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PaulG Finishes All Those Goals From Last Challenge


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I MADE IT!
 
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So I sort of checked out of Week 5 of the last challenge. My bad! I spent the week unusually tired, working and finishing my day later than usual, and I just felt too doggone tired to drag myself through writing for another hour -- which in itself is probably longer than I should be spending on my daily posts.
 
I won't lie. I like the challenge format and I've definitely implemented habits and gotten things done I wouldn't have otherwise. BUT... toward the end of last challenge, it started to feel like I was sort of spinning my wheels, blocked in one way or another from making progress on most of my goals. This is especially frustrating because I try hard to make my goals SMART. When all of a sudden the ground shifts under me and I either can't or shouldn't meet my goals within the challenge timeframe, it doesn't feel great. So last challenge was both tiring and frustrating for me -- I don't feel like I got much done.
 
I didn't get a chance to recap last challenge, so what the hell, let's spoiler it.
 
Spoiler
1) Strength: Improve Function in My Left Shoulder.
I started out thinking my shoulder issue stemmed from my biceps tendon, and the answer seemed to be PT-style bicep curls. BUT: halfway through the challenge I saw an actual, real live PT. Her diagnosis changed both my understanding of my injury (turns out it always comes back to the lower trap) and my timeline for when I'm likely to get back to full-volume strength training, which is my main goal right now. All through the final weeks of the challenge, I followed my PT religiously, and I definitely improved my shoulder function. Thus, my grade for this goal is a straight-up A+. However... it's been frustrating, suddenly seeing how my shoulder is actually functioning, and how far I need to go before I'll be actively working on false grip pull-ups and dips again.
 
 
2) Mobility: Hip + Hamstring work every mobility/class day.
I actually knocked this out of the park every week except for Week 4. My post-workout stretching took a dive in Week 5, though, because I had trouble adjusting to the new strength and PT routine, and I got distracted more easily as my workout wound down by things like cooking dinner. So although workout stuff wasn't technically part of the challenge, my hips are actually feeling a little stiffer than when I started in January. Let's go with a B.
 
3) Diet: Stick to a meal plan.
I did the thing, every week except for Week 5, when I resorted to just using up whatever was in the house and not thinking much about any of my meals. Another last-minute derailing. Let's go B-.
 
4) Life: Improve my living situation.
This may have been the most frustrating of all. I took some first steps, talked to my leasing office about a new unit, asked to see it... and then spent like two weeks waiting around for photos, finally getting them toward the end of Week 5. Dumb. I wanted to have everything set in stone by the end of January. Luckily, it turned out that deadline wasn't strictly necessary, and now I'm out of my lease, paying month-to-month while we figure out the potential transfer. But this was the other main goal where I felt like the rug was pulled from under me. Since the delay was legitimately not my fault, I'll still give myself an A.
 
5) Life (again): Write a plan.
I did some brainstorming on goals for the next year, but I have no excuses here, I just didn't do it. Oops. D.

 

The technical start of Week 1 means this will be a full challenge. Since I don't have Week 0 to ease into things, I'm just hitting the ground running with... all the stuff I didn't quite finish last time. I'll consider this my 2021 challenge, reloaded. And I'll hope the screenwriters don't do to my sequel what they did to The Matrix.
 
Overarching Goal: Get back a base of functional strength in the shoulders and hips. My plan for a while is that come next challenge, I want to start focusing on skill development in parkour and being more active in that community. I just need to be a little more injury-proof to get to that point. And hey, a bigger apartment wouldn't be half-bad either.
 
 
Goals:
1) Life (Again!): Improve my living situation. This is priority #1! I have talked to my leasing office, I have an inspection of my current apartment planned for tomorrow, and then all we have to do is start the transfer process... and I have to do the thing I am most intimidated by: negotiate my rent price with my management company, who I know will try to charge me an extra $145 per month in rent beyond what they would charge a new customer (you know, the people they have to spend a bunch of money on marketing and background checks and labor to get a lease signed). It SHOULD have happened in January, but it NEEDS to happen in February. So by the end of this challenge, I'll either have plans to transfer within my current apartment building, or -- if I can't get a deal done with these landlords -- I'll have plans to move out to a new one.
 
