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  1. Newbie Avery here. 2020 kicked my rear and turned it into a pancake. It also destroyed what momentum I had with going to the local training grounds. Which brings me here today. Looking for some new friends that can help cheer me on in my new endeavors and hold me accountable while I do the same for them. Not looking to move fast in these new things but hoping small and meaningful changes will bring on new habits. Here is what I have in mind for the next 5 weeks: 1) No electronics 30 minutes before bed 2) Minimum 1 minute of meditation a day 3) Daily to do list with at least on self care item 4) Daily Journal entry 5) Work on not slouching! Engage the core while sitting/standing 6) Move every hour for at least 5 minutes 7) Track macros 5 out of 7 days 8 ) Meal prep lunch 9) Drink water after waking and durning each meal (fill glass before bed and before sitting down to eat) 10) Bodyweight workouts every other day. On rest days do light yoga or stretching.
  2. ShadowLion keeps her stake planted in the ground... Shadow Lion Walks the Circle (Whaddya expect when you've tied your foot to a rope attached to a stake in the ground?) Transforming from the Fool... To the Magician... (This card I chose, rather than drew, to use as a meditation device in the coming weeks.) Last challenge - when I drew The Fool for my theme - was definitely an adventure, full of fresh starts, false starts, exploration, new ideas, taking chances and chasing dreams. A leap of faith. Now, it's time to focus that energy and balance it. To utilize will and discipline to become the Magician, specifically a Technomancer. This continues my year theme of "planting my stake in the ground" - focus, commitment, determination - in a general way. It is also directly linked to what I perceive as a great need to balance out the various "elemental energies" in my life, the very things that the Magician has mastered. I have have been out of balance with too much work and stress lately and need to correct that. From there, I am using the element of chance and drawing cards to guide my "walk around the circle" and determine my challenge goals. I thought it was pretty cool how there are circles in every card I drew, especially Wheel of Fortune, given the challenge title I chose a week ago! I used my Druidcraft Tarot deck to draw from, but used the internet for digital versions. Time is at a premium, these days. VII The Chariot Queen of Cups Oddly enough, I drew all female cards, though the deck is evenly balanced. And I am struggling as to how to fit a couple of these with my challenge goals. Challenge Focus & Schedule This is a transitional challenge, where the Fool begins to transform into the Magician. I want to keep and continue to enhance the positive qualities of the Fool - the creativity, joy, fresh outlook, and positivity - but mitigate some of the more chaotic ones with the discipline and focus of the Magician. I learned a lot from last challenge, where the Fool showed me that I have been over-emphasizing work at the expense of fun and just about everything else in life. I found out just how much I need more balance. It has taken me the first week of the challenge to get my act together enough to get my goals lined out, even with having the zero week this time. I expect to use the remaining 3 weeks, plus the next zero week, as transition time and pick up with a full-fledged Magician challenge in May. My focus will be in balancing out the various activities in my life as I clear some long-standing projects and create a (somewhat) less hectic schedule for myself. I have been over-working, under-playing, and neglecting relationships and personal growth in favor of getting my business off the ground. That only works for a short time and I have pushed it pretty far. This is the month where I get balance back, as symbolized by the circle motif in my challenge title, avatar, and mirrored in the cards. I am applying the cards to the weeks of the challenge: Week 1 is Two of Pentacles - I have been shifting my focus to the things I can control and where I can make a difference, rather than dwelling on those things that stress me out. Making plans as to how to better address the stressors and take concrete action over the next few weeks to make those more manageable. And, I have actually taken up juggling... It's a good break at work, works my hands and eyes and gets me away from the computer with something completely different. Staying foolish. Week 2 is The Chariot - Here is where I get down to earnest on the plans made in Week 1. Schedule changes. Drawing clearer boundaries on time and energy use. Adding new exercises. Dynamic balance. Week 3 is The Wheel of Fortune - Even more balancing and adjustment. More about internal balance, reflection on cycles of life, getting my inner house in order. Week 4 is the Queen of Cups - This is another card of internal adjustment, and of tapping into emotions and the unconscious. I expect that it will start to set the tone of the next challenge. A card with strong associations with nurturing home life, relationships and creativity. Goals 1. Ward Off the EVIL EYE My posture and my eyes are suffering from constantly being under the gaze of the EVIL EYE (being in front of a computer for so many hours of the day). Stretching, using my adjustable/standing desk, breaks, eye yoga are my defenses. The sedentary nature of my work is another concern. Daily stretch/squat/stand sessions and eye yoga. No more than 45 minutes without getting up and walking around or switching to at least 15 minutes of standing work. Eyes - 20 sec breaks every 20 minutes, a longer eye yoga session (5 mins) for every four hours on the computer. Specific checks of my posture, and especially head and neck positions on the same schedule as eyes and do a few quick stretches as needed at the same time. Hand/wrist stretches included, too. Daily (or more frequent) walks of at least 1K, to break up the sitting. 