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(1)-Gah, those replies are piling up again. Bad M! Bad!

(2)-Thanks! And if you must have a whale, I hope it's the Twitter whale.

(3)-(Speaking of which, I haven't posted a story segment since the thread introduction. How have you people not formed an angry mob or something outside my house yet?)



(1)- Your replies and my keeping up with people. :rolleyes:


(2)- Looks like something I might have seen after a boatload of cold meds.......hmmmm....... :wacko:


(3)- I refer to my comment on Will's thread about the whole 'sick brigade issue', said mob shall be formed as soon as I can muster the energy and brain power. Count yourself lucky and get on it!



Now, on Thursday I go with number #3, one because it fits you (lol), and because #2 hurt my head to even contemplate reading. Also, have you ever thought about getting rid of your TV?  (No, no then he would just google kittens again.....) :playful:


I guess I will just sum it up with this.... FOCUS M.....FOCUS!!! ;)

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Day 34 (Saturday, 2013-12-14)

Let's just pretend this never happened. There was a lot of TV involved. And comp sci sirens.


  1. traditional: (0/2)
  2. body: (0/2)
  3. future: (0/1)

To Be Done Tomorrow

Haha, no.

Day 35 (Sunday, 2013-12-15)

The details were different, but… same thing, really.


  1. traditional: (0/2)
  2. body: (0/2)
  3. future: (0/1)

To Be Done Tomorrow

Don't really remember.

Day 36 (Monday, 2013-12-16)

Short day, sort of. Woke up late, got ready, and gave a buttload of tuition. Hopped over to martial arts class, then came home and translated my CV. Then zoned a bit on YouTube, then hit the rack. Sadly, it was already past midnight when I got my parents to look over my CV, so by the time I was done zoning on YouTube, it was late… I mean, early.


  1. traditional: (1/2)

    1. meditate, then get ready, then start work

    2. body: (0/2)
      1. martial arts class… but that doesn't count

[*]future: (1/1) + 1R (Sunday)

  1. finally translate my flippin' CV to English
  2. (did I mention I'm a slow translator?)

To Be Done Tomorrow

  1. Workout! It's been, what, a week?
  2. Wake up at a sane time!
  3. Go to bed at a sane time.

Day 37 (Tuesday, 2013-12-17)

They say that every good lasting change begins with /ragequit'ing life as it is, and then /hulksmash'ing everything within reach. And by "they" I mean "I".

So, I couldn't sleep last night. I lay there awake, thinking about this challenge, how to attempt to save it (or if that was even feasible), what to do in the next one,[1] and why this one in particular is going so badly. I think I have a partial answer to the last question: my day lacks structure. During the previous challenges, I had deadlines and appointments to attend to, but during this challenge my only fixed appointment is tuition on Mondays. So, the logical conclusion is to impose a timetable upon myself, and act on it as if it were imposed by others.[2]

…And promptly did I violate it when I woke up the next morning, because I woke up some 3 hours after my alarm rang. (I wish I were kidding, but, sadly, I'm not.) Oh well. I tried not to let it get in my way, but it was in the way of my Mom's timetable, who was relying on me to deal with lunch. So it was evening before I started on the chunks intended for the morning. Oh well again.

Anyhow, got a full round of strength training in, for the first time in a week. I'm fumbling with my final request for a letter of recommendation right now (that application paper translation thingy).


  1. traditional: (1/2)

    1. body: (2/2)
      1. bodyweight strength training
      2. bodyweight strength training

[*]future: (1/1)

  1. negotiate the final letter of recommendation

Specifically (see legend):

  • Level 2 horizontal pulls: 10/7/NA (−1/−1/NA, beginner+) (last session: 8 days ago)
    10½ and 7½, respectively. Not too bad. I was expecting worse drops.
  • Level 3 knee push-ups: 13/9/NA (0/0/NA, beginner+) (last session: 8 days ago)
    13¾ and 9½, respectively. Again, I was expecting worse. I didn't even atrophy on the outside.
  • Level 4 flat frog (leg) raises: 22/16/14 (−3/0/−2, intermediate+) (last session: 8 days ago)
    Why hello there, dip in my progress. I've been wondering when you'd show up.
  • Level 3 angled bridges: 10/11/NA (0/+1/NA, intermediate+) (last session: 7 days ago)
    Risked doing another repetition on set #2, and lo and behold, it worked.
  • Level 5 full squats: 30/30/NA (0/0/NA, progression) (last session: 7 days ago)
    Same old, same old.

