Combat Dummy Promotion

Combat Dummy Promotion-I never really know what kind of order I’m going to get when it comes to video creation and editing. Usually it’s someone who wants to sell something though, so I’ve gotten pretty good at painting people, places and things in a positive light. Sometimes it’s not really necessary to stress how nice or useful or good something is – the benefits are immediately apparent, or the item in question is one a lot of people already have experience with, so they know how useful it can be. For instance, grappling dummies aren’t hard to sell. They have one real use and for that purpose, they’re most excellent.

Recently I had a client ask me to make a video about such dummies, something that would help them to sell said dummies through an online website. So I started with the basics – that’s getting a good view on the subject, from many different angles, so people know exactly what it is they’re dealing with. This is easy enough to accomplish too, since all I really need to do is walk around the subject, a grappling dummy in this case, and take several different pictures while doing so. When I’m done with that, I’m ready to move onto more active shots.

Well, not shots exactly. Next I need to record people interacting with the grappling dummies in question. Unpacking them, setting them up, punching and kicking them are all good things to record like this. The process gives me materials to use for the video later, but more than that, it also gives me a degree of familiarity with the subject. I don’t know about other people who make and edit videos, but having a better understanding of just what it is I’m working with has always made it easier for me to produce higher quality work. Therefore, it’s something I’ve been doing regularly for a long time now.

Basically, what I’m doing is creating a kind of commercial for the product so people will know what it is they’re buying and want to buy it on top of that. Now, for other products, there’s a lot of glamour involved, so selling them is easier. Grappling dummies are big, ugly lumps of resilient material that are literally meant to be beaten upon, so there’s nothing too pretty or handsome about them. I figure I’m going to struggle with this aspect of the video, but there are usually small challenges and obstacles which come up with the jobs I take.

Thankfully, these dummies came in different colors and, on some, with special areas highlighted and colored differently than the rest of the body. They aren’t just those simple, orange torsos that look strangely like circus peanuts (and have a similar texture as well, you know the ones if you work with these dummies). I’ll be sure to let you all know how this project works out in the end, but until then, stay strong and keep busy; idle hands and all of that jazz.

My Experience With A Technology Exhibit in New York

My Experience With A Technology Exhibit in New YorkIt’s me Morgan, your geeky tech expert and as always I’ll discuss all things technology (which sometimes bores my girlfriend.) Anyway, I want to talk about a technology exhibit I attended in New York City called Gadgets For The Body And Mind. This exhibit lasted a good three weeks but I only attended the first two weeks since I had to return to my video production project that I’m working on for a new client for my freelance business. I saw a lot of geeks there but a few were actually posers because when I discussed technology topics with them, they looked clueless. Here are some highlights of that exhibit.

Someone’s Watching You With Gadgets

I embrace certain conspiracy theories and when I saw a line of popular spy gadgets that law enforcement officials and regular people use to spy on people, I was not too happy. For example, I heard about this super small surveillance camera that can be drilled inside any home appliance or even implanted in your purse or suitcase. In addition to this, an attendant showed me a few GPS systems that look like pocket calculators that can be installed in or underneath cars. I visited a seminar within the exhibit that showcased computer programs that allowed someone to monitor all computer activity and I was really upset when I learned about the latest gadgets in cell phone surveillance. Continue reading “My Experience With A Technology Exhibit in New York” »

My Top 5 Music Bands

When I was in college I worked at the campus radio station and I had a blast there because I was given the late night classic rock show that was hosted by an older alumnus for a long time. I went in the stacks and found a lot of great classic rock albums from rare and established rock artists and it was during my time at the station that I developed a liking for all kinds of classic rock bands. Over the years I purchased albums from artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Moody Blues, The Doors and Fifth Dimension. Altogether I have about thirty albums in my basement and I’m always on the lookout for unreleased material from legendary artists online or at local record stores. Here are my top 5 music:

Fleetwood Mac1. Fleetwood Mac. I must say at the start that I mainly enjoy Fleetwood Mac’s music from the years before the late 80s because I feel that by the time the late 80s rolled around, the group lost their edge with sappy songs such as “Big Love” and “Tell Me Lies” although those songs sounded okay. This group started out as a bluesy rock band in the mid 60s and by the 70s they created their signature slick yet still raw sound, especially the popular 70s album Rumours, which I play all of the time. In fact my mom, who was a hippie college student in the 70s, gets a kick out of how I listen to Fleetwood Mac constantly. She even sings along with every Fleetwood Mac song with as much joy as she did back then. On the other hand, my girlfriend hates this group. She even tried to throw away my “Rumours” album at one point but I forgave her for that.

2. Steely Dan.  This classick rock group may not have the “in your face” lyrics or the heavy drumming and wild guitar riffs like some other classic rock bands but this group sounds great because they have some of the bluesy and at times gritty sound that I like in rock music. After all we wouldn’t have rock music if hadn’t been for blues and jazz that preceded it. Returning to why I like the group Steely Dan, I enjoy the fact that they sing about some of the harsh realities of life as seen in their album Royal Scam. This group can also pump out love songs although I think they sound a bit corny. I think Steely Dan’s music fits well in either a smoky bar or at a popular coffeehouse where the wannabe hipsters hang out sometimes.

Carlos Santana3. Santana. I think it’s so funny that Carlos Santana is now getting into the shoe business with his line of beautiful women’s shoes when I think about his longstanding rock career as the leader of his group Santana. I like how he infuses funk, jazz and blues into his songs and when I think about the group Santana I think about idealistic and zoned out youngsters at Woodstock. His guitar riffs are filled with so much passion and serenity at the same time and I feel this is why he has maintained his popularity and influence. He has a ton of albums that I love but my favorites happen to be his rare albums that are not discussed often by rock music critics. These albums tend to be experimental and less commercial and the songs are even longer for my enjoyment.

