Re: Knowing when to fold.

1

Heebie, for each month you date someone, you should hold them to an increasingly high standard. Like a filter, so that eventually you're only dating someone truly worth spending a lot of time with.tiny enough to fit through those little holes in the filter.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 9:47 AM
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The tinier his pebbles, the more he's a keeper.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 9:48 AM
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My letter to my twenty year old self would contain a lot of stock tips and career advice. It would be a petty shallow letter.

Probably the thing that my 20 year old self would most appreciate is details of the things that I like to do now. Things that I currently like or have liked and why I like them and how best for me to do them.


Posted by: Lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 10:11 AM
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So wait, this means that Jammies is available?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 10:26 AM
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Well, that doesn't follow.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 10:28 AM
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I don't think I know anything about relationships that I didn't know at 16. Maybe just that often the only way to not be seen as creepy is to totally ignore someone for the rest of both your lives, no matter how difficult that may seem.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 10:30 AM
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Would you like me to write you a letter?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 10:32 AM
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I don't think I know anything about relationships that I didn't know at 16.

How old are you again?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 10:54 AM
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And if things haven't changed since the last time you mentioned her, engaged. Which means you're doing something right on some level, doesn't it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:01 AM
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Either that or he's ignoring her for the rest of his life, so as not to appear creepy. I don't know that an awkward wedding is preferable to a creepy one, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:05 AM
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28, still engaged.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:07 AM
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As revealed a couple months ago when I said I was 11 when Counting Crows first hit it big.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:07 AM
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Yeah, I cringed when M/tch revealed he hadn't been keeping up.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:12 AM
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28?

I am not surprised that you dont know much more than you knew at 16.

Check back with us when you hit 38.

Twain should have also said: "When I was a boy of 28, I was so ignorant that I thought I knew it all. But when I got to be 38, I was astonished at how much I had learned in ten years."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:15 AM
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Why do I always think Cryptic ned is significantly older than I am?

Maybe it's because he exudes so much wisdom.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:16 AM
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My key advice to a 16-year old me:

1) The way you feel bad all the time, and hate yourself, and think no one likes you, and the contemplating suicide? That's clinical depression, and pills can work wonders.

2) Get and stay fit. You will feel better and you won't get fat as quick.

3) You really can't eat the way you're eating now for more than the next year or two without getting fat. Portion control, chubbo.

4) You should double major in Linguistics and Public Policy. Creative Writing is for suckers.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:18 AM
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Also, buy that duplex in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in 1998 for $125,000. Then sell it in 2004.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:19 AM
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My letter would be filled with blindingly obvious platitudes of the type I ignored to my detriment.
"You're going to make mistakes. Don't let that stop you from trying."
The 20 year old me would then ignore it, feeling that advice too obvious to be any help.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:23 AM
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for each month you date someone, you should hold them to an increasingly high standard. Like a filter, so that eventually you're only dating someone truly worth spending a lot of time with.

Reasonable advice -- I think my 20-year-old self knew that one instinctively, but what she took a while to figure out, at least consciously, was that a mutual willingness to *work* on the relationship, by, say, discussing trouble areas, asking for compromise, clarifying needs (blah blah blah) is not only a crucial interim step before deciding to fold, but should be an ongoing feature of the relationship. And there's no shame in that!

(I think I hung on for a while to the idea that if I wanted to, you know, talk and got impatience or eye-rolling from the datee, I was the one who was being a bad guy.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:25 AM
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I could have benefitted from such a letter. Especially if it included a warning against Parsi's 19.last.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:39 AM
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4: Somewhat per ari, an unsettling aspect of thought experiments like this is that they almost invariably would involve ending up with a different life partner ... you know, um, just due to the changed path through life, not to be read as any kind of commentary on how things ended up.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:44 AM
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I wouldn't advise my younger self, or anyone, really, to take care to judge people more rigorously. What I should have grasped earlier was the principle that relationships are supposed to make your life happier and more pleasant, instead of the opposite.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:53 AM
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Sorry, 22 was me.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:54 AM
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Yeah, a similar problem emerges with the "Should I have gone to a different college?" game that I sometimes play. I have a lot of misgivings about my undergrad, but then I wouldn't have blah blah blah butterfly flapped it's wings and now everything is wildly different.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:54 AM
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or anyone, really, to take care to judge people more rigorously.

Judging is not the same as evaluating.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:55 AM
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I sometimes regret not going to medical school, but I don't think medical schools teach bedside manner, and I have trouble communicating with lesser mortals, so I would have made a bad doctor.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 11:56 AM
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26: Or you could have become a pathologist.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:05 PM
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The main thing I've learned about relationships that I wish I'd figured out much earlier is that you should "be yourself" to the greatest extent possible, rather than trying to be the person you imagine the other person wants to date. I only figured this out one relationship ago and man does it make things so much nicer. (I suspect I still have a lot to learn.)


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:10 PM
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Judging is not the same as evaluating.

Rigorously evaluating is not judging? What is the result of the rigorous evaluation if not a judgment of some kind?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:10 PM
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4) You should double major in Linguistics and Public Policy. Creative Writing is for suckers.

This one made me chuckle. 25-year-old parsimon: you should seriously consider political theory (in a Political Science department) or at least find a Philosophy department that's not hostile to political theory.

But, but but, I didn't know!

More generally with respect to careers, maybe especially academic ones: don't put all your eggs in one basket. This will cause you to panic if the chosen path isn't working, and life is longer than you think; plus you might get bored.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:11 PM
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I get that you don't mean to say that you'd advise your younger self to be "more judgmental". I just think that my ideal attitude would have probably involved being more generous and laissez-faire about other people and their habits, while being less tolerant of misery and bad feelings in myself.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:14 PM
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What is the result of the rigorous evaluation if not a judgment of some kind?

It's a different process, (and it certainly sounds less cruel.) For me it meant a rather large change in focus.

My approach to relationships tended to be entirely defined by the other person, and supplying what they wanted out of the relationship. I would have said that I was happy when I was successfully doing so.

The thing I needed to develop was to think about what I wanted out of a relationship and what the other person needed to be like in order to match my criterion. I needed to develop a rubric by which to evaluate them. This required a rather drastic change in focus from them to myself.

They're not bad or wrong for being a bad fit, which is why I think "judging" is inaccurate. Just a bad fit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:18 PM
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I sort of feel like Ned in 6 -- that I would have no idea what to advice 16-year old me. Except that I certainly have learned things about relationships, but . Maybe the problem is that I'm still not sure what my goal is.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:19 PM
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I just think that my ideal attitude would have probably involved being more generous and laissez-faire about other people and their habits, while being less tolerant of misery and bad feelings in myself.

Comity insofar as both paths require looking internally to gauge whether a situation is okay.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:19 PM
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33: Maybe 16-year old me could teach me grammar and spelling.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:20 PM
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Any and all advice to 16-year-old self would have been a complete waste of time, I'm thinking. 16? Still grappling with ditching pop radio once and for all, going for that first kiss, fretting over residual acne, wishing my parents would let up on the curfew a bit, hating the popular kids (once and for all), and so forth.

20-something self actually had a head on her shoulders, and might have been able to listen.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:29 PM
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Let me see:

Neither borrower or lender be
To thine own self be true
Plastics
If you want to be happy for the rest of your life...never mind.
Join up as soon as you can
You will still be here tomorrow but your dreams may not
Fools rush in where wise mean fear to tread
Don't play pool or poker with guys with state nicknames

Beware the sunk costs dilemma and the black swans

That about covers it, I think

Oh, and the radical over valuation of age and experience is covered under sunk costs. Fact is, I haven't learned a damned thing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:33 PM
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Fact is, I haven't learned a damned thing.

I don't believe this for a bloody minute, bob.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:36 PM
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It's funny -- everything that everyone says about relationships: changing yourself to be acceptable is a bad idea; accepting bad behavior is a bad idea, so forth and so on. I got that all instinctively from day one. What that turns into, as a teen and young person, is just not getting into relationships at all, which is kind of depressing in itself. (On the other hand, I've never really been in a relationship that wasn't basically a good one.) I'm not sure what pithy advice I'd give myself at sixteen or twenty to avoid that sort of thing, but it felt like a problem at the time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:40 PM
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Lord, how much do I wish I could go back and tell my 17-year-old self: The second you get to college, GET INTO THERAPY. It turns out you're not the crazy one.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:42 PM
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38: I believe you, bob.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:44 PM
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41:Thanks, peep. The rest of you need to respect your elders.

Kids, a space toilet or airplane engine or weird tropical parasite could kill you this very minute, so:

Get it while you can
Be here now.
Don't put off til tomorrow
Happiness is like a cat
Everybody hurts
And the ones that mother gives you don't do anything at all


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:56 PM
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My letter to my twenty year old self would contain a lot of stock tips and career advice.

In high school, a friend of mine took an econ class where one of the assignments was to learn about the stock market by investing hypothetical money in some stocks starting in the 70s or so. My friend invested in Apple just before it rose in value. He was hilariously wealthy compared to everyone else, who generally took the assignment seriously and pretended they couldn't know what was going to happen to their stocks.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:57 PM
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It turns out you're not the crazy one.

Heh. Being in therapy, or on anti-depressants, used to be much less acceptable than it is now. For those of us in the 40ish age bracket, it marked you, then (20 years ago), as probably all kinds of messed up, so we were probably much more likely to avoid it if possible.

OT: Sir Kraab, do I recall correctly that you and M/tch met at a Drinking Liberally gathering? I may be misremembering, but I thought of you the other night when I was out for dinner at a pub/restaurant at which a long central table was reserved for, as it turned out, a Drinking Liberally event. I was fascinated, kept eavesdropping on that table -- ah, they are talking about George Will now; I observe that they appear to be mostly mid/late-30s or older, this is good. Now they are talking about chicken farmers for some reason. I've made a mental note about that event: friends! Compatriots!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 12:59 PM
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My letter to myself would be a blank sheet of paper. This is why I don't teach high school.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 1:03 PM
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Sadly, the advice I'd give myself at twenty -- get off your ass and get some work done; develop some academic/professional goals to work toward beyond just drifting through the system -- would still be excellent advice for me now, and I'm still not really taking it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 1:07 PM
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Check back with us when you hit 38.

I've hit 38 and, while I know more ways to really screw-up, I don't think I've learned new and positive about relationships since I was 16.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 1:08 PM
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46: Could e-mail that to me once a week? I never listen to myself when I say stuff like that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 1:08 PM
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"Chill out."

Sadly, the advice I'd give myself at twenty -- get off your ass and get some work done; develop some academic/professional goals to work toward beyond just drifting through the system -- would still be excellent advice for me now, and I'm still not really taking it.

I'm thinking the opposite advice might have been good for me.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 1:09 PM
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44.2: Yup, we did.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 1:11 PM
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Also, I could tell myself about hyphens and to use them, but I don't think my former self would listen.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 1:11 PM
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s/b "hyphens and when to use them"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 1:12 PM
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Dear Moby:

You know those hyphens you like to use? When you've typed one, ask yourself: is this necessary? Are these actually two words?

Fondly,
Moby


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 1:20 PM
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I remember my boyfriend, circa 1988-89, took Prozac. I had never, ever heard of it before and asked my friend's dad, a shrink, about it. He told me that it was "an incredibly powerful psychiatric medicine for very severe issues" and was kind of shocked that I was dating such a person. Wacky.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 1:21 PM
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28 is great advice. Of course, the younger you are, the harder it can be to figure out who "yourself" actually is.

And 46: Sadly, Yes! Although I'm getting better at coming to terms with the fact that I'm just not, along those axes, that person, so I need to figure out how to be more okay with the person that I actually am.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 1:28 PM
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37: Don't play poker or pool with guys with state nicknames

Too true. I'll never forget the night I was cleaned out by "Show Me" Jones and "Constitution" Morgan.


Posted by: Ace-K | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 1:34 PM
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Dear Self,

Try not to smoke quite so much dope. Also, do the laundry.

Regards,

You


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 1:34 PM
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I don't have much advice to Me of the Past because the things that have gone wrong and right don't feel like they were all that generalizable. I guess in a way that doesn't have much to do with the actual relationship, I'd give MotP a piece of advice someone gave me maybe a year ago which is: go on dates and regard them as a possibly fun experience in themselves instead of MAYBE THE BEGINNING OF THE ONE GREAT LOVE FOR ALL TIMEBBQ. Because then, MotP, you will appear less creepy and insane.

Oh but here's an actual relationship one: there will be problems and they will not automatically ruin everything, even if they feel serious. Or: you gotta have a little faith in people.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 1:37 PM
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(at which point you should probably scale it back. Eyes wide-open before, eyes half-shut after.)

Really? Is this generally accepted? I don't think I like that. My inner voice says to me, "you're his fucking WIFE dammit, he can't pull shit like that! Prick's supposed to bloody cherish and honour you!" (Yes, my inner voice swears even more than my outer voice.)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 2:08 PM
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I don't think trying to change to accommodate a gf/bf is a bad thing, in fact it's necessary. The trick is to recognize what you can and can't do. So, advice to younger me would include try to work things out and don't alternate between blowing off a gf's concerns and sincerely but completely unrealistically trying to change completely in the way she wants. Also, even more important, recognize that just because you and the gf are genuinely in love with each other that doesn't mean the relationship isn't completely toxic.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 2:14 PM
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Dear 20-year old Eggplant,
Don't spend so much energy mulling over past mistakes; they'll only multiply.
Regards,
Eggplant
P.S. Remember that girl? Fuck you for not going for it.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 2:27 PM
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I don't think trying to change to accommodate a gf/bf is a bad thing, in fact it's necessary.

I agree, but that's quite different from 28's "trying to be the person you imagine the other person wants to date." I.e. imaginings versus actually communicating with the other person to figure out what each person wants/needs.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 2:35 PM
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40 would be in my letter, too. Along with something like "the defects in you and in those around you are not half as big of a deal as you think." "Don't waste so much energy trying to hide how fucked up you are." The best thing I've learned in not-quite-40 years has been that admitting and accepting one's own shortcomings is not, in fact, fatal -- and can often be endearing. I think I would tell 10-12ish me, though, not 16-year-old me.


Posted by: Di | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 2:43 PM
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And I second 59. Half-shut eyes has gotten plenty of people I know, not to mention me, into real trouble. Some of the things you need to be most on the watch for don't make their first appearance until you are (convinced that you are) already locked in, no turning back.


Posted by: Di | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 2:55 PM
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Don't worry Heebie, now that you are a parent, you have a lifetime of opportunities to give advice to young people who will ignore you.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 3:01 PM
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"Don't waste so much energy trying to hide how fucked up you are."

Good advice, but is it "fucked-up" or "fucked up?"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 3:14 PM
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Dear 16-year-old apostropher:
You have far less trouble finding dates than you think, so don't stay in relationships with people after you discover they aren't nice people. Also, spend more time with your father now. He'll be gone in a couple of years.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 3:16 PM
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64: I have never been, nor have I been around, anybody with the kind of patience required to wait that long to reveal a flaw. Maybe you should date Italians or something?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 3:17 PM
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65: Oh, there's a definite window when they listen to every word you say. Anything related to sex, you should try to get in before the first sign of puberty. After that, they are far too mortified to be hearing this from you. You can convey a lot by framing things as if you are sure your kid already knows (that bending to peer pressure is lame, that bullies should be called out, or whatever).

66: I'm comfortable openly admitting that I don't know.


Posted by: Di | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 3:18 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 3:28 PM
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"Fucked-up" if you're using it as an adjective, e.g. "My fucked-up back has kept me in bed for three days."

"Fucked up" if you're using it as a verb or past participle: "I fucked up my back last week lifting a sofa."

Right?


Posted by: Ace-K | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 3:30 PM
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68 - maybe you didn't get married quickly enough.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 3:30 PM
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Chiming in to second 59. The idea that you should be LESS self-aware and conscious of your options in marriage is, IMO, one of the great destroyers of marriages, and lives generally Can't run away from yourself, and your partner can't run away from his/herself, so you better deal with reality.

Or maybe HG just meant you should be generous and forgiving with your married partner, which is true, but is also true of a pre-marriage relationship (at least, so long as your self-awareness is telling you that you wantto stay in the relationship).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 3:32 PM
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I would have given very specific instructions to my 16 year old self about various cases where hot girls were into him but he was too afraid/unsure to pick up on the signals. Also, lots of the stock tips.

Has anyone else noticed that Vampire Weekend is really excellent?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 3:34 PM
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72: I have no idea, but I'm also fairly certain nobody has ever said, "I wonder what Moby's flaws are?"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 3:34 PM
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Also, at age 20, some don't know when to fold, some think Ace King suited isn't when to hold, and many (wrongly) don't think they have enough money to sit down at the table and play.



Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 3:39 PM
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Actually, in tune with the OP, if we're talking about general advice that no 16 year old would listen to anyway...I would have said not to waste time with getting involved with people you're not in love with, hoping that you will eventually fall for them. You need a huge slug of romantic irrationality to make it work. I think this kind of advice is very different for people depending on what their characteristic defense mechanisms in romance are...for a long time mine was to get involved with people who are more in love with me than I am with them, makes me feel safer but wastes everyones' time. Then there are other people who like to get really carried away by love and let it blind them to getting treated badly. They would need different advice than me.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 3:40 PM
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I don't have anything smart to say, but I'm just listening to this and I have to say, if the tone of a guitar can function as advice on how to deal with loneliness or pain, that would be a good example.

I just got back from a very nice wedding, actually, and it left me feeling quite positive about how happy long term relationships are worth celebrating.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 3:45 PM
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Oh, there's a definite window when they listen to every word you say.

This obviously doesn't apply when you say things like "stop it" or "get down from there."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 3:51 PM
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74: Has anyone else noticed that Vampire Weekend is really excellent?

In my letter to my self of January 2010, I validate this belief, empathize with it, then go on to instruct me not to be thereby encouraged to buy Contra.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 4:37 PM
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I don't know whether the 16-(or 17-, or 18-, etc.)-year-old me would receive my advice at all more readily than he I received the advice of others at the time ("You should plan on attending one of your second- or third-choice colleges at best"; thanks, Mom), than I receive the advice of others now ("You should cold-call companies to find out whether they're looking for blunt instruments lawyers. Have you reached out to alumni of your college?" No, fuck you). My preoccupations (liberty from my crazy family first of all; eventually, as the track got worn, from everybody) then were probably much the same as they are now. If I could identify the point at which I turned onto the spur line that has led me to this dead end, I'd want to warn my past self about it, but I don't know whether he I would have been capable of understanding that advice if he I had gotten it.

It occurs to me that the lack of advice for my past self regarding relationships indicates deep pessimism and/or pathological narcissism.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 4:40 PM
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then go on to instruct me not to be thereby encouraged to buy Contra.

It has grown on me. Still not as good as the first one (a sentiment 16yo oudemia already understood as gospel).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 4:52 PM
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82: +1. First one=joy. Second one, a little nondescript except that one song where he does the strangely transfixing falsetto.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 5:09 PM
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67: Also, spend more time with your father now. He'll be gone in a couple of years.

Good lord, this. Not necessarily advice to my 16-year-old self (more like 25-year-old), but I was thinking about the things I've learned in the last half-dozen years, and that -- you have a parent! this is not going to last forever! -- sure as hell is one of them.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 5:20 PM
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I vacillate between "your dad really is that big of a prick, telling him to fuck off once you're out of the house is among the healthiest things you'll ever do" and "yes, he's a bastard, but you're no fucking prize, suck it up and form the best relationship you can while he's still around." in reality, the middle path I followed probably worked out for the best. Still I imagine I'd have regrets no matter what.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 5:43 PM
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I'm also going with the haven't learned anything about relationships since I was 16 crowd. Didn't know anything then don't know anything now.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 5:51 PM
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Advice to a younger me:

  1. Learn to recognize when I need help.
  2. Ask for help.
  3. I don't have to like it or lump it.

I had to take an extra semester in college. Partway through it I ran into the director of financial aid. He was surprised to see me as I hadn't applied for aid (as I had in the previous 4 years). I hadn't applied because I thought it was 4 years and that's that. He told me, too late, that I was mistaken. Since I was a ward of the state (no parental income on the financial aid forms), the semester at DFH college would have been mostly covered. Somehow I came up with the money, but it was at great emotional and financial cost.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 5:56 PM
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Also very important for Kraab-that-was: It turns out that you like beer. You just don't like crappy beer. Drink more good beer and less vodka.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 6:08 PM
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46: get off your ass and get some work done; develop some academic/professional goals to work toward beyond just drifting through the system -- would still be excellent advice for me now, and I'm still not really taking it.

When KR presented his "success" model, I had to admit that to the degree I have had any career success at all I would have to characterize it as being an Accidental Lifer, emphasis on the "accidental". Not that there is anything wrong with that (although I wish my kids would show more signs of pursuing a different plan).

I do take solace that in non-work pursuits I've been much more self-directed. And of course my path through relationships has been the best of all possible paths.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 6:19 PM
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When KR presented his "success" model....

I can't figure out which type I am. At this age, I should probably have some idea.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 6:25 PM
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87: I had a similar, if less significant, failure of imagination at DFH. I stumbled on Geology and liked it, but to major in it you needed to do a summer term in Wyoming. In my limited worldview, summers required a money-making job so I did not pursue it. It never occurred to me to at least discuss it with my parents or the school or the department. I am often shocked out how timid and unworldly I was back in the day.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 6:32 PM
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I stumbled on Geology and liked it

I've stumbled on geology, and didn't especially enjoy. I'd put it ahead of stumbling on a rake but behind stumbling on a cushioned mat.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 6:35 PM
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||

If you're exchanging messages on a dating site, and it's going well, at what point is it appropriate to suggest a date? I was contacted, replied, got a follow-up, and am working on a reply to that.

|>


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 6:48 PM
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I'd give it 2-3 messages? When I was online dating, I did not like prolonged messaging because it didn't seem to match up with in person chemistry whatsoever.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 7:00 PM
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92: Don't keep messaging so long you run out of good stories for a date.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 7:07 PM
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Moby's advice to Young Moby from 30 minutes ago.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 7:09 PM
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Moby stumbled over Geology while messaging.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 7:09 PM
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JP's advice to young heebie: Type slower.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 7:10 PM
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I don't really like to think back on my life (so many regrets!), but I think the main things I would tell my 20-year-old self would be:

- What you think you want at any given moment is not necessarily what you actually want or what is best for you.

- It's okay to ask for help sometimes.

- You're not as shy as you think. You just need to figure out the circumstances in which you are comfortable interacting with people.

There are other more specific things I could say, but those are the main things I now wish I had known at the time.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 7:27 PM
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95 was poorly enumerated, but probably less harmful that 95% of my relationship advice.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 7:29 PM
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2 or 3 messages sounds reasonable. I think the recipient of the initial contact has a bit more leeway than the sender in when to suggest meeting.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 7:32 PM
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My wife recently suggested the reverse exercise for a time in our middle-aged relationship when we were too stressed out to have much of a conversation: What would our 16-year-old selves advise right now? So we started making out, oblivious to the parents kindergartener in the next room who might come in any moment. It was really quite pleasant. I even copped a feel. Next time I'd rather emulate our 20 year old selves.

No relationship advice from me to my 16-year-old self. If I told him he would get into that hot girl's pants in a few years, and they'd eventually have two mortgages, a joint will, a shared cabinet full of prescription non-getting high pills, and a heavily tatooed babysitter, he'd freak. And I still have nothing to say, and he has no need to learn, about ending relationships.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 8:41 PM
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Advice: If you stumble on geology, take it slow.


Posted by: lyell | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 8:41 PM
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and a heavily tatooed babysitter

You want one with facial piercings. The only way to give a 40 pound kid a fighting chance.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 8:49 PM
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Dear 16 year old me,
Stop thinking about sex so much. It won't help you get any. There's a ton of other good stuff to be doing which would actually make you much more attractive.

Dear 20 year old me,

Yo've already fucked up three major life decisions by not paying attention. Will you fucking stop it. Get some work done.

Dear 24 year old me.

Buy stock in a company called Microsoft. I know you've never hear of them. Just do it.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:25 AM
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Lord, how much do I wish I could go back and tell my 17-year-old self: The second you get to college, GET INTO THERAPY.

An old friend of my mother's did tell me this when I graduated from highschool as did my godmother. I didn't listen until I got depressed, and there wasn't decent coverage for it on my student health plan, so I didn't get much. If someone had said, "I think you should try out therapy, and I will help you pay for it," I would have been more likely to listen.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:39 AM
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Does anyone know the best way to say boyfriend in German? We were at a cookout held by one of the director's at the BF's firm who is returning to Germany, and his parents were visiting. They spoke very limited English, so we communicated in pigeon German/English. I tried to explain that I didn't work with her son, but that the BF did, and he was my... She said, "Eihemann," and I said yes, but I now realize that I said that BF was my husband.



Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:57 AM
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Learning to ask for help and realizing that even some of the people I considered morons might be able to help me in some area. This is still a challenge, but I'm working on it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:06 AM
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"Mein Taube."


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:07 AM
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s/b meine


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:07 AM
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107: "Mein Freund" (my friend). To describe a male friend who is not your boyfriend, you say "ein Freund von mir."


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:45 AM
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get off your ass and get some work done; develop some academic/professional goals to work toward beyond just drifting through the system

Further evidence for the theory that LB and I are actually the same person.

I would add that the 20 y.o. me should make more of an effort to take advantage of the wonderful array of cultural offerings available to him, because there will come a day when he won't have the time or flexibility to do so.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:24 AM
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As for the 16 y.o. me, I'd tell him: "You know that MDMA stuff that they're selling LEGALLY over-the-counter at the truckstop by the Interstate? Buy some of that shit and try it now, because The Man is going to step in and outlaw it any day now!"


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:25 AM
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y inner voice says to me, "you're his fucking WIFE dammit, he can't pull shit like that! Prick's supposed to bloody cherish and honour you!"

Maybe you just need to make yourself as attractive as possible and don't hassle him. (H/T Steve Benen.)


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:48 AM
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The advice I'd give to my 18 y.o. self is that the right way to approach dating is be a fun guy who's looking to get laid, rather than a serious guy who's looking for a serious relationship. At that age, nobody wants to get into a relationship where the stakes are immediately high.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:12 AM
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Much more interesting to me is what togolosh 2020 would say to togolosh 2010. That's advice I could really use. I suspect it'd be along the lines of "do what you're doing, but do it faster." But that's what I would have suspected at 16 when it ought to have been "just kiss her, you moron!" and at 30 when it should have been "run like hell."


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:27 AM
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Mein Freund, mein Partner, mein Lebensgefährt, various options are available.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:31 AM
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I can't really think of any times when I would have advised myself to kiss somebody or ask someone out or anything. I mean, I detect signals of interest (or lack thereof) about 1% of the time, but I just can't think of anything that looks like an obvious signal in retrospect. Maybe in ten years.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:31 AM
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116: Togolosh 2020 would tell you that Barack Obama is the next Hitler. But would you listen? Nooooooooo...


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:33 AM
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I think getting engaged signals some level of interest.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:41 AM
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Or was that the 1%?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:44 AM
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Heebie's advice to herself reminds me of the Fail Fast, Fail Cheap maxim for businesses.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:51 AM
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Mein Freund, mein Partner, mein Lebensgefährt

The last of these should be "Mein Lebensgefährte.

"Das Gefährt" has a different meaning.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:10 AM
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I was reading this thread, and I was thinking, would I tell my past self never to drink or try drugs at all? I mean, would have saved me a lot of misery and all, but...seems boring. (I know exactly one person who, given his terrible family history of alcoholism, decided not to drink ever, and never has. good for you, rational Mcreasonableperson!) would I say, it's all good, just don't try heroin? should be a no-brainer, and yet, mmmm, sweet taste. (and wait, crack is OK now?) it's not like everyone wasn't telling me not to try heroin before. or like anyone ever thinks its a great idea, exactly. in fact, my mom often explained (while wasted) that the only drug she had never tried was heroin, because she thought she'd get hooked right away. 16 y o me, taking notes: "go score as soon as possible." no, but actually the scare stories are too over the top; it takes hard work to get hooked, and you tend to dismiss the warnings because they are so exaggerated. I know tons of people who did heroin sometimes at parties and such and then stopped, and...are fine. are professors of philosophy, even! (not my husband, obvs, but others).

I was thinking about the drug legalization thing, and I actually think there might be a net benefit in that people run themselves into the ground so much faster with drugs that they have more chances to sober up and more time being alive afterwards (assuming they live). it's sad to see a 60-year-old come into AA for the first time, and only now has he lost everything.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:12 AM
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When I was in high school and college, a girl had to be really direct before I figured out that she liked me.

A girl would be on my lap, taking off her bra, and then, suddenly, I would realize that she might be interested in me. Or, at least, that there was a better than 50 percent chance that she was interested in me.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:13 AM
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125. You were probably more perceptive than me then. I'd have convinced myself that she thought all the chairs in the room were too low and that she had an itchy tit she needed to scratch.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:17 AM
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i think the best advice I could have given my younger self was to go on ahead with the plan of getting my step-father put in prison. shit, though, that would have been rough too. I was too scared for a reason. I remember he got picked up one time for getting out of his car after a traffic altercation and beating the roof of the guy's car in with a cinder block. it looked like he would be spending christmas in the county with cold motherfucking grits to eat, and then he intimidated the guy out of pressing charges. fuckety fuck. if that random guy pussied out like that maybe 16-y.o. me was right to lay low and then just get the fuck out of town.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:18 AM
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why are guys so clueless about whether girls like them? girls can tell in like 1 second. seriously, what's up with that?


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:19 AM
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I blame second-wave feminism...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:21 AM
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My problem was more that I could understand how someone would want to make out with me, but I always assumed that the initial act of making out would be separated by a couple weeks or so from any more serious subsequent acts of pants removal.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:21 AM
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a couple weeks or so from any more serious subsequent acts of pants removal.

Mary Ann kissed me while I was wearing these pants, I'm never going to change them.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:22 AM
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why are guys so clueless about whether girls like them?

I'm not sure that it's safe to generalize about guys from the rather, uhhhh, non-random sample you would find represented by unfogged commenters.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:23 AM
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that's true. I can't say I've ever experienced the problem personally, but one does often hear plaints such as those above.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:29 AM
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why are guys so clueless about whether girls like them? girls can tell in like 1 second. seriously, what's up with that?

Well, as you know, in our society girls are brought up to always be nice and always be pretending to like people, while boys are not, not as much. So, you know, we often think, "Is she pretending to like me? Is she just being nice?" etc.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:29 AM
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I pretty much always knew whether girls liked me -- that was my dating super-power. Generally, I could tell across a crowded room.

re: advice

20 year old me doesn't need my advice. He was smarter than I am, and made better decisions than I have recently, he also worked harder, and got drunk a lot more often.

30 year old me, on the other hand, could have done with something like the following:

"if you are going to do this doctorate thing, make sure that above all else you concentrate on networking, making connections and kissing influential people's arses, and don't be so stupid as to assume that anyone is going to discover how good (or not) you are without you selling it to them really hard"

and then probably:

"and given that you hate that sort of selling and arse-kissing, is this really the right thing to be doing?"


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:32 AM
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our society

What's this 'our society' white man?