To Be Done Tomorrow

  1. Keep the schedule going. Workout (non-strength training) first thing in the morning, then draft a blawg post, then continue the workout.
  2. Go to bed early.
  3. That pesky story segment I've been promising for a week(?) now. I have notes on what to write, but nothing yet that resembles a draft.

1I actually already have a plan and a theme for the next challenge… depending on how this last week works out.

2I know, I'm totally the first person to come up with this. As such, I shall call them… M LIMITS! 'Cause calling them hard and soft deadlines would be way too intuitive.

meditate, then get ready, then start work
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You know, I always struggle to say something to you here. You're very thorough - you cover all the bases in your posts, talk about what's gone right and wrong, and outline solutions.


At this point, all that's left is to go out and do the things you say you'll do, and there's not much to say to that. Go to work!

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Day 38 (Wednesday, 2013-12-18)

Spent the day on translating my Q&A for my final letter of recommendation (you know, the one that's been taking me A. Whole. Damn. Week. to set up, giving the prof the info and all). Then went to martial arts class, then watched TV, then watched kids cartoons. It wasn't as late as usal, but quite well beyond the cut-off time.

(Note to self: Is it worth writing a short program to automatically shut down the comp at 11pm? But then again, I'd have to worry about cleanly shutting down everything without losing work, and what about having to grant the program admin rights, and how to signal that I really gotta stay powered on longer because of an emergency, and… eh. If my normal stuff is like a siren, then this is like a 150 pound heavier and unclean fat man looking for a bro-hug: Not. Gonna. Happen.)


  1. traditional: (1/2)

    1. meditate, then get ready, then start work

    2. body: (1/2)
      1. martial arts class (yeah, wasn't sure I'd make it because of the Q&A translation, so I'll count it)

[*]future: (1/1) + 2R (Monday and Tuesday)

  1. translate the Q&A…
  2. …which contains the answers to the questions a prof would ask during an interview…
  3. …which took quite a lot of time to get sane in English…
  4. …seriously, am I that bad a translator that I need 4× the time I thought I'd need?

To Be Done Tomorrow

  1. Workout in the morning.
  2. That damn story section.
  3. In bed on time.

Day 39 (Thursday, 2013-12-19)

Awake on time! Well, only barely, but it sure beats sleeping in for 3 hours.

Wanted to do strength training first thing in the morning, but… nah. Mom bugged me to ask the university if my official certificate had been printed already, 'cause they had said it ought to be ready in 2–3 weeks, 2½ weeks ago. Called in, and whadd'ya know, it's ready, and waiting for me to fetch it, and they notified me by snail mail on Monday but that snail mail never arrived, so yeah, good thing Mom bugged me. This did however send a whole slew of new tasks and problems to solve in motion, given that now I have to plan for the very real possibility that I might be moving to Switzerland and starting to study/work there full-time in as little as 1½ months, and what with immigration, and looking for an apartment, and cost of living and whatnot. So yeah, spent the day looking into that, and I have barely scratched the surface of it.

(That is, except for the 30 minutes in beween which I did not spend on researching the Swiss, but on Sonic Colors instead ('cause lil bro—and the video game console—is back). I've been itching to get another shot at Colors ever since I saw the

. I already 100%'ed two of the 40-some levels, just from memory of that playlist. So yeah, good times, baby! Good times!)

Anyhow… went to martial arts class today again, because, eh, why not.

I'm back now, typing this update. I'm still planning to do half a strength training session before the end of the day, but I'll do the other half tomorrow afternoon, because I have a train to catch tomorrow morning. And I must catch the early train, because the feasible domain of trains I can take to collect my certificate tomorrow is constrained by the train fare system, the opening hours of the certification office and my sleeping habits all the way down to a singleton set.[1]

If I'm sufficiently awake during the train ride, I'll continue writing for the story segment. I've got paper and pen with me.


