36 Chambers – The Legendary Journeys: Execution to the max!

March 31, 2008

Did I call it? The Answer: Sort of.

Filed under: Sports, Television and/or Movies — Tony Demchak @ 12:01 am

With Wrestlemania XXIV over, it is time to reflect on how things turned out. Below are excerpts from the earlier article (in italics), accompanied by the result. Enjoy!

24 MAN BATTLE ROYAL TO FACE CHAVO GUERRERO FOR ECW TITLE

A whole bunch of people are in this; I think Kane will win, simply because he hasn’t gotten a title shot in a long time and a face needs to get the title off of Chavo. This will give CM Punk something better to do.

Nailed it! Kane did indeed win. The Battle Royal was free on WWE.com. It was underwhelming, but entertaining nonetheless. It came down to Kane vs. Mark Henry, and Kane got him out with a clothesline. The Lady Penguatroll’s pick (hereafter as LP): Cody Rhodes, who didn’t last very long. A good showing, but not great. I also called Kane beating Chavo, but not in 10 seconds. This was probably done to eliminate any shadow of a doubt that Chavo would get a rematch, freeing up the ECW title scene.

BUNNYMANIA: CANDICE MICHELLE ASHLEY & MARIA VS VICTORIA MELINA AND BETH PHOENIX

I don’t even remember who’s in this match and it has been announced; that’s how little I care. Maria will win because she’s in Playboy.

Updated: It’s Melina, not Victoria.

Update to the update: Candice got hurt, so Ashley’s taking her place.

I was wrong; Beth won via heel shenangians by Santino Marella. Santino got laid out by Snoop Dogg, so that was interesting.

BRAND SUPERIORITY: BATISTA VS UMAGA

This will be an awesome match, if I’ve guessed right on who Smackdown has picked. Batista currently has nothing to do, and I highly doubt he’ll be in Money in the Bank. I really, really hope they’re kidding about Paul Burchill taking Umaga’s spot. He’s been on RAW for like two weeks. Anyway, Batista wins this match, but it’ll be a hell of a fight.

The match was good, not great. Batista took down Umaga without a lot of effort. I honestly thought they should have had Umaga kick out of the Batista Bomb at least once. I’m 3-1 now. Hell yeah!

FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR. VS BIG SHOW

Big Show will win. I love the build but I’m uncertain about the match.

Floyd won, but it was an entertaining match. There was some wishy washy nonsense about who the heel was going in; there certainly isn’t now, as it took a hell of a lot to bring Big Show down for the count. One of the few genuine surprises. 3-2.

CAREER THREATENING MATCH: SHAWN MICHAELS VS RIC FLAIR

… My gut says Flair loses, but puts on a hell of a fight …

Best match of the entire night. Flair broke down in tears; HBK mouthed “Are you sure? I love you” before delivering Sweet Chin Music for the third and last time. Lots of back and forth action; I honestly had doubts Flair was going to lose.

MONEY IN THE BANK: MR KENNEDY VS JEFF HARDY MVP VS JERICHO VS SHELTON BENJAMIN VS CARLITO VS CM PUNK VS JOHN MORRISON

UPDATE: There is a chance Matt Hardy will show up; I doubt he will win, though. I’m going to do a column on this later; suffice it to say, I think Punk will win and take his step forward.

Punk definitely won. There were some great moments, and everybody looked really good. Matt Hardy did come out and hit MVP with the Twist of Fate, renewing that feud, which was awesome. I was screaming when Carlito or somebody else would touch the case; I didn’t want the match to end. LP Pick: Chris Jericho. Y2J was awesome, but Punk was just slightly better; it would be better for ECW if Punk goes after the ECW title, but MUCH better for the WWE if he goes after the World Heavyweight Title. I’m up to 5-2, baby!

FINLAY VS JBL

Finlay. He’s way too over with the fans and given how JBL treated Hornswaggle, there’s no way Finlay will lose.

