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I've changed the "Bio" section of my user info page. - AdrianG [APOD]
December 1st, 2003
07:53 pm

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I've changed the "Bio" section of my user info page.
I've expanded the Bio section on my user info page. There is no spell checker in the web interface for updating that section, and there's no good way for people to respond directly with their thoughts about it. Feel free to point out spelling or grammatical errors or any other thoughts about the new bio text here.

Adrian

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From:dr_nebula
Date:December 1st, 2003 06:02 pm (UTC)

lack of a spell checker

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Yeah, I'd like to have one for that section, too. Even the frigg'n client doesn't want to deal with checking that section.

In the words of my "hero"


oh, Wise guy, eh?

Nyuk! Nyuk!
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From:skjaere
Date:December 7th, 2003 01:09 pm (UTC)
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Adrian,

I want to say I am flattered that you have added me to your "friends". I read your bio, and I can see you are a thinker, which is something I really respect. I have no time for knee-jerk folk from either end of the political spectrum, who spout their party dogma like well-trained parrots. But if someone can show me they have put some thought into their views, I will always respect them, even where I disagree with them. The diversity of ideas is what makes America great.

Mary

P.S: I did see a few spelling errors. Maybe I will give it a look again later.
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From:adriang
Date:December 7th, 2003 06:19 pm (UTC)
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Thanks.

Also, if you see something that looks like it's spelled wrong, and if you don't have time to look up the correct spelling, that's fine, I can do that part.

I do proof read the stuff, but since I know what I meant, my mind just doesn't catch on the mistakes the way it would with someone else's writing.

Adrian
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From:skjaere
Date:December 19th, 2003 02:44 am (UTC)
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It's always good to get an editor with an objective eye. It's too easy to read over your own text and see what you meant to say, rather than what you did. Remind me again after Christmas, and I will give it a look.
From:zscorpio
Date:December 9th, 2003 09:07 pm (UTC)
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It's nice to see someone commited to respectful discourse. I'm always interested in what people have to say. Right now I'm trying out debate. I'm finding it hard to actually elicit comprehensive responses though. Perhaps we'll have a chance to discuss in one of your future posts.
[User Picture]
From:adriang
Date:December 10th, 2003 07:10 am (UTC)

Debate

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Perhaps so.

On a side note, debate really isn't the same thing as respectful discourse. It can help you develop some interesting habits, and I think it does have some value. But debate is really more about convincing a third party that you are right, and not about exchanging ideas with the second party because you respect that second party. It's not about understanding why that second party believe the things he does and either making a counter argument in terms of his beliefs or changing your own beliefs if what he is saying makes sense.

Debate skills are useful, sometimes. As an example, when I am arguing in a public forum about evolution with someone who is committed to "creation science", sometimes I really have given up on that someone and my real goal is to make a convincing argument to those people who are watching the argument. Debate is really the only choice I have in such cases, and while I think respectful discourse is better when it's an option, there's not much that's really respectful about addressing the second party in a discussion with arguments that are really designed to work on third parties. I would claim that the second party in those cases hasn't been honest enough with me about why he believes what he believes for me to engage in respectful discourse, and I could argue that it's not my fault. But still, debate is not as satisfying as respectful discourse.

Adrian
From:zscorpio
Date:December 10th, 2003 11:22 am (UTC)

Re: Debate

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On a side note, debate really isn't the same thing as respectful discourse. I never said it was. I said it is what I'm doing at the moment. Perhaps debate isn't satisfying for you we'll see what it holds for me.

Sometimes when you have a debate and an opposing argument is brought about in such a way as to open your eyes, or smack you on the head, you might say that was worth while. While one does appeal to a third party, one also hopes to make the opponent second guess his convictions. Now this is very discreet, and on the note of feeling nothing gets done, you’re right most won't admit they're wrong. But if I make someone, anyone walk away questioning my reasoning both favorably or not, then I've accomplished something indeed.

there's not much that's really respectful about addressing the second party in a discussion with arguments that are really designed to work on third parties

Perhaps you are unable to respect your opponent while putting forth debate; I on the other hand hold no such belief. First and foremost I respect who I debate, and to any who wish to challenge my convictions equal respect. Is it possible that you’re looking at the negative side of debate out of negative experiences? - Because debate is a wonderful way to share new ideas and opinions.

You seem to have conviction for what you believe but if you’re always waiting for respectful discourse you might not reach as many people as you’d like. Maybe that’s not your goal. The optimist in me would like to reach as many people as possible.
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From:adriang
Date:December 10th, 2003 06:02 pm (UTC)

Re: Debate

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LJ made me split this up, since it is too long.

part 1

      On a side note, debate really isn't the same thing as respectful discourse.

