Monday, September 15, 2014
I'll let you explore them in more detail but I thought it would be worthwhile to mention them...maybe give more attention to each later, I haven't decided.
First off is a FANTASTIC artist reference resource. It's on deviantart.com (yeah, I hate that name, too). But the artists reference work for human and animal anatomy is just amazing. Her guide to human types is wonderful for comparing people of various ethnicities.
Look under her tutorial work:
For gamified math (available for individuals and not just schools). There's Brilliant.org which also offers an Android app (I have iPhone so can't comment there).
There's also Khan Academy. For most topics on Khan there's mainly just video instruction and discussion. However, when it comes to math, they've gamified it so that once you've mastered a skill you "level up" get badges and so forth. Only videos are found on their app but they also have math apps, as well. But be aware that those apps take up TONS of memory on your device due to the amount of videos they require.
Another gamified site & app is Duolingo. They don't have a huge variety of languages to learn (yet) but it is gamified to make it fun and easy. It even checks your pronunciation using your phone/computer's microphone.
They do have an Code Academy app but it's just easier to learn on pc. Not sure whether the app would be any good on a tablet, though.
So, if you want to practice drawing, learn (or brush up on) math, learn a foreign language, or learn computer coding these are some places online to check out.
Hope you enjoy!
Edit: forgot to mention--all sites and apps are free! Oh, yeah. Gotta love the free.
Oh, and hey! Don't forget to check out your local library's online resources! You can get into a lot of premium content for free by just using your card number and maybe a pin. Encyclopedia Britannica, alone, makes it worthwhile to look into.
Now if only I could find an awesome botanical reference resource for drawing and a site that taught music composition for free. Hmmm.....
Tuesday, September 09, 2014
My iphone is too old to get this cool new app from Six to Start, makers of Zombies, Run! and The Walk (it requires iOS 7)
But even though I can't get it, that doesn't mean that I shouldn't share it for the sake of someone else out there who can.
Like the other Six to Start apps it is narrative based. This time instead of zombies or a spy story it's based on a space mission with you as the hero, fighting aliens "across land, sea, air, and outer space".
It uses the front-facing camera for motion tracking to count your reps and track your calories.
This article describes it better than I can since I can't explain it from first-hand experience:
The app costs $4.99 in the US iTunes store.
For those of you who CAN get this app and do, indeed, purchase it--to you I say.....
Go kick some alien butt! (and get in shape while you're at it)
Tuesday, September 09, 2014
Here's another workout based on a book series.
Personally, I am so out of shape this workout isn't even an option for me at this point. But, hey, that doesn't mean there aren't other sparkers who are at the place where they can do this workout.
And who doesn't want to be as fit as Katniss Everdean?
So here's how Shape.com trains you like a tribute:
Created by Jennipher Walters:
The Hunger Games-Inspired Workout
After warming up, perform Circuit A (four exercises) three times with no rest between exercises. Rest/recover for one minute and then perform Circuit B (four exercises) three times with no rest between exercises. Follow up and recover with a cool down/stretch.
Single Arm Row
Curtsy Squat Lunge
Quick Feet Drill
Spiderman Push Up/Dip
Goblet Squat Catch
Single Leg Runner Jump
Exercise A - Single Arm Row with Rotation
Equipment Resistance band
Description A single arm row simulates the upper-body action in archery by drawing one elbow back (engaging the deep muscles of the back) and slightly rotating the torso. Hook tubing around a stable pole or door jam and place both handles in your right hand. Step back until the tubing has some tension. Pick up your right foot and balance on your left, and then begin to pull the tubing back, right hand moving towards right hip. Add a slight rotation to the right, opening up the shoulder. Perform 12 to 15 reps and switch sides.
Exercise A Curtsy Squat Side Lunge
Equipment - Dumbbells
Description To truly develop strong legs that are functional for running, jumping, leaping and carrying heavy loads, you must train them in all directions. Holding heavy dumbbells in each hand, begin with feet together. Step out to the side with your right leg, keeping your left leg straight. Hinge forward slightly but keep chest lifted with the dumbbells on either side of your right leg. Push off your right foot and immediately step back and cross behind the left leg, bending both knees into a curtsy squat. Perform 12 to 15 reps and switch sides.
