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On the way to mother's on Thursday, I started to run out of gas. I thought I could make it on 1/8th of a tank. I was wrong. I was sure I was going to be stranded somewhere on 35. But I made it to 820 with the gauge needle seemingly as low as it could go. I then lucked out and coasted into a gas place. I had no money... but managed to find 65� in the car (in 4 different places). So that got me to mother's street--I'm just barely pressing the gas pedal, coasting when possible, paying feverish attention to gear selection--and I managed the quarter mile on fumes. The car wouldn't have made it to the gas station, but luckily there was a pint or two in the gas can she keeps for the lawn mower.

I've never had any particular affection for turkey. But Thursday's turkey was remarkably good. Homemade gravy, mother's brilliantly prepared turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Met Kristen's boyfriend Bob, who played one of his songs--a kind of story about a guy's exasperation with his girlfriend's love of Shakespearian nights out. Bob is great, and, I'm happy to say, the antithesis of Charles, K's last boyfriend. Also met the usual assortment of International students and learned of the goings on of some old friends. Watched the Cowboys of course, a TG tradition.

The night before, we had our match against [X]-Project. Hmm. Some project. Turns out, these guys are former �� members. Oh joy. �� is arguably the most skilled Deathmatch clan in the world. They have destrukt and XS-Pain, two of the top five players in all of UT. Combined with their amazing skill and thousands of hours of practice was the fact that duo and I hadn't really done any practicing. In fact, I hadn't even warmed up and duo had been playing Unreal Fortress all week (a vastly different game than 2vs2 UT DM). To top it off, the server was not all that great. Our pings were over 200 the whole time, Carnage's was sub-50, and GhOsT was under 100.

We lost. I wouldn't say we were embarrassed, and they seemed impressed, but at a certain point, it wasn't really in doubt. We lost by only 7 frags on Curse, but on Deck we were just dominated. GhOsT's combo style was technically flawless, and he had the look of someone who'd logged over 500 hours on Deck16 alone. I don't recall the score, as I have selective amnesia regarding this match, but it was something like 60ish to 30ish. �� weren't particularly nice about their win. It's safe to say that they will go very far on whatever ladder they attack. In fact, in their debut CTF match, they shut out Legion of Lions (LoL) in both matches!! Not an easy feat. Given a better server, actual planning and preparation and warmup, and the knowledge of what we were up against, I feel we could have given them a run for their money. I guess I was arrogant and got lazy. They didn't beat us near as badly as we beat the other two teams, and that's saying something considering their roots. They were pretty arrogant themselves, although GhOsT told me they had been practicing UT 8-12 hours a day for weeks in preparation for a $20K tournament coming up. All in all, it was a painful match which left us both trying to catch our breaths and stop our heads from spinning.

In other news duo lost his first Instagib 1vs1 match against a guy named Rymaster who says he's been playing Q1/Q2/Q3 Instagib for many years. Also, this aimbot controversy has escalated severely. The home address of the man who released the aimbot was posted. The story goes that a benevolent programmer was trying to write an anti-hacking program for UT and created an aimbot for testing. A pathetic degenerate told the programmer that he too was working on an anti-hacking program and would appreciate it if the programmer could send him the aimbot to save him the time and allow him to get right to work on the program to block aimbots. Two days later the aimbot was released by the degenerate.

CSHP, the original protection now in its 4th incarnation, has been installed on a good quarter of all servers. In fact, my own brother duo has been permanently banned from one of the best and most popular CTF servers, Gamespy-Speakeasy. CSHP apparently works too well--it even detects whether you have certain custom skins, or NoSmoke, or Decal Stay, or any number of other non-cheat client-side mods and then carries out its orders. It can be set to log, to log and add "(Cheating)" to the player name, to log and kick, or to log, kick, and permanently ban. duo got the last bit. In fact, lots of people are coming up banned, people who swear they've never even touched an aimbot. The problem is, allowing NoSmoke or MoreGore would allow somebody to rename "funbot.funbot" to "nosmoke.nosmoke" or something. It's a price the UT community must pay. It's sad.

Florida continues. Today the Secretary of State certified Bush as the winner, but it will go to the Supreme Court, and it may go to the Senate. Election Day just keeps dragging on. Bush gave a speech tonight after the certification. I thought he was made of stone. He barely moved. He barely blinked. He does much better when he's not trying to stare directly at the camera lens. You'd think someone would mention to him how oddly wooden he looks when he does that.

Cheney had a heart attack. The recount is absolutely ridiculous. It was all just a calculated effort to A) make the poor schmoes think they'd been disenfranchised (robbed of their vote), B) choose a certain number of primarily Democratic counties in which to set up recounts (find a county where Gore got 70 percent, recount 2000 ballots that were rejected by the machine using divination), and C) keep keep keep counting until the result is a victory for Gore. The whole thing makes me kind of ill now. It goes on.

Saturday was motorcycle day. We got the NX in for brake work. We checked out the used dealer. I test rode an 85 Nighthawk S, pretty nice and in great condition. I like it a whole lot! I also test drove a ZX-6 with a V&H pipe, Corbin seat, and vivid forest green metal flake paint job. Heh. Smile-inducer. Too expensive. I tried helmets at the Suzuki dealer. I priced boots and gloves (expensive). At the end of the day, I had no motorcycle to ride. So I worked on my bicycle (the big one). I couldn't get the rear brake to work so I just removed the whole mechanism south of the cable. I disabled the front sprocket shifter and adjusted it so the chain doesn't rub. I worked on the rear sprocket shifter, it works well now. I removed a couple more extraneous parts. I took off the bar-end grab bars that I never liked. One pound off the end of each bar really improved the handling. I got the front brake working perfectly. Runs pretty well now. I may be able to wheelie her around once I get comfortable with the mass. The large wheels throw me off a little. Not as fun as the little TC-9, but fine anyway.

Can I just say something about DVDs? I love them. It's the stellar sound, the perfect image, the random access, but mostly all the extra features they add. It rounds out your home movie-watching experience so well. Some DVDs come with an hour or more of footage that was cut from the original, for example, but there's lots more stuff besides. I just love DVD rentals. Makes the VHS copy seem K-Mart brand. I recommend everyone buy an inexpensive DVD player, either a stand-alone, a PC model (only with fast PCs or hardware decoders), or the PS2.

I want to drive the country when I get my bike. I think I'll head up the east coast up to Boston where my relatives live (including my bike-riding aunt Carmen and Uncle Doug). I'm looking forward to that. Probably late May of next year. I'm planning it already. It's going to be amazing. I want to take a few weeks for this. Bring along the bare necessities and some dough and my ride. Experience some towns. Think about things. Talk to some different people. Clear my head. Get to know my bike. Rendezvous with Doug, who I haven't seen for the better part of a decade.