Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

In August, I bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

The product itself pretty much rocks.  HOWEVER, I cannot recommend one to anyone because of the support.  More precisely, the incompetence of what little there is.

A few weeks after I bought it, it stopped being able to connect to my pc and transfer files.  It says it’s connected, but the pc just tries to install a driver update, and fails to do so.

So I did some research online, and found that there’s an updated driver to install.  Finding it on the Samsung page was a major pain.  There are drop-downs in the page that simply don’t work, for one thing.

Finally found the driver, downloaded, and it won’t install.  It goes into a loop “Do you want to upgrade?” click Yes, “Must uninstall the prior version in order to update.  Do you want to uninstall the prior version?” click Yes, animations indicate it is uninstalling, “Do you want to upgrade?” (same window as the first one) click Yes, “Must uninstall…”  No matter how many times I click Yes, restart my computer, et al, it just keeps looping through that.

Found out there’s an uninstall utility that can be downloaded.  Downloaded it, ran it, got a message that it was Done.  Tried again.

Same loop.

Manually deleted every folder with Samsung in the name in both Program Files and Program Files (x86).  Tried again.  Same loop.

Manually went through the Windows Registry (after backing it up, of course) and deleted everything I could that had the string “samsung” in it.  Tried again.  Same loop.

Searched their support pages several times during this process.  No help there.  They seem to recognize that their software is complete junk, but all of their offered solutions result in the same loop.

Can’t request support through their online form, because one of the drop-downs is empty, and the form won’t let you submit it unless you select something from that drop-down.  Nothing to select, so it’s a complete dead end.

Tried calling their support line a few times.  No matter when I call, I get “all lines are busy, please try again later”.

Tried e-mailing them for support, but that didn’t work either.

Tried asking for help in their support forums.  No replies.

So, I can only transfer files back and forth by uploading them to a cloud drive of one sort of another, or (for small files) by e-mailing them to myself.

The lack of file transfer is annoying. I can live with it, but it’s certainly a drawback.  The misleading, false, unworkable, incomplete, and just plain junk support, and the software that gets into a loop and can’t even exit gracefully, makes me say I can’t recommend this product, nor anything else by this company.

Rating: Product 9 of 10

Service: –5 on scale of 1 to 10.

Monday, October 10, 2011

City of Heroes

I am really enjoying the new features in City of Heroes that they’ve been releasing over the last month or so.

I’m playing a Street Justice/Regeneration brute, hero-side, and it’s been tremendously fun.  Got my ass handed to me repeatedly by some Warriors bosses in a mission yesterday, but that’s usual.  Other than that, I’ve got the difficulty set at 2 Heroes, Bosses when Solo, and it’s challenging, fun, and very fast paced.

The new costumes, the new powers, the power diversification (Regen Brute), and the new content, all rock.

If you’re at all into MMOs, and at all into superheroes/villains, definitely check the game out.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just Another PDC Win

I just tied together a whole bunch of things I’ve studied over the last years.

In 8-80, Ron talks about how the difference in potential between various bands on the Tone Scale produce energy.  For example, the technology on this planet depends on the energy produced by Effort interacting with Matter.  He mentions that the interaction of higher bands produces more energy.

In my current lecture in the PDC, he mentions thetans being perceived as balls of light.  It occurs to me that theta, merely by interacting with MEST, would indeed produce energy, merely by the difference in potential.

That made me look at the concept a bit closer than I have before.

I know that what I perceive as “existence” is merely postulated.  That sight, hearing, et al, are merely my interpretations of postulating and agreeing (which is merely other’s postulates taken up as own).

Then I really tied the two concepts together!

“Glow” is merely a perceiving of the postulates of another!  We outflow postulates constantly, even compulsively (especially in this mad world).  Of course we “glow” in that perspective.

And that ties directly to the 8-80 datum.  The difference in potential between Beingness/Space (Tone 40) and Aesthetic (Tone 39 in 8-80) is such a huge, titanic, immense source of energy, that it can and does produce whole universes!

The degradation into the current MEST universe is from moving below Aesthetics to lower bands.

The “glow” is energy outflowing from theta as postulates.

I’m in a lower tone than 40.0.  (I like to think it’s about 7 or 8 currently.)  If I want to improve that, I need to cut my compulsive discharge of energy I’m creating by interacting with lower tones, definitely including 0.0 (pure MEST), and move closer to Space vs. Aesthetics!

I know that the only thing “wrong” with me as a thetan is I need to sort out my confusions on my own postulates and agreements.

This tells me how to know what to do with any given postulate or agreement.

It’s like GPS for my postulates!

And that ties it directly to ethics and the Code of Honor!  Whole new way to look at “Be true to your own goals,” and “Be your own advisor, keep your own counsel and select your own decisions.”  I now know exactly how to do those two things, without confusion or hesitation.  (Thanks again, Ron.  You explained it exactly the way I needed it.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Google Censorship

I got a notification early this afternoon that AdSense was being removed from this blog because of “unacceptable site content”.

