Re: Not All That Well Suited To Plate Spinning Litigation

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"Huh, how will I amuse myself on this dull day at the office with nothing urgent to work on?"

Surely this is a solved problem.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:25 AM
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Oddly, the answer never seems to be "get my files properly organized."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:29 AM
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Me either.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:30 AM
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Cue obligatory Hyperbole-and-a-half link. Srsly, this is why todo lists were invented. You write everything down on the list then forget about it.

I know a guy who claims to procrastinate more when under pressure. Last time I saw him he was applying for his fourth extension to his PhD. He'd probably be well suited to raking patterns in the sand. Nice guy, too.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:30 AM
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I'm chronically procrastinatory. I still get quite a lot done -- doctorate while working full-time, etc -- but it only gets done because my peak-output when under a total panic is very high. I always admire people who maintain a more constant level of output.

Also, I do tend to deal with anything really urgent immediately, so my work colleagues are generally happy. I get urgent stuff done quicker than most, but suffer from putting off less urgent long-term stuff until it's last minute.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:33 AM
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folding gracefully when my side happens to be momentarily in the wrong

"Don't worry, boys, we'll weather this storm of approval and come out as hated as ever."
--Saul Alinsky


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:39 AM
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I think I tend to respond best when other people are counting on me and worst when something can only bite me in the butt. That alongside the fear of being discovered as an impostor have carried me far.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:46 AM
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Hey, you're a woman, you're supposed to be able to multitask.

How did we procrastinate at work before the internet? I mean, I can't believe I spent as much time playing Hamurrabi on a green screen as I do now flicking round the web. But I don't think I'm significantly less productive. I suspect we simply didn't work as hard when we did get our heads down.

Also, I endorse ttaM's strategy. It's served me well for many decades.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:48 AM
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re: 8

I expect that while the internet has led to a lot of time-wasting, it helps in other ways. I can solve technical problems really quickly because I can rely on wiki and google, and when I want to get documents back and forth to my colleagues it takes minutes, rather than waiting 24 hours for the internal post. Today, I've been going back and forth by email with a scholarly colleague trying to work out which images match which folios of a particular Play-doh manuscript. Before, that would have meant booking a room, arranging a time when we could both meet, calling the book from the stacks [and since it's a precious object that'd be non-trivial], sitting down with a big pile of 5"x4" transparencies, etc. What's lost in the swings of procrastination is easily gained back in other ways.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:55 AM
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Oh god, yes! The internal post. I haven't actually received anything at work by snail mail for several years, unless you count scribbled notes passed across by people in the same office. But what were we doing while we were waiting for it? (And the data input office?)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:01 AM
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I'll be paying attention to my most urgent task, and maintaining a steady background level of panic about the four problems I can't get to yet, because I can't imagine how I'm going to be able to get everything done.

I suggest switching frantically between tasks in such a way that you accomplish nothing fully on any of them. That's what I do. Stressful AND unproductive!

The expectation of multi-tasking, I daresay the fetish for multi-tasking, is about the worst thing that ever happened to the already unpleasant notion of working for a living. It's about the infuriating, dog-wagging idea that productive people are always busy. And its pretty universally regarded as centrally important, to judge by job ads.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:05 AM
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11: I have heard that there are studies which show that very few people are actually capable of true multi-tasking.

Semi-related. Does anybody know whether the newer iphones coming out will have voice recognition. I really need a system where I can just say, "I need to do X by Friday" when I'm on the go or just doing other tasks around the house.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:09 AM
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Not only are very few people capable of multi-tasking, believing yourself to be capable of multitasking is an extremely poor predictor of whether you actually are. Like, negatively correlated, I think.

I heard procrastination and last-minute panic earnestly floated as strategies for surviving as a professora couple of days ago. The theory being there's far too much to do, and if you aren't so far behind on one thing that you are forced to concentrate on it to the exclusion of all else, you'll never finish anything.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:25 AM
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Also, I'm excited to try this, since it seems tougher to evade than LeechBlock, but I've been procrastinating on installing it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:27 AM
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The link in 14 looks quite useful, provided that i. you're allowed to use a Mac at work, and ii. that it isn't a firing offense to load anything on your work machine (rather than try to persuade "IT support" to do it).


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:41 AM
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I hear those sand-raking jobs are wicked competitive.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:42 AM
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Well, yeah. That would be pretty typical for mac and/or installable software.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:43 AM
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17 to 16.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:43 AM
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.... And then once I clear the top couple of items off the agenda, and I'm down to three or fewer pending projects, suddenly it becomes apparent that there's actually not all that much work to do; I go straight from "Oh my god, I can't cope, I'm going to drop everything and be disbarred for missing deadlines" to "Huh, how will I amuse myself on this dull day at the office with nothing urgent to work on?" ...

Sounds like your actual problem is you're too lazy (unmotivated?) to get anything done unless threatened.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:44 AM
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The anxiety of this kind of thing is an explicit target of the "Getting Things Done" techniques, though it mostly boils down to "Have a reliable system to write things down and look at them later, so you can be free to have them drop entirely out of the back of your mind."


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:45 AM
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Many post-Mythical Man Month project management methodologies are sort of regularizations of the anxiety piece of the "system" LB describes; if people have a project they're working on, make sure it's always already behind schedule, so they're terrified they're going to fail and push harder to complete it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:49 AM
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re: 13.1

Yeah, I can believe that. I can sort of multi-task at work, but what I'm really doing is task-shifting in small slices, and if I over-do it I start to lose track of progress on some of the tasks. If I'm really busy I take copious written notes or it'll all fall apart.

That said, I'm often struck by how 'lumpen' some people are. I was getting driven crazy at a work conference last week by people who kept asking the same questions again and again, in more and more confused ways, because they clearly weren't able to keep the right number of conceptual balls in the air. I'd like to brag that this was some skill I'd acquired from being a humanities scholar of sorts, but most of the people at the conference had exactly the same background as me [humanities/social sciences + techy]. I kept wanting to scream, "Look, the speaker answered that question 20 minutes ago, the only reason he's struggling now is I don't think he's realized that the long, waffly, confused question you are asking now is the same one you asked then, because he can't believe any bright adult would have failed to get it first time round ...".

On the other hand, there's a woman here who seems to effortlessly control meetings: corralling other people's wandering thoughts, rephrasing them in clear ways, forcing people to actually talk about the substance of the problems at hand, etc. It's an impressive skill. When she's doing it she's multi-tasking like gangbusters. It seems analogous to simultaneous translation.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:52 AM
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Hey, look! I'm being transgressive: POOP! TINKLE! BOOGERS!

Now will you be my friends? You guys are the best.


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:57 AM
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"cry, cry, masturbate, cry" isnt at the same time?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:58 AM
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I've been trying to figure out if my new coworkers actually do the "isolating focus on a single project" thing. They seem to get things done, but they also seem totally scattered. It's extremely foreign to me.

Like, my assumption has always been that if you can't convince yourself that arbitrary internal deadlines are extremely important and plausibly inviolable, nothing will ever happen. That doesn't seem to be how they operate.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:01 AM
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I can especially relate to the "very low limit for the number of unconnected tasks that I can keep track of at the same time without feeling continuously threatened and panicky", and that's doubly true if you mean keep track of mentally. Writing things down even on disorganized post-it notes helps me a lot, although it's not a cure-all: for me, not all of the stress of having multiple unconnected things floating about is related to list-amenable, "to do"-like items. It's also just stress that arises from feeling like I need to be giving mental attention to the various matters, partly to think through things to ensure there aren't other "to do"-like items that I'm completely overlooking, and that I ought to writing down on disorganized post-it notes.

And yes, I go from zero to overwhelmed very quickly. I'm much better in situations where I can be staffed on one all-consuming project, work on it day in and day out until it's done, and then move on to the next one. Two or three I can handle, but I honestly don't think I do any of them as well (even if the total work involved in the three doesn't exceed the total work invovled in the one, if you see what I mean). When I'm juggling more than that I'm inevitably stressed, even if none of the tasks are particularly demanding, and even if the six together are less work than the one all-consuming one would be.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:05 AM
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,On the other hand, there's a woman here who seems to effortlessly control meetings: corralling other people's wandering thoughts, rephrasing them in clear ways, forcing people to actually talk about the substance of the problems at hand, etc. It's an impressive skill. When she's doing it she's multi-tasking like gangbusters. It seems analogous to simultaneous translation.