Opening match; really solid start to the show. This was a good old fashioned hardcore match. JBL won, and won cleanly, which kind of saddened me. Maybe this feud is just beginning…

WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: UNDERTAKER VS EDGE (C)

I’d be thrilled if Taker won, but he’s not going to be around forever and I’m not sure there’s another superstar would benefit more from the rub than Edge. Edge wins, either by DQ or cleanly, but he wins.

Ouch. Way off on this one. The Edgeheads did get involved, and Edge kicked out of the Last Ride, Chokeslam, AND Tombstone, but the Unnamed Submission Choke beat Edge. This was actually the main event, which kind of surprised me, but it was a fine choice. Edge put up a hell of a fight, but he is still a legit as hell contender. I expect a Punk-Edge feud any day now.

WWE TITLE MATCH: JOHN CENA VS TRIPLE H VS RANDY ORTON (C)

I really, really, REALLY wish Orton had a snowball’s chance in hell at retaining, but he doesn’t. Orton has been built well, but not well enough that he could win between Cena AND HHH. Weirdly, the champ is by far the underdog. I don’t think they’ll put the title back on Cena so soon; it’s going to HHH, probably by pinning Orton. Although if Taker beats Edge, Orton’s chances go from 0% to 1%.

Try 100%. Orton retained, thanks to a Pedigree by HHH on Cena. Orton kicked HHH off, then pinned Cena. HHH busted out the Crippler Crossface, and everyone looked good, but this match was too short for my taste. There was an RKO, but it was early in the match and only held off Cena. Orton won, but got the worst of it as everybody treated him as a bitch. LP Pick: Cena.

So I finished the night 5-5. A very, very good PPV. The best match was Flair vs. Michaels. The worst match was the Bunny Mania match. Looking forward to XXV in Houston, where I bet Undertaker gets the Ric Flair treatment and finally loses.

March 30, 2008

A Rocketship To The Sun

Filed under: Curmudgeonliness, Enemies — Kevin Feasel @ 10:33 am

Over at Tim Blair’s blog, there’s a list of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s “getting people together to come up with ideas” group, and there are some, err, less than luminous minds on that list. I personally like to think of the Simpsons Y2K episode in which the most annoying people on Earth get shot to the sun…

March 29, 2008

A Potential Boon

Filed under: Economics — Kevin Feasel @ 9:45 pm

I’m not sure how much to trust this report, but there will, supposedly in the near future, be a release of a federal survey stating that the US has 200 billion barrels of reachable oil in the Dakotas and Montana.  If that is true, that would cause a big drop in global oil prices, make the US one of the largest holders of oil resources, and theoretically could make the US a net exporter or at least neutral country in terms of oil.   At 14.93 million barrels imported a day, the 200 billion barrel mark would mean that the US could theoretically go 40 years without importing oil.

Of course, oil is a fungible resource, etc. etc., but if this report turns out to be true, it would be a major boon.

March 28, 2008

Apartment Hunting

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Feasel @ 5:03 pm

The search for an apartment begins. I’m probably going to move downtownish or possibly Hilliard. I have a couple of places lined up and drove by one today. Fortunately, nobody called the police…  One of the big advantages of the place I’m currently looking at is that it’s only about 3 miles from an orthodox synagogue.  That’s roughly as far away as when I was in Freiburg, but I don’t think I would walk to get there, as that part of town isn’t exactly southern Germany, if-you-know-what-I-mean…

More updates as I have them, and I’m sure that if I do move somewhere near downtown, Pat will be happy to stop by too often for my own good…

March 27, 2008

Talk Is Cheap

Filed under: Curmudgeonliness, Economics — Kevin Feasel @ 5:23 pm

There is a new Gallup poll out and, as Peter Schramm points out, it indicates that a fair number of Democrats are willing to vote for John McCain if their preferred candidate happens to lose, with about 20% of Obama supporters actively willing to undermine Clinton and nearly 30% of Clinton supporters who would do the same to Obama.

