Thursday, 31 May 2012

Running, More Mobile Frame Zero and Diet update

First Blood to me in my MF0 game against Robin
This Week I weigh 13st 13lbs I have lost 15 lbs. I didn’t gain alot from my binge day this week but it seems to have come off sooner.  

This weekend I am heading back to a field in Derby to put the Larp Swordfighting tips I got into practice.

This week I also had a chance to play some Mobile Frame Zero and I managed to get a few snaps of the game here.

I have also started to do some short barefoot runs. I recived Born to Run for my birthday from Tracy after it was recommended to me by Ant and that aloing with some other stuff I had read has led me on to looking into running, both barefoot and in a way that makes it less likely that I will injure myself.

Monday, 28 May 2012

DnD Next and This is Thracia

I got to be part of the Dnd Next Friends and Family Playtest via work. We promptly signed NDA’s and put together a group for playing. Just before the announcement I had been reading Chris Perkins’ Dungeon Master Experience articles and have fancied running an oriental feeling game for some time. So I put together a campaign named The Legends of the Hungry Phoenix. We played several sessions but inevitably I left a session on a cliffhanger and then we struggled to get all the players in the same place at the same time again.

At the same time I had been reading alot of posts from Ars Ludi and The Alexandrian both writing a lot of interesting things around the subjects of player led,open table, hexcrawl campaigns like West Marches and The Caverns of Thracia game and it inspired me to do something similar.

This is Thracia is my campaign based on those ideas. I made an area map in Hexographer based on a region in Turkey. I gave the players a base town of Cannakale, put it near the haunted Ruins of Troy. (which so far no one has braved), and put all of my favorite dungeons on the map, as well as asking my players for suggestions as to where they might like to explore.

In addition as we were playtesting I made sure that there was at least one dungeon from each edition I could get my hands on and have been converting them to NEXT on the fly. To see how they could be handled in the new edition.

I started with The Caverns of Thracia as I had been inspired by The Alexandrians posts about it.
I added The Moathouse and The Temple of Elemental Evil at the request of one of my players.
I put in The Sunless Citadel as an Iconic low level 3rd Ed adventure.
The Keep on the Shadowfell was added for 4th ed adventures.
I used Dysons Delve  an ODnD adventure from A Character for Every Game  for an old school mega dungeon. I have also used a lot of his maps  to make my own dungeons.
I put in several dungeons that I stole from Skyrim  including the Haunted Prison and a Fort Full of Mages because I had enjoyed playing them.
The realm of the Goblin King (using this adventure) has caused some of the most interesting roleplay in the entire game. As one of the Characters (Ceri) is now engaged to the Goblin King.
I used Zak’s Vornheim book to run the session in Constantinople and have had a lot of fun using the fortune telling tables from that book.
I have also pulled several Pathfinder adventures and stuck them on the map. The haunted mansion from Pathfinder Adventure Path #2 The Skinsaw Murders. has been investigated several times but so far the others have not been discovered.

Having dungeons from every edition on the map has led to some interesting dynamics as the players choose where they want to explore. They are actively looking for older edition dungeons because the treasure tends to be better.

So far we have run 28 sessions with a variety of players and the most consistent feedback has been that it feels like D&D and the system is unobtrusive. The flattening of the power curve has meant that even if a brand new player signs the NDA and joins the game they don't feel impotent when they adventure alongside the highest level Character (currently Xavian “The Greatest Thief in the Mediterranean” played by Robin Gould)

Have you signed up for the new playtest? Go here and follow the instructions to have a look at the open playtest.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Motivation, Diet Update and Chloe Isherwood

This week I weigh 13st 13lbs I have lost a total of 15 lbs, I have now lost over a stone. My Total Inches are 153.5, also steadily decreasing.

I started dieting because I had a bit of a freak out. K8 was made redundant and it made me have a hard look at what I was doing. One of the things I wanted to do was get fitter. I also got dared into it by Ant. I took both of those things and made a list of everything I wanted to have do or be. Then I took the first step for the ones I wanted first. I spent the next few days doing the “next steps” I had outlined when I made my list. One of the things was this blog another was my diet.

