সোমবার, ২৬ অক্টোবর, ২০১৫
--Mehdi Toozhy, engineer and author
When we finally feel like life is under our control, it shakes us with some of the worst realities imaginable. We have to be prepared because life will throw many challenges at us. Things that are out of our control can come and turn our life upside down every day. The following article is about simple ways to deal with the uncertainties of life and still become succeed.
We all come across situations in life where we feel a fear of the unknown. The trouble arises when negative emotions and thoughts take over our mind and we lose the enthusiasm within us to tackle each situation.
Here are few steps to blow off uncertainty and live up to this mysterious yet beautiful journey called life.
Acceptance Can Reduce Half of Your Trouble
If you accept the fact that life is about uncertainty and you may have to face any weird situation the very next moment, the fear and the anxiety of life will vanish. Maybe not immediately, but with practice. You see, everything is in our minds. We can't change what life throws at us, so why worry? The key is to develop a willingness to experience uncertainty without trying to eliminate or control it. The well-known fact is life is filled with surprises and unexpected events. That isn't necessarily a bad thing; it is just life.
If you choose not to accept life's uncertainties, we have some bad news. Your other option is to keep negative thoughts lingering and invite more trouble.
So just accept the uncertainties and relax!
"Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security."
John Allen Paulos, American professor of mathematics
Be aware that the only thing you can change when something unexpected comes to your life is your response to uncertain events.
If you work on how to respond to different situations, you can be successful. After all, there are no guarantees in life. The only thing we can know for sure is how we will respond. And we will know that only if we practice our responses.
The most difficult part of uncertainty is the inability to plan and feel in control. Well, you can't be in control when uncertainties come to your way, but you can prepare for different possibilities.
You have to remember things will not go the way you have planned all the time. So what? What's going to happen? Heaven will not fall from the sky.
Instead of mingling over uncertainties, stand up and face it like a warrior. If you really love your dream, fight for it, do everything possible and don't give up until the last moment. You need that warrior mentality to succeed.
In most cases, one needs to only fight their own mind. Everything else will fall into place.
The mantra, "I can do it" is more than enough to get over anything in the world. If you are confident enough, nothing can shake you. If you still need to practice that kind of attitude, start with meditation. Meditation can be a really helpful tool for calming your mind. You can even meditate by looking at a glass of water while listening to some relaxing music. It's proven that water can relax us and bring calmness to our minds.
You have to know it is not possible to get over fears, life uncertainties and negativity in a moment. However, think back to a time when it was difficult to balance your bicycle, learn to swim, dive or do that simple math problem. But look at you today, you came out perfectly fine and worked through all those problems. So, just give it another try!
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শুক্রবার, ২৩ অক্টোবর, ২০১৫
To meet that challenge we can use another kind of shape, this one derived from ancient principles of drama.
In his Poetics, Aristotle defined the three-act structure of a well-written play: "A whole is what has a beginning and middle and end."
At first blush, that seems crashingly obvious: of course there's a beginning, a middle and an end! But the power of this model lies in the function of each of its three parts:
1. The beginning is a situation of relative stability, which contains the potential of what's to come.
2. The middle features tension or conflict.
3. The end is a new state of stability: a resolution that integrates the beginning with discoveries made in the middle.
The three-act structure is still in widespread use, including in nearly every Hollywood movie.* It apparently resonates at a deep level of our minds, which show a strong bias in favor of threes. Think of the syllogism, basic to logic: if A and B, then C. Or rhythm: almost all of our natural and musical rhythms are built on groupings of either two or three.
We can apply the three-act structure to the "Anytown Stadium" example we used last time. For example, at the top of the story we might set up this situation:
For 10 years now, the block of 1st Street between Adams and Coolidge has been a wasteland of boarded-up shops, broken asphalt, and weeds.
In the middle, we could introduce and explore conflict:
But when Anytown Hornets owner John Johnson looked at that block, he didn't see a wasteland -- he saw a palace of sports and entertainment.
There might follow struggles between Johnson and whoever or whatever stood in his way, such as interest groups or zoning laws. Then, at the end, a resolution:
Some passersby -- those who have lived here for a while -- may feel there's something familiar about the architect's rendering of the controversial new stadium's 1st Street façade. Those irregular arches flanking the main entrance? They follow the rooflines of old 1st Street. It's the picture, Johnson swears, of a newly thriving downtown.
This format probably feels familiar, from any number of magazine-style feature stories, which explore meaning and texture as opposed to hard news.
It can also be used for opinion pieces: the beginning introduces an argument, the middle engages with conflicting arguments, and the end resolves with a deeper understanding of the original argument.
Bear in mind that "three acts" doesn't imply a timeline of one thing after another. Skilled writers will feel free to range across time and space, touching on matters large and small. For a masterful example, relevant to our previous discussions, see John McPhee's recent New Yorker essay "Omission: Choosing What to Leave Out".
