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  1. [Important note: I'm posting now, and may be around a little for week 1, but I'm on stay-cation this week and won't officially start challenge activities until everyone else is on week 2. I'll make up for it on the break before the next challenge... probably. ^^;] Breaking news from the Goodfellow Cluster! Early this morning employees of the Ettin Conglomerate arrived for work at asteroid mining facility H414n and were surprised to find a group of heavily armed mobile frames guarding the docks. A representative for the group claimed to be acting on the collective will of laborers throughout Ettin territory who have been demanding improved wages and working conditions to no avail for several years. They stated an intent to guard the entrance to this mine against all intrusion until their demands are met, and have called on workers in other Ettin Conglomerate facilities to rise up in solidarity. While rumors of dissatisfaction within the Conglomerate have circulated since it severed ties with the Free Allied Ergotacrocies over 25 years ago, this is the first such act of open rebellion. You may recall our report last week regarding a shipment of advanced charged particle weaponry and SK-1 "Imp" mobile frames that had been reported by manufacturer Phayze Fructification, inc as "seized by pirates" during transport to the Oberon Tvier Solar Energy Collection Array. We reached out to PFi to ask if these could be those same units, and executive spokesman Destin Puck had this to say: Puck: "There is simply no way of identifying the stolen units short of examining the serial numbers etched onto the inner frame on the left underarm, and I'm certain that the thieves burned those off with a plasma welder long before selling the frames to whoever has them now. Even if these were the same units, PFi bears no responsibility for what may be done with property that's been stolen from us." More on this story as it develops, but for now let's turn to Alex for the latest on the Trundleball Quarterfinals! Alex? -- TL;DNR: Pointman - Ring Row/Bridge Progressions 4x/week GWACS - Post 2x/week to this thread + 4x/week in other threads Ground - Movement 15min 4x/week Pound - Meditate 10min 5x/week Let's get rebellious!
  2. I had a little talk with Master Tenzin the other day, and he agreed to consider recommending me for the Order of the White Lotus! There's a catch though, like always... I JUST shaved my beard... ><"The combination of the four elements in a single person is what makes the Avatar so powerful, but it can make YOU more powerful, too." - Grand Lotus IrohObviously, I'm no Avatar (after seeing how bad at it Korra is, I think I prefer leaving that job to someone else!), but that doesn't mean that I can't benefit from an understanding of the principles and practices used in other bending arts, so I've been sent on a pilgrimage of sorts.First stop: The Water Tribe!TL;DNR: 1x10 "Short Bridge" 4x per weekBalance Training: 3 min 4x/weekStretching for side splits - 4min 4x/weekMorning Qi Gong: ~5 min 5x/weekSeated Meditation: 10 min 5x/weekMovement Training: 10 min 4x/week Let's get wet! EDITED repeatedly because the dagone pics wouldn't show!!! ><
  3. This challenge will be all about rainbows. And cats, but of course everything on the internet is about cats, so therefore this is a rainbow challenge. Anyway, rainbows are awesome: - they have many colours - they are formed like an arch - they are outside - they are very science-y I want my life to be more like a rainbow! Therefore, my goals for the next challenge are: 1. Cook with colourful vegetables and fruits, at least 14 different ones, 2 for each colour of the rainbow. Instead of blue and indigo, I can use any colour I want. So at least 2 red, orange, yellow, green and purple fruits and vegetables, and at least 14 in total. The ulterior goal here is to keep eating varied foods. 2. Practice bridges every day. Bridges are a great show-off and cool trick, they also might be good for back-mobility. I will also do one auxiliary exercise every day, mostly to help with upper back mobility and wrist strength. Lastly, before and after pictures are mandatory . 3. Walk/cycle for fun once a week. I used to enjoy going outside for a walk or cycle route, but I keep giving myself excuses why I don't do it anymore lately. No more! One route of at least 30 minutes every week. Berry picking sessions do count though . 4. Do something science-y every week. I need to keep expanding my knowledge to feel fulfilled, and with my PhD I'm just learning more about a relatively small subject. Possible activities: - read a peer-reviewed paper that's not from my field - read a chapter of a book at undergrad level, not from my field - work on advanced programming techniques, testing, or other computer science skills for at least 1 hour - solve a project Euler puzzle Scoring Each goal will get a percentage in the end. Grades are given based on these percentages: 100% A+, 90-100% A, 80-90% B, 70-80% C, <70% F. Have a nice challenge!
