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ZAP Parkour: Evasion Techniques for the Zombie-phobe

If you’re anything like me, you probably first heard the word “parkour” and imagined some sort of vastly posh mode of putting your vehicle into a state of immobility whilst you take care of various errands. Like “valet,” but with more pizazz. 

My good friend  and newly minted ZAP Strategist Larz Yerian was thoughtful enough to be concerned about all our safety in the event of zombies. He’s even got the answer to the question of what you do when you’ve got a half-decayed once-human dribbling unmentionable viscera on the pavement and heading your way with a groan.

You use parkour and get your ass out of there.

Português: Mulher também manda bem!

How to GTFO when zombies are on your tail. Português: Mulher também manda bem! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ZAP Parkour

There is a slumping behind you and some gross gurgling. You run down the street, glad that you’ve improved your endurance over the years. But more creatures appear down the side streets, hemming you in. You backtrack, only to face the original zombie. They fumble toward you, dead eyes glinting hungrily.

What now?

The ledge to your left! One foot there to propel you toward the railing of the fire escape, then over the railing and up the stairs. But the building is still surrounded, so from the roof a quick dash and a jump to the next building’s roof with a nice roll. Parkour just saved you from being zombified.

Parkour, you think, that’s hard! Sure, but like any physical activity, you start gradually and work your way upward. And you too can be a traceur (practitioner of parkour).

Parkour isn’t about crazy flips and dangerous tricks. It’s about moving efficiently from one place to the next regardless of what may be in the way.

So let’s go over some basics that could save your life eventually, but for now are just a fun way to work out.

Vaults

There are several sorts of vaults, and their purpose is to get you over a low
obstacle in an upright position. I’ll let Epic explain the basic progression on the most basic vaults.

Wall Runs and Climb-Ups

This combination of moves will get you up a taller wall. Again, Epic has the best tutorials.

On that particular wall, Epic turned it into a sort of vault at the end and swung his legs to the side to land lower than the original wall. Alternatively, if the wall does not drop off, or if it drops off too far, you should ‘top out’ by planting both feet symmetrically between your hands on the edge.

Landing and Rolls

Perhaps the most important part of parkour is how to land safely.
Simply jumping off something is a good way to sprain and ankle or hurt knees, especially after doing so repeatedly. Again, Epic shows us how best to land and roll.

But it’s hard to just jump right into all of these moves. That’s where conditioning comes in. The two most important exercises are simple: push-ups and pull-ups. However there are a few more good ideas, so we turn to my instructor, Ryan Ford as he walks us through many important parkour conditioning exercises.

Follow this link for a list of beginner conditioning videos. Each one works a certain area of the body for more efficient movements.

So that’s it. Mastering these moves and conditioning with these techniques will place you well ahead of the pack. And ideally, parkour shouldn’t cost you a dime. You don’t need a gym membership, only some useful architecture and the willingness to get banged up at first.

Your wrists and ankles may become a bit sore. Rolling may induce some dizziness. Anything on bars will cause calluses and even blisters. Progress slowly. The pain goes away and it’s definitely worth it in the end.

Don’t become a zombie. Become a traceur.

Strategist Yerian is a long time friend of mine, writer, and fitness enthusiast. He kicks ass. You should follow his blog.

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Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From Dragon Age

It’s no secret that I’m a gamer. If it is a secret, it’s a pretty crap one. Ever since my early infatuation with the Diablo franchise and scaring the bejeezus out of myself clearing various dens and dungeons, I’ve had a thing for fantasy RPGs. There’s something about them I can’t get enough of. And when Dragon Age: Origins came out a few years back, I fell all over myself trying to get my paws on a copy.

I’ve probably played the entire game through about five times. And I’m the type who does the super-thorough playthroughs. I’m a little bit of an achievement junkie. I think for DA:O, I’m only missing three total, including the downloadable content.

>Nerd.<

And don’t you forget it.

Even if you don’t play video games at all, there is a lot to be learned from the world of Dragon Age. I’ve kept a little running sourcebook of lessons I’ve taken from the game, and now I will share them with you! Enjoy!

Lesson the First: It doesn’t matter if you’re born a human noble or a lowly casteless dwarf in Orzammar, you can still become a hero. 

