Addendum: Keep Going In Spite of Rejection

I am listening to to Writing Excuses podcast, and they just said something that I really wanted to add to follow up the post I made on failure.

“There is no easy way. This is so much harder than you think it is going to be. Do it anyway because it is so much better than you dream.”

– Howard Tayler.

“Rejection is not negative-validation. You should not be requiring external validation to continue working on your craft. Keep writing. Those things you are tempted to see as negative validation will happen throughout your professional career, and if you can’t write while this is happening, you will have a problem. Learn how to keep writing.”

– Brandon Sanderson

On Quora I have been seeing some negative comments on the likelihood of becoming a web developer in mid-career.  While that may be true, I am going to take these writing quotes and apply them to everything. I know I crave too much validation (I have been compared to Rarity, I’ll let you Google that one.) I want people to say my art is pretty and my story is cute and pat my head over the tiniest thing. No one but your mother will do that in the real world (though, on the Internet you can surround yourself with a circle of people who always like your work, but that’s just a bubble).

Anything worth doing is going to be hard – right at the beginning of Eloquent Javascript it points out the difficulty of the journey. As David says in 2 Samuel 24:24 you can’t offer up something that costs you nothing and expect to reap blessings from it.

Everything takes hard work.

Living in a State of Failure

That may sound like a very depressing title, but keep reading.

I’ve been listening to Code Newbie podcast, especially Episode 60, Impostor Syndrome (an interview with Alicia Liu). I, according to the episode, really don’t have Impostor Syndrome. Few people do. She’s pointed out that it has become a buzzword. Right now my feelings of “code inadequacy” are not from any syndrome, they are from learning new stuff. Of course I am not good at new stuff, I am still struggling to learn it!

That being said, I do wonder if “this is the right thing to pursue”. Alicia Liu does touch on this, that while coding is the new hotness, it really isn’t for everyone. The thing she said that resonated with me, is that coding as a job is (paraphrase mine) living in a state of failure. Nothing you code is going to work right the first time. I think it’s good to know this going in. I am kind of a perfectionist. I don’t like failing. I don’t like error messages. When I was a full time technical editor/writer my goal was to comb every document so well that the QA department wouldn’t find anything to bleed red ink on. But, after years, I finally realized that when someone marks everything you did up and changes it, it really isn’t personal. A second set of eyes is always going to see things to change, or point out how they would have done something differently. I’m still learning this, honestly, it’s hard to get it to sink in. But I’m hoping that this will help me for code reviews in the future. Knowing that your ugly code is being changed, not because you are a failure, but because that’s part of the process, and that you’ll get better with time. The code is still going to get thrown out, but it isn’t a personal attack.

What do you think?

Online Learning Tools (Part 4)

I’ve showed you some of my favorite tutorial sites. Now I’m going to briefly describe some of my favorite tutorial podcasts. I love podcasts. I listen to them on my long commute, and sometimes while I’m at work. I sometimes embarrass myself by starting half my conversations with “I was listening to a podcast and someone said…”  Here are some of the ones I have found truly inspirational:

When looking for podcasts iTunes, I always find a lot that have “podfaded” and aren’t ‘making new episodes. They might be worth looking up, but I didn’t list any. I also avoided podcasts marked “E” for “explicit language”.

Web Development:

Start Here
This is a really wonderful podcast, designed to step you through the process of becoming a web developer. They have homework assignments, too! These guys are sincere about what they teach, and invite feedback.

Build & Launch
A new podcast for 2015, you can easily listen to this from its beginning to its current episode, and I suggest you do! Justin Jackson will make you want to make things! He gets me fired up. For season 1 he had a goal to launch a new project every week. I can’t wait to see what happens in season 2.

Coding 101
I don’t catch this one very often since I can’t watch a video podcast while driving to work, but I do recommend this for anyone who wants actual code examples. Father Robert Ballecer is a good teacher. I’ve watched this on my Roku.

Art:

Chris Oatley’s Artcast/Paper Wings
I have never seen anyone as intense about art as Chris Oatley, except perhaps Jerzy Drozd. These fellows take visual storytelling more seriously than a lot of Christians I know take Christianity, and it blows my mind.  Be prepared to analyze everything and come away realizing you don’t work hard enough! (Chris Oatley’s Artcast and Paper Wings are basically one show with two feeds, but that link will get you all of them.)

Lean Into Art
Jerzy Drozd is a master visual story teller who isn’t afraid to let you see the inner workings of his art, life, studio, and mind. He shows you what it takes to be a full time artist, and what you have to give up for your art. He is sober and personal and sweet and friendly and makes me want to attend his classes. These podcasts sometimes come with art challenges you can post via twitter to get comments and critiques.

Pencil Kings
Mitch Bowler finds a new rising star to interview in each episode, and they are always proof that if you are in the right place at the right time doing the right thing you can create your dream job. Or at least, someone somewhere did. But they never make it look easy!

Additional Resources:

These two I found while researching iTunes to see if there were any other good resources. I haven’t actually listened to them much yet.

<Web>Agency </Podcast>
A Responsive Web Design Podcast

 

Yet a Few Games More

(The title was a riff on the delightful podcast of Paul Tevis, that you can find here.)

As mentioned in the last journal I bought a card game, called Rage. I also bought Farkle, and played Save Doctor Lucky. (Note: not Kill. You lose points if you accidentally say Kill.)

Now, Rage was very fun, even though I don’t like trick taking games. The fun part was the company I played with. Farkle was less fun, because I lost, and I’m not always a good sport – and it was so hard I had to make a house rule to add an extra die. We also tried it with two extra dice, but that made it too easy. Save Doctor Lucky worked surprisingly well, considering we only had 3 people. I used a chunk of glass that looked like an ice cube for Doctor Lucky’s meeple. I didn’t think about how ironic that was, on the Titanic.

I was playing with my family. And it turns out that shorter games work better with them. Much as I wouldn’t have minded buying a copy of Wealth of Nations or Pandemic, I can’t see many of my local friends playing it. (Not counting my game group – they are actually an hour away so I don’t consider them “that local”.)

Here are some more fairly-quick-to-play games on my radar screen. If you have any experience playing these I’d love to hear about it. (Also I shall be checking out BoardGameGeek.com)

Tuesday I began a game of Spirit of the Century, a storytelling game of pulp action heroes! Let me just say that any game that involves crazy scientists with explosives (note: they were not the enemy!), and fighting ninjas on a train in 192- is 100% supreme in my book. The game play may be podcast, and I apologize in advance for my own voice and annoying (to me) laughter. But I do not apologize for picking on Chance Random, the Improbable Man With The Strange Arm Of Living Wood That He Inexplicably Got From Mysterious Druids Under Cardiff* Being a woman of [mad botanical] science (in this game, especially), that bothers me to pieces. The next time we play won’t be until April, but I’ll be working on my maniacal laugh.

 *Perhaps that is not his official title.

(Board) Gaming the System

I know it wasn’t long ago that I posted a list of podcasts I listen to, but I am going to review and expand on a few of them. In this blog post I’m only going to talk about board games, not tabletop/paper/war/rpg games (or electronic or card games for that matter, though I love my DS.). I am extremely blessed that I get to go to the “International House of Johnson” (aka The Secret Lair) and play board games every couple of weeks (weather/schedule permitting). It is a fun thing to play games face to face! This weekend my grandmother turned 81 (perhaps I shouldn’t have just blasted that over the Internet, but oh well), and I still forced her, my grandfather, and my dad to play Seafarers of Catan with me (and we had a good time – once we got past the “isn’t it set up YET?” part; this is why I don’t own Battlelore).

