Extra Learning

With having or, more importantly, making time during the pandemic, I decided to use my time to take some classes and learn more. It helped getting rid of my cable TV in the fall of 2019.

Many Different Classes

I attended a few Creative Mornings Field Trips. They were about drawing and art, along with two different ones on making tortillas (corn and wheat). Another one had to do with creative writing.

Other classes were Marcy’s Sutton’s “Front-End Accessibility Masterclass.” It was a great class on how to make accessible HTML and CSS along with improving it with JavaScript when building websites and applications.

Food Related Classes and Books

Another event about the food I enjoyed in 2020 was the 2020 Fall Southern Foodways Symposium: Future of the South. That ran on Saturdays in October (3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th) from 9:00 SM to noon central.

I have been learning about growing my own food, small scale farming, etc. I even purchased a fermenting class from a YouTube homesteaders channel I watch. It was a great class, and I’m looking forward to making more of my own ferments. I did a few ferments before I took the classes, but they didn’t turn out as well as I expected.

I’m looking forward to all the fresh veggies from the farmer’s market in the spring and during the summer too.

I read two books on fermenting too.

  • The Fermented Man – A year on the Front Lines of a Food Revolution by Derek Dellinger
  • The Noma Guide to Fermentation: Including Koji, Kombuchas, Shoyus, Misos, Vinegars, Garums, Lacto-ferments, and Black Fruits and Vegetables by Rene Redzepi and David Zilber
  • Do Preserve – Make Your own Jams, Chutneys, Pickles, and Cordials by Anja Dunk, Jen Goss, and Mimi Beaven

I even spent time learning about food, more specifically beans.

  • The Rancho Gordo Heirloom Bean Guide by Steve Sando and Julia Newberry
  • Cool Beans – The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World’s Most Versatile Plant-based Protein with 125 Recipes by Joe Yonan

Reading Creative and Comic Related Books

I have been reading many creative books, with many of them being graphic novels on making comics. Here are a few of those books.

  • Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine? – The Art f Making Zines and Mini-comics by Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson
  • Elements of Fire – A Comic Anthology of Color! edited by Taneka Stotts
  • Cartooning – Philosophy, and Practice by Ivan Brunetti
  • Glenn Ganges in The River at Night by Kevin Huizenga
  • Drawing Book of Faces by Ed Emberley

One Odd Book

I even read a book on bee-keeping, which will help me when I get my own plot of land to grow food.

  • Do Bee-keeping – The Secret to Happy Honeybees by Orren Fox

Here’s to More Diverse Learning

So as you can see, since the beginning of 2020 and into 2021, I have been all over the place attempting to learn new things.

Drawing Faces

After a friend’s child saw me doing a digital drawing on my iPad we started drawing faces. Since they showed interest in drawing, I purchased them a copy of Ed Emberley’s “Drawing Book of Faces”. So we could both draw all the faces in the book over time.

I had purchased “Drawing Book of Faces” book and a few others of Mr. Emberley’s after Austin Kleon mentioned using them. He suggested they were great to get children or adults drawing. I thought it would be a great way to do something creative. Along with learning how to draw faces better, even if most of them were more cartoonish.

Sent Book to Friends Child

I sent the book to my friend’s child. We started by drawing only one face a day, which worked well since there are six to a row on each page. That way, if we missed a day, we could still get them done in a week.

We checked in the first week and shared a few of our drawings.

Drawing on Phone with My Finger

I found drawing faces on my phone with my finger was challenging to do. They were having issues too. So I suggested we move to paper instead. They agreed that would be better.

I kept at it on my phone and still have even after finishing the 295+ faces in the book. In some of my pages, I put more than one related face. So there are probably, closer to 325 or more paces in the book.

At some point, my friend’s child got tired of drawing and stopped. Recently, I heard they got an iPad and have been using another digital drawing application to draw instead of their phone. Here’s hoping using the iPad will keep them drawing and improving in the process.

Moved on to Next Drawing Book

Once done with the faces book, I moved on to Mr. Emberley’s “Drawing book Make a World.” This book has planes, trains, cars, buildings, ships, animals, etc., to draw.

