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oromendur

Oromendur: Scouring, Part 3

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Right.

 

Challenge thread. (I have one. Really.)

 

I'm nearly a week late (or two weeks, depending on how one decides to categorize all the Week Zero hype) getting this up. But to be honest I'd be happy to forget about the last two weeks -- so why don't we all agree that I'm starting fresh this coming Monday*? I'll pretend it's one of those old-school four-week challenges, the ones that would go by so fast you'd discover you'd failed before you ever got going. They were almost as bad as the interminable six-week ones way back in the day that lasted about two lifetimes. (I do think five weeks is about right. Of course there's the fact that a girl can't get a minute to catch her breath around here anymore because her overachieving fellow Adventurers all seem to put threads up at two minutes after midnight on the first day of Week Zero, but that's a different issue.)


Anyway. 

 

For this challenge I plan to continue my Scouring series, inspired by the heroic hobbit Travellers returning home after their adventures. I hope that their mythic inspiration will help me fight the battles necessary to clear the ugly ruffians that have infested my own personal Shire. Unlike Professor Tolkien, I don't have the power to wipe away the destruction and horror and make the spring of 1420 dawn bright and clear just a few pages after the very last stroke; in the real world scouring takes a long time and a lot of effort, and success is measured in centimeters of progress, not sweeping easy returns to an idealized golden age of the King. But, hey, that's why we have myths :)

 

For anyone new to my challenges, here's a quick reminder of my Scouring Dramatis Personæ:

 

Phil (short for Physical Illness): A a squint-eyed, sallow-faced, ill-favored asshole who enjoys lording over and beating up the timid Shire-folk

Tom (short for Total Mess): One of those greedy, sniveling Sackville-Bagginses who has taken up residence in Bag End and made a mess of the place

Ned (short for Near Depression): A shifty, dangerous robber lurking in the dark corners of the woods ready to ambush unsuspecting hobbits

 

The Traveller (that's ME!): A hobbit Adventurer returning from errantry (i.e. grad school) to discover her Shire has been polluted by the above ruffians


So, your humble Traveller has been having a hard time of it lately. 

 

I thought my successful surgery back in March had defeated Phil fairly thoroughly. Unfortunately, it turns out that -- much like Morgoth or Sauron -- there can be no true final victory. Phil came back and kicked me in the teeth (literally) last week when one of my molars cracked in half. I knew the tooth was on the decline; a bit of it had broken off last summer, and although I'd scraped together almost all the cash I needed to go to Mexico to get it fixed up, one thing led to another and the 'few months' the dentist told me it should hold out came and went with the winter and spring. Of course the border had to be closed when wretched thing finally failed (sigh) I leave it as an exercise for the reader to imagine the fun I had conducting a search for an American dentist willing both to a) stretch the definition of 'dental emergency' to fit a broken but not bleeding tooth and b) accept as an emergency patient an unemployed veteran with no dental insurance during a pandemic. Cue minor financial catastrophe. (Beggars can't be choosers, and I will now be paying twice as much for half the work.) I am *really* hoping that this doesn't end up transitioning into a major financial catastrophe when I go in to actually have the work done in a few weeks. In the meantime, my temporary filling proved sturdy enough to support my customary homemade sourdough Friday pizza night yesterday, so I've got that going for me :) But, as if the tooth wasn't enough, that asshole Phil came barreling in again this week with another episode of my chronic lower back pain (most likely due to the stress and inactivity) just to make sure I don't do anything like, you know, exercise and get some endorphins going. Seriously, I hate that guy.

 

Tom is living high on the hog in my house. It's pretty much impossible to find any non-cluttered horizontal surface, the floors are biohazard zones, and Mount Washmore is starting to loom dangerously once more (a result of my chronic procrastination on unpleasant plague-protocol laundromat trips). I do manage to barely edge him out of the kitchen most days, which is a tiny bit of success, but there is a LONG way to go before I'll have the wherewithal to force him to move out of anywhere else.

