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To put [undecided voters] in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

— David Sedaris, Undecided

October 2016 Weight Loss Update


I started my “weight loss journey” late last year. After I got laid off in July, I managed to lose 20 lbs off my original 199, and I maintained a weight under 180 until this morning (180.2!).

How I got here? Well, once I hit a particular milestone (probably around 185) I stopped logging my meals into MyFitnessPal (it felt tedious), and I basically just ate reasonably well and walked 10K steps a day. “Reasonably well” for me meant making my own lunches, and most nights having a home-cooked veggie and some flesh (or vegan sausage). I also dance pretty vigorously twice a week, and occasionally go to a yoga class.

I started a new job two weeks ago, and frankly it’s been difficult to maintain the discipline I had when I was unemployed. For one, even though my commute is shorter and I told myself I’d make the time to prepare my own lunches, I haven’t. Two, there’s less free time in the day, and some nights I’m just exhausted. As a result, I’m eating more “prepared foods for the corporate worker” and I’m struggling to meet my 10K daily goal.

Often I have to force myself at night to go on a walk to reach the green bars (see image). I try to go on at least a 30 minute walk during lunch and then a shorter one on break, but my commute calls for virtually no walking, because I can jump on the subway around the corner, and arrive across the street from my office.

180 lbs is an arbitrary number, but I figure if I can maintain 179 or less, I’ve kept off 20 lbs from my original weight, and I’m happy enough with that. According to various weight loss formulas, my ideal weight is 155-165, but I just don’t see that happening. I’m willing to have somewhat of a “dad bod” as long as I’m not overweight. (To be at the top of the BMI range of “normal weight” for my height, I’d need to be 176. On a really good day I weighed that much.)

Anyway, I’m not thrilled to have crossed the 180 threshold, but it’s not the end of the world. I just have to recognize that given my more stagnant lifestyle as a corporate drone, I have to step up my game: make sure to reach my 10K step goals daily, and etch out some time on Sundays to prepare some lunches for the week.

Amazon Music

Excited to discover with the Amazon Music app on iOS that I can share a link to an artist, album or track to Notes, and that when I click on the link in Notes, I’m brought to that artist, album or track in the app. I always griped that the Amazon Music app was not URL scheme friendly, but now I’m happy.

I’ve used Amazon Music for a few years because I’m a Prime member and, rather than subscribe to Spotify, I just listened to the limited selection of Prime streaming music, and bought mp3s of tracks I absolutely had to have.

Now that Amazon has launched a full streaming service — discounted for Prime members and only $4/mo if only listened to on a single Echo device — I am contemplating becoming a subscriber. I have an Echo in my kitchen, but I am thinking of getting a Dot later this year, which I would place in my bedroom. I tend to listen to music more in the kitchen, but that could be b/c I have an Echo in the kitchen. There’s a Bluetooth speaker in my bedroom, but honestly I have not once paired it with my iPhone there. Maybe if I had a Dot, the lack of friction would make it more likely that I’d listen to music there.

Given that I am spending so much per month on TV — Hulu Plus and Netflix — I am loathe to even spend $8/mo on a streaming music plan, given that I already have a pretty immense mp3 collection. However, $4 I might be willing to spend; there’s a 30-day free trial, so it can’t hurt to try it out.

Shows I’m in the Middle of

In no particular order:

  • Transparent
  • Luke Cage
  • Catastrophe
  • Scandal
  • Flash
  • Supergirl
  • Being Erica
  • Nikita
  • Arrow
  • Elementary
  • Parks and Rec
  • Mozart in the Jungle
  • House of Cards

Shows I may have abandoned:

  • How to Get Away With Murder

Migrated 1999.io Blog from Linode to AWS

I had installed Dave Winer’s 1999.io CMS on a Linode instance, but I decided to blog again at WordPress, so I migrated the static files on my Linode instance to an Amazon s3 bucket so that I could cancel my Linode account (ten bucks, saved). There’s probably a script to automate the process, but I just created all the directories in the console and uploaded the html files that I had downloaded from my 1999 blog. All the URLs are the same, I just changed the DNS mapping.

