December 11th, 2019


November in Review

The weight-loss program I've been using since January, RealAppeal, has switched platforms. I have seen a lot of "we're switching systems" over the course of my life, and I don't think I've ever seen one that was quite so perplexing and, well, terrible, as this one.
RealAppeal is shutting the old website down in mid-December, which they announced a couple of months ago. RealAppeal is not converting over the data. There's no support for individuals to export their own data, either. If you want your own data, you have the option of ... going through day by day and copying it out my hand? That's about it.
If you want to move to the new website, you can, assuming your insurance provider is willing to pay for an entire year of it, because RealAppeal is starting all classes over from the beginning.  
While they're winding down the old program, they're randomly consolidating classes on the old site, so you had the option of sticking it out on the old site while they rescheduled your classes over and over again, with new coaches, over a period of a few months, with the each consolidated class being at some random point +/- 10 weeks of wherever your original class was.
Basically, it's not a conversion from one platform to another. It's "we're blowing up the old platform and you can maybe start over from scratch on the new one?"
Also, my coach was given a new job in a different department and is no longer in coaching and has no way of contacting former students. So that was annoying too, but can't really be blamed on the non-conversion process.
The new website, in addition to not offering a way to export data (just like the old system), also doesn't have any kind of summary or reporting function.  The old website would at least summarize your last seven days of tracking, and you could scroll back through weekly reports to kind of eyeball things badly.  The new one only lets your see one day at a time. Ever. It also doesn't have as large a database of foods as the old site. The only advantage that it has in tracking is that you can sync it with a number of other tracking apps, pretty much all of which are going to be a lot better. Although your coach can't see what you enter no matter what, so the point to the RA site knowing whether you're tracking or not is unclear.
Oh, and I forgot the most astonishingly terrible decision on the new website: it insists on two-factor authentication for every session, and times you out after 15 minutes of inactivity. So if you're going to use the website to track, you have to submit your user name and  password, then on a new screen click "send" in order for it to send you a text, and then check your phone for the text and enter the authentication number in a badly-designed entry form, and NOW you can log the glass of milk you drank.  Be prepared to do all that again at lunch time!
There is no bypass or "remember this computer" or "keep me logged in for two weeks".  It's every single time you want to use the site.
The app at least lets you stay logged in for 30 days at a time but OY.
Anyway, as should be evident from my critique of the new website, I decided to sign up for another year. I am not sure how long I will stick it out on the new site, since the only thing I'm using it for now is the classes.  Maybe the classes will work from my phone and I can walk while they're going on again? The old app had stopped displaying video or sound for the classes after the first couple of months, so I've had to do them from home.
I looked around at tracking apps and was meh about all of them. Everything I saw offered "free" and "subscription" models, and I kind of wanted to be able to pay like $10 and own my own data and I didn't see anything where this was an option. Also, the tracking apps all emphasized features I don't care about or find actively obnoxious and counterproductive, like "this will nag you if you go over your calorie goal" or "gives you coaching advice". All I want is something that will add up my calories and tell me how much I've been eating/burning per day this month.
So I gave up and started using a Google spreadsheet to track. -_- This is also freeware, but at least Google makes it easy for me to export my own data. I could use Excel -- I own a non-subscription version of Excel, from the days before Everything Is a Subscription Service Now -- but then I couldn't update it from my phone. Also, I would be more tempted to use Access and build a database for it, and this way lies madness.
I thought the spreadsheet would be annoying because I'd always have to look up foods to find out how many calories they are and type in food names and such.  But I've been using the spreadsheet for about two weeks, and it's not been an issue. I usually check calories before I eat anyway, so it's not as if I was waiting until I logged food to find out.
I do kind of miss the old site's nutritional analysis, but it's not as if knowing that I never eat enough protein has induced me to eat more protein at any point in the last 10 months, so it probably wasn't going to in the future, either.  
According to the spreadsheet, my calorie consumption for November is ~ 1900, and exercise burned around ~290. I think this about the same as October, but I haven't tried copying out all my October data by hand in order to compare it.  I was eating much more than usual for my six-day vacation to visit Terry, and probably somewhat more during the three days of the convention. But I actualy continued to track while visiting Terry so I even have data for that, which is nice.
I fell out of the habit of both stretching and push-ups this month. Gonna see if I can get back to it next month.
My weight was pegged at 170.6 for several days before I went to Seattle -- seriously, it was weird, every time I stepped on the scale it'd be exactly the same weight, down to the tenth of a pound.  When I got back on 11/25, it was 174.4.  It plummeted to 169.9 by 11/30, and then went back to 170.6 as of 12/1.  Maybe travel cause me to retain a lot more water? Weight is weird, y'all.
Anyway, my average for the last 5 days is 171.3, so I'm gonna pretend that counts as "actual weight." That puts me down 13 pounds for the year, and down about 2 pounds over the last two months. So, pretty much exactly where I planned to be. Sweet.