That's impressive. In my previous job, my boss had that ability to control a meeting paired with a complete inability to understand anything about the actual work. This made for some extraordinarily stupid and unproductive meetings.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:05 AM
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19: Leave it to James to hone on the most demeaning possible formulation of the problem.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:07 AM
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re: 27

Yes, she's occasionally asked me dumb technical questions [in other contexts], but whenever I've seen her in meetings of this type I'm glad she's there. She does the herding cats thing exceptionally well, and with enough understanding that she keeps things on track.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:08 AM
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More than three simultaneously active unfogged threads is enough to make me feel a bit panicky. Especially if there's anything else I might need to get done.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:09 AM
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We've been using this to manage tasks at my work, and it's actually been going fairly well. I think this is partly because I'm nominally managing a team, even though the other members of the team basically do almost nothing. That means that when I go in and add to-dos and check this off and so forth, it gets slotted into "TEAM MANAGEMENT" in my brain, rather than "PERSONAL TIME MANAGEMENT". I pride myself on being competent at the former, and have always been kind of disastrous at the latter. But it turns out that as long as I'm occasionally assigning a to-do to somebody else (even if I shortly reassign it back to myself) or adding multiple e-mail notifications to a comment on one of my to-dos, I keep on top of it. Brains: they be weird.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:11 AM
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28: This is only a hunch, but I think that's James' attempt at flirtation.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:12 AM
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Sometimes I wonder if I can drive LB to therapy by posting sufficiently often about organization and keeping our desks tidy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:29 AM
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I make lists constantly. When I've got tons of active items, and a useless slice of time like under 5 minutes, I re-organize my lists. Rehearsing and mapping out when I'm going to get things done makes me feel like a proud goody-two-shoes whippersnapper.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:32 AM
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Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can't lose!


Posted by: Jammies | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:35 AM
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||

Yay! We get to have an extra day off for Fl. Lt. Wales' wedding. They are good for something after all.

|>


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:36 AM
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During the death spiral of my marriage (which coincided with finishing my PhD and trying to find a job) I developed a technique of structured procrastination which works quite well when you're overwhelmed. The trick is to make a list of things that need to be done in rough order of urgency and unpleasantness. Procrastinate doing the top item by doing the second or third item. Sooner or later either the top item becomes irrelevant or something displaces it, at which point it get done in order to avoid dealing with the new top item. Iterate. It's pretty much the only reason I'm not living on the streets giving blowjobs for internet access.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:44 AM
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36: They are good for something after all.

True of F/Lt Wales; whether this conclusion extends to the rest of the RAF is still open to debate.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:46 AM
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I can sort of multi-task at work, but what I'm really doing is task-shifting in small slices

This is a fundamental truth, though. Multitasking is really a subset of time-sharing. Even if you're multithreading, if you've only got the one core, it's still task-switching right down at the lowest level. It's a bit like Nyquist's law - if you can switch fast enough, the joins are imperceptible and you may as well be genuinely multitasking to an outside observer.

This may be different if you happen to be an octopus.

I have noticed that some people who supposedly don't "multi-task" in that sense are good at genuine multi-perception (driving well, for example - maintaining situational awareness with various targets, constraints, etc).



Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:53 AM
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Urple in 26 knows how I feel. This post is a slightly different version of my usual complaining -- I'm not actually bitching about not getting stuff done. I seem to be about ordinarily productive, just in bursts of work interspersed with long bouts of killing time. (I do wonder what people who don't fuck off all day at work are doing. If I were working all day, I'd be turning out about four times the amount of product I do.)

What I'm bitching about is that over a fairly low number of distinct things I need to pay attention to, I'm terrified all the time, and I can't seem to shake it. Disorganized lists do help -- I don't ever refer to them after I've made them, but making them is comforting. But still, if I've got three things I'm following, I may feel overloaded with work, if they're difficult things, but I'm not unhappy. Somewhere between four and six distinct tasks, and I'm miserable, whether or not any of them are demanding.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:53 AM
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Does anyone have any opinions about The White Ribbon? On first viewing, it would appear to be a quite excellent and reprehensible film, but my understanding of it seems to be idiosyncratic.

|>


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:54 AM
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I relate very well to the OP. List-making helps a bit, but not very much, and for not very long -- during the act of making the list, I feel a bit calmer, and for a moment afterwards, looking at it and deliberately thinking about the deadlines attached to each item, I think, "okay, this is manageable, I can do this," but as soon as I look away from it the panic swells again.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:58 AM
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I begin to understand the fates of the Unfogged recording project and superawesome startup company.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:01 AM
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41: By the time I saw it, I had heard so much about how brutal and devastating it was that I just found it sort of....bleak, obviously, and very prettily filmed and not wholly memorable. Sometimes I get all oppositional-defiant toward authors/filmmakers/wahtever who are trying to tell me the saddest story I have ever heard--if nothing good is going to happen for two hours, it had better be super extra compelling (cf: Children of Men) So like by the end of Dancer in the Dark I had decided to watch it as a comedy. The White Ribbon is a much better film but there is some element of ostentatious awfulness to it I can't quite engage with.

What is your idiosyncratic understanding of it?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:06 AM
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I very, very strongly relate to the OP. My work involves juggling anywhere from four to eight individual and spontaneously generated relatively short term tasks (things that come in, are worked and are completed on the same day) at any given time, plus trying to take into account projects that are planned and coming down the pike towards me. My reaction is to try to throttle the pace by way overestimating how long things will take. My boss kind of wants to cram three huge projects into December and my response is to try to push a schedule that takes twice as long to finish them as they will probably need because that lets me feel like I'm at least in control of something.

The solution that actually works for me is to use a whiteboard to list everything I'm working on at any given moment. If something is on the board, it isn't finished; when I finish, I erase it immediately. It sounds hokey and it's a little OCD, sure, but it helps me externalize some of my panicky juggling.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:09 AM
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My effectiveness is almost completely uncorrelated with the number of tasks I have at any given moment.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:13 AM
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This may be different if you happen to be an octopus.

...as is so often the case.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:13 AM
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If something is on the board, it isn't finished; when I finish, I erase it immediately. It sounds hokey and it's a little OCD, sure, but it helps me externalize some of my panicky juggling.

I did this, working on my diss.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:14 AM
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Does anyone have any opinions about The White Ribbon? On first viewing, it would appear to be a quite excellent and reprehensible film, but my understanding of it seems to be idiosyncratic.

I think I really liked it, but I'm not sure how much I trust my memory here, because (A) I had what I took to be very nice sex immediately thereafter, with a person who (B) seems to have decided she doesn't want anything more to do with me. So my thoughts on the film are all mixed up with bittersweet melancholia.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:15 AM
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I was at the US premiere of The White Ribbon, oddly enough, so there hadn't been much buildup. My interpretation was not that it was showing us how awful human beings are, but that it was showing us how awful Germanic people born circa 1910 were, as a result of their parents' misguided ideas about how to raise them, and thus, you know, providing the origin story to other elements of that particular mythos such as Schindler's List. On the other hand, you've got the rich woman's conviction that everything was so much better in Italy and everyone would be better off if they could go there.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:15 AM
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there is some element of ostentatious awfulness to it I can't quite engage with

I haven't seen The White Ribbon, but this strikes me as holding pretty generally over Haneke's films. That said, I can't get Funny Games out of my head. Like, ever. It's always there. I guess seeing the German version one weekend and the shot-by-shot English remake the next weekend was pretty effective at engraving the blasted thing in my brain.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:16 AM
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Externalizing panicky juggling isn't OCD. It really helps! I do it in the messiest possible way, sticking yellow post-its with lists on them all over my desk.

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I sort of wish I could delete last night's weird, slightly emo comment on another thread I have butted out of because it's now about the death of someone well-loved around here that I didn't know at all.
|>


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:18 AM
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I did this, working on my diss.

I had a hard time ever categorizing anything as 'done' on my dissertation. I did keep a 'revisit later' list though. Unsurprisingly, it turned out to be a list of details I once thought were important but I later couldn't be bothered to fix / deal with / remember what the hell I was talking about.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:21 AM
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My most frazzled point ever was leading up to a three day period in grad school when I was taking two qualifying exams and then leaving immediately for Africa.

I would grab a sheet of paper and make a to-do list about vaccinations, assorted problems, etc, and then later realize I'd made that list underneath the exact same list.

It was like I couldn't purge items from short-term storage in my brain. Which is really the point of the lists.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:22 AM
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Is there anything like that basecamp thing for individuals, Sifu or anyone?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:26 AM
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This is also when the then-boyfriend cheated on me, and the jackass had to confess right that very weekend before the qualifying exams. Poor baby with his terrible guilt that needed purging. Which I've mentioned here before.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:28 AM
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I did this, working on my diss.

1. Impugn ancestry
2. Include backhanded compliment which undermines self-confidence
3.. Hint at sexual inadequacy.
4. Embed obscure literary reference
5. Punning double entendre.
6. Belittle intelligence.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:29 AM
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I could post one of the two same hackneyed Ambrose Bierce quotes that I post every few weeks because I never have anything of interest to say myself, but instead I'll just repeat: you guys are the best.

Also, look how gonzo I am: POOP!


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:30 AM
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My boss kind of wants to cram three huge projects into December and my response is to try to push a schedule that takes twice as long to finish them as they will probably need because that lets me feel like I'm at least in control of something.

