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Monthly report

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This is my seventeenth monthly report. To review introductory comments and the purpose of these reports, please refer to the initial report made for January 2008. For more overall planning and goal-managing, see the Project page. Text in italics is copied from the previous monthly report for reference.

Looking back: May 2009

May will probably not offer any big surprises. It’s too early to start deciding what to do next semester and also not quite time yet to prepare for going home or staying in Taiwan. Barring the possibility that the swine flu turns out to be a new Spanish Flu, I think I should be able to predict quite well what I will do in May.

Indeed. I’ve come some way towards a decision for next semester, but nothing is finally decided yet. No deadly pandemic yet either.

Creativity – I think it’s too ambitious to aim for all scenarios completed this month, especially since it took quite a while finishing the first one. Dealing with two of the three remaining should be okay, though, and this will be my goal.My plan is to test all four scenarios before the summer is over. One or two of them I might be able to try here, but I will try to find enough people to try them again in Sweden. After that, the text will be almost finished and I can turn to the problems of layout and illustrations.

Well, not quite, for two reasons. First, it turned out I wasn’t quite finished with the first scenario and second I started way too late. I have now finished two of them, but the remaining two will take quite some time to finish.

Regarding the online game, I plan to prepare an overall plot, as well as a number of bigger events taking place in the world. Also, I’ll try to get the game itself going. I have no idea where this will end, but regardless of how much we play, every minute I put on this project will be helpful when I start writing my novel again.

We have started playing and I feel I have enough ideas to keep it going for a while. I can feel this project is very, very good, even if we haven’t played more than twice yet. Thinking in role-playing terms really helps me to develop the setting.

Education – Keeping up with the pace of my current courses requires a lot, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t be able to focus on something else. Reading and speaking seems to be reasonable choices, reading because I can do it whenever I want, for however long I feel like, and speaking because it will be difficult to do if I decide to return to Sweden next semester.

More precisely, I’m planning to read 500 pages of Chinese.This will probably not mean that I will read less than last month, but since the texts will be more difficult, they will invariably take more time to understand.

Well, 400, which is okay. I didn’t read much Chinese in the middle of the month, but quite a lot in the beginning and end. This summer will give me ample opportunity to read more, so I’m not particularly worried.

In addition to this, I’m going to continue my quest to finish book four in the series we are currently using in class. I intend to finish the five chapters I have left.

Done! I haven’t yet written a review of the book, but it will come in due time, as will the vocabulary list.

Physical – I need to change something in my routine, I think, because I’m progressing pretty slowly. To start with, I will take five days off, then, I will go on with a schedule similar to what I have now, but I will try to restructure the sessions themselves. These are my goals for next months, which are the same as last month, but taking the five days rest into account:

Planche: 12/16 (no significant progress)
Front lever:
14/16 (9 seconds straddle front lever)
Handstand:
12/12 (no significant progress)
Wall run:
4/4 (ten minutes in six attempts or so, lots of rest)
OAC:
12/12 (no significant progress)

It’s a bit embarrassing, but I lost the paper I used to jot down my progress, so I’m not sure if the above figures are correct, but they should be close at least. I’m a bit worried about the OAC and the planche, because I feel that regardless of what I do, I still don’t get any stronger (for a week, that seriously dented my motivation, which is why I failed the goal for the planche). Two possible reasons are the increasing heat (and thus less energy to exercise) and a possible loss of weight (which I haven’t been able to confirm).

Looking ahead: June 2009

June will be my last month in Taiwan, at least for this semester. Regardless of what happens later, I will spend the summer in Sweden and thus I need to take care of somethings here before I leave. I don’t know yet when I will return home, but it seems likely it will be well before the end of next month. Still, I have some things I want to achieve or continue developing no matter when I leave.

Creativity – My ever-expanding role-playing project has now reached more than 800 000 characters, and I still have two adventures that aren’t finished yet. I am moving forward, though, and my goal is to finish the remaining two adventures before leaving Taiwan. Since my schedule will be very unreliable and I might have many other things to do, I cannot set any other creative goals for this month, but if I finish writing the adventures, that will be quite enough.

Education – This is another tricky question, because I think I will need a lot of time to finish the courses I’m taking this semester. There are reports to be written and so forth. Apart from this, though, I have two things I want to do. First, I’m going to continue reading at a similar pace to last month, i.e. read at least 500 pages in June. Since it seems like listening is my weakest point right now, I’m going to change that; I intend to only listen to Chinese next month, with the only exception of each week’s edition of the Economist. I’ll set a goal of 50 hours listening and we’ll see where I land.

Physical – I feel that I’ve found a schedule that works for me and I will do my best to keep it. It will require more discipline that before, but it shouldn’t be impossible if I can just persevere in my planche and one-arm chin-up training. Practice makes perfect. I have also decided to add some leg workout, since I almost completely lack that now. I haven’t decided what to do yet, but various jumping exercises seem likely.

Planche: 16
Front lever: 16
Handstand: 12
Wall run: 4
OAC: 12

Legs: 12

Tags: ,

This is my sixteenth monthly report. To review introductory comments and the purpose of these reports, please refer to the initial report made for January 2008. For more overall planning and goal-managing, see the Project page. Text in italics is copied from the previous monthly report for reference.

Looking back: April 2009

Physical – This should be pretty obvious by now, but I intend to continue mainly with planche, front lever, handstand and one-arm chin-up. Rather than specifying exactly what I’m going to do, I’ll let it suffice to state how many times I would like to focus on the various areas. My record,if relevant, is noted in brackets.

Planche (39 seconds tucked): 15/16 (44 seconds new record)
Front lever: 16 (48 seconds tucked) 15/16 (60 seconds new record)
Handstand: 12
14/12 (no significant gains)
OAC: 12 (managed negative OAC on left arm first time)

My output this month has been stable and fairly good, as you can see above. It feels like I’m moving slowly, but these reports are a good opportunity to get some perspective and see that I’m at least on my way somewhere. I have a long way to go. In addition to this, I also did four times ten minutes handstand wall run, an exercise which still is unbelievably demanding.

Creativity – After having started some role-playing with a few friends, I have felt an upsurge in my motivation to complete Magneter och mirakel, and would genuinely be stupid not to take this opportunity to write as much as possible. Mainly, I will try to complete the four adventures that will be included in the book, as well as revise the rules (only minor changes, but it still needs doing).

I completed one of them, but this took around ten hours. Extrapolating from this, it was wildly unrealistic to finish four scenarios in forty hours in just one month, especially since I did a lot other things (studying in particular). I still hope I can finish these before the summer, but I will have to work hard. Even though I technically failed this task, it still feels like a success!

Even though I won’t write anything on the novel or the short stories this month, I’ll try to launch an IRC-based campaign in the same setting as I use for parts of the novel. This is not meant to be long-lasting, but it will probably be fun and a good way to explore the setting.

We are getting there, but some technical problems and difficulties to find common spare time to discuss the basic concept delayed the project somewhat. This is nothing to worry about, though, because it seems like we will be able to start shortly.

