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Old 03-06-05, 02:37 PM
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Internal vs. external referencing and ADD

Hi All,

Here is a theory I have written up to explain a lot of the ADD "symptoms". It revolves around how we reference our world.

The gist is: We never really lear to see the world through the "eye" of our culture like most people do. We reference our world internally. Most people reference it externally, they follow what has been told to them. The most internally referenced people are autistic, the most externally referenced are the unquestioning faithful.

I must preface this theory with the statement that being “ADD ”is not superior or inferior. Some of the qualities of ADD are highly sought in our society (Creativity, unconventional thinking, being seemingly open minded). I honestly feel these are qualities that are not only found in people with ADD. They are often found in people I call “Internal referent ”. ADD forces a person to be internally referent. People without ADD can be raised with (or gain) internal reference but these individuals also have the ability to jump into “externally referent ”understanding (The ability to understand cultural norms). Some people are in the extreme of external reference (they would seem shallow to most people).

Being forced through biology (DRD4 receptor “mutation ”) into internal reference can create an individual that has a “soft clay ”internal structure that *may* allow them to match what society expects them to be, but not exactly. This “blurry ”nature is completely understandable to the “internal referent ”. It is in fact extreme individuation and is by no means a description of a person who is incomplete, just very different from the societal norm.

Here is the theory of “cognitive reference ”:

Some people are very "External Referent" and some are very "Internal Referent". This exists in a continuum (It is certainly not black/white). People who have "raised themselves" due to dysfunction in the household or certain conditions (ADD or ADHD is one of them) tend to be internal referent. People who are raised in less stressful situations without any noticeable cognitive condition tend to be external referent. My focus is on ADD and ADHD. In most cases where a child has ADD, they are given a double whammy of internal reference. Since ADD/ADHD is inherited, they most likely have parents that are internal referent and often (due to the poor understanding of ADD and how to function with it) irresponsible. Most ADD people are extremely internal referent and have no idea that their perspective does not map properly to cultural norms (what most people reference and use for a basis of communication, guide to behavior and template for forming relationships). ADD/ADHD also carries with it a "cognitive fingerprint". There are certain patterns in the internal referencing of ADD people. There are concepts that are very hard for ADD people to get their minds around that society takes for granted.

Here are some comparisons that I have come up with. They represent extremes in the continuum.

Internal referent vs. External referent

Androgynous vs. Male/Female Role Attachment Explanation: (This does not indicate sexual orientation although internal referents may be "bi" in a higher frequency)"

Intuitive vs. Sensate (Myers-Briggs)
Age Neutral vs. Age attachment Explanation: (Internal referents would tend to show adult signs when young and childlike signs as they get older)

Creative vs. Procedure Oriented (Often creativity without skill vs. skill without creativity)"

Contextual vs. Subtextual (The "big picture" vs. nuance (nuance requires a strong acceptance of norms. Internal referent relationships would build new subtexts))"


Internally inflexible vs. Internally flexible. (Not easily manipulated vs. easily manipulated. Strong internal philosophy vs. learned "values")"

Externally flexible vs. Externally inflexible. (Not easily offended vs. easily offended)

Questioning vs. Dogmatic. (Reaction to external power structures)

Accepting New Concepts vs. Reactionary. (Biologically forced Internal referents probably have to be constantly re-evaluating their internal structures. This leads to acceptance or even embracing of novel concepts)"

Large Grey Areas vs. Black/White distinctions (Often displayed in terms of religiosity or moral reductionism or “moral relativism ”)

The indigo children and Nexus XD38 personality are strongly internal referent www.xd38.com/

These definitions are not absolutes but what I call "questioned reductionism in order to facilitate communication".

I feel that there are many different ways to reference our world. A person could be internal referent on political beliefs but be external referent on relationships. Some people with ADD can be more external referent (though it is often a snapshot in time …not changing) than non-ADD people. It is a big complex mix.

Why would an ADD person be internal referent?

