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  1. Sasquatch Kungfu Since 1985 until.1993 i trained a How Chuen Monkey Kungfu system in the Netherlands under a teacher which name is Fred Decramer. It was a standing tall Monkey system of the Sasquatch or Bigfoot. I did it until a brown belt level and i recently taped things i still knew and remember from that time. Here is the link to the video trailer.of the Sasquatch system: How Chuen Sasquatch Kungfu Video by Douwe Geluk What do you think? I do not know if it is a legit martial art, but Chinese martial arts are many times based on mythical creatures like the phoenix or dragon.
  2. I'll lead off with the good news: I have a baby girl on the way, due in mid-November Wife & I are super excited, and also, you know, terrified. The not-so-good news is that I have several projects around my home that I've been putting off for (ahem), you know, six years or so. It's nothing too time- or labor-intensive, but they are things that need to get done before my daughter arrives! That is a weird sentence. I've got a couple of goals for this challenge. I'll be keeping it simple since I've got plenty to worry about in the rest of my life. GOAL 1: TRACK FOOD I need to go back to tracking 100% of food. I've put on a few stress pounds over the past few months, and I'd prefer them to be gone. It seems the only way to do this is to make sure I'm accountable for my intake, because otherwise I will just eat things and pretend that I didn't. GOAL 2: 10 TRACKED WORKOUTS PER MONTH Whether these are hikes with my dog or walks around the corporate park at work, I need to get 10 tracked & verified workouts in during this time. It's critical for my work health plan. I can track these with MapMyFitness, as that connects directly to the health plan app and auto-synchronizes. GOAL 3: FINISH PROJECT 'ENTRYWAY' My house has a tiled entryway. The walls in this room are light green on top, dark green on bottom, and split right down the middle by a terrible eyesore of farm-scene wallpaper border that is just the worst. I've known that it needed fixing for six years, had a plan for three years, and I'm finally working on making it happen. I have all the materials, at this point it's just time and labor. This needs to be DONE by the end of the challenge. I need to measure & cut the remaining pieces of wooden trim, stain them, and finally install them. It shouldn't be more than 8-10 hours of work, tops. Easily doable inside of this challenge window.
  3. Hung Gar (Hung Ga, Hung Kuen) is the southern branch of Shaolin martial arts, or kung fu. Descended from the lineages of the lost Southern Shaolin Temple, whose existence was long thought to be legendary but was acknowledged by the Chinese government several years ago, Hung Gar traces its lineage to the Hung family tradition in the villages of Southern China. Wong Fei Hung, a Chinese folk hero and historical figure, is widely considered to be the modern 'grandfather' of the style. A multitude of films have been made about the life of Wong Fei Hung, including the Once Upon a Time In China series, starring Jet Li. Due to the unstable and rocky ground conditions in Southern China, Hung Gar's emphasis is on solid, low stances and strong, versatile hand strikes, including the signature tiger's claw. Traditionally, Hung Gar students would train nothing but horse stance for six months, until they could sit in the stance for up to three hours at a time, before being introduced to further techniques. These teaching methods have fallen out of favor, particularly in the West, where modern teachers include a wider variety of beginning instruction in order to capture and keep their students' interest. There are several branches of Hung Gar taught in the world today, as with most other martial arts. Finding a teacher with a strong and acknowledged lineage is key to finding a traditional school teaching true Hung Gar, and not an imitation. The traditional first form of Hung Gar is known as 'Taming the Tiger Fist' or Gung Ji Fok Fu Kuen. [sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hung_Ga Sifu John Fillipon, disciple of Grandmaster Kwon Wing Lam] [placeholder for more information to be added as I discover more to share]
  4. This is kind of an oxymoron theme for a challenge, buuuuut... allow me to explain. I have determined over the past couple of months that I am badly overextended in my day-to-day life. My work responsibilities keep growing (as they say, the reward for good work is more work), I have the potential to attend a Kung Fu or Tai Chi class 4 out of 5 nights per week, I have a weekly game night on my only off-day from the kwoon, and I've recently managed to pack in at least one online gaming session on both Saturday and Sunday, and sometimes more. Add that to the time I want to spend with my wife and dog, and I've pretty much managed to forget that I am, in fact, an INTROVERT. It's no wonder that I've been so exhausted, even after my recovery from the flu was mostly complete. So here's the thing. With part of my yearly bonus, I finally bought a Playstation 4. It's my gift to me for being me. I bought the PS4 pretty much only because I want to experience Bloodborne, a game directly related by blood (haha) to the Dark Souls series. In fact, I suspect it may be a direct successor to Demon's Souls, given that both DeS and BB are Sony exclusives and separate from the rest of the Souls games (but that's a discussion for another time). I've played it for a few hours already, and it's quickly earning a place among my favorite games. For those of you who don't know or haven't played it, Bloodborne is a Gothic/Victorian/Lovecraftian take on the Souls formula. The main character is the Hunter, tasked with cleansing the land of the great Beasts. Not a lot of the story is clear yet to me (and, knowing FROMSoft, it probably won't ever be) but atmospherically and gameplay-wise, tis a beautiful thing. During this challenge I'm going to be focusing on making time for myself. Quiet time. Resting time. Some of which will be spent slaughtering horrible Lovecraftian beasts. Because, frankly, I find it pretty relaxing. I have come to a place of understanding with the Souls games in that death/failure no longer frustrates me nearly as much as it should, because it just means another go and that I need to learn something. I do intend to go back to my Dark Souls 3 challenge at some point, but I can still only use a controller for short periods with my thumb/hand recovering, and so I don't want to commit back to the streaming until it's feeling better. I'll be practicing my Tai Chi. I now have the first 35 movements of the Yang 108 long form, which constitutes the entirety of what my Sifu has decided is a good 'short form'. It is a very good flow and I like it a lot. It makes me feel great to do it. I've found that deep meditation can either help or hurt, depending on the circumstances (some days it's actually more taxing on my brain than it is relaxing) so I'll be doing it sparingly with an eye on improving my concentration, rather than trying to consider it as a form of recovery. It also sounds like I may be joining in a monk's kettlebell challenge...? So that'll add some additional activity as well. Going to class is not part of the challenge, as it should be the default thing that I do when I'm not trying to conserve my sanity or being shanghai'd by work or other responsibilities. =============================== Primary Goal 1: Self-Care One night/week with no outside obligations. This will probably mean skipping a Kung Fu night or one of my weekend games, but if I don't do it I'm going to go crazy, so what can you do. Primary Goal 2: Tai Chi Practice 30 minutes Tai Chi practice, two days/week outside of Tuesday night class. I don't know how feasible this will end up being, but I'm going to try. It shouldn't be too hard. Even if it's just on the weekends it would be more than I'm doing now. Secondary Goal: Meditation A 15-minute meditation session now and then never hurt anybody. Count these when I do them. Any number greater than zero is a success.
