The Slow Reader – Episode 4 Gone, Chapters 10-12

Returning to Gone (Michael Grant) this week with chapters 10-12. There’s a lot of new information learned in these 3 chapters. Also, this is really a slow-read. Also in this episode: re-reading Dune alongside the Dune Subreddit.

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/stephen_g

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2474979-stephen-gower

Blog: https://www.noformatblog.ca

Listen on Google Play Music 

2019 1st Quarter Check-In

It’s been a while now since I’ve had a meaningful health update on my blog – lately it’s been a lot of stuff of a promotional nature (podcasts, mainly). I haven’t really written anything of “substance” in a bit. This won’t change that, but at least will change up the routine a little.

Physical Health

I can’t remember right now when my most recent weight update was, but luckily all of the digital entries I have at my disposal are helpful in this regard. I closed out 2018 at 274.0. Today (as I write this, “today” is a Tuesday) I weigh 271.8, with Happy Scale telling me my moving average is 271.4. So let’s call it 271. Down 3 pounds in 3 months; not terrible but not where I’d like to be either.

I’ve been up and down when it comes to properly logging food in MyFitnessPal. Some days I lack the discipline to stick with it (I get lazy, or I am purposefully ignoring the fact that I know I’m over-budget). What has been happening lately is that I am solid with logging for a few days, and then fall off the wagon.

I haven’t figured out a solution to this yet – the best solution is that I just log consistently, every day. However this doesn’t work for me mentally. Something I need to brainstorm.

Mental Wellbeing

This is one category I’m happy with. It’s not perfect, but I’m definitely doing better than the physical side of things.

Reading – I’ve been doing a lot of reading. I’ve finished 2 books in the first 3 months of the year, and am making good progress on 2 others at the same time (“Dune”, and “Gone”). I’ve rolled my reading into a new podcast too, and while that’s not taking off very fast, I’m having a good time with it.

Writing – Yeah, haven’t done a ton with writing. I was going to work on a fiction project as my “project” for 2019, but instead of moved to creating a new podcast. I have some stretch writing goals for my blogs, and this I guess is part of it.

Other parts of mental health – Recently my workplace’s health team shared an article about fostering mindfulness – I gave it a quick skim but I saved it for later. I think I’m going to go back to it. Not something I usually think about but sometimes it feels like something I need.

Overall, I’d say I’m doing pretty well. I feel like I had some more things to say but I had to take a break from writing and came back to this the next day, so that’s that. I will try to get some more things written in the near future. I have a couple of gadget reviews that will be fairly easy to write.

The Slow Reader – Episode 3

Here we go again – two weeks later. I didn’t implement any of the changes I wanted to from the last one, but I took some notes as I was listening back to this before releasing. I haven’t actually done much reading on the book covered here since I recorded this episode, but I’ve got some plans to make the next episode better. Hope you like it!

This episode starts off my coverage of Gone by Michael Grant. I read chapters 1-9 (17% of the book). Pick up your copy of Gone from the Library or at Amazon.

Slow Reader – Episode 2

Still going somewhat strong! I have a few adjustments I need to make to the content…this was still one of the early episodes I recorded when I first started the idea, so things aren’t really going to take shape until probably Episode 3.

Book two of The Slow Reader: Erebos, written by Ursula Poznanski and translated by Judith Pattinson.

“It’s a game. It watches you.” Intriguing tag line that lead to another fun, quick read from the library.

Also discussed the podcast “Wild Thing”, which you can find at https://www.foxtopus.ink/wildthing

I recorded episode 3 already – I have some notes of where/how I want to improve, so hopefully I can stick to those notes and make a better show.

Weight Loss Update

I wish I could come up with more creative titles for these; but as it stands this is what it is: a weight loss update.

Recap

My goal for March 5th 2019 was to lose 22 pounds and weigh in at 154 pounds. I forget exactly how many weeks I gave myself but I started in November. That should have been plenty of time to reach the goal.

Reality

But I didn’t quite make it. The long and short of it is that I couldn’t get the scale to budge and as I got closer to the March 5th date, I ran out of weeks in order to lose the weight I wanted to. In total I lost 5.5 pounds, 16.5 pounds off from my actual goal weight.

Solution

Well…I don’t know really what my solution is. I’m just going to keep doing what I started back in February, which was to be stricter with logging my calories (both in and out).

I came up with a method originally of tracking my net calories, and it worked overall, so I think I’m going to continue with that. I just need to tweak my setup and try better not to falter.

According to Happy Scale, if I stick to 2 pounds per week, I’ll hit my goal (still 254) by April 24th; on my current overall rate it won’t be until January 2020. What I deemed my “realistic” goal (average of 2, 0.34, and 1 pound per week), it looks like June is my target date.

I think I’ll be happy if I can hit 254 pounds by May 1st. That gives me 8 weeks to hit my goal.

