--Things are definitely winding down this semester. I've already completed my Corporate Law class. I have four Finals next week, and then that's it. The SIG had its last public meeting last week and the last Board of Directors meeting today--we won't meet for a few weeks, in fact (a decision I found questionable). All projects are in. Just think, a few weeks ago I was mired in having several tests in one week, working my ass off on the Wednesday meetings and my presentation, doing a couple projects, trying to earn my grades, etc. Then it all just sort of went away. Man, I kinda miss it.
Anyway, I have 605 hours between the end of my last Final and the beginning of my first Summer class. No SIG. No school. For twenty-five days. Hmm. Okej. All I can say is I recommend hitting the J.O.B. scene. Oh, I do have other things planned. I'm going to finally play the console games I bought. I've got a couple books to read, one for pleasure and one for educational value. I'm going to read alot on investing from various online sources (Marketwatch, Fool, Valueline, S&P, Morningstar, Yahoo Finance, etc.). I'm going to get in better shape (not that I'm in bad shape now). I'm going to think about SIG and jot down some of my ideas for things to work on this Summer.
--I heard tuition is going up by a whopping $60 per hour! Plus class fees are going up, maybe $10/class. So let's see, thirty hours per year is a normal classload assuming no Summer classes (but most people do take Summer classes). So $1800 for that plus $100 for class fees. That's a heck of an increase! That recreation center is looking uglier and uglier every day...
--How about that Nicky Hayden? He's in sixth place in MotoGP, but he's doing well for his first season on unfamiliar tracks and an unfamiliar bike. The RCV211V is the most technologically advanced motorcycle ever created. It has around FORTY-FIVE more horsepower than Nicky's old RC51 and weighs SEVENTY pounds less (and it simply blows away something like a stock GSX-R1000 which seems so ungodly for a "street" bike). The details of its chassis, suspension, brakes, materials, and the whole engine are jealously-guarded Honda secrets. It's an awe-inspiring machine, and he's riding the hell out of it in his first MotoGP season.
But the real surprise this season is Ducati. That company knows how to build racebikes! The Duc Desmosedicis are already outperforming the Yamahas, Aprilias, and Suzukis, and the Protons and Kawasakis are so far behind it's not even funny. But Ducati's only been in this series for a few months, which is what is so amazing. The Ducs haven't won a race yet, but they've gotten a second place and a third place podium in the first two races. They also have the highest trap speeds on every straight at every track in race and qualifying. Bayliss and Capirossi are riding the wheels off. Me, I'll have to settle for MotoGP 2 for Xbox, I guess.
--The guy mailed off my CD, I should get it in a day or two. Further by Geneva. I'm expecting very good things from it. Other bands I would order CDs of IF I could afford it (and this goes with my long lists of games I'd buy for each system if I could afford it): Geneva, Suede (x2), Sheila Divine (adored the first, own the second--new EP is out!!), Home, Loud Family (STILL don't have the newest, plus he released a live album!), Strapping Fieldhands (OMG! never thought they'd release another one), Remy Zero (loved the second, want the first and last), Tripping Daisy, Eels (last two albums), Manic Street Preachers (the latest and the one before the phenomenol This is My Truth...), Self (first and the one done on toy instruments), Wheat, Radiohead (geez, I've missed alot), Pulp (must have This is Hardcore), Coldplay (?), Wilco (a couple), Sparklehorse (probably the latest one), Shins (?), Autumns (this band is unreal), Flaming Lips (Pink Robot), Catherine Wheel (the B-sides comp), Built to Spill (although Perfect From Now On, which is one of the most fantastic soundscapes ever, is by far their best, Keep it Like a Secret is sure worth having), Three Mile Pilot (their double album extravaganza), the Shudder to Think tribute (not *by* them, but a tribute to this most amazing band), Guided by Voices (the last two, and probably some early stuff), Jason Falkner (first), Madder Rose, Sloan (the fifth album), TMBG (I want Then, the early double album), Sunny Day Real Estate, and Muse (STILL waiting for their latest to be imported--the first is a tremendous disk, plus they have a B-sides/live album double CD out!).
