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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Samurai Zergling's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, December 31st, 2015
8:47 am
The Hierarchy of Requests
Originally posted by celandine13 at The Hierarchy of Requests
This is something that's been stewing in me for a while, and I hope I can present it fairly.

Different people have different levels of social skills. In particular, different levels of fluency or dexterity at getting people to satisfy their wants. (And of course, your dexterity varies based on context.) I think of these in four stages.

Stage 1: Paralysis.
You don't dare make the request. Or you've gotten to the point where you need the thing so badly that you're too overwhelmed to communicate clearly at all. You may not even be consciously aware that you need the thing, you're just suffering for the lack of it.

Stage 2: Rude request.
You make it clear that you want something, but you express it inappropriately. You come across as boorish, pushy, childish, or desperate.

Stage 3: Polite request.
You express your desire calmly, pleasantly, and in an appropriate context. You come across as reasonable and respectful.

Stage 4: Automatic abundance.
You don't even have to ask. Either through luck, planning, subtly guiding the social situation, or very high status, you automatically get what you desire without ever having to make it explicitly known.

For example, let's say you're exhausted; you want to excuse yourself from the group and take a nap.

In stage 1, you don't dare ask. Or you don't understand why you feel shitty, you don't recognize it as fatigue. You just get more and more upset until you collapse in a heap. In stage 2, you rudely interrupt people in the middle of something important and announce that you're tired and you're leaving. In stage 3, you find a convenient moment, apologize for cutting things short, but explain that you've got to get some rest. In stage 4, you manage to subtly wrap things up so you can get some rest, without making anyone feel rushed.

Or let's say you're a straight man and you want to have sex. Stage 1 are the people who seem, to their friends, to be utterly sexless; they never show romantic interest in anyone. They're cripplingly shy. They may not even be aware that the reason they feel lousy is that they're psychologically damaged from want of a sex life. Stage 2 are the boors, the people who tell dirty jokes and hit on girls crudely or awkwardly. The lower end of Stage 2 is the madman shouting 'Voglio una donna!" in Amarcord. The upper end is, say, the sleazier type of PUA. Stage 3 are the men who ask "Would you like to go for coffee sometime?" They're reasonable, or even charming, romantic prospects. And Stage 4 are the rockstars or politicians who have women throwing themselves at them. They don't even have to ask.

The first thing to note is that Stage 1 and Stage 4 are mostly invisible and not talked about. When people talk about communication and needs, we contrast communicating inappropriately (Stage 2) with communicating appropriately (Stage 3). Advice about social skills is always "Be Stage 3, not Stage 2." Which is fine, as far as it goes. Stage 3 really is better than Stage 2. It's more considerate, more empathetic. And it works better.

But sometimes Stage 2 is better than Stage 1. The person who can only ask rudely is often perceived as having worse social skills, worse manners, than the person who can't ask at all. But the stage 1 person is paralyzed, not polite. Her 'social skills' only go as far as acquiescence. She can't use them to steer.

The mild-mannered people-pleaser may only be "likable" as long as she isn't challenging anybody; the blunt jerk may actually be more persuasive in a tough negotiation. So who really has better 'social skills'?

The second thing is that the stages relate quite directly to urgency of need. If you aren't hungry, or you know you can get food any time, you're in Stage 4. If you're getting hungry, you may interrupt your friends to ask if you can stop for lunch, putting you in Stage 3. If you're famished, you begin losing self-control and becoming pushy and demanding about food, which puts you in Stage 2. And if you're literally ill with hunger, you may lose the ability to be coherent, which puts you in Stage 1. So people who are more prone to sudden urgent needs are more likely to drop into earlier stages. (Disability blogs talk a lot about the danger of falling into Stage 1, and how rudeness is better than paralysis if those are the only choices.)