Even there, though, once you reach that intricate piece's delightful end, you'll find that McPhee got you got there via a beginning and a middle.
*In Hollywood the three-act structure is often broken down into five parts, by giving more detail about the middle: Exposition (beginning), Rising Action (beginning of the conflict), Climax (high point of the conflict), Falling Action (end of the conflict), Denouement (end).
-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
A new study commissioned by the American Automobile Association found that these tools which aim to cut down on "distracted" motorists driving" could be distractions themselves. The findings released this week raise fears that motorists who use wireless, voice-activated tools as they heed warnings about texting and driving may be doing little to improve safety. "Drivers should use caution while using voice-activated systems, even at seemingly safe moments when there is a lull in traffic or the car is stopped at an intersection," said Marshall Doney, AAA's president and chief executive.
CHICAGO (AP) — United Airlines said Friday that it has a tentative deal to combine more than 8,600 maintenance workers from United and the former Continental Airlines under one contract, a step toward improving the carrier's rocky labor relations.
বুধবার, ২১ অক্টোবর, ২০১৫
Today’s mood: The return of Congress this week from recess is bringing lots of action. Paul Ryan has agreed to run for speaker if House Republicans will unite behind his bid, a House vote on the debt ceiling will likely come this week and the Senate is moving forward with a cybersecurity bill that could be […]
বুধবার, ১৪ অক্টোবর, ২০১৫
Reasons A Triathlon Should Be On Your Bucket List
The Seven Reasons You Should Get Off Your Ass And Try A Triathlon
I know, I know… It’s a really long race and you’ve never thought of yourself as an athlete. Or you train every day but you hate running. You’re afraid of sharks. You never learned to ride a bike. You don’t have enough “free time on your hands.” I get it. There are endless excuses not to do a triathlon. Above all is that a triathlon is flat out difficult and scary. But there are just as many good reasons to do one (not to mention bragging rights). That’s exactly why you should pull your balls out of your purse and do one. I did. Here’s what I learned:soulcalchels.com
You ARE healthy! Working in fitness I’ve met so many humans with athletic gifts. I’ve also met many with serious limitations; missing limbs, paralyzed by trauma or crippled by disease. Yet nonetheless, they pushed themselves daily, far beyond what their physical limitations allow. I was and am, inspired by these people. Because I love a good adventure and I live for exercise, I decided to do the one thing I was afraid of. Something I thought I was incapable of — well, there’s marriage, but that’s another story. So I took myself out of the comfort zone and signed up.
You Have The Time: My life is extremely busy. I thought finding the 5-10 hours a week necessary for training would be impossible. Once I committed to making the time those hours magically appeared. Do you lose some sleep and the casual #SundayFunday? Sure. Are there times when it feels like all work and no play? Yes. Less time for Instagram? Absolutely. But after my triathlon I liberated an extra 5-10 hours a week that now go to my passions and new goals. Plus the amount of mental clarity and personal intimacy I developed was priceless.
Physical Change: Sure you get in the gym with the same routine a couple times a week. When’s the last time you noticed a difference? Nothing changes your body like cross-training. Your ass gets higher and tighter. Thighs and calves get more toned (boy, do I love thick strong thighs on a man). Abs peek through or shred to a whole new washboard level. Your lats get huge and give you that super man body, and you skin glows from the daily detox by sweating like a nun in a cucumber patch.
Mental Strength: When you’re hundreds of yards out in the open ocean with no life vest, or 20 miles into your ride, you quickly realize that there’s no one there to rely on but yourself. Then you discover YOU actually have YOUR back. Every time you train you surprise yourself by learning something new about the sport, new about your insecurities, and just how capable you really are. Quickly you realize your body has become an efficient, well-oiled machine. Best of all, you’ve trained your mental game strong enough to get you through this insanely challenging task. If you think a triathlon is physical, you’re wrong. It’s mental. “Whether you think you can, or you think can’t - you’re right.” Henry Ford knew a thing or two about a thing or two.
Sense Of Purpose: I have donated to countless non-profits and worked with many charity events, but there is something profound about being the one actually DOING the work. Sweat equity is real. For my triathlon I participated with a group called Team in Training. We raised money for leukemia and lymphoma because, well… fuck cancer and philanthropy feels good. I was blessed with a strong and capable body, so when my endurance ran low and my courage drained, I swam for the ones who will never see the ocean again. I rode for the kids that will never feel the freedom of a bicycle and I ran because I have all four limbs. All I had to do was keep moving and my purpose became more than just a hashtag. When’s the last time you could say that?
Fear Is Fake: Fear only appears real until you’ve conquered it. Face it. Fear prohibits you from living your full potential. It holds you back from experiencing the true power of the mind/body connection. Once conquered, you’re left feeling proud and confident. That’s something tangible you can take with you. And let’s be real, confidence is one of the sexiest qualities a man can exude. Not to mention you may have fought off a shark or two. The ladies will love that (a little fabrication never hurt anyone).