Education A couple of days ago, I discovered that I have passed a certain limit for reading Chinese books (for children). I’ve found a quite nice level where I can read books and understand the text without using a dictionary. Of course, I still need to look up a few words here and there, but reading like this, I don’t care about understanding everything as long as I get the main point. When learning languages, quantity is king. I will read at least 1000 pages of Chinese children’s books during April!

I actually read 1100 pages, spread over a little more than seven books (three of them haven’t been reviewed yet). As long as I can find interesting books, this is a great way of studying Chinese. My goal was to read for quantity and enjoyment, which I certainly did. With the exception of one of the books, I liked all of them. Studying in this way doesn’t feel like a task that has to be done, it feels like something I can do as a pause from other things. This was exactly where I wanted to go! I think it’s too early to say if this studying method has rendered any results, but I’m confident it will, given enough time.

I have a number of people who are prepared to help me with speaking Chinese (some of them are studying to become teachers and thus need the practice) and I will try to take this opportunity more seriously. Right now, I have two meeting scheduled every week, so meeting ten times for conversation practice in April seems reasonable.

No problem. Apart from the people I already knew at the beginning of the month, I have men with a new guy named Riccardo, who seems nice, and also revived an old language exchange I found very rewarding last semester. I will keep focusing on this, particularly since it might be the case that I go home next semester.

Looking ahead: May 2009

May will probably not offer any big surprises. It’s too early to start deciding what to do next semester and also not quite time yet to prepare for going home or staying in Taiwan. Barring the possibility that the swine flu turns out to be a new Spanish Flu, I think I should be able to predict quite well what I will do in May.

Creativity – I think it’s too ambitious to aim for all scenarios completed this month, especially since it took quite a while finishing the first one. Dealing with two of the three remaining should be okay, though, and this will be my goal.My plan is to test all four scenarios before the summer is over. One or two of them I might be able to try here, but I will try to find enough people to try them again in Sweden. After that, the text will be almost finished and I can turn to the problems of layout and illustrations.

Regarding the online game, I plan to prepare an overall plot, as well as a number of bigger events taking place in the world. Also, I’ll try to get the game itself going. I have no idea where this will end, but regardless of how much we play, every minute I put on this project will be helpful when I start writing my novel again.

Education – Keeping up with the pace of my current courses requires a lot, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t be able to focus on something else. Reading and speaking seems to be reasonable choices, reading because I can do it whenever I want, for however long I feel like, and speaking because it will be difficult to do if I decide to return to Sweden next semester.

More precisely, I’m planning to read 500 pages of Chinese.This will probably not mean that I will read less than last month, but since the texts will be more difficult, they will invariably take more time to understand.

In addition to this, I’m going to continue my quest to finish book four in the series we are currently using in class. I intend to finish the five chapters I have left.

Physical – I need to change something in my routine, I think, because I’m progressing pretty slowly. To start with, I will take five days off, then, I will go on with a schedule similar to what I have now, but I will try to restructure the sessions themselves. These are my goals for next months, which are the same as last month, but taking the five days rest into account:

Planche: 16
Front lever: 16
Handstand: 12
Wall run: 4
OAC: 12

Tags: ,

This is my fifteenth monthly report. To review introductory comments and the purpose of these reports, please refer to the initial report made for January 2008. For more overall planning and goal-managing, see the Project page. Text in italics is copied from the previous monthly report for reference.

Looking back: March 2009

Physical I have a few areas I want to keep developing, most importantly diving. Even though I’ll be busier than I thought at first, I’ll try to go to the diving pool ten times in March. That should be enough to progress.

Not quite. All my other activities taken into account, it turns out that Monday and Tuesday are the only really good days to go diving, and doing it two days in a row isn’t very good. I went diving only five times, but I still think I’m making progress, although a bit slowly.

Furthermore, I’ll keep going with planche and front lever workout; here ten times should be enough, even though more would be desirable. My current record for tucked front lever is 48 seconds.

Although I didn’t keep count because I lost the sheet of paper I used to note down my exercising, I’m sure I did this more than ten times. Still, I’m not progressing a lot, so perhaps I should try to do it more often (from what I understand both these exercises can be done daily without any serious problems). I like this workout and will continue.

Even though it doesn’t feel very important now, I also want to keep going for the one-arm chin-up, but at this pace it will take ages. Doing OAC workout ten times should take me a bit further down the road.

I might not have reached the ten times, but I’m at least moving in the right direction. The beginning of the month was horrible, but for the past three weeks or so I’ve been exercising two to three times a week. My negative OAC is quite okay, at least for the right arm.

Same as for last month, ten hours stretching is on the menu for March. I need to increase flexibility in my legs, as well as abdomen and shoulders. It takes time, but it’s worth it.

Haha. Ten hours indeed. I did two, perhaps three. If  I want to become more flexible, I need a completely different method. This doesn’t work and I’m hereby abandoning it.

Creativity – I don’t know what to do here. I spend a lot of time in front of the computer as it is, and most of my creative projects involve writing. I can keep the goal from last month to complete part one as well as write synopses for five short stories, but it might be hard to keep. Still, I need to find a balance where creative output fits into my normal life. I’m going to start role-playing here again, but that’s not the same as writing. I can feel motivation for writing role-playing related stuff is stirring, but it’s too early to do anything about it.

Success in every important aspect. I did finish part one using roughly 29 000 words doing so. This feels incredibly good. The short stories cannot be said to be fully fleshed out and ready to be written, but I have a few concepts I want to explore. I’m very satisfied with this result.

Education It seems like I’ll be in a class which level is way above mine and it will require a lot of effort to survive. My goal is simply to do all the homework, prepare all texts in advance and make sure I get my 85/100 I need for the scholarship.

So far, so good. We’ve only had one small test and I managed to get 94 on that one (which only was because I spent a lot of time preparing; it was that kind of test). I have survived and it requires less and less effort to do so. I still need to spend lots of time previewing chapters, but that’s fine.

I’m also going to apply for an extension of the scholarship I have here, which means that I’ll have to collect and send a lot of documents to the Taiwan office in Stockholm. It’ll be a bit frustrating, but it needs to be done before the end of March.

Done. I have a few documents that need to be sent in, but the most important applications have already reached their destinations. I will report what happens later, but it will probably be a while until I know something for certain (perhaps as late as June).

Looking forward: April 2009

Physical – This should be pretty obvious by now, but I intend to continue mainly with planche, front lever, handstand and one-arm chin-up. Rather than specifying exactly what I’m going to do, I’ll let it suffice to state how many times I would like to focus on the various areas. My record,if relevant, is noted in brackets.

Planche:16 (39 seconds tucked)
Front lever: 16 (48 seconds tucked)
Handstand: 12
OAC: 12

Creativity – After having started some role-playing with a few friends, I have felt an upsurge in my motivation to complete Magneter och mirakel, and would genuinely be stupid not to take this opportunity to write as much as possible. Mainly, I will try to complete the four adventures that will be included in the book, as well as revise the rules (only minor changes, but it still needs doing).

Even though I won’t write anything on the novel or the short stories this month, I’ll try to launch an IRC-based campaign in the same setting as I use for parts of the novel. This is not meant to be long-lasting, but it will probably be fun and a good way to explore the setting.