Some of the most inspiring people on the planet came from humble beginnings.  It doesn’t so much matter where you come from, but the decisions that you make along the way to where you’re going. If you happen to be a casteless dwarf, you might have to work twice as hard to get half as far, but origins don’t dictate destiny. I may have been raised with a hole in the ground for a toilet, but now I have one that goes flush, so hey, people can move up in the world.

Lesson the Second: You might think that demon-possessed boy just needs to be killed for everyone’s sake, but the easiest way might not be the best way — and you might never win the love of Alistair if you opt for the express decision.

Sometimes there are no good choices. Sometimes life is one big, fat, blurry gray area. You might have to choose between paying for rent and paying for heat, or paying for a phone or the meds Aunt Gertrude needs to stop hearing voices. On occasion, you might be forced to take the easy route and offend someone you care about — or prove you care about them by doing it the hard way anyway.

My secret Dragon Age lover. Don't tell the hubby. Gorgeousness brought to you by dragonage.wikia.com

Lesson the Third: Choices Matter in the Big Picture. You can side with the werewolves, the Templars, and Prince Bhelen if you want, but then you’ll have to face a horde of grotesque Darkspawn with only melee fighters, and then where will you be?

I know, I know, something about trees and forests and how you can’t see one through the other, but perspective is important. Take it from someone who thought it would be a good idea to drop $120,000 on an undergraduate degree (which I paid for myself with loans and scholarships) and then go into a program (let’s call that program Smeach por ‘Murica) that required me to take on more debt and ended up with a net worth of around -$80,000 at 27. Each one of those choices wasn’t horrible, but they add up to the cost of a mortgage…well, a mortgage if you happen to live anywhere outside of a major metropolis.

You might think you’re being compassionate and open-minded by letting the cursed werewolves get their revenge on the Dalish elves for years of slaughter (and, you know, making them werewolves in the first place), but you might need the Dalish later. And their longbows. I’m just saying.

Who wouldn't want to side with this gal? She's all foresty. Image via dragonage.wikia.com


Lesson the Fourth: Sometimes you have to say the right things or you’ll ruin the chances of a romantic relationship. If you’re going to insult something close to your target’s heart, like say…Duncan, you have to expect Alistair to be a bit miffed. And to not like you. And if it’s too much trouble to be yourself with someone, you should be looking for someone else. Like Morrigan, maybe. Or Bodahn.

Everyone says to be yourself, but people seldom listen. I remember when I was in junior high and I decided I liked someone. I barely knew him, but by golly, I was going to like him. Because of the tingles. Turned out, we had less in common than a dragon and a nug-wrangler, and it took me a solid ten years to learn that particular lesson.

If you’re looking for love, you’re not going to find the love you want if you’re busy being someone you’re not. Worst case scenario, you succeed and then end up miserable for the rest of your life and wither away hating the game you pigeon-holed yourself into.

Yeah, don’t do that. Bad idea.

Aw, look at the wee nug. He's so...pig-like. And bunny-like. With a hint of rat. Image via terenastavern.com

Lesson the Fifth: Sometimes the hardest job of all is left to you. Sometimes the choices you made in turn make it so there are no other Grey Wardens to slay the archdemon, leaving you to sacrifice yourself for the world. Maybe there is another Warden, but you can’t let him or her make that sacrifice. Or maybe you kept them alive so you wouldn’t have to be the one. 

When it all comes down to it, we choose our paths. Whether we started out a noble or a nug-wrangler, where we end up depends on our choices, and we’re the ones who have to lie in the beds we make. Whether we succeed or fail is in our own power. Sure, sometimes a meteor will fall from the sky and make you the owner of the best star-metal sword in the land without even earning it, and sometimes that same meteor will crash right into the house you’ve so painfully constructed and wipe out your life’s work with no notice, but we always have control over our choices. For good or ill, we’re steering this tugboat.

So when the credits roll and the world is safe from the Darkspawn threat, who do you want to be? Do you want to be the Hero of Ferelden who beat all the odds to push back the tides of evil? Do you want to seize the throne and beat down anyone who challenges you? Or do you want to end up dying in quiet ignonimy? Whatever you choose, choose it and do it.

But hey, I’m just a gamer. Your life’s up to you.

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