Challenges

OMGrey

I did not complete my 50 Shades of Grey challenge by Valentine’s Day, partly because I wanted to actually enjoy some of my Valentine’s Day and spend it with my valentine, and partly because I was more miserable reading this book than I can remember being reading anything ever. I instead finished the book today, and if you were within an eight mile radius you heard me despairingly proclaiming my distaste for the never-ending “novel” to the heavens. I enjoyed reading My Immortal and Heart of Darkness significantly more than I enjoyed reading 50 Shades of Grey, and those have both been different and significant kinds of painful for me. This being the case, I will create and present my product for it later because I need some time to return my brain to its rightful place and state.

Please give me challenges to restore the health that this book stole from me. Thank you.

UPDATE: I forgot that this existed, but I’m happier than I was:

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Update plus begging

As previously discussed, I met with Nina on Tuesday to read. In the interest of not reading 50 Shades of Grey for the next sixty years, Nina and I have decided to instead read the book individually and confer with each other later on what we’ve found. I’m not holding her to the same schedule, but I am going to finish reading the book by Saturday so that I’ll have read it before the movie comes out and also have a deadline for this challenge. I have no intention of seeing the movie in theaters, but, like with Eragon in tenth grade, I want to read the popular book before the popular movie comes out. Fortunately, unlike with Eragon in the tenth grade, I will (hopefully) be reading this book without ten or more people helpfully informing me that there’s a movie coming out for the book that I decided to read because there’s a movie coming out for it.

My next order of business is to beg you all again for challenges. Pleeeeeease. I’ll even post the inspiration list again, look!

  • walking my dog
  • learning to play guitar
  • improving my abilities with media and multimedia projects
  • yoga, sort of
  • significantly reducing my possessions
  • letter-writing
  • watching iconic or important movies
  • reading more books

Since I now have a deadline for my current challenge, I also have a pseudo-deadline for getting more challenges. As i said, I want lots! So, again, pleeeeeeeease. Even if you’ve already posted a challenge, you can give me new ones. If you haven’t posted one, get on it! I’ll be super super grateful wherever they come from.

To everyone reading, thank you 🙂

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Checking In

I realize it’s been a little while since I’ve done any challenge updates, so I thought I’d post one to let all five of you keeping up with this know that I haven’t forgotten or abandoned my challenges 😛 I’ll start with this picture of radishes I cut in half in pretty patterns yesterday because I like how images in the blog posts show up in the link when I post these on Facebook and I want a pretty picture on the link to this post, too.

IMAG6245_1

I did those!

I am, as I said in my last post, reading 50 Shades of Grey for my current challenge. I’m reading it aloud with the friend who put forth the challenge, and so far we’ve had some fun with the little bit we’ve been able to get through. I do have a plan for a silly “product” to present with this challenge, but I want to keep that a pseudo-surprise until I’ve finished it. Now that things are settling out again (however briefly) we’ll hopefully be able to knock out more chapters more quickly and I’ll be able to put together this exciting product soon. No official due date, which I realize breaks the rules, but Nina and I are meeting Tuesday, so we will establish one then, and I mean it.

In the meantime, I’ll keep checking in until I’ve finished this challenge. I also welcome, encourage, urge you all to line up more challenges for me. I’m really enjoying this project and I want to have so many challenges that I have no choice but to be working on them for a long time in order to finish them all 😉 Thank you so much for reading!

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Experiments in different genres

My third challenge was submitted by the goddess Tori, who told me to:

NOW WATCH ANCHORMAN. Bonus points if you watch the sequel too ❤

I just finished Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and am going to start the sequel any minute now, once I take a break from the absolute silliness that is the Anchorman universe.

I’ll be honest, my relationship with Will Ferrell has been a bit love/hate. Sometimes he’s incredibly clever, and sometimes he’s just obnoxious. I personally don’t think desperate yelling is necessarily a one-way ticket to hilarious, but I get that that was supposed to be some weird character quirk for Burgundy, I guess. His conversations with Baxter were delightful, though, and I especially enjoyed that Baxter is the real life version of Seymour from Futurama.