    I never said it was. I said it is what I'm doing at the moment. Perhaps debate isn't satisfying for you we'll see what it holds for me.

Agreed. I had hoped to make it clear that I understood that by starting with "On a side note". Perhaps another approach would have been better.
    But if I make someone, anyone walk away questioning my reasoning both favorably or not, then I've accomplished something indeed.

Agreed. I'm not trying to argue that debate can have no value. Instead I'm arguing that there is a useful distinction to be made between respectful discourse and debate, and that of the two, I find respectful discourse more rewarding.
      there's not much that's really respectful about addressing the second party in a discussion with arguments that are really designed to work on third parties

    Perhaps you are unable to respect your opponent while putting forth debate;

That's certainly not what I said. First, I would point out that there is a difference between respecting someone and treating someone with respect. As and example of the difference, I think it's important to treat people with respect whenever I can, even if I have some reason not to respect them or if I simply don't know them well enough to know if they deserve my respect. I also think it's possible to respect someone to fail to treat them with respect through thoughtlessness or misunderstanding.

When I said, "there's not much that's really respectful about" a behavior, this statement was more about treating someone with respect or not than it was about respecting them or not. There are certain activities during which it is proper and useful to set aside any respect that you might have for someone and to do things which would, under other circumstances, be properly considered disrespectful. Debate and poker are two such activities. In the same sense that it would be proper to view some of the deceptive tactics used in poker as less than respectful under other circumstances, I would argue that if would be proper to consider it less than respectful under some circumstances for someone to address an argument to you without trying to understand your point of view well and to put the argument in terms that make sense to you. I think there are people that learn debate skills properly in actual debates who then get themselves into trouble by applying those skills, unmodified, in one-on-one discussions.
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From:adriang
Date:December 10th, 2003 06:06 pm (UTC)

Re: Debate

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part two..

    Because debate is a wonderful way to share new ideas and opinions.

I think the process of trying to understand the other person's point of view and to construct arguments in terms of his fundamental beliefs is quite valuable in exchanging ideas between two people. While I don't think it is impossible to accomplish this in debate, the goal of persuading a third party that you are the winner is at least a distraction from the goal of exchanging ideas with the second person. The more public a discussion is, the more value there can be in debate skills. While I do believe that debate habits, on the whole, interfere more than they contribute to a one on one exchange of ideas, but I would not argue that debate habits have no value at all.

    You seem to have conviction for what you believe but if you're always waiting for respectful discourse you might not reach as many people as you'd like. Maybe that's not your goal. The optimist in me would like to reach as many people as possible.

What I said was
    Debate skills are useful, sometimes. As an example, when I am arguing in a public forum about evolution with someone who is committed to "creation science", sometimes I really have given up on that someone and my real goal is to make a convincing argument to those people who are watching the argument. Debate is really the only choice I have in such cases, and while I think respectful discourse is better when it's an option, there's not much that's really respectful about addressing the second party in a discussion with arguments that are really designed to work on third parties. I would claim that the second party in those cases hasn't been honest enough with me about why he believes what he believes for me to engage in respectful discourse, and I could argue that it's not my fault. But still, debate is not as satisfying as respectful discourse.

I'm not sure how you came to the conclusion you did about my position from the words I wrote. I don't think it always makes sense to hold out for respectful discourse, and I agree that I would not reach as many people as I would like by doing so. I'm just saying that I prefer respectful discourse, when it's available. Is there something in the wording I chose that drew you to another conclusion about my position? I confess, if I did overlook something in the wording I chose, it wouldn't be the first time. 8-)

Adrian
From:zscorpio
Date:December 10th, 2003 07:33 pm (UTC)

Re: Debate

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Perhaps it’s necessary for us to define what exactly we mean while saying debate and respectful discourse.

Debate: The engagement of ideas, opinions and facts relating to a given topic. This can be achieved one on one, through competition, in front of an audience, or at the dinner table. Certain negative connotations are inherent in the definition such as: being argumentative or combative.

Discourse: Verbal or written discussion. Connotations: a more respectful engagement, open to both sides, to reach conclusions through mutual reasoning.

I think we can agree that there is indeed a distinction. Not so much in definition but in effect really.

I would argue that if would be proper to consider it less than respectful under some circumstances for someone to address an argument to you without trying to understand your point of view well and to put the argument in terms that make sense to you.

