post about Sales going on somewhere – especially the ‘big’ ones, like Summer’s End or Christmas Sales. This weekend, there are a few ‘Free Weekends’ and Sales going on (that I saw so far) and thought I wanted to share them, just in case there were others interested in these games, heh. Here’s what I saw is Goin’ On This Weekend:


Guild Wars 2 Expansion (Path Of Fire) is Free To Try all weekend:

https://www.guildwars2.com/en/news/get-ready-for-the-guild-wars-2-path-of-fire-preview-weekend/

GOG.com (formerly Good Old Games) is having a couple of Sales on games which include series like Master Of Orion, Warhammer 40K, Painkiller, Delta Force, Red Faction and at the same time having a sale on Strategy Games like Codename Panzers, Men of War, Hybrid Wars, Total Annihilation, Empire Earth, and more:

https://www.gog.com/promo/20170807_weekly_sale
and
https://www.gog.com/promo/20170811_special_promo_strategy_sale

Some other games, which are Free To Try all weekend via Steam, are:

For Honor, the medieval swordplay/battle game is Free To Try all weekend and selling for half-price
(for those that remember Die By The Sword, it looks like it may be similar to that, but in an ‘arena’ setting [sorry, but I haven’t been able to try it yet]):

http://store.steampowered.com/app/304390/FOR_HONOR/

Saints Row IV, from the crazy “each game is increasingly like GTA-on-drugs” open-world/action
series, is Free To Try all weekend and selling at a reduced price
[I haven’t tried it yet, but I am still playing the wacky Saints Row III once in a while and still getting a kick out of it]:

http://store.steampowered.com/app/206420/Saints_Row_IV/

Sorry I didn’t get to finishing this sooner, but the weekend isn’t over yet! Get out there and try these games out or grab something you want on sale – and maybe See You In The Game!

Edit:

I completely forgot one more I was going to post in here! 

GamersGate also has some games on Sale right now, including Borderlands (for five bucks!), the Mafia series, Bioshock series, Xcom series, and more:

https://www.gamersgate.com/offers

[Note: I am not affiliated with these game sites, nor do I receive any compensation for mentioning them here (the Links do not have any ‘affiliate tags’ or similar additions to them) – I am merely an enthusiastic gamer and like to share deals and other goings-on with other gamers like me. Enjoy!]

Globesity continue…

WHY WERE PALAEOLITHIC PEOPLE SO HEALTHY?

  • They had an active lifestyle
  • Their protein intake was far higher in polyunsaturated fats, because their animals were smaller and wild
  • Their consumption of fibre was far higher than ours, at around 100g (31/2oz) per day
  • The plants and berries they were eating were providing them with around 300 times more immune- boosting and antioxidant phytonutrients (plant nutrients) and vitamin C than the average diet offers today.

Warning signs from the present day

Diet Start

  • 300,000 American deaths per year are due to obesity-related non- communicable diseases. This accounts for 12 per cent of the entire US healthcare expenditure, costing the country $100 billion (270 billion) per year. The cost of a cheeseburger may be coming down, but its cost to the nation’s health most certainly is not.

In 2002 the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta estimated that 17 million Americans, including 151,000 under the age of 20, now have diabetes. Type 2 (or adult-onset) diabetes is a disorder resulting from the body’s inability to make enough insulin (a hormone that regulates glucose metabolism in the body) – and it can be life-threatening. The risks of heart disease and stroke increase two- to fourfold and the death rate doubles in diabetics. The disease is also the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure and amputations.

  • In 2002 the National Audit Office in the UK revealed the following facts:

58 per cent of adults in the UK are technically overweight, and 20 per cent are clinically obese.

In 1998 around 30,000 people in England alone died prematurely as a direct consequence of being overweight.

In the same year obesity was responsible for 1.8 million lost working days, costing the National Health Service and the economy of the country an estimated 22.5 billion ($3.6 billion).

The number of people who are obese in England has tripled over the last 20 years, and if this trend continues, one in four people will be obese by the year 2010.

  • North American Inuits, whose native diet traditionally consists of whale meat, berries and moss, had no history of heart disease, diabetes or dental decay – until they introduced white flour and sugar into their diets.

Atlanta Blogger Meet Up

Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting some fantastic teacher-bloggers as part of the Atlanta Blogger Meet-Up.

If you ever get a chance to meet up with other teacher-bloggers, I’d highly recommend doing it! It was wonderful to meet so many sweet and enthusiastic teachers who share similar interests, and now I can finally match names and faces with the blogs that I read all the time.

We met at the Swan Coach House in Atlanta for brunch, and it was wonderful. Amanda from Collaboration Cuties made us each a placemat with everyone’s name on it.

And Stacia (the other half of Collaboration Cuties) made us name tags.

Jivey from Ideas by Jivey made us a little goodie jar filled with treats of both the sugary and teachery kinds.
And Elizabeth (Fun in Room 4B) and Brandee (Creating Lifelong Learners) made us this adorable to do list that is dry erase. 
There were 9 of us in all, and I’m so glad that I went. I’m typically a really shy person, but it felt like I was getting together with old friends! I’m so grateful to be a part of the teacher blogger community, and I love learning from other teachers. This group in particular has so much to offer, and if you don’t already follow each of these bloggers, you’re definitely missing out.
From left to right:
Amanda – Teacher at the Wheel
Jivey – Ideas by Jivey
Brandee – Creating Lifelong Learners
Denay – The Gemini Teacher
Liz – Polka Dot Firsties
Stacia & Amanda – Collaboration Cuties
Me!
Elizabeth – Fun in Room 4B
If you missed out on the meet up, no worries — I have confidence that this will become an annual tradition. And for those of you who are interested in classroom technology, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is holding its annual conference in Atlanta next summer on June 28 – July 1. Wouldn’t it be great to have a teacher blogger meet up around that? 
After lunch, most of us ventured to Ikea where I once again spent too much money on my classroom despite not needing anything in particular. I’d show you all of my finds, but I’m going to wait until my complete classroom reveal. Given that I start preplanning THIS THURSDAY and have students on August 1, that really won’t be too long to wait!

Have a great week!

Number Talks Book Study – Chapter 2

The farther I get into the book Number Talks, the more excited I am about implementing them next year. This is such a great resource, and I’m only on Chapter 2!

I’m linking up with Misty at Think, Wonder, & Teach for her fabulous book study. If you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to visit her because she’s already offering some great resources to support the book (whereas mine are still works in progress!).

This chapter walks through some of the nuts and bolts of setting up number talks, and it describes how to manage some of the procedures and expectations. One of the sections that really resonated with me in this chapter was about building accountability with the students. So often, there are a few students who are eager to share their mathematical thinking, and there are many others who are willing to sit back and let those students shine. I don’t like pulling sticks with students’ names for something like this, but I also don’t want students to feel like they don’t need to participate. This book offered some great strategies for dealing with that:

1. Once all of the strategies have been shared, number them and have students show with fingers which one they found to be the most efficient strategy. This will get them thinking about the math involved.

2. Keep records of the problems posed and strategies used, and label them with the students’ names. I plan to use my iPad to track this. I’ve talked before about setting up student data notebooks on Evernote, and I think that would be the perfect platform to track student participation. I can photograph students’ work and add anecdotal records about what I observe. It would also be easy to share with parents at parent-teacher conferences.

3. Hold small group number talks throughout the week. As I prepare to transition into more of a math workshop/guided math approach, this seems like a very viable option.

4. Create and post anchor charts of the different strategies that students are using. The book names a variety of strategies, or you could develop names with your students. Having the charts available to reference could scaffold the less confident students.

5. Use exit cards. The authors recommend giving each student a notecard. On one side, students should record their solution, and on the other side, they should record a strategy that another student shared that they liked.

6. Give a weekly computation assessment of 5-10 problems. The selected problems should reinforce the concepts and strategies introduced throughout the week. I can also imagine using an app like Show Me or Explain Everything to assess. These are whiteboard apps that allow students to record audio on top of their drawing. Students could record their solutions and narrate them as if they’re presenting them to the class. This would be another important artifact that could be saved in the student’s Evernote portfolio to share with parents or an RTI committee. If it’s only one problem, most students would be able to complete the task on the app in 5-10 minutes as the video they’d be creating should be less than a minute long.

I think these accountability measures could be effective in getting students to participate more. Of course, the classroom environment will matter, too, and I look forward to setting those factors in place for my Number Talks this fall.

In other news, I’m excited to share that I’ll be participating in Sabra’s book study of Word Nerds at Teaching with a Touch of Twang. Word Nerds explores strategies for teaching vocabulary to students, and it’s another fantastic resource. It’s published by Stenhouse, and you can preview the entire book online or you can purchase the book in Paperbook or Kindle edition.

The book study starts on Thursday and runs throughout the summer. You can see the full schedule by clicking on the image above. I’ll be hosting Chapter 7, and I can’t wait!

Also, have you joined in the Teacher Toolbox Trio Linky Celebration yet?

You still have time to link up and be eligible to win a $25 Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificate! The linky celebration will close on Friday night, so be sure to join the fun. My wish list has definitely grown as I’ve seen all of the fabulous resources other teachers are sharing and recommending.

Paperless Mission #12: Collecting Student Work

This is the twelfth installment in my Go Paperless! Challenge Series. You can check out the other entries in the series here. Also be sure to link up with my Paperless Challenge Linky!

Mission #12: Collecting Student Work

Recently, I shared how I distribute student assignments through Dropbox. Today I’m going to share how students turn in those assignments. To do that, I primarily use Edmodo.

Once you’ve created an assignment in Edmodo, students will be able to see it as they log-in.

If it’s just a text-based assignment, they can type the text in the comment section and submit it.

Often, however, my assignments tend to require them to include an attachment of some sort. These can fall into a couple different categories.

Photos & Movies

The Edmodo app allows you to load photos directly from your camera roll as an attachment. Just select “Attach: File.”

Documents produced in other apps (e.g., Pages, Keynote, etc.)

This process has a couple extra steps, but it’s still easy to accomplish. First, students will need to load the item into their backpack. This is normally accomplished through the “Share and Print” option in the original app. For example, in Pages, you have the option to “Open in Another App.”

This will result in the file being added to the student’s Edmodo “backpack.” Once it’s there, students can attach it to an assignment by choosing “Attach: Backpack.”

Once the items are selected, students get to rate the assignment using the emoticons and click “Turn In Assignment.”

From my perspective, it’s a dream. I don’t have to worry about receiving “No Name” papers, and I can quickly grade and comment on student work that’s turned in.

Apprentice Guides

One of my back to school projects is to make step-by-step tutorials to help students (and teachers) with some of these iPad tasks. The first one is on Turning In Assignments from Pages to Edmodo and you can download a copy of it here.

I apologize that the image quality isn’t perfect — it lost something when I uploaded it to Google Drive for sharing, but it’s still very functional. (I’ll share higher-quality imaged versions later when I get more completed.)

What programs do you use to collect student work electronically in your classroom? I’d love to hear in the comments section.

“Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From?”, The Game Tips And More Blog’s Game Screenshot Identification Contest, Re-Starts Again Today! [Updated 2018-02-01 – Answer Image]

It’s the 15th of the month – and it is time for something that I want to start up again (and not only because I have over 50,000 Screenshots burning a hole in my pocket, but mostly that) – something that I had going for a short time, three long years ago…

The Next Installment of The Game Tips And More Blog’s ‘New-ish-sorta-but-not-really’ Contest:

“Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From?”

(A Game Screenshot Identification Contest)

Having a ‘grand re-opening’ once again today – January 15th, 2018!

All you have to do to win this contest, is contact me in any way you can (eg. Comment on this article
below, Twitter profile tweet, email me or Comment/PrivateMessage TheBlog’s Steam Account by the end of the month, with these two items within your message:

1. Your guess for the game the image is from.
2. Information on how to contact you back (to receive Steam game gifts, etc) if you win.
That’s it!
**[Just a quick note to be careful not to include any information you do not wish to share ‘publicly’ when posting in the Comments area below or at Steam or sending a Twitter profile Tweet, as these messages are seen by ‘everyone’]


Correct answers submitted by the end of the month (beginning at the time of this posting) will be chosen from randomly, where one Skillful Identifier will receive this month’s contest prize – which is: a gifted game from the Steam online store!

[Note: Although I have been collecting Games on Steam over the past few Years, during Steam Sales,
due to how Steam has changed Gifting games through Steam recently, you will have to temporarily become a Friend
of TheBlog’s Steam Account (to receive the game – after receiving your Gifted Game, you may Unfriend of course)]
Winners will also be announced in bold, large lettered-text, here on this posting and will thereby be immortalized on The Intertubes in perpetuity, proving to all other comers that you were “The Ultimate Game Screenshot Guesser Thingy Person” [aka. Gamer]!

Previous Editions of this Contest [to ‘see how it works’] can be found at TheBlog, here:

Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From – Contest #1
Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From – Contest #2
Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From – Contest #3

Are you ready? Here then, is the Screenshot image for this month, below:

[As you can see, the image is a portion of a full screen capture; but don’t worry – the image used for the contest will never be ‘too’ obscure or small (for example, it will never be ‘just the end of a wooden log’ or anything like that)]

Update!

A week has gone by and there have been no correct guesses received yet… So, here is a HINT image; (an enlarged area portion of the Screenshot for this month’s Contest)! Ready?

Here is the HINT image (with enlarged portion revealed), below:

[Click the Image to see it at a slightly-larger Full Size – and as you can see, the image is a larger portion of the full screen capture; but don’t worry – the image used for the contest will never be ‘too’ obscure or small (for example, it will never be ‘just the end of a wooden log’ or anything like that)]

At the end of the Month, if noone has guessed correctly by then, I will return here and reveal the full Mystery Screenshot and the Game it was from – Good Luck, Gamers!

Update!
It has been two weeks since the Contest began and there have been no correct submissions! Aww….

To end The Mystery, here is the answer for this month’s edition of
‘Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From’ (2018-01):


The Answer for this month’s Contest could have been: “Marvel Heroes” or “Marvel Heroes Omega” or “Marvel Heros” or “I can’t believe they cancelled this great game that I only just recently discovered existed especially with all the future Marvel movies coming out what happened this timeline sucks”. Click to see Full Size

Come back next 15th-of-the-month friends, when you can have another chance to be a Digital Screenshot Sleuth in the Fifth Edition of ‘Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From’ – and a chance to win the Prize that will be carried over to next time: a gifted game from the Steam online store!

See You In The Games!


(The Game Tips And More Blog Contest Game #2018-01)

My trip to Wadduwa

I just returned home after a 3 day South Asian Regional Workshop on Resource Mobilization. It was a good workshop as it took RM strategies to the next level and looked at operationalizing them. As Strategic Planning / Organization Development consultants we often highlight the strategy for resource mobilization; be it venture capital, angel fund or gearing in the private sector to institutional fund raising and linking with CSR in the development sector.

What was most interesting was the cases we went through, and going through a logical process which led to ones resource mobilization strategy. The workshop was facilitated by a retired general from the Indian army and he was a good facilitator who kept the attention of a group of 50 people for 3 days. It is important that we as consultants keep up with new trends as well as take time out to reflect on our ability to continually add value to our clients by increasing our body of knowledge.

We also learned of new ideas and trends in the field of resource mobilization and were very useful given the current global economic situation. Looking forward to taking the learning’s to my clients in the near future.

I also got a very small project in the financial services industry while I was at the workshop. It is from an old client who has the habit of not giving me too much lead time for projects: there goes my week end. So I am going straight to facilitating a strategy workshop in the financial industry over the weekend.

Math Resources for Teachers

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks! I went on a mini-vacation to a wedding in Nashville, and then I attended a 3-day workshop on The Role of Mathematics in the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. I think this is the summer of math learning for me! I love attending workshops because I almost always leave with new ideas and new resources to explore. Even if you don’t work at an IB school, there were lots of useful resources worth exploring.

(Apologies in advance — this will be a long post!)

Book Resources

A Mathematical Passage: Strategies for Promoting Inquiry in Grades 4-6

This book was featured because of it’s Mathematician’s Bill of Rights on p. 139. The Bill of Rights lists the “rights” that all mathematicians have — things like “solve problems in ways that make sense to me” and “capitalize on mistakes as sites of learning.” I’m definitely interested in reading more from this book. I’ve read other things by David J. Whitin before, and they’ve been great.

Math Matters: Understanding the Math You Teach Grades K-8

I had a chance to browse this book during the workshop, and it looks like a good one for understanding how to approach math conceptually. May not be the most exciting read in the world (would you look at that front cover?!), but it looks like a very useful book if you’re going for an inquiry oriented math classroom.

Good Questions for Math Teaching



This book is great for creating open-ended questions that will really get students thinking about the math involved in problem solving rather than just looking for a specific answer. It uses questioning techniques to develop more sophisticated mathematical thinking, and it has a wealth of information.

Number Talks

I was a little surprised how many teachers at the workshop were already familiar with this book and using it given that I’m usually up on all the latest and greatest math books, but nevertheless, this book had rave reviews. Of all the books that I’m reading this summer, this is the one that I suspect will have the biggest impact on my teaching this August. I’ve really enjoyed reading it, and I have so many ideas about how I will put it into practice this year. If you haven’t gotten it already, I couldn’t recommend it more!

Good Questions: Great Ways to Differentiate Mathematics Instruction



I know I’ve talked about this book before, but we spent a lot of time talking about open questions and parallel tasks at the workshop, so I had to share this book again. I used this book non-stop at the end of the school year, and I loved how it was so perfectly aligned to Common Core in math. It couldn’t be more teacher-friendly.

Online Resources

Visible Thinking Routines

I’ve been introduced to the Visible Thinking Routines from Harvard’s Project Zero before, but it was good to be reminded about them. These are some great activities to prompt student discussions and thinking. One example of this is “OTQ – Observe, Think, Question.” For this activity, students see a picture and spend a few minutes describing what they see/observe. Anything they observe has to be rooted in the picture and not based on inferences. Step 2 is “Think” – what does this make you think about? This is where students can share their inferences and cite evidence in the picture to support why they think that. Finally, students “question” and share what they wonder about based on the picture. I like that these routines slow down student thinking.
Math Class Needs a Makeover

We watched this video in the workshop, and if you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend that you take the 10 minutes to watch Dan Meyer’s TED Talk. In it, he talks about the problems with current approaches to math instruction — largely fueled by larger textbooks and math programs — and how to turn those materials into the types of problems that will challenge your students to become patient problem solvers. I was really inspired by this video, and I hope that you will be, too.

Have a great weekend! I’ll be back to blogging more regularly next week!



Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

And More: The EULA Keeps Popping Up When Starting Sony’s Vegas Video Editing Applications (FIX)

Since the most popular answer on the ongoing poll I have running here at the blog (“what type of posts would you like to see more of in 2014” [top right, it will run until the middle of the year]) is “Tips And Tricks Of Video Capturing And Editing”, I thought I would start more of these types of requested posts by sharing this fix for a problem that seems to pop up intermittently with Sony’s Vegas line of products.

Whether you have just re-installed it or whether it has been on your system for a while, ‘something’ is causing the EULA (End User License Agreement) to pop up and require you to agree to it, even if you have already done so and/or Registered the program. This question comes up once in a while on the Sony Creative Software Official Forums and I have seen it elsewhere. I was recently reminded of it again because it is also something that just happened to me on my system! I didn’t re-install Vegas or make any large changes related to Vegas, yet this little guy started popping-up every time I started up Vegas Movie Studio HD**:

The popup that comes up for some people, every time they start Vegas

The fix is a simple one, originally suggested by a Sony Forum Moderator and quoted/forwarded frequently on the official forums, to those who come and ask the question there. Although it seems more like a ‘workaround’ than a ‘fix [in my opinion], it works just fine and since it is officially supported by Sony and I just tested it for verification myself [that it does indeed solve the problem], so now I share it here with you:

  • To stop the EULA popping up every time you start Sony Vegas, simply open Windows Explorer and navigate to the folder where you installed it on your system. 
  • Then, find the file that is titled, simply, “eula”. There will be no Extension showing, even if you have the Windows option to ‘Hide Extensions For Known File Types’ turned off. 
  • Rename (or delete) the file. That’s it! 

Now the EULA cannot pop up anymore and won’t, every time you start up Vegas to edit your game captures.

**Although this example shows steps for the Movie Studio version of Sony’s Vegas Video editing line, the EULA ‘fix’ is the same steps for Vegas Pro, Vegas Edit or other versions of Vegas

Enjoy popup-free video editing once again – and See You In The Games!

Food Repair Guide: Baking Part 2

Swiss roll

If you are making a Swiss roll, then line the tin with greaseproof paper, but do ensure that you grease the paper well before pouring in the mixture. Try also to ensure that the oven shelf is level or all the mixture will run to one side. If it does, all is not lost, although it will be rather difficult to roll. When you turn the Swiss roll out, do so onto a tea cloth or piece of greaseproof paper that has been coated well with icing sugar. If not well sugared, the Swiss roll will stick to the cloth or paper and you will have a terrible time rolling it. If you have not greased the paper properly, you will also have a terrible time peeling it off, but patience will usually win the day. Do not worry if the roll is not entirely perfect. As long as you can keep about one third of it intact, that will do for theoutside and no one will see the inside. Dredge it thoroughly with sugar or icing sugar. Or, if it has really fallen apart, pre-slice it before serving so that no one can see.

Failed sponge cake

If, despite your best endeavours, your sponge cake, be it light or rich, is dry, crumbly, flat, lumpy or generally unappealing, do not throw it out. If you are desperate for a complete cake or dessert, cut the sponge into very thin layers, sprinkle each with a little liqueur if for a dessert, and layer very generously with filling so that the cake gets smothered. Then top or ice equally generously and no one will ever know. If you do not need the cake too urgently, keep it to make trifles, tipsy cakes or anything that needs a sponge base. Buried deep enough and soaked comprehensively enough, even the most revolting cake will become quite palatable. Alternatively, crumble it and use it as a topping. When toasted, the crumbs can be used as decoration for almost anything in need of disguise.

Diet Start

This does not apply only to plain sponges. Orange or lemon sponges would be a delicious base for any cream dessert, chocolate, coffee or even gingerbread can be used as a base for ‘a trifle with a difference’. Indeed, coffee and chocolate cake could be sliced into fingers, thoroughly dried out in the oven and sandwiched together with some butter icing as biscuits. Any of the above could be used as the base for a baked pudding, but remember that the cake will be sweeter than bread or rice so reduce the amount of sugar.

Failed fruit cakes

Failed fruit cakes are just as adaptable.

Rich fruit cakes often get old and dry out. Do not abandon them to the birds. Cut deep slits in the top of the cake and feed with a mixture of brandy and sherry, or, if you do not want to be too alcoholic, a fruit wine or good fruit cordial. The amount you give the cake will depend on how dry it is, but you can always cut it in half and test the middle.

The same principle can be applied to lighter fruit cakes although one needs to be more temperate. A large quantity of fruit will soak up the liquid and make the whole mixture moist but sponge will merely become soggy, so the greater the proportion of sponge to fruit the less liquid it should be given. It is usually better to ice the cake after it has been — to conceal the tell tale signs.

If a rich fruit cake really is dry beyond redemption, break it up in a bowl, add some suet and a goodly measure of liquor, leave it to soak for 24 hours, then squash it well into a bowl and steam it as a Christmas pudding. It will be a little crumbly and somewhat lighter than the standard, but many people prefer it that way!

Icings

The disaster-prone cook should steer clear of all but glace, butter and royalicing — fondants and their kind are for those with time and expertise to spare.

Glace icing

Glace icing is quick and simple but messy. It is not easy to get the proportion of icing sugar to liquid right to achieve `spreadability’ without `runability’.

Always put whatever you are going to ice on a rack so that the extra can run off without getting stuck in a thick frill round the bottom of the cake. Arm yourself with a pot of boiling water and several metal spatulas or flat knives to smooth out the lumps. Inevitably, the wretched stuff will never quite cover the top of the cake in the first run, and when you add the next bit, the first will have dried and the whole thing will go lumpy. Only practice is going to perfect your technique, but smoothing with a spatula dipped in boiling water does help.

Always be ready to decorate or disguise the top with something other than icing — even if only gold and silver balls. Grated chocolate is a good alternative.

Marbling

Marbling the top, if it is reasonable, will distract the eye from any minor blemishes and is easy and impressive in itself. Run a little melted chocolate, or different coloured icing, in parallel lines across the top of the cake. Then, before it is dried, take a knife point and pull it across the cake top in straight lines at right angles to the first lines, thus pulling the lines into a feathered shape. Try it a couple of times on greaseproof paper before you launch into the cake.

If all fails and you make a complete mess of the icing, wait till it is dry, then scrape the whole lot off and start again.

Butter icing

Butter icing is the world’s easiest, but it is very rich. Many people prefer to use shortening as the fat base, which keeps it much lighter. The only hazard with butter icing is to get enough flavour into it. Like brandy butter (which is, of course, only a butter icing) nothing is nastier than a butter icing that tastes like sweetened butter. Therefore, taste after you have followed the recipe. If you have used a particularly strongly flavoured butter, you will need more chocolate, lemon or whatever you are using. Never try to spread it straight out of the fridge.

Royal icing

Royal icing is also simple, using egg white rather than water or syrup to moisten the icing sugar. Add a little lemon juice to counteract the sweetness and do not forget a drop or two of glycerine to prevent it hardening totally. If you do have a cake with unglycerined icing, you would be better advised to saw your way through it with a bread knife rather than to try and cut it, when it will shatter and ricochet all over the drawing room and Great Aunt Ethel. Royal icing can always be broken off and replaced with a new batch. Use a small amount of icing to experiment with the colour.

How I Decluttered my Inbox

I try out new apps constantly, but it is rare that I find one that I consider a game-changer — one that revolutionizes how I do something and boosts my productivity.

Meet Mailbox.

Mailbox works with iOS mobile devices (iPhones, iPads) and GMail, and it can handle multiple GMail accounts. The idea is that your email box should always have ZERO messages in it, and it helps you achieve that goal by giving you four options for each message in your inbox.

Big-swipe to the left: Add to list

So many of the emails that I receive are ones that I don’t need to respond to immediately, and Mailbox understands that by allowing you to file messages as low-priority action items. It has three main lists:

  • To Read — great for newsletters and other items you’re interested in reading at some point but not necessarily the second that it arrives in your inbox
  • To Watch — my husband and some friends will sometimes send me YouTube videos that I can’t watch at work — not because they’re NSFW, but because YouTube is categorically blocked at my school. These videos also tend to be low-priority items.
  • To Do — emails of things to add to my “to do” list

It also gives you the option of creating additional lists. I made the “To Buy” list, for example, for items like subscription services that are going to expire sometime soon that I need to renew or for wishlist items that I’m thinking about buying someday. 

Short swipe to the left: Defer

Sometimes I receive messages that I want to deal with, but not at the time I’ve received it. When I’m using my iPhone, for example, I rarely respond to email because I prefer typing on my laptop. Some emails are ones that I’ll look at more closely at night or over the weekend when I have more time. Other emails are ones that I want to deal with at a specific future time or date. Consider these examples:

  • a coupon for a clothing store that I might use but is only valid for a certain week in the future
  • a confirmation email for an upcoming trip or conference

The beauty of the Mailbox app is that you can set the exact date and time when you want that message to reappear in your inbox by letting you “Pick Date.”

The message will reappear in your inbox at the date/time you specify so it can get your attention rather than just getting pushed to the depths of your inbox to be forgotten.

Short swipe to the right: Archive the message
I might want to look for it someday, but it’s not something I need to act on.

Long swipe to the right: Trash the message

Mailbox is a free app in the iTunes store, and in the three weeks that I’ve had it, it has replaced the default Mail app on my iPhone and completely changed the way that I manage email. I’ve gone from having literally 1,000s of emails in my inbox to having ZERO. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt like I’ve been on top of my email situation.

The iPad version just came out this week, and I’m using that a lot, too. It has a larger interface, but all of the same features. Here’s a screenshot of it on my iPad:

You can see that I have one message in my inbox — a coupon that I have to use this weekend if I’m going to use it at all. I’ve deferred 14 messages — some that I’ll reply to on Tuesday, others that I want to deal with once I’m completely done with school on Thursday. I’ve got some lists, but I can also check the archive or the trash in case I accidentally swipe something into the wrong place and want to move it back out.

If you click on a message in your inbox, an image of it will appear on the right so you can decide what to do with it. It’s a very easy-to-use and intuitive app, and now that I have it, I can’t imagine giving it up. It’s a huge asset to my productivity, and my only wish is that I could use this with other email platforms — like my school/work emails — that aren’t GMail accounts.

Have you tried Mailbox yet? I’d love to hear about how you manage email productivity in the comments below.

Hope you’re having a great Memorial Day weekend!

Franchisee Profile: Marc Flame

Franchisee Profile: Marc Flame

Marc Flame is originally from the Bronx in New York, specifically Riverdale. Growing up, Marc spent every summer on Long Island at his grandmother’s beach house and loves the outdoors. After graduating from JFK Highschool, Marc’s parents moved to South America where Marc learned to speak basic Portuguese. After living in Brazil for a while, Marc moved back to New York where he attended New York University. He graduated in 1981 with a degree in Economics and International Business. Upon graduation, Marc spent much of his time on Wall Street starting his career Bankers Trust Company. Marc eventually became Chief Financial Officer at the banks Technology subsidiary. During Marcs’ tenure he established a successful record of improving operational efficiency and profitability. After fourteen years at BTCo, Marc left and joined Citigroup. Marc spent ten years within the Finance Organization of Citigroup. He then joined the CBS Corporation where he served as CFO of the CBS Technology organization.

After doing some traveling, Marc decided to relocate from Chicago to Atlanta where he began researching franchises to invest in. After much research Marc decided that Workout Anytime was where he wanted to be. Not even three weeks after watching the Workout Anytime franchise video, Marc signed for his first franchise. He now owns the first Workout Anytime located on the South side of Atlanta.
How did you learn about the brand? 
I was researching different franchises and was heavily focused on the fast-food industry when I came across Workout Anytime. I watched the franchise video and was immediately hooked. I knew right then that was what I wanted to invest in. Not even three weeks after seeing the video I met with Randy the entire senior WOAT team. It felt like a family and I signed with Workout Anytime after that meeting.
Why did you choose an opportunity with Workout Anytime? 
I’ve always wanted to own my own business. I worked at a Baskin Robbins in high school and it was some of the best times I’ve ever had. I have always enjoyed doing my own thing which is why I started looking into franchises. I chose Workout Anytime because I am very interested in the Workout Anytime model and I really wanted to do a franchise in a market that really needed it. 
Do you have any development/extension plans? Add units? Timeframe? 
I would like to eventually expand. I do not have a multi-unit sign at the moment, but the goal is to have 3-4 locations within 4-5 years. I am trying to open one every year and a half. Currently, I am working to be the most successful location rather than building out more units. When you talk about franchises people have glass ceiling expectations with what you can achieve with any one location. The Workout Anytime model allows me to push the boundaries, and ensure the opportunity for many members to enjoy all the advantages provided to Workout Anytime members.
Are you involved in any charities or involved in the community in any way? 
I am learning more about the Riverdale area each day and would love to work with charities and get involved with the community once I get to know it better.
Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions?
I love spending time outdoors. Anything outdoors such as going to the horse stables with my daughter, 
watch my son dirt bike on the trails, and go to the beach as often as possible.

TestRun, Quick ‘End Of The World’ Edition Answers: Does SLI Really Make A Difference? and Where Should I Put PhysX for NVIDIA Videocards? (Text-Only Version)


Update: Added more Tests and Results – Hitman: Absolution Benchmark, Unigine: Valley Benchmark, Left 4 Dead 2 Unscripted Gameplay Test, Tribes: Ascend Gameplay Test and Rollercoaster Tycoon 3: Platinum Gameplay Test


Recently becoming the proud owner of another NVIDIA card, I swapped out my trusty AMD/ATi Radeon HD 6870 from ASUS that has served me so well and lovingly joined together two GTX 560 Ti videocards in electric matrimony to try out some SLI. I share now my experiences, the results of many tests and answers to questions I have seen in many places online, including one I had myself.

This is also a ‘Quick’ Edition, a version of the testing and results that are text-only for now, where I may do a full version as time permits in the future, with screen recordings, graphs and other materials that I would like to share and would help people out.

The Experiment

For this TestRun, with two NVIDIA videocards, I try answer the question: “Does SLI really make a difference?” and also “Where to put PhysX?”. Sure, the answer of ‘if it makes a difference’ is answered other places online, with pretty graphs and numbers; but I am one of those people that, although accepting, don’t ‘truly believe’ things unless I can test it out myself. This is a human stubbornness I know, but it also helps me explore many things I would not have otherwise experienced and allows me to share those results and experiences with others. “Does it really double performance?” is probably a more specific question of what I’m feeling, as of course it should make a difference, after all I am putting another 384 processing cores towards throwing around colorful shapes on my screen. I want to know if it even ‘doubles’ the awesomeness of games that I play. There are two cards in there now, so what’s the difference in performance?

Another aspect I plan to explore is regarding PhysX, NVIDIA’s lovechild of bouncing balls and splattering sparks. Does it affect game performance? Which card should run it if I have it on? Is it better to run it on a dedicated card [that only uses it for that] or off of the CPU? These are my own questions as well since finding a second NVIDIA gpu on sale… PhysX is only in a hamfisted-handful of games – and is only going to be found on NVIDIA GPUs, but it is supposed to improve visual/perceived quality in the games that do use it, due to the fancy waving flags, shattering glass and splattering blood [and the like]. I am going to test the options of having it on the first or second SLI card and how PHysX runs off of the CPU, too.

The Test

For this TestRun, I used utilities such as FurMark and FluidMark, Unigine’s Heaven Benchmark and a handful of games to benchmark and test with, such as Just Cause 2, Alien Vs. Predator, Lost Planet 2, Battlefield 3, Unreal Tournament 3 and Batman: Arkham City (all but the first two utilize PhysX). I am currently running an AMD 6-Core CPU and two GTX560Ti’s in SLI mode on a GIGABYTE 990FXA chipset mainboard.
I assume this is still an average-to-above-average system at the time of this writing (perhaps upper midrange but definitely not top-of-the-line) and it would help out anyone with a similar rig in the future as well with examples of some of the performance difference they will see [if they add a second videocard].

The Data

Here are my benchmarking test results and average framerates, comparing SLI mode with a single GPU:

FurMark: Score (2127), Average Framerate (40fps)
FurMark: Score (3959), Average Framerate (65fps) SLI
Lost Planet 2 – Benchmark B: Average Framerate (44fps)
Lost Planet 2 – Benchmark B: Average Framerate (103fps) SLI
Just Cause 2: Concrete Jungle Benchmark, High Settings, Average Framerate (28fps)
Just Cause 2: Concrete Jungle Benchmark, High Settings, Average Framerate (51fps) SLI
Alien Vs. Predator: Benchmark Run, 1920×1200, x16 Filtering, Average Framerate (44fps)
Alien Vs. Predator: Benchmark Run, 1920×1200, x16 Filtering, Average Framerate (90fps) SLI
Unigine Heaven Benchmark: 1080p, x4x4 Filtering, Score (960), Average Framerate (38fps)
Unigine Heaven Benchmark: 1080p, x4x4 Filtering, Score (1717), Average Framerate (68fps) SLI

Unigine Valley Benchmark: 1080p, Ultra Settings, 8xMSAA – Score (1077), Average Framerate (26fps)
Unigine Valley Benchmark: 1080p, Ultra Settings, 8xMSAA – Score (1741), Average Framerate (42fps) SLI
Hitman: Absolution Benchmark: 1080p, Ultra Settings, Average Framerate (32fps)
Hitman: Absolution Benchmark: 1080p, Ultra Settings, Average Framerate (33fps) SLI
(Hitman: Absolution does not appear to take advantage of SLI and/or is not Optimized for it, despite double-checking that SLI mode is enabled and trying to utilize NVIDIA’s ‘Custom Game Profile’ for it, as well – the following two games also do not appear to take advantage of SLI mode)

Tribes: Ascend – 1920×1080, Very High Settings, Average Framerate (51fps)
Tribes: Ascend – 1920×1080, Very High Settings, Average Framerate (53fps) SLI
Rollercoaster Tycoon 3: Platinum – 1600×900, 8xAA, Reflections and other (17fps)
Rollercoaster Tycoon 3: Platinum – 1600×900, 8xAA, Reflections and other (19fps) SLI




Here are some unscripted, raw gameplay framerates, averaged:
(multiple samples taken of each with FRAPS’ built-in benchmarking utility)

Alien Vs. Predator: Marine Storyline, Average Framerate (47fps)
Alien Vs. Predator: Marine Storyline, Average Framerate (89fps) SLI
Battlefield 3 : Multiplayer with 64 Players, Average Framerate (33fps)
Battlefield 3 : Multiplayer with 64 Players, Average Framerate (61fps) SLI

Left 4 Dead 2 – 1920×1080, Very High Settings, 4xMSAA, 4xAF, Extra Film Grain (128fps)
Left 4 Dead 2 – 1920×1080, Very High Settings, 4xMSAA, 4xAF, Extra Film Grain (185fps) SLI

*Planetside 2 : Multiplayer with many players, BioLab, Average Framerate (36fps)
*Planetside 2 : Multiplayer with many players, BioLab, Average Framerate (37fps) SLI
[*Game does not appear to be fully optimized currently, article with more detail here:
http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2012/11/planetside-2-and-ultra-settings-quality.html)


Here are the PhysX tests, done with FluidMark:

FluidMark: Score (5338) single-card mode, PhysX on the card, Average Framerate (87fps)
FluidMark: Score (5449) SLI, PhysX set to (GPU1), Average Framerate (89fps)
FluidMark: Score (7512) SLI, PhysX auto-selected (GPU2), Average Framerate (123fps)
FluidMark: Score (7379) SLI, PhysX set on (GPU2) Dedicated, Average Framerate (121fps)
FluidMark: Score (1291) SLI, PhysX set on (CPU), Average Framerate (21fps)

The Conclusion

So, does putting in a second videocard practically ‘double’ your gaming performance? Dang right it does. Now, I have read that it ‘should’ in many other articles online, but again, I had to test it out for myself. Almost across the board, in every game I threw at it, the performance was almost doubled. Wonderful stuff.

For those about to spend money on a second GPU for SLI because now they know it ‘will definitely make a difference’, I should mention as a Tip here that the more cards you add in (for 3-way or 4x SLI or Crossfire, for instance) the lower the rate-of-return you actually get on the investment.
In other words, adding a third card won’t ‘double the performance again‘ and adding a fourth card won’t ‘double that performance yet again’ –  it won’t even give you 300% and 400% performance [for the third and fourth videocards added]. You will actually see diminishing returns as you add more cards.
Still, if you have enough money for only a second GPU that matches your ‘old’ one, but not enough money to splurge on a new, faster one, clearly SLI/Crossfire is the way to go, it really does make a huge difference.

The PhysX tests are interesting, as they answer a question that I myself was wondering: does it matter whether you set PhysX on GPU1, GPU2 or the CPU, and should a GPU be dedicated to it?

It seems to make sense, that although a powerful, complex 6-core processor, my CPU is nowhere near the raw number-crunching [if ‘simpler’] streamlined data-geyser that the 384-core video card is. The difference can be clearly seen in the results. On the CPU, PhysX calculations [alone/isolated] gave a 23fps output of gushing blood on the screen, while even just one videocard running PhysX by itself put out 87fps of crimson data. Adding another card and telling that GPU instead [of utilizing the first card] to ‘calculate the physics if you please’ took the framerate up to over 120fps. Clearly, NVIDIA is showing that the videocards were made to handle the floating leaves, sparks and bouncing balls of PhysX …and ball handle they did.

What is interesting is the difference that was made, depending on which card you chose to handle PhysX. When the PhysX was set to GPU2 (the card not plugged directly into the monitor in my case), the highest score was achieved. When the PhysX was set to GPU1 (the card plugged directly into the monitor), it scored almost exactly the same as if there was no second card in the system at all. Now, the utility (FluidMark) does test ‘only‘ PhysX and there isn’t much to see on the screen other than some bouncing baubles, but it seems to show that if you put PhysX on the same card that you are using as your display card (that your monitor plugs into), then it might in fact affect performance of that card to display the pretty images on your screen slightly – or at least, to ‘deal with PhysX and show pretty colors on your screen’ at the same time.

Either way, they are both better than utilizing the CPU, as the pitiful performance when on the CPU (at least for ‘mainly PhysX only’ calculations) is over 500% slower than the performance seen when PhysX calculations are put on the second video card, and still calculated at over 400% slower compared to when PhysX is put on the first video card in an SLI setup. Clearly it is better to have PhysX calculations done on a GPU – and perhaps not put it on the main display card if you can.

Testing the ramification of this in actual gameplay, I played some Unreal Tournament 3 and Batman: Arkham City, while juggling the PhysX of both games to be calculated on the CPU, GPU2 and GPU1 (the main display card where the monitor is plugged in). Using FRAPS for collecting benchmark data in Average Frames Per Second, I saw no more than a few frames difference between all modes.
That is, playing with PhysX set to GPU2, PhysX set on GPU1 or putting the PhysX onto the CPU, I saw only a few frames of difference in actual gameplay performance. Mind you, it can be argued that I didn’t see as many sparks, blood, snow or leaves float across my screen at times; but overall, if you are concerned with only “the game performance ramifications” of where to put PhysX, The Answer Is: playing a game, it doesn’t really matter (but the CPU calculates PhysX slower than putting it on any card, as seen in the data).

Overall, if you can’t afford that fast, newly-released videocard you want, but you can afford to get another GPU of the same type as the one you have now – and your motherboard and powersupply can support it – it’s totally worth it to get a second videocard for SLI/Crossfire performance (and if you’re going the NVIDIA route, it doesn’t really matter where you put PhysX).