 

Ned is sneaking around in the shadows outside, whispering things about uselessness as the rejection letters (for my flurry of quixotic academic job applications, some conference abstract submissions, and even a book proposal or two) start to pile up. The humanities academic job market was brutal before, but the pandemic has turned it into a veritable bloodsport, and I'm not really equipped (nor am I honestly motivated enough) to play that game. So I need to look elsewhere, but that means yet another unpleasant re-evaluation of my entire life. This is a hard thing and I don't like doing it and so I distract myself with projects like perfecting my sourdough brownies or spending an ENTIRE DAY on clever custom Javascript functions to count green boxes in a challenge spreadsheet. Ned loves it when I do stupid shit like that. (I've been doing a LOT of stupid shit like that lately.)

 

(shrug) There's nothing to do but keep fighting. Thankfully there's always a NF challenge to inject some motivating energy into my battles :)


My plan for Part 3 of this Scouring campaign includes two main sets of weapons.


Daily weapons

 

Activity: keep PAI score† over 100 (how it gets there doesn't matter; hike, dance, housework, Beat Saber, whatever, no explicit goal beyond staying in the green)

     Target: Phil and Ned

 

Morning routine: Meditation (at least six minutes), morning pages (two pages of scribbles), Taiji (one form), make bed

     Target: Phil, Tom, and Ned

 

Work routine: Fiction (add words to novel in progress with a near-trivial monthly goal of 15k words), non-fiction (at least half an hour of conscious activity required; options include planning, research, writing, sending proposals, applying for jobs), Duolingo French (enough to keep my streak going), Pimsleur French (one lesson per day)

     Target: Ned

 

Cleaning routine: Wipe down kitchen sink, wipe down bathroom sink, swish and swipe toilets, tidy at least 15 minutes in current weekly zone

     Target: Tom

 

Evening routine: Floss teeth, brush teeth, wash face, bedtime stretching (at least 10 min) 

     Target: Phil


Weekly weapons

 

Get outside: at least three times per week, spend at least half an hour outside (Lunch outside counts. Yard work or puttering counts. Walking to and from the car to venture out and brave the plague explicitly does not, unless I'm driving to the beach to go for a walk or something.) 

     Target: Ned

 

Strength training: at least three times per week, do some intentional strength training (Anything deliberate counts. Anything at all. Hang from my pullup bar for a set of shoulder shrugs? One set of table pushups? Pick up a kettlebell once and put it back down? It all counts. I'm trying to set the bar well below floor level here in a desperate attempt to get somewhere.)

     Target: Phil

 

Weekly cleaning: complete at least three routine cleaning tasks per week

     Target: Tom


One last challenge objective is to mount another assault on the spiraling list of open loops that defines my current chaotic life. By the end of the challenge, I would like to revive my half-created OneNote project management system and be ready with a list of easily-accomplishable tasks to begin tackling in earnest next challenge. I was working on this before, but it kind of got bumped off the priority list by surgery recovery and the subsequent pandemic. I've held onto a few things, like the tasks that form the basis of my weekly cleaning weapon above, but I've lost the habit of checking and maintaining the system, so it's going to need a major cleanup and revitalization. I want to do that this challenge.

 

I've failed pretty spectacularly every time I've tried to make forum posting a goal here, so I'm not going to promise anything foolish (although I do want to read all of your threads and get up to speed on what's happened in the Adventurer world since I fell off the planet a few weeks ago). I will keep my spreadsheet up-to-date daily, and try to report both quantitative and qualitative results here in this thread at least weekly. 

 

So -- that's it. Another veritable novel of a challenge thread from your friendly neighborhood Tolkien geek. I hope that everyone else is chugging along well and ready to take on Week Two with vengeance and verve. See everybody in a day or so for some of my typical let's-do-this Monday-energy challenge-start hype!

 

~~
* Challenges start on MONDAYS, dammit ;)

† Personal Activity Indicator. I wear a fitness tracker that uses a formula based on time spent in heart rate zones; this score is similar to a step measurement, but one that counts cardio effort rather than accelerometer taps.

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10 hours ago, oromendur said:

Challenges start on MONDAYS, dammit ;)


LOL.