Posted by: nattarGcM otnoT | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:33 AM
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Not your society.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:33 AM
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bleah, re-reading my comments above makes me feel sad for former me. it's a good thing I'm rich now or I'd have something to complain about. am I morally obliged to become a republican if there's really no inheritance tax this year?
134: good point.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:35 AM
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I should have signed up for all of the mentoring-type activities that my college offered with alumni. Also, I should have learned how to get powerful mentors, but I would have liked a mentor to show me how to do that, since I'm still not sure.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:44 AM
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I can tell now that it does me no good. In retrospect, I call tell all of the signals that I missed. The problem was that I had to learn it through trial-and-error, and I put off the "error" part as long as I could.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:45 AM
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I usually could tell (at least, I had a number of confirmed positives), but I invariably lacked the confidence and self worth to initiate.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:46 AM
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128: Oh, there are some girls out there who are just as confused as the boys are. I never had a clue.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:47 AM
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In retrospect, the dating strategy of minimizing Type I errors is not one I'd recommend.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:52 AM
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142: Generally the kind of women I'm attracted to. It works quite well during the get-to know you phase, when you're both seeking opportunities to be together for, you know, no particular reason, but less well once you've established compatibility and it's time for a little smooching. That long slow awkward phase is actually pretty fun if you don't get too worked up about it.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:58 AM
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||

My 4-1/2-year-old cell phone is finally giving up the ghost. I hate shopping and would dearly love to walk into a store and point at a new one and walk out with it. Ideally that would be today since I use my phone for work and it's a big pain not to have it.

Here are my criteria:

- Indestructible
- Cheap enough that I won't care too much if it gets damaged or lost
- Ability to see screen all the time (i.e., phone does not have to be flipped open to know who is calling or what time it is)
- One-touch muting when phone rings (this is crucial, and judging by the rest of the world, rare)

That's it. I don't need e-mail or a camera or a keyboard or any other fancy features.

Any suggestions?

||>


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:00 AM
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Really? Is this generally accepted? I don't think I like that. My inner voice says to me, "you're his fucking WIFE dammit, he can't pull shit like that! Prick's supposed to bloody cherish and honour you!"

I've been trying to reconcile this with the "eyes wide-open/half-shut" thing since reading it. They both seem reasonable - your should expect your spouse to treat you lovingly! and yet I also subscribe to the half-shut eyes.

I think there's a qualitative difference in the spheres to which each applies:
You should hold your spouse's feet to the fire on ethical behavior/treating others with courtesy/daily living behavior choices. Whereas you should have your eyes half shut regarding those shortcomings that you knew about from Day 1, know it's not really in their nature to change, and could potentially get under your skin if you concentrated on it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:02 AM
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girls can tell in like 1 second. seriously, what's up with that?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that probability was working
in alameida's favor. An inference on her part of being liked by someone was a priori likely to be correct. And not only that, but the experience of inferring correctly no doubt positively reinforced her willingness to go on inferring.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:03 AM
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I don't know the current price for the Motorola Razr, but it meets all your other criteria.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:09 AM
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148 to 145.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:10 AM
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148: I have one of those and my feelings about it are mixed. The hardware is first class, but the software is clearly written by people thinking in terms of tacking functions on to a basic telephone rather than real PDA-type functionality. It works, but there are lots of strange little quirks where something that could have been done with one key press requires four or five, or an obvious convenient feature is left out completely. I'd rate the hardware 9/10 and the software a 4/10.

As far as Witt's criteria go, it's tough (not indestructable, but I'm hard on my phones and all I've done to it is lose a little patch on the external screen where it got hit rather hard), It's not particularly cheap by my standards, but it's not really expensive by cell phone standards, the external screen is really convenient (even in slightly dinged up condition), one touch muting is available and easy to use. It has a bunch of other features like a surprisingly good camera that drive up the price.

I'd say a second hand Razr might be a good choice since the things I dislike aren't on the list of must-haves. New it's probably more expensive than necessary to meet the criteria, which seem like they ought to be available on a really basic phone these days.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:28 AM
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I keep trying to do this letter and running up short. At 20, I'd already dealt poorly with a rape, dropped out of school to lie on my bed being basically catatonic, gotten into an abusive relationship and let my parents pressure me into marrying because I'd had sex , gone back to my SLAC and done well but not as well as I could have done, and after 20 this disintegrated too. I guess I could say that in 10 years things would be so much better, but just thinking back on 20 is no fun.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:32 AM
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148, 150: Thanks. I realize that I have no idea how secondhand phone markets work -- the only places I know of are extreme fly-by-night places that I would never buy from (as in, the only two times I know of, one person ended up with a cop's old phone, full of numbers and photos that should never have been shared, and another person got scammed).

But maybe I don't need to...? I signed this contract a couple of years ago and never got a new phone, since I just kept using the old one I had.

Hm. Well, this will make my speed-shopping expedition a lot more efficient on a day when I have a lot of work to do, so thanks everyone and sorry for hijacking the thread.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:35 AM
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not indestructable, but I'm hard on my phones

I drop mine all the time. I have a thin cover on it now, but was just as klutzy before the cover.

I agree about getting one secondhand (I don't know what model mine is; I got it used in 2008), but Witt said she wants to get one ASAP. I guess some wireless stores sell reconditioned phones, but it's easier to get them online.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:36 AM
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Secondhand phones? Don't you just get a new one for between 80% and 100% off when you extend your contract?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:39 AM
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145, 48: RAZRs are I think basically free these days. They're also pretty much indestructible.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:39 AM
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152: Search craigslist. Someone is almost certainly selling an old RAZR if you aren't due for a free one from your provider.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:40 AM
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I actually got a few doses of heartfelt and thoughtful life advice from my grandfather when I was 17 or so. I did finish reading them, but scoffed.

The thing that's hard about this exercise is that the road not taken is an unknown-- we don't know what would have happened. Self-image advice at the margin seems useful. Young people go to extremes-- nothing is right when things go wrong, so complete confidence erosion in the face of problems, and extreme cockiness following success of some sort, even getting away with something stupid. I don't especially feel qualified to give relationship advice, and hindsight on my own life makes the present seem inevitable, which of course is false.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:49 AM
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I recently replaced my Sony K800i. The K800i was really tough. I bashed mine around for years, and it was still working perfectly when I stopped using it.I'm pretty sure it did everything asked.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:51 AM
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153: Yeah, ASAP is really the limiting factor. Radio Shack probably has a low end semi-disposable phone that'll do the job.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:59 AM
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Witt, you're on the east coast, right? Verizon/non-Verizon are different . Verizon uses something called CDMA, which means that buying a phone retail pretty much must be a verizon-unlocked phone.

For other providers, the phones have a SIM so can be swapped from carrier to carrier easily. The phones can be locked, but a special cable and piece of easy software unlock them, no need to deal with a carrier. Recent immigrant neighborhoods will have phone stores that can help you; Asian bodegas that sell electronics are a good bet.

I like Sony/Ericsson phones more than Motorola, both for durability and features. My experience is that finding a small carrier outlet with knowledgeable staff is worth a few minutes searching and 10 mins drive. Try yelp to see which outlets of your mobile carrier get good reviews, maybe? Failing yelp, ethnic sterotyping-- go to the outlet in a Korean or Vietnamese neighborhood. If your contract's up, that'll probably be your best bet.

For future reference, unlocked 1- or 2- year old basic GSM phones on ebay go for $20-$40. I have an extra for guests like this.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:04 AM
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Okay, question revealing that I don't travel much, here. So, this trip to England at the end of the month -- is there a process to make my iPhone work while we're over there, or no? (I was going to wander into an Apple store, given that I can't find the answer on their website, but someone here probably knows.) I could actually give up the cell phone bit of it, but it'd be great if I could get a data plan that worked over there -- maps and so forth.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:07 AM
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68: really? I never reveal mine :P


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:14 AM
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re: 161

Does your carrier have an international roaming plan? Many do, although it can be expensive. Alternatively, you can just buy a pay-as-you-go SIM with data access when you are here, and top it up. That assumes that your iPhone isn't locked to a particular carrier, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:15 AM
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re: 163

If I go abroad [within Europe], everything just works, although roaming charges can get expensive, so I only tend to use the phone for SMS and very short calls.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:16 AM
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I have an extra for guests like this.

And here I thought I was being thoughtful by putting a box of tissues next to the guest bed.

lw: Objectively hospitable.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:17 AM
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this trip to England at the end of the month

Will there be an all-England meetup? All-UK? Will any lurkers from Wales come? Will ttaM wear a tam o' shanter? What is a shanter anyway?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:22 AM
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163: It is locked to ATT -- I suppose I just need to call and ask, or walk into a store and ask.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:22 AM
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166: Something along those lines is the plan. I'm expecting ttaM to show up in a hat with an attached ginger wig -- that's going to happen, right?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:23 AM
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164. Yes but international roaming is more or less standard within Europe. ISTR that my in-laws had to buy something extra to get coverage, but I don't know who they're with.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:26 AM
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You can't just pop a sim into your iPhone unless you jailbreak it first. That's relatively easy, I think, and someone here did just that before travel. Hmm. Josh, maybe? I have a little phone I keep for traveling and sim-card-popping, but you really only want data.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:27 AM
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163: I have international roaming, but for some reason text messagest to non-US carriers work outbound only: I cannot receive texts from non-US carriers. I suspect that's a weirdness of AT&T, but it might be important for LB. I certainly thought international functionality meant *all* functions work, but apparently to AT&T it just means you can make and receive voice calls.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:28 AM
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I wonder what a tam o' Shatner would look like.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:33 AM
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Apparently international data plans for iPhone can get insanely expensive, at least for the overage. I don't know the details, though.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:33 AM
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Dear 8 year-old me: It's not your fault your father is an alcoholic, you don't have to feel ashamed about it.

Dear 9 year-old me: I know it's boring, but do your math homework anyway.

Dear 13 year-old me: When people you thought were your friends betray you, it's a reflection on them, not you.

Dear 15 year-old me: I know it's boring, but do your math homework anyway.

Dear 18 year-old me: You're right about taking a year off before college. Go get a job so your parents will stop hassling you, find a cheap room in a punk house, and figure out what you want to do with your life.

Dear 20 year-old me: You're going to wind up working 8 years at this stupid job, so you might as well do it all at once, and get them to pay for your education while you're at it.

Dear 23 year-old me: Amazingly hot, talented, charismatic people want to have sex with you. Stop being so freaked out and let them.

Dear 27 year-old me: All things considered, maybe a humanities degree is not the best path to happiness for you.

Dear 30 year old-me: When you say "I'm going to look out for my own interests at work" you actually have to follow through with that.

Dear 33 year-old me: Stick it out for another couple of months and things will resolve themselves.

Dear 35 year-old me: Stop commenting on Unfogged and get to work.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:34 AM
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why are guys so clueless about whether girls like them?

Historically, because I hate myself.

Men typically overestimate women's sexual interest.* There are putative cognitive science/evolutionary psychology explanations for the phenomenon that any person who has suffered through the last ten or fifteen years of pop science can probably guess.

* "The best evidence of state of mind is...."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:38 AM
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re: 168

I keep one of those hats in my bag, at all times. You never know when the moment will strike.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:56 AM
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||

On the veldt,

athletic skill was much closer to political power. Small forager bands feared that the few most physically powerful members would attempt to dominate the band by force. Foragers had much less reason to fear domination by the few most musical folks in the band. So it made sense for foragers to hold athletes to higher moral standards than musicians.

Athletes vs. Musicians at Overcoming Bias, via Tyler Cowen.

|>


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:03 AM
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Hah, and AT&T customer service comes through. 25 bucks for 20MB of data while I'm there, and my phone works, albeit at exorbitant per minute rates, without doing anything special.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:03 AM
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177: I like that e chooses Tiger Woods as his example. On the veldt, golfers were as unto gods.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:09 AM
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+h
Blimey.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:10 AM
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All this letter writing to previous selves has made me very content with my various detours, setbacks, and failures to launch.

I suppose I would let 22-y-o me know that doing things that make him happy is not the exact same thing as selling out, but I'm happy to have stuck it out as a miserable labor organizer for even as short a time as I did.

And while my first marriage was a mess, the brutal period of self-interrogation that concluded it and the wedding that kicked it off were both keepers.

Letter to 20-y-o me: lecture courses taught by famous scholars are not inherently inferior to small seminars. Also, be a little more assertive about getting your teachers to move classes off campus during the strike. Like to a bar!


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:22 AM
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170: 'twasn't me; I have moral objections to the iPhone. I actually thought that the SIM was soldered in; it's certainly not intended to be user-replaceable.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:30 AM
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182: That's the thing. I'm attached to some of my disasters. So, while any reasonably sane current me might write to 25-year-old-me "moving to the bay area where you know practically no-one with a 21-year-old boyfriend who is giving you fairly clear signals that he will soon be your 21-year-old ex-boyfriend is a dumb idea," I have to think about what I'd miss by making the obviously wiser decision.

I'd never have met one of my dear friends with whom I've exchanged hundreds of pages of emails. I'd never have driven across west Texas. I'd never have lived in the Berkeley hills with an astonishing view that, granted, I didn't really care about and watched the fog roll up the hill. I'd never have had a friend, in a desperate attempt to get me not to take it all out on the bay area, take me on a Vertigo tour complete with Old Fort Point and Muir Woods. And on and on.

And there was probably some value in the heartbreak, too, I think. Now I can write the part in my memoirs about leaving the only gift he ever gave me (a cd of Benjamin Britten's Curlew River. I didn't like Britten. He did.) on his doorstep, and falling asleep every night watching All About Eve because I found it weirdly consoling. And now I'll never, keinahora, be stupid in quite that way about a person again.

Ok but maybe it would be nice to say to 20-year-old me: get into the habit of going to the gym before your hummingbird metabolism up and quits.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:40 AM
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But then you wouldn't have that charming muffin top.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:46 AM
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183: Speaking of Britten, and of exercise, sometimes when I am running I sing to myself, "Oudemia! Is at her exercise!" over and over. (I'm also fond of randomly belting out "I'll marry Ellen! I'll marry Ellen!" but that is just for the joy of it.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:48 AM
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184: He just wants to dance, k-sky.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:48 AM
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the problem is in the 'signals' women use to indicate interest (they often are occult)

The ability to judge another individual's romantic interest level--both toward oneself and toward others--is an adaptively important skill when choosing a suitable mate to pursue. We tested this ability using videos of individuals on speed dates as stimuli. Male and female observers were equally good at predicting interest levels, but they were more accurate when predicting male interest: Predictions of female interest were just above chance. Observers predicted interest successfully using stimuli as short as 10 s, and they performed best when watching clips of the middle or end of the speed date. There was considerable variability between daters, with some being very easy to read and others apparently masking their true intentions. Variability between observers was also found. The results suggest that the ability to read nonverbal behavior quickly in mate choice is present not only for individuals in the interaction, but also for third-party observers.
http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:LRsXwKhvkdIJ:www.larspenke.eu/pdfs/Place_Todd_Penke_Asendorpf_2009_-_Judging_romantic_interest.pdf+the+ability+to+judge+the+romantic+interest+of+others&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjfXPTBd15qb5R7Rmq_RTE-qvKulFlY85Eo1Exr085u78BbSN2mEpVrM8S02qOGOQ9qxB6LZMsj7895zDZpnEEJLiQv64h7OV3Kjtt-S4gy1Hy5uefKj2TBp-pAVu-5TUEKXeoj&sig=AHIEtbTxZ1V2RLaDbSP7KgTbaO7pHdcfbg


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:49 AM
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Will there be an all-England meetup? All-UK?

There better bloody be! Work or pleasure, LB?


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:51 AM
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And could someone write a letter to my current 13 year old daughter, telling her not to be such a fucking brat? She doesn't listen to a word I say, but maybe if enough strangers yell at her it would sink in.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:53 AM
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they were more accurate when predicting male interest: Predictions of female interest were just above chance

I suspect this pattern might persist if the observers just guessed yes for every subject.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:54 AM
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185: wait,Peter Grimes? That would be one perverse exercise motivator. But then whatever, I have used the Dawn Duet on the elliptical which is not significantly less strange. Oh and actually the very best is "I am the Wife of Mao Tse Tung." So forget it, you go with your Peter Grimes!


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:55 AM
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191: I do that one, too! Also, "Save that for the premier! My business is PHILOSOPHY."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:58 AM
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Are the people who are terrible at reading interest in others also people who tend to be shy when it comes to openly pursuing someone? I'm picturing a romantic dance where all the moves are super muted. So it's not so much the power of observations that are faulty so much as a pretty shy person attracted to other pretty shy people.

Whereas, if you don't mind putting a hand on someone's knee and getting a sharp look of reproach, then you'll tend to live in a world where people make big bold advances and get shot down more, but also get lucky more.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:59 AM
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Witt, when I bought my phone I just went on to Nokia's website and bought the cheapest one they had. It cost like $18, no service commitment, and I think it meets all your criteria. It's not exactly indestructible (the ringer broke after the second time I dropped it on the sidewalk) but hey, 18 bucks.


Posted by: Alfred Scruggs | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:59 AM
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188: Buck's getting flown to the UK so he can meet his coworkers (he's been writing for a UK publication for a couple of years), and the other three of us are tagging along to play tourist. Either I, or Buck and I depending on how we figure out babysitting, should be able to manage an evening meetup somewhere in London the week of July 4, and the rest of the time will be mostly sightseeing around London with the kids.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:04 PM
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Whereas, if you don't mind putting a hand on someone's knee and getting a sharp look of reproach, then you'll tend to live in a world where people make big bold advances and get shot down more, but also get lucky more.

The worst-case scenario in terms of self-esteem is to decide that someone likes you, screw up your courage to hit on them, and find out that you were totally wrong about the signals and she was just being sympathetic or she was just being nice or she doesn't ever think of you at all and she acts that way to everyone. Everyone wants to avoid this.

The two strategies in response to this are
A) hit on people based entirely on their attractiveness, without any attempt to discern whether they like you
or
B) spend infinite amounts of time trying to dissect people's motivations, whether their behavior is spontaneous or calculated, how their behavior toward you compares with their behavior toward others, etc.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:13 PM
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Smearcase and oudemia, get a room already.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:17 PM
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Thorn, that's really awful. I'm so sorry.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:17 PM
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meetup somewhere in London the week of July 4,

Given what happened Saturday, is this wise? Can you fake being Canadian or something? Or was that your plan while traveling in Europe anyway.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:23 PM
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198: Sorry, I regretted posting it because I don't want anyone to have that response. (And, um, 30-year-old self, stop trying to keep other people from caring because it's better to avoid inconveniencing them!) The good part is that it does have a happy ending and I love my life despite some of the hurdles I've put up for myself there, but yeah, today I'm full of various sorts of regrets.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:23 PM
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Let's see, July 4, that should be two days after the US beats France in the WC quarterfinals, and one day after England loses to Uruguay. No better time.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:27 PM
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The worst-case scenario in terms of self-esteem is to decide that someone likes you, screw up your courage to hit on them, and find out that you were totally wrong about the signals and she was just being sympathetic or she was just being nice or she doesn't ever think of you at all and she acts that way to everyone. Everyone wants to avoid this.

But not everyone thinks of this as a worst-case scenario. Some people approach dating by swinging at everything they like, and seeing what pans out. In which case strike outs are inevitable and low cost.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:28 PM
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But not everyone thinks of this as a worst-case scenario. Some people approach dating by swinging at everything they like, and seeing what pans out. In which case strike outs are inevitable and low cost.

That's my scenario A in which you don't try to read the other person's mind first.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:29 PM
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A) hit on people based entirely on their attractiveness, without any attempt to discern whether they like you

Oh, I thought you meant entirely looks-based here.

For me, trying to discern if they liked me went on simultaneously with hitting on them. I multi-tasked. But I considered rejection to be low cost. They were probably just in a relationship already.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:32 PM
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and find out that you were totally wrong about the signals .... Everyone wants to avoid this.

Because if it happens to you, you'll get the plague and spontaneously combust and die of leprosy. No one wants leprosy.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:36 PM
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Do they even have July 4th in England?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:38 PM
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But I considered rejection to be low cost. They were probably just in a relationship already are definitely, definitely big gay cocksuckers if they don't reciprocate with delighted interest. NTTAWWT.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:38 PM
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Even worse, they mght say yes! Then whatcha gonna do?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:42 PM
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206: Of course, but they call it "Losing Our Biggest Colonies Day"


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:43 PM
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Even worse, they mght say yes! Then whatcha gonna do?

Pfffft, that never happens.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:45 PM
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They were probably just in a relationship already.

Funny, this was something that always held me back from hitting on people, back in the day. Getting rejected, not so much of a problem. Hitting on someone who's in a relationship seemed like a serious implicit insult -- 'I think you're the sort of person who might run around on or ditch your current relationship for someone new'. But asking someone straightforwardly if they're single, if I didn't happen to know organically, had that uncomfortable 'Hi, I'm doing advance planning for making advances on you in the near future. Brace yourself.' aspect to it.

I can't believe I've managed to reproduce.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:45 PM
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they call it "Losing Our Biggest Colonies Day"

That would be August 15.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:51 PM
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Hitting on someone who's in a relationship seemed like a serious implicit insult

But how are you supposed to know? Just waggle your eyebrows already and put that hand on their thigh.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:51 PM
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213: I think LB's in a serious relationship already.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:53 PM
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213: This implies that my qualms were even remotely sane, such that arguing with them would have been a reasonable response.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:53 PM
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The "hit on anyone I'm interested in, and see what happens" approach has a far, far worse yield rate for men than for women. Still not a bad strategy, if you've got the endurance for it.

The above may also help to explain the why-can't-he-figure-out-I'm-interested-in-him-problem. Most men are either (a) too busy swinging at everything to pay attention to how any given pitch breaks or (b) decided that it's too difficult to step up to the plate when you're striking out all the time, so who the hell knows how to read the signals. /end increasingly ludicrous baseball analogy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:53 PM
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One of my best friends has been nursing the demise of this relationship that started ending about a week after it began. Four years ago. I'm really not kidding. From day 1, she was saying, "This is clearly shortlived, because I don't like X, Y, and Z, about him." Now, many break-ups later, they're breaking up "for good", except they are having break up week.

I said, "Isn't 'break up week' just an extra excruciating week to pull of the band-aid?" She said they needed to grieve together and blah blah blah.

So I'm completely in a space where everyone who hesitates is being ridiculous and needs stern judging and action, ASAP. Everyone just do it, already, and quit agonizing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:54 PM
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177: I would advise my younger self, the me of five minutes ago, not to follow that link so as to avoid futile rage.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:56 PM
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Just waggle your eyebrows already

LB's eyebrows are a tool of awesome communicative power, to be used cautiously.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:56 PM
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So I'm completely in a space where everyone who hesitates is being ridiculous and needs stern judging and action, ASAP. Everyone just do it, already, and quit agonizing.

Advise applies to break-ups and consummations, both.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 12:57 PM
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211 resonates.

Also rejection is only low cost if you've not much invested in getting a yes, but if you don't have much invested, why bother approaching at all? I know men who take the approach of hitting on any woman they find attractive physically, figuring that even if personalities aren't compatible there's still a chance of meaningless sex. That doesn't compute for me since no attraction to the whole person means lousy sex.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:01 PM
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Thorn, I'm also sorry you felt that you were burdening and inconveniencing us.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:02 PM
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213: Just waggle your eyebrows already and put that hand on their thigh and say, "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:03 PM
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212: Well, the 4th works pretty well too.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:03 PM
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Also rejection is only low cost if you've not much invested in getting a yes, but if you don't have much invested, why bother approaching at all?

This isn't quite true. Rejection is low cost if you don't take it personally. That doesn't mean that you can't wait for funny, sparky people to hit on.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:04 PM
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219: KR, I stand in awe of both your memory and your hoohole circumvention abilities.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:05 PM
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I have to admit that when I hit on funny, sparky people, I found it harder not to take it personally when I was rejected, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:06 PM
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But I considered rejection to be low cost.

EASY FOR YOU TO SAY!


Posted by: OPINIONATED KIDNEY DONOR | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:07 PM
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219: Maybe I should just give up and get them waxed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:07 PM
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223: I still don't understand how you people remember stuff like that. I can't remember what people here commented last week! Also, I seem to be misspelling words with double letters with increasing frequency. I think I must have a brain cloud.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:10 PM
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227 -- this really is advice that works better for women than for men. It's pretty hard to make the hit on everyone interesting strategy worthwhile for men unless you're willing to hit on a large enough population so that you're doing something akin to Togolosh's friend.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:11 PM
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If you're doing something akin to Togolosh's friend, what are you doing hitting on women in the first place?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:12 PM
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Or, put another way, it takes a different kind of dealing with rejection when you're successful 1/3 times versus 1/20 (or so).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:13 PM
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I know men who take the approach of hitting on any woman they find attractive physically, figuring that even if personalities aren't compatible there's still a chance of meaningless sex. That doesn't compute for me since no attraction to the whole person means lousy sex.

Taking this a bit further, if you are the kind of straight guy that is selective about whom he hits on, preferring to wait until you've gotten to know the girl and can ascertain that you appreciate her non-physical qualities, then you have a whole extra psychological obstacle to surmount: you have to hit on a friend. The downside of initiating something under these circumstances is potentially worse than a temporary blow to the ego.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:16 PM
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224: I just learned something new.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:20 PM
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I stumbled on Geology and liked it, but to major in it you needed to do a summer term in Wyoming.

True story: I know someone who got his undergraduate degree in geology, and who, later in life, was taken hostage in a foreign country for many months.

At first, he said, captivity was pretty bad, but it was only after some months had passed that he concluded that the experience was worse than than geology field camp.


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:21 PM
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236: Those Geology people are sneaky! I took Rocks for Jocks (which was actually pretty difficult) for my Physical Science distribution requirement, and the instructor and our lab TA were always regaling us with tales of the wild times at field camps. "You can't look at rocks in the dark" they averred, "so every night is pretty much a wild party!" Also, they liked to brag about how the Geology office was one of the few locales on campus that had been grandfathered in under the heavily restrictive dry-campus policy, so they "had" to have a kegger there once a month to preserve their hallowed status. Clearly they were both just trying to trick unsuspecting, undeclared undergrads into a life of toil and woe.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:28 PM
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But I considered rejection to be low cost.

FWIW, I'm on team LB in this one.

I don't disagree with the quoted statement in general, but I can't imagine structuring my personality so that it would be true for me.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:28 PM
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... then you have a whole extra psychological obstacle to surmount: you have to hit on a friend

So very true.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:29 PM
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Heebie's dream date.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:31 PM
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237: My wife has a Geology degree and claims her one brother (who does as well) lured her into it by saying, "All you need to be able to do to major in Geology is drink beer and throw a frisbee."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:34 PM
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"You can't look at rocks in the dark"

See link at 240.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:40 PM
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234: I never understood this (although I've heard it often enough that it must make sense on some level that I just don't get). I know enough about someone to know if I find them interpersonally appealing a long time before I'm meaningfully friends with them; being able to tell that someone's the sort of person you could be friends with comes before you're actually personally invested. And I can't imagine being interested in hitting on someone, on any level past 'nothing more than a one night stand', without knowing enough about them personally to know that I could be friends with them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 1:54 PM
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243: There's gradations of friendship, so it might just be differing definitions of when someone counts as a friend for purposes of being mortified if you make a pass and they shoot you down. Even in your case there's room for mortification over potentially bolloxing up an incipient friendship. Depends how easily you make friends, though.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 2:06 PM
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(I'm also fond of randomly belting out "I'll marry Ellen! I'll marry Ellen!" but that is just for the joy of it.)

Irony, thy name is Unfogged.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 2:13 PM
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Thanks, Bostoniangirl. I'm trying to comment here more, but I don't think of this as my space really, somewhere I should be saying things like that, though it would be fine if AWB or alameida did. And obviously that's because I think -- great as I may be -- I'm not good enough for unfogged, despite reading on and off for the last five years. Today's just been a lousy day on a lot of fronts. I appreciate that you were hearing me and reminding me to be kind to myself.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 2:31 PM
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if you are the kind of straight guy that is selective about whom he hits on, preferring to wait until you've gotten to know the girl and can ascertain that you appreciate her non-physical qualities, then you have a whole extra psychological obstacle to surmount: you have to hit on a friendyou have probably waited too long to have any hope of success.

Just IME, but I think it's generally true.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 2:34 PM
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The States surely weren't the largest colonies in 1776, that was after Plessy and before the Louisiana Purchase.

Either I couldn't tell, when young, when guys were attracted to me, or hardly any ever were. The latter seems more likely, since I did try hitting on guys. News: women do get turned down, even eighteen-year-olds in good health. This makes me both more and less sympathetic to men complaining about it.

---
Thorn! In this day the rose has grown an iron cortex of its own! Definitely put out a root, uncurl in the sunshine, photosynthesize a little.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 2:36 PM
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Above was me, though who knows why I'm taking credit for it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 2:36 PM
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Ah, field trips. 112 degrees at ground surface, and digging holes. Prof: 'Last year we dug through a scorpion nest!'


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 2:37 PM
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not good enough for unfogged

That's not right.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 2:39 PM
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229: Sometimes when I'm feeling just that butch, I get mine threaded. 'tis the curse of Ashkenaz, you have to take measures against having positively prehensile eyebrows. Anyway it's agony, though my work friend that I go with thinks I'm being a little bit ridiculous.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 2:39 PM
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I'm not good enough for unfogged

Thorn! You're great! You're much more than good enough for unfogged.

They even let me post here!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 2:40 PM
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246: Arrgh! Bad commenter! Wrong!

Look, not talking about personal stuff here because it's too sensitive or something makes perfect sense. But there is not an inner circle that's privileged to drone on about their personal problems while everyone else listens meekly. If you've managed to stay interested in this mess of a website for that long, trust me, we'll find your problems fascinating. (As is your blog -- I haven't brought up stuff I've read there here because I'm not sure if it's a boundary issue for you, but it's really interesting stuff.)

"Not good enough for Unfogged" is so wrong it's almost incoherent.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 2:45 PM
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Bad commenter! Wrong!

This is an example of me being sensitive and supportive, which is why people should feel comfortable talking about delicate personal issues here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 2:48 PM
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254: See LB is saying "Bad commenter" with you, not at you.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 2:49 PM
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And obviously that's because I think -- great as I may be -- I'm not good enough for unfogged, despite reading on and off for the last five years. Today's just been a lousy day on a lot of fronts. I appreciate that you were hearing me and reminding me to be kind to myself.

I think you are swell.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 2:57 PM
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I sympathize with Thorn, in that, I often feel I am being too free with my confidences here, though perhaps not in the same way. Thorn, you have been a very valuable commenter and I always appreciate hearing your perspective on the topic at hand (as if we ever really have one of those) or on whatever crosses your mind.

If someone could bottle a cure for getting huge crushes on your friends, which cause you to agonize over whether to make a move or not, with the result that 9 times out of 10 you say nothing and feel sad when they date someone else, and on the tenth instance you get the "just friends" lecture and feel like a complete idiot, if someone could make such a cure I would totally buy it.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 2:58 PM
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I feel great kinship with Thorn. She's like my sister in de-lurking; I think we both started commenting around the same time. I would be far more self-deprecating in the Unfogged comment box in general, but I'm afraid Megan would throw a couch at me.

Hyphens, I can't get enough of 'em!


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:00 PM
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And, you know, not just swell in the sense that general beneficence toward all humanity requires us to believe everyone's swell, but individually interesting and adding new stuff to what might seem to those who didn't love it so much to be an incestuous morass of repetition.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:01 PM
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OT: I may have an unexpected day off tomorrow. I'd be happier about that if it weren't evidence that the state government is totally nonfunctional.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:02 PM
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260: what might seem to those who didn't love it so much to be an incestuous morass of repetition.

Kinda like a sitcom or something.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:03 PM
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Why is rejection so hard? I get rejected in my line of work 90% of the time or more, and it hurts every time. Obviously, a lot less than the heartache of a spurned advance, but how did this help my ancestor on the veldt? I would think huddled in a fetal position crying (or the other Unfogged fave for interrupting crying) would make one a lion's lunch. What is the point?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:06 PM
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261: That's great, LB! Go out have the most awesome day ever! You knew the state government was totally nonfunctional already, didn't you?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:06 PM
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Rejection is hard because we know the other monkeys will trip us when the next lion comes, and then giggle while they get up into the trees during our evisceration.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:09 PM
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263: On the veldt, if the female didn't want the male as a mate, perhaps she would decide he would make a fine dinner. And that is why shy and cautious males genes were passed on to us?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:09 PM
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I love it how the A-lister commenter group keeps insisting that there's no A-lister commenter group.

