This is a web-based AJAX diagramming application. I don’t know how it stacks up to VISIO yet, but it’s worth a shot.

Date posted: June 29, 2006 | Filed under projects, shortlinks | Comments Off on AJAX Diagramming Via The Web.

Looks like my business server is down a couple days ahead of schedule—it’s getting an overhaul this weekend. Until further notice, use the idiot address if you need to get in touch with me.

Date posted: June 29, 2006 | Filed under geek | Comments Off on Please Stand By.

I updated the houseblog yesterday with some basic details of the rain barrel project. In light of the record rainfall these past couple of days, it was right on time.

Date posted: June 28, 2006 | Filed under projects, shortlinks | Comments Off on Houseblog Update 6.27.06

I updated the houseblog yesterday with some basic details of the rain barrel project. In light of the record rainfall these past couple of days, it was right on time.

Date posted: June 28, 2006 | Filed under projects, shortlinks | Comments Off on Houseblog Update 6.27.06

Rain barrel

This is the first weekend I’ve had the rain barrel set up on the southeast corner of the house (where the majority of the runoff from the main roof empties out to the driveway.) I set it up and we left on a weekend where Maryland and D.C. saw some of the worst flooding in five years. When we got back on Monday night, the barrel was full and the overflow was shooting out of the side where I hadn’t plugged one of the threaded valve openings.

Tuesday I returned to the barrel with a handful of 3/4 PVC fittings and pipe length, and rigged up an overflow valve that empties into the driveway. The next project is to install the second rain barrel underneath the first to catch the overflow, and then rig up an overflow drain on that second barrel. That’s going to be trickier, because the second barrel is cheaper and lacks a threaded outlet at the top like the first barrel does, so I’m going to have to get creative.

Plus, the gravity platform I put in is not sturdy enough (it needs cross bracing) and needs a stronger platform to carry the weight of a full barrel.

Date posted: June 27, 2006 | Filed under garden | Comments Off on Rain Barrel Project.

Truck Stop

Jen and I are back from a quiet trip through the Virginia countryside to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Cabin in the woods

We stayed at a quiet cabin in the woods called Montfair, which was better than any Motel 6 could have been. The cabins are owned by a family who are reviving an older campsite, and I’d recommend the cabins to anyone, including families with children. Every detail is thought of, from extra towels and fresh organic coffee to corkscrews and air conditioning. (By chance we met one of the owners of the campground, who turned out to be a fellow MICA graduate.)

Monticello gardens

Monticello is a beautiful, inspiring place set high on a hill overlooking the rolling mountains. There’s a ton of things to do and see, and now that the second mountain is open, tours are available to learn about the history of the area as well. I learned more about the Founding Fathers on this trip than during twelve years of public school. Luckily, we missed most of the rain that plagued northern Virginia and Maryland, and by the end of our day we were strolling the grounds in sunshine.


Monday’s journey back home took us north and through sleepy one-lane backcountry until we hit Montpelier, purely by accident. We stopped and took the tour of James Madison’s country estate, which was also worth every penny. The house is currently under a massive restoration, so we were able to walk through stripped plaster and lathe and see the generations of changes made to the house since its beginnings in 1760.

Rant Food

What was meant as a relaxing, inexpensive getaway turned out to be more than we could have hoped for—we returned back to Baltimore happy, relaxed, and invigorated.

Date posted: June 27, 2006 | Filed under travel | Comments Off on Virginia Travels

You Say Tomato

Here’s a shot of one of our four tomato plants, with only a few of the fruit visible. The leaves are very dark, which could be some kind of tomato blight, or simply the way this particular variety grows—whatever the case, they’re getting much bigger. We have cukes coming in too, but the pictures I snapped of them didn’t come out so well. Maybe tomorrow.

Date posted: June 21, 2006 | Filed under garden | Comments Off on Garden Progress, 6.21.06

Most microbusiness owners lack health insurance at some point. No shit, Sherlock. You had to do a study to find that out?

Meanwhile, the American Medical Association has endorsed a proposal requiring individuals who make at least $49,000 a year to purchase a minimum level of health insurance.

Which only goes to show just how far up their ass the AMA has their heads. We have a “minimum” of health insurance, which translates to a sky-high deductible and no prescription coverage, in case we get hit by a bus or actually are crazy enough to try and procreate. I’d guess somebody at the AMA is being lobbied heavily by the insurance industry, who seem to think that the lower middle class/small business owners of American don’t have enough bullshit to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Hopefully, whatever stupid small business association lobbying group is supposedly representing my interests in Washington gets this particular “proposal” shot down, and quick.

How about the AMA decides to bite the hand who’s obviously handing them Milk-Bones and start going after the insurance industry for jacking up malpractice insurance rates? (That’s right, I live in one of the more doctor-unfriendly states, which is why our G.P. recently decamped to Delaware for “Family Reasons”.)

nearly a third of those who responded to the poll said they couldn’t find simple, easy-to-read information about their health care options.

Amen, brother. Doing the preliminary research for our little family unit was like reading a Yugoslavian owner’s manual at the bottom of a dark well. And I’d have to add that the “options” are pretty spare. There was one plan that looked fantastic until we got to the part about pregnancy, and realized it was written for sterile people.

I’ll be thinking about that particular article the next time we fork out $120 on three months’ worth of birth control pills.

Date posted: June 20, 2006 | Filed under life | Comments Off on Microbusinesses Uninsured.

This is a magnificent timesuck. A compendium of 80’s videos on Youtube, everything from the banal to the sublime. I spent an hour watching videos last night.

Date posted: June 20, 2006 | Filed under music, shortlinks | Comments Off on 80’s Videos.

Jen suggested we take a long vacation weekend specifically so we could stay in somewhere and get shitfaced playing the CSI: Miami Drinking Game. I think we’d be housed before the first commercial break.

Date posted: June 19, 2006 | Filed under humor, shortlinks | Comments Off on CSI: Miami Drinking Game