2) Life (Also Again!): Finally write that plan. Look folks, I need some medium- to long-term goals for the next year. What's more, last year I found it extremely helpful to have a diet calendar, where I sketched out roughly how long cut and bulk cycles were likely to take so I could plan them around things like holidays and vacations (even though that got derailed to some degree). It didn't get done last challenge; so now present Paul has to pick up the slack for past Paul and do the dang thing.
 
3) Mobility: Stretch while watching TV or Youtube on non-workout days. I did pretty well last challenge at getting my mobility done, but I didn't do a great job at tying it to a particular place in my routine. I have a feeling this is mainly what caused me to slide off-plan toward the end of last challenge -- the practices I don't carve out a place in my day for tend to slide to the back, and by then I'd really rather get some extra sleep. I always set aside some time for reading/TV/Youtube education, though, so it makes sense to combine these two. Every day, I'll use my passive viewing/reading time to get in at least two stretches from my hip/hamstring routine.
 
4) Strength: Write the master workout plan. My shoulder PT means I can't really actively build my strength in the way I'd like. The bright side of this month or two of cooling-off, though, means I have some time to consider what makes a balanced strength routine, especially when I don't have access to weights. This goal will be twofold: first, by the end of the challenge I want to have a strength and mobility routine written out, with at least a few progression steps planned for each exercise. Second, I want to answer some deeper questions that I haven't thought about in a while, like: how do you construct a bodyweight routine to replace everything deadlifts do for weightlifters? Is it enough to have just one core exercise and an L-sit progression? How can I ensure my shoulders don't backslide and get injured again? I think I'll be devoting a little bit of time on this thread to banging my head against those kinds of walls -- and I could definitely use some help, so if anyone has thoughts on any of those questions, I would love to hear them!
  
BONUS GOAL: Finish the book Explain Pain. Shoulda happened last month, but didn't. Oops! I feel like an idiot, because it is truly an easy book to read -- it almost has the formatting of a picture book, with about as much info on each page as two or three Twitter posts -- but for some reason I just can't get absorbed in it easily. I think I need to start by setting a fifteen-minute timer when I read it to give myself a chance to settle in. 
 
  
Current Stats:
Height: 6’ 0”
Weight: 174 lbs
Age: 32
Waist Measurement: 28 3/8 inches
Bodyfat: 11.5% 
Current Injuries:
- L Lower trap dysfunction/spasm-type nonsense (currently rehabbing)
- L Hip flexor weakness/tightness/pain (currently rehabbing, improving well)
  
Current Progress Photos:
No big changes via diet in a while, so they ain't up to date!
 
Workout Log Legend
Spoiler
Since my training is primarily bodyweight, I use a notation that allows me to log a lot of variables. I log weight (if used), sets, reps, my Form quality, and my rate of perceived exertion. 
 
Form: 
a: high-quality form maintained throughout the set. No issues or very minor issues. 
 
b: Average/above-average form. No major issues, but maybe some smaller details need ironing out. (For example, didn't hit my chest to bar quite where I wanted in a pull-up, or didn't focus on scapular retraction as much as I could have in a row.)
 
c : Below average form. I did the exercise, but didn't do it right. Some possible major issues, though not severe safety issues.In chest-to-bar pullups, chest didn't hit the bar.
 
d: Poor form, major problems. This is probably a signal I should be ending the set early. If I didn't, I probably deserve chastisement. 
 
RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion):  I shamelessly stole Waldo's system for grading his RPEs, which he outlined in a blog post on StrengthUnbound.com (which sadly, no longer exists). Since it’s tough to find a good explanation on this anymore, here’s mine. 
  
