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Author Topic: Post-Holiday Gathering Ruminations
MacMandoGal
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Icon 1 posted November 26, 2006 09:18      Profile for MacMandoGal     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
One of the things that interests me about this forum is the wide range of ages of geeks (from teens on up there). Makes me feel OK about continuing to call myself one.

I suppose many of you made the trek back to the homestead, with all the joy and memories and emotional stuff that entails. Since many of us are quite a distance from where we grew up, for me at least, it triggers quite the trip down memory lane. Also, having a niece that's just starting out in college brings up an entirely different set of memories (I have no children of my own, so I don't get a daily dose of it like many).

I did good - sent my niece an email praising her on her choice of first serious boyfriend (too soon to say he's a keeper, but presentable and basically solid - she could do worse) and suggesting that she not let her 12 years of private catholic school upbringing get in the way of birth control - given that boyfriend in nearby city + overnight stays = those kind of activities. Hopefully it wasn't too gacky and embarrassing.

I was trying to figure out why I felt compelled to do that - we're not close - I've basically managed to turn up at holidays, graduations and funerals, and not even all of those - me being in Mpls and them on the Texas Gulf Coast has something to do with that.

I guess the thought of do-overs came to mind - what would I have done differently if I had been a little less insecure and had more information? I had a lot - being no stranger to the library and a voracious reader - but nothing like what kids have access to today.

So I made a list:
  • Attended Rice University instead of Texas A&M. What was I thinking, A&M is waaay too conservative, and there's more geeks per square inch at Rice than anywhere I can think of in Texas)
  • Figured out a way to travel more earlier outside of the state of Texas. Meet more people different from the people I grew up with.
  • Taken up mandolin as an instrument in high school or earlier. Oh my god, how good I'd be by now! And how much fun I would have had on the way!
  • Been more assertive about befriending (and more) boys and girls I liked at the time and wanted to know better.
  • Been less bogged down in the whole boyfriend/girlfriend relationship thing. (OK, so I wanted sex, but really didn't want to be known as a slut - no such thing as friends-with-benefits or hook ups back then. Nevermind that for me slut would be playing against type - on a good day I was a kind of geeky Julie Andrews circa Sound of Music type!)

I could go on about the bogged down with boyfriend thing - it was all about insecurity and cost me at least a six year detour post-college in really getting my life on the right track. And I think the travel/breadth of experience outside of the hometown thing might have helped. Bear in mind, my family up through my great-grand parents (mostly) were all native to the area.

Anyway, it'd be interesting to see other geek-elder thoughts on this sort of thing.

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MMG

Posts: 30 | From: Minneapolis | Registered: Nov 2006  |  IP: Logged
garlicguy

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Icon 1 posted November 26, 2006 10:31      Profile for garlicguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What in the world is a "geek-elder"? [Eek!]

I'm tempted to respond to several of the things you mentioned in your post, MMG. Instead, I'll just quote our own TFD with one of his classics about male/female relationships:

From the Famous One:
Would this be a good time for the traditional link to my 'The Trouble with Men and Women' post ?

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I don't know what I was thinking... it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted November 26, 2006 10:52      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A "geek-elder" is someone old enough that, when they took apart all their toys as children, had toys with enough discrete components that they could actually learn from them.
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MacMandoGal
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Icon 1 posted November 26, 2006 12:09      Profile for MacMandoGal     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Good one, QF! I would agree to your definition from a mental/technical/logical standpoint - however, I'm bringing good old biology into the mix - a geek elder is someone old enough to have geeklings entering college (or if they're advanced geeklings and starting college at 16, then they're college sophomores).

Thanks for the classic geek goodness, GG - certainly reasonable FAQ for the human operating system.

I think my point - which I rambled around to - (rambling: side effect of rumination) - is something along the lines of not letting insecurities hold you back, if you can manage it. Keep stretching your comfort zone, visit unfamiliar places, break out of ruts or traditions that hold you back. Stuff I would tell my niece and nephews - geek and non-geek.

BTW, coming to the point on physical matters wasn't much of a problem. My first BF and I shared an enjoyment of Robert Heinlein's books (Stranger in a Strange Land, Time Enough for Love figured prominently in our courtship). At 15-16, we both had pretty much consumed every age-inappropriate SF book lurking about in the high school library.

Hmm, upon retrospect, old Tommy was a pretty good choice. Now if only his mother hadn't decided to give him that Greg Brady afro perm senior year. That and a month of math camp at SMU for me that summer pretty much was the end of that relationship. I guess I discovered that there were other geeks out there to explore!

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MMG

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quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted November 26, 2006 20:10      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
MMG: I meet your definition of a geek elder too, since I have a daughter in college. If I had to do anything over it might have been to take some jobs that were less of a sure thing. That is, I had some offers that were lateral pay moves but would have been to companies that ultimately had a lot more upside potential. In general, it's just that you should do what sounds interesting, rather than what sounds safe.
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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted November 27, 2006 02:28      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It's a pretty obvious statement, but my only regrets about my youth are the things I did not do, and so if I could rerun it, I just hope I would be braver, and less concerned about making an idiot of myself. The corollary of this is that I wish that I had realised earlier that successes, though pleasing, teach you very little, while it is mainly through your failures that you grow and learn. At least now I can try to be simply encouraging to my own children, and let them go to make enough of their own mistakes to find their way.

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted November 27, 2006 12:36      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Callipygous, you are indeed a wise man (and only a little pompous [Wink] ).

I've long believed that the accumulated wisdom of humanity is best found in advertising slogans: Just Do It !

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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Serenak

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Icon 1 posted November 27, 2006 13:55      Profile for Serenak     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
That Nih Keh is so underatted as a philosopher...

[Big Grin]

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"So if you want my address - it's No. 1 at the end of the bar, where I sit with the broken angels, clutching at straws and nursing my scars..."

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garlicguy

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Icon 1 posted November 27, 2006 17:25      Profile for garlicguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Callipygous:
while it is mainly through your failures that you grow and learn.

Just makes you proud to be human, doesn't it? [Wink]

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I don't know what I was thinking... it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Posts: 3752 | From: Pluto, no matter what you call it, is still my home. | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted November 27, 2006 17:46            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Not really... It's all too easy to blow your only chance at something with a mistake, and then it's gone forever. You can do great damage that any learning from it cannot repair. No, I never accept that as the answer.
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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted November 27, 2006 18:04      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
uilleann, I think you have confused growing and learning with redemption. Not the same thing at all. Sometimes you can crash, burn, and rise out of your own ashes. And sometimes you can't. Sometimes you pay for your mistakes for months, years, even the rest of your life. But you still learned something.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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Ugh, MightyClub
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Icon 1 posted November 27, 2006 18:55      Profile for Ugh, MightyClub     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Shoot, I'm about six years from being a geek-elder I guess. But I'd like to point out that my toys did have discrete parts to learn from. I even managed to put a couple back together properly [Big Grin]

Despite not being a true elder, I will echo the predominant sentiment that the only regrets are for the things left undone

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Ugh!

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garlicguy

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Icon 1 posted November 27, 2006 20:32      Profile for garlicguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Personally, I'd prefer to learn from the mistakes of others, thus avoiding the need to make all those over again. While not always successful at this approach, but it sure cuts down on broken bones and doctor visits.

History. Read lots and lots of history.

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I don't know what I was thinking... it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Posts: 3752 | From: Pluto, no matter what you call it, is still my home. | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
MacMandoGal
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Icon 1 posted November 27, 2006 20:53      Profile for MacMandoGal     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by garlicguy:
Personally, I'd prefer to learn from the mistakes of others, thus avoiding the need to make all those over again. While not always successful at this approach, but it sure cuts down on broken bones and doctor visits.

History. Read lots and lots of history.

What's interesting is when new technology changes the risk-reward/cost-benefit ratio. What then? Play it safe by sticking to tried and true?

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MMG

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garlicguy

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Icon 1 posted November 27, 2006 20:58      Profile for garlicguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MacMandoGal:
What's interesting is when new technology changes the risk-reward/cost-benefit ratio. What then? Play it safe by sticking to tried and true?

Nah. Pitch the baby out with the bathwater. (Both stink anyway.) New mistakes are the best kind to make. [Big Grin]

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I don't know what I was thinking... it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted November 27, 2006 21:38      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yes. You look less stupid and more creative that way.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

Posts: 7670 | From: the lab | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged


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