Have fun upgrading and See You In The Games If The World Doesn’t End Soon!

reACT Trainer Total Body Circuit Workout

One of the best tools we have at our disposal at Workout Anytime is the reACT Trainer.  Staff who know how to use the product properly and teach others to use it can make a great impression on any member or guest and help to differentiate their club from competitors.

Although the reACT Trainer is a lower body and core trainer it is easy to create full body circuits using the reACT Trainer along with the key upper body movements including:

Horizontal Press (chest press of some type)

Horizontal Pull (Row of some type)

Overhead Press

Vertical Pull – (some type of vertical pulling movement)

Here is a sample reACT Trainer Total Body Circuit:

Paperless Mission #11: Getting Started with Edmodo

This is the eleventh installment in my Go Paperless! Challenge Series. You can check out the other entries in the series here. Also be sure to link up with my Paperless Challenge Linky!

Mission #11: Get Started with Edmodo

One of the tools that I started using in the classroom this year is Edmodo. If you’re not familiar with it, Edmodo is a learning management system that allows students and teachers to interact online in safe environment. It looks and feels a lot like Facebook but without all of the potential problems Facebook could create — especially for very young users.

1. Create a teacher account and create your group for your class.
Teacher accounts are free, and they’re the first step toward using this in your classroom. Parents and students aren’t able to access Edmodo unless they know the access code that a teacher has given them.

2. Add some content for your students to engage with the first time they use Edmodo. You can ask a question for discussion or take a poll as a good first activity. You’ll want to have something queued to go so that students don’t just start posting randomness. (They may do that anyway at first, but you can at least buy yourself some time to talk about guidelines and procedures for that before they get too carried away.)

3. Invite students by giving them the Group Code. This is unique to your group, and students will need an access code for each group they join with their student account. Joining your group doesn’t give them the power to search for other groups. Similarly, if another teacher at your school is using Edmodo, he or she will also have a Group Code that students can enter and just add the group to their account. It’s pretty easy.

4. Once all of your students have joined the group, lock your group. This will prevent other students from other classes inadvertently joining, and it’s generally a good security measure. You can always unlock the group temporarily later on if you end up getting a new student.

5. Create an assignment. This essentially creates a place for students to turn in their work. Everything that they complete on their iPads gets turned in through the assignments I create on Edmodo. Then I can see which students have turned it in, assign grades, and give feedback. The beauty of this system is that I can grade work as it comes in without worrying about losing something. This is especially helpful on larger assignments where students tend to stagger their completion.

6. Give quizzes. I won’t lie — this is probably one of the most tedious parts about Edmodo from a teaching perspective. You have to manually input all of the questions, and there’s currently not a way for teachers to share their quizzes with one another. But the time you put in on the front end of creating the test is more than made up for on the back end by the immediate grading of the multiple choice, true false, and matching questions. I’ll talk more about Edmodo quizzes in a future post.

7. Set up small groups. You can create multiple small groups within your group, and students can belong to more than one small group. That means that you can have small groups for reading as well as different small groups for research projects in Social Studies, etc.

Preparing Students

My students really did see this as Facebook-lite, so it was important that we created some guidelines as a group. Here are some of the rules we discussed and implemented as a class:
  • Use posts to discuss school-related content only — not to share personal information or “status updates.”
  • Use appropriate school language and grammar, not texting language.
  • Be positive and kind and show good “Netiquette.”
My fabulous media specialist, Sandi at Teacher Technotopia, did a series of lessons with students about “Netiquette” prior to this, which helped a lot. I also moderated the conversations a lot at the beginning. As the teacher, you can delete things that other students post and you can send that student a direct message to let them know that you deleted their post and why you did so. That helped with my class tremendously.  
As a side-note, one of the things I like about Edmodo is that you can send your students direct messages, and they can send you messages, too, but they can’t send direct messages to each other. Anything they post is either public within the group or for the teacher-only. This eliminated some of my concerns about possible cyber-bullying.

How I Used This in My Classroom

Once we got going with Edmodo, I used it constantly. Virtually every test (except math) was done through Edmodo. It was also great for collecting student work, taking polls, and facilitating class discussions. For example, when we were deciding what our class team name would be for field day, I was able to relegate that entire conversation to Edmodo rather than take up valuable class time on it. I also love that students can access Edmodo from any computer or mobile device, so they could keep going on assignments even if they couldn’t take their iPads home. It’s not a perfect platform, but it was really helpful in my move toward a paperless classroom.

Do you use Edmodo in your classroom? I’d love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments section!

My Trip to Bangladesh June 2011. Cont…..

The assignment is now over; managed to progress the milestones without much trouble given that I lost a total of 4 days to strikes. The draft evaluation report was well accepted by the client; now comes the tricky part getting comments on the report. There are basically 2 types of comments that a consultant is likely to get on a report. The first being, comments regarding the structure / formatting and style of the report and some times regarding the language. We have all had different educations and are used to a particular vocabulary; further at some point in our lives we have written a report and we generally stick to that structure while accommodating subject related topics. My rule of thumb is that I give in to these requests as it is just not worth the discussion regarding it. I prefer to use that time for some thing else. The second being, comments regarding the contents such as findings, recommendations etc. Here I generally play hard ball, unless I am presented with an argument backed by facts / proof. This goes to the hart of your position as an independent, unbiased professional consultant. I look forward to these comments as they challenge your thinking and help you to be a better consultant as well. I am supposed to get all the comments by next Friday as the end of the assignment / submission of the final report scheduled after 2 days of receiving all the comments.
During my last week in Dhaka my health deteriorated (food poisoning). My fault for eating some pastries (short eats) offered to me during a meeting. Momentary laps of concentration. . I have been coming to Bangladesh since 2006 and this is the first time this happened to me. My dread was the journey back to Colombo which I made with the aid of Imodium. I know this drug is banned in some countries but it is a life saver when traveling.
I do not have any other assignments lined up at this moment. Now that I am back in Colombo I need to tie up some outstanding issues. These are in fact 3 reports, 1) finalizing the report for the current Bangladesh Assignment, 2) finalize the Strategic Plan for my client in Batticaloa and 3) Submit a reflection I did for myself for the institute of consulting.

Nutritional Strategies for Allergy and Asthma

SeasSeason allergies to pollen and mold seem to getting more and more prevalent each year with progressively more severe symptoms in sufferers.    Treating allergies with nutrition and nutrition supplements can have big advantages over using medications.   
Allergy medication most commonly comes in the form of Antihistamines, and there are some big problems with long-term use of these medications.     It is now known that prolonged use of antihistamines decreases levels of acetylcholine which is a key neurotransmitter involved in memory and other important functions.   In fact, antihistamine use increases the risk of senility, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
What are Allergies Anyway?
Allergies are abnormal immune reactions to specific agents (proteins) known as antigens/allergens, which include many substances such as foods, drugs, pollens, dust mites, animal danders, feathers, along with many others. 
Allergies may also develop when an otherwise innocent substance has significant contact with an already inflamed surface (known as sensitization).  For example, when sick with a respiratory illness, respiratory surfaces are already inflamed and substances present at this time may be “remembered” as being foreign.  This can also occur with chemical substances known as “haptons” which are combinations of self and non-self which can lead the immune system to attack the self. 
Since there are multiple pro-inflammatory substances involved with allergies it is rare to obtain adequate control with single products/medications.  The most potent chemical mediators in allergies and asthma are leukotrienes.  Some leukotrines are one thousand times more potent than histamine as stimulators of bronchial constriction and allergy. 
Interestingly, many medications that reduce one inflammatory pathway actually boost leukotrienes.    For example, Aspirin and other NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs like Ibuprofen) result in the production of excessive levels of leukotrines in sensitive individuals although they decrease prostaglandins associated with inflammation and thereby relive pain.  So long term they can create a much more severe problem.
Asthma is linked to allergies and can be a severe and life threatening condition.   Do NOT try to self-treat Asthma – see a physician!
Strategies for Allergies
Try to avoid allergens by using air filters, regularly cleaning all surfaces and vacuuming and keeping your air-conditioning system on while regularly changing filters to filter out as many allergens as possible.   Remember your car cabin filter as well, and take showers and wash clothes after being outside for long periods of time.
Change your diet to reduce inflammation.    Dramatically reduce your intake of refined carbohydrate – sugar and starch which drive insulin which drives inflammation.  At the same time increase your intake of low glycemic, organic fruits and vegetables such as berries, broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, etc.   These plant foods contain polyphenols which are potent anti-oxidants and help to reduce inflammation and allergies without side effects.
Boos
Increase your intake of Omega 3 Fatty Acidsfrom cold water fish such as Alaskan Wild Salmon and/or take an Omega 3 Supplement such as Krill Oil.    Omega 3 fatty acids will always reduce inflammation if taken in sufficient dosages so this should be a primary strategy for allergy sufferers because they produce many side benefits.   The only exception is people taking any type of medication to thin blood and reduce clotting like Coumadin.   In this case the combination can be dangerous!
Nutritional Supplements for Allergies
There are several highly effective nutrition supplements for allergies including some key herbs.
Local Raw Honey – it MUST be local and must be raw because it will contain small amounts of local pollen and works by getting the body used to pollen much like an allergy shot.     A Tablespoon a day is as much as you need.   Many people swear by this simple and safe remedy!
Stinging Nettle Extract – this herb has a long history of effective use for allergies and freeze dried preparations seem to work the best and are best taken BEFORE allergy season even begins to put a damper on symptoms before they start – this is true of all nutritional approaches to allergy by the way!
Euphrasia Officianalis – aka “Eyebright” is an herb which name says it all – it is highly effective for eye allergy symptoms.
Quercetin – is a flavonoid contained in high amounts in apples, peppers, red wine, dark cherries and berries, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and sprouts, and raw red onions.   To treat allergies taking supplemental quercetin is the way to go, and the best form of quercetin is contained in a product called “AllQlear” by Integrative Therapeutics and can be purchased on Amazon.     It also contains “ovomucoids” from quail eggs that act as tryptase inhibitor and prevent release of histamine.
Boswellia Extract – Boswellia aka Frankincense (yes the herb mentioned in the bible!) can be highly effective for allergies and other forms of inflammation including arthritis because it blocks the formation of leukotrienes!    To get the benefits you must take 5-loxin which is a specific extract.   Note that in some individuals 5-loxin can cause or excacerbate heart burn so it is not for everyone, but when it works it can be highly effective!
Butterbur Extract – this plant extract can be highly effective for inhibiting leukotrienes and allergy symptoms or side effects.   You need to take a standardized extract with standardized levels of Petasin and Isopetasin) and free of Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids aka PA.  High quality brands include Life Extension, Swanson, and Enzymatic Therapy to name a few.   This product can also help many migraine sufferers and is a well-researched, proven treatment.
NAC – N-Acetyl Cysteine – helps thin mucus naturally and boost levels of the body’s most important antioxidant Glutathione – every allergy sufferer should be taking 600 – 1,200mg per day!
You will also find combination of these ingredients in particular products, and it is worth experimenting a bit because if you find the right product or combination of natural products you can find relief without sedation and without the side effects associated with antihistamines and more potent drugs like steroid nasal sprays or oral steroids.

Knoxville News Sentinel featuring Kurt and April Nitzsche

Knoxville News Sentinel featured WORKOUT ANYTIME owners Kurt and April Nitzsche.
The online article includes a great picture of April showing one of her clients, how to use one of many exercise machines at the Maryville location. The story also ran in the print edition on the front page of the business section with a large two picture spread of Kurt and April.
April Nitzsche explains to Robert Ridenour how to use one of many exercise machines at the Workout Anytime in Maryville on Thursday, January 16, 2014. April and her husband Kurt Nitzsche are the franchise owners of the Workout Anytime in Bearden and are now expanding into Maryville with their second location.         (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)
You can view the online article here. 

Chronic Illnesses and Diet part 2

Chronic Inflammatory Illness and Insulin Resistance

Allowing for the fact that genetics affects an individual’s susceptibility to disease, the roots of chronic illness often lie in deficiencies of various nutrients, other dietary issues and hypersensitivity to foods and environmental factors, such as toxins. Whichever of these factors apply to you or your family, insulin resistance may be the easiest to recognize and correct. When you have this condition high levels of insulin, created by frequent intake of carbohydrates, spill over into biochemical injury that makes whatever you have worse. This can include asthma, eczema, colitis, depression, headaches, psoriasis and much more.

What is common to all of these problems is inflammation. Whether you’re looking under the microscope or studying its basic chemical reactions, inflammation is the same, wherever it’s found. Chronic cough and mucus; sore, swollen, stiff joints; cramps and diarrhea; a chronically red, itchy rash; or periodontal disease — all are inflammation. Even cardiovascular disease, which used to be called hardening of the arteries and is now called atherosclerosis, is recognized as a fundamentally inflammatory process.

Diet Start

The first step in the biochemistry of inflammation is the release of informational substances from injured cells that attract the attention of healing mechanisms, the way a phone call to the automobile club brings you roadside assistance. The aid mobilized by these cellular calls for repair work is usually limited to the immediate task at hand; it’s designed for mending a cut or recovering from a burn or fighting infection. But if the agent causing the inflammation persists or if something goes wrong with the signaling mechanisms involved in the call for help, the repair work and its accompanying signals (pain, swelling, redness and heat) may become stuck, leaving you with a chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammatory diseases are often described by medical terms that end in Itis’ and ‘,psis’.

Because the signaling mechanisms involved in chronic inflammation may be distorted by inappropriately high insulin levels in your body, this is something over which you have control. Controlling insulin levels through appropriate dietary changes, including reducing carbohydrate consumption or shifting most consumption of carbohydrates to the later part of the day, will result in a positive effect on the biochemistry of inflammation. Although this dietary change is not directed at a specific disease, it should be part of any comprehensive treatment since it is aimed at easing the predictably disordered chemistry of anyone with a chronic inflammatory illness.

Medications that simply squelch the inflammation may not always be the best course of treatment. Granted, there are instances in which the cause is long gone but the body has gotten stuck in some kind of inappropriate reaction. In these cases, subduing the symptoms temporarily may work. But it’s different when it comes to the daily, long-term application of steroid creams or the consumption of systemic steroids or anti-inflammatory drugs. These treatments have some fairly dreadful gastrointestinal side effects, including the tendency to create leaks in the intestinal walls that allow the entry of unwanted toxins, chemicals and allergens into the bloodstream.

The Body Clock Prescription for Treating Chronic Illness

Chronic illness makes you listen to your body. The message is not so precise that you know exactly what to change, unless of course it’s something like chronic cough in a smoker. Most of the time, chronic pain or other signs of inflammation don’t announce their cause. They demand that you do some detective work, presumably with the help of a professional who has good instincts and expertise at reading your body’s communications by carefully listening to your story, interpreting laboratory tests and then making educated efforts at trial and error.

Anyone with a chronic illness has to be especially aware of the second Tacks Law: if you are sitting on two tacks, removing only one does not necessarily make you feel 50 per cent better. This means that insulin resistance is just one of many manageable factors that may also include improving other aspects of nutritional status and looking for the trigger, irritant, allergen, toxin or germ to which your body may be responding.

Doing the detective work required to find underlying triggers of a chronic illness may take a long time; nor is it always successful. As a more generalized strategy, the ten steps of the Body Clock Prescription will not only prevent or tame insulin resistance, a major contributor to chronic illness, but will reinforce healthy body rhythms and foster rhythmic integration. Remember that flexibility is your body’s treasure; it enables you to be more like an orchestra, with its constant active effort to stay in tune and on beat, than a mechanical system. The same flexibility that allows you to fall victim to the negative effects of poorly timed eating, breathing, exercise or exposure to light also permits you to use such influences for your benefit.

Fabulous Fiber!

Everyone has heard that they need to eat fiber, but few people really know what it is and why it is so important.     Fiber is a form of carbohydrate along with sugars and starches.      Unlike sugars and starch fiber cannot be used for energy because it cannot be broken down into sugar.     Starch and sugars both end us as blood sugar aka glucose.
Starches are simply multiple units of sugar hooked together, and we have enzymes that break them apart so we can use the sugar for fuel.   Fiber is also multiple units of sugar hooked together, but humans lack the enzymes necessary to break it down into sugars so it is not absorbed.    This is very important when thinking about carbohydrate containing foods because they are NOT all the same.
For example, a glass of fruit juice is essentially a glass of sugar water with some beneficial plant chemicals and in many cases a nice dose of vitamin C.    It can dramatically boost blood sugar, and if you consume too much it can definitely drive weight gain.     While a large serving of brocolli is mostly fiber with little sugar and starch and is also chock full of beneficial plant chemicals, but with almost no effect on blood sugar!
There are two main types of fiber – soluble and insoluble.    Ideally you want to eat both.   There is also a third type of fiber called “Digestive Resistant Starch” (see https://workoutanytime.blogspot.com/2017/10/digestion-resistant-starch-all-starch.html)
Soluble fiber, found in foods such as cucumbers, blueberries, and beans, has a gel-like consistency and slows down your digestion.     This helps with satiety (feeling satisfied).    It also slows the break down and absorption of cholesterol and other nutrients like starches and sugar which can help lower cholesterol and control blood sugar.    Some foods with soluble fiber also help feed the good bacteria in your digestive tract.
Insoluble fiberis found in foods like green, leafy veggies, green beans, and celery.    It does not dissolve to a gel and stays intact as it moves through your colon.   By adding bulk, it helps food move more quickly through your digestive tract reducing transit time.  Insoluble Fiber is sometimes referred to as “roughage”, and it along with soluble fiber can help with constipation.
Benefits of High Fiber Intake
Fiber intake is very important for keeping blood sugar levels under control, and studies have shown that people who take in at least 26 grams of fiber per day had a much lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
There is also an inverse relationship between fiber intake and heart attack, with research showing that people eating a high fiber diet have a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease.    High fiber diets may also help lower blood pressure.
Another interesting research finding about fiber is that for every 7 grams of fiber you consume each day your stroke risk is decreased 7 percent.      To put this into perspective this equates to about 2 servings of fruits and vegetables.
Fiber, and psyllium in particular, can help move yeasts and fungus out of your digestive system which may help prevent them from triggering acne and rashes.
Fiber can also provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome in many people.
Fiber intake may also help reduce the risk of gallstones and kidney stones probably through its action in controlling blood sugar.
Sources of Fiber
Contrary to popular opinion grains are probably not your best source of fiber.    Unfortunately, non-organic grains are chock full of glyphosate which is pesticide banned in most other countries outside the US because they have no allegiance to Monsanto who produces it.    
A high grain diet promotes insulin and leptin resistance thereby increasing your risk for Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease and Cancer. 
Better choices of fiber includes Organic Whole Husk Psyllium.     If you use this supplement it is critical to get organic psyllium as non-organic psyllium is heavily sprayed with chemicals.     Other great sources include chia seeds, berries, root vegetables such as sweet potato, peas and beans, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and celery.
How much fiber?
Experts recommend that woman eat a minimum of 25 grams of fiber per day and men consume 38 grams per day.     However higher intakes may be more beneficial.     
It is important to SLOWLY increase your fiber intake and keep your water intake high to prevent potential issues caused by eating fiber without sufficient fluid.
Low-Fiber Diet
There are circumstances where high fiber intake is contraindicated and timing for fiber intake relative to drugs and supplements is important.   People with chronic digestive issues may need to remove fiber for some period of time because fiber feeds the bacteria in your gut.    Although as a general rule this is highly beneficial there are circumstances where high fiber intake can feed the wrong microorganisms such as pathogenic bacteria.

Fiber can also bind certain medications and minerals dramatically reducing their absorption so many drugs and mineral supplements should not be taken at the same time as fiber.

Quick Tip: Can’t Record Your Game At All? (64-bit/32-bit Fix)

Just a quick tip for when it seems like you cannot record your game ‘at all’:
64-bit computing is still relatively new for home users, which means that not all 64-bit hardware and applications communicate without problems. Many game recording apps simply can’t record games that operate in 64-bit modes. Just look for a 32-bit version of your game/gameclient and then your game recording program (no matter which one you use, be it Dxtory, Bandicam, MSI Afterburner..) should be able to record the screen. [For games that use Java (eg. Minecraft), download the 32-bit Java at their website]

See you in the games!

5 Ways to Use iPads in Math

Today I’m linking up with the Tune into Technology Linky to share some ways to integrate technology in Math. Since I teach in a 1:1 iPad fourth grade classroom, I’ll focus on how we use iPads in Math.

1. Build a Math Notebook in Evernote



Evernote is my all-time favorite note-taking app, and that extends to math as well. In addition to typing text notes, students can attach documents (handouts, activities, etc) that they’ve viewed on their iPads and they can also take pictures through the app or attach pictures from the camera roll. That’s helpful when they build models with manipulatives and want to archive their work.

2. Reinforce concepts or conduct inquiry research with math movies.

BrainPop
Khan Academy



Two of my favorite apps to use in math are BrainPop and Khan Academy. I often use these to introduce a lesson or to differentiate instruction. I often feel like I get stretched pretty thin during math instruction because I have such a range of skills in my classroom, but these apps help. If I’m working with a student and a second student needs help, I can direct that student to a video on Khan Academy and encourage the student to see if that will help him or her figure out the problem until I can get there. Often the additional examples help the student understand the problem better.

3. Make math movies to assess understanding

Show Me

Explain Everything

I often ask students to show their solution to a problem on an app like Show Me or Explain Everything. There they can model their thinking using pictures or drawings, and they can record their voice as they explain their work. I learn so much about their understandings through their explanations, and it helps to assess the Standards for Mathematical Practice included in the Common Core.

4. Make a Vocabulary Notebook in Keynote

Keynote


I like to use Keynote for their math vocabulary because we can create slides that use the Frayer Model for vocabulary instruction. In addition to typing definitions, examples, and non-examples, they can draw their own pictures on a whiteboard app, take a screenshot, and add them to the slide. They can also search for real-world examples to photograph and add. Once they’re finished, they can easily alphabetize their entries by rearranging the slides.

5. Use QR codes
Our math word wall has QR codes linking to the definitions of each term so students can quiz themselves about the meaning of a term or review terms they’ve forgotten. If you click on the image below, you can get a freebie example of this for the properties of multiplication.

My complete sets for grade 4, grade 5, and 4/5 combo are available at my TpT store.

We’ve also written riddles in Geometry where students could scan a QR code to find the answer. You can read my post about that here.

And we’ve used QR codes to help check homework assignments. I’ve written about that here.

I’m really just scratching the surface here — there are so many other possibilities and several math specific apps to use, but I’ll save those for future posts. I’m excited to read other examples of integrating technology into math, though, and if you haven’t visited the linky yet, you definitely should. I got so many great ideas for reading and writing from it last week!

How do you use technology in Math?

Now on Instagram!

I’ve joined in the Instagram love! You can now find me at Eberopolis on Instagram.


I started using it on Wednesday, so I’m still new, but I’m making it a goal to post something (usually) classroom-related every day. Be sure to follow me so I can find all of my teacher-friends who are already there!

Have a great weekend!

Immune Complex Food Sensitivity

These occur when antibodies attack allergens but don’t manage to kill them. The result is an allergen (called an antigen) with an antibody stuck to it. This creates a whole new animal (an antigen-antibody complex) that the body doesn’t recognize. When this happens, the ‘new animal’ starts circulating around the body, and this circulatory immune complex, or CIC, can eventually lodge in tissue.

CICs create many of the same reactions as classic allergies. When they circulate through or lodge in tissues, such as those of the kidneys, lungs, liver, or joints, they can cause terrible problems by starting immune and inflammatory responses. They can cause joint problems similar to arthritis, and they can cause organs to malfunction. They often interfere with the body’s filtering mechanisms, such as the lymphatic system and kidneys. Some researchers believe they contribute to many types of kidney disease, some of which are eventually fatal.

Diet Start

Sometimes, people with serious CIC problems experience widespread conditions — such as migraines, kidney problems, and joint pain — and never realize that all of these problems have a single cause.

Frequently, patients come to me hoping only to lose weight, but when they resolve problems such as excessive CIC production, they also overcome other serious health conditions. One recent patient, for example, not only lost 22 pounds but also recovered from chronic joint pain, migraines, and gallbladder inflammation. This patient was happy to lose her weight, but was overjoyed to solve the other problems. Of course she had to make a serious commitment to her health and change her lifestyle. But she enjoyed the whole process, because she felt so much better every step of the way.

This reinforced my belief in the adage, ‘If you just strive for thin, you’ll never win. Strive for health, and thin will follow.’

Now you know about the risk factors that make you vulnerable to food reactions, and you know how food reactions work. Good for you! You now have more knowledge about this subject than many doctors do.

Now that you have a good foundation of knowledge, you’ll be able to understand why food reactions cause bloating and swelling. Once you understand this, you need never again be a victim of false fat.

And More: Deal and Sales – Battlefield 4 Expansion, Second Assault is Free from EA – Two Days Left [Notification]

Just a quick mention, for those who didn’t catch it yet or for those who play [or never stopped playing!] Battlefield 4Second Assault, the Expansion pack that adds Four Maps, Five Weapons, Ten Assignments and more, is currently being given away Free from EA/Origin until the 28th – that’s only two days left to go get it!

Battlefield 4: Second Assault Expansion Pack Information Panel
in the “On The House” Section [ Free Games > On The House] in EA’s Origin Game Client (Click to see Full Size)

Note that you need to already own Battlefield 4, as this is an Expansion Pack, but you can still get it now – even if you don’t own BF4 – and play it later. Go and Download it now! GOGOGO

Battlefield 4: Second Assault Expansion Promotional Wallpaper by EA, Unedited
(Click to see Full Size)

See You In The Game!

WORKOUT ANYTIME in the Daily News

WORKOUT ANYTIME in the Daily News

Dale Chaffin of WORKOUT ANYTIME Bowling Green was recently featured in the Daily News. Dale was interviewed for the story and a photographer was assigned to take his photo for a story about the WORKOUT ANYTIME location in Bowling Green where he is the GM and how he has lost 80 pounds since 2012 with help of personal trainer Chris Talley. The story focused on how working at a gym has helped Dale with his fitness goals. 
View the full article here. 

My Trip to Bangladesh June 2011

The assignment in Bangladesh is to evaluate the performance of a department within an organization. The interesting aspect is that the objective / mission of the department is, Organization Development of its other departments as well as partners of the organization. It’s going to be an interesting assignment. This will be a long assignment where I will be staying for 4 weeks in Bangladesh and travel to the north of the country.
The journey here was uneventful and arrived at my hotel tired but happy to be here. I am staying at the Asia Pacific Blossom Hotel; http://www.blossomhotel.net/ this will be my second stay at this hotel. I stayed at this hotel in 2006 during my first assignment in Bangladesh.
The assignment itself got off to a tuff start as the day of the launch of the assignment was a “Strike Day” in Bangladesh and apparently there are more strike days planned in the coming weeks. I am no stranger to Strikes / Harthal in Bangladesh and was in the thick of them when I was here on assignments in 2006 and 2008. At least this time it’s in support of oil and gas committee on the ConocoPhillips deal. The once planed during the week is for political issues; these tend to get violent and can be dangerous.

MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS GO SROP

Although they are all unique, and I noticed that some of the same elements that deserve to be underlined. First of all, all the bedrooms the images below, with large windows, which are usually thin stylish blinds or curtains. On both sides of a king-size bed is a traditional bedside tables, shelves or chairs for the original. The walls are painted mostly white, but here and there, you will find an interesting color interference: some of the rooms are nice backgrounds to illuminate the room. Details of lighting are particularly interesting to observe. Please take a look at this beautiful gallery bedroom and tell us what information you will find interesting.

modern swedish bedroom designs

MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

modern swedish bedroom designs

MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

modern swedish bedroom designs

MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

modern swedish bedroom designs

MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

modern swedish bedroom designs

MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

HOME DESIGN FULL OF COLOR AND INSPIRING

It was probably what the designers had in mind when you fill this place with colorful decoration items such as floor cushions, rugs and rustic small packages. Because the white background, these elements stand out and create a pleasant visual contrast. The living room, dining room and kitchen are connected not only physically, but also intelligent design. We love the way the house seems to be decorated according to a fun pattern, which consists of color and youth.

Home Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Living Room Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Living Room Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Kitchen Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Kitchen Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Bedroom Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Bedroom Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Bathroom Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Bathroom Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Fallout 4 – V.A.N.S… What Does It Do? Why Would Anyone Want To Take/Use It? [Explanation with Example]

I saw someone ask this in the Official Steam Forum, wondering why someone would even pick the VANS Perk (the Skill to use it) while levelling. I wanted to come back here and post, as a Quick Tip perhaps, a short explanation on what V.A.N.S. actually does (and how it can be helpful to players).

Briefly summarized, V.A.N.S. is a Perk of Intelligence (requiring only 1 INT to Unlock) that lets the V.A.T.S. interface ‘show you the way’ to your marked objective/quest/mission location. An example I recorded of how it looks, is below:

Recorded aboard The Prydwen, this is a short example of how VANS looks in Fallout 4.
(Reduced size, framerate and quality, to fit Upload requirements at Steam)
Click to see slightly larger Full Size
On Steam, at http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=966498722

To use V.A.N.S., simply hold the Hotkey for opening VATS for a short time (eg. on PC, instead of hitting ‘Q’ quickly once, to enter V.A.T.S., hold it down) – let go of the ‘Q’ key, after about two full seconds or so – even if the Pip-Boy has not fully opened yet. Then hit ‘TAB’ to close the Pip-Boy right away, once the ‘green trail’ is seen.
You do not need to move or turn at all, until after closing the Pip-Boy fully (for example, I do not use the mouse at all to use V.A.N.S., on PC, I just open the Pip-Boy with ‘Q’ and close the Pip-Boy with ‘TAB’).
[Perhaps this will help those having issues with opening/closing/viewing the ‘trail’…]

If you’ve played Skyrim, it is similar to the Clairvoyance Spell in that game, as it will then illuminate a ‘trail’ that looks like a tube of smoke along the ground, that you can follow (but in Fallout 4 it is ‘Pip-Boy Green’, as opposed to ‘SKYrim Blue’).

While this doesn’t seem needed as Fallout 4 has both Map Marks (on the Map in the Pip-Boy and at the bottom of the Screen in a Compass) and Floating Markers (that can be seen on Doors, above NPCs, etc). V.A.N.S. is helpful in a slightly different way. It shows you the ‘Main Path to take’ to get to your Marked Objective/Quest/Mission (as in, “go to this Street and use this Road”).

For example, if you are jumping around in the back hills or lost in the skyscrapers of Downtown, it will guide you out of where you are with the ‘green steam trail’ and show you how to get back to the main roads, then it will illuminate which way to go from there, too.

The Map Markers that are normally available only show the ‘overall’ or ‘general’ Heading, like a Compass (N, E, W, S) and not ‘how to go around this thing in front of you’ or ‘how to get back to the main road first’. Those last concepts are where the usefulness in V.A.N.S. shines; in how it can guide you from exactly where you are, first around whatever is in front of you (to the nearest main path), then how to go on from there to your next objective.

Try it out on your next Character perhaps – and have fun in Fallout 4!

Workout Anytime on FOX 19

Workout Anytime on FOX 19

Tony Petrocelli from Workout Anytime was recently featured on a segment on FOX 19 in Cincinnati. The segment is about what women do wrong while working out. Tony then talks about the locations and mentions that there are franchise opportunities.

Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

You can view the full segment here.

It’s Not Just You™ – Paladins (Beta), Having Issues Not Starting or Not Running In 64-bit Mode, Battlegrounds [Notification, Updated As Encountered]

[Currently, this post is mostly in Text-Only Mode, to speed up the ability to publish it… 
I may return to add some Images and/or Screenshots in the future.
This post will be Updated for the next few days, as I encounter new related information.]

If you are trying to play the newest addition to Paladins, Battlegrounds, which is being released in Alpha Testing Stage in their Latest Update – and you are having issues with either (1) the game not launching/starting or (2) the game running in 32-bit mode [which stops you from being able to enter the Battlegrounds, which requires 64-bit mode] – just letting you know, It’s Not Just You™…

For the past little while, I have been trying to get into Paladins and try out this new Game Mode, and take a look at any new changes; but I have been running into multiple issues with the game itself. If related Paladins Forums ‘everywhere’ (Steam, Reddit, Official Forums, etc) are any indication, many, many others are having issues as well.

I wanted to take a moment to make this posting because, even though it seems there are a few people that have ‘gotten it running’, there are many others, like me, that have not. I wanted to share this experience and related information, so that others may know that, well… It’s Not Just Them.

Since I have run into multiple issues and have tries multiple steps so far, I will share them here in Point Form as a list:

Issues Seen/Encountered:

  • Game not starting [Launcher will start, but game itself will not show up]
  • Game not stopping [Game will not Terminate, Steam says it is Running still, but it is not, or has not started]
  • Game not running in 64-bit mode [Game starts in 32-bit Mode and therefore The Battlegrounds can not be tested/run, as it states in-game “64-bit Mode Required”]
  • Cannot Verify Integrity Of Game Files, via Steam [Steam states to ‘exit any game files or tools’ related to the game, but none are running]

Steps Taken/Tried:

  • Put “-Use64 [without quotes] into Optional Game Command Line Parameters (Options/Commands) in Launcher
  • Put “-dx11” [without quotes] into Optional Game Command Line Parameters (Options/Commands) in Launcher
  • Checked “Use 64 bit Client” in Launcher Options [this has never been ‘unchecked’ by me]
  • Verified Cache [‘double-checked’ the game files through Steam, to see if they are what they are supposed to be]
Unfortunately, since I cannot make the game ‘run in 64-bit Mode and enter The Battlegrounds’ in a repeated a reliable manner – I cannot make a section containing a ‘Fix’ at this time… I will continue to observe various Forums and Support Responses, try various Suggested Steps (from the Developers and other helpful Paladin Players (there are a lot of them out there!)), and see if I can make any progress that results in stable and repeatable game launching and gameplay. If I do, I will return here and add it as a ‘Fix’ section. 
For now, despite them not working for me/on my system, there are a few isolated people that have had success with some of the Steps listed. If you are experiencing any of these issues with Paladins at this time, try some or all of them above. Perhaps one of them will work for you, too. 
Good Luck with it – and try to stay positive, remembering – It’s Not Just You™!

How to Cope with Too Many Snow Days

Ice and Snow, Go Away!

This has been the worst winter since I moved to Atlanta eight years ago. We have six-week terms, and during these last six weeks, we lost two days to extremely cold temperatures (by Southern standards), three additional days because of the “snowpocalypse” that buried Atlanta, and now I’m home again due to Winter Storm “Pax” that will likely shut us down the rest of the week. That’s nearly one-third of our term lost!

Adding to my dilemma, our calendar builds in week-long breaks at the end of each six week term. So we won’t be back in school next week either. It’s a serious wrinkle in my plans.

I talked to my fourth graders about this yesterday, and we worked out a plan so they could continue to work from home during these inclement weather days. It’s a really rainy, dreary day anyway (we’re at the “wintry mix” stage of the storm), so it’s not like they’d be outside sledding today. I also suspect that many parents are welcoming the activities at this stage of the winter!

Here are my suggestions for telecommuting with your class during winter weather.

Building a Virtual Classroom

1. Choose a mix of activities that can be shared with parents. I knew early last night that we’d be off today, so I found some activities that aligned with what we’re studying right now. While many of the activities require computer access, I purposefully included some that do not. For example, we’re building weather instruments out of household items, writing stories, continuing our reading, etc. But we’re also using some online resources.

2. Take advantage of online instructional videos. Two of my favorite free resources are LearnZillion and Khan Academy. I selected videos that align with the math and ELA content we’re working on now.

3. Stay accessible through your Learning Management System. We use Edmodo in our class, and it’s a great tool for turning in assignments and having class discussions. I’m checking in throughout the day to answer students’ questions and participate in the discussion questions I set up there earlier.

4. Take advantage of the resources students have at home. I teach in a 1:1 iPad classroom, so we’re constantly on iPads. There are lots of flash-based games that we can’t run on our iPads, however. I’m fortunate that all of my students have computers at home, so I’m incorporating more of those activities for students to complete. I’m also choosing some really fun and engaging simulation games that we just don’t ever get to in class. Two examples:

Law Craft – For the record, all of the games at iCivics.org are worth checking out. In this particular one, students work to craft a law and take it through the legislative process. They have to build support by making concessions, work out the details through committees, and ultimately get the president to sign it. It teaches a lot about how a bill becomes a law.

Edheads Weather – This aligns with the weather forecasting aspect of our weather unit. Students will work through different weather maps to report the weather and predict future weather events. It’s another great interactive game. I highly recommend the activities at the Edheads website. The only downside is that there are lots of ads, and sometimes pop-ups.

5. Be flexible – I can’t really help students troubleshoot tech issues on their home computers, and I can’t make them do the activities at home. I’m not making any of the activities mandatory, but they’re still available. I’m hoping that with the good mix of opportunities, parents and students will take advantage of the resources I’m offering. But I won’t punish a student who doesn’t. If even a few kids do the activities, it’s better than writing off the weather days as a complete loss.

Preparation is Key
It would be impossible to implement this plan with fourth graders if a lot of our technology norms and routines hadn’t already been established. My students are familiar with my class website, Edmodo, and my expectations. Integrating technology in the classroom makes the transition to our virtual classroom seamless.

How do you handle inclement weather days with your class? Do you have any plans resources to keep students engaged while they’re away from the classroom? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

On an unrelated note, I have been MIA from the blogging world since October. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve started working on a PhD in addition to teaching full-time and managing my toddler, so I’ve been insanely busy! I have an amazing student teacher this semester, however, so I’m starting to delegate more. I’m hopeful that will free up a little more time and energy so I can get back to blogging and reading all the stuff I’ve missed. Perhaps these weather days will also assist with that!

The Best Text for Teaching How to Write and Revise Leads

My fourth graders hate revision. They’re often offended by the mere suggestion that they hadn’t nailed the perfect lead to their stories in their first draft.

I’m used to this. I see it every year in writer’s workshop, especially at the beginning of the year when we’re writing in a genre for the first time.

And every time I see this, I become more determined to break them of this thinking.

Today, we were working on the Common Core State Standard W.4.3a – Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.

My favorite story to use for this is standard — especially with fourth graders — is The Teacher’s Funeral by Richard Peck.

This book, set in a small Indiana town with a one-room schoolhouse, has the best opening line of a children’s book ever.

If your teacher has to die, August isn’t a bad time of year for it. 

Richard Peck keeps it going from there, building an incredible introduction. You can read the entire first chapter here.

Today, I started our writing lesson by reading this chapter to them. I have the Kindle edition of the book, so when I read it, I can project it on our ActivBoard so the students can follow along as I read. They laughed throughout the intro and were immediately hooked, begging me to choose this as our next chapter book read-aloud. Score one for the objective of “hooking your readers!”

I then asked them how many of them thought that introduction was the one that was in the first draft of his book.

One or two hands went up.

Richard Peck shared in an article called “In the Beginning” (Horn Book Magazine, September 2006, pp. 505-508) that it normally takes him 24 drafts of his lead before he’s happy with it. TWENTY-FOUR!

And here I’m asking my students to take a second pass at their writing.

I shared that little nugget with my students before we reread the first chapter. As we read if for a second time, we focused on the characteristics of his writing that made it such a great lead.

Here’s what my students noticed, compiled into an anchor chart:

Once we finished the chart, I had them go back to a piece of writing they’ve been working on and try to write a different introduction. Some students tried changing the point of view, others jumped into the action or started with dialogue. Whatever the strategy, all of them managed to produce a new version of their introduction, and all were at least a little better than what they’d started with.

We’ll get this revising thing down eventually…

What are some of your favorite books to use to teach students how to hook their readers? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY

Matryoshka House was designed by architect David Jameson, is located in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. Obeyng unwritten rules concept Matryoshka, the house consists of a series of volumes is one inside the other. According to ‘description’, architects, in essence, a meditation room with suspended center acts as the physical and spiritual for the project. The internal energy market of the meditation room locked in an open, bright. Alternating tread stairs rise participant commits deliberatley eve of the meditation room. The meditation room is surrounded by a wooden container that surrounds the living area of ​​the house. Traditional decorations in turn should have soothed by stucco walls act as a protective layer and ground floor of the house. In-between space of nested volumes strategic cup sun to protect lines of light inside.

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY DINING ROOM

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL MEDITATION ROOM

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL MEDITATION ROOM

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY BATHROOM

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY BATHROOM

No Backtracking

No Backtracking principles

This is a plan for life. You will carefully reintroduce certain carbohydrates into your diet — and find the balance that maintains your weight and keeps you feeling trim. This crucial phase will allow you to:

  • Establish the carbohydrate levels that you can eat in order to remain slim and supply your energy requirements
  • Break totally with bad habits made in the past
  • Never return to yo-yo dieting
  • Find a healthy attitude to food and a viable eating plan for the rest of your life.

No Backtracking rules

During this phase you need to:

  • Increase your daily carb intake by no more than 10g (1/3oz) each week
  • Add new foods one at a time
  • Eliminate a new food if it provokes weight gain; a return of physical symptoms lost during the Fast-Track Plan; increased appetite, cravings or water retention

Diet Start

  • Drop back to the next-lowest level of carbohydrate intake if you gain weight
  • Carry on eating adequate amounts of healthy fats and lean protein at every meal to ensure a balanced diet
  • Continue to take vitamin and mineral supplements regularly, drink masses of water and, of course, exercise regularly.

Make this diet the one that works

Once you have reached your target weight, you can start on the No Backtracking plan. Increase your intake of carbohydrates by 5-10 grams per day until you reach your optimum level for weight management This will probably be around 40 per cent of your total daily calorific intake, but remember that everybody differs, especially when you consider activity levels.