2. Create Sacred Space My minimalism progress from the fall has not held up to the chaos of the last few months. The Fool does not seem to do well with the structure required with home maintenance! Clear the clutter. The 15 minutes a day clutter patrol returns. I also have several short projects of: Rearranging furniture Office spring cleaning Work on a better setup for my drawing area, so I can sit down and do short sessions easily, without taking a bunch of time to set up each time 3. Make Time for Foolishness Last challenge's fun/relaxation/creativity goal helped me see how little time I was myself for play and recreation. It was a struggle most days to carve out 30 minutes for that. I am continuing that goal, but with upgrades this time. More art and writing, less reading and internet in that time. And more time overall. 45 minutes. 4. Sleep I need more sleep and a better sleep schedule. (And a lot of other things that aren't going to make it into this challenge.) I will start with sleep. 6 hours bare minimum, 7 hours goal. Log it, and see how I can make this work better. Once I have that in better shape, I plan to re-introduce lucid dreaming experiments again. 5. Whole Brain Balance I am experimenting with physical activities that will help me increase physical and mental balance in my life. Juggling on breaks at work, non-dominant hand mirror writing, using my non-dominant hand for everyday tasks, bi-lateral strength and agility training to increase muscle symmetry and help with Goal 1. I am using the parts of "Whole Brain Power" by Michael Lavery that make sense to me and ignoring what doesn't. I have a lot of other goals that I wanted to add, but I am restricting myself to the above to establish a stronger base to my balancing. I am leaving room for adjustments and possible additions upon each week's finish, as needed. Let the intuition and the cats (and the circles!) begin...
  3. The journey continues as ShadowLion decides to keep her theme the same and her stake planted in the ground. Shadow Lion Keeps on Shufflin' She decides to draw again... (And gets a very interesting result.) The Fool In the Single-Card Draw position A card in this position illuminates the present moment or the question at hand. Meaning: This first Major Arcana card is an excellent illustration of someone who is following their bliss. This card often materializes in a reading when the querent is trying something new and completely different. They may be just beginning their spiritual journey or are exploring a new magickal tradition or path. Perhaps they are taking on a brand-new job or are considering an innovative business opportunity. The Fool encourages us to dare, be more open minded, and enjoy the ride. Do not let yourself be dragged down by worries. The Fool laughingly persuades you to trust and take a chance, and not fret too much about the future—instead, just enjoy the trip and take things one day at a time. This card is all about the proverbial leap of faith. Sure, it is possible that you might make a mistake or fall down, but hey! You can always get right back up, brush yourself off, and try again. Sometimes that is the best way to learn—by daring to do. At the end of the day, the Fool encourages you to be open to new prospects and ideas. Live on the edge; think outside of the box. Be confident and bold! There is a big, wide, magickal world out there...go explore it! Keywords: Follow your bliss. Adventure, fresh starts, exploration, a journey. New ideas; take a chance and chase your dreams. The beginning of a spiritual quest; exploring a new magickal path or tradition. A leap of faith. (Who knew there was an X-Men Tarot?) Cue Twilight Zone Theme Song... I have had some big challenges the last week and a half and spent considerable time considering how to best move forward. I have asked myself some tough questions and looked at what needs to change. I've been taking all of that into meditation on a regular basis and the image I kept getting was of "The Fool" card in the Tarot. I kept dismissing it as not relevant, too simplistic, etc. I really wanted to keep doing the "Queen of Swords/Strength/Justice" thing, as that is familiar and I can do that pretty well. (Maybe too well?) I decided Monday that, yes, I was going to do a challenge this time, and yes, I was going to continue my theme from last challenge, but I wasn't sure whether I was going to focus on one card for the challenge, one per week, or one per day. Tonight, when I finally made the time to write up my post, I decided to just draw one card for this challenge's theme. (I hadn't drawn any cards since the start of last challenge when I constructed the last one's theme.) I focused my mind on "What do I most need to focus on this challenge?" And quite against the odds, I drew the same card that had been popping into my meditation for days, the one I had been avoiding for days: This may be a rather interesting challenge... I haven't fully processed the implications of what just happened - and how I should respond to it - beyond acknowledging that there are some very powerful forces at work in my life and I need to pay attention. For now, I am reposting the same goals that I had last challenge. I expect to make changes, but am not sure yet exactly what. I have no idea how all this will fit in with the standard challenge format. I just know that I am here and I am still shufflin'! 1. Move Forward Increase my total walking distance by 3 to 5 % each week over the course of the challenge. Starting distance is 12.5 miles per week. 2. Find Equilibrium Squat for of 5 mins per day, every day of the challenge. Stand for a minimum 10 minutes of every hour I work at GP. 3. Rebuild My Strength There are many types of strength I could choose to work on - physical, mental, emotional, social, soul (intuition, imagination), and spiritual. I am choosing soul and spirit as being the most in need of restoration I will take a minimum of 30 minutes every single day of the challenge to tend to my spiritual and soul needs through meditation, relaxation, play, creativity and/or spending time out-of-doors. 4. CodeWarrior Learn - Complete the Git and DevOps courses I am taking. Practice - Participate in at least one exercise through the AZCWR (Arizona Cyber Warfare Range). Let the intuition (and the cats!) begin...