The ADD mind is “biologically forced contextual mind ”. Contextual “vision ”involves looking at the bigger picture through rapid point by point observations of the environment. This is seen in the ADD wandering eye or mind. The distractions and lack of single point focus are how the ADD mind works to build an understanding of the environment. This complete picture is often far superior to the picture developed by the more linear mind. The trade off, however, is the inability to understand the nuance and subtext. These are the “unspoken communications ”that drive human culture.

The time needed to build “big picture ”context is far greater than that needed by the single point observer. A more linear child can observe the nuance or subtext whereas the ADD child is busy pulling together links in the environment to build context. The slower nature of understanding leaves the ADD child with many holes in their understanding of the social world.

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Old 03-06-05, 04:35 PM
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I like the "seemingly open minded"! eheh Many times I just fake it until I make it!

This is interesting and makes sense to me. As a kid I could not seem to play games that were already developed. I preferred instead to design games that suited me better. Fortunately for me the rest of the boys in the neighbourhood looked forward to those bursts in my creativity too.

I've been thinking a lot about my younger years before school. I showed no signs of ADHD when I was younger but tested very strongly for it as an adult. Once in school I immediately set out the classic ADHD responses and proceeded to hone those skills until I discovered Dexedrine.

I'd love to define more closely what was different in my life prior to school that positioned me to so well exploit my natural curiosity. I displayed no attention problems then. I'm sure the executive function and the mile a minute idea were the same though. Social cues and problems with authority dominated my youth.

My Dad is a jumble of inconsistency and irresponsibility regarding interpersonal relations and emotions. My youngest brother seems to be the same.

Androgynous vs. Male/Female Role Attachment Explanation: Women often recognise me as safe. I know women and am very comfortable with them. I'm anything but effeminate. Men I have a harder time reading. I have seemingly few inhibitions regarding internal introspection and this may be at odds with the norm for men.

At any rate Dexedrine seems to have eased a lot of disease on this type of point. I'd be curious as to what effects you might expect the stimulants to address.

Age Neutral vs. Age attachment Explanation: Yup. Recently my Mum was telling me how I often entertained guests if she was on her own and needed to be in the kitchen. I had little difficulty in keeping the room alive in a balanced and adult fashion. I'm soon to be 46 and find myself playing more. My youngest (11) is quite a bit like me and I've dropped into the habit of letting my Dexedrine lapse in the latter part of the day so we can enjoy the ADHD ways together. I'm loving the child play now but I fear the ageing process because my memory is so weak that I'm convinced I'll just disappear into false notions and mistaken facts more as time goes on.

Creative vs. Procedure Oriented: I'm a creative. Don't ask me to right the rule book or read it for that matter but improvisation is where I'm comfortable. I dig myself into holes periodically as those patient members here well know but for the most part I have a feel for how to do it and procedural protocol is an impediment mostly.

This is an under appreciated skill of ADD types. I'm trying to grasp how we might better embrace this non-skill here on the forums. Ideas are welcome.

Contextual vs. Subtextual: I'm almost paralysed by the big picture. If I don't have a regular practise of "letting go" I can't function. I fall into depression and my work output plumits. I've had periods in my life where I stall in that mode for months at a time. I often feel as if I'm killing my wife. She's a giving soul and I take more than my share.

Letting go for me has been developed through a very simple and austere Zen meditation. No frills, just the substance practise where I sit quietly and identify anything happening internally and let it go. I draw my attention back to a simple repetitive count and the process continues like that. I have no ambition to be a skilled practitioner but the practise acquaints me with the process which helps me get to some sense of priority in how I spend my time.

I don't think the Dex helps a wit with this Big Picture problem.

Internally inflexible vs. Internally flexible: I was one nasty guy with women for a long time. A master manipulator running rough shod through a raging libido. It was ugly before I met my wife 19 years ago. I remain her faithful mate on all levels.

Stupid teachers were ruthlessly crucified. I took over classes where the teacher might be resting on his laurels on class preparations several years repeated.