Happiness is the byproduct of achieving your goals. So when’s the last time you pushed yourself and overcame something you thought you couldn’t do? You only live once, so try anything twice and let the training begin!
Just how lots of times have you called a plumber, only to have him bill you a pricey rate for a simple solution that you could have done on your own? You can conserve a lot of cash if you recognize a little bit more concerning your plumbing system. Review this post taking care of some plumbing pointers that you can utilize.
Check out plumber Woodlands!
Make sure you obtain an excellent recommendation or inspect the references before you employ a plumber. With great suggestions, it will certainly assure that you are employing a skilled plumber. If the experienced plumber is professional, he will have a totally equipped truck as well as be able to complete most small works in one browse through.
Utilize a product like BioBen if you are intending to leave your system turned off for a few weeks. Water will certainly still continue to be in the pipelines and could start smelling because it is stagnating. This kind of item will certainly keep the water from stagnating and from scenting regrettable.
If you have chrome or ceramic plumbing system installations, be quite cautious when making any type of sorts of repair works. These sorts of coatings are very easily damaged, and they are pricey to obtain fixed. When dealing with these surfaces, be cautious as well as exercise care. If it may be far better to work with a professional, think about.
If the pipelines have burst in an upstairs area, use a tool to bore the ceiling beneath in numerous areas as well as areas containers and also frying pans under to catch the water. If this is refrained, the weight of the gathering water could create a collapse of the whole ceiling.
These fats create clogs by solidifying in water pipes. Once it gets hard, throw it in the garbage or compost container.
Routinely inspect your appliance connections as well as taps around your house for any kind of kind of apparent leaks or close-by indications of moisture. Not just do even the smallest leaks result in a huge waste of water and cash, they additionally can lead to harm to your house or even the development of dangerous mold and mildews.
Collaborate with plumbers that offer standard prices. When a plumber is billing by the hr, they do not have an incentive to get the work done quickly. It is human nature to go merely a little bit slower if it'll imply additional money in our pockets. If you can not discover a person that charges per task make certain that you are aware in watching the clock as well as their job.
Use the audios you listen to from your pipelines to assist you to determine just what they issue is. Certain sounds imply the water pressure is expensive. Various other noises can indicate loosened pipelines or small obstructions from calcium or iron develop. Listening closely to your water pipes could save you a great deal of money hunting down the trouble.
There are times when a plumber's solution is necessary. Learning even more about exactly how your plumbing system functions could save you time and money in repair services.
How numerous times have you called in a plumber, only to have him charge you a pricey rate for a straightforward fix that you could have done yourself? Make sure you obtain a great suggestion or inspect the referrals prior to you work with a plumber. If the knowledgeable plumber is professional, he will have a completely stocked truck and be able to complete most small jobs in one go to.
When a plumber is billing by the hour, they do not have a motivation to obtain the task done quickly. There are times when a plumber's solution is required.
মঙ্গলবার, ১৩ অক্টোবর, ২০১৫
Watches For The Office
The Watch Snob Weighs In On The Perfect Watch To Wear To The Office
An Affordable, Flashy Watch
I love your articles and your honesty. I'm a mid 20's sales guy working in Selfridges, an aspiring actor (doing a drama course). I’ll be very honest, I do like attention, I wear designer, but I always had a bit of disappointment showing my wrist. I own a GC & a Raymond Weil(a lot of time people told me that they love my watch, people who were wearing Cartier/Rolex). As I grew older I realised that what I own is a piece of Swiss made crap. I have less respect for entry level Swiss made.
Now, I do have a taste for Pateks, Panerais & Hublot's but my budget can't afford them at the movement. I live in London, travel by tube and honestly speaking I hardly ever see a "good watch." Rolex/Omega is the best I see, which for me is too boring.
Long story short, I want to buy a watch. There are few of them I would like to see on my wrist and be confident. When I wear a watch I should be ready to face a snob like you and be appreciated.
So the watches I have in my mind are Tag Link Chronograph, Porches Design Flat Six, Bell & Ross Classic, Zenith Star, Eterna Kontiki & Montblanc Meisterstuck. Really appreciate your time. Thank you.
And I in turn appreciate your honestly. So you want something a bit flash, but don’t have the money for anything really recognizable, and you have come up with a list of what, let’s face it, you and I both know are really also-rans. I think that given the fact that Patek, Panerai, and Hublot have little or nothing in common in any way whatsoever that you really do not yet know your own mind.
The first piece of advice that I would give you is to calm down and realize that a watch is not a two-week run in a piece of forgettable musical theatre; it is a longer term relationship (a lifetime relationship, in fact, if everything goes well) and if you are an actor, you will benefit a great deal from having a little bit of the stability on your wrist that you are not going to have in your professional life. The least expensive Panerai at the moment is, pre-owned, not much more than some of the watches you have named and for God’s sake, don’t settle for something just because you have the actor’s occupational hazard of having a gnat’s attention span.
