Todd Takitani's Lab Report Psy 459 Hawaii


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ttakitan.uhunix.uhcc.hawaii.edu

Behemoth

I can recall so vividly that first day, going into the CLIC lab, checking out a Mac, popping the boot disk, and then begin sweating with anxiety. I had no idea what to expect--but I'd prepared myself for the worst. We'd been assigned to create our lab report file using Emacs (and I'd no clue as to where to even begin). So I stumbled around on the Internet, trying to find some sort of help files which I could print out. Finding none, I got frustrated and left my terminal to go get some fresh air. I walked over to the candy machines in Manoa Gardens and was digging into my pockets for loose change when I heard a squeaky little voice say, "Psst! Need help with Emacs?" Stunned, I dropped my Bar None as my hands instinctively covered my mouth. Standing way back in the corner of the room was a tiny old elf who was no more than three feet tall! He was dressed in a three-piece business suit and held a very expensive-looking leather briefcase in his right hand; under his left arm he carried a plastic booster seat. He had a full-grown beard and was wearing a massive baseball cap with the words "No Fear" written on it. He was looking at me with this weird twinkle in his eyes and, for a split-second, I could've sworn he winked at me.

"Name's Jake--Jake Obovits," he said, while sticking out his left hand (nearly dropping the booster seat, which I noticed had the words "Yum-Yum Tree" engraved on the sides). I shook his hand, all-the-while in sort of a dazed, Mary Jane-brownie type state. "I've been sent by the Godfather," Jake continued, "He told me you needed help with that blasted editor, Emacs." I nodded slowly, my mouth still opened so wide the flies had begun gathering on my tongue. "Well? Are you just going to stand there, or are we going to get busy?" The little man looked irritated. "Pick me up and put me in your backpack, kid--I'm gonna take you places you've never dreamed of!"

PART A

A point was made in class that the driving on the mainland was a lot more difficult than driving on Oahu. More specifically, it was the class consensus which agreed that certain cities posed more of a challenge from a transit perspective than did others. I just wanted to inject something which only hit me after class. I used to live in California and, although I attended school in Westwood, frequented L.A. with my family a few times a month. I remember a lot of noise, smog, and traffic jams. However, I didn't find the drivers to be significantly more unruly than those in Hawaii; in fact, and I know I'm in the minority here, I'm beginning to think that Hawaii drivers are even worse because there are too many overprotective, over considerate drivers who disrupt the normal flow of traffic.

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Update

Okay--today's date is March 30, 1995, and I'm trying to update my report, being as we're more than halfway through our semester. Another good thing about this is the fact that nobody reads parts of the report which they've already read. This being the case, I feel a lot more comfortable writing stuff down at the beginning of the report at this point than I did before! It should be noted that I've begun to cut down on my overpowering urge to insert anchors after every other word (well, if you're reading this for the very first time, you'll soon find out what I'm talking about). Also, during the last class session, Dr. James told us to start putting "Back to the top" and "Index" links all over our reports--so I thought I'd do him one better by inserting those links after every paragraph instead of just every so often. Anyways, after looking my report over for a second time, I began to notice that, although it was decent in content, it was severely lacking in its readability. Okay, in other words it was boring! Realizing this, I frantically began looking for material which might "spice up" my document; finding none, I began to devote more time to thinking about interesting situations which had occurred in my life, writing them down, and then transferring them onto my lab report (with a few, minimal changes, of course). This appears to be working quite well so far, and I hope to be able to insert these fragments of my life periodically, so as not to bore the reader to the extent that he or she may begin falling asleep on me!

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The Shuttle

This is really beginning to become a drag. I fly over here every week from Maui to attend class, and it's really starting to catch up to me, especially from a mental standpoint. The actual airplane rides aren't that bad; rather, it's the ground transportation that gets me all screwed up. As soon as I get off the plane, I'm beset with numerous choices (i.e., catch a cab, the bus, rent a car, call friends, etc.). However, I've found that the one best way to get to school on time, and which expends only a few dollars (well, six to be exact) is the Waikiki Shuttle. This is the red, white, and blue bus which frequents the airport (about every, oh, fifteen minutes). The drivers are really cool and, for the most part, you get to your hotel within half-an-hour (and that's with a busload of tourists, usually). They also do it going the other way (your hotel to the airport), and this usually works out even better since you call ahead to arrange for pick-up. I really am thankful for this service because otherwise I'd probably become quite a nuisance to all my friends! I try to catch the shuttle everytime I get in--even when I'm not staying over. I'll just tell the driver (when I'm not staying overnight) to drop me off at a hotel which is close to Kapiolani (Blvd.), and then catch a taxi from there.

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Back to the Lab Report

Dr. James also related the amusing story in class about his "close encounter" with an elderly driver who was following him in heavy traffic. The fear that Dr. James exhibited in regards to the older man's deteriorating response-time and motor skills was all too real and I could really relate to his thoughts and emotions.

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This, of course, brings up another important point about driving and the fact that the bottom line always remains that you, albeit in a very minute sense, can control your own destiny by making yourself aware of possible hazards in your immediate environment. This would include all areas around your vehicle which you have visual access to (maybe about a 100-yard radius).

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What I've become aware of (embarrassingly, only within the past year) is that what is just as, if not more important than being aware of other drivers, is that other drivers be aware of your vehicle, its speed, and its intentions. Little things like headlights at dusk, using your blinkers when turning (even when you think no one's around), and slowing down slightly upon approaching an intersection (even when you've got the right-of-way) can make a huge difference when all is said and done.

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PART B

Alan Tallman reports that "past behavior tends to be the best predictor of future behavior in similar situations." This seems to make sense from a driving perspective (and I can verify it against my own behavior every time I slam down on the gas pedal upon seeing the yellow light drop just before I reach the intersection).

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Mr. Tallman also surmises where pedestrians obtain their sense of security (oftentimes false) from moving vehicles. He states that "People trust because they feel they can predict the other's response." But he warns that if their predictions are wrong, then injury or even death could result.

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Mr. Tallman inquires as to why people walk on both sides of the road (and especially on the righthand side, where they are blind to the traffic). He also questions why people feel so safe in the crosswalk (when you are no more immortal then you are outside of it). He relates a story about how he and a friend almost ran over a woman and her baby (who were in a crosswalk) on Kapahulu Avenue simply because it was crowded that day and visibility was poor. Finally, Tallman blames the pedestrian's blind trust of the "walk" signal for a lot of accidents and near-accidents.

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After reading this paper, I began to get the feeling that Mr. Tallman is insinuating that all pedestrians are naive, and ignorant to their environment. I believe that he is being stereotypical on this issue in that he never uses the phrases "some pedestrians" or "a few people" when he talks about individuals commuting on foot.

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I believe that one of the major problems contributing to this whole issue is the fact that over the years we've seen a change in the understanding of the rules; I think it has become somewhat of an unwritten rule that pedestrians, in actuality, do not have the right of way on any road used by automobiles; rather, with the emergence of so many motorized vehicles in this era, I think the tide has turned and we must now give the machine precedence.

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In another paper by Tallman ("The Dynamics of Convoys), he discusses different convoys (which he labels as "patterns in traffic." He decides to use his own fast-paced driving as the relative point of his discussion.

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Convoy #1 is when you have a plug (slow car) in one of the lanes which disrupts the flow of traffic. Tallman blames plugs for traffic backups and accidents (shamefully, I agree).

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Convoy #2 is termed "follow-the-leader." This is when a fast-moving car acts as the pace car and everyone does their best to keep up. Tallman says that this convoy is short-lived as you inevitably come across a plug. He also states that a good position to be in on the road is directly behind a leader because "a policeman will usually catch the leader on the speed gun and therefore the followers do not suffer the consequence of speeding."

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Convoy #3 is the "spacious-type convoy." This is when there are a lot of cars moving in their own "packs" but with a generous amount of room to maneuver. This was Mr. Tallman's favorite type of driving situation because you are able to drive at your own pace without bothering other drivers.

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Convoy #4 is called a "bumper-to-bumper convoy." In other words, rush-hour! Tallman, unsurprisingly, said that this was the worst kind of traffic because you are locked into a slow pace and can't do anything about it. Of course, I agree.

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Tallman states that his perception of driving has changed following his enrollment of Psy 459. He says that the only loser (in a situation where one is caught up in traffic or behind someone slow and is "losing it") in these situations is the one who gets upset. He goes on to say how he's learned to accept those situations as part of the total driving experience (which he says is the key) and can thereafter adjust his perception on getting upset.

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Tallman also claims he's changed his view of pedestrians (he claims he's now sympathetic to their situations). However, the biggest change is in the area of total perception of driving. He's shifted from an individualistic perspective of driving to one which encompasses driving as a complete, social event. He claims that when you learn this, your driving will become more respectful and will improve your outlook on driving.

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What Did Mr. Tallman Accomplish?

Clearly, Mr. Tallman has inherited a new position on driving following his enrollment in Psy 459. He says that the only loser (in a situation where one is caught up in traffic or behind someone slow and is "losing it") in stressful situations is the one who gets upset. He goes on to say how he's learned to accept those situations as part of the total driving experience (which he says is the key) and can thereafter adjust his perception on getting upset. Now I don't want to be a wet blanket here, but don't you think this sounds just a little too idealistic? I mean, we all have lives (yes, even me). And, being that we all have lives, we all must endure life's "ups and downs" and the constant bombardment which comes with our every-day interaction with the billions of stimuli in the environment. Therefore, since we've all got our own private lives, and since we cannot be asked to constantly have our thoughts trained on being this nice, easy-going person all the time (and especially when we're stuck in traffic when we know we absolutely HAVE to be somewhere else in the next five minutes), how on earth can we be expected to be able to transform ourselves into the most-loved driver in our communities?

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Tallman's State of Mind

This is an unusual question at best. What do you think his state of mind would be? Do you think he'd say to himself, "Gee, Allan--I think it would be nice if I could drink a case of Bud right before I do my homework tonight." Are we supposed to know whether or not these students were high on crack or something when they were writing this? Honestly, I wonder sometimes... Okay, anyway, I thought that Mr. Tallman was being relatively honest and was in a fairly stable frame of mind (he was sober in other words). Of course, one can't help but let a little bit of bias creep in once in awhile, right?

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Enlightening?

Oh, of course--Generational Curriculum papers are almost always educational to a certain degree. In this case, I learned that there are a lot of people out there who think like me (and probably drive like me as well). Mr. Tallman and I are alike in many ways, because we both like to rip around in our vehicles, and don't think too much about the consequences if we're careless. On a more important note, however, I think Mr. Tallman really creates vivid images of real-life in his numerous examples of driving experiences. With each description of a particular event, I'd be saying to myself, "Wow--I recall a situation just like that!"

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I also learned that history repeats itself, in that past driving actions will tell the tale in future, similar situations. Y'know--more and more I'm beginning to believe that this particular theme can be applied to any habits or actions people display. I look at myself and shake my head. My past driving record has been nothing but disastrous. I've gone through five cars (although only one has been brand new), two accidents, and about fifty parking tickets (I've only had two moving violations, however). And, as much as I hate to admit it, I think I'll probably have a few more run-ins with the law and the insurance company before I hang up my driving boots. How tragic!

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Future Generations

That's tough. I mean, I think what Mr. Tallman is saying is true and has relevance to our driving, but I can't entirely endorse what I don't believe will actually work. I just think there are too many cars on the road out there, and with the increased number of automobiles comes increased traffic and increased stress. And folks, it doesn't look like it's going to go down.

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PART C

I'm sorry, Dr. James, but my attitude these past weeks has been nothing short of malicious when it comes to the Internet. More to the point, I've become extremely spiteful towards our two "editors," Emacs and Pico; and, if you'll pardon my French, I think they're both garbage.

