0267: "Choices: Part 4"

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Postby pyg » Thu May 24, 2007 7:10 am UTC

am I just stating the obvious when I say this comic was posted on an unexpected day, therefore agreeing with the comic itself?

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Postby Sufimoru » Thu May 24, 2007 7:14 am UTC

Randall! I pre-empted this comic and did something spontaneous!

I quit my job!

Without anything lined up!

While only having enough funds for approximately 2-3 months!

Without any college education and in a poor job market!

... Good lord am I frightened, but I was sick of being an emotional wreck and physically drained every day I worked.

Really, I'm with Ammorata and many others here. I've been willingly putting myself into situations that I absolutely loathed, simply because it's what I've been doing and I didn't hate it at first, so maybe that's just temporarily, until this and that changes. Bills still have to be paid and all. But, this and that isn't going to change any time soon and I know that. And while it's not the best job market, there's still tons of jobs out there, and if I stopped being picky I could nab one up in a week or two.

Granted I did this before reading this comic, but it's interesting how it parallels to my own life.

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Postby BloodyClownSuit » Thu May 24, 2007 7:31 am UTC

Something of a "The Man who Folded Himself" reference... I Like it

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Postby Silverbolt » Thu May 24, 2007 7:48 am UTC

I loved it. It seemed all too familiar to me, this latest chapter, and furthermore, I've always been a fan of the "if I forget this when I go back, have I been here before?" idea. Definitely this mini-series is turning into my favorite xkcd installment ever.

Also: Making out with yourself is only ok if you're a girl.
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Postby Froodulous » Thu May 24, 2007 7:53 am UTC

Nothing chauvanistic about that comment is there?

cool comic though, love it

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Postby mrputter » Thu May 24, 2007 8:32 am UTC

EradicateIV wrote:I saw this making out with yourself discussed in the last comic topic... Do we have control over the comics!?!?


Well, it strikes me that there's one way to find out.

Howabout this: we (here, in this thread) collectively settle on some striking proposal for a plot twist. Something that can plausibly fit into the storyline as it so far unfolds, but which is highly unlikely to have been independently devised by Randall. An authorial Care Bear Stare, if you will.

Then we wait to see if it shows up in Friday's comic.


Perhaps this is Randall's great experiment.

Not content with something so old-hat as breaking out the fourth wall, he is attempting to entice us to smash the fourth wall in on him. To rip through the paper of the XKCD page, as it were, and join him in his celestial bubble. I like to think that this is him taking the path less travelled, doing things without always knowing how they'll turn out. Putting faith in his readership to provide him a coherent narrative.



Well... it's possible!

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Postby John DeSavage » Thu May 24, 2007 8:50 am UTC

Well... whatever coherent narrative it is, it better involve monkeys.

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Postby mqarcus » Thu May 24, 2007 8:56 am UTC

This being my first post eve... well, not ever, but my first post here, I'd like to say I really appreciated today's comic. We really miss out on so many things because we are afraid of seeing the spontaneous choices that every day stand before us - or simply don't see them.
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Postby evilbeanfiend » Thu May 24, 2007 8:58 am UTC

mqarcus wrote:This being my first post eve... well, not ever, but my first post here, I'd like to say I really appreciated today's comic. We really miss out on so many things because we are afraid of seeing the spontaneous choices that every day stand before us - or simply don't see them.


introductions thread or it didn't happen
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Postby mqarcus » Thu May 24, 2007 9:08 am UTC

Done.
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Postby Duck » Thu May 24, 2007 9:23 am UTC

Making out with yourself also crops up a few times in "The Time Traveller's Wife", which, if you're enjoying the romance/sci-fi mix in this series, you will probably love, even if you don't like sci-fi.

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Postby Splarka » Thu May 24, 2007 9:24 am UTC

...What does this door do?
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Postby smocc » Thu May 24, 2007 10:14 am UTC

Sufimoru wrote:Randall! I pre-empted this comic and did something spontaneous!

I quit my job!

Without anything lined up!

While only having enough funds for approximately 2-3 months!

Without any college education and in a poor job market!

... Good lord am I frightened, but I was sick of being an emotional wreck and physically drained every day I worked.

Really, I'm with Ammorata and many others here. I've been willingly putting myself into situations that I absolutely loathed, simply because it's what I've been doing and I didn't hate it at first, so maybe that's just temporarily, until this and that changes. Bills still have to be paid and all. But, this and that isn't going to change any time soon and I know that. And while it's not the best job market, there's still tons of jobs out there, and if I stopped being picky I could nab one up in a week or two.