Exercise A Bear Squat
Equipment None, just your body weight
Works Abs and core
Description The bear squat combines a full plank, which is fantastic for the core, and an explosive leg press. Begin in plank, then bend your knees and send your hips back over your heels, keeping the knees off the floor (spine is flexed and arms are extended). With a powerful push from your legs, extend back out to plank and hold. Perform 15 to 20 reps.
Exercise A Quick Feet Drill
Equipment none, just your body weight
Works Agility and core
Description To be quick on your feet and have the agility to change direction quickly, you must train the muscles to fire rapidly. This drill is about quickness and endurance and really elevates your heart rate. Begin in the athletic ready stance (feet a little wider than shoulder width with knees slightly bent and a slight hinge forward from the hips) with arms out the side, palms forward. Start moving your feet as fast as you can as if running, keeping the feet close to the ground. Keeping your shoulders and torso stable, randomly twist your hips (knees and feet as well!) to the right and quickly back to the center. Repeat to the left continuing to keep you feet moving as quickly as possible. Repeat for 1 minute.
Exercise B Alternating Spiderman Push Up and Dip
Equipment none, just your body weight
Description Whether pushing boulders or being able to crawl on all fours, push-ups and dips are essential The Hunger Game exercises. Start in a push-up position on knees or toes. As you lower down into the push-up, bring the right knee to the right elbow. Push back up and return the leg to the start position. Repeat on the other side. Alternate legs for 30 seconds. Quickly flip over to a seated position with the knees bent, feet flat on the floor and the hands placed a few inches behind your hips with fingers facing forward. Lift your hips off the floor a few inches. Bend your elbows and then press back up, pressing your shoulders away from your ears. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Exercise B Goblet Squat Catch
Equipment Heavy kettlebell or dumbbell
Description Most lifting, catching, throwing, pushing and pulling doesnt start with the arms. It starts with the legs, working from the ground up. Begin standing with feet a little wider than hip width with a kettlebell on the floor between your legs. Squat down, grabbing the kettlebell by the horns. With a powerful hips drive and knee extension, press to standing and pull the kettlebell up to chest, bringing elbows tight by your side. Holding kettlebell, squat down as low as possible, maintaining control. Stand back up then squat to lower kettlebell to floor. Perform 15 to 20 reps.
Exercise B Spinal Rock
Equipment None, just your body weight
Works Abs and core
Description Core conditioning is not just about a six-pack and basic crunches. Mobility and full range of motion gives your functional, usable strength. Start seated, spine neutral, with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms reaching forward (if you have issues sitting up straight, hold onto your shins to extend your spine). Tuck your chin, curl your pelvis under and roll back, placing hands on the floor and bringing your knees to your shoulders, or for more advanced, reach knees up to the ceiling. Begin to roll back up, returning to a seated position and reaching forward. Repeat for 1 minute.
Exercise B Single Leg Runner Jumps
Equipment none, just your body weight
Works Abs and core
Description Explosive power can make or break any competition and being able to burst out of the gate is essential. Begin in a low lunge with your left leg forward, right leg back and your right hand on the floor. Drive your right knee forward and up, jumping off your left foot, at the same time reaching your left arm up to the ceiling. Return to the starting position and repeat for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Monday, September 08, 2014
I don't know why but the fall and winter always remind me of The Lord of the Rings film and book series. So, in that spirit, here are some fitness challenges that run (or walk) along those lines.
I thought I'd share something that doesn't need an app and, after printing the challenge you want to participate in, doesn't need a website, either.
It's the Eowyn Challenge. Walk a certain amount of mileage and you can see where you would be located if you walked the paths described in the book series of The Lord of the Rings and also the single book The Hobbit.
