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WhiteGhost

WhiteGhost Gets Serious 2: The Seriousening

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OK boys & girls, it's time continue with part 2 of the 3 part "WhiteGhost Gets Serious"  trilogy. 

Image result for I'm serious gif

 

In this installment, I am going to get serious about what I am doing and focus on what I really want to get out of it.  For the past few challenges I have just been doing whatever I feel like, and while I have enjoyed that and I have been able to stick with it, I don't feel like I have made much progress towards my goals.  "What goals?" I hear you ask.  To which I intensely study my shoes and mumble that I didn't really set any.  So in order to get serious about reaching my goals, I need to set some!

 

1. Exercise

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First, with regard to exercise, I have been doing great at general strength building, which has given me a pretty solid foundation to build on.  Now it the time to build something.  By the end of this challenge, I want to be able to to some specific skills, which is going to require me to tailor my workouts to focus on those particular skills.  The skills I want to have by the end of this challenge are:

Muscle-ups.  I did a muscle up last year, which was cool, but I kind of moved on to the next shiny after that and now I am back to not being able to do them.  I believe I have the strength I need, but need to work on my technique.  For this challenge, I will work on muscle up specific progressions and exercises that will bring me closer to this goal.

Backflips.  I have been wanting to to these for a long time, I have slowly been working towards them.  I currently have a place to work on these and a plan to progress them, and just need to keep with the program.  I feel that I am not too far off from getting these so I am officially setting a goal of being able to do a tuck backflip from a solid surface and land on my feet by the end of this challenge.

Pistol Squats.  I have been going through the motions on these for more than a year, and really did not make any progress.  After getting some very good advice from @PaulG, I have discovered that I have been limiting my progress and holding myself back.  Based on his advice, I am going to work towards building the technique so that I can consistently do unassisted pistol squats.  I am not going to worry too much about depth at first, focusing on control and balance while I build up strength in the bottom of the squat

Handstands.  I can do handstands.  I have been able to do them since I was a kid.  In all the years I have been able to do them, I have not ever worked on any kind of real balance or endurance, and I don't think I have ever done a handstand for more than 10 seconds.  This is primarily because I haven't felt the need.  For showing off purposes (which, let's be honest, is pretty much my primary motivation for all of this) a 6 second handstand is just as impressive as a 60 second handstand.  For this challenge, I am going to work on balance and finger strength to try and increase the time that I can hold a handstand.  My goal for this challenge is to be able to hold a 30 second handstand.  I actually have no idea how difficult this is going to be because, as I mentioned, I have never tried.

 

2. Flexibility

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The next area I am going to get serious about is flexibility.  I have progressed from hating flexy work to actually kind of maybe enjoying it, in limited doses.  However, in the last year that I have been doing it pretty consistently, I don't feel like I have actually become any more flexible (OK, maybe a little, but I think more progress is very doable).  I realized that a big part of problem isn't consistency (I regularly do 20-30 minutes or stretching most days) but that I don't really have a focus.  I have tried GMB Focused flexibility, but I couldn't really get the program to work for me because I couldn't get the stretches they were describing to feel like they were describing.  It just didn't fit my needs in a way that worked for me.  Just in time for this challenge, I have signed up for the CirquePhysio MyFlex program that @Mad Hatter was doing in her last challenge.  It is only starting from this week, but I am optimistic that it will be a program that I can follow and can make it work for my specific needs (which is supposed to be entire point of the program).  All I need to do for this challenge is stick with the program and do the thing.

 

3. Cooking

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Third up is cooking.  I have made some great progress on the cooking front over the last couple of years, but now it is time to try and take things to the next level.  Up to now, I have focused on making foods I am quite familiar with that I have been eating since I was a kid.  For this challenge, I am going to try and learn how to make Chines food.  For this challenge, I need to make at least 2 Chinese dishes each week.  The learning curve here is going to be a bit steep, but I hope that it will pay off in the long term.  I am hoping that if I can get this, I will be able to make foods that we can eat as a whole family (Usually the western food I make is not really something Ghostess and Ghostlet are used to, so they don't really enjoy it as much as I do.  

