Continuing JavaScript Education

I am still working on learning JavaScript. It’s hard. But I’m not alone in the struggle.

There will be times when reading this book feels terribly frustrating. If you are new to programming, there will be a lot of new material to digest. Much of this material will then be combined in ways that require you to make additional connections.

It is up to you to make the necessary effort. Take a break, reread some material, and always make sure you read and understand the example programs and exercises. Learning is hard work, but everything you learn is yours and will make subsequent learning easier.
– Eloquent JavaScript by Marijn Haverbeke.

I have found some good resources in books.

  • First, as I just quoted up there, Eloquent Javascript by Marijn Haverbeke. It’s great, and it’s free online.
  • JavaScript for Kids by Nick Morgan (so good!)
  • Beginning JavaScript 4th ed by Paul Wilton and Jeremy McPeak
  • Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja by John Resig and Bear Bibeault
  • A Software Engineer Learns HTML5, JavaScript and jQuery, by Dane Cameron
  • Thinking in Javascript by Aravind Shenoy, and
  • Mastering Javascript Design Patterns by Simon Timms.

Not one of of them have I completely finished reading, but I think they were all good resources and I don’t regret any money spent on them.
I wish I had them all in hardcopy print; trying to read for comprehension on a Kindle is just not the same.

Now, once I had randomly purchased some of these books, I realized that you can’t just dive deep into code books indiscriminately.
I purchased Mastering Javascript Design Patterns optimistically thinking “hey this is an O’Reilly book, it must be awesome” and not realizing that it has a big disclaimer that you should really have a strong grasp on JavaScript before you actually use the book.

So, I suggest, start by reading Eloquent Javascript online (or purchase it!). Also JavaScript for Kids is fantastic – that one is really the first one I picked up. it made the language seem friendly.

My personal trouble is that I haven’t yet learned how to “think like a JavaScript programmer” and I am not good at breaking a complex problem down into bite-sized chunks that I can tackle using the JavaScript tools in my belt. This bothers me. This reminds me of all the classes in college that caused me to get out of Engineering. I just don’t intuitively have the problem-solving gene, or whatever it is. But that quote at the beginning of Eloquent JavaScript gives me hope.

When you are struggling to follow the book, do not jump to any conclusions about your own capabilities. You are fine—you just need to keep at it.

Inspiration vs. Distraction

I have an addiction.

Didn't buy it...yet

Frankly I am sure I have a ton of addictions, but I am only considering one in this post: I love to buy books. And, since I only have so much shelf space, I concentrate on buying books I can’t just go get in the library. Consequently, I don’t have that many novels (though I have my favorites). Instead I concentrate on How-to books and Field Guides.

Right now I have just noticed (thanks to Amazon suggesting it) “Yet Another Art Instruction book I Cannot Possibly Live Without”. The book is called Manga Matrix: Create Unique Characters Using the Japanese Matrix System by Hiroyoshi Tsukamoto.  Now anyone familiar with the stuff I doodle will say “But Rachel, you don’t even draw Manga style anything” and this is true. But I find the style (frequently) very pretty – especially when I think of Ghibli or sometimes Clamp, etc. I have several books on the style just to reference anyway.

But my real question, which should probably be posed over at http://Conceptart.org is this: When do you say to yourself “Intervention! Buying one more art instruction guide is not going to help you improve; actually drawing is the only thing that will actually help you improve”? 

That’s one of those questions I don’t like!

Jury Duty

Monday
Monday I had Jury Duty.
Of course, in my head when the judge came out I called him “Udgey” and when the prosecution came out I called him “Edgeworth” and the defense was “Phoenix” – and, strangely, it was a little bit like that.
No the defense and prosecution and judges weren’t like that, really – the jury was!

Stolen from DS Fanboy
Stolen from DS Fanboy

The defense and prosecution started out by asking questions of the jury, to see if anyone was unfit to stay (due to some kind of bias), and it was amazing the weird stuff that came out of the woodwork.

They disqualified one person, and the replacement was the granddaughter of the previous judge in the court. (And she looked like someone that could be in an Ace Attorney game, too – she was about 19 and had loads of blond ringlets and was continuously chewing gum.) Another jury member turned out to be the neighbor and friend of the prosecuting attorney. They asked if anyone had ever had a crime committed against them and fully half of the jury raised their hands to say they had had their homes/cars broken into. And this is a small rural village, not some kind of grimy downtown depressed area!

I had no idea it was so hard to pick a jury, even in a little case like this.

Anyway they didn’t pick me to stay on the jury, so I actually got some other things accomplished like sending a package to Philippa Ballantine (go read her books/listen to her podcast novel) and getting my snow tires put on. I helped babysit a 5 year old for about an hour, too. I went to get out all my old action figures so he’d have something to play with and I had 2 Darth Vaders, 2 Darth Sideous, and 1 Darth Maul Uhh… well everyone knows bad guys are coolest anyway.

Other things I did yesterday include impulsively buying The Secret Sketchbook of Brian Froud. (I’m not sure I’m happy with this purchase.) I even made some art [$5 + shipping, if you are interested, e-mail glimmer (at) glimmerville].:

Buy me, I'm cheap.
$5
Also, the description of this Tome of Levity  game supplement book cracks me up. Any game mechanic that lets you eat the fruit out of still life paintings is awesome.
 And one more parting link: A poem by G. K. Chesterton, that was quoted in part on The Sonic Society.