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Yamaha VMax Motorcycle Splendid Wallpaper HD

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Nutritional Strategies for Allergy and Asthma

SeasSeason allergies to pollen and mold seem to getting more and more prevalent each year with progressively more severe symptoms in sufferers.    Treating allergies with nutrition and nutrition supplements can have big advantages over using medications.   
Allergy medication most commonly comes in the form of Antihistamines, and there are some big problems with long-term use of these medications.     It is now known that prolonged use of antihistamines decreases levels of acetylcholine which is a key neurotransmitter involved in memory and other important functions.   In fact, antihistamine use increases the risk of senility, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
What are Allergies Anyway?
Allergies are abnormal immune reactions to specific agents (proteins) known as antigens/allergens, which include many substances such as foods, drugs, pollens, dust mites, animal danders, feathers, along with many others. 
Allergies may also develop when an otherwise innocent substance has significant contact with an already inflamed surface (known as sensitization).  For example, when sick with a respiratory illness, respiratory surfaces are already inflamed and substances present at this time may be “remembered” as being foreign.  This can also occur with chemical substances known as “haptons” which are combinations of self and non-self which can lead the immune system to attack the self. 
Since there are multiple pro-inflammatory substances involved with allergies it is rare to obtain adequate control with single products/medications.  The most potent chemical mediators in allergies and asthma are leukotrienes.  Some leukotrines are one thousand times more potent than histamine as stimulators of bronchial constriction and allergy. 
Interestingly, many medications that reduce one inflammatory pathway actually boost leukotrienes.    For example, Aspirin and other NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs like Ibuprofen) result in the production of excessive levels of leukotrines in sensitive individuals although they decrease prostaglandins associated with inflammation and thereby relive pain.  So long term they can create a much more severe problem.
Asthma is linked to allergies and can be a severe and life threatening condition.   Do NOT try to self-treat Asthma – see a physician!
Strategies for Allergies
Try to avoid allergens by using air filters, regularly cleaning all surfaces and vacuuming and keeping your air-conditioning system on while regularly changing filters to filter out as many allergens as possible.   Remember your car cabin filter as well, and take showers and wash clothes after being outside for long periods of time.
Change your diet to reduce inflammation.    Dramatically reduce your intake of refined carbohydrate – sugar and starch which drive insulin which drives inflammation.  At the same time increase your intake of low glycemic, organic fruits and vegetables such as berries, broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, etc.   These plant foods contain polyphenols which are potent anti-oxidants and help to reduce inflammation and allergies without side effects.
Boos
Increase your intake of Omega 3 Fatty Acidsfrom cold water fish such as Alaskan Wild Salmon and/or take an Omega 3 Supplement such as Krill Oil.    Omega 3 fatty acids will always reduce inflammation if taken in sufficient dosages so this should be a primary strategy for allergy sufferers because they produce many side benefits.   The only exception is people taking any type of medication to thin blood and reduce clotting like Coumadin.   In this case the combination can be dangerous!
Nutritional Supplements for Allergies
There are several highly effective nutrition supplements for allergies including some key herbs.
Local Raw Honey – it MUST be local and must be raw because it will contain small amounts of local pollen and works by getting the body used to pollen much like an allergy shot.     A Tablespoon a day is as much as you need.   Many people swear by this simple and safe remedy!
Stinging Nettle Extract – this herb has a long history of effective use for allergies and freeze dried preparations seem to work the best and are best taken BEFORE allergy season even begins to put a damper on symptoms before they start – this is true of all nutritional approaches to allergy by the way!
Euphrasia Officianalis – aka “Eyebright” is an herb which name says it all – it is highly effective for eye allergy symptoms.
Quercetin – is a flavonoid contained in high amounts in apples, peppers, red wine, dark cherries and berries, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and sprouts, and raw red onions.   To treat allergies taking supplemental quercetin is the way to go, and the best form of quercetin is contained in a product called “AllQlear” by Integrative Therapeutics and can be purchased on Amazon.     It also contains “ovomucoids” from quail eggs that act as tryptase inhibitor and prevent release of histamine.
Boswellia Extract – Boswellia aka Frankincense (yes the herb mentioned in the bible!) can be highly effective for allergies and other forms of inflammation including arthritis because it blocks the formation of leukotrienes!    To get the benefits you must take 5-loxin which is a specific extract.   Note that in some individuals 5-loxin can cause or excacerbate heart burn so it is not for everyone, but when it works it can be highly effective!
Butterbur Extract – this plant extract can be highly effective for inhibiting leukotrienes and allergy symptoms or side effects.   You need to take a standardized extract with standardized levels of Petasin and Isopetasin) and free of Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids aka PA.  High quality brands include Life Extension, Swanson, and Enzymatic Therapy to name a few.   This product can also help many migraine sufferers and is a well-researched, proven treatment.
NAC – N-Acetyl Cysteine – helps thin mucus naturally and boost levels of the body’s most important antioxidant Glutathione – every allergy sufferer should be taking 600 – 1,200mg per day!
You will also find combination of these ingredients in particular products, and it is worth experimenting a bit because if you find the right product or combination of natural products you can find relief without sedation and without the side effects associated with antihistamines and more potent drugs like steroid nasal sprays or oral steroids.

The Nordic Hamstring Curl: Best Hamstring Exercise You are Not Doing!

There are many different hamstring exercises including variations of leg curls (seated, prone, and standing) along with several different hip hinge exercises that target the hamstrings (RDL, Single Leg RDL, etc).     These are all great exercises, but none of them can touch the Nordic Hamstring Curl for building eccentric strength and preventing hamstring injury in sprints and sport!
This is a tough exercise so warming up the hamstrings is essential.  Using other hamstring exercises first such as bodyweight hip hinges and light leg curls on a machine prior to this exercise do the trick nicely.   It is also a good idea to do some static stretches for anterior hips and hip flexors to shut them off which helps to allow for maximum hamstring activation.
To perform the Nordic Hamstring Curl you need to find a place to hook your heels under when you are in a double leg tall kneeling position so you will also need padding under your knees.     If you have a workout partner you can have them kneel behind you and hold onto both your legs right above the ankles keeping their arm straight so they can use their bodyweight to apply load as you let your body fall forward like this:   http://willlevy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Nordic-Curl.jpg.     You can also find something to hook your ankles under like the horizontal bar from a weight machine or barbell like this:   https://i.ytimg.com/vi/f_GdZKdwovA/maxresdefault.jpg or  this:   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/29/04/34/290434956cdd220cc8d6e0b18948cf3c.jpgor this:  https://www.t-nation.com/img/photos/2013/13-775-04/Nordic-Start.jpg
Keeping your hips flat (straight line from knees through hips and shoulders) – you lower your body down slowly until you can no longer hold your weight then catch yourself in push-up position and push back up:  https://simplifaster.com/articles/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/03/GHR.jpg.       You can also use a band during the exercise which provides progressively more assistance as you go lower towards floor to allow you to potentially perform the full range of the motion and come back up with the assistance of the band.    Then over time you gradually decrease the assistance of the band by user smaller and lighter bands.      This provides a good video of how you can do this by attaching a band overhead and behind you:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQm9rdzZlRk
There are also numerous machines designed for this exercise including:
http://www.roguefitness.com/floor-glute?prod_id=15905&gclid=Cj0KEQjwnazLBRDxrdGMx-Km4oQBEiQAQJ1q68P3rah0ZwofpsxOA-xSYl5_v9mtTSxSmuG5zIW1KUYaAvPW8P8HAQ
http://www.speedbottraining.com/glute-ham-machine/
http://www.gluteforce.com/
Here is a 6 week progression:
Week                   Sessions/Week                  Sets                       Reps                     Rest
1                                           1                            2                            5                            2 min.
2                                           2                            3                            5                            2 min.
3                                           2                            3                            6                            2 min.
4                                           2                            3                            7                            2 min.
5                                           3                            3                            8                            2 min.
6                                           2                            3                            9                            2 min.

Weight-Loss Motivation: 9 Reasons to Reach Your Weight-Loss Goals

Weight-Loss Motivation: 9 Reasons to Reach Your Weight-Loss Goals

By Carey Rossi
SHUTTERSTOCK

You’ll Be Less Likely to Get Inflammatory Conditions

Your weight-loss motivation: Fat—especially belly fat—is filled with cells that release pro-inflammatory substances into your body, which means your immune system is too busy to fight off other types of inflammation. This increases your risk of anything with an -itis (arthritis, dermatitis, colitis): “If you’re genetically predisposed to these conditions, obesity puts you at a higher risk,” says Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Body for Life for Women. Lose weight and you’ll see many of the aches, pains, rashes, and other discomforts subside.

You’ll Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

Your weight-loss motivation: Being obese increases your risk of at least seven types of cancer: bowel, breast, gall bladder, kidney, pancreatic, throat, and uterine. In fact, your risk of developing one of these cancers is approximately 40 percent higher than if you maintained a healthy weight, according to Cancer Research UK. The reason? That same chronic inflammation we mentioned before.

Your Heart Will Be Stronger

Your weight-loss motivation: Excess fat around your heart or lining your blood vessels makes blood flow difficult and increases your risk of a heart attack. “Every 5 point increase in BMI increases mortality from cardiovascular events and diseases 30 percent,” says Peeke. But as you lose weight, blood flow becomes easier, lowering your risk of heart disease

You’ll Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes

Your weight-loss motivation: “If you eat an unhealthy diet, and you’re lucky, you just keep making insulin as you need it, and you keep getting heavier and heavier,” says Roxanne Sukol, MD, a specialist in Preventive Medicine for Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. “But when you can’t quite make enough insulin to catch all that sugar, then your sugars stay a little too high, a little too long, floating around in your blood steam waiting for more insulin.” Eventually, your body can’t make enough insulin, causingdiabetes. “But start eating a healthier diet (unprocessed foods high in fiber) and you’ll reduce your insulin load and risk of diabetes,” says Sukol. “And when you do, your pants will fit better, too.”

You’ll Sleep Better

Your weight-loss motivation: Weight loss lessened the severity of obstructive sleep apnea (a sleep disorder characterized by the stopping and starting of breathing) in a study published in Sleep. “Once you drop enough weight, you’ll notice changes in the ability to breathe easier,” says Peeke. (Belly fat pushes your diaphragm up, decreasing lung volume.)

You’ll Boost Fertility

Your weight-loss motivation: Wanna be a mom? Women with BMIs between 35 and 40 have a 23 to 43 percent decreased chance of getting pregnant compared to women whose BMI is 29, according to Peeke. Not to mention, being overweight during pregnancy increases your risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia—and your child’s risk of heart disease later in life, according to research presented at the American Heart Association 2014 Scientific Sessions in Chicago. “Don’t consider getting pregnant until you’re at a healthy weight,” says Peeke.

You May Live Longer

Your weight-loss motivation: “A grand majority of researchers found that being 80 pounds overweight can shorten your life expectancy by 10-plus years,” says Peeke. “And 14-plus years if you’re 100 pounds overweight.”

You’ll Have a Better Quality of Life

Your weight-loss motivation: A healthy weight doesn’t just increase the amount of years you’re on this earth—it makes you better able to enjoy them. “Forty to fifty pounds of excess weight can rob you of two decades of healthy life,” says Peeke. That means two decades of doctor’s appointments, medical treatments, living with pain, and being out of breath—instead of, say, running around outside with your kids.

One Last Thing…

Just like you can’t spot-train, you can’t determine the specific health benefit yourweight loss will produce. Everything in the body is interconnected, so losing weight isn’t just going to help your heart, just your brain, or just your immune system, says Peeke. Your whole body is going to reap the rewards. Convinced? Check out these 10 Strategies to Lose Fat and Keep It Off.
Source

Kneeling High to Low Chop – The Best Core Exercise You are Not Doing!

Core stability is a big buzzword in fitness, and for very good reason.     The ability to keep the core stable is essential for proper movement and prevention of injury.      Stability has three aspects related to the planes of movement:
Sagittal Plane Stability– is the ability to prevent flexion and extension of the core from the low back to the top of the head.
Front Plane Stability– is the ability to prevent lateral flexion of the core from the top of the head to the low back.
Transverse Plan Stability – is the ability to prevent rotation of the core from the top of the head to the low back
Stability is about preventing movement – not creating movement!   All muscles can act as stabilizers, movers, or absorbers, but the muscles of the core spend a lot of time preventing movement in many activities from running to walking to jumping.    This is why exercises like the plank are considered functional because the plank is about using core muscles to prevent movement of the core as opposed to exercises like a crunch which is about creating movement.
To have a strong and stable core it is important to perform stability exercises in all three planes of movement.     The plank and side plank do a great job of challenging muscles to prevent movement in the sagittal and front planes, but that leaves the Transverse Plane.    This is significant because the vast majority of injuries occur in the Transverse Plane with Frontal Plane injuries close behind.
It is also important to note that rotational movement (movement in the transverse plane) is fundamental to human movement in general and the generation of explosive force in many activities from Golf to Tennis to Boxing.
One of the best ways to develop rotational stability in the Transverse Plane is doing high to low anti-rotation chops in a half kneeling position using either resistance bands or cable resistance with a rope handle or pole attached.
Execution

The anchor point of the resistance band/location of the cable handle should be position up high.     Your body should be facing perpendicular to a line from the handle/anchor point straight down and across your body.     You should be in a half kneeling posture down on one knee (the leg closest to the cable/band should flexed with foot flat on the floor and hip and knee bent at 90 degrees.   
The other knee should be down on the floor (use a cushion or mat!) with shin and top of foot along the ground directly behind the knee.   It is important that the knee is directly under the hip.  It is also important that the spine be held straight with a straight line from top of head through the spine and hip to the knee on the ground.    Extend the spine fully and keep your spine fully elongated throughout the exercise.
Reach across the body and place both hands on the resistance band/rope spread apart with hands shoulder width apart.gripping the band/rope.
Keeping the shoulders and hips facing forward the entire time pull the rope/band directly down and across the body and pause in the bottom position making sure there is no movement to in the shoulders or hips while maintaining a fully lengthened spine.   Then slowly return to the starting position.    Form is VERY important in this exercise.
Here are two great instructional videos:
http://www.stack.com/video/3730538400001/elite-performance-with-mike-boyle-increase-core-strength-with-anti-rotation-exercises

http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/abs-and-core-exercises/videos/half-kneeling-stability-chop

Happy Almost S.R.V. Day!

Stevie Ray Vaughan Remembrance Ride and Concert, Oct. 7

October 3 is considered Stevie Ray Vaughan Day, so what better thing to do than to come celebrate the life and music of Texas’ one and only Stevie Ray Vaughan with the 18th annual S.T.V. Remembrance Ride and Concert, October 7. It will be held in the world’s largest Hooters 11:15 sharp in the heart of West End Dallas.

The Stevie Ray Vaughan Remembrance Ride & Concert was started in the early 90’s as a way of honoring the life and music of Stevie, who passed away in a tragic helicopter accident during the late 80’s. All the proceeds from the concert will be going to the S.R.V. Memorial Scholarship Fund.

There will be various parties being held before and after the Remembrance ride and concert . A day before the big day there will be a pre-party held at Rick Fairless’ Strokers Dallas and the day of the parade and concert, which will be held in the Cowboys Dance Hall in Arlington from 12-6:30pm, there will be an after party at All Star Diamond Jim’s Saloon from 7pm to 2am.

Concert will showcase both famous and local talent blues bands like the Ian Moore Band, Kayla Reeves, Van Wilks, and the Harles Brothers, just to name a few. Pre-ordered tickets cost $20 and $25 at the door. All tickets are general admission and all seats are considered great seats. Parking is free.

So join in on the fun and the endless hours of music this October 7!

___________________________
Source: Stevie Ray Vaughan Remembrance Ride and Concert

How to Get Rid of Cellulite

Although the vast majority of woman have some cellulite somewhere on their body – nobody likes it!   So what the heck is cellulite anyway?  Cellulite is pockets of fat that have squeezed between bands of tissue, called septae, that are located below your skin.

Women of all races get it, while virtually no men do. That’s because the septae of men are different from women. Men have stronger bands that are cross-hatched allowing them to keep fat in place more effectively. Women have weaker, vertically oriented septae that allows fat to squeeze through easier.

Both thin and heavy women have cellulite. However the higher your level of body fat the more noticeable the dimpling will tend to be.  Unfortunately dieting does necessarily help eliminate cellulite. Losing weight helps sometime, but in some cases weight loss makes cellulite worse.   This occurs when skin becomes saggy after significant weight loss.

There is a definite genetic component to cellulite which does run in families.
Hormones also are part of the equation with cellulite, but science has not figured out exactly how hormones contribute to cellulite.  What is known is that cellulite starts at puberty which is a time that many hormone levels change significantly in females.

Getting Rid of Cellulite

Getting rid of cellulite is easier said than done.  Even treatments like Liposuction are not necessarily effective.    In fact Liposuction often makes cellulite worse by leaving your skin even more puckered looking than it was before.

Dermatologists are quick to point out that there is no magic cure for cellulite, but there are ways to make it look better!   Two of the keys are working out and dropping excess weight sensibly (1lbs per week! – faster weight loss can exacerbate the problem!)

Resistance training is key.   As you increase your muscle size and decrease body fat your skin looks smoother.     If you lose fat while you simultaneously build muscle your cellulite will improve.
It is also important to work on the health of your skin as you age to make it more elastic so that as you lose fat the skin pulls tight rather than sagging.    

Certain topical treatments that increase collagen in the skin, like Retin-A or creams with retinol or vitamin C, cannot hurt and may help.   

Maintaining adequate water intake is also key for skin health and elasticity – 6 – 8 glasses of water per day is key.

If you have faithfully tried everything and your cellulite is driving you crazy and you are prepared to spend some serious dollars – Cellulaze – is an FDA approved therapy.  Cellulaze involves inserting a lazer under the skin and projects heats in three directions and literally liquefies fat as it cuts the septae around fat cells which can reduce the puckering while also encouraging collagen regrowth.

Cellulaze claims a 70 – 80% improvement in cellulite that lasts a full year.  It is most effective for active women with mild to moderate cellulite who are not significantly overweight and who also have good muscle tone.

Unfortunately, Cellulaze is not cheap – costing $5,000 – $7,000 depending on the size of the area being treated.

Best Auto Insurance Companies-How To Choose The Best Auto Insurance Company

Choosing the best auto insurance companies from hundreds of available auto insurance companies is really tough, because when you are searching you will find that all auto insurance companies claim they are the best auto insurance companies in the market.

You will easily get confused if you go to their website because every car insurance company claims that they have the best quality customer services, the cheapest auto insurance rates, the highest discount programs and the best auto insurance policy which will be fit within your budget.

Customers fall into the trap of numerous glamorous advertisement of auto insurance companies which often leads them to the wrong auto insurance companies. If you face these problems then how can you choose the best autoinsurance companies within your budget?

To find the best auto insurance companies you have to compare car insurance companies, consider some facts about them and follow few simple tips.

The best auto insurance company is an approximate term because it can be either cheap auto insurance or the right auto insurance within your budget. Some drivers think cheap car insurance companies are the best car insurance companies, but cheap car insurance policy can be a frustrating if your claims do not get approved. Also auto insurance with high premiums cannot be always the best because you may pay for unnecessary coverage.

The best auto insurance companies could be such companies which provide cheap car insurance within your budget without any hassle, have quality customer service and have a strong financial position. These are the main criteria to choose the best auto insurance companies.

Compare Auto Insurance Quotes Online
It is the best and easiest way to check which auto insurance companies are best. Go to individual auto insurance companies websites and collect the quotes by giving your personal information, driving records and vehicle information. Compare car insurance quotes and choose which insurance company offers cheaper auto insurance rates than others.

Which Auto Insurance Companies Have High Quality Services And Greater Customer Satisfaction
Though every auto insurance advertises that their services are high quality, you have to check by following these steps.

Step 1. Review Customers Testimonial Page: every auto insurance company has a testimonial page where customers write reviews about the services of this company and how satisfy they are. Search as many companies testimonial page as you can and you will get the basic idea about service quality and how is the customer satisfaction.

Step 2. Ask, Ask and Ask: ask people around you who have insurance policy already from different auto insurance companies and you will get the real situation about the service quality. Insurance companies may publish only positive reviews because of reputation, but getting information by asking car drivers cannot be deceptive.

Step 3. Get Information From Forums And Community Blog: in a forum you can ask question about which is the best auto insurance companies in your state or country and the forum members will answer and discuss the question. You will get more information from the real insurance policy holders.

No matter how cheap the auto insurance are and how much discount you get from, you will recognize the auto insurance companies as the best which stand beside you when the accident happens and if you feel there is someone on the other side to support you and process your claim as soon as possible.

Deals And Sales – ‘Things Goin’ On This Weekend’ (Weekend of August 11th, 2017) [Notification]

Just a quick Notification of some things going on… Once in a while, I try to post about Sales going on somewhere – especially the ‘big’ ones, like Summer’s End or Christmas Sales. This weekend, there are a few ‘Free Weekends’ and Sales going on (that I saw so far) and thought I wanted to share them, just in case there were others interested in these games, heh. Here’s what I saw is Goin’ On This Weekend:


Guild Wars 2 Expansion (Path Of Fire) is Free To Try all weekend:

https://www.guildwars2.com/en/news/get-ready-for-the-guild-wars-2-path-of-fire-preview-weekend/

GOG.com (formerly Good Old Games) is having a couple of Sales on games which include series like Master Of Orion, Warhammer 40K, Painkiller, Delta Force, Red Faction and at the same time having a sale on Strategy Games like Codename Panzers, Men of War, Hybrid Wars, Total Annihilation, Empire Earth, and more:

https://www.gog.com/promo/20170807_weekly_sale
and
https://www.gog.com/promo/20170811_special_promo_strategy_sale

Some other games, which are Free To Try all weekend via Steam, are:

For Honor, the medieval swordplay/battle game is Free To Try all weekend and selling for half-price
(for those that remember Die By The Sword, it looks like it may be similar to that, but in an ‘arena’ setting [sorry, but I haven’t been able to try it yet]):

http://store.steampowered.com/app/304390/FOR_HONOR/

Saints Row IV, from the crazy “each game is increasingly like GTA-on-drugs” open-world/action
series, is Free To Try all weekend and selling at a reduced price
[I haven’t tried it yet, but I am still playing the wacky Saints Row III once in a while and still getting a kick out of it]:

http://store.steampowered.com/app/206420/Saints_Row_IV/

Sorry I didn’t get to finishing this sooner, but the weekend isn’t over yet! Get out there and try these games out or grab something you want on sale – and maybe See You In The Game!

Edit:

I completely forgot one more I was going to post in here! 

GamersGate also has some games on Sale right now, including Borderlands (for five bucks!), the Mafia series, Bioshock series, Xcom series, and more:

https://www.gamersgate.com/offers

[Note: I am not affiliated with these game sites, nor do I receive any compensation for mentioning them here (the Links do not have any ‘affiliate tags’ or similar additions to them) – I am merely an enthusiastic gamer and like to share deals and other goings-on with other gamers like me. Enjoy!]

My Trip to Baticaloa

On my way to Baticaloa, This was taken on the Polonnaruwa Habarana Road today (12/06/2011) @ 2.00 PM. Wow what a Jumbo!

Food Repair Guide: Baking Part 1

Bread

Bread, being about the first thing that man made, is also about the easiest. Ordinary bread is only flour, salt, liquid and yeast, well kneaded to mix, and baked. The modern cook with a food processor need not even bother about the kneading (which is only done to spread the yeast really thoroughly through the bread) as the food processor does it all for her. Unless, of course, she enjoys doing battle with balls of dough!

Ingredients/yeast

Flours differ but, as long as the flour is of good quality and dry, the differences are a matter of personal taste. Water is the normal mixing liquid and sea salt has a better flavour than table salt.

If the yeast is fresh and alive, when put in a damp, warm atmosphere, it will rise and grow whether it is incorporated in a dough or alone. Old age kills both compressed and dried yeast, as do extremes of temperature: anything over 110°F/50°C or below standard refrigerator temperature.

Once the yeast has been creamed by mixing it with sugar and a little warm liquid, it needs only to be thoroughly amalgamated into the dough, by hand or machine.

Diet Start

Rising, etc.

After the yeast has been mixed in, the dough must be left to rise, and in some cases prove. This will happen more or less quickly depending on the ambient temperature, but the longer it takes, the better the bread will be. Elizabeth David, among others, maintains that bread that has been left for 24 hours in a moderately warm kitchen will taste far better than bread that has been ‘hurried’ in a warming oven. However, an hour should be the minimum time — unless you are using a food processor and extra vitamin C to assist the raising.

If the dough does not rise, it means that the yeast is dead — whether through old age or overheating — and there is nothing you can do about it. Dead yeast has a smell and flavour not unlike dead cats and is totally unrevivable. Throw it out and start again.

Once you have mastered the basic techniques of bread making, all fancy breads are merely an elaboration on them. Most bakery books are extremely explicit in their instructions.

Cakes

Raising agents

Most cakes use eggs or chemical raising agents rather than yeast. The lighter sponges use whisked egg white; heavier sponges or fruit cakes use whole eggs or a combination of whole eggs and baking powder or bicarbonate of soda. These work by giving off gases when heated, thereby raising the mixture. The more chemical raising agent one uses, the lighter, dryer and less keeping the cake will be. Thus, fresh light sponges or angel cakes should be eaten within 24 hours to be at their best; a rich Madeira cake will keep several weeks; a fruit cake several months.

Mixing

The early mixing processes in all cake making are important, be it beating eggs and sugar to a ribbon or creaming butter and sugar for Victoria sponges. In both cases, early and thorough beating ensures that the cake will remain moist. Beating later in the process when the flour has been added will make the cake tough, heavy and elastic. Obviously, beating a light sponge after the egg white has been folded in would defeat the purpose of the operation.

For cakes that need to hold a filling in place — such as a cherry Madeira where you are attempting to keep the cherries in suspension — do not add all the liquid until you are sure that the full amount will not make the mixture too liquid to support the fruit.

Packet mixtures

If you feel that you cannot face the traumas of total cake making, there are a great number of excellent packet cake mixes on the market and you might be well advised to give up the whole business of being a home baker and use one of them.

Cooking

Follow the instructions in the recipe (or on the packet) for baking times and temperatures but do check yourself, as your oven may not behave exactly as the instructions say it should. Do not, however, continually open and shut the oven, as you will kill whatever chance the poor thing had of rising evenly in a constant heat. Similarly, when you test it, do not be too vigorous. If a light sponge gets a fat skewer stuck in it, it will break the crust and release half the air being carefully husbanded inside. Press the sponge very gently with your finger and, if it resists, it will be done. A more robust cake will stand the skewer treatment but, even then, do not do it more than you must.

Turning out

Whether the mixture is from a packet or home-made, it is most important that you are able to get it out of the tin when it is cooked. Greasing and flouring tins should work but has been known, only too often, not to — especially if the butter was salty! Invest in one, or several, loose-bottomed cake tins, which guarantee complete success — not only for cakes but for pâtés, mousses, jellies or anything else that you fear may lurk shyly in its container and refuse to emerge in public. If the mixture is very liquid, as in a very light sponge, line the tin with greaseproof paper to prevent it leaking out the bottom.

Fla. motorcycle racer dies after hitting 285 mph

LIMESTONE, Maine — A motorcycle racer trying to top 300 mph died Sunday after losing control and zooming off a runway at a former air base in northern Maine.

Bill Warner, 44, of Wimauma, Fla., was clocked at 285 mph before he lost control but it was unclear how fast the motorcycle was traveling when it veered off the paved runway and crashed, said Tim Kelly, race director the Loring Timing Association, which hosted “The Maine Event” at Loring Air Force Base.

Warner was conscious and talking after the crash just before 10 a.m., Kelly said, but he died about an hour and 15 minutes later at a hospital in Caribou.

“No one will touch Bill’s achievements or be the type of racer he was. He was a personal friend and the land-racing community is less for his loss,” Kelly said.

Riding his modified turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa, Warner previously hit 311 mph on the same course in 2011, using 1.5 miles of pavement. That’s considered to be the world land speed record for a conventional motorcycle, Kelly said.

This time he was trying to hit 300 mph using just a mile of pavement, and he’d made several passes before the one in which he crashed, Kelly said.

The Maine Event is an annual timed speed event that utilizes the 14,200-foot-long runway at the former Strategic Air Command base that closed in 1994. The Loring Timing Association uses 2.5 miles of the runway for its events, and there’s an additional buffer of 2,000 feet, Kelly said.

On Sunday, about 400 spectators watched as Warner began veering right after passing the 1-mile mark, traveling upright for another 2,000 feet before exiting the runway and crashing, Kelly said.

The remainder of Sunday’s event was canceled. The Limestone Police Department and Maine State Police were investigating the crash.

__________________________________
SOurce: Yahoo News (AP, 7/15)

Cellulite Breakdown and Essential Detoxification part 1

Waist Disposal

`Excess fat is nothing less than a poison depot in an over-acid organism.’ These words were uttered half a century ago by Danish physician Kristine Nolfi — an expert in healing the body through diet. They lie at the core of the cellulite phenomenon. One of your body’s most effective ecological mechanisms for protecting itself from excessive poisons taken in through food, air and water or produced from within as a by-product of metabolism is to lock these toxic materials into fat cells. In the case of cellulite this natural protective mechanism goes one stage further — encasing these wastes in the interstitial fluids and ground substance by binding them within hardened connective tissue. There they sit year after year producing jodhpur thighs.

Diet Start

Personal Energy Crisis

This whole self-protective process is perfectly normal and, all in all, functions rather well, except for two things. First, in the presence of a high level of female hormones it tends to turn intocellulite. Second, it tends to deplete your energy — not only on a cellular level so metabolic processes don’t function in an optimal way but overall so you are prone to fatigue and need stimulants such as coffee to get you going and to keep you going. For in any body which has a high level of waste stored in its cells, much of the available energy is channelled into trying to cope with these wastes instead of being used to keep metabolic processes functioning at a high level of efficiency. In broad terms you sense a lack of overall vitality and over the years develop a tendency to become chronically tired — sometimes so much so that it can even become very difficult to make the effort to help yourself. To shed cellulite you need first to help your body detoxify itself and eliminate the pockets of static tissues where, like stagnant ponds in a meadow, toxicity has been allowed to accumulate.

A lot has been written in recent years about detoxification. Some of it can sound quite mystifying. But the whole process is really quite simple. The reason you have built up these pockets of wastes is simply that your body is continually having to cope with more poisons than it can eliminate in the normal day- to-day course of events. Remove some of the burden of what is creating this excess toxicity in your system by laying aside coffee, alcohol and over-processed foods complete with chemical additives for a time, and you are halfway there. Add to that a very simple and temporary regime designed to trigger rapid detoxification, some movement and some external help, and quite naturally you trigger your body’s own mechanisms for clearing out the junk. This is the first step in the Cellulite Revolution. There are lots of ways you can do it but the simplest of all to begin with is to go on a two-or-three-day applefast.

Applemagic

The apple has long been valued as health tonic, medicine, cosmetic and bowel-regulator all in one. Apples are low in acidity to help balance stored bodily wastes which tend to be acidic. They stimulate the flow of saliva in the mouth and clear away debris from the teeth. Eating raw fresh apples stimulates circulation in the gums too. In folk medicine the apple was traditionally used for eliminating obesity (in part no doubt because of its detoxifying ability) as well as for the treatment of skin problems, bladder inflammation, anaemia, insomnia, intestinal parasites and even bad breath. In recent years we have come to appreciate the kind of fibre apples contain. In addition to cellulose (the most common variety of fibre such as that in bran which binds water and increases faecal bulk), apples are also rich in pectin — a special form of fibre with exceptional detoxification properties. Unlike cellulose, pectin does not bind water. It is water-soluble. Pectin has no influence on faecal bulking, but it can be an excellent substance to help lower cholesterol and for eliminating bile acids from the intestines. Also, and in many ways most important of all for keeping cellulite away, pectin is a natural chelating agent for binding dangerous heavy metals in the body such as aluminium, cadmium, mercury and lead, and eliminating them.

Health Benefits of Guava for Health and Beauty

Health Benefits of Guava for Health and Beauty

Health Benefits of Guava for Health and BeautyGuava has a Latin name Psidium guajava is also often described as guava and guava. The origin of the fruit is reportedly from a country where the sport of football was born, namely Brazil, and managed to get in Indonesia through trade channels in Thailand.
Guava and Guava has a sweet taste, and not infrequently there is still sour. Round shape leaves with green skin and flesh have two color variants of white and red are where there is little seed seeds can also be consumed.
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The Nutritional Content of Guava
There are dozens of nutrients stored in guavas and in each of these nutrients plays an important role in terms of health shore up the human body and diligent person to consume.
Here are some nutrients that are embedded in Guava :
• The Water Content Is Not Small
• Contains Fiber
• Calories
• Containing Protein
• Fats
• Contain Carbohydrates
• Contain Iron
• Abu
• Containing Calcium
• Containing Phosphorus
• Contains Vitamin A (Carotene)
• Contains Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acis)
• Contains Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
• Contains Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
• Contains Niacin (Vitamin B3)
With the presence of a number of nutrients above the guava fruit can be said as the fruit is also rich in nutrients. Because of them that many people who want to cultivate the fruit is sweet, while it was for her own use is not only edible but also processed into drugs.
Benefits of Guava
Many diseases are able to be deflected slowly by this fruit, some of which are as follows.
1. Can Fight Cancer
Get used to a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis in order to avoid serious diseases such as cancer that have reported more patients to death. You can prevent cancer in a way that is diligent guava consumption. There is an antioxidant that is able to do this. Lycopene in guava is known it is easier to be absorbed in the body than the tomatoes because the difference in cell structure.
2. as Diarrhea Drug
Diarrhea should be quick to take medication. The medicine is not to be made in the factory, you can use a method that is more secure and healthy as a drink with guava juice three times a day. Guava plant also has antibacterial properties, these properties that you can use to stop diarrhea and dysentery. The antibacterial properties either be created because of the content of karetinoid, vitamin C and potassium in it.
3. Can Lower Blood Pressure
For People with hypertension are often recommended by doctors to familiarize the consumption of foods and beverages derived from guava and mangosteen peel. Why? because the fruit contains potassium, which is said by the results of the study were able to treat hypertension and lowers LDL cholesterol excess.
4. Cough and Flu
Highly vulnerable to extreme weather conditions to make your baby have a cold with a cough. The mother must take action, by giving red guava juice that also contained vitamin C and iron which can inhibit the influenza virus infection.
Health Benefits of Guava for Health and Beauty - 2
5. Can Overcome Constipation
Constipation or constipation is the most frequently encountered problems. If you suffer from the same thing you do not immediately take medicine, try to eat a medium-sized guava fruit which also included a 36 percent fiber needs that doctors recommend.
6. Make More Stomach Satiety
Guava is the food you choose as a booster stomach, because the content of fiber, protein and some vitamins in it is suitable to withstand hunger. If you are running the program for the diet, the fruit seems appropriate to provide chances of success of your endeavors.
7. as Drug Thrush
Thrush occurs because a deficiency of vitamin C as well as drinking water. You can meet the daily requirement of vitamin C by eating guava, besides that because the vitamin content can be overcome thrush was moved at this fruit.
8. Diabetes Mellitus
Drink a concoction of guava which has been boiled and filtered water is believed to be able to treat the disease diabetes mellitus.
9. Younger
Antioxidants are cooperating also with vitamin A, C and potassium in guava able to treat your skin to keep it tight so avoid premature aging.

It is remarkable not properties of guava fruit that previously may not know fully. From now make guava as a table fruit that is ready to wash the mouth after every meal. Hopefully article Health Benefits of Guava for Health and Beauty we share today can be beneficial for you. Thank You.

Ten Risk Factors That Cause Food Reactions (1-5)

The primary cause of most food reactions is incomplete digestion. At almost every meal, we eat foods that we don’t completely digest. The results are disastrous. When we eat foods we can’t digest, we almost always have some type of reaction.

Food that isn’t completely digested can enter our systems in large food macromolecules that cause a great deal of trouble. The body perceives these macromolecules of partly digested food as foreign invaders, similar to bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Then the body attacks them with the full force of the immune system.

This immune inflammatory attack creates the symptoms that you hate: fatigue, weakness, heartburn, aching joints and muscles, nasal stuffiness — and false fat.

There are several factors that most often cause incomplete digestion. To get started on the False Fat Diet, you’ve got to understand these factors and avoid them. In order of importance, here they are.

Risk Factor 1. We eat too narrow a range of foods.

It’s estimated that the average person gets about 75 per cent of his or her calories from just ten different foods. Most of us have our favourite foods, such as wheat and dairy products, and we rely on them far too much. When we overeat any one food, we exhaust our body’s ability to fully digest it.

Diet Start

Risk Factor 2. We eat too many fake foods.

We eat synthetic foods, such as fake fat and artificial sugar, that are manufactured in factories. No wonder we can’t digest this stuff! Furthermore, most of our packaged foods have been crammed with chemicals that human bodies cannot adequately metabolize. Often, a synthetic food has a long shelf life precisely because it can’t be broken down by nature.

Risk Factor 3. We have digestive enzyme deficiencies.

Many people are dangerously low in the enzymes that digest food. Even when these people eat healthy foods, they don’t have enough pancreatic enzymes to break the foods down properly.

Millions of people haven’t been genetically endowed with the right digestive enzymes to thrive on a modern, industrialized diet. For example, African Americans are ten times more likely than Caucasians to lack the enzyme that breaks down milk. Because a lack of enzymes is a common problem, the False Fat Diet generally includes supplementation with specific enzymes.

Another cause of enzyme insufficiency is our failure to ingest the natural enzymes that exist in foods. Many whole, unprocessed foods automatically come with the enzymes that are needed to help digest them, but before we eat these foods, we often kill the enzymes by cooking, processing, irradiation, and storage.

Because it’s important to eat foods with live enzymes still in them, patients on the False Fat Diet tend to eat a lot of fresh, whole, raw foods.

Another critically important digestive substance that millions of people lack is stomach acid, or hydrochloric acid. Unfortunately, production of this acid decreases as we age, which is why indigestion is more common among older people. Many people mistakenly think they have too much stomach acid, because they often get heartburn — but the opposite can be true. Heartburn can also be a sign of low acid. When you don’t have enough existing stomach acid from day to day, your stomach secretes too much when you eat to make up for the deficiency. Later on, I’ll tell you how to fix this deficiency.

Risk Factor 4. We eat food that is too refined.

Too much of our food is stripped of fibre and then shredded, pulverized, powdered — and finally stuck back together again with gluey fillers. By the time we eat it, it’s not much more than a predigested mush of starch and sugar. Unfortunately, this excessive processing often allows the food to rush into the bloodstream before it undergoes the complete digestive process. If this ‘predigested’ food still had its fibre, it would stay in the gut long enough to be fully digested, or it would be carried all the way through the system by the fibre and eliminated. Because of this factor, I urge people to avoid overly refined foods.

Risk Factor 5. We create our own intestinal problems.

One of the most common and harmful of these problems is a condition that allows undigested food macromolecules to slip through the intestinal wall. This condition is called ‘leaky gut syndrome,’ and doctors have only recently realized how hazardous it is. A leaky gut‘s wall is more permeable than it should be.

This permeability can be caused by eating chemical additives and also by drinking coffee or alcohol with meals. If you’ve noticed that you most frequently have food reactions when you have a cocktail with dinner or coffee with breakfast, you may have leaky gut syndrome.

Another primary cause of leaky gut syndrome is overgrowth of the natural yeast Candida albicans. Candida is usually present in the body and is mostly found in the mucous membranes — especially those in the intestines. It normally stays in balance with other healthy bacteria, but it can get out of control and increase gut wall permeability. It proliferates if you:

  • Take antibiotics, which kill all bacteria.
  • Take birth control pills.
  • Take steroid drugs.
  • Eat foods, such as sugar, that cause yeast to multiply.
  • Eat things that contain lots of yeast, such as bread and beer.
  • Have impaired immunity.

Candida is a major cause of bloating and often causes a ‘beer belly’ look. In fact, I think that many heavy beer drinkers with beer bellies aren’t nearly as far as they look, but are just swollen with candida, reactive gas, and fluids. I had one patient who lost his beer belly in a matter of days on the False Fat Diet. He was thrilled with his quick response, and it motivated him to stay with the diet.

Cut your Protein why no Sugar?

The case against sugar is a complex one. Besides the fact that refined sugar is a totally unnatural substance that has been stripped of its nutritional value—fiber, vitamins, and minerals—apart from the calories it provides, sugar in concentrated form is very hard on the pancreas. The pancreas, which is responsible for the production of insulin and therefore the regulation of blood sugar and energy levels in the body, has adapted through evolution to deal with a steady flow of glucose in small quantities such as those that result from the intake of complex carbohydrates.

One of the biggest beauty cons of all is the idea that if you eat lots of protein your muscles, skin, hair, and nails will grow strong and you will stay young. Like the old-fashioned high protein diet for building up athletic strength, it doesn’t work. The human need for protein has been grossly exaggerated. At the turn of the century, respected opinion held that we need between 120 and 169 grams of protein per day. Then Chittenden showed in human experiments that far better performance and health were possible on fifty grams, a much lower amount. Another scientist named Hindhede set the figure at thirty grams. Then Oomen in Amsterdam and Hipsley in Canberra discovered a population in Australia which develop not only full health, but exceptional muscular structure and performance on a diet of merely 15 to 20 grams of protein per day.

Diet Start

Later in the United States, the American Research Council’s Food and Nutrition Board agreed on a daily requirement of 70 grams for adults. One member of the board, named Sherman, described how this figure was arrived at. The evidence the committee examined indicated that a much lower amount was needed, somewhere around 35 grams, but there was agreement that if so low a figure had been set there would have been a public outcry, so a corresponding “margin of safety” was decided on and the 70-gram figure was published. But because the scientific basis for the figure was nonexistent, the word “recommendation” was chosen instead of “requirement.” Current recommendations for protein intake hover about the 50-gram mark, although there is strong evidence now that we probably need even less.

Your body needs amino acids, the constituents of protein, for its metabolic processes, for growth and the repair and maintenance of body tissue. Proteins are made up of twenty-two different amino acids; all but eight of them your body can manufacture itself. These eight, which have to be taken in through your foods, are referred to as “essential” amino acids.

A large portion of a protein molecule is made up of nitrogen, and one of the important things about taking protein is that it helps keep a good nitrogen balance in the body, so there is as much nitrogen coming into the body as there is leaving it. This balance helps maintain body health and muscle strength, so that you don’t go into what is known as a negative nitrogen balance, when you lose muscle tissue from your body. To keep your nitrogen right, 10 to 15 percent of your total calorie intake should be from protein.

But when a greater percentage than this of your calorie intake comes from protein foods, then your body goes into a negative mineral balance and you start gradually losing precious minerals and trace elements such as zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and chromium from your system. These nutrients, so easily lost from the body, are vital not only to physical health but also to emotional stability and well-being (more about minerals later). Wachmann and Bernstein of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University investigated the high protein diet and came to the conclusion that the protein-rich (especially the meat-heavy) diet plays a strong role in the genesis of osteoporosis, a softening of the bones, particularly in women after menopause, caused by the loss of minerals. This is probably because of the high protein diet’s tendency to leach valuable minerals (in this case calcium) from the system. And purely from the point of view of physical beauty, many of these lost minerals, such as sulfur, selenium, zinc. magnesium, and calcium, can make the difference between prematurely aging skin caused by a rapid collagen and elastin breakdown, nails that split, or hair in poor condition, and radiant looks glowing with strength and health.

Finally, the breakdown and metabolism of proteins in the body lead to the formation of a number of complex by-products such as urea, nitrogen, and ammonia, which can be toxic. These wastes need to be eliminated. This isn’t always easy, and it puts great strain on the liver and kidneys. This is why, on the well-known high protein reducing diets, you are advised to drink large amounts of water in order to water down these poisons and help excrete them.

Workout Anytime in Citizen Tribune

Workout Anytime in Citizen Tribune

WORKOUT ANYTIME was recently featured in the Citizen Tribune. The article explains the newest WORKOUT ANYTIME location coming to Morristown, Tennessee this October. It gives background on Steve James and Scott Elliot and how they came about the WORKOUT ANYTIME brand. The article also goes into further detail on the services at the gym and the owners planned community outreach.
You can view the full article here. 

Teacher Toolbox Trio Linky Celebration!

Since the advent of Teachers Pay Teachers, my teaching toolbox has changed quite a bit. There are so many things that I’ve made or bought for my classroom, and there are many others that are on my wishlist. To recognize that, I’m hosting a Teacher Toolbox Trio linky party.

Here are the rules of the trio:
1. Share a product that you’ve made that you couldn’t live without.
2. Share a product that you’ve purchased that you love.
3. Share something from your wish list that you’re hoping to get for next year.

If you’re not a seller on TpT, no worries — just share two products you’ve purchased that you love!

1. Something I’ve Made

The Classroom Economy Megapack was my first major project for TpT, and without question, it was the one that I used all the time last year. It has everything I needed for setting up my classroom jobs, monitoring daily behaviors on a clip chart, running my classroom economy, and giving students free/very low-cost rewards. Unlike my units that were used here and there, this was on display in my classroom all 180 days, and my kids loved it. This is the one thing that I could not live without.

2. Something I Purchased

Erin’s “A Roller Coaster Day” sub plans were amazing! I had to go to an all day district committee meeting on a Friday in May when the kids were already getting a little crazy, but they LOVED this. The sub said it kept them engaged all day, and given that I was already at the stage of the year when all of our required curriculum had been taught, it was perfect. It will be a permanent addition to my sub folder, and she’s also made one for grades 5-6. You can follow Erin’s blog: I’m Lovin Lit. 

3. Something on My Wish List

I’m really planning to focus on math facts and mental math skills early in the school year, and Laura Candler’s Mastering Math Facts has been on my radar screen for a while. I’m hoping to snag a copy before I go back in July. (Yes, July!)  Laura’s blog is Corkboard Connections.

The Linky Celebration

This is more than just a party — it’s a celebration! I’ve been meaning to do something to celebrate hitting 100 followers for a while now, and as I near the 150 mark, it’s definitely time! If you link up through the tool below, you’ll be eligible to win a $25 gift certificate from Teachers Pay Teachers — enough to possibly clear off some items from your own wish list!

clip art from KPM Doodles
I’ll be using a random number generator to select the winner from those who link up. The linky celebration will end next Friday, June 14 at 11:59pm EDT and the winner will be announced on my blog on Saturday.
Can’t wait to discover some new products and see some of your favorites! Be sure to link up below, and please include the Teacher Toolbox Trio icon and/or another link to Eberopolis in your post.

Happy linking!
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What Does it Really Mean When Food is Labeled as ‘Organic’?

What Does it Really Mean When Food is Labeled as ‘Organic’?
BY KATIE MACDONALD 
ILLUSTRATIONS BY VALERIO PELLEGRINI

We often blindly trust food that’s been USDA-certified organic, but what’s actually involved in earning that seal?

Cross-eyed in the produce section? It’s not your fault. USDA standards for organic labeling differ when comparing apples to, er, chicken—which can create consumer confusion, says Peter Laufer, Ph.D., the author of Organic: A Journalist’s Quest to Discover the Truth Behind Food Labeling.
(Food and beverage makers often employ buzzwords to cash in on nutrition trends, but they’re not always telling you the whole story. Find out how to recognize When Nutrition Labels Lie.)
This chart shows the standards that must be met within an industry to earn the seal. Understand the differences and start seeing clearly.
organic infographic
Source

Royal Enfield Tailgunner Interceptor

As of late, Royal Enfield has been in the news for all the good reasons. The Indian owned British-marque is grabbing the limelight and chewing into newsprint for their massive expansion plans, and of course, for their exciting launches up ahead. However, now we have got a hold of a piece of news that speaks of an all-original 1A Interceptor bike from the 1960’s.

Royal Enfield Tailgunner Interceptor0007

To the uninitiated, the Interceptor was made by Royal Enfield from 1960 to 1970 and during that period they even tinkered with the powerplant—kicking it up to a 750cc unit. The 1A Interceptor was launched back in 1967 and is still a rare piece of classic bike machinery to obtain. Those who succeed in finding one will always be inclined to restore it to its previous glory.
READ MORE: Royal Enfield Now Sells More Bikes Than H-D | RideApart
So when Charlie Giordano, who owns Tailgunner Exhausts, found one such 1A Interceptor in desperate need of some tender love and care, everyone hoped to see the bike getting a thorough restoration job. Well…it did get a new lease of life, but it wasn’t what everyone expected to see. The result was mind-blowing.

Royal Enfield Tailgunner Interceptor0006

Giordano chose to get a fresh sheet of paper and start from scratch in terms of the styling. It did have to feature one of the finest of his Gatling Gun-inspired rotating exhaust systems, which we think is the one of the most ridiculously awesome things that can be retrofitted on to a motorbike. It’s more like Pacific Rim – dumb, but rad!
READ MORE: 8 Signs You’re a Biker N00B | RideApart
But the sheer lunacy of this 1A Interceptor doesn’t end with its tailpipe that will surely make the cars behind you swerve off the lane. Giordano has borrowed cues from England during that era where this bike belonged once. Sample this: It has a wax-sealed “Boston” liniment bottle attached to the fork leg—filled to the brim with “a sailor’s daily ration of rum” per old Royal Navy Tradition.

Royal Enfield Tailgunner Interceptor0005

The battery box is made from wood cigar boxes and embellished with hand-hammered copper strips. It also has a pedestrian slicer on the front number plate. This bike has café racer genes written all over it—from the fender devoid wheels to the Manx-style fuel tank. And that gorgeous tail section! All of it was crafted using old techniques with the help of hand tools.
When asked about choosing to go all-out mental with this build instead of doing a more composed restoration, Giordano said, “I felt like a politician: No matter which way I vote, I’m going to displease about half the constituency.”
We are the half that is very pleased.

Royal Enfield Tailgunner Interceptor0004

Royal Enfield Tailgunner Interceptor0003

Royal Enfield Tailgunner Interceptor0002 
Royal Enfield Tailgunner Interceptor0001
 First published in rideapart.com/

Honda CB750 by Vibrazioni Art Design

The Honda CB750 has become the go-to bike for customization. It has been chopped and molded into countless cafe racers, scramblers and some cycles we’re not even so sure about. Most of us here at Selectism are not gear heads — but we find redeeming qualities in aesthetics. That’s where this beautiful custom CB750 comes into play.Meet Vibrazioni Art Design, an Italy-based boutique firm with a knack for creating pieces like furniture from repurposed branded oil barrels. Their latest endeavor is this reworked CB750 featuring original logos from Pennzoil.







First published by http://gascapkustom.

Men’s Body Click Diet part 1

In the summer the men had to cope with constant daylight, so they were missing the normal cues to go to bed. ‘When it’s daylight, even though it’s midnight or one o’clock in the morning, you don’t think of it as being the time to go to sleep,’ says Dave. ‘Your mind just says, hey, there’s work to be done. I may be tired but I’m not recognizing the need for sleep because it’s daylight.’

Already lacking the strong time-giving effects of light, the men could not set their body clocks by what they were eating, either. ‘We had four meals a day. Two of them occurred at noon and midnight, the other two at six in the morning and six in the evening,’ continues Dave. ‘One of the difficulties in telling what time it was, was that the 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. meals were powdered scrambled eggs and the other two meals were stew. So if you woke up at six o’clock and went into the galley for a meal and you had powdered scrambled eggs, you didn’t know whether you were having breakfast or dinner.’

Despite losing the signals that are normally provided by the cycle of light and dark, the timing of activity, intake of food, reasonable work shifts or even simple obedience to the clock, most of the men managed toget through without becoming acutely sick or injured. But some of them developed a condition they called Big Eye, in which they became stuck in a sleepless state. Almost everyone had duties that required exhausting physical labor, but even so, the men with Big Eye failed to sleep for days.

Diet Start

The men with Big Eye demonstrated that the body’s flexibility is a double-edged sword. The loss of essential time givers easily disrupted their circadian rhythms, probably setting them up for health problems if they continued down that path. On the other hand, proper application of some fairly simple rules for circadian health could have rescued them. And the same rules can rescue you from a potentially perilous state of disorganization.

The Body Clock Prescription reinforces strong circadian rhythms; produces better sleep, enhanced moods, alertness and energy; and reduces the risk for reproductive cancers for everyone. In addition to these overall improvements in health and well-being, there are specific aspects of the diet that have a favorable impact on prostate health, a subject that provokes anxiety for many men.

Prostate Ailments: The ‘Male Problem

There is certainly cause for concern. Prostate ailments are an almost universal threat to men in Europe and North America. Among men in the United States, prostate cancer is the most common cancer; it is also the second leading cause of cancer death.’ In addition, countless men suffer from other prostate problems. This phenomenon represents a kind of `male problem‘ corresponding roughly to what used to be called ‘female problems’, a much less specific collection of gynecological woes that were lumped under this heading in the mid-1900s. The notion of female problems embraced excessive menstruation, infertility, irregular periods,cramps, vaginal discharge and other kinds of medical mischief that women endure.

The male problem is more localized in the prostate gland, the part of the male reproductive system that secretes fluids that help transport sperm. Nevertheless, it is a fairly complicated picture, which includes inflammations of the prostate, a common condition known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) and prostate cancer.

What’s more, prostate problems may lead you to needing a cystoscopy, where a narrow flashlight is inserted into the hole from which you pee until it arrives in your bladder. On the way, it passes through your prostate gland. Cystoscopy is a procedure that causes ‘big eyes’ in the bravest of men.

Besides cystoscopy, the other method often used to examine men with prostate complaints is digital rectal examination, in which the examiner can feel the profile of your prostate gland. (Digital refers to the doctor’s finger, not his computer.) Both give much less information than you would expect to get from such relatively invasive procedures. Opening your mouth and saying Ah’ discloses much more about your teeth, gums, tongue and throat than any rectal exam reveals about your prostate, unless you have a huge lump. Ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) and computerized axial tomography (CAT) scans are necessary to get a good picture of what’s happening to this gland, whose actual location on the floor of your pelvis seems mysterious to anyone who has not studied anatomy.

Diet and Prostate Health

If you look around you, especially as you get older and start hearing stories from men who have prostate trouble, you may wonder if there’s something simple you can do to avoid it. I’m not talking about early detection, which is mentioned frequently these days. (Of course, most men’s idea of early detection is that early next year or the year after would be just fine.) Nor am I saying that a good history, physical exam, measurements of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a common blood test used to screen for prostate cancer and other indicators of your underlying health, prostate or otherwise, are not a good idea.

But you’re misplacing your priorities if you go through those procedures without making some modest changes in your diet now to prevent troubles in the future. Most men who have a reasonably healthy personal and family medical history and who don’t abuse themselves with excesses of drugs, tobacco and alcohol, other risky activities or excessive inactivity can probably remain free of obvious symptoms even if they don’t implement all the points of the Body Clock Prescription. Some of these pointsare aimed at people who are trying to get out of serious medical trouble or who have risk factors that call on them to follow the diet very strictly.

Naturally, the more closely you follow the Body Clock Prescriptionthe better, but if you do nothing else, I urge you to consume soy protein and flaxseed powder daily to prevent prostate problems. By making these simple dietary changes and keeping your mind open to the possibility that fungal infection, intestinal overgrowth or allergy might have a hand in any prostate inflammation that is not otherwise easily diagnosed by a physician, you can go a long way toward avoiding the possibility of getting prostate cancer, as well as the other problems that frequently lead men to undergo cystoscopy.

1948 Packard woody station wagon and matching teardrop trailer

https://silodrome.com/packard-eight-station-sedan-teardrop-camper/

Do you have Food Cravings? Food Cravings Test

  • Do you frequently eat until your stomach is uncomfortably full?
  • When you get hungry, does it make you feel tense, weak, or irritable?
  • When you get hungry, do you sometimes focus on one or two specific foods?
  • Do you snack often, usually eating the same snacks?
  • Have you ever had other addictive habits, such as smoking or drinking too much alcohol or overconsuming caffeine?
  • Diet Start
  • Are you often hungry after a meal and stay that way until you’ve eaten one of your favourite foods?
  • Do you usually need dessert after dinner to feel satisfied?
  • Do you tend to eat a relatively narrow range of foods?
  • When you eat your favourite foods, do you often intend to eat only a moderate amount, but end up eating a larger amount?
  • Do you sometimes feel as if you lack control over what you eat?
  • If you snack on foods other than your favourite foods, do you tend to feel unsatisfied?
  • Do you binge on food more than once per week?
  • Even if you know a food doesn’t agree with you, do you eat it anyway?
  • When you eat your favourite foods, do you frequently drift into an almost trancelike state of relaxation?
  • When you eat one of your favourite foods, does it generally improve your mood?

If you answered yes to six or more questions, you are probably overweight. If you’re not, you must have a tremendous degree of willpower or an exceptional metabolism.

When this happens, you will stop eating as much as you now eat, and your metabolism will heal. You will then begin to lose adipose tissue gradually, painlessly — and permanently.

And More: A Simple Explanation Why ‘Loot Boxes’ May Be Considered “Gambling”, In Games Like Star Wars Battlefront II, Et Al… [Editorial]

((Portions of this article
may or may not have
information obtained
from this unidentified
Imperial Officer))

Recently, in the game Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (EA, Dice), there was the introduction of “Loot Boxes”. These are purchasable ‘crates’ that can contain multiple items. These items are generated randomly (RNG, Random Number Generation) and are obtainable by using “RealLife™” Money [my superscript as pun] – and therein lies the problem being discussed.

In an attempt to explain it simply on a Steam Forum Thread a few days ago, I posted the comment below. I replicate it here, to share with others, so that this whole ‘issue’ may be understood more fully:

“If I may pop in, to explain the reason why “loot boxes could be considered gambling”; it is due to a few factors:

– There is an RNG factor in the potential items from the Loot Boxes (the items are random, and some items are worth more than others)

– The inclusion of the possibility of utilizing RealLife™ Currency to obtain them.
[Because of this element, more than anything, it could possibly be construed as “gambling”…]

– Because the items (1) can be exchanged in the game for other items that ‘cost RealLife™ Money (2), they are ‘gambling on the possibility’ that they will ‘save money’ if there are better/higher items in the Box purchased (i.e. they will ‘save money’ if the RNG produces higher/better items in the Box; they will not have to buy much more)

Together, all three points mean the game essentially has “gambling” within it…
I assume the reason why some parents are getting upset about it, is that there is a possibility of a Minor using their RealLife™ Money to obtain the Loot Boxes (in any game).

The solution is simple however; remove the possibility of utilizing RealLife™ money to obtain the Chests/Boxes/etc OR the possibility of getting ‘better items’ that will ‘deconstruct into elements that can accrue to get better items’ (“saving money” if the better items appear via RNG) and there is no longer the possibility of it being “gambling”, as it were.”


The above points, along with the fact that the ‘items’ can actually affect a players’ performance (i.e. a person with more items or better items can actually live longer or do more damage than someone without the items), is the sum of the whole problem that is upsetting many gamers, the entire issue becoming aflame in the recent release (Nov.17th) of “Star Wars: Battlefront II”.

Other games (eg. “Team Fortress 2”), handle this concern for the most part by making sure that the items contained in their ‘loot crates’ are only ‘cosmetic items’ (hats, skins, costumes, etc) that do not affect player performance against other human players. It remains to be seen whether the “RNG Factor” involved in such ‘Crates of Loot’ in these other games, like TF2, are going to still become a ‘gambling’ issue, or not.

Hopefully this helps you dear reader, in understanding the issue at hand and why some people are getting ‘up in arms’ about it at this time. 

~Troy from The Game Tips And More Blog

Workout Anytime on FOX 19

Workout Anytime on FOX 19

Tony Petrocelli from Workout Anytime was recently featured on a segment on FOX 19 in Cincinnati. The segment is about what women do wrong while working out. Tony then talks about the locations and mentions that there are franchise opportunities.

Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

You can view the full segment here.

XLCR Reborn – Jamesville Shovelhead Cafe Racer



Back in 1977 Harley Davidson unveiled their American cafe racer, the XLCR Sportster. On paper and in the flesh the bike was certainly appealing. It was draped in black, had a unique siamese exhaust system, was powered by a torquey 997cc v-twin and wore bodywork unlike any other Harley. Unfortunately the press slammed the bikes performance and poor sales resulted in it becoming a rather famous flop for the Milwaukee manufacturer. Despite all of these factors the XLCR has become an iconic model in HD history and today they fetch high prices at auction. Not having ever ventured in to cafe racer territory before James Roper-Caldbeck of ‘Jamesville Motorcycles’ in Copenhagen used the XLCR as his inspiration, but paid careful attention to not repeat Harleys mistakes.




“Last year I received a rather sheepish email asking if there was any way I would ever build a café racer” recalls James. James’ portfolio is almost entirely made up of Harley Davidson builds with Chopper and Bobber styling being his usual forte. For an outsider it might seem that he is set in his ways, but when the opportunity presented itself, he was more than willing to take it on.

“It can sometimes become a little monotonous always building bobbers and choppers so I gladly said yes. I have always loved the XLCR 1000 and that bike became my inspiration, right down to how we photographed it.”



Rather than heading down the same route as the XLCR and using a Sportster as the starting point James opted to use a 1974 Harley Davidson FX Shovelhead. “I found a fairly stock FX that had an S&S 80 cubic inch motor and a 5 speed transmission, which is very nice.”

With a powerful donor selected James started penning down some ideas. “To be honest I had no idea what I was doing when it came to building a Café Racer, but I knew I wanted it black with a fairing and for it to look F#CKING mean!”