My rating is based on Borg’s Rating of Perceived Exertion system, which is used sometimes in the sports training world. The idea is to track how close to failure I get in each set of an exercise. The original system is a 1-10 scale, but I took a page from the book of an old-hat member (Waldo) and chucked that out the window. The idea is that strength workout sets should nearly always go close to failure, if not to failure itself, so I have no interest in the first 6 numbers on the scale.
  
E: Easy work. Two or more reps left in the tank. This covers pretty much any number from 1-7. My goal is to only see this letter when I’m doing rehab/prehab exercises, or remedial work to build up joint strength, balance or form, like pistol prep work. Otherwise, I should be pushing harder.
  
X: Held one rep in the tank. Rep speed slowed noticeably, slight grind, but not at failure. This is where I try to keep most of my work, especially early in the workout.
  
Y: Hit failure or very close when I’m working out calm, may have stopped right before physically crapping out, but couldn’t have performed another rep without really amping myself up. Final rep was grinding and slow.
  
Z: Hit true failure and needed to pump myself up to do it — jumping, making noises, etc. Very slow, grinding final rep. 
 
/: denotes left/right reps in a set of a single-limb exercise. For example, 5/3 reps on a pistol squat means 5 reps on my left leg, 3 reps on my right. 
 
(): used for my eccentric exercises where I need to note both reps and time under tension. For example, a set of pull-up negatives shown as 3(6s) is 3 reps of 6 seconds each. 
  
There are other techniques that deserve extra notation, of course, but these are the ones I'm using in my current workout.

 

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Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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2 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

That's so cute. 😉

In defense of my adopted homeland - it's not cost-effective to maintain massive amounts of capital (snow plows, salt trucks, places to store them when not in use) for snowstorms that only occur once every few years (and this is actually one of the most severe we've ever had, temperature and snowfall wise). So the best course of action for the city is for everyone to shut down nonessential businesses when a storm hits that would be NBD somewhere where it's common and therefore the local government is prepared. Analogously, it's not worth it for most texans to own proper winter coats (heck, my BF currently doesn't own gloves).

 Ballroom dancer, data nerd, calisthenics dabbler

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19 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

YAY!

Feels good to be here!

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7 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

That's so cute. 😉

 

4 hours ago, Mike Wazowski said:

In defense of my adopted homeland - it's not cost-effective to maintain massive amounts of capital (snow plows, salt trucks, places to store them when not in use) for snowstorms that only occur once every few years (and this is actually one of the most severe we've ever had, temperature and snowfall wise). So the best course of action for the city is for everyone to shut down nonessential businesses when a storm hits that would be NBD somewhere where it's common and therefore the local government is prepared. Analogously, it's not worth it for most texans to own proper winter coats (heck, my BF currently doesn't own gloves).

 

Even applying economics to this one isn't gonna help Texas save face.

 

... That said, Seattle is basically the same deal. You would think the Pacific Northwest would be better at snow than Texas, but nope, we only know how to deal with rain. We only get a real snowstorm once every couple years, so they don't store anything, therefore when a real half-foot of snow rolls in, EVERYTHING GOES TO HELL.

 

By way of example: you guys have heard me wax poetic about Kenji Lopez-Alt, recipe writer-slash-culinary visionary something-or-other?  Well, he moved to Seattle a few weeks ago, and this is the weekend we both had:

 

 

I have fewer hills at the park near my place, and couldn't walk to anything very easily. But I had plenty of food. It was a good weekend to hole up with some hot chocolate and break out the mittens for walks (like @Mike Wazowski's BF, I don't own gloves -- just heavy-duty skiing mittens).

 

In the end, I actually didn't do much. I MEANT to go to parkour, but chickened out because I didn't want to drive into downtown Seattle (the highways were fine, but if you're wondering about the state of Seattle's surface streets, see Kenji's testimony above). I MEANT to make malted pecan chocolate chip cookies. I MEANT to make pudding. I MEANT to do a lot of things. But in the end, I just stretched in accordance with Goal #3, did a little writing, took a lot of walks, and ate all the Greek yogurt, pita and olive oil in the house.

