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World of Keiko 2020/07/07

This week’s posts:

HABIT BUILDING
I have been using the journal and the Habit Trekker app to keep track of what I am doing and to provide a reminder of sorts. Whilst I have been feeling a bit ill the past few days (tired and sore), I still make sure that I get chores, my art challenge and Duolingo lessons completed each day. By the way, I decided last week to also include Duolingo language lessons into the mix. I figure that I want to learn some French and Dutch anyway, but Latin is one of those “play” languages that I am doing solely for the fun of it. It provides some insight into several other European languages that spawned from it.

GAMING
Last Thursday, I decided to run an experiment. I decided to see if I would pine for BDO if I didn’t play it all day. The answer is a resounding “no”. I haven’t loaded it since the game went down last Wednesday. Whilst I was aware that I had stopped actively playing the MMO, seeing my suspicions confirmed helped me make a decision to take a break for a while. If I feel like returning again in a month or more from now, I have that option. No pressure to play. I will, however, have to inform my guild officers and GM that we’ll be taking a break. Disappearing without a word is a bit rude, after all.
Hubby was kind enough to get me Farming Simulator 2019 Platinum Edition. I haven’t loaded it yet but I’m really looking forward to seeing how it compares with FS17. I will, however, need to

GARDENING
The plants are still alive. However, some of the seeds I planted last week haven’t sprouted yet. I am unsure if it is too cold for them or there is some other reason behind them not germinating. In any case, I have eaten a few peas from the tiny field pea plants growing along the front fence. I need to do some weeding in all of the garden beds, but it is less priority to dealing with the lawn and cleaning up some of the fence lines at present.

EDUCATION
It is odd going through the French and Dutch Duolingo lessons. Late last year, the platform reworked the material, bringing in line with international certification standards. Whilst it still has the whacky sentences about Elephants and strawberries, the layout is more conducive to putting it into long-term memory.

ART CHALLENGE
I have successfully finished an entire week of the art challenge. ❤ Whilst I am a long way from being a professional artist, I am having fun and learning a lot through a combination of the challenges and various video tutorials on Youtube.

HEALTH & FITNESS
I need to observe recovery days to let my body recuperate from exercise. The past two days (and Friday) punctuate this point. I have been feeling especially tired and sore the past few days. The increased exercise has also required sufficient fuel, which has resulted in feeling like crap.

CONCLUSION
I got a lot done this past week. I will try not to be complacent, however. I have some other things I need to deal with as well, but it will be added into my daily routine over time.
Anyway, I hope that you guys have a productive week. Try not to get bogged down by social networking and with other unproductive garbage. Next time that you feel the need to reply to a post, consider jumping over to an art tutorial instead or something else that provides you with the skills and knowledge needed to work towards a better version of yourself. We all need to do this more, including me.

Anyway, I leave you guys with the following audio track of Anna Bergendahl from her 2010 album Yours Sincerely. It is a call to action, to not give up on the things that matter to us. We can learn and we can grow in defiance of those that want us to fail.


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Art Challenge: 2020-07-07 Endless

Today is my seventh day doing a July sketchbook challenge from Tinkerlab. Today’s prompt is “Endless”. Whilst I wasn’t feeling well today, I still managed to complete the daily challenge because there are so many options. In this case, I decided to go for the classic but simplified version of the Ouroborus symbol that has captured the imagination for centuries.

One thing that I have noticed from the art tutorials that I’ve recently watched are various exercises involving practising circles and other shapes. Today’s art prompt got me to practice exactly that. Though crappy, I also got to experiment with a few ideas on top of the basic symbol. Yes, my attempt at scales aren’t the best, but it was an exercise in texture, which I need to practice as well. The circles in the middle? Also practice. And the head? Well, I need to spend more time practising drawing reptiles in general. I also didn’t spend much time on shading and further detail.
Lastly, I didn’t have to erase near as much as I thought I would need to this time around. Is that a good sign? I wouldn’t go that far given that some of the symbols in the middle lack consistency in proportion. However, I had a bit of fun playing with the idea and that is also a necessary part of practising a skill. If we spend most of the time engaged in a task hating it, it is less likely that we will return to it again. As such, a certain amount of fun is necessary to make the activity sustainable in the long-term.