The build began with the bikes new bodywork. Influenced by the design of Super GP bikes James fabricated an entirely new seat pan and tail from scratch, integrating a Triumph tail light at the rear and mounting it as high as possible on the frame. Surprisingly his front fairing was an aftermarket unit sourced on Ebay. James purchased the unit unsure if it was going to fit his headlight, but much to his surprise it was the perfect fit. For the fuel tank he decided the stock unit looked right for the build and so he stuck with it. “Everyone always asks what it’s from and are shocked when I tell them!” jokes James.



To get the bike sitting right James designed a Progressive shock and spring package that lowers the front end and raises the rear, creating a more aggressive riding position. Taking cues from his favourite Ducati exhaust set up he handbuilt a 2-into-1 system that runs high before exiting beside the tail. Two well placed heat shields sufficiently protect the rider from burns (tried and tested by the man himself) and the hotdog muffler lets everyone know to make plenty of room as the Shovelhead approaches.



With loads of power on tap and a great suspension set up James knew he’d need to upgrade the bikes woeful stock brakes for it to be worthy of its cafe racer status. Using a configuration similar to the XLCR that inspired the build he mounted a set of twin drilled discs up front and a drilled disc with custom mounted, daisy chained twin calipers at the rear. Due to the Harley’s dimensions it still runs mid controls, but they are custom made units that keep the rider’s feet up high for improved cornering clearance.



Taking a measly 5 weeks to complete James finished the bike using a paint scheme inspired by 80s and 90s GP Super Bikes. Touches of XLCR can also be seen on the engine where black has been liberally applied to those distinct Shovel shaped heads, the lower barrels, oil bag and various covers. Then to liven up the monotone theme touches of red were added to the seat and front fairing.

Knowing full well that Harley’s aren’t often the first choice for cafe racer conversions,  James has done his best to create a bike with the right look and performance to be worthy of the title. “I’m not sure how the Café racer guys will like this” says James. “But I can tell you it’s awesome to RIDE!” 


JAMESVILLE MOTORCYCLES

Photography by Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

First published by returnofthecaferacers

Wheel Jockey® a Handy Tool for Safer Motorcycle Rides

The anticipation of a well planned ride almost always makes the ride more enjoyable. The riding season arrived early in the Carolinas and I looked forward to getting my gear on and heading out into the chilly morning air—away from the traffic for some fun in the “twistys” just outside our little town. Tank is full of gas… tire pressure checked…heart racing just a bit… all is good! While rounding the first left hand bend, the rear end of my old BMW suddenly wants to be in front! The dreaded “tank-slapper” makes my heart rate jump instantly. Thanks to no cars coming from the opposite direction, we stay upright and head for the shoulder. A sheet metal screw buried in the tread close to the tire’s edge is found to be the culprit.

Virtually every motorcycle rider has had a close call—a close call that might have put them on the pavement with little or no warning. With motorcycles having only two wheels, both of them need to be in proper working order if the bike is to maintain an upright position on the road. A flat tire leaves only half of your wheels functioning properly and decreases the odds of keeping control, avoiding disaster. Suddenly, the riding gear you (and your passenger) are wearing may be the only thing to prevent an ugly injury…or worse.

Flat tires on motorcycles usually come from road debris—nails, glass, screws, staples etc. This is the same kind of debris that flattens car tires. An underinflated tire can also cause an unanticipated loss of control. Every motorcycle manufacturer recommends that the tire pressure be checked before each ride. When the air pressure is checked, it does give the rider a quick look at the tire while getting the valve stem in place. However, unless the bike has a center stand that elevates a wheel so it can be rotated, it is extremely difficult to do a full tire inspection. To make matters worse, the fenders on many bikes can cover up to 75% of the tire. That means having to stand up and roll the bike slightly forward 6 or 7 times to expose another small section of the tire. Needless to say, this is a hassle and keeps most people from doing a proper inspection very often—if ever.

Wheel Jockey is a compact portable tool that many riders carry with them when traveling. It allows them to easily get the wheels slightly off the ground on ball bearing rollers so that the wheel can be turned for checking air pressure, cleaning, and maybe most important of all, inspecting the tire for hazardous debris; debris that could be forced into the tire while leaning into a curve, puncturing the tire and leaving the rider in a serious bike control situation.

Cleaning the chain, inspecting the tires, and even checking the air pressure is, to many riders, like cleaning toilets or windows. You do it when you have to—not one minute sooner. Whether a bike is brand new or ten years old, if it does not have a factory installed center stand, (the vast majority don’t), the compact, patented design of Wheel Jockey Sport and Big Boy models take a painstaking, but risk reducing, job and make it easy for men and women riders of all ages and experience.

Wheel Jockey’s owner, Bill Kniegge, shares that while leading a private tour of German enthusiasts for (www.bluestradatours.com ), a casual look at the rear tire of a guest’s bike while lubing the chain revealed that a large staple had pushed its way almost clear through the tire. “I was just spinning the wheel around several times, checking both sides and the middle, when it jumped right out at me. A freshly installed Stop & Go (www.stopngo.com ) plug and an occasional check of the air pressure turned what may have been a bad day into a great day. Several of our Wheel Jockey customers have shared similar instances that also, turned out fine.”

___________________________________
Source: Motorcycling (AP, 1/10)

reACT Trainer Total Body Circuit Workout

One of the best tools we have at our disposal at Workout Anytime is the reACT Trainer.  Staff who know how to use the product properly and teach others to use it can make a great impression on any member or guest and help to differentiate their club from competitors.

Although the reACT Trainer is a lower body and core trainer it is easy to create full body circuits using the reACT Trainer along with the key upper body movements including:

Horizontal Press (chest press of some type)

Horizontal Pull (Row of some type)

Overhead Press

Vertical Pull – (some type of vertical pulling movement)

Here is a sample reACT Trainer Total Body Circuit:

3 Reasons Why All Calories Are Not the Same

3 Reasons Why All Calories Are Not the Sameby Robert Lustig

Cutting-edge experts say the “calories in, calories out” philosophy is oversimplified and inadequate.

Quality of calories determines the quantity your body burns or stores, says Robert Lustig, MD, author of the recently published book Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Foods, Obesity, and Disease. He shares these fascinating examples of how calorie quality affects your weight and health.

Fiber

Fiber delays the absorption of calories. For example, when you eat a 160-calorie portion of almonds, you absorb only 130 because some calories are delivered to your intestine, where your gut bacteria burn them for their own energy source.

Protein

You use twice as much energy to metabolize protein as carbohydrate—due to the thermic effect of food. Protein also reduces hunger hormones more than carbs do

Carbs

Starches (like potatoes) contain mainly glucose, which every cell in your body uses for energy. Fructose—found in soda and candy and added to most processed foods—is metabolized in your liver as fat, which drives chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Source

Le French Atelier R80

Atelier FBeing British is great, we have an awful lot going for us. As a nation our legacy of engineering prowess is perhaps unmatched and we can proudly hold our heads high as having played a pivotal role in spawning two wheeled transportation and driving it’s development through the decades. But, one thing we are not renowned for is style. Smart maybe, but stylish, no.
Being an island we don’t benefit from the style nutrient that runs down from glacial meltwaters of The Alps and into the rivers of mainland Europe. OK, so in some countries these appear to be mere tributaries (and certainly in certain regions dams ensure thirst isn’t quenched at all) but in France for instance an entire population drinks water packed full of style minerals. Clever biochemistry then causes the molecules within to proliferate to create the Cool Gene. This is scientific fact, we carried out a proper experimentilisation called Bike Shed Paris 2015. The results were conclusive – French dudes are more stylish and cooler than British ones. 

Atelier BVincent Amar, Thomas & Anthony Letourneur and Denis Pereira from Le French Atelier quietly turned up at said Parisenne experiment with 3 stunning bikes, luckily the cleaners at Le Carreau du Temple were on hand with spill-kits to soak up the style that kept falling off the plinths and dribbling all over the expensive parquet floor. Alright, enough lyrical waxing already, you get the picture, I’m rather partial to this motorcycle. Fellow purveyors of achingly handsome customs, Blitz Motorcycles inspired the LFA guys with their rather splendid Black Pearl, which was built by Blitz co-founder Hugo as his personal city steed.
Atelier ELFA’s Anthony wanted to create a bike with near drag strip proportions and stance so set wheels in motion with a less structurally fussy mono-levered R80RT from 1987. Having been an ex-Gendarme bike it was in pretty good condition, probably having only been put into service on occasion to apprehend fashion criminals around the capital. The subframe was re-fabricated and kept as svelte and low profile as possible, so much so that the Alcantara seat pad sits within the frame rails. The single shock on these later R80s allows for an acute mounting angle and creates a super-clean rear end. To mirror the single sided swing arm the opposing disc on the front wheel and caliper mount were removed providing a considered visual balance.

Atelier C
The narrow fuel tank was liberated from a seventies Yamaha DTE125 and modified to fit the Beemer’s spine before receiving copious coats of gun metal grey metallic paint. We’ve meddled with these photos a bit for your viewing pleasure, but trust me, if you like a mean looking bike then this grey is for you.
Atelier GThe scoop and the front of the tank previously allowed movement of the clumsy yoke clamp on the Yamaha but on this application the void offered the perfect hiding place for the all-in-one speedo, idiot lights and of course the power button. Who doesn’t like a back-lit button to get the party started, especially when mounted in a machined aluminium housing.
Atelier A thumbWith the subframe out of bounds for electricity storage the original airbox was utilised for housing the tiny lithium battery, ignition coil and regulator. An airscoop reminiscent of that on a 1970s F1 car was rolled from stainless and powder coated, providing a cooling flow to the tightly packed electrics.
Atelier HMinimalism of near Nordic standards continues throughout the rest of the build with only the business critical items being refitted after the painter and powder coated had played their part. Rizoma’s thick catalogue was thumbed to find lighting solutions and the fellow stylistas from the Italian side of The Alps we’re only too happy too help out. And yes, the headlight looks like the perfect tool for illuminating bridges but note the refraction, some lumens do in fact make it down onto the road ahead.
Atelier D
I’m sure the keyboard jockeys on social media will have a field day with their proclamations about practicality, and although everyone is entitled to their own opinion, on this occasion that right is rescinded. Coolmax lined Rohan zip-off trousers with 17 pockets, ripstop knees and an integrated Leatherman pouch are unquestionably functional, but crimes to style are taken seriously across the water and such sartorial abominations are banned within the Périphérique.
Atelier I
Sadly good things must come to an end, although whoever made up that rule is a bit of a prick, and after six months of thorough enjoyment this R80 is being sold to fund future projects. We had a jolly good poke around this bike and can attest to the more than decent fit and finish but unfortunately the contents of my pockets and the key to my Cagiva didn’t convert very well into Euros so it’s still up for grabs. Probably for the best, as a stylistically deficient Brit I simply wouldn’t do such a bike justice.

Watch out for LFA’s next moves on
First published by thebikeshed

Anti-Money Laundering Risk Assessments

QUESTION
We have two questions involving our anti-money laundering program: (1) When should we conduct a risk assessment? (2) How do we conduct a risk assessment?
ANSWER
Although many people think there is a specific timing requirement for risk assessments, the fact is the Bank Secrecy Act does not explicitly set forth guidelines on when it should be conducted. However, the risk assessment is usually conducted before the initial development of the compliance program. It is updated periodically. [Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Examination Manual (“FFIEC Exam Manual”)]
Our clients establish a policy to review the risk assessment either on an annual or a bi-annual basis. The risk assessment should also be updated when new products or services are offered, new offices are opened, or new delivery channels are activated. The risk assessment should be updated when another entity is acquired, a merger occurs or there is any other type of organizational change that may affect risks facing the organization.
It is also the case that many people do not realize that there is no statute or regulation which provides guidance on how a risk assessment for an AML compliance program should be conducted. Federal financial institution examiners receive guidance about risk assessments from the FFIEC Exam Manual. The FFIEC Exam Manual assists regulators in their determination of the overall or composite level of money-laundering, terrorist financing and related risks in an organization. [FFIEC Exam Manual, Appendix]
The risk assessment process or the final report does not have to be complicated and overly time-consuming. Depending on the complexity of the organization, at the most rudimentary level, the process may be as simple as listing the products and services offered, which customers use what products and services, and where and how the products and services are used. That said, an adequate and effective AML compliance program really cannot be developed without an appropriate understanding of an organization’s potential risk for abuse for money laundering, terrorist financing or other criminal activity. Therefore, the risk assessment process provides the organization with a structure for assessing the risks.

We have conducted AML risk assessments for many years. If you would like information about our risk assessment reviews, please contact us HERE.

Jonathan Foxx
Managing Director
Lenders Compliance Group

It’s Not Just You ™ – Heroes Of The Storm ‘Screen Shake’ = ‘Motion Sickness’ (Dizzy, Nausea, Headache) [Notification]

Just a quick post to let others know that – if you are experiencing this phenomenon – getting dizzy or even nauseous while playing Heroes Of The Storm lately: It’s Not Just You™… I even whipped up an Example of the effect, for those that aren’t quite noticing it:

Example of ‘the screen shake effect’ I made, in GIF format
(Click to see slightly larger Full Size)

I first came across this in the Official Heroes Of The Storm Forums at Battle.Net. It was originally posted by “Phoenix” a couple of weeks ago, here. Although I have seen it personally in-game (noticed it), I have not suffered the nauseating effects that many may/do suffer with this Special Effect the game offers – even though I have experienced ‘game motion sickness’ from other games. [I did notice when testing and creating the above Example, that it made me slightly queasy however..]. Mainly, I have ‘been lucky’ with not experiencing it because I do not normally play the Heroes that have/produce this effect (the ‘screen shake’ effect). Here is a list of all the Heroes and Spells that can produce this effect, thanks to a helpful post by “Hatsoz” on the Official Forums:


Spells with Screen Shake
Zagara – Nydus Network (R)
Genji – Swift Strike (E)
Sgt. Hammer – Concussive Blast (W), Blunt Force Gun (R), Napalm Strike (R)
Gazlowe – Deth Lazor (W)
Lucio – Soundwave (Q), Sound Barrier (R)
Valeera – Blade Flurry (W)
Zul’jin – Twin Cleave (W), Guillotine (R)
Ragnaros – Sulfuras Smash (R)
Alarak – Lightning Surge (E)
Cho – Upheaval (R)
Karazhim – Radiant Dash (Q) (Only with Volley of Blows Talent Lv. 16), Seven-Sided Strike (R)
Anub’arak – Burrow Charge (E) (Upon resurface)
Li Li – Water Dragon (R)
Diablo – Shadow Charge (Q), Fire Stomp (W), Overpower (E)
E.T.C. – Face Melt (W), Stage Dive (R) (Landing only)
Falstad – Hinterland Blast (R)
Kerrigan – Impaling Blades (W)
Muradin – Thunder Clap (W), Dwarf Toss (E), Haymaker (R)
Sonya – Ancient Spear (Q) (On Hit), Leap (R)
Stitches – Slam (W)
Tyrael – El’druin’s Might (Q) (On sword landing), Angelic Flash (Q) (Teleport to sword), Judgment (R)
Uther – Hammer of Justic (E), Divine Storm (R)





Heroes with No Screen Shake
Valla
Tyrande
Lunara
Kael’thas
Zeratul
Cassia
Probius
Varian
Samuro
Zarya
Auriel
Gul’dan
Medivh
Chromie
Tracer
Dehaka
Xul
Li-Ming
Greymane
Gall
Artanis
Lt. Morales
Rexxar
Leoric
The Butcher
Johanna
Sylvanas
The Lost Vikings
Thrall
Jaina
Azmodan
Chen
Rehgar
Murky
Brightwing
Tychus
Abathur
Arthas
Illidan
Malfurion
Nazeebo
Nova
Raynor
Tassadar

I experimented with every single Graphic Setting available in the game (eventually running it on the Lowest Possible Settings) and could not find a Setting that disabled this effect…. I first tried Physics, then other effects-affecting settings, such as Shader level, and more, until everything was at the lowest possible Settings and still the effect appears in-game.

I even looked through the game directories (folders) for some sort of editable configuration file, but the only ones present were ‘protected’ by Blizzard, by being compressed or encrypted in their own proprietary encapsulation of some sort (which renders the files not easily readable or editable by normal means – this is understandable, as they do not want their game easily ‘hacked’ or negatively affected by end users).

So, for now – unfortunately – there is no solution for this, for sufferers of this effect. The only recourse, until Blizzard puts in an option to Disable Screen Shake, is to avoid the Heroes that produce this visual effect.



Just letting Sufferers know: It’s Not Just You™!
[I will try to remember to return to this Post and Update it once Blizzard adds this option – or a workaround is found]

Sacrilège: A Kawasaki Z1000ST Of Biblical Proportions


Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size

Ed Turner is one of Europe’s most extreme custom workshops. Owner Karl Renoult has a very clear and unapologetic vision: he builds each bike with “the sole purpose of giving it character and attitude.”This is Karl’s most outré creation yet, a Kawasaki Z1000ST heavy on biblical references and christened Ezechiel 21, ‘The Sword.’

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size


The Z1000ST is interesting enough in its own right—35 years ago, it was Kawasaki’s first shaft-drive motorcycle, and pumped out a solid 93 horses. But it was also a little staid. And that’s like a red rag to a bull for Karl.The project was commissioned by Grégoire, a man counting his blessings after surviving the November 2015 attacks in Paris.

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size


“He decided that his dreams had to be achieved in his lifetime,” says Karl. “After two or three phone calls, we had the outline of the project.”Grégoire wanted a machine with a powerful-looking frame, a springer front end, and beautiful finishes. The Z1000ST was chosen, largely for its powerful engine—this allowed Karl to devote most of the budget (“not crazy, but comfortable”) to the design.

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size


The chassis took shape rapidly, with a sleeker profile at the back. But Karl resisted the temptation to mess too much with the stock wheels: “I find them pretty cool when polished and adapted to the CBR forks.”The Honda forks have been ‘emptied and springerized’ using custom dampers built by Shaft Racing. It’s a most unusual setup; the suspension duties have been moved from the fork springs to the shock nestling between the yokes.

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size


“For this step, I admit I used some sketches—and even some math,” says Karl. “Not my habit!”“But as usual, surrounded by my mates Joe, Mikael and Gael, we tinkered with this thing and it works pretty well.”

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size


Other cues come from the American vintage drag scene. Notably the proportions of the tires: an Avon 5.25/5.50 17-inch car tire at the rear, and a 3.25 18-inch Speedmaster Mk II rib tire at the front.Everything else is kept to the minimum—specifically, a tank that does not exceed five liters in capacity, and a microscopic brake light and flashers under the custom saddle, masterfully crafted by Red’s Leather.

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size


“Restricted by the wallet, we were unable to satisfy all our pretensions for the preparation of the engine,” Karl says. “We had to play another card…”It was time for divine intervention, so Karl chose a few lines of Ezekiel 21 from the Old Testament to decorate the tank. “A rather creepy passage which speaks of a sword sharpened and polished—and a God who, for once, seems really pissed off and ready to fight.”

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size


To complete The Sword, Karl called in extra manpower from the Breton artisans at Stick Your Cycles. They helped fabricated the bars and the stainless steel exhaust, and refinished the engine cases in green.After several months of work, the Kawasaki was finally ready to hit the autoroute.

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size


Karl handed it over with a message to his client: “Greg, you run faster than bullets. Now let’s see what you can do behind the handlebars.”Amen to that.
Ed Turner | Facebook | Instagram | Photos by Francois Richer

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size

First read on bikeexif.com/

Quick Tip: NVIDIA ‘In Game Overlay’ Stopped Working? Here’s How To At Least Get It Going Again [Fix / Workaround, Updated 2018-03-26]

Whether it wants to be called Shadowplay, Share or [as of the time of this post] In-Game Overlay; it doesn’t really matter to most people I think – we just look for something to record our gameplay once in a while, maybe take some Screenshots, ‘and just work’. Thankfully, NVIDIA’s In-Game Overlay [or whatever it may be called by the time I finish this post, heh] does just that. Most of the time.

Although I rotate between a handful of different recording programs off and on (such as Bandicam, Action, Playclaw and others – just for fun and also slowly working on another ‘Game Recording Comparison’ for the future), In-Game Overlay [built into the NVIDIA Drivers, aka “for free”] records when I want, it records a Buffered Loop (a timed, re-recording of ‘the last xyz seconds’, to save when needed) – and it even takes Screenshots and more. However, sometimes this big fella has just ‘stopped working’ lately. No saving Screenshots, no Recording, no Error Message, Nothing; and I wasn’t sure why… After only a tiny bit of Troubleshooting, I quickly figured out how to at least ‘get it going again’ and I just wanted to share that here for you all, in a Quick Tip™.

To be honest [I always believe in being completely honest], I am still not sure why NVIDIA’s In-Game Overlay stopped working – but I did figure out how to simply get it working again – and here’s what I did:

  • Once I noticed the Overlay wasn’t taking Screenshots, I looked to see if the Overlay itself or more of the (many) NVIDIA utilities were still running, in the Task Manager. They were. [The In Game Overlay’s Executable is still called “NVIDIA Share.exe”, btw]
  • Thinking that something might have gone wrong with the Overlay utility, I opened up NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience.
  • In GFX [my accro.], I clicked on the ‘gear’ in the upper-right corner, “Settings”.
  • In the Settings area, I clicked on the switch/toggle for In-Game Overlay.
  • Although it took longer than normal, it eventually turned Off. Clicking it again, it turned back On.

That’s it! After those steps, the In-Game Overlay was working once again. Taking a Screenshot, for example, the notification from the Overlay came up, and the Screen was saved. It also started Recording again, without issue. Here is a ‘Tutorial Image’ of the steps to take:

Tutorial Image of what steps to take to ‘restart’ the NVIDIA In Game Overlay;
the recording utility built into the NVIDIA Drivers
(Click to see Full Size)

Although I do not have any details on why it failed, I still thought this short ‘tip’ would be helpful for people that might run into this (“shadowplay not recording” or “in-game overlay not taking screenshots”, etc) – so I wanted to share it here. HTH!

Update, 2018-03-26: Just a quick Update, that as of March 2018, I have run into somewhat of an extension of this issue, where GFX is no longer responding to this simple ‘toggle’ of the In-Game Overlay… Doing so (which used to temporarily ‘fix’ the issue above), now merely results in an ‘error’ message box, stating “That Didn’t Work. Try Restarting Your System.”, which although polite, is not very informative as to what caused the error or what else can be attempted to isolate/troubleshoot the issue further:

Doing some more research online, I see many others running into this issue, as well as its’ ‘extension’ here… However, there still is no absolute ‘fix’ for this problem yet [at least, none that is verifiable and repeatable, which I prefer to have as a qualification to my sharing it here as a “fix”] – therefore, I cannot say for certain what can be done to fix it, even though a wide range of things have somewhat worked for others (some early steps work, others must use further steps), such as:

  • Uninstalling/Reinstalling GeForce Experience
  • Installing an older version of GeForce Experience
  • Utilizing a third-party ‘drivers uninstaller’ to completely remove NVIDIA’s GPU Drivers and Reinstall NVIDIA’s GPU Drivers/GeForce Experience [AMD users can get a similar utility directly from AMD]
  • Reinstallation/Formatting of entire system (eg. Windows) and Reinstalling NVIDIA GPU Drivers and Reinstalling GeForce Experience

Once I find out what actually is a solid fix for this issue, I will state so here and post it in big, bold lettering [lol], along with a Tutorial Image (text on an example image of the solution, etc). Until then…

2005 YAMAHA YZFR6 Motorcycle pictures, specification

2005 YAMAHA YZFR6 Motorcycle pictures, specification

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TITLE: 2005 YAMAHA YZFR6 Motorcycle pictures, specification
IMAGE URL: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-hM7HouAcFzI/TlJEm6HeDSI/AAAAAAAAAow/SYZuPPUg2f4/s1600/yamaha_r6_2005_motorcycle-desktop-wallpaper.jpg
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Motorcycle Insurance in Kentucky Murphy Insurance Group

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“Path 22” BMW

Munich/Biarritz. From June 11th – 14th 2015, the Wheels & Waves Festival celebrates for the fourth time a unique meeting of custom bikes, surfing and art in Biarritz. The festival is a great event that provides a straightforward opportunity for people to get together in a unique atmosphere and express their lifestyle of freedom and individuality. In this special setting, BMW Motorrad presents the BMW interpretation of a scrambler for the first time: the BMW Concept Path 22.




Expression of a Lifestyle. The first scramblers in the 1950s were modified road machines with deep-treaded tyres, somewhat increased spring travel and a raised exhaust for off-road riding. These features gave the bikes a characteristic appearance that came to symbolise an attitude. “A scrambler is the perfect match for Wheels & Waves. It’s the epitome of a motorcycle beyond established standards and conventions. Performance specifications are not so much of interest – style and originality all the more so. Scramblers express passion and are as varied as their owners. The Concept Path 22 is our own interpretation based on the R nineT. The latter is the perfect basis for a scrambler conversion”, explains Edgar Heinrich, Head of BMW Motorrad Design.



Cooperation with Southsiders MC, Ornamental Conifer and Dyer Brand.
The BMW Concept Path 22 is the result of a collaboration that goes far beyond the motorcycle itself. At the initiative of the Wheels & Waves organisers, the motorcycle club Southsiders MC – in particular their member Vincent Prat – BMW Motorrad invited the artist Ornamental Conifer and the surfboard shaper Mason Dyer of Dyer Brand to design the BMW Concept Path 22 together. “Based on our scrambler interpretation, we wanted to create a kind of projection of the particular blend of people and cultures to be found at Wheels & Waves. And we found the perfect partners to do just this. The BMW Concept Path 22 captures everything that makes the Wheels & Waves people, festival and lifestyle so special”, says Edgar Heinrich. For this reason, the BMW scrambler interpretation is presented to Wheels & Waves Festival visitors in its own distinctive paint finish complete with BMW leather jackets designed especially by Ornamental Conifer and two surf boards created exclusively by Dyer Brand. All these various facets go together to reflect the creative scene that assembles every year at Wheels & Waves – a constantly growing community.


The name “Path 22” refers to one of the insider secrets among Europe’s surf spots. This particular stretch of beach is inaccessible to cars, located on the Atlantic coast of southern France, half an hour’s walk through one of Europe’s biggest pine forests. The path leading to this spot bears the number 22.

The Motorcycle – The Expression of Freedom.
“The BMW Concept Path 22 stands for freedom – freedom of thought and its expression. There are no boundaries. Whatever you like is allowed – as at the Wheels & Waves-Festival. The Concept Path 22 is based on the BMW R nineT, which we see as the epitome of a custom bike. It is actually designed to be modified – customised according to individual preferences. The idea of a BMW scrambler is not new to us. Now seemed to be the right time to present our interpretation of this legendary vehicle concept,” says Ola Stenegard, Head of BMW Motorrad Vehicle Design. At the heart of the BMW Concept Path 22, there is a powerful two-cylinder boxer engine with cardan drive – as is typical of BMW. The single-sided swing arm makes the five-spoke rear wheel visible, again a familiar BMW feature. The remainder of the bike is equally genuine and down-to-earth. The classic circular headlamp, the fuel tank and a short seat ensure clear, agile proportions. The body finishes visually above the rear hub, thereby promising versatile handling. Typical scrambler features such as studded tyres, a large front wheel, slightly extended sprint travel and a raised exhaust mean the bike moves effortlessly over gravel and sand. These elements also create a striking appearance, instantly suggesting the kind of experience the BMW Concept Path 22 is able to offer.



Riding fun in its most original form.
The BMW Concept Path 22 is stripped down to the essentials. Every element and surface has a function. At the same time, each detail expresses both aesthetic appeal and consummate craftsmanship. In addition to the rustic elements such as the studded tyres and the protective grid in front of the headlamp, there are also high-end details such as the stitched leather seat, the handles with leather inserts and the typical scrambler-style Akrapovic tailpipes in high-quality stainless steel that add a touch of exclusive flair. High performance parts by Öhlins and Gilles Tooling, clever solutions such as direction indicators integrated in the handlebar ends, the MotoGadget instrument panel and the contrastcut milled parts created by Roland Sands Design further emphasise the bike’s quality detail. The milled aluminium wheels – likewise contrastcut – were produced exclusively by BMW Motorrad, rounding off the motorcycle’s minimalist appearance in top-class style. All parts of the concept bike are necessary essentials and offer the very best quality. In this way, the BMW Concept Path 22 perfects the art of reduction and harks back to the very essence that gives motorcycling its underlying appeal: the unity of man and machine.




Artwork by Ornamental Conifer.
The headlamp pan, fuel tank and mudguards of the BMW Concept Path 22 bear the artwork of Ornamental Conifer, alias Nico Sclater. He has been part of the Wheels & Waves movement for a long time and is co-founder of the scene’s graphic identity. Stylised lettering and graphic ornamentation are key to his work. The mischievous style of his typography is typically combined with profound and pithy puns. In addition to his work on vehicles, signs and windows, Nico Sclater is especially famous for his graphic enhancement of leather jackets. He not only created the concept bike’s special paint finish but also painted a number of exclusive BMW leather jackets for the Concept Path 22 team- each one a unique specimen.



Riding the Waves – boards by Dyer Brand.
A particular highlight of the BMW Concept Path 22 is the surfboard holder on the right-hand side. Specially developed by BMW Motorrad, it is as reduced, functional and high-quality as the bike itself. Made solely of machined aluminium and leather, it is highly variable and can be adapted to different board sizes. When not required it can be folded down to disappear into the bike’s silhouette or else simply dismounted. The boards to suit the holder were made by no less than leading shaper Mason Dyer himself of Dyer Brand in San Diego. He is famous for his high-quality custom boards that draw their inspiration from the 1950s and 1960s. Dyer has made two custom boards exclusively for the BMW Concept Path 22: a longboard (9’4) reminiscent of the period when scramblers first emerged and a shortboard (6’8) which meets the needs of modern surfers.






The graphic design of the bike, jackets and surfboards express individual style and creativity. Each one a unique specimen, they also feature a matching colour scheme. This gives every element its own distinctive character while highlighting the core of the Wheels & Waves philosophy once again: joining together to celebrate Surf, Art, Motorcycles and the Freedom to do it your way.

First read on ottonero.blogspot.co.uk

Quick Tip: Planetside 2 – Medic Revive Not Working [Note]

Just a quick tip for those who have recently jumped back into playing some frantic Planetside 2 and thought there was something wrong with the medic tool, being unable to revive, thinking they can’t revive, etc – there was a patch a bit back that changed the Medic Tool so that Left-Click will Heal and Right-Click will Revive. Although changing such a long running/’staple’ operation is a little lip-pursing, it should have the overall positive effect of assisting with attempting to revive within a tight group of teammates (instead of your tool randomly healing someone close, it should more effectively target the face down teammate on the ground). Just a note.

See You In The Games!

Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) continue…

Adding a Label

MPLS is a method that takes the best of both worlds and creates a concept that allows IP packets to travel through the network as if IP were a connection-oriented protocol (which it isn’t). Using special routers called Label Switching Routers (LSRs) does this. These routers connect a traditional IP network to an MPLS network. A packet enters the MPLS network through an ingress LSR, which attaches a label to the packet, and exits the MPLS switched network through an egress LSR. The ingress LSR is the router that performs the necessary processing to determine the path a packet will need to take through the switched network. This can be done using traditional routing protocols such as OSPF. The path is identified by the label that the ingress router attaches to the packet. As you can see, the ingress router must perform the traditional role that a router fills. It must perform a lookup in the routing table and decide to which network the packet needs to be sent for eventual delivery to the host computer.

Internet 2010

However, as the packet passes through the switched network, it is only necessary for the switch to take a quick look at the label to make a decision on which port to output the packet. A table called the Label Information Base (LIB) is used in a manner similar to a routing table to determine the correct port based on the packet’s label information. The switch doesn’t perform IP header processing, looking at the IP address, the TTL value, and so on. It just spends a small amount of time doing a lookup of the label in the table and outputting the packet on the correct port.

When the packet reaches the egress LSR, the label is removed by the router, and then the IP packet is processed in the normal manner by traditional routers on the destination network.

If this sounds like a simple concept, that’s because it is. MPLS still is in the development stages, so you’ll find that different vendors implement it in different ways. Several Internet draft documents attempt to create a standard for MPLS. Other features, such as Quality of Service (QoS) and traffic management techniques, are being developed to make MPLS a long-term solution.

Using Frame Relay and ATM with MPLS

One of the best features about the current design of MPLS is that it separates the label-switching concept from the underlying technology. That is, you don’t have to build special switches that are meant for just MPLS networks. MPLS doesn’t care what the underlying transport is. It is concerned only with setting up a path and reducing the amount of processing a packet takes as it travels through the circuit.

Because of this, it’s a simple matter for an ATM or Frame Relay switch vendor to reprogram or upgrade its product line to use MPLS. For ATM switches, the VPI (virtual path identifier) and VCI (virtual channel identifier) fields in the ATM cell are used for the Label field. In Frame Relay switches, an extra field is added to the IP header to store the label. However, don’t get confused and think that an MPLS network is an ATM network or a Frame Relay network. These switches must be reprogrammed to understand the label concept. It’s even possible, for example, for an ATM switch to switch both ATM and MPLS traffic at the same time. By allowing for the continued use of existing equipment (and

these switches are not inexpensive items), large ISPs or network providers can leverage their current investment, while preparing to install newer MPLS equipment when the standards evolve to a stage that makes it a good investment.

For the long term it’s most likely that MPLS will be implemented using technology similar to Frame Relay instead of ATM. This is because of the small cell size of the ATM cell (53 bytes) combined with a high overhead (the 5-byte cell header). In a small network with little traffic, this 5-byte cell header seems insignificant. However, when you scale this to large bandwidth network pipes, this amount of overhead consumes a large amount of bandwidth given the small amount of data carried in the 53- byte cell. Thus, variable-length frames are most likely to become the basis for MPLS networks in the next few years.

“Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From?”, The Game Tips And More Blog’s Game Screenshot Identification Contest, Re-Happens Again Today! [Updated 2018-03-02 with Answer Image]

It’s the 15th of the month – and it is time for something that I re-re-started up, just last Month – The Next Installment of The Game Tips And More Blog’s ‘New-ish-sorta-but-not-really’ Contest:

“Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From?”

(A Game Screenshot Identification Contest)

Having its’ Fifth Edition now, today – February 15th, 2018!

All you have to do to win this contest, is contact me in any way you can (eg. Comment on this article
below, Twitter profile tweet, email me or Comment/PrivateMessage TheBlog’s Steam Account by the end of the month, with these two items within your message:

1. Your guess for the game the image is from.
2. Information on how to contact you back (to receive Steam game gifts, etc) if you win.
That’s it!
**[Just a quick note to be careful not to include any information you do not wish to share ‘publicly’ when posting in the Comments area below or at Steam or sending a Twitter profile Tweet, as these messages are seen by ‘everyone’]


The first correct answer submitted by a Skillful Identifier/Gamer will receive this month’s contest prize – which is: a gifted game from the Steam online store!

[Note: Although I have been collecting Games on Steam over the past few Years, during Steam Sales,
due to how Steam has changed Gifting games through Steam recently, you will have to temporarily become a Friend
of TheBlog’s Steam Account (to receive the game – after receiving your Gifted Game, you may Unfriend of course)]
Winners will also be announced in bold, large lettered-text, here on this posting and will thereby be immortalized on The Intertubes in perpetuity, proving to all other comers that you were “The Ultimate Game Screenshot Guesser Thingy Person” [aka. Gamer]!

Previous Editions of this Contest [to ‘see how it works’] can be found at TheBlog, here:

Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From – Contest #1
Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From – Contest #2
Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From – Contest #3
Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From – Contest #4

Are you ready? Here then, is the Screenshot image for this month, below:

[As you can see, the image is a portion of a full screen capture; but don’t worry – the image used for the contest will never be ‘too’ obscure or small (for example, it will never be ‘just the end of a wooden log’ or anything like that)]

After a week has gone by, if there is no correct guess as to what game the Screenshot is from, I will return here and put up a ‘Hint’ image – a larger portion of the Screenshot – to assist in Game Recognition-ing-ism…

Update!

A week has gone by and there have been no correct guesses received yet… So, here is a HINT image; (an enlarged area portion of the already-slightly-larger-than-normal CONTEST Screenshot for this month’s Contest)! Ready?

Here is the HINT image (with enlarged portion revealed), below:

[Click the Image to see it at a slightly-larger Full Size – and as you can see, the image is still a portion of the full screen capture; but don’t worry – the image used for the contest will never be ‘too’ obscure or small (for example, it will never be ‘just the end of a wooden log’ or anything like that)]

At the end of the Month, if noone has guessed correctly by then, I will return here and reveal the full Mystery Screenshot and the Game it was from – Good Luck, Gamers!

Update!
It has been two weeks since the Contest began and there have been no correct submissions! Aww….

To end The Mystery, here is the answer for February’s edition of
‘Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From’ (2018-02):


The Answer for this month’s Contest was: Just Cause 2!
[Captured in 2014, this Screenshot I took was back when I was playing games at 1600×900 – which is a ‘sweet spot’ I personally recommend [by my own testing] for Mid-Range GPUs (VideoCards). This was JC2 being played with a GTS 250, the ‘Black Knight Edition’ from ASUS which I paired at the time with an AMD X2 245, iirc**. Wow, I have been planning this identification game a long time – never getting around to it for a while of course – haha]
Click to see Full Size
Come back next 15th-of-the-month friends, when you can have another chance to be a Digital Screenshot Sleuth in the Sixth Edition of ‘Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From’ – and a chance to win the Prize that will be carried over to next time: a gifted game from the Steam online store!

See You In The Games!

[**Note: I am not affiliated in any way or degree with NVIDIA or AMD, and I have not and will not receive any compensation of any kind, for mentioning them here. I am merely an enthusiastic user of both companies’ products. I have utilized both and will continue to use both in the future ((on a personal note, I find I usually am ‘stairstepping’ with their GPUs, purchasing from one manufacturer, then the next ‘upgrade’ purchasing from the other, heh. I always Suggest to people who ask; to get whichever has Features you like – and only what you can afford at the time – it will be outdated in 3 years or so anyway; Enjoy what you have and be thankful because there are always people who have less!))]

(The Game Tips And More Blog Contest Game #2018-02)

Guild Wars 2: How To Ride “The Train” of Queensdale (Champion ‘Farming’ Runs As A Group) Tutorial with Map

[NOTE*** As of April 15th, 2014 the changes to the game with the April 2014 Feature Pack update have altered The Train route somewhat – these changes will be updated in this map and article as they solidify into a commonly-agreed Route…
FURTHER UPDATES AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS ARICLE]

Ah, Guild Wars 2… I’m having so much fun with you, I can barely stop to start typing helpful Tips for others to read! Why are you so awesome? Oh, that’s right, your creators and other ArenaNet buddies heard the nighttime wails of MMORPG players from other games around the globe and listened intently to our cries, wanting to soothe us softly by satisfying requests we players have made of all of those other games, didn’t you? Oh, yes you did.  The result: a game I wish I had gotten into a lot sooner… Thank you, ArenaNet.


For those new to the game (or those who haven’t done this before), in the beginning area of the Human lands of Kryta, there is a phenomenon called “The Train”. After asking a few questions in-game and watching it a while, and then joining in on it off and on, on my own, I feel I can now safely share a simplified Tutorial on ‘The Train’ and explain to others (mainly newcomers to Guild Wars 2) what it is and how to be a part of it, if you wish to be.

Loading Screen for the Queensdale region, where ‘runs’ of The Train take place
(Click to see Full Size)

What is The Train?

‘The Train’ in Queensdale is, essentially, a cooperation of players moving and killing together as a group [in an MMO game?Whoknew?lol]. The Train targets a small number of Champion-type mobs [MOBile monsters], killing these same ones in a repeating cycle, again and again. The pattern [the “Route that The Train takes”] has evolved over time and differs little, no matter what server/shard you are on. Traveling and moving in collaboration with each other gives the result of faster kills, experience and loot for all those taking part (and sometimes the groups can get quite large). In Guild Wars 2, one does not need to ‘Party’ or form an ‘official’ group of any kind, in order to benefit from conquering enemies together [even when not following The Train]. Merely join alongside and help out a bit, and you too are now part of the Clique of Killing and can reap the rewards.

Even though The Train runs in the first leveling/adventuring area of the Humans (called Kryta), you can play any Race you wish, and then run/travel to the Human lands and be a part of The Train. There are no restrictions on Race interaction (no ‘sides’; no factions, no clans, no tribes [to restrict players]) in Guild Wars 2. Any race can be created and interact with any of the other Races in Guild Wars 2. So, be whatever race you want to be, you can still head to Queensdale and get on The Train!

When ‘on The Train’ (following the group around and helping to kill the Champion monsters), you do have to be a high enough level to ‘hit’ the enemies in order to register as a ‘contributor of the group’ and benefit from the encounter (get experience, be able to loot, etc). With the Champion mobs being ‘farmed’ [by The Train] averaging Level 10 in this region (these are the only mobs that The Train goes after, remember), you may not be able to actually hit them until your character is about Level 7 or 8; so if you are playing a brand new character, do some starting Quests, World Events or your character’s Storyline for a bit first.

Killing the Boar champion while on the Train in Queensdale
(Click to see Full Size)

If you are a ‘Brand New’ Player to Guild Wars 2, I strongly suggest doing that for the most part anyway (Quests and Storylines), as doing so, you will more easily learn how to control your character, fight battles, use your skills as you learn them, and learn to navigate the territories and develop your character as a whole.
The Train is, for the most part, a repeated cycle of killing [almost absolutely nothing but] a small number of Champion ‘boss’ style monsters (as in 5-6 of them, depending on the route The Train takes on your Server/Shard, remember it differs little) – and there have already been arguments all over forums and other websites as to whether relatively New Players should take part in it at all (and if it harms the gameplay/environment of newer players). I believe that this decision is up to each individual, as some people might eschew the practice completely until Level 80 (the current maximum level as of the time of this post), while other people will love the camaraderie and easy access to loot (you always get items comparative to your current level, whatever that may be, when the Champions die).
As with any game, there will always be people that will say a certain activity is too repetitive and boring, and there will always be people that will say it is a good source of ‘loot’, and there will always be people that will advise doing something else (like playing PvP or more PvE). I like to suggest, if people ask, that each person try Taking A Ride On The Train for themselves at least a few times, then judge whether they wish to continue doing it or move on to other things, leaving the choice up to each player.

[On a personal note for a moment, merely to address this matter that many people seem to argue about and state my own personal opinion, I myself enjoy roaming the lands of GW2 randomly, helping out NPCs and doing the little events found around the world. I play usually always play solo and that affords me the ability to change it up and do whatever activity I want, stop whenever I want (or if I get too tired physically and have to stop, due to my illness) and roam around taking [way too many] screenshots of the environs, gathering resources as I leisurely explore and discover the countryside. I often forget about the Storyline for my character – there is so much to do in the world; but I try to get in on it as I remember to and develop my character along with the story that is tailored for each Race. I do take a ride on The Train, but only as a ‘something else to do for a change’, not as my ‘main leveling mechanic’ or my ‘main source for items’. I like to think this off-and-on approach allows me to enjoy The Train while not getting too bored of it too quickly, all the while being able to enjoy the game at the same time, and it is just ‘another thing that I can do’ in the huge game world of Guild Wars 2.]

Killing the Troll champion while on the Train in Queensdale
(Click to see Full Size)

How does one ‘get on’ The Train? 

First, I always suggest to others, to get the Waypoints that The Train uses first. This will allow you to quickly relocate and follow The Train, travelling to the next Champion that is to be killed. If you did not create a Human, travel to The Human Lands and simply run to the Waypoints to open them up on your map and register them so that they can then allow you to return to them/use them in the future and for Riding The Train.

Don’t worry, there are only three main waypoints used in The Train’s generally-used rotation (and it differs only slightly on some servers/shards [for instance, on Eredon Terrace, “The Bandit” is very rarely killed by The Train – which seems to be the main difference for The Route from other shards – however, since I have created my character on ET, this is the example I will use]). The waypoints used and the route generally taken are all shown in this graphic I have created of the map of Queensdale below.

The Game Tips And More Blog’s Map of Queensdale and The Train Route as of April 2014 [Old Version]
(Click to see Full Size)

The Route that The Train takes usually runs like this (repeatedly):

  • Begin the Route from the upper right [the Double Orange Arrows on the map I created, above]
  • Kill the Boar champion in the hills there, NW of the Hunting Lodge
  • Fast Travel to the Vale Waypont and head into the caves just to the west
  • Kill the Troll champion inside the caves of Altar’s Windings
  • Fast Travel to the Phinney Waypoint and head NW to a glade at the edge of the trees
  • Kill the Rotting Ancient Oakheart champion at the forest’s edge
  • Fast Travel to the Krytan Waypoint and head NE, towards two large hills
  • Kill the Forest Spider champion on the larger hill, SE of the Hunting Lodge in a grove of trees
  • Run NW past the Hunting Lodge and up into the hills and wait for the Boar event again
A couple notes about the map: I made ‘tick marks’ (they look like little orange hyphens/dashes) that remind you of the order the champions are killed in and which Waypoint to take [-, –, —, etc]. I managed to capture and keep the ‘white dotted-line of travel’, running around following The Train, so if you are a bit lost, try to re-create the white dotted path that you see on my map. To help with finding the Forest Spider champion on a hill SE of the Hunting Lodge (and NE from the Krytan Waypoint), I put a small orange “S” where it is normally encountered. Lastly, my server/shard does not kill The Bandit Lieutenant champion [and we may be the only shard that doesn’t apparently], but if you wish to find him, he is in the Bandithaunt Caverns, N of the Vale Waypont.

The champion Boar shows up only after someone talks to Lodgemaster Carthage at the Hunting Lodge. There is a short event waiting period, then two hunters come out and slowly stalk their prey. Everyone usually waits in the hills to the NW of the Lodge and this can be a good time to go through your inventory, unpacking any goodies, salvaging, organizing, etc. There may even be some Banners nearby that can give beneficial Boons [“Buffs”], usually placed by some friendly Guild Member. Take a short break, get a drink – and get ready to jump back on The Train!

When you sit down and start to play a new gaming session, or if you have lost track of where to go next, you can always ask in Chat (/map) where The Train is at that moment, to know where to ‘get on’ (to join in). Most people simply type, “Train?” or ask “Where is the train now?”, and usually some kind soul will answer and state what stop The Train is at (what champion they are killing), or where they are heading to, at that moment. Common answers are, “Boar” or “Spider is up” or “waiting on Troll” or “at Oak”, for the various champions (it may differ slightly on your server, but not by much). Sometimes, a helpful person will suggest, “Head to __some champion__”, which means that the one they are currently fighting is almost dead, so you ‘might as well head to the next one’.

Killing the Oak champion while on the Train in Queensdale
(Click to see Full Size)

A few things to keep in mind as you ride The Train are: you have to be able to hit the mob in order to be able to loot it at all, therefore you may have trouble if you are much lower than level 7 or so (the mobs are Level 10). Loot will drop that is around your character’s level, no matter what it is, so you can usually use it right away or soon. The Boar portion of the Route takes a little bit to get started and sometimes people will say phrases like, “Boar is Walking” or “Hunters are Walking” or “Boar Starting” and so on, to let everyone know, who were most likely just standing around waiting or AFK, that the event is beginning. You can gather Resources that are around (mine veins, gather plants/food, cut down trees) or that you pass by, on your way to the champions, just don’t fall too far behind if the group is large – they can start to kill these Champions pretty darn fast – and you might miss out on the Loot Drop entirely!

Killing the Spider champion while on the Train in Queensdale
(Click to see Full Size)
That’s it! Try not to bore yourself with repeating this excessively, by the way. Have fun, enjoy the loot and camaraderie of fellow GW2 players; but if it starts to become boring, go back to your character’s story, pop in for some PvP or even do some Gathering, enjoying the landscape and beauty that is Guild Wars 2.

[UPDATE 1*** As of April 23rd, 2014 there seems to still be a lot of confusion as to the accepted/overall Route that The Train should take. There have been many arguments over what order the train will travel in and opposing groups will perform the run in awkward manner to each other. As a result, ‘finalized’ changes to this map and article will be delayed, until the community can solidify a pattern/route for The Train.
For now, “the basics” of what the Train is and does are secure and remain the same as this article. The Train may still run on your server/shard in the same manner, in general. Enjoy these aspects of this post, for now]
[UPDATE 2*** As of May 3rd, 2014 although there is still a bit of debating as to what should be a ‘standard route’ for The Train to take, a general consensus seems to be forming and this map and article will be redone and/or updated Soon™]
[UPDATE 3*** As of June 2014, although there is still some debate that occurs (mainly because someone gets to Oak ‘early’ and kills it on the group), most of the consensus appears to be this route: 
Boar-Troll-Bandit-Oak
I am working on a new, updated version of the map and will insert it here when finished.
For now, the rest of the information of this post (how to follow the train, etc.) is still valid and hopefully found helpful, for those who are interested in knowing what The Train Of Queensdale is and how to do it]

See You In The Game!

Quick Tip: Guild Wars 2 – How To Split Stacks Of Items

Just a quick tip for GW2 and those of us who were tying to split stacks of things, only to link them into Chat and ‘shout’ the item’s link to people around us, the entire Map, etc. The way to actually sort things in a more private manner, is to hold down the ALT key and then drag the stack of items to an open slot. A dialog box should come up asking you how you want to split the stack of items (as seen in the example below):

Pressing the Shift key, as most know, will link the item in the chat box, and pressing Control, will link it and shout it out in Chat automagically – which is nice and embarrassing. I’ve seen some random linkages in the Chat Box [of things that aren’t of any interest] so I know it isn’t just me! I hope that this helps someone out and saves them from this atrocious “Faux Pas”…

See You In The Games!

Speedrun – Hitman: Blood Money – A Vintage Year (Silent Assassin, Pro Difficulty, Suit Only, Targets Only, “No Coins”)

Messing around trying another Speedrun, this time booting up some good’ol Hitman: Blood Money, “A Vintage Year” level.

Hitman is a wonderfully crafted, enjoyable game. In my opinion, every single installment in this series has been. People have enjoyed the ‘puzzle-play’ aspects of it, people have enjoyed the gunplay, the stealth. Players have also enjoyed trying to run as-fast-as-they-can through levels that were probably not designed with this intention. Now, Hitman: Blood Money may not win any awards for “realism” in some areas of gameplay, but I personally have something against the concept that an Assassin, wearing a nice suit, most likely a millionaire, is carrying around twenty dollars in pocket change. Heck, I am sometimes annoyed at the jingle in my own pocket of a couple of quarters when I come across them. Thus, my personal aim with this level: to do a Suit-Only, Targets-Only, Silent Assassin, ‘No Coins’ Speedrun (on Professional Difficulty). I am probably not the fastest at this sort of thing, I have only done a couple of intentional Speedruns in the past; but it was still fun to make and I figured it was ‘decently fast’, so I wanted to share. Enjoy!

Recorded game:  Hitman-Blood Money, First/Third Person Shooter/Stealth/Action
Recorded with:  Bandicam (Registered Version) @ 1080p
Recording codec:  MPEG-1 @ 80% Quality (Default Setting), 30fps

This was actually not as hard as I thought it would be – after finding out that Delgado.Sr is snipe-able up out on his balcony. It was his Son that gave me trouble (as it seems to do with everyone, after a few forum finds on the subject). I started just pushing him down the stairs and also setting up the Barrels to fall on him; but eventually I settled on just a good-old-fashioned-assassin-stand-by: the single bullet to the head. This felt ‘right’, after sniping dear-ol’Dad, anyway. Instead of pushing the Guards at the bottom into the water, I just walked non-chalantly by them, as they didn’t seem to care anyway.
[On the actual Playthrough, I seem to get some guards’ attention, but I assumed this was for going into the areas I wasn’t supposed to, not for being witnessed killing anyone]

I also wanted to do things like ‘leave nothing behind’, such as ‘just dropping weapons’ (like the Sniper Rifle) to save time. This sort of stems from the multitude-of-coins thing… Don’t get me wrong by the way, I appreciate the time so many have taken to figure out their own ways to complete Hitman levels by using distractions. I just for some reason [OCD?lol] find it hard to extend my fantasy thinking within the game ‘that far’ – to where a so-called Silent-Assassin-slash-Hitman is always carrying around and actually utilizes enough laundry money to make the homeless cry on every mission. [I didn’t actually mean to rant here, hah] I just think if an assassin wanted to throw anything around to distract guards, it could more realistically at least be a found weapon of some sort, as opposed to a ton of coinage everywhere (pebbles could even make more sense).

At any rate, whether you use coins (a mechanic that is indeed offered directly within the game) or you don’t, there you have it; not the fastest run [or the most ‘Silent’ lol], but hopefully an enjoyable little watch, nonetheless.

See you in the games!

Two-Wheels, Two-Reasons, Two Seasons: A Eureka Springs Motorcycle Adventure

All over the “lower 48”, men and woman who love their motorcycles are marking days off of their calendars as they count down to when they will pull on their leathers, fire up their bikes and start their adventurous ride to the Arkansas Ozarks and one of “America’s Distinctive Destinations”, Eureka Springs. The reasons are two-fold and it all centers on “pork” …The Pig Trail and Bikes Blues & BBQ.

The Pig Trail is a not-so-straight ribbon of asphalt; in fact, the ribbon that looks like someone has scraped it across the edge of a scissor blade. It stretches, for all practical and awesome purposes, from Interstate 40 near Ozark (AR) north along State Highway 23 to Eureka Springs, the gateway to northwest Arkansas. This 80-mile route is universally praised in motorcycle magazines, on biker websites, and even by The Discovery Channel for being one of the best in America. For example, MotorycleRoads.com has elevated the Pig Trail to the number eight position in their most recent “top 100” poll. BikerBudz.com gives it a “highly recommend” while Motorcycle-USA.com refers to it as “my new favorite ride”. The Discovery Channel has given the Pig Trail its highest mark yet: number two in the nation.

The official National Scenic Byways’ 19-mile portion of the Pig Trail starts as you enter the Ozark National Forest from the south and ends near Brashears (AR) as you exit the national forest to the north. This route, which crosses both the Mulberry and the White rivers, has so many S-curves that motorcyclists are forced to make dozens of ultra-quick right-to-left-to-right and back again leans; perfect first-gear switchbacks. But riders should not think the challenge of the ride is limited to “the forest”. It starts once you exit Interstate 40 heading north and doesn’t end until you put down your kickstand for the night in Eureka Springs.

“The Scenic Byways section of the Pig Trail may be like the most thrilling point in a roller coaster ride,” one biker explained, “but like a roller coaster, the runs on either side (11 miles to the south; 50 miles to the north) are pretty exciting too. For me, every year between late August and the Hunter’s Moon is when I enjoy the full 80-mile ride. ‘Cuz if you’re gonna ride the Pig Trail, ya gotta go whole hog.”

“The highway going up to Eureka Springs and all those around that town,” he continued, “are one exhilarating rush. I hub out of Eureka, a funky, biker-friendly mountain town with lots of places to stay, lots of places to play. I’ll spend four or five days searching out new Ozark roads with new crazy curves and new breathtaking sights. It’s like a rally every day. Plus Eureka’s only about 45 minutes from Fayetteville and the ‘triple-B’, Bikes Blues & BBQ.”

For Bikes Blues & BBQ the aforementioned “whole hog” is dressed, seasoned, grilled till tender, slathered with sauce, and then served up razorback-style when more than 400,000 bikers converge on Fayetteville (AR) for the four fabulous days of this event in September. This year this awesome fall festival goes from September 18th through the 21st.

“One of the best parts of Bikes Blues & BBQ,” a biker from Central Texas, who has not missed any one of the previous 13 annual events, proudly stated, “is that you don’t just get a festival, you get the Pig Trail and all of its Ozark side-roads. Me and my group like to arrive a couple days early or stay a couple days late to make sure we have plenty of time for day rides to and around Eureka on their fantastically freaky yellow-striped trails. We only wish we had routes like this back in Texas.”

To make it easy for those who attend Bikes Blues & BBQ to find new, thrilling nearby routes, both the event and Eureka Springs have online sites for maps and directions: http://www.bikesbluesandbbq.org/rally-info/maps-directions/ and http://www.eurekaspringsmotorcycleroutes.com/ .

If you are unable to attend the “triple-B event” do not despair, because “does Mother Nature have a deal for you” in October and often through early November!

There is no more lovely autumn color than the reds, oranges, golds and violets of the Ozarks when fall falls. To help you with perfect timing, the State of Arkansas, beginning in September each year, has a “fall color updates” page on their very popular Arkansas.com website.

And speaking of the State of Arkansas, their Department of Parks & Tourism has developed a short movie that will whet your appetite and make you hungry for a motorcycle vacation to “The Natural State”. It just so happens that a local motorcycle enthusiast who is also the Mayor of Eureka Springs, Morris Pate, narrates the movie. His narration begins with him and his 2001 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Classic parked in front of the “Little Golden Gate Bridge” just a few minutes west from downtown Eureka. “The Beaver Bridge is a landmark that must not be missed,” bragged Mayor Pate. “This beautiful old wooden suspension bridge was built in 1949 and is 554 feet long, only 11 feet wide and has been painted a bright yellow. Because it is so narrow, traffic can only move one way at a time across the span. So hold your breath and grip tight, this is one bumpy and thrilling ride on two wheels.”

So whether you ride the Ozarks in late summer, late fall or anytime in between, you will be glad you did. “No matter how many other motorcycle routes you’ve been on,” concluded our Texas biker, “once you’ve conquered the Pig Trail and its web of side-roads, you’ll be happier than a hog in slop.”

Special packages just for bikers can be found at numerous web sites.

________________________________________
Source: The Beebee News (AP, 9/05)

The Saint Kawasaki W800


Deus Ex Machina are continuing to expand their footprint by opening flagship stores around the globe. Since their first store appeared in Camperdown, Sydney in 2006 they’ve opened 6 other international locations and although apparel may have become the biggest sector of the Deus business they’ve never lost sight of their beginnings as a custom workshop. Each store has its own team of talented builders who continue to produce great looking custom motorcycles while still retaining that unmistakable Deus style. Out of the Dues Milan premises, otherwise known as “The Portal of Possibilities” comes this latest custom build they’ve coined ‘The Saint’.


The Kawasaki W series is an old favourite of Deus ex Machina. The 650 version of Kawasaki’s ultra reliable, parallel twin was the subject of many of their first builds and they’ve done everything with it from hardtailed Bobbers to Cafe Racers. When the W800 was released a few years ago I felt that some of the W soul had been lost with the move to Efi and the removal of the kickstarter, but despite this The Saint has a timeless appeal to it. Looking like a bike that would have been at home in Bruce Brown’s original ‘On Any Sunday’ the team at the Milan based Deus have put together a custom that any classic bike lover could appreciate.


The Saint was built for one of the heads of the Deus Milan store, Santiago, who despite being a long time bike lover and rider was yet to own a custom. Looking back over the Deus portfolio it was the blacked out,  “Le Gicleur Noire” that appealed to him the most so it was decided this would be the template for the build, however it would need modifications to suit Santiago’s personal style.


The build began with the customary removal of superfluous parts to start the custom work on a blank canvas. Next step was to slim the bike down by adapting an original Yamaha SR tank, positioning it on the backbone of the frame to follow the curve of the cylinder heads and fuel pump was integrated to work with the bikes fuel system. To keep the handlebars looking clean a Daytona Velona speedometer was then mounted where the SR oil filler would usually sit at the top of the tank tunnel. A set of clubman style bars came next with with classic Beston style grips and a single low slung clubman mirror.


With the factory 2-into-2, chrome exhaust system gone a new, blacked out, 2-into-1 unit from SC-Project was added along with a set of new black rims wrapped in chunky rubber. To continue the  Tracker styling the bulbous airbox covers were replaced by hand shaped alloy plates with indents to allow the fitment of K&N pod filters. High mount fenders were also added to clear the rubber and all new lighting added to the front and rear.


The Saint was finished with the addition of a custom made seat and a slick paintjob by Kaos Design in Milan. If you happen to pass by ‘The Portal of Possibilities” chances are you’ll spot it parked out the front where Santiago admires it from his desk.

DEUS ‘PORTAL OF POSSIBILITIES’


First published by returnofthecaferacers.com/

It’s Not Just You™: AMD’s Crimson Drivers, Radeon ReLive Not Working At First [Possible Fix]

Just a quick post before I go to bed here, that I wanted to share about the AMD Crimson Drivers that I got notified about just a bit ago, which included AMD’s “ReLive”, their new Game [and Desktop] Recording utility – ‘built-in’ to their 16.12 Drivers… For those who couldn’t get it working right away (I see posts about it already in the Official AMD Forums), I couldn’t either… And although I eventually did, I wanted to let others know, if you are having issues with it: It’s Not Just You™

I was already starting to get tired when I saw a notification of the Driver Update – and I had no idea there was a nifty Game Recording ‘app’ incoming with it [I haven’t been reading much lately, I have another Cold for pete’s sake!]. For AMD GPU owners, waiting patiently to see if AMD was going to come out with their own Game Recording utility – it’s here! The future is now!

Check out AMD’s Video on their ReLive edition of Radeon here: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRSm12lwRe4

[I really wanted to start Testing it all out tonight, running Benchmarks and collecting Data for a TestRun or a Quality Test with it; but my sleepyness is actually building and getting the better of me, so I better go soon – I wanted to share what I did this evening though, to get it working (for me), before I go…]


Without going over the few things I tried first that didn’t work (setting configuration, testing with different games, etc), here’s the steps to take that finally got it running, for me:

  • Download the Latest AMD Drivers via their main Website (http://support.amd.com/)
  • Uninstall the main AMD Drivers via the Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall/Change Program
  • Reboot
  • Install AMD Drivers via the Download from their Website
  • Reboot

That’s it!