For Republicans, given that they’re still in the big mess that they found themselves in during 2006, that’s wonderful news, as it indicates that McCain can win.  I would, however, caution any early celebration for McCain fans.  There are two reasons to discount this survey somewhat.  The first reason is that it is still so far away from the general election and a lot of those Democrats will likely change their minds and vote for the Democrat regardless of who is running.  Furthermore, it’s possible that the more partisan Democrats are using this as a way of engaging in cheap talk.

Cheap talk is an important part of game theory and basically boils down to the fact that humans bluff and bluster, sometimes quite a bit.   If I were an Obama supporter, I may say that I would never, under any circumstances, vote for Clinton in an attempt to give Obama a bit of additional support, where he can say, “Look at all of these people I bring to the table.  Therefore, I should be the Democratic nominee.”  Clinton supporters can, and likely do, follow suit.  In reality, though, if a Clinton supporter sees Obama (D) and McCain (R) on the ballot, they’ll still vote for the D because although he isn’t Clinton, Obama is still a Democrat and is closer to the beliefs of the average Democrat than Clinton.

Due to the prevalence of  cheap talk and strategic behavior (such as Republicans voting for Clinton over Obama or vice versa or Democrats voting for McCain), I would be very wary of such a poll, especially this far out from an election.  It would be interesting to see, however, the same question asked in October, after we know which candidate will run for the Democrats and right around election time.  At that point, I would expect those numbers to be much lower.

March 26, 2008

Programming Links Of The Day, 3/26

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Feasel @ 6:54 pm

We’re back to some XML Bulk Loading links today.  To start with, I received a very interesting error, summed up in this link:  XML Bulk Load unable to load schema.  An error occurred (Unknown Error).  Not only is that a brilliant error message, but there’s very little on the Internet about it.  My problem was that I was trying to access the schema from the local C drive but apparently the service running bulk uploading did not have access privileges to that file.  I rectified this by putting it on the local web server (because our particular app is a web app which runs locally on individual machines).

After that, I received the even-better following error message:  “Unspecified error (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80004005 (E_FAIL))”.  I don’t believe that there are any posts on the internet which relate directly to the bulk uploading service, but in my case, the problem came about because I was missing an attribute row in my XML schema.  It might have something to do with it being the final attribute of the schema, but it was special enough to merit this cryptic error code.  So check all of your values and make sure that you aren’t missing any table fields is my advice.

A final XML-related set of links:  XML files can’t parse certain characters, including the ampersand (&), less than (<), greater than (>), and quotation mark (“) symbols*.  Fortunately, Jon Galloway (who is certainly not Joey Galloway) has an easy fix:  run the replace command on a string as you create your XML and you should be good to go.  If you need to validate your XML files—which I needed to do, as I did not know about the ampersand problem—you can always use the W3 validator.  The price is right and because it’s JavaScript, it runs mighty fast even with relatively large files.  And just for posterity’s sake, here is HTML rendering for different quotation marks.  Most people just use &quot; but you can be special.

Moving on to .Net controls, if you want to perform an action on each row in a GridView, it’s rather simple, as this post demonstrates.  The example there is selecting a check box, but it’s generically applicable and works well for times when you have to work with the grid after data binding.  And to end things with a slight bit of CSS, if you want to have two divs next to each other, make both “float:left” and as long as their widths do not exceed the width available in the container/browser window, you’ll be in good shape.  I used this to have two separate forms in my MVC application:  a section to add notes and a section to upload files for those notes.

* – Okay, they will parse quotation marks if you use single-quotes around values, but I use standard quotation marks because they’re less likely to occur in my particular data sets.

March 25, 2008

Money in the Bank: How Hardy screwed himself over but made Wrestlemania more fun for everyone!