Their policy on this is at https://www.google.com/adsense/policies.  The relevant portion, that I apparently violated, has this:

Sites with Google ads may not include or link to:

  • Pornography, adult or mature content
  • Violent content
  • Content related to racial intolerance or advocacy against any individual, group or organisation
  • Excessive profanity
  • Hacking/cracking content
  • Gambling or casino-related content
  • Illicit drugs and drug paraphernalia content
  • Sales of beer or hard alcohol
  • Sales of tobacco or tobacco-related products
  • Sales of prescription drugs
  • Sales of weapons or ammunition (e.g. firearms, firearm components, fighting knives, stun guns)
  • Sales of products that are replicas or imitations of designer or other goods
  • Sales or distribution of coursework or student essays
  • Content regarding programs which compensate users for clicking ads or offers, performing searches, surfing websites or reading emails
  • Any other content that is illegal, promotes illegal activity or infringes on the legal rights of others
  • Nothing in my content matches any of these rules, so I simply have to assume they’re upset about my negative post about their own competence. 

    They might possibly be able to stretch far enough to say that my comment about faking my browser version is “hacking/cracking content”, but I’m not sure that “compatibility mode” in IE 9 to make it emulate IE 8 really counts as hacking.  If they think so, it’s just more evidence of their alarming ignorance.  (You’d think someone at Google would know how to search online for information about subjects….)

    So, I have to view it as arbitrary retaliation for saying mean things about them.  No big deal, it’s not like I get enough hits on this blog for AdSense to actually make any money, but it is interesting in a “who knew Google had fascist tendencies?” kind of way.

    Of course, now that I’ve linked to something about AdSense, I’m in actual material violation of the rule about not linking to “Content regarding programs which compensate users for clicking ads or offers, performing searches, surfing websites or reading emails”, I guess.  Gotta laugh at that!

    (Actually, read the right way, linking to ANYTHING hosted or owned by Google at all is a violation of AdSense policy.  It’s obviously not what they intend, but it can be read that way!)

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Blogger (Google Incompetence, the Sequel)

    Okay, by faking which browser I’m using, I was able to get into my account.  So it’s not just incompetence and being out-of-date, it’s also not being able to tell which actual browser is being used.  Hardly top-notch standards, from as big a player as Google.

    Google Incompetence

    I find it very interesting that I can’t sign in to my own blog on Blogger to administer the site and to moderate comments, because Google doesn’t seem to know how to handle their own cookies.

    The “help” page for it tells me I need to allow all cookies from blogger.com and google.com, which is, of course, a security issue and really, really stupid to do, but I did it anyway.  Didn’t help.  Not at all.

    So I looked at their detailed instructions, which are out-of-date (no instructions for IE 9 for example), which is just sloppy on their part.

    So, for the time being, I can post on my blog, but can’t administer it, till Google learns how to handle security for their gmail accounts and their own sites.  Possibly till someone at Google searches on Bing for “current versions of web browsers” or something like that.

    (Yeah, I’m getting a bit snarky about a multinational tech company that has huge, gaping holes in their idea of Internet security and computer security, and wants to enforce these holes on millions of other people.)

    This is the same company that keeps getting told that Android and Chrome have serious security holes, but they’re so far behind the 8-ball on it that they just can’t seem to catch up.  Let’s just hope they never catch up with Windows in popularity, because the resulting Android virus frenzy will make Slammer look like a mild annoyance.

    Sunday, September 11, 2011


    I recently engaged in a rather interesting discussion of philosophy, in an online forum.  (See some of the later pages to get to the juicy parts.)

    While writing some of the posts there, I had to really formulate for myself what I mean by “knowledge”.  I’ve got the LRH datum that “knowledge is certainty”, but I had to ask myself what I mean by it.  Certainty about what?

    After chewing on it for a little bit, I finally ended up with a definition that I really like: Knowledge is certainty in predicting outcomes.

    Which breaks down further into data, faith, and imagination.

    Data is part of knowledge since you need to know details to predict outcomes.

    Faith is part of it, because data that you don’t trust is less useful than data you can trust, and also because of postulated reality (postulated beingness and nonbeingness).  Both are critical factors in predicting outcomes.

    Imagination is critical to knowledge, because it allows us to know things that we haven’t experienced yet and that we aren’t just postulating.  This can be as simple as extrapolating reasonable outcomes based on probabilities, or as complex as working out detailed universes to postulate.  It ties to both faith (postulates) and data (extrapolation).

    Without all the Scientology education I’ve been through, I wouldn’t have been able to come to that conclusion.  And it’s a very useful definition of a critical concept.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Movie Review: Captain America

    I saw Captain America a few weeks back, but have been too busy to review it till now.

    Definitely a good movie.  Fun, exciting, visually appealing, and I didn’t watch it in 3D, so no headache!  (Definitely avoiding 3D movies till they fix the technology on them.)

    Chris Evans did an excellent job as both Steve Rogers and Cap.  I’ve liked him since Not Another Teen Movie, thought he was one of the few good things besides Jessica Alba in a skinsuit in Fantastic Four, and I liked him in Push too.

    300385_1020_A(Gratuitous Jessica Alba picture, just because.  Nothing to do with the Captain America review.)

    Hayley Atwell was excellent as Peggy Carter.  Very pretty, without the modern need for sexy (pretty and sexy are very different things).

    The bit after the credits (all the Avengers-related movies have those bits) was a solid tease as well.

    All in all, worth watching.  7 of 10.

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    Movie Review: Super 8

    Saw Super 8 last week.  Was a fun movie.  Kind of E.T. meets Alien, with a twist of The Goonies.  Not too surprising, considering Steven Spielberg's involvement in the thing.

    Anything I say about the story will be a spoiler, so I’ll avoid that.

