Re: Frightening

1

It's never too early to have a mid-life crisis, and ensure that your life is instead based on decisions made by someone wishing they were a teenager.


Posted by: HC | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:49 AM
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My entire life is based on decisions I made when I was twenty, twenty-three, twenty-seven, and thirty-four.

I have never wished to be a teenager. Even when I was a teenager.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:58 AM
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Yeah, speak for yourself. I started my undergrad studies in my early 20s after working for four years, took several years out of academic study after my first degree, and then made the decision to do graduate study in my late 20s.

Not unlike Jesurgislac, probably.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:39 AM
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I made virtually no decisions as a teenager.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:59 AM
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I question the premise of your post, Becks. I question it indignantly.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 6:47 AM
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That line is to be sung, yes?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 6:57 AM
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La la la la, I question the premise of your post.

Happy?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 7:10 AM
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God, Becks, you're so, like, making a generalization. It might be even possible to think that making a big decision at age twenty isn't that different from making a big decision at age nineteen.

One has lots of time to change one's decisions and mind and life and such, but I think the sorts of college age decisions Becks is alluding to are frightening precisely because almost every other decision made at that age is made for dumb reasons.

Say someone changes her major when she's twenty. It's entirely possible that this is the result of a long hard decision, but it's also just as likely to be about what classes fit in with her preferred schedule.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 7:13 AM
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But now you've stopped dancing, Standpipe.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 7:13 AM
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I've made most of my decisions based on who I was at two-and-a-half. There's a reason they're called "the terrible twos".


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 7:20 AM
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re: 8

Are people really like that?

I'd question that 'every other decision at that age is made for dumb reasons'. I don't buy the basic "omg, teenagers/twenty-somethings are so dumb" premise.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 7:32 AM
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The course of my whole life was determined by people who died long before I was born.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 7:38 AM
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IME, teenagers are often as thoughtful and wise in their decisionmaking as they are given the opportunity to be. Which is to say, sometimes extremely, and sometimes not at all.

You get practice making big decisions by being able to make small and medium-stakes decisions. People who are expected to be dumb and irresponsible are often -- surprise -- people who have not been entrusted with as much responsibility or power over their own lives and not given a chance to develop their decisionmaking skills.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 7:42 AM
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Yes, people are like that. That said, I don't buy that teenagers are dumber than anyone else, but that's only because I don't think people really get much wiser as they age. More impulsive, and more sensitive to short-term gain, though, which might be sufficient.

Less tongue-in-cheek: it's not really the dumbness of decisions that's at work, but how much they have a chance to shape someone's life, and there's a big cluster of decisions made at a time when the person is still trying to figure out who they are and what they care about. Get pregnant at 16 and keep the baby? Decide to study philosophy instead of science? Can't see the payoff of finishing school and drop out? It's not true that most of the decisions can't be revisited, but left to themselves, a lot of one's future is fixed.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 7:44 AM
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It's entirely possible that this is the result of a long hard decision, but it's also just as likely to be about what classes fit in with her preferred schedule.

A while ago I had to talk someone out of applying to a particular (bad) grad school once she mentioned that the reason she wanted to go there was that she'd like to live by the ocean.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 7:45 AM
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Embrace the flux!


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 7:46 AM
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People who are expected to be dumb and irresponsible are often -- surprise -- people who have not been entrusted with as much responsibility or power over their own lives and not given a chance to develop their decisionmaking skills.

Like, say, your average college freshman or kid out on his own for the first time? It's nothing particular to the Form of Teenageness, but mid-to-late teenagehood is a time where commonly, someone goes from making no decisions to making all of them.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 7:46 AM
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The underwear I'm wearing right now is directly determined by decisions I made as a teenager.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 7:51 AM
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And if you'd listened to your elders about the dangers of penis pumps, you wouldn't have this problem, Sifu.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 7:53 AM
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The course of my entire adult life will be determined by a decision which I decide to put off each moment.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 7:56 AM
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I made all sorts of bad decisions in my teens and twenties, but they all had to do with bad behavior in the moment. My long term decisions were all good. I probably believe this because my basic values have not changed since I was a teen.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 7:57 AM
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but mid-to-late teenagehood is a time where commonly, someone goes from making no decisions to making all of them

...and all the while every adult around them is trying to be helpful by exhorting them that these are the most important decisions they'll ever make in their entire lives. I wouldn't trade my experiences away or redo them, unconventional as they were compared to most of my friends and acquaintances, but it is odd to think that I am where I am today as a direct result of having the state waving a not-appealing-but-obtainable scholarship in my face when I was sixteen and parents who, having watched two children fail at higher education, tell me that any education I obtained would be on my own or someone else's dime.

