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  1. 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...
  2. "The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time." So, here's the thing. I've read Lord of the Rings and some Game of Thrones and I know that there's lots of good stuff out there. But believe it or not, neither of those were really my first epic fantasy. Oh, I mean, sure, I read LOTR as a kid, but like I didn't get it, you know? A lot of it just went in one eyeball and out the other. I think I learned more about it reading the commentaries than actually reading the book itself the first time. What I'm trying to get at is that, for me, the first fantasy series that I really grokked on any level was the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. What is the Wheel of Time about? Basically... it's a free for all. A battle of the sexes caught up in the battle against annihilation. Man versus woman versus Evil. It's epic and awesome, and it's the kind of series where I go back and reread and always find something new to take from it. And with the news coming down that the legal hurdles have been cleared and that a TV series is somewhere in the future, well... the days I have to actually finish reading this thing are numbered. So, let's dig into this. The books have three protagonists at their center, each of whom represents something admirable. Although I don't know if I'll continue with the series as a theme for my challenges, I think I can make do with this lot to start. Rand Al'Thor. "I am tired of running. Tired of you threatening my friends. I will run no more." Rand is a stubborn fellow. He and his friends come from a place where stubbornness is a way of life. Dig deep and hold your ground. My body is adapting to the work at the store. Now I must make my mind follow suit. Set the day's training agenda, and stick to it, no matter what. I always regret something rushed, but I never regret something done late in the day or in the night. Matrim Cauthon. "Blood and bloody ashes!" Mat's a bit of a contrast with the others. He hears the call to adventure and, after the first one, spends a good amount of time trying to run from the call. The call, sadly, knows where he lives, and very often beats him to the place he is trying to go. This one's all about locomotion. I heard there was a GoRuck happening up in Boston in November, and while I don't know if the money's going to come together to make it happen, training as if it could or would is probably going to benefit me. So, there are two things I need to grow comfy with. Moving with a pack, and swimming. So: Find and acquire 6 bricks for the pack Acquire and begin applying Total Immersion Perrin Aybara. "We don't talk about being men, we just are." ("That's why you make such a bad job of it.") Despite his size, Perrin's actually a very gentle young man in the beginning. He is known for being deliberate and careful with his thoughts, and given how the journey changes him, this is a Very Good Thing. Continue mental training with an emphasis on awareness and correction of emotionally useless states. Moiraine Damodred. "The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills." Oh, Moiraine. The first real badass. More Gandalf than Gandalf to me. There's no hiding that she has a story to tell, but when we first meet her, she's trying to learn stories and to understand and read the Pattern of the world around her. So, a reading challenge. Finish The Eye of the World by the end of the challenge. Don't laugh. It's a big book and I read slow. Though maybe I should pick up something about speed reading if I can. Maybe that would help. ... Time to throw the dice...
  3. Well, not gonna make a big deal of it, but things kind of fell apart last challenge. A lot of the things that I wanted to do... they just didn't get done. The biggest problem, really, was one of schedule, and of not paying my dues daily. So. Gotta set this up differently than I did it before. Goal 1: Apply to One Gig Daily I refuse to call it job hunting. The days of the job are dead, at least until I level up. But to go from one gig to the next? Okay. I can do that. Goal 2: One Codecademy Lesson Daily Last time was too big. Need to learn from this. Go smaller. Goal 3: Writing Daily To the tune of my standards. I have set up minimal, nominal, and maximal goals for me to hit. It's worked before, but I've been slacking. Need to get back to doing this because I love it and I am poorer without it. Goal 4: Pray Daily For better or for worse, it's the Lenten season. So, since we're in the spiritual training season so to speak, I figure it's appropriate to make a thing of it. I haven't missed so far, but I'm feeling paranoid, so I'm going to make this a part of the challenge going forward. I beg y'all's pardon if I sound terse. I promise, it hides nothing. Just... really excited to get to work on getting everything put back together again. So. Let's go to work.
  4. These challenges are just going to fly by. I didn't make enough progress on my goals last month to need to move on yet. The only difference will be no boxing since boxing abandoned me. Goal 1) 2 long walks/runs per week. I know there are lots of ways to work on cardiovascular endurance but my feet need to get used to pounding up and down the field so longer walks/runs it is. Might be inside on a treadmill or outside depending on weather. For me long is greater than 2 miles. Goal 2) Rugby 3 days/week. Practice is Monday, Thursday and Saturday. In the event that I can't attend a scheduled practice or we cancel for weather I will replace it with an hour of intense movement of some kind to mimic what I would be doing at practice. Goal 3) Eating. This is my eternal Achilles heel. Probably always will be. I'm continuing with the goal of eating breakfast at home 5/7 days and adding bringing my lunch to work 4/5 days. By not eating out, I am lowering calorie intake without thinking about it. Goal 4) That pesky morning routine. It's going well but it's only been about 3 weeks so I'm just keeping this as a goal for at least one more month. This month I'm going for the added bonus of getting up at 6:30 or earlier, because I can't keep getting up at 7:30 am. I need to be on my way to work by then.
  5. I'm wildly unprepared for this challenge to start. Fortunately my goals are pretty much unchanged. Fitness goal 1: Boxing twice per week. This will be Wednesdays and Saturdays. Fitness goal 2: Rugby practice twice per week. Monday and Thursday Food goal: Eat breakfast at home 5/7 days. Level up my life goal: Figure out what steps need to go in my morning routine and then make it a habit so I stop being late for work. My overarching theme this year is to get fit enough that I can convince my wife it's okay for me to play rugby at 40 years old. I was just going to help out with the team but now that I've been to a few practices, I'm not sure I'm done playing. My wife has valid concerns because I have history of concussions. My partner in rugby crime thinks that if I lose a lot of weight and get in shape, my wife will be more comfortable with me playing. We'll see. About me: I'm a 40 year old female. I work in highway construction as an asphalt mix designer and materials inspector. My wife and I got legal married during the last challenge but we've been together for almost 8 years. We have 5 cats and 3 dogs in the house. Right now we have 1 garage cat who basically belongs to the whole neighborhood and another feral that I'm hoping to get tame enough to TNR. My nerdly pursuits involve all the basic nerdy tv shows, I read a lot, and I'm building a group for table top gaming. Happy challenge!
  6. I jokingly told my partner that we were going to be the last gay couple in America to get legally married. The next day she said, "What are you doing December 5?" I said, "Uh, whatever" and she said, "Well that's when Phil can marry us." Ooooookay. She decided that we could pull together a wedding in just a few weeks. I didn't realize what that entailed. Basically, UPS throws up on our porch every day and we are single-handedly keeping Etsy going. Sadly, no TARDIS cake, although my friend Brandon is bringing a red velvet armadillo cake. Let's do a challenge! The last challenge was not so hot for me. I need some help to get back on track. I have a friend who is a Team Beach Body coach. She has always been super supportive of me, even though I'm not a paying client. I had decided some time ago that I would buy something through her at some point. Then she announced she has a challenge group starting 11-2 for the 21 Day Fix program. I thought, perfect timing. What the hell. About 21 Day Fix behind the spoiler Goals for this challenge: Goal 1) Boxing 3 times per week. I'm not quitting boxing just because I've got Autumn Calabrese on my DVD player. 3 times = A, 2 times = B, 1 time = C, 0 = F Goal 2) 21 Day Fix DVD workouts. These are daily workouts of 30 min each. They seem to be mostly intervals of body weight and light resistance exercises. 7 times = A, 6 times = B, 5 times = C, 4 times = D, <4 = F Goal 3) 21 Day Fix nutrition program. So for me I'm supposed to eat 6 veg, 4 fruit, 6 protein, 4 "carbs" (grains/potatoes), 1 nuts/cheese, 1 salad dressing, and 6 teaspoons of oil or seed/nut butters daily. If I'm hungry I can add additional veg portions. The break down is roughly 40:30:30 carbs, protein, fat. I know my body does really well on that breakdown but it's going to take a lot of planning and prep to make it work. I need to work out the grading here. Goal 4) Yoga. NF yoga twice per week. I'm having a ton of back pain right now. Hoping this will help. 2 per week = A, 1 per week = B, 0 per week = F So there it is. That's a pretty ambitious challenge after the summer I had but I'm feeling good and I'm ready to attack this thing. I will share some starting measurements once I get them. I'm also going to take one more round of Before pictures. Seriously, getting tired of Befores. And of course I will share the wedding pics!
