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Primal With A Side Of FABULOUS

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  • PART TWO: Needless to say, I was constantly in trouble for musical crimes. Had it not been for a knee problem, Mother Panda would have been a professional dancer. She played four instruments and sang at church in a lovely soprano. To have such an inept cub was a personal affront. My mind would not retain the choreography in dance performances; my voice has a one-octave range; I spurned my instruments at every opportunity for books and television and my skateboard. I was grounded for misbehaving in cotillion, refusing to dance when I couldn’t dance, refusing to dance with the opposite sex since they had cooties. Didn’t she understand about cooties? I would be infected.

    Being grounded meant that I could watch no television and read no books except classics, and that I had to practice my instrument twice as much. So I watched television on the sly and sneaked my books, I practiced halfheartedly and made my escape as soon as possible. She enrolled me in competitions and volunteered my services for receptions; she lined up the Panda Siblings and made us dance together on the shag carpet in the living room. Desperate to make us love what she loved, she ended up making me hate it. Looking back on it, I’m just sad for her. I was not what she wanted in a cub, but I was what she got. Father Panda was equally disappointed that the cheerleaders and star quarterbacks he’d envisioned cheering before the community turned out to be an island of misfit toys.

    In college I realized the importance of dancing, and enrolled myself in class. The opposite sex had not grown out of their cooties, but I tried not to embarrass them by pointing it out. The problem, however, was the same. My body does not work unless it is moving as a whole. My brain will not keep time. I’m quietly making fun of the song lyrics**. I’m easily distracted by just about anything, and I’m pretty sure everyone around me has swine flu. Even you, Reader***. So now I am an adult who can’t dance, and this is why I lie at friends’ weddings that I’ve twisted my ankle and that’s why I’m sitting. I love to watch dancing, but I can’t participate.

    What does this have to do with primal? Nothing. I just needed a break from editing, and my trapezius has declared anarchy and I’m stuck on the couch wondering if I need more drugs. Shelob and Dr. Evil got into a barking competition early this morning. I got a rejection letter. Benign Poltergeist is playing with the temperature setting on my central air so that I am either too hot or too cold, and has been spreading crumbs around the floor knowing that I am too indisposed to vacuum. I forgot myself and went into the front yard in my Giant Jammie Pants, and nearly lost them when I opened the gate. So you are caught up on the Panda Happenings as they stand (or fall), and thank you for all of your good wishes about Grandmother Friend.


    • UPDATE: (in explanation of *, **, and ***)

      * These recitals happened every June, in which every child performer was to memorize three pieces of music and play them before a crowd of family and friends and teachers. When I was about ten years old, my mind went blank midway through my second piece. I looked up reflexively for the music stand, but of course, nothing was there. I hesitantly backtracked to the beginning of the song and started again. In the same place, my mind went blank. I froze with all of those eyes on me, the tension in the studio reaching such weight that it pinned my fingers to the soundboard.

      My teacher asked quietly, “Young Panda, do you need to take out your music?”
      “No,” I said in desperation, and began a third time. This time I tripped at that measure but keep on going, through that piece and the third, and retook my seat in shame. Mother Panda would not look at me for the rest of the recital, and I was grounded for a very, very long time.

      ** Every time I hear Avril Lavigne’s song Keep Holding On from Eragon, I wince. The use of ‘defend’ as the last word in the stanza is awkward. Where’s the direct object? Defend what? But it had to rhyme with ‘end’ in the line above.

      *** I know that you don’t have swine flu. I just got the squicky feeling from having to carry a basket around Trader Joe’s the other day. My OCD has an entire hierarchy that defies sense of what has more/less swine flu. Basket handles have more swine flu than a cart handle. A cart from Trader Joe’s has less swine flu than a cart at CVS. A basket at CVS has so much swine flu that I couldn’t bear to touch one, and simply carried my purchases around the store in my arms. Carts and baskets at Target are equally seething with germs, but I’m usually buying too much to not have one or the other. Oh, the OCD mind. It’s so dumb.


      • That's terrible about how your mother responded to your forgetful moment at the recital! We were not expected to memorize our recital pieces when I took piano lessons (4yrs, ages 9-13 I think), but I did because I had practiced it so much (and happened to like the piece). Fortunately the music stayed on the stand just in case.