  1. traditional: (1/2)

    1. body: (2/2)
      1. bodyweight strength training
      2. unplanned martial arts class

[*]future: (1/1)

  1. speak to certification office about my official graduation certificate

To Be Done Tomorrow

  1. Get that certificate.
  2. Do the second half of the strength training session.
  3. Finish the story segment.

1This is jargon fancy math-speak for "there's only one train that'll get me to the certification office on time tomorrow at an affordable price".

meditate, then get ready, then start work
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You know, I always struggle to say something to you here. You're very thorough - you cover all the bases in your posts, talk about what's gone right and wrong, and outline solutions.

Thanks, Kishi. By natural disposition or as an occupational side-effect, my brain's wiring makes me pose the question "how to move on from here" (whereever "here" is in that current moment) whenever I report my progress or tell a story about myself. And if I already have an answer, even if only a partial one, I think it's no big deal to include it in here.

Of course, the downside to this reporting pattern is that I may hold back reporting if I can't answer the how-to-move-on question. It's the opposite direction for me: sometimes I have to force myself to report and to admit I haven't come up with (a hint towards) a solution yet. Still, I think it's a useful default pattern to have, and in this case, for me, finding the solution and hearing everyone's comments on my solutions is well worth an angry mob or two forming outside my house because I don't report back on time.

(Wait… I'm doing it again. Talking about the pros and cons about writing about the pros and cons. Eh.)

At this point, all that's left is to go out and do the things you say you'll do, and there's not much to say to that. Go to work!

On it, boss!

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Your posts are always some of the most entertaining to read, so thanks!  Your footnotes crack my shit up.  Have you considered something like http://www.workrave.org/ to help you shut down or take appropriate breaks rather than writing the program yourself?  Switzerland sounds dreamy, I'm jealous.  Congrats on the certificate!  Hope to see you back next challenge.

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I think what you said above about imposing a timetable is a good idea. Setting deadlines or putting things down to happen at certain times can be really helpful.


What I like most is that you look at what was wrong and the why. That is what will help you to make changes and progress forward in the next challenge, and can be one of the most useful aspects of these challenges.


Looking forward to hearing about the strength training and the story segment!


Wishing you a very productive Friday M!

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Day 39 (Thursday, 2013-12-19) (continued)

Bodyweight strength training. Specifically (see legend):

  • Level 3 angled bridges: 13/11/NA (+3/0/NA, intermediate+) (last session: 2 days ago)
    Did 13 on set #1, because, heck, why not? (Also, because I wasn't dying yet). Did only 11 on set #2 because I was dying… doing 12 didn't feel safe anymore. Oh well.
  • Level 5 full squats: 30/30/NA (0/0/NA, progression) (last session: 2 days ago)
    Usual as business. Or something.
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Your posts are always some of the most entertaining to read, so thanks! Your footnotes crack my shit up. Have you considered something like http://www.workrave.org/ to help you shut down or take appropriate breaks rather than writing the program yourself? Switzerland sounds dreamy, I'm jealous. Congrats on the certificate! Hope to see you back next challenge.
Thanks, forkboy. I'm definitely in for the next challenge. In fact, I figure I'll continue this challenge through Christmas/New Year/etc. until the start of the next one in 2014.I took a look at workrave. Call me old-fashioned, but writing such a (conceptually simple) program by myself is most of the fun of using a work break enforcer.Props though that you could find a program that runs on my system and is free/open source software.Also, while thinking about the aesthetics of this solution (writing my own vs. using a prepackaged one), I came up with an idea: what if my work break enforcer just shut down my editor, web browser, mail client and media player for the duration of my break? Hm, sounds realistic on first glance, but I'll give it some more thought first on the train ride.
I think what you said above about imposing a timetable is a good idea. Setting deadlines or putting things down to happen at certain times can be really helpful.
I tend to rediscover this a few times every year… Go figure…
What I like most is that you look at what was wrong and the why. That is what will help you to make changes and progress forward in the next challenge, and can be one of the most useful aspects of these challenges.
It has so far, so yeah, I'm sticking to it. It's actually quite fun to write, too, even if it does take a bit of time.
Looking forward to hearing about the strength training and the story segment!Wishing you a very productive Friday M!
Thanks! And on it, ma'am!
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Day 40 (Friday, 2013-12-20)

What a day.