No, this seems entirely sane to me.

I'm a proponent of "Estimate time, and multiply by three" when planning projects. Most people will make a case for a factor of 1.5 or 2, but I'm pretty sure 3 is actually accurate.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:32 AM
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How did we procrastinate at work before the internet?

Kids today. We had to play Crystal Quest and Tetris, uphill both ways in the snow.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:33 AM
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55: you could certainly use basecamp for yourself, although it has a subscription fee. There are also plenty of other free to-do list managers around. Of the (non-snarky) ones listed here, I've played with Remember The Milk and found it to be not bad.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:34 AM
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How did we procrastinate at work before the internet?

Staring into the middle distance.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:35 AM
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54: the trick in that situation is to put Toto's "Africa" on repeat, so the minute you're finished with your exams you'll know where to go.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:35 AM
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And fantasizing about cow-orkers.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:35 AM
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LA LA LA LA LA LA BAMBA!


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:35 AM
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55: BG, I used Evernote for a while. There are also lots of freeware and shareware productivity programs reviewed at CNET.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:37 AM
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Somehow I was extremely efficient about getting job applications done on time. That's about the only work I've completed in a reasonable timeframe in the last few months.

Actually that's not entirely true. The problem is there are lots of things I've been doing that are unambiguously part of my job — attending seminars, asking questions, having long conversations with visitors about their work and mine, hosting one workshop, proposing another, traveling to give talks, following threads of possible research far enough to decide they don't go anywhere interesting or turn into something someone already did — but in the end the only things that feel like they count as "real work" are published papers. So I can work and work and work for weeks and feel like I'm getting nothing done because it's all the sort of community service / social interaction work that doesn't concretely turn into pages of TeX documents on my computer. And because that's the only thing that counts, I end up feeling like I'm doing nothing but procrastinating and wondering where my time has gone (and it hasn't all gone into comment threads...).


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:39 AM
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but I'm pretty sure 3 is actually accurate

As a mathematician, shouldn't you at least use 22/7? I mean, where do you think you are, Indiana?


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:39 AM
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64: And fantasizing about cow-orkers and winning the lottery.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:41 AM
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I was just thinking that I'd like to be able to track different projects, say, going back to graduate school or whatever. A to do list that merged all of the different projects plus daily things would be awesome.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:42 AM
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attending seminars, asking questions, having long conversations with visitors about their work and mine

So am I correct in thinking that these activities can basically expand to take all of your time in academia if you're not careful?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:44 AM
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When I was in thesis resubmission hell I ended up installing subversion and doing proper version controlling as I was getting completely lost with edits, even though I had copious notes on all of my work, and what I thought were scrupulously named files. Some sort of integrated version control/to-do/organiser software would be very useful.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:45 AM
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44 is so very good. I concluded about two-thirds of the way into Dancer in the Dark that I had been made to watch a titanic struggle between Bjork and Lars von Trier, and while the battle had made a wreck of the movie I could somewhat enjoy the fight.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:47 AM
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The OP is yet more evidence in support of the already persuasive case that LB and I are actually the same person.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:49 AM
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72 made me wonder if anybody did anything ridiculous like this, and of course they do.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:49 AM
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71: Yes.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:51 AM
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62,64,69: There is a very relevant page from Work is Hell but can't find it online (nor my copy which I used to have here at my desk--it was form the right time period for me).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:51 AM
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44: My take on it was that it was much or more about collective guilt as it was an explication of Nazism. It felt like a evocative and nuanced apologia.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:52 AM
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74: I am fairly certain that I know less about rail freight than you (or than Stanley's hobos.) Which argues that we remain distinct.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:55 AM
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So am I correct in thinking that these activities can basically expand to take all of your time in academia if you're not careful?

Oh, yes.


Posted by: trapnel | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 9:03 AM
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And there's always The Mineshaft, if you happen to have any time left over.


Posted by: trapnel | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 9:04 AM
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I am a lot like this. Lawyering is weird because there is stuff in the background that you are constantly worried you'll forget about. I have greatly increased my competence by realizing that 'being organized' is something I will never accomplish. I will never write everything down in the right place, I will never file things, I will never do it as-I-go. So I have developed a routine that accounts for this fact. Probably won't work for lawyers who have a more high-stress job than me, but I can always find a few hours.

On Friday afternoons, I do my organization routine. Usually there is nothing urgent that needs to get done Friday anyway. And I have to keep myself busy, but I can't focus on anything that actually requires mental effort.

1. Bring up my list of cases in our case management system. I go through every case. If a case needs to be closed (I get a lot of cases every week), I close it. If there is something I need to do for it the following week, I write it on my to-do list. If there is something that happened during the past week related to the case, I make a note of it. Because I do this every week, it usually only takes about 20 minutes.

2. Take all the files off my desk and organize them into three piles on my credenza: File, Close, and Work. Work is, obviously, shit I am still working on. When I find random notes I have scribbled about something, I'll copy them either into the client file, phone numbers onto the phone list, etc.

3. Delete as many emails as I have the patience for from the previous week so that my inbox doesn't get out of control.

4. Call my clients and see if anyone needs anything. This can take anywhere from ten minutes to an hour, depending on who I manage to reach.

5. Delete all my voicemails. I have to do this because I hate listening to them and so they tend to pile up.

6. Prioritize my to-do list in terms of things that have to be done soon vs. things that have to be done later.

That way I come in Monday with a to-do list, only the voicemails that came in over the weekend, a (relatively) clean desk.

Of course, this is a lot easier for me than a lot of other lawyers since I have a ton of short-term matters and not very many long-term things hanging around with a million different steps.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 9:13 AM
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82: That sounds like you're doing great.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 9:19 AM
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39: It's a bit like Nyquist's law

Or Clarke's Fourth Law:
"Any sufficiently fast context switching is indistinguishable from multitasking."

This is an ongoing point of contention between me and my boss. He is right that as a self-proclaimed multi-tasker I actually suck at it. On the other hand anything I've ever come up with of any value came via lateral-thinking (often under desperate time constraints when it was too late for the linear and obvious course of action).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 9:19 AM
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83: Yeah. But I had to develop it after screwing up too many times earlier in my career by missing deadlines, leaving things til the last minute, asking for continuances, etc. I was a disorganized person who couldn't really handle being disorganized....


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 9:23 AM
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This has probably all been said already but . . .

The original post describes me to a T. One thing that I've learned about my own work habits is that every once in a while (ideally every 2 or 3 months, but at least once every 6 months) I need to be able to get to a point where I don't have anything urgent on my plate, to let my mind unclench a little bit. As long as I have something urgent, even if it's on schedule, I'm constantly worrying about it in the back of my mind. After a couple of months of that I go into a mode where I start working faster to try to open up some breathing space -- which sounds good, but leaves my slightly wrecked afterward.

This is part of my reason for sticking with jobs that allow me some control over my own schedule. I imagine that if I worked for somebody who was constantly trying to add things to my schedule that I would learn to lie to them about the state of completion of my projects, but I've never been good at that.

The difference in productivity between the moments of inspired focus work and picking away at a project is more than one order of magnitude. Personally I've learned that the time spent looking at a project, trying to work on it, and not getting anything done is, in fact, part of the work process and key to letting the brain think about it in the background.

It is astounding how many times I have spent an entire afternoon looking at something thinking, "why is it so painful to try to write even one line of code" and then, walking home from work, realized that I'd been thinking about the problem wrong, and that I had a better idea for how to approach it, that I would try the next morning.

The ninety-ninety rule is surprisingly accurate.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 9:25 AM
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One other thought:

Early in my career I hears a SF author say, at a convention, that her experience working at Microsoft was that she only did about 2 hours of real work a day -- and that she was considered highly productive.

I was relieved hearing that because my experience is that, for a typical day, an hour and a half, or so, of really focused productive work is pretty good. I now believe, pretty strongly, that it's a mistake to think of that highly productive time as the only "real work," because much of the rest of the time spent starting at work is necessary as a way to mentally prepare. But I also think it's true that a certain amount of procrastination and genuinely unproductive time in a day is to be expected and that you just have to accept it. Some people may be capable of eight hours of continuous productivity but I suspect that's very rare and that it's typical for people to have periods of mental down time during the day and that is part of normal productive work habits.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 9:32 AM
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In other words, I'm pretty sure that this is the wrong way to think about work:

If I were working all day, I'd be turning out about four times the amount of product I do.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 9:35 AM
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60. I already admitted to playing Hammurabi on a green screen. Tetris wasn't invented in those days, boy. But it didn't fill in as much time as working down my bookmarks. By an order of magnitude.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 9:42 AM
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89: Yeah, Adventure (Colossal Cave) was my green-screener.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 9:51 AM
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89: And I was decrying the youth of today with you not at you.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 9:52 AM
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There's something pleasingly meta about wasting time lamenting wasted time.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 10:22 AM
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92: But not enough volume to do it effectively. Fucking slackers!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 10:26 AM
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Sorry, I've been playing Hammurabi. Surprisingly difficult until you notice that you can sell land for food.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 10:32 AM
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I too am plagued by this problem, and it is worse now that there are Baby Things to fuss and plan about. The only way I have been able to manage it lately is to establish weekly rhythms so that for any given chunk of time there are three or fewer things I am responsible for worrying about. (Slot four then can be devoted to a general Don't Forget to Manage Your Weekly Rhythms Correctly concern.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 10:43 AM
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Interspersed with lots of fantasizing about quitting everything and devoting my life to rock combing, of course.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 10:44 AM
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When I was in thesis resubmission hell I ended up installing subversion and doing proper version controlling as I was getting completely lost with edits, even though I had copious notes on all of my work, and what I thought were scrupulously named files.