A Watch For The Office
I am a 25 year old law student, about to start a government job in September, and will be in a suit and tie every day. I was wondering what office appropriate watches you may suggest, considering my lowly government salary of course. Any help would be much appreciated!!
Alas that I missed your missive back when you wrote to me in July, but as this is a nearly universal problem of a young man starting out at the beginning of what he hopes will be a promising professional life, allow me to dilate a bit on the subject. Here are three watches I hope you got one of, or at least considered.
First, the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso. It’s distinctive, it’s interesting, it’s got great history, it’s laudably simple and very, very versatile. Second, the Rolex Explorer. It’s distinctive, it’s interesting, it’s got great history, it’s laudably simple, and very, very versatile. And finally, pretty much any Grand Seiko. It’s . . . well, you get the idea. There are certainly other watches you could consider, but in many cases they are either a bit specific as an every day office watch (the Speedmaster Professional) or they are a potential source of future disappointment if you learn anything about watches (a lot of Frederique Constant, although not all of it) or too expensive (AP, Patek, Lange, and Vacheron should properly mark the arrival of success, not the setting out in search of it.)
What Makes A Watch Great?
I understand comparing a $1000 watch with a $10000 watch (forgive me for relating cost with value) is much like comparing a meal at the neighbourhood "causal dining" joint to the upper class Parisian restaurant owned by the same family for 200 years. Sure, both are filling and may have similar nutritional values, but the latter is crafted as a form of art by real artists and for that it gains intrinsic value. I understand the value of value. I appreciate anything that contains subtleties, detail, meaning, a raison d'être. Most of these are experienced or felt: music is heard, food is tasted, paintings are seen. My question is, what are the experiences or feelings that separate good from great watches?
The only watch I ever wore was a Timex Ironman for a year or two, nothing since then. The past two weeks I've realised, however, watches are another form of art with intricacies worthy of appreciation. I'm starting to appreciate them but I don't know how. I feel like once I finally "get" it, my interest will last a lifetime.
I would like to know what is it exactly that separates the good from the great. I drink scotch and I can taste the difference peat and 20 years makes. Can we really experience the difference a quality movement makes? I mean, quartz is pretty accurate, right? What does "innovation" mean when it comes to this? Watches have been around a long time, is there really any room for innovation? Why do we care? I've seen $1000 watches designed very similar to $7000 ones too, what is it watch connoisseurs respect so much about those certain brands? I need to be shown the way.
This is an impossible question to answer in any format short of a book. That said, you are not wrong to ask it. As you have very perspicaciously noted, there is essentially an extremely steep curve of increasing price relative to very minute increases in quality in watchmaking. Essentially, it is a matter not just of the details, but what pains have been taken over the details, and how much those sorts of pains mean to you. A fine mechanical watch, even the finest, is in most respects functionally inferior to a Casio G-Shock, and if you are looking at mechanical watches there is almost no discernable difference to the uneducated eye —even a keen one —between a Seiko 5 and a Patek Philippe. The difference, however, lies in the amount of hand-work that goes into each, which means that much of what differentiates a really fine watch from a perfectly good one is finishing. This may sound like an invitation to be cynical, but it is not. It's a matter of realizing that what a fine watch does, is put you in touch with people —with craftsmen, both living and dead, who have contributed to keeping a very arcane set of skills alive and passing them down to the next generation. Modern watchmaking is very easy to feel cynical about, and even the best brands are hard pressed to resist the temptation to cheat, because they can make more money by doing so, and their clients are largely too stupid, or too unobservant, or too both, to know the difference. The brands most worthy of respect, however, are the ones who keep doing things the right way, because they know it is the right thing to do.
Do you have a question for the Watch Snob? Send it to him at email@example.com.
NBA Live 16 is an improved game from last year's offering. But while shooting, passing, and dribbling all feel a bit tighter this year, the changes are too minor to push the total package beyond mediocrity. Some of the core gameplay modes are almost unchanged, and visually, NBA Live 16 floats in an awkward space between an outdated basketball sim and a poor attempt at an arcade classic. The series continues to inch toward relevance, but its deficient game modes and stunted systems fail to propel it off the bench and into the starting lineup.
If you consider each element of the on-court action--from the act of shooting to playing tight on-ball defense--it’s fair to say that NBA Live 16 is a much more playable basketball game than its immediate predecessor. Executing crossovers or hesitations and pulling up a quick jump shot actually feels good, with a new shot meter giving you a much more accurate sense of your player’s optimal release point. The previous gap between the peak of a player’s jump and the correct spot to release the ball has been tightened to eliminate any visual disconnect, and the smoother dribbling means you can fake and spin without always sloppily losing the ball or getting stonewalled by poor AI defenders.
