750 Words: The challenge of challenges

This will be interesting. I could not sleep and started stressing about getting up in time to ride to the train station for the 7a train, so I gave up the ghost at 4a and just got myself ready for the 4:54a bus. I am not sure how coding on the bus will go. It’s not as smooth a ride. Jiggly lap => jiggly laptop => rando typos.

I have no problem coding every day. I do not need the 100-days-of-code challenge to get me to do it. All I do differently when I decide on doing it is owning up to my contributions on Twitter. I also become a more active Twitter participant when I start a challenge. I also make sure that I commit every day when I am on the challenge. For some reason, once I announce to the anonymous world that I am committing to 100DoC, I feel the “pics or it didn’t happen” threat is taken care of with the little green GitHub square.

So no. My problem is not coding every day; my problem is staying focused on one or two projects. That’s the ADHD without a boss or teacher issue. When the boss looks at me in the mirror, I’m less focused. MeAsMyBoss should never have hired me:
Me: I want to do a little CSS grid in between Node tutorials.
MeAsMyBoss: Don’t forget that you need to fix your portfolio, apply for jobs, do your homework, and correct or improve past homework.
Me: And maybe even plan a bigger full-stack project since I’ll be asked to do one soon.
Me: RIGHT?! Let’s deal with our excitement and stress by eating all the things!

MeAsMyBoss also is more of a delegator. She’s not someone I could go to when I get stuck. She doesn’t ask me what I think I should do. I also don’t have this desire to do right by her. I don’t care if she’s proud of me or impressed with anything I’ve done. In fact, when she is impressed, she makes me come off as a needy narcissist. Don’t get me wrong. I love MeAsMyBoss’s twin sister MeAsMyRoommate. I can do solo living. I don’t just talk to myself; I orate. I’d rather have OtherAsMyBoss. I love a good boss—one I respect and look up to. When I have OtherAsMyBoss, I procrastinate less and stay on task more.

Alas, I do not have OtherAsMyBoss. Or I don’t for coding and web development.

Until then, I have to stick with MeAsMyBoss. Maybe we can teach each other. Maybe she’ll keep me from going with a new idea: “Katy, let that one rest in your journal. GitHub can wait.” And maybe I’ll remind her that I need different projects to satisfy the different—OH CRAP! BUS TRANSFER POINT!
(and who is the boss of “shove everything in the pannier get off the bus get the bike find the next bay load the bike get on the bus and carry on”? ME! Fueled by Spokesman coffee and a jolt of adrenalin.)
See? I have to have different projects for the different time chunks available to me. I cannot do tutorials on the bus because I can’t hear the announcement. Tutorials are better for the train when every stop is predictable. I prefer longer tasks like homework for when I can have a second monitor set up. My available times do not suit one project. What can you do? I don’t care. What can I do? That’s better. I can find a happy middle between one project that I can’t do during some of my free time and too many projects that just mean I get nothing done. I also give myself a break. There’s a difference between having unfinished projects because I dislike them and having unfinished projects because I want to learn all the things.

But I do think I am done with adding more challenges. I have 100 Days of Code (very disciplined with), 750 Words a Day (medium as it is second to 100Doc), and getting back to the gym (necessary as I’m a stress eater and am pursuing a career that puts many people in 90-degree angles for hours at a time). I think I’ve maxed out I can’t even satisfy my “get to bed before 10p” challenge even once a week.


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Meta data:

LOCATION: on the bus
AMPM: am

100 Days of Code III and Codie Jodie

After going 150+ days in the second round, I put this challenge to bed.

Until this year. On the first, I started the challenge over. I will adjust some of the rules as they’re rigid (to me). They’re better rules for those not taking classes and following tutorials. I am doing both. I won’t count classwork or homework as part of the challenge, but I will count any supplemental tutorials or mini-projects. In doing so, I hope to balance my days. If I’m learning NodeJS, then support that with a tutorial, but also keep the UI and frontend fresh with a small snippet, bit of research, or a little project.

Don’t we all need to keep our backend and frontend fresh?

My first few days have been dedicated to finishing Wes Bos’s Learn Node tutorial. This makes my fourth completed WB tute: JavaScript30, What The Flexbox, React for Beginners, and Learn Node. I am always working on ES6 for everyone. I start that one over all of the time to get the practice in. When he releases his CSS grid tutorial, I’ll do that one, too.

