Jessica Mear

Art and Other Things

April 9, 2016

Working away on learning All the Things Coding. I have a couple of project ideas and I am getting really excited about canvas. The Rose Curves project is a little more developed. I want to add buttons and user interactivity to it. Maybe a thing where you can click to create the rose at a particular spot, or controls to limit or choose the possible rose shapes.

I've also been playing LightBot and SkyBot with the kids I tutor. They really like it and I think it would be fun to come up with a similar game, with expanded mechanics but still simple enough for little kids. Run Marco is a good example, but it has too much reading and not enough reliance on symbols for what I am thinking of. Flow is a great example of the style, or feel, I want to create. Simple enough for a toddler to play with it, engaging enough for adults to enjoy.

I've also been marveling a little bit at this modern world we live in. One of my favorite currently working artists, Rebecca Campbell, is on Facebook, and it just astonishes me that I am able to connect with her so personally. Her work is incredible; what a priviledge to be able to interact with her on social media. And I carry around a tiny computer in my hand. This computer gives me access to, pretty much, all the information in the world. If I am home sick with the flu, I can lay in my bed and comment on a photo of Rebecca Campbell's children, then order snacks and drinks and have them delivered in an hour to my doorstep.

I like living in the future.

JavaScript Workshop Meetup

April 6, 2016

At this meetup, the organizers asked for announcements, then asked for people to suggest topics to work on. I have been working through the early chapters in Eloquent JavaScript and was not quite clear on some concepts, so I suggested that. We broke into groups and a couple guys came over and talked through what I wasn't understanding. Another person came over and was asking questions about getting started; he had not ever written any code before. I suggested he start with CodeCademy, and then move into creating projects or Eloquent JavaScript. The other people there suggested Free Code Camp, which many people seemed to really like. We had good discussions on learning and job seeking. So glad I went, and will definitely go again.

Team Coding

April 3, 2016

I've been talking with some old friends who are currently working as coders, and we've all been enjoying Project Euler problems. My solution to problem 10 (Find the sum of all the primes below two million) took almost two and a half minutes to run. We went over several ways to improve the efficiency of my code for problem 9, including reducing the total number of nested loops and finding some logical limits. Then they helped me create a Sieve of Eratosthenes and I applied it to problem 10. My code was then reduced to a fraction of a second! So satisfying. It was a great experience and I look forward to more opportunities to work with others.

Rhodonea Curves

March 29, 2016

One of the things I used to enjoy the most in Flash is exploring how math and randomness can create beautiful images. I decided I wanted to try something like that in JavaScript, and came up with this little thing: Rhodonea Curves. More later!!

My First Meetup

March 28, 2016

Tonight I went to a meetup put on by Girl Develop It at MeltMedia. It was on UX design, and I was really intrigued. I feel like UX design might be something I want to concentrate on in the long run. It was a comfortable and informative experience, and I'll definitely attend future stuff with GDI. Also, MeltMedia seems like it has a great culture and would be a nice place to work.

Boolean Programmers

March 12, 2016

Programmers have only two possible states: 1) that long stretch of time where nothing makes sense and everything is wrong and why won't this work and I forgot to comment my working code so I no longer even rememeber what I tried, and 2) THE COMPUTER WILL DO MY BIDDING I AM THE ALL-POWERFUL ALLBEING

Which is true, and which is false?

Getting Really Excited About Making Stuff with Code

March 3, 2016

I've been studying JavaScript, completing Project Euler problems in it, and really enjoying myself. I've made a decision that I want to make cool things with code for a living. I've been dabbling in programming since I was a child. The time is right; I am going to go for it. But now there is the next big decision. Self-teach or code bootcamp?

I guess I'll just keep learning and exploring and we'll see what works out.

Just Keep Swimming

February 22, 2016

I got on a roll and couldn't quit until I was done. Finished Geometry today! Moving right into Trigonometry. I'm excited because I think reviewing this material and really understanding it will help me build beautiful things with code.

Exponent Day?

2 4 16

2   22   222

Intermediate C#

January 29, 2016

Finished the Intermediate C# course! Woo hoo!

Project Euler

January 7, 2016

I've spent some time working through just the first few problems on Project Euler, using C#. Absolutely enjoying the experience!

C# and Onions

December 27, 2015

I've been taking some more online courses. Today I finished the Intro to C# final, got an A, and then decided to try beets and onions skins to dye some hand towels. Beet water did basically nothing. Yellow onion skins came out beautifully, and stayed bright through the wash. And I am excited to take the next C# course!

Obligatory Star Wars Post

December 25, 2016

For the holidays, I got to see The Force Awakens with two of my favorite people. It was amazing and I loved it.

Lego Programming

December 10, 2015

Today I bumbled my way through the beginning of a Lego programming demo, then got out from in front of the computer and informed two little girls that they could try it out themselves. They were fascinated. They figured things out. They engaged with the interface and made it do things I hadn't shown them or helped them with. They were amazing and it was one of the most fun times I have ever had when working with kids.

Monument Valley

November 20, 2015

Stumbled upon and became fascinated with Magic Squares. This stuff is so cool!

Monument Valley

November 15, 2015

Still working on Geometry and about to get back to it, becuase I've completed Monument Valley. It's so beautiful and tricky and clever and lovely. I can definitely see replaying this one again and again.


November 5, 2015

The concept of degenerate triangles is making me laugh so much. Degenerates, laying around, just waiting to stab someone with their sharp points!


November 3, 2015

Working through Geometry on School Yourself. It's easily the best online math I have ever encountered. Instead of videos or text, it walks you through animations of the concepts, then to get to the next part you have to interact with the demo and input a correct answer. Any time you are stuck there are hints available. There are also links to go back to previous material, which are great if you realize you can't remember the foundational stuff for this particular lesson. After a lesson there is an assessment that also has hints to help you really get a handle on the material. It's awesome and I love it!