  4. Shadow Lion Shuffles the Cards... and Decides to Stack the Deck (for success) I have been on a strange and unexpected journey this past weekend as I pondered what to do for my challenge. I found myself wandering down paths I have not traveled in some time, and I realized that my life feels wildly out of balance. I am in need of the Queen of Swords decisiveness and discipline, while also bringing my inner and outer worlds into better alignment through intuition and quiet contemplation. This challenge is a continuation of the last one in many ways - of my year theme of planting my stake in the ground - but it also promises to add some new twists to that. I feel that in many ways I have come full circle (or perhaps it is a spiral?), back to face the very things that once led me away from software development. Now, however, I have the opportunity to deal with those in a different, healthier way, and I can enlist a wealth of life experience from the intervening years to become the ruler of my own well-being. In keeping with the lessons of challenges past - surprise, surprise - I need to further simplify and focus. My year theme of planting my stake in the ground continues. Commitment, discipline, perseverance. This past weekend I took stock of where I was and it wasn't pretty. Depression was creeping in around the edges; I felt exhausted physically, mentally, spiritually. I just wanted to sit down and cry. I'd been working so hard and such long hours that I was totally drained, battling a cold, and wondering how I was going to dredge up the energy to put a challenge together - something that I normally find very enjoyable. I tried to think up some grand idea (always a good plan, right?) and came up with nothing. Then I remembered the conversation on last challenge's thread with Xena about tarot cards. I had planned to save that for later in the year, but I needed an idea... Hmmm. Maybe the answers to my other dilemmas were similarly staring me in the face? It has been many years since I really surveyed what was out there in terms of decks. Between Google, Pinterest, and other sites, I was amazed at all the new decks there are. Traditional tarot, non-tarot "oracle" decks ranging from fairies to vikings to manga to angels, pop culture influenced decks...you name it. I spent several hours marveling at the artwork and imagination behind it all and getting inspired to do a very unusual challenge. Harry Potter... LOTR... (LOL! It's Rurik Harrgarth!) So, I decided to take the hint from the Universe and draw a card using the cosmic code of random electrons and got... And laughed. The lady and the lion, 8, and a sideways 8 - infinity... That is my card. Has been for years. My totem, my number. I drew several more cards, too, which will be revealed over the course of this challenge. Suffice to say, they painted a very interesting picture of what I need to do to resolve my dilemmas and reach my goals. They may look similar on the surface, but make no mistake, things are very, very different now. 1. Move Forward Increase my total walking distance by 3 to 5 % each week over the course of the challenge. Starting distance is 12.35 miles per week. 2. Find Equilibrium Squat for of 5 mins per day, every day of the challenge. Stand for a minimum 10 minutes of every hour I work at GP. 3. Rebuild My Strength There are many types of strength I could choose to work on - physical, mental, emotional, social, soul (intuition, imagination), and spiritual. I am choosing soul and spirit as being the most in need of restoration I will take a minimum of 30 minutes every single day of the challenge to tend to my spiritual and soul needs through meditation, relaxation, play, creativity and/or spending time out-of-doors. 4. CodeWarrior Learn - Complete the Git and DevOps courses I am taking. Practice - Participate in at least one exercise through the AZCWR (Arizona Cyber Warfare Range). Learn, Practice, Share - Participate in a "Mob Programming" workshop Let the intuition (and the cats!) begin...
