Art and Empathy

The other day juniper couldn’t sleep. She was distraught and frustrated. I got into bed with her and when she started expressing her frustration I would say “it’s ok, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to worry about sleeping. You don’t have to go to sleep right now. Just enjoy being in my arms right now.” We were both asleep in minutes. When I woke up, I felt like we had somehow repaired a tear in the fabric of the universe. I felt like a little part of me was healing and a little part of juniper was getting something that just might last her a lifetime. All it took was my act of love, patience and understanding, and her acceptance of it and trust in me. 

I was proud of myself right then and I wondered… how did I learn the patience and empathy to see this was the right thing to do? I think this is what art and curiosity has taught me. This ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and try to give them what will help them, is not expressed in mainstream media enough. It needs to be injected into our daily lives however we can find a way, so we learn how to be good to others. Public education, art, public access television, offer us plenty solid examples of humanity doing things right in this crazy world. 

Warsan Shire poem – “for women who are ‘difficult’ to love.”

you are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
forget you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.

Don’t Panic

So… a few thoughts. The moral of this story is:

don't panic
Don’t Panic! Do. Not. Panic. Remain Calm.

I am relearning old (to me) stuff (JavaScript, CSS3, HTML5, bootstrap, mysql, WordPress) and learning new (to me) technologies (React.js, Angular.js, Ember.js, Node.js, git) at home, alone, utterly alone. So very utterly alone with my screen full of letters and number and brackets. Developing alone, learning to code alone, is a touch racket. It is not for the faint of hearts. Software is a pain in the ass to troubleshoot. A royal, girthy, unlubricated pain in the ass. The only reason I can do this without jumping out my window is because I’ve got many many miles of software troubleshooting on these old tires of mine. I know when they’re gonna grip and I know when they’re gonna slip. I also don’t bother jumping out the window because I’m only on the second story and I’d only manage to break a leg, which would only worsen the situation. But I digress…

What was I saying? Troubleshooting, right. I have to continuously remind myself that I have the skills to figure out any problem I encounter. Last week it was completely uninstalling mySql from my Mac. Not as easy as it sounds, I first had to figure out that the problem I was having had to do with machine migration and how mySql doesn’t like to do this. Am I digressing again? Maybe I’m postgressing? Maybe I should have been postgressing.

Working from home makes you kinda loopy.

Yesterday I broke one of my dev environments. I really broke it good. And I was kind of afraid I’d have to rebuild the whole environment from scratch. I have an itchy trigger finger and if things aren’t working, I’m liable to just chuck it and start over. This time, my friends, I kept my cool. I just sat on it for a while. I thought about all the ways it was broken, and I had a lightbulb moment where I figured out how to fix it. See? I got this. Easy peezy.

I really need to remember that I have the skills to do this. My ego has been messing with me something fierce. I think it’s time to put the “Don’t Panic” sign up behind my desk.

Deep breath, go do a head stand. put the code down and go hug your child. The code isn’t going to get more broken if you ignore it for a day.

ReactJS For Stupid People

This person is hilarious. It’s also a great perspective on what React is and isn’t.

Laughing outloud to this little tidbit:

There are three separate, competing quickstart guides. I’m overwhelmed and I’m not even drunk. The sidebar below that is straight out of my nightmares, with sections that obviously shouldn’t be there, like “More About Refs” and “PureRenderMixin”.

bash_profile vs bashrc

I’ve been spending a great deal of time with BASH lately and I’m confused about best practices on the mac. I found this helpful article.

Why two different files?

Say, you’d like to print some lengthy diagnostic information about your machine each time you login (load average, memory usage, current users, etc). You only want to see it on login, so you only want to place this in your .bash_profile. If you put it in your .bashrc, you’d see it every time you open a new terminal window.

Another thing to keep in mind is that MAC OSX keeps it’s .bashrc file (located at ~/.bashrc on linux/unix) in a file located at /etc/bashrc

Using source .bashrc or source .bash_profile will switch back and forth

This post has a nice table of escaped special characters you can use in your prompt.

Also helpful is the sequence in which MacOSX and unix look for bash setup files and how to set up an if statement

The Tech Gender Gap: The Lack of Women Coders and the Movement That’s Fixing It

I recently wrote an article about the lack of women coders.

Women programmers are almost as rare as unicorns. Take a peek into any developer meeting and you’ll most likely find one or two women surrounded by room full of men. It’s a subject that has been passionately investigated by many institutions and organizations, but simply shedding light on the problem hasn’t seemed to have made a difference. The alarmingly low number of women in software development has been well documented. An internet search for “women in tech” generates a lengthy list of articles investigating well known issues such as a hostile “brogrammer” work environment for women, or pay disparities and lack of advancement opportunities. Young women are still being discouraged from pursuing degrees in computer science (math class is tough!), and if they make it through school, they face a rough road in the tech industry. The term “gender diversity” is batted around freely in most major tech companies but the numbers still don’t increase. With all this talk and little results to show from it, diversity in the tech industry is literally a joke.


