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How do you plan on being certified during the next six months?
LIFE (TM) 33%
Involuntary Treatment 46%

Votes: 30

 LIFE? Is What You Make Of It

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Feb 14, 2002
[editor's note, by Peter Johnson] The poets, artists, financiers and philosopher kings (of either gender) who make up the editorial staff of and comprise its most valued users are often accused of failing to contribute to the technical community that has made them so very wealthy, universally respected and critically acclaimed. Like all of our detractors, the individuals who make these claims are completely and utterly wrong.  We at are tireless in our efforts to enlighten and elevate the pathetic computer geeks whose labor we have employed in gaining our present status as captains of industry.

Thus it is with great pride that we introduce our latest triumph of philanthropy, a certification designed to improve the lot of the average IT professional.  While some might argue that this is not true philanthropy, as we will undoubtedly profit handsomely from the sale of training materials and exam fees, we are certain that once you see the benefits to be realized by obtaining this certification you will dismiss any such arguments as being truly absurd.


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Crazy, Like Me
The value of technical certification is undeniable.  Certifications validate your skills and areas of competency for prospective employers. Once you've successfully completed the training you need, you must have a way to prove your newly minted expertise.  The process of certification provides you with a set of credentials that are recognized worldwide.  Wherever you go, certifications by companies like Microsoft, Oracle and Sun are recognized and accepted.

Certifications enhance your personal economic potency.  In recent years it has been widely reported that certified computer industry professionals make 20% more on average than non-certified professionals who possess an identical skills set.  If you have the knowledge, capabilities and aptitude, why not ensure that you're eligible for the highest level of compensation possible?

Record numbers of technical professionals are pursuing certification to become more competitive in an ever-shrinking high tech job market. Even though the number of certified technical professionals has grown exponentially, the demand has grown at least as fast as, if not faster than, the number of genuinely certifiable people.

Whether you are just getting started or are ready to move ahead in the computer industry, the knowledge and skills you develop are your most valuable assets. Enhancing your technical expertise and skills resources should be an ongoing component of your career plan -- think of it as an insurance policy that will enable you to thrive regardless of economic fluctuations that may occur.

In keeping with the demand for new ways to demonstrate one's professional growth within the IT industry, it is with great pride that unveils a revolutionary certification tract with an astonishingly high degree of value: The LIFE Infrastructure Fundamentals EngineeringTM certification for technical professionals.

LIFETM is a different kind of professional certification. While other certifications attempt to enhance your expertise with regard to the technical aspects of your job, becoming LIFETM certified will enhance all of your waking hours.  Even after you leave work in the evening or if, heaven forbid, you should actually lose your job, LIFETM certification will continue to work for you.  In today's ever-changing high tech marketplace, the versatile skills set we will impart through our comprehensive training program will ensure that the benefits of getting a LIFETM are truly never-ending.

LIFETM is hard. Pursuing your LIFETM certification is a serious challenge.  The exams cover a wide range of topics that require dedicated study and a conscious effort to develop expertise.  The vast majority of those who have successfully achieved other computer industry credentials will likely experience difficulty in attaining the status of becoming LIFETM-certified. Indeed, one's ability to obtain LIFETM certification often seems inversely proportional to the number of previous certifications one has attained.  If getting a LIFETM were easier, the market would quickly be flooded and the certification would become meaningless.  In recognition of this fact, steps have been taken to ensure that the LIFETM certification means its holder is truly knowledgeable and skilled -- that he or she is, in fact, worthy of having a LIFETM.

LIFETM is worthwhile. The benefits of becoming LIFETM certified are numerous, perhaps even exponential! Your skin will begin synthesizing vitamin D, you'll have sex more often and with more desirable partners, you'll look better and feel better, you'll have more energy and enthusiasm, people will stop avoiding you and may even begin to seek out your company for non-work-related contact, your boss will stop calling you "Stinky, the pudgy server-monkey," and may even feel compelled to give you a raise! There's no telling just what you might achieve if you were to get a LIFETM.

Are you qualified to have a LIFETM?

To become LIFETM certified, you must pass rigorous exams covering four core requirements and three additional elective categories demonstrating enhanced specialization as outlined below.

Core Personal Exams (two required)
Candidates must pass two exams relating to the care and maintenance of one's own physical form.
Exam Description
18 - 0013 Hygiene Essentials
Measures the candidate's required competencies in the following areas:
  • Bathing
  • Dental care
  • Proper application and use of Deodorant and Fragrance
  • Shaving
  • Hair Care
18 - 0021 Selecting, Purchasing and Wearing Appropriate Apparel
Measures the candidate's learned capabilities in the following areas:
  • Basic color coordination
  • Formal attire
  • Business attire
  • Business casual attire
  • Casual attire
  • Correctly discerning those occasions when Think Geek T-Shirts are not appropriate
18 - 0028 Personal Firmware Maintenance
Measures the candidate's achievements in the following areas:
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Proper posture fundamentals
  • Skin care essentials

Core Interpersonal Exams (two required)
Candidates must pass two exams relating to interacting and conversing with others.
Exam Description
18 - 0003 Distributed Interest Processing Outside The Enterprise
Candidates must demonstrate the ability to care about subjects other than Star Trek or variations thereof.
18 - 0025 Interface Capability Enhancement
Measures the candidate's acumen in the following areas:
  • Listening
  • Development and maintenance of new acquaintances
  • Basic standardized social protocols
  • Elementary conversation skills
  • Basic tenants of respect for non-programmers and their opinions
18 - 0028 Topical Conversation Protocol / Interpersonal Protocol
Measures the candidate's familiarity with the following elements of the TCP/IP protocol family:
  • SMTP, the Selection of Message Topics Protocol.  How to select a topic for conversation that all parties are interested in.  Supersedes the Talk About The Superiority Of Unix Until You're Standing By Yourself In The Middle Of An Empty Room Protocol (POSIX), which is now deprecated.
  • ICMP, the Introductions and Conversations for Meeting Protocol. How to make the acquaintance of new people and finding out more about them.
  • SMNP, the Simple Mating Nuances Protocol.  Displays and procedures traditionally required before asking someone to have sex with you.  More complicated and time-consuming than the Walking Up To Strangers And Saying "Hey Baby, Wanna Fuck?" (W8F) protocol, but proven to be less risky and more effective.
  • ARP, the Appropriate Respect Protocol.  How to treat others with the due deference and respect they deserve.

Elective Exams (Three required)
Candidates must pass three elective exams from the table below, demonstrating core competencies with regard to the care and maintenance one's own mind and soul.
Exam Description
18 - 0041 Personal Appearance: GUI Configuration and Peripheral Enhancements
This is a follow-up to Exam 18 - 0021 and measures the candidate's ability to recognize common faux pas and points of failure including, but not limited to:
  • Overdressing
  • Wearing a tie without a jacket
  • Wearing a belt with a suit
  • Sub-optimal sock selection
18 - 0046 Designing and Implementing a Joke Using Humor
Measures the candidate's skill in the following areas:
  • Refraining from laughing at one's own jokes
  • Straight lines
  • Punch lines
  • Reading an audience
  • Timing
  • Delivery
  • Successfully feigning an understanding of and seemingly sincere appreciation for jokes presented by others
18 - 0054 Multifunctional Values Recognition
 This is a follow-up to Exam 18 - 0003 and evaluates the candidate's abilities in the following core competencies:
  • Appropriate recognition of others' non-technical beliefs, feelings and values
  • Selection of appropriate non-technical hobbies and interests
  • Appreciation of artistic and literary modes of expression
  • Basic interpretation of celebratory events (e.g., holidays) in addition to "Pay Day"
  • Recognition of religious philosophies as alternatives to technology worship
18 - 0058 Workplace Social Functions Survival Essentials
Measures the candidate's skill in the following areas:
  • Small talk
  • Tact
  • Drinking without getting drunk, behaving sub-optimally or leaving the remnants of a technicolor yawn on your employer's resources
  • Networking
  • Point-scoring
18 - 0063 Advanced Social and Political Theory Design
Measures the candidate's ability to think without the aid of Ayn Rand with particular focus in the following areas:
  • Altruism
  • Fairness
  • Morality
  • Reality (including conceptual recognition that abandoning the philosophies of Mr. Ayn Rand will not result in transmogrifying instantly into a sea turtle)
18 - 0066 Mutual Gratification in a Pair Environment
Measures the candidate's skill in the following areas:
  • Kissing
  • Touching
  • Fondling with finesse
  • Licking
  • Staying Power
  • Correct discernment of occasions when a joystick is not a required peripheral device
18 - 0072 Implementing and Supporting a Meaningful Exchange
Measures the candidate's acumen with regard to:
  • Greeting and handshake protocols
  • Facial GUI configuration and interpretation
  • Conversational exchange in a layered hierarchical setting
  • Appropriate closing of communications sessions
18 - 0077 Implementing and Supporting a Relationship Using Interpersonal Interaction Strategies (IIS)
Measures the candidate's core competencies with regard to the following stratagems:
  • Attention to needs and wants
  • Giving as much as you get
  • Doing the little things just because (logic be damned!)
  • Understanding and adjusting to differences in communication styles
  • Appropriate displays of emotion beyond sullenness, tantrums and emoticons
18 - 0081 Appropriate Application of Comprehensive Computer Gaming Skills to Real Life
Measures the candidate's aptitude with regard to:
  • Appropriate planning and implementation protocols
  • Practical and acceptable development of solutions to real problems
  • Motivational techniques for success in non-fantasy scenarios
  • Alternative approaches for those occasions when a 10-sided dice is not present
18 - 0093 Avoiding Overcompensation in an Insecure Environment
Measures the candidate's ability to recognize that none of the following have any relation to his penis size:
  • Operating system of choice
  • Processor speed
  • Number of gadgets on belt
  • Programming languages
  • Beard/hair length

LIFE Certification FAQ

Q:  How do I sign up for LIFETM certification training and exams?

A:  Contact your training representative for course pricing and schedule information. Serious inquiries only, please.

Q:  It appears that the LIFETM certification is targeted exclusively to male technology professionals; is this an accurate perception?

A:  In a word:  Yes.  While it is recognized that there are, in fact, a select few women holding positions of professional responsibility in the high tech industry, discovered that regular bathing, socialization capability and snazzy dressing skills are generally displayed amongst female information technology professionals to a sufficient degree of accomplishment.  As a result, this adequately-skilled population is decidedly a poor target market for LIFETM certification.'s exhaustive research of the potential female market did reveal, however, that a separate certification tract should be developed in the future to address the complex, varied and specific issues faced by female professionals in the high tech marketplace.  Reaction to the beta test of Exam 21-0018:  Designing and Implementing a Discouragement Strategy Utilizing Pepper Spray has been overwhelmingly positive and we hope to synergistically productise this proactive strategy in a win-win scenario.

Q:  Are there self-study options available or are candidates required to attend's LIFETM certification training program?

A:  While attendance at's training and preparation sessions is not required in order to sit for an exam, we believe that our dedicated, professional staff, certified training materials and patented electro-feedback educational/disciplinary technology is the best method of preparing for the exams.  Additionally, while self-study is not prohibited, potential LIFETM candidates should realize that much of the material covered by the exams requires group interaction.  Finally, it should be noted that course materials are not now and will never be made available in any virtual format.

Q:  Will I be required to go outside to get my LIFETM certification?

A:  Yes, in fact leaving your apartment and/or your corporate turf is one of the core requirements for LIFETM Certification.

Q:  Are you sure that's safe? After all, "Where the warg howls, the orc prowls."

A:  Perhaps LIFETM certification isn't for you.

Q:  Will moving beyond my technically-obsessed geek identity by attaining my LIFETM certification reduce me to being nothing more than a nerd?

A:  Nerds are individuals lacking in sociality.  Geeks are deficient in mainstream social skills.  Nerds are less disturbed by their inferior social qualities; they are so consumed by their own particular subject of interest that they care not what the world thinks of them.  Simply put, nerds are more fanatical.  Geeks are social with others of their own kind and quite often would like to have use of the social skills beyond their limited capabilities, but far too frequently find themselves unable to do so.  The core competencies of the LIFETM certification have been specifically designed to address these deficits, fundamentally expanding the geek's repertoire of capabilities beyond anything that could remotely be described as "nerdish."

Q:  Won't LIFETM certification make me associate with lusers and lamers and other people ESR assures me are inferior?

A:  Yes, but please realize that, in the grand scheme of things, this remains infinitely preferable to associating with ESR himself.

Q:  Why is LIFETM certification of value to me as a technical professional?

A: The most important objective of LIFETM certification is to empower you to enhance certain aspects of your wetware which may have been neglected, underutilized or inadvertently stunted during your pursuit of a high tech career.  Many in the geek subculture view this prospect with dismay, erroneously equating being a non-geek with being normal.  Normal people watch football on Sunday.  They have minivans full of kids who get dragged off to soccer practice or ballet lessons with annoyingly repetitive regularity.  They watch stuff like The Bridges of Madison County on videotape.  However, as accomplished, driven, High-IQ individuals (i.e., geeks), it is essential that you realize exactly how staying locked into one narrow subculture exclusively is analogous to having an über-chubby multi-processor machine and crippling it with Windows ME.  Everyone should be able to fit into multiple subcultures and social situations -- getting a LIFETM will give you the skills you need to make that crucial evolutionary leap as an individual working in the high tech industry.

Q:  Will my LIFETM certification ever become obsolete?

A:  No, however, additional electives will be developed and offered to enhance your skills set on an ongoing basis.  To best demonstrate the principle of continued value enhancement in an easily understood framework, we offer the following paradigm:

The benefits of a LIFETM certification are comprehensive.  The expertise you develop during your pursuit of this valuable credential will serve as an asset not only in regard to your employment objectives and experience, but also after you leave your place of employment at the end of the day and even after you've moved beyond your career in the technology industry.  When considered from this perspective, it can be said that the benefits accrued while pursuing your LIFETM certification are truly cumulative and enduring.

Q:  Will LIFETM certification help me score with 1337 chiX0rz?

A:  No, we're afraid there's no hope for you, really.  However, LIFETM certification has been empirically demonstrated to benefit persons other than you in this regard.

If you have any further questions or would like additional information about this exciting opportunity, please contact your official certification representative or her highly capable personal assistant (a recently-certified LIFETM Engineer).

We are certain that, like the dozens who successfully attained LIFETM certification during our beta period, you will find LIFETM certification rewarding and valuable.  We've done the hard work of providing a framework for your success, but the final step is up to you.  Good luck and remember:

Be Not So Busy Making a Living That You Forget To Get a LIFETM!


I object. (none / 0) (#8)
by tkatchev on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 01:07:38 AM PST
I object to the implicit acceptance of adultery throughout your article.

Get rid of the perversity component, and you'll have something worthwhile here.

P.S. "Mr. Ayn Rand"?

Peace and much love...

Ayn Rand (5.00 / 2) (#25)
by hauntedattics on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 12:43:18 PM PST
What, she wasn't a man?

no, you're thinking of tonya harding [N/T] (none / 0) (#54)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Feb 15th, 2002 at 10:20:31 AM PST

A little improvement (none / 0) (#9)
by Juan Fernandez on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 04:16:22 AM PST
This is really good stuff, but i think you missed an small detail:
zealots' skins are packed with tatoos (mainly fat penguins and anorexic bulls). why don't you build some kind of tatoo-removing facility in your building and take the biscuit by not only giving the hope of getting a life to those zealots lucky enough to see the light but also help them to get their skins inmaculate again?

18-0066 (none / 0) (#10)
by aoc on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 05:45:10 AM PST
If chloedancer herself is the instructor for 18-0066 then I'm signing up regardless of the price.

Wow. (none / 0) (#13)
by tkatchev on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 06:53:46 AM PST
You are one desperate g**k, aren't you?

I feel for your problem, dude. Hang on.

Peace and much love...

Thanks much for the compliment, however, (none / 0) (#23)
by chloedancer on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 10:06:58 AM PST
it has already been determined that it would be best if I recused myself from this particular responsibility.

During the beta phase development period for the LIFE™ certification tract, it was discovered that the vast majority of LIFE™ candidates were significantly intimidated by the the XX Series Millenium Edition Redhead Firmware Model. Therefore, a more benign XX Series representative of the Blonde or Brunette varieties will be recruited for this particular task to minimize the performance anxiety experienced by LIFE™ certification candidates, thereby ensuring their best possible odds for overall success.

will course 18-0028 include... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by fzr on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 06:14:17 AM PST
As a consumer of a balanced diet, and hence the proud owner of a healthy culture of gut bacteria, I am constantly required to exercise control over the methane they produce.

Might I suggest an additional course?

18-0031: Flatulence control

Measures a candidates ability to use:
  • Flatulence restraint
  • Flatulence as punctuation
  • Advanced tuning and timing techniques
  • Odour and noise reduction methods
  • Safety precautions
Other than that, a pretty comprehensive course for entry-level existence. Is there an advanced program? You will note I have already failed 18-0046, and by inference a number of other courses, but I would be interested to see if there is an academic future for graduates of part one, perhaps an MA or PhD?

Academia is the ideal place to advance ones life skills.

Nice one (5.00 / 1) (#12)
by Nurgled on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 06:44:13 AM PST
I must congratulate. This article amused me greatly.

Nice bit of satire.

Fed up of being marginalised and mocked (1.00 / 1) (#14)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 07:24:03 AM PST
Am I the only one who finds this article utterly offensive? I don't mind the 'socially successful' telling the rest of us about their interesting lifes, my problem is when they start proselytising and Judging.

Us watchers have a place in society. I like to watch life go by, I love to watch others live their lifes and write about it, I adore the comfortable, second hand existance. As someone who is impossibly, awfully shy, I refuse to have anything to do with having a 'life' in any first hand sense. If I were forced to have a life, I would kill myself first. I do not wish for the parties, the dating, the loudmouthed bragging and emotional manipulation and dishonesty that it seems to entail. People such as myself are accutely aware that:
  • Hell is other people. That's right, other people are vicious, dishonest and nasty, by and large. They are best avoided.
  • Life is combat. Any 'decent' social life involves a constant, low intensity friction with other people, one with a diurnal rhythm, from breakfast with people you don't like to supper with horridly overfamiliar strangers. This is social 'obligation', the big prison 95% of humanity submits to for they lack the courage to go it alone. Some call this healthy, social bonding, but I prefer to think of it as a constant aria of discomfort with a drumbeat of punctual, putrid and predictable moments of extreme embarrassments and faux pas. You may enjoy this and find it invigorating; it scares the hell out of me, so I stay away.
But why do these people assume that those of us who lack a 'life' (by their definition of life, of course) desperately want one? I do not, and many of us don't. I shun the milk of human kindness, spit it in your ugly face!

The only explanation is that they somehow feel that, just possibly, defining themselves, and their self worth, by whether they have 'lifes' is flawed in some way. After all, they are defining themselves by what other people think of them, defining themselves by whether they have been laid in the last couple of weeks, or whether they have been to enough empty parties. Well fuck that, man, stuff your Carpe Deum shite if all it means is getting pissed and having a one night stand in a motel.

No. I am a watcher. I don't want human contact, I don't need it. I like my splendid isolation, and I intend to stay isolated for the rest of my life. I do like to contemplate others having their fun (though perhaps not people who crow about having 'lifes', they are invariably empty and uninteresting), I like to consider the many fields of human social contact. I like to think of it all on a theoretical, platonic level. I like to write silly, idealistic romances that are as far from the truth as could be. I am a cynic desperately trying to be a romantic, but unable to trust himself enough to make the jump. I think the sceptic should always have the upper hand within me, and I am happy with my lot. Please don't lecture me on my need for a life.

Thank you.

Relax. (none / 0) (#15)
by tkatchev on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 07:35:14 AM PST
This article isn't about you. It's about software g**ks -- people who desperately want to become social butterflies, but lack the resolve to do so because they are slaves to technology.

Peace and much love...

They shouldn't want to become social butterflies (none / 0) (#16)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 07:46:21 AM PST
They should reject the whole myth. The problem is people putting forward the lie that the shy can successfully reform themselves and get good, interesting and enjoyable social lifes. No, the best thing to do is tell the geeks they can never make it. To offer them an alternative, not mock them with something they can never comfortably attain.

It's pointless. (none / 0) (#20)
by tkatchev on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 08:07:09 AM PST
It doesn't matter -- g**ks are chained to technology in such a profound way that they cannot control themselves. Much like heroin addicts, they are driven to act, without any control over their actions.

Peace and much love...

You sure protest vehemently (none / 0) (#17)
by Adam Rightmann on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 07:50:18 AM PST
to paraphrase a marijuana-addicted English playwright.

A. Rightmann

I am the militant shy (none / 0) (#18)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 07:59:46 AM PST
I've had it up to here with people blabbing on about their 'lifes'. I'm fed up of being attacked just because I don't want anything to do with the whole sorry mess. Why must I be viewed as inferior or weird because I reject 'friendship' from people who invariably want to use me? Just because I am militantly shy, this does not mean I am a freak.

This Man most definitely is an island!

we like you. You dont try to be helpful. (none / 0) (#21)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 08:37:39 AM PST
This Man most definitely is an island!

As long as dont come off your island to lecture us with Lunix politics and techno-jargon, you arent a g**k. As a luser, I find you strangely attractive -- in a remote way I'm sure you can reciprocate.

Only in the mind. (none / 0) (#26)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 12:44:16 PM PST
As long as dont come off your island to lecture us with Lunix politics and techno-jargon, you arent a g**k.

This is hardly likely. I have no interest in all that technical stuff, find it boring, really. I'm about as likely to lecture about the linux operating system as I am to lecture about the best type of refrigerator, or the best sewerage scheme for residential areas. Yawn.

Although some shy people are shy because they can't understand other people very well, and prefer the solace of machines, or abstract mathematics, I think there is another class that is shy because we understand others too well, see the uglyness and the beauty in everyone. Combined with a sensitive disposition this can lead to defensive misanthropy and, worse, a cynical, hard bitten, bitchy exterior designed to keep others at a distance. The worthless, beautiful, fuckhead others.

I myself have obtained peace by just saying 'fuck it'. Although a desperate romantic at core, my imagination rules me and I can live vicariously through others, through books and films, through tales overheard and my fantasies written down on meditative evenings. Too untrusting to seek these things in others, torn by the contradictions of scepticism, cynicism, and the overwhelming desire for love, I best serve myself through total isolation, by living with myself and my fervent imagination, not others.

I fear that any romantic entanglement with another person would be the end of me, would finish me off by exploding the contradictions. So to hell with it, I say!

The only reciprocation I do is imagined, never actual, never real. I will never dirty myself with reality. And I'll never complain, I prefer things this way.

I think I know who you are. (none / 0) (#28)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 01:16:59 PM PST
At least you have your cats and your fantasies.

Hello (none / 0) (#35)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 02:21:10 PM PST
Are you carrying around with you a copy of Catcher in the Rye?

Or, (none / 0) (#37)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 03:04:50 PM PST
you can find yourself repeatedly drawn towards things that are at odds with what you proclaim, feeling the need to challenge them in the hopes of receiving some definitive answer, either affirming or refuting your stance. Which one is irrelevant, so long as it is definitive.

You place your own argument up for public discussion not because you want to defend it but because you need to see how it sounds when spoken aloud. You know the theory has holes because your own skeptical nature won't allow you to so easily shrug off the opinions of others. You realize that you are both as wrong and as right as they are.

Squirming in public, hiding behind a false sense of detachment, seeing all sides, even clearly seeing the absurdity of what you are doing yourself, demanding an answer but never expecting to receive one. Perhaps the only thing you don't see is that you are already up to your neck in the quagmire. You've put so much effort into looking for it that you don't realize you've already been sucked in.

Academic Curiosity (none / 0) (#41)
by jvance on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 04:56:55 PM PST
Do you walk on the tiptoes or the balls of your feet?

When you were a child, did you have difficulty understanding team sports when you were a participant?

Do you feel you have a special insight into the motivations of others?

Trust me, I'm going somewhere with this.

Adequacy has turned into a cesspool consisting of ... blubbering, superstitious fools arguing with smug, pseudointellectual assholes. -AR

I have a question, Mr. Isolated (5.00 / 1) (#27)
by RobotSlave on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 01:06:22 PM PST
If you're such an island, if you have absolutely no need for contact with others, and if you prefer to watch rather than participate, as you so proudly declare, then why are you posting?

And why on earth did you feel compelled to share your penchant for unrealistic romantic fiction with the rest of us? If you really reject social convention, then I'd at least expect you to avoid any mention of romance on Valentine's day.

If you really believed all that stuff you wrote, then you wouldn't let anyone else see it, and you'd order it destroyed when you died. That's what Kafka did, you know. Disagreeing with Donne does not put you on a par with Kafka. And speaking of Donne, let's have a look at the whole passage, so you realize exactly what you're disagreeing with:

"...No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee..."

        --John Donne, 1624

That sort of reminds me of Hemmingway, for some reason. He had a thing or two to say about your "splendid isolation," too. Best of luck.

© RobotSlave, 2002. This material may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without written consent of the author.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

This isn't 'contact with others' (none / 0) (#29)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 01:18:07 PM PST
It is text on my monitor screen. I'd hardly call it the most social of experiences, and the pure exchange of ideas shorn of personal interaction is appealing to me. I like the online world, in this way.

If you really believed all that stuff you wrote, then you wouldn't let anyone else see it, and you'd order it destroyed when you died.

That's right, nobody else will see it, nobody else has ever seen it, nobody else will ever see it. That writing is about personal emotions, dreams and so on in a very specific and revealing way. I don't particularly want anybody to see it, ever. This thread is an exchange of considerably drier ideas, and although certainly of a personal nature I have no concern at this level of revelation on a distant weblog, as long as I remain thouroughly anonymous.

I knew I was right. (none / 0) (#30)
by RobotSlave on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 01:46:55 PM PST
If you hadn't responded, I might have started to believe you. But you did respond. And you responded quickly.

I wasn't talking about your romantic fantasy writing, silly. I don't expect anyone to make that sort of stuff public. In fact, I wish they wouldn't.

No, I was referring to the socializing that you are doing right here. Asserting your identity, seeking validation from others in the form of agreement or debate, that sort of thing.

You can go ahead and insist that this is "dry" or "distant," but the fact of the matter is that it is unequivocally social. If you just wanted to watch, then you would only read the site. But the fact of the matter is that you want to assert yourself in the company of others, to engage in the very "competition" of identity that you so deride. So you post.

You want to be accepted by others, perhaps not for what you are (a person whose social life occurs primarily over the internet), but rather for what you want to believe you are (a pure hermit, aloof, gazing down upon others and the petty games they play).

I like to watch, too. Even more, I like to share my insights with those I observe, and with others. I don't mind at all if others watch me, and share their insights, too. I actually kind of like it.

I don't think you like to be watched.

I see that you violated the clear and explicit terms of my copyright notice in your previous post. Do it again, and I will ask the editors to delete the infringing comment or comments.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this comment, in whole or in part, without written consent of the author.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

A silly is you... (none / 0) (#32)
by tkatchev on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 01:57:23 PM PST
Don't you see that the man is simply trying to assert his willpower over you?

His behaviour is very similar to what couples do when fighting -- i.e. slamming the door and promising to leave forever. Of course, you know that she has no intention of really leaving -- rather, she's sitting quitely behind the door and waiting for him to start weeping.

It's sort of a power-trip in reverse -- by aggressively asserting that you don't care, you have a way of asserting control.

P.S. This is why people say that women usually fall for those men who act apethetic towards her. Same mechanism is at work here.

Peace and much love...

Silly? (none / 0) (#36)
by RobotSlave on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 02:23:13 PM PST
As you ought to know by now, tkatchev, I find anyone who tries "to assert his willpower" over me... interesting. Very interesting.

Now if you don't mind, I'd like to flirt a bit more without calls for a "money shot" from the peanut gallery. I assure you, I know exactly what I'm doing here.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

Well then (none / 0) (#56)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Feb 16th, 2002 at 07:41:16 AM PST
I'm not going to talk to you anymore

So? (none / 0) (#57)
by tkatchev on Sat Feb 16th, 2002 at 08:47:47 AM PST

Peace and much love...

What efficient moderation yall have! (none / 0) (#67)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Feb 16th, 2002 at 11:12:02 AM PST
Holey shit, i added like 6 nested threads and they
got removed in under 10 minutes. I have a question
for yall. Do you have to kill them individually, or
can ya hit the root of the troll and have all
encapsulating trolls thereafter instantly removed.
Please enlighten us.

If I had metaphysical moderation powers... (none / 0) (#68)
by tkatchev on Sat Feb 16th, 2002 at 11:50:07 AM PST
...I would downmod your sense of humor, dude.

Peace and much love...

Looks like tkatchev needs to get a LIFE cert (none / 0) (#69)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Feb 16th, 2002 at 12:17:54 PM PST
It's people like me who post witty sarcastic comments on this site that bring in people in droves. Respect my skill as a professional. And if you could kindly provide me with a mailing address as to where i can send in my consulting fee i would greatly appriciate it. And please read the post at the bottom of this discussion where i address how the life cert is actually a method designed to help employers weed out the geeks from the homosexuals. Yes i'm dirty and inarticulate but at least i'm not gay. And besides, i dont really care if i have the skills to attract women. I have a better method i pay for sex. And heres a shameless plug for computer security consulting: Contact Sanjay Kalra at for all your computer security consulting needs. Finally, visit the diary regarding moderation, have a look at my idea for a boolean moderation scheme. (;

Gay? (none / 0) (#70)
by tkatchev on Sat Feb 16th, 2002 at 12:25:50 PM PST
You're awfully defensive about it.


Peace and much love...

Gay is as gay does. Life is like a box of gay. (none / 0) (#71)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Feb 16th, 2002 at 12:35:46 PM PST
I'm not defending anything. I'm just merely stating
my oppinion that this test would be usefull to
weed out the geeks from the homosexuals when it
comes time to hire a potential employee. After all
would you want a gay person managing your network
or writing code for you? Of course not

Gay people tend to hit on other male employees
causing bad vibes. It's because they cant controll
their urges, so they wast extream ammounts of time
during the day looking at pornography.

Personally i think the life cert is a great thing.
And im glad it exists, and I encourage all
homosexuals to get certified so managers can make
better business decisions.

"Certified homosexual"? (none / 0) (#79)
by tkatchev on Sat Feb 16th, 2002 at 01:31:16 PM PST
Ha ha. Does homosexuality certification include tests on how to more efficiently perform perverted acts? Does it allow for ranking homosexuality? (For example, can you be a "grade A homosexual"?)


Peace and much love...

LIFE Homosexuality Test (none / 0) (#80)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Feb 16th, 2002 at 04:54:04 PM PST
I'm not really sure to tell you the truth. I would assume Homosexuality is kind of a binary thing. You either are a perverted monstrosity or you are not. In any case i dont think it would really matter the level of gay ness. Just the fact of any ammount of gayness should indicate that they in fact do not beloing in it.

Please... (none / 0) (#86)
by budlite on Sun Feb 17th, 2002 at 08:38:03 AM PST
Learn to spell, and do something about that rampant homophobia.

Why not? (none / 0) (#89)
by The Mad Scientist on Sun Feb 17th, 2002 at 09:28:33 AM PST
After all would you want a gay person managing your network or writing code for you? Of course not

Why the hell not? I seen both cases and sexual orientation has no impact on techie's performance.

Gay people tend to hit on other male employees causing bad vibes.

Non-gay people tend to hit on female employees and cause bad vibes.

It's because they cant controll their urges, so they wast extream ammounts of time during the day looking at pornography.

You won't believe what I see in our proxy logs. (Or maybe would.) Lots of standard heterosexual porn. Sorry, even this claim falls.

Female employees? (none / 0) (#90)
by tkatchev on Sun Feb 17th, 2002 at 12:20:35 PM PST
Female employees?

When's the last time you were in an IT shop?

(Granted, sometimes IT monkeys are allowed to mix with non-IT professionals, but that happens very rarely, for some reason.)

Peace and much love...

Female employees. (none / 0) (#92)
by The Mad Scientist on Sun Feb 17th, 2002 at 02:46:05 PM PST
When's the last time you were in an IT shop?

I run one. Well, technically two plus some moonlighting and consulting aside, but I consider them one.

(Granted, sometimes IT monkeys are allowed to mix with non-IT professionals, but that happens very rarely, for some reason.)

Rephrase, please?

Aw, get a room, guys. (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by RobotSlave on Sun Feb 17th, 2002 at 04:49:41 PM PST
The rest of us all chipped in a bit, so here-- take this bundle of cash, and rent yourselves a room for the night.

It might not work out, but we all think that "tkatchev and The Mad Scientist" has a nice sound to it. We're hoping for the best. Now go for it!

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

I see what's on *your* mind... (none / 0) (#94)
by tkatchev on Sun Feb 17th, 2002 at 09:55:24 PM PST

Peace and much love...

Nah (none / 0) (#45)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 11:05:46 PM PST
Note that I said in my first comment in this thread:

Us watchers have a place in society.

I don't wish to claim to be some absolute island. I certainly can't say I don't depend on others, I do or else I would starve. I am an island only in the sense that I shy from human interaction on a personal level.

It can be profitable in many ways, when I have control over the course of it and my own level of involvement, and I am distanced from the proceedings. This is certainly true on this weblog forum. It is profitable to exchange ideas with others.

I don't claim my way is right, I just think it is right for me.

Anyway, I'm not a rational creature and I don't live by some rational plan. The bottom line is I feel comfortable with this level of interaction. Call it social if you will, but I don't think true friends or enemies, or lovers, are possible over the internet alone, and especially not in the rather intellectually dry discussion sites I sometimes post to. As we are talking about me and my experiences, this is really what matters. Thank you.

OK, stop backpedaling. I get it. (none / 0) (#46)
by RobotSlave on Fri Feb 15th, 2002 at 12:22:12 AM PST
So you didn't really mean any of that stuff you typed before. That's OK.

Now you've admitted you're participating, and sort of grudgingly acknowledged that you're socializing. Good.

Now check this out: just about everything you've written in this thread, apart from a brief attack on "beautiful" "normal" people, who you don't spend any time with, has been about yourself.

That's fine. There's no harm in talking about yourself. But don't you think someone who "watches" would show a lot more interest in the people talking to him?

So let's figure out what you really are, OK? You say people like yourself, which you have misnamed "watchers," have a place in society. What place is that, do you imagine? Do you feel people like yourself are especially fair judges of others, or something? I'm groping in the dark here. What, exactly, is your role in society, now that you've admitted you aren't an island?

Similarly, you say that you "profit" in "many ways" from your on-line social life. What are they? Does this minimal contact serve to reassure you of your intellect or capacity for compassion? Yes? No? What then? Could you list some of the "many ways" in which you "profit?"

Now then. You keep mentioning love and beauty. These are not things well suited to on-line social interaction; they're much easier to create and aprehend in the flesh. After all, all you have to do is smile.

Smiling is difficult for some people. Some people haven't learned how many reasons there are to smile, and don't recognize many ways of smiling, so they get scared when others smile, and think the smiles are "fake." Don't be afraid to let us know if you have trouble in this regard. You don't have to go through life living at the animal level, perceiving every smile as a hostile baring of teeth.

We're happy to help anyone here who's willing to admit their ignorance and fear and seek assistance.

Don't worry about not being "rational" or consistent. If you feel confused, it's OK to throw out everything you've said and start over any time you like. I mean, a lot of well-socialized people do that, too.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

I've had enough of this aggression (none / 0) (#47)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Feb 15th, 2002 at 12:48:32 AM PST
I don't think I am an especially good or fair judge of others. Judge not, lest ye be judged is a decent maxim.

As for profiting from online argument with text posts on the internet, it is useful to have one's ideas challenged by different perspectives. I don't think other people are worthless, without the ability to have interesting perspectives and ideas. Wouldn't that be silly?

I don't think I want to be reassured of anything. Why would I be> Why should I feel reassured by how I measure up to others? I don't understand.

Aggression? (none / 0) (#49)
by RobotSlave on Fri Feb 15th, 2002 at 02:51:48 AM PST
What did I do, invade Kuwait?

I try to be nice, I try to help, I ask a few simple questions, and you interpret it as "aggression?" Looks like my guess about the reading of smiles fell close to the mark!

OK, it looks like my other guesses were completely wrong. I Can't read minds, I guess. So I'm still curious.

What role do you feel you play in society? You admit that you depend on others for food. What else, other than the bare necessities? I'm also interested in what you feel you contribute, or might potentially contribute, to society. Can you give us a hint? Try to describe these things in terms of interactions with others, rather than with labels like "watcher."

You said that there were many ways in which you "profit"** from the exchange of "ideas" with others. Is saying that it is "useful" to have your ideas "challenged" by others just a way of rephrasing that without explaining it? If so, then what do you mean by "useful?" And which "ideas" did you have in mind? If not, then what are some of the other ways in which you "profit" from the exchange of "ideas" with others?


** A note on the quotation marks: I don't mean to ridicule your choice of words; I simply want you to be aware that certain aspects of your prose strike me as unusual. If you want me to expand on this, just ask.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

Okay (none / 0) (#53)
by The Observer on Fri Feb 15th, 2002 at 07:58:48 AM PST
What else, other than the bare necessities?

I don't think I depend on anyone for anything outside the bare necessities. Certainly I am part of a huge, modern, capitalistic machine and depend, in an anonymous way, on an economic web that encompasses just about everybody in the world. But none of that is personal.

On a personal level, I don't depend on anybody at all. I have no friends, no family, no obligations or indeed people obligated to me. I work in an isolated area for a government concern that means I can minimise contact with people in terms of my career as well. I contribute to society in an anonymous way, through my job (which I can't really explain for various reasons of privacy).

Now, I enjoy having my ideas attacked by others because it makes them stronger. This means that they are more likely to be rigourous (though perhaps not more correct), and I can modify them when they are faulty. The ideas I am talking about can be anything, really, anything at all - any of the ideas expressed anywhere in this thread, and on various other parts of the web where I have argued about some of my interests (such as politics, for example, or fiction - some people love to argue politics, even if they don't particularly want to be part of the polis). I think it is hard to pin down, when 'idea' can refer to just about anything. But I'm sure you get the idea!

I suppose it is a rather optomistic thought, that through conflict of people clashing their different, contradictory ideas a new and superior synthesis can arise, but it just requires open mindedness. To argue not for victory, but to learn.

What aspects of my prose strike you as unusual?

The Observer

OK (5.00 / 1) (#83)
by RobotSlave on Sat Feb 16th, 2002 at 07:36:58 PM PST
First note on language: "Okay" is not a word. It is written OK, as a brief look into its etymology will show you.

Now then.

You describe written interactions with others as "profitable," insist that things shared and experienced are "ideas," and call the results "useful." This is not the sort of language usually used to describe communication; it is, instead, the language used to describe a capitalist economy.

For the sake of argument, let us assume for a moment that your implicit economic metaphor is valid, and explore its implications. Let us assume that there is an economy of ideas.

What is "profit" from an idea? In the economy of ideas, profit consists of more ideas, or ideas of higher quality or value. One then trades or invests these ideas in hopes of a favorable return. The goal, apparently, is to amass vast quantities of valuable, high-quality ideas.

You could, of course, regard this as an end in itself. In the fiscal economy, there are those who seek profit as an end unto itself, living like paupers while their investments mount by the million.

But these are unhappy people, marionettes jerking miserably through life, ruled utterly by the singular compulsion of hoarding money.

Rich people of greater spirit exchange their accumulated wealth for other things. I do not speak of the fancy automobiles or other luxury goods that the bourgeois are so quick to deride (and so apt to covet). I refer, rather, to free time spent with loved ones; to fine food and drink; to the rewards of charitable giving; to appreciation of the arts; to any experience which, while bearing a monetary price, fulfills or furthers some joyous aspect of our humanity.

Where, then, are the goods and services that the tokens of an economy of ideas might be exchanged for?

It is conceivable that these ideas might be used to achieve political office, or more generally, to achieve social position.

Other, more common rewards might be imagined: joy in giving an idea away, relief at resolution of a personal conundrum, contentment in the acceptance of others who value ideas, and so forth. These are all emotional rewards. In this respect, they are no different from the satisfactions available to a successful participant in the fiscal economy, as outlined above.

Your language has appeared, at times, to be a strained attempt to avoid any reference to emotion, but the emotional implications of the metaphor you have chosen are clear.

If you do not accept the notion of an economy of ideas, then I suggest you start using words like "fun" and "satisfaction" and "gleeful" and "pissed off" and other emotional terms to describe your motivations for written communication. It's easier, and other people will have less trouble understanding you.

I think that you, "The Observer," can be emotional in your written social life. Your initial post, for example, was much more emotional than your last one. And your language is curious there, too. In that message, you came closer to mentioning sex directly than you have anywhere else, but as soon as you did, your language shifted, first into incorrect latin (it's diem, not deum), and then into briticism (though the british would never use the word "motel"). It's as if you can not speak of sex at all in your chosen online "voice." That's fine-- you don't have to talk about sex if you don't want to. But it is revealing.

It is also revealing that you have registered an account. In post #29, you take pride in the fact that you are "thouroughly [sic] anonymous." But now you have taken a name. It is not the name you wanted, probably because you failed to provide a valid email address the first time around, but you nevertheless have a foundation now on which to build something that you clearly desire: an identity.

As a final note on language, I've ignored your spelling so far. I would recommend changing your posting habits for a while: type your thoughts into software that implements an in-line spell- checker, and then cut-and-paste into your browser. This will highlight your mistakes as you make them, thus encouraging you to type the corrections yourself (rather than selecting from a list of "suggestions"), and you will be much less likely to make the same mistakes again than you would if you used an after-th-fact, whole-document spell checker.

After using such software for a while, your spelling will improve to the point where you don't need to rely as heavily on the separate piece of software. Microsoft Word implements this functionality; if there are any less expensive packages that do so, I am unaware of them.

I am familiar with the quote in your profile. Fromm is excerpted in many collections of quotations, so it is possible that you are unfamiliar with the source of that particular sentence. It is from The Sane Society, a book that I rather liked up until the last hundred pages or so. In the book, Fromm makes the case that fear of isolation is used by some elements in society to control other elements, and he urges resistance to that, but ultimately, he is seeking not a society of hermits, but rather a society regulated to the greatest extent possible by pleasant interactions between people, rather than unpleasant ones. He calls not for an end to human interaction, but rather for a change in the way that people interact. I read the changes he advocates as a call for more recognition of emotion in day-to-day interaction, not less.

I want to know how you "watch" people in the real world without interacting with them. I will give you the benefit of assuming you're not peering through binoculars at the apartment block across the street. If you're living in a remote location, I can't think of anything other than television (satellite, most likely) that would allow you to "watch" other people without interacting with them. What sort of stuff do you like to watch on TV?

© RobotSlave, 2002. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the author.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

Interesting Economic analogy (none / 0) (#85)
by The Observer on Sun Feb 17th, 2002 at 05:09:25 AM PST
I do not think it is remotely valid, however. Economics is, after all, the study of scarcity - supply & demand. Ideas cannot be 'used up', and there is no shortage of them. They are not a commodity, and so any economic model falls flat. The best one can hope for is the occasional use of terms, such as 'profit' and 'loss', which are not economic in themselves, but are used in economics.

Your response is also guilty of conflating intellectual curiosity with emotional responses. You seem to be trying to say that the goods and services in this 'economy of ideas' are all emotional in nature. In my opinion, this is nonsense. If I see something beautiful, I may feel emotionally moved, but it is not my emotions that inform me of its beauty. Intellectual desires may provoke secondary emotions, but they are not fundamentally emotional in themselves. Therefore, the goods and services in your posited 'economy of ideas' need not be emotional at all.

You also seem to assume, in your analogy, that your 'economy of ideas' completely consumes me, rather than being a diversion entered into on the occasional newsgroup. Your economic model only covers a tiny part of my life; attempting to reach conclusions regarding my whole life based on a tiny proportion of it are rather silly.

I regard myself as a very, very emotional person. I find my emotions very overpowering, and sometimes I can let them get the better of me. When I post here, I prefer to keep emotional content to a minimum. Emotions are good as personal rewards and punishments, but why tell other people what emotions one is feeling? Sometimes I can do so unwittingly, but why do so voluntarily?

I prefer to think that the ideas are not 'exchanged', but that they do battle, and that new ideas spring forth from the battle, and new synthesis. Hegel made a lot of sense, for me.

Why should I talk about sex?

Also, I am British. I am also American. I had American parents at one time, and was brought up in Britain, though I now live in North America and have done for several years. This should explain any curios in my writing, I hope.

This is not my real identity, and so it is still anonymous. 'The Observer' does not appear anywhere on my birth certificate. I have no problem with having an identity. A strong identity and sense of self worth is very important, and neither relies on society's judgement.

As for television, I don't watch it. In fact, I don't even own a television. I just don't enjoy it. About once a month I have to go to the city to deal with certain employment obligations. I'd really rather not, because it unnerves me, and it is a long trip, but afterwards I find it has been exhilarating. On this one day of the month, after the morning when I have seen my superior in the offices, I often just wander through the parks, looking at people, and I like to sometimes get a cup of coffee, or even a McDonalds hamburger or something, and watch. These things may be normal for other people, but I find it exhilarating, romantic and mysterious. They wear me out though, and I seem to hate it at the time.

The Observer

Battle? I don't think so. (none / 0) (#98)
by RobotSlave on Mon Feb 18th, 2002 at 06:02:28 PM PST
Though I most certainly do attribute emotional causes to "intellectual curiosity," I hardly consider this something that one might be considered "guilty" of. Curiosity is not a province of the intellect. My cat exhibits a great deal of curiosity, but he's as dumb as a post.

The economic metaphor was not meant to be especially extensive, so I will not go into a critique of the notion that economics is "about scarcity." Your language suggested the comparison, and I attempted to explore the ramifications. No need to blow it up into a full theory of the psyche.

Taking an identity is very different from the "thoroughly anonymous" stance you adopted earlier. I merely wished to point this out. Now ask yourself this: What does a "strong identity" mean, outside the company of other people?

At any rate, you're asserting that identity here, socially, in writing, rather than to yourself, so it is the social aspect of Identity that is relevant to your name, "The Observer." You seem to have accepted, in a roundabout fashion, that your motivations for posting here are emotional, but you still insist the activity itself is not "really" social. I will continue to assert that your posting here is indeed primarily social, no matter how much you want to believe it to be a purely "intellectual" activity.

Now let's talk about your notion of ideas "doing battle." In a "battle" of ideas, one or both ideas would be diminished, and, if it were a decisive battle, some sort of territory would be won by one idea or the other, and perhaps one idea would be annihilated. That's a "battle." Nothing is born in a battle. You, on the other hand, seek a situation in which different ideas come together to produce a young new idea. Now, what's the metaphor that springs to mind here?

I'll give you a hint.

You don't have to talk about sex. I said as much before. Why do you ask?

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

"The Watcher". (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by tkatchev on Fri Feb 15th, 2002 at 02:07:21 AM PST
I think by "watcher" he means somebody who watches the mirror. You know, like Narcissus.

Peace and much love...

Nice (none / 0) (#22)
by budlite on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 10:06:24 AM PST
Just for once, I can see where both parties are coming from.

The original article writer, for example. It's true that a number of computer enthusiasts are antisocial, if not by design (it's usually not). I'm one of them. It's not that I don't want to have friends, don't want to socialise and meet new people, take in some of what life has to offer - I simply can't do it. I've been incredibly shy for as long as I can remember, and constant bullying at school made me draw even further into myself long before I even *saw* a computer. This is causing me problems even now, as I'm still rather shy, and far too self-critical. Everything I do or say feels wrong, even if I KNOW it's not. I'm trying to make the effort though. I'm now at Uni, with no-one from the past 18 years of my life aroud. I'm making new friends, having new exeperiences, and it's pretty good.

I also agree with the first comment in this thread. It IS nice to have some solitude, just *your own* little space in the world, to sit back and watch it all go by without having someone else around to screw it up. Either way, I'm mostly happy.

Good article, good comment.

The solution for all your social woes (none / 0) (#31)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 01:48:11 PM PST
I submit to you the extremely potent psychedelic mushroom. Pop a cap, listen to some motivational tapes (or just tell yourself how you want to reprogram your brain), chill, and wake up to the new improved you.

I used to be a hypercritical self-involved shy, if anything, I'm a social addict. The key is realizing that the only constraints put on your behavior are self-imposed (with the exceptions of the ones that will get you arrested and/or killed). Realizing that the universe doesn't give a fuck about you can be extremely liberating. Now go take a trip and start your new life. Jesus, I sound like an infomercial. But it's all true.

Social addict. (none / 0) (#33)
by tkatchev on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 01:59:54 PM PST
Methinks there are more potent addictions at work here.

Take care, dude.

Peace and much love...

Infomercial? (none / 0) (#34)
by zikzak on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 02:12:17 PM PST
Jesus, I sound like an infomercial.

No, you sound like you read too much Robert Anton Wilson.

reponse (none / 0) (#38)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 03:40:22 PM PST
Am I the only one who finds this article utterly offensive? I don't mind the 'socially successful' telling the rest of us about their interesting lifes, my problem is when they start proselytising and Judging.

You are not the only one. Another laughable one is "Hunter"'s recent diary about Indianapolis. So much of the arrogance on this site is just emptiness (although I do enjoy the Linux Zealot comics).

Life is combat. Any 'decent' social life involves a constant, low intensity friction with other people, one with a diurnal rhythm, from breakfast with people you don't like to supper with horridly overfamiliar strangers. This is social 'obligation', the big prison 95% of humanity submits to for they lack the courage to go it alone. Some call this healthy, social bonding, but I prefer to think of it as a constant aria of discomfort with a drumbeat of punctual, putrid and predictable moments of extreme embarrassments and faux pas. You may enjoy this and find it invigorating; it scares the hell out of me, so I stay away.

Yeah, it makes me a little ill too. I can fake it -- you know -- take on whatever role is necessary to fit into some social occasion and interact with people, but it is extremely emotionally exhausting.

I guess I (and you) just do not find most people very pleasant to be around -- they are like masks with no real person behind. Or maybe like animals. But animals don't lie. -- Most people are hypocrites and liars (especially in the IT industry).

You call it "watcher" but I call it "hermit." Some day I will be able to live the life of a true hermit, but I have other things I must complete first.


Question. (5.00 / 1) (#51)
by hauntedattics on Fri Feb 15th, 2002 at 06:21:39 AM PST
Maybe you do not find most people very pleasant to be around because you are not pleasant to be around? Just because others don't conform to your twisted ideals of personhood doesn't mean that they are animals, hypocrites or liars. If you swallowed your pride, put aside your own fragile sense of ego and actually talked to others, you might hear some very interesting, enlightening and life-enhancing things.

And don't call yourself a hermit. The real hermits isolated themselves from others in an effort to be closer to God and humbly contemplate religious ideas and nature, not because they despised other humans.

So get out there and immerse yourself in the world. You'll be a happier (and possibly better) person for it.

I agree (none / 0) (#52)
by The Observer on Fri Feb 15th, 2002 at 06:54:02 AM PST
When I started this thread I did not mean to say that other people are invariably awful. Other people can be rewarding and interesting, and indeed have a lot to offer.

Some of us don't want it anyway. I like your post in that it points out the terrible hypocrisy of many of my shy brethren, many of whom are weak and wish (secretly or no) to become social butterflies as tkatchev wisely noted.

I don't wish for absolute hermitage, I just wish people would stop demanding and suggesting I interact like normal people. It becomes very distracting and is irritating. The shy have been second class citizens for too long, we have had to put up with articles like this mocking us forever, and I've just about had enough of it!

I will engage with other people, but only where I have to, to survive. Real life has too many emotions and I lack the tools to deal with the complexities of other people.

I prefer to watch, and to dream. Dreaming for me is better than reality, and I do it well. I have a rich fantasy life and merely ask that I am not interrupted by those who crow about their 'lifes' harshly mocking me and demanding I join in, become like them, be social, and confirm. This is not for me!

I like other people, I just don't like to interact with them much.

The Observer

Your answer (none / 0) (#39)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 03:42:59 PM PST
Am I the only one who finds this article utterly offensive?


Apparently... (none / 0) (#40)
by doofus on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 04:46:53 PM PST
Am I the only one who finds this article utterly offensive?


Speaking of offensive... (none / 0) (#43)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 08:59:46 PM PST
I don't know about where you're from, but in more civilised parts of the world, it is considered bad form to blatantly rip off other people's ideas and words. I demand satisfaction.

Sir or Madam... (none / 0) (#44)
by doofus on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 09:25:40 PM PST
I assure you that my response was written completely independently of yours, with no undue influence because I had read yours first.

I'll even go so far as to claim since I thought of it, it is neither funny nor insightful and thus is less than adequate.

Ahh... (none / 0) (#50)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Feb 15th, 2002 at 03:37:51 AM PST
I assure you that my response was written completely independently of yours, with no undue influence because I had read yours first.

Where have I heard that excuse before?

Dont even go there (none / 0) (#81)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Feb 16th, 2002 at 04:59:17 PM PST
Someday you will thank our gnu friends for upholding etheical computer usage someday you will. Pay your respects to the greatest orginization that ever existed. The Gnu Software Foundation. and by the way, EMACS RULES FUCK VI

Indeed! (none / 0) (#97)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Feb 18th, 2002 at 07:20:15 AM PST
Someday you will thank our gnu friends for upholding etheical computer usage someday you will.

Yes, and on the morning of that glorious day, I will have lobotomized myself with a rusty fork. It is only then that I will be capable of striding bravely forward to take my place among the ranks of the new elite, only then that I will come to appreciate the overwhelming majesty of His Holiness RMS.

The Gnu Software Foundation. and by the way, EMACS RULES FUCK VI

Perhaps you should consider becoming LIFE(tm) certified.

Well done, Adequacy! (none / 0) (#19)
by ICS Dempsey KBE on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 08:03:44 AM PST
I applaud Adequacy for possessing the insight to design and implement this program! The working classes are in dire need of assistance in these areas. I am pleased that I am not the only one who has noticed the unpleasant state of hygiene in the third estate. With ever increasing numbers of the technical class attending cultural events once the reserve of gentlemen, it is necessary that they learn how to clean themselves properly before attempting to commune with polite society.

My only criticism is the amount of time wasted with such courses as 18-0063. Why waste time educating the workers in affairs of state? Surely a worker's time is put to better use in industry where his skills can be fully expressed. The ability to comprehend the subtle nuances of government and diplomacy cannot be taught in a class, but rather is a result of high breeding and a cultured upbringing. One could just as well teach a gorilla to speak!

Summary (none / 0) (#24)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 10:30:30 AM PST
Blah Blah Blah Geeks have no social skills.

Thanks Chloedancer for telling us in a "humourous" format what jon katz and eric raymond have been saying for years.

How does this even get onto adequacy anyway? This is certainly not controversial.

What, are you doing one of the editors or something?

You're reading the article upside-down (none / 0) (#59)
by wumingzi on Sat Feb 16th, 2002 at 09:49:25 AM PST
Thanks Chloedancer for telling us in a "humourous" format what jon katz and eric raymond have been saying for years.

The difference is that Katz and (eech!) ESR are saying "geeks have no social skills and that's good! Embrace your geek pride and delve into it!

The article says quite the opposite.

Being a g**k is not like being gay, or a member of a group of immigrants trying to balance out keeping the traditions of the old country with rubbing along with the natives.

g**ks are fascinated with things electronic, mechanical, etc., and are curious about how to make them work, and will spend hours and hours trying to make them work better, or do new things which were not in the original design plans. This is GREAT! (I know because I do this too).

However, this is frequently done to the exclusion of hacking on human beings, social systems, art, literature, and other "soft, non-technical" subjects. Being socially inept, culturally incurious, and a political lout is not something you're born with. It is not a product of your society. It's a "lifestyle choice". If people felt better and liberated by getting in touch with their inner geek, I'd be all for it. (Witness gays who try to "act straight" to get social acceptance, and feel miserable). Unfortunately, the only person who seems to feel "liberated" being a geek is ESR. 'nuff said.


looks like a homosexuality test to me (none / 0) (#66)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Feb 16th, 2002 at 11:06:56 AM PST
Just think about it for a minute and you'll see
a lightbulb pop out right above your head. This test
is obviously designed to let employers know if an
applicant is gay.

Us IT people can spot these homos a mile away. A
well dressed properly groomed man wearing cologne
obviously doesnt belong in a server room or cube
farm clicking away at a keyboard writing software
or managing networks. A person of this character
can only be one of a few things :

A sales person who is trying to make the switch from
"Sales" to "Engineering". Yeah right, we all know
what sales people are like. Theyre a different breed
of slacker. It's like mixing oil and water or
NAACP monkeys with KKK clowns. Yup, theyve learned
how to be prissy in order to fit in with the
corperate world, making speaches and presentations
about thigs they could never hope to comprehend
or even care about.

A homosexual. These people carry the exact
characterstics of what the LIFE certs are all about.
They dress well and care about their appearance
and are god awfully happy about everything. We
all know just exactly why they smile all the time.

I find it disturbing that people are trying to
take away the one thing 99% of the worlds geeks
can brag about with pride. We cant possibly be
gay because we just dont dress good enough to be

If you dress nice and look professional, that still
doesnt get you the pussy. Being LIFE certified and
still not having a girlfriend just reinforces the
the assumption coworkers will be sure to make, and
thats homosexuality.

And in the future i'm sure we will find a solution
to this problem, when they make a drug that can
treat homosexuals of their perversions, but for
now geeks are better off just staying sloppy.

As for female geeks, theyres not really such a
thing. Theyre all fake. When is the last time you
saw a woman sketch up a network diagram or write
a few lines of code. Cmon people, they just dont
exist. Women just dont have what it takes to work
in IT.

Men were designed to go out and grab the beef, and
women were designed to cook it and wash the dishes.

It's just that simple

welcome to the closet (none / 0) (#82)
by Peter Johnson on Sat Feb 16th, 2002 at 07:19:09 PM PST
population: you
Are you adequate?

Looks like your the one with the problem (none / 0) (#84)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Feb 16th, 2002 at 10:52:35 PM PST
You seem to know an awful lot about the closet
there buuddy. I bet you been in there for a good
long time.

Why dont you take this opportunity to come out of
the closet before your peers. With a name like "
Peter Johnson" it would appear that you are badly
in need of a LIFE cert.

Please expound on what little you have had to say
in response to my detailed post. I welcome your

Just this once... (none / 0) (#88)
by budlite on Sun Feb 17th, 2002 at 08:47:24 AM PST
I'm inclined to agree with Peter Johnson. You are certainly the most misogynistic, homophobic human being (and I use the term loosely) I have ever met, virtually or for real. And that's a pretty pisspoor combination.

I don't really know what else I can say.

Female geeks (none / 0) (#87)
by The Mad Scientist on Sun Feb 17th, 2002 at 08:45:14 AM PST
As for female geeks, theyres not really such a thing. Theyre all fake.

Rare, yes. Painfully rare. Nonexistant, definitely no.

When is the last time you saw a woman sketch up a network diagram or write a few lines of code.

I don't even have to leave my family to go for an example - my own mom. Not writing long programs (which is only because of the lack of need), but enough to write complicated database queries and active use of programming languages - up to dozens lines of code. One of her former jobs was design of heavy machinery, later involvement in manufacture of semiconductors. She was controlling a mainframe when you most likely hadn't even knew that computers exist.

I seen couple more - better - examples. Very few. Enough to firmly convince me they exist. Not enough to convince me there is any chance for me to get one - too low supply/demand ratio. Females are rare in IT - but the ones that get into and stay are damn good.

Cmon people, they just dont exist. Women just dont have what it takes to work in IT.

Sorry. Open your eyes and spend some more time in IT.

"Painfully" is the right word... (-) (none / 0) (#91)
by tkatchev on Sun Feb 17th, 2002 at 12:24:45 PM PST

Peace and much love...

You're Fine (none / 0) (#42)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Feb 14th, 2002 at 08:58:28 PM PST
Suffice it to say that I know others like you, even consider them friends. It certainly isn't for any of these high and mighty people to judge you.

Qualified by not qualified (none / 0) (#55)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Feb 16th, 2002 at 03:31:44 AM PST
I do fall short of many of the basic skills required to pass the LIFE certification. But I am rarely considered a Geek or Nerd do to my ability to abuse a large ammount of chemicals while still being able to preferm job specific duties. I am still able to administer a massive distributed network comprising various operating systems such as SOlaris, Freebsd, Linux and Windows nt under the influence of multiple doses of LSD. Sure i stare at the screen in amazement as the white portions of browsers and textboxes display a vast array of intricate multicolored patterns, but i still can maintain up to 60 wpm when typing. The raised tiles may display immages that look like bumpmapping of letters and other characters, but i am still able to write code in Visual Basic, Perl, PHP and c. I can smoke the dankest of Marijuana and still provide technical support to lower system administrators at different client locations over the phone. And i frequently abuse alcohol and glade, and still manage to have fuffiling sexual intercourse with the opposite sex. I've snorted cocaine in server rooms while doing contract work for businesses like Merryl Lynch, General Motors, Intel, GE, Mc Donalds, Boeing, AIG and Microsoft. I'm a high school dropout with a GED and i make around 75,000 a year. Surely you could make an ecception for the LIFE certification for somebody like me.

Well, it is some kind of LIFE(tm) (none / 0) (#96)
by wumingzi on Sun Feb 17th, 2002 at 10:22:46 PM PST
wild-assed Hunter S. Thompsonesque self-description deleted)

Surely you could make an ecception[sic] for the LIFE certification for somebody like me.

Well, you don't sound quite like the target for the LIFE certification. Just the same, I burned out on being permantently baked by the time I hit 20. Is it time to learn something new perhaps?


I think (none / 0) (#99)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Feb 20th, 2002 at 07:32:02 AM PST
you should all have a nice cup of tea & a sit down


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