Fun, Amazing, Etc.

This is the official blog of indie author / adventure writer Andy R. Bunch, author of the fantasy book, "Suffering Rancor." As always, I'll post funny or amazing things I find in my travels or from poking around online. This is a great place to kick back and relax a bit. You may note that I’m not too clean or too dirty. For more information on my book, go to Here are links to first two books and

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Amazon may have eliminated your books category!

I just read an article by Penny found at this link.

The upshot is that Amazon found out we writers were hacking their category list and allowing there readers to examine the 50 to 100 titles in exactly the type of material they liked to read. This was a win/win for readers and writers since readers could discover new writers similar to what they like to read already and writers could rise to the top of a smaller group by writing better or promoting more than their peers. Amazon didn't really lose out but what's important is that writers were happy and that can't be allowed.

So now this is handled through themes. Here's how to find your book:
What to do: Go to Amazon, in the search bar select Kindle Store and hit "Go."
Why: This displays all the themes on the left side of the screen.
What to do: Under Kindle Store on the left, click Kindle eBooks
Why: Now we've drilled down one level to the themes for eBooks (recently viewed is now new for you)
What to do: Part way down the screen under "new releases" and other things you didn't ask amazon for you'll see Kindle Store and Kindle eBooks over a list of categories. Probe around and see if your book still appears where you indicated you wanted it when you published it.

You'll notice that by including top authors and series on the left Amazon has essentially turned themselves into the online equivalent of a brick and mortar store. There will always be a protected class of established authors and there will always be a company that claims to be revolutionizing the system while actually perpetuating it.

Here's how to get it in a theme:
When publishing your book simply use the 7 keywords you're allowed to guide Amazon to put your book in the right theme. This feature is supposed to be coming soon to Author Central. It's also possible to gain access to the back end of your book via amazon. I'm not sure how to do that but try this link.

Why you should pee on your garden!

This is a great post from Dr. Mercola.

  • Contemporary chemical-dependent farming methods strip soil of nutrients, destroy critical soil microbes, and saturate farmlands and waterways with toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers
  • Back to Eden reveals a simple organic gardening method that can not only transform your personal garden, but may even be part of the solution needed on a more global scale as well
  • By imitating nature and simply covering your garden with wood chips, you can dramatically increase yields and cut watering down to the bare minimum
  • Biochar may be even better, especially if added to the soil prior to planting. It needs to be activated by either combining it with compost, rock dust powder, or my favorite, human urine. Wetting the char will also ensure earthworms
  • One of the keys to a truly successful garden is to improve the microbiology of the soil. Adding Biochar to the soil allows microorganisms to thrive and multiply, and can double a plant’s yield

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hack Your Life: 101

I stumbled across this list of websites that help you learn new skills, or make incremental improvements in your life. I find it fascinating. I can personally recommend some of them. #2,6, 7, 9, 15, 31, 37, & 38.

Brought to you by my Diner Tales short: Monster's and Legends (also available in audio)