  5. Ahh, most illustrious Lordseeker. Or should I say, Lord-Slayer? Fine kindling for the thrones , is it not, each soul truly worthy of Lordship. And all slain by thy hand. To bind them them to their thrones, even in death. -Ludleth of Courland I'm sticking with the Dark Souls theme, because I'm obsessed! =) I beat Dark Souls 3 for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and I really love the game. In fact, I love it so much that I've started my first "challenge run". One of the genre's introductory challenges is to play through without leveling up your character. It's optional in the game, and going through at base level is widely known as quite the challenge, making you really learn the game. For an extra added bonus, I'm streaming this challenge on Twitch (evenings EST after Kung Fu) with an eye toward possibly uploading it to YouTube later. My Twitch ID is GraySentinel, in case any of you people out there like watching other people play video games. It was something I didn't understand until recently, but has grown on me quite a lot. For my NerdFitness February challenge, it's broken up into three parts: The Abyss Watchers Sworn by wolf's blood to contain the Abyss, the Legion will bury a kingdom at the first sign of exposure. Joyous bunch, really. - Hawkwood the Deserter The Abyss Watchers may not look like much, but they've got some crazy moves. And so, this represents my martial arts goals for this challenge. I'm still struggling mightily against leftover flu fatigue. Every time I make it to class is a fight on whether or not I can drive safely there and back. By the time my work day is over, sometimes I literally am so tired I cannot see straight. Add that to some other things I'm dealing with, and honestly it's just too much a lot of nights. With any luck it will slowly be getting better throughout the course of this month. So, my challenge to conquer the Abyss Watchers is to attend at least two classes per week. Any of the nights (M, T, W, F) count for this, because Tai Chi/Lightsaber is just as good for getting me moving again (and maybe better, in some cases). Aldrich, Devourer of Gods Take Aldrich, for one. A right and proper cleric; only he developed a habit of devouring men. He ate so many that he bloated like a drowned pig, then softened into sludge. So they stuck him in the Cathedral of the Deep. And so they made him a Lord of Cinder: not for virtue, but for might. - Hawkwood the Deserter Aldrich literally devoured a god: the Dark Sun, Gwyndolin. Conquering Aldrich is conquering gluttony and hubris; and so for me, this is my continued dietary goals for this month. Goals are simple: no added sugar (candy/treats), no added salt (no saltshaker or salt packets), and highly limited caffeine. At home, I am drinking only herbal tea. I'm allowing myself a few cups of decaf coffee at work for appetite suppressant purposes (as decaf is not 100% caffeine-free) and to acknowledge the habit. I'm also fasting when I can, but I'm not going to put a number on this one right now. I don't have a clear view of my appetite and food needs without my morning coffee yet, so I still need to figure out where all of that is. I've been doing well with this so far, so this is more of a continuation of what I've already been doing. Yhorm the Giant Yhorm is the descendant of an ancient conqueror, but was asked by the very people once subjugated to lead them, serving as both a weighty blade and a stone-hard shield. - Soul of Yhorm the Giant And, finally, this is the representation of my Dark Souls 3 Soul Level 1 challenge. It's going to be a hell of a thing, and I'm looking forward to every moment, honestly. If anyone would like to join me live, pop into my Twitch channel on Monday or Friday nights around 9pm EST, and say hello in chat!
  6. I've decide to start this log, as I feel it to be a good way to get feedback as well as accountability in my nutrition/fitness. Although I'm starting this today, I'm going to back fill to start it Monday, since that's when I'm considering my week to start, and I'm a fan of symmetry. My I'm on a pretty heavy calorie deficit, as I'm trying to drop quite a bit of weight, and would like to do it quickly (without becoming malnourished obviously), so on a given day I'm aiming for about 1500-1700 calories, and thanks to my meal prepping I tend to stay below 1600. As for my meal prepping, you'll notice a lot of similar items, because I tend to be busy on weekends, so whenever I can cook large quantities I do (for instance, the shredded chicken referenced below was several chicken breasts thrown into a crock-pot for 4 hours before being shredded and portioned out into several containers). I would also like to note that I don't eat breakfast , so my first meal will be lunch (not quite IF, my fast period sometimes is only about 15 hours, I'm just usually not very hungry in the morning and can wait until 12 or 1 pm). I'm not going to log my cup or two of green tea every day, as I'm counting that as negligible since it is just green tea with no additives. I do also take a bit of Apple cider vinegar in the morning, but that is also negligible calories, so I won't bother to log it every day. My workouts will consist of either attending my Kung Fu classes, or working out in the gym (a combination of cardio and free weights). For nights I attend class, I won't be getting into the details of what was involved, just that I went (on that note, I always leave class with a drenched t-shirt, so work is definitely being done). My gym workouts aren't focused on building strength just yet, since I've been out of the gym for quite a long time. So for now I'm working on getting back into the swing of things, going consistently, and keeping my form correct. January 15th- Lunch: Shredded chicken - 8 oz Brown Rice w/ Coconut oil - 1/2 cup Steamed Asparagus - 6 oz Dinner: Shredded chicken - 8 oz Brown Rice w/ Coconut oil - 1/2 cup Steamed Broccoli - 2 cups Fish Oil - 2 capsules Snacks: Natural peanut butter - 2 tbsp Granny Smith Apple - 1 medium Whey protein Shake - 32 grams w/ water Workout: Kung Fu Class