 

VR68f46w_o.jpgOH! Here's something else I did. You might recall that last challenge I made a round of Laziji, though the chicken in my first attempt was stir-fried rather than the traditional way -- deep-fried with a light egg-cornstarch batter. Welp, over Week 0 I decided to take the plunge, grab a half-gallon of peanut oil, and make a couple rounds of real-deal deep-fried Laziji.*

 

Verdict: 9/10. I over-seasoned the chicken a bit, accidentally quadrupling the chile powder and sugar called for in the recipe (I meant to just double it). It was still good, just... slightly off the mark. Aside from that, I will 100% make this dish again. I don't care that it uses about a pint of chiles per serving, or that I have to painstakingly snip them in half and deseed each one by hand. I just can't stay away.

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Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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Love the skiing video.We actually got out our snowshoes and went for a walk around the neighborhood Saturday.Our town  now has tsnowplow attatchments that  hook up to their park service trucks. Lots cheaper and easier to store. So, our side street was plowed on Saturday! It makes a huge difference when streets get plowed quickly

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Wisdom 22.5   Dexterity 13   Charisma 15   Strength 21  Constitution-13

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song, above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world" J.R.R.Tolkien

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9 hours ago, Mike Wazowski said:

In defense of my adopted homeland - it's not cost-effective to maintain massive amounts of capital (snow plows, salt trucks, places to store them when not in use) for snowstorms that only occur once every few years (and this is actually one of the most severe we've ever had, temperature and snowfall wise).

I completely get it. But it’s still cute. 😄

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13 hours ago, Elastigirl said:

Love the skiing video.We actually got out our snowshoes and went for a walk around the neighborhood Saturday.Our town  now has tsnowplow attatchments that  hook up to their park service trucks. Lots cheaper and easier to store. So, our side street was plowed on Saturday! It makes a huge difference when streets get plowed quickly


100%, and that’s a good idea I wish Seattle would use. My own streets were actually in great shape... but our parkour class is at Gas Works Park in Fremont every weekend, and I did not want to risk trying to navigate and park on snowy hills in a Toyota Corolla. No thanks!

 

9 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

That looks so goooood! 


It was tasty! Though actually, now that I think of it... 8/10. The battering on that chicken didn’t turn out very crispy. :( The recipe said tossing in the scallions and cilantro at the end would “crisp up” the coating... I’m pretty sure that’s not how frying works, and it certainly didn’t work for me.

 

I haven’t done much frying at all in my cooking life, so learning how to do it properly over the last week has been a bit of a struggle. But now I have a ton of oil and I’m running out of recipes to hone my skills, so if you’ve got any suggestions... :D

 

 

Not much to update from Monday!

 

- My apartment office inspected my current place. I had to quickly tidy up the studio, PLUS take down my galvanized-pipe pot rack and pullup bar, PLUS hide my giant CO2 tank in my car. I didn’t want awkward questions about why I have a large aluminum tank marked EXPLOSION HAZARD under my kitchen sink, and I figured those were questions they’d be happier not asking, too. But the inspection was the quickest 90 seconds I’ve ever been under scrutiny for. A smartly-dressed woman walked in, glanced around the place, completely failed to take in the wall-mounted TV and the spackled-over bolt holes from my pot rack, and pronounced that it looked “great”, that she’d approve my transfer right away and take the unit I want to move into off the market. We chatted for a minute or two and she confessed that when they do inspections, they’re really looking for people with major cleanliness issues, or who are letting pets rip up and stain carpets. The haunted look in her eyes told me all I needed to know: this woman has seen entire apartments turned into Lovecraftian horror dioramas, and next to that, a mere need for a little touch-up paint on the walls is nothing.

 

- Stretched, but not during TV: I did a little yoga nidra script after work to decompress, then stretched, and TV came much later after dinner. I got plenty of mobility, but this is still a FAIL for the day, because the whole point of Goal #3 is to tie the two activities together as a single habit.