I guess it's nothing new to realize that, hey, cause and effect is real and each circumstance follows from those before it but it's interesting to me to ponder the way in which so many random events and largely coin-toss choices have led to a happy life.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 8:00 AM
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mid-to-late teenagehood is a time where commonly, someone goes from making no decisions to making all of them.

I guess I'm a) disputing how common this is (I definitely know other folks who had a ttaM-type experience) and b) making a judgment about how desirable it is.

I think it's undesirable, especially since a primary reason I reject job applicants is that they can't narrate a coherent decisionmaking process.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 8:02 AM
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20 is great, and entirely accurate.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 8:05 AM
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News alert: Fafblog has a new post! Not just an April Fool's thing!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 8:38 AM
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I was pretty much independent as a young teen. On the other hand, my experience is much like ttAM's, I've shifted my life completely a couple of times post 20, for example.

It's a cute quote, and may well be true for a lot of people. But you know something, nobody actually *has* to stay on the path they're on. It's often easiest, and sometimes the right thing, but it's never actually written in stone.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:06 AM
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I guess I'm a) disputing how common this is (I definitely know other folks who had a ttaM-type experience) and b) making a judgment about how desirable it is.

I think it's undesirable, but I think it's pretty common; I'm not restricting 'decisions as a teenager/early twenties' to 'picked what college to go to.' A lot of people who decide to go to work when they're 18 or 19 because they have skills that can make money end up set in that track. Ttam worked and then went to college, but shivbunny knows a lot of people who got sucked in by the money at 18 and by 23, were in a position where doing something else with their life was next to impossible.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:07 AM
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were in a position where doing something else with their life was next to impossible

If they had kids, I buy this. Otherwise not so much.

And shit, even if you have kids that doesn't mean you can't ditch the rugrats and join a motorcycle gang.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:08 AM
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Kids obviously make things more difficult. But from what I've seen, nearly impossible is hardly ever true. Which isn't to say it isn't hard or scary to change. And that isn't even counting Sifu's `fuck it, i'm joining a bike gang [*]' method


[*] fwiw, prospecting at a middle age will be hard for most, you're better off joining young


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:12 AM
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re: 23

Yeah, also, I think there's another UK/US divide here, and class-based ones, too. The 'defer the end of childhood' thing being quite different across social classes and between our respective nations.

Many/most of my high-school peers left school at 16.

N.B.: this is not to say I didn't make some stupid decisions (then or since), just that the making of them doesn't seem especially age related.

re: 27

in a position where doing something else with their life was next to impossible.

Again, that's nationally specific. Here in the UK it's not hard to go to university older. You're not as reliant on parental funding and scholarships for a start. In my second year English Lit seminar group in Glasgow, there were, I think, 5 or 6 out of 10 who were in their 20s or older. One woman was in her eighties, one in her thirties, two guys in their forties, and a twenty-something former-East German paratrooper [not kidding].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:12 AM
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24: Thanks, Tweety!

That compliment almost makes up for my wasted life!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:12 AM
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they can't narrate a coherent decisionmaking process.

But surely this is a failure of rationalization skills, not a failure to make decisions coherently?

IOW, the searingly vast majority of humans are not rational decisionmakers; insofar as they are able to "narrate a coherent decisionmaking process," it is "narrate" that is doing the work, not "coherent decisionmaking."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:15 AM
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Kids, which is something people have. Or just lifestyle. shivbunny's industry, e.g., is such that it's possible for a young guy who is strong who doesn't mind 100% travel to make assloads of money. But at 18, assloads of money doesn't always translate into sound future financial planning (much more fun to spend the assloads of money), and it's not uncommon for someone to make assloads of money, get used it, get married, and wake up at 34 realizing he's spending nine months of the year away from his family, but backing off the work schedule means not being able to pay the bills.

Nothing's set in stone, but things do get sticky.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:15 AM
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26: No doubt. Here it is possible to go on to higher education later; plenty of people do. But it's a lot trickier financially.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:18 AM
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re: 33

But that just basically reduces to, decisions made at time t tend to alter outcomes at t+1 and that some of those altered outcomes make it hard to go backwards and start again. That always applies. At any age.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:19 AM
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35 is completely correct.