 

 

Best of luck to you with everything. I have a tooth and nail thing (horrible fear of them breaking/tearing), but I still read about your struggle in support. (Not the same but a crown once came off and I had to have it replaced, and it was horrifying; broken teeth are the stuff of nightmares!)

 

The pandemic is really forking up a lot of plans and careers and lives.  I hope you can reevaluate and figure something out as well as clear your areas and give ol’ Ned a good kick in the teeth. May the Force be with you. 

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Any thought about using Javascript skills in your job search... if only to find something to pay bills until a book proposal lands somewhere happy?

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On day three of my (truncated) challenge I can already see that the siren call of green boxes in a spreadsheet is a surprisingly valuable source of motivation for me, at least this early in the process when things are still new and exciting and interesting.

 

Story time: I spent a lot of time at my desk today working on a conference abstract, so by late afternoon I checked my tracker, saw it only read 80, and swore because I'd missed the window for going out for something reasonably strenuous that would net me enough PAI within an achievable time frame (Beat Saber is good for 8-10 points, maybe 12, but not 20, not unless I'm going to do it for three hours, and I'm not). As the temperature dropped with the sun, I kicked the 8kg kettlebell I use for a doorstop out of the way to close the door. Wait, kettlebell? Could I -- ? Right then and there, door half-closed, still in my pajamas and flip-flops, I quickly Googled the NF beginner kettlebell workout on my phone, and 3 circuits with my teensy-weensy kettlebell later (super easy at 8kg but that was kind of the point) my PAI stood at a motivational 94. That was well within Beat Saber striking distance, so I fired up the computer, and -- long story not really very short -- I got to color in two big-deal green boxes today :) Why am I like this? (shrug) I have no idea.

 

I definitely wouldn't have done anything without this challenge. So even if my reading and posting participation has taken a nosedive since the middle of last challenge, this place is still managing to be a positive influence on my behavior. Thank you all for being here even when I'm not ❤️

 

Otherwise things are plodding along, some well, some badly. Job rejection emails are getting balanced by conference acceptance ones, and I actually received a glimmer of interest from a university press on a book based on my dissertation, so I have a real nonfiction project to be working on again. Je suis encore étudier le français tous les jours, and it's only two more days until pizza day. Life may not quite be good, exactly, but it's steady and I'm grateful.

 

Hooray for Week OneTwo challenge energy!

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On 5/17/2020 at 3:14 AM, Ann of Vries said:

Ready to cheer you on through your continued battle against these nasty fellows. *hugs*

 

Welcome! Virtual hugs back at you, and hope you're hanging in there.

 

On 5/17/2020 at 7:00 AM, Sciread77 said:

Best of luck to you with everything. I have a tooth and nail thing (horrible fear of them breaking/tearing), but I still read about your struggle in support. (Not the same but a crown once came off and I had to have it replaced, and it was horrifying; broken teeth are the stuff of nightmares!)

 

Sorry, probably should have included a trigger warning ^_^ That is real support, and thank you very much for it. I won't go into further gory details, but I will say that -- since the tooth already had a lot of restoration work done on it before it failed -- my experience was probably much closer to your lost crown than your nightmares. (Thankfully.)

 

On 5/17/2020 at 7:00 AM, Sciread77 said:

The pandemic is really forking up a lot of plans and careers and lives.  I hope you can reevaluate and figure something out as well as clear your areas and give ol’ Ned a good kick in the teeth. 

 

Yeah, it's tough. A selfishly childish part of me is almost glad for the stupid pandemic, which is giving me an excuse to continue to be useless for a few more months. Things are slowly starting to move again in my mind, though, and that's at least a beginning. 

 

On 5/17/2020 at 7:00 AM, Sciread77 said:

May the Force be with you. 

 

And also with you :D

 

On 5/17/2020 at 6:14 PM, Chris Tarly said:

Any thought about using Javascript skills in your job search... if only to find something to pay bills until a book proposal lands somewhere happy?

 

The problem with that excellent idea is the sad fact that I don't actually know any Javascript...

