So it's been about a month since I switched back to inverted/sponge from about four months playing hardbat and boy does it feel good to hit a loop again. Tonight was maybe the first night I felt comfortable with my old racket again. However lots of things are still not there yet (assuming there was a there there, which there wasn't in most cases). Serves are all long, backhand loop off underspin is totally gone, and for the first three weeks I couldn't block against topspin to save my life.
But hardbat did teach me a few things. One is that my movement to and from the table is better so I can lob and chop away from the table better than before. And I can also throw in a chop much more easily than previously. Surprisingly my chop with inverted is basically just as good as it was with hardbat (and I will let you fill in the parenthetical comment for that one... oh sorry).
So I guess my various experiments with grips and pimples are over. I'm not even tempted to change inverted rubber from tenergy, as long as I can continue to afford it that is. In any case, I'm happy that I tried hardbat, happy that I switched back, and am looking forward to playing my old friends who are currently two or three tables above me.