Category Archives: coding

Tardigrades – The One Highlight of This Post

My memory is officially shit. I apparently took way more Python courses than I have been able to recall. Like, almost the entire Treehouse Beginning Python course. I built a freaking GAME. I am incredulous. I mean – it was a very simple game, granted, but still. The Grand Failure actually did that. And I did not even remember that shit. Though it explains why Javascript has been so daunting – I keep wanting to do Python things because there are so many similarities (for loops, splice, etc) and yet very important differences (why the fuck would you want to use a dollar sign, Javascript?).

Anyway. I found this out by logging in to my Treehouse account after 2 years (because I really want to start it up again but I can’t afford the $25 a month, dangit) and there in my profile were all these badges of accomplishment – and I have over 3,000 points, whatever that means. But it’s all like it happened to a totally different person. Which is almost sort of true. Looking back, it seems I was preoccupied with some bullshit. This may explain why I don’t remember all this stuff. So would my PTSD – one of the fun bennies of having that is that you remember all the shitty stuff but the good memories elude you.

Speaking of Javascript, though, I wish up front someone would tell you, “Hey, it’s good to know the deal with ASCII/Unicode values and how they relate to the alphabet because that shit may come up”. Because it does come up in one of the courses I am taking, and it was not mentioned in the directions that this was even a concern, or that in fact it even existed in the Universe. I mean, literally out of the blue, and having no knowledge of this, I was stuck on a problem that I could not solve. But since I did not know about this, and since it came up, and since I got all irked about it, I know now that I will never, ever forget it. And that is worth feeling like a clueless noob.

it’s sort of amazing how that works. We dread the difficult things, but it is with the difficulties that we grow and learn the most. New opportunities are often borne from difficulty. And most things worth doing are usually a bit difficult or daunting, at least at first, and at most, all the fucking way through.

Man, I can really tell Mercury is Retrograde because this post is a great big electronic YAWN. Too bad I can’t throw some ASCII dancing girls in here to liven it up. Or an ASCII Mrs. Maisel – but she’d have to bring ASCII Alex Borstein.

The tardigrade, or “water bear”

Yeah, so the next post will probably be about the sexual ideation of tardigrades, something fun like that. Did you know they are immortal? And that no matter how you may try to kill them, they come back to life? And they can withstand the pressure of SIX THOUSAND ATMOSPHERES. That is seriously incredible. I can’t even withstand the pressure of poverty.

I would make a terrible tardigrade.

And hey, how the FUCK is SIX THOUSAND ATMOSPHERES OF PRESSURE something that humans can measure? When that amount of pressure would smoosh anyone or anything, excepting of course the tardigrade?

Magnets – how the fuck do they work? 😉


Javascript Resources: A Slight Rant

Javascript is not hard. (Falls over dead)

Yes. I’m in the thick of some serious Javascript pain over some things I don’t understand. But hey, hear me out.

What I think is really ‘hard’, is TEACHING Javascript.

Why do I think this? Because – with ONE amazing exception – for every course, every book, every online tutorial I have come across, there seems to be a point where they forget themselves and include something in their example/solution code which they have NEVER DISCUSSED OR EXPLAINED, and expect you to have come up with it on your own in the given exercise.

It would not be such a leap of logic for me to assume that they are unaware they do this; I posit that people teach mostly because they want to SHARE their knowledge, rather than vague it up. But vague-ing it up seems to be the order in which these things sometimes flow.

To be quite learned about a topic and have the need to pare that down to the basics must be a daunting task. I imagine it’s very hard to weed out the things that are too advanced for a particular place in a lesson, and the temptation to jump ahead to loftier concepts must be great. And there are really great resources out there – I just think it’s better to use a variety of them rather than tie yourself to one and only one resource.

Which is why I have resourced so many books, courses, and online tutorials: I am trying to fill in these gaps.

I want to be at expert level. I want to understand WHY every single thing happens and I want to understand ALL of the code. I have a long way to go. But I will get there, as long as I keep going.

And that is the thing with learning to code. You have to keep going. Even if it takes going over the same thing again and again. I did not think I would ever understand the formula for computing correlations because coefficient this and binary that and square root the other thing, but to my surprise, after reading it, giving it some time to process (because this is important – here’s why), and going over it again a few more times, with breaks in between, I get the whole thing. Which I was fairly sure was impossible.