More Creativity in My Day

I find it’s a subtle way to do some creative drawing in about 10 or 15 minutes. It can be done while watching or listening to something on my computer in the evening to unwind. You don’t need a lot of skill as I have proven to be able to do these drawings,

So here’s to more drawing/creativity in my day and yours.

Read More Books

The year started out well reading-wise. I was reading a book about every five days or so on average; then, when the pandemic hit, and it slowed up a lot.

Total Books Read

I finished the year strong in December and managed to read 23 books.

Oops, I forgot about a few digital JavaScript books I read with a remote JavaScript book club.

So I ended up with 26 books. There might be others I missed too.

My Plan

I had hoped to read a book a week as my plan, but other things happened, and I didn’t. No, worries since it’s the most books I read in a read ever besides comic books as a kid.

Book Length in Pages

Some books were longer than others and others not so much. A bunch were between 120 and 150 pages others were over 450+ pages.

More YouTube Learning

I started watching more YouTube to learn about different ways to cook, start a small farm, ideas for a tiny house, etc. More on that in another post.

Below is the list of books I read. I had planned to put them in the order I read them, but I managed to knock over the two piles. So they got all mixed up.

List of Books

  • The Tiny MBA – 100 Very Short Lessons about the Long Game of Business by Alex Hillman.
  • Do Agile – Future Proof Your Mindset. Stay Grounded by Tim Drake.
  • How to Listen to Jazz by Ted Gioia
  • Twenty Bits I Learned about Design, Business, and Community by Dan Cedarholm
  • Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine? – The Art f Making Zines and Mini-comics by Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson
  • The Rancho Gordo Heirloom Bean Guide by Steve Sando and Julia Newberry
  • Elements of Fire – A Comic Anthology of Color! edited by Taneka Stotts
  • Do Bee-keeping – The Secret to Happy Honeybees by Orren Fox
  • Do Disrupt – Change the Status Quo. Or Become it. by Mark Shayler
  • Cool Beans – The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World’s Most Versatile Plant-based Protein with 125 Recipes by Joe Yonan
  • Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison with Reny Mia Saly
  • Do Preserve  – Make Your own Jams, Chutneys, Pickles, and Cordials by Anja Dunk, Jen Goss, and Mimi Beaven
  • Cartooning – Philosophy, and Practice by Ivan Brunetti
  • Do Listen – Understand What’s Really Being said. Find a New Way Forward. by Bobette Buster
  • Oishinbo – A la Carte – Ramen and Gyoza story by Tetsu Kariya and Art by Akira Hanasaki
  • Do Story – How to Tell Your Story, so the World Listens. by Bobette Buster
  • Form Design Patterns – A Practical Guide to Designing and Coding simple and Inclusive Forms for the Web by Adam Silver
  • Inclusive Design Patterns – Coding Accessibility Into Web Design by Heydon Pickering
  • The Fermented Man – A year on the Front Lines of a Food Revolution by Derek Dellinger
  • The Noma Guide to Fermentation: Including Koji, Kombuchas, Shoyus, Misos, Vinegars, Garums, Lacto-ferments, and Black Fruits and Vegetables by Rene Redzepi and David Zilber
  • Glenn Ganges in The River at Night by Kevin Huizenga
  • The Public Library – A Photographic Essay by Robert Dawson
  • Drawing Book of Faces by Ed Emberley
  • The “You Don’t Know JavaScript Yet” series books by Kyle Simpson
    • Get Started – 2nd Edition
    • Scope and Closures – 2nd Edition
    • this and Object Prototypes – 1st Edition

I will do a more in-depth write up of the ones I like the best in the future.

More Reading in 2021

Here to as much reading in 2021 as in 2020 and more if possible.

Please leave a comment if you read any of these books and what you thought of them.

My Plans for Three Days Off

I have the next three days off, with today being the MLK (Martin Luther King Jr.) holiday. Then Wednesday being the Inauguration, I decided to take Tuesday off too to have a five day weekend.

So I plan to use the three days like a workday and spending eight hours doing things for my projects and learning. It might be broken up more than a workday, but that’s fine.

Video Learning

Each of the days, I plan to spend an hour or two watching my Wes Bos “Beginner JavaScript” video tutorials. During that time, I  will be taking notes and attempting the code examples to get used to coding the syntax.

