Thanks guys. Things are going fine at Casa Del Z, and I've passed along your greetz to LZ.
Funnily enough, I picked up a nice Saitek AV8R joystick at a local thrift shop for something like $8 last month, and fired up IL-2 (which I bought off of gog.com for something like $5) for the first time in eons. Was fun to get in the cockpit again, and the muscle memory of years of EAW dogfighting kicked in pretty fast.
Regrettably it looks like nothing ever really deposed IL-2, which itself was inferior to EAW IMHO (it's purtier graphics-wise, to be sure, but the *experience* just ain't there).
Truth be told, I'm spending most of my joystick time being a space trucker in X:Beyond the Frontier (bought off Steam for something like $2 -- ain't computer games *CHEAP* these days?). My rig is just a low-profile Acer desktop with a sucky Core i3 processor and a jury-rigged GEForce GT520 (shouldn't actually fit in the case since it's not low profile, but some 'surgery' fixed that). Still, it's more than powerful enought to smoothly play the old stuff like X:BTF, but it kinda creaks and groans when trying the X3 titles or ArmA2 (although I've had a blast revisiting OFP, which I think they're now calling ArmA: Cold War Crisis). Iv'e ordered a Core i5 CPU that I'm going to slap in there, but the crappy PSU (220W) prevents me from upgrading the graphics card (GT 520 is low power sipper). The case is atypical (called Flex ATX or Mini ITX), so replacement PSUs are hard to come by -- I did find one 400W unit that more or less has the right dimensions, and I'm toying with the idea of getting it so that I can run a HD 6670 card in there, but then I pinch myself and ease off on the crazy pills a bit. We'll see.