I hope that you’ve had an awesome day with whatever you’ve been up to. If you are also involved in a challenge of some sort, feel free to post about it in the comments section. I’d love to read about it!


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Art Challenge: 2020-07-06 Vintage

Today is my sixth day doing a July sketchbook challenge from Tinkerlab. Today’s prompt is “Vintage”. Understandably, this word conjures up a host of images, ranging from old b&w photos taken by members of the black ships during their efforts to broker agreements with the Japanese people during the 1860s, to that of old record players. These items give us insight into the people during the era in which the item originated. Some of that history is messy, whilst other artefacts are a sign of the tenacity and innovation of that time. No matter the situation, we can learn about the values that those individuals sought to emulate within themselves.

In today’s case, I was drawn to an era of science fiction where the western world dreamed of exploring the stars, It was an era of space ships, laser guns, dashing heroes, robots and aliens. Halfway through the 1940’s WWII ended and the western world sought to rebuild with numerous big projects. This time also led to the ambition to colonise and explore other planets. Whilst the space race would be some years away, the subsequent fiction revolving around adventures (and misadventures) in space captured the imagination of the masses. Film studios soon took note, seeing it as a great way to make money. But these stories would be quite lacking if not for rocket and UFO designs seen on both film posters and book covers.

Today’s reference was used intended for a blow-by-blow copy, I soon found myself working on more a technical image. Still, the linework is shoddy and some of the old shading and linework that I tried to erase are still visible. You can also see the remnants of some exhausts at the base that I was experimenting with but scrapped because they sucked big time. On top of that, the proportions make the vessel look way too wide in comparison to the reference image. I can certainly clean things up significantly in software such as GIMP. I’m not sure when I will get around to it, however, as I have a lot of stuff planned for the month. Maybe I can do a challenge next month involving editing all of the artwork I produced this month… I’ll have to think about it.
All of this being said, I made use of a ruler for trying to determine the height of certain elements whilst rendering the drawing. This was somewhat useful and it is often recommended for beginning artists to use rulers in determining relative size between objects being referenced. I am unsure how much this helped compared to the “eyeball with a drawing implement” method. In any case, I still have a long way to go before I can whip up a cool spaceship or bad-ass Super Saiyan.

Now that you’ve seen what I got up to today, I’d love to hear about any of the challenges that you are currently engaging in. Feel free to post about it in the comments section. I’d absolutely love to hear about it.


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Art Challenge: 2020-07-05 Growth

Today is my fifth day doing a July sketchbook challenge from Tinkerlab. Today’s prompt is “Growth”. I considered a few other ideas, but my mind kept going back to some comparison images of seedlings at different stages of development. These images always fascinate me.

I have to admit that I rushed a bit today. As such, I focused more on shape and proportion rather than shading and detail. In any case, the sketch still manages to convey most of the changes that occur to this plant as it moves towards maturity.
I can see myself using the reference image again to emulate some of those interesting shapes. I think that it also might be worth using a single page for each stage of the seedling in order to add sufficient detail.

Anyway, I hope that those of you that are embarking on your own challenges are doing well. Feel free to tell me about it by posting in the comments section. I’d love to hear about it.


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Art Challenge: 2020-06-04 Window

Today is my fourth day doing a July sketchbook challenge from Tinkerlab. Today’s prompt is “Window”. Windows take on many forms. For some, they are the means to perceive the world outside (or inside if you are outside), but for the eyes, they also double as communicative organs. As such, we see both religion and science recognising their unique role in everyday life.