4. Jimi Hendrix Experience. Jimi Hendrix Experience was a classic rock group that had most if not all of the standard elements of what rock music was all about back in the day. Jimi Hendrix had his own  individual way of playing the guitar and his singing style was a neat mixture of blues and rock spices that screamed to audiences and everyone else through his albums. Even his wardrobe was matchless in that it was eclectic and eccentric at the same time. There is one artist that comes somewhat close to Jimi Hendrix Experience in my opinion and that is Prince and the Revolution. Like Jimi Hendrix, Prince is is own artist and believes strongly in maintaining creative control over his music.

5. Avril Lavigne.  Avril Lavigne is not your run-of-the-mill pop star; she is one of those slender body bad girls of contemporary rock who reminds me of Joan Jett, Pat Benatar and Blondie during the early 80s. Avril Lavigne has a bold approach to her music and she could care less for candy coated lyrics and syrupy mentality that dominates today’s pop music scene. I like how she deals with complex relationships in her songs and she dresses in an edgy way.

My Other Rambling Thoughts on Classic Rock

Sometimes I wonder what’s up with the committee who picks people to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of  Fame. Other rock fans have felt that there are certain rock artists who deserve to be inducted but who have yet to be inducted and that there are other rock fans who feel that the ones who are inducted should not have been chosen in the first place. A friend of mine and fellow classic rock fan told me that he wasn’t pleased with the fact that Nirvana was chosen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because he felt that although this band contributed to the grunge scene in the 90s, they didn’t have nearly as much of an impact on rock as Led Zeppelin or Jefferson Airplane.

Conclusion

Classic rock laid the foundation for today’s rock and pop music but I’m not impressed with today’s rock  music because it’s so far away from what rock used to be about. How did we get from Jimi Hendrix to this corny group Hansen within a period of thirty years? Just like a mass of people turned their backs on disco and embraced punk and new wave in the 70s, I wouldn’t mind leading a charge to turn our backs on Katy Perry and One Direction.

Video production tips for newbies

Hey, everyone, a happy new year to you all! The holidays have been a big blast and I’m yet to get down to the work that I had left behind, before the holidays began. The video production job I had taken on needed plenty of work done on it that I couldn’t find the time to focus on.

Now with the holiday break behind me, I feel excited and eager to take on the work and finish it.  The work does not seem to be as daunting as it did before the vacation. That’s what a cool holiday break does to you. While professional videos demand more attention to detail, home videos are an entirely different matter.

In the You Tube age we live in now, home videos are as common as photos. Videos reasonably good ones can be created just with your digital camera or even the camera in your phone. However, for a professional looking video, a camcorder is the ideal choice. Regardless of the type of camera you are using, here are some tips to kick-start your video creation, so you end up with professional looking videos.

Planning

Planning is important, regardless of what event you are videotaping. For instance, if it is a wedding anniversary celebration, your list should include the guests arriving, welcoming the guests, presentation of bouquets and gifts, cutting of the cake, gifts being opened, entertainment, dancing, food, and the guests leaving the venue.

If the event has an agenda, it can be used to prepare the videotaping list. When you know about what is going to happen during an event, it will be easier to prepare the shots and make a good production. During one of my video shoots outdoors for a birthday party, I found the view being blocked by low-lying branches. Fortunately, the host had a nice pole saw he had purchased at http://polesawreport.com/, which I used to clear the block and have a good angle of the cake cutting ceremony.

Tripod

Whether it is still photography or videos, a tripod is a vital gear to have, even if it is a great hassle setting it up. If you are staying put in the same place while taking the video, a tripod is best to get clean and steady shots. For smooth recordings, tripod is important.

Close up

It is important to shoot close as in photography. This is to reduce the distractions in your shots and make them more appealing. Wide, close-up, medium, and extreme close shots are the four main shots used in videography. To begin with, you have to first establish the shot. This involves taking a video shot of the event or place where you are creating the video, such as an outdoor area or a party set indoors.

Wide and close

You should be able to shoot medium range to close up shots. For instance, in a birthday party you take a medium range shot of the guests greeting the birthday girl and then zoom in to the girl opening the present to give the shots a dramatic effect.

You need to familiarize with shooting different positions and angles to give the video a more lively and vibrant quality. If you are not planning to do any editing afterwards, make sure you time the shots to get a clear and crisp recording.

My Trip To Uncle’s House

Hey guys, it’s me Morgan and in this blog I’ll talk about my trip to my uncle’s house in Colorado. Nowadays his favorite place to visit is the local marijuana retailers and now that marijuana is legal in this state, he buys quite a bit of it. Since I know that marijuana prices would rise as the demand gets higher for it, I suggested that my uncle grow his own marijuana indoors so he can save money on the herb but then he told me, “I have a busy job and I just don’t have much time. You need grow lights to grow marijuana indoors and I’m not always able to buy a lot of grow lights and other necessary supplies. This is why I buy it instead.”

My Thoughts On Marijuana Legalization

I think it’s a good thing that marijuana is now legal in Colorado because the state’s residents no longer have to be criminalized for buying and growing marijuana; they can have better access to the marijuana and for many people this means an improvement in health conditions. For example, my uncle’s twin sons have epilepsy and when they use marijuana they notice a decrease in the epileptic seizures and headaches. My uncle struggles with multiple sclerosis and when the pain gets the best of him, he gets relief from marijuana.

The Neighbor’s Indoor Grow Room

My uncle has this quirky neighbor who lives across the street and  we visited the neighbor’s indoor growing room. The neighbor showed me an old indoor growing guide he had from a few years ago and he served tuna sandwiches to my uncle and I as we discussed tips on growing marijuana in a grow room. The neighbor told my uncle that the temperature of the grow room shouldn’t be too hot or cold and that a fan should placed in the grow room to cool the plants as they grow. My uncle also talked about how all the grow rooms he visited recently contained LED grow lights and how those lights that are energy efficient.

Marijuana Legalization Creates Jobs

My uncle mentioned to me while in Colorado that thanks to the recent legalization of marijuana in the state, it allowed for more people to become small business owners. He said that prior to the legalization, the town he lived in was filled with petty crimes that involved marijuana but now they can earn a living for themselves with what they enjoy. I agree and this could be the start of a new kind of economy in Colorado and posibly the rest of the country.

