Saturday, November 10, 2012

Movie Review: Skyfall

The new James Bond flick.  Saw it in the theatre last night.

Definitely one of the better ones.  They’re continuing the “show how tragic James’ life really is” theme, but doing it better here than in Quantum.

Won’t say much more, because just about anything would be a spoiler of one sort or another.

7 out of 10.  Good flick.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Post-Auditing Win

After my session on Sunday, I was telling Tiffany about “walking while standing still”.  When I do that, I make myself feel like I’m standing still, but pulling the whole world towards me from the front, and pushing it away behind.  My legs move to keep up, like a treadmill.  It’s fun, and I can do that for a lot longer than I can walk when I don’t do that.

Today, driving home from work, the small of my back started to hurt, and I realized I was “pushing” against the world from there.  There’s no way my body can handle the kind of force needed to hold a car still while moving the world under it (same force as needed to move the car, after all), but that’s what I was doing.  Ended up leaning forward whenever I wanted to accelerate, which is silly of course.

So instead of doing that with the body, I held the car still and put the “push” and “pull” (tractor and pressor beams, of course) onto the frame and power-train of the car.  In doing so, I took on the viewpoint of the car.  Wow!

I normally think of a car as a fairly heavy thing.  About a ton-and-a-half of car, for the one I’m driving these days (2012 Ford Fusion SE – totally rocks!).  But, from the viewpoint of the engine, the car is a featherweight!  I never thought of it that way before, but it’s very definitely true.  A “muscle” (the engine) that can propel a body at over 100 mph pretty much as long as it has gas in the tank, is much more power:mass than anything I’m used to from a body!

Was great fun.  And, as soon as I focused on the car that way, the back pain completely disappeared.  Stayed away as long as I kept the car viewpoint, too.  Very reliable.


36 tonight.  Worked up a good sweat on it, too.  Heart-rate is way elevated, which is a good thing.  Means I’m doing that part right.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Auditing Wins

Had one of my best sessions ever yesterday.  Not sure what to write about it, because the wins aren’t really expressible in English.

Sometimes I have to remind myself who and what I really am.  Spiritual, beyond flesh, merely anchored to others by this identity and the matter supporting it.

Can’t express enough my profound gratitude to my auditor (Tiffany), the C/S, Tampa Org, and, most of all, Ron.  Standard Tech really does what I need it to!  Amazingly so!


35 tonight.  1st time since I hurt my neck.  Was harder than before, but not painful, so I’m back at it now.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Hurt my neck yesterday, after pushing up to 39 on the torture exercise program the night before.  So no exercise yesterday or today.  Neck’s feeling much better now, but best to let it recover all the way.  Should be back at it tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Exercise Challenge

31 today!  The last one hurt my arms a little bit more than I prefer.  But not enough to be negative.  Wondering when my first “peak” (as in can’t do more one day than the prior day) will be.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Exercise & Health

Did 27 on the exercise challenge thing tonight.

Also got a set of ultrasounds done on my carotid arteries and my aorta.  Other than still-insane blood pressure numbers, all of that came back normal and okay.

Checked Mayo clinic data on what it all means and whether it means anything or not, and it seems that it is worth it, and that everything (except BP) really is okay.

So, good stuff.  I’m healthier than I think in most regards.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Went in session last Sunday.  My first metered auditing since 1997!  Awesome results!  Addressed issues I’ve been hiding from in all prior auditing.  Definitely a great experience.

Ended the night on a big win.  Don’t think I’ve ever been more excited or more terrified, both at the same time, ever before!

Did some more on Tuesday night.  Finished up the bit started on Sunday, started the next bits.

Scheduled to finish the intensive and the program on Saturday.  Not sure when I’ll be able to do more, but even a single intensive is a major move in the right direction!

Things are definitely going well for me right now.

Exercise Challenge

Did 20 of the pull-up exercise.  Up from 10 last time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Secret World

Realized I haven’t posted on this in a while.  (Haven’t posted in a while.  Heck, let’s be honest, I’m a seriously lazy blogger.  But let’s also be honest, this is essentially talking to myself at this point, so the lazy bit probably doesn’t actually matter.)

Still playing The Secret World.  Still buggy, too.  They swat some of the bugs, but seem to introduce new ones, or re-introduce old ones, at close to the same rate.  Nothing catastrophic right now, but it’s definitely distracting.