After posting my status update on last night's strength training session, I travelled to the university campus in the early morning to collect my certificate. A few days ago the major German public transportation company announced the beginning of a new fiscal year, meaning some changes in train timetables and ticket fares, and, most importantly, the trains used. So after having to reorient myself as to which train to take, I got into the new train wagon with the eyes of kid running through a candy store. Like, oh mai gawd, these new trains are so slick, like, idon'tevenknow. /i-like-logistics

Anyway, the new trains had tables to work at (or eat at, or whatever), so I tried jotting down some ideas for That. Damn. Story. Segment. I promised. But… well, I entered the train on a sleep deficit, and I didn't have that many (or that great) ideas. So yeah.

Arrived at the certification office, and received my certificate. Woohoo! I'm official! They also said that they sent the notification letter to my old dorm address. Ooooooohhhhhhh, I get it. No wonder I haven't been hearing from them.

On a whim, decided to drop by both with my prof (the one whom I've been stalling on the supplementary material for my letter of recommendation) and my former dormmates, but neither of whom I could reach. Shucks. Oh well, decided to call it quits and head back home. Also, on the way to my former dorm I passed the old playground that the Courier and I used to do horizontal pulls back when we still lived in the same dorm, and I tried out a few of those; details in the workout report below.

Heading towards Munich Central Station, I was looking forward to a nice 2 hours of quiet dozing time in the train (what with boarding it early and stuff), but… that never happened: I met a former neighbor of mine and long-time friend of my lil bro at the station, together with one of her student colleagues, so we ended up in a three-way conversation about our lives and studenthood in mathematics, pedagogy and law. 'Twas a very fun ride, but not really relaxing. And on top of that, my Mom cancelled her offer to fetch me from the station (she stayed in to work instead), so I had to walk home for another mile and a half (on top of the 4 miles or something I'd been walking already between the university campus, the certification office, my former dorm and the playground).

By the time I arrived home, I was pretty much ready for bed. But I remembered that I had only done half a strength training session yesterday evening, because I had to catch that train today. And in a ¾ hr I'd have to go off to guitar lessons, on foot, since Mom wasn't there to send me. Bleh. So I did the rest of my strength training, but… well, the fatigue was starting to show. After finally finishing my leg raises (which particularly sucked today), I just dropped my legs back on the floor and lay there like a dead fish for about ¼ hr. Seriously, I really must have looked like a dead fish, lying there on a yoga mat in the dark in an otherwise empty house at 5.30pm… trying to savor at least 15mins of time for power-napping, to be able to deal with the upcoming guitar lessons and the no-nooblets-allowed Friday evening martial arts class.

Anyhow, got over to guitar lessons. (Dad arrived in time, so I could hitch a ride. Thank goodness.) Had our end-of-year why-does-everyone-have-Christmas-holidays-except-me guitar lesson, then marched off for martial arts. Where I was greeted by one hour of intensive form practice. Yeah, really. Brain capacity: depleted.

So now I'm back, still looking for something edible for dinner, and typing this update. Although I promised a story segment, I hope I'm not asking for too much if I just fall off my chair and roll into bed here, dealing with the story stuff tomorrow instead. Okay? Okay.