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Now before you go and impose a big, fat "F" on my report let me give you my top five list on why these editors have got to go:

(1) Inadequate information stored in the "help" file.
(2) No print preview, or like command.
(3) The Ctr-c function is impotent on my account.
(4) It's much too easy to lose your text (On
Saturday, I'd typed three long paragraphs in my report
and saved it--on Monday they were gone).
(5) No one in the CLIC lab knows how to use either editor
any more than I do (which is downright scary); also,
they don't have any literature on editors.

In addition to these quirks, I've also encountered other maddening bugs (many of which I've since been able to overcome, but not after hours of trial-and-error keystroking). The most frustrating had to be the mysterious shifting of text in my document following the imposing of the "p" command (sorry, the greater-than, less-than symbols don't show up). This caused me tremendous amounts of undue stress until I discovered, with the help of Mr. Bogan, that you MUST ALWAYS RETURN TO A NEW LINE BEFORE ENTERING THE PARAGRAPH COMMAND IN THE EDIT MODE. Now if I only knew how to set tabs (left, right, center, decimal) in Pico.

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Alright, now to the positive stuff (all three lines of it). Actually, when I sit down and really think about it, I've learned quite a bit about the lynx system, as well as the CSS server. At least now, when I sit down at the terminal and begin typing, I have an idea of what's going on. The downside to all this is that now Mr. Bogan must think I'm an idiot because of all the "stupid" questions I've been asking.

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I also learned how to convert text in your files (i.e., your lab reports) over to Word Perfect for Windows using the "Fetch" program. Fetch can be accessed by going to "Programs" and clicking on "Internet." After the dialogue box opens, you'll see an icon of a cute little puppy (Fetch). Clicking on the puppy's face will activate the program; another dialogue box will open and you'll have to type in some information pertaining to the file you want converted (server, filename, etc.). A big key here is to click on the "text" button (otherwise your file will become quite mutated). When you've finished printing/editing you can send the file back in. I found the program amusing because as you're waiting for it to locate your file a little dog goes running across the screen (and runs the other way when you send your file back)--I'm almost 100% certain it's Eddie from "Frasier."

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Aside from strangling the authors of Emacs and Pico, my only immediate plans are to: (1) Gain more mastery of the html commands; (2) Explore the CSS server; (3) Stop harassing the maids in my hotel when they try to wake me from my drunken stupor. Of course, I'll put more emphasis on the first two.

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Week 4 Homework

Homework

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Searching

I'm used to doing searches whenever I have to locate anything specific. On lynx, the backslash key (/) allows for searches for information related to whatever you type in. For this course, however, things aren't always that easy (until you get the hang of it). I had an extremely difficult time locating ANYTHING after telnetting into the CSS server at first, primarily because I didn't understand the idea of being in a different system and using lynx to view (browse) other files. Through infinite patience on Mr. Bogan's part and tremendous persistence on mine, I've finally come to grasp (somewhat) how everything is set up here. You cannot believe how much this helps when it comes to self-evaluation and knowing exactly where you stand and how much further you must go, especially in this class.

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Maneuvering

As far as maneuvering through the system, I've found that the "old-fashioned" method works well for me--although I'm not sure it's the RIGHT way: I simply get on lynx and, using my bookmark, jump over to Dr. James'Home Page. From there, I can usually access anything relevant to the course by using the numerous links he's inserted (unlike my file!). I must say, though, that you won't realize how easy lynx makes maneuvering through the Internet unless you wake up one morning and it's gone!

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Pessimism

Pessimism is fought off through the simple recognition that thousands of other people are out there, going through the same thing I am, and they're succeeding--therefore, there's no reason why I can't do the same. Also, I've found (I learned this in Psy 409) that you can only do so much on the Internet in one sitting; in other words, you shouldn't try and stay on-line for too long; I've found that two to three hours are the most any reasonable human brain can remain focused on a silly computer terminal--any more than that and your brain will start booking flights to Siberia.

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Depression

As far as depression is concerned, I usually keep a steady supply of heroin next to me whenever I get on-line. Okay, so maybe I don't. Seriously, I think the best way to overcome depression when it comes to the Internet is to set realistic expectations for yourself which correspond to each time you logon. You don't want to set expectations for yourself which aren't reachable, and you don't want to look too far ahead. Try to find/learn something new and useful about the system each time you go on. Make your logons shorter in duration, but higher in frequency. And, most importantly, try to understand the way the computer is working/thinking as you're manipulating it, because you have to understand the nature of the beast before you can conquer it.

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Progress

My progress this semester has been slow, and hardly steady. During the first two weeks of school I couldn't even get into my lab report file because my account had been set up improperly. When I finally did get in, I was "ambushed" by the brutally basic Emacs. At that point in the semester I actually considered taking the easy way out and dropping the class. I ended up staying, however, largely due to the fact that whenever I looked around in class, I saw the same frustrated, perplexed expressions and I knew that I wasn't alone in my struggle.

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Inspiration

What also gave me inspiration was the fact that a few others in the class had sort of "paved the way" for the rest of us by making progress using Emacs and Pico. Again, I figured if they could do it, then so could I. Switching exclusively to Pico I began redoubling my efforts and gradually began to see signs of improvement. Thus, since about the third week I've been able to grasp, little-by-little, some of the concepts applying to the editor and, although I'm definitely still a beginner, am capable of holding my own when it comes to inputting lab reports and homework.

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A Near-Death Experience

I had a ghastly flight over last week. It began when I caught Hawaiian Airlines over here on Wednesday night. I sat down, in a very happy, self-satisfied mood, ready to catch up on a bit of sleep I'd missed the night before. So I lean over and begin dreaming of Pamela Anderson when all-of-a-sudden I smell this incredibly sour, rotten stench. Now let me clarify something here. This wasn't your ordinary household stink-bomb--no, no--this was infinitely worse in that it smelled both rotten and alive. Now locating the source of this stench gave me great anxiety and stress: Did I actually want to locate the source? Would I be pleased to find out where the source was? Was the source radioactive? Panic-driven thoughts began racing through my head as I began peering over and around the surrounding seats. After a few minutes of searching, I narrowed my search down to two possible suspects: an old haole man who was sitting down in a very hunched-over position (possibly drunk), and this wild, long-haired Australian dude who was wearing about ten bracelets and had this girl who looked like she'd been time-warped out of the 1960s hanging all over him. Using the incredible deduction skills I'd developed in Psy 459, I figured that given the position of the subjects and, given the flow of air from the airplane's air-conditioning unit, there could be only one logical choice as to who was the air-pollution artist: it had to be the Australian! Being that the guy was sitting directly in front of me, I quickly looked for an alternate seat; finding none, I had to resort to covering my nose with about five paper napkins I'd managed to scrounge off the stewardesses. What an ordeal! I couldn't wait 'till the plane landed! Whew! When it finally did, I almost ran off the damned thing and went straight to the shuttle area. A sigh of relief escaped from my lungs as I thought, "The nightmare is over." As I stepped up onto the shuttle I took one more glance back over to the terminal, just to make sure flammable man hadn't followed me. Seeing no one, I snickered to myself and, with a sarcastic "Seeya!," tumbled into my seat. Not five minutes passed into the shuttle ride when I noticed that I was still smelling the stench. I began smelling myself, trying to discern whether or not I'd been infected with flammable man's disease. That not being the case, I began to frantically search the shuttle bus (which had been dimmed significantly, due to the lateness of our flights: it was 9:00 PM). What I saw made me want to cry. Way up by the driver (and right where the air-conditioner was blowing) was flammable man! He'd been on my shuttle all along! What an incredibly brutal trip! However, I have learned my lesson; now, I always make sure to bring a bottle of oxygen and a kitchen match--just in case.

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Oahu Cab Drivers

Okay, so I'm still afraid to catch the bus to school. What people don't realize is that a cab can oftentimes be the safest, most convenient method of getting to class. I usually catch a taxi to class as soon as I get off the plane, and instantly inherit these advantages: (1) The taxi can go ANYWHERE: This is perhaps the most important feature of the cab, since now I can go DIRECTLY to may class--literally to its front door! (2) The taxi is quicker than if I either rented a car and had to drive it to school (in which case I'd have to both pay for parking and then walk all the way up to Crawford anyway) or if I took the bus (and this takes FOREVER--I know, because I once was crazy enough to actually try it) (3) The taxi has an extremely high tolerance level, unlike some of my friends, who might begin to get irritated if I requested they "swing by" the airport on their way to school (4) Taxi drivers rarely speak fluent English, and so cannot easily tell when you're serious or when you're just being downright sarcastic.

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Uh-oh. I think I just overstepped my limit on this damned machine! The lab monitor is coming around with a list of names and is telling people to "beat it" within the next five minutes. Wow. I hadn't even realized that there was a limit to using the computers. Oh, well--I guess that's what modems are for!

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Homework 5

Generational Curriculum Papers

What's Going On?

I'm not sure that I've read the same Generational Curriculum Reports which Dr. James has in mind, so someone PLEASE let me know if you know something I don't! I say this because the reports which I printed up are predominantly Plato-based; also, they're not even reports, per-say--rather, it's just a case of students writing down their thoughts and opinions (in the homework section of Dr. James' file, it seems to imply that we'd be commenting on specific students--that seems rather difficult, given the fact that the file isn't organized by author). I guess I'll just wait another day until I figure out exactly what's going on.

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I think I've found the problem; return here to see correct week 5 homework.

May, 1991

Accomplishments?

I, too, have taken a look at the very large files from 1991, and, much the same as Isa concluded in her Lab Report, have found that students seemed to follow a similar pattern. It seems we go from states of anxiety and mistrust (when faced with the unknown) to those of excitement and relief (when we realize we're actually learning to deal with this new idea) to feelings of confidence and voraciousness to uncover more by forging on (when we've finally become accustomed to the new technology).

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I can remember when I was first introduced to Plato. Dr. James had made it a requirement that we logon at least once a week; of course, I was simply thrilled with that idea, and nearly had to be dragged into the computer room each week in order to complete the assignments. Then, somewhere around the fourth week of class, I began to notice that my dislike towards the computer was rapidly waning--I could tolerate longer and longer sessions at the CLIC lab, and I would experiment a little longer (rather than simply picking up and leaving as soon as I was done). With persistence came understanding, and with understanding came increased excitement and motivation.

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What Did the Student Accomplish?

This seemed like a "borderline abstract" question, given the fact that there were literally dozens of students logging in and out of the Plato system in these Generational Curriculum reports, and hardly any of them would write enough at any one time for you to get a clear impression of them. To answer this question in any 100% way, you'd have to download each file into your directory and then print it up through Word Perfect, or some other word processor (I did this for the first file, May, 1991, and it took FOREVER); then you'd have to grab a highlighter and go through EACH page of the hardcopy and locate a particular student's messages from May all the way through December. I, for one, do not have enough time for this--I also do not have enough time to manually go through all of these files and single out one or two particular students and track their progress (or lack thereof) through an entire semester! Please, we must be realistic here.

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Anyway, now that I've got that off my chest, let's begin. As far as I can tell, we had a mostly positive response from the students in regards to Plato. I think students like "Da Rok" and "Thanatos" kept the system from being a total bore and aroused deeper self-investigation by not always trying to be supportive. This may sound rather callous, but I believe that oftentimes the best way to instill change is to be very direct--to the point of rudeness, if that's what it takes (the shakeup of the House of Representatives is a good parallel).

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I did follow the progress of a student named "Gotcha" to a certain degree. He didn't seem to be very cooperative at first, but as the semester rolled on, he began asking more and more interesting questions and stimulated a lot of funny conversation. Case in point, this excerpt from the October, 1991 files:

"Love. Why do we do it? It has the capability of making
you so high and mighty, then devouring you ruthlessly only
days later. Unfortunately, yes unfortunately, this has
only happened to me twice...love I mean (and all that goes
with it). The first was this blond girl with these lips
like slices of ripe peach, smooth, delicious, and extremely
kissable. I thought she was wonderful, the thing that made
(me) tremble with passion and desire. I didn't date her
for long--maybe I was too pompous and arrogant. She said
goodbye and I felt sick. I felt hungry, but I was not
hungry, I felt alone even in the company of my closest
friends. I was sitting in the bitter depths of my empty
soul. If you think I am going a bit far you have never
been in love. It took me more than a year to get over it.
I saw her a few days ago and she was nothing special. I
talked to her awhile and began to realize that the girl I
knew was mostly my own creation, a perfection that I had
created out of what I thought she should be. I'm not
trying to deny being in love, I was, I'm just not sure what
I was in love with. Sometimes you just have to bleed these
things out onto a page to realize what the hell you're
saying to yourself. Any comments or experiences, insights?
I'd love to hear them.

