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Some may not realize it, but a goal of US foreign policy, International Relations, if you want, is to win the ideological war with the rest of the world. We have a vested interest in proving that our ideas are the best ideas. My IR class has been extremely informative so far. This is the kind of political science class I dreamed about while studying Plato and Hobbes and Lycergus and even Locke and Jefferson and Smith at University of Dallas. This class is firmly grounded in current events, with a definite emphasis on events of the last century, but in some ways it's much more based in realism than in idealism.

I've been busy. Had two large exams this week. Studied for upwards of 10 hours for the IR exam and 3-4 for Mass comm. The IR exam reminded me of a UD exam; no short answer, very comprehensive, clever, time-consuming, and slightly mind-bending. I think I scored a low A . I've got a little lull right now so I thought I'd update this diary, eh?

Okay, I have a list of things, but I'm going to explore brevity.

One of the fine events of the last few weeks at UNT was the KA fraternity shouting racial obscenities to a group of high school students visiting the school. Even made the national news. KA has been indefinitely suspended. There were anti-KA/racism rallies. My take: I don't know anything but what I read and saw on the news, but I have little sympathy for any fraternity, much less KA. Don't forget, my first real experience in Denton, back in August '93, was a dinner at Mother's (a burger joint) with the KAs (it was rush week, my roommate dragged me to it less than an hour after I arrived in Denton for the VERY first time). They ARE racists.

The XFL was on. This is the new "pro" football league started by the WWF. I watched the first game at Hooters. I'll say it was fun to watch and interesting to see all the changes from the NFL. We actually laughed our freakin asses off. The governor of Minnesota did commentary on one game and did pretty well, but then they switched to the other game and the announcer was absurdly annoying. I may watch one or two other games, but I'm not "interested" in the league; but it was fun for a night out at the bar. I never thought I'd enjoy sitting around at Hooters watching a game, but it's actually a really, really fun time that I've grown to really like. Go figure.

Bush has been in office for about 5 weeks now. So far, there've been a couple quite minor misfortunes, but overall his first few weeks have been overwhelmingly positive. Part of that has been an astonishing endorsement by Greenspan for the tax cut (no one was more surprised and happy to hear it than me), part has been luck, and the rest has been just good management. The Ashcroft thing was ugly for a while, but that didn't really reflect on Bush as much as you might think. I'm happy with Bush so far and I'm anxious to see how he acquits himself in the next few months. Meanwhile, fmr. pres. Clinton is facing all kinds of accusations and possible legal problems. I kind of think they should just leave him alone at this point. But even the Democrats (actually, especially the Dems) want to hang him.

Okay, I have not seen: StarTrek: Generations, First Contact, and Insurrection; James Bond: Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough. So one of these days (probably in May) I'm going to rent all three TNG Star Trek movies (DVD if possible, cuz it would suck to watch a VHS movie after the majesty of DVD) and watch them back to back and another day I'm going to rent all three Brosnan James Bond movies and watch them back to back. The last ST movie I saw was 6, and it was okay, better than the one before it but not as fun as 4; and the last JB movie was License to Kill, which I had on tape and watched many times and really dug. I'm looking forward to these two days.

Here's an interesting fact: a Formula One race car generates so much downforce at speed that it could drive upside down. In fact, they have. A friend is trying to locate an .mpg of an F1 going 130 mph through a tunnel along the ceiling--it's a paved ceiling, to be sure, but there's nothing else special about it. And what's really amazing is the car did this for over half a mile before going to the side and arriving on the ground safely. And this isn't the only example of this--apparently it's widely known that these cars can drive upside down. Of course, no street car could do this--too much weight, not enough speed, nowhere near enough downforce generated by the bodywork, too high a center of gravity, etc.

Art Bell is back.

I wish I had a replicator. I'd make the perfect burger and scan it in. I'd buy a cheesecake and scan it. I'd get a plate full of sesame chicken and run home before it got cold and scan it. I'd order a DQ blizzard and scan it. I'd make a batch of chocolate chip cookies and scan it. I'd order a Papa John's Canadian Bacon pizza and scan it. Then whenever I wanted any of these I'd simply say the word and in two seconds my perfect food would appear.