Main character, Fyrekat, is getting closer and closer to having all the skills maxed out.  Still a long ways to go on abilities, of course, but has a ton of them already.

It’s a fun game.  Good content.  Enjoy it more than am distracted by bugs in the juice.

The best dungeon (so far) is still the first one.  The Cthulhu rip-off in the final boss fight rocks.  Worst so far is the most recent I’ve tried, The Ankh.  Haven’t had a successful run yet, and some of the encounters are WAY too console-game for my tastes.  Hard to get groups for that one, and I understand why.

Space Shuttle

While I was driving to work this morning, I looked up and there was the space shuttle, piggy-back on a jet, flying over me!

Couldn’t get a picture, but it was pretty cool!

It wasn’t very high up.  Couple hundred feet, maybe?


Decided to set a game for myself exercise-wise.  A challenge, as it were.

Set my Total Gym to the hardest slope, and want to get up to 100 “pull ups” on it.  I can (just barely) do 10 right now.  Pretty pathetic, but I have to start somewhere!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Secret World: Creepy

I may be the only one, but I think it’s kind of creepy that the guy you’re supposed to rescue from a bear trap in the woods outside of Kingsmouth, has somehow also been trapped in a Xerox-brand Human Duplication Machine, or something, and is in the Sheriff’s Office grounds three times:

Once near the east gate, once in the middle, once near the west gate, and still in the trap in the woods, all at the same time.  A couple of these screenshots show two of him at once.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Secret World

Lots of game crashes today.  Updated my video driver, but that didn’t stop them.

Seems to be the usual pattern of “I hit multiple controls in rapid succession and the game client couldn’t deal with it” kind of thing.  I’ve seen that in other games as well, but only when a video driver was out-of-date.  Conan (of course) being the other exception, which would crash even with up-to-date drivers installed.

Working on a second character.  A tank, using Chaos magic and Hammers.  Definitely slower kills than my DPS (Elemental+Shotgun) toon, but also definitely higher survivability.  Which, as always with these games, is apparently my preferred style.

The Secret World

Okay, so the game is pretty cool.  It’s got definite problems, but it’s more fun than not.

My character has been killed once by a client-side crash.

When I exit the game, using the Options menu (F10), it pulls up an error screen and asks “What were you doing when the game crashed?” after exiting.

The ability hot keys, mapped to keyboard 1-7, keep labeling themselves as 1,2,3,4,6,6,7.  The 5-key says it’s a 6.  It’s 5, and the 5 on the keyboard activates that power, but it puts a 6 on there.  Putting a different power on there temporarily fixes the label, but then it goes back to 6 again.

There’s an escort mission in the newbie zone, and the first three times I tried it, the NPC you’re supposed to escort would teleport back to his starting point as soon as I got him near the end-point.  Ported over to a different server (group-invite) and was able to finish it there.

So FunCom has kept up their buggy-on-launch tradition, but in a minor way.

On the other hand, the setting is fun, the combat is fun, the abilities are fun, not having to level-grind is fun, not having to suffer massive alt-itis is fun, and most of the missions are at least interesting.  I love the street names in the newbie zone town, and the cut-scenes with the NPCs are amusing (at least the first time).  Deputy Andy is definitely depraved!

So, overall, buggy, but fun.

Oh, and the in-game browser is a complete pain-in-the-butt.  Better off with a tablet or whatever so you can look up mission-related data in a place where you don’t have to exit from the site you find in order to continue game-play.  Very annoying, not very useful (the browser), so just bypass it if you can.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Secret World

Getting a little bored of City of Heroes, and need something to add variety to EVE Online, so I decided to try out Funcom’s new The Secret World.

First impressions created by the account creation and download page are all strongly negative.

First, the “Buy Now” page doesn’t appear to work in Internet Explorer.  Given market-share numbers, it’s surprising to me that they didn’t test this, but they obviously didn’t.

Second, when you fill out the account creation form (got to it by using Chrome), you have to fill it all out, click “Create Account”, and then and only then does it validate any of your data.  If your password has a punctuation mark in it other than a hyphen, you get an error, and have to fill out about half of the form again.  (I think the allowed piece of punctuation is a hyphen.  The error message was far from clear on the point.  Poor font-choice being the problem.)  If the username you want is already taken, you have to fill out the form again.  And so on.  No “check availability” on usernames, no “password must be X to Y length, and cannot contain punctuation” on the page before you even begin typing it, nothing.  Just keep trying till you get one that works.  Filling out about half the form over and over again each time.

