I've nearly doubled the length of the writeup, which now hits a grand total of 6,858 words (still in draft form, with several sections left incomplete). Since I've been back in the wonderful land of LaTeX (as implemented by TeXShop) I've taken this opportunity to fix a few shortcomings that I didn't have a chance to take care of last time, having been in a whirlwind "cut-and-paste to piece something together" mode.
Most importantly, I always wanted to reduce the amount of padding that my figures got, since it looked particularly excessive. I'm using the
wrapfigure package to lay them out, and after a bit of digging it turned out that it used the
\columnsep document values to determine the vertical and horizontal padding respectively. Unfortunately, changing them by significant amounts, especially the latter, wasn't really an option since I didn't want to touch the amount that my columns were set apart from each other. Fortunately, I found a modified version of
wrapfigure.sty that implemented two internal variables,
\hsep for this padding. By replicating those changes in my copy of
wrapfigure.sty I was able to achieve my much desired tighter padding.
The whole process had a very black magic feeling to it however. For example, the following piece of code sets
\hsep to some multiple of
\WF@hsep=1.4\columnsep. However, it's not a simple multiplication by 1.4, since changing the value to a 1.0 doesn't return it to its default appearance. Still, I managed to make do by tweaking the values til I got what I liked (incidentally, 1.5). However, this is still something that deserves a bit deeper study at some point.