Conclusion

I enjoyed myself in Colorado with my uncle and as I checked out the marijuana shops and indoor grow rooms, I’m amazed at how far we’ve come over the past thirty or more years. I’m not ready to start my own grow room yet but at least I’ll have the knowledge I learned here to get started when that time comes.

Here are a few thoughts on improving your handicaps in life

Here are a few thoughts on improving your handicaps in lifeHello! It’s me again. Your favorite knit wit and computer and streaming geek who just happens to be quite good at what he does, in spite of perceived handicaps standing in his way. That’s what today’s post is going to be about then. I’d thought I’d help you guys off to a great start for the New Year by sharing some thoughts on improving our handicaps in life.

Perhaps you’ve noticed this already but being playful with words is another forte of mine. Well, it’s becoming something of a good habit anyhow because now I can communicate better all my other advice and tips and tricks on the stuff you’ll want to be reading about in the new year, things like new games and what to expect from new product developments from the world’s leading tech companies.

Optimize your apps for eating out

A good hand-held GPS unit will get you quite far in my town. It’s called the Big Apple but now it’s starting to test my hunger pangs and remind me of another big Apple on the other side of the country in a town called Silicone Valley. New York City is also known as the city that never sleeps and for good reason too. While I’m particularly proud of this attribute, New York has legendary status as a multi-cultural hub.

This presents me with another handicap of sorts because one of the world’s largest cities makes it quite difficult for this hungry lad to decide what to eat tonight, having to choose from literally thousands of restaurants and take-outs. Like most other New Yorkers and as you may have gathered, I’m a pretty busy guy, so don’t have time for cooking right now. Now, you might be thinking why I would want to improve my handicaps in life.

Use metaphors to motivate yourself

Why not just get rid of them altogether, for crying out loud. As I said earlier, I’m getting to enjoy my play with words, and chose the golfing metaphor to motivate what I’ll be closing this post with. Yes, it’s true that we should be trying to rid ourselves of handicaps, but let’s face it, particularly if you are physically disabled or mentally challenged, you’re stuck for life with whatever you are faced with. Like the game of golf, you simply have to drive a little harder at improving your handicap.

Now, there’s another peculiar thing about golf worth penning here. When we play our video games we are always challenging ourselves to go for a high or highest score, right? Not so with golf. Apparently, you’re a winner if your score is the lowest of the lot.

Start the New Year by keeping a scorecard

Talk about being below par. Well, that’s how I want to start the New Year. It’s no good making promises that you can’t keep. But what you can do is keep a score card, like they do in golf, and strategize new ways and means to improve your lot in life, no matter what your handicap.

Creating Video Sets

Creating Video SetsWhile my influence on a video tends to end with recording or editing the work, there are many things which go into creating any sort of video. For starters you need a script, or something similar for the reader or readers to use when speaking during the video. You also need to create the set itself.

You might do this with a green screen and a computer program, but newer isn’t always necessarily better. Many production teams still create physical sets for recording videos, and there are few devices more useful when creating physical sets than the framing nailer.

Basically, a framing nailer is a handheld device which is used to join together large objects, usually pieces of wood. It works in a similar fashion to your everyday nail gun, except it uses much bigger, thicker nails and it drives these with reduced accuracy. This would be perilous if you were doing meticulous work, but nailing two support beams together isn’t exactly meticulous, is it? These nailers are useful for crafting stages and sets as well, since those are usually made mostly from wood. You can nail together walls, floors, ceilings and more with a framing nailer, so it’s versatile too.

Like other power tools, you will need a source of electricity for your framing nailer to work. In this way it is inferior to a simple hammer and nails, but since the device can hammer as many nails as a dozen people in the same amount of time or less, it has its positive side as well. Besides the wooden elements in a set, you must consider other additions like plants, glass panes, furniture and more. While a framing nailer could theoretically be used to nail together different pieces of wood in a couch, for example, this sort of wood work is typically too fine and precise for such a machine to do well.

The set you create for your video must be realistic and relevant to the video itself. If you’re trying to sell a floor cleaner, for example, your set must have floors of some kind. It would probably be good if they were composed of materials your cleaner is designed to clean, as well. Many points in creating sets seem like common sense to those viewing from the outside, but as has been said so many times in the past, hindsight is 20/20. When you’re in the thick of it and trying to create something on a strict timeline, some of these points might escape you.

Many other tools go into set creation as well. You’ll need saws, hammers, sanders and mops; brooms, brushes, paints and more. With the vast number of supplies necessary to craft a set, you will probably want to be positive of whatever set you want to make, before you start. Try drawing things out by hand and noting the materials you will need for each of these sketched sets before you start actual construction. This can save a lot of money and time, both of which are typically in short supply when making videos.

Tips for Watching Better Streaming Videos

cinema-450805_960_720Hi everyone, I’ve just returned from a friend’s place. We had a blast watching a live video streaming on my friend’s latest smartphone. With many big names in streaming such as UStream, Justin TV and other options present, you can now have easy access to entertainment and news in real time.

But being spoilt for choices can have its own downside. Choosing the wrong one can make the entire experience a sour one. Here are some quick streaming tricks and tips to make your streaming path smoother and truly enjoyable.

Use your TV for comfort

While streaming works best on your desktop, watching it is not as comfortable as in you do in your couch in the living room. If you have a desktop or laptop with HDMI port, you can connect it to your HDTV and watch. Comfort is always paramount whether you are at home or driving in your car. And when it comes to babies and kids safety too ranks high in the list. My friend uses a top quality car seat he got from http://carseatexperts.com/, to ensure his child is safe and comfortable while driving.

Streaming resolution

If you have hiccupping or stuttering streams, changing the resolution of the video stream can help. But I’ve found that lowering the resolution is not the answer to this problem. You may have to experiment with higher and lower resolutions, before you find one that works better.

Easy stream switch

apple-691282_960_720For those who are more inclined towards streaming video games and related videos, third party streaming clients such as WellPlayed and Teevox provide an all-inclusive and user friendly interface for watching the streams from Own3d.tv or Twitch.tv.

