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  1. So here I go again. Wow, it's been a long time. I'll summarize some major life changes: Getting close to a one year anniversary with my girlfriend! Over a year at my IT job Been off my medicine (depression, anxiety) for over a year So now that the good is out of the way, on to the less good. I got really out of shape again. After a photography-related accident, (fell off a cliff) I could not walk for 6 months. Needless to say, health and mental outlook suffered. I've been walking again since January, so time to respawn, reload, and destroy this challenge. 2019 Master Quests Lose 63 lbs. Eat Better Be Active Get Out of Debt Review/reduce spending Organize debts Contact creditors regarding settlements Become Much Better At Magic Education Practice Become A Much Better Vocalist Education Practice Perform a magic show Practice favorite effects till perfect Build a cohesive routine Research volunteer opportunities Build my photography business Do a few TFP photo shoots to build buzz Consistent marketing Prospective client engagement Whew! That's a lot of quests! I should probably just buy a quart of pralines and cream, a 2 liter of mountain dew and watch 14 hours of youtube videos right? #$CK NO! Let's break this *$%^ down into manageable pieces: S.M.A.R.T. Goals: Drink no more than one 21 once soda a week during the challenge (date night, movie, etc) Maintain 90% or better daily calorie goals Hit 5000 steps a day (average) Perform magic set for one open mic night
  2. Time to join the Rangers: Arcelas the n00b Carries On: Post-New-Year’s-Resolution Challenge Questline: Lose 48 lbs Complete all scheduled workouts Rewards/Penalties based on percentage of workouts completed 80% or higher: Maximum effort Deadpool workout t-shirt 79% or lower: I have to wear a plain white t-shirt to the gym, with things written/drawn on it suggested by Nerd Fitness Complete all daily food journals Rewards/Penalties based on percentage of journals completed 80% or higher: Super whey tasty chocolate protein powder 79% or lower: I have to buy, cook and eat a spaghetti squash (literally the worst-tasting thing in the world to me) Questline: Become Much Better At Magic Read and practice chapter 2 of “Royal Road to Card Magic” (30 minutes a day) Practice a coin trick (2 hours per week)
  3. Greetings from Arcelas the n00b! If you are reading this right now, it means I have successfully posted it. 2018 (The year we all become murlocs) Quests 4 Week Challenge Quests: Quest Line: Lose 59 lbs. Hit my daily step goal of 10000 steps. 5000 the first week, then add 1666.66 (repeating of course) steps each week until 10000 is reached Quest Line: Get Out of Debt Cook as many meals on Saturday and Sunday as possible to reduce dining out spending by 50% (dropping from $220/mo to $110/mo) Quest Line: Become Much Better At Magic Read Royal Road to Card Magic: Chapter One and watch the accompanying videos Quest Line: Become A Much Better Vocalist Complete KTVA Streaming Lessons Vol 1 and practice 30 minutes a day 3 days a week OK Rebels. Let's do this!
  4. Well, I think we've known each other long enough fellow Nerds, that I can tell you about one of my OTHER 'on again/off again' hobbies. In this case, I'm a fan of magic tricks, magicians, and the like. I'd LIKE to make this a hobby that's permanently 'on'. Amongst the particular books I have include 'Thirteen Steps to Mentalism', 'The Royal Road to Card Magic', 'The Expert at the Card Table' and 'Bobo's Modern Coin Magic'. Along with a suitcase of individual tricks I've purchased over the past few years. In any case, 'accountability' is an excellent way to develop a habit. So, my question here: How can I add this element towards my goal? Some of the books end chapters on specific sleights with tricks that can be accomplished primarily using that sleight. Should I make a 'wizard log' similar to the battle log? I am not what you call 'self motivated' so the accountability system built into the site seems my best option. On that note: ...General 'Magic Nerd' thread, too?