You can, of course, imagine the amount of responses Mr. Gotcha received from this uncontroversial basenote!

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My favorite student, however, was Thanatos. He was always controversial, always looking to start something. This was not unlike "Da Rok," except Thanatos seemed to be more intelligent (although none less raunchy). I can't say that he "progressed" during the course of semester, because he seemed pretty competent from the outset (prior Plato knowledge, perhaps?). Regardless, it was quite entertaining watching Mr. Thanatos dissemble, dismantle, and destroy the commonplace.

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State of Mind

Thanatos' state of mind? My god, now that is a good question. I'd have to say it was a state which sort of jumped back and forth between sane and insane, normal and bizarre. I think perhaps he either came from a strict Catholic background or he was of direct Freudian lineage--his sexual comments run rampant. In one response he wrote something to the effect that he couldn't tell which was worse: When his penis accidentally falls out of his shorts and he's not wearing underwear, or the snot which hangs from his nose shows itself at the dinner table.

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Actually, aside from Da Rok and Thanatos, most of the other students appeared to be of sound mind at the times of their logons. There was (as always) more emotion displayed by the female personas and (again, true to gender) less sympathy exhibited by the males.

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What Did You Learn

Although I didn't learn much from the students themselves, I could see, to a certain degree, some of the things I miss and don't miss when it comes to Plato. First of all, I think Plato holds a distinct advantage when it comes to socializing and interacting on a personalized, closed-group setting (much like a class, or multiple classes intertwined together). When you have this type of group, logging on becomes fun because you know that your peers are creating, reading, and responding to the information. I really miss this aspect of Plato, because I don't believe the Internet is nearly as personal as Plato; case in point is the extremely difficult task of e-mailing someone if you don't know their address or server; and, even if you DO know their address you can run into problems due to the incredible length of each address.

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Also, I think Plato was thousands of times easier to use than is the Internet. Each Plato terminal was simple and straightforward, and, although a bit antiquated, fun to use. The exact opposite is true of the Internet--IT'S TOO USER-UNFRIENDLY!!! Hopefully time and technology will make the Internet easier to use and understand.

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But what the Internet lacks in user-friendliness it more than makes up for in power, extension, and speed. Its got more muscle than Charles Barkley, more range than Dan Majerle, and more quickness than Mugsy Bouges. I can't even begin to fathom the potential with a system like this, but I'm positive it will have an effect on the computer industry for decades to come (see all those AT&T ads lately?).

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Suggestions

I really don't have any very useful suggestions at present writing (maybe because it's 2:00 A.M. in the morning). However, I think that students SHOULD NOT write anything under aliases or "personas," as they're called--I mean, if you're big enough to write it, you should be big enough to sign your name on it--right? I also feel that (surprise, surprise) better EDITORS are needed, which mimic word-processors more than typewriters. In other words, abolish pico and emacs and burn their blueprints!!!

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Help Save Mahalo

Yes, it's oh-so appropriate. I now find (after class) that I've done the wrong assignment--story of my life, I guess. Anyway, I'd like to now take this opportunity to tell everyone that Mahalo Airlines is not all that bad (I rode it for the first time last week); at only one point during the flight did I actually think I was going to die. However, I noticed that there were only four people on the flight, and this really disturbed me. I mean, here's this airline, pretty much intended for the low-budget, economy-minded local people, doing EVERYONE a favor by lowering their rates and inspiring competition (Mahalo was $26 one-way through my travel agent as of Tuesday), and how do we pay them back? Well, so far we've rewarded them by defiantly buying the slightly higher fares of the more-than-slightly-crowded jets of Aloha and Hawaiian ($40 and $39, respectively). I think it's time to give back something to a business that's done nothing but good since it first opened its doors.

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Anywhere But the Y

Oh, yeah, one more thing. Does anyone know of a higher-quality hotel (than, say, the Inn on the Park) or a cheap studio place (under $600/month). I really think the maids at my usual hotels (the Inn on the Park and the Coral Reef) are conspiring to get me. Everytime I display some semblance of a social life and come walking in at 5:00 AM and hang that notorious "Do Not Disturb" sign on my door, I seem to attract the most persistent, obnoxious maids. They keep banging on my door until I get up, then insist on cleaning my room, even when I tell them it's just not necessary. How does one combat this terrible situation?

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Bummer. Once again, Todd jumps the gun and falls flat on his face when he realizes he's worked feverishly on the wrong damned assignment!!! Talk about bad habits. Anyways, here's the real deal.

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The Real Deal (Sorry, it 'Aint Evander)

Since I've already covered a lot of the superficial stuff in regards to the Plato files, I want to now answer the more specific, direct questions which Dr. James wanted us to. {This, as you might now guess, is part of the homework for week 9.} My journey through these students' mental spaces was quite a trip. Some students seemed calm and passive while others appeared very bitter, always trying to entice others into conflicts. Again, I think this was due to the personas which Dr. James had lovingly allowed them to garner (well, for those students who were on the controversial side, anyhow). My reactions? Well, I'd like to say that I was shocked--but then I'd be lying. I've actually seen a lot worse than this (when I was taking Dr. James' Psy 402)--and this was without personas! Mind you, I believe that in my semester with Dr. James (402), there were certain unique situations and students in the class, and so the lack of personas didn't dilute the intensity of the social interaction; however, if these factors were to be eliminated I believe the conversations would have been quite timid. Would you have liked to participate live? Oh, most definitely. However, I'm not sure I'd be willing to jump into the fray, even with the protection of an alias. This is because I have this weird belief that you should be able to always stand up to what you've written, be it right or wrong. You can't try and hide behind your pen (or, in this instance, keyboard) forever! I believe that all writers should adhere to this policy (as do most) because anonymity can create a whole bunch of problems.

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Was I Affected?

Well--this is actually Part B of the week 9 assignment, if anyone cares. I wasn't affected all that much, because, as the saying goes, you "had to be there" to get the full effect. However, I was somewhat entertained by the whole bit, being that they did cover some funny stuff (i.e., sex, sex, and, uh, sex). The involvement was quite curious, because it seemed that only a select group of students were actually "socializing." There were probably tons of other students out there who either didn't want to get involved or deemed the conversation unworthy of their two cents.

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Building Cyberspace Learning Communities

Would I continue this approach to building cyberspace learning communities? Yes, but I'd do it on the Internet (as we're presently doing). In fact, this semester is working along just fine. Typical of a James-taught class there's always the apprehension and gut-check at the beginning of the semester, but once you begin to familiarize yourself with the programs and get used to the way the class is structured, it's not half bad. In other words, I wouldn't change a thing, Dr. James! As far as designing experiments--hmm, now that's another thing. I'd probably set something up where I'd put students into little groups and have them try and reach a goal, using specific Internet techniques. This will pretty much force the students to both work together and share the knowledge they've accumulated thus far into the semester. For me, I think that cooperation in a group is a very strong motivational tool. I also learn more and get a stronger sense of self-satisfaction when I've accomplished something within the framework of a group. Hey, Dr. James! If you're out there listening, d'ya think we (the Psy 459 class) could have some sort of assignment like that? I think it would help our socializing immensely, as I don't believe that we're socializing nearly enough on the Internet to date.

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Interlude

The nurse looked irritated. "Wake up, John. It's time to take your medication." The door opened, and Old John peered through. This couldn't be possible. John's wife had been dead for over a month now. Yet, it was her; as beautiful as ever--thirty, mayber forty years younger, dressed in a stunning white gown, her long brown hair flowing softly over her shoulders. She had the face of an angel; and that smile--it could melt even the coldest of hearts. She reached out to him, he reciprocated, and instantly, effortlessly, they were swept away by a whirlwind of time and emotion: dinner at a cozy restaurant in Paris,a quiet walk on the beach, slow-dancing to the mesmerizing drawl of a solitary saxophone, making love while the gentle rhythm of the ocean orchestrated an atmosphere of sheer romantic perfection. The realm was mystical. The time was unmatched, the feeling was wonderful. John wanted to stay in this place--he wanted to stay forever.
"C'mon, old man--you can't fool me. I'm staying right here until you open your eyes."
And way off in the distance a tiny door closes one final time; it sparkles for a moment, as if releasing some sacred energy; then abruptly, almost violently, it vanishes, leaving only a few sparks which burn brightly, then fade quickly into darkness.

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Week 6 Stuff

How Did I Get Myself in Such a Mess?

The San Diego Traffic Report

I've added three links onto my home page as instructed. The first was The San Diego Traffic Report which was a very long, complicated report which appears to be continuously updated. It included some very useful information, like: real-time freeway speeds (and five-minute maps of these speeds), tables of current speeds, current road-closure information, a current incident log, intersection photos, and rush-hour traffic flow plots. This report was created by Maxwell Laboratories and Caltrans District 11 (as a free public service). How thoughtful!

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The Nissan 300ZX

My second link on my homepage was labeled "A 300ZX Just LOVES Traffic." This document was nothing more than an advertisement on the Internet for the 300 ZX by Nissan. It contained a little intro which boasted all about the long-awaited 1995 300ZX, a listing of all the awards it has won, and a few of the car's features. The document then lists link-ups for all five models of the 300ZX: the Turbo, the T-Roof, the Convertible, the 2-Seater, and the 2+2. There are also link-ups for the engineering specifics, the safety features, as well as more (as if we needed to see them) Nissan models. Wow. But why should I be looking at ads for a 300ZX when I can't even afford a moped?

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Cyberspace Automotive Performance Automotive Information Server

	This was probably the most impressive new link to my homepage 
(but, hey--I'm not giving up on UMass!).  The document claims the 
"Cyberspace Automotive Performance Automotive Information Server 
is the most comprehensive server of its type in the net.world."  Again, as 
with the San Diego Traffic Report, data is continuously updated.  Links were 
structured under six main categories:  (1) Performance Upgrades Ideas; 
(2) Automobile Sales, Leasing, and Rentals; (3) Automobile Repairs, 
Repair Information, and Roadside Assistance Programs; (4) The Technical 
Guru's Corner; (5) Online Automotive Magazines; (6) Other Automotive Web 
Sites.  Some of the stuff in here was really very interesting!

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Locating All of This

It's come to my attention that one of the requirements for success on the Internet is either a very big, buoyant butt or an extremely tolerant one. I've been sitting here at the terminal in the CLIC lab for nearly two hours and have just come to realize that their chairs are harder than week-old pizza. I think they do this on purpose, so that students don't overstay their welcome. Regardless, I've found all three of my subjects using the same procedure (I hope that's not illegal). First, I hopped over to Dr. James' Homepage. Then I scrolled on down to #22: The Infamous Web Crawler. After hitting "Return" on that, I got to the Web Crawler front page and hit my "Tab" key, which allowed me to enter in my keywords. To get the San Diego Traffic Report, I typed "traffic," tabbed out, then hit enter when SEARCH became highlighted. I then got a list of 39 items and selected "Southern California Traffic Report." From that list, I found the San Diego Traffic Report. For the remaining two items, I basically followed the same procedure, using the keywords "driving" and "automobile," respectively.

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Mr. M's Kickin' It

I thought Kendall's report was really well-constructed. He appears to have solved the one nagging problem which continues to plague me. If you look closely, Mr. Matsuyoshi, through nothing short of pure genius, has successfully conquered the problem of formatting his paragraphs (they're so disgustingly perfect)--people like this make me sick (okay, I admit I'm jealous)!

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I enjoyed some specific ideas in Mr. Matsuyoshi's masterpiece: for instance, his depiction of the invisible effect (under the Invisible Effect heading) and how he's seen people singing in their cars. Mr. Matsuyoshi, although sporting a near-genius IQ has proven he's human in this instance, because he's forgotten to place anchors in this region of his lab report (so that's why this particular link does not work at the moment). However, hopefully he'll get my e-mail and will "hook me up" in the near future.

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Mr. Matsuyoshi also gives an in-depth review on his Generational Curriculum subject--a female student named Dee. The unflappable Matsuyoshi analyzes Dee's take on probable causes for aggressive driving. He dissects her contention that aggressive driving may have gender-based roots and also goes over some perspectives on pedestrian traffic.

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Isa's Down

She's the Web Queen--the Godmother of Unix--"La Femme Super D'Internet." Call her what you will but I'll always see Ms. Isa as the prototype Internet role model. Her lab report lays testimony to this label (yep, Isa's definitely down).

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Besides making me feel like an idiot, Ms. Isa has shed light on a number of Internetting problems and pitfalls, not only from a technological standpoint, but from an emotional one as well (cognitive vs. affective). Case in point is her section titled Internet Thoughts. I was impressed with the way Isa could both admit to her faults and emotions and persist in the face of despair and, quite obviously, persevere.

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Another part of Isa's lab report which totally amazed me was her ability to progress from her initial stage of not understanding the linking procedures (stated in her Link Reaction section) to being able to link her report with others in the class (I've no clue as to why this link doesn't go all the way through at this time!). How inspiring!

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Slaughter's Got it Goin' On

Truly a profound example that anything can be accomplished if you simply refuse to quit. Ms. Slaughter has turned it around in nothing short of dramatic fashion. The funny thing here is that I can honestly say I know what she went through: Last semester I signed up for Psy 409, thinking it was just another psychology class. I was rudely awakened when I got to class and everyone was speaking another language (Internetian, which is almost as bad as Pidgin); and, although I knew I was at a distinct disadvantage, I decided to stick around and see what I could learn from all the "old hands" in my class. As it turned out, Psy 409 became one of my most exciting classes and I thoroughly enjoyed myself during the course of the semester. Curiously, Ms. Slaughter is showing the same signs of awakening and, as her lab report file reveals, is probably becoming more and more familiar with the system. It just revalidates my position that Slaughter's got it goin' on!

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Week 7 Stuff

Here We Go With the Hot Links

Michelle Ota

Ms. Ota, one of the "pioneers" in our class, has really motivated me to continue to work at this crazy system. It was her lab report which really proved to much of the class that the Internet (and in particular, Emacs and Pico) weren't beyond our comprehension.

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Besides the editor stuff, I learned, through careful study of Otaian Advice (located under her Advice anchor in her lab report), that it is wise not to practice procrastination; procrastination breeds cramming and cramming breeds stress and oftentimes failure. Also, Ota preached a commonsense, ask-a-lot-of-questions approach, which I found attractive (I ask dumb questions ALL the time!).

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Balatico: Silent But Violent

The most underrated student in Psy 459 has got to be Ms. Balatico. Indeed, her lab report proves she's not simply a wallflower. What I enjoyed most about reading Ms. Balatico's lab reports and homework was not so much the content (although that was excellent) as much as the AESTHETICS of the document. I mean, look--flip over to her document using the afore- mentioned link and then flip back over here and you'll SEE the difference. My report couldn't stand next to a wino and look good, let alone a report the quality of Balatico's!

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I enjoyed Ms. B's Thoughts and Reactions section, and agreed wholeheartedly with her contention that the smallest things can sometimes make the biggest difference, from a psychological perspective (i.e., the little waves, to say "thank you").

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Rayson Noguchi

Surprise, surprise. Another report which is infinitely more aesthetically-pleasing than my own. This time the esteemed author is Mr. Rayson Noguchi. I found his report to be quite interesting as well (aren't they all?). I especially liked when he noted that a lot of the traffic screw-ups involve the elderly, and not just the "under-25" group. My job consists of 60-70% driving and 30-40% actual work, so I've been behind more than a few elderly drivers and I HATE IT! I know it's wrong, but I get so angry when an old person is going 25 MPH on a wide open highway! Man, just thinking about it gives me stress.

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Diane Beauchemin

Beauchemin's lab report was the last one I created "hot links" to. Ms. Beauchemin's writing style was a welcome change after I'd read so many formal-type files. I enjoyed her depiction of the three stages of demetia, and I can personally say that I currently fall into the first stage, as I frequently forget where the gas pedal is.

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On "The Course Integrated Use of Plato," by Dr. James

I thought this article was totally interesting. I've seen the Plato landscape from the students' point of view, but never have I been introduced to it from the instructor's perspective. Having been in two prior courses taught by Dr. James, I knew exactly what he was speaking of in the training session section of his article. I can remember going down to the computer lab with the rest of the class, muttering to myself, "This is so stupid," all the while. Then, while Professor James sat us down at the terminals and began giving us instructions, I started inspecting the Plato machines and wondering if they had been assembled before the Civil War (those things are ancient!)

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Also, I thought Dr. James' comments in his PlatoLand Community section were revealing. It was really weird reading this section because while I was going over it I became "embarrassed," as I understood entirely the things he went over. I HATED Plato at first. I had seen the requirement as an evil plot by the professor to make his job easier at the student's expense; I resigned myself to dropping the class. All I can say is, look at me now--Dr. James, you've created a monster!

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There was one part of the article which I couldn't relate to, even though I am a Plato alum: the persona. For some reason during our semester we weren't given the option to have a persona. Of course, I can pretty much imagine how free it would make you feel (hey, is it the "invisible effect" all over again?). Just reading some of those wild notes in the Generational Curriculum files is proof in itself.

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Oops! I think I just did the wrong assignment. Hit "Oops!" for proper assignment.

Interlude II

"I'm waiting for my mom," said Corey, not bothering to look up from his comic book, "she said to wait right here."
The policeman gazed down at the tiny figure seated on the street curb: he was a cute kid--couldn't have been more than six years old. As a matter of fact, Corey was five; but he liked when adults mistook him for an older child--it made him feel more grown-up. He didn't have many friends. He didn't go to school. His father had left when he was three, so his mother had pretty much been his only family, as well as friend; thus, it was no wonder that he was extremely attatched to his mom. She was a troubled woman, however, barely surviving a drug and alcohol habit. But Corey still loved his mom, as only a son could, and he would do anything for her. He was such a good boy. He was always a good boy.
"It's 3:00 AM in the morning, sonny. You shouldn't be out here alone. How long have you been waiting for your mommy?"
At this, Corey looked up, and, with a heartful of childish innocence said softly, "Oh--about two days, I guess."

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Week 8

Little Things I Learned During Week 8

Hooking Up With the Students From Psy 409

Tina Smith

I know exactly how Tina Smith feels. After reading her lab report I found that her and my initial feelings about the homework (i.e., anchors, links, etc.) were very much the same. I had no clue how to begin operating an editor; and you know (even though I know this is based on the instructor's teaching style), the more I think about it, the more I've come to see that only a few students actually have the ability to take their initial fear and frustration of computers and turn it into positive motivation. Of course, this is not to say that I am one of those students, or even that I've become relatively comfortable with computers--I simply think that you have to be able to get "knocked down" a few times, and take those experiences and learn from them, all the while moving forward. I made reference to Dr. James' teaching style because I've come to understand his methods of instilling student curiosity and drive; he'll tell you what he wants you to accomplish, but never HOW; he'll answer your questions, but he'll almost always let other students try and answer first. I've been around long enough to see a few of these nuances drive students crazy. However, I've also noticed that those students who remain in the class, beyond the drop period, and stick with it the rest of the semester, almost always come out unscathed. In short, Dr. James' classes always SEEM impossible initially but have a habit of turning out to be easier and more enjoyable than any other course you might be taking that semester.

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Anyway, I just thought that Ms. Smith showed that initial frustration in her early writings (her report lacks anchors so I can't link to any specific spot). Hopefully she'll stick it out.

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Trudy Moore

Ms. Moore's lab report was one of those "disgustingly perfect," perfectly-formatted documents which I abhor. Format aside, however, I really enjoyed the report.

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Ms. Moore's Feelings section was really interesting. I just loved the way she put the course and its homework into perspective. A lot of times I'll start to overvalue the assignments I'm given, thinking that "If I can't complete this without any help I'm pretty stupid." After reading Trudy's lab report, I realized that this is simply not the case. Also, I think her statement about "frustration leading to learning" can be realized in many situations (provided the student has the ability to channel frustration into drive).

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I also found Ms. Moore's Strategies section to be quite practical. I don't usually take breaks when I'm in the midst of mental gridlock (when I'm butting heads with the Internet)--I tend to stay on and grind for as long as it takes until I'm able to mount some sort of victory. After some careful thought, it appears that just the opposite may be the means to the solution (as suggested by Ms. Moore). Walking away from the source of frustration and anxiety for awhile may allow for a fresh perspective and, consequently, success.

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Linda K. Wong

Wong's report was another Psy 409 document I found enjoyable. I could really relate to her point about time and how she underestimated the tremendous amount of time Psy 409 can require initially. The weird thing about this class is that at the outset, doing the homework assignments can be laborious, even brutal at times; however, as you pick up more and more hints and techniques, the whole Internetting experience evolves into an enjoyable, consuming event. And in relation to time, as you progress, you'll begin to see a dramatic drop in time spent angrily fighting with the computer, and a rise in quality time spent actually accomplishing something.

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I could also relate to Ms. Wong's frustration with the dreaded emacs. This was definitely an area with which I could relate. When I first began attempting my lab report I must have wasted at least four hours grappling with emacs. It did exactly what she said it did: It refused to let me save before exiting, making my life a living hell. But I do want to clear up that matter, because on this point I have to side with the majority of the class when they argue that they should not be penalized (in regards to time) for something the instructor should have been aware of (the Mac settings)--you cannot expect novice users to be aware of such options.

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Carol Alamares

Ms. Alamares' report was the best one I'd seen all semester. It was neat, well-organized, and showed some real thought. I did, however, have a question about her comment on the 90-minute on-line time allowance concerning off-campus modem access (this link doesn't work at this time because Ms. Alamares spelled "name" as "names" in her html command regarding her paragraph entitled "goals"--can you please change this, Ms. Alamares? Thanks.). Where did you get that information, and what will happen if you run over the 90-minute limit? I usually access from a different island and usually stay on about an hour or so, so I've never been faced with this restriction, I guess. Sometimes I gain access through a local community college: does anyone know if the 90-minute limit pertains to the community colleges?

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Ms. Alamares' section entitled powerful tools also made perfect sense. I use those keys frequently, too. But I'd like to add a few others which I've recently come to realize can save a student tremendous amounts of time and stress. The = sign: I think this is THE key to creating a link. This flips you over to what's called "information page" from which you can then take your mouse and copy the entire address. Keep it on your clipboard because this address is also the basis for linking up to specific anchors within someone's document. The Ctrl-w command when you're in Pico: This is invaluable when your document begins to get a little lengthy. It skips you over unwanted stuff and "warps" you directly to your keywords (it is also a good idea to use different words and phrases, indigenous to specific anchored paragraphs). Finally, the / sign: This is important for testing your links; you ABSOLUTELY must be able to flip back and forth between the edit and read modes with relative ease, otherwise you will be taking hours instead of minutes to write out even a few paragraphs (again, especially when your document gets into double-digits).

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Other than those three functions (and the aforementioned ones in Ms. Almares' report), you don't need to know a whole lot. However, you should have three command sequences either memorized or written down and close at hand: (1) The anchor sequence; (2) The link sequence for document-to-document links; (3) The link sequence for document-to-anchor links. And it isn't any harder than that, ladies and gentlemen.

