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September 26, 2002

Behold the Power of Gamers

If this report from PCGameWorld is true, I'm in awe. Then again, it reads like a straightforward press release.

According to statistics tracked by Web sites offering the demo, nearly 1.2 million users accessed the Unreal Tournament 2003 demo between Friday night and Wednesday morning. The global Internet 'Traffic Index,' which tracks how fast information is transferred through the Internet, took a sizeable hit when the demo was released on September 13. As a result of so many people downloading the file, the average speed of the Internet worldwide was cut nearly in half.

Rock and Reel

Two great bands are playing in the Triangle this weekend. Seven Nations is an alt-rock/pop band with bagpipe and fiddle that has a really energetic vibe. They're at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro ("West Chapel Hill") this Saturday night.

7N toured this summer with two other great Celtic-derived bands, Newfoundland's Great Big Sea and the Young Dubliners. As 7N is the 800-pound gorilla on the East Coast celtic rock circuit, so are the Dubs on the West Coast. They're playing at Jillian's in Raleigh Sunday night.

Both bands get a major thumbs-up from me.

Game (somewhat) more tweakedly!

"Tweakedly"? I must be really tired.

The well-adjusted lads at Penny Arcade have pointed me toward a tweaker's guide for Windows 2K/XP gamers. And I have given it to you. I'm reciprocal like that.

September 25, 2002

Game (somewhat) cheaply!

The wizards at AnandTech have just released their latest Buyer's Guide for value gaming systems. Nifty suggestions for those of us in a position to keep up with current PC gaming technology without spending a fortune.

September 20, 2002

The Ants of Beaufort

A few of weeks ago, Shannon, Will and I drove down to the coastal town of Beaufort, NC to spend the weekend with my in-laws. We had a good time, although the Weather Gods decided that it was time for a weekend-long monsoon to slightly alleviate the months-long drought North Carolina's facing.

Early on, Shannon's parents complained bitterly about ants. There did seem to be a few crawling around the house. I got a little more concerned when they showed me a political cartoon in their local newspaper featuring swarms of ants and a pelican thinking, "We must be living on a giant anthill."

You're so right, Mr. Pelican.

We got there Friday night. On Saturday, after a night of torrential rain, the Ants of Beaufort abandoned their flooded homes for the interior of our car. All of them.

We engaged in chemical warfare with the beasties, which at least cut down on the number of ants crawling across our seats. But during the four-hour drive back I was constantly sweeping ants -- real and hallucinated -- off of me.

A couple of days later, after the ants had subsided, I took the car to the shop to have its heater core looked at, which requires a mechanic to get under the dashboard.

The next day, my office phone rang. "Mr. Sudderth? There's a problem." The counter guy patiently explained to me that they hadn't been able to isolate the source of the trouble, and would be very pleased to continue working on the car once I deal with the thriving ant colony in the mechanic's way.

The ants hadn't gone away, they'd just gotten comfortable -- under the dash, under the floor mat. The mechanic, who even now must be receiving therapy after an incident out of Stephen King, took off a panel and was engulfed.

It's now a few weeks later and I haven't seen an ant in the car in days. But I'm still afraid to take the car back in. I've done the poor guy enough damage.