If you want to view multiple streams concurrently or switch easily between two separate streams, Teevox is a great choice. It has two mobile Android apps, so you can even watch your favourite shows on the go.

My friend uses these apps while he goes on family trips. With his wife driving and kid safely secured in a High Back Booster car seat, he enjoys the videos without any interruption.  With the help of the apps your tablet or smartphone can turn into a remote for controlling your PC, if your streaming via your PC for your HDTV. You needn’t get up every time you want to change channels.

Easy chat feature

The key feature that makes live streaming popular is the ease with which you can interact with all other viewers and even the event host via the inbuilt chat feature such as mIRC.  You just log into the chat room on the streaming TV such as Twitch or Justin TV by entering your account name and the channel you prefer to watch.  Once you enter in the password, you can join the chat with other viewers and best of all, you will not have any lag in the video as the pressure on the browser is eliminated.

Hardware acceleration

When you come across a heavy pixelated stream, or you are using web player with Flash base, you have a way out of the heavy pixilation.  You should right click on your stream window and choose the settings option. In the settings, uncheck the enable hardware acceleration. While the pixilation issue may not resolve, if it is due to fault in our internet connection, the hardware acceleration has been found to cause the pixilation in many live streaming sites.

Using Modern Technology to Work Older Machines

Using Modern Technology to Work Older MachinesThere is often a painful contrast between the technology of today and those machines which people have grown accustomed to using over the previous decade (Or two, or three, or more). You’ve probably heard a pretty popular line once or twice in the past; “Why do we need x when we already have y?”

While new and improved technology is known to make lives easier and allow for doing more work in the same amount of time or less, using the same amount of resources or less, that isn’t where the benefits end. New technology can actually make it easier to use some of that old tech you’re enamored with.

One shining example that comes to my mind is cutting wood. The wood lathe is still popular and still used today when working with wood, making it one of the oldest tools still being used by modern society. There are computer programs which can help you to run simulations and figure out the best angles at which to cut the wood before you even buy a piece of wood to work with in the first place. If you’ve ever worked with CAD or similar drafting programs, you should already have an idea how computers can make cutting wood more accurate and cost effective.

Well, even if you haven’t, I can explain to you how it works. Simulate a piece of wood in your program which is the same length, width and size as the piece of wood you’re supposed to be working with when you’re cutting. Then simulate the cuts you want to make, watching the piece of imaginary wood change as you slice off piece after piece. If you don’t like what you see, you can always start over again – without needing a new piece of wood for each attempt. The benefits here should be simple enough to understand.

While I don’t have much occasion to work with a wood lathe in my line of work, that doesn’t mean other people don’t. Producing videos can be an extensive project depending on what needs to be recorded, and I would be lying if I said people haven’t used wood lathes in the past to make pieces of a stage or set. They are versatile tools and very popular when working with wood, since they give the user much more control over the finished product than would be possible with a simple clamp and saw combination.

Table tops (and table leg, for that matter), doors, floors, window molding and more can all be crafted using a wood lathe. The only problem with this is how expensive wood lathes tend to be. Even simplistic machines can cost several hundred dollars. If you want one of the more advanced ones, you should expect to pay ten times as much, or even more. It is possible to make a lathe right in your home too, though you shouldn’t expect much from something you make yourself unless you’re pretty handy at that sort of thing.

Electric Violins – an Amazing Technological Item

Electric Violins - an Amazing Technological ItemI met an old friend last week for coffee. I hadn’t seen him in a bit and I found out that he was in a band. I knew he played the violin, and I have a soft spot for them, so I said yes when he asked if I would like to come see them play at a gig in a club on the Upper East Side. So I went and saw them play, and they were amazing! But what I was most surprised at what that my friend used to play a beautiful classic violin, and now he had this black and red badass electric violin. I met him backstage later and asked to see it and was quite impressed. That’s where I got the inspiration to look into electric violins a bit and write a post about them. So here it is!

The main difference between an electric violin and a regular one is that electric violins have an electronic sound output. These are not to be confused with amplified violins which just have a pickup built into the body. Electric violins usually don’t have a solid body and that’s the main reason their design is sometimes so cool. Yes, beautifully carved wooden violins are amazing, but there is something so badass about these no-body violins!

I knew all of that before I started investigating them, but what I didn’t know s that they have been used since the 1920s! They were pretty rare than, and not many people used them. Well, times are a-changing and today really a lot of artists opt for electric violins rather than regular ones. And another thing worth mentioning about them is that a good electrical violin is not even that expensive to buy. From what I saw, a good classical violin is often more expensive!

From what I gathered from articles and forums, and from my friend, a lot of people prefer electric violins because they are amazingly versatile – you can excel by playing the national anthem, as well as at a wedding. They are also great for silent practicing, which you simply cannot do with a classical violin. A lot of people go electric because they live in apartment buildings and don’t have a place where they can practice because of the noise. This is not a problem with electric violins, as you can just put headphones on and practice without being heard.

Another amazing thing about electric violins is that you can actually plug an SD card in them and combine the sound you make with any recording you want! Amazing! It can also serve as a practice tool and a motivational incentive. Imagine rocking out to the sound of your favourite band!

Considering all I heard at the concert and all the videos and recordings of electric violinists I heard later, I am now determined to make a video which would feature an electric violin as a first instrument. With their amazing sharp sound and rawness, I think they would go great in a rock music video!

How to Throw an Awesome Backyard Party

neon-828789_960_720Here’s KnitWit again! As you probably know, I am a dedicated party maker. I like organizing various party-related events in different places – at home or at a club. However, my biggest passion has always been outrageous backyard partying. Having some crazy moments with your friends outside during the warm time of the year, posting instant images to Instagram or Facebook is absolutely marvelous and entertaining.

For me, a real backyard party has never been just about the food, drinks, and nice décor. Although these things matter too, offering some unbelievable and capturing activities for the party program are the most significant factors to make a top-class party. Many people do not realize the potential of their backyards while arranging a party. Here are some of my ideas on how you can use what you already have to prepare a cool evening.