  7. To be honest, gang, I'm feeling a bit Hollow. 2017, now that it has left us, officially goes on the books as one of my worst years ever. Like, top 3 worst-ever. It was full of stresses, destruction of property, financial catastrophies, the works. That's not to say there weren't a few points of light, but overall, it SUCKED. I am not at all sad to see it die. And, naturally, I woke up sick this morning to start off 2018 just the right way. Not a good showing, '18. Not at all. I really considered making this a very complex challenge, using HP to track how well I was doing against my goals, rewarding myself with little fake internet points for doing good things, and so forth, but honestly I can't bring myself to do it. A need to simplify has been creeping up on my brain over the past few weeks. I actually purged a whole bunch of useless crap out of my office a couple of weeks ago: I trashed years' worth of old PC game cases (most of which were online games whose servers have shut down) and a bunch of other junk too. So, instead of an over-complicated fiddly challenge, I'm going to pare it right down to the bone. 1. Burn the Effigy (Meditation & Tai Chi) These now go together, because one flows so neatly into the other. More, dammit, not less. They are good for me. 2. Declutter Inventory More throwing things away. Less crap hanging around. I'm sick of staring at it. I inherited the barest hoarder instincts from my mother (she's not a dangerous one, but still has a lot of trouble letting go of things and trinkets), and I shall not let them win. 3. Train For the Hunt Once I'm feeling better, I'm going to start adding some bodyweight strength training. I've figured out a place in my house that I can do pull-ups and rows without any additional equipment (except maybe a rope or sheet for the rows). This is something I can do in small sets to improve my life incrementally. I want to be able to do one full pull-up again before the end of the challenge. That's the extent of the goal. When I get there, I'll consider adding more next time. (Extra Goal) Decaffinate the Estus Flask So, my blood pressure has been testing 'pre-hypertension' for like a year now. I've cut down my salt intake, but it doesn't seem to be helping. Next target for culprit: caffeine. I love coffee. I really, really do. It's possible that as I am aging, I am developing a caffeine sensitivity. So, for January I'm going to try cutting my coffee intake severely. My Estus Flask shall be filled only with herbal tea or water for the rest of the month. The last thing I need is to develop some kind of chronic health problem like hypertension. Dark Souls has taught me one thing very clearly; something I knew but hadn't really internalized. Failure is the only way to REALLY learn.
  8. 太極拳 -------------------------------------------------------------------- After the disaster that was the last challenge, I'm going to be working on my meditation and sanity again. I need to bring myself back inward; I've been stretched too thin for too long, and it's impacting every aspect of my life. 2017 is almost over, and it's a really weird feeling. Parts of it seem immensely long (we adopted the dog in August, and it feels like he's been with us for years!) and other parts seem impossibly short. On the bright side, I'm looking forward to quite a few things in 2018, but I need to get my brain house in order (and subsequently the rest of me) if I'm really going to be able to enjoy any of it. Over the past couple of months, I haven't been making it to my Kung Fu classes as regularly as before. Many times in the past, when I've hit a rough patch with a hobby or interest like that, my investment in it starts to fade away and I generally stop doing whatever it is. This is the first time in my life that I've experienced the opposite: not going made me want to go MORE. Now that the worst of the last few weeks is past, it's time to draw inward, become mindful again, and build a bulwark against whatever life is going to throw at me next. There are going to be several aspects of this, but the primary ones I'll be focusing on for this challenge are seiza meditation (I can't find a Chinese word for it) and my new Tai Chi practice! Last week I went to my first Tai Chi class. I've wanted to do it for years and years, but could never find an instructor. Now that my Sifu is offering to teach Yang style, I can't hardly pass it up! For the next four weeks I'll be working to establish a real meditation habit, as well as working my Yang-style. My medium-term goal is to compete in the Tai Chi division at the next tournament I attend (probably in the spring sometime) so I've got the winter to make it as good as I can. I really enjoy doing it and I think it's going to be great for rehabbing my injured knee, so I'm excited to keep going with it. (✘ missed, ✔ done, ☐ to do, ⭐ bonus!) Goal 1: Stillness of Mind 10 minutes of meditation, 5 times per week. No need to go straight from zero to perfection. Let's just establish a habit. If I can hit higher than 10 minutes in a session, go me. Week 1: ✔✔✔✔✔ Week 2: ✔✔✔✔✔⭐ Week 3: ✔✔✔✔✘ Week 4: ✔☐☐☐☐ Goal 2: Feel the Chi Flow Taiji form practice: 3 times through my current knowledge, minimum, 4 days per week. Tuesday Taiji class doesn't count toward this goal. Slow and purposeful is key here. Moving too fast is as bad as moving too stiffly. Week 1: ✔✔✔✘ Week 2: ✔✔✔✔ Week 3: ✔✔✔✘ Week 4: ✔☐☐☐ As a side note, I've decided to open up a battle log to track my longer-term stuff: things like tournaments, rank advancements, major accomplishments, etc. Right now they're kind of getting lost in the old challenge threads, so something that lasts across challenges seems like a good idea. Feel free to drop by there if you'd like.
  9. After three years of doing challenges, I've decided that my long-run escapades might fit a bit better in a battle-log format. My plan is to keep doing light challenges, but the truth is there's a lot of stuff that I've done over these years that has kind of gotten lost in those old challenge threads: victories and failures, obstacles overcome and challenges that overwhelmed me. So, I'm Kyellan and I've been here at NerdFitness for a little over 3 years. About two months after I joined here, with intentions of practicing German Longsword HEMA stuff via the original texts (mostly on my own, since there wasn't a nearby club at the time), instead I got convinced by the people here to screw my courage to the sticking place and join a local Kung Fu studio, in the hopes of learning some basic martial work from a teacher, rather than struggling through alone. Subverting all my expectations, this local Kung Fu school turned out not to be your average martial arts experience. Instead of merely using it as a launching point for my other work, I fell in love with the practice, the discipline, the group combat therapy, and now I have a second family of martial artists, young and old, who I can't wait to spend my time practicing with four nights out of the week. Honestly, it's changed my life for the better in so many ways that it's impossible to count. It's the foundation that allowed me, in June 2016, to survive the Vermont Tough Mudder (along with my buddy @Oramac), and so many other things as well. There's no denying, though, that I'm a 6-foot-1 blond dude. Nothing's ever going to change that! So, here I am: one knight, learning the Shaolin disciplines. I primarily train Hung Gar, but our lineage also includes some Lau-family technique, as well as Bak Sil Lum (which is Northern Shaolin Kung Fu by way of a Southern stylist, so it's modified a bit). So, away we go!
