Getting ready hang out my “Open for Business” shingle.

Excited to have some mud on the wall that is actually nice to look at. I’ve been trying out several modifications and some were a total mess. That is how I learn, by doing.

I’m putting in too many hours without a break. I’m getting to the point where I’m just not as efficient as I should be and normally am. Time to plan a day or two off. Maybe experiment with waking up extra early then pushing some work. Taking a long break. Work again then call it a day. Possibly start a big project on the house. There are enough that I have pushed off.

Looks like I get an interview with NuCamp. That will be fun. Except I’m a bit nervous about the skills part. I just haven’t used CSS, HTML, and JS enough to recall much very quickly when I’m nervous.

Still in my WordPress Theme writing Deep Dive.

I am really deep into a deep dive learning the internals of WordPress themes. I’ve worked my way through the theme template hierarchy. Interesting and amazing but convoluted. Got to be learned and very useful.

Next to learn are the myriad tags. Just tons of information to learn, much is obsoleted and can be looked up, but I’ve go to learn enough to know what to look for and where to quickly find it.

I think that it is time to put learning on the back burner and concentrate on getting some WordPress websites up and running as demo projects. My blog, just some simple demo sites and Joyland Neighborhood Association.

Also I got my Flavicon up and running. In case you don’t know what that is just look at the little icon of my smiling face in your browser tab.

Starting a Deep Dive into WordPress

I am beginning to warm up to the idea of doing freelance work. This should allow me to both study and firm up on the skills I learned in the Awesome Inc’s Boot Camp, gain experience and build a really good portfolio and reputation. This will set me up to getting a really good job later. Meanwhile I will keep on looking for a job. Doing freelance does not mean that I’m not looking for a job.

So I purchased a highly recommended course on how to build WordPress themes from Udemy and dived right in. Because I was feeling quite sad and distracted about my friend Joseph’s untimely death the first part of the week was not nearly as productive as I had hoped to be.

Also slowing me down was the fact that I’ve never actually used WordPress. So just learning how to use it to add content and see what a none-programmer user could do to customize it was a prerequisite of the course. Learning how to set it up on my computer was fun and now I’m ready to set up site for my neighborhood association.

By Saturday I was making good progress in the course. My plan is to finish it, coding and testing everything on my local machine. Then go through the course again, both coding in my local sandbox site but also design an actual custom theme for my blog. I’ll move my blog from it’s current location and framework (React) to WordPress. Furthermore I plan to build a couple of plugins, a ToDo list. Then I’ll do a blog for my wife, or maybe a family site, then do a couple of restaurant sites, just for showing off my newly acquired WP customizing chops.

Rest in Peace Joseph

This is getting a bit discouraging. I’m still sending out resumes, but have not received a single callback. Regardless to keep trying is the important thing I must not lose sight of.

During the middle of the week I began the switch from working on React/Redux and started researching freelancing. Like everything it feels like it is overhyped. But I do think that I have a shot at making it work for me.

I jumped into learning how WordPress works to get a basic website up, add posts and theme it. To save time I just bought a Udemy course and jumped right into coding my own site in addition to following along with the instructor. I didn’t have the prerequisite knowledge of using WordPress, but found that it is very intuitive. I can figure out where to make posts and changes, but I sure couldn’t walk someone else through the process.

Thursday evening I received tragic news. One of my best friends from when I lived in Baton Rouge was killed when his car fell off jack stands. Joeseph was one of the safest guys I know so I am inclined to believe that it was a failure of his jack stands rather than a failure to do the work safely. Never buy jack stands or jacks from Harbor Freight!

I guess the worst part is the realization that in the 15 years I’ve been in Lexington I haven’t made a single friend. With the kids getting older and all the hours I put into the tax business making friends is something that got pushed to the background. With the pandemic spending time with others is dangerous and many groups have switched to Zoom meetings. But there is no better time than the present to correct this. The pandemic simply make this more difficult, not impossible.

Frustration and pondering

Another frustrating week of making progress; attempting to extend the project and breaking it; trying more and more things to fix it and nothing works; then finding something simple that fixes it. Then having to go back to find and fix problems the attempted fixes caused, or reinsert pieces of code which were commented out while attempting to find the bug. This is getting old fast. I am almost to the point of getting on fixer to find someone who can mentor and instruct me on Redux and React.

I really want to finish this project, multiple To-Do lists with moveable items written in ReactJS using Redux. Then I want to port the project to React Native so I can run it on my phone and my sister on her iPhone. I think it is a killer project, beyond any tutorial out there. Additionally I’m doing this on my own, not following along with a tutorial although doing that might be helpful, but it would be a time waster and backtracking.

On the job hunting site I haven’t received a single interview request. Time to rethink my strategy. First I need an email address that doesn’t end in “1964” which makes me look very old. Got to drop or change that to “84.” Then I need to see what I need to learn to try my hand at freelancing on Upwork, Fiver and FiverPro. WordPress or Drupal? I think it might be a quicker start to go with WordPress, but I can set both up on my computer and then host a test site with a pre-written theme somewhere to show off my mad web chops.

Speaking of “madness” while my wife has been in Port Sulphur I’ve been managing my mood by getting up at at 6am sharp and getting to bed extra early, both of which are amazingly easier to do without her. Then I have a longer bike ride than normal, seven miles or so, followed by a cold shower and breakfast with coffee. The cold shower does wonders to refresh me and put me in a positive mood to start the day. I do well so long as I don’t drink too much coffee or read the news.

Working on my project, a second round of polishing my portfolio and doing serious research into what skills are needed then building those skills I’ll need to freelance will be my plan for this coming week.