Thursday, February 21, 2013

Working Out Fun

One thing I miss about the military is PT three times a week. It’s not like it was a grueling workout, but it did get you up and moving first thing in the AM, and it felt good to be in shape.  With the constant pains and fatigue I suffer these days, fitness is crucial. I try to walk when I can, and I was doing yoga for a while, but it just wasn’t cutting it. I was putting pounds back on. My husband started to say I was fluffy. This won’t do.  I’m very conscious of my weight, and have always shrived to at the very least stay within my weight bracket for my size.

So I started looking into new workout programs. We had just purchased a new Xbox because our old one was crapping out and with the new one came the Kinect.  I tried the workout game my husband got for himself, the UFC Trainer.  The next day I felt like I had been pushed through a meat grinder! It was too much for my body and my level of fitness.  So I started to look into Your Shape Fitness2012. It was one of the top rated fitness games at the time and sported everything I wanted and then some.

It’s wonderful!

I set up an objective, which is energy for right now, then set up my profile with my weight, height, yada yada… Then it flags the workouts I need to be doing three times a week. Not only can you work out specific parts of the body, but there are cardio workouts, dance workouts, boot camp, yoga, and my favorite, the Zen workout, which is a mix of yoga and tai chi.

The Kinect sensor tracks your motions and counts the calories you burn. I don’t have to feel embarrassed if I’m doing a move wrong, because I’m in the privacy of my own home. Every move is corrected until you eventually get it right. Working out is fun!

You also can keep track of your progress online, and on the xbox PlayFit App. You can get together with a friend and compare scores and even challenge each other.  I don’t have any friends on there yet, and I’m also taking it a bit slow until I get my body back into shape and I can take on the harder stuff, but if you do get it and get on there, add me to your friends, I would love to workout with you!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Rooting my KFire

I love my Kindle Fire. My husband got it for me a few years back for my birthday. It had my 300 books ready to load, my writing magazines, and internet access. I could also watch Amazon videos which was wonderful since we didn’t have BBC America and it was the only way I could watch the new Doctor Who episodes.
There is one major down side to the KFire. The OS (operating system) sucks!
This is an android device, but it hardly does half of what an android device should do, including the capability to use a keyboard. This is a big throw back for any writer. Sure I’m good with typing with my thumbs, in fact mixing it up a bit often helps with the ouchies, but it’s nice to have access to a keyboard for those fantastic sudden creative outbursts where those fingers must keep up with the words flowing from your mind.
A few months back I tried to root my Kfire, and failed miserably, turning my fire into a brick that wouldn’t load past the startup screen. After two months of fiddling with it in my spare time, I somehow managed to unbrick it. Don’t ask how, I have no clue. It was a complete fluke!
After getting it back in working order you would have thought I would leave well enough alone... Nope! I went right back into trying to root the darned thing. I read tons of how-tos, found the best OS Jellybean, The kindle fire Utility, TWRP, and went to work rooting my fire.
It took me an hour after I knew what I was doing, and I had to order an OTG cable from Amazon (2 bucks) and I can now use a keyboard with my Kfire!
I’m not an expert in roots by any means, so I won't sit here and try to show you how I did it, but I will provide you with the links I used to root my fire.
Rooting comes with a huge risk. If you do not follow steps, you chance turning your fire into a brick. I am not responsible if this happens. The people in my links are not responsible. You are responsible. If you brick it, Amazon will not help you. You are voiding the warranty by trying to replace the OS on this device. Consider yourself warned.
If your warranty is up, and you want to take the risk, I highly recommend rooting. I love it, and will never go back to that hideous OS my fire started out with.

Kindle Fire Utility: this is a must. I had some problems getting ADB to work with my vista but it worked perfectly on my Windows 7 laptop. You will need this to install TWRP, firefirefire, and SuperUser controls.
Jellybean: This is the OS I put on my fire
Lilputing: This is the post I followed to root my fire.

After superuser, firefirefire, and TWRP were installed I followed this video to install jellybean

Keyboard I ordered from Amazon

OTG cable: Basically, it makes the port read instead of charge.