Anyhow, I think the best comments generally are those that reveal some personal detail (which is risky for the commenter, obviously, so it's understandable that people want to avoid doing this) and I empathized with Thorn, although my 20s (thank god) weren't remotely as bad.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:13 PM
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And that is why shy and cautious males genes were passed on to us?

The brave die young and the meek shall inherit the earth.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:14 PM
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Wait! You people are getting incest? There is an inner circle, goddammit.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:15 PM
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Oh, there's totally an inner circle of people who've been around forever and spend a lot of time commenting -- the group exists. But you're not less interesting or less entitled to take up bandwith here just because you haven't been nattering on endlessly since back in the day.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:16 PM
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I'm not good enough for unfogged

Adding to the pshaw chorus, Thorn. I like what you have to say.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:16 PM
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I love it how the A-lister commenter group keeps insisting that there's no A-lister commenter group.

LB, please re-assign Halford to the B list. Seriously though, it's more that whatever A-list exists, it doesn't actually confer any benefits. Aside from the password to the naked pictures of Ben and me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:19 PM
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Now apo's just taunting.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:20 PM
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261: Apparently, a Republican vote has been rounded up to get an emergency temp spending bill through the Senate. Sorry!


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:20 PM
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I am a proud member of the D list. And is there any benefit, in the world, greater than that of naked pictures of Nosflow?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:22 PM
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Allow me to be the first to say that Thorn's comments are a valuable and appreciated contribution to the Great Unfogged Project. No foolin'.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:24 PM
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Oh, good. Not that the random day off wouldn't have been nice, but it's unsettling having your employer (and government) lose its mind like that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:26 PM
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276: Disallowed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:26 PM
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how did this help my ancestor

I think that self-image and indeed reality detection are pretty complicated. Too sensitive and you need iron will and a sharp mind to function at all, too dull and you are one of the Reagans. It's possible to learn from others, especially when you're young, at least to learn whether they hate you enough to harm you somehow.

Separately, our current environment almost certainly favors cooperation much much more than did pre-agricultural environments, so distant ancestors lived in a very different social world.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:26 PM
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266- Back when our spider ancestors roamed the veldt? That was the Arachnazoic, right?

To the OP, it bothers me that I don't have good advice for my my young 16 year old self, or even to myself later when I was about to embark on a failed marriage. There's a weird sense that I could only learn stuff from experience, and avoiding all the pain attached would have just deferred it to some later date. The "don't buy real estate at the height of a housing bubble when you're already in a troubled marriage" thing would have been good advice, of course. I think Bob's Beware the sunk costs dilemma and the black swans says this more poetically.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:26 PM
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HALFORD STAY OUT OF MY WHEELHOUSE!


Posted by: OPINIONATED KATHY GRIFFIN | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:27 PM
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Lesson learned: Googling "naked nosflow" when a senior partner is walking into your office = not a good idea.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:27 PM
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And is there any benefit, in the world, greater than that of naked pictures of Nosflow?

Only front pagers get the naked pictures of Labs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:27 PM
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Goodness, people are being so nice that I fucking cried. Thanks a bunch! I link to my pseudonymous blog and the only one who might know me under my real name would be alameida, and I doubt that. I'm not worried about being found out or anything, just generally trying to keep my location from being googleably tied to my pseud blog in case being identifiably linked to what I've written would hurt our chances at an adoptive match, which is unlikely anyway. It's a thin veneer and I'm not doing much work to create barriers.

Seriously, I guess my problem is the same as when I was younger, being afraid to approach the people I found attractive. I could pretty much count on any geekish boy I knew eventually being interested in me, which was problematic since I didn't like boys (though I suspect my approachability was tied to that) and I always knew it was happening but again might not have been as paranoid/aware had I been receptive to that sort of attention. But with the girls I liked, were they straight? Out? Single? Interested? That was the much harder element to tease out and I made a lot of bad decisions based on fear that the people I thought were good would not think I was good enough for them. Had I not been so foolish, I could have had the unfogged of relationships back in my teens or something. The end.

And persistently v., I am hyphen-obsessed also. Twinsies!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:28 PM
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I'm afraid Megan would throw a couch at me.

Maybe you'll get lucky and she'll only throw a kettlebell.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:34 PM
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Or put a shot.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:39 PM
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I would be far more self-deprecating in the Unfogged comment box in general, but I'm afraid Megan would throw a couch at me.

I am so very pleased to see this, and will happily keep this reputation if it diminishes the amount of self-deprecation in the world. When you are ready for your next lesson, I will start throwing smaller objects at you if you aren't affirmatively kind to yourself.

My advice for younger me:

Pick your own field; don't wait to fail out of the one your parents chose for you.

Don't do competitive tkd in college; they're a bunch of un-fun divas. Go play ultimate and do social dance, where boys will like you even though you aren't Korean.

No one is evaluating your coolness, so go ahead and show that you enjoy things.

Do not spend your twenties in a long distance relationship. Don't date that guy at all, in fact, and your best friend from college is not your friend. Skip her.

Eat more protein. Don't cut out fats to make weight.

You like to write more than you think. Hold some time open for writing.

Get someone to shop with you and dress you right. There are learn-able rules that are different from fashion; it makes a big difference.

Go to that cool graduate degree at UCLA with the thirty person incoming classes. Don't go to that miserable graduate degree at Davis that takes one or two people a year. That's not enough people to supply fun and sex.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:41 PM
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More generally, and in keeping with the title of the post, stop doing shit once you don't like it any more. Re-evaluate more often. Stoicism is no way to live.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:45 PM
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What is the minimum number of people Megan requires for sex?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:45 PM
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289: Curtains open or closed?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:46 PM
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287: Don't do competitive tkd in college; they're a bunch of un-fun divas.

WE WERE TO HAVING FUN!


Posted by: OPINIONATED TAPPA KEGGA DEI SISTERS | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:48 PM
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stop doing shit once you don't like it any more
I need lessons in this. I will continue through boredom and frustration, unless it's something I actually need to do.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:49 PM
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It looks to be somewhere between 30 and 1. Which I think is about right.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:50 PM
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Stoicism is no way to live.

I think that this stops being true when other people rely on you.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:50 PM
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No one is evaluating your coolness, so go ahead and show that you enjoy things.

God is that good advice.

I'd actually say that 12-15 year olds are obssessively evaluating each other's coolness. Unfortunately, that period ends, but people tend to assume that everyone else is evaluating their coolness until, I dunno, age 30 or so. Maybe later.

Do not spend your twenties in a long distance relationship.

I'd say, don't spend any time in a long distance relationship, unless you're married and your beloved has been drafted to fight the Nazis or something and so fooling around on the side would basically make you a Nazi.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:51 PM
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THAT SEEMS UNNECESSARILY JUDGMENTAL. AFTER ALL, THE PROBLEMS OF TWO LITTLE PEOPLE DON"T AMOUNT TO A HILL OF BEANS IN THIS WORLD.


Posted by: OPINIONATED ILSE | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:54 PM
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your beloved has been drafted to fight the Nazis or something and so fooling around on the side would basically make you a Nazi.


DON"T SIT UNDER THE APPLE TREE WITH ANYBODY ELSE BUT ME!


Posted by: OPINIONATED ANDREWS SISTERS | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 3:54 PM
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Dear 16-year-old Liesl,
WTF?


Posted by: Older and Wiser Liesl | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:05 PM
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Oh, "fight the Nazis", not "fight for the Nazis"? Never mind.


Posted by: Older and Wiser Liesl | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:06 PM
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No one is evaluating your coolness

Well, Heebie probably is, but luckily she likes us anyway.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:10 PM
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Actually, I probably am too. Not, like judging you on it. Just evaluating.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:12 PM
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Thorn, I only became a recognizable commenter around here after Single Blind Day (when a couple of people apparently thought I was Dr. B).

We should have another one of those -- smoke out some more lurkers! It's good for getting you over the hump of "Ack, I made a comment and nobody responded and I am clearly Not Part of the Group."

272: We've been downgraded, folks. Time was, Apo was promising babies. Good-looking ones, at that.

There are learn-able rules that are different from fashion; it makes a big difference.

On a similar note, one of the few things I can think of that I would want to tell the younger me is that really liking a color and being able to wear it are not the same thing. Boy was that a hard one to learn.

On another note [watch as I interject extraneous personal detail] I am returned from a successful foray in which I purchased the no-frills Nokia 2320 for $18 plus two years of my life to AT&T (with whom I thought I already had a contract, but oh well).

I suspect that today's unusually businesslike outfit worked against me in the first storefront I tried (where I think the guy quoted me a higher price than he would have otherwise) and for me in the Vietnamese "bodega" (where the fantastic clerks told me right off the bat that they didn't have what I wanted but could recommend what I should get). And I feel honor-bound now to give a decent customer service review to the poor AT&T rep who had to suffer through my raised eyebrows and total lack of patience with his practiced spiel.

I almost bought the Samsung Rugby but saved myself from marketing gimmickry in time. As the AT&T guy said, "More moving parts - more to break."

Plus I efficiently read Al Dia on the bus and bumped into a professional acquaintance on the street, so it was time quite well used and entirely work-related.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:13 PM
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Dear Younger Me:

When you are a junior in college, there will be a freshman that you will have very little contact with, but you will meet again in Chicago many years after you graduate only to discover how very cool she is. Her name is Molly and I think her dormroom is on the second floor of Randall Hall--or is it Campbell? The one that opens directly onto the quad and is on the opposite side of your dorm.

In any case, you should hook up with her right away, rather than wasting your time with all the other dead ends in your life.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:15 PM
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OT: First article in this month's Language is called "The ass camouflage construction: Masks as parasitic heads".

I'll give five dollars and a cookie to whoever correctly guesses what it's about.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:15 PM
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Vietnamese "bodega"

Bơ dế gặ


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:16 PM
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Time was, Apo was promising babies. Good-looking ones, at that.

Still on offer! And not restricted to A-listers. I will even impregnate lurkers.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:20 PM
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I get sharp physical pain in my chest when I get a rejection. It happens every time. No, there are no underlying health problems. I checked.


Posted by: Richard Nixon | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:24 PM
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What would your family think about bonus half-siblings?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:24 PM
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304: This?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:34 PM
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304: The use of one's ass as synecdoche for oneself?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:37 PM
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I'm sure no one will be surprised to hear that I fall into the "asking people out is hard" camp.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:37 PM
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I'd say, don't spend any time in a long distance relationship

It's not necessarily that bad. IME (which really shouldn't count for much), an LDR can work if (and only if?) you (a) know the person well enough that it's possible to feel connected and like you are genuinely part of each other's lives despite the distance and (b) not so used to being physically present that the distance is, itself, painful.

I acknowledge that there is some inherent tension between (a) and (b), but for the small number of relationships that fall into that category (along with (c) both people are highly loyal to their friends) may work as a LDR.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:37 PM
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308: We have an expansive definition of family.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:41 PM
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Yes, that happens.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:45 PM
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How is it that no one has yet challenged the assumption (see, eg., 233) that men face more rejection than women? Evidence?

Also, to the extent it's true, it would suggest that women are perceived as more interchangeable, which isn't exactly a comfort to those who get rejected.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:45 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:45 PM
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few things are more nauseating than bad surrealism

Chewing tobacco on the Tilt-A-Whirl?
Diesel fumes in the bilge of a fishing trawler?
BP's deep water disaster preparedness?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:52 PM
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303 is very sweet. (I think it's Campbell, if by your dorm you mean Humphreys. All the nice girls lived in Campbell.)


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:52 PM
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318 was me.


Posted by: Molly | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:54 PM
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How is it that no one has yet challenged the assumption (see, eg., 233) that men face more rejection than women? Evidence?

Everyone agrees with it?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:55 PM
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319 is a lie, because 318 was I.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 4:56 PM
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315: I will challenge it. Women get rejected by people we haven't ever even spoken to. Men loudly reject movie stars they see on TV for being too lippy to marry, or too wide in the ass or too trashy or whatever. Men tell us to our faces what their "type" is so we know not to insult them with flirtation.

Or they keep us on a string for years at a time, knowing they have no interest in a relationship with us, but testing to make sure we still pick up the phone when we call, or rush over when they say they need someone who really understands. They hint that they might want something more, but walk away or reject us outright when we try to do something about it.

Or they plainly tell us, when we try to ask for a date, a kiss, some time together, that we're simply not what they want.

There are many ways women get rejected.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:01 PM
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315: I think it's that the word "rejected" can mean such different things. If you phrase it as: Are (straight) men more often on the receiving end of a rejection in an explicit-request-for-date scenario, it seems trivially obvious that the answer is yes.

Men still do a massive amount of the formally asking-out in this culture and many of its subcultures, so of course they're also going to experience rejection more.

As soon as you introduce any variables, such as:
- Nonverbal signaling
- Expressions of interest that don't rise to an explicit request or invitation
- Informal group outings in which one member is specifically trying to gain the attention of another member

and all of the other non-1950s-etiquette-style social interactions in which adults take part, it seems both impossible to analyze and pretty likely that men and women experience rejection equally. Albeit still in pretty gendered ways.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:04 PM
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How is it that no one has yet challenged the assumption (see, eg., 233) that men face more rejection than women? Evidence?

My testimony has been not merely rejected but ignored. I sink into the quicksands of social despair.

Also, what AWB said.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:06 PM
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Women get rejected by people we haven't ever even spoken to

While I believe this to be absolutely true, and in fact was trying to formulate a question about it, how does this translate into the pain one gets when directly rejected?

As times change and women are more direct in their approach to the men and women they are attracted to, I can forsee equity in the rejection department.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:08 PM
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There are many ways women get rejected.

Sure. No one is saying that women never get rejected. But (a) there is a huge difference in the rate of rejection; (b) as your post notes, the stereotypical male form of rejection is the keep on a string for years at a time, not outright denial immediately following the hitting-upon.

It's basically parallel to the casual sex difference, a perrenial Unfogged favorite. Are there women out there looking for casual sex? Sure. On a percentage basis, is the percentage remotely comparable to the equivalent number of men? No.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:09 PM
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There's someone who disagrees!

I can't remember ever rejecting anyone, but I'm oblivious to my own signals as well, most of the time.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:10 PM
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||

Good lord, NZ don't play for twelve hours and I can already feel the anxiety; is this what it is like for the English every four years, without even the gift of novelty? For that makes me sorry even for the English.

|>


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:10 PM
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I am perhaps uncommon in that I have, since I was very young, asked men out, and have struck out pretty much every time. The only times I've been at all "successful" have been when I made it very clear that I am just asking a guy if he wants to get together as friends or colleagues and he then comes up with the idea of us dating on his own.

I probably asked out 10 or 12 different guys before going to college and never got a real date out of it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:11 PM
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I REJECT YOU!
I REJECT YOU!
I REJECT YOU!


Posted by: OPINIONATED SUNNI | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:13 PM
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Put another way, if you define "rejection" broadly enough, of course the sexes end up roughly parallel -- in a non-polygamous society, there aren't vastly greater numbers of single men than single women.

But the subject started with Heebie's view that people should straightfowardly hit on folks without worrying about rejection. Women will absolutely do better in that game, on average, then men.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:13 PM
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Don't do competitive tkd in college; they're a bunch of un-fun divas

Heh. Some young guy from the Korean* class downstairs from where I run our club arrived early so came upstairs to watch us train tonight. He looked like the contrast in seriousness bothered him, as he spent an hour glaring through the door at us, while, for at least the first half an hour we were doing silly things.** As I left they were all in a line in uniforms yelling in a very purposeful sounding way.

* no idea what, but they all wear red doboks.
** although we weren't playing tag, tonight.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:13 PM
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331: My view may be skewed by having gone to Gay Chicken college, where it was a really fun game for guys to get together and brag about all the hot chicks they'd rejected. Awesome fun times, guys.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:16 PM
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None of the men here will come out and say that we either now make too many passes or ever did so. The 19/20 failures for less-discriminating guys skews the distribution, and no we, er, they won't be insulted by an expression of interest, pretty much ever.

Sensitive responsible people of either sex who want to know and deeply respect their prospective partners are going to have similar strikeout issues, I guess.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/33158682@N06/4628444630/in/pool-that_70s_style.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:16 PM
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What? That's totes fun times AWB. I remember we had so much fun in high school doing that.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:20 PM
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And to ad insult to stereotype, I get rejected for sex by my own wife 9 times out of 10. Other peoples wives even more!


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:21 PM
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I probably asked out 10 or 12 different guys before going to college and never got a real date out of it.

This seems incredibly surprising to me, and I can't think of a similar example from my own high school or college experience. If it's not too nosy, was there some kind of weirdly rigid social hierarchical thing going on at your high school (boys from this side of the tracks can never be seen with girls from that side of the tracks in public)? Because that really doesn't track the kind of plausible HS dating story I can conceive of.

In my HS/JHS, very few girls did the asking out, but the ones who did were super-successful -- including my first date ever. Of course "success" involved getting stuck in a weird HS relationship with a boy, which in a way is its own kind of failure.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:24 PM
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I don't remember getting rejected very often. Which probably comes down to a combination of generally being quite good at recognizing when someone liked me, and different dating practices. However, I didn't hit on a lot of people, so I still had periods of being single.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:25 PM
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And girls actively chased me, which was great; and a lot easier if you are fundamentally lazy.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:26 PM
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ttaM, how many of those chasers did you end up rejecting? Was AWB one of them? I think you just ruined the curve, mate.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:28 PM
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Also, while I definitely remember lots of bullshit guy talk about this

it was a really fun game for guys to get together and brag about all the hot chicks they'd rejected.

from HS and college, actual non-bullshit rejections following an expression of interest were . . . not so common.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:28 PM
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re: 340

A few, who were clearly a bit 'difficult', or otherwise obviously not people I'd get on with, but not that many. It's not like there were dozens to chose from every single week.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:31 PM
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337: I wasn't very pretty. There was that hierarchy. But by high school I was popular, just not in a datable way. Guys liked being my friend.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:31 PM
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I hate Ttam a little bit right now.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:33 PM
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And girls actively chased me, which was great; and a lot easier if you are fundamentally lazy.

I realized a little while ago that the only times I've ever actually been romantically successful were when girls actively pursued me (and I noticed). So I've decided that's pretty much the plan from now on. It doesn't happen very often.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:37 PM
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the only times I've ever actually been romantically successful were when girls actively pursued me

Actually, a great strategy, if you can set up the conditions under which that might recur. This movie provides, IMO, the only accurate dating advice ever for men put onto film:

1. Eliminate your desires.
2. Do something excellent in her presence, thereby proving your sexual worthiness.
3. Retreat, for as Martin Heidegger said, "We pursue that which retreats from us".


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:42 PM
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My view may be skewed by having gone to Gay Chicken college, where it was a really fun game for guys to get together and brag about all the hot chicks they'd rejected. Awesome fun times, guys.

Of all the bizarre groups of people AWB has been surrounded by in her life, this may be the oddest.

Wait...does this mean guys who were gay but led women on?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:43 PM
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347: It was a 60+% male school full of dorky guys who seemed to be convinced that women existed mainly to distract them from their important work of becoming Howard Roark.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:48 PM
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Who is Howard Roark?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:52 PM
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Nevermind. I'll Google it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:54 PM
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I realized a little while ago that the only times I've ever actually been romantically successful were when girls actively pursued me (and I noticed). So I've decided that's pretty much the plan from now on. It doesn't happen very often.

I think this was the dating strategy for all girls until 1961. Then "The Pill" came out, and it was all downhill from there.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:54 PM
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Who is John Galt?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:56 PM
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It was a 60+% male school full of dorky guys who seemed to be convinced that women existed mainly to distract them from their important work of becoming Howard Roark.

Sounds like good times.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:57 PM
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352: That's the thing. I didn't know there were two of them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 5:57 PM
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I don't know if there is a significant difference between an instinctual, merely suspected nihilism and a more sophisticated, capable-of-being-defended-with-theories-from-books one, but I suspect not, so I would tell my 16 year-old self to read less and start smoking mj immediately.

Another piece of advice: telling girls that you're gay when you're not because you want them to feel less bad about rejection is not a sound strategy. You will then have to awkwardly explain yourself to any gay guys who believed you.

I've never intentionally made a pass or flirted with a lady (though, I've been told, I have flirted unintentionally) and I've initiated none of the "next steps" in relationships, and I've been fairly satisfied with my results. I'm doubling down on stoicism and passivity, with the option to reevaluate when I'm 25.


Posted by: Yrruk | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:03 PM
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Who is Howard Roark?

I knew the answer to this question, and yet when I read the comment I turned Howard Roark into Howard Beale and really couldn't make any sense of the allusion.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:07 PM
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Are you guys counting all instances of being turned down as rejection? I've had guys say they'd like to date me, but they're not free to or not in any shape to be dating. That's not rejection, right?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:09 PM
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A 60+% male school full of dorky guys who seemed to be convinced that women existed mainly to distract them from their important work of becoming Howard Beale would be something else. Regent University, maybe.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:09 PM
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343: You realize means you were pretty and that the guys did want to date you but were too shy or fearful of rejection.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:14 PM
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I've been trying to figure out why the question of male vs. female rejections, and differing gender-inflected practices in dating and in asking out, just isn't getting any kind of personal foothold for me, and I think it is something like ttaM's 338:

I don't remember getting rejected very often. Which probably comes down to a combination of generally being quite good at recognizing when someone liked me, and different dating practices. However, I didn't hit on a lot of people, so I still had periods of being single.

Which, you know, weird, right? It's not as though I've ever been the most desirable thing on the face of the planet. It's just, as ttaM suggests, that I was unilkely to pursue something if I suspected the answer would be no (not that I was always right there); and the vast majority of my dating experiences developed from having met someone with or among a group of friends, developing a relatively no-pressure friendship from the start, and then moving on to fairly blunt conversations like:

"Are we flirting?"

Followed by, "The thought crossed my mind" or "No, not really. Let's just head on out to meet so-and-so."

There wasn't very much flat-out asking someone for a date. A couple of amusing dinners out with a male friend during which we teased each other about whether this counted as a date, gave each other a wary eye, then either wound up getting together romantically or didn't.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:14 PM
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There are learn-able rules that are different from fashion; it makes a big difference.

This, this, this! The intersection of Times I Would Have Looked Good in Tight-Fitting Clothing and Times I Knew It was so, so small.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:17 PM
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359: This is actually not true. Or if it is true, it's true in that bullshit "My true inner self that doesn't actually exist might find you attractive if my outer self that is desperately worried about what others think weren't the only personality I functionally have" way.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:18 PM
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362: Maybe, but I went to a very small high school and wanted to date all of my female friends that weren't blood relatives.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:20 PM
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I've had guys say they'd like to date me, but they're not free to or not in any shape to be dating. That's not rejection, right?

If that's not rejection, what is?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:21 PM
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Which is to say that yes, when I refer to "rejection" I mean all instances of being turned down regardless of the reason.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:22 PM
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"I'm free to date and anxious to do so, but I wouldn't date you in particular because you, specifically, are repulsive to me."


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:22 PM
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What if you are turned down but the person confirms that he would like to date you under different circumstances?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:24 PM
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363 updated: The "but I went to a very small high school" should have been a separate sentence as it was intended as a separate thought (i.e. my high school experience was different than most). And I have a couple of first cousins (once removed) who I would have happily dated.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:24 PM
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No one actually says that though. If I'm rejecting someone, it's usually circumstantial. It's not like I say, "Here are some reasons why I feel that you are not an appropriate partner for me, no, not even in the very short term." When I've been rejected, it's usually that what he imagines I'm offering is not the kind of relationship he's looking for, but come on. If you really are into someone, you can be pretty reckless. I can, I think.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:26 PM
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If someone is in fact taken/not ready to date, it's not rejection. If someone is more-or-less clearly lying, it is rejection. Done.

The number of weirdos around AWB is truly something to contemplate. Thesis: dorks are dorks.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:26 PM
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I would tell my sixteen year old self to go ahead and kiss that girl at the end of your date. I mean she already said yeas to the date, and you standing at the door to her dorm saying goodbye with a very long awkward pause probably ended up damaging her psyche for life. If she only knew you were just a coward all would be well.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:27 PM
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367: Has this ever happened? I get this a lot, but when those circumstances change, we don't start dating.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:27 PM
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||

Go right now to Newsweek and, using your keyboard, hit: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, enter. Seriously. May not last long. (Via a friend on Facebook)

|>


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:28 PM
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"And sometimes when we touch
The honesty's too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:30 PM
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Just about every man (except, it seems, ttaM) has the narrative in his head that he has never rejected anyone and has almost always been the rejected. LB has been consistently good at poking this myth, and making me at least think of how often the case has been that someone was digging on me that I shut down.

Sometimes the shutting down happens on the fringe of consciousness -- you have some strange investment in the myth that you'll fuck anyone who wants to go, and you hesitate to tamper with it.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:30 PM
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first cousins (once removed)

Once removed from your uncle's basement?


Posted by: Butch Collidge | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:32 PM
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has the narrative in his head that he has never rejected anyone and has almost always been the rejected.

Not me! There were a few rejections, mostly in HS, a few later. Off the top of my head, some reasons for rejection in high school were: (a) wildly inappropriate girl (i.e., fundamentalist religious); (b) totally crazy and obsessive girl, but not in a sexy way, in a kind of scary way; (c) smart and attractive but dressed weird and had a bizarre hairstyle and seemed too difficult to integrate into my social life, while not being quite forward enough to overcome those problems.

I still wonder if (c) makes me an asshole. Probably it does!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:37 PM
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That's not rejection, right?

It wasn't you. It was them.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:39 PM
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377.last: Aren't you a lawyer? Overdetermined.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:41 PM
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Well, I'm not saying it's the only thing that makes me an asshole.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:43 PM
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When Childe* Flippanter imagined adult life, I think he believed that "dating" was what adults did after their counterparts-of-the-appropriate-sex had been assigned, or issued, by collective action of the relevant community. (To be fair, he also expected adult life to involve a great deal more haunted houses, mystery-solving and villain-unmasking than it does.) I suppose this was the kids-think-the-most-asinine-things version of the adolescent's, or college student's, or immature young adult's, belief that love is like magnetism and will inevitably, inexorably, draw together two** people, across crowded rooms, campuses, continents, oceans, etc., without detectable effort on the part of either.

Childe Flippanter read a great deal and with little adult supervision.

* I know. Indulge me.

** Or more, I suppose, though one thinks of Alan Moore's description of living with two women.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:43 PM
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Your rejection of the (c) types may well mean you rejected the ladies of unfogged, Halford; but you know, if you just weren't ready, you weren't ready.

(insert smiley face of some sort)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:46 PM
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I have rejected (a very small number of) people overtly, but I also missed a lot of signals that were either obvious in retrospect or discussed with me sometime later (primarily because it took me a long time to trust that I might be judged attractive), and given what they thought, rightly or wrongly, were signals just short of leg-humping, this was read by the girls/women in question as as straightforward a rejection as if they'd asked me out and been turned down. In terms of actually saying and hearing "no", our society has clearly been set up so that men experience the latter far more often, but it doesn't mean men haven't effectively done the former more than they might immediately recall.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:48 PM
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Yeah, I think (c) is usually my problem, at least in the "difficult to integrate" way. Odd women often are.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:49 PM
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To be fair, he also expected adult life to involve a great deal more haunted houses, mystery-solving and villain-unmasking than it does.

But villain-unmasking isn't a feature of adult life. In every case I know about, the villains would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling kids.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:51 PM
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Even women neatly go into two. Odd women go every where.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:51 PM
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I think there's a ton of gaze-avoiding if you're not interested in the person that everybody does, but then mostly forgets they did, because gaze-avoiding is such an unconscious move. This counts as rejection, folks. You did it!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:52 PM
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Odd women are easier to integrate into threesomes.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:52 PM
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385: Daphne looked plenty adult to me at the time.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:53 PM
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What's the integral of an odd woman?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:53 PM
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I was going more for a bumper sticker joke than a calc joke. Largely so I didn't have to find the code for that funny symbol at the front of the expression.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:54 PM
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Huh. I just googled (c) and it seems there's a non-trivial possibility that she is in fact known to, or acquaintanced with (at least one of) the women of Unfogged. Maybe I could rectify my mistake! I'd be happy to do so!

(To be clear, at this point in my life the high schoolish concerns that prompted the rejection in (c) seem totally ludicrous)


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:56 PM
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392: Do it for the blog, Rob. Liveblog it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 6:57 PM
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"Hey, so, I kind of half-heartedly ignored your request for a date in high school, mostly because of your hairstyle, and I've been kind of regretting it since . . . "

"Who are you? Oh. And why do you want to talk to me?"

"Well, I was hoping to liveblog our encounter as part of an ongoing conversation I've been having with a bunch of strangers while procrastinating . . ."

"YES! Let's have sex!"

This is pretty much how it's gonna go down.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:00 PM
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I'm a fan of Miss Piggy's technique here. (Starts at 38 seconds.) Proof that even the most beautiful of women can make themselves perfectly clear and still be rejected.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:01 PM
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This counts as rejection, folks.

I disagree that gaze-avoiding counts as rejection. Isn't there a middle category of possibly-attracted-checking-to-see that one engages in, and so one checks, by, say, gazing or engaging in more conversation, and if that gets no particular response beyond the courteous and/or noncommittal, then one concludes that there's no particular interest there, and no hard feelings?

I've engaged in a run-on sentence, but I stand by the thought that that kind of thing doesn't count as rejection except in the most rigorous sense that it doesn't count as assent.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:02 PM
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392: Ooooh! A test of the uncertain boundaries of the sanctity-of-off-blog-communication. You know all the odd women of Unfogged are imagining that you are That Guy who rejected them and their moment of vindication/validation is now nigh.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:02 PM
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394: I've been Facebook-friended by at least a few guys from HS who have done the "Wow, AWB, it's great to see you. NYC, huh! That's amazing, and grad school? I'd love to see you sometime. I admired you so much in high school" thing and I don't find it offensive. Generally, it seems to be the guys who treated me like a (c) they've gotten over. I don't have a grudge.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:04 PM
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In keeping with my apparently maximalist interpretation of rejection, I'd say that gaze-avoiding qualifies. I've totally done it, too, for reasons that in retrospect seem really dumb. Oh well.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:05 PM
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No, no, no. It's nobody ON here. It's just someone who looks like they might have a professional connection to what I think is the professional connection of someone else here and OH YEAH MYSTERY.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:05 PM
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Take the thread to 1000, Halford! Or at least 500.

On the general topic, I am put off enough by married/attached men hitting on me that I sometimes preemptively send global "No" signals* in situations where I know that 85-90% of the men I'm coming into contact with are in that category. Which kind of stinks if there is a single, age-approrpriate guy in the 10-15% that I happen to be attracted to, but that almost never happens.

*E.g. being exceptionally cautious about eye contact. I'm not running around egotistically assuming people are interested in me.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:16 PM
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I have rejected (a very small number of) people overtly, but I also missed a lot of signals that were either obvious in retrospect or discussed with me sometime later (primarily because it took me a long time to trust that I might be judged attractive), and given what they thought, rightly or wrongly, were signals just short of leg-humping, this was read by the girls/women in question as as straightforward a rejection as if they'd asked me out and been turned down. In terms of actually saying and hearing "no", our society has clearly been set up so that men experience the latter far more often, but it doesn't mean men haven't effectively done the former more than they might immediately recall.

Very good comment.

I think men and women probably do the "former" equally often though. Which when combined with the overt rejections inherent in our dating tradition, still puts women ahead.

I am racking my brains and can only remember rejecting one person through disinterest, feigned confusion, gaze avoidance, or anything else. One person whose name I knew, anyway. I really wish I could ask my facebook friends as a group if any of them ever had crushes on me.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:18 PM
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OH YEAH MYSTERY.