  1. traditional: (1/2)

    1. lights out by 11pm, asleep by 11.30pm: no, but it's getting better; my violations are less and less drastic
    2. meditate, then get ready, then start work: no time for meditation, had a train to catch

    3. body: (2/2)
      1. bodyweight strength training
      2. I-really-am-too-tired-for-this oh-gawd-why-did-I-decide-to-go martial arts practice

[*]future: (1/1)

  1. I can haz mai certificate? Yay!

Specifically (see legend):

  • Level 2 horizontal pulls: 17/10/NA (??/??/??, beginner+) (last session: 3 days ago)
    I used a real horizontal bar at the playground near my former dorm. It's about at the height of my ribcage (reminder: I'm supposed to use something at hip height). Here at home I use a table at the height of my quads. Hence I'm not comparing today's session to my previous performance.
  • Level 3 knee push-ups: 14/11/NA (+1/+2/NA, beginner+) (last session: 3 days ago)
    A tiny increase, which is quite unexpected. I'll take it, though.
  • Level 4 flat frog (leg) raises: 18/14/15 (−4/−2/+1, intermediate+) (last session: 3 days ago)
    Barely kept at the intermediate standard (2×15). I dunno why, but my leg raises get hit so much harder by training inconsistencies than my other exercises do. Alas, I wouldn't know what else to do about it, besides sticking to it until the numbers reverse.

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Continued from above…

Book 3 – Act 1: Rebooted

The situation was dire. I was losing him. Dr. Bad Guy's Rolling Fortress of Doom was much faster than its appearance suggested. And to top it off, the doctor had just sent out his henchmen—armed motorcyclists wielding machine guns—to stop us from advancing. From the passenger's seat of the armored car we were driving, Hot Chick gave me a very worried look.

"Don't worry, Ms. Chick. This will all turn out all right.", I assured her.

"But Agent M, how?! How can this possibly turn out all right?!"

"Simple, Ms. Chick. I'm trained for this kind of thing. I've learned from the best. And right now, in this situation, I know there's only one thing that'll work:


And before Ms. Chick could protest, I slammed my foot on the gas pedal and blasted through the hordes of motorcyclists approaching us, knocking them off their bikes one by one as we rammed into them, like bowling pins on an alley.

"Strike!", I exclaimed gleefully, while Ms. Chick was holding on to the seat for dear life. "Now, Dr. Guy, you're all mine!"

20 feet… 15 feet… 10 feet… 5 feet… we were finally closing in on him. In just a few seconds we'd have him. I pressed onto the gas pedal as firmly as I could, watching the 5 feet turn into 5 inches, and just as we were about to slam into the fortress' rear side…

BAM! We were knocked off our feet… err, wheels… and tossed over to the side of the road. Our car somersaulted multiple times before it finally came to a screeching halt, upside down.

"Argh, what the hell just happened?!", I shouted angrily, upside down, trying to unbuckle my seatbelt. "Seriously, what the flying f**k just happened?!"

Out of nowhere, a loud female voice echoed across the room, seeming as if it came from all sides.

"There you are, sweetcheeks! I've been looking for you!"

"Who? What? How?", I answered, really confused as to who was talking here.

But before I knew it, a strong force slammed me on the back and sent me flying a couple of feet, crashing through the car's windshield.

"Yoho, sweetcheeks! You there? Can ya hear me?"

And then the ground beneath me gave way, and I fell.

Dazzled, and getting back to my feet, I opened my eyes again. It was dark, probably late at night. A table was set up right in front of me, with a roll of parchment laid out on it and a candle burning beside it. And standing next to the table was a black-haired girl in purple ninja robes.

"Rise and shine, sweetcheeks!", Emma beamed at me.

"Ugh, what the— Emma? Where'd you come from?", I replied.

"Just arrived. My assignment ended yesterday."

"What assignment?"

"The one I mentioned before the holidays?"

"What holidays?"

"The end-of-semester holidays for the September-through-November semester? Ring a bell?"

"Not sure. What day is today?"

"Oh wow, sweetcheeks, are you really that dazed?"

"Yeah, for real."

"Sheesh. It's December 21st. Last weekend of the November-December semester."

"Right. I remember now."

"Good, it's about time. So, how've you been?"

"Can't you tell already?"

"Yes, but I really need you to be the one telling me."

"Ugh, fine."

I took a seat.

"I think the best way to describe this semester is 'messy'," I continued. "There was pretty much one major interruption every week, which threw my training off-timetable. And I haven't been getting all that much sleep."

"Small wonder you were drooling all over the table."

"I was… drooling?"

"Yeah, well, ignore that. What sort of interruptions are you talking about?"