I'd be willing to bet that if I'd have been prescribed Dexedrine through my school years my social ease would have allowed me to virtually indistinguishable from the standards of the general student body.

Externally flexible vs. Externally inflexible: I used to be easily offended. Just recently my youngest brother wrote me off in no uncertain terms because I could not be forced into a situation where I'd have to lie about how I feel. He's cut me off from my sister in-law and nieces. I'm feeling wounded but not offended. Maybe that's not quite right. I do find it offencive that he's filtering my sister in-law's contact. I will have a tough time letting go of that offence.

Questioning vs. Dogmatic: Talk to Andrew and David. ehehh They just asked me to help administer the board here and I've done nothing but throw into question the very fundamentals that have guided them in this venture. I believe this is also a much under used skill of ADD types. I have never been given the reins like what I think is happening here so it will be intereting to see if I can indeed influence this place positively like I'd want to.

Accepting New Concepts vs. Reactionary: I'm an early adopter. I'm not very loyal though. If it's not working I'm out of here. I dropped AA last year after an active and productive 14 years there. Bigger pictures came to light on Dexedrine..

Large Grey Areas vs. Black/White distinctions: I don't know how much of this is a function of my age but I'm less black and white now. I used to cling to rule sets in hopes of finding some recipe for relief. Now that's all gone. Dex has let me relax into this but I'm unsure whether it's the anti-depressive effects or some other effect that has helped with this. I expect it's the anti-depression effects that have had the biggest influence.


"The indigo children and Nexus XD38 personality are strongly internal referent www.xd38.com/"

I'd never heard this but it fits like a glove. That's wild stuff.. I'll have to print that out and ruminate on that.

This was great fun chain. I hope to see lots of posts with your name tagged to them.
Cheers! Ian.
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Old 03-06-05, 07:06 PM
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WOW!! This is my kind of thread! I hope you know that your first response came from the awesome dude I refer to as THE LEGEND, IAN. I am going to ponder these ideas and post what will likely be an all too long reply, but first I have a dinner date with one of my twins...

Very Cool Thinkin'!
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Old 03-06-05, 07:57 PM
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I lo-o-o-ve when that old lightbulb goes on, chain, I like the way you think. In fact I think it's brilliant. I am very curious to know how old you are. I suppose its fitting that you appear to have the wisdom of ages and the energy and enthusiasm of youth. Keep us guessing, it'll drive us crazy!!

Your post has provided much food for thought. I recognize so much of what makes me who I am, where it tends to stray off the path is mostly due to direct life experience ie. my relationships with men starting with my father have not been great so I tend to feel safer with women. I wonder if your theory hold as well with females, I think a good deal of my difficulty with men is that they saw me as a threat, too intelligent, too capable. Men on the other hand are appreciated by women for being more sensitive. I remember scoring in the 99 percentile in high school in spatial testing and I am also very mechanically inclined, and will tackle most what would be considered male-oriented tasks. I love working with computers and will take most electrical appliances apart to see if I can fix it.

My 18 & 20 yr old children who I feel are both ADD are considered to be very mature and too serious for their age while I at 49 can be silly and childish, I sometimes feel that they are the parents when they view my "antics" with disdain. They had no appreciation for the birthday party I threw for my dog on her first birthday, complete with cake (nothing chocolate), pizza shaped like a bone and fellow canine guests.

I have great difficulty with structured religion and for that matter the concept of God period, I was raised Catholic and rejected it wholeheartedly as soon as I could. I cannot stand the notion of blind faith, of following rules because they are there, especially if they are gender biased ones such as women prior to the 70's having to wear something on their head in church but not men, only male priests, etc, etc (I loved the DaVinci Code). Or a rule such as eating fish on Friday, some of these the church has dropped but the gender-biased ones still remain. Sometimes I feel I threw the baby out with the bathwater and still want to examine how I can incorporate spirituality in a meaningful way.

