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The other day I was passing with some people and found myself completely
and utterly incapacitated.

Normally when I juggle, I'm listening to music, even if it's on in
the background. The other day, Pink Floyd's "Money" was on. For those of
you not paying attention, Money is in 7-time. This is very rare.
[For reference, Most of the stuff you hear is either 3 or 4, in general]

The pattern I was trying to learn was a 12-beat pattern. To anyone
that cares:
Person A is doing 3-count with person C
Person B is doing 4-count with person C
Every twelfth beat, person B passes to person A. And person C only passes
to person B. Everything else pretty much works itself out.

I was person C.

Basically, for as long as "Money" was on the radio, I couldn't do this
pattern. Just, simply, couldn't do it. The second that Money finished,
I had it rock solid. Maybe it's luck. Amused me anyways.


Sensing a theme, I was driving to work just now, listening to an Infiniti
advert. It seems that if I buy an Infiniti, there's a fangled bit of
computer voodoo that will tell me if I'm going to leave the lane. The
example they used is that if you're driving along and staring out your
window instead of forward, then you'll be safe because as soon as you
start to leave the lane, it'll beep at you.

I'd tried to make it clear in my last post that I consider this
practice, in addition to Really Really Bad for all the obvious reasons,
is irresponsible and wrong. I don't think I made that quite as clear as
I ought.

Here's a brief bit of reader feedback, from Scotch Tom.

Mornin Chunky
  Was reading your finger about Americans, SUVs and stupidity in
general, and thought you missed something crucial in what you were
saying. Not only is the shit about not changing your driving style
encouraging bad driving, but it's down right wrong and irresponsible.
Does this car have magic tyres that go "oh, it's snowy, I'd better
magically develop extra grip from somewhere"... Somehow, I doubt this
scenario. The fact is that in adverse weather conditions, you have
less grip, and you can't see anywhere near as clearly, so (a) your
reaction times are slower, and (b) your stopping distances are longer.

Now clearly, this is where they come along and go, "ah, but we have
super-mega-ABS-5000000", and quite frankly I give not a shit, because
if I'm trying to stop too quickly for the road conditions, there comes
a point at which I run out of grip, and the ABS kicks in, and then
there comes a point at which the ABS can't stop the wheels from
locking, and has to release the brakes just that bit too much, and my
stopping distance goes up dramatically. All this does, is extend the
point at which I can safely stop, and make it so that at that point I
will very very very suddenly loose control in a BIG way, rather than
being in control of the car in the first place. Don't get me wrong, as
you well know I was very glad of my car having ABS the other day, but
it is extraordinarily irresponsible of a car manufacturer to suggest
that that ABS is infallible, or that I should for some reason rely on
using it when the weather gets bad.



More on why Californian drivers are so catastrophically crap. Obviously,
the driving test sucks, and people aren't encouraged to engage their
brains while driving. Well, that's always been a given.

Among other things, today I decided that a lot of the blame can be laid
squarely on the shoulders of the car manufacturers.

One thing that's always bugged me in a lot of car advertising here is
the basic premise that "bigger is better". Truck A is 18 inches longer
than Truck B, goes the ad. Clearly that makes Truck A, in some nebulous
way, "better". Or that SUV X can hold an extra four people over SUV Y,
even though there needs to be a legal limit to stop people spurting out
more kids long before they hit SUV Y's limit. Evidently a lot of people
in California have very, very, small penises.

But today, I feel that Lincoln have successfully reached an all-time low
at encouraging bad driving. Apparently, if I buy a Lincoln Navigator or
Aviator, then when it rains, I don't have to change my driving style. Or
when it snows. Or whatever.

Apparently, because of various bits of fangled gadgetry in the Lincoln
SUVs, rain will make no difference to the stopping distance, nor will
any other road condition. I can go at the same speed as I always have,
and stop just as late as I always have, and it won't be a problem.

When I'm in charge, anyone who comes up with shit like that will be
fined. No, really. There should be a legal way to stop shit like that,
because it's genuinely counter-productive to the continued health of
potential customers.

