Trying Some Ruby

So this week I had a a wild hair about learning Ruby. Ruby is a programming language that I heard from friends was better than other languages such as PHP and JSP. WHile I don’t think there is a superior language, i did want to learn the differences between ruby and other languages. SO I did some searching and found some website to learn from. I spent an hour at and learned a bit about the Ruby syntax, how to create classes and loop through and create objects.

My next stop is – yep Rails For Zombies… basically I will be brainwashed into using Ruby on Rails… did I say brain washed? I meant I am choosing to learn this so I can become a well rounded developer.

I am looking forward to see what I can do with Ruby in general. Rails is a web based frame work and while I have seen some great looking sites built with it, I am more interested in the Ruby portion. I will post some links that I am reading up on. Maybe you have something you want to share about when you first started using ruby.


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Well last year I blogged a handful of times here. I was just going over in my head what I had done in the last year. I thought I would give some updates.

In reverse order…

Sodbuster Stout Ale

This Ale is fantastic! The drink pictured in my post was actually a mixture of Mars Cafe’s coffee, brewed the Toddy Method and the Sod Buster Stout. It is a fantastic drink! The sod buster on it’s own has a great dark malty taste which compliments most meals. I have purchased this a few times and have used it to cook pot roasts and other meals with great flavor results.

How much do you know about castle?

This widget I built was on, it only got 680 views and 26 installs. But it was a fun project to work on.


We raised over $3000.00, which I see as a great success! Unfortunately the week of the Haiti trip there was rioting due to elections of new government and our building supporters suggested that we do not come until things settle down. I believe that the trip will happen in February. There will be an update on that some time.

Voices of Freedom – Promo Video

This video was shown at churches all over Des Moines. It had over 400 views online. I have been asked to make another promo video for another project.


Well… we WON! We won 1 game through the whole season. We worked hard together, but we always seemed to come up short at the end. We had big wins on friend-ship and laughs. If we do this again, I am in.

Look what I did! (secret life widget)

The secret life widget was featured on the home page of and had 42,615 views and still being viewed. It was installed on 77 other sites by users. That was a pretty fun project and while the numbers sound great! I am not sure of the ROI on book sales.

A new bike…

Well I bought the Trek. I got this back in August shortly after I posted this. It is a great bike and super fast. I most recently rode single-speed in a Thanksgiving Alley-cat style race and received first place for single-speed. It was quite fun. I am looking at new tires and wheels to improve the speed. Riding fixed gear is harder than i thought, but it is a great workout. I used this bike nearly everyday for 3 months to get to and from work. I will update the next biking thing.

So whats next… I am not sure. You can follow me on twitter or maybe I will post on this blog more often.

Let me know what you think by leaving some comments. :-)

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Sodbuster Stout Ale

For those of you that know me, I love a great dark beer. I also love a great dark coffee. I happened to see on Twitter that a local Brewery: Olde Main Brewing Company was having a tasting party for their new beer “Sodbuster Stout Ale“. There are 2 parties according to their announcement, one at Mars Cafe (November 18th), the other at El Bait Shop (November 19th).

I was able to chat with the head brewer and try a special brew, as well as try a bottle of Sodbuster Stout Ale with some pairings. I also had the Sodbuster Stout & cold-brewed coffee that Mars Cafe serves on a regular basis (freaking mindblowing drink – I will get again). The stout was fantastic and the pairings were well matched. I recommend heading to your local store and picking up a 6 pack (or more) to give this great beer a try.

You should like this beer if you like dark coffee and/or medium to dark beers.

Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think.

Posted in Beers, Drinks | 2 Comments

How much do you know about castle?

Ever watch a TV show on ABC called Castle? Did you know it was based on a series of books? I did not watch it until recently, and it was pretty interesting. But watching the show is not why I am writing about it. I recently got to work on another widget for my friend Nate Becker.

The quiz was originally to be done using flash, but I talked him into working with HTML and JS again. This isn’t as fancy as some of the other widgets we built. The request was to build a quiz.

Here is the final product, let me know what you think:

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Back in July of this year my friend Paul Stewart took a trip to Haiti. Here is a link to his blog post about the experience: After seeing the pictures and hearing about the event, I was moved to help in someway.