Here are the top 40 sites I have personally used over the last few years when I want to learn something new.
  1. Hack a Day - Hack a Day serves up fresh hacks (short tutorials) every day from around the web and one in-depth ‘How-To hack’ guide each week.
  2. eHow - eHow is an online community dedicated to providing visitors the ability to research, share, and discuss solutions and tips for completing day-to-day tasks and projects.
  3. Wired How-To Wiki - Collaborate with Wired editors and help them build their extensive library of projects, hacks, tricks and tips.  Browse through hundreds how-to articles and then add to them, or start a new one.
  4. MAKE Magazine - Brings the do-it-yourself (DIY) mindset to all of the technology in your life.  MAKE is loaded with cool DIY projects that help you make the most of the technology you already own.
  5. 50 Things Everyone Should Know How To Do - While not totally comprehensive, here is a list of 50 things everyone should know how to do.  It’s a great starting point to learn new skills.
  6. wikiHow - A user based collaboration to build and share the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual.
  7. Lifehacker - An award-winning daily blog that features tips, shortcuts, and downloads that help you get things done smarter and more efficiently.
  8. 100+ Google Tricks That Will Save You Time - Today, knowing how to use Google effectively is a vital skill.  This list links out to enough Google related resources to make you an elite Google hacker.
  9. Instructables - Similar to MAKE, Instructables is a web-based documentation platform where passionate people share what they do and how they do it, and learn from and collaborate with others as the tackle new projects and learn new skills.
  10. Merriam-Webster Online - In this digital age, your ability to communicate with written English is paramount skill.  And is the perfect resource to improve your English now.
  11. Lumosity - Learn to improve your memory by playing a series of fun and educational brain training games.
  12. 100 Skills Every Man Should Know - Another compilation article with instructions to help you learn new skills.  This one says it’s geared for men, but I think most of these skills are applicable to women as well.
  13. 5min Life Videopedia - Lot’s of great tutorials and DIY videos.
  14. HowStuffWorks - Knowledge is power.  While this site isn’t exactly geared to help you learn new skills, it contains so much useful information that you’re bound to learn a skill or two while you browse.
  15. StumbleUpon - A collective set of recommendations from thousands of hours of searching by web users who share your interests.  It’s basically a recommendation engine.  Users add to this engine by providing their personal recommendations on what sites are worth your time.  If you select topics and tags of interest like ‘Self-Improvement‘ and ‘DIY,’ you’ll be learning new skills in no time.
  16. - An extensive directory of how-to guides for beginning entrepreneurs.
  17. Howcast - Hosts professional how-to videos as well as how-to wiki tutorials.  Howcast combines user ideas with the expertise of professional studio video to deliver what is nothing short of amazing, informative content.
  18. VideoJug - The video content on this site covers a variety of topics including informative ‘How To’ and ‘Ask The Expert’ films that guide you step-by-step through everything and anything in life.
  19. MakeUseOf - A booming daily blog that features cool websites, computer tips, and downloads that make you more productive.  Lot’s of insightful tips and tricks to learn.
  20. WonderHowTo - This site is focused on one clear organizing principle: aggregating and linking to truly great, free how-to videos from which you can learn new skills.
  21. SuTree - Another useful aggregator of how-to videos from all around the web.
  22. Zen Habits - The ultimate productivity and self-improvement blog.  Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives.  It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, and find happiness.  Lot’s of learning material here.
  23. Academic Earth - Online degrees and video courses from leading universities.
  24. Videos - Another solid collection of how-to video tutorials.
  25. PCWorld How-To - Lot’s of useful tutorials and guides related to fixing and modifying computers and other electronic gadgets.
  26. Spreeder - This site is focused on teaching you one new skill:  speed reading.  And it does a great job of doing so.
  27. Woopid - Watch free technology training videos.  Get help and answer your computer and gadget questions with thousands of video tutorials for PCs, Macs, and various software applications.
  28. DIY Network - A go-to destination for rip-up, knock-out home improvement projects.  The site offers expert answers the most sought-after questions regarding creative projects for DIY enthusiasts.
  29. Scitable - A free science library and personal learning tool that currently concentrates on genetics, the study of evolution, variation, and the rich complexity of living organisms.  The site also expects to expand into other topics of learning and education.
  30. All Recipes - A complete guide to recipes and cooking tips.  If you’d like to learn to be a better cook, this site is for you.
  31. 43 Folders - This site is more about inspiring you to follow-through with your goals than it is about learning new skills.  But I think following-through with your goals is a skill.  Most people never quite get there.
  32. Dumb Little Man - Another awesome productivity and self-improvement blog hosting lots of useful information.
  33. iTunes U - Hundreds of universities — including Stanford, Yale and MIT — distribute lectures, slide shows, PDFs, films, exhibit tours and audio books through iTunes U.  The Science section alone contains content on topics including agriculture, astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics, ecology and geography.
  34. American Sign Language Browser - Teach yourself sign language online.
  35. BBC Languages - Teach yourself a new spoken language online.
  36. Delicious Popular DIY - Lots of popular DIY articles bookmarked by users from all over the web.
  37. Khan Academy - Over 1200 videos lessons covering everything from basic arithmetic and algebra to differential equations, physics, chemistry, biology and finance.  Lot’s of educational material to help you learn new skills.
  38. The Happiness Project - Learn the skills necessary to create happiness in your life.
  39. How To Do Things - Another solid collection of how-to tutorials.
  40. ShowMeDo - A peer-produced video-tutorials and screencasts site for free and open-source software.  The large majority are free to watch and download.