Flippanter, now's your chance.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:19 PM
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399: Well, good lord. If, according to a maximalist interpretation of rejection, anything short of falling into bed counts as rejection, and if, further, men are (according to some remarks upthread) prone to "swing at" anything that crosses their paths, no wonder they feel that they are constantly rejected.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:19 PM
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402: Invite them to join a new FB group, "People who used to have crushes on Cryptic Ned" and see who bites.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:20 PM
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Semi on-topic because Howard Roark: are folks aware that Glenn Beck's NOVEL, I said NOVEL comes out, I believe, tomorrow? The Overton Window, though from what I read about it, I'm guessing it would have been a little less coy to call it The Countin' Shed or Hatless Frugged or something.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:21 PM
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(309: sorry, I had to deal with real life. XKCD, sort of. NP = X's ass, rather than -ass as an adjectivizer. The best example sentence is "John ['s] ass done messed himself up" (but *messed itself up))


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:24 PM
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Maybe it's the NYC context, but there is a real divide here in that there are some guys, many of whom are perfectly attractive, who are obviously gaming any girl who comes into sight, and those who act like no one is good enough for them. A few weeks ago, a good-looking guy on the train was giving me the eye, but because I wasn't giving him sufficient business back, he immediately turned to the next girl who got on, and started up a conversation and got her number. I kept thinking, girl, you could have been anybody. Be careful!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:24 PM
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407: I love it. Yay. Ass camouflage!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:25 PM
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373 is super awesome.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:26 PM
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284- I totally would have been one of those geekish guys. Thankfully we're past the point of such misunderstandings.

I will cop to falling into the narrative in 375. But it was built on an experience in Junior High School of being asked out, out of nowhere, by a strange girl with a full entourage of companions. I was a huge dork and had no idea how to respond, so I panicked, mumbled "no." and walked quickly past. So I could point to subsequent feelings of rejection as sort of karma or penance, or [substitute preferred form of guilt-laden magical thinking].

383 goes for me, as well.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:28 PM
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I kept thinking, girl, you could have been anybody. Be careful!

Absolutely right.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:30 PM
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I think one reason young men end up rejecting or missing signals is the onus society generally puts on men to take the lead romantically. That is, the girl may give all kinds of subtle signals but the guy is going to have to step up and take the lead in actually making out. Which is actually more complex than you'd think when you're young, intimidated, and inexperienced. A certain amount of young guys "missing signals" is just have no idea how to escalate things properly and gracefully and retreating before the challenge.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:30 PM
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407 continued, so I think CN gets $5 for 310, but since your guess did not include any mention of parasites or heads, I'm withholding the cookie.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:30 PM
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414: Fair enough.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:32 PM
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Echoing lots of stuff from above, I only remember ever rejecting one person who expressed interest, and that was after a first date (which I had no interest in, but had accepted because I couldn't bring myself to affirmatively reject), when she'd asked about a second date.

But there have been very few people who "expressed interest", at least that I was aware of. And I've long wondered if I was just terrible at picking up signals. Like the hot girl in high school, who was always sitting next to me and touching my arms and told me I had "gorgeous eyes". Is it possible she was trying to express interest? Hard to believe, but maybe. I'm not sure I even considered the possibility at the time.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:32 PM
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I'm withholding the cookie.

That's what she said.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:34 PM
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There was one girl who told me I was one of the very few guys she would be comfortable getting oral sex from, as compared to a larger number of guys who she could imagine having intercourse with, but she also claimed to be a lesbian at the time.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:34 PM
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I guess I am personally a bit invested in challenging the idea that men are open to everything and women are selective because, of the women I know in serious relationships, all of them seem to be with men of whom they would have said before meeting them weren't their "type," while almost all the men I know are with men of whom they would have always said were their "type." The women I know in stable relationships have allowed themselves to be surprised by someone less fashionable, more dorky, less sociable than they ever thought was their "thing," but most of the guys I know are with the same girls they would have liked in high school. This is probably a product of the fact that most of my straight women friends are older than me, and most of my straight men friends are younger than me or my age.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:34 PM
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I am not having sex right now. Ergo, I am rejecting approximately 3.4 billion women. Also, I am simultaneously being rejected by that many women. Some rejections hurt more than others, I tell you.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:35 PM
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A certain amount of young guys "missing signals" is just have no idea how to escalate things properly and gracefully and retreating before the challenge.

Definitely true, and very apt. It's remarkable how much technique it is more or less necessary to employ to get even the most obviously this-is-fated-to-happen romantic relationship off the ground. Technique that one learns over time, but still. It's a wonder any man (except me, of course) gets laid before they're 25, and I'm still kind of awestruck by the amount of dumb luck it took in my case.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:35 PM
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418: Untimely warning: Run.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:35 PM
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To breathe is to reject, I say.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:36 PM
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It's remarkable how much technique it is more or less necessary to employ to get even the most obviously this-is-fated-to-happen romantic relationship off the ground.

But why can't people just use their words?! Teenaged romances are awkward for the most part, sure, but subsequently, we have words! Are people trying to fake each other out, play a role, and that's why all this technique is required?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:48 PM
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It's not you, it's me. I just cannot tolerate high concentrations of CO2.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:49 PM
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Teenaged romances are awkward for the most part, sure, but subsequently, we have words! Are people trying to fake each other out, play a role, and that's why all this technique is required?

I think the issue is that people are afraid of being rejected.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:50 PM
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But why can't people just use their words?!

Fear of rejection, which is particularly painful when it's totally explicit. Regardless of how far you want to go in defining the concept, surely "Do you want to go out with me?" "No." qualifies as a canonical instance.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:51 PM
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But why can't people just use their words?!

Pretty lady, come eat, see movie. Me interesed, but no stalk you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:52 PM
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428: You didn't say the magic word!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:53 PM
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Nipple?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:53 PM
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Uno!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:55 PM
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424: Isn't it obvious? Masculinity is a lie, femininity is a lie, and flirting is about lying. I recently collected a bunch of papers from my students in which that line had been written as a note with stars around it, that I ought to give back to her. But flirting only works if both parties are fully aware that the other is fully aware of what the other really means. It's a pretty complex scenario, rhetorically. Sadly, we can't just go up to people and say "let's do it," unless what you want is to be treated really poorly. Heterosexuality is hard.

I'm not saying being gay is easy, but my relationships with women have required a lot less of this bullshit than my relationships with men. I'm bad at it, and end up just being honest, and it's a huge failure.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:55 PM
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Heterosexuality is hard.

Said the bishop to the actress.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:57 PM
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426: I think the bigger problem is that people don't know what they want. It's much more obsessing at that age to worry about what your friends think about the sexual choices you might make, and rejecting is much easier than saying yes.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:57 PM
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I don't know how it is in the land of hippies, but where I've been "just use words" is pretty lame advice.

OK, that sounded way nastier than I meant -- it would be great if we could just use words, but, come on, even in hippiedom this is just not useful. Which words? When? Are words going to get you to a kiss? When do you initiate a kiss? Do you ask first (only rarely a good idea -- but you need to make sure that you know what you're doing before you do it)? How do you play out the game of gauging just enough when things are working, without killing a mood?

Indeed, if I had to set out a blanket rule for awkward young men, I'd say that trying to start with explicit conversation is about the worst idea that you can possibly have. ("I would like us to sit down and have a conversation about whether or not I am going to kiss you now.").


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 7:58 PM
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Isn't it obvious? Masculinity is a lie, femininity is a lie, and flirting is about lying.

Masculinity is often more of a never achieved goal than an out-and-out lie. Like the "Suggested Serving" picture on the can of ham.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:00 PM
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I think the bigger problem is that people don't know what they want. It's much more obsessing at that age to worry about what your friends think about the sexual choices you might make, and rejecting is much easier than saying yes.

This, definitely.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:03 PM
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flirting is about lying

What?

Sadly, we can't just go up to people and say "let's do it,"

Just doing it isn't usually what I'm after when I flirt with someone in the first place. If it were the case that all I wanted was to have sex, my behavior would be very different, so if that's what we're talking about, ignore many of my remarks in this thread: sure, a great deal of technique and posturing would be required in order to get someone into bed without particularly engaging them on many other levels.

Maybe I haven't been understanding what we're talking about.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:04 PM
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Masculinity is about presenting oneself as a conqueror, and femininity is about presenting oneself as the conquerable. Masculinity in flirting is about presenting oneself as conquered, while femininity in flirting is about presenting oneself as the conqueror. Flirting heterosexually is very hard, if both parties are supposed to be fully aware of one another's ironies.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:06 PM
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439: May I, without irony, suggest that you might be over thinking things.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:07 PM
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if I had to set out a blanket rule for awkward young men, I'd say that trying to start with explicit conversation is about the worst idea that you can possibly have.

Just remembered something else I need to include in my letter to the 16 y.o. KR!


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:07 PM
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442

I tried 373 on my powerbook, but nothing exciting happened. What did you guys see?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:07 PM
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442: Zombie news stories.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:08 PM
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440: I just taught a book about this from 1741, in which this very problem is the central issue. It's my job to overthink this.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:09 PM
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445

444: Is this going to be on the final?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:11 PM
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445: You betcha.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:11 PM
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I thought of something!

Dear 16-year-old me: The reason why you never see friends outside of school and have only fleeting desires to date is because you know you are fated to lose touch with everyone you know as soon as you go to college, and you have trouble living for the moment. So, it's not people ignoring you - you are contributing to this as well.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:12 PM
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444: My job is to run statistics for medical research. I still manage to ignore pretty much all medical research.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:12 PM
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449

Webster's dictionary defines masculinity as "having qualities appropriate to or usually associated with a man." Masculinity therefore is for men, including those in literature, a form of manliness. Sometimes masculinity is involved in flirting. When flirting, men try to take on a manly role, such as that of the conqueror, the hero, or "The Situation" from the program Jersey Shore. Flirting is difficult because sometimes masculinty-inclined men need to be careful not to indicate that they are not too masculine but are also somewhat feminine, such as many notable 18th Century characters of which we have been reading this semester who are men but are both masculine and somewhat feminine in approach. In conclusion, masculinity is a good idea and is a component of flirting and literature but is not its only idea and femininity must be considered as well.


Posted by: OPINIONATED AWB C- STUDENT | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:17 PM
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450

But why can't people just use their words?!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFTEdyl1Vio


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:18 PM
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449: I have secondary sources, bub.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:18 PM
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Flirting heterosexually is very hard, if both parties are supposed to be fully aware of one another's ironies.

Fortunately, flirting also involves just rolling with whatever comes along, even if you're not aware of each other's ironies.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:18 PM
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449: "Since the dawn of time, men have sought to be masculine when flirting."


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:19 PM
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"Since the days of Copernicus, man has dreamed of flight...."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:20 PM
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LB has been consistently good at poking this myth, and making me at least think of how often the case has been that someone was digging on me that I shut down.

I would also say that conversations on this blog have been good at making me aware of the ways in which men reject women. I wonder, occasionally, whether there are people in my past who would feel like I rejected them but, I cannot think of any examples.

I'm sure there were people who thought more positively than I was aware of at the time, but I don't feel like that ever escalated to the point of much contact.

But I have always been antisocial.

(I overstate, of course, but I really cannot think of examples in my life that I would categorize as me rejecting romantic overtures from somebody else.)


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:22 PM
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Which words? When? Are words going to get you to a kiss? When do you initiate a kiss? Do you ask first (only rarely a good idea -- but you need to make sure that you know what you're doing before you do it)? How do you play out the game of gauging just enough when things are working, without killing a mood?

I've been assuming that we're talking about people adult enough, with enough experience, that they can kind of tell when a kiss is going to be well-received. I'd say that asking, if necessary, wouldn't go all bad, and has a better chance of success than guessing if you're really that unsure.

About the mood-killing, I don't know: there's nothing wrong with a suddenly awkward moment during which the parties at hand confess to unsurety, laughs and giggles are exchanged, you break to look together at something else, then things get down to business after all.

The stress would otherwise just kill me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:23 PM
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Also ,despite being made aware of the prevalence of catcalling by this blog, I can't remember doing that either.


Posted by: Cryptic need | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:24 PM
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458

Ned only oppresses women when he's blackout drunk.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:26 PM
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459

I've been assuming that we're talking about people adult enough, with enough experience, that they can kind of tell when a kiss is going to be well-received.

Such people exist?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:26 PM
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460

374 to 456.3.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:29 PM
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Alvy Singer: Hey listen, gimme a kiss.
Annie Hall: Really?
Alvy Singer: Yeah, why not, because we're just gonna go home later, right, and then there's gonna be all that tension, we've never kissed before and I'll never know when to make the right move or anything. So we'll kiss now and get it over with, and then we'll go eat. We'll digest our food better.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:30 PM
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462

459: Yes. Myself, if in the situation at hand I'm not sure, I ask in one way or another.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:30 PM
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Since this is the dating thread, a question: what is the polite way of dealing with the situation on an online dating site where you're just getting bored with the other person's messages and don't feel like keeping a conversation going? I've been just not responding; there doesn't seem like a polite way of saying "I'm not interested in corresponding with you further, because this is boring."


Posted by: William Howard Taft | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:33 PM
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459: Teo, get yourself a Dan Hill 8-track and he'll explain it all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:34 PM
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464 to 463.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:35 PM
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463: fake a panther attack.

"Haha, yeah, I definitely do think the Muppets were obviously puppets on Fraggle Rock as well, although yeah, good point that.... AAIIIEEEE WHERE'D THAT PANTHER COME FR-"

Problem solved.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:36 PM
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462: Well, that's definitely not the sort of thing I've been discussing. If I could tell in advance if a kiss would be well-received things would be so much easier.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:37 PM
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464: I suppose I could, but I'd have no way to play it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:37 PM
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469

467 to 466.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:37 PM
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470

468 to 466.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:38 PM
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471

What Parsimon is talking about is precisely the technique that it takes (most) guys a little while to learn.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:38 PM
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472

I'm often amazed at the kinds of things that some people find trivially easy.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:41 PM
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468: How about a tape of Self Control by Laura Branigan. Different solution, same goal.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:41 PM
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474

a tape

Again...


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:42 PM
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472 -- trivially easy after a bunch of experience. Most guys are not born super-intuitive flirters/kissers/move makers.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:44 PM
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474: Laura Branigan is probably on iTunes or where you kids get your music from these days. Same with Dan Hill, who I just learned, didn't hibernate starting in 1982.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:45 PM
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Most guys are not born super-intuitive flirters/kissers/move makers.

And the research proving Baby Smoove B tapes effective has largely been discredited.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:46 PM
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as Martin Heidegger said, "We pursue that which retreats from us"

God, if this isn't the story of my dating life I don't know what is.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:47 PM
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And finally, this blog ALSO introduced me to the concept of "whimpsters", and I can't remember ever being one of...oh.

I've been assuming that we're talking about people adult enough, with enough experience, that they can kind of tell when a kiss is going to be well-received.

You're the only one.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:49 PM
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480

I think I'll stick with the "letting them come to me" strategy. At least that way it's easier to tell if they like me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:51 PM
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And the research proving Baby Smoove B tapes effective has largely been discredited.

And yet the Walt Disney Company refuses to refund the money I spent wanting only the best for my son.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:52 PM
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Teo, that's a bad strategy. I'm now going to give you some advice, which is about 70% correct. Don't try kissing a girl without which she has previously found an excuse to touch you and you have done the same. And when you have done the same, it was well received. This may sound weird but it's often how people communicate. But also don't just go around randomly touching girls. Be on a date or having a really really good conversation. Not in a group of people. It's more like guidelines.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:57 PM
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483

That's not very helpful advice, text.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:58 PM
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as Martin Heidegger said, "We pursue that which retreats from us"

O.K. This just gave me the best idea for an internet dating service ever. I need $40,000, a photo of a woman in fishnet stockings a black military cap without insignia, and the right domain name.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:59 PM
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Not that I'm actually looking for advice. The aforementioned strategy is working fine.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:59 PM
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My most recent first kiss was the first one I embarked upon without fear that I was misreading signals and with a sense that I was taking the utterly appropriate course of action. So, perhaps these intuitions can be learned--it just takes some of us a bit longer to learn them. Other things remain not-obvious to me.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 8:59 PM
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487

482 speaks the truth. Also, if eye contact is sustained for more than a few seconds, and you're in a suitable place (i.e., alone, towards the end of a date), just go for it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:00 PM
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488

The key is to wait for a meetup.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:01 PM
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489

The key is to wait for a meetup.

And when it happens, to be able to find it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:02 PM
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490

It's like Teo has 25 slightly gross, oversharing uncles with excessively specific advice.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:03 PM
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491

The aforementioned strategy is working fine.

Booze + Smoky The Bear hat? Right?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:03 PM
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492

491: You forgot the stargazing.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:04 PM
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Parsimon, it seems to me you are somewhat blithely glossing over the entire process between first making eye contact with someone attractive and having interacted enough that explicit discussion of the attraction would be even remotely appropriate. Presumably you don't, upon meeting someone, announce, "I find you physically appealing and am going to engage in some conversation to help evaluate whether I am attracted to you as a whole package."


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:05 PM
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494

Good posture and regular flossing. If you keep Metamucil at home, hide it.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:06 PM
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495

The eye contact heuristic is more reliable than the "playing with her hair" heuristic.

And the research proving Baby Smoove B tapes effective has largely been discredited.

Clumsy government goal-setting for this sort of thing is unnecessary. Our finest PUA scientists are doing groundbreaking private-sector work in this very competitive field.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:06 PM
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496

saying "you look nice" in a discreet setting usually covers 493.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:07 PM
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497

I've found that when a woman flirts with me over a period of time and it seems encouraging and then she casually reveals that she has a significant other (usually revealed in conversation involving both us two and another guy), it's a sign that she's interested in me. (As opposed to when the significant other is mentioned almost immediately.) Not the most helpful sign, though, although in one case it probably would have been ok if I'd picked up the additional signs that she was in the process of losing interest in the guy she'd been seeing for the past few years.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:07 PM
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498

It's like Teo has 25 slightly gross, oversharing uncles with excessively specific advice.

We should all have been so blessed.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:08 PM
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499

she has previously found an excuse to touch you and you have done the same. And when you have done the same, it was well received. This may sound weird but it's often how people communicate.

This made me laugh!

text gets it totally right.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:08 PM
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500

497 is as may be, but flirtation among the thoroughly coupled is probably best not followed up on even if the follow up might be successful.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:15 PM
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501

text gets it totally right.

new mouseover?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:16 PM
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502

Booze + Smoky The Bear hat? Right?

That has been the most successful method, it's true.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:17 PM
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503

I totally should have brought that hat here.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:18 PM
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504

I probably should have phrased 497 to exclude anyone married. So not quite thoroughly coupled, but thorough enough for me to figure it's not going anywhere.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:19 PM
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505

You can probably get a new hat. The key is that you know how to wear it naturally.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:19 PM
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506

The key is to wait for a meetup.

This sums up my entire post-college dating strategy.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:19 PM
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507

503: you didn't bring the hat? Oh man. Never let go of that hat.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:20 PM
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Parsimon, it seems to me you are somewhat blithely glossing over the entire process between first making eye contact with someone attractive and having interacted enough that explicit discussion of the attraction would be even remotely appropriate

I didn't see this earlier. I'm not blithely glossing over it so much as assuming that if the people are at the point at which kissing is on the table, they've already gone from first eye contact to having interacted further, they've had one-on-one time together, and then it wouldn't be inapppropriate to discuss -- if necessary by then -- whether there's something more at hand.

We've been talking rather variously about when to make the kissing move or when to even ask for a date. My most recent remarks upthread were about the kissing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:21 PM
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509

I just taught a book about this from 1741

Shamela doesn't explain it all, you know. That's why Richardson wrote Clarissa.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:30 PM
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510

507: I didn't spring for the travel case, and they can apparently get badly damaged in transit otherwise. Perhaps not the best decision.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:30 PM
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511

I have seriously been considering working at Chaco again this summer, though. Not sure if it'll work out, but I did ask.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:31 PM
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Backing up to TLLs comment, about whether it's more painful to have indirect or direct advances rejected: oh, I find they're about the same, only direct rejection is a lot quicker. With indirect, you get to imagine that maybe goodthings, but also maybe badthings, and this takes much time and energy. On the whole, I preferred the crisp answer.

And I left as much face for everyone as possible; always starting with an invitation to a specific event and time, and if rejected on grounds of calendar, saying Oh, maybe something else, then. Which, I must say, is the way I preferred to be approached, somewhere in the middle of the eye contact | standing closer | remembering details from last time | unneeded touching | leaning really really close | kissing minuet. Mmmm. My sweetie and I knew when our eyes met the first time, and we still dragged out the courtship for months, including a camping trip with one tent. Oh.

AWB, what 1741 book? Shamela?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:35 PM
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513

are folks aware that Glenn Beck's NOVEL, I said NOVEL comes out, I believe, tomorrow?

I'm told it's a "novel of ideas." Or perhaps a novel of "ideas."


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:35 PM
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514

A "novel" of "ideas."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:38 PM
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515

I think I take the cake when it comes to missing the boat on the dating cues. I actually had a guy in high school who I liked quite a bit finally give up on the constantly asking me to do things, flirting, etc, and directly ask me to sleep with him* - and I thought he was joking. Joking! Because who would want to have sex with me?

My dating life has not improved much since then.

*An act that I would have been amenable to, had I thought he was serious.


Posted by: Eleanor R. | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:39 PM
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516

|

Hey, can we chew on this?

>


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 9:48 PM
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The link in 516 suggests that a way to prevent oneself from overestimating the chances of rejection is to say, "At least it's not the academic job market." (Also note that it's the science job market this time, instead of the markets that tend to get more attention in these threads.) On the other hand, on the academic job market, your expectations can't get too high.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:04 PM
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518

In my experience, very few of the science PhD students have any goal of being professors themselves.

The bigger problem is the lack of hiring by drug companies, as coincidentally also mentioned today in the Unfog family of blogs.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:08 PM
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519

Maybe I should say "Possibly just as big a problem".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:09 PM
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That article's shift between talking about "America's" ability to be at the forefront of science, innovation &tc. in comparison with other countries and talking about Americans - "especially the native-born white males who once formed the backbone of the nation's research and technical community" - going into scientific careers in the US in comparison with people from other countries who go on to scientific careers in the US is kind of unseemly.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:22 PM
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I just went to Chaco, teo. It was amazing. And the guide was great. Not hott, exactly, but certainly very appealing. That said, it could have been the hat.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:38 PM
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Also, while driving to Chaco, I hear Glenn Beck talking about his book. So I've got my finger on the pulse of this thread.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:39 PM
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d


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:39 PM
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Did you avoid Arizona?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:45 PM
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Did you avoid Arizona?

I hear Glenn Beck talking about his book

Arizona's influence is everywhere.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:51 PM
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I drove across the state but spent no money there: I bought gas in Needles and then again in Gallup.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:52 PM
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Oh wait, this was before driving across the country with my family, during which trip we traveled the northern tier, stopping in Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Badlands.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:54 PM
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I just went to Chaco, teo. It was amazing. And the guide was great. Not hott, exactly, but certainly very appealing. That said, it could have been the hat.

Good to hear.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:58 PM
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From that description I'm curious which guide you had, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 10:59 PM
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A young woman, not more than 25-30, with curly, brown, shoulder-length hair. That's the best I can do.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:08 PM
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Wait, there's more: she said she'd only been at the park for eight or nine months. Which means she arrived around the time you left, right? Anyway, she was great: enthusiastic but not cloying, knowledgeable but not overbearing, and funny but not inappropriate (she noted that it was a sacred site and asked people to be respectful). I was really, really impressed, so much so that I dropped a couple of bucks into her hat on the way out.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:10 PM
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520: You can parse it in a less creepy and more accurate way. Based on my totally anecdotal experience of the last few years, the US would have hardly any *undergraduate* STEM students if we only counted the traditional white men. I have seriously wondered whether white boys at the margin went into finance because they had more 'like us' advantage there, or whether they avoided STEM because there is more competition there than there used to be.

But the job market is really, seriously, dreadful; it's about like deciding to fund a fringe theater by working for scut wages for a decade. Of course, I have a friend doing that. Maybe we can collaborate on a production of "White Boys At the Margin".


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:14 PM
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Yeah, I know who that is, although she did indeed come there after I had left, and I don't know her personally. Glad to hear she was impressive.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:14 PM
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Based on my totally anecdotal experience of the last few years, the US would have hardly any *undergraduate* STEM students if we only counted the traditional white men.

But what's the point of counting like that?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:19 PM
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534: arguably, the tracks favored by the traditionally privileged are the tracks most likely to have promising job outcomes and/or favorable conditions generally.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:21 PM
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So many privileged white men are going elsewhere. I'm still failing to see what this means for the prospects of American scientific research, except that fewer privileged white men have been, are, and will be engaged in it. Sure, it could be a sign that the job market is tougher. It seems pretty far down on the list of such signs compared with things like, qualified people having difficulty finding jobs that people with similar qualifications used to find, increasing time as a postdoc, etc..


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:31 PM
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Also, "kind of unseemly" is not the same as "creepy."


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:41 PM
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I'm very late to catch up on this thread, but I must join the chorus: Thorn! You're great! Comment more!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-14-10 11:56 PM
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In my experience, very few of the science PhD students have any goal of being professors themselves.

Totally the opposite of my experience! Probably has something to do with how applied the science is.

(Actually I should just shut up, since not doing lab science puts me in a world with very little overlap with the sort of things one reads in such articles.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:00 AM
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Are white men really that 'missing' in the sciences? When I was an undergrad they were actually overrepresented relative to their proportion of the undergrad population or at least that's what it looked like to me. My college was about thirty percent white men, and I'd estimate that they made up a good half of the science majors. In related stuff, what struck me when I came to America for college was the lack of white protestants in college. Between the non-whites (c. 40%) and the Jews (c. one third) and the white Catholics (c. 15%) they were very underrepresented relative to the overall population. And white protestants from non stereotypical WASP type backgrounds (NE upper class mainline) were virtually non existent.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:07 AM
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Are white men really that 'missing' in the sciences?

No. The last thing we need are more white men.

From the article linked in 516:

According to a recent post on the blog of a well-informed physicist, eight people have already accepted postdoc positions at Princeton in the field of particle physics for the coming year. That is one particle physicist shy of the total number in that field hired nationally as faculty members this year.

This is, um, what's the phrase, not even wrong. Hopefully the rest of the research in the article is more accurate.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:20 AM
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Actually, out of an excess of caution: could someone Google-proof the quoted bit in 541?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:40 AM
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Fear of rejection, which is particularly painful when it's totally explicit. Regardless of how far you want to go in defining the concept, surely "Do you want to go out with me?" "No." qualifies as a canonical instance.

This is where the cultural differences thing comes in, I think. I've only ever explicitly asked a couple of people out, in that sort of way, ever. I think the track record is something like 2 failures, 1 success for that sort of thing.

Isn't the usual thing more like this?

You go to a thing -- a party, event, gig, whatever -- and meet friends. You get a bit drunk and chat happily with said friends, but at some point in the evening you notice some really attractive girl who is either there and totally unknown to you, or, perhaps, someone who has come along with a friend or friend of a friend. As the evening progresses you find each other maybe catching each others eye a bit more than would be normal, perhaps a wry smile passes between you as you mutually acknowledge a bit of eye-flirting. Later, after beer has been drunk, you maybe accidentally, or accidentally on purpose find yourself sitting next to each other. Maybe you chat a bit. One or both of you makes the other laugh. At some point you are making a bit more eye contact, and the girl has her head tilted in just that sort of way, and is looking at you a bit more intently and this seems like the appropriate point to kiss ....

Sometimes that process can be extremely quick. I've met a girl and gone from the eye contact across a crowded room, flirty flirty stage to kissing in less than five minutes. Sometimes it might take longer, and you maybe meet a couple of times at various things, until you seek each other out at parties/gigs/whatever to flirt a bit, and then the kissing happens.

There isn't a lot of opportunities for explicit rejection there, and usually you'd know long before the kissing stage how kissing would be taken if attempted.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:42 AM
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High-status indoor work with no heavy lifting? Yeah, that will be running out of white guys real soon.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:44 AM
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Don't try kissing a girl without which she has

Marry me, Damon Runyon.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:48 AM
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I've been assuming that we're talking about people adult enough, with enough experience, that they can kind of tell when a kiss is going to be well-received.

And yes, this. As inumerable women have pointed out on these threads, they are often sending 'kiss me, idiot' signals. In my experience it's usually pretty blatant. I'm sure sometimes the signals have been too subtle to be noticed [or I've otherwise been oblivious due to i) strong drink, ii) being an idiot, or iii) both], but false positives are rare. 'Kiss me' body language isn't that hard to spot.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:49 AM
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I have the impression, entirely second-hand, sometimes overheard, that the sequence in 543 is not that uncommon in the US, but is more frequent in the UK or among people from the UK; also that the relevant cultural differences involve not just romantic approaches, but also the self-selection process involved in deciding to comment at this blog.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:53 AM
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Isn't the usual thing more like this?

Would be nice.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 1:01 AM
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546: In the US, it's a lot more work than that. At some point early in knowing the woman, you usually have to actively pursue.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 3:26 AM
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509: A lot of books came out that year!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 3:31 AM
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512.last: No.

547: It may also be more common in different places. In Cleveland, my friends were a lot more likely to bring fun strangers (to me) to parties, and my friends found it incredibly easy to pick up on them, kiss them, etc. I've never been to a party that relaxed in NYC.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 3:38 AM
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||
No more masturbating to Touchdown Jesus.
|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:01 AM
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re: 551

Yes, Soup Biscuit used to always say that he didn't recognize the up-tightness of many Unfogged dating stories, and his experiences were more in line with mine [which I'd imagine are fairly typical for where I'm from].

re: 549

Fuck that, basically. I'm too lazy and too big-headed to bother.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:15 AM
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One of the bizarre things about the coastal US is that although women here have more education and more powerful jobs than in other parts of the country, femininity is much more enforced here than in other places I've lived. Any time I've dated a guy who was actually from NYC, I've ended up hearing about how strangely masculine I seem to them, not really a woman in the way that women are women. It's not how I dress or anything, they say; it's the fact that I'm not verbally submissive. It freaks them out. [big eyeroll]


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:24 AM
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I'm with essear's 539: we all kind of vaguely plan on landing a faculty job (because what other marketable skills do we have?), it's just that we have very low odds of actually getting there.


Posted by: lurking opinionated astrophysicist | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:32 AM
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...which, I should add, affects the dating scene by making it a lot more formal and traditionally transactional. I buy you dinner and talk. You listen and nod and later permit me to paw you in a bar. I haven't seen much of the friendly hanging-out-with-friends hookup scene.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:34 AM
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The person I knew who went into astrophysics I always knew was smart, but I didn't have any sense that she was brilliant, but she must have been. She did her Ph.d. at Caltech and as of a few years ago was tenure track at Princeton.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:37 AM
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Physicists and computer scientists should have no problem getting jobs. I can see that biology, chemistry, and other non-mathematical graduates might.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:55 AM
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556. Bleechh. Have you thought about moving?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 5:08 AM
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559: Yeah, she's going to Oxford (well, hopefully, I think). Now which way does one pass the port?


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 5:15 AM
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Clockwise. Or, if you're homeless and on a park bench, to the big man.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 5:18 AM
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552: If this doesn't finally convince the sceptics that Obama is the Antichrist, what's it going to take?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 5:28 AM
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552: Don't worry, it'll be back in 3 days.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 6:00 AM
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ttaM's version of 'dating' sounds pretty standard to me, except for the easy reading of signals and lack of inhibition in acting on the ones you do detect.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 6:11 AM
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554 amusingly expands the geographical area of the area about which AWB will comfortably generalize.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 6:18 AM
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552: Holy shit, I knew there was a lot of lightning last night, but that's taking it to a whole new level. I'm really, really happy about this and just emailed my Christian partner, which is probably inappropriate but I don't even care.

