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  1. Hey guys, I've made it to my fourteenth challenge, which has brought Bilbo to mind, as the lucky fourteenth member of the dwarfs' party. I would've made an extensive title using his line "from under the hill and over hills and under hills his path has led," but that felt a lot longer than last challenge's "Off the Beaten Path." I'm satisfied with my efforts so far this year to attempt to do Turkish Get-Ups three times a week, and very pleased with how well I've been doing going on a walk during my lunch breaks! I could bring my bike to make distance more feasible, but even taking it slow and easy allows me such delights as yesterday when I encountered a squirrel and mockingbird! I'm contemplating how best to orient my goals, and I think continuing to encourage myself to walk in addition to my three full body workouts is a great boost to my brain even if it's demanding to know when I'll give it video games and mindless scrolling. 🥲 I clearly need to establish this behavior to maintain some distance from my devices, and sustain the opportunity to enjoy real air. Goals: Three days of doing Turkish Get-Ups each week, bonus points for doing them with weights One to five days walking while on my lunch break, bonus points for observation of wildlife Continue to maintain my Sudoku puzzle streak, and bonus points for having at hand a book or Zemi, rather than a device, if I'm good to stay snuggled in the couch I think that's good for my agenda of starting small as I build up my momentum from the respawn. Having walks on my lunch break really isn't something I would've considered since my days of playing Pokemon Go, but I'm liking the direction it's taking me. And hopefully that and the TGUs will add up in a good blend of improving my attitude toward my physical well-being. I hope you've had a good day, and I look forward to seeing you around this challenge. ❤️ Maerad
  2. Last challenge I did a bunch of thinking about where I am at right now in life, how I am spending my time, and what I would like to change and stay the same in future. It was rather a lot, and I am not going to rehash it, but it is here for reference for anyone who would like to catch up. There are four things that I'd like to work on for this challenge period. 1. A few challenges back, I made a list of places that I could go to meet people. I haven't really followed up on that. Now, it is the depths of winter so some people are hibernating, but indoor activities are shelters from the cold. So I'm going to drag out that list, make sure it's up to date, and get myself out to clubs and events and things. I would like to attend four in-person things that are not my regular D&D group, but this may depend on the schedule. It is okay to not click with the people, or to find that it's not my thing. What matters is to try. 2. One of the things that negatively affects me but that I can control is the piles of stuff I have around. Not physical stuff (mostly), but informational stuff. It makes me feel like I'm always behind - very FOMOish. I am going to try using the Konmari method that has worked so well for me for physical stuff on my informational stuff. I've made a list of all of the different "baskets" where things have piled up, and I'm going to set aside time every day (more or less, depending on the day) to go through the pieces one by one and think about whether this email list/podcast subscription/etc. adds value to my life and makes me happy. Do I look forward to it or consume it out of duty? Do I need and use the information? Are there individual episodes of this that I can get rid of, even if the list itself is valuable? And so on. Hopefully I will be able to remove a lot of stuff I no longer want and leave myself with things I really value. I will not finish this in this challenge, but a start is always good. 3. I've fallen into a negative mindset, where I have lost faith in my own inner strength and resilience. I need to find ways to build my self-esteem and self-confidence, to feel like I matter, and to just help myself be more emotionally stable and in control. I'm not 100% sure what this will look like, but I'm kind of hoping that #1 and #2 will help with this. I may try meditation or gratitude journalling or just mindfully highlighting beautiful moments. I may work on prayer on another more spiritual angle. I may just try finding things to counter the negative thoughts that tear me apart. I really haven't decided yet. But there's still a few days before the challenge starts to figure it out. 4. As a step towards #3 and also a nod towards exercise, I'm going to take a walk every day. It can be short or long, alone or with someone else. But a walk. Every day. Even to the end of the driveway and back if I really cannot force myself to do more than that. Happy challenge all!