  5. ***QUICK NOTE: This is an RP tavern, please play in character. All things are permitted, including magic. However, please no god-modding and magic use should be reasonable, ie. you can't stop time, which applies to god-modding anyway. Have fun, and I really hope this takes off. Any questions, feel free to ask.*** As you approach the new tavern, you spot a sign with the following information: #============================================================================# Welcome To Ojara a'Lenendra's Tavern o' Fantastical People! We has a few rules, keep em and we'll be fine. 1.) Be true. 2.) Be you. 3.) Support the crew. 4.) Drink up me hearties, yo ho. (Protein shakes of course!) 5.) Alcohol on hand for the respawners and a special gift. Special gift: A hug from our pet monkey. 6.) Do NOT attack the monkey, reward listed below if you do. Reward: Meet Gustav. 7.) Have a great time! We currently offer three delicious flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, and Pina Colada! Have a nice stay, ya hear. #============================================================================# MEET BOSCO: (Isn't he cute?! He loves to hug all those who decide to respawn.) MEET GUSTAV: (Once known as Clark Kent or Superman, he changed his name to Gustav when he finally decided to get serious and kick some serious tail.) Note from Gustav Clark: Greetings, I claim full rights to eject those I find 'unsavory', do NOT test me. I'm not gullible anymore. ***************************************************************************************************************************** As you enter the tavern, you notice the typical setup. Tall mahogany chairs are encircled around small tables within the center of the softly lit tavern. The outer part of the bar is lined with elaborate booths all lit with small lanterns in the center. At the back corner booth sits Gustav glaring wildly in seemingly all directions for something to do. Your gaze turns towards the bar and Ojara raises his hand in greeting, "Hello there? Welcome to ma tavern." As you approach the bar you notice Bosco sitting patiently next to Ojara who is petting him ingratiatingly. "What cannai getcha?"
  6. I just read "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg. Excellent insights from scientific research on the subject of habits and how to make them and how to break them. I need to start some new habits. I actually already started so the challenge will be to continue them until they are an automatic habit. 1- Don't eat in my office or bedroom. 2- 1 hr morning meditation, seven days a week 3- Work on memorizing basic witch stuff from my first and second Alexandrian coven class. (Yup, I wanna be a witch.) That's about it.
  7. Hey dudes! (and I mean "dudes" in the non-gendered way, encompassing all people across the gender spectrum) You know what I love? Magic. I'm a huge fan of the game Mage the Ascension. It's an old school World of Darkness game that hinges on the idea of reality being subjective and characters gain power by having a seeking. A seeking is where the part of you that allows you to do magic (your avatar) takes you on some quest to prove that you're ready to wield greater power over the universe around you. Your avatar is part of you. You're born with it. Basically, you are proving to yourself that you are ready to go to the next level with your magic. You're that much closer to being capable of, literally, anything. I like the idea that your willpower and drive can help propel you forward. I like the idea that obtaining a self-mastery can help a person control circumstances that seem out of their control. I like magic. Basically, I've started looking at the life quests that we have as ways for our characters to learn magic. Basically, I wanted to post how I'm looking at my life quest line in alignment with my favorite role playing game. 1: You can do magic because your paradigm says you can do magic. Since this is a game, your paradigm gives you the reasons why you are capable of achieving any goal you set forth. Your paradigm is the framework under which you work your mojo. Your achieved goals have to fit within your paradigm. If you achieve a goal that doesn't fit into the framework that you thought you could achieve a goal, then you need to rethink how your personal reality works. As we grow and do more, our paradigms change. 