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yelyah

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I started to write a much longer post kind of going into the history of the runhayleyrun project, but frankly I bored myself, so I decided to put that draft aside for now and do the tech wrapup that I was actually planning to write.


Day 1 was bumpy because I haven’t touched django or python in a good load of months. And I have lots and lots of inertia, because I have to reteach myself so many things. Oh yeah, and the fact that I’m one of those programmers that never really learns how to program. Instead, I look for someone having solved something similar to what I’m currently trying to do. Even if the similarity is only relevant to 1 freaking line of code. It’s painful, but it gets done eventually.


So I managed to get back into the flow of writing ugly, ugly scripts pretty quickly (ignore the many months prior where I fought the notion of getting back into programming).


The eventual plan is to have django power the whole site, but for now, I’m settling for bits and pieces wherever I can get them.


I had hoped that Tumblr’s RSS import functionality combined with a Flickr account would get me the results I needed for now. But not so. The big problem is that Tumblr’s RSS importer doesn’t read dates off of the feed (frankly, I don’t actually know if Flickr provides the “date taken” attribute anyhow so maybe it’s Flickr’s fault), so it time stamps the photos with the time that Tumblr imported them.


This would probably be fine if I were uploading the pictures of my food as I was taking them (did I mention this is for a food photolog), but I’m uploading them the next morning. So on that next hourly import, Tumblr grabs them and timestamps them all with that morning’s time rather than their appropriate times from the day before.


And for my purposes, this was not cool.


So today, I set about to write a script that would take the photos from my runhayleyrun flickr account and post them to Tumblr with the appropriate times.


Did I mention this was my first time touching Python in like 6 months? Or any programming language for that matter.


Eventually, I got back into my old flow of throwing lots and lots of code at the problem until I found the line that actually returned something useful. And eventually what I came up was a solution that uses the python flickrapi and then some “creative” uses of curl to talk to Tumblr. And by creative, I mean that it’s a giant ugly hack.


But it works and so I’m happy.


We’ll ignore the fact that at the moment, it will create all sorts of duplicate photos every time I run it. But that’s a problem for another day.


Like tomorrow.

posted 6 years ago

I have a conundrum. I love the idea of getting up early, but I hate the execution of it.


I imagine the day when I awake before dawn and get to enjoy the peace and quiet before the world wakes up.


But this dream has only been enough to produce a day or two of getting up early, at the most. Often times, the best of intentions lead to my learning how to disable an alarm in my sleep and happily sleeping way longer than I intended.


But the transition back from DST led me to discover that I was actually waking up at the same (real) time without the aid of the alarm clock. So I figured it was time for another go at this.


So I eventually decided that what I’d try to do is to see if I could encourage my body to wake up naturally earlier and earlier. So what I’m trying now is a M/W/F alarm that’s set an hour earlier (so with the transition away from DST, that actually means 2 hours earlier “fake”-time). And then no alarm at all T/Th (haven’t officially decided what to do on weekends).


The thought here is that the lack of alarm those 2 days will give my body a chance to rest if it needs it, and it’s also a chance for me to monitor whether I am naturally waking up earlier or not.


So far, it seems to be working well. What I’d like to do is eventually be able to naturally wake up at 5am, but that’s a bit far off at this point.

posted 6 years ago

As it stands, I will most likely be buying a dedicated GPS watch for running. So here’s why I love RunKeeper but…


RunKeeper’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness: the platform. As an iPhone app, it’s able to take advantage of things for free that would basically require that a GPS watch become an iPhone in order to do the equivalent.


The application and website seem to be maturing nicely. They seem to be listening to their community and implementing new requested features (still would love to see auto-import and auto-export though).


But all of this is weighed down by the fact that the iPhone was never designed for this purpose and it shows. Their built-in Nike+ application shows how good things can be when integrated into the system and unfortunately, RunKeeper can’t take advantage of that level of integration. Which leads me to complaint #1.


You can’t take a call.

If you do, you might as well stop the activity right then and there, because you’re not going to be able to track anything for as long as you’re on the call. All of this comes down to the widely publicized limitation of “no background apps” (unless you’re Nike+ of course).


Music required.

If you want to lock the screen either for accidental-push safety reasons or because of battery life concerns, you can’t unless you’re playing music in the background. Otherwise, the iPhone will happily go into power save mode or whatnot after a period of “inactivity” and stop tracking. And given that I have actually become the type of walk/runner (at least as of late) who works out without music, this is annoying to me. Granted, the easy fix would be to create a silent long-lasting MP3 file and play that on runs, but still.


