The Elder Scrolls Online: Beginner’s Guide to Healing

Support Role: Healing

Although DPS has always been my niche, when I noticed how difficult it was to find a Healer, I decided it was time to give it a try myself. Soon after, I started to realize the appeal of support roles and began to really enjoy the feeling of aiding and supporting my group. It made me feel truly important! Magicka DPS and Healing are very similar in terms of the statistics you’re aiming for. Similarly to DPS, where your damage abilities are scaled off of your max Magicka and spell damage, your healing abilities also scale off of these same values. In short, the higher your Max Magicka and spell damage, the stronger your heals will be.

Kagrenac’s Hope

Regardless of what others may say, it is entirely possible to run a hybrid Magicka DPS and Healing builds, assuming you have fairly good group composition, and you’re not healing trials. However, I would highly recommend Kagrenac’s Hope – a craftable armor set you can access by completing the Fighter’s Guild questline. This armor set is personally my absolute favorite in the game.

If you’re debating between Law of Julianos and Kagrenac’s Hope, I would highly recommend putting on Kagrenac, especially if you plan to go the healing route at some point. As a Templar, known for their quick resurrection passive, there is simply no better set that would compliment that class. In PVE and PVP, you will be getting your allies up off the ground at the speed of light. How quickly your group manages to resurrect a dead ally contributes so much to your overall success. Kagrenac offers unmatched utility, power, and survivability, which can go as far as preventing your group from wiping on a boss fight.

Spell Power Cure and More

Additionally, it is important to mention that many groups, especially those comprised of Veteran players, will often request certain armor sets from their healers in Veteran Dungeons and Trials, especially Hard Mode versions. These sets are generally Worm Cult, also known as Worm’s Raiment, Mending, and Spell Power Cure. However, all of these sets aren’t necessarily easy to obtain because they require dungeon and trial farming.

Picking the Right Abilities

It is true to say that most healers have their own style of healing which is often determined by their class and who they’re playing with. Still, a good healer considers both proactive and reactive healing extremely important. Buffing your group, maximizing your group’s DPS, and keeping your HOTs (healing-over-time) abilities active at all times are all equally important. Utilizing Healing Springs (Restoration Staff) as your “spam-able” ability, while keeping a 100% uptime on 2-3 HOTs (such as Mutagen), buffing your group with Combat Prayer (Restoration Staff), and having a big, strong healing ability in *oh shit!* moments such as Healing Ward or Breath of Life is a very cost-effective rotation to start off with.

TamrielFoundry.com
TamrielFoundry.com

Dead Healers Can’t Heal

Also, keep in mind that the quicker your group kills the enemies, the fewer hits they will take, and the less healing you will need to do! That is why, for example, Combat Prayer is so important because it contributes to not only your group’s survivability but also their damage. Moreover, it is important to make sure you can take a few hits – a dead healer can’t heal! Invest in a little bit more health, and 1-2 pieces of heavy armor if you’re really taking a beating.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun!

Healing takes practice! Don’t beat yourself up when your teammates die. And, they will. A good group takes more than a good healer. It also takes a great tank and even better DPS. When I first took up healing, it gave me insane anxiety because I was always worried about my friends dying. Before anything else, have fun – you will all improve and become great players together!

Continue Reading

Literary Journalism: The Elements of Creative Non-Fiction

Core Elements of Creative Non-Fiction

Considering that Creative Nonfiction is also known as Literary Journalism, there is no surprise that the core elements of this genre are comprised of equal parts literature and journalism! Many would say that ‘anything goes’ when it comes to writing Creative Non-Fiction, but there are still concrete guidelines to help you write a superb essay!

What makes good writing, good writing? In all cases, good writing is both clear and concise. What does that mean? Well, we’re not unintentionally leaving the reader confused or in the dark. We’re also making sure our audience has all the information they need to grasp or comprehend the message we’re trying to get across. We’re saying just enough, but not too much. This is all especially true for Creative Non-Fiction.

Journalistic Elements

  • Facts: What are facts? Facts are simply anything that isn’t completely made up. They’re true, accurate, and authentic.
  • Exposition: Explaining your personal experience clearly and concisely is crucial.
  • Supporting Details: Even if your Personal Essay or Memoir is rooted in personal experience, it is still necessary to expand your story beyond the main character, which is often going to be yourself.
    • Research – As I will mention in more detail below, a theme, focal point, or lesson is crucial for any piece of writing. Your reader will ask, “What am I gaining from reading this? What new information am I learning?” Your work will ultimately have a topic, and that topic will be relatable to others in some way or another. Further research this topic.
    • Reportage – Writing a story is often difficult without the ability to reference events. Photographs, journals, blogs and social media are great resources for this. Before you begin writing, outline your first draft and assure that it is in chronological order. You will also want to make sure all significant points or events are well organized within your story ahead of time.
    • Thoughts and Opinion – A Personal Essay requires a personal touch. Make sure you include thoughts, feelings, and opinions.
  • Format: Creative Non-Fiction is often written in an Essay format. They include an introduction, supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion at the end.

Literary Elements

  • Narrative: A narrative is simply a story.
    • Storytelling – A story requires several events (or scenes), goals, challenges or obstacles, a climax or turn of events, and of course, a resolution.
    • Character – Every story needs a central theme, which in most cases will be the main character. Although chances are, the main character will be you, the reader does not know you, but they desperately want to. Help them know you.
    • Imagery – Describe your surroundings. Describe your emotions with actions. Instead of saying, “I was angry”, you could say, “I stormed out of the room; I punched a hole in the wall.” You want your reader to see what you see. They want to be there and experience it for themselves.
    • Dialogue – Include vital conversations between the characters in your story. This is especially important for all Non-Fiction. Your readers will want to see an account of what was said by whom and to whom.
  • Theme: Although the main character and topic for the story will often be you, there still must be a theme – a lesson, something your reader can take away from your story.
  • Setting: Where is this all taking place? Make sure you ground the story in a place and allow the reader to visually see what it is you see. You may know what your home looks like, or your city, but the reader probably does not.
  • Plot / Structure: These are your scenes, chapters, and the order they go in.

