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Reakwon couldn't handle it. It didn't take long into our conversation for him to realize who I was. He dropped completely off the ladder, which I really can't explain. Wow, you would think duo was DD-XS|Pain , what with three people having forfeited to him AND dropped the ladder.

So I have joined the ladder myself and challenged him and we have a match this Friday. duo chose Underlord (as always) for the first and DSS Fourteen for the tie-breaker (it won't be needed). I picked Maximus for the second. Maximus is one of the finest places to fire weapons and try to kill somebody in the whole game of Rocket Arena.

I'm going to die. I've seen duo on Underlord, and it's frightening. I know I have the advantage on Maximus, being my kind of map, one I can use to my advantage to outsmart my brother. If I manage to score a win on Maximus (not very likely anyway), I have almost no experience on DSS Fourteen and duo seems to have that one pegged. Here's what he said "I love that map cuz you know, if they go down over there, they're coming up over here".

Okay, obviously it's much more complex than that, and I don't know what I'm doing there, and the fact that he can reduce his tactics on that map to one simple, yet brilliant line like that shows that he has a keen, thought-out understanding of how fighting in DSS works. For one thing, it's a 2vs2 map we are going to use for 1vs1. So it's got size. It's also got *slightly* lower gravity than normal, being inside an orbiting space gymnasium. Nothing like Morpheus or Jump Portal, but it's noticeable and something you have to be aware of to do well there. Flak shells will travel a little farther, some slant-dodges will work differently, Z-axis dodging becomes a bit more effective, and rocket-jumping is more sensitive. Since falling damage will be on, RL jumping with 6 rockets so you smash your head on the ceiling and then shoot back down can be deadly.

It's one of those maps that just looks so good, a place you'd love to visit in real life. The view through the top and bottom windows is breathtaking. The frame rates on DSS are excellent, well over 100 when no enemies or projectiles are in view. Anyway, I'm dead meat on Underlord, I may have the upper hand on Maximus (I've always been better at hunting than my brother, and Maximus lends itself somewhat to hunting, unlike Underlord), and so if it does go to the tie-breaker, DSS will be the deciding game. Therefore, I'll be practicing DSS quite a bit. It's too bad the RA bots are so retarded.

We don't have a server yet, and actually, I was thinking about maybe just bringing my PC over and hooking up to the LAN. I can't run the server myself (against the rules), but if we're both on LAN, it shouldn't be a problem. Besides, I doubt we'll have an admin or a referee for this match, especially on Friday night--too many IMPORTANT matches going on, like Quake3, UT proper, Tribes, and Counterstrike. Of course, I'm not moving my big monitor, so I'll have to bring my 13" Sony. That will be odd. Won't have my 15" subwoofer and Infinitys there, either.

UT is about to get its second wind. GotY is coming very soon. With it, tons more players. Servers have gotten way more plentiful and faster. The percentage of players using broadband has steadily risen. The average UT-playing machine has increased a lot in power--800 MHz is now considered just about right in D3D, or 600 MHz in Glide. The knowledge base for this game is enormous. The median skill level is now quite high. And yet, new things are discovered every day. Yesterday, there were over 6000 players playing online at one time. The Dreamcast and Playstation2 are about to get their [cut-down, choppy, uglified, and unexpandable] versions of UT. The DC will be networkable with PCs. The PS2 maps are already being converted to PC UT.

ProvingGrounds is talking about a new UT league in the works for 2001 and also opening up new ladders for some of the new mods. A league is like this: the league administrators decide who plays whom, when, where, on which map, and rankings are based on Won/Loss records. Kind of like the NFL, you play a season, with weekly games at a set time based on a schedule planned out before the season starts by the admins. And referees (spectating admin) are used for every game, and no house rules. And there are playoffs and then a championship game or series at the end. So it's different from a ladder, where one team challenges another and maps and times are decided by the teams and there is no championship--more like boxing. But they can coexist.

Several prominent mods are soon to reach a finished state--like Strike Force, which has really surprised me with how polished and fun it already is, Tactical Ops, fans of which are still reeling from the decision to drop it from the GotY package, Assassination, which features a great collection of driveable vehicles, Action UT, CTF4, Unreal Fortress, Unreal4Ever, Weapon Factory Arena, Rocket Arena, Chaos, AgentX, Real Tournament, which is going to be very popular, and Titanium Wars. Man, what a great time to be into UT. UT and Napster have saved me hundreds on games and CDs.