Education – A couple of days ago, I discovered that I have passed a certain limit for reading Chinese books (for children). I’ve found a quite nice level where I can read books and understand the text without using a dictionary. Of course, I still need to look up a few words here and there, but reading like this, I don’t care about understanding everything as long as I get the main point. When learning languages, quantity is king. I will read at least 1000 pages of Chinese children’s books during April!

I have a number of people who are prepared to help me with speaking Chinese (some of them are studying to become teachers and thus need the practice) and I will try to take this opportunity more seriously. Right now, I have two meeting scheduled every week, so meeting ten times for conversation practice in April seems reasonable.

Tags: ,

This is my fourteenth monthly report. To review introductory comments and the purpose of these reports, please refer to the initial report made for January 2008. For more overall planning and goal-managing, see the Project page. Text in italics is copied from the previous monthly report for reference.

Looking back: February 2009
This month entails settling into a new life in a new city, but since the semester doesn’t start until mid-February, planning shouldn’t be too difficult. I’ll keep some goals moderate and somewhat tentative, though, because I’ll need to establish some new habits before accelerating.

The problem here turned out to be that most established habits compete with my set goals for my free time. I didn’t accomplish very many of my goals this month.

Physical – This month, I’ve decided to try a somewhat different approach to handbalancing. I’ve realised that although endurance is perhaps not a goal in itself, it’s something extremely useful to have when practising. Most coaches and gurus advise that practise should only continue as long as quality remains high, and since high endurance means that good form can be kept longer, it indirectly leads to faster learning. I’ve sketched out a small program to follow, and although the order and amount might have to be adjusted as my lack of experience in this field bumps in to solid reality, I’ll try to complete this program ten times in February.

Warm-up
20 x 5 seconds handstand
25 free handstand push-ups
10 minutes working towards press to handstand
5 free handstands, maximum time
15 minutes total time wall handstand (normal)
15 minutes total time wall run (once a week)

This was a joke. I’ve done some handstand exercises, but mostly in connection with diving. A fair amount of that kind of practise also makes one unable to do anything else (it’s both hard and stupid to embark on a tough program when the shoulders are still sore from last day’s diving). Complete failure.

I feel that the planche workout is working, but that I do to much else focusing on the same muscles. I’ll try to do the planche exercise in combination with the above program to allow for at least 48 hours rest between sessions. Thus, I will not try the twenty sessions from last month, but rather be satisfied with ten. I also want to begin working towards the front lever, but right now I lack equipment to do that (I need to find a chin-up bar, which shouldn’t be too difficult). Once I have one, I’ll start trying out the various exercises, but I won’t set a specific goal for February.

To be honest, I lost count, but I think I did around eight. I managed to increase my record a few seconds (it’s now 37 seconds for tucked planche), but I need more discipline than this if I’m to succeed.

In addition to all this, I’ll be able to start practising diving again, probably as much as possible, but since I’m here to study Chinese and not diving, I’ll try not to overdo it. This will take care of a lot of auxiliary training and perhaps my coach will have more diving-specific exercises to perform. I’ll include them as I go along.

Diving again! Excellent! I can go there on a regular basis, usually Monday, Tuesday and sometimes Thursday or Friday. I’m extremely happy to be doing this again and I’m immensely grateful for this wonderful opportunity. I’ve been to the diving pool roughly seven times, around three hours every time.

I don’t know what happened to the goal of stretching for ten hours (it disappeared), but I think I managed to complete that one, or at least I was very close. More stretching is good, and ten hours seems reasonable without overdoing it.

Creativity – Finishing part one seems like a reasonable goal for the novel.This means approximately 10 000 – 15 000 words, a fair amount, but in no way much. In addition to this, I’ll try to sketch out five short-stories in some way relevant to the novel, although not directly concerning its story.

I might have managed to pull this one off if I had started immediately, because I actually had a lot of time on my hands the first two weeks. Now I have almost no time at all, which means I failed this goal miserably. I did write a few words and I have basic ideas for short stories, but nothing comes close to the goals I set. Studying comes first.

I also want to start writing a story in Chinese, and since I’ve already outlined the plot, I want to start writing and finish the first part, say at least 1 000 characters.

To be honest, I’m not sure I need more Chinese now, but it felt like that at the beginning of this month. I haven’t started writing and I’m not sure I’d like to.

Education – I need to take care of proper revision of everything I’ve learnt so far, and I need to do it before the semester starts. I’ve kept my reading ability and pronunciation constant, but my writing ability has declined over the past three weeks. I intend to go through and revise what I’ve learnt so far and fight the interval filter to zero for these categories of characters. Also, I’ll add all the new characters from our new series of text books and make sure I know how to read and pronounce them (but not how to write them) before the semester starts. This is some 700 items, so it will take a while.

No, not really. I have gone through what I knew before and I’m up-to-date when it comes to writing characters, but I haven’t incorporated the miscellaneous characters into my vocabulary and won’t do so for a while yet. My regular studying puts too much pressure of this kind as it is.

Furthermore, if I really want to keep my options open for next year (I mean after the summer), I need to find something nice to study here. This doesn’t mean that I’ll stay here, it just means I think it’s stupid not to apply. However, some courses I’ve looked at so far required certificates of my Chinese ability, which I’m unable to get for many reasons. If I haven’t a clear plan when this month is over, I’ve no choice but to go home after the summer. Indeed, that is probably to be the outcome anyway, but I’d rather make it a choice than a requirement.

I’ve found a few interesting options, now all that remains is to apply, which really is the bulk of the work. It’s not difficult, but it requires time and is quite annoying and frustrating.

Having moved to a bigger city with a more specialised college (focused on foreign languages), it should be very easy to find people to do language exchange with. Since I don’t know yet how much time I will have for various activities, I can’t think of a reasonable goal to set aside from writing an ad and see what people turn up. That I intend to do, at least.

I’ve found lots of people, of whom I’ve met only two. I want to establish regular habits for meeting people, perhaps a couple every week. This is something which will have to form naturally, though, so I’m not going to stress it. Right now I need language exchange badly, so I’ll do my best.

Looking forward: March 2009

Physical – I have a few areas I want to keep developing, most importantly diving. Even though I’ll be busier than I thought at first, I’ll try to go to the diving pool ten times in March. That should be enough to progress.

Furthermore, I’ll keep going with planche and front lever workout; here ten times should be enough, even though more would be desirable. My current record for tucked front lever is 48 seconds.

Even though it doesn’t feel very important now, I also want to keep going for the one-arm chin-up, but at this pace it will take ages. Doing OAC workout ten times should take me a bit further down the road.

Same as for last month, ten hours stretching is on the menu for March. I need to increase flexibility in my legs, as well as abdomen and shoulders. It takes time, but it’s worth it.

Creativity – I don’t know what to do here. I spend a lot of time in front of the computer as it is, and most of my creative projects involve writing. I can keep the goal from last month to complete part one as well as write synopses for five short stories, but it might be hard to keep. Still, I need to find a balance where creative output fits into my normal life. I’m going to start role-playing here again, but that’s not the same as writing. I can feel motivation for writing role-playing related stuff is stirring, but it’s too early to do anything about it.

Education – It seems like I’ll be in a class which level is way above mine and it will require a lot of effort to survive. My goal is simply to do all the homework, prepare all texts in advance and make sure I get my 85/100 I need for the scholarship.

I’m also going to apply for an extension of the scholarship I have here, which means that I’ll have to collect and send a lot of documents to the Taiwan office in Stockholm. It’ll be a bit frustrating, but it needs to be done before the end of March.

Tags: ,

This is my thirteenth monthly report. To review introductory comments and the purpose of these reports, please refer to the initial report made for January 2008. For more overall planning and goal-managing, see the Project page. Text in italics is copied from the previous monthly report for reference.

Looking back: January 2009

January will be a little bit hard to plan, because a lot out of the ordinary will happen, such as my parents coming to Taiwan for vacation and my moving to Gaoxiong. Since I will join my parents, it is almost impossible to tell how much time I will have left for personal projects such as studying, exercise and creativity. That being said, I will set ambitious goals and do my best to accomplish them.

Physical – I will remove going to the gym from my schedule from now on, basically because I do not plan to pay for that after I have moved. Also, it is much more convenient to focus on exercises that can be done at home. However, since I do not yet have a chin-up bar at home, I will still do that in the gym. Since I only have half the month available, I will aim for four sessions in January, aiming for the one-arm chin-up of course. Coupled with this, I will do four squat workout sessions.

No great progress here, but the five sessions I did weren’t enough to expect that. I did some minor improvement on the one-arm chin-up, but nothing worth noting here. Still, the goal was easily achieved.

For the handstand push-ups, I have decided to start the one hundred push-up training program, but of course, I am going to do it vertically instead of horizontally. I have really no idea how long this will take me, but since I want to solidify my handstand push-ups anyway, I thought I might as well do it in an interesting way. My intention is to follow the program as written, with the only difference of adding the word “handstand” before every “push-up”. I will begin this challenge on Monday 5th and will write about it more then, so stay tuned.

Since January consisted of four complete weeks, I had four chances to complete various weeks in the program. I was very close to managing the first week on hard (the rightmost column), but failed on the last day. Next week, I felt that I needed to rest more to avoid injury and only completed two days on the medium difficulty. The third week was successful on the medium level, and so was the first try on the second week. This means that I’ve finished two weeks on the program, which isn’t bad at all. My current record stands at 17, but that is at the end of a session and not fully rested.

The one-hand handstand is slowly, slowly progressing, but I need to practice more if I want to reach any notable results this side of my thirtieth birthday. I intend to practice one-handed handstands twenty sessions during January. I know this is ambitious, but since it is mostly balance, it should be okay. I shall have to look around for progressions from my current level, but the overall goal is twenty times.

I practiced roughly fifteen times out of twenty, which I think is okay considering that I’ve been travelling for the past two weeks and have had little opportunity or time to practice. I did spend a lot of time reading about the one-handed handstand, though, mostly on Gymnastic Bodies (a highly recommended site) and it seems like this skill might be too difficult right now. I have made some progress, but not much.

New for this month is the planche, a skill I have thought about for a long time, but never really started practicing towards. It will take a long time, but following Christopher Sommers’ guide over at Dragondoor will probably be a good start. As he specifies, the initial exercises can be performed everyday, but I will settle for twenty times during January. In short, the practice amounts to holding a static position of increasing difficulty for a total of 60 seconds every day. Right now, I can manage the second progression (tucked planche) for about 14 seconds.

Progression was fast for the first two or three weeks, leading to a record of 35 seconds (more than twice that of last month!) but towards the end of the month, I felt results dropping constantly and decided that it was due to lack of either nutrition and rest. Thus, I decided to rest for a while. In all, I did sixteen sessions out of twenty, still not bad.

Same as last month, I intend to complete my auxiliary exercise program eight times. This is not very hard workout, but it keeps me focused on some things which are pretty useful for my diving.

I did the eight sessions, but I’m beginning to question some of the exercises in this routine, not because they are bad, but because I’ll get them elsewhere. The jumping, I’ll get from the diving, together with abdominal and back workout. Also, the planned front lever and planche exercise also taxes the back and abdomen pretty much.

Also new for this month, I intend to take up stretching more seriously again. Right now, I stretch for warm-up and after heavy exercise, but not very much. I will try to stretch a total of five hours during January, not including warm-up.

Five hours wasn’t enough, because I did that without trying very hard. Only stretching after exercise and some more relaxed stretching is enough to accomplish this goal. The stretching was pretty ambitious in the beginning, but dwindled almost to nothing during my vacation. I still find this very hard to keep up.

Creativity  – With travelling on the agenda and lots of Chinese to study, I think creative projects such as novel writing or role-playing related stuff, will have to stand back the coming month. However, I do not want to lose the momentum for the novel writing, so I will try to write at least 10 000 words in January.

Success! I have written roughly 10 000 words since the beginning of the month. That means that I’m about halfway through part one of the novel and I’m gaining momentum. I’ve come to terms with writing the way I do now (i.e. not caring much about quality, but focusing on writing anything at all). Also, a determination to finish part one and then write something else for a while has helped me to focus.

Education – Since we have finished our text book and will focus on revision, I will have a lot of time to study other things. This is very good timing, because next semester I am going to study at another university, which uses a different text book. My goal for January is to finish all the books up to the book we will be using next semester. Of course, I will also spend a lot of time revising, but that is nothing new.

This is not quite a success, but not a complete failure either. I’ve revised some during my vacation, but not enough. I’ve completed the three books leading up to the book we’ll use next semester, but I haven’t revised what I’ve learnt so far. Still, there’s almost two weeks after my vacation ends to the start of the semester, so I should be okay as long as I stay focused then.

Lucid dreaming – Since this seems to be progressing well without any serious effort, I might as well enjoy it and just be careful to write down whatever experiences and reflections I have regarding lucid dreaming.

Lucid dreaming requires focus, something I haven’t had time for the past month. Still, I had one lucid dream. I realise that the progress isn’t fast, but as long as it requires almost no effort at all and still continues moving on, I’m not inclined to change anything.

Looking forward: February 2009
This month entails settling into a new life in a new city, but since the semester doesn’t start until mid-February, planning shouldn’t be too difficult. I’ll keep some goals moderate and somewhat tentative, though, because I’ll need to establish some new habits before accelerating.

Physical – This month, I’ve decided to try a somewhat different approach to handbalancing. I’ve realised that although endurance is perhaps not a goal in itself, it’s something extremely useful to have when practising. Most coaches and gurus advise that practise should only continue as long as quality remains high, and since high endurance means that good form can be kept longer, it indirectly leads to faster learning. I’ve sketched out a small program to follow, and although the order and amount might have to be adjusted as my lack of experience in this field bumps in to solid reality, I’ll try to complete this program ten times in February.

