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Have you asked of yourselves, what's the price you might pay? Is it simply a game for rich young boys to play? The color of the world is changing... day by day...

Wednesday evening. Night before Independence Day, 2002.

--Had my Final for Finance class. I think I made an 'A' in the course. I liked the class somewhat. The subject matter that is. I signed up for Summer II. Here's the course description for my next class:

Organizational Behavior: Individual behavior in formal organizations. Cases, lectures and experiential exercises in organizational culture, motivation, leadership, dynamics of power, perception and attribution, communication, decision making and performance, and individual differences.

That does sound interesting. It's another two night a week course. I really think Summer School is a great idea. It keeps me focused on school rather than having a fifteen week gulf of time with no thought toward what I'm learning. And Fall Semester won't be such a shock when I go back. Hey! I'm getting close to graduating!

--My dislike for my neighborhood grows daily. This place is dead. No, not lacking in activity or population. Just DEAD.

--They have torn up the road leading to all classes. Now I get to take the long way around. It's the road that goes right by the giant new waste of money (and space) physical education building, so of course it had to be torn up for a few weeks. Huh? I don't know. I hate UNT's management. This new building is pure conspicuous consumption (of taxpayer dollars!!). I did hate that road though. It used to kill me when I'd speed down it at twenty-five miles per hour carrying several books on my back. It was just the sort of road that caused problems with my RX-7 (destroyed the side mirror, broke loose the exhaust hanger donut) and my Stealth (bent the Al rim and caused a short in an ignition line). Some nice smooth asphalt would be nice if they ever get around to it. Not worth blowing two million dollars on a useless building. Just another reason to get my degree and get the hell out of here. At least out of this part of Denton. The real fun comes when they start building a 'state of the art athletic facility' for their pitiful excuse for an NCAA football team right outside my window.

--Well, this weather has been nice. Rainy, but cool. It was 72 here at the same time it was 96 up in New England. Haw! Cars and motorcycles are weaker when it's hot and humid. Engine power can be cut substantially. The RX-7 really hated warm weather. The clutch turned into a slipper, the engine note turned sissy, and it just got sluggish. Dang, I miss that car. Loved that thing. The Stealth just sucked in hindsight. I'm remembering the day I got my Wankel back after the main cat went bad on it. It was warm when I brought it in, and cooler when I got it back. Plus when the cat went it was completely gutless and had no power at all (would only go fifty!). Plus, they put in a non-spec cat (more flow). So I got it back after a while and I remember taking it down this one road and feeling and hearing that beast of an engine and feeling that snap after missing it for so long. None of the niceties in that car (radio, air, other electronics) worked worth a crap, but the brakes, steering, shifter, clutch, engine, suspension, and tires all worked exquisitely.

--I got to borrow the car for the better part of a day. I bought a refrigeratorload of groceries. Of course, I still keep all my groceries in the fridge, as I always have. In fact, one of my very first diary entries (two years ago and therefore not available for public consumption at this time) was about my unbreakable habit of keeping all food in the fridge. See, in my first apartment, if you kept anything out, the roaches were going to eat a hole in the box and have a fiesta. So I just stuck everything in the fridge (later, the fridge effectively stopped cooling below 60 or so, but I kept everything in there for shelter from the masses of crawlers). It just doesn't seem right to me to put anything in a cabinet or pantry. Cereal, ramen, bread, noodles, granola bars, hamburger helper, stuffing, salt, macaroni, etc., heck, I don't even know what normal people would put out in the room temperature anymore. I just like having it all in there anyway. And but so anyway, I bought a bunch of food. It was hard, bringing myself to realize I DIDN'T have to fit it into a backpack which I then would have to ride home with, but instead I could buy as much as I wanted and put it in a cavernous trunk (Ford Crown Victoria). So the limiter became money. I couldn't overcome my aversion to spending money enough to buy many fruits or vegetables or to indulge in anything. But I got alot of staple food. Oh, and I picked up a Vanilla Coke. I find it not bad, but you're left wishing it tasted a little creamier, or had some actual milk or cream in it.

After the grocery store I cruised to a music store and almost bought some CDs, but decided not to. I went to Wal-Mart and sort of window shopped for sort of 'nice things' for home. Didn't buy. I went by the cycle shop and gazed lovingly at the Suzuki Bandit and all the other wonderful and beautiful machines there. I dropped by Thomas's, but nobody was there. I had several other places I could have gone, including the software store, the comic/game store, other friends' places, and a good book store, but by then it was time to bring the car back and pick up the ladies (Rachel not among them). Altogether, I liked having a car for a few hours. But really, I don't need one except once every two weeks for about half an hour. That's not worth putting up with all the hassles. Besides the transportation itself, there's not one good thing about owning a utility car. Everything else about it sucks. Owning an exciting car that makes you grin is something else entirely, but that's a toy or a hobby, not a utility car.

