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"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."
--Claire Wolfe

First things first. Tonight was the Spurs' night. Time to finish off the Mavs in San Antonio and move on to the Finals. They were up by 15 points late in the third quarter. Dirk and Shawn were on the bench hurt. Najera was playing with pain. So how the Hell did my Mavs win by 12 points?? They musta used balls the size of grapefruits. Series now goes back to Dallas with the Spurs up, 3-2. Still no Dirk, and I'd still give Mavs no chance... but who knows? Who knows...

--I came home today... and what did I find?? Muddy footprints! Grr! Damned maintenance people. And nope, I have not a clue what they did or why they were here. Reason #126 why I want a house: I get to SHOOT people who come into my home uninvited (that's only slightly tongue-in-cheek).

--It's 54 degrees right now. Tomorrow afternoon they're saying it will be 97 degrees. Mmmkay.

--I'm thinking of using Diaryland's Gold/Supergold account and weblog format to set up a blog. To test it out, I'm doing THIS. Haven't got all the bugs worked out, and I'm sure to work on expanding the html significantly when I decide to do it (details at the link). More later?

--EGM and Game Informer both reviewed MotoGP 2, my most wanted game. They both really liked it (of course). Game Informer made the point that this one (THQ's) is by far better than the PS2 game (Namco's), and cited the analog gas, dual analog brakes, and smooth control. EGM loved the challenge, and warned casual gamers of the steep learning curve, but praised the wonderful way the game rewards mastery. Right on! It's so solid.

--Wow, MCN reports on nineteen new bikes. Kawasaki ZX750? What's that? A new Firestorm (aka Superhawk)? Sweet! That's a bike I could actually look at one of these days. Competition for the SV1000S? Unfortunately, MCN has ceased being informative on their site. Now they just advertise what you can get (if you live in the UK) if you subscribe to their weekly news rag. No matter, three and a half months from now we'll know all.

--You can now play GTA: Vice City in 1600x1200 with 8x anti-aliasing... with a fast PC that is. It looks good... but I don't know. The game looks graphically impoverished at that resolution, for some reason (maybe because the geometry and textures were meant for an interlaced 640x480). It's a strange phenomenon. I've played the first game on PC (with sky-high resolution), and it just didn't do as much for me graphically (the control was nice though). Also had a strange blur effect which I could not turn off. Maybe I don't *want* super high resolution.

--A story today on the TV news said that the average car owner pays $400 per year in repair costs caused by bad roads. I can vouch for that!! When I was with M, our Mazda 323 (a surprisingly good little car) had something underneath it get loose and scrape on the ground because of bad roads in Fort Worth. My RX-7 lost a mirror in Dallas and also had electrical problems that might be traced to rough roads (not to mention all the squeaks). The Escort (practically the worst car I've ever been in) got turned into a donation because of bad roads in Irving (but that's special, as I think Ford used plastic for the suspension). And the Stealth probably cost well over a thousand because the jackasses here in Denton had a truck-centric way of "repairing" roads. I know we have it better than up north (with the ice), so I can only imagine.

--I'm not even sure what all the circumstances are, but an Iranian man being held in Britain, and possibly subject to being extradited to Iran, has sewn his own eyes, ears, and mouth shut. Well, that's just a little melodramatic, doncha think? Yah, I wish I had a link. And I guess in the future, in my blog, I'll just have to stop doing this. I heard it on the radio, and couldn't find it with Google, nor on a few selected news sites. Sorry.

--I do love this new gambling bill about to pass in Texas. It brings in Powerball. Some don't want it competing with Texas Lottery. Some don't want it all, on moral grounds... but we already HAVE Texas Lottery! Some want em both. Now, I don't gamble, and I don't buy lottery tickets. I think it's Dum. If folks want to voluntarily pay an extra tax, though, they can be my guest. But here's where it gets interesting. Much of the money brought in by the Powerball will go to help combat *illegal* gambling. Huh?? Gambling is immoral/illegal when private citizens do it, perfectly legal and encouraged when government does it and says it's okay? Is that schizophrenic or what? Hypocrites, and on both sides of the aisle.

--Yesterday, a band of dickheads from Greenpeace infiltrated Exxon headquarters in Dallas. They were all arrested and charged with criminal trespassing. They dressed in business suits and drove right in through the gates. They don't like oil, of course. And they're mad that Exxon isn't pouring all its profits into saving the earth. They call Exxon murderers, because of global warming, which is gona keel us all. Hey, I probably would have done it too if I were some 19 year old robot like some of those folks (see last entry, CTRL-F for "young"). Hell yah! Fight da power! School's out, let's go have some fun and piss off our parents at the same time!