Warm-up
20 x 5 seconds handstand
25 free handstand push-ups
10 minutes working towards press to handstand
5 free handstands, maximum time
15 minutes total time wall handstand (normal)
15 minutes total time wall run (once a week)

I feel that the planche workout is working, but that I do to much else focusing on the same muscles. I’ll try to do the planche exercise in combination with the above program to allow for at least 48 hours rest between sessions. Thus, I will not try the twenty sessions from last month, but rather be satisfied with ten. I also want to begin working towards the front lever, but right now I lack equipment to do that (I need to find a chin-up bar, which shouldn’t be too difficult). Once I have one, I’ll start trying out the various exercises, but I won’t set a specific goal for February.

In addition to all this, I’ll be able to start practising diving again, probably as much as possible, but since I’m here to study Chinese and not diving, I’ll try not to overdo it. This will take care of a lot of auxiliary training and perhaps my coach will have more diving-specific exercises to perform. I’ll include them as I go along.

Creativity – Finishing part one seems like a reasonable goal for the novel.This means approximately 10 000 – 15 000 words, a fair amount, but in no way much. In addition to this, I’ll try to sketch out five short-stories in some way relevant to the novel, although not directly concerning its story.

I also want to start writing a story in Chinese, and since I’ve already outlined the plot, I want to start writing and finish the first part, say at least 1 000 characters.

Education – I need to take care of proper revision of everything I’ve learnt so far, and I need to do it before the semester starts. I’ve kept my reading ability and pronunciation constant, but my writing ability has declined over the past three weeks. I intend to go through and revise what I’ve learnt so far and fight the interval filter to zero for these categories of characters. Also, I’ll add all the new characters from our new series of text books and make sure I know how to read and pronounce them (but not how to write them) before the semester starts. This is some 700 items, so it will take a while.

Furthermore, if I really want to keep my options open for next year (I mean after the summer), I need to find something nice to study here. This doesn’t mean that I’ll stay here, it just means I think it’s stupid not to apply. However, some courses I’ve looked at so far required certificates of my Chinese ability, which I’m unable to get for many reasons. If I haven’t a clear plan when this month is over, I’ve no choice but to go home after the summer. Indeed, that is probably to be the outcome anyway, but I’d rather make it a choice than a requirement.

Having moved to a bigger city with a more specialised college (focused on foreign languages), it should be very easy to find people to do language exchange with. Since I don’t know yet how much time I will have for various activities, I can’t think of a reasonable goal to set aside from writing an ad and see what people turn up. That I intend to do, at least.

Tags: ,

This is my twelfth monthly report. To review introductory comments and the purpose of these reports, please refer to the initial report made for January 2008. Text in italics is copied from the previous monthly report for reference.

Looking back: December 2008
The next report probably spells the end of monthly reports as they have functioned previously, so I will make my best to make something good come out of it. During December, I will probably me quite busy with things not covered in these reports, so I will try to be moderate when setting my goals. As usual, I will begin with the physical part.

The monthly reports will continue, but accompanied by a separate system to manage goals on a slightly larger scale. I will post the first entry concerning this new way of getting things done tomorrow.

Physical – I think I should change my chin-up workout to greasing the groove (i.e. doing hordes of repetitions through-out the day), but the problem is that I do not yet have a chin-up bar at home. Therefore, I will set the same goal as that of last month. I will do physical workout aimed towards the one-arm chin-up at least eight times in the coming month.

I did ten. No problems. My sprained finger is almost healed now and my right side is again stronger than my left (the difference is perhaps only 5 %, but it is still a notable difference when doing workout first with one hand and then the other). I can proudly say that I can now to a fairly controlled negative one-arm chin-up (i.e. starting at the top position and lowering myself to a dead hang).

Following last months success with hand-balancing, I feel that I can leave two-handed handstands for a while. Instead, I will focus on two things: handstand push-ups and one-handed handstands. I will shelve walking in stairs for now. The push-ups need some change, because doing them with the auxiliary workout does not work. I will change to greasing the groove, aiming for 500 repetitions in December. I will begin by not touching forehead to the ground, but will try to lower the push-up gradually. I also intend to practice one-handed handstands eight times. Right now, I have no idea how difficult this is, but I will do my best to map whatever difficulties might lie ahead.

I did 800 and could probably have done much more (I thought of aiming for 1000, but thought better of it). After having done 500, I decided to take it easy for a while and rest for the upcoming challenge (see physical goals for next month). One problem with these push-ups is that they stress the lower back pretty heavily. I am not sure if this will go away with more practice, but right now I need tons of stretching to alleviate this problem.

The one-handed handstand is also a success insofar as I have managed to gain some sort of balance against a wall (I can do roughly 25 seconds on my left hand and 15 on my right). Before 20 seconds or so, balance is the only problem. Also, my results are not very stable, since most of the attempts are utter failures of only a few seconds duration.

I failed the eight times I set for the auxiliary regimen last time, but I really think I ought to try again. Since it is highly flexible and can be done anywhere, I also think my moving around or being busy should not present a serious problem. Thus, eight is the number of times I will aim for this time around as well.

Success this time. I like these exercises, although they will probably be changed next month regardless.

The vertical is progressing, I think. Including the jumping in the auxiliary workout makes it unnecessary to treat separately. I cannot reach the ceiling in my apartment with both hands yet (one is pretty easy), but soon I will. Squats and jumping will continue as before, meaning the same as the chin-ups, eight times a month.

This is also a success, but I can still not reach the ceiling with both hands. I now have roughly three weeks to achieve this goal; the outlook is pretty bleak.

Here are some results from December, with last months maximum, if available, in brackets. Results in italics are completely new.

Normal chin-ups: 22 (19)
Normal pull-up: 18 (10)
One-handed chin-up: 7 x 2 (7 x 2)
One-arm chin-up,, 30 kg assistance: 3 x 2 (3 x 2)
One-arm chin-up, 40 kg assistance: 12 x 2 (10 x 2)
Negative one-arm chin-up: 1 x 2
Negative one-arm chin-up, 20 kg assistance: 3 x 2 (3 x 2)
Negative, one-arm chin-up, alternating, 20 kg assistance: 7 x 2 (5 x 2)
Pulley-aided one-arm pull-down: 10 x 2 x 90 kg (7 x 2)
Pulley-aided one-arm pull-down: 6 x 2 x 100 kg (5 x 2)
Pulley-aided one-arm pull-down: 3 x 2 x 110 kg
Pulley-aided one-handed pull-down: 12+ x 2 x 130 kg (10 x 2)

I currently weigh 78.8 kilos, without any swimming at all, so so far I have been able to keep my weight below 80.0 kilos as defined earlier. This means that I have succeeded with all physical goals this month, which is the first time ever that happens. I feel very good about this and will set my goals slightly higher next month!

Creativity – Sad to say, I do not think I will have the time or energy to focus very much on creative matters, but the novel will be in focus. Perhaps I will be able to start writing or at least finish planning, but I will not set an ambitious goal I cannot reach.

I have finished planning the first part, which enabled me to begin writing the novel itself. I have written 8000 words so far, which is not much, but enough. The important thing here is that I have begun writing and that I have some sort of momentum. I need to increase my writing time if I want to finish this novel in the near future (say, before summer), but I think I will be able to do that.

