Going back that second time

Going back to camp after your first spectacular time will disappoint. I never went to the same overnight camp. Not a camp person. I enjoy camping, but surrounding myself with people who cheerfully sing bad songs, make popsicle-stick art, and swim/pee in a junky lake was never my idea of heaven. For me, the woods should be quiet. I get it, though. We can look at camp as a metaphor. You can have this great time at camp, on your junior year abroad, at a destination reunion, and when you sign up for a repeat, you expect the same emotions and unfairly compare the two experiences.

We do it all of the time. No other hyperspace will feel like the one I saw in Star Wars: a new hope. I’m sure some of the jumps into hyperspace have been better, but they lack the holy-moly of my first time.

Going back to my “final” project is giving me the same anxiety. I am not completely done. Done enough for Demo Day, but not done enough for me. I loved my project. It introduced me to ReactJS and allowed me to fully explore and play with it. So what happened? Like the grimey middle schoolers at Camp Crawdaddy, I packed up my things to go home and pick up my summer reading list for the next grade. I put away my project to revisit vanilla JavaScript, jQuery, and AJAX. I made time to learn new things (Canvas, jQueryUI) and play with various APIs.

I need to return to my project, but I’m scared. What if I don’t have as much fun? The thrill of prepping for Demo Day at The Iron Yard is gone. There’s no stress of getting it all done in time. I have no schedule. I also have no cohort friends next to me to start each day with a stand-up. Slack isn’t the same as being in one space and hearing our f-bombs and huzzahs.

And what if I don’t like it anymore?

I stare at it the way my flat-chested, pimple-faced self stared at the cute boys at the bar and bat mitzvah dances. I’m too scared to approach my project. What if it wants to make out behind the bleachers? I’M NOT READY! And without my peers, there’s no pressure. Dang it!

Is it too much to ask that my final project wait for me outside of a church in a red sports car (ok, Aprillia with an extra helmet) and have a cake ready for me?




Ton of anything, really

Why bricks? A ton is a ton. I’ve been hit by a ton of something.

I built my portfolio quickly to have something out there while I applied. I didn’t want to fuss over it and lose days. I promised myself that I’d get back to it. I made that promise in late May. It’s early October. Oh hey. Lookie here. It’s still there waiting. Patient little bugger.

I got my index2.html going when I got a call from my dad. The official diagnosis is acute myeloma leukemia. He has 4-6 months if he forgoes treatment and 9 if he doesn’t.

I looked back at my code. It’ll be there tomorrow when I have a different reason to get my portfolio done. Who cares about prospective employers. I’m building it for my dad. 2008-11-01-14-10-34

The US is a big country

Yeah yeah. We all know that. Sort of. We know it, but we do not feel the consequences of it if we don’t do anything that confronts its size. A road trip from Maine to San Diego would do it. So would being open to relocation for a job. And there’s my topic.

I’m not married to Austin. Austin has a mystique for many, but I moved here from Australia. I’m a little spoiled. Austin is great, though. It is not perfect. It’s segregated, has only buses (*cough* it’s 2016!), and is car-centric no matter what you’ve been told. White bike lanes are cute. Show me office buildings with showers. Plan A is, of course, staying here, but I have plans C, C, D, M, and SA: Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, and San Antonio. I am aware that I am writing this list in Austin in early October. Let’s see how I feel in January.

Are those cities all I have? No. The US is huge, and I feel it as I surf Indeed and Dice and look at the map. Places I’m willing to move to are far from my immediate family. Really far. Holy-moly-this-country-is-big far. My brain hurts.

Perk up

I’ve spent the summer hopping around with code. I’ve reviewed what I understood, and revisited what I didn’t. I’d look up topics I’ve heard about and tried to play with them. I’d some up with my own ideas and find a little code to make it work. Basically, I’ve kept it simple.

At the beginning of my 100 Days of Code challenge, I could do a little project a day. More like a webpage a day. As I found more complicated challenges, the projects would take longer. I no longer wanted to use the hashtag “100daysofcode”. I’m less interested in enumerating the days than listing projects and making sure I code a little every day. I don’t do just one thing, so writing “Day 65: I did this” makes no sense to me. I warm up with algorithms, I cruise to pencil and paper to come up with other projects, and I focus on tutorials. I’ll still tweet with #100daysofcode everyday that I code, but that’s as far as I’ll go with those rules. Code every day that I can. Somedays only an hour; others, a full day. Some days just on one topic. Other days will see many.

I’m enjoying ReactJS and Perk tutorials. There are reactillion React tutes out there. I’m thinking there’s just only one Perk because there’s just only one Perk. This tutorial will have me build a LinkedIn clone. Not really a clone, as LinkedIn sucks pangolin balls, but a connections app called Six Degrees. Perk is an anagram for Passport, Express, Redis, and Knex. There are a lot more libraries inside, but these are the whoppers. The tutorial is great, too. No hopping around screen to screen. It’s not too slow. It’s not too fast. Each video starts with a recap of what we did last and ends with what we just did. There are also links below each video for docs or other tools (Postman, PSequel).