Don’t know where to start?

I always say the best place to start is always by reading. Here you can find great examples of Creative Non-Fiction novels and publications that often feature many Creative Non-Fiction essays.

Novels

  • Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Three Cups of Tea – Greg Mortenson
  • Committed – Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin

Magazines

  • The Atlantic
  • The New Yorker
  • Vanity Fair
  • Esquire
Continue Reading

Know Your Rights: What to Do If You’re Being Evicted

I Know This Is Terrifying

But, don’t panic just yet. As a New Yorker, the first thing you should know is your rights. Thanks to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, tenants have many rights and privileges, even more so if they live in a rent controlled or rent stabilized apartment. Regardless if you’re being evicted, or you’ve just moved in, it is important to know your rights. It is your landlord’s responsibility to keep your apartment safe, clean, and well-maintained, for starters. To learn more, see the HPD’s Tenant Rights FAQ

Source

First Things First, Talk to Your Landlord

If you’re having difficulty paying your rent, let them know as soon as possible. There is a chance that you may be able to work out a payment plan before things get out of hand.

At this point, if you foresee long term, or even short term financial difficulty, consider going to the Human Resources Administration. Here you can apply for benefits such as food stamps, or even cash assistance to help with your living costs.You can also apply for some benefits online through ACCESS NYC, and screen for eligibility for many other benefit programs!

Most New York City residents are taken to housing court because of a non-paying case. Keep in mind that, more often than not, your landlord is not seeking to evict you, they’re seeking to collect rent – from one source or another. Luckily, New York City residents have many resources in order to help with back rent such as CITYFEPS Rent Supplement Program, Rental Arrears Grants through the HRA, and the Homeless Prevention Fund.

In order to access the Homeless Prevention Fund, you must first get in touch with one of these organizations listed below:

Coalition for the Homeless
129 Fulton Street
New York, NY 10038
Eviction Prevention Hotline: (212) 776-2039

The Bridge Fund
105 East 22nd Street, Suite 621 E
New York, NY 10010
Phone: (212) 674-0812

Community Service Society
105 East 22nd Street, Room 409
New York, NY 10010
Phone: (212) 614-5375

Additionally, the best thing for you to do is to simply call 311, or visit 311 Online.

Do you Need Repairs? Help with Back Rent? Seek Help Immediately

Of course, it is often much more complicated than simply non-payment. If you feel your landlord is overcharging you or harassing you, or, they’re simply not providing you with needed repairs, it is important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. A great resource to get started is Housing Court Answers. They offer a great deal of insight into the legal process of being in housing court. Give them a call several weeks before your first court date – they can provide numerous referrals to where you can receive financial or legal assistance regarding your unique situation.

Additionally, you may want to consider finding a lawyer to represent you in court. If anything at all, seek legal consultation. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you can receive free legal help through the Legal Aid Society and Legal Services NYC, just to name a few! To find a lawyer that services your area, go to LawHelpNY.org

I Still Have to Leave, now What?

Unfortunately, sometimes this happens, and it may even seem unavoidable. If you must vacate your apartment, according to your court stipulation, first note how much time you have left.

In most cases, if you settle to vacate the apartment, you will have at least 30 days to do so. If your case goes to trial, and you lose, you may need to leave in as little as 5 days.

In any case, your landlord cannot lock you out without a marshal’s notice. Additionally, your landlord also cannot turn off your basic utilities, such as water, heat, electricity, or gas, for as long as you inhabit the apartment. This is very important to keep in mind. If this does occur, you can return to court and contact the police department.

At this point, you will need to start looking for another place to live. Are you able to move in with family or friends in the meantime, while you get back on your feet?

In the case where that isn’t an option, seek community action organizations – many of which receive funding through the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP), which offers homeless prevention or relocation services.

There are several other housing and support services including:

  • Solutions to End Homelessness Program (STEHP)
  • New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP)
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)
  • Operational Support for AIDS Housing (OSAH)
  • Emergency Needs for the Homeless Program (ENHP)

You can search for housing services by region here.

DHS Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing Facility (PATH)

Help! I Received a Marshal’s Notice in the Mail

If you’re reading this with a marshal’s notice already in hand, I know that this is unimaginably stressful for you. I’m sorry that you and your family are going through this right now. Don’t give up. Be strong.

I urge you at this point to consider any options you may have missed earlier – a resource, family member, or a friend.

Your biggest concern at this point is your safety (and your family’s safety), as well as the safety of your belongings. Consider looking into storage spaces. If you can not afford a storage unit, you can still see many, if not all of the resources mentioned above for financial assistance with securing your belongings.

And, lastly, get in touch with the Department of Homeless Services for instructions on how to enter the city’s shelter system.

Shelter intake locations are listed here.

Go to a Shelter Today.

The Official Website of the City of New York
The Official Website of the City of New York
The Official Website of the City of New York
The Official Website of the City of New York
Continue Reading

The Magnificant Health Benefits of Kefir

Is Kefir For You?

The irony of living in the age of information, with the internet always at our fingertips, is that not everything we find on the web is actually factual — and there is quite a lot of fake news and fake information to sift through. Although modern society has granted many of us more access and more opportunity to live more health conscious lives, the consumption of fast food, along with high sugar and salt diets has become the norm among us. This has done nothing but leave us with terrifying statistics of heart disease and other seemingly avoidable health concerns. Surprisingly enough, the response of the natural health community is the evolution of superfoods trends.

I have combatted high stress, anxiety, and depression in the past, and can attest that ongoing mental illness can cause physical ailments. Stress alone can affect your immune system and how well you can fight off a cold. It can cause digestive problems. Additionally, it can cause weight gain and even stop your period dead in its tracks causing an array of reproductive health problems affecting both ovulation and fertility.