Armband required.

From my experiences, if you’re walking, then stashing the iPhone in a jeans pocket will probably get you enough data points for an accurate map. But if you’re biking, then that same jeans pocket will likely get you a lot of corner cutting and “as the crow flies” mapping because it picks up so few data points (I’m not sure if this is because I’m traveling faster via bike, or the fact that I’m blocking the signal more… or both).


Hanging onto the iPhone the whole time will give you plenty of data points, but who wants to do that? This is why an armband is basically required. And from having shopped around, there seems to be no armband that is universally liked. Worse yet are the horror stories of damaged devices because the armband failed and the device ended up on the ground (or flooded out in the case of the theoretically waterproof armbands).


Heartrate monitor.

As far as I know there will never ever be a way to directly link a heart rate monitor to your iPhone app, which gives me another reason to go dedicated.


I’m sure there’s probably a way to merge the data from a HRM with the data from RunKeeper, but for me, either it’s got to be stupid easy to do, or it’s not going to happen.


Battery concerns.

Granted, at this point, I am not spending enough time exercising in one go for this to be a concern, but I do have qualms about draining the battery juice on my only phone. If I drain the battery on my GPS monitor and miss out on recording the rest of a run or ride, that’s one thing. If I kill my iPhone and suddenly I need to make an emergency call, that’s quite another.


The cost if you break it.

The final issue is cost. Yes, it’s going to cost a chunk of change up front to go with a dedicated device, considering that the iPhone will basically do all of this for free (sans the heart rate monitor), but what happens if it gets dropped. The cost of replacement will still be way cheaper than the cost of repairing the iPhone.


In conclusion.

Get RunKeeper. Even with all I said, this application is pretty sweet. And more amazing is how good the free version is. For a chunk of people, this will be all they’ll need.

posted 6 years ago

As it stands, I will most likely be buying a dedicated GPS watch for running. So here’s why I love RunKeeper but…


RunKeeper’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness: the platform. As an iPhone app, it’s able to take advantage of things for free that would basically require that a GPS watch become an iPhone in order to do the equivalent.


The application and website provide a great integrated experience. And they seem to be listening to their community and implementing new features on a regular basis (still would love to see auto-import and auto-export though). Potentially most impressive is that they’ve released a free version that isn’t crippled. Sure, it’s missing the features of the $10 pro version, but a lot of those features aren’t crucial unless you’re in serious training.


But all of the pros are weighed down by the fact that the iPhone was never designed for this purpose and it shows. Their built-in Nike+ application shows how good things can be when integrated into the system and unfortunately, RunKeeper can’t take advantage of that level of integration. Which leads me to complaint #1.


You can’t take a call.

If you do, you might as well stop the activity right then and there, because you’re not going to be able to track anything for as long as you’re on the call. All of this comes down to the widely publicized limitation of “no background apps” (unless you’re Nike+ of course).


Music required.

If you want to lock the screen either for accidental-push safety reasons or because of battery life concerns, you can’t unless you’re playing music in the background. Otherwise, the iPhone will happily go into power save mode or whatnot after a period of “inactivity” and stop tracking. And given that I have actually become the type of walk/runner (at least as of late) who works out without music, this is annoying to me. Granted, the easy fix would be to create a silent long-lasting MP3 file and play that on runs, but still.


Armband required.

From my experiences, if you’re walking, then stashing the iPhone in a jeans pocket will probably get you enough data points for an accurate map. But if you’re biking, then that same jeans pocket will likely get you a lot of corner cutting and “as the crow flies” mapping because it picks up so few data points (I’m not sure if this is because I’m traveling faster via bike, or the fact that I’m blocking the signal more… or both).


Hanging onto the iPhone the whole time will give you plenty of data points, but who wants to do that? This is why an armband is basically required. And from having shopped around, there seems to be no armband that is universally liked. Worse yet are the horror stories of damaged devices because the armband failed and the device ended up on the ground (or flooded out in the case of the theoretically waterproof armbands).


Heartrate monitor.

As far as I know there will never ever be a way to directly link a heart rate monitor to your iPhone app, which gives me another reason to go dedicated.