 

- I made bucatini all’Amatriciana for dinner, using up a couple more ounces of my koji pancetta, which is quickly shrinking. I considered how easy it would be to make a few more slabs, and potentially even gift a couple pieces to friends.

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Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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Ohh stamp of approval, awesome. So you're definitely moving then? 

 

Looking at that video I'm kind of sad the Netherlands are so flat... we had perfect powder snow for an entire week, but no hills to go down. 

 

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Sounds about right for apartment inspections - I’ve typically been told mine was “great” when there was definitely some neglected cleaning and/or holes on the walls. Were you able to negotiate the rent down on the bigger unit?

 

Not a great frying suggestion, but you could try indulging your inner kindergartner with homemade chicken nugget and/or mozzarella sticks?

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 Ballroom dancer, data nerd, calisthenics dabbler

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I should've tried snowboarding in all this snow too, looked fun :D

 

I like the challenge and I resonate with a lot of your frustrations I sort of feel in the same boat. But these goals look like good ones to get you back on track to learning new things. Writing out a plan for the year is a really good idea too. And I may steal your multi tasking portion in goal #3 with all the stretching I've sentenced myself to doing lol.

 

I'm glad the inspection went well, good thing you remembered the pot pipe haha. Sometimes we live with things a certain way for so long we kinda forget they are there.

 

 

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10 hours ago, KB Girl said:

Ohh stamp of approval, awesome. So you're definitely moving then? 

 

10 hours ago, Mike Wazowski said:

Sounds about right for apartment inspections - I’ve typically been told mine was “great” when there was definitely some neglected cleaning and/or holes on the walls. Were you able to negotiate the rent down on the bigger unit?


Definitely moving... uh, somewhere. Where exactly that will be is the fun guessing game I now get to play. :D 

 

On the rent: that is pending. The part of my brain that knows what it’s doing with this stuff has been waiting quietly, but with them pulling the unit off the market, it has now woken up and smells blood. Off the market means a deal’s in progress, and that means I now have a little negotiating power — even if it’s only the power to walk out of a lease signing the employee spent time putting together. The rest of my brain, though, is very jittery and doesn’t want to make a fuss.

 

And then there are the little clues that they may not be reasonable: their bulletin to the whole apartment email list that their (lower) public prices online are for “NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY”, or their very weird policy they mentioned to me where in order to transfer the unit, it has to be an upgrade (which I am taking to mean they don’t value their existing tenants at all — why would you refuse to let an existing tenant who’s in good standing downsize their space if they can no longer afford the old one?).

 

I hate to admit it, but I’m quite paralyzed and it’s become a highly emotional thing for me.

 

50 minutes ago, Vidd said:

I'm glad the inspection went well, good thing you remembered the pot pipe haha. Sometimes we live with things a certain way for so long we kinda forget they are there.


The pot rack I remembered right away. What I almost forgot about were all the other little nail/screw holes I’ve made in the walls over the years. About an hour before the lady showed up, that spackle came out of the closet real quick.

 

10 hours ago, Mike Wazowski said:

Not a great frying suggestion, but you could try indulging your inner kindergartner with homemade chicken nugget and/or mozzarella sticks?


Ooh, interesting idea. I’ve heard mozz sticks are actually kind of difficult, because as the cheese melts and its water content starts to expand into steam, you can easily get an exploded-breading situation where the cheese squirts out into the oil and makes a huge mess. A terrifying ordeal that’s rewarded at the end with fried cheese does sound right up my alley...

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Cowardly Assassin
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I finally pulled myself out of holiday daze long enough to find you and read up on your shenanigans.  I have to admit, though, when you said 

 

14 hours ago, PaulG said:

take down my galvanized-pipe pot rack

I was not thinking pots and pans and heartily agreed that taking it down before the inspection would be a good idea :D

 

As for things to make with a big pot of oil, have you ever had river shrimp;

 

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21 hours ago, PaulG said:

We chatted for a minute or two and she confessed that when they do inspections, they’re really looking for people with major cleanliness issues, or who are letting pets rip up and stain carpets. The haunted look in her eyes told me all I needed to know: this woman has seen entire apartments turned into Lovecraftian horror dioramas, and next to that, a mere need for a little touch-up paint on the walls is nothing.