Anyway, today, they say, they're coming back for the Exxon shareholder's meeting. On the other hand, Citizens for a Sound Economy is showing up to do a rally and anti-protest (a protest against Greenpeace's protestors). I wish I could make it. An anti-protest might actually accomplish something I'd be happy with.

--A death penalty sentence was overturned by a judge in Colorado because jurors consulted the Bible while deciding the sentence. Like it or not, much of our law is based on Judeo-Christian values. Like it or not, a large section of the country's population (i.e., your "peers") uses the Bible actively as a compass, a roadmap, a guide. Witnesses swear on... what? A Bible. Now, I've said it a hundred times--I'm an atheist. Not a self-righteous one. I really don't care if other people care what I think. I just don't have faith, that's all, and I'm not going to pretend I do. But heck, I even go to church from time to time, and mimic silent prayers at family dinners. I've read my share of the Bible. The Bible, in this case, was not *news*. It's just a reference, a way for people who have learned many of their values from the Bible to be clear about what they're thinking. Heck, I'd like it, as a juror, if I could have access to Locke, for instance. I'd like it as a defendant. Of course, if I were a defendant and got sent to Death Row, then I might be scrambling, with my lawyer, to find anything to strengthen my appeal. Bottom line: I don't think consulting the Bible was quite the automatic resentencing circumstance the judge made it out to be. Email me, convince me I'm wrong.

--John Carmack's .plan updates are not for the layperson. I believe I know a little more about 3D graphics, realtime and otherwise, than the average involved gamer does. I can tell you what perspective-correct mapping is, how phong shading is accomplished, and why tri-linear mip-mapping looks much smoother than vanilla mip-mapping. But John just goes so far beyond any of that into his own little geek wonderworld. But what's funny is when he writes stuff like this: "Rewriting shaders behind an application's back in a way that changes the output under non-controlled circumstances is absolutely, positively wrong and indefensible. Full shader comparisons are morally grungy, but not deeply evil."

This little world is all I need
And this little world needs not much more
To be a completely perfect world

--A crass conceit to domesticity? Maybe. See my post on looking at houses. I've been thinking, in my spare time, like while I'm coasting down the big hill on the bike, about what my house would contain. No, not my ideal house but also not a small run-down place with wood floors and window-mounted AC. Here's what I envision. The house would be in a quiet neighborhood, far from highways and byways. Average traffic: couple cars an hour, and always folks who're supposed to be there. Lots of space between lots. House would have four bedrooms, a dining room, a kitchen+breakfast room, two bathrooms, and a nice centrally-located living room. Wall colors would all be white or off-white, carpet would be thick and the lightest tan. Furniture would be modern, but comfortable. Soft things, with soft colors, no form over function crap, no antique wood contraptions.

Room one would be the guest bedroom. Nothing too fancy, pretty generic stuff. Room two would be the study/research room/library. This would contain a computer terminal for researching online on a large desk, all my books in bookcases, a couch and a couple chairs, and a variety of lighting options. Room three is the master bedroom--only because it's the largest. Actually, it would contain the audio-video section. This would include a fast PC for games, a wide-screen TV for movies and game-playing, and a significant audiophile stereo (I basically own it already, just need the surround speakers). Guitar and amp would be in there as well. The windows in this room would be blocked off so the room could be perfectly dark during the day. A couch and a centrally-located "sweet spot" recliner would be standard equipment. The last bedroom would be mine. Just a CD player with headphones would do it. And a bed of course.

The living room would probably contain two couches and a chair or two, maybe a beanbag chair or two for kicking back close to the floor. Real casual, comfy. There'd be a smallish (19"?) TV, but it wouldn't be the central focus of the room. The walls in this room would be adorned with any art I might have collected (starving artist type stuff, y'know). There'd be a central table on which the month's magazines would be spread. The dining room would be relatively formal, with a large table, tablecloth, chandelier, nice chairs, etc. The breakfast room would be where I'd eat 85% of the time (the other 15% would be in the study or AV room), and would have a good-size table and comfy chairs. The very open, spacey kitchen would have a great supply of cooking utensils and appliances, and the fridge would be one of the monster three door models. One bathroom would have both a dedicated shower and one of those huge jacuzzi bathtubs.

Outside there'd be trees, but there'd also be a grass area with no trees, for running around, throwing frisbee, etc. Either in back or front, there'd be enough flat, smooth concrete to place a full half-court for basketball, and I'd have a high-quality permanent hoop/backboard installed for as much basketball as I could stand. The driveway would have very little incline; no need for the parking brake or deft ingress/egress maneuvers when parking outside of the garage. Oh, and the garage! I'd have that Rhino floor treatment for the garage. I'd have every tool I need. I'd have music out there. I'd have great lighting. I'd be able to park my car inside with ease. And work on my, dare I say it, motorcycles?