    The acting was good, or better than good.  The script was fun, scary, and held my attention throughout.  I never felt like I was watching a movie (far too common in too many clichéd Hollywood crapfests), felt like I was enjoying a story.  That’s a good thing.

    So, 8 of 10 from me.  Won’t say more, don’t want to spoil any of the surprises.  There are more than a few.

    Booking Flights

    I’ll be traveling this summer, so I just went online to book flights.

    First, never, ever, under any circumstances, if you can possibly avoid it, use Travelocity to book flights.  They tried to more than double the cost of my flight the moment I clicked the “I don’t want a hotel, just a flight” type option.  The actual message from the website was “The price of the flight has changed since you started your search” or something like that.  So I went back to step one, started the search again, and the first page quoted the same LOWER price, and then I got the same “oops, it went up while we weren’t looking” message when I entered the options again.

    In other words, the first quote is just a plain old everyday lie.  They already know the price you’re going to be charged is much higher, and they quote the low price anyway.

    So, I consider them a scam at this point.  Total bait-and-switch.

    http://www.united.com/ had its own problems.  Got all the way to the “pay for your flight” page, and it gave an incomprehensible error headed “please see message below for instructions”.  The instructions were “ERR_BOOKING_WAIT_ALL” or something like that.  Not useful.  Tried it again with different seat selections (but the rest the same) and it worked.  Price actually went down the second time for some reason.  Didn’t say why, but was $20 cheaper.  Would have been nice if the error message were actually instructions, as implied by the site.  Something like, “One or more of the seats you chose were booked while you were moving through the purchase process.  Click HERE to select new seats for the affected flight(s).”  That would be useful.

    As always, America’s travel companies do everything they can to make flying as unpleasant as possible, right from the moment you even consider scheduling a flight.  (And they wonder why they can’t get any customer loyalty or any profits out of this, when they actually seem to go out of their way to make their customers hate them.)  I’ve never dealt with any other business that so consistently continues to provide such pathetic customer service.

    Oh well.  Flights are booked, travel is scheduled.  My second vacation since 1987!  Looking forward to all of it except the travel!

    Wednesday, June 29, 2011

    Recent Wins

    I’ve got a bit of a backlog of major and just-plain-cool wins to post.

    The last year of auditing and training culminated, a few weeks ago, in realizing that I’m just in a maze of my own postulates, and that that’s both all that’s wrong, and more than enough wrong for now!

    Realizing that, I finally know where I am.  Not where my body is (in an apartment in Lakeland, Florida), but where I am.  I’m lost in my own postulates.  As simple as that.

    The cool piece is, I was able to figure out where I am, where I want to be, and what it’s going to take to get from one to the other.

    The last couple of sessions, two weeks ago and tonight, really let me start taking some steps in the right direction, for the first time ever.  Not “sorting things out”.  Not “handling some confusion”.  Nothing like that.  Positive steps towards my own goals of who and what I want to be.

    The major win from tonight is that I realized the core to whole problem is I’ve been using the present to make the past “right”.  This is the core to engrams, secondaries, locks, GPMs, evil purposes, service facsimiles, et al.  They are all things I use in PT to make the past right.  Wins from the past don’t need to be validated and justified and rationalized in PT.  They don’t need to be made right, they already were actually right.

    This really clarifies things for me tremendously.

    I wouldn’t be having these significant wins if it weren’t for the excellent education Ron is giving me via Tampa Org’s Foundation Academy.  Everyone involved in that is definitely helping out to an extent they probably aren’t fully cognizant of!  They also wouldn’t happen without the auditing Kit is giving me with Adam’s help.  So, thanks to all involved, in a big way!

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    Movie Review: Green Lantern

    I’m familiar enough with the comics to know that it’s really the ring that matters (though I guess he could wallop bad guys upside the head with the lantern if he had to), and that green fists are going to be involved.  So, I can’t speak for fans of the printed version(s?), but I liked Green Lantern.

    I think a lot of people were expecting Ryan Reynolds to be a poor choice, because they associate him with some of his comedic work (e.g.: Van Wilder).  I had higher expectations because I really liked Definitely, Maybe, and not for the comedic moments but because I thought it was well-acted.

    So, going in, I had medium-expectations, and was pleased when they were exceeded.  It’s not Iron Man and won’t revolutionize anyone’s career nor be considered the kind of revolution in movie-making that Spiderman was.  But it’s plenty entertaining, it has a good comic-book feel to it, and I love the bit where Blake Lively's character meets him and gets a chance to actually say “hello” and thank him for her rescue.

    I don’t think it’ll be a spoiler when I say that he saves Earth.  I liked how he did it.  Totally wrong physics, but it is a comic book movie!

    So, 7 on a 1-10.  Entertaining, fun, don’t pay for IMAX but it is worth the big-screen in a normal theatre if you don’t have something with similar perspective at home.

    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    Movie Review: X-Men: First Class

    Saw the new X-Men: First Class movie last night.  Summary: It was good.

    It violated a few pieces of X-Men canon, some based on the comics, some from the earlier movies.  Like the Cerebro origin, which contradicts the first movie.  But these are forgivable in my opinion.

    The story makes some sense.  The plot is internally consistent.  The characters are interesting.  There’s a great (very brief) bit with Wolverine.

    I had to laugh at one scene, which wasn’t intended to be funny.  Xavier basically tells Magneto that “halfway between serenity and anger…” and runs a pleasure moment on him.  Dianetically, Tone 20 is just about halfway between the two, and Magneto being an OT who has picked out humanity as his randomity makes all kinds of sense.  But I’m sure the script-writers didn’t mean it that way.  Just ends up being humorous to me.