So, as you can imagine, at the barely ripe age of 25, my body was indeed out of whack! I wasn’t taking shits or getting my period. My stomach was permanently upset, and I had month-long lingering colds. A friend with similar health concerns recommended I give Kefir a try to help combat my long list of problems. To be honest, at first, I was skeptical. I had, quite literally, heard it all. Once a woman standing in line at the grocery store swore to me that a lemon wedge swimming in a mug of warm tap water was the cure to all human ailments. What most of us failed to realize is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to our individual health concerns. Additionally, those chia seeds don’t work like a fairy godmother. You can’t blend it into your morning smoothie and magically you’re cured. This is why, in no way, am I suggesting Kefir is the end all be all, because yes, it takes more than a fermented dairy beverage to get your life in check. However, through evidence-based research and consulting with my physician, I’ve come to a realistic solution to a variety of common ailments.

5 Powerful Health Benefits of Kefir (Backed by Science)

Health Benefits of Kefir

The main health benefits of Kefir is its nutrient density and probiotic properties. There is possibly no better solution for digestion and gut health than Kefir. Before we jump the gun, I’m sure you’re wondering what exactly we’re discussing here. Kefir is a fermented drink, traditionally made with cow’s and goat’s milk. It is essentially a more powerful version of yogurt with a much thinner consistency. It is also much less complicated to make, as well. This extremely tart and sour beverage are made by adding kefir grains to milk and allowing it to ferment for 24–72 hours. What is so unique about kefir is these grains can be used more than once, really allowing you to get your money’s worth.

The name is derived from the Turkish word keyif, which means “feeling good” — that’s exactly how you’ll be feeling once you finish a small 6oz glass of it!

High Nutrient Density

Like I mentioned above, Kefir is extremely nutrient dense, and you benefit much from even a small glass:

According to Dietitian Joe Leech, a 175 ml (6 oz) serving of milk kefir contains:

Protein: 6 grams.
Calcium: 20% of the RDA.
Phosphorus: 20% of the RDA.
Vitamin B12: 14% of the RDA.
Riboflavin (B2): 19% of the RDA.
Magnesium: 5% of the RDA.
A decent amount of vitamin D.

Fight Infection and Other Harmful Bacterias

Although the most common known probiotic food product in the western world is yogurt, kefir is actually a much more potent source of this. In fact, kefir contains about 30 different microorganisms, making it the best-fermented dairy product. Additionally, certain probiotics are known to protect against infections and harmful bacterias. Lactobacillus kefiri, unique to kefir, does just that. Studies have shown Lactobacillus kefiri prevent the spread of Salmonella and E. coli, for example.

Digestive Problems and Lactose Intolerance

Probiotics such as kefir can help restore the balance of friendly bacteria in the gut. If you suffer from IBS or other digestive problems, kefir can give that poor tummy of yours a break. The great thing about kefir is those with a sensitivity to dairy can consume it safely! In fact, kefir is 99% lactose-free!

According to the article titled 9 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Kefir, “Regular dairy foods contain a natural sugar called lactose. Many people, especially adults, are unable to break down and digest lactose properly. This condition is called lactose intolerance. The lactic acid bacteria in fermented dairy foods (like kefir and yogurt) turn the lactose into lactic acid, so these foods are much lower in lactose than milk. They also contain enzymes that can help break down the lactose even further.”

Reproductive Health

Experts in women’s health recommend kefir during pregnancy, as well as to those trying to conceive. To an even bigger surprise, they recommend it not just every once in a while, but regularly — daily if you can manage it.

To start, “it helps create a healthy inner ecosystem in your birth canal before the baby is born. This matters because your baby will then inherit this beneficial bacteria and yeast, creating an inner ecosystem in his/her digestive tract that will help digest your milk while building a stronger immune system.”

According to Alyson Lippman, RN, “pregnant and nursing women can drink kefir or yogurt to prevent the overgrowth of a bacterium called Group B Beta Strep. There is potential for passing (Strep) to the baby, where it can be harmful and cause infection.”

Women can also take kefir to reduce vaginal itching, yeast infections, and general problems of immunity while aiding hormonal balance.

Mental Health

Did you know that probiotics may have psychiatric benefits, as well? Is gut health the secret to sustainable mental health? Consider this — “Kefir contains tryptophan which is an amino acid that raises the levels of serotonin in your brain. According to WebMD, “serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter, a type of chemical that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another. Although serotonin is manufactured in the brain, where it performs its primary functions, some 90% of our serotonin supply is found in the digestive tract and in blood platelets.”

How To Make Milk Kefir 101

What Are You Waiting For?

There is simply no reason to not try kefir! Although this very sour and tart drink is difficult to adjust to, you can make it a much more pleasant experience by adding fresh fruit or even honey, too. Don’t forget your favorite granola, nuts or seeds! That’s how I like mine — crunchy!

Sources

4 Benefits of Milk Kefir That Could Change Your Life. (2015, November 11). Retrieved June 24, 2017, from https://bodyecology.com/articles/4-benefits-of-milk-kefir-that-could-change-your-life

Leech, J. (2017, January 24). 9 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Kefir. Retrieved June 24, 2017, from https://authoritynutrition.com/9-health-benefits-of-kefir/

Pregnant Women and Kefir. (2017, May 03). Retrieved June 24, 2017, from http://www.benefitsofkefir.com/pregnant-women-and-kefir/

Schizophrenia, Depression, and the Little-Known “Mental Health”/Dietary Link: An Interview with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. (2011, October 07). Retrieved June 24, 2017, from https://bodyecology.com/articles/schizophrenia_depression_dietary_link.php

The Secret to Happiness? Gut Health. (2017, April 12). Retrieved June 24, 2017, from http://lifewaykefir.com/mental-awareness-month-kefir/

Continue Reading

Technology Sabbat: The Practice of Unplugging

There Is Something Significant At Work Here

The author of Brain Power: From Neurons to Networks, Tiffany Shlain has a lot to say about the impact of technology and social media. She warns us of how constant connectivity can impact our lives, our relationships, and our culture, for both good and bad. As a Millennial, my generation participated in the shift of technology – from Yahoo! chat rooms and AOL instant messaging, to the social media empire we know today, such as Facebook. I have a clear memory of before and after the internet came alive. Today, most of us are always connected. We’re always plugged in. That’s because we carry tiny pocket-sized computers with us everywhere. Shlain doesn’t necessarily believe, like some others, that technology is going to somehow be the downfall of civilization, but I think we all can recognize that there is something significant at work here. We are quite literally existing in such a different way than we did even a decade ago.

