--In other news... I got my E3 edition of EGM magazine. There are some disappointments, such as Metroid (a Halo ripoff), Zelda (a cartoonish mockery), and Mario Sunshine (a Mario 64 clone). It looks like Nintendo spread the cash around pretty good at the Ziff Davis offices though, as EGM heaped all kinds of praise on the GameCube titles. They even gave Nintendo three 'limited edition' covers (I got the insipid and cloying Zelda edition where Link resembles a Mon-Chi-Chi). The new Panzer Dragoon (Xbox) looks great, but is just like the Saturn versions (on rails, just float through the world aiming at predetermined targets). Overall, it seems the PC titles were the hits of the show this time around. Some high points: I like the look of the new Shinobi (PS2). Zone of the Enders 2 (PS2) is cel-shading done right. War of the Monsters (PS2) isn't bad. Ninja Gaiden (Xbox) should be one to watch. Steel Battalion (Xbox) looks awesome, partly because it comes with an enormous forty-button/two stick/three pedal controller (that's all for one person). Oh my! Robot Alchemic Drive (PS2) shows some promise. Metroid Fusion (GBA) looks like a Super Metroid 2, although I won't ever bother playing a game on a non-backlit portable again. Heck, the only way I'll play any of these is at a friend's place or at my brothers' (they own all three big systems).
--The other night there was a Texas Rangers doubleheader. Alex Rodriguez made more money that night than I will make in the next fifteen years. He got one hit.
--I talked to four actual mountain bikers at school on Monday night. They actually had pads, gloves, and helmets, and extremely nice bikes (tubeless tires, hydraulic disc brakes, full suspension with fork oil and variable damping, bike computers, titanium frames, etc.). They appraised my bike's worthiness and said it probably wasn't up to hitting the good trails.
--Here's why I want to buy a house.
1. I'm tired of paying rent. Renting is a zero-sum game. I pay and pay and pay for years for the privelege of living somewhere and at the end of it all, what do I have? Not a God-damned thing. Renters are tools. When you buy a house, every time you pay a monthly, you've earned equity. You own part of it, a greater percentage every month. At the 'end', instead of not having a damned thing to show for all the thousands you poured into it, you DO have something. You own part of it (or all of it). I've paid well over $45,000 in rent in my life.
2. I'm tired of 'apartment people' having free reign. Come on in. Some of these people barely even knock before they're busting the door down. I've been in the shower and had them in my apartment, been asleep, been listening to music on headphones, etc. I've come home to find big old mud/dirt footprints on my carpet and a note saying they just decided to come in and check something. If I own a house, no one comes in until I say they come in.
3. I'm tired of noise. My nextdoor neighbor is an ass and likes to make all kinds of noise at 3 am. My upstairs neighbors are... large, and walk in a way which is seemingly calculated to create the loudest seismic disturbance in my apartment. I hear boomcars driving by all the time. Several people like to show off their stereos in their apartments. And the stupid drumming people from UNT have returned RIGHT OUTSIDE MY WINDOW to make any evening spent at home a frustrating time. After years and years of this, I'm ready to move on. And when I want to make my OWN noise, I want to be able to make my own noise without it being prohibited by the fact that there are other people on the other side of every wall.
4. I'm tired of not being able to change anything. Paint, put in new carpet, put a new phone jack in, knock out a wall, put in tile, have a garden, add something, whatever. I'm tired of not being able to fix things because I don't own them (it's sort of like Communism, isn't it?). I'm tired of pets being prohibited. And I'm tired of shoddy appliances and accomodations. I'm talking about my miniature refrigerator, my tiny kitchen, my tiny bathroom, etc. I'm ready for more space. And ready for more peaceful surroundings than 'cement city'. I'd like a simple backyard.
5. I'm tired of not having a garage. Okay, I also don't have a vehicle right now, but that's beside the point. You can't buy a new motorcycle without a garage. You can't work on your bike or car in the apartment parking lot. You can't have a workshop with parts spread all over the place. And you certainly aren't secure parking your vehicle out in the open in someone else's parking lot.
When I was driving for James Wood I got to see some very beautiful houses in perfectly idyllic surroundings. Huge yards, tons of space between houses, a gorgeous view, zero traffic, lots of room to run and play, lots of green, etc. That's the emotional response. The logical reason to buy a house is because of the investment. You might pay the same amount each month or you might pay more each month. But your money isn't just going to pay the piper each month, like flushing it down the toilet. You're actually investing capital and gaining something every time you pay. In some vague way, I equate paying rent to a landlord with paying a tobacco company for a cigarette addiction. In either case, you're letting someone else profit through your willful subordination.
--NBA draft is tomorrow. Yaoh Ming, the 7'6" Chinese guy, is expected to go #1 to Houston. After that there are a few college guys, then some European guys, then some high school guys. I don't really understand why you'd have to blow a draft pick on a European player or a high schooler. It seems like those guys should be outside of the draft and it should be only for NCAA players coming up through what amounts to a farm system. Anyway, not much going on for Dallas. Our first pick is a whopping #55. I predict my guys finish worse than they did last year.
--The best concert I've ever been to is arguably the Music Against Brain Degeneration Revue, which included Sebadoh, ICU, Robyn Hitchcock, and of course Wayne Coyne and the Flaming Lips. It was a headphone concert. So there's a new Lips album out in a few weeks (and if it's even half as good as Soft Bulletin was we're in for a memorable treat, the kind where in twenty years when you listen to it you'll instantly think of Summer 2002). Does this mean we can expect another headphone concert? I've got my fingers crossed. The MABDR ruined me for conventional concerts. Brilliant idea and execution.
--Monday I had the misfortune of having to listen to a bunch of whiny crybaby students. We got our exams back and the bitching commenced. One woman complained that it wasn't fair that some of the wrong answers were 'right' if you did the problem incorrectly. Another woman INSISTED that the professor HAD to curve the test grades (welfare for those who didn't study enough or who are frankly too dumb to do the work but feel entitled to pass anyway). One guy busted out this sob story about how he didn't have enough time and... boohoo, he's always had a problem finishing tests on time and therefore he needs more time and should get a little break on the wrong answers. These are your typical students. Hell, these are your typical PEOPLE these days. Never at fault. Never able to take personal responsibility for any actions, never willing to admit the consequences might be due to something THEY themselves did or didn't do. Never focused on learning, but only ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME. The REALLY, REALLY sad part was that the professor totally caved. Collapsed. He said he would make the next exam easier, would curve the prior exam, and would give fifteen more minutes. That, my readers, is what is referred to as 'Dumbing Down'. Gah, these people should all be lawyers, and I mean that in the most disrespectful way possible.
--I downloaded a nice little track day video. You can download it too, right HERE. That has definitely got to be one of the most liberating and freeing activities in the world. Like flying. Awesome scenery, too. That track is in Seattle. I'm kind of looking forward to the new Gunter Ring which should be completed by 2004. It's actually a series of three tracks of different sizes and it won't be too far from where I sit. Not that I'll be ready for my first track day by then, but it'll be great to know it's there when I am ready.