    Anyway, it was fun.  I enjoyed it.  Good use of historical footage, too.

    Sunday, May 29, 2011

    Muster Announcement at Tampa Foundation

    Today, I got Lynn Irons to give me permission to speak briefly at the staff muster after lunch.

    I just wanted to say “Thank you” to the staff, and to express some of the admiration I have for what they’ve created in their org.  The space, the constant wins in both the co-audit and the Academy, the welcoming atmosphere, et al.

    I got the chance to, took it, and it went well.  I was pleasantly surprised to get a standing ovation from the staff as I came up to the front of the room to speak.  Very kind of them.  Several expressed afterwards that they really liked hearing my bit.

    Study Wins

    I had a couple of very cool wins on study today.  Still working on the PDC, up to lecture 23 so far.  Tons of good data, though much of it is, of course, a rehash of things I already know.

    But, in the department of things I already “know” but hadn’t really fully understood yet (I guess I could use the word “grocked” there), comes the idea that I don’t actually have to go into agreement with the MEST universe if I want to make a postulate stick.  Honestly, I make the postulate, I make it stick in my universe, and if others want to play with me, it’ll stick in a shared universe, and we’re all good to go.  In other words, MEST can ask me for permission to play, instead of the other way around.  Very, very much in the “Duh!” category this long into my Scientology career, and made me apologize (jokingly) to Ron for being a slow learner, but still a crucial realization.

    Ties in nicely with the bit a few weeks ago about universes and postulates.

    Another I had was more in the category of blowing suppressive garbage out of my mind.  I realized that I was actually worried that I’d go out of R with people if I went too uptone for them.  After all, R really only extends up and down about 1 point on the Tone Scale.  Of course I won’t have to worry about that!  Worst case scenario is I’ll have to mock up social circuitry to bridge the gap.  Same way it’s done all over the world, but reversed in terms of tone difference (lower instead of higher than the being).  That also means I’ll be in control of it, no automaticity.  Definitely some suppressive’s idea for a good way to hold me back.  I have to admire it as well-done evil.  Evil, definitely, but done well enough that I took the thought as being my own till I had a chance to examine it.

    The bigger win is the realization I’d been getting OT backwards, and knowing now what direction to move in.  Guess I had to realize where I was before that could happen, so it makes sense that the universes/postulates win would happen first, then this one.  So I’m on my way now, spiritually.  Feels good. I have a very good feeling about this journey! Smile

    Saturday, May 28, 2011

    Interesting Thought

    I had an interesting session on Tuesday night.  Realized what a pain we (thetans) must be to bodies/GEs.  We come in, take over as absolute rulers and even “gods”, and then bang these things up in the most imaginative ways we can come up with!

    Imagine the poor GE, sitting there, minding its own business, trying to run an operational body based on millions of years of trial-error solutions that, it knows will work, and then suddenly, “Hey, wait!  Does ‘white water kayaking’ mean what it sounds like?”

    The incident we ran was hard to nail down.  A location I don’t consciously remember, but definitely a this-lifetime engram.  And a hard time identifying the valences in it.  Definitely an ally computation in one part.  One masculine voice, the ally, and one feminine voice, seen as a threat.

    It suddenly occurred to me, now, several days later, that those might have been my grandparents.  I have many of the usual life-continuum/ally valence issues with Grandpa Dick, including having the same first name.  I know I was around him, but I can’t remember more than a few quick glimpses.  And so on.

    Definitely an interesting possibility.  Will have to see if more comes up in future sessions!

    Auditing is really quite an adventure!  Never know what I’ll discover about myself next!

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    May 9th Dianetics Event

    Had the anniversary celebration for Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health at Flag, in Clearwater, tonight.  Was fun!  There was a great speech by a leader of the local Nation of Islam leader, since they’re doing Dianetics processing very heavily in their mosque these days.  Very good speaker, very ministerial, and quite entertaining.  He had a line about people he has known for years saying things like, “I’m not quite sure I really know the new Brother James (that’s his name)”, and replying, “That’s okay, I’m not that familiar with him myself.  But I’m sure that, when I get to know him, I’ll like him.  Even more, I’ll love him.”  It’s a good way to sum up the journey of self-discovery in Dianetics.

    Was also good seeing some of my close friends, like Paul and Jacquie, get awarded and recognized for their hard work.

    The event, as always, wore my knee out, with all the standing ovations.  Worth it, but I’m definitely paying the price.

    The opening music was wonderful.  The woman who sang the lead in the songs was beautiful, had a great voice, and brought a definite joie de vivre to the stage.  And she had the vocal strength to be heard over the band (which some haven’t had at prior events).  No clue who she is, but it was a great opening for the event.

    Before the event, we had dinner at the Garden restaurant in the hotel, and it was delicious.  I’m SO glad they brought in that chef a couple of years ago.  The food was good before, but now it’s simply awesome.

    Definitely a good event.  Worth the drive, worth the throbbing knee, et al.  I’m glad I went!

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Movie Review: Thor

    Thor rocks.  Saw it in IMAX 3D, which means the price of admission was pretty comparable to buying a new car (at least I didn’t get popcorn – I really can’t afford another mortgage right now).

