Prologue

Set 1 – MC vs viOlet

Intermission 1

Set 2 – HuK vs Apocalypse

Intermission 2

Set 3 – MC vs Apocalypse

Intermission 3

Set 4 – HuK vs viOlet

Intermission 4

Set 5 – MC vs HuK

Epilogue

Day 4 Replay Pack (SPOILERS)

Prologue

Set 1 – Adonminus vs Petraeus

Intermission 1

Set 2 – Snute vs Adonminus

Intermission 2

Set 3 – Snute vs Innovation

Intermission 3

Set 4 – Innovation vs Petraeus

Intermission 4

Set 5 – Innovation vs Adonminus

Intermission 5

Set 6 – Snute vs Petraeus

Adonminus Interview

Epilogue

Day 3 Replay Pack (SPOILERS)

You know the drill, let’s do it.

1st place – $100

2nd place – $50

Just a side note as well, I’d like it if you’d allow me to use the music on stream/for youtube purposes. I’m not assuming exclusive control over your content or keeping you from monetizing it in other ways or demanding exclusive rights etc…and I’m not going to going to be enforcing this for the music composition challenges, but it’d be nice to have a repository of free music that I can use for my Youtube videos etc…I’ll try to link back to the original artists as much as possible as well.

Here’s the challenge.

And here’s a link to the first composition challenge I ever posted if you’re completely new to this – http://blog.destiny.gg/composition-challenge-1/

Happy composing!

I’ll try to organize this post as much as possible, but for the most part it’s just going to be a stream of thoughts I’ve had about an online tournament I’m hoping to put on within the next month or so (depending on the Blizzard ladder status).

If you’re a player and you’re just looking for information about what the tournament will be like, I’ll include that information first so you’re not bored with all of the business aspects of the tournament. Also, keep in mind that everything I say is subject to change upon feedback.

The tournament will feature 16 players. 8 of them will be drafted in from the NA ladder, similar to Totalbiscuit’s 2012 Shoutcraft America Winter event. The other 8 will be high-level Koreans that I’ll be looking to invite. I’m going for top-tier Koreans, so I’m hoping I’ll have the prize money to draw them to play.

People trying to qualify from the ladder must be playing on a non-barcode account (from the beginning, no name-changing a barcode account after you’ve made rank 1) but they can be from any region around the world. The only requirement is that they must be a top 8 ranked ladder player who’s ID matches who they are.

Groups will be 2 invitees and 2 Ladder qualifiers per group. That’s right, expect foreigners to get rustled over this format. I know there’s going to be some resentment here, but I want a killer 8-man bracket. If you don’t think you can beat any Koreans in this tournament after qualifying then you will never make it out of group stages.

For prize money, it’s hard to say, but I’m hoping to boast a $2000-$3000 prize pool. It could be less, it could be much more, it’s really hard to say at this point.

Okay, moving on from the information players are looking for, let’s dive into the meat of this post.

Tournament Name

“The Destiny Invitational”

I’m not very attached to this name at the moment but it’s probably what I’ll be going with. This tournament will be a departure from my normal shenanigans in that it will be a very serious tournament. No bikinis, toned down sillyness and humor, no gimmicks. There will still be the usual casting humor etc…, but don’t expect this to be full of offensive or crass humor.

Money Distribution

The base cost for the event is probably going to be $800.

I’m looking at paying $100 for art (slides between games, count down screen, “be right back” screens, brackets…basically what you see when you’re not looking at SC2. Promotional art is possible as well)

I want to pay $100 for a bilingual admin. Someone who can do map vetoes, host games, and speak Korean and English fluently. Communication between admins and Koreans at a lot of tournaments can be pretty iffy due to language barriers and I hope to make that as seamless as possible by using an admin that’s actually bilingual.

I’m going to try to get a different co-caster each day, and I’ll look to pay casters $100 day for about 6 hours of casting work, depending on the day. I haven’t thought too hard on who I want to choose for casting, but right now I have a tentative list in my head of people I want to invite to cast whom I’ll be sending notifications out to tonight to gauge interest. I’ll keep you updated on who I’m able to secure for this event.