Lucid dreaming – I think recording dreams is a good way of seriously focusing on dreams and what they contain. Even though this was a complete failure last time, I will try again.

Yet again, the results are a bit unpredictable. I did not record any dream at all, as far as I can remember, but I still had three lucid dreams during December, which is almost equal to the sum of all lucid dreams in the past. I seem to do something right, so I intend to continue this way. The key is sleeping when fairly rested, preferably in a couple of hours after going up in the morning. I have made little progress in exploring dreamland, though, but I am sure that that will come in due time.

Looking ahead: January 2009

January will be a little bit hard to plan, because a lot out of the ordinary will happen, such as my parents coming to Taiwan for vacation and my moving to Gaoxiong. Since I will join my parents, it is almost impossible to tell how much time I will have left for personal projects such as studying, exercise and creativity. That being said, I will set ambitious goals and do my best to accomplish them.

Physical – I will remove going to the gym from my schedule from now on, basically because I do not plan to pay for that after I have moved. Also, it is much more convenient to focus on exercises that can be done at home. However, since I do not yet have a chin-up bar at home, I will still do that in the gym. Since I only have half the month available, I will aim for four sessions in January, aiming for the one-arm chin-up of course. Coupled with this, I will do four squat workout sessions.

For the handstand push-ups, I have decided to start the one hundred push-up training program, but of course, I am going to do it vertically instead of horizontally. I have really no idea how long this will take me, but since I want to solidify my handstand push-ups anyway, I thought I might as well do it in an interesting way. My intention is to follow the program as written, with the only difference of adding the word “handstand” before every “push-up”. I will begin this challenge on Monday 5th and will write about it more then, so stay tuned.

The one-hand handstand is slowly, slowly progressing, but I need to practice more if I want to reach any notable results this side of my thirtieth birthday. I intend to practice one-handed handstands twenty sessions during January. I know this is ambitious, but since it is mostly balance, it should be okay. I shall have to look around for progressions from my current level, but the overall goal is twenty times.

New for this month is the planche, a skill I have thought about for a long time, but never really started practicing towards. It will take a long time, but following Christopher Sommers’ guide over at Dragondoor will probably be a good start. As he specifies, the initial exercises can be performed everyday, but I will settle for twenty times during January. In short, the practice amounts to holding a static position of increasing difficulty for a total of 60 seconds every day. Right now, I can manage the second progression (tucked planche) for about 14 seconds.

Same as last month, I intend to complete my auxiliary exercise program eight times. This is not very hard workout, but it keeps me focused on some things which are pretty useful for my diving.

Also new for this month, I intend to take up stretching more seriously again. Right now, I stretch for warm-up and after heavy exercise, but not very much. I will try to stretch a total of five hours during January, not including warm-up.

Creativity  – With travelling on the agenda and lots of Chinese to study, I think creative projects such as novel writing or role-playing related stuff, will have to stand back the coming month. However, I do not want to lose the momentum for the novel writing, so I will try to write at least 10 000 words in January.

Education – Since we have finished our text book and will focus on revision, I will have a lot of time to study other things. This is very good timing, because next semester I am going to study at another university, which uses a different text book. My goal for January is to finish all the books up to the book we will be using next semester. Of course, I will also spend a lot of time revising, but that is nothing new.

Lucid dreaming – Since this seems to be progressing well without any serious effort, I might as well enjoy it and just be careful to write down whatever experiences and reflections I have regarding lucid dreaming.

Tags: ,

This is my eleventh monthly report. To review introductory comments and the purpose of these reports, please refer to the initial report made for January 2008. Text in italics is copied from the previous monthly report for reference.

Looking back: November 2008

Physical – To begin with, I intend to continue the long journey towards the one-armed chin-up. This means basically that I will continue doing the exercises from last month and gradually increase the load. I hope that I will be able to gradually increase grip strength without jeopardising my right ring finger. However, I still feel like experimenting with different exercises, so rather than defining a specific goal, I will try to do physical workout aimed towards the one-arm chin-up at least eight times in the coming month.

No problems. This is my current output (if available, last months figures will be in brackets):

Normal chin-ups, round bar: 19
Normal pull-up, square bar: 10
One-handed chin-up: 7 x 2 (5 x 2)
One-arm chin-up,, 30 kg assistance: 3 x 2
One-arm chin-up, 40 kg assistance: 10 x 2 (5 x 2)
Negative one-arm chin-up, 20 kg assistance: 3 x 2
Negative, one-arm chin-up, alternating, 20 kg assistance: 5 x 2
Pulley-aided one-arm pull-down: 7 x 2 x 90 kg (5 x 2 x 80 kg)
Pulley-aided one-arm pull-down: 5 x 2 x 100 kg (5 x 2 x 80 kg)
Pulley-aided one-handed pull-down: 10+ x 2 x 130 kg

Conclusion: I have a long, long, long way to go.

The hand-balancing is a bit unclear, because the many skills I want to achieve overlap. However, two of them (one-handed handstand and clapping handstand push-up) require more balance than I currently possess, so focusing on standing still with balance seems like a good idea. Once upon a time, I was able to do a free handstand for 76 seconds. Over the past few days, my record is 61, which is not bad, but the median is horribly low. If I want to work towards these skills, I will have to solidify my handstand. My goal for November is doing 400 timed handstand attempts. That means 20 every day, allowing for some days rest or other activities. This will make me unable to focus very hard on walking in stairs and doing push-ups, but I will still try to try the stairs at least five times and the push-ups at least eight (usually together with the auxiliary exercises described below).

These two proved a bit more inconvenient than I thought. Doing my auxiliary routine competed for the same time as some other things, which resulted in a lack of hand-stand push-ups.I tried the stairs only once, and did push-ups only four times. The times hand-stands proved difficult for a completely different reason. In the beginning, everything went well, but I recovered my balance pretty fast, which lead to an average (over 20 attempts) approaching 50 seconds. Doing 400 handstands if the average is 50 seconds is simply not very convenient, because it is only  a matter of endurance, not balance. Anyway, I have achieved my goal of regaining balance. Very good.

I also intend to continue some auxiliary exercise for abdomen and back. I have a small routine that seems to work quite well. Basically, it consists of 3 x 10 headstand leg raises (excellent workout for the back, specifically aiming for some more advanced handstand skills later) and 3 x 25 piked leg raises lying flat on my back . This regimen is nothing fancy, but I intend to complete it eight times.

Only four times out of eight. I still like the routine, so I intend to continue. The reason I did not do this more is mostly because I practiced too much, but I think that better planning is the key here.

Furthermore, I have decided to continue working on my vertical jump. This summer, my Sargent’s Jump measured 63 centimetres. Since I cannot practice diving here, I intend to do at least something which will be of value when I take up diving again. I am going to do two things: weighted squats in the gym combined with normal jumping. Currently, I can manage 5 x 105 kg squat for five sets. Since I tend to do the squats at the same time as the chin-up workout, I will set an identical goal: eight sessions of squat workout for November. In addition to this, I will try to refine my technique a little bit by practicing jumping at least five times. The important thing here is technique, not actual workout, so the number of times I do it is more important than how much each time.