I've been using subversion for my diss from I think the get-go, but my commit messages are comically uninformative.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 10:46 AM
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The two new movies that popped up last night on Starz OnDemand were The White Ribbon and Zombie Strippers.

The rest of the ironic joke tells itself, I suppose. Violent, disturbing, and reprehensible? Oh noes.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 10:52 AM
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I will studiously ignore this thread because it touches on too sensitive an area. And that's my strategy!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 10:52 AM
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I will studiously ignore this thread because I spent half my life working an assembly line, thereby avoiding the onerous burdens of time management and task prioritization and guilt over slacking. I feel so privileged.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 11:00 AM
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I've been using subversion for my diss from I think the get-go, but my commit messages are comically uninformative.

I tried to make mine subversive, too, but there's only so much one can do with a small-scale lab science research topic.

Over all, I think I revised each chapter on average five times, not counting the one radical reorganization which necessitated moving parts of chapters to different locations, and spawned two new chapters. The final compiled document went through 9 versions (but of course I had to compile it like 125 times to get all the latex bugs out and render the pdf correctly).


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 11:03 AM
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||

ATM: I sent my doula an email asking her to remind me of her rates. She said, "What? I'm not charging you this time! We've become good friends and it's my honor to be there!"

I still feel like I should pay her but I have no idea how to lovingly override her wishes.

Advice?

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 11:57 AM
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Give her the baby.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 11:58 AM
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102: immediately after giving birth, pull out a fistful of bills and throw it at her while yelling "DAAAAAAAMN!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 11:58 AM
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Pwned.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 11:59 AM
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Just buy her a really expensive gift, like super fancy body paint for belly painting or whatever it is that doulas like.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:01 PM
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102: Lovingly override: "[Darlene], you're a professional, and this is part of how you make your living. Because we are good friends, I can't undervalue your services by allowing you to work for free -- I'd tell you to charge for being a doula if we we were talking about someone else, and I'm telling you to charge me. I'll miss your being there if you won't let me pay you, but I can't let you talk yourself out of a paying client out of friendship."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:05 PM
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Y'all could go pick a nice gift for her that you could mail once you're home, thereby avoiding the obligatory refusal routine.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:05 PM
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Or what Sifu said. Bonus points if you can conceal the bills vaginally.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:05 PM
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Or, when you're mid-contraction and therefore under no obligation to maintain social niceties, just grab her hair and scream, "TAKE THE MONEY, BITCH!"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:06 PM
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109: Double bonus points if you can conceal them in *her* vagina.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:07 PM
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It's right to insist to pay her, right? I'm right, right? Or should I try once more but then let her win?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:10 PM
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Figure out what you want to pay, and give it to her as a Christmas present, perhaps as an amex of visa gift card that's the same as cash.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:12 PM
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112: Have jammies drop the money into her purse.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:12 PM
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You're right, and you should insist firmly. Not wanting to charge you because you're friends is a nice impulse, but think of (about) how much her services cost, and then think if she's a close enough friend that you'd expect her to give you a baby present that cost that much. Unless the answer is yes, which I really doubt, you should dig your heels in and pay her over her protests.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:13 PM
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114 to 111 and purse s/b "purse".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:13 PM
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Arrange to have Stanley come drum for her.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:14 PM
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It's right to insist to pay her,

It's complicated, and depends in part on how long she's been doing it.

LB is correct that, in general, it's a bad idea for professionals to give their services away. On the other hand people do that all the time, and people who have experience being self employed do learn to be able to figure out for themselves when they can afford to not charge.

If you have any doubt about her ability to manage being a self-employed professional than you should insist, if not then accept the gift.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:14 PM
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112: I kind of like Halford's gift idea -- that is if you know her well enough to be able to pick out a gift you know she'll really like,


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:14 PM
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112: Yes, it is right to insist to pay her. It's her job and people should be paid for doing their jobs. Also, it is a mitzvah to save a hippie from herself.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:15 PM
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Right. I expect she should charge me $500-600, which is way too much for a baby gift.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:15 PM
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Offer her the placenta. Since you're so close.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:16 PM
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$500-600, which is way too much for a baby gift.

Okay, but you could think of it as barter. You'd charge most of us at least that much to look at your hoo-ha, right?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:18 PM
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I dunno, most of the women around at the time got ass pictures for free.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:18 PM
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You're terrible at bartering, heebie.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:19 PM
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Give her a Kardashian Kard.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:20 PM
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Offer her the foreskin so she can go into business making artisanal, hand-stretched grafty-skin stuff to finance her free doulaing.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:21 PM
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127 to 116?


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:27 PM
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I imagined "doulery" as the derived form.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:27 PM
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Everyone owes me for the ass pictures, btw. And if anyone has a picture of my hoo-ha, I'd be curious because I haven't seen it in months.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:30 PM
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130: You should have taken advantage of the moment when your rear view mirror fell off.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:31 PM
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http://www.google.com/images?q=heebie's+hoo-ha


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:32 PM
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131: I can still see my rear. Sort of.

Plus, that was Asilon.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:34 PM
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That's such a strange (though surprisingly work-safe) collection of pictures. I'm guessing it's this one.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:41 PM
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That's a pretty ugly baby that's crowning there.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:43 PM
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Heebie:

The appropriate fee for a doula's services is 5 chickens and a goat. However, if she is a vegetarian, then you convert that 10 pounds of lentils, 6 tomato plants, and a bag of pot.

Under no circumstances should any of these items be kept in your vagina.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 12:57 PM
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100:

I hope Bob has read (for all I recall, he may appear in) Barbara Garson's All the Livelong Day: The Meaning and Demeaning of Routine Work.

If so, I'd love to read comment--the book is still available from 4m4zon & cheaper at lulu.com, but a quick g00gle didn't turn up much writing about it.

My favorite part is Garson's mild surprise at discovering communal living way outside hippiedom*--among auto workers, who are actually pretty good at it. Apparently this is because members of the communes are concerned about making breakfast and their shifts, while hippie communes often get caught up in Ideology.

I should take that as a lesson in staying organized if I were me, but at the moment I'm not.

*(I say "hippie" with love, of course!)


Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:02 PM
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I believe Heebie's ass is on display in the group pictures. I blame BR for that. My recollection is that BR's hand is on that ass too.

And while we are on the topic, I'll never forget Jammies saying so sincerely that he wanted Heebie's genes in his kids.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:05 PM
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(Didn't preview!) The latter part of the thread is awesome. LB is the most practical, as usual, but oudemia's 120 is a mountain of win.


Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:07 PM
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heebie--are you already pregant or just planning the next one?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:16 PM
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I think she is pregnant enough that by the time she refreshes to read your comment, it could be the latter.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:19 PM
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Yeah -- the new baby is just about crouched to spring forth.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:20 PM
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141: When did that get announced?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:20 PM
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Maybe six months ago or so?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:22 PM
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This situation makes me think of ogged (pbuh). Two Persians could probably have this argument ("Oh no, I couldn't possibly accept money" "It is my honor to pay you") about twenty go-rounds.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:22 PM
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143: I didn't ever do a front page post, so it only came up conversationally.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:24 PM
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145: Yeah, but not Ogged. He had fancy chicken salad and North Face shirts to pay for.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:24 PM
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Are you sure you didn't really, really heavily imply it in a front page post?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:25 PM
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Did I? There was a baby name post which had genuinely come out of me rolling my eyes at someone else's baby's name, but everyone here took it as me complaining about people's reactions to our baby name. I think that was the first time it was a topic of conversation, but I hadn't been trying to be coy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:28 PM
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104 made me laugh audibly at work. 110 made me get asked what's so damned funny. I have not replied.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:30 PM
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I'm proctoring exams for 6 hours - we're two hours in - and I bought a combo meal at the food court that came with potato chips, which I really really want to eat, but I bet this auditorium is really an echo chamber and I should not eat my salt & vinegar potato chips.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:30 PM
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Are you kidding? You're like six years pregnant. Eat the fucking chips and when someone gives you a dirty look just say, "What? I'm being disruptive FOR TWO."


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:33 PM
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Did I?

Maybe I just imagined that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:34 PM
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It would drive me nuts if I were taking an exam and the professor was eating loud chips.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:35 PM
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Did I?

There's this post, which is relatively recent (and which took me a little while to find).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:37 PM
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154: Do you really want to look back on your teaching career and wonder if you were insufficiently sadistic to make your students achieve? No, you don't.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:41 PM
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But the key to happiness is easy grading which only happens if your students do extremely well or extremely poorly. I tried to make these exams extremely easy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:42 PM
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Offer her the placenta. Since you're so close.

Way to fuck up Heebie's meal planning for the week.

Seriously, if you (or Jammies) don't basically hold her down and force the money into her hand you owe her forever. Which is great until it isn't. Could you sort of do a loving riff on that.

If she doesn't want cash, what does she want? Her roof checking for winter? - get somebody to do it. I suppose it's too much to hope she has a kid who needs coaching in maths.

Is "doula" related to the Greek for slave? Because, you know...


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 1:58 PM
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NickS in 86 and 87 is insightful.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 2:06 PM
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I more or less plagiarized LB's 107.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 2:07 PM
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99 I will studiously ignore this thread because it touches on too sensitive an area. And that's my strategy!

Will you show us on the doll where the thread touched you, Halford?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 2:11 PM
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Or were you flossed?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 2:13 PM
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||

No more biting people's necks to Ingrid Pitt.

|>


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 2:17 PM
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Barbara Garson's All the Livelong Day: The Meaning and Demeaning of Routine Work

I'm a big fan of that book and have recommended it to many people over the years.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 2:21 PM
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I more or less plagiarized LB's 107.

Lawyers call it "citing precedent."


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 2:24 PM
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NickS in 86 and 87 is insightful.

Thanks.

It's a topic that I end up thinking about quite a bit. While I am generally productive I also feel like the methods of organizing work that are best for me are definitely not trying to work at a steady pace 8-5 everyday.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 2:28 PM
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166 et al.

As I recall it, staggering productivity (to coin a phrase) was Garson's major finding. She found that almost all workers were accustomed to letting work pile up a bit at stations on the line--not to make trouble for The Man, but to build a head of steam & catch up for the pleasure of achievement.

I've found (anecdotally, as it were) that this translates well into more free-form projects.


Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 2:41 PM
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I'm only halfway through my six hour stint of proctoring finals. This is no time for commenting to dry up.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 2:48 PM
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WOMEN BE SHOP-PIN'!


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDPA | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 2:50 PM
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168: Did you eat the potato chips?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 2:52 PM
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I haven't even opened them. I thought maybe I'd save them for when there's just a few obnoxious kids left dragging it out to the bitter end.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 2:54 PM
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I'm ftp'ing files, heebie.

Isn't that exciting?

And so old-timey!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 2:57 PM
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Offer them one point extra credit for every chip still in the bag when they finish. So if the work more slowly than you eat, blah blah blah.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 2:58 PM
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171: Perfect! A gentle enough equivalent of "Hurry up please it's time!"


Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 2:58 PM
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And later tonight I get to compose an e-mail imposing on several of my old professors because... well, because people are annoying, is why.

Hooray!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 2:59 PM
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Especially because several least-favorite students came in right at the latest possible start time, so I'll delight in disrupting their concentration.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:01 PM
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172: Get your Gopher archive right here (what was left as of 2007).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:04 PM
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171: Are they Sun Chips in the noisy bags? If they aren't, that's poor preparation on your part.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:07 PM
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They aren't. Weren't those discontinued? These are salt & vinegar anyway.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:08 PM
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They were. See 178.2.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:11 PM
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Arrange to have Stanley come drum for her.

See, if you're talking about the example I think you're talking about, that's not a fair comparison. I asked for proper song co-writing credit and any future copyright muckity muck.

Heebie: offer the doula some portion of the baby's future ASCAP royalties. Seems fair.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:13 PM
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You expect me to get them reinstated? I'm a lowly blogger.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:13 PM
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Motherfuck. The American version of Top Gear will apparently feature a pretty good car for the "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" segment. Could they be about to screw this up more?

I am a true patriot but I say fuck the American version of Top Gear.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:15 PM
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I dispensed with the pause/play symbols because, frankly, I'm pretty rude.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:17 PM
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That Halford is such a renegade!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:19 PM
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A badass renegade, Heebie. A badass.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:22 PM
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Abra cadabrass.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:23 PM
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181.2: An interesting avenue to explore. "Make money now from your child's future earning potential. Trained professionals are standing by to explain how you can turn your child's future income into cash TODAY!" It's all about getting into the A Tranche, baby.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:24 PM
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But the jig is up, the news is out, they've finally found him.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:26 PM
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Hey, check out who OKCupid thinks I should date:

" the NYT is the font of all wisdom (except maybe NPR and the Economist) and good data will solve most problems in life."

Couldn't disagree more!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:26 PM
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Step 1) Dip your baby in gold NOW!

Step 2) ????

Step 3) PROFIT!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:26 PM
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190: Your clearly not emphasizing your renegade side enough in your profile.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:28 PM
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191.2 should clearly be "sell gilded baby to one of those cash-for-gold places."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:34 PM
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"sell gilded baby to one of those cash-for-gold places a Glenn Beck viewer."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:42 PM
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191.2 should clearly be "sell gilded baby to one of those cash-for-gold places Glenn Beck."


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:43 PM
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Fuck.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:44 PM
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But see, "Glenn Back" and "a Glenn Beck viewer" are different things.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:47 PM
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Bringin' Glenn Back. Uh.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:48 PM
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Glenn Beck is the first and foremost viewer of Glenn Beck.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:52 PM
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And, Kobe.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:52 PM
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Does Glenn Beck view Glenn Back's back gland?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:54 PM
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Once you've gone Beck, you'll always go "Blech!"


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:55 PM
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189: Damn it, Stormcrow. Now that's stuck in my head.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 3:57 PM
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The most annoying students all bailed. I guess that's good? Now there are three students, two diligent and one middle-of-the-pack, and an hour and a half left to go.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 4:11 PM
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Could they have gotten it done that quickly? Or did they give up?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 4:14 PM
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The most recent one definitely gave up. The other two took normal lengths of time, but I have grave doubts about one of them anyway.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 4:15 PM
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Also I finished my M&Ms, which is the saddest news of all. I miss when I had M&Ms left.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 4:16 PM
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I'm editing a 50+ page brief. It's due Monday, but I think I'm going to get an extension. But I don't have it yet, so the pressure is still on.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 4:17 PM
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The best thing about grading finals is that you don't have to write comments, though. But if I had to rank staying here until 7, finishing my M&Ms, and grading finals in order of least worst to worst, it would go:
1. Staying here until 7
2. Finishing my M&Ms
3. Grading finals.
If I had to.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 4:22 PM
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I'm folding up, heebie. You're on your own.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 4:48 PM
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The last student just apologized for keeping me here so long and I had to convincingly say, "It's more important that you don't feel rushed and stressed. Take your time. Plus, I brought plenty to do." Maybe it's time to start eating potato chips.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 4:49 PM
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More importantly, were they those new-ish pretzel M&Ms, and, if so, what did you you think?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 4:51 PM
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They were the gold standard original M&Ms. The gone, eaten kind.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 4:54 PM
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190: " the NYT is the font of all wisdom (except maybe NPR and the Economist) and good data will solve most problems in life."

That's the kind of thing people write in their OKCupid profiles? Subject-matter-wise, that is?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 4:56 PM
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Hawaiian Punch just broke her first crayon and is freaked out and upset that such a thing is possible. Or so I hear.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:00 PM
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But don't worry: the purple one is safe.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:01 PM
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Yes. It is.

My profile says "Badass renegade seeks TopGear(UK only) fanatic for obsessive blog commenting re: Math finals. No fatties." So far, no dates.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:01 PM
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Halford is divorced?!? How did I miss that? On behalf of divorce lawyers, I thank you.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:03 PM
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Probably you'll have to insert || and |> into your ad if you want to get some |>, Halford.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:04 PM
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215: Does she like fruit? Because you could have an ceremony putting the deceased Crayola™ to rest; it would be a crayon*-bury!

*this joke works only for the right and proper pronunciation of "crayon" </prescriptivism>


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:04 PM
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Just doing my part, Will.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:08 PM
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Okay, I'm going for the potato chips. I don't even really want them anymore, since I finished the sub hours ago. But on principle.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:09 PM
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221: Well, it ain't like we're gonna do it.