The TAAS is being taught. This test, which is supposed to take a snapshot of where kids are at education-wise, is being specifically taught. It's terrible. I am glad I went through public school when I did, as it has really deteriorated in the last few years. Did you know they don't teach kids how to spell anymore? I mean, they SPECIFICALLY teach kids NOT to spell correctly. They emphasize ideas and taking what's in the head and putting it to paper and that technical details like spelling, diction, punctuation, etc. are of tertiary importance. Meanwhile, these kids come off as fucking imbeciles and can't relate ideas in a way that a diverse audience will be able to understand. Maybe I'm an elitist; I could read the newspaper at age 5. No school ever taught me to read and should I ever have kids (lookin' less and less likely), I won't be depending on some school to teach my kids to read and do math.

Hey, I picked out the helmet I'm going to get. Check it out here. It's a Nolan N-100 Trend Wineberry XL. It's great because it's a great looking helmet with good visibility, it's pretty quiet, has excellent ventilation, and best of all the whole chin area rotates up so you can use it as an open-face helmet for the summer; it looks like this with the chin part up. And it's under $160. I'm not sure about what color I want but they have like 25 colors, plus I could get it painted for only $30.

I've heard some very distressing things from the AMA lately. I've already ranted about the falling speed limits in Texas. Well, get this. There's a bill to make the current California emissions standards (you know, the ones that reduce the life of engines, make them run too hot, dramatically reduce gas mileage and power, add several pounds to the weight of a bike and quite a few pounds to a car, increase warm up times, make engines unstartable in cold weather, add cost, add maintenance costs, cause funny smells, and generally negate alot of the great advances in engine technology of the last decade) effective in every state. Next, there's a bill that would allow insurance companies/employers to refuse benefits to motorcycle owners. Finally, there's a bill to govern motorcycles at 90 mph!!!!!!!! Okay, they just passed something in Europe to restrict bikes to only 186 mph (as several bike models--stock bikes--had already exceeded 186), now the land of the free wants to cap it at 90?? I maintain that there are certain situations where the ability to go 90+ on a bike can save your ass. And a 570 pound, highly maneuverable object (sportbike + rider) among 4000 pound steel cages isn't exactly the biggest threat out there. I actually like the European system of graduated licensing. In Europe, you have to have 1 year of experience on a 500cc or under before you can legally drive a 600, then 2 more years on a 600 before you can jump on an open-classer. Doesn't apply to cruisers, but let's be serious, a big ole Harley 1400cc makes ALOT less power than a 600cc Japanese sportbike, and weighs twice as much in the process. Anyways, these things are really bothering me. The emissions one is the worst, but the insurance one is pretty insidious as well.

How long before some computer knows by how much we've been speeding and the duration of that speeding and sends us a fine each month? How long before we all have little computers in our vehicles that talk to little computers in the road and determine how fast we can go and where we can turn? How long before they ban motorcycles? How long before they ban internal combustion engines? How long before no one drives his own vehicle, instead punching in a destination on a computer and sitting back for a sanitized yawnfest of a commute, and the concept of recreational travel or just driving for the joy of it ceases to exist?

Napster is on its last legs it seems. A slightly ambiguous ruling came down two days ago, but it looks like it's looking bad. Maybe.

Today in gym class I decided to do the weight/machine room, remembering how much fun Irving Fitness was (no sarcasm, we really had a good time with our free two month membership, I'd go back if I could find one like that in Denton). Well, it was K Mart brand. The treadmills sucked. There was no TV to watch while jogging 3 miles. We used to watch this show called Third Rock From the Sun at Irving Fitness because that's what was on at night. The machines were all broken down (at UNT). Plus, too crowded, and asshole college students. Well, plus I was by myself while Irving Fitness was something I did with my friends. Anyway, I did the leg press, where you lie with shoulders against pads and push with your legs. So I come home and take a shower and my shoulders have these dark red lines like I'd been whipped with a tiny lash. Looks really bad on the right side. Dad says I crushed the capillaries against the bone and they're bleeding beneath the skin. Ugh.

How 'bout Anna Nicole Smith? She said, on the witness stand, that one hundred thousand dollars was not alot to her. She says it's expensive being her. She's trying to keep the 475 million she got from the death of her husband. Dumb bitches look really dumb when they have to talk. She sounded like I would trying to explain astrophysics.

