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  1. Happy New Year, everyone! "Kishi! What the hell, man, you disappeared last challenge!" Details. I had a meditation goal and I basically struggled with it until I found my way back to "Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Everyday Radicals," which imposes some external structures that I find useful for consistent meditation. As a result, I've been meditating more and it's been helping me. I feel good about that. So what am I talking about as far as slowing down? Well, in the course of my ongoing research about how to care for myself, I found out about this idea of caffeine cycling. Basic idea is to lay off the caffeine a bit - lots of low-caffeine days with some high days as needed. Highlights include cutting off mid-afternoon caffeine, instituting no-caffeine days, and regularly attempting to reset the sensitivity for it rather than coming to rely on it. Because I'm finding for myself that I don't really care for the degree to which I'm coming to rely on this stuff. I think my sleep is better when I'm not using or when I use less late in the day, and I worry that it's bad for my heart long term. So, my goal is to institute the "Green Tea Protocol" listed in the linked article - 2 days of coffee, 4 days of green tea, and 1 day of rest/decaf. The trackable for this goal is a 3 PM cutoff. Not sure how far the cutoff goes - might eventually go to 2 PM, then 1, but I want to take this challenge to watch myself and see how I'm doing. If my sleep improves to a satisfactory degree, then I see no reason to go any further, but that remains to be seen. The other hope in slowing down, ironically, is that I'll be better about being here and being present for y'all rather than focusing solely on myself and my problems. I find that the caffeine causes me to hyperfocus - very useful for work and training, but very difficult for transitioning over to being here. Here's to a New Year. I have a kind of Epic Challenge in mind for the course of the year which I'll write about once I can articulate to myself what the hell it is I'm trying to accomplish.
  2. Goal: 1/2 The name of the challenge gives away the whole thing, really. Basically, I've hit a point where I like myself more the more I meditate. I'm successfully carving out space for myself to make it happen - only 4 minutes at a time so far, but it helps. I want to stick to that amount for the rest of the challenge. As I've observed, small changes applied consistently without flash or fanfare create some truly substantive results. Also, between it being the end of the year and my own theological leanings, it just feels right. Beyond that, right now I'm just solving a bunch of optimization problems, mostly having to do with joint health and actively working to feel better. The writing's doing well; I've found myself adding organically to my cast of characters as I've needed to without having to bend or break the existing ones to Make The Plot Happen. That's something I wasn't sure I believed in myself enough to do but I'm really happy it's happening. One other thing is that I'm doing more to take care of my place these days - regular vacuuming and cleaning of even some spaces is actually really good for me, and it helps me feel accomplished in a way that doing my job does not. I've also been kind of crafty lately in that I made a cloth mallet out of a cast off chair leg and some scrapped sweat pants. A cloth mallet is a conditioning tool for the Iron Shirt stuff that I asked my brother about and finally getting that made was good. Also, I've finally learned how to step away from the job to go for short walks over the course of the day, including getting my errands done early, so when I get to the end of the day, I don't have all this extra stuff to do to get in my way for getting down early. I'm not saying that the meditation is doing all of that, because I don't think it is, but it's taking place in the context of all this extra stuff I'm doing right now and it's... helpful, I think. But, yeah, that's things for now. Happy to round out the year with y'all.
  3. Took a week for me to figure out the one thing I want to change, and the way in which I want to change it. I've known for a while now that I need to get up earlier. I'm pretty good at starting to for a bit, but it doesn't take: eventually, something goes haywire somewhere and I wind up being up late and needing to sleep late to make up for it, and before long I've regressed to the old mean. Meaning (harrrr) that I need a new mean. Instead of getting up at 9:30 AM, I'm going to spend the next few weeks focusing on just getting up at 9:00 AM. Get myself used to what life looks like there get a feel for making happen what needs to happen when it needs to for me to hit that target consistently. I don't need to be perfect, but landing there 80% of the time should get me somewhere like where I need to be. Exciting news on the job front. I put in for a promotion last week, which I've said before I'd be a shoe-in for. Didn't have the means to put in previously as HR didn't open up any slots, but when they did this past month, I went for it. It's a decent bump in pay and apparently the extra work isn't that much harder. Other good news is that the job opened up overtime again! It's only a little bit, but it'll help the paycheck and the caseload, and that's all I really want. Also, figured out that the head cold is actually just seasonal allergies based on its responses to medication, so I'm cleared to get back to the mats. Though I still need to figure out how to honor both the job and my desires. Because the writing's going well and I'm not willing to negotiate on that. Ah well. It'll be sorted. In the meantime: Goal: 1/1.
  4. Howdy, y'all! Hope you're doing well today. In a sign of how well I'm rebalancing my life, I'm here early, just like I used to be in easier times. Because it turns out I have a lot more say in how I get here than I thought. For those of you just tuning in, I'm Kishi. Been around a while, and still a work in progress. I'm coming off a big win challenge where I challenged a lot of my assumptions about training and lifestyle and the choices I have. It's been freeing, in a lot of ways, although these new freedoms come packing a bunch of new responsibilities with them that you might not necessarily expect. For example: I have learned that I can effectively strength train on 10 minutes of work a day. It's true. I'll tell you some more about it sometime. But the responsibility that comes with it now is to actually spend that 10 minutes well, and not put it off and put it off until the end of the day when I really need to be eating dinner and winding down. It's a virtuous thing in the sense of promoting wellbeing, but it's a virtuous thing that can feed into a vicious cycle if I let it, and I don't really want to do that. Figuring that out was a big part of last challenge. It's dialed in pretty well now, though. So now that I have a minimum effective dose for training, I want to turn that to my writing. Although maybe not in the way you might think, because the trick with minimum effective doses is that you don't necessarily know where that is and it's very easy to go below that minimum and maybe not even necessarily know it. I've had a minimum effective dose for my writing for a while of just showing up and staring at the draft, and sometimes that's felt like enough, but on the whole I'm dissatisfied with it. I feel like I want to do more, but more than that, I want to feel good about the amount of work I've done in a given day. And I know that feelings aren't a thing I control, so chasing a writer's high might not be the most responsible thing to do. But OTOH, "If I do what I've always done, I will get what I've always got." I want something different, so I gotta change it up somehow. The goal of this challenge - single goal, because that's how I roll - is to show up daily to write and to work on the story to the degree that I feel good about it. How much is that going to be? I dunno, man. I think it might vary depending on the task and where I am mental health-wise on a given day. I want to give myself grace and space for that. But I also want to have discipline too. I want to work. And I want to feel good about it. That's what this challenge is about. And also, you know, being part of an awesome community that I genuinely like too.
  5. Wait, wait, hold up, you're telling me that this challenge is going to pop off on January 1st? Just lines up like it's meant to be? Well. I guess I know what I'm doing! Howdy, everyone! Kishi here, your friendly neighborhood itinerant monk. Took a few weeks off the forums just to chill and focus on end of the year shenanigans, but that was then and this is now! Even though now is technically then, but it will be then by the time the challenge officially starts. As a rebellious rebel, I'm not a big believer in the old Rule of 3 + 1. I instead believe that you can change one thing, and that one thing interact with and change all the other things. It's all connected, man. Of course, that being said, no real reason to have just one challenge when two will do. In my case, the big thing that I really want to hone in on is getting to bed earlier and getting up earlier. Reason being that I want to get my job done earlier in the day so that I can make more mat time. I'm about 80% of the way there, really, but the striking sparring only happens on Fridays and it's an earlier class than the others. So technically, I only really have to be early to bed and early to rise for one day of the week, but that one day will be easier if I'm keeping those hours other days of the week. Also, I suspect it will be better for me. So, you know. There's that. The other goal is a writing goal. Just want to do a page a day. 50,000 words in a month is nice and all, but 90,000 words in a year that you actually like? That's better. I think. Maybe. Never got there. Sure would like to, though. So, those are my two challenges for myself this time around. And... yeah.
