Coding: Random Writing Prompt Generator

I’ve been working on this project for the last three days. I admit, the first day was spent looking for a good theme/idea and the last two was dreading to start the Javascript portion. I was really happy how it all came together, I can spend more time fixing the font sizes and playing around with it, but I think it’s time to move on to my next project. I appreciate any feedback!

Creative Writing Prompt Generator

  • A random quote generator that spits out a new creative writing prompt every time you click on ‘next’
  • When ‘write on!’ is clicked, the current prompt can be shared via twitter in a new window.
  • The back end is connected to Google Sheets.
  • Prompts are from SF Grotto’s 642 Things to Write About
  • I wanted the theme to be minimalist, exuding those millennial vibes that I love to hate. That means, peachy pink gradients, Roboto fonts, and contrasting bold blue blocks

Randon Writing Prompt Generator

Concepts I learned and problems I overcame during this project:

HTML: Open Links in a New Window or Tab by using adding a target=”_blank” attribute to your links (anchor tags). It’s worth noting that this method primarily works in desktop browsers. target=”new” can be used on mobile browsers.

Use a Google Spreadsheet as your JSON backend. I didn’t exactly use an API for this project because I had a specific idea of what I wanted the prompts to be (creative writing prompts for 642 Things to Write About). I used Google Sheets to create a list that would be pulled and linked  to my JSON backend. Doing so, I can add and quickly edit the growing list of creative writing prompts. First publish the sheet and obtain the Key from the URL and pasting it on ‘Put Key Here’. CoderWall had a great resource, I didn’t need to obtain the API from Google. (I have yet to experiment with API, yikes!)

For my own development, I broke down the pure JSON data into objects, until I found the column and item I wanted from the array.

$.getJSON("http://cors.io/spreadsheets.google.com/feeds/list/PUT-KEY-HERE/od6/public/values?alt=json", function(data) {
  //first row "title" column
  console.log(data.feed.entry[0]['gsx$title']['$t']);
});

Add JQuery script in Codepen’s JS Settings. At first I was wondering why my Jquery code was not working, and then I learned how to ‘quick-add’ JQuery in the settings, no need to write a single line of code. However, codepen, will still allow us to just SCRIPT up resources, as well. (That means, adding the resources to the HTML in the head section.) Super helpful, here’s additional resources on Adding External Resources on CodePen.

<link rel="stylesheet" href="http://website.com/style.css">
http://website.com/script.js

Twitter’s Dev Documentation on the Tweet Button.  Twitter has an amazing documentation on adding the Tweet Button. While I started using the Tweet Button on my project, I ended up just breaking it down to opt for a simpler anchor to be able to parse the links in text and add to the minimalist feel.

Dynamically change Tweet Button “data-text” attribute. This can only be done once, as discussed here, where changing the data-text attribute can be done before loading the script.

<a href="http://twitter.com/share"
 class="twitter-share-button"
 data-text="This is what we want to change dynamically"
 data-count="none" data-via="chris_camps">Tweet</a>

<script> 
$(document).ready(function(){
    $('a[data-text]').each(function(){
      $(this).attr('data-text', "This works!");
    });
    $.getScript('http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js');
});

Getting a random number between two values

function getRandomArbitrary(min, max) {   
return Math.random() * (max - min) + min; 
}

Additional Resources:

See the Pen freeCodeCamp: Random Writing Prompts by Angel Certeza (@acertz) on CodePen.

 

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Climb that mountain, but keep going!

There’s a lot of be learned from Alex Honnold’s successful free-soloing attempt of Yosemite’s El Capitan in 4 hours. This guy really sees the world differently and certainly has no fear.

In his interview with Nat Geo, he described most of the things during his climb as “ultra-chill”, “super chill” or just overall chill. “I didn’t feel that stressed because in a way I had already committed to autopilot and just put everything aside,” he noted on the base of El Cap. His strategy was to treat it like “a super normal day”. He was not phased by how much of a big deal it was. He didn’t even tell his mom (because “She’s really bad at differentiating between free climbing and free soloing.”)

