A Recipe Form in Elm

I remember looking at Elm a while ago, but just never did anything with it. Then about 2 months ago, I joined a slack channel focused on the language, checked out a meetup, and just got really into it. If you are interested in trying out a new language, I would highly recommend it. The community so far has been great and very enthusiastic, and the language itself has truly been a joy to learn. The documentation is very thorough and provided all of the information I needed to work on my first Elm project!

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September 21, 2016


About a month ago, I joined a JavaScript study group. While I have done some lessons and some simple JavaScript as well as JQuery for different projects, I felt I would benefit from additional practice.

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June 29, 2016

Adding Search to Giggle Water

I wanted to break out this post as something separate from yesterday’s update post since it involved a bit more work and a more significant change for the Giggle Water app I’ve been working on with my friend, Tomek. The goal here was to include a search so that a user can easily find drinks by the name or ingredient that they like. I had not done this type of addition to an app at this point and I looked forward to figuring it out. I learned a lot in the process.

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March 8, 2016

Out of Hibernation

I took somewhat of a break from blogging over the winter. I slowed down a bit in terms of my learning process and seeking opportunities. I was feeling a bit discouraged about my progress and if I’d ever move on to something new. I took a somewhat conscious step of not worrying so much and just letting things come naturally. I can say that even though I haven’t been super active in terms of applying, I am a lot more comfortable with what I have been doing. Looking back, I’m somewhat pleased witht he things I have done in spite of supposedly “laying low” all winter.

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March 7, 2016

Favorite Music This Year

I love listening to music all throughout the day, and I’ve had various conversations with people about what their favorite albums were of this past year. I thought I’d put my own list together to think back on what I was listening to. I decided to keep it straightforward and true to actual plays so I decided to use my Last.fm scrobbles as a baseline. I always have scrobbling set up on my laptop and my phone to capture what I’m listening to. Below are my top 10 favorite albums and songs of the last year.

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December 18, 2015

Winter Break

It has been a few weeks since I last posted. I’ve been up to various things including studying, contributing, working on my projects, and more cooking. With winter coming up, I decided to take the next month or so as a break from applying to places and really focusing on just doing more. This means making more whether it is programming or cooking related. It also means stepping out of my comfort level and going to more meetups, and working on more pull requests for things I might not know how to do right away. These are a few of the things I have been and want to work on during this winter:

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December 7, 2015

Nested Attributes and a has_many :through Relationship.

Over the past week, I have been working on upated Recetera, my recipe app. This is somewhat of a toy project I’ve been working on for a while to keep challenging myself and to learn new aspects of Rails and developing a web app. Some of the recent updates included updating the Gemfile and adding some partials to clean up ‘layouts/application.html.erb’.

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November 12, 2015


During the month of November, I participated in an event called Hacktoberfest put on by Digital Ocean and GitHub. The goal for this event was to submit 4 pull requests during the month to win a free t-shirt. I thought it was a nice motivator the past month to contribute more to different projects.

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November 2, 2015

Ajax Buttons

Over the past few months I’ve been helping my friend with a cocktail recipe app: Giggle Water. It has been great contributing and learning new things about Rails and getting first-hand experience contributing to the development of an application. One of the more complicated things I’ve had to do required creating ‘add’ or ‘remove’ buttons depending on whether or not a drink ingredient was already in a user’s bar. This had to be done without a page reload and also provide a flash notification when a drink was added or removed from the bar. This would involve an Ajax request and the use of JavaScript to change elements in the view.

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October 23, 2015


These past few weeks I have been thinking about how I value myself and how that has an impact in various aspects of my life. Recent conversations have made me realize that I put myself down a lot, I tend to place myself beneath others, and I stop myself from doing things I want to do because of it. I am not sure exactly how to make these feelings go away, but I am understanding more about what it is and hope to be more aware of it.

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October 8, 2015


This week I worked a bit more on Giggle Water (my friend’s cocktail recipe app). I was able to finally make some progress with getting a flash notice to work with AJAX. I wound up using the very helpful unobtrusive_flash gem. With this, it was basically a matter of calling UnobtrusiveFlash.showFlashMessage('<%= message %>', {type: 'success'}); within my js.erb file and the message appeared! This was the perfect solution and did exactly what I needed. This was a task I was holding on for a while, got frustrated with lack of progress, and slowed down. I am glad I got it done and I regained a lot of the motivation to keep contributing.