  6. Happy New Year, y'all! Wishing you and yours peace and prosperity in the coming year. For those of you who are new to the Monastery, hi! I'm Kishi, your humble GL. Glad you decided to stop on by. I'm a martial artist with ~13 years of harder contact practice: mostly striking via karate as done in a K1-kickboxing style with some relatively recent forays into standing and ground-based grappling, as well as Dutch-style kickboxing. I've tried a bunch of different training modes and methods, most recently landing on a mix of calisthenics and kettlebell work because, hey! We're in the middle of a pandemic! Staying away from people is kind of my jam these days, inasmuch as I can (especially since I caught the thing the last challenge. Don't worry, I was lucky; I came through it fine and I was incredibly well-cared for). Since my life is pretty great and I'm not big on challenges and novelty for their own sake, I've taken to focusing on just one thing, because I find that earnest focus on one thing has a ripple effect, both as you work to accommodate it and as it in turn changes you. Last challenge was about getting rest, which meant managing time and productive output, and this was very good. My one thing for this challenge, then, is going to be my writing. The situation right now is as follows: I work an office job that isn't letting me work from home for a whole host of bad reasons that I have no power to do anything about. This presents many problems and inconveniences, not the least of which is that I have a novel that I'm honestly pretty obsessed with. I've done a lot in terms of documenting its structure and planning it out in a way that works for me, but one of the downsides then is that I'm reliant on these documents to actually get the job done. I can't access them at work, and I've been using that as an excuse to not write. But, just because it's been that way, that doesn't mean it has to keep being that way. So, what is the one thing I'm going to change? Well, the thing that's been holding me back the most from writing is lack of access to my documents. But in truth, there's nothing saying that I can't just transcribe the relevant bits onto notecards or something and then carry them with me so that I know where I am. The goal, then, is to return to a daily writing habit. One page per day. I'll be going out tonight to pick up some note cards and jot down the relevant bits I need for tomorrow. And, uh, I guess we'll see what happens. Day 1 of this challenge, in the meantime, is already marked by some complications. I went to do New Year's Eve at my sci-fi friend's house, where I normally go on Tuesday nights. His wife had a head cold out of nowhere, and she got back to me on Saturday saying she tested positive for COVID. This is a whole can of worms. Maybe she had it and maybe she didn't since she apparently took a home test and my understanding is that they're prone to false positives in the event of a regular head cold. CDC guidelines say I need to quarantine for 5 days and then get tested, but the language has recently been adjusted so that if I "can't quarantine," that I can continue to go to work and just be really strict with wearing my mask. Either way, I'm going to have to bring it up with the boss and see what she says; my pessimistic streak is telling me that she'll want me to come to work, so I'll be free to work but not to engage in recreation like I wish and that just sucks. But tomorrow is sufficient for its own troubles. I still have work to do today; I'll update again when I get it done.
  7. Sorry for the late arrival. I knew what I wanted to do, but I'm kind of having a hard time squaring it with the general mode of daily practice and new habit formation and stuff like that. But whatever. If I wind up in a better place because of what I do here, it almost seems like de facto I had to overcome something, right? So a challenge it is. For those of you who were around last time, hi! Welcome back! For those just tuning in for the first time, I'm Kishi, sole surviving Guild Leader of the Monks. We don't talk about what happened to the other two. Sadly, I'm not some sage figure, so I can't give you much in the way of answers, but I like to think I help with asking different questions. Things last challenge took a turn for the dramatic. I got diagnosed with heart disease, the striking program I was going to got shut down, I had some tumult occur at work, and the training program - so meticulously programmed - collapsed on contact with the real world. Much of last challenge was spent picking up the pieces and carrying on, and I'd like to think I did so relatively well. And the situation has changed. Since then, I've started on a low carb Mediterranean diet, but it's low carb enough to really be a Keto Mediterranean diet. Interesting results so far - my waistline is shrinking (probably water weight) and I've got a lot of slow burn energy as documented by rolling for about an hour and a half without any dip in energy or performance. Which is interesting, but for all I know could just as easily be chalked up to more technical rolling and generous rest. I have designs on veganizing this at some point, because it sounds like a challenge, and vegan diets are tied to good outcomes for the heart also, so this sounds like a real possibility, but given all the everything that's getting thrown at me this round, that's more likely something that's gonna phase in over time. Because a lot's happening, y'all! I'm going back to the office; I misspoke when I said last challenge it'd be 11/8; it's actually going to be 11/15. And it's a phased re-entry, so over the course of three weeks, I'll be adding a day, so first week will be one day, second week two, and so on until the 4th week, when I just go back to fulltime. Why's that complicated? Because one, the holidays will be starting around that time, and two, I'll be starting up at a new school, meaning new logistical challenges to overcome. The theme this time is about balancing the books, because I've decided I want to upgrade my computer. I took a look at the new school and I realized that there's only one no-gi day there, so I'm basically done as far as no-gi grappling attire is concerned. But before I start putting away for a new computer, I want to make sure that my finances are in good order. I think I've got some expenses coming out that I don't need to, and there's no reason to keep throwing money away. I also want to go further in my meditation and to make time/space for my writing - hence, balancing the books. Goal 1: Meditate Bumping up to 9 minutes. Goal 2: Balance the Books Might wind up being something of a gimme. Ideally, find one thing a day and do something about it in my finances, whether that's regular savings or finding and disposing of an extra bill I don't need to pay anymore. I really don't think I've got that much to do, but honestly, if this makes the challenge easier for once I'll take it. Goal 3: Write Gotta get back to butt in chair time. It's worth doing. Just gotta do it. At this point, just gonna focus on getting to my writing; no word count goals just yet, just carving out space. And, uh, yeah. That's really it this time. Let's get to work.
  8. Hey everyone! Getting on late at night because somehow it worked out to being the best time to do the thing. Big changes happened in the past week. I had originally meant to reward myself with rash guards for BJJ, but midway through, I 1) had the chance to change to earlier hours, and 2) saw a cool gi design go up that I wanted more. I still feel quite rewarded for my efforts last challenge; it's just that I had a last-minute chance to take a deal that turned out to be closer to what I wanted. This has the neat side effect of allowing me to use rash guards as a reward again. How fortuitous. Um, also, accidentally got the chance to show some character growth. Saturday I went to a party with my friend group. One of us got a little too drunk for my liking and I slipped and got a little too harsh calling him on it. We didn't come to shouting at each other or blows or anything, but I really hurt him in a way I didn't think I could. I had the chance to talk it over with him this morning, though, and we were able to patch things up. I say it was a growth thing because the last time I wound up in a situation like this was with my Ex and I botched it. I didn't botch this time. I grant you, it's not trying to salvage a romantic relationship, but I think it's got enough in common to count. Hence the title of the challenge. Everything's crazy and up in the air and I'm going back to the office in about a month and some change and just... yeah. It's a lot right now. So we're rolling with it. Goal 1: Meditate I'm up to 8 minutes now, which is great, but I'm not sitting consistently, and that's not great. Need to fix that. Goal 2: Clean Car troubles are managed enough that I can get after getting boxes o' stuff out of my place. But I need to clean the car first. This is going to go alongside my old cleaning goal from before, because now that my sinks are reliably clean, I want to start expanding out onto regularly cleaning other surfaces too. So, the way this will work is that it'll have a daily component build up over the course of the week. However, in order for a given week's total to count, I have to defeat a mini-boss, defined as one seat-section of the car (first couple weeks) and then a box a week for the rest of the challenge. Goal 3: Eating So, I've basically crept over into obesity per my body fat percentage as run via the Navy formula. I know for a fact that my macros are fine and even my daily expenditures are fine, but I'm letting social eating be an excuse to indulge and it's getting in the way of the results I want. While I'll be tracking this as a daily, the real goal is to focus on "leaving things behind" - in other words, if I go out to eat, I come back home and drink a protein shake for my vitamins instead of picking up 'healthy' indulgences at the grocery store. With that in mind, as I'm posting early Monday morning: Goal 1: 0/1 Goal 2: 1/1 Bosses: 0/5 Goal 3: 0/1 Aw, look, it's not as bad as it was last time. I can only imagine how well it'll go!