The biggest thing I took away from following his journey was his humility.He had been working on this dream for 4 years, training and familiarizing himself with every pitch and every hold. Although knowing him, everything he’s done so far probably contributed to his accomplishment.  Summiting El Cap was not the end and certainly was not a reason to retire for rock climbing. 

During his climb, he was already thinking about his next goal (sport climbing 9a) and the importance of the US staying in the Paris Accord. He focused on things that was beyond his current limits, as though his current goal is a stepping stone to the next. And it is. You’ve got to keep going. Remind yourself of the bigger issues out there. Focus on achieving the best version of yourself. One day at a time, you can work to anything you set your mind to. See where life takes you on the other side of fear. And maybe, try not to die along the way.

For now, I’m just happy his next project involves ropes. Thanks for being a true inspiration, Alex Honnold. 

“The whole pursuit of this dream has allowed me to live my best life, that makes me hopefully the best version of me. Just because I’ve achieved a dream doesn’t mean that I just give up on the best version of me. I want to be the guy that trains and stays fit and motivated. Just because you finish a big route doesn’t mean that you just quit.”

Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?

$14K. That’s the price of the coding bootcamp that I was accepted to. That’s the price of quitting my current job as a consultant, applying for more loans to add to the current student loans I have in order to successfully pivot away from my career in healthcare finance and finally follow my creative passion in web development.  I never typically prescribe myself into traditional pathways to success. I was always limited by my means and learned how to thrive within my restrictions. However, I was able to reason to myself that $14K was the price of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

As the dust of decision making starts to settle in, I am submitted by how far I’ve come (I got accepted to a coding bootcamp) and how many times I have been declined of loan application and payment programs. These are not news to me. I’m used to this by now, I tell myself.

I’ve never doubted the decision to go to a coding bootcamp, but the financial realities of paying for it has set me back to reality. Is it really all worth it?

“I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people any more that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people who dream, and support, and do things.” —Amy Poehler

Reading: “Imagine: How Creativity Works” by Jonah Lehrer

Notes:

Ideas & creativity

  1. Hopelessness → Revelation: The hardest work always comes after when you’re trying to make Idea to a Reality
  2. The right hemisphere of the brain is responsible for making sense of the whole (not just seeing the parts).
  3. The human imagination has no clear precursors. It’s out of no where.
  4. William James: “The [creative process] is like a seething cauldron of ideas, where everything is fizzling and bobbling about in a state of bewildering activity.

Persistence is necessary. Nothing good is every easy.

Creativity as an Act of Unconcealing.

  1. That’s because we see nothing at first glance. It’s only really thinking about something that we’re able to move ourselves into perceptions that we never knew we had the capacity for. We unconceal the reality of it from the clutter of the world, by all the ideas and sensation that DISTRACT THE MIND. it is the KNIFE OF CONSCIOUS ATTENTION to cut away the excess and reval the things themselves. → RAW ←
  2. Einstein: “creativity is the residue of time wasted.”
  3. Steve Martin: “Naivete is the quality that keeps you from knowing just how unsuited you are for what you are about to do.

On cities

  1. Cities are INEXHAUSTIBLE SOURCE OF IDEAS.
  2. With each addition, productivity and innovation increases.
  3. This is what makes it rare and different from corporations.
  4. Walking speed of people are directly correlated to creation of new ideas.
    1. MOST COLLISIONS!
  5. Ideas become more USEFUL when they become more POPULAR
  6. The unifier for all ideas and people. How every creative story is different but also the same. “Out of nothing, is something.”

Brands

  1. Used to be about establishing AUTHORITY and reliability. Now, it’s all about EMPATHY.
  2. Used to attract us through specs and capabilities, now, it has to ENABLE AN EXPERIENCE.
  3. Newness: the thrill of discovery but also the thrill of not having to decide.
  4. Using narrative is the delivery vehicle, a way to emphasize and empathize with human interaction.
  5. brands help us understand the world and make decisions.
  6. How we remember (chronology + nostalgia)
    1. [Arbitrary thing] + [Beginning, middle and End] = something we can own, embrace and share.
  7. We all tell our own stories, because we are all the leading character, and everyone has a supporting role.