Baxter_Anchorman2_imageSeymour

When I was in high school someone changed the screensaver on the computer in the band room to a crawl of the Anchorman quote about leather-bound books and his apartment smelling of rich mahogany. I remember that vivid imagery making a strong impression on me, and I’m not sure when I learned that the quote was actually from Anchorman, but I’ve been looking forward to it. I wasn’t disappointed with the delivery, either, which was pleasant because I was really afraid I would be.

Overall, I’m glad I finally watched it so I can be one link closer to the rest of my generation and hopefully understand certain things better. I’ve already been promised to have the movie frequently quoted at me by Tori, so I will, if nothing else, understand her better. I did genuinely enjoy it, for the most part, and it did reconfirm for me that I’m dating a taller, burlier version of Paul Rudd, so that’s pretty rad.

I know the Anchorman challenge isn’t really complete yet because I haven’t gotten the bonus points, but I’ll go ahead and set up the next challenge that I’ll start tomorrow.

My friend Nina and I apparently hate ourselves, because we are interested in the primary source material for 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James, so my next challenge, from her, is:

Read 50 Shades 😉

She and I had originally discussed doing dramatic readings of it together, so that’s how I’m opting to do that. I haven’t got a timeline yet for when, but I’ll update when I do.

In other news, I hate to be picky about my challenges, but the ones I have left after the 50 Shades one are relatively undoable right now because we’re remodeling the house. You would be my best friend if you broadened the pool a little bit for what I have to choose from 🙂 As before, here is the list of inspiration:

  • walking my dog
  • learning to play guitar
  • improving my abilities with media and multimedia projects
  • yoga, sort of
  • significantly reducing my possessions
  • letter-writing
  • watching iconic or important movies
  • reading more books

As a final note, I would just like to say thank you to everyone who’s been reading this and submitting challenges. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it ❤ Keep ’em coming!

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I’ll come up with a better titling system maybe

I have completed my second challenge! As a reminder, here is what it was:

Read The Slight Edge over the span of a week and report on how it can apply to your life…

I finished the book last night, so here is my report:

The “slight edge,” which author Jeff Olson refers to by name about six thousand times throughout the book, is “simple disciplines or simple errors in judgement, repeated consistently over time,” and actually fits incredibly nicely with this whole challenges project. His main point, repeated ad nauseam, is that those things compound to either wild success or your eminent doom, depending on which simple things you elect to do (or not do) every day.

Because of the time constraint on this challenge, I was forced to use the slight edge while reading The Slight Edge; I needed to read about three chapters a day in order to get through it the “slight edge” way, and in general that worked out pretty well for me. As far as how the slight edge can apply to my life, I actually came up with this challenges plan as a way to achieve that same goal of wild success that Olson says the slight edge can help me achieve, so in a way I’ve already started to apply it.

The book is divided into two parts: “How the Slight Edge Works” and “Living the Slight Edge.” He helpfully offers spaces for you to directly make plans in your own life during the second half, and wanted me to write in the book, but I didn’t, so I suppose filling it in here instead would be fair. First I was to write out five dreams, get specific about them, and give a timeline of by when I want them:

  1. I want to move out and support myself. I’m not sure where exactly yet, but I want a decent paying job and to move out within the next six to eight months.
  2. I want to live in Boston, and be settled there for at least a few years. I want to move there in the next one to three years.
  3. I want all of my possessions to a) be all in one place (rather than scattered across storage and my parents’ houses, etc.) and b) to all fit into one moving truck, within the next six months.
  4. I want to be ambidextrous. I want to do all things equally well with both hands. I want to achieve this within the next five years.
  5. I want to start saving for retirement and pay off my student loans. I want that taken care of in the next ten to fifteen years.

