All posts by andrewleague

About andrewleague

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Start before you’re ready

I’ve never quite been ready for anything, I guess.  I just start.

I could never possibly predict all the things that I would encounter when starting something, let alone prep for them.  If I did that, I’d find something and say “err, nope.  I don’t think I’ll be doing this.  Too hard.”  That means I’d completely lose out on learning something (or being forced to, which happens quite a bit).

My dad likes to say “When you have the money, you don’t have time.  When you have time, you don’t have the money.  If you want to go do something, go do it!  Don’t wait!”  It’s taken me to sea, various cities, racing, flying, and a couple of careers.

Like @jlyman said, “It means take a chance, take a leap of faith.”

Well said.  If you’re a christian then it definitely means lean into your faith.

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Fav subject in school

So I’d be lying if math didn’t hold a funky place in my heart.  Not because I’m particularly good at it, I just like seeing numbers create something visual – like geometric shapes.

However, it’s definitely history that gets me into a subject.  I’ve always liked the background story on a subject.  The present-day state of something only holds flimsy value to me unless I know how it got there.

This helps me get into my present day occupation of being a web developer.  It’s cool how we do things and can structure apps at blazing speeds now, but without me knowing the history of how we got to this point I wouldn’t be very interested for long.  That’s why I still have old ‘information technology’ textbooks from 1994 in my house.  It’s fun to look back and say ‘my God I remember having to do that!’.  

I missed out on a lot of internet development from 2000-2005 because I was in the military and wasn’t exactly able to keep up.  Basically I knew about Napster and that’s it.  I used to be big into IRC and tried making my own clients.  That wasn’t too good but I learned a lot.  I made my own websites and hosted them on Geocities (remember that?!) and thought I was a hacker every time I’d see a parent directory listing.  

Having said that, it’s interesting to read things having to do with the history of the internet.  Reminds me of where we’ve been, and maybe helps me shape where we’re going.

Happy Friday!

Hopefully you all are enjoying a flu-free-Friday!  I am, but I seem to be in the minority.

This has been one crazy week for me.  I’ve really not had much to say on my blog, and today I have the time, but my well has run dry.  So I’m going to catch up on our blog community’s posts and get inspired.  Writing is a collaborative effort after all.

Hope all you Iron Yardies are doing well so far and Good Luck to the Tampa class which starts Monday!

Here’s to a good Friday!  Make it your own!

Time when I was scared to act

When was I scared to act?  This is an easy one!  When I started looking for a job as a developer!  There’s always a little part of me that’s scared that I won’t measure up to employers’ expectations.  I’ve only been developing since April so I’m still learning things that people around me already know.

Also I didn’t know if I wanted to stay in Charleston or try a new place.  I’d only lived in Chucktown for 6 months but I found myself wondering about the mountains a lot.

So there I was again.  New job, new career actually, new city, new friends, new routine.  Exciting yes, but scary – you bet.

I’m a veteran at doing this kind of thing by now, but it’s still scary when I actually act on it.  Always worth it though.

$(’<h1>new-life</h1>’).appendTo(‘.andrew’);

What money can’t buy

Money can get you a lot of things.  It’s nice to have around.  Hmm… so what it can’t get you are a lot of things you really want.

Work that is worthwhile.  I’m so thankful that I get to work for a company that translates old movies to digital content.  I do the front-end development work, and while it’s very difficult sometimes, I am really starting to thrive on the challenge.

Good relationships.  It’s such a good thing to have good support in whatever you do.  I’m lucky to have great neighbors, excellent co-workers, and a family that supported me when I changed careers in a very uncertain economical time.

Daily writing prompts from John Saddington.  Apparently it’s free.

Innovation.  Actually I’ve usually been more innovative and creative when I don’t have money.  It forces me to think different.

It seems whatever itch that we feel we just have to scratch in life, seldom can money take care of it.

Phobias

Javascript used to scare me.  I simply didn’t understand it, or what was going on.  I had done pretty well just using plug-ins and off-the-shelf solutions.  It was silly but I was comfortable in my phobia.  “This crap doesn’t make sense and I’m not a genius.” and the excuse machine that I maintained well just kept on producing. So there came I time where I was cornered and had to write some custom JS.  “Fine” I said, “whatever gets me through this.”  So I got it to work.  “That’s it?  Why was I afraid of this?”.  I recognized that there isn’t any magic going on, just a logical proceedure.  Phobia removed.

This led to forcing myself to logically review other bits of code, be it JS, PHP, Rails, Python, etc.  There’s always a pattern.  They’re always doing something pretty logical.  For those times where I have no clue, I’m forced to remind myself that “Hey, a human mind built this, so a human mind can solve it”.

Logical thought doesn’t exactly result from any particular training.  It’s just a valuable habit.

A habit that’s deadly against phobias.

Dilligence

I’m helping a student go through the Iron Yard code academy.  It’s good because I not only share what helped me, but I remember the hopeless and lost feeling that came right before those great ‘AHA!’ moments.

So I got to go along for the ride, giving advice, pointing to references, and doing what I can short of giving him the answer.  That’s really what I wanted to do, but he wouldn’t really learn if I did that.

Yesterday they were off from school so he attended 3 different study groups to try and get a handle on some javascript.  All of this is new to him, he just started last week!

Yesterday I was swamped at work and couldn’t help out much so I had to keep putting him off until I got home.  Even then I was so exhausted from work (and sore from running this weekend) that I forgot until about 9pm.

I had a few emails that went like this:

“Hey I’m struggling with this, what’s a callback?”

“Dude I don’t know where to start, have any go-to pointers?”

“I’m going to my 3rd study group today, still don’t have a clue”

Before I could write back, he sent me one more:

“Hey man we figured it out!  I’m so happy that this worked out! We just didn’t give up and now it works! Check out my github and comment!”

This is the best email I could get!  I didn’t help him, he figured it out!  Getting news like this is a breath of fresh air and now I’m revisiting it while telling you.

Nice way to kick off this Tuesday!

“Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse, wouldn’t quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out. Gentlemen, as of this moment, I am that second mouse.”

Yes he is…