My 2023

2023 is over. I probably won’t miss it, even if it was a good year for me.

Let’s go over some things that happened to me.

I Lost My Job

This kind of thing happens. Oh well.

What differentiated this year from other times I lost my job was that I did not immediately seek out new employment. I was in a position where I could take some time to really think about what I wanted rather than just rush into the next hectic adventure. That decision painted the rest of my year, given it would mark the longest period of my professional life where I did not have any employment.

I Got into Writing Fiction For a While

For a few months after losing my job, I was kind of “over” the whole computer programming thing. The experience had soured me a bit and I just needed something different.

So, I wrote a lot of fiction.

Fiction was a way to keep my fingers busy at the keyboard doing something creative without needing to suffer the inevitable struggle of figuring out how to glue together different components of a software system. The kinds of problem solving demanded by fiction are similar to software development. If characters aren’t well-defined, it becomes difficult to drive a story forward. If requirements aren’t well-defined, it becomes difficult to even start on tasks. On the flip side, trying to move forward can be a good way to figure out certain aspects of a story/software project that aren’t well understood, but that’s never a guarantee.

I didn’t push this endeavour very far as I was more interested in simply passing time through creative pursuits, but I did previously post an opening to a larger story on this blog — likely to be the only writing that will see the light of day for the time being.

I Learned I Have Celiac Disease

Over the summer of 2023, the pain from my IBS reached a point that I just could no longer tolerate. I embarked on an elimination diet designed to relieve the pain of IBS. I saw relief pretty quickly, began to challenge some of the foods that were eliminated, and found that my “IBS” promptly relapsed hours after I consumed foods containing wheat.

This specific prompt reaction was enough to tell me that what I have isn’t IBS at all — IBS is characterized by fermentation which is a lengthier process. This could only mean that either my body could not tolerate the glutens in wheat, or my body would actively attack itself in the presence of this protein.

Either way, I was left with no choice but to eliminate the gluten.

Mere days into my next diet, nearly all of my gastrointestinal distress had subsided.

The most shocking moment moment of this endeavour came the first time I tried gluten-free pizza from Pizza Hut. The Hut had previously been a guilty pleasure — something I would indulge in at times when I knew I could handle it — so I braced hard for pain after my quite substantial first try, and… the pain never came. To my amazement, I had eaten a pizza painlessly for the first time I could even remember.

That solves one conundrum.

I Started Programming for Fun Again

Unemployment combined with a natural drive for creativity should normally result in a lot of free time spent in creative pursuits, but I found I rarely had the energy for such pursuits unless a given project was subject to a hyperfixation.

As it turns out, untreated celiac disease has a way of sapping one’s energy.

With that disease out of the way, I found myself much more eager to try and write new programs or software. My high point was getting to reimplement the entire combat system from one of my favourite retro games, Dragon Quest (1987), along with many other systems from that game. As I’ve prioritized implementing the functional aspects of the game, it’s still nowhere near ready to show to the public.

I Seriously Invested in my Ergonomics

Okay, I tend to do this often enough that it’s not necessarily special, but I figured I should note what I most recently got to help improve my hand health.

It’s called the Ferris Sweep. It’s a split keyboard with a very minimal set of keys — only 17 per half. Using kit to “tent” the keyboard so both halves are angled, I can type with basically zero strain on the wrists. Where most keyboard keys are about 1.9cm in width, the keys here are a little narrower and are also less tall so my fingers don’t have to travel as much to type. Lastly, the actuation force of each switch is an oscene 20cN — less than half of the 40cN one would expect on most laptop keyboards.

In particular, the lack of thumb keys on this keyboard has been quite beneficial to the RSI in my thumbs acquired from a life of video gaming. It seems so far that I can type quite a lot in a day without aggravating any kind of pain. If it later turns out that I need to reduce the use of my thumbs even more, the entirely free and open source firmware powering the keyboard is fully configurable and so I could pretty effortlessly move some keys around if it becomes necessary.

Unlike what one would assume when moving to a keyboard with very few keys, my typing speed has not been substantially impacted. What I lose in needing to press multiple keys to change the board’s functions (so as to enable e.g: the number keys), I gain in no longer needing to move my fingers/hands away from their resting points. Eliminating certain movements also necessary eliminates certain sources of strain, which overall helps to reduce the onset of new RSIs along with alleviating my existing ones.


Despite suffering that big setback in February, I had a good year!

I got up to a lot of new things, and improved myself a lot in ways that I had not expected.