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Instructor's Weekly Comments Comments

Dr. James' comments document is phenomenal. Reading this document gave me a greater understanding of the course and what needs to be accomplished. In his Superdocument section, Dr. James attempts to show the reader the incredible dynamic power the Internet has at its disposal.

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In Dr. James' Studentpower section, he introduces the reader to the power of links. He relates a little scenario involving a hypertext document and the myriad of potential places around the world you can go by simply returning on a link.

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Oops!

Okay--so I just did the wrong assignment for week 7--it could have happened to anyone (yah, right). Anyway, Dr. James' Taxonomic Inven- tory of Affective and Cognitive Behaviors While Learning the Internet was a very interesting, all-too-familiar report. At this time I'm going to link this to Dr. James' "Weekly Comments" file because it seems he's assigned this in week 9 (what the Hell's going on???).

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I knew exactly what he was talking about because I was in that "guinea pig class" last semester. Professor James' Self-Witnessing section really brought back some memories for me. I really had a hard time at first in that class because I didn't really know what was going on and what Dr. James wanted written in our lab reports. I think I got a "5" or something like that on my first report, and it just devastated me. Although the esteemed Professor alludes to the opportunity to resubmit any lab report desired for a higher grade, I can't recall turning in anything twice (which, if I do say so myself, is either very confident or downright stupid).

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I also can relate to Dr. James' statement involving the Class Discussions: "The weekly class discussions offered a benign and apparently successful social-educational environment in which it was all right to show fear and admit incompetence." Now, a full semester after-the- fact, I can readily admit that I was one of those students who showed fear and incompetence--when I did actually take part in the discussions. Most of the time, however, I just sat back and relaxed and let other students ask the "dumb" questions which I would've asked otherwise.

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Some of the other sections of this document were somewhat interesting (even though none of them were written by me). I think that the Accuracy, the Persistence, and the Self-confidence sections all typified my own struggles and achievements in Psy 409. However, I found Dr. James' "Three Stages in Internet Adaptation" to be an incredible perspective on learning the Internet (kind of like looking down from the clouds). He states that the first stage, the orientation level, "is "stimulus-bound or concrete" in which users are challenged to "memorize locations, procedures, new vocabulary""; the second stage, the interaction level "requires the reformation of one's thinking, the reordering of one's values to be more similar to those of the system and information specialists." The third stage, the internalization level, is "when users enter a "moral and global relationship to the system" characterized by a "feeling of congruence" with values appropriate to the system's culture in which the user becomes "a supporting patron, promoting the goals and functions of the system.""

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There Goes My Self-Esteem

Isn't it just the sweetest feeling when you think you're on to something, and you go to your professor to see what he thinks, and he just sends you crashing to the ground? I just got that feeling when I looked at Dr. James' response to my request to check my files for errors (since the "midterm" is upon us). Talk about shooting me full of holes! Oh well, I guess it's back to the drawing board...
By the way (if anyone at all is reading this, and I get the feeling that no one is), does anyone have a copy of "Heavy Metal?" I heard that they don't make 'em anymore, and that movie was SO funny--but I'd buy it if you're willing to sell. Y'know, I don't even remember when that movie first came out (was it in the '70s?). 'Course, nothing compares to Arnold.

Lion King

Omygosh. I just was down at my local K-Mart and I saw hundreds of thousands of people buying this video, so I jumped in and grabbed one for myself, thinking that maybe, I could, like, scalp it or something if the store eventually ran out. So I get home, I take everything out of the bags, put them away, and then open up my video. It was "The Lion King!" Having heard all sorts of great things about this movie, I eagerly pop the video into my VCR and press "play." Not a minute into the video and I feel my jaw drop to the floor. Does anyone realize that this entire movie is a cartoon? I was astounded! I couldn't believe that a movie of this caliber could be totally animated! Wow! I still can't believe it!

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Week 9 Homework
Use this link to see part 1 of week 9 homework (it's labeled week 5)
Also, see this link for part 2 of week 9 homework
And here's more on the week 9 assignment

My Driving

Dynamics of Convoys

I decided to try and conduct a few experiments of my own this past week (since I'd conveniently missed the March 2nd class) of my driving while being within a convoy as opposed to being solitary on the highway. I expected my driving to be more confident and anxiety-free when I was in a convoy than when there was no group to join. Also, I figured the speed of the lead car of the convoy to be an important factor in my stress-level.

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Monday, February 27, 1995

Not all that bad, actually. Mondays are usually my hardest days because (among other things) I have to wake up at 4:00 AM and be in Lahaina by 5:00 AM. I live in Kahului, so the drive is substantial (around 25 miles), especially when you consider the only road in is a one-lane, multiple-turn, over-the-pali mind-boggler. Compound this problem with the fact that Lahaina is the destination for thousands of tourists (and Kahului's between the airport and Lahaina), and you can begin to imagine the problems. This particular morning, however, proved to be rather benign, and I made it through the majority of the trip unscathed.

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Now logically, you can imagine the traffic situation at 4:30 AM in the morning--the roads are practically deserted, there are hardly any cops around, and your car (for some strange, unknown reason) always needs a carburator cleaning as soon as you hit the open road (anything over 65 MPH should suffice). So here I go, speeding along at 75 MPH when I come up on a tired, old Toyota Tercel, who's doing barely 50. I'm ashamed to admit this now, but at that moment and time, I'm not even thinking about speed limits or safety; I merely check to see if there are any oncoming headlights and, seeing there are none, blow by the Tercel without ever touching the brakes. Actually, I must now add that I was, on this occasion, blasting Social Distortion's "Ball and Chain," and so cannot be held 100% liable for my actions (this issue will be covered at greater length in my music section).

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Anyhow, after passing the Tercel, I continue on in this manner (passing about 3 other cars) until I reach Lahaina. I then walk into the nearest convenience store, buy a cup of coffee, and begin another fun day of work (I do some sales and advertising stuff for our family business). What's disturbing to me is that all of this was done somewhat unconsciously and occurred to me as reckless only after I'd sat down and given it some thought.

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Going back home wasn't all that much fun. I got done at about 2:30 PM, which is almost rush-hour; but it actually doesn't matter, the road being one-lane and all. I pulled onto the main road and began to accelerate (trying to catch up with the rest of the cars) when a crazy old tourist pulls out in front of me. This causes me to slam on my brakes, spilling my brand-new bottle of Evian and totally drenching my orders.

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Now one might think I'd lose it right here and begin tailgating immediately. However (and not simply because I was aware I was "experimenting" on myself), I tried not to let this get to me and calmly reached down, scooped up my half-empty bottle of water, and continued on my way, maintaining the normal spacing between myself and the car in front. After awhile I "cooled off" and forgot about the whole incident. When I got home, I ran to my notepad and hastily scribbled down the reasons I thought my return trip was nearly stress-free, despite traffic which was three or four times greater than the early morning traffic. I came up with a few: (1) My new truck, which came complete with air- conditioning and a pretty radical stereo; (2) My experience, which helps me understand that this particular road is almost always over-crowded, and has seen more than its fair-share of fatalities; (3) The fact that I was currently driving in a convoy and couldn't get that much farther in front, even if I could have passed all the cars, and besides--it wasn't worth the risk; (4) My relaxed state of mind due to the fact that I knew I was finished with work, and didn't have to be anywhere in a hurry (I wasn't late, in other words).

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Tuesday, February 28, 1995

Tuesdays are fun because I get to head up into the mountains to talk with all the small-store owners (y'know, like "Harry and Myra"). Again, I leave at 4:30 AM, and encounter almost no traffic on my way in. Coming back, however, is a whole different story. Maui's changed over the years (I guess), and they've made a feeble attempt to mimic Oahu's contra-flow traffic setup from Pukalani to Kahului. This was pretty smart as far as the county is concerned, given the growing population of people in the country area.

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Being a former resident of Hawaii Kai, it was my recollection that the furthest left lane was usually the fastest, and this held true even when the contra-flow cones were up. Living and driving on Maui now confuses me on this point because oftentimes the reverse seems to be true. Case in point was this particular Tuesday. A very slow car (which I at first could have sworn was the same Tercel I'd been following early Monday morning) was disrupting traffic flow in the left lane (the Maui contra-flow version has only two same-direction lanes). I was quite a ways behind but could see cars jumping over to the left lane, which they thought would be faster, only to find themselves stymied by the slow car. Realizing they were going nowhere, the cars would then weave back into the right lane and would either have to wait patiently until the pantheon slowly passed the slow car or would be hopelessly mired behind due to yet another slow car in the right lane. Does this sound pathetic? The good news here is that it really didn't bother me all that much because again, I was already done with my workday (I regularly finish by 10:00 AM, except for Mondays). But, I thought, what if I had a "normal" job, lived up there in the country, and was late for work? I think I'd be going crazy finding cars in the "fast" lane going 45 MPH. I might even think about moving, simply because of the traffic.

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So What?

So I think that, in the two days that I've actually thought about driving, I've learned a few interesting things. First of all, I think that driving in a convoy can actually make you drive safer due to the fact that the lead car will almost always be at or near the speed limit. I've learned to rationalize being behind a very slow car by saying to myself, "Well, this is God's way of making sure I drive safely." I mean, after years of driving and seeing all the negatives that can come out of being careless, I've come to see that getting really angry and stressed out just isn't worth it.

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I also noticed that my driving style within the convoy is much more unconscious than when I'm on the open road by myself. This means that I become less aware of the car in front of me, and tend to daydream a lot more. I realize that this is wrong because what I should be doing is keep up with the car in front, all-the-while staying within a safe distance from it while simultaneously attempting not to fall behind, so as to "do my duty" to the rest of the convoy (this is a weird sense of obligation, don't you think?). Actually, let's sit back and think about this one for a minute. If everyone felt this "obligation" to the rest of the pack, and started developing a collective, team-oriented attitude about their specific convoy, wouldn't traffic flow much smoother? I know this sounds ridiculous (in a juvenile sort of way), but what if everyone began to think along these lines, trying to make their convoy the best convoy it could be?

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Driving Personality Makeover

Who's a Good Driver?

This is perhaps my only amendment to the Week 9 Homework assignment (I'm pretty sure I've done all the other stuff in this file, albeit scattered and hopelessly distanced from our present position). I think that a good driver is one who KEEPS UP WITH THE REST OF THE TRAFFIC and doesn't disrupt its flow by driving too fast or slow. Also, I believe a good driver is more of a defensive driver (who's always on the lookout for possible accident-causing situations), and an individual who understands the hazards of a particular road (i.e., "What's the most common accident on this stretch of highway?" or "Where is the place on this road which is most often congested?").

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Am I a Good Driver?

I think I'm a very inconsistent driver. Sometimes I'll drive extremely slow and abide by all the laws; other times I'll whiz around at up to 90 MPH without even realizing it. Why am I so inconsistent? I think it has to do with a lot of external forces: weather, state-of-mind (is that external?), time (if I'm late, early, etc.), other cars on the road, policemen. All these things are determining how I'm going to drive on the road at any given moment.

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My Personal Driving Makeover

That would be very hard. I think the best way to accomplish this is to drive a bolt under my gas pedal so I could only depress it so far! My main problem (when I'm driving badly) is speeding. Therefore, I'd have to find a way to control my urge to go over the speed limit. The problem is, I can't think of any solid ways of ensuring that I do so. Once, awhile back, my brakes (actually, it was the master cylinder) began to wear out. Thing was, they didn't just give out all at once, but began to lose strength gradually (y'know, lose compression). So this meant that I could no longer speed around town without thinking because I was liable to smash into something due to the declining response-time of my brakes (this did nearly happen on more than one occasion). What I noticed, much to my frustration, was that I had to change the way I had been driving to a much safer, much more controlled manner (however, since then I've "inherited" a new car and once again have begun to terrorize the highways).

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Experiment

I tried--I really did. But I think I'm just too self-conscious about the way I'm driving and think too much about what the other drivers (and especially what the driver in back of me) think. In fact (and I timed this), I coudn't even do the legal speed limit for more than five minutes before I gave way to the urge to speed. I'm positive this is due to the fact that other drivers will "hate" me if I don't drive at a fast pace (and I experience intense feelings of guilt and apprehension when I am driving slowly--which isn't often).

