A Few Thoughts On Consistency

Today I received my last Sojourner medal in Ingress.  It’s a deceptively simple one to earn – get within a certain distance of a game portal and perform a certain game action daily. The number of days starts at 15 and  increases over time.

image

As of today, I have visited a portal 360 days in a row. The nearest portal is at the end of the block, so not a big trip. At the same time, I’m a bit surprised with myself for this.

I grew up being told I’m not capable of consistency because I was not able to keep to diet for years on end. But maybe it’s not that I’m incapable of consistency. Maybe it’s that some things are impossible. 

Hm, maybe I should post more often

The 2nd-most-recent post on the blog is from February and mentions that I’d gotten my silver Translator badge that week.  I got my gold Translator badge* last week.  Maybe I should post more?

Harriet Brown has been writing more about weight and health of late.  The most recent, in Slate, is worth reading (though the comments are NOT supportive and can be easily skipped).

Harriet also tackled 4 lies at Psychology Today:

  1. Americans keep getting fatter and fatter – nearly half with will be obese by 2030
  2. Being fat takes years off your life
  3. Being fat makes you sick
  4. Diets make you thinner – and healthier

Meanwhile, at Everyday Feminism, Liz Boltz Ranfeld asks what would happen if fat people were allowed to be happy?

My native Seattle is getting more inequal; the rich’s income is going up more than in other US cities. The median income is up to $100K here now too. I think it’s good that franchises didn’t win their injunction against raising the minimum wage.

Oh, and the Sounders season started :)

Major League Soccer (Football to the rest of the world) has scarves. It's a Football thing.

Major League Soccer (Football to the rest of the world) has scarves. It’s a Football thing. This is my 2015 season ticket and Alliance member scarf. 

*I realize that last may make no sense if you don’t know about Ingress, but in sum, I did a lot of game-playing to go from silver to gold.

Frustration

[Note: Includes discussion of weight loss and history of intentional weight loss. Please avoid if you don’t want to read it.]

Visited the endocrinologist again to follow up on my med changes. On my way into the office, the doc asks how the meds have made me feel; I said that I haven’t noticed much change except my step counter says I’m walking more. She weighs me and happily congratulates me for losing 8 pounds in a month. I mumbled something like “Uh huh” and we moved onto the rest of the appointment.

The doctor’s congratulations brought up feelings that I didn’t try to unpack during the appointment. After the appointment I began to think about it, and why it upset me.

  • First: Why congratulate me? I haven’t changed my eating habits. I haven’t been counting calories, or carbs, or points, or anything that I would normally do when I’ve intentionally tried to lose weight. I have been a bit more active, but I’ve been MUCH more active in the past without losing weight. This is not something I have made or built or achieved.
  • Third: There have been times in the past when I was trying very hard to lose weight, and lost weight, and felt like I’d won something. I reveled in congratulations and people’s happiness. Right now? I feel like a bystander.
  • Fourth: There have been times in the past when I was trying very hard to lose weight and didn’t. I followed the diets. I’d do the exercises. And, despite doing it all “correctly,” I did not lose weight. Did I get congratulated on my effort then? Nope. I’d be blamed.  I’ve been told I was not measuring correctly, or I should use a scale, or a different diet, or more exercise.  I’ve been told I was lying about my intake and exercise, because I “couldn’t” not be losing weight if I was really eating and exercising like I said.
  • Fifth: Maybe I was a bystander before, too.
  • Sixth: I’ve been trying to build my arms up for the next higher weight dumbbells but noooo, body has other plans….

So, I guess I’m having some feelings here.

Finally, I reminded myself that the reason I pursued treating my borderline hypothyroid (which led to seeing an endocrinologist etc) is to feel better and have more energy. That my weight went up about 30lbs in the last few years without a change in eating habits is one of my symptoms; my weight may change as part of correcting it.  It’s OK to be a bystander here.

Tonight I tried out some shoes from Zappos on the treadmill and this Mary Lambert song came on.

We are, we are more than our scars.
We are, we are more than the sum of our parts.
— Mary Lambert, “Sum Of Our Parts (Alternate Version)”

Ingress

If you saw my recent tumblr posts you may have thought I’m playing Ingress.  I am. Ingress is many things: an augmented reality game, Google Maps gamified, a walking game, a reason to get outside the house.

The game centers around “portals”.  Portals can be gathering places, libraries, churches, unique businesses, or artworks — and, as a result of some business tie-ins, Zipcar stations & Jamba Juice stores are portals too.  Players can suggest portals.  The company that made the game, Niantic, is part of Google, and I’m sure that Google Maps is making use of this information.

[T]he other morning I spent about an hour playing in Washington Square Park. The park has loads of portals so I figured it would be a good place to try to focus on taking over some enemy ones.

Turns out that even in a place with a dozen or so portals within two blocks, it is difficult to play without being constantly on the move. After a portal is hacked it has a cool down period before it can be hacked again. […] Hacking an enemy portal makes you lose energy, which you replenish by collecting more. To do that, you have to walk around. The energy shows up as little white dots on the map. It’s plentiful, but you have to physically go get it by walking around with the game open on your phone.

The Mary Sue

I find the game fun. I get in-game goodies by hacking portals defined around the area, and I can claim portals using those goodies. I can also attack “enemy” portals.

There can be a lot of walking, yes, but the speed can be your own, as can the number of breaks you take.  By default, you can hack each portal every 5 minutes with a max of 4 times in 4 hours.  For me, this can mean I hack a portal and move on.  On the other hand, when I had 2 portals in range from a shady bench this afternoon, it went like:

  1. Hack 1st portal
  2. Hack 2nd portal
  3. Add goodies to the portals (to make it give out better gear, or better shielded, or able to be hacked more frequently – whatever)
  4. Read twitter
  5. Hack portals again
  6.  Repeat steps 4 and 5 twice
  7. Move on to more portals

Obviously your mileage may vary.  It’s summer in Seattle. I currently favor playing in areas with lots of benches, shade, and occasional water fountains or coffee shops to get drinks.  I also play quite a bit while riding to and from work (I ride with a friend who prefers to drive) or on the bus.

“[M]y favorite way to use Ingress is as tourist guidebook. Beyond that vampire grave in Rhode Island, Ingress also led me to a home on the Upper West Side where Babe Ruth once lived and to the site of Thomas Paine’s death in Greenwich Village. ”

NY Times

Ingress has led me to better explore parks and streets that I thought I knew.  I’ve discovered the local library has more artwork than I thought, along with the local churches and the local senior center.

Image shows Before: walk, sit at desk, eat, walk, bed. After: same, but with ingress in between.

Ingress is an experience. The whole point is to go out and find some portals, then, once you’ve established your presence, take a look at the real world. Enjoy some artwork, explore a museum. Get inspired. Interact with people. Make new friends, even. After all. You’re fighting for the fate of human creativity and thought, here. May as well make use of that wonderful mind of yours and share it with others.

Android Police