I never get tired of hearing a well-timed "Andy Poley".
I saw Grand Theft Auto 3 played (finally). Looked pretty fun and some parts had my stomach twisted around with belly laughing! Luckily, it's coming out on the PC very soon. On the other hand, the Star Wars RPG is appearing half a year earlier on the X-Box. The new Asheron's Call sounds cool: it takes place in the aftermath of some kind of holocaust that has left the world devestated; the way that the world bounces back and evolves is up to the players who populate it, and noncombat skills and characters will be fully supported. Imagine logging on to your MMORPG each night for a couple hours not to go sack the local dungeon or accept a quest to save a village, but to open up your shop or farm your land or enforce the laws or to build things.
Also watched an HBO show (can't remember the name). It's about a family of funeral home owners. Pretty well done with some refreshing actors. I wonder, though, if the fact that I never watch TV (other than the odd game at the restaurant) these days makes it more impressive than it would otherwise be.
I got my 'Car vs. Bike Smackdown' magazine. The debate RAGES across the internet. Kevin Schwantz both rode the '02 GSX-R1000 and drove the '02 Vette Z06--he's got excellent credentials for both jobs. Both were fully broken in and stock except for the stickier tires they put on the Z06. It was obvious the bike easily had the straight-line performance, and it had a THREE second advantage in the quarter (that's a football field and a half), as well as the top speed advantage (177 -vs- 168). But the Z06 is one of the best-handling production cars ever made (and the deal of the century as far as performance goes) and gets around a road course quicker than almost anything. Would the bike stand a chance against a world class car with four massive DOT race tires and downforce?
So they took them to Willow Springs (but not Streets of Willow, which is somewhat tighter and more technical overall). They turned off the traction control and active handling on the Vette (which are nice things for amateurs or on the street in poor conditions but only hurt times on a racetrack) and adjusted the Gixxer's suspension to suit Schwantz. They used data acquisition stuff that shows exactly what each vehicle was doing at each part of the track. They printed a chart showing the plot of each vehicle's speed at each part of the track--the straights, the turns, etc. The Gixxer not only had much faster speeds on the straights, but usually braked later AND carried more speed on every corner. Final best times for the 9 turn, 2.5 mile track were 1:26.6 for the bike and 1:34.2 for the car. That means in a 37 lap race (about normal), the car and the bike would cross the finish line at about the same time, except the bike would have completed 37 laps and the car would be 3 behind at 34 laps.
Alot of the car guys are claiming that a turbo- or super-charged Vette or a bored and stroked one would have had the better times, but a faster car would have been braking earlier and carrying roughly the same apex speed, and might have had a rougher time with throttle control and traction. More downforce would certainly make a difference (it is the reason Formula one cars can drive upside down on the ceiling and have the best lap times on earth). More could have been done for the bike: rearsets, a high mount race pipe, K&Ns, FI/ignition tuning, stickier and more triangular-profile tires than stock, a reworked shock, removing a little excess weight, short stacks and race cams, carbon fiber bodywork, Marchesini wheels, wave rotors, carbon brake pads, etc. All that and you'd still be well under half the price of the car.
Good article though. It's the kind of thing that will be referred to years from now. People still reference the '90 FZR1K vs. ZR-1, the '97 Viper vs. ThunderAce, the ZX-9R vs. a bunch of cars in the 0-100-0, etc. And the big Gixxer is a great bike, although it's possible the Vette would close the margin considerably at Streets of Willow where a smaller bike would be better suited. And the *average* driver or rider, who would get considerably worse times than Schwantz got on either, will probably do better in the car, especially on real world twisty roads like Deal's Gap where there are more obstacles and the roads aren't always clean or in ideal condition. It still proves that for outright performance and heart-stopping exhiliration, for the money, a bike can't be beaten, and that the logical thing to do would be to buy a good Honda Civic and a good superbike. Best (better) of both worlds, and half the cost. Of course, buying your dream car, something that gives you an emotional response every time you get in it, has little to do with logic.
It's going down to 12° tonight. In five days it will be 76°.
I was thinking about how the rolleyes smiley has really changed the way people interact on message boards, all on its own.
Kobe Bryant is the latest Laker to be suspended for throwing punches. Didn't think HE had it in him.
I heard a HILARIOUS interview Larry King did with Gary Condit. GEEZ, what a complete sleaze-bag. Sociopath. Liar.
There's a 'Community Coalition' commercial on right now that scares the crap out of me--it features a man talking about how one voice is weak and can't do anything. Then they add one voice at a time, all speaking in perfect unison, and pretty soon this alarming BORG-like gestalt is saying 'and we are stronger, and stronger than ever'.
Why oh why does the only bike shop in Denton suck so much? They got some new bikes in, now you can't even sit on any bike without bumping a couple others. The shops in Plano and Fort Worth are 5 to 10 times bigger. Honda/Kawasaki West is the size of a small grocery store.
Love the Philadelphia Council on Racism meeting that was held a few days ago. All the 'enlightened luminaries' were there. Umm, racism? Give me a break. I didn't read the whole transcript, but it sounds to me as if this thing was the most racist exhibition on TV (C-Span) in quite some time. Black History Month morphed into 'Sins of White People Month'. Wouldn't it be more advantageous to teach people that they CAN succeed and do for themselves rather than constantly pounding into them with these kinds of things that the whole country and the whole system are rigged against them and that by birthright they are owed and need assistance? They are excellent at creating lemmings. And I don't believe they speak for a large portion of intelligent black people, or even know who they are.
Daniel Pearl's slaying shocked the nation. It was front page news for, what, two weeks? Now there are ongoing efforts to ensure that the perpetrators get off with no punishment.
I should make clear that I definitely DO think there is a huge threat of further terrorist acts right here in this country. Next week? Maybe not. In the next 25 years? Yes. I think for the most part, the various investigative branches as well as the military are working their asses off to try to prevent or suppress this in the future. To not take action would be render aid and comfort to global terrorists and to invite untold death and destruction. I try to look at it as if the World Trade Center had stood right outside my door and I had witnessed everything with my own eyes--it helps me avoid the detachment and complacency that I think much of the country away from New York has started to feel: this really did happen and we really have to make sure it doesn't happen again, and if we DON'T, there is not a shadow of a doubt that it will.
BUT, I DO NOT understand these 'general alert' warnings. I believe they've heard something when they release these warnings. Why tell all 283 million people in the country to be on their guard? Can you narrow it down a little? They won't tell us 'where', or 'when', or 'what kind of action', or 'how', or 'who' or what actions would be appropriate or what they expect us to do. I suspect some of it comes down to litigation: if some member of the media found they knew something (anything) and didn't say anything, plenty of enterprising people would sue the government. I appreciate that the government is on the ball and doing its JOB (which, BTW, isn't about redistribution of wealth or paying for everything for under-achieving people (like myself)), but I think it has one of two effects: either it desensitizes people to hear the same old warnings three times a week, or (worse), it frightens people. Terrorism, it seems, is all about affecting the actions and outlook of a large population through fear by targeting a very small segment of that population. In that way, Ashcroft is continuing the work that Al Qaeda started. Who is spreading more fear these days? Who is convincing more people to stay home, to not buy things, to not travel? On the other hand, what do they expect us to DO? There's not a lot that CAN be done. Alot of it that can be done is being done anyway; witness the friggin' genius with the shoe bomb on the plane a couple months ago who got his face broken to pieces before he could kill everyone.