  10. Obvious joke out of the way first: Joking aside, all I really want out of the next four weeks is a recovery of my inner equilibrium. I've been firing on full burn since July, and despite my repeated efforts to slow things down, it just hasn't been happening. Mostly because, as I'm well aware, I haven't been doing enough to MAKE it happen. It's time to shed the excuses and bring my mind back into harmony. We all have busy lives, and yet I'm pretty sure most people have a higher sanity level than I do right now. I need to remember that I'm an introvert and that it's okay to skip things and say no sometimes. On the bright side, some major events are now gone by. My sister was successfully married last Friday, and my major fix-it project for the year (my decaying section of roof) is nearly complete. I have a meditation textbook that requires study, and I need to spend some time focusing on what skills I already have to help bring my mind back under control and stop feeling like I'm constantly stretched beyond my limits. Still working on the concrete goals, but I will have some this time. On the Kung Fu front, I may be testing for my orange belt sometime in the near future (like, next week or two). Frankly, I'm not sure I'm qualified, especially in my endurance, as my attendance at class has been sparse lately and my exercise outside of that has been basically nil... but if Sifu thinks I'm ready, I'm willing to push myself. I've been very focused on making all of my stances better lately, so hopefully that improvement will show. Speaking of which, I'm gonna go for a walk. ======================================================= Okay, real goals time: I'm stealing the basis of @Luciana Valerosa Culming's unicode checkmark system to track this time, because this challenge is basically going to be all about meditation. I want my sanity back, and short of running off into the forest somewhere for a long time to live in utter solitude, I think a solid meditation habit might be the only way to do it. Unicode: ✔✘☐ Meditation Week 1: ✔☐☐☐☐ Week 2: ☐☐☐☐☐☐☐ Week 3: ☐☐☐☐☐☐☐ Week 4: ☐☐☐☐☐☐☐ I'll be editing this to track how I do. ✘ means no meditation that day, ✔ means I sat for at least one 10 minute session during that day, means I sat for >20 minutes in a single session. On the bright side, I'm already off to a decent start, because I actually took 30 minutes today. Not nearly all of it was totally focused, but that's okay. Study Week 1: ✔ Week 2: ☐ Week 3: ☐ Week 4: ☐ This part is all about reading The Mind Illuminated by Dr. John Yates. I'd like to read at least a chapter a week, and really absorb it. Turns out, part 1 is all about establishing a regular practice. Funny, isn't it? Turns out I already did the reading for this week, so I should be right on track. No stretch goals for this one, just pass/fail. I want to understand parts 1-3 and get a start on part 4 before the end of the challenge. The first few chapters will all tie together, so it will be good for me to have at least parts 1, 2 and 3 in my head as I'm establishing my practice over these next four weeks. Entering into Part 4 at the end will give me a look ahead. If I do this, by mid-November I should be starting to feel more focused and less scatter-brained. But I'll have to actually do it and not make excuses. I've already fought off a bunch of excuses (when will I find time?! there's no way I can do this consistently enough to matter! etc, etc) so I'm a little ahead of the game. Here goes.
  11. After reading some of the other challenges (especially Treva's) I feel like my challenge needed a revamp. For those who have followed my challenges in the past, things tend to get a little crazy. Currently working about 50 hours a week, taking a class online, going through physical therapy.... and work just got a lot crazier starting today (i'll add more later about this, still processing everything) Physical fitness: Level 1 Stretch 5-10 mins Level 2 Do All of the PT exercises Level 3 Do All of the PT exercises, adding core or upper body training Bonus: Kung Fu Practice PT exercises Nutrition: Level 1 Drink at least 75% of water needed for the day (and track on plant nanny) Level 2- Drink water, and Track all food Level 3- Drink water, Track all food, and stay between 1400-1800 calories each day Bonus: No sugar Mental Health: To do before the end of the challenge: call list of therapists and make an appointment Also do 1 thing every day to help with mental well being -Take at least 10 mins of lunch and don't do work - Read for at least 10 mins - Do something artsy- draw, write, play with ink, sew - go to bed early - take a nap - spend some time doing nothing - pull weeds in the yard (yes i actually find this very relaxing, and the yard needs it!)
  12. \ "Pardon me, miss Cyllene--don't mean anything by it, but we need to hide under your skirts for a bit." - Alex Kamal, The Expanse (S02E09) So, hey. Turns out the main 4-week challenge link still goes to the old forum, and I've been to busy to notice that the new forums went up in the background even though the main link still goes to the old one. If you can't tell, the wife & I are watching The Expanse. I've now read all the main-sequence books available, and await Book 7 with honestly more anticipation than I have for The Winds of Winter at this point. We're just watching the show for fun and to see the differences. So far, they haven't pissed me off like HBO's Game of Thrones did. But there's still time =) Problem here is that work's gone nuts on me. I went from filling one job role to three in about a week's span of time because of team members' vacations, and not only am I trying to manage an Agile project plus lead a team of off-shore developers but also trying to find time to do my regular stuff, like write project documents and actually solve problems and what-have-you. On top of that, we adopted a dog about two weeks ago from a local rescue, and he's either an overflowing handful or one of the finest dogs I've ever had the pleasure to know, alternating. I'm in the process of overhauling a fence to keep him contained so that he can have some freedom to run without my having to worry about his freedom in running the entire neighborhood. That brings me down to the not-challenge this time. I'm going dark for these four weeks--I don't expect to have a lot of time to breathe. I'm in a rare respite here at the moment, and I don't foresee one in the near future. That's not to say I won't be firing the occasional greeting out into the black, or maybe posting here once or twice when I can. My data collection is ongoing, and it's up to something like seven weeks so far of consistent calorie tracking. Last I saw my weight was somewhere around 204... it might be better, but weird sleeping arrangements (new dog) caused me to miss this week's weigh-in, so I won't have an update on that until next week. I'm stressed, but reasonably content. Just going to take some time to get everything sorted out and back on track. Good luck and godspeed to all my nerds out there--I'm with you in spirit, even if I'm not here posting. Over & out.