One-on-one, NBA Live 16 is a responsive push and pull between offense and defense. But with two full teams setting screens, rolling to the basket, crossing from corner to corner, and attempting to execute double-teams, this smooth operation capitulates quickly into a disjointed, jagged knot. Off-ball players set strange screens in the paint when called on to hold off immediate defenders, and limited layup animations force easy buckets to devolve into odd low-percentage shots--leading to offensive rebounds that send just about every player in the paint into an odd state of shock. Maybe more importantly, making long jumpers is just too easy. I put up 56 points in my first ever Rising Star game as a mostly unskilled created player, and that was from using simple screens to create just enough space to jack up a shot.
Each of the individual systems has been tightened, but when it’s all put together, NBA Live 16 has very little mechanical rhythm or consistency. This is most apparent when running the fastbreak, where you’ll often struggle to corral your team to fill gaps and take advantage of defensive breakdowns. There tend to be wonderful moments in good sports sims when it almost feels like the game knows exactly what you’re trying to do before you do it. In NBA Live 16, it can feel like the game isn’t just a few steps behind, it’s actively working against your train of thought. Even the commentary, which features noted ESPN analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen, can come off as sporadic audio clips recorded in separate buildings.
Despite a few minor gameplay improvements, the quality and depth of game modes remains disappointingly low. The modes start with the Rising Star campaign, where you create a rookie player primed to become a top draft pick. You adjust his height, weight, appearance, and position--with the welcome addition of a specific shooting, slashing, or post play concentration available within the five traditional roles. After that, though, you just run through season after season of regular and post-season basketball without any story or gameplay variation to drive you. Rising Star is just a vehicle for you to boost stats and focus on a single position rather than on the entire team, and with the recently released NBA 2K16 putting such a heavy emphasis on story, Live’s Rising Star variation feels woefully undercooked and inadequate.
NBA Live 16’s Ultimate Team and Dynasty modes suffer similarly from being largely the same as last year. Collecting players in the form of cards in Ultimate Team booster packs still holds an undeniable charm, giving you hope that each booster pack will include some new, top-tier player primed to turn your entire team around. However, since it’s relatively easy to find your shooting rhythm, I nearly doubled the score of the championship Golden State Warriors in my first game with volatile shooter J.R. Smith acting as my star player. I still felt compelled to earn new cards, but the massive impact of one sharpshooter makes the collection process feel a bit unbalanced. Dynasty, which lets you run team operations as a general manager, is still just as bare-boned and uninteresting as last year. Setting up a fantasy draft, proposing trades, and signing free agents gives you something to do off the court, but without any real standout new features, there’s little draw in taking on the managerial role.
Thankfully, the addition of the online Pro-Am and Summer Circuit at least gives NBA Live 16 a whiff of freshness. Here, you take your created player and either run through progressively more difficult co-op challenges in Summer Circuit, or join a full five-on-five pickup game against nine other online players in Pro-Am. It’s in this wild, fast-moving streetball jamboree where NBA Live 16 has the ability to shine brightest. Sure, you might run into a group of ball hogs who prefer taking deep, contested threes rather than spreading the ball around the floor. But when my stitched-together team of diverse created players actually came together to form at least the semblance of a real basketball squad, I actually found myself having fun with NBA Live 16’s unpolished systems. Plus, this mode gives you much more reason to care about building up your NBA talent in Rising Star.
Even with improved on-court control and an online Pro-Am mode that can lead to pockets of outlandish fun, NBA Live 16 still fails to justify its existence. Its Rising Star and Dynasty modes are too underdeveloped and unvaried to remain interesting beyond the first few hours of play, and the basic dribbling, passing, and shooting tend to trip over themselves during offensive rebounds or fast breaks. NBA Live 16 is heading in the right direction, but at this pace, the series will never be able to challenge--let alone surpass--its only real contemporary.
Build The James Bond Body
Train Like 007 With This James Bond-Approved Workout
James Bond epitomizes “cool.”
He’s the consummate gentleman. He’s calm under pressure. (That’s an understatement, by the way.) And he’s one a good-looking dude.
But let’s a take a second to breakdown the “James Bond” physique:
Does he have massive biceps? No.
Does he bench 300lbs? Hell no.
Yet does he have a confident, strong, and athletic physique to fight villains like Oddjob when the fate of the world depends on him?
Today, I’m going to break down how to build that body. Follow along for the step-by-step guide to build your athleticism, your body, and your mental strength to harness the power of 007 — British wit and womanizing not included.
Build A Tremendous Athletic Foundation
James Bond does everything extremely well. He golfs, climbs, sprints, and fights better than anyone, which gives him that “renaissance man” quality.
How do you develop the same ability?
Simple. Start training that way. Instead of specializing in just ONE fitness trait — powerlifting vs. bodybuilding vs. yoga — target everything.
