I got the chance to take 5 weeks of paid break on top of the regular vacation. The opportunity came with just a single condition – it had to be done in a single go.

Day 0

And so the descent into the unknown starts. I counted the days—weekends included it’s 37 if I make every one of them count. 37 carte-blanche, do whatever you want, no strings attached days. I did consider traveling as an option, but it seemed like too much work. My head is abuzz and I want to sit down and have a good listen to that, instead. Besides, I’ve traveled plenty in the last 4 years (Berlin, Toronto, and now Edinburgh – my new base where I’m still kind of settling in).

I will be traveling, but in a very different sense – an exploration of solitude and free will. Imagine just for a second having 37 days entirely to yourself. No family obligations, no work, no oughts or musts – just you alone, and your brain. Is it a lot? How much? And what will you do? So I figured I’ll keep a journal.

Day 1

Went over the hill and turned left. Chatted with Rupert about the idea of “getting down on all fours” and we agreed the saying is silly and there is no better way of moving around than on all fours. Did a bit of pew-pew in Destiny. It’s a silly game and it eats time, but it’s fun. And one does not argue with one’s mind about fun, or one’s mind will go on strike and then it will be Destiny all day long.

Speaking of fun – might just go to Hemma for dinner. Not because the food would be that good, but because it’s fun.

Conscious and bit nervous about opening all those creative pores.

Day 2

Went over the hill and turned right. Breakfast at Hemma, too.

Looks like I get into journal-writing mood around 2:30PM (e.g. right now). When I was smoking, at times I used to confuse the need to go to bathroom with the urge to have a smoke, and so I’d stand outside, puffing quickly while doing the bathroom dance. I wonder if maybe it’s the same for the journal writing – 2:30PM is when Rupert & I are having our lunches, so it might be that, as my routine goes, I’ve conditioned myself to take a break at this hour but instead now I’m sitting here – tacka-tacka-tacka, dear diary.

Speaking of routines – we get up at roughly half past nine. Well, Rupert gets up around seven thirty or so and then asks for permission to board the bed by means of intense staring, that seems to bypass my optical nerves and go straight to brain. Or maybe it’s all that loud yawning he does (“what, I’m just yawning”). I give the permission—two pats on the vacant (hello, ladies) spot next to me—he jumps on the bed, and we snooze till I’m done with yesterday.

Today I’m slowly pushing ahead with Definition – my little sci-fi project that I had intented to write as a short story, but then there was too much happening and not enough words for it to happen in, so now I’m making it more palatable and hope to be done by the time that the events are set in (circa 2308, but I’m still doing the calculations).

Didn’t do much writing yesterday, but did have dinner at Hemma, played Destiny and watched American Sniper. Bradley Cooper definitely outdid himself in that one. I just wish it had been set in a fictional world with fictional characters. Not to step into the whole jingoism trap – singing for heroes is all nice and sweet and all, but not needing heroes is better. I hope that technology will get us to the moral paralysis and the freeze of the righteousness. But then again – drama never ceases.

Tomorrow it starts “for real” – work week without work, etc.


Woof, it’s day three, or day one, depending on how you count it. Today we didn’t go over the hill because the hill is for weekends. Instead, we went by the cliffs as that’s what we do on workdays. I’ve been writing since morning and have roughly 700 words to show.

My favourite format is flash fiction and there is a huge difference between whipping up a flash, and expanding it. You have the idea, you stab it out and then you walk away. But now I’m stuck with two, on my scale, jumbo, guys. Definition and Animals. I’m building worlds, I’m making decisions, I’m borrowing ideas and mutating them, and I have to watch out from all those sticky influences from the books I’m currently reading, and mindful of that hypothetical reader. The hypothetical reader is like that prince (princess) on the white horse – he (she) will come and pick me up and we will ride into the setting sun and it will be perfect and there will be wedding and birds will chirp and I’ll be stuck in the kitchen happily forever after etc.

Being serious about something though doesn’t mean expecting success. Hugh Howey (the Wool & Molly Fyde guy, hardcopies of which I’m sending out for free – just give me your address) observed that noodling on guitar is fine, prancing around in dance is fine, doing sports is fine, but when it comes to writing, it’s all “mister bigshot over here thinks he can write. Think you’ll rake in big dolla, son?”

I thought about beef yesterday. You know – not the fleshy kind but the “what’s your beef” kind. It’s hard to have beef and be right in this day and age, because the internet is watching you. For example – I wrote a stupid tweet that mentioned furries a while ago. Some random furry, of course, decided to challenge me. But hey – I don’t know you, so what do you care? Back off, buddy. I could have said that, but the truth is – you don’t want to offend anyone or cause grief, because that shit hurts. Not at that very moment, but you know, when you are alone, walking, thinking, and then that painful thought stabs you right between the eyes – you made somebody’s day worse. That shit makes you sad. We all want to be nice and sweet and popular and loved, etc.