Learn Node is a large project that jumps into Node at the late beginning stages. No play in the terminal. Just starting off index and Express, requiring, exporting … He’s taken care of the project decision (a Yelp-like app) and the styling. While at first I felt overwhelmed, by the end, I felt this was a great way to see what it is like to come into a project other people have started.

Now I’m ready to do another that is more ground up. Hello, Andrew “Fantastic” Mead. Honestly, he says “fantastic” all of the time. I like to pretend he has to force himself to say “fantastic” or else he’ll end up saying “fucking awesome”. He’s also like a hot Pee Wee Herman.

Two different styles. I like them both.

But all of this Node is leaving my fronted out to get stale. Ha ha, Code Matey! Not for long. Every workday I have to look at horrible Secretary of State websites. They’re just awful. And you know what has happened. Some manager has dumped the web and online content management to someone who was good with email. Poor sod is already overworked and now has to build and maintain the website.

I do not want to be the person who laughs at ugly sites. They are the same people who love correcting other people’s grammar. Thou shalt not be a dick. Ever. Or we shall try not to, and we shall scold ourselves when we get high and mighty.

Instead of mocking the websites, why not use them as a way to learn and practice the CSS grid system and keep up with Flexbox? (Screw you, Bootstrap. You bore me and junk up my HTML!) The content of those sites is pretty boring. Or at least the section I have to visit. I’d have to keep it ipsummy loremmy. All I care about are the colours, layout, and responsiveness. We’ll see. It’s an idea.

As is Dressy Bessy or Codie Jodie! The doll, which I never had, seemed to have all the fun things: snaps, a button, zipper, laces. She was a shocking mess for fashion, but her purpose was to teach kids to zip, tie, snap, fasten, and whatever else you can do with clothing. Taking notes about the states’ SoS sites, I got to thinking about just the states in general. 50 states. About 50 weeks in a year with two for fluff time. Why not a state a week that had facts about the state, some decoration, enough boxes and divs to fill a page, buttons that did things, etc? Wouldn’t be pretty, but if the only goal is to practice frontend play, why not? Codie Jodie. She’s got buttons, a responsive grid, some css animations, jQuery plug ins, …

Again. We’ll see. I will need to have all things outside of the class and its homework be short and sweet. Not interested in losing more time.

Planning to plan. On it!

Pure CSS fun

Because I needed another challenge …

I do not know why I signed up for the Daily CSS Challenge. All I know is that I saw someone’s 100-Days-of-Code tweet that had some cute image and this hashtag I had not seen before: #dailycssimages. What is that? I had been using CSS and CSS3 to place boxes of paragraphs and images onto my screen. What is this new tasty candy I see? I looked it up and found myself taking The Coding Artist‘s (Mike Manialardi) tutorial on making a pure CSS image. I was hooked. I signed up for the (week) daily challenge.

I feared that I would use this as a way to avoid other projects when they got difficult. I also worried that this would soon become something that was glorified doodling.

Wrongo, Falsetta von Falshenberg.

Here’s what I thought I’d be doing: making boxes, making circles, using background colors.

Here’s what I have done: learned how to use mixins, used box-shadow to make pixel pictures, become familiar with Pug, used for-loops in Pug and SCSS, improved my ability to animate features and coordinate the timing.

And I am not even done. I just found this YouTube account from following other people in the challenge: Eleftheria Batsou. Now that I am used to how I break ideas down into shapes and concepts, I would like to see how others do it. I can’t lose when I see what other people do.

I keep a bucket of my entries, but these are some of my favourites:




I do it my way … mostly

I just did a quick game called Egg Fox Feathers (v1) that is my style of Rock Paper Scissors:

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It’s you vs. Farmer Ted.
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Maybe a bit gross.

It’s my first go. I had a lot on my “to-practice” list: Flexbox, ES6, Sketch app. I wanted to keep my JavaScript basic enough so that at least something was “easy”. Well. it grew. Doesn’t it always?

When I came up with the idea, I was just going through old tutorials I did when I was just starting. I saw my old Rock Paper Scissors and figured I could use that but then make results show on the DOM and not just my console or the tutorial’s editor. And it kept growing. I could have kept it to three images and text but no. And as it grew (back away from the Sketch app, Katy), I found that I was repeating myself. Or I felt that I could dry it up. But how? I always refer to K.I.S.S. as Katy Is Super Sizing when I really need to Keep It Simple, Stupid. I’ve sent the code to my instructor in hopes that he’ll come up with something. It’s version 1. I need to remember that and be happy with it. Admire what I do like (my images, using dataset, that I did this in a few days, not weeks) and not beat myself up for I need to improve upon. VERSION ONE, WOMAN! I also know that the way for me to learn is stepping away, asking advice, and moving on to another project. Target fixation is not healthy as a motorcyclist or junior developer.

