Archive for June, 2010

My AT-AT, my pet

Posted in Films, scifi on June 30, 2010 by Jim St Ruth

Brilliant beyond description: This.

Writing A Plot Synopsis – And Learning To Like It

Posted in Stories, writing on June 29, 2010 by Jim St Ruth

Here’s a great way to write a synopsis for your novel without it becoming a nightmare. You can face this piece of work and it can be fun to do. Your synopsis is not just a summary of your plot, it’s also designed to make an editor read your sample chapters and want to see the rest of it. You’re selling your book with your synopsis, just remember that it’s not what’s going on the back of your book’s cover. This will help you produce a synopsis that sticks to the point, without draining the life out of your story.

Thanks to Paul for all his help with this – this is really his idea.

  1. Complete the following sentance for your novel.
    • [Protagonists] stop [antagonists] from [doing bad stuff] by [doing clever stuff].
    • You might not use this in your synopsis, but it will keep you focused on the type of story you’ve written.
  2. “I loved the bit in this book where ______”
    • Make a list of the events in the plot that people talking at the water cooler will talk about once they’ve read your book.
  3. “I loved this book because I like books where_______”
    1. With ______ in them.
    2. Set in _______.
    3. Which talk about ______.
    4. That make me feel _____.
    5. This is about the themes, issues, feelings, settings, etc – anything great that would interest someone – particularly an editor.
  4. Combine #2 and #3 in sentances in narrative order. This gives you a view of your story and, with some tightening up, you now have your synopsis!

I liked this idea because my first pass at a synopsis was six pages. Way too much. This method kept me focused and caught up in the task, fired up about my story and, importantly, it was really good fun to do. Writing should be something you want to do and without the above method I’d be tearing my hair out.

(Yes I realise my head’s shaved. I didn’t mean it literally.)

Podrunner – Week 3 Goodness

Posted in Fitness on June 29, 2010 by Jim St Ruth

So yesterday was the start of Week 3 of Podrunner. My third run last week was a bit painful… well, ok, I had cramp in my calves that brought me to the edge of tears. Bless! (I realise you’re not suppsoed to say that about yourself, even in jest, but I feel thoroughly justified. It really hurt).

It was only yesterday, as I was running the first run of Week 3, that I realised what had gone wrong. I knew at the time that I’d messed up my running route a bit, but I’d also messed up the point at which you’re supposed to stop running. There’s a chime for ‘start running’, ‘start walking’ and ‘stop running and do you cool-down walk’. It’s that last bit that I forgot… big mistake!

That said, run one of Week 3 went brilliantly. There running periods are noticably longer again, and there were were fewer of them than I expected.

I also got back to using the weights machine today and managed a full workout despite not having been near the machine for over a week. Giving my body time to adjust to running as well as weights was definately the thing to do. I’m no alternating a run with using the gym for six days, followed by a rest day, but going a little easy on my legs so that they have plenty of time to repair themselves after my run.

Still no weight loss, though… in fact weight gain. I’ve stopped using BMI as a measure, so I know that I can lose body fat yet remain the same weight if I’m building muscle. I think I’ll go on the hunt for a body fat measurer, one of the electronic ones (if they’re any good). I look a little slimmer, but I want to feel as if all this work is actually paying off more than lifting my mood and getting rid of my moobs!

Podrunner – The Second Week

Posted in Fitness, music on June 22, 2010 by Jim St Ruth

So the end of my first week using Podrunner came to an end and the second week has begun.

I really pushed myself last week, managing three sessions on the weights as well as the three Podrunner runs – managing a session of each on three days!

The running was brilliant, I’ve got to say, and this comes from someone who previouisly hated running. I noticed a marked improvement during each session: I was able to run with better form each time and the music track dropped from running to walking just as I was thinking that I couldn’t run any further. I realise the mix was designed with this in mind, but I was surprised at how well it worked. I also noticed some physical improvement – goodbye love handles!

I did my first run on the track for Week 2 yesterday and it definately pushed me further. I’ve just got to remember to jog and not sprint… I forgot that on my second session and nearly didn’t make it to the end… but I’m glad I did it. The sessions for weeks one and two (along with my walk back from the park) work out at around 2.5 miles in 30 mins, around 260kCal burned, and around 4000 steps… and some very sore calves!

I highly recommend using a loofer to massage your calves in the shower after the run. Thanks to that loofer, I can still walk!

Goomba is alarmed, yet intrigued, by your opinion

Posted in Design, Games, Pictures on June 17, 2010 by Jim St Ruth

Podrunner Intervals – Starting to Run for Weight Loss

Posted in Fitness, music on June 14, 2010 by Jim St Ruth

My friend Jo put me onto this.

I’ve been at home for a couple of years, since I finished my last contract role. I’d already put on a couple of stone (oh boy were people right about that happening when you hit 30!) and then last year I quite smoking. That, combined with two years of not moving very much, pushed my weight up to 14 stone. When a relative sent me a picture that he took at a family do, I saw my face and it was really big. I was gobsmacked. I had to do something about it.

So, starting in January I used WiiFit Plus every day. I didn’t lose any weight, but it conditioned my body and helped me recover from two years of atrophy. It also made me more aware of what I was doing, leaving me less inclined to just sit in front of my PC for hours on end, and more mindful of what I was eating. My aerobic fitness improved quite a lot and my metabolism increased so that I was no longer putting on weight, even though I was still eating the same quantity of food. I also started to look much more healthy thanks to me making sure I was getting at least 5 portions of fruit or veg – if not more.

Then, in mid-April, our home gym arrived. I’ve been using the weights twice a week (to be honest it’s been hard to do as often as I want, but I knew it would take a couple of months to work up to being able to workout more often) and I’m noticeably trimmer, I don’t have a huge head anymore and I’ve built up a little muscle tone … but I’ve been losing weight really slowly. (I realise that I’ve built muscle mass and lost body fat, though).

I knew from researching weight loss and fitness that running would be a great way to lose weight and increase my aerobic fitness further, but I’ve had a busy few weeks and so I’ve just been putting off any serious committment to running.

Today, though, I tried my first run with Podrunner Intervals. The workout takes you from a mixture of walking and light running up to being able to run 5K at the end of 9 weeks, using MP3s to guide you, alternating between running and walking over a half hour period. I’ve got to say, the first run was really good – a challenge, but not totally exhausting, and the dance music was definately good enough to listen to and keep pace with.

I know that a lot of people have already heard of Podrunner Intervals, but since it’s not only fantastic but completely free, I thought I’d share it. If you like it, spread the word – DJ Steve Boyett, who produced Podrunner Intervals, encourages it, and I think it’s well worth telling people about.

Thanks to DJ Steve Boyett for producing, and thanks to my friend Jo for putting me on to the workout!

Lego Futurama

Posted in Pictures, scifi on June 10, 2010 by Jim St Ruth

I just had to post the link to this. Awesome does not describe it.