Granted I did this before reading this comic, but it's interesting how it parallels to my own life.
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Postby Iluvatar » Thu May 24, 2007 10:36 am UTC

Is spontaneity always a good thing? There's a fuzzy line between doing things that are random and fun, and doing that are unwise. It's great to take wrong turns, until you get fired for being late and get evicted because you can't pay your rent. It's great to open unmarked doors, until you open one with something secure behind it, and you get arrested. It's great to check out the people in the field, until they're ditching a body, or doing drugs, or planning blowing something up, and you find out.

This isn't to say that spontaneity isn't a good thing, but to do something with absolutely no regard for it's consequences is a sure recipe to eventually end up in a situation where you really wish you had considered said consequences.

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With regards to determinism, as I understand it, Hobbes thought that you could reconcile a mechanistic worldview with free will. Granted, I don't understand it when it's explained to me, but he thought it worked.

Unrelated note: Is poster #2 the RunningFool of ZeFrank fame?
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Postby John DeSavage » Thu May 24, 2007 10:55 am UTC

Iluvatar wrote:Is spontaneity always a good thing? There's a fuzzy line between doing things that are random and fun, and doing that are unwise. It's great to take wrong turns, until you get fired for being late and get evicted because you can't pay your rent. It's great to open unmarked doors, until you open one with something secure behind it, and you get arrested. It's great to check out the people in the field, until they're ditching a body, or doing drugs, or planning blowing something up, and you find out.

This isn't to say that spontaneity isn't a good thing, but to do something with absolutely no regard for it's consequences is a sure recipe to eventually end up in a situation where you really wish you had considered said consequences.


Image

Is it better nettiquette to post a link or an image when referencing a webcomic?

Also, if it was behind an unmarked, unlocked door, was it really secure in the first place? Do we live in a society that is so stricken in fear that we believe it is only safe to do only what we are told to do, rather than feeling free to do anything we are not told not to do? To say nothing of doing what we are told not to do regardless...

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Postby Isua » Thu May 24, 2007 11:12 am UTC

Oblique reference to "All You Zombies"? Or just a common trait that when geeks meet themselves, they can't resist the temptation? What an odd form of narcissism....

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Re: "Choices: Part 4" Discussion

Postby no-genius » Thu May 24, 2007 11:18 am UTC

Tawnos wrote:Not troubling... Intriguing. If you make out with yourself, does that make you gay?


Hey, I already make out with myself ... erm .... gotta go
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Postby AdisH » Thu May 24, 2007 11:20 am UTC

Concerning this randomness discussion I just wanted to point to this interesting read: http://www.hawking.org.uk/lectures/dice.html.

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Postby Teaspoon » Thu May 24, 2007 11:34 am UTC

John DeSavage wrote:
frezik wrote:
Berge wrote:I used to argue long and hard that nothing we can do is truly random, and that coin flips, die rolls and the like aren't random either. I mean, given all the data on a situation (coefficients of friction, weight, air resistance, angle thrown at, power, etc you could predict a die roll.) I also like to think that human behavior is also just the result of chemical processes and such. (In other words, just another physical system.)


In what has to be the most outmoded worldview ever, I still get the sense that the universe and everything in it as a physical system obeying a set of laws that results in everything following an immutable course. Randomness scares the hell out of me. The idea that some result can come from absolutely no input seems abhorrent.


You're right--it is an outmoded worldview. Einstein held on strongly to Scientific Determinism (which is more or less what you describe here), probably to his detriment. He suggested the "hidden variable" interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, because it's the only way Scientific Determinism can be reconciled with the wildly random behavior of very tiny things. After all these years, we're pretty sure that the hidden variable interpretation is wrong.

I was a bit disappointed when I found this out; randomness in the universe just seemed wrong. Then I realized that a deterministic universe has no room for free will beyond an illusion. I think I'm happier with things this way.


Aha! But if events are either deterministic or random, then how can you claim to have free will?

If everything is deterministic, then the choices you make have been pre-determined by earlier, external events.

If everything is random, then your "choices" are randomly determined as well, and you cannot claim to have chosen them out of free will. Nor will they have any appreciable effect on the worl^H^H^H^H universe.

If events are either deterministic or random, then either your choices were pre-determined, which means you have no control over them, or randomly affected, which means you have no control over them.

You're better off trying to redefine what "free will" means.
Or ranting about how free will is illusionary.

(I prefer the latter.)

Or subverting duality.