Swimming Pool

If you are lucky to have that in your backyard, be sure to use it, especially if the weather is warm and there’s a good opportunity for sun bathing. Instead of sweating and hiding in the shade from the sun, you can offer your guests plenty of pool party games which provide perfect entertainment and help to overcome the summer heat. Make sure you have some extra towels for your guests in case some forget to bring their own. And of course, don’t forget to provide a room for your guests to change into their bathing suits.

Trampoline

boy-744261_960_720Bounding into the air on a good trampoline, like those you can find at JUMPSPORTLAND, is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend your time outside. If you have this piece of equipment, be sure to offer it to your guests. Don’t worry, it’s a pastime loved not only by kids. Most adults will enjoy it as well. However, remember to provide some safety measures by installing the enclosure netting. And of course, don’t exceed the weight capacity.

Hammocks

No matter how loud the music is and how crazy the entertainment is, any party needs a relaxation place where people can have a rest and a place to socialize. If you have a few reliable trees in your backyard, be sure to assemble a couple of comfortable hammocks where your guests can enjoy the natural surroundings and garden designs. There are lots of different hammocks varying in materials, designs and sizes. If possible, try to get an oversized type so that you can fit a bunch of your friends there where they can enjoy their soft drinks and listen to the music.

Backyard Movie

If you happen to have a video projector and a good sound system, try to add versatility to your backyard party activities by setting up an outdoor movie theater. Use some white bed sheets as a screen, get some chairs for your guests and the theater is ready. Don’t forget the popcorn!  

You can measure the success of your party in many ways, from the number of the guests to the time when the party is over. However, if you want to throw an unforgettable party, be sure to offer some unique entertainment for your guests.            

Stay Fit With Brazilian Martial Arts

judo-297653_960_720Hey, everyone! I’ve been in a ‘writing’ mood these days, so here are some of my fresh thoughts on how you can actually make your life healthier and try to live offline, at least for a while. Many might think: well what’s the problem, dude? Just do some workouts or jog in the morning, like millions do. Eh, you know it’s not that I’m too lazy to do those, but why not try making your fitness routines a little bit more interesting and fun? That’s why I’ve recently decided to find out the hidden benefits of an exotic activity such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. So, let’s get started!

My regular readers probably know that I have never tried any of the Eastern martial arts (origami does not count, unfortunately, ha-ha). My fighting experience does not go any further than some minor kid fights at the primary school backyard ending with a couple of bruises and a disciplinary punishment from the school management. However, staying fit is something I have always been dedicated to in spite of my computer addiction.

For this reason, I have recently decided to visit one of my friends who’s fond of BJJ and has been practicing it for a couple of years already. So here’s what I have found out.

First of all, you don’t need any special equipment to start practicing BJJ, except maybe a comfortable Gi like those you can find at BJJBOOTCAMP. Most of the students who have just started training say that they have quickly lost excessive weight and feel like their bodies are much more flexible now. Many also talk about how much strength they have gained and how they are in better shape.

Many people start practicing this kind of sport in order to look better as well as to learn using their body as one unit. I believe this is a good idea for our current society, with its permanent sitting in a car or in front of a computer. As you increase your body awareness, you soon gain mobility and strength even though you might not necessarily see it on the mats. In other words, physical fitness is one of the key aspects of BJJ and that’s what probably makes it so popular.

Along with physical enhancements coming as a result of BJJ training, you get mental improvements which can be often overlooked. While learning a technique, you must apply a great deal of mental activity as if you were studying a school subject. Some say it is the most challenging part of the process requiring concentration as well as a great deal of agility. So if you’re an impulsive person who gets easily frustrated when things get hard, BJJ is probably not for you.

However, hard training may teach you to direct your emotions to reach your goals which I believe is quite a rewarding experience. The ability to stand up and continue every time you fall (literally) is a great ability you can acquire while practicing BJJ. In my opinion, this sport offers great opportunities to improve your body and your mind. So if you haven’t decided yet what kind of sport to go for, try BJJ as an option.

Full Body Workout with the Power Rack

Full Body Workout with the Power RackSo, I was feeling out of shape lately since I have been busy with work. I live in New York City and that should be enough to tell you what it is like living there. Everything is fast-paced with the morning rush, crowds, and tourists trying to get from one notable NYC site to the next. Another thing about New York City is the food. Pizza, hot dogs, and other delectable dishes are easy to get and with the bodegas, there is plenty of junk food to snack on. Anyway, back to feeling out of shape. I figured that I should do something about it. I don’t want to go to the gym, especially since I don’t want to shell out money each month. I heard about a product that can help me exercise and burn the excess fat. So, I hit the sports store and found a piece of equipment that caught my eye.

I saw the power rack and figured, “Eh, why not?” After receiving and putting it together, I wanted to try out some exercises I saw when reading a couple of men’s fitness magazines. I didn’t just want to drop weight; I wanted to add a few pounds of muscles to my frame. Ladies would like to see KnitWit with some bulging biceps and appearing “yoked”. This simple piece of kit for full body workout blew my mind when I started to exercise six times a week, for three months.

At first, I was having trouble getting into it. I’m not used to using a power rack, but after watching a few weightlifting videos online, I became determined to build my dream physique. First, I did the power rack squats. These squats beef up the quads and strengthen the hamstrings and glutes (yes, my butt muscles). First, I put the bar hooks a bit lower than shoulder length. Next, I set the safety bars to a position that would help me squat at a depth of my choice. With my feet shoulder-width apart, I let the barbell sit on my shoulders. It was a struggle at first to bend my knees and make my thighs go parallel as I went towards the ground. Luckily, I had a friend who has experience with weightlifting to spot me. I do four sets of 8 repetitions with a minute to rest in between.

The second exercise I love doing is the power rack bench press. This exercise builds mass on your chest and triceps while working the abdominals.  I simply set the bar to the height I want, lift the bar carefully, and press the weight off my chest. Again, my friend was making sure it was done safely. I do about 4 sets of 6-8 reps with 3 minutes in between.