 

4. Sketching

Image result for I'm serious gif

Fourth and final challenge is going to be sketching.  I have learned some things about myself from previous challenges, primarily that if I feel like I have to complete something or make a finished, displayable product, I will avoid even getting started.  So for this challenge, it is actually going to go against the theme of the rest of this and be decidedly UN-serious.  This is going to be all about playing and just trying to have fun keep things casual

 

Now, some of you more astute readers who have been following me for some time, may not recall any WhiteGhost Gets Serious Part 1.  This is because it hasn't been written yet.  As any George Lucas can tell you, starting from the middle of a series can really be a lot more profitable than trying to start a franchise from the beginning.  If this works out well, I can always go back and ruin everything with a Part 1 later.

 

Seriously

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1 hour ago, WhiteGhost said:

Now, some of you more astute readers who have been following me for some time, may not recall any WhiteGhost Gets Serious Part 1.  This is because it hasn't been written yet.  As any George Lucas can tell you, starting from the middle of a series can really be a lot more profitable than trying to start a franchise from the beginning.  If this works out well, I can always go back and ruin everything with a Part 1 later.

 

:D that bit cracked me up!

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1 hour ago, @mu said:

:D that bit cracked me up!

Me too!

 

Awesome that you signed up for the program, I'm really curious to see how you'll get on with it! I really hope you'll find it useful after all my hype haha. :P Have you thought about how you want to structure the program modules yet? Looking forward for some inspo as I'm planning to pick it up again this challenge after my long period of slacking. :) 

 

 

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6 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

If this works out well, I can always go back and ruin everything with a Part 1 later.

:lol::lol::lol:

 

Impatient to see how MyFlex works for you. Interesting route. 

Following!

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9 hours ago, deftona said:

Following for all the seriousness! 

I'm seriously glad you are here

 

9 hours ago, @mu said:

 

:D that bit cracked me up!

Nope, no cracking up in this challenge.  This for serious (or sirius) discussion only!!!

 

7 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

Awesome that you signed up for the program, I'm really curious to see how you'll get on with it! I really hope you'll find it useful after all my hype haha. :P Have you thought about how you want to structure the program modules yet? Looking forward for some inspo as I'm planning to pick it up again this challenge after my long period of slacking. :) 

I still haven't done my assessment yet and am still trying to get through all of the introductory stuff.  I think what I will most likely do is replace my regular stretching sessions (which according to her information were probably not really all that helpful anyway).  Given that I usually have a workout session 4 days/week, I am currently considering doing 1 module/day so that I get through each module 1x per week.  I haven't gotten to the point in the instructions if that is enough or if I need to be doing it more often.  Once I know more about what exactly I should be doing, I will restructure my plan accordingly.

 

4 hours ago, Guzzi said:

**runs off to find John McEnroe gif**. :D 

Image result for I'm serious john mcenroe gif

 

3 hours ago, zenLara said:

:lol::lol::lol:

 

Impatient to see how MyFlex works for you. Interesting route. 

Following!

I'm quite excited myself

 

1 hour ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

I was told we are being serious here.

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Yes, this is definitely not Camelot

Image result for it is a silly place gif

 

1 hour ago, sarakingdom said:

seriously-9x0vle.jpg

Image result for I;m so serious gif

Absolutely no sarcasm at all, either. None.  Not even a tiny hint.

 

1 hour ago, KB Girl said:

Lovely. Appropriate Sirius gif with the sketching goal. 

Haha, thanks.  I thought it was a great fit :) 

 

Today was quite a lovely day.  I went to the park in the morning and worked on muscle ups.  I did pullups, jump muscle ups, Russian dips, single bar dips, flexed arm swings, which I think cover most of my weak areas.  I did a few other accessory things as well, but those were the focus.  In other unrelated news, the calluses on my hands have been extremely painful all day.

In the afternoon I finished off the last of the chicken pot pie I made last week for lunch and spent some time going through all of the informational videos for MyFlex.  In the evening I went out on a date with Ghostess.  She was going out to the outlet malls anyway to get a birthday present for her boss so I joined her for some personal shopping as well as dinner.  We went to a Spanish-esqe restaurant and had what the menu was calling paella.  You probably don't need Zenlara to tell you that it was less than authentic, but seriously it about as inauthentic as you can get.  If only there was some way we could have predicted that eating at a restaurant named "Oops!" might not have been the best idea.  We had a German sausage patter on the side (Don't all Spanish restaurants have those?) which was the only redeeming part of the dinner.