Complete success. I can handle 130-kilo squats if I do not have to worry about balance, and 120 if I have to worry about it. This is a fairly rapid increase from 105 kilos at the beginning of last month.

It seems silly to add a goal for swimming, since I seem to be able to do it anyway. Right now, swimming works as some sort of weight control. I have terribly bad discipline when it comes to food at the moment, and I must admit that it is bothering me a little bit. Swimming almost fifty kilometres this month made sure my weight stayed roughly the same (the change is not statistically significant); I do not even dare to contemplate what would have happened without the swimming. I currently weigh 79,4 kg wearing gym clothes (no shoes), and as long as I stay under 80 kg, I do not feel I need to bother about being specific.

No problem. The difference in weight is 0.1 kg, which should be well within normal statistical variation. For your information, I swam comparatively less in November, only 17 000 metres.

Creativity – I feel a surging need to increase my creative output. I have a few ideas on how to do this, but for various reasons I do not intend to talk about all of them here. However, I will keep the failed goal from last month and make sure that I finish the two scenarios for my role-playing game. Hopefully, I will then be able to wrap up the project in December. I will also experiment a little bit with various projects and inform you about the results later.

The creative output has increased somewhat, but not in the direction I predicted. Instead of working on my role-playing game, I focused on the novel writing instead. However, “focus” and “writing” are probably not very accurate terms, since I still spend most of the time planning and thinking about what to do. Also, with a few exceptions, I only do this sporadically.

Lucid dreaming – Yes, I have decided to take up lucid dreaming again! It was a long time ago, but the reason I stopped was not because of dwindling interest, but because I was lacking the necessary time. To start again, I will need to freshen up my capability of remembering dreams, so for November, I shall record every dream I can remember. Medium does not matter, but I think voice recording is the easiest way.

As this goal is formulated, it is a complete failure. I only recorded a few dreams. On the other hand, I spent pretty much time focusing on the dreams themselves, and I have had two more lucid dreams (I have written about one here, but the other is so insignificant that I do not think it merits a report). However, I need to keep this goal if I am to make any progress at all. I need more chances to get used to the lucid dreaming.

Looking ahead: December 2008

The next report probably spells the end of monthly reports as they have functioned previously, so I will make my best to make something good come out of it. During December, I will probably me quite busy with things not covered in these reports, so I will try to be moderate when setting my goals. As usual, I will begin with the physical part.

Physical – I think I should change my chin-up workout to greasing the groove (i.e. doing hordes of repetitions through-out the day), but the problem is that I do not yet have a chin-up bar at home. Therefore, I will set the same goal as that of last month. I will do physical workout aimed towards the one-arm chin-up at least eight times in the coming month.

Following last months success with hand-balancing, I feel that I can leave two-handed handstands for a while. Instead, I will focus on two things: handstand push-ups and one-handed handstands. I will shelve walking in stairs for now. The push-ups need some change, because doing them with the auxiliary workout does not work. I will change to greasing the groove, aiming for 500 repetitions in December. I will begin by not touching forehead to the ground, but will try to lower the push-up gradually. I also intend to practice one-handed handstands eight times. Right now, I have no idea how difficult this is, but I will do my best to map whatever difficulties might lie ahead.

I failed the eight times I set for the auxiliary regimen last time, but I really think I ought to try again. Since it is highly flexible and can be done anywhere, I also think my moving around or being busy should not present a serious problem. Thus, eight is the number of times I will aim for this time around as well.

The vertical is progressing, I think. Including the jumping in the auxiliary workout makes it unnecessary to treat separately. I cannot reach the ceiling in my apartment with both hands yet (one is pretty easy), but soon I will. Squats and jumping will continue as before, meaning the same as the chin-ups, eight times a month.

Creativity – Sad to say, I do not think I will have the time or energy to focus very much on creative matters, but the novel will be in focus. Perhaps I will be able to start writing or at least finish planning, but I will not set an ambitious goal I cannot reach.

Lucid dreaming – I think recording dreams is a good way of seriously focusing on dreams and what they contain. Even though this was a complete failure last time, I will try again.

Tags: ,

This is my tenth monthly report. To review introductory comments and the purpose of these reports, please refer to the initial report made for January 2008. Text in italics is copied from the previous monthly report for reference.

Looking back: October 2008

Physical – Hand walking is mainly a question of practicing more, but I have also decided to shift focus a little bit I will write more about this later. The goal for October is to hand walk eight times, each time making at least three attempts to walk fifty metres or more.

As I have explained elsewhere, I have suspended the hand-walking practice, which obviously results in a failure for this goal. Still, I feel that the change was carefully considered and I am happy with it. I will return to hand walking later when conditions are more favourable.

The one-arm chin-up is difficult for many reasons, and grip strength is one of them. My hands are simply too weak. I have found a number of ways to improve this and my goal is to focus on strengthening my hands at least ten sessions during October.

I have focused more on the one-arm chin-up than I thought I would, especially during the latter half of October. Still, I only explicitly practiced grip strength six times. I had some troubles going to the gym in the beginning of the month because of administration problems, but that is now solved. I feel that the current level of exercise is good. This is what I have done two or three times a week for the last two weeks (I will of course use this data later for comparison):

Warm-up
12 x 100 kg chin-ups (machine, serves as warm-up too)
5 x 2 assisted one-arm chin-ups (40 kg assistance)
5 x 2 one-hand chin-ups
10 seconds hanging one-handed (pronated)
5 x 2 seconds hanging one-handed (supinated)
5 x 80 kg one-arm chin-ups (machine)

The conclusion is that I have a long, long way to go. Right now, I find it challenging just to hang in one hand without twisting. Pronated (palm facing away from body) is okay, but supinated (palm facing body) is still too hard. Since the grip strength is enough to do 5 x 2 one-handed chin-ups, I think the situation is not hopeless, just not good enough. One problem is my sprained finger, which makes my right hand grip weaker than my left hand one. I will have to be careful with this.

The clapping handstand push-up will have to wait until after I am finished walking a hundred metres, because the two goals are too similar to pursue parallely.

Bah! Of course I have practiced hand-stand push-ups. If rested, I can do around five with forehead touching the ground. This is far from enough and they are not freestanding either, but it is at least a beginning.

As a complement to these goals, I also intend to swim at least 30 000 metres during October.

I swam 46600 metres. I also managed 800 metres medley, which includes 200 metres butterfly, something I have never done before. Normally, it takes me just above 1:40 to swim 5000 metres, my standard distance.

CreativityAlthough I have many projects and many ideas, I feel that they compete with my studies much more than physical activities. I need breaks in my studying anyway, but focusing on writing is perhaps not the best way to relax. Still, I intend to finish the two scenarios I am currently writing.

Creativity has been fluctuating a lot during this month. Even though I have come some way towards finishing the two scenarios, neither of them is finished at the moment. I have felt little need of creative output for a while, but that changed just a couple of days ago. I hope to be able to continue with some creative projects and also begin with some new. More on that later.

