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Risen Phoenix’s Spartan Beginning


RisenPhoenix

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Oh man, I missed a couple updates already, totally thought I replied here already. >.>

It's awesome seeing how much you've progressed from challenge 1. Seriously. You were focused on a calorie deficit and now you've reached the point where you can focus on gaining muscle. Great job on mixing with the body weight circuits. I probably hate running almost as much as you do but still... blast an epic playlist and keep going!!

 

It's okay, I forgive you.  I completely accept that my threads tend to fall to the way side for the cooler challenges the other monks have; fantastic writer I am not.

 

And holy crap, you're right.  I read your post this morning and searched out my first challenge... wowzer it's different.  Amazing what 6 months can do.

 

As for the running, I lack really good running equipment - that includes something to hold my iPhone whilst I run.  I'm actually super paranoid about leaving my house without my keys and ID, so I may have to suck up my financials and buy an arm case.

 

They're pricey, but a good set of kettlebells might be the ticket. They're heavy things, made of iron, and incredibly versatile for not only strength but also conditioning. Granted, you don't get to control the degree of load like you do with adjustable dumbbells, but even so.

 

One day I will have your problem of eating more things! I look forward to that day. And that's awesome that you're in that flow-state of being ready to test on a moment's notice. Now you just gotta get your mind right. You've earned the right to be on the mat, throwing dudes with their wrists. :D

 

I was thinking about kettlebells for a bit.  I may have to be interesting and use a sandbag for a while, though.

 

And eating things is hard!  Though I'm going to have a terrible, pizza-filled dinner, which will make a large caloric bump up today.  Wish I had thought ahead, I would have skipped my breakfast yogurt.

 

!@%#@$#^%!

 

ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY BURPEES!?!??!

 

Sans vomit?!?!?!

 

My hat's off to you, my friend. 

 

Well played.

 

Gaw, I wish I had that "I need to eat more things" problem. :)

 

Heh heh.  I mean, they weren't 120 in a ROW.  I'd be dead.  But it was thus:

1) Pushups to warm up

2) bench press on a ball (~40lbs/dumbbell)

3) Burpees (the pushup kind)

4) Pushups (15x3)

5) Burpees (The kick out, no pushup kind)

6) Kettle bell Curling/Hammer curls (20 lbs failx3, 25 lbs 15-failx3)

7) Burpees

8) Ball balance pushups (15x3, feet on the balance ball)

9) Burpees

 

But holy hell, lot of burpees.  Actually, the guy who was telling me to do this all was getting annoyed a bit because he told me my "sentences are far too articulate for someone doing this workout."

 

So, Friday update:

 

2) Run to Guard the Pass: Holy crap, running.  So interesting things happened.  One, my GPS says I only ran 1.4 miles, while google says 1.5.  I trust google more.  But it means in the future I'm going to take a slightly longer route to be safe.  Also, I'm copping to stopping twice.  Not because I was tired/wiped, but because I was confused on directions and there was no way I would be able to run and access google at the same time.  Given that I was running for the first time in public, I hate running, and I wasn't wearing my glasses, I was a bit vunerable feeling.  So I might have gotten a bit of my wind back there.

 

More importantly, the official, GPS driven times: 1.42 miles in a total of 11:26 minutes.... which gives me a pace of 8:03 minutes/mile.

 

Abuh, WHA!!??  I could never do an 8 minute mile when I was running at the gym.  Yea, I was much bigger, but to rattle that out in the first week?  Holy crap.  Now granted, my legs are dead right now, but I think I can work on that.

 

And in other exciting, non-challenge news, I think I'm buying a car this weekend.  I've had the same car since I was 16, I think it's time for an upgrade.  I test drove several today, and found one I really like.  Now I just need to make sure I can get the price down.

RisenPhoenix, the Entish Aikidoka

Challenge: RisenPhoenix Tries to be Normal

 

"The essence of koryu [...is] you offer your loyalty to something that you choose to regard as greater than yourself so that you will, someday, be able to offer service to something that truly is transcendent." ~ Ellis Amdur, Old School

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Running is finicky when it comes to things like times and such. You don't pay attention to it and you end up going way faster than you thought you could.