Tribal Leadership is sort of about this, in a business context. Its taxonomy is different, but the main problem the book illustrates is the phenomenon of managers who are high achievers individually, but bad at getting cooperation from co-workers. From the perspective of their subordinates, they're 'mean' or 'dictatorial' or 'bitchy.' From their own perspective, they're overworked, and saddled with an incompetent and mutinous team.

The point of the book is that such people fail to get cooperation because they're making demands. They're constantly giving instructions, making requests. The frame is "You should do X for me." Which is a Stage 2/Stage 3 behavior, and results in resistance. The goal is to get to Stage 4. To cause people to do X by making them feel it's their own idea, or part of a democratic/tribal decisionmaking process, or emerges naturally from the noble purpose of the organization. In other words, getting to the point where you subtly shape outcomes but never have to explicitly request them.

Need is ugly. "Gimme" is ugly. It causes discomfort in the people around you. Even "May I please" causes a mild degree of discomfort and a mild inclination to answer "No, you may not."

The highest-status thing is not to need, not to demand, but to be automatically given. Rich people get lots of free stuff. Iron Man doesn't ask for much. Nor does Fred Astaire.

And from a Stage 4 vantage point, all asking is unpleasantly needy and pushy. Stage 4 people have a tendency to denigrate both Stage 2 behavior and Stage 3 behavior. (In more or less the way that upper-class people see seeking money as vulgar.) Stage 3 people will protest vehemently, "Hey, I'm not Stage 2, I was polite/respectful/etc!" Which misses the point. Compared to Stage 4, even a polite request looks a little awkward, a little gauche.

Is Stage 2 necessary? Need one be rude at all? Or can you just graduate from 'inhibited' to 'respectfully assertive' without passing through a 'pushy' phase? I do think it's possible, but with the nuance that people can easily blur the line between 2 and 3 -- that is, accuse you of asking rudely because you were low-status enough to have to ask at all. You have to be willing to accept some risk of being accused of rudeness, and balance that with the good-faith attempt to not actually be rude.

But in the absence of formal standards of behavior, "rude" and "polite" will always be subjective. Only when there are some general accepted etiquette standards does it even make sense to believe "I will do my best not to be rude, but I'm not afraid of people falsely accusing me of rudeness."
Saturday, May 23rd, 2015
10:38 am
This is some bullshit right here.
Edit: Turns out the email was confusingly written; See Comments.

Here is an excerpt from an email I received today in relation to the upcoming Poly Speed Dating event that (I think!) I am attending next week. Please note the "Demographic Limits" section.

The excerpt in questionCollapse )

Wait, wait, wait. Wait.

So, I'm now required to bring a Date to the Speed Dating event? Ooo, but I get a Free Drink! ::Snark::

Am I being overly sensitive about this, or is this a little tone-deaf on their part.

Current Mood: irritated
Saturday, January 26th, 2013
10:42 am
What I do - The Up-Goer meme.
Thanks to mizarchivist for being my first exposure to this. I was very tempted to stop after the first sentence, but that seemed to be cheating. For those that haven't yet seen it, the XKCD comic that inspired this is here, and the Up-Goer Five Text Editor is here.

I fix peoples computers. I also make sure that their computers are working well, and do not get small problems that can later build up into large problems. I also help them decide if they need to buy more or better computers, or buy other things to make the computers they already have work better or to do new things that they need done.
Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
11:52 pm
So I've been getting rid of a lot of things that I've been lugging around with me for over a decade from my place in Fairport Harbor, Ohio, to the Gararge at my mother's house, to a temporary home in a Medford MA Basement, and then a Storage Unit. What finally motivated me to do this was the realization that most of this stuff has lived in these boxes for nearly ten years. Why do I need to be paying eighty dollars a month to hold on to this stuff? Clearly, I don't. So when I moved to my current Apartment in Somerville, every weekend I started bringing as much from the unit as would fit in my room. The next couple of days I'd go through the boxes, and unless the item passed a fairly high bar, it would get added to the pile to be disposed of, or recycled, or donated as the case may be. Tuesday night would see all those items taken out to the curb, and I'd be that much closer to... well, that's the question, isn't it? It feels like I'm finally finishing something. Finally letting go of the past and living in the present. It's probably long past time.