  13. Hey everybody =) I'm working up new themes these past few challenges. Last time was Dresden Files, and this time is another of my favorite worlds! I'm going to be spending most of this challenge focused on gathering data to figure out how I work best. That's going to include tracking calories, hours of sleep, energy levels, and more. I need to get to know myself the way Garrus knows Normandy. So, if anyone is looking for me this challenge... Yeah. Garrus is easily the best character in all 3 Mass Effect games (what do you mean they made a fourth one? You're clearly delusional.) There are lots of great personalities aboard Normandy, but nobody can hold a candle to this guy. So, goals. 1) We're in this 'til the end. Track one hundred percent of food intake with MFP. There's really not a lot of room for negotiation here. Normally I'm happy if I land 80% of a goal, but 80% of data is not good. In fact, it's pretty much useless. Which means I'm going to have to swallow my embarrassment on days when I go over, and log faithfully regardless of what the number is. 2) After what I've been through lately, calibrating a giant gun is a vacation. Gives me something to focus on. Yeah, things have been a little rough the past couple of months. Hopefully drilling down into numbers and spreadsheets will give my brain something to work with. The goal is to make entries in the daily log. This also has to be 100%. The entries are quick, only about 5 columns in a spreadsheet. I am recording the hours of sleep I got the previous night, the total caloric intake for the day, a subjective rating on my energy level (Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Awesome), and any notes I think might be pertinent. At the end of each week, I am recording the total of the 7 days' calories, a 'weekly deficit' (maintenance goal minus actual intake) and stepping on the scale to figure out where I'm at. 3) We can disobey suicidal orders? Why wasn't I told? Okay, so goal 3 has to be something physical, but hard physical work outside of my kung fu has a tendency to make me ill. And sad, because it sucks to be sick. Last two times I tried it I ended up with 12-day sinus infections that kicked my ass up and down and required antibiotics to treat. So, I'm disobeying that 'suicidal order' and I'm going to start by adding some simple chi gung exercises a few times a week. I actually know the ba duan jin (the Eight Pieces of Brocade) routine from a much earlier time in my life, so that's what I'll be starting with. Combine that with some half-hour walks at work (yay summertime) throughout the week and I should be getting some light additional activity without hurting myself. Honestly, I'm not sure why I'm so physically limited. Some people seem to be able to do ridiculous amounts of training and be fine. I apparently just don't have that ability, or maybe it's just a baseline of fitness I haven't reached yet. Regardless, all I can do is all I can do, so I'll do what I can.
  14. What do you mean I haven't done a Dresden Files-themed challenge yet?! This must be remedied immediately! Harry Dresden is one of my favorite fictional protagonists--and probably many of yours as well. For me, he's right up there with Cordelia Naismith-Vorkosigan (and of course her son Miles), William T. Riker, Wesley Wyndham-"Badass"-Price, and a couple others. So, let's look at the theme for this challenge: FORZARE! After I (hopefully) remove the car blockade from my brainpower this week, I plan on beginning to train up this summer. I want to push the boundaries of my fitness level to places I didn't even achieve last year. I've been training Kung Fu, but I have not really been putting in the true discipline required to become an actual monk... which I have decided I really want to be. However, life can't be all physical training. Especially for me, because my brain just doesn't stop. So, I thought I'd pick a theme that still requires a lot of training and discipline, both physical and mental, to achieve top performance. So, the next four weeks are going to be laying the groundwork and building up some REAL FORCE. I need to build up three things over the course of this challenge. 1) STRENGTH. It's time for some foundational strength training. For me, this is going to be kettlebell-based in addition to my regular Kung Fu training. After a conversation with Sempai @Kishi in my last thread, I've gained some new insights into my past mistakes with this particular item. I really think it's the right thing to supplement my martial arts, but I need to do it right and stop hurting myself/making myself sick by overtraining. So we're going to be doing some nice light play with the kettlebell these next four weeks, really starting to build the all-around strength that a wizard/monk really needs. When you're trying to escape a giant chlorofiend like the ones in my backyard, it's good to have the strength & stamina to actually outrun them if you can't beat them outright. 2) FLEXIBILITY. Much of my martial arts is currently limited by my tight, tight muscles, ligaments and tendons. My flexibility has improved markedly over the last two years, but I'm still constrained by my legs particularly. If I want to land those tornado kicks and start looking really good with my Northern Shaolin style, it's time to really stretch out and start getting myself toward real flexibility. After all, how am I ever going to PARKOUR!! like Harry without being able to actually get my legs up over the obstacles? 3) MENTAL DISCIPLINE. This is required for both wizardry and ass-kicking, both of which Harry is particularly good at. Continuing from last challenge's theme, I'm going to continue meditating until I'm comfortable with 10 minutes at a time again. I've been doing well at 5 and it even seems a little short, so moving toward 10 is really where I want to be now. Also, it helps my sanity, my mood and my concentration. BONUS: Read The Illuminated Mind when my wife is done with it. This is a textbook on meditation and neuroscience, and so far my wife is giving it high praise. I'm looking forward to learning more about the science of focus and concentration.