Reading Aloud

October 26, 2015

So, it turns out that reading all the history and science and literature aloud kills my voice entirely. And that leaves me no voice for singing in the car. Which means that now I will listen to a lot of audiobooks on my commute. I will also switch to using audio books for the kids for some selections.

Why am I reading so much aloud to children who are capable of reading to themselves? Lots of reasons. First of all, they do read on their own as well as listening to the read-alouds. Reading aloud has different benefits than reading silently. It allows for a slower and more interactive experience of the material. I can keep an eye on the kids and watch for signs of confusion, stop to clarify a point, or have a discussion about what we are reading. It also allows me to use texts that are far more complex than what they could comprehend on their own. The exposure to vocabulary and complex sentence structure is good for developing skills in all aspects of language arts. It's also fun. Reading a story and experiencing it with other people is exciting and engaging. It's definitely worth it, even if I have no voice left at the end of the day.

Getting Into the Swing of Things

October 19, 2015

Finished my Algebra 1 refresh with Life of Fred Beginning Algebra. I admit I was sad the the entire story took place away from Kittens University. My favorite characters were barely in the book! (Yes, this is a math book!)

Getting Into the Swing of Things

October 6, 2015

Tutoring these kids has been an experience! It's difficult but also rewarding. Nothing ever works more than once or twice, so it's a constant game of creative solutions and patience. Today it rained, which, if you are a kid in Phoenix and it rains, you know you have to take advantage of it. We took a long break and the kiddos played outside, splashed each other, got soaked, came inside to warm towels and dry clothes, and we finished the day on a lovely note.


Septemeber 20, 2015

Spent about a week walking on the beach and barely seeing a glowing screen. There were dolphins and crabs and tiny baby waves that allowed me to swim without getting crashed into the sand. It was marvelous! I am excited to get back home, to my routine, and to tutoring and studying, though. I've been concentrating on math and really enjoying it. Check out Life of Fred if you need a refresher.

Summer is Over Already

August 5, 2015

Summer is not really over in Phoenix. It's still a zillion degrees out, but it's back to school time. So we get the routine change without the lovely fall weather. Grump!

I'm participating in GiSHwHes for the first time this year. It's a really fun international scavenger hunt and the items are all kinds of things to do, from making an app (I did make a rather silly app!) to dressing up as Storm Troopers in Times Square to giving books to children or food to people in need. I cut about ten inches off my hair to give to Wigs for Kids, and I love how easy my shorter hair is. All the items have been so much fun to make and do.

This week is also another new beginning. I am tutoring elementary aged kids. There are so many fun and exciting ways to engage kids this age; I'm really looking forward to it.

All the Crafts

February 19, 2015

Everything gets crazy, and you know what they say about the cobbler's kids, right? The web designer's site receives little attention.

I seem to be heavy on the handicrafts lately. I've been working on:

There appears to be a large gap at the end of this post, before the next one, but I will have to squish that bug later.

Solved it! There was an error in the css.

Great experience!

January 15, 2015

I very much enjoyed my time at TinyPrints. I got to work with a lot of really great people, and my job was difficult but engaging. My favorite part about working there was the office environment and the team. As employees we were trusted to accomplish tasks without a lot of hand-holding, though support was there when needed. When a family emergency arose, I was able to handle it and make up the time without any issues. I would definitely consider returning there for another contract or possibly a permanent position.

New Job and Other Things

September 16, 2014

So I got a short term contract with Shutteryfly/TinyPrints and I start next week. Exciting!

However, I am still keeping up with my classes. There is one big main page that has a lot of notes from all the web-related classes I have been taking: Much Delicious Webbyness

I am currently working on Intermediate CSS3 and HTML5, Intro to JavaScript, Intro to Java, Intro to InDesign, and Writing for Children. I am really excited about working through these classes because, even when I already have some familiarity, the classes do two really great things for me. One, I am required to work on learning something in a certain time frame whether or not I feel like it, and two, a lot of the web and design stuff I know is cobbled from here and there and everywhere. It's reassuring to get a solid foundational understanding of some things I had been using but not really understanding.

Writing for Children is the outlier in that list, and I want to talk about that for a minute. I love the web and I love design, and part of the reason for that is that I never really believed I could draw or that I was very creative. I felt much more competent at layout and type and logo design than anything more on the artistic side. But I am finding that I love to draw. I love to paint! Making art is fun and engrossing and fascinating and well outside my comfort zone. And really, a lot of good stuff happens when we are forced outside that little area that makes us comfy. Good for sleeping, not so much for doing cool things.

So making picture books is a side project that I would like to work on. I think I could make some really cool stuff, and I also think that pretty much any creative endeavor informs all other creative endeavors. I feel like a better web designer since I started dedicating serious time to learning to draw, and I feel like a better artist when I design a quilt top and sew it together, and I fee like a better quilter when I learn more about creating beautiful web pages. And so on!

What am I doing when I am not learning or making new stuff? Putting a dent in my reading list. Working on finishing my current favorite 3DS game, Bravely Default. Making cheesy crackers (YUM).

I have a lot going on!

Hello out there!

September 8, 2014

I've had lots of projects going on, and in between I have been trying out some cool stuff for the website. It would be fairly responsive on devices, and hopefully not have any terrible breaking bugs. And, I'll use this blog to update about projects I'm working on, whether technical, or creative, and maybe some bits about things I just really enjoy.

My favorite pieces that are up are the illustrations and the Flash interactive work. I'm interested in learning how HTML5 and JavaScript can allow me to do some of the same things I can do in Flash. I'm also working on all areas of more hand-made art, including drawing, painting, embroidery, and land-lettering. Exciting stuff, all this learning!