And since I'm talking Christianity, I'll add that I'm really happy because there now seems to be one other non-butch/femme couple at the crazy church we attend, so that makes three of us! (Or I should probably say stud or aggressive (as is generationally appropriate)/femme, since those are the more common terms within the community.) I think it must be really, really difficult to be a poor black lesbian in this city AND be looking for a partner who's also black (we're one of two interracial couples) and fits your preferred level of femininity (and is Christian and at your preferred level of substance abuse or recovery, I guess). This is sort of amazing to me, as I've always been more of a relationship bumbler.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 6:18 AM
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The area of the area is an area; has an area.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 6:18 AM
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OT: Thorn, I really want to read your blog. Whenever I have clicked over there, I have realized that I dont have the time or focus to read it with the way I want to read it at that time.
Very compelling stuff.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 6:32 AM
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OT too: Will, now would be a great time to read (if I were posting) because it would just say, "Sinus infection is eating my brain! Can't write now!" But thank you! I've appreciated reading what you share about your life (well, what I've seen of it) too.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 6:38 AM
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In the US, it's a lot more work than that. At some point early in knowing the woman, you usually have to actively pursue.

This doesn't match up with my experience. While things have never moved maybe quite as fast for me as ttaM's five minutes in 543, it has definitely often been over no more than the course of one evening. Actually, I've had the most disappointment with men who seemed to be actively pursuing me (without jumping straight to the making out), because they were the most likely to be kind of jerking me around.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 6:55 AM
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As ttaM's comments indicate, the beautiful and confident people rarely have difficulty with this sort of thing.

The Tom Brady SNL harassment skit comes to mind.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:01 AM
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While things have never moved maybe quite as fast for me as ttaM's five minutes in 543, it has definitely often been over no more than the course of one evening

I move fast, I talk fast, I act fast.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:17 AM
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As ttaM's comments indicate, the beautiful and confident people rarely have difficulty with this sort of thing.

I'm certainly not beautiful now! Nor was I ever super-confident, but if the environment is much less pressured than the 'east coast' dating environment described by some, and women/girls are much more likely to make the first move [and not going to get punished for it], and everything is much more booze-fuelled it gets a lot easier to feel comfortable meeting girls without necessarily either being super-confident/arrogant, or smooth.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:25 AM
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hi thorn, i think you're awesome. please hang around, and I'm so sorry about what you've had to go through. it's nice for me to have someone else who is willing to talk about personal tragedies like that, because otherwise I feel like a freak and everyone is slowly edging away from my crazy problems.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:25 AM
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566: Thinking about dating as a set of variables is a quick way to lose one's marbles.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:31 AM
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My experience with flirting seems to be in the Blume and ttaM camp. Alcohol, catching someone's gaze, and light physical contact making everything perfectly clear. Avoiding someone's gaze or shifting away in conversation is how you reject someone. Everything wrapped up on a relatively speedy time scale.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:35 AM
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hi thorn, i think you're awesome. please hang around, and I'm so sorry about what you've had to go through. it's nice for me to have someone else who is willing to talk about personal tragedies like that, because otherwise I feel like a freak and everyone is slowly edging away from my crazy problems.

Thorn and alameida might just be my two favorite people's comments to read simply because of the rawness that is often displayed.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:41 AM
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576: Huh. Maybe my total incompetence at the whole flirting/dating thing back in the day was mostly about slow decisionmaking. That actually hadn't ever seriously occurred to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:44 AM
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579

After this thread I think my letter to 16 yr old me would be something like

Just give up on the idea of dating. You are never going to figure it out. You may as well spend your time productively doing something else.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:47 AM
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as an unmarried person I favored dudes pining after me miserably and high-stakes drama when I cheated on my boyfriends. it all worked out ok in the end but I'm not sure I can exactly recommend it.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:49 AM
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and thanks, will. my mom used to say, when she was wasted, that the constant craziness was all to the good, since I would "have a lot to write about in my novel." this never cheered me up appreciably.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:51 AM
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as an unmarried person I favored dudes pining after me miserably

I *knew* it!


Posted by: OPINIONATED NICE GUY | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:51 AM
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(also 566: the profit on't being that, when/if you run into Mr./Ms. All The Right Variables, you feel like you won the fucking lottery.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:52 AM
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yeah, busted. I was totally stringing you along and fucking with your head, alternately supplying excruciating sexual tension and then suddenly reverting to frosty disappointment that you would ever consider a thing like that. dude. sorry.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:53 AM
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578: I'm in a similar situation. My moods and level of comfort shift with the speed of an oil tanker. By the end of the evening I may well have decided that someone is potentially interesting, but more than that is unlikely. When I was in college there were multiple missed opportunities for nookie with attractive women thanks to this. Also missed: opportunities for pointless and stressful post-hookup drama. If you're drama-averse and generally slow to change your mood, nookie isn't worth the days of feeling like crap over whatever the hell all that drama was about. Or at least that's what I tell myself.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:02 AM
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Yeah, I'm now wondering if I ended up with Buck largely because our tolerance for circling each other nervously for several weeks before doing anything matched up so nicely.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:03 AM
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584: I see..... So, there's this show I'm thinking of going to Friday evening. Would you be interested in going along? As friends, of course.



Posted by: OPINIONATED NICE GUY | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:24 AM
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576: It's because you're a closer.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:25 AM
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One of the bizarre things about the coastal US

As a person who has lived here her whole life, I feel honor-bound to say that I do not recognize this description. I think it may be true of a much smaller subset/community.

slow decisionmaking
My moods and level of comfort shift with the speed of an oil tanker.

Oh man, I am totally stealing that last one.

For better and for worse, alcohol has never been involved in my romantic decisionmaking. What's nice about that is that if I screw up I can't blame it on anything else. What's not-nice about that is that if I screw up....


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:28 AM
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Bah, 589 was me.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:30 AM
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591

'Kiss me' body language isn't that hard to spot.

I don't even know what it would consist of in a relative stranger. Leaning backwards while sitting down?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:40 AM
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In my experience, people tend to get more transparent with age. They get better at letting people know that they are interested or not interested.

Maybe you just realize that it hurts the other person less when you communicate clearly or maybe, as you age, you start to realize that you shouldnt assume anything.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:42 AM
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Leaning backwards while sitting down?

Oh mah, no. Get your head located near the other person's head. Leaning backward is the opposite.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:43 AM
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The thing about the science thing is that being a grad student in sciences is not actually that terribly horrible a job, compared to being a grad student in humanities. You A) don't have to pay tuition, B) get paid enough to save some money if you don't own a car or a mortgage or a child, and C) can come and go whenever you want if your boss trusts you. And having a PhD doesn't actually make you OVERqualified for any job you might want, as far as I can tell, unless your dream is to do data entry all day.

As for the ability to know what women are thinking - you don't have an older sister by any chance, do you Natargacam? I hear that helps a lot.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:44 AM
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They're thinking they want the toy you're holding, and that they're going to cross the line in the seats to hit you, and they're thinking that you're a pest who always tells. That's what you learn from your older sister.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:49 AM
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By "sciences" I mean "biomedical sciences" I suppose.

The article provided interesting historical perspective. I knew that at some point in the dimly remembered past, a few people went directly from grad school to tenure-track, but I thought that getting a postdoc back then was what you did when you weren't qualified for a faculty job yet. I didn't know that a postdoc was prestigious in any way or that, let's say, the duties of a postdoc were not quite so similar to the duties of a graduate student back then.

The description of a postdoc's job as an "unbeatable deal" for people from China is very accurate. If you see someone who has been a postdoc in the same lab or the same department for 8 or 10 years, it's almost guaranteed that they came here from an impoverished country on one of those visas described in the article. Quite possibly they have a spouse who is also quite well educated in some nonscientific field but couldn't use that education at all here, because of not having credentials, because of not speaking the language well, and because not being able to speak the language well is much more of a dealbreaker in their field.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:52 AM
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My advice for my 20-year-old self: don't worry so much, even about relationships; things will work out eventually. And move to a city ASAP. Burlington might do, maybe, but remember Nantes? Picture that with no language barrier, no teenage high school pathos bullshit (regarding that: see the first bit of advice), and the spending money from a halfway decent job.

Also, hypothetically, don't ask me why you might choose to do this, but if you go to Grandma's house next summer, bring as much weed as you can afford.

I feel like I should offer a lot more advice - "just do it", "take more chances", "really fight for that other job", or alternately, "run from [CRAZY GIRL] and don't look back" - but you know, nothing like that comes to mind. The fraternity wouldn't have been a good fit for me. Following up with the girl I was flirting with that time still probably wouldn't have led to much. I don't regret my career path even though it's apparently not leading towards my stated goal.

More generally, I can think of very few times when I missed a chance for something that was actually reliably likely, rather than it being the kind of thing I should have done just for a small-but-not-totally-impossible chance of the hoped-for result. The point is, either I've become skilled at ignoring or forgetting or rationalizing missed chances, or I didn't miss as many as it seemed when I was younger.

234
you have to hit on a friend. The downside of initiating something under these circumstances is potentially worse than a temporary blow to the ego.

Not in my experience. I mean, I know what you're saying is the conventional wisdom and I understand the chain of reasoning there (it's what togolosh said in 243, but if anything "mortification" understates it), but most of my relationships have come from hitting on friends and most of those turned out well. (For an admittedly generous value of "well".)


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:54 AM
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re: 591

Eye contact, leaning towards you, tilting the head in a certain way, etc. You know, what people do in those circumstances.

re: 594

No, I do have a sister, but I'm the oldest. I don't know how you learn these things. I think it helped that my first girlfriend fairly aggressively pursued me, and then that about age 16 or so I started making quite a few female friends, so I wasn't nervous about being around girls [in a platonic way]. Other than that, I have no idea. You just sort of know. I think really a lot of people know this stuff. Much of the unfogged community seems fairly far out on one end of the bell-curve, tbh.

I'm uncomfortable presenting myself as someone who was super-successful with girls. I wasn't. No more than many of my friends. And I have no clue how one goes about actively pursuing people who aren't already indicating some level of interest. But I didn't experience the agonizing over asking people out, or whether someone did or didn't like me, as a lot of people have described; that just wasn't my experience.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:58 AM
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Much of the unfogged community seems fairly far out on one end of the bell-curve, tbh.

Agreed. But then, this place is heavily stocked with academics who spend all their free time on the internet, so that's not really surprising.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:01 AM
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I had almost nothing but female friends in high school. Just imagine how little I would have known otherwise.

OK, time to stop complaining and start complaining about the treatment of graduate students.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:08 AM
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599: Yep. In RL, I'm way out there in the nervous and twitchy direction in terms of dating, while here I feel fairly normal. It's affirming, but unrealistic.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:12 AM
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I'm uncomfortable presenting myself as someone who was super-successful with girls. I wasn't.

In the land of the blind....

On preview, substantively pwned by 599.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:24 AM
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this place is heavily stocked with academics who spend all their free timeworking time on the internet, so that's not really surprising

In our free time we cook collard greens.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:28 AM
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Not quickly enough -- I just had the tops of some beets and turnips I got from our CSA last Thursday go all nasty and wilted before I got around to cooking them. I suppose I should have cut them off the roots immediately to keep them from doing that? I get a little confused by greens.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:42 AM
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543 sounds a lot like how my current and previous relationships got started, so it's not an exclusively UK thing. It's not the only way, and the current relationship did require a bit of a leap before the kiss and abashed banter afterwards rather than the whole "a bit more eye contact, and the girl has her head tilted in just that sort of way, and is looking at you a bit more intently" perfect rigamole, but it seems to work pretty well.

I think I've rejected and been rejected in more or less equal numbers, although I haven't counted them off to be sure. It feels like I've been rejected more than I actually have just because I mentally/emotionally count all the ladies with whom I didn't even bother to or work up the nerve to express interest in the first place.

I found AWB's story in 408 about seeing a guy getting a girl's number on the train interesting because of my own reactions to it. Three years ago, I would have been almost burning with jealousy at the guy - how smooth, if only I could do that everything would be great, but I'd need a script worked out mentally line by line and I wonder what would be in it, etc. Today, there's just mild curiosity - interesting and kinda impressive, but oh well it's not for me, hmmm this next comment looks interesting. I think it's taken no small amount of learning and personal growth to get to that point.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:57 AM
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rigamole

This is what you do when cocking it fails.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:59 AM
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I have a friend, a brainy-enough type, who gets a lot of numbers on the train. AWB presented her train guy as completely indiscriminate, but there are a hell of a lot of people on NYC public transit, and a lot of them display legible class and culture markers. They hold books!

don't ask me why you might choose to do this, but if you go to Grandma's house next summer, bring as much weed as you can afford

Is there a more interesting answer than "Grandma's house is boring?"


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:03 AM
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605: If it's something you're willing to talk about, what helped you with that change?

I'm not saying you're anything like this, but I have a kind of obsession with the sort of "geek pride" mindset that seems to breed jealousy toward anyone who actually is scoring chicks or whatevs because of the related feeling of cosmic entitlement that going through bullying in high school means a guy now deserves a hot girlfriend and why is the universe not complying? I was a bit surprised that anyone would be impressed with the Subway Pickup Artist in a way that didn't end with "and that's CREEPY!" but then again guys yell out of car windows all the time, so maybe there's some belief that even that pays off.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:10 AM
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607
Is there a more interesting answer than "Grandma's house is boring?"

"Why you might choose to do this" refers not to the weed but to the trip itself. Bringing weed would have been a non-controversially good idea that I just didn't think of. Why I went to Grandma's house at all that summer is something I didn't know by my 20th birthday and probably would be better off not knowing in advance. Or maybe not, it's hard to say, but that's what I meant by the confusing bit in my previous comment.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:13 AM
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... then again guys yell out of car windows all the time, so maybe there's some belief that even that pays off.

I was on a work minibus behind a guy in a pickup truck who was doing exactly that the other week. He was leaning out the window yelling at some girls on the pavement. They were bantering back, and if the traffic hadn't started moving, I'm pretty sure he'd have gotten a number. So it seems to happen.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:14 AM
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Guys yell out of car windows to show off to the other guys in the car.

I don't know, I envy people who like everybody, even if that means a little too much trying. It's possible for people who make lots of contact to be damaged like pick up artists or catcallers, but there's a more generous possible interpretation: that some people are promiscuous or aspirationally so because they like lots of other people.

Obvs, dweebs on the internet are not like this.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:15 AM
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608: I don't mind talking about it, although I have to finish something up at work right now. So I'll say something brief now and try to come back later and say a lot more about this then.

There's no one revelation or explicit reasoning I can point to. It's mostly just having been happier and more successful in my love life. (I feel sketchy talking about it like that, but let's be honest here, it's not my family or roommates that I get hangups over.) I certainly never thought of it as an entitlement, at least not consciously. And, relatedly, realizing that I don't need to be in a relationship all the time. Sex and dating are fun when they go well, but that's a tautology, and not having them isn't the end of the world; there are plenty of other perfectly good ways to spend my time. No offense was taken at your associating me with that mindset, although I never would have thought to call it "geek pride". Just the reverse, if anything.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:29 AM
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607: It's one of the little moments that give me that smug "I get to live here!" feeling. "I am living in a city with all these smart people who spend their commute reading [book signifying teh smart.]" Also funny combinations. Last week: guy in yarmulke reading Lovecraft.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:33 AM
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Is there a more interesting answer than "Grandma's house is boring?"

Grandma totally bogarts the joint.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:33 AM
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613: "And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?" indeed!


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:40 AM
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In his house at Eastern Parkway, dead Schneerson lies dreaming.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:02 AM
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612: "Geek pride" because for a lot of guys involved there's a veneer of machismo covering up the deeply whiny insecurity (and obviously I do deeply whiny insecurity well, so this isn't necessarily a slam) and that lets itself out in talk about what kind of girlfriends they deserve as if that's how any of it actually works. At this point in my life, I'm mostly reading what these sorts of people say online and not interacting with them at all, but for 20-yr-old me they were harder to avoid. So, for instance, I'd hear endlessly from the one who was writing an epic novel based on Star Wars (of course) and Weezer songs (of course of course) in which the Mary Sue Him would win the princess and vanquish the supposed popular bullies who'd tormented him and stolen all the laydeez. Given that 20-year-old me was going through what I was, living below the poverty line without health insurance and sleeping on the floor because the bed was only big enough for my husband and not telling anyone about most of that because I was so ashamed, I didn't have a whole lot of sympathy for why he thought the world owed him anything. But then again, I didn't and don't really like to think about myself or anyone in terms of "deserving," except maybe people who don't use turn signals and thus deserve to die even though I'd lose my beloved partner if I got my way.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:06 AM
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IME, the UK-style hook up at parties thing is very much present here, but is on a parallel track with more traditional dating (that is, people do both).

I've also found that hooking up at parties probably dominates the high school and college years (the dreaded "hook up culture") and then fades rapidly through one's twenties, to the point where, now, if I went to a party at a friends house and two before-the-party-strangers were kissing at the end of the night it would be mildly scandalous.

The hook-up-at-parties culture is also closely tied in with the acceptability of drunkeness.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:08 AM
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some people are promiscuous or aspirationally so because they like lots of other people.

My partner Lee is like this, which is one part of the reason we ended up together after I spent weeks staring and smiling at her across a crowded room. I don't understand it at all, but it's interesting to me. I think I tend to pre-weed people and only pursue (friend-wise or otherwise) people I already expect to be interesting. She is absolutely gregarious and lovable with everyone, but then gets truly close to very few. We generally end up feeling the same way about the individuals we know, but we start the process from very different places.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:12 AM
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God I hate "geek pride." I am really starting to hate the entire concept of "the geek" as being something positive, rather than negative.

Could we just start valuing what's valuable about the stereotypical geek -- the intelligence -- and not just assume that we have to like and value the whole package of super annoying geek behavior just because it's "geeky"? Pretty please.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:13 AM
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sleeping on the floor because the bed was only big enough for my husband
Jesus, Thorn, I'm glad things are better for you now.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:14 AM
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And amen to 621.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:17 AM
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621: They are. And it was a long time ago. But yeah, I don't know what's brought up this looking back and wondering how the fuck I got through it/put myself through it, but it's here for the moment.

620: I am right up there with hating "geeks," which is why I brought it up, but I hate the concept in a way that makes me indulge in entertainment masochism periodically and read what they're up to so I can bask in my hatred.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:23 AM
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617:But then again, I didn't and don't really like to think about myself or anyone in terms of "deserving," ...

This is how I see things, too. We deserve choices, not outcomes.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:23 AM
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623.1: It's a good thread for that.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:29 AM
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Could we just start valuing what's valuable about the stereotypical geek -- the intelligence -- and not just assume that we have to like and value the whole package of super annoying geek behavior just because it's "geeky"? Pretty please.

Could we please hate was is loathsome about the sort of people that Thorn is talking about -- the horrible sense of entitlement -- without having to dislike the whole package of entertaining geek culture just because it's "geeky"? Pretty please?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:29 AM
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"was is" s/b "what is"


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:30 AM
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619 is a great comment, by the way, and I've been trying to think through my reactions to it. It's a familiar topic, but that comment has me thinking about it in a slightly different way.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:31 AM
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619 s/b 617 (though 619 is good as well).

Forgive me as I prove that human beings cannot, in fact, multi-task.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:32 AM
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I'm not sure what the whole package of "geek culture" is, but increasingly, when someone says "I'm a geek" or identifies as such, I think, "great, so you value being smart, which is awesome, but you are also probably super annoying, self-righteous about a bunch of super questionable cultural interests, and oblivious to other people, and you might want to work on that. Or at least stop being so reverse-arrogant-insecure about it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:34 AM
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NickS, That's why I was trying to use a different term for it but then slid, too, into demeaning the geekiness. Sorry about that.

And while I've got you here, my semi-crackpot theory is that my partner's particular version of this friendliness is sort of an attachment disorder based on her particular background, that for whatever reason she goes right up to people and really and genuinely loves them immediately but then loves them less and less the more she gets to know them, shares a lot about herself in the first conversation and then incredibly little after that. But that's not necessarily relevant to how people are in general.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:37 AM
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628: Ha, and I elaborated and you didn't even mean that comment. Luckily now it's time for me to work for a while and stop commenting.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:38 AM
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Re: orbiting

I've found this to be a really important part of the process. People need to feel like they are wanted, but they also want to feel like they are getting someone impressive, and it's never impressive to look like a lovesick puppydog. Figuring out how to avoid both overpursuit and underpursuit was probably the toughest part of dating. Especially since it depends so much on the person, so you have to be able to read them reasonably well.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:38 AM
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I should add that it's always a tremendous relief when the relationship moves past the point where that's a problem.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:42 AM
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Ha, and I elaborated and you didn't even mean that comment.

But your elaboration was interesting, so thank you.

It's frequently surprising to me how different people can be, one from another, in how they experience the world.

There are whole sets of my responses/behavior that feel deeply hard-wired to me, but that other people don't have (and, presumably, visa versa). It's just weird.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:42 AM
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I'm not going to defend geeky self-entitlement or nice guyism, but I'm not really comfortable with how they're being discussed. I think it's easy to underestimate the amount of pain and behavioral abnormalities social isolation can cause and the self-awareness required to correct these behaviors is also often a product of social interaction.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:47 AM
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So, Halford: "Big Bang Theory" funny or no?

My kids love seeing the view of Pasadena City Hall outside the window of the protagonist's apartment.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:47 AM
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I agree with 636. Advice doesn't get more useless than "I don't like the way you act, and you might want to work on that."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:50 AM
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637 -- I've only seen one episode (when a friend had a brief role on it) but I found it not very funny or well done (and I recall finding the main character more annoying than funny). But there may be some great episodes out there; people have said good things.

636 -- To be clear, I'm not at all slamming any particular "geeky" activity (go and play D&D! why not!) nor trying to minimize the pain of people who feel isolated growing up. It's a particular kind of uncritically positive spin on "geekiness" as a concept that I find bothersome -- something like "I am a super sensitive genius who was repressed and therefore all of my annoying behavior is OK and I'm not required to learn how to interact with other humans and you must deal with it." I'm thinking of a few folks in particular and for some reason I identify this with folks who proudly go around asserting that they are geeks.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:55 AM
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nd having a PhD doesn't actually make you OVERqualified for any job you might want, as far as I can tell, unless your dream is to do data entry all day.

My BF is a chemist with a research masters from a Canadian university who works in drug development. For some reason, his company (which is glad to take people without postdocs--though people with 'em get paid more) WON'T hire people with Ph.d.s for masters-level positions. Maybe it's because they're German. However, with enough years of experience a Masters-level person ca move up to the jobs that Ph.ds have.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:56 AM
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640: For some reason, his company (which is glad to take people without postdocs--though people with 'em get paid more) WON'T hire people with Ph.d.s for masters-level positions. Maybe it's because they're German.

VEE ARE CHUST TRYING TO BE EFFICIENT! VHY CAN'T YOU LAZY AMERICANS UNDERSTAHND ZIS?


Posted by: OPINIONATED GERMAN CHEMICAL EXECS | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:02 PM
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For some reason, his company [...] WON'T hire people with Ph.d.s for masters-level positions

Because they tend to be short-timers.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:04 PM
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Yeah, it's similar to the well-intentioned but misguided decision by that police department to reject people who scored too high on the IQ test.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:07 PM
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624: Heh, I think that people deserve stuff, not just choices. If you say that people only deserve choices and not outcomes, you can quickly become a Republican. I think people deserve healthcare, for example--even if they smoked.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:14 PM
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MFK Fisher wrote that you seduce people by making them simultaneously feel perfectly safe and as though they have no idea what's coming. I find this works, when one can pull it off. And look, cooking and dancing are well-adapted to it; also music; is there something else that does safe/surprised and isn't a stereotypical method of seduction?

I also learned, insofar as I learned, by watching and listening to *other people* flirt with each other. I become severe with geek friends who wail that they don't understand people/women, when they haven't put in as much effort as they would to determine the baud rate of an undocumented serial transmission. Hence a question to Eggplant, Cryptic ned: Fair enough, but what alternative do you propose? It's not like geeks are more subject to the human condition than anyone else, and they have as much responsibility to use the gifts given them to live as decent citizens as anyone else does. Of course, I'm coming at this as an outsider outsider, after a nasty decade of the *geeks* excluding me because real geeks aren't girls (or Hispanic or, God help us, poor; I only got one of the hard cards and I know it). That's the main thing I have against 'geek culture', that it replaces meritocratic markers with style ones, while claiming to suffer for being meritocrats.

(Actually, I'm just pissed that I grew up in a geek culture that listens to techno rather than Bach. Dear God the party mixes.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:16 PM
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except maybe people who don't use turn signals and thus deserve to die even though I'd lose my beloved partner if I got my way.

This is for you, Thorn.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:18 PM
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Uh, from me.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:19 PM
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Oh, I get that, but if the biotech you worked for for a while goes under, and you've been out of work cause nobody is hiring Ph.ds, and you'd be happy to work for a large-ish, stable privately owned company, it seems unfair to the individual.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:19 PM
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639.2: Arrogance can be a defence mechanism. My comment was largely a response to a lack of empathy in "nice guy" conversations here and elsewhere. While I think I've avoided that particular behavioral trap (I find it all too easy to believe I am undeserving of a relationship) I have found myself treating others poorly in different ways for what I suspect are similar reasons, and, for me at least, change hasn't come easily.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:19 PM
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MFK Fisher wrote that you seduce people by making them simultaneously feel perfectly safe and as though they have no idea what's coming.

Huh, that is an exhilirating combination. I'd buy that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:20 PM
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Like going out with your older brother and his friends: unbelievable adrenaline rush, but you have perfect trust in your brother, and frankly it's probably a pretty boring night by their standards.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:21 PM
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(When you're a teenager, that is. These days going out with my brothers, their wives, and my nieces and nephews is perfectly nice but not the height of the fast life.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:23 PM
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It's a particular kind of uncritically positive spin on "geekiness" as a concept that I find bothersome -- something like "I am a super sensitive genius who was repressed and therefore all of my annoying behavior is OK and I'm not required to learn how to interact with other humans and you must deal with it."

I don't want to defend that behavior too much. But I want to note that, as somebody who identifies as profoundly geeky, that I don't geeks taking justified criticism for being whiny, entitled and obnoxious, as long as people are equally willing to criticize socially confident people when they're being entitled and obnoxious as well.

I'm all in favor of letting people know when they're behaving badly, and I don't think, "I'm so shy and neurotic" should be a defense against that. But, really, of the total amount of bad behavior in the world, I feel like bad behavior by geeks is a pretty small fraction.

This isn't, again, to defend them for their bad behavior.

On preview, "That's the main thing I have against 'geek culture', that it replaces meritocratic markers with style ones, while claiming to suffer for being meritocrats." is well said. That seems like an entirely fair criticism.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:25 PM
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Huh. Geek dudes feel themselves to be lower-ranked than they should be, when dating*; WASP dudes, who are still drifting down from assumed entitlement, seem to not be filling STEM classes the way they used to. I think this is why it might be worth figuring out whether WASPM really are less likely to go into STEM: I got, from the linked article, a creepy suggestion that the best students were obviously WASPM and therefore their lack was bad for the country. I *think* fake accent was tactfully calling this out as an assumption.

Now, since there are excellent non-WASPM STEM students, the US could train as skilled a technical cadre after excluding them as it did when excluding everybody else. But I'm curious because of a historical phenomenon of long standing, viz., when the high-status people leave a high-status profession it's the profession that loses status. Causation is hard to winkle out, but I thought the original article was hinting at it.

* does anyone not? even those who can't believe anyone would ever love them? Now, surely, for a vaunt so brave/Will the god reward me with the shaft I crave.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:28 PM
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Did Heebie just compare seduction with hanging out with her brother? The incest runs deep at unfogged.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:28 PM
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@645

Speaking from partial experience, I think it was the idea that science was obvious and girls were not. And for some geeks, no amount of study will change that. And watching other people flirt wasn't informative because when I tried to imitate it, it didn't work. Sure, it was because I was imitating it poorly, or with the wrong person, but it sure seemed unfair until I figured that all out.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:29 PM
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the shaft I crave.

Are those some genetically engineered dwarf trees in that orchard?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:33 PM
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||

Fuck the Swiss.

|>

Also, this: I have found myself treating others poorly in different ways for what I suspect are similar reasons. Except I only realized that I treated others badly in hindsight; at the time I just couldn't imagine that they were interested enough in what I was doing to be affected by how I treated them.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:34 PM
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Fair enough, but what alternative do you propose?
I don't really have. I just felt that these coversations had become a bit unbalanced.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:35 PM
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Did Heebie just compare seduction with hanging out with her brother? The incest runs deep at unfogged.

No matter how hard I tried, inevitably a tale of rejection.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:35 PM
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Eggplant and Cryptic ned, sorry, I wasn't being fair or kind and was overgeneralizing, which is unhelpful. I mean, it seems like everyone here has said "oh, Thorn, sorry you went through bad stuff" and yet my stuff is a serene meadow compared to other stories I've heard and I'm sure I'm making it sound like I'd call you (generic "you" for sure!) a jerk if you said you'd dealt with bullying and profound isolation and the sort of porny/unnuanced/rigid understanding of male-female relationships that led you to the kind of behavior I was talking about and I hope that's not the case (though sometimes I'm just a jerk and I'd probably fail at that).

I brought up the topic because I truly am interested in how this sort of thinking comes to exist especially since people I like and care about have gone through it or gotten caught in it, and instead of being kind about it I made it sound like I'm slumming in Geeksville and mocking the natives, which isn't what I aim for and would be deeply hypocritical. But like clew, I've found myself shoved out of self-declared geek spaces because of who I am and my unwillingness to follow the accepted scripts, and I'm sure that's influencing me too.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:35 PM
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I just couldn't imagine that they were interested enough in what I was doing to be affected by how I treated them.

I suspect I still do this.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:38 PM
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It's not like geeks are more subject to the human condition than anyone else, and they have as much responsibility to use the gifts given them to live as decent citizens as anyone else does.

That was really my only point, to the extent I had one. Although, I'd also say that my impression is that geek culture is big on denying empathy in general (at least empathy extended towards non-geeks). That's a problem.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:38 PM
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658.last: God yes. My brain is more than happy to let one of those memories bubble up when it feels I'm below my shame quota.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:38 PM
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644: By choices I mean meaningful ones, not the glibertarian "you're always free to choose starvation for yourself and your kids." Good government in my view consists of maximizing autonomy for the largest number of people. National health insurance does that, as do worker protection laws, environmental protection laws, and a whole host of other regulatory functions, assuming they are implemented well and evenhandedly enforced.

Mostly I'm thinking not of rights in the legal sense but in the sense of what a person ought to be entitled to from their fellow human beings without any regard for government, the law, or the courts.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 12:57 PM
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No worries, Thorn. I'm not really disagreeing with anything you've written, and I find your account interesting ("So, there were girls who wanted to hang out with those guys who were apparently playing Risk? Fascinating."). Since I'm not doing therapy anymore I'm just commenting more: it's like therapy, only without the feedback and with fewer cock references.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 1:08 PM
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Eggplant, I'm used to having these kinds of discussions on my own geek blog (R.I.P.) or on long car trips to academic team tournaments and that sort of thing. Now you've got me wondering to what extent I'm doing the same commenting-as-therapy thing since apparently I share more than most.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 1:20 PM
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So, there were girls who wanted to hang out with those guys who were apparently playing Risk? Fascinating.

This was such a pain in the ass/scarring to my psyche when I was growing up. I was a geek girl and most of my friends were geek guys. But they were not interested in me at all. So, like AWB, I was rejected a lot when I was younger for being that girl that didn't have the coolness that the geek guys wanted. Then we all grew up (and in my case gained enough weight that I'm no longer asked if I had an eating disorder) and now guys want to date me.