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September 30, 2015

Back at it

I recently had some great conversations with people related to the learning and different ways in which we acquire new knowledge/skills. A friend also sent me this great post on passion and the learning process: hacking passion. I have been thinking a lot about my own progress and how I’ve been teaching myself.

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September 21, 2015

Building Confidence

Related to the post from last week is the topic of confidence. This is something I have dealt with all of my life as I’m sure many people have. It can totally kill motivation and make you feel generally just bad about yourself and what you’re doing. While I don’t think I’ll ever feel fully confident in all aspects of my life, I definitely feel like I’m getting to a place where I can think about it more as well as single in on moments when I felt especially confident.

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September 8, 2015

Bike Rides

It has been a while since I last posted. I’m hoping to be more active and shoot for a post a week if not more. I wanted to share a bit about my experience with riding a bicycle for the first time in 20 years and how it has provided me with some much needed motivation.

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August 31, 2015

Vim Fun

Last month I attended VimChi which is the Vim users group based here in Chicago. I was using Vim in earnest for a few months before the meeting, I love it and I was excited to go. I met some great people, all with a love of using Vim and figuring out it’s quirks. We discussed tags as well as using buffers. Tags are still somewhat of a mystery to me but I have been using buffers pretty frequently now.

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April 17, 2015

Random Rubyism

While working on the Matasano Crypto Challenges, I came across a fun little bit of Ruby. This was completely random and I didn’t even know I could do this, so I wanted to share. I am always amazed by really elegant and just neat ways you can express things in Ruby, and I was a little excited that this was the key I needed to complete one of the challenges.

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March 10, 2015

Revisiting fields and nested attributes in rails

I have been working more on Recetera lately, and I wanted to provide a bit of an update on what I’ve been doing. This mostly has to do with all I’ve learned and ran into when working with nested attributes and fields.

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February 24, 2015


I recently had an experience which resulted in a friend giving me some great feedback on how to write more readable and idiomatic ruby. Inspired by this, I decided to dig up an old simple ruby program I was playing around with when I first started to teach myself. I wanted to polish it up, and so I spent a weekend refactoring and going through it. The program basically takes user input through a text file, processes the commands given and displays the result. Being that I’m a fan of videogames, I thought that this would be fun to use this as the topic. To begin, I wrote up some tests before each functionality I wanted to create:

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January 22, 2015

Lita and creating a recipe handler

For the past week, I’ve been playing around with Lita, a chat bot written in Ruby. Lita works within different chat protocols, irc being one of them. It does this with the help of a plugin which helps to connect to the chat protocol of choice. There are also handler plugins that will do various tasks such as welcome a user, image search in chat, and a karma ranking for popular words. I decided to get to work on writing my own handler.

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January 6, 2015

More work on todo app

Today I worked some more on the to do list app. I wanted to add a default value to the :done attribute so that any time a new task is created it is flagged as not yet completed. I liked the logic of doing this rather than leaving it as nil, but also I wanted to use the value to use in my model.

class AddDefaultToDoneAttribute < ActiveRecord::Migration
  def change
    change_column_default(:tasks, :done, false)
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December 16, 2014

Matasano Crypto Challenges

One of the most interesting (and definitely challenging) methods I have used to learn Ruby has been to work through Matasano’s set of cryptography challenges (http://cryptopals.com). To me it is a practical way at looking how bits of information get pushed around and manipulated. I have done various programming type challenges such as Project Euler, and CodeWars but this seems to be the most applicable to real situations, maybe because it quite literally is. I have so far done the first 4 challenges of the 1st set.

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December 11, 2014

Walk Pictures 2

It has been a while since I last updated with some pictures from walking around town. The weather probably has something to do with that. Today wasn’t THAT bad, so I took some time to wander arounda bit more. These are more pictures from around the West Loop area.

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December 5, 2014

El Calafate Pics

El Calafate was beautiful. It was by far the best part of the trip for me. It was a much needed getaway. The landscape was breathtaking and unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Even the view from the aiport was pretty.

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November 6, 2014

Buenos Aires Pics

Buenos Aires was enormous. It seems to be similar in population to Chicago and covers a very large area. I didn’t get as many photos as I would’ve liked, though the architecture was beautiful. This is the Obelisco, at the heart of the city and a common meeting point.

