Habitica

There’s a glut of self-improvement apps coming out for your smartphone lately. WeightWatchers, Strava, FitBit, the various one’s built into Android and iPhone’s operating systems, and plenty of other ones.

Most self-improvement apps focus on a specific purpose, whether that’s exercise, dieting, or quitting bad habits.

My self-improvement app of choice doesn’t have any specific focus. And if you haven’t already guessed from the title, the app is called Habitica.

Habitica Banner

Habitica lets you define your goals, what habits you want to develop, and which bad habits you want to lose. You can also define rewards for yourself (such as eating a piece of cake while on a diet). Let’s take a closer look. Continue reading

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Characters of Cimmeria: Korjak

Korjak

Korjak is a half-Orc and is the vessel for the Nordic god, Baldr. Korjak was a Lieutenant in the Rebellion army and he nominally led the four Dragovinian mortals, Gregor, Sivirdm, Stanton, and Wu, during their quest to reclaim the lost pieces of the Druid’s Prophecy. He grew to like his traveling companions more than the Rebellion leadership. After the completion of their quest he resigned his command and left with Gregor and the others to reunite the Orc tribes in the east. Continue reading

Characters of Cimmeria: Gregor

Gregor

Gregor is one of the four Dragovinian Enforcers restored to his mortal form by Apollo. He traveled with Sivirdm, Stanton, Wu, and Sergeant Korjak to recover the four missing pieces of the Druid’s Prophecy for the Rebellion. During this journey Gregor proved to be a ferocious combatant, but often attempted to solve problems with diplomacy rather than violence. After recovering the Prophecy pieces Gregor and his companions parted ways with the Rebellion. They traveled into the east to reunite the Orc tribes. Continue reading

On Killing Book Review

On Killing

I finished Lt. Col Dave Grossman’s book On Killing recently. It’s about soldiers’ resistance to kill, how the military overcomes that instinct, and the larger reprecussions of that type of training on society. It is not a “how-to” book as I feared many people might’ve thought whenever I read it in public.

At the start I should say that Grossman presents a good case. He backs it up with hundreds of interviews with soldiers and his personal impressions from being in the service. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a lot of hard data to support his point. Why? Because for the most part there just haven’t been a lot of studies on how to get someone to kill another person. It ranges into the unethical territory of psychological studies. The data he does have is convincing. Continue reading

David and Goliath Book Review

David&Goliath

I recently finished listening to an audiobook version of Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath. The nonfiction piece focuses on how being an underdog can occasionally confer advantages that the “overdog” doesn’t expect.

The book uses a wide-range of examples of underdogs overcoming their disadvantages and actually using them as jumping off points to topple bigger and stronger opponents.

This isn’t a new idea to me or the world. Scholars were peddling this theory at least 1,500 years ago when the Roman Empire fell. I first read about it in Frank Herbert’s science fiction masterpiece, Dune, where the fictional race of Freman are hardened by their desert homeland and are able to overcome the forces of the Padishah Emperor. Continue reading