2: Magic is made up of different things. There are nine spheres in MtA and each of them govern a different concept that you work with. The spheres are the tools you use to reach a goal. They're big, overarching concepts and how you control them. Correspondence: distance and spacial stuff Entropy: Fate, chaos, and probability Forces: The elements! Life: Living, breathing, growing things Matter: Physical stuff Mind: Exactly what it sounds like. Prime: This one's hard to translate into work out mechanics, but it's the guts of magic. The literal force there, so it could be considered your internal self mastery Spirit: Otherworldly not-on-this-physical-plane stuff. How that is defined is up to you You use these spheres to do magical effects. There is also more than one way to bake the proverbial potato. EXAMPLE MAGIC: I want to run and finish a 5K race. What are the things I know how to do that will help me run a 5K? Life/Prime: I'm going to use my physical training (Life) and my personal fortitude (Prime) to help me power through a race Correspondence/Mind: I know that 5K is just like walking to the grocery store and back. (Correspondence) If I think of this like walking to the grocery store and back, it won't be as scary(Mind) and I can finish this race. I want to do a presentation for class Entropy/Mind: I've thought about all the possibilities (Entropy) , and I have mentally prepared myself for them. (Mind) Knowing the possibilities makes me feel less scared about this exchange. I practiced my presentation and I feel very calm. Matter: I decided that speaking in front of a crowd wasn't my strongest suit, so I made a video for my classmates to watch. (Matter) This works to my advantage, because I am really good at making digital stuff. Since that fits within the assignment parameters, I can feel much more confident. 3: Learning Spheres Some magical effects can only be done using certain spheres. So, obviously, you are going to need to learn them. Want to master entropy? Try doing something spontaneous. Mind? Try and get in touch with your emotions by journalling. Pick up a crafty hobby if you want to learn matter. Read some self-empowerment books to up your prime or spirit scores. If you want to start a camp fire, you can't do it without forces. So, basically, you never to learn to use the skills you have, but don't be afraid to fill in the gaps. EXAMPLE: I want to grow an organic garden this year How will I learn how to grow an organic garden? Life/Forces/Prime/Matter: I'm super committed to the idea of growing an organic garden (Prime), so I used my knowledge of plants (Life) and the weather patterns in my area (Forces) to choose when to plant my stuff. I also took my time to learn about new and safe alternatives to using pesticide on my plants. (Matter+Life) Anyone have any thoughts on this? Thanks for reading!
  8. The Storm was coming. The grey stretch of storm clouds gathered and moved forward, threatened to wash away anything the people of Urbanos held dear. Varuna was another breath closer to the dark side. Phytomancer looked at the sky. His brown eyes stared upward, and only he could see Varuna’s glowing form, pulsing blue and silver. Tears ran down Varuna’s face, and once they fell from his chin, another storm cloud funneled into the herd of dark stretch over Urbanos. “It’s cold.†Flashwolf, Phytomancer’s companion said. His beard ran with water. “And look!†A cluster of venti, storm spirits, appeared on the horizon. They looked very mean, and they were approaching quickly. On the west, magicians with the scrolls flashed their lighting magic as golden letters floated around them. “Eat… this… cup… cakes…†Phytomancer’s mind whispered. “Or… cheesecakes… “ That couldn’t be! He had been using much magic, and without training and focus, he would lose to the power of the gods and become a potbelly monster. Phytomancer must fight. Goals: Food: Keep the greens, cut most grains, and limit non-fresh fruit desserts - Eat green leaves everyday - 7 Grainless meals (except rice) per week - 3 desserts per week, and only when it’s social Fitness: Keep the training schedule - 3 cardios a week - 3 strength trainings a week - Keep tracks of everything Magic: Catch up with everything - 20 hours of research a week Mini Quests: Playing soccer against the venti Thai Student Associations around Illinois are having a soccer match next week. I will participate in many physical activities and limit my food. Keep the fire going I will keep my creative fire burning by write creatively—at least 10,000 words will be written within this challenge. Stick with Ranger Mini-Challenges This one needs no explanation. And go Phytomancer!!
