Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Oh man! I've really ignored this place!

I can't believe it's been over a year since I've written on this blog. Well, yes I can. My priorities have shifted quite a bit, certainly away from learning Python. I think my brain just gets stuck at a certain stage of the learning process and I can't break beyond the barrier. So I give up and pursue an avenue that's a little easier to navigate (or one that I feel more passionate about).

But that's changing.

I've made a number of abortive attempts at learning in other venues including Codecademy. I felt like I wasn't learning how to program there either, but a number of months ago (I don't remember how many), I "started with the basics," as Edna might say, and revisited Codecademy's vanilla-level HTML tutorials. I know. That's shamefully elementary, but I wanted to get back into an area where I felt comfortable and at home, and then start ramping up again...slowly.

But I got distracted again and let it slide.

However, performance evaluations have a habit of shaking one out of complacency and overcoming inertia. I perform some routine maintenance tasks on two websites for the folks I work for. No real heavy lifting, just add a blog post, insert a news item, post a job listing, that sort of thing. We hired a company to do all the design and development which I would be helpless to accomplish.

Now, one of my goals for the coming year, my official work goals, is to learn more about web design and maybe even some development work so I can take greater responsibility for our sites. My boss will pay for any training that I want (within reason). The problem is, where to look for the resources I need to accomplish my goals (and they're not tightly defined)?

I decided to revisit some old friends of mine, namely the Certforums IT certification boards. I received some suggestions besides the CIW Web Design Certification I was initially considering. You can click the link for Certforums to get the details.

While asking more questions online and pondering my options, I logged into the Codecademy site and discovered that I had stopped my last tutorial right on the edge of "Introduction to CSS".

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) has been a sort of nemesis of mine, although I don't know why. It shouldn't be any more complicated than HTML but some sort of phobia kicked in and I dropped that one like a hot rock, too.

Today though, with new motivation in hand and no other viable option immediately available, I decided to give Codecademy another whirl and I was hooked. Everything seemed so easy (not that I've done that much yet) and I felt like an old dog might still have a few tricks left in him. Mind you, this is light years easier than programming, but I've got to start somewhere.

I've been missing this blog. It was my first blog and I have a nostalgic attachment to it. I see that fifty people are subscribed so when I post a new article after over a year, I can only imagine fifty people are going to fall over in shock...or wonder, who the heck is that, having forgotten all about me and an old blog called "A Million Chimpanzees."

If you've taken the time to read my entire request posted at Certforums and you'd like to respond with something helpful and polite on this blog, I'd be appreciative. If not, then at least I've gotten the ball rolling on this neglected corner of the blogosphere.

As I discovered when writing on another of my blogs (where I spend most of my time these days), blogging is a great way for me to process information. I think that's what I was trying to do here too, but the information wasn't sticking so my determination flagged. Since I've made learning basic web design skills a work goal along with a number of other priorities, I can't just drop it again. What I can do though, is blog about what I'm learning, what I'm not learning, where I'm stuck, and where I'm going.

I don't expect a lot of people to care (barring spammers, of course), but like I said above, any reasonable suggestions and responses are welcome.

As I make my way through the next series of Codecademy tutorials, I'll post my progress. If something else comes up, I'll mention that, too. If you've got other suggestions (books, online resources, and so on), let me know.

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