Now that I have finished this one, what next? I like to do things my way when I’m the boss and employee. And janitor, chauffeur, and kennel keeper. I need to return to ReactJS for little things before I re-tackle my Scrambled app, which is a bigger ReactJS project. I’m thinking about games. Wes Box’s JavaScript30 ends with a Whack-a-mole. I’ve thought about doing that my way:

Whack-a-mole dirt mole amusement
Guac-a-mole bowl guacamole food
Boop-da-Boob breast ball/cyst breast cancer symptoms

I am leaning towards Boop-da-Boob. I won’t let it be a Susan G. Komen thing. I think their lawyers have ruined the organisation. I prefer to incorporate symptoms to the game, not have it be just another pink thing. I’d also like to build something for ovarian cancer (and make it reference Teal Toes in memory or Carey Fitzmaurice) and prostate and testicular cancer. The “embarrassing” cancers need attention. I believe if we make it amusing, it’ll be less awkward.

Another JavaScript30 project was a drum machine. I have never seen a project that so desperately needs to be done my way but sighthound bottoms as drums and noses as cymbals. I have to do it. Tutorials are great, but if I don’t take what I built while someone held my hand, I don’t learn.

Tutorials are great, but if I don’t take what I built while someone held my hand and make something new that is mine and done my way, I don’t learn.

Sorting, bagging, keeping, and deleting

My dad is the first parent I’ve lost. I always thought grieving a parent would be more like constant crying. If I was alone but not crying, I was doing ok. When I’m in public or talking to others, I probably don’t look any different than I did before. I can fake happiness, but I don’t feel fake by doing so. If I fake it, and you laugh, then I laugh and feel better. Should I say, instead, “acting”?

When I am alone, I expected to be in tears most of the time. I’m not, so I thought this meant that I was on the road to recovery. I had the movie version of grief in my head. It’s all loud and messy. Maybe it is for some, but it isn’t for me. Like drowning. Most people think it’s loud and the struggling swimmer flails her arms about. Drowning is quiet, and that’s what my grief feels like. I look around at books, projects, my laptop, and see only a blur. When I sit down to work on old code or a tutorial, I don’t know where to start. I just stare at the laptop. I have plenty of code to work on. I could tweak. I could redo. I could start over. I could follow #100DaysofCode or do a Wes Bos tutorial. Or I could feel so overwhelmed that I shut the laptop and try to nap.

chocolate and vanilla cake with happy birthday poppa on topMy dad died four days before his birthday. On his birthday, some of the family gathered at my dad and stepmom’s for cake and ice cream. I found my stepmom’s sister in front of a pile of my late stepsister’s costume jewelry. Everything was a mess and dumped in a box. I sat down with her and sorted earrings to find pairs. I started with the larger ones and moved down to smaller studs. As pairs were matched, the pile got smaller. After the earrings, we moved to singles: pendants, rings, brooches. The final challenge was untangling bracelets and necklaces. After a few hours, we had order. We bagged and sorted. We went through and took what we’d like or what reminded us of Mel. The rest would be given to charity, and anything of value would be sold to help fund her sons’ education.

While everything I had been doing before the deaths of my stepsister and my dad might look like a tangled mess, I can get through it if I take a small amount at a time. Re-enter with the easy stuff. No time to prove anything. No one gets a medal for returning to normalcy first. As the simple and small tasks get completed, move on to more complicated tasks and code. Have a clear idea of what I’m working on so that completion is not fuzzy. Vague is not your friend. I have messes, and they need plans.

Mess: code, dev skills

Plan: I’ve reset my 100 Days of Code plan and am abiding by its set of rules. Starting with old homework assignments. Moving to completed code that could use better styling. Return to tutorials. No plan here. If I just do one a day, that’s fine. If I do more, bonus, but one a day is fine now and forever.

Mess: fitness

Plan: 5k to 10k app. Gym 3 days a week. Moving back to 5 days a week. Walking 10 minutes a day moving to 30 or 3×10.

Mess: job applications

Plan: One a day every other day. Moving to 1 a day, 5 days a week. Goal would be 3 a day for 5 days.

Mess: Creative side being ignored

Plan: 15 minutes a day to do something with fiber. Moving to 30 on weekdays and 2 hours on weekends. Slowly. Read fiction before bedtime. Blog once a week. I don’t care what about, just write. Move to 3-5 days a week but not always about coding.

Mess: I miss my dad.

Plan: I don’t know.

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?

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.

Code Rage

The plan was to have fun with Google’s speech API, but that didn’t happen. No. Totes not true. I had a great time with it over in Codepen.io; however, my own local host and Chrome duked it out in the “Who can be the biggest jackhole” contest. I tried settings on my laptop. I tried Chrome settings. I Googled. I searched Slack Overlord. I asked real humans in touching distance. Nuffink. I won’t go into it other than to say that there may have been emails, slacks messages, and tweets that were in all caps. RAGE AGAINST THIS MACHINE OR SERVER!

Why this sucked glass shards was that I couldn’t test the JavaScript functionality of it. Not without adding, committing, pushing, testing, rinsing, lathering, and repeating. What a waste of time. I have three hounds at home. Two of them decided to eat that (don’t know what that is) and my weekend was spent checking the Googles for answers between cleaning up squirts and steam cleaning carpets. I’m not a prissy woman, but even I get over cleaning up Satan’s pudding multiple times a day.

Not one hour of uninterrupted code.

So this is where I settled for now: Whisper sweet nothings to Divvie.

How happy am I with it? If I were to lighten up my inner Francis, I’d say very. It was a lot of fun and there’s so much potential. My frustration with the mic was a huge stumbling block. I’ll still work on why, but if I put this project to bed, at least I won’t have that poo-flinging monkey on my back. I would return to Divvie and DRY it out. Use object-oriented programming. OR address the need to do this again but DRYer and try something new.  I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW!! I have wanted to do a German “der die das” game. That would work for OOP. OOP there it is!

Silver lining? I realize how much I love to code and learn how to better code when I do this for fun even when I’m exhausted from being the hounds’ poo bitch.

That’s win.


A great Dane

I’m very proud of my housemate:

I am a woman who loves her space, so accepting a housemate was hard for me, but I could not leave a young person out in the cold. Okay. It’s August in Texas, but nothing chills like heartbreak, confusion, and feeling like you have to give up.

I will respect his privacy, but I am just so proud of him. Such a good human.

Here is what I posted about him on Facebook:

I am a proud not-mom: I have a great Dane with me. He’s a 21-yo dev student from Denmark. Why is he great? He lost his housing when he and his girlfriend broke up. He has no money for rent in Austin, so I told him and the dev school that he could stay. Here’s what I love about him. He is an excellent student. He just gets it right away. Instead of doing his homework and coming home to watch TV or improve his work on his own in his room, he stays at the school and helps his classmates, often staying until after 9p. And he loves it. He loves learning out to teach others and feels proud of his classmates when they do well. He feels guilty that he cannot pay rent, but he does. He pays it forward without expectation of recognition or reward, and that is his rent. That’s what makes him a great Dane. And he lavishes attention on my dogs, so … Winner winner kibble dinner.

When I was struggling with the speech API, he looked at my code and convinced me it was my computer’s settings. I cannot test my code on my own computer and have to commit and push every stinking time. Just my laptop. What have I done? I’d have lost my mind without his help. He tells me that he did nothing, and that my code was fine, but he sat with me and read and tested it. He didn’t walk by and go to bed. Sure, my code was fine, but my frustration level was not. I still have to commit and push, refresh, rinse, lather, repeat, but at least I know the API part works. And like I said above, that’s rent enough.

Oh, and he’s promised to help me pronounce “red porridge with cream” in Danish.

Here’s to you, my Great Dane! You’re awesome inside and out.

Language Buffet

Adjustments. Oof. I feel like I’ve finished my Thanksgiving meal and am hitching the waist of my jeans over my full belly. So much oof.

I have a short-term job for a month. Not only will I be working 8:30-5:00, I’ll have a 45-minute commute (bicycle) to and from. You do the math. I’m left with too little time for my original 100 Days of Code plan: an app a day.

What to do?

I am having trouble letting go of the app-a-day version, but I have also lamented the lack of time I’m giving to learning new languages. It’s a swap. A fair one at that, too. I’ve returned to Codecademy and have a goal of completing PHP and Python while repeating JavaScript and jQuery to make sure the new knowledge doesn’t shove out the old. I majored in German. I remembered taking Italian after I finished German. English didn’t creep into the Italian, but the German did. I believe that had I returned to German as I started Italian, I’d not have been as mixed up. Nothing’s proven. I do not have enough Katys to publish a peer-reviewed article on how I learn.

Wish me luck.