The Good & The Bad

When you think of the internet, what do you see? I see an extension of ourselves. The internet is all of our brains talking at once. It’s complicated, yes, but still quite extraordinary, don’t you think? Every time we’re on it, information is being sent to us and processed. Most of the time, unintentionally. This is occurring all of the time – every time you scroll through your Twitter feed you’re being influenced. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Why is that? Because humans are both good and bad. You can learn anything – anything at all, on the internet. On the other hand, not all of our ideas are particularly useful or beneficial. Yet, everything we share, we consume. Even more importantly, the internet, and being plugged in constantly, puts us in a state of constant focus and distraction. I think we’re pointing fingers at the wrong entity when blaming the internet. The internet isn’t bad. The issue, as Shlain proposes, is that we don’t know how to turn it off.

Technology Sabbat

I used to think that I was a little more detached than the average technology consumer – simply because I was not particularly entranced by the idea of having the most recent iPhone or using Snapchat. Instead, I spent all of the time at home on the internet. For a few years after college, I found myself in quite a post-grad rut, which is far from uncommon. Job prospects were few and far between, and I had lost sight of my goals. I struggled to find the discipline required to put in work for various creative projects. Frankly, I spent a lot of time not doing the work and a lot of time sitting in front of the computer scrolling through Facebook. Pulling away was harder than I expected it to be, and I noticed real side effects to being constantly plugged in. I felt detached from real life and the world around me, and more often than not, lonely. For years, I knew it would be impossible for me to get my life back without taking a true hiatus from the online world. `

This is where the idea of Technology Sabbat comes into play. If you’re not yet familiar, Sabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week, also known as the day of rest. The concept of Sabbat is once a week, for a day, our brains, and our souls, are reset. We turn everything off and allow ourselves to truly rest. For us, that would mean for one day, perhaps a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, we turn off our cell phones, our TVs, and our computers, and we tune into the world and people around us.

For the last month and a half, I haven’t had the internet at my home, not particularly by choice, but through this new challenge, I gained insight into what really mattered to me. And, in a lot of ways, I finally gained my life back. I am beginning to notice things – life happening all around me. I am grounded, level-headed, focused, and motivated. As a creative, I believe it may have actually saved my life, or at the very least, my creative life.

Plugging Back In

When you do finally plug back in, be mindful. Be mindful of who and what you let into your stream of consciousness. Everything you consume – that tweet, that meme, all of it influences your thoughts and inevitably your behaviors. So, take that as a warning to curate the content in front of you. Choose carefully those you follow. Additionally, be aware of the purpose you’re there, and keep this purpose in mind while using social media. Consider why you’re using it, what your intentions are, and what good (or bad) it is doing for you. It may also prove helpful to set boundaries on how, why, and when to use social media. Some questions you can ask yourself is: Does this content add value to my life or the lives of others? Is it true? Is it helpful, useful, or insightful? Am I looking for validation – is there value or purpose in sharing this experience? Am I bored? Is there something more purposeful I could be spending my time doing? Am I lonely? Have I reached out to loved ones today? Am I using social media compulsively, mindlessly, or consciously?

Our relationship with technology is indeed a complex one, and it affects us all differently. If you’re feeling less in control, consider unplugging for or a day, or a week, or a month. Remember that we can control how social media influences our lives, and it is up to us to determine how we benefit or suffer, from plugging back in.

Continue Reading

Housing First: End the Cycle of Homelessness

The Reality of Homelessness

I was 26 years old when I first stepped foot in a homeless shelter. My husband and I had just suffered a 6-month-long grueling journey through housing court. We were fighting tooth and nail over a rent overcharge and neglected repairs. I wish I could say that there was even a seed of justice, but unfortunately, they brought the big guns (expensive attorneys), and we eventually lost. We did not only lose our home, but also the last 6 years of our lives, and not to mention, our hope, faith, and dignity.

The only two states I’ve lived in, Hawaii and New York, have a homeless epidemic incomparable to other areas. I grew up on the west side of Oahu, where it was always 80 degrees under the shade. The attitude towards homelessness is quite different in Hawaii – pitch a tent on the outskirts of Waianae, catch fish and sunbathe all day. The homeless in NYC have to worry about freezing to death in the winter.

They do however share a common pattern of homelessness – it is often chronic and long-term. I believe the solution to such an issue is adopting the concept of Housing First. What does this mean? It simply means prioritizing permanent, stable housing, first, then tackling other issues that are specific and unique to the homeless individual or family.

Are Shelters The Right Solution?

My husband and I stumbled into a family shelter late in the evening. It was after 8, and we were lugging around the remains of our 1-bedroom apartment. We spent the entire day sitting at an intake center for adult families. Instantly, you’re stripped of your person-hood and become replaced by a case number. Those who are meant to help and assist you debate your innocence. Have they forgotten we are people? You are only one misfortune away from the same fate.

I would not hesitate to share good words about the facility we are currently living in now. In fact, most of the staff are warm and mean well. If you pull away from your thoughts of hopelessness or entitlement, even just for a moment, you will see they are doing their best to make us feel human. However, I can still see how permanent housing would be most proactive and productive solution. Let me explain why.

For many, like ourselves, we have been living normal lives up until this point. With the exception of our housing situation, not much has changed. We do not suffer from mental illness or drug abuse. We are essentially a well-educated working family – minus the place to sleep at night. When I discovered that the facility has a budget of $4000/month for each individual, I just couldn’t believe it! An apartment would cost less. How is this a cost-effective solution?

New Obstacles, Significant Challenges

Before we became homeless, both my husband and I were working students. We also received benefits such as food stamps. Now that we’re living in a homeless shelter that does not provide us a kitchen, we often spend a lot more money trying to feed ourselves without completely neglecting our health and well-being. Because we’re not allowed cable, we also can’t have the internet either. The truth is, in this day and age, is essential for almost everyone to have access to the internet. This is especially true for both students and working people.