I hate rules in general, people tend to rely on them instead of using their judgement. So much of this I instinctively knew without consciously being aware, like knowing that working in a bureaucratic government rule-oriented environment would drive me crazy - and it does!! I swore I'd never get stuck in the rut of staying in a totally unsatisfactory job just because of the money & benefits, yet here I am ( I am not speaking of years here, merely months). Ah well, I am going to work towards having my own business again.

I do however, get very easily offended, my shaky self-esteem rears its ugly head on a regular basis, I sometimes feel I have no filters on my feelings, it gets painful and I retreat, but for the most part I am an extravert.

But here lies the rub, everything about being ADD for me seems to be such a contradiction. I cannot seem to find the balance between who I am and what makes me tick and still fitting into the world in a way that I can be stimulated and satisfied, make a living, maintain relationships and generally find some happiness. Only recently finding out about being ADD at 49, it all feels like a lot of missed opportunities.

Thanks for the journey chain.




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Old 03-06-05, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milauran
I recognize so much of what makes me who I am, where it tends to stray off the path is mostly due to direct life experience ie. my relationships with men starting with my father have not been great so I tend to feel safer with women. I wonder if your theory hold as well with females, I think a good deal of my difficulty with men is that they saw me as a threat, too intelligent, too capable. Men on the other hand are appreciated by women for being more sensitive. I remember scoring in the 99 percentile in high school in spatial testing and I am also very mechanically inclined, and will tackle most what would be considered male-oriented tasks. I love working with computers and will take most electrical appliances apart to see if I can fix it.

........I do however, get very easily offended, my shaky self-esteem rears its ugly head on a regular basis, I sometimes feel I have no filters on my feelings, it gets painful and I retreat, but for the most part I am an extravert.

Thanks for the journey chain.


Thanks so much for thinking about this view and where it matches you... and where it does not!

We are all a mix of nature and nurture and women do tend to have a more difficult time with men... Where it holds true, though is the lack of strong culturally imprinted "female" patterning. You don't have that voice in your head that says that "I can't do that because I am a girl". I have a sub theory on why we may be more comfortable with the opposite gender. It has to do more with acceptance than real strong attraction to the opposite gender. A girl that is not strongly "female" patterned will feel more comfortable with people who are not female patterned (Either men OR women who are not patterned that way)... I think there also might be a strong tendancy to form relationships with people from other cultures as they also have not learned the social patterns of this culture. My poorly imprinted male patterning makes me both interested in relationships with women AND foreign cultures... I feel more comfortable in a foreign culture than I do my own. As I get older, I am finding that the insecurity that drove me to shun males is going away and my friendships are more gender balanced.

When I am talking about offense... I am not talking about feeling hurt or having an insecurity being touched off. I am talking about an externally linked offense. For example, someone questions US policy... you don't reference as an American so strongly so you are less likely to be offended. This is just a semantics problem and I need to define "offense" better. It is external inflexibility based on culturally held notions of right and wrong and us vs. them.

I am so glad to share this thinking! It has been helping me and some ADD friends to heal . Now that the theory is reaching a certain degree of maturity I want to share the healing If it helps you than please pass it on!

ADDers are my peeps, yo!
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Old 03-06-05, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itschaotic

Letting go for me has been developed through a very simple and austere Zen meditation. No frills, just the substance practise where I sit quietly and identify anything happening internally and let it go. I draw my attention back to a simple repetitive count and the process continues like that. I have no ambition to be a skilled practitioner but the practise acquaints me with the process which helps me get to some sense of priority in how I spend my time...

Large Grey Areas vs. Black/White distinctions: I don't know how much of this is a function of my age but I'm less black and white now. I used to cling to rule sets in hopes of finding some recipe for relief. Now that's all gone. Dex has let me relax into this but I'm unsure whether it's the anti-depressive effects or some other effect that has helped with this. I expect it's the anti-depression effects that have had the biggest influence....


