Some Updates

Fiona is smiling and “talking” which is just so much fun. Her crying is more varied and expressive — she makes noises that are upset but not crying — but I still have trouble telling the difference between tired, hungry, and bored. She finds it really amusing when I scat. It’s so bizarre. It so far never fails to make her smile. She doesn’t laugh, but she has behavior that seems to indicate she finds it funny. I found this out after shuffling through various weird noises playing with her IKEA bug mobile. I always wondered about those studies that infer a lot of baby behavior just based on how long they stare, but babies really do stare really hard at things they find interesting.

I’m currently looking for a new job, which at this stage is mostly answering emails and talking to recruiters. A few things look promising.

I’m still teaching this year, although I feel less prepared than usual. I want to make changes to the curriculum. It’s hard, though, to reify my ideas/wants. I’ve had trouble making the time to do this between baby-care and the phone calls. The calls don’t take up much time, but they really disrupt the day. It’s also difficult not to experience some amount of anxiety before and after, which doesn’t me get on track. (I suppose some anxiety is natural because of the stakes and I’m early in the process so I’m still stumbling. I also just usually experience anxiety about talking on the phone though.)

I’m having some thoughts right now about what I want out of the class and I think it’s just that the traditional classroom structure feels so stifling after following some people on twitter. Yet, I remember taking a baby class and feeling relieved that I was receiving direct instruction and I didn’t really need things to be too student-lead because a designed curriculum was reassuring. When the problem space is so large, it helps to have someone lead you through it. I’m also struggling with the tech stack. Like, the reason for teaching PHP is actually very pedagogically solid. The initial learning curve is easier, which fits the 6-week accelerated model. But PHP doesn’t bring me joy. I think RoR might be too much to grok, and when I used Sinatra, I had to do too much reinventing of the wheel. Perhaps Django could be an alternative? I haven’t used it. The JavaScript space is also rapidly evolving. ES6, to me, has radically changed JavaScript syntax. jQuery is losing steam, while React is king. I don’t have enough experience with component based frameworks to judge them, but they feel too enterprisey, and I just want kids to be able to build fun toys, not worry about fitting into a job. The class also really crystalized into working by oneself on class exercises, and so the daily agendas need revision to make things more social. I’ve also been thinking about how tech needs more of the humanities, especially lately with all the talk about privacy, worker rights, and gentrification. Luckily, I have models for injecting that into the class, but how do I do that and keep all the programming topics? Also, I hate grading and kinda wish that at some point in the future I could get rid of it completely.

My parents might move, which is something that hangs over my head but I usually try to ignore.

I’ve also lost a few family members semi-recently (my last grandmother and Stevie’s uncle) and I’ve barely let myself feel bad about it. I didn’t have a great relationship with my grandmother, but it still sucks.

When it comes to politics, I feel like I’ve picked up a lot of vocabulary. However, I don’t feel like my actions necessarily live up to my principles, nor do I feel like my principles are well thought-out. I credit twitter with a lot of learning, but in a lot of ways, it’s probably holding me back from thinking deeper. I often think about taking a break, but I never pull the trigger. I wanted to do Lent. That did not happen. I’m also often tempted to just delete everything off my phone altogether. I can’t switchover to a dumb phone, though, because I need maps. I have no sense of direction. (See, I always think of exceptions.) Or maybe I should ditch the phone altogether because it’s essentially a tracking device? I should read more books — to think deeper, and to model being a reader for Fiona.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned here that I do a podcast. It’s called TV Analysis with Whisper and Trouble, and it’s on iTunes. Me and Jason talk about TV shows that we watch. We try to focus more on discussing themes than on recaps and nitpicking. It’s not bad, in my opinion. If we kept at this for like two years, I think we could be really good.

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