So I took it carefully I started by making some small changes and I kept track of my weight and as It began to work I added more things to the diet and more things to make me stick to it.

One of the chapters in The 4 Hour Body talks about a Harajuku Moment. The moment you realised you had to make a change and did so.

One of my friends who had this moment for something other than fitness was Chloe Isherwood Who realised that she wanted to be a Photographer.  Since then she has Climbed Trees, Stalked Models at a train station and Made Tourists Dissapear.  I surprised her on Stalker book with a pop quiz about her Harajuku Moment.

Dave: Pop quiz hotshot!
Chloe *checks under seat for bomb*

Hey Dave,

When did you decide that you wanted to be a Photographer?
I actually decided I wanted to become a photographer after my first studio shoot as I had never before been able to take what I had in my head and pull it our and make it happen. I got a picture that day that came out exactly (to the feather) as I had imagined it and felt I’d really accomplished something. That’s how photography ‘makes me feel’ (doctor). It’s my substitute for not being able to draw. XD

What made you want to do it?
I decided I wanted to try photography when I was still modeling as I found that I typically never ended up with the final result that I had expected and sometimes it left me very disappointed. That’s why I decided to give it a try to see if I enjoyed it and was any good at it. I realized I just wanted to be a part of the image creation and that it wasn’t important to me whether I was in the photo or not (surprising, I know…).

What was the first thing you did towards becoming one after you had decided to do it?
The first thing technically was hunting for models to ‘test shoot’ with and build up my portfolio. I sort of did a lot at the same time, really. From that first shoot, I sent out emails to loads of amateur models offering my modeling advice for their time, I started saving money for my first SLR camera, preyed on my friends and watched a lot of YouTube videos about cameras/lenses/aperture/shutter-speed/ISO/macro/RAW/PSD/layers and all these alien terms that have now become my everyday vocabulary…

Have you had a moment when you decided to change everything? Or just one thing? What was it?

Monday, 21 May 2012

Reading List

These are some of the books I am reading at the moment.

4 Hour Body
This is the book I have taken my diet from. Full of useful ideas and emphasising the idea of the Minimum effective dose for making physical change.

4 Hour work week
By the same chap as the 4 Hour Body (Tim Ferris) this was his first book and has loads of ideas and tips to reduce your work week and improve your efficiency. The ideas in here led to me starting this blog.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by the Blogess
A mostly true memoirs of a very entertaining blogger.

The Sword Book
One of my goals this year is to become a better sword fighter, this book is one of the ways I am going to do it. It is written by Simon Wright who teaches fighting to Durham University students through the Northern Fight School.

Homicide a year on the killing streets
I got this after it was recommended in the 4th article of this series, after I ran a session of This is Thracia (my D&D Game) set in Constantinople. It is every bit as good as advertised and is written by one of the writers of The Wire.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Sword fighting and Diet Update

Today is my Birthday!

This week I weigh 14st 2lbs I have lost a total of 12 lbs. It hasn’t gone down yet this week which I think may be due to not doing any of the damage control tricks on my last binge day. I’ll do inches again next week.

To keep on the pressure this week K8 has joined me on the diet. We have a massive joint binge day planned for Saturday and have taken to writing the things we are going to eat on Saturday on the fridge:

I am using an old Initiative tracker I found at work.

We have also started taking some supplements as recommended in the 4 hour body.

This week I have been harassing some of the best Larp Sword Fighters that I know in an effort to model some of their behaviors.

Some of the best tips I have gleaned from them this week are:

(should go without saying) a lot of people you will fight do it maybe 4-6 times a year. Practice once a week and you will very quickly find yourself getting better.

Practice with someone at least as good as you if not better. Otherwise it is difficult to improve. Keep looking for other people better than you and then fighting them also.