You can believe in some sort of metaphysical reality where a "you" that is some sort of soul or consciousness (or even a thetan!) makes its own decisions and steers those seemingly-random quantum-level events in the appropriate directions to make your brain and body do the things it has decided they ought to do.

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Postby Toeofdoom » Thu May 24, 2007 12:12 pm UTC

Actually, the funniest thing is that I just realised this hint and proved it to myself on wednesday, the day before the comic. hehehe....
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Postby Alcas » Thu May 24, 2007 12:30 pm UTC

Wow, this did kind of sting. Makes me worry that I'm the kind of person that bubble girl's alter ego wants her not to be. This is one of the best xkcds in a while because it has a deep message and a hilarious punchline, and they actually fit.

And while I don't want to get sucked into this vast philosophical discussion -- reading it makes me want to reach for my Super Soaker -- I do support the randomness view as opposed to the determinism. Determinism kind of scares me because of the no-free-will angle and the impossibility of spontaneity anywhere. I think it's exciting to live in a universe where random things can happen.
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Postby Sprocket » Thu May 24, 2007 1:18 pm UTC

I feel like this is something I recently started to do. Not exactly be spontaneous, but pretty much always take the new interesting possibility before me. Go with the "hey, I'm going to PA this weekend, wanna come?"

Just yesterday I decided to take a long walk during my lunch break, around the Charles River, because I THOUGHT there was another bridge down the other side that would get me back to where I needed to be. I wasn't certain, but I knew I'd seen a bridge to somewhere in that area a few years ago (last time I was there) that I imagined must have been watertown square (I really didn't know 'watertown square' then). "What if I'm wrong?" "Sarah, it's really not that important. Live life." Well, there was. Further away than was probably quite kosher for a lunch break, but I was glad I did it, and as expected, no one really noticed I was 20 minutes late getting back. I even had the audacity to pick up some skim milk at store 24 once I got back to watertown square. REBEL!

Then I was thinking about how so many cool things happen when you find an excuse to talk to strangers, maybe if you did the same without finding and excuse, more cool things would happen. I talked to these utter punk-kids on the bus to NYC last weekend, they were very nice, and the really appreciated my wit. On my way back to my seat, I felt like my cool was all validated. 8)

But, I've never been much of a hard worker. Working hard is part of this new package. I mean, work hard towards my new, interesting goals....not at work. Except, I haven't really been working that hard...just working AT ALL twoards my exciting new goals has proven rather helpful. But I definitely have often fallen into the "I'm home from work...time to waste time on line, or take a nap!" routine. It's coming back lately too. This comic definitely has inspired me to quit that again.
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Postby SecondTalon » Thu May 24, 2007 1:24 pm UTC

SilverWolfe wrote:The line "if you see a group of people in a field..." that really hit me. I've been toying around with buying the "JUST SHY, not antisocial" shirt, but I'm too scared that I really am antisocial. :?


The fact that you want to purchase that shirt pretty much proves you're just shy, not antisocial. A real antisocial person would likely view that shirt as an invitation for strangers to wander up and start conversations. And who really wants that? Not I.

Also, I'd totally make out with myself, just so I'd be able to say I've done it. That, and I'm curious if I'm a good kisser or if its some the people I've kissed that are.
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Postby evilbeanfiend » Thu May 24, 2007 1:31 pm UTC

its getting even more like http://www.killroyandtina.com/ not that thats a bad thing k+t was ace. self reference jokes are good too ^_^
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Postby McLurker » Thu May 24, 2007 1:53 pm UTC

McLurker wrote:
Gelsamel wrote:Remember, if you ever meet yourself you have to make out with yourself.


I doubt this is going to be the theme of tomorrow's comic.


Posted by me on the choices part 3 thread.

Well, I was wrong!

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Postby Sprocket » Thu May 24, 2007 1:56 pm UTC

SilverWolfe wrote:The line "if you see a group of people in a field..." that really hit me.

I remember last spring I saw a small group of people in this baseball park in davis square doing various juggling-type acitivites. I wanted to talk to them and maybe get involved. I've been trying to contact juggle since one of my exes tried to teach me a few years ago. Then things came to mind like the fact that I'm hopelessly un-coordinated, and so many of the 'stupid-human-trick' doing guys I know are arrogant, creepy or both. I kept telling myself "if they're still there next time I pass, I'll talk to them." but I never did. This reminded me of that. I wish I had, and maybe now I actually would.

Alcas wrote:Determinism kind of scares me because of the no-free-will angle and the impossibility of spontaneity anywhere. I think it's exciting to live in a universe where random things can happen.