About Eliza

ELIZA is an early natural language processing computer program created from 1964 to 1966[1] at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory by Joseph Weizenbaum.[2] Created to demonstrate the superficiality of communication between man and machine, Eliza simulated conversation by using a ‘pattern matching’ and substitution methodology that gave users an illusion of understanding on the part of the program, but had no built in framework for contextualizing events

Seattle Times: Women game developers fight sexism in industry

Susan Kelleher, staff writer for Pacific NW Magazine writes about the current state of extreme sexism in the gaming industry and gives a hopeful look towards the future.

“Gaming culture has been pretty misogynistic for a long time now,” says Edwards, 50, a lifelong gamer and developer who worked on Microsoft’s Halo. “There’s ample evidence of that over and over again . . . What we’re finally seeing is that it became so egregious that now companies are starting to wake up and say, ‘We need to stop this. This has got to change.’ “

Read it.

Free Hour of Code Workshops Dec 5-11 2016 at Apple Stores

Thank you Apple! During the holidays, ask December 5th through 11th, Apple stores will be offering a Free Hour of Code Workshop.

Cupertino, California — Apple today opened registration for Hour of Code workshops at all 487 Apple retail stores worldwide, from December 5 through 11 in celebration of Computer Science Education Week. Among the most popular events at the Apple Store, Hour of Code workshops teach the basics of computer science with’s programming tutorials. Apple and share the goal of giving every student the opportunity to learn computer science.

Read it.

Why Sass is indespensible

On Carey Wodehouse writes about why SASS is an indispensable part of web developing.

On her list of benefits to working with SASS are: Variables, less code, better responsive design, code snippets, more modularity and the power of nesting.

Make your CSS even more modular—and easier to work with. The more complicated an app gets, the bigger its CSS stylesheet gets, leading to more complex code that is harder to maintain. But that doesn’t mean it has to be a pain—and Sass takes care of this with “partials.” Partials are essentially code snippets, like the ones you’d find in libraries. These keep larger files more modular, but they don’t get compiled to CSS because they’re not complete files. Think of them as building blocks within Sass, and ways to maintain cleaner code in a logical way.

Read it.

The Tech Gender Gap is Widening

Tech Republic article by  from October 20, 2016.

Research released last month from CompTIA identified a lack of role models as one of the main factors discouraging girls from considering careers in tech. Only 37% of girls age 10-17 know of someone with an IT job, CompTIA found.

Awareness is also a problem: Of girls who have not considered an IT career, 69% reported that they did not know what opportunities were available to them, and 53% said additional information about career options would encourage them to consider an IT role.

“We found that while all these kids understand tech from a gadget and device perspective, they don’t really understand what an IT career could be—their idea is that they could only work at a helpdesk, or in an IT department,” said Carolyn April, senior director of industry research at CompTIA. “But a tech career could be a million different things in a million different industries.”

“Once girls learn what is available, their interest is just as piqued as the boys,” April said.

Best Wireframing Tools

A nice article by Creative Bloq on the best wireframing tools out there.

On the Freebee list:

Penultimate, Pencil, Mockflow, Framebox, Hot glue

And don’t forget… pen and paper

Wireframing tools
There’s nothing quicker than grabbing a pen and paper
Yes. An actual pen. And some real made-from-wood paper. Okay, so these don’t allow you to make a prototype, and there’s no built-in elements. But, if you feel more comfortable using a more traditional approach, why not get your ideas down on paper first and refine them in software later?


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Eristalis Arbustorum – Hover Fly

Today’s bug of the day “Eristalis Arbustorum.” Looks like a bee, is a great pollinator, but it only has two wings, so… it’s a fly! They are often called hover flies or drone flies. Thats a great way to tell the difference, there are a great many flies out there acting like bees. They are cute, sweet, and they help our flowers and fruits. Be kind to them.

Hover Fly – Eristalis



Julie Green at UPFOR Gallery

Julie Green
Julie Green at UpFor Gallery

Julie Green (b. 1961 in Yokosuka, Japan) wanted to be a stewardess until age four, but became a painter instead. Green’s work has been featured in The New York Times, aWhole Foods mini-documentary, National Public Radio, Ceramics Monthly, Gastronomica, and 7th edition of A World of Art published by Prentice Hall. She has exhibited widely in the United States and internationally. A 2011 recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, Green also won the 2015 ArtPrize 3-D Juried Award and is a 2016 Oregon Arts Commission Fellow. Half of each year, usually in winter months, she works on The Last Supper, an ongoing project about capital punishment in the United States. Green lives in the Willamette Valley and is a professor at Oregon State University.

A selection of Green’s My New Blue Friends paintings exhibits in the Governor’s Office in Salem in July and August 2016. She is also included in Portland2016: A Biennial of Contemporary Art, curated by Michelle Grabner and presented by Disjecta Contemporary Art Center.