100 days of code.

I've finally joined the party of 100 days of code, originally made by Alexander Kallaway. The challenge is to (you may have guessed it) code every day for 100 days. One hour, work not included. I decided to join this challenge as my new job is making me very aware of my weaknesses as a programmer, and I know the work I need to put into it to get better has to be a conscious decision.

You see, I'm rather terrible at learning. Half because I don't really know where to start and how to keep going, half because I have the need to be excellent at everything I do. And those two things combined make it really hard for me to try new things, and to push through stagnation and rough times. Just during these four days since I started the challenge, I've seen so many cool things I want to try/learn, but I know myself well enough to foresee that I'll probably do a bit of all, half-assed, and not really develop my skills much.

Thus, I've decided to dedicate these 100 days to (vanilla) JavaScript. My darling, my bae, and my sometimes very frustrating weapon of choice. I will primarily work on logic and algorithms – both way out of my comfort zone. You can follow my little journey on my Twitter and my GitHub. And this is the original repo of the challenge if you want to join yourself.

Here's to 100 days of no CSS escapes and dreams about Python.
Cheers!

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Big sis talk: fix your solidarity game.

Big sis talk is me loving you like you were the little sister I never had.
Usually it will be tough love, but love nonetheless.
If you're only going to pay attention to one part of the blog: this is it. 

People throw away their support, compassion and solidarity so goddamn easy, even within their own intersections. TL;DR: don't be that person.

If you haven’t experienced any discrimination or difficulties from being a woman in the tech industry, please understand that many women have and continue to support them. If you remember coming out as queer as easy and a relief, please understand that many others experience the complete opposite and continue to support them. If you feel good about your own body and never had a problem with acceptance, please understand that so many men and women around you are struggling, and continue to support them. If you got a trial after someone assaulted you and you’re coping well with the trauma, please understand that most people will go without a trial and that some struggle with trauma for the rest of their lives, and continue to support them.

I could go on with intersections and issues I’m not a part of as well. I see my sisters of colour being shamed and turned their back on when they speak of colourism, by people of their own race and gender. Trans women making thousands of dollars from being anti-feminists and anti-LGBTQIA on YouTube. White women turning their backs on women of colour whenever they can/whenever things start to feel uncomfortable.

The energy you gain from having a positive experience, being free, safe and able, and your privilege must be used to fight for others to have the same rights and experience. It should come naturally to you, but if it doesn't: work on it, fix your shit. Don't be that person.

Weekend links #1.

A collection of spaces (on the Internet) I've enjoyed recently. 

"Why women need iron" (as in barbells, not the micronutrient) by Games and Trips.

British Vogue's beautiful interview with Susie Cave.

This full class (50 minutes) of "Self love yoga" by Yoga with Adriene.

Button poetry's Olivia Gatwood performing her poems "Alternate Universe in Which I Am Unfazed by the Men Who Do Not Love Me" and "Ode to the Women on Long Island", and her beautiful debut book called "New American Best Friend".

Benjamin Clemetine (I already told you this), and especially his album "At Least For Now" (link to Spotify).

This lovely street art piece by M.u.M 

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November major.

I'm currently experiencing the traditional stagnation of all energy that comes with November; try to stay content even without the desired amount of progress or inspiration. It's only six weeks until the winter solstice. And I guess all you can do at this point is to keep moving.

Keep moving. Even if it's the slowest movement you've ever done. I've found a new type of favourite tea, try to stay warm at all costs, and listen to Benjamin Clementine at my desk in my bed on the bus in the living room. My days are planned ahead and kind of mindlessly followed just to keep routines and a strong foundation. Keep moving. Even if it's just swaying along to Benjamin Clementine. 

5th entry, 1st unpopular opinion.

(Trust me, there will be a lot more.) I find it funny, in a kind of sad, disappointed way, how the new era of (neo-)atheists and atheism has come with a new form of polarisation, a good dose of double standards, and a sprinkle of ironic ignorance. First, by how it's used as a justification for treating people like shit and dismissing even the possibility of trying to understand or accept the worldview of someone who's not an atheist. Second, by stripping religion and spirituality down to a simple and irrational relationship to a God or a deity. By doing that the conversation itself is already off to a bad start because it's simply not the case for many spiritual and religious people.

Let's talk about symbology for a second. The meaning we put behind words; cultural and personal associations. To me, different words have a different meaning simply in the way they resonate with me, and during the last couple of years, I've mapped which words/symbols that make sense to me and which don't; what I add to them, what they add to my life, and how they may help me and my perception. My favourite example: To me, "chakra" means the most vital parts of my body – the brain, the voice and thyroid gland, the heart, the stomach, the uterus, the root of my spine/intestines. And I can use that grouping to get a better understanding of my body and mind. There's nothing magic about it, rather the quite opposite. If any of these parts of your body feel off, it will probably affect how you by some significance. And you'll try to fix it. For some people, this way of speaking doesn't make sense or feels natural, and that's okay. For some people it does. That doesn't inherently mean they dismiss science and facts.

I read my horoscope and have a tarot deck to shed light on parts of my life that maybe don't get any attention at that point. To stop and give room for awareness, in this otherwise ever-progressing capitalist world. What I read is not necessarily "true". That is not necessarily important. I've had altars and said prayers for the sake of meditation, gratitude and self-awareness. Pledged humbleness and loyalty to the Earth as a way of committing to something greater than myself. : All which are personal acts.

And I can write a whole paragraph about group-thinking, and how that's bad no matter if you're an atheist or spiritual. Same shit, different wrapping. Never buy in on a whole sub-culture. As always: do you.