If you have high insulin resistance, then you may have to Keep on Tracking and be careful about how many carbohydrates you consume on a daily basis. But if you’re one of the lucky ones with low insulin resistance, you may be able to eat most vegetables (including starchy vegetables), fruit, pulses andwholegrains such as oats, barley, millet, wild rice, couscous and buckwheat. You can also begin to use recipes containing carbohydrate ingredients such as breadcrumbs; you may even be able to handle an occasional potato. But don’t eat all these things in one day. You still have to monitor your carbohydrate intake to stay where you are – healthy and energized. Remember the eating habits that got you here in the first place. You should have successfully gauged your ideal carbohydrate level, and be maintaining a stable weight and energy levels, within 4-12 weeks of following the No Backtracking plan.

Stick to the basic weight management tips and try to be good 80 per cent of the time. We are all allowed the odd slip up – if you want a slab of chocolate cake from time to time, make sure it is the best you find and enjoy it. If you ever see the scales creeping up, cut back, even go back to the Fast Track plan for a few days until your weight is back to normal, and then gradually raise your carbohydrate levels once again.

A template for life

Two portions of higher GI carbohydrates are included per day on the suggested eating plan. Treat this as the template you ought to follow from now on. And try some of these tricks to keep your carbohydrates at a moderate, healthy level:

  • Opt for rye bread, oatcakes and rye crackers instead of wheat-based bread. Even if you are not wheat-intolerant, it is worth considering this.
  • Eat fruit 20 minutes before eating anything else, not afterwards. Fruit takes less time to digest, but if eaten on top of a heavy meal, can cause bloating.
  • If you are going to drink alcohol, choose dry white wine or, even better, red, which contains flavonoids with antioxidant and anti-platelet properties thought to reduce deaths from coronary artery disease. If you have managed to kick the alcohol habit, opt for grape juice, which contains flavonoids similar to those in red wine.
  • Mix sweet potato with cauliflower as a mash or purée to go with roast chicken. The aim is to mix a high GI vegetable with a low one, to reduce the total carbohydrate level.
  • When making a rice dish such as risotto, reverse your ratio of vegetables to rice: add a little rice to a heap of vegetables. And try grating raw vegetables such as carrots and courgettes into the dish at the last moment – it adds texture and you get the benefit of all those raw phytonutrients.
  • Don’t give up on those whey-protein smoothies – they are still the most effective way of getting high-value biological protein.

Guided Math Resources

I recently went to a workshop about guided math groups, and I have tons of new ideas that I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks. I couldn’t wait, however, to share a couple of the resources that I’m really excited about.

First, is this book:

Good Questions: Great Ways to Differentiate Mathematics Instruction, Second Edition  is a resource that I was able to start using with my students as soon as I got it. It is full of open-ended questions and parallel tasks that students at any level could access. It’s organized both by grade levels (K-2, 3-5, 6-8) and domain strands (Number and Operations, Geometry, Measurement, Algebra, and Data Analysis and Probability). It also lists which Common Core State Standards each question aligns to.

We were working on line plots (4.MD.4) when the book first arrived. Consider these problems:

You create a line plot that is based on measuring items to the nearest quarter of an inch. You notice that your plot looks a lot like a steep mountain. What might the measurements be and what might you be measuring? Why does it make sense that your plot would look like a steep mountain? (p. 174)

We had a great class discussion about inferences we can make about data based on the shape of a line plot, and students were really creative about what the line plot could be measuring.

There was also a parallel task where students could choose how to represent the data.

The set of data below describes the ages of a group of people at a family party.

32, 30, 5, 2, 1, 62, 58, 28, 26, 25, 24, 2, 4, 39, 16. 

Choice 1: Create a line plot to display the data. 

Choice 2: Create a bar graph to display the data. (p. 186)

Some students felt more comfortable with bar graphs, but they realized that it was harder to figure out intervals and scales for the bar graph vs. a line plot. That yielded a great discussion about how to choose which type of graph to use.

This is a great resource to use for student math journals, and it’s one that I will be going to daily. I can’t recommend this resource enough.

Another math resource that I’m falling in love with for my math workshop and guided math groups comes from the Bridges in Mathematics program. Until attending the workshop, I’d never even heard of this program, but it seems like it’s well-suited for developing math centers and guided math groups. There are some sample tasks available as a free supplement to the the program (to align it with Common Core) at http://catalog.mathlearningcenter.org/free. I’m also planning to purchase their Building Computational Fluency program for $45. I need something more structured and organized for checking students’ multiplication and division fluency in the fall.

Do any of you use the Bridges in Mathematics program in your school? If so, I’d love to hear more about it — I’m really intrigued!

Have a great weekend!

How To Use The Mouse To The Best Of Your Ability (a.k.a. How To Be A Better ‘First Person Shooter’) [Text-Only]


[Text-Only – This Post is Text-Only Mode, for now. I may return to this posting and add Screenshots or Images at a later time.]

I was browsing around in the Steam Forums [forii?], where I like to try and answer Technical Questions and give Suggestions about Gameplay and Tips – and I recently answered a query someone had about using the Mouse in Fallout 4 (arguably a ‘Shooter’ game for the most part) and how it seemed difficult for them to aim in the game (it is possible to utilize an Automated Aiming capability called V.A.T.S., in Fallout 4 – but the game can also be played ‘in real time’ without it, playing as a First Person Shooter would be played, similar to games like Overwatch, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Battlefield, and more).

So, I answered with a somewhat-lengthy reply, trying to be helpful and informative, letting them know where to do things like change the Settings of the Mouse and the Sensitivity; really trying to show them that there needs to be a ‘personalization’ of the Mouse Settings, if they wanted to utilize the Mouse, as a gaming tool, to the best of their ability (to “let your ability shine through the Mouse” as it were).

I thought it might be nice to share my answer here too, then – to share with others that may be wondering things like:

“Why am I having so much trouble aiming/killing in <game name>?”

“Why does it seem so hard to kill people <in a Multiplayer game>?”

“How can I improve my gameplay in Multiplayer/Player-Versus-Player?”

…and similar questions.

Thus, here was my reply in the Forum… Perhaps it can be of some use to you:

—–

If I may pop in, as a ‘First Person Shooter’ since Wolfenstein 3D (1992), and having won some Local Tournaments in the past (UT99 and Quake III Arena); you really need to find your own personal ‘mouse sensitivity’…

(I used to do 180’s while running to ‘check my six’ or headshot the player behind me – which they didn’t like of course, heh)

Note that this must be adjusted for every new mouse and potentially every new game. This is the only way to truly have a movement and reaction time/rate in the game that you personally feel comfortable with.


There are a few places you must adjust it:

– in Windows (Settings>Devices>Mouse [for Windows 10])
– in Mouse Software (that disc that comes with the Mouse that everyone ignores, or the manufacturer’s Drivers and associated ‘Software Configurator’ of some type for the mouse from their website), where you can also Keybind different keys or combinations to your Mouse, if it can do so, and set DPI gradations/steps.
– in the Game (Options or Settings)


Again, I cannot helpfully stress this enough; try to do this for each and every game you play – it is amazing in how it can personalize your comfortable movement/scan/hit rate.
It is really possible to ‘hit anything’ in a game, if you make your own personalized changes to all of the above.


Some people like to move their mouse a lot, slowing down the movement into smaller gradations for sniping and tight movements.
Some people like to move their mouse very little, using mostly their fingers and hardly turning their wrist (these types usually switch DPI settings as-they-move, for sniping and tighter movements).

Both are arguable for usage and both can utilize the DPI settings/changes possible on modern mice.
You must find your own movement type and movement rate, set by those three locations previously stated.

Once you set the mouse how you like it – whether you switch DPI settings on-the-fly (to make your character scan slower or faster, switching between scoped and non-scoped, for example) or whether you keep one DPI setting and alter how fast you move the mouse – you will find that you can aim/scan/hit a lot better (and also not get tired as fast).

Tip: Don’t forget to turn off any Mouse Acceleration (The kind that moves your mouse pointer farther on the screen if you move the same amount of space on your desk, only faster)… This only adds to the difficulty in scanning/aiming and makes it harder to build up muscle memory for your mouse (such as, “I move my mouse this far, and my view onscreen moves this far”).

The only recourse, other than doing the above and taking all of the above steps, is V.A.T.S….(at least, to be totally comfortable and ‘reach your full potential’ with the Mouse (wow this is starting to sound like an Infomercial, sorry about that haha))

But, try to have fun exploring it – find “You” in your mouse movements – and have fun learning how “You” play!

—–
Note, Dear Reader, that I am not trying to ‘be pompous’ or ‘brag’ here, with this posting… I merely stated my ‘qualifications’ at the beginning, to show that I learned a lot over time and that I had personally found some effective ways to improve playing, with the Mouse (especially in the past). 
I do not wish to sound like to ‘know everything’ as well – and indeed can learn more – I just wanted to share what I did learn over time and hope that this might help others out, too. If you are an experienced FPS player (‘First Person Shooter gamer’), then you no doubt already know most of these concepts (or have figured them out on your own). 
I should state that I am also nowhere near as good as I once was [being 40 now, alas, age occurs to all..]. Where I once could out-shoot almost anyone, regularly doing 180s-to-instant-headshots (as stated previously), I now regularly get my butt handed to me in games like Overwatch, CS:GO and the Battlefield series of games [although I can still get Top Spot on The Board at times! heh]. 
Still, I wanted to try to help others… and I hope that this posting helps anyone improve their mousing (and killing/winning), if that is what they desire to do. 
I always like helping others and teaching others what I can… “The wiser mind mourns less for what age takes away than what it leaves behind.” ~ William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

SYITG

Hello, 2015!

Another year is in the books, and as always, I’m excited to be seeing the start of a new year. Last year will be remembered for its big highs and deep lows, but I know that everything happens for a reason, and I feel like I’m in a good place to start 2015.

And one place I plan to start is being a better blogger! So here’s my Currently post for January 2015.

Listening – It’s my daughter’s bedtime here, and my husband has bedtime duty tonight. It’s a rare moment when the TV is off, the dogs are asleep, and all is quiet in the house. I’m savoring it.

Loving – I think that New Year’s Day may be my favorite day of the year because it is a fresh start where it feels like anything is possible. I often feel this way at the beginning of the school year, too, but I think I prefer this time of year because there’s more predictability with everything. I already know my students very well; we’ve built our routines and expectations, and the only things that need to be changed are the things I *want* to change. It’s an empowering holiday.

Thinking – A major reason why I haven’t been blogging much lately is because of my Ph.D. program. It feels weird to be writing something that doesn’t have a lengthy bibliography attached to it! I continue to be excited about my dissertation topic, though, and I’ve been thinking about it more and more. I plan to write about the role of social media in teacher professional learning. The short version is that I’m going to study how reading and writing about classroom practices through blogging affects teachers’ feelings of effectiveness in the classroom (self-efficacy beliefs). I think connecting with other teachers through blogging and other social media has been one of the best moves I’ve ever made as a teacher, and I’m curious to find out if others feel the same way and what consequences it might have. One of my classes this semester is actually requiring me to blog about my research, so I’ll be setting that up in the next week. It will be a separate blog as I doubt my classmates in other programs will really want to read about Eberopolis, but I’ll share a link here if you’re interested in following or learning more.

Wanting – I had 18 blog posts in 2014. Pathetic. I have a notebook full of ideas, so now I need to get them out here. My goal is to blog at least once a week, and as I’ve been getting other things in my life better organized, I think that’s realistic.

Needing – I set some big goals for this vacation as far as getting myself organized for the new year, and so far, I’ve done a great job. For example, I already have 2 months of healthy meals planned for my family (written on sticky notes so I can shuffle them around when stuff inevitably comes up).

And I’ve been cleaning closets and creating a new workspace to boost my productivity in the new year. I even made my annual pilgrimage to The Container Store today! I just need to wrap up my remaining projects tomorrow so I can enjoy my weekend before returning to school on Monday. (I’m @eberopolis on Instagram if you want to see more about those projects…). 
Finally, my three areas:
YES to my health. I lost nearly 20 pounds between Labor Day and Christmas, and while my trip to see my family for the holidays reversed that trend a little, I’d like to continue to focus on my health in 2015. I’ve been doing Weight Watchers, and losing weight has been easy when I’ve taken the time to plan what I’m going to eat and track what I eat throughout the day. I’m ready to get back on track.
Maybe to becoming a morning person. I already get to work by 7:15 each morning, but I would hardly call myself a morning person. I read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod over break, and it has me thinking about whether I should try to get up earlier to add things like meditation and exercise to my morning routines. I’m thinking I’ll try it for a month and see how it goes. (The book was good, btw. An easy read to be sure). 
I wish…I love my job–I really do–but I’m starting to feel like it’s time for me to tackle a new challenge. I want to be able to work with other teachers to help them troubleshoot issues in their classrooms, improve their teaching, and use technology more effectively. I purposefully chose to go into an Educational Leadership PhD program for that reason; ultimately I want to teach in higher ed and/or become an administrator. I’m not ready to do all of that yet, but I wish that I could find an instructional coaching position or something similar that would let me work more directly with teachers while I keep working on my program. It might be time to start that hunt this year. 
Okay, I promise I will be back soon…I have a couple of other posts in draft mode almost ready to share about some of the new things I’ve been doing in my classroom this year. Hopefully you’ll FLIP when you read them! 😉
Happy new year!

In Defense of Classroom Technology

Usually when I talk to people about the fact that I teach in a 1:1 iPad classroom, they think that’s awesome. But now and again, I’ll run into someone who thinks handing a kid an iPad in school is an atrocity, and I feel like I have to defend the work that I’m passionate about. This happened to me recently at a social event when my attempts at small talk quickly turned into a debate about what we’re “doing to kids today.” The naysayers certainly exist, and this particular encounter made me pause to think about why I feel so strongly about this topic.

Here are some of the reasons I feel it’s in the best interests of both students and teachers to maximize the use of classroom technology.

My students explore constellations on their iPads.

1. It teaches real-world problem solving skills.
Being good at technology is largely a result of being willing to experiment and fail. I wasn’t born knowing everything there is to know about iPads or Evernote or Edmodo — I’ve learned by trying different things and seeing what worked and what didn’t. When I can’t figure it out on my own, I talk to others or look for the information I need online. Now I get to see these skills in my students. Whenever they need to troubleshoot something, they work together to find a solution. They don’t give up or think it’s impossible. In this high-tech world, these skills are going to be incredibly valuable.

2. It facilitates better communication between home and school.
If parents want to know what we’re doing in class each day, they can find all of our homework and activities on our class website. If they want to monitor grades or see what assignments are missing, they can look on Edmodo. If they want to know what their child’s behavior was like at school today, they can look on ClassDojo and get a report. If they want to know what their child sounded like reading a 4th grade leveled text at the beginning of the year compared to now at the end of the year, I can pull up the child’s audio recordings on Evernote. Technology makes it easier for parents to know what’s happening in school, and I’m happy about that.

3. It makes students better writers.
Without question, writing skills are incredibly important. When I think back on all of the essays I had to write in high school and college or the cover letters I wrote to get opportunities I have today, I know that my ability to write mattered. Technology makes students better writers for a variety of reasons:

  • It makes them more open to revising and publishing their work when they don’t have to handwrite the whole paper over again.
  • It teaches them typing skills that will make them more efficient at writing and therefore able to write more. 
  • It gives me more opportunities to give them feedback about their writing because I can easily collect samples at various points. I can have them turn in a copy of a draft wherever they’re at without interrupting their work because I don’t have to collect a notebook. 
4. It keeps kids engaged.
I used to have students write book reports. Now I have them write book blogs on KidBlog and make book trailers using iMovie. It’s basically the same assignment, but now students are motivated and engaged to complete it. They have an audience of their peers that makes their work more authentic, and it’s something that can’t be easily replicated without technology. The effort and outcomes my students experience because of technology is something that should be encouraged.

5. It benefits all types of learners.
I think a lot of the criticisms of technology assume that students are being passive consumers of it — watching videos or playing video games all of the time. Without question, technology could be used as a high-tech babysitter, but that’s not how it’s being used in my classroom at all. When my students use their iPads, they are active and interactive, and they’re expressing their creativity in so many ways now. They’re making movies, writing stories and articles, becoming budding photographers, and interacting with the world and each other in new and exciting ways.  They’re still collaborating and developing the interactive social skills necessary to be productive citizens of society.

6. It keeps everyone more organized.
I can’t begin to describe how many minutes I’ve lost over the last 6 years because students couldn’t find a paper or a notebook. Then once it was turned in, I’d have to shuffle through piles of nearly 30 to find what I was looking for. Add to that the fact that students work at different rates and finish tasks at different times, and you have the potential for an organizational nightmare.

I’m a pretty organized person, but without any hesitation I can say that technology has made my students and me substantially more organized. Everything we need can be found on an iPad or a computer. There isn’t instructional time lost finding materials or planning time lost figuring out where I filed that lesson idea or who is missing work. It’s all in one spot.

7. It allows me to give better feedback.
My students recently took a multiple choice test on Edmodo. I’d entered the correct answers before giving the test, so when I went to look at the results, it was already graded for me. Rather than spending time rifling through a pile of papers to mark answers right or wrong, I was able to type specific feedback to the students. For example, when several students missed question #6, I typed 2 sentences explaining the problem with the answer choice they selected and why the other choice was better. With the help of copy and paste, I was able to give that feedback to all applicable students in less than 5 minutes. How often do you think I could accomplish that in a world where I had to handwrite the comment 15+ times? It wouldn’t happen. I wish it could, but it’s not feasible.

8. It gives me more information so I can help students.
I routinely ask my students to solve math problems and explain their thinking. Sometimes they have to explain it in words and sentences, but other times I let them use their iPads to make short (30-60 second) videos narrating their solutions and the steps they took. Similarly, when I do reading assessments with students, I can use my iPad to record the student’s voice as the student reads. This creates an artifact that I can listen to, share with parents or RTI committees, and analyze in a way that wouldn’t be possible absent technology. It’s some of the best evidence of a student’s ability, and it helps me identify strengths and weaknesses so I can give students the support they need.

9. It makes me more efficient.
Anyone who’s a teacher can attest that this job sometimes borders on impossible. Teachers take on so many roles and have so many responsibilities that the stress can be overwhelming. I think that’s a major factor in why so many great teachers leave this profession within the first few years and why many capable individuals are deterred from entering the field. In my experience, technology has made this all more bearable. I don’t have to waste time shuffling through paper or hunting for files anymore. I don’t have to haul carts — literally carts — of student work and planning materials home anymore. I can find exactly what I need wherever I’m at because everything is electronic. It’s made me much more productive and efficient, and everyone benefits as a result.

10. It’s appropriate for the world we live in.
I know a lot of people lament the fact that we’ve moved into an age of technology. I’m not one of them, but even if I were, I recognize that there’s no going back now. I’d rather introduce students to technology in safe, structured ways where I can guide them through the perils and pitfalls than leave them to struggle on their own. I also like that I can show them how to make technology work effectively for them. I’m facilitating students to be productive, creative, and responsible users of technology, and I’m not confident they’d all get there on their own.

It’s not technology that’s an issue — it’s how the technology is being used. I’m certain that the ways my fourth graders use their iPads will make them better informed, more capable citizens down the road. Is it the only way to teach them? Absolutely not, but the advantages of using technology in the classroom far outweigh any disadvantages the devices bring.

What are the arguments for or against using technology in the classroom that you’ve heard? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

10 Must-Have Tools for the Busy Teacher

This year was uniquely challenging for me. I had my biggest class ever (28 students) , and I was co-teaching all day with teachers and paras from the special ed department–also a first. Meanwhile, I started working on my PhD, and my toddler constantly kept me busy. My plate has never been so full!

If you’re a teacher who often feels pulled in every direction, then this list is for you. These are my top 10 tools for juggling it all. Hopefully you’ll find some to use as well!

1. Nozbe

Nozbe is the ultimate task list manager. You can organize by projects — school, work, home, etc., create recurring tasks, and so much more. I can access it from any device, add attachments, and email stuff to my to-do list. I started out with the free version, and I quickly upgraded to the paid version. At $96/year, the paid version has a hefty price tag, but this app was SO much better than any other task manager I’d tried, and it’s been worth every penny. If you’re someone who has lots of projects going at once, this app is worth exploring.

2. Evernote

This is my brain online. All of my coursework and notes are in Evernote, and all of my anecdotal records and student work samples are in here as well. I was able to use the free version for many years, and then once my husband and I decided to go digital with all of our financial documents, etc., I upgraded to the premium version. At $35/year, it’s pretty affordable.

3. Dropbox

 I don’t think I could function without Dropbox. I switch between so many devices between work, home, and school each day, but Dropbox allows me to keep track of everything. All of my lesson plans, TpT purchases, readings for class, and more are in my Dropbox account. I’m still living off of the free space, but I’m getting the daily reminders that my Dropbox is nearly full. Might need to upgrade that soon, too. Premium accounts offer 100 GB of storage for $99/year.

4. GoodReader


 I’ve used this app a lot with my students, but I’m finding it to be totally clutch for my grad school stuff, too. I’m doing tons of research for my courses and scoping out dissertation ideas, and GoodReader allows me to annotate all of the PDF’s I’m amassing. I’ve created a folder on Dropbox for all of the articles I’ve gathered, and I can sync that folder to GoodReader so I can read it all on my iPad. I can also send it back to Evernote when I finish. One of my dear friends told me that I’d have laundry baskets full of research cluttering my house while I worked on my PhD, but not so…It’s all electronic!

5. GoogleCalendar

I have a variety of calendars on Google — class schedules, deadlines, school events, etc. Some of these I share with my husband so we can both be aware of each other’s events. Other calendars I share with my students and their parents so they can be aware of upcoming events and tests. I like that all of my calendars are color-coded so I know which calendar I’m looking at, and I can select/de-select different calendars to narrow my focus if I’m looking for something in particular.

6. YouCanBook.Me

This free site allows me to share portions of my calendar with parents so they can schedule parent-teacher conferences. I choose the days they can see, set the times they can schedule, and manage the maximum time blocks they can reserve. They don’t get to see any of the events on my calendar, just whether I’m available or not. If they reserve a time slot, it will automatically add it to my calendar and send me an email. It’s eliminated the back-and-forth process of conference scheduling and allowed me to manage my time better.

7. Planbook.com

Since I was co-teaching this year, I needed to find a way to share my plans easily from week to week. I tested out Planbook in August, and I loved it. I like that you can extend or bump lessons, attach files, and customize the fields that appear. It’s a great resource that’s keeping me much more organized. You can get a free trial of it before paying the $12 for an annual subscription.

8. Typinator

This is a tool that’s new to me, but Typinator is a text expander tool. There are several pieces of text that I find myself typing or copying/pasting over and over. Typinator allows me to create typing shortcuts for all of those. For example, if I want to type my blog address as a hyperlink when I comment on someone’s blog, I can simply type “~bl” and it will place the text there for me. I also use it for standard replies to emails such as when parents email me to say their child will be absent. I can type “~abs” and it will write: “Thanks for letting me know about the absence. I hope your child is feeling better soon! Today’s assignments will be posted on our class website, and let me know if there’s anything else you need.” Four key strokes = all of that. I find typing way faster than using the mouse, so this is a time saver that quickly adds up. It’s only available for Macs, and it’s priced in Euros (converts to around $36 US), but I use it all the time.

9. GoodReads


Distinct from GoodReader, GoodReads is an online community surrounding books. It allows me to keep track of the books I’m reading and which books I want to read next. As I’m starting my dissertation research, I’m constantly finding book titles that I want to check out. Similarly, there are lots of teaching books and children’s books that I want to investigate someday, and GoodReads helps me organize all of that. Best of all, I can use its scanning feature to scan barcodes when I’m browsing in the bookstore.

10. Edmodo

I used Edmodo a lot for collecting student work and grading tests/quizzes this year. It managed all of the submissions and kept the work organized for me so I could be more efficient with tracking these things. It also allowed me to create assignments, give and grade quizzes, communicate with students and parents, and so much more. This is a great free learning management system that was a centerpiece of my classroom this year.

With the exception of Typinator, which is only on my computers, all of these apps are cloud-based or mobile-friendly so I can get to them from any device. When I’m shifting between my iPhone, iPad, laptop, and desktop, that’s critical. I may be busy, but I can get to my projects anytime, anywhere, and I’m not hauling around tons of materials everywhere I go. These tools boost efficiency and minimize life clutter.

What are some tools you’re using this year to help with productivity? I’d love to hear more recommendations in the comments.

This post contained some affiliate links meaning that if you click on the link and purchase the app, a small part of your subscription cost will go to me instead of entirely to the company. I’m only recommending products that I highly use and pay for myself, however, and I hope you’ll find value in these resources as well. 

Fallout 4 – Things The Game Doesn’t Tell You Or Explain To New Players Very Well (in Point Form) [UNDER CONSTRUCTION]

[Note.: This post is ‘LIVE’ and ‘UNDER CONSTRUCTION’, as I continue to add more data and Tips and Example Screenshots to it eventually… I decided to make it available now however, to assist those playing Fallout 4; especially those just starting out – seeing as there was a Steam Sale on (Welcome New Players, heh). I will be adding more Text and Tips and Screenshots and More and this post cannot be considered ‘finalized’ until after I add a ‘Final Footer Image’ to the posting (see some of my other posts for examples of this type of ‘end image’ I put in my posts). Please excuse changes as they occur and temporary mistakes and spelling errors, which may show up should you return to this article while it is under development. Enjoy, however – I hope you find something helpful to you – and have fun in Fallout 4!]

I’m having a ton of fun playing Fallout 4 (as I always say, ‘spending too much time Working On Settlements and ignoring the Main Storyline’) – but I wanted to share a bunch of things that I had to ‘figure out on my own’ in the game, or that I saw others had to (in forums, etc)… There is a kind of Tutorial in the first town in the game, and when you first start out some things are explained, but not much after that (there are some Instruction Screens the first time you Lockpick or Hack A Terminal). Below then, are a handful of concepts, in point form, that I wanted to share; especially for New Players, that the game doesn’t quite cover (or ‘cover enough’):

  • If it says “You lack the requirements to create this item” … and you have the requirements and Perks listed… there can actually be more Component requirements (build materials needed), you have to SCROLL DOWN on the Requirements List (labelled “Requires”) to see them
  • How to Holster your Weapon: Hold R for a moment (on PC, by Default); the same key as you have set for Reload (The game walks you through Aiming and Reloading, but does not seem to cover Holstering)

  • Weapons do not need to be Repaired in Fallout 4, but Power Armor can be damaged and need Repairing at a Power Armor Station, which can be found in Towns and Settlements, and can be Crafted in Workshop Mode as well (they require two Perks/Skills; Armorer (Rank 1) and Local Leader (Rank 2))

  • How to use the VANS Perk so that it shows the ‘Trail to Follow’: (See my article on V.A.N.S. … hold Q for a bit, then put away Pip-Boy right away with TAB and the ‘smoke trail to follow’ should be left behind)
  • You can adjust the Difficulty at any time in the game, even if it is just temporarily (such as if you are ill and can’t fight as well for a while). To change your Difficulty, bring up the Menu while playing (Escape on the PC), then go into the Settings, then into the Gameplay category, changing the Difficulty in there, from Very Easy all the way to Survival Mode (where you have to Sleep, Eat and Drink to stay alive and everything is ultra-hard to kill!). The chance for Legendary Items (and the Legendary Enemies that carry them) increases with the Difficulty – but you can also increase the chance of Legendaries by simply going further South and East, increasing the Difficulty of the Area/Mobs/etc
  • If you TRADE with Dogmeat he can carry Items like all other Companions can (he can also wear Dog Apparel, such as Dog Armor or Dog Collars, if they are found in The Wasteland)
  • You can increase how much Robot Companions can Carry, depending on what parts you build them with (need Automatron DLC to build a Robot that can be your Companion [to ‘accompany you on your Travels’]), watch the “Carry Weight” Amount as you choose parts
  • It is “ok” to Drink ‘the regular Water that is everywhere’, it will still heal you a little; it is just Irradiated and causes some Radiation Exposure. If you have a container such as an Empty Bottle or Milk Bottle, you can also fill these containers at Streams or other bodies of water, to Cook with

Don’t totally ignore Cooking (although you totally can, if you want to). Cooking various icky parts and gooey bits that you find in The Commonwealth not only heals you, most of the Recipes also give you ‘Buffs’ – temporary increases in various Stats – and things like Breathing Underwater or the ability to Carry More… Cook All The Things!

  • The RED Bar in your Health Bar (that is normally GREEN) is the level of Radiation you have acquired. It ‘takes up space’ in your Health Bar, because you cannot be “100% healthy” with Radiation Exposure (it must be removed with RadAway or by a Doctor at a Clinic (for a small fee))
  • The Water Pumps that are built at Settlements give ‘Pure Water’ from underground (it counts as “Purified Water” as it comes from underground where it has been protected/filtered from radiation by the land/ground, similar to how it would be IRL). The Water Pumps can be drunk from directly (like a Water Fountain) or the water can be bottled to drink later (if carrying empty bottles/etc); you don’t have to go all the way back to The Vault to get “Pure Water” [something I was doing in Survival Mode all the time]
  • To Build in a Settlement, go up to the Workshop Bench (always ‘mostly red’ colour, with ‘tools’ on it and usually located Centrally in the Settlement) and Activate it. If you are “Allied with the Settlement” (helping them out or have already helped them out by Completing a Mission for them) it will open Workshop Mode
  • To Scrap in Workshop Mode (to ‘break down an item/weapons/armor into Components you can use for Building Materials), look at it (drop it on the ground if you are carrying it) and hit SCRAP. Walk around a Settlement as soon as you can utilize Workshop Mode, looking for anything that you can Scrap in the area, for use as building materials. The items you Scrap all get ‘broken down’ into Components, which are the building materials themselves, the ‘things you construct other things with’ – everything being stored in the Workshop Bench itself as Inventory

You do not have to Scrap everything ‘manually’/’one at a time’. Just STORE or put Junk Items in the Workshop Inventory (‘trading with the Workshop Bench’, called “Transfer”) and when you want to Build something, the Workbench calculates if you have enough Junk Items to break down into enough Components to build with. It will show what you want to build as GREEN if you have enough estimated building materials to construct the thing you are trying to build. (You may also need certain Perks to build some things, watch the Requirements list)

  • People can ‘steal’ your Power Armor… Raiders can Steal your Power Armor if they come across it in The Wasteland, for example. Settlers can even take Weapons out of nearby Crates/Containers to use, when attacked. To avoid losing your Power Armor, take out the Fusion Core from the Power Armor (“Transfer”) when leaving it, so that it cannot be used by anyone else (it is like ‘taking the keys out of your vehicle’) [NPCs don’t seem to carry/use Fusion Cores on the Armor]. However there have been stories of cases where Settlers will take a Fusion Core out of a container in a Settlement and throw it in a nearby Power Armor Suit and run off with it to Defend the Settlement! Crazy. Although most of the time, the Settler will simply ‘get out’ of your Power Armor after the Settlement is Defended – still, take out Fusion Cores from your Power Armor when you leave it, so that noone (for the most part) can take your Power Armor and you can always find it where you left it.
  • If Items and Containers around you are ‘glowing green’ or looking like they have ‘pip-boy radar on them’, this is a result of the Highlighting from the Scrapper Perk. Any items that you ‘Tag for Searching’ for (eg. when trying to Build something and you didn’t have enough materials, you can “Tag the Components for Search”) will have this GREEN highlighting when the Pip-Boy detects you are close to an Item in the world that is made up of that type of Component (eg. Steel or Plastic).
    To turn this OFF, open the Pip-Boy and go to the Junk page in the Inventory tab, and change to component view by clicking on the Component View button at the bottom (‘C’ on PC).
    Then in this view, go through the Component types and clear the Tag For Search by doing it again on the Component type.
    Then, your ‘Highlighted view’ from the Scrapper Perk is turned off and Items and Containers will not ‘glow green’ around you anymore

  • Speaking of glowing green, unless you want your vision to be green-ish and REALLY BRIGHT every time you crouch (Sneak), don’t get Night Person Rank 2 (Perk). Although the Perk does state that you’ll get “Night Vision when you Sneak”, unless you really want to be able to see really well (and slightly green-ish) in the dark or when you Sneak, hold off on Rank 2, or watch some videos on it first, to see what it looks like. [To some, the Bonuses are worth it – and they don’t mind the way it looks – but personally, I did not like how the Night Vision worked/looked; and since Rank 2 of the Perk and the Vision are tied together (you cannot have one without the other), I personally avoid Rank 2 of the Perk, for now]
  • If you Exit the game (in any way except using ALT+F4), the game will Save your progress as an “Exit Save”. Then, when you start up the game again and Load the Exit Save, it will [should] Delete that Savegame. Note that if you try to Exit the game with the Pip-Boy up, the game cannot Save your progress when you Exit to the Main Menu or the Desktop (be careful in Survival Mode!)

  • Don’t forget to periodically see what Upgrades you can perform on your Weapons (to do more Damage) and Armor (to withstand/absorb more Damage) at Weapons Workbenches and Armor Workbenches. Some Modifications require Perks to ‘know how to do them’; check the Requirements as you go through your Weapons and Armor, to see what you need to make them better
Tip: If you are having trouble killing things, look for ways to improve your Weapons to do more Damage and your Armor to protect you from it – with Modifications at Armor and Weapon Workbenches! Also, the further South/East you go, the harder (higher level) enemies you will face. Tread slowly, go back over areas you have been, to see if anyone has ‘moved in’ and left items/money around. Stick to the ‘NW’ as long as you need to (especially in Survival Mode)…

Speaking of Killing Things, here is how to utilize the Suppressor (the Weapon Modification attachment that actually works really well in the game; but it is more ‘realistic’ than ‘silent’…).

Note: Knowing how to attach a Suppressor to your Gun requires the skill/knowledge, represented by needed the “Gun Nut” Perk of different Ranks (needing Rank 2 for attaching a Suppressor to Pistols and needing Rank 4 for attaching a Suppressor to Rifles)


Here are some Tips for shooting enemies (even groups) with a Suppressor on your gun:

– Shoot from a distance
(the Suppressor reduces sound, but is not “Silent”, just like IRL)

– Headshot for instant kills
(most of the time, aim manually to help this, as the chance to miss is always present in V.A.T.S. With good aiming, that single shot can always be spot-on)

– Stop attacking your enemies for a moment
(they will look around at first of course, but if you don’t move and don’t shoot, they will not know what the hell is going on and if you wait longer, they will eventually even stop looking “thinking it was the wind/rats/etc”)

– Repeat, killing the second enemy, and so on…

Try to remember that if you shoot too frequently, they can hear the direction (suppressors aren’t silent, just like IRL) or can see the puff of smoke or something, because they eventually figure out where you are BUT ONLY if you keep shooting when they are Cautious and looking for you. If you stop shooting when they are looking for the source of the sound/attack, you will be ok. Remember, “low and slow…”.

  • Weapon And Armor Attachments (Modifications made to Weapons and Armor at Workstations for each) can be taken off of Weapons and Armor you find and put on your own favourite pieces/items… As an example, take a ‘Weapon you found on a Raider’ to a Weapons Workbench and choose a lesser attachment/modification than what is present on the item. In this example, if you want a “Hardened Receiver” that is on a Weapon you found, choose one further ‘up’ the List of Modifications, such as a “Standard Receiver” and ‘build’ it on the Weapon you found; then you will be changing the Attachment and receive the “Hardened Receiver” Modification in the form of a small box ‘kit’ in your Inventory that you can then use on your own Weapon! Simply go back to your favourite gun at the same Weapons Workbench and see if you can put the new Weapon Mod (“the Hardened Receiver” with higher damage output) on your favourite gun
  • If people around you are glowing (looking, for example, red or green) and look like they have ‘lines through them’ as well, you may have a helmet of Power Armor that has the “Targeting HUD (Heads-Up Display)” on it as an Attachment/Modification. This effect is visible even if it is only active on a Companion’s Power Armor Helmet. Simply remove or change the Targeting HUD Modification of the Helmet at any Power Armor Station, to disable the effect.

[……I am going to add to this post, as I remember things that I already have forgotten and can’t seem to bring back up at the moment to throw in here; but I still hope someone finds these concepts and Tips helpful – especially new players to the game….. Have fun with Fallout 4!]

INSPIRING DESIGN DETAILS LOOKOUT HOUSE

Inspiring Design Details

Inspiring Design Details

The project is located atop a hill in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and has stunning views of distant Long Island. Depending on the shape of the original designers of the pyramid house, centered on the height of an open plan double lounge around an indoor pool, has been simplified and facilitated through a range of modern materials (including bamboo, stone blue tiles and glass) and a new lighting program. A glass bridge “architecture synapse“, which clearly distinguishes old from new connects the main house for the master suite.

As the original structure, the new suite contains a large volume a little, in this case, a cube on foot, finished Claro walnut that divides the rest areas and bathrooms. billiard room “in the first photo is the most spectacular part of the house, offering an ideal place for socializing and relaxation. And as you can below, a resident has another pot, this time integrated nature

Inspiring Design Details Rest Room

Inspiring Design Details Rest Room

Inspiring Design Details Dining Room

Inspiring Design Details Dining Room

Inspiring Design Details Kitchen

Inspiring Design Details Kitchen

Inspiring Design Details Bedroom

Inspiring Design Details Bedroom

Workout Anytime in North Fulton Newspapers

Workout Anytime in North Fulton Newspapers in an article titled, “New Workout Anytime coming to Milton.” The article begins with information about the new Workout Anytime opening in Milton and the owners. The article then goes into details about what you can expect at aWorkout Anytime, with a quote from Randy Trotter. General Manager Chris Maier is quoted about why he believes in the Workout Anytime model and Lynn Jackson is quoted about why they’re happy to open in the area. The article closes out with info on how to join and about the expansion plans for Workout Anytime.  Click here for the entire article or begin below.

New Workout Anytime coming to Milton
By: Caitlin Wagenseil
MILTON, Ga. — When two members of a gym found out their beloved workout place was going to close down, they decided to take action. 

Paul and Lynn Jackson, previous members, bought the Workout Anytime in Cumming. Now, they are gearing up to open their second location in Milton with Randy and Heather Clevenger.


(Read More)

And More: “An Internal Error Occurred When Overlapped Buffer Is Full” in VideoStudio X10 [Error Workaround]

[This post is currently Text-Only for speed of Posting. I may return and add example Screenshots and more, Soon™]


Update 2017-05-02: While not a ‘Fix’ for this issue, I have done more testing and found what is essentially the issue

Go to “Update 2017-05-02


Just a quick bit of information, for those using Corel’s VideoStudio X10 to edit and render their video projects and running into this error…

I was working on trying to finish some of the many, many, many projects I have in various stages of completion, and ran into an odd error when trying to render a Project in VideoStudio X10. The error said only:


“An Internal Error Occurred When Overlapped Buffer Is Full”


This is somewhat odd, as this is more of a generic Windows Application error than it is a VS (VideoStudio) error. So, I went to the Official Corel Support Forums and did other online searching…






I found a lot of people who have experienced this error, but none that had any solutions, sadly.
So, it was Time To Go Troubleshooting! /maskandcape

Now initially, I was trying to render in 1080p using the more common MPEG-4 Part 10 (h.264/AVC) format. VSx10 offers GPU-acceleration (where it utilizes the power of the videocard), like many video editing programs do these days, to help render and compress the output – and the quality of MPEG-4 can be quite good for the size, when it comes to compression.

BOOM, the error pops up, interrupting the rendering process.
Okay, time to see what could be causing it.

First, I tried to render in the other Formats that VSx10 offered (MPEG2, WMV, etc) and nothing would finish rendering without this error – except for Windows Media Video format (WMV).

Since WMV does not require GPU-acceleration to render, I disabled all GPU-powered optimization in the Preferences of the application (disabling ‘hardware acceleration’ where I could). I was hoping this would render with other formats without acceleration (MPEG-4 does not ‘require’ hardware acceleration, for example, but it renders much faster with it). Still, the error came up in any other format than WMV…

So, to dig in a bit of a different hole than the WMV format to find answers, I took out all elements of the Project except for the first video files (taking out the audio files, the Text added, images, etc) and tried to render again. It worked!

I then added in the Text elements (made with Corel’s built-in Title tools). It worked!

Since it worked with Text and all video files now, I added in the Audio Files.

BOOM, the error popped up again.
That’s okay, it’s progress – now we know that something related to the Audio is having troubles.

I was looking at the Audio Files and noticed that I had some ‘Audio Filters’ and ‘Speed/Time-Lapse’ adjustments on them (to help them synchronize somewhat in the Project), so I took those effects out and tried to render again. It worked!

Okay, so since it works with the Audio Files present – without ‘FX’ on them – then it might have something to do with the Filtering/effects…
I enabled only the Speed/Time-Lapse adjustments and left out the Audio Filters for the Audio Files that utilized them. It worked!
I then enabled the Audio Filters again and BOOM, the error reared up and roared in my face.

So, it appears that there may be something with the Audio Filters in VideoStudio that does not play nicely when you go to render the Project (for those experiencing this problem..). Nothing but WMV would produce output for me, at the time of this posting (this is with VideoStudio X10 Service Pack 1).


My advice then, is to try to utilize audio files that do not require Audio Filters in VSx10, for now (until the source of this problem is fixed in full).


If you must apply some sort of affects or filtering, there are many audio editing tools out there that can be used, at least until this gets looked at/fixed someday. Some suggestions off the top of my head are:

  • Sony’s Sound Forge (recently acquired by MAGIX, I think).
    This is a pretty capable application, with lots of effects, pitch shifting, fading and filtering available – I have used it a lot in the past when it was run by Sony. It costs some money, however.
  • Audacity.
    This is a free (Open Source) audio editing application that is popular and has many of the features and filters that Sound Forge has – I have used this too, before I could afford to buy any editors at all.
  • Adobe Audition.
    Adobe acquired the older-but-popular Cool Edit Pro audio editing program, which I personally used to use and like. I have not used it since Adobe took over, so I cannot vouch for how this one is – I assume that it is similar to how CEP was – which was quite capable. It is not free, however.