Here I tend to disagree. One enters a debate with full understanding of what it entails. It can’t be less than respectful if you know what to expect. It’s all the more challenging to come across in a way that may inspire a mind. It’s more about accomplishing change and not making it easy for people to become complacent or dogmatic than it is about winning. Don’t get me wrong there have been times when I’ve been disillusioned with debate. I’m not sure if you remember my war post but that was kind of the same thing. I was disillusioned with it. Looking back on it though, after spending days of on-line, I know I did my best to send out a good compassionate message. That’s all you can hope for in debate: To plant that seed and hope for a garden.

On discourse I must admit, I’m an amateur. It just doesn’t appeal to me like a debate would. Maybe it’s the narcissist in me. I have only been writing for a few years now, and there are times when I lack the confidence to engage myself with others – debate or otherwise. This is especially true in person. I consider myself opinionated but most often I’m a spectator, or a reluctant participant. This despite the fact I’d like to become more involved with politics in the future. So, online debate is a way for me to work on my inhibitions, while putting into practice the ideas and thoughts I have.

I got the impression that, although you believe there is a time for debate, you are a reluctant debater. You impressed upon me that you preferred discourse. I strove to impress upon you that I prefer debate. That is all really.
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From:adriang
Date:December 10th, 2003 08:49 pm (UTC)

Re: Debate

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Regarding definitions, I think that discussion styles can be categorized on whether the arguments of each direct party are designed to appeal to the other based on his beliefs or the arguments of each are designed, in some sense, to appeal to third parties. I think these two types of style are distinctive in a way that makes it worth discussing the differences between the two, and to do so, we have to have some way to refer to them.

I label this second type of discussion style "debate" since it seem the closest word in meaning. Certainly when people engage in formal debate, this sense of arguing to third parties seems like an essential element. I admit that people use the word to refer to discussions that would not qualify as debate under my proposed definition, but I would point out that many people don't really understand the distinction between these two discussion styles. While I must concede that there is room for honest disagreement about the exact definition of "debate", I argue that including this notion or third party appeal as an essential element of the definition has some justification and seems to be the most direct way to talk about these two discussion styles.

Does that much make sense?

Also, while many people think of "arguments" as having negative connotations, I would say that we need room for neutrality in the definition of "argument", and I am reluctant, because of this, to concede that "argumentative" must have negative connotations. I would concede that "combative" does, and while not all debates must be combative, it does seem to me that the word "debate", in common usage, suggest a certain combativeness.
    One enters a debate with full understanding of what it entails. It can't be less than respectful if you know what to expect.

I think we both agree that the behavior in question is perfectly acceptable, in its proper place. It looks like there is simply a subtle difference in the way we use the phrase "less than respectful". I'm inclined to persist in using the phrase "less than respectful" even in a context where the behavior is not a sign of disrespect because the situation explicitly permits it. I think you would prefer to say that behavior that is "less than respectful" in situations where it is not explicitly permitted is not "less than respectful" in cases where it is explicitly permitted. I can't think of a strong reason to follow one convention or the other, I was just using the other convention. I'm guessing we don't really disagree on an essential point, here, so much as we chose different ways to interpret the phrase in question.
    So, online debate is a way for me to work on my inhibitions, while putting into practice the ideas and thoughts I have.

It certainly has it's merits. Getting used to public speaking is certainly one of them.
    I got the impression that, although you believe there is a time for debate, you are a reluctant debater. You impressed upon me that you preferred discourse.

I do prefer discourse. I don't think debate is necessarily evil, or anything, but I have seen good people bring trouble on themselves when they used debate type skills in situations where they needed to listen more carefully. I see debate habits as being potentially harmful, sometimes, when they are used in place of respectful discussion skills. I've seen friends really screw up relationships by arguing too much about what other people would think rather than listening to what their partners are trying to tell them. If I had a piece of advice to give people about debate, it wouldn't be "avoid debate" so much as "understand the difference between debate and discussion, and use each one at its proper time."

I have to admit, though, that even I have found it useful to jump into discussions and debate as a way of getting used to public speaking and such. It's been a long time since I needed to do that (I taught some classes about 10 year ago, and that experience is an even better way to become comfortable with public speaking), so I had forgotten about that benefit of debate-like experiences, but now that you've mentioned it, I admit I've used debate habits that way, too.

Adrian
From:zscorpio
Date:December 10th, 2003 10:37 pm (UTC)

Re: Debate

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I argue that including this notion or third party appeal as an essential element of the definition has some justification and seems to be the most direct way to talk about these two discussion styles.