My point is, parts of the new atheist movement have become a tad more militant than strictly necessary. Compassion and kindness are still important, even if you think you can assume a person's intentions and way of life. You are not inherently good or smart by being an atheist, you are not inherently bad or stupid by being religious or spiritual. And that to get to know what lies behind a person's religious practices or spirituality is highly personal and something everyone, in my opinion, should be more open to learning more about, especially when it comes to people close to us. Writing someone off because they identify as a [insert huge group of people here] or use a certain word we associate with a certain type of people is never a good idea. And you'll probably miss out on a lot of interesting perspectives, ideas and personal traits. You don't know what you don't know.

Stay curious, loves. We got this.

St. Vitus, Prague, 2014. Peaceful and beautiful.

St. Vitus, Prague, 2014. Peaceful and beautiful.

Samhain sangria.

October, my absolute favourite month, has come to an end. I've been enjoying it with a complimentary new job (still very surreal this one), new camera (Fujifilm X100F, heyo!), new tarot deck, bold winds and crisp sunlight, regularly getting the creeps from Last Podcast on the Left (I love this podcast so much), and getting back into some kind of reading habit.

And I'm happy, all of a sudden.
Not necessarily because of the things listed, but something has changed. Good changed.

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It's Hallow's Eve and my heart is full. 

Programming 101: getting started.

I started programming vaguely when I was about 14 and had my own website that consisted of 80% flashy and animated glitter text and 20% pictures of my friends (with loads of hearts around them). I loved the structure and the (horrible) design part of it, but for some reason, I didn't think of it as an option for future jobs and studies. Fast forward to now and I'm suddenly a self-taught junior developer in an established company in my city (trust me, it feels very surreal).

I love programming because of the autonomy it gives me. It empowers me and inspires me; all the things I can create and shape, and all the opportunities that come with it. It's like sitting with a huge puzzle that you can make into whatever you want. It's challenging and it forces you to grow in several ways. But it can be hard and confusing to get started, and most of the time it's hard to keep going as well. So here are a few tips on how to approach and try out coding.

Figure out why you want to do it

This is so important for your motivation. Programming is a rollercoaster of feelings of success and failure, and when you hit a wall – and you will hit that wall many times – it's valuable to have reason to keep going.

A list to get you started:

  • You want to be able to make sleek Tumblr themes
  • You constantly look at TED talk about AI and want a deeper understanding
  • You love video games and it would be cool to make your own
  • You do other creative things and would like to show them in a portfolio
  • You have some sort of need to impress someone
  • Robots, dude
  • All of the above

Figure it out. Write it down. Look at it whenever you feel demotivated. Bonus point for more specific goals, like "I want to be able to make my own website within the next six months". You do you.

Just get started

For every Google search you do you will find a new person with a new argument telling you why you should learn these languages in this order with these sources. Coders are .. an opinionated breed, and the best thing to learn is really to trust your gut and not listen to others when they're being condescending and tell you all the things you're doing wrong. Trust me, there will be mansplaining.

The jungle of languages and frameworks are extremely overwhelming when you're brand new. My main tip here is to look at your answer on why you want to learn to code and go on from there. Different coding languages are used for different things (have a look at this infographic for a very basic overview). If games are your thing you can do Unity tutorials in C# or JavaScript. If it's the part of web pages you can see (aka front-end) you want to work with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. If masochism is your thing you should do Java (← this is a joke, but not really). And so on. The /r/learnprogramming sub is a good place to start, as well as StackOverflow and Google in general. Maybe you'll get a little more insight into trends from this StackOverflow's 2017 survey.

Resources

There are tons of resources you can use to try out different languages, to get a feeling of what you like and what you dread. These are my four favourites:

  1. CodeCademy is a classic and offers many different languages and some frameworks. It's a good introduction to coding, but keep in mind that to actually learn from this you probably have to do a course multiple times, as it tends to guide you a bit too much and not give you enough problems to actually solve yourself.
  2. FreeCodeCamp is another good way to get started. Sign up to their forum and newsletter for articles and discussions about learning and technology. This is more detailed than CodeCademy and can be a bit harder, but only in a good way. They offer HTML, CSS and JavaScript, algorithms, and are soon releasing a huge new curricilum on a bunch of new stuff.
  3. I already mentioned using Unity as a way to learn C#, especially if you're into games. They have loads of game tutorials, and you'll learn the language as you go along.
  4. The Odin Project is my absolute fave. It's harder than both CodeCademy and FreeCodeCamp, but it gives you a great understanding of Ruby, Ruby on Rails, HTML, CSS, JavaScript and more. It makes you build your own projects and commit them to GitHub, and uses tons of different resources for your learning.

Other tips

Use Google a lot. Google every word and sentence you don't understand. Ask questions (you can even ask me if you like) and read other's questions. Be active on forums and coding communities. Find out how you like to learn and do that. Go back to review what you've learned now and then. Git is a friend, even if it might not feel like it in the beginning. Keep going, even when you feel like shit. Code every day. Every day. Do this course on learning how to learn if you're terrible at learning (like me). Have loads of fun.

And one more time with feeling.

I love, you love, I laugh, you laugh
I'm sawn in half
And all the stars are splashed across the ceiling
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I carry Nick Cave with me wherever I go: he’s in the mountains and the city, in my sorrow and my happiness, my love and my narcissism; in every extremity of my human emotions, he is. In all the memories and scenes where his music has been ringing like a mantra in the back of the room or the back of my mind, he is. 

Thank you, you, for a lovely concert on Monday.
And for every other moment, you have given me.

First.

Just to get started: Hello.

I'm fumbling my way back to some kind of creative workflow.
It's been a while since I last did this whole Sharing thing, but here I am.

And here you are.
: Hello.

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(As I lack both new and relevant photos to simple greetings, I give you a shot from a morning yoga session in Malawi in April, feat. Baby Cat: the queen of Livingstonia.)