750Words d3: Ideas (picture books)

Whoo hoo! I’m three for three in the goal of forever! I’ll take it. I won’t publish them all. The purpose of 750Words.com is to just write. It is not to write to you. Sometimes I’m too whiny, sad, or mad. Enough yuck out there without my adding to it.

This topic came to me as I work through a VueJS tutorial by Maximilian Schwarzmüller. I like to have a plan build as I learn. I find it especially helpful as I’m getting smaller chunks in with an instructor like Big Max. Because his tutorial is organised into small chunks, I have little breathers that allow me to think to myself, “How would I use this?”. I could say that after an hour, but then the “this” would be more about a larger concept instead of smaller tools. It’s harder for me to think “How will I use Vue” or “What will I build with Node” than to ask myself how I could use changing the style dynamically with Vue and a method.

I have more time now to think, plan, and write. Not much more time, though, so let me just publish this and move on to my next lesson. (today’s stats)

When I taught math to 4th graders, I loved reading aloud from picture books. People can blather on about chapter books as though a child must graduate from picture books to chapter books completely. Books are no classrooms; however, you learn plenty from them. I believe that a good picture book offers so much more to the reader than what a chapter book can. Mind you, I love fiction and wish I had unlimited funds so that I could sit home and read and not apply for jobs. I am not here to compare the two as though one is better. There’s enough of that bullshit between childless-by-choice and parents, stay-at-home moms and “working” moms (“”s of sarcasm as we know that SaHMs work plenty).
Although I was a math teacher, I read to the children plenty. One group could handle “Flatlands” even. Expurgated. I’m not a fool. The kids were 9 and 10. There were some things they weren’t going to hear for the first time in their math class! I also read “Where the Red Fern Grows”—not once without snotty tears. But what I absolutely loved the most was finding a beautiful picture book. I loved a good story and the complementary pictures. Read, show, read and show. A good story does not have to be a long one. For me, length is how it stays with me.
Mostly the stories I read were what you might think about when you think of a picture book: an adventure, a lesson learned, a special someone, cute animals, etc. That’s what I thought of when I started teaching, but we had excellent librarians when I taught. They pointed me in the direction of picture books that explained math concepts: multiplication, exponents, geometry, etc. How awesome was that? I still refer to those books when I tell people that math and art are not separated. Proportion? Ratio? Geometry? Symmetry? Have you not heard of daVinci, Michaelangelo, Mondrian?
When I stopped teaching, I remember wanting to write children’s books to make math less frightening or to supplement a math concept. Wanting to write is much easier than deciding to write. Deciding to write is different from having the story and concept down.
It goes without saying that I have not written a book, but in the years since leaving the classroom one never leaves teaching), I have discovered my love of coding, specifically HTML/CSS, JavaScript and its libraries. I am currently getting my VueJS and NodeJS on, and while I’m learning them, my mind keeps returning to writing a picture book. I can’t draw. I can. Everyone can. I am not an artist one pays to draw. How is that? Clearer? Especially as I work through VueJS, I think about making a picture book with my words and my SVG illustrations.
Until I get skilled enough, I need a place to store ideas. I’ll start with a few here.
I love ABC books. Edward Gorey is wonderful and a reminder that picture books and ABC books do not have to be cutesy. Why not one for math or narrow it down to geometry? If geometry, less about ABCs and more about just terms? I’m teaching coding to children (middle schoolers). What about the ABCs of dev. Or keep it to language or basics? What about a build-your-own ABC book? Let the student choose the theme, letter (no need to build ABCs in order), and supply their own images? The program could scale the images to the appropriate size. The child just needs to make the SVG on her own. I don’t know. Work with me here! What made me think of that one is that so many city- or town-specific books aren’t about the town the child hails from. Why not have Clare from Pooperville build an ABC book of her town? Andrew from Fartzburg might build the ABCs about what the people in his village do. Why not? ABCs of good deeds? Seriously, ABC books are unlimited as all they have to be is in alphabetical order. How is that for a scope?
I’m too new of a dev to have that be a theme for me, so I’d have to return to that.
I have greyhounds and have fostered them for years. I’m deeply concerned about their treatment by handlers and the industry. I know that some handlers and greyhound owners who race them truly do love their dogs, but the industry is not friendly. You, Mr Gentle Owner, may keep your hound long after she’s stopped winning and until a ripe age of 16, but we all know that is not the norm. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who do not know a lot about the greyhound and don’t think of them as an option for a pet. “They must need a lot of space.” “They must want to run all day.” “They’re so big, and I have an apartment.” All myths. Greyhounds and other sighthounds won’t be for everyone—same with any breed—but the more literature that is out there, the more people will read and consider. Maybe a book will help a greyhound find its forever home, and maybe it will keep the wrong person from adopting and surrendering. No. Do not adopt a greyhound for you to do your 10k runs with. Usain Bolt is not a marathoner, right?
MATH (of course)
I specifically think of 4th graders as they’re at that cusp of going from concrete-sequential to abstract. I used to have a car covered in bumper stickers. Covered! All over. Not just on the bumper. In the middle of the back was one that read “I hate bumper stickers!”. Students who thought that was hilarious were ready for fractions. Those who were stumped and confused? Well, perhaps this year wouldn’t be the year they got fractions. There are so many ways to show math in a picture book: ratio, fractions (but please leave the cliché pizzas out), division, multiplication, factorials, … Of course, addition and subtraction, but that’s getting to an age I’m not aiming at.
Huh? What? How hard is it to parent and bring up awful topics? I’m thinking about pet death, a parent’s job loss, bullying, body changes. There are many topics here, but to just write and include images without researching the topic and how to address it to kids? This is heavy. I’d have to be careful. I should be careful with any topic, but obviously these have an edge to them.