Anyway, I've finally gotten down to my old Multi-Disc CD changer. I plugged it in to see if it even still worked, and started shuffling some of my old CD's. That was around 6:30 pm. It's almost Midnight now.

I think I'm keeping the CD's.

Current Mood: nostalgic
Monday, March 26th, 2012
8:16 pm
PAX is almost here!

So yea, I finally have another big con on the horizon to get happy about. This Saturday is SAX, where a lot of volunteers come together and fill all of those Swag Bags everybody gets when they arrive. Then next weekend is PAX EAST 2012.

So as I have mentioned in other forums and possibly here as well, I was accepted as an Enforcer this year, which means I get to attend for free. Not knowing for sure if I would be accepted, I went ahead and purchased a Three Day Pass a few months ago, which has now arrived. Before I put it up on eBay, I figured I'd ask if anyone in my circle of friends was looking to buy one. If you need it or know someone who does, let me know and we'll work out the trade. If I don't hear anything by Wednesday it's going up on eBay. I'll also update here if I sell it.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Monday, January 23rd, 2012
1:00 pm
Arisia and stuff
So, I forget to be social.

I realize that to some of you who know me this isn't a revelation, and for some of you it is impossible to imagine. How can you "forget" to be social? I can't explain it myself, but it's true. Somehow the fact that 'No really, I DO need other people' slips from my mind over and over again.

Fortunately for me, I have good people in my life who help to remind me how much better I feel... no, not better... how much MORE I feel when I am around people.

I have been emotionally dormant for the past few months. It's a kind of coping mechanism, I suppose. Sometimes emotions feel like a zero-sum game, so instead of going through highs and lows, I just flatline the whole thing. Especially during the last few months when I was feeling particularly bad about my finances. I am actually doing well considering the economy and the enormity of uprooting oneself as I did to move here, but it was a little scary there for a while. I feel a bit like one of the Scanners from the Science Fiction story "Scanners Live in Vain."

Aaaanyway. Then Arisia happened. A few months ago I happened to mention in a conversation with mizarchivist that I was thinking of applying to be a PAX Enforcer. She suggested that I apply to volunteer at Arisia as well, and so I did. I had the best time, and even met someone (but more on that later.)

I have been a different person this last week. I know I've been through this cycle before, but no, really, I'm going to try to stay connected to everyone this time. I think that keeping myself occupied with a succession of conventions will help with this. I'm definitely attending PAX, either as an Enforcer or a regular attendee, and there are a few others coming up that I have my eye on. (Boskone and Nauticon to start)

So yea. Part of why Arisia was so fun for me was that I met someone. Or at least I think I did. I know that I got an email address and had a happy for a few days. Haven't heard back yet. NRE is a helluva drug. :)
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
7:49 pm
So, that might explain a few things.
So I'm walking home from CVS tonight when suddenly, a wild memory appears!

I was maybe three years old. I was with my mother shopping at the A&P. I was in the cart in the reverse-facing kid seat when my mom selected a bunch of bananas from one of those supermarket endcaps with all of the fake plastic grass lining them. (I think this was before the Dole banana trees.) I don't remember if I had said I was hungry or if my mother just decided I needed to eat something, but she then removed one of the bananas from the bunch, pealed it and gave it to me to eat while still in the store.

I was in a tricky mental place where I understood the concept of commerce but not my own role in it, and thought for sure that policemen were going to get me at any moment and want to know why I was stealing a banana.