  9. Kishi

    Kishi Says Relax

    Oh right these things start on Sunday now So! Hello again everyone. Hope things have been awesome. I spent the past couple weeks just chilling and not making a topic because I didn't really know what I wanted to do. Or, I knew, but I didn't know how to articulate it. Mostly, I've just been watching myself and seeing what works and what doesn't, what is right and what is wrong, and simply striving see things w/o any sense of judgment. I've made the terrible but necessary decision to suspend TGUs for a while because I can't find a way to do them that doesn't bugger up my elbow. Oh, to be clear, I've really refined the movement a lot in terms of how I load and unload the bell onto my body - the arm I pull with and how I let it fall off of me - but like I said. Anyway I do it causes the golfer's elbow to get upset. So, I have to let the loaded version go for a bit in favor of the shod version (read: doing it with a shoe to keep the mechanics I've learned integrated in the system). Because frankly there's value in that. Elements of the TGU show up in newaza, and there's no reason not to keep practicing how to get up off the ground. Interestingly, I've found that after refreshing myself on how to do inverted rows in the GB style that it made my elbow feel better. It's probably something to do with the fact that I'm only doing it once a week and allow for loads and loads of rest in the meantime. The only way I was able to learn all this was to relax my grip on what I thought I had to do and to be honest with what was helpful to me and what wasn't. So, the theme of this challenge is to simply relax into my life and let happen what will. GOAL 1: MODIFIED S&S I can still swing. That's good news. I've concluded that this ability to swing is what's really made me into a beast that can go from strength work to fighting work to running work to helping someone move without any real trouble. I'm still on track to go for the 88, because there's no reason not to unless I hurt myself. The only catch is, I can't do TGUs with any weight right now. So, modify it. Goal is to take steps toward 100 swings in a row w/ the 70. Once I can do that, then move on to the 88. In the meantime, keep practicing those good mechanics w/ TGUs - pull with the opposite arm, keep the loaded arm socketed in the shoulder, and let the bell shoe slide off when I unload. GOAL 2: SATURDAY I've been going to the dojo pretty consistently and I've got a feel for how things work there. Now I know that if I want to go to randori, I'm going to have to hit up Saturday classes. This is not so bad, but I've a tendency to squander that day. But there's more going on than just judo. Work has offered overtime as well, meaning I can hit time and a half. That's not insignificant and I can make a big dent in my caseload if the building is open. The only way I can take advantage of either of these is if I get the eff up on Saturday mornings and don't stay up late. And to be frank about it, there's no percentage in it anyway. Going to bed earlier just makes me more rested and happier with life in general. The goal is to get to bed at the normal bedtime - somewhere between 2300 and midnight if not earlier - and to be constructive with my time. GOAL 3: CLEAN I let my foot off the gas with this goal. Need to put it back on. Get that last corner cleaned up. There's no need for that stuff to be there. And then... gulp. The storage unit. Dad's been hinting at me that I need to get that cleaned up anyway, so. GOAL 4: WRITE AND LEARN Duolingo put in a Japanese mod. I'm so freaking stoked. Study on casual 5 minutes a day. Also, need to keep working on the story and writing scenes. One a day. No excuses. GOAL 5: PLAY THIS FREAKING GAEM Okay, so. I got into this game. It's called Cross Code. It's really, really good. Think Seiken Densetsu/Secret of Mana IN SPACE, with a physics engine to boot. Oh, and I don't know if you can tell from the trailer but it's Dark Souls-hard. I'm not kidding. Reviewers have noted the exact same thing. The combat revolves a lot around noticing enemy tells and countering them proper, but that's not easy when you're swarmed with enemies and they all have different tells. But it's a game, and I enjoy it. I want to find some time each week to keep playing it. Even if it's in beta and unfinished right now. It's that good. And... yeah. That about does it for me this time around. Let's go to work.
  10. Kishi

    Kishi Says Empty

    The struggle is real. The struggle is real, and it continues. But what is life without it? So the theme of this challenge is something @Kyellan said, about emptying the cup of oneself that one approaches an art with. During that time, I could feel a lot of ego trying to come up in me, and that's something that's come up in me before, to my detriment. I need to throw that away and be willing to learn, because I'm beginning to think that good movement is good movement and that really the arts are just ways to bridge the various places where one moves. From strike to clash. From clash to clinch. From clinch to throw, and all the permutations thereof. Here's why. Remember when I said last challenge that I was going to change up my lifts and such like that? Try to make more time for martial arts? Well, it worked! After a fashion. Last night I went and practiced my lifts and did the things that I wanted to do. I even added in some plyometrics at the start to warm up the CNS for this kind of work, and it turned out great. It feels perfect, actually. And I finished with so much time to spare that I actually decided to go off and do Kali last night. (turns out it actually is full blown Kali). And it was fun. No real randori to speak of, but as a movement and flow discipline it's a lot of fun. After discussing some theories of movement and such, he put me to work with a drill where I had a stick and a bolo knife (practice knife, of course, not the real thing) and flowing into cuts and control on a staff held to resemble sugar cane. The clack and shing of metal and wood clashing against each other... it was awesome. I was shit at it. BUT IT WAS AWESOME. But the best part about it, to me, was that he wanted to find ways in which Kali could work with kickboxing (which is basically what I do. Kenkojuku-lineage Shotokan, but it's basically kickboxing) and with judo. One of the judo brownbelts practices with this guy and it's apparently made his judo just... sick broken. I actually got to see them practice it. Essentially, it's a very hyper aggressive form of grip fighting. In judo, you fight for grip on the sleeve and lapel of the judogi. When you mix kali into that, your approach is such that you don't necessarily need the lapel anymore. You make a trade instead for an aggressive sleeve grip - wrist and elbow as opposed to elbow and shoulder. If you apply leverage and footwork in the right ways, the result is apparently a kuzushi - unbalancing - that is so radically different from what orthodox judo does that you can execute a throw before the other guy even knows what's going on. As far as kickboxing is concerned, I think it would ultimately work in terms of training the concept of getting off the opponent's center line and staying a step ahead in your timing. Also, in the clash - being ready to punch and kick and apply leverage as opposed to just trying to go and smother on a clinch. Mind, I don't know how well it would translate. He's about being quick and letting a knife do his cutting as opposed to generating lots of force, and we're kind of the polar opposite of that. But I think there's value in it and it's worth trying to find some bridges. Here is how I will attempt to put myself into positions necessitating an empty cup: GOAL 1: MANAGE MY WEEKEND BEDTIMES I thought that if I got more sleep during the week, this would translate into a need for less sleep during the weekend. This has proven wrong. I stayed up late again and slept through judo again. So, that confirms it. I need to get to bed early enough on Friday nights that I don't have the excuse of staying up late. Truthfully, in a lot of ways this could be challenge enough on its own. It's just one day a week, but making this work is going to require a lot. If I lift on Fridays and then do kali afterward, that's going to mean getting a lot of food in a very short period of time. I honestly don't know what approach is going to work here. Batch cooking won't work because the only day I have to do that is Sunday and all the food will basically have expired by the time I get to Friday. Chipotle could work, but it'd be pretty pricey too. Also, it's a lot of sodium, and I'm kind of growing suspicious of it. I could stick some chicken breasts in the microwave after thawing overnight, I guess, which might wind up being the solution to all this. I dunno. Gotta keep playing with this. GOAL 2: MANAGE MY PAIN I have pain in my left elbow, right shoulder, and my lower back. The good news is that they are responding to treatment. The left elbow is finally, finally starting to relax. My right shoulder stopped hurting this week. The lower back is new, but GB came to the rescue by forcing me to confront myself with the fact that I bit off more than I could chew with the SL progressions. Weighted Russian Twists are just too much for me right now, and the prescribed integrated mobility doesn't work for me. Fortunately, I'm not alone in this. I just tried out one of the forum solutions to the problem and my back pain almost completely resolved. I'm... really happy about this. I was afraid I'd have to indulge my ADD again, or worse, be stubborn and try to soldier through it. But yeah, mostly this goal is about emptying my cup of my training ego and to be mindful and listen to my body. To take my time and build well. If that makes any sense. GOAL 3: PLAN This is in reference to my writing. I'm at the point now where I'm writing scenes out, but I'm pretty arrogant about how this kind of thing works for me. I'm used to planning out chapters in fanfic style where you can build this episodic approach into things. It's not exactly how it's done in novels, though. There's a definite aspect of scene to scene to scene, each of them meant to build toward something. It's a different approach, and I need to be willing to try new ways to get there while at the same time acknowledging that it might take a while and that I might need some help. Beyond that, though, I want to plan out at least one scene a day. More is permissible. Less is inexcusable. GOAL 4: CLEAN Taking my time with the cleaning is making it happen, but that doesn't mean it's done. Keep going. ... And, that should do it. Cool. Let's empty our cups that they may be filled again.