The rest of the money will be distributed to the prize pool. Top 8 players will be paid (everyone who makes it out of groups) with 1st place taking home 37.5%, second taking 18.75%, third and fourth getting 9.375% and the remaining getting 4.6785%. This means, with a $3,200 prize pool, 1st would get $1,200, second $600, third-fourth $300 and fifth-eight $150.

Data collection from players

This isn’t really relevant to you, but I’ll be looking to collect Skype names, battle.net ID’s, paypal info, twitters, team names/races from each player in the tournament.

Scheduling

In looking at scheduling I’m trying to prioritize player comfort over optimal viewing hours. I’m not sure if that’s the right way to go, but here’s a tentative time table for the tournament:

Group stages, 4 players (ABCD) per group. I went with a less traditional format here because it always bothered me that you could get fucked in a group stage just because you can’t beat one player and you end up running into him again in the same group. This can lead to tie breaker problems, but if three people in a group finish 1-2 then we can flip a coin and play sudden death.

TUES-FRI

EST/KST  Match (all games bo3)

1000/2300 AvB

1040/2340 CvD

1120/0020 AvC

1200/0100 BvD

1240/0140 AvD

1320/0220 BvC

1400/0300 Sudden Death match (if needed)

SATURDAY

EST/KST  Match (all quarterfinal games b05)

1000/2300 QF1

1100/0000 QF2

1200/0100 QF3

1300/0200 QF4

SUNDAY

EST/KST  Match (semi-final games bo7, finals bo9)

1000/2300 SF1

1130/0030 SF2

1300/0200 Finals

These times are a little late for conventional people, but I figure Korean pro-gamers are probably used to staying up a little late, and it’s not so unreasonable to ask foreigners to be ready to play by 10 AM, so I’ll stick with these times unless I get significant kick-back.

Advertising

Nothing too out of the ordinary here. I’ll be posting about this regularly on the starcraft subreddit and via twitter. I’ll make another post when the format is finalized and I’ll look to Teamliquid to get the event listed on the calendar as well. Getting front-paged by Twitch would be really nice, too, but I’ll need to reach out to some contacts for that. I’ll be looking to make use of Twitter a lot, both mine and the people playing, as well.

Funding

This is obviously the big part of all tournaments – how do you get money? I’ve had a few ideas on funding, some unique, some that everyone’s done.

– Affiliate links. My current links with Amazon, Ting and Dollar Shave Club all generate decent revenue for me, so I’ll promote those super hard during the tournament.

– Twitch + Youtube ad revenue. This money is “meh”, but every little bit helps.

– Sponsorships. I’ve already had a few people approach me who seemed interested in contributing to the event, so I’ll look to reach out to as many people as I can here, potentially some new companies if I can, but it’ll be hard with no solid numbers behind me.

– I’ve thought about doing a $100/day sponsorship deal where I’ll let a streamer pay me $100 to link their stream at the end of each day of playing. It’s not huge money, but if I get 6 different streamers who think the shoutout/potential traffic is worth it, that’s $600 taken care of with no sponsorship commitments, and it’s more tied to the community than simply plugging a product as well, which is nice.

– Kickstarter. I might go this route since this is the first tournament as a way to raise the initial capital, then fund the remaining tournaments with the revenue I (hopefully) generate from this one.

Random Thoughts

Just to restate, I know this post has been extremely disorganized. It’s more just a stream of thoughts that I’m collecting feedback on, then I’ll refine it into something more readable/easily digestible to the masses. Here are just some random thoughts I’m having in regards to hosting this tournament –

– How separate do I want this tourney to be from my own, personal brand? Do I want to get personal sponsors mixed up in this event? Should I be looking to get personal subscribers via my website for this event? The downsides being I sort of commit myself to doing future events, but the upside being I strengthen my own brand and build upon it. I’m also not sure how much money I should be looking to scoop from the event, if it’s profitable, vs how much I should be reinvesting. I’ll give a full breakdown of the numbers after the event, regardless of what I decide, so you guys can see how profitable/disastrous the financial side of things ends up being.

– If this tournament is successful, could other people easily emulate the model? I don’t know how important it is that the “Destiny” name is attached to this for it to succeed, versus just having a random person bringing together a ton of talented Koreans and casting their matches as they battle for $x,xxx.

– I want to see how the personality vs Korean theme plays out here. With the format I have planned, I’m definitely favoring the talent vs the marketable “foreigner” side of things.

– Monetization is a huge thing. I’m curious if this format can turn a profit, how much profit it can turn, and what can be done with that money in the future. Maybe there’s a live event somewhere down the line if it manages to be successful enough…? But that’s far, far off.

– Translators…I’m going to be very big on having a translator that’s very much into Starcraft 2. I don’t want to insult any other Korean translators that have been used at events but the lack of game knowledge really bothers me sometimes. There were a few times where Todd was trying to ask Trap some questions concerning gameplay but Smix was completely and totally missing the questions, and the answers she was giving back to Todd had almost no relation to the questions he was asking. I’m hoping I can find someone who’s bilingual who’s able to assuage those problems.

That’s all I’ve got for now, I look forward to all of your feedback and ideas.

Tomorrow will be the start of my third month in Eve, and I must say that I’ve had a blast so far. Winning and losing fights, destroying and losing ships, roaming, theorycrafting, and sperging up local has all been incredibly entertaining to me. One of the things I’ve found is that it’s very hard to find anything reliable in regards to Eve on the internet. Good resources are indeed out there, but even sources that most people regard as reputable contain incorrect information. For example, Eve University and the Eveonline Wiki both state that “you will be much easier to hit while running the MWD” and “MWD will increase [a] ship’s signature radius, making it easier to target and hit“, even though neither of these are necessarily true, provided you are A) not getting hit by missiles/bombs and B) are moving at your maximum MWD velocity while it’s activated? This is an oft-repeated piece of advice that I’ve heard almost universally, from vets and online resources alike, but a simple glance at the damage formula proves this to be not true. Since the MWD blows up your signature radius and speed evenly, you can see that the effects cancel out (again, assuming you’re moving at maximum velocity) in the formula.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a graph of a Guardian getting shot by a Rupture (and +5 Hobgoblins) with MWD on (top) and with MWD off (bottom).

mwd1

But I digress. Recently, in Syndicate, my corporation’s been fighting with a few different entities down here. We always keep hitting a brick wall, though: we absolutely cannot deal with a fleet of Guardians that they continue to field. Even with my fleet of 40 Ruptures all firing within their optimal range with good ammunition selected, we were completely unable to phase the Guardians.

This has lead to a lot of talking and theorycrafting among people in my corporation, but ultimately it was necessary that we eventually take the plunge into EFT and figure out what’s going on. I’ll be cataloging the thought process in dealing with the enemy here. What follows is an analysis on the importance of applied damage and how little it matters what your numbers and DPS are if you can’t actually hit your enemy.

Here is our standard Rupture fit (with 5 Hobgoblins loaded):

rupturefit1

This is what we’re assuming for the enemy’s Guardian fit, based on collected intel:

guardianfit1

Knowing that Guardians are armor tanked (all of their repair modules are focused on replenishing armor), we can look and see that their weakest resists are EMP (80.9%) and Thermal (75.1%). Since there is no EMP/Thermal ammunition, we can look and see that the next weakest resist is Kinetic (83%). Now we have Proton (EM/Kinetic) and Phased Plasma (Thermal/Kinetic) to choose from, based on resistances. After comparing the two, I’ve decided to go with Phased Plasma, so we’ll be using the Faction version of that ammunition in our damage graphs.

I’m going to throw up the damage graph now of one of our Ruptures and we can immediately dispel a few bad trains of thoughts.

“But my DPS is really 355, I promise!”

 dps1

 

There are a couple of tremendously important pieces of information that we can glean from this DPS graph.

