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Weeknotes 22:09

March 27, 2022

Week of March 20 - 26

Campus Visits

My son posing with a statue Big Red, the WKU Hilltopper mascot.

This past week, I traveled to Bowling Green, Kentucky to visit Western Kentucky University with my son, Ryan. It was the second such trip we took in the last 3 weeks. We visited Murray State University at the beginning of the month. My son is planning to study graphic design next year.

We traveled up to Bowling Green on Sunday. We walked around campus that evening. On Monday, we visited a classroom while they were doing design critiques of a skateboard project they are doing. Later in the week, they were going to order their boards after finalizing their designs. The professor explained to us that he likes for the students to have a tangible project that they can take with them on job interviews.

After the critique, the professor took us to his office and told us about their next project where they will start digitally and then go back and forth between digital and analog to create a poster in the style of the Obey sticker (Andre the Giant) and Hope poster (Barack Obama) created by Shepard Fairey. He also gave us a tour of the Fine Arts building.

We also got a campus tour and met with someone in financial aid and an admissions counselor with the Honors College, which my son has been accepted into. It was a full day that gave us a picture of what it would be like for him to attend school there next Fall.

Three weeks ago, we visited Murray State. The main purpose of our visit was for my son to have his final interview as he competed for a presidential fellowship from the school. We also had a campus tour, met with a professor from the art department, and had a brief chat with a graphic design professor as he took a break from his class. We also got to see a room in the Honor’s College residence hall.

Two weeks ago, we learned that Ryan was awarded one of the fellowships which would pay for his tuition, room, and board. WKU has also awarded Ryan some scholarships and we are still waiting to hear about another one. We are so proud of his hard work in going after these scholarship opportunities. He is currently weighing his options and hopes to make a decision soon.

Back to Work

I learned a lesson from my trip earlier this month and decided to take a day off between traveling and getting back to work. It was a smart move and I was able to hit the ground running on Thursday without a lot of the distraction I had earlier in the month. I am very grateful to the LGND leadership for implementing unlimited PTO starting this year. It is a great benefit and has allowed me the time to take these important trips as my son decides his future.

I had quite a bit to do when I got back as we needed to finalize one project in order to send it to the client for feedback at the end of the week. I had not progressed as far as I would have liked at the end of the previous week. I was able to get some help from my teammate, Andy. She took care of several JavaScript animations. Then I added CSS scroll animations to put the finishing touches on the project before sending it off to the client at the end of the day on Friday. Next week we will finalize the project after addressing client feedback.

I also put the finishing touches on the third and final report for the Achieving Cross-Border Government Innovation site for the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation. We will be launching it next week on March 29. And this week I launched the Connect2Canada Events page that I started working on in February.

March Madness

I have enjoyed watching several games of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. I always enjoyed rooting for my Jayhawks. This year I was also pulling for Murray State and the local team, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. We thought Murray State would have a chance to go further but became one of the victims of the Cindarella team St. Peters.

I enjoy participating in Bracket Challenges each year and have played along this year with my team at LGND. Last year I finished second. As of the end of the day on Sunday, I was fourth in the challenge. I picked KU to win it all. I also picked Duke to go to the Final Four. Even if KU wins it, I will lose to my fellow developer Josh who also picked KU and has more points than me at this point.

I am excited that the Jayhawks are headed back to the Final Four. This will be their ninth appearance in the Final Four since I was a freshman at KU. They won the championship that year, lost to Duke in the final in ’91, and lost to UNC in the semi-final in ’93 (I was at KU for 6 years getting a 5-year degree in architecture. I have had to endure several losses in the championship game since then but was rewarded with a great comeback win in 2008.

My wife had bought me a long-sleeve t-shirt for Christmas. On the front it said:

January
February
Jayhawks
April

Personal reservations over the sale of CSS Tricks

A couple of weeks ago, Chris Coyier announced the sale of CSS Tricks to DigitalOcean. CSS Tricks has been one of my go-to resources for over 13 years. I first found out about the site from the Boagworld podcast. I had the privilege of seeing Chris speak at his first conference when I attended the first Front-End Design Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, which I heard about through Chris’ Twitter account.

I saw this tweet from Travis on Sunday and it captured a lot of what I felt when I first heard about the DigitalOcean acquisition. While I want to be happy for Chris and his team, I have some reservations. Like Travis, I have seen things like this happen in the past. I cannot think of specific examples right now but I know there have been instances of sites being bought and then they slowly fade away and abruptly shut down.

I know that it is not due to good intentions. CSS Tricks was Chris’ baby and was the vehicle that helped further his career in the industry. I am so grateful to him and all that Chris has contributed through CSS Tricks, Codepen, and ShopTalk Show. It has been great to see how the site went from just being Chris to have a whole team of top contributors. I just fear that without the same passion as its founder (I don’t know of many people that have the same amount of passion and drive as Chris), CSS Tricks will slowly fade away and lose what has made it so special and such a valuable resource for designers and developers over the last 15 years. I hope that I am wrong but I just don’t have a good feeling about this.

Articles I read

  • In Defense of Sass – Stephanie Eckels shares why she will continue to use Sass even with all the new features making their way into CSS. I appreciated her perspective and share it as a long-time Sass user. Preprocessors have been falling out of fashion with a lot of the same features now finding their way into CSS. But I continue to find Sass valuable in the CSS I write every day.
  • Stop Doing These Things – Dan Davies shares his thoughts on red flags he sees when reviewing portfolios and CVs for job candidates. I have noticed a lot of the same things as I have filtered through applicants for developer roles at LGND over the past two years.

Books I read

  • Once Upon a Wardrobe – Someone that I read online had recommended this book earlier in the year and I had requested it from the library but had many others in front of me. We had checked it out a couple of weeks ago with some other books for my mother-in-law that lives with us. I just realized we had it last Saturday and it was due at the end of the week and I could not renew it. Fortunately, I had time on my trip to WKU and was able to read it. I really enjoyed this fictional book that combines fact and fiction to tell a captivating story.
  • The Last Archer,  The First Fowler, and The Archer’s Cup – After reading Once Upon a Wardrobe, I wanted to read some more fictional adventure so I decided to read this trilogy of side stories from The Green Ember series I have read in the past.
  • Deeper – I was so excited that this book was on sale for Kindle a couple of weeks ago. I had planned on buying it. I really enjoyed Dane Ortlund’s book, Gentle and Lowly, which I had read for a second time at the end of the year. I had heard good things about this one so I was excited to get a deal and start reading it.
  • Rich Wounds – I am reading this devotional book during Lent. I have really enjoyed these meditations.

What I watched

  • Parts of the Jurassic World movies – I watched parts of the first two movies at the hotel last Sunday night.
  • March Madness – I watched several different games of the NCAA tournament including 3 of the KU games so far.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond (Peacock)
  • Frasier (Peacock)
  • Formula One: Drive to Survive (Season 2 on Netflix) – I am rewatching the first seasons of this show after seeing the newest season (season 4) a couple of weeks ago.
  • About Time (Netflix)

What I played

  • Wordle – I continue to enjoy playing this game each day.
  • MLB The Show 21 (Braves) – I finally broke a four-game losing streak on Saturday. I continue to struggle to score runs. I have been debating whether to abandon this season or not.

 

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