  11. Kishi

    Kishi Says Balance

    Still reeling from my Feelings on this game. So, that's the theme music. Deal with it. So, basically, I've been struggling with balance. Sleep and food and weights and martial arts. It's a lot of fun, but the truth is, I want to skew more toward martial arts. And, looking down the line, one other thing that I'm going to want to do is to get into flexibility training. Right now, there's no way that the current schedule is going to let that happen. Also, I'm about as heavy as I was back in high school, and it's not muscle that's making the difference. I want to fix that. I looked into all the various things I'm doing, and I've realized that there is a way to do it, but it's going to involve a pretty radical shift. It's going to involve stepping off of Leangains, setting my own calories and macros, adjusting 5/3/1 to 2x/week, and adjusting GB to fit that, as well as making sure that I get enough sleep. Fortunately, this isn't even remotely impossible. I remember the past experiments and what they've taught me. And I think I can do it. To be clear, it's gonna be tough. But I spent most of last night hyped up on the idea and brushing up on the things that I think I know. I think I can make this work. But it's going to involve a lot of discipline and some effort on the front end as I adjust the things. But I genuinely think there are rewards to be gained from trying this. I think I'll be able to do Judo on Wednesdays again, and the habit of going back there will make further training possible. I also think I'll be able to avoid the wait at the... weight... racks, and just be able to focus on going out and kicking butt and taking names. And hey, who knows? I might just be able to finally find my way to the not-Kali that we offer at the dojo. And maybe even getting this writing ish figured out too. So. Here are the goals. They're training goals... except they're life goals too. Hooo boy. GOAL 1: HOMEBREWED INTERMITTENT FASTING Caloric average set at 1950. Macros adjusted to suit, based on past experimentation that has shown me what my body responds to. GOAL 2: PRACTICE Monday: Rest Tuesday: KB snatches/GB(SLS) and Karate Wednesday: GB(Core) and Judo Thursday: S&S/GB(Upper Body) and Karate Friday: 5/3/1 BP and DL Saturday: S&S/GB(Handstand) Sunday: 5/3/1 Squat and OHP Now, this looks like a lot. And that's because it is, in fact, a lot. But it's not as much as it looks like. Most of this is actually over and done with pretty fast - anywhere from 5-20 minutes. The stuff that takes longer is slated to take place on days when the time should exist for those things to be done with their due diligence. These adjustments have been made based on my observations of the gym's peak times as well - Wednesday is a stupid-busy time to do barbell training, for instance, so compensate by doing something quick that doesn't require any equipment at all. By contrast, Friday and Sunday are relatively dead times, and I've never had trouble getting a rack on those days. I also think that doing 5/3/1 twice per week feels more Soviet anyway. Wendler says that there's no need to do deloads unless "you need to" and that frees me to wave my training up or down based on the input that my body is giving me. Honestly, the trickiest part about this is the nutritional aspect. I've stacked it so that I have a lot of lower calorie days, with Friday and Sunday being the days for lots of calories. It's not as crazy as it sounds, though - work loves to feed me, coworkers love to feed me, fam loves to feed me, and there is food everywhere. Honestly, it's pretty rare for me to have a week go by the way I plan it, so I've basically planned for it to go sideways. BRING IT. GOAL 3: CLEANLINESS Get the room cleaned up. Get the gi taken care of. Get the extra clothes gone. Get some frickin' sleep. (what. sleep hygiene is a thing). With the sleep in particular, I want to make a point of getting down to bed before midnight on the weekends. I just don't gain anything by being up that late, but I do lose a lot of time and momentum. GOAL 4: WRITE So, hey guys, writing characters is actually forcing me to think and dig into my story and it's making me better. But, I'm still struggling with consistency. Like always. So, we're going to make this stupid-easy - just work on one character every day. It can be the same character if it has to be, but Always Be Character...ing? Welcome to English, where everything's made up and the grammar don't matter. And with that, we enter into what might be the strangest adventure yet.
  12. Kishi

    Kishi Says Clean

    It's fun to do music in my challenges again. I missed it. So, gonna keep this short and simple because I've started parts of it and I'm on a short amount of time. Yes, time. I was staring at my schedule - all the things that I wanted to do and want to do still - and it finally occurred to me: life would just be easier with more daytime in it. And the way that happens is to go to bed earlier. But it's not just about going to bed earlier. The truth is, a lot of my life is messy. I'm thinking about that a lot I guess because, well, my bro and I are looking at moving out of the parent's place. Yup, that's right. Now that Dad's back to dying as slowly as we can ask him to, it's feeling a little crowded under this roof. He, I, and a third roommate are looking at places where we might want to live where the rent doesn't suck. And I want to leave this place as well as I can. That'll be a lot easier if I clean my end of things up more. So. Clean time, clean house. Let's get to it. GOAL 1: CLEAN UP MY TIME - BED BY 11 GOAL 2: CLEAN UP MY SPACE - ONE WALL OF MY ROOM EACH WEEK GOAL 3: CLEAN UP MY GUT - ONE SERVING OF SAUERKRAUT A WEEK GOAL 4: CLEAN UP MY CATALOG - FINISH UNDERTALE TO MAKE ROOM FOR ME: ANDROMEDA Bonus-That-Isn't: 4 written pages a week. And with that, we're off to the races.
  13. Kishi

    Kishi Says Run

    Hi guys! So, it happened like clockwork, just like I said it would - the fat loss stalled out on 02/11. That was kind of weird. Knowing my body as well as I do, being able to have it down to the day. Wasn't quite prepared for that. So now I need to figure out what to do next. I could lower the calories, but the yield on that is going to be comparatively small at this point. I don't have a lot of reason to do something like that. But I still want to cut. The temptation is to attempt recomp, but everything I've ever seen about that assumes a specific training modality to go with it, and that's not me anymore. So, I don't think a traditional recomp is in the books for me. Instead, I'm going to try something different. Once, a long, long time ago, I tried my hand at Leangains. This is the father of most IF protocols that you see being bandied about in the fitness world these days (with Pilon's Eat Stop Eat being the granddaddy). I didn't stick with it because it didn't work because I didn't understand a lot about what it takes to make most nutritional protocols work. And interestingly, the cutting protocol would still wind up being more calories than I normally take in anyway, which I suspect is where I need to direct my efforts next. So, you know. Maybe do that and see what happens. There's a bunch of other stuff too. I need to fix some problems with my body, and the dojo's moving. There will be more training opportunities, and the more time I can spend on the mats, the better off I'll be. I'm going to have to account for that. I want to be the best martial artist I can be, but I also need to be the best me I can be for the people in my life who need me. In addition to promotion being somewhere in the cards this year, I've been challenged to participate in the TSC coming up in a couple of months, and the Dragon OCR coming up after that. One other rub as well, and probably the most significant as far as the year's Epic Quest is concerned. I need to honestly assess my finances and determine whether or not I need to pursue alternative income in addition to what I'm bringing in now. On paper, I'm making a lot more money than I was, and I'll admit I've got a lot more breathing room than I previously had. But in practice, a lot of what I make goes to taxes and benefits, and taking up my car payment in addition to putting away for savings and paying my folks for what living space isn't exactly making things easier. Why would I need more income? Because the goal is to free myself before the year is out. Right now, I'm thinking I might be ahead $150 to $200 a month, and that's not gonna work. I could probably cut back on the quality of food and such like that, but truthfully, that's not a cut I'm willing to make, and I don't know what else I can cut that I'm willing to. (I don't need a gym membership. I don't need to eat well. But, well, I make my choices and I'm willing to live with the consequences). Fwah. Okay. So. I need to get stronger, run farther, fight better, acquire currency, and not get sick no matter what. Because the world needs the best of all of us, and even me. Piece of cake. Goal 1: GAIN LEANLY Basically, Leangains is a super-flexbible IIFYM diet that focuses on intermittent fasting and maximizing whatever metabolic processes are engaged on any particular day. The temptation to misuse this flexibility is awful. Goal is 90% adherence to macros on any given day, and to not get so bent out of shape when I get invited to eat outside of my chosen eating window. Goal 2: RUN Running doesn't suck. Since the goal is to get better at distance, I will take up the 100m-800m run protocol as listed in this article. I can use the treadmill at the gym for this - I no longer subscribe to earlier statements I made about losing hamstring strength. I already know I can do 100m at 12 mph, and could probably do it faster if the damn thing could keep up with me. Goal 3: SNATCH The goal is to get to the point where I can do snatches for five minutes straight. Most of what I've got to play with as far as KBs go mean getting good w/ the 24kg, but... I don't know whether to go for the Novice or for the Open divisions. (Novice is 5 minutes w/ 20kg versus the Open's 24). Either way, I need to get good with the 24, and I need to get to a point where I can snatch continuously for time rather than treat it as power work. I miss my hang cleans. Goal 4: WRITE AND EDIT I think that whatever path I take to acquiring extra currency, it's going to involve doing things that I do already. Bump up the writing to 4 pages and figure out (and take) what steps are necessary to freelance as an editor. Okay. Okay. Here we go.