  5. 2016 has been consistently kicking my ass since day 1. If you need any more proof, look no further than this thread. My uncanny ability to keep up with everything on these boards (known in Crossfit lingo as "ThreadCon™") is gone and I haven't posted my challenge thread already a day into the challenge. Things aren't looking pretty up ahead, so let's get to the point. Upcoming Events: 11km Trail Race on Feb. 7th Crossfit Open, kicking off on Feb. 25th for the following 5 weeks Masters' Exams on March. 8th and 15th.Simply put, I need to get back in line both physically and mentally Goals: 1. Nutrition: After checking with the SRLF™ I'm allowing myself the following Sugar: 1 day meal per week, to be used wisely while having a good time out and not stupidly stuffing things in my mouth at homeCheese: Allowed 2 days meals per weekComplex Carbs: Allowed only on workout days, from breakfast to 1 hour after the workout2. Workouts: 3 per week, preferrably straightforward Crossfit WODs instead of Oly Lifting, Gymnastics or other specialised classes 3. Study: I need to be ready for my exams. So far I've managed to lose interest in the lessons and not study any of the book or notes. This needs to change, drastically. 4. Animal Companion: A few days back, I picked up a stray cat. This goal is twofold. One, take care of it, take it to the vet, buy the necessary equipment and make the adjustments required to this new situation. Two is defend my decision against the family who is bound to go bananas once they hear of it. I am not giving way. The cat stays. 5. Peace of Mind: Special thanks to zenLara for inspiring this one. As mentioned, my ThreadCon™ has become terrible and instead of trying to fight it, I must come to terms with it. I can't keep up with everything and it's no use trying to do it or feeling bad for not being able to. 6. Daily Quests: This worked wonders during my previous challenge so I'm keeping it up for this one as well.
  6. Volki scans the air as he looks through his night vision goggles. Thousands of numbers stream by in succession along the thin blue biothreads as they arc in every direction across the backdrop of the enormous city of buildings choking the starless skyline. Numbers and bits of code spew forth from each of the clueless denizen’s UID chip. The streams of code are broadcast to the cities central processing hub and archived for inspection. The streams contain information about each person’s natural abilities, social class and firmware version. At age 15 every person is awarded citizenship and has the UID chip implanted into the base of the skull. The chip then synchs up with the synapses of the brain and can upload and download new software packages for any patron with the money to afford the upgrade. For everyone but the Linux corps, these nanomite lines of code are invisible. We are the elite hackers of the grid and incidentally we are hunted by the Kaspersky agents who have placed our faces on every major Access Control List. The Kaspersky agents want our lives because we have found a way to modify our UID chips and have found a way to remain hidden on the network. Our major accomplishment though was when we cracked into the great code libraries and downloaded the ancient knowledge files that laid out how the Cyber Counsel took control and then proceeded to wipe the memories of everyone. I am determined to know what exactly they mean to do with us by turning us into walking zombies constantly consuming the filthy lies they weave for us on every screen. Every day millions of people hang on every word the news and Counsel has to say. They are made to believe that everything is fine and continue to push conformity. I have to get to the Central Hub of the city and sever the link the Counsel has to the masses, only then will we stand a chance to end their reign. I flip a switch on the goggles and enter in a few lines of code on the holo-keys built into my bionic arm. The vision in the goggles flicker and then a single biothread is left flowing from end to end of the city. A voice cracks in over the comm system implant in my ear. “Volki, status update. Have you found him yet?†“Yes sir, I just found his thread right now and I am sending you the comm frequency right now. Do you want me to ghost trail the target?†“You are clear for recon and possible extraction of the target but make sure the target is acquired without damage to the UID nanite link.†“10-4 Recon is a go.