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SymphonicDan

[SymphonicDan] and the huge Barcelona challenge [May 5th onwards]

68 posts in this topic

Strange timing, but a 25-day NF challenge is exactly what I need right now, so here goes :)

 

Until last August I was a software engineer and spent much of my free time doing gymnastics, football, calisthenics, weightlifting and climbing. Then I quit my job and set off travelling around the world.

 

  • I backpacked around Eastern Europe
  • I represented Britain in two mental calculation events
  • I had my first real-life NF meet-up and went climbing
  • I studied Spanish at a language school in Valencia
  • I volunteered as a tour guide in the volcanoes of Nicaragua
  • I backpacked around Guatemala

 

Then I returned home and had no idea what I wanted to do :( I didn't feel ready to quit travelling, but had had so many adventures that I didn't know what should come next...

 

The default plan seemed to be to sit in my parents' house forever contemplating this embarrassingly first-world problem, but that's lame. So yesterday I flew to Barcelona with an AirBnB booked for 4 weeks.

 

Now I'm stuck :P But I have a big plan. Starting tomorrow I'll spend 25 days doing the following:

  • creating a website from scratch with no prior knowledge of the software development needed
  • being super-productive by concentrating properly as I work
  • eating healthily possibly with an experiment at eating as vegetarian
  • returning to bodyweight strength training on a regular schedule working towards the bar muscle-up
  • practising speaking and listening to Spanish
  • learning more salsa and bachata dance

 

This will be a points challenge because I like them. Challenge is the 25 days from 5th May to 29th May.

 

Goal #1: create a website: the concept will be that you give it your date of birth (or any important date) and it tell you when any interesting anniversaries are happening soon. For example if you were born on 1990-01-01 then your 10,000-day birthday is coming up soon. And next March you'll be 15 Martian years old.

There's also a tool that some of the calculation competitors use for practising calendar dates, but it's 15 (Earth) years old and only works in IE 5 with instructions in German. So I'd also like to make a new version of that and host it the site, maybe with leaderboards etc.

 

I've never made a website before, so this will be all unchartered territory for my brain.
 

Spoiler
  • make a basic website work locally (1 point)
  • write any code that finds interesting anniversaries (3 points)
  • make the website as intended (2 points)
  • make the website look professional (3 points) (2 so far)
  • host the website online (2 points)
  • make sure the website works well in Chrome, Android, IE and Firefox (1 point)
  • add option to select a particular anniversary (1 point)
  • add functionality to email a friend with an anniversary (2 points)
  • make a basic calendar training tool in a web page (3 points)
  • make a usable calendar training tool in a web page (2 points)
  • make the calendar training tool customizable (1 point)
  • make the calendar training tool look professional (1 point)
  • allow calendar users to store their preferences/data (2 points)
  • put the calendar training tool on the website (1 point)

 

Goal #2: be super-productive: at university I would tell myself that I could work just fine with Facebook etc. in the background. Eventually I learned I don't have the discipline for that :P So I'm setting myself a schedule to follow every day. 1 point for every day that I follow it properly. I can add items to the list whenever I like but I can only reduce them for 3 days in the future. I won't write out the list but the main features are:

  • work 4 hours per day on goal #1
  • no Facebook, email, or pointless internet checking except for 5 minutes at the end of each hour
  • exercise every day
  • Spanish listening practice every day
  • NF time in the afternoon :) 

 

One thing I've learned from my travels is that I'm much happier when I'm being social. And that's going to be difficult when I'm programming away alone in some random suburb... So I've found a bunch of good events to go to, such as language exchanges and salsa classes, and aim to do 18 social things during the 25 days. 1 point for each, but the first one each week doesn't count, to leave a maximum of 14.

 

Goal #3: eat healthy: this means I eat enough but not too much, I don't spend 25 days only eating cereals haha, I have enough fruit and vegetables and I mainly cook for myself. 6 points awarded subjectively.

 

Goal #4: strength training: I was at my best in 2015 (video) and want to get back up to a similar standard. Close to where I'm staying is this amazing workout park:

Spoiler

large.590b8f9255e89_20170504_1556081.jpg

 

So I'll be awarding 1 point for each of the following, with the twist that I can't claim any points until May 19th, to prevent me from going hard on maxes rather than training sensibly.