  4. That's right. The game, my friends, is on! We've finally got a case again! The last several weeks have been so quiet... peaceful... Wasn't it just hateful? Fitness Goals Goal 1- "I Said FOCUS!" All fitness goals this challenge are smaller since they are being added on top of my current work out routines. So, on we go! My mind is generally going multiple directions at once. Last challenge I found that practicing handstands has a fantastic effect on the chatter in my brain because I have to completely focus on doing them. I also just discovered that I can do bridges/wheel pose. These have the same effect. SO... Goal 1- Practice handstands and bridges at least 32 days out of the 42 day challenge. If I do more, great. This goal is all about building strength and focus mentally and physically. STR- 3 Goal 2- Legwork... We all know how much Mycroft hates legwork... So this challenge, I have to do it for him. Goal 2- Walk at least 32 days out of the 42 day challenge. It has to be over 1.5 miles to count as a walk. I'll be keeping track of my distances to see how long my total distance is at the end. (No real reason, just for giggles.) The actual reason behind this is to give my body gentle exercise between my rounds of lifting and to give myself a little more mental clarity. STA- 2 Goal 3- Always the Addict You can't have a Sherlock without having some kind of addiction... And that I have. To hooping. It's been a secret passion for years. Thanks to some of the people in this lovely guild, I'm finally going to be letting it out in the open more. It's time to UP THE STAKES. Goal 3- I have to learn and perfect at LEAST 6 new moves. A move a week should be doable. Ecstatic? Manic? I am. (Do I actually dream about hooping? At least one night a week!) Links with the moves that I will be learning will be coming in the next post. There will also possibly be videos of yours truly appearing here and there! DEX- 3 Life Goals Life Goal 1- "The Police Don't Consult Amateurs." We all know that the professionals only go to the best. My skills need polishing! It's time to leave the amateur title behind! Life Goal 1- Write or practice some aspect of it for at least 84 hours throughout the challenge. I am already trying to work 2 hours of daily writing into my life, so this one shouldn't be too hard to stick to. On top of that, I have to write for two of my internships, so I spend time doing that for them already. WIS- 4 Life Goal 2- Urban Camouflage! I am moving from an agricultural science career into an urban environment. I must have camouflage to blend in with the natives... This goal is different and something I've never tried before. However, I KNOW it's going to have hilarious results. The field I was previously working in required me to spend all day in greenhouses or outside and involved at least 8 hours of manual labor per shift. I'm not in that particular field anymore but now I'm facing the fact that the one I'm entering actually requires me to look... *gasp* put together. (Meaning I can't go to work in men's work jeans, steel-toed boots and ancient t-shirts.) My hair can't be shoved up under a hat. I will actually be judged by how I present myself. Soooo... Life goal 2- Learn at least 6 new hair and makeup styles in 6 weeks. At the end of the challenge I should, ideally, have 6 new hairstyles and 6 new makeup styles that I can do with some level of... non-panic. (Non-panic may take longer to develop. However, having some vague idea of what I'm doing would help.) CHA- 3 Those of you that followed my last challenge, I've got a new battle this round. I'll be telling you more about it soon. However, this whole challenge was crafted to help! There will be more info coming your way soon! Here's my spread sheet/sock index for this challenge! The game, my lovelies, is on!
  5. A Koan that's been on my mind lately. You probably know it: * A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him. Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted! * I first learned this one when I was in high school, but I didn't really know what it meant until I was in college, working door to door selling books. I was never very good at it, and the temptation to despair was always very close. I ended up repeating this story to myself a lot, and I found it really helped me. The circumstances, as usual, have changed. I have a job now. The writing gig finally came though, and it came through in a big way. Which is great. But there are problems. I am... aware of how tenuous things are now for the company that I work with. I feel like this job could leave any day, and the money with it. Meanwhile, I have rent and car payments and property taxes and insurance jumping through the roof, and I'll be selling plasma before the week's out to make ends meet. And also, I'm writing a novel. You'd think I was completely overwhelmed, and to be honest, it kinda does feel that way. But honestly? On a day to day basis? I actually feel happy. I joke with people and say that I've lost my emotional capacity for things going right, but the fact is, moment by moment, I'm excited. I feel like I've got more and better in me than I have in a long time, and I feel like I'm stepping into the ring. There's so freaking much I want to do in this challenge, that it's hard to figure out what four I want to do. But in the end, I remember that it's about starting small and going larger. Goal 1: BREAK MY CHAINS - THREE BODYWEIGHT WORKOUTS PER WEEK BASED ON CONVICT CONDITIONING'S "GOOD BEHAVIOR" SCHEDULE I have scoffed at Convict Conditioning before. I don't really dig the glorification of prison life. I think Wade's advice is suspect in a lot of different ways, particularly in how he does progressions and what he considers to be reasonable. And don't get me started on his diet advice. But at the same time, I'm imprisoned by my circumstances. I feel the weight of my disadvantages, and he is one of the few trainers to acknowledge such things. There is a certain purity in that, I think. What I am going to do is attempt to engage some of what he talks about utilizing some of what I've learned. I'll be keeping what he says about time under tension - the 2-1-2 cadence - and I'll be keeping the schedule in broad terms. Monday is for pushing and core work; Thursday is for pulling and leg work; Saturday is all about inversions. These will be customized, however: I'm going to be exploring as many different two-arm variants as I can before progressing to one-arm. And I'll be working many different angles with these moves. I'm setting the progression standards at ten reps per set, with a variable amount of sets: as many as I can do in twenty minutes. Afterward, ten minutes will be dedicated to a finisher of some kind. We'll call this +1 STA, +2 STR. GOAL 2: RE-INTEGRATE SHADOW COMBOS AND UCHIKOMI If the MMA work last challenge taught me anything, it's that you don't need a lot of time to get a quality workout with martial arts moves. The thing is, I'm responsible for knowing moves in a couple arts already. If I'm going to go back to the dojo, I need to practice those moves. Six days per week, I'm going to practice ten striking combos and ten uchikomi. The striking combos must all end in gyaku zuki, and the throw will be uchi mata. Each week progressing, I will add ten combinations and uchikomi to the mix. +5 DEX GOAL 3: THE BEST PART OF WAKING UP IS NO PAIN So, something I've grappled with for years is waking up in the morning and dealing with pain in my lower back. Learning SMR helped a great deal with that, and learning how to traction joints helped a great deal as well. Coming back to a standing desk has helped a ton as well. I want to go one step further and start every morning off with a couple minutes of flow work. It loosens up the joints, gets blood flowing, and even has some metabolic benefits attached to it as well. +4 CON LIFE GOAL: MEDITATE This was a mini-challenge we posted last challenge, and I don't know how it went for everyone else, but I got a lot of benefit out of it. I was passed an audio from OmHarmonics and it made a huge difference to my practice. I was on my way to developing it as a habit when the tumult of getting a job swept in and nearly killed it. I want to get that back. +3 WIS And there we have it. A longer, rambling intro, but I haven't done one of those in a while. Last challenge of the year, folks. If ever there was gonna be a time to finish strong, this would be it. Let's go to work.
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