I think I'm getting to a point where I need to do some personal rebalancing. There are some things that I tell myself I'd rather I was doing besides working in the day and playing World of Warcraft at night. Some of them include:
- Exploring San Francisco, the South Bay, and other interesting areas around here.
- Working on XoxoOutliner and other products of serial enthusiasm.
- Continuing one of the half-dozen or so short stories I've started.
The problem is that WoW gives such tasty little morsels of pseudo-achievement, and lately it's filled the spot for lunchtime babble at work that sports would occupy for other groups. So, it's got some real-world rewards, but it's certainly not benefiting me in terms of personal growth - no matter how interesting I think the thing might be for The Future of Work and all that. But, you know, I could have just vegged out playing WoW back in Michigan. There are Things to Do out here in California, and I've got a lovely wife with whom to do them.
As for exploring the area: Alex and I have started making tentative forays the past couple of weeks. Last week was a somewhat uninspiring trip to nearby downtown San Jose, which strangely seemed abandoned and under construction alternating by block. The weekend before was a trip to the city to see Hayes Valley and North Beach, which was markedly more entertaining and worthwhile.
This weekend, I'm recovering a bit on the couch. Since recovering from the crash, I've got quite a bit more mobility - but a full day of walking tends to drag me down for the next week or so. I think we need to get around to hooking up with some friendly people around here for dinner, drinks, games, TV, and whatnot. The only thing besides my leg that's troublesome is that I'm an introvert - being around people is a drain, not an energizing agent. That's not to say I don't enjoy meeting people and being in interesting conversations, it's just that it costs me energy that makes me tend toward being a hermit. So, eh, something to work against.
As for XoxoOutliner, I think it's in an interesting state: It works great for me for idea capture and simple outlining on my laptop under Firefox, but sucks completely in MSIE on Windows. Thus, the itch is somewhat scratched, but doesn't offer much to anyone else but me. I've got a big list of planned work for XoxoOutliner and some bugs to fix, but none of them have been compellingly itchy enough to re-trigger my serial enthusiasm. And, as I've learned, I just can't guilt-trip or wish this enthusiasm into action. If I don't feel like doing it, I don't get much done, regardless of how much potential I think this project might have in the abstract.
As for writing: I haven't done much writing since finishing the last book, though something I really want to be when I grow up (along with being a Computer Scientist) is a writer. So, sooner or later, I want to actively pick up again. I also figure it might be a future career option when my brain's gotten too addled (or just plain fed up) to be very effective as a coder. And, I've got craploads of story ideas that I'd like to try out.
Stories ideas are cheap, though - it's the execution that counts. I've got to find a writing group or some arrangement that doesn't have me doing it in a vacuum. I've thought about starting up a separate writing blog and committing to a few hundred words a night of raw output, but not sure what that would do for me. I might even just do it here, but not sure how it'd be received.
Anyway - just a wordy brain dump, partly for anyone who may be interested to hear it and partly just to get it out of my head.
Hi Les. I hear ya! Us hermits gotta git out and live once in a while. I recently moved into a place in Potrero Hill. I would be happy to get out and explore somewhere with you or have you and yours over for dinner sometime. - Donovan
Plans sound good!
Coincidentally I was nosing around XoxoOutliner earlier. Didn't find what I was after, but didn't look for long - is there a more recent version browser-only anywhere? (Or...any chance of describing the server interface in words of one syllable that aren't prefixed "$").
" ... As for exploring the area ..." From my perspective, visiting other citified parts of the Bay Area really doesn't constitute exploring. It's the non-city parts that make this a nice place to live.
Short hike suggestions, for until your crash hangover goes away: Long Ridge (from skyline out to the rocky viewpoint is about a half mile); Summit Rock (0.4 mile walk; on the Valley side of Skyline, a bit south of Hwy 9 ... see http://radio.weblogs.com/0100945/2003/01/21.html#a399 for some photos); El Corte de Madera OSP, near where Hwy 84 crosses skyline, has a cool sandstone ("Tafoni") lump about a mile from the highway, and there's the "Methuselah Tree" nearby.
And farther afield (driving-wise), Point Lobos near Carmel is breathtaking (do a google image search); and the walking is not extreme: http://santalucia.sierraclub.org/images/ptlobomp.gif
A dry winter week is a good time to visit Henry Coe park, or the Pinnacles, or Mount Diablo.
Fellow blogger (like that narrows it down) and EFF Agent Jason Schultz has posted a couple of entries on cool "date" things to do in S.F.
Not 'dating' or living in S.F., I can't attest to the quality of these, but I've known Jason since high school and I'd vouch for anything he threw at the wall.
For getting your inner-child geek on, I highly recommend the Exploratorium in S.F., Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, and the Tech Museum in San Jose.