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  1. With his coming are the dread fires born again. The hills burn, and the land turns sere. The tides of men run out, and the hours dwindle. The wall is pierced, and the veil of parting raised. Storms rumble beyond the horizon, and the fires of heaven purge the earth. There is no salvation without destruction, no hope this side of death. It's such a happy story. Did I mention that? Just, this amazing, joyous thing. You'll want to dance after you read this. Anyway, things are not getting any easier for our heroes. Rand, having survived and been marked by his time in the Wastes returns to the west with an unstoppable army at his back. He sees his enemies, and he must stand against them. Let's get our game faces on. "Do you finally begin to trust me?" "I trust you like a brother. Until the day you betray me. You have a parole for what you have done, in return for your teaching, and a better bargain than you deserve, but the day you turn against me, I will tear it up and bury it with you." Rand is the catch-all for my training this time around. I am presently training with a mind toward building muscle, to take advantage of eating at maintenance and giving my body a break. I don't know if that'll last to the end of the challenge - if I find that I've put on too much bad weight to come with the good, I'll switch back to cutting, and my training will switch to reflect that. But as I mentioned to the Giant who has stopped in to see me, training to take advantage of the amount of food I'm eating now is a lot of fun. Beyond that, though, this challenge is going to be mostly about cementing myself around the new schedule and the commitments I have and figuring out just what I can get away with now. Holding your ground is not the same as going backwards. Everything always changes. The best plan lasts until the first arrow leaves the bow. If that sounds kind of like Napoleon or something, well, that's kind of on purpose. Mat accidentally'd his way into taking a level in badass last book. He survived something way back in book 1/2, and even though he was healed in 3, it left him with some holes in his memory that he was never okay with. He wanted those holes filled up. He was not specific with the right people as to how that would happen. Mat has a funny way of finding himself in the most chaotic places and situations. It honestly reminds me very much of my job. I want to do better at it, and I have a very concrete way of figuring out how to do that. I want to focus on working cases in the following order - priority cases, opening the new cases, developing the old cases. This is a set of numbers that's probably going to change as time goes by, because it's kind of chaotic. I will set a baseline of working the three priority cases I have now and completing opening procedures on the three cases that I will be assigned that follow, for a total of at least 6 cases per day. Beyond that, I'd like to touch on at least the five oldest cases in my queue, for a total of 11 cases per day. This may or may not be a realistic thing - it can be a lot to work on any given case, given what evidence has come in, what you have to do to reach claimants, to say nothing of the other behind-the-scenes stuff. Also, given the rather personal nature of these things, I'm afraid I'm going to have to be kind of vague in terms of talking about it. I won't be able to give you much more beyond what I've done. It's all I have to give, guys; sorry for that. If you must drown or ride a lionfish, you ride and hope for the best. Siuan Sanche is a hard woman who's made a lot of hard choices to be who she is and where she was. The former Amyrlin has been deposed, and is forced to make of her life what she can. I'm kind of torn between making a goal of not being late to anything and making a goal of getting through Deskbound. The latter wins out in the end for me because being a professional about things just seems like a very poor goal to think about. Of course I'm going to be on time for things - I have a grown-up job now. Being late is becoming foreign to me. But what is becoming familiar is a chair. That is unavoidable at this time. Maybe, eventually, I can do a standing desk, but at this stage it doesn't make much sense to ruffle feathers. So, I will make do with what I have. Get through Deskbound, run assessments, apply. "I mean to deal with the world as I find the world, for as long as I can." Why, yes, that is Moiraine again. And yes, those are portentious colors for a portrait, as if something terrible is about to happen to her. You shouldn't read anything into that. She is still seeking after stories, still writing, even as the world marches toward Tarmon Gaidon. She's a believer in a cause, marching toward something that she can barely see. Rand by this point sees her as a manipulator, someone trying to pull his strings for the White Tower, and this is true. But though she's sacrificed much, she never does so with thought to herself and what she might have wanted. She's a hard character to like, but she's just as hard to dislike when you see who she is and what she does. And why. And the things that she dares to do as a result of her sense of purpose and what she's trying to do... she's really incredible. Anyway, the reading and writing goal goes here. Time to take the week and see how it plays. Cool. Let's go.
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