I agree. Although, I do believe one can debate directly with an individual without directly appealing to a third party but in essence third party appeal as an essential seems right. The exception would be debating an individual for the purpose of changing a consensus. It sounds strange: changing a consensus by taking on one individual but it makes sense if your purpose of engagement is to attack a broad consensus one individual at a time. I guess that would be indirect third party appeal then.

I am reluctant, because of this, to concede that "argumentative" must have negative connotations.
If you use argue then I would agree. A couple can argue, get out important dialogue, feel good about it, and then have sex. But if one the pair accused another of being argumentative, that suggests a negative tendency towards conversing. You acquiesce this by warning about the dangers of using debating skills in situations uncalled for. One who debates, when debate isn’t even on the menu, could be seen as argumentative, thus causing others to look at the individual in a negative light. I don’t agree with argumentative having to be express in the term debate, what I did state is that the definition does imply argumentative.

I'm inclined to persist in using the phrase "less than respectful" even in a context where the behavior is not a sign of disrespect because the situation explicitly permits.

I’m still inclined to disagree. I just don’t see the possibility of being less that respectful while engaging upon debate. Someone’s conduct may be less than respectful. That can be prevalent while debating but putting forth debate while appealing to a third parties, even though the opponent may be waiting for their turn with ears closed, doesn’t necessarily suggest what you say. Maybe I don’t understand that part. If you mean a party to a debate can be less that respectful while debating – yes – but if you’re debate falls upon the deaf ears of an opponent it’s more likely because he/she came into in like a raging bull, blood boiling, not receptive. The same could be true of you or I. That is why I believe one enters into it knowing full well the implicit standards of debate.
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From:adriang
Date:December 12th, 2003 05:33 pm (UTC)

Re: Debate

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On the connotations of "argumentative", I agree that the word is often use to object to conduct in a discussion, and frankly, my efforts to think of an example of a use of the word that does not involve negative connotations; This difficult is instructive, I think. It may be possible to make a theoretical argument that "argumentative" doesn't have negative connotations, but I'm not sure sure I would find it convincing, myself, as I presented it. I'll have to concede this point to you. 8-)

On "less than respectful", I'm still sticking to my guns, but I have to admit that my point in this case is quite subtle. First I should point out that the issue about the use of "less than respectful" for conduct during a formal debate is separate from the issue whether the use of debate like behavior can be thought of as "less than respectful" in cases outside of actual debates. The usage I advocate on the first issue seems more natural to me, but I'm inclined to work around it, simply to avoid miscommunication. Word usage in discussion is always about trying to establish common conventions in the language the participants use, and since my point was strictly about usage and not about substance, there's no compelling reason not to give ground on this. I certainly agree that debate behavior in an actual debate is not a sign of disrespect.

The point about whether debate behavior tends toward being "less than respectful" in other situations is, as I mentioned, much more subtle. My reasons for thinking debate behavior is likely to be less than respectful in non-debate situations are somewhat intuitive, but the exercise of putting them into words should be interesting. Still, I'll have to stew on it a bit to find the words..

Adrian
From:technoshaman
Date:January 2nd, 2004 03:15 pm (UTC)
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Just as a favor, I fired up Emacs and cut'n'pasted your bio, and ran it thru the built-in spellchecker. Found:

(first bullet)

assasanations --> assassinations

dissagree --> disagree

(second bullet)

clealy --> clearly

deliborately --> deliberately

(fourth bullet)

amoung --> among

(second paragraph following bullets)

withold --> withhold

(third paragraph)

loose --> lose (ack! a pet peeve)
loosers --> losers (several)

deliborately (again)

(fourth para)

loosers (again)

(final para)

journel --> journal

This is a good trick to learn, to compose offline in a spell-check-enabled editor and cut'n'paste into the window.... it may be a PITA to format (although if you've got full HTML capability in the window you're pasting to it's a non-issue; the browser will reformat automagically) but it's worth it.

Good text, compelling arguments. A thinking liberal, possibly with libertarian leanings? It's already been a fun conversation (about the car video laws elsejournal).
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From:adriang
Date:January 2nd, 2004 05:41 pm (UTC)
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Thank you for taking the time to do that. On the idea of editing offline and then cutting and pasting text, I have avoided it, because it tends to cause linebreaks into my text, and LJ tends to respond by putting
's into the HTML. But now that you've mentioned the idea, it occurs to me that I can cut and paste the final product from LJ to a local file, and then use a spell checker on it. I've done this variation, and it also helped me track spelling errors down.
    A thinking liberal, possibly with libertarian leanings?

