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Saturday, September 16th, 2006

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This afternoon fourpaws let me abuse her car in my effort to learn to drive a manual transmission. I actually faired much better than I expected I would. The last time I drove a stick I was still struggling with the basics of driving in general. Steering? Mirrors? Is it my turn to pull into the intersection? Oh, shoot, I stalled the car. Things went so much smoother now that I've been driving for an entire *cough* years. Shifting at speed was no problem nor remembering to clutch in when braking. I had trouble with starting from a dead stop, though. I lost count how many times I killed the poor car's engine. Tessa was very patient, which I greatly appreciate.

We made laps around the Amphitheatre's parking lot for a while before seeking out non-gravel surfaces. The lot was a great place to practice, much better than the parking lot at work. No cars, and more importantly, no curious eyes wondering why's that car lurching forward and then not moving?

I'm not ready to trade in my automatic for a stick just yet but I'm confident that I wouldn't be stranded if all I had was a manual transmission. Next lesson: driving on actual pavement.
Impossible Mission
Impossible Mission, a video game for the C64 produced by Epyx in 1984(!), may well be one of the greatest games of all time. You need strategy and tactics to play the game, it's not just about quick reflexes or shooting anything that moves. There's a story that ties everything together, and at the end of the game there's the cerebral part, assembling the puzzle pieces to form letters of the password. And, of course, what's more impressive to me is that it was produced 22 years ago. I just wrapped up a game this evening on an emulator and it's still engaging. I can't say that about other games from the same era (can you play Pac-Man for 60 minutes straight without getting bored?).

My only grievance is that I can't solve one specific room (shown) . How on earth am I supposed to get on the lift in the middle of the room? I can jump over one floor unit + two chasms at a time but I can't figure out how to get to that central lift. Unfortunately this is a juicy room and two or three of the final pieces in my game were in it. (I know this before only this room and one other had any unsearched objects.) If you're in Mountain View and you want to try this room yourself you're welcome to, I have a C64 game controller. If you're not in MV but you know the answer, you'll earn my unending friendship if you share the secret.

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