 

My technical background has given me a broadly ecumenical base of useful but not expert experience; I am a shitty website designer, a marginally competent RF engineer, a decent backend system/database administrator and network engineer, a pretty good systems engineer, and an excellent information management/knowledge management type. I am also a superb operational planner.

 

I am -- at best -- an indifferent coder.

 

Coding and scripting has always been a thing in my life I do when I have a problem that needs a one-off solution and the time cost of researching a proper (and reliable) solution is greater than the frustration cost of just hacking away at other people's code snippets until I can kluge something together that does what I need. There's nothing I can do, in any coding language, that can't be done better and faster (and orders of magnitude cheaper) by a teenager in an Indian coding farm.

 

To your point, though, the considerations involved with getting back into the tech field in some way are part and parcel of that life evaluation I'm procrastinating on. It's much more fun and interesting to craft elegant conference abstracts that get me rubber-stamped into obscure minor international conferences because a) having people call me Dr. Oromendur and profess their eagerness to listen to me discourse on my ideas (as opposed to sending me boilerplate pro forma rejection letters) is gratifying and b) these conferences are an awesome excuse to travel to the UK in the fall* and visit my friends :)

 

* Assuming of course that Western civilization begins grinding back into motion by then and I can travel (fingers crossed)

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5 minutes ago, oromendur said:

Sorry, probably should have included a trigger warning ^_^


Oh, simply mentioning teeth or nails is a fair warning and you went and hid it behind a spoiler. I knew what I was doing. 
 

5 minutes ago, oromendur said:

I am -- at best -- an indifferent coder.


I hear you. I do get excited sometimes but -normally- I either have a problem without a budget (aside from my time) or the exact thing I want isn’t really out there the way I want or need it. 

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Is the tooth fixed?

 

i’ve had loads of dental work,  braces, broken teeth, implants... feel free to vent away to me about teeth. But fair warning, I will always suggest a bag of frozen peas as a part of recovery. Always. The words burn a hole in my soul if they dont come out

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Good luck on the broken teeth. I broke a molar in uni and didn’t have money to fix it, and ignored it until several years later when I broke a molar on the *other* side of my mouth, and then finally had to deal with it >_<

 

Four fillings and a root canal later and out the cost of a small entry level new car. Ugh. But at least I can chew without worrying....

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On 5/20/2020 at 11:40 PM, oromendur said:

 

The problem with that excellent idea is the sad fact that I don't actually know any Javascript...

 

My technical background has given me a broadly ecumenical base of useful but not expert experience; I am a shitty website designer, a marginally competent RF engineer, a decent backend system/database administrator and network engineer, a pretty good systems engineer, and an excellent information management/knowledge management type. I am also a superb operational planner.

 

I am -- at best -- an indifferent coder.

 

Coding and scripting has always been a thing in my life I do when I have a problem that needs a one-off solution and the time cost of researching a proper (and reliable) solution is greater than the frustration cost of just hacking away at other people's code snippets until I can kluge something together that does what I need. There's nothing I can do, in any coding language, that can't be done better and faster (and orders of magnitude cheaper) by a teenager in an Indian coding farm.

 

To your point, though, the considerations involved with getting back into the tech field in some way are part and parcel of that life evaluation I'm procrastinating on. It's much more fun and interesting to craft elegant conference abstracts that get me rubber-stamped into obscure minor international conferences because a) having people call me Dr. Oromendur and profess their eagerness to listen to me discourse on my ideas (as opposed to sending me boilerplate pro forma rejection letters) is gratifying and b) these conferences are an awesome excuse to travel to the UK in the fall* and visit my friends :)

 

* Assuming of course that Western civilization begins grinding back into motion by then and I can travel (fingers crossed)

 

Ugh! I know the pain. I can't remember if we've discussed my adventures in academia, wherein I worked on a PhD in Genetics for six years then bailed with a Master's. I left because I was sick of it and in a constant mental health and financial turmoil feedback loop. My thesis was heavily computational and I spent more time studying math and computer science and doing the work of a small team of software engineers than genetics... I left figuring I could land a programming/software developer gig with that kind of experience. I knew three languages:

 

Perl -- nobody in industry cares, and Perl has mostly been replaced by Ruby or Python

R -- most positions are looking for SAS experience (although this is changing with the growth of data science)

C++ -- the positions where people use C++ usually require advanced degrees in computer science and engineering... i.e. not genetics

 

So I spent two years at an amazon warehouse, and now two years in a machine shop. Now I'm trying to get into electrical engineering through some combination of online courses, personal projects, craftiness, and social connections.