 

And hey! Don't knock sandbags! You basically end up paying about $50-$60 for all the pieces, and you end up with something like a 200-300 lb set of weights. That's a freaking bargain. You factor in, then, the fact that it's a constantly shifting load and you have a great thing for developing brutal, nasty, functional strength. I think Vic Magary wrote an all-purpose assembly guide/exercise manual for the site some time ago. Ross Enamait's got some good resources on that too.

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Wow! Congrats on the running pace! I run all the time and an 8 min mile is a GOOD day for me!. (I have very short legs though) - excuses XD

 

 

I really admire your boldness to run outside in public where you feel so vunerable. It really shows your determination and willingness to change your habits so you can change for the better. That is harder than it sounds. I remember when my sister started getting into running because she was determined to get fit and loose weight. She ran outside and she told me she always felt like people were staring at her - like "there goes that fat girl trying to exercise". I remember feeling so proud of her that she would push that aside so she could change herself. She told me one day, they wouldn't  think that anymore because she'd be the fit chick running down the road. Now, she is down 40# because of THAT kind of determination. (at 5'1'', that is a LOT of weight loss). (She is on NF too - Devyn, a kender assassin :)  )

 

 

Props, my friend. You are a rock star. :) And your determination WILL result in change.

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Running is finicky when it comes to things like times and such. You don't pay attention to it and you end up going way faster than you thought you could.

 

And hey! Don't knock sandbags! You basically end up paying about $50-$60 for all the pieces, and you end up with something like a 200-300 lb set of weights. That's a freaking bargain. You factor in, then, the fact that it's a constantly shifting load and you have a great thing for developing brutal, nasty, functional strength. I think Vic Magary wrote an all-purpose assembly guide/exercise manual for the site some time ago. Ross Enamait's got some good resources on that too.

 

Yea, the running was weird.  I'm going to run again Friday and see what happens now that I know my route better.  I was going to try running tomorrow as well after work, but things just got a bit time-intensive and if I puddle too much I might not make a workout.

 

And I wasn't knocking the sandbag!  After seeing how well you used them in a challenge or two ago, I think it's a perfectly viable answer.  I just may have some financial issues coming up soon.

 

Wow! Congrats on the running pace! I run all the time and an 8 min mile is a GOOD day for me!. (I have very short legs though) - excuses XD

 

 

I really admire your boldness to run outside in public where you feel so vunerable. It really shows your determination and willingness to change your habits so you can change for the better. That is harder than it sounds. I remember when my sister started getting into running because she was determined to get fit and loose weight. She ran outside and she told me she always felt like people were staring at her - like "there goes that fat girl trying to exercise". I remember feeling so proud of her that she would push that aside so she could change herself. She told me one day, they wouldn't  think that anymore because she'd be the fit chick running down the road. Now, she is down 40# because of THAT kind of determination. (at 5'1'', that is a LOT of weight loss). (She is on NF too - Devyn, a kender assassin :)  )

 

 

Props, my friend. You are a rock star. :) And your determination WILL result in change.

 

Good grief I hated every second of it.  I know people say they can let their minds go blank/think through problems when they run, but I am not one of these people.  Only thing running through my mind was "OhGodOhGodOhGod, foot 1 in front of foot 2.... repeat"

 

Also, here's the end of week update:

 

1) Spartan Training: 2/3 workouts.

 

Yes, I missed a workout.  I swear, I have a really good, adult-like reason!  And that reason is.... I bought a new car.  Or at least new to me, and as close to new as I'll ever get.  But Saturday was spent pretty much entirely at the dealer discussing and getting paperwork signed, and then when I finally made it home and made the requisite phone calls (mostly parents and insurance company), I was done; more mentally than physically, but done none-the-less.  However, the car is absolutely beautiful and should save me a boatload in gas in the future.  I now need to think of a geeky car decal for the back window (hint hint).  Tomorrow post-car signing I'll get back on track.  Though I now lack the weights that I had last week.  Blarg.  I'll.... find some heavy things.