    The 3D is wasted in most of the movie.  They really haven’t got it working right yet.  It’s much better than ‘70s 3D, but that’s setting the bar pretty low.  There are bits where the 3D really made the scene.  A few flying shots, etc., where it was quite good.  Most of the rest of the time, it just made my eyes water and my head hurt.  Much like Avatar did (which is no surprise, as that’s the movie that the new 3D tech was created for).

    IMAX makes a big difference, of course.  But I think regular IMAX would have been good enough.  The movie would be just as worth seeing.

    I won’t go into details, not that they’d spoil anything for anyone who knows the comics, et al, but because they’ve been gone into all over the darn place and there’s no reason for me to repeat them.

    The story is good, the acting works for me, the special effects (especially Bifrost) are awesome, the fights scenes (superhuman and otherwise) are excellent, I liked the jokes, and the movie is definitely worth a repeat in the theatre (once my headache fades), just not in 3D next time.

    10 out of 10.  (Iron Man was about 15 out of 10, so take my ratings as you like them.)

    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    Rift, Addendum

    Was just re-reading my post on Rift, and realized I should have included one other point in the paragraph about spammers.  It is very easy to ignore them and never be bothered again.

    It also just occurred to me that not banning the accounts, but allowing you to ignore them, means the botters aren’t creating new characters on new accounts.  That means ignores I created days ago are still ignoring those people, instead of having to add new names every time I go into town.  (Like Stormwind in WoW: new names on the same gold-farmer ads every time I sign in.)  I guess that’s kind of a plus on the whole thing.

    I still like CCP's solution to gold farming in EVE.  They created something called “PLEX”, which you can buy from them or third-party vendors, and then sell in-game.  The buyer in the game gets a “free month” of gameplay, and the seller gets in-game money by spending real-world money. 

    Same idea as buying from a gold-farmer, but without the credit card fraud and legal risks.  Players who farm a lot of in-game money get to play for free, and people who would rather spend dollars than time get in-game money.  Nice solution for everyone involved.  And since they sell on an auction basis, the price is set by the market.

    Definitely a better solution than ignore-then-ban (like WoW), or just ignore (like Rift).

    TV Review: Dark Angel

    On a recommendation, I got the first season of Dark Angel from Netflix.  I watched the first disk, and have to say the whole thing sucks horribly.

    The basic premise, genetically engineered supersoldiers who mutiny as children and escape into a post-apocalyptic society (created by terrorists using an EMP weapon against the US), is okay.  It stretches even sci-fi credulity, and isn’t even internally consistent within the show, but I could live with it if that was what was needed.

    Instead, I get incoherent plotlines, based around absurdities like the main character going into sexual heat because she’s got cat DNA.  If her sexual characteristics were actually built around cat DNA, shouldn’t she also have multiple nipples running down her torso, instead of having Jessica Alba's perfect breasts?  Mind you, I don’t mind that she’s got that sexy body she has.  What I mind is that the story is supposedly built around a supersoldier searching for others of her kind, and instead it ends up being built around some fetish for cats, and jokes about men being weak.

    Her best friend dies in the first episode, in a moment and manner that was more predictable than sunrises and phases of the moon.  The rest of the stories and plots are just as predictable, and just as absurd.

    The whole thing comes across as having been written by and for 12-year-olds.

    So, one disk in (out of five for the first season), I’m sending it back to Netflix.  And the person who recommended it is going onto my list of “never pay attention to them again” when it comes to entertainment.

    So, yet again, my dislike of television proves itself out.  Of the shows I’ve recently had recommended to me, not one has been worth the time spent watching it.  This is just the latest in that chain.  Oh well.

    Movie Review: Disney’s “Earth”

    I saw the previews in the theatre a few years back, so when I saw the DVD on the shelf yesterday, I grabbed a copy.  Earth definitely has some seriously breathtaking cinematography, and the “stories” are definitely interesting.

    What I also found interesting is that, in the movie, they have footage of a polar bear swimming in the sea, and the narrative at that point is that “he is exhausted and has run out of ice to walk on, miles from land …”, and the whole AGW narrative is gone into heavily.  But in the “making of” special, it shows that the swimming bear took the plunge from solid land, and made the decision to swim out into the sea.  When they started filming that shot, he was less than 100 yards from shore.  In other words, the narrative is pure, solid, unadulterated lies, purely for propaganda purposes, at least in that scene, and they inadvertently admit this on their own DVD!

    And that’s really the sad thing about movies like this, and the politics that they are designed to support.  The AGW movement is a pack of lies designed to support something really, really vital, and thus cuts the throat of the very thing it is designed to assist.  (How 1.1 is that!)

    We urgently need to reduce pollution: air, sea, and land.  TEA party activists and members will complain (ad nauseum, if given the chance) about Obamacare and the bailouts/stimulus creating unpayable debts for later generations.  And they’re right about those things.  But the very same thoughts apply equally or more so to the creation of a toxic environment!  These same people should be up in arms about that at the same time.

    So why aren’t they?  Because “eco freaks” have spent so much time and effort lying about AGW that they’ve completely alienated anyone who actually cares about the human future.

    We need to build nuclear plants, and work out ways to recycle the so-called-waste that they create.  (Technically, there’s no such thing as radioactive waste, there’s just unreprocessed fuel.)  We need them to be safe, so they should be about 2 miles underneath the bedrock.  The plants in Japan are a marvel of engineering, doing as well as they have after the earthquake, aftershocks, and tsunami.  However, if they were deep underground, they would be a non-situation, even in a full meltdown.  Done correctly, nuclear power is potentially the greatest boon to environmental causes since the invention of environmental awareness.