I’m sure there’s probably a way to merge the data from a HRM with the data from RunKeeper, but for me, either it’s got to be stupid easy to do, or it’s not going to happen.


Battery concerns.

Granted, at this point, I am not spending enough time exercising in one go for this to be a concern, but I do have qualms about draining the battery juice on my only phone. If I drain the battery on my GPS monitor and miss out on recording the rest of a run or ride, that’s one thing. If I kill my iPhone and suddenly I need to make an emergency call, that’s quite another.


The cost if you break it.

The final issue is cost. Yes, it’s going to cost a chunk of change up front to go with a dedicated device, considering that the iPhone will basically do all of this for free (sans the heart rate monitor), but what happens if it gets dropped. The cost of replacement will still be way cheaper than the cost of repairing the iPhone.


In conclusion.

Get RunKeeper. Even with all I said, this application is pretty sweet. And more amazing is how good the free version is. For a chunk of people, this will be all they’ll need.

posted 6 years ago

Alright, so maybe I’m being over-dramatic. My world will not end if I continue on my current trip through junkfood-ville. I don’t have a medical condition that will be the death of me, lest I promptly comply with my diet.


But I do feel I’ve reached the tipping point of cheating, and that if I continue on my current path I could very well become one of those statistics. The dieters who gain it all back.


Granted, it would probably take a few months to get back to that point. Basically, about the same amount of time that it took me to lose the weight in the first place.


So why the sudden rush?



Well, to be less dramatic, I’ve been meaning to go back on the diet ever since I went off of it. There were just more pressing matters at hand. Such as, “Hey, I haven’t had an ice cream bar in forever. Or cheese pizza. Or donuts. Or pepperoni pizza.” But now the time seems right, and I’ll get to reasons why later.


First…


THE DREADED BACKSTORY

First, I’m leaving out the whole juicy backstory of how I ended up on my crazy diet in the first place, which basically stemmed from having seriously injured the fingers on both of my hands in an accident.


But I started my diet on Friday, the 13th. March 13th, 2009, to be exact. [The strangeness of the Friday the 13th bit escaped me until much later.]


The first day was hellacious. I craved everything junk-related that my mind could think of. Stuff I hadn’t eaten in months suddenly became my I MUST HAVE YOU NOW food of desire.


And though there were some tough days ahead, nothing really came close to matching the intensity of day #1 (of course, this could also explain my failed attempts to get back on the diet since then).


AND THEN IT ALL WENT BONKERS

But in July, my diet compliance started to become… lax. I no longer feared that I would regain all the weight if I were a little non-compliant. Plus, I’m sure somewhere I felt I was doing myself a favor since I had been struggling with glycogen depletion when I started to up my mileage… but that’s a story for another day.


July’s food photo log (did I mention I’ve been keeping a food photo journal for like 2 years?) shows some healthy cheating here and there for the first half of the month. Things seemed to have reached a turning point on July 17th though. A day I had some sugary stuff at a salad bar of all places.


After that, I seem to have slipped further and further into cheating on the diet.


But the fun thing came a few days later. I ate very little the day of a Tori Amos concert, for fear of eating something that would make me sick. The next morning? I broke a weight loss record. By something like 3 or 4 pounds. Suddenly, it became apparent that I could eat like crap and still lose weight.


And so it continued.


THE THRILL OF NOT BEING PUNISHED

I actually continued to lose weight. To the point that I ended up about 5 pounds lower than when I had first started eating like crap.


And as a side note, I’m not a scale-worshipping dieter. I also use unofficial tools like really tight jeans to test actual waist size. So I can say that it was an actual fat loss, not a loss from somewhere else, like water weight.


And you know what? I felt great.


I was getting to live the dream, baby. Eat like crap, stay thin. (Well, as thin as before anyhow.)


But I also felt terrible. In theory. I felt like my eating was out of control and I didn’t like feeling so out of control.


And I knew that there was one simple thing that was saving me: calorie balance. Though my cravings for many, varied things were out of control, I was actually eating a moderate amount of those things. Thus preserving that delicate balance between moderate eater and fatty. The bizarre thing was that, even though I craved so many things, they weren’t actually all that fulfilling once I’d eat some of it. They had lost their brainwashing power over me.


But I figured that state of being wouldn’t last. There would come a time when I had eaten so much of that crap, for so long, that I was brainwashed again and my tastebuds once again thought this crap was freaking awesome!


