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I fall for this season every time
When it's
HOT and everybody smiles
I can't help myself
I'm in love with the Summertime

--It climbed to 90� today. A part of me really relishes these temperatures. I like to walk or sit under the sun and be engulfed in warmth. I used to love sitting in the sun eating lunch behind the Census building back in the day, especially since it was so dang cold in the building.

--I found out that the theme song from the British comedy "Father Ted", which rocks, is the instrumental version of "Songs of Love" by The Divine Comedy. Excellent tune, by the way.

--I just got CGW today. Among other surprise previews, it has pictures and a description of Half-Life 2. And it does look amazing. Not quite Doom 3 amazing, but really really nice. These graphics would push Xbox to the limit, although the shots were obviously running on a super top-end PC (although there's a noticeable lack of anti-aliasing, in contrast to the shots of Vice City elsewhere in the magazine). The story, effects, environments, weapons, and gameplay sound delicious. This and Freedom Force 2 are my top two PC games to read about from E3.

--Frost-free refrigerator/freezer wanted! Bejeezus, I have to defrost the accursed fridge every three months! It's not a fun activity, and there's really no graceful way to accomplish it. You have fifty pounds of frozen water in and around your freezer cubby that you must convert into liquid or pry off and remove, without causing a huge mess. And you have a time limit--the spoilage point of all the frozen and refrigerated food you had to remove to warm up the fridge sufficiently.

--They're working on passing another $1/pack cigarette tax in the state of Texas. I'd be all for it, since it's kind of a "tax on the stupid" (like the Lottery), but with a whole dollar at one time, they might run the risk of some people actually quitting, which could at some point actually reduce revenues. Some people like to crow about how it's a "tax on the poor", but I've truly never understood the connection between having little discretionary income and feeling compelled to blow $2000+/year on a cancer-causing habit. It's a choice, if ya don't like the expense, make a different choice (I did). You could take that $2000 and put it into a simple IRA--you'd receive a taxable income deduction of $2000 free from the itemization requirement, PLUS a tax credit of $1000, plus you'd be growing your money and saving for your later years, which you might actually be able to live to and enjoy because you gave up your habit. Seems like a slam dunk to me.

--The Chelsea order goes in early next week. There was some red tape with getting part of the annuity converted to cash, and we had to discuss at what level our Stop loss order would take effect (a Stop order basically sets a price floor at which the shares in the order will be automatically sold, which protects against huge losses--considering the SIG is a committee, and doesn't meet sometimes, and can't react as quickly or with as much data as other institutional investors, it's a good idea).

--Halfway through the fourth quarter last night, the Mavs looked like a team about to get some rest before the next round of the playoffs. I could mention Eduardo Najera's flying no-look sideways one-handed slam dunk on Sabonis, one of the best dunks I've ever seen, or Nick Van Exel's one-on-one three-pointer right in Scottie Pippen's face, or the most athletic basket I've ever seen Shawn Bradley make... but alas, the Mavs gave the game away in the final minutes. Dirk nearly dislocated his shoulder (it was nasty looking). Series is 3-2 and goes back to Portland now. At one point last night, I looked up and it was five white guys (Dirk, Nash, Bradley, La Frenz, Najera) against five black guys (Stoudamire, Pippen, Davis, Wallace, Wells).

--I probably won't do it (I don't have the money), but just for fun I priced some PC parts from Aberdeen. For about $150 I can get a good Asus motherboard with AGP and no integrated crap, 128 MB DDR RAM, a Duron 1.1 GHz, and a case with a good power supply. I still have a video card (Voodoo 5500), a good sound card, a 40 GB hard drive, a modem, a monitor, mouse, keyboard, printer, zip drive, and Windows 98SE. 128 MB isn't alot, but I wouldn't really be doing much that's taxing (games, 3D art, serving), so I think it would be fine for status quo 98 stuff. The Duron would be about three times faster than my old Celery (after OCing). Like I said, I can't do it, and fixing my bike would come first even if I could, but it was interesting to see what I could get with not much money (they don't sell Abit BP6s or 66MHz FSB Celeries at Aberdeen anymore).