I have a nice kind-of-geek guy now but I harbour a lot of resentment to geeky guys because they didn't seem to realize that there were people below them on the totem pole. Plus, I had to learn how to be social and work with people and they apparently hope they can coast along without learning that.

And on the other topic, most of the people in biological sciences I know don't want to be profs but they tend to be field biologists who just want a nice government research job (permanent, with benefits).


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 1:32 PM
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Geek love killed the blog.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 2:13 PM
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Anyway, I'm pretty sure most of these problems would be solved if we would just detain small heterogenous sets of high schoolers over the weekend.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 2:29 PM
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Yeah, sorry about killing the blog. Good thing I waited until the thread was over anyway.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 2:57 PM
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671: Not you in particular, just a slow, gasping expiration over the last few comments.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 2:59 PM
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I hope that waking up at 3 in the morning remembering my careless cruelties makes me enough a better person to make up for the sleep-deprived crankiness.

Eggplant, I think the reason I object to your plaint that geeks suffer too is that, when you complain about our discussion of it and offer no alternative, you're doing what pisses me off in the dating geeks: implying that everyone else should make up for geekly social ineptitude. This is inconsistent in persons who expect, e.g., the innumerate to bow out of physics. Really, the least I can ask for from a self-declared geek is internal consistency.

...I'm probably reading more of this implication in than you put there, but you aren't putting anything else there. It also hits the 'what about the menz?' button. Those buttons are really close together because guy geeks declare geekiness Boy Stuff to make up, I think, for having less of the jock Boy Stuff. But damn, it pisses me off when (say) Sh3rman A|exie does an entire speech based on the nonexistence of girl gamers and stupidity of desirable mundane women, with girl gamers having identified themselves in the first five minutes.

I will go be nice to someone worse-off than me, now, to fend off the karma this grouchiness would otherwise deserve.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 3:06 PM
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673: To let Eggplant off the hook a little, the geek aspect of this thread started with Halford and Thorn being really negative and hostile about geeks generally, without focusing their criticism on actual bad behavior from geeks.

And, you know, any identifiable demographic is going to have patterns of bad behavior they're more likely to fall into, but that doesn't really justify being snippy at the group as a whole. Neither Halford nor Thorn should beat themselves up over that, but I think when you're starting from that sort of overgeneralization, it's got to be okay to react to it as an overgeneralization, which is what Eggplant seems to have done.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 3:18 PM
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any identifiable demographic is going to have patterns of bad behavior they're more likely to fall into

Justification of stereotype?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 3:24 PM
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any identifiable demographic is going to have patterns of bad behavior they're more likely to fall into, but that doesn't really justify being snippy at the group as a whole

And yet, it is fundamentally characteristic of geek culture that they do this all the time, and direct it at all non-geek groups!

OK, I'll stop. You're right. I'm just thinking of a few people anyway.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 3:25 PM
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676: As someone who's mildly geek-identified, what was putting me off about your comments was failing to distinguish between hating on geeks for being assholes, and hating on geeks for being hopelessly uncool and yet having the temerity not to loathe themselves for their uncoolness. Hating people for being assholes is reasonable and decent, but the other (which you probably didn't mean, but it was hard to be sure you didn't) is awfully unkind.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 3:30 PM
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Joining the thread late, but to the OT, I haven't really been able to entertain what-ifs and should-haves since my kids were born, because only my particular, haphazard, wayward path led to their existence. It's silly, of course, because it's all just idle speculation, but maybe some of the other parents here have a similar feeling.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 3:34 PM
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678: Yes, me too. I've always had a fairly rich shoulda/woulda/coulda fantasy life, but since having kids that runs into a sharp pang of guilt: anything at all different before August 2001 (or, I suppose, late October 2000) means that my kids wouldn't have been born, or would have been born different.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 3:36 PM
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why are guys so clueless about whether girls like them? girls can tell in like 1 second. seriously, what's up with that?

Back to alameida's query above, this seems relevant, though I can't vouch for its authority. It seems the problem is that women's signals are more difficult to decipher-- even for other women.

Male and female observers were equally good at predicting interest levels, but they were more accurate when predicting male interest: Predictions of female interest were just above chance.



Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 3:39 PM
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You're not dead yet.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 3:39 PM
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JUST WAIT A MOMENT.


Posted by: OPINIONATED HURTLING PIANO | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 3:41 PM
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I'm actually glad that conversation on this thread hasn't moved too far forwards in the last two hours, because I wanted to make some additional comments.

The first is just that I feel like I'm in a somewhat odd position defending geeks because, honestly, the sorts of behavior that Thorn and Halford are (I think) talking about annoy me too.

At the same time my reaction is similar to what Eggplant said above:

I'm not going to defend geeky self-entitlement or nice guyism, but I'm not really comfortable with how they're being discussed.

I think that part of it is that I was really, genuinely lucky in the geek crowd that I hung out with as a kid. It wasn't free of bad behavior but it was genuinely a pretty good group of people who were generally respectful and functional.

As I've gotten older and better socialized, I've become more conscious of the ways in which stereotypical geek behavior can be a form of aggression, but that really wasn't a strong dynamic in the groups that I hung out with.

So I'm very conscious that all of these behaviors exist on a continuum, and that there are people who are genuinely behaving badly but also people who aren't doing anything wrong but, because of awkwardness, behave in ways that will set off people who have a chip on their shoulder about the badly behaved geeks. I think it's important to recognize that.

It's fine to talk in stereotypes, but it makes me uncomfortable when the labels that are being used aren't good descriptions of the behavior that's being criticized. For example, I appreciate the utility of the "nice guy"(tm) category but I've always been somewhat uncomfortable with that because it seems like it doesn't leave a good way to talk about people who are shy, uncomfortable, awkward and also genuinely nice guys (like at least a couple of my friends).

But clew is probably correct in pointing out, "it also hits the 'what about the menz?' button" that most (but certainly not all) geeks do, in fact, occupy positions of relative privilege in our society and that it should be fine to tell them that it's important that they acknowledge their privilege without getting into an argument about their pain as well. Somebody can be both privileged and put upon in various ways, and they don't cancel each other out.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 3:43 PM
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means that my kids wouldn't have been born, or would have been born different.

True Dat. Wouldn't trade them for the world. Although there are times when the gypsies can have them both for a quarter.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 3:51 PM
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being hopelessly uncool and yet having the temerity not to loathe themselves for their uncoolness

OK, I was definitely not trying to say anything like that. Yet, just to keep the conversation going, there is a kind of ellision that I've noticed among some self-identified geeks between "I'm uncool, so I'm allowed to act uncool without shame" (good! feel good about yourself!) and "my permission to act uncool allows me to be an asshole, and to put the burden for my lack of social skills on you, while being immune from criticism due to the fact that I'm uncool." (bad! you have a responsibility to be a conscientious human being like anyone else)

The latter, bad behavior is IME especially common among self-identified geeks who have acheived some success in later life.

most (but certainly not all) geeks do, in fact, occupy positions of relative privilege in our society and that it should be fine to tell them that it's important that they acknowledge their privilege without getting into an argument about their pain as well. Somebody can be both privileged and put upon in various ways, and they don't cancel each other out.

Very true, and of course applies beyond geekdom to humans as a whole.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 3:59 PM
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You know who's terrible people? Band nerds.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:00 PM
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Halford, can you be more specific about the behavior of these few geeks who have angered you so?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:01 PM
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Yet, just to keep the conversation going, there is a kind of ellision that I've noticed among some self-identified geeks between "I'm uncool, so I'm allowed to act uncool without shame" (good! feel good about yourself!) and "my permission to act uncool allows me to be an asshole, and to put the burden for my lack of social skills on you, while being immune from criticism due to the fact that I'm uncool." (bad! you have a responsibility to be a conscientious human being like anyone else)

This, absolutely true.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:02 PM
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A friend of mine recently:

Some days I think I'd give that kid to the first good home. Other days, I don't care if it is a good home or not.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:03 PM
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You know who's terrible people? Band nerds

DID I TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENED TO ME AT BAND CAMP?


Posted by: OINIONATED ALYSON HAANIGAN | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:04 PM
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684: Although there are times when the gypsies can have them both for a quarter.


For real?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:05 PM
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689: I tend to think of it in terms of releasing them into the wild. They'd probably manage all right -- find jobs as plucky urchins someplace.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:08 PM
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In work settings, a kind of super-arrogance and conversational abrasiveness, in a kind of brittle way.

In social settings, the thought that comes to mind is of a self-identified geeky, super-smart dude I knew from high school who I saw few months ago, who was a total dick about another acquaintance, a jock (but nice) guy who basically dropped out of college and has had a relatively shitty life ever since. The vibe I got from the geeky acquaintance was something like "the world owes me because folks were nasty to me in high school, but the world owes this guy nothing but scorn." Really?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:08 PM
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No, Natilo, not for real. At my house we also talk about starving Armenians, in re the unpleasantness at the begining of the last century, even though all the Armenians my kids know are well fed. Presumably. Some expressions roll of the tongue regardless of accuracy.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:10 PM
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...I'm probably reading more of this implication in than you put there
I should say so, but I'm almost certainly not being very clear (which is why I tend to stay out of discussions like this). Fortunately, LB and NickS are here.
I would just add that while I don't think that "everyone else should make up for geekly social ineptitude", and everyone is responsible for their own behavior, having a little empathy injected into these conversation (even empathy for socially retarded assholes) is not such a bad thing.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:10 PM
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693 to 687, and yes I realize it's unfair to generalize from my particular encounters to a subgroup as a whole.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:12 PM
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My point would only be to point out word choice. We don't necessarily blame people for their own "ineptitude" or "retardation" with respect to most skills, so we shouldn't blame people for their own social ineptitude either.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:12 PM
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I'm so scarred by the experience I can't even spell my own name.


Posted by: OPINIONATED ALYSON HANNIGAN | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:13 PM
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Right. Gypsies and wolves are the two well known recyclers of pre-owned children. But there aren't that many wolves around, so one takes the option at hand.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:14 PM
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Well alright then. But I was definitely in frowny face mode there.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:15 PM
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699: Indeed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:16 PM
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678 -- Yep. A real dampener of fantasy life.

697 -- I totally blame the ineptitude of someone who runs into me with their car, spills a drink in my lap, etc.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:16 PM
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Don't follow leaders. Watch your parking meters.


Posted by: Advice to Young Carp | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:19 PM
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686: my school had an orchestra which created the even more socially outcast class: string fags. I was a string fag before I was a uh homosexuality fag.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:19 PM
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691: Carnies. I got called out for that same error a while back, after which I realized that "Gypsy" occupies the same category as "pirate" in my mental filing cabinet: colorfully dressed historical character, not actual real person living today. And since the categories aren't empty of real people, I suppose a person of Roma ancestry could reasonably be miffed that they're in the same category as pirates, but: good news, hypothetical person! The category has been shut down! You are now in "interesting and put-upon culture" and the other guys are now in "historical and contemporary assholes."


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:19 PM
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In work settings, a kind of super-arrogance and conversational abrasiveness, in a kind of brittle way.

Hmm, I had one friend who just drove me crazy, at one point, with a combination of arrogance and neediness ("I'm better than you, but can you give me a hand, because I'm having some trouble here"). That got old really quickly, but the person in questions wasn't a geek, particularly.

Geeks may be more likely than most people to combine arrogance in some areas with massive feelings of insecurity in other ways, but that seems like a human behavior rather than something specific to geek culture. But, agreed, to the extent that geek culture provides excused that let people off for that sort of behavior, it isn't helping. On the third hand, it is really nice for people that are both confident and insecure to have a group of people they can hang out with and feel comfortable and like they don't have to constantly apologize for that. If geek culture provides such an environment that's good.

So, people who are oblivious to the degree to which they ask the people to accommodate them -- annoying. But accommodating friends and providing them support even when they're being a bit of a jerk, can be good.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:19 PM
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I will say I'm a big fan of Bill Haverchuck.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 4:30 PM
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Hey, so it looks like I really will be going back to Chaco this summer.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 5:28 PM
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I think going back to Chaco is the new resetting your Tivo.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 5:38 PM
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Oh good. You seemed happy there.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 5:38 PM
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I think going back to Chaco is the new resetting your Tivo.

You have no idea how right you are.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 5:40 PM
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Oh good. You seemed happy there.

Yeah, I was thinking back on it recently and I realized that I was, and that there's nothing in particular keeping me here this summer. So I e-mailed my old boss to see if it wasn't too late for them to take me on, and it turned out it wasn't.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 5:41 PM
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Get out the hat of power.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 5:52 PM
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"Putting on the ranger hat" is this year's "hiking the Appalachain Trail."

I'd love to go out to Chaco.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 5:55 PM
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This is inconsistent in persons who expect, e.g., the innumerate to bow out of physics. Really, the least I can ask for from a self-declared geek is internal consistency.

I think this is where I am starting to end up in my thoughts on dating. I just don't seem to have the knack for it.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 5:55 PM
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Well, I never found a knack for it, but got a sweetie anyway. Didn't really date to meet him; many group hangouts followed by eyes meeting across a crowded room.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 6:10 PM
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Smearcase, did you go to a high school named for a poet or are there lots of HS in that area? This is none of my business and might be not anonymous enough; I'm more curious about the school than the particulars of your bio, though I find that interesting too as a fellow stalemate and violin kid and whatnot.

I actually don't feel guilty about taking the conversation off-track in potentially hurtful directions, since I understand how I was being unhelpful and I don't think I scarred anyone permanently. Apparently the cure for being timid about commenting is just to comment a lot. I refuse to generalize this to dating, as who the fuck knows?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 6:43 PM
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Well, I never found a knack for it, but got a sweetie anyway.

Well with a 0% success rate over 15 years I think the problem might be me.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 6:52 PM
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What's the alternative plan?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 6:55 PM
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to 680's It seems the problem is that women's signals are more difficult to decipher-- even for other women — I'm pretty sure it was here awhile back that I got this link that seems to say the opposite, even if I'm not in a position to say if it's any more or less reputable.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 6:56 PM
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The fun thing about becoming a boring old married person is that you can be perfectly confident that you've outgrown your youthful cluelessness while continuing to be totally unable to distinguish between flirtatious friendliness and romantic interest, because obviously there couldn't possibly be any romantic interest.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:10 PM
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722


721: Try telling that to Fleur.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:14 PM
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723

I've heard rumors about married people sexing people they aren't married to, but I can't imagine how such a thing could take place. Wouldn't it be totally creepy and socially unacceptable for a married person to pursue a sexual attraction to someone other than their spouse?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:21 PM
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Somehow, I managed to miss out on all the geek-associated resentment. I can't remember feeling jealous of guys who could pick someone up or get a phone number easily or whatever; I never ran into pretty much any of the social dynamics of junior high and high school that most people seem to find familiar. I suppose you can't really be picked on if you're not paying attention.

The problem, or one of them at any rate, with being that far on the edge of your social world, though, is that if you decide that maybe you're not such a hermit after all, it can be difficult to integrate yourself into society when most people your age, or at a similar point in their lives professionally/educationally, have already done so. In social interactions you're still trying to piece together what the cues are while other people are assuming you already know them and act accordingly. And even once you can read the signs fairly reliably, it's still another step to act on that yourself, kind of like going from passive to active knowledge of a language. It also doesn't help to still sort of think of yourself as somewhat shy, because you remember when you really were and you still sort of are, at least in still not quite familiar situations, but no one else thinks you are at all.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:21 PM
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723: nah.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:23 PM
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I suppose you can't really be picked on if you're not paying attention.

That was me in HS. I never felt excluded because I just never cared.

I don't think I scarred anyone permanently.

No worries. I don't think you said anything incorrect, I just wanted to resist seeing the generalizations get too broad.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:26 PM
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717: I'm not deeply concerned about anonymity but it's still fun to remain cryptic. I went to a high school named for a statesman. I had a friend that went to the poet, I think, but it didn't open until I was already in HS, if memory serves.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:29 PM
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See, stuff like 723 just gets to me. There are many generations of vividly depicted unhappy marriages in fiction-- Emma fucking Bovary, Anna K, the lady with a poodle, Dawn Powell's underrated books, on through Betty Draper. I know where the mansion my great-grandfather had built for his mistress is, and have had entirely too much to drink with a friend of my aunt's.

Honestly, everybody here is either hunky-dory coupled up or single? Socially unacceptable and creepy are not at all the same.


Posted by: Abe Lincoln | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:45 PM
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729

Married people have no sense of humor.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:48 PM
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730

That's not funny.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:49 PM
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731

Apparently the cure for being timid about commenting is just to comment a lot

This made me laugh. One cure is to be bold, definitely!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:49 PM
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728: 723 was intended as a tongue-in-cheek comment on how one can think oneself more sophisticated than one's younger self while continuing to be just as clueless about how new sexual relationships get started among one's peers, not a condemnation of any actually existing affair that might somehow occur. Also, one supposes that unhappiness in one's relationship is neither necessary nor sufficient to cause the sexing of third parties.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:54 PM
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The only proper approach for someone married and someone single to take together is that adopted by F. Moreau and Mme. Arnoux. Although I seem to remember them being careless about making eye babies.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 7:57 PM
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I know where the mansion my great-grandfather had built for his mistress is...

My great-grandfather had a house with one room that he and his cousins made out of logs and buffalo spit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:06 PM
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My understanding is that if you're married and you fuck somebody other than your spouse you go to hell. Am I right or am I right?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:08 PM
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736

Can somebody with $6.45 please buy the Pirates and move them somewhere farther from me?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:12 PM
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736: I hear the Pac-10 is looking.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:14 PM
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736: I was invited to a vendor briefing this afternoon that was followed by dinner and the Pirates game. I accepted the briefing (even knowing how useless it was likely to be, but then I work only half-a-block from the stadium) and turned down the game (I didn't want to miss my racquetball league). Turns out I did not even attend the briefing. And then I found five dollars in the pocket of some geek I beat up in the parking lot at the gym.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:19 PM
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Dawn Powell's underrated books

I adore A Time to Be Born, and am right this minute reading The Golden Spur (which I don't like as much, but still like).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:20 PM
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738: I gave you the five dollars. I thought you were asking for money for dinner.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:23 PM
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741

Upon his death, the will of my father-in law's (unmarried) mistress turned up in his glove compartment, suggesting that he hadn't cut things off years ago. He was possibly the kindest, most universally giving person I have ever met, married to someone who can curdle milk by entering a room. The simplest explanation given his unselfishness everywhere else is that the affair was a way to keep from dying inside.

Honesty and openness are nice, but sometimes they're luxuries. Maybe this is humorless-- I could try bringing in humor by mocking someone, but mostly I feel sympathy for people who do ridiculous things with their personal lives. The poor mutilated chick in 725-- she can't take that stuff off or even really cover it up.

Come Back To Sorrento is maudlin but nice. The Locusts Have No King is good also, but in a Hepburn+Tracy (another single+married infidelity, btw) kind of way.


Posted by: Abe Lincoln | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:25 PM
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742

741: I'm fairly sure the nazi hat is removable.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:28 PM
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740: Sure, but your whiny sense of entitlement and my keen awareness that I would be providing you future opportunities for expressing scorn at my bullying behavior induced me to punch you.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:29 PM
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742: But so comfortable, who'd want to.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:30 PM
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745

My mistake-- I thought she was the wreck that made the papers because of Sandra Bullock. I'm sure that this one is well-adjusted and healthy, and has freely and knowingly chosen to be a public joke.


Posted by: Abe L | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:30 PM
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746

Wait, you're defending the nazi-meth-fetish-biker lady? I mean, I'm not saying she's not a nice person (except for the whole white power thing) but that's a fairly extraordinary level of empathy. It's actually kind of sweet.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:35 PM
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727: like I said, mostly just curious about orchestras and that was the only one I'd known of. Almost all I know about high schools is based on who went to statewide nerd camp my year, and things presumably changed in the years between us.

Dating tip I picked up tonight: don't dedicate a song to your cute coworker in the corner so all her friends say Awwwwwww and then make it "You're So Vain." Luckily this was not my brother's mistake, though it was largely his cheesy little concert I was attending.

Abe, I'm generalizing again, but word on the street here tonight is that hormones have a particularly strong negative effect on lesbian relationships at times. The good news is that that's a problem that sort of solves itself and can be mitigated if we're thinking about it, but grrrrrr. Surely no relationship is entirely hunky-dory and free of friction of the unsexy kind! But that sort of thing can be harder to talk about without going presidential.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:35 PM
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748

Wow, another thread that might to to 1000! On a Tuesday!

Oddly, I think in some ways I might be more overtly geeky now than I was in high school, but then I self-identified as such (well, nerd, really, which, you know, obxkcd), and now I find geek culture fairly repellent.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:36 PM
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749

You know who had a mistress? Hitler.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:38 PM
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750

statewide nerd camp

Statewide nerd camp was so wonderful. I wish I had kept in better touch with those people. I was really entertained to learn via Facebook that my roommate who had played Nine Inch Nails as loudly as possible all the time now has, like, precisely my musical taste, and we can geek out banter about Neko Case songs.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:38 PM
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751

I always self-identified as very nerdy but I'm not sure it was ever as evident to other people as it was to me so I came off as odd or standoffish or possibly mentally ill.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:38 PM
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752

749: She also made small appliances.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:39 PM
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753

749: Wait, I thought his secret was that he had a wife!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:42 PM
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754

750: It was a life-changer for me. If only I'd been allowed to go to U of C like my best friend from it, perhaps I too could have gone off the rails even more spectacularly and yet turned out just fine. That and then my summer in college spent on a dig (and thus away from the aforementioned abusive situation) are probably my happiest memories of time spent with other people.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:43 PM
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755

It's been gradually dawning on me as I read this thread and think back that high school me was oblivious to really obvious attention from several very fun, smart, and attractive girls. This saddens me, now that I am better able to recognize such attention but much less likely to attract it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:43 PM
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756

If I made doggie sweaters that said "You know who else was a veterinarian? HITLER." do you think they'd sell?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:44 PM
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757

I sorted through my feelings and it turns out I was mostly reacting to comments that seemed to direct the same ire at the awkward and shy, and the self-entitled. So have at the nice guys, but do it with precision.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:46 PM
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758

746: Not defending her, but it doesn't take a lot of imagination to consider the 6 months of life before the photo. I suppose there's a theoretical best case where she's a fun-loving ignorant being that's been manipulated and she's not in fact tragic. Self-destructive depravity, if it's really necessary, why not just photoshop it?

I'm the one speaking out for guile and secrecy, for ends justifying means sometimes. Probably not the best source for sweet.


Posted by: Abe L | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:49 PM
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759

It's not directly relevant, Eggplant, but I wanted to know that I mentally shriek your name whenever I see it the way others apparently do with peep's. So EGGGGGGGGPLAAAAAAAANT! Anyway, I'm glad you said something. It made me think more carefully about imprecision, though I'm sure I'll fall into the trap of commenting more than I'm thinking again in the future.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:50 PM
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760

739: Bave is going to tell us to get a room again maybe but I am awfully fond of The Wicked Pavilion and have a funny affection for The Happy Island. Also as first sentences go (or maybe first paragraphs) I always thought A Time to be Born was something of a knockout. Lavishly overwrought, only to be followed by the astringency that is Dawn Powell.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:51 PM
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761

it doesn't take a lot of imagination to consider the 6 months of life before the photo

Strip club, biker bar, photo shoot, strip club, assignation with famous bike assembler dude, strip club, biker bar, assignation with ex, photo shoot for white power t-shirt company, Huntington Beach city council plenary session, strip club, tattoo parlor, photo shoot, strip club, um, gym...

A little more white-power-y than a lot of women in LA, certainly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:52 PM
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762

756: If they were well made and reasonably priced, I'd buy several if I had a dog and if I didn't have a little boy who can't do irony yet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:53 PM
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763

Anyhow, you can be fun-loving, ignorant, tragic and oblivious all at the same time. Shit, you can have that as a goal.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:53 PM
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764

753: Wait, I thought his secret was that he had a wife!

Oh, so only secret mistresses count?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:55 PM
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765

750: Oh wait. Statewide Nerd Camp! SNC! I went to Centre. Best experience of high school years.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:56 PM
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766

I went to Centre.

Me too! Stayed in Nevin Hall. Which I remember only because of someone's surprisingly clever rendition of "Stairway to Nevin".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:59 PM
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767

751: That sounds like, potentially, the worst of both worlds, actually: if you self-identify as a nerd but don't "code" that way to others, they're not going to cut you any slack for your nerdiness, which they will likely misinterpret as something far less forgivable than being a nerd, and etc. Obviously, you should have worn a short-sleeved shirt with a calculator in the front right pocket, just to make things clear.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:59 PM
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768

I never got to go to any statewide nerd camps. I did go to computer camp, but the computers were old and stupid, so I played tennis.

Possibly the whole state (well, okay, the eastern, populated part) is a kind of nerd camp so they failed to make that-all explicit.

I went to some statewide writing contest retreat kind of thing when I was younger (twelve?) but comedies never win the big prizes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 8:59 PM
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769

I did go to computer camp, but the computers were old and stupid, so I played tennis.

Sifu is a David Foster Wallace character? (Wait. I feel like I've said this before.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:01 PM
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770

I was also Centre, but Nevin was a boys' dorm and I can't remember the name of mine. Our hall theme was The Flowers of Guatemala, which wtf?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:01 PM
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766: !! I too lived in Nevin. Fell in love for the first time in stinking Nevin. Wrote awful poetry in Nevin!


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:02 PM
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767: with the benefit of hindsight I've come to believe that a good portion of my nerd cohort thought I was trying to pull some weird trick by hanging out with them, whereas the non-nerds thought I was being a freak for no reason by virtue of failing to be socialized like them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:04 PM
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773

I could never really identify with the whole geek/nerd/whatever identity. I was smart and socially awkward, but I never really cared about most of the things that seem to be central to "geek culture."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:06 PM
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774

I aspired to geekiness, which was in some respects a class aspiration (though of course I didn't see it as such at the time), and which horrified my mother.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:17 PM
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775

Our hall theme was The Flowers of Guatemala, which wtf?

This was even more mysterious until I googled it. I don't know much REM.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:18 PM
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776

I never really cared about most of the things that seem to be central to "geek culture."

You have, like, eleventy blogs, teo. At the very least, you qualify for an honorary membership, if you care to accept it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:18 PM
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777

776: But the hat compensates for at least eleventy-three blogs.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:20 PM
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778

Your stereotype, should you choose to accept it...


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:21 PM
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779

If you do not, the Secretary of the Rocketry Club will disavow any knowledge of your membership.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:26 PM
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780

I was more of a dweeb.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:26 PM
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781

Just in case any of the orchestra nerds want to tune their little tiny violins....


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:30 PM
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782

You have, like, eleventy blogs, teo. At the very least, you qualify for an honorary membership, if you care to accept it.

I only got into blogging once it became mainstream, though. I don't, like, know how to program or anything. And the things I blog about are pretty far removed from traditional geek concerns as I understand them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:31 PM
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783

Plus the hat.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:31 PM
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784

I've never really fit comfortably into any widely recognizable social group. I don't think of this as a problem, really. It's just how things turned out for me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:32 PM
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785

I only got into blogging once it became mainstream, though. I don't, like, know how to program or anything.

Blogging is almost by definition technology to allow people who don't know anything about programming to make web pages.

Also, I pointed a very, very nerdy friend of mine to one of your blogs (he interrupted his long career of beardy IT work to go to archaeology school) and he loved it.

Also, dude, you (a) comment on unfogged and (b) link to freakin' xkcd, like, all the time.

Nerdy nerdy nerd nerd.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:34 PM
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786

Plus, of course, the mainstreaming and regularizing of "geek" and "nerd" as meaningful social constructs is a ludicrous coöptation of undesirable outsiderdom by capitalism's great coöpting maw. The very thing itself is that you don't fit comfortably into any widely recognized social group, and have instead to try and fit into the tiny, weird ones where people speak and act strangely.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:36 PM
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787

he interrupted his long career of beardy IT work to go to archaeology school

``Beardy" meaning it was his way of keeping the archaeology interest in the closet?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:37 PM
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788

We don't seem to be on track to hit 1000 on Tuesday. This is extremely depressing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:38 PM
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789

775: I assumed even at the time the song must have had some hidden meaning about disappearances, but I didn't know the song then and still don't. As halls go, it was no Communist 2nd Nevin, which is where I think most of my guy friends got to live, except the one I spoke to most recently thought not.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:40 PM
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790

``Beardy" meaning it was his way of keeping the archaeology interest in the closet?

Better than being one of the Unix guys maintaining the servers in the harem.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:40 PM
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791

787: "beardy" meaning it was the type of IT commonly practiced by gentlemen with rich, full beards (also Honda Goldwings and swords).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:40 PM
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792

787's use of quote marks is unintentionally revealing of what I've been up to the last few days.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:42 PM
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793

I won't be up much longer, though it's still Tuesday for me. I was offline being weepy in part about how I think I should quit my knitting group. I'm not sure what the appropriate subcultural term for that is.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:43 PM
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794

The very thing itself is that you don't fit comfortably into any widely recognized social group, and have instead to try and fit into the tiny, weird ones where people speak and act strangely.

Well, yeah. But I never had any desire to fit into the one(s) I think of as being ancestral to "mainstream" "geek culture," nor did I try. I mean, presumably it's the IT rather than the archaeology that makes your friend so nerdy.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:43 PM
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795

I always self-identified as very nerdy but I'm not sure it was ever as evident to other people as it was to me so I came off as odd or standoffish or possibly mentally ill.

I was kind of like this, except for the self-identification as nerd part.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:44 PM
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796

One thing I really don't understand is the way some people strongly prefer "geek" to "nerd" as a term of self-identification. I kind of hate both words just aesthetically, but I think "nerd" sounds slightly better.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:46 PM
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797

In the imperial palace, only unix was allowed in the harem.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:46 PM
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798

I went to a G&T magnet high school (Tanqueray, specifically), which meant that there were enough folks at the far end of the socially awkward and scared of girls/boys spectrum that the rest of us could reassure ourselves that we weren't really nerdy nerd nerds. But, of course, we were.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:46 PM
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799

I'm not strongly committed to a "not-geeky" identity either, btw. I just don't feel like I have much in common with the people who tend to adopt a "geeky" identity.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:47 PM
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800

I went to a G&T magnet high school (Tanqueray, specifically)

This lost to me my shit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:48 PM
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801

I mean, I don't even own a fedora.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:49 PM
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802

We don't seem to be on track to hit 1000 on Tuesday. This is extremely depressing.

The Californians may yet see us through.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:50 PM
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803

I was on a sort of traditional geek/nerd/whatever track - computer programming class in the summer during junior high, mathy stuff, but I got sidetracked by the outdoors.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:52 PM
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804

803: let me introduce you to a warehouse full of mumbling, poorly dressed outdoorsmen and -women known as orienteering, astronomy, amateur satellite, rocketry, geology, herpetology and explosives enthusiasts.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 9:56 PM
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805

Geocachers, sitting right there on the bench next to me!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:02 PM
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806

804: See, that's the kind of crowd that I can seem myself plausibly having fallen in with. As it happened, I didn't, but still.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:06 PM
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807

Also, Rogaine ("Rugged Outdoor Group Activity Involving Navigation and Endurance"). A former Aussie colleague was big into this, the long ones are 24 hours.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:07 PM
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808

805: And the geekiest, dorkiest, nerdiest one of them all was coming over to me....


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:11 PM
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809

897: Basically, just very long orienteering and the acronym is back-formed from the name.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:14 PM
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810

804: All of those activities sound like they involve other people.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:19 PM
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811

Astronomy and geology are pretty solitary.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:21 PM
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812

Herpetology just involves reptiles, but be careful not to go too far down that road.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:21 PM
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813

(Required field work with other people was actually one of the reasons that I decided not to major in environmental science. This was, obviously, stupid, but that decision came during my shyest year.* Given where my historical interests turned, it was even more stupid later on.)