AND HERE WE ARE NOW

About a month and a half after really starting to cheat, I feel I have finally reached that point of no return. The point where I’m finally re-brainwashed. So I either go back on the diet now, or I’ll probably end up back where I started.


First, let me point out the good news. It’s been a freaking month and a half. I’ve been bad for a month and a half and it’s only now that I’m *really* starting to feel the side effects. I have to think that should give hope out there to someone. I lost weight at a moderate rate, so it would appear that I’m being given the same concession in the reverse direction.


I didn’t suddenly wake up one day, and find that I was right back where I started. I’m being given a chance. A chance to pay some freaking attention and correct the course.


So what makes me think I’ve reached the point of no return? It’s the symptoms.


The huge one is the fact that I’ve begun doing all of the irrational eating behaviors of before that indicate that there’s a disconnect between actual *need* for food and the *desire* for food. For instance, the other day, I was very cognizant of the fact that I had become hungry again despite the fact that I still felt somewhat uncomfortably full from my hours-ago meal. My solution? Eat something. Yeah, baby!


I’m gaining weight. Both on the scale and the fact that I can no longer fit into my tightest jeans (granted, they were borderline-wearable before, but this indicates definite fat gain).


I’m waking up with one of my nostrils blocked. Granted, this could be indicative of a food allergy rather than an actual illness, but either way, it sucks.


My back consistently hurts. I’m sure this one has way more to do with the fact that I seem to be right-leaning (my Wii Fit balance board tells me so), but the actual pain could be getting enhanced by my lack of healthy eating.


I wouldn’t say I’m depressed, but I’m not as perky. Not that I’d really even call myself perky. But the point is, there’s a mood shift in there somewhere. And I happen to be one of the rare (?) creative types who can only function creatively when they’re happy. So if food is at all to blame for my slight change in mood, then I have to fix it now before it shifts any further. Because I need all the happiness I can get to make more slit-your-wrists music.


And I do have a theory as to why all of this is happening now, after a month and a half of indiscretion. This all seems to be occurring a little too close to the time that the local grocery store deli had dollar slices of pizza all week long. The connection between what I really needed calorie wise and how much I *wanted* really seemed to come unglued that week. Especially with how it started with only ordering 2 slices, then 3, then 4.


TOMORROW I EAT GOOD [SIC]

So tomorrow I’m going back on the diet.


Granted, it won’t look completely the same because I’m going to have to figure out how to not run into glycogen depletion again, but I’ll figure it out.


I look forward to eating food that fuels me and makes me feel alive. Food that encourages me to go outdoors and take a walk rather than sit in front of the TV watching Hulu.


And most importantly, food that encourages me to make some music.


And no, that food is not beans.

posted 6 years ago
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biography

The artist I've been compared to most is Enya (sorry, Enya!).

I generally write stuff classified as new age, electronica, or pure piano.

Sometimes I sing. Sometimes I make attempts at humour.

Sometimes they're even funny.

I'm writing a song a week in 2009. Come to my website every Thursday for a new track:


http://yelyah.com.

Or add me on twitter @yelyahdotcom.

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orangemusic (level 12) wrote:
marry me?
7 years ago
Calista (level 38) wrote:
Really enjoying moonlit path. 'Tis beautiful! I'm not sure if you ever read the article attached to the link I'm going to give you...info and tips for artists here. You have some beautiful tracks posted. Thank you so much for sharing your work with us. http://passivepromotion.com/thesixtyone
7 years ago
noize2u (level 33) wrote:
Just caught lullaby for zero g. Really drifted off with it. I'll stop back to check out the others when time permits.
7 years ago
alchemorphears (level 19) wrote:
Yeah I worked out that it was an automatic thing ... then there's me thinking there was one band doing this huge variety of music from a van near the river lol! Dumb me!
7 years ago
alchemorphears (level 19) wrote:
night blur is nice and chilled too
7 years ago
alchemorphears (level 19) wrote:
cumulus - cool sweet chilled tune. By the way do you hold quite a few artist accounts on here as I've read loads that say "We used to play in a van down by the river". I'm sure it's allowed but I was wondering if they were all the same person/people...
7 years ago
unclefesta (level 43) wrote:
Great music. Good vibes. Luvelly.
7 years ago
Manth (level 34) wrote:
Very nice! I hope more is to come. Has an Enya sound but more upbeat. Really enjoy it!
7 years ago
downloading