Can Cartoon Foxes Teach Me To Be Smart?

Last night I dreamt in code. It was a “sick” dream. You know how when you’re sick you have the worst time falling asleep, and then when you finally do you have those kinds of dreams that repeat themselves all night? Especially if you’ve been concentrating on something in particular before you fall asleep? It was torture.

I was concentrating on code. I’ve grown tired of being poor, and have been looking for smart ways to improve myself, improve my marketability to earn more than a living wage (read: scraping by, trying to claw my way out of near-poverty).

Silly me. I seem to have convinced myself that I have the same computer aptitude that my Aspergers kids have. Never mind that they’re growing up surgically attached to computers, autistically inclined to soak this coding stuff up like sponges, and the only code I ever wrote was in my Apple IIe class in middle school.

Can I do this? Can I read books and tutorials on coding without nodding off in my recliner with my mouth open? I’m not so sure, but I’m going to try, because I would love to earn $108k a year.

My 10 year old somehow went from playing Minecraft to coding Minecraft, and I have no idea when or how that happened. I wasn’t looking.

My 16 year old developed a fascination for computer games starting when he was two years old. Before he was three he was finding cheats in Bugdom (a game that used to come pre-installed on Macs), and from there developed (through lots of practice and yelling) expertise in all things Nintendo. He’s been coding for several years. His big thing for the last couple of years is using Google Sketchup to create his own Mario Kart tracks, which he uploads to the Wii to play with his friends. Umm… HOW DID HE LEARN TO DO THIS? Where did he even get the idea that he could do this?

I feel sort of stupid. And old. But I’m not dead yet, so I may as well try to catch up somehow.

So I started looking at this website called Skillcrush, which was developed by a very smart woman for women she thinks can and should get smarter (hey, me!), and I enrolled in their free 10-day bootcamp, which teaches a bit of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and introduces you to programming languages like Python and Ruby.

And I finished the first five days of that bootcamp in about four hours. And I thought to myself, “Hey, Kat, you are a freakin’ genius!”, and I went to the next lesson thinking I was going to finish that within the next half-hour because I’m so brilliantly smart…

And I read it, and it was written in Advanced Ancient Alien Language (Python), and the guy (WTF, Skillcrush Girlfriend?) who was teaching that part of the lesson kept saying stuff like, “This is going to be harder for you if you’re OLD, so suck it up!”… and I sat myself down in my recliner and fell asleep with my mouth open while my brain dripped out of my ear.

I woke up later and wiped up my brain, determined to find a better way. Google is my friend. If the guy begrudgingly teaching Python to old people was going to be an asshole about it, I was going to flip him the bird and learn Ruby on Rails instead. And I found this other guy… this NICE guy… who didn’t seem to think I was stupid or old, who believes that anyone can learn Ruby.

His name is Why. Full name: Why The Lucky Stiff… I shit you not. Okay, so that’s probably not his real name, but that’s what he went by online before he disappeared. Yes, disappeared. I worried when I read that, but Google assured me he still lives and is just hiding from the internets to find his happy place.

He wrote this book called Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby, which is available for free online. This guy is an angel, and do you know why? Because he wrote this guide with comics!! With foxes! If it’s written in fox comics, anyone can understand it, amirite? Well, so far, so good. I started it, and I don’t feel like a total moron.

Now I just have to drag my butt off my blogs to go read this stuff. Wish me luck!

Oh, and if you’re female, and a coder, I’d love to hear how and why you learned to code, and how you use it to earn income. Please share?



    • oKatniss
      oKatniss says:

      Learning code is like learning an alien (as in outer space) language, only with a lot of english involved. It’s strange and fascinating.

  1. Allen says:

    Hi Kat!
    I remember when I was building my role-play site and learned HTML by just doing it. I would look up a single code on google, and implement it, like “how do you change the size of text?” then look up another code, and implement that. Before long, I was writing all my own code. I did put nine years into it though, but I would say after two or three years, I was fairly proficient. Just remember, it doesn’t happen overnight! It takes work and hands on doing it. It’s not easy. But you can do it if you really want to. After a while HTML was starting to become dated and there were knew and better coding/languages that were being developed – CSS/scripts, Java, etc. I just gave up. I couldn’t keep up with the changing times. I would have to put so much energy into learning knew languages and I just wasn’t into it as much as I was when I first started, so I just bailed on the whole thing. But it WAS an exciting experience. I am EXTREMELY proud of myself for what I did/how much I learned. My parents kept telling me to go to school for it and make money at it, but I just couldn’t imagine sitting in front of a computer for a living. I would go mad! I’m too much of a people person!

    As for those sick dreams – I HATE those! I try to get drunk and pass out when that happens, so I can actually get a few hours of “normal” sleep.

    Good luck girl! There are bigger and better things out there for us! I miss my old job, but only for the security of knowing I’m going to make a certain amount every week. I/we will find something better! I’m sure of it!

    • oKatniss
      oKatniss says:

      HTML is still legit. While there are bigger and better languages, websites still include, or are based on, HTML with the other codes used to purty ’em up and make them more dynamic.

      Go check out Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby. i have a feeling you might get a kick out of it.

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