I hope to add more when I think of them. I should also probably quit adding and start planning, but that is another post!

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:

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 9.24.00 AM
It’s you vs. Farmer Ted.
Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 9.23.39 AM
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.

Two ways to kill code mojo

Break my motorcycle. Break my quadriceps.

Thursday: I read about coding, specifically Ember. I had plans to hit the EmberATX meet-up with some pre-knowledge. I knew that I’d be a kindergartener listening to Ph.D.s, but there’d be things I’d pick up. No one quizzed me. This was not mojo killing. It was mojo filling.

It’s walking out to your motorcycle and seeing that someone knocked it over, buggered up the paint, broke mirrors and lights. To really kill my mojo, they left a note with a false number. I did not ride home from the meet-up, and run inside to read more about Ember and fiddle with my Color Palette. Nerp. I rode home cautiously without functioning mirror. I covered up P.J. Soles (my bike), and went inside to look at mirrors online and think about the $$$ whooshing out my accounts.

Tomorrow. Yes! After a bad day, I’ll enjoy a Friday in and code.

Then this happened when tomorrow became today:


I accepted a short-term assignment and proceeded to cycle to the wrong office (10km), then back UPHILL to the correct office (15km) and back home after work (11km). We all know why motorcycling was not an option.

I’m knackered. There’ll be no coding. Not unless I can have an event listener toss my dead ass into bed. I’m even too tired to eat. At least I’ll wake up knowing that I can have frozen scoops of deliciousness for breakfast.

I am hoping that reading about coding will count. Of course it counts. My blog. My rules.

100 Days of Code: Numbers API

When I was in the midst of my coding bootcamp, my kitchen and utility rooms flooded because … I don’t know. Something blocked it, obviously, but I chose not to drill into my house. I run the washing machine water outside. That’s solved the problem. I also have very green grass. But at the time, was I this blasé about it? Aw hayull no. I fell apart. I saw the damage and wondered if I could afford it. From that day on, everything was about finding a job to pay for repairs. I could not think straight. What would I have to sell? Do I really need to wash my clothes?

That stress became a huge obstacle, and it came just as we learned about AJAX requests. I don’t know if it was clumsy typing or what, I was just not able to do them well. Sometimes not at all. Not without help. 

Now that AJAX is not part of homework, but just part of coding for fun to keep up the skills, I do not see the difficulty. Not at all. I am looking for third-party APIs to play with, and I’m not finding that getting or manipulating the data is something I cannot do. What a lesson in the damage stress causes us. 

I don’t know how I’ll use this later, but I had fun with it. The only awkward moment was getting excited to see my first trivia snippet on the date and then to read that it was something about the Nazis. 

Numbers API trivia

(I will also add 4 more chapters to “Learn Python the Hard Way” to my 100DoC. I WANT CREDIT, DAMMIT!)

100 Days of Code: Getting the Scoop

I’ve been dragging my heels on doing an about-me page. I just find blathering on about myself to be an exercise in wankery. 

Still in a doodle mood, I came up with this after staring at my backyard and wondering if I should clear the landmines. I used to teach 4th grade. I myself am arrested at 10, so I understood their humor. This little app shows that. 

I got beaten up by my getRandom function, but I solved that by just making the entire app simpler. Since I come alive around 4p, I have less time than I’d like to have. I am up late anyway, but I have my limits. 

Get the scoop

No-eyed deer, dear.

No ideas for my next day of code. No. That is most definitely not the case. Too many ideas coming at me. 