For now then, I will bring this up with Corel Support and see what they have to say about it – until this gets ‘fixed’, avoid utilizing Audio Filters in VideoStudio, if you can – for now…


Hopefully this information will be of use to those who, like me, were running into this annoying error in an otherwise decent video editing application – and hopefully it gets fixed soon!


If I remember, I will come back and Update this Post when a ‘Fix’ has been released!



Update 2017-05-02: While not a ‘Fix’ for this issue, I have done more testing and found what is essentially the issue with Corel’s VideoStudio x10 and how it handles some Audio formats (sample rate / bit depth). I am in contact with Corel Support at this time via e-mail, discussing this issue.




Here is what I have found after further testing:


I did some further testing on the audio files, looking at their specific properties. 
I found that the files giving this error were in 24bit depth, 96000Hz format. 

Just to experiment/investigate, I converted the audio file to 16bit depth, 44000Hz format (Standard Compact Disc Audio WAVeform format) and it worked! 

Here is what I found then, during more testing on the bit depth:

– 16bit audio file = Audio Filters and Speed Adjustment can both be used at the same time
– 24bit audio file = Only one or the other can be used at a time

Both Audio Filter and Speed Adjustment added = Error with 24bit audio file at 96000Hz sample rate
(I found that the 24bit depth audio files were also 96000Hz..)

Testing 24bit audio files at 44000Hz resulted in NO ERROR = it worked
(when using both an Audio Filter and a Speed Adjustment at the same time)

The error was repeatable however, with a 96kHz 24bit audio source file (having both a ‘trouble’ Audio Filter (one of those three listed above) and a Speed Adjustment on it).

Although this is not a ‘game breaking’ issue (I personally don’t mind converting any of my 24bit audio source files that are at 96kHz into 16bit depth versions but it is more work), this may be an issue for more novice users, who may not know how to do so. 
[Hmm, maybe I will make a Quick Tip on this, to help those people out…]

Related to this, many commercially available Samples (sound source files) are distributed to the customer as 24bit audio files, for higher fidelity. 
(Example: I purchased Sample Packs from Sony Creative Software and they came in a bundle as 24bit audio files. Another purchased Pack from BigFishAudio also had the source files being delivered as 24bit sources)
If any of those are at 96kHz (I see that most are at 44kHz anyway…), then it may bring up this issue. 

I realize too that it may be my machine, or my specific combination of hardware, interacting (CPU/Sound/etc) and also there does not seem to be many 96kHz 24bit audio files floating around in general usage (from what little I have seen, perhaps there are, but as I stated above, commercially-purchased packs seem to come in 44kHz 24bit format, at most).

Although this is not a ‘Fix’ directly dear readers, hopefully this information can help you VideoStudio users to avoid it, ‘stepping around it’ at least, for now – and perhaps this testing and information can even be utilized improve VideoStudio for the future… (I am in contact with their Support now, discussing these occurrences).






[Note: I am not affiliated with Corel or any of the other companies mentioned herein. I have not and I will not receive any compensation of any kind, for mentioning VideoStudio here. I am merely a user of the product and have used many of the other products mentioned above, including other video editing programs, not omitting Open Source / Free applications. I simply share information I have discovered, in hopes that it will help others.]

BEAUTIFUL HOME FAMILY DESIGN “VILLA DE CHARME”

Katrine Martensen-Larsen comes this stunning house designed for a family of seven children. We hope that this message will come in handy for those of you looking for new ideas for the nursery too. “Villa de Charme” is located in, Frederiksber Denmark and has been specially designed for a family of seven children. The designer said that this house is “evidence that many children and a hectic lifestyle does not mean you have to compromise on style.” The interior features original decorating ideas and news. The wallpapers are particularly interesting. White is used mainly to define the house and gives it an intimate feeling clean and fresh. bits of color are added here and there, crying the whole design. We really appreciate how serious, sober rooms alternate with play.

BEAUTIFUL HOME FAMILY DESIGN

BEAUTIFUL HOME FAMILY DESIGN

BEAUTIFUL LIVING ROOM HOME FAMILY DESIGN

BEAUTIFUL LIVING ROOM HOME FAMILY DESIGN

BEAUTIFUL KITCHEN HOME FAMILY DESIGN

BEAUTIFUL KITCHEN HOME FAMILY DESIGN

BEAUTIFUL BATHROOM HOME FAMILY DESIGN

BEAUTIFUL BATHROOM HOME FAMILY DESIGN

BEAUTIFUL BEDROOM HOME FAMILY DESIGN

BEAUTIFUL BEDROOM HOME FAMILY DESIGN

My Travel Tips

I started traveling as a consultant form April of 2002. I have now completed ten years of travel. For my assignments I travel both economy and business class and use a variety of airlines. To commemorate my ten years of traveling I have compiled some travel tips. They are aimed at reducing the stress of modern travel to enable you to have a pleasant journey with the minimal amount of discomfort and hassle.



These are my top travel tips based on my travel experience since 2002 and the post 9/11 world. (E6K9HKXKPPNE)


Clothes and shoes


1. Do not wear a belt – this will help you to pass through security without having to go through the hassle of taking it off and putting it on. It also helps in blood circulation.


2. Do not wear any items of clothing which contain metal buttons, clips, labels etc.


3. Do not wear clothing with a lot of pockets – you can forget a coin or a key and will set off the metal detectors


4. Do not wear tight clothes this will cut your blood circulation and make the journey uncomfortable.


5. Don’t wear baggy clothes; wear comfortable cloths that are close to your body – lets face it you will be profiled no matter what they say; so wearing baggy clothes sets off alarm bells with the security personnel. They are more likely to pad down a person wearing baggy clothes as opposed to someone wearing well fitting clothes.


6. Try to wear slippers or sandals, if you feel clod wear a pair of socks with the slippers or sandals. If you need to wear shoes wear thin sole shoes (without any metal fittings) with no shoelaces. This will either negate the need to take off your shoes or make it easy to take off and put on shoes


7. Try to dress in the thinnest possible layers of clothes instead of wearing / carrying bulky heave jackets / coats so that you can remove or add depending on your level of comfort. Thin clothes weigh less take less space in your hand luggage / carry on luggage.


Money and Travel Documents


1. Do not carry any coins. If you must carry coins in a small transparent plastic bag and put the coins in a pocket of your carry on luggage.


2. Always carry more than one currency: example if you travel via to London to USA carry British Sterling Pounds as well as Dollars.


3. Try to pre pay for as many expenses as possible before departure. This helps to minimize the amount of money you need to carry, as well as be able to bargain to the maximum and not be made to decide on the spot about your travel options. Use the internet and always cross check and read reviews of restaurants, taxi service and other services you are likely to pay for in cash so that you don’t get taken for a ride.


4. Carry globally accepted credit cards as a payment option and for emergencies.


5. Always take travel insurance; you never know when you might fall sick or get injured.


6. Always carry your passport, visa, travel insurance, hotel reservations, travel vouchers, invitation letters, letters of sponsorship etc in one safety pouch / folder. This way you don’t have to look for them in multiple places. Keep them safe and close to you.


7. Never ever give the bag containing these documents to anyone (except your family or personal assistant / colleague).


8. If you are using a VIP service to breeze through emigration and customs make sure that you have line of sight of the person at all times. Confidence tricksters pretending to be service providers will walk off with your belongings.


Baggage


1. First check the weather of your destination (12 hours before departure – weather forecasting gets better when nearer to the dates concerned.)


2. Finalize your clothes 12 hours before you travel, based on above.


3. Choose clothes that can be mixed and worn: Take white shirts / blouses which can be worn with any pants / skirts and jackets. Take a few different ties / scarf and accessories so that you look different but use the least number of clothes. I am a firm believer in the use of hotel laundry services. I prefer to get the items laundered at the hotel and avoid carrying your entire wardrobe with you when you travel. Make sure that you as well as the hotel has a clear understanding of the difference between dry cleaning and washing of clothing items.


4. Try to use the minimum number of bags as possible.


5. Golden rule is that: if you do not need an item during the journey / flight, then it goes in with the check in luggage. One of the benefits of the post 9/11 world is that the airline industries ability to track and link you baggage to you has improved tremendously. So you do not have to carry any back up clothes in your hand luggage just in case your luggage gets lost.


6. If you do not have any check in luggage then you need to ask the question do I really need to carry the item or can I buy it at my destination and use it. Remember most consumables (Soap, Shampoo, Mouth wash etc) are similarly priced everywhere and most hotel now provide them in the room). It’s worth trying a new brand of an item to reduce the weight and hassle of taking them in 50 ML clear bottles etc.


7. Have a good idea of your baggage allowance. Especially if you fly economy class; it may change from airline to airline. The rule of thumb is that if it is difficult for you to carry your check in baggage (Standard international size) it is probably over weight. An average person can easily handle 20Kg. Use this principle when standing in check in queues. Avoid standing in queues with people who have difficulty in handling their luggage. They will take longer to check in as they will have to pay for excess luggage or repack them.


Loyalty Cards


1. Try to get as many loyalty cards as you can. Before you embark on your journey have the relevant loyalty cards sorted out and keep them with your travel documents and put the rest in you carry on luggage. You never know when they may become handy.


2. In my opinion the top benefits of loyalty cards are:


a. Priority check in – the shorter the queue you need to stand in the less stressful it is to you.


b. Excess baggage allowance – you never know when you might need it, especially if you travel with your wife / partner who will shop while you are attending to business.


c. VIP services for priority emigration and customs clearance.


d. Access to a lounge with free broadband internet connection


I recommend you go for loyalty cards that provide at least one of these benefits and not bother with ones that just offer air miles for ticket discounts and free food.


Hotels


1. Where ever possible I recommend you insist on staying in an establishment with at least a 3 star classification. This should provide good enough comfort & facilities for a business traveler. However I have come across many hotels which are classified as 3 stars but are more like cattle sheds. If clients and budgets permit always stay at the highest class hotel in your destination.


2. The main facilities you should be looking for when selecting a hotel are:


a. Airport pick up and drop


b. Free broadband internet access


c. Complementary pressing of one set of clothes per day (shirt / blouse, trouser / skirt & Jacket) + shoe shine.


d. Free copy of the local English newspaper – This is a helpful tool to get a feel of the local environment, best places to dine and entertainment information and of course to get an insight in to what’s happening around you.


3. Always stay as close as possible to your customers / clients. This will reduce local travel time and getting stuck in local traffic, which you may not know about or will not be able to find out before arriving at your destination. Best is to stay within walking distance. By this you can avoid the need to haggle with taxi drivers every morning and evening if meter taxis are not available.


4. I recommend you stay on B & B basis; this gives you a lot of flexibility to move around the city and meet the locals during meal times. This will also help you get a feel of the general business environment, mood of the people as well as get exposed to the local culture.


Flights


1. Always use major airlines where possible. The trend now is to go for budget airlines. I too subscribe to this philosophy but with a few considerations. They are:


a. Safety – As with all one needs to be comfortable with the safety systems of the airline. Some budget airlines operate state of the art new aircraft, while others operate others which do not have a good safety record. So each of us need to make this choice for ourselves.


b. Reliability – Other than Europe and North America budget airlines are not regulated in a way they are liable for delays and cancellations. Unless you have a very good insurance policy you may run the risk of having to incur the cost of delayed and cancelled flights, additional hotel and transfer costs. Budget airlines will cancel / delay / amalgamate passenger manifests for flights if they do not have the desired number of passengers for a flight to minimize losses.


Major airlines will operate scheduled flights, and if for any reason they do cancel a flight they will look after the passengers better and try to route you to your destination with the minimum hassle.


2. Try not to use domestic airlines. As much as possible try to get to and from your destination via an international flight. Changing to domestic airlines may be cheaper but you need to consider the following:


a. How much time do you loose and is it worth. Most domestic flights operate at much lower altitudes and will fly at a lower speed. International flights will fly higher and faster and can provide you with considerable time savings.


b. You may have to go through immigration in one airport and through customs in another airport. This may actually take a longer time.


c. You will increase you total transit time (Time spent not flying) and for a business person time is money.


d. You may need to move your luggage over long distances between domestic and international terminals.


e. You may need to pay again for excess baggage


f. Domestic airlines too will cancel / delay / amalgamate passenger manifests for flights if they do not have the desired number of passengers for a flight to minimize losses.


g. Most domestic airlines operate very old aircraft which may have a bad safety record.


Jet Lag


1. Living in the destination time zone – From the time you start your journey try to do things such as taking meals and sleeping according to the destination time zone. This will give your body extra time to adjust to life in the new time zone. Most airlines try to do this using the cabin lights to mimic the time of day. Unfortunately only the modern aircraft have this feature.


2. Drinking fluids. – You must be well hydrated 24 hour before the flight, So refrain from:


a. Heavy exercises that make you loose water through excessive sweating


b. Drinking too much alcohol the day before you travel.


3. Reduce the build up of static electricity on your body and clothes. Once at your choice of accommodation at your destination find a wooden or cement / tile floor. Take off your shoes and socks and walk on the surface for a few minutes. The best solution is walking on grass however this may not be possible at your destination. However this may be an option for you on your return to your home.

WORKOUT ANYTIME on CNN Money

WORKOUT ANYTIME on CNN Money in an article titled, “What’s next for Blockbuster’s empty stores.”  The article gives information about the recent announcement that Blockbuster will be closing their remaining locations, and how this benefits franchises looking for real estate in growth markets. WORKOUT ANYTIME is featured at the beginning of the article with info about WORKOUT ANYTIMEopening 20 locations in former Blockbusters and looking to open more. Randy is quoted about why the locations are ideal and how easy it is for them to convert the real estate. Jeff is quoted about the great location and how easy it is to tell members of the community where to find the gym. The article also states that WORKOUT ANYTIME is looking for more Blockbuster stores to convert to WORKOUTANYTIME locations.  Click here for the entire article or begin below.

What’s next for Blockbuster’s empty stores
By: Patrick deHahn

Blockbuster’s closing signals the end of an era, but it also means there’s a lot of retail space to fill.

Last week, Blockbuster announced plans to shutter its remaining 300 U.S. locations. It was the final nail in the coffin of a steadily declining brand, which was bought by Dish Network (DISH, Fortune 500) in 2010 after the retailer went bankrupt.

(Read More)

Paperless Mission #10: Distributing Student Assignments

This is the tenth installment in my Go Paperless! Challenge Series. You can check out the other entries in the series here. Also be sure to link up with my Paperless Challenge Linky!

 

Mission #10: Distribute Student Assignments through Shared Folders

Once my students had their iPads, I needed to figure out a way to get their work out to them. At first I tried using Edmodo, but that proved to be a bit glitchy for assignments where I wanted students to work with the materials in a different app like GoodReader. I needed to figure out an easy to manage workaround. Welcome back, Dropbox!
To do this, I created a new folder on Dropbox called “Student Assignments.” I then right-clicked on the folder to pull up the option to “share link.”
This pulls up a new window that shows the internal content of the folder in the background. Here, you could enter in a bunch of email addresses, but I prefer to click on “Get link.” This copies a link to your clipboard for you to paste somewhere else.
Once I had the link to the folder, I put it in a highly visible spot on my class website. My students use my class website constantly, so getting to the link was easy for them once they knew where to find it. 
Once the folder was shared, I started to create the internal contents of the folder. I created 6 folders inside — one for each day of the week and an archive folder. 
I numbered the days of the week to control the order of the files. Dropbox will alphabetize the folders otherwise.
As I gather resources or assignments that I want students to access, I save them as pdf files and I just put them in the folder to match the day that I expect them to do the assignment. At the end of the week, I move everything into the Archive folder, and I start over creating the assignments for next week. 
This system has worked incredibly well for me! Here’s why:
  • Items in Dropbox sync immediately, so if we’re in the middle of working on something and I realize that I’ve forgotten to give students something that would be helpful, I can just drag it into the folder. I don’t have to sprint down to the copier. 
  • It’s the ultimate organizer for absent students. If a kid misses class on Tuesday, they (and their parents) know to go to the Tuesday folder to see what assignments are there. There’s no more worrying about lost papers or assignments.
  • The archive folder provides a great back-up for lost work. If a parent can’t find a reading or a study guide to help before a test, there’s an easy place to go to see all of the work.
  • It only requires a one-time set-up. Since I’m sharing the external folder and not the individual folders or assignments, I can change out what’s inside the folder without having to get a new link to share. 
  • It doesn’t require any log-ins or sign-ups from my students. They don’t have email yet, and they don’t have Dropbox accounts of their own, but that doesn’t matter. Accessing shared files on Dropbox doesn’t require a log-in of any sort. 

I’ve been incredibly happy with this system. Everything that I would have copied in the past has been easily distributed through my shared folder in Dropbox. 

What are some other ways you could use shared folders in Dropbox? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.

Essential fats

If you have been doggedly avoiding fat in an attempt to lose weight — this approach is WRONG. You need fats in your diet. Your brain consists mostly of fat, and your intelligence, heartbeat and muscular movements all depend on it. The only way in which your body can send electrical messages through living tissue is via your nerve cells and their connectors, which again are made of fat.

The fact is that some fats (known as lipids) are essential. They act as the second energy reserve behind glycogen, providing most of their energy at around 70 per cent of maximum heart rate. Endurance athletes utilize fat as an energy source more than other sports people and this is why they tend to be lean.

Fats are not just for energy, though. Their many other functions include insulating important organs, carrying fat-soluble vitamins and regulating hormone levels. If you’re a female athlete and you experience a loss of your periods, this may be due to extremely low body fat, for this plays a vital role in the activation of the female hormone oestrogen.

Fats also contribute to health in many other ways — provided they are of the right kind. In an attempt to warn people about the risk of consuming toomuch fat, certain groups have created the impression that all fats are bad, but this simply is not true.

Diet Start

Are you eating the wrong fats?

Many people in the Western world are getting 45 per cent of their calorific intake from fats, but these are junk fats that the body cannot use, so these people are just as fat-deficient as those on extremely low-fat regimes.

THERE ARE TWO MAIN TYPES OF NATURAL FATS:

1. Saturated fats come primarily from animal sources such as meat and dairy products, and from coconut and palm-kernel oil; they are solid at room temperature. They provide the body with a stored form of energy in fat cells.

2. Unsaturated fats are found in vegetables, nuts, grains and seeds, and in fish and game; they are liquid at room temperature. They contain two fatty acids that are essential to life and, more importantly, that the body cannot produce itself. These are linoleic acid (omega-6) and linolenic acid (omega-3) From these two ‘essential fatty acids‘ your body can make all the other fatty acids it needs.

Is it just a case of cutting out saturated fat?

Saturated fat gets a bad press, and a diet too heavy in it has been closely linked to cardiovascular disease. However, there is another fat with an equal capacity to harm: hydrogenated fat.

Hydrogenated fat is solid or semi-solid at room temperature (the best example being margarine). It is created when a liquid oil (such as corn oil) has hydrogen added to it, changing its chemical structure. This in turn can interfere with the metabolism of some essential fatty acids. Research has shown that the trans fats in hydrogenated fats can increase LDL (poor) cholesterol,decrease HDL (good) cholesterol and thus raise the risk of coronary heart disease. Hydrogenated fat is found in almost all processed foods, plus frozen convenience foods and deep-fried fast food. This is another good reason to say goodbye to junk food and hello to fresh produce.

If you usually ingest high amounts of processed fats and use commercially altered oils for cooking, then you are certainly not getting the balance of fats that your body needs.

Why don’t food manufacturers use healthier oils?

Even though the food industry uses vegetable oils that contain a reasonable amount of omega-6 fatty acids, they avoid omega-3s because these are more susceptible to oxidization — in other words, they go rancid quickly and don’t have a long shelf life.

Ironic, isn’t it? Food manufacturers quite happily promote food under the guise of lowering cholesterol and reducing heart disease, but they are ignoring one of the fats essential to health. So unless you are eating high amounts of fish, fish oils, leafy vegetables, nuts, unrefined olive oil, tofu or flaxseed oil, your ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is probably screwed up, and this in turn will be screwing up your health.

The current Western diet is much higher in omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3’s. Remember those healthy Palaeolithic people we were discussing earlier? They were eating equal amounts of both.

How is this relevant to body weight?

If you are eating a diet with a good balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, this will affect your body in beneficial fat-burning ways:

  • Your metabolic rate will be increased, as will the metabolism of fats, so more stored fat will be burned for energy
  • Your cells’ sensitivity to insulin will be increased, so that it regulates blood- sugar levels more effectively
  • The ratio of insulin to glucagons will improve, which will unlock the fat- storage banks and again allow fat to be burned as energy
  • Natural appetite suppressants will kick in.

So if you want to improve your chances of losing weight, you need to up your intake of omega-3 and other healthy fats.

Essential fats Q&A

Q. How often should I eat oily fish per week if I want to consume enough omega-3 fatty acids?

A. You should aim to eat oily fish a minimum of 2-3 times per week, or ensure you use flaxseed oil regularly on salads to raise your levels. Try to eat fish from as safe a source as possible as many coldwater fish are contaminated with heavy metals and pesticides.

Q. How can I avoid hydrogenated fat?

A. Cut out processed food and only use cold-pressed un-refined oils such as olive oil, or coconut oil for cooking. Don’t eat fast food that has been deep-fried and avoid butter type spreads. If you did this, then you should be able to avoid consuming dangerous trans fatty acids.

‘Setting Of The Month’: Bandicam’s Xvid Implementation (with Screenshots and Quality Analysis)

As the First Post of a new type of article here at The Game Tips And More Blog
[started due to popular demand!], I would like to explain a bit about my ‘Setting Of The Month’:
What is meant by “Of The Month” (at least at this blog), is less ‘lunar syzygy’ and more ‘what is currently being served’, in concept. Every once in a while I will post what Recording Settings or Rendering Settings I am currently using. I want to begin doing these posts in response to two things:

  • It was requested by you readers! Over the first half of the year, I run a Poll here at the Blog (it is located on the top right panel area) and currently, the single most popular Requested Topic For Future Posts is “Tips and Tricks of Video Capturing and Editing”. Therefore, as part of answering that call ‘by popular demand’, by my respected readers, I want to share as a ‘Tip’ what settings I have been using of late to capture – not to tell you ‘what to use’, but to simply give everyone a suggestion – perhaps even a place to start from, when recording or editing their gameplay adventures.
  • I see ‘settings’ asked about a lot, everywhere. Whether it is in game forums, technical forums, video editing and recording application forums, or even in my Inbox once in a while, people are constantly asking what settings to use, or “what settings do you use” – and that’s great! I’m glad to see helpful replies of others (and sometimes short explanations on how someone is using a specific setting and why). As anyone who has asked me directly knows, I enjoy helping others with suggestions on settings and usually try to explain why I am using one setting over another.
And so, here is the first edition of a new addition to this blog, without further adieu:

 

This Month’s Featured Setting

Bandicam’s Xvid Codec

For the past little while, I have been messing with the Xvid codec – not the ‘official’ one from XviD.org that you have to download – the one that is built-in to Bandicam, easily available via pull-down menu in the Format area, where you choose which codec you want to record with. As of the most recent version of Bandicam [at the time of this post], Xvid is now the Default Codec that is pre-selected, when you install/startup Bandicam. Where in previous versions, a ‘Bandisoft-optimized’ MPEG-1 codec was the Default, now a ‘Bandisoft-optimized’ version of Xvid is thrust into the limelight – and I wanted to test this puppy out and see what tricks it can do!

If you’ve were computing through the 1990’s, you may have heard about the Xvid codec. A competitor to the DivX codec around the turn of the millennium, I am actually going to skip over the history of the Xvid codec [other than this one paragraph]. Parts of such history may actually be a ‘dark affair’ (depending on who you talk to), worthy of it’s own short documentary, as the DivX vs XviD history has some aspects in common to the history of other products and companies that were popular over time [with Saturday Night Television Specials such as “Apple vs Microsoft”, “Xerox vs Apple” and more..]. As with many companies and products in popular use today, they all have “Origin Stories” that you won’t find on The Internet and never will… And Now, Back To Your Regularly Scheduled Program

The Xvid codec is a version of MPEG-4 (it is MPEG-4 Part 2 or “H.263/ASP”), so it is directly related to it’s younger-but-bigger brother, AVC (which is MPEG-4 Part 10 or “H.264/AVC”). As such, Xvid [ASP] does not have many of the functions that are found in H.264 [AVC], such as Deblocking, where the codec will try to ‘hide’ some compression artifacts that occur due to over-compression; but Xvid is still a great codec to record with, it’s main strength being speed. Because it doesn’t have many of the processing functions of it’s more recent and bulkier MPEG-4 versions, it can ‘figure out a frame and save it to a file’ very quickly – which is essentially what is happening, technically, when game recording.

Recording with Bandicam’s Default settings for their implementation of Xvid [designated herein as “Xvid(b)”**, to show that it is the “Bandicam-Optimized Version of Xvid”] will give you a Quality Setting of 80%. The capturing framerate, by Default, is set at 30 fps (Frames-Per-Second). The audio format, in this Default setting, is compressed “MPEG-1 Layer 2” format (MP2) for the Audio. Here is a screenshot showing what all of Bandicam’s Default settings, for their implementation of Xvid, looks like in one image:

The ‘Setting Of The Month’: Bandicam’s Version of Xvid, included with Bandicam (Default Settings)
Click to see Full Size

Below, are a sampling of a handful of games and the framerate performance hits that were seen while recording with these Default Xvid(b) settings (i.e. the differences between ‘playing the game and not recording’ versus ‘playing the game and recording at the same time’):
table.tableizer-table { border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif font-size: 12px; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }

Recorded Game Title                     Resolution      Performance Hit (Δ)
Hitman: Absolution Benchmark 1366×768 ~ 2 fps
Hitman: Absolution Benchmark 2560×1440 ~ 4 fps
FurMark (Full Run) 1366×768 ~ 2 fps
FurMark (Full Run) 2560×1440 ~ 0 fps
Unigine Valley Benchmark 1366×768 ~ 6 fps
Unigine Valley Benchmark 2560×1440
Batman: Arkham City Benchmark 1366×768 ~ 4 fps
Batman: Arkham City Benchmark 2560×1440 ~ 9 fps
Skyrim (Introduction) 1366×768 ~ 0-8 fps
Skyrim (Introduction) 2560×1440
Minecraft 1366×768 ~ 0 fps
Minecraft 2560×1440 ~ 0 fps

table code created by Danny Sanchez (journalistopia.com)

As you can see in the table above, the difference in framerate between ‘Playing’ and ‘Playing While Recording’ is very minimal [the performance ‘drain’ being accentuated in higher resolutions for most games]. Although only a handful of games were tested, I did try testing both spectra of resolutions possibly in use by the average gamer today, by recording with an ‘enthusiast’ resolution (2K/1440p) as well as a commonly-run laptop/notebook resolution (1366×768) which could also be run by older or less-capable systems. Bandicam’s optimized Xvid performs very well in the tests, with almost as low of a performance change as the ‘super-light-performance-hitting’ MJPEG codec.

Like MJPEG however, Xvid’s weakness is the lack of tools to compensate for compression. Again, I mention here the MPEG-4/AVC ability to somewhat ‘hide’ compression artifacts, with code for utilities such as “Deblocking” built into the codec, where the edges of areas that the codec is making its calculations in are ‘softened’, so that the ‘blocky’ effect of high compression (called Macroblocking) is less visible. In Xvid, there is no such utility, so if too high a compression level is attempted [too low a bitrate is stipulated], then these ‘block’ artifacts can easily be seen, especially in ‘flatter’ areas of a frame (portions of the screen with less color and/or changes happening), as seen in the below frames, extractions from the actual recorded video frames themselves:

[In the examples below, when the compression artifacts aren’t as obvious, I will show the entire screenshot in compressed JPG format, then underneath I ‘zoom in’ to show the compression artifacts from the codec as magnified extractions from the original video frames, in BMP (BitMaP) format. I use sampled areas for that, as full 1440p Screenshots in an uncompressed format would be over 10MB each]

Xvid(b)** at 90% Quality [altered from Default 80% Quality Setting], Battlefield 3.
Click to see Full Size
The result when recording at 90% Quality (up from the Default of 80%) was very satisfactory, with only ‘nit-pickable’ parts to show the codec’s weaknesses, like the Upper Left area of this scene above (with the dark interior areas). Some artifacting can also be seen in the Middle Top area (slightly obvious even in this compressed JPG), where the plain sky areas take the brunt of the compression of this frame taken from the original game recording video produced by Bandicam.

Xvid(b)** at Bandicam’s Default of 80% Quality, Battlefield 3.
Click to see Full Size
The above image is taken from a game recording of Battlefield 3 that had some pistol action going on, with an explosion caught in the background. The quality of Bandicam’s Default setting isn’t too bad and high action scenes can actually look quite acceptable. For example, in this frame above, with the explosion occurring on an upper walkway, only the Right Edge of the explosion (with the debris) has obvious Macroblocking – and the sidewalk [and foliage] macroblocks had to be ‘looked for’ here – and are less noticeable in the moving video. The ‘flatter area’ (with less colour variations) in this scene, is the poster advertisement, which the codec punishes with compression, leaving colour banding and macroblocks evident. The rest of scene is more complicated material and demands the codec to utilize more bitrate, ending up looking not too bad at all, when VBR is used (Variable BitRate, “changing data rate”) mode).

[I personally found that in dark (as in nighttime) scenes, at 80% Quality there was distracting colour quantization (colour quality loss) and macroblocks (little square compression artifacts); but for most material, the 80% Quality setting seems ok to use for Xvid(b)**, most of the time]

Xvid(b)** at Bandicam’s Default setting for Xvid of 80% Quality, the Batman: Arkham City Benchmark.
Click to see Full Size
The above image is an extracted frame from a recording of the Batman: Arkham City Benchmark. A very difficult scene for any codec (unless you tell it to ‘keep all quality, use 100%’ and then don’t mind the larger file size that will be created) it is hard for a codec to decide what to compress and what not to, as particles fly all over the place and light and dark areas shift around as the Benchmark runs through this area with changing levels/regions of Luma [lightness, brightness]. Bandicam’s Xvid did a good job trying to keep the text sharp at 1440p – but at 80% Quality, macroblocks are everywhere (those present in the screenshot above are not from the JPG compression, they were present in the game recording itself). At 80% Quality, anything with subtle gradient colour changes are absolutely tortured by the codec, seen especially in the change from light to dark in the Center Top light fixture area and the Left Lower curtain region. Bright areas however, such as the light fixtures themselves and almost all of the particles flying around, are judged by the codec to be ‘important to human eyes’ and detail is kept high for those objects.

Xvid(b)** at Bandicam’s Default setting of 80% Quality, Minecraft.
Click to see Full Size
The above frame is taken from a recording of the Minecraft Demo starting shoreline, originally captured at 1440p (the image is resized down to 1280×720). I was interested in how Xvid would handle Minecraft, a difficult game to capture and compress, as hard edges and lines are everywhere. Bandicam’s version of Xvid did surprisingly well, as the video recording itself is a joy to watch, with compression artifacts barely noticeable (recording at higher resolutions helps with that, but uses more disk space for the game recordings). Magnification of the original video frame is just below (next image):

These two sampled regions are magnified to 200% (doubled in size). They were extracted from the game recording frame above, which itself came from the original game recording produced by Bandicam and the built-in Xvid codec.
Click to see Full Size
While not as obvious in the moving video, the above frame extractions (both Left and Right sides) show Gibbs Effects [‘ringing’ or ‘mosquito noise’] around the hard edges of Minecraft’s graphics. The colour gradient changes, blending slowly into the background/sky colour in the Right Half of the above image also cause Ringing and Macroblocks to occur. Distant water gets treated with extreme prejudice by the codec, as the jumble of lines and animation from the textures are ‘sluffed together’ [my technical term] and Macroblocks are obvious. Again, these artifacts are more obvious in the stills from the game recording – the video itself, when watched, was more appealing to the eye and these compression artifacts aren’t as noticed as the frames fly by and the cow looks at you in a wondering manner.

Regardless of some of Xvid’s compression shortcomings illustrated above, with the speed that it performs at, along with the ability to turn up the Quality setting in Bandicam, these artifacts shown will not occur as often in higher quality settings – and then Xvid can be a nice codec to run with, especially if a system cannot handle a codec that does higher processing on the frames [taking more time to do calculations on them and saving them to a file, creating ‘lag’]. Older systems or laptops that do not have the hardware to utilize GPU-accelerated game recording (with codecs such as NVIDIA’s CUDA and NVENC, AMD’s App Acceleration and Intel’s Quick Sync) can utilize Xvid as a less-taxing codec to record with [as another option on the Utility Belt of Game Recording Codecs to choose from]. Indeed, it is almost as speed efficient as the ever-compatible MJPEG codec, for capturing, editing and compression.

The default setting, when installing Bandicam, creates a GOP of 150 [GOP stands for Group Of Pictures or the number of frames between Information/Key Frames in a video]. This is fine for normal viewing (and it leaves a lot of headroom for compressing ‘only the differences’ between the frames, resulting in smaller filesizes), but a large GOP can create problems with editing, as many NLE’s (Non-Linear Editors, such as Sony’s Vegas/MovieStudio line, Adobe’s Premiere products, Lightworks and more) do not work well with so many frames in-between the Keyframes – however, editors such as Corel’s VideoStudio, CyberLink’s PowerDirector and Microsoft’s own Movie Maker do not exhibit this issue [I tested these three applications by hand, myself, just to make sure and they imported fine and were handled without the “glitchy-ness” or “trails” that were exhibited in (for example) Vegas].

Although originally captured for an article on the Xvid codec here (which can potentially also experience the issue mentioned in the above paragraph) this image shows an example of what the “trails” or “glitchy-ness” will look like, as it was captured from a video with a Large GOP (large keyframe interval) output produced by Vegas. (Click to see Full Size)

When editing a video with a large GOP, the video editing application must ‘seek’ to the next Keyframe whenever it has to process a request and calculate/build all of the frames from there (which slows things down and delays processing and editing). Also, depending on the application, with some programs video can only be ‘cut’ on keyframes (unless an application is coded to create keyframes where needed). All of these steps and problems created by ‘Long-GOP’ video can be avoided [when using the above-mentioned video editing programs] by simply adjusting the Keyframe Interval in the Xvid settings to “1”.

One caveat to keep in mind, with setting a Keyframe Interval of “1”: although it will now make for speedy/easier/morecompatible editing with many video editing applications, the codec will not have as much ‘headroom’ to work with, when compressing your game recording material. 
What this means is, that instead of only keeping track of the changes between frames (say, a person running by down the side of the screen), where the codec will literally only save those ‘differences’ in the file; it now has to save every single portion of the viewable screen in every single frame, complete and independent in ‘stand-alone’ frames (the KeyFrames), and while the video will be much faster in seeking and have increased editing compatibility, the codec requires much more bitrate now, to save ‘everything’ in every single frame.
The result: your video file size will end up larger than before. However, you can now edit the video in Vegas, Premiere, Lightworks and more… the choice of how to go about this aspect then, is up to you [whether to use a GOP of 1 for easier editing, or not]. If you do not use these specific video editing programs (perhaps instead, you are using PowerDirector or VideoStudio Pro or Movie Maker, which to not have as much trouble with ‘Long-GOP’ material, not needing the GOP to be one frame) or you are not having problems with whatever editor you are currently using, there is no need to make this change to the Xvid recording settings in Bandicam [this is why there is no green indicator arrow in my ‘Suggested Settings’ illustration coming up in a little while, for this option]
Staying on the topic of Bitrate [from the above paragraph] for a moment, “..what kind of file sizes are we looking at..?”, you might ask. Well, here is a sampling of some of the Bitrates that were seen when recording with Xvid(b)** at Bandicam’s Default Settings for the codec:
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Recorded Game Title                    Resolution     BitRate (Mbps, GBph) 
Hitman: Absolution Benchmark 1366×768 ~ 34 Mbps, 0.97GB/hour
Hitman: Absolution Benchmark 2560×1440 ~ 83 Mbps, 2.4GB/hour
FurMark (Full Run) 1366×768 ~ 44 Mbps, 1.2GB/hour
FurMark (Full Run) 2560×1440 ~ 45 Mbps, 1.2GB/hour
Unigine Valley Benchmark 1366×768 ~ 37 Mbps, 1.06GB/hour
Unigine Valley Benchmark 2560×1440
Batman: Arkham City Benchmark 1366×768 ~ 20 Mbps, 0.57GB/hour
Batman: Arkham City Benchmark 2560×1440 ~ 54 Mbps, 1.5GB/hour
table code created by Danny Sanchez (journalistopia.com)
Just to compare some file sizes of other codecs: the Low Quality setting for the Dxtory codec (with Compression) recorded a run of the Unigine Valley Benchmark (at 1080p) at about 326Mbps (9.3GB/hour), while FRAPS produced a recording of about 291Mbps (8.3GB/hour), with Lagarith (in Default/RGB Mode) creating a recording of the same material that ran at about 235Mbps (6.7GB/hour). Of course, bitrates fluctuate, depending on the complexity of the material (more movement/action/etc, which requires more bitrate to properly represent the material.. but a longer explanation of that is outside the scope of this post [believe it or not…I’m trying to keep them ‘short’! hah]).
The other setting that can be changed in the Bandicam interface for their version of the Xvid codec, is the Quality. Here is an example of the differences in quality output at the various Quality settings for Bandicam’s Xvid:
Comparison between varying Quality settings, for Bandicam’s version of Xvid (from Left to Right; Quality at 40%, 60%, 80% and 100% Quality). The JPG compression used for this composite [the four videos side-by-side] did not overly affect the Macroblocking occurring – the ‘blockyness’ seen in these frames is almost untouched, even though the videos from the original Unigine Valley Benchmark recordings were converted into this JPEG image – this is very close to how it looked in the video (although slightly more noticeable as still images). Click to see Full Size
As you can see, the perceived quality for Xvid goes down quickly, with Macroblocks becoming more obvious as the quality setting goes down. However, acceptable Quality can be maintained if the quality setting is kept high [in my opinion, stay at 90% or higher if you can]. Remember though, that with the higher quality settings, more space will be required by the codec, to save all of that data. Also, if using a Keyframe Interval of “1” (creating a GOP size of one frame, each frame in the video then being a Keyframe), the codec will also not have as much room to compress the images/video and your output size will increase. As stated above though, the benefit of using a Keyframe Interval of “1” is, then your game recordings will be easily importable/editable in NLEs like Premiere, Vegas, Lightworks, etc – if you are are having troubles with those specific applications [if you are not, there is no need to limit the GOP to one frame, which is why there is no green arrow indicator in the below illustration]. Below, are my Suggested Settings then, for this codec in Bandicam, in one image:
The ‘Setting Of The Month’: Bandicam’s Version of Xvid, included with Bandicam (Suggested Settings):
Quality is at 90%, PCM (“Uncompressed”) Audio is selected [mainly for editing compatibility], a higher compression (“Smaller file Size” option) is chosen (and a Keyframe interval of “1” is suggested for compatibility with editing applications such as Vegas, Premiere, Lightworks, etc. if required [only change if needed as it increases file size, no green arrow indicator is shown on the Keyframe Interval])
Click to see Full Size

Overall, I think ‘Bandisoft’s version of Xvid’ in Bandicam does a decent job with Quality – and is downright excellent where Performance is concerned. On my system (and hopefully yours), Bandicam’s Xvid had very little drain on the performance of the game while recording with it, creating very little ‘lag’ while recording (it had a low ‘performance hit’). As long as the quality setting is kept high (90-100%), the recorded output Quality can be quite acceptable, with only a little Macroblocking (block shapes being visible) and Posterization [colour quantization, which is a reduction in the amount of colours, resulting in ‘colour banding’ or ‘bands’ seen] in the darker and ‘flatter’ areas of a frame in a game recording (Macroblocking may occur in areas such as skies, less-colourful regions, etc). Try out some recordings with Bandicam’s version of Xvid for yourself and see if you prefer using it for recording your gaming adventures.
Please note dear reader, that I am not saying “this codec is the best one to record with” or “use this one only”. I am merely showing that it is possible, or how to tweak it for quality or file size, as to your own personal tastes. There are many codecs out there to choose from when game recording and although some are more apt for certain types of games than others, overall it is your own choice to do with as you wish – use what you prefer. 



See you in the games!


Personal Short Version/Opinion:


While the Bandisoft-optimized version of Xvid included in Bandicam works pretty well and is fast, I find myself not using it very often, other than this past month or so, for testing. After recording for a while with Xvid’s ‘successor’, h.264/AVC, the extra features of Deblocking and other tools in AVC have ‘spoiled’ me. Going back to the slightly more ‘blocky’ output of Xvid – even though it creates very little lag when recording – is slightly distracting to my eyes. When I see an Xvid game capture of mine now, my eyes are instantly drawn to the darker/flatter areas of the scene and those little tiny block shapes…and I sigh at the slowly-aging Xvid codec, remembering its’ heyday’ of compressing my TV shows recorded on my ATi TV Wonder PCI card. The late 1990’s and the 2000’s were ‘Xvid’s Time’ to me, when I used it for almost everything – and while it performs well in game recording today (even Xvid.org’s ‘Official’ version, with the right settings), I am now just too used to the benefits of more modern codecs, like h.264/AVC, which can even use the videocard/hardware, for GPU-accelerated recording.

