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  1. The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the 21st Century by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose over the Pacific Ocean. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning. The wind swept westward, funneled into gusts through the artificial canyons of Sydney, Australia. The wind swept across roads and trees, turning south to follow the waterways of the Georges River. It crested over homes, down footpaths and through private gardens, and gently caressing the leafy branches of jacaranda trees, sending a shower of purple blossoms to carpet the ground beneath them. In one private garden, beneath one such jacaranda tree, one such blossom shivered as the finely crafted blade of a katana sliced across its path, sending two halves floating to the ground. Beneath the tree Thorns worked the forms with his blade, a look of concentration and serenity upon his face. He stepped gracefully from one movement to the next, the sword light as a feather in his hands -- almost an extension of his arm. There was no hesitation as he moved, and the lines of his forms were clean and strong. In another Age, and another place, the forms might have held fanciful names -- Heron in the Rushes, the Boar Rushes down the Mountain, the River undercuts the Bank. But to Thorns, they were simply the forms -- a visual syllabus of a fighting system from long ago, kept alive through dedication and countless hours of practice. Around his waist was knotted a faded belt -- once it was the deepest black of midnight on a moonless night. Now, experience and use had worn it away into familiarity. It was not always this way. ------------- The above is where I want to be. Hi. Some of you know me, others do not. First challenge with the Rangers and all that. Even those who do know me may not know my ultimate goal, which is to open my own dojo. Call that my mighty Quest. It will be many years in coming, but it far from abandoned. I've studied one style of karate for 20 years (off and on, but more on than off), and I want to share that knowledge and experience. I want to help give to others what it has given me -- peace, discipline, fitness, strategic thinking, knowledge, and confidence in myself. Some of those lessons are still being learned, but I've seen the beginnings and know they're there to be learned if I look hard enough. Every quest has a beginning, and I've already done that. I've left the comforts of the Shire behind me. Now I'm moving on to the first mile marker. For this challenge, I'm setting the following milestones: Get Lean: Winter is the time when game is scarce. Lose 3Kg by the end of the challenge. I was successful in this during the last challenge, and I believe in sustainable, repeatable goals. You can count on this goal in future challenges until I've reached my goal weight (long-term goal: sub-80Kg; mid-term goal: 99.9 Kg; short-term: 3kg loss).A: 3.0 or more lost: +2 STA, +1 CHAB: 2.0 Kg lost: +1.5 STAC: 1.5 Kg lost: +1 STAD: 1.0 Kg lost: +0.5 STAF: Less than 1.0 Kg lost: No Reward Get Strong: Attend 12 Boot Camp Sessions by the end. Again, another success carried over from the last challenge. Winter is here in Australia, so getting out of bed at 4.45am each morning to go is getting hard.A: 12 or more sessions: +2 STR, +2 DEX, +2 STAB: 9 sessions: +1 STR, +1 DEX, +1 STAC: 6 sessions: +0.5 STR, +0.5 DEX, +0.5 STAF: Less than 6 sessions: No Reward Lead the Pack: Proactive Fitness: But this time, I'm going to make a very small attempt at carrying the disciplines home from the boot camp. During this challenge, I will complete one session per week of a workout at home, lasting at least 20 minutes in length. I'll take what we do at boot camp (mostly body weight exercises) and do them at home. This is simultaneously about _creating my own discipline_ as it is about being an inspiration to my family. My hope is that if my kids (two boys, 8 and 6 years old) see me doing some of this stuff, they'll be inspired to do some of it themselves. Live the example, even if only in short increments. 1 Session, 20 minutes each week.A: 6/6 weeks: +1 CON, +1 WISB: 5/6 weeks: +1 CON, +0.5 WISC: 4/6 weeks: +0.5 CONF: less than 4 weeks done: No Rewards Cross your territory: Complete the City2Surf Race on 11 August 2013: This will be the third time I've run this 14km race. My goals here are simple -- as fast as I can.A: under 2 hours (Aspirational Target): +2 CONB: 2 hours, 6 minutes, 15 seconds (personal best): +1.5 CONC: 2 hours, 13 minutes (better than last year): +1 COND: Finish the Race (Goddamn it, it's a 14km race -- I should get _something_ for finishing!) : +0.5 CONF: Did not finish: No Reward Life Quest: Keep your gear clean, pt 1. I'm going to take a more practive role in keeping the house clean -- for this challenge, I'm going to focus on three things: emptying rubbish & recycling (nightly), washing dishes (nightly), and folding and putting away clean laundry (weekly).A: 42/42/6 (rubbish/dishes/laundry): +2 CHAB: 35/35/5 (rubbish/dishes/laundry): +1.5 CHAC: 28/28/4 (rubbish/dishes/laundry): +1 CHAD: 21/21/3 (rubbish/dishes/laundry): +0.5 CHAF: less than the "D" grade: No Reward UPDATE LOG: Changed my username from "Patchwolf" to "Thorns"
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