Looking ahead: November 2008

Physical – To begin with, I intend to continue the long journey towards the one-armed chin-up. This means basically that I will continue doing the exercises from last month and gradually increase the load. I hope that I will be able to gradually increase grip strength without jeopardising my right ring finger. However, I still feel like experimenting with different exercises, so rather than defining a specific goal, I will try to do physical workout aimed towards the one-arm chin-up at least eight times in the coming month.

The hand-balancing is a bit unclear, because the many skills I want to achieve overlap. However, two of them (one-handed handstand and clapping handstand push-up) require more balance than I currently possess, so focusing on standing still with balance seems like a good idea. Once upon a time, I was able to do a free handstand for 76 seconds. Over the past few days, my record is 61, which is not bad, but the median is horribly low. If I want to work towards these skills, I will have to solidify my handstand. My goal for November is doing 400 timed handstand attempts. That means 20 every day, allowing for some days rest or other activities. This will make me unable to focus very hard on walking in stairs and doing push-ups, but I will still try to try the stairs at least five times and the push-ups at least eight (usually together with the auxiliary exercises described below).

I also intend to continue some auxiliary exercise for abdomen and back. I have a small routine that seems to work quite well. Basically, it consists of 3 x 10 headstand leg raises (excellent workout for the back, specifically aiming for some more advanced handstand skills later) and 3 x 25 piked leg raises lying flat on my back . This regimen is nothing fancy, but I intend to complete it eight times.

Furthermore, I have decided to continue working on my vertical jump. This summer, my Sargent’s Jump measured 63 centimetres. Since I cannot practice diving here, I intend to do at least something which will be of value when I take up diving again. I am going to do two things: weighted squats in the gym combined with normal jumping. Currently, I can manage 5 x 105 kg squat for five sets. Since I tend to do the squats at the same time as the chin-up workout, I will set an identical goal: eight sessions of squat workout for November. In addition to this, I will try to refine my technique a little bit by practicing jumping at least five times. The important thing here is technique, not actual workout, so the number of times I do it is more important than how much each time.

It seems silly to add a goal for swimming, since I seem to be able to do it anyway. Right now, swimming works as some sort of weight control. I have terribly bad discipline when it comes to food at the moment, and I must admit that it is bothering me a little bit. Swimming almost fifty kilometres this month made sure my weight stayed roughly the same (the change is not statistically significant); I do not even dare to contemplate what would have happened without the swimming. I currently weigh 79,4 kg wearing gym clothes (no shoes), and as long as I stay under 80 kg, I do not feel I need to bother about being specific.

Creativity – I feel a surging need to increase my creative output. I have a few ideas on how to do this, but for various reasons I do not intend to talk about all of them here. However, I will keep the failed goal from last month and make sure that I finish the two scenarios for my role-playing game. Hopefully, I will then be able to wrap up the project in December. I will also experiment a little bit with various projects and inform you about the results later.

Lucid dreaming – Yes, I have decided to take up lucid dreaming again! It was a long time ago, but the reason I stopped was not because of dwindling interest, but because I was lacking the necessary time. To start again, I will need to freshen up my capability of remembering dreams, so for November, I shall record every dream I can remember. Medium does not matter, but I think voice recording is the easiest way.

Tags: ,

This is my ninth monthly report. To review introductory comments and the purpose of these reports, please refer to the initial report made for January 2008. Text in italics is copied from the previous monthly report for reference.

Looking back: September 2008

The upcoming month will probably be one of the more eventful in my life. I will leave my home in Sweden to try my luck in Taiwan for a year. Even though I have deliberately avoided speculating and building up expectations, I am at least assured that the very experience of moving abroad will have great impact on me. Therefore, I will not specify any goals as I normally do; experiencing a new culture and settling in will be quite enough.

It was a good idea not to specify any goals, because I would have felt impaired by them. This first month in Taiwan has been eventful, to say the least. Now I can feel that I have begun to settle in and things seems to work well around here. I see no immediate reasons for disliking either Taiwan itself or my life here.

Looking ahead: October 2008

From now on, these reports will work a little differently, because learning Chinese takes up so much of my time and energy. There are two areas in which I would like to be able to focus on at the same time, though, namely physical development and creative output. I do not feel that the 101-in-1001 list is a priority, although I assume that I will manage most of the items on the list anyway.

Physical – I have decided to focus on three goals during my stay in Taiwan: Walking a hundred metres on my hands (slightly more than sixty is the current record), doing clapping handstand push-ups and, finally, one-arm chinup. Of these, I think that the last one is probably the most difficult to achieve, but we shall see about that.

Exercising here is a bit different from home for two reasons. First, I have less control of what I eat. In Sweden, it was possible to know fairly well what was in the food, but since I eat out at least once everyday here, it is impossible to know that. Second, the climate is very different, so doing something physically demanding during daytime is so far out of the question. I have tried to practice hand walking during the day, but I am at about 70 % capacity in this heat, which of course is not good enough.

Hand walking is mainly a question of practicing more, but I have also decided to shift focus a little bit I will write more about this later. The goal for October is to hand walk eight times, each time making at least three attempts to walk fifty metres or more.

The one-arm chin-up is difficult for many reasons, and grip strength is one of them. My hands har simply too weak. I have found a number of ways to improve this and my goal is to focus on strengthening my hands at least ten sessions during October.

The clapping handstand push-up will have to wait until after I am finished walking a hundred metres, because the two goals are too similar to pursue parallely.

As a complement to these goals, I also intend to swim at least 30 000 metres during October.

Creativity – Although I have many projects and many ideas, I feel that they compete with my studies much more than physical activities. I need breaks in my studying anyway, but focusing on writing is perhaps not the best way to relax. Still, I intend to finish the two scenarios I am currently writing.

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This is my eighth monthly report. To review introductory comments and the purpose of these reports, please refer to the initial report made for January 2008. Text in italics is copied from the previous monthly report for reference.

Looking back: August 2008

Last month, I only specified two goals. The first one was physical and said that I should follow my physical workout schedule I developed. I have done so with only a few, minor exceptions. I am convinced that this method is much better than anything I have tried so far. I will not go into details now, but this time, I have broken down exercise into several different sections that are to be done a couple of times every week, independently of each other. This removes the need of spending two hours of exercise in one single day and instead disperses it throughout the week.

As for the hand walking, I am somewhat amazed to report that I have followed my ambitious plan except for the last two weeks (because of hiking). This means that I have increased my capacity from being able to perform 132 repetitions in a single set to be able to produces well over 200 in three. Very good, but sill much work remains to be done if I hope to be able to walk a hundred metres before New Year’s Eve.

The second goal was to clear as many items from the 101-in-1001 list as possible. My goal was to have only twenty tasks left, but I have 34. Still, I have managed to clear almost ten tasks this month and many of the remaining ones will clear themselves in time. There remains two really challenging tasks, though: Writing a novel and walking a hundred metres on my hands.

Looking ahead: September 2008

The upcoming month will probably be one of the more eventful in my life. I will leave my home in Sweden to try my luck in Taiwan for a year. Even though I have deliberately avoided speculating and building up expectations, I am at least assured that the very experience of moving abroad will have great impact on me. Therefore, I will not specify any goals as I normally do; experiencing a new culture and settling in will be quite enough.

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