  1. Optimal firing range (in this case, it’s 17 optimal + 26 fall-off) does not necessarily mean you are in optimal DPS range.
  2. You can have all the damage and alpha in the world, but if there are situations where you could be applying such a small % of it that it becomes irrelevant.

“Optimal range” vs actual optimal DPS range

To address the first point, let’s talk about “optimal range”.

In this particular case, you can see that our optimal DPS point doesn’t occur until about 37km away from our opponent, a good 20km into our fall-off.

This may seem confusing at first glance, but it makes sense when you begin to think about it. The closer the Guardian is to you the harder it will be for your turrets to track it. Moving at the exact same speed farther away from you means it will be easier to track. This brings me back to another rumor that I’ve heard a bit – “Transverse velocity is important to have on your overview!  That’s actually not true at all, transverse velocity by itself means absolutely nothing. It’s the Angular that’s actually important! A ship that is moving 100m/s transverse to you that is right in front of your face is going to be a lot harder to track than a ship moving 100m/s 100km out from you.

To test that theory, let’s go ahead and change his velocity so that the Guardian is moving in a direct line away from us. If our previous theory is true, we should expect to see us applying our maximum damage up until we reach our fall-off.

Why can’t all Guardians fly like this?

dps2

EFT confirms what we should already know to be true.

“On paper” is irrelevant in some cases

The second point is probably the most painful realization. Ruptures flown with heavy artillery excel vs enemy logistics when they can alpha an enemy off the field. If you’re unable to alpha an enemy off the field, you can quickly find yourself completely useless as the enemy will simply repair any damage you do after your first volley and you will find yourself unable to destroy even a single enemy off the field.

Assuming we’re within our optimal DPS point, our DPS is 19. That is about 5.4% of our maximum DPS (what is listed in EFT on our build). That means our alpha damage of 2,638 has been reduced to a measly 141.2 damage per Rupture into their armor. If we take into account the shield/armor/hull of one of these Guardians (11,710), change EFT’s resists option to a “weighted average” (to account for different resists in the shield/hull), and then calculate out our Volley damage from there, that means we’ll need over 70 Ruptures (71.63, to be exact) in order to alpha one of these off the field, and that’s assuming every single Rupture is exactly in the optimal firing range and all fires at the exact same time.

So what are the problems we have to overcome when dealing with these Guardians?

  1. Tracking issues
  2. Active resists

Increasing tracking to increase damage

Let’s look at a few different possible solutions to deal with the tracking issues.

What if we throw autocannons onto a Rupture and compare the damage from there?

Sometimes smaller is better.

dps3

This actually results in a tremendous boost in DPS! Even though our ships’ DPS in EFT went up to 411 from 355 (a 15.8% increase), our effective DPS went up from 19 to 41 (a 116% increase)! Of course, it must be taken into consideration that we would have to fight them at considerably closer ranges than before. It’s also worth noting that our optimal damage range is far from within our optimal range listed on our autocannons as well.

What if we replace a gyrostabilizer (damage module) for another tracking enhancer (a tracking module) while keeping our autocannons?

3 gyros/1 tracking on top, 2 gyros/2 tracking on bottom.

dps4

It’s not a huge increase in damage (41->44 is about a 7% increase), but it’s worth noting that our “on paper” DPS in EFT fell from 411 to 366, even though our actual applied damage increased.

Excluding drones, it seems as though this is about the best we can do for damage against these Guardians. Adding another tracking enhancer hurts us more than it helps us, and there aren’t really any other modifications we can make to our ships to increase our damage. Still, though, we were able to take our damage from 19 DPS to 44 DPS, a respectable 132% increase in damage, and all we had to do was switch up a couple of mods on our Ruptures. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help the alpha situation too much as autocannons have significantly less volley damage than artillery. It is possible, unless the enemy responds perfectly, to get two shots off before a single rep can finish, though, as autocannons take 2.32 seconds to fire and the fastest guardian rep takes 4.5 seconds to complete, ignoring overload bonuses.

