23:36 Sun 16 May 2010
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After a highly enjoyable, productive, and extended period, it’s time for me to return to the world of paid work.

I’m quite happy with the things I’ve done during my time off. Many of them are important only to me, but then, it’s been my time off.

Here are some of the things I’ve done since leaving Metaweb that I consider significant:

  • CrossFit. I’m approaching the one year mark, and it’s hard to overstate the importance of that for me. This is the first time in my life I’ve managed to keep an exercise routine of any kind going for that long. Not coincidentally, I’m also in the best shape of my life. I now feel that some kind of regular, intense, exercise has a similar place in my life to my morning pages—that is, something I I regard as mandatory and more or less permanent.
  • Diet. Not just switching back to eating meat, but also radically cutting down on sugar and processed foods. This also has a lot to do with my being in good shape.
  • Document format. Until this year, I hadn’t found a text-based document format I liked, but I have now finally settled on reStructuredText. One of the effects of this is that I shifted to doing all of my writing in a text editor rather than doing some of it in word processors. Another effect is that all of my writing is now much more amenable to programmatic manipulation.
  • Programming my own environment. Following from the previous item, I spent quite a bit of time working on solutions to various small niggles in my workflows, so that far less of my time is consumed by setup for writing. Some examples of this include scripts to insert the template for blog posts into my editor, scripts to publish to my blog directly from my editor, scripts to do word counting precisely as I wish it to be done, and many other small utilities that remove minor annoyances that I previously encountered almost every day. In many respects this kind of thing is precisely what programming and computers are for: to make it easier to create, and to lessen the gap between a thought and expression of that thought.
  • Digital organization. This includes recovering my subversion repository, restoring my blog to proper working order, and various other steps that have made my digital domain much more manageable. This is bound up with the previous item too.
  • Switching to Vim. This was probably a long time coming, but nevertheless required a fair amount of work, not least in porting all my scripts for jEdit over to it. I’ve been extremely happy with Vim. I think that to most people this might sound trivial; how many people would regard switching word processors as an “achievement”? But a text editor is different from a word processor, and switching to Vim isn’t like switching between non-modal text editors. This, combined with moving all my writing to text editors and thus to Vim, is a profound change for me, and one that I’m very happy I took the time to get through.
  • WordPress plugins. I wrote some of these to improve my blog after I got it working again.
  • PyWordCount. My word counting script/Vim plugin is done, but I have to finish the documentation for it and make it public. It’s significant to me because it’ll be my first self-contained public Python project, and also because it’s an outgrowth of the document format switch, the Vim switch, and the focus on programming my own environment to a much greater degree.
  • Q’Rith. I ran my first roleplaying sessions in 15 years, and am currently running my first roleplaying campaign in 15 years, in a world that I’ve created and am quite happy with so far.
  • Tennis. I started playing it again, and don’t know why I ever stopped.

Those are the main highlights. Many of them are internal, or are things that only I notice, but I think the effect they’ve had on me is actually quite major, and in positive ways.

As for what’s next, I’ll write about that tomorrow.

3 Responses to “sabbatical.close()”

  1. garret Says:

    Well done and good luck with the future.:)

    - Garret

  2. harry Says:

    What about the hair?

  3. garret Says:

    Yeh, what goes with the hair?

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