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November 6, 2014

Argentina Food Pics

Though I didn’t take as many shots as I would’ve liked, the food was incredible in Argentina. Below are a few I think are representative of what we had down there. The above was a lunch we had in El Calafate: grilled ribeye, french fries, grilled morcilla, grilled lamb tripe, and a malbec to wash it all down.

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November 6, 2014

Walk Pictures

I always try to take time during the day to take a long walk somewhere. Usually it is so I can run another errand or play Ingress, but I also really enjoy just looking around and noticing the little interesting things all around. One of my favorite things to keep an eye out for are various stickers, paste ups, or various other forms of street art around Chicago. This is probably the majority of what makes me stop and take a picture. droids Below are a few I took this week:

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October 24, 2014

fields_for within form_for and modifying input

So I’m currently working on a recipe app and I’m starting to work on a simple form so that I can get a working idea of how user input might look. I also wanted to see how this input gets interpreted and saved to the model. Using a Rails form helper, I built a form for various fields of a recipe including :title, :author, and :cuisine. A simple text_area to input these worked just fine, but then I came across an issue: what to do about :ingredients. The problem I was facing is that I want to give the option of selecting 3 different fields to complete the input for :ingredients which is set up in my model as text. After researching the Rails API, I found another helper called fields_for. This creates a set of fields tied to a single parameter. This is what it would look like within my form:

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October 21, 2014

Busy Week

Things are really going fast this past month. I have various things to plan for and prepare. Most importantly, I’m getting married! Drew and I are going to do it this Friday and I couldn’t be more excited. I have spent the last 6 years with this wonderful person and we couldn’t find any better way to mark the occasion of our anniversary than to get married now that is is legal. It is a weird thing, I don’t think anything will be immediately different or noticeable, but it is something that is important to me. It is a way to signal I guess that we plan to work as a team, that we know we want to grow old together and go forward in this world as a singular unit.

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October 6, 2014


So I’ve been playing a lot of Ingress the past couple of days, I really cannot believe I haven’t played it before. The idea is you join one of two factions: Enlightened or Resistance. Throughout the world there are either green or blue portals that correspond to each side. The goal is to neutralize those portals and capture them for your side. The catch is the only way to do this is to physically be at the portal’s corresponding location in a real life map. As you could imagine in Chicago there are a lot of portals and a lot of activity related to the game.

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October 3, 2014


This is my first post using Jekyll. I’m hoping to move all blogging related to working on code here. I also want this to be a personal blog where I just post ideas and opinions, as well as fun things that happen from day to day.

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October 2, 2014

New Book

Started working through Agile Web Development in Rails 4 last night. I feel discouraged by the fact that I keep restarting Rails walkthroughs. I can see why going through all these steps is a good thing, but I was never one to follow steps and make sure everything is just right the first time. I don’t feel I am grasping concepts though, and I think this is somewhat crucial.

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September 17, 2014


I’ve been to 3 meetups int he past 2 weeks. I’ve always wanted to do this but never had to guts to meet new people. The first meetup was the Chicago LGBT in Tech group, then I went to the Project Euler Sprint, and yesterday I went to Chicago Ruby. All of these groups have been very welcoming and had a great time learning and meeting people.

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September 3, 2014

Jotting Down Ideas

I’m making note of some other app ideas as a go along. I wanted to write some down so I don’t lose track of them.

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August 7, 2014


Well, I decided to dive into making a rails app. No, it isn’t the recipe app advertised on the landing page, but rather a to-do app. For me this serves a couple of purposes. It is a straight forward app idea with more basic functionality. I wanted to make it as a proof of concept for my rails knowledge at this point. I have the basic structure of laid out and info moves around where I want.

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August 5, 2014

More Ruby

Just thought I’d include another update. I’m letting my curiosity drive me in this learning process, so I’ve been primarily working with Ruby stuff rather than to work on the app or rails stuff itself.

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July 28, 2014

3.times{puts 'ruby!'}

I have been having a great time learning more and more Ruby. It is such a beautiful language. While human and computer languages don’t always correlate, I feel that my background in linguistics has really helped me understand how Ruby works.

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June 19, 2014

One of My First Programs

When first started this, I decided to just start learning ruby and to get really good at programming. I really didn’t know what that meant, it was just what I thought you had to do. one of the first things I did was a simple game collection program.

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June 6, 2014