SO if you are learning to code and you are reading this and perhaps struggling with Javascript, I’m here to say it again: KEEP GOING. Eventually things will start to gel – not everything at once, but some things will start to make absolute sense and begin the daisy chain to the rest of the things. So hang in there, damn it. You can do this.

Okay, end of weird non-sequitur pep talk. Here is a much better pep talk from someone far wiser than I.

Free Javascript Learning Resources

Here are a few resources which are pretty good, the above notwithstanding:

Eloquent Javascript – the latest edition of the entire book is online. Not only that, it has a sandbox built in where you can fill in the exercises and test the code. Home of the aforementioned coefficient formula (oh, the pride of finally grasping that!). (If you find reading a paperback much easier than reading from a screen when taking in large amounts of info, you can use the sandbox in the online version and pick up the printed version here – Absolutely amazing resource not only for Javascript but also for HTML and CSS. There are tutorials, a guide to tags, actions & methods for each language, and a “Try It Editor” where you can run the example code, and play around with it so it makes sense and makes a few new neuronal pathways.

FreeCodeCamp – I may be using this resource completely wrong. It starts you off with challenges but there is no direct way to the guide that explains everything; though the forum is easily accessible, I didn’t know through the whole first module that you are meant to look up things in their guide. This might be why I’m having the “you should know this even though you haven’t had a lesson in it yet” syndrome. Anyway – you can get certifications at this site. Start off reading their guide and then start the challenges to possibly circumvent the issue I have had. (For instance, in finding the link to the Javascript portion of their guide, I just unearthed a big list of additional freakin’ resources. Which I did not previously know about. I need to internet better.)

Also: I’ve signed up for a few Udemy courses in Javascript but I have not gotten into those yet. When I do, I will post my impressions.


Welcome to the Palindrome

I just sat down and coded from start to finish (and with no help, yay) a Palindrome Checker in Javascript. Every day I have spent at least an hour but usually twice that on learning to code. I have been piggybacking different courses and tutorials because I’m a Woman on a Mission.

And that mission is…. SURVIVAL!

Dramatic, right? It needs theme music though. And that “In a world…” movie announcing guy. But I think maybe he died? Dunno. Gee, if only there were some sort of thing in existence where I could look up random information!

Anyway. I am very excited about this development. And since I always post my angst and neurosis, I figured I’d shock the whole system by posting about Something Good.

And now I must wait for the Other Shoe To Drop, as always happens after Something Good occurs. Great attitude.

Yeah, I’m working on that.


Insert Throbbing Temple Vein Here

“Remember the magic of chaining functions!” says the tutorial that up to this point has NOT ONCE MENTIONED CHAINING FUCKING FUNCTIONS.

This is getting irritating. I do not have an envelope up to my forehead like Johnny Fucking Carson so I cannot predict what information that I HAVE NOT YET LEARNED will suddenly be needed in a challenge that I am working on. Is it so unreasonable to ask that a tutorial actually TEACH YOU THE SUBJECT MATTER before they ask you to demonstrate your ability with said subject matter? Is that crazy? Am I crazy?

Okay, yes, I am crazy, so this is making me CRAZIER. Which is the last thing this fucked up world needs right now. Off to Google with me to look up CHAINING FUNCTIONS, for fuck’s sake.


The Impossible Dream

My eldest cat, who is eighteen, is blind. She screams all day. I say “screams” and not “meows” because it is usually not her standard meow, but instead a howling caterwaul that sounds like how I sometimes feel when I post to this blog. It is blood curdling and, frankly, nerve-fraying. I do my best to soothe her. I make sure she isn’t hungry or thirsty, I make sure she doesn’t have to use the litter box. I pet her, talk to her, sing to her, kiss her on top of the head. Any fix I try lasts for approximately 10 seconds. And then it’s right back to Scream Time. So basically everything I am doing lately is with this backdrop of abject feline misery.

If that’s not enough to make me feel not so good at the life thing, clips are not doing well at all this month. I mean, generally speaking I am not pulling in much from them, but every little bit helps and some months are better than others. I am pretty sure that other people doing this are better at it in one way or many and make significantly better bank than I, because I don’t see anyone besides myself doing this for long without much reward. Why then do I do it for not much reward, and for as long (excuse me, fucking long) as I have? It takes a long time to recover from a psychotic break, first off. Secondly, systems are not set up so that one can easily be weaned off of them, particularly when said systems are set up only for subsistence and not for leveling up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Spending every day scrambling to do better sucks up a lot of focus.