This means, assuming every Rupture fires twice, perfectly, it would now take 49 (48.4, to be exact) Ruptures firing two cycles of autocannon shots to take a Guardian off the field. Way better than the 72 required before, but still not as nice as I’d like it to be. Now of course no one simply flies 30-40 Ruptures in space with no back-up or assistance, so it’s time to look at using other ships to amplify the damage we can deal. I’d like to introduce now our new friend, the Vigil.

 “Slow the fuck down!” the Vigil says to the Guardian.
vigilfit1

I loaded up all of the info into EFT and I tried a combination of 3 target painters/0 webs, 2 target painters/1 webs, 1/2, and 0/3, and it turned out that the best damage came from using two webifiers and one target painter. Just how much of a difference can a single Vigil make? Let’s compare two Guardians, one with two webs and a target painter on him. We’ll stick to our autocannon rupture as well.

 Webbed/Painted Guardian on the bottom.

dps5

 

Wow! Now we see a massive increase in damage. A single vigil just raised the DPS of our entire fleet from 44 to 80, an 82% increase in damage for every single Rupture from just a single ship! Even more exciting? The DPS of our Ruptures just increased to 77! Looking at the weighted average of the resists of the Guardian and using our vigil + Rupture artillery fleet, it looks like we can now alpha a single Guardian off the field with only 18 Ruptures!

Now we’re moving into fighting territory. With only 18 Ruptures being required to alpha off a Guardian from the field, 30-40 should be able to easily do it, even accounting for people not being within optimal range and with other mistakes being made.

Dealing with active resists

Is the Vigil the ultimate solution, then, to our problems? Let’s take a look at another possible solution: energy neutralizers.

There are some ships that neutralize energy very well (Armageddons and Bhaalgorns), but none of them really fit in with a shield-tanked fleet, unfortunately. I know that the Curse is an option as well, but we’re currently not capable of fielding enough of them to make it worthwhile. But let’s say we did have the ability to neutralize the energy of one of these Guardians, what would the damage look like from one of the artillery Ruptures?

 600% increase in damage? Yes, please!dps6

Ahh, now we’re talking. So let’s take a look at what’s going on here. We’ve neutralized out the Guardian, meaning we’ve eliminated all three active hardeners + the afterburner. Their resists have fallen and their speed and transverse has fallen to such a point that our applied damage increases to insane amounts.

If we were able to neutralize a Guardian and the Guardian transferring capacitor to him and then fire a volley off before the hardeners were re-activated, our damage would increase 584%! We would only need 15 Ruptures at this point to take out a vulnerable Guardian on the field!

Unfortunately, neuting out Guardians to drop their resists is very, very hard. The hardeners run for 20 additional seconds after they’ve been activated, plus other Guardians could join in to transfer capacitor to the neuted Guardian. This makes me shy away from neuting a bit, at least when you’re dealing with 10+ Guardians.

Just running through some other math for fun – if you had a Guardian neuted out completely, with two webs and one painter on him, you could alpha him off the field with only 9 Ruptures.

Much like measuring horsepower at the crankshaft vs horsepower put to the ground, it’s very important to look at the difference between how much damage you’re capable of dealing vs how much damage you’re actually dealing. I hope you’ve enjoyed my simple journey through EFT. If the reception is good, I’ll look to post additional material here as I continue to run into problems.

I’m going to do the write-up for this one a bit differently, since I received a decent number of submissions more than the previous entries. This challenge was a bit different than the previous two because this one involved an actual cash prize!

Firstly the winner!

1st place – UKDaza – https://soundcloud.com/ukdaza/destiny-composition

I really like how far UKDaza’s come from his first entry; his mastering has improved, his orchestrating of other instruments has improved, his tracking of the drums and the smoothness of his playing have all improved as well. This particular piece highlights all of those improvements! The intro sets the piece up nicely, with enough interest generated by the synth and drums before the lead guitar comes in. I LOVE the staccato that starts in the guitar at 1:54, highlighting the difference between the AM7-Gm7 part and the Cm part. And the Phantom of the Opera quote at 2:27? Such an awesome way to incorporate that into the piece, along with some more awesome guitar playing over the top.

All in all, I really really love the tone UKDaza sets with his style of play/improvisation. I hope he can continue with his composition/arrangement skills as well!