Posted by: Laydeez on OkCupid | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:09 PM
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I just bowed and scraped (in e-mail) before several professors who probably don't remember me at all to see if they would cut and paste their applications into a certain web form because 1. the service my school encouraged me to pay for that is designed to take the cutting and pasting out of their hands failed utterly because 2. the place that is demanding the cutting and pasting feels it is SO VERY SPECIAL that recommendations should get cut and pasted ONLY by the very busy letter writers themselves. Fuckers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:10 PM
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Hawaiian Punch just broke her first crayon and is freaked out and upset that such a thing is possible

I feel her pain


Posted by: Harold | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:11 PM
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217: One of these days I'll have to look at these OKCupid profiles! Because I thought it was mostly question-and-answer sorts of things, about whether you were athletic, about education level, age, areas of interest, and so on, with maybe a brief section for editorializing.

Ogged used to mention the Nerve dating site; is that dead in the water now?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:13 PM
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216 to 225.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:13 PM
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Hey, she finished! The chips are magic!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:14 PM
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Ogged used to mention the Nerve dating site; is that dead in the water now?

My impression is that it seems to have declined in popularity, especially with my demographic, but it wasn't all that popular with my demographic to begin with, so maybe not. I certainly see it mentioned less often these days than five years ago.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:16 PM
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the place that is demanding the cutting and pasting feels it is SO VERY SPECIAL that recommendations should get cut and pasted ONLY by the very busy letter writers themselves.

Never underestimate the personal warmth of an artisanal hand-crafted cut-and-paste.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:16 PM
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I thought it was mostly question-and-answer sorts of things, about whether you were athletic, about education level, age, areas of interest, and so on, with maybe a brief section for editorializing.

There's generally a section for stuff like that, but the main part of the profile (at least on OKC, and I think on most other sites too) is a series of open ended questions or prompts intended to let your personality shine through.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:17 PM
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Never underestimate the personal warmth of an artisanal hand-crafted cut-and-paste.

The Financial Times sure doesn't.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:21 PM
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229: So who was it popular with to begin with? Do you know?

Oh, wait. It appears it's a salacious website with a personals section, so not quite the same as an online dating site.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:26 PM
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So who was it popular with to begin with? Do you know?

People a few years older than me was my impression. There are some people who comment here regularly who have used Nerve; they would know more about it than I do. One thing about it that annoyed me when I tried it was that they tried very hard to get you to buy a paid account by limiting the number of messages that you could send with a free one. OKC doesn't do that, although they do offer paid accounts with some extra features.

It appears it's a salacious website with a personals section, so not quite the same as an online dating site.

It's actually more complicated than that. I've never understood all the details, but basically it's an online dating site that's somehow affiliated with a variety of other sites. You sign up through one of them, but the total dating pool of the site is everyone who's signed up through all the sites. Or something like that. Anyway, in addition to Nerve, the sites are places like Salon, the Onion, and a few others I don't recall. Kind of a weird system, but it is definitely an online dating site.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:34 PM
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Thanks, Halford! The economy thanks you!
I hope it is going ok.

So is OKCupid the go-to site now?

Is speed dating out?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:36 PM
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233: I thought the whole thing with Nerve was that they franchised their dating site algorithms out to every Tom, Dick and Harry who didn't want to pay programmers themselves. So then the cognoscenti were all "I-liked-their-old-stuff-better" about being on the actual, honest-to-goodness Nerve home site.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:36 PM
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Goddammit.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:37 PM
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Speed dating created the tallest [straight, cis-gendered] couple in the world quite recently.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:38 PM
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236: Maybe that was it. Anyway, it was confusing.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:45 PM
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A friend recently reported receiving an OKC message from a guy, the entirety of which message was, "It's not a question of if but when."

So, apparently that's a dating strategy.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:46 PM
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I think a former cow-orker met his girlfriend through a dating site that was had an environmental and social activism theme (I can't recall the exact name, Act 4 Love or some such like). IIRC it was part of the Nerve-affiliated sites teo talks about. His age would fit the range teo mentions, too.

If I were ever to give online dating another go, I might actually try a paid site. I found OKC really irritating, but I'm not certain I wasn't reacting simply to dating in general, rather than that site specifically.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:46 PM
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Parsimon may be thinking of OKC's questions and quizzes, which can be answered or not -- that is, you can post a profile without answering any of their questions -- and are used to develop the matches they suggest to you. The profile itself, as teo says, is in narrative form.

The thing about the questions is that they ask you to do three things:
- Select a multiple-choice answer to the question
- Select the choice(s) that would be acceptable to you if your date were answering the question
- Say how important it is to you

I regularly end up answering "Irrelevant" to the last part, because there are so many gajillions of things in the world where I honestly don't care. Then sometimes I get a chastising message from OKC, telling me that they can't give me good matches if I don't express a preference. Which is absurd, because I'm already expressing my *own* opinion in answering the question, so it's not like I'm not giving them data.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:47 PM
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One issue with online dating sites, as with all social networking sites, is that network externalities play a huge role in which sites end up being successful. That is, having a larger dating pool is a big advantage for a site over its rivals, and the larger sites thus tend to get even larger while the smaller sites go bust or get bought up by the big sites. Dating sites narrowly focused on a particular demographic are unlikely to succeed for this reason.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:51 PM
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I regularly end up answering "Irrelevant" to the last part, because there are so many gajillions of things in the world where I honestly don't care. Then sometimes I get a chastising message from OKC, telling me that they can't give me good matches if I don't express a preference.

Heh. The exact same thing happens to me.

These questions, and the match percentages determined from them, are the main features that set OKC apart from other sites. The other sites tend to just have profiles.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 5:54 PM
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Witt and teo sittin' in a tree . . .


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:06 PM
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I assume you post a profile on OKC using some sort of pseud. If you decide you've completely screwed it up, and given an impression of yourself as a serial killer a humorless bitch an overeducated pansy not what you are, I assume you can edit your responses to the questions and quizzes? And your matches will be recalculated?

I'm not saying there's a system to be gamed, but there's a system to be understood. It seems to me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:09 PM
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If you decide you've completely screwed it up, and given an impression of yourself as ... not what you are, I assume you can edit your responses to the questions and quizzes? And your matches will be recalculated?

Yep. You have to wait a certain amount of time to re-answer a question, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:12 PM
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I'm not sure if you can un-answer the questions? You can certainly change your answers to them, and make them public or not public.

There was a post on OKTrends awhile back that made a decent case for not patronizing paid dating services.

W/r/t the interest-specific dating services, OKCupid does seem to have undercut them a bit. For one thing, you can search profiles for keywords, or make keywords into links in your own profile. And the answers to the questions (once you've done a reasoable amount) tend to filter the hardcore Xtians out of your atheist dating pool, or whatever.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:13 PM
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Maybe I should just sit back and let Mr. Smart Guy answer all the questions. Sigh.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:13 PM
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You can't change your answers more than once every 24 hours, parsimon. Other than that, have at it! Make two profiles!

(It does skew sharply geeky, sharply 20s/30s, and very white -- I honestly don't know how big the pool is for other demographics.)

245: Ha. Somehow I suspect that age preferences are not in the "irrelevant" category for either one of us.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:14 PM
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245: Ha. Somehow I suspect that age preferences are not in the "irrelevant" category for either one of us.

Neither of you will date people near your own age?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:28 PM
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The thing about the questions is that they ask you to do three things:
- Select a multiple-choice answer to the question
- Select the choice(s) that would be acceptable to you if your date were answering the question
- Say how important it is to you

People really submit to this? I would find it completely paralyzing.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:32 PM
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People really submit to this? I would find it completely paralyzing.

It can be pretty annoying, but as Witt says it's actually not necessary for using the site.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:34 PM
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Make two profiles!

Is that kosher? Not that I'm schizophrenic or anything, but there can at times be a discrepancy between one's biographical information and one's self. One would prefer to present a unified self, and indeed one does in real life!

It does skew sharply geeky, sharply 20s/30s, and very white

I gathered.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:35 PM
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It's not, but I do find it helpful. It's entertaining that some of the questions are simple algebra problems. I always clicked that yes, it's absolutely necessary that someone I date is able to answer those questions.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:35 PM
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I would find it completely paralyzing.

It really depends on what the questions are.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:40 PM
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My one and only successful (for some definition of "successful") interaction began with an unsolicited message complimenting me on my beard. So I recommend that everyone grow a beard.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:45 PM
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Is that kosher? Not that I'm schizophrenic or anything, but there can at times be a discrepancy between one's biographical information and one's self. One would prefer to present a unified self, and indeed one does in real life!

It's probably discouraged, but it's certainly possible.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:45 PM
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It's entertaining that some of the questions are simple algebra problems.

This is kind of brilliant. Is there a question about what a Senate supermajority is? Or a question about whether you should put garlic in an omelette?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:47 PM
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252: Eh, you can skip questions that are paralyzing, or pointless. Here a few examples:

Do you believe your country would be more or less safe if every adult owned a gun?