 

2) Run to Guard the Pass: 1/1

 

Like I said yesterday, I ran.  the GPSsays 1.42 miles, google says 1.5, and I'm counting it.  At the very least it let me iron out the kinks of my running.

 

3) Dine in Hell: Every day this week I've managed to eat between 2,281 - 2,957 calories.  Yes, the latter one is really high.  This is what happens when Phoenix gets free food not once, but twice in one day, and then snacks during a party.  It's higher than my initial goal, but I'm still counting it.  And I'll tell you why in a moment.  The only thing I don't have an official calorie count for at the moment is today.  I'm currently sitting at ~1,800 so I'll probably make a shake or something for dessert. 

 

Life goal:  ONE WEEK until my test.  And I got paired with the limpest, least helpful uke ever for my first class today.  No matter how many times I asked him to stop falling down before I would throw, he wouldn't.  I think I'm going to go the blunt route and tell him that I will not pair with him until after the exam - I feel like I wasted most of the first class today because of him just falling over (though the instructor gave really cool advice that's been filed away).

 

Also, post-aikido and shower, I took photos and measurements.  I learned that I can't take bodily measurements well at all.  So here are the ones I AM confident about:

 

Weight: 203 --> 199 HOLY CRAP I'M UNDER 200 POUNDS AND I ATE SO MUCH THIS WEEK! (Told you I'd tell you why I'm counting that 2900 calorie day)  Also, this officially puts me in the 50+ pounds lost club!

Abdomen/gut: 38" --> 37.75

 

All the other measurements I took I find very weird.  I think going forward the only metrics I'll take are weight and gut size, and use the pictures more.

 

 

So, next week.... I think I need to keep up the pace.

RisenPhoenix, the Entish Aikidoka

Challenge: RisenPhoenix Tries to be Normal

 

"The essence of koryu [...is] you offer your loyalty to something that you choose to regard as greater than yourself so that you will, someday, be able to offer service to something that truly is transcendent." ~ Ellis Amdur, Old School

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Woo-hoo-hoo! Very nicely done. I know you've been pursuing the 50 pound mark for quite a while, and I'm so glad to see you get that validation you were looking for.

 

And yeah, I hear you on the measurements thing. Romaniello has some good articles on that kind of thing; it basically boils down to "Relax, and don't stress so much about it."

 

Congrats on the new car! What kind is it?

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Woohoo! Congrats! That is a great achievement!!

I'm totally with you on the difficulty with measurements. I had to give up on it in the end as I just couldn't trust it; it's why I use body fat scales despite them having their own inherent issues. But yeah, just looking at your body/ pics is probably the best form of monitoring!

Always kick higher

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Woo-hoo-hoo! Very nicely done. I know you've been pursuing the 50 pound mark for quite a while, and I'm so glad to see you get that validation you were looking for.

 

And yeah, I hear you on the measurements thing. Romaniello has some good articles on that kind of thing; it basically boils down to "Relax, and don't stress so much about it."

 

Congrats on the new car! What kind is it?

 

And now the loss of 50 pounds means.... well, now I need to stop being skinny-fat.  So weird.  I just called myself skinny. (Also likely means I'll be getting a tattoo in the near future, but that's neither here nor there.)

 

As for the car, it's this one.  Fully loaded, with blue tooth and everything.  I has the happy.

 

Woohoo! Congrats! That is a great achievement!!

I'm totally with you on the difficulty with measurements. I had to give up on it in the end as I just couldn't trust it; it's why I use body fat scales despite them having their own inherent issues. But yeah, just looking at your body/ pics is probably the best form of monitoring!

 

That's what I feel like, too.  I am heavily basing myself at the moment on Saint's story and using that as motivation.  Helps that the guy was pretty much at my level at the story's start.  I don't want abs (seriously, I do not care to deal with those upkeep requirements), but something flatter and less squishy?  That's a yes.

 

ZOMG!!!! CONGRATS 50+ geeez, that is a LOT of hard work!!! ^5

 

 

 

Ha! tell that "uke" to get his crap together! - You have a test to do!!