Some other exercises that I learned were shoulder presses, dips (for chest and triceps), and partial curls for my biceps. I did these exercises and after the first month, I noticed how easy it was to twist a jar of pickles! Okay, I’ve never had problems opening a jar, but all kidding aside, I did notice how easy it was to pick up boxes and carry groceries in a single trip. If you are looking for a piece of equipment to use for workouts, definitely buy the power rack. All I know is the power rack was a great investment for my overall wellbeing.

Streaming about Steaming

Streaming about SteamingDo you have the kind of parents who send you gifts during the holidays and then call you over and over again for the next year or so, asking if you’re getting any use out of the things they sent you? I have parents like this. It’s not really accurate what I said either, about it stopping after a year; once the next holiday season comes around and we all exchange gifts again it just starts over, like some kind of circle. At least it’s not a downward spiral or anything; I’m really happy that my folks still keep me in mind even though I’m grown and gone from home.

Well, this last time, I finally figured out a way to make it stop, I think. Not the gift-giving, I rather enjoy that part. But I figured, if I could just show them that I was getting some use out of their presents, that should stop the questions a lot earlier in the year, right? Well that’s what I decided to do. Specifically, I did some streaming where I showed off the new steaming iron my mother sent me, so she could see with her own eyes that I was indeed enjoying the gift, and I didn’t just return it or something like that.

There’s really not much to tell about that. I ironed some clothes while she watched, showed them off once I was finished and even asked her for some help with applying starch during the ironing process. It was a nice little bonding moment for us, but nothing anyone would want to read about. While we went back and forth, she told me she found the iron she bought for me by searching at Iron Expert Labs first. It’s not a website I ever heard of before, but since I’ve also never gone shopping for steaming irons, that makes sense.

I ended up really liking my new iron, so I went and visited that website a couple days later when I had the time to do some senseless browsing. It turns out they have reviews for all kinds of ironing boards as well, which you can read at http://ironexpertlabs.com/best-ironing-boards/ if you wish. Hey, who knows, maybe you’re looking for some useful gift to give to somebody you love, right? Well if it helps any of you out, be sure to let me know so I can keep doing stuff like this.

As for the iron, I don’t think my clothes have ever looked better. Don’t go telling my ma, but I think I do an even better job of ironing my clothes than she did, back when she used to do it for me. I mean, I was never really in practice or anything, so maybe it’s the iron itself which is making the work so easy. I’m going to keep working with it, maybe let her try it a few times to see the results she gets, and then document everything in some awfully boring record somewhere.

How To Look And Feel Swell And Put Your Best Foot Forward

I’m ba-a-a-a-ack! Yikes! Some of you, who are regular visitors here, might be thinking; this guy’s really lost it. No, I haven’t. In fact, I feel pretty darn good today. And why do I feel so tip-top? I’ll tell you in a moment. I’ve taken my extra-friendly introduction to today’s post from one of my all-time favorite movies, Independence Day. I was still a kid then but I remember this spectacular event as if it was just the other day. Who remembers one of the enduring characters from that show?

Be brave and help yourself

How to look and feel swell and put your best foot forwardRemember Randy Quaid? In the movie, he makes a brave attempt to save the world from the malevolent aliens who have invaded it. And as he veers his nuclear weapon-powered jet up towards one of the hegemonic crafts, he introduces himself. So, now do you remember? Anyway, the older of the Quaid brothers, cuts a forlorn figure in both the movie and in real life. In the movie, Randy Quaid’s character had lost all confidence in his ability to do things properly and live life responsibly, mainly due to the trauma he experiences from the unforgettable experience of being molested by these creatures.

Anyway, some of us have painful memories from our past which makes it difficult for us to get out of bed in the morning and project a confident image of ourselves designed to make us look and feel good and put our best foot forward. If you are one of those folks who are struggling right now, take heart, because, thankfully, there many good life skills coaches operating from Self-help sites like this one who are standing by with good advice and remedies on how to enhance your image and make you feel a little better about yourself and your surroundings.

Shine and be happy

Of course, I’m also available if you need a friendly ear. For now, though, I’m going to leave you with just a bit of motivational advice to enhance your image, give the day all you’ve got and show the world what you’re really made of. I read from the Old Testament in someone’s Bible that when in mourning, don’t wear a sad face along with the traditional mourning sackcloth. Put on your best coat of armor, polish up your shoes and straighten your jacket out before you head out the door.

To do this, and by wearing external and internal figure-hugging garments, you are not being vain. You are projecting an image of self-confidence and pride. You must have heard of these two old sayings before; ‘clothes maketh the man’ and ‘you are what you eat’. Now, this last bit of wise philosophy is as important as image-consciousness. You need to eat healthily too and eliminate all the unhealthy, toxic junk food which invariably contributes towards increased levels of stress and anxiety.

Gosh, time does fly, particularly when you’ve been having as much fun as I’ve had in trying to lift you up. Here’s hoping that I also made you smile.

Versatile uses of a Basement

Versatile uses of a BasementIf you are living in a prime locality, you will probably understand how premium space can be. Using every inch of your home is an efficient way to see to the space requirements of your family. Recently my friend had opened a studio in his basement. He lives in a posh locality, where renting out a studio is very expensive. He was using his basement to dump all the unwanted and useless knick-knacks earlier.

When he started scouting for a good studio in town, he was shocked at the prices quoted. I told him about how his basement could be made use of for his studio. He was immediately taken with the idea and was sorry he had not thought of it himself.

And in a few weeks’ time he had cleared out his basement and converted it into a beautiful basement studio. Since he did not have to pay rent, the money saved helped him to use more on the equipment he needed for the studio. He’s a happy man now!

Basements can be used in different ways and turned to almost any space you want for your office or personal use. Once you take care of having sufficient headroom, the rest of the set up is a breeze. Here are some of different uses you can put your basement to instead of just dumping things in there.

Storage

Although basements are inevitably used as storage space, when you do it in an organized fashion the entire space could be used very prudently. Instead of throwing whatever is not in use into the basement, you can put up a row of shelves or cupboards and store things neatly, so you can use them when needed. Proper lighting helps in making the space more welcome. And make sure you keep the basement free from moisture. If you live in a flood prone area, having an efficient SUMP PUMP helps a lot.