  14. So, the idea after last challenge was to celebrate New Years and come on strong here in the new year. I had every reason to believe I would. The training was fun, molding itself around what I wanted it to be, and I was pushing hard and everything was great. And then last Monday I got a scratchiness in my throat. It spread from there and it's only now really on its way out. I've followed Sickness Protocols, which means no training if it makes your symptoms worse. Well, shock and awe, training did. Even yoga did, although that might have been a case of the wrong yoga for the situation. Wrong medicine, etc. Anyway, the past week's been kind of slow and boring as these things go. I'm honestly feeling kind of stir-crazy, raring to go back to work, which is better than the alternative I guess. Not exactly the start I wanted to the year, but it's not about how you start. The big goal for this year is... ulp, financial. I'm finally in a position to start attacking this thing that's been around my neck for years. With that freedom... man, I dunno what I'd do. What a wonderful problem to have to solve. Of course, can't attack the whole thing in one challenge. This is gonna take a while, and TBH I don't know if I'm going to get the whole thing done or not. But any steps taken are better than no steps taken. Here are the goals for this month: GOAL 1: DON'T GET HURT Not training for a week has been good for one thing - that golfer's elbow is pretty much resolved. I want it to stay resolved. Especially given that my training has shifted over to this practice-based thing. I've been thinking a lot about training and pain and strain and injury and how all of that ties together, and basically there are some places in the body that need to feel something, and there are some places in the body that need to not feel something. I really need to be mindful and get the difference, understand where a sensation is coming from and what it might mean. On those lines... GOAL 2: SLEEEEEEEEEEEEEP Yeah, this has to happen more. I think part of the reason I got sick is that I just got wore down. My sleep schedule is a mess, if I'm honest: I get 6-7 hours when I need 7-9, and I freak out if I try to get more - my body wakes up crazy early if I try to do more, like I'm afraid that I'm going to miss out or something. Goal is to have the screen off by 2245 every night. I don't need the distraction of this thing to keep me awake, and I could be way more efficient than I've been. GOAL 3: WRITE One page a day. I need to do more than what I've been doing. No real blurbs or anything, but yeah. GOAL 4: LINE UP FINANCES So I've got the money going out to all the places. Now the goal is to consolidate as many of them as I can, so that they come out on the same day. I want as few surprises looming in the wings for me as I can manage. I have a feeling life will throw enough of those at me without my leaving myself open for them. By the end of the challenge, the goal is to have as many of my bills coming out at the same time of the month as possible, that time being the 1st of the month. And... that's the game this time. Okay. Let's see what happens.
  15. wulf56

    Wulf56 Round 2

    A little late to posting my round 2 challenge, but ive atleast been keeping up the training and eating so. This challenge will be based on mixing it up. I have a nasty habit of doing the same workout over and over until i become stagnant and plateau. Last challenge i did good with my diet and training regularly but now its time to go to the next level. Ive been on a dragon ball kick here lately so ill theme this around dragon ball super to keep me motivated. Diet Eat a vegetable with one meal every day keeping cheat food to only one cheat meal a week. Fitness Mix up my work outs to keep myself working hard every time and not become stagnant. Do at least 1 lower back exercise with each work out. Level Up Your Life Read atleast one chapter or section of a scholarly book or journal each day. post on here more
  16. "But Kishi, aren't you doing themed challenges?" Well, I'm still working through the WOT, but like I said, theming it was getting pretty thin. And since I'm still working my way through book 6, well, I didn't think it made a lot of sense to worry too much. I suspect that going forward, I'm going to have to let that sink into the background of things. Anyway. I'll have to post some Righteous Santa Justice or something once I'm at a computer that lets me do that. So. I went to give blood on Monday. Giving blood is a good thing to do - it burns calories, regulates iron, and oh yeah it saves lives maybe. It's also useful as a pseudophysical, which when I didn't have insurance was pretty great. And for the most part, the numbers came back awesome - pulse was a touch higher, but that's to be expected given that I have a sedentary job now. But that perfect blood pressure, tho. But then it got interesting when it came time to take my temperature. I clocked in low 97. Why is that interesting? Because a lowered temperature is a sign of a depressed metabolism. It wasn't something I'd ever really noticed before, but after seeing some of the discussions here on the board, I've begun watching that in myself. I was suspicious before: the fact that I couldn't stop being cold up in Boston wasn't just my delicate Southern constitution, and I've noticed that my internal temperature shifts depending on how much I've eaten. Even having taken to eating more, I've noticed that I'm hungry in the mornings, and three hours after I've woken up my hands are back to being cold again. How do you fix that? Well, barring some kind of medical intervention, your best bet or so I've heard is to eat more. A lot more. But I'm still not lean enough for it to make sense to pursue the fabled Dirty Bulk. No, no. We're not doing that. Instead, we're going to keep it clean and Low Carb, except for training days. The training, for its part, is going to have to be adjusted somewhat as well. I'm going to put this energy to work. Don't worry, though, I'm not talking about hopping on a treadmill or something like that. Everything is deliberate. And since I insist on being a socially normal person, I suppose Da Cheatz will come as they do. Goal 1: EAT ALL THE THINGS I'm not really exaggerating on this. The recommendation I got is to take maintenance and add 300 calories to it. Combined with my tendency to modulate my eating based on what I've done that day... oooooh. I'll be over 3000 calories on training days, man. Bring on the almond butter. And extra guac, and beef. No real carbs, though, not beyond some fruit periworkout and some beans at dinner. This will be tough. Low carb high calorie is expensive. In order to do that, I'm going to have to win the time to batch cook in the kitchen, when nobody else is using it. Spoilers: between my brother who is on bulk and my parents who cook at home, there is always someone using it. Haha, dammit. Okay. They don't call these Challenges for nothing. Goal 2: TRAIN HARD Well, if I'm going to take in all this energy, I might as well put it to work. I'm going to up the rep ranges some - from 5 to 8. No RPT work this time. I just want to lift heavy. Rucking will continue. Finishers, provided that the rest of the session has gone according to plan, will be reintroduced. I just got my first taste of a Versaclimber on Sunday, and... it's terrible. It's like a Stairclimber on steroids. Can't wait for next time. Beyond that, though, I think I want to build Finishers around crawls and carries as well, and I think I know how to do it. Goal 3: WRITE ON I need to find a way to keep my writing habit going. NaNoWriMo is always good for starting it, but I don't seem to stick out long past that. I end up getting distracted by side projects and such like that. But this year is different, on account of the fact that 1) I like the project I'm working on, and 2) I'm not desperate to submit things, since I have a good job now. There's no need for me to be distracted now, beyond the pull of the day to day. Goal 4: DO WORK SON I may be up for a raise at the end of the month. That's going to depend on my evaluation. That's going to depend on my work. Best get to it.