Follow these guidelines (in order of importance):1-2 times a week, train aerobically for 45-60 minutes at 130-150bpm (jog, swim, hike, row, bike, etc.) 2 -3 times a week, strength train with total-body exercises 1-2 times a week, train anaerobically Do 10-second sprints with 60-second rest periods Do 30-second sprints with 30-second rest periods
Aerobic exercise is the foundation that everything rests on. It gives you the ability to exercise again and again, strengthens your brain and cardiovascular system, and even helps you relax (kinda like James Bond).
For your strength workouts, use heavy, compound exercises that target a lot of muscles and teach great movement patterns. Here are a few, great examples:Squats Lunges Deadlifts Pushups Pullup Rows Overhead Presses Weighted Carries
This will help you build a ton of lean muscle to make you look like a boss in a suit. It’ll also develop the strength, endurance, power, balance, and mobility for you to handle any type of physical activity, from rock climbing to half-marathons. (You might suck at first, but with a huge athletic foundation, you’ll learn fast.)
Also, cure your slouch and look more like James Bond with activation exercises that build a tall, confident posture.Wall Slides Band Pull-Aparts Dowel Pec Mobilizations Y/T/W/L
Finally, as I mentioned in previous articles, try a bunch of different activities. Do you play a lot of soccer? Try baseball. Do you swim a lot? Learn boxing. Do things that have no carryover — it’s great for your brain and body and gives you that 007 “jack of all trades” aura.
Build A Lean Body
To look like James Bond, it’s time to get lean: cut down that beer belly, build definition in your arms and upper body, and get that chiseled face.
Seem impossible? Not to worry: good nutrition is actually quite simple. Here’s your diet game plan to sculpt a body like 007:Every meal, eat a portion of lean protein the size of two decks of cards at least. Every meal, eat a lot of vegetables. Go for variety and eat a colorful array of them. (Not “just broccoli.”) If you’re trying to gain size, add a portion of whole carbs equal to the size of your fist to every meal. Avoid processed foods. These usually come in a box. Avoid artificial fats and synthetic oils. No sodas, energy drinks, etc. Drink more water. Your urine should be clear or close to it. Take fish oil daily: three grams at the very least. Limit alcohol to three drinks per week. (Dry martini, perhaps?) Drink a post-workout protein shake. “Shaken, not stirred.”
With these basic tips alone, you can build an AMAZING physique — they are THAT important. Even if you’re already in great shape, these can take your body to the next level by dropping more fat, reducing inflammation inside your body, improving your sleep, and increasing your recovery.
If all these steps are overwhelming, however, I understand. Try this: take a deep breath, exhale, and pick the easiest step. THAT’S IT. Once you feel good about that, then pick the second easiest step. Rinse and repeat.
Once you get started, you’ll feel so much better and WANT to continue building these healthy habits.
Build Mental Strength
I love that James Bond handles high-pressure situations like a badass — even when people are trying to kill him, he throws around witty jokes without as much as breaking a sweat.
Can you actually train yourself to do that as well?
First, by following all the previous steps, you’ll be surprised as to how much better you’ll feel everyday. You’ll have more energy, yes, but you’ll feel calmer and more relaxed even in situations that might have bothered you before. (Thank goodness for good nutrition and aerobic exercise!)
Second, take steps to destress yourself. Meditate for just a few minutes everyday, read a book, take a walk, do breathing exercises, or just close your eyes — every little bit helps to reset yourself so you’re not running on your fight-or-flight system constantly.
Finally, go outside your comfort zone — the more often you do it, the better your body tolerates it. Soon, stressful situations won’t tax your stress response as much or as long. Sure, you might be a little nervous speaking in front of a crowd, but you’ll be in control of your emotions, not controlled by them.
Good luck, 007.
Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS, is a regular contributor featured in Golf Digest and Men's Fitness and the founder of GroomBuilder, the 8-week fitness program to transform the way you look for your wedding.
A foundation is laid. I choose gentle white tiles for the floors. The usual amenities--a toilet, a bed--are here. I place bookshelves and create an unobstructed view to the west to see the sunset. The next room over, I’m placing the chair that will kill anyone who ever gets to stay in this building, and laying the electric circuits that will end lives at the flick of a switch. In my first hours of being a prison architect, I have essentially become Death, Destroyer of Worlds.
Then, I realize that the first guest in this deadly room looks like he escaped from a sign pointing out the men’s room at an Arby’s. I have really become Death, Destroyer of Gendered Bathrooms.
That’s the strange duality of Prison Architect. It provides a gripping, God’s-eye view of an element of society the Sims/ and Sim Cities of the gaming world dare not touch, but it is so beholden to the idea of being "a game" that it threatens to neutralize the considerable number of strong, lasting aspects it possesses.