 

 

Let us know how it goes!! Also pics/vids of your testing would be AWESOME!!

 

 

Yea, I can't really tell the uke that since he's a Nidan.  I just plan on ignoring him until Tuesday, post exam.  And I'll see what I can do.  I do get a video of the exam, but it's the WHOLE thing, not just my part.  I still have my 5th kyu grading sitting around.  I don't have the guts to open it and see EVERYTHING wrong.

 

Oh man, I take the weekend off from the internet and look what happens!  Way to go, RP!  That's one thing to check off your list.  

 

Thanks, 7FG!  Been a very interesting week.

 

Sweeeeeeet! New car, 50lbs lost, breaking the ice on the running -- you've come a long way, RP! :D :D

 

Thanks, LW.  Though I've had great motivation... and this little wolf constantly bug me about making challenges. :3

 

Speaking of the challenge, mid week update:

 

1) Spartan Training: Monday I did a really, really pathetic workout.  I was just doing way too many things.  After work I signed the paperwork for the new car, which took a while.  So I got home much later than I anticipated.  Then I had to set up everything to cook dinner.  While dinner was cooking I managed to do 2 rotations of the scaled down NF Advanced Body Weight workout.... mainly because my dinner started to burn/over cook, I realized I had to cook my lunches as well, and because the pullup bar I used decided to collapse on me when I jumped up and made me fall to the ground.  Motivation is very hard to get when you've been winded by a hardwood floor.  Blarg.  Anyway, something is better than nothing, and Thursday I'll get my usual workout with my friend.  So I should feel better there.

 

2) Run to Guard the Pass: No running yet.  Friday after work I think will be run day.  I just can't really fit a run in anywhere else in my schedule without borking something else up (usually a workout or an aikido class).  Goal at the moment is to get home from work, run, grab dinner, and then drive down to see the folks after weekend beach traffic has dropped off.

 

3) Dine in Hell:  So I'm noticing a dangerous trend.  I'm almost never hitting my goals for the caloric intake, and it forcing me to make really bad life choices to make those calories up.  Monday I ended up with cake.  Twice.  Yea, I was pretty ashamed.  Yesterday, I ate pretty well for a guy running around in the back labs.  Dinner on Tuesday is one of the few nights I eat out, so it's typically high.  I grabbed a bacon and BBQ sauce cheese burger with a side of sweet potato fries.  And I was STILL under 2200 calories.  So by the time I got home last night (~11 PM), I decided that the best way to pump up my calories was to eat some of the very classy dark chocolate I've had hiding in my freezer.  It worked (a 1/4 of the bar has ~125 calories, which was enough to push me slightly over 2200 calories eaten.... lets not get into net), but I don't feel like that's the best way to go about it, but I have very little idea on what to do if that happens regularly besides a giant spoon of peanut butter.  Which is also possible.  So my goal this week and forever is to NOT DO WHAT I DID FOR THE PAST TWO DAYS.  Easy, right?

 

Life goal: Grading is Monday, but I feel mostly ready.  Slight butterflies, but my testing uke has called me an idiot for taking it so seriously.  I just have a really "bad" habit of sometimes changing the technique I'm supposed to do because my body feels like it should do something else.  Gradings are not the time to exercise that.  As for photos, I took some more Sunday.  I feel like I can see more ribs between last week and this week, but I could be crazy.  I really need to rip them off my phone and put them into a single folder so I can compare better.

 

Hokay.  Back to work.

RisenPhoenix, the Entish Aikidoka

Challenge: RisenPhoenix Tries to be Normal

 

"The essence of koryu [...is] you offer your loyalty to something that you choose to regard as greater than yourself so that you will, someday, be able to offer service to something that truly is transcendent." ~ Ellis Amdur, Old School

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You know, reading this post, I'm kind of thinking you'd be best helped by talking to Waldo about this kind of thing. He's kind of wandered the same path as you in a lot of regards: lots of bodyweight/unconventional training, and experimentation with the bulking/cutting bodybuilding protocols. He's actually had to deal with a lot of the same struggles that you have, and he hit upon some really elegant solutions to the problem.