As I said before, I'm no pro. I just know how to follow directions ;)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

IWSG: How PTSD affects my writing

The first Wednesday of every month is officially IWSG where writer's can blog about their insecurities about writing. 

My husband serves in the USAF, and has been on more tours overseas than most people twice his rank. I worry for him each time he has to deploy. He is the type of person to have their hand in the air before they even finish asking for a volunteer. He can’t sit in one place for too long, and he can’t sit by when there is adventure to be had. I admire him for this, but it has come at a cost.

A few years ago he was diagnosed with PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder.  He can't even walk through Wal-mart without feeling queasy.  For the rest of his life he will be on medication to counteract the effects of the PTSD. Unfortunately, it messes with his emotions in a big way. If he forgets to take them, he becomes obnoxious, always looking to pick a fight it seems. Even though he is playing, some of the things he might say come off as hurtful. When he is on the medication, he has the emotional range of Kristen Stewart.

I’ve had to harden my own emotions to counter his, so my own feelings don't get hurt. Before, I was full of emotion, fast to laugh and fast to cry, and could put it into words easily. Now, I feel I’m losing that part of me. I keep them closed off and struggle to understand what I should be feeling in certain instances.

This hinders me in my writing. All too often my Crit Partners have to help me draw out the emotions of my characters. They talk me through and brainstorm with me. It’s been a huge help in my struggle to add more emotion to my writing. Without them I could not do this.

Using the Scene and Sequel technique really helped in focusing on the emotions that need to be happening in my story. Great tool for your toolbox.

Finally, I use the Emotion Thesaurus by The Bookshelf Muse gals (This is one of my fav sites). When I just can’t figure out what a person would be doing while they are feeling this emotion I turn to this book. It’s been a huge, HUGE, help in my writing and even in real life.I have it on my kindle, my kindle fire, and my phone. It goes everywhere with me. I’m paying more attention to what people do and how they behave in certain situations, and trying to discern how they may be feeling. I’m learning how to express my emotions again, and show them through action, and I’m learning how to write about them again through my morning pages. I doubt they really expected someone like me to be using their book in such a way!

Like every obstacle, either in marriage or writing, we can either run from it, or learn from it (Lion King). I am taking this opportunity to learn to write better emotions, and learn to help my husband show his. Both my husband and writing are too important for me to give up on, no matter how bumpy the road may become, I just switch it in four wheel drive and keep on truckin.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Whew! Week in a nutshell

What a week I had last week! Monday was the reopening of the Dojo, taking it back to its roots. When I first joined it was meant to be a place where writers could get together and write, but along the way to getting its own domain it became just another writing blog. Not that the topics weren't helpful and inspiring. We had some fantastic writers posting, including myself. That's not what the dojo was about though, and it took some work to get it back to what it was meant to be. Ali, Kathleen, and I actually managed to make it better, with more chats, more camaraderie, more sprints, and more incentive to write. Sure it takes up a chunk of my day, but I’m also writing. 

So far I have added two new scenes, and am currently working on going through my checklist of suggested changes from my Critique Group. As soon as I’m done... it’s off to betas. Which terrifies me! How is it going to stand on it’s own? Is my story strong enough, or will I need to go through it once more, picking through the brambles...

This week I bid farewell to my first foster puppy Melvin. I have been rescuing animals with my mother nearly all my life, helping with PAL back home, raising kitties and puppies and praying they stayed out of the shelter, but Melvin was my first on my own. I picked him up on south 7th last year. Thankfully he was chipped and I got him back to his family, only to have them show up at my door a few weeks ago begging us to take him in. They were moving and couldn’t take him. I couldn’t have him go to the shelter. Animals have 72 hours at the shelter, if they are lucky...

Sunday a family adopted him. He was their first dog, and I was so happy they were getting such a cool little dude to start with. I was able to get him crate trained before he left, but I was sure to inform them on all my training tips and tricks.

I know dogs. I get along great with dogs... better than people on most days.

I think this helps with writing about wolf behavior. So far I’ve had positive feedback about my wolves. It’s the people and emotions I have trouble working with, but more on that later.

IWSG is Wednesday, and I have a post ready to go on all that emotional pooh that drives me nutters!