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I guess this is going to be a lengthy post. That's okay. It's the last for a week or more.

My mother is having TWENTY-THREE people over on Thanksgiving Day. 22 International students and a co-worker.

The cold weather is here. Wind and under 40. I've said before how lame and arbitrary I thought 'wind-chill' and 'humidity index' were (how the heck do THEY know how warm or cold it *feels* to me?). Well, this year they have a new way of measuring wind chill which usually yields higher (therefore less affected by the wind) figures. Click on the link and read the bulleted section near the bottom.

The Krispy Kreme story: my brother duo (age: 13) and I were out at Albertsons one Saturday night at about 2 am. There was a Krispy Kreme truck by the doors and two guys unloading donuts on racks into the store. We overheard a bit of their conversation in which they were wondering where a certain rack was. We were walking toward the car when duo noticed one of the racks of donuts was WAAAY out at the end of the parking lot, talking 400 feet away at least. The parking lot is slanted and apparently the rack had rolled its way all the way down.

We drive up to the rack and sure enough, there are many boxes of donuts. Now what should be done? duo (sorry buddy) wanted to take one or two boxes and quickly make our getaway. Glancing at the store, it was obvious we could have gotten away with it, as the donut guys were firmly inside the store and didn't know about the rack. Would being able to get away with it and not be seen make it right?

I turned around, drove back to the door, and made duo get out of the car and go tell the two guys about the missing rack. duo was somewhat confused and sort of pissed off. No free donuts! But the guys were happy to have found their missing rack (they were growing increasingly worried about it and who the hell would think to look waaay out in the parking lot?). It took me 20 minutes or so to explain why we did the right thing, and why doing the right thing does not depend on whether the chance of being caught is high, and how stealing is stealing no matter the circumstances. If you believe in a number of other concepts as Americans or lawful citizens of other nations, how could you so casually just dismiss the idea that taking something which doesn't belong to you is wrong simply because the legal consequences of getting caught don't apply? This thing doesn't just work on its own, it takes each person being a responsible member of society.

We were robbed of our meteor shower. Clouds everywhere.

I played endurance mode on Gran Turismo 2 a couple times. Finally I can get into that game. An hour-long race is more like it. Those 2 minute ones just don't cut it at all. Put on a CD and settle up for a 'marathon' rather than a sprint. Even have to watch your tires and have a pit strategy. In other news, anyone know how to get to the Yarna Desert in Link's Awakening?

Gordon won Winston Cup. Wheee. He's the only one who can drive in that crappy series anyway. Not that NASCRAP takes much skill--there's no shifting, braking, drifting, right turning, or corner strategy involved. Hell of a marketing coup though.

Built to Spill's 'Perfect From Now On' is surely one of the most amazing albums of the '90s. But when I listen to it, not only do I enjoy the sounds, but I remember things like playing UT in the middle of the day in June or July of 2000 with all the time in the world (especially playing long challenges on the CTF map November (the one with the submarine) for some reason), eating fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies, driving my RX-7, and playing basketball each morning. Memories, such a blessing and such a curse.

I believe each college class should have its own message board. It's ridiculous that we sit in a class and listen to the prof bring up all kinds of points and just sit there with our lips sealed and then go our separate ways. There should be a way to start discussions with others who heard the lecture.

My worst car wreck: Andy had been 'up' all night (popping pills I later realized, though he seemed reasonably normal). We were going to take his bright red (and *just* cleaned, waxed, and polished) modified Camaro IROC-Z to NRH to eat breakfast at his father's girlfriend's fish restaurant after my night shift. He was in fact putting a spit shine on it and cleaning the windows while waiting for me outside of PJ's. The day was bright, warm, and clear.

I even *told* him to slow down. But we were going about 110 (nothing out of the ordinary for Andy and his Camaro) before the ramp and he was on the brakes most of the way down it. Didn't matter. I knew for several seconds we were going to hit the large utility-type truck waiting at the intersection of Bonnie Brae and 35. We just plowed into it head-on at somewhere between 20 and 40 mph. The truck barely moved. It was an incredibly solid truck and it just ripped into the Camaro. Looking back, it was probably the *best* thing we could have hit.

Anyway, I was able to brace myself pretty well and stayed surprisingly intact. Couple bumps is all. Andy got the steering wheel in the gut but was okay as well. It was so strange knowing the collision was coming for such a seemingly long time. You thought it might happen, you could see it about to happen, and finally it sure as heck did happen.

