10 Things I Want to Learn

Stolen from Austin Kleon‘s Steal Like an Artist Journal. I mean, I had to.

The idea (and first prompt in the above-mentioned book) is simple: Write down 10 things you want to learn. Here’s the list Kleon came up with in the heady, pre-pandemic days of 2017:

Now, I love lists, so this is my bag. But I haven’t given a lot of thought to 10 things, which may not seem like a lot, but really is, so going off the top of my head, I may not have 10 right away. Here goes my initial attempt.

10 Things I Want to Learn (2023)

  1. Discipline
  2. How to create a song (with vocals) in Garage Band (or other music software)
  3. How to Stretch
  4. How to consistently draw Gum Gum People
  5. Meditation
  6. My camera’s ins and outs (Canon EOS M50)
  7. Unity (the game engine, not the concept)
  8. Blender (3D animation program)
  9. ???
  10. ???

All right, I have a list to start, and I think it’s a decent beginning, but I will need to ponder a bit and come back to round out the list.

Weight loss report, December 2022: Up 4.6 pounds

No miracle weight loss at the end of the month. Or year. Or at all!

Yes, December was a bad month. I snacked and snacked and even as I type this around 8 a.m. I can hear the people upstairs banging and thumping around, and I have definitely turned to snacks to help manage the stress their constant noise is causing. But I know I can do better and be more disciplined, so I remain committed to my 150 pound weight loss goal.

The good news is that I am still down a respectable amount for the year, as I started at 182.8 pounds, meaning despite the weight gain this month, I am still down 17.3 pounds for the year, which ain’t nothing.

But at one point I was at 157.3 pounds and was so close to hitting my goal. Sad trombone.

Here’s to (early) 2023 being when I actually hit that goal! Or else. Or else I won’t.

But I will!


January 1, 2022: 182.8 pounds
Current: 165.5 pounds

Year to date: Down 17.3 pounds

December 1: 160.9 pounds
December 31: 165.5 pounds (up 4.6 pounds)

Body fat:

NOTE: The Garmin scale is calculating my body fat differently, or something, because it has it much higher than the Fitbit scale ever did. Oddly, this means for the year to date, my overall body fat is...exactly the same. Garmin also doesn't convert your body fat percentage into weight, so I had to do this myself. As a result and assuming I did the math right (always questionable), I only shed about four pounds of body fat for the entire year, despite dropping 17.3 pounds overall. Did I lose 14 pounds of muscle? Of course not. We'll see how this stat plays out in 2023 with just the Garmin scale being used for weight measurement.

January 1: 23% (42.1 pounds of fat)
November 30: 23% (38 pounds of fat--down 4.2 pounds)

On the first day of Fatmas, my true love sent to me…

A bag of nacho tortilla chips. And I ate the whole bag!

I weighed in at 163.8 pounds this morning. That’s almost seven pounds above my low this year and taking me further away from reaching my goal of 150 pounds, which I should have trivially reached by the end of the year. With two weeks to go, I will probably not even break 160.

But I’m going to try, so I am publicly stating this to the entire interweb to hold myself accountable (I already yelled at myself in my diary):

I vow to not purchase or consume any snacks for the rest of 2022, all 16 days of it!

Let’s see what that big mean scale says on December 31st.

Now, I’m off for some cake. KIDDING.

(I don’t have any cake. Not that I would eat it if I did. I’m pretty sure. No, I mean, I am absolutely 100% sure. Yes. RARR NO CAKE. See?)

Look at how thin and svelte this cat is:

A haiku to getting fat

Today, I weighed in at a high-for-the-month weight of 163.2 pounds. This is bad and I feel bad. I vow to do better, even though it’s December and it may seem like a hopeless battle.

I asked ChatGPT to write a haiku about gaining weight. It still managed to put a positive spin on it.

Gaining Weight: A haiku by ChatGPT

Winter has come,
Gone are the days of summer sun.
Now I must eat more.

ChatGPT also seems to have a liberal interpretation of what a haiku is, because that ain’t 5/7/5!

One more time, a haiku about getting fat:

Getting Fat: A haiku by ChatGPT

Layers of fat grow,
Once sleek form now soft and slow.
Winter indulgence.

That’s more like it! It’s also an actual haiku.

Now I’m off to eat nothing. NOTHING. Well, maybe breakfast. But then NOTHING.

Welcome to December 2022 ~or~ Ice to meet you

Because it’s cold out there today. It’s -6C as I type this and the expected high is -1C, which scientists refer to as BRR. At least it isn’t snowing anymore. Or raining, because that would be even more fun with everything covered in crunchy snow right now.