Today, I focused on positioning and shading. It wasn’t great, with me neglecting the area under the eye. I could have spent more than the twenty or so minutes allocated, but I want to practice getting as much done in a short period of time. As such, detail and necessary corrections suffered. I also need to practice dealing with reflections, as seen in the top left corner of the eye in the reference image. It has never been my strong suit, but I should get better with time.
Did I manage to employ sufficient detail? That is a resounding “no!” However, I did get some practice with shading and positioning. I am beginning to pay more attention to this after noticing issues during the past few prompts. It is a small improvement, but an improvement nonetheless. I have lots of other areas that I need to improve as well. Whilst it will likely be years before I am anywhere near “photo-realistic”, you need to put in the time and effort to get to that point. I am in no rush either. Hopefully, you guys will see a significant advancement in my ability over the next month. I guess that we’ll have to see how it pans out. In any case, I am still enjoying the challenge.

Sorry for another poor resolution image. I tried to fix the lighting situation in the side room but failed miserably. Oh well…
Anyway, if you are also doing some sort of challenge this month, feel free to post about it in the comments section. I’d love to read about what you guys are up to. It doesn’t have to be artistic either. Doing a fitness challenge? I’d love to see how you are trying to push yourself. Doing a writing challenge? I’d love to read about it as well. As long as it is “safe for work”, I invite you to post away. You are doing something out of the ordinary and that is a pretty big deal. I’d love to show support for what you are doing and I know that other people want to do so as well. Remember that you aren’t the only doing some sort of challenge this month – you are not alone!


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Art Challenge: 2020-06-03 Uneven

Today is my third day doing a July sketchbook challenge from Tinkerlab. Today’s prompt is “Uneven”. Whilst I could have taken other routes, the one that made more sense was an image of scales. Whether weighing justice or weighing gold, the image of uneven scales is something that has become a part of western civilisation for hundreds of years. Today, I used an image from the TransparentPNG website. Given the huge selection of images on the website, I will likely use it again soon.

The end product has issues with proportion, but I quickly ran out of time. That means that the bottom of the stand, the right side of the bar and the cups are not quite right. I did, however, spend a bit of time adding a bit more detail and some shading. It is not perfect, not by any means, but it did give me a chance to play with some interesting shapes. I even made use of the pencil proportion trick. However, I didn’t use the latter technique near as much as I should have. It would have reduced the proportional issues significantly if I had. But the idea is to get in the habit of drawing different things each day and paying attention to how I achieved the end result. This includes the good and the bad of it.
If I don’t pay attention to this sort of stuff, how can I improve? Whilst I may be doing this for myself rather than a career, I still want to get better. After all, why waste your time doing something only to do it half-*ssed? Too many people in the world accept mediocrity when they should pursue mastery. This doesn’t mean that I will beat myself up. However, the mindset going in greatly determines what you get out of something. You are either priming yourself to success, failure or the numerous stages in-between. A mediocrity mindset means that you are less likely to engage with material to help you improve if you go into the task with mediocrity in mind, and to spend time trying to perfect a skill, trade or art. Mike Rowe‘s talks on career clearly come to mind when I write this.

If you are doing a creative (or other) challenge this month, feel free to let me know about it in the comments section. It doesn’t matter if it is health and fitness, skill honing or creative challenge either. If you are trying to push yourself for a period of time, you are trying to improve yourself in some part of your life. Going out of your comfort zone can be a bit of a pain initially. However, your body and mind can adjust if that stressor is appropriate. We can make more time in the day to get it done, thus allowing us time for other obligations such as quality time with loved ones, work, etc… Either way, we will find out something about ourselves in the process.


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Art Challenge: 2020-06-02 Torn

Today is my second day doing a July sketchbook challenge from Tinkerlab. I started a bit later than I would have liked, but I was pretty excited about the subject matter. Today’s prompt of “Torn” had me grinning incessantly as I kept thinking of the album cover Left of the Middle from Natalie Imbruglia back in 1997. When the album came out, it garnered an understandable lot of interest. Of the numerous tracks on the collection, the one that seemed to have the largest interest was her iconic cover of the song Torn which they used as the first track.

Given the lovely chaos of Natalie on that album, I felt that it best conveyed the bitter end of a relationship. They are torn apart by a love that doesn’t dig deeper, one that isn’t strong enough to deal with the changes that often occur in people as they get older. One might easily argue that this love is superficial in nature.