"Eh, martial arts events, mostly. There's been a few visiting schools and schools we've visited during this semester, and each of these visits usually meant that I spent pretty much the whole weekend on that visit."

"Fun events?"

"Yeah, really fun events. And quite brutal exercise-wise, too. It just that they take quite some time to execute, and you have to spend the whole day on them, so they really disrupt the flow of things. It's been too many of them in too short a timeframe."

"I see. Well, I hope things calm down a bit for you, then."

"Me too. But the last two weeks have been quiet, with Christmas approaching and all. So I'm not too worried about any upcoming martial arts events, they're still far away."

"So… Your last two weeks were good, then?"

"Eh, actually… not really…"

"Aw, why?"

"Well, martial arts is only half of the game. The other half is my university work."

"But I thought you're out of university already, sweetcheeks."

"I am. Sort of. It's taken me almost this whole semester to actually get a hold of my graduation certificate."


"Yeah, really."

"But why? What took them so long?"

"Beats me. All I can tell you is that I got my preliminary version—meaning without a seal and stamp and signature and stuff—I got that during week three. The official certificate had to wait until this week."

"No kidding?"

"No kidding."

"Wow. Well, you got it now, so it's time to kick back on university work and focus on your monkhood here."

"Alas, it's not that simple, Emma."

"Why not?"

"I needed the certificate for other university work, and actually having the certificate doesn't mean I'm done yet. It means I can start with phase two, so to speak."

"Well then, what is phase two?"

"Use the certificate to apply for a PhD position."

"Oooooooh, a PhD! Have you applied yet?"



"There's two places I'm applying at. One of them is my alma mater."

"Alma who?"

"Alma mater. The university I graduated from."

"Your university's name is alma mater?"

"No, not that. For a former student, a so-called alumnus, the alma mater is a title for the institution he graduated from. Same thing if the student is female, except then she's called an alumna."

"Okay, so… you applied at your alma mater, meaning you applied at your former university?"

"That's correct."

"I see. How'd it go?"

"I don't know yet. The professor said she'd get back to me after Christmas."

"Well, okay, that's a start. You said there were two places. What's the other one?"

"The other place is a graduate school in Switzerland, for the two local universities in Zurich."

"Switzerland, eh? Isn't that that weird country with the cheese and the chocolate? And army knives?"

"…sort of."

"Why there?"

"Why not? I've been to Zurich before, and I quite like it there. And they're both good universities."

"Okay then. Have you applied already?"

"Not yet. They said they'd reject my application if it wasn't complete. So I had to wait for my final certificate."

"Is that what you were doing here in the middle of the night?"

Emma was pointing at the parchment laid out on the table.

"As a matter of fact: yes, that is what I was doing.", I replied.

"Not really, sweetcheeks," Emma commented. "You were snoozing like a kid here."

"Yeah, well, okay. It's what I was almost doing."

"Tee hee, that works," Emma giggled.

"Ugh, whatever."


"It really wasn't as easy as you think, Emma," I continued. "Writing an application isn't as easy as taking a survey or something. I had to invest a lot more effort into it than that."

"Really? Like what?"

"Do you know what a letter of recommendation is?"

"Sounds like… a letter. Where you… uh… recommend… uh… your favorite places to eat?"

"Uh, no. Not really."

"Well, what is it then?"

"It's a letter that recommends you as the ideal candidate for whatever job the letter is intended for. Like if you told Grandmaster Spezzy that I'd be the perfect candidate to lead the first-semesters' opening ceremony, only as a written letter."

"Except that you're not."

"I know. I'm just trying to state an example."

"Well, big deal, so you gotta write a letter. Shouldn't take that long, should it?"

"Wait, no, you've got that mixed up. The letter is about me, yes, but I'm not the one writing the letter."

"So, what? Someone else is doing the job for you? Why the fuss about the letter, then?"

"It's not like writing a letter of recommendation is easy, you know? The people writing the letters need to know me rather well to be able to write me a useful letter of recommendation. So I've been spending my time being interviewed by them and gathering elaborate answers for the questions they ask. Like research for writing an essay. And you ought to remember how painful that last philosophy essay was."

"Ah, right, that thing."

