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  • Reply to: Fun Indoor Inline Speed Skating Video: The NSC Experience   5 years 29 weeks ago

    They're kind of boring on the floor, not to mention painful if you're buttbalancing. So doing it on a skateboard (or - what was she rolling on in the video?) would be a whole lot more incidental fun, and may provide a much more comprehensive ab workout, just by having to keep your balance. I still can't find a more official-sounding name for this lumbar-friendly version of the V-up, but on iwantsixpackabs.com, I did find some wonderfully plain, at-a-glance animations for a variety of ab exercises. No videos to load, ads to sit through, or distracting dialog and outfits. Great! 

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  • Reply to: Fun Indoor Inline Speed Skating Video: The NSC Experience   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Thanks for the update on Jelly Bellys. Mmm. Sound good. The exercise seems like it'd work too. ButtBalanacers might be a good name but careful on any names starting with Butt, I guess.

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  • Reply to: Fun Indoor Inline Speed Skating Video: The NSC Experience   5 years 29 weeks ago
    Abs

    That second video, Secret Training of a World Champion, looks like a great ab workout, like Jelly Bellys on wheels. 

    Update: seems like it's not obvious what Jelly Bellys are, other than candy. Well that's what I get for quoting a $5/hour 'account representative' from 1998 Ladies' Workout Express. That's what she called the exercise where you sit on a soft workout bench or on a towel on the floor (easier not to fall off) and bring your knees up towards your chest (legs bent), and bring your upper body forwards towards your knees. I can't find the official name for this exercise. It's not V-ups, or fold-ups. Probably some other kind of ups. 

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  • Reply to: Fun Indoor Inline Speed Skating Video: The NSC Experience   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I have to admit it's fun watching indoor skaters crash. Surely this could be an olympic sport. Indoors and out there would be plenty of crash and burn and controversy.

    That helps get into the olys, right? So far, not. How about skating in bathing suits at least until the sport gets into the olys, then changing the rules like beach volleyball seems to be doing for 2012. Personally I like the indoor volleyball unis better than the beach volley ones, at least for volleyballers.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gp34cQPwVT4

    Also, check out some buttsliding that might have some training benefit (looks like a nice big place to skate). Balancing with no hands or skates down would be good fun workout stuff metinken. I like that buttskateboard but think in the park it might hurt more to buttburger on asphalt.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FjDfotRH2I

    Then for some outdoor fun...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKnsjMaMEuo

    No, the cars behind you are not the problem unless they become the cars ahead of you! It is the cars ahead of you (and any skaters or cyclists ahead of them) that you will want to watch out for! :o)

    Mix inline skaters and video cameras and behavior gets a bit over the line. Roadskaters are not all like that. But then video of us might be a bit boring and snoooozy. Some of us don't do it for the video but for what it does for us mentally and eventually, physically. Come join us.

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  • Reply to: Periodization and the Preseason - or: I Thought I Could Do Those Inline Skating Drills   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Oy! Talk about an off-season. I had a long time off of skates this winter. More about that later, but this week I got out for the Tuesday night Country Park skate. I noticed how funny my frame alignment felt and wondered if it was due to way weaker muscles or if perhaps my frames had actually moved. As I recall, last year my left felt as though it may have needed moving but my right felt good. This day it was the opposite. Also I could feel an injury in my right ankle picked up while working around the house over the winter. I think it's time to move the frame(s) and see if I can get the right one feeling better. I think the right heel of the frame is too far left, putting stretching pressure on the outside of my ankle.

     

    That trail by the river with fisherman is pretty nice. I remember I took an off-trail side road excursion nearby and on the way back came down a hill with a sharp turn at the bottom that made me scream. That was after zigzagging or paperboying my way down (can you paperboy down instead of up?). I took my time as I knew it was a faster/sharper hill/turn than I wanted to try to make...especially with people there to see me if I fell, ha.

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  • Reply to: Off the Couch and Into Invincibility: Cartoons of Depression, Angst and Triumph plus Skating and Biking Into the Wind   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Thank you for linking to this. Your superb write-up does it justice. And thank you to Allie at Hyperboleandahalf for creating it. When I find myself in the pits, I recite the "Are you going into the kitchen?..." part to myself. It never fails to make me laugh, which is not conducive to depression.