"The indigo children and Nexus XD38 personality are strongly internal referent www.xd38.com/"...

I hope to see lots of posts with your name tagged to them.
Cheers! Ian.
Hi Ian,

Thanks for your response!

Zen IS the way. I think that it is very important for ADDers to learn the lessons of zen. I was very fortunate as a child. When I was in the basement of my grandpa's house exploring, I came across a Chinese finger puzzle. When you stick your fingers in they become stuck if you pull hard but it allows them out if you pull gently. It hit me like a lightning bolt. I did not know what Zen was but this little puzzle taught me a lesson I still use to mitigate the more frustrating aspects of ADD. It is a wave that I must surf and I choose to do so as gently and gracefully as I possibly can (of course it does not always work out that way ... but then again...zen)

I have a wine analogy for ADD. There is spilled wine, wine in a glass, wine in a goblet and wine in a bottle down in the cellar gathering dust.

Spilled wine is passion and chaos unleashed and destructive. The drinker of this wine often must try to box it in with absolutes. Black and white reasoning is a way to do this. ADD in this stage can land people in jail.

Wine in a glass is the best. You can see the color, smell the wine and drink it. You have control of your passion and chaos and can enjoy it to its fullest. The glass is made of Zen.

Wine in a goblet has strong external structure around it. It is controlled by institutions like the military or religion... You sip the wine when you can but you can not see what you are drinking. This is the transition state for spilled wine. Either the goblet gets spilled due to eventual anger over the external contstraints OR the spilled wine is put in the goblet as an attempt to reign in an "out of control" life.

Bottled wine in the cellar is the worst... in a way. All signs of creativity and passion are quashed in an attempt to reign in the other painful results of the ADD. The result often is explosions of the spilled wine type.

I think we all experience these states at times but there is often a dominating state.

Looks like you went goblet --> spilled---> wine glass. What a path! You are incredible because the goblet, spilled wine path often leads to a personal destruction. Your wife must be a very incredible person as well!
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Old 03-06-05, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chain
I am so glad to share this thinking! It has been helping me and some ADD friends to heal

It is good thinking. Could you talk a bit more about how this is a healing philosophy?
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Old 03-06-05, 10:43 PM
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OK. I said I'd weigh in on this after dinner with my son. Unfortunately, I'm having some issues with it and need more time to process my thoughts. That said, I copied and pasted the thing and will work through it......can you spell Hyperfocuser?? I WILL jump into this conversation, though!!!!
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Old 03-06-05, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulbf
It is good thinking. Could you talk a bit more about how this is a healing philosophy?
Only in the sense that if it does describe a facet of human cognition and its causes... It makes us feel less abnormal. There are reasons why we act the way we do. At this point it is only a theory but it seems to tie many things together. It is not absolute by any means (humans are VERY complex). We are all different... but it is often good to take a stab at finding some truth and communicating it in a simple way. It is generally healing to understand where we come from.
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Old 03-07-05, 12:55 AM
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My wife has sacrificed plenty on my behalf. This drives me to become less dependent. I dream to honour her with my success. Success is a pretty vague term I know. It's all coming to fruition if I can hold my course.

I've come very close to self distruction many times but I'm a ways away from that now. Gone but not forgotten.

This board is filled with similar pains in stories told.

Ian.. feet of clay.
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Old 03-07-05, 03:32 AM
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Hi, Chain:

That's a pretty well thought out model you've got. Nicely done.

We were pointed to your thread by Ian, clever dude that he is. (He probably knows he's drawing us away from a long, painful thrash over criticism of our stimulant drugs.)

You correctly pinpoint autism, and in our minds, that's a pretty good indicator (just one of many) that the pattern you're seeing is in sync with what's going on out in the real world.

Now all you need are some concrete connections to the underlying engine, some actual mechanisms expressed in neurons that give rise to what you've modeled, and you'll have the whole thing.