Spoiler
  • 9 pull-ups
  • 12 pull-ups
  • 15 pull-ups
  • 30 push-ups (20 so far)
  • 40 push-ups
  • 12 parallel bar dips
  • pull-up to solar plexus
  • single-bar dip to solar plexus
  • any bar muscle-up (5 points)
  • 1 mile in 6:15
  • 1 mile in 6:00
  • 5km in 22:30
  • 5km in 21:30
  • 5km in 20:30
  • handbalance for 10 seconds (2 points)

So that's 20 points total and plenty to be getting on with ;)

 

Goal #5: understanding Spanish: my goal is still to understand EuroNews radio in Spanish. 5 points if I manage this. I'll be training every day as part of goal #2

 

Goal #6: salsa dancing: I'm good enough to enjoy dancing salsa and bachata, but I'd like to learn more... more moves and a less... mathematical style :P Subjectively awarding 5 points for this

 

 

And boom, that adds up to 100 points almost like it was on purpose... 0.25 stat point for every 2 challenge points, as long as I get at least 32 challenge points.

 

Simple.

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Tracking:

Spoiler

Goal #1: create a website: points so far: 11 (max 25)

 

Goal #2: be super productive: points so far: 22 (max 39)

 

_______  T  W  Th  F  Sa  Su  M

week 1:    [   n/a   ]  1+ 1+  1+  1.         total = 6

week 2:   0+  1.  0+ 0+ 0+  3.   0+        total = 8

week 3:   0.   0.  0+ 1+ 0.   0+  1.         total = 4

week 4:   0.   1.  0.  1+ 0+  1.   1.         total = 5

 

Goal #3: eat healthy: points total: 4 (max 6)

Goal #4: strength training: points so far: 10 (max 20)

Goal #5: understand Spanish: current score: 5 (max 5)

Goal #6: salsa dancing: current score: 3 (max 5)

 

Grand total: 56 (grade B/C)

 

 

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After 3 days this is doing pretty well :) I'm tired, but it's from being busy pretty much all of the time doing things I like or in which I see the value/

 

Goal #1: create a website: So after some research I decided to use Flask with Python as the architecture, and I've got something basic working, and written the most complex algorithm that I'll need. Currently ahead of schedule :o

 

Goal #2: be super productive: I've mostly followed my schedule every day, which is basically work, then fitness, then sort things out and go to some social event. Having a schedule has really helped me get lots done without wasting 90% of my time deciding what to do... Usually I'm so indecisive and procrastinate all day.

 

On Friday I went out to a language exchange and met a bunch of cool people from all around Europe, and then to a different one on Saturday that seemed more of an foreigners' meet-up than a language exchange but I had some good Spanish practice anyway with some Spanish and Italian people, and some good practical discussion with a digital nomad in English.

 

Tonight I had a choice of two salsa/bachata classes, and chose the one that was cancelled because only two of us - both guys - turned up :( I'm intending to go to another one tomorrow that should be better-attended!

 

Goal #3: eat healthy: I went to a Chinese restaurant yesterday and was offered the worst meal I've ever been served. The "chicken with mushrooms" was basically "chicken fat with mushrooms". I ate the mushrooms only. On the positive side I've had more fruit than usual, and my new discovery of egg-fried pasta with random vegetables and untranslatable seafood (¿qué es "patos"?) makes a good meal.

 

Goal #4: strength training: haha. So on Thursday I explored the outdoor calisthenics gym at Can Zam, and on Friday I went for about 5km of running. Since then I've had so much DOMS it's been difficult to do anything else, but nevertheless I trained handstands on Saturday on this beautiful park that stretches forever along the river Besòs, and today went back to the calisthenics park and did a bunch of light sets focusing more on recovery.

 

The handstands were lame because I haven't done them on grass for ages, and only did them occasionally on beaches for the past 6 months, but I could feel myself relearning what it's like to be actually vertical in a handstand, and to activate all the muscles needed rather than flailing the legs around loosely.

 

Goal #5: understanding Spanish: improving!

 

Goal #6: salsa and bachata: so far only been to one cancelled class, so no progress yet here.

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52 minutes ago, SymphonicDan said:

 (¿qué es "patos"?)

Isn't that duck?

