August 2018 Newsletter: Minimalism, Genealogy, and Documentaries

August 2018 Newsletter Featured Image

Welcome to yet another edition of the monthly update. Time to look back at what happened last month and what’s happening moving forward in the August 2018 Newsletter.

Table of Contents

August 2018 Digest

As usual, let’s dig into all the articles from the last month.

My Ideal Job

My Ideal Job Featured Image

Earlier last month, I decided to write a rather lengthy article about my values, strengths, and my ideal job. Essentially, this article takes a walk through my job history, my values, and my strengths before I finally describe my ideal job.

Spoiler Alert: I don’t really have an ideal job in mind. Instead, I’m more interested in a particular lifestyle that prioritizes personal freedom.

The Affirmable Addendum

The Affirmable Addendum Featured Image

Since the beginning of A String of Unfavorable Roles, I spent a lot of time ranting. As of today, I think I’ve made my peace with that chapter of my life, and I’m ready move on.

That said, if you haven’t moved on, I recommend a rather large array of articles in the Affirmable Addendum. If you’re wondering what affirmable means, the free dictionaryOpens in a new tab. states the definition as “capable of being affirmed or asserted.” In other words, this article will provide you with several sources that you can use to cope with your frustration with engineering.

Hello World in Dart

Hello World in Dart Featured Image

I’ve been rather fortunate lately to have articles come from the community. This Hello World article comes from Stargator, one of my newest contributors.

If you haven’t heard of Dart, you’ll have to dig into this one for more information. Sorry to leave you on a cliffhanger!

The Slumlords of Atlanta

The Slumlords of Atlanta Featured Image

It may come as no surprise to you, but I’ve had to move since accepting admission to OSU. Instead of living in Atlanta, Georgia, I now in Columbus, Ohio.

Now that I’m out of Atlanta, I feel it’s safe to give a little review of our old home. As the title suggests, we didn’t exactly love living there. Why not find out more by giving the article a read?

Reverse a String in Scheme

Reverse a String in Scheme Featured Image

Just like Hello World in Dart, last month I also received a community submission by Alexandra Wörner. What makes this article interesting is the fact that the code was written by another user of the repo, so we actually have a bit of collaboration happening in this article.

If you want to learn more about Scheme, definitely take a look at this article.

Our 5 Favorite Places in Atlanta, Georgia

Our 5 Favorite Places in Atlanta Featured Image

After a bit of ranting about the apartment complex, I thought it would be fun to talk about some the things we loved about Atlanta. As a bonus, I launched a new travel series where I plan to talk a little bit about my own travels. Of course, we’re still a coding website first and foremost.

In the future, I plan on writing articles for Erie, Columbus, Cleveland, and Manchester. In fact, I have a pretty cool article about healthcare abroad coming out this month, so stay tuned.

Come Write for The Renegade Coder

Come Write for The Renegade Coder Featured Image

As mentioned twice already,  we’ve had a handful of community contributions to the website in the past month. I enjoyed it so much that I actually wrote an article to hopefully attract even more authors. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, check out this article.

Hello World in Opa

Hello World in Opa Featured Image

Just before the end of July, I received another addition to the Hello World series from Nicovillanueva. Again, this article was a bit special because the author introduced Dockerfiles to the repository. How cool is that?

If you’re interested in learning about Opa or Dockerfiles, I recommend this article.

Two Truths and a Lie

Two Truths and a Lie Featured Image

On the last Friday of July, I went ahead to complain a bit about icebreakers. After all, I have just a few weeks to spare before I inevitably have to partake in several of them. If you hate icebreakers, I recommend this article. It touches on all the anxiety and awkwardness that people tend to experience during these childlike games.

Of course, you can’t expect to get out of this article without feeling a little awkward yourself. I incorporated a bit of a stereotyping exercise in the middle of the article to hopefully put you in the shoes of someone playing Two Truths and a Lie.