    We need to provide cheap, clean electricity to “emerging markets”.  Rent safe nuclear power plants to every country on Earth, and build schools and loan money for industry and agriculture in the surrounding areas.  But the fake eco movement would fight that tooth and claw.  It would be blasphemy against their religion.

    So, in this one movie, I see the horrible failings of “the Left” and “the Right”, all in one handy package.  The makers of the movie never intended it to have that effect, but it sure does!

    Friday, April 15, 2011


    I started playing Rift.  It definitely borrows heavily from World of Warcraft, the same way that one borrowed from EverQuest originally.

    It’s got much more complex play mechanics, especially since the Cataclysm expansion for WoW.  Character creation is more complicated, and more choices have to be made.  This means it’s more customizable, but also that it’s not going to get the “I’m not even a nerd, but I play Warcraft” crowd that Blizzard aims for (and gets).

    I tried out five or six different mage builds before hitting on one that suits my play style.  A warlock, chloromancer, elementalist ended up suiting my needs and being quite fun to play.  Got her to level 12 and then decided to try a few other classes.

    My first cleric ended up being even more fun.  Part “learning the game”, part luck on getting it right the first time.  The build is cabalist, warden, purifier, and he’s great fun and kicks a lot of ass.

    I gave other cleric builds a brief shot, but this one keeps drawing me back.

    I just tried a reaver, riftblade, void knight warrior, and that’s definitely fun too.  More complex to play (I’m not used to warriors having something comparable to “finishing moves”), but definitely fast-paced and entertaining.

    I’ll probably go back and get my WoW DK to level 85.  Probably.  Not sure about that one though.  The game is getting really boring again already.  Too dumbed down, too simple, no real challenges, and not even good means of meeting new people any more, since the dungeon finder ruins that.

    In Rift, I’m definitely enjoying the zone-events (the rifts and invasions).  Remind me of the Rikti invasions in City of Heroes, which have always been fun.  Very high-paced, always something to do.  And the “Join Public Group” feature avoids the main downside of the CoH invasions, which has always been the LFG stage of it.

    The game doesn’t yet appear to be “raid to get the gear you need in order to raid”, like WoW.  Nor does it appear to be the Monty-Hall-fest that Cataclysm created for WoW.  I’m not sure if it’s well-balanced yet, but it might be.

    There are still a few things that have a beta feel to them.  Not like Age of Conan was when first released (and still was a year after going live), but a few details that aren’t as polished as they should be, and a few minor bugs (skin-rendering issues now and again).

    It definitely doesn’t have the rich resources for third-party play data that WoW has.  That’s both a disadvantage (can’t look stuff up as easily), and an advantage (WoW has tons of sites out there with out-of-date info that hasn’t been updated to the massive changes in the game since Cataclysm).

    The newbie zones are badly plagued by spam from gold vendors and power-levelers.  Safe to assume most/all are scams.  But I’ve hit the “report spam” button on characters, and seen them still botting away two days later, which means lack of attention from Trion on that point.

    Long-term entertainment value, and issues like customer service, are yet to be seen, of course (the game is still brand new for all practical purposes).  But I have to say, I like it so far.

    Saturday, April 9, 2011

    Movie Review: Your Highness

    Just watched Your Highness, and was pleasantly surprised.  I was hoping it would be good, afraid it would stink horribly, but the previews were enough to draw me in (Natalie Portman in a chainmail bikini goes a long ways in that direction).

    It was incredibly crude, quite lewd (mostly language, but a lot of bare-breasted women as well [though not Portman]), and a lot of homosexual humor.  And quite frankly, hilarious!

    If you’re easily offended, or have any sensibilities at all, it’s not the right movie for you.  Otherwise, definitely worth seeing.

    It’s not the kind of movie I’ll still be laughing at 10 years from now (like Yellowbeard or Not Another Teen Movie), but it’s definitely worth an afternoon and the price of admission.

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    Movie Review: Hanna

    Just watched Hanna.  It wasn’t quite what the previews made it out to be, but I think that’s a good thing.  I definitely liked it, though they could have cut a few minutes of footage of her running…and running…and running…and running…and… you get the idea.

    Saoirse Ronan, as Hanna, did an excellent job, in my opinion.  Portrayed the character well, and played the “oh my gosh, I’ve never seen civilization before” pieces well, without overplaying them.  One anachronism with that bit of the character, but it was forgivable.

    Jessica Barden, playing a semi-major part, overdid it more than a bit.  Other than her, the acting in the movie was definitely excellent.  She wasn’t horrible, but she definitely wasn’t good either, and it stuck out badly in this movie, because of the excellence of most of the rest of the acting.  (I think the over-the-top scripting for her character may be at least partially to blame.  I’m not familiar with any of her other work, so can’t tell how much is her, how much is the script, and how much might be the director.)

    Cate Blanchett was, I think, a poor choice for the character she played, but she sure made the best of it.  Good acting, but I think the director (Joe Wright) pushed a few scenes too hard and she ended up looking a little awkward in ways that weren’t right for the character.  I think a colder actress would have been better, but I think Cate did a good job making up for that.

    And I think Eric Bana has finally made up for HulkTroy was better than Hulk, obviously, and I liked him in Black Hawk Down, and the new Star Trek was excellent, but I think he was a perfect choice for his role in Hanna, and he did an excellent job of it.  He was central enough for this to finally make up the damage.