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Awesome to see you back challenging! :D   

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23 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

Isn't that duck?

 

Ah yep :) but I'd misremembered what I'd bought: it was potas, which is apparently the body of an octopus (as opposed to pulpo, which is the tentacles and what you usually get served.

 

Today I was tired, and so skipped the fitness component entirely :( My body probably needs the chance to recover anyway! I did go out to a salsa and bachata class where the salsa was way too simple but I did learn some cool bachata stuff! I need to make a note so I can actually use it when dancing with people...

 

My website now does what I want it to yay :) So the Flask, Python and HTML parts are done. It still looks like a school project though haha so the next stage is to learn some CSS styling to make it look slick and professional.

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2 hours ago, SymphonicDan said:

 

Ah yep :) but I'd misremembered what I'd bought: it was potas, which is apparently the body of an octopus (as opposed to pulpo, which is the tentacles and what you usually get served.

Such a small change can make suck a big difference :)

 

I am not a big fan of the body, but I enjoy the tentacles well enough, as long as they are steamed.  Raw is a bit too slimy for me to handle. :disgust:

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That's really quick progress on the website! Neat. :) 

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Oh hey! Very exciting turn of events. :D 

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Goal #1: create a website: Today I taught myself CSS so I can make my website look decent, and I tidied a few other things. Ideally I'll have the website working how I want today, and pretty by Thursday. But I'm an optimist :P

 

Goal #4: strength training: today I did a timed 1-mile run and it took me about 06:25 without going too intense, so I'm confident I'll get down to 6:15 and hopefully even 6:00. I also did some calisthenics training. Nothing much to report except that push-ups are hard when you haven't done them for ages :o

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You'll get your push-ups and all the other fun stuff back in no time, I'm sure! 

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So my website needs a name! The main thing it does is this:

  • you give it any date (e.g. when you were born)
  • it tells you when the next interesting anniversaries are, for example:
    • Tomorrow it's your 125th birthday on Mercury!
    • On 3rd January you'll be 10000 days old :o
  • you can select one of these and send a link to a friend (if it's their birthday, for example)

The ideas I have so far are in the spoiler - if you have any opinions what would be best - or any alternatives - please let me know :)

Spoiler
  • birthday generator.com
  • birthday all the time.com
  • hyperdays.com
  • OMG birthday.com
  • other birthday.com
  • ultradays.com

 

(I might also make a Twitter account that tweets random famous birthdays and anniversaries, linked to the site)

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I am kind of partial towards myotherbirthday.com or maybe unbirthday.com

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3 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

unbirthday.com

I vote for this!

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Ah, unbirthday.com would be great, but unfortunately I can only get that one auction, probably for $100+ :o

 

Both MyUnBirthday.com and un-birthdays.com are available, that's the closest I can get!

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I kind of like birthdaygenerator?

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What about something superlative like superbirthday, ultrabirthday or my new favorite hyperbirthday

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Hyperbirthday is legit.

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Thanks for the suggestions - they're really helpful :) I'm hoping to have the website essentially ready over the weekend, then I can start adding extra features.

 

Goal #3: healthy eating: this morning I was feeling really weak and thought it might be because I hadn't had enough sugar - so I bought a pain au chocolat from the local bakery, which felt dirty of me but that perked me up considerably, then I cooked an actual healthy meal.

 

Goal #4: strength training: tried another mile run today and got about 06:30... so I'll need another 8% of speed to hit 6 minutes. I was taking a rest at the side of the path afterwards and some local guy actually asked me whether I was okay haha. I'll need to look less broken next time :P

 

I also got some advice from @Hazard's thread about muscle-ups - to work on tiger push-ups and Russian dips. The tiger push-ups were harder than expected, but the Russian dips just left me hanging onto the bars feeling hopeless haha. I do see how they would help train strength for the transition element so I'll continue with them. Also did some jumping muscle-ups to get the hang of the transition (excuse the pun) and some high pull-ups and dips.

 

Goal #6: salsa and bachata: I went to a bachata class and open dance on Wednesday. It was a really good place, but the moves in the class were more what you'd see in a choreographed performance rather than anything I could lead as a guy... so I couldn't really use any of that on the dancefloor afterwards.