"So you see now how I had a hard time during this semester?"

"Maybe. I'm not sure yet. What else can you offer me?"

"Uh… this isn't a game, Emma."

"Well, it is now, sweetcheeks!"



"I started a blog."

"You did? Awesome! Congrats, sweetcheeks!"


"How's the blog going? D'you have lots of readers already? How about posts? How many posts do you have yet? And shares, and retweets, and likes? How many?"

"Whoa there, slow down for a sec. You know all about blogs, but you don't know what alma mater means?"

"Yeah, so?"

"Well… eh… I dunno, it still kinda surprises me."

"Not the point here, sweetcheeks. So how's your blog going?"

"Honestly, I don't really know. I don't track visitors or hits or shares or retweets or the like, so… I dunno. I don't think it's too lively yet, though. I only have one post online so far."

"Whaaaaaaaaaat?! One post?! That's all?!"

"Yeah, well, haven't gotten down to any more yet, what with my university applications and lack of progress here in the Dojo."

"Excuses, excuses, excuses. I've heard enough. Sweetcheeks, your accomplishments are all fine and dandy, but we can't have you slacking off so much here. The Grandmaster doesn't like her students doing work during the holidays, but I guess we don't have a choice. Even if it takes the whole holidays, no matter, I'll get you back into shape. It's time to change this!"

And with the words, Emma grabbed her shirt at the base and started taking it off. Wait… what?!

"Emma…? Just what are you doing?"

"I'm changing, dummy."

"Why here?"

"It's fastest."

And with one sudden tuck, Emma pulled off her already-pretty-bare ninja "shirt", only to reveal… a track jacket? And a whistle?

"Wha—? Emma? How can you hide a track suit underneath those clothes?"

"Video game logic."

"Video game… logic?"

"Yep. I've mentioned it before, haven't I?"

"You're kidding me…"

"Am not. I've always got my track suit with me. I never know when you might need a little bit of coaching."

"Coaching? Is that what this is all about?"

"Yep. You're about to be coached. You look like you're in dire need of it."

"Says who?"

"Me. Unless you wanna tell me that everything is fine."

"Well… uh… hm… alright, I admit it. You got me there."

"Well duh. Of course I can tell. That's why I'm the coach and you're the student."

"Alright then, I'll sign in with you tomorrow morning."

"Whoa whoa, slow down there, sweetcheeks. Who said anything about going to bed now?"

"Wait, what? What's that supposed to mean?"

"Your coach says that now's not the time to go to bed."

"But Emma, it's really dark out here. It must be the middle of the night."

"You will address me as 'coach' while we're working, understood?"

"Aren't you taking this a bit too seriously, Emma?"

"What did I just say, student?"

"Ugh, fine. Coach Emma, ma'am, I fear you are taking this too seriously."

"That's better. And no, there is no such thing as 'too serious', unless… Ah, I get it. You're saying that you can't handle my program."

"What? When did I ever say that?"

"Just now."

"I didn't."

"You did."

"Did not."

"Could have sworn you did. Could have sworn you just said you didn't have it in you to survive my coaching."

"Oh come on, you can't be serious. Who the hell do you think I am? Of course I can survive your coaching. Bring it on!"

"Now that's what I like to hear," Emma grinned. "Alright then. I hope you're ready, sweetcheeks. Let's get dangerous!"

I raised an eyebrow. I couldn't believe she just quoted a TV series from my youth.

"So, sweetcheeks," Emma exclaimed. "As I said, now's not the time for sleep. Your first task is… to complete your application to Zurich…"

"But I'm already doing that," I protested. "What's so different about—"

"…before you go to bed.", she continued.

"Wait, what?"

"No sleep until that application is ready. And you heard me alright."

"You gotta be kidding me, Emma."

"I told you to address me as 'coach' while we're on the clock. 10 push-ups!"


"Go!", Emma half-shouted, sweeping my feet and making me land on my palms. "And I'm absolutely not kidding. If that application is important to you, then you'll do it even under these conditions. You've just forgotten what it's like to push through adversity. And luckily for you, I'm just the right person to help you with this. Now tell me, why are you just lying there? What about my push-ups?"

