Don’t Just “Learn To Code”

It seems “learn to code” is the replacement for “get a job”.

Yes, I know its origins, but as of late, it’s become a response to almost anyone who complains about their current job and options (or lack of), especially during 2020.

Here’s the problem: coding sucks.

At least, if it’s only a means to an end.

It’s a lot more than merely “learn to code”. A mere few months of playing on freecodecamp.org isn’t enough. Devoting a single hour every day isn’t enough. Heck, completing every single lesson on the website isn’t enough (you have dozens more websites, hundreds of books, and thousands of videos to go!).

Being self-taught and making that profitable will require years and thousands of hours.

Frankly, that’s patience I do not have. Same reason I despise gen ed courses from community college.

I don’t believe so much as basic coding is a necessity if you don’t plan to do some kind of work with it. I still haven’t met anyone who used algebra beyond high school if their field didn’t require it.

Code because you’re genuinely interested, because you’re in love with it, because you want a career out of it. Please don’t throw yourself into a humongous, frustrating world because a random person on Reddit told you.

I made this mistake when I attended community college for the first time. I never wanted to attend right after high school anyway, but since my family wouldn’t shut up, I picked a degree that was supposed to be lucrative.

I dropped by the next semester. As did several of my friends who were pressured by their families into college.

I toy around with coding when I am bored and Pokémon has stopped amusing me. Even then, I do it for an hour at most. The truth is I have no desire to stare at a screen for 8 – 10 hours a day. Really, I already do that, but at least it’s not every second of my shift.

Sure, you could argue most people don’t love their jobs (I certainly don’t!), but most people don’t commit years of their life to studying to get a job they hate. Some do, but certainly not most.

If someone believes they would like coding and wants to try, I’d absolutely encourage them. But if they discover they don’t like it – as I did – that’s okay. “Everyone can code” has the same context as “everyone can hold a pencil and scribble something”. I can use extremely basic HTML. That’s coding. That’s all I’ll ever be able to do, and some people can’t do that much (my boyfriend, for example, thinks the HTML to make stylized text like bold and underline looks complicated, despite I typed it right in front of him; he can’t comprehend it).

Learn to code… if you want to.

Not Fond of Mond(ly)

That was certainly a terrible attempt at making a pun.

I have no plans to become a reviewer of language apps. I just like to talk. What, eight years of this blog doesn’t make it obvious?

There are dozens, if not hundreds of language learning sites and apps out there. No shock. Reviews are good, but ultimately, the only person who can tell you what works best for you is you. I’m already partial to two particular sites, but I get curious and check out others too. Most recently, I started playing with one called Mondly.

It’s possible that despite I have absolutely no fluency in Spanish whatsoever, I’ve learned enough to not really be impressed with these apps anymore. I mentioned in my post about my feelings on Rose and Duo that I prefer it not to be a cute game. However, I find Mondly to be worse.

First and foremost, while not necessarily cute, Mondly looks more childish than DuoLingo. A description I read of it says it teaches language in a “Rosetta Stone like way”, but I really disagree. It’s worse than Duo when it comes to choosing difficulty because regardless of whether you choose “beginner”, “intermediate”, or “advanced”, you’ll start at “beginner”. Duo at least gives you a placement test and lets you skip over a certain number of lessons (although doesn’t put you at level 5 for them). Why bother with levels if there’s no effect on where you start?

There also seems to be an issue with the speech recognition. I did a few lessons that required it, but the task is marked correct, regardless of what you say… or if you say nothing! Technology is imperfect, but neither Duo nor RS are that bad. At the very least, you have to say something.

The lessons themselves feel like they’d fit right in with a kindergarten class. There’s a reason I despise flash cards and fill-in-the-blank, but it’s more than that. Even for a “beginner”, it’s ridiculous. The lessons – at least, the first ones of each category – treat the user like she/he is only now beginning to speak any language at all rather than a new one.

Much like Duo, Mondly feels more like it’s for playing than teaching. I use Duo to play games and RS to learn. I don’t need another game. I was doing one lesson in the category of “seasons and weather” that apparently attempted to teach me the order of months. No, I’m not kidding.

[Blank] is the first month of the year.

February is the [blank] month of the year.

March is the [blank] month of the year.