  7. There is neither darkness, nor light; there is only the Force. Zane Kahn did not know if he had been fighting for three hours or for three days. Once, long ago, it had mattered to him. Back when he had been young, nothing more than a Genin with something to prove, he would have secretly stolen glances at the clock to see how long was left. Time, however, had revealed itself to him - a mirage in the face of the eternal reality of the Force. There is passion, yet peace. Serenity, yet emotion. He met the gaze of his opponents - five other Gray Jedi. Their faces were unreadable behind their masks. They were masters, all in their own ways, one from each of the fighting orders and a fifth to speak for the Grays as a whole. Zane brought his lightsaber up to neutral guard. He wanted to laugh. He wanted His breath was slow, steady, even. His awareness floated in the Cloud, in the gray nothing between darkness and light. The fatigue of his muscles was contrasted with the Force stinging in his veins. He wanted to laugh, and he wanted to roar his defiance, and he wanted nothing at all. And then, he felt it. It was time. Chaos, yet order. He was one with the Force, and though there was a distance between he and they, Zane was on them in a single step. It would have been suicide to approach it that way for anyone else. Any advantage in coordination he would have had as a lone operator against multiple opponents was negated by the Force. The same thing that let him feel the incoming blows before they happened was telling them much the same thing. But to hell with it. So there wasn't a weak link in the chain. So any link was as good to hit as any other. He channeled the aggression into heavy, hammering blows against the smaller master of Wind. She tried to flow away, to take the flying leap backward. Zane had overextended himself, and there was no way to recover back in time to form a proper defense. So he didn't even bother. Instead, he gathered all his joyous fury into the palm of his off hand and pushed with the Force. It caught her square and sent her flying a good deal further than she'd meant to go. In the space of an instant, he reversed the push, cutting the roar of energy down to a single thread. He looped it around her lightsaber and yanked. It worked - the lightsaber released from her hand and landed in his. It would have been a waste of time to try to catch four different sabers at once, so he didn't bother. Instead, as he flicked the new one to life, Zane whirled like a dervish, catching their strikes in the patterns of his blades. He spun away. Four. They stayed on him, though, a wall of heat and light. Playing this game would end poorly, but the flash of fear happened on the outside. It did not pierce the Cloud. So Zane didn't miss feeling the opening in the defense, a slowness on the part of the Fire master. Zane could see the space in the down swing, and flicked his saber up and into the guard, catching his opponent's blade at the hilt and severing it in a flash of heat. The Fire master disengaged. Wise man. Three. The Earth master must have sensed the shift in the momentum. She stretched out her hand, and Zane felt a heaviness in his limbs. As if great chains had been looped about his wrists and his ankles. Deep breath in, and he roared this time, pushing his will out through his arms. The chains were still there, still heavy, but he could fight through them. He slashed at her head and she pulled back. He spun to catch the other two combatants before lifting his leg and stomping backward. The Force flowed through him and he felt his heel catch her square in the ribs. She flew and flew, and he knew that she wouldn't get back up again when the weight lifted off his limbs. The last two - Water and the Gray - paused in their assault. Zane stopped. He could feel it like an oncoming wave, something, something... and then they raised their arms. He could smell the burning in the air and cleared his mind. Lightning crackled in the air toward him. Zane let his blades fall to the ground and raised his hands. He felt the electricity slam into him, a hammer against his palms that tried to worm its way into him, to cripple him in agony as it lit up his nerves. But Zane had learned the truth of the lightning - that it wasn't just electricity, but intention. A last attempt to dominate him. He held the lightning, held the gaze, held the raw purposeful aggression. Time ceased. And then, it was over. They lowered their arms. Zane drew the electricity down, down, down into a ball that he clenched in each fist, down into nothing. He let his arms hang loose and permitted a half grin. The moment stretched. And then the other Masters extinguished their lightsabers and clipped them to their belts. The cloud parted, and it all came crashing in. It hadn't been three days, only most of one. And it had been enough. But even as he let the Force go, Zane found himself wrapped in a blanket of pure sound. By the Shadow, he thought, staring at the students cheering around him. The whole damned academy must have come out to watch. That's right. He remembered that sense of nervous excitement before his world had shrank to the arena and the five people trying to sort-of kill him. And it was over. It was blessedly over. He heaved one breath, and then another, and then another. He was Kage now. He was a shadow unto himself. He knew it would be regarded as a tacky, hamfisted thing to do, but to hell with it. Sometimes, you just had to live it up. Zane felt his lips curling into a wide smile as he lifted his hands wide. He gathered the Force into his belly, letting it roar up and out of him, his voice booming deeper than anything he would have managed alone. "I am the shadow cast by the sun! I am the candle burning in the night! AND THE FORCE ALONE SHALL GUIDE ME!"
  8. After some contemplation last challenge and some solid advice from Mistr, I've decided to work on some life goals this challenge. I'll still post Judo updates and whatever else I'm doing for workouts, because Monk, but no workout goals this time. Improving my budget to pay off debt and build some savings Work out better % for different categories in my YNAB budgetWeekly - stay within my budgeted amountsOptimize spending where possible, especially with my groceriesSleep Do not stay up to work on choresWork on meditation before bed, try guided as quiet is NOT working at presentIf I wake up very early and cannot get back to sleep for 30 min, try getting up and knitting/working on something for a bit. If I wake up early and cannot get back to sleep at all, go into work early. That way, I can (theoretically) leave early, get everything done, and go to bed earlierFixing my schedule Evaluate everything in my schedule and trim several things out. I cannot maintain the current schedule and the overtime is going to build up at some point.Consider online time sinks as well.DO NOT accept all volunteer requests. Judo eats most of my volunteer time and will be eating more. Consider these carefully.Try to work out better ways to handle chores and leave myself more free time, especially free time at home.Relaxing Spend at least some time each week doing things that I find calm and relaxing, even if only in bits. Preferably several of these per week. Knitting - work on my blue sweaterPractice guitarPlay video games (does not include the scheduled session on Sunday)Read/watch something interesting - Evolution book, Think101x course, documentaries, intro music theoryWatch TV/movies - probably while knittingWhatever else seems funUse some of my accumulated vacation time if I can manage it.Cat time Spend time with my cats every day, dragging toys for them, brushing them, extra concentrated snuggles. I worry that they're bored and left alone too much because of my schedule. I think that covers everything. We'll see how this works out.
  9. There is neither darkness, nor light; There is only the Force. There is passion, yet peace. Serenity, yet emotion. Chaos, yet order. I am the shadow cast by the sun, I am the candle burning in the night, And the Force alone shall guide me. I began the journey this year as someone who wanted to understand himself better. I wanted to know why I was the way I was, and I wanted to iron out what I considered to be some inconsistencies in who I was. I can't say that I finished it... because it's not the kind of work that is ever finished. It's an endless act of refinement, a constant struggle that can't be entered into with the idea of ever really being finished. I will say, however, that it's been a worthwhile struggle. I'm more peaceful than I was, and even when I get angry or sad, I usually can tell why now and I have an easier time returning to baseline. This has been tested hard this year. Between a busted computer, my father's heart attack, and the realization that my prospects are not what I thought they were, it's been a rough ride. But at the same time it feels like waking up from a nightmare - where I would have before hung my head and accepted it as my fate, I'm instead... quiet. Angry, in a cold way that makes me want to act and fix things rather than rail against the heavens. I want to say that it's time to finish this quest and become a whole and integrated person, but sadly I've found it doesn't work that way. Nevertheless. It is time to embrace the shadows, the slip and slide of darkness and light. What were the marks of a Master of the Gray Order? Feats Impossible to the Light or the Dark Sides of the Force Gray Masters were known for their ability to mix and match their feats from either side of the Force. Gray Masters could turn Force Lightning into a force for healing (though not sure how that would work... whoever came up with that bit of fanon should have thought that one out a bit more). What does this mean? Mixing and matching - strength and conditioning and yoga with the idea of getting to Boston in one piece, stronger and faster and ready for anything. However, instead of worrying about hitting specific numbers, my goal here is just to log on and track what I've done. My training habit is strong enough that I know I won't break anything if I miss a day here or there. And plus, it's an excuse for me to be here with you. The Combination of Forms to Create Unwinnable Situations There is no form of the Lightsaber that is perfect. All have their gaps, flaws in their concepts that can be exploited. So, naturally, you find the hole, and then you work to fill it with another form. What does this mean? I have Karate, and I have Judo to fill the gaps therein. I must train them both. And when I get my sticks back, I will have to begin to work what little Kali I've seen into the training again. Again, a thing to be logged daily. Cleansing Excessive Light and Dark Side Contamination from Worlds through Meditation I have a new thing to study in my meditations - relaxation. So the first practice was mindfulness, and the second was to concentrate through mental noise. The third is to learn the difference between tension and looseness - to induce both in a state of mindfulness and to become aware of the difference in a controlled setting. Once per day. Life Goal: Material Balance So, my landlord is working with me to get me out of the lease. He's asked that I clean out my room at the old apartment. This is more than fair. Which means I need to kick my efforts there up into high gear. I've been given a list of things I need to do. The goal is to have them done before the Challenge is over; ideally, I'll have them done before the end of the month. And with that, we wait...