I realize there are a lot of people gaming on laptops out there, and not everyone has a dedicated/separate videocard inside their system to record with, but the more I use my GPU to record with, the more I am impressed with the performance when recording most games [note that some games ‘don’t like’ GPU-accelerated recording (are not fully coded for compatibility with it) and these games have large hits to performance with it]. At the moment of this writing, I have two NVIDIA videocards running in my system (performing together in SLI mode) and I am enjoying using the GPU-accelerated CUDA offering in Bandicam to record with. Like AMD’s AppAcceleration and INTEL’s QuickSync, CUDA utilizes H.264/AVC through the hardware to record, having high performance [for most games] and producing nice output, utilizing some of the newer aspects of MPEG-4 (such as Deblocking) when recording, to hide compression artifacts [the little ‘glitches’ from compressing the video]. The speed, and presence of light ‘compression correction’ from this hardware implementation of MPEG4 has spoiled me now, and I am finding it hard to go back to the slightly more obvious artifacting in ‘older’ codecs, such as MPEG-1 or Xvid (which is ‘older’ MPEG-4), especially when those codecs are used at lower quality settings, to try and save hard drive space. (Turning up the Quality settings for these codecs helps a lot, if your system can handle it)

As CPU architecture evolves and modern CPUs have ‘mini-GPUs’ built into them, the differentiation of capability between ‘gaming rigs’ and ‘gaming laptops’ blurs [as far as game recording goes], as GPU-accelerated game recording is possible now by less and less expensive hardware (AMD APUs) and processors (INTEL’s QuickSync), even within laptops [as opposed to full desktop systems]. This means that “gaming laptops” now have much more capability when it comes to game recording, today. If your laptop is capable of using GPU-accelerated recording, give it a try. If it is not, systems that do not use the GPU to compress their video can still perform well recording games, as is shown with the above article, by using Xvid. “If you can’t choose the H.264 encoder in Bandicam, choose ‘Xvid'” ~ Quote from the Bandicam.com website.

Do some testing of your own dear reader – and have fun experimenting, finding a codec that you will eventually prefer to record with – and See You In The Games…
Last Remarks (in addition/continuation to the Prologue of this article): 
Another thing to keep in mind is, that my settings (both for Recording and Editing/Rendering) change slightly over time… I may have been able to purchase a new disk drive recently for instance, so then I will allow my recordings to take up more space [for a while anyway]. I may be trying out a Demo/Trial of a new version of a Video Editing Application, so I have been experimenting with some different Rendering settings. Perhaps a videocard driver or codec was updated, so now I will experiment a bit with the recording application settings, seeing if I can squeeze a little more Quality out of my recordings, while keeping the Performance high. All of these reasons and a few more, are why my settings constantly change over time. Don’t worry, I’ll try to remember to come here and share them with you, anytime I find a “Good Combination” that works well for either High Quality or Fast Performance, the ‘Holy Grail’ of course being a Perfect balance of both. 
As I have begun more dedicated testing over the past few years, I have found that specific games themselves ‘prefer’ certain recording and rendering settings over others. What I mean by “prefer” is: as new game rendering engines are written, hardware architectures change, and programmers utilize ‘something over another’ in general during a game’s development, this affects what settings a game ‘works better with’, whether it is a specific game recording program, hardware/GPU, or specific recording and rendering settings; hence my usage of the word “prefer”. 
This is why, for example, some games will perform better on an AMD/ATi-based videocard in Benchmarks and Reviews than an NVIDIA-based GPU – and then other games will have better results on an NVIDIA-based videocard over an AMD/ATi-based GPU – those games were simply being developed [the programmers wrote the code] on a system with that certain GPU installed in it at the time. This also means there is a chance of specific optimizations in programming that slightly favour one brand of GPU over another [and they may even have been ‘compensated for their efforts’ by that respective company, but *shhh* these things aren’t spoken of outside Mordor]. 
In regards to the above and game recording, I have found that some games will have better performance with different game recording applications as well. For example, one game may have less of a performance hit while recording with Dxtory and then another game will have better performance recording with Bandicam [as an example] – it all depends on the code and how it is written and being rendered. That’s why I ‘change it up’ so often, altering my recording settings (and rendering settings) as each game I play exposes its nuances. That’s what I mean if I ever say a game ‘seems to prefer’ recording with one game recording program over another. 
Keep this all of the above in mind then and also remember dear reader, that I am never telling you “you should use this”, I am always suggesting only a possibility in my posts, and it is always up to you to try it out and decide if you want to use a recommendation of mine or not.
 [I encourage everyone to always take the good ideas from others and leave the bad, making up a composite of their own liking and preferences and what they want to utilize – whether it is with game recording and editing, or Life In General – but, that last part is for another blog…] 

 **[designated as “Xvid(b)”, to show that it is the “Bandicam-Optimized Version of Xvid”]

Astaxanthin – Anti-Oxidant Superstar

While many antioxidants can be obtained by eating organic fruits and vegetables, astaxanthin is derived only from a specific microalgae called Haematococcus pluvialis.  The algae uses astaxanthin to protect itself from intense sunlight, ultraviolet radiation and low nutrition.

There are two natural astaxanthin sources: the microalgae that produce it and the salmon and krill which consume the algae directly. The best resources for these foods are wild-caught Alaskan Salmon and Krill Oil Supplement, which offer many other nutritional benefits.

Research indicates astaxanthin may benefit those suffering from inflammatory conditions including arthritis, rheumatoid disorders, metabolic disease, as well as cardiovascular, neurological and liver diseases.

Astaxanthin can also help to increase your muscle capacity and stamina, decrease workout recovery time, and decrease muscle pain.  Other proven benefits include:

Reduction of Inflammation
Protects Vision
Enhances Heart Health
Decreases Oxidative Stress
Protects Against Sunburn
Boost Your Immune System
Helps Prevent and Fight Cancer

Astaxanthin and Eye Health

Astaxanthin is an extremely powerful anti-oxidant:  65 times more powerful than vitamin C, 54 times more powerful than Beta-Carotene and 14 times more powerful than Vitamin E.
Astaxanthin crosses the blood-brain barrier AND the blood-retinal barrier which is a huge deal for your brain AND your eyes!

Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family of anti-oxidants that include beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.   Of all the carotenoids, only zeaxanthin and lutein are found in the retinas of your eyes.  This is because your eye is a highly light and oxygen rich environment, and it needs a large amount of free radical scavengers to prevent damage. 
Scientists have specifically studied astaxanthin for its effects on the eyes and discovered that it is completely safe, and much more potent than all the other carotenoids.   Specifically it has been shown that astaxanthin supplementation can be effective in preventing a whole list of eye diseases including:

Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Diabetic Neuropathy
Cystoid Macular Edema
Central Retinal Arterial and Venous Occlusion
Glaucoma
Inflammatory Eye Diseases including retinitis, iritis, keratitis, and scleritis

Astaxanthin is one of the few anti-oxidants that you should consider supplementing because you cannot obtain the recommended dosage from your diet alone.      The good news is that there are excellent Astaxanthin Supplements available from companies like Jarrow, Doctors Best, and Swanson to name a few.   It should be taken with a meal with fat because it is fat soluble with dosage from 4mg – 12mg per day although there are no harmful effects from higher dosages.

My trip to Dhaka, Bangladesh

It was quite an intense process to pin down the existing system. It existed in bits and pieces in various places of the organization managed by different people in the structure. It was quite unique to find an organization with a finance management system spanning from resource mobilization (Income generation, contracting and applying for donor funding) to implementing through 3rd parties (implementation through contractors as well as other civil society organizations) but not to have it documented any ware. It was a tough job to get agreement on the current practices as well, as each individual seems to have tweaked it to suite his/her requirement. Finally we documented the entire system as the minimum agreed common current practices.

This is typical of an organization which has grown organically and reached a point that does not allow it to grow any further without structure and form in its organization structure and systems. As a result of this the assignment has ballooned into a much bigger assignment as the organization needs basic guidance regarding system development and management. I was also able to analyze the system and suggest some key improvements (fundamental stuff really) to instill the use and management of the system. The client has now requested that I support them in the preparation for implementation which needs a lot of pre planning and documentation in the form of developing policies, manuals, forms, job descriptions, task calculation etc. It also means that we have to design the administrative and functional structure so that the organization can manage a decentralized finance function spanning the entire spectrum of financial management.

I left Dhaka on Friday and headed back to Colombo. The flight from Dhaka to Bangkok on TG was fine and operated on time. I had a 5 hour stay in Bangkok before I took the flight to Colombo. I must say that I don’t find the new airport at Bangkok as passenger friendly as the earlier one. The new one however is big and posh but it has lost some of its coziness in my opinion. As usual the Colombo flight was delayed for over a half an hour and once in Colombo had to endure the long queues at the emigration counter.

I am back in Colombo and back at work to finish another assignment (OCA) I took concurrently and had a junior consultant do some parts of it. I have to send its draft report by the end of business 6th April. My next assignment is going to be in the Philippines and looking forward to it as it will be my first assignment in the Philippines.

HOME DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

Architects honey study apartment has a makeover that is quite original. The project is called “Santpere47” and has many interesting features. gold lines and circles to create a wall decoration that invites a lot of fun to watch.

HOME DESIGN STYLE WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

HOME DESIGN STYLE WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

The ceiling is particularly exciting that the pattern is unusual and reminds one of the chambers of the royalties. Storage space is provided unconventional: not a library under the stairs and walls in some places where objects can be placed. The lighting in this apartment is also interesting to compare a second: the hanging lamps are subtle and elegant, and were impressed by the fire escape. The decorative elements are in perfect harmony with the general atmosphere of the house.

HOME DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

HOME DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

HOME LIVING ROOM DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

HOME LIVING ROOM DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

HOME KITCHEN DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

HOME KITCHEN DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

HOME BEDROOM DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

HOME BEDROOM DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

Personal Log: Might not be able to post for a bit longer still… [Editorial/Personal]


Personal Log, Stardate 20160901 [I have no idea how that works heh]

Just a quick Personal Note to say that I apologize to my dear readers for not posting anything for a while, and that I may not be able to post for a while longer yet… I have been experiencing a worsening of my ongoing symptoms… I may be okay in about week or so and finish up some Project irons I have in the fire; but I don’t know, it may take longer than that to get back up to the point where I can play and finish testing some recording programs I was working on, and post about it all…

< Potentially Sad Talking About Sicknesses Follows, In Case Of Feels, Stop Reading, Play Game >
I’ve never really mentioned what I have or what I go through before, since starting this Blog five years ago.. I didn’t really want to trouble people or put those thoughts/feelings on them, but I have had a few people ask me personally what it was – and I was looking something up recently about my condition (it’s a condition I (and Doctors as well) are constantly having to learn about) and I read quite a bit about other similar stories, where other suffers were in much worse condition than me… They were literally bed-ridden… And while I was also like that for the first couple of years, I have improved slowly over time to the point where I can sit up, and sometimes even play games, and on good days work on an article and do things around the house… 
My condition is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, which is an infection of the brain and spinal column, which gives components of Chronic Fatigue (getting tired easily with a slow recovery rate (as in days) if I go to the store, etc) and Fibromyalgia (inflammation and pain in all areas of the body, like when you get a ‘flu’ and are sore all over? it’s that, all the time…heck, many of your Aunts or Mothers may have Fibromyalgia, so you may have heard about it..). It is not a well-known disorder, despite millions of Americans having it.

Every year I learn something new about it or studies that found out something new about it; but nothing is ever concrete on ‘how to get rid of it’, unfortunately. The only good part about that is, is that all Doctors have concluded that it is “something that goes away on it’s own, but noone knows when”… Some people have it for a year or so and some have it the remainder of their lives. I am in my 10th year now, but as I have said in the past, I try to always see the positive in things and I have been slowly improving overall, slowly over the years…

I don’t want to make anyone feel sad, I am sorry if this information does… I merely wanted to inform my readers that I may not be able to post things I have been working on for a while longer… Some of the things I was working on are: GPU-Accelerated Game Recorder Comparisons (Playclaw, Bandicam, Mirillis Action, D3Dgear, and more), First Impressions of some games that I started work on already (The Elder Scrolls Legends Closed Beta, Dropzone Closed Beta, A Return To The Elder Scrolls Online (I was in the Beta for it) and others), bringing back the “Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From” (there have been no winners so far and I have some Giftable Games a-waiting on Steam and GamersGate) and even more projects that I don’t want to mention yet – to keep them a ‘surprise’, heh).

I enjoy writing my articles and posts here, helping others with the information I have figured out, found or collected, doing testing, giving tips of games and even Video Editing and showing effects of settings in both, including also creating the Headers and graphics utilized here (they are all done by me)…
I plan to continue doing this for a long time to come… I just realized there has not been much the past little while and wanted to let you all know there may not be some yet for just a little bit longer (‘recovering’ from a Cold or “doing too much” takes about a week or more each time I do something or get a cold, to get back to where I was, with this illness, everything takes far longer..).
Thank you for your patience, my wonderful readers, and I hope that I can contribute helpful information again for you, in the near future.

Sincerely,

~Troy from The Game Tips And More Blog

Battlefield Hardline: Beginning July 15th, A Double XP Boost is Active ! [Notification]

Just a quick notification to notify those interested in Hardline to note that a Double XP Boost is Currently On! Note that the notification was noted on Battlelog, as of July 15th – unfortunately, I cannot tell at this time if it is a Premium-Only Boost or a Double XP Boost for ‘Everyone’, as I recently subscribed to Origin Access (to test it for one month, to see whether you ‘lose’ patches/etc that you have earned while it is ‘on’, which I will share as soon as I find out). Still, check out Battlelog and see if it is ‘on’ for you! http://battlelog.battlefield.com/bfh/ GOGOGO

See You In The Game!


[Update: As of July 20th, the Double XP Boost is now over… See you next time!]

My recommendation: The 3-step dietary programme Do what I did, look the results

The dietary plans that follow offer simple, nutritious and delicious recipes on a staged regime that should take you from overweight to optimum weight and enhanced well-being.

The reason many people depend on junk and convenience foods is because they lead such busy lives. Most of the recipes in these plans are quick to prepare, and should be within the capabilities of even the most reluctant cook. There are exceptions: preparing the Chicken Soup will take a couple of hours, but it makes a lot and you can freeze separate portions, ensuring that you can have a nutritious low-carb meal even when the clock is ticking away.

So blitz your cupboards and discard any foodstuffs that don’t fit the bill. The journey to a healthy, lean body begins here.

The Plans

The 3-step programme includes 3 eating plans. The Fast-Track Plan will help you lose weight quickly and give you that all-important boost on a 50 per cent protein/20 per cent carbohydrate/30 per cent fat regime that will initiate benign dietary ketosis. It should last for 7-21 days, after which you are ready to move on to the next stage. Your weight loss should be around 2-5.5kg (4-121b) if you are a woman and 4-7.25kg (8-161b) if you are a man, depending on how long you remain on this plan.

Diet Start

During the Keep on Tracking Plan you increase your levels of low-tomedium GI carbohydrates and move into a 35 per cent protein/35 per cent carbohydrate/30 per cent fat regime. You still monitor ketosis and watch how introducing higher levels of carbohydrates affects your weight loss, which should now even out to 0.25-1 kg (1/2-21b) per week.

The No Backtracking Plan is your eating regime for life. You can gradually introduce fruit and vegetables, grains and pulses from the higher GI ranges, in moderation. It is important to keep an eye on how your body reacts to these and to establish your perfect weight-management level.

If you are a vegetarian, there is plenty of advice on how to adapt the plans and recipes to suit your dietary requirements. Granted, your choice isn’t as varied as that of a non-vegetarian, but don’t use this as an excuse not to give it a go. If you follow the basic guidelines and make simple changes to the recipes where necessary, you should lose weight and eradicate insulin resistance successfully.

FOOD TO THROW OUT

  • White flour and sugar
  • Honey
  • Biscuits
  • Crisps
  • Sweets
  • Sugary drinks
  • White rice, bread, pasta
  • Processed foods high in carbohydrates
  • Ready-made sauces
  • Gravy mixes

Customize the plans to suit your lifestyle and dietary preferences

The suggested menu plans are not set in stone – they are templates to encourage you to eat the right sort and amount of food.

If you wish to change a recipe – because you don’t like lamb and would rather have chicken, say – it really doesn’t matter. Just try to use foods of a similar dietary value. When swapping vegetables and fruit, go for ones in the same GI category; try to exchange meat for meat, or fish for fish, in the same amounts. If you change a recipe from meat to fish, you may need to use slightly more fish to give you the same level of protein. For example, 125g (4oz) of poultry or lean meat should be replaced with 175g (6oz) of fish.

Simplify the recipes

If you are short of time, or like your food a bit plainer, simplify the recipe. If you don’t fancy Baked Tuna with Tomato and Herbs, adapt the ingredients, ensuring that you still have sufficient protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats – have a tuna salad with tomatoes and dark green leaves.

On a budget

If money is short and you find some of the suggested ingredients a little expensive, use some budgetary ingenuity to bring down the cost. Fresh salmon can be replaced with coley or whiting, or even tinned salmon.

Use the suggested meals as inspiration. In order to manage your weight in the future, you will have to experiment and be prepared to adapt.

5 Tips to Make Your Paperless Classroom Work

I’m now more than 3/4 of the way through my year of 1:1 iPad work with fourth graders, and while I hoped to have a paperless classroom, the reality has been a bit different. We’re definitely using less paper than we would without iPads, but I can’t pretend that we’re paper-free. As I reflect on this school year, here are five things I would do differently next year to make the paperless transition go even better.

1. Begin the year with a typing boot camp.
The biggest obstacle to the paperless classroom at the beginning of fourth grade is simply that the kids (for the most part) don’t know how to type. Tasks that should have been quick ended up taking 3-4 times the length that I’d anticipated just because the kids were hunting for keys on the keyboard. I think if I’d spent the first term of the year working on typing skills, it would have made a big difference. And on a related note, I’d encourage students to get bluetooth keyboards to use with their iPads (assuming the school won’t invest in those, too).

2. Transition gradually.
When my students start fourth grade, they come from a school that does not have 1:1 iPads. As a result, the technology integration is a big adjustment–for both students and parents. Going fully paperless can be a huge culture shock for the students, and the transition can produce some anxiety. Even with tech-savvy students, there can be a huge learning curve with different apps, and it can quickly get frustrating for some kids–especially the ones who were very comfortable with school as they previously knew it. Start small with a few key apps (e.g., Edmodo, Evernote) and build from there.

3. Try to give options.
Some students are far more comfortable with the iPads than others, and sometimes their lack of comfort can impact their work. With writing, for example, I’ve learned to give students the option of drafting on paper, even though there are lots of mind-mapping and word processing apps they could use for drafting. Usually once they have that first draft on paper, they’re more comfortable typing it in to make revisions and edits. For some of my students, that flexibility makes a huge difference in the amount of writing they can endure. For other students, the iPads boost productivity. Either way, we know that choice is important to students, and this is another important way to differentiate in a 1:1 classroom.

4. Don’t force it.
There are still some contexts where it makes more sense to use paper. Math tests are one example for me. I don’t tend to give students multiple choice tests in math, and I want them to have plenty of space to show their work. Yes, they could do the work on GoodReader with a stylus and turn it in on Edmodo, but that’s not necessarily more efficient for me to grade–especially on a multipage test. Similarly, we’re still using paper and a notebook for our word study work. We use differentiated spelling lists with Words Their Way, and I want students to go through the practice of sorting and recording their words each week. Paper makes sense for that.

5. Stay flexible, and have a backup plan.
At the beginning of the year, we were using our iPads for almost everything (we still are). But then I got sick, and I had to write sub plans. I never know who I’m going to have as a sub, but there are two things that are certain: 1) the sub will never be as comfortable managing a class full of iPads as I am, and 2) students will be more apt to misbehave when they have a sub. As a result, I don’t usually include the iPads in my sub plans unless I know that there will be someone there to enforce my expectations (e.g., someone I co-teach with or my student teacher). If students expect to use the iPads for everything, it can really throw a wrench into the system to take those away, even for a day. Therefore, it’s important to be flexible with using them throughout the year so that students aren’t dependent on them. Sure, they might have a preference, but they need to be able to function without them. That’s also true for times when the power goes out, the internet goes down, or a software glitch makes the iPad temporarily unavailable.

Any tips to add? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

This post contains affiliate links, but I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CRF, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

My Trip to New Delhi & Hyderabad

I am in New Delhi doing an assignment which requires me to do an organization capacity assessment of 5 research institutions in India to ascertain their capacity to receive research grants.

The journey was interesting as the flight I took had a group of tourists (religious pilgrimage to Buddhist sites in India) of whom a majority were first time flyers. So it was fascinating to see the excitement in their faces as the flight progressed; from the smallest kid to the old folk (Gray haired men and women who were in their late sixties) started to peer through the windows to steal a glimpse of the geographic features below. I instantly recalled my first flight (which I took to the UK) when I was just a teenager.

I had dreams of sleeping in the flight; however the rest of the passengers were too excited to be quiet. They were talking in loud voices and moving about so much that sleeping was not an option.

I arrived in New Delhi and managed to go through the immigration very fast and managed to get my luggage fast as well. However when I went out of the airport my pick up had not arrived; so after waiting for half an hour I took a prepaid taxi to the hotel. As a seasoned traveler to New Delhi, I advice all travelers to Delhi to take a prepaid taxi and always have the hotel name and address handy. Also have the telephone number of the hotel so that the taxi driver can call (they all have mobiles) the hotel and get directions if he does not know the place exactly. So without too much of looking around the driver found the hotel.

My past experiences with research organizations have been limited to engaging them for research in preparation for various assignments. I am looking forward to this assignment as this is the first time I will be doing work for research organizations.

Foam Rolling aka Self Myo-Fascial Release

Using a tubular foam roller to literally roll over tight areas of muscles and tendons is known as “Myo-Fascial Release”.    While it seems counter-intuitive applying steady pressure to muscles and tendons with an emphasis on trigger points (areas of tightness and soreness) has been proven to be a highly effective method for improving mobility.    
Since you are in complete control of the amount of pressure applied and how long it is applied you can customize the experience based on your level of sensitivity.   Key areas to focus on include the hamstrings, calves, gluteal muscles, latissimus dorsi muscle, and even low back and hip flexors if done with caution.
You can use a tubular foam roller, and they are made in varying levels of firmness from soft to very firm.   In addition, there are variations that include a textured surface of varying levels from small to large finger like projections.  You can also use balls such as a lacrosse ball, baseball, or tennis ball in a similar fashion.     NOTE:  the smaller and firmer the object the more pressure it will tend to apply so proceed cautiously.
The technique is to position the foam roller on the floor (on a firm but not hard surface is best).  Then position the muscle/s you are targeting on top of the foam roller.     For example, for the calf sit on the floor with your target leg extended so that it is on top of the foam roller with the lowest portion of the calf on top of the roller.    
Use your hands to lift your butt slightly off the floor to allow you to apply pressure down onto the foam roller.    Then literally roll forward slowly over the foam roller paying attention to any trigger points where you notice sensitivity or tightness.   
When you find a sensitive area slowly roll back and forth on the spot until you feel it release.   With a little experimentation you will learn how much pressure and speed work best for your physiology. 
Self Myo-Fascial Release/Foam Rolling is a great way to start a workout and does a great job of safely improving mobility before a workout and is also great to do between workouts.
Contraindications to Foam Rolling
Pregnancy – during pregnancy ligaments become lax and pressure anywhere on or near the abdomen is to be avoided at all costs so best to skip foam rolling when pregnant.
Osteoporosis – soft bones and additional pressure are not a good combination so best to avoid foam rolling without a physician’s permission if you have moderate to severe osteoporosis.
Intervertebral Disc Issues – anyone with disc problems in their spine should be cautious with foam rolling because pressure in the wrong areas can create problems so again get guidance from a medical professional if you have an disc issues in your spine.
Inability to support bodyweight on arms or legs – foam rolling cannot be done safely if a person lacks the strength to support their bodyweight on their arms and/or legs.
For a pictorial guide of various foam rolling exercises to target specific body parts click here:   https://www.pinterest.com/explore/foam-rolling/  

WORKOUT ANYTIME on FOX 56 Lexington

WORKOUT ANYTIME on FOX 56 Lexington

Head Trainer Carl Flotka of WORKOUT ANYTIME Lexington was recently featured on FOX 56 Lexington. In the segment Carl talks about how to portion control during the holiday season and highlights a few exercises that viewers can do to stay active.
View the full segment here.

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN DECOR STYLE GOOD

The design of a room can be a major problem in the redesign of your home. The problem could grow if you have to do for a child – a girl in particular. But do not worry, because we had some bedroom design ideas for the creative minds of the people working with the Italian girls.

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN DECOR

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN DECOR

They work in an atmosphere of classic charm in a contemporary way through a range of unique colors. Most models adopt a classic style, with good curves and cushions, and a pile of wood painted to create the perfect atmosphere for your little princess.

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM METAL DESIGN DECOR

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM METAL DESIGN DECOR

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN IDEAS

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN IDEAS

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN CONCEPT

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN CONCEPT

PIONEER STUDIOS OFFICE MICROSOFT BY SKB ARCHITECTS

The New Pioneer Studios Office which was designed by SkB Architects starting from the idea that need a space to socialize at night as well as it functioned during the day.

Pioneer Studios Office - MicrosoftPioneer Studios Office – Microsoft

Pioneer Studios Office - MicrosoftPioneer Studios Office – Microsoft

Pioneer Studios Office - MicrosoftPioneer Studios Office – Microsoft

Pioneer Studios Office - MicrosoftPioneer Studios Office – Microsoft

Pioneer Studios Office - MicrosoftPioneer Studios Office – Microsoft

DYNAMIC DESIGN HOME CINEMA

DYNAMIC DESIGN HOME CINEMA

For furniture, I love the few pieces I have and does not change, but as a blogger we discover daily news, it’s hard not to crack …

Above the living-dining room where Jo Yana chose to paint the main wall in pink – small nod to her favorite designer Karim Rashid … You’ll also notice the suspension ATOMIUM in Kundalini the most beautiful effect!

This room also houses the home theater installation conducted by Dynamic Home Cinema. In front of these gorgeous wooden drops are pregnant Y21.2 Audio Linear …

At the entrance, a picture of Miles Aldridge sets the tone of the apartment, and FIDELIO Philips broadcasts Playlist place … On the side of the dining room, chairs LOUIS GHOST EROS and greet guests.

The main hall lit by the luminaire BLOB M Karim Rashid …

The cuisine is inspired by Parisian apartment signed Périchon we mention above, because the walls and ceiling were painted in gray have to emphasize the white lacquered furniture. Yellow light under the bar and a nice bin Brabantia bring the strand of color …

We love the headboard PARROT signed by photographer Solve Sundsbo …

The workspace of blogger … A reading area with ottoman LEBLON DELIENNE-QUAD and library. An office signed K-DESIGN, and the now famous chair VERTEX signed Karim Rashid.

DYNAMIC DESIGN HOME CINEMA

DYNAMIC DESIGN HOME CINEMA

The Easiest Way to Implement a Classroom Economy

As my life continues to get crazier, I am constantly looking for ways to simplify and improve the things that I do. This year, for example, I decided to merge Class Dojo with my classroom economy, and so far, it’s going very well! Here are some of the tweaks I made to make this merger work.

My Classroom Economy

I’ve been using a classroom economy since I started teaching, and every year, I make a few tweaks. The basic idea is that every student applies for a class job at the beginning of each term (our terms are 6 weeks long). I’ve previously posted about my classroom jobs here. I display the jobs in my classroom so that we’re constantly reminded who is responsible for what. This year, I’ve used a pocket chart for my classroom jobs (sorry for the blurry photo).

I used to give students $100/week as their salary, or about $20 per day. They’d have weekly and monthly expenses, and then they could use any remaining money to purchase items in our class store. The complete program is detailed in my Classroom Economy Megapack on TpT.

I love the system, but I felt like I wasn’t as consistent as I wanted to be in tracking student behaviors to give fines or bonuses, and there were many Friday afternoons when I was so involved in whatever we were working on that day, that I just didn’t leave enough time for them to shop. 
Meanwhile, I was dabbling with Class Dojo, and I wanted to figure out a way to tie that in as well. If you’re not already familiar, Class Dojo is an online behavior management system that allows you to give and take away points from students. You can create your own categories for points, and you can access the class info from any device — laptop, computer, iPad, iPhone, etc. I liked that portability because I always have one of those devices in my hands, and I could give or take away points without really interrupting what I was doing. 
The solution came for me this year when Class Dojo allowed for the creation of weighted point values! Before, you could only give or take away a single point at a time. Now you can create points on a scale of 1-5 and weight particular behaviors accordingly. This is done in the set-up for behaviors. 
1. Go to Edit Class on your class screen and select “Edit students and behaviors.”


2. Select “Behaviors” and either click on one of the exiting behaviors, or the plus symbol to customize the behaviors.


3. Change the icon (optional), name or rename the behavior, and then click the box to access a pull down menu of point values to weight that item.

And that’s it! You can weight both the positive and negative behaviors according to your needs. Here are the settings I have now for my classroom economy.

I basically divided the $100 weekly salary by 10, and scaled everything else back the same way. Students now get 2 points daily for their salary (10 points per week) and bonuses for different behaviors. The only other positive behavior that I’ve weighted more currently is helping others because I’m really trying to encourage that in my classroom. I’m also going to add a +4 for a class compliment because I like when they do a good job with other adults in the building.

For negative behaviors, I deduct more points for breaking rules outside of my classroom and for disrespecting people or materials. I also now deduct their taxes and rent through Class Dojo, and when they shop, I deduct their points in here. I price everything in multiples of 2, but then I found that I wanted a -5 shopping once they had enough points for some of the larger ticket items in our class store. I dislike that it shows up in the “Needs Work” tab, but I don’t think it’s a problem overall. The parents know what is happening from the descriptors, and we just talk about it in class from the stance of making or spending money. It’s the easiest way to deduct some points without resetting the points entirely.

Since transitioning to this modified system 7 weeks ago, my classroom economy has become more accurate and effective in a fraction of the instructional time. Class Dojo has replaced the clip chart that I used to use, and it helps with some of the accounting. I’m still using the bulk of the resources from my Classroom Economy Megapack, however.

If you’re interested in trying out Class Dojo with the rest of my Classroom Economy Megapack, I’ll be offering the product on sale at half price through Tuesday. It is one of my best sellers, and if you’re looking to change up your classroom management routines or enhance your existing classroom economy, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I’ve also discounted the rest of my TpT store 20% to celebrate my return to blogging after a busy start to the school year. Those sale prices will go now through Tuesday, so check them out!

Join the Mailing List! 

Did you know that I have a mailing list so that you’ll never have to miss a post? Use the link at the top right of this page (under Never Miss a Post) to subscribe to my mailing list. You’ll get my posts delivered to your inbox, and you’ll also get access to some extra resources that I’ll be offering to my mailing list only. Given that my PhD work has really cut in to my blogging time this past year, the mailing list is the best way to make sure you see my new content. I promise not to spam you or share your contact information ever. 
Have a great week!

Carbohydrates, good or bad for dieting

Another distinction that some nutritional counselors make is between refined and unrefined carbohydrates. In dieting index weight loss, we prefer to classify carbohydrates as low-, medium-, or high-dieting. However, because you’re bound to hear carbohydrates defined as refined and unrefined, this section discusses how the terminology relates to the dieting index.

Refined carbohydrates are more highly processed than unrefined carbohydrates. Processing includes such activities as cooking, milling, and separating the whole food into parts. Examples of refined carbohydrates are white bread, white rice, most packaged breakfast cereals, donuts, cakes, cookies, bagels, fruit and vegetable juices, fruit drinks, soda, and candy. The list goes on. Refined carbs are usually high-dieting, but some can be low, as in vegetable juice and some fruit juices.

Diet Start

Unrefined carbohydrates are those kept in their natural state. In general, the unrefined carbohydrates tend to contain more fiber. Examples of unrefined carbohydrates are whole vegetables and fruit, whole grains, dried peas and beans, and nuts and seeds. Some foods are processed more than others. For example, fruit juice is not processed as much as fruit drinks. Usually unrefined carbs are low-dieting, but not always, so be sure to check the dieting index listings before you eat them.

Pastas

Even though regular pasta is a highly refined, processed carbohydrate, its dieting value can be low, medium, or high, depending on how you cook it. If you cook spaghetti for only 5 to 6 minutes, its low-dieting. Other types of pasta may need slightly more or less cooking time. If you open a can of prepared spaghetti in sauce, those noodles will have a higher dieting index because they’re mushy.

Cook pasta just until it softens and you’ll be eating a healthier meal. The longer pasta is cooked the more available the starch in the pasta is for quick digestion—exactly what you don’t want.

The Good and the Bad

Carbohydrates aren’t good or bad; the difference is in how you eat them and how much of them you eat. This is one of the reasons why dieting index weight loss works so well. You don’t need to give up your favorite treat food, whether it’s white bread, bagels, or candy bars. But you do need to eat them in such a way that you don’t cause a quick rise in your blood sugar levels, and you do need to watch portion sizes.

The dieting index gives you a way of managing your blood sugar and insulin levels, thus assuring that you aren’t storing fat and also that you continue to lose weight.

One way to do this is to manage your dieting load by meal and by day. You’ll be balancing the low-dieting foods with some high and some medium, and overall, you can keep your insulin levels low.

Now’s the time to give up the notion of bad and good carbs and of fattening and nonfattening carbs. Instead, accept all carbs as okay, based on how you eat them.

good representation of the concepts

Teenager’s Room Rockstar Design For Real RockStar

Design of this room is reserved for your child who likes to play music and have a dream to be a rockstar. where in this room like rockstar there are some tools to play music, like a music studio in the bedroom. with a very attractive color design coupled with music playing equipment such as guitar, drums and other. expected to design the rooms in such a way to make your child feel more comfortable at home and hone his ability in terms of playing music

Teenager’s Room Rockstar or Musician Themed

Teenager’s Room Rockstar or Musician Themed

Teenager’s Room Rockstar Design For Real RockStar

Teenager’s Room Rockstar Design For Real RockStar

Teenager’s Room Rockstar or Musician Design

Teenager’s Room Rockstar or Musician Design

Training Biceps and Triceps with Fat Circular Bands

If you want to take your guns to the next level consider adding in band training.    Those flat circular bands you see in the MX4 Area of the club are serious training tools!    These bands provide the advantage of increasing resistance throughout the range of motion to challenge your muscles in a different, yet complimentary way to free weights or machines.

There are a number of ways to trains biceps with bands from the most simple which is just standing on the band with feet spread and holding the upper loop of the band on both or one and handing and curling up and down.      You can also stand  with one or two feet in the center of a band and grap the two looped ends and curl the end/ends up to pump up those biceps.       Another option is to attach band handles to the band to allow you to use even more resistance.     Standing on one foot in the enter of the band will give less resistance than standing with two feet spread apart.

You can also attach a band to an immovable object like a post or even a door using a door holder (see www.resistancebandtraining.com to purchase one of these.  Another option to create more length is to attach a band low and behind you and then loop another band through this band and attach handles to the band on both ends.      With your back to the anchor grasp the handles and step forward to create some level of tension in the band keep your fee in a split stance and head-up.   Do a bicep curl  with the handles and as you fatigue take small steps back to do drop sets.   This exercise emphasizes the stretched position of the bicep comapred with the single band bicep curl described above.

You can also get an incredible tricep workout using bands using the set-up described above with handles attached to the bands.    In this case turn your back to the anchor grasping the handles with elbows held high by the sides of your heads.   Brace the core while in a split stance and keep the elbows high and motionless then extend your elbows – wow does that create a pump and burn!

To see exactly how to set-up and perform these incredible bicep and tricep exercises using flat circular bands and handles check out this video from resistancebandtraining.com:  https://youtu.be/mF-FbNSPF2Q

Tom Monaghan, founder of Dominos Pizza, and car collector had a lot of cars in his world

The first Domino’s “Javelin” official delivery vehicle being delivered to Tom Monaghan in 1969.

When Monaghan only had a few stores, he had red, white, and blue AMC Javelins for delivery cars.

When he and his brother started out in pizza delivery, they had a beat up ’59 VW bug, and when his brother wanted out of the company/business/partnership… he got the car as a settlement

His dad died when Tom was four, and his mom put the boys into foster homes that didn’t work out, then into a catholic nun orphanage. After 6 years she got her life together and thought she’d be able to care for her sons and found out, she wasn’t parent material, then committed the boys to juvie.

In his teens, Monaghan had been a penniless car buff; then he joined the Marines, went into pizza after his discharge and dropping out of college, acquired a fleet of automobiles, including a handmade Bugatti Royale, the Type 41 1931 Bugatti Royale Berline De Voyage, and the Packard that conveyed F.D.R. to his second inauguration.

Because he liked to fly, and get to meetings about franchisees faster, he bought a Gulfstream jet and a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter.

He had at least 3 annual antique engine shows on Domino Farms, the event featured eighty-six exhibitors of steam and gas engines, related paraphernalia and other contraptions. Also featured were classic cars from the Domino’s Pizza collection, two steam launches including the Olde English ‘D’ owned by Domino’s and a steam powered boat called Steamer Telegraph, owned by the show’s chairman, Jim Monaghan.

 When his pizza franchises took off, he built a 244-car collection, bought the Detroit Tigers, and became the owner of the largest Frank Lloyd Wright collection in the world. He was worth 480 million.

Eventually, he decided to sell everything. He got rid of his cars, yachts, planes, and baseball team, and in 1999, he sold Domino’s to Bain Capital.

one of the cars in his collection was the Barris AMX 400

another was a Model J Duesenberg he bought for a flat million

http://www.hotrod.com/articles/ccrp-0705-amc-amx/
http://mentalfloss.com/article/65604/11-facts-about-dominos-pizza-founder-tom-monaghan-30-minutes-or-less
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/02/19/the-deliverer
http://people.com/archive/tom-monaghan-vol-32-no-13/
https://www.nytimes.com/1999/02/14/business/taking-the-gospel-to-the-rich.html
https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2011/03/20/sia-flashback-million-dollar-duesy-harrahs-auctions-over-300-cars/
https://www.farmcollector.com/steam-traction/dominos-farms-sponsors-third-annual-steam-engine-show

EXOTIC CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR VERY JUOOOOZZZZZZ

Have you ever seen life, both in the apartment before? Usually, when it comes to so many colors, we have to overcome the enormous risk of visual confusion room. However, in this situation, it seems that everything is in place and atmosphere that inspired this apartment is the energy and extreme informality. Especially designed for young working couples, this house is a fusion of passions and interests. As their styles are very different and they wanted some of their own furniture to integrate into their new home, things were very difficult for designers.

EXOTIC LIVING ROOM CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

EXOTIC LIVING ROOM CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

EXOTIC DINING ROOM CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

EXOTIC DINING ROOM CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

EXOTIC KITCHEN CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

EXOTIC KITCHEN CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

EXOTIC BATHROOM CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

EXOTIC BATHROOM CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

EXOTIC BEDROOM CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

EXOTIC BEDROOM CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

My Trip to Bangladesh Cont…..

The assignment is proceeding well, the evaluation questions have been designed and the questionnaire and show cards are prepared and translated in to Bangla. I will be using an “In Depth” interviewing technique. The evaluation itself has 2 aspects to it. Firstly; to looking at the internal mechanisms which either makes them effective or not as the case may be (As an internal service provider) and; secondly, getting conformation from outside the Unit (As an external service provider) to establish if they were effective. The main internal interviews have been conducted and now I have to conduct the external interviews. The external interviews are going to be held in the districts of Dinajpur, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat. I will have to undertake an 8 hour journey over road to get to Sayedpur where I will be based. Hope to get back to Dhaka on the 15th.

MINIMALIST RA HOUSE DESIGN BY BAQUERATTA

The Minimalist RA House was designed a Tokyo company called Baqueratta.They have a good past in minimalist small residences.The entire house was furnished with modern and minimalist furniture.I love this house and I hope to have someone in future, but I especially like the bathroom.

Minimalist RA House Design by BaquerattaMinimalist RA House Design by Baqueratta

Minimalist RA House Design by BaquerattaMinimalist RA House Design by Baqueratta

Minimalist RA House Design by BaquerattaMinimalist RA House Design by Baqueratta

Minimalist RA House Design by BaquerattaMinimalist RA House Design by Baqueratta

Minimalist RA House Design by BaquerattaMinimalist RA House Design by Baqueratta

Getting Started with a Flipped Classroom

Last week, I shared a bit about why I flipped my classroom, and I got some great questions! Today I want to share a bit more about my process and the logistics for flipping. There are lots of ways to do it, and I’m sure there are many other great ideas out there, but this is what has worked for me so far.

1. Plan your lessons 

a) Does it make sense to flip?
You don’t want to flip for the sake of flipping. I always ask myself, “Would this lesson make sense as a flipped lesson?” There are times when some introductory lessons require lots of hands-on scaffolding, and my answer might be “no.” But other times, when the lesson is mostly information and practice, the flipped model absolutely makes sense.

b) What content must be covered?
I go through my math lesson plan, and determine the content that has to be covered in the video. I’m really selective about this because I want my video to be less than 10 minutes long. It’s still a mini-lesson, after all, and if I go any longer than that, my students will tune out. Plus, even though the video may be 10 minutes, the viewing time could be much longer than that if students are pausing the video to write things down or take notes. I try to keep in mind the idea that less is more.

c) Am I the best person to deliver the content?
Usually my answer is “yes,” but not always. I’ve tried to share videos from Khan Academy or LearnZillion in the flipped model, and the kids just didn’t respond as well to those. They’re more likely to tune in when the video is made by their teacher because they have a personal connection. There were a few times when I’ve used someone else’s videos because the production was significantly better in some regard (e.g., it included songs or humor that I couldn’t pull off). But usually, I make the videos myself.

2. Choose your tools

Once I know the content of my lesson, I decide what method I’ll use to produce the video. I choose from a few different options.

a) Screencasts
Sometimes I have a presentation already created in a flipchart for my ActivBoard, and I can just film my voice interacting with my computer screen on that. My favorite tool for screencasting is Screencast-o-matic. It’s very user-friendly and it uses a yellow circle to highlight your mouse so students know where to focus their attention. The free version works well, but for $15/year, you can get lots more editing and uploading options. If you’re interested in screencasting, I would recommend trying out the free version for a while to see if it’s something you’d like.

b) Whiteboard apps
Usually I use whiteboard apps such as Explain Everything or Educreations to make my flipped lessons. I always create the slides in advance so that I don’t waste precious recording time writing out problems or building models that could simply be explained. Then once all of the slides are in place, I’ll record the audio over them. This approach also allows me to work in pieces, too, because I never know when I’m going to get interrupted.

c) Paper slide shows
I’ve blogged about paper slide shows before here. Sometimes the lessons are a bit more hands-on (e.g., using a protractor), and I want to show students some examples. In those instances, I use my DEWEY Document Camera Stand ($120, www.copernicused.com) that turns my iPad into a document camera, and I work and film underneath it. I mostly use this approach with Geometry and Measurement standards, but when I need to do a lot of physical manipulations, the paper slide show works well.