After that, even though I have a 200 Series* AMD GPU at the time of this writing**, I was able to get ReLive up and running, even playing a little bit with the configuration and making a couple of short test recordings, before I came here to write this quick ‘tip’ of what might help get it going for others… It’s a larger ‘step’ (messing with Drivers, as opposed to just messing with Configuration/Settings); but I always like to Troubleshoot from the smallest steps first (eg. changing some settings) to larger steps (eg. re-installing software) to huge steps (eg. OS reinstallation, hardware changes). Thankfully, it started working just fine after only a bit of a ‘larger step’ taken.


Although with the most recent versions of Windows you don’t always have to Reboot it when making changes, it helps to get everything ‘in order’ in the background, re-initializing all hardware and Drivers fully – which is why many installers/software still get you to do it through their installation programs.

I plan on putting the Game Recorder through it’s paces, working on a TestRun and a QualityTest, to come in the future here at The Blog – for now though, hopefully ReLive can get up and working for you, too – good luck, and if you are having troubles with it, remember – It’s Not Just You™!

* The AMD page on ReLive at their main website (http://www.amd.com/en-us/innovations/software-technologies/radeon-software/gaming/radeon-relive) shows only 400 Series GPUs as ‘Officially Compatible’. Although it does not state ‘it will not work with earlier Series’, it is unknown 100% at this time if it is possible, hence my mentioning it above

** Disclaimer and Personal Veracity Statement: Although I currently own an AMD GPU, I have owned NVIDIA GPUs in the past and will do so in the future. I have no personal preference between the two, purchasing one or the other as Upgrades depending on my needs at the time and my financial limitations at the time I choose to Upgrade. I have not and will not receive any compensation for mentioning or talking about either companies’ products. I am merely an enthusiastic user (of both).

Fabulous Fiber!

Everyone has heard that they need to eat fiber, but few people really know what it is and why it is so important.     Fiber is a form of carbohydrate along with sugars and starches.      Unlike sugars and starch fiber cannot be used for energy because it cannot be broken down into sugar.     Starch and sugars both end us as blood sugar aka glucose.
Starches are simply multiple units of sugar hooked together, and we have enzymes that break them apart so we can use the sugar for fuel.   Fiber is also multiple units of sugar hooked together, but humans lack the enzymes necessary to break it down into sugars so it is not absorbed.    This is very important when thinking about carbohydrate containing foods because they are NOT all the same.
For example, a glass of fruit juice is essentially a glass of sugar water with some beneficial plant chemicals and in many cases a nice dose of vitamin C.    It can dramatically boost blood sugar, and if you consume too much it can definitely drive weight gain.     While a large serving of brocolli is mostly fiber with little sugar and starch and is also chock full of beneficial plant chemicals, but with almost no effect on blood sugar!
There are two main types of fiber – soluble and insoluble.    Ideally you want to eat both.   There is also a third type of fiber called “Digestive Resistant Starch” (see https://workoutanytime.blogspot.com/2017/10/digestion-resistant-starch-all-starch.html)
Soluble fiber, found in foods such as cucumbers, blueberries, and beans, has a gel-like consistency and slows down your digestion.     This helps with satiety (feeling satisfied).    It also slows the break down and absorption of cholesterol and other nutrients like starches and sugar which can help lower cholesterol and control blood sugar.    Some foods with soluble fiber also help feed the good bacteria in your digestive tract.
Insoluble fiberis found in foods like green, leafy veggies, green beans, and celery.    It does not dissolve to a gel and stays intact as it moves through your colon.   By adding bulk, it helps food move more quickly through your digestive tract reducing transit time.  Insoluble Fiber is sometimes referred to as “roughage”, and it along with soluble fiber can help with constipation.
Benefits of High Fiber Intake
Fiber intake is very important for keeping blood sugar levels under control, and studies have shown that people who take in at least 26 grams of fiber per day had a much lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
There is also an inverse relationship between fiber intake and heart attack, with research showing that people eating a high fiber diet have a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease.    High fiber diets may also help lower blood pressure.
Another interesting research finding about fiber is that for every 7 grams of fiber you consume each day your stroke risk is decreased 7 percent.      To put this into perspective this equates to about 2 servings of fruits and vegetables.
Fiber, and psyllium in particular, can help move yeasts and fungus out of your digestive system which may help prevent them from triggering acne and rashes.
Fiber can also provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome in many people.
Fiber intake may also help reduce the risk of gallstones and kidney stones probably through its action in controlling blood sugar.
Sources of Fiber
Contrary to popular opinion grains are probably not your best source of fiber.    Unfortunately, non-organic grains are chock full of glyphosate which is pesticide banned in most other countries outside the US because they have no allegiance to Monsanto who produces it.    
A high grain diet promotes insulin and leptin resistance thereby increasing your risk for Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease and Cancer. 
Better choices of fiber includes Organic Whole Husk Psyllium.     If you use this supplement it is critical to get organic psyllium as non-organic psyllium is heavily sprayed with chemicals.     Other great sources include chia seeds, berries, root vegetables such as sweet potato, peas and beans, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and celery.
How much fiber?
Experts recommend that woman eat a minimum of 25 grams of fiber per day and men consume 38 grams per day.     However higher intakes may be more beneficial.     
It is important to SLOWLY increase your fiber intake and keep your water intake high to prevent potential issues caused by eating fiber without sufficient fluid.
Low-Fiber Diet
There are circumstances where high fiber intake is contraindicated and timing for fiber intake relative to drugs and supplements is important.   People with chronic digestive issues may need to remove fiber for some period of time because fiber feeds the bacteria in your gut.    Although as a general rule this is highly beneficial there are circumstances where high fiber intake can feed the wrong microorganisms such as pathogenic bacteria.

Fiber can also bind certain medications and minerals dramatically reducing their absorption so many drugs and mineral supplements should not be taken at the same time as fiber.

April Nitzsche on WBIR Knoxville

April Nitzsche was recently on WBIR as part of their Workout Wednesday. In the segment April demonstrated some exercises you can do at home and in the gym with kettle bells for a good workout. She also mentioned the new Maryville opening location as well as the Bearden location.

You can also view the video here.

Fallout 4 – “Starting Out: On Settlements, Building, Crafting, Materials And More” – A Beginner’s Guide of Tips and Concepts to Settlement Building and Development [UNDER CONSTRUCTION]

Update: Added images for Main Concepts sections (Food, Defense, etc)
Update: Added steps for How To Assign a Settler to a Work Station/Shop/etc
Update: Added how to Give Yourself Any Building Components, or Food, with Commands (Cheats Section)
Update: Added how to Build past the Size Limit in Settlements (Not a Cheat, Doable on Console as well as PC)

[Note.: This post is ‘LIVE’ and ‘UNDER CONSTRUCTION’, as I continue to add more data and Tips and Example Screenshots to it… I decided to make it available now however, to assist those playing Fallout 4; especially those just starting out – seeing as there is a Steam Sale on now (go get it! heh). I will be adding more Text and Tips and Screenshots and More and this post cannot be considered ‘finalized’ until after I add a ‘Final Footer Image’ to the posting (see some of my other posts for examples of this type of ‘end image’ I put in my posts). Please excuse changes as they occur and temporary mistakes and spelling errors, which may show up should you return to this article while it is under development. Enjoy, however – I hope you find something helpful to you – and have fun in Fallout 4!]




I have been having a ton of fun playing Fallout 4 lately… and while I am taking forever to finish up a ‘First Impressions’ of the game [I keep playing and building up my Settlements instead of writing!], I wanted to share some Tips on handling Settlements; some concepts and ideas that might help new users to the game, players that may not have developed their Settlements very much yet, or players that are looking for ways to possibly improve or increase their Settlements and their Production and associated benefits (Bottlecaps income from Stores, Settlers roaming around and finding/providing you with Supplies, Clinics for healing and removing Radiation, and more).

Screenshot showing the Workshop Area of The Sunshine Tidings Cooperative, Decorated (Work In Progress).
(High Resolution Texture Pack enabled [not 100% sure, sorry, but I think it was at this time]
The Automatron DLC Robot Workbench can be seen, center background. Minuteman Flag seen, left wall, foreground)
Click to see Full Size

[Settlements and their development and growth is one of my favourite aspects of the game, not only because it supplies you with Junk/Scrap/Materials to build with and Money as well, but also because of the ‘life it breathes into the game’… every Settlement becomes ‘alive’ with people coming and going, working and resting, asking for help or talking amongst themselves around you. After getting a few Settlements set up and running smoothly, they become a place to restock, sell and collect, modify and improve gear, rest and maybe enjoy some scenery, taking a break from the action by building and re-working, improving and creating a place of solitude and pride, in each little ‘town’ in The Commonwealth…]

Example of the Workshop Mode interface bar, normally seen at the top of the screen in Workshop Mode (Building mode)
Click to see Full Size 

Here then, are some main ideas to start off with or to keep in mind  – hopefully helpful to fellow gamers who are either starting out in Fallout 4 [from the latest Steam Sale], or are looking for ways to improve their currently-undeveloped Settlements (colour-coded somewhat-by-importance to help separate them for easier reference):

1.  In the very beginning, build Food and Water and Beds, as much as you can.  

These three things (Beds, Water, Food) are the main limiting factors to how many people will come to live in a Settlement. 

 [The maximum amount of people that can ‘live in your town’ is supposed to be your Charisma+10 (so if you have 5 Charisma, that would be 15 people); Provisioners who run Supply Lines (more on them later on down further) don’t seem to count towards this calcuated total (by my experience so far). Also, this limitation is stated in many places online – however, I have Settlements that are much higher than this number (over 30!) so I have not finalized the concept of Settlement Limitation Amount, at this time] 

Don’t worry about Guard Posts and Turrets, at least, as much as you might think at the start – because although they do help with the overall safety of your Settlement; reducing the amount of Raids that occur, reducing the amount of Damage that will be sustained in the Raids, and setting a higher Security rating (which seems to affect Happiness, but not Immigration rate – more on Happiness later on…) – you can actually put the responsibility on yourself to take care of Raids at first [and get the bonus experience and loot that comes with it!] by Fast Travelling to the Settlements as soon as you see the ‘Help Defend’ tasks come up – or making ’rounds’ between your Settlements as they are starting up, as Raiders sometimes attack while you are there and you can then help clear them out – and get all the Loot they drop, too! 

[The game leads you towards building Turrets at your Settlements near the beginning, too – in the form of a ‘tutorial’ of sorts, somewhat-early on]


2.  Plant any Food (Corn, Tatos, Mutfruit, Gourds, Watermelon and Razorgrain) you find, at first.

Starting out, you want to maximize your growth, so re-planting food you pick up not only increases how much food a Settlement can produce/feed for the Settlers, it also multiplies how much you can harvest!

You can harvest any plants by ‘picking them’ (hitting the Action key while close to them). You can then immediately re-plant the food you just picked, by entering Workshop Mode and going to the Resources>Food section.

A while later, you can start to Cook with your Food – not only do the meals you prepare have special bonuses (they are all different!) but boiling up some VEGETABLE STARCH, made from all materials that you can gather at any Settlement, is a great way to create your own Adhesive building material. Used for almost everything, Adhesive is a very important material to have!



Vegetable Starch, a source of Adhesive, you can create yourself by cooking together Corn (3), Mutfruit (3), Tatos (3) and using Purified Water (1). Purified Water, you can either find as you travel, cook yourself [3 Dirty Water can be boiled up to make 1 Purified Water], or use Water leftover from your Water Sources in your Settlement – as any extra Water that is not used by your Settlers will be ‘kept by the Settlers in the Workshop inventory’ [in the Workshop Bench]. You need Adhesive for Modifications to Weapons and Armor and even for Building – it is used for almost everything and is therefore very important to keep stocked!




3. Tied for the third most important thing/things to start thinking about, are these two concepts:

    • As you can, increase your Turrets and Guard Posts, to increase the Security of the Settlements, and as stated above, reducing the amount of Raids that occur, reducing the amount of Damage that will be sustained in Raids, and keeping your Settlers ‘feeling secure and more relaxed’ (Happier), too. 

    Although the Security Rating of a Settlement (“Defense”) does not effect the speed at which Settlers will immigrate to your little town, the Defense Rating of a Settlement affects the Happiness Rating – which affects how ‘Productive’ the Settlers are in that Settlement (speed of gathering resources, amount of Caps earned, etc) – more on Happiness later on…

    If you have more Guard Posts than you have assigned Guards, they will ‘patrol’ around the Settlement, going between them, back and forth. If you have the same amount of Guard Posts to Guards, they will each stay at one, standing ‘on guard’, most of the time.

    [I personally like to have a couple extra Guard Posts created in my Settlements just to have the Guards move around more… It creates more movement in the Settlements overall and makes them ‘feel more alive’ – something I really like in my Settlements!]

    • Build extra Scavenging Stations as your Settlement grows, as your Junk/Materials allow you to, so as the Settlers keep flowing in, you can assign them to the empty Stations – concentrating more on Scavenging over time will get your Settlers working and searching around, bringing you any Junk Items they find, “automatically” for you to then use!

    Scavenging Stations are assigned to Settlers, who then start wandering the Settlement randomly, picking up Scrap and Junk items they find and placing them in the Workshop over time – they will even ‘break down’ the items at the Scavenging Station – and you can watch them do it! 

    [If you have the Automatron DLC/Expansion, you will find that robots Assigned to Scavenging Stations will simply stand next to the Station with no animations occurring (sadly)]

    ‘How do you Assign Settlers to Scavenging Stations?’
    Further down, there are Steps with Screenshots for each,
    in the Section “How To Assign Settlers To Work Stations”


    After a while, with more Settlers coming in (sometimes they will migrate to your Settlements quite fast, seeing a solid place to find food, water, beds and have some security/safety), you’ll start to see Junk/Scrap/Materials pile up slowly, even Bottlecaps flowing in, sitting there waiting for you in the Workshops of your Settlements. 

     [If you have extra Food/Plants/farming and Guarding that needs to be done, Settlers seem to assign themselves to those first, if you haven’t been by to visit in a while to ‘tell people what to do’ – I have returned to Settlements to find New Immigrants that have started Farming or standing at Guard Posts on their own – but I have yet to see Settlers that Assign themselves to Scavenging Stations]

    Don’t forget to ‘make your rounds’ and periodically travel around to check all of the Workshops, grabbing these extra ‘Caps and ‘Mats, snatching-up the extra Purified Water you’ll see in them, to sell for even more Bottlecaps (especially if you are more desperate for money sometime). Purified Water is created by extra Water production of the Settlement; water that the Settlers aren’t using from the Sources you have set up. This extra Water gets placed in the Workshop for general use and Supply Line provisioning to other Settlements – but since it sells for a decent price and ‘piles up for free’, grab it and Sell it, if you really need ‘Caps!



    4.  As you find more Settlements, start up Supply Lines between them all…

    Supply Lines are ways to ‘share’ the resources of the Workshops between Settlements. You assign a Settler to create a Supply Line between two Settlements, and they then become a “Provisioner”, leading a Caravan between the two Settlements, taking supplies between them so that you can effectively ‘use the Junk/Scrap/Materials/Components of both of them’, no matter which one you are in!

    Supply Lines are started by entering Workshop Mode, then going up to a Settler (one that is Unassigned with no ‘job to do’, or one that you want to make run a Supply Line instead of the job they are currently assigned to) and choosing Supply Line from the bottom menu bar.

    That townsperson will then become a Provisioner, leading a caravan and a wacky Brahmin through the wilds of The Commonwealth… between the Settlement that they originated in and the one that you assigned them to make a Supply Line to.
    Between these two Settlements then, you can utilize any* Junk/Scrap/Components between them, in their Workshops.

    *Note that it appears you cannot share any Weapons or Apparel that you put in [I have not tested Miscellaneous items yet]; you can only share Junk [as of the time of this posting, this may change in a future Update/Patch in the game, of course].

    Requirement: Supply Lines require the Local Leader Perk to be able to ‘organize the people’, which requires a Charisma of 6 – but it has no Level requirement, so you can get it at the start of the game if your Character has a Charisma of 6. If your Character does not have a Charisma of 6, you can also put Perk Points into Charisma as you Level – you get one Perk Point every time you gain a Level – thereby slowly increasing your Charisma to 6, eventually. You can also put on Gear and Clothes that ‘accentuate your Charisma rating’ [eg. Apparel that says “CHR 1”], to get your Charisma up to 6 ‘instantly’!

    [With places like Tenpines Bluff, a Settlement you find somewhat-early on, that has barely any resources at all and barely anything to Scrap for Building Materials – the game seems to even be encouraging you to think about Supply Lines… at least, this is my interpretation..]

    Pick Up Everything! Loot Every Body And Clear Out Every Location You Find!


    Workshops will create Scrap building materials (Components) for you ‘automatically’ from any Junk Items you store in them – just ‘keep building’ and if you have the Junk that can be broken down into the Components you need, it will do it for you!



    What I mean by the above Tip is, if you put in a bunch of Forks and Knives you have found (for example), and you want to build something in your Settlement that requires Steel to build with, just go ahead and start Building – your Workshop will ‘smelt/breakdown the Junk items (in this example, the Forks and Knives) into Steel’ automatically, so you can essentially ‘use the Fork and Knife to build with’ – you do not need to “drop the items on the ground and then go into Workshop Mode and Scrap the items one by one” to get the Materials from your Junk items to Build; just select your part to Build and it will let you build it – if there is enough “components from junk parts” to do so!

    [I’m not sure if this changed from an early Patch or something, but I see a bunch of people asking in forums, even recently, if there is an easier way to get Scrap (building materials) from Junk items besides manually ‘Scrapping them one-by-one on the ground in Workshop Mode’ – there should have been a better Tutorial for this, in a way, in the game itself; but I hope this information above clears it up and helps people out]

    Remember: 
    Junk Items = Scrap Components = 
    Building Materials!


    Pick Up Everything! Loot Every Body And Clear Out Every Location You Find!
    • Repeated, Scavenging Station concept from above, as a Reminder:

      Build extra Scavenging Stations as your Settlement grows, as your Junk/Materials allow you to, so as the Settlers keep flowing in, you can assign them to the empty Stations – concentrating more on Scavenging over time will get your Settlers working and searching around, bringing you any Junk Items they find, ‘automatically’ for you!

    Scavenging Stations are assigned to Settlers, who then start wandering the Settlement randomly, picking up Scrap and Junk items they find and placing them in the Workshop over time.

     [If you have extra Food/Plants/farming and Guarding that needs to be done, Settlers seem to assign themselves to those first, if you haven’t been by to visit in a while to ‘tell people what to do’ – I have returned to Settlements to find New Immigrants that have started Farming or standing at Guard Posts on their own – but I have yet to see Settlers that Assign themselves to Scavenging Stations]

    [If you have the Automatron DLC/Expansion, you will find that robots assigned to Scavenging Stations will simply stand next to the Station with no animations occurring (sadly)]

    How To Assign Settlers To Work Stations (To Get Them To Perform Jobs In Your Settlement, Such As Running Shops/Stores Or Gathering Items For You To Use)

    Below, are the five simple steps to Assigning a Settler to any Work Station, getting them to utilize it and start contributing to the income of Supplies/Income of the Settlement. In this example, we are going to Assign a Settler to a Scavenging Station:

    1. When you first build/place a Station or Store/Shop or other useable buildings in your Settlement, it will show up as “Unassigned”, in the Workshop Mode interface. All buildings that are Assignable in a Settlement will show a ‘person icon’, in Red, to show that the building has a Requirement that needs to be fulfilled, for it to begin functioning.

    2. Find a Settler that you want to Assign to the Station. This can be a Settler that is already “Assigned” to something (so you can change their Job they are Performing in your Settlement), or a Settler who is “Unassigned” (doing nothing specific). Highlight the Settler by looking directly at them, then press the ACTION button to begin to ‘COMMAND them to do something’…

    Settlers who are Unassigned still gather Junk Items they find while walking around and put them in the Workshop Inventory for use by everyone. However, this happens slower than if they were Assigned to a Scavenging Station (which gives them ‘access to tools’). “Unassigned Settlers” contribute to ‘making people feel uneasy’ in the Settlement – which negatively affects the overall Happiness of that Settlement (resulting in lowered Production for that Settlement). Assign all Settlers to Tasks, or Relocate them to another Settlement (“Move” them), if there are no Jobs/Tasks for them to do.

    3. Go back to the Station/Shop/Building that you want to Assign the Settler to, and highlight it by looking directly at it. Then click the ACTION button to ASSIGN the Settler you just started COMMANDing, to ‘utilize this Station’ (in this example, the Scavenging Station, shown below).

    4. After clicking ASSIGN on a Station/Shop/Building, the ‘person icon’ should change from Red to Green, to show that a person is now assigned to the Station/Shop/Building (for example, the ‘Requirement for the Station to function’ is fulfilled). You should also see a message in the upper-left saying, “This resource is now assigned.” – that’s it! In this example, you have now Assigned a Settler to the Scavenging Station.

    5. If you go back to the Settler, you can check to make sure they are properly Assigned, by looking at them directly in Workshop Mode. They should now show the Task they are Assigned to (in this example, the Settler now shows a “Scavenging Station Icon” (a Buzzard, ‘the scavenger bird’)).

    Perform the above steps whenever you want to Assign a Settler to any Work Station, Guard Post, Shop or Store – the steps are the same, no matter what you need to have Assigned.

    Pick Up Everything! Loot Every Body And Clear Out Every Location You Find!

    Example of a Crafting Station, which allows you to create or modify items in the game. This is a Weapons Workbench (from Sanctuary), used to Modify found Weapons, adding higher capacity, faster firing rates, more powerful scopes, and more.
    (Click to see Full Size)


    Starting out with Weapons (Similar Concept to Armor, Below)

    In the beginning, other than the best Weapons you can save for yourself to use (or share with your Companion), SCRAP the rest for Materials…

    Don’t worry about building up a ‘Collection to Sell’ [at the start], you will run into so many enemies that you will have lots of spare Weapons to Sell for Caps later on. Scrapping for Materials not only lets you have Mats to Modify other Weapons you find and improve them as you Unlock Perks with your Points (using the Blacksmith skill) – it will also let you find other parts/materials as you ‘break down’ the Weapons you find into typical weapon-type-materials like Steel, Wood, Plastic and Screws – sadly, you cannot break down Weapons to gain the ever-important Adhesive, it seems [it is ‘already used’, I guess!].

    Example of a Crafting Station, that allows you to create or modify items in the game. This is an Armor Workbench (from Sanctuary, seen in the rain), used to Modify found Armor, adding bonuses like more defense (adding more material to armor), or putting pockets in it (to allow you carry more weight), and more.
    (Click to see Full Size)




    Starting out with Armor (Similar Concept to Weapons, Above)

    In the beginning, other than the best Armor you can save for yourself to use, (or share with your Companion), SCRAP the rest for Materials…

    Don’t worry about building up a ‘Collection to Sell’ [at the start], you will run into so many enemies that you will have lots of spare Armor to Sell for Caps later on. Scrapping for Materials not only lets you have Mats to Modify other Armor you find and improve them as you Unlock Perks with your Points (using the Armorer skill) – it will also let you find other parts/materials, as you ‘break down’ the Armor you find into typical armor-type-materials like Rubber, Cloth, Leather and Steel – sadly, you cannot break down Weapons to gain the ever-important Adhesive, it seems [it is ‘already used’, I guess!].

    Short Story/Example About Armor: Because I could Modify and Customize Raider Arm armor near the beginning, I gave up the higher-protection “DC Guard Left/Right Arm” armor pieces that I picked off of a poor dead DC Guard, [because it does not seem to Modify-able in the game and] because I ‘knew how to Modify’ the Raider Armor to be POCKETED for higher Inventory/Carry space [you need to ‘learn how’, by putting Perk Points (‘skill points earned every Level’) into Armorer, a Strength 3 skill]. I put the DC Guard Armor in a Dresser at the beginning for the time being, using the ‘Pocketed Raider Arms’ I could Modify, then – a higher Carry Weight Limit is a valuable commodity – especially at the beginning!


    Pick Up Everything! Loot Every Body And Clear Out Every Location You Find!

    Did someone say CHEATS?

    Sick of trudging around The Commonwealth like a Brahmin with two heads cut off, looking for junk to break down into materials to ‘just build’ with? Tired of picking up every piece of Junk you find, trekking in and out of town constantly and thinking “I just want to build up my base…” or “can’t there be an easy way of getting junk” or “there’s gotta be a faster way to get junk”..?


    Then wonder/wander no more – there is a way to instantly get all the materials you want!

    In Fallout 4 [and most Bethesda games], you can type the item you want and how many you want, of any item in the game, into the Command Console. However, you need to know the item’s Unique Identification Number, first (known as the “Base ID” of the item, in Bethesda games). 

    One way to find the Base ID of any item or object in Fallout 4, is to open the Console (by hitting the Tilde key, “~”, usually found next to the Number 1, in the line of numbers across the top of QWERTY keyboards), and clicking on the item or object in the game. It will then show the BaseID of the object at the top/center of the Command Console area.
    For an example; if you wanted to find out the Base ID of that Deathclaw running at you (and since we are in the ‘Cheat Section’ of this article, say… you want to kill it instantly), then you would find out the ID for it by opening the Console (“~”) and clicking once on the Deathclaw (it should be ‘frozen’ by opening the Console), which would show the BaseID of it just below, at the top of the Console area. Now, for this example of ‘killing it instantly’; you just have to type in “kill”, then a space, then type in the BaseID you see on the screen, and hit Enter. BOOM. That Deathclaw that was running at you (and you were unprepared for, full of inventory and unable to run, no doubt)? It’s dead. “First Crack At The Gear!” 

    [Note1: If you try ‘clicking on the enemy, then typing KILL, then just hitting ENTER’ right away; it may not work as desired. You may end up killing yourself… Although those steps do work, they do not seem to work 100% of the time [in my testing], therefore, the Suggestion of doing the steps from just a bit above (“clicking to get the ID, but typing in KILL and the ID number”), is recommended – to save from accidentally killing yourself and having to LOAD…]

    [Note2: The BaseID seems to change [in my testing], as in, when a Deathclaw (from our example above) ‘spawns’ (comes out of the ground), it will have one ID (and it seems to be ‘unkillable’ for a short time), and then when it starts to come at you and attack, it will change to another ID – which can then be used in the Command Console to ‘kill’ it. Also, Base Identifiers may be ‘Procedurally Generated’, which is, automatically and repeatedly created and changed, as a game goes on. Although this does not seem to happen for items like Food and Materials, it does seem to happen with Enemies and Gear (Weapons/Armor) – so be sure to take the steps above when trying to manipulate objects around you (eg. ‘kill’-ing an enemy), finding the BaseID each time, to be sure that there will not be a mistake or missed opportunity, to utilize the BaseID in the Console.]

    Want nearly-infinite food?
    Want nearly-infinite materials to build with?
    Want to ‘just build and not worry about going around collecting Junk (to build with)’? 

    Then wonder/wander no more – here is a way to instantly get all the building materials you want!


    [WARNING/Suggestion: Although getting all of the items you could ever want, whenever you want, to ‘Just Build’ – effectively turning the game into “Fallout 4: The Sims Apocalypse” where you just Build and Decorate and work on keeping your Settlers at bases Happy (not that that’s a bad thing) – it can potentially contribute to making the game ‘less exciting’, as it takes away much of the need to go anywhere or do anything (other than keep your Settlers’ Happiness maintained). This isn’t a bad thing necessarily (I have one Character I created just to play around and learn the Build Mechanics with and have fun just building and decorating..). I only mention this because I would like to Suggest to create a separate Character to do this with, or remember that when the game ‘gets kind of boring’, to create a Character where you ‘don’t cheat at all’, to create suspense/tension within the game. No matter how you prefer to play though, I hope you enjoy Fallout 4 as much as I have – and still do… Have fun!]

    I have some Batch Files for Fallout 4 below, which will allow you to ‘type in to the Console what you want’ [Materials to build with, or Food (so you won’t have to worry about Farming or feeding your Settlers)] and you will instantly have a ton of those items on your character.
    With the Items in them listed in Alphabetical Order, I have one file that is for getting Materials (Scrap/Junk to Build with), one file that is for getting Food (to Eat/Cook with) and one that is for getting huge amounts of both in one shot…

    To use these Batch Files in Fallout 4, simply download the Text file(s) and place them into the Fallout 4 game directory/folder, where the game data/files are.
    [Don’t worry, they are just Text Files, but I give directions on how to make your own further down, if you ‘don’t like to download things unknown very much’.]


    To quickly find the Fallout 4 game files location [in Steam, on PC]:

    Go to the Library section in Steam and Right-Click on the “Fallout 4” listing, choosing ‘Properties’.

    In the Properties window that comes up, click on the ‘Local Files’ tab.

    It shows you what Drive the game is on; but to quickly get to the game files themselves, click on the ‘Browse Local Files’ button, which will open a new File Explorer window (Windows).

    This location is where you want to Save the Text Files to (the ‘Batch Files for Fallout 4’), usually it will have a Path like “SteamLibrarysteamappscommonFallout 4” on whatever Drive/Partition you installed the game to.

    In that folder, Download/Save (or ‘Paste’, if you ‘Copied’ the files from another location) the .TXT files, to be able to call them up from the Command Console in-game. 

    Example of how the ‘Batch Files’ (Text Files) look, after being placed in the Fallout 4 Game Folder
    (Click to see Full Size)
    Here are the steps to use the .TXT-format ‘Batch Files’ once they are in the game directory (shown for the file for getting Food, the file for getting Building Materials, and then the file for getting Huge Amounts Of Everything To ‘Just Build’ if you want...):

    1A. To use the file that gives you 1000 of all types of Food (so you don’t have to worry about Farming or Feeding your Settlers for a long time); type in

     bat allbasefood

     in the Command Console and hit Enter. That’s it!  

    1B. You can now close the Console and you’ll find you have 1000 of every type of Food in the game, on your person.

    1C. Go to a Workshop to Store the Food there (otherwise you will be ‘overburdened’ with all of that Food in your pockets) – you will find the Food items under the AID section in your Pip-Boy, as shown below:

    2A. To use the file that gives you 1000 of all types of Materials to build with (all of the Crafting Components, so you don’t have to worry about going out and looking for and collecting Junk items to Scrap for a long time and can ‘Just Build’, if you want to play that way for a while); type in

    bat allbasematerials

     in the Command Console and hit Enter. That’s it! 

    2B. You can now close the Console and you’ll find you have 1000 of every type of Building and Crafting Material in the game, on your person.

    2C. Go to a Workshop to Store the Materials in the Workshop Inventory (otherwise you will be ‘overburdened’ with all of those Crafting Components in your pockets) – you can just hit the STORE ALL JUNK button, to do it in one step.

    For the last one, which gives 9001 of every single type of Food AND Crafting Component in the game [maybe I should have named it “IJUSTWANTTOBUILD.txt”], use the steps below:

    3A. To use the file that gives you 9001 Of All Types Of Everything To ‘Just Build’ With (all of the Crafting Components in the game, so you don’t have to worry about going out and looking for and collecting Food OR Junk items to Scrap, for a long time and can ‘Just Build’); type in

     bat allyourbase9k

    in the Command Console and hit Enter. That’s it! 

    3B. You can now close the Console and you’ll find you have 9001 of every type of Building and Crafting Material in the game, on your person.

    3C. Go to a Workshop to Store the Junk Items (Materials) and the Food (from the AID section in the Pip-Boy), in the Workshop Inventory (otherwise you will be ‘overburdened’ with all of those Every Frelling Thing In The Game For Settlement Building in your pockets).  

    Here is where to Download the Text Files to place into the Fallout 4 directory/folder (the ‘Batch Files’ to use), from the GoogleDrive for The Blog:

    allbasefood.txt file
    allbasematerials.txt file
    allyourbase9k.txt file

    If you don’t like to normally Download things ‘from unknown places/people’ [aren’t we just ‘Friends That Haven’t Met Yet, though, my dear reader?], here is what the Google Drive link looks like when you click on it:

    Still, feel free to Scan the files with your installed Anti-Virus Program(s), or online through something like Virustotal.com (this is actually a good idea to do with anything Downloaded..).

    If you you rather create your own Text Files, to place into your Fallout 4 directory/folder, to run as ‘Batch Files’, to give yourself an amount of these items, instead of fully Downloading the Text Files offered above – then here are the steps to create your own files:

    Is There A Way To Build More, Past The Limit?

    Sadly, there is a limit to how much you can Build in a Settlement – indicated by the SIZE bar in the Upper-Right corner of the screen in Workshop Mode. While this limitation is there to stop us from building so much that it makes the game go down to 1fps in that area, the SIZE limit is pretty conservative [in my opinion] and I found out that there is an easy way to ‘Build More’ – getting past that Build Size Limitation….

    When you see the message, “Nothing More Can Be Built.”, you can just press your lips together and blow, making that weird trumpet sound, after reading the steps below. No Limitations for you! Just follow these steps and you can continue to Build in that Settlement:

    (Note that this is not a Cheat, it does not affect Achievements and it is doable on Console as well as PC)

    • Get some Weapons together on your Character (specifically Guns, as this specific technique does not appear to work with Melee or Thrown in my testing). Apparel and Junk does not work for this either.
    • Bring up the Pip-Boy and Drop the Guns on the ground
    • Close the Pip-Boy and enter Workshop Mode (by Activating the Workshop Bench or holding ‘V’ (on PC) to open Workshop Mode)
    • Look down at the Guns on the ground and STORE them in the Workshop Inventory (careful not to SCRAP them, that is not what we are doing here at the moment!)
    • You should now see your SIZE bar going in reverse and it will even change from Red to Yellow to Green. BOOM. More Room To Bloom. 

    That’s it! You can now build more in that Settlement. Enjoy! If you want to retrieve your Weapons, you can just go into the Workshop Inventory (“Transfer”) and get them back – which means you can repeat these steps over and over, as needed! (Don’t forget to Share your Screenshots on Steam or elsewhere – other people want to see what you can do – and it gives them new ideas, too)

    Although it is possible to get past the Build Limit by simply dropping ‘any item’ and Scrapping it [I recently learned this on the Steam Forum for Fallout 4], this is still not what I was trying to do, with the Steps above. My intention was to STORE the Guns, so that they can still be utilized later – selling them for Bottlecaps, or ‘Breaking Them Down’ and taking their Modifications off to use on other Weapons, or just using them as Weapons in the game on the Character (or given to Settlers to help them fight off Raids/Attackers) –  that is why the Steps above utilize my method. Storing the Guns allows you to continue to use them (as opposed to Scrapping them into Components to Build/Craft with).



    [……I am going to add to this post, as I remember things that I already have forgotten and can’t seem to bring back up at the moment to throw in here; but I still hope someone finds these concepts and Tips helpful, for either starting out in the game or improving your Settlements (there are more advanced concepts to come….. Have fun with Fallout 4!]

    Happy Landings: Clockwork’s CB750 custom

    A bobber-influenced Honda CB750 custom from Canada's Clockwork Motorcycles.

    Samuel Guertin used to spend his days wrenching on choppers—the kind that fly. But after a decade working as a helicopter mechanic, he decided that customizing cars and bikes was more fulfilling.
    So he changed his flight path and Clockwork Motorcycles was born, with a base in the countryside half an hour east of Montréal, Canada.
    A bobber-influenced Honda CB750 custom from Canada's Clockwork Motorcycles.
    This CB750 custom is called Fury, and it’s Clockwork’s fourth build. “When I found the donor—a 1971 model—it was pretty funny to look at,” explains Samuel. “It was a weird, failed attempt at a gothic bobber-slash-chopper. It deserved better fortune.”

    Samuel decided to make the CB750 a little more chunky and curvaceous. It was time for a well-judged series of subtle nips and tucks.
    A bobber-influenced Honda CB750 custom from Canada's Clockwork Motorcycles.
    That meant shortening the frame at the rear to a more bobber-esque length, while the swing arm was extended by two inches and hooked up to a pair of Progressive Suspension rear shocks.

    The extra visual bulk required more meat up front, so Samuel has installed a set of Suzuki GSX-R600 forks. They’re non-inverted units for a more period correct feel, and fitted via a custom-made aluminum triple tree and front hub. The GSX-R also donated its front brakes—now fed by a Nissin master cylinder via braided stainless steel hose.
    The modified oil tank (below) is an especially neat touch, appearing at first glance to be a stock side cover. There’s custom fabricated panel on the lefthand side to match.
    A bobber-influenced Honda CB750 custom from Canada's Clockwork Motorcycles.
    The wheels are 16-inch Harley-Davidson items, laced with stainless steel spokes and nipples, and wrapped in Firestone Deluxe Champion rubber. (Samuel knows he’ll get flack from some quarters for his tire selection, but that’s okay).

    For the seat, he settled on a shape that would complement the bike’s beefy new demeanor. Ginger at New Church Moto was responsible for the upholstery: a classy mix of leather and suede.
    A bobber-influenced Honda CB750 custom from Canada's Clockwork Motorcycles.
    Clockwork’s mods are more than just cosmetic though. The engine has been completely stripped down and rebuilt, fitted with CNC-cut valve seats and bored out to 836cc with a Wiseco kit. A stunning set of Keihin CR29 race carbs handle the fueling, with a four-into-one stainless exhaust system providing the soundtrack.

    A bobber-influenced Honda CB750 custom from Canada's Clockwork Motorcycles.
    Samuel has thoroughly reworked the wiring too, with a full Motogadget installation that includes the m-Unit control unit, a Motoscope Tiny speedo, m-Switch handlebar switches and an m-Lock keyless ignition. It’s all powered by a small Lithium-ion battery stashed in a hand-built electronics box.

    The cockpit is equally tidy, with custom-bent clip-ons, leather-wrapped grips and a small headlight. Bullet turn signals were installed, and the quirky taillight is from Prism Motorcycles.
    A bobber-influenced Honda CB750 custom from Canada's Clockwork Motorcycles.
    When it came to the CB750’s final paint scheme, Samuel had little interest in bright colors or complex designs. “I didn’t want anything flashy or shiny to steal the show,” he says. “It’s all about lines, shapes and curves—so all the colors are muted tones.”

    The final color scheme is sublime, flattering the Honda’s brawny new lines just as intended. Monsieur Guertin has certainly found his calling, and thankfully it’s nothing to do with choppers.
     Images by Photos by Cimon B Photography
    First published in www.bikeexif.com

    A bobber-influenced Honda CB750 custom from Canada's Clockwork Motorcycles.

    The 2017 Extra Life 24-Hour Gaming Marathon, In Support of The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals [Post Updated All Weekend]

    Wow, it’s that time again – time to try to play some games for a cause – in my case, I play as much as I can through the weekend for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation (as I was born and raised in the province of Alberta, Canada).

    This year actually ‘sprung up’ on me, as I haven’t been feeling well these past few weeks… I have had a bit of a fever [38C/100F+]  the entire time and have been extra sore and slow (I say ‘extra’ as I myself have a condition, called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis – which is basically an infection of the brain and spine that causes Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue symptoms (pain and tiredness, respectively) – a condition I have had for 12 years now [wow it’s been that long]). So, playing for this charity every year is special to me and something I have tried to do every since I heard of Extra Life back in 2015.

    Image Link to The Extra Life main website, where you can see all of the other wonderful people participating in this event, many of them streaming their marathon Live on Twitch and other streaming sites! (Link opens in a new window)

    Due to my own illness then, I cannot play 24 hours straight through, but I count my gaming hours Playing For The Kids™ over the entire weekend of the event (in this years’ case, Saturday November 4th and Sunday November 5th), hopefully tallying 24 hours in total.. (in the case that I am not ‘up to it’ for that long, I allow myself to count my wife’s gaming time, as she generously tries to play beside me and add hours, for a “Total Household Hours” amount). [I always hope that in the spirit of the event and the intention, that my dear readers and those at Extra Life find this acceptable]

    As has occurred in past years, I do not have the ability/energy to set up and maintain a constant Stream of some sort yet (through Twitch, YouTube and other streaming services); but what I do is I share some details and Screenshots (and Videos if I can) of what I am able to play, here at The Blog, in an ongoing and updated post – one that I will be adding to as the weekend progresses (including Sunday Night), right here!

    So, follow along with me as I Play For The Kids™ all weekend, updating this very post as I go – and if you wish to take part, you can Pledge/Donate directly to the Extra Life charity via the Logo/Image just below or through this link for 2017: https://www.extra-life.org/participant/247989 – and whether you pledge anything or not, feel free to just return to this posting for gameplay time Updates, Screenshots, some Video Clips from the weekend – and more!

    See You In The Game!

    Update, Saturday 12:30PM MST: Beginning The Marathon, with the initial post above and gathering snacks and drinks to start Playing For The Kids™!

    Update, Saturday 7:30 PM MST: As usual with this event, I always try to play some good’ol Minecraft Hardcore Mode (you only get one life!), to see how far I can get during the marathon.

    Usually, I don’t get too far and starting out this year was no exception. I spawned in a new Hardcore world – in a wintery biome which I found out later was “Cold Taiga” – which meant, although there were plenty of Trees for Wood to use, there were no seeds to find and plant right away for food, there were no large hills in sight (for easy access to Stone and Coal to cook any foods I might come across) except in the far distance – and as night fell, I died right away to a band of two skeletons and a zombie that came out from behind one of the many, many trees…. Wow what a harsh start!

    I began another Hardcore world, hoping to spawn in a relatively easier biome – and I did… I quickly collected Seeds from the Grass around me and began a Garden to grow Wheat RIGHT AWAY, heh. I had to cull some of the many Pigs I found around me in order to eat, planning on replenishing their numbers later on. I then carved out a little Mud Hut in the hillside nearby and settled in for the night…

    Updates on that World as I play more – but for now I have to stop and take another break. More to come!

    Total Gameplay Time: ~2.0 hrs

    Update, Sunday 10:30 AM MST: I played last night right up until I fell asleep, starting a “Just One Life™” character in Fallout 4 (where I stop playing and delete that character upon dying just once), and was popping into various games for short periods of time, like Marvel Heroes (which has Daily Login Rewards, with small ‘gifts’ every few days you enter the game – and a Free Hero available at the no doubt-difficult-to-get-to, Day 300) [Even if I do not have the energy to play for a while, I try to pop in to register a login, heh – to see how far I can go].

    I also popped into The Elder Scrolls: Legends, a Virtual Collectible Card Game based on The Elder Scrolls series [a good game for slow-paced-yet-still-kinda-flashy-and-enjoyable gameplay that you can play against the CPU/AI only, if you desire to]. I also ran a few Benchmarks and did a few quick driving tests in Grand Theft Auto V, trying out some settings I saw in YouTube videos online (to see if I get the same framerate with the same hardware) – but I felt a bit weird at the concept of playing GTA games for this Event [shouldn’t I be playing games kids would play, or at least Family-Friendly games? lol], so I didn’t stay in Los Santos very long.
    Today, I plan on playing as much as I can, continuing my Minecraft: Hardcore Mode world, and my Fallout 4 “Just One Life™” character, along with some Elder Scrolls Online gameplay, hoping to get up to 24 hours in Total. I’ll also post more Screenshots next Update. Here I go!
    Total Gameplay Time: ~ 5.0 hrs


    Update, Monday 9:30 AM MST: Well I played as much as I could… 
    In Minecraft, I continued my Hardcore Mode world (actually Marathon 2017 World 2.0, as I died without even leaving the first Biome in the first one (above)), making a nice Garden along the shore of a River nearby…
    When night fell upon the world, since I was out on a ‘walkabout’, looking around the Biome, I quickly dug into the nearest hill, making myself a small mudhut house to Craft and Cook in… I should have maybe stayed in it all night, but I thought I would get started on collecting more Food, by killing a few Spiders and using their silk to make String, crafting a Fishing Pole.. And what happened? Two Skeletons came out from behind a tree and as I ran back toward my little ‘second mud hut’, they cornered me and filled me full of arrows, as I weakly flailed my Rock Sword back and forth… I hope my ‘Deeds Will Be Remembered’ [hehe Diablo2]
    To make myself feel better, I popped in an out of a few games for the next few hours… I tried out Need for Speed: Most Wanted, which seemed like an open-world racing game, with good graphics.
    Playing that game reminded me of a ‘test’ I wanted to do (I love running Benchmarks and Tests, heh) with Grand Theft Auto Five (GTAV), where I saw a video of someone running it on High Settings, to test out the differences between how it performed on two different CPUs (Processors, referring to the ‘main engines’ of a computer). So I started up GTAV and ran the Benchmark (to see if I got similar results) and drove around the city a bit.
    While the game looked good, I felt a little weird playing such a ‘mature’ game during a Marathon for children’s charities [lol shouldn’t I be playing ‘family friendly games’? or does it matter?], so I just took a few Screenshots (of course), and then left it for now, for something else.

    The Beta for Paladins, a MOBA-slash-FPS game by the makers of Tribes:Ascend and Smite, was going on, so I popped into that game, going through the Training and playing for a while afterward.


    Total Gameplay Time: ~ 10.0 hrs

    Alas, just like before, I couldn’t quite make the 24 Hours on my own… My own illness [where I am sore a lot and get tired easily] keeps me from playing for very long at one time. However, as I stated earlier, what I like to do, is include the game playing time that My Better Half does alongside me, as part of a “Household Total”… If I include her generous contribution, the new total becomes:

    Total Household Time: ~23.0 hrs


    Haha – even with her inclusion, I did not ‘quite’ make the 24 Hours in total… But, as stated above, I hope that in the spirit of the Marathon and its’ intention – and mine – I hope that what did accrue would be acceptable… In fact; I do not think that ‘total game time’ is the main goal of this Marathon… This time is perhaps to literally ‘take time’, to think about those that are much more unfortunate than us, and in the case of this Charity, much younger than most of us… During this Day or Weekend, whichever it is, I think, we remember those out there, those that are in need. In this spirit/state-of-mind; I thank you Dear Reader, for following along in this small adventure. Whether you donated at all or not, I hope that you played a little bit of some game, took a little bit of time, to think about those that are in much more pain and need than most of us are. And I thank you for following me on this small journey. Take care, my unmet friend – and perhaps See You In The Game.

    Kaatsu aka Blood Flow Restriction Training

    Kaatsu training was developed in Japan five decades ago.  Ka means “additional” and atsu means “pressure.” An English layman’s term for the practice is “blood flow restriction training,” and involves performing strength training exercises while restricting blood flow to the extremity being worked.

    A significant benefit of the method is that you can use just 30 to 50 percent of the weight you’d normally use while still reaping maximum benefits of resistance training. You use less weight but do more — up to 20 or 30 repetitions versus 8 or 12 in most traditional strength training programs.
    Cuffs or bands are used that are just tight enough to allow arterial blood flow but not venous flow. This causes lactic acid and other waste products to build up, giving you the same benefit as heavy lifting without the dangers associated with heavy weights. For this reason, it’s a great strategy for the elderly and those who are recuperating from an injury.

    Scientists believe that restricting venous blood return can dramatically boost growth hormone secretion, reducing myostatin and inducing cell swelling.    Even better there is less overall tissue damage compared to traditional high intensity resistance training.

    History of Blood Flow Restriction Training

    The history of this type of training was detailed in an Outdoors Online Article (https://www.outsideonline.com/2023016/you-should-probably-try-japanese-blood-flow-routine):

    “Kaatsu came about in 1966 when 18-year-old [Dr.] Yoshiaki Sato, now a doctor, noticed the intense ache in his calves after having assumed the traditional Japanese sitting position during a typically long Buddhist ceremony. It was an ache much like the one he experienced after lifting weights — an ache he realized had to do [with] the occultation of blood circulation.
    Eureka! Using himself as a test subject, Sato spent the next several years perfecting a system of blood-flow moderation using bicycle tubes, ropes and straps. He later replaced the tubes with thin computer-controlled pneumatic bands. The idea was to apply pressure around the arms and legs while lifting a light load, safely impeding the flow of blood to exercising muscles.
    Slowing this flow engorges the limbs with blood, expanding capillaries, engaging muscle fibers and raising lactic acid concentration. But — and here’s part of what makes Kaatsu unique — it fools the brain into thinking it’s being put through a vigorous workout.”

    Kaatsu training can stimulate muscle growth and strength in about half the time, using about one-third of the weight, compared to regular resistance training.

    How does Kaatsu Work?

    The concept idea behind blood flow restriction training is to restrict blood flow in an exercising muscle/s using a band around the upper portion of the arm or leg being worked. This creates a metabolic disturbance that has local and systemic effects:

    1. A reduction in the partial pressure of oxygen and increase in the acidity of the muscle tissue stimulates protein synthesis through an adaptive response to the stressor.

    2. The central nervous system also senses the challenge and compensates by increasing sympathetic tone, heart rate, ventilation and sweating.   There is also an accentuated hormonal response as mentioned previously.

    Kaatsu also stimulates mTOR signaling and lowers myostatin (myostation stops muscle growth!)
    Unexpectedly muscle growth occurs both sides of the cuff even though blood flow is only restricted on the side farthest away from the heart.    The systemic increase in Growth Hormone also drives overall muscle growth.

    How much Pressure?

    It is important not to restrict blood flow too much, as this could lead to injury and fainting.
    The good news is that research shows that if you use common sense the risk of using too much pressure is easy to minimize.  Your limb should not be tingling, turning red, blue or purple, and you should not lose feeling and should be able to feel your pulse in the limb.
    For a great quick start guide to Kaatsu click here:  https://www.kaatsu-global.com/quick-start-guide-001/
    Kaatsu Training Protocol

    A typical training session uses three sets 0f 20 – 30 repetitions per set. use half or less of the weight you’d normally use. Rest between sets is short with typical rest time being 30 seconds.

    Could Kaatsu Cause Injury such as Deep Vein Thrombosis?

    Kaatsu is NOT the same as putting a tourniquet on and if you follow proper precautions is quite safe.    The key is that Kaatsu does NOT alter arterial blood flow as described previously.    It is important to use cuff’s designed specifically for this process.
    Contraindications for Kaatsu

    • Women who have had a mastectomy with or without radiation and/or an axillary node dissection should not use blood flow restriction training.
    • People in hemodialysis who have arterial venous fistulas. Avoid doing blood flow restriction on the affected limb
    • Pregnant women should not use Kaatsu training.

    The Risk Factors That Cause Food Reactions (6-10)

    Risk Factor 6. We eat too much at once.

    Overeating causes food reactions by overwhelming the digestive system. Unfortunately, reactions also cause overeating by creating food cravings, and this destructive cycle ruins many lives. The problem gets even worse when people eat the exact foods that cause them to experience reactions. This often happens, however, because of the cravings caused by allergic addiction.

    Overeating also disrupts the immune response, which further heightens food reactions.

    Risk Factor 7. We’re under too much stress.

    Stress hurts digestion. When you’re under stress, your stresshormones — such as adrenaline and cortisol — take blood away from your organs of digestion and shift it to the fight-or-flight organs and systems, such as the muscles, eyes, and heart. Sometimes, when you’re nervous, you feel this loss of circulation in your digestive system as butterflies in the stomach.

    Diet Start

    Proper digestion is most likely to occur when we take timeto eat our meals in a relaxed atmosphere. However, the average worker sits down for lunch for only eleven minutes, and many for only five minutes, or eats a sandwich unconsciously while working.

    Risk Factor 8. We don’t chew our foods completely.

    This interferes significantly with digestion. Foods that remain in excessively large pieces can’t be broken down properly, even when enough digestive juices are available.

    Risk Factor 9. We drink too many liquids with our meals.

    This dilutes digestive juices and stomach acid, keeping them from fully digesting our foods.

    Risk Factor 10. We combine too many of these risk factors.

    If we regularly made just one of these mistakes, we might not have a problem. Most people, though, combine several of these risk factors, and soon they experience the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Doctors call this reaching the allergic threshold.

    All of these risk factors can cause your digestive system to dump large, unwieldy macromolecules of food into your bloodstream. When this happens, it generally triggers your immune response.

    If your immune system is already impaired, your immune reaction to these macromolecules of food will be even worse. You’ll get reactions to a wider variety of foods, and your symptoms will be more severe and more frequent. Many forces can impair immunity: poor nutrition, exposure to toxins, stress, and lack of sleep.

    Therefore, to avoid food reactions, you should not only minimize your risk factors, but should also try to optimize your immune strength, with a healthy lifestyle, ingestion of specific nutrients, and avoidance of toxins. I’ll soon tell you how to do this.

    In addition, a number of non-food factors can make food reactions worse by contributing to the allergic threshold. The body doesn’t care if an allergen is a food-borne allergen or an airborne allergen, such as pollen. To the body, an allergen is an allergen. Food reactions are worse in people who inhale airborne allergens, are exposed to toxic chemicals, or are under stress.

    Therefore, you are not just what you eat.

    Food reactions — and therefore fat — can be caused by many factors, and food is just the most obvious one.

    I know that this is a new, strange concept for many people. But I have tested this concept clinically and have seen it work wonders.

    Here’s an example: a patient of mine worked in a paint shop and regularly inhaled airborne toxins. This man was bloated, puffy, and red-eyed most of the time, and reacted strongly to a number of foods. He also got sick a lot because the toxins he breathed were stressing his immune system. When he switched jobs and escaped the constant assault of airborne pollutants, his sensitivity to foods decreased dramatically. His progress on the False Fat Diet accelerated tremendously when he quit his job, and he soon lost almost all of his false fat and most of his true fat. Simultaneously, he stopped having frequent minor illnesses.

    If any of these risk factors apply to you, you are vulnerable to food reactions.

    You are not just what you eat.
    Fat can be caused by many factors.
    Food is just the most obvious one.

    Now I’ll tell you how food reactions develop within your body, after you engage in these risk factors. Once you understand how food reactions work, you’ll be better able to stop them — forever.

    WORKOUT ANYTIME on Entrepreneur.com

    Bill Aicklen, owner of four WORKOUT ANYTIME locations in Georgia, was recently featured in Franchise Players, Entrepreneur.com’s Q&A interview column! Bill discusses his background as a franchisee, challenges he’s faced and why he chose WORKOUT ANYTIME as the business model to get behind. Read the full interview here!

    Rodsmith Kawasaki KZ750 Cafe Racer

    Kawasaki KZ750 Cafe Racer
    The art of coachbuilding and metal shaping is a dying artform. Finding skilled individuals who can take a flat piece of metal and fashion it into a fuel tank or custom fender is getting more and more difficult. Thankfully the demand for such work is on the rise thanks to the popularity of the custom motorcycle scene and people like Craig Rodsmith are leading the way. Craig’s an Aussie living in Illinois and he’s been manipulating metal for hot rods and custom motorcycles for the past 25 years. One of his latest 2 wheeled creations is this ’79 KZ750 Kawasaki Cafe Racer and I had the opportunity to speak to Craig about its creation.



    “I was born and grew up in Melbourne, Australia.” Craig explained “I spent a lot of time amongst the Elizabeth Street motorcycle scene and was a member of the Hartwell Motorcycle Club. I did a lot of road racing, on TZs and RDs, at Winton Raceway, Calder, and other regional tracks.”



    “I bought this motorcycle as an almost stock Kawasaki KZ750 twin from a guy in Wisconsin and decided to turn a mundane bike into something interesting. When I took off the stock fuel tank I liked the shape of the top of the bikes frame so, going outside the box, I decided to make a tank that accentuated that line.”



    The KZ was a neglected relic that had been sitting unloved in a garage for over a decade. Thanks to Craig’s handy work it would soon have a new lease on life. “I like the challenge of giving a bike another chance by restyling it. Like most of my bikes, I like to bridge the gap between traditional styles and something unique and unusual. With this particular build I wanted the exhaust to be a part of the bike and not just an add-on, which is why I snuck it into the frame to hug the engine.”



    Every builder approaches their projects differently and Craig’s is defined by his skill set. “When I approach a build I plan the entire bike in my head straight away, then I build it accordingly. I make minimal changes to my idea along the way depending on what the bike requires. I do every aspect of each build myself from disassembly, to design, fabrication, engine building, electrical, metal forming, welding, polishing, painting and tuning. This means I don’t need to do sketches or delegate the build requirements. I can just get on with it.”



    “With the body work on the Kawasaki I used traditional tools (many of which I made), such as hammers and dollies and, obviously, an English wheel. I usually do a mockup with cardboard outlines before I form the metal. Every piece of aluminum on the KZ started as flat stock.  I like to make as many pieces myself as practical, on this bike that includes the rear sets, brackets, exhaust and air cleaners.  I designed and constructed the seat to have a simple, clean look and kept the sewing at a minimum (Yes, I can sew as well). The tailpiece houses an EarthX lithium battery and the electronics.

    I used an early model driving guide light and made the fairing screen to match. I like the contrast of the polished aluminum with the raw cast look so used a mix of these finishes on the bikes alloy parts. As with a lot of my builds, I like everything simple and clean so every piece of this bike has a purpose.I also have my own electroplating setup so I nickel plated the spokes and all of the bikes engine brackets.”

    When I asked Craig which part of the build was the most challenging he replied ” The fairing was a pain in the ass! I wanted it to look seamless, while flowing aesthetically with the rest of the bike.  The shape was a major challenge because I very rarely use forms or bucks to shape the metal.” Regardless of the stress it put him under the fairing remains Craig’s favourite part of the KZ. “I was struggling with whether or not I should even build it. I couldn’t imagine the bike without it and it ended up being the finishing touch.” and we’d have to agree.

    RODSMITH CUSTOMS

    Kawasaki KZ750 Cafe Racer

    First published by returnofthecaferacers.com

    ‘Fast N’ Loud’ and ‘The Devil’s Ride’ start new seasons Monday

    Weekly dose of reality: The Discovery Channel hits the road tonight with the second-season premieres of its two fast-and-loud reality shows, “Fast N’ Loud” and “The Devil’s Ride.” The motto behind these blood, sweat and gears offerings is “restore the roar.” Like that’s a problem in the noisy universe known as reality television.

    First up at 9 tonight is the second season premiere of the aptly named “Fast ‘N Loud.” This is the domain of car fanatics Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman. Motor mastermind Richard and mechanical prodigy Aaron scour the junkyards of Texas in search of buried automobile treasures. The plan is to unearth forgotten and neglected vintage cars, then restore them at their Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas, Tex.

    This season, the “Fast ‘N Loud” duo are searching for one of the rarest of all finds, the Ferrari F-40. The goal is to take one from rust bucket to gold mine.

    The next stop is the 10 p.m. season opener for “The Devil’s Ride,” Discovery’s look into the world of motorcycle clubs. This season promises to take viewers to the San Diego front lines of a brewing biker war between the Laffing Devils, once the city’s fastest-growing motorcycle club, and the Sinister Mob Syndicate (Sin Mob, for short).

    When the engines get revving on the second season, the leadership of the Laffing Devils is in a complete uproar. Founding member Danny Boy is butting heads with Sandman, and Billy hte Kid is missing. To make matters worse, Sin Mob’s president is an ousted founding member of the Laffing Devils.
    You’re thinking subtle and refined? I’m thinking you’ve got the wrong night on the Discovery Channel.

    _____________________________
    Source: Cleveland (Dawidziak, 2/18)

    Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Fudge

    My hubby loves fudge, so I always include it in my Christmas cookie baking especially since I’ve found this amazingly simple and easy recipe. Remember, I’m a lazy baker? 🙂 I love this recipe because you can add just about anything you want…marshmallows, extra chocolate chips, nuts, fruit, etc.

    Easy Fudge
    From Busy Cooks

    1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
    1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
    1 tablespoon butter
    1 tablespoon cream
    1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, if desired


    Place chips and milk in microwave safe bowl. (You can use just the one package of semisweet chocolate chips, or add the milk chocolate chips for a fudge that is slightly sweeter and creamier.)

    Microwave on medium power for 2-3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Microwave, stirring at 1 minutes intervals, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth and thick. Stir in butter and cream until combined.

    Pour into greased 8″ square pan and cool. You can also melt the chips and milk in a heavy saucepan over low heat.

    You can add just about anything to this easy recipe. Stir in a cup of chopped nuts, add a cup of marshmallows after the cooking time is done, stir in chopped dried fruit or some white chocolate chips. Have fun with the recipe!

    My Free Font, Just For You™: LED SCREEN GTAMBLOG CAPS+ 2.0 (with Download Links)

    An awkward name perhaps, for an odd little, simple version of an “LED Screen / Scoreboard Style Capitals Only” font (including Punctuation and Accents!) – but years ago, I contacted the author of a similar-styled font, to ask specifically for Commercial Use of his font, that looked somewhat like this one [I have been using it “Officially” here at The Blog since then – you can see Examples of it all over this site, on the images].

    Today, I found Fontstruct, an easy-to-use, free, online Font creation utility – and thought “why don’t I make my own version this font, not only for ‘The Blog’ to use, but for others to possibly use as well?”.
    And so, here is an ‘LED Screen’ or ‘Dot Matrix’ style font (also usable as a ‘Pixel font’) – with punctuation and a couple of ‘accents’ – but capitals only, as traditional LED Screens or Scoreboards (“Score Screens”) would have used; made by my hand, Just For You™…

    I am distributing it as “LED SCREEN GTAMBLOG CAPS+ 2.0” by ‘Troy from The Game Tips And More Blog’, at various Font sites, such as those below (for Downloading, Updates as I add more and/or am approved by them). [If you prefer, contact me via email and I can also send you the TTF or Zip of the Font, from me, directly]:

    • Fontstruct (where I created the font by hand): 
    • https://fontstruct.com/fontstructions/show/1459839/led-screen-gtamblog-caps-2-0

    • Fontspace: 
    • http://www.fontspace.com/thegametipsandmoreblog/led-screen-gtamblog-caps-20

    Feel free to Comment on those sites, or here (Suggestions, Questions, And More) or contact me via e-mail if you have any questions about the font, at:
    [email protected]

    Usage License: (Creative Commons, Attribution License, 4.0)
    You are free to utilize this font for ANY purpose whatsoever, including Commercial Use and Monetization of any kind, Royalty-Free; the only condition being that you mention my name somewhere, anywhere, during use of this font.
    If you would like to make a Donation, on behalf of using this font, you may do so via PayPal, using my email ([email protected]), but this is not required at all, to use this font for any purpose you desire.