Then there's this oh my god scandal where the poor MHMR kids only get $5 a day for food allowance and they're acting like oh my god that's inhuman. Ahem. Currently I live on about $3.50 a day (and that includes mah damn toothpaste) and I ain't skin and bones. I've lived on as little as $10 a week, $5 a day should provide a comfortable food allowance. The lady was talking about how they need at least $10 a day... that's freakin $300 a month on food alone.

What's the least you've ever lived on? I had a long period (granted, no phone, no car) where I could have lived on less than $5 grand a year.

Some day Babelfish will: be portable, be realtime, accept voice instead of type and automatically select the correct language and dialect, and output in a selected language. Universal Translator.

Just me or is X-Files now one of the worst shows out there? It has lost all its humor, all its ability to poke fun at itself, all the sunlight.

Valentine's Day is here. Today. You know, the last two females I asked out while in Irving not only rejected me but also let me know what they thought about my chances of finding any other date. The girl I "sorta" asked out in Ft. Worth grudgingly agreed after much hemming and hawing to not flat out reject me but also didn't give me any sort of ringing endorsement. It didn't last long. The other girl in Plano um just wasn't going to work out anyway. Both of them were given this diaryland address but I trust neither have bothered to investigate. It's all good though. I'm kind of a woman hater anyway. You dumb bitches can boil in Hell.

Timothy McVeigh really wanted his execution shown on national pay-per-view TV. It wouldn't be all that exciting though; just watching a guy get a shot and then go to sleep on a pad. Wheee. How do you feel about televised executions in the future? Do you feel it would be a deterrent? Do you think a society which participates in and condones capital punishment has a responsibility to know exactly what it means to execute someone? Do you fear the sensationalization of an event like this? Are you against execution of any form in the first place? Email me at [email protected] and tell me what you think. I'll tell my opinion later. But here are a couple of notes: there are generally three reasons we incarcerate convicts: 1) segregation, to protect the law-abiding citizens, 2) rehabilitation, to teach convicts to function as law-abiding citizens, and 3) punishment, to appease victims and act as a deterrent to future crimes and criminals; also, note that in most cases it costs this country more money to keep someone on death row for 15 years than it does to keep someone in prison for 40 years.

One of the projects I have to do for mass comm is to interview a member of the media. I have selected Charley Jones! Yah! I can't wait for this interview. I've been listening to Charley for four and a half years and I feel like I know him. I know his kids' birthdays, for chrissakes! Charley Jones Overnight saved my life when I worked graveyard shift. It gave me something extremely intellectually stimulating to listen to all night as opposed to rotting my brain on whatever ersatz alternative music station existed at the time. The Friday morning quiz show was legendary. I've met Charley one time briefly and we've spoken on the phone several times (though not lately). I will say the morning show is much different than the Overnight show. One fundamental difference is Charley now gets paid to GIVE his opinion whereas before he had a policy of not being opinionated. Even more fundamental is the fact that back then Charley did what he wanted and now he's told what to do by the station (since his audience is maybe a hundred times larger).

It's hard to find comprehensive insurance for a bike when you don't own a garage. I finally did, and figured out what it would cost me to buy a new bike in the $8000 range per month. Not too bad at all. They "get you" on theft insurance as there's nothing sexier or easier to steal than a 600cc superbike. I could lie and say I have a garage, or that the bike will be kept at my father's house...

I need your help. Anyone reading, please email me telling me which of the following you find to be the better looking bike, paint included: Kawasaki, Honda, and Yamaha. Thanks.

I was flamed on CWF last week for posting a picture. The picture was of a bike. It was 128K or so, about 780 pixels wide. This guy who's an established member went off and ripped into me as if I'd raped his dog about how he has AOL and it takes a long time to load and it's so wide he has to USE THE SLIDER to read all the text in the rest of the thread and how I'm an asshole. I took it and dished it back in that patented, inimitable NepentheŽ fashion, but it got me to wondering why I bother. Bottom line, I've sworn off PuF and CWF for a week. In fact, I'm attempting to spend as little time as possible on the net--didn't even go on from Sunday thru Tuesday, if anyone was wondering. It's amazing the time I've reclaimed, though I do feel out of touch.

Thanks for reading, next will be in March...