Since Paul’s trip, Paul gathered volunteers interested in going to Haiti to help rebuild. One of these individuals is  Chris Kretzu. You can learn what this trip means to him and learn more about it from Chris’ blog here.

What you need to know, is that 12 people are heading to Haiti to help rebuild. Each person needs to raise $1300.00, this will cover their trip and the $10,000.00 building fee for the site they are working on.

What am i trying to do? I am just trying to be a dude. I am also trying to put together a Bike-a-thon to help raise the money needed for this trip.

What is a Bike-A-Thon?

A Bike-A-Thon is a bike ride in a loop. Each loop has a distance (in our case 2 miles). A rider is to get people to sponsor them for each mile they ride. Every mile is more money raised for the goal. Each rider is to get sponsors, whether they get flat fee donations or sponsored per mile.

When will be riding?

  • November 6th 2010
  • Meet up at 9:30am
  • Ride from 10am to 12pm.

Where will we be riding?

We will be making loops around grays lake (2 miles). See the map here:

Grays Lake

Click here to enlarge

So basically if we could get 50 riders to get 1 person to sponsor them, for $1 per mile we could raise $1500. That is more than enough for 1 person to be paid for.

How can you help?

  • Sign up to ride, get people to sponsor you.
    • Download the pledgeform and start asking people to sponsor your bike ride. Make sure to ask if they want to be contacted with updates from the Haiti team. (that is the last check box).
  • Sponsor a rider.
    • You can sponsor a rider.
    • You can tell your friends about what your supporting to see if they will help too.
  • Help out with the event. Besides riders, we need people to help with the following:
    • Help riders with putting bibs on.
    • Checking off riders bibs as they ride around.
    • Donate snacks and drinks and people to serve them.
    • People to take pictures.
    • Anyone want to bring portable heaters
    • Anyone want to offer your location for an after party?

You can follow the progress on twitter with @gatewayinhaiti

You can comment below to let me know if you would be interested in riding or helping in some other way.

I appreciate you reading. If you have questions, other people do too, so leave a comment so I can answer those.



Posted in Bike-A-Thon | 4 Comments

Voices of Freedom – Promo Video

So I was asked by my friend Chris Kretzu, who’s wife works at Freedom For Youth, to work on a promotional video for an event that will be held on the nights of October 27th – 30th. The event sounds really awesome, here is the description from the website:

Voices of Freedom

This fall, Freedom For Youth will be hosting our first ever Voices of Freedom event. This will be an amazing opportunity for you, your church, and your community to experience a day in the life of those we serve at Freedom for Youth. The entire night is focused to create awareness about the youth we serve, what life is like for them, what Freedom for Youth is doing and how everyone can be a part of it. We are very excited about this event and pray you will accept the invitation and join us at Voices of Freedom, October 27th — 30th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.

Highlights of the night include a tent walk with visual and audio experience, a tour of Freedom for Youth campus, crafts and projects for sale, food, music, and more! The admission into the event is $5 & 5 ($5.00 and 5 donation items) and below is a list of desired donations:

Toilet paper (and other paper products)
Bar soap
Tomato Sauce
Canned fruit

You can hear a preview of some stories in the video promo here:

The audio was recorded by Chris Kretzu, the music was by Showbread. I animated the graphics and worked with Chris to develop the concept.

I think that an explanation of the program would have benefited the video, but it will be sent in press-release packets that will have an explanation of what it is.

You can get more information here:

Anyways. It has been a while since I have worked on a video project. I am looking forward to doing more. I would really liked to get a Kodak Zi8 (sport) with a nice mic setup or a canon HD cam and mic with light for shooting video in the future. :-) We will see what the future holds.

I wont know if its good or bad without your comments.


Posted in Contract Work | 2 Comments


So I joined a group of friends and we formed a kickball team! Well… we kicked a ball. We are a team and after a couple games, we have learned how to take the losses well. I think almost all of us.

We wear purple. We are all mostly learning the game and how to play with a big round kick-ball. I must say that there are some aspects that are easier than grade school kickball, like catching and throwing. But there are other things that are harder, like kicking the ball or communicating with the team, or judging a bounce.

You still feel great when there is a great kick, and you still cheer your team on. You still feel terrible when your team is losing and even worse when you cause an error.

What sports are you doing this fall? Stay active!