Not a big deal, we’re not talking a 1040 form here, but definitely a poor user-experience, and a barrier-to-entry no serious business should allow.

So, after six tries, I finally got what they wanted and my account was created.  In the spirit of helping them and their future potential customers, I then clicked their “Contact Us” link on their official website, and filled out a detailed e-mail telling them some things they could do to make the experience better.  A few minutes after sending the e-mail, from their official “Contact Us” page, I got an auto-responder reply that said they no longer accept e-mails as a means of contacting them, and please go fill out a form on their support website.

The client is downloading now, and I’m worried that I may have just burned fifty bucks for a crap experience.  Conan (their other game that I both beta tested and played) was launched with serious bugs and playability issues.  I was hoping they had learned from that, but I’m now worried they probably haven’t.

These guys aren’t serious about making things easy on their customers, aren’t serious about their sales process, aren’t serious about their software QA, from what I’ve seen so far.  Hopefully the game itself will change my mind.  We’ll see.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

T-SQL Trick

Leaned a new trick in T-SQL the other day and thought I’d post it here.

Turns out, you can use the Output clause from Insert/Update/Delete/Merge statements as a data-source for Insert-Select statements.


create table #T1 (
Act varchar(100),
Val int);

create table #T2 (
Col1 int);

insert into #T1 (Act, Val)
select ActM, ValM
from (
merge into #T2 as Tgt
using (select 1 as ColA) as Src
on Tgt.Col1 = Src.ColA
when not matched by target then insert (Col1) values (Src.ColA)
output $action, inserted.Col1) as MergeChanges (ActM, ValM);

select *
from #T1;

select *
from #T2;


The Output clause generates a dataset, which allows for the $action variable for Merge statements and so on, which can then be named (“as MergeChanges”) and given column names (“(ActM, ValM)”).  I used “ActM” to differentiate the “Action Merge” from the “Act” column of the #T1 table.

The uses for logging data changes are obvious.

Avoid the extra steps for Output Into, and bypasses the rules that Output Into is subject to on the characteristics of the target table.  It’s just an Insert-Select at that point, and subject only to those rules, which are much more usual.

This only works in Compatibility 100 (and I assume in Denali, which is probably 110, but I haven’t tried that yet).  Won’t work in databases with lower compatibility, even in SQL 2008 R2 servers.  They’ll let you use Merge, and even compatibility 80 (SQL 2000) will allow Output, but they won’t allow this particular trick.

Just picked this one up a few days ago and thought it was pretty cool.

Movie Review: Mission Impossible 4

Also recently saw Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.  Goofy fun, lots of insane action.  Heard some people complain about it not being realistic.  I guess they missed the point, in my opinion.

Honestly, if you want a realistic movie about espionage/intelligence, you’re going to be sitting the theatre watching a movie of some government employee comparing photographs to each other, or listening to a radio broadcast in some language you probably don’t speak.  There’s a lot of paperwork involved.  Much of it involves things like following up on purchase orders and invoices.  There’s very little that would be at all entertaining.

James Bond, Mission Impossible, and all the rest, are fantasy fiction.  I enjoy them that way.

This one provided plenty of insane action, stunts, explosions, fights, sexy women (Léa Seydoux and Paula Patton are definitely attractive), and so on.  Pure eye-candy, from start to finish, for the whole movie.  Saw it in IMAX (refusing to see 3D movies these days; the headaches aren’t worth it), and it was worth the extra bucks.

8 of 10

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Recently saw Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.  Definitely liked it.  I can’t refute a number of idiotic review-claims I’ve read without spoiling scenes, so I won’t.  But some movie reviewers need to actually, I don’t know, read some of the books before they review the movie.  I think some of them are assuming the Basil Rathbone movies are “the original”, and may not ever have actually even heard of Arthur Conan Doyle.  (Like the idiot a few years ago who thought that The Two Towers as an The Empire Strikes Back rip-off, obviously not realizing that the Ring Trilogy was written about 40 years before the Star Wars material.)

Robert Downey Jr. does another great job as Holmes, and the rest of the cast carry their weight and then some.  Some of the special cinematography is spectacular, to say the least.

Definitely a fun movie.

7 of 10.