I plan to spend an hour or two watching and taking notes of Penn and Teller’s Masterclass “Penn & Teller Teach the Art of Magic”.

I’m not necessarily watching Penn and Teller to learn magic, but to learn about storytelling and presentation. If I learn a magic trick or two in the process, all the better.

In the evening, there will be some watching of YouTube videos.  The subjects I want to learn more about are cooking/baking, farming/gardening, tiny houses, etc.

Book Reading

I will finish reading Heydon Pickering’s “Inclusive Components – Accessible Web Interfaces, Piece by Piece”. I need to go back to his other book and Adam Silver’s book to work through the examples a bit more. Below are the other two other books I’m referring to.

Form Design Patterns – A Practical Guide to Designing and Coding simple and Inclusive Forms for the Web by Adam Silver

Inclusive Design Patterns – Coding Accessibility Into Web Design by Heydon Pickering

My next book to start reading is “Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything” by BJ Fogg.

Blog Posts

I need to start outlining a few more blog posts and maybe even start the first draft.

My more significant issue is figuring out the best way to link to all the books I read last year. I don’t want to link to Amazon. But I know money is tight for some, so the lower prices and free shipping with having Amazon Prime will help. If I would I need to figure out a code for an organization/charity, I would like the earned money would help them. So need to figure that out before posting that post.

More research is needed. Any suggestion would be appreciated.

Odds and Ends

Other things that need to get done over the three days are:

  • Sending out some bills
  • Daily walks
  • Laundry
  • Cleaning the house, especially the kitchen, to make room for new spices and other utensils
  • Etc.

I might even start some sorting or items that I no longer use to donate them or get rid of them. I know where I want to donate all the clothes and the like, to Martha’s Table in DC.

Someone from the DC Code and Coffee group mentioned they are willing to come to Northern Virginia to pick things up with their car. Since they live near Martha’s Table, it wouldn’t be hard to drop them off for me.

Lots to Do But Not Enough Time

That’s a lot to get done while also relaxing some, but at least I have a game plan. If I don’t start on things, I won’t get any of it started or any of it done. Here’s to slow and steady work at the list above.

Any suggestions to help with any of this, please leave a comment.

JavaScript Book Club

I joined a remote JavaScript book club in mid-January 2020.

We are about to finish up the fourth of the “You Don’t Know JavaScript Yet” series of six books. Okay, we are finishing up the last chapter of the fourth book this weekend.

What’s Our Format

The format has been reading the free version of the second editions of the series on GitHub. We read them one chapter at a time for the first two books. Then we read the first editions for books three and four because the newer ones hadn’t been updated yet. The plan is to read the first editions of the last two books in the series.

For the first book, “Getting Started”, we read a chapter a week and met on Sunday evenings at 5:00 PM East Coast time.

We followed this format through the first two books.

Time for Some Coding

Early on, we started doing JavaScript Code Wars problems as group coding sessions on early Saturday afternoons.

Once we got to the third and fourth books and the content was harder to digest. We went to reading a chapter every two weeks. So on the weeks we were not gathering about the latest books chapter, they moved the Code Wars event to that Sunday. So now, every Sunday afternoon for me, it’s either book of code.

Recently, we started doing coding sessions after the book club part. Since we tended to get through the chapter discussion in 30 minutes. So people would then work on a Code Wars problem for another hour. Sometimes depending on the difficulty of the problem, it might take over a week or more to finish them. Part of the reason for that is because we limit the time.

Who Is Attending

People attended from across the pond in England, and once in a while, someone from Africa attends. It was 10:00 PM when we started for them. At times there have been people that hopped in from Central America and other places around the globe.

The Best Part So Far

Here’s to learning more from the JavaScript book club and meeting new people. A group from Asia/India are meeting at a different time to go through the boos we did independently. Because of the time difference, they couldn’t attend ours. I think that it’s great that more than one group is reading the same book.

Once we’re done with this series, we will need to move on to another book or series about JavaScript.

Other groups are reading other coding/tech books and not only JavaScript.

In the End

Here’s to more reading, group learning, new friends, etc.