It's also interesting to see how people who feel they are completely stuck in sucky path X often seem to do pretty well if they are forced out (downsizing, injury, whatever). But they'd never choose to leave.

I guess most people will choose 25 years of known misery against a couple years of uncertainty.

Which isn't to say that there aren't people who really are stuck. Just a lot fewer than the ones that think they are. Or at least `stuck' is being used in a strange way.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:23 AM
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Becks, don't listen to the haters. The post rings true to me, and is indeed frightening.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:23 AM
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Life is one big game of Plinko.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:23 AM
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Also, I think y'all are nit-picking a clever line to death. No statement - except maybe the death and taxes one - applies to literally everybody. Duh. But the quoted line brings home a very real disconnect - we (as a society) take it for granted that teens make bad decisions. But the vast majority of us set the main paths of our lives up as teens.

Being able to change one's path utterly at 25 (and up) is a privilege*, people, not just a matter of exercising a bit of free will. Y'all sound like the ex-smoker who says, "Well I just stopped doing it one day, never touched another. Why can't you?"

* I'll accept, tentatively, that this is a national difference. It occurs to me that, in Germany, one's future is determined largely by what secondary school you're sent to; but of the few Germans I know, several bucked that trend. Perhaps because you're still young when you're done with secondary, and so it's not too late to realize you don't want to spend your life as a butcher.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:24 AM
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Not quite, ttaM. It's that a lot of those hard-to-reverse decisions are made in a relatively short timeframe, and are often (not universally, no need to lecture) the first big decisions someone has to make.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:24 AM
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What ttaM's saying, I think, is that we should be modelling ε using markov chains rather than as linear functions of goofy teenagerness.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:25 AM
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But the vast majority of us set the main paths of our lives up as teens.

The point was that this is much more changeable than most seem to think. Many (not all, of course) do fine when forced to change, they just would never choose to unless pushed externally.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:27 AM
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Sure, but the observation doesn't require that it isn't changeable, just that most people don't.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:28 AM
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43: yeah, it mostly works as I noted before. I guess I just wanted people to accept that for the most part they choose this, they aren't `stuck'.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:30 AM
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And people could quit smoking if they really wanted to. This is all very simple!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:35 AM
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What soup and I are saying is obviously heavily skewed by general class and country-of-origin issues. Sure, a mud-brick-maker in Kandahar couldn't up and go to architecture school, or even Hamburger University, but I was recently hanging out with a friend who -- having reached his late thirties without much in the way of education -- feels like driving a cab is pretty much the only thing that he can do, and while that might be true for him given his overall level of motivation and pot ownership, it's not definitionally true of people of his age, education and station.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:41 AM
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45: They could even stop trolling their own blog if they really wanted to. It's all good!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:46 AM
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And people could quit smoking if they really wanted to.

OT: Six weeks smokeless as of tomorrow.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:53 AM
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The point was that this is much more changeable than most seem to think.

Go back to the original line: "It's weird" when you realize this. Not "awful," or "horrifying." It's just a weird notion. Most people - Mittyism aside - are reasonably satisfied with where their teenage decisions have put them ("Regrets? I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention."). The point is merely that it's funny for a 50-yr-old to realize that her daily life follows a straight line to a few maybe-thought-out decisions made 30-35 years before. They wouldn't exactly hand over any decisionmaking for their 50-y.o. lives to their current 15-y.o. children, but that's effectively what they did then.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:55 AM
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I can sort of agree with 43. Most people (qua contingent fact) don't.

I'm just not buying the 'special dumbness of late teens' thing. Which, if I read you right Cala, you're not arguing for anyway.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:58 AM
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OT: Six weeks smokeless as of tomorrow.

It's never too late to change that, RMMP.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:58 AM
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re: 45 and 46.

About 3 - 4 months smokeless. Although I've fallen off the wagon twice and had a couple of ciggies [less than half a pack] when drunk.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 10:01 AM
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soup in 26: But you know something, nobody actually *has* to stay on the path they're on. It's often easiest, and sometimes the right thing, but it's never actually written in stone.

Says the man who took 10 classes at a time and passed out of several simply by sitting the exam.

Some of us don't have that much energy.