The other things I was supposed to write out were my slight edge habits that I would do to improve my health, happiness, relationships, personal development, finances, career, and my positive impact on the world. Those were to be outlined as:

My dream for (whatever area of my life)

Plan to start

One simple daily discipline

He said that the relationship one should probably stay private, so I will keep that one to myself, but here are the other six:

  1. Health
    1. I want my body to be able to do everything I ask it to without difficulty
    2. I plan to start this by eating more plants and walking my dog more
    3. Eat three servings of plants and walk my dog
  2. Happiness
    1. I want to be satisfied with and proud of my life
    2. I plan to start this by finishing some of my unfinished projects and finding more productive uses for my time
    3. Finish something, be it the dishes or detailing my car or writing a story or giving birth
  3. Personal Development
    1. I want to continuously develop my already possessed skills and acquire new ones
    2. I plan to start this by asking people to challenge me to do things at their discretion
    3. Read about those skills or about something with which I’m unfamiliar
  4. Finances
    1. I want to live comfortably, have a real budget, save money, and not buy as much useless crap
    2. I plan to start this by finding a job
    3. Save all of my loose change and ones
  5. Career
    1. I want a stimulating and rewarding position where I know I am valued and important
    2. I plan to start this by finding a job
    3. Research positions and put in applications
  6. My positive impact on the world
    1. I want to have concrete things left behind for people to remember and know me by, as well as bring out the best in people in ways that won’t necessarily be recorded
    2. I plan to start this by actually finishing, maintaining, and sharing my blog
    3. Write something down that is useful or positive

I think filling in those blanks pretty well completes the requirements for my challenge, so I’ll finish up this bit of the post. If you’re looking for some direction in your life, I’d recommend checking this book out. Olson’s done a great job of making sure you won’t have excuses for not reading his book, so if you want it as a physical book, or a digital book, or an audiobook, you can find whatever catches your fancy here.

In other news, during the time I was doing this challenge I actually checked off another thing I’d had on the list I’ve been posting with this; my friend Laura helped me make that capelet brainchild and I think it’s pretty cute considering we made it up.

Fluffy side

Fluffy side

Shiny side

Shiny side

I think I want to add some appliques to the shiny side because I intended for it to be reversible and so far wearing the purple side out just looks like I’m wearing it inside out to me, so technically this still isn’t finished, but the bulk of the work is done. I’m glad I went to Laura for help with it because if I’d done it myself it probably would have looked less like respectable clothes and more like the last thing I sewed, which was a pair of pajama pants ten years ago that had exposed elastic in the waist because I apparently couldn’t sew two pieces of fabric together with a machine specifically designed to do that. Anyway, go check out and like her Facebook page or follow her sewing instagram blog account thing (I don’t know how to Instagram or what to call things on it) because she’s made some really impressive and adorable pieces, and Laura is also just delightful.

I’ll post tomorrow about what my next challenge is going to be. Here’s that list again, revised again:

  • walking my dog
  • learning to play guitar
  • improving my abilities with media and multimedia projects
  • yoga, sort of
  • significantly reducing my possessions
  • letter-writing
  • watching iconic or important movies
  • reading more books

Feel free to post any challenges in the comments! 😀

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Very important

IMAG5701[1]

Yesterday I accepted my first challenge, issued by my good friend Jessica Davis:

Jerrika! You should use one of the challenges to write me a letter!

Jessica was very generous to offer this challenge to me because it both gently helped me get started and forced me to almost make my own envelope before I learned that we, against all normality here, had some envelopes already. I wrote the letter last night, and feel that I officially completed the challenge when I put it in the mailbox this afternoon, where it is waiting alone in the dark to be picked up tomorrow by the station wagon that takes and delivers our mail.

I know I only posted yesterday, but I think this milestone event warrants a timely acknowledgement, especially because it means I am ready to move on to a new challenge.

