March 2016 Updates

March was … how do I put this … a fantastic month, and I’m not just saying that because it’s my birthday.  Everything that did could go right did go right.  It was like an inverse Murphy’s Law.

My workouts got better, my flexibility got better, my chess rating got better, my writing got better, everything got better.  More importantly, I’m happy.  Last week, we had an ice storm.  Roads closed, schools cancelled, power flickering off and on: it wasn’t good.  The next morning, I go for a walk, and as I see the frozen trees and sidewalks lined with icy debris, I’m smiling.  Not because I’m the Joker and like to see destruction, but just because I’m always smiling.  I’ve been smiling the whole month, and not even an ice storm could dent my spirits.

That’s pretty awesome.  Anyway, let’s take a look at what I did in detail.

Splits and Flexibility

I’ve been feeling more flexible for awhile now, but I haven’t had much to show for it … until now.  I’m finally getting lower.  Take a look:

March 2016

Feb 2016

I was pretty happy in February, judging by my expression, but March is even better.  Look at that: I’m almost there!  I’m convinced that if I stayed in that position for an hour … I probably wouldn’t be able to walk the next day, but I’d have the splits.  100%.

March 2016

Feb 2016

This, my weak side, is pretty close.  I might be a tad lower this month, but I was a tad straighter last month.  I’ll call it a wash.

March 2016

Feb 2016

My strong side is getting closer!  The shadows do make it tougher to tell, though.  I’ll have to find some light-coloured pants for my next photo-shoot.  That said, maybe my Pink Panther pyjamas helped and I should keep wearing them?  I’ll worry about that when April comes.  Regardless, this month was huge, huge, for my flexibility.

Nutrition

As I mentioned in my birthday post, I’m about to dial my nutrition into high gear.  The idea is simple: eat as much good food as possible while eating as little bad food as possible.  I officially started this on March 28, so they day after my birthday, and no problems through the first half week.  Next week I’ll have a detailed look at how I did.

Just remember, veggies over Veggie Thins … even if Veggie Thins are delicious…

One’s a vegetable, one’s made WITH vegetables.

Chess

Chess continues to be a good strength.  I’m progressing like a snail, but it’s still forward progress.  I haven’t lost a game yet.  I won a few games due to time outs and random resignations, but I also beat someone with a rating of 2088!  And I’m a pawn up in the rematch, so I should get at least 1.5 out of 2, and who knows, maybe the full point.

I currently have a number of very complex games going in, including two different games with no Queens and my opponent has two or more pawns for a piece.  Because of these complex positions, I’m moving slower, which means I’m behind on my goal to play 100 games this year.  I’ve only done 11 in the first three months, so that might be a huge stretch.  We’ll see.

At the same time, a rating of 2088.  I’m not complaining.  In addition, I’m roughly 1/3 through the latest GM Smirnov course, Calculate Till Mate.  I’m not going to lie, it’s tough, but it’s worth it.  I should finish it by the end of June, I think.  I’ll have more of an update then.

Writing

March has been, perhaps, my best month for writing.  I wrote the second most amount of words, only eclipsed back when I helped write a book, but more importantly I seemed to be writing well.  I was really into in, and words just flowed out.  When I completed my writing for the day, I often went back later and wrote something else.

Writing 2016 Mar

First, I should celebrate an important milestone, as I’ve now gone 300 days in a row with blogging.  Not bad considering I only planned to go for the summer.   In the past I’ve written little celebration posts (after one month, 100 days and 200 days, respectively), and while I could do one for 300 days (perhaps something Spartan themed?), I think I’ll wait until it’s been a full year and do a much bigger celebration then.

Also, another milestone is coming up fast: I might pass 500,000 words next month.  That’s half a million.  I’ve nearly written half a million words!  I’ve written more in the last year than I have in my entire university career.  Said another way, I’ve written more in the past 300 days and change than I did in five years.  I also didn’t pay $50,000 for that privilege, either…

Hey, not complaining.  Onwards and upwards!

Poi

[note: this section was formerly called ‘Skills,’ but that assumed I would be doing computer programming and speed cubing as well as poi.  I’m not going to pretend that’s happening, so poi it is!]

First, let me say that I’ve practiced every single day this month, including the time I got a small blister on my right hand and had to only use my left poi for most things.  That’s three months of practicing!  Here’s the video proof:

As the title suggests, this month I also completed Playpoi‘s Beginner Series.  In truth, I had done it about a year ago, but I kinda rushed through it, or at least didn’t give it the complete attention it deserved.  I fixed that this time, and I’d say I’m progressing quite nicely now.  Again, the real proof will be when I compare myself one year from now.

It’s still as fun as ever, so let’s keep this going!

Conclusions

All of my most important areas have improved, and I’m happy.  I can’t get mad at that!  Sometimes we get hung up on progress, on seeing those tangible results, but in the end, it’s all about being happy, right?  As long as I’m happy, I’m happy.

My goal for April is quite simple: eat healthy and be happy.  I think I can do that.

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