I am currently applying for a job coordinating a research study, which because it is not quite full time, only says that "a bachelor's is preferred as well as an interest in clinical studies." I don't plan on going to medical school. I'd hate to completely waste the time I spent in law school. Maybe I can eventually work my way into some kind of law/health policy gig, but right now I'm just going for what seems most interesting to me.

Speaking of health stuff, I want LB to blog about Senator Wyden's Healthy Americans Act

If we could push Congress to pass something like this, then we could probably get a President Obama to sign it. I have to read more about it to figure out what might be wrong with it, because the liberal lions haven't signed on. I did talk very briefly to a woman at the School of Public Health who is very lliberal and said that it was an interesting proposal.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 10:03 AM
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I'm just not buying the 'special dumbness of late teens' thing.

Part of me agrees with you - I think it's a social notion that teens are especially foolish - but part of me does, in fact, recall obviously dumb stuff that I did as a teen, stuff I would never do again. Teens take Ayn Rand seriously. Teens ride on the hoods of speeding cars. Teens take chastity pledges during the time of life when they are most likely to get laid by attractive young people.

Probably a lot of it comes from the conceit that the wisdom that comes with age actually has an impact on our decisionmaking.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 10:03 AM
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I was way more responsible as a teenager than I am now. I do sometimes wish that I'd studied a social science and taken a lot of sstatistics courses.

I love foreign languages, but I'd hate to be a teacher and other than translation I'm not sure what that qualifies you for.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 10:06 AM
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46: I obviously can't speak to your friend's situation in particular, but working the kind of hours a cab driver works is not going to do much for one's motivation, never mind doing it in one's late thirties.

Same goes for all sorts of low-skill work that leaves you too tired to do much other than drink and watch TV.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 10:08 AM
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BG you should be a spy!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 10:09 AM
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56: oh yeah, no doubt. I'm just saying it's possible.

Besides, he doesn't even own a TV!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 10:10 AM
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58: Oh, so he's White.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 10:30 AM
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53:

But won't that Healthy Americans Act translate into lower wages down the line? Sure, right now my employer would give me the extra $400/month that it's spending on my insurance...but what happens as insurance premiums increase? Perhaps I misread the linked page, but it doesn't seem to provide that my employer will give me an extra $500/month instead.

And if I were a cunning employer, as so many of them are, I'd hold the line on wages for entry level jobs too. Right now, it seems like to hold good-quality employees my employer has to provide X-dollars per month in health insurance to all of us, plus a sorta minimally competitive salary. If it were no longer providing insurance, I would expect entry level pay to be less than X-dollars plus current pay, so that entry-level employees would end up with less take-home pay than they do now.

As a skilled hypochondriac, I'm not saying that I'd refuse permanent health care just because I'd lose wages over time. But I'd rather not waste what might be a moment where we can actually get some kind of decent national health care plan on something that's going to make me poorer.

Am I totally misreading this? Things to do with money tend to confuse me, I admit.

(Speaking of careers and early decision-making, my career ended up making me a lot less money than one would expect based on my undergraduate degree...so even an extra $100 a month is a lot.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 10:35 AM
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49: There's also the amazing factor of chance (besides the getting-hit-by-a-truck type if you leave the house a few seconds earlier or later).

I missed a job interview at Albert Einstein Med in my early twenties because my car died. It was a wash because the interviewer didn't make it either because her car died. Thus the draft board didn't get me, I didn't wander around Vietnam, and so on. Looking back at lots of stuff, "weird" is the right word I think.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 10:37 AM
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46: Calphalon, All-Clad, or Le Creuset? Christ, man, this is Unfogged, share the important details.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 10:38 AM
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Says the man who took 10 classes at a time and passed out of several simply by sitting the exam.

Well I've said before that I wouldn't suggest my particular path to anyone. But all that stuff above was because I was in a hurry, not because I actually absolutely had to do it that way. I'm not even suggesting that anyone in particular might want to completely drop their life and pick up another one to the degree I did, either. It's rough in a lot of ways.

But on the other hand, particularly with people I tend to know these days that on average have a lot of skills, potential and possibilities, I hear a lot of `oh, now I'm stuck' that I think is bullshit. You can change all sorts of things from major about turns to tweaking the details (e.g., LB's recent shift).. .and sometimes the latters' effect on your quality of life can be as big as the former. There are consequences and trade-offs but that's life, right?

Perhaps this all comes down to peoples general inability to balance long term against short term when it comes to stress and adversity.