 

I kind of like how you define your goals on your own terms: you use Saint as a blueprint, but at the same time you're not wanting a six pack. You just wanna flatten out without being squishy. I like that. That's awesome.

 

Sadly, I'm a more vain man than that. I should be content with flattening out, but even if I get there, I don't think I'll be happy with it. I think I have much to learn from you in this.

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Man, the advanced bodyweight circuit is scary... And you did 2 laps of them! 

 

I´m so envious of you having to up your caloric intake. Someday... someday!

Level: 4 Human Monk


STR: 14 | DEX: 7 | STA: 10.75 | CON: 6.75 | WIS: 13.75 | CHA: 1.75 |


 


"Effort without results is only self satisfying bunk" - Kain R. Heinlein.


 


"You can make mistakes, but you are not a failure until you blame others for those mistakes." - John Wooden.


 


"Misery is comfortable. Happiness takes effort." - David Wong.

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Thanks guys. Zuel, you give metop much credit - I did the scaled ABW workout. Still a bit crazy, but not as crazy as they main one

Anyway, most depressing update right now.

Challenge is on hold right now. Found out this morning that my company is closing and I've lost my job. Gonna take a few days to digest everything that's happened this morning.

RisenPhoenix, the Entish Aikidoka

Challenge: RisenPhoenix Tries to be Normal

 

"The essence of koryu [...is] you offer your loyalty to something that you choose to regard as greater than yourself so that you will, someday, be able to offer service to something that truly is transcendent." ~ Ellis Amdur, Old School

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Thanks guys. Zuel, you give metop much credit - I did the scaled ABW workout. Still a bit crazy, but not as crazy as they main one

Anyway, most depressing update right now.

Challenge is on hold right now. Found out this morning that my company is closing and I've lost my job. Gonna take a few days to digest everything that's happened this morning.

 

Damn, that really sucks RP, try and stay positive though, we're all here for support when life throws you a curveball.

lvl 4 Astartes Monk STR 8.5 | STA 9.5 | CON 6.5 | DEX 7.75 | WIS 10 | CHA 7.25

"Burn the Calorie, Kill the Workout, Purge the Apathy"

Push Up Challenge: Yellow Belt (36)

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That sucks without question.  But imo, what you developed in these quests & in the dojo is what makes you stand out of all the others on the job-market & while I feel your pain, i'm without a doubt that you'll back in the rat-race .. not even quick, but at your own choosing.

Nusuth Revamped

Current Challenge

 

You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf 

 Jon Kabat-Zinn

A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.

Napoleon Hill

 

 

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Oh RP, I´m sorry to read that. I hope you find another job soon. =(

Level: 4 Human Monk


STR: 14 | DEX: 7 | STA: 10.75 | CON: 6.75 | WIS: 13.75 | CHA: 1.75 |


 


"Effort without results is only self satisfying bunk" - Kain R. Heinlein.


 


"You can make mistakes, but you are not a failure until you blame others for those mistakes." - John Wooden.


 


"Misery is comfortable. Happiness takes effort." - David Wong.

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Thank you, everyone.  I spent most of the weekend cuddling my parent's dog and reading books.  Figured it was the best use of my time.  Anyway, I think I have a plan of attack laid out in my brain.  Down side - no income (until unemployment comes through).  Upside - ALL the training time.

 

So I figure my current situation means I can not only increase my training schedule, but it allows me to spread things out a bit more so I can do a heavy lifting work out AND aikido on the same day.  Schweet!  Also, I think because my mornings will still be early, I can get up and do a small run before said workouts!  I figure I never said my 1.5 miles had to be done in a single stint, so I'll likely take 3 shorter runs though the week, rather than one larger one - and if I go way overboard on the mileage, OH NOEZ.  That being said, I also have to cut down on my grocery budget - I can't warrant a $300 grocery bill when I'm unemployed (especially if I didn't like having one that high when I was employed).  So high calorie-and-cheap clean eating item suggestions are always welcome.  I think I may have to stow buying protein powder for the time being, though - far too expensive to keep imbibing regularly.