To the end result, I focused predominantly on general shapes, positioning and proportions. I had to do quite a bit of erasing to deal with a problematic chin and the eyes. Whilst the latter looks a little off-kilter, the chin is a lot better. As for the nose, I had to do a bit of work just to get it to this lessened state of crappiness. I have always had issues with both noses and ears. In the case of the latter, I decided to not worry too much as I was quickly running past my arbitrary deadline. I did, however, try to get the placement of the ears right. Lips? I wanted to keep it simple as I quite like subtle linework in basic sketches. Fuller lips would have made the subject more feminine, admittedly. Still, I like the simplicity that a little bit of linework provides.
I know. I know. The drawing looks a bit androgynous, is untidy and rough AF. However, I really wanted to practice drawing from a human reference in order to hone my currently-lacking skills.

Was it an enjoyable prompt? Yes. It is also something that many of us have experienced. Loss, even the self-created variety, weighs on us. However, it can also provide us with the ability to do things better next time. We can be more mindful to tell people that we care about them in future. We can be less judgmental. We can become better versions of ourselves if we allow ourselves to learn from the past rather than running from it. It often requires a bit of reflection to consider root causes, but it is worth it if we ever hope to create meaningful change rather than the superficial variety that we see so often these days. This “style over substance” problem is anathema to being good citizens and good people in general because it has no interest in truth, just appearance. Anyway, enough of that rant…

I hope that the resolution for the image is a bit better this time around. I perched it in the side room where there are better lighting conditions. Still, it looks darker outside for some reason. Given that I am taking photos on my mobile phone, do any of you have suggestions as to how to deal with the lighting issue. I am currently using a Windows Lumia 930 phone in case people have app recommendations. Any web service that I can upload to or free Windows image editing software that you deem helpful would also be helpful.


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Art Challenge: 2020-06-01 Spice

Yesterday, I mentioned in an update post that I would be engaged in an Art Challenge for the entire month of July. If all goes well with the challenge, I will probably be doing more in future. However, we all need a starting point. This time around, I decided to go with a July sketchbook challenge from Tinkerlab. Whilst the site caters primarily for people with children, I found their explanations clear and accessible enough that anyone with an interest in honing their drawing skills can gain benefit from the daily prompts.

Today’s prompt was Spice. Whilst I initially thought of Vanilla beans, I decided to do a google search to see what some reference websites say on the subject. It took me down a bit of a rabbit hole, wherein I learned a little bit more on the history of the spice trade ahead of settling on a recreation of a botanical drawing of the fascinating Galangal plant. A gardening YTer named Rob Bob has discussed a bit on the subject of growing Galangal which he grows every year in his Aquaponics set-up and I have been considering tracking down some rhizomes to grow this plant for at least a year now. Between this and the lovely botanical image of that foliage and flowers, I was sold on using this as a reference for my sketch this morning. Here are some links that I used for anyone interested.

Anyway, below is my sketch for today. It isn’t great, but I think that it does a passable job of showing the major features shown in the original image. Whilst not perfect by any means, you have to start somewhere. Sometimes the proportions will be off. In this case, I didn’t bother to spend much time shading as I wanted to focus on getting the shape down. With time and effort, I will get better and quicker at this.

I apologise for the crappy resolution and lighting for the photo that I took of the sketch with my phone. It really cannot be helped but I will think of ways to improve the quality of sketches during the period of this challenge. If you are also doing the challenge, feel free to drop me a line in the comment section to let me know about how your own first day went.


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World of Keiko 2020/06/30

Ahoy there, maties! I hope that you guys have had a pleasantly eventful and productive week. I certainly know that I’ve enjoyed the week and learnt a bit in the process.