This time around, I’m following the tutorial to a T. It’s a warm up for returning to my “final” project (nothing’s final), which also used Perk framework. I’d like to so another Perk project on my own; however, I am suffering a dearth of ideas. Maybe an app to find and rate creepy clowns?

Apologies to the bees

When I was a kid, I liked to collect bees in a jar. It was a little bit of derring do to see how many I could keep in the jar and also not lose any as I opened the jar for another one. It was also a chance to look at the bees close up. But I was a kid. Selfish by default at that stage in child development. I wanted to hear them. Really hear them. I shook the jar, and I heard them. Did I ever. I’m sure their buzzing could be translated into “Open this jar, jackhole, and we’ll give you a symphony you’ll never forget!”

It’s been a long time, but I think the descendents of that hive are buzzing with karmic delight. September stuffed me in a jar and shook me until my head spun. Some of the shaking was great: close friends from Australia came to visit the US and stayed with me at the beginning and end of their trip. Some not so great: my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and leukemia. If I wasn’t giving friends a tour of Austin, I was in a group text with family, and when I had my down time, I zoned out wondering if I’d get that call.

I found a small project to do. I could have done it in less time, but I had too little space in my head for coding. Still, I had something to do, and I learned that I enjoyed doing it. Although hard to get going, once I did, Stella got her groove back. It felt great to get lost in coding. Even looking up things I was certain I knew how to do helped. Just a rabbit warren of Slack Overlord and MDN links was soothing. Fussing over where to place a button, was the distraction I needed. I need to remember that even 10 minutes of code fussin’ counts for 100 Days of Code in my book. My book; my rules.

So the bees had their revenge, but they’re nicer and eventually let me have a win. It’s just a basic quotation generator. And it’s QUOTATION! Quote is a verb. Let it go, Katy. I CAN’T.

You Complete Me

HTML5 canvas drawing tutorial done. FINALLY! And a return to 100 Days of Code and better habits.

You Complete Me came about after I finished this set of video tutorials. It is by no means what I would call a final product. I’d like an undo function or to figure out how to have the image not be a background image but one loaded on the canvas so the paint won’t go over the lines. But this is plenty for right now. Know when to hold ’em. Know when to fold ’em.

I was inspired by Busy Mockingbird’s Collaboration with a 4-year-old and Heartless Machine’s Guide to Drawing.

I’m satisfied with the basic look. I think I could learn more and return to it or just do another, but for now? DONE. Done diddly yun, hon. I have other ideas for the canvas. I’d like to learn how to do a sort of Space Invaders but to change it up so that it’s dropping German nouns, and I can only shoot the feminine (or masculine, neuter) ones. Also, return to drawing to provide a workspace for a math function. We’ll see. It’s fun. I’m happy with it.

Finishing this after a week or more off with overseas visitors, a dog at the vet four days in a row, and a dad going from surgery to ICU took a lot from me. I dreaded returning to it and fearing that I’d forgotten everything, but returning to it was a relief. I got lost in the code again. It took so much concentration that I forgot bad things were happening. Some drink. I think my escape is coding. And critters. And cycles.

Hitting a wall

It’s not the wall. I’ve hit the wall on a long bike ride in the Dandenongs. Nothing a fistful of raisins couldn’t solve.

This is just a wall. One of many walls I’ll encounter along the way. This wall was made out of house guests from Australia, a greyhound that nearly crashed after a dental, a dad whose “let’s see” surgery ended up being “let’s get this lobe out”,  and all of this with a house full of hounds (mine, two fosters, and a doggie-sit) and more coming (and going) as friends travel.

I quit being able to think. I opened up a project and just stared at it. I would have been more familiar with Russian. I do not see any reason beating myself up over this. I could stare at the screen for another hour and get nothing done, or I could acknowledge that I have enough on my mind and come back another day and make something worth committing to GitHub. I chose to wait.

It’s not that easy to return from chaos, though. The good habits I was building have crumbled. It’s as though I was on a vacation and left my work behind. A real shit vacation. Think bad cruise with salmonella and no working toilets. And pirates. And flying sharks.

I spent two days working on a new plan (revamped, not really new). This time around, I’ve budgeted time for reading, needle work (embroidery and knitting, not heroin), and exercise. I’m ahead of the game with exercise. I’m cycling and/or running every day, and if I don’t have time for a long ride, I make sure I cycle when I commute and take the long way home to make up for it if the chore is too close. Today my chores were only 1.5 miles away, so I added a 9-mile loop to make up for it.

Tomorrow I’ll see if this new plan works. No. Tomorrow I’ll just do it. If it’s not perfect, I’ll see how Wednesday is. I’ll figure this out. I’ve done harder things. I’ve had bigger walls. Assess, tweak, wake up the next day and begin again. Aways, we begin again.