†I take a quick inventory of my supplies and throw my goggles into my backpack as the thread path is switched to the navigation program of my forearm screen. I lower myself down the rope that held me high above the mammoth structures that choked every inch of the sprawling city. From this height I can see the cars flying by like a swarming hive of bees. The life of the city moves on without regard for the time of day or night. The year is 2357 and the time of an organic earth was long since dead. It is now the time of the machines; computers and wire replace trees and wildlife. My boots splash down into the dark alley far below the data link tower I had descended. I unhook from the rope and set out toward the path of the target. The cars zoom by overhead and the talking hologram heads all around the city go on about the latest celebrity scandal and which products will make our lives better. I tune them out as I weave in and out of streets and alleyways moving ever closer to the blip on my map. I come to a stop on a rooftop as I peer down the street at a hooded man wearing a bag on his back with a small antennae protruding from the zipper. As the target crosses the busy street with hundreds of others on their way to work I can make out a small device in his hand. Just as he crosses the middle of the 6 ways street he raises his hand slightly as he presses a sequence into the device. Moments later all 20 of the screens in the area showed an insidiously laughing skull with a feather headdress above the flashing words “I AM THE GHOST IN THE MACHINE!†The screens flashed faster and faster until they simultaneously erupted into an explosion of sparks and glass that rained down onto the shocked pedestrians below. “Captain I have sight of the target, I’m moving in.†I grabbed the edge of the building and vaulted myself down to the pavement landing in a quick roll. Bolting to my feet I began to chase the man in the hood as he fled into a nearby alley. He ran from shadow to shadow trying desperately to lose me in the labyrinth of the city landscape. The distance on my Nav screen showed less than 20 yards away and closing fast. I unhooked my pistol from its holster on my hip and switched its charge down to a non-lethal voltage as I round another corner. I could see him clamoring up a nearby fire escape heading for the roof and out of view. I pause only a moment and take aim with my plasma pistol. The weapon lets out a sharp crack and then a blue streak of electricity arcs straight into his back. He lets out a loud yelp and then loses his grip and slips bouncing against the safety cage of the ladder and comes to a stop with a thud against the cold pavement. I rush over and peel back his hood. He has a thin face with sharp features. His hair is cropped into a short Mohawk and complete with an auburn beard. I inspect the UID for any visible signs of damage as well as the sleeping target vitals. “Helix come in, I have the target. He is down and unconscious, send the Vulture to come pick us up in his speeder and bring us home.†In order to be the best Linux Corpse Hacker I can be I am going to need to get stronger, more dexterous and up my programming skills. Goal 1: Fortification I am going to follow a 2X a week schedule for my lifting to allow adequate flexibility with fitting in the gym time with the 12hr work days D1 Pullup 3x10 D1 Skull crusher 3x12 D1 Alt db curl 3x10 D1 L sit dip 3x10 D1 1 arm rows 3x10 D1 DB bench 3x10 D2 DB deadlift 3x10 D2 Front squat 3x10 D2 DB alt lunges 3x12 D2 DB calf raises 3x10 Goal 2: Dexterity I have been following along with a PowerYoga for Athletes program online. I want to do power yoga at least 2Xs a week minimum. Goal 3: Python Programming I need to upgrade my programming skills so I am going to follow along and finish the Python programming course by the end of the challenge available on Codeacademy.com **So basically I am continuing my plan of splitting my focus into quarters this year. I am still in the structural and functional strength portion of my training before I move back into a more lifting heavy routine. **
  7. Main Challenge- Attend every HEMA and SCA practice in preparation for the Pas d'Armes and my belt test on the 30th and 31st of January. Side Challenges- Attend one parcours session a week, preferably Saturday mornings. Drink 1L of water daily Perform at least two Spartan Workouts a week (not counting the mental workouts). Use any two FitDecks (choices are Bodily Annihilation Bodyweight [custom deck], Strength Stack 52, Yoga, Pilates, SAQ, and Stretching) at least once a week. Rewards to be determined once the new character creation and quest mechanics are up.