--Today I actually beat Tetris Attack's "VS." mode on "Hard". Bowser was crazy. I was in the zone like I've never been before. My fingers and eyes were moving so fast I was almost out of touch. I in fact played through the game on Easy, then on Normal where the boss is Kamek from Yoshi's Island, then on Hard you actually get to take on Bowser, who's just a combo machine. But afterwards, Yoshi drops this bombshell on me: now I have to beat it WITHOUT CONTINUING. Actually, after Stage 9 you can continue, but only with the other eight characters you've "freed" from the spell. Once they're gone, you can't continue with Yoshi anymore. Not only THAT, but there's also a FOURTH difficulty level, accessed by holding up, L, and A at the select screen (so I don't forget).
Good grief, I'll be playing it forever. Not that I'm complaining. This puzzle game is so far and away the best puzzle game I've ever played, it makes everything else look boring. Tetris, Bust a Move, Dr. Mario, Puyo Puyo... nothing comes close to the feeling of playing Tetris Attack. The sound effects and "story" just fill the game out, and I love how it uses characters only from my other favorite game with the awesome boss battles, Yoshi's Island. This'll sound silly, but does anyone remember that episode of Star Trek: TNG where Data was playing that gilled fellow in that sit-down game where the little electrodes were attached to their fingers? Remember how intense that was? Tetris Attack reminds me of that.
--I just remembered I forgot to review Zone of the Enders 2 more thoroughly. The game had a meticulous control scheme with dozens of moves and weapons, yet it was a joy to operate Jehuty (the magic-sci mech or "orbital frame" you control). It had the most eye-popping particle effects I've ever imagined. It had super-cool dramatic battles--one-on-ones and fifty-on-hundreds. It had vast inside and outside environments. The story was intriguing but a little weak. The multiplayer was garbage. The sounds and music were nice. It had slowdown--of a sort. I don't know what they did, but the slowdown ended up HELPING the action look cooler and more dramatic. It didn't exactly get choppy and it didn't *slow*, it just sort of phased out, which I thought was the greatest thing since they learned to mask pop-up with distance fogging.
Since my brother did most of the playing, and I mostly watched, what stands out most about it to me were the graphics and gameplay elements during the final four or five boss battles. The colors and the pretty shinies were just unreal. I couldn't blink. It's the kind of gorgeous light show you cannot turn away from. There's so much happening at once your brain can't process most of it. And the battles were innovative as well. Towards the end, you lead a group of your guys into battle against hundreds of enemies... most of which you can look at at the same time! And you can target fifty of them or so at once! Nobody told me the PS2 could do all that! And it looked this good and moved this smoothly WITHOUT progressive scan.
The game was shortish, mostly because we beat it start to finish without turning off the PS2. I'd say it's definitely worth owning, but probably not worth buying at the full $50 price point. Pick it up for $20-$25. Give your eyes a treat.
--If I were sixty-five years old and retiring tomorrow, and I figured on living until about ninety-five, and I wanted the future value of my investment assets to be zero on the day I died, and I had my investments in very safe, conservative investment vehicles (~4% per year), and I knew Social Security was a joke, and I figured on about $30,000 annual after-tax expense need (in today's dollars), and I didn't figure inflation into the future estimate of my monthly need, and I withdrew money to live on once a year, I'd need about $648,451 in investment capital cashed in from my long-term retirement accounts, after taxes (these lil business calcs are great). Woah!! Of course, I'm ignoring the fact that cost of living/prices will be at least three times what they are now in thirty-seven years (3% average yearly inflation = 1.03 to the 37th power = 2.99), and I'm ignoring the fact that inflation will continue to occur DURING my retirement. Suffice it to say, I'm going to need well over two million dollars to retire. Now begins the hard calculations, figuring how to get to two million from ZERO in about thirty-five years' time.
--On the Sunday Laker game, at halftime, they played a couple snippets recorded from the ref's microphone. Before the jump ball, it sounded like he was trying to direct dog obedience training school!! He kept saying "stay, stay, stay there!" and then "Shaq! Shaq! Shaq!! Shaq!!!" and then "put your foot there! put your other foot there! no your other foot! no keep the first foot there!". Then he was arguing with Shaq and Brian Shaw near the sidelines--they said he'd said this, he said he'd said that, the ref then asked a nearby fan to tell what he said. The fan sided with Shaq and Shaw, and the ref said "eh I can't trust you". The fan, by the way, was Hugh Jackman, X-Men's Wolverine.