*Also, it came just as I was turning mostly away from the outdoors.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:22 PM
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814

A former Aussie colleague was big into this

The original name, "Perilous Outdoor Obsession For Truly Enthusiastic Roughnecks", turned out to be not quite the thing.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:23 PM
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815

808: ... he sat down next to me and said, "Kid, whad'ya get?" I said, "I didn't get nothing, I DNFed." He said, "What GPS do you use, kid?" And I said, "The Garmin in my rental car." And they all moved away from me on the bench there ...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:29 PM
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816

Astronomy has all the fun of sitting still, being quiet, writing down numbers...

Geologists are people excited by the sight of road cuts.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:29 PM
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817

Geology was once described to me (positively, by a geologist) as "history without the people."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:32 PM
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818

I went orienteering once in Skyline regional park in Oakland. I got poison oak. People mistook the rash on my neck for a hickey; I probably could have played this to my advantage, but foolishly I just wanted to stop itching.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:33 PM
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819

816.2: Vacation with the Stormcrows (out on highway 61).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:38 PM
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820

Geology was once described to me (positively, by a geologist) as "history without the people."

As if that could be anything but a positive description.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:40 PM
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821

Dude. Herpetologists are awesome. You should totally go down that road. They spend their lives tramping around beautiful places, turning over shit hoping to see a snake or lizard. They're nine forever, and so very happy.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:40 PM
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822

I certainly took it as such.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:40 PM
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823

819: the rocks in the second link are probably really good for being put on top of each other.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:41 PM
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824

823: It's basalt over sandstone with contact metamorphosis (same as the first link). So actually a pretty uncommon sequence, but then again I have no idea what your comment is actually referring to, so I'll just assume you're making some cryptically clever comment about my wife.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:52 PM
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825

I thought neb was saying it looks like brick.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:54 PM
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826

That sandstone would indeed be a good building material.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:56 PM
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827

I enjoy putting things on things.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:58 PM
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828

Not just rocks, too.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 10:59 PM
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829

I wasn't sure what neb meant in 823, but I definitely wasn't expecting what turned out to be the answer.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:00 PM
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830

As I recall, Ben is also partial to large cardboard boxes.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:05 PM
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831

Those things you put on things are cool, neb. And driving through the Bighorns, I was struck by the number of geologically oriented highway markers throughout the National Forest. My family, though, was somewhat dismayed by my enthusiasm, especially when I suggested that we download and listen to Annals of the Former World.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:06 PM
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832

Fuck yes I am. (Not me in the photo, but a fellow cardboard box enthusiast.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:06 PM
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833

Nor I, but I think I recall seeing some of the ones in 827. We did not stack any rocks there, but have done so at other places, but not with the panache that neb displays.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:07 PM
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834

I'm especially taken with the third image in 827.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:07 PM
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835

833->829.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:07 PM
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836

For vertical scale, the 2nd pic in 819 is in front of the "little" ripple at the left hand side of the first one.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:14 PM
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837

On Spruce, not far from Grizzly Peak, there's a concrete slide that it's possible to slide down on by means of flattened cardboard boxes. Perhaps your fellow enthusiast knows this and stopped by there on the way to or from Tilden Park.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:16 PM
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838

Anyway, to bring in the minimal amount of geology I know, the great houses at Chaco are made of a similar kind of sandstone to the type in those pictures. It's tabular and finely bedded, so it breaks along straight lines and is easy to make into bricks. It outcrops on top of the canyon and is rather different from the soft, massive sandstone that forms the canyon walls.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:20 PM
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839

Save it for the summer, or at least for when you've got the hat with you.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:22 PM
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840

I need to get back into practice, you know. It's been a while.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:34 PM
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841

it breaks along straight lines

Be sure to refer to this as cleavage.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:38 PM
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842

I believe that is in fact the technical term for it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:41 PM
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843

I know that it is.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:42 PM
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844

Then I will be sure to refer to it so.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:43 PM
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845

With exposed ripples and ample cleavage, geology doesn't sound very professional.

(150+ comments to go to 1000. We're not going to get there on a Tuesday.)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:47 PM
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846

Nice NPS piece on the geology at Chaco. I like the "Threatening Rock" story at the bottom. I assume its remains are scattered in the crushed rooms? An article on it from just two years before it fell.

Given the problem of a falling rock, what shall we do to stop it? Some say blast it down before it falls on the ruins and more or less wrecks them. Some say block it up, as the ancients did, only use concrete instead of clay, sand, and rock. Others would tie it to the cliff, with rods of steel. The unique archeological exhibit at the base of it must be saved. That is fundamental. Nothing like it exists elsewhere in the world.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-15-10 11:56 PM
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847

I identify with teo's I never really cared about most of the things that seem to be central to "geek culture". And it seems to me that the term "geek" is getting broadened to the point of meaninglessness (though I could see how that same normalization makes it more attractive to people for purposes of self-identification). It seems as if lately someone will talk about how they're such a geek because they, like, totally loved that Dark Knight movie, and think science is cool! I blame these kids, with their Internet all over my lawn.

I never went to nerd camp or achieved any academic Mandarin status, so I've rarely been around groups that identified as "geeky". The arrogant entitled jerks I hung out with in HS (before figuring out in college that that was what they were) would have been insulted by the geek label. So I can recognize the sort of behavior Halford & co. were bemoaning upthread, but it's hardly the exclusive province of geeks, and correlates to me more with immature guys in groups.

I also think 785 and 786 are both right.

And Geology is fun.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 12:27 AM
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848

Now I'm worried that I came across earlier as implying that I wasn't socially awkward or support the mean jocks or whatever. I pretty much identify with Teo and PVs view of a kind of academic guy who never identified with geek culture; if "geek" just means "awkward" then I'm one, but then of course the term pretty much includes 85 percent of young men. The only object of my ire were those for whom being a geek is sufficient justification, in their own minds, for bad adult behavior.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 12:39 AM
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849

What I want to know, in the interests of getting to 850, is what relationship contemporary usage of "geek" has with its usage in Nightmare Alley.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 12:43 AM
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850

Oh, fine. 850! (It's still Tuesday.)

I'm going to bed.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 12:53 AM
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851

Apparently faculty jobs are excuses to spend a full week saying "I have a lot of revisions to make, hold off on editing the draft until I get them done, but oops, I was just swamped today, I'll get to them tomorrow" and then eventually sending a copy in which five sentences have been altered in almost negligible ways.

/grumpiness


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 1:02 AM
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851: I've been on the other side of more or less that interaction from time to time, but I do try to avoid BSing the person who was waiting for the thing that turned out to be much easier than expected and could have been done a long time ago.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 1:23 AM
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So, who watched the game? I've just watched the highlights and the Lakers sure put a beatdown on the Cs. Bynum Bynumed Perkins, RonRon tried to take out Rajon, and Shanwow tried to take himself out on the backboard.

This means we gotta take the thread to the deca-Kobe.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 1:31 AM
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To tie geology semi-back to the topic of the thread, it has been an obscure regret of mine that I have never lived anywhere whose bedrock consisted of igneous or metamorphic rocks (Manhattan for instance).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:30 AM
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854: With bonus points for glaciated igneous and or metamorphic rocks.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:34 AM
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And a geology/not-so-pleasant-aspects-of-geeknerd-culture conjunction: The cover of this widely-used reference was much treasured and commented upon (although the specific pictorial element in question is not very prominent at this resolution).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:41 AM
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We didn't really have geeks at my highschool. I don't think that the admissions office would have let them in, but there were definitely nerds, and I was one. It just meant that I studied a lot, was actually interested in the material and didn't spend all my time hanging out by the dining hall.

One thing that I don't get, on some visceral level, is how the people who couldn't really be bothered to work hard in highschool, now hold down jobs at investment banks where they're supposed to put in ridiculous hours.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:45 AM
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statewide nerd camp

Through the wonders of Facebook, I discovered that one of my friends from statewide nerd camp was building bug-like scuttling robots at Berkeley and another was blogging at Shapely Prose.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:59 AM
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how the people who couldn't really be bothered to work hard in highschool, now hold down jobs at investment banks where they're supposed to put in ridiculous hours

Because you don't get paid to go to high school? There are certainly a lot of people in highly paid jobs with long hours who hate their actual work.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:01 AM
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831 is funny. Maybe not the best audiobook for kids.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:04 AM
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Not caught up, but 724 resonates with high Q, especially this: ...if you decide that maybe you're not such a hermit after all, it can be difficult to integrate yourself into society when most people your age, or at a similar point in their lives professionally/educationally, have already done so.

Sometimes it seems feels like The Matrix, only inverted, where everyone else sees the matrix and I'm Paleo, the guy who's still in the tub of goo with the tubes and all. One helpful realization is that lots of people are in somewhat similar situations - they are really helpful in figuring shit out.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:58 AM
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856: Huh? When did geeks do coke? In my mind it's the providence of party people.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 7:24 AM
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I like the "Threatening Rock" story at the bottom. I assume its remains are scattered in the crushed rooms?

In and around them, yeah, although "atop" might be a better description. It took out basically the whole northeast corner.

The thing I find most amazing about Threatening Rock, and hardest to convey to anyone who hasn't seen it in person, is just how huge the damn thing was. Most of the pictures of it are from the side, like the one in the link, but the two dimensions of it you can see from that angle are actually the shortest, by considerable margins.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 7:26 AM
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863: There's a picture at the second link from the same perspective, but if you look closely there is a "little" man at the lower right base that gives some perspective (I did not notice him there at first).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 7:36 AM
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838: Great Zimbabwe has a similar architecture, constructed of little brick-like slabs of granite (I think it's granite), but unlike Chaco there's no mortar. Basically just piles of rock. Probably built by Nosflow. Might as well credit him since pretty much everybody else on the planet has been credited with it thanks to colonialist Europeans being unable to imagine black people with the skill to pile rocks on top of each other.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 7:42 AM
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Statewide nerd camp....yes!!! Undoubtedly the best experience of my life to that point. Because there was little in the way of stereotypical geek culture extant in my part of the world, nerd camp was actually reasonably close to a cross section of a high school, only smarter and (mostly) more sophisticated. There were even a couple of accomplished jocks in the mix.

That camp was the gift that kept on giving. For one thing, I got to be the Guy from Another School who got invited to the prom by nerd girls in neighboring counties whose own schoolmates failed to appreciate that they were modestly hott, what with them being all smart and all.

This turned out in retrospect to be a pivotal event in my life story. I told one of the prom dates about a scholarship I was applying for. Having been unaware of this particular scholarship opportunity herself, the little turncoat went out and applied for it, and won it. This turned out to be a decisive factor in my decision to attend a different school, without which my life would likely have taken a dramatically different course. Verily, O statewide nerd camp, I owe thee mine life!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:03 AM
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866: No launching rockets on slag heaps?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:16 AM
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Advice to 18 year old me: despite all the time you spend congratulating yourself on being incredibly reckless, most of your mistakes are actually going to be down to not just doing it.

Participate.

Execute on your ideas, as you're about to spend the next 12 years being right about most things.

Don't leave it until 2007 to start relearning your programming skills. Don't leave it until 2008 to start doing weights. Don't hang out with university Tories, it will only depress and exasperate you and leave you with another circle of friends you'll have to escape from, and the drinking will get you into disciplinary trouble. Probably don't go to Royal Holloway, it's an intellectual backwater as in "stagnant, stinking, and full of aggressive bottom feeders with sharp teeth and tiny brains", although you'll have to find another way to meet her and you do certainly want to do that.

If you do decide you want to join the RAF, don't do it now, because you're almost totally irresponsible and that selection interview will go worse than you can possibly imagine. Don't be snarky with that Wing-Commander, either, or get piss drunk the night before. Wait until you graduate and have become less of a total prick.

Don't spend 2000-2006 totally ignoring music and listening to your Stone Roses albums.

If the question is "should I demand money for doing this", or "should I demand more money for doing this", the answer is always YES. In fact, all the time you will otherwise spend being a good scout, taking one for the team, being neurotically careful about expenses, etc, you will actually have just been exploited. The fact you channelled your frustration into cultivated alienation will only make people think you're a basically unpleasant character, but still a rube. As John Birmingham so wisely said, money is the anti-depressant that gets to the cause of your problem.

Kick the impostor syndrome in the arse early doors. Don't run two mirror versions of your blog for two years.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:20 AM
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Don't run two mirror versions of your blog for two years.

Yeah, what is that about?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:30 AM
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Don't spend 2000-2006 totally ignoring music and listening to your Stone Roses albums.
Are they really that bad?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:36 AM
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re: 865

Speaking of Africa [ahem], I went to the British Museum's exhibition of artifacts from Ife, a few weeks back, and some of those are just amazing.

http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/future_exhibitions/kingdom_of_ife.aspx

One of the newspaper reviews was going on about the castings being the equal of anything being produced anywhere else at the same sort of time, and it's true. They are amazing things.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:37 AM
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862: 856: Huh? When did geeks do coke? In my mind it's the providence of party people.

Oops, did not notice this was to my book cover link. And yes, at this resolution now that I look at it, I can see the potential coke connection


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:40 AM
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No launching rockets on slag heaps?

You wouldn't believe me if I told you.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:47 AM
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One thing I've noticed recently, it's possible to en-nerdulate oneself.

I used to always get annoyed at the glib identification drawn between being smart and being nerdy/geeky. I spent high school hanging out with the metal heads, post high-school playing in bands, and was always a fairly gregarious person; no problems with girls, not particular socially awkward beyond the odd bout of nerves that everyone gets faced with a lot of new people, and not really interested in stereotypical nerdy/geeky pursuits. I absolutely wasn't a geek/nerd. The vast part of my social circle was resolutely 'normal' and neither conspicuously smart or particularly nerdy at all.

Postgraduate study, on the other hand -- i.e., being locked away on one's own much of the time working largely in one's own head, in a city where one doesn't know many people, socializing very little because one's skint, spending too much time on-line -- can do a pretty good job of inculcating nerdy traits long after one thought one's character was fixed. I'm much less socially confident, and much more prone to stereotypical nerdy social flaws -- talking too much, paying too little attention to others, assuming others share one's own narrow interests, being socially awkward around new people, etc. -- than I ever was in the past.

So, emphatic reemphasis of advice to 30 year old self: don't do a doctorate, go and make money.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:51 AM
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870: No, just you'll never regain the lost years.

869: It started off as an exercise in user testing and then got permanent because I never found the spare time to do the sysadmin yak shaving of moving the thing over permanently.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:52 AM
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875: I was attempting a lame, pedantic joke. Whenever you read one of my comments you should picture Stanley with a wry grin.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:59 AM
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871: It does look like an amazing exhibit. I hope it shows up somewhere I can conveniently get to at some point.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 9:06 AM
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I don't think I ever heard of statewide nerd camp until this thread. I'm going to assume that this is because California doesn't have one, but who knows. For fellow TV obssessives, is like the thing that Lindsey was supposed to go to at the end of Freaks and Geeks but skipped out on to follow the Dead in a van?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 9:08 AM
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I felt a lot like 874 2 years after my doctorate-- I was writing servers in a suburb of the city where I went to grad school, happy for the comfortable living but none too find of the landscape and full of second-guessing. Now, I am grateful for having had the chance to live lattice gases, still a nice thing to think about sometimes.

Also, might-have-beens are terrible-- I am glad to have tried, and for me personally, getting the chance to work closely with people who were extremely strong was a useful course in humility.

This is a shitty economy-- when things pick up, which they will, I bet that you'll find a promising door that's unlocked and figure out how to get in.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 9:19 AM
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874: That makes perfect sense. For me the move from high school in a place where I knew how to handle subtleties to an intense academic environment in a culture that's almost but not quite familiar pushed me strongly in the anti-social geek direction. The good news is that making an effort to get out of that bubble of anti-sociality works remarkably well, and simply involves interacting with people. I can't (and don't want to) get rid of the essential geekiness, but the anti-social elements aren't doing me any good.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 9:28 AM
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Based on my experience at Smart Kids Summer School between 7th and 8th grade, I'm guessing any statewide nerd camp-type endeavor I had participated in would have not been an awesome transformative experience, and would instead have left me even more alienated.

Sigh.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 9:29 AM
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My Smart Girl Summer Camp experience between 7th and 8th grade was bad and left me befriending the counselors I had protocrushes on and not doing much with peers. Statewide nerd camp was 5 weeks over the summer before the last year of high school, and that worked much better for me developmentally. As Knecht said (though I'm not sure it was the same state) the sheer scope of it meant that there were sports stars and student body presidents and artists and musicians and so forth. I certainly didn't notice anyone else spending as much time in the library as I did, but I also socialized a ton.

One thing I'd done when I enrolled at my single-sex high school in another county was make a vow to myself that I'd have a substantive conversation with each of the 140-some other girls in my class by the time I graduated as a way to cure me of shyness and misanthropy. It may have worked in terms of shyness; apparently I was known for being polite yet vocal about things I found important and true to myself despite what anyone might think about me. I'm not sure that last part was as true as I'd wish it had been.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 9:35 AM
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Postgraduate study, on the other hand -- i.e., being locked away on one's own much of the time working largely in one's own head, in a city where one doesn't know many people, socializing very little because one's skint, spending too much time on-line -- can do a pretty good job of inculcating nerdy traits long after one thought one's character was fixed.

I've noticed this too, and it's made me realize that although I'm good at school it's really not that great an environment for me overall. Luckily I've just got one more year. I've never regretted not going for a PhD, and I'm especially thankful now that I didn't take that path.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 9:44 AM
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Like Thorn, I had a bad experience at summer camp between 7th and 8th grade (at Duke), which was miserable and alienating, but had a lot of fun at the statewide program after 11th grade.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 9:47 AM
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There's a picture at the second link from the same perspective, but if you look closely there is a "little" man at the lower right base that gives some perspective (I did not notice him there at first).

Yeah, that's a good way to get a sense of at least the vertical scale. It also helps to know how big Pueblo Bonito is. (Really big.) It's visible at the left edge of both pictures. The highest point remaining at that time, which was crushed when the rock fell, was a fourth story wall.

This page has a good aerial photo by Charles Lindbergh that shows the full extent of the rock, but it's hard to get a sense of scale.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 9:53 AM
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Great Zimbabwe has a similar architecture, constructed of little brick-like slabs of granite (I think it's granite), but unlike Chaco there's no mortar. Basically just piles of rock.

Interesting. I've heard the big Andean sites are similar, being dry-laid but very tightly.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 9:55 AM
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883: On this theme, at my school there are regular "PhD students should be more sociable" emails (to which everyone agrees), followed by someone organising an event that virtually no-one goes to. Perverse.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:00 AM
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885: It really is an interesting geological and cultural story. Redoubles my intense desire to get there--not sure I can swing it this year, however. Possibly in the fall.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:04 AM
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865: Great Zimbabwe's not actually all that impressive, though, if you think that it's roughly contemporary with the Hangzhou Pagoda and Lincoln Cathedral, and the best it has is some 20-foot walls and a few unmortared conical towers.
The same applies to Macchu Picchu. Yes it's a wonderfully dramatic setting, yes it's impressive that they didn't use mortar. But apart from that? Meh. It's a village. If it was at ground level in Yorkshire, you wouldn't look twice.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:05 AM
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Blogging is almost by definition technology to allow people who don't know anything about programming to make web pages.

HTML isn't a programming language and neither is Apache's configuration language.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:08 AM
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889: The same is true of Chaco, of course.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:12 AM
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892

I'm hauling the kid off to nerd camp in a week and a half and don't have much doubt that he'll enjoy it.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:12 AM
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893

891 to 890.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:13 AM
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Given the problem of a falling rock, what shall we do to stop it? Some say blast it down before it falls on the ruins and more or less wrecks them. Some say block it up, as the ancients did, only use concrete instead of clay, sand, and rock. Others would tie it to the cliff, with rods of steel.

I SAY WE TAKE OFF AND NUKE THE ENTIRE SITE FROM ORBIT. IT'S THE ONLY WAY TO BE SURE.


Posted by: OPINIONATED T. ELLEN RIPLEY | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:15 AM
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889: For values of "village" that include facilities for over 10,000 people. The surviving stone monuments and enclosures are a tiny fraction of what the place once was.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:17 AM
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891: no doubt. And sites like that are very interesting in a "this is the best-preserved relic of this fascinating culture" way. But when people start claiming them as wonders of the world, it puts my back up. They're really not that good! Are we seriously saying that they can stand alongside the Great Pyramid?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:20 AM
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Isn't the whole point of Macchu Pichu that the location is impressive? I mean it's not like we're building cities up there now.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:21 AM
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891: It's a little-known fact about Yorkshire that regardless of how impressive any human artifact may be, if you move it to ground level in Yorkshire, it doesn't look like much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:23 AM
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899

I take it back. It would be very impressive if it were in Yorkshire, not least because everyone would be wondering "how the hell did those ten thousand Quechua get to Barnsley anyway?"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:25 AM
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898/899: Conversely, if you were to move Barnsley to the top of the Andes, it would look pretty darn impressive.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:30 AM
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901

re: 896

Yeah, brochs are essentially the same architectural style as Great Zimbabwe and the like.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:31 AM
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902

Despite strongly disagreeing with the Machu Picchu statement, you certainly have a point concerning Great Zimbabwe.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:34 AM
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903

if you were to move Barnsley to the top of the Andes, it would look pretty darn impressive

IF YOU WILL IT, IT IS NO DREAM, BY 'ECK.


Posted by: OPINIONATED YORKSHIRE THEODOR HERZL | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:37 AM
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904

902: Elevationist.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:38 AM
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905

890: and how do you know that?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:45 AM
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906

I am jealous of everybody who went to nerd camps (though, like Natilo, I suspect I wouldn't have enjoyed it had I gone).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:57 AM
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859: I know that that's the answer, but i mean these people were so lazy, and their parents were paying.

I worked much harder than they did, but I can't work as hard as they do now without being exhausted.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 11:02 AM
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There's a definite tendency for people to not think of "uncivilized" areas as being on the same timeline as "civilized" ones, and to interpret the former as both extremely old and basically unchanging. So in that context lots of places look more impressive than they would if compared with what was actually going on in the rest of the world at the same time.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 11:26 AM
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909

I think there's something very disrespectful about treating non-Eurasian civilizations as unchanging. The Inuit weren't a group of peace lovers living for millenia at peace with their environment, they were a particular civilization that made several brilliant technological discoveries which they used to rapidly expand and displace/kill/absorb all their neighbors (including the Vikings). The Americas, Africa, and Polynesia have actual histories rather than just a steady-state prior to European arrival.

Treating something like Great Zimbwabwe as a wonder really is the soft bigotry of low expectations.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 12:07 PM
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909: The people who want Great Zimbabwe to qualify as "wonder" (whatever the hell that means) are mostly doing so out of nationalist and economic motives. Zimbabwe is in desperate need of foreign exchange, and tourism is one of the few things they have going. There's also a "fuck you" aspect of it due to the fact that Europeans having been casting around for centuries for any reason, no matter how insane, to dismiss the accomplishments of sub-Saharan Africans in service of the racial theories used to support colonialism and slavery. Great Zimbabwe was viewed by many of these theorists as an obstacle to their theories, so it's something of an icon for their victims.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 1:28 PM
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909:

Wow, I'm so puzzled by how you think you first bit leads to your second. Great Zimbabwe isn't a wonder because Africans are otherwise presumed to be incapable of building stone struc tures. It's a wonder because, outside of the Swahili Coast, they didn't so much, so in the interior of central Africa you had to have a pretty dramatic concentrated development of architectural skills. It's also a wonder because it was the capital of a trading empire that dominated political and economic development in the region for some 200 years. Contextual understanding makes these places more impressive rather than less.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 2:46 PM
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Further to 911: It bugs the hell out me that we think of these places as part of some global building/technological achievement competition. Yes the pyramids have stood up longer than just about anything. This doesn't make other building and structures less impressive because they don't win Ultimate Building Championship Smackdown.

ajay, you try building any damn thing out of stone without mortar and let me know how that works out for you.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 2:55 PM
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913

ajay, you try building any damn thing out of stone without mortar and let me know how that works out for you.

They offer training.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 2:57 PM
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914

889: Yer, partly because storing water at the top of a mountain is a lot more interesting than storing it on the flat.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 3:01 PM
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915

.... based on trying to get a rather small offgrid PV system running and robust: the first infrastructure is always more impressive. The first rutted path is more impressive. You know how technological progress keeps speeding up? That's because it keeps getting *easier*.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 3:02 PM
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916

They offer training.

And write songs about the process.

In Cumberland they built them / On hills that surely must have killed them / Through broom and juniper and stunted ling / Two thousand feet over / With just a tarpaulin cover / They sat through wind and rain and waited for the spring


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 3:13 PM
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917

Maybe if we direct this thread back to nerd sex, we'll get to the kilocomment mark yet.

Smart teens don't have sex (or kiss much either). RESULTS: Controlling for age, physical maturity, and mother's education, a significant curvilinear relationship between intelligence and coital status was demonstrated; adolescents at the upper and lower ends of the intelligence distribution were less likely to have sex. Higher intelligence was also associated with postponement of the initiation of the full range of partnered sexual activities. An expanded model incorporating a variety of control and mediator variables was tested to identify mechanisms by which the relationship operates. CONCLUSIONS: Higher intelligence operates as a protective factor against early sexual activity during adolescence, and lower intelligence, to a point, is a risk factor. More systematic investigation of the implications of individual differences in cognitive abilities for sexual activities and of the processes that underlie those activities is warranted.

They say that like it's a *good* thing.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 3:23 PM
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918

Just to clarify, I do of course agree that the attitude I described in 908 is totally wrong. I also don't see much point in trying to compare things built by widely differing cultures under different circumstances.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 3:27 PM
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919

Crazy hobbit castle from a link from a thread in the site linked at 913.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 3:27 PM
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920

Higher intelligence operates as a protective factor against early sexual activity

I must be a god damn genius.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 3:30 PM
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921

920: Have you considered going back to college?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 3:36 PM
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922

Have you considered going back to college?

I work at a University.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 3:46 PM
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917: If you want a kilocomment you have to include food somehow. This article on done-ness fashion in meats ought to do the trick.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 3:55 PM
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924

I work at a University.

Have you considered sleeping with the students, perhaps in exchange for higher grades?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 3:55 PM
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925

I sought help online and immediately discovered I wasn't alone: "[People tell] me that it is really weird and gross for me to enjoy well done meat," wrote one desperate gourmand.

People are idiots.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:00 PM
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Have you considered sleeping with the students, perhaps in exchange for higher grades?

I could raise their E-mail quotas but can't really do anything about grades. That doesn't really seem sexy time worthy. I also just checked and the Enrollment is still 55% male so KR article doesn't really apply.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:04 PM
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927

I asked for a well-done hamburger the other day at a bar where I and my friends are regulars. I was practically 86'd.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:05 PM
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928

Have you considered lusting for the male students?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:16 PM
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929

Megan's all about finding solutions.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:29 PM
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930

Youth is wasted on the young. I went to college in the dark ages, at a time when the traditionally male colleges had just opened the doors to women. It was not unusual to have MAYBE one girl in a class with 20 guys. One gal I knew was one of the first girls to attend Dartmouth. She said it was very creepy to have everyone on campus know her name before she even arrived, via the premailed freshman facebook. My how times have changed.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:30 PM
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931

CJB, since you're here, didn't mean to be blithe out of place. Even 15 years could still be bad luck, especially if you're somewhere on the wrong side of a gender imbalance.

Thing I do not like about nerd sex: claim that corsets and fake bordellos are egalitarian and empowering in some new and nerdly way. (They're SF, but not SFnal.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:31 PM
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932

925: Comity!

I found the actual data interesting, but she did make her concerns seem a little dramatic.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:31 PM
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933

Megan's all about finding solutions.

It seems like Megan's solution would drop the possible receptive population from a ceiling of 45% to a ceiling of about 5% though so I am having a hard time seeing how it helps.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:35 PM
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934

Speaking of concerns being dramatic in spite of data, I appreciate Yglesias's recent screeds against the terrified and stupid wealthy parent school of journalism.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:37 PM
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935

Caitlin is worried about blowjobs and anal sex. She wants it to stay with the homos and not become "normal" behavior from the good girls.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:43 PM
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936

934 -- I liked that too, but then MY decided to put up some basketball commentary that is unbelievably lame even by his own unbelievably lame standards for sports commentary, making me once again suspicious of his entire site.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:45 PM
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937

MY is right, Kobe is not that great. Just because he looks good playing basketball, doesn't mean he's actually better at it.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:50 PM
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938

Oooh, that is a problem. I was thinking over overall numbers, not receptive population. Shoot.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:51 PM
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939

And receptive population would be... no, I'm not acculturated here enough.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:58 PM
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940

Oh, for fucks sake. There is an argument that Kobe is overrated by some, and he is clearly not as good as Jordan. The argument that he is about as good as Paul Pierce is ridiculous and not even supported by the statistical analysis that MY claims to love. And that puts aside the "intangibles" category completely -- which is dumb; basketball statistics aren't even close to being as a reliable guide to what is going on the Court as in baseball, and you do have to do qualitative analysis using your eyes.

By any reasonable standard, Kobe is one of the 4-5 best players in the league right now and one of the top 20 of all time.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 4:59 PM
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941

No, by a reasonable standard Kobe is one of the 4-5 best shooting guards in the league (not as good as Wade, comparable to Ginobili, Roy, and maybe someone else) and maybe one of the 20 best players in the league.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:08 PM
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942

Though in Kobe's defense, he is impressively durable.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:09 PM
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943

Is Jordan even Jordan without Pippin? I think not.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:09 PM
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944

By any reasonable standard, Kobe is one of the 4-5 best players in the league right now and one of the top 20 of all time.

Apparently I'm not reasonable, because I'd say that he's one of the top 10 players in the league, but not one of the top 5 (and that's giving him credit for his ability to raise his game in the playoffs) and one of the all-time good players, but not one of the top players ever (that one's complicated by comparing players from different eras. Is he better than Oscar Robertson? there is no definitive way to answer that).

One complicating factor -- a significant element of what makes him valuable is his durability, and it's hard to know how to factor that into "top X players this season." But I'm not sure that he was better than Pau Gasol this season.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:13 PM
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945

No, by a reasonable standard Kobe is one of the 4-5 best shooting guards in the league (not as good as Wade, comparable to Ginobili, Roy, and maybe someone else) and maybe one of the 20 best players in the league.

I would have said that at the end of the regular season, but I have to admit, he's impressed me in the playoffs.

I think if I had to win 1 game this season I'd take Kobe over Roy pretty comfortably, and I'd put him in the same category as (a healthy) ginobili or Wade. For the season, I might take Kobe out of that group based on durability, though Wade put up better numbers.

So probably either the best or second best SG last season. Probably second behind Wade. I understand that Ginobili's numbers were better on a per/minute basis but, given his injuries, I would have a hard time saying that Ginobili was the second best SG in 09-10.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:18 PM
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946

943: Do you mean 6-time champion? (Then, no.) Or arguably the best player of all-time? (Then, yes.)

If you don't think Jordan was much better than Kobe then you've just forgotten what the young Jordan was like. Go back and look at his stats from his peak. They're out of this world.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:20 PM
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947

Wow, you guys really are eager to hit 1000.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:21 PM
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948

Kobe is an asshole and as a Celtics fan I have extra reasons to dislike him, but you're really arguing that he's no better than Ginobili or Roy?! The guy is an amazing player, clearly the best one on the court in the finals. Wade is also pretty damn good, but I'd give the edge to Kobe. I also don't think that there are any genuinely all time caliber big men out there right now. Shaq is a shadow of himself, Duncan is still good but nowhere near his peak levels, ditto for Garnett. Howard is overrated - perfectly good, deserving all star but not anywhere near the class of three just mentioned at their peak.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:21 PM
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949

I see you have access to John Hollinger's website. Unfortunately, the relationship of PER to performance on the Court is . . . extraordinarily questionable at best.