  10. I'm so bad at this creative title and theme stuff. I would have had this up sooner if I could have thought of a title. My last few challenges have been mostly about maintaining and continuity. My work is about to slow down so its time to start thinking about what I want to do this winter. I'm really tired of just maintaining my weight. I'm ready to start losing. I want to take a different approach this time. I make all sorts of grand plans without considering what I am really committed to doing. The results have been some meager weight loss and lots of half assed challenges. For week 1 I only have 2 goals. 1) Track my food and aim for average daily calories of 2250. 2) Take a good hard look at things and decide on some concrete goals, short and long term and what steps I'm really willing to take to meet them. Next weekend I will plot out what I'm doing for the remainder of the challenge and what my longer term goals are going to be.
  11. I think you all remember but if not, my name is BlackTezca, known for generally insanity and clogging up your computer or mobile phone with GIFS, GIFS, AND MORE GIFS. You will also remember me from my titanic introduction From Lurker to (Newb) Rebel!, the colossal continuous war known as BlackTezca's Daily Battle Towards Feline Greatness, and the absolutely villainous and bloody previous challenge known as BlackTezcas' 5th Trial: An Artsy, Geeky Amazon Takes A Walk on the Dark Side! From that last thread, I have decided on an awesome theme for this challenge! The fantabulous anime known as Attack on Titan. I know this maybe a little late but the forums were hidden from me this time! Oh man I totally didn't find them until now! But now that I have found them it's time to party hard and start a brand new challenge! Now this anime is perfect for this new challenge as well as for my epically TITANIC main quest! A quest to become all powerful! To become larger than life! To crush down all the walls that stand before and become a truly colossal and deadly being! To fight with agility and strength despite being larger than life and to kick away any small thing that could possible think to stop me! My Main Quest is to be as POWERFUL and BATTLE READY as Wonder Woman Now this challenge is gonna be set up a little differently from the previous ones. This challenge is in a different grab bag format inspired by StillSkies previous challenge. The reason I chose this type of format is...well...because it looked fun and different and I wanted to check it out and see how it would fit! Not only that, but it allows me to have different options for each day in order to get the most points! And those points will start out pretty heavily but will be adjusted if I happen to make the total points! Here are the points I need to make for each possible grade for this challenge: REVAMPED 10/12/2015: 8500 to 7650 Pts - A 7649 to 6800 Pts - B 6799 to 5950 Pts - C 5949 to 5100 Pts - D Quite a heavy order! At least...it might be...not sure...but let's move onto the challenge side quests themselves: COLOSSAL TITAN: Representing Strength Training, the Largest Titan is the strongest titan. The Colossal titan kicks off the horror and action of the series. Details: All strength based activities are the only activities that can get me points for this side quest! Tracking: I'll be tracking using MyFitnessPal ( username BlackTezca ) this lovely thread will be updated as well with the activities that count for points Grading: up to 2 Str ARMORED TITAN: The armored titan dashed any hope of saving the outer ring by crashing through the inner gate. He is the fastest titan. Details: All cardio and stamina/endurance based activities are the only activities that can get me points for this side quest! Tracking: I'll be tracking using MyFitnessPal ( username BlackTezca ) this lovely thread will be updated as well with the activities that count for points Grading: up to 2 Sta FEMALE TITAN: The best fighter and the one more in control and seemingly the most intelligent, she is the most agile of the main titans. Details: All dexterity (martial arts, balance/yoga) based activities are the only activities that can get me points for this side quest! Tracking: I'll be tracking using MyFitnessPal ( username BlackTezca ) this lovely thread will be updated as well with the activities that count for points Grading: up to 3 Dex EREN TITAN: The Art Quest. Representing that Eren is the odd titan out and has to be creative versus the Female titan who is the far better fighter. Details: Art, gaming, and other activities meant to work my creative juices count for points here! Tracking: I have an art Tumblr and I also have a DeviantArt (WATCH ME FOR ACCOUNTABILITY). I'll use those for tracking and on a weekly basis...like a weekly update or something, I'll post art on this thread. Also! Check out Renaissance Rebels which is my accountability group! I shall post art and do some challenges there too . Grading: up to 1 Wis and 2 Cha Armin Arlert: A stabilizing force, Armin may not be the bravest, nor the strongest, but he is the heart of the main trio and often provides comfort in a very dark world. He's the puppy. Please don't hurt the puppy. Details: Cleaning, tidying and all other home stuff here! Need to keep up and happy home life Tracking: This thread will be tracked and notice I have a extra BONUS challenge in there for MEGA points! This BONUS is a minimalist type challenge to get rid of things I no longer need and it's called 30 Days to Less Stuff. I shall be tracking the stuff I get rid off in there and hopefully I made the full days! Woo! Grading: up to 2 Wis and 1 Cha Sasha Blouse: Potato Girl. Poor thing is only known as Potato Girl. She also steals food. She is all about eating a lot and eating it all well. Details: All diet, sleeping, and cooking activities belong here for points! Tracking: I'll be tracking what I make (and eat) via MyFitnessPal ( username BlackTezca ) and also this thread! MyFitnessPal will be updated with recipes too since those can save the recipe. Expect some pictures as well! Grading: up to 2 Con Of course, what challenge would it be without some starting measurements to track! I ended the last challenge pretty good and though I don't know if I can get these measurements any different, it's always awesome to see progress! Starting Measurements: Date: 09/04/2015 @ 6 am Weight: 125.6 ***Body Fat***: 23% (I haven't checked this) Waist: 23 Waist @ Navel: 24 Hips: 35 Neck: 12 Chest: 32 Left Bicep: 10 Right Thigh: 16 Wrist: 5.5 Forearm: 9 I'm gonna be interested in seeing how this grab bag format turns out! This looks like it might be one of tough challengers yet, but all of these side quests are building up on what I have done before and what I would be continuing on anyways! This encourages me to do all sorts of things and I can also be flexible with it so much so that even on rest days I can get up to so many points. The number of points I'm starting out with seems a little daunting, but if I keep up momentum, it shouldn't be too hard to accomplish! I think so anyways. That's gonna be the actual challenge. That and remember what I did and how many points I have earned. Man that's gonna be a lot to count up each day and week and MATH IS HARD YA'LL! Edited 09/11: Also I just realized that I'm not going to be in town at all during the final week. I;'m gonna be in a MAGICAL place where dreams come true So this challenge is a 5 WEEK challenge instead of 6 weeks. I know a few people are making their challenges 5 weeks for Camp so I find it very interesting that the stars aligned and I have the same issue. So this will need to be an EPIC FIVE WEEK CHALLENGE!!! Fuck it! Let's DO THIS!!! NOW! For humanity sakes onward Survey Corps! Show those snobbish, cowardly morons in the Military Police Bridage, and those merely average Garrison folks what we are made of! JUST DON'T GET KILLED (easier said than done...)