BUT the beautiful thing about determinism is that it will still SEEM random and exciting to you! I think determinism is kind of BS. It's the sort of concept the obnoxo-geeks dream of. Those un-unprovable, self defining loops of logic.

SimonSwift wrote:..If I was a woman, I'd totally make out with myself.
Tawnos wrote:Not troubling... Intriguing. If you make out with yourself, does that make you gay?


Oh yeah, I'd totaly make out with myself. I mean, have you seen me? I think though, making out with yourself is either gay or masturbation, (it wouldn't mean YOU are gay, but it would BE gay) and if it's not cyclic, if you don't feel everything you do to yourself, and it turns you on to say, watch yourself being turned on, well...that's kinda gay. I'm still for it though. The question is, was she just making a joke to herself, because she thought it was funny, and knew herself would think it was funny once she realised it was a joke?
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Postby McLurker » Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm UTC

I'd make out with myself, but I don't think I'd go for a long-term relationship.

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Postby evilbeanfiend » Thu May 24, 2007 2:01 pm UTC

interesting 3some possibilities too...
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Postby Berge » Thu May 24, 2007 2:25 pm UTC

AdisH wrote:Concerning this randomness discussion I just wanted to point to this interesting read: http://www.hawking.org.uk/lectures/dice.html.


This helps me. I trust Stephen Hawking implicitly.

Stephen Hawking wrote:Many scientists are like Einstein, in that they have a deep emotional attachment to determinism. Unlike Einstein, they have accepted the reduction in our ability to predict, that quantum theory brought about. But that was far enough. They didn't like the further reduction, which black holes seemed to imply. They have therefore claimed that information is not really lost down black holes. But they have not managed to find any mechanism that would return the information. It is just a pious hope that the universe is deterministic, in the way that Laplace thought. I feel these scientists have not learnt the lesson of history. The universe does not behave according to our pre-conceived ideas. It continues to surprise us.


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Postby Deity » Thu May 24, 2007 2:27 pm UTC

Teaspoon wrote:You can believe in some sort of metaphysical reality where a "you" that is some sort of soul or consciousness (or even a thetan!) makes its own decisions and steers those seemingly-random quantum-level events in the appropriate directions to make your brain and body do the things it has decided they ought to do.


Yeah... No... The trick question is always:

"Where do you (or it, or whatever other-reality entity that could or could not exist) base you decisions on?"

Is it worldy events? Because those are apparantly random. If you act on this world, no matter where the decisions "come from", it is random. Because the source of the decisions is random.

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Postby mqarcus » Thu May 24, 2007 2:41 pm UTC

Iluvatar wrote:Is spontaneity always a good thing? There's a fuzzy line between doing things that are random and fun, and doing that are unwise. It's great to take wrong turns, until you get fired for being late and get evicted because you can't pay your rent. It's great to open unmarked doors, until you open one with something secure behind it, and you get arrested. It's great to check out the people in the field, until they're ditching a body, or doing drugs, or planning blowing something up, and you find out.

This isn't to say that spontaneity isn't a good thing, but to do something with absolutely no regard for it's consequences is a sure recipe to eventually end up in a situation where you really wish you had considered said consequences.


Of course, in my opinion there has to be some kind of limit, but what is certain is that we sure do miss out on many things while just walking the path we've always have.
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Postby voodooKobra » Thu May 24, 2007 2:42 pm UTC

Heh. Making out with yourself... technically it does make you gay, but it's not sex either. At extremes it could only be masturbation... mutual at that.
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Postby Sprocket » Thu May 24, 2007 2:57 pm UTC

Deity wrote:Yeah... No... The trick question is always:

"Where do you (or it, or whatever other-reality entity that could or could not exist) base you decisions on?"

Is it worldy events? Because those are apparantly random. If you act on this world, no matter where the decisions "come from", it is random. Because the source of the decisions is random.


In determinism, you start on the basic molecular level. The fact that molecules and atoms do determinable things leads the rest of existence - the butterfly acts on its instincts, drawn to the flowers, the flowers grow where the water supply is best, the water supply is best where the river flows, the river flows where the valleys are, techtonic activity created the mountains, the earth's molten layers move accord to convection, etc. So none of that it is random.
Then you extrapolate (is that the right word) to people - You're born with your genetics, into your household with your soroundings, your instincts and social indoctronation cause you to take on certain beliefs and characteristics which will cause you to make certain decisions and end up it certain places where you will be influenced further in various ways.