Filed under: Jerks, Sports, Television and/or Movies — Tony Demchak @ 3:59 am

Jeff Hardy had the worst week of his life two weeks ago. He used some manner of recreational drug and got a 60 day suspension, his house and all his possessions were burned in a fire, and his dog died. The last two are tragic, unfortunate events (although he weirdly had no insurance…). The first is no one’s fault but his. I’ve said my piece about PEDs on this site (I’m too lazy to link; just look for the post with actual comments on it). Recreational drugs are uniformly a bad idea. Unlike my bitter enemy (one of many), Scot Pollard, I recommend that you NOT do drugs. Nothing good can come of it.

On the positive side, now Money in the Bank is up for grabs! Below are listed the seven wrestlers, arranged by their likelihood of victory.

7. Carlito

Carlito simply isn’t ready yet. He almost walked out on the company a couple months ago, and has done little to convince me he’s gotten any better. I think he’s the weak link in the match; he’s got lots of talent, but nobody will believe he’s got a chance at winning. He might be good for a couple of spots, but that’s it.

6. John Morrison

Morrison is improving rapidly as a wrestler; he could be a force in this match. That said, he’s not nearly built up enough to be WWE or World Heavyweight Champion, and I’m not sure WWE will use this match to make the ECW title more relevant. He and Miz might hold the belts a bit longer, lose them to Jesse and Festus (who will lose them to Hawkins and Ryder), and go their separate ways. Morrison is almost ready to leave ECW, but not yet.

5. Shelton Benjamin

Benjamin is probably the best athlete of the seven, and that’s saying a lot. I will be keeping an eye on Shelton 2.0 to see if works his ass off, eventually earning his ECW title shot, or if he dogs it. He won’t win this match, but I could definitely see him challenging Kane for the ECW title.

4. MVP

The first person here I could really see winning the briefcase. It would be a huge upset, in my opinion, but I could definitely see it happening. I think they’ll keep MVP in the upper mid card just a bit longer; he will eventually finish his feud with Matt Hardy for the US Title, which he will drop to Matt. I think THAT’S when he’ll get his shot at the World Heavyweight Championship. MVP has really impressed me by handling Batista very capably. Honestly, he’s the brightest star currently on Smackdown. Note that I said CURRENTLY.

3. Mr. Kennedy

Kennedy certainly got screwed last year and did not get his title shot, thanks to an injury. It would be poetic justice if he won the brief case, and I’ve got no problem with him winning. I’m not sure he’d be a great champion, though. He’s been off TV for a couple weeks now. I think he needs a really good upper-mid card feud before he’ll get a shot at the belt. He and Y2J would be an awesome feud; make it about the IC title and I’m sold.

2. Chris Jericho

If he won MITB, I would be really excited. He still has a simmering feud with Randy Orton, and if Orton retained, Y2J could cash in and win the title. Y2J – Cena would be pretty fresh and extremely entertaining. I’m just not sure Orton will retain (I rather doubt it), and I think HHH would win. I’d love to see him put over Kennedy, but I think he’s got a great chance of winning.

And the man I think will win… (more…)

March 24, 2008

Programming Links Of The Day, 3/24

Filed under: Programming & Work — Kevin Feasel @ 8:00 pm

Today, there are a few things to note.  First, I had to do some table edits and update a table based on the values of another table, and that is something which you can do in SQL.   The syntax there is clear enough, but here’s an example which I had to do:  we have a table which we can call tblEntity.  tblEntity has a few fields:  Id, [field 1], [field 2], etc.  At the same time, there is another table, tblAward, which shows how much a particular entity was awarded for various programs, so we have an Id, ProgramId, Amount, EntityId, etc.

That’s all well and good, but we need to keep a history of these entities in denormalized form, as they will change over time but we want to keep track of them.  Our denormalized table has many of those fields, as well as from some other tables, and I’ll call that tblEntityHistory.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the history had some wrong information.  Fortunately, however, the correct information is still available, so I could write a procedure to update these, and here’s what I did:

update a set [field1] = ‘value’, [field2] = b.value2, [field3] = c.value3 … from tblEntityHistory a
inner join tblEntity b on a.EntityId = b.Id
inner join tblAward c on a.AwardId = c.Id
where []

Fill in your own values, naturally…

In the morning, I needed to upload files without using the .Net FileUploader class and control, as I am doing this in MVC.  This tutorial was very helpful in seeing how to do it in C#.  It’s very similar to using FileUploader and you can throw in additional logic such as automatic file renaming in the event of a conflict.