 

It may be of interest to some of you that today is 5.20, which is an unofficial holiday here.  In Chinese internet slang, 520 means "I Love You" because someone somewhere suggested that Wu Er Ling (the pronunciation for 520) sounds similar enough to Wo Ai Ni (I love you) to become a thing.  The result is that today is like another valentines day, of which China has at least 3: Feb 14, 5.20 and 7 Jul (but that is July in the lunar calendar, so actually sometime in August)

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19 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

We went to a Spanish-esqe restaurant and had what the menu was calling paella.  You probably don't need Zenlara to tell you that it was less than authentic, but seriously it about as inauthentic as you can get.  If only there was some way we could have predicted that eating at a restaurant named "Oops!" might not have been the best idea.  We had a German sausage patter on the side (Don't all Spanish restaurants have those?) which was the only redeeming part of the dinner.

I'm seriously interested in a breakdown of just how bad that "Paella" was.

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I love Chinese food! It's how I trick myself into eating vegetables, I'll eat almost anything that's stir fried and padded out with rice or noodles. Cooking it yourself is usually much healthier than the takeaway versions, you know what goes into it. My 'chef's tip': they use fresh ginger in a lot of recipes, buy a big chunk, peel it, chop it into 2cm chunks and freeze it so you always have some to hand. You can grate it from frozen.

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4 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

at a restaurant named "Oops!"

Aaaaahahahahaaa. You say we're going to be serious in this challenge, and then you keep writing things like these :lol:

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SERIOUS 2: EVEN MORE SERIOUSER

 

5 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

If only there was some way we could have predicted that eating at a restaurant named "Oops!" might not have been the best idea. 

 

Oh no is that really the name??? Ahahaha amazing

 

5 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

It may be of interest to some of you that today is 5.20, which is an unofficial holiday here.  In Chinese internet slang, 520 means "I Love You" because someone somewhere suggested that Wu Er Ling (the pronunciation for 520) sounds similar enough to Wo Ai Ni (I love you) to become a thing.  The result is that today is like another valentines day, of which China has at least 3: Feb 14, 5.20 and 7 Jul (but that is July in the lunar calendar, so actually sometime in August)

 

THAT IS SO COOL!!!!!  Aaaaaa I love little tidbits like this~

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7 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

I'm seriously interested in a breakdown of just how bad that "Paella" was.

Instead of throwing around the "P" word, how about we call it heavily salted rice gruel cooked in ketchup sauce with various seafood mixed in.  

 

7 hours ago, JessRed said:

I love Chinese food! It's how I trick myself into eating vegetables, I'll eat almost anything that's stir fried and padded out with rice or noodles. Cooking it yourself is usually much healthier than the takeaway versions, you know what goes into it. My 'chef's tip': they use fresh ginger in a lot of recipes, buy a big chunk, peel it, chop it into 2cm chunks and freeze it so you always have some to hand. You can grate it from frozen.

I love some Chinese food, but there is a bunch I also don't really care for.  You are not wrong about the ginger.  In fact, in Chinese "Leeks, Ginger & Garlic" is shorthand for spices and seasonings.  We always keep plenty of all three on hand :)  My biggest hurdle is going to be making Chinese that fits into my "Try not to over do it on the starchy carbs" diet

 

7 hours ago, Captainfantastic said:

tenor.gif.791913b156c117c77a6c737a02ba6434.gif

love that serious theme

Thanks, we don't want any joking around in here.  This is serious business!

 

3 hours ago, zenLara said:

Aaaaahahahahaaa. You say we're going to be serious in this challenge, and then you keep writing things like these :lol:

Yeah, but that's seriously the name

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3 hours ago, shaar said:

THAT IS SO COOL!!!!!  Aaaaaa I love little tidbits like this~

I will try to keep them coming then :) 

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13 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

Instead of throwing around the "P" word, how about we call it heavily salted rice gruel cooked in ketchup sauce with various seafood mixed in. 

Well that sounds seriously awful.

 

Following along for super serious goals!

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7 hours ago, zenLara said:

SERIOUSLY??!!

Aaaahahaaaahahaaaa!!!!

Yes, I was seriously unimpressed

 

2 hours ago, NeverThatBored said:

 

I was wondering how our resident paella expert would feel about this! :D 

If she ever comes to visit I will take her to that place so she can experience REAL fake Paella

 

2 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

well-then-you-are-lost-gif-2.gif

I was wondering if it wasn't Mister Dibbler in the kitchens

 

1 hour ago, NicTheRugger said:

Well that sounds seriously awful.

 

Following along for super serious goals!