  8. “Ugh” For some reason, the first thing I could feel was the inside of my mouth. My tongue felt like it was made of sawdust and tar. My throat was equally dry and coarse, then a stinging pain across my spine made every nerve explode, flooding me with a sudden rush of adrenaline as the rest of my senses returned to me. The pain retreated, much like a quick stab, letting the sensory information fall into place slowly. Everything about my back told me I was lying on cold hard rock. “Cursed Pandemonium, I was washed down the tunnels again, wasn’t I?” I said to no one in particular. “This isn’t Pandemonium. And you are no longer who you thought you were” no one in particular answered back. A female voice, soft with the sound of age-old wisdom. “Externally, at least”. I tried to jump up and face whoever was talking to me, but my body felt way heavier than I remembered. Probably from the shock, I thought. It’s ok, I’ll make it less spectacular. Rolling over and hopping up was so instinctive, it happened faster than my brain could process what was going on. At first I wondered if my shoulders were wider than I thought, then I caught sight of my two hands planted on the ground. Meaty and dark skinned, they propelled me to a standing position albeit not as gracefully as I had hoped. I could literally feel time expand on my upward flight as I was stunned in amazement. Taking a moment to inspect my form before facing the origin of that voice, I found myself wide and muscular. “Not that I’m complaining for the upgrade, but what exactly is going on here?” “There is no way to easy way to explain this” the voice began. I looked around. I was in some sort of cave, lit by some otherworldly source that balanced perfectly between eerie and indifferent. A woman in a long white dress stood nearby, her silver hair held in two long pigtails hanging behind her head. She would have looked girlish, if not for the elongated canines on her lower jaw. Plus, she was partly transparent. “No, you’re not dead” she answered the obvious question that was beginning to form on the back of my mind. “What do you remember about yourself?” I scratched the back of my head, remarking how both my finger and skull felt thicker. “I am a Planeswalker, a githzerai. My name feels old and unpronounceable now, but I remember it meant something about a wanderer or a raider. Uhm, I used to wield a flaming bastard sword. And the last place I visited was the Howling Madness of Pandemonium. It’s all black from there”. The ghostly figure listened with genuine care and perhaps a hint of surprise. “That is… way more than most usually remember. You are a strong soul indeed. I do not know those things you speak of, but I know that somehow you have passed into our world, reborn. Reincarnation, us shamans call it, although yours is a unique case. Plus, you came out as a mag’har, the Uncorrupted of our race. This is how we originally were. I cannot say the same for this place. Alas, once beautiful Draenor is now the shattered dimension of the Outlands.” “Draenor?” I exclaimed. “I’ve read about this place. Well, us Planeswalkers are about going to places and learning from experience, but it never hurts to go somewhere prepared. Right. Draenor. Uhm, used to be full of Orcs and Draenei, until the former slew the latter and invaded human lands through some portal, right?” The woman gave me a sad smile. “That’s part of it, yes. We used to exist together until sometime after my death under the hooves of a clefthoof. I was a shaman and leader of the Frostwolf clan, then my apprentice Drek’Thar took over. He was tricked by some demon impersonating me into joining the Draenei purge, but when the demon and its lackeys asked him to abandon shamanism for the ways of the demon-worshipping warlock, he wisely refused. Our clan was exiled while the others drank the blood of demons and became their enraged slaves, invading the human lands twice as their vanguard. By the time of the Third War, Warchief Thrall sought our clan once more as he tried to bring our race back to its shamanistic roots. Thanks to that and the heroic sacrifice of Grom Hellscream, the orcs were freed from their demonic chains and fought back the demonic invasion alongside their former enemies. Most settled in their new home of Durotan, but our clan retreated elsewhere.” “I see…” were my only words as I tried to take in all the information and sort it out. “Well, of all the places I could exist as an Orc, looks like I landed in the best” I said sarcastically, receiving a raised eyebrow from the spectral woman. Clearly she had no idea that in most worlds I knew existed, Orcs are savage brutes at best. “So what now?” “Patience, young one” the woman said and held out a hand. “There is still much to learn. I will tell you most of it in time and some of it you’ll find out yourself. What’s important right now is strengthening that soul of yours first. It made it through its journey with remarkable resilience. You should cherish and protect it, lest you forget who you really are. Once that is done, you need to get around and learn about your new home. From experience, just the way you like it". The tone of her voice told the story of how she enjoyed the jest, playfully devoid of any irony. "That, and a wolf. No orc can call himself a Raider until he’s got a dire wolf to ride. We call the local variety Frostwolf Howlers.” “What a charming name” I snapped with pure irony instead. “We should also work on your attitude” the woman struck back without batting an eyelid. “The proper ork response would be ‘Lok'tar Ogar!’ That’s ‘For Victory or Death” in our language. That’s our battlecry.” Apparently, the comments about eating and snoring like an Orc were turned into inspiration for my new RPG NF alter ego since I thought "why not also train, fight and face challenges like an Orc?". Warcraft was an easy pick with it's epic take on the noble savagery of Orcs, plus there's plenty of inspiring lore I intend to integrate into the story along with a few surprises. This is not a respawn but rather a reincarnation, hence the link to my githzerai character from my first few NF challenges. Now, onto the TL;DR version good stuff! Soul Power: A Link to the Past Never forget what you've been through, because it made you who you are. In less fancy wording, stick with what's worked so far. Don't eat like a dickhead and do at least 3 crossfit workouts every week. Anything beyond that is a bonus. Frostwolf Howler No Orc can call itself a Raider until it has a Dire Wolf upon which to ride. I used to be in the junior leagues with a 125cc motorcycle license and a scooter to go with it. 2+ years later, the scooter is sold and the license ready to be upgraded. My quest is to acquire information on the necessary process, do what has to be done, upgrade said license and buy a motorcycle of at least 400cc. Also, get a full-face helmet. For the Horde! Keeping goals simple, this is a catch-all quest in which to keep track of guild mini progress, PvPs and any other weird stuff you folks get me dragged into...