Oh, surely. I bet she sees plenty. 

21 hours ago, PaulG said:

- I made bucatini all’Amatriciana for dinner, using up a couple more ounces of my koji pancetta, which is quickly shrinking. I considered how easy it would be to make a few more slabs, and potentially even gift a couple pieces to friends.

*ponders how to get on the pancetta wait list*

 

As for the paralysis: I recommend taking a quick look at other available properties and rates this week/next week whenever your conversation is about rent t o have concrete benchmarks for the negotiation. Also be ready to bring up your consistency in paying rent, upkeeping your apartment, etc. for however long you've been there. But you know you are planning to move anyway, so embrace that! That is part of your position of power because you have plenty of next best alternatives (theoretically) to whatever they offer you. 

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Raptron, alot assassin

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On 2/16/2021 at 9:01 PM, PaulG said:

I haven’t done much frying at all in my cooking life, so learning how to do it properly over the last week has been a bit of a struggle. But now I have a ton of oil and I’m running out of recipes to hone my skills, so if you’ve got any suggestions... :D

The only thing I've fried is chips. (French fries in American.) Not fancy, but challenging to perfect!

 

23 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

I was not thinking pots and pans and heartily agreed that taking it down before the inspection would be a good idea :D

My first thought too. 😅

 

15 hours ago, raptron said:

*ponders how to get on the pancetta wait list*

I was pondering that too before remembering that customs might not appreciate slabs of meat in the mail... 😄

 

On 2/17/2021 at 8:28 AM, PaulG said:

The rest of my brain, though, is very jittery and doesn’t want to make a fuss.

Remember that they're not your friends. You don't have to worry about making a fuss, or about hurting their feelings. 
Also seconding all of @raptron's comments.

 

On 2/17/2021 at 8:28 AM, PaulG said:

their very weird policy they mentioned to me where in order to transfer the unit, it has to be an upgrade (which I am taking to mean they don’t value their existing tenants at all — why would you refuse to let an existing tenant who’s in good standing downsize their space if they can no longer afford the old one?).

It's a weird policy, but my guess is that it's to do with risk. I bet most people downsize because of money problems (because western culture is to always go bigger and better). But it doesn't really matter. Again they're not your friends, it doesn't make sense to base your decisions on whether you think they value their tenants or not. It's just a deal and you can take it or leave it.

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+1 for everything raptron said - having concrete next best options that you'd also be stoked to move into might help it feel less like moving into this particular unit is an all-or-nothing thing.

 

Also, if it helps (and doesn't sound totally insane), you can try imagining professional negotiator you as representing personal life you as a client? And then advocate for yourself the same way you would advocate for a client who hired you? No idea how well that'd work, but it might help you let your professional skills loose.

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 Ballroom dancer, data nerd, calisthenics dabbler

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On 2/15/2021 at 5:17 PM, Mike Wazowski said:

In defense of my adopted homeland - it's not cost-effective to maintain massive amounts of capital (snow plows, salt trucks, places to store them when not in use) for snowstorms that only occur once every few years (and this is actually one of the most severe we've ever had, temperature and snowfall wise). So the best course of action for the city is for everyone to shut down nonessential businesses when a storm hits that would be NBD somewhere where it's common and therefore the local government is prepared.

 

The Pacific northwest doesn't get snow very often either... but they still do a basic amount of preparation for it, like owning a few snow plows, and requiring houses and the grid be winterized.

 

They certainly don't have building codes where the official way of dealing with temperatures hitting 32 (which they do every year in most places) is "contractually require residents to heat to 65 and open up their under-sink cabinets to keep pipes from freezing". That's some banana republic nonsense right there, and says a lot about the Texas approach to infrastructure. It's not about responsible prevention, it's about passing the costs down the chain and raising the profits up the chain. That's visible in every stage of the lack of local and state response to the forecast and fallout of this storm. All of Texas is too used to paying out and getting nothing in return.