I think there's something darwinian here, but if you factor in the
other people involved in the accident that's gauranteed to happen,
then suddenly it becomes a lot less OK.


So I was going to say something about "State of Fear", the new book by
Michael Crichton, but then the tsunami hit and I thought I'd save it
for a while.

This book raises some interesting points that I never knew before. I
can understand why so many environmentalists are pissy about it, but
it's definitely interesting.

The basic premise of the book is that global warming may be
happening... Or, more importantly, it may not. There's simply not enough
information out there to demonstrate any sort of long-term trend, and what
little there is often tends to contradict the whole global warming thing.

Unfortunately for the environmentalists, Crichton has done his homework -
the bibliography contains hundreds of references, which back up him
up. He ends the book with an appendix showing his personal opinions
after doing all this research - and comes to a fascinating bunch of

This book is worth reading, if only to raise those points and read some
informed conclusions. It's a good story, too, as so much of his work is.

Secondly, there's an interesting comparison that I drew between this book,
and Farenheit 9/11. The whole name of the book, "State of Fear", is in
reference to a fictional paper written in the book that describes how,
by keeping people afraid, ruling powers can remain in power.

Remember how, in 9/11, the threat level keeps changing and we get
terrorist reports every other day? There's a common theme. Several
other parts of this book reminded me of Farenheit 9/11, but in a more
sideways fashion.

Finally, something of no genuine value, but an observation. One thing
that the bad guys in this book do as part of their larger plan is
deliberately create a tsunami, destined to strike California and cause
devastation. This book predates the tsunami around India by less than
three weeks.


Chunky reviews the games that you are, aren't, or should be playing

There may be a theme to this, it's up to you to see if you can work out
what it is.

Observe that games from category 1 are generally around 50 bucks when new,
and may require further subscription fees.

Observe also that all games in category 2 cost less than half of any in
category 1.

1) First the ones that you and everyone else, are or aren't playing.

Categories are:
  YAFPS - Yet Another First Person Shooter
  YA3PS - Yet Another Third Person Shooter
  YARTS - Yet Another Real Time Strategy
  YARPG - Yet Another Role Playing Game
  YASG - Yet Another Sports Game

  YAFPS - More of the same, with campier bad guys
LOTR: Battle For Middle Earth
  YARTS - More of the same, with expensive names you'll recognise
  YASG - More of the same, no redeeming qualities
Metroid Prime
  YAFPS - More of the same, with kinda interesting puzzles
LOTR: 3rd Age
  YARPG - More of the same, with expensive names you'll recognise
That Blizzard One
  YARPG - More of the same, but this time less crap
  YASG - More of the same, no redeeming qualities
Metal Gear Solid
  YA3PS - More of the same, with trees
  YAFPS - More of the same, but darker
  YASG - More of the same, no redeeming qualities
  YAFPS - More of the same, with a gravity gun
City of Heroes
  YARPG - More of the same, without the interesting side-bits
  YAFPS - More of the same, prettier graphics
  YA3PS - More of the same, with more ho-beating
Age of Whoevers
  YARTS - More of the same, without even changing the engine

There were a bunch more, but I took them out since you're probably all
starting to get the hint by now.

Of course, I'm not being entirely fair. At least one of the games there
isn't just a newly numbered version of an older game, or licensed from a
movie stolen from a book...

2) Secondly, I come to the games that you aren't but should be playing.

This also has something of a theme, not because I'm a whore, but because
I'm genuinely impressed.

  You're an amorphous blob of tar with really cool physics. Kind of
  a platformer-puzzler, but not really.

Orbz 2.
  You can point, and you can click. That's where the UI for this game
  begins, and ends. It's great fun to play online, though, and you
  can genuinely pick it up, play two games, and put it down.

  Honestly, this is appreciably a Torque Network Library demo, but that
  doesn't mean it's not cool fun. What I really like about it is the
  style of the game that's combined with the unexpected gametypes.

Marble Blast.
  I know, I know. It's a couple years old, now, but it's still great.

Finally, Jugglemaster.
  Because I think I'm funny.

When this .plan was written: 2005-02-09 20:32:14
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