  3. In Schroedinger's famous thought experiment, the cat in the box is both alive and dead but neither state would exist until it was observed. I am at what I hope will be an inflection point in my health and by the end of this challenge I expect I will either be in a good place, exercising again regularly and losing weight. Alternatively I could be continuing on my downward spiral. We won't know until it is observed This challenge will be off to a slow start because I will be on holiday for Chinese New Year and healthy habits will not happen. However, I will be back to real life the end of next week. However, the first week of March I will be starting a new job and I still do not know what the hours will be. It should be 10-15 hours per week excluding travel time, which will probably be an additional 10 hours per week. Because of this it is hard to predict what kind of structures and routines I will need to start creating new healthy habits but something needs to happen. Broad challenge items will be: Food - I really need to get my food intake under control. Baseline will be no sugary snacks once the vacation ends. If I can only maintain this bare minimum the cat in the box will be dead. If I can maintain my old eating regime (one large meal per day, one healthy snack, lots of water) the cat will be alive. Exercise - This one is tricky to predict. At a minimum I need to get more steps in. For the last 10 years I have been walking with Ghostlet to school in the morning but now that he is in High School he either takes his bike or the subway. Instead of starting ach day with 5,000 steps I am usually ending each day with closer to 500. This needs to change so the bare minimum for this challenge will be to have a walk of at least 15 minutes at least 5 days a week. If I only reach this bare minimum, the cat in this box will be dead. Ideally I want to not only be walking but also getting in some longer walks, running, or some other form of cardio. Also, I need to get back into strength training but I do not know if I will have time to be going to the park regularly, I am going to focus on pullups and pushups at home, ideally at least 5 times per week, with a minimum of 5 pullups and 10 pushups per session. If I can hit at least these goals, this cat will be alive. Piano - I want to keep up my recent progress on the piano. If I can learn a new song by the end of the challenge, this cat will be alive. If I don't practice at least 4x per week, don't go looking for this cat Other - I might come up with some other goal. I might not. We won't know until we open that box
  4. Ok, well, I'm being slightly dramatic. But, I have a meeting with my manager on Friday, and I'm pretty sure this is going to be when I finally get told I need to relocate to somewhere I'm not willing to live. Which is, in some fashion, going to seriously upend my life, and there is a very real possibility I will find myself unemployed. So, I'm clearly not freaking out about that at aaallllllllll... Ahem. Anyway... To quote Nick Fury, because I can't find a gif of it, until such time as the world ends, I intend to proceed as if it means to spin on. So I am going to continue with my plans, while probably also low-key trying to get things organized for moving (again...), because it's either I go where my current job is telling me to or I go where the new job is. -Exercise! At least 30 minutes, every day. It was 20 last challenge, but it went well, and I need 30 minutes minimum to count for off-skates exercise points for derby travel team eligibility. 3-4 days a week are derby practice of some variety, aiming to do a mix of lifting, running, and pilates/yoga for the remainder. -Eat! Enough, but not too much. I dug out one of my "diet" meal plans a couple weeks ago and have been following it, and it seems to be working. It's basically a calorie-controlled whole foods diet. So, only a "diet" in the sense of counting calories, otherwise it's just generally eating healthy. I have been eating somewhere between 1200 and 1500 calories a day, which sounds like not a lot, especially with all the exercise, but that seems to be what it takes for me to lose weight. If I start having issues with not being fueled for all that exercise, I will increase the calories as needed. -Find a New Job! I have a screening call for a potential new job tomorrow, but in addition to that, I need to be searching for and applying for more jobs. Going to aim for a minimum of 2 jobs applied for per week, unless/until I find something new. I should probably aim for a higher number, but it is hard to find things I'm qualified for and I don't have tons of time to search, so 2 is a good number for now. If I find myself unemployed, I'll have lots of time and that number will go up. But here's hoping it doesn't come to that!
  5. Never thought I'd be a flosser but here we are. Main quest Floss every day
  6. I wish I could say that I came up with shiny fancy New Year's goals, but that would be a lie. What I HAVE realized is this: - I will not start feeling less overwhelmed unless I deal with the causes of the overwhelm; - I am terrible at time management; - I am probably doing a lot of things that don't serve my ultimate goals; - My life is going to change a lot once my son leaves home later this year; - I have not really thought about what I want my life to look like for a while. So I think, for this challenge, I need to deal with those things. I need to figure out what's really important to me. Start paring away things/commitments that don't fit in with where I want to be going so I can make room for things that will. What am I doing now that I shouldn't? What am I NOT doing that I should? Basically, I need to run a Level 50 process on my life again. I'm going to be experimenting with this over this challenge to figure this out. Probably trying things and adjusting as needed. For the beginning, I'm going to pay attention to what I do each day and how long I spend doing it, and looking at what "free" time I have and how I want to be using it. Not super SMART, but it's still necessary data collection and analysis.
  7. Last year I tried something new to try getting back on track and well... I haven't made any progress over the past year due to lack of consistency and no clear plan, then turned 40 last week with massive back pain due to a pulled muscle from sleeping wrong. So I'm restarting Challenges with their known schedule and keeping goals super simple to build some momentum. For this challenge: 1) Hydrate - with the cold swing, I've been letting myself get dehydrated too often and it's getting in the way of everything. I need at least 2 bottles of water a day, preferably 3. 2) PLP - nice and simple checkbox to get me moving again. I'll go with month+day reps (so starting with 1+1=2 for today) to have a built in deload come February. 3) Mando Costume - this is supposed to be my big costume for Pensacon this year, and I've got less than 2 months to finish. So hopefully I'll have lots of progress pics to post here.