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  • Reply to: Superbetter & Cow Clicker: Games for Recovering From Injury or Just Getting Addicted to a Parody of Addictive Games   5 years 47 weeks ago

    OK, the website says:

    SuperBetter is a game that helps you recover from any illness or injury -- or achieve any health goal — by increasing your personal resilience. Resilience means staying curious, optimistic and motivated even in the face of the toughest challenges.

    SuperBetter creates a private, online space where your closest friends and family become allies in your adventure toward health and wellness. The game is played in two parts: First, a set of 7 guided missions that create the foundation for your journey. Then, an open-ended, self-guided adventure that you play with your family and friends in the real world-not a virtual environment-in an effort to achieve your health goals.

    I basically get that. But I think I'd rather go with the old-fashioned way of recovering from a injury: teaming up with Grace Kelly to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a creepy neighbor's wife, like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window.

    It puts me off a bit that there are a lot of mentions on the site of it being based on cutting-edge science, but none of the expected references to scholarly researchers or journal articles to back up that claim. And I wonder if having to identify oneself as "ill" or "injured" (even if not a strict requirement) might deter a lot of people from playing the game, even though we could all do better.

    Back to Cow Clicker... Says Wikipedia:

    Ian Bogost is a video game designer, critic and researcher. He is a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a founding partner at Persuasive Games. His research and writing consider video games as an expressive medium, and his creative practice focuses on games about social and political issues, including airport security, consumer debt, disaffected workers, the petroleum industry, suburban errands, pandemic flu and tort reform.

    He is the author of Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism and Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames as well as the co-author of Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System and Newsgames: Journalism at Play. Bogost also recently released Cow Clicker, a satire and critique of the influx of social network games.

    So he actually is a for-real scholar, and it turns out that the Atari VCS thing was on the level. (It also mentions that he has a child--a daughter, I presume--named "Flannery"; after Flannery O'Connor I'd guess.)

    But I guess it's all in how you look at it; "accepted on several different levels" emphasizes the silver lining, while "missed the whole damned point" focuses more on the dark cloud--as I'm probably more inclined to do. But I did get the feeling that he was at least a wee bit annoyed at and/or resentful of the people who kept playing the game and never got the joke.

    You can watch him talking about his book:

    He talks about role-playing in games, but he was also playing a role in as the creator of--what was to him a parody of--a time-wasting Facebook game. Back to my Vonnegut quote...

    And wonder of wonders, A Slow Year actually is in fact a collection (a "chapbook") of Atari VCS game poems that comes packaged with Atari console (6502 FTW!) emulation software, for sale here.

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  • Reply to: Superbetter & Cow Clicker: Games for Recovering From Injury or Just Getting Addicted to a Parody of Addictive Games   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Hey timv and thanks for the reply. Yep I agree that the piece left out a lot and I did not go play Superbetter (and yes Superbettor is what came to my mind too), but what I got out of it was that it might be useful for all sorts of people who are caught in a loop of some sort. It seems to rely on these people still having friends and family who care and also on having some personal courage, so that leaves a lot of people out, but OK. It seemed like it involved some personal and external assessments and some encouragement, honesty and follow-up. That's where it started to sound like something that might help with addictive behaviors too. I put it out there in case anyone might come across it and find it interesting. 

    Of course, the biggest problem with any game that is designed with a purpose is that it probably misses all the people who like to play games to get away from that particular purpose. Plenty of people enjoy learning from television, but at least as many seem to want television to give them a flashy thing to look at and hear noises from. In the same way, games offer another world for many, especially many who want to avoid this one. 

    Having said all of that, it was interesting to hear about Superbetter and if I get time I may go see what else I can find out about it. If it helps a few people, that is great. 

    My take on the Cow Clicker was mostly positive I guess, not so much sad. I thought it was great that someone made something as a piece of art, as a statement, and as a mindless diversion, and that it was noticed, accepted on several different levels, that he made money off of it and perhaps even helped others with it, and then brought it to an end. I thought it was funny that using it brought it's doom closer but that you could pay him to keep the mindless addiction available too. Mostly I was struck that he made something and put it out there. 