3. Choose your platform

Once I’ve made the video, I need to upload it to a platform for students to view. YouTube is blocked for students at my school, so I use Vimeo instead. I ended up buying a Vimeo Plus subscription last year ($59.95/year or $9.95/month). That gave me much more space for uploads each week (5 GB vs. 500 MB with the free version), and it sped up my upload times, so it was worth it to me when I was crunched to get the videos uploaded after school. I created a channel for some of my videos, and now I’m going back to re-make some or better tag/organize the videos for each unit.

4. Share your content

Once the videos are uploaded on Vimeo, I needed a way to share the links to the videos. When I started, I was posting the links after school each day, but I eventually cut out that step. Now I make one Google Document each term with all of the dates and lesson topics, and then I just copy and paste the links into that document as they’re done. That helps my students because they find the video links in one spot, and I can post the links as they’re available. Here’s an example of what that document looked like one term.

Bonus Tips

1. Make your videos in batches. 
I found it much easier to make all of my videos for the week at once. I could usually tackle this in a couple of hours each week, and it was much less stressful than trying to film every day. I was able to find my rhythm with the process when I batch-produced videos, so that’s how I try to work now. 
2. Start small.
Even if you only make one video each week, you’re still starting to build a library of flipped lessons for future use. I didn’t make as many videos as I’d wanted to last year, but I’m grateful for the ones I already have done because that’s less work I’ll have to do this year.
3. Divide and conquer.
See if someone else on your grade level team would be interested in flipping with you, and then divide up the lessons. Even if you’re not the one teaching the lesson in every video, the students will appreciate it being someone they know. 
4. Get some cheap .mp3 players for student check-out.
Most of my students had Internet access at home to watch the videos, but a couple didn’t. I wrote a grant to buy 10 inexpensive .mp3 players that students could check out to watch the videos. They didn’t require an Internet connection because I saved the videos straight to the hard drives, and since they were cheap .mp3 players (<$20 each), they didn’t have any bells and whistles to make them targets for theft. It was a workable solution for those students who lacked technology access at home. 
Next week, I’ll share more about what my math block looks like under the flipped model. Until then, I’d love to hear from you. What are some tools you use for video production in your class? What challenges do you foresee with a flipped model? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

10 Reasons to Write with Technology

I’m super excited about the two books that I’m studying this summer as part of my summer series.

Today, I’m diving into the first one entitled When Writing with Technology Matters by Carol Bedard and Charles Fuhrken. 
Rather than giving you a laundry list of all of the ways that you could integrate technology into writing, this book goes in-depth into two specific projects. The first project uses reading and writing to launch moviemaking, and the second project is authoring a visual nonfiction essay. As someone who routinely integrates technology in the classroom, I like this book because it examines lots of angles of these types of projects in great detail. But this book is also good for beginners for that same reason. Rather than offering an overwhelming number of ideas, it breaks down projects into manageable and authentic steps. 
I’ll be examining each of those projects in future posts, but today I want to talk about the first chapter – 10 Reasons Why Writing with Technology Matters.

The opening chapter is filled with research about how technology integration contributes to student learning. They break it down into a list of the following 10 items:

Something that I would add to this list that captures many of the items is the notion of “authenticity.” When you engage students in project-based learning such as making a movie or designing a visual essay, students feel like they have a real purpose. Their work will be viewed by others, and this really motivates students to push a little bit harder. Giving students the freedom, space, and resources to work on something meaningful is a powerful recipe for empowering learners.

I also want to comment on teacher-disposition. A lot of people who visit my classroom think that I have all the answers for technology integration, but let me tell you a secret — I don’t. Almost every day, a student or teacher will ask me a question about how to do something, and I won’t immediately know the answer.

And that’s okay.

Because one of the most important things I can model for my students is the act of troubleshooting and problem solving. If I can’t figure out how to do something, I’ll hop on the internet and poke around until I can find the answer. I think a lot of teachers avoid technology because they’re not confident in their ability to work with it, but you can find a whole lot of information just-in-time as you need it online. Don’t let a lack of confidence divert you from trying some of these projects.

Next week, we’ll dive into Part 1: Reading and Writing to Launch Moviemaking. If you haven’t already picked up a copy of this book, I’d highly recommend it. And it’s not too late to join in the book study! In fact, you’re only 14 pages behind! 🙂

If you are reading this book, I’d love to know what you think. Leave me a note in the comment section!

Happy reading (and writing)!

This post contains affiliate links, but I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CRF, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Trip to Hyderabad cont…..

The assignments are over and I am on my way home. The drive from Chilakaluripet to Vijayawada was uneventful; so was the flight back to Hyderabad. I had arranged to be picked up and was met at the airport; the drive back from the Hyderabad airport to my guest house was not usual as the vehicle I traveled did not have air conditioning. So my senses were overloaded by the melting pot that is India; the sights, the sounds and the smells greeted me along the way to my guest house. The only disconcerting factor was the pollution levels. The smoke from the vehicles combined with the dust that they kicked up hung as an orangish grey cloud over the city. There were times that I found it difficult to breathe so had to cover my mouth and nose.

On reaching my guest house I packed all my bags and turned in for the night as I had to get up at 3.30 AM to start my last leg of the journey. Before turning in I had spoken to the driver who was supposed to drive me to the air port in the morning. As a matter of caution I obtained his mobile number for contingencies. He faithfully promised to be there at 4.20 AM to drive me to the airport. The plan was that I had to be at the airport one hour before (Domestic flight from Hyderabad to Chennai) and it took one hour to drive to the airport.)the scheduled time of 6.20 AM

The next morning I was ready by 4.20 and SMSed the driver; then came 4.30 still no driver. I got a bit concerned since we had not planned for any delays. So I went to the security post of the compound and hailed the security. As usual the security guard was huddled up in a corner of the security hut fast asleep. I woke him up and found that he did not speak a word of English. So using sign language and my broken Hindi/Urdu managed to convey the situation to him; finally he got on his bike (Literally) and went and woke the driver who slept in the other corner of this large compound.

I left for the airport around 4.50 AM and made it on time for the flight. The rest of the journey went as scheduled and without incident. I am back at home; and finishing all my reporting before the next assignment.

Original Mexican Mazel Mex

  • 2.5 cups cold water
  • 1.25 cups cornmeal
  • Generous dash cayenne pepper and/or cinnamon
  • 2-3 Tbs. corn oil
  • 3 onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 8 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 fresh green or jalepeno chilis, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Diet Start
  • 1 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped and torn into leaves
  • 1 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped

Combine water, cornmeal, and cayenne. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Pat evenly onto bottom of 8″ x 12″ casserole.

Sauté onions in corn oil until translucent and fairly soft (10‑15 minutes). Add tomatoes, chilis, and garlic, and cook 2-3 minutes. Pour mixture over cornmeal base and bake in 350° oven for 20-25 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with cilantro and parsley.

YIELD: 2 servings.

Although taste is bitter if tomatoes are unpeeled, the peels are an important aid to digestion.

Hazel Enchiladas

  • 6-8 corn tortillas
  • 0.25 cup corn oil
  • 2 recipes Mazel Cheese Mexican
  • 1 recipe cooked Salsa Mazel
  • 1 recipe fresh Salsa Mazel

Dip corn tortillas in hot corn oil, then into cooked salsa. Fill with Mazel Cheese Mexican, and roll into enchiladas. Cover with cooked salsa. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes. Serve with fresh salsa.

VARIATION 1 Add I bunch fresh spinach, cooked and chopped, to Mazel Cheese Mexican.

VARIATION 2 Add 1 tablespoon fresh mixed chives and parsley to Mazel Cheese Mexican.

VARIATION 3 Use 1 recipe Mazel Cheese and 11/2-2 cups sour cream rather than 2 recipes Mazel Cheese.

YIELD: 2 servings.

Depending on size of tortillas and how you fill them, you may wind up with a bit of extra filling. If so, add it to the casserole or reserve it for another use. But better too much than too little.

Low-carb lifestyle guidelines

By now you should have a pretty clear idea of what you have to do to improve your diet and, with it, your entire lifestyle.

The general principles

Cut out all unhealthy refined carbohydrates.

  • Curb your intake of high GI carbohydrates and focus on those from the low—medium GI range.
  • Eat most of your fruit and vegetables raw to ensure a good level of phytonutrients and fibre.
  • Eat more high-quality protein — organic if at all possible.
  • Increase your intake of healthy omega-3 fatty acids by eating more oily fish, and use only natural unrefined oils in your cooking.
  • Cut out tea, coffee, concentrated fruit juices and alcohol, and banish soft drinks of any kind, but drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
  • Incorporate 30-45 minutes of aerobic exercise at least three times in to your weekly routine, and carry out resistance training at least three times per week.

Diet Start

DIETARY MYTHS

Myth: skipping meals is a good way to lose weight.

Fact: your body needs a regular supply of nutrients each day in order to work properly. If you skip meals, you will be more likely to make up for it by snacking or eating more at the next meal. Studies show that people who skip breakfast tend to be heavier than those who eat a nutritious breakfast. A healthier way to lose weight is to eat many small meals throughout the day.

Myth: eating after 8 pm causes weight gain

Fact: it doesn’t matter at what time of day you eat; if you are eating too much of the wrong type of food and not getting any exercise, that will make you fat.

Are you all fired up?

You should be, because you are going to get back in control. You now know what you are doing, understand your body and should look on this as an important project that will bring untold benefits. Now that you understand how your body metabolizes the food that you eat, you can start to view food as a vital fuel that helps your body function at optimum levels. This should be a turning point. It should change your attitude from one of ‘Oh no, I’m on a diet’ to a more positive ‘I’m doing this for me, to make myself healthier, fitter, stronger, leaner’.

Pretty soon you are going to be feeling and looking better. Think of that boost of self-confidence that you are going to experience. So get ready to roll and flex that determination. Whether you have 3kg (71b) to lose or 30kg (701b), this regime is only going to work if you are committed to changing your eating and exercise habits for life.

The rest of this section offers advice on weight, and on setting goals for (and managing) weight loss; suggests how to cope with the cravings and snack attacks that may arise when you are on a diet; and gives tips on taking supplements and sticking to a healthy diet, even when you lead a busy lifestyle. It is followed by the three-step programme and nutritious recipes that form theMainstay. Plus, there is also a section on adapting the plans to suit a vegetarian diet, which includes some delicious low-carb vegetarian recipes.

DIETARY MYTH

Myth: low-fat or non-fat means no calories. Fact: many low-fat and non-fat foods still contain a lot of calories. Often these foods also contain extra sugar, flour or starch thickeners to make them taste better. These ingredients all represent extra carbohydrates. As we have seen, you need to eat healthy fats to lose extra fat.

My Trip to Male, Maldives, September 2010

The trip to Maldives was a business development trip. Most people just come to Maldives and stay in a resort and go back. I was lucky to see the Maldives by land, sea and air; as well as spending time in Male. I recommend all to see Maldives in all its glory

View of Water Villas.

View of Maldives by Air (Sea Plane)

Not only did I snorkel but I also went on the “Whale Submarine”

As a sprawling archipelago Maldives (I traveled from Male to the northern most inhabited Island and back to Male) is a breathtaking destination. However, I was shocked to see poverty in the Maldives with a population of just over 300,000. I guess corruption and discrimination is rampant in this tiny nation as well. I must say that Maldives presents a unique problem to any government in having to deliver services to small populations spread across 200 islands (Out of 1192 Islands spread across 90,000 square kilometers)

I believe the only solution is to embrace ICT and use it to reach every person. However, having said that; the ICT literacy among the Maldivian population is also very low. A real chicken or egg situation for the politicians of Maldives to solve. If ever there was a country which can be considered easy to develop it must be the Maldives.

CONCEPT KIDS ROOM PAINT COLORS DESIGN

KIDS BATHROOM PAINT COLORS

Looking for ideas for decorating Kids Room Paint Colors? Enter a space about the longevity of choosing background elements that are long lasting. Then use the equipment, bedding, area rugs and cheap to create themes easily hangeable. Unlike other rooms of the house, which mainly reflects your personality, decor rooms children requires slightly different approach. If you are a first time parent or a veteran, decorating baby rooms are not childs play.

This is a very complex process in which an adult is to incorporate all the safety features and mix with a childhood fantasy. The room is a device identification of the child, not yours. But the change of the children, then you need to think ahead: the design is easy to change a child of five years or two? There is room for storage, research, animal or doll collections, or a wrestling match?

First, consult with the child. Be sure to consider the child likes or dislikes when decorating their space. Decorating the kids room paint colors is a work in progress – planning begins before birth and continues throughout childhood. You can be as creative and on top of your child you are dynamic and playful colors work well in a child’s room. Always paint childrens rooms with a semi-gloss, if the walls are easy to dry without being too bright.

Regarding storage, check your local do-it-your-own for a wide range of affordable solutions. As children grow, learn, play and explore their environment should respond. Children will love the exciting makeover, because they focus on their preferred interests in all age groups. As your child grows, ask for their input for kids room paint colors.

KIDS ROOM PAINT COLORS
KIDS BEDROOM PAINT COLORS

ever worry about what happens to your car when you drop it off at the dealership? Worry no more. Leave your cell phone in the car, with the camera on, or put in a Go Pro, or dash cam

Seriously, last week some customer did this at the dealership I work at, he wanted to bust the guys who detail the inside of the cars

http://tywkiwdbi.blogspot.com/

Paperless Mission #7: Annotating Rubrics with GoodReader (iPad)

This is the seventh post in my Go Paperless! Challenge Series. If you haven’t completed the previous missions, be sure to complete those first.

  • Mission #1: Gather Your Tools
  • Mission #2: Build Evernote Notebooks
  • Mission #3: Email Notes to Evernote
  • Mission #4: Create Checklists in Evernote
  • Mission #5: Organize Your Files in Dropbox
  • Mission #6: Setting Up GoodReader (iPad)
Also be sure to link up at the Go Paperless! Linky.

Mission #7: Annotating Rubrics with GoodReader (iPad)

I try to give my students high-quality feedback whenever possible, especially on their writing assignments. In the past, it would take me days to grade all of their papers and write hand-write comments on their rubrics. So when I passed those papers and rubrics back to students, it would kill me to see students stuff them into the abyss of their backpacks, or worse — toss them into the recycling bin. I wanted them to take it home and share it with their parents, and I wanted them to be able to refer back to that feedback. Eventually I learned to photocopy the rubrics before I passed them back, but that still wasn’t ideal. It created more paper clutter and one more thing for me to work on organizing.
When I say that GoodReader has become one of my all-time favorite apps, I mean it. I now use GoodReader to fill out rubrics and other student feedback. To start, make sure that you have the rubric saved as .pdf in Dropbox. While GoodReader can read any type of document, it will only annotate a .pdf. Then open up the .pdf of the rubric in GoodReader (see previous tutorial).

Choose the highlighter tool to highlight the appropriate categories on the rubric. The first time that you go to annotate a document, it will ask you if you want to save to this file or create an annotated copy. If it’s a document that I’m only planning to use once or student work, I typically select “Save to this file.” When I’m planning to use the document over and over again, though, I’ll create an annotated copy. That’s what I’d choose when using a rubric to grade student work.

Once I’ve made my selection, I’ll be able to annotate all over the document. Once you’re in the highlighter tool, you can drag your finger over the text that you want to highlight. You can change the color of your highlighter, and you can also delete highlights by tapping on the highlighted area.

At the end of the rubric, I like to type specific comments for my students. To do that, choose the typewriter tool. A little window will pop up for you to type your comments, and then it will save them to the document. If it saves it in the wrong spot, simply tap on the text and a new menu of options will appear.

You can drag and drop the text into the correct space and re-size the text area to get it formatted the way you’d like.

 When you’re done annotating the rubric, tap the center of your screen to see the “My Documents” option.

From there, you’ll want to rename your file. To do this, select “Manage Files,” then tap on the annotated copy of your rubric and select “rename.”

Once you’ve renamed your document, you’ll have some options for moving it. First, I send a copy to the student’s notebook in Evernote. To do this, tap “Manage Files” again, select your newly renamed document, and select “Open In.” A new window will pop up asking how you’ll want to save the file. Select “Flatten annotations” because that will preserve your edits and merge it into the document so that you don’t lose your work.

Once you’ve chosen that, another window will open showing which of your installed programs you can open it in. As you can see, I’ve get several options available. You could also upload it directly to Dropbox if you would like to back up your work there rather than in your student notebook. This might be a good option if you have a folder shared with the student for passing back work.

When I’m ready to hand back the rubric to students, I open it in Edmodo and attach it as a direct message to the individual student. This allows the student and his or her parents to see it. They could also download a copy if they’re using a computer. (I’ve had mixed results with document downloads through Edmodo on the iPad.)

This system has been incredibly helpful for me. It’s easy to manage because I don’t have to keep track of paper or make sure that I’ve made enough copies of the grading rubric before I start grading. Just one more step in the quest to curb paper clutter.

What are some other ways you can imagine using GoodReader in the classroom? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section!

My Trip to New Delhi & Hyderabad Cont………

My 4th OCA was done for an organization in Hyderabad and I experienced something I came across the last time I did an OCA in Hyderabad. Readers of my Blog may recall my last visit to Hyderabad and the post of 10/12/09. Talk about déjà vu it was very similar on this occasion as well, but the difference was that it was led by the senior members of the board, who were eminent individuals in their own right. (I am talking about an attempt by the organization to cover up facts that directly deals with their capacity during the OCA). What made it very unpalatable was that they gave a presentation on the history and activities of the organization and conveniently omitted these facts from the presentation. This to me is a bad sign and a major put off. The irony is that even with these capacity issues the organization is a relatively capable organization and can be developed to do better; and the purpose for the assessment is exactly to identify these gaps so that they may be able to qualify for a grant to develop their organizational capacity.

Other than this the rest of the assignment went as usual and finished the OCA by 4 PM on the 3rd of March. I went directly to the airport to take a flight to New Delhi for the 5th and last OCA. While waiting to board my flight I noticed a very weird thing. The displays at the Hyderabad airport that give flight departure details were giving a lot more information than it is logically required for passengers waiting to board flights. Let me explain; it starts with the information tag against the flights numbers as “Gate Open” and then as time goes by it proceeds to change the tags to “Final Call”, “Gate Closed”, “Boarding” and finally to “Departed”. In my experience this is the extent of the information which can be relevant to any passenger in the terminal and it stays for at least 10 to 15 minutes on the information board and then it is deleted from the board. However in Hyderabad Airport this is followed by another information tag saying “Airborne”; now who needs to know this? Does it mean that if you are late for the flight and that if the flight is not airborne they will put you on it? Don’t think so; as they say “gate closes 15 minutes before departure time”. Further given today’s security climate well-wishers are not allowed in the terminal. So go figure this one out.

Modern Side Table Lamps Design

If you are an artistic creation lover then you must observation for modern side table lamps. It has a funky look which might make you feel as if you are in around future time or in space. Its abstract and artistic design complements the other paintings and art fashionable your home along with elegance and beauty.

If you’ve a woody environment at your home base decorated in Indian style, then western table lamp design is the best choice for you. The western table lamp comes in a cowboy sort of look. Either there is a cowboy along with a horse of just a horse attached on it. This gives a very classy look to the woodsy type of a house.
Country style reminds you of Country music only but you can also find a country style table lamp also. It’s farm animals alike cows, cocks and others designed on it. It is considered to be the most colorful sort of lamp with natural color and scene.

Oriental lamp shows much about Asian culture in its design. The unique Asian roots can be seen in this type of lamp and would best fit if you have a room filled with Asian souvenirs.
Choosing the perfect table lamp for every room should be your concern as their being complementing the living furniture makes out the atmosphere. There are various styled table lamps for your side tables like western table lamp, modern, urban, Asian and nation but to pick the better for every room needs examination and time. Here is a little guideline for you:
Now you have a selection of lamps from which you can choose the best for your place. Take care of the existing decoration of your home when you choose the side table lamps.

Popcorn Cart, Warren, Ohio, circa early 1910s

https://www.facebook.com/neatoldphotos.m.lucas2/photos/a.400823796751664.1073741829.400758923424818/908779272622778/?type=3

Quick Tip: Planetside 2 – Medic Revive Not Working [Note]

Just a quick tip for those who have recently jumped back into playing some frantic Planetside 2 and thought there was something wrong with the medic tool, being unable to revive, thinking they can’t revive, etc – there was a patch a bit back that changed the Medic Tool so that Left-Click will Heal and Right-Click will Revive. Although changing such a long running/’staple’ operation is a little lip-pursing, it should have the overall positive effect of assisting with attempting to revive within a tight group of teammates (instead of your tool randomly healing someone close, it should more effectively target the face down teammate on the ground). Just a note.

See You In The Games!

TestRun, Video Edition: Recording Gameplay – Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 (Video Samples with Brief Tutorial Video)

This is a more informal TestRun, where I was merely testing out the perceived quality of some recording codecs while attempting to get gameplay recording of Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 going. As most of you know, recording this game is not just a point-and-shoot affair. Heck, most game recording applications won’t even detect the way it is buffering and utilizing video memory, resulting in a black screen, flashing or very laggy output. After trying years ago and abandoning it temporarily, I was recently searching websites with information on trying it again. With no luck finding a starting point of information, I decided to figure it out on my own – and of course share my findings should anything turn out fruitful…

First, simply trying to record RCT2 with FRAPS and then Bandicam, turned up nothing as a result. Either it would not detect the screen (it is not using 2D/3D rendering/buffering on the videocard in a standard manner) or it would capture blackness (when trying Bandicam’s ‘Record The Screen’, for instance). Since these are two well-made recording products, I assumed other products would result in the same …result. I also seem to remember trying applications like Camtasia, back in the day..

So next, I tried good’ol ‘Virtualbox’. A staple Virtual Machine emulator (think of a little computer-running-inside-a-computer), I installed an old version of WindowsXP that I had into the GuestVM. Installing my DRM-free purchase of RCT2 from Good Old Games, I tried recording the screen. No luck, since it wasn’t using Direct3D in a way that I could record (after I finally got Direct3D working in it). I tried playing it in a Windowed VM and recording that. It wouldn’t even run for some reason. It kept trying to ‘take over’ the VM and resizing it. I tried setting my Host Computer desktop resolution to 1280×720 and getting the game to detect that and run it at that resolution, ‘Full Screen’ and ‘Seamless’. Nope. For one thing, the game kept detecting and making available only the most basic of 4:3 aspect resolutions (CRT monitor type sizes), no matter what driver/settings I used for the virtual machine (I of course wanted the more modern widescreen 16:9 ratio, as YouTube uses).

Third, I tried VMware’s ‘VMware Player’. A free virtual machine app, where the business version (VMware Workstation) is the go-to prog for business virtualization. Installing my XP and then RCT2 into the VM, I got it going in 720p rez and prepared Bandicam to record a “Rectangle On A Screen”. It worked wonderfully. So, with the odd stutter (very few and far between), I can now record RCT2 gameplay and wanted to share my findings of the ability with everyone.

I was also messing around with different recording codecs, to see what they looked like at different settings with this game at 720p. I quickly threw together this little video showing some settings and results (Sample Video). A summary of what I have set up to record Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 gameplay is just below a short analysis of the video/recordings. Again. this isn’t a ‘full/technical’ TestRun, it is just me sharing some tests I did and showing that one can indeed record RCT2. Further down, there is a video that goes over the steps in summary, then in slightly more detail, showing the steps taken on the screen, a short ‘tutorial’ I suppose. For those who haven’t figured it out or got it working yet, perhaps this information will help you out, too. Enjoy!

RCT2 testing (codecs/settings) with Bandicam (Samples)

Recorded with: Bandicam, various quality settings, various codecs @ 1280×720 (720p HD)

Recorded game: Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 (RCT2)

Some recording data (per codec) for this test:

MJPEG @ q80 = 45,000kbps data rate (~330MB per minute of gameplay recording)

MPEG-1 @ q80 = 11,000kbps data rate (~80MB per minute of gameplay recording)

MJPEG @ q60 = 34,000kbps data rate (~250MB per minute of gameplay recording)

MPEG-1 @ q60 = 3,000kbps data rate (~22MB per minute of gameplay recording)

*XviD and x264 are omitted as results for this test as editing/recompression resulted in corrupted video output (they will be included in a future TestRun with many codecs)

Brief analysis of sample video:

  • All of the MPEG-1 settings are quite watchable, unless of course the temporal gibbs effects bothers you (the little ‘ghosty/glimmer’ effects that follow around the peeps). Perhaps if I didn’t mention it, you might not have noticed? As with all recording/editing, if it ‘looks fine to you’, then you can run with it if you want. Some people “need” the best quality possible, some can watch any quality and enjoy it. If the MPEG-1 setting at 80% Quality seemed fine to you, go ahead and use that (it is about 1/4 the size of the MJPEG recordings and I have found that editing MPEG-1 is bit slower but quite possible to do in editing applications such as Sony’s Vegas line of products).
  • The MJPEG at a Quality of 50 percent is watchable but messy looking, as expected since a JPG (MJPEG is a series of JPG frames) at only 50% quality would have tons of compression artifacts. 60% is just as bad, with ‘rough blocks’ everywhere (macroblock artifacting). MJPEG at Quality80 isn’t bad and very watchable, but it is much larger in bitrate usage/file size than say, MPEG-1 at the same quality setting (it is about four times larger in file size). It is the easiest codec to edit, however.
  • XviD, an MPEG-4 codec, can potientially looks a lot ‘cleaner’ as it can handle smaller macroblocks/divisions of the screen (inherent in the improvements in MPEG-4 over MPEG-1) – but the output seems to have strong corruption (it leaves ‘trails’ on the screen) when attempting to edit/recompress it into a final product (as seen in the video).
  • x264, a more recent ‘Advanced Video Codec’ version of MPEG-4, it records in wonderful quality and low file sizes – but all of that is hidden behind, again, corruption (‘trails’ left behind on the screen*) and slow editing.
    (The editing can be helped somewhat by specifying a smaller GroupOfPictures (frames inbetween keyframes/information frames, to help seeking through the video.)
    Keep in mind that for the MPEG-4 codecs, the corruption surfaces only when editing/recompressing the source video. The ‘original’ gameplay recording in MPEG-4 is quite clean and watchable, completely fine if you are just going to ‘record-and-upload’ to a video sharing site or personal website.
    *More on this issue and x264 recording in a future article
  • A full Codec Comparison TestRun is coming, where I test out a bunch of different codecs and see how they fare for general game recording, MPEG-1, MPEG-4, AVC/h264 (MPEG-4 Part-10), MJPEG, XviD, RGB24 and more…

    Some related articles:
    Game recording comparison with various codecs and settings (Minecraft)
    http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2012/10/testrun-video-edition-fraps-vs-dxtory.html
    The ghosting/blurring effect when rendering in Sony Vegas products
    http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2012/10/and-more-how-to-stop-ghosting-or.html

There are a couple other ways to do it I think, but here is how I recorded Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 gameplay with Bandicam:

  • Install Windows into a VM Guest (for example, a VMware virtual machine within the VMware Player application)
  • Install RCT2 into that Virtual Machine, running the VM in a window (for example, 1280×720)
  • Set up Bandicam to record a ‘Rectangle On A Screen’ and set the Rectangle to be the same size as the Virtual Machine running in a window (in this case, 1280×720) and line them up. 

That’s it!

Tutorial Video on how to record Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 with Bandicam

I had seen many people on many forums asking for years how to record RCT2 gamplay. I have seen a few videos online now and so some have it working, but if you haven’t been able to get it going or would like to try to make your own Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 videos, here’s how. Good luck with it and have fun!
See you in the games!

5 Reasons to Flip Your Math Class

Of all the subjects, math is probably my favorite to teach. But it is definitely not easy. By the time students are in fourth grade, there’s often a wide range of abilities. Last year, I had students who could barely add and subtract and others who were working well beyond grade level. Trying to design lessons that worked for them was a real challenge. If I moved too quickly through the lesson, several students would get lost. If I moved too slowly, others would get bored and start causing different problems.

Then I attended the Georgia Educational Technology Conference and heard some sessions about flipped teaching, and a lightbulb went off.

If you’re not already familiar with flipped teaching, the idea is that we need to “flip” the traditional way we teach — lesson at school, practice problems at home as homework. Instead, students should watch a short video lesson as homework to prepare for class, and then the majority of class time is spent working on practice and application while I’m there to guide them.

I did this pretty consistently for the second half of the year, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. There were so many advantages.

1. Students became more confident.

For some kids, math can be intimidating. Everyone works at different speeds. What may be an obvious concept for one kid may take multiple explanations for another. There’s lots of vocabulary and room for mistakes, and when you feel like other kids are getting it faster than you, your confidence suffers.

All of this went away when I flipped.

Students were watching the videos at home on their own. No one knew whether they needed to replay something a couple of times until they got it. No one knew that they had to pause the video for 5 minutes to try a problem that others would have solved in 30 seconds. They could all work at their own pace, and they came to class more confident and prepared for practice the following day. The attitude shift in my students this year was reason enough for me to continue flipping.

2. Parents were less stressed.

There have been so many times when I’ve heard parents complain about math or express their discomfort in helping their child because they weren’t taught math the way we teach it now. And I get that. I remember thinking in my math methods courses that I could have been great at math if someone had explained it to me better as a child rather than having me memorize algorithms.

Having the flipped model created allies from a lot of math-hating parents. Some would watch the videos along with their children and have those lightbulb moments where concepts and strategies would suddenly make sense. Others expressed a sense of relief that they didn’t have to worry about “undoing” the things we were doing in the classroom by just jumping to the standard algorithms. We were all more comfortable with the math.

3. I had more time to see what students could actually do.

While I always tried to keep my in-class mini-lessons short, there were days when they would drag on because some kids just weren’t getting it. By the time I felt confident they could try some problems on their own, we hardly had any time left. And by the time they got home to do it as homework, they’d forgotten what we’d spent the morning talking about, so they were back to square one.

Now that I’ve flipped, I only need 5-10 minutes maximum at the beginning of my math block to do anything whole group. I spend that time answering questions, clarifying any misconceptions, and checking the 1-2 practice problems that I typically include at the end of the video. The rest of my math block was then spent working with small groups, conferring with kids, and getting into richer practice and problem solving than I could ever fit in before.

I also didn’t have to worry about students getting the right answers only when their parents “helped” them. When it came time for assessments, I had a much better sense of where my students were at and what to expect from them because I was more deeply involved in their learning.

4. I didn’t have to worry when we had a sub. 

In the past, I would write off sub days as lost instructional time when it came to math. Now that I’ve flipped, that is no longer the case. I include a link to the video I’ve created in my sub plans, and I have the sub watch the video with the class again to start the lesson. Usually that gives the sub enough background knowledge to help with the learning task, and my students have enough scaffolding from my instruction that they can work through the practice. It made those lost days so much more productive.

This year, I will be on maternity leave for 12 weeks, so I’m nervous about what will happen with my kids while I’m gone. But I’m less nervous about the math because I already have videos made for most of those lessons from last year. My students will have continuity in math instruction because of it.

5. Students were more successful and could tackle bigger challenges.

Last year was my best year ever as far as student performance on end-of-year assessments and benchmarks. I think a big part of that can be attributed to the move toward a flipped model for math. My students had more time and confidence to master the fourth grade standards, and as a result, I was easily able to push them into bigger challenges. When I surveyed the students mid-year about the flipped model, their responses were overwhelmingly positive in support of it, and I knew it was something I need to continue in the years ahead.

Next Steps

This will be the first year that I use the flipped model for the whole year, so I will need to prepare more video lessons and give some thought to how I’ll transition my students (and their parents) toward this model. In the weeks ahead, I plan to share more about the tools I use to create flipped lessons and some troubleshooting tips for problems that might come up.

Now that I have some experience flipping, I’m going to go back and reread Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams. Jon was one of the speakers I saw at GaETC, and he’s one of the founders of the flipped classroom movement. I read the book quickly as I started to flip, but I think there are more ideas to be pulled from it.

I’m also starting to think about other areas where I could flip instruction. One possibility might be some of the grammar, vocabulary, and word study components of my ELA block. I consistently struggle to fit everything in to that time, and flipping might be the answer. I’ve downloaded the book Flipping Your English Class to Reach All Learners: Strategies and Lesson Plans by Troy Cockrum, and I’m hoping that will give me some more inspiration.

Have you tried flipping any parts of your instruction? I’d love to hear more about your ideas and experiences in the comments!

WORKOUT ANYTIME in Albuquerque Business First

WORKOUT ANYTIME in Albuquerque Business First

WORKOUT ANYTIME VP of Development Randy Trotter was recently featured in the Albuquerque Business First. The article begins with information about WORKOUT ANYTIME and why Albuquerque is ripe for the concept to enter the market and grow. Randy is quoted about the franchise opportunity and they provide information about financing needed to open a location. The article goes on to touch on the real estate footprint. The article is ended by providing Randy’s cell phone number for anyone interested in a franchise.
You can view the full article here.
 

The Sims 2 “Ultimate Collection” (Absolutely Everything) – Completely Free from EA

When I first read about this from EA, that is, the possibility of getting absolutely every single expansion and “Stuff” add-ons completely free, I thought there must be some mistake… A little bit of reading at the EA website and I inferred from the phrasing that it was initially going to be offered as a free upgrade to current owners of The Sims 2 (Digital/Download or Disc-based versions); but I did a little more reading about it today and it seems that EA may be ‘planning on putting it “in everyone’s game list” eventually’… [in my opinion] most likely to arouse just-a-little-more interest in The Sims franchise for the upcoming “The Sims 4” release (now available for pre-order, slated to be released in September 2014).

Therefore, now feeling fully-okay-mostly safe from the dark shadows of ‘releasing something that wasn’t meant to be distributed’, I share with you the Product Code that will allow you to be the proud owner of “The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection”, which includes all of the below:

  • The Sims 2
  • The Sims 2: University Expansion
  • The Sims 2: Nightlife Expansion
  • The Sims 2: Open for Business Expansion
  • The Sims 2: Pets Expansion
  • The Sims 2: Seasons Expansion
  • The Sims 2: Bon Voyage Expansion
  • The Sims 2: FreeTime Expansion
  • The Sims 2: Apartment Life Expansion
  • The Sims 2: Family Fun Stuff
  • The Sims 2: Glamour Life Stuff
  • The Sims 2: Happy Holiday Stuff
  • The Sims 2: Celebration! Stuff
  • The Sims 2: H&M Fashion Stuff
  • The Sims 2: Teen Style Stuff
  • The Sims 2: Kitchen & Bath Interior Design Stuff
  • The Sims 2: IKEA Home Stuff
  • The Sims 2: Mansion & Garden Stuff

Wow, thanks EA!

Note: this package release may be time-limited and EA has stated that they will no longer be updating The Sims 2 or it’s expansions, although they can still be contacted if you are having technical problems running the game

Here are the steps to redeem the free Activation/Product Code:

  1. If you don’t already have it installed on your system, download and install the Origin game client from EA [it is similar to Steam and other game management interfaces] from http://origin.com/download
  2. Create an Origin account if you don’t already have one at https://connect.origin.com/create and log into the Origin client
  3. In the pull-down menus at the top of the Origin interface, click on “Origin” and then “Redeem Product Code…”
  4. In the white box [field] under Product Code, enter this:
    I-LOVE-THE-SIMS
    [hyphens may not be needed]
  5. You should then see a message that the activation was successful and you are the newest owner of  [oops, I forgot what year I’m in, I mean a temporally licensed user of]  The Sims 2, along with all possible Expansion Packs and Add-Ons
  6. Select the game in your My Games list in the Origin Client and install it by clicking the Download button that pops up [and if you’re like me, click OK to the Insufficient Disk Space message]
  7. That’s it! 

Enjoy playing The Sims 2 once again, experiencing all that this version could possibly offer.

Have fun with it and See You In The Games!

EUROPEAN STYLED DESIGN IDEAS BATHROOM

EUROPEAN STYLED DESIGN IDEAS BATHROOM

If you are looking for the best images of the sample of European-style bathroom designs, and applications of a modern sauna and gym. Here are sample images of European inspired bathroom design ideas for the home. European influence in a bathroom attached to the right furniture, cabinets bath faucets, vanities, and tile e. As well as their luxurious and spacious sauna Finish Head (European company based in Germany) in a corner, the rest of the spacious bathroom, as the essay should be dedicated to wellness and keep beautiful. Room with a bright red Finnish sauna focuses on physical fitness, also welcomed the formation of large area white cushions and fitness equipment attached to the wall. It makes sense that this is quite large, walk-in glass shower. If you have more time, is set beside a white bath has a sauna, in front of two large floor to ceiling windows.

The second room is here in a Finnish sauna takes gentler approach – offering a job to escape from their mental well-being of the outside world. solarium luxury, you can pull out in front of a soothing fire. Wide bubble bath, shower and steam bath in a wooden soaking dip to give you a variety of bathing options. You can easily live in the house of a modern European hits with a private bathroom attached.

EUROPEAN STYLED DESIGN IDEAS BATHROOM
EUROPEAN STYLED DESIGN IDEAS BATHROOM
EUROPEAN STYLED DESIGN IDEAS BATHROOM
EUROPEAN STYLED DESIGN IDEAS BATHROOM

In One Sentence™ – Heroes Of The Storm – Hero Overviews [Very Short Reviews Of Each, Currently Text-Only]

[In light of the recent ‘Heroes Of The Storm 2.0’ release – even though this was a ‘work in progress’ since I started playing ‘Heroes’ again a bit ago and it is not fully compiled yet – I wanted to get this hopefully-slightly-helpful information up right away for everyone… So here it is – being added to as I complete it but without any Screenshots yet – I am collecting some together and plan to place them in-line within …Soon™]


Update: Last Added – Arthas on 2017.05.04



In One Sentence™


A Heroes Of The Storm

Hero Thingy Overview  


By: The Game Tips And More Blog


Presented in Alphabetical Order, in a Document-sorta-but-not-really format



[Initially, was invited to the Heroes Of The Storm Beta; but was not able to play much at the time and so I didn’t write about it much back then. I did work on a few articles, such as this one, adding to it the bit that I did play. Only recently (before I knew about “Heroes Of The Storm 2.0”) I got back into this fun game, tallying up my own opinions and favourites, of each and every hero in the game. Seeing “Version 2.0” come along, I felt that, even though I have not fully compiled every singly hero yet, I wanted to share what I did have done, so that everyone – and especially newcomers to the game – could get a quick idea of each Hero and how they played in the game, helping them make a choice as to which one to try. I will be returning to this post and adding more Heroes as I play them… I hope you enjoy these little snippets of info for each one – and See You In The Game!]




Rating Key (if applicable to Hero, when used):

* = Heroes I ‘Liked’ (fit my personal playstyle(s), or is unique in some way)

** = Heroes that are A Personal Favourite (I myself would play often or ‘mainly’ would use (may not match your individual preferences dear reader, this is just a Personal Rating of mine))






Auriel = Finding myself playing more offensively than defensively with this Hero, I enjoyed her AOE and healing capabilities.
Alarak = With skills focusing on mainly attacking Heroes, in the right hands this high-damage-potential Assassin could be quite deadly.

Artanis * = Another Hero with skills focused on killing other Heroes, Artanis comes with high damage output potential – and although I was left feeling oddly ‘limited’ playing him, Artanis was fun to play overall.

Arthas = A mobile tank – big, tough, but a little slow [in my opinion] – with some light healing (and the possibility to heal yourself) and some nice offensive moves as well, Arthas can become quite competent in The Nexus.

Azmodan ** = This large and lumbering behemoth is capable of dealing out huge damage as a “Ranged Specialist” – just be careful as you have fun creating your own armies on the way to dish it out on the enemies’ base, as you are also a ‘heavy target’, so to speak. A Personal Favourite.

Dehaka * = With deceptively simple gameplay [or is that ‘deceptively difficult’?], high damage output potential – and with the ability to ‘tunnel to any bushes on the map’ instead of a mount [with a cooldown], this Hero has some nice unique gameplay to fiddle around with in The Nexus.

Diablo = Huge and tough – as he should be – with some care taken and strategy used, this “Melee Warrior” will be a force to be reckoned with.

E.T.C. * = With strong yet simpler gameplay, ETC and his unique ‘rocker’ attitude is a fun handful of Tauren to Melee with.

Gazlowe ** = With the ability to plop down temporary turrets and shoot what eventually becomes HUGE DETH LAZORZ – not to mention being able to recover Scrap Parts for mana – Gazlowe The Goblin Engineer, though more complicated than many Heroes, was a joy to play and kill with. A Personal Favourite.

Jaina * = With straightforward damage and easy gameplay, Jaina The Mage is fun to use and fun to take out other Heroes with …if mages only had Unlimited Mana [in any game]…

Johanna = Johanna The Paladin is a little more difficult than most melee Heroes – she is far more offensive than defensive as I first thought she might be – with many life-saving capabilities, in the right hands she could be quite a formidable Hero to run with.

Leoric * = With the unique ability to ‘remain undead’ and re-spawn wherever you desire after a time, along with simple melee gameplay, this Hero was neat to play – in the right hands perhaps this one could do a lot of damage in The Nexus.

Lunara = With mainly indirect damage (DOT or Damage Over Time), this Hero was difficult to gauge; with the ability to always move faster than most Heroes (not needing a Mount) and her ranged attacks, perhaps in the right hands she could be quite effective.

Malfurion** = A multi-faceted Support Hero with both healing and offensive capabilities, if you like to play Support in other games (such as an Engineer, or Medic/Cleric), this ambidextrous Hero should be fun for you to play in The Nexus. A Personal Favourite.

