I have not posted since September 16. In blogging terms, that might as well be years ago.

Strangely, I actually have an excuse this time, and it isn't complete bullshit.

For almost the last two months, I've been "crushing" 80+ hour weeks at Dev Bootcamp. The idea is that these schmucks over at DBC can take me, a scatterbrained life-long tinkerer and turn me into someone who can bend and weave the web to my whims.

I'm not out yet, but I can tell you that I think we've succeeded. I have skills I've been trying to attain for most of my life. But it isn't about the skills, not really. The strategies we've learned leave me confident that I can explore the ocean of unknowns, feeling -- at least a bit -- like I'm not helpless. I know how to talk to people who actually know this stuff. I know how to ask them questions. I can conceptually explain the things I do know, like AJAX requests or routing. I can explain database queries.

I feel...powerful. It means that not only can I learn and improve my own understanding, but even in my limited knowledge I can help someone else who feels lost on a particular topic. The most gratifying technical experiences I've had thus far have fallen into two ordered collections: 1. Helping someone else understand a problem; 2. Solving a problem myself.

Initially everyone in the cohort was a complete stranger, but now they're people I know and love, and can't imagine life without. That's what you get, learning and swearing and discovering and being pissed off together. Everything is cheesy until you've done it and experienced it for yourself, and Dev Bootcamp is no different. Engineering Empathy, pair programming, willingness to be vulnerable and all of the others sound like complete bullshit until you've tried them and been unafraid to feel a bit vulnerable.

And vulnerable we are.

Nobody here is an angel, or free from sin. Nobody here is getting on with their perfect life. Every single one of us has had a "bad day" (if you could call it that). But that seems to be the key: there is no pretense about appearing perfect or shiny.

We're all -- to a person -- here to learn about this web thing, improve ourselves, and improve each other.

It isn't easy. It shouldn't be easy.

More later.