Just as an example: Of all the people you've know to say `I just can't leave my job because ....' , how many of them would actually end up on the streets if they did? How many would end up somewhere worse than they were at? How many might well be better off, at least after a year or two. In my experience, the latter group is a fair size out of the peopl I know who've had their hands forced.

People fear change, but that's not a good reason to avoid it (there are good reasons to avoid it).



Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 10:57 AM
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62: Chef's Choice. Clearly he's screwed.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 10:58 AM
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61: Too true to be scary.

(a) I was empowered to come out at 16 in my home town because someone put a flyer for a lesbian group holding evening meetings in a cafe near where we lived, in a little wholefoody cafe that my parents sometimes went to, and where they took me and a couple of their friends for supper one night five evenings from the next meeting. Without that chance, I cannot begin to describe how different my life would have been.

(b) I was enabled to go to an event at which I met one of my closest friends, who also changed my life in ways I cannot begin to describe, because one of my great-grandmothers was a skinflint who saved and did without all her life and put together a miniscule nest-egg - so miniscule that when I inherited my share at my 18th birthday, my parents just let me have the lot.

Neither one was the result of a definite decision on my part - just things other people did that happened to me...


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:00 AM
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Oversleeping and missing one class my junior year in high school produced a chain of events that culminated in getting caught with my girlfriend in my dorm room three days later. That led to getting expelled from that high school and returning to my old high school, which almost certainly affected which college I ended up attending. Had I attended a different university, I'd have married completely different people (or possibly not at all, though I think I'm just the marrying type), would have different (or no) children, and might not even be living in North Carolina.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:05 AM
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If I have not been able to see as far as Newton, it is because I have been standing on the shoulders of teenagers.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:05 AM
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Apo, have you seen the girl since then?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:15 AM
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I mean, if you're on speaking terms or near enough, wouldn't this be a great Modern Love?

When I arranged (after almost two decades) to meet with the ex-girlfriend whose delectable booty had gotten me expelled from high school, I expected no more than a little light-hearted nostalgia. I hardly expected that..... "I'm taking the kids and soaking you for every penny you've got", said my wife, slamming down the phone.....

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:22 AM
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Hi everyone! I have a random OT bleg, and I think I just need a lot of opinions, but it's not interesting enough for an Ask the Mineshaft.

I will try to justify this bleg by offering some pre-bleg substance. Erm, let's see, life path stuff. I'm figuring out in my late twenties that I'm more interested in the sciences as a vocation than I ever could have been in lit (from the criticism side), which is nearly exclusively what I studied in college, and then most of my twenties were pretty intellectually fallow, and now I'm all, damn, I need to learn multivariable calculus, and I need to learn to program, and I need to do this, this, and this to get to do even some of the work I'd like to do. It's not like I don't think what I did do in college was valuable, and if the aspects of social cognition I wind up studying involve narrative and cognition it will even be related, but I do regret the fallow period in my twenties, and the way I stayed in my literature ghetto in college. Hell, maybe I even regret going to such a hard college because my fear of getting bad grades (justified! My awesome GPA is going to be something of an advantage in my grad school aps) prevented me from being more exploratory. (I think the worst aspect of this insight is the long, slow, painful recognition that my mother was right about something. And it was something she told me when I was 17.)

Okay, bleg:

I'm in charge of making recommendations to a lab for specs for a computer upgrade. I'm trying to decide between an integrated sound card and the fancy add-on one. On the line of Dell I'm currently looking at, I could only get the SoundBlaster­ X-FI XtremeMusic™ (D)w/Dolby#173; Digital 5.1,Vista, which is 120 dollars, kind of a lot. We might be using this computer to record and/or play back two-year-olds' speech, which is often hard to decipher, so if the add-on soundcard would add some perceptible increment in fidelity/clarity/whatever the hell is the right word, it would be worth it, but I'm encountering disagreement as to whether it would. Would it be worth, say, $40 if I could figure out a way to configure a computer with a cheaper sound card? Opinions? Thanks!


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:44 AM
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Pay the money for a better microphone and studio monitors. The soundcard isn't going to be the limiter.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:48 AM
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72

What is shivbunny's industry and how strong must one be to be part of it? Because from where I'm standing (sitting), 100% travel and loads of money both look awesome.


Posted by: Currence | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:00 PM
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73

Shiv goes around blowing things up


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:01 PM
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74

68: She ended up at Carolina as well, so we did see each other occasionally, though by then we were no longer romantically involved and I think she preferred to run into me as infrequently as possible. We have long since fallen out of touch. I think she ended up going to vet school at NCSU.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:02 PM
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75

Oh man.