  9. Way back in days of old there was a legend told about a hero known as Galvant. Square jaw and perfect hair, Cajones out to there, There was no hero quite like Galavant! Tough, plus every other manly value Mess with him he'll disembowel you! Yea, he ruled in every way, a fairytale cliché, an people called him Gaaalaaavaaaaant! Yep that's my theme this challenge. If you don't know what Galavant is, it is a comedy on ABC featuring a lot of singing and set in a medieval fairytale setting. So pretty much everything I ever wanted in a show. Anyway, I have been away for a while doing my own thing and making progress. That is, until the holidays hit. Now I need a little extra motivation to get back on track and lucky me I happen to come back just in time for the shiny new challenge system. As for my challenge, it is somewhat inspired by Galavant's return to questing shape toward the beginning of season 1. My lift workouts involve bench, Military, Deadlift, and Cleans. As for my diet, I have the most difficulty on the weekends, so for now I am going to focus more on what I eat when I am at home rather than how much. Anyway, down to it: Q1: Isabella's Training: Lift 3 times a week, Arrow workout 2 days a week Q2: Sid's Cooking: Stay paleo on weekends, stay under 1800 calories on weekdays ( I am on a cut right now) Q3: Fit in My Armor: drop to 20% body fat (if I can't do it this challenge I will roll it over to the next) SQ: Xanax's Laboratory: 95% completion of my work goals (kinda shoehorned this one into the theme, I work in a lab so it's the best I could come up with) That's it for now, I haven't decided if I am going to do anything fun with the updates yet. It will depend on how busy I get and, of course, how well I am sticking to my challenge. 'Till next time, TALLY HO! I'm off on a hero's journey Out where adventure lies On a quest the Poet's will sing about! With destiny at my shoulder, An ego of massive size, And a face most chicks have a thing about. So what if I'm still hung over? So what if I smell like slop? So what if I've got this pesky muffin top? I'm off on a hero's journey A champion through and through (More or less) Doing what other hero's do. Update: Epic Quest page here
  10. Well, this is my first official challenge, so to the Rebels it is! Goal #1: -All snacks are to be a fresh/raw vegetable. Part of detachment from my very cushy lifestyle into the realm of mountain-dwelling taoist should certainly be in the form of replacing the easily obtained "Chip's Ahoy" with a carrot or broccoli or celery. I am getting enough calories from my meals, and I snack out of habit. Goal #2: -All Alcohol is now to be herbal tea One of my many weaknesses has been having a glass of wine or couple of beers almost daily. While in and of themselves, in moderation, these aren't that bad, but the caloric values add up over time. Also, it's banned from one of the schools I plan to study at in the near future, so might as well adjust now. Goal #3: -Every Morning, Wudang 5 Animals Qigong Immediately upon rising out of my bed, I will do the Dragon, Tiger, Leopard, Snake, and Crane Qigong forms. I've been doing them randomly throughout the day, but tried this a few times over the last couple of days, and found that I pop like bubble-wrap if I do them as soon as I wake up. Seems like a good way to set the tone for the rest of the day. Life Goal: -Walk 4 weeks in different shoes My wife is a yogi, and for the last few days, I've done one of her vinyasa flows. They're interesting and often quite challenging physically. I don't see any reason that these can't be added to my normal tai chi, changquan, and qigong practices...and I certainly could hope to learn a few things. *I'll try to keep up my Battle Log as well, it's just that I get distracted from my own work from reading too much.
