Medications for ADHD and bipolar was the best thing to ever happen to me. Often I would lose things: they’re not in their logical places; they’re not in their illogical places; they’re not even visible. It’s like I’m being gaslit. Once I’d finally find them, they were either in plain sight the whole time, or they were under a pile of papers in the furthest corner of the house. To describe this, I started saying, “The mean ghosts are playing tricks on me again.” This happens a lot less and at a much lower intensity. It’s easier to make a conscious effort to place things in easy to see places and actually form systems of organization to iterate upon.
I’m better able to be patient and slow down. My outlook is now less like construction, a task that I build once and don’t think about it again until something needs repair; and more like gardening, a slow, persistent task that results in a little improvement every day. Developing gardener-brain was always a disproportionate struggle to the point of inability; but now that I get it, I finally have the patience to reapproach almost everything I gave up on with a new, deliberate focus.
It’s almost 4AM on a Sunday morning. The hospital has me on-call and monitoring the monthly maintenance– a task which consists of periodically refreshing the SQL query I wrote after each dozen minutes to see if their servers have rebooted so I can tic a box. If they’re stalled out for whatever reason, I tic a different box or reboot it myself. Normally, I’d be complaining– pissing, whining, and moaning; in fact, I’ll probably be in that state after I the inevitable failed attempt at sleep tonight; but for now, I’m actually pretty happy. It gave me the chance to finally finish overhauling my website for the nth time. But I’m even more proud of my progress than usual.
My computer science journey has taken me to a lot of places I’d never thought I’d see. Most of what I do all day now is develop and refine the solutions to logic puzzles. It’s honestly refreshing that I’m never truly done: new tools come, old ones disappear forever, and existing tools get updates that inevitably break something. I’m glad I’m a gardener.
This website used to mean very little to me. It was nothing more than a way to show my work to employers who would never hire me. But… why does every social media account I have include this site in my bio? Why did I do that?
The site began to mean something once I took it out of Adobe Muse and hard-coded the it myself. I barely knew programming outside of basic UX training. I had the audacity to think I could use PHP, a new language to me at the time, to keep my format “simple.” I thought I could easily replace large sections of frequently repeated code (such as the header and footer) by using separate files of code chunks and referencing them. I thought it would be easy. Silly me. After many hours upon days of spinning my wheels and banging my head against a wall, I just hard-coded every page in HTML. I didn’t have many pages to write, so it wasn’t too much of a problem. The simplest solution was the best solution in this case. But now I’m actually producing content at a persistent pace. It’s impractical to continue hardcoding like I have been.
For the past few months, I have been trying to figure out how to put my curated Ai artwork on the site. There are a lot of images and I knew there had to be a better way: a way with less potential mistakes; a way that I didn’t have to keep fucking repeating myself– copying and pasting the same code chunks 100+ times. And what about my writing? And what about my zines? And what about And what about And what
I asked ChatGPT. It suggested a few things, including PHP. Nope. Next please. I didn’t have the vocabulary to describe what I wanted, but ChatGPT helped me deuce that I wanted a “static site generator (SSG).” I don’t remember the suggestions other than the one I decided to use: Jekyll– a formatting setup based in Ruby (my favorite language) and is specialized for content sites like mine. “Content is King.” It was a way to create templates, reusable code chunks to include, and … wait… this is exactly what I was trying to do way back before the pandemic. Have I really improved this much in just a few years? This total site conversion became my obsession for the month.
And it’s finally done. This is actually my first post here using just the markdown front-end. It’s freeing that I can just copy and paste this post into an .md file and not really have to worry about anything. I have finally worked so hard, I can be lazy. Feels nice :)