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Goal #1: create a website: beta version now live! hyperbirthday.com

 

It's not finished but I'm at a point now where I feel ready to show it and ask for feedback - so if you have any suggestions for me I'd appreciate them, even if they're negative things. In particular please tell me about:

  • if things look wr0ng on your browser/device
  • suggestions with making the visual design more professional (I want to do more work on this, especially with the lack of logo)
  • feature suggestions
  • anything that doesn't work as expected
  • things I should / shouldn't say in the ABOUT / CONTACT sections

Developing features on the site has mostly been straightforward - but actually getting the Flask/Python architecture to run on the BlueHost Linux servers was difficult and not in a fun way because ugh, I don't know what anything means. Luckily some hero had written a detailed blog post explaining how he did it, which make my life much easier :)

 

Goal #2: daily schedule: yesterday I completely abandoned my schedule to go to a load of social events in downtown Barcelona including a picnic in the coolest park with jugglers and slackliners and hula-hoopers :D Today I'm back to normal.

 

Goal #5: understanding Spanish: I spoke so much Spanish yesterday that this had better be improving!

 

Goal #6: salsa and bachata: I went to an informal class yesterday but we were only 4-5 people and doing the absolute basics, so that was a waste of time but no-one's fault. I think I should skip anything called a "beginners'" or "basic" class now otherwise I'm not learning anything.

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Goal #4: strength training: on Saturday evening I wanted to have another attempt at handstands so ran down to the riverside park and found a quiet flat area and warmed up. The most helpful thing was to concentrate on keeping my arms by my ears (usually they're too far in front of me) but looking at my thumbs. I'm looking forward to practising again now :)

 

Monday I concentrated on muscle-ups in the calisthenics park. There's a bar about 195cm so I tried jumping into a muscle-up on that, which was quite easy. Then I focused on the transition part (between the pull-up and the dip) and "cheated" less and less by jumping. This feels helpful in getting the hand position right for the transition.

 

I tried some negative muscle-ups but I just don't think that it helps to practise a dynamic skill (like the muscle-up) with negatives. It would be like training to jump onto a table by jumping off the table :P

 

I played around with the kip too (I only ever did strict pull-ups) and managed to get my stomach muscles to touch the bar a couple times. Some YouTube videos have just hinted to me to start hanging with my back arched, so I'll give that a shot next time...

 

Some items on my list that I can do already but need to wait until Friday to check off (my challenge rules) are:

  • 12 parallel bar dips
  • single-bar dip to solar plexus
  • pull-up to solar plexus

So yay for them :) For the pull-up goals I've decided that each pull-up needs to be high enough that my hands touch my chest, which is stricter than most definitions but will help me most here.

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My short term, interim goal for the muscle up is to get the pull-up to nipple.  

 

I think if you are getting pullups to your solar plexus, you can't be far off for hitting your MU.  Add a kip to a solar plexus pull up and you are basically there.

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12 hours ago, SymphonicDan said:

Goal #1: create a website: beta version now live! hyperbirthday.com

 

It's not finished but I'm at a point now where I feel ready to show it and ask for feedback - so if you have any suggestions for me I'd appreciate them, even if they're negative things. In particular please tell me about:

  • if things look wr0ng on your browser/device
  • suggestions with making the visual design more professional (I want to do more work on this, especially with the lack of logo)
  • feature suggestions
  • anything that doesn't work as expected
  • things I should / shouldn't say in the ABOUT / CONTACT sections

Developing features on the site has mostly been straightforward - but actually getting the Flask/Python architecture to run on the BlueHost Linux servers was difficult and not in a fun way because ugh, I don't know what anything means. Luckily some hero had written a detailed blog post explaining how he did it, which make my life much easier :)

 

Very interesting and easy to use.  Because I already knew what was going on when I opened, I knew what to expect, but for someone visiting for the fist time, it would be really confusing (and a little bit suspicious why you want the info).  I think it would be good to put the explanation of what the website is and how to use it on the top page instead of linking to an about page.  This would make it a little more user friendly.  As it is the front page looks really bare.

/2cents

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On 15/5/2017 at 7:29 PM, SymphonicDan said:

Goal #1: create a website: beta version now live! hyperbirthday.com

 

I didn't care much about the seconds or days, but I loved the part where I get to know how old I'd be if I were in other planets :D

 

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