2nd place – cparsons – https://soundcloud.com/cparsons/january-composition-challenge

Picking 2nd place was really, really hard. There were easily 4-5 different songs that could have taken 2nd, but I ultimately decided on giving it to cparsons. The atmosphere of the pieces he’s sent in have exceeded all others. There’s just not matching how laid back and chill his songs sound. The ostinato pattern works really well to maintain the mood throughout the entire song. The guitar playing, as always, is sublime, perfectly matching the tone of the piece and playing well off of the vibraphone in the  and the drumset in the background.

_______________________

I love everyone that submitted anything to this! I’m constantly adding some of these to my playlists and I’ll be doing my best to promote any work that ends up playing on stream. I’ll be announcing the next challenge hopefully next weekend with the same price breakdown – $150 for 1st, $75 for second!

 

Part list/rationale

CPU: Intel i7-3930k

I need a really beefy processor so that I can handle streaming at a high quality (1080p@48fps) while being able to play without suffering a major loss in performance. Even though Ivybridge/Haswell are out now, the raw power I get from two additional cores is more beneficial to me than increased IPC from a newer CPU that only has 4 cores.

Cooler: Thermaltake Water Extreme 3.0

The H100i is a strong contender here for a cooler, but the Thermaltake 3.0 performs pretty much equally and doesn’t come with obnoxiously loud fans.

Motherboard – ASRock X79 Extreme9

There’s no great reason to go with this board over the comparable Extreme6. This one has excellent support for overclocking, which I plan to do a lot of, and a ton of available SATA ports.

Memory – G.Skill Sniper Gaming Series 32GB (4x8GB)

32 GB of RAM is huge overkill, but the LGA2011 platform supports quad-channel memory and throwing 4GB sticks into a $2,500 system seems kind of silly. But it’s really not, I honestly just wasted money on this part completely for no reason, heh.

SSD – Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB

Amazing SSD with an amazing controller using amazing NAND.

GPU – MSI GeForce GTX 780

Single card solutions are superior for streaming than crossfire or SLI set-ups, otherwise I would probably be running crossfired 7970’s. The 780 is superior to the Titan when you consider the price point, as the Titan barely outperforms it, they are built on the same GK110 chip, and the Titan is far more expensive ($1050 vs $650). These days the 780 Ti is also a strong contender in this category as well.

Case – NZXT Switch 810

The case is huge and gives you tons of space to work with, but I’m not sure if I’m big on the appearance anymore, and I think I’m past the part in my life where I want a huge, noisy case. The fans can all be turned down/off, but I think I’d rather a smaller case with silent fans for streaming.

PSU – SeaSonic 850W

What can I say? SeaSonic makes excellent power supplies and 850 watts is more than enough power for my system. It also gives me the option to SLI 780’s down the line, should I chose to do so.

Microphone – Blue Yeti

An amazing sounding microphone for a great price.

Headphones – Sennheiser HD598’s

The sound quality is great, but my main reason for going with this set of headphones is because of how comfortable they are. These are the only headphones I can wear for 14+ hours without them bothering me.

Headphone Amplifier – Fiio E10

Cheap, great quality. I don’t necessarily recommend everyone get an external DAC, but my motherboard doesn’t have onboard sound so I need a discrete DAC.

Let’s talk about the workouts!

I get a lot of questions in regards to “why” I work out. So let’s talk about that a little bit first.

So, classic Destiny humility aside, I consider myself to be a pretty well-adjusted person. I firmly believe in the “mind over matter” stuff, and that any individual can be self confident regardless of the situation. That being said, I’ve found that achieving certain things in life, no matter how much I think it won’t affect me, ends up shifting my perspective a little bit. Maybe this doesn’t apply to everyone, or maybe it affects different people in different ways, but I know it’s definitely caused me to approach different situations with a different mindset.