 

Also, I see you've stuck with your MIO slice... I just ordered one.

 

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On 5/20/2020 at 8:51 PM, Sciread77 said:

I do get excited sometimes but -normally- I either have a problem without a budget (aside from my time) or the exact thing I want isn’t really out there the way I want or need it. 

 

Yep. Same. I dated a guy for a while who was a legitimate, school-trained software engineer, and had the bright idea to ask him to check over some PHP I was hacking together for a middleware application. He didn't stop laughing for a week. It worked, though, dammit! (As long as I was there to tweak it, like, every day or so.)

 

On 5/21/2020 at 4:24 PM, Snarkyfishguts said:

Is the tooth fixed?

 

Temporary filling is still (touch wood) holding on well enough. The appointment for my hopefully-only-the-cost-of-an-old-but-functional-used-car treatment is next Wednesday.

 

20 hours ago, Ann of Vries said:

Good luck on the broken teeth. I broke a molar in uni and didn’t have money to fix it, and ignored it until several years later when I broke a molar on the *other* side of my mouth, and then finally had to deal with it >_<

 

Four fillings and a root canal later and out the cost of a small entry level new car. Ugh. But at least I can chew without worrying....

 

Tooth things suck. I have bad teeth to begin with (my mom believed that the school-provided fluoridation rinse back in the '70s was a government plot to poison her children and made sure we didn't do it, so I was kind of doomed from the outset). But -- although the military dentists did a great job of looking after me (jokes aside, teeth are serious business, and the Navy does NOT mess around) -- I haven't had that access for a while now, and so all of my dental work is starting to age out. This is only the beginning, I fear. Motivation to get my [BLEEP] [BLEEP] [BLEEP]ing VA disability claim done, I guess :rolleyes: 

 

8 hours ago, Chris Tarly said:

I can't remember if we've discussed my adventures in academia, wherein I worked on a PhD in Genetics for six years then bailed with a Master's.

 

We've touched on it; as I recall it ended up (as many such discussions do) referencing Heinlein's hoary old chestnut on specialization being for insects :)

 

8 hours ago, Chris Tarly said:

Now I'm trying to get into electrical engineering

 

True story -- once upon a time I had orders to the Naval Postgraduate School to study for a Master's in electrical engineering, and a promise from the head of the Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity for my dream job doing systems integration in Southern California as my payback tour. I ended up turning down the assignment to school and leaving active duty. There were Reasons. Sometimes I wonder...

 

Good luck! Hope you find something in a corner of EE that grabs you. Stay away from radios, though. Radios suck. [BLEEP] radios anyway.

 

8 hours ago, Chris Tarly said:

Also, I see you've stuck with your MIO slice... I just ordered one.

 

Better order two. That way when one fails (randomly, or because you threw the thing violently against the wall in frustration when it failed AGAIN to notice you were working your ass off) you have another. (Um, not that anybody ever does that or anything.)

 

All fitness trackers suck. For me, this one sucks just enough less than the others and provides just enough useful information that it's worth the faff and frustration. Do you have good numbers on your resting and max heart rates? If you can get some* then entering them manually into the PAI app (instead of using their bullshit formula or other bullshit formulas on the internet) makes the information from the tracker much more reliable and useful. Be warned -- the step count and distance measurements in their app are so wildly inaccurate as to be useless. The overall PAI score is really hard to cheat on, though, and the active calorie measurements are decent (and quite humbling, after the seductive lies of most cardio machines). I've found it useful to enter my data manually into a spreadsheet every couple of days, because the way the app works currently you only have access to a rolling 7 days' worth of data, and I like to be able to calculate average PAI for longer timeframes. Give me a shout when it arrives if you want to chat further.