  8. Not my most glamorous challenge butt whatever. Main quest 30 poops under 10 min is a win
  9. A week of sitting with this has not produced any sparks of inspiration, so I am going to repeat what I did last time with minor tweaks. This time, I will not do a long-term help-me-of-the-future goal, mostly because me-of-the-present is going to need some attention. I am going to add in one task-oriented, time-bound goal. I have also reached the point on the task list where it should only grow occasionally if I am working on it daily, so I want to see that list get smaller. Copy/paste from last time: Ongoing habits: Exercise after my coming-home laundry routine Washing and prayer on hearing my alarm (if I am home and able) Reading NerdFitness when.... I still don't have a good habit here, but read it! Get rid of one thing every day Work on at least one task from my task list. Preferably, leave the list shorter than it was at the start of the day New shiny things for this challenge: Look for opportunities to meet/interact with new people. I need to research and schedule this rather than leaving it to the serendipity of the day. It may not be every day, especially now that the weather is unpleasant, and that is okay as long as it is still happening according to plan. Read every day Work on something that helps me long-term every day-ish Make or buy Christmas presents. I need 2-3 for immediate family members, and 7 small coworker gifts. I have done nothing.
  10. Assassin related discussions! *Note: You can participate in guild discussions regardless of your chosen guild. Every building can be climbed, every gap can be jumped, and every obstacle can be conquered. Assassins spend most of their time training with functional body-weight exercises, as that's usually the only thing they need to lift. Gymnasts and parkour enthusiasts would fit into this category. * Fictional example: Ezio Auditore (Assassin's Creed 2), Oliver Queen (Arrow); Elektra (Marvel) * Real-world example: Kacy Catanzaro of American Ninja Warrior fame; Damien Walters, professional stuntman, gymnastics coach, and free-running professional * Example Activities: Parkour, gymnastics, bodyweight strength, dance & aerials, etc.
  11. "The gunslinger came awake from a confused dream which seemed to consist of a single image" Roland awoke by the ruins of the campfire to find himself ten years older. His black hair had thinned at the temples and gone the gray of cobwebs at the end of autumn. The lines in his face were deeper, his skin rougher. SUMMARY In order to become who I want to be, I need to up my game. The past challenge was a massive failure. Like Roland, I had a dream that lasted too long only to wake up in a strange beach, years later, without a clue of what was going on, and losing part of the skills I´d worked so hard for (thankfully, not lost fingers, only fitness levels). So I'm still far from where I need to go. So, two steps forward, one step back. I lost momentum, gained some weight, but I´m respawning. I can do that, right? I will get to my tower. I´ve decided to penalize myself with a level down, and a stat drop to reflect the lost terrain. GOALS The man in black shuffled the cards with flying, merging rapidity. The deck was huge, the design on the backs of the cards convoluted. "These are tarot cards," the man in black was saying, "a mixture of the standard deck and a selection of my own development Watch closely gunslinger. I’m going to tell your future" The hanged man the man in black said. The darkness had given him back his hood. “Yet here, in conjunction with nothing else, it signifies strength and not death. You, gunslinger, are the Hanged Man, plodding ever onward toward your goal over all the pits of Hades." I will get fit. I will become better. I´ll exercise once more +5 STR if avg 3 workouts per week. The sailor Note the clear brow, the hairless cheeks, the wounded eyes. He drowns, gunslinger, and no one throws out the line. Your diet.†+3 CON if avg meal is paleo friendly. +2 CHA if 2kg lost (or visible change for the better). The lady of shadows “Does she look two-faced to you, gunslinger? She is. A veritable Janus.†She represents the distractions. One side looks at work, the other looks at something to procrastinate. Must avoid one and focus on the important. +2 WIS for focusing more on work Dominion / Ruin "Your choice, gunslinger. Take control of your life, or allow chaos to permeate it." +1 STA for succesfully completing the challenge. LSQ The magician Training of skills. Because. +1 DEX for training of pen spinning skills. +1 WIS for practicing drawing/sketching. MOTIVATION LGN MINIQUESTS none yet.