    As some of you may know, I have been playing around with Fonts off and on, creating them for various images/headers/etc here at The Blog over the years, compiling at least 4-5 fonts or so from scratch, with varying levels of completion… I ‘m not sure when I’ll get around to finishing all of them – but for now, I hope this font can perhaps be useful for some quick images, videos, or whatever you may want it for – Enjoy!

    Edit:
     I may return and add some images and examples of the font… Soon™
    Also, although I have made this font by hand at the Fontstruct website, I always suggest that you Scan any files you download (just in case), with an Anti-Virus utility of some sort – whether it is Windows Defender (built-in to Windows 10, after downloading) or via an online scanner/website, such as VirusTotal.com or similar.

    Teachers’ voices matter, and I want to hear from you!

    Hi bloggy friends! I know it’s been forever since I’ve updated this blog, and trust me — lots of ideas are percolating in the hopper about my flipped(!) fourth grade classroom and other things I’ve tried this year. I promise those posts are coming! But in the meantime, I need your help!

    As some of you may know, I’m working on my PhD in addition to teaching fourth grade full-time. The work-life balance has not been an easy thing, and now, I’m really working hard to finish as much coursework as possible in the short term because baby #2 will be arriving in November! (So while you all are hanging out by the pool having tasty margaritas, I’m crunching numbers for a stats class and reading about how to write ethnographic fieldnotes. Good times, I tell you…)

    This summer, I’m starting to work on my dissertation, and I’m testing out my ideas in a pilot study. I’m planning to write my dissertation about the amazing elementary blogging community and the ways that teachers use blogs for professional development and personalized learning. I know that reading other teachers’ blogs has been hugely inspiring for me as a teacher, and I can’t imagine what I would do if I didn’t have access to so many great teaching minds across the globe. Shockingly, however, very little has been written about these great online communities and their benefits, and I want to explore that further. Scholars, politicians, and administrators need to know how much teachers learn from each other! Which is why I need your help.

    I’m looking for a few teachers who would be willing to be interviewed about how they use blogs to support their work in the classroom. I want to talk to both bloggers and readers, so even if you don’t have a blog of your own, I’d still like to talk to you. This first wave of interviews will take place next week (June 20-26) and they will all be done online via Skype or Google Hangouts. I anticipate that each interview will last 45-60 minutes.

    If you are willing to participate, could you please fill out this form so I can contact you directly? In exchange for your time, anyone who participates in an interview will receive up to $20 worth of free products from my TpT store.

    Loading…
    Once you fill out the form, I will be in touch to arrange a time that will work best for the interview. I need to conduct (and transcribe!) at least 3 interviews next week to fulfill the requirements of my current coursework, but don’t let that small number deter you — I will need many more interview participants once I move beyond my pilot study and begin work on my actual dissertation, so I’d love to have a list of possible interviewees already started. And my offer for the free products from my TpT store will still stand.

    I hope that you will consider participating! I look forward to talking to you and learning from you.

    The Truth behind 5 Food Myths

    The Truth behind 5 Food MythsBY ALAN ARAGON

    IMAGE FROM THINKSTOCK

    It goes like this: A client looking to lead a healthier life hires me, a nutritionist, to help him improve his diet. I analyze what he’s been eating, factor in his food preferences, and together we create an eating plan that fits his lifestyle and goals.
    Soon after, he’s noticeably leaner and more energetic—a happy customer.
    That’s when the trouble starts. After a coworker asks him for the details of his diet, my client suddenly finds himself in a heated interrogation. Doesn’t your nutritionist know red meat causes cancer? And that potatoes cause diabetes? Shouldn’t he tell you to eat less salt, to prevent high blood pressure?
    The upshot: Myths just made my job a lot harder.
    That’s because nutrition misinformation fools men into being confused and frustrated in their quest to eat healthily, even if they’re already achieving great results.
    Thankfully, you’re about to be enlightened by science. Here are five food fallacies you can forget about for good.
    High Protein is Harmful
    Myth #1: “High protein intake is harmful to your kidneys.”
    The origin: Back in 1983, researchers first discovered that eating more protein increases your “glomerular filtration rate,” or GFR. Think of GFR as the amount of blood your kidneys are filtering per minute.
    From this finding, many scientists made the leap that a higher GFR places your kidneys under greater stress. 
    What science really shows: Nearly 2 decades ago, Dutch researchers found that while a protein-rich meal did boost GFR, it didn’t have an adverse effect on overall kidney function.
    In fact, there’s zero published research showing that downing hefty amounts of protein—specifically, up to 1.27 grams per pound of body weight a day—damages healthy kidneys.
    The bottom line: As a rule of thumb, shoot to eat your target body weight in grams of protein daily.
    For example, if you’re a chubby 200 pounds and want to be a lean 180, then have 180 grams of protein a day. Likewise if you’re a skinny 150 pounds but want to be a muscular 180.
    Go here for more on The Truth About Protein.
    Sweet Potatoes are Better
    Myth #2: “Sweet potatoes are better for you than white potatoes.”
    The origin: Because most Americans eat the highly processed version of the white potato—for instance, french fries and potato chips—consumption of this root vegetable has been linked to obesity and an increased diabetes risk.
    Meanwhile, sweet potatoes, which are typically eaten whole, have been celebrated for being rich in nutrients and also having a lower glycemic index than their white brethren.
    What science really shows: White potatoes and sweet potatoes have complementary nutritional differences; one isn’t necessarily better than the other.
    For instance, sweet potatoes have more fiber and vitamin A, but white potatoes are higher in essential minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and potassium.
    As for the glycemic index, sweet potatoes are lower on the scale, but baked white potatoes typically aren’t eaten without cheese, sour cream, or butter. These toppings all contain fat, which lowers the glycemic index of a meal.
    The bottom line: The form in which you consume a potato—for instance, a whole baked potato versus a processed potato that’s used to make chips—is more important than the type of spud.
    Red Meat Causes Cancer
    Myth #3: “Red meat causes cancer.”
    The origin: In a 1986 study, Japanese researchers discovered cancer developing in rats that were fed “heterocyclic amines,” compounds that are generated from overcooking meat under high heat. And since then, some studies of large populations have suggested a potential link between meat and cancer.
    What science really shows: No study has ever found a direct cause-and-effect relationship between red-meat consumption and cancer.
    As for the population studies, they’re far from conclusive. That’s because they rely on broad surveys of people’s eating habits and health afflictions, and those numbers are simply crunched to find trends, not causes.
    The bottom line: Don’t stop grilling. Meat lovers who are worried about the supposed risks of grilled meat don’t need to avoid burgers and steak; rather, they should just trim off the burned or overcooked sections of the meat before eating.
    HFCS is Fattening
    Myth #4: “High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is more fattening than regular sugar is.”
    The origin: In a 1968 study, rats that were fed large amounts of fructose developed high levels of fat in their bloodstreams.
    Then, in 2002, University of California at Davis researchers published a well-publicized paper noting that Americans’ increasing consumption of fructose, including that in HFCS, paralleled our skyrocketing rates of obesity.
    What science really shows: Both HFCS and sucrose—better known as table sugar—contain similar amounts of fructose. For instance, the two most commonly used types of HFCS are HFCS-42 and HFCS-55, which are 42 and 55 percent fructose, respectively.
    Sucrose is almost chemically identical, containing 50 percent fructose. This is why the University of California at Davis scientists determined fructose intakes from both HFCS and sucrose.
    The truth is, there’s no evidence to show any differences in these two types of sugar. Both will cause weight gain when consumed in excess.
    The bottom line: HFCS and regular sugar are empty-calorie carbohydrates that should be consumed in limited amounts. How? By keeping soft drinks, sweetened fruit juices, and prepackaged desserts to a minimum.
    (You may be shocked at the sweet stuff hiding in some of your favorite foods and drinks. Get The Truth About Sugar.)
    Salt Causes High Blood Pressure
    Myth #5: “Salt causes high blood pressure and should be avoided.”
    The origin: In the 1940s, a Duke University researcher named Walter Kempner, M.D., became famous for using salt restriction to treat people with high blood pressure. Later, studies confirmed that reducing salt could help reduce hypertension.
    What science really shows: Large-scale scientific reviews have determined there’s no reason for people with normal blood pressure to restrict their sodium intake.
    Now, if you already have high blood pressure, you may be “salt sensitive.” As a result, reducing the amount of salt you eat could be helpful.
    However, it’s been known for the past 20 years that people with high blood pressure who don’t want to lower their salt intake can simply consume more potassium-containing foods.
    Why? Because it’s really the balance of the two minerals that matters.
    In fact, Dutch researchers determined that a low potassium intake has the same impact on your blood pressure as high salt consumption does. And it turns out, the average guy consumes 3,100 milligrams (mg) of potassium a day—1,600 mg less than recommended.
    The bottom line: Strive for a potassium-rich diet, which you can achieve by eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
    For instance, spinach, broccoli, bananas, white potatoes, and most types of beans each contain more than 400 mg potassium per serving.
    Source

    Peanut Benefits for Health

    PEANUT BENEFITS FOR HEALTH

    Peanut Benefits for Health – Peanuts are legumes that take the benefits to the area of the roots are forming pods, do you know if the bean plants it has the advantage of a very remarkable in the area of agricultural land, the reason is because the beans are plants that collaborate with types of mycorrhizal fungi to synthesize N in the air become available to the plant, N that includes nutrients that are needed by plants in large enough quantities, land former planted beans have levels of N were pretty much up intake N for the next crop is still there. Not only useful for agriculture, but peanuts also have benefits for our health.
    Peanut Benefits For Health - 1
    Now let us try to discuss specifically about the benefits of the bean plants to our body and how much is the benefit that we can take from this pod peanut plants. Consider the benefits of peanuts below:
    Peanut Benefits for Health
    1. Helps To Increase Fertility
    For you are the woman I’m sure you’ve got the point. Peanuts contain folic acid, according to research women who ate peanuts 400 micrograms of folic acid have a lower risk of having a baby born with a serious neural tube defects up to 70% at the time before pregnancy and early pregnancy
    2. It Can Prevent Painful Gallstones
    During 20 years of research have shown if by consuming 1 ounce of peanut butter a week can reduce the risk of developing gallstones by 25%.
    Peanut Benefits For Health
    3. Can Help Reduce Depression And Stress
    Peanuts are a good source of tryptophan, the role of these substances can increase serotonin antidepressant effects (which can affect the atmosphere in the heart) if there is an increase in the amount of serotonin in the blood.
    4. Can Improve Memory
    The beans have a content of vitamin B3 or also often called by naisin content is also beneficial to maintain the health of the brain and improve memory.
    5. Lowers Bad Cholesterol
    Peanuts contain cholesterol substances that are good for our bodies, as well as the good cholesterol can reduce cholesterol levels and can control the evil by means of dominating it.

    Hopefully article Peanut Benefits for Health can we share today can be beneficial for you. Do not forget to always visit the website abouthealthbenefits.xyz to seek other health articles. Thank You.

    How to U-Turn a Motorcycle

    It may look easy, but a smoothly executed u-turn on a motorcycle is more challenging than you might guess.

    How do you perform a u-turn that looks effortless? Consider these tips and practice them in the safety of an empty parking lot, and you’ll find yourself more easily turning your bike around on the street:

    It’s All in the Eyes

    The old adage “You’ll go where you’re looking” holds especially true when it comes to u-turns. That said, don’t look down, and keep your line of vision going through the turn, constantly focusing your eyes ahead, where you want to go, rather than towards the pavement below.

    Ride Within the Friction Zone

    The friction zone is the area where your clutch is slipping enough to transmit some, but not all power from the engine to the rear wheel. Don’t try to u-turn in neutral, and don’t do with a gear fully engaged, either; riding within the friction zone will give you more control over the bike through the throttle, which helps modulate the motorcycles’s lean angle through subtle adjustments.

    Drag the Rear Brake

    Avoid using the front brakes during u-turns, as the forks are more sensitive to diving at low speeds. Gentle dragging of the rear brake creates stability, enabling better control while you’re maneuvering your bike through the turn.

    Keep Your Weight Mass Centralized

    There’s a natural tendency to stick your leg out when you turn (making it ready to break a fall), but your motorcycle will be more manageable when peripheral mass (ie, you!) is closer to the bike. Keep your feet on the pegs; if necessary, you might be helped by putting some weight on the outside peg, in a similar but more subtle way than you would while riding offroad.

    Practice Turning Both Ways

    For whatever reason, most people find it much easier to make tight left turns than right turns. To develop a more balanced u-turn skill set, practice doing figure 8s in an empty parking lot. The drill will build your muscle memory for both sides of your body. Similarly, try riding in a wide circle and narrowing your path so you’re forming an ever-narrowing spiral; once you can’t turn any more tightly, exit and try it again the other way. Remember to keep looking where you want to go, especially when you’re changing directions.

    __________________________________________
    Source: About (Wasef, 1/19)

    Astaxanthin – Anti-Oxidant Superstar

    While many antioxidants can be obtained by eating organic fruits and vegetables, astaxanthin is derived only from a specific microalgae called Haematococcus pluvialis.  The algae uses astaxanthin to protect itself from intense sunlight, ultraviolet radiation and low nutrition.

    There are two natural astaxanthin sources: the microalgae that produce it and the salmon and krill which consume the algae directly. The best resources for these foods are wild-caught Alaskan Salmon and Krill Oil Supplement, which offer many other nutritional benefits.

    Research indicates astaxanthin may benefit those suffering from inflammatory conditions including arthritis, rheumatoid disorders, metabolic disease, as well as cardiovascular, neurological and liver diseases.

    Astaxanthin can also help to increase your muscle capacity and stamina, decrease workout recovery time, and decrease muscle pain.  Other proven benefits include:

    Reduction of Inflammation
    Protects Vision
    Enhances Heart Health
    Decreases Oxidative Stress
    Protects Against Sunburn
    Boost Your Immune System
    Helps Prevent and Fight Cancer

    Astaxanthin and Eye Health

    Astaxanthin is an extremely powerful anti-oxidant:  65 times more powerful than vitamin C, 54 times more powerful than Beta-Carotene and 14 times more powerful than Vitamin E.
    Astaxanthin crosses the blood-brain barrier AND the blood-retinal barrier which is a huge deal for your brain AND your eyes!

    Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family of anti-oxidants that include beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.   Of all the carotenoids, only zeaxanthin and lutein are found in the retinas of your eyes.  This is because your eye is a highly light and oxygen rich environment, and it needs a large amount of free radical scavengers to prevent damage. 
    Scientists have specifically studied astaxanthin for its effects on the eyes and discovered that it is completely safe, and much more potent than all the other carotenoids.   Specifically it has been shown that astaxanthin supplementation can be effective in preventing a whole list of eye diseases including:

    Age-Related Macular Degeneration
    Diabetic Neuropathy
    Cystoid Macular Edema
    Central Retinal Arterial and Venous Occlusion
    Glaucoma
    Inflammatory Eye Diseases including retinitis, iritis, keratitis, and scleritis

    Astaxanthin is one of the few anti-oxidants that you should consider supplementing because you cannot obtain the recommended dosage from your diet alone.      The good news is that there are excellent Astaxanthin Supplements available from companies like Jarrow, Doctors Best, and Swanson to name a few.   It should be taken with a meal with fat because it is fat soluble with dosage from 4mg – 12mg per day although there are no harmful effects from higher dosages.

    Surprisingly simple tips from 20 experts about how to lose weight and keep it off

    Surprisingly simple tips from 20 experts about how to lose weight and keep it off by Julia Belluz

    If anyone knows how difficult it is to lose weight and keep it off, it’s me. My struggle took off as soon as soon as I entered adulthood. At 18, in my last year of high school, I moved to Italy. In six months, in a town near the Adriatic sea, I managed to put on 25 pounds.

    The reason for my Italian waist expansion was clear: I ate ice cream, bread, andmozzarella di bufala like I’d never see it again. Before school, it was not uncommon to stop at a cafe and gossip over cappuccinos and bomboloni — custard-filed donuts. After school, gelato. Dinner usually featured plates of pasta, cheese, and bread. Who needed vegetables when you had fresh mozzarella?

    The stay in Italy was delicious. I made friends. I learned the language. I studied the streets, squares, and galleries of Rome and Florence. I also got fat. It took about three years to return to my pre-Italian sojourn size. And keeping the weight off since then has required daily thought and effort: avoiding sugary drinks and late meals, preparing food at home whenever I can, keeping running calorie counts in my head or iPhone app, and regularly weighing myself. When the number on the scale goes up, I try to figure out where I’m going wrong and re-focus. I don’t view these efforts with disdain; I accept that they’re a necessary part of staying healthy.I did more than 20 interviews with leading nutrition researchers. I distilled what they told me, for you.

    It is with this context that I give you what I hope is a helpful guide to thinking about weight loss. Again, I know how difficult it is to manage one’s weight, and how annoying it is to see articles about “10 tricks” that will help bust your belly fat or promises about magic diet-pills and potions. I know from personal experience that there are none, and I wanted to offer you an alternative, something that actually reflects clinical experience and what science tells us about keeping healthy.

    I conducted more than 20 interviews with leading diet and nutrition researchers, registered dietitians, physicians, and evidence-based thinkers on weight loss from across North America. Together, they’ve written or reviewed hundreds of studies and treated thousands of patients. I asked them pretty basic questions: based on the best-available evidence, what advice do you have for people who struggle with their weight? What do your patients who lose weight and keep it off have in common? Where do people go wrong? I distilled what they told me, for you.
    1) There really, truly is no one “best diet”

    The experts I spoke to all emphasized that science has now shown us, pretty much unequivocally, that all diets — low fat, low carb, Weight Watchers, Atkins, etc. — have the same modest results in the long run, no matter their macronutrient composition.

    Consider the findings of Dr. Mark Eisenberg, who looked at the research on the South Beach, Atkins, Weight Watchers, and Zone diets for his recent review. He and his co-authors found that no matter the diet, people tended to lose about five to seven pounds in a year, eventually regaining some of that weight later.

    This latest bit of research follows other large-scale studies that have come to the same conclusion. This randomized trial involved 300 women on either low-carb, high-carb, or low-fat diets. The researchers found that, while women on a low-carb diet (specifically Atkins) lost a little more, weight loss through this diet was “likely to be at least as large as for any other dietary pattern.” In other words, there was no “best diet.”

    Weight change on various diets over one year

    (JAMA)

    Instead of studying the effectiveness of one diet over another, the researchers I spoke to said they were moving toward trying to understand better how individuals — with their varied personalities, preferences, and genetic makeups — respond to different lifestyle changes. The future is in figuring out more tailored alternatives to the current one-size-fits-all approach, they said.

    Until we have that answer, the findings from the literature should be liberating: they mean that we’ve been sold this idea that if we just buy into one particular diet, we will walk the path to thinness. But science (and experience) have shown us that that’s not true. You can save your money, and tune out fad diets that will inevitably come in and out of fashion. There’s no need to wedge your habits and preferences into an unreasonable or unsustainable diet plan that time has shown will fail. Instead, the experts suggested cutting calories in a way that you like and can sustain, and focusing on eating more healthfully.

    As a guiding principle, Dr. Arya Sharma, director of the Canadian Obesity Network, simply tells patients, “The first thing you want to do is eat regularly. If you’re starving, you’re not going to make sensible choices.” That doesn’t mean snacking all the time, he added, but just making sure you don’t arrive at your next meal hungry. Then, he tells patients to eat more fruits and vegetables, and fewer “empty calorie foods” such sugary drinks and processed snacks.

    That’s similar to the approach Matt Fitzgerald, author of the book Diet Cults, takes. He told me he ranks foods on an evidence-based quality hierarchy, from more healthy to less healthy:
    Vegetables
    Fruits
    Nuts, seeds and healthy oils
    High-quality meat and seafood
    Whole grains
    Dairy
    Refined grains
    Low-quality meat and seafood
    Sweets
    Fried foods

    Eat more of the foods at the top, and fewer as you run down the list.

    If you need an even simpler guide, there’s the “half-plate rule”: make sure half of your lunch and dinner plates are composed of vegetables and fruits; the other half, protein and starch. These are reasonable approaches to eating more filling and fibrous foods that aren’t calorie dense — which is what everyone I spoke to recommended.
    2) People who lose weight are good at tracking — what they eat and how much they weigh

    Some of the best research on what works for weight loss comes from the National Weight Control Registry, a study that has parsed the traits, habits, and behaviors of adults who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for a minimum of one year. They currently have more than 10,000 members enrolled in the study, and these folks respond to annual questionnaires about how they’ve managed to keep their weight down.

    The researchers behind the study found that people who have had success losing weight share a few things in common: they weigh themselves at least once a week. Theyexercise regularly at varying degrees of intensity with the most common exercise being walking. They restrict their calorie intake, stay away from high-fat foods, and watch their portion sizes. They also tend to eat breakfast. But there’s a ton of diversity as to what makes up their meals. (Read: again, there was no “best” diet or fad diet that did the trick.) And they count calories.”Start with a food diary. You need to know where you’re at to know what you should change.”

    That last point is one that obesity physician and Diet Fix author Dr. Yoni Freedhoffdwells on. “The most important thing to start with is a food diary,” he said. “They aren’t sexy or fun, but before you start a diet, you need to know where you’re at to know what you should change.”

    The food diary should be used before you begin changing your eating habits, to reflect on where you’re at, where you may be going wrong, and where you can cut back. Then as you go along in your weight-loss quest, he said, the food diary can help you stay focused. “Keeping a food diary in real time reminds you that you’re trying to make healthful choices and change.”
    3) People who lose weight identify their barriers and motivations

    The National Weight Control Registry is not a controlled experiment; it does not randomize various weight-loss interventions to groups of people and then see which ones lose weight. Instead, it takes people who are already successful and examines what they did to be so. One thing that this group has in common is that they’re clearly highly motivated: they continued weighing themselves, tracking their calories, and limiting their diets — long after they lost weight.

    A number of the experts I spoke to said the people they’ve seen experience a sustained weight loss identified their goals and motivations and hung on to them for the long period it took to slim down and keep the weight off.

    To tease this information out of patients, Dr. Matthew Gillman, director of the Obesity Prevention Program at Harvard Medical School, said he always starts by interrogating people about their weight-loss intentions. “I will ask someone what are their goals, and how they envision themselves getting there, and what types of things would allow them to make changes, and then how confident they are in making those changes.”

    Cornell professor Dr. Brian Wansink said that when people ask him about how to lose weight, he counters with a series of questions. “The most important thing you want to figure out is whether somebody really wants to lose weight,” he said. He explained that people might think they want to slim down, but when they actually reflect on the sacrifices and commitment required — realize they aren’t ready.

    Equally as important, said Dr. Sharma, is to identify barriers to weight loss. “The first thing you want to address is why you’re gaining weight in the first place. It could be genetic. It could be stress, having a chronic illness, a medication you’re on.” There is also a clear correlation between obesity and other social-determinants of health, such as income and education. Obviously, some of these barriers will be easier to overcome than others. But isolating and addressing them wherever possible, he said, is really important for making any sustained lifestyle change.
    4) Diets often fail because of unreasonable expectations

    The message I heard from doctors was remarkably consistent: people who go on diets often set themselves up for failure by expecting results too quickly, picking a plan that either doesn’t fit with their lifestyle or is impossible to maintain.

    Dr. Maria Collazo-Clavell, a Mayo Clinic obesity specialist, said people go wrong when they think about weight loss on a short time horizon: for a summer holiday, an upcoming wedding. “These short-term approaches do not work,” she said.

    More on weight loss

    The right way to count calories, according to weight-loss experts

    Everything you wanted to know about obesity and weight loss

    21 maps and charts that explain the obesity epidemic

    “The biggest pitfall is trying to lose too much weight too fast,” said Canada’s Dr. Sharma.

    Harvard’s Dr. Gillman took a commonsense approach: “People have gained weight over a period of years. They are not going to turn it around overnight. If you try to do that, you’re more likely to regain.”

    Dr. Freedhoff said he sees people “under-eat, over-exercise, or both at the beginning of weight loss. It’s seductive to see the scale go down.” But they inevitably fail at maintaining an impossible and unrealistic regimen. “Trying to be too perfect is a huge problem for people in diet world,” he added.

    “You don’t need to be a saint; you need to be a smart sinner,” said Dr. Lawrence Cheskin, director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center.

    Katherine Zeratsky, a registered dietician at the Mayo Clinic, also said unreasonable expectations — and the self-berating that often ensues — just makes weight loss even more difficult. “When people try and fail, their confidence is so low, and they just lose the confidence to believe they can really sustain even a more reasonable change, or they don’t think the reasonable change is going to do much.”

    Again, these insights should be liberating: change a little at a time, and think long term. Patience, these doctors promised, will pay off.
    5) People who lose weight know how many calories they’re consuming — and burning

    Another weight loss pitfall people make has to do with the lies we tell ourselves about how much we’re eating and burning off.

    Studies have found that people very often underestimate how many calories they eat and overestimate how many they use up during exercise. This is easy to do even when you’re keeping a food diary.

    We play other tricks on ourselves, too: healthy foods sometimes have a “halo effect” and when added to a meal (i.e. cheeseburger with a side of salad) cause people to believethat the overall calorie content of the meal somehow, magically, decreases.

    “The halo effect”

    (Journal of Consumer Psychology)

    This study found people vastly misjudge the sugar content of fruit juices, believing they are healthy. Dr. Frank Sacks, who has conducted several pivotal studies on diet at the Harvard School of Public Health, said he’s seen people make these misjudgments when trying to lose weight time and again. He had a friend who complained about his recent weight gain, and when Dr. Sacks asked him about what he was eating, the friend admitted to drinking the equivalent of 1,000 calories worth of orange juice every day. “That was the biggest single source of calories in his diet,” said Sacks.

    To get a sense of what you’re truly eating, measure your food for a period, suggested Dr. Freedhoff. Use scales and measuring cups in your kitchen. At restaurants, use your handto help you estimate portion sizes. You won’t always need to do this. But you’ll quickly learn how much you’re actually consuming. And it’ll help you to make sure you’re not wasting your time with that food diary and delaying the results of your efforts.
    6) There are ways to hack your environment for health

    The weight loss experts all described to me how they trick themselves and engineer their environments so that maintaining a healthy weight is easier.

    As Dr. Sacks said, “In the home, I’ve gotten rid of stuff that I’m likely to overeat. I don’t have boxes of cookies on the dining room table that I can just eat. I don’t have that stuff around.”

    Echoing Dr. Sharma’s earlier advice, Dr. Freedhoff believes in hunger prevention: he often pre-eats before a meal — usually a small serving of protein, because it’s more satiating than carbohydrates — to avoid over-indulging later. He also tries to stay away from alcohol before starting a meal, since there’s good evidence that alcohol stimulates appetite and leads to overeating.

    Dr. Wansink, of Cornell, is the master of hacking your environment so that healthier choices are easier to make. In his latest book, Slim by Design, he outlines his findings from his behavioral research: he has found that people served from their stove or counter ate 19 percent less food compared to those serving themselves right off the table. He has found that food placement matters: you’re three times more likely to eat the first food you see than the fifth one. In another study, he found that people tend to eat about 60 extra calories per meal when they eat off larger plates, so he suggests replacing 12-inch plates with 10-inch ones.

    Now, some of these tips might sound ridiculous — who wants to throw away their plates? — but the underlying theme is sound: environmental cues, not hunger cues, often cause people to overeat.

    We might not have control over the temptations we’re exposed to outside the home (the cakes and muffins on display as we line up for our coffee in the morning; the giant portion sizes at our favorite lunch spot), but making subtle changes to our surroundings — keeping cookies out of sight, serving ourselves off the stove instead of the dinner table — can nudge us in a healthier direction.

    “It’s easier to become slim by design than slim by willpower,” Wansink said. “Design you change once; willpower you have to do every day for the rest your life.”
    7) Exercise is surprisingly unhelpful for weight loss

    This review of studies on exercise and weight found that people only lost a small fraction of the weight they expected to given how much they were burning off through their new exercise routines. Some overweight people even gain weight when they start exercising.

    This is mostly due to the fact that people develop “compensatory behaviors” when they exercise, thinking they can have those extra treats because of all the work they did, said Tim Caulfield, author of the Cure for Everything. “They go for a run, and then eat a high-calorie muffin, and completely neutralize that run. You’re not going to lose weight.”

    This isn’t to say that exercise isn’t hugely beneficial for health: it raises mood, protects against disease, boosts energy, and improves sleep quality, just to name a few well-documented benefits.”I don’t have boxes of cookies on the table that I can just eat. I don’t have that stuff around.”

    Physical activity is also extremely important for weight maintenance. In one study, which looked at 20-year weight gain in over 3,500 men and women, those who were physically active gained less weight over time and had smaller waist circumferences compared to inactive people.

    But exercise alone isn’t going to lead to a great slim down. When a bunch of studies on the question of weight loss and exercise were taken together, researchers found that,overall, exercise led to only modest weight loss. When compared with no treatment, exercise helped people lose a small amount of weight, and when people started to exercise and cut their calories, they lost more weight than with a diet alone. Again, the health benefits of exercise came through in this study: even when exercise was the only intervention for weight loss (so no diet) study participants saw a range of health benefits, reducing their blood pressure and triglycerides in their blood.

    The take-home message here: science has shown us that slimming down by exercising alone doesn’t work for most people. Physical activity is more important for weight maintenance than for weight loss. What matters most for weight loss is controlling calorie intake.
    8) Weight loss medications aren’t very useful. Neither are “metabolism boosting” supplements.

    Overall, the obesity doctors said they were unimpressed by the prescription weight-loss medications that are currently on the market, though some think they might have a role to play in some cases of obesity, particularly when used to complement other lifestyle changes.

    Dr. Collazo-Clavell, at the Mayo Clinic, reviewed the literature on diet drugs, and said, “There have been a couple of recent studies, where the people who tend to do best with prescription medical therapies for weight loss are the group initially focusing on lifestyle changes, and lose weight, and then go on to a medication to help.” She added: “I do believe these medications have a role but I’d strongly discourage saying they’re the quick and easy fix.”

    Other doctors were less hopeful. “I’m not using any of these in my practice because the results and/or side effects haven’t impressed me,” said Dr. Donald Hensrud, who co-chaired the American Heart Association’s obesity guidelines. “There’s just not a lot of benefit and too many risks.”

    Dr. Sharma said the medications might be helpful for people who are suffering with other health problems as a result of excess weight, and that interested patients should discuss the harms and benefits with their doctors.

    As for supplements that claim to “boost your metabolism” for weight loss, you can just ignore these outright. Nothing you eat can speed up your metabolism to the point of slimming down. What’s more, obese people don’t necessarily have slower metabolic rates than thin people, so that whole notion is bunk.

    “We’ve measured the resting metabolism in lots of skinny people and in lots of people with serious weight problems, and everything in between,” said Dr. Michael Jensen, an expert on metabolism at the Mayo Clinic. “Whether you’re above or below average, skinny or obese, as a rule you cannot say obese people have lower metabolism rates than lean people. That’s just not true.”

    “We do know obese people tend to be up and about about two to two-and-a-half hours a day less than lean people,” Dr. Jensen said. “My take is the amount of physical activity we do and the amount of calories we take in is far more important than what we do at rest.”

    Even though you can’t control the speed of your metabolism, you can control how many calories you eat and what you burn through physical activity. When people ask Dr. Jensen how to boost their metabolisms, he tells them “go for a walk.” That’s something supplements like green coffee beans or raspberry ketones just won’t do. And it’s free.
    9) Forget about “the last 10 pounds”

    People who lose weight but don’t quite make it to their goal often complain about “the last 10 pounds.” Surprisingly, the obesity doctors I spoke to said you should just forget about them if they are that hard to take off.

    “If the last 10 pounds are more difficult to lose than the rest, that suggests to me they will be regained,” warned Dr. Freedhoff. “If you need to try harder to lose that weight … the pounds will just come back.”

    Dr. Cheskin put it even more simply: “It’s not worth it for the last 10 pounds. You’ve gotten almost all of the health benefits and probably most of the social benefits of losing weight if you’ve got two-thirds of where you’d like to be.”

    He said even losing five percent of your body weight is great for your health. “People should be very pleased with getting partway there.”

    Source

    MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS GO SROP

    Although they are all unique, and I noticed that some of the same elements that deserve to be underlined. First of all, all the bedrooms the images below, with large windows, which are usually thin stylish blinds or curtains. On both sides of a king-size bed is a traditional bedside tables, shelves or chairs for the original. The walls are painted mostly white, but here and there, you will find an interesting color interference: some of the rooms are nice backgrounds to illuminate the room. Details of lighting are particularly interesting to observe. Please take a look at this beautiful gallery bedroom and tell us what information you will find interesting.

    modern swedish bedroom designs

    MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

    modern swedish bedroom designs

    MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

    modern swedish bedroom designs

    MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

    modern swedish bedroom designs

    MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

    modern swedish bedroom designs

    MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

    Ben’s CX500

    Ben's CX500 1
    Ben Pilatti from Collie, a small mining town in the corner of Western Australia has never met David Mucci from Chicago, Illinois but he certainly catches his drift. People in far flung corners of the globe being inspired by those on completely separate continents who share but one thing in common, a passion for motorcycles. It is certainly heartwarming stuff for the January of a New Year. It was David’s CX500 that proved the key source of inspiration when Ben embarked on his first bike build nearly 11000 miles away and no doubt David would be pleased to see this lovely CX his original encouraged.
    Ben's CX500 2
    Last year Ben completed his design degree (majoring in architecture) and currently works in Perth in the IT sales industry, but motorcycles, more specifically transverse twin motorcycles, are in his blood.
    “What inspired me was my brother getting a Moto Guzzi V7 Racer back in 2012. We have a couple of Guzzis in the family so I guess that’s where the transverse v-twin fixation came from!”
    Eager to get cracking on his first bike Ben sourced a ’78 Honda CX500 from a guy named Mario a little north of Perth. The bike belonged to Mario’s father-in-law from new and they had brought the bike to Perth when they moved over from South Africa. Ben in effect became the 37 year old bikes second owner from new. It had relatively low kms for its age and was in stunning condition due to its life spent basking in the sun.
    Ben's CX500 3
    Ben is an amateur when it comes to mechanics but he tackled most of the work himself in his uncle’s shed.
    “In terms of upgrades all I really needed to do was replace the original CDI with a kick-ass aftermarket Ignitech unit. From there I replaced the bars, indicators, gauges, tail light, mirrors, headlight unit, front and rear guards, rear shock absorbers, exhaust and muffler.”
    Ben got the majority of the parts from Modern Motorcycle Company in Melbourne. Hellbound Cycle Supply and Custom Bike Electrics, two local Perth suppliers, sorted him with the rest of the bits.
    Ben's CX500 4
    “Challenges wise, replacing the water pump seal in the back of the engine in situ was a very difficult task. That, along with the constant cleaning and fine tuning of the carburettors. The inside of the tank was all flaky and rusty (as I discovered after a few awkward breakdowns…) so I had to hit it with a POR15 Tank Re-sealer kit. The first time I saw clean petrol flowing through the filter was a damn good day!”
    With the inside of the tank sorted Ben opted to leave the metal on the outside bare. It requires polishing every fortnight or so to keep the oxidisation at bay, but Ben finds the process therapeutic.
    Ben's CX500 5
    66 Motorcycles in O’Connor helped out with chopping the frame and making up the seat pan. The seat was then upholstered by another local Perth professional who according to Ben did an amazing job. The wheels were powder coated in satin black before being fitted with Shinko tyres.
    Ben's CX500 6
    Ben uses the bike every day to get to work and to carry out errands, in the short amount of time he has had it completed the trusty CX has clocked up quite a significant amount of kilometres.
    “A unique feature of the bike wold have to be the sound. I work in the Perth CBD so when I roll up into my parking spot and the sound is bouncing off the high walls of King Street, it makes me smile every time..”
    Ben's CX500 7
    “How does it ride? It’s quite good! I’m quite happy with the bike. The brakes are a little spongy and the front end is waaay too soft but other than that I love it. Especially with the new clubman bars! So next on the list is probably a nice set of progressive springs up front. I also have a twin-disk front end from a later model CX500 in my garage that I will get ready to put on soon.”
    Ben's CX500 8
    When he has finished fine tuning his CX, rather inevitably, Ben intends to get his hands on a Guzzi. Either an older Le Mans or a new V7 – “Something usable on the streets of Perth but also able to go on long runs down south to Collie and Margaret River on a whim.” We look forward to seeing that Ben, and who knows where around the globe lies the next budding amateur that Guzzi may inspire?

    Published first on http://thebikeshed.cc

    And More: Deals and Sales – End Of The Month Specials (February)

    The transition from February to March this year isn’t seeing a ‘ton’ of games on special sales, but there are a few deals on almost every gaming/dealer website (some are only on for the weekend and some last until the middle of March, see each sale you are interested in for details):

    Steam, Valve’s storefront has a Spotlight Sale of Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army (1 & 2), which can be purchased together in bundles or 4-Packs to play with your friends and is their Weekend Deal:

    Sniper Elite Nazi Zombie Army Sale Page
    Sniper Elite Nazi Zombie Army 2 Sale Page

    also on sale
    Trine is on sale for only One Dollar (90% off), or get Trine 1&2 for $3.74
    Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II: Retribution is on sale for $7.59 (75% off)
    Alternativa is on sale for only $1.29 (90% off)
    The Sims 3 is on sale for $7.99 for those who haven’t played it yet (60% off)
    Kung-Fu Strike: The Warriors Rise is on sale for only $1.99 (80% off)
    Moto GP 13 is $12.00 (70% off)

    Gamefly, the storefront that you can also subscribe to (that took over Direct2Drive in 2011) has a few sales going on, one featuring all 2K Games titles at 75% off:

    (click image to see Full Size)

    also on sale
    Bioshock is $4.99 (75% off)
    Bioshock 2 is $4.99 (75% off)
    Bioshock Infinite is $9.99 (67% off)
    Borderlands, Game Of The Year Edition is $7.49 (75% off)
    Borderlands 2, Game Of The Year Edition is $19.99 (50% off)
    Duke Nukem Forever is $4.99 (75% off)
    Civilization V is $7.49 (75% off)

    GamersGate, the storefront formerly part of Sweden’s Paradox Interactive has a bunch of sales going on as well:

    (click image to see Full Size)

    also on sale
    Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is $9.72 (46% off)
    with Battlefield 4 is out, Battlefield 3 is on sale for $4.99
    Sniper Elite V2 is on sale for $7.50 (75% off) or get the
    Sniper Elite V2 Collection (which includes: Sniper Elite V2, the Sniper Elite V2 Kill Hitler Pack, the Sniper Elite V2 The Neudorf Outpost Pack, the Sniper Elite V2 Original Game Soundtrack, and the Sniper Elite V2 The Landwehr Canal Pack DLC) all for $13.75 (75% off)
    The Tropico Trilogy Bundle (which includes: Tropico, Tropico Paradise Island, Tropico 2 Pirate Cove, Tropico 3, Tropico 3 Absolute Power) all for just $4.99 (75% off)
    and last but certainly not least
    The Total War Master Collection bundle (which includes: Empire: Total War, The Medieval 2 Total War Collection (M2TW and the M2TW Kingdoms Expansion Pack), Napoleon: Total War™ Imperial Edition
    Rome: Total War Gold Edition, Total War Battles: Shogun, Total War SHOGUN 2, the Total War Shogun 2 E-Guide, Total War Shogun 2 Fall of the Samurai, and Viking: Battle for Asgard) all for $25.00 (80% off, regular price $124.99!)

    Once again, some of these are only on for the Weekend and some last until the middle of March, so check out the sale you are interested in for details. I hope you catch something you want – and See You In The Games!

    Hitman: Absolution – First Impressions and Screenshots

    I finally picked up the latest iteration of the Hitman Series, Hitman: Absolution, starring Agent 47 as the main anti-hero, id est killing the bad guys but never quite [arguably] becoming one of them. Differing from the last couple of Hitman publications, Absolution has an overarching story, connections being made in a chronological manner throughout the various stages and settings. Characters are introduced and developed via cutscenes, as the plot is pushed further by your completing the next mission for a feeling of engagement in the storyline.

    I personally liked this approach, as opposed to the last couple of Hitman games, which seemed like mostly ‘replays’ of old missions from previous games (which in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing). While there were similar settings, such as a Chinese Market Square, they were sufficiently changed enough – especially with the graphical improvements and new gameplay interface – to seem varied enough to be enjoyable. There were even updated versions of [personal] ‘old favorites’ that I waited excitedly for (such as a ‘Hotel’ stage). Slightly more varied than the old versions, if you include the new “Instinct” game mechanic, these levels felt ‘fresh’, even if they weren’t new.

    The “Instinct” game mechanic seems like an effort to simplify the game, making it easier for newcomers and those who had trouble with the complexity and scope of the previous Hitman games. Indeed, I remember reading a lot over the years of people saying the Hitman games were “too big” or “too complex” and that it didn’t help the player much at all, as far as where to go and what to do. It “plopped you down in a large area with just a map”, they felt. Of course, that was the draw for all of the other people, the complexity and seeming openness of the game was enjoyed, where you had to figure out everything yourself. You could decide what to skip and what to do and could decide for yourself how to do it. The new “Instinct” mechanic of Absolution doesn’t take too much away from this (you can turn it ‘off’ if desired) and it actually adds to the cinematic feel of the game by taking the ‘player out of playing’, so to speak, which results in more of a feeling that you are ‘playing Agent 47’, guiding him (and using his innate abilities) through the game, as opposed to ‘actually being Agent 47’ and figuring everything out yourself heavy-handedly. I suspect this more objective approach has already been a point of contention since the game was released.

    An example of Hitman: Absolution’s new ‘Hitman Instinct’ game mechanic, showing how Agent47 can ‘sense’ enemies in and around the nearby area and estimates where they may be heading.

    When utilizing Agent 47’s ‘Instinct’, the game shows where 47 ‘senses’ there are enemies and where they are and shows you on the screen with outlined shapes. It even shows where 47 ‘calculates’ enemies will be moving to, showing you their intended path with a line of flame and where they will stand still with a larger lick of fire. This is where the adrenalin-dipped decision making and primal ‘danger’ awareness kicks in during the game, as a player can choose to set up an engagement with an enemy, or stealthily avoid these paths and points.

    For those who do not like or want the new game mechanic at all, it can be turned off, mainly by choosing a higher difficulty level. There are five to choose from and higher difficulties result in more ‘sensitive’ or ‘aware’ enemies, tougher enemies (wearing more body armor one assumes) and more of them. For those who are new to the game or having trouble with it, the difficulty can be lowered as well, with less enemies, enemies with less skill (not as good at aiming) and less awareness (having a bit more ‘tunnel-vision’) allowing you to sneak around them easier. The option to have this game mechanic off or on, at the players choice, is nice and was no doubt included to appease those who would not like it’s hints and guidance. New players (those talking about the games’ difficulty in the past) can have it on and still enjoy the action and storyline as well. It feels like an ‘attempt to please everybody’ – and I assume it will work well in that regard. (I haven’t read any Reviews of the game (to avoid exposure to the material within) before I purchased it, but I assume that once I indulge in others’ opinions, I will see much disagreement on that last sentence).

    View of a hotel cleaning supply room from an air ventilation shaft. Click to see Full Size

    The game itself felt atmospheric and cinematic. The music changed as action waxed and waned. Enemies ignored or chased you around winding levels that you had to discover and remember. The graphics were spectacular, with detailed textures, dark and gritty lighting and shading. The core Hitman gameplay was there – even if it wasn’t there for very long. This game felt very short to me. Perhaps it was the somewhat simple Television Movie Special plot, perhaps it was the number of missions (although they were split up into sections). Perhaps it was merely enjoying it so much that I wanted more, but just during the course of writing this article off and on, I have completed the game in it’s storyline entirety (not counting Challenges and Item Collection) in just over 20 hours. That doesn’t seem very long, but I suppose it is to be expected in a game that is more like “Max Payne” and less like “Skyrim” (more Action and less RPG). You could keep playing after finishing the main story, select past levels and retry them, doing them ‘cleaner’ for a better score or achievement, or look around and discover new weapons and pathways, or just redo any level you wanted to for fun.

    An example of how the levels are split up into sections and how you can select past levels to replay them.
    An example of the updated game engine, with higher-detailed character models, textures and environments.
    Click to see Full Size

    Other than the copy-pasted ‘general population’ mannequin-people utilized in larger crowds (used understandably to keep memory/resource usage of the game down of course – all of the ‘main’ NPCs have good detail to them), I personally liked the attention  paid to smaller details, such as the amount of debris scattered around the levels – things like cups, papers and garbage, all part of the gritty ‘lived-in-ness’ of the environment, adding to the realism. It’s nice to see games that pay more attention to the surroundings/settings these days, as opposed to the stark, clean-floor environments in games of yesteryear.

    Overall, Hitman: Absolution was very enjoyable. It was great fun to figure out steps and schemes for the various areas and carry them out with cold calculation. I laughed out loud a few times and grit my teeth in anger at the more difficult parts, playing them over and over again, trying to figure out new ways to accomplish the objectives and complete the contracts. Despite feeling shorter (perhaps just because it was so enjoyable) and despite some changes that others might not entirely like, I still suggest trying it (especially if you are a fan of the previous games in the Hitman series). I personally had a lot of fun with the game – and isn’t that the most important thing?

    Have fun with Absolution and See You In The Games!

    MMI Grad builds motorcycle shop from ground up

    When Bret Sealy set off from his small Central Texas hometown for Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) Orlando, he had little more than his Harley, a toolbox and the goal of owning a motorcycle business. Since then, Bret has worked hard as a student struggling to make ends meet, a machinist serving the U.S. Army and National Guard, and a one-man construction company to earn his most prized possession – his own motorcycle repair shop.

    Today, he’s back in Richland Springs, Texas, pursuing his passion for motorcycles as president and owner of San Saba Ironhorse, Inc. But achieving this childhood dream hasn’t come easy.

    “From the time I watched a friend ride his dirt bike around our neighborhood, I knew I wanted to be in this industry,” explained Bret. “Whether I was working odd jobs or serving on Army convoy missions, I never lost sight of that goal.”

    Though his jobs have varied along the long road to entrepreneurship, Bret’s work ethic has remained strong. While studying at MMI, he earned $100 a day tiling pools. After graduating in 2007, he briefly worked as a technician for a Harley-Davidson dealership, but he couldn’t ignore the desire to be his own boss. To help save enough for startup costs, he joined the Army and trained to be a machinist.

    “Besides the chance to serve my country in Iraq and Kuwait, the Army prepared me for the motorcycle business,” said Bret. “When I got back to Texas, I expanded my skills by making wheels and axles for rail cars at machine shops, and fitting pipes for oil and natural gas drilling. Between working as a machinist and my training at MMI and in the military, I feel like I can make just about anything.”

    Despite his growing mechanical expertise, Bret still needed to boost his savings to start the business. He joined the National Guard for the weekend drill pay and slowly began laying the foundation for his new motorcycle repair shop … literally. He dug trenches for plumbing, poured the building’s concrete foundation, erected its steel structure, wired electrical systems and painted it inside and out. Until the shop really got off the ground in 2012, his do-it-yourself approach raised more than a few eyebrows around Richland Springs.

    “It’s a small town – there were just 16 in my graduating class,” said Bret. “I’ve known lots of people who talk about their dreams, but never do anything about them. I knew I wanted to be different.”

    At 27, Bret has developed San Saba Ironhorse into a burgeoning business. Specializing in Harley-Davidson and Yamaha motorcycles, the shop also services other bike brands and ATVs used by hunters who visit the area. He’s boosted profits by fixing wrecked motorcycles he buys from insurance companies and selling them online. MMI’s entrepreneurial training has come in handy as the business has evolved, too.

    “Right now, I’m still just a one-man show. But Ironhorse is growing and I hope to hire a team someday,” he said. “If you want to build your own business, you have to understand it’s not going to happen overnight.” Brett would like to express a http://www.sansabanews.com/news/110717/special thanks to his friends and family who helped along the way to make everything possible.

    “People had all kinds of negative things to say when I told them about my goal for this shop,” he added. “But if people tell you that you’re just dreaming or being unrealistic, they’re wrong. Don’t let other people’s opinions get in the way of what you want to achieve. It’s all up to you.”

    _________________________________________
    Source: San Saba News (AP, 9/7)

    Lone Star Rally 2013 in Photos

    The 2013 Lone Star Rally got off to a soggy start Halloween night due to a passing squall, but sunny skies the rest of the weekend brought out bikers by the thousands for the 12th annual motorcycle rally in Galveston, Texas. By Saturday, motorcycles stretched for as far as the eye could see down the Strand as the party kicked into high gear.

    From ‘Moonshiners’ to ‘American Guns,’ there was lots of celebrity appeal at this year’s rally. Not to be outdone, the action at the Seawall paralleled the festivities downtown thanks to a ride-in bike show held by the IMBBA in addition to the ‘Baddest Bagger’ contest held at the same time.

    ____________________________________
    Source: MotorcycleUSA (Harley, 11/04)

    File:Suzuki vstrom dl650 motorcycle.jpg Wikipedia

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    Motor Cycle Collections: A Batman motorcycle?

    Motor Cycle Collections: A Batman motorcycle?

    DUCATI 860 GTS -76

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    ‘Snipe’ Yamaha SR400 – Old Empire Motorcycles


    The Snipe. A well camouflaged but otherwise nondescript bird that is native to the old world. But for such a seemingly average little fellow, it has sure inspired a hell of a lot of things to be named in its honour. The dictionary defines a ‘snipe’ as the act of ‘making a sly or petty verbal attack.’ That act is named after the military tactic of ‘sniping’, or shooting at the enemy over a long distance. This in turn took its name from the difficulties involved in hunting the bird with a rifle as its flight patterns are erratic, making it almost impossible to hit ‘on the wing’. But most importantly to this story, the bird also gave its name to the Sopwith Snipe, the replacement aircraft to the now famous Camel. And while it’s service began only a few short weeks before the end of WWI, it was renown for its rate of climb and manoeuvrability. Now fast forward to South Eastern England in 2016, where to likely lads with a fascination for old British aircraft have decided to build themselves a custom motorcycle…


    “Our last thumper was the ‘Osprey’ which was based on a Suzuki GN400,” says Old Empire’s Alec. It proved quite the hit with the British public and off the back of that particular build, the boys had an enquiry about building something similar but unique in its own right. They decided, as they have done with other builds, to start with a new donor motorcycle so they could focus on improving the aesthetics and upgrading the components rather than restoring worn, broken or just plain skanky bits. Nowadays, the SRs are the only real big, air-cooled singles that builders can get new. And with the experience the boys had working with older SRs, they knew their way around it.


    To get all important ‘stance’ sorted, the forks were shaved and lowered by an aggressive 3 inches – an act which also necessitated modding the yokes. “They were our first set of 3D-machined upper and lower yokes, and they were created specifically for this project with a 1″ offset to keep the fork travel sensible and to help us get that line.” After looking around for suitable bars and coming up unimpressed, they sketched up some custom examples. The final product is made in three parts; they are fully adjustable and are screwed into position then locked off; an idea intended to imitate the ‘sleeved and brazed’ bars of old.

    “To set them off we couldn’t just use any old switch gear, and again after looking around and seeing some really nice, functional and aesthetically pleasing pieces of engineering, none would really suit. The idea behind these mark 1 versions is a blend of the shapely old Japanese switch gear with newer push-button functionality. “I’m all for minimalism,’ says Alec. “If we can get away with no switches at all, then that is probably the best option. However, if the bike is intended to be a daily rider, then we’ve learnt to make them as useful and usable as we can.”


    With help from their mate Willy, some foam models were shaped for the front cowling, rear section, and tank. It was soon realised that the new tank’s design almost exactly replicated the profile of the original tank, just shifted forward and lower. “So we took the original tank, scalloped it and moved it to suit the lines, and then a new aluminium version was slowly wheeled, hammered and welded into shape.”


    The front cowling took inspiration from classic aviation and automobile designs that recessed a vinyl-covered dash above a smoked visor. The dash houses all the warning lights, a mini speedo and a tacho. The headlight is a simple Bates unit, while the rear cowling is made to be removed, revealing a small pillion seat. “The seat’s design came from the idea that we wanted something slim, but with a gap down the middle under which we’d mount the electrics.” The fuel tank also benefited from all the internals being moved, as it was a lot easier to fit it properly. Then one of Old Empire’s custom-made fuel caps was added into the mix. Nearby, a simple aluminium cover hides the injection unsightlies and the ignition switch has been relocated in another vinyl-covered panel under the airbox.


    The only work done on the frame was to carefully remove the rear rails at a specific point. Then aluminium extensions that integrate the rear LED lights were machined and slotted into place.“The effect is really minimal, but you can see the lights a mile off!” Road-worthy legalities were taken care of in the form of small Motogadget indicators mounted front and back alongside a rolled black and silver tin number plate mounted low and tight. The Tyres were changed to a more aggressive (but still quite classic) pair of Dunlop K70s. “At the back-end we run a smart-looking set of Ketch Bullet shocks. Usually reserved for bigger twins, a little tinkering and tweaking got them working for the lighter SR and allowed a visual match with the front forks, too.


    A simple stainless exhaust was order of the day. “It’s short, it’s loud and it took quite some work to get the bike to perform properly and sound decent – but with the right baffles, we got there in the end.” Then all the unnecessary intake and exhaust gizmos and gadgets were duly removed and the ignition was upgraded with a Power Commander unit. The airbox was then drilled and the intake ducting was removed to free up space and improve airflow.


    The air box and electrical covers were ditched and then machined wooden formers were used to press and mould the satchel’s leather side panels. “We are well-known for our leather work, and the Snipe deserved some nice touches; so our machined and laser cut leather grips, pegs, kick starter and foam-moulded knee pads all got some attention, as did the seat which is specially prepared and hand-dyed to get just the right colour.”


    The final piece of the puzzle was the coatings. A lovely drop of Jaguar E-type grey was gilded with gold pinstriping and some airbrushed shading ties everything together perfectly. Other neat little details include machined and finned brake calipers, a custom Harrison floating brake disc, upgraded rear sprockets and chain, an oil temperature filler cap and some very nice K-tech brake and clutch levers. All up, you’d have to admit it’s one very original Snipe. We can only hope that this particular example chooses to migrate close-by us this summer. Anyone got some bird seed?


    Down & Out The Duncster

    Duncans R80 1 THUMB
    The “my dad’s stronger than your dad, my dad’s car is faster than your dad’s” conversations are standard playground fodder. But unless you are Superman, in a Batcape, driving the General Lee; consider yourself a failure as a father and a poor role model in comparison to Duncan’s dad.
    Duncan , the owner of this bike, grew up in the 1980s on airbases in Germany. Yup, his dad was a fighter pilot, way cool! He also loved BMW motorcycles made sure there was always one in the garage. So basically his old man was Maverick, without the cheesy music and questionable chat-up techniques.
    Duncans R80 2
    So picture this for a memory. It’s the school sports day and Duncan is jumping long distances, lobbing heavy objects around and racing his mates around the track. Then a roar in the distance begins to build as a jet heads towards the school, flying low, flying fast, right over the heads of all the other kids. Guess who. Feeling proud and on top of the world Duncan headed to the gates to wait for a lift home and who should turn up, his dad on an R80. He was handed a helmet and off they blasted, leaving the rest of the kid’s jaws on the floor and parents looking at each other in shame at their woeful parenting efforts.
    Duncans R80 3
    Fast forward a generation and Duncan is the family man and MD of a leading video production agency. But that childhood memory didn’t wane and the hankering for Beemer continued to grow. A few months of research concluded and a shortlist of builders was drawn up with the aim of scratching that old itch, but properly, not just a cursory tickle. What better place to get scratching than the BSMC Event III at Tobacco Docks in May this year. Despite not meeting Shaun & Carl from Down & Out Café Racers, the selection of bikes on display in the main hall was enough to have Duncan scrabbling for his chequebook.
    Duncans R80 4
    The donor is a 1982 R80 RT which although in fair order wouldn’t be sufficient for a a customer having waited this long for their dream bike, so a full and complete strip down was required. The frame was blasted and powder coated, with an off-the-shelf  subframe added to make compatible with the other D&O components. A slightly earlier 1975 R75/5 fuel tank with a classic paint job and knee pads suggests scrambling aspirations.
    Duncans R80 5
    Smokey exhausts isn’t a strong look so the engine was given a refresh. Re-honed barrels were sent off for powder coat while new piston rings ensure a clean combustion from the new Mikuni carbs. These otherwise oil-tight boxer engines are sometimes let down by the pushrod tubes, so these were replaced along with new seals. Older style rocker covers are readily available, easy to fit and improve the Boxer’s appearance; so a pair were fitted. Stainless exhaust headers shout their baritone beat into relatively short reverse cone mufflers.
    Duncans R80 6
    Years of building custom BMWs and the constant R&D allows for plug and play fitment of some common parts. The punched and flared aluminium battery box fits easily into the subframe providing a home a normal sized battery and negating the need to play hide and seek with Li-Ion versions. A neat tuck ‘n’ roll seat fits, neatly of course, on the slightly kicked up subframe, with ignition relocated below.
    Duncans R80 7
    Upgraded shocks and refreshed forks keep both ends in check when Duncan is making up for lost time. The ever popular Heidenau Scouts are fitted, 100/90/19 up front and 120/90/18 at the rear, which have proved time and time again to be an excellent choice for road use whilst insinuating dirt potential. D&O stainless mudguards of proper proportions are there just in case Duncan puts the rubber to the test.
    Duncans R80 8
    A diminutive LSL brake fluid reservoir mounted to a set of British made Renthal bars with a Koso speedo sheds the years from the cockpit while a D&O stainless lamp lights the way, mounted by way of mini LED indicators and custom brackets.
    Duncans R80 9
    The net result is that Duncan is over the moon with the result and really pleased to have realised a boyhood dream, and for finding the right outfit to make it all happen. Now all he needs to do is obtain his jet fighter licence.
    Shaun & Carl have reached the tipping point and can no longer manage in their current workshop. Turning out a full build each and every month plus the growth of their parts business has meant new premises have been acquired, although these too are now feeling a touch full. To commission a build and order parts get in touch via their website and keep an eye on Facebook for build updates.


    First published on http://thebikeshed.cc

    And More: Deals and Sales – Guild Wars 2 is $24.99 Right Now

    Woohoo! I have no idea when it started and no idea when it will end, but I just saw this with my own two eyes… if you are looking for one last reason to get GW2, it is now on sale for just under $25 American Dollars. That’s about £15 British Pounds if you are from the UK, руб890 Rubles if you are from Russia, 1500 Rupees if you are from India and what works out to be about $10,000,000 Canadian Dollars:

    I just might get my own copy finally and be able to stop begging others to play theirs (you know who you are)… Go to http://buy.guildwars2.com/ to get it while it’s On Sale and See You In the Game!

    Now on Instagram!

    I’ve joined in the Instagram love! You can now find me at Eberopolis on Instagram.


    I started using it on Wednesday, so I’m still new, but I’m making it a goal to post something (usually) classroom-related every day. Be sure to follow me so I can find all of my teacher-friends who are already there!

    Have a great weekend!

    The Game Tips And More Blog’s Ludo Ludi (Game Play) #1-3

    I wanted to start a video series that was Random Gameplay Video Clips that I have collected over time. I started out calling it FLASHBACK, creating a logo for it and everything; but I wanted a way to archive/share them out a little bit faster/easier, rather than ‘Featuring’ them every time, so I came up with the concept of “Ludo Ludi”.

    It means “game” and “play” in Esperanto. The idea was to not label the gameplay clips or state what they are, in order to have other people enjoy the “surprise reminiscence” of the games. Viewers could try to guess what they are for fun or just enjoy them as part of a playlist where they didn’t know what was coming next. For the most part it would be easy to guess them of course; if you played the game, you’ll know what game it is and what class I played, etc.etc. But, I still thought it would be entertaining to have a bunch on a playlist of some sort, with no obvious names, having a transitory video (without logos/intros) of something loopable such as static – as though changing the channel on a television – in-between videos. With Youtube’s Playlist and Randomize features, this can now be done and one can sit and reminisce on games of yesteryear with my video clips showing snippets of gaming moments recorded from a wide variety of games! Everyone with ADD/ADHD can just click the Next button on the playlist to skip to the next one if the current one isn’t holding their interest! Everyone is a winner! With this in mind then, I now present one long paragraph and the first three installments of :

    The Game Tips And More Blog’s New Gameplay Video Series, “Ludo Ludi (Game Play)”





    Enjoy and See You In The Games!

    3 Reasons Why All Calories Are Not the Same

    3 Reasons Why All Calories Are Not the Sameby Robert Lustig

    Cutting-edge experts say the “calories in, calories out” philosophy is oversimplified and inadequate.

    Quality of calories determines the quantity your body burns or stores, says Robert Lustig, MD, author of the recently published book Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Foods, Obesity, and Disease. He shares these fascinating examples of how calorie quality affects your weight and health.

    Fiber

    Fiber delays the absorption of calories. For example, when you eat a 160-calorie portion of almonds, you absorb only 130 because some calories are delivered to your intestine, where your gut bacteria burn them for their own energy source.

    Protein

    You use twice as much energy to metabolize protein as carbohydrate—due to the thermic effect of food. Protein also reduces hunger hormones more than carbs do

    Carbs

    Starches (like potatoes) contain mainly glucose, which every cell in your body uses for energy. Fructose—found in soda and candy and added to most processed foods—is metabolized in your liver as fat, which drives chronic diseases such as diabetes.

    Source

    STEAMPUNK’D: URBAN MOTOR’S JAWA SPRINT MOTORCYCLE


    Glemseck 101 is just around the corner. Set in southern German town of Leonberg, it’s a two-wheeled celebration of gasoline and good taste.
    It also attracts some of the most outrageous customs on the planet. We’ve seen everything from turbocharged boxers to fire-breathing Yamaha XJRs. But a 350cc Jawa with a steampunk vibe? Now das ist different.

