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Aches, pains, and atrophy

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My reproductive organs hate me. And it seems that my wingstubs are throwing in with them. It's a mutiny. Waiting for their demands, which I suspect will involve chocolate. Ow.

In doing some Tangent work last night, I went into my Access database. The table I store reviewer information in was getting unwieldy to eyeball, so I wanted to write a few SQL queries so I could snag the information I needed at a glance. Here's the thing, I've had over a decade's worth of experience coding SQL on a mainframe at my ex-day job, and not just simple selects either, but batch inserts, updates, and complex joins. I considered myself to be quite proficient with SQL, not DBA proficient, but if it involved data manipulation and a database, I was pretty confident I could do it. But last night, I found myself having to go into the help menu to remember how to do a simple SQL select.


I've only been out of work for a year. That's some fast brain spoilage, that is.


Writing Stuff

A status update from my Fantasist Enterprises editor letting me know that the Modern Magic anthology has a street date of April 25th (hey, that's also my and fosteronfilm's anniversary!) and Bash Down the Door and Slice Open the Badguy is slated for a late summer or early fall release. Shiny.

New Words:
500 on "A Thread of Silk"

So I decided my antag is indeed going to meet my protag on the road after all. It's going to require some rewrite tweaks of an earlier scene, but I can't think of another way of keeping this from turning into a sprawling epic.

And so the stage is set for the bad guy and the good girl to collide, yo.

I discovered that it's very hard to find detailed information on Heian horsemanship techniques, despite cavalry being such a salient part of their military tactics. I saw pictures of saddles from that era, but nothing that tells the specifics of their riding style. I have, however, learned a lot more about Heian Era clothing, weaponry, and etiquette. Yay?

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5,401 / 7,500

Club 100 For Writers

I'm feeling:
sore sore
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On March 13th, 2006 03:11 pm (UTC), j_hotlanta commented:
Hand coding in Access is a real pain in the butt so I use the Access visual query designer for 99% of my work and only switch to the code pane when I'm doing a union, subselect or passthrough.

It's much easier to embrace the darkness than to fight it...Somehow, Access just isn't quite "real" SQL.

I've never understood why the visual query designer in Access couldn't be more like the one in SQL Server. At least that one produces decent code.
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On March 13th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Heh. The problem is, that while I am (was?) SQL savvy, I'm not particularly Access savvy. I looked at the query designer view when I blanked on the syntax I needed, and couldn't figure out how to easily do a comparison operation on a field that I wasn't selecting. So I grit my teeth and went to help. Sigh. Of course, once help gave me the proper syntax, I wanted to kick myself for forgetting it in the first place.
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On March 13th, 2006 03:25 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
"Hey, that's nice. I'd like to get a status update from him too (I'm slated for another of his anthos), but it looks like he's got his hands full."

For Fantastical Visions IV? He also said they're planning to finish up work on FV4 once Modern Magic gets out the door. So it's slotted between MM and BBD.

"Hadn't you said you were going to stop researching and let the story be? Seems you got sucked in once more"

It started out as ad hoc research. I just wanted an idea of what their saddles and riding styles were like. But then my scope sort of . . . expanded.
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On March 13th, 2006 03:36 pm (UTC), nmsunbear commented:
I have, however, learned a lot more about Heian Era clothing, weaponry, and etiquette.

If you don't mind my asking, where did you find this info? And did it include anything on architecture? I'm having a little trouble with descriptions of buildings in my current project. (Which is silly, because the setting isn't even really Japan, but there you have it.)

Sorry you're in pain... I send you virtual Valrhona.
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On March 13th, 2006 03:57 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
"And did it include anything on architecture?"

As a matter of fact it did! I stumbled across an excellent website called Sengoku Daimyo, written by Anthony J. Bryant, a Japanese historian and SCA member. Check out his essay "Shinden-zukuri Estates of the Heian Period" for some detailed specs on the architecture of Heian nobility.

Unfortunately, a lot of his pages are incomplete, and it looks like he lost interest in completing his site since it hasn't been updated since March of '04. But what he's got there is excellent, especially the section on male apparel--something much harder to find info on than female clothing of that era. And I was delighted to find that he cites references.
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On March 13th, 2006 04:23 pm (UTC), nmsunbear replied:
wow, this looks awesome! Thanks bunches! I'm glad I asked. :)
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On March 13th, 2006 04:39 pm (UTC), cyber_pagan commented:
I've found that I forget an awful lot of commands and such after just a few months (or even less!) of inactivity at a certain job. I've been everything you can be in the computer world, even a DBA at one point, but I couldn't remember a SQL command to save my life right now. I currently work mostly with backups and disaster recovery, a year and a half ago I was primarily a Unix admin, and even though I still have to use some unix, all my heavy duty knowledge is rapidly draining. Thats why I have a pretty good ref library, and I use it much more often than I like to...
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On March 14th, 2006 03:40 am (UTC), eugie replied:
Yep yep. I've got piles of reference books too from my old day job. Guess this is indication that I better not get rid of them. Sigh.
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On March 13th, 2006 05:00 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Two years ago, I was a GIS goddess, ripping though coding for ArcInfo and Arcview, including related SQL stuff. Now...sheesh, I probably couldn't put together a pretty map.

On the upside, I'm getting rather spiffy with Photoshop.

Pat Kirby
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On March 14th, 2006 03:41 am (UTC), eugie replied:
Well, at least I'm not the only one. I feel a little better . . .
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On March 13th, 2006 05:16 pm (UTC), elvesforeyes commented:
I used to be really good at Quark, Photoshop, and Access, but then I stopped doing things with them and it's so annoying. I have to look up the most simple commands and then I feel durm...that's right. I don't feel dumb, I feel durm.
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On March 14th, 2006 03:44 am (UTC), eugie replied:
We shall be durm together. Durm!
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On March 13th, 2006 09:26 pm (UTC), britzkrieg commented:
FWIW, I'm happy to help you with SQL anytime. Oracle is my specialty, but I muck around with SQL Server, too.
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On March 14th, 2006 03:51 am (UTC), eugie replied:
Thanks, Brit. I've also got a shelf full of reference books that I was too proud to crack open. I can't imagine needing consultant-type aid mucking about with my own personal database, which is a very simple construct. Then again, I can't imagine forgetting basic SQL syntax either. Sigh.
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On March 14th, 2006 11:22 am (UTC), basletum commented:
Hey, at least you know what SQL syntax is. Me, anything beyond "point & click", and my head gets ready to explode.
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