Workshop

If you are into hobbies in a small scale such as clay modelling and others, the basement space can be easily converted to a workshop. For larger hobbies like furniture making or reconstructing bikes, you need proper access to your basement. If the basement is not entirely submerged, you can enlarge an existing skylight or coal hatch to give better access.

Office space

Based on the work you want to do, a basement can be turned into an efficient office space. While natural light may not be easily available, you can make it up with proper lighting and ventilation. A basement affords better privacy with very little distractions, as it is not directly connected to other parts of your home like a study.

If you are not keen on using the basement for office work, you could use the space as a spare bedroom provided you have a window for the basement. Even if a window is not present, you can use proper lightings and air conditioning to make the room more inhabitable. Gym, home theater, and laundry room are other uses that find many takers.

The Educational Value of Origami

The Educational Value of OrigamiI’m back again, so hello to everyone. Many of you may be surprised to find out that I am an adequate origami artist. I went into this ancient Japanese art of paper folding in order to have an interesting and useful off-line activity. ‘Why origami?’ you may ask. There are plenty of pleasant off-line activities but origami is not only fun, believe me. Did you know that practicing origami activates your whole brain? Therefore, along with fun and relaxation you get some educational value.

First of all, origami is a good example of schematic learning acquired by repeated actions. You need to be very attentive while following the instructions in order to make a good origami piece. They have to be carried out with a great deal of precision which teaches you to be diligent and focused. When I make an origami figure, I always experience feelings similar to those when hunting with a nice crossbow, where you have to be gentle and focused to the maximum,  combined with precise accuracy and patient endurance. Origami is something you can never perform in a hurry. Every action has to be planned, nothing unforeseen is allowed.

origamiAnother reason why I like origami is that it helps to develop your spatial reasoning. Transforming a 2D piece of paper into a 3D figure is a unique exercise which will provide a thorough brainstorm. While folding the paper, your hands follow a sequence of steps which help you learn to create and to manipulate some general geometric shapes. You also get deeper into the basics of symmetry.

Some researchers have been offering origami exercises to people with psychological problems, such as depression for example. The results of these exercises proved to be quite effective and that’s why the origami technique is often used as a part of psychological art therapy. It provides both physical and mental exercise, developing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

One of the important results of origami making is emotional satisfaction. As we see a piece of paper transforming into a new development, we feel pleased with the act of creation and raise our self-esteem. This results in us becoming more confident while performing our daily routines. That is why many find the folding of paper not only relaxing, but challenging as well.

For those who have children, I would recommend involving them in this amazing activity. You’ll have the chance to teach them how to be patient, cooperative, and to follow the instructions strictly which can be quite beneficial for their discipline. Start with basics, find some helpful videos, for example, like this one:

However, you should remember to learn origami skills step by step. If you start making a complicated model from the very beginning, you are highly likely to fail and get frustrated. It takes time and effort to develop the capability to fold a complex figure. Some people say it takes as much time as learning to play the piano flawlessly. Take my advice and learn origami techniques. The educational value you can get on your way to mastering paper folding makes it worth trying. So, good luck!

The 3 main reasons to illuminate your car

Last night, I came back from the trip, tired and exhausted from a long night driving. Driving a long route is very hard and boring. Sometimes even the music does not help. That’s why I often like to play a game with myself. For instance, when the road is very dark, I’m trying to guess the brand of the car that is going toward me by the shape of the headlights. So, last night and I noticed a few cars that have really impressed me with their light. They were everything but ordinary. It made me wonder, should the car be just a ordinary mean of transportation that fits into the river of traffic, or we can make it a special, distinctive and give it a personal touch?

Unusual colors, patterns, and fancy stickers can make your car special during the day when the visibility is good. But what about night driving? Can we then make our car more original? Good lighting can be beautiful and useful. I prefer when those two things permeate each other. Are you wondering why to illuminate your car at all? Here are three main reasons.

Make it more beautiful outside. When driving at night, your car is nothing more than moving light – headlights, brake lights and turn indicators. Each car has them. At night, they are simply all the same. With a little imagination and effort, you can make your car special at night. Decorate it with LED light. These lights do not spend a lot of energy, and they are durable and relatively easy to install. They come in various colors. Where to place them? You can add them to the front or the back of the car, to break the monotony of the night for those who drive in front of or behind you. Special effect, in my opinion, gives underglow lights that illuminate the bottom of the car. At night, this car looks almost like it’s flying. It really gives a dose of unreality. Of course, you can decorate bumper, handles, and even wheels. Let your car shine like a Christmas tree!

Increase the road safety. The lighting does not have to be just a fancy decor. It can also be a factor of increasing road safety. I saw very effective lights on cars and trucks that greatly illuminate the way, and that look different at the same time. They are definitely made me confused in my game, and I could not guess what car coming toward me. These lights, which are primarily useful and then decorative, can be found here: http://ledlightsplanet.com/

Make a great atmosphere inside. You can add a discreet light on your dashboard, under the dashboard to illuminate the floor, or under the seat. This light should not be too strong to not disturb you in night driving. It just needs to add a little magic atmosphere and color in the interior of your car. Imagine entering the car that glows with purple light. It is like walking into a spaceship!

As I said, few cars really left me breathless with their designs. And just imagine how great would be night driving if all cars were illuminated. Night driving would be a lot less boring and tiring. And I’ll must work on that as soon as possible!

Things to Do Offline

Things to Do OfflineHey everyone! I’m back! Today I’d like to discuss the topic “How to Live Offline?”. Yes, you haven’t mistaken. Really OFFLINE! Nowadays we are so addicted to the Internet that we can’t even imagine our life without it. But it isn’t the end of the world! You can believe or not, but people used to live earlier without Facebook or Twitter.

Moreover, their lives were even better. First thing that you shouldn’t do when you are out of Wi-Fi access points or your Internet connection is disabled is just trying not to panic. It is not a big deal! I can even say it’s a prittle prattle.

