World Bipolar Day
and Git Object Errors

For today, I have this mighty Stack Overflow savior for my morning Git error. I almost fainted in panic when I could not run a git status on my local machine. As it turns out, I may have encountered some bug on git when my laptop died midway during a commit last week. It was compounded by the fact that I did not properly configure the 2nd laptop that I was using while I was on a writing assignment. And it caused some objects to be bungled up at the back. After an hour of googling and switching between Mozilla Firefox and the Terminal, I eventually succumbed to the SOS function.

I talked to a very prolific Django mentor. I said that I almost fainted in panic, and then he said: “See! That’s the thrill of it!” AND I AGREE! HAHA. 😀

For Ubuntu today, I discovered a very, very simple way to use virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper for Python version 2 or Python version 3:

mkvirtualenv –python=/usr/bin/python3.4m environmentname

(Just leave out the –python thing if you want to use version 2. 😉 )

I screwed it up on my main laptop the first time so now at least they are happily lumped in a single folder on the second laptop. I am making good progress and my next step is to automate everything by way of Bash scripts to save me typing time when I open my PC.

There is no coherent theme in this post because honestly, control is an illusion and I do not have much time today to edit this piece. Laundry is still waiting to be fixed, I have a dinner date with a high school close friend, and there are blueberry tarts that need to be delivered to my mom and sister.

I just wanted to write something–anything– because it’s been a long while since I last wrote. I am keeping this blog to somehow document snippets of my life as it unfolds. So that I will not forget these days and how I had to climb my way with all the power that I can muster.

It’s been a whole month, more or less, since I practically own my hours and my life energy is at its peak. However, I completely underestimated the demands of real life! And the awesome daily plan continues to be adjusted.

Yesterday was an extra special day for me because it’s World Bipolar Day. It’s a personal advocacy because the stigma is strong here in this country. In some countries, people with this disorder are respected and provided enough care. Here, you get ridiculed branded or stigmatized in some way, with the exception of the more open-minded lot — in my case, a handful of individuals that I can only count with the fingers in my hand. And I do not mind that they are few.

Because in this culture where friendships are branded by the number of likes you generate on a social media post, nothing beats the amazing quality of real-time bonding over coffee or a two-hour shared meal that does not involve crazily checking your phone or digital accounts every few minutes.

Being able to be your friend’s Facebook support group for 24 hours is not necessarily the ultimate indicator of friendship. There are boundaries that need to be respected. And the foundation of true friendship (not the superficial type of Facebook friendship being mass produced to everyone) is real quality time offline, trust, respect, and genuine care for that person’s welfare. I have actually found these awesome relationships when I decided to go on a Facebook hermitage. 🙂

I am genuinely thankful this year because so many good things happened to me despite the challenges that I had to face. I drew strength from a lot of places and it helped so much to have a good perspective about life even when you have this nagging health problem.

I accepted my situation as gracefully as possible. And the moment that I did that, things started picking up. Opportunities started popping up LIKE DAISIES.There is a clarity that has not existed before. And I was able to travel and meet new people and create things that were unthinkable a year ago.

I do not post as much as I’d want here because I have this whole adult life being lived outside of the computer. And then I have other intellectual explorations from inside the internet that demand my undivided attention. I cannot really believe how lucky I am considering the unemployment rates and the stigma and the difficulties of even basic things like waking up on some days. I cannot say that it is easy but this life is beautiful and worth living and there are places to explore, people to help, things to do, and mountains to climb.

I just wanted to write this all down because 5, 10, 15 years from now, I will look back at this moment in time and tell my future children that, hey, this was that moment that I stepped out of the useless bullshit and drama of life and began to really consider building a better future for you. 🙂 And you were worth it.



A Debugger’s Life

Project development time literally stops when trying to squash out a bug while running code. In my recent project, the worst “stopping” of time occurred for three working days. By the morning of the third day, I kind of felt like I was already at my wit’s end. I forgot the type of that bug and the workaround that ensued. All I remember is the frustrating feeling of not knowing where to alter your code after all possible solutions have been exhausted and all google keywords have been typed. And then sometimes, the bug turns out to be so simple that you will beat yourself for not having seen it immediately.

Today, it’s just an almost half-day of doggedly trying to figure out some sort of hiccup in my current task. Not knowing the answer is slowly killing me, so I decided to type in my thoughts on debugging while trying to unblock my poor head from my present mind-boggling debugging. (That just sounds so retarded.) It’s a javascript implementation issue that I could not fully wrap my head around, for some reason. I have a strange and insistent feeling that the answer to the problem is right under my nose, and I only need to step out for a good bowl of spicy ramen before I figure it out.

For years, I have heard of the word tenacity in motherhood statements and career advice columns. If there is one job that helps build tenacity, it’s a job in web dev, definitely. It’s not for the fainthearted. Sometimes, in one’s quest of searching for how to make it work again, it feels like a totally futile exercise. And basically, you soldier on in the middle of that futile feeling and try to achieve it anyway. Some random chillax streaming music often helps. And when it does not, I blog.

Web development taught me not just how to render frontend via HTML5 and CSS, or tinker at the backend with PHP, Python, and Javascript. It taught me that sometimes I can plug away with significant chunks of my effort and time and to the rest of the world, and it may only appear as a tiny speck, a comma, or a line. From learning how to code, I have learned that what you see on the outside is really only the tiny tip of the iceberg, that there are universes of meaning that coldly goes underneath a single word or character.

Having said that, I think that I have finally learned to affirm myself somehow in a way that is sufficient to roll with all the punches, to be comfortable with what other people think as awkward, to make decisions not based on what’s flashy and fancy and boombastic to the eyes of many, and to have faith even when I can only see the white screen of death on my browser.

I have not yet immersed myself well enough to be a ninja coding master, though I surely hope that it will happen someday. I have taken much solace in slowly but surely getting my feet wet with the nuances of version control, database management, web mapping, and app development. First, I have a tiny paddle and a swimsuit in the form of basic git, basic dev, basic programming languages, and basic schema designations. Next time, I am hoping that I’ll eventually have the complete diving gear to this vast and ever-changing body of knowledge.

Debugging taught me that a tiny hiccup on my code is part of the grand design, that the very work itself is indeed its own reward (I got that from an XKCD comic strip), and that life’s jolting and obligatory pauses in the form of taking a break or a debugging problem is just as important as life’s movements. These pauses, these debugging moments, provide the rhythm and the variation in patterns that make it all so interesting with just the right bite of complexity. And it makes all the rewards of deploying a functional piece of programming artwork so sweet and meaningful to celebrate.

A debugger’s life is not an easy life. It’s one that stares at the nothingness of a text editor for long hours and turns it into something else that people may or may not see, use, and recognize. While the rest of the end user world can be motivated and happy to see the results, a developer needs to have the faith in his code before it comes to its fruition, whether other people appreciate it or not. The developer is the one who conceives the idea, and visualizes how the user experience goes even before the actual users experience what he has created. And when the idea is being attacked for a lack of visuals that the layperson can see, it is the developer who continues the work with the knowledge that things are forming and happening in its rightful way even when other people just see a bunch of lines, a dark terminal window, and little UI to show for it.