I must venture out at some point to get some foodstuffs, plus I also want to go to the lake to see how viable it might be for running tomorrow. I’m not super hopeful, but you never know!

Also, I was down this morning, woo. Weight-wise, I mean, not in terms of my spirits. I am officially 10.9 pounds from my weight goal of 150. Can I get to 150 pounds in the month that plies people relentlessly with candy, chocolate, eggnog and the horror known as fruitcake? Possibly!

Also, here is a cat in the snow.

November 2022 weight loss report: Up 2.6 pounds

Yeah, this month was bad, there is no other way to put it.

But it could have been worse.

I started the month at 158.7 pounds, a mere 8.7 pounds away from my goal of 150. It was within reach! However, my weight inched back up over 160 and in the final week it persistently stayed just over 160 and I ended the month at 161.3 pounds.

I now need to lose 11.3 pounds to hit my goal. If I intend to do it before the end of 2022 I would need to lose an average of 0.376 pounds per day. When I put it that way, it sounds pretty easy. It also translates to 2.82 pounds per week, which makes it sound a lot harder.

So 0.376 pounds per day it is!

The good news is that I have been running regularly, and it’s quite possible that some of the weight gain may be actual muscle mass. Maybe I’ll get a fancy™ scale that can measure that sort of thing, so I have yet another stat to track1UPDATE: The Garmin scale coincidentally went on scale, so I have ordered it. I like stats. And lists.

Actually, looking over the Fitbit stats, there is also some good news on body fat. It was down slightly from October, from 17.5% to 17.1% and my total body fat over the year declined as a result.

Here’s to a Christmas miracle and actual weight loss resuming in the month of December. Ho ho ho!



January 1, 2022: 182.8 pounds
Current: 161.3 pounds

Year to date: Down 21.5 pounds

November 1: 158.7 pounds
November 30: 161.3 pounds (up 2.6 pounds)

Body fat:

January 1: 23% (42.1 pounds of fat)
November 30: 17.1% (27.6 pounds of fat--down 14.5 pounds)

Scaling new heights of ERR

I was up at 5 a.m. this morning due to gallstones. Not my gallstones, mind you.

Since I was up, I went about my usual morning routine, which includes the daily weigh-in on my trusty Fitbit Aria scale. There were shenanigans.

It began after the weigh-in, when it failed to sync my weight to the Fitbit Google hivemind. Yesterday I installed a new Wi-Fi hub and because the app for setting it up would not allow spaces in the Wi-Fi network name, it changed slightly, thus forcing us to manually reconnect every device on our Wi-Fi network. Hooray.

Remembering this, I figured I’d have to run the setup for the Aria scale to get it connected to the new space-free Wi-Fi network.

  • I put the scale in setup mode
  • I launch the Fitbit app on my phone
  • The Fitbit app says the Aria scale is no longer supported, set it up through a web browser, chump
  • I follow the link provided
  • I go through the process, which requires treating the Aria as a new device
  • I get to the last step, entering the password for our Wi-Fi
  • I watch as it joins the network
  • I watch as it fails with an ERR message. That’s all, just ERR. Like it is clearing its throat.
  • I start the process over from the beginning, as there is no other way to do just the joining part again
  • I get another ERR
  • I try again, more ERR
  • I get angry
  • I become resigned
  • I decide not to spend more of my time chasing an unspecified error on no-longer-supported hardware
  • I record my weight, because it still actually does that part
  • I think about getting a non-Fitbit scale again

UPDATE: I remembered the Aria connects via Wi-Fi via a USB receiver on the Windows PC. Said PC was not connected to the new Wi-Fi network, so maybe that was the issue? I have fixed this and will try getting the scale working again tomorrow. It’ll be fun.

The Great Culling of 2022 Continues

Yesterday I trimmed down a few more subscriptions. Yes, I am the poster boy for subscription fatigue. Beware, SaaS purveyors!