Here's another plug for High-Impact Interval Training (HIIT) which Dr. Mercola recommends often. The reason I'm still plugging it is because, as mentioned here, it mimics the sorts of things humans do to survive in a more normal environment. I maintain that the things we have done for hundreds, even thousands, of years didn't suddenly become inferior. Bread was healthy to eat, now it's not--something happened. Wheat was cross bread to increase unhealthy elements while people were told to increase carbs and reduce fats and protean, while at the same time our jobs became more sedentary, etc. etc. It's a combination of things but notice that a fad came along and everyone started gorging on carbs because meat was "bad."

By that same token we have fad exercises. Obviously what's going to work best is what's been working for a long time. Walking, sprinting, core strength (body weight) movements like sit ups, push ups, yoga and tai chi.

Full story here:

Diversity Is Key to Building a Quality Fitness Program

A recent study divided overweight or obese individuals into three groups. Each group consumed 60 grams of whey protein a day and engaged in one of three exercise regiments for 16 weeks – sedentary, intense resistance training, or a multi-dimensional routine involving mixed cardio and strength training.1
All of the participants had improvements in their weight. However, those in the multi-dimensional group (which was also the most diverse routine), lost the most weight (2.6 percent) and fat mass (6.6 percent) while gaining the most lean body mass (two percent).2 The multi-dimensional activity group engaged in resistance training, interval cardio sprints (high-intensity interval training (HIIT), similar to Peak Fitness), yoga, and Pilates – all activities I highly recommend.
I've often equated exercise to a drug from the perspective that they both need to be wisely prescribed in order to optimize your health. Simply doing random exercises for the sake of "exercising" will not achieve the benefits you seek, even if you’re doing them for long periods of time. In fact, it could cause serious injury, especially if you engage in strength training with poor form.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the best way to exercise is to mimic the activities your ancient ancestors regularly did. Remember, most of them, and many in underdeveloped countries, spend the majority of their time harvesting and preparing food. 

Functional exercises can help your body to perform real-life activities (as opposed to simply being able to operate a piece of gym equipment), and include options like squats, lunges, planks, or work on a stability ball.
Functional exercises also allow you to incorporate all three directions when you work out, frontwards and backwards, side-to-side, and rotational. When you exercise in multiple planes, it allows you to target muscles from multiple angles so that you don't develop imbalances, which can promote injury. This is the way your body is designed to move and it's also a way to add efficiency to your workout.

Proper Recovery Is Crucial

Besides intensity, recovery is a key factor in benefiting fully from high-intensity workouts. As mentioned earlier, as your intensity increases, you typically need to decrease the frequency to ensure your body has time to repair and recuperate between sessions. For this reason, it is NOT recommended to do high intensity exercises more than three times a week. Both Phil Campbell and Dr. Doug McGuff have addressed this in previous interviews. Dr. McGuff actually exercises once every ten days.
It is important to realize you can sabotage your fitness efforts by over-exercising. In this case, your body goes into an elevated stress response, keeping your cortisol levels too high. Cortisol, also known as "the stress hormone," is secreted by your adrenal glands and is involved in a variety of important metabolic functions, such as regulating your insulin and glucose levels, and controlling inflammation. Elevated cortisol will cause your body to store fat instead of building muscle.
Recovery is absolutely crucial to your long-term success. You simply must provide your body with the opportunity to rebuild and restore itself after you stress it with intense workouts. Regardless of what type of exercise you do, always listen to your body, as it will give you important feedback about whether or not you are overexerting yourself. During any type of exercise, as long as you listen to your body, you shouldn't run into the problem of exerting yourself excessively.
And, with interval training, even if you are out of shape you simply will be unable to train very hard, as lactic acid will quickly build up in your muscles and prevent you from stressing your heart too much. If you're unsure whether you may be pushing yourself too hard, the following seven symptoms may signal that you need to cut back a bit and allow your body to recover between sessions:
  • Exercise leaves you exhausted instead of energized
  • You get sick easily (or it takes forever to get over a cold)
  • You have the blues
  • You're unable to sleep or you can't seem to get enough sleep
  • You have ''heavy'' legs
  • You have a short fuse
  • You're regularly sore for days at a time
It's also important to give your body the nutrients it needs to repair and recover. Consuming a fast-assimilating protein such as 10-20 grams of high-quality whey protein within 30 minutes of your workout will bring your muscles out of their catabolic state and supply them with the nutrients they need for repairs. Processed carbs or fructose-laden sports drinks should be avoided at all costs, as these will nullify many of the benefits of exercise. As just one example, consuming fructose (including that from fruit juices) within two hours of a high-intensity workout will decimate your natural human growth hormone (HGH) production, which is a MAJOR benefit of interval training.