  12. This challenge will focus on learning new moves. 'New" in this case usually means learning variations or modifying existing moves, I'm working around a knee injury, so it limits the movements I'll be able to learn. Which is good, because there's too much to learn Main quests -Look for new movements online -Learn/practice those movements -Improve process for finding and learning movements (offline, slo mo/frame by frame viewing, side by side comparison, ways to learn movements faster, a schedule/reminder system for retaining learned movements) Side quest -Explore movement on my own to discover 'new' movements (new to me, anyway)
  13. I like the format that I had last time, so I am going to keep it: some habits that I am maintaining/building, plus some goals to work on. Here are my habits from last time (that will continue, because that is how habits do): Ongoing habits: These shouldn't need much explanation, being repeats and all. Exercise after my coming-home laundry routine Washing and prayer on hearing my alarm (if I am home and able) Reading NerdFitness when.... I still don't have a good habit here, but read it! Get rid of one thing every day Work on at least one task from my task list - this one was new last challenge, but I found the slight gamification of the random item from a list (which I have been doing for years for todo lists) really made the amount of overhanging work less stressful and even something to look forward to, because I didn't have to make any decision on what was being done. Thinking about the stuff, trying to remember it all, and trying to decide where to even start is a quick path to overwhelm for me. Fair warning - this list is going to get longer in fits and starts for a while before it starts to get consistently shorter just because some of the stuff on the list will get broken into smaller tasks by their very nature, and I'm okay with that. It's an illusion (or perhaps an unveiling of the true amount of work); work is still getting done even if the number is rising. New shiny things for this challenge: These ones might. Look for opportunities to meet/interact with new people every day Read every day Work on something that helps me long-term every day-ish Read every day is fairly self-explanatory. It also feels a bit like cheating; I already read every single day at work on my breaks and lunch. But I only read in non-English languages then, and so my English book pile has grown a lot. So if I can persuade myself to read more OUTSIDE of work, that would be a good thing. It's not like I have all these books because I'm not interested in their contents, after all. (Sometimes I will we could absorb information through touch though.) Working on something for the future is also a carryover from last time (though a mostly neglected one). For the purposes of this challenge, a task in this category has to be something that Future Me will thank Past Me for doing, not in a catching-up sense, but because it makes my life permanently (or at least semi-permanently) better in some way. Examples from past challenges include sorting out my investment portfolio, making an organizational system for work, writing a will, and altering my shopping trolley so that it could hold weight better. All things that I did once and that took some work upfront, but that I am still benefiting from. I don't have anything top of mind for this goal, so I should probably brainstorm a list of options! Last but not least is the first of my shiny goals. It is the most challenging one. I have lived in my new town for about a year and a half now, and I really don't know very many local people. I also don't really know anyone who shares any of my hobbies, so I have no one to talk to about those things. I can get kind of down about that, but I'm also not really doing anything to change the situation either. So... I should probably put in the work rather than hoping a magic fairy finds me some people I can be friends with. This could be attending a local event, starting a conversation while shopping/otherwise out (which may involve making a special effort to go out), volunteering (the second-best way to meet people after working in town!), or anything similar. There are going to be a lot of days where I cannot realistically go out, so joining in a conversation on one of the Discord servers I joined for hobby-based chatter will also be acceptable. I just don't want that to be my easy way out, with no effort made to meet local humans. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ That's it, that's all! (Though I think it's plenty.) On with the challenge!
  14. Not really sure what to do for this challenge. Going to visit Japan, which is nice.
  15. I've been into fitness for the past few years and made a decent amount of progress ( 140ish down to currently 122 ) but I'm ready to get more serious about it. In the past I have focused on weightlifting but now I have the goal of wanting to try out a new job that will require a lot of cardio so I gotta hone in on that a lot more than I have in the past, still want to get strong though as that's where my heart is! Excited to get back on the grind after being away from home for 5 months >:)
  16. Alright, Mags. You've got this. Don't back down. "Avens, Magnolia?" the quidditch captain looked up as he read her name aloud. A young second-year student with unkempt dark-brown hair stepped forward hesitantly. "Alright, show us what you've got." The next thing she knew, Mags was handed a broom and four other students were up in the air with the quaffle, throwing it around. "C'mon and catch it," one of them shouted. No! Mags wrestled with herself, Why are you freaking out? This is what you expected, wasn't it? Get up there and get it! She mounted her broom, kicked off, and sped up toward the other students, the wind whistling in her ears. She was almost to them. It felt great to be gliding through the air like this. Then the wind was blowing her hair in her face and she looked down. Instead of continuing to climb, she began to lower herself slowly, at a comfortable pace and anxious to get back on solid ground. "You're going the wrong way," one student above laughed, tossing the quaffle across the way to another. "I know!" Mags shouted back, holding tears in with a concerted effort. She wasn't sure if she was more scared of her immediate predicament or embarrassed for deciding to try out for the team when she knew she was afraid of heights. Why did I come here in the first place? She landed and handed the broom back to the quidditch captain. "Thanks for letting me