The car was wrapped around the truck. The hood was curled up. All lights were busted. The fan didn't run. The alternator belt was off. The whole engine seemed to have *moved* backward, but the rear axle seemed okay. Part of the fender was dragging the front tire. After waiting for Andy to receive a multitude of tickets (no insurance, no license, late registration and inspection, and of course reckless driving), we pushed it to the Beer Barn parking lot and spent a while getting it 'running'. Off to PJ's for more tools. The lack of fan and alternator belt caused the temperature to skyrocket. In the space of a half mile, the thing went from cold to red hot (it didn't help that Andy, in a bid to 'get there fast', was flooring it and redlining it down the service road instead of taking it slow).

At PJ's we borrowed a crowbar and got the alternator belt back on, the fan back to a semblance of working order, and the hood flattened a bit. Andy decided he wanted to go eat anyway. So we got back on the highway and as his style, Andy got the car back up to 90 or so, despite the fact he said he thought the steering felt odd. UP came the hood, right in our faces at 90 mph! Did a panic stop, nearly wiping out another car. Got the hood down. It came back up again before we finally used Andy's expensive leather belt to tie it down.

The car was screwed. It had leaks, steering problems, braking problems, a big electrical and charging problem, heat problems, and of course it had no lights in the front. And the AC didn't work.

I realized the other day how much I miss A. my computer, B. DSL, and C. Napster. So much I didn't get, and I'm talking stuff you CAN'T buy in the stores, folks. Don't try to tell me WinMX or Morpheus or iMesh either. How great was it a year ago when music was a few clicks away? Dammit.

It surprises me that there aren't drugs on the market that specifically inhibit or suppress the so-called 'sex drive'. Would not that be a good way of managing abstinence, of alleviating additional stress during stressful times, of helping some people lead happier, more productive lives?

There will be 450 million people in this country by the time I'm 80 years old. Given that, I will certainly be ready to die!! Why must we reward people for having kids? Again, I'm in no way for the government having total control over your reproductive rights or mandating forced abortions. But perhaps instead of giving tax breaks for those with multiple children, we could PENALIZE those who are irresponsible enough to have too many kids (adoptions being the exception). Perhaps we could give breaks to those who undergo voluntary sterilization. I know what Marx said and I know what Smith said, but enough is enough! Of course, the real problem in this country is immigration. Maybe we should send the Statue of Liberty back from whence it came. We don't need 'your tired, your poor, your huddled masses', we have quite enough of those opportunistic bastards already, thank you! The real problem as far as growth rate goes, of course, is in 'developing countries'. If we chose to control our borders in the US, our population would actually be on the decline in the next 50 years.

The manhunt for bin Laden is on. $25 million dollar reward, preferably dead (impaled on a fence post would be nice). What to do with UBL? I say he needs to evaporate. Kill him utterly, but don't make a spectacle of that. He needs to have some type of 'accident' befall him. There are some parallels with Hitler here. I think bin Laden played his hand too soon. He had it easy during 'the Clinton regime' where our leader had no spine and severely handicapped our ability to deal with international terrorism (he chose to go after one billionaire--Bill Gates, a businessman who designs crappy software for a living--and ignore another billionaire--Usama bin Laden, who plots the death of innocent people for a living). Then President Bush arrived and bin Laden went too far too soon and didn't get enough done. Now he's going to die and well before he's able to truly cripple us.

Where to go after Afghanistan/al Qaeda (after Afghanistan becomes SEP--'someone else's problem')? Iraq. Plain and simple. Saddam is perilously close to being able to make the next 10 to 20 years of human history just a horrible time of massive suffering. He's a threat to his people, he's a threat to the surrounding area, and he's a threat to the entire world. Enough of these 'BUT' people: Well, what bin Laden did was bad, but...

Thanksgiving is upon me. I'm as thankful as can be that I live in this awesome country! Where I can accomplish anything I want to do, where I can go anywhere I want to go, think anything I want to think. And where the thunderous voice of Thomas Jefferson reaches across the centuries:

We hold these truths to self-evident... that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Even living in poverty, we have so much opportunity, so much freedom, such a standard of living because men like Jefferson believed what they believed. I'm inclined to believe much the same things.