Everything is a Box. I Repeat. Everything is a Box!

Tonight was a first for me in my learn to code journey – which began a mere 2 months ago when I registered for my first HTML/CSS course on Codecademy.  Since then, I’ve completed their HTML/CSS, Javascript, and jQuery courses to completion.  Then, first week of January I enrolled into the Iron Yard Academy’s 12 week Front End Engineering bootcamp.  The knowledge gained has been incredible thus far.  So much so that I had another first tonight…

Tonight, my classmate Alex and I taught our 1st Iron Yard Kids class for HTML/CSS – 1 of 6 classes that this amazing course offers FOR FREE.  Our class is made up of twelve 13-18 year olds, and some of these kids are already WAY ahead of the curve – having already completed more Codecademy courses than I have… :/

I may be slightly biased, however I think the first class went incredibly smoothly and I think the kids are going to get a lot out of this course in a short period of time.  Here is how today’s lesson plan went:

  1. Alex and I introduced ourselves, gave a brief history of who we are, why we’re here, and what our hobbies were.  Yes Alex claimed with great pride that he enjoys smoking meats in his spare time – lol.
  2. Next, we laid 3 ground rules for the course: 1) Have Fun   2) Learn A Lot   3) Ask Tons of Questions
  3. Next, we went around the room, and every student had to state their name, grade, and their favorite website.  An interesting takeaway – 3/4 of the room said MineCraft and YouTube were their favorite sites.
  4. Then we had an unexpectedly short download party – everyone already had Chrome installed and the planned Sublime Text install came to an abrupt halt once we realized half the machines were Chromebooks and couldn’t install it – so we worked with Codepen instead.
  5. Then I took the stage and we entered into a general discussion about how building a house is ALOT like building a website.  I polled the room and they said in order to build a house you need a Plan, Foundation, Walls, Floors, Wiring, Paint, Furniture, etc.  This prompted my GRAND metaphor for how HTML is the Foundation, Walls, and Floors of a webpage and the Paint, Wallpaper, and Trim is the CSS.  I hope they got this metaphor – I certainly was proud of it.
  6. Next came the “BOX” mantra that certainly got in grained into every child and parent in the room.  Everything that lives on a page is a box.  The page is a box, and the images are boxes within that box, and all the text you see are also boxes inside that main page box, box, box, box, box this, box that, box salad, box and potatoes, box stew…. uh that’s about it, Forrest.

    box & potatoes, box soup, box gumbo, box & grits…
  7. We then started playing in Codepen and gave them a visual demonstration about how to setup basic header tags and how when you open a tag you ALSO have to close that tag.  And once we had some basic text on the page, we made that text different colors and changed the Left, Center, Right positioning on the page.
  8. Then we shifted gears, and showed them Chrome’s Inspect Element and how their favorite websites were just a TON of HTML boxes and CSS styles.  I witnessed some light bulbs turn on when this happened.
  9. Then one of the students recommended we check out Cookie Clicker and that was a bad idea because I lost control of the class for about 5 minutes and heard ~10,000 clicks in that period.  No more Cookie Clicker became Ground Rule #4.
  10. We wrapped up the class by giving a homework assignment of complete the first 2 modules in Codecademy’s HTML/CSS module AND to create a Codepen that included 5 of their favorite youTube video embeds (another thing we went over earlier in the class).

Overall I think the 1st class was a big success and every student walked away with learning at least one thing — that EVERYTHING IS A BOX!

but you already knew that by now…

{quick aside} – some of the students pulled us aside after class and asked for MORE work – so we told them to challenge themselves in Codepen and make a really awesome page that represents their 3 favorite hobbies.  I greatly look forward to what they come up with by next week’s class.

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My Morning Routine

Heard another great podcast today, courtesy of EntrepreneurOnFire, and it was a bit of an epiphany moment.  Specifically it is episode #589 with Hal Elrod, check it out if you’re looking for inspiration.  Hal is the author of The Miracle Morning, which I have not read, yet has already changed my life (I plan to read the book, so don’t be ugly).  During the podcast, he goes into the power of the morning routine and how it changed the course of his life when he was in his darkest place.  And his evidence is VALID.