    This is what Berlin-based Urban Motor have built for their entry into Glemseck’s inaugural Essenza sprint.
    Sixteen teams will compete—a mixed bag of manufacturers and custom builders. The bikes are limited to two cylinders and a 1200cc maximum.

    But it’s as much about style as it is about speed. A panel of judges—and a public vote—will determine the best-designed bike, to be crowned alongside the fastest.
    No prizes for guessing which category Urban Motor are gunning for. With a whopping 18 horsepower on tap, this little 1964 Jawa 350 will be racing against 21st century machinery like the BMW R nineT and Triumph Thruxton R.

    Shop boss Peter Dannenberg’s hardly fazed: “Those who sprint slowly are seen longer!”
    We love the elegant minimalism at play here, which belies the inordinate amount of work that went into the build. Everything wrapped around the Jawa’s two-stroke mill is—quite obviously—completely custom-made.

    “If essence is the key, then we want to do it right,” says Peter. “We want to make a statement.”
    Urban Motor tossed all but the engine, before building a whole new chassis from steel tubing. The design of the alloy bodywork was a collaboration with Marven Diehl of KRT Framework, who fashioned the metal himself.


    Marven was also responsible for the Jawa’s quirky front suspension design, with its integrated handlebars. And no, we don’t know how it works.
    Everything’s book-ended by two skinny, 23” alloy SM Pro rims. A solitary drum brake (at the back) handles the stopping duties.

    On the engine side, Urban Motor have installed a Jikov carb, and fabricated a pair of short, graceful exhausts. With no need for lights or turn signals, the wiring’s been stripped down to the bare essentials.
    The Jawa now weighs a svelte 90kg, with finishes as tasteful as its silhouette. Sven van den Brandt handled the only paint on the project: a touch of matte gold on the forks and swingarm.

    The grips are wrapped in leather from Red Wing, and the seat was made to spec by C. Benda. There are some smaller details to digest too: from the exposed throttle assembly, to the direct-mount rear sets.
    Urban Motor have given their build an appropriately quirky name: ‘EASY (…like Sunday morning).’


    “We are not dogmatic about competitions and rules,” explains Peter. “We like to see the big picture and enjoy divergence with humor, fun and the winking of an eye.”

    Will it win the races? Probably not, but you can bet it’ll win hearts.
    Urban Motor | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Tim Adler | Essenza [In German]
     first published by www.bikeexif.com

    WORKOUT ANYTIME on Cincinnati.com

    WORKOUT ANYTIME on Cincinnati.com

    The article was written by Cincinnati Enquirer Business Reporter Bowdeya Tweh and was based on interviews coordinated with Tony Petrocelli and WORKOUT ANYTIME Vice President of Development Randy Trotter. The article begins with details about the opening of the WORKOUT ANYTIME in Montford Heights. The article gives information about the gym and about the company, as well as information on development plans in Ohio.        
    Workout Anytime

    You can view the full article here, and view contact information about WORKOUT ANYTIME’S new gym in Montford Heights here.

    Paperless Mission #9: Setting Up Your Class with Evernote

    This is the ninth installment in my Go Paperless! Challenge Series. You can check out the other entries in the series here. Also be sure to link up with my Paperless Challenge Linky!

    Mission #9: Set Up Your Class with Evernote

    Today’s mission assumes that your class has easy access to technology. I teach in a 1:1 iPad setting, but I realize how blessed I am to have this and how few people — especially at the elementary level — get to do this. For those of you who have less access to classroom technology, I’m including modifications that you’ll be able to use at the end of the article.

    It’s been a couple months since I started drinking the Evernote Kool-Aid, and I’m still loving it. I don’t have to worry about losing papers or information, and it has become my repository for just about everything. For the first time in my professional live, I feel like I’m getting a handle on organization. But then I see this:

    And I’m reminded that just because I’m organized, doesn’t mean that my students are. In fact, all year long my fourth graders have been struggling with keeping track of class notes, transporting work between home and school, and remembering what materials to use to study for tests and quizzes. Part of that unquestionably comes with the age and maturity levels of 10-year-olds, but given how awesome technology has become, I knew there had to be a better way.

    Enter student Evernote accounts. My students used Evernote on their iPads for the last 6 weeks of school, and I’ve been very pleased with the results. Here’s how we set it up.

    Step #1: Register for new Evernote accounts.

    This step can be done on either a computer or an iPad. (My pics will show the iPad view.) Students will need to have an email address in order to complete registration, but this can be tricky with students who are under the age of 13 since many of the students don’t have email yet. One work around that we found was to set up a class email address on Gmail (ex: [email protected]). Then, you can add the “+”symbol to the end of the username along with a string of letters and/or numbers before the “@gmail.com” ending. Evernote thinks all of these are different addresses, but Gmail doesn’t pay attention to anything after the “+” symbol, so everything will go back to the “fakeeberopolis” account. This lets students register without ever giving them an email address.

    I had students put their lunch account numbers after the plus symbol, but names or other number combinations would work too. You just have to have the info after the “+” symbol be unique to each student so Evernote doesn’t think they’ve already registered. 

    I let the students choose their own usernames and passwords, and I had them record those in a safe place so they could share them with parents. Next year, I’m likely to collect the information as well so I can easily help the students recover it. They don’t sign in and out of Evernote usually — they just stay logged in, so many of them forget.

    Step #2: Build Notebooks for the Subject Areas

    My students created notebooks for Reading, Writing, Word Study, Math, Science, and Social Studies. They later added notebooks for their Spanish and Music classes. During the set-up phase, we talked about the differences between notebooks and notes and how to move notes from one notebook to another. Next year, when I start this from the beginning of the year, we’ll also talk a lot about tagging notes to make them easier to find.
     

    Why Student Evernote Notebooks Rock

    1. More instructional time because transitions are so easy. Transitions between subjects used to take us forever because students would forget to grab a notebook or not have all the materials ready on time. Now transitions are just a quick stretch or brain break. They have all of their notes right in front of them already. We’re abandoning the cluttered bins and drawers.

    2. Students are more accountable and prepared. We don’t have to worry about forgetting work at home or getting lost between home and school. It’s all in one place. In addition, students are able to create more comprehensive class notes. If we read an article using GoodReader, students can save it to their Evernote notebook. If we develop an anchor chart as a class, students can take a picture of it and add it to their notes to refer back to long after it’s gone from the classroom display. If they make a model of different types of triangles using toothpicks, they can photograph their work and add in captions later. More learning gets archived than we’d ever accomplish with a paper model.

    3. Everything is portable between home and school. Students don’t get to take their iPads home, but as long as they save their work in Evernote, they can access it from any computer or mobile device. It also means that students aren’t leaving important readings or materials at school when they need to study for a test. I’ve had many frustrated parents complain that their child wasn’t bringing home the right materials to review for tests this year — especially because we don’t use traditional textbooks at my school — and this remedies all of that.

    Another portability example is that I’ve also had students use Evernote as a word processor when they’re working on longer writing assignments because they can pick up their work between home and school. (In the future, I’d like to use Google Drive as their word processor, but until we get there as a school, this is an acceptable alternative.) Once students are ready to turn in a finished piece of writing, they copy and paste it into Pages, clean up the formatting, and turn it in through Edmodo. It has worked brilliantly this term, and I’m seeing much longer, more developed pieces of writing at all stages of the writing process now. I really think the ease of this process has played a role.

    Now that we’re using Evernote regularly in the classroom, I can’t imagine ever going back. While I will miss the massive influx of office supplies (composition books, notebooks, etc) at the start of the next school year, I’m falling in love with the fact that the only things I take home with me each night are my laptop and iPad. Going paperless has been a glorious thing.

    What are some ways you could use Evernote with your students? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section!

    Mission R Electric Racer

    Steve Rapp’s visit to Laguna Seca in 2011 was more successful than his 2012 visit—where, despite a valiant effort, he failed to qualify the Attack Racing CRT bike for the MotoGP event. In 2011, aboard the Mission R built in a converted fire station in nearby San Francisco by Mission Motors, he won the TTXGP e-Power race for electric bikes so convincingly he finished the eight-lap race an impressive 39.9 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.

    It’s clearly a fast, capable motorcycle. But does it work in the real world? Finding the answer could be interesting, and here was Mission making the offer to let me ride a street-legal version. I couldn’t refuse.

    First impressions: You feel part of the bike rather than perched atop an angular-shaped battery pack, as on the Mission R’s predecessor, the Mission One. Once you’ve switched the bike on and its systems are ready, there’s nothing more to do than twist and go. In doing so, I immediately noticed there wasn’t the same humungous hit of torque found on the Mission One. The Mission R’s pickup is far more progressive thanks to remapping of the ride-by-wire throttle over the first 5–10 percent of available revs. Still, the Mission R can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds, according to the company. This literally awesome performance off the line comes in spite of the bike’s hefty weight of 545 pounds wet.

    The only sounds the Mission R makes at slow speeds come from road noise and a hint of chain whir, plus a subdued whine from the straight-cut primary reduction gears. But get out of town and see the road unfold ahead, and that whine becomes an utterly thrilling speed scream.

    The motor is connected to the primary gear reduction via a small single-speed planetary gearbox. So with no need to worry about selecting the right gear for a given turn, you can focus on braking where you should, picking a good line and feeding in the power on the way out. The Mission R has regenerative braking—using the motor as a generator on deceleration to partially recharge the batteries—and the Mission’s aggressive regen meant I hardly ever needed to use the brakes to slow down for a bend.

    Apart from the improved throttle response and torque delivery, the most significant difference between the R and the Mission One was the much superior handling of the James Parker-designed frame. Whereas the older bike felt much more top heavy, the Mission R is more neutral steering and considerably more precise.

    These are impressions confirmed during a late-afternoon stint around Infineon Raceway.

    Preparing the bike for my evening run on the scenic, switchback Bay Area center of speed involved backing the regen right off as Rapp had requested for Laguna Seca. There was still a little left in, which helped stop the bike on the downhill stretches. But except for its hefty overall weight, which I definitely became more aware of on the racetrack compared to the street, the Mission R now resembled a 500GP racer of the 1990s.

    On the Mission R, this meant I could focus on braking as hard and late as I dared, knowing there was no electronic impediment to keeping up my chosen turn speed. The bike felt balanced and relatively agile considering all the weight it was carrying. I especially liked the way it was so stable under braking. There was zero instability even stopping hard into the Turn 7 and 11 hairpins, where the extra pounds made sure the rear tire stayed glued to the track.

    The creation of the Mission R is a further key step in the evolution of the sportbike. E-bikes have seen some resistance in the marketplace, but there’s no denying that electric drivetrains are part of motorcycling’s future. “What sold me on coming to work here was not zero emissions, but a recognition that the world has changed very much in the past ten years,” says Mission’s Jit Bhattacharya. “We’re looking for alternatives to oil, coal…simply as an availability issue, before considering emissions or the environment. And electricity is one answer, irrespective of what we use to generate it in future. For so long we’ve associated electric drive with sacrifice. The public needs to have its perceptions about electric drive changed. And the best way to do this is to build something electric that blows their mind and performs in a way they didn’t think was possible. That’s the Mission R.”

    Yes, indeed. But this motorcycle is far too good to remain a race-only wonder, a Mission Motors calling card to its future e-customers. Someone, somewhere—please pick up this project and bring it to market. You’ll be reducing the world’s carbon footprint in addition to inventing a new kind of production motorcycle with built-in thrills.

    ________________________
    Source: Motorcyclist (11/11)

    Blind woman becomes first to travel globe

    Cathy with husband Bernard

    55 YEAR-old Cathy Birchall from Warrington, riding pilion with her husband Bernard, has become the first blind woman to circumvent the globe on a motorcycle.

    Cathy suffers with retinitis pigmentosa and has been blind for much of her life. She met husband Bernard Smith seven years ago, while he was working as a teacher for the Royal National Institute of Blind People and she for charity Action For Blind People. She had never been on a motorcycle before she met Bernard, who, long harbouring a desire to travel the world on his 1990 BMW R100RT, convinced her to take a year-long sabbatical.

    Their journey began in August 2008, but now, with the release of their book ‘Touching The World: A Blind Woman, Two Wheels and 25,000 miles’, her extraordinary story is coming to light.

    The couple’s travels encompassed Europe, Asia, Australia, South America and North America and took a year. In Peru, Cathy also became the first blind woman to climb Huayana Pichu, Machu Pichu’s sister mountain.

    Cathy recorded her experiences on a tape recorder as she went, describing the pair’s experiences. Using an intercom system, Bernard would describe the scenery through which they passed. Speaking to Manchester Evening News, Cathy described her experience of the journey:

    ‘I could smell the heat of the deserts, the cool from the mountains. I could hear the silence when you are up in the mountains. I could hear the hustle and bustle as we were going through street markets. I could feel the temperature. All the other senses kicked in and gave me a full picture.

    “And I spoke to people – the everyday people we came across. That made the trip.’

    Sadly, six weeks after their return from the trip, Cathy was diagnosed with breast cancer for which she is still being treated. Writing the book, she says, has given her focus throughout the treatment.

    In publishing the book, Bernard and Cathy hope to get visual impairment literature ‘into the mainstream in a positive way.’

    _______________________________
    Source: VisorDown (Dodd,9/19)

    Deals and Sales: Saints Row 2 and Syberia II, TotallyFree™ [Notification]

    Update: As of Sunday, April 23rd, Saints Row 2 is no longer available for Free, but Syberia II still is

    I haven’t been feeling too great lately (hence my not posting for a while) – but I wanted to make sure and come and get a quick notification out, for those that don’t know and are interested – that I saw two games being given away TotallyFree™ right now:

    Saints Row 2, the open-world, GTA-style Action game is at GoodOldGames (now just GOG, they also offer newer titles these days), found at GOG.com

    and

    Syberia II, the third-person, mouse-driven Adventure game is being given away at Origin’s “On the House”, found at Origin.com

    Both are completely free, so go get them now! GOGOGO

    [Note: I do not get any compensation in any form for mentioning these games or companies here (there are no ‘referrals’ or ‘trackbacks’ in the links above); I am just a gamer who likes to share things I figure out and find on my own here, with you, other gamers… Have fun!]

    10 Ways to save gas on your motorcycle

    One of the many reasons we love motorcycles is because they don’t burn gas like crazy, well some do but at least they are capable of achieving impressive fuel economy numbers under certain circumstances. Texas Rider has a few tips on how to keep more money in your pocket and not in the gas tank.

     Don’t Lollygag During Warmup

    Warming up a bike’s engine is part of the riding ritual, but most fuel-injected motorcycles are actually ready to ride instantly, making the warm-up routine a bit of overkill.

    If you’re confident the engine won’t stall or rev sluggishly, riding off without waiting will not only avoid wasting fuel while idling, it will enable the motor to reach operating temperature more quickly, which will enhance combustion efficiency and allow you to achieve better fuel economy.

    Don’t Let Your Tire Pressure Drop

    One of the quickest and most effective ways to boost your MPGs is to check your tire pressure. Find the pressure rating for your tire on the sidewall or owner’s manual; not only will hitting the correct PSI boost your fuel economy, it will also improve your bike’s handling. And while some hypermilers swear by running on higher-than-recommended PSIs, we recommend you stick to the recommended figures for maximum safety.

    Take Care of Your Baby

    Motorcycles run best when their engines are maintained, and that includes making sure the air filter is clean, the spark plugs are fresh, the fuel filter is free, and the timing/valves are adjusted.

    Some economy-minded riders even use lower friction, energy saving oil for lubrication. Whether or not you’re interested in going that far, some basic maintenance can make a surprisingly big difference in fuel economy.

    Smooth it Out

    Focus on maintaining constant speeds, smooth throttle inputs, and avoiding unnecessary slowing, and you’ll watch your fuel economy rise. Not only does even-keeled riding allow you to stretch your gas budget, it makes for smoother and potentially more enjoyable rides.

    Lower Your Cruising Speeds

    Motorcycles offer amazing performance that fits between your legs– hence the term “crotch rocket”– and the rush of acceleration and high-speed cruising can be addictive. But twisting the throttle hard quickly kills your fuel economy, as does high-speed cruising.

    Think of it this way: highway speed limits were created partially in order to conserve gas, and following the rules will not only enable you to ride farther, it could help keep your DMV record clean.

    Get That Junk Out of Your Trunk

    The more weight your motorcycle has to haul around, the harder the engine has to work. If you’ve got saddlebags on your bike, empty them out if you can afford to do without extra junk. Even better: if you’re not using the saddlebags all the time, remove them for a relatively quick and easy weight loss tactic.

    Practice Your Aim

    When you’re in a hurry to fill up and still wearing a helmet and gloves, you’re probably not paying much attention to your refueling tactics.

    Take some care while positioning the nozzle into the fuel filler, and you’ll not only save a few cents by avoiding spilling, you’ll also protect your paint from the damaging effects of stray fuel. Also, avoid the temptation to overfill your tank, as the spillover will create a mess and waste fuel.

    Think Aero

    Aerodynamic drag has a serious effect on fuel economy, and pushing a higher profile shape through air will make your engine work harder.

    If you’re interested in short term gains, consider making a more compact shape behind your windshield; if that’s too much of a bother, you might think about how your bike is configured, and make changes like removing saddlebags or other drag creating accessories.

    Cruise it if You Can Use It

    Constant speeds improve fuel economy, and relying on your internal speedometer is an easy way to go farther on a tank of gas. But if your bike has the luxury of cruise control, it will do a better job than any human at sipping fuel while cruising along the highway.

    Set it and forget it, and watch your MPGs rise!

     Keep it on the Road

    We should all be so lucky as to have the option of riding on dirt when we want to; riding offroad offers a refreshing take on the terrain around you, but it also requires significantly more fuel than riding on pavement.

    If you’ve got the choice between a paved and a gravel or dirt road, pick the former and you’ll use less fuel getting from A to B. Also remember that a motorcycle with knobby offroad tires won’t get the same fuel economy as street biased rubber.

    ___________
    Source: About (Wasef)

    Quick Tip: The Sims 3 – Game Recording Is Slightly Darker Than The ‘Normal’ Colours Of Regular Gameplay [FIX]

    Just a Quick Tip for those of you recording The Sims 3 and finding that your videos are looking ‘darker’ than the original gameplay itself – a problem that has been around for some people for over a year now… It’s not that the game isn’t recordable (although for some people they got nothing but ‘blank/black screens’ a few years ago) it’s that the recordings are coming out, what looks like, a few shades darker than what the game really is.
    I was recently seeing a spike in the number of people talking about this problem again and decided to see if I could find a fix, or at least a workaround, for it; and what I found was something that everyone can do for now (at least until AMD/NVIDIA or Maxis/EA makes an update that fully fixes the issue) and that is simply: to run The Sims 3 in Windowed Mode.

    Whether you are using Dxtory, Bandicam, Afterburner or most other game recording programs (even NVIDIA’s Shadowplay has the same issue for some people), the fix [more of a workaround] that I found for now at least allows you to record your Sims 3 gameplay with proper colours, as you can see in these frames extracted from a couple of game recordings, below:

    Comparison between the display modes and the colours when recording (Darker vs. ‘Normal’) for the recording issue with The Sims 3, showing that the workaround works [at least for now] in two extracted frames from two game recordings (one in Windowed Mode and one in Fullscreen Mode). [In the right half, the camera has been ‘zoomed in’]

    Have fun recording your Sims 3 gameplay once again, if this problem has made you stop – and
    See You In The Games!

    Workout Anytime in Louisville Business First Inbox

    Workout Anytime in Louisville Business First

    Workout Anytime of Louisville, KY was recently in Louisville Business First. The article features Louisville resident, Bobby Paisley. Paisley brought Workout Anytime to the Louisville market, and has been with the brand for four years now. Bobby has been able to successful build the brand and will be opening his third Louisville location this March. Along with fellow fraternity brother from WKU and Regional Developer Greg Parker, they have built the brand in Louisville and surrounding areas in Kentucky.
    You can read the full article here. 

    Raptr – Closing Down This September 30th, The Blog Here Says ‘Goodbye Old Friend’ To The Once-Useful Program


    Just a notification that the ‘Graphic-Configurator, Game-Installer, Gameplay-Recorder and
    Social Media client that tried to tie it all together’ – Raptr – will be no more, as of September 30th, 2017

    A few days ago, I received an email stating that Raptr was ending the program/client which at one time was tied-in with AMD’s Graphic Drivers as “AMD Gaming Evolved”. Now that both NVIDIA and AMD have their own ‘game configuration utilities’ and ‘game recording capabilities’ (via Crimson for AMD and GeForce Experience for NVIDIA), “there is no need for such a separate utility”, as Raptr’s ‘Farewell Letter’ basically states:

    “We are sad to announce that we will be closing Raptr on September 30th, 2017. We want to start by thanking you for your support over the past 10 years.

    The world is different today than when we first launched Raptr. Many companies offer game optimization tools. Having an independent platform to do this is no longer necessary.

    On September 30, we will start the process of shutting off access to your Raptr account and disabling features. If you’d like to export your tracked game play history, you can do so immediately using the instructions below:

    • Go to Raptr.com
    • Sign in to your Raptr account
    • Click to get your gameplay data

    If you have any other questions, please send us feedback.

    We are proud of the service we built and the community who helped grow Raptr.  Thank you, once again, for your support.

    Dennis “Thresh” Fong
    Co-founder and CEO”


    Mr. Fong Qin, known worldwide as “‘Thresh’ Fong” for his 1990’s Quake and Doom tournament career, was also the co-founder of Xfire (which itself was acquired by Viacom in 2006). While the Raptr/Gaming Evolved client was useful, it seemed to have challenges from close to the start [or at least, noticeable in hindsight, from when I first started using it].

    The Press Release – the notification that Raptr was closing down – as it looked on the Raptr website, September 2017
    (Click to see Full Size)

    At one time, Raptr offered Rewards for playing (and letting it track your Hours or Record your Gameplay); ‘Reward Points’ that you could collect, every time you Optimized a Game (let the utility auto-configure your in-game options/settings for you), or viewed/contributed to a game Forum (similar to Steam’s Game Forums [forii?]). You could also earn Raptr Reward Points just by playing a game and having it running (it gave a running total of your Hours Played).

    The Raptr/Gaming Evolved Client, as it looked in 2014, showing the Reward Points collected at one time
    (from the Gaming Evolved/Raptr Press Kit, Click to see Full Size)

    Prizes to spend your Points on were Draws for, or outright purchases of, Full Games and game tie-in material, such as Character Costumes or Vehicles (Mounts). Just before it was taken away, I even saw some Computer Hardware in there (some dated GPUs mind you, but still, it was neat to see some computer parts you could earn ‘with time played’ only). I never did win a Draw for a Retail Game, but I heard from a couple of people who did. There were many, many upset users, who had been saving for years (literally), at the loss of the points system. Some noted at the time that perhaps it was an early bell, tolling for the end of Raptr, even then…

    The Raptr/Gaming Evolved Client, as it looked in 2015, showing Plays.Tv in its ‘built-in’ Beta phase and Graphic Drivers being kept up-to-date [I owned an AMD/ATi GPU at the time], the client still showing Reward Points being tabulated, and the Twitch Broadcast implementation
    (Click to see Full Size)

    There was a Forum interface built-in to the Raptr client (directly-accessible within it) that was similar to Steam’s Game Forums [too similar?], where people could discuss games, talk about upcoming releases, and share Screenshots; but there wasn’t too much going on in them [that I could see, personally]. There were some helpful and contributive posts, but they were always few in number:

    Example of Raptr/Gaming Evolved Game Forums, showing Guild Wars 2, circa 2016
    (Click to see Full Size)

    As ‘the end’ neared, the Forums became overrun slowly by Spammers and non-English posts talking about other websites (not that there’s anything wrong with speaking other languages, I know a bit of a handful of languages myself, but it was an English forum and much of these posts were clearly Spam of one sort or another). People started asking why things weren’t getting ‘cleaned up’, near the end.

    The Raptr/Gaming Evolved Official Raptr Forum, shown in the client, displaying the number of users of the forum
    (Click to see Full Size)

    While many felt it was ‘just like Steam’ or ‘not needed’ even back then, it still boasted over 100 Million registered users at one point (as evidenced by the number of users within the main Raptr discussion group, above) – and it was even ‘targeted by hackers’ in 2015 – infiltrated in an attempt to gain access to the many users’ data and potentially personal information. A notice went out in January of that year, notifying users to change their password, as a result of the recent security breach:

    Raptr Forum Notification, urging users to change their Passwords, after a recent security breach, circa January 2015
    (Click to see Full Size)

    Personally, I feel sorry that I couldn’t spend more time with Raptr/GamingEvolved, as I only discovered it a couple of years ago.. Over the entire time, my own illness prevented me from posting more, sharing Screenshots more, and talking more about Releases and Reviews [as it does here in this blog!]. I feel like it could have been ‘the next Steam with bonus game configuration’ perhaps – but alas, it simply had too many challenges going against it… People started asking for Chat interface (a la Skype) and Voice Chat, but the Voice part never came. People wanted a GVR (Game Video Recorder) and while that arrived, in the form of Plays.tv – first in the app itself and as a stand-alone utility – perhaps it was too late to save Raptr, as both NVIDIA then AMD, came out with their own ‘built-in’ gameplay recording capabilities about the same time. For example, in 2013, NVIDIA’s Shadowplay became part of their Settings Optimization client, GeForce Experience, which allowed high-performance gameplay recording. Eventually, AMD’s ReLive, part of their Crimson GPU Driver update, also allowed high-quality gameplay recording as well. Both of these essentially negated the game recording aspect of Raptr (Plays.tv, which continues onward today as its’ own stand-alone recorder):

    Information Panel about Plays.TV, the gameplay recording utility that was once included with Raptr/Gaming Evolved
    (Click to see Full Size)

    Although many didn’t use Raptr, or even like it, there were those that used the client to at least keep track of their Hours Played, used it a light social-media app, or just enjoyed the semi-automated Graphic Configuration within. As a former user – that wished he used it more – I myself say a sad ‘Goodbye’ to Raptr. So long, old friend, I wish I got to know you better…

    Nate’s Burly CB – PopBang Honda Cafe Racer

    This little Honda CB400F ended up with me after an impulse buy at the Mudgeeraba swap meet in Queensland. After a bit of haggling, I handed over $350 and it was mine. It was reasonably stock other that a rattle can paint job on the tank with bashed in knee wells. The motor had been pulled out and the top end lifted off, but it was all there. I got it back to my workshop, basically stuck it up on the mezzanine and forgot about it. It wasn’t until a couple of big burly looking fellas came in wanting me to build a couple of bikes for them and asked what I had. All I had was a CX500 in a million pieces and this 1974 CB400f project. They argued over who would get which one and the one that ended up choosing the CB was none other than NRL superstar and just general legend Nate Myles.

    Obviously Honda’s little 400 four isn’t the biggest bike around. So the plan was to make it larger while retaining its original proportions. The rear of the frame was cut off at the back bone and swing arm mounts and a raised floating seat section with mono shock mount was fabbed up to replace it. The swing arm was extended 50mm, bracing for the mono shock was welded in and the shock from a late model Triumph holds it all together. I then found a really nice Ducati Monster front end that had the perfect dimensions for this project. The neck of the frame had to be dropped about 20mm lower so the Ducati top clamp could sit closer to the bikes tank.

    The bikes tank and tail are modified versions of a fibreglass Cafe Racer kit I make for the CB400f with a 3″ longer tank. On this one I added knee wells, scallops to accommodate the Ducati triple trees, a flush mounted pop up cap and I separated the seat from the tail section. Carbon fibre strips were also added down the back bone of the tank and tail for additional strength and aesthetics. Once it was all mocked up with a set of clip-on handlebars the bike was looking much more aggressive.

    Nate came in to try it out for size. I have to admit, I was a little scared it was still going to be too small, especially when he stood next to it. But once he sat in the saddle it fit him like a glove. I then had to think about moving this bulk of a man along at a reasonable pace.

    The motor was fully rebuilt with a Yoshimura style big bore kit, Dyna ignition, freshly rebuilt carbs wearing K&N filters and lots of new internal parts. I made the custom exhaust out of stainless steel including the mufflers. Each side is made out of 22 pieces welded together. They give the bike a mean super bike sound, but it doesn’t pierce your ear drums. You could say it sounds a lot bigger than what it is.

    To keep it sticking to the road a 17″ x 5″ rim was polished up and laced to the original rear hub. The front wheel however, was a little more complex, and soon became my favourite part of the bike. It’s a CBX550 twin ventilated inboard disc brake hub. It took me forever to find it. It had to come out of England and it was a mess. I completely rebuilt it and smoothed the outer plates of any unwanted excess. As these hubs were originally mounted to an ugly ComStar style rim I had to CAD design the two rings that bolt onto the hub to adapt it to spokes. I had it water jet cut, machined the taper and countersunk all the holes. It was then laced to an Excell 18″ x 3.5″ rim with stainless spokes. Both rims were wrapped in Pirelli Angel GT rubber

    Then it was time to add all the fancy bits. It’s running a 4″ GPS speedo/tacho custom made by SpeedHut in the states . It was sunk into the 7″ headlight that’s mounted using custom stainless brackets and wrapped with a one off stainless grill. It also has customised hydraulic brake and clutch masters with hidden reservoirs. Flush mount handle bar switches, CAD designed, one off foot controls, custom polished linkages, stainless steel etched logo on the points cover, keyless ignition system, custom made tail lights, custom made seat trimmed by Hotel & Club Decor in Burleigh, hidden AntiGravity Battery, wiring run through the frame and electrics hidden under the seat in a custom flush mount box.

    I was given strict orders that the bike had to be maroon, so I found a deep burgundy to keep it classic,  adding in a little modern flare with layered graphics on the side including Nate’s state of origin number and the iconic Honda wings. The real carbon fibre on top was outlined in an off white and cleared over. The motor, brake plates and master cylinders where all painted a custom mix of pewter and satin cleared to mix it up a bit. The frame was totally smoothed over and freshly coated in gloss 2 pack black.

    At the beginning of the build I had convinced Nate we’d end up with a 70’s styled street fighter, and I think that’s what he got. It was a huge project and I want to thank Nate for putting up with how long it took me to finish! Hopefully there’s another project between us  down the track!
    First read on www.returnofthecaferacers

    Story by Justin Holmes

    POP BANG CLASSICS

    Photography  by Kenny Smith

    Texas native Ray returns to site of first Pro Stock Motorcycle victory

    When Michael Ray returns to Texas Motorplex this weekend for round two of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s playoffs, he will enter his home track as a defending event winner.

    That’s a great feeling for Ray, a native of New Braunfels, Texas, who defeated Karen Stoffer in the final last year to score his first victory in his first full season in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Ray’s family and friends were able to witness the event at a track just two hours from his home.

    “For my mom and dad and everybody being there and all the sacrifices my parents made throughout their entire life, to see me be successful, it was awesome,” Ray said. “My dad busted his butt for one of those Wallys and never got one, and standing there with my father in victory lane and seeing the tears in his eyes and excitement was just like, ‘This is awesome.’ That is what I’ll never forget.”

    Ray and all of the racers in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series return to Texas Motorplex for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals Sept. 19-22, the second of six races in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Bob Tasca III (Funny Car), and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) join Ray as defending winners of the race that will be televised on ESPN2HD.

    Ray has amassed two wins and two No. 1 qualifying positions in his first season with the Sovereign/Star Racing Buell team. He is fourth in the Countdown to the Championship, 48 points behind leader Hector Arana Jr., but he isn’t letting the pressure get to him during the stretch run.

    “I think so much of our team’s success is the character we all bring to the table and the fun that we have,” Ray continued. “I have a sticker on my dashboard that says, ‘Just add fun.’ That is all we do. We joke about it, and some people say, ‘You just don’t seem to be taking this very seriously,’ but there’s not another team that has a bigger fire lit under its butt than this one. But you have to have a lot of fun out here or this sport will eat you alive.”

    Leading Ray, Scotty Pollacheck, and the Sovereign/Star Racing team is George Bryce, who is one of the most renowned crew chiefs in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category. As a rider, he raced to four consecutive titles in the National Motorcycle Racing Association from 1981 to 1984. As a crew chief, he amassed 71 victories and earned six championships with John Myers and Angelle Sampey. His guidance and skills have put Ray in a position to succeed each time he climbs on his Buell.

    “When you look back at the history he has at being a great crew chief, he is a magician on the track producing results,” Ray continued. “Those things for me being a young driver, I’m 29 and in my second full-time season, for me that is worth its weight in gold. It is like being a rookie quarterback and having a 20-year veteran back there being your mentor. He does such a good job.”

    Following the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, only four races remain in the Countdown to the Championship. Ray and his team realize that to make a run for the championship crown in the two-wheel category, they must go rounds at each event.

    “You can literally count how many rounds of racing there are left,” Ray concluded. “Right now, the first race coming off Charlotte coming into Dallas, I did a little comparison to last year, and I went in seventh in points, and I came out fourth. You can have one really great race and set yourself up.”

    For Ray to recapture glory at Texas Motorplex, he will have to outlast a tough field of competitors. Series leader Arana heads the class with four wins aboard his Lucas Oil Buell, and Matt Smith, Hall, defending world champ Eddie Krawiec, and Hector Arana Sr. will be contenders.

    As always, every ticket purchased for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals is a pit pass, which offers an extraordinary look behind the scenes in the world of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly skilled mechanics service their high-horsepower machines between rounds and enjoy cherished face time with their favorite NHRA drivers.

    Fans will also want to check out NHRA Nitro Alley and the popular NHRA Manufacturers Midway, where manufacturers and sponsors create a carnival atmosphere with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food, and freebies. Fans will also want to take advantage of Championship Sunday for the fun fan zone, featuring driver introductions and a special Track Walk at 9:30 a.m. It’s free to all Sunday ticket holders.

    AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals qualifying opens Friday, Sept. 20, with sessions at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, Sept. 21, at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 22.

    ____________________________________
    Source: NHRA (AP, 09/19)

    Harley-Davidson RR350

    Harley-Davidson RR350


    The Harley-Davidson RR350 is the enlarged version of the RR250, a motorcycle built from the ground up by the Italians that was essentially a Harley-Davidson in name only (Harley took a majority stake in the Italian manufacturer in 1974). The men from Milwaukee were facing increased competition from light, fast Japanese bikes and the first investment into Aermacchi in 1960 was designed to combat this and introduce some fresh engineering talent to the company.
    The success of the Aermacchi racing program reached its peak in the mid-1970s when the Harley-Davidson RR250 took the world championship for the ’74, ’75 and ’76 seasons with championship wins in 1976 in both the 250cc and 350cc classes thanks to the model you see pictured here.
    It’s unusual to think of Harley-Davidson dominating a road racing championship and we haven’t seen the marque seriously contend any major road-based Grand Prix championship since the sale of Aermacchi in 1978, which seems like a shame as it could have done the marque a world of good from an engineering perspective.
    The RR350 (and RR250) is widely considered one of the most beautiful racing motorcycle designs from the 1970s and I’d personally go so far as to say it’s one of the most stunning race bikes ever made. The Italian design cues are clearly apparent and it leaves you wondering what direction Harley-Davidson might have taken if they hadn’t sold Aermacchi on to Cagiva in 1978.
    The stunning, restored Harley-Davidson RR350 you see here is due to be sold at The Las Vegas Auction on the 8th of January 2015 by Bonhams, its estimated value is between $25,000 and $30,000 – which actually doesn’t seem like a whole lot considering the fact that only about 26 RR350s were ever made.
    If you’d like to bid or read more about this particular motorcycle’s history you can click here to visit Bonhams.
    Harley Davidson RR350 3 1480x684 Harley Davidson RR350
    Harley Davidson RR350 1 1480x1318 Harley Davidson RR350
    Harley Davidson RR350 6 1480x683 Harley Davidson RR350
    Harley Davidson RR350 2 1480x1155 Harley Davidson RR350
    Harley Davidson RR350 5 1480x1399 Harley Davidson RR350
    Harley Davidson RR350 4 1480x964 Harley Davidson RR350 First read in http://silodrome.com

    Franchisee Profile: Marc Flame

    Franchisee Profile: Marc Flame

    Marc Flame is originally from the Bronx in New York, specifically Riverdale. Growing up, Marc spent every summer on Long Island at his grandmother’s beach house and loves the outdoors. After graduating from JFK Highschool, Marc’s parents moved to South America where Marc learned to speak basic Portuguese. After living in Brazil for a while, Marc moved back to New York where he attended New York University. He graduated in 1981 with a degree in Economics and International Business. Upon graduation, Marc spent much of his time on Wall Street starting his career Bankers Trust Company. Marc eventually became Chief Financial Officer at the banks Technology subsidiary. During Marcs’ tenure he established a successful record of improving operational efficiency and profitability. After fourteen years at BTCo, Marc left and joined Citigroup. Marc spent ten years within the Finance Organization of Citigroup. He then joined the CBS Corporation where he served as CFO of the CBS Technology organization.

    After doing some traveling, Marc decided to relocate from Chicago to Atlanta where he began researching franchises to invest in. After much research Marc decided that Workout Anytime was where he wanted to be. Not even three weeks after watching the Workout Anytime franchise video, Marc signed for his first franchise. He now owns the first Workout Anytime located on the South side of Atlanta.
    How did you learn about the brand? 
    I was researching different franchises and was heavily focused on the fast-food industry when I came across Workout Anytime. I watched the franchise video and was immediately hooked. I knew right then that was what I wanted to invest in. Not even three weeks after seeing the video I met with Randy the entire senior WOAT team. It felt like a family and I signed with Workout Anytime after that meeting.
    Why did you choose an opportunity with Workout Anytime? 
    I’ve always wanted to own my own business. I worked at a Baskin Robbins in high school and it was some of the best times I’ve ever had. I have always enjoyed doing my own thing which is why I started looking into franchises. I chose Workout Anytime because I am very interested in the Workout Anytime model and I really wanted to do a franchise in a market that really needed it. 
    Do you have any development/extension plans? Add units? Timeframe? 
    I would like to eventually expand. I do not have a multi-unit sign at the moment, but the goal is to have 3-4 locations within 4-5 years. I am trying to open one every year and a half. Currently, I am working to be the most successful location rather than building out more units. When you talk about franchises people have glass ceiling expectations with what you can achieve with any one location. The Workout Anytime model allows me to push the boundaries, and ensure the opportunity for many members to enjoy all the advantages provided to Workout Anytime members.
    Are you involved in any charities or involved in the community in any way? 
    I am learning more about the Riverdale area each day and would love to work with charities and get involved with the community once I get to know it better.
    Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions?
    I love spending time outdoors. Anything outdoors such as going to the horse stables with my daughter, 
    watch my son dirt bike on the trails, and go to the beach as often as possible.

    WORKOUT ANYTIME in Journal & Topics Newspapers

    WORKOUT ANYTIME in Journal & Topics Newspapers in an article titled, “New 24-Hour Fitness Facility Opens In Buffalo Grove.” The article begins with information about the new club and then gives some details about the grand opening. The article ends with information on WORKOUTANYTIME’s plans for expansion in Illinois and some background on Jeff.  Click here to read more or begin below.

    New 24-Hour Fitness Facility Opens In Buffalo Grove

    A new 24-hour fitness facility recently opened in Buffalo Grove.

    Workout Anytime opened at 700 Buffalo Grove Rd. The facility is open 24 hours a day to members with staff on site from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. Members receive a special key card to unlock doors when staff is not present.

    (Read More)

    Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Sugar Body Scrub

    Like I’ve mentioned before, I want to start exploring all-natural body products, so along with the lip balm, I made homemade sugar body scrub. The scrub was super easy…if you can stir two ingredients together you can make sugar scrub 🙂 Not only does the scrub work just as well as expensive store-bought brands, it was significantly less expensive. Here’s what I spent…

    Kroger brand Turbinado sugar $3.50
    Kroger brand baby oil $1.99
    Essential oil $4 (but I only used 1/3 of the bottle so $1.33 worth approx.)
    Jars $6

    Total spent…$12.82 which made 6 jars, so $2.13/jar 
    I could have probably made them even cheaper, but I went with the nicer glass jars since I was giving them as gifts. 

    Here’s the recipe I adapted from Martha Stewart
    Homemade Body Scrub
    Body oil (I used baby oil, but you could use any kind of oil you want)
    Epsom salt, sea salt, or organic cane sugar (I wanted a sugar scrub, so I used turbinado sugar)
    12 oz. jar with cap
    Lemon zest or 9-10 drops of your favorite flavor of essential oil

    Combine 1 cup of body oil with 2 cups of Epsom or sea salts or organic cane sugar (depending on how fine a grain you like). Add lemon zest or essential oils for color and fragrance. Package in jars.

    Knoxville News Sentinel featuring Kurt and April Nitzsche

    Knoxville News Sentinel featured WORKOUT ANYTIME owners Kurt and April Nitzsche.
    The online article includes a great picture of April showing one of her clients, how to use one of many exercise machines at the Maryville location. The story also ran in the print edition on the front page of the business section with a large two picture spread of Kurt and April.
    April Nitzsche explains to Robert Ridenour how to use one of many exercise machines at the Workout Anytime in Maryville on Thursday, January 16, 2014. April and her husband Kurt Nitzsche are the franchise owners of the Workout Anytime in Bearden and are now expanding into Maryville with their second location.         (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)
    You can view the online article here. 

    Unique motorcycle safety device aims to reduce rear-end collisions

    Look ma, no brakes.

    But slow down anyway!

    California startup Vectolabs has developed a new type of safety light for motorcycles that illuminates when the bike slows down, regardless of whether or not the rider is using the brakes.

    Called Vololights, the device is comprised of two sets of LEDs built into a license plate holder that’s fitted with an accelerometer and CPU. When it senses that the motorcycle it is installed on starts slowing down, a pattern of blinking lights goes off to get the attention of following vehicles.

    Since motorcycles decelerate much quicker than four-wheel vehicles when you let up on the accelerator or downshift, many riders don’t use the brakes to slow down as often as car and truck drivers do. Doing either of these things will cause the Vololights to flash twice per second, while using the brakes will flash them five times per second to indicate a more severe stopping event, augmenting the motorcycle’s stock lights.

    Many motorcycle organizations and state departments of motor vehicles already encourage riders to flash their brakes when slowing, a step Vectolabs is simply looking to automate. It is also aimed at owners of some classic bikes, including 1960s Vespa scooters where the hand grip for the front brakes isn’t even connected to the lights, only the brake pedal is.

    A number of electric cars, including the Tesla Model S, illuminate their brake lights as soon as you lift off of the accelerator, as their electric motors instantly start generating electricity and forcibly slow the car down in the process. Even more so than with motorcycles, you can drive these kinds of cars much of the time without using the brakes at all.

    Vectolabs says Vololights fits a variety of motorcycles and is confident that it will conform to state and federal legal requirements for lighting, but will recommend users check their local laws. A ‘stealth mode’ turns off the system if you drive somewhere they are not allowed.

    But don’t mount up and head to the motorcycle shop just yet. Vectolabs is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign that aims to raise $50,000 by June 12th in order to put the Vololights into production. A number of pledge levels are available, but it’ll cost you at least $69 if you want to get on the list for a kit.

    In the meantime, watch out behind you.

    ______________________________________
    Source: Fox News (AP, 5/29)

    And More: Deal and Sales – Battlefield 4 Expansion, Second Assault is Free from EA – Two Days Left [Notification]

    Just a quick mention, for those who didn’t catch it yet or for those who play [or never stopped playing!] Battlefield 4Second Assault, the Expansion pack that adds Four Maps, Five Weapons, Ten Assignments and more, is currently being given away Free from EA/Origin until the 28th – that’s only two days left to go get it!

    Battlefield 4: Second Assault Expansion Pack Information Panel
    in the “On The House” Section [ Free Games > On The House] in EA’s Origin Game Client (Click to see Full Size)

    Note that you need to already own Battlefield 4, as this is an Expansion Pack, but you can still get it now – even if you don’t own BF4 – and play it later. Go and Download it now! GOGOGO

    Battlefield 4: Second Assault Expansion Promotional Wallpaper by EA, Unedited
    (Click to see Full Size)

    See You In The Game!

    Dama – Davide Biondi Kawasaki W650

    DAvide Bondi is an Italian artist based in Abbruzo. He loves motorcycles. And had time and passion and motivation to spend 2 years to build his dreams motorcycle.
    The donor is a Kawasaki W650 and the work started in 2012. In his own atelier he striped to the bones and rebuild it from scratch .
    The result was fabulous .

    Please see the pictures here.

    For any other Davide Bondi other work follow him http://davidebiondi.tumblr.com/

    THE 1 MOTORCYCLE SHOW

    We knew it had to happen. The generation-long “Easy Riders” orthodoxy of custom-bike design has finally sputtered out, setting people free to build whatever they like. Remember that word, freedom? It means no one laughs and points if you fail to include a bellowing Harley-Davidson engine in the middle, with a Schwinn wheel way out in front and a Buick tire in the back. Anything goes.

    The idiosyncratic bikes in these photos appeared at the “1 Motorcycle Show” in Austin, Texas, the same weekend as the nearby MotoGP event at Circuit of The Americas. Austin is the state capitol, an arty town that calls itself “the live music capital of the world” and is willing to try anything.

    Like simplicity? Take pride in your sheet-metal skills? Or perhaps you see the motorcycle as “Death Star”? The “Art of the Motorcycle” at the Guggenheim Museum in 1998 was just a beginning. Start noodling with tools and see where it takes you.

    _________________________________
    Source: Cycle World (Cameron, 5/3)

    12 Days of Fitness with WORKOUT ANYTIME

    12 Days of Fitness with WORKOUT ANYTIME

    Are you in need of a little inspiration to hit the gym this holiday season? Here’s a great workout routine to give a try this holiday season provided by the experts at WORKOUT ANYTIME. Enjoy! 

    Week 1

    4 days of exercise

    2 days of INTERVAL Walking/Jogging – 20 min of cardio exercise at moderate pace, first 10 min walk or do cardio at a moderate pace. The second 10 min will have five 30 second bursts of high intensity mixed with moderate intensity (on min 10,12,14,16, and 18). This boosts metabolic rate. 
    2 days of body weight or weight training for 12 min per day
    Complete two rounds of the following each consisting of 40 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of rest:

    Squats
    Push-ups 
    Walking Lunges
    Jumping Jacks
    Burpees
    Ab half roll backs (seated position, roll half way back, come up and exhale)

    Week 2 

    4 days of exercise

    2 days of INTERVAL Walking/Jogging – 20 min of cardio exercise at moderate pace, first 10 min walk or do cardio at a moderate pace. The second 10 min will have five 30 second bursts of high intensity mixed with their moderate intensity (on min 10,12,14,16, and 18). This boosts metabolic rate. 

    2 days of body weight or weight training for 12 min per day
    Complete two rounds of the following each consisting of 40 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of rest:

    Pop Squats
    Push-ups w/alt knee
    Forward Lunges with bicep curl
    Plank Jacks
    Mountain Climbers
    Ab full roll up (lying position, roll all the way up, and exhale)

    Week 3

    4 days of exercise

    2 days of INTERVAL Walking/Jogging – 20 min of cardio exercise at moderate pace, first 10 min walk or do cardio at a moderate pace. The second 10 min will have five 30 second bursts of high intensity mixed with moderate intensity (on min 10,12,14,16, and 18). This boosts metabolic rate. 

    2 days of body weight or weight training for 12 min per day
    Complete two rounds of the following each consisting of 40 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of rest:

    Squat swing with overhead tricep press
    Spider-Man Push-ups 
    Reverse Lunge with bicep curl
    High Knees
    Shoulder push-ups
    Navy Seals (Ab exercise)

    LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS GET COMFORT

    LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS

    Living room is the most popular rentals for guests and where families come together to end their days of rest after a long week at work or enjoying a TV program together. In most cases, this room is on the floor of a house and is very active. It is therefore essential that this area is decorated in a pleasant environment to ensure the comfort of visitors. When planning a room design, the main and most important factor to decide is the purpose of the room. One thing to remember when designing your living space is that you should feel comfortable in the room and the style, since they will likely spend most of their time in the room. Finally, here are some design ideas that show really got in touch with the style you want.

    LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS

    LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS

    LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS

    LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS

    Ride “The Dragon”

    The Dragon is know for its 318 curves that stretch for 11 miles. The curves the dragon has are more like fiction, since riders don’t usually try to count all 3018 of them.

    If you are an adventurer the Dragon is for you. Located in Deals Gap, North Carolina, in the southern terminus of this storied stretch of US 129 stretching from the Gap back into Tennessee. Despite the reckless corners, it’s still fun to ride. If not, you can find a parking spot and watch a parade of “Dragon Slayers” which are riders who fearlessly ride down the Dragon.

    The Dragon is connected to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and runs into beautiful forest areas.

    The Dragon is one of the best known roads in America. The Dragon used to stretch from California to Chicago, to this day the Dragon has shrunk.

    If you are planning to tackle the Dragon, here are some safety tips:

    Be Cautious and no stunts!

    Focus. Try not to get distracted by the amazing scenery.

    Stay in your lane close to the right. If you try to ride straight you can loose control and crash.

    There is wild life in the wooden parts of the Dragon so BEWARE.

    Distance yourself from other vehicles.

    Ride the Dragon between 11 am and 5 pm. During these hours there’s barely any traffic.

    and most important tip of them all, Always wear protective riding suit and gear.

    The Dragon is a thrilling adventure for experienced riders. Enjoy the road and its scenery…But BE CAUTIOUS.

    Men’s Body Click Diet part 2

    What I’m giving you here is a chance to climb the ship’s mast with me so that from its top we can see far over the horizon of medicine. The view from the masthead is based not so much on my daily activities as a practicing physician but on my mission to search the seascape of scientific research for courses that can help prevent my patients from developing prostate trouble. What I see from the top of the mast is a body of evidence that is solid enough to support these simple changes in behavior, especially considering that there’s zero risk in consuming flaxseed and soy protein.

    The best evidence is based on studies done in a couple of places in the world, where prostate troubles are rare. Solid epidemiological studies that show a lower incidence of prostate cancer in men consuming foods popular among Finns and Chinese — rye bread for Finns and soy for Chinese.2 And he has carried out elaborate chemical analyses and experiments to show which substances in these foods provide the protection.

    For years before his research was done, it was assumed that the Finns’ genetic history accounted for their lower incidence of prostate cancer. Most modern Finns come from a small number of people who migrated to that part of the world many years ago, so they are a rather distinct linguistic, racial and genetic group. It turns out, however, that it’s not their genes but their diet that protects them against certain cancers. And the dietary factor that is most significant is a sourdough rye bread that is eaten by people consuming a traditional Finnish diet. This whole-grain, heavy- duty bread is made out of ground whole rye seeds without anything removed. The leavening is provided by lactobacillus (acidophilus) instead of yeast, which is used to leaven almost all bread consumed in other parts of the world. What’s key is that the rye fiber contains lignans that modulate hormone chemistry and reduce the risk of reproductive cancers.

    Diet Start

    Eastern Europeans have traditionally used flaxseeds as a source of food and medicine. Flaxseed oil, which makes up about one-third of the weight of the seeds, has extremely healthy properties that also provide particular benefits for the prostate gland. But here we’re talking about the fiber in the flaxseed. The best way to use the seeds is to grind them in a coffee mill. You can then consume the fine, fluffy powder as part of a shake or add it to a variety of other foods. Your aim is to eat a heaping tablespoon per day.

    Besides rye and flaxseed, there are other foods that contain lignans. Some of the best sources include legumes (especially lentils, kidney, fava and navy beans), seeds (like sunflower seeds), seaweed, cereal brans and whole grains.

    There is also a solid body of evidence supporting the role of soy protein in reducing the risk of prostate cancer. For example, research has shown that isoflavones, substances contained in soybeans, modify testosterone metabolism, decreasing the risk for both benign prostatic hypertrophy and prostate cancer.3 Incorporating soy protein in your diet doesn’t require you to change what you eat, although it’s fine to eat more tofu, miso and other soy products if you enjoy them. The simplest, quickest way to consume soy protein is by stirring soy protein isolate, a relatively tasteless substance, into some of the food you are already eating.

    Foods like soybeans, flaxseed and rye contain information derived from phytonutrients, which keep animals in synchrony with the rhythm of the seasons and which have profound effects on our own reproductive systems.

    Prostate Inflammation or Nonspecific Prostatitis

    Your prostate gland usually doesn’t speak to you until it’s in some advanced state of trouble. When it does, it has only two voices. One is expressed through pain or difficulty with urination and the other is just plain pain, which is almost invariably felt in the midline of your body. The spectrum of difficulties includes inflammation, enlargement and cancer. While there are more or less pure representations of each one, the lines between them are often blurred. All three, but particularly enlargement and cancer, are addressed by the preventive measures included in the Body Clock Diet.

    Let’s start with inflammation, which is the medical term for some combination of redness, pain, swelling and heat that almost always accompanies infection but may also represent your body’s reaction to noninfectious irritants or allergens. The flame of prostate inflammation is experienced as burning with urination. This is as much a result of inflammation of the tube through which the urine passes out of the penis (the urethra) as it is due to inflammation of the prostate, per se, which lies astride this tube, just beneath the bladder. Germs that infect the urethra, such as the gonorrhea germ, may ascend it and get into the prostate gland. There, the alkaline environment and blood supply, which are conducive to bacterial growth, make it much harder to treat the infection with antibiotics than, say, a sore throat, a boil or an uncomplicated pneumonia. Because the germs that infect the prostate are difficult to extract from apatient for a culture it has become a common practice for doctors to treat symptoms of prostate inflammation with antibiotics without knowing what germ, if any, might be there.

    The diagnosis in this situation is ‘nonspecific’ prostatitis, which is a well- accepted medical term. But when you stop to think about it, it’s peculiar. According to medical principles, when there is an infection, the perpetrator is almost always a particular germ. The prostate, like all internal tissues, is not likely to be infected by more than one germ at a time. The implication is that if there’s an infection, it’s quite specific. How then do we come up with the diagnosis ‘nonspecific’ prostatitis? It’s a result of several factors; efforts to recover a germ are to no avail, the prostate acts as if there’s an inflammation — with swelling, pain, difficulty urinating and sometimes cloudy or pussy urine — and antibiotics are at least temporarily soothing. But after antibiotic treatment, this problem recurs more often than other infections.

    How to park your bike securely

    Because having your motorcycle nicked is about twice as likely as your car being half-inched – and such thefts often occur in temporary parking locations. Of course there’s no guarantee that your bike won’t be stolen – if a professional thief wants your bike he’ll probably get it. But combining as many security measures as reasonably and practically possible can prevent your bike being targeted.

    What do I need?

    An assortment of measures that collectively secure your bike effectively. It’s easy to recommend using 15 locks but its neither realistic nor going to guarantee security. But a disc lock, U-lock in situ at your regular parking place, a well-chosen parking spot, some security marking and some labels/stickers which make it obvious how your bike has been secured should do the trick.

    What about alarms?

    Some like ’em, some don’t but every little helps. We’ve not gone into them in depth here as there are so many different types and should be fitted by experts rather than DIY. If you’ve got one, use it and ensure that it’s obvious that an alarm is fitted – this may deter any opportunist thieves from having a go.

    Anything else?

    You’d be amazed how many bikers neglect to use the main security device – the steering lock – most bikes come with. Do it. Just make sure you don’t leave it in ‘park’ mode (activating the parking light) by accident and drain the battery.

    1. U-lock carrier – Safety first! Whichever type of lock you go for make sure you carry them on your bike correctly and safely. Many modern machines have U-lock compartments under the seat. If not, special carriers can be fitted, sometimes behind the number plate, as above.

    2. Disc lock bag – Ditto chains and disc locks. Don’t put them in a rucksack. They should either be packed carefully into a pannier (ensuring you balance the weight on the other side) or in special bags which attach to the pillion seat.

    3. Motorcycle parking bay – Picking your parking spot is one of the biggest factors in whether your bike becomes another crime statistic. The best places are where it’s busy and with secure poles or railings to lock your bike to. Council bike parks can be located via local council websites. By varying your spot, you’ll prevent thieves ‘casing’ your bike.

    4. Lock around a post – Lock your machine to something solid – like a lamp post – as tightly as possible to make it harder for a thief to insert a scaffold pole or similar to lever off the lock. If you regularly park in the same place, leave your lock attached to a post. But remember, parking on a pavement is likely to land you a parking fine.

    5. Park it somewhere visible – Parking in winter or at night requires extra vigilance so make sure your machine is left in a well-lit area where it is busy and/or overlooked. If your bike is in constant view and visible it’s much more likely to be left alone. If it’s hidden in the dark it can be tampered with.

    6. Disc lock snug to caliper – Fit the lock through the disc snug to the caliper (so that if you forget to remove it before trying to wheel the bike forward it won’t move). Other tips to avoid riding off with the disc lock in place include using a disc lock warning cable and putting a reminder sticker on your top yoke.

    7. Chains, it’s preferable to use the lock to secure your machine to an immoveable object. In addition they should be used to make the bike immobile in its own right. Fitting snugly through the rear wheel and swingarm is ideal. Team it up with a disc lock at the front.
    8. Brake lever lock – One type of lock often overlooked, but which is almost as portable as a disc lock and can be a good supplement to other security devices, is the brake lever lock, which clamps the front brake lever fully on. Just try riding off with that on…

    9. Smartwater – A security marking system based on what they call a ‘forensic fingerprint’ – basically a solution containing minute particles marked with a unique code. The solution, while being virtually invisible to the naked eye, glows under UV light and is practically impossible to remove. A handy way to prove a bike is yours.

    10. Ultraviolet pen – Another cheap and quick way of protecting your bike is to mark all the main body panels, commonly with the bike’s registration number or your postcode, with ink only visible under ultraviolet light – although this is only a deterrent if your bike is labelled as being security marked.

    11. Datatag – The most commonly used and respected electronic security marking system. Involves both security etching components and inserting scannable microchips into your bike, whose details are then logged on to a central database. Reckon on around £60 for a kit.

    12. Security stickers – It sounds obvious but the biggest deterrent is making it obvious to potential thieves that your bike is fitted with various security devices – stickers saying ‘Warning – alarmed’ are a good thing, even if an alarm or suchlike isn’t actually fitted.

    ___________________________________________
    Source: Motorcycle News (11/30, AP)

    Promotional Rates

    QUESTION
    In designing our new ad campaign, we have to decide whether to offer a promotional rate or a discounted rate. But we are unsure if these two rates can be one and the same thing. What is the difference between these rates and if they are the both in a transaction, do we need two different disclosures for each one?
    ANSWER
    This is most certainly not a distinction without a difference! A “promotional rate,” in connection with a variable rate plan, is an APR that is not based on the index and margin that will be used to make rate adjustments under the plan, if that rate is less than a reasonably current APR that would be in effect under the index and margin that will be used to make rate adjustments under the plan. [12 CFR § 226.16(d)(6)(i)(A); 12 CFR Supplement 1 to Part 226 – Official Staff Commentary § 226.16(d)-5.i]
    A “Discounted rate” is an initialAPR that is not based on the index and margin used to make later rate adjustments in a variable rate plan. [12 CFR § 226.16(d)(2)]
    Therefore, a discounted rate encompasses only an initial rate, whereas a promotional rate encompasses a rate that could be in effect any time during the life of a credit transaction.

    Thus, a rate can be both a discounted rate and a promotional rate and subject to the disclosure requirements for both types of rates.

    Jonathan Foxx
    Managing Director
    Lenders Compliance Group

    The Sims 2 “Ultimate Collection” (Absolutely Everything) – Completely Free from EA

    When I first read about this from EA, that is, the possibility of getting absolutely every single expansion and “Stuff” add-ons completely free, I thought there must be some mistake… A little bit of reading at the EA website and I inferred from the phrasing that it was initially going to be offered as a free upgrade to current owners of The Sims 2 (Digital/Download or Disc-based versions); but I did a little more reading about it today and it seems that EA may be ‘planning on putting it “in everyone’s game list” eventually’… [in my opinion] most likely to arouse just-a-little-more interest in The Sims franchise for the upcoming “The Sims 4” release (now available for pre-order, slated to be released in September 2014).

    Therefore, now feeling fully-okay-mostly safe from the dark shadows of ‘releasing something that wasn’t meant to be distributed’, I share with you the Product Code that will allow you to be the proud owner of “The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection”, which includes all of the below:

    • The Sims 2
    • The Sims 2: University Expansion
    • The Sims 2: Nightlife Expansion
    • The Sims 2: Open for Business Expansion
    • The Sims 2: Pets Expansion
    • The Sims 2: Seasons Expansion
    • The Sims 2: Bon Voyage Expansion
    • The Sims 2: FreeTime Expansion
    • The Sims 2: Apartment Life Expansion
    • The Sims 2: Family Fun Stuff
    • The Sims 2: Glamour Life Stuff
    • The Sims 2: Happy Holiday Stuff
    • The Sims 2: Celebration! Stuff
    • The Sims 2: H&M Fashion Stuff
    • The Sims 2: Teen Style Stuff
    • The Sims 2: Kitchen & Bath Interior Design Stuff
    • The Sims 2: IKEA Home Stuff
    • The Sims 2: Mansion & Garden Stuff

    Wow, thanks EA!