  11. So let's get started with a little bit of background. 2012 was the worst year of my life. I weighed in ad 332 lbs, I don't even KNOW what my other relavent stats were, except that my A1C was at 9.6 for those of you familiar with the medical field, that is the Wilford Brimleys right there(diabetes) I had to have a heart cath, after my brother passed away from a freak heart attack, and we lost a couple of very close family members. it was rough. Fast forward to January 2014, I had done a little to get myself in line, but I still weighed in at 324, Here' the relavent tracking stats. January 4th Weight 324 Cholesterol 228 A1C 6.4 Body Fat Percentage 37.7 BMI 41.2 Blood Pressure 140/90 Dumbell Row 35's Dumbell Press 35's Pant size 46 Shirt size 3xl(tight) April 2nd Weight 298 Cholesterol 143 A1C 5.2 Body Fat Percentage 29.7 BMI 40.2 Blood Pressure 120/80 Dumbell Row 60's Dumbell Press 70's Pant size 42 Shirt size 2xl(tight) So far huge progress, but I'm nowhere near where I want to be. so I hate deadlifts, I think they are not fun... but I should probably be doing SOMETHING like that, because i need to tone/build my belly and back muscles. I carry all my weight in my center mass, my forearms are beginning to show definition, but I'm still very fat, and have a long ways to go on the rest of me(except my calves, my calves are AWESOME) Anyone else start out in these upper ranges and get things toned? I'm not going to stop. I feel amazing, and i'm effectively kicking Diabetes ass. I'm off insulin, and off all other injectables. I just take Metformin at this point, and Cholesterol and blood pressure meds. but honestly if I keep this up i'm really looking to get off of those as well. Paleo is amazing. I was worried about my cholesterol going up. it did not go up, obviously, in fact it went WAY down, Amazing! Anyways, that's today. here's to keeping up the solid progress!
  12. NOW. Where did I put that challenge..... ....Oh. There it is. Goal: Becoming a Warrior: Doing it right. As some of you know, at the very end of the last challenge my boxing coach, who had grown very dear to me, passed away suddenly. Part of my life that was quickly growing came to an abrupt halt. But I am a fighter. I pick myself back up and join you guys the battlefield; here among other warriors who are gaining strength, preparing for their own battles. I need to re-gain focus. So I come here. I come to gain strength. I come to fight. I come to win. I Come to Gain: As part of my last challenge, I began starting strength and ended with some....eh...satisfactory gains. During The Holidays I back tracked (haven't lifted in 3 weeks...and ate all the things....oops). Strength Goals: Continue Starting Strength (need to finish the book...)3X week have strength building focused workout (in addition to lifting)Start serious progressions to get a barbell snatch by 4T. (so close I can tas......No. Not going there.) um..+4... STR...duh? I Come to Fight: Wait...warriors fight?? I can't spend all day PREPARING for battle. Let's do this. (Monk at heart) TaeKwon-Do 3X weekBag work (preparing for competition in March)Boxing (remembering Coach's drills) STA: 3, Dex: 2 I Come To Win: I am my own worst enemy. Last challenge, I decided to try a Primal diet. Failed. Miserably. Like 50% compliance. (Milk Stout WHY YOU SO GOOOOOOOOOOD) This time....oh, this time. I will WIN. I will conquer my eating habits (always the hardest for me). Primal dietexcepting 4T because, who am I kidding, I'll have all the alcohols. +3 CON Side Quest: One thing Richie's death taught me was that you can impact people in any aspect of your life. I still maintain that your relationships with others during your time here on earth are a huge part, if not THE Meaning of Life. (...and something about 42). I need to take advantage of my seemingly infinite series of "nows" of time. I don't want to waste it; not with so much potential benefit. I have come to find the more I impact others, the more fulfilling MY life is. Isn't it weird how selflessness can lead to so much self fulfillment? *shrugs* We are a social people; I guess it follows, logically. I have felt a bit lost lately....and I think I found a way to find me. I exist only to the extent I actualize myself. I am, in a sense, my actions. Time to act. This is mostly my take on Sartre, by the way ... (and a bit of Kierkegaard). I am not that clever. I just eat this stuff up. Fave quote alert: "Man...exists only to the extent that he fulfills himself; he is therefore nothing else but the ensemble of his acts, nothing else than his life." - Jean-Paul Sartre Ok, now I'm rambling. *Cough* My life quest is to impact someone, somehow, weekly. Who? Not sure What? Not sure But I will be scoping out opportunities. Maybe telling someone I care about what they mean to me. Very hard. Maybe going out of my way to do a selfless act. I probably won't post my achievements here because a) It may involve someone of which is none of your business b ) I'm not looking to get any pats on the back....searching for personal fulfillment. I will, for accountability's sake, post some vague description. So you guys can remind me when I'm losing faith in humanity... Again. I'm not doing this for Richie, though he impacted me greatly. I'm doing it because that's the kind of person I wish to be. So act already. + 2 CHA. +1 WIS Here we go....
  13. Hello Everyone, I would like to disscuss anything about boxing. Questions, comments, anything really.
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