  15. Hi friends =) (Disclaimer: Upon review, this post might be the nerdiest thing I have ever written. Enter at your own risk.) We weathered the storm and have come out the other side. Basically, my wife had to have a surgical procedure done, and so we've spent the last two weeks helping her recover. The weeks preceding it were full of whirlwind trips to far-away hospitals and general extreme stress levels. It has calmed down now that everything is well and she's already feeling leagues better. So far, so good. So hey! I'm alive again. The world is no longer quite as insanely stressful. And a few good things have happened in the meantime, like: 1) So, you all might know that I am coming up on 10 years of service with a large multinational guild, where I have been serving for the past 10 of those years as a wizard of one type or another. I started as an apprentice mainframe support acolyte (the blackest of magics, let me tell you!) and have since moved on to approximately seven levels of datamancy. The first few levels of datamancy, in case you're wondering, are mostly divination based: gathering and returning information. Once you get up to 5th level though, you start to gain more evocation and transmutation-type spells: creation from nothing, modification of elements on the fly, and powers of total destruction. Well, that same multinational guild recently recognized my datamancy abilities (and my general hard work and drive) with a shiny new promotion! No longer merely a database Enchanter, I am now officially recognized as a Magi for my proficiency in multiple skills and to legally sanction my movement into broader spheres of meta-magic. In addition to my current datamancy practice, I will also be adding environment control [translation: application administration] and even a touch of general management; not systems, but other wizards! 2) My wizard brain has also become fully engaged over the past few weeks. See, for datamancy you really need to be fluent in the ancient tongue known as esscyuell, and I've gotten pretty good at it. Even the more abstract and obscure parts, really. However, to really broaden my brain, I've also started working on a side project in parseltongue. Speaking sneaky snek language is tricky at best, but I'm learning how it works, and I feel like I'm finally coming along past the total-beginner "Hellos" and such that all such arcane languages start you off with. Happy snek speaks parseltongue The arch-magi at the guild don't necessarily know about my adventures into parseltongue and its potential risks, but I'm thinking I might be able to apply some of it to my work for the guild. There are some rote tasks that a parseltongue incantation might be able to handle that are just beyond the abilities of thinking in escyuell. See, escyuell is a great language for incantations, but it only works with very specific metamagic structures. Parseltongue, though... well, there's pretty much nothing you can't do with that, as long as you've got the right arcane focus to interpret the incantation and translate it properly to primordial, which is where all real magic takes place anyway. In conclusion: I am a giant geek! In case you are also a giant geek who likes video games, I am also doing a thing. My friend runs a YouTube channel called CharacterSelect, which is basically a "Let's Play"-style channel with a rotating cast. The videos are great, and I'm in several of the series. We always have a good time. HOWEVER! He recently created a thing called 'Solo Saturdays' and I am recording a series of myself playing through a REALLY OLD GAME (1981 to be exact) called Rogue. If you have any interest in checking out such a thing, the first video is here. Now that the worst of the storm is over, I'm back to kung fu. There's a tournament coming up on 5/7 that I'll probably attend, and then we have the big yearly demo on 5/20. I'm just hoping for nice (but not hot) weather for that day. Overall things are mostly back to normal and trending to good. Let's hope they stay that way. ------------------------------ EDIT: Oh, heh, right. A challenge or something. 1) Do at least one code thing every day. Learn something, try something, add a value to the main project: do SOMETHING not NOTHING. No 0% days if it can be helped. 2) Meditate just 5 minutes a day. JUST FIVE MINUTES. I need the stress management and I keep ignoring this life requirement. 3) Stay under 1950 calories/day. I'm still hovering between 208 and 210. Need to get downward momentum again.
  16. Dearest friends, This time in quiet solitude has done me well. I have brought myself back from what felt like the brink of madness, and found some measure of peace again. My habits had become unsustainable, my discipline lax, and my focus had begun to waver. I feel as though the tide is changing; and I, like the legendary Da Yu, direct the flow of water to make my life habitable. However, my time here cannot yet come to an end. There is a torrential storm waiting for me, lurking on the horizon, and it blocks my path back home. I can see it approaching with the inevitability of time, and I know that I must stay here to weather it. I would do well to remember that old Chinese proverb: I wish you all the best, and I hope to return home once the storm has passed. Be well, my friends. - Kyellan
  17. Quest 1: Something with Food. Not sure how the food one is going to shape up as of yet, but need to do something with it. Might be tracking at least a few days a week. Might be trying to add/avoid certain things. will update before the challenge starts Quest 2: Go to Kung Fu Class twice a week, and practice Kung Fu at least 1 night a week outside of class Vampires slayed (0/12) I know it doesn't seem like much, but it's more than I'm doing now. Focusing on forms, and writing out animal techniques in my notebook. Quest 3: Study & Read. at least 30 mins a night during the week before any TV or playing on the computer Vampires slayed (0/20) Studying is going to take the priority, but super easy class so I'm adding in some reading too. I will do 30 mins of studying or reading every night before the TV or computer (other than for school work) goes on. Heard an interesting tidbit the other day on how easy it would be for most people to read 100 books a year if they gave up TV and internet time. I'm a little behind, but I want to read 52 books this year. I have to finish a book instead of read an entire book because right now I'm in the middle of 3 different books. One I should be able to finish before the challenge really starts, but I want to get the other 2 read too. Read so far in 2017: Deaths Dancer Cheating Death The Gender Game The Gender Secret The Gender Lie The Gender War Currently reading: Crucial Conversations, Switzler, Grenny, Patterson, McMillan Millionaire Next Door, Stanley The One thing Upcoming books (or at least possible ones): 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey The woman on the Orient Express, Ashford The One Thing, Keller & Papasan The Tattered Banner, Hamilton War Shadows, Wilson, Andrews (just pre ordered, released on Feb 21st) Demon battles: (0/4) These are some extra things that should be done during the next 4ish weeks. but are not necessary to the challenges. Make dentist appointment Clean garage File the box of papers Go through/organize books
  18. Determination, Grit, Purpose Quest 1: Keep on track Use bullet journal daily, and prioritize to do list (what is the one thing that needs to be done first) Quest 2: Keep in contact with the cause Log into rising heros daily to look at missions and mark complete Quest 3: Help the cause Set time aside daily to do missions, if there is not a mission for the day spend at least 10 mins working on specialization (handwriting/calligraphy/pen work)