Day 4

Ran out of dog food, so Rupert and I went into the city to grab his spesh. The city is about 5 minutes walk away from my little island of peace and has noise, oily smells of sun-heated tarmac, and everything else that goes with busy streets. Leith (the part of city we went to) is also mightily trashy to the extent where it’s cute again. Cute if you don’t live there, that is, and I don’t live there, so there.

Oh, also – tinder’s not working for me at all. I’ve had two encounters through that app in the last year with moderate success of getting laid and, oh boy, I needs substance. Enjoying good food and drink is all nice and dandy but, girl, you have sawdust in your head packed so thickly it’s gonna implode. So I removed that silly app. No mo’.

Rupert’s huffing and puffing like a steamboat – looks like summer’s coming after all.

Day 5

Just realized that none of the couchsurfers I’ve had over, have commented on my frickin’ Star Trek thing on the wall. I mean – it’s 180×90cm (70×35″) – how in the world can you not go OMG WHAT IS THIS DID YOU MAKE IT YOURSELF OMG on that. I’ve hosted 3 surfers since I put my couch on the surf and another one is about to drop on me in two days.

Day 6

I’m reading Hyperion by Dan Simmons right now. By right now I mean that one hour in the late evening before I pass out. It’s a sci-fi novel written in late eighties (that’s nineteen-eighties). While some themes are unaging, others have amusingly aged. It’s the 27th century and people use terms like “hardfax”. And they use references from Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer” casually, ‘cause that’s exactly the shizznit people read in 27th century. They also do reenactments of middle-ages, listen to classical music, dress as if they’d be from eighties, and all that. If you gloss by that and then some, it’s an O.K. read. But, despite the Hugo award, you should be a sci-fi buff before you read that stuff. There is also a bit of omg-lol erotica in there with phrases like “her warm wetness” etc, which makes me think that with people talking more openly about sex, the situation has gotten way better in the last few decades.

Oh right, the cleaning lady is coming today. Rupert and I go for a walk and a pint and then we come back and everything’s clean and fresh, and people (the ones in my head) are like omg, what a tidy place you have. There is one creepy thing she does, however, and I’m not sure if it’s to keep me on my toes so I do the pre-cleaning before cleaners come, or because that’s what you do – she remakes my bed. And if I don’t remember to hide my retainer away, she’ll put it in the pile with dog toys. Which is cute and makes me feel all cultured. “The guy knows what a retainer box looks like,” they coo behind my back.

Day 7

Hyperion is turning sour. I’m not entirely sure just yet but I think I’ll ditch the book and maybe try something Simmons has written in the last decade, instead.

On an unrelated note, I’m marvelling at the fact how some stuff is very similar in many languages, say, (eng) cat / (ger) katze / (rus) koshka / (lat) katyis / (fr) chat / (esp) gato, and others are way off, like (eng) horse / (ger) pferd / (rus) loshadj / (lat) zyrgs / (fr) cheval / (esp) caballo. I cheated a bit for I had to look up horse in spanish.

Also, I killed time today – removed the clock from the desktop. My self-conscious self had noticed that I stare at it every now and then and my cogs start going the wrong way after I do. Like, “it’s 12:30, that means I have 2 hours till lunch” the thread starts, or “I don’t think I’ll get to a sane state with my writing in next 45 minutes, as then we walk and then I’ll be lazy, etc.” It feels really good – most recommend!

Day 8

Full circle – woo! I’ve made every single day count so far. Today I finally pulled my programming courage together and ventured into the land of interactive web graphics. The short of it is that I’d like to try out all kinds of funky stuff and historically I’ve been doing that using hamster graphics, but it’s all linux and gnome and so niche that nobody but the select dork elite was able to run it. Web is the future and JavaScript is it’s evil overlord that, when it’s not busy drowning puppies, is pushing everyone into some skewed backwards mindset.

Made a thing where you can drag bubbles around, and that’s like 70% of success. I wonder at what point it will start stuttering and then fall over and fry your laptop. Hmm, yes, that’s what i should try next – can i make 1000 draggable circles on the screen and make them wobble around? Let’s find out.

Day 10

1000 draggable circles turned out to be no problem, mondai nai. In fact it goes up to 3k before CPU climbs into the inappropriate. Crawled into webgl for a second, but the bottleneck is in the events handling layer, it seems, as it has been for, like, ever, so whatever, EaselJS it is for now.

Had a few beers yesterday and I can feel it weighing me down today, so back to no-beers (Or not more than two, anyway; I think i can take two without side-effects).

Day 12

A silly analogy for what writing feels like – it’s as if you were sitting by some kids bed and trying to come up with a bedside story. You know, you just go and go, and go. The difference is, the kid will hit coma in a few minutes (hopefully, anyway) while writing never stops until it’s done. It’s fun, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t tiring. Coming up with stuff, making decisions, then pausing and doing research online and figuring out if the idea makes any sense at all, etc. Unless you are playing with dolls and writing dialogues. But Henry, I love you, she said, tears swelling up. I love you too, but there can be only one highlander, said Henry. Wish you hadn’t revealed your little secret, he added. I’ll come back, she said, as a vampire. I’m counting on it, he said, and then we will marry. Oh Henry, she said. Oh, Violet, he said. The less you have to write the less it needs to make sense.