I'm not sure what to do with this memory besides remember it. It seems like I should really get some kind of revelation out of it.
Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
10:52 am
Small setbacks
Had a seizure last night. It had been a while since the last of these breakthroughs and quite frankly... I'm slightly relieved. I've been expecting one of these for quite some time now. With the combination of moving, job uncertainty, and transportation issues, I've been quite the little bundle of stress for the last several months. On top of all of this was the knowledge that higher stress leads to more breakthrough seizures. I hadn't realized this until this morning, but the WAITING for a seizure was itself a kind of stress. So Yay, got that out of the way now.*

Speaking of job stress, it has been explained to me that I am now a Salaried employee. I don't think my job description qualifies as one that can be considered salaried. (My official title is Technician, and I basically do Sysadmin/breakfix duties.) I've already worked one Saturday without extra compensation, but was told that we "get really good bonuses at the end of the year to make up for those." Also, I have a set number of "Paid Time Off" hours listed on my paystub. Ummm. I'm hoping this is just some quirk of the accounting software. I guess I'll find out next week.


*It doesn't actually work that way (I could still have more seizures) but that's how it currently feels so I'll take that for the moment.

Current Mood: tired
Monday, July 18th, 2011
7:53 pm
Just a quick update
- I'm 50/50 for Diesel tomorrow
+ Because I'll probably be picking up my new (ish) car.

Depending on how smoothly that goes I might show up late.
Thursday, July 7th, 2011
8:04 pm
Guys, GUYS! We're living in the Effing FUTURE!
Ok, so actually I may be a bit late to this one, but I don't care.

Just discovered Google's Translation app for the iPhone. Seriously, weren't we just wondering when good machine translation would arrive, and when we weren't looking Google goes and just does it - for free, even.

Also, I am happy to report that three years of French class did NOT go to waste, as I can successfully speak the French lyrics from Lady Marmalade, and have them translated correctly into English. (Also, I am 12 years old :)
Sunday, July 3rd, 2011
3:57 pm
Done for the moment.
I am as moved in as I can be this holiday weekend without breaking into the storage facility, so I guess I'll be available for fun and frivolity this weekend after all.

I have too much stuff, yo.
Wednesday, June 29th, 2011
11:21 am
Wrapping things up
Called the insurance company and told them everything I know about the car theft and subsequent recovery.

As I feared, not carrying comprehensive coverage means that there isn't anything they can do for me, but at least now if it turns out that bad things happened while the thieves had the car the insurance co. will know I wasn't at fault.

Going to drive back out to where the car is and haggle with them over signing it over to them. As taura_g rightly pointed out, there is enough value left in the vehicle that I shouldn't be paying anything else to them.
Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
2:18 pm
I require council

I am highly upset and not thinking clearly.

I am putting out the call to any and all who can provide insight, clarity, or general advice on my problem.

I attempted to retrieve my car today. The story of the trip will have to wait.

Upon arriving I was allowed to examine my car to determine what shape it was in. After a bit I was able to figure out how the thieves had broken the ignition, and could get it to crank a little. It looked to be otherwise fine.

I went back to the office to pay and ask for a jump. I discovered that they only take cash for towed vehicles, so they asked if I wanted to leave my keys and have them jump it while I walked to an ATM. With the ignition in the state it was I asked them to wait until I returned and kept the keys with me. This fact is important.

When I got back, the man in the office informed me that while I was gone they jumped and attempted to start my car (apparently with a screwdriver) and that there was hole blown in the engine. Sure enough, after escorting me to my car, there was a fresh puddle of engine oil running out of the front.

The gentleman who was there with me kept making a point of saying that my car must have been along side the road for more than a week, even after I insisted that was impossible. He even went so far as to tell me that he had Personally Seen it by the road for over a week before it was finally tagged for towing, making me suspicious that there is some legal reason they needed me to believe that. This same gentleman, who I later discovered was the one who jumped and started my car, spoke to me while walking back to the office about how he could get me an engine block very cheaply, and asked for my cell number. I gave it to him, and he called my cell so I would have his number as well. At this point I had no intention of buying anything from him, but was in evidence gathering mode.

The man in the office offered to forgive the storage fees and I could just pay for the tow and sign the car over to them for nothing if I didn't want it any more.