My husband is an elementary school counselor. He often does a lot of work from home communicating with coworkers and preparing lesson plans. I am a writer. In my work, I do a lot of research. This alone requires the internet. Maintaining and meeting our daily responsibilities has never been so expensive. We pay more for mobile hot-spot data just to meet our basic needs.

Many shelters have a curfew as well, which is also limiting on time and resources available elsewhere. The mental and emotional stress of such a situation only adds fuel to the flame. Drug use, violence, and chaos within shelters is the cherry on top. All of these small and seemingly insignificant obstacles are very large for us.

As time went on, our experiences and the experiences of others, as well as through significant research has shown as that Housing First is the only real solution to a very complicated problem.

National Alliance to End Homelessness

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the focus of Housing First is:

Helping “individuals and families access and sustain permanent rental housing as quickly as possible”

Providing a “variety of services delivered to promote housing stability and individual well-being on an as-needed and entirely voluntary basis; and

A standard lease agreement to housing – as opposed to mandated therapy or services compliance.”

Although this approach may work for us, more services may be required for those who have experienced chronic homelessness, or street homelessness where violence and drug abuse is more common.

However, the NATEH emphasizes on the fact that, “the vast majority of homeless individuals and families fall into homelessness after a housing or personal crisis. For these households, the Housing First approach provides them with short-term assistance to find permanent housing quickly and without conditions. In turn, such households often require only brief, if any, support or assistance to achieve housing stability and individual well-being.”

It would make little sense to put working families in shelter facilities for long periods of time. Through my own observations, I find that it may even do more harm than good. Staying in a homeless shelter for a year, or more, and becoming accustomed to the culture and daily life of it, will without a doubt have an effect on the individual. Living in a shelter, particularly those for singles doesn’t promote regular daily life skills, nor does it help individuals make smart decisions regarding independent life and self-responsibility. Essentially, I believe that long shelter stay will only make integrating into society much harder later on down the road.

Friends of Boston’s Homeless

Friends of Boston’s Homeless share statistics with us that prove how effective it is to implement the concept of Housing First. Just in Boston alone, it’s been shown that, “…over 90% (of homeless individuals) are maintaining their housing and have not returned to the streets or shelters”…and, it “saves our community about $11,000/person per year in health care and public safety alone once someone is housed rather than living on the streets or in shelters. It provides a dignified and cost-effective solution to homelessness.”

U.S. Interagency Council on Homeless

For an even more in-depth look into Housing First, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homeless shares a thorough explanation of the program. You can find their statement quoted below,

“A community-wide Housing First approach has the following elements:

Emergency shelter, street outreach providers, and other parts of the crisis response system are aligned with Housing First and recognize that their role encompasses housing advocacy and rapid connection to permanent housing. Staff in crisis response system services believe that all people experiencing homelessness are housing ready.

Strong and direct referral linkages and relationships exist between crisis response system (emergency shelters, street outreach, etc.) and rapid re-housing and supportive housing. Crisis response providers are aware and trained in how to assist people experiencing homelessness to apply for and obtain permanent housing.

The community has a unified, streamlined, and user-friendly community-wide process for applying for rapid re-housing, supportive housing, and/or other housing interventions.

The community has a coordinated assessment system for matching people experiencing homelessness to the most appropriate housing and services.

The community has a data-driven approach to prioritizing highest-need cases for housing assistance, whether through an analysis of lengths of stay in Homeless Management Information Systems, vulnerability indices, or data on utilization of crisis services.

Policy makers, funders, and providers collaboratively conduct planning and align resources to ensure that a range of affordable and supportive housing options and models are available to maximize housing choice among people experiencing homelessness.

Policies and regulations related to supportive housing, social and health services, benefit and entitlement programs and other essential services do not inhibit the implementation of the Housing First approach. For instance, eligibility and screening policies for benefit and entitlement programs or housing do not require the completion of treatment or achievement of sobriety as a prerequisite.

Every effort is made to offer a tenant a transfer from one housing situation to another if a tenancy is in jeopardy. Whenever possible, eviction back into homelessness is avoided.”

After thorough research, we can now see how Housing First may very well be the solution we need to end the cycle of homelessness. Housing First gets to the root of the issue and makes a realistic approach to solving the problem. With hope, all cities will begin to implement these solutions across to the U.S.

Continue Reading

The Elder Scrolls Online: Beginner’s Guide to Leveling

We’ve All Been There; by That, I Mean We’ve All Been “Noobs”.

I think what makes TESO special is how mature and inviting the community is. When a game is that great, and I mean this, wholeheartedly, we want others to enjoy it at the capacity we’re enjoying it. Generally speaking, that means dying less and feeling like the strong, heroic adventurers that we are. When I first started playing this game over 3 years ago, I didn’t progress very far in levels. In fact, I created and deleted numerous characters—many of which didn’t progress beyond level 15. Why? Well, because I sucked and I had a hard time finding a character that I liked enough to push me onward. Still, I’m glad I didn’t quit, and a lot of that is due to friendly players in the world who offered advice and companionship. In the coming paragraphs, I will share with you a personal guide as to how I level my characters from 1-50 and how these small details can not only make the leveling process more enjoyable but also set you up for victory early on.

First Things First, Do the Tutorial.

Go through the Wailing Prison. This is a great chance to gain some easy levels and get accustomed to your first few abilities on each of your skill lines. As soon as you gain your first skill point, unlock a damage ability. Then, for each skill point that is gained thereafter, unlock an ability in each of your class skill lines, as well as your preferred weapon, and put one of each on your bar. In short, you want to have an ability from each of your class skill trees, plus a weapon ability, on your ability bar.

If you’re planning to go the Stamina DPS route, start equipping any medium armor you pick up. Similarly, if you plan to play as Magicka DPS, or as a healer, equip any light armor you come across. And, lastly, if you want to try your hand at tanking, start getting some heavy armor on. Hopefully, by the time you leave the Wailing Prison, you will have a few good levels under your belt. Once you leave the Wailing Prison, chances are you’ll end up in the first main city of your alliance. Your first priority will be to join the Undaunted, Fighters and Mages Guilds in order to unlock those skill lines. Now, whenever you complete a dungeon, kill Daedra, or find a lore book in the world, you will gain experience for those skill lines!