HABIT BUILDING
I’ve officially been journaling for two weeks as of yesterday. It is interesting seeing how the habit of keeping a daily journal (mine is in the OneNote app) encourages you to dissect the different aspects of my day. I’d heard that it was a useful tool, but actually using one has even surpassed those expectations. I’ve also placed a section at the beginning of each daily journal for a checklist of tasks. I check those off as they are completed and make appropriate notes to indicate when I am not able to finish a task. Each person has their own way of journaling and I find that my current format is suiting my needs.
Habit Trekker is still a winner as far as non-OneNote gamification of repetitive tasks is concerned. Pretty cool, overall. I have, however, had to rethink my tasks to better fit with the habits that I want to develop. Then, I check them off for the applicable day. Whilst I keep some habits in my journal as well, there is something gratifying about seeing that counter go up. It might seem odd, but something as simple as a digital badge does provide a sense of accomplishment because it is a result of performing a habit a number of times.
On top of the software stuff, I still use a paper checklist whenever I am doing gardening tasks as it helps me keep focused as well as allow me to remember what tasks I do finish. An example of this is the gardening tasks for yesterday. One of my tasks was potting up some chives. However, I decided to leave them for another day as the seedlings are not big enough to move to a different pot yet and some seeds are still beginning to sprout. Yes, I am admitting that I can be forgetful sometimes, but having a piece of paper with a checklist at the ready helps me keep me focused on the tasks. When I get upstairs to my computer, I check off gardening tasks in my journal.

So, my OneNote journal, Habit Trekker app and the occasional pen and paper checklist are helping me keep both organised and motivated to develop healthy habits.

GAMING
I’ve spent another week in BDO levelling up my cooking and fishing life skills for my Berserker Angry. Nothing fancy, but it has enabled me to gain a few contribution points in the process.
The Steam summer sale also started this past week, leading to me considering getting a few titles.

  • Farming Simulator 2019 Platinum Edition: I have really enjoyed playing FS17 Platinum. FS19 offers a cleaner interface which smooths out some of the sharper textures and assets seen in previous instalments of the franchises. That appeals to me.
  • Tropico 5 Complete Edition: Tropico 4 had lots of tongue-in-cheek humour and lots of neat features. The Complete Edition for Tropico 5 is also good bang for the buck.

GARDENING
I spent a bit of time transplanting and potting up seedlings. I even got to try out some micro white mustard and tatsoi whilst transferring some to bigger pots. It was an odd experience and I found myself surprised at how much White Mustard tasted like most vegetables described as “peppery”, such as Cress. It was a little milder than Cress and the texture was slightly different, but it reinforced that it was a good choice as a salad green. The seeds are just an extra bonus.
I had to replant some green sprouting broccoli and red cabbage today, after no luck with germination over the past three weeks. These seeds usually sprout really quick, but no such luck. I am unsure if the weather (especially temperature) has played into this or there is some other factor but I figure that it is worth replanting to gather more information should it turn out that the seeds don’t germinate. I’ll keep you posted on what I observe.

EDUCATION
I have begun using the Degreed platform again after several years of hiatus. I was using back when I was regularly using several learning platforms. However, the wind left my sails when Coursera courses starting feeling more like they were pushing specific ideological agendas. The teaching of knowledge seemed to be cast by the wayside. It was disconcerting. However, due to the fact that I am beginning to focus more on learning materials not attached to biased learning institutions, such as Youtube education channels, I use the gamification element of Degreed to track my growing understanding of certain subjects and topics. I just wish that some of the official learning pathways could update some of their links as some do not go anywhere. (Perhaps I should give the staff a heads-up.)
Anyway, I have been focusing on nutrition, productivity, linguistics, art, agriculture, horticulture and permaculture subjects. This simple act of tracking what I have been engaging with has also led to me being pickier about the quality as well. I know that this should be a given. However, it can be easy to fall into the trap of reading, listening to or watching lower-quality content due to the massive amount available online.