There was too much stuff in the car to bring home on the train, and having it towed home seemed financially unwise, so I am heading home again and asking the hivemind for help.

I am so angry right now I want to sue everything that moves.

Wat do?

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Sunday, June 26th, 2011
11:38 pm
Quick Update: Car Recovered in Providence R.I.

Got a call from the Medford Police about 10:45pm telling me that my car has been recovered. It is at a Towing Company in RI. They believe it has no (new) damage, and even has items still in it, but couldn't say for sure what those items were.

I am unfamiliar with how AAA Premium works, but taura_g suggests that someone with it could arrange to get the car towed back here for free, so if this sounds like you please let me know. I will be finding out more details tomorrow, and also trying to figure out how to get down there myself.

Edit: Now that I think about it, I don't really know how the towing thing could work, since I need to show up with the police report to get it released, and if I am already there, I can just drive it home. They say it seems to be drive-able.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

3:39 pm
Holy 1975, Batman!
Saw this on Thursday while walking home from somewhere. I left it where it was, so the next person could get a smile the same way I did.

I feel old. :)

Current Mood: chipper
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
9:15 am
Too Fast, So Furious.
My car was stolen last night from in front of the house.

So far, here's what I know.

I didn't leave the keys in it. The drivers door doesn't lock properly*, but I make sure to not leave anything of value out where it can be seen and tempt anyone. That said, my work laptop was (is?) in the trunk.

The officer who took my report said that the State Police reportedly ran my license plate last night, but he didn't know why yet. Apparently they need to contact the actual officer who saw it. I'll save my rant about data availability and sharing in 2011 for another time.

It having been seen last night could be good news (they have my car in impound), bad news (they found it burning on the side of 93), or anything in between.

So far, that is all I know.

* Seriously, it was on the list of things to get handled very soon after moving.

UPDATE: Car recovered in Providence, RI. Will know more tomorrow and will make a proper post.

Current Mood: Numb
Sunday, June 12th, 2011
3:37 pm
"Ted" shooting in Davis Square on Tuesday.
Apparently Davis Square will be encumbered most of the day on Tuesday with a Movie Shoot.

“Ted” is a Seth MacFarlane movie starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis about a teddy bear that comes to life.

I imagine this will put a serious crimp into Diesel Night.
Monday, May 23rd, 2011
7:49 pm
This is why I can't have nice things.
ProTip: Men, keep your glasses on until AFTER you have selected the correct guide comb for your beard trimmer.

So, yea. I accidentally shaved off the beard. :P I had been keeping it rather short and tight, but one swipe with the misset trimmers and I looked like a hobo. So I finished the job and am clean-shaven once again. I had actually been thinking about taking it off, but I was far from having decided. Whoops.

My chin will be making an appearance at Diesel tomorrow if anyone wants to see it.

P.S. I still have hair, user icon notwithstanding.

Current Mood: Tender
Sunday, May 15th, 2011
10:05 pm
Overdue Update
Things have been progressing for me on many fronts.

The Job in Woburn has solidified, and I am fully employed again. Huzzah!

Which means that my housing requirements have changed. I am now looking in and around Medford for convenience sake. I think this next week will be very productive, seeing as many of the local Tufts students are currently moving out. I've been responding to 3-5 good choices daily on Craigslist.

Also, for those who already knew about it, the room I was looking at last week didn't work out. Current occupant got his nose out of joint when I wanted information like how much deposit I was going to be expected to put up, and whom exactly I was going to be renting from. He apparently told the Landlord that I was going to be a "problematic" tenant. (If problematic means I want detailed information about my living situation and what is expected from me then yes, I would have to agree with that assessment.)

More updates as situations warrant (and I remember to post them.)
Friday, May 6th, 2011
6:21 pm
Just a quick update. Heard back from New Job finally. I'm starting my training next Wednesday. Employed again - Huzzah!

Current Mood: happy
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