    So I’d definitely recommend this movie to anyone who likes actiony flicks, with the caveat that you’re going to be watching Saoirse run.  A lot.  Get past that, and it’s an excellent movie.  8 of 10.

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Movie Review: Lifeforce

    Just watched Lifeforce.  Got it from Netflix (of course), based on a recommendation in the sci-fi genre.  First off, it wasn’t as bad as I feared it might be.  Second off, that’s about the best I can say for it.

    Mathilda May, in the Dracula role, spent much of the movie naked, and that’s not a bad thing, but it’s definitely not enough to make the movie.

    Steve Railsback, in the Jonathan Harker role, didn’t even mail his acting in.  He may have sent it by carrier pigeon or something.

    The story is almost directly lifted from Stoker’s book, even having the ship of the dead (except it’s a spaceship) for the arrival from faraway places.  It takes place in England.  It has an insane asylum.  There’s hypnotism involved.  Naked young women happen.  Et al.  Dracula is female, the other vampires from the castle (spaceship) are, perforce, male, and the names are changed.  So nothing creative or new.

    The special effects were actually above the standards I expected.  Not too bad for pre-CGI days.

    So, while I didn’t dislike the movie, I really can’t recommend it to anyone.  But that’s what I expected going into it.  If you never take chances with what you don’t already know is good, you never expand your horizons.  So I get movies I expect to be disappointed by every now and again.  And every so often, I find that I’m pleasantly surprised to be wrong, and discover a good movie.  I got this one for the same reasons I got The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and that one was marvelous!  So Lifeforce was worth a shot, but came up short.

    (I’m looking forward to Hanna and Your Highness this weekend.  One should just be good, the other is a “take a chance” type that I have more hope for than I did for Lifeforce.)

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Further Thoughts

    I had a further clarification on the title and lede for this blog.  Which, I guess, makes this entry recursive.

    The whole idea of a thought being “incomplete” as opposed to “wrong” is, I think, a very positive thing.  The idea is, just because I will learn new things tomorrow, that doesn’t mean I’m wrong today.  That’s a clear enough idea that most people wouldn’t reject it, but I think many people, including myself prior to my own clarification, would consider that I was wrong yesterday if I thought something then that, upon learning new things today, turns out to have been subject to improvement.

    Hence, instead of accusing myself of lifetime after lifetime of being wrong, I’m instead taking the idea that my prior thoughts were merely incomplete, and that my future thoughts will be more complete, but still capable of even greater improvement.

    It isn’t a service facsimile style “I was right, even when I was wrong”.  Nor an attempt to escape from mistakes of the past and not take responsibility for them.  Instead, it’s a positive take on the idea that past, wrong ideas, were merely incomplete, and thus subject to improvement, instead of being irredeemable.

    There’s a certain serenity to that idea, which feels quite pleasant.

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Huge Win

    I had a huge win on course on the Philadelphia Doctorate Course this evening.

    It actually breaks down into two wins, and the versions I wrote at the time, in the courseroom, and game to the supervisor, are the originals, but here’s a tiny piece of a summary of them.

    Ron was talking about Serenity of Beingness, and I realized that I can remember being in every tone below that on the Tone Scale, but I couldn’t remember what it was like to be in Tone 40, full-on serenity of beingness.  That’s when I suddenly realized that of course I couldn’t remember it!  Memory is facsimiles stored on ridges!  Serenity of beingness wouldn’t have any facsimiles, because it’s a purely-postulated state.  It cannot be achieved through facsimiles, because those are force, and Tone 40 is forceless theta.

    This straightened out a bunch of concepts for me, realizing that it’s purely a postulated state.  That gave me some definite and purposeful insight into how it works and what it’s like to be there.

    Then, a few minutes later, back in the lectures, Ron mentioned an auditor having to deal with a universe when dealing with a pc.  That was the OH WOW!! moment.  No, wait, let me make that more correct.  That was the moment of

    OH WOW!!!!!!!!

    I suddenly understood that a universe is what I’m being.  (It’s not what I am, it’s what I’m being.  And that statement shows where English turns into a train wreck when trying to explain non-MEST concepts.)

    A universe.  The convergence of all of my postulates.  My space, my time, my energy, because it’s my postulates.

    This means I don’t have to worry about “my case” in terms of engrams, et al, it’s just all about handling my causation.  It’s truly that simple.

    Recent wins I’ve had on course and in auditing have shown me where I am as a being.  I’ve gone from hating myself and severe contempt for everything “me”, to knowing where I am as a being, just in the last year.  Those set me up for this.

    I’ve known for years where I want to be as a being.  I recently discovered where I am.  NOW I KNOW HOW TO GET THERE FROM HERE!!!  This win is really that important to me!

    It took a lot of patience on Ron’s part to get me here, and a lot of help from all of his assistants (staff and Sea Org and field Scientologists of various sorts), and I’m very grateful for that.  But the key thing is, I understand what it means to resolve my causation.  To make it possible to sort out my postulates and, thence, myself as a universe.

    This whole shift of viewpoint gives me much greater insight into the dynamics, the tone scale, the ARC triangle and interactions with other universes and beings, and into what a postulate really is.

    I can’t really express in English, that crippled language that’s better at it than any other on this planet but still falls so short, what all of this means to me, so suffice to say what I’ve said here.  It’s awesome, even stripped of it’s full majesty and grandeur by this clumsy means of communicating it.