  17. wulf56

    Wulf56 Debut

    First time on here. Looking for some extra motivation. Ive been training martial arts for over 4 years and strength training for longer. I keep falling in and out of motivation to keep it all up. My goal is to lose atleast 5 lbs this month, Move up to the next stage in my current strength training program, and be better about keeping up with my diet all so i can greatly improve my skills as a martial artist. Kind of a simple post but i dont usually do the whole forum thing. I appreciate any and all motivation. Thanks everyone! Diet (pick two) Eat a vegetable with one meal every day Cut out Fast Food Fitness (pick one) Complete the NF bodyweight workout at least 1x a week Level Up Your Life (Pick One). Say one positive thing to yourself each morning when you look in the mirror
  18. The lions sing and the hills take flight. The moon by day, and the sun by night. Blind woman, deaf man, jackdaw fool. Let the Lord of Chaos rule. Aiyaa. I must hate myself. There's 47 different POV characters in this book, and the prologue is 30K words. But, lots of cool things happen here. Can't deny that. Anyway, the month's work is cut out for me. NaNoWriMo is up in about a week, and I got a GoRuck to perform. We're coming down to the wire in terms of how prepared we're going to be for that (and by we, I mean me. I'm sure @RisenPhoenix has this in hand). So, let's set the pieces on the board. One more dance along the razor's edge finished. Almost dead yesterday, maybe dead tomorrow, but alive, gloriously alive, today. Rand is an appropriate training stand-in again. He winds up wanting to build a school for men who can Channel, which is a thing not seen for thousands of years since the men who can do magic in this setting wind up going wildly, destructively mad. Still, his rationale makes sense - if the world's going to end soon, nobody's gonna live long enough for that to happen, and he might as well face it with as many allies as he can make. Fortunately, my circumstances are far less severe. But training is training, so training I shall do. We are going to tickle some Aes Sedai under the chin, rescue a mule, and put a snip-nosed girl on the Lion Throne. Oh, yes. That’s Aviendha. Don’t look at her crosswise, or she’ll try to cut your throat and probably slit her own by mistake. Two quotes for this guy? I didn't mean to, but the picture's too good and the cropped version of it is through the Wiki just doesn't play nicely with the code here. But it's appropriate anyway. Mat is the Writing Goal for this challenge. Yes. This is because he is going to tell a big story that's going to be very important toward the end of everything. And he can't stop talking. I cannot tell you the weather will be what it should tomorrow. I can tell you that Perrin and I will do what needs to be done, whatever can be done. And I don’t need to tell you that you will take what each day brings, whatever it is, and be ready to face the next. That is the kind of people the Two Rivers breeds. That is who you are. So, I've been dillydallying about with my money, which I shouldn't have been on account of the fact that this money has purpose and reason. I need to fix that. I have the tools I need to set it all up so that everything comes out automatically, without me having to even think of it. I have my savings account set, and my car payment set. But I still need to arrange my student loans, which means I have a few different difficult phone calls to make, as well as getting my credit card set up to be paid for. It feels like a difficult thing to do because it feels like what I'm doing is signing away a lot of money... but it's not that bad. And that's the point of it anyway. Student loans and credit card. Three lines I need to set up. One per week. That should do it. And while I'm at it, let's see if I can get some of the extra things coming out to not come out anymore. What is too absurd to believe is believed because it is too absurd to be a lie. Egwene Al'Vere is a young woman who once thought she would marry Rand. That didn't turn out to be true. There were much bigger things for her than that. Anyway, she's the reading goal. Which feels small - she's a real badass, actually - but then I remember what I'm reading, and suddenly I can live with it. 0 Week to warm up and we'll go from there.
  19. With his coming are the dread fires born again. The hills burn, and the land turns sere. The tides of men run out, and the hours dwindle. The wall is pierced, and the veil of parting raised. Storms rumble beyond the horizon, and the fires of heaven purge the earth. There is no salvation without destruction, no hope this side of death. It's such a happy story. Did I mention that? Just, this amazing, joyous thing. You'll want to dance after you read this. Anyway, things are not getting any easier for our heroes. Rand, having survived and been marked by his time in the Wastes returns to the west with an unstoppable army at his back. He sees his enemies, and he must stand against them. Let's get our game faces on. "Do you finally begin to trust me?" "I trust you like a brother. Until the day you betray me. You have a parole for what you have done, in return for your teaching, and a better bargain than you deserve, but the day you turn against me, I will tear it up and bury it with you." Rand is the catch-all for my training this time around. I am presently training with a mind toward building muscle, to take advantage of eating at maintenance and giving my body a break. I don't know if that'll last to the end of the challenge - if I find that I've put on too much bad weight to come with the good, I'll switch back to cutting, and my training will switch to reflect that. But as I mentioned to the Giant who has stopped in to see me, training to take advantage of the amount of food I'm eating now is a lot of fun. Beyond that, though, this challenge is going to be mostly about cementing myself around the new schedule and the commitments I have and figuring out just what I can get away with now. Holding your ground is not the same as going backwards. Everything always changes. The best plan lasts until the first arrow leaves the bow. If that sounds kind of like Napoleon or something, well, that's kind of on purpose. Mat accidentally'd his way into taking a level in badass last book. He survived something way back in book 1/2, and even though he was healed in 3, it left him with some holes in his memory that he was never okay with. He wanted those holes filled up. He was not specific with the right people as to how that would happen. Mat has a funny way of finding himself in the most chaotic places and situations. It honestly reminds me very much of my job. I want to do better at it, and I have a very concrete way of figuring out how to do that. I want to focus on working cases in the following order - priority cases, opening the new cases, developing the old cases. This is a set of numbers that's probably going to change as time goes by, because it's kind of chaotic. I will set a baseline of working the three priority cases I have now and completing opening procedures on the three cases that I will be assigned that follow, for a total of at least 6 cases per day. Beyond that, I'd like to touch on at least the five oldest cases in my queue, for a total of 11 cases per day. This may or may not be a realistic thing - it can be a lot to work on any given case, given what evidence has come in, what you have to do to reach claimants, to say nothing of the other behind-the-scenes stuff. Also, given the rather personal nature of these things, I'm afraid I'm going to have to be kind of vague in terms of talking about it. I won't be able to give you much more beyond what I've done. It's all I have to give, guys; sorry for that. If you must drown or ride a lionfish, you ride and hope for the best. Siuan Sanche is a hard woman who's made a lot of hard choices to be who she is and where she was. The former Amyrlin has been deposed, and is forced to make of her life what she can. I'm kind of torn between making a goal of not being late to anything and making a goal of getting through Deskbound. The latter wins out in the end for me because being a professional about things just seems like a very poor goal to think about. Of course I'm going to be on time for things - I have a grown-up job now. Being late is becoming foreign to me. But what is becoming familiar is a chair. That is unavoidable at this time. Maybe, eventually, I can do a standing desk, but at this stage it doesn't make much sense to ruffle feathers. So, I will make do with what I have. Get through Deskbound, run assessments, apply. "I mean to deal with the world as I find the world, for as long as I can." Why, yes, that is Moiraine again. And yes, those are portentious colors for a portrait, as if something terrible is about to happen to her. You shouldn't read anything into that. She is still seeking after stories, still writing, even as the world marches toward Tarmon Gaidon. She's a believer in a cause, marching toward something that she can barely see. Rand by this point sees her as a manipulator, someone trying to pull his strings for the White Tower, and this is true. But though she's sacrificed much, she never does so with thought to herself and what she might have wanted. She's a hard character to like, but she's just as hard to dislike when you see who she is and what she does. And why. And the things that she dares to do as a result of her sense of purpose and what she's trying to do... she's really incredible. Anyway, the reading and writing goal goes here. Time to take the week and see how it plays. Cool. Let's go.