Finally, have you ever been in DataSet misery?  I have, several times.  DataSets are alluring but fundamentally risky, as when they break, you generally have no idea why.  This post details some of the misery you can run into, but fortunately, also how to solve the problems.  Next time you run into the “Failed to enable constraints. One or more rows  contain values violating non-null, unique, or foreign-key  constraints.” problem, the solution can come from one of many different angles.  Here are the basic ones which I’ve personally dealt with, so hopefully one of these works for you:

  1. Does your dataset think that you have a primary key when you, in fact, don’t?  That can throw a unique constraint violation.
  2. If you are using views, make sure that the view is set up correctly.  If you are repeating rows, this error can appear.  A quick check I use for my views is select Id, count(*) as counter from vwMyView group by Id order by counter desc.  In my first .Net project (and the first time I had dealt with creating views in quite a while), I ran into lots of those problems…
  3. Check your foreign keys.  Are there any which don’t match up?  You can run some SQL queries using left outer joins to catch those pesky problems.
  4. Even though the error clearly states that it has to do with constraints, primary keys, or unique keys, one of the things which I have seen occur—and which happened to me today—is that the DataSet can get out of sync with the underlying table structure when you change the sizes of fields.  For example, I had a problem where my City field was only 20 characters long, but we ran into a city which was longer than 20 characters, so I expanded the table, but forgot to do the same for the DataSet.  The table will let you enter data just fine because it doesn’t care about the DataSet, and the DataSet only has a problem when it tries to access that city with the grandiose name.  After re-setting the field sizes, things were once more copacetic.

Anyhow, read that article for more information on what you may be able to do with DataSets, other than chuck them out the window.  They are, as I said, a nice concept, but with LINQ and automatic code generation options available, I’ll be happy when I can convert everything away from them.

German Poetry Of The Day

Filed under: Deutschland — Kevin Feasel @ 5:21 am

Aus des Meeres tiefem, tiefem Grunde
Klingen Abendglocken dumpf und matt,
Uns zu geben wunderbare Kunde
Von der schönen alten Wunderstadt.

In der Fluten Schoss hinabgesunken,
Blieben unten ihre Trümmer stehn.
Ihre Zinnen lassen goldne Funken
Wiederscheinend auf dem Spiegel sehn.

Und der Schiffer, der den Zauberschimmer
Einmal sah im hellen Abendrot,
Nach derselben Stelle schifft er immer,
Ob auch ringsumher die Klippe droht.

Aus des Herzens tiefem, tiefem Grunde
Klingt es mir wie Glocken dumpf und matt;
Ach, sie geben wunderbare Kunde
Von der Liebe, die geliebt es hat.

Eine schöne Welt ist da versunken,
Ihre Trümmer blieben unten stehn,
Lassen sich als goldne Himmelsfunken
Oft im Spiegel meiner Träume sehn.

Und dann möcht ich tauchen in die Tiefen,
Mich versenken in den Widerschein,
Und mir ist, als ob mich Engel riefen
In die alte Wunderstadt hinein.

Vineta – Wilhelm Müller (488)

March 23, 2008

Unintended Consequences, Part 348,482

Filed under: Curmudgeonliness, General Stupidity — Kevin Feasel @ 4:44 pm

You know those twisty light bulbs that are supposed to be more environmentally friendly? Err, well, they’re made with mercury and are enough of a health hazard that if one shatters onto carpet, you may wish to replace that section of carpeting. Fortunately for us all, the person conducting the studies has never broken one of these bulbs, which means that there’s absolutely no way that any kids might get the idea to, oh, squirt water onto a bulb just to see what would happen…not that I ever did that or anything…

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