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My hosting was cut. I've saved the navigation bar to the left, but the line I used to extend Diaryland's limited text width is still disabled, unfortunately. So the text is squished for now. Sorry.

In my last diary post, I mentioned that my Mavs, at 6-0, were the only undefeated team in the NBA. Now, a week later, they are STILL the only undefeated team, at 10-0. They whipped up on the two best teams in the Eastern Conference, The Nets and Celtics. They're doing this all with LaFrenz, Van Exel, Esch, and Popeye all out. Bradley continues to play the best ball of his career. Nashy was on fire Saturday night. Their bench has no weak spots. The problem is, the big guys are getting too many minutes with all the injuries, and it's going to catch up with them soon.

Bill Walton called them 'paper tigers'. He said Bradley's play is just a short phase, that Nash, Fin, and Dirk will be worn out by mid-season, that it's no contest against a healthy Kings or Lakers team, that Nellie's coaching is flawed, and that they still don't play defense. Yet he acknowledged that they are the most exciting and fun team to watch.

The next three games are key. Shaq-less Lakers tomorrow, the Yaoh-Ming-equipped Rockets Thursday, and the second-best-record Sonics on Saturday. They won't have their four guys back for another month. Things could start to unravel a bit. But they only have to win two-thirds of their remaining games to post the best record in franchise history at 58-24. And they have a seven-game lead on the Lakers already, which could be eight in about twenty-six hours.
By this time, everyone knows that there is unequivocal proof that Osama bin Laden is alive and doing very well thank you and making death threats against the whole of the US and its allies. All over the world today, there were terrorist threats, terror-related arrests, and isolated terrorist incidents. An unusual amount of activity, so said Peter Jennings.

My apartment has termites. The landlord hasn't informed me yet what's going to happen. But they might have to tear out and replace an entire wall (the one with my window). Also, they want... $120 to fix my phone line ($35 to diagnose, $85/hour to fix, minimum one hour). Unbelievable.
I no longer understand the point of trying to assert one's 'individuality' by body piercings and tattoos. A tongue-bolt or 'tribal' tattoo shows what a distinctive person and independent thinker you are? Are you kidding? Same with T-shirts that promise a 'personal statement'. Pre-written, mass-produced, and strategically marketed. Some would do better to concede right out that they are NOT highly distinguished, rather than strive desperately and fail miserably at proving the opposite. And so I tell you now: my clothes are not original. My haircut and hair color are standard-issue. I rarely have a thought which hasn't occurred a million times to a million others. My writing 'style' does nothing to ennoble me. I've not acheived greatness or built anything that could be considered a testament to the fortitude of the human spirit. After my death, I will have not made a discernible mark on the world. I am leading a life of quiet desperation.

But at least I am not irrationally clinging to some ersatz, specious notion of ideal individuality. What makes me an individual is that I am, as everone else is, perfectly alone. And I embrace this meta-aloneness. But getting back to Texas, USA, 2002, I'm not trying to pretend that I can, simply by paying someone to shove a piece of metal through my skin or draw a design on my arm, or by buying a T-shirt with some "personal message" printed on it, become a shrewd nonconformist.
UNT, my current university, has a real problem with the Scantron Syndrome. In all my time here, I don't believe I've yet to take an exam which WASN'T a multiple-choice Scantron test. Contrast this with UD, my former university, where NO exam used a Scantron or multiple-choice format. Every exam for every class entailed short and long essay questions. Synthesis of arguments, comprehension of the whole topic, and sufficient writing skills were all required. If a UNT prof tried to pull a stunt like that here, these lame students would pitch a fit. They'd appeal to the Dean, run to the NT Daily, cry out.

At UD, classes were small, sometimes tiny. Every prof that I can recall called on students during class. If you couldn't contribute to the discussion right when called upon to do so, you weren't measuring up to the academic standards of the school. I have NEVER been called by a UNT prof when I wasn't raising my hand. Again, if a UNT prof started to randomly call on people, students would react as if that prof was trying to rape them.

Another disturbing trend here is the Curve. It seems alot of people here believe they're entitled to a curve. Last Summer, one female student angrily confronted the prof and TOLD him he HAD to curve the exam. I made an 'A' on that exam. What would you bet she had made a 'D' or 'F'? It's welfare for dumb, lazy, and unprepared people. It's DUMBING DOWN.

This school is dumb. Some of the grad students here probably couldn't make it through the first semester of undergrad work at UD. I know I was taken aback my first semester there. And coming here, I'm still waiting for it to get taxing. It's just a trifle. I WANT it to be challenging, and difficult, and to make me rack my brain and work my ass off. It doesn't feel like I'm doing much otherwise.
They have finally voted to 'arm the cockpits'. I wish somebody could explain the objection to this. You trust these people to fly the plane, you think they're going to do something against you with their guns? I'm all for it.

What I'm decidedly not for is Algore's new 'one payer' health-care system idea. I really, really couldn't believe it when I read about it. It was almost... a charicature, what a cartoon version of a hyper-liberal politician might come up with if allowed to dream without inhibition. He wants to create THE bureaucracy to end all bureaucracies. Do you doubt that Algore dreams of an America where "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is the dominant principle?
I find it very annoying to be at home, in my apartment, lately. The noise is just too great. The upstairs neighbors fight and throw things and run around. You know what it would sound like if they were just moving in--banging, shifting things, lots of bumps reverberating? It's like that every day, and on into the night. What the hell are they doing? One neighbor plays his subwoofer almost constantly. I just don't understand how you can listen to pounding rap bass in your home four to eight hours a day. It's nice that he lets everyone else hear it. Then my next-door neighbor, the drunken imbecile, likes to invite his low-IQ friends over so they can puke and break bottles and yell all night. In the morning, I often get a lovely chorus of leafblowing, lawn-mowing, and even chainsawing!

I heard about a TV show called 'Bachelor'. Apparently, this one guy, this bachelor, got to sleep with twenty-five women. Then he narrowed it down to ten women and slept with them again. Then he narrowed it down to three women and slept with them again. Now he gets to pick one and either marry her or... well, not marry her. How lovely, how romantic. Remember when Northern Exposure was on? No, neither do I.

The Cycle Show is drawing very close. In four short days, I'll be there. And I'll be there again in six days. I'll have lots of pictures. I can't wait, man. :)

The Segway has gone on sale. You can buy one right now for $5000, but you won't actually get it until March of next year. The models they're selling now are standard, no-frills models with a top speed of 12 mph. They're legal for use on sidewalks (unlike bicycles) in thirty states so far. Wouldn't it be amazing if somebody learned to stick a 50cc pocketbike engine in there? If they started putting grippy tires and more radical gyros in them? If they started racing them? Okay, I'd much rather see THIS, the Honda Hermes.