  12. I really wavered on doing a challenge this time. But I'm afraid if I don't do one this time then soon it will be 2017 and I will weigh 400 pounds because I broke the only tether that reminds me I don't want to weigh 400 pounds. I've got another hectic few weeks coming up so I wanted to make this challenge as simple as possible. Goal 1) Eat 15,750 calories per week. That averages out to 2250 per day but I like to measure by the week because some days I'm hungrier than others. Goal 2) Household tasks. I will do 1 household chore per day. Every day. The only exception will be if I'm home literally less than 8 hours between work shifts. It happens sometimes and that time is too precious. Other than that, at least 1 thing per day. It can be as big as cleaning out the spare bedroom closet to as small as clearing off a small space in one room. I just need to get better about keeping the space around me in good shape. That's it. See Spot Run. You might notice there is no exercise goal for this challenge. My back is still giving me all kinds of grief so until that clears up, I'm not pushing myself to get to the gym. I am doing enough physical activity at work right now anyway. I also wanted to do a more stringent food challenge but I have to be realistic about what my schedule looks like. My beloved companion is not in the same place I am with eating right now so I need to keep it small manageable steps. I've been in a really horrible mood for the last 2 or 3 weeks. Just writing out this challenge already made me feel a bit better. It's that crazy NF magic.
  13. There is neither darkness, nor light; There is only the Force. There is passion, yet peace. Serenity, yet emotion. Chaos, yet order. I am the shadow cast by the sun, I am the candle burning in the night, And the Force alone shall guide me. I have come far since the first days of my epic quest. I have learned much. I have apprehended the truths of the Force. I have found peace in the midst of my passions, and serenity in the midst of my emotions. Now I must undertake the next step in my journey - to find order in the midst of chaos. Unfortunately, the Fanon isn't terribly helpful when it comes to clarifying a Jonin's role in the Order. Jonin are considered to be wandering scholar-types. They pick a thing to study and specialize in and pretty much dedicate themselves to that thing. Interestingly, they aren't held responsible for teaching, that being more a Silver Knight's job. It basically reads like a lateral promotion more than anything, which just seems screwy and weaksauce to me. So I'm gonna change it and say that the point is to become the Sage that people seem to think I am. Which would be an ongoing process regardless, but at least I can put it in focus for this next six weeks. Goal 1: Concentration I have learned the habit of mindfulness and I have made it a part of my daily practice. This was a practice of awareness. Now it is time to focus that awareness, to teach myself the skill of directing my thoughts rather than being aware of them. Every night, for ten minutes, pick a spot somewhere and concentrate on it. Goal 2: Order in Chaos My training changed a great deal during the last challenge. I have a lot of things going now, multiple angles of attack. It's a good way to shred fat in the short term, but if I choose to develop myself as an athlete then I need to have an eye out for long term results. I believe a balance is possible in the midst of all this. The key to it is to track everything I do and observe long-term trends. For me, this looks like the following (and a caveat: this looks like a crazy amount, possibly to the point of being unhealthy. It's not as bad as it looks, because I'm keeping the training times low and making sure to build lots of rest and good food into my days. After all, this is volitional stress. It's useless if I can't get the adaptations I choose. ) Strength Training 2-3 times per week (goal to master increasingly difficult variants of movement). Simple And Sinister 2-3 times per week (goal to achieve swing and get up standards, as well as to increase finger extensor strength to balance gripping strength). Skipping Rope 2-3 times per week (goal to achieve 15 minutes of skipping. This does not have to be perfect). Mile Run (an intermittent thing to throw at myself every now and again; goal to bring overall time down into the seven minute range. This is a shits and giggles goal). Handstand training at least once per week (goal to increase standing time). You'll note I didn't put karate in there. That's because I don't need to put it in here. I'mma do whatever it takes to get my class time on. All of that training is going to be organized around a 2-1 on-off schedule - easy day-hard day-off day. I find that that works pretty good for me. And remember: as crazy as it all looks, the most I'm going to do for any one session is 30 minutes. That's it. Dietetically speaking, I'm going to take the lessons I learned last challenge and apply them. Pick a day of the week as a designated optional cheat day for the week - to be taken or not depending on how the week has gone up unto that point. Goal 3: Build a Holocron Last challenge, I focused on getting back into writing. And I did, and it was good. But to be honest, getting into writing has never been hard for me. I've done this before. The hard part is going to be doing something with it. And that's when I've fallen apart before - I always thought that the Muse was a myth and that I could just force the writing to come out any way I wanted to. Maybe it is that way for other writers, and I certainly don't mean to discount hard work in the creative process. But I've found that there's a definite ebb and flow in my creativity and it's really only been in the past year or so that I've begun to acknowledge that and just let things slide as they will. I have ground into myself the notion that I need to show up and do the work. Now it's time to make it matter. I'm bumping the word count to 300 per day. Not a huge bump, not really. This can go toward one of the three things: The Longform Project - a post-apocalyptic-urban-fantasy-sci-fi mash up that probably has no business being marketed traditionally. The Worldbuilding for the Longform Project A Shortform Project - a short story whose parameters are built around various contest and publishing deadlines which I have built into my calendar so that I don't have to spend hours tracking them down. This way, I'm constantly building toward something. Let's see how this one plays. Goal 4: Computer Repair I broke my laptop last challenge. A bunch of really nice Nerds gave me solutions. I wanna make a point of implementing those solutions. One step per week. ... And, there. I think that's quite enough for the next month and a half. Don't you agree? Let's get some music up in this piece. And for a Star Wars-themed challenge that's all about order and chaos? Well. There can be only one song for it:
  14. Welp, time for another challenge isn't it? Well then... So, I've been thinking. We all try to be good don't we? Do our best? Keep on trucking? Have good karma. All that jazz? Isn't just so stressful? Being uptight, helping little old cross the street and only to get hit over the head with cane? Realizing that the asshole next door seems to have all the fun even though they're kinda a prick? Why don't we just let loose? Be the life of the party? Take the reigns, be in control, teach someone a real lesson? Why not bring a little bit of chaos into this place? Why don't we all take a walk on...the dark side...? I'm BlackTezca, you all may remember me from such world destroying schemes like my villainous monologue introductory From Lurker to (Newb) Rebel!, the ongoing crime spree known as BlackTezca's Daily Battle Towards Feline Greatness, and my latest and possible greatest plot BlackTezcas' 4th Trial: An Artsy, Geeky Amazon Must Train and Smell the Roses. I'm here to conquer the universe and party on with my evil, vile, and psychotic monk folks! And I have come with a Challenge; A Challenge to celebrate those who break the rules, or make their own rules to hell with what those do gooders think! To the big dreamers, the big schemers, to those who won't let things like morals and the law get them down. Just like I won't let ANYONE, ANY HERO, get in the way of my main quest... My Main Quest is to be as POWERFUL and BATTLE READY as Wonder Woman (Ignoring the fact that she does has...you know...a Amazonian code and all that...) In order to destroy all my enemies and make all of the weaklings bow before their rightful diety, one needs a plan. A cunning and truly immoral plan. A plan to tap into all of the vices in order to fully get in touch with the evil inside of me. A Plan to get... ...I don't have such a plan, nor is my goal a mere million dollars. But I do have villains who have come before me. Who have inspired me! These villains who are the pillars of this challenge!! ROLLCALL!!!! Obito Uchiha: "But a world of just victors, peace and love... such a world can be created too." Details: Obito wishes to create world without suffering. A world filled without pain. And last challenge my body was in a lot of pain. Mostly because I don't get flexible and don't stretch after beatdowns like Kickboxing. So its' time for me to stretch! I need to stretch at least 5 minutes after I do kickboxing, which is about 2 to 3 times a week. Every workout needs to end with a way to get rid of pain. Contingencies: No Contigencies. Stretching needs to be after every workout, including kickboxing, so after I do a kickboxing session at Easton, I'll be doing stretches that same night! Tracking: I'll be tracking the stretching sessions using MyFitnessPal ( username BlackTezca ) with the workout listed as "yoga" or "pilates" and this lovely thread will be updated as well. Grading: A for extra stretching session for at least 5 minutes three times a week ( 2 Dex 1 Con ) B for