try," she said sourly, trying to ignore the fact that she'd just made a fool of herself in front of one of the most popular boys in the school. Everybody knew Arch after last year when he led Gryffindor to win the house cup for the first time in four years. "Listen, Avens," Arch said as he took the broom before Mags had a chance run off, "I don't know if you've noticed, but you're the only second-year here. Don't beat yourself up for trying. If the heights bother you, work on doing handstands to feel better about being disoriented. Come back when you're ready." "Thanks." Mags walked to the greenhouses to work on an herbology assignment, but instead of being frustrated like she'd been only a moment before she was determined to give it a go and get onto the team next year. Now to figure out how to do handstands... ~~~~~ Thought it would be fun to write a character and base goals off of the story. We'll see if I've got the bandwidth to keep it up, but I do have a goal to shoot to do a handstand by next summer. Right now it's really just working off some excess weight and doing that by being consistent with staying ahead of my fork and getting out to move regularly. Plan is to do that for a while until it becomes second nature and then bust out my old Handstands course to work through over the winter/spring. If I don't get to the handstand by the summer, that's fine. The important thing is that I create something sustainable and stick with it. I used to be really tough on myself if I skipped days or overate or whatever but that wasn't a great long-term strategy, so trying to be nicer to myself and figure out how to be consistent instead. Fitness: Walk a minimum of 5x each week (anything counts). Nutrition: Shoot to keep calories under 1500 for 5 days per week. Mindset: Write a plan up for each day the night before. Will fill these out at the beginning of each new week for the previous week: Fitness Nutrition Mindset __ Su __ Su __ Su __ M __ M __ M __ T __ T __ T __ W __ W __ W __ R __ R __ R __ F __ F __ F __ Sa __ Sa __ Sa Looking forward to making some progress along with all of you here. ~Chaser Avens
  17. I've been having a hard time coming up with a good goal for this challenge round, hence the lateness. However, I think I've found it. I've spent the last couple of weeks spending most of my spare time working on work tasks. Mostly, organizing a large pile of information accumulated over a decade into a better, more searchable, and easier-to-use form. This is not how "spare time at home" is meant to go. There is meant to be time for actual fun and personal projects and the like. So I am going to inject some fun, even if I have to schedule it, while still allowing myself to chip away at my digital chaos. Ongoing habits: These all need care and feeding. Exercise after my coming-home laundry routine Washing and prayer on hearing my alarm (if I am home and able) Reading NerdFitness when.... I still don't have a good habit here, but read it! Get rid of one thing every day New shiny things for this challenge: I have played a game called Angband on and off since 1999. In the game, you are a character descending through the 100 levels of the Mines of Moria to kill Morgoth. I have never won, and the closest I've ever been is about 20 levels from the bottom. I just killed my latest character today, so I'm going to make a new one and see how far I can get. I also play on BoardGameArena, and they are forever putting up new games that I don't take the time to try out. Goal here is to try one per day on days where this is a realistic thing to do. (Reading rules takes time!) I have a pile of work tasks consisting of Stuff that needs to be sorted into my new organizational system. There are currently 578 items on that list. (I split the tasks up a lot, so most of these are fairly small.) Some more will be added as time passes (as I find new things, or break, say, a pile of links in an email into a bunch of smaller tasks), but obviously the goal is to have that number be smaller at the end of the day than at the start. I may also try to work on things that will improve things for me long-term, like my stock research and buying of last challenge. I am thinking of figuring out a good way to organize recipes to easily make meals. But this is more of a bonus item. Okay, feels like a challenge. Let's go!
  18. Since getting my own trampoline a few months ago, I've briefly considered doing a tramp sesh every day, but didn't do it. I'll try it out now. Maybe I'll burnout, or get tendonitis, or get sick of tramp. Maybe I'll set a PR for the most progress in the shortest time. Maybe both. I'll set the bar really low: all I have to do for a sesh to count is to set foot on the trampoline. I don't even have to bounce, or do a flip. There's no minimum time for a sesh to count. Main quest Trampoline every day
  19. The story so far... After years of living a normal life, Vidd remembered his past as a vigilante hero, and decided to turn away from his normal corporate 9 to 5 life to live a double life: Accountant by day, hero in the night. The past two months involved grueling training sessions, a rehaul of nutrition, and countless hours of study to further hone his financial skills: An important trait in getting to the bottom of the shady dealings of the local crime syndicates. Now he was met with a new obstacle. If he was to infiltrate their operations, he would need to be indistinguishable from other members of their gang. Fortunately, he was able to collect a large amount of phone calls through wiretapping between their members. Vidd walked over to his desk, and he turned on his console, illuminating the area around him. In a few clicks he used an advanced AI program to convert all of those calls into text, and then projected them holographically before him. It was time to master their dialect. Day by day he would do this, so that when the time came he would blend in and be able to slip through their ranks smoothly, without rousing suspicion. While it may seem a small task, it was critical for survival. Hey all, so I am still celebrating the passing of my 4th and final CPA exam. I really cannot top that. It was a goal nearly two years in the making and I'm feeling great. I want to keep this positive momentum rolling, but this next challenge is going to be a little less hardcore and this is intentional. I want to give myself time to catch up on some video games I've been neglecting. I think I deserve it after all I've put myself through This challenge is going to build off the former challenge where I am tracking my daily habits in