How Do You Want to Play?

At this point, you can decide to level through the game “normally”, which means progressing through the game by questing in the direction of the main story, or you can mob grind your way to level 50. In my experience, I like to do a little bit of everything (questing, dungeons, and mob grind). More importantly, I find the most proactive way to go about this is by also wearing the most optimal gear. Ask a guildie, friend, or a stranger in zone chat to craft a set of training armor for you. I would recommend fully experiencing all the zones with your first or main character – that means completing all of the quest hubs and exploring the caves too! Not only are the quests very well-written and entertaining, but some of them provide unique rewards, as well as skill points. Caves have sky shards hidden within them and also give great XP. You will learn later on the importance of collecting every skill point, every sky shard, and even every lore book. If you skip them now, you will only go back for them later! At that point, it will probably feel painfully tedious – I’ve done it nearly 10 times, myself!

Hack and Slash to Your Heart’s Desire!

When it comes to level grinding, many mob grind locations are indicated on Add-Ons such as “Destinations”. However, you can grind just about anywhere with low health, quick-respawning enemies. Zombies are a favorite because they’re quick, squishy, and have low health. They also grant Fighter’s Guild XP which will be appealing to any Stamina-based player. Ideally, you would bring a friend with you to help cut through enemies quicker, or at the very least, help keep you alive. Even if you are staying alive just fine, it will be 100x faster if you bring a friend to help you burn through the enemies faster. Your goal is to simply kill as many enemies in the shortest amount of time.

Armor with the “training” trait, combined with experience scrolls or potions, you can realistically get from level 1-50 in less than 10 hours, effortlessly. If you bring a friend, you can quickly turn a hack and slash grind into an epic party. Keep in mind, if you have more than 2-3 to a group, your individual experience gain will drop drastically.

Best Grinding Spot For Any Level

Vet Levels and Beyond

On that note, I’d just like to add that there is nothing wrong with taking your time, and learning how to play at your own pace, in your own time, with what you already have. TESO isn’t particularly hard, but I believe to become very good at this game, there is indeed quite a learning curve. In fact, less than 1% of active players ever see the leaderboards, nor have they even step foot in a trial. Still, end-game content is very much, in my opinion, a realistic challenge any player can tackle. You can expect more on TESO end-game content in the coming articles!

Continue Reading

The Self-Centered Routine for Creative Visionaries

Prioritize You

Yikes! I know you see it. I do too – those two bad words sticking out like a sore thumb: self-centered, and routine. Terrible title, isn’t it? I’m hoping that after reading the clusters of paragraphs I have laid out in front of you, you will re-discover the meaning for both. The truth is, it’s okay to prioritize you. You should be at the center of your life. What does that mean? Your visions come before the visions of others. Additionally, having a routine doesn’t mean your life is suddenly void of any ounce of fun or spontaneousness. I am here to share with you how I have learned to master the routine, and put myself at the center of it, each and every day, and how that alone has allowed me to put my dreams on a pedestal and accomplish them.

The Daily Routine

Creative visionaries, like you and me, live each day hoping to one day stand with greatness. Their secret weapon, that is often left unspoken, the rule that both Woody Allen and Ernest Hemmingway adhere to is the daily routine. Hemingway wrote 500 words a day, rain or shine. Allen once said that success is 80% showing up. If you want to create something worthwhile in your lifetime, if you want to write things, make things, do things, be things – you need not wait for inspiration to come knocking. Honey, you break that door down. You show up, and you work.

Habit and Discipline

I have often whined to friends of creative dry spells. For years, in fact, I did not write, and you know what? I hadn’t done a damn thing about it. Today I know that it wasn’t inspiration I was lacking, but habit and discipline. The hardest decision then becomes not the writing itself but prioritizing it over everything and everyone else. And, indeed, it is a hard decision to make, but a necessary one if you want to accomplish the things you wish to accomplish in your life. When I wrote and published my first book, I had so much fire in my heart, but few responsibilities. So, naturally, it was easy for me to say, “Hey, I’m going to write this book, and I officially don’t give a shit about anything else until it’s finished.” And, guess what? I finished it. In fact, I did almost nothing but write for days on end. I skipped meals. I took a pen and paper into the bathroom – yes, I know, gross. I was so immersed in my book, that I didn’t care very much about anything else. I didn’t have nearly as many bills to pay or obligations to fulfill as I do now. So, as you can imagine, it has become increasingly harder for me to reach similar heights of creative productivity (or, Creative “Zen”, as I like to call it), and even harder for me to prioritize me when the rest of the world needs me. Now, more than ever, I realize habit and discipline are the true keys to any craft.

The hard part is often not our needs, but the needs of others. Sometimes drastic measures need to be taken. Thankfully for us, in no way are these measures truly drastic. All you have to do is pick a few hours out of your day where you become unavailable. For a few hours, at dawn or dusk, you simply fall off the face of the earth. No phone, no e-mail, no social media – you become completely unavailable. Put that worry out of your mind! I know you’re feeling it – I promise, you won’t miss anything. That’s the truth! That text message isn’t dire, neither is your boss’s e-mail. I’m sure by now you’ve realized just how unpopular this decision will make you. Listen, they will survive without you for a few hours, and if they’re sensible human beings, or give a crap about you, they’ll understand. The irony of worrying about the priorities of others is that you actually miss out on yours.

Now on to the novel you’re trying to write, or the business you’re trying to build – can you work on it every day? For any day that you can work, you probably should. If you can watch a film for an hour, or play a video game, or skim through your social media feeds (I see you!), you can surely work. Let’s say you work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Heck, let’s say 10, because of traffic, bad breakfast digestion, and your offspring. That leaves you 14 hours. Of course, you must sleep, so now you have 6 hours left. Give yourself 1/2 of that time to food, friends, and family, and you’re left with 3. Most days, try to dedicate 2 of them to your dreams, your goals, your creative aspirations, but 1 is more than enough. Of course, your routine will fit your unique life, and meet your specific goals, and sometimes an hour just isn’t realistic. At the end of the day, it really comes down to using that creative mind of yours and making time. Buy a crockpot. Talk to your loved ones. Can they help you make time? It’s going to come down to planning, prioritizing, and persistence. If you can sit down and write your novel for 15 minutes, that is certainly better than none, and making that commitment, no matter how small, is what leads to results.