extra stretching for at least 5 minutes twice a week ( 2 Dex ) C for extra stretching for at least 5 minutes once a week ( 1 Dex ) F for all else Ursula: "Now I am the ruler of all the ocean! The waves obey my every whim!" Details: Though I'm not planning on ruling the ocean, I do need to learn ULTIMATE CONTROL...over my body. Thus my goal for this quest is do a handstand. For this, I will be doing the 28 Day Hand Stand Challenge. I hope to progress and try to get 5 minutes a day of hand stand practice, so that eventually I will be able to something I have NEVER done. Contingencies: Now we have 42 days of challenge funness and...I'm a cheater so I am NOT practicing a handstand every day per say. I need to have solid rest days too and a handstand and getting towards it takes a lot of work. My hope to stretch out the 28 days over this 6 week period which should definitely allow for rest days. Also, it allows for visualizing a good handstand pose, so more flexibility there. Tracking: I'll be tracking the handstand practice using MyFitnessPal ( username BlackTezca ) and the workout code 'handstand practice'. Of course I shall track on this thread too! Grading: A for 25 to 28 days of handstand practice ( 3 Str 2 Sta ) B for 22 to 24 days of handstand practice ( 2 Str 1 Sta ) C for 19 to 21 days of handstand ( 1 Str ) F for all else Shishio Makoto: "In this world, the weak are the sustenance of the strong. The strong live, the weak die." Details: UGH!!! I hate cooking; I hate making my own food. I have a husband who likes making food, but as this is his living, he gets a bit burn out and he's not a fan of baking. So I have decided to try my hand at some baked goods and some smoothies. I'm pretty solid on making smoothies (mmmm delicious breakfast), but not generally on baked goods. So I need to find some recipes and get to some baking during the week or weekend! Contingencies: My complete and utter hatred? Just kidding (not really). Not really contingencies other than making the time for it and getting the ingredients I need. I'm aiming for healthy recipes Tracking: I'll be tracking what I make (and eat) via MyFitnessPal ( username BlackTezca ) and also this thread! MyFitnessPal will be updated with recipes too since those can save the recipe. Which is an awesome too. Maybe I'll take some food pics? Not sure! We'll see! Grading: A for 5 to 6 smoothies and 4 to 6 baked goods ( 1 Con 1 Cha) B for 3 to 4 smoothies and 2 to 3 baked goods ( 1 Con ) F for all else The Joker: "He turns to me, and he says, "Why so serious?" He comes at me with the knife. "Why so serious?!" He sticks the blade in my mouth—"Let's put a smile on that face!" And... Why so serious?" Details: I need to relax. I need to go with the flow and fun. I need to play some videogames. Yes...I'm doing a video game side quest. Really silly I know, but I have been doing a lot of just plain old staring at my computer at home. Sure I watch anime, but after Fate Stay Night, I really won't have anything to binge on. So I need to play some video games. I'm only aiming for an hour 90 minutes a week of some gaming. That's it. Contingencies: Well time is a factor isn't it? When it comes to the other things on this list, gaming is pretty much on the bottom of priorities. However, I'm hoping that having an hour only for this challenge to do some gaming, I'll have some flexibility. If I find it to easy I may up the ante later. We'll see. ...Realized another factor...my desktop is dead. Hmph. That's an issue. Tracking: I'll be tracking using this thread. Expect some rants or thoughts along the game I'm playing, how I feel about it, if I'll continue it, etc. Grading: A for an 7.5 to 9 hours of gaming this challenge ( 2 Cha ) B for 4.5 to 6 hours of gaming this challenge ( 1 Cha ) F for all else Sailor Galaxia: "I will create a new galaxy... ...at the place where destiny begins" Details: MY ART QUEST!!! It's time to draw! This time I am aiming for the Seven Sins project that has dug into my brain like a parasite and just won't go! Though, of course, I aim for full images, I am gonna allow for sketches, WIP, etc to count. I have to or else there is no way I can complete this side quest. I am planning on doing the full set, but for sanity sakes, I am aiming for 5 (like usual) to make an A. This why I don't beat myself up for than usual. Contingencies: Welp, hoping I don't get burnt out really! This is a larger project for my art quests than others I have done, even if the grading is the same. I also tend to take a long time or get stuck in a rut, which is unfortunate. My hope is to get some of the harder sins done first (Greed, being old, Gluttony being a new body type for me, Envy being a brat, etc) and then the other sins will come a bit easier (Wrath being the easiest, Sloth next easy, Lust being sexy easy, and then Pride being the middle). Let's hope it works out! Tracking: I have an art Tumblr and I also have a DeviantArt (WATCH ME FOR ACCOUNTABILITY). I'll use those for tracking and on a weekly basis...like a weekly update or something, I'll post art on this thread. Grading: A for 5 sins drawn (sketch, full image, WIP) ( 2 Wis 1 Cha ) B for 4 sins drawn (sketch, full image, WIP) ( 2 Wis ) C for 3 sins drawn (sketch, full image, WIP) ( 1 Wis ) F for all else Another mega evil five quest challenge! I feel like soon a four quest challenge maybe in the future. But not now! MUAHAHA! EVIL FIVE CHALLNGES! Now let's see some starting measurements! Sure this may all change by July 27th but who cares about the rules?! I know I DON'T!!! Starting Measurements: Date: 07/18/2015 @ 8 am Weight: 126.4 ***Body Fat***: 23% Waist: 23.5 Waist @ Navel: 24.5 Hips: 35 Neck: 12 Chest: 32 Left Bicep: 10 Right Thigh: 16.5 Wrist: 5.5 Forearm: 8.5 What's interesting is that for the most part, this challenge doesn't LOOK as a bad as the last one. Physically it should be a lighter, in fact I'm aiming for less soreness and pain here! The handstand will be tough and I'm not looking forward to the baking (even though I love baked goods), but overall it's not an delivish challenge... Well...until you get to the art one and it stars get to get pretty evil. That will be tough but I think I should be able to meet the parameters of this challenge and then some. It's just a matter of figuring out the kinda of character portrait I want to do (full body, torso, bust, neutral pose, action like pose, masks, nor mask etc). That, with my normal day routine should make things tough. But you know what... Let's conquer the world my fellow villains.
  15. MAIN QUEST: Keep on keeping on. Re-establish habits to make me a happier, well-balanced person. Break necks with my thighs. As of the last challenge, I hit my weight goal. Now it's all about maintaining and focusing on my mental well-being. Also, keeping up with jiu jitsu. Those three months of no bjj really show, and I need to re-learn the things I've lost, and continue to work on the things that I'm learning. Everything is shades of progress. THE CHALLENGE: Collect hearts to fill my crystal bottle. I mentioned in the last challenge that I was starting to feel burned out - not just in life, but on challenges. Building habits takes work and commitment, but with only a week or so between challenges, it's easy to burn out. Add in that I have a vacation coming up where my usual routine will be disrupted (yay Mexico!), I really need a break. However, I also recognize that, for me, a break will likely signify not coming back (at least I'm honest). So I'm going to do something a little different from what I've been doing. Instead of the usual 3 habit quests + life quest, I'm going to do one challenge, grab bag style. In order to complete this challenge, I have to collect 400 hearts by the end of the challenge, which averages out to about 67 hearts a week. The 'hearts' are points, and points are earned by completing activities. Of the 400 total points, I have to have at least 50 in each activity category. I've grouped out the activities into the four general categories I usually do for quests: Exercise, Food, Mental Health, and Fun. Some of the activities can only be achieved once (it's hard to, say, get multiple 3rd stripes on my belt, or hit 25 books read more than once), while others can be reaped daily if I so choose (I likely won't choose, because the whole point of this is to be fun and relaxing). Some activities have really high points because of the difficulty (3rd stripe, race PR, hitting 50 books read, etc) while others have relatively low points because it's feasible for me to do them daily/they're habits (taking my pre-natal, getting 8 hours of sleep, etc). So, without further ado, here's my crystal bottle! THE BONUS CHALLENGE: Participate on the forums & Ioryogi's special challenges As the type of challenge suggests, this is a BONUS, not a requirement. I used to do a good job of keeping up on the forums, participating in the Courtyard, keeping up with my challenge log, etc, and then I fell off the wagon. Hard. Part of it was feeling overwhelmed with everything that was going on. Part of it was just pure laziness. So, when I'm not feeling overwhelmed and I have free time, I'm going to try to improve upon the following: Updating: I've been trying not to use the internet at home - I'd rather spend my time playing video games or reading, or cuddling with my wife - and I used to do the bulk of my updates at home before bed. But that was when I had set goals. This goal is set up so that I really just have to keep a weekly total, so updating at work will make it a little easier. Other People's Threads: I had this habit of following ALL THE PEOPLE! and wanting to give ALL THE SUPPORT!, but that's a sure fire way to have me feel overwhelmed and trail off a few weeks in. This challenge, I'm going to be mindful of who I follow, and I'm going to try to comment every so often to show support. The Courtyard/Minis: I've just been lazy. Really going to just try to be around more. THE BONUS CHALLENGE PART 2: Ioryogi's special challenges In addition to the being around thing, I'm also adding in the following bonus minis, but these ones will net points! Study Spanish: I'll be going to Mexico during week 4 of the challenge, and since I will inevitably have someone speak Spanish to me (I look mixed, but Spanish speakers tend to see me and start talking to me in Spanish during the summer, curse you tan!), I'd rather not stare blankly at them. I was decent as Spanish before moving to Colorado, so it's really just a matter of reviewing. +5 points for every hour studied (Fun Category) Let Maaya Pick My Food: I'm crap at eating lately, and I have to be completely and say that I've never even bothered to look at macros (not since the Great Sugar Challenge, anyway). So, in an attempt to get back on the eating well bandwagon (and see what balanced macros feels like), I'm going to let starsapart pick my food. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. If she doesn't choose it (or okay it within my macros), it doesn't go in my mouth. +25 points for every week she picks my food (Food Category) Watch BJJ Videos: As last challenge showed, I'm really bad at this. I recognize the positive impact/potential of it, but I'm just lazy, and let's be honest - watching these videos is boring. +5 points for every video watched - max of 10 points per day (Fitness Category) THE POINTS Because my grab bag kind of addresses everything, I'm just going to go with a nice easy point system for this challenge (are you sensing a theme here, yet? dumb down my challenge enough that even Kobato could achieve it): STR : 2 DEX : 2 STA : 2 CON : 3 WIS : 3 CHA : 3 THE WISH aka the rewards So, since I'll be running my very first half marathon in November, I'm going to make my reward be this: if I can pass this challenge, I will buy myself a brand new running costume/outfit for the race - including accessories (but not including shoes). THE STARTING LINE to come night before/day of challenge The Pictures The Measurements Neck: Chest: Waist: Hips: Thigh: R: L: Bicep: R: L: Weight: 158.8lbs Dress/pants size: 8
  16. Judo 1. Prepare for the potential grading. The Kata clinic/grading is still on for June 27th. My partner is in question and I'm not completely sure it will happen but I will be ready for it if it does. practice Nage no Kata as much as I can managego through all of the throws, however many chokes, armbars, and holds as wellSort out the partner issue as soon as possibleFinalize paperwork, submit by June 6th (pre-challenge)slightly shrink new gi so it fits better2. Go to the kata clinic regardless of grading. It'll be good AND it's in town. It's even free if you aren't grading. 3. Arrange with clubmates for unofficial training as often as possible. Classes end June 4th. After that, the seniors can work out if we can drag multiple people in on Tuesday or Thursday nights. A few more people are interested this year. Maybe visit the other local club if not? Re-joining Facebook will help with this. Get Outside We do actually have summer here and it's nice out. Enjoy it and do some active things. Do a minimum of one of these at least once per week: Run or do sprints (Note: requires new sneakers)Drag one of the guys out to play frisbee or train in the parkGo to a real yoga class - found a nice looking place that welcomes people cross-training!Long walk or hike with someoneSomething else outside or in an unfamiliar place Take some time off (all of the below) Spend an evening/large chunk of a weekend day doing whatever I feel like. (1/week)Take a day off work and spend it relaxing. NO CHORES. No work interruptions either. Guitar Play Rocksmith at least once per week or work on the lessonsPost cool guitar/bass videosCheck out the places in town that sell used instrumentsWill try to be around more this challenge. Sorry all, was quite distracted the last few.
  17. joedog

    joedog resets

    After last challenge I clearly need to get back to basics. Soon I will be revealing that plan but now I need to do terrible things to asphalt. Okay: Goal 1) 3 work outs per week. Days to be declared at the beginning of the week Goal 2) Track food, meet the calorie goal my trainer set out for me Goal 3) Keep up with YNAB.
  18. Zettai daijobu dayo! MAIN QUEST: Get to my goal weight and be able to defend myself in the (unlikely) event of an attack. QUEST 1: FIGHT (+3 WIS) I’ve been really lax in my jiu jitsu training since I started up with PT. I’m trying to step up how often I go, but I also have to be cognizant of my back - I don’t want to worsen my condition. At the same time, I don’t want to fall so far behind that I can never catch up. I think that I’ve found a solution to this. CHALLENGE: Watch 60mins of jiu jitsu technique videos A: 60 minutes B: 45 minutes C: 30 minutes QUEST 2: POWER (+2 STR, +2 DEX) My core sucks. Like, hardcore sucks. Like, I can barely do a straight arm plank for :45 seconds sucks. So, we really need to fix that. And while the PT stuff has been helping, it’s really basic and not really enough. Since your core is where your power comes from in martial arts, I can’t afford to not work on it. CHALLENGE: Do three core workouts a week A: 3 workouts B: 2 workouts C: 1 workout QUEST 3: DASH (+3 STA, +2 CON) In keeping with my non-monkly tradition of running, I have four races during this six week challenge. I’ve also recently moved, and there are really pretty places within running distance of my house that I’ve yet to explore. Besides, the weather is super nice and I just need to get into a real habit of doing this, especially since I’m considering a half marathon in November. CHALLENGE: Run outside 2x a week (races are included) A: 2 runs B: 1 run C: 0 runs LIFE QUEST: SWEET (+3 CHA) I have a big, new kitchen. It’s really pretty. And has a lot of light. And kind of makes me want to bake. Which is something that I keep meaning to do more of. So might as well get on that, right? Besides, starsapart keeps saying that I have all these baking things that I never use, so clearly I have to use them. CHALLENGE: Bake something once a week and post a picture PASS: Baked something FAIL: Did not bake BONUS CHALLENGE: Invite someone over to eat said baked thing (or starsapart will cry about her waistline) No grading for this since it’s a bonus Point breakdown: STR : DEX : STA : CON : WIS : CHA : REWARDS: Again, no rewards because this house buying thing is expensive as heck. MOTIVATION: Hit that goal weight! I’m so. Freaking. Close. Improve my 5K time! Train for that (theoretical) half marathon! Before pictures: (will be posted night before the challenge) Measurements: (will be posted night before the challenge) Neck: Chest: Waist: Hips: Thigh: R: L: Calf: R: L: Bicep: R: L: Weight: lbs Dress/pants size: 8
  19. There is neither darkness, nor light; There is only the Force. There is passion, yet peace. Serenity, yet emotion. Chaos, yet order. I am the shadow cast by the sun, I am the candle burning in the night, And the Force alone shall guide me. The theme of this challenge is to return. A Silver Knight is someone who has mastered the things of his youth - those practices which he took upon as a Genin, way back in the beginning. It is understood, of course, that the concept of mastery is an illusion. Mastery implies that you stop trying to be better. The truth is that you never stop trying to be better. This is what makes a Silver Knight distinct from a Genin - a Silver Knight is just a Genin who never gave up. So, what was I up to back at the beginning? Well, in those days, I took up a bunch of mental disciplines and laid a foundation for further work. I was cleaning and I was meditating and I was Bibling (I think that's how you parse that verb. Not sure), and I was writing. It's time to go back and build on those things. I don't know that I could necessarily build on the reading habit - I wanted to get used to spending time in there every day, and I have that victory now. So... that's going to build in another direction, I think. But beyond that, everything else should be in line. Goal 1: Meditate The goal is about practicing mindfulness meditation. About sitting in the stillness and practicing your awareness of things. For me, this means being grounded in my own physicality and listening to what my body tells me. To build on this, I want to start adding a minute per week until I hit ten minutes per day. Since we've got some downtime the next couple weeks, I'll consider this a sort of shakedown/practice time. I'm starting at about 2-3 minutes per day. Assuming all goes smoothly, I should hit 10 minutes by the final week. But since I'm more about process, the idea is to just show up continuously no matter how it turns out. Goal 2: Clean Yeah, so, my lease is up in a couple of months, and I still have a lot more stuff than I want to carry with me. Think it's time to take a page out of the ol' NF Playbook. Put a song on my iPod and go to work for the next however long that is. Do this every day. Goal 3: Write I have spent the past few challenges refining and refining and refining this. Now I just have to show up and do it. 250 words per day. Now that I know how to skip the parts that slow me down, I just don't think I have a good excuse to not do this anymore. Goal 4: Read I have a Kindle Fire. It is awesome. I love it. But it's an e-reader and unfortunately, I, uh. I tend to use it for games more than anything else. In my defense, Puzzles and Dragons is pretty awesome, but as it is I have a mode of self-improvement that I'm not using, and my library of unread books is growing. I don't want that. I've told myself that I would switch between fiction and non-fiction as necessary. Now it's time to see if formalizing it into a challenge will make it stick. * And, that's it. I'll be logging workouts and progress photos and all that stuff here because I'm greedy for attention. Let's take these next couple weeks and hit it, monks!