  19. Quest 1: Spend 20 mins a day on Kung Fu, 3 days a week outside of class I would love this to become a 7 days a week thing, but for now I'm going to keep it at 3 days a week not including classes. I also just got a very big book so all my notes can live in one place. I know eventually I'll outgrow even that book but it's going to be awhile. This means 5-6 days a week I will be working on martial arts. This can include (but is not limited to): Working on Forms, animal techniques, Hapkido (anything in the testing packet) Working on filling in my notebook Studying philosophies Quest 2: YOGA! Going to join in the December Yoga challenge. I'll be using NF yoga, the P90x3 yoga, and whatever else i find that interests me! Quest 3: Keep the house clean Take at least 10 mins a day that we're home to clean. When traveling make sure bed is made and room picked up each day. (19th -29th will be traveling days) Random to do's for this challenge Finish setting up desk in new location File box of papers in either filing cabinet, trash or shred Help hubby finish setting up TV/audio in new workout space Find storage solution for workout gear (not necessarily purchase but figure out what we want) Set up sewing space Make Doctor appointments Finish and order wedding photo books Christmas shopping Also holiday challenge so trying to keep that in mind. Will be my first Christmas not with family. The in-laws always have sugary/carby/gluteny/alcoholy things around so staying away from that will be part of at least weeks 3-4. Finally over the cold/allergies/weather change sucks that has been going on the last little while. In the process of moving the workout area out of the office and into the front entry room. Plus side i don't hit the walls when I do my forms, bad thing, if we were to use the formal dining room we get to look at all the workout gear. Trying to get the storage worked out so things can be tidied up when people are over. Also hoping this means I get to have an actual sewing space in the house
  20. Been struggling with some mental stuff lately. Want to just have a simple challenge to try and get back into things. Didn't end up doing much with last challenge, and just need a win at the challenges right now. Need to figure out some more Kung Fu practice since I have a test next month, going to do at least 1 private lesson, but we'll see if that gets added. Kind of depends on how week 0 goes Quest 1: Do at least 5 mins of working out 6 days a week min Can be yoga, free weights, body weight, band work, core work. Some 5 minute workout ideas here here here here and here Quest 2: Stretching Need to stretch at least 5 days a week. At least 5 mins. Should but does not have to include foam rolling Quest 2: Sleep habbits Be in bed by 10 pm on work nights. Also get up with the first alarm. Used to be great at getting up in the mornings. It's been slipping lately. Will have a few trips during this challenge (mainly Thanksgiving) but shouldn't be too much of an issue. I will act now. I will repeat these words again and again and again. I will walk where failures fear to walk. I will work when failures seek rest. I will act now for now is all I have. Tomorrow is the day reserved for the labor of the lazy. I am not lazy. Tomorrow is the day when the failure will succeed. I am not a failure. I will act now. Success will not wait. If I delay, success will become wed to another and lost to me forever. This is the time. This is the place. I am the person. -Og Mandino
  21. Hey gang. So, I got a little derailed last month. I got a nasty sinus infection which was first cousin to the one that knocked me on my arse back in May/June, and it basically dropped me to zero for the back half of the last challenge. I still managed to bring my lunch to work most days, but I actually missed two weeks' worth of classes, and constant coughing made meditation all-but-impossible. I'm also finding that the challenge format just isn't doing for me what it used to. I've got my base habits down pretty good at this point, to the point where even when I take a break from them (like, say, a 2-week vacation or two weeks of being sick), falling back into them is very natural. I've spent a lot of time thinking, and I have come to the conclusion that I have exactly one major goal for the rest of this year. I NEED TO FINISH THIS GODS-DAMNED BOOK. Some of you are aware that I have a self-published pen name under which I have written several books. My flagship series is a dark epic fantasy with thematic elements inspired by Robert Howard and H.P. Lovecraft, among others. It's also currently sitting at three out of four planned books, and has been for a year and a half. That's right, it's 3/4 done and I haven't managed to finish part 4 in 18 months. Most of that has to do with the fact that a lot of my energy has gone into a full and complete renovation of my life, from dropping 50 lbs to becoming a Kung Fu yellow-belt, and more. So for the rest of the year, the focus of my 'extra-curricular' energy (besides going to Kung Fu class and such) is all getting redirected toward this book. I want a draft of the complete story done by 12/31. I'm not going to be tracking word counts like a frantic NaNo-er in exchange for any little rewards. (Well, I mean, I will be, but not publicly.) I've already got an outline, I know the title, and I know how the damn thing ends... I've known for 4 years how this thing ends. I just need to write it down. So, from now until the end of 2016, I'm going to be struggling with my DESTINY--which is, in fact, the title of this book. In the past few weeks I've already tripled all the progress I'd made to date on it. (Helpfully, I figured out that I really actively did not want to write one of the major threads, but I figured out how to get around that.) It's time to end this, and help my characters (and myself) finally meet the end of their story. Which will hopefully free my creativity to work on other things, because the sense of responsibility I have to this thing has kept all of my creative impulses chained to it like Sisyphus and his fscking boulder or Prometheus and his gut-devouring eagle. Seriously, it's been rough. That's it. Just write. If I finish it by the deadline, we'll see about a reward. Here goes.
  22. I cant believe I've not done a doctor who challenge yet! Going back to a point system. Worked well in previous ones. I'l figure out what my goal for a week is during the first few days of 0 week. Quest 0 Drink (uninfected) water! Water: Ideally I will be around 85 oz a day, but minimum 64 The easiest quest I ever do, and yet when it's not one I just don't get the water intake needed. it's why its quest 0 instead of actually being one of my 3. More here for accountability, not for Quest 1: Food stuff. This is still a little TBD. Thought about another whole 30, not really a good time for that. Thought about trying Herbalife, not too sure about that. need to figure out something I do know it will involve eating better than fish fingers and custard! Quest 2: Make the adipose go away (AKA Strength Mobility & Practice) Still finalizing this. I want to start doing some body weight workouts, or light free weights. Some yoga to keep up flexibility. And just overall slowly starting to get in better shape. Hopefully by the end of this challenge we'll have the tandem, but not including that until we know when we're getting it. Yoga- _ Points Body weight workout _ points Walking min 30 mins_ points 1 form 5 times _ points 1 set of animal techniques _ points Quest 3 Do something creative! This can be handwriting, or costuming. Also going to include reading on this. Going to be getting my Spencerian Script practice book in the next week or so. 1 point for every 10 mins of handwriting Tracking Spreadsheet Cheers! and