  • After dropping the Todoist sub, I have now also dropped the TickTick sub. I’ll see how the free version goes, but if it proves too limiting, I’m already running Microsoft’s To Do, and it seems to meet my needs, even if it’s “My Day” feature is a bit weird compared to a more conventional “Today” list (mainly, you have to move stuff to My Day, as it always starts blank).
  • Apple emailed me announcing my already expensive Apple One Premier subscription was going from $33.95 a month to $37.95 a month. Since they made $20 billion in PROFIT just last quarter, I opted to slim down to the Apple One Family package for $24.95 per month. I suspect the company will manage to scrape by. And I’ll save $13 by not getting stuff I don’t need, like:
    • Fitness+: I have literally never used this.
    • Apple News+: An ad-riddled hellscape, even as a paid service.
    • 2TB iCloud storage: I’m using 150 GB and only because of my photos. The new plan gives me 200GB. Since I’m now using OneDrive for photos, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Apple has become a fat, greedy company that seems determined to worsen the customer experience in exchange for squeezing as much revenue out of everyone as they can. I don’t think the company is going to fail or anything, but I think the long, gradual decline has begun. Maybe the ghost of Steve Jobs will visit Tim Cook at Christmas and be all, “WTF you doing, Tim?” and then Tim will retire on the few dollars he has put aside. BUT NOT $48 PER YEAR OF MY FEW DOLLARS. TAKE THAT, TIM.

Anyway, the number of subs I have is much slimmer now than at the start of 2022. My email is no longer full of newsletters I no longer read. I feel much less burdened now. And I like it!

The Blahs

I have them.

I don’t want them.

I will be rid of them.


I’m assuming it’s not SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) because we’ve only had rain for the past week, and it will probably rain for about five more months. Maybe it’s the impending shift back to Standard Time, or Dumb Time, as I call it. Perhaps it’s that my weight has ticked up the last few days, instead of going down as I demand it.

So many possibilities.

While I ponder, let us gaze upon this cat, also pondering.

October 2022 weight loss report: Up 1.0 pounds

Yes, it is sad trombone time. After steadily losing weight, I managed to gain this month, though I kept it down to a singe pound, which effectively means my weight stood still in the big picture.

In the monthly picture, what happened was I started at 157.3 pounds then due to a series of unfortunate events, found myself returning, again and again, to food as a source of comfort.

I ate cookies. I ate crackers. I ate Pop-Tarts. I ate everything.

In the last week or so I made a healthy course correction and my weight began a slow, steady decline after that (I peaked at 160.2 pounds on October 18th). The last six days of the month I’ve gone from 160.2 to 158.3, so I am pleased by that.

Since I’m eight pounds away from my goal of 150 pounds, I’m leery to say I’ll hit it in November, but it is at least theoretically possible.



January 1, 2022: 182.8 pounds
Current: 158.37 pounds

Year to date: Down 24.5 pounds

October 1: 157.3 pounds
October 31: 158.3 pounds (up 1.0 pounds)

Body fat:

January 1: 23% (42.1 pounds of fat)
October 31: 17.5% (27.7 pounds of fat--down 14.4 pounds)

September 2022 weight loss report: Down 2.6 pounds

The good news is I finally broke out of the long plateau in my weight loss. The less-good news is it took long enough that my weight loss for the month was fairly modest.

But I ended with a flourish, coming in at my lowest weight of the month (157 pounds), with a total loss of 2.6 pounds. I am now exactly seven pounds from my stated goal of 150 pounds. Could I do it by the end of October? Possibly. But November seems more likely.

I’ve been pretty good on snacking and have maintained a regular run/exercise routine, so I am confident I’ll get there, barring a sudden and unexplained addiction to donuts.



January 1, 2022: 182.8 pounds
Current: 157 pounds

Year to date: Down 25.8 pounds

September 1: 159.6 pounds
September 30: 157 pounds (down 2.6 pounds)

Body fat:

January 1: 23% (42.1 pounds of fat)
August 31: 17.4% (27.4 pounds of fat--down 14.7 pounds)

A shot in the arm (literally)

I got my fourth COVID-19 shot today. Not the fourth one today, but the fourth since this whole kooky pandemic began. I opted for Pfizer, the devil I know.

The jab was quick and inconsequential, as usual, and my arm is a bit sore as I type this late in the evening. I did get a headache in the afternoon, which is a possible side effect, and was new for me. Not too bad as side effects call, so I merely grumble about it.

The clinic ran things very efficiently–I was in and out before my actual appointment time. Masks were still mandatory, of course, and they made me wait 15 minutes to see if I’d mutate into a super-being (I did not), but there was no real effort at physical distancing, unlike previous times. A decent amount of people were there (I had to stand in line waiting for the clinic to open), but I overheard staff say that this was pretty normal–most go in the morning and the afternoons are quieter.

I want to make a joke or use some metaphor about how the clinic is an old Best Buy, but nothing comes to mind. Have a picture instead.

It was also a warm and sunny early fall day. Having the weather continue to be summer-like is going to make The Rains that much harder to endure when they arrive. Maybe.

Also, here’s a photo of a flower at nearby Holland Park that I took when I realized how absurdly early I was.