Well, I would go so far as call it seriously disappointing, but I feel the need to reserve the use of seriously awful for other more appropriate items

Spoiler

 

Such as Stinky Tofu snack packs

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Today was a bit of a roller coaster.   I didn't go to the park in the morning because I needed to be here to collect a package (next  set of clothes from the clothing rental company Ghostess is trying out) which got here just in time for me to head out an meet a friend for lunch.  We went to a tex-mex place called Q-Mex which was really quite good.  I had a fajita sampler and tried fajita style shrimp for the first time.  Then I headed over to the bank. 

 

I think I may have mentioned this before but this story probably needs a little background:  You can skip this if you don't care

Spoiler

 

One of my responsibilities at church is to help the leader of our congregation manage the tithing and other offerings from the members because church policy requires at least two authorized people for anything to do with church funds.  Now most of China (or at least Beijng) has pretty much gone completely cashless.  For reasons I don't fully understand, however, all church donations have to be done in cash.  The result is that we have to go to a bank and deposit the money into the bank.  When I first got here, this was a very simple thing.  There was a bank branch on the first floor of the building we met in and we could just go downstairs after church and deposit the donations.  Later, the government put in place some new regulations that made it so deposits could not be made into corporate* accounts except on work days.  However, there was a work-around and we could make a cash wire transfer to the account as long as it was within the same bank network.  However, at the end of last year, they changed the laws again, and wire transfers can now only be done on work days as well.  This means we have to find some time during the work week to make the deposits.  Now here's where things start to get complicated:  You can't deposit cash directly into a corporate account, it has to come in through wire transfer.  So what we do is bring the cash to the window, fill out the form and have them wire the money to our account which is at that bank.  The forms have to be handwritten in Chinese, and if there is any error, the entire form has to be re-written.  I have literally spent 2 hours at the teller writing and re-writing those stupid forms until I get every little detail right.  Anyway, we get there today and as we are re-filling out the form (which mistakenly used a X instead of a checkmark to fill in one of the boxes) the teller told us we might as well pack up and go home because she would not be able to process it anyway.  When we asked for more details she told us it was because we didn't have a background check on record with the bank.  I was quite shocked at this because I have been making these deposits for years and in fact was just at that exact same window only a month earlier doing this exact same transaction.  After about 30 minutes of back and forth trying to figure out how they could possibly manage a bank if they can't even keep track of their own records, a manager came out and showed us the computer screen that showed my passport number but no matching record.  Shocked we left to go and get a copy of the transaction receipt from the previous deposit to prove it.  As we stood outside the door trying to figure out what we were going to do, the manager came running out and asked if we were doing a cash based transaction.  When we confirmed that we were, she explained that the teller was not used to doing cash based transactions and that the records she was looking for were for electronic transfers.  In the end we were able to get it sorted, but the manager told us that next time we need to make sure that we tell the teller that we are dealing with cash, because they won't be expecting it.  The entire banking system here is nuts!

 

* Church accounts are not a thing.  The only two types of accounts are personal or corporate so we set up the account as a corporation

 

 

I was hoping that I would have time to go to the trampoline park in the afternoon but the bank took so long I ended up getting home around 5-ish.  I came home and helped Ghostlet with his homework for a bit and then tried to get my assessment done for the MyFlex program.  Again, I ran into some difficulties.  The way the assessment works is, you take some measurements of the various angles of each stretch, and need to calculate the exact angles.  She suggests an app to do that, but it is only available through the Apple App Store or Google Play, but I am not able to purchase apps through either of those.  I spent a couple of hours trying to find a substitute app but I just couldn't find anything good.  I was able to come up with a solution, but it requires me to take a video of the stretch, screenshot it, sent the screenshot to my computer, and then use a different app to get a rough measure the angle from the picture.  It is really a bit frustrating, so I really hope the program is worth it.  I also still haven't been able to get through all of the information/instruction videos.

 

I hope tomorrow goes better

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2 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

If she ever comes to visit I will take her to that place so she can experience REAL fake Paella

Don't worry. There're enough of them here in Spain, no need to travel far away.

 

Oh, man, that bank... Seriously.

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12 hours ago, zenLara said:

Don't worry. There're enough of them here in Spain, no need to travel far away.

 

Oh, man, that bank... Seriously.

That surprises me.  I figured the locals there would riot if someone tried to pull this over there

 

Unfortunately it isn't just that one bank.  It's the entire banking system :( 

 

7 hours ago, Sloth the Enduring said:

Holy crap.

It can be a real exercise in patience

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56 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

That surprises me.  I figured the locals there would riot if someone tried to pull this over there

I could go on for hours and hours :D

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