  23. 'Elendil fell, and Narsil broke beneath him; but Sauron himself was overthrown, and Isildur cut the Ring from his hand with the hilt-shard of his father's sword, and took it for his own.' -------------------------------------------------------- Hey gang--I'm back! And, six days after I dragged my sorry butt off a plane and through the ridiculousness of US CBP, I'm sort of feeling maybe a little human again. The tales woven during my adventures could literally take me all day to recount via text, so I'm not going to try. Here's the highlight reel: - Denmark is a pretty cool place. Copenhagen: officially recommended as destination. - AWESOME freakin' concert. 5 bands, 5 hours, and officially now my favorite live concert of all time. - The Mosel river valley is a great place to hang out, and doubly so if you're a wine fan. - Roman ruins = always fun, as proven by my visits to Bath, UK and now the Black Gate of Trier. - NERD MEETUP at Medieval Market in real medieval village! Image verification to follow, unless she beats me to it. - Driving in Germany is like driving in Boston, except the roads are half as wide, and occasionally there are in fact no speed limits. The good part is that despite eating nothing but delicious and sort-of-exotic restaurant fare for two weeks and pretty much being constantly dehydrated, I somehow managed to stay pretty much the same weight or lose a pound or two. The bad part is that there was really no room or opportunity to do much exercise except walking--oh, and my routines are totally borked. Which brings us to Narsil. --------------------------------------------- I need to rebuild my routines here and make sure that everything goes back to the way it was, so that I can resume my progress toward my ultimate goal of being ready for anything. For the first time in FOREVER, I'm actually going to make attending Kung Fu class part of my challenge goals. I've decided that it's time for me to add a new sword to my collection. It's been several years (not counting my pair of Chinese Dao--I do love them, but they're for a specific purpose and are outside of my historical European sword adoration) since I obtained one, and it's time. So, I'm going to be using challenges as a way to encourage myself to put money aside for this purpose. The foundation of any sword is the hilt. The foundation of progress is a solid underlying routine that can be built upon and extended to reach improvement. Therefore, the rebuilding of my routines is the hilt of shattered Narsil. Attend Kung Fu Class: Each Kung Fu and lightsaber class attended during these four weeks is worth $1 to my sword fund. Maximum: $16 (4/week) Bring Lunch to Work: Each day I bring lunch to work instead of buying something at the cafeteria is worth $1 to my sword fund. Maximum: $20 (5/week) Meditation (6 minute minimum): Each meditation session I do during these four weeks is worth $0.50 (max 1/day). Maximum: $14 (7/week) This brings me to $50 that I could potentially earn toward my new blade during this challenge. I haven't figured out exactly which one I want yet, but I'm narrowing down the field. I'm probably going to need $200-$300, so it's going to take a bit. I'll need to be patient. Glad to be back, and I hope everybody had a great two weeks! =)
  24. A path will be placed before you. The choice is yours alone. Do what you think you cannot do. It will be a hard life but you will find out who you are - Qui-Gon Jinn Picking up a theme I haven't done in a few challenges. Excited what it's going to bring. Quest #1 Practice Daily Practice 6 days a week, 7 would be preferred, but allowing myself a little leeway. This would mean 3-4 days outside of class. Going to class counts as practice Crunches or Planks every day practice is done. 1 set of Vitamins 5 times each of either a long form or a set of animals. Crunch Set: 10 crunches in each of the following positions Feet flat on the floor, knees touch, toes touch, heels apart bottom of feet touch knees apart on the floor knees bent in the air, knees touch, toes touch, heels apart bottom of feet touch knees apart in the air Legs straight up legs in a V Right leg out, left leg bent, both off the floor 6" Left leg out, Right leg bent, both off the floor 6" Both knees to the right Both knees to the left Kung Fu Vitamins set 1: all in horse stance, (2) 10 counts Shoulder height knife hands low knife hands Shoulder/low knife hands Falling backfist Rising back fist Front punches angle punches Kung Fu Vitamins set 2: Alternate legs 10 count slow front kicks x5 on each leg 2 part front kick x5 on each leg continuous front kick (20) 10 count slow side kicks x5 on each leg 2 part slow kicks x5 on each leg continuous side kick (20) Kung Fu Vitamins set 3: Wall kicks- Front/front angle Front/side low/mid round house Hook/flick kick Front/back kick Quest #2 Adulting Adulting sucks a lot, and I've noticed I havent really been doing as much as I should on a day to day basis the goal is to get ___ points a week (to be determined by the official start of challenge) Each item worth 5 points: Empty Dishwasher Load & Start Dishwasher Load of laundry (includes washing, drying, folding, and putting away) Vacuum carpets Vacuum Tile Swifter kitchen clean a bathroom Budgeting/YNABing Clean off desk Hang at least 2 pieces of art (its all put where it goes, have the hangers, just needs to go on the wall) Quest #3: Get working on your costume For awhile now, I've been talking about making a costume for the Rebel Legion. Every year our local baseball team has a Star Wars night, so this year while we were there I told my husband by next year I want to have my costume approved so I can troop at the event. At first I had thought either a B-wing or an X-wing. Because of what is needed, and what I am able to make on my own verses what I would have to purchase, lately I've been more focusing on doing a Generic Jedi. I have most of my reference material done. A lot of tutorials bookmarked. Now I just need to get started. not sure how much of these I will get done, but here are some of the steps needed. Make a WIP (work in progress) thread on Rebel Legion Forum in the Jedi Costuming threads Make dress form Buy muslin to do test Jedi costume Choose fabrics for costume Create patterns based on tutorials Sew test run in muslin Purchase materials for and create lightsaber
  25. Honestly, I'm not really sure about doing a challenge this time. The challenges just seems to have lost some of the spark it once had to me. Also just in general, motivation/moods/adulting has become pretty hard. Part of this challenge is just getting through it, some of it will be trying to find that spark again. Since I stopped doing mud runs, my motivation for working out has been lacking, and not sure where I want to go from here, but I need to find it. (although Pokemon Go has helped the last 2 days) Also a goal of posting on NF every day, either an update on mine, or a post on someone else's. Move every day: Can be getting 10k steps in, yoga, Kung Fu. Some sort of movement that is outside what I get in a normal day. (normal day with fitbit tends to be around 3-5k) Read every day: I really want to get back into reading more, and I have book club books I'm behind on. At least 10 mins a day. Need to finish Ready Player One, and Girl on the Train (Book club book) Nutrition: No buying anything that isn't Whole30 approved. Although we aren't truly doing the Whole30 until September, no reason to not start eating better again. MFP Tracking Optional. Goal of at least 64 oz of water/tea a day Adulting: Do one adulting thing a day. This can include but aren't limited to: Wash/dry/fold/put away laundry Empty/Reload dishes Swiffer floors in 1 room Vacuum 1 room Wipe down/clean bathroom Finish wedding thank you notes (to be done ASAP) End of month- Budget
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