OTHER REFLECTIONS
This past week has been one where I have finally decided to start culling social networking contacts that post predominantly political material. I am fed up with how toxic most discussion of global politics is these days. I see people posting commentary directly contradicting the evidence given in many cases and deliberately cherry-picking only material that supports their own worldviews. It is frustrating because this mindset also means that some resort to name-calling if you point out the problem. It is maddening and I am working towards keeping my own sanity in the face of this new level of the cognitive dissonance now found on both the left and the right political spectrum.
I know. You’ve probably heard it time and time again. However, are you required to stay connected with crazy people? This is a serious question. This is not a call to demonise anyone but to seek out equal partnerships. If you are required to keep your mouth (or typing fingers) quiet in order to get along with others, it is not friendship but rather, self-imposed imprisonment. So, I encourage you to think about the online connections that you have and dissect which people you can be honest with. If they are unable to take legitimate criticism because they are so indoctrinated, then perhaps you aren’t friends. This also requires you to be honest with yourself first. You should judge a situation fairly, by removing your own blinders. If you cannot be objective, then you will disconnect with somebody unfairly. Ergo, if you have a bias, you might be a poor judge of who is biased and who is not. (Commonsense, I know, but it had to be said for the sake of clarity.)
Anyway, the time that you no longer spend engaged in pointless arguments online can be better spent learning or practising a skill. For example, root propagation or improving your drawing skills. Whilst we are social animals, we also need mental engagement. If we neglect this aspect of our lives because we are too caught up in the tidal wave of nonsensical political discussions with people that don’t even consider the idea that they might be wrong about something, then we are doing ourselves and the world around us a disservice because we are contributing to the problem. Use your time (and brainpower) for something productive.

So, my goal in the upcoming weeks is to go over my contacts to make better use of social networking. I also intend on cutting down social networking even more that I have been doing. However, posting videos on interesting stuff like psychology is still worth my time as I would rather post material about science and art than political stuff due to the abovementioned polarisation. This extra time will be in turn used to improve skills and knowledge, on top of dealing with my physical health. Yes, that means more time on top of what I was already spending on these elements of my life.

NEXT WEEK
Starting tomorrow, the first of July, I will be engaging in an art challenge, wherein I will be working on a piece of art each day for the entire month. That is thirty-one days where I spend at least 10 minutes working on a piece of art. You can find the details of the specific challenge I will be doing here. If you are interested in joining in, feel free to let me know.

CONCLUSION
I hope that your upcoming week is productive and that you stay safe throughout. I leave you with the following film clip for an Imagine Dragons song that resonates with how I’ve been feeling the past week.


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World of Keiko 2020/06/23

It has been four months since I last posted an update. Since then, a lot of stuff has been going on in the world. Between the worldwide COVID lockdown and riots across both England and the USA, the world has gone from zero to one hundred in next to no time. Some of you know some of my political leanings already, but as time goes on, I realise just how much people are geared towards attacking cops and their families. I fall into that category, as some of already know. In spite of what some people may think, Australia isn’t immune. (I won’t go into further detail for legal reasons.) I have tried to be careful about what I post on social networking because I know that certain individuals are looking for people to target.
It sucks having to keep some of my thoughts and some other parts of my life from some of the people that I consider friends. However, it is people that aren’t friends that are my main concern. Even posting this little segment might be taking a risk due to search tags. Perhaps a certain amount of vagueness will help. Maybe not. You should be mindful of posting personal details online anyway because of stuff like identity theft anyway. At least, that is what I try to remind myself to keep myself from being hacked or worse. It is a war between my natural inclination towards openness and that of the need for personal security measures.

Anyway, what else have I been up to over the past four months? I’ve spent a bit of time playing computer games, watching anime, tinkering with fictional worlds, getting back into educational stuff, and working on building positive habits.