The base game involves a fairly typical set of drag/drop/click real-time strategy mechanics. In the game’s sandbox mode, you’re given a threadbare area in which you can plot out tracts of land for areas of the prison by dragging out a grid to create cells, showers, a yard, a common area, kitchens, canteens, the laundry, etc. Once the foundation is laid, you make the space your own by placing the required items in each room and routing running water and power into the facility.
The campaign gives you specific tasks that need to be done around the prison, but you still have plenty of flexibility on the logistics. The sandbox is completely free-form in that regard, though money is more of a factor. Keeping your prison in the black is a constant worry, and also the driving force behind the game’s hardest compromises. This isn’t a matter of building something and just letting the money roll in. If you build an infirmary, do you have enough doctors staffing it? Is a guard there to protect a sick prisoner from being shanked in his bed? Does the kitchen have running water? Do you have enough benches and serving tables to feed all your prisoners at once? Moreover, can you afford any of this stuff?
That doesn’t even cover the more socially interesting aspects of the game. Is your job to just keep society’s dregs in one place, or do you genuinely want these men to get better? You can accept all sorts of programs to improve prisoners’ quality of life, for instance, like building an area for AA meetings, or specializing the infirmary so it can provide doses of methadone, or hiring a psychiatrist to hear them out. These are optional amenities, and yet to have them there and not utilize them for the greater good feels almost sinful when the whole point of the game is to keep the prison from becoming a lawless hellhole. With only a finite amount of resources to allocate, someone inevitably ends up suffering. Prison Architect forces you to decide who that is, over and over again.
The game is intricate enough in its primary sandbox mode to allow the kind of emergent, unique experiences many games with triple this game’s budget can’t achieve. It’s not enough to build a new building that your prisoners need; what you put in it directly influences their state of mind, the general mood of the prison, and how likely it is that this uneasy society will stay uneasy instead of tearing itself apart.
That is, if that’s something you actually want. It’s also very much possible to create a place held together entirely by fear, in which full lockdowns are possible at the push of a button, prisoners can have their cells tossed at a moment’s notice, guards with itchy trigger fingers are the first and last word as long as you have the money to hire them, and a lawyer will find any and every loophole to avoid the legal ramifications of ruling with an iron fist. Riots and escapes are far more regular under these circumstances, and riots are tough to quell, even with a couple of hard-hitting police squads at your disposal.
The problem with all this is what sounds on paper like a thoughtful, genuine, nuanced take on what it means to be caretaker to those cast out by society is, in execution, a tonal mess. Right from the beginning, the aesthetic creates dissonance, with each prison’s population designed like a nation crude caricature people floating around, shivving each other with disembodied tennis-ball arms. The aesthetic would work fine if we were not meant to have an investment in these characters. But it becomes a major problem when flesh-and-blood people with real needs are reduced to such shorthand. The game even makes a point of giving each one of your prisoners their own rap sheet, noting their history, time served, and pressing needs. The longer the game goes on, the more needing to be done, the less the information on those sheets mattered.
Why bother learning a name when his next-door cellmate will have him killed in the shower tomorrow? How long he has till he gets out only matters in as much as an empty cell means I save a few miniscule dollars per day. The only criminals that tend to stand out are the ones who start trouble. And in enough numbers, they too just make up a general collective of "bad". Many a prisoner has written or spoken about how prison reduces a man to a number. It’s worse thinking that from this distance, each prisoner is a microscopic part of a larger statistic.
There’s an argument to be made about this being the purpose, an examination of how these people aren’t people but a series of multicolored pieces to be moved around and corralled into compliance with consequences you feel from a detached distance. The campaign would be the perfect place to put a punctuation mark on that statement of purpose, but instead, it’s a sub-HBO crime drama occasionally broken by comic book inserts. In the escape mode, you can play as a prisoner trying to Shawshank your way out of your own prison or a downloaded prison that feels tacked on and wafer thin compared to the massive number of options available in the main game.
The campaign’s real purpose seems to be the erstwhile, slapdash tutorial the sandbox mode will never provide. The man or woman who is actually in charge of that job for a prison somewhere in America would ultimately still be forced to face the human cost. This game dodges that responsibility whenever it gets too close to having to answer any deeper questions about what we’re meant to do for the incarcerated.
Instead, managing your prison is functionally no different than making sure your Sims go to work in the morning. It involves stats to watch and growth to measure with hard numbers. It’s a marvel of, well, architecture. There are more and deeper games out there that allow for interesting feats of building. What Prison Architect dangles in front of every player is the opportunity to see a dark part of humanity from a different, vital angle. When it’s at its best--when you’re genuinely invested in prisoners’ quality of life, creating the best possible space for people to rehabilitate, and realizing just how many tools are at your disposal to accomplish it all--it is exactly that. And it’s worth playing for just that feeling. The loss of humanity Prison Architect breeds in its players could be its greatest strength, but without even an acknowledgement of that loss, the game stumbles instead of teaches.