We have two ears and one mouth

I tend to be cut and dry when it comes to learning certain things. I can say I’m a pretty good listener but being an effective listener was another. It didn’t help to have a very logic/analytic brain that I’m quick to problem-solving and not thoroughly aware of the fact that I opine unwantedly and completely be blind to the emotions.

With the help of an actual lynda.com Effective Listening course, I was able to dissect the conversation I had with my partner last night and realize the true focus of the problem. Yes, we had an argument and I took an online course to be better listener. It helps! There are appropriate ways to respond to a speaker and demonstrate how to listen effectively.

Knowing what my strengths and weaknesses were in comes to listening allowed me to focus on the true intention and purpose of listening and start creating good habits.

  • Always and primarily paraphrase the content and emotion of what the speaker has been talking about. Being able to offer a quick summary is the easiest way to show that you have been actively listening. Don’t focus too much on the details, and ask frustrating questions. Don’t make it about yourself. The speaker has been vulnerable enough to come to us. Don’t be quick to criticize and provide advice without being asked. We are always trying to learn something from what the speaker has to say.
  • It’s important to clarify your role as a listener at the beginning of the conversation. Asking the speaker “Do you just want to vent?” or “Are you asking for my advice?” can help us be the listener the speaker needs us to be. We have to be aware of our mental filters, before we start prioritizing what we need to know and start criticizing them about the things that don’t fully align with our thinking.
  • Mirroring is the best way to empathize. By  listening and paraphrasing what we listen to in the similar tone, body language, we start to fully understand the speaker. By sitting in the same posture as they are, we can relate to the emotional state of the speaker.
  • Silence is golden. The quieter you become, the more you can hear. When we sit there in silence, we are to say “I am here with you 100%”.
  • Practice, practice, practice by deliberately practicing we can be effective listeners. Or else, it’ll be really emotionally straining. GUH. Like me rn.

Continue reading “We have two ears and one mouth”

Reading: “The Argonauts” by Maggie Nelson

argoNotes

  • On the notion of “feeling real”
    • When finding an identity, “one can aspire to feel real, other can help others to feel real, and one can oneself feel real” and is tied to the primary sensation of aliveness “the aliveness of the body tissues and working with body functions, including the heart’s action and breathing” which makes spontaneous gesture possible. In regards to Winnicott, “feeling real is not a reactive to external stimuli, nor is it an identity. It is a sensation– one that spreads. Among other things, it makes you want to live.
  • On the unaddressed greatness of motherhood
    • Addressing D.W. WInnicott, Nelson notes it’s better not tell mothers that what they are doing is important “When a mother has a capacity quite simply to be a mother we must never interfere. She will not be able to fight for her rights because she will not understand.” Simply they all believe the are ordinary
  • The concept of “leaving an empty space so that God could rush in.”
    • They say that in bonsai, you often plan a tree off-center in the pot “to make space for the divine. This concept covers something more greater, in that there is no center! And this will keep you going in heart or art.
  • What does being trans mean?
    • While often used as a shorthand for “transitioning”, we are often familiar with people say they were “born in the wrong body”. For some, it’s an idea of leaving the idea of gender entirely behind. For a society that demands resolution, it seems there is always a destination to the journey, “transitioning to what?” leaving plenty in confusion, conflict or grief. In such cases, the best is to simply listen to what people have to tell you and treat them accordingly without having to gloss over their version of reality with yours.
    • It’s hard to comprehend that becoming sometimes doesn’t have an end result, becoming, transitioning, in which one never really becomes. Nelson simply, “A becoming in which one never becomes, a becoming whose rule is neither evolution nor asymptote but a certain
    • turning, a certain turning inward, turning into my own, turning on in, to my own self, at last, turning out of the white cage, turning out of the large cage turning at last (Lucille Clifton)