Put it this way: would any team have thought for 30 seconds before accepting if the Lakers offered any of the following as straight up trades in 2009-2010: Bosh for Kobe, Ginobli for Kobe, Anthony for Kobe, Oden for Kobe, Nowitzki for Kobe, Gasol (use your imagination) for Kobe, Stoudemire for Kobe, Anthony for Kobe, or David goddamn Lee for Kobe? No fucking way in the universe.

I think there would be a more than 30 second pause, probably followed by a careful "maybe" for a Wade/Kobe, Howard/Kobe, and POSSIBLY a Durant/Kobe or Paul/Kobe trade. There would clearly be (and there should be) a "no way" response to a straight up LeBron-Kobe trade.

And even if you rank Kobe lower than I do, the notion that he is about the same quality player as Pierce over a career is ludicrous.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:21 PM
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945: Of course the other thing to keep in mind is that with the exception of Jordan, shooting guards aren't usually all that good. So even if Kobe's arguably the best shooting guard (and I really think it's very hard to make the case over Wade) that still wouldn't land him in the top 5 players.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:23 PM
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951

Do you mean 6-time champion

Specifically, yes, but also just reminding all and sundry that team sports make individual comparisons problematic. Especially team sports like basketball, where passing is so important.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:28 PM
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952

931.2- Comity on corsets not being egalitarian or empowering (I think Burlesques have already been covered on Unfogged), but what does SF/SFnal stand for?


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:28 PM
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949: I actually *don't* have access to Hollinger's site, though I do read David Berri.

Talking about straight-up trades is a bit complicated for several reasons:
1) Age. (Portland would be insane to trade Roy for Kobe on age alone)
2) Ability to make money for the team (Kobe's certainly more sellable than Gasol)

If you think Orlando's response to Howard for Kobe is anything other than laughing you out of the building than you're nuts.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:28 PM
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954

Talking about Kobe is a fitting way to approach 1000, but Halford is really not helping counteract his "jock bully" reputation acquired upthread.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:36 PM
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955

If you think Orlando's response to Howard for Kobe is anything other than laughing you out of the building than you're nuts.

Given the respective make ups of the team and their ages, sure. If they were the same age, who knows. Kobe is clearly the better player, but it's much easier to get a very good SF/SG scorer to complement Howard then the reverse. But saying that SG's are overrated vs. big men, umh, no. Look at the championship teams over the past thirty years, how many had a big man as their best player? I count four teams and a total of ten titles (Sixers, Rockets, Spurs, LA with Shaq).


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:37 PM
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956

Halford beat me up and stole my lunch money on the playground today.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:38 PM
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957

949: Also why is it ludicrous to compare Kobe to Pierce? I mean Kobe's a little better, but they're mostly pretty comparable. Pierce is a better rebounder, Kobe's a better passer. The difference is that Kobe's been on better teams. Pierce's best team when he was the best player on it (pre-Garnett, pre-Rondo) was better than any of Kobe's non-Shaq/non-Gasol teams. The only difference is that for some reason people think that Kobe's better than Gasol, rather than the other way around.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:38 PM
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958

There is no player in the NBA today better than Glen Davis.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:38 PM
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959

I am not a fan of Kobe


Posted by: Katelyn Faber | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:41 PM
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960

Especially team sports like basketball, where passing is so important.

Ding ding ding. This (OK, not just passing, but team dynamic as a whole) is why statistical measures for ranking individual BB players (at least the ones that are publicly accessible, who knows what the teams are using) are so dubious. As a tool for analyzing any individual player's contributions to winning games, basketball stats are roughly at the level of ability to analyze a catcher's defensive contribution in baseball (which is to say, there are some numbers you can look at, which are better than nothing, but that have to be combined with a healthy dose of qualitative analysis). MY is one of the worst offenders in not getting this.

I agree trades get complicated because of age and other factors (we haven't talked about contracts) but think of the question as whether a team would take a one-year swap for the 2009-2010 regular and post season. I think, realistically, only Howard, Wade, LeBron, and maybe Paul and Durant are situations where a team wouldn't simply accept a one-year swap for Kobe without question. And IMO intangibles, including the Kobe/Gasol relationship push Kobe well in front of at least Wade and probably everyone on that list except maybe LeBron and Howard.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:42 PM
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961

955: I never said *point guards* or *Michael Jordan* were over-rated.

You're not counting Gasol last year or Garnett the previous year, or Ben Wallace with the Pistons?

By my count since 1990 you have 6 Bulls teams and the Miami Heat (where Wade was certainly the best player in the Finals, though Shaq was still quite good) and all the other champions had a big man as their top player.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:43 PM
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962

No love for me?


Posted by: Earvin Johnson | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:44 PM
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963

The 80's are before my time. I didn't want to have to do research about whether Zeke really was the best player on the Pistons or not. I'll grant you Magic and Bird though.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:45 PM
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964

I would call Pierce the best player in 2008, Billups on the Pistons. Going back to the eighties it's Bird, Magic, and Isiah.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:48 PM
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965

LISTEN KID. I've been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA. I'm out there busting my buns every night. Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.


Posted by: Roger Murdoch | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:48 PM
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966

The "shooting guards are bad" line is crazy because of the different ways in which the sg/pg position has evolved over the years and the ways in which the roles are utilized by different teams. Positions in basketball are not static and stable positions like baseball (or, to a much lesser extent, football). In a real sense, Magic and Bird were simply playing a different game and using their positions in different ways when they played. These are dynamic systems.

And even by the statistical measures, the Pierce comparison is ludicrous -- KB is something like 18 on the all time PER ranking list and Pierce is at about 50, which IMO overrates Pierce.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:51 PM
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967

966: PER overvalues taking shots.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:55 PM
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968

At least there is one setting in which I can be a jock bully! Lifetime goal acheived!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:55 PM
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969

Speaking of ridiculous and meaningless comparisons, I see that "Shaq Vs." will be on again this summer.

http://abc.go.com/shows/shaq-vs


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:56 PM
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970

OK, I agree, and so the qualitative argument for Pierce better than Kobe is . . . . [crickets]


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:56 PM
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971

964.last: it's Bird, Magic, and Isiah.

Yeah, Isiah not being on the Dream Team still irks me. And yes, I understand the whole dynamic with Jordan etc. And I think I've bitched about it here before.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 5:58 PM
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972

Why the hell would you think that Pierce was better than Garnett (pre-knee injury)??? Now this is an argument I'm sure I can win. Look at their stats that year! And that's not even factoring in that Garnett was an all-world defender.

I can at least see where the "Kobe's really good" argument comes from (overvaluing taking shots, overvaluing doing things that look pretty) but Pierce over Garnett? I'm not even sure how you'd *try* to make that argument.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:00 PM
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973

970: No one says that Pierce is better than Kobe, only that he's almost as good.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:01 PM
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974

923 This article on done-ness fashion in meats ought to do the trick.

The fact that the writer "honed in on the modern American history of doneness" (emphasis mine) really should do the trick.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:02 PM
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975

971: And I think I've bitched about it here before.

Here, fighting with Ogged who characterized Thomas as, "the most hatable Chicagoan of all time".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:05 PM
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976

No good GM would trade Durant for Kobe. I do have to reluctantly agree with Halford on the Pierce comparison though.

Kobe is annoying as hell. I know who I'm rooting for on Thursday. Should be great -- showdown for history. Sports are so great -- everyone in all walks of life should have to survive a showdown with their greatest enemy to earn the right to be remembered by future generations.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:15 PM
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977

I'm surprised to see U:"Pe,tgi"9 participating so vigorously in the basketball discussion. I always thought of him/her as one of those brain in a vat, ivory tower realm of pure thought types.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:15 PM
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978

Well, arguing about sports statistics is hardly non-ivory tower. That said, I do like sports, for example I played a whole season of football as a 10-year old (55 pounds in a division with a 105 pound weight limit).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:18 PM
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979

American history of doneness

One summer when I was a lad I worked as a ranch hand in Waxahachie, TX. The ranch manager also preferred his meat well done, or as he explained it "I like my meat killed, not just crippled up".


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:18 PM
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980

I bring my ivory tower perspective to sports though. Just because Boston won a series doesn't make me think that they were a better team than Cleveland. Probability says that a somewhat worse team will win a best-of-7 reasonably often. Real sports fans seem to not believe in probability.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:22 PM
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981

960: Granting that quantitative basketball statistics don't do all that one would want them to do, what gives you confidence that your judgment of "intangibles" reflects anything meaningful, given, e.g., that the modern development of useful and informative baseball statistics has made clear that a lot of the old-school discussion of "intangibles" in that sport was in fact bullshit?


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:22 PM
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982

The ranch manager also preferred his meat well done, or as he explained it "I like my meat killed, not just crippled up".

My grandfather, on the other hand, used to say, "Just walk the cow past the radiator."


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:26 PM
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983

981: Interestingly enough, even though basketball statistics are worse in terms of information gathered than baseball stats, my understanding is that the larger sample size actually means that basketball stats are better in terms of predicting future performance. (For example, ERA is not very predictive of future ERA, you're better off just looking at homerun/walk/strikeout numbers.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:28 PM
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984

980.last: Losers (like me) certainly do, especially after you've been on the wrong side of something like Phi Slamma Jamma v. NC State.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:30 PM
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985

981: basketball is just different from baseball in that way. Intangibles in baseball don't mean much (especially on offense) because it's an individual sport with a limited number of actions whose outcomes are precisely measured, so once you have the measures there isn't much left except whether you can "do it in the clutch". Because the actions are so repetitive there isn't much difference in how you perform them in clutch vs. non-clutch situations.

The statistical revolution in baseball really screwed up the sport for me, sometimes games feel like I'm watching a statistical program spit out a simulation run. Basketball has more mystery and drama.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:31 PM
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986

SF is San Francisco, SFnal science fictional -- to people who read about science fiction (Even nerdier than those who just read it).


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:41 PM
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987

Ah, intangibles... PGD, didn't we have this same argument last week in the context of brains vs. computers?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:41 PM
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988

A brain in a vat just brings more to the table than a Turing machine.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:43 PM
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989

988: Especially if the vat has arms and legs.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:47 PM
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990

||

NMM to brosicingbros.com.

|>


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:48 PM
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991

990: That was fast.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:50 PM
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992

988: Namely, the vat.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:50 PM
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993

981 -- What 985 said (well, I still like baseball) Basketball stats just aren't as good at accurately describing a player's contribution)


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 6:55 PM
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994

The VAT will save us from the recession or the deficit or scabies or whatever.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 7:01 PM
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995

If this vat is rockin'
Don't come a knockin'


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 7:07 PM
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996

Halford's back, but still no argument for why Pierce was better than Garnett two years' ago...


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 7:16 PM
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997

993: I did agree that basketball stats aren't exactly great at accurately describing a player's contribution, but one way to tell the story of the revolution in baseball stats is that stats used to not completely accurately describe a player's contribution, people filled in the blanks with their takes on a player's "intangibles", and eventually better statistics showed that a lot of those people had been wrong. Whether or not we ultimately get those better statistics in basketball, why believe your judgment of the intangible portion of a player's contribution actually adds information value to the (admittedly flawed) current statistics, as opposed to being an aesthetic response?


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 7:26 PM
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998

I might have to concede on Pierce vs. Garnett in 2008.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 7:31 PM
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999

In which I cheat.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 7:35 PM
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1000

DWAYNE!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 7:35 PM
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1001

as opposed to being an aesthetic response

For fan experience, aesthetics are a lot more important in basketball than baseball. Think of the seven seconds or less Nash led Suns vs. the Ewing led Knicks of the Riley era. I don't really care how they compare in objective quality, I just know that one was a joy to watch and the other was ugly and boring.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 7:35 PM
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1002

I agree 100% with 1001. I'm just taking issue with the idea that Halford's "intangibles" argument for Kobe's superiority comes down to something other than "I like to watch Kobe play basketball".


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 7:46 PM
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1003

I am likely to have some free time in August - they do long summers up in the non-frozen north - but I don't think I'll be able to come up with a reason to go to Chaco, given it being a thousand or so miles out of the way. I'd probably have swung by last year had I gone to an eastern school.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 7:52 PM
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1004

1001 makes 958 explicit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:14 PM
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1005

Also 997 is fantastic, and ties into the Caitlin Flanagan/MY tyranny of empiricism-free debate subthread from wherever and whenever that was.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:16 PM
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1006

I am likely to have some free time in August - they do long summers up in the non-frozen north - but I don't think I'll be able to come up with a reason to go to Chaco, given it being a thousand or so miles out of the way.

No problem. I'm not even sure yet if I'll still be there in August. And Chaco's pretty far out of the way even for people who are going right past it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:17 PM
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1007

It's too bad there isn't some kind of regional specialty hand-held street food native to (and eponymically related to) northeastern Trinidad, because then teo could start a side business selling them outside the park with a big banner saying "CHACO TOCOS".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:21 PM
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1008

Why can't the Trinidadan street food still be served in a shell and made with chocolate?

"Teo's Shack o' Choco Chaco Toco Tacos"


Posted by: Mr. Blandings. | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:26 PM
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1009

Sometimes life is cruel that way.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:26 PM
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1010

1009 was to 1007. That it works for 1008 is just a small bonus.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:27 PM
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1011

1008: he'd get all kinds of girls with his Teo Choco Chaco Toco Taco Hat.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:28 PM
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1012

Probably just one kind of girl, but lots of different girls.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:33 PM
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1013

Specificially, the kind that likes hats and rhymes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:39 PM
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1014

Specificially, the kind that likes hats and rhymes.

Has Brigitte Nielsen moved on from Flavor Flav?


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:47 PM
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1015

There are actually people who sell (Navajo) tacos just outside the park entrance from time to time.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:53 PM
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1016

Why, you're halfway there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:54 PM
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1017

Just livin' on a prayer.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:57 PM
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1018

I don't think they've hit upon the phrase "Chaco taco," though. I should suggest it to them, if they're still doing this.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 8:58 PM
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1019

1017: It's like you've been living in New Jersey all your life.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 9:03 PM
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1020

Chaco taco takeout.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 9:14 PM
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1021

1019: I sent in my in-state residency application today, so we'll see what the registrar has to say about it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 9:20 PM
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1022

997: c'mon, basketballs "intangibles" are actually very tangible. You can watch it out on the court, people fucking up in non-statistically-measured ways, teammates getting into arguments and people pouting and going into a funk and playing worse. It's such an interactive sport. There are a ton of examples of players who seemed good statistically but people were, like, "he's just not a winner" and later evidence supported them. Most recently, Vince Carter and Orlando.

Although I'll admit anecdote can be deceptive, that doesn't mean unmeasured complexity doesn't exist.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 9:58 PM
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There are a ton of examples of players who seemed good statistically but people were, like, "he's just not a winner" and later evidence supported them. Most recently, Vince Carter and Orlando.

The problem with a comment like that is the existence of confirmation bias. People only remember the times that support their theories.

What happens when a player who was previously labeled, "not a winner" (like, say, Paul Pierce, for a long time) begins to win in the playoffs? People either forget they said anything or say, "he's a better player now, he's learned how to win."

The challenge is to make testable predictions. If you were betting on Boston over Cleveland this year then, more power to you, but not many people were (more people picked Boston over Orlando, but that was based on having watched them destroy Cleveland).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:14 PM
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According to Dick Vitale, winners are the players who play the best at winning time. No confirmation bias there.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-16-10 10:17 PM
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912: ajay, you try building any damn thing out of stone without mortar and let me know how that works out for you.

Have done. We used it to keep sheep in.

Dry stone walling is basically unskilled labour. You don't need to posit some sort of abnormal concentration of architectural skills, just a fair number of Africans with the minimal hand-eye co-ordination and motivation necessary to put one rock on top of another. At least Macchu Picchu involved some impressive masonry work. But "large conical tower made of dry stone"? We have those, bigger and more than a thousand years older than Great Zimbabwe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broch), and I don't think anyone's tried to claim they're architectural marvels.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 2:29 AM
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The people who are actually professionally tasked with making predictions on NBA games -- Vegas linemakers -- do not rely particularly heavily on stats, especially advanced ones. Nor do most GMs (or, rather, they use them but treat them as very limited indicators of value).

The "intangibles" aren't just aesthetic, although of course some players are more fun to watch than others. The key question for figuring out how good a player is is the amount he increases your team's chance of winning. In the NBA, this can be a product of a thousand things not easily measureable by statistics, including how well the player fits within a given system, leadership, ability to rely on the player in high-leverage situations, etc. Assuming that you can get an answer by simply relying on a bunch of not-very-accurate stats to measure a player's value is silly; the stats provide some information, and are better now than when I was a kid, but not that much more. And of course qualitative analysis is subject to confirmation bias, etc., but that doesn't mean it's not useful (actually, it remains useful even in baseball, but that's another story). As to why we should pay any attention to my own qualitative analysis of Kobe, you probably shouldn't, except that it's shared by the majority of NBA players, the reports of his teammates through the years, and folks who are paid professio


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 8:59 AM
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-ally to evaluate basketball talent. Sometimes those people really do know something.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 9:02 AM
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The people who are actually professionally tasked with making predictions on NBA games -- Vegas linemakers -- do not rely particularly heavily on stats, especially advanced ones.

How do you know this? If this it's true, it would be a strong argument, since Vegas is in the predictions business, but the one person that I know about who made a living betting on basketball definitely used advanced stats.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 9:09 AM
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Vegas oddsmakers are mostly responding to the flow of betting. Their predictive skills are somewhat oversold.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 9:10 AM
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"Flow" is the wrong word. "Trend"?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 9:11 AM
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Vegas oddsmakers are mostly responding to the flow of betting. Their predictive skills are somewhat oversold.

Even if it just reflects the "wisdom of crowds" it is interesting to me that the vegas line at the beginning of the season was better at predicting final standings than the APBRMetrics crowd.

Now there is a big caveat, all of the APRBMetrics people were trying to come up with a statistical model to predict the standings. The one person that had better predictions than Vegas didn't use a model but combined statistical information with their own intuition.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 9:21 AM
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How do you know this?

I had a case involving someone in the business, but I think it's generally known. The oddsmakers mostly spend their time watching a ton of sports (and using statistics, but sparingly). A lot of folks have thought that they could use APBRMetrics as a successful gambling system; very, very few if any have had any success.

Vegas oddsmakers are mostly responding to the flow of betting.

Not really, and certainly not exclusively. NBA betting is not horse racing, and there's an oddsmakers/bookmakers distinction; the people who set the odds are not the people responsible for balancing both sides of the line, which is why the oddsmakers lines tend not to move at the speed of the bookmakers' lines. If APBRMetrics provided a significant edge to oddsmakers/bookmakers, they would certainly take advantage of it.

The only guy I know who had any success in sports gambling bet exclusively on Ivy League basketball games. He would watch and follow them obsessively, and, since the oddsmakers just weren't that interested in Ivy League basketball, and since the line on Ivy League games doesn't really respond at all to facts on the ground -- it's mostly sentimental betting by alumni or students -- he was able to make a tidy profit. Not a bad way to make a living, but it requires a massive investment in time learning about Ivy League basketball.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 12:19 PM
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gah i pretty much disagree with everything here


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 4:09 PM
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That's a whole lot of disagreein' yoyo. Can you be a little more specific, or are you just feeling generally contrarian?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 4:12 PM
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The only guy I know who had any success in sports gambling bet exclusively on Ivy League basketball games. He would watch and follow them obsessively, and, since the oddsmakers just weren't that interested in Ivy League basketball, and since the line on Ivy League games doesn't really respond at all to facts on the ground -- it's mostly sentimental betting by alumni or students -- he was able to make a tidy profit. Not a bad way to make a living, but it requires a massive investment in time learning about Ivy League basketball.

This is charming -- sounds like a minor character in a witty hardboiled detective novel.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 4:13 PM
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I think there's very strong evidence against the efficiency of markets. Even if odds makers could improve their profits by doing something, doesn't necessarily mean they would. Football coaches could win more games by going for it more often on fourth, but they don't actually do so.

Anyway, it takes more than one or two year's worth of data to figure out which model is the best. For example, it's well-known that point differential is better than current win-loss record at predicting future win-loss record. Nonetheless teams often finish 5 or so games off what their point differential predicts, which is enough to swing the homecourt advantage in the playoffs.

Since basketball, especially in the playoffs, is hugely influenced by injuries, you certainly need a lot of data to average out the errors due to injuries.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 4:24 PM
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Anyway, it takes more than one or two year's worth of data to figure out which model is the best.

I'm not quite sure who you're arguing with here, but if it's me I'd like to say that I'm one of the bigger defenders of APBRMetrics here but I think Halford is right, it isn't good enough to make money gambling with (though, follow the link in 1028 for one exception to that rule).

I do think, however, that the APBRMetrics methods are good enough to spot NBA GMs making some pretty dumb decisions about trades or contracts (are the Bucks really going to offer Salmons an additional 3 years at ~$7M/year?).

I think that when it comes to predicting team success (in one game or one season) the conventional wisdom isn't going to be that far off from what the stats say, because the stats just aren't that complicated in comparing one team to another (see the ESPN Stat geek challenge as an example, there just isn't much to distinguish on system from another when it comes to picking playoff series). I also think that APBRMetrics does offer a lot of useful information about the value/contributions of individual players which is more accurate than the CW.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 4:34 PM
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Right, most teams do roughly as good this year as they did last year with some obvious corrections (e.g. very young teams will probably get better) so making money is going to be a bit tricky. Mark Cuban looked into starting a sports betting hedge fund and decided it wasn't worth it, so that's further evidence that things aren't yet at a state where you can make a lot of money using them.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 4:40 PM
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also think that APBRMetrics does offer a lot of useful information about the value/contributions of individual players which is more accurate than the CW.

What is the stat for leadership?


Posted by: Derek Fisher | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 4:42 PM
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1039: Apparently nothing, http://dberri.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/pau-gasol-kobe-bryant-and-something-from-lamar-odom/


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 4:44 PM
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I do think, however, that the APBRMetrics methods are good enough to spot NBA GMs making some pretty dumb decisions about trades or contracts (are the Bucks really going to offer Salmons an additional 3 years at ~$7M/year?

I agree with this 100%, although sometimes the GMs just have more information than we do. IMO the tools are most useful at helping to spot egregious errors in over- or under- payment of players.

I also think that APBRMetrics does offer a lot of useful information about the value/contributions of individual players which is more accurate than the CW

I also agree with this 100%, although I probably disagree with NickS about *how much* more accurate. And the APBR Metrics need to be combined with qualitative analysis of watching games, which is different than just blindly following conventional wisdom.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 4:46 PM
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The difficulty with watching games as an evaluation tool is that you really *can't* see the difference between someone shooting 30% on 3-pointers and someone shooting 35%. That's going to translate into one shot ever few games! But the difference between 30% and 35% on threes is enormous in terms of whether you should be shooting threes.

Kobe's makes a lot of memorable shots, but that doesn't mean he's actually making a high percentage of his shots.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 4:52 PM
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1039: Please, please, don't cite Dave Berri as an expert source.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 4:54 PM
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I like Berri's work. Could you point me to a good critique?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 4:59 PM
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err, 1040

Also, this gives me an excuse.

Look at the championship teams over the past thirty years, how many had a big man as their best player? I count four teams and a total of ten titles (Sixers, Rockets, Spurs, LA with Shaq).

Ask the question another way, how many championship teams had a best player that didn't average at least 6 assists or at least 8 rebounds? Michael Jordan is still the exception, though he would be included if I lowered the bar for assists (and he was a great rebounder for a SG), but Kobe isn't close.

What really separates Chris Paul and Wade from Kobe, in my opinion, is that both of them get a *lot* more rebounds/steals/blocks than Kobe does, and that matters.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 5:00 PM
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1044: You can find my argument here. The thread is pretty much useless but if you read my first post (and it's a little bit complicated) it contains the reason why I think his system is wrong.

Essentially I think he overvalues rebounding and penalized people too much for missed field goals, but I have a good explanation for exactly how he does that, and where he went wrong.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 5:05 PM
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(also, mea culpa it looks like Kobe has been at or close to 6 assists in several seasons. And, honestly, I think that does bolster the claims of Kobe being a great player -- it is worth something that he was always the primary ball handler for multiple championship teams.)


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 5:07 PM
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1046: Thanks!


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 5:20 PM
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1040 -- Can I just say how that article is practically a parody of blindly following (Berri's particular version of) APBRMetrics? Fisher had a really spectacular, game changing 4th quarter performance in Game 3, and then has shot terribly (particularly 3s) ever since, while providing pretty good defense and running the offense well. Rating his contribution as "0" in wins produced (not to mention the weirdness of using these stats as a means of evaluating performance over a 6-game series, when IMO their value -- if anything -- should apply only to an entire season's series of games) simply isn't a good way of telling the story of his performance in the playoffs, or at least doesn't really tell you anything your average Laker fan couldn't tell you by having watched with his or her eyes.

you really *can't* see the difference between someone shooting 30% on 3-pointers and someone shooting 35%

Very true. Which is why any coach or player would want to know that stat (Ron Artest knows his 3-point % by heart). But you also can't just blindly use 3 point percentage or another metric and claim you have a definitive (and always, counterintuitive! oh how they love the counterintuitive) answer to the who is a better player question. No one is saying stats are useless; my only point is that they are not even close to providing the kind of complete picture of a player's contribution that is available in the SABR stats.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 5:23 PM
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1046: Thanks!

I'll be really curious what you make of it. I tried to explain my reasoning in the simplest way that I could, but it still didn't make much impact (partially because the APRMetrics regulars had all written of Berri long before that, so there weren't interested in another critique).

But I really feel like I did a good job of showing where he went wrong.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 5:26 PM
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The above was me, of course. NickS, great post, and I should make clear that I hope that APBRMetrics get there someday; I just don't think they're there yet.

What really separates Chris Paul and Wade from Kobe, in my opinion, is that both of them get a *lot* more rebounds/steals/blocks than Kobe does, and that matters.

That's a good argument -- and a way better argument than "Kobe's TSP isn't that high!" which just ignores how Kobe is used and is designed to be used in games -- but it also doesn't really take into account the different defensive structures that the different teams are using. You could be right, but the defensive stats do an even worse job at capturing defensive performance than the offensive ones do.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 5:32 PM
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Also, please pretend that I know how to write.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 5:33 PM
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1050: Well I got distracted by other links in that thread, but just to double check is the 3PM row second column a typo? (Should be -1? At any rate should add up to 3 not 4.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 5:33 PM
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Yeah, that's a nice argument. I think you make the point well.

So in your argument the key question becomes for an interaction like a missed shot, how much of that is the fault of the shooter and how much is to the credit of the defense. For missed shots Berri is attributing it entirely to the offense, while you're saying a more reasonable default assumption is 50/50. With no further knowledge I think you have the better side of that argument, but my first reaction is that this is to wonder whether there's a good empirical way to attack that question. Look at how much shooting percentage varies when you fix the shooter, and when you fix the defense, and then try to use the sizes of those variances to attribute the blame.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 5:52 PM
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That's a whole lot of disagreein' yoyo.

At comment #1034, it certainly is.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 6:04 PM
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It looks like you figured this out but, just in case

just to double check is the 3PM row second column a typo? (Should be -1? At any rate should add up to 3 not 4.)

Nope, a three-point basket is 2 points better (for the offense) or worse (for the defense) than the expected value of a possession.

For missed shots Berri is attributing it entirely to the offense, while you're saying a more reasonable default assumption is 50/50. With no further knowledge I think you have the better side of that argument, but my first reaction is that this is to wonder whether there's a good empirical way to attack that question. Look at how much shooting percentage varies when you fix the shooter, and when you fix the defense, and then try to use the sizes of those variances to attribute the blame.

I'm glad you find my argument convincing and agree that it would be better to see good data on that question but it is, actually, really tricky to get data.

Partially because you aren't just measuring players in a vacuum, you're also looking at a defensive scheme. If all of the defensive players always tried to stay close to the basket, the team would give up fewer offensive rebounds but a lot more open jump shots -- and nobody plays that way.

I'm actually bringing up an additional consideration there. You aren't just distributing credit between offense and defense you're also distributing credit between the person who gets the rebound and the person who contests the shot. In Berri's system all of the credit for the defense is attributed to the person that gets the defensive rebound.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 6:10 PM
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And I'm off to watch the game! S. Tweety, I hope you have a miserable evening! Go Lakers!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 6:14 PM
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1034

That's a whole lot of disagreein' yoyo. Can you be a little more specific, or are you just feeling generally contrarian?

hm ok. well, in the abstract, the thread is lots of self-pitying and accusation of dickishness without any thinking through how 'advice' that is taken might actually work. (the self-advice was ok, but was mostly of the 'don't have anxiety' which is useless advice) the 'what about the womenz' was funny too.

mostly i prefer either practical/scientific policy proposals, or arrogant self-regard and entitlement sprinkled with wry self-mocking, with about the same attitude toward others as toward oneself. which is the opposite of what happened here

andi listened to an ungodly number of albums in the early noughts, and the stone roses are about as good as anything from then.

anyway, my advice to my younger self would be 1. do more drugs 2. don't worry about hurting others 3. most people have many layers of false consciousness and have no core beliefs (of specific, concrete things, not 'is there an afterlife' sort) 4. don't worry about being good at jobs, just collect some titles and suck up to some dumb rich guys. 5. being interesting is worthless. focus on being flatterous or loud, as per the situation


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 6:32 PM
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I do think, however, that the APBRMetrics methods are good enough to spot NBA GMs making some pretty dumb decisions about trades or contracts

With the caveat that a)the market for players is far from being a free one b)GM's might believe making a move is good for keeping their job, rather than for team performance, c)keeping a coach or franchise player happy by signing someone they like.

And time for me to go to a bar to watch the game. Fucking ABC with its no streaming policy.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 7:19 PM
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1057: likewise!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 7:21 PM
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I discovered the whole Thorn/Palmer/James Sabermetrics stuff in the late '80s and was quite enthused by it. Then I began to participate in online forums ... Actually, I still thought (and think) it is pretty great stuff, but the strident, humorless pedantry led to me being positively ecstatic when Joe Carter (one of the favorite examples of an "overrated" player at the time) had a game-winning RBI in a clutch situation to win a short series. It nearly caused the Sabularity.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 8:14 PM
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Joe Carter

Now why'd you have to go and ruin my night, Stormcrow?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 9:45 PM
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I'd sort of skipped past all of the basketball in this thread and didn't even know that the NBA championship was happening. In June. Nobody is timely anymore.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 10:13 PM
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Fuckety fuck fuck.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 10:15 PM
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IRL I've heard very few people mention the NBA Finals this year. The groundswell of lack of interest in seeing either of these teams win yet another title is palpable. This must be what it was like in October 1956 during the sixth Yankees-Dodgers World Series in ten years.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 10:27 PM
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Woo hoo just FYI for next year, best place towatchakers victory is bar n South LA that bursts immediately into Hollywood Swingers upon victory. Hahahahahaha white people of Boston.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 10:55 PM
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Also awesome is dance with woman grinding into everyone in bar going gimme some rings gimme some rings


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 10:57 PM
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Aren't you supposed to misspell your name when drunk?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 10:58 PM
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Bar is now playing "California knows how to party" forpossibly 35th time. Euphoria slowly turning into "why have I wasted life n silly pastime feeling,". But not quite yet Mofos! Regional hatred of stuffinos is keeping this party ON.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-17-10 11:32 PM
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autofill bro


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 06-18-10 1:21 AM
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A victory for the Lakers is truly a victory for the disenfranchised and the repressed over the white hegemony. All of Unfogged should rejoice.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 06-18-10 4:51 AM
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