1 Fitocracy—a wonderful online fitness MMORG game (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game.)
It was founded by a couple of Asian-American kids who got addicted to playing MMORG games like War of Warcraft or Everquest where the character gains “powers” and grows more powerful the longer you play. And while their avatar grew ever stronger, they themselves grew ever more unfit.
Dick Talens who weighed 230 pounds in high school says, “I remember one summer I’d literally wake up in the morning, play Everquest, eat a few times in the day, and just go to bed. And that’s all I did.”
They decided to turn their addiction to “levelling up” and gaining power into a real life fitness game in which the avatar was themselves, and they—rather than their avatar– became stronger each time they levelled up. Talens now only plays fitocracy. “Except instead of leveling up my character, I’m leveling up myself.”
Fitocracy, “resembles a video game and rewards users for working out the same way Everquest rewards players for killing imaginary dragons.” 1
“There are a lot of parallels between exercise and video games,” says Fitocracy co-founder Richard Talens. “In both, you’re constantly trying to beat your previous best; you’re trying to get to the next level.” 2
Fitocracy requires you to track your daily exercise, including things like gardening or climbing stairs for points (more points for harder and faster activities, of course). As you accumulate them, you move up levels, and each level is harder.
I began playing on November 17th, and am at Level 5. Levels are based on lifetime points, and there are 42. You also get a ranking based on the last 30 days exercise–which changes every day depending on your own—and other people’s!!—activity. Mine is 42,701 out of 74,880 people!
I am competitive and can be obsessive, so I thought I would harness these traits to be a blessing to me!!
2 Malta–We spent 9 days in Malta earlier this month, and loved the laid-back Mediterranean feel; the lovely food; great beaches, and interesting buildings—from Neolithic temples to Crusader churches. Highlights—the bay where St. Paul was shipwrecked; Malta’s Neolithic temples; St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valetta, Ramla Bay, and the magical Azure Window in Gozo.
3 Nicky Gumbel’s Bible in a Year is the only one of my email subscriptions that I “ religiously” read, and with interest and pleasure. He fortuitously, brilliantly, inspiredly finds a common theme between the four passages of the day, and comments on them like an intelligent, well-read pastor, rather than a theologian.
It’s readable and interesting, with lots of concentrated wisdom. I read his little essay-like, blog-like introduction to the four passages the first thing in the morning, on my iPhone, even before I switch the lights on. It’s a great start to my day. A vitamin pill of wisdom.
I too will be blogging through the entire Bible in 2013, and, while I have a rough plan and strategy am waiting to see how the Holy Spirit will lead me.
4 Movies: A friend recommended The Secret, an inspiring film on the power of positive thinking and positivity. Loved it (though not uncritically). Full-length blog post to follow, God willing.
The Bucket List—Loved Morgan Freeman’s acting, in particular, and Jack Nicholson’s. Who would have thought a movie about terminal illness would make me laugh?
I have done a lot of travelling, and live in my dream house in my favourite city, in my favourite country, with my favourite people. Have done almost every thing I longed to do as a young woman, and whatever’s left is in the might-be-nice-but-will-be-happy-without-it category.
There is just one big thing left that I want to do before I die: write several books, and so I need to rearrange my use of time, and my (actual, rather than stated) priorities to make sure I do that.
Hamlet’s Dresser by Bob Smith. Loved it. Beautifully written book of a man whose severely mentally and physically handicapped sister left his parents traumatized and prostrated making him the principal caregiver. His childhood was full of loneliness, sadness, frustration and bullying, but he finds joy and beauty through an accidental immersion in Shakespeare, first as Hamlet’s dresser, then as an actor, and finally as a teacher of Shakespeare in old people’s homes. A beautiful book on the redemptive power of art. Full review to follow (DV).
The Adventures of Augie March—With this book, Saul Bellow broke a writers’ block which was poisoning his life, and wrote freely, wildly, full of energy, memory and imagination. It’s a maximalist novel, memory just bursting its bank. The writing is just gorgeous! Reading it makes you feel energized, happy, and amused, and surely, helps you write better.
This story of an energetic Jewish immigrant kid living in Chicago’s immigrant underclass is surely among the great American novels.
6 Salad—I have never liked salad. I assumed all these women eating it were paying tribute to a dream of slimness.
And I have finally discovered salads I like—created partly by using good chopping techniques from Tim Ferriss’s The Four Hour Chef. Especially chiffonading!!
So my favourite green salad is chiffonaded spinach, rocket, romaine, with bean sprouts, kiwi, edamame, snow peas, feta and olives with balsamic dressing. It’s so crisp and crunchy that I’ve had it 1-3 times a day and have not yet got bored.
My other favourite salad is grated apple and carrot, with pomegranate, raisins, and chopped tangerines.
Yeah, maximalist salads, but I guess I am a maximalist person.
Please tell me what you are into.