I won Nanowrimo, writing 20,800 words of Spark of Desire to finish that book (at 91,300), and 29,200 words of The Lord, His Monster, and Their Lady (bringing it to 44,000). I stayed up a little late on 11/29 to finish winning Nano, and then spent Saturday writing no fiction whatsoever. My word counts per day were all over the place:
11/1/2019 : 4,559
11/2/2019 : 4,204
11/3/2019 : 4,753
11/4/2019 : 1,965
11/5/2019 : 1,208
11/6/2019 : 1,705
11/7/2019 : 400
11/8/2019 : 2,044
11/9/2019 : 1,121
11/10/2019 : 274
11/11/2019 : 1,584
11/12/2019 : 858
11/13/2019 : 2,675
11/14/2019 : 531
11/15/2019 : 3,463
11/16/2019 : 2,628
11/17/2019 : 4,714
11/18/2019 : 749
11/19/2019 : 277
11/20/2019 : 2,438
11/21/2019 : 130
11/22/2019 : 157
11/23/2019 : 0
11/24/2019 : 400
11/25/2019 : 1,839
11/26/2019 : 0
11/27/2019 : 514
11/28/2019 : 2,047
11/29/2019 : 2,796
11/30/2019 : 0
That 4,753 on the 3rd represents a new single-day high.
Also, I wrote over 36,000 of those 50,000 words -- more than 70% -- on just 11 days. Writing was much, much easier on days where I had no other plans. On the days when I was working, or visiting Terry, or spending time at the con, or taking Lut to an appointment, I often didn't break 1000. Actually traveling on a plane, however, is fine for writing. It's 3+ hours sitting with no Internet access and no excuse not to write. :D
The new NaNoWriMo site manages to be even less likable than the old one by having no mechanism by which to edit your word count per day. For even more amusement: the only reason I use the NaNoWriMo site at all is because has offered a discount code to NaNo winners for the past three years.  This year, however, there was a glitch in their NaNo sponsorship and so there's no 4thewords discount code for winners.  (Yes, NaNoWriMo charges prize sponsors for the honor of offering prizes, in case you're wondering why most of the "prizes" are pretty terrible.) 4thewords offered a 25% discount on their own site to everyone instead.  (2020wrimo, if you're interested. My referral code is LBQFV83845 if you're signing up for a new account and want some referral goodies.)
Every year, I go to the NaNoWriMo site and think "maybe this is the year that I will actually use any of the networking features that they keep trying to get me to use". And every year, I go "NOPE." Maybe next year will be the year I finally skip using the site entirely. <_< At the least, I'm gonna check with 4thewords before I sign up to see if they're sponsoring a prize.
The Business of Writing
I did NaNoWriMo in November. No business stuff got done.
See above.
I low-key attended the convention across the street, by which I mean "I spent 12-15 hours total at it, over the course of three days." And on the Thursday before it started, I spent the evening with friends who'd driven in for the con.  And I spent 4.5 days with Terry.  This time around, we just spent the time together instead of seeing other people. We did get out of the apartment each day for food and exercise, and I made him spend two hours on Sunday playing Pokemon GO with me and doing the Team Rocket event. Team Rocket continues to entertain me. The weather was nice on the 30th, so I spent almost 3 hours wandering around on the Plaza fighting Team Rocket grunts and a couple of leaders. 
NaNoWriMo was both good and stressful. I enjoyed focusing on writing and letting everything else slide for a while, Writing 13,500 words in the first three days of November was particularly fun. Trying to get enough ahead so that I wouldn't have to stress about the remainder while I was in Seattle was challenging, though. If I do NaNoWriMo again, I should avoid scheduling a trip during it. Attending the con is a lot of distraction by itself.
Oh, and I have a funny story about planning to do NaNoWriMo. I looked at my plans for November, and made up a schedule based on the days I'd be busy. And wrote a post called "NaNoWhyMo" because the schedule looked so brutal. 
Then, instead of posting that, I decided I would either do NaNoWriMo and be excited about it, or I wouldn't do it. If all I could think going into the month was "UGH NO", then I should just skip it. With this resolved, I realized that I was excited about writing as much as possible in the first three days -- days when I had no work or other plans. I figured that was good enough; I could be excited about starting the month and figure out the rest from there.
And that decision more-or-less worked and carried me through. 
Goals for coming month
~ Help Lut
~ Catch up on most if not all of those to-do list items that have been accumulating while I did NaNoWriMo.
~ Get back into the regular habits that I let slide because of NaNoWriMo (cleaning, stretching, etc.)
~ Make a list for the next round of edits on The Twilight Etherium and maybe start final edits
~ Revamp the outline on The Lord, His Monster, and Their Lady  and write some more of it.
That looks like plenty. I would like to either finish the next round of edits on The Twilight Etherium or finish the draft on The Lord, His Monster, and Their Lady , but doing either one is unduly ambitious at this stage. My estimate is at least another 46,000 words before the draft is done, and I am ambivalent about what to do with The Twilight Etherium next.
Also, I have found the outline for Lord  to be too vague; it's not nearly as useful as the outline for Spark was. And it occurs to me that I can fix this, and that there's no reason not to. So I'll do that.
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