Hmm.. Interesting question. I'm not really interested in committing to a political faction. It may be more correct to say that I think that the Liberal Faction, as a whole, requires less reform to be what we need than other factions and that it is more likely that the Liberal Faction can see their way to accomplishing the correct reforms more readily than the other factions. I should also admit that, in general, I have more in common with most liberals than with those in other factions. My chief complaint with other liberals is that, on average, they are far to quick to stop listening to those from other factions. Having said this, I don't think this problem is anywhere close to being unique to liberals. 8-)

I would not describe myself as a libertarian. I do think the Federal Government has it's fingers in far too many pies, but my chief concern on that matter is that the Feds are defying the The Constitution. I am more offended by the lawlessness of the Feds than I am at the idea of big government. I don't see the goal of small government as an ultimate end, in itself, although there are specific political incentives toward big government that I would be happier to see under control. I have some of the same concerns about big government that Libertarians do, I'm just not prepared to go as far as they propose to deal with those concerns. Still, I wish Liberals would listen more carefully to Libertarians. And I'm not sure I'd argue with the phrase "libertarian leanings". I'm careful not to fall over, but it might be accurate to say I lean in that direction. 8-)

Adrian
From:technoshaman
Date:January 2nd, 2004 06:27 pm (UTC)
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To be honest, I told the LP to go stick it after the State party here in Washington insisted on tying itself to expensive proprietary software (nevermind that it can be had for ten cents on the dollar at a certain employee store, that's still ten cents that can go towards stamps and other things we *can't* get at a discount)... which is why I used the lowercase "l" deliberately.

The reason I'm coming down on the "left" of "center" these days is that the "right" has slid so far past Atilla the Hun it's not even funny anymore.... so, yes, although this had not been true in the past, I think it is now easier to teach the liberals fisical conservatism (or, how to balance a budget - which they seem to be learning! See also Howard Dean) than to teach the neo-conservatives how not to be bigoted and fascist. *sigh* Sad state of affairs, but here we are; we have to play the hand dealt us.
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From:adriang
Date:January 2nd, 2004 07:25 pm (UTC)
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The most important difference that I see is that liberals at least give lip service to reason and intellectualism, where on the whole, the conservative movement widely accepts the notion of believing in ideas purely as a show of loyalty. I think it is the Conservative Movement's attachment to religion that legitimizes this notion of belief as a show of loyalty. While many liberals fall into this trap of committing to ideology as a show of loyalty, this notion is not widely legitimized in the Liberal Movement to nearly the same extent that it is in the conservative movement.

For the neo-cons in power, this notion of belief as a show of loyalty seems to be translating into a move to avoid public review of their actions, and I find this move quite disturbing. I think it is also impeding the process of developing ideas, for reasons that I've explained in the "Bio" that you have so generously helped me to improve.

I think it's also important to point out that there are conservatives with some very interesting ideas. I think we have a great deal to gain by seeking out more rational conservatives, discussing ideas with them, and listening to what they have to say. If for no other reason, we should reach out to them because the extremist conservatives will use any hate for conservatives that we show as a way to rally all conservatives around their extreme causes.

Adrian
From:technoshaman
Date:January 2nd, 2004 07:57 pm (UTC)
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I think you've hit on something here. The specifically neo-conservative practice of committing to ideology or to a leader, be it religion, political idea, or George Bush, is what is leading to their downfall. They're not thinking... which is what they accused the liberals of doing for years.

I think it behooves us to seek out thinking people from all sides and get them together in a crucible of ideas (like this one) and see what falls out...

OTOH, frankly I think it's a waste of time to reach out to some folk; just because we don't render a parade-ground salute every time we see a picture of Dubya is cause for some of them to hate us.... but, yeah, anybody who will listen and think can play.

You might want to drop one of your logic bombs in fac; there's a dude over there, sdfischer (who's best friends with dr_nebula) who's slid quite a bit to the right along with the current administration... I haven't been able to get his attention yet, really. I'd love to see you two tangle.... you're just the kind of thinking liberal he needs to whet his mind on.
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From:adriang
Date:January 2nd, 2004 08:43 pm (UTC)
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I don't know about dropping logic bombs, but I've joined the group, so the next time a discussion starts up, I should see it. I've never been really good at keeping my opinions to myself. 8-)

Adrian
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From:anansi133
Date:May 5th, 2005 11:20 pm (UTC)

apropos to nothing in particular....

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I'm kind of curious, how did you stumble into my LJ?
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From:adriang
Date:May 5th, 2005 11:29 pm (UTC)

Re: apropos to nothing in particular....

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If I remember right, it was due to a comment you posted in who_is_she's journal. The comment was short, but it made it seem worth looking into other things you've written. And it was worth the look.

Adrian
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