You can easily cope with this problem and spend your free time offline even more interesting. If you still don’t believe in it, just spend a few minutes reading my pieces of advice. They are tested by me, personally, so they will surely work out.

Therefore, you are out of the Internet. What can you begin doing?

  1. Singing songs. Do you think it’s too easy? Oh, no, my friends. It is a golden opportunity to relax, to improve your mood, just to have fun, at least. Let’s just imagine. Have you ever had such a situation when you listened to the familiar song and you couldn’t stop but singing. Yes, yes. Exactly. It happens with everybody. Nothing matters at this moment. That is the time when the world stops. It is only you and music. Isn’t it good? You can do it anywhere: at home, outdoors, in a car. Just turn on your favorite music and enjoy. Or you can meet with your friends and go to karaoke. No doubt, it is an excellent way to relax.
  2. Making photos. Today almost everyone has a profile in the Instagram or Facebook or so on, it doesn’t matter. But how long ago have you snapshotted something, besides selfie or your food? Can’t remember? Either do I. So, just grab your camera and go outdoors to the real world. You will be excited how cute the common places are, when you are looking at them through the camera lens. You can make photos of everything around you: a little green park, pairs jogging at it, a lake with swans, a man wearing something odd, a beautiful young lady, an elderly couple sitting on the bench, a modern fashionista, a red squirrel, etc. Moreover, maybe you will be so lucky to find out that you’ve got a talent in it. And it will change your life.
  3. Hiking. We are addicted to going to work, sitting plenty of time in the office, coming back home and sitting in the Internet a rest of the time. We are a generation of couch potatoes. Yes. Be honest! Can you remember when you have gone somewhere just for pleasure, just to see how beautiful our planet is? Hiking is a virtuous way to spend your time. If you think that it is too complicated or you need a steep trail – you make a great mistake. Everything you need is only a wish to do it, a good company, a real nature around you and comfortable pair of shoes, of course. There are a lot of benefits of hiking. I can enumerate only some of them: breathtaking landscapes around you, fresh air, and birds singing songs, a smell of flora and a spirit of adventures. You are not as romantic as I am? Ok. There are several advantages that can motivate even you, cynic people. Hiking can make you healthy. It makes your body fit (better than any gym), improves blood pressure, bone density, supports your general balance, and fortifies your legs. So, call your friends, make an amazing walk, take some water, snacks and so on and begin conquering the world.
  4. Increasing your influence. If you are still here, my pragmatic friends, and you are not those people who are looking for adventures or relax – no problem. I have a solution for you what to do offline. You can start working on your personality. You see, we live in such circumstances that if you want to succeed, you have to convince somebody that you are right. Influence is a certain control. But first of all, you have to be beyond of any doubt what and how you want to achieve, in order to increase your influence. That’s why take a deep breathe, close your eyes and think over whom, what and where would you like to be, for example, in 5 years. Consider how you can reach all you planned. Put all your thoughts on a sheet of paper. So, we have found the starting point. From this time, you have to think about an intension of doing it and how you can become closer to your goal before going somewhere or doing something, even everyday things. If you are going to the party, you must concentrate your attention on that you may meet the needful people or you go there just for fun (to relax and have a good mood for the further steps in achieving your goal). No matter what you do, just be focused. Influential people know for sure what they want, so they find a direct way to their aims. Be easygoing to people around. Be confident of what you are doing or saying. Be polite; show even non-verbally that you are interested in your partner. Be accurate, do always your tasks in time. Be tolerant. Show your appreciation. Try new things. Never stop learning. Don’t waste your time on blaming; try to find a problem’s solution. There are only a few steps, but try them and you will see how helpful they are.

Of course, it’s just a little bit of positive offline activities. But you can be sure that the life without the Internet is bright and interesting. Start living your full life just now. If you have other offers how to spend your free time in an interesting way, share them with me in your comments.

Tips to protect you from health issues due to prolonged sitting

Tips to protect you from health issues due to prolonged sittingHey, everyone! It’s great to be back. I just returned from visiting my friend at the hospital. He had severe back pain and had to stay overnight. He has a job that needs him to sit for long hours on end. Sitting in the same position for over eight hours or more in a day can easily take its toll on your health, which my friend had found out the hard way. Seeing him in trouble, I had to rethink my own position. With my penchant to sit in front of the computer for long hours, I think that my body has taken quite a good deal of abuse.

Since I started playing video games quite at an early age and all through high school and later too all that strain may be too much for my body to take.  But seeing my friend’s plight, I think that there is only so much my resilient body can take and it is time I did something for the problem. Even with the video production, edition and other works I do, I have to sit in a place for long hours on end driving the need for a more effective way to keep my health in good condition.

As my friend said, too much time spent sitting in the same place not only serves to increase the body weight, but also shortens your life span by nearly six years. In short, you are digging a grave for yourself by the prolonged sitting you do.

Further, you tend to slouch when you sit for long hours, which can lead to a bad posture. When you sit erect and in the right posture that keeps your back from feeling the strain, the harmful effects are reduced greatly. Using posture braces such as those available at this site help in improving posture considerably.

While it is difficult to avoid working in front of a computer at present, you need to know the effect the prolonged sitting can bring including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. In fact sitting for long hours, even if you are working can lead to increased mortality rate. Even if this sounds crazy, colon and breast cancers, diabetes, and heart diseases occur more, when you sit for a long time, and are exacerbated too. Further, even if you go a gym or jog daily, the prolonged sitting can counteract the health effects fully.

And as far as cancer is concerned, there are several trigger factors such as microwaves, X-rays, cat scans and cellphones. A study on the number of people affected by breast cancer and colon cancer in the US show that inactivity is a direct cause. This is because of the increase in inflammation the inactivity initiates.

But you need not panic, as experts give you a way out, which is taking a short break from your work every hour. You can stretch your feet, take a walk, have a drink, or do anything that needs some activity on your part. This can actually save you from an untimely end or attracting deadly diseases. This could also help reduce the waistline, boost good cholesterol levels, and increase your insulin resistance.

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