I felt like I could run forever, like I could smell the wind and feel the grass under my feet, and just run forever.

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On 2/17/2021 at 1:27 AM, WhiteGhost said:

I was not thinking pots and pans and heartily agreed that taking it down before the inspection would be a good idea 


In Washington, that’s the one thing you don’t have to hide :P

 

On 2/17/2021 at 1:27 AM, WhiteGhost said:

As for things to make with a big pot of oil, have you ever had river shrimp;


I have never done river shrimp! Is that a prescribed dish? When I Google “river shrimp recipe” I get lots of videos of people pulling giant prawns out of rivers, some vague references to what looks like a Cantonese dish, and a recipe for Vietnamese shrimp with annato sauce.

 

I have seen references to shrimp that are fried shell-on, with no batter, and I’ve heard that makes the shells not just edible but delightfully crunchy. Any chance you’ve got a recipe you like?

 

On 2/17/2021 at 8:50 AM, raptron said:

*ponders how to get on the pancetta wait list*


I wonder how long I could get away with mailing uncooked charcuterie across the country before the Feds shut me down...

 

16 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

Remember that they're not your friends. You don't have to worry about making a fuss, or about hurting their feelings.

 

8 hours ago, Mike Wazowski said:

Also, if it helps (and doesn't sound totally insane), you can try imagining professional negotiator you as representing personal life you as a client?

 

5 hours ago, Defining said:

^^^ advocating for yourself as a 'client' mindset can be an easier way to get up the gumption, vs asking for things for you


This was super helpful and made some things click for me, thank you for saying it!

 

On 2/17/2021 at 8:50 AM, raptron said:

As for the paralysis: I recommend taking a quick look at other available properties and rates this week/next week whenever your conversation is about rent t o have concrete benchmarks for the negotiation.


 

Yeah, I’ve been doing some research... my apartment is essentially lakefront, so as you move away from the Lake Washington, rents logically get cheaper. But there is at least one apartment complex on the other side of the lake, only about half a block further away, that is renting similar floorplans for as much as $200 less per month. A couple blocks further away, and prices are $350 less. But the clincher is still their own ad; $145 per month less for the exact same unit if anyone except me were to rent it.
 
What’s been freaking me out is that it seems likely they won’t be reasonable, and I’ll have to walk out of the first meeting and hope they come back to me.
 
 
I have not talked about it much here, but the last couple of weeks I’ve been continuing to follow the podcast @Mad Hatter turned me on to, Huberman Lab. I’ve found it really fascinating, and I implemented a couple of ideas from it, mainly keeping a light-viewing schedule by taking my morning break shortly after sunrise, and taking a short walk around sunset too. I’ve been doing it long enough now that I think I can say it does have an effect. I don’t get perfect sleep every single night, but it’s been consistently easier to get to sleep, I’m waking up throughout the night a little less, and my total sleep over the week has increased too (though i haven’t tracked that well, so I couldn’t say exactly how much).
 
The other idea I’ve been playing with is the idea of autonomic arousal and its impact on my ability to focus, or to relax. The podcast touches on a couple of methods of controlling your level of stress in the moment through breathing patterns, and I’ve been chugging along pretty normally, occasionally trying one technique or another when I found it tough to relax, or found myself tired. Then, abruptly, I got slammed into a real life application.
 
See, last Friday I finally got tired of my downstairs neighbor, who seems to have a habit of waking up at about 10 AM and cranking his favorite morning playlist (an unholy compilation of AC/DC, various SoundCloud rappers, and Fall Out Boy). If you’ve read my agonizing over this rent issue, you will not be shocked to hear that I don’t like telling neighbors to keep their shit quiet, but on this morning he turned it up so loud that I was able to hear a quiet, fingerpicked acoustic track through my floor. I could feel the bass. Of a single acoustic guitar. So I took a deep breath, threw on my mask and hoodie, and went and knocked on his door.
 