Probius * = If I had to sum up Probius I would say words like ‘difficulter’ (because I say that’s a real word now) …and ‘cool’ …and ‘overpowered’ …and ‘work’ …and ‘cute’ …and ‘fun’ …and…other words like that with ellipsis between them.

Raynor = With simpler gameplay and the ability to buff any allies around you – along with the possibility of some light self-healing – Rayor the “Ranged Assassin” is a helpful addition to play in The Nexus.

Rexxar ** = If you’ve ever wanted to handle two Heroes at once, now you can with this ‘hunter-pet’ combination which promises good damage output and a lot of fun – if at a slight cost of easier gameplay. A Personal Favourite.

Samuro ** = If you like to be stealthy, confusing opponents and striking from the shadows, this is a fun Hero to do all that and more with. A Personal Favourite.

Sgt. Hammer ** = This spunky Ranged Hero in a Siege Tank has huge long-range capability – if she can be handled with caring hands. A Personal Favourite.

Sylvanas * = Capable of not only high damage but also ‘converting’ mercenary units to your side, this “Ranged Specialist” also has sleek gameplay and a powerful (translation: annoying to other people) Mind Control ability.

Thrall ** = Fast melee and a bit of spellcasting – along with being easier to play – makes this Hero a fun brute to run with. A Personal Favourite.

Tychus = With good offensive capability, this Hero is easy to learn and practice with.

Valla ** = With fast and smooth gameplay that is fun and easy to get used to – especially if you have played The Demon Hunter in Diablo III as many of the Demon Hunter ‘basic moves’ come into play in The Arena. A Personal Favourite.

Zul’jin ** = Focusing on Ranged damage and even doing more damage as his health lowers, this Assassin felt like it could take out both Heroes and swaths of mercenaries with ease, thanks to his light self-healing – just don’t get caught surrounded while trying to do the highest damage possible! A Personal Favourite.





Repeat  of top comment: [In light of the recent ‘Heroes Of The Storm 2.0’ release – even though this was a ‘work in progress’ since I started playing ‘Heroes’ again a bit ago and it is not fully compiled yet – I wanted to get this hopefully-slightly-helpful information up right away for everyone… So here it is – being added to as I complete it but without any Screenshots yet – I am collecting some together and plan to place them in-line within …Soon™]

Quick Tip: Fallout 4 – “Get Rid Of Someone You Don’t Like” in Your Settlement (Without Killing Them or Using Cheats) [Suggestion, Text-Only Mode]

Just wanted to share something that came up, in answering a Question someone asked in the Official Steam Forum for Fallout 4 – in case anyone has a Settler in one of their bases that they really, really don’t like…

A person asked in the Forum, how to ‘get rid of’ Jezebel‘, whom for those who do not know, is a Robo-Brain type automatron, from the Automatron Official DLC. Without getting into any Spoilers, I’ll just say “she has an attitude”…

However, because she is a Resident of your Settlement, you cannot easily get rid of her, as attempting to just kill her will set all of the other Settlers gunning for your head in retaliation/defense.

Also, although she can be Assigned to the Task of, say running a Shop at the far end of Town and ‘stay there’, she is not of much use in that respect – because Robots cannot run Shops/Stores [sadly].

I thought of using her to start a Supply Line (so her Task/Job will take her out of town almost all of the time and you’ll rarely ever have to see her) – and saw that another helpful Fallout 4 player thought of the same thing – and already posted it as a Reply in the Discussion…

Still, I could add (as a Tip perhaps); that you can ‘send her away’ even more so by first Moving her to a Settlement that you rarely go to (using the MOVE menu bar command, at the bottom of the Workshop Mode interface).

You could Move her to Oberon Station perhaps, or The Slog [those are where I normally send ‘people I don’t like’ lol] – anywhere that you normally don’t ‘check up on’ as much as you do your other Settlements…

Then, after that, Assign her to become a Provisioner and start up a Supply Line (using the SUPPLY LINE menu bar command, in Workshop Mode) between the starting place of where you sent her (“far away”) and another place you rarely go to – that way, you will REALLY never have to see her again!

[Actually, you may still run into her, as you run into your Provisioners if you journey into the paths between the Settlements you have Supply Lines set up for – but still, if you pick two remote places that you don’t really visit often as her Supply Line nodes (start and end points), then you’ll really rarely ever bump into her]

Either way, I hope these ideas help any of you ‘get rid of someone’ you don’t like, from a Settlement (and you don’t want to kill them or use cheats/commands to do it). Have fun in Fallout 4!

Planetside 2 – Video Tutorial: How To Attack and Defend a Facility – Bio Lab (Subtitled) [Short Version]

In this brief Tutorial focused on New Players to Planetside 2, I present concepts to attacking and defending a large facility with multiple objectives, such as:

  • capture points
  • shields
  • generators
  • spawn rooms
  • terminals
and more…
In the video below, I am playing on the New Conglomerate FACTION. I CAPITALIZE full words that are either important structures and names to remember, or are important concepts to learn for battle.
During this battle at a large base, I show briefly how to use your HUD (Head Up Display) to locate OBJECTIVES, what some icons on the screen represent, where major structures are and important areas and aspects of the base.

Although my FACTION successfully takes over a Bio Lab, many of the concepts presented in the tutorial will carry over to battles at other large facilities, such as Amplifier Stations and Technological Plants.
[A separate tutorial for an Amp Station can be seen here:
http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2012/12/planetside-2-video-tutorial-how-to.html]

With subtitles over sections of a Bio Lab battle, playing as the NC (New Conglomerate), I go over some concepts a few times to make sure they set in for New Recruits, but for the most part, I stick to the main objectives of the base and how to quickly locate them, as well as the various ways to get inside..
Enjoy and See You In the Game!

And More: Deals and Sales – Black Friday Weekend 2013 Deals Are On Now


I don’t usually talk about current sales/promotions on this site [or haven’t so far], but after seeing all of the sales on out there, I had to make a quick post just to say that there are some great deals on now! 

Even if you don’t live in the United States (for instance, I’m in Canada [eh]) you can still take advantage of them, as most electronics and entertainment companies are on the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend bandwagon, with tons of purchases available online – and it’s all “nuthin’ but good” for gamers… Steam, Origin, Gamefly and other digital gaming distribution platforms are all chock full of great sales, as is Amazon, TigerDirect, MemoryExpress and other local and online hardware stores, allowing you to finally get that Upgrade you’ve been wanting, should you decide to jump on a deal out there.

Some examples of games on sale are below; but whether you buy a few games this weekend or save your money and just play with the new influx of players in your own favourite online game – I hope you enjoy your weekend and have some fun:

An example of the Black Friday Weekend Sales for 2013 on Steam

A small example of the Black Friday Weekend Sales for 2013 on Origin

An example of the Black Friday Weekend Sales for 2013 on Gamefly

See You In The Games!

It’s Not Just You™ – HumbleBundle ‘Vegas Pro, Discover Creative Freedom’ Installer/Registration Not Working [Notification]

For the next two weeks (13 Days, according to the Countdown at the HumbleBundle Website, starting today) there is a fantastic offer for Video Editors, Music Composers, Web Developers and more – over $900 worth of Software, including Sony’s Vegas Pro [the Vegas Editing Product Line was bought out by MAGIX, a German software company that has produced it’s own editing software for years, popular for their “Music Maker” and “Movie Edit Pro” lines]. So what’s the issue? Well, this Bundle is so darn popular, many parts of it aren’t working/responding, at this time. For example, if you run into the Installer ‘starting but just closing/crashing’ or the store or program ‘not registering’ or the ‘website is down’… just letting you know… It’s Not Just You™

Part of the reason why this Bundle is so popular (although many HumbleBundles are quite popular at different times), is because one of the main pieces of Software offered is Vegas Pro Edit, originally by Sony. This video editing software is a Premium Version (“high end”) of this program, normally being sold at around $400. Along with other great products, such as Magix Music Maker, Xara’s Photo and Graphic Designer, Xara’s Web Designer, Photo Story Deluxe and more – it’s easy to see why this Bundle is so popular, for all kinds of content creators and producers. Indeed, if you are into (or trying to get into) making music, editing video, or web design, at all; I highly recommend picking up this fantastic bundle of software, if you can. The link/URL to the HumbleBundle directly, is here:

https://www.humblebundle.com/software/vegas-pro-creative-freedom




For those unfamiliar with HumbleBundle, it is a retail site that offers a mix of software, books and games, connected to and donating a portion to, a customer’s chosen Charity. For example, my account is connected to Extra Life, the ‘Gaming Marathon’ Fund Raising charity that I try to play for every November, on behalf of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Because I attached this Charity to my Account, any purchases I make will contribute a portion to my charity. One of the greatest things about HumbleBundle however, is that the products – although one is not able to choose which products to buy specifically – are usually offered in ‘portions’ or ‘packs’ for any amount that you can afford to pay (as low as $1 up to whatever you can pay for the software company/charity/etc); and the more you can pay/donate, the more software/books/games/etc you will get. Since 2010, these ‘Pay What You Want’ Bundles (for Windows, Mac and Linux) have become quite popular over time.

The issue that has arisen this time then, is that the Bundle is so popular, that the server for the Installer has become Unresponsive (“not working”). Even the Website for the Retail/Vendor/Developer itself has become Unresponsive, giving this Error Message [to me] seen below (from Chrome):

As also sometimes happens with the most popular HumbleBundles, some people are experiencing very slow Downloading of their purchased products (as in 256kBps or less). Others are experiencing the Installer for the products stops functioning. This is what I personally am experiencing too (the Installer seems to startup, but then ‘crashes’ (or at least disappears) and is unable to continue. After one random attempt, I got a message stating that the Installer actually tried to Download the Installation Files but could not properly communicate with their servers. The message that came up [for me] can be seen below:

Trying another time later on, I did see the Installer for the ‘MAGIX Music Maker 80’s Version’ pop up and start Downloading, which was nice to see; however the overall download speed was pretty slow [understandably] at about 300kBps.

If I may make a Suggestion then – if you are running into any of the issues above, at this time: my suggestion would be, to definitely pick up the Bundle if you can [Note: You have to purchase the Bundle for at least $20 to get Vegas Pro] – then wait a while before you attempt to install anything. According to the MAGIX website, you can access your purchase (to install it) anytime after buying it, from now until September 2018 [Note: A free Magix account must be created if you do not already have one]. So, there is no rush, once you purchase it, to get the Installation Files from MAGIX. I also recommend backing up your Installation Files, once Downloaded, onto a USB drive, External Drive or even Optical Disc – anything that can back up your purchase for future re-installation, if needed (at least, until you buy a newer version of any applications you like..).

By the way, a quick note about Vegas Pro ‘Edit Version’ (about a 450MB download) – for those wondering about the difference between the Vegas Movie Studio versions and the Vegas Pro versions (and what the ‘Edit’ identifier means), here is a short summary of the differences:

  • the Movie Studio versions of the editor are an easier-to-use, scaled-down version of the Vegas editor, with still many features, allowing up to 200 Tracks of Events (clips/media) – increased from 20 Tracks recently! It just lacks many of the advanced features of the Pro versions (such as the  ‘NewBlueFX Titler’ [professional version], Bézier Tool Masking (“any shape”), et.al). The Movie Studio version comparisons can be found here:

    http://www.vegascreativesoftware.com/us/vegas-movie-studio/product-comparison/#productMenu

  • the Vegas Pro ‘Edit version’ of the editor costs less than the other Pro(fessional) versions, as it is missing the DVD/Blu-Ray authoring package, as well as some advanced filters and creation utilities (such as the Boris FX media generators, et.al) – it is still a ‘full featured’ Professional-level Video Editing program however, allowing Unlimited Tracks, full 4K Support, Bézier Tool Masking (“any shape”), includes the ‘NewBlueFX Titler’ [professional version] and much, much more. The Pro version comparisons can be found here:

    http://www.vegascreativesoftware.com/us/vegas-pro/product-comparison/#productMenu


[Note that the links above will show the most recent versions of the programs, but the comparisons themselves (the effects and capabilities of each) will remain similar, despite the edition versions changing over time]

Here is a capture of the Vegas Pro ‘Edit version’ comparison, for the 14th edition [CAD prices, sorry]:

Although the Vegas line of editing products have always had a bit of a learning curve due to their more advanced capabilities (Sony used to give out a DVD with some introductory courses for it; I am privileged to say I have one of these), MAGIX has created a few tutorials of their own, which can be found at the MAGIX Vegas Pro Tutorials website, here:

http://www.vegascreativesoftware.com/us/vegas-pro/online-tutorials/

So, try not to let it bother you ‘too much’, if you have run into any of these issues (downloading, installing, registering, etc). Just wait a little while longer and try doing it again, in the near future. For now, don’t worry – It’s Not Just You™…

Good Luck with it – and Have Fun!
[Note: I am not affiliated with Sony, MAGIX or HumbleBundle in any way, and I will not receive any compensation for mentioning them here – I am merely an enthusiastic user of their products and wanted to share what I felt was helpful information/notification. I have used other video editing programs in the past (such as PowerDirector, Nero Vision and Windows Movie Maker and some free video editors, such as Avidemux, DVD Soft’s FreeVideoEditor and VirtualDub) and will still use them when desired in the future]

Addendum:

During the time it took for me to compile this posting, I was able to try again and began Downloading then eventually Installing Vegas Pro [Edit version] – and it is going smoothly still – however, Downloading of the various applications in the Bundle are still quite slow. 
If you do not mind that, dear reader, go ahead and try again now; otherwise, as in my Suggestion, perhaps wait a while (as in days) before attempting to have a fast/smooth installation of these popular applications. 

WORKOUT ANYTIME Featured in Black Enterprise

WORKOUT ANYTIME Featured in Black Enterprise

Zelly Wesson of WORKOUT ANYTIME was recently featured in Black Enterprise. The article discusses Zelly’s opening of his second WORKOUT ANYTIME location. Wesson has been playing professional basketball overseas for the past 15 years, and during his off seasons Wesson has been back managing his WORKOUT ANYTIME locations. Wesson discusses his role in his locations and how he has been successful. 
You can view the full article here. 

Reverse Lunge with Diagonal Lift

Lunges are a fantastic functional lower body exercise, and the benefits can be enhanced by adding an upper body component to the basic lunge movement pattern. One of the most productive total body lunge variations is the reverse lunge with a diagonal lift.
The exercise improves hip mobility in the front of the rear leg, while also increasing strength and stability in the front leg and increasing core strength and mobility. Specifically, it improves hip flexor mobility while training the body to move smoothly in the spiral line. It also encourages proper tri-planar movement.
Start standing with feet shoulder width apart in upright posture. Hold a medicine ball, dumbbell, or kettlebell (or even a body bar) positioned at the right hip pocket region. Step back with the right leg to perform a reverse lunge. At the same time move both arms diagonally up and back over the left shoulder until a comfortable stretch is felt in the anterior (front) of the right hip. Do NOT allow the back to arch. Pause in this position for one or two seconds.
Do 10 – 15 repetitions on one side then repeat on the other side. It is important that you keep both feet facing forward and keep your trunk upright throughout the movement.
Regressions:
Perform the movement without a medicine ball, dumbbell, or bar
Start in the split stance lunge position instead of having to step back
Progressions:
Increase weight you are holding.
Perform the movement in an alternating side manner vs one side at a time.
Video Links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDyGhcm-aVs

The Elder Scrolls Online – “PatchManifestError” In TESO Launcher [Workaround]


[Text-Only – This post is initially Text-Only, to allow posting this as fast as possible, to help others.
I may return and add additional graphics/screenshots pertaining to the article… Soon™]


Just now, I ran into an issue starting up TESO, where the Launcher gave an error message – oddly, it was slightly different than the message my Gamer Wife beside me got – one of us got “Error 210” while the other got “Error 206”. Here is an example of what the Error Message within the TESO Client Launcher looks like:



Popping into the Steam forum and the Official Bethesda/Zenimax Forum for the game, I saw a number of people mentioning they are getting this too, just today, like me. So, I wanted to come here and post a ‘quick fix’ that can get past the error message and allow fellow gamers, like me, to be able to play the game as quickly as right now, tonight [actually it’s more of a ‘workaround’ than a true ‘fix’, as it doesn’t solve whatever issue is happening with the Launcher/Client/Servers… I will post this as a “Workaround”].

Similar to an earlier issue with the TESO Launcher I talked about here at The Blog, the ‘workaround’ involves bypassing the Launcher itself and starting up the game manually via the Executable files… The instructions to do this are below.

For the Steam Version of TESO:

  • Open Steam
  • Right-Click on TESO in the Library and choose Properties
  • Click on the “Local Files” tab
  • Click on the “Browse Local Files” button to show the directory/folder of the game
  • Navigate into THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE > GAME > CLIENT folder
  • Double-Click on “eso64.exe” to launch the game (or “eso.exe” if running 32-bit Windows/Game

    For the Standalone Version of TESO:

    • Right-Click on the Shortcut (the icon that runs the game) on the Desktop (or in the Start Menu) for TESO and choose Properties
    • Click on the “Open File Location” button in the Properties of the game shortcut
    • You should find yourself in a Windows Explorer windows, looking at the “Launcher” folder of Zenimax Online
    • Go up one folder level to “Zenimax Online” (click on the Zenimax Online folder in Explorer)
    • Navigate into THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE > GAME > CLIENT folder
    • Double-Click on “eso64.exe” to launch the game (or “eso.exe” if running 32-bit Windows/Game)
      That’s it! Now the game should start up and you will just have to Login within the game itself.

      Unfortunately, I do not know what has caused this error, and I have not seen any Official Postings by Bethesda/Zenimax to explain it, as of the time of this writing. Although it appears to be some sort of Server/Launcher error, I cannot say specifically at this time. However, having testing this Workaround on different machines and with both the Steam Version of TESO and the Standalone/Web version of TESO, I can safely say that this should work for you, fellow gamer.

      Hopefully that helps – and See You In The Game!

      Workout Anytime in Louisville Business First Inbox

      Workout Anytime in Louisville Business First

      Workout Anytime of Louisville, KY was recently in Louisville Business First. The article features Louisville resident, Bobby Paisley. Paisley brought Workout Anytime to the Louisville market, and has been with the brand for four years now. Bobby has been able to successful build the brand and will be opening his third Louisville location this March. Along with fellow fraternity brother from WKU and Regional Developer Greg Parker, they have built the brand in Louisville and surrounding areas in Kentucky.
      You can read the full article here. 

      CONCEPT INTERIOR DECORATORS NYC

      Interior Decorators NYC

      Interior Decorators NYC, there are many different benefits to live. Here, culture, food corners, training, and last but not least, the lounge and bar. If you want to spend a night in the city that never sleeps, then to New York City is a great bar, club and lounge, in particular to go. There are several rooms, and also spread throughout the city. live musicians are the best features of these lounges and bars. You can find indie rock band a lot of volume, and other local bands. Part of the show in New York City, a tremendously well. They are tastefully decorated, and the crowd, which is very appealing. These amazing living space in this late night to win the House, hip hop and youre likely to find one that will fit your musical taste.

      They offer large crowds and expensive liquor and very elegant. The interior decoration of these rooms are for lights, big boost mood of the series, in fact, people also benefit from seeing the crowd warm with loud music and too much light. Interior Decorators NYC always find some very funny and what’s better than a bar, club lounges and especially where you can make your night of fun. Once your stomach is full with the best drinks in the theaters of New York, then is time to rock and roll music and if so, what better than a living room and also in New York, where fun begins.

      In addition, these shows are also very useful during the time of the wedding reception. People are now tired of planning parties in hotels and other places. now part of wedding reception is poured into large halls, where people enjoy the maximum level. New York reception halls are simply incomplete without drinks. Here you can plan a cocktail, and also a bachelor party incurred prior to marriage. You can enjoy unlimited drinks which is great taste and you can also enjoy the loud music here. This part of reception or a cocktail can be fun with friends and other relatives. You know some reception includes dancing and fun, and this is the basic ingredient and that is what makes a great party for everyone. It is therefore the reception of the show is so famous in Interior Decorators NYC.

      Interior Decorators NYC
      Interior Decorators NYC

      WORKOUT ANYTIME in Buffalo Grove Patch

      WORKOUT ANYTIME in Buffalo Grove Patch in an article titled, “24/7 Gym Opens in Buffalo Grove.”  The article opens with some details about the opening of the Buffalo Grove WORKOUT ANYTIME, and the plans to open up to 25 clubs in the Chicago suburbs. Jeff and co-owner Eric Nagel are quoted about why Buffalo Grove is a great place for the first WORKOUT ANYTIME in Illinois. Cristel gives details about what WORKOUT ANYTIME offers and about the upcoming grand opening, and then provides info and quotes from Steve and John.  Click here for the entire article or begin below.

      24/7 Gym Opens in Buffalo Grove
      By: Cristel Mohrman

      Workout Anytime might be a new name in town, but it’s one that company officials expect will soon be widely recognized.

      The fitness center officially opened Saturday at 700 S. Buffalo Grove Grove Road. It’s the company’s first location in Illinois, but it certainly won’t be the last, said Workout Anytime officials, who are planning to expand to 25 clubs in the Chicago suburbs.

      Buffalo Grove was selected as its first Illinois site for its demographics and because officials found little competition for the concept, which offers members all-hours access to no-frills workouts.

      “We really like this location a lot,” co-owner Eric Nagel said.

      (Read More)

      1960 Lincoln Continental mk 5 Formal Limousine

      in the above photo, lower left side, you can see the air conditioning vent under the grab bar

      and this cool control panel / radio for the passengers in the back seat to control the partition, radio, and air conditioning level

      and the AC takes up about a 1/3rd of the trunk space

      Hitman: Absolution – First Impressions and Screenshots

      I finally picked up the latest iteration of the Hitman Series, Hitman: Absolution, starring Agent 47 as the main anti-hero, id est killing the bad guys but never quite [arguably] becoming one of them. Differing from the last couple of Hitman publications, Absolution has an overarching story, connections being made in a chronological manner throughout the various stages and settings. Characters are introduced and developed via cutscenes, as the plot is pushed further by your completing the next mission for a feeling of engagement in the storyline.

      I personally liked this approach, as opposed to the last couple of Hitman games, which seemed like mostly ‘replays’ of old missions from previous games (which in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing). While there were similar settings, such as a Chinese Market Square, they were sufficiently changed enough – especially with the graphical improvements and new gameplay interface – to seem varied enough to be enjoyable. There were even updated versions of [personal] ‘old favorites’ that I waited excitedly for (such as a ‘Hotel’ stage). Slightly more varied than the old versions, if you include the new “Instinct” game mechanic, these levels felt ‘fresh’, even if they weren’t new.

      The “Instinct” game mechanic seems like an effort to simplify the game, making it easier for newcomers and those who had trouble with the complexity and scope of the previous Hitman games. Indeed, I remember reading a lot over the years of people saying the Hitman games were “too big” or “too complex” and that it didn’t help the player much at all, as far as where to go and what to do. It “plopped you down in a large area with just a map”, they felt. Of course, that was the draw for all of the other people, the complexity and seeming openness of the game was enjoyed, where you had to figure out everything yourself. You could decide what to skip and what to do and could decide for yourself how to do it. The new “Instinct” mechanic of Absolution doesn’t take too much away from this (you can turn it ‘off’ if desired) and it actually adds to the cinematic feel of the game by taking the ‘player out of playing’, so to speak, which results in more of a feeling that you are ‘playing Agent 47’, guiding him (and using his innate abilities) through the game, as opposed to ‘actually being Agent 47’ and figuring everything out yourself heavy-handedly. I suspect this more objective approach has already been a point of contention since the game was released.

      An example of Hitman: Absolution’s new ‘Hitman Instinct’ game mechanic, showing how Agent47 can ‘sense’ enemies in and around the nearby area and estimates where they may be heading.

      When utilizing Agent 47’s ‘Instinct’, the game shows where 47 ‘senses’ there are enemies and where they are and shows you on the screen with outlined shapes. It even shows where 47 ‘calculates’ enemies will be moving to, showing you their intended path with a line of flame and where they will stand still with a larger lick of fire. This is where the adrenalin-dipped decision making and primal ‘danger’ awareness kicks in during the game, as a player can choose to set up an engagement with an enemy, or stealthily avoid these paths and points.

      For those who do not like or want the new game mechanic at all, it can be turned off, mainly by choosing a higher difficulty level. There are five to choose from and higher difficulties result in more ‘sensitive’ or ‘aware’ enemies, tougher enemies (wearing more body armor one assumes) and more of them. For those who are new to the game or having trouble with it, the difficulty can be lowered as well, with less enemies, enemies with less skill (not as good at aiming) and less awareness (having a bit more ‘tunnel-vision’) allowing you to sneak around them easier. The option to have this game mechanic off or on, at the players choice, is nice and was no doubt included to appease those who would not like it’s hints and guidance. New players (those talking about the games’ difficulty in the past) can have it on and still enjoy the action and storyline as well. It feels like an ‘attempt to please everybody’ – and I assume it will work well in that regard. (I haven’t read any Reviews of the game (to avoid exposure to the material within) before I purchased it, but I assume that once I indulge in others’ opinions, I will see much disagreement on that last sentence).

      View of a hotel cleaning supply room from an air ventilation shaft. Click to see Full Size

      The game itself felt atmospheric and cinematic. The music changed as action waxed and waned. Enemies ignored or chased you around winding levels that you had to discover and remember. The graphics were spectacular, with detailed textures, dark and gritty lighting and shading. The core Hitman gameplay was there – even if it wasn’t there for very long. This game felt very short to me. Perhaps it was the somewhat simple Television Movie Special plot, perhaps it was the number of missions (although they were split up into sections). Perhaps it was merely enjoying it so much that I wanted more, but just during the course of writing this article off and on, I have completed the game in it’s storyline entirety (not counting Challenges and Item Collection) in just over 20 hours. That doesn’t seem very long, but I suppose it is to be expected in a game that is more like “Max Payne” and less like “Skyrim” (more Action and less RPG). You could keep playing after finishing the main story, select past levels and retry them, doing them ‘cleaner’ for a better score or achievement, or look around and discover new weapons and pathways, or just redo any level you wanted to for fun.

      An example of how the levels are split up into sections and how you can select past levels to replay them.
      An example of the updated game engine, with higher-detailed character models, textures and environments.
      Click to see Full Size

      Other than the copy-pasted ‘general population’ mannequin-people utilized in larger crowds (used understandably to keep memory/resource usage of the game down of course – all of the ‘main’ NPCs have good detail to them), I personally liked the attention  paid to smaller details, such as the amount of debris scattered around the levels – things like cups, papers and garbage, all part of the gritty ‘lived-in-ness’ of the environment, adding to the realism. It’s nice to see games that pay more attention to the surroundings/settings these days, as opposed to the stark, clean-floor environments in games of yesteryear.

      Overall, Hitman: Absolution was very enjoyable. It was great fun to figure out steps and schemes for the various areas and carry them out with cold calculation. I laughed out loud a few times and grit my teeth in anger at the more difficult parts, playing them over and over again, trying to figure out new ways to accomplish the objectives and complete the contracts. Despite feeling shorter (perhaps just because it was so enjoyable) and despite some changes that others might not entirely like, I still suggest trying it (especially if you are a fan of the previous games in the Hitman series). I personally had a lot of fun with the game – and isn’t that the most important thing?

      Have fun with Absolution and See You In The Games!

      BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS STYLE FROM SHH

      SHH is a London-based company, founded in 1992. Interior design is not their only strong point that the company also makes architectural projects. But now we want to show you how a room can be transformed into an elegant and modern in their vision.

      BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS FROM SHH

      BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS FROM SHH

      We collected up to 15 different interiors that stand out and can become a real source of inspiration. We deal in the living room, bedroom or the hallway of boredom and failed surprising elements are added to create comfortable spaces. White is airy and gives a sense of calm, while the funky food the best and rebels. Color and light is present in some unusual arrangements with excellent results.

      BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS FROM SHH

      BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS FROM SHH

      BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS FROM SHH

      BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS FROM SHH

      BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS STYLE FROM SHH

      BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS STYLE FROM SHH

      BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS DESIGN FROM SHH

      BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS DESIGN FROM SHH

      ROOM SEVEN LEVITATION HOTEL PARIS DESIGN

      SEVEN LEVITATION HOTEL PARIS

      The Last weekend we were invited to spend a night in the bedroom of SEVEN LEVITATION Hotel Paris … A change of scenery, enchanting, and very pleasant … We’ve tested since the beginning of dozens of hotels – from very luxurious to the simple – but SEVEN Hotel remains one of our fondest memories in terms of wellbeing! We literally left “floating”in this room LEVITATION, amid clouds … Here, the amenities of modern life are available starting with a Nespresso coffee machine with tea and coffee and an iPod docking station to listen to your favorite music in this extraordinary place. You will also find a flat screen TV with 4 channels olfactory delight your senses!

      The room of the hotel LEVITATION SEVEN is also a premium bedding, large shower – where you can shower couple – air conditioning, a desk … So comfortable!

      Above a photo of the room SUSPENDED BATH offering a superb tub suspended, and below a small photo of the ABSOLUTE LEVITATION!

      SEVEN LEVITATION HOTEL PARIS

      SEVEN LEVITATION HOTEL PARIS

      SEVEN LEVITATION HOTEL PARIS

      Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS)

      Today the division between routers and switches is a fine line. Whereas switches were initially designed to help segment a LAN into multiple collision domains, and thereby allow you to extend the reach of a particular LAN topology, switches have moved higher up the networking ladder. When switching is used in a LAN to connect individual client and server computers, the process is known as microsegmentation, because the collision domain has been reduced to just the switch and the computer attached to a port. Switches at this level generally work using the hardware (MAC) addresses of the attached computers.

      Layer 3 switching moves switching up the ladder by one rung by switching network frames based on the OSI Network layer address—an IP address, for example. But wait, that’s what a router does, isn’t it? Of course. A layer 3 switch is basically a router, but it implements most of its functions in application-specific integrated chips (ASICS) and performs its packet processing much faster than does a traditional router, which uses a microprocessor (much like a computer CPU) for this function.

      Internet 2010

      When you get to the top of the ladder, where large volumes of data need to be routed through a large corporate network—or the Internet, for that matter—even the fastest traditional routers or layer 3 switches easily can become bogged down by the volume of traffic. Because of this, the core of a large network traditionally has been built using ATM or Frame Relay switches, and IP traffic is sent over these switched networks.

      To speed up the processing of routing packets at high-volume rates, a newer technology has been developing over the past few years and goes by the name of Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS). MPLS is covered in the next section.

      Combining Routing and Switching

      Traditional routers have a large amount of overhead processing they must perform to get a packet to its destination. Each router along the packet’s path must open up and examine the layer 3 header information before it can decide on which port to output the packet to send it to its next hop on its journey. If a packet passes through more than just a few routers, that’s a lot of processing time. Remember that IP is a connectionless protocol. Decisions must be made about a packet’s travel plans at each stage of its journey through the network. The solution to this problem lies in newer technology—high-speed switching. Specifically, Multi-Protocol Label Switching, which is discussed in the next section, combines the best of routing techniques with switching techniques.

      When you look at concepts such as ATM or Frame Relay, which are connection-oriented protocols, this isn’t the case. Instead, virtual circuits (either permanent or switched) are set up to connect to endpoints of a communication path so that all cells (as in the case of ATM) or frames (as in the case of Frame Relay) usually take the same path through the switched network.

      Proven Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

      As we head into the holidays most Americans will gain between 8 and 12lbs between Halloween and New Year’s Day.  However, there are ways to avoid this weight gain!
      Here are some key tips:
      Eat before you drink and celebrate and before holiday parties.     Going into a holiday party on empty and hungry is a sure-fire way to overeat.    Alcohol intake boosts appetite to begin with and if you start out without anything in the tank it just gets worse!    This does not mean overeating – eat a sensible meal about 2 hours before you go to the party.
      Try to choose higher protein foods first because protein helps with satiety (feeling satisfied and not hungry).
      Fill up on Fiber Rich Foods – which also help with satiety and help create a feeling of fullness when consumed with water.  Focus on the raw veggies and yes you can dip them in some dip that has some fat because together fiber and fat can really assist in managing hunger along with protein.
      Eat some fat – that’s right eat some fat!   Fats also are key for satiety.   That being said a little goes a long way!
      Bring your own food to a party.   Rather than having only high calorie, high sugar and high fat foods bring something you enjoy that is also healthy along with you!
      Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly – seems simple and it is.    It is also VERY effective for limiting food intake!
      Use smaller plates, bowls and glasses – all of which help to slow down food and beverage intake and make you more conscious of how much you are consuming!
      Try to Minimize Sugar and Starch Intake – both sugar and starch wind up as glucose (blood sugar) and high intake drives insulin which results in rebound hunger.      High sugar and starch intake increases hunger – particularly when drinking alcohol because alcohol acts like a super sugar and also drives insulin response.
      Pause before getting seconds – as with slower eating and deliberately chewing food this can give your body time to realize it is no longer really hungry.
      If you are doing the entertaining have extra containers you are ready to give away so guests can leave with some of the extra food!

      Try not to eat in front of the T.V. which distracts you from how you feel and results in mindless eating!
      Consider planning a cheat meal but have a plan for how much you are going to eat!   One meal can knock you off course but most of the holiday weight gain comes from completely giving up on healthy eating for many meals.   Planning one cheat meal every week and planning on eating a set amount of the foods you may be craving can work for many people rather than mindlessly eating.      If you plan your meal including your portions of alcohol, sweets, fat and sugar you can limit the damage and still have a great time!
      Drink Water.   Often quoted and still true – water is the best beverage and avoiding sugar laden drinks in favor of still or sparkling water can make a big difference in minimizing holiday weight gain.
      Workout!   Working out improves mental outlook and burns some calories while reducing stress levels!    When we are stressed we overeat!   Just 10 minutes a day can make a big difference!

      Get Your Sleep.   Lack of sleep is terrible for your health and particularly bad for driving appetite and overeating.   Lack of sleep causes hunger and excessive eating because the normal feedback mechanisms that tell you that you are full do not work properly when you are tired.   Basically, a tired brain tells you to eat to feel better and it is VERY hard to resist these urges when tired!

      Quick Tip: Guild Wars 2 – How To Split Stacks Of Items

      Just a quick tip for GW2 and those of us who were tying to split stacks of things, only to link them into Chat and ‘shout’ the item’s link to people around us, the entire Map, etc. The way to actually sort things in a more private manner, is to hold down the ALT key and then drag the stack of items to an open slot. A dialog box should come up asking you how you want to split the stack of items (as seen in the example below):

      Pressing the Shift key, as most know, will link the item in the chat box, and pressing Control, will link it and shout it out in Chat automagically – which is nice and embarrassing. I’ve seen some random linkages in the Chat Box [of things that aren’t of any interest] so I know it isn’t just me! I hope that this helps someone out and saves them from this atrocious “Faux Pas”…

      See You In The Games!

      WORKOUT ANYTIME on Entrepreneur.com

      Bill Aicklen, owner of four WORKOUT ANYTIME locations in Georgia, was recently featured in Franchise Players, Entrepreneur.com’s Q&A interview column! Bill discusses his background as a franchisee, challenges he’s faced and why he chose WORKOUT ANYTIME as the business model to get behind. Read the full interview here!

      Battlefield 1 – DirectX Error “GetDeviceRemovedReason” [Workaround]

      At first, because of the phrasing of the error, I thought it might be Hardware, namely my GPU (Graphics Processing Unit, the Videocard); but since that was working fine with literally, all other games – playing in longer gaming sessions even [and I know for sure that I wasn’t actually physically pulling out my videocard while playing …I think] – I omitted that possibility (for now) and focused on a potential Software approach, which meant checking configuration…

      Looking at the Settings for the game then, I tried reducing everything down to the Lowest Possible Settings; to reduce the load on the GPU and the load in the processing of the game itself. (With lowered settings, there would be less data being streamed from the game, less being extracted from the compressed/encrypted files of the game, less being calculated and drawn, less everything). If there was a problem with how game data was being handled, this might being it to light [note: an issue with integrity of the files would not be detected this way, this is more of a data handling troubleshooting step; integrity of the game files can usually be checked/verified with a Repair/Verify through the game client or if that doesn’t help, a Reinstall of the game usually assures accurate game files (barring Drive/RAM file handling (Hardware) issues – which is another tangent/issue altogether, heh) – screenshot of where to run a Repair/Verify of the game files for BF1, below].

      Example of the Location of where to Repair the game files in the Origin Game Client, showing Battlefield 1 in 2017
      (Click to see Full Size)

      Nope. Crash. Error [which I lost the clean Screenshot of, of course – but a version of it is in the Header for this posting – I will add a clear Screenshot of the error window to this post when I can capture it again, if it occurs]. Hmmm…. Since it was a DirectX error (and I am 93.33-repeating-percent-sure that I did not “remove the video card” while playing..), I tried one last thing. Instead of swapping out the GPU to try with something else (a GPU from a friend’s PC, for example), which is approaching a Hardware type issue; I tried something else: I changed the DirectX level in the game from DirectX 12 to DirectX11 [this may not have been solely ‘my idea’ – although I am sure I would have eventually arrived at it as a troubleshooting step, I looked up this error and found many, many locations and sources of others stating they have this issue and encountered this error and I may have read it somewhere, for it to have come up – merely mentioning because I just don’t want to take sole credit for something I may not have come up with entirely by myself…].

      Example of where to ‘Disable DirectX 12’ and ‘Enable DirectX 11’ in the Video Settings, in Battlefield 1
      [Hmm, this is more of a Workaround than a ‘Fix’ for this issue…]
      (Click to see Full Size)

      Success! I played a good couple of hours this way, with no crashing, closing, freezing, or errors at all – great! After trying it after re-opening the game, rebooting and playing some more, testing it the next day or two after as well, it seemed ‘solidified’; changing the DirectX level/version from 12 to 11 seemed to ‘solve’ the issue [for me, for now].

      I think this is more of a ‘Workaround’ than a ‘Fix’, since it doesn’t solve the issue permanently… there is still something in the game engine or how it communicates with DirectX/Windows/theGPU, which is causing something that is not ‘fixed’ by this step; but, since it does work to get past the issue, I thought I would share, to help others that may be running into this seemingly-popular problem (‘popular’ judging from the queries I found about this issue on both the Battlelog forum and EA Support Forums, spanning a few years now..). I hope this works for you, dear reader, as it seems to have done, for me.

      [Since this is not a true ‘fix’ (I do not know if this is permanent nor do I know the actual source/nature of the issue, therefore I cannot say this is a ‘fix’, imo); I will post this with the title “workaround”…]

      Addendum:

      Other helpful tips/steps that can possibly help, if the above step does not work (and some additional information), can be found in multiple places on the Battlefield and EA forums, such as this list by a helpful poster named STEEiL:
      https://forums.battlefield.com/en-us/discussion/54605/directx-function-error-amd-getdeviceremovedreason-error-in-battlefield-1

      Good Luck – I hope it gets working for you soon – and See You In The Game!

      1948 Packard woody station wagon and matching teardrop trailer

      https://silodrome.com/packard-eight-station-sedan-teardrop-camper/

      Kaatsu aka Blood Flow Restriction Training

      Kaatsu training was developed in Japan five decades ago.  Ka means “additional” and atsu means “pressure.” An English layman’s term for the practice is “blood flow restriction training,” and involves performing strength training exercises while restricting blood flow to the extremity being worked.

      A significant benefit of the method is that you can use just 30 to 50 percent of the weight you’d normally use while still reaping maximum benefits of resistance training. You use less weight but do more — up to 20 or 30 repetitions versus 8 or 12 in most traditional strength training programs.
      Cuffs or bands are used that are just tight enough to allow arterial blood flow but not venous flow. This causes lactic acid and other waste products to build up, giving you the same benefit as heavy lifting without the dangers associated with heavy weights. For this reason, it’s a great strategy for the elderly and those who are recuperating from an injury.

      Scientists believe that restricting venous blood return can dramatically boost growth hormone secretion, reducing myostatin and inducing cell swelling.    Even better there is less overall tissue damage compared to traditional high intensity resistance training.

      History of Blood Flow Restriction Training

      The history of this type of training was detailed in an Outdoors Online Article (https://www.outsideonline.com/2023016/you-should-probably-try-japanese-blood-flow-routine):

      “Kaatsu came about in 1966 when 18-year-old [Dr.] Yoshiaki Sato, now a doctor, noticed the intense ache in his calves after having assumed the traditional Japanese sitting position during a typically long Buddhist ceremony. It was an ache much like the one he experienced after lifting weights — an ache he realized had to do [with] the occultation of blood circulation.
      Eureka! Using himself as a test subject, Sato spent the next several years perfecting a system of blood-flow moderation using bicycle tubes, ropes and straps. He later replaced the tubes with thin computer-controlled pneumatic bands. The idea was to apply pressure around the arms and legs while lifting a light load, safely impeding the flow of blood to exercising muscles.
      Slowing this flow engorges the limbs with blood, expanding capillaries, engaging muscle fibers and raising lactic acid concentration. But — and here’s part of what makes Kaatsu unique — it fools the brain into thinking it’s being put through a vigorous workout.”

      Kaatsu training can stimulate muscle growth and strength in about half the time, using about one-third of the weight, compared to regular resistance training.

      How does Kaatsu Work?

      The concept idea behind blood flow restriction training is to restrict blood flow in an exercising muscle/s using a band around the upper portion of the arm or leg being worked. This creates a metabolic disturbance that has local and systemic effects:

      1. A reduction in the partial pressure of oxygen and increase in the acidity of the muscle tissue stimulates protein synthesis through an adaptive response to the stressor.

      2. The central nervous system also senses the challenge and compensates by increasing sympathetic tone, heart rate, ventilation and sweating.   There is also an accentuated hormonal response as mentioned previously.