You can view a list of files I moved over here. I chose not to migrate microblog content (i.e., one-liners).


Because I’m not running these pages on 1999, you will not be able to leave a comment or log on via Twitter. Also, there is no index page if you click on the header.

To move the world, we must move ourselves.

— found on a T-shirt

August 2016 Update

  • I’ve decided to move back to WordPress. I was blogging using the 1999.io CMS developed by Dave Winer, and although I like it just fine, it’s self-hosted on Linode and I haven’t been blogging frequently enough to justify the cost. (I’m already paying an arm and a leg for a VPS that hosts this and other sites like Sasstrology). As part of my clean-up effort, I’ll have to create a “1999” Amazon S3 bucket and start migrating my old blog posts there so that I can shut down my Linode instance.
    • Another reason I’ve moved back to WordPress is that I just want to simplify certain areas of my life. Right now I don’t feel the need to “play” with static blogging or JSON or whatever. I’ve enabled a fairly minimal WordPress theme, and I’ll just blog… and not sweat the backend.
  • Looking for work is slow-going. I attended a 1/2 day webinar yesterday on the job search, and learned that about 70% of jobs are unlisted — which means I absolutely have to network (I shudder just writing the word).
    • I do believe that “knowing people” is beneficial. The last job I got happened because a recruiter called my references, and one of my references reached out to me and said, “Hey, I hear you’re looking for a job. We’re looking for a freelancer.” 15 months later I was offered a full-time position that lasted close to four years. I never interviewed for it.
  • I recently signed up for Car2G0, which is a ride-sharing service which lets users open a smart car with an app, drive, and later park it elsewhere in the city (in the home area). It’s 41 cents a minute, and I’ve found a drive costs me about 1/2 the price of an Uber, so I’m happy that there are more options for city dwellers that don’t own a vehicle.
  • I’ve managed to keep off the 15 pounds I lost, but I’ve been stuck at my current weight for a few months. The last 5-10 pounds really are the hardest. I’ve been making it a goal to walk 10,000 steps a day, and right now I am preparing a whole-grain breakfast. I hope it’s good, because it’s a whole lot more work than pouring milk over Heritage Flakes.

Blogging Difficulties

It seems that Postach.io — the Evernote blogging platform — is having technical difficulties. Right now the server is down. Earlier today, I couldn’t shorten posts on the home page. I signed on to look at my settings, and it appears that there is no longer a free tier. They have done a poor job of communicating changes.

So for now I’m going back to WordPress.

Take a Photo, Get a Markdown Image Link with Launch Center Pro, Clean Links, and TextTool

Before I wrote my previous post, I put out a call on Twitter for an iOS app that cleans short links and that also supports x-callback-url. After all the work of adapting a Pythonista script to resolve a short Dropbox link, I finally received a response from @malanowski: Clean Links. Although I cannot find any x-callback-url documentation on the web, there is documentation in the app itself.

I’ve now written a Launch Center Pro action that does the exact same thing as described in my previous post but without the hassle of creating a script in Pythonista. All you have to do is tap on this link while on your iPhone and install the action in Launch Center Pro.

Take a photo, tap on the LCP action, and your shared Dropbox image is available for publication in Markdown format in TextTool. From there you can tap on Open In... to send to your favorite text editor.

The Geeky Details

This action uses three x=success parameters, each of which is URL-encoded. The final TextTool transform is tripe-URL-encoded.


First, LCP adds the last-taken photo to Dropbox — by default to /Apps/Launch Center Pro/photos and makes the URL shareable. It is offered in a short URL (db.tt). This URL is sent to Clean Links, and the resolved URL is sent to TextTool. TextTool uses the replace method to swap www with dl. It then takes that output and adds the Markdown elements (![](http://dl.dropbox.com/___.jpg)).

Here are each of the x-success parameters URL-decoded.

This is encoded once:


This is encoded twice:


This is encoded three times:


And actually the Markdown elements are encoded in the above action: