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Materialism, Values, and Society

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The Twonkster

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Mar 4, 1994, 3:06:18 AM3/4/94
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A smalll subject that's been coming up among my friends recently. I have
wondered why this society places so much emphasis on material goods. I
mean, it not only includes stuff like BMW's and car phones, but seeing
*people* as objects to be bought, sold, acquired, and owned. Freind of mine
has a $800 waterbed, $1200 stereo, $3000 worth of artwork, and a $700
*lamp*. Reasoning for these objects: "To get the women." His room is a
self-described "pussy trap" (apologies to the women-folk out there). All
the women he goes out with are fairly attractive, but most of them don't
have 2 brain cells to rub together. They too have been fooled into
believing that they must be objects. I guess they want a man who will treat
them as such...

Me, on the other hand, I'm doing OK. I have a free bed, a boombox I bought
in 1989 for $130, 4 posters worth probably $10 total, and a free lamp. The
thing I have probably spent the most money on is my CD collection, but those
were bought for my amusement and no-one elses (most women out there not
being big Dead Milkmen fans :-)). My other high-end money item is books,
again for my entertainment (my friend bought the $40 Hitchhikers hardbound
trilogy. I have all 5 books in paperback). All these things satisfy me as
much as my friend's items would. However, I don't understand how I cannot
connect with any of the women I go out with. They are all fairly
intellegent, wonderful women (maybe not as attractive as the women my friend
goes out with, but that bothers me not at all), and all assure me that I am
a real nice guy (I hate that term), but I am not what they are looking for.
Do even the smart ones want to be treated like dirt, to be treated like
cattle, to be bought and sold and owned? I realise this sounds a little
like my "Relationship" thread from a while abck, but that's not all.

This country's values also confuse me. Somebody please explain to me why
Barry Bonds makes $7 million a year playing a GAME, while the starting
salary for a teacher is $18K? I have nothing against baseball, I love the
sport, but get real! I would get into teaching in a heartbeat, but for the
salary. Teachers have the toughest job in the country, and granted, some do
not do it well, but most do. If I could be guarranteed a job at $25K after
graduation to teach, I would. My only reason for $25K is so I can pay off
the loans I know I will rack up before I leave college, and maybe put away
something toward my retirement. God knows Social Security won't be there.
As is, I am torn between doing something I dislike to put bread on the table
(I'm considering business, even tho it's against my nature, or going back to
epidemiology, which bores the pants off of me), and doing something I'd like
to do that won't pay squat, and that I'll have to take a McJob on the side
to eat. I'd like to get an English degree, or maybe Philosophy, but where's
the practicality? I'd like to do Computer Science, but I don't have the
math skills. Maybe Linguistics....:-)

Comments, criticisms, flames welcome. Let's hear it from y'all...
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Matt Gourley, S.C.W. I "Ducks are definately blues animals....."
MMG...@psuvm.psu.edu I -Brian J. "Biff" Panulla
Chelsea Clinton Cabal I "The tiny light shines twice as bright on
Legion of Dynamic Discord I the only nice part of me" -TMBG

Tim Irvin

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Mar 4, 1994, 1:20:49 PM3/4/94
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In article <94063.030...@psuvm.psu.edu>

The Twonkster <MMG...@psuvm.psu.edu> writes:

>
>A smalll subject that's been coming up among my friends recently. I have
>wondered why this society places so much emphasis on material goods. I
>mean, it not only includes stuff like BMW's and car phones, but seeing
>*people* as objects to be bought, sold, acquired, and owned. Freind of mine
>has a $800 waterbed, $1200 stereo, $3000 worth of artwork, and a $700
>*lamp*. Reasoning for these objects: "To get the women." His room is a
>self-described "pussy trap" (apologies to the women-folk out there). All
>the women he goes out with are fairly attractive, but most of them don't
>have 2 brain cells to rub together. They too have been fooled into
>believing that they must be objects. I guess they want a man who will treat
>them as such...

I could never handle a woman who appeared to be a golddigger. I'd rather be
lonely than a sugar daddy--even if it meant never getting any. :)

I started going bald when I was 18. My first thoughts were that *no* woman
my age would want anything to do with a bald guy. However, after lots of
introspection, I decided that if a woman didn't want to be with me because I
was bald, then it wasn't the type of woman I wanted to be with anyway.


>Me, on the other hand, I'm doing OK. I have a free bed, a boombox I bought
>in 1989 for $130, 4 posters worth probably $10 total, and a free lamp. The
>thing I have probably spent the most money on is my CD collection, but those
>were bought for my amusement and no-one elses (most women out there not
>being big Dead Milkmen fans :-)). My other high-end money item is books,
>again for my entertainment (my friend bought the $40 Hitchhikers hardbound
>trilogy. I have all 5 books in paperback). All these things satisfy me as
>much as my friend's items would. However, I don't understand how I cannot
>connect with any of the women I go out with. They are all fairly
>intellegent, wonderful women (maybe not as attractive as the women my friend
>goes out with, but that bothers me not at all), and all assure me that I am
>a real nice guy (I hate that term), but I am not what they are looking for.
>Do even the smart ones want to be treated like dirt, to be treated like
>cattle, to be bought and sold and owned? I realise this sounds a little
>like my "Relationship" thread from a while abck, but that's not all.

Well, this is interesting. As much as many women complain that men look
upon women as "sex symbols," the sad truth is that many women also look at
men as *success* symbols. Much like the stereotypical man looks for
breasts and butts and whatever else, the stereotypical woman looks at the
prestige of a man's career, his earning potential and his possessions.

Most women I've known *still* feel funny about dating a man who is less
financially well-off than they are. Most women I've known seem to feel
strange about dating a man with less education.

The current Cosmo cover describes an article about "how to marry a million-
aire" about something like that. I find that as offensive to men as an
article about "how to get sex from a blonde bombshell" would (understandably)
be to women. It's hard for me to take the "men look at women as sex
symbols" complaint too seriously as long as many women look at men as success
symbols. It's just the way men and women are. Again, how much of this
is social and how much is biological is not known.


>This country's values also confuse me. Somebody please explain to me why
>Barry Bonds makes $7 million a year playing a GAME, while the starting
>salary for a teacher is $18K? I have nothing against baseball, I love the
>sport, but get real! I would get into teaching in a heartbeat, but for the
>salary. Teachers have the toughest job in the country, and granted, some do
>not do it well, but most do. If I could be guarranteed a job at $25K after
>graduation to teach, I would. My only reason for $25K is so I can pay off
>the loans I know I will rack up before I leave college, and maybe put away
>something toward my retirement. God knows Social Security won't be there.
>As is, I am torn between doing something I dislike to put bread on the table
>(I'm considering business, even tho it's against my nature, or going back to
>epidemiology, which bores the pants off of me), and doing something I'd like
>to do that won't pay squat, and that I'll have to take a McJob on the side
>to eat. I'd like to get an English degree, or maybe Philosophy, but where's
>the practicality? I'd like to do Computer Science, but I don't have the
>math skills. Maybe Linguistics....:-)

Especially when I *pay* $50 per season to play softball! :)

Well, as a proud owner of a BSCS (and working toward an MSCS), I feel like I
have lots of options available. I think I'd really like to teach math and CS
at a community college when I get the MS. When my wife finishes *her* course-
work and starts working, I could afford to take the pay cut and pursue it.
Right now, even if I did have the education, it wouldn't be an option. In
the meantime, as a grad student, I'm going to investigate the possibility of
teaching an algebra course. I know several MSCS majors who are doing that,
and I think it would give me a good chance to see if I'm teacher material.

I think the job market for math/science types in education is better than it
is for most other areas, since it's hard to make a teaching job (which pays
$25-$30K to start in this overproced area) look good when compared to a $35-
$40K entry level job in private industry. Of course, there haven't been many
entry-level jobs created lately...

Besides, the only reason teacher salaries are relatively low is because many
people are willing to do that work, with relatively few positions available.
If people didn't want to teach, the supply of potential teachers would shrink
and salaries would rise. Let's not forget about the summer vacation, either.
We should be careful when comparing a 9.5-months-a-year job to a 12-months-
per-year job.


*********************************************************************
* Tim Irvin, Programmer/Analyst | *
* Lockheed Missiles and Space Co., Inc. | This space *
* Sunnyvale, California | for rent *
* ***** all standard disclaimers apply ***** | *
*-------------------------------------------------------------------*
* "We had a choice between Democrats who couldn't learn *
* from the past and Republicans who couldn't stop living *
* in it" -- P.J. O'Rourke on the 1988 Presidential election *
*********************************************************************

Chris DelPrete

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Mar 4, 1994, 6:03:24 PM3/4/94
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Greg Wesson (lanp...@bcarh17c.bnr.ca) wrote:
> In article <94063.030...@psuvm.psu.edu> The Twonkster <MMG...@psuvm.psu.edu> writes:

> What is it that causes two people to connect?

Boy! This question hits me on an issue that I've been thinking about for
weeks now.

A few thoughts and experiences ...

For me, a connection is formed when two people are interested in each other
and actively work to understand one another. Recently, I went on
a vacation and met my brothern-law for the first time. For an entire weekend, I asked him all sorts of questions, trying to understand him as a person.
Never once did he ask me a single question. He was so wrapped up in himself
that he couldn't see beyond it. The result is that I know a bit about him,
but he knows nothing of me. No connection = boring.

On the other hand, I have a friend that wants me to reveal all sorts of
intimate details about my life to him, but he offers nothing in return.
He constantly evades my questions. No connection = boring.

These folks (and those like them) bore me to tears.

To me, connections are made when there is a lot of informational
and emotional give and take. If it's one sided ... it's not a connection.

> Advice : Keep looking, and don't change. I'm sure that you will find someone
> eventually. It's easy to find a woman (as your friend has found out), it's
> not easy to find the right woman.

In truth. And, when you go out with her, ask her about herself and her
experiences. Share yours with her. Have a conversation ... not an
information dump.

FWIW.
--
| Chris DelPrete-Delaney | Speaking only for myself, |
| * ch...@xmission.com | one of my many tricks. |
| * * cdel...@novell.com = |
| "If this is paradise, I think I want a lawnmower." - David Byrne |

Erich Schwarz

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Mar 4, 1994, 6:29:33 PM3/4/94
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In article <94063.030...@psuvm.psu.edu>, The Twonkster

<MMG...@psuvm.psu.edu> wrote:
>
> All
> the women he goes out with are fairly attractive, but most of them don't
> have 2 brain cells to rub together.

You know, brain cells are rather fragile. Rubbin' 'em together with
your sweaty mitts is likely to make them go oop.


I'm just trying to get over that image...


--Erich Schwarz "You can't microinject too many oocytes,
One *Toe* Out the Door, sequence too many nucleotides,
and Really Punchy from run too many neural-net structure
predictions,
Das Thesis Already or date too many on-the-edge women."
Div. of Biol., Caltech --An Eighth-Year Grad Student

Erich Schwarz

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Mar 4, 1994, 6:39:46 PM3/4/94
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In article <94063.030...@psuvm.psu.edu>, The Twonkster
<MMG...@psuvm.psu.edu> wrote:


> Do even [smart women] want to be treated like dirt, to be treated like


> cattle, to be bought and sold and owned?

The dysfunctional ones do, at least until their husbands dump them for
a teenager trophy wife when they're in their late forties.
The sane ones don't. I think if they're looking for *anything* in a
potential Love Mate, it's an aura of *quiet, earned self-respect*. Sane
smart women are invited to amplify or correct this hypothesis.


> This country's values also confuse me. Somebody please explain to me why
> Barry Bonds makes $7 million a year playing a GAME, while the starting
> salary for a teacher is $18K?

Two reasons.

First of all: the aggregate amount of money paid into teacher's
salaries is probably much higher than that paid to sports stars, but there
are so many fewer sports stars in this country (as opposed to school
teachers) that the sports money gets sliced up by a much SMALLER dividend.
Ergo, a handful of athletes make big $$$, while a *large* quantity of
school teachers make much less. There is no way that this logic can be
defeated without socialism: if you let people spend even one-twentieth on
sports what they do on schools, but have one-two-thousandth as many
athletes as schoolteachers, this arithmetical force *will* give an athlete
100x the salary of a schoolteacher.

Second reason: America's priorities are totally asinine. Of course we
should be paying $50-70K/yr. for any schoolteacher--it's the most important
job in the country. Of course, I think that we should also throw the job
field open to vigorous competition by abolishing most of the present
certification requirements, which have more to do with the agenda of
teachers' unions than with ensuring the quality of education in our public
schools...but that's a totally different topic.

--Erich Schwarz / schwarze...@starbase1.caltech.edu

James E. Lee

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Mar 4, 1994, 8:58:45 PM3/4/94
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Sara Hively (ca...@cornell.edu) wrote:
: The Twonkster <MMG...@psuvm.psu.edu> writes:


: >A smalll subject that's been coming up among my friends recently. I have


: >wondered why this society places so much emphasis on material goods.

I just wanna take a second and say that my friend just found this group a
couple days ago and mentioned it to me, and I love it! I've been
discussing all kinds of things like this lately with my friends, and we've
all been wondering if there is anyone else out there who thinks (both in
general, and about real stuff) anymore, you know? It's great to be here!

BTW, it's also nice to see so many women on this group! I just told
another friend about it, and the first question he asked is, "Are there
any girls?" I guess I frequent the wrong groups, but it can seem like
there are almost none online compared the to number of guys. I'm glad to
be wrong in this case, anyway...

: (Deleted description of high-priced pussy trap, and of the women who take
: the bait and therefore see themselves as objects..)
: >I guess they want a man who will treat them as such...


: Dating is hell. I have an intelligent, wonderful girlfriend with the same
^^^^^^^^^^^yes!
: damn problem - she also has long legs and a lot of blond hair and so she
: has often heard the "you're a real nice girl but..." after considerable
: dating and eventual sex from guys who did the best imitations of "nice
: guy smitten by true love" you ever did see... they always seemed to develop
: serious relationships with someone else within the year... She's so

I hate hearing about guys doing that--it really does not help things, and
makes being a "nice guy" (has anyone really checked to see if that means
"martyr" in some ancient language?) even WORSE! (Not that *either*
gender as a whole has sterling marks for its treatment of the other!)

: careful these days she probably seems neurotic. Dating is one bad
: experience after another until it isn't and then you aren't dating. It's
: like always finding something in the last place you look.

: >Do even the smart ones want to be treated like dirt, to be treated like
: >cattle, to be bought and sold and owned? (deletia)

: No. Do you? I ran across plenty of guys who thought this way in college,
: I saw their desperate disdainful expressions, with or without pricey
: interior decor, and I avoided them like the plague, as did all my equally
: intelligent and perceptive friends :). Attitudes like this tend to show,

: you know. How do you expect to attract an intelligent attractive woman if
: you think like this? Get yourself together.

I feel I must come to T's defense here--One of the things my (male)
friends and I often complain about is why so many women seem to date
jerks on purpose. I hung out with girls more than guys in high skool,
and I had to watch most of them go through terrible experiences because
they were attracted to guys that treated them horribly. Now, I know that
some of that is just part of youth, but I still see it in college, even
among some of my quite intelligent female friends. I'm not looking for
an explanation, but I wanted to point out that T's question is not absurd.

[Begin rant]

Something that has been a problem for me is finding women who do not
run because I try to have a *real* conversation with them. Why is there
such an apparent need to go through so much non-conversation (bullshit
talk about stupid stuff neither person is interested in or cares anything
at all about) and gobbledygook just so that two people can feel comfortable
enough to talk? I've been told I'm too intense (I tend to avoid
meaninglessness and frivolity) but why should I have to put on a stupid act
(which is not worth it, cuz it's not me) so that I can seem harmless, or
whatever? Why are people so afraid to be real, or to have someone else
get to know them for real?

[End rant]

Okay, I'm done! :)

: >As is, I am torn between doing something I dislike to put bread on the
: table,(deletia)
: >and doing something I'd like to do that won't pay squat, and that I'll
: >have to take a McJob on the side to eat. (more deletia)

Ack, this is a big problem which deserves a lot of consideration and
discussion, however, this is not the time or place for me to get into it...

--
J a m e s E. L e e
je...@othello.ucdavis.edu

Kathleen Hubbard

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Mar 4, 1994, 10:24:22 PM3/4/94
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Erich Schwarz wrote:

>The Twonkster wrote:
>
>
>> Do even [smart women] want to be treated like dirt, to be treated like
>> cattle, to be bought and sold and owned?
>

>[...]


> The sane ones don't. I think if they're looking for *anything* in a
>potential Love Mate, it's an aura of *quiet, earned self-respect*. Sane
>smart women are invited to amplify or correct this hypothesis.


Hypothesis confirmed. To amplify, I could cite the list of things we
a.s.g-x women talked about back in December -- humor, good conversation,
some degree of articulateness about your emotions, non-Neanderthal ideas
about sex.

But as for the ranking of material success, I can't even locate it on
my scale, and I think many of my female friends are the same way. Hell,
the last mate I had was a guy with less income AND less education than
me, and that neither made me uncomfortable nor meant that I ran the
the relationship. We felt like equals. And when I meet a man now, the
last thing I wonder is how much money he has in his bank account or
in his stereo rack. Maturity and comfort-with-self rates a lot higher.


--Kathleen


--
Kathleen A. Hubbard | member: GenerationX, 02.10.66 Cohort,
Department of Linguistics | Linguistic Society of America, Queens
U.C. Berkeley | of Disappointment, Icky Man Recovery,
One Foot Out The Door | Early A.M. Linguists Basketball League

steven r kleinedler

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Mar 4, 1994, 11:19:52 PM3/4/94
to
[twonk's on-the-mark essay deleted]

oh beautiful for spacious skies
for amber waves of grain...

I own a lot of books, some clothes, a CD player and a computer.

A palmist once told me I will live a long and happy life but I will
never have much money. I thought it was a beautiful fortune.
As long as I have enought to get buy, I'm happy. Don't need no Rolexes.

No wonder marketing types hate us.

Note to Kathleen: Catch that linguist bit? Let's get him while
he's week and make him study GB.

Steve Kleinedler


The Twonkster

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Mar 5, 1994, 1:58:48 AM3/5/94
to
In article <caj7.27....@cornell.edu>, ca...@cornell.edu (Sara Hively) says:
>
>The Twonkster <MMG...@psuvm.psu.edu> writes:
>
>
>(Deleted description of T's more modest posessions)

>> All these things satisfy me as much as my friend's items would. However,
>>I don't understand how I cannot connect with any of the women I go out
>>with.
>
>Whoa. Why do you assume that your choice of material goods is linked to
>this?

That wasn't my point. My point was that I buy stuff like CDs, artwork, books
etc. *for me*, not to fit some image of what I think a woman is looking for.
The more perceptive among us can tell the type of person you are by looking
thru your CDs and books (not saying I could). I link it all to beer. MGD,
and Coors Light, sell an image of "if you drink our beer, you too will get
the babe/stud of your dreams, beecause you will instantly have a washerboard
stomach, high cheekbones, the right squint in your eye, the right smirk on
your face, and just the right amount of stubble." And the kids I go to
school with *buy* this image hook, line and sinker, and it scares me. As
Crasher put it in 13GEN, "I drink the beer I think tastes good." I do what
I can to keep these kids from the mediocraty of beer by purchasing cases
of Samuel Smith's Variety Pack, and distributing relatively freely. Maybe,
just maybe, if I can get them to see past the marketing image in beer, they
can see past the image in other things, and keep them from being pigeonholed.
End of rant. :-)

>>They are all fairly intellegent, wonderful women (maybe not as attractive
>>as the women my friend goes out with, but that bothers me not at all)
>

>You don't think they're attractive, or you do but your friends don't?

I do. They don't fit the "image" (see above) of a perfect woman, therefore
my friend won't even give them a second thought (fine by me!!!), but I wouldn't
change a thing


>
>you know. How do you expect to attract an intelligent attractive woman if
>you think like this? Get yourself together.

Been trying to. I was a bit of a basket-case back in December (ask anybody
who remembers the "Relationship Thing" thread :-)), but therapy is helping
(don't let's start that discussion again!), and my friends are too. I'm just
trying to attract the intellegent, attractive woman without compromising my
values, without having to buy into the image. Ain't easy. The bed seems
to get huge around 3AM.


>
>>As is, I am torn between doing something I dislike to put bread on the

>table,(deletia)
>
>Don't Do It!!! Or do you believe in reincarnation?
I believe that I had a really horrible previous life, and am paying for it now.
:-)


>
>>and doing something I'd like to do that won't pay squat, and that I'll

>>have to take a McJob on the side to eat. (more deletia)
>
>Mom always told me to figure out how I wanted to live, and then find someone
>to pay me for it. Mcjobs may fill the interim, but better to go for the
>happiness whenever possible, and "practicality" is a good consideration but
>it can also be a short form for "sit down and shut up". Tell everyone you
>meet what your interests are (compose a short not-boring version) and that
>you're looking for work. Figure out how to do something fulfilling with
>your life, and if that means invent something that isn't out there, do it.
>If you're anti-materialism, you'll have an easier time with this.
>
> - Sara

I'm not exactly anti-materialism, I just believe it's way out of control, and
our values as a society have been skewed by the incessent consumerism. Thank
you, Sara. This was exactly the sort of discourse I was looking for.

(Bonus points to whoever can spot the TMBG reference in this post! :-))
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Matt Gourley, S.C.W. I "Never whistle while you're pissing."
MMG...@psuvm.psu.edu I -Hagbard Celine
Chelsea Clinton Cabal I "The Lovers, the Dreamers, and me....."
Legion of Dynamic Discord I -Kermit the Frog

The Twonkster

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Mar 5, 1994, 2:27:47 AM3/5/94
to
In article <1994Mar5.0...@midway.uchicago.edu>,

srkl...@ellis.uchicago.edu (steven r kleinedler) says:

>Note to Kathleen: Catch that linguist bit? Let's get him while
>he's week and make him study GB.
>
>Steve Kleinedler

Hee! Heck, the only reason I know what a mora is, is because I read Kathleen's
.plan file...:-)

-Matt, who really wouldn't know a mora if it bit him on the butt....

Jonathan Priluck

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Mar 5, 1994, 2:54:23 AM3/5/94
to
In article <schwarze-0...@fennel.bio.caltech.edu> schw...@starbase1.caltech.edu (Erich Schwarz) writes:
>In article <94063.030...@psuvm.psu.edu>, The Twonkster
><MMG...@psuvm.psu.edu> wrote:
>
>
>
>> This country's values also confuse me. Somebody please explain to me why
>> Barry Bonds makes $7 million a year playing a GAME, while the starting
>> salary for a teacher is $18K?
>

The simple answer. How much people get paid has *nothing* to do with the
moral value of the work, this is why the communists/marxists/socialists/etc
say capitalism is evil. How much people get paid is a matter of supply and
d, which has nothi*nothing* do with the value (whatever that means??) of the
work. The fact that many of us seem to share some gut instinct that there
*ought* should be some connection is irrelevant, cause there just aint none.


The iNventor

--
* Jonathan Aerospace Materials Corp., 41 Naples Road, Brookline MA 02146 *
* Tel (617) 731-3637, Internet: jam...@world.std.com *
* Developers and future manufacturers of Lattice Block Materials ... *
* the world's strongest and lightest materials. *

Jonathan Priluck

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Mar 5, 1994, 2:57:18 AM3/5/94
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In article <2l8u16$k...@agate.berkeley.edu> hub...@garnet.berkeley.edu (Kathleen Hubbard) writes:
>Erich Schwarz wrote:
>
>>The Twonkster wrote:
>>
>>
>>> Do even [smart women] want to be treated like dirt, to be treated like
>>> cattle, to be bought and sold and owned?
>>
>>[...]
>> The sane ones don't. I think if they're looking for *anything* in a
>>potential Love Mate, it's an aura of *quiet, earned self-respect*. Sane
>>smart women are invited to amplify or correct this hypothesis.
>
>
>Hypothesis confirmed. To amplify, I could cite the list of things we
>a.s.g-x women talked about back in December -- humor, good conversation,
>some degree of articulateness about your emotions, non-Neanderthal ideas
>about sex.
>
>But as for the ranking of material success, I can't even locate it on
>my scale, and I think many of my female friends are the same way. Hell,
>the last mate I had was a guy with less income AND less education than
>me, and that neither made me uncomfortable nor meant that I ran the
>the relationship. We felt like equals. And when I meet a man now, the
>last thing I wonder is how much money he has in his bank account or
>in his stereo rack. Maturity and comfort-with-self rates a lot higher.
>
>
>--Kathleen
>


Trust the force, Luke.

Pay attention to what people do not to what they say.

Sean 'Captain Napalm' Conner

unread,
Mar 5, 1994, 5:49:45 PM3/5/94
to
In article <94063.030...@psuvm.psu.edu> The Twonkster <MMG...@psuvm.psu.edu> writes:

I think this is because of our nation's Spartan nature. Spartan in the
glorification of body, not Spartan in the minimalist posession meaning.

What else explains this national craze for physical perfection and little,
if any, emphases on mental perfection? For most of our (United States)
history, we have always been struggling to survive in a physical sense
(lions, tigers and bears, oh my! - also Indians, growing crops, etc). Sure,
you had to be intelligent, but most of the work done was physical in nature.

And I'm sure that having Puritanical roots didn't help either.

There's always been this distrust of intellectualism in this country of
ours. We idolize common sense more than we do pure intelligence.
Basically, the difference between Edison, who never made it to high school,
and Tesla, who was college educated. Who do you hear more of in school?
I'm not saying the Edison was dumb, he wasn't. But he was more pragmatic
than Tesla was.

And I never heard of anyone in high school winning a Varsity Letter (TM)
by being able to calculate trigonometric problems without paper.

We, as a nation, like our sports heros. We idolize our sports heros. We
pay our sports heros millions of dollars to go out on the field and scratch
themselves. We love that.

Is it any wonder why John Doe Stadium looks much like the Colloseum in
Rome? They had their gladiator sports, we have ours. Only instead of the
Lions vs. the Christians [1], it's the Lions vs. Dolphins [2].

That, and an uninformed populous is easier lead populous. Bread and
Circuses. Let them eat cake [3], and all that.

>As is, I am torn between doing something I dislike to put bread on the table
>(I'm considering business, even tho it's against my nature, or going back to
>epidemiology, which bores the pants off of me), and doing something I'd like
>to do that won't pay squat, and that I'll have to take a McJob on the side
>to eat. I'd like to get an English degree, or maybe Philosophy, but where's
>the practicality? I'd like to do Computer Science, but I don't have the
>math skills. Maybe Linguistics....:-)
>

The thing to do is find a way to make money doing what you like doing. If
you are good with computers (you did state you would like CS), then maybe
you can charge an arm and a leg to teach techno-illiterate Boomers how to
use their computers. I myself charge $30/hour for personal consultation to
our customers of CyberGate (although I know people who charge more than I
do, up to something like $80/hour for commercial consulting).

And those that say you need math skills to do Computer Science is wrong.
You can easily get by with general algerbra (and maybe not even that). If
you get into the theorectical side of Computer Science, then yes, it does
look like Greek, but for practical (okay, software engineering), the math is
minimal.

Now here's a thought: Combine your interest in English, Computer Science
and Linguistics, and write software to understand natural language.
Imagine, being the first to write DWIM [4] software that actually understands
ENGLISH! You could make millions!

-spc (Hey, I work in the math dept. at FAU as well, and I just don't have
the mindset for math either 8-)

[1] There is no real evidance that Romans ever fed Christians to any
lions, tigers, bears or elephants. Slaves and gladiators, yes. But
Rome did have religious toleration, to a point. That's not to say
it never happened, but that the records didn't state the religion of
the slave/gladiator.

[2] I'm sorry if the Lions and the Dolphins are in different leagues.
I'm not that big of a football fan to know which teams are on what
league. It was just an example.

[3] Yes, she did say this, but the meaning isn't probably what
historical context has given to it. She wasn't being callous to the
peasantry when saying this, she, having grown up in a privilledge
state, probably meant well but was unwise in the ways of peasants to
realize how poor they were.

That, the the 'cake' she was refering to was a type of bread
commonly available at the time.

[4] Do What I Mean, as apposed to DWIS (Do What I Say), which is how
software works today.

Erich Schwarz

unread,
Mar 5, 1994, 10:54:16 PM3/5/94
to
In article <CM65H...@ucdavis.edu>, ez00...@hamlet.ucdavis.edu (James E.
Lee) wrote:

> I feel I must come to T's defense here--One of the things my (male)
> friends and I often complain about is why so many women seem to date
> jerks on purpose. I hung out with girls more than guys in high skool,
> and I had to watch most of them go through terrible experiences because

> they were attracted to guys that treated them horribly. [...]

> Something that has been a problem for me is finding women who do not
> run because I try to have a *real* conversation with them. Why is there
> such an apparent need to go through so much non-conversation (bullshit
> talk about stupid stuff neither person is interested in or cares anything
> at all about) and gobbledygook just so that two people can feel comfortable
> enough to talk?

Yes, I saw manifestations of both of those phenomena in college and
elsewhere.

Some points to ponder:

1. You cannot judge a sex by its most conspicuously self-lacerating
members.
2. Women, as a group, are (IMO) *exactly* as lost, deluded, fallible,
and vulnerable as men. No more. No less. The two Great Ideological Lies
of the late 20th century in America consist of asserting either that Men
are More Virtuous (crazy-conservatism) or that Women Are (loony-feminism.)
Both are nonsense.
3. Now look at your own behavior. Totally impressed with yourself?
Then look at your male friends. How about it? Dwell on these things, and
the fact that some women are totally backwards should not astound you quite
so much.
4. What is the solution? How to find a non-masochistic woman who will
talk about something non-trivial? I've never met anybody who thought they
had The Final Answer, even when they themselves were happy with their own
personal life. So one answer is that there is *no* Final Answer. You have
to work out the solution de novo in your own life. Frustrating, but
there's an awful lot of anecdotal experience to support that.
5. Another way to look at it is this: you may find that worthwhile
women become far easier to find--indeed, may go out of their way to find
*you*--when you have forgotten about "finding the right woman" and have
instead been spending some time systematically trying to get your *own*
life into a shape that you are deeply happy with. Efforts of that sort
seem to lead, in my observation, to the kind of quiet *earned self-respect*
that I mentioned in an earlier post.
6. I know (from experience) that when you are in the grip of
love-angst, getting this kind of Zen advice ("You will find the Woman of
Your Dreams by not seeking her, Grasshopper") is pretty exasperating.
Sorry about that. But if somebody has any *better* strategy, *I'd* sure be
interested to know what it is!

--Erich Schwarz
schwarze...@starbase1.caltech.edu

Ian Williams

unread,
Mar 6, 1994, 3:38:17 AM3/6/94
to
[twonkster's compelling essay deleted]

Matt, let's face it, the entire charade of being a single, compassionate
person trying to find another person to spend some Life with is a
demoralizing and unhappy journey that ends with a giant flash. It's so bad
that it is almost masochistic to compare yourself to others as they
attempt the same pathetic game; being jealous of your friend that
"ensnares pussy" with his waterbed is like being jealous of dogs becouse
you lack the freedom to eat your own poop. You are your *own man*, with
your own distinct passions, rages, smells, tastes, warmth and longings.
Thus, any experiences you observe outside your own sphere are
untranslatable to yourself.

There is no romantic advice worth pigeon shit on a pump handle. The only
way to find the right person is to:
1. Suffer through the breakup of that late-teen, early-twenties sweetie
that you thought you were going to marry
2. Spend the first part of your twenties dating people that are the right
people for you in the philosophically cerebral sense but do nothing for
your soul
3. Continue sleeping with these people from time to time just to keep your
Confuse-o-Quotient meter well into the red
4. Get nice and bitter so that you radiate "I suck" in emotional Morse code
5. Finally come to terms with yourself only when you realize you haven't
even *liked* somebody the good-old fashioned way in years
6. Keep waiting, noticing that by now, every single person you find
attractive is either psychotic or has a boyfriend/girlfriend who is a
*lot* stupider than you are
7. Wait
8. Wait
9. Wait
10. Just as you are about to give up on humanity in general and start
looking in College Encyclopedias for decent film schools, something happens.

Or whatever.
The point is, everybody is looking for something, and it's mostly a matter
of luck to find somebody that will tuck you in at night with a soft kiss
and a warm word to the ear. Nothing you can change about your basic
personality will make any difference, even assuming that's possible. Keep
plugging away and keep your eyes open - remember, as weird as your world
is, as many missteps and triumphs that you have taken to get where you are
now - wherever you are, someone else can end up there too.
That's what keeps me going.

-Ian

--
**********************************************************************
* The above does not represent OIT, UNC-CH, laUNChpad, or its other users. *
**********************************************************************

The Twonkster

unread,
Mar 6, 1994, 12:35:55 PM3/6/94
to
Ian, when we get to New Orleans, the beer's on me. We will consume as much
Dixie Blackened Voodoo lager as our respective systems can handle, and dance
till we pass out (with a little help from Steve, Kathleen, and the
Linguistic Dance Club of America). Heck, I'll even dance to Kajagoogoo.
:-)

-Matt,who's feeling much better, tho still a bit confused about life.....
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Matt Gourley, S.C.W. I "History is a nightmare from which I am
MMG...@psuvm.psu.edu I trying to awake." -Joyce, _Ulysses_
Chelsea Clinton Cabal I "I've been a miner for a Heart of Gold"
Legion of Dynamic Discord I -Neil Young, _Heart of Gold_

Kelly T. Conlon

unread,
Mar 6, 1994, 2:28:47 PM3/6/94
to
In article <94063.030...@psuvm.psu.edu> The Twonkster <MMG...@psuvm.psu.edu> writes:
>A smalll subject that's been coming up among my friends recently. I have
>wondered why this society places so much emphasis on material goods. I
>mean, it not only includes stuff like BMW's and car phones, but seeing
>*people* as objects to be bought, sold, acquired, and owned. Freind of mine
>has a $800 waterbed, $1200 stereo, $3000 worth of artwork, and a $700
>*lamp*. Reasoning for these objects: "To get the women." His room is a
>self-described "pussy trap" (apologies to the women-folk out there). All
>the women he goes out with are fairly attractive, but most of them don't
>have 2 brain cells to rub together. They too have been fooled into
>believing that they must be objects. I guess they want a man who will treat
>them as such...

If all you desire is get laid once in a while (or more than once in a
while), it is easy enough to surround yourself with a lot of doo-dads and
fancy trinkets to impress even the coldest of frosh-queens... that just
doesn't sound like YOU, Twonk.

I stopped giving a flying-fart about my room-mates sexual escapades and
misadventures years ago... a good philosophy of life is to mind one's own
business, because frankly life is too short to keep minding everyone else's
business for them. Don't let yourself get hung-up on BS like that!

>Me, on the other hand, I'm doing OK. I have a free bed, a boombox I bought
>in 1989 for $130, 4 posters worth probably $10 total, and a free lamp. The
>thing I have probably spent the most money on is my CD collection, but those
>were bought for my amusement and no-one elses (most women out there not
>being big Dead Milkmen fans :-)). My other high-end money item is books,
>again for my entertainment (my friend bought the $40 Hitchhikers hardbound
>trilogy. I have all 5 books in paperback). All these things satisfy me as
>much as my friend's items would. However, I don't understand how I cannot
>connect with any of the women I go out with. They are all fairly
>intellegent, wonderful women (maybe not as attractive as the women my friend
>goes out with, but that bothers me not at all), and all assure me that I am
>a real nice guy (I hate that term), but I am not what they are looking for.
>Do even the smart ones want to be treated like dirt, to be treated like
>cattle, to be bought and sold and owned? I realise this sounds a little
>like my "Relationship" thread from a while abck, but that's not all.

It sounds to me like you're trying to hard to look... a female friend of
mine told me that women have this 6th sense about men, that they can sense
someone who is a little too desparate. I believe it! I still have a hard
time explaining to other people how I got together with my current
girlfriend... it simply "happened". I also had this awful stereotype about
men that we are the sex that is the most afraid to commitment... It aint' so.
That stereotype was shattered several weeks ago. :( (Don't even ask me
about it, I am still recovering).

Like Jonathon Priluck said on another thread, let go of your rudder...
relax, spend some time alone, read, ride a bike, "change the path your
normally take to the library" (to quote a passage Life After God).
Discover what it is really like being you, and I personally guarrentee you
that someone else will begin to notice what you are really like.

>(I'm considering business, even tho it's against my nature, or going back to
>epidemiology, which bores the pants off of me), and doing something I'd like
>to do that won't pay squat, and that I'll have to take a McJob on the side
>to eat. I'd like to get an English degree, or maybe Philosophy, but where's
>the practicality? I'd like to do Computer Science, but I don't have the
>math skills. Maybe Linguistics....:-)
>
>Comments, criticisms, flames welcome. Let's hear it from y'all...

The worst mistake you could make is to get into something that will bore
your pants off. And who gives a f*ck about practicality? An education
isn't something you eat... I've know plenty of people who went into
engineering with the promise of getting a high-paying, exciting career in
the world of high technology. Trouble was, when they left school they were
so utterly boring, so poorly read and so adherent to the dogma they had
been force-fed throughout their degree program that no-one wanted to touch
them with a ten foot pole. Twonk, nobody wants to hire boring people!! I'm
not saying you shouldn't consider practicality... it's one of MANY
considerations. Just try to understand that cutting yourself off from the
subjects that you love because you don't think it will land you a job is a
SERIOUS MISTAKE. Take my word for it, i've seen how the educational System
de-humanizes it's students. Use this opportunity to find out what YOU are
really like... remove all vestiges of dogmatic and rigid thinking
drilled into your skull since kindergarten from your sphere of existence.


KTC


--
KT Conlon, Mat. Sci & Eng: "Cut the Word lines with scissors or switch :
McMaster University : blade as preferred... The Word lines keep you:
Hamilton, Ont. CANADA : in TIME..." WS Burroughs, "The Exterminator" :
RUB OUT THE WORD FOREVER OUT RUB THE FOREVER WORD THE FOREVER RUB THE OUT

Mark J. Lilback

unread,
Mar 6, 1994, 7:45:43 PM3/6/94
to
In article <2lb2a9$n...@inca.gate.net>,

Sean 'Captain Napalm' Conner <s...@inca.gate.net> wrote:
>
> And I never heard of anyone in high school winning a Varsity Letter (TM)
>by being able to calculate trigonometric problems without paper.

Two of my best friends from high school did. They both got their letters
for math team (and I got mine for debate.) Of course, the football
players got much nicer jackets than we did, but at least we got something.

> The thing to do is find a way to make money doing what you like doing. If
>you are good with computers (you did state you would like CS), then maybe
>you can charge an arm and a leg to teach techno-illiterate Boomers how to
>use their computers. I myself charge $30/hour for personal consultation to
>our customers of CyberGate (although I know people who charge more than I
>do, up to something like $80/hour for commercial consulting).

I've been doing the same thing. I've been getting $30/hr. to plug modems
in and configure ms word on a macintosh. Gheez, those boomers sure are
computer-idiots.

> And those that say you need math skills to do Computer Science is wrong.
>You can easily get by with general algerbra (and maybe not even that). If
>you get into the theorectical side of Computer Science, then yes, it does
>look like Greek, but for practical (okay, software engineering), the math is
>minimal.

I'm getting a CS secondary and the last math class I took was trig,
which was over four years ago in high school. I had some problems with a
few concepts in my assembly language class, but I got some math-oriented
friends to explain them to me. Don't worry about the math. If you have
any skill with computers, then math shouldn't give you a problem. If
people can be taking a class on assembly language programming
and not know how to turn a computer on, I'm sure you can swing it.


************************************************************************
* Mark J. Lilback ****** Internet Coordinator, WhoCares Magazine *
* mlil...@cec.org ****** A Journal of Service and Action *
* mlil...@seas.gwu.edu ****** whoc...@cec.org or AOL: WhoCares3 *
************************************************************************

Brian Upton

unread,
Mar 6, 1994, 10:31:35 PM3/6/94
to
In article <CM6M3...@world.std.com>,
jam...@world.std.com (Jonathan Priluck) writes:
|>
|> The iNventor
|>


Jonathan, your signature looks like it's two days into digesting a capybara.


--
+-----------------+------------------------+
| Brian Upton | "Elvis needs boats." |
| UNC Chapel Hill | -- Mojo Nixon |
+-----------------+------------------------+

Jonathan Priluck

unread,
Mar 7, 1994, 12:21:00 AM3/7/94
to
In article <2le76n...@borg.cs.unc.edu> up...@cs.unc.edu (Brian Upton) writes:
>In article <CM6M3...@world.std.com>,
>jam...@world.std.com (Jonathan Priluck) writes:
>|>
>|> The iNventor
>|>
>
>
>Jonathan, your signature looks like it's two days into digesting a capybara.
>

The nice thing about it is that you only have to feed it once a month.

Kathy Wienhold

unread,
Mar 7, 1994, 12:16:33 PM3/7/94
to
Kathleen Hubbard writes:
>
>But as for the ranking of material success, I can't even locate it on
>my scale, and I think many of my female friends are the same way.
>[snip] when I meet a man now, the last thing I wonder is how much

>money he has in his bank account or in his stereo rack. Maturity and
>comfort-with-self rates a lot higher.

Here we have three potential criteria for desirableness: material
success, maturity, and comfort-with-self. I wonder whether *any* of
these can be separated from judgments about class (the US' dirty,
little, unacknowledged problem), or indeed, whether *any* judgments
regarding people can be made independent of the respective classes of
the judge and the "judgee".

For instance, how much of one's perception of what constitutes
"maturity" is tied up in the values and point-of-view of one's class?
Consider your parents' definition of "maturity": is *that* what you're
looking for? Or, perhaps more importantly, what indicators do you use
to determine if someone is sufficiently "mature"? Are any of them
independent of class markers?

That said, I must admit that I find myself somewhat more ..., well,
careful about dating people outside my own "socio-economic class". (For
the record, I *do* do so; however, there is always a bit more effort
involved in such a relationship.) These kind of judgments are not about
materialism, but rather about the potential for misunderstanding. Think
about all those cultural cues that can be exchanged between college
chums or childhood friends (or even those "Gilligan, drop those
coconuts!" references that someone from another culture would have
trouble interpreting). Shared history (whether personal or cultural)
does take a *lot* of the work out of (at least) the initial stages of a
relationship.

Think about two groups of people:
A. A group of people who were raised in the same socio-
economic group (I really hate that phrase) as yourself; and,
B. A group of people from diverse backgrounds who are
currently in the same economic niche as yourself.
I, personally, think that there may be interesting people in both (and
real bores in both), but from my own observations, I think that people
will find more in common with the group A than group B (this is ignoring
the fact, of course, that rounding up a "group B" would be more
difficult, considering the way in which class contributes to determining
one's economic niche). Having at least *some* commonalities is
important in making a relationship work.

I'm not trying to say that materialism is really always just disguised
classism. I do think, however, that the role of class in dating/mating
is often overlooked.

[Tangentially, I read an article a while back hypothesizing that British
people have this obsession about talking about the weather with
strangers/new acquaintances so that they can hear other people speak,
and place their class by their accent. Whether it is true or not, I
can't say, but it makes an interesting hypothesis [anyone on the other
side of the Pond care to comment?]. Perhaps people in the US use
material possessions in the same way. I know that at least on one level
I do: I can usually tell whether a relationship is worth pursuing
beyond a first date by looking at the books in a potential SO's place;
for example, if there are *no* books, it's see-ya-later-charlie time.]

~kathy

HORNE_EUGNIA_LEE

unread,
Mar 7, 1994, 12:38:27 PM3/7/94
to
In article <16F6F9185S...@lmsc5.is.lmsc.lockheed.com>,

Tim Irvin <J05...@LMSC5.IS.LMSC.LOCKHEED.COM> wrote:
>In article <94063.030...@psuvm.psu.edu>
>The Twonkster <MMG...@psuvm.psu.edu> writes:

[Editing due to systems limitations...]

>>cattle, to be bought and sold and owned? I realise this sounds a little
>>like my "Relationship" thread from a while abck, but that's not all.
>

>Well, this is interesting. As much as many women complain that men look
>upon women as "sex symbols," the sad truth is that many women also look at
>men as *success* symbols. Much like the stereotypical man looks for
>breasts and butts and whatever else, the stereotypical woman looks at the
>prestige of a man's career, his earning potential and his possessions.

Is their something going around?. This topic is everywhere lately.
(Must be spring, I guess). Anyway, a possible theory which I have seen
put forth based on biological considerations is that the men are looking
for women who are physically healthy and will have healthy children,
while the women are seeking men who have the financial means to
support them and their children.

[Editing...]

>>not do it well, but most do. If I could be guarranteed a job at $25K after
>>graduation to teach, I would. My only reason for $25K is so I can pay off
>>the loans I know I will rack up before I leave college, and maybe put away
>>something toward my retirement. God knows Social Security won't be there.

See below for average teaching salaries.

[Editing...]

>
>I think the job market for math/science types in education is better than it
>is for most other areas, since it's hard to make a teaching job (which pays
>$25-$30K to start in this overproced area) look good when compared to a $35-
>$40K entry level job in private industry. Of course, there haven't been many
>entry-level jobs created lately...
>
>Besides, the only reason teacher salaries are relatively low is because many
>people are willing to do that work, with relatively few positions available.
>If people didn't want to teach, the supply of potential teachers would shrink
>and salaries would rise. Let's not forget about the summer vacation, either.
>We should be careful when comparing a 9.5-months-a-year job to a 12-months-
>per-year job.


Latest national average salaries reported for teachers:

Elementary - High School: $32,478
Professor - 2 Year College: $38,524
Professor - 4 Year College: $50,020

This was reported in a national educators magazine last month.

I have several professors boasting about earning
additional money doing consulting work during their off times.
These guys teaching salaries alone are $60,000 to $65,000.

An accounting degree, working 12 months a year is an average
of about $30,000 in a staff position. (i.e. not a manager
or CEO position - just a regular flunky. Starting salary was
about $18,000. Not everyone gets the legendary Big 8 (now 6)
position.)

Business positions are currently oversupplied. Teaching positions
in certain parts of the country are begging for qualified applicants.
About the student loans; there are currently programs that will
"forgive" part of the loan if the borrower actually takes a teaching
position and works in it for a certain amount of time.
--
-----------------------------------------------------------------
horn...@cwis.isu.edu
(Eugenia Horne) | The correct spelling.
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Jonathan Owen

unread,
Mar 7, 1994, 3:37:50 PM3/7/94
to
In article <CMB1B...@inmet.camb.inmet.com>, ka...@lumina.camb.inmet.com (Kathy Wienhold) writes:
|> ...Or, perhaps more importantly, what indicators do you use
|> to determine if someone is sufficiently "mature"? ...

I argue with them about something (politics, philosophy, movie, cooking, etc.).
If I can show them they're wrong and they can't change their minds about
it, then I doubt their maturity. It doesn't have to be anything earth-shattering,
just something that can be nailed down. It's not a particularly good test,
but I do it anyway...

What is maturity?

I think it includes the ability to apply logic and see from different viewpoints.
It often brings confidence and responsibility.

-Jon
--
Jonahood, Rice-ex, Owner of Cisco-the-yellow-wonder-lab, Breaker of Logs,
native to Tennessee, ex-MDC, ex-Noet, ex-MSC, ex-MechE, RoomDog,
Climber waiting impatiently for the season to change

The Twonkster

unread,
Mar 7, 1994, 3:44:25 PM3/7/94
to
In article <2lfoqj$j...@cwis.isu.edu>, horn...@cwis.isu.edu (HORNE_EUGNIA_LEE)
says:

>Latest national average salaries reported for teachers:
>
>Elementary - High School: $32,478
>Professor - 2 Year College: $38,524
>Professor - 4 Year College: $50,020
>
Yeah, but the key is *average*, not starting. Heck, some friends of mine are
starting at 32K out of college (note: some). If I got a degree in education,
I'll starve for the first 4 years out of college. I don't want to live with
my mom again, guys....:-)

-Matt

JIM...@nuacvm.acns.nwu.edu

unread,
Mar 7, 1994, 3:46:49 PM3/7/94
to
In article <1994Mar7.1...@hellgate.utah.edu>

jcowen%asylum.cs...@cs.utah.edu (Jonathan Owen) writes:

>|> ...Or, perhaps more importantly, what indicators do you use
>|> to determine if someone is sufficiently "mature"? ...
>
>I argue with them about something (politics, philosophy, movie, cooking, etc.).
>If I can show them they're wrong
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

What about if *you're* the one who's wrong? I mean, unless it's something
irrefutable like the area of a circle is pi*r(sqaured) and she said it was
2*pi*r, then who's to say you are correct? And if *you* don't change, does
the mean you're not mature?


>and they can't change their minds about it, then I doubt their maturity.
>It doesn't have to be anything earth-shattering,
>just something that can be nailed down. It's not a particularly good test,
>but I do it anyway...

I think if you're around someone for some time, you can guage things like how
mature he/she is and how mature you need them to be. But to test someone by
how easily the'll bend to your version of "right" doesn't seem very water-tight
to me.


>What is maturity?
>
>I think it includes the ability to apply logic and see from different viewpoints.
Well, logic is fine, but one doesn't necessarily have to be Mr. Spock to be
mature. Things like politics and religion and personal taste are beyond the
spectrum of maturity.


>It often brings confidence and responsibility.

I agree that responisble persons tend to be more mature. Confidence is
another matter.

Jim

Sean 'Captain Napalm' Conner

unread,
Mar 7, 1994, 9:30:48 PM3/7/94
to
In article <2ldtfn$a...@cronkite.seas.gwu.edu> mlil...@seas.gwu.edu (Mark J. Lilback) writes:
>In article <2lb2a9$n...@inca.gate.net>,
>Sean 'Captain Napalm' Conner <s...@inca.gate.net> wrote:
>>
>> And I never heard of anyone in high school winning a Varsity Letter (TM)
>>by being able to calculate trigonometric problems without paper.
>
>Two of my best friends from high school did. They both got their letters
>for math team (and I got mine for debate.) Of course, the football
>players got much nicer jackets than we did, but at least we got something.
>
Now I'm mad. Then I should have gotten one for three years of Drama, and
possibly half a year of Journalism. I'm still trying to forget the time I
was one the Speech/Debate team though.

>> The thing to do is find a way to make money doing what you like doing. If
>>you are good with computers (you did state you would like CS), then maybe
>>you can charge an arm and a leg to teach techno-illiterate Boomers how to
>>use their computers. I myself charge $30/hour for personal consultation to
>>our customers of CyberGate (although I know people who charge more than I
>>do, up to something like $80/hour for commercial consulting).
>
>I've been doing the same thing. I've been getting $30/hr. to plug modems
>in and configure ms word on a macintosh. Gheez, those boomers sure are
>computer-idiots.
>

I sometimes have to wonder if computer illiterate people can even THINK!
I've had people who write down verbatum everything I do. They write things
like:

to change into the mail directory: cd mail
to change into the news direcotry: cd News
to send a message to fred:
pine
c
fr...@foobar.com
subject
message
^X
y

to send a message to bob:
pine
c
b...@anywhere.us
subject
message
^X
y

And then come running to me when something doesn't work. Well no wonder!
Arrrrg! I hate "It's Carved In Stone" people like that.


>> And those that say you need math skills to do Computer Science is wrong.
>>You can easily get by with general algerbra (and maybe not even that). If
>>you get into the theorectical side of Computer Science, then yes, it does
>>look like Greek, but for practical (okay, software engineering), the math is
>>minimal.
>
>I'm getting a CS secondary and the last math class I took was trig,
>which was over four years ago in high school. I had some problems with a
>few concepts in my assembly language class, but I got some math-oriented
>friends to explain them to me. Don't worry about the math. If you have
>any skill with computers, then math shouldn't give you a problem. If
>people can be taking a class on assembly language programming
>and not know how to turn a computer on, I'm sure you can swing it.
>

If they're taking Assembly and they can't even turn a computer on, then
I'm sorry, I don't want them in the same state as my computer. I've seen
enough brain dead CS majors at FAU to really scare me. For instance, in a
third year course, "Unix Systems Programming", the instructor was going over
the memory map of a running process, where one of the students raised their
hand and asked "Where do the comments go?"

Now, I can understand that in a first year course, but THIRD YEAR?

Sorry if I come across as being a technological snob, but answering newbie
questions all day does that to me 8-)

-spc (Who, just once, would love to say RTFM to a user ... )

Jonathan Priluck

unread,
Mar 7, 1994, 9:49:51 PM3/7/94
to

Maturity: Its what happens to people as they get older :^) Its like
intelligence; I can't define it, so I ignore it. Same for maturity.

James E. Lee

unread,
Mar 8, 1994, 12:40:54 AM3/8/94
to
Erich Schwarz (schw...@starbase1.caltech.edu) wrote:
: In article <CM65H...@ucdavis.edu>, ez00...@hamlet.ucdavis.edu (James E.
: Lee) wrote:
: > Something that has been a problem for me is finding women who do not
: > run because I try to have a *real* conversation with them. Why is there
: > such an apparent need to go through so much non-conversation (bullshit
: > talk about stupid stuff neither person is interested in or cares anything
: > at all about) and gobbledygook just so that two people can feel comfortable
: > enough to talk?

: Yes, I saw manifestations of both of those phenomena in college and
: elsewhere.

: Some points to ponder:

: 1. You cannot judge a sex by its most conspicuously self-lacerating
: members.

Nor do I care to judge...

: 2. Women, as a group, are (IMO) *exactly* as lost, deluded, fallible,


: and vulnerable as men. No more. No less. The two Great Ideological Lies
: of the late 20th century in America consist of asserting either that Men
: are More Virtuous (crazy-conservatism) or that Women Are (loony-feminism.)
: Both are nonsense.

Quite true...

: 3. Now look at your own behavior. Totally impressed with yourself?

: Then look at your male friends. How about it? Dwell on these things, and
: the fact that some women are totally backwards should not astound you quite
: so much.

Actually, I hang out with some really great guys--they have a lot of
sensitivity, are intelligent, thoughtful, and treat people well.
Nonetheless, most of us find ourselves in this predicament.

: 4. What is the solution? How to find a non-masochistic woman who will
: talk about something non-trivial?

As far as I have seen, most people on here will realize that Erich is
asking this question with regard to "women" NOT because men like this
abound, or because women are the only gender like this, but because it is
what applies in this case. I just wanted to put in this disclaimer for
him because while I WILL NOT be Politically Correct, I have a high regard
for courtesy (which I developed LONG before being PC was in vogue, and
quite OUTSIDE the influence of that kind of thinking) and do not want
there to be any misunderstanding.

: I've never met anybody who thought they


: had The Final Answer, even when they themselves were happy with their own
: personal life. So one answer is that there is *no* Final Answer. You have
: to work out the solution de novo in your own life. Frustrating, but
: there's an awful lot of anecdotal experience to support that.

It's becoming an excercise in patience, but a good one...

: 5. Another way to look at it is this: you may find that worthwhile


: women become far easier to find--indeed, may go out of their way to find
: *you*--when you have forgotten about "finding the right woman" and have
: instead been spending some time systematically trying to get your *own*
: life into a shape that you are deeply happy with. Efforts of that sort
: seem to lead, in my observation, to the kind of quiet *earned self-respect*
: that I mentioned in an earlier post.

This is quite good advice, which I've been following as well as I can for
some time, yet it is difficult not to dwell on looking, (would that I
could!) even while focusing on myself--I seem to find ways to do both.

: 6. I know (from experience) that when you are in the grip of


: love-angst, getting this kind of Zen advice ("You will find the Woman of
: Your Dreams by not seeking her, Grasshopper") is pretty exasperating.
: Sorry about that. But if somebody has any *better* strategy, *I'd* sure be
: interested to know what it is!

Me too!

: --Erich Schwarz
: schwarze...@starbase1.caltech.edu

This is true. In fact, I have heard (and even given it myself) so many
variations of this (wonderful) advice (which I am nevertheless happy to
hear--it inspires hope) that I am thinking of changing my name to
Grasshopper! :)

--
J a m e s E. "Grasshopper" L e e
je...@othello.ucdavis.edu

James E. Lee

unread,
Mar 8, 1994, 1:43:23 AM3/8/94
to
Ian Williams (Ian.Wi...@launchpad.unc.edu) wrote:
: [twonkster's compelling essay deleted]

I might add:

9a. Wait
9b. Wait
9c. Wait

: 10. Just as you are about to give up on humanity in general and start
: looking in College Encyclopedias for decent film schools, something happens.

Is this when? Really? I can do that! :-)


: Or whatever.


: The point is, everybody is looking for something, and it's mostly a matter
: of luck to find somebody that will tuck you in at night with a soft kiss
: and a warm word to the ear. Nothing you can change about your basic
: personality will make any difference, even assuming that's possible. Keep
: plugging away and keep your eyes open - remember, as weird as your world
: is, as many missteps and triumphs that you have taken to get where you are
: now - wherever you are, someone else can end up there too.
: That's what keeps me going.

: -Ian

That was kuhl. (No BNB intended!)


--
J a m e s E. L e e
je...@othello.ucdavis.edu

Peter Dubuque

unread,
Mar 8, 1994, 7:14:57 AM3/8/94
to
s...@inca.gate.net (Sean 'Captain Napalm' Conner) writes:

> I sometimes have to wonder if computer illiterate people can even THINK!
>I've had people who write down verbatum everything I do. They write things
>like:

> to change into the mail directory: cd mail
> to change into the news direcotry: cd News
> to send a message to fred:
> pine
> c
> fr...@foobar.com
> subject
> message
> ^X
> y

> to send a message to bob:
> pine
> c
> b...@anywhere.us
> subject
> message
> ^X
> y

> And then come running to me when something doesn't work. Well no wonder!
>Arrrrg! I hate "It's Carved In Stone" people like that.

Argh. I hate 'em just as much. When they call me for help, I have to
get at some information on their computer. But just try asking these
people to look in a file for something, even when you tell them where to
find it. IT DOESN'T WORK. They can't figure it out. And it's
infuriating to have to dumb down my explanation to the level of "Do you
see either an icon or a window that says "Main"? Good. Now double-click
on the picture of the yellow file cabinet..." And even then you don't always
find out what you need, because the information they give you is
either wrong or completely useless--"I don't know, it just won't work". I
can't count the number of times I've had to tear myself away from
something I was doing to go out and solve a problem at a site, only to
find out that the person was doing something like repeatedly mistyping a
password. Unfortunately I don't get to charge 'em $50/hr either. I
can't help asking myself how these people are going to survive in our
economy 20 years from now--and then I realize, they'll probably be
management types. Whee.
--
_______________________________________________________________________

Peter F. Dubuque dub...@husc.harvard.edu
Everyone has some redeeming quality...their mortality, if nothing else.
_______________________________________________________________________

Sheilagh M.B.E. O'Hare

unread,
Mar 8, 1994, 3:24:59 PM3/8/94
to
In article <CM65H...@ucdavis.edu>,

James E. Lee <ez00...@hamlet.ucdavis.edu> wrote:
> Something that has been a problem for me is finding women who do not
>run because I try to have a *real* conversation with them. Why is there
>such an apparent need to go through so much non-conversation (bullshit
>talk about stupid stuff neither person is interested in or cares anything
>at all about) and gobbledygook just so that two people can feel comfortable
>enough to talk? I've been told I'm too intense (I tend to avoid
>meaninglessness and frivolity) but why should I have to put on a stupid act
>(which is not worth it, cuz it's not me) so that I can seem harmless, or
>whatever? Why are people so afraid to be real, or to have someone else
>get to know them for real?

Here's where I've been on this dilemna lately: two guys, fair minded &
willing to each go out with me & let the other go out with me and all
that time sharing stuff. This is a nice occurance to have happen, as I'd
like to be able to look back from any future monogamies and realize that
indeed there are ways to multiplicity sans horrendous jealousy.
The problem: One of these wondrous fellows in very much on my
level, catches things quick, understands some intrinsic sheilaghisms.
The other is sweet, devoted, and too often lost, when it comes to following
where I'm thinking.. "wish you were here"... the first is a forever friend,
and will likely never end up as my permanent other, the second would be
quite happy to be a permanent other, but It wouldnt work out in regards to
my sanity.
The solution? (sigh) live where I am, and hope that life eventually
takes me into other spheres where I can find someone who is complex enough
and who syncs with my world well enough.

It just sort of seems to go with the idea of scaring people off by being
too intense. I *need* friends who are that intense, wether I end up going
out with them, or not. Yet, finding a guy who would be that intense & not
a psychopath is a little tricky.. intensity often leads to those sorts of
self-beliefs that breed an ego like toledo; some is needed, but something
*beyond* that ego stage is even more necessary.

I feel alone, not lonely, in that the one who would stay couldn't keep my
mind up at that level I usually hover at, and the one who soars that way
all the time is on some other plane--can't connect. {sigh}

sheilagh, cursed in between two blessings.. two *other* women's future
blessings.

James E. Lee

unread,
Mar 8, 1994, 7:12:12 PM3/8/94
to
Sheilagh M.B.E. O'Hare (mar...@bashful.cc.utexas.edu) wrote:
: In article <CM65H...@ucdavis.edu>,

: James E. Lee <ez00...@hamlet.ucdavis.edu> wrote:
: > Something that has been a problem for me is finding women who do not
: >run because I try to have a *real* conversation with them. Why is there
: >such an apparent need to go through so much non-conversation (bullshit
: >talk about stupid stuff neither person is interested in or cares anything
: >at all about) and gobbledygook just so that two people can feel comfortable
: >enough to talk? I've been told I'm too intense (I tend to avoid
: >meaninglessness and frivolity) but why should I have to put on a stupid act
: >(which is not worth it, cuz it's not me) so that I can seem harmless, or
: >whatever? Why are people so afraid to be real, or to have someone else
: >get to know them for real?

: Here's where I've been on this dilemna lately: two guys, fair minded &
: willing to each go out with me & let the other go out with me and all
: that time sharing stuff. This is a nice occurance to have happen, as I'd
: like to be able to look back from any future monogamies and realize that
: indeed there are ways to multiplicity sans horrendous jealousy.

This _is_ kind of surprising, and pretty rare as far as I have seen...

: The problem: One of these wondrous fellows in very much on my


: level, catches things quick, understands some intrinsic sheilaghisms.
: The other is sweet, devoted, and too often lost, when it comes to following
: where I'm thinking.. "wish you were here"... the first is a forever friend,
: and will likely never end up as my permanent other, the second would be
: quite happy to be a permanent other, but It wouldnt work out in regards to
: my sanity.

That's too bad, but at least you have them BOTH. I would think that
could drive one insane after a long time, though.

: The solution? (sigh) live where I am, and hope that life eventually


: takes me into other spheres where I can find someone who is complex enough
: and who syncs with my world well enough.

You are really lucky to have what you do--be thankful for that at least...

: It just sort of seems to go with the idea of scaring people off by being


: too intense. I *need* friends who are that intense, wether I end up going
: out with them, or not. Yet, finding a guy who would be that intense & not
: a psychopath is a little tricky..

Yeah, I'm probably gonna go insane one of these days myself. ;)

: intensity often leads to those sorts of


: self-beliefs that breed an ego like toledo; some is needed, but something
: *beyond* that ego stage is even more necessary.

I don't know that it always leads to a humongous ego, (I know, you said
_often_) but what bothers me more than ego is the pretentiousness I have
seen in some people like this. I differentiate between them by thinking
of ego as overestimation of the self in a personal sense, and
pretentiousness as being caught up in, and having an attitude about _being_
intense, as if it were some elite club...

: I feel alone, not lonely, in that the one who would stay couldn't keep my


: mind up at that level I usually hover at, and the one who soars that way
: all the time is on some other plane--can't connect. {sigh}

Solitude is my new vocab mot du jour...

(Speaking of which, I just finished Gabriel Garcia Marquez' _One Hundred
Years of Solitude_ -- it was really kuhl! Now I want to read it in
Spanish--my sis gave me the English copy for Christmas, and I must say I
was quite impressed with the xlation--it was excellent! [Sorry, I lent it
to my dad, so I don't know who did it...)

: sheilagh, cursed in between two blessings.. two *other* women's future
: blessings.

It's at least kuhl to think that _someone_ will benefit from these
blessings--maybe someone else is currently entertaining your future soulmate!

The Concord Group

unread,
Mar 10, 1994, 1:54:04 AM3/10/94
to
Sean 'Captain Napalm' Conner (s...@inca.gate.net) wrote:

: -spc (Who, just once, would love to say RTFM to a user ... )

All my fellow salespeople are totally computer brain dead. As another
salesdroid, I'm suppose to be out there pushing the product, and not
support my peers. So, occasionally, I turn down there requests ("The
boss said I can't help you") and hand them the user manuals (I'm the one
who reads them, so I keep'em at my desk). Feels good after years of tech
support jobs.

- Ray

Yet to say RTFM in full to somebody

Wendi Dunlap

unread,
Mar 10, 1994, 3:32:49 AM3/10/94
to
dub...@husc7.harvard.edu (Peter Dubuque) writes:

>Argh. I hate 'em just as much. When they call me for help, I have to
>get at some information on their computer. But just try asking these
>people to look in a file for something, even when you tell them where to
>find it. IT DOESN'T WORK. They can't figure it out. And it's
>infuriating to have to dumb down my explanation to the level of "Do you
>see either an icon or a window that says "Main"? Good. Now double-click
>on the picture of the yellow file cabinet..." And even then you don't always
>find out what you need, because the information they give you is
>either wrong or completely useless--"I don't know, it just won't work".

Hey, don't get me started. I used to work at Aldus, doing FreeHand and
PageMaker tech support via telephone, modem, and letter, and you would
*not* believe the extent of stupidity among software users.
"What's a folder?" "How do I select something?" "You mean I'm
supposed to back up my files occasionally?" AAAAUUUUUUGGGHH!

There, I feel a bit better now.

litl...@hebron.connected.com

Ann Vanderstoep

unread,
Mar 10, 1994, 8:22:07 PM3/10/94
to
In article <2limur$3...@bashful.cc.utexas.edu>,

Sheilagh M.B.E. O'Hare <mar...@bashful.cc.utexas.edu> wrote:
>In article <CM65H...@ucdavis.edu>,
>James E. Lee <ez00...@hamlet.ucdavis.edu> wrote:
>> Something that has been a problem for me is finding women who do not
>>run because I try to have a *real* conversation with them. Why is there
>>such an apparent need to go through so much non-conversation (bullshit
>>talk about stupid stuff neither person is interested in or cares anything
>>at all about) and gobbledygook just so that two people can feel comfortable
>>enough to talk? I've been told I'm too intense (I tend to avoid
>>meaninglessness and frivolity) but why should I have to put on a stupid act
>>(which is not worth it, cuz it's not me) so that I can seem harmless, or
>>whatever? Why are people so afraid to be real, or to have someone else
>>get to know them for real?

I don't quite know, and I find it interesting that you, being male,
should bring that up. I have had this problem with a number of people
over time (thought not necessarily romantic involvements). A lot of
people don't like frankness or honesty. I think a lot of people are
brought up to not express thier true emotions, thoughts & feelings, and
it can really throw them off guard when someone does.

But I especially think this is true of women. If a woman speaks her
mind, she can so easily be labeled a bitch, a feminist, or some other
term intended to be insulting. I have been called "intimidating" on more
than one occasion,and I wonder if a man who said the same things would be
perceived as simply self confident and intelligent. Men, especially,
have called me intimidating.

So, I am a bit surprised that you have found this to be the case when
dealing with women.(and unfortunate as well)

- Jennifer

Holly Sommer

unread,
Mar 11, 1994, 12:30:04 AM3/11/94
to
In article <2lmlvh$8...@news.u.washington.edu>,
Wendi Dunlap <litl...@u.washington.edu> wrote:
>[snip]

>Hey, don't get me started. I used to work at Aldus, doing FreeHand and
>PageMaker tech support via telephone, modem, and letter, and you would
>*not* believe the extent of stupidity among software users.
>"What's a folder?" "How do I select something?" "You mean I'm
>supposed to back up my files occasionally?" AAAAUUUUUUGGGHH!
>
>There, I feel a bit better now.
>
>litl...@hebron.connected.com


Tell me about it! I 'm the department head of computer services at
kinko's here in Fayetteville, AR. We have 3 "self-serve" LCIIIs there...
needless to say, I spend as much time answering questions for the people
stiing themselves down there as I do in production on jobs that were
actually left with us for us to do.

Does this sound familiar: Someone did my resume for me in something a
year ago. Can you fix it?

Well, what program ("application" scares the uninformed) did they use?

I dunno.

Do you have the disk?

No.

...

Sheesh, not only am I supposed to teach them Freehand, Photoshop and
PageMaker RIGHT NOW!!, but I'm also supposed to read minds on the fly.
:/

As if that weren't enough, my name must be on the walls in
cyberbathrooms, because I serve as tech support for too many people.
Calls at home at 3 am from someone who knows someone, etc. about how come
I can't print, even though I can see it (buried window or on desktop)?

BLAAAAAAAAAAAAGH...ahem...

I feel better now, too.

A perpetual support line in need of a break,
Holly Sommer

-----------------------------------
"Collectors merely recognize...
experts recognize and utilize,
even that which they do not
recognize." --HS 10.3.94
___________________________________

Sean 'Captain Napalm' Conner

unread,
Mar 11, 1994, 2:43:14 AM3/11/94
to
In article <2lmlvh$8...@news.u.washington.edu> litl...@u.washington.edu (Wendi Dunlap) writes:
>dub...@husc7.harvard.edu (Peter Dubuque) writes:
>
[ Peter and Wendi's computer horror stories deleted to save bandwith for the
following message ]

Came across this in another newsgroups (which itself was posted from yet
another newsgroup to alt.folklore.computers).

-spc (Who is support (uhg!) at CyberGate, as well as the Sysadmin ... )

From: tbs...@cpre1.ee.iastate.edu (Terry B. Smith)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: blindly ignorant computer users

This is a re-post from a local newsgroup - VERY appropriate !)

The following is an article I found in the Wall Street Journal (3-1-94).
I found it rather humorous.

(any typos are not my fault - I scanned it in)
-------------------------------------------------------------

Befuddled PC Users Flood Help Lines,
And No Question Seems to Be Too Basic

By Jim Carlton
Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal
AUSTIN, Texas - The exasperated help-line caller said she couldn't get
her new Dell computer to turn on. Jay Alblinger, a Dell Computer Corp.
technician, made sure the computer was plugged in and then asked the woman
what happened when she pushed the power button.
"I've pushed and pushed on this foot pedal and nothing happens," the
woman replied. "Foot pedal?" the technician asked. "Yes," the woman said,
"this little white foot pedal with the on switch." The "foot pedal," it
turned out, was the computer's mouse, a hand-operated device that helps to
control the computer's operations.
Personal-computer makers are discovering that it's still a low-tech
world out there. While they are finally having great success selling PCs to
households, they now have to deal with people to whom monitors and disk
drives are as foreign as another language.
"It is rather mystifying to get this nice, beautiful machine and not
know anything about it," says Ed Shuler, a technician who helps field
consumer calls at Dell's headquarters here. "It's going into unfamiliar
territory," adds Gus Kolias, vice president of customer service and
training for Compaq Computer Corp. "People are looking for a comfort
level."
Only two years ago, most calls to PC help lines came from techies
needing help on complex problems. But now, with computer sales to homes
exploding as new "multimedia" functions gain mass appeal, PC makers say
that as many as [70% - unsure of accuracy of number due to scanning] of
their calls come from rank novices. Partly because of the volume of calls,
some computer companies have started charging help-line users.
The questions are often so basic that they could have been answered by
opening the manual that comes with every machine. One woman called Dell's
toll-free line to ask how to install batteries in her laptop. When told
that the directions were on the first page of the manual, says Steve Smith,
Dell's director of technical support, the woman replied angrily, "I just
paid $2,000 for this damn thing, and I'm not going to read a book."
Indeed, it seems that these buyers rarely refer to a manual when a phone
is at hand. "If there is a book and a phone and they're side by side, the
phone wins time after time," says Craig McQuilkin, manager of service
marketing for AST Research Inc. In Irvine, Calif. "It's a phenomenon of
people wanting to talk to people." And do they ever. Compaq's help
center In Houston, Texas, is inundated with some 8,000 consumer calls a
day, with inquiries like this one related by technician John Wolf: "A
frustrated customer called, who said her brand new Contura would not work.
She said she had unpacked the unit, plugged it in, opened it up and sat
there for 20 minutes waiting for something to happen. When asked what
happened when she pressed the power switch, she asked, `What power
switch?'"
Seemingly simple computer features baffle some users. So many people
have called to ask where the "any" key is when "Press Any Key" flashes on
the screen that Compaq is considering changing the command to "Press Return
Key."
Some people can't figure out the mouse. Tamra Engle, an AST technical
support supervisor, says one customer complained that her mouse was hard to
control with the "dust cover" on. The cover turned out to be the plastic
bag the mouse was packaged in. Dell technician Wayne Zieschang says one of
his customers held the mouse and pointed it at the screen, all the while
clicking madly. The customer got no response because the mouse works only
if it's moved over a flat surface.
Disk drives are another bugaboo. Campaq technician Brent Sullivan says a
customer was having trouble reading word-processing files from his old
diskettes. After troubleshooting for magnets and heat failed to diagnose
the problem, Mr. Sullivan asked what else was being done with the diskette.
The customer's response: "I put a label on the diskette, roll it into the
typewriter. . ."
At AST, another customer dutifully complied with a technician's request
that she send in a copy of a defective floppy disk. A letter from the
customer arrived a few days later, along with a Xerox copy of the floppy.
And at Dell, a technician advised a customer to put his troubled floppy
back in the drive and "close the door." Asking the technician to "hold on,"
the customer put the phone down and was heard walking over to shut the door
to his room. The technician meant the door to his floppy drive.
The software inside the computer can be equally befuddling. A Dell
customer called to say he couldn't get his computer to lax anything. After
40 minutes of troubleshooting, the technician discovered the man was trying
to fax a piece of paper by holding it in front of the monitor screen and
hitting the "send" key.
Another Dell customer needed help setting up a new program, so Dell
technician Gary Rock referred him to the local Egghead. "Yeah, I got me a
couple of friends," the customer replied. When told Egghead was a software
store, the man said, "oh! I thought you meant for me to find a couple of
geeks."
Not realizing how fragile computers can be, some people end up damaging
parts beyond repair. A Dell customer called to complain that his keyboard
no longer worked. He had cleaned it, he said, filling up his tub with soap
and water and soaking the keyboard for a day, and then removing all the
keys and washing them individually.
Computers make some people paranoid. A Dell technician, Morgan Vergara,
says he once calmed a man who became enraged because "his computer had told
him he was bad and an invalid." Mr. Vergara patiently explained that the
computer's "bad command" and "invalid" responses shouldn't be taken
personally.
These days PC-help technicians increasingly find themselves taking on
the role of amateur psychologists. Mr. Shuler, the Dell technician, who
once worked as a psychiatric nurse, says he defused a potential domestic
fight by soothingly talking a man through a computer problem after the man
had screamed threats at his wife and children in the background.
There are also the lonely hearts who seek out human contact, even if it
happens to be a computer techie. One man from New Hampshire calls Dell
every time he experiences a life crisis. He gets a technician to walk him
through some contrived problem with his computer, apparently feeling
uplifted by the process.
"A lot of people want reassurance," says Mr. Shuler.

--

cole...@iastate.edu

Greg Wesson

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Mar 11, 1994, 10:46:23 AM3/11/94
to
[ Posts by Sean, Peter and Emily deleted for ease of reading ]

Had a couple good ones yesterday.

First, a user called, and said she wanted to set up some directories. When I
started to tell her how to do it, she said "Can't you just log into my account
and do it for me?" Not likely.

The second call started with the user saying "I called earlier, but was put on
hold, and then I tried calling someone else, but I haven't heard back from
them, so now I'm trying you guys again." All this was said in a snarky and
angry voice. I could tell this call was not off to a good start.

Sometimes I feel like a punching bag. People are upset because something
doesn't work, so they phone a helpline to vent steam. I'm sure it makes them
feel better, but it makes me feel like crap. But then again, it's better then
being a designer, and having to put up with deadlines, and massive overtime,
and all the damn process hell that designers are put through.

Greg
--
+ -- Gregory J. Wesson (lanp...@bnr.ca). + -- + Phone Esn 393-9193 -- +
The opinions in this post are mine, and do not reflect those of BNR.
Quote : "I'm old. Gimme, gimme"
- Abraham Simpson, at the Social Security Office

Ann Vanderstoep

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Mar 11, 1994, 5:46:39 PM3/11/94
to
In article <2lgo0o$1g...@inca.gate.net>,

Sean 'Captain Napalm' Conner <s...@inca.gate.net> wrote:
>In article <2ldtfn$a...@cronkite.seas.gwu.edu> mlil...@seas.gwu.edu (Mark J. Lilback) writes:
>>In article <2lb2a9$n...@inca.gate.net>,
>>Sean 'Captain Napalm' Conner <s...@inca.gate.net> wrote:
>>>
>>> And I never heard of anyone in high school winning a Varsity Letter (TM)
>>>by being able to calculate trigonometric problems without paper.
>>
>>Two of my best friends from high school did. They both got their letters
>>for math team (and I got mine for debate.) Of course, the football
>>players got much nicer jackets than we did, but at least we got something.
>>
> Now I'm mad. Then I should have gotten one for three years of Drama, and
>possibly half a year of Journalism. I'm still trying to forget the time I
>was one the Speech/Debate team though.

A bunch of students at my HS got together and ordered varsity jackets for
the "Hunter Skydiving Team" complete with parachutes on the back. They
were very cool. Some freinds of mine & I found a great cow logo in the
catalog & wanted to order "Hunter Cow Tipping Team" jackets but it never
got past the positions phase (thinking up positions like "hindquarter").
I was pretty bummed as I wanted one of these jackets!

- Jennifer

Joel Irby

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Mar 11, 1994, 7:41:03 PM3/11/94
to
In article 64...@bcarh54a.bnr.ca, lanp...@bcarh17c.bnr.ca (Greg Wesson) writes:
> Had a couple good ones yesterday.
>
> First, a user called, and said she wanted to set up some directories. When I
> started to tell her how to do it, she said "Can't you just log into my account
> and do it for me?" Not likely.

Hey, wow! I worked in User Support for BNR in Richardson, Texas back in
1989-91. Small world, eh? Now I'm working in test engineering at TI in
Houston after finishing grad-school (ugh...)

My favorite help-line story was spending 30 minutes going through a checklist
of problems with sombody's workstation only to walk over later and find out
IT WORKS BETTER PLUGGED IN (*%#!!!) Actually, it was the network connection,
but even so, what a klutz...

My favorite part was helping people deal with the intuitive Mac interface.
Some command-line happy engineers had more trouble than the sexy-but-savvy
secretaries (please: no feminist-flames, I just said that for the alliteration
;-)

> The second call started with the user saying "I called earlier, but was put on
> hold, and then I tried calling someone else, but I haven't heard back from
> them, so now I'm trying you guys again." All this was said in a snarky and
> angry voice. I could tell this call was not off to a good start.
>
> Sometimes I feel like a punching bag. People are upset because something
> doesn't work, so they phone a helpline to vent steam. I'm sure it makes them
> feel better, but it makes me feel like crap. But then again, it's better then
> being a designer, and having to put up with deadlines, and massive overtime,
> and all the damn process hell that designers are put through.

Yeah, I know what you mean about the punching bag feeling. The best part for
me was that it was just a summer job, and I made nice $$$ for a kid in college.
I thought BNR was a pretty good place to work, pressure-wise, but then I wasn't
in a high-pressure group, either.

> Greg
> --
> + -- Gregory J. Wesson (lanp...@bnr.ca). + -- + Phone Esn 393-9193 -- +
> The opinions in this post are mine, and do not reflect those of BNR.
> Quote : "I'm old. Gimme, gimme"
> - Abraham Simpson, at the Social Security Office


--Joel (ji...@video.sc.ti.com)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Spent four years prostrate to the Higher Mind,
Got my paper and I was free..." ---Indigo Girls (Closer to Fine)

steven r kleinedler

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Mar 11, 1994, 10:11:29 PM3/11/94