You’re Not Actually Showing Up If You’re Not Working

The real question is, how can you make the most of those precious 15 minutes? Right away, I must say, there is no point in showing up at all if you’re not prepared to work. Yes, 80% of success is showing up, but you’re not actually showing up if you’re not working. You’re not showing up by sitting on that fat bum of yours and sulking. If that’s the case, you really could be doing something else! (Frankly, I recommend going for ice cream.) Before I discourage you, there are ways to show up, every day, with a stellar game plan, regardless if you’re there for 15 minutes or 15 hours (I’ve done this – I don’t recommend it.)

Time Management

Although detailed daily planners are a great investment to improve organization and time management in your life, they’re often only as effective as how realistic you are about the time and energy you have, as well as the effort required to complete your tasks. I love planners, but I don’t necessarily believe they actually help me become more productive or useful. For most of us, things naturally get done when they need to be done, and planners can only do so much for laziness. Although it does help me keep track of my day-to-day needs, I believe there is a subtle illusion of productivity attached to them. There is a lot of instant gratification in putting a check mark next to a task you’ve completed. All I’m asking of you is a small, realistic – emphasis of realistic, list of goals for the day. On this list, in a small outline of the tasks, you will complete for your creative work. Keep in mind that most things can wait until tomorrow, and there is really no purpose is doing things before they need to get done.

Set Firm Edges

I think in a lot of ways, it’s safe to say that creative work doesn’t necessarily bode well with classic concepts of professionalism. This section is all about why I think multitasking prevents us from reaching our ultimate potential as creative visionaries. I don’t think that professionalism necessarily creates forward-thinking, exceptional, remarkable, new and exciting products for us. I think saying “fuck you” to professionalism does. This is not to say that professionalism doesn’t have its own place, but the work that we’re doing – creative work – it has no place. This is not your office gig. This is not data-entry. To create something remarkable in your lifetime, you need to be at your best, bring your best, and focus all of your energy into a single entity. A great thing requires all of your power. This is essentially why setting firm edges are too important to ignore. What do I mean by firm edges? You need to be strict about when you make time for creative work and the quality of the work you’re doing during this time. Nothing is to bleed into the next section, or into the one you’re currently working in. You begin when it’s time, and you stop when it’s time, and you do nothing but what it is intended to be done during this time. In short, do not multi-task.

Energy Levels

Most of us have a time of day in which we’re most alert and energetic. This is the best time for creative work. This is not the time for data-entry if you catch my drift. You may not realize it now, but these are truly the most valuable moments of your day. This is when you’re at your best, so anything important or difficult that needs to get done, should be done at this time. I find early mornings to be the best time for work. Preferably before the rest of the house has awoken. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and open your favorite word processor. You need to find a space where you can be with just you and your creative mind for a few minutes, or hours. Mastering this part has a lot to do with getting to know yourself. The same can be said about the next, and last section of this article.

Creative Triggers

Believe it or not, familiarity can trigger creative energy far more easily than new landscapes. When we put ourselves into a routine, giving ourselves surroundings that are familiar, it sends a trigger to our brains that say, oh! it’s time for work. It is also comfortable and puts us in a calm state. We are not busy processing and taking in all the new multi-sensory surroundings, therefore, we can focus and get to work quicker.

The Hardest Part? When It’s Time to Finally Become a Professional

Figuring out what makes you tick as an artist is only half the battle. Consider that you found your routine, you honed your craft, and you mastered your practice. Unfortunately, it’s not over. Believe it or not, the actual hard part has not even begun. No one is born a professional, in the way that some claim to be born an artist. Although an artist’s primary goal is rarely monetary gain, it is often exposure. More so, the ability to connect and relate to their audience. I think artists specifically want to reach people, and lock hearts and minds with another, even for just a moment. The problem is, in order for an artist to do this, they must actually become salesmen. They sell their ideas, their words, and, of course, themselves. There is simply no other way to reach another, without first unleashing them and becoming vulnerable. So, yes, the hardest part is becoming a professional, and what that means for artists is becoming brave.

Do you want to know what’s even harder than that – what’s harder than the hardest thing of all – an artist’s greatest fear? It is fear of being criticized and deemed a fraud – simply not being good enough. This is a shared concerned by me, you, and everyone else on earth. You’re telling the world, “Hey! I worked super hard on this! I poured my heart, soul, and literal brain into it – I kind of, sort of, believe I might possibly be good at this. Maybe, just maybe, I know what I’m talking about.” When in fact, you’re a student, like me, and it is not entirely that black and white. I am no expert, and I hope you didn’t crawl in this thick head of mine, take a seat, with hopes of being enlightened. There are no true masters here. We are all learning.

A true artist works hard at their routine, and at their craft, but even more so, accepts they have much to teach, and even more so, to learn. They know we can all become a little bit stronger, a little bit better, a little bit smarter, by opening our eyes and ears to each other.

Continue Reading

How to Fight Like a Grown-Up

Jiu Jitsu for Beginners

Nope, it’s not what you’re thinking – this is not a martial arts crash course. Not to mention, if you’re looking for street fights, you’re definitely in the wrong section of the internet. This article is all about handling opposition and having adult arguments, with a few tidbits thrown in about basic grown-up communication. We’ve all seen Reddit forums and the Youtube comments section. Fun Fact: That’s not how communication works in the real world.

Fight Like a Grown Up

Let’s face it, it’s not easy keeping your cool when discussing what you’re passionate about. It’s not easy composing yourself when you’re being insulted. I get that, and I struggle with this just as much as everyone else, but part of being an adult is controlling your emotions, being conscious of your behavior, and always being the bigger and better person.

