Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2003 > Mid-February Edition

Mid-February 2003 Edition


The price of brand-name gas is reaching two dollars. I may have to resume paying for gas in five- to ten-dollar increments, like I used to years ago. Hey, Dubya, if you are going to kick Hussein's worthless butt, do it and get it over with. This kitty-ditty dance around the bloody UN is costing me in gasoline, and I don't even own an SUV.


This is turning out to be the busiest week I have had in a long time.

We ordered a batch of computers over two years. They turned out to have bad hard drives, but since they manifest their badness only from time to time, we did not realize this until now.

Fortunately our computer supplier has shipped us replacement hard drives. I have been working hard to swap hard drives at one of the branches. The blank drives get Windows 2000, which is a lot sturdier than Windows 98.

(But then, anything is a lot sturdier than Windows 98. I have had to reinstall it on my own box every four to six months.)

Take Control™

I got a card from the local blood bank. I donated a liter last month as part of a company drive. The card told me I was at moderate risk for cholesterol. I decided not to push it, so I'm cutting back on the butter.

There are two brands of soy-based fake butter that are said to lower cholesterol. I started buying one brand, called Take Control™. (Obviously its makers don't have much of a marketing staff.) It comes only in tiny 227g containers. It feels and tastes somewhat like butter. And it costs more.

It is OK in peanut butter and butter sandwiches, on toast and muffins, and in noodle dishes. On popcorn, even with chives, it is barely noticeable.

There is a yearly health check on the 26th, sponsored by my company's health insurance company. It includes a blood test for cholesterol. I will soon see if this is working.

WhoNet, Where Are You?

After work last Friday I drove to Indianapolis for this month's meeting of the Whoosier Network. I went to the library at the Glendale Mall. I walked into the meeting room. There was nobody there.

Usually it is I who am late or absent to WhoNet meetings. It has been a long time since I arrived to a nonexistent meeting. The last time that happened, I drove through a blizzard to downtown Indy to find the meeting was canceled.

It turns out Da Boss' car broke down, and many of the remaining regulars came down with that flu, which has become common in so many schools.

After an abortive attempt at a visit to the nearby O'Charley's restaurant (it turned out full of rowdy women in fashionable dress), I went home.

SimCity 4

I have been getting into this SimCity game.

The basic premise of SimCity 4 is that you shape your city so it will grow:

Then you try to adjust your city to make your sims happy (and want to stay), and attract more sims.

As I mentioned in the last page, this can be a hard thing to do. However, I did manage to create cities that take in more than they spend. I had to create vast fields of residential zones and large industrial areas, and use cheap wind power and water towers to run them.

I have also learned how to sculpt regions with mountains, canyons, forests, lakes, rivers, islands and seas. I have even used the volcano disaster to create a Hawaii-like island in a maritime area.

SimCity 4 has a wider variety of parks: plazas, gardens, basketball and tennis courts, beaches, skateboard parks, soccer fields, and the like. They range from the cheap to the hugh and pricey. But a small park here and there draws more sims to a city.

The simulation will insist on fire protection, if for no other city service, when there is a lot of industry. A small fire station (one engine, $400 down, $125/mo.) is a good investment once a city reaches two thousand.

There are landmarks SimCity 4 as in SimCity 3000, but they are no longer free. You spend a lot of money to build and maintain them. I don't bother with them for the time being.

The early goodies include the mayor's house (after five hundred people), a house of worship (after a thousand people) and a cemetery (after three thousand people). There have always been churches in the SimCity series (in the Classic version, tornados appear if you destroy one), but this is the first time you make them explicitly appear. And this is the first time there is a cemetery.

Given the why we farm nowadays, it is small wonder that farms and orchards are lumped in the industrial zones. There are three densities, of which farms are the lightest. (The other densities are medium, for high-tech and light industry, and dense for heavy industry.)

Copyright © 2003 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Last updated 30 November 2003.