I make it a habit to go back and talk to my high school band teacher whenever I get the chance to. He’s a super cool guy and I love to help him out whenever I have the chance to with any tech-related questions he might have; recently the all-state auditions have been changed so that they have to be sent in electronically (over the internet) via video recordings as opposed to all of the old cassette tapes we used to use when I was in school, so I’ve been finding ways to help him out. Talking to people that you respect and talking to people that you hate when  you make a lot of money is very, very different. I don’t know if it’s because someone you previously had to look up to for validation is now someone you can now write off while having external validation (due to financial status) from society regardless of how they feel about you. Again, this is all completely baseless conjecture, I’m just telling you how I feel.

It’s also crazy to be walking around in the supermarket wearing my shitty carpet cleaner shoes along with a t-shirt and a scraggly beard while having people shooting you glances while you move up and down the aisles. Again, self-confidence and knowing you’re a smart and good person etc…etc…is all great and what not, but knowing that you could open your mouth and silence any dissent in a moment with a “I made $x,000 this month playing video games, who the fuck are you, bro?” Conceited? Sure. Childish? Definitely. But it’s undeniable that different properties that affect your status can also have an impact on your mind when you’re interacting with other people. Why should I care what someone in a restaurant says about me or what I’m wearing? If they were to pick their phone up and tweet to their friends, how many would see it, 15? 25? 50 at the most? What if I tweeted about them? How many would see it? There are at least 30,000 people on the internet who know who I am. Again, I don’t know why it works this way, I just know that, at least for me, it does. Again, call me an asshole, call me shallow…hell, a few years ago I probably would have called myself the same names.

I’m sure by now you kind of see where this fits into the working out. So let’s talk about the working outs!

So about 2 years ago, this is exactly what I would have said if you asked me about working out: “Why would I waste my time in a gym? I’d much rather practice my saxophone, or practice my Starcraft, or read a book, or take an online class. Literally anything I do with my time is better spent than wasting it ‘getting big.’ What’s the point? I don’t need to pick up shit and move it around, this is the 21st century, bro. And why should I care what someone thinks about how I look? Those are only shallow people that I don’t want to be involved with, anyway.”

There are a couple of different ways that I look at it. I’ll appeal to the self-esteem side of things, the sexual side of things, and the intellectual side of things.

In the same way that money works, I think there’s a fundamentally different way that you carry yourself around people knowing you’re a physically powerful person. That confidence can exude itself in every single interaction. Just knowing that you can pick up a table, lift a couch, throw a person, etc…It just changes, on some level, the degree of confidence you have around people that you interact with. I can’t really explain it, but if there are people that are actually strong to talk to, I’d suggest asking them about it. For me, personally, I feel like the feelings are similar to finally carrying a firearm. Knowing you have the capability to drawing a firearm and ending someone’s life in an instant completely changes the way you view every single situation. Not necessarily for the better, not necessarily for the worse…it’s just a different feeling. Suddenly stopping to pump your gas on a poorly lit road in the middle of the night doesn’t feel like such a potentially terrifying experience, because you know that you’re at least somewhat prepared for random shit that comes your way. I really wish I could explain this better, maybe I’ll spend a great deal of time thinking about this in the future so I can put it better into words. I think those that know what I’m talking about, know, though. Maybe someone on my subreddit will write up a better articulation of what I’m trying to say.

As for feeling and looking better, that part is obvious. People with well defined muscles who possess a certain amount of strength just tend to be more attractive people. To paraphrase Rippetoe from Starting Strength, any person could add a great deal of strength to themselves and always be happier for it. Whether or not anyone wants to admit it, being stronger is fun and enjoyable. I know that from my little bit of time in the gym, breaking PR’s and moving around big weight (for me, at least) is an enjoyable experience.

The intellectual justification for lifting is pretty weak, but the more that I’ve thought about it, the more it’s grown on me. This could just be a classic case of confirmation bias, of course, but I digress. After working out for a bit, you start to realize something – your body is capable of amazing things. You might not even realize it if you’ve never taken the time to pay attention to your body. But if you’ve ever seen a professional play basketball, football, hockey, or even professional gamers playing Starcraft or Counter Strike, you’ll realize that our brains are excelling at activities that didn’t even exist tens of thousands of years ago. Evolution has gifted all of us with the ability to grow strong muscles and craft powerful bodies. As soon as you begin to see results from working out and you realize that even your tiny, weak, fragile body is capable of growing, you start to realize how amazing the entire process is. Personally, I regret not taking weight lifting more seriously when I was in high school. It’s been tremendous fun so far and I don’t see myself ever wanting to stop now that I’ve started.