 

The Dice Tower

This podcast offers a massive amount of information. The two co-hosts are Baptist missionaries in Korea! I think this is just great, but even if you don’t, don’t let it scare you – I have never heard them talk about religion on the show. But it does ensure the show is very family-friendly. I said they offer a huge amount of information, and it’s true – every other week they have a series of segments in their show, offering a “top ten” game list, with explanations of why they were ranked the way they were, and since each host has a separate list there are usually many more than ten games discussed. There is even a “43 second review” of a game, and they answer listener’s e-mails, and have a lot of discussion about the difference between American and Euro style games. When you know more than 10 games will be described on each show, you can be sure you will get a lot of information! The Dice Tower is sponsored by Funagain Games, which is a good source for buying games, I assume, having not actually used it. They also have a guild on BoardGameGeek.

 

The Game Kennel

The Game Kennel is one of the podcasts under the “Pulp Gamer” suite of podcasts. It replaces the “King’s Court” which used to actually rate games from 1 to 5 stars ( “LEGENDARY” ). The Game Kennel, in order to be, I suppose, more “PC” instead describes a game, and how it is played, and who it most likely appeals to, and then allows you to decide for yourself whether it is the game for you. It’s still good info! Check out their other podcasts too, for industry interviews.

 

Have Games, Will Travel

I actually got to meet Paul Tevis at Origins 08, which was exciting. He’s the first podcaster I ever recognized by voice. HGWT is not producing any more shows – but you will still get a lot of information from downloading the old shows! Some of the shows were about board games, some were about rpgs, but all had in-depth information.

 

There are surely more board game podcasts out there, but these are the ones I listen to.

 

Of course you can buy a lot of games on Amazon, but if you can find one, it’s much better to support your local game store! Even if the price is higher, the relationship you build is worth it! My local game store is called Infinite Monkey Games, and they’re good people.

 

Another thing that will contribute massively to your enjoyment of board games is finding or forming a game group, so you aren’t consistently 1) inflicting the games on your immediate family and 2) buying games that you hate because you didn’t know until you tried them. This is ameliorated when you can play the terrible games someone else already paid for first!

 

Finally, a HUGE source of information is BoardGameGeek. This big forum contains player-submitted information on just about every game ever made. You can find links to acquire out-of-print games, and discover everything from game rating, and approximate play time, to age range, or even how many forum users played the game in the last month.

 

So whether you’re a newbie or a grognard – why not make time for a board game today! 

The Sound of Silence

I hopped merrily into my car this morning and fiddled around hooking my Zen: Vision to the trickle charger/fm transmitter, and let it charge during the hour commute this morning.

When I got to work I forgot about it, checked e-mail, etc. Twenty minutes later I tried to turn it on and it didn’t turn on – and it was blazing hot. And so, somehow, my poor Zen is fried. The IT guy at work took it apart and disconnected the battery, which was running hot without stopping. He thinks it is a circuity failure and not a battery failure. I don’t suppose it matters much.

Anyone have suggestions on a replacement?
I tossed this idea out on Twitter and got various replies.

High in the list are the new Zens and the Zen X-fi. Also high in the list is the Zune.
I have around $300 to blow prayerfully consider spending, and would like at least 30G space on the thing.

No, starting with the letter Z is not a prerequisite.

Podcast Extravaganza!

I thought I’d give out a list of all the podcasts I listen to (with links!)
And if you want to suggest some more, please comment!
 
 
 
Podcast Novels
“Heart of the Hunter” – by Sam Chupp
“Chasing the Bard” – by Philippa Ballantine
“Playing for Keeps” – by Mur Lafferty
“Space Casey” – by Christiana Ellis
Nina Kimberly the Merciless” – by Christiana Ellis
“The Takeover” – by Mur Lafferty (Ok, not exactly a novel)
“Quarter Share”, “Half Share”, “Full Share” – Nathan Lowell (And many more)     

Of course there are lots of other good ones out there – I just haven’t listened to them yet! I plan to get to Billibub Baddings and Murder at Avedon Hill soon.
If your podcast novel is not on this list, well, I’m sorry but I am… picky and will just quit if there’s a lot of profanity or other “mature content” that I don’t want piped into my head. I really tried to listen to Infected and 7th Son but just could not make it through. Sorry guys.