I managed to swindle a four day weekend (which just ended). That was awfully nice except for the cold that allowed me to swindle it. I spent most of it watching the Stanley Cup playoffs, finishing The Last Unicorn (FINALLY!), and playing through the driving missions of Gran Turismo 4.
relsqui looked over at one point last night after failing mission 29 *again* and said "You have a lot more patience than me". There's a certain amount of truth to this -- at times, I can be really patient, though it seems to me that I get frustrated as easily as anyone else.
In particular, I do see myself improving as I play it. I started the weekend seeking to complete 3 missions. I've now completed two of those and I'm within a half a second of the lead car on the third. I knew this one was going to be a problem though. I really dislike Sears Point. The uphill blind S curves were difficult to master and even now, I probably abort as many as I finish because of a foul up somewhere along the way.
Before I started playing, I understood roughly the fastest way around a corner under grip conditions. Take the given curve and fit the largest radius circle into it. Follow that perimeter at the highest possible speed. There's a little more -- like moving the weight of your vehicle around using braking and acceleration. However, I've found experimentally that I do a lot better if I trail brake into the curve, follow the tightest possible circle, and accelerating when I'm come around the curve far enough to hit the far end of the curve at maximum acceleration.
Algorithmically, it's quite a change and I'm still trying to figure out where I'm doing better and where I'm doing worse. It's no longer that easy to tell and half a second is a lot of time to go hunting for.
Also -- weird -- Boris Yeltsin died. It's so odd to think of a man going from ruling one of the most powerful nations in the world to the relatively private figure he became after he resigned. Ten years later, he's pushing up daisies. That's the way life goes, I guess.
Russia seems to generate a lot of those. Aleksander Kerensky has always been a particularly interesting figure to me.