My answer:
More safe
Less safe
Neither / unsure

Answers I'll accept...
More safe
Less safe
Neither / unsure

This question is...
Irrelevant
A little important
Somewhat important
Very important
Mandatory


Upon leaving a store, you realize you were not charged for an expensive item. Which would you do?

* Go back and offer to pay.
* Nothing, it was their mistake.
* Attempt to return the item for a full cash refund.

Should governments control population by placing legal limits on childbearing?

* Yes.
* No, that violates human rights.
* No, that is against my spiritual beliefs.
* No, for other reasons.



Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:47 PM
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260: Thanks.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:50 PM
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It really depends on what the questions are.

They vary tremendously. Many are submitted by users; if you answer enough questions, you get to write some. As AWB notes, some are simple math problems. A larger number are along the lines of "have you ever done x?", "would you ever do x?", "would you ever date some who has done x?", etc. Then there are a lot about your personal values and priorities.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:50 PM
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Sort of pwned.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:51 PM
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So what's the right answer on garlic/omelettes?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:52 PM
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Should governments control population by placing legal limits on childbearing?

I totally misread the last word of this as "cockblocking".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:54 PM
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265: That's sort of the opposite policy.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:56 PM
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264: I'm afraid to answer. People might have semi-opinionated views on the matter, though.

(I'm in the ixnay on the arlic-gay camp, but I could be convinced that it's workable in some instances.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:57 PM
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266: it doesn't say limit childbearing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:59 PM
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I'm in the ixnay on the arlic-gay camp, but I could be convinced that it's workable in some instances

See, so there you would probably answer "no garlic" for both you and your preferred match, but "a little important" for the importance part.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 6:59 PM
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268: Fair enough.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:07 PM
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269: Ah. The "answers I'll accept" from a prospective match was reading a little differently to me; as a sort of "I cannot accept anyone who wants to put garlic in an omelette!"

But right, the level of importance of the answer does make a fair amount of difference.

Do prospective matches see your answers to these questions -- including to the relative importance ranking -- or are they just used internally for matching purposes? I can see a lot of room for misunderstanding on the part of the average reader who doesn't pay attention to the relative importance aspect.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:08 PM
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181.2: An interesting avenue to explore. "Make money now from your child's future earning potential.

Tom Tomorrow is all over this.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:15 PM
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Do prospective matches see your answers to these questions -- including to the relative importance ranking -- or are they just used internally for matching purposes? I can see a lot of room for misunderstanding on the part of the average reader who doesn't pay attention to the relative importance aspect.

You can choose to make your answers (but not the relative importance) public or private. They recently switched the default from private to public.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:24 PM
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271- When I was on, they had the option with each answer on whether or not to make it visible to prospective matches. Only teo and Witt know if this still stands. I don't think the ranking showed up, which I suppose could lead to misunderstandings, though I would assume you would just choose not to show the unimportant stuff.

I'm in the ixnay on the arlic-gay camp
Homophobe.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:24 PM
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pwned!


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:24 PM
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Not a big fan of garlic in omlettes or any other egg dominated dish, except for ingredients with small amounts of garlic in them, e.g. the Hazan style carbonara where you infuse some oil with a little bit of garlic flavour and then cook the pancetta or bacon in that oil.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:28 PM
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273, 274: Thanks. I'm researching for future reference.

I'm off now.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:31 PM
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Nerve was the only dating site I seriously used - i.e. got to to the point of a bunch of RL meetings, aka 'dates'. My take was that if what you're looking for is to get laid with someone reasonably pleasant and decent looking, it works quite well. If you're looking to meet someone you really enjoy hanging out with in an out of bed, you better be prepared to waste a ton of time meeting meh prospects.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:32 PM
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Oh -- 276, yes, exactly. Garlic-infused oil is okay.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:32 PM
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This feels like the appropriate discussion to share the story of my main actual dating experience through okc: I came across an internet crush whose blog (lj, that is, from the pre-facebook era) I'd followed. It led to a few dates that ultimately proved fruitless, painful, and frustrating (and I came away with the conviction that dating an internet crush is a really bad idea, since right from the start there's a serious asymmetry in how interested you are in one another).

But the real five dollars I wanted to get to is that she had a very similar sort of "internet voice" to Parsimon, and I was a little freaked out for a bit suspecting they were the same person, 'till Pars let slip a few biographical details disproving it.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:38 PM
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I came away with the conviction that dating an internet crush is a really bad idea, since right from the start there's a serious asymmetry in how interested you are in one another

This sounds very plausible.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 7:46 PM
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How annoyed am I allowed to be that a roommate texted me earlier today, unprompted, with a message reading, "Maria is gonna be staying over for a couple of days"?

Thing is, Maria is my ex- but from several years back. (I've subsequently dated other people, at least one for quite sometime before that ended.) Maria and I ended relatively amicably but in a not-speaking-to-each-other sort of way.

I think I'm more annoyed with the nature of the roommate's message, rather than the fact that Maria will be our guest for the next couple days.

|>


Posted by: James Monroe | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:08 PM
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Obviously, saying that Maria is going to be staying over, rather than asking if she can, is an act of aggression within your stated boundaries.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:17 PM
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Oh! I have an idea: How about you set up a system by which people who want to stay over have to have a piece of paper bearing a symbol that corresponds to the part of the house they want to sleep in? Then, mark of each area of the house with letters in alphabetical order, from A to L. And then have a pad of letters at the front door, that starts with T or even W! Then when she arrives you can say: "Take a letter, Maria!"


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:47 PM
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Stanley, what have you done with Natilo?


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 8:49 PM
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We have people staying in our house all the time. It's like a crash pad for international guests. Sometimes there is more than one guest. I have never had a guest.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 9:07 PM
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Shorter 286: I live in New York.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 9:37 PM
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287: Shorter 286.1-3, maybe. I can't even imagine 286.4 from someone who's lived in NYC for more than a year.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 9:41 PM
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Yes, that part did seem suspicious. Perhaps AWB is a German agent?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 9:46 PM
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274: gay camp

But you repeat yourself.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 10:01 PM
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How come no one's invented automatically-generating powerpoint slides? I want to be able to set some initial conditions, make five slides, start a talk, and then having the remaining slides appear while I'm talking so that they're there when I need them.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 10:26 PM
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288: There is an art to the discouraging of guests. The most effective tactics I have found are 1) live in a godforsaken neighborhood in practically Montreal (or, in AWB's case, in practically Montauk) and 2) have your small living space feature only one sleeping surface, or 2a) if there is a second, make sure it is a mid century sofa unsuited to sleeping by virtue of length, texture, and angle of cushions. The only flaw in the plan is if you have a guest who doesn't take "sure, it'd be fine; I'd just have to sleep on the sofa" as a passive-aggressive feint.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 10:30 PM
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It's entertaining that some of the questions are simple algebra problems. I always clicked that yes, it's absolutely necessary that someone I date is able to answer those questions.

Heh. Yes.

Though most of my "mandatory" requests are on the ethics questions. It's shocking to me how many people totally fail to line up with me on basic ethical issues. Even if they're, like, liberal atheist environmentalist types, it will turn out that they think eugenics is a good idea, or that flag-burning should be illegal, or that sometimes torture is justified, or that "no" usually means "yes", or that people who've had sex with many partners are bad people.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 10:31 PM
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There are lots of atheists on OkCupid who think creationism should be taught in schools. Where do they find these people?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 10:34 PM
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Though most of my "mandatory" requests are on the ethics questions.

You're more easygoing than I am. Looking back through mine, while a bunch are about ethics, there are also a bunch of science-related ones. Sorry, no, if you think crystal healing works, I don't want to go out with you.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 11:01 PM
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Also, ye gods, I have 250 questions that I marked as "mandatory" requests.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 11:03 PM
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294

There are lots of atheists on OkCupid who think creationism should be taught in schools. Where do they find these people?

Depends on what "taught" means? Taught as an unsupported religious belief, sure.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 11:13 PM
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264:NO.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 11-23-10 11:21 PM
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There are lots of atheists on OkCupid who think creationism should be taught in schools. Where do they find these people?

I think I wrote an explanatory add-on to this, saying that really, what we need to be teaching in schools is philosophy of science, and educating kids on the nature of explanation and inference more generally.

'Cuz that's how I roll. Ponderously.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 12:55 AM
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From FAQ: THE "SNAKE FIGHT" PORTION OF YOUR THESIS DEFENSE.
Q: Do I have to kill the snake?
A: University guidelines state that you have to "defeat" the snake. There are many ways to accomplish this. Lots of students choose to wrestle the snake. Some construct decoys and elaborate traps to confuse and then ensnare the snake. One student brought a flute and played a song to lull the snake to sleep. Then he threw the snake out a window.

There's more!


