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: Latino Students With Asthma. I thought it was a new student group, but it was an invitation to participate in an experiment.

I foolishly threw caution to the wind (NB: When you find yourself preparing to foolishly throw caution to the wind, don't! You may learn this lesson before I do.) and screwed up my system installing BeOS. I'd be fine if BeOS recognized my video card and mouse (?!), because then I could set up the other hard drive instead of the CDROM and coax BeOS into recognizing it, and be fine. But no. And for some reason, my floppy drive has died. So.

I think I subconsciously engineered this to force me to buy a new system.

: I just realized that in the original improvisation of that bit, Kris and I switched who was doing Ballmer right in the middle, when I started doing Andreesen. I never even noticed that before, it was so smooth. Such teamwork! We would have cleaned up as a vaudeville act, as I believe I have stated here before.

You know what? I'm just gonna buy a whole new computer. I'm sick of pretending that I enjoy upgrading hardware.

: Cool. My GPA is now a refreshing 3.21.

Peter has this wonderful little book I just found called A Book of Russian Idioms Illustrated. Featuring a literal cartoon rendition of a given idiom, and a figural cartoon rendition of that same idiom. It's fun to read.

Here's a great idiom: to sit between two chairs.

: I need to tell you about Poorman's Bikini Beach, but I'm not sure how. It defies any attempt at description.

I'll tell you about it eventually. In the meantime I will say that yesterday there was an MST3K tribute on Bill Nye.

: I just realized that my problem is that everything I know about hardware is about seven years old. Fortunately, the "plug cards into the motherboard and hope they work" paradigm remains dominant, but about this chipset business and this video card and sound card business, oy! These concerns did not exist the last time I bought a computer.

The last time I bought a computer was in 1996. But that computer occupied largely the same conceptual space as the one I bought in 1992, hardware-wise.

Hm... my computer purchases are just a little over three years apart. Three years and a couple months. Late 1992, early 1996, mid-1999. I wonder what class of buyer that puts me in.

My first computer lasted from 1987 to 1992. But I didn't do much on it.

The system I have my eye on is going to cost me about $650 with the shipping. That's about what it would cost to get the parts. Maybe $50 more. Why am I trying to rationalize this? I am not someone who thinks it a sin to buy a whole system instead of building one from parts. I don't even like building computers, dammit! I never liked building computers! I did it because it repesented a savings of $500-plus; this is no longer true!

Whoa. Okay, I'm better now.

Man, I hate dealing with hardware. Maybe it's just the cruftiness of the PC platform. But it's cheap and it works.

: The previous entry is wrong. The system I want should only be about $500.

: I repaired my MBR at home and am up and running here again. All that is screwed up is my old 2 gig hard drive, which was going to have BeOS on it eventually.


Okay, I am ready to explain Poorman's Bikini Beach to you.

It's very public access. This guy, stage name "Poorman" (who apparantly is an ex-KROQ DJ) films and talks to and does stupid things with girls he meets on the beach. The selling point of the show is that the girls are all wearing bikinis, and they look pretty good in them. There's really no other reason to watch the show, unless (like me) you like listening to people talk about really trivial things.

It's not as bad as you'd think. I'm not defending the show (some of the girls are still in high school), but it's nowhere near as bad as you'd think. It's got a naivete about it. "Are you man enough for the wildest and wettest bikini contest in the Southland, ladies?"

So Poorman goes around the beach talking to women in bikinis. And they talk about whatever, their personal lives and such. And there are weird little bits like "Bikini Girl Forum", in which women in bikinis lie on towels and form a discussion panel. The topic I saw was "Why men are pigs". So they're discussing their old relationships and how they went sour because their men were pigs, and stuff like that. Poorman: "Do you think Poorman's Bikini Beach might be watched by a few pigs?"

It takes a certain mentality to walk this line: to believe that there's being a pig, and then there's talking to girls in bikinis and making it into a TV show, which is just good clean fun. But if you want to find women who hold this mentality, a good place to look is on the beaches near LA, because those who go to the beach wearing bikinis in the first place are more likely to hold it.

Anyway, one bit is where Poorman and various bikini-clad women go around to try to find the best burger in Southern California. It's a decent concept, I think. But who would watch it if it did not involve young ladies in bikinis? You practically have to have them to make it saleable for television, which I think is a shame.

And the little ads. Man. It's shilling more unabashed and cheerful than anything since the golden age of television. They have this phony taste test set up between this microbrew that sponsors the show, and some national brand beer. I don't know anything about beer, but that beer probably really is better than any national brand. But you'd never believe it from the commercial.

Poorman's Bikini Beach appears to be on weeknights at 6 PM, on channel 62, in the Los Angeles area. Channel 62 treats it as paid programming, but that appears to be how they treat everything. You should probably watch it once, just because the commercials are pretty funny, and occasionally poignant, in an odd sort of way. I don't know how long you'd want to keep watching it. It depends on how much you like low-budget locally-produced television, humdrum personal conversation, and/or ogling girls in bikinis. And you know, if you really want to, you can go to the beach yourself and talk to actual girls in actual bikinis, instead of watching it on television. Just don't be a pig about it.


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