Narratives set within the universe of Minecraft aren't exactly new. A quick search on YouTube reveals thousands of people already telling stories using the world and aesthetics of the hugely popular game (some more successfully than others). But Minecraft: Story Mode has something those thousands posting videos don't: a pedigree in telling engaging, carefully crafted stories.
Minecraft: Story Mode comes from developer Telltale Games, a company that has played a more than significant role in the recent renaissance of the adventure game. This new game is a departure from Telltale's recent, adult-focused stories: you won't find murder, sex, or mutilated bodies here as you would in The Wolf Among Us, or get mired in the dark, oppressive drama of The Walking Dead. Rather, Minecraft Story Mode is squarely focused at a more general, family audience, offering a gentle adventure where the most pressing choice is which of your in-game friends to disappoint. This is certainly much more Goonies than Game of Thrones.
While the recent Telltale Games have hit the ground running when it comes to their narrative, this first episode of Minecraft: Story Mode feels like a slow start. The stakes, the characters' motivations, and all of the pieces for the entire series' overarching story only fall into place right at the end of episode one's runtime, making it feel like an extended prologue rather than the first act of a grand adventure. This episode stopped just when I wanted it to keep going.
That's not to say I didn't find any emotional investment in the few hours this first episode brings. There's some gentle humor here, some dashes of excitement, and a reverence for the world of Minecraft that fans will no doubt love. A lot of the game’s nuance will be lost on non-Minecraft fans, but despite the narrative delving deeply into the original game’s mythos, it’s certainly not inside-baseball enough to alienate casuals . Main character Jesse and her friends get embroiled in a mystery involving the famous Order of the Stone, a group that defeated the powerful Ender Dragon but has since split up under mysterious circumstances. (In a nice touch, The Order of the Stone was part of the original name for Minecraft back in its early days). I don't want to delve any more deeply into possible spoilers, but suffice it to say in this first episode alone, Jesse gets to interact with some iconic Minecraft creatures, visit a variety of locales, and even tangle with one of Minecraft's most deadly and powerful creatures.
It helps that the main character here--Jesse (who you can choose to play as male or female)--serves as a proxy for a typical Minecraft fan. Jesse is enthusiastic about the world she's in, excited about building complex structures from blocks, geeking out about going to Endercon-- (an in-game convention that features a building competition--), and in awe of anyone with courage enough to brave the hostile environment of the Nether. Jesse, in other words, is every 10-year-old who watches Minecraft videos on YouTube. The other characters are more like archetypes: Axel, a gruff but big hearted friend; Petra, an adventurer who’s not adverse to taking risks; Olivia, a cynical but loyal companion; and Lukas, a rival that may or may not be on your side. These characters’ interactions are pleasant enough, with some witty conversation, good-natured ribbing, and some Minecraft in-jokes helping give the episode a genial feel (what is scarier? A zombie or a creeper?). The cast that brings these characters to life are uniformally excellent, with both Patton Oswalt and Catherine Taber as the male and female voice of Jesse perfectly selling that eager, fan aspect of the character.
Everything in Story Mode--from the blocky visuals and menu fonts to the music and even the autosave indicator--looks like a direct lift from the original game. Aside from the characters having a bit more bend in their limbs compared to vanilla Minecraft, Story Mode looks, sounds, and feels like, well, Minecraft.
The gameplay, however, is typical Telltale: a mix of narrative choices (many of which have direct ramifications on how the story plays out), light puzzles, and quick time events. There are no major twists or turns in this first episode of Minecraft: Story Mode--it's an amiable journey for Jesse and her friends, and if you're a parent wanting to play this with a child, there's nothing here in terms of questionable content. Your biggest choices tend to revolve around which of your friends to support, or which character to help in given (albeit stressful) situations. Everything--so far--seems black and white: the good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, although some much needed gray is injected right near the end. It's only a hint, but it's a clear indicator that future episodes will carry more narrative complexity than this first episode contains.
But while the narrative takes its time to get to the point, there are several engaging sequences that require quick reflexes, including (skip to the next paragraph if you want to remain completely spoiler-free) fleeing from that aforementioned Minecraft big bad and riding on a minecart through the Nether. There are some sequences, too, that tie in the mechanical, building component of Minecraft proper into Story Mode. You won't actually have to build anything as you do in Minecraft (all building is handled via QTE), but little tasks like creating a shelter when the characters find themselves outside at night and using a crafting table are nice touches that lend the game even more Minecraft flavor.
It's that flavor that helps propel this first episode of Minecraft: Story Mode along, even when the story itself only begins to hint at the scope of the adventure ahead. It's a pleasant start, packed with individual events but featuring little in the way of narrative propulsion. When I reached the end of this episode, I wanted more. I'm hoping that, like most outstanding Minecraft creations, Minecraft: Story Mode just needs a little more time to build.