The Renegade Minimalist

The Renegade Minimalist Featured Image

Finally, I ended the month with a brief update concerning some major changes on the site. If you haven’t read it, I recommend that you at least take a look.

To summarize, I went ahead and removed the store from the website. That change alone forced me to clean things up such as the navigation bar and the home page. You may have noticed some changes in these places, and the article does a good job of justifying them.

Let me know if you have any thoughts!

August 2018 Community

To be honest, I haven’t done a ton of tech reading this month. As you’ll find out below, I’ve been on a bit of a health kick, so I try to stay away from the computer. If there’s an article you’d like me to read in August, let me know, and I’ll be sure to include in the next issue of the monthly update.

I suppose I can share some of the resources I used this past month to improve the site.

How to Delete Unused Themes (and why you should!)

Recently, I ran into a nasty bug that broke the Google Analytics feature on Jetpack. Currently, I have no idea what the problem is, but the Jetpack team has been doing an amazing job of helping me troubleshoot the issue.

In the process, I’ve found a lot of ways to keep the background clean to avoid various issues. One of those tips was to keep the backend lean by removing unused themesOpens in a new tab.. Fortunately for me, someone has already done this and done a great job of documenting the process.

Hats off to Barbara Feldman for writing a short but sweet article on how to remove unused themes from your site. I used her technique to clear out themes because it was the easiest. I probably could have dug into the backend and removed the themes myself, but I like a good complete WordPress solution that limits risk.

August 2018 Added Value

As usual, I like to take some time to be mindful of things that added value to my life. Here’s a list from the last month:


Awhile back, I wrote an article about genealogy. Fun Fact: that article was a response to a rather annoying debate I had with someone on Facebook. Today, I no longer use Facebook, but I digress.

While I enjoyed learning about my ancestry, I’ve become a lot more interested in my health. Unfortunately, AncestryDNA doesn’t exactly dig into that subject, so I’ve been very interested in getting a kit from 23andMe.

Since I’m currently unemployed, my wife and I have been building up a wishlist for when we become financially stable again. On that list is one of those kits, but I found a shortcut for the time being.

As it turns out, there are online services that will take your genetic data and convert it into a health report. Naturally, I decided to use one of those services, PrometheaseOpens in a new tab., to get my own health report from my AncestryDNA data.

At any rate, I’ve found a lot of value in that service as I only had to pay about $12 to get some information about my genetic health. Of course, on Prime Day, my wife and I did manage to snag two 23andMe kits for the price of one. After all, I believe in referencing multiple reports.


For a long time, Morgan and I would watch spend our free time watching TV shows on Netflix. We’ve seen a lot of shows including Quantico, Travelers, Stranger Things, Altered Carbon, and Safe.

Now, we’re into documentaries. In particular, we like documentaries about food. After all, some of the things I found in my health report made me want to start living a lot healthier.

Currently, our favorite documentaries have been by one of my favorite authors, Michael Pollan. We started with In Defense of FoodOpens in a new tab., and we’ve already plowed through CookedOpens in a new tab.. If Netflix had more of his work, we’d probably be watching that as well.

Since we started watching these documentaries, we’ve been eating a lot healthier. Well, we weren’t exactly unhealthy before. We never at fast food, and we drank mostly water. However, we ate a lot of processed foods at home, so we’re trying to get into eating more whole foods like fruits and vegetables. Personally, I’m swearing off sugar that isn’t already a part of the food—also known as added sugar.

August 2018 Discussion

A lot of you know that I don’t just code all day. In fact, I probably do more writing than coding. That said, I also have a life.

In the last several months, my wife and I have gone through a lot of life-altering events. Among those events included moving, getting ready for our new jobs, getting married, changing our names, hosting a wedding party, etc.

Naturally, it comes as no surprise that we’ve been battling some mental health issues. Of course, we’re happy and optimistic, but we’ve come to find that there are people in our lives that don’t want to see us happy.