GAMING
I have been playing a lot of BDO. Whilst active play has reduced significantly in lieu of AFK life skill stuff, I am still playing it. Hubby’s game time has reduced greatly, but the recent implementation of the Season servers has seen him return to active play. He also began playing the Harvest League for Path of Exile which began last weekend. It looks mildly interesting from a “watch other people play” perspective, but I am just not interested in playing PoE anymore.
On top of playing BDO, I started playing Farming Simulator 2017 a few months back. Since then, I have been binge-watching farming equipment videos. Where once I had no interest in heavy machinery, the game has got me thinking about both the equipment

ANIME
I have watched a bit of anime in recent months. Hubby and I enjoyed the stupidity inherent in Princess Connect: ReDrive (hilarious!), Ascendance of a Bookworm (in-depth characters and world-building) and several other ongoing series such as a certain Otome isekai that I enjoyed in its manga form.
As we waited for more episodes for these shows, I finally got hubby to watch Barakamon. I had contemplated watching Handa-kun first, but it made sense to watch the series that was made first before watching the prequel. Sure glad that we went that route because it provided some nice contrast to Handa-kun. We ended up binge-watching it all in about five days. Yes, I will be reviewing them both.
A few nights ago, I took a bet and got hubby to watch some episodes of the first season of Spice and Wolf. I figured that he’d probably like it because of how much he adored Ascendance of the Bookworm. Sure enough, he liked it a lot. He usually likes world-building that features political elements and smart characters. The series has it in droves.

WRITING
I haven’t got much done on the writing front, but I did figure out how to deal with a pesky problem for Freak. I guess that is something. Who am I kidding? I need to write more.

GARDENING
Given that we are in the colder time of the year, it is bearable enough to spend time out in the yard doing some gardening. More than a month ago, I planted some sprouted garlic in one of the front garden beds. I am growing a few things for the first time, but I’ll go over it in more detail in a future post. Suffice it to say that I will be able to make my own seeded mustard… eventually…

EDUCATION
I started a neat LYNDA course a few weeks ago. Drawing Foundations: Figure is one of the best art course that I’ve done. In two hours, it has taught me more than the two years that I did art in years nine and ten. I still haven’t finished as I feel compelled to spend more time on the exercises. However, I can certainly recommend it. You can also do it as part of the Improve Your Drawing Skills pathway. If you have a personal or organisational LYNDA subscription, I highly recommend that you check out the trailers for the various courses in the pathway to see if they are of any interest.

HABIT BUILDING
Given how much weight I have gained over the past six months, I have decided to incorporate ways to improve health and fitness. This involves making use of a habit-trackers such as the Habit Trekker Microsoft Store app and in keeping a OneNote journal. I also decided to add in some educational and creative habits to deal with keeping my mind active as I’ve found that this helps.
The first step was fixing my inputs. Whilst I considered doing some regular water fasting, I quickly determined that this wasn’t sustainable. Instead, I decided to go with intermittent fasting with some tasty but healthy food to eat.
The next thing was getting in more formal exercises tied in with the time of the day. I decided to implement rest days on Tuesday and Friday to help with recovery as I increased my outputs. So far, I’ve been doing push-ups and star jumps (aka Jumping Jacks) in the morning and sit-ups in the afternoon. Even the small amount of reps has caused noticeable muscle soreness. However, the recovery days have done a great job of giving my muscles time to heal and grow.
The final thing is implementing a weekly weigh-in on Monday. It was a bit arbitrary, but implementing a formal weigh-in creates that habit of keeping track of my progress. I still do informal weigh-ins each morning, but the one that counts is on Monday, which is added to a spreadsheet and graphed automatically.

How much do I need to lose? Around 30kg, which puts me around the 55kg mark. That is a bit of weight to lose, but I need to get down to a manageable weight. This is also at the “ideal weight” for my BMI, which should allow for a bit of muscle and a healthy amount of fat. No, I do not intend to go to an unhealthy sub-50 kg weight. However, that is a long way to go.
How much did I lose this week? I lost about 1.5kg. This isn’t water weight as I have been keeping up my fluids. I just turned down my ability to graze all day. I try to make the food that I do eat to count.

CONCLUSION
It is going to be a messy and sometimes-frustrating adventure to get fit and healthy. I will be posting regular updates on Tuesdays to stay accountable. If any of you are working on your own health and fitness goals, feel free to post away. Perhaps we can help each other out. Anyway, take care of yourselves and try not to fall into destructive mindsets.