    Note: this package release may be time-limited and EA has stated that they will no longer be updating The Sims 2 or it’s expansions, although they can still be contacted if you are having technical problems running the game

    Here are the steps to redeem the free Activation/Product Code:

    1. If you don’t already have it installed on your system, download and install the Origin game client from EA [it is similar to Steam and other game management interfaces] from http://origin.com/download
    2. Create an Origin account if you don’t already have one at https://connect.origin.com/create and log into the Origin client
    3. In the pull-down menus at the top of the Origin interface, click on “Origin” and then “Redeem Product Code…”
    4. In the white box [field] under Product Code, enter this:
      I-LOVE-THE-SIMS
      [hyphens may not be needed]
    5. You should then see a message that the activation was successful and you are the newest owner of  [oops, I forgot what year I’m in, I mean a temporally licensed user of]  The Sims 2, along with all possible Expansion Packs and Add-Ons
    6. Select the game in your My Games list in the Origin Client and install it by clicking the Download button that pops up [and if you’re like me, click OK to the Insufficient Disk Space message]
    7. That’s it! 

    Enjoy playing The Sims 2 once again, experiencing all that this version could possibly offer.

    Have fun with it and See You In The Games!

    Quick Tip: Team Fortress 2 – What To Do With Those Naughty and Nice Winter Crates (Winter 2013)

    By now, most of you have seen these Random Drops, Crates that are either “Nice” or “Naughty” – but, “How do you open them..”, you may have asked? Well, this post is just a quick note to answer this question I have already started seeing on game forums and Question/Answer websites. Answer: You Can’t Open Them (Yet)…

    Soon hopefully, keys should be available for purchase at the Mann Company Store (Steam/Valve/TF2), most likely for $2.49 USD, if keys and dropped crates combinations of the past are anything to go by [I assume they are dropping them now, to allow people to collect some before the keys go on sale – to sell more keys]. So, if you get these [I have already started getting them when playing, hence the screencaps], just wait a little bit longer, until the keys themselves go on sale. Then, if you want to open them, just purchase keys and unlock them! Soon™… (Remember, you will need one key for each crate)

    See You In The Games!

    Low flyer: Yamaha XS650 by Clutch Custom

    Low flyer: a cafe-styled XS650 from Clutch Customs of Paris.


    We’ve probably used every superlative in the book to describe the Clutch Custom style by now. Propriétaire Willie Knoll builds bikes that we just can’t tear our eyes away from.

    As we’ve come to expect from the Paris-based builder, this XS650 is low-key and refined. But it’s stacked with hand-made bits and pieces—details that M. Knoll prides himself on, but claims won’t be noticed at first glance.
    Low flyer: a cafe-styled XS650 from Clutch Customs of Paris.


    For starters, the XS650 now packs an extra wallop thanks to an engine rebuild with a 750cc big-bore kit. Helping the extra cubic centimeters do their job are a pair of Dell’Orto carbs, K&N filters and classy Spark mufflers.

    The front-end has been thoroughly re-engineered too, with a set of Yamaha SR500 forks mated to custom-made triple trees.
    Low flyer: a cafe-styled XS650 from Clutch Customs of Paris.


    The front drum brake is also from an SR500. Like the stock XS650 rear hub, it’s laced to a new 18” rim, wrapped in Avon Roadrider rubber.

    To clean things up visually, Willie’s cut the wiring right down. (Since the XS650 has a kick starter, he’s also eliminated the battery.) The stock fuel tank has been re-tunnelled to accommodate the remaining electrical components.
    Low flyer: a cafe-styled XS650 from Clutch Customs of Paris.


    The café-esque seat unit and cowl are hand-made, perched on top of a re-worked subframe.

    Other one-off bits include new clip-ons, foot pegs, exhaust and headlight brackets and a very neat gas cap. Minimalist lighting rounds off the package.
    Low flyer: a cafe-styled XS650 from Clutch Customs of Paris.


    Willie has kept the finishes on the XS650 raw and industrial—with just a splash of color on the fuel tank and headlight lens.

    We applaud Monsieur Knoll for his impeccable taste. And we’re intrigued to hear that what started out as a personal project is now for sale.
    Would it fit in your garage?
    First appeared in www.bikeexif.com
    Low flyer: a cafe-styled XS650 from Clutch Customs of Paris.

    Game Recording with MPEG-4: using H.264/AVC in Programs such as Dxtory, Bandicam and MSI’s Afterburner (Text-Only, Long Version)


    This article is a Text-Only version, showing how to use a few programs (one of them completely free) to utilize this efficient codec in game recording, using steps and settings that I personally found optimized performance and showing which ones slowed things down when recording. 
    For a video example of how to set the x264/AVC codec recordings to be editable in
    Sony’s Vegas or Adobe’s Premiere video editing applications, see my post about it here:
    http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2013/06/and-more-how-to-record-with.html

    The MPEG-4 video codec has been around for over a decade now. I remember recording TV shows to watch later on, on a system with an ATI All-In-Wonder videocard (back when videocards had only 8MB of VRAM!) and the joy of the changes I was seeing, going from compressing the shows in MPEG-2 format to MPEG-4 using either Quicktime or DivX (or it’s open-source competitor, XviD). Smaller file sizes and still decent quality? Awesome. Those were MPEG-4 Part 2 or ASP (Advanced Simple Profile) iterations of MPEG-4. Today, we are up to MPEG-4 Part 10 or AVC (Advanced Video Coding) and great times are to be had by all who record their video game adventures, as modern hardware and capturing apps allow not only for h.264/AVC to be used for video compression and archiving – it can also be used for small filesize ‘live’ game recordings and great retainment of detail, if desired.

    Dxtory, Bandicam and MSI Afterburner all provide the ability to utilize the various codecs installed on your system to record with (others do as well, I am merely choosing these more popular game recording apps as examples). To record with MPEG-4/h.264/AVC, it is simply a matter of installing that codec on your computer [if it isn’t already], then choosing it inside of whichever game recording app you prefer. The codec’s interface (GUI, Graphical User Interface) will allow you to change whatever settings you wish – but these settings will be quite different from what you may be used to, if you have done any h.264/AVC video compression in the past. Why?

    Because we are going to be balancing the settings – not just for retaining quality at a small file size (as you would like to when archiving a movie to keep on your computer) – but now also for recording speed. For instance, if we try to set things for high compression and attempt to keep detail at the same time (as we would for archiving a movie), it simply takes too long to process and compress the changes between frames ‘on-the-fly’ and save them into a file, when attempting to record game output. This would result in the game ‘lagging’ and dropping frames to try and keep up, as it falls behind dealing with analyzing and compressing and then writing the data, resulting in a video with ‘choppy’ playback as well. So, when recording our gameplay ‘live’, we must now consider the various settings and their affect on how fast we can put through the processing of frames and writing it to a file at the same time.

    I will be addressing most of the settings in the h.264/AVC codec, but not all of them. I will be concerned mainly with the ones that will slow down processing, so that things do not take too long and fall behind and cause ‘lag’, both in the game and the resulting video file itself. This differs from compressing for archiving our own movies, because instead of being only concerned with Quality (setting everything on ‘high’ and letting it take as long as it needs), we must now balance Speed of the compression as well, being now more concerned with each of these settings and how they can possibly slow things down when recording the ‘live’ game rendering. As is the nature of live recording, we want it to easily and quickly process the frames and save them to a file. I will explain how to do all of this.

    Recording with H.264/AVC

    “x.264” is a free/open-source utilization of the h.264/AVC codec (the XiWave GNU GPL MPEG-4 Codec). It is normally a command-line driven executable [when you run it, you type things in, to get it to do things], so what we want for game recording with these programs, is a version with an ‘interface’ so that we can just tell our apps what to do with the mouse and buttons/sliders and it translates it into commands for the codec. All we would have to do is choose a few settings and checkboxes (what most people are used to – a nice, easy, graphical user interface).


    Doing a search for ‘x264+windows’, there are a few places you can get the installer/setup program for x264 and Windows, here are the main ones:

    This is the “Official” Open-Source Video For Windows version of the x264 codec (Red Logo) at the time of this writing:
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/x264vfw/

    This official codec is what is covered in the “Easymode” sections of this article


    This is an “Unofficial” x264 Video For Windows Codec (Black Logo), at the time of this post, that allows for far more settings to be edited via checkboxes and pulldown menubars, but is more difficult to use (these two links are both the same thing):
    http://www.digital-digest.com/software/x264_VFW_Codec.html
    http://komisar.gin.by/index.html

    This unofficial codec is what is covered in the “Hardmode” sections of this article


    Basically, you can see that what we want is a “Video For Windows” version, which (thanks to all those great people that have worked on it over time!) has a nice, easy-to-use interface for picking the settings you want to use, without typing in a long line of commands every time. After installing the codec/interface into Windows, it’s just a matter of opening whatever game recording program you prefer and selecting it to use it.

    Here’s how to select it for usage in these three game recording programs:

    Recording with x264 and Bandicam

    • Once the codec is installed, run Bandicam and go to the Video tab and click on the Settings button
    • In here, under the Video category, next to Codec, click on the pull-down menu bar (with a little triangle at the end) and choose External Codec, which allows you to use other codecs installed in your system
    • Then, click on the three ellipsis (““) button and it will let you “Select external video codec”
    • Select the “x264vfw” H.264/MPEG-4 AVC codec from the list and click on the Configure button
    • This is the x264vfw configuration interface and in here are all the settings we will talk about next…

    Recording with x264 and Dxtory

    • Once everything is installed (Dxtory requires dotNET 4.0, a download link is on their main Download page), run Dxtory and click on the Movie settings button (which shows a little handy-cam with it’s lcd screen hanging out the side)
    • Under the Video Codec category, next to the word Codec, click the pull-down menu bar (with a little triangle at the end) and choose “x264vfw” H.264/MPEG-4 AVC Codec from the list and click on the little pen icon/button to the right, which opens the Configuration dialog box of the codec
    • This is the x264vfw configuration interface and in here are all the settings we will talk about next…

    Recording with x264 and MSI Afterburner

    • Once the codec is installed, run MSI Afterburner and click on the Settings button at the bottom 
    • In here, go to the Video Capture tab and under the Video Capture Properties category, click on the pull-down menu bar (with a little triangle at the end) and choose “VFW compression”, which allows you to use the other codecs installed in your system
    • Then, click on the three ellipsis (““) button and under Compressor, click on the pull-down menu bar (with the little black triangle at the end) and choose “x264vfw” H.264/AVC codec from the list and then click on the Configure button to the right
    • This is the x264vfw configuration interface and in here are all the settings we will talk about next…
    » Note:  To record with x264/h264/AVC and have it easily-importable and recognized properly in NLE’s (Non-Linear video Editing applications, such as Sony’s Vegas and Adobe’s Premiere lines of products [for example]) without having glitches or corruption or other problems, one setting for MPEG-4 codecs must be changed from the Default Setting right from the start. I created a video example of how to change this setting in Bandicam, Dxtory and MSI’s Afterburner and the post with that video can be found here at this blog:
    http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2013/06/and-more-how-to-record-with.html
    To understand some of the concepts and settings utilized by this codec (and helpful information to know for game recording and video compression in general), a quick word on Bitrate:

    [This section is highlighted in green headings for navigation, to assist you whether you are re-reading this article or you feel you know a lot about bitrate in video editing and wish to skip it]

    Bitrate (in Layman’s Terms)  /start

    When talking about game recording, bitrate is an expression of the amount of data we are using to create the recorded file [literally, how many bits of information we are using]. It is usually expressed as how much information per second we are telling the codec to use, to represent the frames that are getting pushed through, and save them to our output video file.
    The main thing to remember is that More Bitrate = Bigger Filesize

    For example, if we record using a 1MB per second (1MB/s) setting, then after 2 minutes of recording (120s), our recorded file size will be 120MB. At that bitrate, if we recorded for one hour straight (3600 seconds), our recorded file size will be 3600MB (3.6GB).
    If we record using a larger amount, let’s say 2MB per second (2MB/s), then after 2 minutes of recording (120s), our recorded file size will be 240MB. At that bitrate, if we recorded for one hour straight (3600 seconds), our recorded file size will be 7200MB (7.2GB).
    It’s that simple. The more bitrate we use, the bigger the recorded file will be. 

    For those used to video compression and editing, or even general users of multimedia, you may be more familiar with data rates in the realm of:

    MP3 (MPEG-3 audio) song bitrates such as: 128kbps, 192kbps, 320kbps
    PSP (PlayStation Portable) video bitrates such as: 768kbps, 1500kbps
    DVD (MPEG-2) bitrates such as: 8000kbps, 9800kbps
    Blu-Ray/HD bitrates such as: 16000kbps, 25000kbps, 50000kbps

    All of these are usually expressed as Megabits/Kilobits/bits over time (in seconds), hence the “ps” at the end.
    eg. 16 Mbps = 16,000 kbps = 16,000,000 bps (bits per second)

    ~bits (lower-case ‘b’) and Bytes (upper-case ‘B’) are different~

    There are 8 bits (lower-case ‘b’) in 1 Byte (upper-case ‘B’)
    8 bits in 1 Byte
    8000 bits = 8 kilobits (‘kilo’, which is 1000 Bytes) = 1 KiloByte
    8000 kilobits = 8 megabits (‘mega’, which is 1000 KiloBytes) = 1 MegaByte 

    For example, if you were rendering out a movie to upload to YouTube and you chose an output bitrate of “8000 kbps” in your editing/compression application, that is 8 Mbps (bits, lower-case ‘b’), which means 8 Megabits per second. Converting that into Bytes (upper-case ‘B’), means that video will be running at 1 MBps, which is 1 MegaByte per second (upper-case ‘b’). 

    At that bitrate (1MB/s), it is the same bitrate as our example above [just under where it says “More Bitrate = Bigger Filesize”] and it will take up roughly 60MB of space on your hard drive every minute of recording. Thus is the interaction between Bitrate and File Size and how to convert between the two. The higher the bitrate setting used, the bigger the output file size will be (the recording). 

    There is one other formula to remember: More Bitrate = Better Quality. This formula applies to almost everything digital: video (DVD/BluRay), audio (MP3/MP4), pictures (PNG/JPG), any multimedia that is digital. If you allow/use more bitrate, the picture/music/video is represented better [or to be more precise, closer to the original input] because there are literally more bits used to create the picture/sound/etc.

    Quick example – think of a square that is divided up into 9 sections. Now pretend it is trying to ‘represent’ a painting, any painting you can think of. With only 9 blocks of data available (each one can only be a certain color), then it would look like nothing but some colored blocks and barely look like the painting at all. Now, imagine a square divided up into 80 sections. Pretend it is trying to represent the same painting. Even though it will be ‘blocky’ still, if each section can be only one color, it will still look ‘more like the original’ than the 9-sectioned block, right? 

    That’s the interaction of bitrate and quality.

    Which means, for digital compression, it is essentially a ‘balancing act’ between Quality and File Size, with Bitrate being the tool to measure with. Do you want a high-quality output? Then turn up the bitrate and you’ll end up with a large file size. Do you want a small file size? Then lower the bitrate and you’ll get lower quality as well. That’s the essence of bitrate, in a nutshell.

    Bitrate (in Layman’s Terms)  /end



    The x264 Interface and Configuration in “Easymode”
    (The Official interface with red x264 logo)

    With the official version of the interface for using the x264 codec (“x264vfw”), there is only one screen, with pulldown bars to adjust most settings.
    The Basic Section

    To start with, under the Basic category, there is a Preset setting. This is a very handy setting, which makes many of the more obscure/hidden choices within this codec (there are dozens, behind the scenes) easy to configure. By clicking on the question mark near the bottom right corner (“?”), you can see the intimate details of the different Profiles and Presets that can be selected in these pull-down menu bars within this first “Basic” section of the interface.

    For game recording, we are more concerned with speed. We don’t want the codec to break out it’s magnifying glass and scrutinize each frame coming through in strict detail, because that would cause it to slow down, which will cause it to ‘lag’ behind, not only in the game, but in the recorded file itself as well (“choppy-ness”). 
    So, the first thing to do, when using this codec for ‘live’ game recording, is to change the Preset setting from it’s original default of Medium to “Ultrafast“. This is the fastest option for this setting.
    The other options, such as Superfast, can also be used, but be aware that the more you go down the selections available, the more options are being ‘turned on’ behind-the-scenes with this codec, and while some of them do help apparent quality of the video, they are geared more towards a slow, steady, long-term compression session (like when you might archive a video/movie) with high-quality settings and slow, scrutinizing analysis of the frames. While not a bad thing, for game recording, we don’t want that. We want it to save what we are seeing on the screen fast, to a file. We want speed. Feel free to take a look and learn about the various options the other Presets turn on [many of them are covered in this article further down], but for optimal speed, Ultrafast is the setting to use.
    The next pull-down set of options to choose from is Tuning. These are also a set of pre-selected options that, depending on which one you choose here, will enable or disable certain functions in the codec. These choices are helpful is easily fine-tuning the codec to compress a movie/video/clip of each certain type, as it enables options in the background that will help with efficient, detail-oriented compression of that certain type of material. 
    For game recording, again we are more concerned with speed. These options, while helpful in a slow, ‘leave-it-overnight’ compression session of clips or movies of ours we want to save; for live game recording we want to leave it at it’s default setting of “None“, so that the codec keeps it’s magnifying glass put away and doesn’t spend any extra time analyzing the frames coming through.
    There are two checkboxes below these first two pull-down menus and they are titled “Fast Decode” and “Zero Latency“:
    Fast Decode turns off a few options [behind the scenes] that help by reducing the processing ‘load’ of the video stream, such as CABAC and Deblocking [these are explained in more detail further within this article]. These are options that help keep some quality (especially at lower bitrates), but as the name proclaims [“Fast”], for optimal speed of recording we want this option “Checked“, to enable it (which will turn off these extra options for now).
    Zero Latency also turns off a few options behind the scenes, ones that increase compression time, such as B-frames [explained later in this post] and how far to ‘look ahead’ at frames coming in, for analysis. Since we want speed for recording our game footage and less analysis [remember, more analysis slows things down], we want this option “Checked” to turn off the extra options that are ‘behind-the-scenes’ with this setting.

    The rest of the settings in this Basic section of the interface need not be adjusted for game recording, but a good Wikipedia page, talking about the various Profiles and Levels and their capabilities can be found here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264/MPEG-4_AVC

    The Rate Control Section

    All of the below paragraphs between these red lines of text is the same for both the Official and the Unofficial versions of the x264vfw interface and is only duplicated for ease of reading their respective sections

    The main thing in here (and really the only thing to adjust for game recording in this tab) is the longest bar right in the middle, the main datarate control and compression decision to make, is all in that one bar. I cannot even make a suggestion on what to use [ok, I can actually], since it will partially depend on what type of game you are recording, your hardware, what kind of compression you are looking for and many other factors. I will attempt to simplify it however and give a suggestion at the end. (More importantly for game recording, there is one choice that is slightly faster than all the others).

    To begin, since we are going to be using x264 for game recording, we cannot use the Leeloo Dallas Multipass Options. Multiple passes (usually 2 or 3) when compressing/archiving video can greatly increase quality, but that means 2-3 times the analysis, double-checking and then further compression by the codec. Literally processing every frame twice (for 2-passes for example). That’s great when we want to keep a movie in a small, ‘as-good/high-as-we-can-get’ quality, forever. When recording games however, we want [one guess] speed. We can only accept “Single pass” as our option, because we just want the codec to see what frames are coming in, take a quick glance, and compress them into our output video file. One pass.
    Starting with ABR (Average BitRate), the “bitrate-based” setting, this setting allows you to punch in the average bitrate you want to record at and it attempts to stick with it (it will go lower, but try to never go higher than what you set here). This setting basically tells the codec, “Keep within this bitrate, I don’t care if the quality goes down”, because as the bitrate ceiling is reached, it will quickly degrade in quality, as more/high movement occurs on the screen/frame. It is good for keeping within a certain file size, if that is your desire, but it also causes a bit of ‘lag’ and is not seemingly optimized for ‘live’ capturing.
    CQP (Constant Quantizer Parameter) is a setting where you are basically telling the codec, “Keep this level of Quality”, and it will do it’s best to keep that level of quality for all frames/scenes. However, it will spend more time (and bitrate) on fast-motion/high-action scenes. This is good if you want to keep a movie visible clearly when a lot of things are going on, but it will also result in the higher usage of bitrate, which means larger file sizes. This may sound like a good thing for game recording (and for quality, it is), but the time spent analyzing the faster-motion scenes means that it is actually slowing down (in terms of the codec breaking out it’s magnifying glass and scrutinizing the frames that are passing by), which results in ‘lag’, both in the game and in the recorded video file itself (“choppiness” on playback).
    Lossless should attempt to lose no quality, processing only very little and passing all of that nice detail directly to the recorded video output. While sounding good in theory, in practice the utilization of ‘lossless’ in x264 must be geared towards slow, analyzed video compression and not ‘as fast as we can get to avoid lag’ “live” game recording, because the result of this setting [at this time] is actually a lossy, compressed (it does not seem to go far beyond 100,000kbps), low bitrate (compared to ‘true loss-less compression’ which is much higher) capture. It does look decent, but it is also very demanding on the system and causes a large framerate drop for the level of detail that should be coming out of it [and doesn’t]. This codec does not seem to be optimized for lossless recording at this time and I do not suggest using the Lossless setting here.
    CRF (Constant Rate Factor) is sort of a combination of ABR and CQP. At any given rate factor, a certain bitrate is maintained, and when the motion on the screen goes very high and the bitrate gets too high to represent what is occurring in the frame (or hits the ‘ceiling’ bitrate that it is restricted to, which can be set), then the quality begins to suffer, as the codec ramps quality down and compresses the fast-moving (“not as easy for the human eye to see”) material, until things settle down on the screen and there is slower motion (such as a person walking). Then the quality ramps back up (the bitrate staying with the specified parameters) to keep the apparent quality high to the human eye. This is how CRF is supposed to work, and it seems to do a good job of that. 
    Game recording with CRF isn’t as cut-and-dry as slow, long-term video compression/archiving with CRF, where it has time to figure out how to compress the fast/blurry scenes and make the slower/clearer scenes look better and change the bitrate/quantization respectively. Quantization can be thought of as ‘apparent spoilage’ of the material, where a certain amount isn’t even noticeable to most humans, and in some fast-moving-high-action scenes, it is even preferable to some eyes. Low bitrate and/or high quantization would both result in loss of detail and ‘blurring’ or ‘smoothing’ of video most of the time and can result in compression artifacts such as Macroblocks and Gibbs Effects (“mosquito noise”), as the codec tries to decide ‘what to keep’ and ‘what to lose’ (lossy compression). With CRF, it usually will try to keep a slow-moving scene (someone walking, people talking) detailed, without much quantizing (‘spoilage’), so that it looks good. It will take high-motion (fast action, fast changing) scenes and quantize them more (smoothing, blurring, ‘spoiling’) since the human eye won’t notice it as much on fast-motion, already-slightly-blurred changes on the screen.
    To summarize the differences between the types of data rate controls (the choices in this pulldown bar):
    CQP is like stating, “Keep this quality, I don’t care how big the bitrate/file gets” and ABR is like stating, “Keep this bitrate/filesize, I don’t care how crappy you have to make the video look to stay within that”, CRF is more like stating, “Try to keep this bitrate, but change it a little as you need (within a certain amount) and make the video look slightly crappy if you need to as well, but don’t let either one get too out of wack”. As CRF seemed to also be the one with the least amount of effect of the system in the form of ‘lag’ [only slightly less than the other ones in testing], being so highly configurable (compared to the other choices, where you can state a bitrate to stay within and it adjusts itself), I suggest using CRF for your x264/AVC game capturing.

    Some Data / Bitrates seen with CRF

    Since it looks like we are going to be sticking with CRF as our main datarate control factor [it performs slightly better than the other choices in tests], here’s an example of some bitrates that can result from using it (in kilobits per second):

    Recorded game: Hitman: Absolution Benchmark [grainy, panning, high and low motion areas]
    Recorded codec: H.264/AVC (MPEG-4 Part 10) using the x264vfw interface
    Recorded settings [some]: No Deblocking, No Max Bitrate, No CABAC, adjusting only CRF

    CRF 51  ~1200 kbps (lowest possible quality setting for CRF)
    CRF 42  ~1600 kbps
    CRF 32  ~6000 kbps
    CRF 29  ~8500 kbps
    CRF 26  ~14000 kbps
    CRF 23  ~22000 kbps (codec default setting for CRF)
    CRF 22  ~23000 kbps
    CRF 21  ~32000 kbps
    CRF 18  ~45000 kbps
    CRF 15  ~64000 kbps
    CRF 13  ~79000 kbps
    CRF 10  ~101,000 kbps
    CRF 5    ~119,000 kbps
    CRF 1    ~119,000 kbps (highest possible quality setting for CRF)

    As you can see, the higher the CRF, the lower the bitrate, so the lower the recorded file size will be (but also the lower the apparent quality). If you desire a higher-quality recording, then a lower CRF is what you want (even with a very low CRF, the bitrate is nowhere near as high as say, a FRAPS or YV12 recording (which can both easily be over 500,000 kbps), but that is the nature of the codec as it tries to slightly compress everything that passes through it.

    It can also be seen, that is it is not a strict/hard-and-fast rule of evenly-spaced steps, when it comes to the CRF setting and Bitrate. It cannot be easily calculated that “two steps up in CRF equals this much more bitrate”. That is partially the nature of the compression and partially what occurs using CRF as a datarate control. When there is more motion on the screen and as it changes, the datarate will change as well, to try to keep within certain bitrate/quality boundaries and still accurately represent what is occurring on the screen/in the frames. With almost any form of compression/codec, only if the recording was using a completely fixed bitrate, or recording a static picture/view, would it be easy to calculate the adjustments required for a certain bitrate change. It is built into the codecs to adjust themselves as needed.

    What CRF setting to use

    So, what CRF setting to use? The general rule is: the lower the CRF number, the more bitrate/quality you are allowing it to use, but the bigger the recorded file size will be.

    The choice is somewhat objective, as CRF18 may look good to me to record a first-person-shooter game with (the default is CRF23), but you may not like how it looks and want to use CRF10 to keep more details that you want to see.
    Someone may not like the compression artifacts they can see when recording Minecraft using CRF18 and want to turn it up to CRF15 so that it is crisper, with less ‘mosquito noise’ around the edges or corruption that they can see; but you may think it looks good enough at the default of CRF23 and leave it there like someone else may do. You see?
    Those are two very different types of video/games mind you, one is dark and grainy and the other is smooth, with hard edges, like animation; but you get the point. It can vary, not only person to person, but also game to game. A few short tests is all it will take however, and you quickly will find a CRF setting that you are happy to record with. You’ll find your own balance between, what will essentially be, these considerations:

    The higher the bitrate (lower CRF number) the higher the quality and file size will be
    The lower the bitrate (higher CRF number) the lower the quality and file size will be

    You will eventually decide, with just a couple tests, what is ‘good enough’ quality for your eyes/uploading, and what CRF to use on that game (remember the ‘balancing act’ of bitrate vs quality mentioned at the beginning?). You will also find that the quality recorded isn’t even kept, after compressing the final/edited video to upload at a video sharing site somewhere.

    All of the above paragraphs between these red lines of text is the same for both the Official and the Unofficial versions of the x264vfw interface and is only duplicated for ease of reading their respective sections

    That’s about it for the nice-and-easy one-panel official graphical interface for the x264vfw H.264/AVC codec. Just a few small changes and a decision of what quality/bitrate you would like to use and it is all ready  for you to record with whatever game recording program you prefer. Have fun with it!

    What follows below, is the unofficial, more detailed, three-tabbed version of the x264vfw H.264/AVC codec interface. If this version is not installed on your system, or you do not care to use the more complicated version (you definitely don’t have to), then please skip down to the section called 
    “Slash-whew-sweating-emoticon”. No version is better than the other, by the way, they both utilize the same codec, one just gives you more options to set [and I happened to install it by accident when learning about recording with the x264 codec in the beginning], that’s all.

    The x264 Interface and Configuration in “Hardmode”
    (The Unofficial interface with black x264 logo)

    There are three main tabs in this version of the x264 Video For Windows interface: 
    Main
    Analysis and Encoding
    Rate Control and Other
    Each Tab has many different settings. We will talk about most of them – but not all of them – we are mainly concerned with the ones that will affect game capturing. I am going to be going through the Tabs in reverse order. This will help to explain the concepts in a more logical order [believe it or not].

    Rate Control & Other Tab

    In the ‘Rate Control and Other’ Tab, our main attention need only be on the VBV bitrate/buffer settings in the first Rate Control area. The other settings can be tweaked, but this need be the only one to change – when concerned only with game capturing – as it can dictate the final output filesize of our recording. 
    Why all that math and talk about bitrate above? Because of the very first setting we are going to cover, part of the Rate Control section:

    The very first setting in this third tab of the x264vfw interface is something called “VBV max bitrate” and it is expressed in “kbit/s”. Yay, we just learned about that! It means that the value typed in here will be accepted as “kilobits per second”.

    What does the “VBV” mean? It stands for “Video Buffering Verifier” and this setting will let us state the overall maximum bitrate we want to restrict the video recording to be, so that it does not go over it. 
    Why would we want to do that? Remember that the amount of bitrate (per second) that we are using to record with affects the output video file size. If it is a large amount, the file size will be bigger. If we wanted to restrict the recorded output file size and keep it smaller, we could put an amount in here and it will do it’s best to keep within that amount, allowing us to control how much bitrate it uses to record with (and thus control how big the game recording output will be).
    So, to use our example just above, if we wanted to restrict the bitrate of the game recording output to be only 1MB/s (1 MegaBytes per second), what do we do? 
    That’s right, we convert it to lower-case (small-‘b’) bits, first:
    We want 1 MegaByte per second of a bitrate
    1 MegaByte is 1000 KiloBytes
    since 1 Byte = 8 bits
    then 1000 KiloBytes = 8000 kilobits
    so to restrict the maximum bitrate allowed for our capture to 1MB/s (taking up 60MB of drive space per minute of recording) we would put “8000” in the ‘VBV max bitrate’ box.
    This box then, gives some control over how much diskspace you want to devote to the game recording file output. If you do not want to restrict the bitrate, do not put anything in these first two boxes on this third tab. 
    If you do want to set a restriction here on the bitrate, set a “buffer size” as well (the box just below the first one). This ‘buffer size’ gives a sliding-window-view of how much the codec will keep track of what is going through and ‘watch’ to make sure that it stays below the amount in the box above (the ‘max bitrate’ box). It is used more for compressing for portable devices (which have less RAM and are not able to buffer/keep track of a large amount at a time and therefore must have a restricted amount set here).  
    For our purposes – game recording – remember that we must be more concerned with speed (to reduce lag), so in this box, we cannot put a very large amount. Why? Because the larger the buffer, the more that the codec will try to ‘store up’ in RAM, in order to ‘watch it’ (process it) and keep track of how big the bitrate gets, in order to keep our restriction of the ‘max bitrate’ box on it. So, a smaller amount such as “2000” up to maybe “4000” in this ‘buffer size’ box is a good amount. The overall buffer size also allows room for the video to ‘go over slightly and come back down to within’ the amount we set, but the larger the amount is, the more data will be held behind for processing that will be done on the game recording and the slower everything will get – and we don’t want that – we want as close to ‘Lag Free’ recording as we can get. A “0” then, would be the optimal amount to put in here, when speed is a concern; but then we would not be able to set a maximum bitrate… more on this later in the article…
    That’s all we will adjust on the Rate Control & Other tab.
    Analysis & Encoding Tab
    Here’s where we will do the most adjusting, as these settings in here are the ones with the most impact on speed and game recording.
    In the Analysis section, the first few adjustments are checkboxes concerning Partitions. Partitions are exactly what they sound like: it is how much the codec will divide up the screen, into sections, so that it can analyze each section and look at what is changing, decide how to compress it, how much to compress it, and so on. For game recording, remember we are more concerned with speed, than messing with how the codec is going to scrutinize the screen, so we are going to uncheck everything in the Partitions sections. Really. We are also going to uncheck the Adaptive DCT setting (which will deselect/lock out/grey out some of the checkboxes for us).
    For game recording, we are going to leave a checkmark in the “Fast P-skip” setting.

    Frame Types (in Layman’s Terms)  /start

    There are three main types of frames in video encoding:
    I-type frames
    P-type frames
    B-type frames

    I-frames are ‘Intra-coded Frames’, sometimes called Information Frames, because they hold the most information in a ‘group of frames’ (which is what makes up a video) and therefore I-frames take up the most space (as far as the amount of space it will take up on your hard drive). They also look the best as well, as they usually use a higher bitrate (which is why they take up the more space). They are utilized by the codec to indicate a large change in what is going on in the video/on the screen, like a sort of ‘reset’. They can usually be identified by the screen being ‘cleared up’ of blocks/glitches from video compression, as the compressed video is played back. 

    For instance, if you are running down a dark hallway and turn a corner and there is an explosion, in order to more accurately represent that large change in color and motion in the game recording, the codec will most likely decide to insert at least one I-frame and use a larger amount of data to keep more detail as it tries to represent all of the huge changes going on, on the screen and in the frames.

    I-frames also serve some other purposes: the ‘intra-coded’ means that they are not dependent on other frames around it in the video  [which is a collection of frames], as they hold all the information needed to represent the frame all within itself [remember ‘inter-murals’ in school involved other schools and ‘intra-murals’ was contained all within your own school, this is the same thing]. 

    They also are usually used as Keyframes. Since I-frames contain all the data need to represent the entire frame, on it’s own, video applications can use it as a ‘starting point’ or ‘reference point’ (“keying off of it”) and allow for more compatible cutting/editing on them and use them to start ‘seeking’ from, when editing a video. The two main things to remember about I-frames/Keyframes [the same thing] is that (1) I-frames can stand alone all by themselves, as they have all the information needed to display an image/frame, and (2) I-frames allow video editing programs [like Sony’s VegasVideo/MovieStudio/Pro and Adobe’s Premiere/Pro] to ‘reset’ and show you where you are starting to edit from – if there are a large number of frames between these I-frames (“keyframes”), it will take longer for the program to read between all of them and then show/allow you to start editing from where you have selected in the video editing program (it will take longer overall to edit by hand as the program starts and stops and you have to wait while editing).  

    MJPEG game recordings are made up entirely of I-frames, as every frame in the captured video is it’s own JPEG compressed picture and it is the most editing-friendly and compatible codec to capture with, no matter what game capturing program you use. In fact, most video editors can read MJPEG without installing any other codecs on your system 

    P-frames are called ‘Predicted Frames’. They hold far less information in a group of frames (video) and take up far less space. They actually only hold the differences from the Previous I-frame, that is, they only keep track of the changes on the screen/what has changed on the screen since the last I-frame, which is why they are far smaller than I-frames. 

    For instance, if you are playing a character in a game and you are just standing at the mailbox reading an in-game message, there isn’t much changing on the screen at all. Perhaps on the side of the mail window, there is only someone running by and that is all that is happening on the screen, nothing else is moving at all. P-frames will only keep track of the movement that person running by and not keep track of the mail message or anything else going on in the frame (things that aren’t moving) and it will save only those changes to the game recorded file as P-frames. Hence, they can indeed take up a much smaller amount of space in a game recording, since they are only recording the things that are changing on the screen.

    B-frames are ‘Bi-directional Frames’ (called ‘Bi-Predictive Frames’). They hold even less information than P-frames, as they are only keeping track of the differences between any frame before or after itself (even using P-frames that are around it and not needing an entire I-frame to start from). This means they are only only keeping track of very small changes (only one frame ahead or behind) and can therefore be extremely small and take up very little space in a video file. B-frames are one of the reasons why we can archive/compress movies in such small file sizes – only the differences of what is going on, on the screen/in the frames, is being kept track of. Both P and B frames help to save a ton of space when it comes to video compression.

    Frame Types (in Layman’s Terms)  /end

    Why all that talk about the different types of frames in a group of frames (video)? Because now we can easily understand the next few settings in the configuration window. 
    Fast P-skip is a setting that allows the codec to look at P-frames and decide if there are enough changes to analyze it further, or ‘skip’ over them and just process them as they are. This is decided on by the codec when it looks at some other settings on this tab (such as the “ME” settings) but for the most part, it helps speed – our main concern with game recording – more than it helps things to ‘look good’, so we will leave a checkmark in it, as we briefly stated above.
    Max frame refs and Mixed refs are talking about Reference Frames and how many to use in a group of pictures/frames. When encoding, a codec can use frames in front (P-frames) or in front and behind (B-frames) of the current frame it is working with, to keep tracks of what has changed between frames. When encoding for movies, we want as many as possible (or as many as the codec decides to put in) in order have things keep a lot of detail wherever it is needed, especially for scene changes; but for game recording, we want things to run faster (so that the game capture does not lag the game or cause lag within the recorded file (“choppy-ness” in playback), so we actually want the codec to use as little number of Reference Frames as possible.
    Remember, every time the codec has to ‘think’ or analyze the frames more, it will slow down to break out it’s magnifying glass and scrutinize, so what we want for this setting is the lowest (one) Reference Frame (put a “1” in the Max frame refs box) so it doesn’t have to do much more work than just looking quickly one frame ahead or behind, when when figuring out what has changed. 
    Mixed reference frames allow the codec to compress frames based on changes in frames that are also being referenced by other frames [if you can follow that]. Again, the codec is going to have to slow down and take a look, and for game recording, we want things to stay lean and mean (fast), so uncheck this bad boy (if you make the Max frame refs a “1”, it will be disabled anyway, since it does not have enough frames to deal with to look around at them anyway).
    The next few settings down that all say “ME” refer to Motion Estimation. This is the process of keeping track of where things are moving on the screen and how to deal with compressing the changes it is keeping track of. For game recording, we want the codec to analyze as little as possible (so it doesn’t lag behind what is going on, on the screen) so we must choose the lowest settings for all of the “ME” options. 
    That means “Diamond” analysis as the ME algorithm (pulldown menu choice), an ME range of the smallest we can choose from (“4”) and the lowest amount of Subpixel ME refinement we can have (“0” or no subpixel refinement). Remember, we want the codec to just save what is happening on the screen and analyze as little as possible, so it doesn’t fall behind.
    With the choices above, Chroma ME and the Psycho-visual Rate Distortion Optimization strength will be locked out/not applicable, which is good for game capturing, as it scrutinizes the frames that are coming from the game even less.
    The next couple settings, in the middle column of the tab, that say GOP in them, are talking about the size of the Group Of Pictures we want in our capture. If you can recall the things we have already said about how a codec decides to compress frames, it looks to frames ahead and behind at times, looking at the differences between them, and then decides how to compress the frames based on what it finds (and the settings we set). For movie compression, we want a large number, so that the codec mainly keeps track of the differences only between frames, as much as it can, and a large GOP size allows it a lot of ‘room to move’ and look around. For game capturing, we don’t want it to be quite as big, as the more frames on it’s plate it has to deal with, the more it will slow down and take time to decide what to do with them. 

    There is also a chance that some video editing applications will not like the large (or any) Groups Of Pictures and may see the video stream as corrupted or give wierd artifacts/effects when it plays it back. This is one reason why using MJPEG as a game recording codec is suggested often, as it’s built-in GOP is “1”, as evey frame is it’s own self-contained ‘group’ and no editing app has to mess with it or over-analyze it. It is the most compatible, but you can use any codec you wish, but you may have to change the codec’s Keyframes or GOP to “1” for compatibility [more on this in future articles!]


    Hence, we will set a nice low number [I personally used “50” around the time of this post]. Be aware that if the number is a multiple of the framerate you are recording in, Videophiles may notice the screen ‘shifting’ or having other odd effects ‘in time with’ the framerate (eg. if recording at 60fps and the GOP size is 60, some people notice the screen ‘correcting’ or ‘shifting’ or ‘flickering’ every second, as it ends the group or frames and starts a new one every second).
    You can use “1”, which will make the codec act like MJPEG in a way, but then the codec will not have any room to analyze/compare/compress anything, and the resulting file will require much more bitrate to keep detail (to accurately represent what is going on in each frame)… more on that later in this article…
    Weighted P-frames and Max consecutive B-frames is yet more analysis for the codec to do (especially B-frames, which remember, is a frame that ‘looks both ways’ for changes to frames in front and behind it, therefore can slow down recording a lot). For game capturing, we gots’ta keep setting things for speed and not letting the codec analyze too much. Change the Weighted P-frames to “None” (via a pull down bar) and the B-frames to “0” if they aren’t already. This is effectively telling the codec “you ain’t got time fo’ B-framez” so the rest of the settings that say “B-frames” should be locked/greyed out after that.
    [In tests, enabling B-frames would actually crash the x264vfw app]
    Under the Encoding section, the last column of this tab, the first section has to do with Deblocking
    Deblocking is a way to try and ‘hide’ areas where the codec has cut out detail or ‘let go of data’ (lossy) in attempts to conform to the other settings in the codec and/or compress the frames highly. I’m sure almost everyone has seen Compression Artifacts like macroblocks or Gibbs Effects (mosquito noise) in high/over-compressed video and video streams. It’s not very pretty and turning on the Deblocking filter is one way of masking these artifacts, so that the video overall looks nicer to the human eye. 
    The problem with Deblocking is that the codec will smooth things out, when trying to hide artifacts (especially ones that occur with lower bitrates/quality). It can be forced to keep detail with negative values (useful for movies/games with film grain), but overall it still takes more compression time to use, as the codec stops and analyzes the frames, looking for what to Deblock. So, for game recording for the most part, for optimum speed, Deblocking should be disabled, that is, “No Checkmark” in the box for In-loop deblocking filter (which will disable the two Deblocking settings below it).

    [In my own trials/experiments, I found that a low amount of deblocking (as in “1”) for these two recording settings is acceptable and helps to hide some otherwise icky-looking compression effects that occur at lower bitrates (bitrate control is covered more in the next section), but for optimum speed (it is not needed at higher bitrates anyway) and especially for older/less powerful systems, turning deblocking off will always speed things up.]
    CABAC is extra analysis that can really make a difference in compressing video. Some mobile players cannot even use it though, as it requires more processing power. The optimal setting for this, as it is extra analysis/processing being done – for game recording – would be “Off” (unchecked).

     [I have successfully done many recordings with CABAC on, as it seems to have only a slight effect on recording ‘lag’ on my system; but for optimum speed/less lag when recording (and at a slight loss for keeping some quality), it should be disabled.. for speed. ]

    The only other thing to adjust in this tab, when game recording, is the Trellis setting. Trellis is a way of analyzing and attempting to keep certain detail when compressing, especially at lower bitrates, but as many times already mentioned, we want speed for game recording, so set the Trellis analysis to “Off” (via a pulldown bar). 

    Main Tab

    All of the below paragraphs between these red lines of text is the same for both the Official and the Unofficial versions of the x264vfw interface and is only duplicated for ease of reading their respective sections

    The main thing in here (and really the only thing to adjust for game recording in this tab) is the longest bar right in the middle, the main datarate control and compression decision make, is all in that one bar. I cannot even make a suggestion on what to use [ok, I can actually], since it will partially depend on what type of game you are recording, your hardware, what kind of compression you are looking for and many other factors. I will attempt to simplify it however and give a suggestion at the end. (More importantly for game recording, there is one choice that is slightly faster than all the others).

    To begin, since we are going to be using x264 for game recording, we cannot use the Leeloo Dallas Multipass Options. Multiple passes (usually 2 or 3) when compressing/archiving video can greatly increase quality, but that means twice the analysis, double-checking and then further compression by the codec. Literally processing every frame twice (for 2-passes). That’s great when we want to keep a movie in a small, ‘as-good/high-as-we-can-get’ quality, forever. When recording games however, we want [one guess] speed [I just realized this whole article can be it’s own drinking game]. We can only accept “Single pass” as our option, because we just want the codec to see what frames are coming in, take a quick glance, and compress them into our output video file. One pass.
    Starting with ABR (Average BitRate), the “bitrate-based” setting, this setting allows you to punch in the average bitrate you want to record at and it attempts to stick with it (it will go lower, but try to never go higher than what you set here). This setting basically tells the codec, “Keep within this bitrate, I don’t care if the quality goes down”, because as the bitrate ceiling is reached, it will quickly degrade in quality, as more/high movement occurs on the screen/frame. It is good for keeping within a certain file size, if that is your desire, but it also causes a bit of ‘lag’ and is not seemingly optimized for ‘live’ capturing.
    CQP (Constant Quantizer Parameter) is a setting where you are basically telling the codec, “Keep this level of Quality”, and it will do it’s best to keep that level of quality for all frames/scenes. However, it will spend more time (and bitrate) on fast-motion/high-action scenes. This is good if you want to keep a movie visible clearly when a lot of things are going on [I hate watching a low-quality video stream online and it goes absolutely-stupid blurry at high-motion scenes just because there are many things happening on the screen], but it will also result in the higher usage of bitrate, which means larger file sizes. This may sound like a good thing for game recording (and for quality, it is), but the time spend analyzing the faster-motion scenes means that it is actually slowing down (in terms of the codec breaking out it’s magnifying glass and scrutinizing the frames that are passing by), which results in ‘lag’, both in the game and in the recorded video file itself (“choppiness” on playback).
    Lossless should attempt to lose no quality, processing only very little and passing all of that nice detail directly to the recorded video output. While sounding good in theory, in practice the utilization of ‘lossless’ in x264 must be geared towards slow, analyzed video compression and not ‘as fast as we can get to avoid lag’ “live” game recording. The result is actually a lossy, compressed (it does not seem to go far beyond 100,000kbps), low bitrate (compared to ‘true loss-less compression’) capture. It does look decent, but it is also very demanding on the system and causes a large framerate drop for the level of detail that should be coming out of it (and doesn’t). This codec does not seem to be optimized for lossless recording at this time and I do not suggest using the Lossless setting here.
    CRF (Constant Rate Factor) is sort of a combination of ABR and CQP. At any given rate factor, a certain bitrate is maintained, and when the motion on the screen goes very high and the bitrate gets too high to represent what is occurring in the frame (or hits the ‘ceiling’ bitrate that it is restricted to, which can be set), then the quality begins to suffer, as the codec ramps it down and compresses the fast-moving (“not as easy for the human eye to see”) material, until things settle down on the screen and there is slower motion (such as a person walking). Then the quality ramps back up (the bitrate staying with the specified parameters) to keep the apparent quality high to the human eye. This is how CRF is supposed to work, and it seems to do a good job of that. 
    Game recording with CRF isn’t as cut-and-dry as slow, long-term video compression with CRF, where it has time to figure out how to compress the fast/blurry scenes and make the slower/clearer scenes look better and change the bitrate/quantization respectively. Quantization can be thought of as ‘apparent spoilage’ of the material, where a certain amount isn’t even noticeable to most humans, and in some fast-moving-high-action scenes, it is even preferable to some eyes. Low bitrate and/or high quantization would both result in loss of detail and ‘blurring’ or ‘smoothing’ of video most of the time and can result in compression artifacts such as Macroblocks and Gibbs Effects (“mosquito noise”), as the codec tries to decide ‘what to keep’ and ‘what to lose’ (lossy compression). With CRF, it usually will try to keep a slow-moving scene (someone walking, people talking) detailed, without much quantizing (‘spoilage’), so that it looks good. It will take high-motion (fast action, fast changing) scenes and quantize them more (smoothing, blurring, ‘spoiling’) since the human eye won’t notice it as much on fast-motion, already-slightly-blurred changes on the screen.
    To summarize the differences between the types of data rate controls (the choices in this pulldown bar):
    CQP is like stating, “Keep this quality, I don’t care how big the bitrate/file gets” and ABR is like stating, “Keep this bitrate/filesize, I don’t care how crappy you have to make the video look to stay within that”, CRF is more like stating, “Try to keep this bitrate, but change it a little as you need (within a certain amount) and make the video look slightly crappy if you need to as well, but don’t let either one get too out of wack”. As CRF seemed to also be the one with the least amount of effect of the system in the form of ‘lag’ [only slightly less than the other ones in testing], being so highly configurable (compared to the other choices, where you can state a bitrate to stay within and it adjusts itself), I suggest using CRF for your x264/AVC game capturing.

    Some Data / Bitrates seen with CRF

    Since it looks like we are going to be sticking with CRF as our main datarate control factor [it performs slightly better than the other choices in tests], here’s an example of some bitrates that can result from using it (in kilobits per second):

    Recorded game: Hitman: Absolution Benchmark [grainy, panning, high and low motion areas]
    Recorded codec: H.264/AVC (MPEG-4 Part 10) using the x264vfw interface
    Recorded settings [some]: No Deblocking, No Max Bitrate, No CABAC, adjusting only CRF

    CRF 51  ~1200 kbps (lowest possible quality setting for CRF)
    CRF 42  ~1600 kbps
    CRF 32  ~6000 kbps
    CRF 29  ~8500 kbps
    CRF 26  ~14000 kbps
    CRF 23  ~22000 kbps (codec default setting for CRF)
    CRF 22  ~23000 kbps
    CRF 21  ~32000 kbps
    CRF 18  ~45000 kbps
    CRF 15  ~64000 kbps
    CRF 13  ~79000 kbps
    CRF 10  ~101,000 kbps
    CRF 5    ~119,000 kbps
    CRF 1    ~119,000 kbps (highest possible quality setting for CRF)

    As you can see, the higher the CRF, the lower the bitrate, so the lower the recorded file size will be (but also the lower the apparent quality). If you desire a higher-quality recording, then a lower CRF is what you want (even with a very low CRF, the bitrate is nowhere near as high as say, a FRAPS or YV12 recording (which can both easily be over 500,000 kbps), but that is the nature of the codec as it tries to slightly compress everything that passes through it.

    It can also be seen, that is it is not a strict/hard-and-fast rule of evenly-spaced steps, when it comes to the CRF setting and Bitrate. It cannot be easily calculated that “two steps up in CRF equals this much more bitrate”. That is partially the nature of the compression and partially what occurs using CRF as a datarate control. When there is more motion on the screen and as it changes, the datarate will change as well, to try to keep within certain bitrate/quality boundaries and still accurately represent what is occurring on the screen/in the frames. With almost any form of compression/codec, only if the recording was using a completely fixed bitrate, or recording a static picture/view, would it be easy to calculate the adjustments required for a certain bitrate change. It is built into the codecs to adjust themselves as needed.

    What CRF setting to use

    So, what CRF setting to use? The general rule is: the lower the CRF number, the more bitrate/quality you are allowing it to use, but the bigger the recorded file size will be.

    The choice is somewhat objective, as CRF18 may look good to me to record a first-person-shooter game with (the default is CRF23), but you may not like how it looks and want to use CRF10 to keep more details that you want to see.
    Someone may not like the compression artifacts they can see when recording Minecraft using CRF18 and want to turn it up to CRF15 so that it is crisper, with less ‘mosquito noise’ around the edges or corruption that they can see; but you may think it looks good enough at the default of CRF23 and leave it there like someone else may do. You see?
    Those are two very different types of video/games mind you, one is dark and grainy and the other is smooth, with hard edges, like animation; but you get the point. It can vary, not only person to person, but also game to game. A few short tests is all it will take however, and you quickly will find a CRF setting that you are happy to record with. You’ll find your own balance between, what will essentially be, these considerations:

    The higher the bitrate (lower CRF number) the higher the quality and file size will be
    The lower the bitrate (higher CRF number) the lower the quality and file size will be

    You will eventually decide, with just a couple tests, what is ‘good enough’ quality for your eyes/uploading, and what CRF to use on that game (remember the ‘balancing act’ of bitrate vs quality mentioned at the beginning?). You will also find that the quality recorded isn’t even kept, after compressing the final/edited video to upload at a video sharing site somewhere.

    All of the above paragraphs between these red lines of text is the same for both the Official and the Unofficial versions of the x264vfw interface and is only duplicated for ease of reading their respective sections

    Slash-whew-sweating-emoticon

    That was a lot to take in at once – but you made it through – and now you are set to record using H.264/AVC, whether you prefer Dxtory, Bandicam or use the completely free-to-use Afterburner from MSI. You are also now knowledgeable in both the Official and an Unofficial version of the x264 Video For Windows graphical way of setting up the codec, to change the settings.

    Other than the Rate Control setting above (CRF) which you can adjust and set how you want it, the rest of the settings I have personally tested and found which ones allow for the faster recording performance and which ones negatively affect the speed of recording, utilizing the x264vfw interface (which these programs use to record in H.264/AVC). Turning off/down the ones I have stated throughout the article should give you the fastest/closest to ‘lag-free’ recording you can get with this codec, while still taking advantage of it’s compression capability. [My own Personal Notes/Opinions/Settings are below]

    Please note that if your system is older or not as capable (perhaps you have a notebook/laptop which has less capability than a full desktop system with it’s own dedicated videocard and soundcard), you may have to do things like lower the recording resolution (or the resolution you are playing at in the game), increase the CRF number (so that it uses slightly less system resources to process the recording and will then use less bitrate and less disk space).

    There are many things that can be done to help with speed, make for smoother recording, less lag, etc.
    Here is a link to an article I wrote earlier on this blog, with general Tips to help with game recording:
    http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2012/05/tips-for-game-recording-currently-text.html
    No matter what game you play or what program you are using to record, these Tips will help you overall, with trying to record your games.

    Lastly, please note dear reader, that I am not saying “This codec is the best one to record with” or “use this one only”. I am merely showing that it is possible or how to tweak it for quality or file size, as to your own personal tastes. There are many codecs out there to choose from when game recording and although some are more apt for certain types of games than others, overall it is your own choice to do with as you will. 

    As always, do some of your own testing, see what works the best for you on your system and get things looking exactly how you want them to look – and have fun with it!


    Personal Short Version/Opinion
    and 
    Settings I use:

    H.264/AVC (MPEG-4 Part 10), is not normally a recommended codec to record with, for most people. It does not have the capability of super-high-almost-what-you-see-is-what-you-get quality that other codecs like FRAPS1, YV12, Lagarith or RGB Raw would give you. 
    Heck, the highest bitrate possible (using the CRF setting, the fastest of the Rate Control settings in my tests) is only about 100,000kbps. That’s still about 2-4x the bitrate of the average BluRay movie mind you, and it seems fine to me, to look at the recorded videos of it.

    Even if I had Terabytes of hard drive space to record to, I would still like to record in as small a filesize as I can, attempting at the same time to keep ‘good enough’ quality. Gone for me, are the days of filling my drives with FRAPS recordings (which have very high quality though) when today, with the more powerful CPUs and GPUs, I can record in a high MJPEG setting (for compatibility with editing apps) or a high MPEG-1 setting (which saves a lot on diskspace as well and has decent compatibility with video editors) – and now I can save even more space and record with MPEG-4 AVC, if desired. 
    For instance, on my older system, a dual-core cpu with an NVIDIA GTS250, recording with x264/AVC brings my framerate down by about ten frames per second and sometimes more. On my newer system, a six-core cpu with an AMD HD 6870, recording with x264/AVC, with the same settings, brings my framerate down by only a couple of frames per second with my settings. Wonderful stuff.

    I did many, many tests to find out what specific settings made differences (especially with the Unofficial version of the interface) and for the most part, it turned out as intuitive as it seemed at the outset: any setting that increased analysis and processing of the frames slowed things down. 
    I had to test it all of course, and I found many settings that didn’t make a ‘huge’ impact on performance, and with more powerful hardware these are able to be used and enjoyed, helping to compress the frames even further, keeping decent detail and resulting in a very small recorded file size. As you can adjust/optimize settings far more in the Unofficial interface (at least a bit easier/graphically), I tend to use that one more than the Official version; but in essence, both are the same thing. Here’s some of my findings [my settings are in these square brackets]:

    For the Official (“Simple”, red x264 logo) interface:

    I found that, on a more modern desktop system, the Preset can be turned ‘down’ a bit (the amount of analysis going up a bit), to Superfast or even sometimes Veryfast, since many of the hard-cpu-hitting options like Trellis and larger Motion Estimations don’t kick in at these settings. Anything lower/slower than that makes it lag behind too much as it processes frames.
    [I usually use Superfast]

    While Zero Latency is pretty much required for live game recording, Fast Decode is not entirely needed, especially if you have a faster rig to power the game and record at the same time on. My computer isn’t even top of the line but it can handle NOT using Fast Decode (which disables CABAC, and a couple other things). CABAC can have quite a bit of an effect on quality, and since it doesn’t seem to have a huge performance hit, I use it. Fast Decode also disables Deblocking and that leads into my next setting…
    [I always use Zero Latency]
    [Even though it helps with speed, most of the time I don’t use Fast Decode]

    The only other thing I change in the interface is deciding on the main Rate Control type and Rate Factor. In my own tests, CRF seemed to have the least amount of effect on framerate out of them all, and I fluctuate on what CRF I use, depending on the game I’m recording and what the recording is for. If I’m recording a high-quality test, of course it will be a low CRF, but it need not be a 1 to look good. I am quite satisfied with a CRF of 15-18 for decent-quality captures. The bitrate of a 1080p capture at that CRF ran about 45,000kbps, which is a high-quality BluRay movie’s bitrate. For just average gameplay for fun, I usually run a CRF of 21 up to 23. The quality is ‘good enough’ then, especially with a low Deblocking setting helping out (the Preset of Superfast leaves Deblocking “On” at the default 0:0 setting). I don’t recommend going below CRF23, with deblocking or not, as it just becomes too ‘garble-y’, to use a more technical term… Web broswer/low-motion games or hard-edged/animated games that look like Minecraft also need a higher bitrate (lower CRF), so that the hard edges aren’t messed up and the smooth/flat areas aren’t too compressed and get ‘blocky’.
    [I use a CRF in the range of 18 for higher-quality capturing, going up to 23 if disk space is low, and don’t suggest higher than 23, so that quality doesn’t suffer too much] 

    Nothing else need be adjusted in the Official x264/red logo interface, but I sometimes add “–keyint 50” or “–keyint 20” into the area (no quotation marks) ‘for advanced users’ at the bottom. This is a command that will force a keyframe/I-frame after that many frames have gone by. This helps to keep the seeking time low when editing and allows for closer cuts when not recompressing the clip when editing. If you having a problem with editing MPEG-4/AVC files, try using a –keyint setting of “1”, so that every frame is an editable/seekable keyframe. A higher GOP is better for file size but can take longer to seek when editing and Vegas or Premiere might have ‘trails’ or ‘corruption’ so might need a GOP setting of 1, see here for more info). You may want to increase the bitrate to keep quality then though, as the codec can’t really compress/do much of it’s ‘magic’ then, without room to work between frames. As stated above, the optimal codec for editing is MJPEG, but many do not like the quality (try turning it up to 100%).
    Leaving it blank and not using any “–keyint” command will allow the codec to use many more frames (250 is the default I believe) for compression and the resulting recorded file size will be very small.

    For the Unofficial (“Complicated”, black x264 logo) interface:

    The first tab is just the Rate Control setting. CRF seemed to have the least effect on framerate.
    I also sometimes add the –keyint setting to the command box at the bottom, just like I talked about a couple paragraphs up.
    [I use a CRF in the range of 18 or less for higher-quality capturing, going up to 21 or if disk space is low, up to 23 at the most and don’t suggest higher than 23, so that quality doesn’t suffer too much]

    For the second tab, there is a lot to change, but I mainly talked about why up in the article, so I’ll just state what I like to use here, after this paragraph on Deblocking:

    Deblocking can be forced to ‘leave things in’/keep details, by using a negative value, especially when dealing with effects such as film grain and minute details and noise; but for the most part deblocking will ‘smooth things out’, especially trying to hide where a lot of detail has been lost, where compression artifacts like Macroblocks and Gibbs Effects (mosquito noise) around edges would show up. I don’t recommend putting deblocking up too high though, as it can really make things downright blurry. With deblocking completely off, all of the detail is kept, but many things can look like they have a ‘wood grain’ pattern on them. With a high bitrate/low CRF, there is no need for deblocking at all anyway, as there would be a lot less compression/artifacting. When recording a high-quality test or something like that, I leave it off. When just recording random gameplay or myself doing something, I turn it on at a low setting, to help with keeping things looking slightly more ‘clean’.
    [I use Deblocking at 1:0 (CUDA default) up to 3:0, when I use it, but any more and things start to look ‘too smoothed out’ to me]

    For this second tab then:
    [No Partitions (all unchecked, Fast P-skip checked, 1 Max reference frame, ME algorithm on Diamond, ME range of 4, Subpixel ME refinement of 0 or 1 (any higher causes more lag), GOP size of 20 or 50 (this is the –keyint setting from above, higher is better for file size but can take longer to seek when editing and Vegas or Premiere might have ‘trails’ or ‘corruption’ so might need a GOP setting of 1, see here for more info), No Weighted P-frames, Max consecutive B-frames to 0 (none), In-loop deblocking filter unchecked (off) or checked (on) with a 1:1 deblock, CABAC on (it’s slower for less-capable systems), DCT decimation checked (on), Trellis set to Off]

    In the third and last tab of the Unofficial (black x264 logo) interface, I sometimes set a VBV max bitrate of about 40000 (kbps) just to keep the filesize down, especially when I’m going to edit and recompress for uploading somewhere (which usually gets rendered out for upload at that bitrate or lower anyway), it looks ‘good enough’ for me (this also requires a buffer of some sort, to allow it to check the bitrate as it goes up and down, so I put in 4000 or 10000 if I set a VBV max bitrate)
    [No maxbitrate usually, unless you want to save some harddrive space (eg. 50000k)]

    That’s all I change for both of those interfaces, from their defaults, as of the time of this post. 
    Keep in mind that as games are updated and Re-Optimized, drivers are Updated, and new hardware is released/purchased, I may change these settings (and I advise you to try some tests too, if you wish, when things change). Also, I am not a stickler for the utmost quality and don’t mind things getting compressed a bit, so you might want tighter/higher settings. 
    Mainly, I hope that this info helps some of you to either record with less lag (many people report that with more optimized MPEG-4/AVC settings they have less apparent lag) or just learned some terms and concepts that may help when editing and compressing your own videos/shows/etc and overall just help you record better/smoother. I actually enjoyed testing all of these things out and learning about it and I hope it helps anyone that is recording their gameplay adventures.


    See you in the games!