  20. Hey there, guys. Remember that last challenge? I do. It was great. I didn't show up to put a proper end to it, but the gist is that I kept up my training, ate well, passed the test, kept the job, got to double digits on pull ups, fixed my knee, and botched my writing goal in the process. And, as if that wasn't enough fun, one morning, I woke up, got out of bed and got a real bad case of dizziness for my trouble, which didn't go away until I ate something. I think that's a sign that I've burned the candle down even farther than I thought, and that's not ideal. We got to fix that. No more about morning routines and esoterica. Back to basics - eating well, sleeping well. There'll be plenty of time to get a morning routine again when I get to an actual unit and start on a standard schedule. Up at 0600, work at 0900? Oh yeah. But 'til then... Anyway. We get to some of my favorite fictional badasses in this book. That's right. The Aiel. Fighting Irish meets Native Americans meets Zulus. These are hard, hard people, who will run 20 miles and fight a battle at the end of it, and they will make it look like dancing. You will not find fiercer friends or more implacable enemies. And frankly, I think they're cool enough that I can give the Big 3 a break. Sleep More I've been getting by on less and less sleep, and the authors who romanticize that crap clearly never did it for a living. Goal is 7-9 hours per night, and cutting back the morning routine when necessary to make this happen. Eat More (and better) I... cleaned out my junk food again. Except for the Arctic Zero and Halo Top ice creams, which it turns out are right in the freaking Kroger just around the corner, and not just in Whole Foods all the way away from me. Yes, even the Arctic Zeros are good, if you can find the ones that are 300 calories or so in the pint. Those actually have some flavor to them. I know, right. Anyway, I refigured my caloric intake so that I'm averaging 1800 or so, as opposed to the 1650 I was averaging before. Have I ever mentioned how happy a problem it is to learn that I'm going to have to eat more rice and fattier grass-fed meat? It's true. Train More This is going to be a trickier one to manage until the end of this month. I'm not really wanting to do much more at this point so much as I'm wanting to wave S&S up a bit. So, basically, keep every thing else up, and just go from 2 S&S sessions to 3 per week. My back's loving this load so far - that near-perpetual tightness has finally released, thanks to a fairly steady application of divebomber push ups (another experiment in anti-frailty that's been fun). I think I'm ready to take a step forward and plant myself again. Once the month is over and I'm reassigned to something with reasonable hours... I think I'm going to go back to judo officially. Sensei's been going back to the original dojo, and if I can swing the sleep, I think it'd be a good investment. The only trick to it is, if I keep up with IF, I'd have to manage another day of low food. And while I can make the math work, I just don't know what that's going to do to me. Write Reading and writing. I got a thing I'm working on. I finished Guards, Guards! before I started again (thanks, @sarakingdom!) and the story shows some evidence of influence already. A friend of mine's got me listening to China Mieville as well - he was dismayed when I mentioned I was going through the Wheel of Time and said I needed something good to balance it out. Bastard. But I like how it's shifting my tone, so I'll run with it. I'm going to try to creep my way back to being a part of things around here, now that the worst is behind. But sleep and challenge have to come first. But dammitall, I miss my Nerds. I wanna be back here too.
  21. The Dragon Reborn—the leader long prophesied who will save the world, but in the saving destroy it; the savior who will run mad and kill all those dearest to him—is on the run from his destiny. Two guesses as to whether he succeeds or not. I sorta dropped off the face of the earth last challenge. I didn't mean to, but... yeah. The job isn't really brutal, but the hours are, and I haven't been good about getting around to you all like I wish I had. Still, things are being adjusted. I unfortunately find myself in a place between talking about the challenge and doing the challenge; unfortunately, that only ends one way. And so much has happened, just in the past week! I managed to hit the Simple requirements - 100 one-arm kettlebell swings and 10 TGUs at 70 pounds in 15:10. I swung the 53-pounder 200 times without dropping it. And then today, I managed to do clapping pull ups for the first time! What a week it's been. Makes me suspicious - like sickness is hiding somewhere in the facade of my health. And yet, here I stand on the other side of these things. I do not feel weak at all. In fact, despite the lack of sleep, it all feels mental. Put me under the bar or in the ring and the body functions just fine. I suspect it's because I've been eating a lot better lately - more food and higher quality. Good stuff. It's bearing me up. And also the fact that I spend all day sitting as opposed to intermittently lifting things. "Do you have dreams when you sleep?" Rand is having a hard time having just signed up for the whole Doomed Savior of the World bit. It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it. But he decides he needs to test the prophecies concerning the Dragon Reborn in one last desperate try to not be the person the Creator has decreed he must be. Like Rand, I have tests that I must pass. Passing means I did better than an 80 on both of them. DDS's idea, not mine. But to hell with it - I'll take the pass. Rand's goal is about getting to work, doing the assignments and making sure that the grades are good enough every day. "A bloody hero. Thom, if I ever look like acting the hero again, you kick me." "And what would you have done differently?" "Just kick me!" So yeah, the picture from last challenge actually takes place in this book. I forgot. Oops. Still, he's all about hard living, and he's even more about that now that he's had that pesky ailment dealt with. And me, I'm learning how to get my back unwhack and it's changing measurements and playing merry havoc with the data like I knew it would. But the goal here is about staying the course - eating well and fasting and staying in control. I got this. Really. "What is your name? If I have to share this ship with you for days yet, I can't keep calling you girl." "I call myself Mandarb. I will teach you something, farmboy. In the Old Tongue, Mandarb means 'blade'. It is a name worthy of a Hunter of the Horn." "You see that black stallion? His name is Mandarb." Oh, Perrin. You have no idea how much trouble you're about to get in. But it's cool, man. You lift. Training goals are here for this challenge. Til shade is gone, til water is gone Into the shadow with teeth bared Screaming defiance with the last breath To spit in Sightblinder’s eye on the Last Day. Yesssssss. And now we get to meet some of the badasses. They're good characters, yes, but these were the badasses who inspired me in the first place. The Aiel. The Aiel have come out of their desert homeland in search of a story - of He Who Comes With The Dawn (go on and guess who that is. Certainly not the guy who everyone swears looks like an Aiel, that's for sure). And believe it or not, they represent the reading and writing goal this time around. I have a writing challenge up in August - 40K words. With the new job forcing me into a cram session every day, my work is cut out for me. But it's going to be great, I think. I got a lot of world building done and managed to gloss over the cracks in a lot of what I was doing. Now I just need to make some scenes and everything should be good. And that does it I think. I don't know how well I'll do getting around to people this time. But I promise I'll do my best. And now let us commence the next step of the journey.