With as discrete a grunt as I could muster, I tried to do 10 proper push-ups. It wasn't all too pretty, but Emma let it slide.

"That's better," she commented. "Though we still gotta work on those push-ups. But we'll take care of that later. Right now, it's off to that application. Get to it."

And so, with Emma's piercing gaze upon me, I got back down to my application.

Author's comments: yada yada yada… not an accurate portrayal… yada yada yada… Emma is just going through a phase so she'll grow out of it soon… yada yada yada… tired and going to bed now even though I haven't worked on the application yet… yada yada yada.

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I'm participating in the current mini-challenge. I'll still be lurking here 'til beginning of the next (non-mini) challenge, though. And I know I have yet to post daily updates for days 41 and 42, but I have a strength training session I don't wanna miss.

(Doing that session at 11pm instead of at 11am, because, hey, it's just a one letter difference, right? Hehe… hehe… he… *sigh*)

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Day 41 (Saturday, 2013-12-21)

Argh, it's too long ago, so I've forgotten the details. I remember oversleeping in the morning, even though I rolled into bed the night before. I also remember not finding the drive to flesh out that application to Zurich. And I remember staying awake until pretty damn late typing out book three, act one. Eh.


  1. traditional: (2/2)

    1. lights out by 11pm, asleep by 11.30pm
    2. meditate, then get ready, then start work

    3. body: (0/2)
    4. future: (0/1)

      To Be Done Tomorrow
      Day 42 (Sunday, 2013-12-22)
      Posted the story in the early morning, then got up at, like, 2pm. I dragged through the day, then wound up with a headache by the late afternoon, after which I was completely useless.
      On the bright side… Mom gave me a Tai Chi lesson. Sure, it was to combat my headache, and sure, it's a fancy way of saying I was her crash test dummy, and sure even more, this wasn't what I had in mind when I included it in my challenge description six weeks ago… but hey, desperate times call for desperate measures…?
      Though admittedly, this isn't really the most glorious way to end a challenge. *sigh*
      1. traditional: (0/2)
      2. body: (1/2)

    5. future: (0/1)

      To Be Done Tomorrow
      1. Get rid of that damn headache.

Day 43 (Monday, 2013-12-23) (overtime)

This is overtime, and won't be considered for the end-of-challenge report.

I woke up late, but rested and headache-free. Had multiple talks with my parents about plans for the Christmas holidays, which took an insane amount of time away. Despite the protest of my lazy side, I dragged my butt to martial arts class and attended a very newbie-geared lesson; though not as fast-paced as normally, I'm glad I went.

When I came back from class, I saw the mini-challenge announcement. Grumbled to myself for a little while about why I didn't have a challenge thread prepared yet, then finally posted said mini-challenge thread and did half of a strength training session… because that's all the time I had left for it.


  1. traditional: (2/2)

    1. body: (1/2)
      1. bodyweight strength training
      2. (martial arts class)

[*]future: (0/1)

Specifically (see legend):

  • Level 3 knee push-ups: 14/11/NA (0/0/NA, beginner+) (last session: 3 days ago)
    'Twas hard enough to keep to this standard. But it worked.
  • Level 2 horizontal pulls: 9/8/NA (−1/+1/NA, beginner+) (last session: 3 days ago (ungraded), or 6 days ago (graded))
    I reckon that if I multiply all repetition counts the book wants by 90%, then it'll match my table height, in terms of equivalent effort.
  • Level 5 full squats: 30/30/NA (0/0/NA, progression) (last session: 4 days ago)
    Usual as business. (Sic.)

To Be Done Tomorrow

  1. Martial arts class, early morning. Last pre-Christmas class.
  2. Clean up my room. I'm expecting guests soon.
  3. Finish the second half of the strength training session.

And that's the final progress update for this thread. I will post future updates to my mini-challenge thread or its successors, as appropriate. In this thread however I will only post the end-of-challenge report, replies to comments, and the rest of book 3 of the story.

Thanks for staying with me this long.

lights out by 11pm, asleep by 11.30pm
meditate, then get ready, then start work
Tai Chi practice
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