an app. The notable additions are I'm going to actually track my protein intake and ensure I'm getting 1g/lb of bodyweight. The second addition, and the one that is the theme of this challenge is at least 30 minutes a day I'm going to read a novel out loud to myself. Since my early teens I've had a stutter. Where speaking comes naturally to many, it's something I still struggle with. Although I've notably improved since my teens, it still holds me back in some ways. One of my first jobs was front desk at my local gym, and the sales manager overheard me talking with an older guy just starting out, and he walked over afterwards and told me I'd be great at sales due to my ability to connect with people. I didn't believe him cause of my stutter, and he told me his best friend dealt with the same thing, but what he did was read out loud every day, and eventually he became an even better talker than him. The interesting thing is if I am reading to myself my speech is perfect. And the idea is, the more I hear myself speaking perfectly, the more it will program my brain into that being the expectation. This may not be something many can relate with but it's only one aspect of the challenge. Here is my daily plan: Charisma - 30 minutes of reading out loud per day Nutrition - 1g protein per lb of body weight Nimbleness - 15 minutes stretching per day. Agility - 20 minutes cardio per day Training - Gym five days a week Meal Prep - Batch cook lunches Thursday and Sunday. Recovery - Sleep 7+ hours a day
  20. Hello, lovely nerds! I'm back in the "real" world (I use that term in the loosest possible sense) after a whirlwind of a summer. My adventures, briefly: Started singing lessons Auditioned for Making God Laugh Played Baptista Minola in The Taming of the Shrew Auditioned for The Wedding Singer (which meant actually singing in front of people, thus directly addressing a lifelong phobia) and played Angie Sullivan (which involved not much, but a little, actual singing in front of people.) Began learning to play the tin whistle Auditioned for The Little Mermaid. Had a mild panic attack because the audition panel comprised some of the most well-trained professional singers I know, but I did it and did not die so ... yay! Was not cast, but I don't mind that because the actually doing it despite the fear was the thing. Was confirmed as the director of next spring's presentation of The Merry Wives of Windsor - the second Shakespeare production ever in our community. Signed up to sing in my music school's Christmas Show, which means much more singing in front of people. Solo. Whole songs, not just a line or two. <taking deep breaths. Lots of deep breaths.> Shot my first NRL-22 competition. Absolutely sucked at it, didn't care, had fun. All of this came after a several-year period of doing remarkably little. Wake, work out (sometimes), go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch YouTube or scroll 'til bedtime, repeat. My comfort zone had become a rut and it started to itch, so I went into this year determined to do three very specific things. 1) Audition for community theater things ✅ 2) Submit a story to a publisher 🔲 3) Shoot in competition ✅ Ah, the writing. Well, I still have four months left of the year. And I have the Struthless Alphabet Superset challenge (spoilered for size). TL:DW - a 30 week challenge to make something, of a reasonable, doable size, every week - 26 weeks, with four planned breaks. The something of each week will be on a topic starting with a different letter of the alphabet. The something must be shared on the internet (part of the driving force behind this is the near-universal fear of sharing creative work on the internet.) My something is short stories, 100 - 1000 words. In other news, the Summer of Theatrical Craziness got me out of my workout habit, though I was still very active. But now that I am not in intensive dance rehearsals three nights a week for a musical, I am starting back up with bodyweight workouts. Just the basics right now. BW squats, push-ups, inverted rows, planks. That's all. I'm keeping it simple, because life is complicated enough right now. The venue where we had planned to present Merry Wives will be under construction in March, so I have to find a place to play. I'm lobbying for an outdoor venue, Shakespeare in the Park style, but the logistics are complicated. And I am trying to squeeze singing exercises and tin whistle practice in as well. So, challenge specifics: 1) Post a short story online every week 2) Do a bodyweight workout at least 3 days per week.
  21. March 29th, 2021 - 'Time to live a normal life' thought Vidd, as he gave one last look at his base he'd built back in 2020, before closing it up for good. It had been months now since he'd turned 30. Not old, but not young either. The pressures of life had begun to weigh on him. Maybe Seattle did not need heroes? Maybe now, he could finally rest and hang up the name Vidd forever and become a normal civilian. He walked away, and went on with his life. At first it was fine. He began skipping the gym, only going if he felt like it. Diet and nutrition fell by the wayside as well, relying primarily on microwavable meals. This newfound time allowed him to work longer hours at work, spend more time with friends, family, and girlfriend. After being locked up for so long it felt great... until it didn't. He would wake up with aches and pains he never had before. His body felt tight and stiff, and even going for longer than usual walks, he'd feel winded. Not only that, but the environment in which he lived began to feel less safe. Something was wrong, something was missing.... July 23rd, 2023 - On the way home from work, Vidd made a detour to stop at what appeared to be an old abandoned warehouse. He looked around to be sure he was alone, before lifting up the door, and turning on the generator. Memories flooded him as it lit up, covered in dust from misuse, but mostly in order. He walked inside, and knew what he had to do. No longer would he live this normal life... It was time to get back to work. Hey all, so this is my first challenge after being gone for a little over two years. I lost focus on a lot of my health oriented goals when the world began opening up again. This challenge is going to be pretty comprehensive and it's similar to my battle log goals I just thought a challenge would be better. I'll be building strength, cardio endurance, flexibility, time management, and studying for a major exam. My aim for this challenge is for me to lay the groundwork for anything I decide I want to