Tips for Building a High-Quality Fitness Regimen

Intense exercise should be balanced with strength training, proper stretching, core strengthening, stress reduction, good sleep, and an optimal nutrition plan. You'll find much more information about HIIT and other types of exercise in the fitness section of my website. Of equal, if not greater importance, is to avoid being too sedentary in general, between workout sessions. Compelling research now tells us that prolonged sitting can have a tremendously detrimental impact on your health even if you exercise regularly. The reason for this is because your body needs to interact with gravity in order to function optimally.
Recently, an Australian study warned that inactivity is the greatest heart risk factor in women over 30—beating out other well-known risk factors like smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure.4 To counteract the ill effects of sitting, make sure to get out of your chair every 15 minutes or so. To learn more about the benefits of intermittent movement, please see my interview with NASA scientist Dr. Joan Vernikos. Personally, I usually set a timer for 15 minutes while sitting, and then stand up and do one-leggedsquats, jump squats, or lunges when the timer goes off. The key is that you need to be moving all day long, even in non-exercise activities. I would strongly encourage you to visit our intermittent movement page that has videos of 30 exercises you can do during this time.
To put it simply, whenever you have a chance to move and stretch your body in the course of going about your day—do it! That said, there's no doubt that an ideal fitness regimen requires a little more effort. As a general rule, I recommend incorporating a wide variety of exercises, including the following:
  1. Stand Up Every 15 Minutes. As mentioned, emerging evidence clearly shows that even highly fit people who exceed the expert exercise recommendations are headed for premature death if they sit for long periods of time. Again, be sure to look at our list of 30 videos for examples of what you can do when you stand up.
  2. Interval (Anaerobic) Training: This is when you alternate short bursts of high-intensity exercise with gentle recovery periods, such as Peak Fitness.
  3. Strength Training: Rounding out your exercise program with a one-set strength training routine will ensure that you're really optimizing the possible health benefits of a regular exercise program. You can also "up" the intensity by slowing it down. For more information about using super slow weight training as a form of high intensity interval exercise, please see my interview with Dr. Doug McGuff.
  4. Core Exercises: Your body has 29 core muscles located mostly in your back, abdomen, and pelvis. This group of muscles provides the foundation for movement throughout your entire body, and strengthening them can help protect and support your back, make your spine and body less prone to injury, and help you gain greater balance and stability. Foundation Training, created by Dr. Eric Goodman, is an integral first step of a larger program he calls "Modern Moveology," which consists of a catalog of exercises.
  5. Postural exercises such as those taught in Foundation Training are critical not just for properly supporting your frame during daily activities. They also retrain your body so you can safely perform high-intensity exercises without risking injury. Exercise programs like Pilates and yoga are also great for strengthening your core muscles, as are specific exercises you can learn from a personal trainer.
  6. Stretching: My favorite type of stretching is active isolated stretches. With Active Isolated Stretching, you hold each stretch for only two seconds, which works with your body's natural physiological makeup to improve circulation and increase the elasticity of muscle joints. This technique also allows your body to repair itself and prepare for daily activity. You can also use devices like the Power Plate to help you stretch.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Emotion Chart

I found this by stumbling around. If you haven't tried it's a great way to explore the interwebs.

Link to original:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Obesity and Cancer?