Wait, it's not working for Blackwater, is it?


Posted by: Currence | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:03 PM
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76

I was empowered to come out at 16

I really hope that that process is a heck of a lot easier now.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:03 PM
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77

He's a demolition expert, I think. Dynamite and stuff.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:04 PM
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100% travel and loads of money both look awesome

Loads of money, sure. Constant travel, I have it on assurance from those with jobs that require it, is teh mucho suck.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:04 PM
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75: Convergence! The former girlfriend in question was from Moyock, where Blackwater is headquartered.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:05 PM
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72: He blows things up.

70: Tia! Missed you round these parts. Sifu is right, your biggest problem is going to be microphone, followed by monitors/headphones. Consumer sound cards are really not designed for recording, but a good external will cost you $250-$thousands, and since you aren't mixing isn't really what you want anyway.

Be aware that you can rent much better audio gear than you can afford to buy, sometimes pretty cheaply. Depending on your recording sessions scheduling, this might be the way to go.

As far as your sound card goes, you'll just need something with decent input, but for your budget it doesn't sound like your in the market for anything with a good ADC/DAC....


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:06 PM
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77: My understanding is that he works a rig used in seismic exploration, where you blow up dynamite in a hole and then record the echos. (Also done by throwing "depth charges" off of boats, and bouncing big weights up and down on the ground.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:10 PM
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82

Duh, shiv is a member of the A Team.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:13 PM
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re: 70

Re: soundcard bleg. Pretty much any soundcard is going to be good enough. The basic card built into the machine is almost certainly adequate.

As Sifu and soup have already said, you need a decent microphone. Semi-decent condenser mics, for example, are cheap. You can even get condenser mics with built in USB interfaces, which'll let you bypass the whole soundcard issue.

Microphone, microphone placement, basic recording technique and post-recording software -- normalisation and noise reduction, basically -- are where you're going to get the benefit. The soundcard isn't going to matter.

Be aware that some microphones need phantom power. So watch that if you get one that needs it, that you can supply it [via battery or via a powered mixer].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:29 PM
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84

Thank you soup and Tweety!


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:29 PM
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85

Oops, and ttaM!


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:34 PM
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66: What Apo's not telling us is that, had he not gotten expelled, he'd have gone to ... Duke!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:49 PM
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74: Damn. Ruined my fun.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:59 PM
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I didn't want to prejudice the original comments but now this thread has been up for a while, the full quote is:

It's weird when you wake up one morning and realize that your entire adult life was based on the decisions of a teenager. A stoned teenager.

Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:34 PM
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Oh, well see? Now I agree.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:35 PM
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The play in the original post is by and about Stew, originally Mark Stewart, and the leader of the band The Negro Problem, which is awesome.

My name's Ken
and I like men
But the people at Mattel
The home that I call hell
are somewhat bothered by my queer proclivities
It's safe to say that they are really pissed at me

They always stick me
with Barbie
But I want them to know
I prefer GI Joe
But any able bodied man-doll will surely do
Just someone to love, since I am not set up to screw


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 6:19 PM
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A stoned teenager.

That's something of a relief, actually. At least I'll maintain consistency with my adult life.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 6:24 PM
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I'm very belatedly going back to JRoth's 32:

IOW, the searingly vast majority of humans are not rational decisionmakers; insofar as they are able to "narrate a coherent decisionmaking process," it is "narrate" that is doing the work, not "coherent decisionmaking."

I actually agree with you completely. I was sloppy in my intial comment. I was trying to convey what happens when I interview someone who Really!Really! wants to work with my organization, but can't give me any reassurance that she can make good judgments about the unpredictable flow of work that is going to be crossing her desk. You're right, lots of people can't describe what they're doing, or how they knew what the right thing to do was. But if they can do it, that doesn't matter.

Being able to triage phone calls effectively, to problem-solve how to handle a broken copier right before the Important Guests come or a lost PowerPoint that the president forgot to save onto his thumb drive, to keep your cool and redirect an extremely angry customer...if you can't do this stuff, or even come up with a practical stopgap to stave off disaster while you find a colleague, you are not helpful.

More succinctly: The true test of intelligence is not how much you know how to do, but how you behave when you don't know what to do. (Thank you, John Holt.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 8:19 PM
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