pursue. I'll be using a task manager app that will track my success in each goal, and each week I'm going to give stats on how I did. So here are the goals for the challenge: Rebuild the Base - 10 minutes minimum cleaning per day. I think this'll add up quick over time. A clean work station will help me in all the other goals. Nimbleness - 15 minutes stretching per day. I'll likely do even more than this because this has gotten so bad with my sedentary lifestyle. Intellect - 2 hours study minimum per day. Aug 31st I sit for my final section of the CPA exam for accounting. Passing this would be life changing for me. Agility - 20 minutes cardio per day. Starting off with the bicycle until I can do the elliptical without my heart rate getting too high. Training - Gym daily, I am running a body part split so that the workout is new and fresh each day and so I have a reason to go daily and build the habit. Meal Prep - Batch cook lunches Thursday and Sunday. This will help stop my dependence on packaged microwavable foods. Recovery - Sleep 7+ hours a day I'm pretty excited to see how this goes. I think if I can get ~90% of these done daily I'll have this exam behind me, and I can start feeling like my old self again too health-wise
  22. No matter how many or how few flowers you plant in your garden, you will eventually want to do some work with them that is not about planting more. Spruce up the borders. Build an automatic watering system. Make nicer pathways. Heck, build a cute picnic table that you can eat some of those home-grown veggies at. This is that time. I noted WAY back, not long after I first joined if I recall correctly, that my challenge items tend to fall into the "habit" or the "goal" category, and that mixing both tends to mean I succeed on goals but fail spectacularly on my habits. Probably this is because habits are harder and more nebulous in their benefit and wanting, and they are never completed, whereas goals have normally a more urgent (or at least current) reason for coming about, you can throw yourself into them for hours at a time, there's an end date, and you get something out of it at the end. And I like to front-load my work, because I am lazy like that. If I can put in some time to automate a thing so that I either never have to do it again or it is forever easier somehow, this is HIGHLY motivating for me, as my day of building out my work dashboard at the end of the last challenge proved. But committing to doing something forever without end feels like the exact opposite of that. It is adding work to my life. So I'm going to take a page from @KeysMcGee, and my own past challenges, this time around. I'm going to focus on goals that I can (hopefully) complete in this challenge time period. I will also have some habit-based stuff thrown in, because I never learn. But I am going to try to frame them more like goals. Anyway. Here we go. Goals 1. Sort out my investments. Pretty sure I have had this on the list before and didn't finish on the follow-through. I built a plan a couple of challenges ago with categories and percentages and everything! Now I just need to apply it. This goal has three steps: Finish moving money. There is a limit to how much can be moved per day, and some things I need to watch with moving things between accounts. The money that should be in investments accounts is not yet all there. Research categories. For each category, pick one ETF. Two or more if there is a good reason for it (but do not get lost looking for the perfect in the good! That can come later!). Purchase things. Self-explanatory. 2. Fix my bicycle. I have an electric bike. It's a bit of a mess right now. Needs a new battery, issues with the tube. I've wanted to get it rideable again ever since we moved here (and indeed before), but I cannot motivate myself to work on this in an unheated room in the winter. I know this as surely as I know my own name. This is a summer-or-bust job. This goal has three parts. Not so much steps; they can be worked on independently and each have multiple parts, but we started with a numbered list so we're sticking with it: Fix the battery. This basically involves getting a new battery (or two), wiring it in, and disposing of the old one(s). This is both an exciting project and a frightening one. My father was an electrician. I have respect for electric current. Fix the tires. The tube in one of the tires (possibly both) has a slow leak. When repaired, it returns. So the last time I rode this bike, I would just pump it up before I went out, and that would normally last the day, but it would be flat in a day or two. (I did take the pump with me.) I am not 100% sure what the issue is, but I have some ideas to test. This step is done when both tires hold air for a reasonable length of time after a ride. General maintenance spruce-up. check the brakes. Check the cables. Oil things a little. See if the chain needs replacing. The usual stuff. 3. Finish knitting scarf. I have a commission to knit a scarf. I have already been paid. I set the deadline in the contract I wrote for the end of August. The buyer has extended it into December, but if I can honour my original terms, I will feel better. This project has but one step, but the step is easily broken down into measurable pieces. I am currently at row 325 of 780. A little more than 40%. Two rows takes approximately 3-3.5 minutes to knit, so I need to average about 30 minutes per day in order to finish "on time". Habits Many of the habit things from last challenge that weren't going well were lacking a trigger, or had a bad one. I need to apply the Tiny Habit spirit of experimentation here, rather than just complaining that I need a good trigger and then doing nothing about it as I have been. So my habit goal for this challenge is to take one goal per week that has not been consistent (or even existent), and play with its parameters. Try a new prompt. Turn it from a starter action into a scaled-back behaviour, or vice versa. Think about what makes this action difficult. Change the habit entirely to something that better meets the intention behind the habit. And so on. I took notes. I just haven't been applying them. And I plan to continue the habits I already have (or like to believe I do). The ones I will track will be getting rid of one thing per day, exercise in some form (probably GMB), and reading and posting on NF (this last one will be one of the weekly items to work on, but it can stay here in the meantime). So there we are. Three goals, one "goal", and three continuing habits. It is enough. Happy challenge everyone!