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Seriously

Yes, but seriously, I'd like to think that my driving could take a turn for the better if I could: (1) control my emotions, especially when I am the recipient of bad etiquette on the road (just this morning, a guy cut me off and then started letting everyone in ahead--that really made me mad!); (2) learn to be more aware of the situations out there (because, as I've stated before, I could be going nearly 100 MPH and not realize it, and that's dangerous!); (3) abide more by the rules (much as it might pain me) because this would help me solve my problems in a more global manner.

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In Relation to Traffic Psychology

A driving personality makeover is a traffic psychologist's most potent weapon. I believe the makeover could enable many drivers out there to change their attitudes towards the driving experience. Dr. James, in his makeover guide, seems to believe that change can be facilitated by changing your affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor abilities, patterning them in more noble, socially-acceptable areas. Dr. James' two stages (reformed, facilitative) in becoming a "made-over" driver show the process one must follow in order to reform themselves.

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Music: A Factor in the Way We Drive?

I tried to conduct another "experiment" which involved my driving and the music I was listening to. I tried everything from classical to heavy metal and used driving situations in both rural and urban areas during morning, afternoon, and some evening hours. Here are some of my findings.

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Rock

Actually, to do this experiment, all I had to do was ride around with my cousin for a few hours. This guy is all screwed up! He has this heart condition (he's had like four operations on his heart) and yet persists in driving his car like a maniac, always blasting his stereo with some hard rock music, even in the early morning hours (which I, unfortunately, had the honor of experiencing). I noticed a few things about my cousin's driving while he was playing a CD by "Dio." First of all, he drives really fast (even for me), even in residential areas. Secondly, he tailgates like crazy. Now I asked him why he does this so much, and he really couldn't explain it. "Oh, I just like to scare 'em a little," was all he could say. This kind of shocked me. Here's this guy, with a very weak body and a heart full of holes going around tailgating everybody--I mean, if you do that too much on this island, sooner or later you'll run into the wrong person and get the crap kicked out of you! Well, at least I know CPR.

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The Road to Kapalua

We played golf a few weeks ago at Kapalua (if you've never been there, you simply must go there at least once before you get married and have kids ('cause then your life is pretty much over)). Anyway, I decided to play all kinds of stuff on the way down and see how (and if) it actually affected my driving. Now this particular trip is very long (about 50 minutes) but very scenic. I discovered a few things on the way down: (1) R & B is pretty good for long trips: anything from Luther Vandross to Jodeci keeps you driving in a calm, yet alert manner; (2) Rap is another story, however, as I found that the more explicit rap songs (i.e., Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Bone Thugs, etc.) tended to make me drive a little more recklessly; (3) Country was, quite frankly, brutal (and I honestly began driving faster and less cautiously because I was really angered with the music); (4) Reggae turned out to be okay, except that it had to be a good song, otherwise you might find yourself getting a little irritated; (5) Slow Mainstream stuff was pretty relaxing (e.g., Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, etc.), but probably wouldn't be the best choice for your return trip (it might put you to sleep); (6) Finally, Hawaiian music, I found to be incredibly listenable, due to the combination of mellowness and complexity (usually of the stringed variety).

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Beware

I must inject, at this point, one important thing. Never, never, never play a CD by Michael Bolton while driving. This is definitely playing with fire. The guy's voice is so unnatural, so totally perverse, he should be locked up in a soundproof cell! I chanced upon one of his songs on the radio while driving on the pali and I almost swerved right off the cliff! Trade in all those tapes, albums, and CDs people--it 'aint worth the risk.

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What's the Deal?

Um. I just tried to upload my diskette file to my Unix account like Dr. James said, but nothing happened. Okay, I'm lying--something happened--it just wasn't what Dr. James said would. Does anyone out there know how to do this? Please write me or share it in class (or, if you don't want to share it, let me know--I'm an exceptional briber).

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Don't You Just Hate It...

Yes. Let's finish that, shall we? Don't you just hate it when you're sitting in a nice, quiet computer room, typing away at your Psy 459 homework, when all-of-a-sudden five Chinese nationals walk in and start hammering away at the keyboards, all the while talking amongst themselves about God-knows-what? Not to be a racist or anything, but I'll be damned if Chinese isn't the most irritating language on the face of the earth! Also, is it just me or is every foreign student trained to absolutely destroy the keyboard? I've been watching this closely for some time now, trying to make certain that it wasn't just my imagination or something. But this is the sixth, count it--sixth time I've noticed this in the past two days. Maybe there's no such thing as plastic in China--just stainless steel.

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Uh-Oh

Uh-oh. This really big woman has just sat down next to me, and she's breathing really loud--kinda like Darth Vader in "Star Wars." This is scary (now don't jump to conclusions--it's scary for her, not for me!). I mean, being that large, doesn't she fear for her life (too much food = high-blood pressure = heart disease/problems)? She should see my section in my homepage on How to Lose Weight. I think my method is 100% guaranteed to work!

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Week 10 Homework

Actually, a lot of this has already been covered. However, there are a few points which I'd like to go over which aren't discussed (and which are assigned in Dr. James' Weekly Comments).

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Self-Witnessing

I noticed that I don't usually get angry unless another driver displays bad etiquette. I define bad etiquette as "not abiding by the norms involving right-of-way, spacing between vehicles (including when you're in a convoy), and generalized safety norms (i.e., using blinkers when changing lanes, slowing down slightly when there are pedestrians nearby, etc.)." As justified as this might sound, I believe that this is still anger which is unfacilitative to one's mental and physical health and serves no really valid purpose on the road. Aside from anger, here are a few other things I noticed when I was traveling in a convoy: (1) I would tend to follow a car which was not keeping up with the convoy closer than I would another car which was actually keeping pace; (2) I'd tend to drift off more, in terms of train of thought (in other words, I wouldn't concentrate as much on my driving--doing it almost unconsciously); (3) If I wasn't the one driving the car, I'd tend to watch the road much less, and look at other things (like the houses, mountains, kids playing, etc.); (4) If I became too submerged in my own thoughts and as a consequence inadvertently fell behind the convoy, I'd begin feeling emotions such as guilt and embarrassment (and this observation intrigued me); (5) I'd frequently experience feelings of relief and security when I'd be speeding along ("convoyless") and then finally met up with a convoy (this, I thought, was the weirdest of all).

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How I Made My Observations

Well, I was hardly scientific about it. Basically, I'd try to catch myself and, when I got to my destination, I'd write down as many incidents and feelings as I could remember. Obviously, I couldn't get every situation and emotion down as it happened (maybe I should've used a tape recorder), but I believe I was relatively accurate in my observations.

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How Can I Explain My Findings?

Well, I don't know if I totally can. What I do know is that I've gained this weird sense of obligation to the convoy which I can neither trace nor explain. I can only surmise that these feelings spring from my long-standing views of teamwork and respect for others who share similar goals. Most of my other findings involve anger, which I know can be explained by either my impatience or my all-too-common use of the fundamental attribution error. But, again, I can't be 100% sure, due to the fact that I wasn't especially scientific about my interpretations; there are just so many outside influences to consider here, I don't think I can ever be certain.

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Implications for Traffic Psychology

I still feel a little weird about my findings. I'm not sure that they can even be applied to traffic psychology in any kind of way. I think the convoy should be studied more closely, and people's feelings within the convoys should be noted. It's my hypothesis that a lot of it has to do with the values which people have and whether or not they're more individualistic or collectivistic. As far as influencing my driving style, I'd have to say it's minimal at best. I think I will always be thinking about the person behind me, and how upset he or she will be if I don't display good etiquette by keeping up.

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Suggestions

Now I'm totally at a loss for words. How can I possibly make any suggestions if I myself am unsure as to whether or not my driving is correct? Of course, if we can use our imagination and believe (for just one minute) that I am a decent driver, then it could be said that a good suggestion for future generations would be to stay within the flow of traffic. This can also be interpreted as keeping up with the convoy. From what I see on the road, dangerous situations seem to evolve whenever something "out of the ordinary" transpires. And, more than half the time I'd say that this out of the ordinary occurrence is triggered by a driver who is either unaware of the road conditions or over-aggressive in terms of passing or speeding. Remember awhile back in the news? There was this accident involving a woman and her infant(s) (I'm not sure as to whether or not she was alone). Anyway, they were walking alongside the road when a car swerved off the street and crashed into them, killing the child and either killing or seriously injuring the mother. The absolute insane thing about this accident was the fact that the reason the car veered off the road was to avoid hitting a dog. Now even though nearly everyone would say that a human life far outweighs that of an animal, can that same group of people say with some certainty that they would not have had the same response that particular driver did, given the same situation and split-second reaction demands? I think herein lies an excellent venue for the implementation of traffic psychology. What if there was a way to make people aware of critical situations before they took place? Visualizing a situation in one's mind and programming one's sensorimotor reactions to respond in the safest way possible could help immensely.

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Week 11 Homework

Generational Curriculum (Again)

The Generational Curriculum paper I received was written by a student named Carrie Takahata. It was entitled, "Aggression on the Road: The Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions of a Passenger" and was dated "March 29, 1988." The bulk of this report consisted of numerous thoughts and emotions which Takahata noted during her everyday traffic experiences. She divided her report into several sections, including an introduction, a detailed account of how she obtained her information, her field observations, comments, a glossary, and references.

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The Intro

I thought this section was somewhat amusing. It seems that Takahata had taken the class as a kind of afterthought, not thinking it would demand the kind of attention which Dr. James so kindly unveiled when he mentioned the twenty-page paper assignment on the first day of class. Needless to say, Takahata was quite taken aback when she found she had no choice but to take the class. After procrastinating for an extraordinarily long period of time, Takahata realized that she had to get on the ball and began to formulate a game-plan for her paper.

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The Research

Here Takahata shows signs of frustration and the intense pressure which comes when you procrastinate too long. She relates her first few attempts to find any useful material in Hamilton Library, and the helpless feeling she got when her searches came up empty. However, eventually she locates four books under Automobile Driving-Psychological Aspects. Takahata states that she also had success searching under the Infotrac computers (and lists a copy of her Infotrac printout in her report).

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Aggression Learned Vicariously

One of the more famous examples used by Takahata to explain why we might be exemplifying aggressive behavior in our driving was the Bobo doll experiment conducted by Albert Bandura. Takahata implies that it's possible to develop aggressive driving behavior through vicarious learning. Hence, we must ask ourselves the question, "Do I begin to drive more aggressively when I witness someone else driving in an aggressive manner?" Although you may want to immediately respond with a resounding "No," you must first think back to the numerous times on the highway when you've either seen someone passing someone else or (better yet), been passed by another driver when you didn't want to be passed. Didn't this just make your blood boil? Didn't you ever want to slam your foot on the gas pedal, catch up with the guy, then pass him, giving him a dose of his own medicine?

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Aggression: Genetic Perspective

Takahata also explores the possibility of aggression being rooted in our genes and, in particular, in our gender. She claims that "In every primate species, man's closest relatives, the males are on the average larger, stronger, and more aggressive than the females." Takahata claims that this difference was related to hormones present in the body. "The male hormone lowers the threshold of stimulation in males in some way which perhaps involves the intensity of anger, and the female hormone inhibits the growth- stimulating hormone more than does the male hormone; as a result, the female is smaller and has less-heavy muscles." Of course, we all know that there is a lot of truth to this, no matter how Darwinian it might sound. It is this premise, therefore, upon which Takahata bases her notion that males are, on the average, more aggressive on the road than are females.