  20. First, let me put this here. I listened to perhaps half a dozen edits of this song before I found the one that's too my liking. It has the tone, the beat, and the message I'm looking for. I'm there for you You're there for me That's how it is When we believe that We are the ones we belong to I just lost my grandmother this past weekend and I didn't want to finish putting up a challenge. My mother was also extremely ill just the week before that. How much time did SFG want to spend on himself? None. Then I had an intense conversation with my sister before my grandma's wake and I was reminded how much more there is. We are the ones Who want to make a better place We are the ones Who do believe in the human race We are the ones Who want to shape their better days I'm going to keep this simple. I'm planning a trip to Philadelphia at the end of the month and I want to be able to transport my goals with me. Hapkido My grading partner had a moderate shoulder injury so he's out of commission for a time. This gives me more time to polish my 2nd degree techniques. I'm pretty happy with my sword and kicking techniques as those were not up to the quality that I had desired a year ago. With some dedicated effort, I feel confident about their condition now. I'm less confident about my joint locking techniques. Some jerkface reminded me of the roots of my art in our shared parentage. I spent so much time focusing on my striking that I have neglected my locks. 2nd degree test involves directional joint locks, basically being able to direct an opponent to any angle with any one of our joint locks up to and beyond 360 degrees. There are some harmonizing movements that I can do and my master is clearly happy enough with it that he wants me to grade, but I feel that I need some more polish. So let's do it! Continue attending class a minimum of 2 times per week. While in Philadelphia, this obviously isn't going to happen at my school, but I'm looking into visiting one of the local hapkido schools (there are 3!) to check them out while we're there. Body Weight work Once upon a time, I did a "push up every day" challenge. Got myself up to a steady 50 a day. That made me very happy to do. I felt stronger. It gave my days focus. And also made my shoulders pop a lot. So why not do that again as something simple that I can try to sustain. Week 1 and 2: 20 push ups and lunges per day Week 3 and 4: 35 push ups and lunges per day Week 5 and 6: Big ole 50 a day Meditate Does it look like I'm just lifting things directly out of sarakingdom's suggestions? I don't know what you're talking about. I have been sad at losing my habit of meditation. It used to be part of my routine. Well, I can make it part of it again. Meditate for five minutes every day. Happiness Ha! You thought this was going to be about food, didn't you! Ha! Am I happy? Right now, that's a definite no. It's not because of where my life is, or my relationship, or my family, or my friends. I'm just generally dissatisfied with "me". The big change I have is that I feel like I should be. So what am I happy about? What makes me feel grateful to have? Here's my accountability to myself and my nerds. I need to talk more about the things that make me happy. It's not just nerds and hapkido (but those are two things). All the little things piled together make a big thing. Write about my happiness. At minimum, once a week.
  21. A new challenge! I haven’t been this excited about a challenge since last challenge when I stupidly decided not to participate. You know what else gets me super excited and it’s also coming back? That’s right. Dragon Ball Super! And to celebrate this comeback I decided that Dragonball is the theme of this challenge. Brace Yourselves: The Saiyans are coming! Whatdoyoumean Wrong Series? INTO THE HYPERBOLIC TIME CHAMBER! Goal One: I will head to The Hyperbolic Time Chamber three times a week. I will meet Mr. Piccolo twice a week. In my non-RPG, non-Nerd, boring life, The Hyperbolic Time Chamber used to be known before the DBZ excitement as The Danger Room. But, I'm more passionate about DBZ than the X-Men (Thanks, Fox), so I re-baptized the Functional Training Room I've got in my work. I have arranged my schedule to be able to attend three times per week. (Mon-Wed-Fri) even forcing me to stay until late on Tuesdays and Thursdays for my freelance tuition gigs. I need to make it worth the trouble; being the only one: It couldn't be closer to my job, it’s free, it’s got a trainer, and the other people besides me are a dozen of beautiful women whom I see every day and keep me accountable. Very hard to miss... But I still manage to do it from time to time. As some of you RisenPhoenix know, I decided to freeze my BBT Training. Why? Let's just say I didn't feel quite yet as a black belt and with Operation Save The Shogun going on I needed to focus my attention on more pressing matters (and spend way less money). But I am a Monk. I fight. That’s what a Monk does. Martial Arts are one of the things that define me. I need them or I will explode! That happens to me sometimes. So, I made a few calls and decided to retake my Wing Tzun Kung Fu lessons. This time, it will be only the instructor and me. This way it’s way cheaper, way closer and it won't distract me from my other noble pursuits. My goal is here is consistency, to make all the troubles and difficulties I have taken upon myself in order to have these benefits and never miss a day. This isn't even my final form! Goal Two: I will change my measurements for the better. A key element in the Dragon Ball Z series is the power of transformation. Almost every important character progressively transform themselves into something better. And what is the best way to transform in real life? Nutrition. I’m taking back control over my nutrition, planning my meals, hitting the farmer markets, prepping my bento boxes and making healthy choices. But that’s only a habit and a life style I need to constantly pursue. My goal here is to change my measurements for something I'll feel more satisfied and glad, no matter how small the change. That is the concession I make to myself. My measurements: WAIT FOR IT! And now that I mention numbers... My power levels are over 9000! Goal Three: I will learn to count my macros and apply that knowledge to my life. At the beginning of the series, Saiyan had this hipster Google Glass thingy with feed them with continuous feedback about everyone they encountered. I've been counting calories from time to time, keeping a food journal. And yes, while I can drop weight by counting calories and fasting, I’m not just interested in dropping weight. I want a good looking, athletic, healthy Saiyan body. Forget World Peace! Gohan needs to study Goal Four: I will focus on my professional pursuits at least one hour daily. I've been lazy regarding my studies. I constantly say myself I'm too tired to sit down to study but you can see me a few minutes later playing Clash of Clans or something similar. Also, I got a new and very important gig with two small international airline. I'll be in charge of the English section of their online training platform. It’s good money, good hours and I can work from home, during the hours almost no one use the servers. But, the gig requires me to work on the project at least one hour daily. I need to make the time for this, get all the Chichi’s attitude and say no to the rest of the world for at least one hour daily. The beginning of a very ambitious challenge and I can't wait to start. Let’s do this.
  22. Last challenge went pretty well and I mostly need to continue what I was doing and expand on it a bit. This time with Avatar: TLA and Legend of Korra gifs. Yawara is actually about Judo but I enjoy these two series far more. Possibly heresy, whatever. I also do not guarantee that gifs will be particularly relevant. Not feeling so fussed about gradings on these. It's just what I want to work on for the next while. Kata: We're switching to me as Tori in prep for my grading. Try and work on picking up Danny in Kata Guruma at least once each class and run through the kata at least once per week when possible. Randori: We don't always do Tachi Waza Randori but do not turn down an opportunity when we do. Bonus - Review videos and material on fighting larger opponents. Check out Machete's last challenge for some of his resources. Daily Training: Burpees worked out well last challenge, as did adding a few minutes of handstands. Keep doing that. Add one other thing in per day: Lunges, dips, planks, whatever. Bonus for multiple. Reading: I'm reading more regularly after last challenge but I'd like to continue it. Finish Thinking, Fast and Slow, The Miracle of Mindfulness, and read something fun, even if short. Guitar practice: Try and get to 60 chord switches/minute by the end of the challenge. I'm currently at 24 to 30. Bonus - set up a budget item and start saving to buy one. My friend is fine with my current use of his guitar but I should work on getting one. Less money going to my power bill will help with this. Stupid winter. Will be around to check on all of you soon :-) I had to use it. I love this gif.