When you practice don’t just fight for 5 mins, have purpose, set targets, at the very least have hits and track wins and losses. (it is very difficult to get better without a little competition)

Be accurate.
Don’t aim for someone’s arm. Aim for the midpoint of their upper arm, then move your target point to more valuable targets; chest, head, arms etc.

Group your shots together and attack in sets (start with 3’s).

Related Training
Think about taking up a martial art, Kung fu or Jujitsu being two of my suggestions, but anything like that will help improve your fitness and coordination.

This video has some general tips on learning:
Particularly relevant to learning about sword fighting (or any physical discipline) is the part where he learns to dance. He asks excellent dancers what they do and then watches them dance to see what they do but don’t realise they do. He also pretends to be the Incredible Hulk which just can’t be bad!

With thanks to Little Big Rob, Scott and John.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Mobile Frame Zero

Mobile Frame Zero is an Indi Game of Lego Mecha. I backed it on Kickstarter a little while ago after seeing the pictures of awesome Lego robots

Recently they have set up a website for the game and released a preview of the rules

Inspired I have started putting together some of my own companies. Now All i need to do is find another player!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Diet update, new goal and dieting in a field

It is Week 5, this week I weigh 14St 2Lbs, My total inches are 155 and I have lost a total of 12lbs and 7 Total Inches so far.

I have a new mega Goal, I am aiming to have <10% body fat by the gathering (a live roleplaying event in august) not really sure how to manage it but we shall see how it goes.

This week I have begun adding additional exercises as well as continuing to stand at my desk at work.

I spent the last weekend in Derby pretending to be a Scout and hitting people with foam weaponry. I had a really good time and found it to be surprisingly easy to stick to the diet once I was in the field.

I had done some prep, by taking some boiled eggs for breakfasts and it was made easier by having a binge day on the Saturday. The various food vans each had something I could eat so sticking to it was easy.

After the weekend I had only gained about a pound when a normal binge day would gain me 4-6lbs and as you can see from above I have already lost that, more and additional inches.

I have finished reading The Four Hour Body and am writing up a review.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Diet Update Week 4

It is week 4 and I currently weigh 14st 4 1/4 lbs, I have lost 9 and 3/4 lbs.  I’ll be doing my total inches again next week.

I have spent the week continuing to experiment with my standing desk at work, along with drinking 500ml of ice water first thing each morning, which I think is helping.

The very short version of my diet is simple. I follow 5 rules.

1. No White Carbs.
A fairly straightforward diet rule. Make sure you eat bigger portions if you drop carbs as you need to keep your calorie intake up.

2. Eat the Same Few Meals.
I can eat lean meat, veg and legumes (beans). For breakfast I tend to have 2 scrambled eggs, and lunches and dinners tend to be chosen from the following.
steak and veg or beans.
chili (With veg and beans in it, made from lean mince and flavoured with a fajita mix)
chicken wrapped in bacon (with the fat cut off) with beans and veg.
For Snacks I have been eating bacon, carrots or nuts.

3. Don’t Drink Calories
Instead I drink a lot of water, at least 4 liters per day. No drinks with sugar, no milk, even diet drinks are limited to one per day.

4. No Fruit.
Except for tomatoes and avocados (I thought both of them were veg and don’t like them so it has been no problem for me).

5. Take One Day off a Week.
I have Saturdays as a binge day. You are encouraged to gorge yourself until you can’t eat anymore. So far this has been my favorite part of the diet and any weight I gain from the binge I have always lost by the following Wednesday at the latest. On my day off I have been eating everything I have wanted to eat during the week but couldn’t. I also make sure I do a short set of exercise immediately before any large meals on binge day.

That is it and it is working very well for me.

This weekend I am going to the LT Spring Moot, so it will be a good test of how easy it is to stick to the diet when I am in a field.

Saturday will be a binge day so that shouldn't be too hard. The other days I expect to be trickier.

So if you are watching your weight, getting fit, or just interested in such things good luck and I'll see you after the weekend!