[Blank] is the fourth month of the year.

You get the idea. The sentence was in Spanish and you’d have to fill in the blank or translate the sentence. After I reached May, I realized it was going to go through all twelve months and I exited out. I know what order the months of the year go in. Make it a task to put them in order and be done with it!

Unlike DuoLingo, Mondly isn’t free. The most expensive package, a lifetime subscription to all forty-one languages they offer, costs $2,000! You can get it for $90 (95% off) through some affiliates like Mezzoguild for a period of time and it’s no wonder why. Supposedly, it’s their most popular subscription. Perhaps the normally exorbitant price explains why it’s hard to access any page for their pricing on the website itself. I can’t find a link to it for the life in me. There’s seemingly not even a link to their current sale – 90% off a yearly subscription for all languages (knocking the price from $480 to $48, the cost of subscribing to one language for one year). I only found it by adding “offer” after the hyperlink in an attempt to find regular pricing.

I freely admit I’m not a business expert, but if finding the cost of a service on the business’s own website is difficult, there’s probably something to hide or the designers really need more training.

There’s one thing I can say I do like about Mondly, and that’s that it gives the user a list of past, present, and future tenses when conjugating a verb if the user chooses to see that option. That’s it.

Also, their homepage claims (in bold letters!) 33 languages are available, but the subscriptions claim the number is 41. In fact, 41 is only seen on the site’s pricing for subscriptions. Every other page claims 33. Who’s keeping up with the website?

The same description that claimed Mondly teaches similar to Rosetta Stone also calls it “beautifully designed”. Mondly isn’t ugly, but I can’t agree with that. “Crammed” is the best word I can consider for it.

What The World Should Be

I’m already featuring this video in my sidebar, but I want to make a post for it too. I don’t watch modern cartoons (uninterested), but I hope songs like these are still made. I can’t stop listening to this song because it only encompasses my wish for the world.

No, not for pokemon to exist. I’ve listened to this song so much, I mentally change one of the words:

You and me, and everyone.”

That.

Hope

I sincerely believe this lockdown will last for the remainder of 2020 and well into 2021.April 2020

Unfortunately, it seems I was correct. What I was wrong about was the rare possibility of reopening my blog in 2021. I’m going to do that now.

My shutdown post wasn’t for the sake of attention. Every word in that post is what I felt at the time. Suicidal feelings are strong, and I’m beginning to think I may struggle with them for the rest of my life, despite a decade passing before I felt that terribly again (although the first time, the mental struggle didn’t end for three years). That actually makes me wish that much more my life had not come into being. Struggling with the concept of your mere existence isn’t fun, to put it mildly.

As I said in that post, the only reason I am still here is I’ve yet to be able to intentionally bring harm upon my body, and I truly resent that incapability. However, a huge part of what drove the feelings that led me to write that post and shut down my blog was fear.

…if going outside absolutely dooms people to the virus and death, if it’s terrifying enough for suicide to be a better option

This post was in April. It’s now July. Yes, I was that scared of getting sick. That’s what hearing “stay home or people will die” will do to a person.

Months later, it’s now occurred to me… people really like to preach and pat themselves on the back.

The term I’ve found for it is “virtue signaling”, and if nothing else, I’ve realized life on the internet is really unhealthy. That’s nothing new, but with the economy on death’s door, the viciousness seems more blatant. If you ask social media, going outside is a crime akin to manslaughter and worthy of the death penalty. Offline? Nobody cares.

…people being arrested for being outside, celebrations being broken up…

Including the police. At least, in my town. My neighborhood had an unofficial little block party for the fireworks. The cops came by… and didn’t give two cents. They asked for a car that was double-parked to be moved, and told a couple to stop shooting fireworks off their lawn, not to ruin our fun, but because it posed a hazard. This was at night, after the city’s curfew (9pm). No arrests, no citations. Just wanting to stop safety hazards. The officer moved on – never got out of his cruiser! – leaving us to enjoy the unofficial fireworks show we were getting from the distance.

Watching those fireworks with neighbors as meringue music played. Somehow, I was so incredibly happy. The happiest I’ve been this year.

