The best thing that has come from writing for medium

The Yacht Henrietta, modeled by Mr. Wm. Booker, N.Y. Built by Mr. Henry Steers, Greenpoint, L.I. by Charles Parsons. Original from Library of Congress. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. In the Public Domain

I spent a few months last year trying to make this writing thing work — spoilers it hasn’t, and I don’t think it will. Money isn’t the only thing that stands to be gained by writing here though.

For every dollar that I haven’t earned, there is a habit I picked up that makes me grateful for having given this a go.

Becoming a better reader

I was a shit reader before I started writing. I’d read a few things here and there, and I enjoyed books in general, but I was never the type to pick up a book.

Reading was something that…

Creating a dark mode version of MDN

Mozilla’s not Firefox, but if it were I’d put it on dark mode too. — American Black or Silver Fox (Vulpes fulvus) from the viviparous quadrupeds of North America (1845) illustrated by John Woodhouse Audubon (1812–1862). Original from The New York Public Library. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.

I love dark mode websites. I have everything I use set to dark mode if it’s available. But that’s not always the case.

MDN decided that it’s not really their priority to have a dark mode for their website, and it doesn’t look like anyone has made an extension for this yet. The universal dark-mode plugins I’ve used have all been horrendous, so I set out to make my own chrome extension.

But I didn’t know exactly where to start. So here’s what I did to change that.

My first step was to try to see if I could find…

The truth about why your French lessons aren’t paying off

Cliffs at Pourville (1882) by Claude Monet. Original from the National Gallery of Art. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. In the public domain — CC0

It’s cool to be the guy that can strike up a conversation with the strangers having a conversation in a foreign tongue — in their own language. That was one of the biggest motivating factors for me to learn Japanese. That and watching One Piece without subtitles.

The first day you spend studying everything is new. We’re in the novel world where we can talk about French baguettes and Italian spaghetti or Japanese apologies — staples to a language, things are exciting.

We learn the meaning of the cool words — expressions in popular culture, how to greet new friends…

I grew up ignoring math classes. Honestly, I grew up ignoring all my classes, but I made a point especially about not putting extra effort into math.

But math is…

And how to move past them

Hack away at your programming Kraken — The photomechanical print, The Struggle of the Slav by John S. Pughe (1870–1909). Original from Library of Congress. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. Public Domain, CC0

Programming tutorials are a complicated matter. If you’re learning how to program, inevitably you’re going to come across a point where you have to just copy someone’s code. This is a dangerous activity, and if you don’t do it correctly then you won’t learn.

Recently I’ve been trying to get a better handle on the MERN tech stack (MongoDB, ExpressJS, React, and Node). My approach was to try to get a vision of what a finished product might look like. There are plenty of finished examples on the internet — if you look around on Github you can find more…

Even polyglots get tired

How to keep chugging forward in your language learning journey. Compound locomotive published by Sampson Low and Marston (1894). Original from the British Library. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. In the Public Domain, CC0

I’ve tried learning about six or seven languages at different points in my life, and if I have to be completely honest — my pace has slowed down a lot over the last two years. I don’t always find the same success I had before. Concentrating on language learning isn’t something as readily available to me as it was a few years ago. I have a family now, and that takes priority. But this doesn’t mean I have to forgo language learning altogether.

If you’re finding it difficult to keep making progress, here are some tips for making the best…

How to put an end to all the false starts

Reproduction of the “Ladies in Blue” fresco
ca. 1525–1450 B.C. by Emile Gilliéron. Original from The MET Museum. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. — In the public domain, CC0

Growing up in Queens was awesome because there was always someone speaking a language I couldn’t recognize. I’m proud to be a product of one of the most diverse places in the world. It’s almost impossible not to be interested in languages when you’re almost guaranteed to hear at least two or three just walking out the door.

Learning a new language was one of the most difficult, rewarding projects in my life. But it wasn’t as easy as saying 1,2,3 go — There were a lot of things I had to do before I got over all the false…

Was Sisyphus happy?

Ever think flowery thoughts?— Evocation of Roussel (1912) by Odilon Redon. Original from the National Gallery of Art. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. In the Public Domain, CC0

There seems to be no end to the amount of times we have to do something over and over, to how many times we have to read something over and over. Yet in this novelty chasing, instant-gratification fueled purgatory we call life, we can’t seem to get enough of it. How often are we fooled into running after meaningless skinner boxes, only to finally get them and never open them up? How many experiences do we have before we get to the point where we finally stop to think about them?

Yet down that same road, how many times do…

Beyond the reflexive pronoun

A Roman General waves hello to each and every self here. — Roman general from An illustration of the Egyptian, Grecian and Roman costumes by Thomas Baxter (1782–1821). Original from The New York Public Library. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.

Okay, quick, very weird question — at what point does the rest of the world stop and you begin? And to that same point — is it the same place where you stop and the rest of the world begins, does one spill over to the other? What is the ‘self’, and more importantly, what is myself?

I teach the reflexive pronoun -self as a grammar point in my class — it’s an object that ‘reflects’ the subject. There’s a bunch of silly little examples “WE did it all by OURSELVES”, “I went to the movies by MYSELF”, “YOU’VE soiled…

A question every introvert seems to pose every time they see someone.

Circa 1415, pictorial representation of how I feel when speaking or being spoken to needlessly. Duel of Volker the minstrel and Islan the monk — Sourced from the Wikimedia Commons, in the public domain, CC0

I remember how I spent a long time as a kid online playing MMORPGs and avoiding social contact. At first, it was a dismissal. I didn’t want to talk, and I refused to see a point in it, even for online interactions. After I grew a little, it became a more serious question though. What is the point? What’s the goal? Why should I, or any other human being, speak to another?

In the context of an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), the most obvious answer seems to be for cooperation. We need to interact with players to trade…

Leo Teixeira

Newly-wed with a baby. Writing about Culture, Language, and Travel. Occasionally I publish pieces of advice to myself about writing or put my degree to work

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store