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Look what I did! (secret life widget)

So I do extra work. There is work… then there is extra work. Unfortunately at work, i don’t get paid to be super innovative… well i take that back. Sometimes I do, often times I don’t. So I take on extra projects and those can be interesting.

I am known for my work with Flash and Actionscript, but I am also known for other things as well. Sometimes i think people put me into a box… but they forget I carry a box cutter on me (figuratively). So when i was asked to build a quick flash application for Hyperion’s Book (link here), I looked at the spec and offered a better solution. With their time frame in place, my client was worried it would not be done. So… I built it in flash, but I had some time. SO I built it out using JavaScript. The sweet part to this is that this application can now be seen on apple products, so when my client showed it to hyperion they were super excited! Hopefully this brings more JavaScript of “HTML5″ projects my way. Perhaps an updated video player is in order for that Jamie Oliver video player.

This was recently featured on the “The secret life of the American Teenager” page as seen on these screen shot:

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A new bike…

Well its been nearly a year and a half since we have been without a car. I usually ride the bus, but I since the summer started, i have been riding my bike nearly everyday. My bike is about 5 years old, it is a trek 4300. For all of you not in the know, its a yellow and grey mountain bike. Its fairly light and has held up well. I think the only mods I have made to it was adding pedals with clips, so I can ride with bike shoes and a bag rack so I can use my paniers.

Recently I made some new friends that have a weekly ride on Thursdays and through this group I discovered something called a fixie. A Fixie is a fixed gear bike… so this means one speed, like the bike when you were a kid. This is great excercise. What was also a fantastic find was that it was a fixed wheel. This means that every time your wheel goes round, your pedals go around. This puts you in control of pedaling how fast you go, uphill and downhill. This has great excersice benefits. Because the fixie is so simple, being one gear, you can get them in many colors and relatively cheap.

So I have been looking for a fixie that fits me. I was recently looking at buying a complete fixie, then I spent the money I was saving up for one with on a good cause. So this made me re-think on how much I wanted to spend on a bike. So this lead me to looking to buy the frame and parts from a used bike shop to make my own. Now usually a fixie is like a road bike, like this:

Sometimes it is something as crazy cool as this:

Either way it was a road bike frame, new or old that is converted into a single speed bike. This means to me… no more going off road, or worrying about extra bumps, not being able to jump curbs, or just over all being as rough as I want with my bike.

Then I saw this:

I didnt see the picture, I saw a video of some guys riding their fixies, they were doing jumps, hopping rocks, wheelies and whatever they wanted. They were also riding as fast as they wanted. These were all the things I wanted in a fixed gear bike. Unfortunately Charge is a UK company and I have not been able to find a charge bike in the US…. well not for less than $750 – which is WAY more than I want to spend on a fixie. After googling and finding exactly what I was looking at with the charge bike – the main difference that made them stronger was the fork. Notice the fork (what holds the front wheel to the bike) in the picture above is a thicker and straighter.

So now that I found out what I wanted… I just didnt want to fork out the money. Then I found a great deal here: $300 shipped. Then taking my bike into the bike shop and explaining what I was looking for (by the way the first time I did this I was talking to an un-helpful person – this time was helpful). They showed me this:

Vilano – (cheaper one – $300 shipped)

Gritty (Gary Fischer/Trek $420 from bike shop)

Somethings I noticed. Better quality on the Gritty – I think it has more of the road bike qualities, but the BMX structure I want. From what I heard it is like the Charge bike. I have not head of Vilano… so I am hesitant of buying it. I am pretty sure its a nice bike. Heck, if I wanted to I could search to my hearts content and piece together one of these for about $600. I guess what it comes down to is what I like/what I can spend.

On another note… I took my bike into the shop to get looked at. I potentially cracked my bottom bracket… which would cost an extra $40 on top of what I already spending to get the bike tuned up.

So we will see what happens. Mostly i am tossing this post out to figure out what I should get… or if I should just keep my Trek 4300 and ignore this “want” of a new bike. Its not like I am debt free and dont have other uses for that money.

Thanks for reading, your comments are appreciate.


Posted in Cycling | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hello world!

MY SITE HAS LOOKED THE SAME FOR ABOUT 5 YEARS! It’s time for change! :-)

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