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Weeknotes 22:03

January 26, 2022

Week of January 16-22

Three-Day weekend

The week started out with a three-day weekend because of the holiday. I took advantage of the day off and went to see Spider-Man: No Way Home with my daughter. We had seen the film together as a family shortly after it was released but I had wanted to see it again on the big screen. But with rising COVID numbers, I had delayed going back to see it.

I thought that going to an early showing on Monday might draw a smaller crowd and I was correct. There were probably only 15 people in total in the theater. I really enjoyed seeing the movie a second time. It probably is my favorite movie of the Tom Holland trilogy. I have been listening to the soundtrack a lot since first seeing the movie in December. Exit Through The Lobby is very haunting music and really sets the emotional tone to that part of the story. It is music that keeps playing in my head during the day. (Now that I have written about it, I just have to listen to it again.)

Stay Curious

On Tuesday morning, I found out that Stephanie Eckels and Hidde De Vries were presenting online talks later that day with Stay Curious, a Beyond Tellarrand virtual cafe. I have featured both of these speakers/authors recently in my weeknote links. Hidde shared some different tools to help improve accessibility. Stephanie shared a modern CSS toolkit, new techniques that we use to have to use hack solutions for. Her notes include editable fields which allow you to play around with these new tools in her Codepen notes (which use scroll-snap). I am grateful to the sponsors for making this a free online event.

Enjoyed building a new site

As I have mentioned over the past few weeks, things have been a bit slow for me work-wise. But I finally got to work on a project around the middle of the week. We are building a one-page site for a popular financial institution. It is a 12-week education program to help mentor sole small business entrepreneurs that traditionally do not have access to these types of programs.

I really do enjoy the work that I get to do. I love taking HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and making a design come to life. A colleague made me aware of how even in the simplest of projects, I look for opportunities to try new techniques or look to push the design just a bit further.

In this project, I had the idea of making a section of accordion elements into a horizontal accordion that expanded to reveal one section of content by sliding horizontally. The triggers would be the section titles with the text rotated counterclockwise with CSS (see example below).

An accordion component I built for a project. The content slides horizontally instead of expanding vertically, which is how most accordion components behave.
Using flexbox, the content panel takes up the remaining horizontal space on the layout when an accordion section is expanded and the other sections are collapsed.

I really enjoyed taking this idea and making it happen on Thursday. And I was thrilled with the feedback I got from the designer on our team that I am working with. She really liked how I took this section and elevated the design through my creative solution.

CUBE CSS

Earlier in the week, I learned more about Andy Bell’s CSS methodology, CUBE CSS. I had first encountered Andy’s thoughts through a blog post he wrote in June 2020. He later created this documentation and I made time to read through it.

I really like his approach because it is geared towards simplicity. I think it is great that he is utilizing the power of CSS and not trying to work against it. He shows a way to let CSS be CSS and do the heavy lifting. I also took time to watch a presentation he did at Vienna Calling in July of 2020.

I need to spend some more time looking through one of his examples to better grasp how to implement this methodology myself. One of the things I like about Andy’s approach is that it is helpful for both small and larger projects. Most other methodologies I have tried or read about in the past seemed better geared toward larger projects. I tend to work on a lot of smaller projects and felt like most of the other methodologies were overkill at the scale I was working at.

I feel like Andy’s approach is more in line with my own ideology of how to work with CSS. I don’t think it will be a radical change from how I write my CSS but I believe a lot of small changes could help me to write a much leaner codebase.

Wordle

I have really enjoyed playing Wordle for the past three weeks. My co-worker Ryan introduced me to it through one of his tweets. I like having a problem-solving challenge to look forward to each day. I like the constraint of trying to guess a five-letter word by eliminating letters, identifying letters that the word contains that I guessed correctly, and showing me when I have correctly placed a letter even though I did not choose the correct word. It is such a simple game but I really enjoy it and look forward to playing it each day.

LGND Campfire

On Friday, our team had a Campfire with a special guest. Kacy Magedman joined us to discuss her career working in the art department of feature films and television. She has worked on several big-name films like Die Hard, Addam Family Values, Forrest Gump, Jurassic World, Amistad, as well as two seasons of the reality show, Survivor (Australia and Africa). Kacy is the aunt of Taylor, an LGND teammate that joined our team over the summer.

It was such a joy just to listen to Kacy tell stories about being on set, solving different problems that arose during production, working with different directors, and sharing her favorite experiences. One of the things she enjoyed about working on Survivor is being part of the production in the early days of the show where they traveled to different locations and had to figure it out as they went along. I had watched both the Australia season and Africa season so there was more of a personal connection as she shared about those experiences. It was a great way to end the week.

Family Challenges

We have done our best over the past 2 years to avoid COVID. We have been extra careful because my 83-year-old mother-in-law lives with us. We have been very vigilant to protect her by limiting our exposure, getting vaccinated, and masking up while in public. But last week, two members of my family tested positive for COVID-19.

My wife had done a great job of preparing and we put a plan in action. We all self quarantined to different rooms, wore masks when in shared spaces, limited exposure to infected family members, and took vitamins and supplements to boost our immune systems. So far, the rest of us have avoided it and I believe the credit goes to my wife because she was prepared and put a plan into place. We are also grateful that my wife and son both had fairly mild cases.

Another challenge was thrown at us on Saturday. My oldest lives in Nashville studying at Trevecca Nazarene University. She had been sick most of last week but tested negative for COVID twice. But on Saturday, she was not feeling well and it was serious enough that it warranted a trip to the ER. She was diagnosed with common pneumonia and slight dehydration. They gave her fluids, antibiotics, and she stayed in the hospital overnight.

It was really difficult to just sit at home and wait to see how things unfolded. I hated feeling so helpless and wished I could have been there so she did not have to face this experience on her own. I had a similar experience when I was in college. I ended up in an ER while attending a student conference in Colorado. I had a bacterial infection that could have been life-threatening if not treated. I know it was hard for my parents to get the call in Kansas City to hear their son was in the hospital. I understand better now how helpless they must have felt. I am grateful for how God provided and took care of my girl when I could not be there in person.

Articles I read

Books I read

  • God of All Things – I finished this book at the beginning of the week. I enjoyed this book about the ordinary objects that God used to teach us about himself. As a visual person, I appreciated how this book took a look at the symbolism and meaning behind these everyday things that we encounter.
  • The Baseball 100 – I continue to enjoy reading this book about my favorite game. I read an average of 2-3 chapters a night. One of the odd things I encountered this week was a photo of Bob Gibson that showed him wearing a glove on his right hand, which would be true of a left-handed pitcher. Gibson was a right-handed thrower. Makes me wonder if it was a photo they took but had to make do with another glove because he did not have his glove nearby.

Video I watched

CSS Cascade Layers in 5 minutes (Una Kravets) – A great introduction to cascade layers which can be found in Chrome Canary and Firefox Nightly as well as Safari Tech Preview.

The History of Spider-Man (1962 to 2019) – Spider-Man has always been one of my favorite superheroes.

Cube CSS by Andy Bell from Vienna Calling July 2020

What I watched

  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (Theater)
  • Don’t Look Up (Netflix)
  • Wild River (Netflix)
  • Kim’s Convenience (Netflix)

What I played

  • MLB The Show 21 with the Braves – I went 4-2 this week. I played multiple games on Sunday, Friday, and Saturday.
  • Wordle

 

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