Not that this will stand in my way. I am stubborn. And though some may believe that hope is a pipe dream, I still see value in it. It is the fuel that keeps me going. The hope that with enough focus, enough effort, even with the bullshit obstacles that stand between me and the serious improvement of my situation, I can overcome. Some may say that my hope is directed toward something ‘too good to be true’. That it’s overshooting to imagine that I could go from what I do now to what I want to do. To that I say, it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t have a choice.

I got started on this road because I lost my job due to mental illness, which violates the ADA – but I didn’t know about the ADA, and I didn’t know that I could apply for Social Security Disability. At that time, I had enough credits. I was absolutely eligible. But my husband, who loved letting everyone know what a Socialist to the Nth Degree he was, didn’t bother to tell me about these two things. I just figured, well, I have to do something to earn a living. And so I did. I I pulled something out of thin air, rather than get assistance from the government. Who knows, had I pursued the idea that the government could help me, what might have happened had I applied for SSDI at that time. I would have gone down a completely different road. I would have had access to needed medication, I would not have worked in jobs where I got no SSDI credit, I would not have met the person who put a gun to my face and who would eventually hold me against my will and assault me in numerous ways. A lot would have been different. A few things might be much better. A couple of things would be missing from my life though, and the people that I now treasure, I would not know. So you know, it evens out. In fact, interpersonally, I come out far ahead. I am lucky, and grateful for that fact.

But, because I worked instead of applying for disability at that time, I am now a “lifer” on a much lower, less survivable form of disability assistance. That is, unless I can pull off the rabbit in the hat trick. Some may think it’s not feasible. But some didn’t think it was feasible that I would be able to rehab myself to the point I am now at, post-psychotic break. One therapist even went so far as to say, “You will never be happy. You will be lucky if you are able to function at all.”

Yeah, she probably should not be a therapist.

There are still some speed bumps, even if the road turns out to be mostly smooth, which is a big even to throw in there. I am still inconsistent in a lot of things, though I try to work on this fact daily. I have a lot of ups and downs and bursts and dearths of energy. Sometimes my brain is a really scary place in which to hang out. And sometimes I get stuck in the past, because there is just so much of it that was traumatic and hurtful and confusing, and because I am trying to unravel all the wrong things I learned and replace them with correct things.

I read a tweet yesterday that nearly knocked the wind out of me, it was so resonant. It was about being just intelligent enough and just high-functioning enough for people to glance over and assume that any sort of difficulty a person was having with things like organization or going places or communicating or what-have-you was not due to illness or disorder – in this case ADHD, which I also have – but to be difficult out of spite. I can’t even tell you how many times that has happened to me. How many times people have summed me up incorrectly and figured, “Oh, well if she can do THAT, then she can also do THIS, and she JUST DOESN’T WANT TO.”  In fact, shortly after my psychotic break – which lasted four months before anyone even thought that maybe my bizarre behavior was a sign that something had gone terribly wrong in my brain – my mom said to me, “That stuff was all just because you were mad at me, wasn’t it?”

She wasn’t saying that out of any kind of cruelty or anything, she just did not understand, having been born in the times of Walk It Off or Be Lobotomized. She listened when I explained that it was mental illness, not spite, that caused me to behave as I did. But a lot of people don’t listen, and they don’t believe. Some of these people are actually doctors. But present as high-functioning and you can be easily labeled as attention-seeking or worse, a malingerer.

Whatever, though. In the end, all of this is a bunch of words, and I will be aided mostly by action. And that action is learning to code. I have achieved a total of seven certificates so far, but only one of them recently – the first six were from a false start two years ago. Still, this one cert is a big deal for me, and now I am trying to figure out something I was never taught – how to set goals, and create a logical daily plan of steps to achieve them. We shall see how that goes.

In the meantime, I am doing the best I can as I can grab time to focus on it. It can be frustrating, because sometimes the free site I am using leaves important info out and then gives you a problem to do that utilizes the info they left out and it feels like you are expected to just magically “know” it. It is really easy to say, “I’m not cut out for this”, but the thing is – I am.

I am cut out for this. I believe I can do it. I do not know how long it will take. I do not know if it will result in my super-hoped-for goal of a really good job. But I am finally using my mind again, and that feels so amazing, and so right.

There is a place within each of us, no matter how stressed, no matter how crazy, where the judgement of others at long last falls away, and we feel most ourselves. The trick is finding out how to access it.

What can you do today that will help you access that place?