I admire those who code every day. For my plan, I am not counting the times I do min-pens or widdle fiddles or returning to older projects to tweak. I want to start and stop in a day. Some days I have eight hours. Other days I am lucky to have two. And then there are the days I just let roll by me so that ideas can come and go, stay or not, grow or die. I think of ideas like a school of fish (some with a poop trail). If I reach into the pond, they just scatter. If I just chill, they hang around me, nibble at my toes, and make me giggle. Unless they’re piranhas. 

I think I’ve had my rest. The idea fish have nibbles my toes enough. I’m happy to stay home this weekend. I have a foster greyhound and do not know how he’ll do with the fireworks. I’ll stay home and have my fun. Happy 4th! 

100 Days of Code: Scavenger hunt

I had fun with this one because I got my doodle on and made my own things for a fish to find. The fish is the rare Torinfish. So rare, that there’s only one. Torin is the daughter of a friend, and I made this app for her. She loves to swim, so I am having her fish clean the pool. There are 10 objects to find. 

I did not finish or get as far as I wanted to, but I left it functioning. I am happy as it is and look forward to making these changes on another day:

  • Having a list of items that either disappear as I find each or an empty list that builds.
  • Make two random number generators that come up with the top and left position for the hidden objects so that no two rounds will be the same. 
  • Have a button that starts a swimmer, and the user has to find all of the objects before the swimmer finishes. 
  • Make more doodles!!

Scavenger hunt: clean the pool

Good fun, but it’s bed time now. Nuh nye.

My life right now is a sausage

My animal menagerie has doubled because of houndsitting and visiting relatives. Everyone is needy. Feed me. Love me. Scritch my ears. Admire my tooty tushy. (Greyhounds may look classy and elegant, but—egads—do they ever stink up a room). Packing this into my life’s sausage casing.

My coding goals are all over the place. I am doing my best to keep up with 100 Days of Code while also coming up with smaller projects and finishing off larger ones. And when I’m not trying to realize my ideas into code, I’m trying to come up with them. Now I’m packing this into my life’s sausage casing. Casing’s getting plump.  

Exercise. Oh yeah. How I organize my thoughts. When the brain is full of ideas going this way and that, I “comb” them by going straight. I run out and back. I swim up and down lanes. I cycle out and back. Loops are fine, but once I add turns, I have to remember where I’m going, when all I really want to do is organize my ideas. Comb them straight:

How would I make an exercise or game to test a person’s knowledge of German noun plurals or gender? When do I turn left safely?

What could I do to play with basic animation in CSS? This street doesn’t have a bike lane. Bugger!

When can I meet with Anna to go over our class proje—Was I supposed to turn there? 

No way. Comb. Straight out and back out and back. My mind requires exercise. I don’t require a Garmin or a FitBit, but I do require getting away from the laptop and animals for some mental organization. So stuff that into life’s sausage casing.


It’s a good thing that I love sausage. 

Mmmmm. Sausage.

100 Days of Code: Day Twelve

Life got in the way. No regrets. The time away forced me to think and not do, especially on the two 15-hour road trip days. I could just think and plan. Couldn’t even write ideas down. My co-pilot was 14, so I couldn’t convince her to take the wheel. Not even for cookies. 

I took the daughter of some friends from a camp to their home (states away). I had a great time hanging out with a 14 year old who did not know me at all. Her mom and I hadn’t really thought about that too much. Didn’t matter. Even better was that aside from being delightful, she’s a talented artist. I asked her if I could use her drawings when I code. 

I wasn’t sure what to do first, but a basic experiment with hidden buttons and making them the shape of what they cover was plenty for me as a warm up. I’m just now getting my rest back. Oh, but I would do it again. I look forward to watching her skills take off.

Tevka’s dragonfly

Did you check out the wings? Are they not just perfect? 

Now I have to figure out how to honor her sister’s personality and swimming skills. 

100DoC: Day 10ish

Yesterday I could not finish my memory game. I will. I need help. Or a rest. I’ll get both. Maybe even some ice cream. 

Instead of donning my cranky pants, I opted to do an -ish. This is day 10ish. Day 10 is still a memory game, and don’t you forget it. Although I could not get the code right (yet), I learned the Fisher-Yates Shuffle algorithm and revisited prototypes. Today I decided to play with both. 

I brought the Array.prototype.shuffle from yesterday’s code into today’s, and then wrote three more functions that used my very fancy and kind of sexy prototype. I scrambled eggs, which also was an exercise in CSS shapes and dynamically inserting elements into a hardcoded element. I shuffled my name, which was not at all challenging. I shuffled your name, which entailed my capturing the name from an input field, doing some .string() magic, and then shuffling. 

I kind of like making prototypes. Unfortunately, it sounds all robot like, and whenever I think of prototypes, I get that dumb Styxx song stuck in my head. If I should suffer, you should, too: