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"Roadracing makes heroin addiction look like a slight urge to taste something salty."
--Peter Egan

I should probably amend what I said about piercings and tats. No, I don't mean that everyone who ever got a piercing or a tattoo is necessarily a Randian 'second-hander'. I realize I went way too far in trying to paint everyone the same way.

Thanksgiving was pleasant this year. My sister and brother-in-law were in town. We all had dinner at my mother's, including my father and step-mother. I threw more frisbee than I ate turkey.

My bike (bicycle) had to go in for repairs. I figure I have between one thousand and twelve-hundred miles on it now. It's been an excellent bike, one of the best things I ever bought.

We rented MotoGP for X-Box. It has a few niggling problems but is the best console racing game I've played in ages. I also spent some time with the much-vaunted Vice City. I found it pointless (because I was being pointless in my actions) and a lot of fun. We also downloaded a demo of a PC game called Impossible Creatures, a real-time strategy game where you design your own units by combining two animals in different ways. Not bad.

I've almost figured out all my gifts this year. My brother Jeff's gift is damn near perfect. He's gonna love it. But he reads this so I can't reveal it yet. Actually there are three gifts, but two go together. For Quentin I'm getting Rygar for the PS2. For my dad, a book on C5 (Corvette) performance and half of a new outdoor grill. For my mom a DVD player and a $20 gift certificate for Blockbuster. Haven't figgered out the rest.

The Mavs finally did lose. But they're 16 and 1 right now, still by far the best in the league. Nick came back after his surgery and has had two awesome nights. Raef is back but is obviously healing much more slowly. Now Eddie is out with a knee. I still haven't missed at least listening to a single game.

There's now a fourth Star Trek movie I haven't seen and will have to rent: Nemesis, to go with Generations, First Contact, and Insurrection. There's also a fourth Brosnan Bond movie: Die Another Day, to go with Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, and The World is Not Enough. I just want to see Solaris.

Our weather is horribly miserable. Yesterday I was riding in about 31 with rain and a strong wind. I live down south for a reason, but this feels like suffering up north when you have to walk and ride a bike in it. Yuck.

I turned off my 'spam filter' on my other Hotmail address the other day so I could receive a confirmation email from Amazon. Four days later I had 416 spams. No kidding.

I'm hoping normal folks are able to download and play the games you find HERE. Because those look like barrels of fun. Especially Flow, Dueling Machine, and TAoD&C:RA.

Here are a few positive political/news items I've seen over the past days or weeks.

--Dallas is banning all smoking in all restaurants within the city limits. Mayor Miller says she'd like to go after bars next, but that could be more difficult. It's an interesting case study. The government is pushing small businesses around, while smokers are apparently infringing on the rights of other patrons to enjoy a safe and pleasant eating experience. I'm a little biased, though. I hope they ban smoking in bars and that it catches on and spreads all over the area and state. It would be nice to visit a music venue without having to breathe in ten grams of nicotine fumes.

--The Supreme Court (of the US) is reconsidering its 1986 ruling which allowed states to decide whether, when two consenting adults engage in homesexual activity, it constitutes sodomy and a punishable offense. If they reverse this judgment, states like Texas will no longer be able to 'go after' gay partners who have sex, which is a stark and clear case of government butting in to the private lives of private citizens and trying to enforce a particular set of morals. Government should leave people the hell alone in cases like these!

--If you get in a wreck and it can be shown that you were operating a celphone at the time, it's about to be much easier to hold you liable for damages/negligence. I like this. Carry your phone with you in the car, for emergencies. But DAMN, when you're driving, DRIVE! And another thing! The left lane is for passing!

Here are a few items that aren't so positive.

--National Geographic did a geography survey of adults in the US. One of ten couldn't find the US on a globe. A good amount guessed that over half the world's population lived in the US (about 4.2% live in the US). Almost half could only identify California and Texas on a US map with no lines. Six of seven could not locate Afghanistan on a map even WITH the lines drawn.

--Apparently sex in Dallas parks is a huge problem. People are having sex in parks, cars, restrooms, bushes, pavilions, etc. So they're putting in video surveillance devices to try and deter and catch the offenders.

--You know how much I like Texas' emissions testing plan. It's not the test itself, it's the fact that for cars built in the 1977 to 1995 block, they have ONE standard that all have to pass, which means some perfectly fine-running stock older cars (built closer to '77 than '95) will fail. Meanwhile, cars older than 1977 get a free pass to spew whatever they want, and those from 1996 to the present only get the easily-foolable OBD-II test. Anyway, now they've got a new program. They'll give you $1000 to retire your perfectly running older car that failed the single-standard test. This is wrong on so many levels. How hard would it be just to calibrate the computers so that they know what standard your car had to meet originally the year it was built? I thought the idea was to catch cars whose owners have totally neglected maintenance and tunage to the detriment of the air and those who've modified their cars to be essentially race cars.

--And then we have the 'What Would Jesus Drive' campaign. Ah, yes, religion twisted by opportunists once again. So what you drive now is an indicator of your moral character. What if you genuinely need a vehicle like an SUV because you live up in the mountains, as my sister does? They own one of the newer car-like SUVs, are they bad people? Are they destroying God's creation? Actually, they're driving through treacherous spots that the car doesn't handle very well, and they're thinking about the future when they'll need to carry two or more infants with them. What if Jesus WOULD choose an SUV, because he needed to carry six of his apostles and an SUV was the most efficient way to do so? Personally, I think he'd choose a bike. Maybe a DR350 so he could go basically anywhere off-road and on and still get sixty MPG. Or maybe the new Aprilia Atlantic 500 mega scooter (which, believe it or not, my father is thinking about buying for himself and Carla).

--Next year, no less than three bike movies will be released. Only one is worth seeing, 14K. 14K is about a guy who was a great street racer but was encouraged to bring it to the track, where he began racing professionally and rose through the ranks of the WERA and AMA. The other two movies are EMBARRASSMENTS. One is called Torque and the other is BikerBoyz. One stars Ice Cube and the other Ice-T. They both feature a bunch of jackasses acting tough and idiotic on sportbikes. I love some of the pics. There's one of a guy wearing full leathers but no helmet or gloves almost getting his knee down... on a perfectly straight road. These movies will do to sportbiking what Fast & the Furious did to the import scene: nearly kill it. How many dipshit teenagers will see one of these and decide the way to be a hip gangsta is to buy a sportbike? And no, not a starter bike, but one of the big ones like the doods in these films. 600ccs is too small, they'll have to have at least a liter. Those things will spit an inexperienced dumbass rider off their backs so quickly he won't know what the hell he was thinking. Insurance rates will shoot through the roof. Kids will die. Legislation will be written. Cops will crack down even harder. Legitimate riders who wear riding gear and respect the rules of the road will be lumped together with the trendy, dangerous assholes with zero skills out to borrow an image from these flavor of the month movies. Just another reason to restrict riding to the track, I'm afraid.

--Al Roeker was a fat weatherman for one of the network morning shows. He was jolly, but, let's face it, MORBIDLY OBESE. So he lost some huge amount of weight, over a hundred pounds. He's not thin, the way I'm thin, but he's better. And he's wallowing in the praise and back pats. Did he work diligently to control his appetite and stick to a stout workout regimen? Nah. He got his bleedin' stomach stapled! How heroic. What a role model. Gah. Almost as great as Michael Jackson dangling his supposed son over a balcony.

Well, six days left in this semester. I'm not sure I'll post before it's up, but surely I'll get back before the calendar year is over. Year-end review and such. See you.