  23. This is the last KH themed challenge. Hurry up, KH3! MAIN QUEST: Get to my goal weight and be able to defend myself in the (unlikely) event of an attack. How is this already my fourth challenge?? Welp, let's get to it, shall we? QUEST 1: Run Away from Master Xehanort (+3 STA) Let’s be real: Master Xehanort is creepy as hell. You don’t want him anywhere near you, and since he’s got that fucking darkness teleport thing going on, you need to be able to run. A lot. Because if he catches you? Well, let’s just say I don’t have any extra emotional bandwidth for a roommate. CHALLENGE: Train for my 10M by running at least 2x a week (the week after the 10M doesn't count because owww). (Allowable mileage is contingent on what the PT says.) This can be an outdoor run or a treadmill run. A: 2 runs B: 1 run C: 0 runs QUEST 2: Listen to Rhyme (+2 WIS, +2 STR, +2 DEX) This kid is pretty damn smart. She knows what she’s talking about. Her brother might be a moron, but he’s only around because Rhyme has kept his ass from overdoing it and having Josh erase him. So, it might behoove me to listen to her, too. CHALLENGE: Do PT recommended stretches/exercises/workout modifications PASS: Followed PT’s directions FAIL: Did not follow PT’s directions QUEST 3: Aqua is a Badass(+2 CON) Aqua is the most badass character in the entire series (except, maybe, Riku), and you know what her name means? Water. You know what I’m slacking on lately? Water. Since Aqua is a badass, I also know she’d be disappointed if this keyblade master-in-training dehydrated herself. Whoops. CHALLENGE: Drink 24oz of a water daily A: 24oz drunk B: 12 oz drunk C: 6oz drunk LIFE QUEST: Find My Redemption (+2 WIS, +2 CHA) Riku just wanted to get off the island, have adventures. He didn’t mean for any of the shit that went down to happen. He didn’t mean to turn to the dark - he thought he was helping Sora and Kairi. And then he ran away because he couldn’t face what he’d done. I get this. I’ve got a lot of issues. Like, a lot. Most of them are emotional-based. I tend to shy away from strong emotional bonds or attachments because I tend to get burned. It’s not a fun or pleasant feeling. Riku seems to be getting his happy ending; it’s about time I do, too. CHALLENGE: Log my emotional state (in this thread, in a PM with someone, or in a journal) 3x a week A: 3 days logged B: 2 days logged C: 1 day logged Point breakdown: STR : 2 DEX : 2 STA : 3 CON : 2 WIS : 4 CHA : 2 REWARDS: I don't think I'm going to do rewards this go around. For those following starsapart, you know we're trying to buy a house. That's a lot of money. House (when we get it) or pregnancy (when that happens) can be my reward for a while. MOTIVATION: Hit that goal weight! I’m so. Freaking. Close. And the better my weight, the better the odds of conception! Don’t be afraid when I’m running on the streets because damn are people creepy! Actually start to deal with your emotional issues because the constant ups and downs are exhausting! (Pictures and measurements will be added tomorrow since I decided to give zero fucks and just ate half of a pizza, a bunch of cheese stuffed bread, and I'm thinking about cookies and milk because yasss) Before pictures: Measurements: Neck: 13.4" Chest: 36.5" Waist: 32.3" Hips: 41.4" Thigh: R: 24.2" L: 23.5" Calf: R: 16" L: 15.8" Bicep: R: 11.4" L:11.5" Weight: 159lbs Dress/pants size: 8
  24. There is neither darkness, nor light; There is only the Force. There is passion, yet peace. Serenity, yet emotion. Chaos, yet order. I am the shadow cast by the sun, I am the candle burning in the night, And the Force alone shall guide me. A Gray Jedi walks on both the Dark Side and the Light. I walked in the darkness for a time. Now it's time to come back to the light. A chunin (in the fanon) doesn't have a lot of explanation. The role is described as being, and I paraphrase, good enough to teach and lead whilst learning and being led. As I don't feel I can teach or lead well by word alone, I must stand in the sun, stark and simple, and cast my shadow as far as I can. The overarching theme of this challenge is to keep things simple. I am fighting the urge to complicate everything. I seek, as Bruce Lee put it, the daily decrease, the elegance of doing little and reaping much. It'll take longer than six weeks to be sure, but as the overall epic goal is to Know Myself, I think this is the next step. I started off with goals of spiritual discipline, and then moved on to attempting to apply those (and boy, did I get a lot of opportunities to apply those). Now it's time to build something again. Or to tear it down, as the case may be. Goal 1: Write Camp NaNoWriMo is in full swing, and I let myself get fooled into thinking I'm gonna do something productive with it. I need to take that lie and make it true. 15000 words at the end of the month - quality words, too. Should be feasible, because I've finally given myself the permission to not be identified by how original my thoughts are. It might just turn out to be thinly-veiled fanfic, but so what? That's most pop-lit anyway. Goal 2: Log Reads like a cop-out unless you've watched me long enough to know that I'm prone to jumping ship at the first sign of not getting what I want. The point of this goal isn't to log. I do that already. The point is to keep myself to what I'm doing, and to have the accountability to stick to the damn program. Which I like. And have no reason to change. Yet. This goal is to carry me to the end of the month, at which point, I will reassess and adjust as necessary, and then carry on to the end of the Challenge. Goal 3: Read A Praying Life So, I gotta admit, most of the religious stuff I read about cultivating discipline doesn't really appeal to me. It doesn't seem honest on a fundamental level - it doesn't acknowledge that a disciplined life is hard. It tacitly blames you for the lack and just seems to think that if you just say this formula and do this thing that you'll have an easy life. This is not the truth. Not even remotely. Fortunately, I've read this book before, and I know that it has good in it. It's a hard read, but an honest one, and I can stomach the difficulty because of it. One chapter a week. And if that makes you uncomfortable, you can think of it as me tuning myself to the Force. It works. Goal 4: 20g of Fiber per Day So, in my calculations and such, I've noticed that I tend to go really low in my fiber intake. It's not really bothered me before, but for all the probiotics I eat and such, I don't seem to see much benefit. I want to fix that. But I also know that if I go too far too fast, my body will react... poorly. So, goal this challenge is to ingest at 20g per day for the rest of the challenge. We can upgrade that further later. Means lots of veggies and some gluten-free psyllium I managed to score. Should be... cleansing. And, that's it. You'd think I'd have more Karate-flavored stuff in here, but until sensei gets back to me about getting in to build, there's not much to do there but keep on practicing with the processes I've got in place. Set it on fire, Monks.
  25. You know, sometimes you just need a training montage. It may come from being a child of the 80s, but there is something that moves me about training montages set to awesome power ballads. Of course, finding the right media to go along with it, you end up with a lot of same-y results. I've gotten the heads-up from my master that it's time for me to be setting a date for my second degree black belt grading. The timing is apropos as the challenge is just beginning and I need to get some semblance of order back into my life. So lets do some order. I also started typing this at 8 am this morning and it's now almost 2 pm. I keep trying to find some interesting words and I need to accept that I'm letting me be the one to stop myself. The thing about that is that I am also the one that can get myself moving. Train for dat belt I have directional joint locks, sword techniques and kicking techniques on my grading. I have been kicking a lot and my legs have definitely shown the improvement. I'll be investing some time in my locks and sword work over the next six weeks. So we're back to a twice a week schedule. Lift dat thing Strong SFG is strong. When I actually train, that is. I love barbells, but I get derailed easily because of an inherent acceptance of the status quo. And that is my problem. I love lifting, but I too easily make excuses. Given the craziness of the next month, I am going to aim for twice a week at the gym. Eat dat food Hey, how about that regular meal schedule? Yeah, that hasn't been happening. The very first thing that I fall off the wagon with is food when I'm in a bad place. And I have a month of essentially living alone ahead of me. My wife is working her already full schedule plus picking up shifts in another region for three days a week. I need to eat my meals. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sleep in dat bed Sleep, as we know, is critical for good recovery and overall health. The second thing that breaks down when I am not doing well. And I'm really not doing well, so my sleep schedule is waaaaaay off kilter. My goal, then, is to be in bed by 11 for the first two weeks, 10:30 in weeks 3 and 4, and finally 10 o'clock in 5 and 6. This is going to be one of those challenges that I really need to pay attention to myself. I'm going to be alone for much of the next month and I do poorly under those conditions. I will also have extremely limited access to a vehicle. My exercise and training goals are going to require that I suck it up and do something about it to meet them. Now let's get this going. I've wasted enough time as it is.
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