This is the link to the site:
Below are several walk challenges to choose from. You CAN do the challenge in the time that they allot for the mileage given if you want but you DON'T HAVE TO do it in that time frame. It's just cool to see where you would be by looking at the table displayed.
There's also an interactive location finder which will show you where you would be on a Middle Earth map. home.insightbb.com/~eowyn2cha
In addition, you can sign up for milestones celebration groups where you earn shields for every 25 miles traveled. careydigitalstudio.com/milest
And, if you want, feel free to add this as a challenge for your group or post in the comments here what challenge you took and every time you reached another section of your challenge.
Below is the description of the various challenges and links to their respective walk tables, taken from the website:
"Walk, run, hike, bike, blade, swim - if you can measure the distance, you can do this challenge. Keep a log, and record your daily or weekly miles and the type of exercise. For walkers and hikers, you might want to invest in a walking meter, they look like wristwatches. Otherwise, you can estimate your distance at 1 mile for every 20 minutes of brisk walking on a flat surface.
If you would like to set a long term distance goal, choose any one of the following:
THE LORD OF THE RINGS:
458 miles: Go from Hobbiton to Rivendell. home.insightbb.com/~eowynchal
462 miles: Set out with the Fellowship from Rivendell to Lothlorien. home.insightbb.com/~eowynchal
389 miles: Travel through Moria and down the Anduin from Lothlorien to Rauros Falls. home.insightbb.com/~eowynchal
355 miles: Follow the path of Merry and Pippin from Rauros to Isengard. home.insightbb.com/~eowynchal
484 miles: Follow the path of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli from Rauros to Isengard. home.insightbb.com/~eowynchal
470 miles: Follow Frodo and Sam on the quest from Rauros to Mt. Doom. home.insightbb.com/~eowynchal
517 miles: Ride with Gandalf and Pippin from Isengard to Minas Tirith. home.insightbb.com/~eowynchal
786 miles: Travel with Aragorn from Isengard to Dunharrow through the Paths of the Dead to Minas Tirith. home.insightbb.com/~eowynchal
578 miles: Ride with Merry and the Rohirrim from Isengard to Dunharrow to Edoras to Minas Tirith. home.insightbb.com/~eowynchal
138 miles: Follow Aragorn from Minas Tirith to the Morannon. home.insightbb.com/~eowynchal
120 miles: Return for Aragorns crowning from the Morannon to Minas Tirith. home.insightbb.com/~eowynchal
1625 miles: Take the road home with the hobbits from Minas Tirith to Hobbiton.
535 miles from Minas Tirith to Isengard home.insightbb.com/~eowynchal
693 miles from Isengard to Rivendell. home.insightbb.com/~eowynchal
397 miles from Rivendell to Bag End. home.insightbb.com/~eowynchal
467 miles: Follow Frodo to the Grey Havens and return home with Sam. home.insightbb.com/~eowynchal
397 miles: Travel with Bilbo from Bag End to Rivendell. home.insightbb.com/~eowynchal
570 Miles: Travel with Bilbo from Rivendell to Lonely Mountain. home.insightbb.com/~eowynchal
~May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.~
Pleasant travels, fellow wayfarer!
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Ever want to make the mundane more interesting?
Or do you just want to make doing the laundry *tolerable*?
Have you ever played an RPG (role playing game) and wished your life was as interesting as a game?
This website may be for you!
And even though there's an accompanying app., those without a smartphone can have just as much fun as those who have the app because the website has even more features.
Now, the graphics aren't amazingly wonderful, but if you remember the original Legend of Zelda RPG with fondness you won't be disappointed.
They have categories of tasks to accomplish, Habits-which can be a plus or minus depending on whether you want to make or break a habit, Dailies-which can be assigned different days of the week, all days, or no days, and To-Do's-tasks that don't necessarily fit under Habits or repeating tasks like Dailies.
Each task can have a description and can be assigned a value as to whether it's easy, medium, or hard.