Covid has clearly really eroded my skills at talking to strangers in person. When I approached this person’s door, my heart started hammering and I had to take a quick walk around the halls to give myself a moment to breathe and calm down before I finally knocked on his door. He was a bleary-eyed mess, and we aren’t going to be friends any time soon, but I was polite and he’s been quieter since, so I’d say it went pretty well.
 
That is... until Sunday, when I guess his cabin fever from being snowed in finally re-cracked him and he cranked the shit out of his bass. And then my upstairs neighbor apparently cracked and, figuring the person rattling his walls must be me, decided to respond by POUNDING on his floor. Unacceptable. One inconsiderate neighbor is one thing, but now I found myself living with a hungover Post Malone groupie below me, and Mr. Heckles above me, and it threw me into a rage. Before I could talk myself out of it, I was masked and hoodied again, and knocking on my upstairs neighbor’s door.
 
It was only once I knocked that I realized my heart rate was again going nuts, my hands were trembling, and I probably looked like I was about to start a fight. And now I’d knocked, so I couldn’t take a walk, or do any deep breathing exercises with my mask over my face. I just had to ride it out and will myself calm. It was then I realized just how effective those breathing exercises had been: trying to work myself down the ladder of stress without them felt like dealing with a low-grade panic attack while half-asphyxiating in my mask.
 
In the end, it took me knocking three times over more than two minutes before he finally answered the door. When he did, he was pissed, but I was cool as a cucumber. I quickly talked him down, turned his anger on the guy below me, and when he decided to complain to the front office about Mr. Malone, I helpfully offered my name as a reference in case they wanted to follow up with me.
 
So in the end, even though I forgot why I started telling this story, I think we can still take away a couple of morals from this story:
 
  1. My in-person interactions with people could use some practice;
  2. All that breathing stuff has something to it after all; and 
  3. It would sure be nice to move to a new apartment.
Whew. This is a challenge about fitness, right? Maybe next post I’ll finally be thinking about that... 😅
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1 hour ago, PaulG said:

I have seen references to shrimp that are fried shell-on, with no batter, and I’ve heard that makes the shells not just edible but delightfully crunchy. Any chance you’ve got a recipe you like?

This sounds like what you should be shooting for.  They are consumed with the shell, which has been deep fried to a nice crunchiness.  I don't have a particular recipe, but I found this one that looks pretty standard

 

 

It's all in Chinese though.  

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The aromatics used are:

Ginger (minced)

Onion (sliced)

Green Peppers (sectioned)

Red peppers (small pieces)

Garlic (minced)

 

Throw the shrimp into oil at medium heat, pull them out when they have floated to the top

 

Heat up oil in a pan and throw in:

Sichuan peppercorns

aromatics

stir until fragrant and then add the shrimp back in

a pinch or salt

a pinch of sugar

a pinch of chicken or mushroom bullion powder (WeiJing)

a spatula of cooking alcohl

a spatula of soy sauce

salt & pepper to taste

 

 

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7 hours ago, PaulG said:

Whew. This is a challenge about fitness, right? Maybe next post I’ll finally be thinking about that... 😅

 

Nah, this challenge is about life. Well done on dealing calmly with your neighbours, that's a difficult situation at the best of times.

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7 hours ago, PaulG said:

I have not talked about it much here, but the last couple of weeks I’ve been continuing to follow the podcast @Mad Hatter turned me on to, Huberman Lab.

Cool! It's really neat that you're applying some of the ideas and that they're effective. For me one of the biggest takeaways has been that frustration is a prerequisite, not a hindrance, for effective learning (in adults). I heard about it in a different podcast, but he's talking more about it in the latest one. I'm also intrigued by the whole thing about balance and neuroplasticity (since I used to do so many weird things with my body haha) but I have to go back to that episode. They're really rather dense, more like lectures than podcasts and it's hard to concentrate for that long.

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