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Frustration-Aggression

Finally, Takahata delves into the theory first brought up by John Dollard which states "the occurrence of aggressive behavior always presupposes the existence of frustration and, contrariwise, that the existence of frustration always leads to some form of aggression." This is just a fancy way of putting the fact that when we encounter situations beyond our control and realize that we can't control them, we tend to get frustrated (and the perfect analogy to this is being stuck in traffic). And, of course, the longer we go being unable to free ourselves from the grip of traffic, the more frustrated we will inevitably become. Takahata closes her section on frustration by stating that frustration occurs not because the intended goal cannot be reached but rather because the task cannot be done by yourself.

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Reactions

I don't think I learned a whole lot after reading this paper (not because I'm so vastly intelligent, but rather because I've suspected these things all along). However, I did find Takahata's observation section to be quite interesting. She even included a very long (but informative) table which showed her driving observations during the space of a week. Her emotions were the catalysts for her thoughts and actions. Therefore, it was extrememly helpful when she recorded what she was feeling as she drove along.

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Whew! That got me tired (and if it made me tired, just think how it's gonna affect you)! Anyway, here's something that might help break the boredom (and make you quite popular at the dinner table!).

Buggin' Out

Kathy Stevens was bummed. It had been there for nearly three weeks--just sitting there, hard as a rock, sticking out like a sore thumb. At least it had stopped growing; during the first week it expanded every day; it now resembled a half-embedded golf ball. However, the zit was beginning to become a problem, so Kathy decided to see the doctor. At first, the dermatologist was taken aback by its stubbornness. He tried prescribing all sorts of topical treatments but when nothing worked, decided to have it surgically removed. After anesthetization of the area, the doctor made a small incision at the base of the lump. He immediately regretted it. Hundreds of shiny, black bugs began squirting out amidst an ocean of blood and pus and, sensing freedom for the very first time, made a mad dash down Kathy's neck, onto the doctor's chair, and onto the floor as fast as their eight legs could carry them. The patient, witnessing the entire event, began to scream. And scream. And scream.
Moral: If your Clearasil 'aint cuttin' it, try rubbing in some Black Flag.

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Week 12 Homework

Tailgating

It seems that Dr. James has assigned us to do an analysis on our tailgating observations this week. That's funny, because just this morning, when I was on my way down to the Maui Community College campus, this guy started following me really close, and I thought he was going to pass. I began to speed up (as I always do when the car behind me begins to close ground quickly) in an attempt to both distance myself from my pursuer, as well as check to see whether or not the tailgating was intentional. The latter not being the case (it appeared to be non-threatening), I watched as the car once again moved in on me--this time at 65 MPH. With my anxiety and anger beginning to climb, I suddenly noticed I was coming up on a stoplight (which was green at the moment). Skillfully positioning my car so as to get into the intersection the moment the light turned yellow, I slammed my foot down on the brakes (simulating a driver who's surprised by a quick- changing stoplight). Then, as the car behind me was forced to screech to a full stop, I hit the accelerator and shot through the intersection just as the light turned red. Well, there's one way of losing a tailgater!

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What's Up With Tailgating?

Actually, I didn't have very many tailgating encounters. Maybe this was due to the fact that I was always speeding (well, going above the limit, anyways). However, I did notice a few things by observing cars that were tailgating other cars. I began to notice that not all the tailgaters were the same, as far as their tailgating "styles" went. For instance, there was the mass confusion tailgater, who would come up on your rear end faster than a homesick midshipman, then immediately begin to peer out around you, looking for yet another opportunity to pass. In reality, these tailgaters weren't all that bad because they would almost always pass you within a minute or so. Another kind of tailgater (and I think the worst kind) was the unconscious tailgater. My father is a very good example of this. He'll be driving normally, then all-of-a-sudden, something will distract him and he'll inadvertently begin to ride the preceeding car's bumper. The thing is, with my father, he'll continue to tailgate the other car all the way until he reaches his destination under this unconscious fashion. Now, being related to him, I can't really get upset; however, if I happened to be a total stranger and saw my father riding my tail, I think I'd be quite angry. Finally, I observed the malicious tailgater, whose purpose oftentimes seems to be only to spite the car it's following. Honestly, there aren't too many of these around. However, I've witnessed cases involving these crazy characters and it is, in truth, quite frightening. A few weeks ago, there was this really old lady driving at about 35 MPH on the highway. I noticed this car was following, mere feet from her rear bumper in a very threatening manner. I also noticed that there was wide open space on the left, and the divider lines weren't solid (in other words, the woman could've been passed, had the other car so desired).

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Legal Implications

The legal implications aren't as obvious as one might think. Is tailgating illegal? When you tailgate someone, are you endangering their safety? Is tailgating just another form of terroristic threatening? Personally, I think they should establish some sort of law against tailgating, which establishes a definite amount of space between two cars. Of course, this would be nearly impossible to enforce on a consistent basis, due to the fact that it is such a specific restriction and such a subjective rule (you can begin to imagine the problems we'd have when people started contesting their tickets in court).

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Moral Implications

I believe that tailgating is, of course, wrong. However, I don't think that just because someone is tailgating, he or she is automatically an evil person. I guess you could say that my view of tailgating likens it to a very watered-down version of involuntary manslaughter. You see, the act itself might be evil, but the intent could be completely nonexistent. I checked out the Bible on this, and couldn't find any Commandment which stated "Thou shall not tailgate". However, the love thy neighbor rule could be applicable here, especially since the closest thing they had to a car in those days was a donkey. Anyway, my reasoning for believing that tailgating is wrong tends to be quite straightforward. Tailgating, to me, puts increased pressure on the car in front, making the driver more susceptable to stress and anxiety. There's nothing quite like the feeling we get when another car pulls up quickly and violently behind us and remains there, even if we speed up. All those lovely questions then begin to roll through our minds: "Do I know this guy?" "What did I do?" "Did I offend him somehow?" "Are we going to get into a fight?" And, of course, usually the answer is none of the above; the tailgater is simply trying to get somewhere in a hurry and isn't really concerned with us at all. However, the whole event is very traumatic and totally unnecessary from a social aspect. I think that if you can't pass another, slower car, why would you need to tailgate him? Simply waiting patiently for awhile until you get the chance to pass can't be all that difficult, now can it?

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Spiritual Implications

Hmm. I'm not so sure what Dr. James means by spiritual. Is he asking us whether or not we're going to Hell if we tailgate? Will our souls forever burn in Hades if our feet have just a little too much lead in them? If he's going that route, then I think that a tailgater who knows he's tailgating all the time should go to Hell, most definitely. However, I also believe that someone who might tailgate unconsciously, and very infrequently at that, should be given the benefit of the doubt.
If Professor James is going the spiritual route in the sense that tailgating gives the driver some sort of strange pleasure, then I'd have to resort to more consultation at the library in order to figure that out. I'd dare say that if there are drivers out there like that (my cousin), then we'd better try and legislate laws and penalties which might deter such behavior. Actually, thinking about my cousin and the kind of music he listens to while he's driving, I think there just may be a connection between hard rock and tailgating.

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La Route N'est Pas La Plus Meurtriere

Qui sait combien de personnes meurent de froid, de leucemie ou d'un cancer du poumon? Qui sait seulement qu'on enregistre, chaque annee en France, 550 000 deces pour une population de 55 millions d'habitants?
Pour mesurer l'ecart entre le risque reel et la perception qu'en ont les Francais, les enqueteurs de l'Ifop ont donc pose une question plus floue: {A votre avis, y a-t-il tres peu, peu, pas mal, beaucoup ou enormement de personnes qui meurent de...}
En tete: les accidents de la route. Selon les chiffres officiels, ils n'arrivent, en realite, qu'en septieme position. Pourquoi cette surestimation? Spectaculaire et quotidien, le risque routier est particulierement menacant. Il pese sur tout le monde: qui n'est jamais monte en voiture? A se demander pourquoi, si conscients du danger, les Francais ne s'empressent pas d'observer le code de la route.
Surestimes aussi, les accidents du travail, la leucemie, les homicides et le sida. Ces causes de mortalite ont au moins un point commun: on en parle abondamment dans les medias. Elles ont parfois fait l'objet de campagnes ou de debats. Elles sont aussi ressenties comme particulierement intolerables. Les homicides renvoient au sentiment d'insecurite. La leucemie est insupportable, surtout lorsqu'elle atteint les enfants. Les accidents du travail sont historiquement consideres comme injustes. Et le sida n'a pas fini d'effrayer.

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Didja See

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Dilemma

Tomorrow is Friday. Now, aside from being the last day of work (and school), it also poses a very serious question in terms of how to spend your time. Should you: (a) Meet with your study group at the library immediately upon returning from work; (b) Run to the TV as soon as you get home in order to catch the ending of the Chicago vs. Orlando blockbuster game; (c) Study a little while, until the NCAA Tournament begins. Hmm--let's think about that for awhile (actually, about two seconds should be sufficient). Seeing as I'm behind in all my classes and in dire need of boosting my current 0.25 GPA, I guess there can be only one choice: Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, here I come!!!

Guilty

Yes, that's how I feel at the moment, because I was talking in class while Dr. James was lecturing and got caught. I feel badly because my talking might have interfered with other students who were trying to take notes; on top of that, I displayed a lack of respect for the instructor. I'm positive it affected Kendall and Jae, who were diligently taking notes until I opened my big mouth (how rude!). Also, another member of our class approached me immediately after we were dismissed and told me she'd "beat me to a pulp" if I ever interrupted Dr. James again. Thus, with visions of Rodney King flashing before me, I promised myself I'd never again make myself a nuisance in class.

Week 13 Homework

Yet Another Generational Curriculum Report

This one was entitled, "Driving Safely" by a Mr. Theo Adams. I found this report to be fairly interesting, due to the fact that it was written about driving from the perspective of a motorcyclist. Personally, I can't seem to understand how anyone in their right mind would want to ride on one of those suicide machines, but hey--whatever turns you on!

All-Too-Familiar

Mm-hmm, I can really relate to what Mr. Adams says in his report (albeit from the opposite end of the spectrum: the other driver on the road). Adams claims that he frequently breaks nearly every law of the highway when he's out riding on his motorcycle: speeding, changing lanes illegally, violating traffic signs and signals, etc. In addition, he writes that he also races with other cars and friends who also have motorcycles down public roads. Now I can understand why he'd want to do all these things (having all that horsepower under you can be very tempting) but that doesn't make them right. I think motorcycle owners should really think about exactly how fragile they really are when they get out there on the road with all the other cars. I like to use the analogy of a fly and an elephant. Now the fly has distinct advantages as far as motion goes. He's got quickness, maneuverability, and speed. The elephant, on the other hand, has got nothing. Oh, he can move--but his range of motion is nothing compared to the fly's. So picture this insect flying all over and around our great, big mammal friend, oblivious to any harm which might beset him when all-of-a-sudden the elephant decides to sit down. The fly, not anticipating this move, finds himself caught under the juggernaut's immense rear end, and, before you know it, is squashed into insect heaven. Although most of our cars aren't as big as an elephant, the damage we can inflict is not far off (and hey, there are a lot of 18-wheelers out there!).

Adams' Experiment

This didn't sound too scientific. Mr. Adams would drive around on his motorcycle and then try and note all the laws he was breaking. He then went to the library and found all these stats which seemed really obvious (probably all from the same book) and used them as the basis for his personal driving makeover. He tried to incorporate the three main components for this: the affective, the cognitive, and the psychomotor. Adams then listed a few motivating statements which he used to facilitate his driving makeover. Some of these included "going the speed limit will prolong my life" and "If I drive according to the traffic code, I don't have to worry about the police." Using these "traffic code compliance techniques" Mr. Adams was able to obtain his goal of complying to the traffic codes. He also claims that whenever he feels himself losing control he reverts back to these techniques and can therefore modify his behavior.

Reactions

Now I don't want to sound too critical here. It's just that I have yet to see a motorcyclist who obeys the law 100% (or even 75%, for that matter). Don't get me wrong--I know they're out there. It's just that the composition of a motorcycle is so unusual, so radically different than the average automobile, that how can you expect to drive one in the exact same manner? The roads and highways were built with cars in mind, and motorcycles a distant afterthought. I'm not blaming the engineers or the politicians who set road guidelines--I'm simply saying that a vehicle like a high-powered two-wheeler is almost guaranteed to be driven in a fashion dissimilar to the rest of society.