This brings us to Challenge the Second, which comes from family friend (who is actually just family) Mrs. Lissa:

Read The Slight Edge over the span of a week and report on how it can apply to your life…

I’m looking forward to this one because I don’t read books nearly enough anymore.

I’ve gotten good challenges from a handful of people already, and am very grateful to these pioneers for stepping up in giving me things to do. Virtual cupcakes for all of you. I realized too late that I left one other topic of especial interest off of my list of challenge inspiration in my first blog about this idea, so here it is again, abridged, with the addition:

  • walking my dog
  • learning to play guitar
  • improving my abilities with media and multimedia projects
  • yoga, sort of
  • significantly reducing my possessions
  • sewing a capelet I want
  • letter-writing
  • watching iconic or important movies, so people will quit making that face at me that they always do when I say I haven’t seen Braveheart/Scarface/The Godfather/Star Wars/Anchorman/Casablanca/The Jerk/Alien/Pretty Woman/Friday the 13th/Stand by Me/Iron Man/Green Mile/One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest/etc. etc. etc. etc.

As I said, some people have already submitted some great challenges, so keep it up and send me more in the comments! I can’t wait to see them.

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I had an idea, and will address obvious website neglect later

I have an idea that I would like some help with. As evident in both the main theme of this website and the website itself, I don’t finish things, would like to, and probably don’t need to expound more on that.

Therefore, I won’t mince words: my idea is to be directly challenged with extracurricular tasks, and given deadlines to complete them within. The format of such challenges could be as follows:

Jerrika, walk your dog for a total of four hours within the span of one week.

I haven’t 100% figured out what the exact best system for this sort of project would be, but right now I’m thinking I should focus on and complete one challenge at a time. This being the case, challenges should ideally, in general, be complete-able within a week or two. I don’t want to put too many limits on a project intended for growth, but I’ll also throw out there that I am more or less unemployed at the time of this post and will optimistically not likely have extra financial resources available for a little while.

That said, I really am interested in both learning and doing new things here, and honing skills I already possess in the interest of personal (and perhaps professional) development. I do already have a fair number of resources available to me in areas I am particularly interested in pursuing, and I’m going to provide a list of things in this post that I know I want to work on if anyone wants somewhere to get challenge ideas.

I’ll be frank and say that I will take these challenges seriously, but I am viewing this project fairly casually. I expect to treat it as a hobby, but I want it to be a hobby that is getting me somewhere. Perhaps this is the place to say that 2014 was not the best mental health year for me, and I’m trying to remind myself that I am still capable of doing things I recognize as productive and of which I’m proud.

I realize this is no one else’s responsibility, but you can’t get what you don’t ask for. I am asking the general You to hold me casually accountable for the completion of challenges regarding, but not limited to:

  • walking my dog
  • learning to play my goofy ragdoll classicoustic guitar
  • improving my abilities with media and multimedia projects, such as creating and editing videos and images, and maybe fiddling with audio. I have Adobe Premiere Elements 9, Photoshop Elements 9, and Audacity that I can use to work on these sorts of challenges, and can perhaps access Apple programs if I’m feeling patient and my mom feels like sharing her expensive alien technology with me. I also draw and paint and sculpt alright with my hands.
  • yoga, sort of, for which I have a mat and remarkably unremarkable athletic abilities
  • significantly reducing my possessions
  • the progression of an informal mental pattern for a capelet from rogue fabric into a wearable garment
  • letter-writing

Challenges should be issued in the comments sections. I’ll choose from them based on both reasonable convenience to whatever I have going on otherwise in my life, how compelling I find the challenge, and probably other circumstantial criteria. Bear in mind that I’m not looking to play these challenges safe, but I’m not looking for anything ridiculous either.

I realize this is a sloppy call to arms, ask for your forgiveness for it, and, if there are any glaring holes in the efficiency of my process, definitely welcome constructive criticism and suggestions. For now, though, I’ll bring this post to a close. Give me a challenge! 😀

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