Wow. October, Huh? 
2010.10.12 16:00 - Guns, Internet Stupidity, Meatspace Stupidity, Toys, Actual Toys, Work-related
It's been a few days since I posted anything here.

Work-wise, I've been tied up in a release that's finally coming to a head ... about an hour from now.

Outside of work, RHIT homecoming has come and gone. Related to that, Verizon has been bugging me. It seems I have some charges on my next bill for text messages. I sent or received some 40-odd messages trying to stay abreast of doings in the Haute.

Related: Legos are expensive, but I think I won the trip to Toys R Us. (Go me?)

Also noticed: guy in the pawn shop with a GPS ankle bracelet. I'm guessing a restraining order was involved, because he didn't seem to be under house arrest.

I seem to have picked up some sort of infection in the Haute or just before or after, and took almost long enough to get my butt to the doctor for things to become serious. Fortunately, they aren't, and time plus amoxycillin cures many a post-nasal drip. (Related: Zyrtec-D is fantastic.)

As far as things not related to bodily fluids are concerned, I got out to Knob Creek the last weekend of September, and mostly proved I'm so out of practice that I've forgotten what I'm doing (hammer bite!). A few trips to Open Range will work out some of the kinks, pistol-wise, but that just means I'll be back on the paper. And I need to build a target stand before I go back to KCR. The rentable stands weren't much three years ago, and they're even less now, regrettably.
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Other People Should Make My Life Easier 
2010.08.27 09:29 - Entertainment, Microcode, Whining, Work-related
I'd like to be able to do something like this
try {
    /* and then, a miracle occurs! */
} catch (BarException beFoo => String.Equals(be.Property, "Foo")) {
    // foo handler
} catch (BarException beBar => String.Equal(be.Property, "Bar")) {
    // bar handler
} catch (BarException be) {
    // general BarException handler
}
Mostly because it seems slightly cleaner than the current approach to handling, e. g., OracleExceptions, where one might care about some of the error codes represented by the exception, but not all of them:
try {
    /* and then, a miracle occurs! */
} catch (BarException be) {
    if (String.Equals(be.Property, "Foo")) {
    // foo handler
    } else if (String.Equals(be.Property, "Bar")) {
    // bar handler
    } else {
    // general BarException handler
    }
}
Some flexibility is lost vs. using if-else statements instead, but you could produce the same thing with typeof and nobody sane does that if they can get out of it, either. Semantically, it's pretty much equivalent and, syntactically, it's more verbose (to no obvious semantic advantage), so I'm sure it's not actually a good idea. (Additional evidence it's a bad idea: I'm sure I'm not the first to hit on this idea, yet it isn't implement in C# as far as I can tell. Presumably, those guys know what they're doing.)

Granted, it would be even better if Oracle would throw different exception types for different error codes instead of throwing the one type with slightly different data, but some problems seem, prima facie, less intractable than others.
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The Expendables 
2010.08.18 13:17 - Entertainment, Movies
Summary: Big, dumb, loud, violent, and more fun than it has any right to be.

2.5/5

The Expendables is a terrible film. The acting is awful, the story is stupid, the premise is preposterous, the characters crummy. (It is, in fact, so awful I think it must be intentionally bad.) It is also awesome. Honestly, this was probably the most fun I've had in the movie theater in at least a year and a half. (And I thought A-Team was great fun, FWIW.)

Recommendation: If A-Team was too cerebral for you, this is your film.
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Scott Pilgrim vs. The World 
2010.08.18 12:58 - Entertainment, Movies
Summary: Technical excellence on a fundamentally shallow and banal story told with cutely imposed video game metaphor.

3.5/5

I confess to being unfamiliar with the comic book except by reputation. After seeing Scott Pilgrim, I don't feel any desire to familiarize myself with the source material. The main character is, basically, a jerk, the story is trite, the grand realization at the climax could come out of a fortune cookie or a generic self-help book, and nothing about the movie bears much scrutiny. For all that, everything about the movie other than the story is excellent: the acting is good, the special effects are great, the dialogue clever, the use of narrative devices smart.

It's just that there's nothing about the story to make it worth all this effort.

In the end, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is almost all flash and almost no substance.

Recommendation: see if you're interested, but don't lose any sleep over missing out.
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Blazblue: Continuum Shift 
2010.07.30 11:09 - Entertainment, Microcode
Blazblue: Continuum Shift is out, so I picked up a copy. It's pretty much Blazblue: Calamity Trigger++, which is as expected.

Story mode's been improved: it's no longer necessary to lose each fight to complete a character's story, there's a skip feature for portions you've already seen, and losing doesn't necessitate backing out to the select or load screens and starting over.

There is a Challenge mode now. Apparently, this is good for getting the player up to speed on a character's moves. Being the player in question, I tried that out last night. First two missions are relatively trivial, third might be solvable in non-polynomial time with a third hand.

The 360 controller is rather sub-par for this kind of game, so I think I'm going to look into something like a dedicated joystick.
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