Read about pyramids. Them being huge is impressive, but what’s more impressive is the precision – how precise the dimensions of the blocks are and how precisely they are laid out next to each other, with barely half of millimeter error rate or something. I forgot all the numbers as soon as I read them.

I’m feeling happy. Watching Dr. Katz and Gintama contributes to that state.

Day 13

Productivity is a funny thing and, just like photons and clocks, better left unmonitored, or you might heisenbug it. The moment you claim to possess high levels of productivitons is when they fall dead from the sky and the water is poisoned and you’ve ruined it all, congratulations. What I’m saying is – never look behind, to measure the distance ran, while dashing forward, or the dragon will eat you.

Day 16

How long and what is your internet loop? You know, when you go “into the internet”, say, once every few hours. Facebook, twitter, reddit, flickr, instagram, feedly, news sites (apartmenttherapy, nytimes, arstechnica)? Mine is facebook, twitter, feedly. I follow 20 friends in facebook and maybe 3 will post something once a day. In twitter I’m following 18 people, mostly ones I don’t know personally and who tweet about stuff that entertains and inspires me. That generates about 30 tweets a day. In feedly, I follow 19 sources.

This is to say, that on average my internet loop takes me 20 seconds and then I’m back to whatever I was up to.

Day 17

Humm, how did that Bee Gees song go “Hay fever, Hay fever. We know how to do it..” My nose is all blocked up, I shall blame pollen for it. Not sure what pollen but, you know the kind that is takin’ our jobs, eatin’ our breakfast, and drinkin’ our beer.

Went through a good 6 packages of pocket tissues, ordered drugs, will gonna tame it. Because of that, most of yesterday was spent walking around internet, reading stuff. Can’t remember who said it, but there was something about how miserably frail our minds are, dancing at every whim of our bodies. To that I say – it’s time we ditch our meaty brainboxes and move on to sturdy titan constructions. That will solve everything.

It seems that I’ve accidentally trapped a kid in my head today. He is rolling on the floor, stomping his feet, and screaming loudly “I don’t want to write, I don’t want to write”. I ask him what he would like to rather do then – play videogames? “Yes,” he replies and blissfully misses the sarcasm in my voice. I know very well what you want, you little bastard. And you won’t be getting any of it. Oh well, maybe, just for a bit, we could play some videogames, after all.

Day 18

Let’s talk about Star Trek Deep Space Nine. It’s famous for being the worst in the star trek series, and it still managed to produce whole 7 seasons, 24 episodes a season, each episode an hour long. There are good moments – like the Trill parts (where a parasyte type of species is inherited from carrier to carrier and allows transcendance) and some of the Ferengi parts (that they can be nice, too). But the whole shapeshifter business left me oohing and aahing and psh-ing at the screen. Odo, the shapeshifter, whose lack of human attributes takes place of Data in this spin, and who can transform into anything – bird, lamp or your mother, is clearly non-organic. Yet in one episode he has a stiff back, and in another he is having sex with a human (as if suddenly he would have grown all the right bits in all the right places), and despite being anything, the shapeshifter has also a preferred gender, and intentionally plasticky face that you have to stare at for all of the 7 seasons. To add insult to the injury, Odo is a security officer at the station – a mall cop – yet he attends all strategical meetings, ‘cause… Yeah DS9 – ‘cause reasons?

There is much more than that of course, but hey, I’m done with DS9 and onto Voyager. This means I’ve now watched about, hmm (3 + 7 + 7) x 24 =~ 400 episodes of trek, give or take.

Day 24

Lost my count there for a second. Switching from DS9 to Voyager has been a treat so far. Played around in Windows 8 for 2 days and had to take a shower afterwards. It kept asking me questions I didn’t know answers to, couldn’t figure out what drivers I need, and Lenovo’s system sniffer or whatever it was, told me that my just recently superseded Flex 2 is not a laptop. To which I can heartily agree – Flex 2 turned out to be a piece of stinkin’ poo; a valuable lesson, if you ask me. Right, oh, and that obsession with touch. Oh, Metro, you come too soon and your logic is flawed. Compared to that experience, the state of desktop linux is stellar – things just really work and you don’t get bombarded with “would you like to run this i don’t know what it is but maybe you do, grandma”.

Slowly and steady as she goes, my literary Kapitan Hlebnikov of Definition is chugging towards the north pole.

Day 35

Mentally wrapping up. Two more days and then it’s back to life. Note how i went from day 24 straight to 35. The second half of the sabbatical was in the lines of more-of-the-same, which is to say, it was awesome.

If I can ever secure enough savings to go 10 years straight without working, I’d like to return to what I did these five weeks – freeform hacking/writing/pondering, followed by reading/watching/exploring/chilling. Oh, and I’m definitely letting in more couchsurfers in my flat – the last two turned out to be a plain delight. I’m doing that mohammed thing where the mountain is coming to me, and then, together, we go over the hill.