Use rails date_select without an activerecord model

I actually googled this and found a workable but ugly solution:

 ## view code
<%= date_select('range', 'start_date', :order => [:month, :day, :year])%>

## controller code
@start_date = Date.civil(params[:range][:"start_date(1i)"].to_i,params[:range][:"start_date(2i)"].to_i,params[:range][:"start_date(3i)"].to_i) 

I needed to include the hour and minute as well, and didn't want to cram more arguments into the Date.civil call (actually, so I cleaned up the code a bit.

Hoping to leave the internet a little better for the next guy, I thought I'd post the code.

 ## view code
<%= datetime_select('range_start', 'date', :order => [:month, :day, :year, :hour,:minute]) %>

# controller code
@start_date =*params[:range_start] 

Crappy TV Rant: Happy Town

I thought Happy Town had a decent chance of being entertaining

  "Executive producer Josh Appelbaum and others on the show are huge fans of the Twin Peaks"

  "Executive producer Scott Rosenberg says he's more a Stephen King fan."

  "So if you think it's too much like Twin Peaks, blame them. If you think it's not enough like Twin Peaks, blame me."

I love David Lynch films - Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, and of course, Twin Peaks, are all surrealist classics.  He is a true artist in the film world, where you come away from his movies not with a literal understanding of the story, but with a visceral sense of being disturbed and intrigued.  His short films are not to be missed if you're a fan.
I also enjoy Stephen King stories.   I say stories because it's typically not the production that wins me over - the novels are uniformly better than the movies - The Shining, Misery, Christine, Kujo, - all great books and very decent movies.  His knack for writing terrifying stories that get at our deepest fears elevate him above other writers of the genre.

So with my expectations possibly set too high, Happy Town was fully disappointing - formulaic writing, overly produced, and all-around cheesy.  I want to know who to blame if it's too much like CSI.  It's unlikely I'll be back for a second episode, 20 minutes was more than enough.


The New Dashboard for Facebook Platform

Facebook has decided to do away with notifications - the little messages notifying you of things friends did on platform applications, or giving you updates on applications you have installed:

While some of these messages are more nuisance than value, users have the ability to block notifications from specific applications, and many applications depend on these notifications to enable continuity of user experience (chess is a good example - knowing when to play).

The Dashboard

Facebook decided that these notifications were too intrusive, or something like that, so they decided to replace them with something called the "Dashboard":   
The dashboard functions as a place to see notifications, grouped by application and limited to the most recent three displayed in the summary.  
This is fine.  Hell, it could even be considered an improvement.  

Getting Alpha and Beta Confused

But the problem is that Facebook nuked notifications while the Dashboard feature was still in alpha.  On launch day for the new feature, the Dashboard wasn't operational for many applications.  It was irresponsible of Facebook to annihilate notifications with the replacement feature in alpha, especially given that many applications critically depend on light-touch messaging in providing a decent user experience.

XML isn't Supposed to be Pretty, but WTF?

I'll sign off with a little sample of what's coming out of Facebook these days, an XML response to a Dashboard API call.  

Finding the data in the response is like playing "where's waldo?" with XML  (hint:   "Message Content", "", "Text Content", "TimeStamp", "MessageID"). 

I also like how Facebook devs use "elt" repetitions to indicate nesting depth, I can just hear the conversation now:
    "did you mean the  response_elt or the response_elt_elt?"
     . . . "dammit, I said the response_elt_elt_elt"
<Dashboard_getNews_response list="true">
    <Dashboard_getNews_response_elt key="312266072840" list="true">
        <Dashboard_getNews_response_elt_elt key="image" />
        <Dashboard_getNews_response_elt_elt key="news" list="true">
            <Dashboard_getNews_response_elt_elt_elt list="true">
                <Dashboard_getNews_response_elt_elt_elt_elt key="message">
                      Message Content
                <Dashboard_getNews_response_elt_elt_elt_elt key="action_link" list="true">
                    <Dashboard_getNews_response_elt_elt_elt_elt_elt key="href">
                    <Dashboard_getNews_response_elt_elt_elt_elt_elt key="text">
                         Text Content goes here
        <Dashboard_getNews_response_elt_elt key="time">
        <Dashboard_getNews_response_elt_elt key="fbid">