    Long Bean Benefits For Health

    LONG BEANS BENEFITS FOR HEALTH

    Long Beans Benefits For Health Long Beans are vegetables that very often we encounter in everyday dishes. Whether it’s for home cooking and restaurant cooking. There are also cook it in a way sauteed, but some are making to raw vegetables.
    But despite the long beans so popular for the food, I’m sure not everyone knows about the nutritional value as well as the nutrients found in these vegetables. In fact, long beans have vitamins and minerals also are quite high which is also beneficial to health.
    Long Bean Benefits For Health
    So, to increase your knowledge about health, here we present an overview of the nutritional content of beans as well as health benefits.
    Nutrient Long Bean
    Long beans contain a variety of essential nutrients for your body, including:
    As a Source of Protein
    With a protein content that is at least 8.3 grams per 100 grams chickpea stew, the bean vegetable vegetables long become a source of vegetable protein in our body needs protein for every day.
    Vitamin B Complex
    In every 100 grams of beans boiled which contains 146 mcg of folate (37% requirement), 0.2 mg of thiamin (14% requirement); 0.1 mg vitamin B6 (5% requirement); and 0.1 mg of riboflavin (4% needs); 0.4 mg of pantothenic acid (4% requirement); serta0,6 mg niacin (3% requirement). Various vitamin B complex contained in the long bean is an essential nutrient for our bodies.
    In general, vitamin B complex plays an important role in energy production and nerve function in our body, so vitamin B deficiency is usually characterized by fatigue and lack of energy.
    Contain High Fiber
    Long beans are vegetables that are rich in fiber. In every 100 grams of beans boiled, no fiber content up to 4 grams and meet 15% of our daily fiber needs. Fibers on long beans are available in the form of pectin, which is a soluble fiber, to very good in helping keep blood sugar at normal levels, as well as for normal fat metabolism.
    Mineral content of Long Bean
    Long Beans are also rich in various minerals, among others :
    Containing Calcium
    In Every 100 grams of beans boiled which contains 42 mg of calcium (4% requirement). Calcium is an essential mineral for the formation of bones and teeth healthy and strong as well, also for nerve and muscle function optimally.
    Containing Iron
    In Every 100 grams of beans boiled which contains 2.6 mg of iron (15% requirement). Iron is an essential component for the formation of enzymes for a variety of chemical reactions in the body, and forming the main component of red blood cells and cells
    muscle.
    Contains Magnesium
    In Every 100 grams of beans boiled which contains 98 mg of magnesium (25% requirement), where the mineral content is very important for healthy bones and teeth, muscle and nerve function, as well as the activity of enzymes in the body.
    Long Bean Benefits For Health
    Containing Manganese
    In Every 100 grams of boiled string beans also contain 0.5 mg of manganese (24% requirement). Manganese is essential for enzyme activity, and also for the metabolism of carbohydrates and joint health.
    Containing Phosphorus
    In Every 100 grams of beans boiled which contains 181 mg of phosphorus (18% requirement), which is also important in energy production and the formation of bones and teeth.
    Containing Copper
    In Every 100 grams of beans boiled which contains 0.2 mg of copper (11%). Copper is important for skin health, it also increases the body’s resistance to stress and disease.
    Containing Potassium
    In Every 100 grams of beans boiled which contains 315 mg of potassium (9% requirement), which is important for nerve function and also our muscles.
    Containing Zinc
    In Every 100 grams of boiled string beans also contain 1.1 mg of zinc and zinc (7% requirement). Zinc is a component of enzymes involved in the formation of red blood cells and bone.
    Containing Selenium
    In Every 100 grams of boiled string beans also contain 2.8 mcg selenium (4% requirement), where selenium is an essential mineral in the synthesis of the enzyme, which also acts as an antioxidant against free radicals in our bodies.

    Well, that’s what some of the vitamins and minerals contained in the beans. For you who like to consume either in the form of beans and vegetables stir fry, continue the positive trend.

    Buell M2 Cherry-Salt

    The Buell M2 Cherry-Salt is the ultimate go-fast machine, built to race on the 1/8 mile at the 2015 Glemseck 101.  Here all the work in progress. As with previous years the event of 2015, which has been hailed as one of the biggest custom and classic motorcycle gatherings in Europe, was on September 4th, 5th and 6th in Leonberg, Germany and was huge. This years 1/8th mile ‘Sprint’ race competitors started to surface around the web and although it’s not quite complete, I couldn’t wait any longer to feature this beast of a bike from Italian workshop Plan B Motorcycles. Inspired by the Lucky Cat Garage Sprintbeemer and determined to give them a run for their money this is the Buell M2 “Cherry Salt”.


    Cherry Salt started out life as a ’99 Buell M2 Cyclone that had undergone a few performance “tweaks” during it’s lifetime. Although the Buell’s frame and engine set up didn’t offer up the easiest base for a build of this kind, Plan B owner Christian Moretti saw the bikes potential and was prepared to invest the time and effort to achieve the desired result. “I was deeply in love with the Lucky Cat’s SprintBeemer, so I started wondering if it would be possible to build something good enough to race against it.”

    With the Lucky Cat Sprintbeemer sucking down nitrous oxide Christian needed to look at ways of getting the most out of the Buells 1203cc, 93bhp (stock) engine. Reducing weight was the top priority so Aluminium was used to fabricate the bikes custom fuel tank. Sitting low on the frame the tank has a 12 litre capacity and features a large top recess and a narrow profile to allow its rider to tuck in around it to reduce wind resistance.

    Hidden beneath the fairing you’ll find a set of Suzuki GSX-R forks wearing 4 pot radial calipers with ample twin 320mm floating discs. It’s almost too much braking power for a straight line racer, but there’s a valid reason for it. As Christian explained “The quite unusual inverted Buell monoshock setup left me enough room to add a trick suspension system that’s quite elaborate, but easy at the same time. An electric actuator changes the position of the monoshock letting you decide, with the flick of a switch, the overall height of the bike. This changes the center of mass, the rake angle and the trail at the front. So you can have it slammed down for racing on the straight, or rise it up for some corners on the road.” As for cornering that’s not really this bikes main concern, it’s grip that’s a priority. To limit traction loss Christian has fit a “big fat slick” tire from drag greats Hoosier on the back wheel adding plenty of additional grip and loads of visual attitude.

    So what does it take to race against a lucky cat? How about an angry dog?

    “Fitting a “universal” dustbin style fairing to the Buell was the huge challenge. I started working on the fiberglass fairing by cutting, stretching and slimming it down. I then redesigned the front upper section from scratch shaping it to resemble a Bull Terriers head…yes, it will be a true cats vs dogs race!”

    Sleeping Tips

    Sleeping Tips

    by Dave Asprey

    9 Tips To Hack Your Sleep And Wake Up Feeling Like A New Man


    Quality sleep is one of the most important variables to improve your brain function, longevity, and performance in all aspects of life. We all know this but so many people have trouble getting quality sleep. If you’re struggling with getting enough rest, I’ve come up with 9 ways for you to measure and hack your sleep for the best performance.

    Track Your Sleep Quality
    Often when people are having sleep trouble, they don’t know what’s going wrong. That’s why I recommend you start by using a sleep app like SleepCycle on the iPhone. This app simply requires you to put your phone on your mattress under your top sheet and set the alarm. It will then track your sleep patterns and quality using the microphone on your phone.
    It’s best to do it for at least a week so that you get a sense of your baseline sleep quality. Once you’ve tracked your sleep, you’ll have all the data you need to hack your sleep. This will ensure that what you’re doing is actually working and allow you to make adjustments along the way based on how you’re feeling when you wake up and what the numbers are telling you.
    Wake At The Top Of A Sleep Cycle 
    As we sleep, we go through different cycles. When you wake up at the top of your sleep cycle, you’ll feel great, whereas when you wake up in the middle of a deep sleep, you’ll feel groggy for hours. SleepCycle can also solve this problem. It will act as an alarm clock and wake you at the top of a sleep cycle instead of letting your alarm jerk you awake when you’re in a deep sleep. This will leave you feeling more refreshed and awake all day.
    Fill Up With Fat At Dinner
    Fat is a long-burning fuel for your mind and body. Grass-fed butter, animal fat, and coconut oil are all good choices, but extra concentrated MCT oil is my personal favourite. The shorter fats of MCT oil are converted into ketones that are immediately used as fuel for your brain, and MCT oil also helps you burn body fat while you sleep. I’ve noticed that I think more clearly the next morning if I have 1-2 tablespoons of MCT oil the night before, with dinner or even right before bed.

    Prime With Protein
    Our bodies use protein for muscle repair and immune function. The muscle repair happens at night during deep sleep, so you want to make sure your body has all the raw materials it needs at night to heal and grow new tissue. The problem is that most forms of protein are not well digested before bed. A lot of protein powders and even most sources of animal protein take a lot of work to digest and can leave you with a heavy feeling during the night.
    Too much protein also raises an alertness chemical in the brain called orexin, which can disrupt your sleep. The solution I recommend is taking 1-2 tablespoons of hydrolyzed grass-fed collagen peptide before bed. Hydrolyzing the proteins makes them more digestible so they don’t cause the problems listed above.

    Turn Down The Lights
    For at least a half-hour before going to bed, try to avoid bright lights. Dim your office lights if you absolutely must be working this close to bedtime and kill the unhealthy fluorescent ones. Don’t stare at your TV, phone, or tablet until you’ve dimmed it all the way, either. Even five minutes of white light from a screen shuts off your melatonin production for four hours and can wreck the quality of your sleep, so it’s best to avoid screens in the evening entirely.

    Don’t Exercise Near Bedtime

    You should not exercise for at least two hours before going to bed, unless you count restorative yoga and breathing exercises as exercises. Exercise is highly energising and raises your cortisol levels, which interferes with sleep.
    Don’t Drink Coffee In The Evening 

    Coffee puts your mind in an amazing place where you become more productive and perform better. However, you need to let your mind rest after its high output performances. In general, don’t drink coffee after 2 p.m. or at least eight hours before bedtime, whichever comes first.
    Go To Bed Before Your Second Wind

    There is a window from 10:45 and 11p.m. or so when you naturally get tired. This moves a little bit based on the season. If you don’t go to sleep then and choose to stay awake, you’ll get a cortisol-driven “second wind” that can keep you awake until 2 a.m. You’ll also get better sleep when you go to bed before 11 p.m. and wake up feeling more rested than if you’d gotten the same amount of sleep starting later.
    Bring Down Your Stress
    Perhaps the most common reason people report not being able to sleep is that they don’t know how to clear their minds and stop worrying. Deep breathing exercises like Art of Living, pranayama yoga, and meditation can do wonders for helping your brain shut down, recuperate, and prepare for another day of Bulletproof high performance.
    Don’t let poor quality sleep hold you back any longer. By taking advantage of these tips, you should have the energy you need to finally feel Bulletproof.
    Dave Asprey is a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur who spent 15 years and $300,000 to hack his own biology, losing 100 pounds, upgrading his IQ, and lowering his biological age. He runs the No. 1-ranked iTunes health podcast and The Bulletproof Executive blog about using biohacking to increase human performance — and he invented Bulletproof Coffee.

    Source

    WORKOUT ANYTIME in Club Industry

    WORKOUT ANYTIME in Club Industry

    In an article titled, “Reaching Landmark 50 Gyms Open, Workout Anytime Prepares for Rapid Acceleration in 2014” features WORKOUT ANYTIME’s 50th club opening. Along with opening their 50th location WORKOUT ANYTIME is looking at rapid growth acceleration through the 2014 year. WORKOUT ANYTIME’s CEO and co-founder Steve Strickland outlines a few important development metric’s of the year such as in 2013 WORKOUT ANYTIME doubled in locations.
    You can view the full article here. 

    BMW cars, motorcycles, scooters. Pictures, specs, insurance.

    BMW cars, motorcycles, scooters. Pictures, specs, insurance.

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    Got a vintage motorcycle , to tear down the outside of a wheel and

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    Motorcycle Pictures Freaking News

    Motorcycle Pictures  Freaking News

    It’s Not Just You™ – Battle.Net Issues with Logging In Today [Notification]

    Just a quick post to let others know that if you are having logging in to Battle.Net today (August 1st) that lots of people have been having problems as of this morning. Blizzard has addressed this with a quick note via their twitter, seen at:

    https://twitter.com/BlizzardCS/status/760100687111938048

    Retry or Go Back To Bed? Hmmm….

    For those playing Blizzard/Battle.Net games this weekend, hopefully it will be up soon – just letting you know, It’s Not Just You™ !

    Battlefield Hardline: A Double XP Boost is Currently Active! [Notification]

    Just a quick post to notify those interested in Hardline that a Double XP Boost is Currently On! GOGOGO http://battlelog.battlefield.com/bfh/

    See You In The Game!

    Tickets For 2014 Red Bull Grand Prix Of The Americas Go On Sale December 5

    Tickets for 2014 Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas on sale Thursday, Dec. 5 New in 2014: Free motorcycle parking for early birds, single-day tickets available, reduced parking prices, kids 12 and under receive free general admission to MotoGP

    AUSTIN, Texas  – Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the motorcycle enthusiast in your life? Circuit of The Americas™ (COTA) has the answer, as tickets for the 2014 Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas at COTA go on sale Thursday, Dec. 5, at 10 a.m. CT online at www.circuitoftheamericas.com/and at www.ticketmaster.com. COTA will host the first of only two MotoGP contests in the United States next year and welcome the best motorcycle riders in the world to Austin April 11-13.

    COTA’s 2014 MotoGP event features many new fan-friendly options, including FREE motorcycle parking for fans that purchase their tickets by Dec. 31, 2013; Three-day weekend passes and single-day ticket options for fans; A new dry camping option for fans who want to stay close to the circuit all weekend; and Kids 12 and under receive FREE general admission with a ticketed adult.

    GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!

    Single-day general admission tickets start at $39 for Friday’s practice sessions, and single-day reserved seats start at $59. Three-day weekend passes start at $89 for general admission or $139 for reserved seats. Three-day dry camping passes are available for $150 per space.

    MotoGP Ticket and Parking Prices – Circuit of The Americas – April 11-13, 2014

    Seating Type, Single-day Ticket/Person, Three-day Weekend Pass/Person

    General Admission, $39 to $59, $89

    Reserved Seat, $59 to $109, $139 to $199

    Kids 12 and under, FREE GA with ticketed adult, FREE GA with ticketed adult

    Dry Camping Space (20’x20’), N/A, $150/camping space

    Parking Type, Single-day Parking/Vehicle, Three-day Weekend Parking/Vehicle

    Cars, $20, $45

    Motorcycles*, $10, $20

    *NOTE: Motorcycle parking is free for fans that purchased their MotoGP tickets by Dec. 31, 2013.

    MotoGP, the pinnacle of all motorcycle World Championships, consists of 19 races in 14 countries on five continents with pan-global television coverage. The world’s most skilled riders, including current U.S. riders Colin Edwards of Texas, 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden from Kentucky and reigning World Champion and winner of the 2013 Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas Marc Marquez, compete with cutting-edge, prototype motorcycle technology produced by Ducati, Yamaha and Honda, as well manufacturers supporting the new Open class. The series traditionally holds three races, including Moto2 and Moto3 competitions, during each event for various classes of motorcycles based on engine size. Fans watched MotoGP’s new phenom, Marc Marquez, sweep the three U.S. races in 2013, including COTA’s inaugural event, and will be eager to see if he returns to the winners’ podium in Texas next year.

    “The on-track action at this year’s MotoGP Championship race at COTA was incredible, and our mission for 2014 is to elevate the fan experience at the track and in downtown Austin,” COTA Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer Geoff Moore said. “Our team will be throwing an even bigger party at the track next year, with a larger entertainment portfolio of live music, interactive displays, games and fan activities. We’re also planning a downtown Fan Zone that will give visitors and residents lots to see and do throughout the weekend.”

    “Making our MotoGP race one of the must-attend sports and entertainment events of the season is a priority, and we’ve enhanced our customer offerings to ensure that happens,” COTA President and Chief Executive Officer Jason Dial noted. “We’ve added single-day tickets to the mix for 2014, giving fans greater flexibility, and we’ve reduced on-site parking prices to enhance the value and make it easier for fans to access the circuit. In addition, we’re offering free general admission to kids ages 12 and under to make it more affordable for families to attend the races.

    “With the holidays just around the corner, tickets to the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas make a great gift for the motorsports fans in your household, and next year’s event will be the perfect opportunity for an entire family to spend a weekend at Circuit of The Americas.”

    For individuals, groups and companies looking to experience the MotoGP race weekend in a special way, Circuit of The Americas™ Official program, Circuit of The Americas Experiences , is offering racing enthusiasts a turn-key elevated race weekend experience to the Circuit’s 2014 MotoGP event.

    ________________________________________________
    Source: RoadRacingWorld (AP,11/26)

    Just For Kicks: Macco Motors’ XS400

    Less is more: Macco Motors' custom Yamaha XS400 is so minimal, it's even lost its electric start.Most custom builders don’t enjoy messing with electrics: they’ll install a lithium-ion battery to save weight and leave it at that. More adventurous workshops might rip out the fuses and install a control box like the Motogadget m-Unit.
    Jose and Tito of Macco Motors have just gone one step further. To satisfy a client’s rather odd request, they’ve removed the entire electric start system from their latest build. To fire up this XS400, you need good old-fashioned muscle.
    Less is more: Macco Motors' custom Yamaha XS400 is so minimal, it's even lost its electric start.
    “Hans wanted a café racer based on the three-cylinder Yamaha XS750,” explains Jose, “but he was having a tough time finding a suitable donor. A lot of classic bikes didn’t make it to Spain in the glory years.”

    The Macco lads settled on a 1978-spec XS400 A2A in good condition, and fitted a XS750 fuel tank. Then came Hans’ unusual request. “He wanted us to replace and relocate the battery,” says Jose, “and a few days later asked us to remove the starting system electrics—leaving only the kick start. He wondered if it was possible, and we said yes.”
    Less is more: Macco Motors' custom Yamaha XS400 is so minimal, it's even lost its electric start.
    Macco called in a friend to help: ex-MotoGP mechanic Sergio Pitencel, who worked with Carlos Checa and Roberto Puig in the Honda team in the ’90s. “He’s a wise man from whom we learnt a lot.”

    The battery was removed and the circuit converted from DC to AC. Two control modules were then made up: one for the starter system and another one for the lights, which are powered by a small 8Ah Lithium-ion battery from Ballistic.
    An adjustable voltage regulator also had to be made up, and the coils were replaced with smaller items taken from a jet-ski. (That’s not even the full list of mods, but the rest will only be of interest to electricians.)
    Less is more: Macco Motors' custom Yamaha XS400 is so minimal, it's even lost its electric start.
    After clearing the electrical obstacles, the rest of the build was pretty straightforward.

    Spoked wheels were on the brief. So the standard 18-inch mags were ditched, replaced by SR250 rims—19 inches at the front and 18 at the rear. After fabricating a new front axle, Macco installed classic Hagon shocks and fitted Metzeler Lasertec rubber.
    The tuned engine now breathes through a pair of K&N filters and shorty mufflers. There’s a chopped subframe and a very neat fiberglass tail section with a license plate support.
    Less is more: Macco Motors' custom Yamaha XS400 is so minimal, it's even lost its electric start.
    The finishing touches are typically classy. Inverted Tarozzi semi-elevated clip-ons are wrapped in brown leather grips to match the seat—a detail that’s repeated on the kick-start lever and gear shifter. Hooked into the new electric circuit are a new analogue speedo and tacho, mini turn signals and a 6.5-inch headlight.

    Less is more: Macco Motors' custom Yamaha XS400 is so minimal, it's even lost its electric start.
    The XS, now christened “Dark Bullet”, was then finished in a typically Macco fashion: matte black and raw steel, punctuated by gold pinstripes. Everything has been refinished, including the engine, wheels and frame, and it’s right on the button.

    Except there’s no button. You just have to use your leg to start it.
    Macco Motors | Facebook | Instagram | Photos by Sergio Ibarra from Semimate.

    First read on bikeexif.com
    Less is more: Macco Motors' custom Yamaha XS400 is so minimal, it's even lost its electric start.

    Sunburst: NYC Norton’s dazzling 1972 Commando

    Sunburst: A dazzling 1972 Seeley Commando from NYC Norton.

    Full Size

    If you live on the east coast of the USA and you need work doing on your Norton, there’s only one person to call: Kenny Cummings of NYC Norton in Jersey City, just outside Manhattan. Kenny’s a household name on the global Norton scene. It’s not hard to see why—his builds are an exquisite blend of performance and style. And, as with most old British iron, there’s usually a good story too.

    Sunburst: A dazzling 1972 Seeley Commando from NYC Norton.

    Full Size

    “Sunburst started with a call from an overseas number on the shop phone,” Kenny tells us. “On the other end was a pleasant voice with an unidentifiable accent. It was Joe, calling from a small country in the middle of the Mediterranean.” Joe had just bought a pristine Norton Commando in the States, and asked Kenny if he could add some performance and reliability mods. “We love that kind of work,” says Kenny. “But Joe’s Commando was just too nice to tear down.”

    Sunburst: A dazzling 1972 Seeley Commando from NYC Norton.

    Full Size

    A new concept was required, and a ratty 1972 Commando appeared on the radar. It had lived a rough life: the crankcases even had a sloppy weld on the drive side half, a telltale sign a rod had broken through. Kenny decided to use as much of the donor as he could, while fitting some robust and reliable racing parts. He sourced a Maney lightweight crank, alloy cylinders, a Fullauto head, and JE 73mm forged pistons. The crank was balanced to 74%, the same factor used by NYC Norton’s championship-winning Seeley Commandos.
    Other goodies include a Webcam racing cam and one of the last Maney exhaust systems ever to be made. “We kept the compression close to 10:1,” says Kenny. “High enough so the bike can be ridden on the street, while still being able to run on hi-octane pump gas.”
    Carbs are Keihin FCR35s, with manifolds adapted to the Fullauto Norton cylinder heads. “The heads are the single biggest boost of power you can add off the shelf for your Commando. Proof is in the pudding, and the eating is good.”

    Sunburst: A dazzling 1972 Seeley Commando from NYC Norton.

    Full Size

    Metal-bending artist Roger Titchmarsh supplied a mint Seeley Mk2 replica chassis from the UK, and Kenny started fabbing up custom engine plates. “We spent a lot of time spacing the AMC gearbox over to the left, five millimeters from the motor centerline, to give better chain clearance for the back tire.” A pair of custom alloy fork yokes went on, set up with a pinch-bolt top for quick geometry changes. Falcon shocks were fitted to the rear.
    For the front wheel, Kenny bolted twin Hemmings 11.5-inch disks to a 6-bolt hub using AN aircraft bolts. The fork sliders are Norton Production Racer items and the disks have been drilled—removing 1.3lbs from each rotor. The calipers are AP Racing, pumped by a 16mm Brembo master cylinder.

    Sunburst: A dazzling 1972 Seeley Commando from NYC Norton.

    Full Size

    The rims are 18-inch unflanged alloy, WM3 at the front and WM4 at the back. A neat touch: the rear wheel was built using a two-piece Triumph T140 replica billet hub, along with a Maney cush drive to give the gearbox a little relief from quick shifts and injudicious throttle use. Tires are Bridgestone BT45 Battalaxes. The primary side of the bike was built using a 30mm belt drive that increases the primary ratio—meaning less torque shock to the gearbox. There’s also a trick high-output alternator, keeping a low profile behind the alloy belt guard cover.

    Sunburst: A dazzling 1972 Seeley Commando from NYC Norton.

    Full Size

    The bodywork is equally divine. “Joe turned us on to FlatRacer in the UK and their Sprint 1/2 fairing,” says Kenny. “It’s heavier than the racing bodywork we often use, but that allowed us to alter the shape of the fairing to get the custom fit we needed.” The vibrant color scheme is certainly a departure from the more conservative natural alloy or black and gold chosen by most of NYC Norton’s Seeley customers.
    “Joe knew he wanted something bold, but he wasn’t sure exactly what. After much back and forth, we seemed to stall a bit.

    Sunburst: A dazzling 1972 Seeley Commando from NYC Norton.

    Full Size

    “Later, while sitting in my home studio, an idea dawned on me as I sat plunking out some parts on my guitar. I realized this was a motif that was very important to me—the cherry sunburst of my favorite vintage Gibson Les Paul. Joe was 100% on board. “This made it very personal. The last philosophical hurdle had been cleared.”
    Kenny’s go-to guy for paint is Brent Budgor from the Vintage Vendor. “As we worked through the shading process of the sunburst motif, I learned that Brent too had a Les Paul that he’d stripped and painted—so he understood the concept from the get-go.”

    Sunburst: A dazzling 1972 Seeley Commando from NYC Norton.

    Full Size

    Brent laid out the Norton logo and pins in a gold undercoat, then sprayed the major color over. Once the bodywork was back, the bike was buttoned up in short order. Kenny called his old friend and fellow racing competitor, the photographer Doug MacRae. It was time to shoot. “This is a serious bike,” says Kenny. “It’s pretty, but its foundation is a top-spec, competitive 750 racer weighing 300 pounds, adapted for the street.
    “The bike starts on first kick and is an absolute blast to ride. It has the famous Seeley handling and Commando torque, without any sacrifice. No, it is not Papa’s Norton, and perhaps the cobblestones of NYC streets might rattle its tight suspension a bit.

    Sunburst: A dazzling 1972 Seeley Commando from NYC Norton.

    Full Size

    “But there’s not a back road in the world this bike can’t eat alive.” The NYC Norton site has a wealth of riveting detail on this build. But don’t head over there unless you’ve got time to spare—and a firm grip on your credit card.
    NYC Norton | Facebook | Images by Douglas MacRae | Instagram

    Sunburst: A dazzling 1972 Seeley Commando from NYC Norton.

    Full Size
     
    First published by bikeexif.com

    My Trip to Dhaka Bangladesh

    I arrived in Dhaka, Bangladesh on the 24th of March for my next assignment on Financial Management Systems. The organization contracting me has some issues with its financial management system and has received recommendation from the auditors to fix these issues. Further they want to conform to the South Asian Federation of Accountants Standards. So my task is simple. Document the existing practices at the organization and get agreement on the current practices and then recommend changes and improvements to the system.

    Well even though it is simple there can be quite a few things that can pose a challenge to this type of assignment. I already encountered one on the first day of my assignment (25th); which is, in a group of around 20 finance staff it was quite difficult to plot the current financial practices using flow chart symbols as non of them knew the current system in its entirety. It is still work in progress and I hope to have it pinned down during the next working day which is Saturday (Bangladesh uses the Islamic calendar); where the staff have agreed to come to work.

    The last time I was in Bangladesh was way back in January of 2008; so it was good to come back to Bangladesh and to see how things are. I must say that the only thing that looked to have changed is in fact the increase in motor traffic. It takes for ever to commute on Dhaka roads. I am staying at the Ambrosia guest house in Dhanmondi where I stayed during my earlier visits to Dhaka. It felt good to be here where the staff recognize and remember you after a long absence; it really does feel like home when you are greeted by familiar faces.

    Looking forward to the next few days of the assignment; it is scheduled to end in early April and then I have another assignment lined up in the Philippines.

    WORKOUT ANYTIME in the Jacksonville Daily Record

    WORKOUT ANYTIME in the Jacksonville Daily Record

    WORKOUT ANYTIME was recently featured in the Jacksonville Daily Record. The article talks about the new WORKOUT ANYTIME that opened up Monday, October 6. The article talks about how the Levitt family looks to open 15 WORKOUT ANYTIME locations in the next 5 years in the Jacksonville area. 
    View the full article here. 

    Food Repair Guide: Baking Part 3

    Marzipan

    It pays to make your own marzipan as the real thing tastes so much better than bought. Since it is only a question of beating together ground almonds, sugar and egg white to moisten, there is nothing to go wrong.

    Biscuits

    Biscuits are simple to make and homemade biscuits always impress guests.

    They have four dangers: being too soft so that they spread into shapeless plops; being too short or having too great a proportion of fat which makes them hopelessly crumbly; being overhandled, like pastry, which makes them tough; and getting overcooked, which they will do at the drop of a hat.

    Diet Start

    Texture

    Since most biscuit mixtures contain butter, they will always become softer when they go in the oven, so, if your mixture is very runny when cold, it will run away altogether once it gets hot. Unless the mixture is being cooked in a restraining tin try to ensure a reasonably firm texture. Apart from anything else, if it is too runny the biscuit will tend to be tough.

    Crumbling

    If you want to use a very short mixture, mould the dough by hand rather than trying to roll it out, as you will not succeed. Cut the biscuits into fat rather than thin shapes so they have more chance of holding together.

    Toughness

    Do not handle the biscuits more than necessary to get the ingredients well mixed.

    Overcooking

    Once the biscuits have gone in the oven, watch them like a hawk. Take one out and cool it to test, as a biscuit, especially a dark coloured one such as chocolate or ginger, will often be cooked long before it looks cooked.

    Failures

    Biscuits that have fallen apart, spread or generally failed to live up to expectations, can always be broken up and used as decorations, or crumbled and used as biscuit bases (held together with butter or egg white) for dishes such as cheesecakes.

    WORKOUT ANYTIME on FOX 56 Lexington

    WORKOUT ANYTIME on FOX 56 Lexington

    Head Trainer Carl Flotka of WORKOUT ANYTIME Lexington was recently featured on FOX 56 Lexington. In the segment Carl talks about how to portion control during the holiday season and highlights a few exercises that viewers can do to stay active.
    View the full segment here.

    To change your weight, first change your mind

    To change your weight, first change your mindBy Lyndel Costain BSc RD

    Image Description

    Getting Your Head Straight

    You no doubt know how to lose weight – eat fewer calories and exercise more and you will see results. You may also have a list of things to change, such as eating more fruit and veg, going for a daily walk or buying low fat options.
    If, like many people, you have difficulty losing weight and keeping it off – despite your best intentions, what do you think could be getting in the way?
    First, reality-check your mindset with the want to lose weight quiz.
    Next, answer the How are You Feeling about Losing Weight questions.

    To change your weight, first change your mind

    Research shows that one of the most important factors that influences weight loss success is your attitude – whether or not you believe (and keep on believing) that you can make the changes you need to make to lose weight, and that they are worth doing. This is because what you think, affects how you feel, and in turn the actions you take.
    The best way I can describe this positive mindset is ‘getting your head straight’ about food and weight. It’s not something I can easily put into words – but you will know when it happens. From all my years of working with people with weight and eating problems, and from my own personal experience, I truly believe that it is they key to success.

    Three Key Strategies for Taking Control

    1. Understand Why You Eat
    When I ask people what prompts them to eat, hunger usually comes down near the bottom of their lists. Some people struggle to remember or appreciate what true hunger feels like. We are lucky that we have plenty of food to eat in our society. But its constant presence makes it harder to control what we eat, especially if it brings us comfort or joy.
    If you ever find yourself in the fridge, even though you’ve recently eaten, then you know hunger isn’t the reason. More than likely some negative emotion – feeling angry, lonely, sad, stressed, anxious, bored – has triggered a habit of using food to feel better.
    The urge to eat can be so automatic that you feel you lack willpower or are out of control. But it is in fact a learned or conditioned response. A bit like Pavlov’s dogs. He rang a bell every time he fed them, and from then on, whenever they heard the bell ring they were ‘conditioned’ to salivate in anticipation of food.
    Because this ‘non-hungry’ eating is learned, you can reprogramme your response to the situations or feelings that trigger it.
    How To Do It
    The first step is to identify when these urges strike. When you find yourself at the fridge when you aren’t hungry, ask yourself ‘why do I want to eat? What am I feeling?’
    If you aren’t sure think back to what was happening before you felt the urge. Then ask yourself if there is another way you can feel better without food. Or you could chat to your urge to eat, telling it that you aren’t actually hungry and it’s merely a learned response. Whatever strategy you choose, the more often you break the ‘eating when you’re not hungry’ habit, the weaker its hold becomes.
    2. Practise Positive Self-Talk
    When you look in the mirror do you talk to yourself more like A or B?
    A ‘I’ll never be slim. I’ve only lost a measly half a stone in four weeks. And I broke my diet last night. I may as well just give up.’
    B ‘This is going well, that half a stone has really made a difference. I enjoyed a treat last night, now I’m really looking forward to watching the next half a stone disappear.’
    Both of these are examples of ‘self-talk’ – automatic thoughts, or statements all of us constantly make to ourselves – which influence how we feel and act. Self-talk may be positive and constructive (like your guardian angel) or negative and irrational (like having a destructive devil on your shoulder).
    If you’ve had on-off battles with your weight over the years, it’s highly likely that the ‘devil’ is there more often.
    Self-talk that says ‘you’re hopeless’, can make you feel like a failure which, can then trigger you into the action of overeating and/or totally giving up trying to lose weight.
    One of the most powerful things about self-talk is that the last thoughts we have are what stays in our mind. So if we think ‘I still look fat’ or ‘I will never be slim’, these feelings stay with us.
    How to Do It
    The trick is to first listen out for your self-talk and recognise it’s happening. Keeping a food and feelings diary really helps; you can try the diary in WLR free for 24 hours.
    Then turn negative talk into a positive version of the same events – as in the A and B examples above – where the resulting action was to feel good and stay on track.
    Reshaping negative self-talk helps you to change your self-definition, from someone who can’t ‘lose weight’ or ‘achieve this or that’, to someone ‘who can’. And when you believe you can… you can.
    3. Really Choose What You Want to Eat
    This strategy is like your personal brake. It also helps you manage ‘non-hungry’ eating and weaken its hold. It legalises food and stops you feeling deprived. It helps you to regularly remind yourself why you are making changes to your eating habits, which keeps your motivation to lose weight high. But it doesn’t just happen. Like all skills it requires practise. Sometimes it will work well for you, other times it won’t – but overall it will help.
    How To Do It
    Basically, ask yourself if you really want to eat that food in front of you. This becomes the prompt for you to make a conscious choice, weighing up the pros and cons of making that choice, and feeling free to have it, reject it or just eat some. Remembering all the while that you can eat this food another time if you want to. Paul’s story is a good example.
    Paul is having a business lunch at a restaurant he visits regularly. His favourite dish is steak bernaise and fries then crème caramel.
    But at his last medical his doctor advised him to lose weight for his heart’s sake. He has taken this seriously and thought a lot about changing his lifestyle. But he can’t avoid business lunches.
    Faced with the menu his automatic response is the steak. But then he stops and thinks.
    • How hungry is he?
    • How will he feel after he eats it?
    • What would be a better and still tasty choice?
    After all he comes here quite a bit, so can order the steak another time.
    He opts for a spicy chicken fillet with new potatoes and vegetables. He really enjoys the spicy flavour, and feels comfortably satisfied, rather than stuffed and guilty.
    Having a dessert would just ruin the nice taste and feeling he has, so he easily decides against it. His confidence is boosted as he now knows he can enjoy other things.

    Step by Step

    These are just a few of the skills that can help you take control. Learning new habits and ways of thinking about things takes time. Think back to when you learned to ride a bike. No-one expected you to do it first time. You no doubt fell off a lot and needed picking up. Step by step, and with the right support, you took control of that bike and learned how to keep it on course. Just like you can with your weight.

    How Sue Did It

    Sue’s story is a good example of how using these strategies works. For 10 years she had been trying different diets in an attempt to lose weight quickly – and was still 3 stone overweight.
    All this ‘failure’ had pushed her self-esteem and confidence in her ability to lose weight to rock bottom. If she ate one ‘bad’ food she felt so guilty she binged. This ‘all or nothing’ thinking signalled the end of the current diet and the start of more negative feelings – and overeating.
    Sue read one of my articles about how the right mental approach can help people break free from this destructive cycle, and we met. Her big aim was to spend time learning more about her eating habits and the thoughts or situations that triggered overeating.
    She stopped ‘dieting’, kept a food and feelings diary and was finally very honest with herself. This gave her a huge sense of relief. And by stepping back she was able to view things differently.
    Unrealistic expectations and guilt around food were her biggest problems. And by no longer viewing food (and herself) as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ she was able to develop a healthy relationship with it. Sue also spent time planning ahead so she had the right foods to hand for regular, nutritious meals and snacks. She took up her beloved tennis again too.
    Sue was now taking care of herself in a much more positive way – and she was loving it. But this change didn’t happen overnight. After the initial enlightenment it took Sue two years to practise and get used her new habits – with plenty of ups and downs along the way. But over that time she lost that 3 stone and felt in control. Eating well – not perfectly – became her way of life.
    Like Sue, achieving the right mindset can feel like a switch being turned on in your head. Something just clicks and this weight loss business starts to makes sense.
    Mental blocks ebb away.
    • Motivations become clear and powerful.
    • Your self-worth and belief in abilities grow.
    • You realise that healthy meals, regular exercise, and tools such as those offered by Weight Loss Resources will help, but they aren’t the answer in themselves.
    • You accept responsibility for what you eat and how active you are, and feel empowered to make the changes you choose to make.
    • You take control by making real choices – knowing and accepting the consequences – and no longer feeling deprived.
    • You move from someone who can’t lose weight long term to someone who can.
    Now I should clarify that there is no magic here! Keeping your head straight requires time, skills, practise, a realistic attitude and good support. This might sound like a tough call. But you will know from your own experience that just going on a diet isn’t the answer. In fact, managing your weight is like a good marriage – it takes work and a daily investment of care and thought. And the results are worth it!
    Source

    The Vital Acid—Alkaline Balance

    Another important aspect of any diet for super health and beauty is one that most nutritional systems completely overlook. It is the question of using foods to help maintain the delicate acid—alkaline balance in your body. For we can reach truly positive health—health beyond the simple absence of disease—and remain permanently healthy only when the foods we eat supply us with a surplus of alkaline-reacting foods. These include green and root vegetables, avocados, fruits (including citrus fruits which, though acid, have an alkalinizing effect on the body), seeds such as sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin, and yogurt.

    Your body contains mineral salts. Some of them are alkaline and some are acid. In a healthy body the ratio between alkaline and acid is four to one—that is, 80 percent alkaline to 20 percent acid. To maintain this natural balance, you need only to eat foods which, when digested, produce alkaline salts in approximately these proportions. If, instead, you eat a diet that is highly acid-forming, as the typical Western fare is, then your body is forced to work very hard indeed to regulate the internal acid—alkaline balance and keep your blood slightly alkaline. Without this natural slight alkalinity, your body is unable to repair tissues and heal itself. Overacidity can lead to acidosis, chronic indigestion, irritability, nervousness, excess appetite, rheumatic and arthritic conditions, as well as skin problems and cellulite. Stress, too, is an acid condition. The acid- forming foods, which should make up 20 percent of any diet but no more, include meat, eggs, hard cheese, bread, cereals, sugar and honey, some nuts, and some fats. Coffee, ordinary tea (not green tea or herb teas), and alcohol are also acid-forming.

    Diet Start

    To give you some idea of what it feels like when your body is too acid, think back to the last typical “good” breakfast you ate—processed cereal with sugar, perhaps an egg, bacon, white toast and jelly, and coffee. Do you remember the immediate feeling of stimulation followed in an hour or two by an unpleasant sense of jangly nerves or tiredness, so that by eleven you had to reach for another cup of coffee to keep yourself going? That is an acid state. In fact, this breakfast is made up of almost all acid-forming foods—the bacon, the white toast and the coffee, the packaged cereal, sugar and so forth. A far better breakfast would be a bowl of Birchermuesli (not the kind of muesli you find in supermarkets, which may be labeled “natural” but is chock-full of sugar) made from natural yogurt, a tablespoonful of rolled oats, a couple of teaspoonfuls of honey and a little cinnamon. On such a breakfast where the fresh fruit and yogurt, which are the alkaline-forming foods, balance the small quantities of acid-forming foods—the grains and the honey—to maintain the ideal ratio of 80 percent alkaline to 20 percent acid, you will find you can work well throughout the morning without suffering “acid rebound.” Your body will also be protected against the unnecessary stress of having to work hard to rebalance the blood.

    Forget the Salt

    Recent studies indicate that the daily sodium requirement for a human being is probably not more than 200 milligrams a day, perhaps slightly higher in someone who performs great physical exertion or in nursing mothers. This small quantity is available naturally in foods alone—vegetables, meats and fish, fruits, and grains for instance—without our ever having to add salt to our foods. Where we do add it, not only when cooking but also at the table, the average sodium intake is thought to be more than twenty-five times that amount. Thanks to the research of Professor Lot Page at Harvard, salt—the ubiquitous substance which the ancient Greeks considered divine—has now been shown beyond all reasonable doubt to be at the root of hypertension, one of our most common twentieth-century illnesses.

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    Engine Spockets for Your Harley Motorcycle

    Engine Spockets for Your Harley Motorcycle

    Brandon Miller attempts to set electric motorcycle speed record

    The Electric Cowboy and Foxy Cleopatra

    A few days ago, Brandon Miller, a.k.a the Electric Cowboy, set out to Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah to attempt to set both world and national records for partially streamed and non-faired electric motorcycle under 150 kg. Yes it may seem a bit geeky, but it’s also exciting because it is very new motorcycle technology, and so it sounds like science fiction.

    His attempt is going to be performed with two electric motorcycles: the Zero S Zf6, and his famous “Foxy Cleopatra,” Zero S ZF9 model that anyone can buy in any store. Foxy has had a few modifications done by Hollywood Electrics, such as the single bar end mirror and the tail chop; a change made for a more effective and faster speed, even though it is somewhat unnecessary, since it’s already super light and fast. For the Zero ZF6, he will tweak the race setting and have custom made race upgrades and hardware modifications, since the original speed for the Zero S Zf6 goes up to 88mph. By making the modifications the bike can go up to 100mph.

    The Electric Cowboy and Foxy CleopatraFor the first few runs, Brandon plans to attempt setting both records using the bike’s default settings. If he fails during the first attempt, he will make some “modifications to the software and hardware settings on both bikes” to determine the power and speed they give out.

    Some of the records he has achieved are: being first person to get their racing license on an electric motorcycle, and being the first rider with any no-gas experience. After his record setting attempts, whether he succeeds or not, he plans next year to set a FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) world speed record.

    As of Sunday, via an update to his fund-raising website, Miller claims he has set a new speed record for electric motorcycles with a speed of 98.87mph. But that’s not good enough for the Electric Cowboy, in his own words “I wanna break 100 so bad I can taste it! Or maybe that’s just the salt on my lips…”

    __________________
    Source: Gas2 ( 9/17)

    Bolts From The Blue: Yamaha Garage Challenge

    In Yamaha Italy's Garage Challenge, six builders were given an XV950 to transform.
    After decades of enjoying the middleweight V-twin market to itself, the Harley Sportster is facing serious challenges.

    The two biggest contenders? The postmodern Indian Scout and the retro bobber-styled Star Bolt, which is known to Europeans as the Yamaha XV950. In the USA, Yamaha’s already run a custom build-off centered the Bolt—and now it’s the turn of the Italian distributor.
    The ‘Garage Challenge’ pits six Italian Yamaha dealers against each other, rather than pro builders. But the results are just as good. You can vote on the Garage Challenge website to help choose the winner, and it’ll be announced at the Motor Bike Expo in Verona on 22 January. These are our three favorite builds.
    In Yamaha Italy's Garage Challenge, six builders were given an XV950 to transform.Mid Night Club by New Venizia Moto Yes, they have roads as well as canals in Venice. Two inspirations are listed for this bike: 1970s café racers, and the Japanese street racers of the 1980s. The goal was “sporty lines and a dark soul.”
    It’s a much more aggressive style than the stock bike, but fortunately the handling of the XV950 is amongst the best of any V-twin. The highlight is the new tail unit, which replaces the bobber look with a racier vibe and hides a new subframe. Glossy black paint and subtle pinstripes keep things classy: the only touches of color are the yellow of the headlight lens and the shocks.
    In Yamaha Italy's Garage Challenge, six builders were given an XV950 to transform.Bombhard BH1 by Moto Shop (below) The Parma-based showroom is the oldest Yamaha dealer in Europe, and they’ve chosen a vintage look for this XV950. The styling is straight out of the 1930s and influenced by the Art Deco movement.
    In Yamaha Italy's Garage Challenge, six builders were given an XV950 to transform.
    The engine shroud and headlamp nacelles are an inspired touch, and hide a custom triple clamp arrangement. With nothing more than a 5mm allen key, you can adjust the geometry from cruiser to café racer depending on your mood.

    In Yamaha Italy's Garage Challenge, six builders were given an XV950 to transform.
    Designers Giovanni Buratti and Daniele Pasetti have reportedly patented the system, but we’re more intrigued by the motocross-style seat. It’s the last thing you’d expect to see on bike harking back to the 1930s, but it strangely works.

    In Yamaha Italy's Garage Challenge, six builders were given an XV950 to transform.TB114 by Twinsbike (below) The small Milanese dealer has only been operating for ten years, but this tracker-styled XV950 is one of the highlights of the Garage Challenge.
    In Yamaha Italy's Garage Challenge, six builders were given an XV950 to transform.
    The company has MotoGP experience, so it’s not surprising that this is the most sporting of the XV950 customs. We’re especially digging the air intake and the sinuous exhaust system, which was built by SC Project.

    At first glance it’d be hard to pick this as an XV950: the new lines are beautifully judged, and the uplift at the back from the matching seat unit and flared muffler just screams ‘dirt track’.
    We’d be happy to put any of these XV950s in the Bike EXIF garage. Which one would you choose?
    If you have a working knowledge of Italian and want to cast your vote, head over to the Garage Challenge website.
    In Yamaha Italy's Garage Challenge, six builders were given an XV950 to transform.

    First published inwww.bikeexif.com

    15 Painless Ways to Crush Sugar Cravings

    15 Painless Ways to Crush Sugar Cravings

    By Debra Goldstein
    Tips to cure your sugar addiction
    Thinkstock

    These research-backed tips will suppress your sweet tooth for good

    A mouth full of fudgy frosting on your birthday, a fork full of toasty pecan pie at Thanksgiving, a cold bowl full of cookies ‘n cream on a hot August afternoon: These time-honored treats are among life’s sweetest pleasures, meant to be savored and enjoyed.
    Problem is, for many of us, sugar has become an overwhelming daily temptation that we feel powerless to resist. Instead of occasionally indulging in special-occasion desserts, many of us are straight up hooked on sweets, needing a daily (sometimes hourly!) fix to satisfy our sugar addiction. If you’ve ever found yourself in a sugar-trance, locked onto a doughnut like a heat-seeking missile, you know how potent sugar cravings can be.
    But no matter how severely you’re strung out on the sweet stuff, there’s hope! In her new book The Sugar Smart DietPrevention Editor-in-Chief Anne Alexander argues that the key to reclaiming sugar’s simple, sweet pleasure is to take back control by first breaking the powerful hold it has on your body and mind. Breaking your addiction leads to what Alexander calls “sugar freedom,” a state in which you call the shots—not your cravings. Not Krispy Kreme. You.
    Ready to adopt a take-it-or-leave-it attitude toward the cookie tray? Try these Sugar Smart tips to crush your sugar cravings faster than you can scarf down a Snickers:
    1. Eat a protein-packed breakfast. Research shows that protein in the a.m. makes it difficult for sugar cravings to take hold later on. Lean protein options like Greek yogurt, peanut butter, eggs, and low-fat cheese produce less of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin and more PPY, a hormone that signals fullness. MRI scans of high-protein breakfast eaters in a University of Missouri study showed reduced activity in areas of the brain associated with cravings. Can’t stomach food too early in the morning? No problem. Eat it by 10 a.m. and you’ll still help quell that late-day sugar yen.
    2. Never go hungry. Meal skipping is a guaranteed way to fire up sugar cravings. Skipping meals lowers blood sugar levels and causes you to overeat the rest of the day to make up for missed calories. Keep things steady by eating five times a day – three meals and two snacks of nourishing and delicious whole foods such as whole grains, beans, lean meats/poultry/fish, nuts, unsweetened low-fat dairy, eggs, and veggies. They’ll fill you up and give you the ideal balance of lean protein, energizing carbohydrates, and healthy fats to steady your blood sugar and insulin levels and extinguish cravings for sugar.
    3. Suss out secret sugars. True to their name, secret sugars lurk in foods you don’t even think of as sweet: Everything from ketchup to crackers, salad dressings to pasta sauce. The problem with these secret sugars isn’t just that they put you on sugar overload (which they do; the average American takes in a whopping 22 teaspoons of added sugar each day—the ideal is 6). It’s that added sugars stoke appetite and beget more cravings, trapping you in a vicious cycle of wanting more, more, more. Search your fridge and pantry and read every label. Find the foods with sugar listed in the first few ingredients and seek out low-sugar alternatives to dial down your sugar intake.
    4. Pump up the flavor. Sugar may be sweet, but there are plenty of other fabulous tastes out there that you may be missing out on. If you’ve ever seeded a fragrant vanilla bean for a special dish or topped a sliced tomato with fresh basil leaves, you know how much flavor herbs and spices can add. Experiment liberally with spices of all kinds (added bonus: warm spices like cinnamon and ginger can quell a sweet tooth). And don’t forget other flavor boosters like balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon and orange zest, and hot sauce to perk up your taste buds. Stir your coffee with a stick of cinnamon…toss plain, air-popped popcorn with smoked paprika…the more adventuresome you are, the more you’ll grow to appreciate flavor, and put sugar in its rightful place in the process.
    5. Sleep more, crave less. The key to stopping sugar cravings in their tracks is balancing the hormones ghrelin (an appetite trigger) and leptin (which signals satiety), along with insulin. Get these hormones working in harmony and you’ll experience fewer cravings—and less fat storage. But if you get less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sack time, you may be undercutting this goal. In a University of Chicago study, a few sleepless nights were enough to drop levels of leptin by 18 percent and boost levels of ghrelin by about 30 percent. Those two changes alone caused cravings for sugary foods to jump 45 percent. Sleep deprivation not only makes sugary foods more appealing, it may also lower your ability to resist them. The parts of your brain that usually put the brakes on cravings aren’t as active when you’re tired, research conducted at the University of California, Berkley found. The upshot? Get your zzz’s to strike the all-important hormonal balance and boost your craving-crushing stamina.
    6. Rev up your movement to dial down your cravings. If you’re plagued by strong sugar cravings, getting your body moving may help deactivate them. According to a study published in Applied Psychology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, the more you sit, the greater your appetite – even if your body doesn’t need the calories. Moderate exercise also helps keep muscle cells sensitive to insulin. Strength training builds stronger muscles, which in turn use up more glucose. Any physical activity that you enjoy will help get sugar off your brain—and belly.
    7. Soothe what’s really bothering you. The link between emotional comfort and sweets is primal – and persistent. Rewarded with candy when growing up? You may still treat yourself to dessert for a job well done. Did you push back the confusion and loneliness of adolescence with candy bars? You may still be doing that as an adult. To break the cycle of reaching for sugar when you are emotionally cued to, you have to have something that will short-circuit your reflex response. The first step toward breaking the emotional connection between emotions and food is to become aware of the feelings that drive you to crave sweets. Not after the fact – the very moment you reach for sugar. To get a split second of clarity as your fingers close in on your co-worker’s candy dish: Why am I reaching for this? In those moments, remember this simple but powerful catchphrase: “Stop. Slow down. Think.” That will enable you to determine whether you really want the sweet or whether you are just feeding your emotions.
    8. Pinpoint your sugar pitfalls. Do the doughnuts in the coffee room at work every morning call out to you? Think through your day and identify where and when you are most susceptible to sugar’s lure, and ask yourself why you “need” sugar in those moments. Is it because you’re starving when you get to work and the doughnuts are just too tempting to resist? Empower yourself with new, positive alternatives you can use to meet that need. Perhaps it’s making sure you eat a healthy breakfast and bypassing the doughnuts on your way to your desk. Fill your need in healthier ways and sugar loses its power over you.
    9. Find healthier rewards. Instead of treating yourself to sweets, treat yourself to pleasure! Often we reach for sugar when we’re stressed, lonely, or bored. But there are far better ways to turn around a bad mood or energy lull. Make your own personal “rewards card”—a list of nourishing activities that you can whip out any time you find yourself reaching for sweets. Your rewards should be things that elicit the same pleasure you feel when you indulge in a favorite dessert. Think of things you can do instantly and that last for the 15 to 20 minutes you otherwise might spend lost in a sugar episode. For instance: listen to music, dance like crazy, call a friend, paint your toenails, go for a bike ride, pet the cat, watch junky TV, plan a dream vacation, or just lay down and look at the sky. This strategy of pleasure-focused redirection will work like a charm to keep you focused on nonfood sources of happiness.
    10. Supplement with calcium and vitamin D. Are you taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement? Good! Several studies suggest that multivitamins that contain vitamin D and calcium can potentially lower cravings and promote weight loss. Extra body fat holds on to vitamin D so that the body can’t use it, and this perceived deficiency interferes with the action of leptin (the hormone that signals your brain that you’re full). If you’re deficient in calcium, your body can experience up to a fivefold increase in the fatty acid synthase, an enzyme that converts calories into fat. While a multivitamin can’t replace a healthy diet, this bit of extra nutrition “insurance” can’t hurt—and you might just find your cravings lessen while your weight loss speeds up.
    11. Snap out of temptation with a photo. Research shows that people who keep a food diary lose more weight. But that doesn’t have to be limited to just writing down what you eat. In a study published in theInternational Journal of Consumer Studies, volunteers recorded what they ate on paper and in photos. They all reported that the act of taking the photos—and the photos themselves—raised their awareness of what they were eating. By taking pictures of your food before you eat it, you give yourself that crucial split-second pause that enables you to reconsider your selection. Seeing that softball-ball size cinnamon bun in a photo before you down it may jolt you into making a healthier choice.
    12. Relax with a cup of tea and a novel. We all know that stress powers sugar cravings. And there’s nothing new about advice to carve out “me time” to combat stress. What is new is a study from England’s University of Sussex that found reading can slash stress by a stunning 68 percent! Other methods the study tested that also work are listening to music (61 percent) or sipping a cup of tea (54 percent). It’s a great way to divert yourself when you get that urge to munch. Pick a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted and brew a cup of calming tea, such as chamomile, to sip while you turn the pages.
    13. Stay hydrated. If your sweet tooth is on overdrive, turn on the tap and drink up. Dehydration can spike cravings for sugar and junk food dramatically – and may take a toll on your mood. Recent studies have linked mild dehydration to fatigue, anxiety, poor concentration, and even your cranky midday slump that can send you lunging for the vending machine. The latest guidelines from the Institute of Medicine recommend that women get 91 ounces of water a day, but you’ll be happy to know that not all of it has to come from the tap. At least 20 percent can come from food. So eat lots of fruits and veggies to make a hefty dent in your water needs.
    14. Soothe with scent. Self-soothing techniques help you tolerate strong or overwhelming emotions, so you can manage them in a positive way, rather than reflexively reaching for a sugary treat. Inhaling a pleasant scent is a helpful reminder to enter the present and literally bring you to your senses when you’re in a cravings spiral. Try this exercise: Add 2 drops of eucalyptus oil to 1 cup of water in a bowl and stir. Soak a washcloth in the scented water. Squeeze out the excess water, then roll it up neatly and place it in a plastic bag in your fridge. The next time a craving hits, retrieve your scented washcloth and drape it gently over your face. Focus your full attention on the sensations—the texture of the cloth, its coolness, its scent—as you inhale the calm, and exhale the powerful emotions.
    15. Savor life as much as sugar. Take a moment to think about your schedule. Does include an activity that really does it for you? That puts a curl in your toes, a little flutter of anticipation in your gut? We’re not talking downtime in front of the tube. We’re talking pleasure. The more you indulge in it in healthy ways, the less you’ll look for it in sugar. And the more pleasure, joy, and laughter you add to your life, the less you feel the need to derive pleasure from food. Savoring an experience—whether it’s a walk in the woods or a movie marathon with your best friend—means to enjoy it thoroughly, wringing every drop of pleasure from it. And while cookies may taste momentarily sweet, they can’t provide true and lasting satisfaction.
    Source

    Fixing Common Diet Mistakes

    Fixing Common Diet Mistakes

    by Jeff Angus

    Fix These Common Dieting Mistakes To Hit Your Goals Without Ruining Your Health

    Common Diet Mistakes
    © Getty Images

    As a species, humans have evolved largely through successfully finding the path of least resistance. Physiologically, the human body also operates this way. This is why a marathon runner can cover 20 miles without breaking a sweat, while a rugby forward would have significant difficulties doing the same thing. The body likes to do what it is good at doing.

    However, when it comes to diets and nutrition, the path of least resistance is rarely the recommended route to take. Doing what is easy involves quick meals, short-term solutions, and processed and packaged foods that take little to no time to prepare. It is very difficult to create effective and impactful health changes in a few days or weeks, which is exactly what many miracle diets promise to deliver. Looking good and feeling good over the long term requires discipline, but the process of getting there should — and can — be an enjoyable one.
    I don’t particularly like the word diet, more for how it is used than for what it actually means. Simply put, your diet is the food you consume. Here are three very practical and simple fixes you can utilise to correct your past (or current) diet mistakes.
    1) Cleanses are bad (very, very bad) 
    At the very least, juice/health/detoxification cleanses (whatever you want to call them) are very expensive. And they are also ineffective and potentially very bad for your body, too. Sounds like a lose-lose situation, right? So why do so many people continue on with them? The reason for the popularity of cleanses is threefold — effective marketing and celebrity endorsements, a short-time duration before promised success, and ease-of-use. How hard can it be to only drink juice or a specific concoction of bizarre ingredients for a few days to rid your body of all unwanted toxins?
    Cleanses are a great example of the dangers of human psychology and the “more is better” principle. If something (in this case, fruits and/or vegetables) is good for you, why shouldn’t you exclusively consume them? Cleanses “work” in the sense that you will lose weight not because of what you are consuming, but because of what you are not consuming. That is, food and nutrients required to function as a human being. Quick science lesson: most of the weight lost during short-term cleanses or calorically-restricted diets is simply water that your body has stored up. You will gain this weight right back (and often at an increased rate) when you go back to eating regularly. This, in a nutshell, is why crash diets and cleanses don’t work and end up doing more damage than good in the long term.
    You don’t need an expensive collection of unnamed liquids to detoxify — our bodies and internal organs have been doing this task quite well for a long time. Andy Bellatti, a doctor and the author of Small Bites, has this to say about short-term diet fixes:
    “Nutrition and health is about the big picture. What you do for five or seven days out of the year is pretty inconsequential.
    Rather than worry about ‘detoxing,’ people would be better off thinking about eating nutritious, health-promoting foods on a daily basis. Think leafy greens, beans, whole fruit, nuts, and seeds. The idea that six months of unhealthy eating can somehow be remedied by drinking nothing but green juice for 72 hours is erroneous.”
    Erroneous is a fancy word for stupid. Your body needs fat, fibre and protein to function, regardless of whether you are a professional athlete or someone who never steps foot in the gym. Without protein, your muscle tissue begins to break down after a few days. That sure sounds fun, doesn’t it?
    Quick fix: avoid cleanses. Eat real food. Think long term. 
    2) You don’t need to skip meals 
    While there are many potential health benefits to fasting, developing a habit of skipping meals in order to lose weight or hit a short-term health goal is not an advisable strategy. A recent study from Finland has linked skipping meals with childhood obesity, and nearly one in 10 people skip breakfast each day. I’m not advising eating a big breakfast or emphasising that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (it isn’t). But if you are eating the right foods, you shouldn’t have to skip meals or create a love-hate relationship with food through a very rigid punishment-reward cycle. The aforementioned “more is better” mentality is so pervasive in our culture and it is to blame for many of the health problems nowadays. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you can’t make up for a lifetime of bad eating habits by “forgetting” to eat.
    Quick fix: if you are hungry, eat (preferably healthy and whole foods). Skipping meals is a band-aid solution.
    3) Counting calories is a lot of work 

    What is the real problem behind the obesity epidemic? Is it the amount of fat we are consuming? Maybe. How about the amount of sugar in the average diet? Very likely. The 21st century North American is, on average, incredibly resistant to insulin, and that is largely because of the amount of sugar and highly-processed carbohydrates available to consume. Can counting calories fix these issues? Should we, as a society, be acutely aware of the exact amount of calories we put into our bodies every day?