 

* Many moons ago I drove down to San Diego for one of those fitness test procedures, where they put you in a mask and EKG sensors, and then cycle you through a massage chair, a treadmill, and a float tank and then print out a big report with things like your no-shit RHR, max HR, TDEE, VO2MAX, and body fat percentage. I highly recommend such an experience if you can find/afford it, because there's just no bullshitting yourself after getting that kind of data. But even a few manual measurements will let you make the app work for you instead of holding you to some ridiculous average. Routinely assuming an average is a valid substitution for the experience of an actual instance of a human being is one of those things that absolutely infuriates me about fitness science in general -- but I digress :) 

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Wait, the challenge is over? What? How did that happen?

 

I haven't really been poking my head in here very much, but I have been keeping good track of my activities on the challenge front. Here's a quick week-by-week breakdown:

 

[WEEKS ZERO AND ONE]

I built my spreadsheet early in Week Zero and began to fill it in, but I didn't actually post details of my challenge theme until the end of Week One. Consequently Week Zero was a total fail (59%) and in Week one I squeaked out a D+ (68%).

 

[WEEK TWO]

I started hitting my stride here, nailing the daily requirements and even playing with a kettlebell for the first time in an embarrassingly long time (somewhat to my surprise, it didn't actually kill me right on the spot). I scored a solid B (84%).

 

[WEEK THREE]

Other than Wednesday (when I had to go to the dentist to get my tooth fixed) and Sunday (which I decided to take off from my loosely-defined work requirements because I couldn't concentrate because the world was lighting itself on fire) this was a really good week; two kettlebell workouts and lots of goodness in figuring out patterns that actually support doing a little bit of cleaning each day. Grade: A- (92%)

 

[WEEK FOUR]

Yeah, so -- Week Four. Things got bad in Week Four, and I honestly didn't handle it very well. When the world went crazy I basically fled.

 

I'm not proud of this. I have a history of being that one annoying person, particularly in military and academic contexts, who always has to ask the uncomfortable questions, insist on recognizing cultural differences, and challenge the unspoken norms that create inequalities of all kinds. But I just couldn't face it. I think perhaps part of the problem is that I've been so isolated recently; seriously, with a single exception involving a visit to a horse ranch with some friends, I have not had a face-to-face non-virtual conversation with another human being (excerpting my mask-muffled 'You hanging in there?' questions to grocery clerks) since before my surgery back in March. This isn't good for my mental health in the best of times -- but it's worse now.

 

When the reality of what was happening finally seeped into my news-ignoring little brain, I found myself pulling back, retreating into a defensive cocoon. I remembered so many years of burning up my life energy encouraging people to cross boundaries and get along, keeping Albanians from killing Serbs and vice versa, Shi'a killing Sunni and vice versa, Pashtuns killing everyone and vice versa. I resented the earlier blindness of my super-woke friends, who never seemed to care when it was about people in countries far away (and moaned about how we had no right to be there and how our work to improve policing and internal security so people didn't have to live in a dictatorship was somehow immoral). I also resented the current blindness of my more conservative friends, who now utterly refuse to make any intellectual connection between the focused restructuring of corrupt institutions we were working so hard to do in those faraway places and the need for reforming our broken institutions here in the US. Now all of a sudden the woke folks are stridently insisting that anyone not on the front lines taking direct action isn't doing enough, and the law-and-order types are insinuating that anyone who thinks the military maybe shouldn't be helping the police beat up peaceful protestors is some kind of terrorist. [BLEEP] that shit. I was tired and whiny and firmly convinced it was someone else's turn to save the [BLEEP]ing world for a change.

 

Eventually I got over myself, and I'm in a better place now. I did manage a long, just-on-this-edge-of-civil conversation with my Trumpanista brother-in-law. We're not ever going to agree, I don't think, but we're still speaking with each other, and I actually think I managed to ask him a question or two that made some tiny cracks in his economics-is-everything powerful-white-male worldview.