Person A on the street may meet someone C who makes them want to change, another person B on the street won't meet that person C, or that person C won't have the same effect because of what person B's upbrining was, or genetic make-up caused their personality to be like, etc.
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Postby WhiteRabbit » Thu May 24, 2007 3:06 pm UTC

Wow, the second panel, particularly the line:
All you see is the choice between working hard and slacking off.

hit way too close to home. Good job.



Also, I'm totally in favor of warping reality to make out with yourself. It seems like the highest purpose for such abilities. :lol:
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Postby Deity » Thu May 24, 2007 3:20 pm UTC

CatProximity wrote:In determinism, you start on the basic molecular level. The fact that molecules and atoms do determinable things leads the rest of existence - the butterfly acts on its instincts, drawn to the flowers, the flowers grow where the water supply is best, the water supply is best where the river flows, the river flows where the valleys are, techtonic activity created the mountains, the earth's molten layers move accord to convection, etc. So none of that it is random.


That is not what I meant. Teaspoon was talking about you making your own decisions. What I meant with "the source of the decisicions is random" is not that there is no cause-and-effect. I meant that if the cause is random, the effect is also 'random'.

I believe the choices you make are virtual choices. Making a choice is like accounting: You sum up the benefits and the costs and determine the best course. What makes you you is the way you determine what benefits you and what costs you.
Albeit from quantum-randomness, if you are presented with the exact same situation twice you can never 'choose' two different actions. Thus do you really have a choice?

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post your next episode theories! (oh wait, this isn't NBC)

Postby Sprocket » Thu May 24, 2007 3:34 pm UTC

What's left for tomorrow except to see what random things she decides to do. My money is on - jumps on boy. Hopefully she does some other cool stuff too.

I have been EDITING LIKE MAD today, and still I'm full of errors! I think my imagination is just getting too far ahead of the more rules-based part of my brain.
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Postby Alcari » Thu May 24, 2007 3:34 pm UTC

Hi, this'll be my second second post here, ever.

I don't really think that you have a choice, after all, if the base for your decision is random and uncontrolable, and the process by which is random and uncontrolable, then you cannot truly have free will.

I'd make out with myself, but I don't think I'd go for a long-term relationship.

I sure couldn't live with me, but thank god my girlfriend can :)
Who, by the way, I met when I was about to tell here that I did like her, but had just come out of a long realtionship...you get the idea.
And then instead I kissed her, truly the best random thing I did.

Odd, when girls randomly kiss guys it's fun, spontaneous and cute, when guys do it....

[EDIT: first real post, 7 typos...]
Last edited by Alcari on Thu May 24, 2007 3:35 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Nyarlathotep
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Postby Nyarlathotep » Thu May 24, 2007 3:35 pm UTC

Making out with yourself is certinally homosexual. the REAL question, however, is: is it incest, or masturbation?

In theory it could be incest since you share identical genetic code. Then again, since it's -you-...

Or, what if it were an alternate universe where you were of the opposite gender? what then?

(oh man. I'd be insanely good looking as a male. that might be enough to overcome both my general aversion to sex and my aversion to red heads [the latter, ironically enough, comes from that red heads all seem like siblings to me in some way.] )

('course I might make out with a female altverse self as well. Then again, I say that, but my real life experience says that my internal alarm bells would go off and I'd have a fit of Awkward!!! and flee the scene before anything happened)
'Gehȳrst þū, sǣlida, hwæt þis folc segeð?
hī willað ēow tō gafole gāras syllan,
ǣttrynne ord and ealde swurd,
þā heregeatu þe ēow æt hilde ne dēah.

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Sprocket
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Postby Sprocket » Thu May 24, 2007 3:42 pm UTC

Nyarlathotep wrote:Making out with yourself is certinally homosexual. the REAL question, however, is: is it incest, or masturbation?
Yeah, true.
Nyarlathotep wrote:('course I might make out with a female altverse self as well. Then again, I say that, but my real life experience says that my internal alarm bells would go off and I'd have a fit of Awkward!!! and flee the scene before anything happened)

Yeah, theoretically it'd be an awesome opportunity of "How well do I kiss, REALLY?" and "What do I look like in this position" and just plain a safe opportunity to just find out what being with a chick is like without any complications. But in reality, I think I'd feel the exact same way about it "dude...this is just kinda weird"
Last edited by Sprocket on Thu May 24, 2007 3:46 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Fenyx » Thu May 24, 2007 3:43 pm UTC

Rat wrote:i dunno.. good things never really come of groups of people in fields... its always like... somebody getting whacked or some shit eating orgy or people picking shrooms and i dunno they might get defensive


Random people in a field might not be a bad idea.


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