--It's funny sometimes how the associations of music with video can change the way you think of a song. And I'm not talking about MTV. There was a World Rally video with truly awesome footage set to a song by a band called Linkin Park that I used to have. The song was "In the End". Ordinarily, I wouldn't really like the song much. Except dang, it goes so well with the video. Songs like that really do have a place. Another one would be my favorite cycle vid ever, the one with the expert editing where they're riding through gorgeous snow-covered mountains and the tune playing in the background is "Time of Your Life" by Paul Oakenfold (with Perry Farrell on vocals). Is it a good song? Probably not. But it melded soo well with the excellent bike footage that the package was greater than the sum of its parts. There could never be a cooler cycle vid than that one.

Another example, even further out there, is "How to Disappear Completely" by Radiohead. In its lyrics and in its presentation, several of us on the Tad Williams board agreed it perfectly captured one of the late scenes in Book Four of the Otherland Saga, when Paul has finally solved the puzzle of who/what he is and why he's there. It's the Well scene, when he's walking and talking with Martine during a respite from the onslaught of Johnny Wulgaru. Paul has finally accepted and resigned himself to his fate, and soon after, he dies a brutally violent "death". So now when I hear that song, it's impossible for me to separate it from those images in my mind of Otherland.

--The RIAA is now sending messages to random Kazaa users, warning them that what they're doing is illegal and that they're subject to indictment, and admonishing them to not steal and to delete the software and all the illegal music they've collected. Screw that. I actually downloaded a few tunes this week to sample better versions of tracks from a few CDs I'm thinking of ordering. Suck it down. However, if I do order the CDs, I'll be getting USED copies. Why the RIAA hasn't gone after Amazon yet is beyond me. Does anyone actually order *new* CDs anymore? Some of the stuff I want is like $2 with no scratches. Am I a bad person because I wait a few years and buy used?

--To go with my list of a couple posts ago, I also want something by Unbelievable Truth (like a simpler, prettier, more personal Radiohead--lead singer is Thom Yorke's kinder, gentler brother), The Divine Comedy (probably the singles and B-sides compilation), Neutral Milk Hotel (I've heard so much about the "Aeroplane" album and how touching and creepy it is, I've got to have it), and Zumpano (some of the niftiest, zingiest pop songs ever, and what Sloan could have become in an alternate universe if they'd continued on the path that Smeared set them on).

--I heard a report on the radio about how businesses that traditionally have hired non-college grads are now hiring college grads only, just because they can--in this market, employers can dictate the terms they want, and so they have the luxury of hiring grads. With jobs so hard to come by these days, a whole lot of college grads are taking whatever they can find. This is putting the squeeze on non-college grads, however. Business needs to get back its confidence and faith in the economy, so firms will start expanding and hiring again.

--They just completed a study that they say "proves" fish feel pain. They shackled fish in a small container and then had wasps continually sting them in the mouth. The fish rocked back and forth slightly. Alright, first of all, my reaction was of course they feel "pain", why wouldn't they? Does this mean we now stop eating fish? NO! But you KNOW why this particular research project was undertaken, and eureka, they found what they hoped to find. Except that PETA, those folks who freely compare someone who consumes any meat as part of a balanced diet to NAZIs incinerating Jews in death camps, is against the study because "it's obvious" and the researchers have hurt fish just to prove something they (PETA) already knew. But other researchers counter by saying that of course they do have some sensory receptors that can enable them to respond to damaging stimuli (they have this in common with one-celled organisms), and when their lips are injected with poison, they do respond--BUT, they "literally don't have the brains to experience the psychological experience of pain" the way higher animals do.

The only girl I've ever loved
Was born with roses in her eyes
But then they buried her alive
One evening 1945
With just her sister at her side
And only weeks before the guns
All came and rained on everyone