Tasty Science with a Side of Baloney

Welcome to Blastropodcast! I'm your host, Dottore Balordo, legendary Man of SCIENCE, and master of the Podchamber. I command your ears to listen to my podcast and your brain to accept its wisdom.

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Baby Snakes: Mark's journey into Python

If you made this art, contact me and I'll credit you! So good!

If you made this art, contact me and I'll credit you! So good!

entry.1 date: unknown

>>> print("Help computer.")

The aircraft landed  and all mammals seated within checked their phones. We have a real problem with that as a society, but that's another post for another day. One of said vertebrates (me, surprise!) gazed through the opalescent face-oils of his screen protector, and opened his gmail app: 1 new email.

The message conveyed that I had received a place in the Chicago Python Mentorship Program (a project under the auspices of the Chicago Python User Group).  Hot diggity-dog!

I zapped a screen grab of the email to my girlfriend (she was seated in a different aisle because for safety reasons airlines discourage amorous feelings  between passengers). 

You see?  I silently exclaimed to the imaginary authority figure that I keep around just in case I start to get too puffed up. I have done a thing of merit!  Even at my advanced age of 35  I can become a cyber-trainee! An acolyte of electromancy!  A fizz buzz wizard!

My gf sent me a congratulatory Line sticker of Rilakkuma and his family of bears clapping and dancing. And why not? It's a modern world after all. I was about to learn how to computer. I wasn't Mark Soloff, area podcaster anymore - I was a python mentee! There was just one teensy fly in this vast soup of fortune: I had no idea what people do with Python.

entry.2 Feb 10, 2018

Gitbash whiplash

Gitbash is now my sworn nemesis.


I had my first meeting a few nights ago with my Chipy (Chicago Python if you're nasty) mentor, Jaimie. We sat down on a wintery night over decaff coffee and set up the "environment" in which I suppose the little electric python in my computer will live. The python, I assume, is like a tamagotchi egg - it needs a warm rock to rest upon and, I don't know, some fetal mice every two weeks? 

Nearby patrons regaled each other with happenings of the day, and my laptop familiar bore silent witness as I attempted to, without hyperbole, convey to Jaimie that when it comes to coding, I know nothing. I'm Jon Snowcrash.

Okay, that's a lie. Last month I started learning HTML and CSS through the Grow with Google web development challenge. But that coursework has nothing to do with the mysterious "back end" language of python.

Again, a lie. Apparently you can use something called a "framework" to make python code work on a website (HTML and CSS make up and modify the "front end", the stuff you see and click upon when you do an internet).

Anyway, long story long, Jaimie told me to use Gitbash to interface with Github (a website where the code folk share files with each other and ensure VERSION CONTROL - SWEET MOTHER OF MERCY WHY IS THERE SO MUCH JARGON IN MY WORLD NOW? What is a version and why must we enforce such strict control over it? Is it dangerous? Does it want to hurt the python? This must be why Jaimie had me install the python shell! To protec!

The DOS-like commands that make Gitbash git up and work don't make much sense to me. Push? Pull? Commit? - is this an application or a romantic comedy?* Sheesh!

Well, I tell myself, it's going to  be okay. This is the just the beginning of a journey. I'm sure within a few days Gitbash and I will be the best of pals. 

Flash forward. 

GITBAAAASH! I have no clue what I'm doing. And, without fail, I never try to use Gitbash until I've made progress in coding my project and am rarin' to upload the code.

So happy with my shiny new baby code, and then - eeeee!  The casket lid of that unholy prompt of darkness shudders open and I spend the next hour in its thrall. Like a fool, tilting at windmills, I blast word-spaghetti keystrokes into the void that stretches across innumerable realms, supposedly connecting my computer with the Shangri la known as my Github "repo".

On an intrinsic level, I know that Jaimie knows that I don't know how to Gitbash. And this failing on my part is a crime against all law-abiding code folk.  They know. They can smell my sacrilegious drag-and-drop uploads. They can feel them. They taste my shame.

tl:dr It's time to read the dang Gitbash instruction manual already. 


* pretty good.

entry.3 Feb 11, 2018

A code sprouted!

So. As part of Chipy I need to create something using python. My friend and fellow podcaster Grant Howitt (who makes table top role-playing games for a living!) wrote a delightful RPG called Honey Heist in which the players get to be criminal bears engaged in, well, a honey heist.

I vow to use python to liberate new Honey Heist players from the archaic rolling of dice. Through code, I will provide these brave gamesters a method of generating their characters via the electric euphoria of hitting the ENTER key! Forget the year of the dog, 2018 is the year of  the Honey Heist Bearacter Generator! And both Grant and Jaimie gave me permission, so I'm `onna do it.

I'm an adult.

The Bearacterization begins...

The Bearacterization begins...