    And again


    Sunday, April 3, 2011


    Got Aglaromë (my World of Warcraft worgen deathknight) to level 75 this evening.  The game has definitely changed since I quit two years ago.  I’m finally into new content (new for me, not for the game), and that’s nice.

    Aglaromë is forming a personality all his own, which is always a good sign for a character of mine.  Arrogant, confident almost to the point of hubris, he tells NPCs to “Get out of the way of The Undead Werewolf!”, or that they were killed by The Undead Werewolf, and similar things.  He tells undead of the Scourge that fight him, “I was MADE for this!” (Which, if you pay attention to the deathknight backstory, is true), as he defeats them.

    I’m having fun with the character, more so than prior WoW characters in prior years.  And I don’t have my prior issues with being betrayed or ignored by guildmates, since I’m pretty much going it alone.  The dungeon finder is a nice addition to the game.  It removes a major source of finding new friends, but it eliminates a titanic source of frustration I had with prior tools for getting into the dungeon instances (since I couldn’t rely on guildies/friends for that at all), so I consider it a net positive.

    He’s got his epic flying mount (the level 70 one, not the level 80), and that’s making things much easier and less boring too.  Less time spent getting from A to B, more time kicking ass at B!

    I think I like it.

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    Your Shoes Are Untied

    Successfully RickRolled some friends online today.  Kind of surprised it worked, but not too much.

    Saturday, March 26, 2011

    Taxes Filed

    So I used TurboTax and taxes are filed.  No pain there.  TaxACT is history for me at this point.  (Too bad, they were really easy to use the last three years.)

    Morons at TaxACT

    Here’s what I sent them:

    “I clicked the "Forgot 2009 Username" button, and it sent me an e-mail with my username. But the password didn't work, so I clicked "Forgot my password". It then tells me my username, that your system just e-mailed to me, isn't in the system. So I tried going through the registration page, but it says my e-mail address is already in your system. It's a loop that just keeps repeating. How can your system e-mail me a username that's not in your system? Yet it says it has done exactly that.”

    Here’s the autoresponder piece of junk that they sent me as a “reply” to this:

    “To successfully reset your password, you must complete all the steps in the process. After clicking the "Forgot your Password?" link:
    1. You will be asked to enter your username and click "Continue".
    2. On the next screen you are asked to answer your secret question and click "Continue".
    3. You must enter your new password, confirm it, and click the "Send Password Reset" email.
    4. You must then validate the new password using the link in the auto-generated email you received.
    If you have not completed each of these steps above, your password is not reset and you may not receive the validation email.
    NOTE: The validation link expires in 36 hours. You will need to re-initiate the reset process if you have not validated the change in that time.
    For a video presentation of this help topic please click this link:

    Thank you for using TaxACT. Please let us know if you have any further questions.”

    Any reasonably literate person would have read my request, realized that there’s a problem with their password reset functionality, and actually responded to what I actually wrote.  Instead, they had a bot send me something that ends up being actually insulting because it’s just a repeat of directions that I followed, which didn’t work.

    Definitely switching to a different service.  Not sure which yet.  These guys need to realized that “customer service” has nothing to do with the animal husbandry definition of “service”.  (My response to them would make this blog Adult Only because of language, so I won’t post it.)

    Plague of Stupidity

    I just tried to do my taxes through TaxACT Online.  I checked my records from last year, and had my username, but not my password.  So I clicked the “Forgot My Password” link, and it asked for the username.  I tried the one I have on record, and it told me that it’s not in their system.  So I hit the “Forgot My Username” link, and waited for their e-mail to arrive.

    A few minutes later, an e-mail arrived, with EXACTLY the same username I had just tried to use.  In case of typo, I copy-and-pasted it into their form.  And got an error that my username isn’t in their system.  The exact same username the exact same system had just e-mailed me not two minutes earlier!

    I just have to wonder what kind of morons they have building their code for them.  That kind of error should be impossible with any sort of decent coding skill or any faintest clue about database querying.

    And, yes, when I try to register for the site, it says my e-mail address already exists in their system, and asks for my username, which, when provided, it promptly informs me isn’t in their system again.

    So I contacted support.  If that’s as clueless as I expect, I guess I’ll be trying a new service in a few days.

    All I can really say so far is, it’s a DAMN good thing I’m not doing this on April 15th, with support saying it will take a couple of business days to get back to me on their self-generated idiocy.

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    Movie Review: Sucker Punch

    Sucker Punch on IMDB

    Just saw this, after loving the special effects in the previews.  Definitely an interesting movie, especially from a Scientologist’s perspective.  In Scientology 8-8008, Ron covers the processes about creation of one’s own universe, where one makes one’s own rules and is king of all of that creation.  The scenes in the asylum also could almost have been written by someone at CCHR, which is also interesting (in that the message is obviously getting out).

    I gave the movie 8 out of 10 on IMDB, because I think it was really quite good.  Can’t give it 10, because it was a little too cliché in some regards, and that held it back from top votes.

    All in all, if you want some incredible special effects, or are interested in a truly interesting take on the connection between creativity and sanity, see it.  If what you’re looking for is more erotic (as the previews hinted at), this isn’t the movie you want.  If what you want is great storytelling, there are better options (like Lost in Translation, one of my all-time favorites in that regard).  This one is a little disturbed, a little shocking, very visually and audially impressive, and definitely interesting.