This has been something of a neglected space, though if you actually visit the site (vice use an RSS feed like civilized people), you’ll note that I’m fairly Twitter-active even when ignoring my primary blog.
I’m going to try to write a little more frequently—not necessarily here, but just in general. My day job has me doing a lot of soul-sucking editing of really dry, boring things and that tends to sap my creative energies, but the only way to really build those back is to actually write, so I’m going to try to do that more often. You may or may not see the fruits here.
Of note is that I’m trying to shame myself into writing more by actually sharing some of the other stuff I’ve written. Back in 2006, during an unpleasant part of an unpleasant war, I wrote three quick short science fiction stories. I won’t claim they are good, but they scratched an itch that I had. Maybe they’ll scratch yours. (That sounds vaguely dirty but isn’t.) I am serializing them at another blog I created just for that purpose, Venya Writes, with the hope that feedback and guilt will compel me to write more, starting with a better ending for story #3. I intend to put more writing-focused thoughts (including editing) there, so if that’s your bag, feel free to wander that way. (There’s also an associated Twitter account, @venyawrites.) The first part of the first story kicks off tomorrow morning; it’s not very long, so prepare to be underwhelmed.
It seems hardly fair to have a separate blog devoted to just writing when this one has to cover leather work, weapons, radio, warfare, and whatever else floats my boat, but that suits my purpose for now.
As tends to happen whenever I’m trying to simplify my life, I have acquired another hobby. I just today finished the 13-hour Codecademy.com introductory Python series. As part of my resuscitated new job search (more on that another time), I have refocused on acquiring useful skills, and I decided Python would be a nice, easy start. It should be noted that the last time I programmed was in 1994; it didn’t go well, and I concluded that programming was just Not Something I Could Do.
Either programming has gotten easier, I have gotten smarter, or perhaps (and most likely) the tools for learning have gotten much better, but I have been having a lot of fun with this and am not absolutely horrible at it. I’ve gotten farther in Python in the last three weeks than I did in a year of programming (as a high school class) in Turbo Pascal in ’94.
If you are contemplating getting your feet wet in this area, I recommend the Codecademy approach. The lessons are a little inconsistent and sometimes you are fighting the grade- and error-checking algorithms as much as the lessons, but it’s a good introduction and the forums are very helpful.
Some other resources that I am exploring:
- http://www.DiveIntoPython3.net [and associated free e-book]
- http://LearnPythonTheHardWay.org/book [web-based e-book or dead tree]
- Think Python: How to Think Like a Computer Scientist [free e-book or dead tree]
- Non-Programmer’s Tutorial for Python 2.6 (on Wikibooks.org)
I’m also looking at Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science 2nd Edition in dead tree format, because sometimes that’s nice to have.
Python doesn’t quite scratch the writer itch, but it’s remarkably close. I would caution you, however, that it’s a little harder to do while drinking.