The featured analysis discovered that more than half of the world's obese people congregate in 10 countries: United States, China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan, and Indonesia. The analysis also reveals that:
  • One-third of the global population (about 2.1 billion people) is now overweight or obese, 671 million of which fall into the obese category
  • Worldwide, rates of obesity among children have risen by 50 percent between 1980 and 2013
  • In Tonga, more than half of all adults, both men and women, are obese
  • In Kuwait, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Libya, Qatar, and Samoa, more than half of all women are obese
  • Of the more than 180 countries analyzed, the US carries the heaviest obesity burden, followed by China and India. Obese Americans account for about 13 percent of the world's obese people, while China and India together account for 15 percent of the total
Non-starchy, carb-rich, highly processed foods, along with being in continuous feast mode, are primary drivers of these statistics. Wherever a highly processed food diet becomes the norm, obesity inevitably follows.
Health Myths:
A more complete list of conventional health myths could easily fill several books. The unfortunate truth is that the very industries that profit from these lies are the ones funding most of the research, infiltrating our regulatory agencies, and bribing our political officials to support their financially-driven agenda through any number of legal, and at times not so legal, means.
  • "Cut calories to lose weight": Contrary to popular belief, calories are NOT created equal, and will not have identical effects your weight or health. Counting calories, therefore, will not help you lose weight if you're still consuming the wrong kind of calories while cutting out the good ones. When it comes to calories, it is far more important to look at the source of the calories than counting them. Dr. Robert Lustig, an expert on the metabolic fate of sugar, explains that fructose in particular is "isocaloric but not isometabolic."
  • This means you can have the same amount of calories from fructose or glucose, fructose and protein, or fructose and fat, but the metabolic effect will be entirely different despite the identical calorie count. One of the key dietary changes that you need to implement if you want to lose weight is to swap out carbohydrates (sugars, fructose, and grains) for larger amounts of vegetables and healthy fat, and to be moderate in your protein consumption.
    The reason why this is so important is because starchy carbs, like potatoes and rice, sugar and grains, but fructose in particular) elevate your insulin and leptin levels. These two hormones play key roles in weight management and fat regulation, and chronically elevated levels ultimately lead to insulin resistance and fat accumulation. Fats and proteins affect insulin and leptin to a far lesser degree.
    How much fructose is too much? If you are obese or have insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease, you'd be wise to limit your fructose to 15 grams per day or less from all sources until your insulin level is normalized. After that, proceed with caution. For all others, my standard recommendation is to limit your fructose consumption to a max of 25 grams per day.
  • "Choose 'diet' foods to lose weight": Substances like Splenda (sucralose) and Equal or Nutrasweet (aspartame) may have zero calories, but your body isn't fooled. When it gets a "sweet" taste, it expects calories to follow, and when this doesn't occur it leads to distortions in your biochemistry that may actually lead to weight gain. If you're overweight, you probably need probiotics (beneficial bacteria), NOT artificial sweeteners. In many respects, fermented foods would be a more accurate description of a true "diet food."
  • About 80 percent of your immune system resides in your gut, and research shows that probiotics affect your health in a myriad of ways; it can even influence your ability to lose weight. A healthy diet is the ideal way to maintain a healthy gut, and regularly consuming traditionally fermented foods is the easiest, most cost effective way to ensure optimal gut flora. As for beverages, clean, pure water is your best bet. It's really the only liquid your body truly needs.
  • "Avoid saturated fat to protect your heart health": The myth that saturated fat causes heart disease has undoubtedly harmed an incalculable number of lives over the past several decades, even though it all began as little more than a scientifically unsupported marketing strategy for Crisco cooking oil. Most people are insulin and leptin resistant and actually would benefit from anywhere between 50-85 percent of their daily calories in the form of healthy fats such as organic, pastured eggs, avocadoscoconut oil, real butter and grass-fed beef in order to optimize their health.
  • Increasing your healthy fat consumption is particularly important once you decrease grain carbs. Many believe you need grain carbs for fuel, but fat is actually a far better energy source. Saturated fat is the preferred fuel for your heart, and it's also used as a source of fuel during high levels of activity. Fats also slow down absorption of your meal so that you feel full longer, which helps prevent snacking.
  • "Reduce your cholesterol to extremely low levels"Cholesterol is actually NOT the major culprit in heart disease or any disease, and the guidelines that dictate what number your cholesterol levels should be to keep you "healthy" are fraught with conflict of interest -- and have never been proven to be good for your health.