SQL Camp for two (nerds): LIVE BLOG, with bonus: Tech Fear

12:22pm. I’m here in Oakland with my friend Rebekah, and we are ready to spend Saturday afternoon learning SQL! Total transparency, we have been pronouncing it “sequel.” The guy on the Lynda video is saying “ess kyew ell.” We are unsettled.

12:25pm. Narrator: “some people try to pronounce SQL as if it had vowels, like “sequel.” This is technically incorrect.” !!?!??!?!?!?!?!?

12:57pm. Rebekah is working on a PC and I’m on my beloved MacBook Air. We’ve been working separately for the last 20 mins or so installing the applications we need. I’ve run into trouble running xampp, and I think I’ve figured it out–I have Apache already installed as part of Acquia Dev Desktop, from when I was building my wedding website in Drupal. So, I’m currently archiving that site so I can uninstall that version of Apache.

2:09pm. AGH. We’ve spent an hour trying to get xampp to run on my computer. Hoping we’ve got it and a reset will help… But hey, we’ve done a lot of digging around in php guts, which is educational, right?

2:25pm. The lesson of the last hour is: if Lynda tells you to download from a particular place, do it. I installed the version the instructor has on his own website (after removing Acquia Dev), and now it works perfectly. Yay. We had time for a salad break.

2:39pm. Everything is installed and we are ready to begin. : |

picture of two nerds

3:07pm. “I think it’s case sensitive there because it has to match the string exactly,” I said. Rebekah capitalized ‘Europe.’ The query worked! Me: “I JUST SAID WORDS I UNDERSTOOD!” High five!

3:30pm. We spent some time running SELECT commands. Aaaand we’re out of time. Too bad it took me two hours to figure out that I should *actually* do what Lynda *actually* says to do and not download from Apache Friends. All part of the learning process, right? It was cool to watch Rebekah navigating the php files and attempting to fix things. And I learned what a server is.

Here is where I will talk a little bit about fear.

I do not understand this stuff very well. Hell, I just called it “this stuff” rather than try to be more specific because I literally do not know what I am talking about. Computers? Programming? Tech-i-ness? I’ve always been a book person (fiction specifically) and it’s defined my role in life for, well, my whole life. I have never identified as someone who understands math, computers, writing code, programming… “this stuff.” In fact, it brings up a pretty deep-seated fear in me that I just can’t do this. Maybe I will try, but in the process, people will see that I don’t even know what Linux is and know that I’m trying to do something I’m not capable of understanding. I just don’t have the brain for this, I’ve said so many times. I stopped taking math and science as soon as I could get away with it in school. I’ve never formally studied coding or programming. I stuck to fiction and art, both of which served me fantastically when I was a children’s librarian.

The problem is that I’m bored. I’ve gone about as far as I can go in my career with being a person who knows fiction and art, unless I wanted to go into higher ed, which I don’t. I’m at an impasse where it’s either start learning new things, things I’ve always been scared to try, or accept being bored. My brain just can’t handle that second option. Boredom makes me anxious. Engagement, a new problem to figure out, making things work–those things break me out of anxiety.

The thing that gives me confidence I’m capable of learning tech skills is language. I’ve always been good at language. English grammar clicks in my brain like a set of gears, and I remember rules I have no memory of learning. I go most of my year without speaking much Spanish, but when I head to FIL Guadalajara every November, within a day or two I’m fluent again. I do have a brain for this. My brain gets rules and codes and sequences. I can do it.

SO: SQL Camp for Two (Nerds) resumes this Monday evening. Now that everything’s installed, heh, it should be a productive lil’ night.



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