--A guy made a 50 MB video of his daily ride around the canyon roads of Southern California. You thought the poster-esque snow-covered mountains in the last video I posted last time were impressive, you should see this guy's playground. My jaw LITERALLY DROPPED when he got to one of the scenic lookout points and stopped for a minute to swivel the camera around slowly. Ohmygosh it was so beautiful! He says those roads and that view are just a few minutes from his home. At one point he stops again and the music stops and he looks out over a vast paradise-like oil-painted glow of canyon and ocean and says in a voice overcome with emotion, "you guys see that? that's God's country". And you can only shake your head in agreement. He really didn't go very fast at all, despite some of the most alluring cliffs and curves and sweepers and flat wide-open roads (with no cars the whole time) you've ever seen. Some guys have it better than others, he's got it better than almost everyone. I *may* have to rethink my 'no California' policy. That was just too stunning. No people, no sixteen lane highways, no ultra-socialists, no CARB, just wild and free wilderness with a blissfully secluded and snaky two-lane. So, why am I not posting the URL? Well, the video is great and has decent music mixed pleasingly with the engine sound. But it has a fatal flaw: the camera is shaking way too badly when he's not stopped. It's got a 'Blair Witch' quality to it at some points. He admits he didn't have steadicam on and his camera mount was homemade, but that the next video will be much improved. So with the knowledge that it's 50 MB and kind of hard to watch in mind, I'll wait for the next one and post it instead.

--Yahoo Life Magazine finally closed its doors. Ran out of money. Internet's kinda going that way these days, isn't it? You know who the smartest guy of all was? Mark Cuban. Nobody can take his billions away from him, but what he sold isn't worth a twentieth of what he sold it for.
--I read that Microsoft might have an Xbox 2 ready for late 2003! Is there any reason to wait five years between hardware generations? Especially when you're dealing with PC hardware. Look how cheap the Xbox is (compared to a Geforce 4). Upgrading every two years seems just about right to me.
--I picked up Newsweek because it had a suite of articles about improving the human body with technology. Fixing the brain and such. I have not had time to read any (I studied all last night and all day today), but I will report back with my impressions.
--The other night there were sixty-two homeruns in the major leagues (in one night). And the day before that, the guy from Sports Illustrated asked Sammy Sosa (Mr. 'Baseball bin bury bury good ta me') if he'd take a steroid test (since Sammy said he wanted to be tested first when they do start testing) and Sammy blew up at him, cussed him out something fierce, and acted like he might hit him. Hmmmm. Can we just kill that league now? Do we have to watch the slo-mo train wreck of steroids, strikes, and scandals?
--I got an email read on the Mike & Mike show this morning. It was about mandatory random drug testing for all students (which I was against--I mean, how do you put students through that kind of system and then expect them to emerge from high school or college with a full understanding of civil rights, due process, privacy, and individual sovereignty?).
--I really like this diary called Euphonious.diaryland.com (no link). Marie is a hip lady.
--There is a new James Bond movie coming out ('Die Another Day'). This will make four James Bond movies that I haven't seen that I'll have to rent when I do my James Bond marathon.
--Well, the first of many blockbuster titles is out today. Warcraft III. Woah! Warm up your Pentium 4s and Geforce 4s fellas. Just another thing I'll miss.
--I got Road & Track. They have a picture of the supposed new Corvette (C6). I hope it's a joke. U-G-L-Y. They call the styling 'dynamic' and 'non-derivative'. I call it flavorless. And tasteless. America's only great car deserves a nicer bod.
--I caught myself admiring a garage in the Cycle World. Hey, it was real nice. Lighting, flooring, and a huge work area with all kinds of shelves and drawers. I do have a wisp of Toolman Taylor in me.
--I've started doing phantom wall squats (the 'invisible chair'). My legs shake like leaves after a couple minutes! Isometric exercise. Avoid completely if you even suspect you have any sort of heart problem or irregularity or an abnormal or elevated blood pressure.

--Well, tomorrow is the day. I hope everyone will go out and celebrate and really think about how great this grand experiment is and not let some fears about terrorism keep you at home. I know that's easy for me to say to people living in NYC or DC, but part of the terrorism is coercing you to scamper home and lock the doors and hide, and it's the part you can fight against and beat. I'll be back jotting stuff down for the amusement of a few on Saturday.