Okay! So now that that’s out of the way, how’s the progress?!

Let’s talk a bit about my workout history.

Originally, I wanted to start with a program called convict conditioning, but I didn’t know much at the time about weight lifting. The program seemed fine, and I read about a ton of different body-weight routines, but now I feel like they’re a complete waste of time. Body-weight routines seem fine if you want to exercise and get into some kind of general strength, but for actual strength training I feel like barbells are infinitely superior (due to your ability to accurately and predictably progressively load the weight on, which is very difficult to do with body-weight exercises) to body-weight training programs. After that I’d decided to start going to the gym. I lived at Erin’s at the time, however, and only had access to the local apartment gym. I could have signed up for a gym in the area, but I was never sure how long I’d be there and I didn’t want to waste the money. I made okay-ish progress there. I started dumbbell bench pressing around 20 lbs per hand and slowly worked my way up to 35 lbs per hand. On the lateral pull-downs I started with 50 lbs and worked my way up to 100 lbs, and did some dumbbell squats, starting at 20 lbs per dumbbell and working my way up to 40 lbs per dumbbell.

The progress on these exercises were crazy slow. The weight I started off at was already insanely low, but the progress was torturous. While I was doing okay in regards to the lifting part, eating was (and is) by far the most difficult part of weight training for me. I’m a small person, and I’ve always been small. I used to be one of those people who thought “Oh, I have a high metabolism!” In reality, though, I’ve just been starving myself every single day without ever realizing it. To go from eating about 1 meal a day to 3 full meals a day has been a very difficult process.

After I got home, I finally signed up to a real gym and started the Starting Strength program. As of today, I’ve done 13 workouts following that program. Initially the progress was stunted because I kept injuring my adductors, which slowed down my squats and deadlift progressions, but I think that that was mainly due to an imbalance in my squatting muscles (probably due to starting off with dumbbell squats). Regardless, I backed the weight off and slowly worked my way up over and over again and I’ve finally started making progress with squats and deadlifts. I’m also doing barbell rows, bench press and the overhead press. I track all of the workouts on my phone, and seeing the progress on the exercises has been absolutely addicting.

Earlier tonight I moved my first plates (doing deadlift) and I know I’m long overdue for videos/pictures, so here’s something at least – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JANcIlvk_3o&feature=youtu.be

I originally posted in chat looking to check form (I need to sit back more before I lift), but I’m still really excited about being able to pick this much weight up off the ground. If you would have asked me a year ago if I would ever in my life pick up 100 lbs from the floor, I probably would have said I’d never be able to do it. So to lift 135 lbs off of the floor 15 times (3×5) is a huge deal for me. I’ll post form check videos as all of my exercises move up to 135 (and hopefully 225 and maybe 315). I’ve wasted a ton of time early on (between the body-weight stuff, the dumbbell stuff and the poor eating habits), but I’ve gotten the hang of the dieting part and the lifting part a lot better recently. I’m super excited about the progress I’ve made so far, and I hope to continue doing it.

I’m not sure when I’ll post my next set of pictures. To be honest, I don’t think you can tell much of a difference at the moment between now and before. At the very latest, I’ll post a set of pictures once I can bench press 135 (the weight I’m deadlifting now). Right now my 3×5 for BP is 95, and I should be able to bump that up by 5lbs every bp workout, which is 1.5 times/week (one time on week and two times the next week, repeat), so hopefully in ~2 months I’ll feel like I look good enough to post some new pictures.

Anyway, that’s all for now, I’ll keep you updated. The next video will probably be when I get back from MLG, hopefully I can squat and barbell row 135 lbs by then, depending on the gyms I have access to at Catz’s house.