    I think it is a good practice for people to spend a few days counting calories if they have never done so before. The only real goal with this exercise is to gain an awareness of what you are actually eating on a daily basis (and I guarantee that the results will surprise you). However, people that focus their diets completely around hitting certain caloric goals are, once again, attempting to find a short-term fix to a long-term issue.
    At their very core, no two calories are the same. Nutrition-dense foods (fruits, vegetables) compared to foods that are largely processed (packaged goods) will impact your health in different ways beyond just the amount of calories they contain. Counting calories can increase awareness, but beyond that, it opens up the door to a bevy of potential issues — information overload (which can lead to stress and burnout), an obsession with reduced fat or fat-free products (which are generally unhealthier than their full-fat alternatives), and a general lack of enjoyment related to foods and eating.
    And beyond being extremely tedious, calorie counting may not even be very accurate.
    Because of incorrect labelling, laboratory errors, and differences in food quality and preparation, calorie counts recorded on food labels and websites — even those within the USDA’s nutrient databases — can be off by as much as 25%.
    Let’s take a brief step back and think about health philosophically . The real reason that many of us strive to live a healthy and active lifestyle is to look good and to feel good. Feeling good and looking good often support each other. And so much of feeling good (and, naturally, looking good) relates to minimising stress. Counting calories is stressful. So by taking a long-term view of your health, you can see that what seems like an effective solution with counting calories could actually be contributing to your unhealthiness in the first place.
    Here is some sage wisdom on health and nutrition from Dr David Ludwig, a professor at Harvard Medical School.
    “Very few people can lose weight over the long term with low-calorie diets. And those who can’t are blamed for lack of discipline and willpower. So, according to an alternative view, weight is controlled like body temperature and a range of other biological functions. Eating too much refined carbohydrate has, by this theory, raised insulin levels and programmed our fat cells to suck in and store too many calories. When this happens, there are too few calories for the rest of the body. So the brain recognises this and triggers the starvation response. We experience that as becoming excessively hungry and our metabolism slows down. … Eventually we succumb to hunger and overeat.”
    So a better approach, if this theory is correct, is to address the problem at its source by cutting back on the foods that are over-stimulating our fat cells: the refined carbohydrates like grains, potato products and concentrated sugars — especially the refined grains. And by eating this way, we can basically ignore calories and let our body-weight control systems do the work.
    Don’t take a hard line approach to anything related to diet or nutrition. What works for other people may not work for you, and vice versa. Always be thinking long term. Short term solutions often lead to problems down the road. Unlike cleanses or quick fix diets, none of the above tips will help you in the short term. But, also unlike cleanses or quick fix diets, all three of them will work.
    Source

    Foam Rolling aka Self Myo-Fascial Release

    Using a tubular foam roller to literally roll over tight areas of muscles and tendons is known as “Myo-Fascial Release”.    While it seems counter-intuitive applying steady pressure to muscles and tendons with an emphasis on trigger points (areas of tightness and soreness) has been proven to be a highly effective method for improving mobility.    
    Since you are in complete control of the amount of pressure applied and how long it is applied you can customize the experience based on your level of sensitivity.   Key areas to focus on include the hamstrings, calves, gluteal muscles, latissimus dorsi muscle, and even low back and hip flexors if done with caution.
    You can use a tubular foam roller, and they are made in varying levels of firmness from soft to very firm.   In addition, there are variations that include a textured surface of varying levels from small to large finger like projections.  You can also use balls such as a lacrosse ball, baseball, or tennis ball in a similar fashion.     NOTE:  the smaller and firmer the object the more pressure it will tend to apply so proceed cautiously.
    The technique is to position the foam roller on the floor (on a firm but not hard surface is best).  Then position the muscle/s you are targeting on top of the foam roller.     For example, for the calf sit on the floor with your target leg extended so that it is on top of the foam roller with the lowest portion of the calf on top of the roller.    
    Use your hands to lift your butt slightly off the floor to allow you to apply pressure down onto the foam roller.    Then literally roll forward slowly over the foam roller paying attention to any trigger points where you notice sensitivity or tightness.   
    When you find a sensitive area slowly roll back and forth on the spot until you feel it release.   With a little experimentation you will learn how much pressure and speed work best for your physiology. 
    Self Myo-Fascial Release/Foam Rolling is a great way to start a workout and does a great job of safely improving mobility before a workout and is also great to do between workouts.
    Contraindications to Foam Rolling
    Pregnancy – during pregnancy ligaments become lax and pressure anywhere on or near the abdomen is to be avoided at all costs so best to skip foam rolling when pregnant.
    Osteoporosis – soft bones and additional pressure are not a good combination so best to avoid foam rolling without a physician’s permission if you have moderate to severe osteoporosis.
    Intervertebral Disc Issues – anyone with disc problems in their spine should be cautious with foam rolling because pressure in the wrong areas can create problems so again get guidance from a medical professional if you have an disc issues in your spine.
    Inability to support bodyweight on arms or legs – foam rolling cannot be done safely if a person lacks the strength to support their bodyweight on their arms and/or legs.
    For a pictorial guide of various foam rolling exercises to target specific body parts click here:   https://www.pinterest.com/explore/foam-rolling/  

    Mt Trip to Manila, Philippines cont……..

    I returned to Colombo on the 19th morning without any delays. On the way I met one of my colleagues at Bangkok airport and that helped pass the time as well as chat on the plane.

    I found an interesting article on the web regarding “don’t know that you don’t know” I found the article to be spot on and very helpful in understanding this phenomenon. http://www.doceo.co.uk/tools/knowing.htm Now I can start to develop some strategy to work around this problem so that I am better prepared to face such an issue the next time around.

    I finished documenting the results of the workshop in Manila and sent the results for comments from the client. I am still waiting for the results. Hope I am able to finish this assignment this week as it has the potential to get delayed and get ugly.

    In terms of my future travel plans there are no assignments where I need to travel overseas at present. The assignments I have lined up are in Colombo. However things can change very quickly.

    FHA and VA Loans – Charging Notary Fees

    QUESTION
    We need some assistance regarding our ability as a lender to charge the borrower notary fees on FHA and VA loans when it is an employee of the lender who is acting as the notary. Can you please provide some guidance?
    ANSWER
    With respect to a VA loan, the lender may not charge the borrower a separate itemized notary fee, regardless if the notary is an employee or not. All such fees are intended to be covered by the 1% flat fee charge. 
    [VA Lender’s Handbook Ch. 8.2-d]
    With respect to an FHA loan, the current handbook provides that the lender may charge the borrower “reasonable and customary fees that do not exceed the actual cost of the service provided”. 
    [HUD Handbook 4000.1.II.A.6.a.x(A)] 

    The italicized section of the previous sentence implies that a lender may not charge for services provided by its employees as the lender did not incur any costs, as the employee’s salary is part of the lender’s overhead.
    A prior version of the HUD handbook specifically delineated allowable fees which included a notary fee if notarization is required by the state and the notarization is performed by a notary who is not employed by the lender.  
    [HUD 4000.2 Rev-3 Ch. 5-2(O)]  

    HUD Handbook 4000.2 Rev-3 was superseded by Handbook 4155.2 which did away with the specific categories but stated that the cost for any item charged must not exceed the cost paid by the lender or charged to the lender by the service provider, thus making it impermissible to charge for services provided by the lender’s employees. Handbook 4155.2 has been superseded by Handbook 4000.1 discussed above.
    Pertinent sections of the Handbooks cited above are set forth below.  
    HUD Handbook 4000.1.II.A.6.a.x(A)
    x. Closing Costs and Fees
    The Mortgagee must ensure that all fees charged to the Borrower comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws and disclosure requirements.
    The Mortgagee is not permitted to use closing costs to help the Borrower meet the Minimum Required Investment (MRI).
    (A) Collecting Customary and Reasonable Fees. The Mortgagee may charge the Borrower reasonable and customary fees that do not exceed the actual cost of the service provided. The Mortgagee must ensure that the aggregate charges do not violate FHA’s Tiered Pricing rules.
    HUD Handbook 4155.2 6.A.3.a Collecting Customary and Reasonable Fees

    The lender may only collect fair, reasonable, and customary fees and charges from the borrower for all origination services. FHA will monitor to ensure that borrowers are not overcharged. Furthermore, the FHA Commissioner retains the authority to set limits on the amount of any fees that a lender may charge a borrower(s) for obtaining an FHA loan.
    Aggregate charges may not violate FHA’s tiered pricing rules, per ML 94-16.
    Additionally, FHA does not allow “mark-ups.” The cost for any item charged to the borrower must not exceed the cost paid by the lender, or charged to the lender by the service provider.
    Only the actual cost for the service may be charged to the borrower.
    HUD Handbook 4000.2 Rev-3 Ch. 5-2(O)
    CLOSING COSTS AND OTHER FEES (05/04)
    Listed below are the customary and reasonable fees and charges that may be collected from the borrower by the lender and used to meet the minimum investment requirement for purchases and added to the existing indebtedness for refinances. The cost for any item charged to the borrower must not exceed the cost paid by the lender or charged to the lender by the service provider.
    * * *
    O. Courier/Wire/Notary Fees. Courier fees and wire fees may be charged only on refinances and only for delivery of the mortgage payoff statement to the lien holder and for closing documents to the settlement agent. The borrower must agree in writing to pay for the courier and wire fees, prior to loan closing. Notary fees may be charged if notarization is required by state law and is performed by a notary who is not employed by the lender.
    VA Lender’s Handbook Ch. 8, 2-d: Lender’s One Percent Flat Charge (11/08/12)

    In addition to the “itemized fees and charges,” the lender may charge the veteran a flat charge not to exceed one percent of the loan amount.
    Calculate the one percent on the principal amount after adding the funding fee to the loan, if the funding fee is paid from loan proceeds (except Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loans (IRRRLs).
    Note: For IRRRLs, use VA Form 26-8923, IRRRL Worksheet, for the calculation.
    The lender’s flat charge is intended to cover all of the lender’s costs and services which are not reimbursable as “itemized fees and charges.”
    The following list provides examples of items that cannot be charged to the veteran as “itemized fees and charges.” Instead, the lender must cover any cost of these items out of its flat fee:

    • notary fees

    Joyce Wilkins Pollison
    Director/Legal & Regulatory Compliance
    Lenders Compliance Group

    TestRun, Video Edition: Recording Gameplay – Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 (Video Samples with Brief Tutorial Video)

    This is a more informal TestRun, where I was merely testing out the perceived quality of some recording codecs while attempting to get gameplay recording of Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 going. As most of you know, recording this game is not just a point-and-shoot affair. Heck, most game recording applications won’t even detect the way it is buffering and utilizing video memory, resulting in a black screen, flashing or very laggy output. After trying years ago and abandoning it temporarily, I was recently searching websites with information on trying it again. With no luck finding a starting point of information, I decided to figure it out on my own – and of course share my findings should anything turn out fruitful…

    First, simply trying to record RCT2 with FRAPS and then Bandicam, turned up nothing as a result. Either it would not detect the screen (it is not using 2D/3D rendering/buffering on the videocard in a standard manner) or it would capture blackness (when trying Bandicam’s ‘Record The Screen’, for instance). Since these are two well-made recording products, I assumed other products would result in the same …result. I also seem to remember trying applications like Camtasia, back in the day..

    So next, I tried good’ol ‘Virtualbox’. A staple Virtual Machine emulator (think of a little computer-running-inside-a-computer), I installed an old version of WindowsXP that I had into the GuestVM. Installing my DRM-free purchase of RCT2 from Good Old Games, I tried recording the screen. No luck, since it wasn’t using Direct3D in a way that I could record (after I finally got Direct3D working in it). I tried playing it in a Windowed VM and recording that. It wouldn’t even run for some reason. It kept trying to ‘take over’ the VM and resizing it. I tried setting my Host Computer desktop resolution to 1280×720 and getting the game to detect that and run it at that resolution, ‘Full Screen’ and ‘Seamless’. Nope. For one thing, the game kept detecting and making available only the most basic of 4:3 aspect resolutions (CRT monitor type sizes), no matter what driver/settings I used for the virtual machine (I of course wanted the more modern widescreen 16:9 ratio, as YouTube uses).

    Third, I tried VMware’s ‘VMware Player’. A free virtual machine app, where the business version (VMware Workstation) is the go-to prog for business virtualization. Installing my XP and then RCT2 into the VM, I got it going in 720p rez and prepared Bandicam to record a “Rectangle On A Screen”. It worked wonderfully. So, with the odd stutter (very few and far between), I can now record RCT2 gameplay and wanted to share my findings of the ability with everyone.

    I was also messing around with different recording codecs, to see what they looked like at different settings with this game at 720p. I quickly threw together this little video showing some settings and results (Sample Video). A summary of what I have set up to record Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 gameplay is just below a short analysis of the video/recordings. Again. this isn’t a ‘full/technical’ TestRun, it is just me sharing some tests I did and showing that one can indeed record RCT2. Further down, there is a video that goes over the steps in summary, then in slightly more detail, showing the steps taken on the screen, a short ‘tutorial’ I suppose. For those who haven’t figured it out or got it working yet, perhaps this information will help you out, too. Enjoy!

    RCT2 testing (codecs/settings) with Bandicam (Samples)

    Recorded with: Bandicam, various quality settings, various codecs @ 1280×720 (720p HD)

    Recorded game: Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 (RCT2)

    Some recording data (per codec) for this test:

    MJPEG @ q80 = 45,000kbps data rate (~330MB per minute of gameplay recording)

    MPEG-1 @ q80 = 11,000kbps data rate (~80MB per minute of gameplay recording)

    MJPEG @ q60 = 34,000kbps data rate (~250MB per minute of gameplay recording)

    MPEG-1 @ q60 = 3,000kbps data rate (~22MB per minute of gameplay recording)

    *XviD and x264 are omitted as results for this test as editing/recompression resulted in corrupted video output (they will be included in a future TestRun with many codecs)

    Brief analysis of sample video:

    • All of the MPEG-1 settings are quite watchable, unless of course the temporal gibbs effects bothers you (the little ‘ghosty/glimmer’ effects that follow around the peeps). Perhaps if I didn’t mention it, you might not have noticed? As with all recording/editing, if it ‘looks fine to you’, then you can run with it if you want. Some people “need” the best quality possible, some can watch any quality and enjoy it. If the MPEG-1 setting at 80% Quality seemed fine to you, go ahead and use that (it is about 1/4 the size of the MJPEG recordings and I have found that editing MPEG-1 is bit slower but quite possible to do in editing applications such as Sony’s Vegas line of products).
    • The MJPEG at a Quality of 50 percent is watchable but messy looking, as expected since a JPG (MJPEG is a series of JPG frames) at only 50% quality would have tons of compression artifacts. 60% is just as bad, with ‘rough blocks’ everywhere (macroblock artifacting). MJPEG at Quality80 isn’t bad and very watchable, but it is much larger in bitrate usage/file size than say, MPEG-1 at the same quality setting (it is about four times larger in file size). It is the easiest codec to edit, however.
    • XviD, an MPEG-4 codec, can potientially looks a lot ‘cleaner’ as it can handle smaller macroblocks/divisions of the screen (inherent in the improvements in MPEG-4 over MPEG-1) – but the output seems to have strong corruption (it leaves ‘trails’ on the screen) when attempting to edit/recompress it into a final product (as seen in the video).
    • x264, a more recent ‘Advanced Video Codec’ version of MPEG-4, it records in wonderful quality and low file sizes – but all of that is hidden behind, again, corruption (‘trails’ left behind on the screen*) and slow editing.
      (The editing can be helped somewhat by specifying a smaller GroupOfPictures (frames inbetween keyframes/information frames, to help seeking through the video.)
      Keep in mind that for the MPEG-4 codecs, the corruption surfaces only when editing/recompressing the source video. The ‘original’ gameplay recording in MPEG-4 is quite clean and watchable, completely fine if you are just going to ‘record-and-upload’ to a video sharing site or personal website.
      *More on this issue and x264 recording in a future article
    • A full Codec Comparison TestRun is coming, where I test out a bunch of different codecs and see how they fare for general game recording, MPEG-1, MPEG-4, AVC/h264 (MPEG-4 Part-10), MJPEG, XviD, RGB24 and more…

      Some related articles:
      Game recording comparison with various codecs and settings (Minecraft)
      http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2012/10/testrun-video-edition-fraps-vs-dxtory.html
      The ghosting/blurring effect when rendering in Sony Vegas products
      http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2012/10/and-more-how-to-stop-ghosting-or.html

    There are a couple other ways to do it I think, but here is how I recorded Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 gameplay with Bandicam:

    • Install Windows into a VM Guest (for example, a VMware virtual machine within the VMware Player application)
    • Install RCT2 into that Virtual Machine, running the VM in a window (for example, 1280×720)
    • Set up Bandicam to record a ‘Rectangle On A Screen’ and set the Rectangle to be the same size as the Virtual Machine running in a window (in this case, 1280×720) and line them up. 

    That’s it!

    Tutorial Video on how to record Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 with Bandicam

    I had seen many people on many forums asking for years how to record RCT2 gamplay. I have seen a few videos online now and so some have it working, but if you haven’t been able to get it going or would like to try to make your own Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 videos, here’s how. Good luck with it and have fun!
    See you in the games!

    The Benefits of Jump Training

    Watch a group of kids and you will likely see bobbing heads – kids love to jump and there are good reasons for them to jump.   A key aspect of human movement is learning to store energy and then reclaim it as part of a movement cycle. For example up to 40% of the energy required for movement during walking and running is created by storing energy in the leg muscles as the foot lands and then using it during the push-off phase.  The technical name for this cycle is the “Stretch-Shortening Cycle” or SSC.  The SSC takes advantage of the fact that muscles can act as springs:  they store energy as they are lengthened then rebounding in the opposite direction as they get shorter.

    Efficient movement takes advantage of the stretch-shortening cycle and muscles are designed to store and release energy in a rhythmic pattern of loading and unloading just like loading and unloading a spring.  In addition, power for all athletic movements is generated by taking advantage of the SSC.     A key aspect of getting the most from this cycle is rhythm and timing which are learned through repetition.
      
    There are three distinct phases to jump training:

    The Loading Phase – such as landing phase of walking and running where the muscles lengthen under tension to absorb the landing.
    The Amortization Phase – where the muscle transitions between loading phase and the Unloading phase.
    The Unloading Phase – where the muscles shortens and transfers the stored energy externally like a spring recoiling such as the push-off phase of walking and running.

    Jumps can be little – like jumping rope or big – like box jumps.  Start with little jumps.  A great place to start is jumping rhythmically in place with both feet with short fast jumps.   You want to land on the ball of the foot and flex your knees when you land and let your heels just kiss the floor then jump up again and repeat.  Start with really tiny jumps and try to let the elasticity of your calf and quad muscles do the work – done properly it should feel relatively easy.   It will take several weeks to condition the muscles of the foot and calf to be able to do longer sets so take your time.  In addition there are many benefits to performing this training without shoes so the muscles of your foot get conditioned and you have a better feel of the ground.

    It is also important to insure your knees track over your toes and do not collapse inward so do short sets (30 seconds or less) of low, fast jumps on both feet and learn to feel the rhythm of the cycle of landing and push off.

    Once you master this you can add more height to your jumps after you are warmed up.   Stop each set if you start feeling tired or feel unstable, and recover completely between sets.  Do NOT do jump sets to failure. Eventually you can progress into full squat jumps.   However remember the key to capturing the benefit of the stretch-shortening cycle is a quick rebound after landing.  So if you go too low in the loading phase the pause between landing and rebounding will be too long and you lose the benefit of the stretch-shortening cycle.

    Over time you can even progress to single leg jumps or box jumps where you jump down off a height to the ground/floor then land and rebound up.  Take these progressions SLOWLY – it is important to build the elastic strength of the muscles in your foot, lower leg, and thighs over time and stopping BEFORE you are exhausted will prevent injury.  This is why kids naturally like to do short sets of jumps repeatedly – it feels good when done properly!

    There are many benefits to jump training including:

    Toning the lower body – jumping recruits all of the major muscles of the lower body while at the same time being the ideal stimulus to build bone strength.

    Jumping burns lots of calories – once you can build up to being able to do 1 – 4 minutes of continuous jumping like jumping rope you can really rack up the calories!

    Jumping pumps up the cardiovascular system – as above once you can jump safely and in good form for 1 – 3 minute sets you will not believe how high your heart rate gets!

    Jumping also demands great balance and stimulates fast-twitch muscle fibers.   Fast-twitch muscle is the type of muscle we lose quickest as we get older.   Fast-twitch fibers are not just important for athletes – they are important for preventing falls because the ability to produce force quickly is important to be able to react quickly when your balance is unexpectedly challenged like stepping off a curb you do not see!

    Jumping is the best way to build the strength of bones – bones need impact and force to stay strong. The key is starting with small jumps and gradually building the height of jumps and time spent jumping.

    There are many ways to build jumping into a workout such as doing some skipping drills which can even be done on a treadmill safely once you get the hang of it.


    It is also worth working with a trainer to help you develop proper jumping mechanics and the stability you need to land properly which are pre-requisites for safe and effective jump training.

    2013 Honda CB 1100 Motorcycle Review

    It’s easy to label the new 2013 Honda CB1100 motorcycle as “retro,” but to younger riders, which also can mean “for old guys,” that must be a bit off-putting. So let’s put that image aside for now and look at the CB1100 for what it actually is: a great street bike in its own right that doesn’t need to lean on past glories to be appealing.

    Physically, the 2013 Honda CB1100 is quite a large motorcycle, so it looks and feels substantial to sit on – like you’ve got some real value for money. The bars are a little high rise for my taste, so I’d put slightly flatter (read: sportier) bars on. Otherwise, the rubber covered footpegs are nicely positioned and the overall riding position is upright, but slightly leaned forward – just right in other words. The clocks are large and easy to read, and everything works as every Honda always does.

    The CB1100 is noticeably unencumbered by acres of plastic wrapped around it, so the powerful-looking 1140cc air- and oil-cooled DOHC motor is fully on display. The engine itself also looks substantial, and as the centerpiece it gives the bike a very appealing, muscular look. 

Feel is as beautifully smooth as you would expect from a Honda inline four, and although it don’t put out superbike numbers on the dyno, the 2013 CB1100 feels sporty and with a strong mid-range – exactly what’s needed on the street.

    The motor pulls well from low-down, and it never feels buzzy. If you thrash it to the redline, then it produces very acceptable thrust; it feels like it is punching way above its weight limit. When an insider hinted to me that the CB1100’s horsepower is in the 80s, I was very surprised, as the feel of the bike isn’t lacking at all. The 5-speed gearbox is smooth and seamless; the lever throw isn’t particularly short, but clutchless upshifts are an easy no-brainer.

    Suspension for the Honda CB1100 is handled by standard forks at the front and twin shocks at the rear, with spring preload being the only available adjustment. The ride is supple and quite sporting, but the suspension is also very compliant and handles the real-world surface with aplomb. Handling is well balanced, neutral on turn-in, and stable; even fast sweepers couldn’t upset the chassis, it felt that planted.

    Brakes are twin discs up front and, although they’re not the latest radial set-up, they handle stopping adequately. As an owner of a 2013 Honda CB1100, I’d probably experiment with different pad grades to get a little more bite for fast riding.

    I’ve refrained from using the word “nice” in this brief ride review, but I can hold off no longer. The CB1100 is a very nice bike; it does everything it should and looks great while doing it. Younger guys looking to trade up to a big, muscular bike, and who don’t want an uncompromising supersport machine, should look hard at the CB1100.

    The $9999 price tag is very appealing, and passengers will dig the accommodations – for the rider, this bike will do it all and in style. Yes, it’s retro and hearkens back to the old days when one bike did everything – and that’s no bad thing – but I’m excited to see Honda bring a good-looking, strong performer, at a reasonable price to the US. 

The 2013 Honda CB1100 is a great alternative to the racetrack refugee machines that don’t fit a lot of people’s needs and new owners will not be disappointed.

    

2013 Honda CB1100 Specs:

    • Model: CB1100
    • Engine Type: 1140cc air- and oil-cooled inline four-cylinder
    • Bore and Stroke: 73.5mm x 67.2mm
    • Compression ratio: 9.5:1
    • Valve Train: DOHC; four valves per cylinder
    • Induction: PGM-FI with automatic enrichment circuit, 32mm throttle bodies
    • Ignition: Digital transistorized with electronic advance
    • Transmission: Five-speed
    • Final Drive: #530 O-ring-sealed chain
    • Suspension Front: 41mm fork with spring preload adjustability; 4.7 inches travel
    • Suspension Rear: Dual shocks with spring preload adjustability; 3.5 inches travel
    • Brakes Front: Dual four-piston calipers with full-floating 296mm discs
    • Brakes Rear: Single-caliper 256mm disc
    • Brakes: Optional Honda ABS
    • Tire Front: 110/80-18
    • Tire Rear: 140/70-18
    • Wheelbase: 58.7 inches
    • Rake (Caster angle): 27.0°
    • Trail: 114mm (4.5 inches)
    • Seat Height: 31.3 inches
    • Fuel Capacity: 3.9 gallons, including 0.9-gallon reserve
    • Estimated Fuel Economy**: TBD
    • Color: Candy Red
    • Curb Weight*: 540 pounds

    __________________
    Source: The Ultimate Motorcycling (Coldwells, 11/12)

    It’s Not Just You™ – The Elder Scrolls: Legends A.I. Seems Pretty Hard To Beat Now [Noticed]

    Just a little notification that, if you are playing TES:Legends recently and find it’s quite a bit harder to beat the computer opponent (AI/NPC)… It’s Not Just You™

    I was in the Beta for The Elder Scrolls: Legends; but never got around to finishing my “First Impressions” article on it [as is how it usually goes for me and posting, heh]. Legends has been out of Beta for a few months now, and if I could summarize the game in one paragraph, I would say that Legends is a Virtual Collectible Card style game, that is ‘both Single-Player and Multiplayer’ (you can play against other human opponents, in matches and “Arena” rounds – but you don’t have to, you can entirely play against the computer AI both in single matches and in ‘Arena playoffs’, if you desire). It is actually more of a “Card Collecting” game than a “Trading Card” game – as I have not seen a way to trade with human players yet – but that is similar to other ‘virtual card games’ of this genre, like Hearthstone and Gwent (“World Of Warcraft” Lore and “Witcher” Lore -based virtual card games, respectively). The game cannot be played Offline and you don’t actually get any ‘Real Life’ Cards of any form; but that again, is the same for the other virtual card games mentioned.

    After playing a little bit when it was first Released, I didn’t play Legends for a few months, only recently picking it up again to play a bit – and boy was I in for a surprise!

    The computer AI as it is now, offensive and ticked off
    (Cropped Screenshot of art by Bethesda Game Studios)

    Perusing the Updates for the game (which there seems to be one of every few weeks, a nice thing to see for a game!) – there was an Expansion for the game released at the end of June 2017 (Heroes of Skyrim) – but nothing that says, “We felt the AI was a little too easy to beat, so we beefed it up a bunch and it also will pull cards out of it’s butt hat, getting exactly what it needs at times, to win!” – so I’m not sure when this AI change occurred… [I didn’t play for a good few months or more, so sometime around mid-2017, I reckon].

    Judging by the recent changes to the Computer Opponent A.I., get used to seeing this screen more often…

    Legends is a fun game still, with it’s flashy effects and nice sounds, not to mention the wonderful Elder Scrolls-style ‘realistic’ art on everything; I personally don’t mind if I am going to be losing to the Computer a lot more; but it would have been nice to see a more obvious notification of it somewhere – or a way to perhaps adjust it (via a Slider or Dial or anything..).

    I do think the AI was ‘just a little too easy’ at first, making simple moves and not many combos, losing a lot more than it won against me – but now it seems pretty darn hard – almost too hard, pulling multi-combos everywhere and buffing cards a lot more and getting ‘the perfect card’ or ‘just what it needs’ at times, to pull off a win (as though, instead of the AI having a prepared set of cards, cards seem now ‘generated as the game goes’, to “keep it competitive”). I can still win once in a while against the AI in Solo Play and Solo Arenas – and I understand that Bethesda might want to make things ‘a bit difficult’ to encourage selling Card Packs; but… Dearest Beth: It’s “Just A Little Too Much” Now… [in my opinion]

    The ‘new’ Computer Opponent A.I. at work, busy buffing its’ cards to no end

    I won’t stop playing, of course – and I won’t stop getting Card Packs once in a while (for all three of the Collectible Card Games mentioned above, when I can) – but I just wanted to mention this, for others too; that if you noticed the Computer seemed ‘tweaked’ lately and is now pretty darn hard to beat as an Opponent in Legends – It’s Not Just You™…

    If I play some Versus matches, which I do from time to time – See You In The Game!

    Addendum
    Changes Seen:
    – Increased Combination plays (Buffs, Debuffs, then Attacking)
    – Increased Healing cards (Health added to Opponent)
    – Highly Increased ‘instant-kill’ or ‘unsummon’ type “Destroy A Creature” cards (Piercing Javelin, Lighting Strike, Execute, Cast Out, etc)
    etc.

    Revving to roam for Ronald’s house

    CORPUS CHRISTI — In 2001 motorcycles revved their engines to ride for Ronald McDonald House following a family’s stay for their 6-year-old’s open-heart surgery.

    “He’s now 20, attending Texas A&M University, and doing well”, his father said.

    “Staying at Ronald McDonald House was an eye-opener to us,” said M. Randall Hicks, whose son required the heart surgery.

    Hicks and two-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Terry Labonte were Carroll High School classmates and friends. After learning of Hicks’ experience, Labonte was moved to endorse the nonprofit Terry Labonte Roam for a Home Foundation, which launches its 12th annual ride this week to give back to Ronald McDonald House.

    The ride has raised more than $500,000 for the local Ronald McDonald House, which provided accommodations last year for about 1,000 families with sick children at critical times in their medical treatment.

    “If we raise awareness and let this spider web grow — good things come from that,” said Hicks, now president of the foundation.

    A kickoff party Wednesday night at Corpus Christi Harley-Davidson serves as a meet-and-greet for about 140 riders whose 80 motorcycles will roar at 8:30 a.m. Thursday into a 714-mile roam. First-timers join the ranks of more than 1,000 past participants who have collectively roamed more than 376,000 miles. The foundation has raffled two trucks, three trailers and nine motorcycles along the way, raising more than $106,000 in its top year, when organizers accepted 152 motorcycles with some 350 riders.

    “These rides are a great example of third-party fundraisers allowing us to do what we do best,” said Mark Avelar, executive director of Ronald McDonald House in Corpus Christi. “It has created excellent momentum for validation of our mission focused on families.”

    Labonte’s bunch also has garnered support for other Ronald McDonald Houses in Texas.

    “It’s something that’s really important to all of us,” Labonte said Friday from his North Carolina home. “It’s especially touching to visit families at a house, the way we have been allowed, and to learn what it means for them. Unfortunately a lot of these people don’t have great outcomes. But when you see the children smiling, it reinforces the importance of our continued support.

    “Our goal is for everyone to know they can help, even $10 helps the children.”

    Labonte arrives Wednesday for the ride, he said.

    Organizing the roam is challenging.

    Consider plotting a route for 140 people to use bathrooms, eat and sleep all at the same times and locations, Hicks said.

    “It’s a logistical nightmare,” he said.

    To ease congestion, riders are divvied into six color-coded road groups. Each has a designated team captain and road committee leader to guide riders to fuel stops, oversee meal and hotel arrangements, and direct parking.

    “This isn’t a typical motorcycle ride,” said Andy Felkner, 59, caption of this year’s Team Ironman. “It’s a great cause. We have always had a good time, but it’s not like you’re beating the bushes trying to run hundreds of miles a day.”

    It’s about safe fun, he said.

    There are quirky games along the road.

    “It’s a variety of crazy things,” Felkner said. “We’ve had a basketball shootout during lunch, and contests to see who can put on chaps fastest, or how many team members can stand in a certain square.”

    Some years there have been egg toss competitions for couples, and rope tug of wars among ride groups.

    This year’s activities haven’t yet been divulged, because part of the fun is not knowing everything, Felkner said.

    This year is sold out. Each rider paid $1,000, or $1,600 for couples, and everything’s provided. Somewhere along this year’s route there will be a motorcycle auction. Everyone gets a ticket, but it’s the last ticket drawn that wins.

    A recent pre-ride by organizers helped establish this year’s roam, with fuel stops and lunch places en route to Galveston. A two-night stay is planned at The Tremont Place, a European-style hotel in the island’s historic district. On Friday night a dinner and live auction are planned to bolster fundraising. On Saturday teams take a Port Bolivar Ferry ride to roam north into Texas for lunch before looping westerly to return to Corpus Christi.

    A support group roams among the teams with comfort items, snacks and drinks. And there’s a wrecker for breakdowns, which also has extra motorcycles in case needed.

    Safety is paramount. All participants must wear helmets, keep pace with road leaders and abide departure and meeting times.

    “Everybody follows what we tell them or they don’t go,” Falkner said.

    No alcohol can be consumed during ride times and the foundation reserves the right to oust anyone who doesn’t abide its rules.”
    No alcohol is allowed until bikes are parked”, Falkner said.

    “We will even take a bus sometimes.”

    ________________________________________
    Source: Caller (Baird, 3/25)

    Interested in opening your own WORKOUT ANYTIME?

    Think big. Keep it simple. Do it with integrity.”

    Those are the guiding words of John Quattrocchi, co-founder of WORKOUT ANYTIME. Together with Steve Strickland, John and Steve have drawn from their 40 years of industry knowledge to create a proven, ready-to-run business opportunity for your success.

    Proven Formula – The WORKOUT ANYTIME system operates with low-overhead and delivers high customer satisfaction. Our clubs fit into a range of retail spaces, can be run by a tiny staff, and offer the best workout per square foot in the industry. Unprofitable amenities like the pool, spa, courts, aerobics classes, and childcare have been eliminated in favor of a $15 no-commitment price that keeps members onboard month after month after month.

    “People join a club to lose weight, build strength and feel better,” explains CEO Steve Strickland. “But eventually, they fall off because of two things: high price and inconvenience. We built a system that offers an unbeatable workout, an inexpensive recurring payment, and 24-7 neighborhood convenience.”

    Matrix Equipment – Top equipment is a crucial component of the WORKOUT ANYTIME formula. Steve Strickland’s career experience in both the equipment and club sides of the industry has guided the equipment selection and floor plan. The WORKOUT ANYTIME fitness layout ensures that members never have to wait for the much-desired Matrix treadmills (10+) and cardio gear.

    Easy to Get Started – Franchisees usually join WORKOUT ANYTIME with little or no experience in the fitness industry. Some even keep their existing jobs. Yet, our turnkey systems, vendor agreements, equipment sourcing and leasing support make it easy to get started and easy to succeed. Here’s how our ready-to-run approach guides you every step of the way:

    Site Selection and Lease Negotiation

    – We maintain a network of experienced real estate brokers nationwide who specialize in tenant representation
    – Site selection/lease negotiation service offered at no-cost to franchise owner
    – In most cases WORKOUT ANYTIME Franchisees receive a generous tenant improve allowance (cash), and up to 6-months free rent per deal
    – WORKOUT ANYTIME’s site criteria includes demographics, access, parking, visibility, tenant mix, competition, and the economics of your club

    Find out more here. 

    In One Sentence™ – Heroes Of The Storm – Hero Overviews [Very Short Reviews Of Each, Currently Text-Only]

    [In light of the recent ‘Heroes Of The Storm 2.0’ release – even though this was a ‘work in progress’ since I started playing ‘Heroes’ again a bit ago and it is not fully compiled yet – I wanted to get this hopefully-slightly-helpful information up right away for everyone… So here it is – being added to as I complete it but without any Screenshots yet – I am collecting some together and plan to place them in-line within …Soon™]


    Update: Last Added – Arthas on 2017.05.04



    In One Sentence™


    A Heroes Of The Storm

    Hero Thingy Overview  


    By: The Game Tips And More Blog


    Presented in Alphabetical Order, in a Document-sorta-but-not-really format



    [Initially, was invited to the Heroes Of The Storm Beta; but was not able to play much at the time and so I didn’t write about it much back then. I did work on a few articles, such as this one, adding to it the bit that I did play. Only recently (before I knew about “Heroes Of The Storm 2.0”) I got back into this fun game, tallying up my own opinions and favourites, of each and every hero in the game. Seeing “Version 2.0” come along, I felt that, even though I have not fully compiled every singly hero yet, I wanted to share what I did have done, so that everyone – and especially newcomers to the game – could get a quick idea of each Hero and how they played in the game, helping them make a choice as to which one to try. I will be returning to this post and adding more Heroes as I play them… I hope you enjoy these little snippets of info for each one – and See You In The Game!]




    Rating Key (if applicable to Hero, when used):

    * = Heroes I ‘Liked’ (fit my personal playstyle(s), or is unique in some way)

    ** = Heroes that are A Personal Favourite (I myself would play often or ‘mainly’ would use (may not match your individual preferences dear reader, this is just a Personal Rating of mine))






    Auriel = Finding myself playing more offensively than defensively with this Hero, I enjoyed her AOE and healing capabilities.
    Alarak = With skills focusing on mainly attacking Heroes, in the right hands this high-damage-potential Assassin could be quite deadly.

    Artanis * = Another Hero with skills focused on killing other Heroes, Artanis comes with high damage output potential – and although I was left feeling oddly ‘limited’ playing him, Artanis was fun to play overall.

    Arthas = A mobile tank – big, tough, but a little slow [in my opinion] – with some light healing (and the possibility to heal yourself) and some nice offensive moves as well, Arthas can become quite competent in The Nexus.

    Azmodan ** = This large and lumbering behemoth is capable of dealing out huge damage as a “Ranged Specialist” – just be careful as you have fun creating your own armies on the way to dish it out on the enemies’ base, as you are also a ‘heavy target’, so to speak. A Personal Favourite.

    Dehaka * = With deceptively simple gameplay [or is that ‘deceptively difficult’?], high damage output potential – and with the ability to ‘tunnel to any bushes on the map’ instead of a mount [with a cooldown], this Hero has some nice unique gameplay to fiddle around with in The Nexus.

    Diablo = Huge and tough – as he should be – with some care taken and strategy used, this “Melee Warrior” will be a force to be reckoned with.

    E.T.C. * = With strong yet simpler gameplay, ETC and his unique ‘rocker’ attitude is a fun handful of Tauren to Melee with.

    Gazlowe ** = With the ability to plop down temporary turrets and shoot what eventually becomes HUGE DETH LAZORZ – not to mention being able to recover Scrap Parts for mana – Gazlowe The Goblin Engineer, though more complicated than many Heroes, was a joy to play and kill with. A Personal Favourite.

    Jaina * = With straightforward damage and easy gameplay, Jaina The Mage is fun to use and fun to take out other Heroes with …if mages only had Unlimited Mana [in any game]…

    Johanna = Johanna The Paladin is a little more difficult than most melee Heroes – she is far more offensive than defensive as I first thought she might be – with many life-saving capabilities, in the right hands she could be quite a formidable Hero to run with.

    Leoric * = With the unique ability to ‘remain undead’ and re-spawn wherever you desire after a time, along with simple melee gameplay, this Hero was neat to play – in the right hands perhaps this one could do a lot of damage in The Nexus.

    Lunara = With mainly indirect damage (DOT or Damage Over Time), this Hero was difficult to gauge; with the ability to always move faster than most Heroes (not needing a Mount) and her ranged attacks, perhaps in the right hands she could be quite effective.

    Malfurion** = A multi-faceted Support Hero with both healing and offensive capabilities, if you like to play Support in other games (such as an Engineer, or Medic/Cleric), this ambidextrous Hero should be fun for you to play in The Nexus. A Personal Favourite.

    Probius * = If I had to sum up Probius I would say words like ‘difficulter’ (because I say that’s a real word now) …and ‘cool’ …and ‘overpowered’ …and ‘work’ …and ‘cute’ …and ‘fun’ …and…other words like that with ellipsis between them.

    Raynor = With simpler gameplay and the ability to buff any allies around you – along with the possibility of some light self-healing – Rayor the “Ranged Assassin” is a helpful addition to play in The Nexus.

    Rexxar ** = If you’ve ever wanted to handle two Heroes at once, now you can with this ‘hunter-pet’ combination which promises good damage output and a lot of fun – if at a slight cost of easier gameplay. A Personal Favourite.

    Samuro ** = If you like to be stealthy, confusing opponents and striking from the shadows, this is a fun Hero to do all that and more with. A Personal Favourite.

    Sgt. Hammer ** = This spunky Ranged Hero in a Siege Tank has huge long-range capability – if she can be handled with caring hands. A Personal Favourite.

    Sylvanas * = Capable of not only high damage but also ‘converting’ mercenary units to your side, this “Ranged Specialist” also has sleek gameplay and a powerful (translation: annoying to other people) Mind Control ability.

    Thrall ** = Fast melee and a bit of spellcasting – along with being easier to play – makes this Hero a fun brute to run with. A Personal Favourite.

    Tychus = With good offensive capability, this Hero is easy to learn and practice with.

    Valla ** = With fast and smooth gameplay that is fun and easy to get used to – especially if you have played The Demon Hunter in Diablo III as many of the Demon Hunter ‘basic moves’ come into play in The Arena. A Personal Favourite.

    Zul’jin ** = Focusing on Ranged damage and even doing more damage as his health lowers, this Assassin felt like it could take out both Heroes and swaths of mercenaries with ease, thanks to his light self-healing – just don’t get caught surrounded while trying to do the highest damage possible! A Personal Favourite.





    Repeat  of top comment: [In light of the recent ‘Heroes Of The Storm 2.0’ release – even though this was a ‘work in progress’ since I started playing ‘Heroes’ again a bit ago and it is not fully compiled yet – I wanted to get this hopefully-slightly-helpful information up right away for everyone… So here it is – being added to as I complete it but without any Screenshots yet – I am collecting some together and plan to place them in-line within …Soon™]

    Trip to Hyderabad Cont……

    Today I am leaving to Hyderabad for the assignment. Funny, there seems to be a lot of things that we do when doing an overseas consulting assignment but don’t really talk about it. The stuff we do for preparation has two parts

    Things considered as part of consulting process
    Marketing, prospecting and selling
    Proposal, budget & contract
    Invoicing and receiving advance payment
    Preparation / Intake

    Things that are part of the consulting process but gets taken for granted
    Requesting Invitation Letter to process visa
    Applying for visa
    Travel & Medical Insurance
    Foreign Exchange
    Transport to and from Airport – in your country and the country you are visiting
    Travel advice regarding security, weather etc

    I addition it is up to the consultant to find out about interesting things in the city s/he visits. In my experience some assignments will give you a bit of time in the evenings and it can be boring to be stuck in a hotel all the time. Suggest the web or lonely planet for this.

    Also rule of thumb is exchange a bit of money at the airport itself. Trust me you will spend more time and money in trying to look for better exchange rates.

    Trust Us, This Weight-Loss Tip Is Actually Doable

    Trust Us, This Weight-Loss Tip Is Actually Doable

    by Leta Shy
    Before trainer Kit Rich became a Pilates instructor to the stars (and healthy-lifestyle ambassador for brands like Lucy), she was just a woman trying yet another crazy, extreme, or unhealthy diet in order to lose weight. “I tried everything,” she recently told us, adding that she also suffered from eating disorders and body dysmorphia. “I was desperate to lose weight. So I would do, like what most women do, those freaking crazy juice diets. I would do all these extreme things, but it always brought me back to the other extreme.”
    After years of yo-yo dieting, Kit finally hit on her problem: she was working out in a way that wasn’t sustainable. Her solution was one that helped her lose 30 pounds and one that she still shares with her students today, whether she’s teaching a private class in LA or going on tour with a musician client. Her tip? Make it manageable. Specifically, Kit says that her mantra of “three miles or 30 minutes, every day” is what helped her finally break free from weight fluctuations and keep the pounds off for good. As in: run, walk, or hike your way to three miles a day, or do a 30-minute workout instead. “I really do believe wholeheartedly that the middle road is the way to go,” she says. “Anything extreme is not long-lasting.”
    As a former athlete, this manageable mantra helped keep Kit from burning out on her workouts when she was trying to lose weight. “I come from a background of injury, and I had knee surgery, so you can’t tell me to go and take some crazy bootcamp class,” she says. “Because my knee will start to hurt, and then what’s going to start to happen, I’m going to freak out that I won’t be able to do that for the rest of my life.” Instead, just telling yourself to do something little every day can help you get a hold of your health and your weight-loss goals. “Women need to feel empowered,” she says. “They need to feel like what they’re doing is something that they somewhat enjoy and that they can have a grip on. And that’s why I believe in this three or 30 rule.”
    Source

    How Much Exercise Does It Take To Burn Off These 15 Foods?

    How Much Exercise Does It Take To Burn Off These 15 Foods?

    18 oz Chocolate MilkshakeIt would take 65 minutes on the treadmill running at 6 mph to burn off the 780 calorie shake. As delicious as it is, is it worth running for an hour?ONE M&MJust to burn off a single M&M you’d need to walk about the length of a football field. It may not seem like much, since an M&M is only about 3 calories, but nobody in history has ever eaten just one M&M.Small Buttered PopcornGoing to the movies may be a time to splurge on treats, but just a small bag of buttered popcorn will call for over two hours on the elliptical. Just imagine the exercise costs of adding drinks and candy.Grande Caffe MochaNot just 87 crunches, but 87 MINUTES of crunches. You may have to consider that the next time you’re craving Starbucks.Slice of Pepperoni PizzaOh, the dreaded gym class exercise used to torture poor students. Just one slice of pepperoni pizza will call for nearly 300 of the awful burpees we all hate.1 Cup GranolaAlthough granola may be healthier in terms of nutrients, it does have a high calorie content. It would take an hour and a half of vigorous boxing to burn off the nearly 600 calories.Glazed DonutLike the crunches, it’s not simply 53 lunges but 53 minutes of lunges to burn off a single donut. Your quads will be burning but your taste buds will be happy.12 oz Can of CokeMany of us will indulge in a can or two of soda a day, but those calories can come back to bite us. Just one can of Coke will require a brisk jog for 17 minutes to burn off its 140 calories.12 oz MargaritaOn the topic of drinks, a margarita is even worse calorie-wise than soft drinks. The whopping 540 calories in a 12 oz margarita would require a full hour of basketball to burn off.Chocolate CupcakeCupcakes look so small and innocent, but they can pack a calorie punch. You’ll need to play beach volleyball for nearly a half an hour to burn off a single cupcake’s 240 calories.2 Small PancakesOn lazy Sunday afternoons it’s so tempting to lie in bed with a stack of pancakes for brunch, but it’s dangerously easy to overeat them. Just 2 six inch pancakes with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup will have you vigorously swimming for close to an hour.5 oz Glass of WineIt’s nice sometimes to come home from a long day of work and relax with a glass of wine, but those extra calories come at a cost. To burn off the 125 calories in a 5 oz glass of red wine you’ll need to jump rope for over 10 minutes straight.Medium French FriesAlthough french fries are well-known for being unhealthy, most people probably don’t think of them as being an-hour-on-the-stairmaster level of unhealthy.CinnabonCinnabon cinnamon rolls are heaven to the taste buds, and it’s easy to forget about the 730 calories while you’re indulging. But nearly an hour and a half spent cycling will definitely remind you.Cobb SaladProbably the most upsetting item on this list, the cobb salad has one of the highest calorie contents (more than the cinnamon roll and almost as much as a chocolate shake), despite looking so healthy. If you add two tablespoons of ranch dressing to your salad, you’ll need to do aerobics for two hours to burn off its 760 calories.Source

    My trip to Hanoi, Vietnam

    I returned to Vietnam to facilitate a 2 day planning workshop for the 6 organizations that I did the capacity assessments in January. It felt good to meet everyone and catch up. The workshop went smoothly and I had very positive feedback from the participants.

    I was happy to see people genuinely interested and participating / contributing towards the workshop. This ensured a high quality of the results and the buy in by the participating organizations. I put the success of the workshop down to the following:

    1. The CEO / Executive director (ultimate boss) of the organization participated
    2. They had read the organization capacity assessment report and were familiar with the contents.
    3. They were guaranteed of a tangible workable plan at the end of 2 days.
    4. Being open and willing to learn

    There is a chance that I may be requested to do some more work for them in the near future; however it seems that this is the end of this phase and the client is happy with the results.


    The view from the roof top restaurant near Hoan Kiem Lake.

    I stayed at the Trang An hotel; It’s in the center of Hanoi, near Hoan Kiem Lake, so quite convinient for walking around, shopping, finding nice restaurant, etc… Had a good time too.

    THE URBAN TRACKER – HONDA CBR250R ’13

    CBR250 - 4B

    For two-wheeled Rakesh Kapoor is one of love for many decades, even as a child his parents are introduced and instill to the man who has 11 years of living in Indonesia is about two-wheeled world. Even so until now when Mr. Rakesh settled in Jakarta love of two wheels do not fade, especially with traffic conditions in Jakarta accompanied by a flurry of men who worked at one of the group‘s property even makes choosing a motor as a mount option hariannya.Boleh spelled as two-wheeler users and lovers not just Mr. Rakesh let mount perform standard. Coming to the workshops STUDIO MOTOR with a Honda CBR250R alerts in 2013, Mr. Rakesh want besutannya made with Scrambler style that became his dream. Comfortable Riding position is needed to penetrate the congestion in Jakarta “, he said during a discussion on the bike change later. Of course, the original form of the motor is produced at Honda Factory Thailand with model number MC41 brings sporty style with a 249.5 cc engine configuration (15:23 cu in) four-stroke single cylinder 4 valves PGMFI will be changed completely after this custom project.

    Early work focused hand down all parts of the body and legs of innate motor and install the sector further with new legs were already prepared. Shock front shock swap places with Upside Down copotan Kawasaki XZ6, combined with the rim spoke wheel wrapped 18X3.00 Inch Deluxe Champion 4.00-18 Firestone tires. While the rear own original swing arm Honda CBR250R is maintained, only adopts a suspension that had been turned into a double shock monoshock using YSS shock 360 mm ZSeries. Rear wheel itself nudged TK Japan 18X3.50 Inch wheels with round rubber Firestone Deluxe Champion 4.50-18. Finished work the legs up to the cultivation of the body. Relying 1.2 mm galvanized plate material around the part of the body is formed as desired concept Mr. Rakesh. Slightly many forms Triumph Scrambler inspired him to apply to the bike this time. Anticipate the shape of the frame congenital Honda CBR250R, the entire subframe cut and reshaped by using seamless pipes of 23 mm with a thickness of 3.5 mm. Stages of replacing the entire subframe is intended to provide a harmonious look and be able to display the classic impression that thick. When choosing colors that will whitewash the new body to his motorcycle, Mr. Rakesh directly thrusting classic colors Red Burgundy Khaki Brown combined with a dedication to the father who never had a variant of the BMW R25 motorcycle with these colors. The highest dedication to my Dad for custom work we do Bro “, he said the process was interrupted when he saw this custom. For paint and varnish materials Comet Studio still choose output Sikkens to get maximum results. Ultimate support multiple devices installed during the process of finishing. Headlights 7 inch belongs Suzuki Thunder 250 chosen for the sake of showing muscular impression when viewed from the front. Stang Fatbar Scarlet output, Daytona air filter and exhaust system custom made 2 silincer left and right are increasingly adding frightening impression on the motor, dubbed THE URBAN TRACKER this.

    Completed a whole series of workmanship really make the original form of the Honda CBR250R changed completely. Scrambler typical classic retro look with modern elements in some parts bandage supporter and also forms the engine delivers its own harmony formed the motor end of Mr. Rakesh this. When the session is done several times a test ride another motorcyclist who see giving a positive appreciation of the changes Honda CBR250R is. So also with the mpu his motorcycle, excited with the results of this bike make it a custom to prepare a new project to change the look of the new Kawasaki ER6N this month has.

    CBR250 - 2B
    CBR250 - 8B
    CBR250 - 5B
    CBR250 - 1B
    CBR250 - 6B
    CBR250 - 3B
    CBR250 - 10B
    CBR250 - 7B

    First published in http://www.studiomotor.com
    Translation Google translate 

    Workout Anytime in North Fulton Newspapers

    Workout Anytime in North Fulton Newspapers in an article titled, “New Workout Anytime coming to Milton.” The article begins with information about the new Workout Anytime opening in Milton and the owners. The article then goes into details about what you can expect at aWorkout Anytime, with a quote from Randy Trotter. General Manager Chris Maier is quoted about why he believes in the Workout Anytime model and Lynn Jackson is quoted about why they’re happy to open in the area. The article closes out with info on how to join and about the expansion plans for Workout Anytime.  Click here for the entire article or begin below.

    New Workout Anytime coming to Milton
    By: Caitlin Wagenseil
    MILTON, Ga. — When two members of a gym found out their beloved workout place was going to close down, they decided to take action. 

    Paul and Lynn Jackson, previous members, bought the Workout Anytime in Cumming. Now, they are gearing up to open their second location in Milton with Randy and Heather Clevenger.


    (Read More)

    How One Weekend on a Harley Nightster Converted me Into A Harley Fan

    How One Weekend on a Harley Nightster Converted me Into A Harley Fan

    You know the old expression, “Don’t knock it ’til you try it,” right? Harley-Davidsons are often surrounded by haters, mostly comprised of those who’ve never ridden one. There are Keyboard Warriors attacking H-D based primarily on their spec sheets, high price tags, and low performance. I’ll admit it, I used to be one of them. That is, until a Nightster changed my mind.

    I fully expected to hate this motorcycle. My brother expected me to hate this motorcycle too. It’s too loud and too flashy; it’s too “image-driven” and contains antiquated technology. I could come up with a million insults and at the end of the day they’d all boil down to, “It’s a Harley-Davidson.” But you know what? Believe it or not, it’s fun!

    2016 Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty

    2016 Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty

    My Riding History

    About a year ago, I received my first taste of Project Livewire. Yes, yes, I know, it’s not exactly a big thumpin’ V-twin, but it was the first time I’d ridden a H-D product. I rode a Sportster Forty-Eight (which is essentially the same bike as the Nightster), but I didn’t understand Harley-Davidson then. Riding a Sportster immediately after what I still believe is the future of motorcycling only accentuated the different eras I was experiencing. Because of that contrast, I guess I didn’t understand what the “normal” H-Ds brought to the table.
    MUST READ:  The Realities of Riding | RideApart
    A couple weeks ago I took a 300 mile road trip on my Triumph Bonneville. When I got back, my brother offered to loan me his Nightster. This let me do a direct comparison of two very “image-driven” motorcycles.
    Both motorcycles are starting points for self-expression. While I feel like the Triumph is a completely blank slate, the Harley is drenched with decades of “biker” imagery. However, I (surprisingly) had a great time on my brother’s Nightster. Granted, I don’t fit that Harley Davidson bike mold at all, especially when riding it with my full face helmet and head-to-toe textile gear.

    Nightster-02

    Personality Counts

    If I were to make a pros/cons list, a Harley is the bike I shouldn’t buy. But at the same time, it’s like my Ducati and a few cars I’ve owned in the past; its personality shines through in an unexpected way. The Nightster quickly became endearing. I’m not sure if it could ever be my only bike, and my brother’s ownership experience seconds that notion, considering how little the Nightster gets ridden while living next to his R1. With that said, each day I had the H-D, I wanted to go for a ride, and I came home happily exhausted. I’ve certainly owned bikes I can’t say that about.
    MUST READ:  Why I Bought a Kawasaki Ninja 650 – My Second Bike | RideApart
    The suspension isn’t top of the line, but it still manages to be gentler on me than a day on the Bonneville. The motor? Well, it shakes everything and everyone around. Surprisingly, not a ton came through the bars. The bike was nowhere near as fatiguing as I expected it to be, and because of that I found myself filling the bike up multiple times throughout the day. (The fuel tank is small, so the range isn’t awesome.)

    2012 Harley-Davidson Nightster 1200cc

    2012 Harley-Davidson Nightster 1200cc

    Despite the fact that the bike doesn’t meet my image, I had a ball riding it and found one thing that really surprised me. Anyone who’s ever ridden behind me on a bike has to give me the flashy-hand signal. Not with the Nightster, however. It had me covered with self-canceling blinkers! I’m looking for how to retrofit that system to every bike I own right now. I spent days looking like I knew where I was going, and I just can’t put a price on that!

    There’s Always Something…

    There’s one downside though. That clutch was terrible, although I’m not sure if it was because of my small hands or the oversized levers. All I know is that my clutch hand was on fire after a day of riding around town. With such a stiff and long pull, I know that if I owned this bike, I’d be shopping for ways to mitigate that before I even bought an exhaust. Maybe I’ve just been softened by the other bikes I’ve ridden, but this clutch is in another world from anything else. All a part of the experience, I guess.
    Despite the clutch, I’m surfing used-bike sites looking for a Nightster of my own. They hold their resale value really well and the temptation is real.

    First published by rideapart.com/

    4 Detox Ingredients You Should Be Adding to Your Water

    4 Detox Ingredients You Should Be Adding to Your Water

    by Leta Shy 

    When you’re trying to get your health back on track, there are many ways to detox your way to feeling better. The best way to flush out toxins, however, is simple: lots and lots of water. But you don’t have to drink it plain; you can add a little flavour as well with these delicious (and detoxifying) additions. Add all of these to a large jug or bottle full of ice and water and drink throughout the next day for an effective way to detox! It helps to let these pieces soak overnight in your fridge to let the flavours mingle.
    • Lemon: Lemon water makes for a powerful detox drink; lemon juice helps to cleanse and alkalise the body. Add one thinly sliced lemon to a large pitcher, or squeeze fresh lemon juice into your glass.
    • Mint: Mint adds a touch of sweetness without the sugar to your water, and it also helps settle your stomach and aids in digestion as well.
    • Cucumber: Cucumber water isn’t just for spas. Adding a few slices of cucumber to your water makes for excellent rehydration, and cucumber also contains anti-inflammatory properties.
    • Ginger: The spicy root helps cleanse out your system, aids in digestion, and settles your stomach. A little goes a long way, so start with a few thin slices or grate a tiny piece into your water and taste before adding more as necessary.
    To make one serving of detox water, add three to five slices of cucumber, half a lemon, and a few sprigs of mint leaves to 700ml ounces of ice-cold water. You can also add sliced peeled ginger (about a one-inch piece of ginger root, or to taste) for a spicy kick.
    Source

    Big Bad Wolf: El Solitario’s Yard Built XJR1300

    Big Bad Wolf: Yard Built Yamaha XJR1300 by El Solitario MC

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    It takes a brave man to commission a bike from El Solitario: founder David Loner Borras is famed for his wayward, mischievous intelligence. And his small crew of Galician ‘cannibals,’ as they describe themselves, build bikes that incite controversy. Two years ago, El Solitario wrapped a BMW R nineT in stainless steel rods, creating the world’s first ‘Bōsōzoku-Chopper-Racer.’ The reaction from the interwebs was intense, to say the least. But that didn’t stop Yamaha Europe product manager Shun Miyazawa from knocking on Borras’ door earlier this year.

    Big Bad Wolf: Yard Built Yamaha XJR1300 by El Solitario MC

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    Miyazawa wanted El Solitario to oversee the final Yard Built XJR1300 of 2015, celebrating 20 years of the iconic street machine. The result is a race-inspired track monster that lives up to its name, ‘Big Bad Wolf.’

    Big Bad Wolf: Yard Built Yamaha XJR1300 by El Solitario MC

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    BBW broke cover for the first time at the Glemseck 101 festival in Germany last month, lining up on the drag strip. The goal: to end the reign of defending sprint champion Séb Lorentz and his famous Lucky Cat Garage Sprintbeemer.

    Big Bad Wolf: Yard Built Yamaha XJR1300 by El Solitario MC

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    Despite the transition from street machine to pure race bike, El Solitario stayed true to the Yard Built ethos: there’s no frame cutting or welding on Big Bad Wolf. But that didn’t make the project easy. “El Solitario is not familiar with 4-cylinder bikes,” says David Borras. “For months we tried to answer the question: How could we take it further?”

    Big Bad Wolf: Yard Built Yamaha XJR1300 by El Solitario MC

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    The only answer was to focus on performance and technology. “Both were unknown and expensive paths for us. We are motorcycle poets, not engineers.” Borras pulled together a tight-knit crew of specialists to work with his mechanics, led by Mauro Abbadini of Madrid-based Classic Co. “As technical director of the build, he brought with him the confidence and know-how of a veteran racer.”

    Big Bad Wolf: Yard Built Yamaha XJR1300 by El Solitario MC

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    The frame, tank and bars were left alone, but almost everything else on this XJR1300 is custom made. Wet weight is down by a whopping 25 per cent, from 245 kilos to 183 kilos (403 pounds). The motor was blueprinted, and the heads ported and flowed—the intake port flow is up by 50%. Compression is up too, from 9.7:1 to 10.7:1. The combustion chambers have been reshaped and the squish areas increased. The rods were reinforced with titanium bolts and the crankshaft was rebalanced.

    Big Bad Wolf: Yard Built Yamaha XJR1300 by El Solitario MC

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    Fuel is now metered by state-of-the-art Lectron 42 carburetors, developed specifically for the XJR1300 on Lectron’s flow bench, and a Dynatek programmable ignition handles the spark. This XJR1300 now records 148 hp at the rear wheel, which lifts the power-to-weight ratio into sportbike territory. The Big Bad Wolf sits somewhere between the BMW S1000 RR and the Ducati 1299 Panigale. There’s a smattering of carbon fiber. It’s present in the tail section and belly pan fabricated by Classic Co., and in the Dymag wheels—which fit not only the BBW, but also a stock XJR1300.

    Big Bad Wolf: Yard Built Yamaha XJR1300 by El Solitario MC

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    For the metalworking, El Solitario sent their designs to Acke Rising of ISR in Sweden. He’s turned out beautiful triple trees, disc rotors and an exquisite rear brake caliper bracket. As a bonus, Acke popped a few more ISR parts into the return mail package, including hand controls and brake calipers—six pistons at the front, and four pistons at the back.

    Big Bad Wolf: Yard Built Yamaha XJR1300 by El Solitario MC

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    The forks and shocks are just as trick, being a joint effort from K-Tech Suspension and Novatech. For the exhaust system, El Solitario turned to Asahina Racing in Japan, who fabricated a custom titanium number. If you’ve got an XJR1300 in your own garage and a few readies to spend, you’ll be glad to know it’ll fit a stock XJR1300 too.

    Big Bad Wolf: Yard Built Yamaha XJR1300 by El Solitario MC

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    After putting so much work into the engine, it was critical to keep it cool. Taleo Racing of Madrid created the semi-circular oil cooler, using the same technology they supply to MotoGP teams. Then EMD of France machined a set of aluminum motor covers (which XJR1300 owners will soon be able to add to their shopping lists too). A TWM custom gas cap sets off the tank, and an aluminum swingarm and rearsets from Over Racing finish off the rear. Electrics are routed through a Motogadget m-Unit, activated by a digital ignition m-Lock with remote RFID tech.

    Big Bad Wolf: Yard Built Yamaha XJR1300 by El Solitario MC

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    El Solitario bikes always have a huge visual impact, but the Wolf introduces a new element of style and restraint. We love the slender geometrical pinstriping—the work of London artist Death Spray Custom. It’s a new approach for David Borras and crew, and they’ve nailed it at first attempt. “The timing was just right,” Miyazawa says. “We believed they were ready to push out in a new direction and break new ground.”
    “We wanted to challenge them