Lolita Nation really is amazing. I'm quite fortunate to have a CD copy of all six Game Theory albums. I think they pressed like 5000 of each.
I can't believe the semester is over. It doesn't seem real. Or right. To think, I didn't even choose Finance until late in 2002, and now I'm firmly entrenched in the degree and an integral part of the Student Investment Group. I like this major alot. Seven months to go. It was an interesting semester, what with the war, and the SIG, and our snow days. I don't know what to make of my grades. I was on the A/B edge for four classes, and although I believe I did well on all my finals, I won't know how I did until that envelope arrives in the mailbox.
--The laptop is suckin. I spent a long long time doing the surface scan BS. Why do they ask every time there's a bad sector?? Just fix the damned thing! It's still slow and buggy as hell, and my sound is gone (I get the dreaded "MMSYSTEM002" error, and nothing helps--hmm, did the RIAA have something to do with this?). At least I'm able to do rudimentary net usage (for the time being) and archive some files. Other than that, the piece of crap is a lost cause.
--The Mavs' season has taken some baffling turns. After they went up "three games to none" on the Blazers, the Blazers roared back to win three straight and force a Game Seven. But the Mavs took that one. Then the awesome Kings came here and handled the Mavs in Game One of the Semifinal. Fine.
I just got done watching Game Two. The first half of this game is most probably the most amazing basketball I have seen in my life (and I've been watching since the mid 70s). Mavs scored a playoff record 83 points in the first half. They really didn't let up in the third quarter either. I mean it was frightening how amped up their offense was. The Kings had that "deer in the headlights" look as the lead for the Mavs topped 30 points.
Nick Van Exel was a man possessed! They couldn't stop anything he wanted to do. Adrian Griffin was very impressive, while Dirk knocked in three after three. What was amazing was the fact that the Kings were in no way playing badly. The score was 44-40 after the first quarter (after the Kings had been up 20-10 early), and the Kings were hitting on all cylinders. But the Mavs just took off and never looked back in the late first and the second quarters. Every three they threw up drew nothing but net, every circus shot layup rolled down and in.
There's no reason to believe the Kings won't win the series "four games to one", but for tonight, the Mavs have regained some pride and confidence. The series goes to Sac now though, for back-to-back games this Saturday and Sunday. Sac has the most inhospitable fans in the NBA. But... Chris Webber went out of the game with a knee injury, and Bobby Jackson broke his jaw running into Raef LaFrentz (foul on Jackson). Jackson will probably play (with a mask), but perhaps he'll think twice about barrelling down the lane into guys who outweigh him by fifty pounds.
--Well, they're cancelling one of the last good "drama" shows on television, "The Practice". Sometimes the show gets a little goofy, and the soap opera aspects (Bobby and Lindsay's marriage) bore me, but usually it's really good stuff, and one of the only shows I'll actually watch on TV that's not on SciFi, TechTV, or Speed. Oh well, now I have no reason to watch that channel...
--Road & Track came. Some very good cars tested, including the new Lancer Evo, the 450 HP Audi RS6, and the Neon SRT-4. They have a story on my new favorite dream car, the BMW M3 CSL. They took the already-potent M3 and carved 242 pounds off it, jacked the engine up to 352 HP, lowered the CoG, upgraded the suspension materials, quickened the steering, and embiggened the brakes. The front seats are race-spec, but it's still a four-seater (two-doors). It's such a beautiful sleeper--hunkered down and with classic Bimmer looks, but no big wing or ground effects, understated paint, no hood scoops, etc. Just rear wheel drive, six-speed manual, a ripper of an engine (Mitsubishi's 3.2 liter six had to have two turbochargers to make 320 HP, BMW's 3.2 liter six has no turbos and makes 352 HP), and BMW's legendary handling and driving dynamics.
But it's the Neon that might actually be within my grasp anytime soon. For $2000 less than the Mini Cooper S, with a 0-60 time over TWO seconds quicker, it is hard to ignore. They liked the handling quite a bit and loved the engine. It doesn't compare to the WRX Sti or Evo, but for under $20 grand, geez. A stock Neon quicker than a Lamborghini Countach?? Is this the golden age of automobiles or what? Really, I'm excited about this. Oh, I wish it had a prettier front fascia, no wing, only two doors, and a lower ride height. Six speeds in the transmission and all-wheel drive would be nice as well. But apparently MOPAR has at least three performance packages for it already. I'll have to drive the Cooper S (German) and the Neon SRT-4 (domestic), and maybe the Civic Si (Japanese), but for my money the Dodge is a strong contender.
--But here's the thing. I enjoyed driving my slow RX-7 way more than the Stealth, or even the Vette (though the Vette is vastly better than the Stealth). The RX-7 just fit me like a glove. Everything was in the right place, and the seat, steering, shifter, clutch, etc. were wonderful. You put your arms on the wheel and guided it sideways around turns using the throttle to steer, you felt like you were connected to the engine and steering differential. And the sounds it made!! How do I find that in a new car? I mean, on paper, the Stealth was far better in every category than the RX-7, yet the Mazda was simply fun to drive, fun to walk out to each morning. How do I evaluate a car based on a quick test drive and a couple magazine reports? Especially a car I'm going to blow thousands of dollars on?
--On a different but similar note, I'm searching for a new bicycle to augment my old Specialized (which hasn't been the same since my last wreck, and which suffers from worn out suspension and tires in need of replacement). I've looked through Trek, Specialized, Gary Fisher, Giant, Schwinn, and Diamondback. NOBODY makes a bike like the one I want!My bike must have front suspension via springs (not elastomers like my bike--they WEAR OUT!!), no seatpost suspension, wiiide street tires (2.10" with minimal treads that actually work okay on the street, but not those stupid skinny road tires), normal pedals, a narrow, firm seat, a "random access" twist shifter (I use THREE of twenty-four gears--3, 5, and 8 on the middle sprocket, the rest is just extra weight/rolling resistance and complexity, but nobody wants to make a sensible bike with three gears), toolless wheel changes, LOW handlebars (but conventional ones, not "roadbike" bars) (why is it so-called "comfort" bikes always have those high bars? I don't find that position comfortable at all--I want to be able to lean forward and put weight on the front, not sit up and beg and lose all contact with what the front is doing), linear-pull brakes, and a SPROCKET GUARD so I don't rip up my pants (why is this so difficult??).
I don't need tubeless tires, or an aluminum/titanium frame, or disc brakes, or gas-powered shocks. No one even comes close to what I want though. Specialized did have the Expedition in 2001/2002, but the '03 is a completely different bike--they've emasculated it by turning it into a "cruiser/comfort" bike. I'm completely frustrated with my choices.
--But have you ever wondered what would happen if, say, Honda decided to build a state-of-the-art MOUNTAIN BIKE? The front suspension on that bike costs ten times what my whole bike cost. The bike has Kayaba suspension front and rear, a revolutionary internal gearbox, hydraulic disc brakes, and a twin-spar aluminum frame. The bike also features a system called "Racing/Natural Force" which translates unsprung weight into forward momentum. It's also incredibly light. Honda builds the best Motocross bikes in the world (and Asimo), what should I expect when they go after bicycles?