  9. The Wild Hunt “Join, hide or die. That’s all you can do when the Wild Hunt comes to call.†--Harry Dresden, Cold Days Thunder rolls. Or is that hoofbeats in the sky? Above the wailing wind, a hunting horn can be heard, and the baying of cruel hounds. The Wild Hunt roams the land and sea and sky, and most folk cower in their homes, for even the sight of it can bring disaster. (click any picture to enlarge) In the Dresden Files book series, the Wild Hunt is when the Fae go hunting in the mortal realm. When the Hunters sweep through, some individuals are given the option to join the Hunt or to flee as prey. Members of the Hunt can fly, traverse open water as if it were dry land, and run at freeway speeds. They are instinctively aware of the locations of the other Hunters. They wear a shadowy mask that hides who they were before joining the Hunt. The Wild Hunt can be called up and led by a number of beings of Faerie, including the king of the goblins. Not that Goblin King. The lord of the goblins, called the Erlking or Lord Herne. He is devious, cunning, strong, and swift. He also is the consummate hunter, selecting his game and then pursuing his quarry with joy and determination. Members of the Wild Hunt will have a similar (if less blood-thirsty) attitude. We will pursue our respective targets with enthusiasm and dedication, whether a particular 5K or a weight goal or getting our food choices under control. We will make the most of our brains and our bodies. We will also consistently let the other members of the team know how we are doing, so that we can help each other to capture success. And in the process we will probably talk a lot about the Dresden Files. And there will be spoilers, oh yes there will. The moment of choice has arrived. Join, hide or die? This team will be limited to eight members, because any more than that (as we are without magical aid) it starts to get hard keeping track of how everyone else is doing. If you are interested in joining a Dresden Files-themed group, but the Wild Hunt has already taken off (or you don’t like my theme, which is all right too) here are some suggestions: The Grey-cloaked Wardens (whose swords cut through all enchantments and also bad habits) The Fellowship of St. Giles (striving to control their own urges while fighting the predators) Chicago PD: Special Investigations (they might be regular people, but they stand up to the monsters anyway) The Alphas (using teamwork and tactics to overcome powerful enemies) Knights of the Sword/Knights of the Cross (maybe expand to more than three members?)
  10. Base Stats (if week 3 is completed) STR: 0 DEX: 3 STA: 0 CON: 2 WIS: 4 CHA: 1 Main Quest: Gain the shapeshifting skill "dog/tiger transform" (The ability to parkour-run through woods with no low branches.) This is a big quest, step 1 is to develop basic strength (arms and core) with a bit of stamina. The measurements for this will be to manage one chin-up and pull-up consistently, 2x90sec plank, and hold each side of Warrior 2 (yoga) for 2 minutes without a significant break between. Support Goals Goal 1: (STR) Do something at least 6 times a week. (push ups, dumbbell rows, squats, walk through the woods and vault fallen trees, . . . , any intent to move to approach the Main Quest.) A: at least 6 times a week B: average 5 times a week or better C: average 4 times a week D: no less than 3 times any week F: anything less Goal 2: (WIS) Hold posture. This entails sitting and standing up straight, and possibly holding abs while sitting or standing to be measured by conscious efforts or corrections. (The count will be by days, with 3 corrections/intentional efforts required to count the day.) A: at least 6 days of at least 3 corrections a day per week B: at least 6 days of at least 3 corrections a day per week on average C: at least 5 days of at least 3 corrections a day per week on average D: at least 4 days of at least 3 corrections a day per week on average F: anything less Goal 3: (STA) Play with or walk my dog more. Yes, this is stamina if done right. (Walks can double count for Goal 1) A+ BONUS: average 4 days a week A: 3 days a week B: 2 days a week C: average 2 days a week D: 1 day a week F: anything less Life Quest: (I do not know what stat) Study and register for the GRE. (reverse letter order, at cut-off) - Finish the first book - Vocabulary notepad (D) - First book practice tests - Two old book practice © - Get New library book and read ( - Those practices - Register for a date and time (A) - Online Practice tests Diet Goal: (no points) Try to eat fewer extra carbs/gluten. Basically, attempt to eat fruit or something instead of carb junk food.
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