The Slow Reader – Episode 1

I mentioned yesterday that I started a new podcast called The Slow Reader. Here’s the first episode! I will probably keep posting these whenever they’re released. You can find it also on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher.

The Slow Reader Podcast

I have been talking this year about finally starting and following through with a project; at first that was going to be a writing project, but I ended up deciding on starting a new podcast.

I present to you: The Slow Reader – A Podcast About Books. It’s basically an audio version of my GoodReads updates. Right now the first two episodes are scheduled, and should be a bi-weekly podcast. They’re short, but I think eventually I’ll get into a groove and expand on the length a little bit. I know that I rushed my delivery a lot in these first two episodes.

The trailer is available today; the first episode will be out tomorrow (Thursday). Right now the podcast is only live on Google Play, but it should be available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify as well. I’ll probably submit it to Stitcher soon.

Enjoy the trailer for now!

Listen on Google Play Music

Managing my Podcast Lists

For the last year and a half I’ve found it very difficult to keep up with my podcast listening; for quite a while now I’ve been “behind” my list for many shows – in most cases, by several months’ worth of content.

What I find difficult is that the shows that are current – which means, based on either sports or current events or current TV shows – tend to get priority when I choose to listen to something. This pushes ‘evergreen’ content – that is, it’s relevant no matter when I listen – further down the list.

This is completely a “me” problem and at first, it did bother me; but I’ve come up with a new approach to listening that really takes care of the perceived problem.

Culling Shows

The first thing I’ve taken to doing is to simply stop listening to shows that don’t hold my attention anymore. If I haven’t listened to it in 3 months, is it likely that I’m going to listen to it anytime soon? Still, there are shows I consider to be “high value” that I’m staying subscribed to. I know that I’ll get to those episodes one day soon.

But I have become a little more ruthless in the process. I’ve cut shows that I used to listen to regularly. I used to feel a little guilty when unsubscribing, but that’s not the case anymore. If I want to make the time to listen to podcasts, sometimes that means cutting out the stuff that is either A) too long or B) uninteresting. Or a combination of both.

Dropping Individual Episodes

The other thing I’ve started doing is dropping individual episodes if they don’t look appealing based on the description. Since I don’t have the same amount of listening time as I used to, I don’t need to worry about “running out” of episodes to listen to (this used to be an issue for me).

This is actually a pretty major change for me. I used to be pretty compulsive about listening to every single episode of a show, but as I’ve learned recently, it’s not always important to catch each one. It’s sort of like the old days of TV – sometimes you missed recording on your VCR, so you didn’t catch that week’s show. In episodic times, not the end of the world.

It’s not perfect – I still have ~100 episodes to listen to – but it helps my peace of mind.

On Writing

Not referring to Stephen King’s book here (a book I plan on coming back to this year, actually). A few weeks ago I had this great idea pop into my head for a short story. Then a few things in life happened, and I haven’t really thought about it much.

The idea is still there – I haven’t given up on it exactly. I actually transformed it from one idea into something else in my little notes, I’m just not writing it. I find that I’m back into a reading & podcast groove that is taking me away from the writing head space.

Still, I have it tucked away for future use. It’s part of my 2019 goals to start and complete a piece of writing, so this falls under the “started” pile.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a writing prompt I found earlier in the year that I’m no longer going to use. It comes from the Writing Excuses podcast:

You are about to cut into a cake…and it speaks.

Have fun with that!

Quick Weight Loss Update

Back in November I wrote out a goal – that I wanted to lose ~20 pounds by March 5th 2019 (my 35th birthday). The only reason I picked my birthday was because 5 years ago, I had a huge weight loss goal for my 30th birthday, and I mostly attained it.

Anyway, suffice it to say it has not been going well. I started at 276 lbs November 28th. January 28th, I was at 275.8. Between then and now, I’ve flirted with reaching 270 but have gone back up. I know the reason: inconsistent food journalling / calorie tracking.

This week I gave myself a wake-up call and readjusted my calorie goals to aim for a 2 lb / week goal. I’m fine with 1 lb / week but this way, I aim high and won’t be disappointed if I get less than that.

I started the week at a really low weekly weight loss rate, but with my re-focused efforts have improved to a 0.40 lbs / week rate. I’ve started using Happy Scale to take some of the math away from me (I feel my own math is at times suspect), and it’s telling me that at this current rate, I’ll reach 270.1 lbs by March 3rd. That’s not ideal but better news than when I started the week.

Oh, I should mention what I’ve been doing to realize this change. I found a post on reddit on /r/LoseIt that gave me a different way of tracking my progress; to save you a click, I’m subtracting my daily calorie burn as measured by my Gear S3 from my calorie intake. The difference is either a calorie deficit (good thing) or a surplus (bad thing).

To lose 2 lbs / week I need to hit a 1000 calorie deficit weekly – 500 for 1 lb. As long as I’m in that range I’ll be in good shape! Now…to stay disciplined on weekends. That’s the real challenge.