Vegas Baby

Things will most likely be quiet around The Experiment this weekend as I and 4 friends are headed to Vegas for the weekend. The occasion is the late celebration of a birthday and it promises to be a good one. Posting will resume on the flip side unless I get bored in Vegas.

I’ll Ajax The Crap Out Of Your Site

I have no idea if this guy is for real or not but I want to work with him just to watch him “pull your data asynchronously from every orifice of your server.”

That is the sweetest solicitation for a job I’ve ever seen I think. And I say that having seen 2 or 3 solicitations for jobs.

Doing Something Productive

I just sent the following to my Representative in the US House in response to HR 875 – the Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2009 which I wrote about here. I lifted a large portion of the letter with permission from TennZen and tailored the message somewhat to Congressman Hall, my representative. Feel free to use it yourself in total or as a helpful starting point. I encourage you to read about what this bill would mean to small farmers everywhere. You can find your Rep here. I also submitted it to both my Senators. You can find your Senators here.

Dear Congressman Hall,

As a constituent and a homestead farmer, I am concerned about legislation that could affect my freedom to grow healthy foods to provide for my family’s nutritional and economic needs.

There is a bill in Congress right now – HR 875 – that has the potential to detrimentally affect that freedom.

This bill strips the state agriculture departments of their powers and binds them to enforcing federal standards – effectively turning them into “food police” for the new federal food agency that would be created. The broad language affects anyone growing food, even if they aren’t selling it, and all but criminalizes organic farming. The administrative aspect of the bill would place the job of interpreting the legislation into the hands of factory farming corporations and lobbyists. The remainder of the bill’s language is so generic that even a backyard gardener could find himself facing stiff fines and penalties.

As the representative for a largely rural area with many small farms, you surely must understand the impact a far-reaching bill such as this would have on not only their livelihood but also on those of us who depend on their productivity to feed our families.

I ask that you please oppose HR 875 – the Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2009 – and encourage your fellow Congressmen to do the same.

Sincerely yours,
Brett Bim
1316 Valley Stream Drive
Wylie, TX 75098
Collin County

Our Idiot Representatives

We are living in what can lightly be described as trying times and our Senators think it is of utmost importance to hold hearings on the Bowl Championship Series. We are represented by buffoons and self-serving ego maniacs, creatures who must insert themselves into every conversation in a vain attempt to yell louder than their neighbor under the false impression that we, the people who elected them, expect that. The BCS is of so little concern right now in the minds of Americans that it might as well not exist and yet these idiots feel compelled to waste taxpayer money in an attempt to make things right, whatever that means.

In announcing the hearings, they say “The current system leaves nearly half of all the teams in college football at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to qualifying for the millions of dollars paid out every year”. Maybe it’s because half of all teams in college football suck and are rightfully disqualified. Don’t think for one minute that Utah, this year’s annual poster boy for killing the college bowl system, didn’t make a killing in the bowl they played in. This isn’t about teams not making money in bowl games or deciding a national championship. This is just about idiots needing to see their names in the paper.

By all accounts, most college football players and coaches prefer the bowl system. With the exception of the top tier teams, it’s a chance to go somewhere nice (unless it’s Boise, who in God’s name thought there ought to be a bowl in Boise?), have a nice vacation and play a little football at the end of the season. On top of that, certitude is fleetingly rare in life so why in the hell would we expect it in our sports? Do we really want to subject college athletes to 4 or 5 more games at the end of an already long season? What about kids who get hurt in game 3 and ruin their chances of playing in the NFL?

This is more legislation for the sake of legislation, as if we can achieve salvation through it. We elect people to represent us in things that matter. Fixing the unbroken does not matter. This is ridiculous.

Rain Barrel Update

Well we had a little storm roll through Wylie this morning and there is good news and bad news. The good news is that 3/10ths of an inch of rain translated into about 40ish gallons of rainwater in the collection system. That tells me we don’t have nearly enough collection capacity but for now, I’m happy. The bad news of course is that there’s a leak in the spigot. When we first installed it, we (I really but if everyone is taking credit for the success I guess everyone can take credit for the failure) didn’t screw the spigot into the PVC. When I tried to do that Sunday, the sealant broke. I applied more but it takes 7 days to cure. Apparently, 2 days is not the same as 7 days. Who knew.

So right now the system is disengaged, I have reapplied sealant, tipped the barrel back so that there’s no water pressure on the seal and I’m hoping for the best. Unfortunately, it’s supposed to rain some over the next few days so I’m off to research other possible seals that might not take 7 days.

Weekend Project

For the past two weekends, we’ve been working on a rain barrel project after seeing an article in the Dallas Morning News about them. When we first moved to our house, we bought a trash can and stuck it under a rain spout which was ok for awhile but was decidedly low tech and eventually sprung a leak. As you can see from the pictures below, these were a definite upgrade. They won’t be leaking assuming the marine sealant works as advertised. With rain coming on Tuesday, we should get our first test. We found some basic plans on the internet and then modified them to our situation. All told, we should have 165 gallons of storage capacity though right now we only have 110 hooked up.

Sealing the top
Sealing the top
The Plans
The Plans
The Hookup
The Hookup
The Final Result
The Final Result

ASP.Net MVC 1.0 Released

It’s ALIVE! This is a success for Microsoft and the ASP.Net MVC team. The software is solid, does what it is supposed to and doesn’t get in the way of the developer. It makes it easy to test, it’s extensible and it makes writing web pages fun. I wrote a website back in November using it and completed it in a weekend. It was nothing special but it worked, it had plenty of tests and it didn’t have any hidden gotchas that took me 2 days to figure out like Silverlight does. For most reasonable web sites, ASP.Net MVC is a great way to them on the Microsoft platform.

I’ve got another website I want to write over the next few weeks that I was going to do in Pylons but I may do it in ASP.Net MVC instead, just to get a feel of the 1.0 release.