 

So in Week Four, instead of doing anything resembling work, I took refuge in some familiar and nostalgic fantasy fiction. I binged on it like candy and ignored absolutely everything happening outside. There I was, just hiding out over here in my hobbit hole with the bad roof and dysfunctional septic task, not talking to anyone, trying hard not to read the news and failing, and eventually just diving into the next book while waiting for the world to decide whether or not it was going to end.

 

The fact that I actually noticed the racist and sexist themes in my beloved nostalgic brain candy is an interesting indication of how much the world has changed. But, even if it was an escapist flight to a place steeped in distasteful Western prejudices, it was kind of nice to re-visit old friends, and -- much like Tolkien, bless his sexist, racist, patriarchal little Eurocentric heart -- I found myself grateful for the positive impact this particular writer had on my young imagination and my own craft (I pretty much learned everything I know about writing dialogue from reading these books as a kid).

 

Out of some sort of masochistic impulse I did keep track of what I didn't do on my spreadsheet in Week Four, so I have a grade: D- (62%)

 

[WEEK FIVE]

I clawed myself out of that hellish chasm on Sunday with a 75-PAI 2.5-mile walk/jog through the canyons (my calves and Achilles tendons soon informed me that I've had better ideas, but I was desperate). Then I set myself the task of coming as close to a perfect week as I could manage in Week Five. The dailies started out all right, but by the end of the week I was basically phoning it in, and I had to do a lot of scrambling on Sunday to catch up with the strength and cleaning. BUT I DID IT. Grade: A+ (100%)

 

So, that's the challenge. Thanks to my spiffy spreadsheet I have some data to analyze. It isn't telling me anything I don't know, to be honest: my morning and evening routines are pretty solid (98% on both), and my work (73%) and cleaning (74%) routines aren't great. Overall I was 85% on dailies, 74% on PAI, 94% on getting outside, 78% on weekly cleaning, and an unsurprising and very ugly 33% on strength training. Interestingly, if I exclude Week Zero (when I wasn't really focusing on things) and Week Four (when the world was burning down and I ran away from life), the story is a LOT better: 92% dailies, 100% PAI, 92% outside, 83% weeklies, and a still-failing but higher 50% on strength training.

 

Despite the setbacks I am DEFINITELY seeing progress in everything. I think I'm going to be able to get a manuscript to that academic press at least a month earlier than I said I would (I'm not telling them that just yet, but it's nice to know privately). I'm still kind of stuck on my fiction project, but forcing myself to think about it every day means that hopefully the getting-unstuck process will take weeks rather than months or years. I'm actually kind of stunned at how quickly I'm making language progress, just by doing a tiny bit every day. Improvement in the state of the house is less dramatic, I'm afraid -- it's still objectively a disaster. Still, I can see some small but noticeable improvement across the board as I plug away at a tiny bit each day (the key here for me was to combine my half-hour Pimsleur audio courses with mindless cleaning; I get two green boxes done in the same amount of time every day, and as a result I can actually see a small-but-steady increase in tidiness that really is kind of encouraging).

 

There is unfortunately a question of sustainability, though. I had to burn pretty hot last week to get a perfect week, and as a result today I rather childishly decided to kick off the traces and totally blow off my ostensibly rock-solid morning routine for no reason other than pure ornery rebellion. Also the likelihood of my doing anything but the Duolingo minimum today is pretty slim. But I need to go run some plague-protocol errands anyway so the day was probably shot even before my little tantrum. It's important to remember that requiring perfection is much more damaging mentally than it is helpful physically. Somehow I need to find that balance between required performance and required recovery that will let me keep improving without burning out. I'm going to take a day or so to think about it before I post a new challenge, but I don't expect to make any significant changes in either theme or execution. There's more than enough Scouring required in my life -- I can do this all year :)  

 

Anyway. I wasn't here most of the challenge, but it turns out that I still get an awful lot out of your presence even when I'm not here to enjoy it ❤️ If you're reading this, I hope you know that I'm grateful for your presence in this weird and wonderful community. Thank you!

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