 

Anyway, the increase in training will be a great reason for me to get out of the house.  I was unemployed for a while before this current job, so I know what I have to avoid now - which is already pretty much remedied the moment I decided to permanently budget aikido into my life.  So maybe in 4 months I'll be testing for 3rd kyu now.... (Incidentally, if you count how many classes I've actually taken and were to stack them continuously, I could feasibly test for 3rd kyu.)

 

So now, even though the week was shite, here's the update:

 

1) Spartan Training: 1/3.  Yes, the Monday gimpy training is all I managed to pull off.  Given that I was initially planning on a second workout Thursday (the day I got canned), I think I'll let myself go on this one.  Yesterday I probably should have done something, but I opted for dogsitting instead.  Tomorrow starts a new week.

 

2) Run to Guard the Pass: No run this week.  Fridays are/were set as my run, but I was in a mostly fetal position AND it was raining cats and dogs.  Next week I'll do more runs.

 

3) Dine in Hell: Caloric intake this week varied between 2,287 cal to 2,527 cal.  The latter probably shouldn't have been so high, but I was out eating with my parents.  That being said, I still am having a problem upping the caloric count without resorting to eating crap.  There are at least 3 instances where I had junk food in some regard (a quick look at MFP says German Cheesecake, Organic chocolate-coverd cacao nibs, and a 1/3 of an organic coconut dark chocolate candy bar).  Yea, most of the time these things were still under 200 calories, but it's the principle, dammit.  I just dunno how else to give myself calories to build muscle, or what calories I should give myself to help the process along. Like, should I both with brown rice at all?  Or should I avoid it and try going more paleo style?  If I do that, what should I replace it with, quinoa?  But that sky rockets the price, which obviously at the moment I can't allow.  I need to do more reading, me thinks.  But suddenly I have all this free time.... so I should be okay.

 

Life Goals:  4th kyu exam is tomorrow night.  Huzzah.  I took some more pictures and measurements after aikido today, too.  I really need to pull my pictures off my phone and compare the three sets now.  I don't feel like I've accomplished much, but measurement wise I'm odd...

 

Weight: 198 --> 201  An increase, which normally would be bad, but after the crap I ate this weekend not overly surprising, besides that I find that to be a huge swing.

Abdomen: 37.75" --> 37 6/8"~37 1/2".  A shrink a bit, here.  Not entirely certain about which one it should be, since the damned tape was being annoying.  I'm all for saying the higher amount, but I definitely wasn't at the 3/4" mark like I was last week.

 

Moral of the story?  Bodies are weird.

 

Right.  Let's rise through this crap.

RisenPhoenix, the Entish Aikidoka

Challenge: RisenPhoenix Tries to be Normal

 

"The essence of koryu [...is] you offer your loyalty to something that you choose to regard as greater than yourself so that you will, someday, be able to offer service to something that truly is transcendent." ~ Ellis Amdur, Old School

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Rice is good. Rice is good and cheap, and you can get lots of calories out of it for not very much money. I'm personally a fan of jasmine rice, myself.

 

Not sure really how to go about adding on the mass either, though. I don't want to give you bad advice; most of what I've got just comes down to hard work and eating well afterward. You might want to go have a word with the warriors about that; it's really their thing, and while nobody seems to know how to do a 'clean bulk,' they can definitely give you some tips on getting started.

 

You'll rise above this. You're smarter than I am and I'm sure you have some awesome connections. You'll get it. If I could get out of it, you can too.

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So good to read you are looking at this as an opportunity. Hopefully you will have enough time to experiment and then get a fine job.

 

I hope to read more on how you do in your enviable quest to gain healthy weight.

 

Honor your name fellow monk!

Level: 4 Human Monk


STR: 14 | DEX: 7 | STA: 10.75 | CON: 6.75 | WIS: 13.75 | CHA: 1.75 |


 


"Effort without results is only self satisfying bunk" - Kain R. Heinlein.


 


"You can make mistakes, but you are not a failure until you blame others for those mistakes." - John Wooden.


 


"Misery is comfortable. Happiness takes effort." - David Wong.

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