If you accomplish the task then you get silver which, when accumulated is turned into gold. Gold can "buy" better equipment (better equipment gives you better "Constitution", "Strength", "Perception" etc.). The qualities of "Constitution", "Strength", etc., come into play when you're in a group situation which may involve fighting a "boss". You can also acquire "life" potions if your "life" has been depleted by not accomplishing tasks.
I haven't tried a group situation yet like a Challenge, Quest, or Party so I wouldn't be very good at describing it yet.
By the looks of it, I wouldn't recommend getting into the whole group activity thing until you reach level 10 which is the level where you can choose another "Class" for your character. All characters start off in the "Warrior" class but at level 10 you can choose to stay a Warrior or become a Mage (like a wizard), a Healer, or a Rogue. Each one gets different equipment and different advantages/disadvantages in a group situation. These characters also use their "Manna" in different ways, another feature that only becomes available at level 10. (I'm only at level 7 so I'm not totally clear on it's function yet).
In the game, you can also acquire pets, mounts (pet that you can ride, like a dragon), and potions.
For those who buy a subscription ($5/mo), you can transfer accumulated gold into gems. Gems can buy items in the Market such as backgrounds for your character's avatar, other costumes, potions, food for your pets, saddles for your pet/mount, and so on. You can also use gems to change your Class after you've already chosen a different one.
Group discussions can be held in the Tavern. This is essentially general discussion for any and all characters.
They can also be under in a Party (which is by invite only).
And if you join a Guild (a group with a specific characteristic--i.e. the ADHD group) then you can join in general chat, there.
Edit: One thing I forgot to mention--if you go on vacation, get sick, or just need some time off from the game and don't want to lose your points or go away and have to set everything up again from scratch they have a "Rest at the Inn" feature. This feature basically puts everything on hold until you get back. But remember that if you're in a group situation you're points continue to be counted off against you and your team as well.
Another thing--if you have a list of stuff you need to get done or habits you need to make/break then it can help to be creative with the names. Ex., instead of "do the dishes" you could put "Conquer the waves of Grimea" or instead of "do the shopping" you could say "Brave the misty bogs of Buyabunch". I'm sure you could think of something as creative and, in fact, probably more creative. You get the idea.
Those are the basics. There are plenty other details and nuances to the game if you want to explore those. So here's the website:
Here are the app links:
Google Play App:
And here's the forum where they explain everything in more detail (look at the top links under "Gameplay"):
Now, there are some things to be aware of:
This game is essentially still in Beta--meaning it's working but still in development. There will be bugs and things you think need improvement. The developers of this game got their start-up $$ through crowd funding on Kickstarter so even though there is the option of monetization thru advertising on the website (not the app) and thru subscriptions they are still under-staffed and probably under-paid, too.
If you decide to join the game you may also want to join their Trello board to give suggestions for features. Which is here:
Another caveat---This site (as of yet) is NOT FOR CHILDREN.
As far as I can see they just have not set up the proper filters for a kid-friendly site, so if, when you were reading about this, you thought that it would be great for your 8 year old then think again.
They don't have foul language filters, they don't have group and challenge filters, they just don't have control for parents on here.
Why would they need group and challenge filters, you ask? I saw a group labeled BDSM-(Bondage and Sado-Masochism) and a challenge for those addicted to porn.
If adults want groups like that it's their business but if a young kid came across the discussions that could be found within he or she could potentially be scarred for life.
I did notice on their Trello board that they were looking into creating filters for premium accounts, like for parents, but nothing to say that those filters were functioning at this time. In other words, they're still too Beta for that feature.
Frankly, those kinds of discussions even seem to fall in the category of NSFW.
So, for adults that understand what they're getting into--this is can be an awesome site! :)
Godspeed on your valiant quest!
(My avatar @ level 4 with my pet, white wolf)
The website and app are totally free unless you want to use premium features which require a $5/mo subscription.
Now for those who would like to *balance* their life thru task completion I still recommend Mindbloom for that. They don't have an actual app to download but they do have a working mobile site that essentially works as an app. And they also have an accompanying website with more features available there.
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