Quote:
Some people are very "External Referent" and some are very "Internal Referent". This exists in a continuum (It is certainly not black/white). People who have "raised themselves" due to dysfunction in the household or certain conditions (ADD or ADHD is one of them) tend to be internal referent. People who are raised in less stressful situations without any noticeable cognitive condition tend to be external referent…
OK, there is this relationship you describe here. But what happens to the model if the implied causation is reversed?

For example, consider what your model would look like if dysfunction isn't the reason that a person is forced to raise themselves.

If some unrecognized factor were to independently cause a person to raise themselves, won't the dysfunction still be evident as a natural consequence of the social friction caused by being significantly different?

I know that you are likely to see an inherent problem with the addition of 'invisible' factors to a system like this, if for no other reason than it makes the model more complex. It violates Occam's Razor, the principle that the least complex explanation is the most likely.

But sometimes the addition of such invisible logical 'place holders' makes the big picture less complex, even if it increases the local complexity. And that is almost always a net gain, given the relative size of the models involved.

In this case, the assumption of an additional 'invisible' factor makes it possible to begin bridging the gap between the behavioral context of your model and the behavior of neurons in the brain. It's likely that factor is closely related to AD/HD, and the reason for people choosing to raise themselves is rooted in actual underlying differences in how we use our brains.

So we separate out AD/HD from everything else like social dysfunction, and look for how it arises independently. We have our own landmarks, stuff like your recognition of autism in your model (and not the other way around, like you were trying to derive autism; that's what makes it significant).

The behavioral framework you've constructed is remarkable. It's a really nice expressional model that accurately reflects the social consequences of these differences, which are in turn nicely described by theoretical work that Kay and I have been at for thirty years or so.

I don't mean that there are necessarily inherent differences between ADDers and normals, or that the continuum that you describe doesn't exist. The actual physical difference underlying what we're describing exists in everyone, exhibiting a normal, relatively small variability among individuals.

That physical difference, which we believe to be the result of a small change occurring slowly over thousands of years, imparts an ability to use our brains in a subtle new way. What we do with that ability is determined by the individual, pretty much as you describe.

Some of us use the ability to suppress the appearance of being different, and some of us embrace it, flowering more or less into full-fledged ADDers.

It's seems likely that you will have an instantaneous interpretation of these ideas in terms of your models.

We haven't put nearly as much effort into correlating our models with existing ideas, except in some key places (like the relationship to Zen). We've put most of our effort into the underpinnings, making the logical connection between neural function and high level behavior, and defining the context of experiential reality.

So in that sense your models are complimentary to ours, and we’re curious to hear how you think our ideas fit with yours. We have a pretty heavy investment of time and energy in some specific areas, like human mating behavior, the nature of the social context, and understanding human communication. That last was our original goal when we started our work.

So I guess we should talk. We look forward to hearing more.

Welcome to the forums.

--Tom and Kay

P.S. Thanks, Ian…
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Old 03-07-05, 09:18 AM
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Chain,

Captivated by your post in a way that I need to be captivated right now.

I have just read all of your posts on the site here so far, and your honest introspection and desire to understand ADD is glorious.

Welcome!

I have this funny feeling that from ADD will come mind will come reality will come peace.

SB.
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Old 03-07-05, 01:02 PM
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I wanted to do that yesterday SB.. now where did you find that third shift to chase down and read them all!
I second those sentiments SB. The future is bright.
Ian.
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Old 03-11-05, 09:45 AM
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Wow! Was that a brick that landed on my head? I can't get beyond chain's first paragraph. I am going to print these posts and read them in a more comfortable position than at my computer.
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Old 03-11-05, 01:47 PM
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Ian Ian is offline
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I hit the printer with this. Even with large font sizes my monitor is not a good place to get this type of thing absorbed. I'm with you on the print outs. Tea was required too actually..
Cheers! Ian
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A: Yes.
>Q: Are you sure?
>>A: Because it reverses the logical flow of conversation.
>>>Q: Why is top posting frowned upon?

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