  22. The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. For centuries, gleemen have told of The Great Hunt of the Horn. Now the Horn itself is found: the Horn of Valere long thought only legend, the Horn which will raise the dead heroes of the ages. And it is stolen. And so we begin. Book II. In which a powerful relic is lost, and a powerful enemy is found. The last challenge went really well. A lot of things that I didn't expect to go right went... well, right. It's a series of facts and such that, to be honest, change a lot of things. I know now that I will be able to afford to travel and do the GoRuck in Boston. I know now that this training has a purpose, and a reason beyond fighting the entropy of long, long sits. And, as one might expect, however, there were complications attached to this - a change in the time I get up, and a change in my schedule, and a change in my training, and as such a change in my diet. In other words, I found something, only to lose a bunch of other things. Not really a big deal, because I can find those things again - I've done it before - but it sure does seem to fit the tone of the book, so here I go. Always something new, always something I didn't expect, and sometimes it isn't horrible. Poor Rand. He learned in the last book that he is a wielder of saidin, the tainted, masculine half of the One Power. He is marked as a doer of sorcerous deeds, doomed to madness and the worst death. But there is more to it than he knows, more than he can even accept... The Rand part of this challenge is to search for the new routine. Once it is found, I must do the new routine. This may sound like something that has a lot of the challenge as a whole wrapped up in it, but the truth is, it's really just about adjusting to a new schedule. Part of that means making the new schedule, and although I have it made up, it's not really complete yet. It will change again in a couple of weeks, once I begin the new job and see what there is to see. At present, mornings are devoted to meditation, prayer, postural practice and stretching, and handstands. I've altered the handstand training so that I'm not doing hollow-body work directly anymore. There's just no time if I mean to do this more days than not, and honestly, getting myself to the point where I'm standing in a perfect handstand will do all the same things anyway. So, what I'm doing at this point is dropping my time back down and bringing myself closer to the wall, to learn to control my kick-up and to get more used to the idea of full body tension as a straight line. Midday work will be about skill practice with the uchikomi, and shadowboxing. Maybe some skipping rope - wouldn't be hard to bring that along, but don't quite know where to fit it. Nighttime is Perrin's problem. I will wager two silver marks to two from each of you that I can beat both of you at once, just the way I said. You can't have fairer odds than that. There are two of you, and one of me, so two to one are fair odds. Mat, of course, has his own problems. He picked up an evil artifact in the last book, and it is slowly killing him. The good news, though, is that he will lose this dagger and regain his life. The bad news is that his troubles are only getting started. Part of his recovery is that he has to eat. He is surprised at how much he ends up having to eat, how much the Healing of his wounds costs him. Likewise, it is the same with me. I have been stuck at a plateau for the past three months in terms of shedding fat and getting lean, and this has been a function of a mismatch between my body's demands and my meeting them. Fortunately, I am back on familiar ground with me being mostly sedentary again. Unfortunately, I'm me, and I'm always keen to experiment with things. On days when I'm just doing handstands and S&S, I am dropping carbs and calories down low - 50-100g for CHO, about 1650+ total intake. I will be saving my carbs for the end of the day to help me feel full and satisfied. On days when I'm formally training, I will reverse everything - 30-50g of Fat, about 1950 calories for total intake. This is simply for now - if I get hangry, or if I feel like my energy is super-stinkin' low, I reserve the right to adjust. I also refuse to deny myself the pleasures of company - hence me being so low and hard on myself. Just in the past week, I've had three glasses of champagne, homemade BLT, and junk food. Please, please don't be afraid for me. I promise, it is unwarranted. And also I think my mother is going to sabotage me - I mentioned that I wanted to see if I could go lower safely and she said she didn't think I had much left to lose. I assured her that I'm being safe - and I am, really - but I doubt she believes me. Now I get to have that problem that all the other Nerds have when they live at home. Yaaaay. A young wolfhound must meet his first wolf someday, but if the wolf sees him as a puppy, if he acts the puppy, the wolf will surely kill him. The wolfhound must be a wolfhound in the wolf's eyes even more than in his own, if he is to survive. And what to say of Perrin? Poor man. He hears wolves in his thoughts. It wasn't his choice, but whether he likes it or not he too is being dragged along by virtue of who he is in the Pattern. But it's more than that too - he made a vicious axe, and he is strong with it, but it makes him sick inside and he knows not who he is. Perrin's challenge for me is all about iron - every day that I can, I want to be touching the iron. It can be S&S, or it can be strength training, but in either event it is possible to do something every day. It's a very simple, straightforward way of doing things... but that doesn't mean easy. I've stayed with you long enough, Rand. Why would I stop now? You see, I like you. I would like you even if you weren't ta'veren. Maybe I like you despite it. You do seem to get me neck-deep in hot water. In any case, I'm going with you. And I don't think you can really stop me. And at last we come to one of my favorite characters. Loial is an ogier, a gentle giant of the forest. He loves trees and growing things, but he also loves to read. He's traveling with everyone because he wants to see the world, although he didn't get permission to leave home before taking off on this adventure. But in addition to being a kind young man of 90 years, he's also a writer. He wants to chronicle the events as they unfold. He knows that being around people who literally warp reality as they go is bound to change things, and he wants to write that story. You can see where this is going. Read the next book, yes, but also write and work on my own thing. @erosan challenged me in @Starpuck's thread to write a more ethically nuanced take on the themes of Star Wars and like an idiot, I accepted that challenge. Unlike an idiot, I seem to have stumbled on some wonderfully gray ways to explore those ideas and to tie together a bunch of things that I never thought I could into a single project. Read and write. Read and write. ... I think that about does it for this round. As usual, it looks like much, but it is not really. Let the Dragon ride again upon the Winds of Time...
  23. This is working for me right now so I'm going to continue with most of it. Maintenance goals: Judo twice per week as much as possible Stick to budget, track expenditures Walk 70k + steps per week Talk a day/evening off per week to spend at home Get out once/month - ECCE later this month. Guitar - three times per week if possible Sleep Get to bed by midnight on work nights and 1 am on weekend nights. Read or meditate before bed if possible. Relax Read/study/play video games. Enjoy ECCE on the 20th and 21st. Train for the Titan Challenge I registered so now I really need to train :-) Run, visit the outdoor gym at least once per week.
  24. My last challenge did not go well. I didn't care about half of my goals. I think this will go better. Maintenance goals: Judo twice per week as much as possible Stick to budget, track expenditures Walk 70k + steps per week Talk a day/evening off per week to spend at home Get out once/month - probably the tournament in Dieppe on the 24th. Guitar - three times per week if possible Sleep Renew my inhaler prescription and ask for either a third Flovent inhaler or a higher dose. Get to bed by midnight on work nights and 1 am on weekend nights. Read or meditate before bed if possible. Increasing my inhaler use is letting me sleep the night through and I'm generally feeling better. That isn't always the issue but it's working right now. Stupid spring. Do things outside of Work/Judo/Cleaning Book time off for ECCE, after the Titan Challenge/for my birthday, and a week of visiting family or a staycation. Whatever works out. Register a team for the Titan Challenge and hassle the interested to commit. I'm the worst for committing so this should be fine. Registered for ECCE - consider a cosplay. It would make Nax very happy. Additional training session per week - whatever is fun and will prep me for the challenge. Possibly running. Finish some manga/read some books/watch something. Fiction, non-fiction, frivolous, deep. Whatever. Maintain apartment Do dishes every night except Fridays. Tidy each night after dishes. Wash the &%$#ing windows - I even found some tips on making this easier. The landlords are admittedly not doing a great job of providing notification of viewings. There is supposed to be 24 hours of notice. There was 75 min notice once this week, though it was cancelled. Possibly because one of the neighbours said no. No idea. The landlords have taken steps to improve this, the realtor managing the whole thing can now just contact us directly. Still, I'm working on the assumption that people could pop in and view the place at any time. Besides, having the dishes done daily is nice.
  25. My biggest problem isn't that I don't know what I'm doing. It's that I know too much, and in so knowing, forget how little I know. I have a bunch of different programs that all want to work together. But I haven't really done the work of putting them all together properly, and it's been to my detriment in the past. And it's trying to be now. Still, as it's been pointed out to me, I'm wise enough to know when something is working and when it isn't, and there's no shame in making adjustments on the fly. Putting a bunch of pieces together and adjusting quickly as I need to with the aim of building something better? Sounds like Tetris to me. Okay, so. Goal 1: Nighttime Meditations I originally tried to do a program with the idea of switching between various forms of meditation. Parts of it were interchangeable, but, ah. I didn't know which parts. Since I have some time for meditating set aside in the morning, I'm going to use it for shorter exercises. The longer part, the thing I let slip because it didn't belong, was the longer time of stillness which I find that I need. Goal 2: Writing Making writing a goal last time was a good idea. But it's incomplete. I didn't write every day like I wanted to, and I want to break the curse of the five missing days. To spice this up a bit, we're going to move my standards a bit, so that I'm doing more for minimal, nominal, and maximal standards of performance. Goal 3: NO MORE CHEAT DAYS You can't build what you want by just doing what you want. No. You have to make the blocks fit together, earn the spaces and such. This will not be easy, with my folks being prone to celebration at the drop of a hat, but that means all the more reason for me to do my diligence. Goal 4: Condense Training Whether I like it or not, I'm not really going to be in charge of my schedule much longer. So, I have to work with my training to make it fit everything. There's lots of reasons to do this - for starters, the present modifications I've done make for a very lopsided training split; A day is short and B day is long. That bothers me, because I feel like I'm trading efficacy for peace of mind, and that's not what I need. Additionally, I'm finding that the handstand work I tried to cram in doesn't really fit together with the pike presses. It flirts with failure too much, and that bothers me. And in addition to that, I have a very physical job coming up, and I've got to balance what I'm doing out here with the demands of the work there so that I can be effective. On the other hand, though, playing around with fatigue is proving to be just loads of fun. You'll see as we go. Anyway, the name of the game here is to not let any one training session exceed an hour in length. Ideally, bring it down somewhere between 45 and 60 minutes. I will be timing these sessions to double-check myself and make sure that I'm not being too crazy. ... Yeah. Yeah. Okay. This'll work.
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