Week 14 Stuff

Houston's AVI System: The Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) system is used to collect real-time information showing current travel conditions on major Houston area freeways. This information is provided to personnel within the Greater Houston Transportation and Emergency Management Center for use in detecting congestion due to accidents and stalled vehicles in order to more quickly respond to traffic problems. For trip planning purposes, this travel information is also being provided to the public through this Internet World Wide Web server, through media reports and through roadside electronic message signs.

MADD: This link shows the MADD Shreveport Chapter's schedule of meetings (dates and times) as well as current issues and projects they're working on.

Winter Driving in the Sierra Nevada: Provided by the California Department of Transportation, this guide provides information on how to make your mountain driving in the Sierra Nevada both sade and pleasant.

Bicycle Riding: Check this one out! This guy's nuts--and he writes all about his escapades commuting with nothing more than his bicycle. Very weird.

Speed: The Porsche, the Ferrari, the Bugatti, the Jaguar--they're all here! They've even put in cars like the Lotus Turbo Esprit Police Car and the Williams F-1!

Train-Hopping: I'm not totally into trains but... Anyways, here's a list of interesting categories to follow under the train theme (including what cars to catch and some interesting train-hopping tales).

Car of the Future?: The Midnight Sun III. This is a solar powered car, supposedly a huge advance in technology. I have only one question: What do you drive at night when there's no sun?

Is Your Car Insured?: A link regarding a very BAD subject: auto insurance. But this section might prove useful to those of you who need information on insurance (where to call, what kind of insurance to get, etc.) so good luck!

Auto Encyclopedia: This one's kinda neat. It's got listings on the airline, automobile, railroads, and iron and steel industries. There's also stuff on banking and finance (yeah, like anyone really cares!).

What to Do if You're Involved in an Auto Accident: If it's your fault, grab a lawyer. If not, grab the back of your neck and start moaning real loud.

Ignorant

Yes, I again feel really stupid because I've been conversing with a few of my fellow students in Psy 459 through e-mail, but when I get to class, I've no clue as to who's who (wow, that rhymes!). This has caused me great stress because I'm not a real extrovert and feel kinda weird going up and talking to someone who I've not made a positive ID on. I might be a lot of things, but stuck-up isn't one of them.

Crazy Shouts

This is probably related more to Week 15, but I'm just going to stick it in here anyway (since I feel sorta melancholy now). I've had so much fun on the Internet this semester--MUCH more so than I did in the fall. I think this is a direct result of two factors: (1) I had a broader Internet background due to Psy 409 and (2) The people in Psy 459 are a lot more interesting.

Psy 409

Without a doubt, Psy 409 helped me prepare for this class because I wasn't nearly as nervous and apprehensive from the outset (as I was in 409). Most noticeably I found that I'd gained a strange sort of mental toughness in regards to the computer. Setbacks didn't seem as devastating to me (except maybe for the Emacs thing--God, I still hate that program!) and the little victories, although very satisfying, never really went to my head. This grinding mentality kept me going and, quite frankly, may have preserved my sanity. I guess going through all that seemingly bogus stuff last year conditioned my mind and gave it a way of rationalizing with the computer.

Shout-Outs

However, no class can be enjoyable unless the people in it are compatible, competitive, and supportive. I'd like to pay tribute to a few of those unique individuals, starting with the irrepressible (and always comedic) Kendall Matsuyoshi. Here's a guy who probably has no enemies; if I had half his personality, I'd be mayor of Maui! Alas, all I can do is sit next to the guy and try and figure out how a person can be so disgustingly happy. But Kendall makes class fun (and that's important, because life's supposed to be fun, right?), especially when we gang up and start shining Jae on (but, Jae, you know we're only kidding, right?).

Without a doubt, Ms. Jae Isa is THE dominant force in Psy 459 this semester. Her lab report is head and shoulders above anyone else's, and, as everyone can now see, she's added hundreds of images in addition to her two million links. I feel like such an amateur, sitting next to the two "kingpins" of the Internet, Jae and Kendall (well, maybe not an amateur, but second-string fiddle, nonetheless); I just hope that one day I can help my grandkids onto my lap and tell them, "You know, kids, I used to sit next to those Internet Legends, way back in '95--boy, what an experience that was!"

Thanks also to Miss Danell Saito, whose infinite knowledge of html commands and innate ability to critisize other people in a constructive manner has helped me become a real asset to both the Internet, and society in general. Also, Ms. Nicole Yoshimitsu, although giving the impression that she doesn't really care about what goes on in class sometimes (especially when she appears to be asleep), has really shown me that even a two-and-a-half hour class can be fun. Nicole's another one of those enviable perpetually happy people who will inevitably find their way into either entertainment or politics and will live 'til they're about a hundred and forty sipping margaritas poolside at some extra-expensive hotel in the Carribean. Too bad I only just recently got to know her (but better late than never, I guess)!

Thanks also to the omnipotent Jill Kaneshiro, whose constant e-mail has really kept me on my toes. Even though she's in 409, I've always felt that Jill was there if I ever needed help with something (or just engage in some entertaining gossip). It's just a shame that Ms. Kaneshiro was in the other class--I really believe she belonged with the rest of us crazed students who're on the verge of graduating. HAPPY GRADUATION, JILL!

Finally, I'd like to thank Kevin Q. Bogan (actually, I just stuck that "Q" in there for aesthetic purposes--I've no idea what Kevin's middle initial is) for putting up with my constant question-asking (which, for awhile, was borderline stalking). I think Kevin should be a teacher. He has all the character qualities: intelligence, patience, passion, and a genuine desire to help others and see them succeed. Thanks for everything, Mr. Bogan!

Wow!

Yes--wow! I just took a look around and was shocked to find so many lab reports which have evolved to such high levels that I'd better ammend my Jae Isa statement before I get into trouble. First of all, I'd like to recognize people like Mr. Todd Crawford, Ms. Caroline Balatico, Ms. Joleen Lai, and Ms. Michelle Ota who've all worked extremely hard (and who have compiled lab reports which rival Jae's); I guess Dr. James will be giving out more "super A's" than he bargained for!

Week 15: It's Over!

How Do My Web Pages Compare?

Actually, they don't. I really don't think my lab report is "all that" because I (a) don't have any images, (b) haven't been very thorough, (c) frequently engage in meaningless banter when I should be doing my weekly assignments. But actually, now that I think about it, having a full-time job and keeping up with schoolwork is not the easiest thing in the world. Remind me not to do this next semester.

Accomplishments?

Geez, this homework assignment is REALLY long! Well, as far as accomplishments go, I feel that I've gained a new (albeit unusual) skill this semester: being able to write things on the Internet. Exactly what this means is a mystery to me. I guess the specific skill is not the issue here; rather, I believe that the intangible ability to solve problems and reach goals through facilitation of the computer was the real thing gained here. I suppose it's the same old tale of encountering, engaging, and succeeding over a problem/task (however, the difference here was this particular problem took the entire semester!). Was it worth it? I guess so, although I could probably give a more definite answer if I knew my grade at present writing.

Suggestions?

There goes Dr. James again, always wanting suggestions for future generations! Of course, he never listens to any of my comments (probably because they're too radical); but I'll keep trying. Suggestion #1: Try to assign more homework which is group-oriented. In that way, I believe students will be less turned-off about the class from the beginning because they'll realize that their fears are shared by all and they can "learn" bits of information from their peers when they communicate within the group. Besides, it's fun getting to know the other people in the class! Suggestion #2: Put a prerequesite, or at the very least, a footnote in the course catalog which forewarns perspective students as to the true nature of the class (i.e., "knowledge of the Internet helpful"). Suggestion #3: Take the class to the CLIC lab! It would be helpful if you could schedule a class session at least once during the semester at a computer lab, so students could see firsthand what's going on.

Then and Now

I wish I could honestly say that my semester here was like one of those Jenny Craig before and after photos--but then I'd be lying. I've pretty much had extensive computer knowledge before I got in here; I'd taken four computer-dominated classes before this one. Still, that didn't make it any easier, because I'd never worked with an editor until I began my 459 homework. In fact, I think this class will be somewhat of a detriment to my previously-learned computer skills because it didn't incorporate any of the word-processing or spreadsheet stuff I so painfully have come to understand; now I find myself forgetting basic operational commands for the simple reason that I haven't been using those programs on a regular basis. Of course, I cannot say that the experience was wasted. I realize now that when you're dealing with the unknown (and this applies to computers ESPECIALLY), you've got to remember that you're going to fall flat on your face the first few times (at least). In other words, you have to expect failure. The key is not to let it stop you from achieving your goal in the long-run. As to how far I got, I suppose only Dr. James can answer that. However, I think I moved along fairly well and accomplished almost everything he assigned. And as to whether or not I'd do anything differently, the answer is a resounding YES. Here's just a few of the things I'd change if I could: (1) I'd go back and try and figure out Emacs (I'm still using Pico); (2) I'd not miss so many classes (I've already missed two--but more likely three by the end of the semester); (3) I'd like to go back and fix up my homepage (it's terrible!); (4) I'd really like to spend more time simply "roaming" the Internet (but due to time restraints and the weekly assignments, it's just not possible); (5) It would've been nice to have a class potluck (how selfish of you, Dr. James!).

Am I Happy?

I'm happy that the semester is almost over. I'm also happy that Clinton is soon to be displaced. I am not 100% happy with what I've accomplished, however, because I feel I couldn't put my best effort into it during this particular semester. I feel my lab report is a mirror image of the stress and fatigue I've been experiencing these past few months. My eyes are constantly bloodshot, my hair looks like a steroidic chia pet, and now I think I've developed some sort of peptic ulcer. As to my future on the World Wide Web, I guess I should try and remain optimistic; after all, I've come this far--it'd be a shame to waste two semester's worth of Internet education (so I guess I'll be shelling out 30-40 dollars a month on Prodigy). Or maybe I'll go back to school (Heaven forbid!).

Advice/Suggestions

Waitaminit--I thought I already answered something like this. Yes, I knew it! I covered this in the paragraph Suggestions under "Week 15 Homework." How dare you make us do double the work, Dr. James!

The Future

Actually, I really don't care too much what happens to this generation's files, in part due to the fact that I already have my lab report downloaded on a separate disk (and partially because I'm not too thrilled with the with the idea of other students commenting on my mindless files). However if, for some strange reason, the rest of the class votes in favor of keeping our stuff up there I will not argue the decision; it just might be interesting to revisit the system a few years down the road and see how Dr. James' brainchild has grown; I expect that students will initially look to our lab reports as a kind of "online personalized help file" and will find our comments useful at first. However, as the semester goes on I think the students will begin grasping the concepts on their own and thereafter won't need much help.

Changes?

None, really. But I have a few suggestions for the class sessions (which I found rather boring at times). (1) Let the students get into groups, and then assign them a fairly complicated Internet task. Then, let them write down, step-by-step, how they accomplished the task and what pitfalls they encountered while working on the project. Finally, have them present their findings in class as a graded presentation. (2) Before we begin any lecture, we should go around the class and discuss one discovery/problem we found on the Internet (per student). (3) We should stop getting into circles all the time (I'm tired of staring at the same people every week)--a rectangle or triangle would be much more entertaining!

Awards?

Geez, I didn't know they existed, but I can think of more than a few: (1) MVI: Most Valuable Internetter (which would undoubtedly go to Jae Isa, pending some late-semester charge by another 459 student); (2) MILR: Most-Improved Lab Report (for the student who makes the biggest mid-semester turnaround); (3) MAPLR: Most Aesthetically-Pleasing Lab Report (this one might be close in our class, because there are so many!); (3) BD: Biggest Disappointment (an award which I'm definitely in the running for!).

Epilogue

It's On

Index

Just Elevate, Baby!