  23. Had grand plans for this challenge but I think I am going to hold off and do that challenge next time. For this challenge I am mostly going to just report random stuff that people say to me all the time because holy crap do I get a lot of random stuff said to me. To kick things off I am on Holiday in Guizhou (Southwest China) this week on holiday and today we were visiting the HuangGuoShu area (a natural preserve with lots of waterfalls). As we were walking along one of the paths along with the 40,000 other tourists who came today, I was talking to Ghost let about how crowded it was. Some guy who was walking on the other side of us heard me speaking English and his mouth literally dropped open in surprise. It turns out he could speak a little English and wanted to chat. Apparently he must have thought I was talking to myself because he says "Oh, are you here by yourself?" I look over at Ghostlet and then at Ghostess. I then look at our tour guide and responded that I was, in fact, not there by myself. He started to ask if I wanted to join him and his friend before his brain caught up with him. I was a really nice gesture but ended up being pretty awkward for both of us During the course of the day there were probably more than a dozen children who were surprised to see a foreigner and felt it important to declare to everyone around them that they saw a foreigner and point me out.
  24. I'm not trying to increase the total volume of training per week. Just swapping out jumps for flips. Main quests - Increase frequency of front flips on grass. Currently I do it once every few months. I think 2 per week is doable. - Increase frequency of back flips on trampoline. Not sure of the current frequency. I think every other day is doable, except rest days. - Increase frequency of side flips on trampoline. Currently its once in a blue moon. Maybe I can work up to every other day, except rest days, by the end of the challenge. Side quests - Do the needed exercises to get back into climbing - Less time on entertainment videos, and more on technique videos - Get a video playback app with speed control - Journal on Fridays about Thursday's tricking class - On rest days (Monday?), plan Japan trip and learn some Japanese
  25. I wanted a small character/story segment here, but my inspiration is failing me. Perhaps tomorrow. ------------------------------------------------------------------- I've noticed an interesting drift in my library book collection. It's far from my whole collection (you do not want to see the whole collection), but there's a rough theme going here. See if you can see it too: I appear to be collecting books about connection: connecting with nature through being in and doing things in nature, connecting with my body by getting in healthy movement, connecting with the past in this place as well as its ancestral language, and connecting with myself and what I want out of life in both a hands-on and mental health/self-helpy sort of way. And all of it together nurtures a spiritual connection, tying the individual to the whole and to the animating spirit behind it all. So for this challenge, I would like to connect with the land. My next five weeks is looking to be unpredictable and not at all a good time for new habit formation writ large. But that also makes it a good time for experimentation and trying new things. So that is what I shall do. Touch the land. Do some exercise every day. My exercise program literally has movements themed after animals. It's a perfect fit! I have had real trouble fitting this into my life though due to working a lot of late evenings lately and just not thinking of it before being dead tired. I think my best best is to tie it to the one consistent thing in my evenings. After I put down my suppertime reading book, I will open my GMB app and choose a program. Then I will hug the phone to my chest. Visit the land. Go outside every day. Kind of what it says on the tin. I already have a reasonably good habit of taking walks at night, but they are often initiated by my son, who will be away for most of this challenge. So the goal is to get myself out there, day or night. Discover the land. This is tied to the previous item. There are a lot of interesting things in nature, and I want to take the time to notice them. Find good nearby foraging spots for the plants I like best. Listen to the frogs sing. Find some hatching turtles and help them on their way. Cut some wildflowers to enjoy at home. Look at the constellations. You get the idea. Share the thing that I did or observed here, however small it was. Spirit of the land. Prayer and reading. Gratitude. Meditation. Sitting and thinking and listening. I am not sure what form this will take. My prayer involves touching water and the ground. The other things listed do not involve physical touching, but spiritual; preparation of the self for a different sort of touch. This should also happen every day but not necessarily every part. I shall think more on this. Purify the land. Get rid of stuff. I have piles of stuff cluttering my space again (because I am a terrible housekeeper and also it has been a busy time), as well as piles remaining of undealt-with stuff from god only knows when. The fresh clutter won't take too long to deal with: goal target, end of zero week. As for the rest of the Stuff, something every day, multiple somethings if that is realistic. I want to see progress, but I also know that some items require actual work and time, while some can go straight to the trash. So no number-of-items target. Walk with the people of the land. Connect with the other challenges. Post. Be present with others on their journey. Give support. With our virtual hands held, we can walk together. After I have checked my Discord servers (after either waking up or getting home from work), I will catch up on at least one challenge. Then I will imagine that person surrounded by positive things, and smile. Talk to the land (bonus). I have been unable to resist the lure of Anishinaabemowin since getting a taste at the Esperanto conference last year. I've never tried a Pimsleur course, and the dialect on which this is based is more western than I would prefer, but hey, I ordered it in, so let's give it a go. Not sure if one lesson a day is realistic because I have no idea how long the lessons are, so this is a work in progress. (This challenge is subject to change. It is very late and I am throwing it down without a lot of forethought right now with the intention of editing it later if need be.)
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