So, my question for the month is not actually coding related. Instead, I wanted to lead a bit of a discussion on mental health and particularly toxic relationships. To get everything started, I want to share some great resources that I’ve found to cope lately:

I apologize for all the minimalist resources, but I find that these are some great podcasts on relationships.


Now that we have some material to get started, here are some of my questions:

  • How do you deal with toxic relationships?
  • How do you handle criticism in a toxic relationship?
  • How do you minimize fall out from breaking off a toxic relationship?

Let me go ahead and address some of these questions personally. Then, we can kick off a discussion in the comments.

Recently, my wife and I have identified some toxic relationships in our lives. These are the types of relationships where you give and they always take. They can never be satisfied regardless of your attempts to do what they ask. In this type of relationship, respect is not mutual.

For us, we haven’t really been dealing with the toxic relationships. Instead, we’ve chosen to go no contact despite every attempt from the other party to use manipulation to draw us back in. Unfortunately, this isn’t the closure we would like, so how do we deal with this toxic relationship?

Now, I bring up criticism because this particular toxic relationship has festered to the point of others getting involved. As a result, you may have seen some comments on this site featuring derogatory remarks from flying monkeysOpens in a new tab. toward my wife and me. How do we handle this criticism?

As mentioned already, we feel that the current toxic relationship is not allowing us to live a meaningful life. As a result, we’re interested in ending it. Of course, the power dynamic in this relationship is almost guaranteed to ruin a handful of our childhood relationships. How do we minimize that fall out?


At this point, you should have no problem contributing to the discussion, but I want to share some examples of real comments we’ve received on the site lately from an “anonymous” troll:

Having a pot luck dinner for a wedding reception? TACKY!

You two failed to live up to being an actual family member(s).

If she ever expects to step foot in the door, she has some serious ass kissing to do.

I won’t even talk about the last name change.

I’m soooooo sorry your life is so stressful. Wait til you two actually grow up.

My advice for you is grow up. etc. etc. etc.

Apparently, the truth hurts. You wanted an honest comment and I gave it. This was not bullying, this was the truth.

P.S. grow up and learn some respect.

As you can see, we’ve been taking a lot of one-sided heat lately, and I don’t really understand why. If you know either of us, it’s probably hard to imagine us as bad people. That’s probably because we aren’t, but we’ve been consistently treated like we’re villains in this toxic relationship.

Regardless, these comments can generally be described as childish, so we’ve ignored them. After all, we’re not going to let someone else stop us from trying to lead a meaningful life.

Coming Soon to The Renegade Coder!

August is a big month for me personally. For instance, I’m starting school again, so I’m not sure what my free time is going to look like. It’s very possible that writing will be cut back a bit, so I apologize ahead of time.

With the small amount of free time I have left, I intend to build up a solid backlog. At least that way, we’ll have some content through the end of the month. As for the rest of the year, we’ll see. I’m sure I’ll be writing even if its to help me study, so get pumped for grad school level articles.

Also, I’ll be teaching, so I intend to share what I learn from getting back into the classroom. At any rate, until next time!

The Legacy Newsletter (56 Articles)—Series Navigation

For a long time, I used to try to write a custom newsletter every week which eventually became every month. If you’re interested in browsing those old posts just to see how this site came to be, I’ve created a small series for you. Check it out!

Today, the regular newsletter is issued via email which you can access by becoming a member of The Renegade Coder. Alternatively, you can subscribe to the newsletterOpens in a new tab. directly through MailChimp.

Jeremy Grifski

Jeremy grew up in a small town where he enjoyed playing soccer and video games, practicing taekwondo, and trading Pokémon cards. Once out of the nest, he pursued a Bachelors in Computer Engineering with a minor in Game Design. After college, he spent about two years writing software for a major engineering company. Then, he earned a master's in Computer Science and Engineering. Today, he pursues a PhD in Engineering Education in order to ultimately land a teaching gig. In his spare time, Jeremy enjoys spending time with his wife, playing Overwatch and Phantasy Star Online 2, practicing trombone, watching Penguins hockey, and traveling the world.

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