What does it mean to fight like a grown up? It means being patient and kind even when you don’t feel like it. Remember that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. You’re more likely to be taken seriously if you’re a kind person. You’re more likely to get what you want if you’re a patient person. Do you want others to respect you? Then don’t be an asshole. Regardless of your motives, pure or not, unless you’re a powerful figure in this person’s life, the best way to get your way is by playing nice.

Grow Some Armor

Thick skin! Get it here!

Remember this: Hurt people hurt people. Chances are, this person is being a prick because they’re going through some tough shit in their life, or they’re just a bad, mean person. Either way, you’re not a therapist. And, regardless of whether or not you feel their behavior is their fault or not, you still don’t deserve it.

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” — Mark Twain

Warning Signs

Is this conversation literally going in circles? Is there an exchange of point-of-view and information? Exchanging insults doesn’t count. Are they reasonable? Is their perception of the world so out-there, so odd, and skewed that you’re basically wasting your time? Do they scream at waitresses? Are they drunk? <– This matters.

You Can’t Get Along With Everyone

It might be hard to accept that you, or I, could possibly be disliked! With all our great personality and fabulous good looks! Realize that everyone has their own taste, their own preferences. Personalities clash and sometimes it just doesn’t work. You don’t like every single person you meet, right? That would be weird.

Swallow Your Pride

Knowing how and when to apologize is essential to fighting like an adult. We don’t always apologize because we’re wrong. In fact, sometimes we apologize when we truly believe we’re right! The thing is, deep down, in your grown-up-gut, you know that there is still room for improvement. A grown up knows that in all situations, we all could have done things differently. We all could have been better somehow. Being an adult is knowing you could do better and then going and being better.

Fighting Tactics 101

Those who claim to NEVER experience conflicts with their friends or significant others are 100% full of shit. Either they’re lying to your face they or they literally never disagree with anything. It’s also possible that they’re such a doormat that they refuse to have opinions. Either way, that’s a disaster waiting to happen.

Now, I’m no communication expert, and honestly, I have a lot of work to do myself, but I have a basic understanding of what it means to not be an asshole.

What you shouldn’t do:
Yell, call them an idiot, or anything else that constitutes as an insult.
Pull past resentments out of your top hat.
Avoid the topic, avoid how you feel, or what you think the solution should be.

What you should do:
Not engage while angry. Cool down first, then approach the problem. (Vent to a trusted friend or family member, first, if need be. Get advice on how to approach the situation while you’re at it.)
State clearly, and concisely your side of the story and/or what you’re upset about.
Listen intently their side of the story and learn as much as you can.
If you’re going around in circles, walk away.

Apologize, Dammit!

Did you hurt someone? Then you need to apologize and try to do better next time.

In order to make a grown up apology, you first need to know what you have done wrong and actually find it in your cold-dead-heart of yours to regret what has happened. Ask yourself: What did I do? What should I have done instead?

Just because you’re making an apology, doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to explain yourself, however, that doesn’t mean you can excuse yourself. That’s the other person’s job.

Now What?

Graciously accept apologies, even if you’re still angry. Do not accept apologies for repeated transgressions. At the end of the day, we need to remember that people change on their own terms and in their own time – if ever. In the meantime, accept this terrible thing that this person keeps doing.

Decide whether or not they are deal-breakers before moving forward. No one is perfect. Everyone you meet will have good and bad qualities. However, everyone you meet will also have a list of standards that must be met (or a line that cannot be crossed). For me, good-personhood is a deal breaker. I value being a good person, and it is something I want for myself, therefore, I want the internal compass of those I call my friends to be at least mostly in line with mine.

If you cannot accept an apology, be honest. Let them know in a calm and clear way that you cannot or will not move forward from this.

You can say something like, “I understand that you’re sorry and I appreciate you making sure I know that. However, I really don’t think we can be close anymore, and I need you to respect that. If anything changes in the future, I promise to reach out.” This in no way guarantees that when you do, possibly, reach out, they’ll want anything to do with you, but the point is that you made an effort to be honest and (not make a scene).

Being an adult sucks, doesn’t it? Mouthing off really does feel better, but mouthing off doesn’t actually help us make or maintain our relationships in the long run.

Continue Reading

Hey! I’m Back!

After spending a few short hours fiddling with my domain – stupidly, I must add (then having to call tech support to prevent the damage I was mindlessly causing) …I’m back!

It has been nearly seven months since I logged into my WordPress blog, and I regret neglecting it for so long. Let’s be honest, running a blog is a lot of work, and let’s just say, the first half of 2017 wasn’t exactly friendly to me – hence why I haven’t been around.

Regardless, I am happy to be back, and I am ready to write. Which is frankly, all that matters anyway!

Surely, over time, bits and pieces of my story will begin seeping out from my blog posts, and the bigger picture will emerge. Doesn’t it always? We always try to control how much of our real life bleeds out into our writing, but it never works.

Believe it or not, I’m actually living more minimally today than at any point while I was contributing to this blog – just not entirely by choice. All of my belongings fit in all but two items of luggage. Can you believe that?

In addition to that, I’m excited to share that I am reading more, and in turn, WRITING more, which is the biggest victory of all.

I truly can not wait to share with you all what I’ve been up to! I’ve sunk my toes into Hub Pages, danced around at Medium, and have had a ball branching out into content writing and journalism. Reading poetry, writing really bad poetry, loving memoirs, and staying up late. I feel kind rebellious, to be honest. 😉

Dear Followers and Subscribers,

Thank you for sticking around. At some point, while I was gone, I broke the 20,000 subscriber mark, and I have to admit, I’m humbled by your loyalty – I just wish I’ve had something to show for it. Your inbox has been empty, I know, and I’m sorry! For those who recently came on board, I hope you stick around as well, and I, of course, hope to not disappoint.

As for the future of MIM, at this point, I am simply creating it. I’m letting MIM create itself.

 

 

Let’s see where we can go. Let’s hold tightly to the magic that dances under our keyboards and at the tip of our pens.

See you in the comments section, friends.

Continue Reading