Now as I reflect on the past couple months since my lay off, I can admit that my routine in the morning has been anything but productive and systematic.  Sleeping in, late starts, snooze button… I was not actively creating a great future for myself, I was stalling and dreading the hunt… then I got hungry.  I kickstarted my metamorphosis with the front end engineering course at The Iron Yard, which forced me into a daily and weekly schedule.  Everything happens for a reason and began to falling into place and this new schedule led me to find this particular realization that is…

SPENCER NEEDS A MORNING ROUTINE.

EVERYDAY – NO EXCEPTIONS.

not like I needed HIS approval…

Sounds simple, and you’re thinking duh! Spence, but the point is I wasn’t doing it AND had never really architected one that I loved and stuck to routinely.  So, I’m here to share my morning routine and I hope it inspires you to take action on creating a morning routine that’s personal to you and helps you towards the success you seek.

-side note: I’ve been adhering to this for the last 6 days and my routine has evolved.  I’ve added elements and taken some away – but the core framework and foundation has been laid – it’s ok to make alterations, in fact it’s encouraged.

-update (2/11/14): added positive affirmations

-update (2/18/14): added cold showers to the routine – testing its effectiveness

-update (2/26/14): cold showers are here to stay – really enjoying the positive effects 


 My Morning Routine [~1hr]:

  • Wake up at 6:30am – go pee.
  • If Dani is with me, hold her for 15 min.
  • Calm.com for 2-10 minutes
  • Brush teeth, floss, scrape tongue, down a 16oz glass of water.
  • Shower-time – 50% of shower is lukewarm and last 50% is cold (added 2/18)
  • Shave (if needed)
  • Put on underwear
  • Exercise (~5-7min)
    • 30 push ups into a 1 min downward dog
    • Stand up into 15 slow toe touches and hands high reaching
    • 30 air squats, slow at first – increasing speed
    • Deep lunge, hip flexor stretch (30 sec each leg)
  • Say my positive affirmations (added 2/11)
  • Get dressed and pack my daypack
  • Make bed
  • Downstairs to eat breakfast and listen to the EOF podcast
  • Out the door or starting activities by 7:30am

And that’s it!… For now.  I’ll leave you with my first thoughts every morning as that alarm goes off.

MLK Dr. on Dr. MLK’s Day

Today is Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday and while many people were at home laying low and lounging, I was up at the crack of dawn and getting over to the Iron Yard campus over off of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive because I had JavaScript to learn.  This isn’t some “oh hey internet – give me a pat on the back for working on a holiday…” NO.  I bring that to your attention because I humbly proclaim that I wrestled this weekend with some very basic JavaScript concepts and I was determined to sort them out today and not get left behind.  See, as I learn more and more and dive deeper and deeper into JavaScript, I notice how it’s the a lot of the same core concepts over and over again – just written a different way or seeking out a different result.  So if I don’t hammer the foundational principles early, well I’m going to be up the creek without a paddle in the next week or so.

So were there any breakthroughs today?  Short answer, yes.  I threw my hands up a couple of times like I was doing the “Y” from YMCA and gave a couple fist bumps to some other fellow students (jellyfish!)

The best thing accomplished today was building confidence with creating functions and realizing the power of pre-defined methods on strings and arrays, particularly arrays.   After researching the Google-sphere for answers, I came across the .split(), .reverse(), and .join() methods to be used on arrays.  Here is the exercise that turned on the Ah-Ha! lightbulb.

Instructions: Define a function reverse() that computes the reversal of a string. For example, reverse(“jag testar”) should return the string “ratset gaj”.

My Answer:

var reverse = function(string) {
var split = string.split("");
split.reverse();
console.log(split.join(""));
}

Now this may seem easy to a professional, but for a 2nd week beginner like myself, this was like Forrest Gump learning he could run and break free from those silly “stupid is as stupid does” leg braces.

He might be the stupidest son a b**** alive, but he sho is fast! HAHAAA!

Thanks for reading, more to come I’m sure.