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 12:58 AM
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Oh, and wow, this is very Unfogged:

For nearly a decade, lightly-trained TSA employees have been forced to estimate--to guess, really--your penis size, based on such factors as height, weight, walking style, and disposition. Frankly, that's asking them to do the impossible. It gratifies me to think that millions of travelers will now be able to fly just a little bit easier, secure in the knowledge of their newly complete and accurate TSA profiles--all thanks to my precise genital scans. Length, girth, heft, and any major identifying characteristics. Everything but the color; this is America, and we don't do that here.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 1:01 AM
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I think I wrote an explanatory add-on to this, saying that really, what we need to be teaching in schools is philosophy of science, and educating kids on the nature of explanation and inference more generally.

Damn straight, and if someone wants to pay me to write the curriculum or textbook ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 4:05 AM
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300: THROW BIRD AT SNAKE (90).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 5:08 AM
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302: 303 beat you to it.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 5:31 AM
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292: Williamsburg is not "practically Montauk," oh he who practically lives in Albany.

We just moved to the big place in August, so I haven't had anyone visit since then. But I've also maybe lived here too long; in the first year, people visited, and in the second, a few, but by the eighth year, it wears off. I haven't had a guest, other than for my own personal use, in three or four years. My roommates are fairly new to the city and have lots of friends of friends of friends who want to see NYC for the first time. They're perfectly pleasant guests, but it makes me realize I don't have those kinds of relationships with near-strangers that they would think of me as a potential host.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 5:41 AM
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Oh, practically Montreal was supposed to be you. I'm going to finish my coffee and pretend I get jokes again. La la.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 5:43 AM
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I haven't had a guest, other than for my own personal use,

IYKWIM. AITYD.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 5:44 AM
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307: Yes, that is what I meant. I don't think it counts as having a guest.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 5:44 AM
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Oh. Right.

Fred: And one of the things that keeps popping up is about "subtext." Plays, novels, songs - they all have a "subtext," which I take to mean a hidden message or import of some kind. So subtext we know. But what do you call the message or meaning that's right there on the surface, completely open and obvious? They never talk about that. What do you call what's above the subtext?
Ted: The text.
Fred: OK, that's right, but they never talk about that.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 5:49 AM
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309: Ha. I think about that scene whenever I'm teaching and I realize that one of my students answers all questions with facile interpretations of subtext, but can't talk about what's literally happening (which is hard enough in a lot of the stuff I teach). It is the SparkNotes Syndrome.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 5:53 AM
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308. Ah, I read it as suggesting that your roommates were more generous in sharing their guests around.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 5:55 AM
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If anybody solves 291 before mid-afternoon today please let me know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 5:56 AM
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291. Case-based reasoning (a weak AI technique widely used in online form design etc - oh, this is FA and Sifu, you know that.) But not by mid afternoon today, you'd need to feed the system enough slide shows to train it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 5:59 AM
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When I T.A.'d for D/avid H/ull he would frequently proclaim that he had no problem teaching creationism "because it only takes five minutes to explain everything there is to say about the theory, and then you can go back to teaching science."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 6:22 AM
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I am always dying for people to come visit me, but they seem to regard narnia as unacceptably far away. I have taken a few lurkers out for lunch when they were on a stopover, and hung out with nakku. cory doctorow came to eat at my place onetime, that was fun. tomorrow I'm hosting thanksgiving for 20 (including the kids) which is gratifying. no relatives, but good friends. even more wonderfully, my mom, sister, brother, and his gf are all coming for christmas, I'm so excited!

I guess I told everyone this when I announced the sad news that all the places I wanted to stay in vietnam were full and we might have to rent a yacht. my mom's not down for it though, just wants to go to hoi an for a few days, and the girls complain that they will get seasick (probably true). so I think after my mom and sis leave, my brother and husband x and I will do it. I have my own annoyance/envy generating machine in the form of my brother, who is traveling around the world, and currently doing this boot-camp thing in kenya, then taking a steamer up the nile to cairo before flying here. motherfucker. I really feel that his girlfriend is insufficiently grateful, but that's just because I'm mildly ill-disposed towards her (she cheated on him). still, there better be daily blowjobs.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 6:32 AM
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having said that, I have warmed to her as i know her longer, and as long as he's happy, I'm happy. she's perfectly nice, really it's not like I have to fuck her.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 6:33 AM
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305 But I've also maybe lived here too long; in the first year, people visited, and in the second, a few, but by the eighth year, it wears off. I haven't had a guest, other than for my own personal use, in three or four years.

Well, that seems like a perfectly reasonable explanation. Viel Gl├╝ck!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 6:36 AM
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taking a steamer up the nile

Technically, "down," right?

I'd visit Narnia.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 6:45 AM
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it's not like I have to fuck her

You don't *have* to, but where's your holiday spirit, alameida?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 6:56 AM
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250 questions

!!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 7:29 AM
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Ogged used to mention the Nerve dating site; is that dead in the water now?

ogged missed his chance.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 7:40 AM
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(pbuh)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 7:41 AM
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Where is everyone? You should be commenting while you're waiting in line/driving in a blizzard/getting felt up.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 7:43 AM
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So, I seek permission to be annoyed with my roommate for inviting an ex- to stay at our place for a couple days without running it by me first, and I get forty comments extolling the merits of having houseguests? You people!


Posted by: James Monroe | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 7:48 AM
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Be annoyed, James. Be very annoyed.

Seriously, it's obnoxious. Why is she staying there anyway? Is she there for your roommate's personal use?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 7:52 AM
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320: I've answered over a thousand, all told. It was an easy way to pass the time.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 7:52 AM
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The ex- and the (female) roommate were friends long before we dated, so it makes sense. The more I stew on it, it's totally the way the roommate went about "telling" me that's annoying.

The ex- has been nothing but a very affable houseguest.


Posted by: James Monroe | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 7:58 AM
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318: either works, but I prefer "taking the Browns to the Super Bowl".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 8:02 AM
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Our intranet is down, so I can't access an electronic record. Does this mean that I have decided to tackle my filing cabinet? No.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 9:58 AM
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329: Too oblique. Stick with "taking the Browns to the Super Bowl".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 10:00 AM
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I've answered over 2000 questions on OkCupid and marked none of them mandatory.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 10:02 AM
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¡ESTÁ LLOVIENDO HOMBRES, ALELUYA!


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 11:12 AM
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You guys are the best. C'mon, let's be friends now. Please?


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 11-24-10 11:19 AM
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I haven't read the thread, but: I'm a great planner but an even better procrastinator, which often leads me into profound unhappiness across many aspects of my life. I can see lots of ways to do things better, but am not very successful at actual implementation. As a result, lots of things I care about get done very half-assed. Frowny face.

Fiore's The Now Habit was helpful in getting me to understand more about the mechanisms of procrastination I fall prey to, but didn't do much to help me actually ovecome procrastination.

I recently finally got around to reading David Allen's Getting Things Done, which I found helpful in many ways but overall too fiddly with its Seven Criteria for This and Fivefold Way of Deciding That. This lead to a major binge of indulging in productivity pron. The binge is still ongoing, but one thing I read that really resonated and that has proven very helpful is Mark Forster's Do It Tomorrow.

Everyone's mileage varies when it comes to figureing out how to be more productive, but Forster is an inveterate tinkerer and his website has a number of simple, intuitive time management systems that play to different inclinations and a good discussion forum too. It's definitely worth checking out if getting more of what you want to do done is a concern.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11-25-10 11:02 AM
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Also: happy thanksgiving, everyone!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11-25-10 11:02 AM
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re 334

I think it's interesting that David Allen was institutionalized for several years before his successful launch into productivity guru-dom. Just sayin.

I know someone who interviewed Allen once. He pulled out a bottle of whisky at 10am and started downing shots.

PJ Eby strikes me as a major basket case, but I read the couple chapters he released of "Thinking Things Done" and they were very good. I don't know if they really help with productivity, but they make the very convincing case that you will never get things done by cognitively structuring tasks. Emotions are far more powerful than cognition, and our very limited energy to make ourselves do things is quickly swamped if our emotions/unconscious is pushing in another direction.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 11-26-10 5:33 AM
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Oh, good, other procrastinators at the end of the thread.

I keep all my research-relevant files in subversion, and have persuaded two labmates to try out backups, and have a separate private svn server with copies of all my pdfs and bibliography, and all my To-Dos are in emacs org-mode (which means that all the Done items are stored in an organized archive). Eh, it's okay.


What worked REALLY WELL was one of the last Palm OS smartphones, on which the datebook/tasklist software had been smoothed to something that was as easy to make up as a written list, but did all the beeping/scheduling/searching that print doesn't do. It apparently hasn't been ported anywhere else yet. I have tried at least half a dozen iPhone apps, and feel guilty that I haven't written a system on Maemo, and should probably check out Android again. I don't like keeping everything on someone else's servers, though. At least the department does some human subjects research and I believe they're accordingly careful of our data.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 11-29-10 6:45 PM
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