    Of course, a key element to his being able to get traction was that he had made other games perhaps of note, AND that he knew people in the game magazine industry that helped proliferate the message of its existence. 

    I thought it was funny he called it a drinking game, when it was a cup of coffee he was trying enjoy in the game, and that he threw in the word, Atari, to bring the sentence to a different context in the last word.

    Two things I've heard about comedy...comedy is misdirection and comedy is repetition. I'd take that as the first one. Of course the x is y and x is z part of that is sometimes untrue. 

    Anyway, I didn't know if he was being serious about it being for retro Atari machines or for emulators, or if he was just trying for pithiness, so I wore my pith helmet today when drinking coffee, with all due respect to Woody, dahling. 

    Which brings me to those two episodes of American Experience: Woody Allen that played this week. Good stuff and pretty much ignored the tacky personal stuff that would have been no huge surprise to anyone who had seriously watched his movies anyway. They are much about human confusion, indecision, inconstancy, &c. I'm glad they spent the time reminding me of the writing, television appearances and movies. The scandalous stuff is always easy to find on the injurenet. 

    Turns out pith was in "Bananas" when "it had great pith" and in 'Manhattan" when Isaac calls Mary "pithy but degenerate." Not sure if there were more. At one point I was really wishing I had all the scripts at hand to do some cross-referencing! 

    One of the best ones is from Max (Woody's dad's real name was Max, and several times it's used for names in Woody's movies) who admits he probably doesn't know all of life's answers, since he doesn't even know how the can opener works. Seriously. Refreshing to hear someone say they don't know it all. 

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  • Reply to: Superbetter & Cow Clicker: Games for Recovering From Injury or Just Getting Addicted to a Parody of Addictive Games   5 years 47 weeks ago

    I was confused when I read about a game to play for recovering from an injury. Then I followed the transcript link, where it said that Superbetter was designed to help with "recovery from a traumatic brain injury," which made more sense to me. But then they introduced the show's producer, who had a bad bike accident and used the program and they didn't mention a brain injury as one of his problems. So I'm unclear about it again.

    It sounds like a good name for some kind of a gambling game to me, actually.

    As for the Cow Clicker story, it made me sad. I don't know if it was supposed to or if it was supposed to be amusing, but it did.

    It brought to mind Kurt Vonnegut's first paragraph in Mother Night:

    This is the only story of mine whose moral I know. I don't think it's a marvelous moral; I simply happen to know what it is: We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

    And I'm still trying to figure "first-person drinking game for the Atari." I did some Google searches, which didn't help a whole lot, but I saw where one guy on a vintage Atari gaming forum stated that Atari VCS games are all drinking games. And I'll buy that.

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  • Reply to: Periodization and the Offseason - Or An Attempt Not To Lose It All   5 years 47 weeks ago

    So the update from me is that I skated last week with (we'll call him) Walt on Tuesday, which is our day to go as slow as the slowest. Walt has started from zero outdoor skating this year and worked up to where 10K is a normal day at Country Park. That's pretty impressive. He's always looking to make incremental improvements in his skating and skates, and he's doing just that. Next year I fully expect that he'll be doing laps with some new K2 fitness skates or maybe even some speed boots and frames...unless he comes up with a frankenskate option.

    We got in 5 miles or so. It was a good day for me to be out there and to have someone else to enjoy the time and to keep my mind off of myself and my skating. I just enjoyed it as skating and not as training. That's what is so much fun about going to other cities to skate, too. They break me out of the same loop. Skating is a great way to see new places...depending on the places of course. For New York, Miami and Philly I'd say that's true, at least. 

    Today, I skated with timv for the closing minutes of the day and we got 8 miles in before it was too dark. I realized I was going at an OK pace (for me) having not trained any. Conditions were mild so that helps. There's still some aerobic capacity left, as I finished up with a 157 ahr, but I think I could not have sustained that for a full hour and certainly not two hours. My max hr was 172 so we weren't blasting the hills fully but it was a decent workout. 

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