      Kaatsu also stimulates mTOR signaling and lowers myostatin (myostation stops muscle growth!)
      Unexpectedly muscle growth occurs both sides of the cuff even though blood flow is only restricted on the side farthest away from the heart.    The systemic increase in Growth Hormone also drives overall muscle growth.

      How much Pressure?

      It is important not to restrict blood flow too much, as this could lead to injury and fainting.
      The good news is that research shows that if you use common sense the risk of using too much pressure is easy to minimize.  Your limb should not be tingling, turning red, blue or purple, and you should not lose feeling and should be able to feel your pulse in the limb.
      For a great quick start guide to Kaatsu click here:  https://www.kaatsu-global.com/quick-start-guide-001/
      Kaatsu Training Protocol

      A typical training session uses three sets 0f 20 – 30 repetitions per set. use half or less of the weight you’d normally use. Rest between sets is short with typical rest time being 30 seconds.

      Could Kaatsu Cause Injury such as Deep Vein Thrombosis?

      Kaatsu is NOT the same as putting a tourniquet on and if you follow proper precautions is quite safe.    The key is that Kaatsu does NOT alter arterial blood flow as described previously.    It is important to use cuff’s designed specifically for this process.
      Contraindications for Kaatsu

      • Women who have had a mastectomy with or without radiation and/or an axillary node dissection should not use blood flow restriction training.
      • People in hemodialysis who have arterial venous fistulas. Avoid doing blood flow restriction on the affected limb
      • Pregnant women should not use Kaatsu training.

      Men’s Body Click Diet part 4

      Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy and Prostate Cancer

      Benign prostatic hypertrophy is an enlargement of the prostate that’s called benign because it is not due to cancer cells. Still, the enlargement can be far from benign if it results in a lack of control over functions that we all take for granted, including urinating when you want to urinate and only then. A single urinary accident in front of your classmates in the first grade can constitute a major, unforgettable scar in one’s childhood; a repeat performance, like that of my sixty-year-old patient while standing in line at the check-in counter at O’Hare Airport, is no joke either. Nor is `benign’ the right word to describe the condition that underlies such loss of control. BPH may also involve getting up frequently at night to urinate, with the intense urgency to do so unfortunately combined with a disconcerting hesitancy of performance and a lack of reward in the volume of urine produced.

      Although the symptoms of BPH can be severe, it is ironic that men with prostate cancer often have no symptoms. As they age, most men, on biopsy, show signs of prostate cancer. In fact, by the time they are in their eighties, nearly all men have prostate cancer, as defined by the typical cancerous appearance of cells under the microscope. Yet, because this particular cancer grows slowly and spreads infrequently, only a small percentage of men actually become sick or die from the disease. (A man’s lifetime risk of dying from prostate cancer is a little less than three per cent.)`’

      Diet Start

      Given the low odds of illness or death from prostate cancer, it’s confusing from a medical standpoint when a 60-, 70- or 80-year-old man has a prostate biopsy and is found to have cancer cells. Because the question of the actual malignancy of the condition — how likely it is that the cancer will grow quickly enough to cause problems — is difficult to resolve, it encourages a more aggressive approach to therapy than might otherwise be warranted. Since aggressive therapy frequently involves either removing testicles or taking female hormones, which can produce dramatic changes in a man’s body, this is not a trivial question.

      Natural therapies for treating or, more important, preventing illness are not usually studied in the same way as pharmaceuticals, because no one can patent a naturally occurring substance like flaxseed powder and make enough money to justify the enormous expense of carefully conducted, controlled and double-blinded studies. Still, the studies show that consuming soy protein and other isoflavone and lignan-containing foods reduces the risk of prostate cancer. And the cancer data suggest strongly — and there is abundant anecdotal evidence to support it — that the same hormonal environment that leads to the high incidence of cancer in older men inour culture, but not in Chinese and Finnish men, is also associated with the risk for prostatic enlargement.5

      The simple strategy for preventing the range and frequency of prostate problems is to consume more soy protein, flaxseed powder and rye fiber. If you happen to be a regular bacon, ham or sausage and eggs kind of guy, I urge you to substitute the shake, with its soy protein and flaxseed powder, at least four days a week. It’s good that you’re eating protein at your morning meal and getting the lift you need at the beginning of the day, but what you’re eating will not protect your health like soy protein and flaxseed. (If you don’t have time for breakfast, see the section for travelers in the appendix, where you’ll find a quick shortcut that will help you get your soy protein and flaxseed every day.

      The Body Clock Diet and Heart Disease: It’s not Just the Cholesterol

      Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Each year, more than five hundred thousand Americans die of heart attacks caused by CHD. Soy intake has been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease cardiovascular disease associated with high cholesterol. There is growing scientific evidence to support this; for example, one recent study showed that a diet high in soy protein reduced cholesterol by as much as 20 per cent. 6 Other research has demonstrated that soy protein lowers triglycerides and reduces the oxidation of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol, which contributes to blood vessel problems linked to cardiovascular disease? And flaxseed has also been shown to lower both total and LDL cholestero1. The Body Clock Diet, which includes daily intake of soy protein and flaxseed powder, ensures that you get this important protection.

      But cholesterol is not the exclusive evil agent in heart disease. Some people, especially those with complicating conditions of diabetes, tobacco smoking and a strong family history of heart disease and obesity, carry cholesterol-related risks. But most people who have heart attacks and other complications of ‘hardening of the arteries’ have fairly normal cholesterol levels.

      The tide of medical thinking is changing when it comes to heart disease. It looks as if issues related to carbohydrate excess, insulin resistance and homocysteine and its control by folic acid will take center stage away from cholesterol. 9 The benefits of substances like flaxseed and soy are not due solely to lowering cholesterol. Soy and flaxseed do indeed lower serum cholesterol, but they also modify carbohydrate and fat metabolism, further decreasing your cardiovascular risk. You don’t have to be takingaim at your cholesterol to get benefits from soy, flaxseed and the Body Clock Diet.

      Like many men, you may have a tendency not to think about your health, shrugging off warnings from your mother, spouse, doctor and children as well as newspapers and television programs that try to scare or educate you about activities that are dangerous to your well-being. Nor do you want to listen to me when I say that failure to adhere to basic circadian principles may eventually show up as something noticeably wrong with your health. But my advice is simple: there are some painless things you can do to reap what are potentially major rewards for your long-term health.

      Quality Test – MSI Afterburner’s MJPEG Implementation (Part I) with Hitman: Absolution (Ultra Settings, 1080p)

      Update: Added screenshot example of the RTV1 codec ‘color banding’ issue, with circled areas¹**
      Update: Added Quality Test Comparison (Four 1080p samples of Hitman:Absolution) at different Quality Settings²**

      Recording with the MJPEG (Motion JPEG) codec, every frame is an independent ‘Keyframe ‘or ‘I-Frame’ (short for “Information Frame”), which means it is a type of frame that can be ‘cut’ or started from in video editing programs (technically, every frame is a JPG picture!). This also allows for faster seeking and rendering in editing applications. MJPEG also requires less overhead (better performance/less ‘lag’ while recording) than many codecs. As well, the audio captured is PCM (“Uncompressed”) with MSI’s Afterburner, which means that any video editor should be able to recognize the sound data. Errors in programs like Virtualdub saying “Error initializing audio stream decompression” or Sony’s Vegas showing “Stream attributes could not be determined” will not occur and these will open the audio without associated problems.

      Testing out MSI’s Afterburner as a game recorder and using the built-in MJPEG codec that comes with the program, I fired up some Hitman: Absolution, turned up everything to Ultra, captured some clips and put them together, uploaded it to YouTube, and collected some results with everyone:

      This video compilation is a test of a few things:
      1) Hitman: Absolution’s performance while maxed out (Ultra Settings in game Options)
      2) Capture quality of MSI Afterburner and performance/lag of using it
      3) H.264/AVC compression quality maintainability
      4) Youtube’s quality maintainability

      Recorded with:
      MSI Afterburner
      – v.2.3.0
      – MJPEG codec, “Full Frame”, 80% quality, 30fps
      – Audio automatically records into PCM (“Uncompressed”) format

      Recorded Game: 
      Hitman: Absolution @ 1920×1080 (1080p)
      – “Ultra” settings (Preset)
      – Anisotropic Filtering set to 4xAA
      – “Texture Filtering Quality” set to High Quality (i.e.Off/NoFiltering) in Control Center

      – “Morphological” Anti-Aliasing (MLAA) setting (AMD/ATi) set to ON
      – “Surface Format Optimization” set to OFF in Control Center (AMD/ATi)

      Framerate while not recording: ~31-79fps
      Framerate while recording: ~28-64fps

      I chose some Hitman: Absolution clips for a Quality Test because it was a good example of a recent game (at the time of this writing) that includes both fast movement/action areas on the screen, as well as slow/non-moving parts, including text. It has lots of dark and light areas, high contrast edges, particles (rain/filmgrain/sparks,etc) and tests area panning as well.
      I was impressed with MSI Afterburner and it’s utilization of the MJPEG codec overall. It seems to be slightly optimized or tweaked somewhat. At 80% Quality (to be in the realm of comparison with Bandicam’s MJPEG Preset Default of ‘Quality80’), flatter/darker parts were not overly compressed – which would create excessive macroblocking and/or be too smoothed out, normally. This could be partially due to the ‘Film Grain’ effect within the game, however (seen mainly when the sky or a flat-coloured background is in view).
      In other words, there was very little Gibbs Effects aka ‘Ringing’ (“mosquito noise”) around elements such as text when onscreen, and what effects were there, were ‘hidden’ somewhat by the grain effect. You had to look closely to see it, which is still pretty good for not recording in a 100% Quality setting – but again, the ‘Film Grain’ effect in this game is contributing to this ‘negative effect of the MJPEG codec’ not being as visible.

      A small amount of Gibbs Effects/Mosquito Noise/Ringing can be seen around and within the UPC symbol  from this frame taken out of the original MJPEG recording. It is about as visible and even seems to be less so in the video itself, due to the “Film Grain” effect present in the game helping to hide it. Click to see Full Size

      The very small amount of color banding present in the original recording was somewhat generated by the Game Engine and there is very little of it (what does occur is hidden somewhat with the film grain effect the game has).
      In the recorded output, thankfully there is very little, partially because of a higher-quality setting when used and how MJPEG codec handles color dithering; color banding usually won’t be seen very much at higher bitrate/quality settings (which means low compression), but will be easily seen at lower bitrate/quality settings (which uses higher compression).
      Keeping above 80% quality when recording with the MJPEG codec [I recommend recording at 90% if your system can handle it, as most games do not have the Film Grain effect present in Absolution to help hide compression artifacts, such as color banding, flat color/area macroblocks and Gibbs Effects] if you have the space, it should leave you satisfied with easily-editable captures.

      ²**Quality Test Comparison – Four examples of various Quality Settings (90%, 70%, 50% and 30%) when using MSI Afterburner’s MJPEG Codec in Hitman: Absolution. The differences are most apparent in the middle section, the bricks that the police officer is standing on, and the people milling around to the left of the gazebo, both areas showing colour loss (Posterization) and detail loss (Quantization), more obvious in the 30% sample (bottom). All sources were original output frame extractions from 1080p recordings.
      Click to see Full size

      [A quick note here that MSI Afterburner’s output/recording seems to be somewhat darker than other game recording programs. It even states this in it’s own Options, “captured video may appear darker than you see it while gaming” and offers a checkbox that will apply Gamma Correction. Since this article is more about MSI’s MJPEG optimization and utilization (performance and ability to maintain visible quality), this ‘darker recording’ will be explored further in a future Game Recorder Comparison article]

      For people trying out any game recording software and finding your recordings are choppy/laggy on playback (that is, when you are looking at the generated/recorded file), you should find that if you use a player/viewer that has Acceleration (GPU, videocard, DirectX processing), it should play back much more smoothly. If your system does not have this option, you can also try converting what is captured to another file temporarily, one with a smaller bitrate/size, and you should then find it will play back that converted file just fine (especially when recording with lossless/high-bitrate codecs).



      It was interesting to do some side recording with Afterburner’s included RTV1 codec as well*
      The Riva Tuner Video codec is an iteration related to older codecs such as Indeo Video and S3TC compression techniques. It is similar to MJPEG and it seems to have very little effect on performance while recording – even performing slightly better than MJPEG at times, which was a nice surprise. Unfortunately, it suffers from ‘color banding’ (Color Quantization/Posterization) and the result is apparent lower quality, even at high bitrate/quality settings. Although it may not be as obvious in the below comparisons (depending on the settings of your monitor/colors/brightness), and while it certainly does not ‘destroy the quality overall’ in the game recording, in the captured video the color banding can be very distracting, especially when it includes motion through the color and light changes in an area as you move through it [it may not be to everyone, of course]. The size of the file produced is quite a bit larger than when recording with the MJPEG codec as well, but more on that in a future article..

      *As this article is mainly a Test of Afterburner’s usage of the MJPEG codec, a future Game Recorder Comparison article will include the RTV1 codec found in MSI’s Afterburner and cover it in more detail than here

      ¹**An example of the RTV1 codec’s problem with Color Quantization (‘color banding’). This frame is extracted directly from a 100% Quality RTV1 codec recording (Batman: Arkham City Benchmark @ 1080p). The areas that contain the most obvious color banding problem have been highlighted with green circles.

      If you are having problems with Color Banding that is not in the game itself, try to use a higher-bitrate setting (higher quality) for the codec you are recording with, resulting in lower compression and lowered loss of details, if you can do so.
      [With the RTV1 codec, it appears that it will still remain a little, no matter what…]


      Getting back to MJPEG testing with Afterburner, framerate was maintained close to non-recording performance (at ~30-60+fps for this game) when recording. I usually used MSI’s Afterburner only as a monitor/controller for the videocards installed and captured with another program such as FRAPS or Bandicam. Using MSI Afterburner alone and having to run one less application in the background to capture no doubt had at least some sort of streamlining affect on performance. It felt that way, slightly.

      Clear, crisp textures can be seen in this frame taken from the original MJPEG capture.
      MSI’s Afterburner and it’s utilization of the MJPEG codec seems to be even slightly superior to Bandicam’s implementation of it. [Hmm..something that must soon be tested!]
      Click to see Full Size

      The Average bitrate of the original MJPEG captures was about 30Mbps up to 70Mbps, which meant a writing stream to the disk of up to 8MB/s, which almost any hard drive can handle (recorded onto a drive capable of 150MB/s at the time).
      The original generated recording files were about twice the bitrate and size of the final MPEG-4 compressed file uploaded to YouTube, the final file weighing in at about 600MB with a bitstream of 25Mbps on average (it is assumed that almost everyone will compress recorded material into a final output video compilation file of 8-20Mbps or so, for uploading to YouTube/Vimeo/etc (Blu-Ray’s standard bitrate is 36Mbps and most video editing application presets go up to 20Mbps by default).
      This final utilized bitrate, with the efficiency of H.264/AVC, manages to keep most of the detail that was in the original MJPEG recordings, although sadly, most of the finer detail is lost after uploading, as can be seen in the screenshot comparison below:

      Originally used in an earlier article testing out MJPEG on Diablo3 with Bandicam, this screenshot shows examples of the detail loss after uploading to YouTube, when the video is played back at 1080p and 720p. Click to see Full Size 

      What was more disappointing was that YouTube feels the need to overly re-compress uploads. Much of the quality is lost, especially things like the film grain, one of the ‘first things to go’ in temporal video recompression. For instance, at 1:03-1:08 there is visible grain effect maintained in the settings I chose for the final compressed output file, keeping most of the grain from the original MJPEG recording from Afterburner. In the YouTube Video Player after uploading, it can be seen that much of that grain is lost. Another example of this is the dense cornfield against the much flatter sky textures at 1:30-1:36. I kept the complexity of the cornstalks and hard contrasts of the plant details versus the sky on purpose, yet after YouTube’s recompressing of the video, the result is blurred and smoothed details that were not like that in the recorded MJPEG video or the final H.264/AVC high-quality video output/final compress. I will attempt other uploads of the data at various settings for experimentation and put it just below this paragraph when an upload does not lose much of the finer details I wish to share**. I understand they must do it to save space (no doubt people upload huge, ‘FRAPS-original’ size files and recordings sometimes), it is merely unfortunate. At least it then becomes an example of what happens to some of the quality and detail once uploaded to YouTube (the extracted frame above, for example, is from the original MJPEG recording produced by Afterburner). There seems to be no use, at this time, to attempt to upload extremely high quality/fine detail. 

       The file originally uploaded to YouTube, the results of the MSI/MJPEG Quality Test, was previously compressed with a bitrate of 25Mbps. While this bitrate, using high-quality H.264/AVC codec settings, was enough to maintain details such as Film Grain and high contrast edges, much of this detail was lost after YouTube recompressed the uploaded file. 

      **Another, higher-bitrate excerpt [in an attempt to compensate for YouTube’s recompression] of the original MSI/MJPEG video capture:

      This video then, is an attempt to compensate for YouTube’s recompression and data loss, by uploading a video stream with a very high bitrate (an average of 60Mbps, up to 80Mbps, higher even than the original recorded data). As such, the duration is much smaller, a mere excerpt of the original intended upload.

      Result: Even when a video stream is uploaded with the much higher bitrate, even when the original captured file is uploaded, even when I rendered the capture to a 2160p (4K UltraHD) file and uploaded that to YouTube, YouTube’s recompression of the uploaded material (while still watchable) loses far too much detail from the actual upload – at least for high-detail evaluation of a game recorder’s produced video streams. This is unfortunate. For now then, I will try to always show frames (screenshots) extracted from the original captured files created by game recording applications in Quality Tests…

      Turning up the Recording Quality setting to 100%, the bitrate for MJPEG jumps up to over 275Mbps (over 30MB a second of file size being written to the drive). Quite a jump – and at that bitrate, the size becomes comparable to a YUV codec (or a FRAPS 1080p half-size recording) easily – but the quality ramps up as well. Color dithering and loss of detail is surprisingly near-negligible at 100% Quality with this game, yet the resource demand for using the MJPEG codec [especially MSI’s optimization of it] seems to remain small, as MJPEG was already a lightweight codec with somewhat smaller processing being done, to begin with. Today’s powerful videocards and CPU’s should be capable of pumping out a sequence of lightly compressed JPEG’s in a single file [no pun intended] without breaking a sweat. As long as your system isn’t chugging along already, adding some MJPEG capturing shouldn’t affect it very much. For those of you with slightly older systems with trouble recording in other codecs, give MJPEG a try, it should record smoother for you.

      Overall, well done MSI.  /clap

      If anyone is looking for a completely free Game Recording program (it might have even come on a disc with your videocard, as mine did) look no further than MSI’s Afterburner. Keeping the settings relatively high [especially with the MJPEG codec, to keep compression artifacts low] and/or doing your own tests to see what looks ‘good enough’ for you, I suspect many people will be happy (if you aren’t already) with using Afterburner and the low-resource-demanding and editing-friendly MJPEG codec to record your gaming adventures.

      Please note dear reader, that I am not saying “This codec is the best one to record with” or “use this one only”. I am merely showing that it is possible, or how to tweak it for quality or file size, as to your own personal tastes. There are many codecs out there to choose from when game recording and although some are more apt for certain types of games than others, overall it is your own choice to do with as you wish – do a few short tests and use what you prefer.

      Have fun recording with MSI Afterburner and the MJPEG codec – and See you in the games!




      [Note: As noted throughout this article, this testing of MJPEG with Hitman:Absolution alone is not a full test of MJPEG quality maintenance potential, as this game utilizes a “Film Grain” effect, which hides some of MJPEG’s weaknesses in maintaining Quality. In a future post (Part II), a more in-depth examination of MJPEG as a video game recording codec, using other games and utilities, will be actualized. See you then!]

      My trip to Vietnam Cont….

      I finished the organization capacity assessment of the 5 local civil society organizations (NGOs) in Vietnam. They are all working or trying to work in a “rights” based approach. The main services of these local NGOs are focused towards marginalized groups, ethnic groups etc. However this is not what the Government wants; they prefer them to work on a needs based approach.

      They have therefore come up with a way to allow such organizations to work on a slightly different rights based approach. However this is a structured method which can be monitored by the Government. This is how it is set up:

      All international non governmental organizations (INGOs) have to be registered with the ministry of foreign affairs under “VUFO” – Vietnam Union of Friendship Organization. VUFO is the organization which deals with the administration of INGO policy and compliance as it were. Under VUFO they have what is known as the NGO Resource Center which deals with some operational issues as well as help set up working groups under thematic areas. (E.G: HIV AIDS, Gender, LGBT etc.)

      All/most (there can be exceptions) rights based local non governmental organizations are registered under “VUSTA” – Vietnam Union of Science & Technology. VUSTA is the organization which deals with the administration of local NGO policy, compliance and deals with the operational issues as well as help set up working groups for thematic areas.

      Both types of working groups in theory are independent; however they can have representatives from ministries, other government agencies, communist party advocacy committee etc. in addition to like minded NGOs and INGOs.

      Through these working groups research based policy alternatives (advocacy and lobby for rights based services & opportunities) are submitted to each relevant ministries. This is then passed on to the cabinet of ministers. Based on the agenda of the National Assembly cabinet may submit these policy alternatives to the assembly who may or may not approve, amend or adopt these policies. It sound quite easy but in practice this is a long process.

      Many organizations do not have long term resources to sustain this type of process. However based on authority levels at different levels/branches of the government some organizations are able to get the corporation of the government to deliver right based services themselves or through quasi government agencies.

      The “local NGO” in general is a relatively new phenomenon in Vietnam. They tend to be small and with low capacity. They have the potential to play a key role in delivering services to special interest groups and ethnic minorities in Vietnam. There are some clear examples where the government has allowed the use of this method effectively in isolated cases.

      There is a significant difference to how international & local NGOs operate in Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia, China, Mongolia & Myanmar. They have learned to operate within the service gaps of these socialistic countries and they are beginning to get noticed for the excellent work done, by their governments and civil society in general. However, they too face some of the most common issues such as resource mobilization, retention of staff, planning, budgeting, monitoring etc. faced by NGOs the world over.

      Now about Hanoi; it is indeed a busy city and one that is growing rapidly I really like visiting Hanoi and the friendliness of the people of Vietnam. I visited most of my favorite cafes and bars which I patronized on my previous travels to Hanoi. Everywhere you look you see construction sites (Except central Hanoi) these buildings are mixed developments like what you saw in Dubai several years ago. They are still to go in for developments such as Dubai Marina, Dubai International Financial District; I counted over 40 cranes on the drive from the airport to my hotel. They do not seem to be affected as much as the others in terms of the global financial crisis.

      Walking through the streets of Hanoi I noticed something unique to Vietnam (I think). Most of the Hanoi streets are dotted with Café’s and restaurants. With the vast majority of the Vietnamese using motorbikes for travel, each one of the establishments have something resembling a valet parking for those patrons arriving at the establishment in their motorbikes. The parking attendants use a white chalk to mark on the seat of the motorbike the number of bikes parked in the day / rider / owner / and parking sequence. When patrons leave the parking attendants starts moving the motorbikes closer to the entrance (perhaps for tips) and it is done on a continues basis. I was fascinated by this as my experience in other parts of the world is that they put up a huge sign saying that parking is at your own risk; and they are only interested in what you spend at the establishment and keen to get you out as soon as they can so that another patron can be served. Hope this continues in the future as well.

      I will be flying home tomorrow and will prepare for 3 more assignments which have simultaneous time lines. Organization Capacity Assessment of research & policy advice organization in South Asia, Organization Capacity Assessment of 5 local NGOs in Indonesia. Organization Capacity Assessment of 4 branch offices in the east of Sri Lanka.

      Battlefield Play4Free – PlayTesting The XM8AR LMG (3 Full Rounds – Myanmar, Dalian) Raw Gameplay [Unedited] Gameplay Video

      Battlefield Play4Free is a Free-To-Play title, where it doesn’t cost anything to join in, but you can purchase weapons, armor, clothing and other items for Real Money by purchasing Tokens (now called Play4Free Funds) that you can then use in the in-game Store. There is also a nice feature where you can win prizes (weapons, armor, clothing, etc) from a game called The Daily Draw, where you choose a card from a random draw of eight and it will generate an item for you.

      The items range from temporary one-day use weapons and clothing, to seven day usage, to permanent items your character (Soldier) can use in the game forever (for example, a scope that can be attached to a gun for that soldier for all time). This is great for those who can’t afford to purchase many in-game items, as it not only offers the possibility of getting some great gear ‘forever’, it also gives a nice preview of a weapon, mod or clothing, so that you can see what it will look like/feel like, if you decide to splurge and purchase it for yourself (supporting the game and developers as well) sometime in the future.

      I recently won the XM8AR in The Daily Draw (for one day of use) on my Medic and thought I’d try it out and see how it felt and quickly write a post about it [I’ll call these PlayTests]. I am not a gun expert or know a lot about the statistics of the guns, but I will discuss briefly here how the gun actually feels and plays, especially compared to the Medic default, the MG3 Light Machine Gun. I played a few rounds with XM8AR LMG and recorded the first three full rounds. Here they are, shared unedited for you [a ‘Raw Gameplay’ video]:

      Recorded with: Bandicam @1080p (HD) using the x264/H264/AVC Codec
      Recorded game: Battlefield Play4Free (MMOFPS, a F2P game/Microtransactions)
      Recorded levels/maps: Myanmar (Jungle, Assault), Dalian Plant (Rural Industrial Port, Defense then Attack)

      [YouTube did something with the Aspect Ratio of this video and I had to use a command in the Tags section to fix it. Let me know if anyone has problems viewing this video properly]

      Normally locked until Level 15, the XM8 felt great to use on my Level 10 Medic. It’s ammo box is a little smaller at 60 rounds (vs. the default Medic’s MG3 having 80 rounds), but it never felt ‘cramped for shots’ and didn’t feel like it took too long to reload.

      The XM8AR Light Machine Gun is normally locked and cannot be used until your Soldier is Level 15, unless it is bought outright or won in The Daily Draw. Click to see Full Size

      The nicest thing about the XM8 was the accuracy. You could really tell you were going from the “Low” rating of the Medic Default MG3 to the “High” rating of the XM8AR.

      Comparison of basic stats between the default Medic gun, the MG3, and the XM8AR

      Looking down the sights, the three-prong irons of the front sight are quite thin and easy to line up in the view of the rear sight, which is in the form of a circle. There is only a little bit of a pull up and slightly to the right, but the recoil is very small and easy to compensate for once you get used to it. I even felt comfortable shooting from the hip and at a distance because this gun felt so darn accurate compared to the starting weapon for a Medic.

      The thin front prongs of the iron sight feel easy to line up for targets farther away and the XM8AR feels like it is very accurate, as can be seen by this Headshot from across a courtyard in Myanmar. Click to see Full Size

      An all around great gun, it was fun as hell to use for a day. For only 300 Credits you can try out for a day of play, too. If you have 1250 spare Play4Free Funds you can purchase it permanently. It is a nice accurate gun to run with and may be worth it. Try it out for yourself sometime.

      Have fun and See You In The Game!

      Disclaimer: Any gameplay videos or animations uploaded are only one example of one possible path of game play and is not representative of the gameplay experience of the entirety of the game material as it is non-repeatable in exactness (movements, actions, viewpoints, etc) to a high degree of accuracy (especially in regards to online multiplayer play and interactions) and therefore is not a representation of a large portion of the game content (this includes complete Walkthroughs/Playthroughs, Raw Gameplay Footage and Tutorials). All material and content uploaded attempts to respect copyright and is presented for Educational and Entertainment purposes only, utilized under Fair Use and can be construed as Free Advertising. No copyright infringement is intended and cannot be inferred. Any possible representation approaching any infringement, to those seeking infringement action, requires double notification and will be honoured by permanent removal of the infringing material. This information exists for entertainment and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical attention.

      Choose Your Poisons

      Food additives vary tremendously in character, from diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic female hormone used to stimulate cattle growth by 15 percent and boost efficiency of feed by 12 percent, to butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), an antioxidant used to retard or prevent rancidity and flavor deterioration. Then there is glycerol monostearate, an emulsifying agent derived from partial decomposition of fats, which is used in making ice cream, and a wide variety of artificial coloring compounds (there are now thirty-three permitted in Britain, only nineteen in the EEC, ten in the U.S., and four in the U.S.S.R.). Much of our animal food is laced with antibiotics, which are given to retard meat spoilage. They are also used to suppress evidence of disease in animals that are raised in adverse circumstances and are, therefore, prone to illness. They offer no nutritional benefits.

      There are three main ways that food additives can be threats to health: they can be carcinogenic (tending to produce cancer), teratogenic (tending to harm the unborn child in the womb), and mutagenic (tending to produce changes in the gene pattern which can be passed on to future generations). One can add the danger of producing genetic changes in the cell material which promote early aging in the body—of particular concern to a woman intent on preserving her youthfulness and good looks.

      Diet Start

      Government agencies try to regulate the safety of additives in fabricated foods, but judging from the Canadian and American records of failure and the number of permitted additives that have in recent years been suddenly whisked off the market, this is an impossible task. Only 60 percent of the additives used in Britain have been tested at all and even then only for acute toxicity—that is, to determine whether or not they bring immediate adverse reactions to an organism ingesting them—not for teratogenicity nor for possible genetic effects. In fact, there is simply no way for them to be tested. The tests that are done are carried out on animals, not humans, and as the thalidomide tragedy showed, a substance can appear quite safe from teratogenic effects in laboratory animals, yet result in tragic consequences for a human fetus.

      But even our methods of testing are outdated. According to Ross Flume Hall, this is because we have all our assumptions wrong. “Both the standards of nutrition by which these foods are judged and the methods of toxicology used to determine their safety are outmoded nineteenth- century models,” he says. Nineteenth-century nutritional theory is based on the notion that all we need from food is protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals regardless of their source. It is unaware of the interrelationships in natural foods, and of the implications of possible nutrients as yet undiscovered (as with fiber until fifteen years ago) which may be vital for good health. “This limited concept of what constitutes nourishment persists,” says Hall, “even though it has been completely outmoded by the enormous advances in understanding of cell and molecular biology.”

      The nineteenth-century toxicology still practiced today assumes that each chemical tested has its own level of toxicity. As long as one’s consumption of that chemical remains below that level, it says, one is safe. It gives no consideration to how different chemicals, tested separately, affect an organism when they are consumed together; nor is any thought given to the cumulative effects of taking a substance regularly over the years.

      “What we are beginning to realize,” says Hall, “is that not only can chemicals poison in the short term, they can also cause long-term subtle and undetected changes in personal biology. These changes can show themselves in devastating ways such as cancer and other degenerative diseases and birth defects.”

      Food additives are not the only problems with convenience foods either. Their simple nutritional worth is highly questionable. For in addition to their lack of fiber (natural fiber is largely removed in the manufacture of convenience foods), government surveys in Canada and the United States—where 80 percent of food eaten is now factory-produced —show that in spite of the great wealth of these countries and the availability to the public of a vast variety of foods, in general people are not getting enough vitamins and minerals in their diet. This is in large part because so many of the nutrients are lost in processing.

      Researchers at Rutgers University experimented with frozen chicken pies to see what vitamin loss, if any, had taken place in the processing. They chose vitamin C levels. To their amazement, researchers found no vitamin C whatever in commercially prepared frozen pies. Then they added vitamin C to the pies and refroze them. When they were reheated two days later, three quarters of the vitamin had disappeared.

      A random sampling of 6.5 million elderly people in Britain, in an investigation sponsored by the Ministry of Health, revealed that four out of five were suffering from vitamin deficiencies—a factor that is probably responsible for a large number of illnesses, including many mental disorders suffered by the elderly. According to Dr. Geoffrey Taylor, who has made a long study of the problem in Britain, “There is every reason to believe these deficiencies are present in other age groups of the population as well.”

      These are a few of the reasons why the Lifestyle Diet does not include convenience foods. For lasting health and beauty you need the very best complement of nutrients you can get. The McCarrison Society, an organization of doctors and dentists in Britain dedicated to the study of the relationship between nutrition and health, issued a directive that expresses it very well: “Food should be left as close as possible to its natural state. It should be grown on healthy soil. Stored, canned, packaged or precooked food should, whenever possible, be replaced by fresh food. The protective value of a wide range of fresh vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy produce is particularly important. Cereal carbohydrates should not be refined and sugar consumption should be at an absolute minimum.” These are the basic principles of the Lifestyle Diet. Now let’s see how to put it all into practice.

      ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN STYLE ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN STYLE

      After a look at the pictures in this charming crib Scandinavia, we can only guess at the last, this apartment has no space. You’ll probably be surprised to know that in reality, the total area of ​​the house has a room of 44 square meters. Located Vasastan, Stockholm, this bright and comfortable studio seems to have everything: a beautiful modern design, function and a general atmosphere of welcome.

      ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN STYLE

      ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN STYLE

      According Alvhem Makleri & Interior, it is an opportunity that exudes peace and tranquility. The living room is a bright and social, with the opening of both kitchen and bedroom. Windows dissolves the border between the inside and provides natural light to govern. We are sure that you have already noticed alcove large enough for a king-size bed. This can be a bit flat, but the design approach used to improve inspires only the “oversized” ideas.

      ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN

      ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN

      ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN

      ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN

      ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN CONCEPT

      ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN CONCEPT

      ALL-IN-ONE-BATHROOM APARTMENT DESIGN

      ALL-IN-ONE-BATHROOM APARTMENT DESIGN

      ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT SCHEME

      DESIGN ROOM FOR SCIENTIST/GENIUS TEENAGER’S

      For today, we have compiled a series of five images that represent the Teenager’s Room Scientist/Genius. We try to choose different: we went with serious internal and sober, but also gave him a shot at the famous and very popular brown, and white. All rooms are practical, with work spaces, small libraries and shelving systems for books and CDs and fine cabinets specially designed for Scientist/Genius teenagers.

      Teenager’s Room Scientist/Genius Themed

      Teenager’s Room Scientist/Genius Themed

      Last but not least, we believe that the Albert Einstein Pictures is a required element in the bedroom of a Scientist/Genius teenager’s, although some of the pictures below, you will realize that they have a special status. Even if all design ideas have a particular theme rooms, the furniture is very close to each other to create interiors that are functional and aesthetic. Take a look!

      Teenager’s Room Scientist/Genius Themed

      Teenager’s Room Scientist/Genius Themed

      WORKOUT ANYTIME on WYFF Greenville

      WORKOUT ANYTIME on WYFF Greenville

      Jennifer Young and Laura Stokes of WORKOUT ANYTIME Easley were recently featured on two segments on WYFF Greenville. The segments focus on easy holiday workout tips, and Jennifer and Laura do a fantastic job talking about the different services and facilities offered at WORKOUT ANYTIME
      View the segments here and here. 

      the 2018 La Jolla Concours Best of Show award was presented to the Mullin Automotive Museum for their 1939 Bugatti Type 57SC Aravis Cabriolet.

      The Mullin Museum is a must see, they have an incredible collection of Bugatti. Probably the 2nd best collection you will ever be able to see, and probably the only Bugatti collection in the USA available to the public.

      http://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2012/01/mullin-museum-what-it-looked-like-from.html  for a quick look

      http://justacarguy.blogspot.com/search/label/Mullin%20Museum  for all the galleries from when I was there in 2012

      and for a more thorough gallery of this car http://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2011/12/beautiful-bugattis-from-mullin-museum.html  and that’s why I didn’t take another set of photos… there isn’t much reason to look at two sets of the same car.

      First Impressions – Google Play App: “Screen Recorder” by Kimcy929 [App Mini-Review]

      This article has been initially posted as Text-Only at this time, to speed up publishing, focusing on a certain issue. I will return to this posting and add more data on Quality and Performance, Screenshots and then eventually Share it on Twitter/Google+/etc… Soon™

      [This past Christmas, my father gave me a neat little tablet to play on – Thanks, Dad! I have been enjoying the heck out of it, learning what it does (cough how to use a tablet cough), what applications it can run (I can write a Blog Post laying down!) and of course, what games I can play on it, heh. I hope to give some Tutorials/Walkthroughs and Reviews on Games and Apps from it sometime… Oh wait, here’s one now! haha]

      The Google Store page for the app, with the ‘Play’ button removed [I felt it was a bit distracting, making people think there might be a ‘video to play’ here at The Blog], replaced with The Blog’s ‘G’ brevity logo version.
      The Google Play logo in the upper-left will be used to denote images that come ‘directly’ from the Google Play website/page for the app for these types of App Reviews/Posts (Unedited other than logos or helpful arrows/etc added).

      Google Play App – Screen Recorder by Kimcy929

      Straight to it: while this app did in fact ‘record the screen’, it could not record the game sounds themselves (‘internal’ gameplay audio), it only recorded microphone sounds (‘external’ audio outside the device). While this is useful for some, especially Vloggers, I was personally looking for a screen recorder for my tablet that recorded gameplay and the audio from the game, for Tutorials, Walkthroughs, etc.**

      Also, an issue arose where ANY video I viewed after installing this app (even videos I had on my device BEFORE installing it) only came up as a black screen, with the message:

      “…Video Is Playing On External Display…”





      Now, I had not enabled any such option, nor did I connect any External Displays…

      I did some research online and found many people running into this issue with various apps and devices (tablets, phones, etc). Looking at the App configuration in the Settings of my tablet for Screen Recorder, I found this app giving itself the ability to ‘draw over other apps’ (which it can do to create on-screen writing, or arrows, which it advertises that it can do on the Google Play Store page for the app).

      This is fine and these features are no doubt useful; however, I could no longer view any videos with the built-in Video Player (“complete action using > Video”) – I literally could no longer view any videos I had on my device, at all. [Even with third-party Media Players, such as VLC Media Player, simply viewing any videos was now ‘broken’…]

      Video playing of the Video portion of Videos on the Video Player that
      plays Videos was like, really broken now

      Even after disabling this option that it gave itself without prior warning (found in Settings > Apps > ScreenRecorder > DrawOverOtherApps), all videos still came up with just a black screen and that message – that is, just Disabling the Setting did not ‘undo’ the inability to no longer watch videos in the Video Player. Disabling this setting, then Uninstalling this app, then Restarting the Tablet, fixed the issue [in my case, the only way it was fixed].

      While this app does record the screen, allows for microphone use, doesn’t seem to affect gameplay performance very much, and seems to have a decent selection of Resolutions and Bitrates (eg. 1280×720, 8000kbps), also having some additional helpful things like drawing arrows on the screen, etc; it does not record ‘built-in’ gameplay audio – which I personally was looking for** – and it gave itself a power which interfered with normal tablet video viewing afterward… Not only that, but it only recorded a few videos before no longer working, with a message just repeatedly showing up stating, “Unfortunately, Screen Recorder has stopped”.

      No changing of Settings (of my tablet or the app itself) was able to remedy this or get past it [the message coming up and no video being recorded]. Reinstalling the app made it work again, but after a few recordings, only that message repeating on the screen was the result, once again. Therefore, considering all of the above [but including the fact that the app must have worked for other people, that is, those not running into this ‘Screen Recorder has stopped’ message problem], this app earned Three Stars at Google Play from me, as of the time of this writing.

      Being ‘completely free’ (No Fee and No Ads), and having a nice selection of ‘standards’ like Resolution and Bitrate choices, and having ‘extras’ like being able to draw on the screen; perhaps with some improvements to bugfixing, enhancements to how it handles itself (asking/warning what would happen before utilizing the “Draw Over Other Apps” ability would be helpful to users that might run into a problem with it) and adding the ability to record internal gameplay audio**, Screen Recorder could potentially be a very capable and ‘feature-rich’ screen recording application.

      3/5 Stars
      ★★★☆☆


      This app (and a shortened version of the above Review by The Blog (to fit on Google Play’s Review area)) can be found on Google Play, at:

      Screen Recorder by Kimcy929
      https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kimcy929.screenrecorder

      [Note: I am not affiliated with Screen Recorder or Kimcy929 in any way, and I have not and will not be compensated by them for writing about them here. I am merely a user of their application and like to help others with helpful information, when I can. The information in this post was obtained on an LG G Pad IV, and therefore might vary slightly from your own experience (Settings, Menus, Performance, Problems, etc) – but I hope that it was still found useful in some way.]

      ** More on this later… I have recently found out that Google has taken away the ability [temporarily?] to record game output AND game audio at the same time (“internal audio”) in the latest Android versions – save for a small number of possibilities on LG and Samsung devices. But, I’ll cover this at a later time, when I find out more solid details…

      My Trip to Baticaloa

      On my way to Baticaloa, This was taken on the Polonnaruwa Habarana Road today (12/06/2011) @ 2.00 PM. Wow what a Jumbo!

      Giveaway Winner!

      I had so much fun seeing what everyone posted in the Teacher Toolbox Trio linky. Thanks to everyone who linked up.

      I went to the Random Number Generator this morning, and drumroll…

      I’m excited to announce that Stephanie Ann from Sparkling in Kindergarten was the winner of the $25 Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificate. Congratulations, Stephanie Ann!

      And welcome to all of my new followers! I have lots that I look forward to sharing this summer.

      Have a great weekend!

      My Trip to Manila, Philippines

      The assignment in the Philippines is to review a Strategic Plan which has been developed with the assistance of another consultant. On first glance of the plan it was not constructed in a logical way. The SWOT analysis was not used to look at strategic options. The whole plan is just a list of SWOT elements and clubbing of current activities in to 12 areas of work and finally selecting 6 areas which they call strategies and allocating opportunities and threats that are relevant to these selected 6 areas. They have not used the strengths and weaknesses.

      The previous consultant does not seem to have a grasp of the logic in strategic planning; the need to start with the external factors that influence the organization and then move inside the organization.

      The staff of the organization also seems to be very new to planning let alone strategic planning and have an aversion towards prioritizing and selection. As usual they seem to want to do everything. So all in all the previous plan does not have a logical flow as well as the choices the organization has made in order to mobilize resources and achieve the mission.

      My task of reviewing the strategic plan was made a lot more difficult as there were representatives from a funding organization who along with the staff thought they knew everything and in reality they