Today, I went to the beach. I haven’t been to the beach since 2013 or 2014. I prefer the pool, but the one I usually go to is under construction until late 2021, and the other open pools require summer memberships. Thus, the beach was my only viable option. It was nearly a one hour drive (oh, yeah; I got a new car in May), but a one hour drive that was worth it. Though I wished I had someone with me, I still had a great time and spent seven hours – from their opening to their closing – at the beach. The weather was perfect. Somehow, when I was enjoying myself in the water, all of these thoughts came to mind. Everyone was here to have fun. This is not what the internet would want to see, but this wasn’t the internet. It was real.

And somehow, I began to think if I really have to be here – if I can’t find the strength to take my life away – I’ll have to make the best of it. The more I pull away from the internet, especially social media, the more I see not only isn’t it a substitute for life offline, but it never came close.

That also means I am done feeling guilty for taking care of myself. I take care of a household. The internet expects everyone to be responsible for everyone. No. People say “think of someone besides yourself” until the people you think of are personal to you. You’re supposed to care about utter strangers, but not your family and friends. That is, unless said family and friends agree with the internet. Then, it’s okay to care about them.

While I was enjoying the fireworks last night and the beach day, I also thought about my relationship. My boyfriend and I are still a couple, but I do think the relationship may have run its course. In those moments, I wished he was with me, but I still enjoyed myself without him. Regarding the beach, I know I would’ve been waiting on him to get up and get ready because he almost never wakes up in the morning. It was very nice to be able to just go.

Simply put, we will not be partners in life. I want someone to actually share the responsibility of a household we build together, not someone whose idea of living together is me solely being responsible for a home while he lives in a parked RV nearby and still visits occasionally. The tension in our relationship has gotten so noticeable, even his sister believes I may call it quits, and I’m unsure she’s wrong (side note: his sister and niece have the same frustrations with him that I do). I said at least once I could imagine my life without him, but I don’t want to. Seems it’s called the “honeymoon phase” for a reason. I want him in my life, but I’m not so opposed to the idea of him not being there anymore, especially when I’m seeing I don’t miss him when I am having fun so much as I miss company. Had I watched the fireworks, danced to the music, or visited the beach with a friend, that longing to have someone with me wouldn’t have existed.

I want companionship, not specifically romance. I really wonder if coming to these realizations may spell the end of our relationship. I haven’t checked out yet – it’s not foregone – but it may be getting there. As for his sleeping late specifically, I now don’t care to bother. If he doesn’t get up, I go alone.

This post is titled “Hope”, but it’s not because I have hope for 2020, 2021, humanity, or my life. There’s definitely a chance down the road I will regret this post and the feelings that led me to shut down my blog will resurface. I really hate I’m not someone who’s glad to be alive and instead just making the best of being forced into existence since I’ve not found the strength to terminate. This post’s title is for the mere fact I want that to not be the case. I do hope I don’t regret this post and re-opening my blog. Only time will determine that.

In the meantime, I won’t feel guilty or ashamed for not being a hikikomori like Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter deem I should. Am I a murderer? The internet would say yes.

But I’m not sorry I don’t live online.

Eight Years Running

When I first created this blog in 2012, I didn’t think it would last long. Most blogs I’ve had die within a year. This blog has unarguably had its ups and downs of activity, but I’ve somehow managed to keep it going.

A “blog-iversary” isn’t exciting, but I am a little surprised each year this blog stays alive. I always expect to make a goodbye post somewhere down the line, yet somehow, I find the motivation (and content) to continue posting. Part of me wishes I started this blog in 2010 so I could already say it’s been ten years. I suppose I’ll have to keep waiting.

The most unexpected thing is this blog has, in a way, turned into a record of my life. I created it with the intention of ranting and talking about random things on my mind. I’ve done that, but so many of these posts speak of my regular life and not-so-random nuisances too. Maybe I should’ve expected that, but since I didn’t expect this blog to last so long to begin with, I can’t help being a little shocked by the unintentional record I created. I have no regrets, however.

Some of my earlier posts embarrass me and I don’t want to remember I wrote those. Not necessarily because my feelings are different, but simply because of how I wrote them. Then again, there’s a reason I say I’d hit my younger self over the head.

Knowing this blog has survived so long, I now want to keep it going until I can’t anymore. I can’t picture how long it will last, and I will probably be surprised by any length of time, but I do hope the inevitable end is very far down the road.