When UT "dies out"? Well, I don't see that happening for another year or more. This is the best game ever made, by a thousand times. But by late next year, Unreal Warfare should be making an appearance, at least in beta form. UW is Tribes2 done right. Massive online team gametypes. Uses the amazing Unreal Technology Demo that was out a few weeks ago. Besides UW, there will be Dark Sector, the massively multiplayer online role playing game set in the Unreal/UT universe. My mouth's watering. Unreal2 will be out sometime in the next couple years, then UT2 a year or two after that.

I was out tonight. Driving home from a friend's place. Decided to just go for some driving. I was looking for places to do my riding when I eventually have a motorcycle. 380 is really nice at night and during the day for wide-open cruising. Also, I'll bet I can reach 150 on that road. 720 (the road to Little Elm, where M used to live) is a nice country road with some great benders. The yellow signs say slow down to 30. Hah! I'll be taking those at 80, thank you very much. Irving had one of the most fun roads, Northgate. I have fond memories of cruising Northgate with the top and windows open, Sloan's One Chord playing, the air tepid and fresh and my eyes clear. It had the sweetest curves! Night driving was equally great on NG, and I used to make the Beltline to Tom Braniff run on a daily basis just for fun. There's no road remotely that good in Denton, but I've posted a couple questions to my friends who ride and live in the area as to what they recommend as good riding areas. I've found a group in Ft. Worth which I may join, a rider's group. A great way to meet like-minded people to learn from.

On the way home I needed gas, so I decided to go to PJ's. My old boss was there. It was 2 in the morning. She was pulling the usual, 17 hours including the hours she usually sleeps. Lessee... she'll have been awake for 34 hours when she finally gets to leave after her 17 hour shift today. My father used to work 36 hour shifts as a resident.

Anyway, she actually asked me if I wanted to work. And not just would I like to come back one of these days, but can I work right now so she can go home. I think that's the last time I will get gas at PJ's. Maybe if they had some special octane or didn't put MTBE in the gas, I'd have a persuasive reason to go there.

I just read about my new dream bike. The Yamaha FJR1300. Hooray! Good to see the FJ moniker making a return. Here's a picture:

Yah, I like it too. 1298cc liquid-cooled fuel-injected DOHC 16 valve inline four with dual balancers. Long stroke, and tuned for torque. Symmetrical piping. Shaft drive--some brand new design that eliminates all the problems. They call it 145 HP at the wheel. I'm sure it'll go 175 mph. And 0-60 in under two and a half seconds. So it's not the fastest bike in the world, but with shaft drive and that amazing seat, it's not made for the track or drag strip. It has heated handlebar grips and an electrically adjustable windshield. Comes with body-moulded detachable saddlebags and a large gas tank. Oh yes! The only problem is, they're not bringing it to the US. Maybe next year? If I had the cash, I could import one--no emissions crap choking the engine on the European version, too.

Here's a bike I really like a lot. It's the return of the Bonneville. The 2001 Triumph Bonneville.

What a sweet idea. The original Bonneville is one of the most famous and celebrated motorcycles ever. It's under $7000 and I'd actually think about buying one. You can believe it sounds like a motorcycle is supposed to sound.

Here's a bike I'm currently bidding on at Yahoo auctions. It's a Triumph Daytona 955i with $5000 worth of aftermarket parts:

Yah, I like it too. Think you could pop a wheelie on that?? Heh. Bidding started at $100.

I'm listening to Muse. Showbiz.

If you want a mollusk for president, vote for Gore. As much as I despise the gun lobby, the NRA, the Christian Coalition, the Pro-Life movement, and Bush's attitude and demeanor, I'm desperate to keep Gore out of power. As much as I'd like to vote my conscience and look at the Libertarian candidate, or Ralph Nader (but not Pat Buchanan), this is urgent. I don't want to live in the country Gore wants this to be, and though I'm sure he wouldn't achieve it in a mere 4 year term, the country would change in that direction.

I voted for Clinton in '92. I was young. I have to face the fact that the Republican party represents a much closer approximation of my Libertarian values than the Democratic party ever has. Bush isn't for gay rights in any way and may try and push for an eventual overturn of Roe vs. Wade, but therein lies the compromise. I'm willing to grant him these issues in exchange for his defeat of Gore. I also really liked what Dick Cheney had to say. I've watched all four debates, and I always answer the questions at the same time the candidates do... and I usually like my answers more than theirs.

Keep Gore away from power. Sadly, Gore may already have an insurmountable lead--he has New York and the left coast, California, firmly in hand. After those two, it's a walk in the park to clinch a victory. But America loses.

Against my better judgement, I have started to read several diaries on a daily basis. A few are of people I know, the rest are of people I either wish I knew or people I hope I never know. So I thought I'd drop a name here and there. Essej is a friend of mine, who updates almost daily, and has a finely written diary with some real insights.