        People like to say "You can't dance? Nobody can dance!", but we all know that's not true. I am pretty uncoordinated, not in the fall-flat-on-my-face-regularly kind of way, but my brain just cannot wrap around ordered body movements. So when it comes to concerts or clubs, I just do my best to flail like all the other fools around me and remind myself that MOST people can't dance. I sympathize.
        Depression Lies


        • Originally posted by namelesswonder View Post
          That's terrible about how your mother responded to your forgetful moment at the recital! We were not expected to memorize our recital pieces when I took piano lessons (4yrs, ages 9-13 I think), but I did because I had practiced it so much (and happened to like the piece). Fortunately the music stayed on the stand just in case.
          Mother Panda thought that I should have practiced more. Though I did practice, and actually performed all 3 pieces perfectly in the preparation room just minutes before stepping onto stage to perform for real, I did not toil overmuch in the weeks beforehand. I think the problem was that we were reaching the limits of my retention, and no amount of practice was going to solve that. But oh, the embarrassment. Fortunately I switched music teachers not long after that, and the new one neither had recitals nor expected me to memorize. She also knew that I disliked music and had no talent for it, and sometimes we would just hang out in her music room gabbing while my parents thought I was having a lesson.


          • Originally posted by ottercat View Post
            As for Man Candy, I would also recommend "300", but if that's too violent then "Australia". Just forward fast to the bath scene =D
            Ottercat, I laughed at this. Just two days before you suggested Australia, I had taken it over to watch it with Grandmother Friend. She sat back in her recliner in total satisfaction upon seeing Hugh Jackman and said, "I could watch that man in ANYTHING."
            JOIN THE PANDA SHOW!!! Primal With A Side Of FABULOUS and PANDALOONERY!


            • amen
              yeah you are

              Baby if you time travel back far enough you can avoid that work because the dust won't be there. You're too pretty to be working that hard.


              • PART ONE: Gay Panda has a tiny sparkle of good news in a sea of discontent. Distant Star is not coming to Thanksgiving dinner.

                For the last few years, Distant Star has been the girlfriend of a distant relative. You know, the kind of distant relative on the family tree where one has to draw the relationship by skipping a few branches and swinging over to the next tree and dodging* the rabid squirrel to give the password and special knock before you realize that in the long run, you don’t care how you’re related to a man who dominates every conversation with long, boring stories that go absolutely nowhere at all. He is the flesh-and-blood form of Grandpa Simpson.

                When he’s not telling long, boring stories that go absolutely nowhere at all, he’s telling off-key jokes about his sex life. When he’s not telling long, boring stories that go absolutely nowhere at all, nor telling off-key jokes about his sex life, he is trying to get you to ask him something (anything) that can lead back to one of his long, boring stories that go absolutely nowhere at all, or an off-key joke about his sex life. He does not really care to know where you work, but it can lead to a story about where he once worked. He does not really care to know what you think about the news, but it can lead to a story about what he thinks about the news. And that girlfriend of his, heh-heh. Good in the sack!

                Gay Panda veers between wanting to knock the panda self unconscious to not hear one more word of a long, boring story that goes absolutely nowhere at all, and holding back horrified giggles at his proud exposure of his bedroom activities. I celebrate that advanced age** has not slowed him down, and I am glad that he finds pride in his virility. But I don’t want to know. I just don’t associate sexy stories with family gatherings, but perhaps that is because I had a religious upbringing, and the rest of you are from families in which talking about Little Jonny discovering himself and Uncle Billy’s foot fetish and Great-Granny’s rent-a-boys are regular conversation while passing the potatoes.

                While I do not find Grandpa Simpson to be very interesting, his girlfriend Distant Star was blown away. No, she was not named that because she is a Z-list celebrity like Octomom. In a heaven of stars, she does not shine brightly. Not a bad star, not a cruel star, just a dim star. One at such a vast distance to Earth that her light does not reach us beyond the faintest flicker. I could tell all matter of outrageous lie and she would believe. If I claimed that I had a spaceship in my backyard, she would debate whether or not to go outside to greet the aliens in open-toed shoes or boots.

                She was enthralled at Grandpa Simpson’s long, boring stories that go absolutely nowhere at all. While I contemplated concussions, she nodded in amazement at his insights, his reflections, his sagacity. “I had an IV tree when I was down south in the hospital,” he says. “They put more bags on the IV tree in the north. Once I had a nurse who rolled the tree away but I wasn’t out of bed yet, but then I got up.”

                Kill me, I think.
                “THAT’S ABSOLUTELY TRUE!” enthuses Distant Star. You see, because she is shining to us from such a vast distance to Earth, she has to speak very loudly to be heard.
                “You don’t do things here like they do in other countries,” Grandpa Simpson says. “One time I went to Mexico, and they did things very differently.”
                Kill me now, I think.
                “MEXICO IS THE SCREENSAVER ON MY COMPUTER AT WORK,” Distant Star puts forth.
                “Remember that time we ordered the duck in that restaurant on Fifth Street? No, it was Fourth Street. Maybe it was in Mexico. And the waiter brought us chicken! Hah-hah!” As Distant Star steps away, Grandpa Simpson leans in and confesses, “So good in the sack.”
                JOIN THE PANDA SHOW!!! Primal With A Side Of FABULOUS and PANDALOONERY!


                • PART TWO: Distant Star has a desperate need to be helpful, so desperate that she ends up being not helpful at all. When a sick, elderly relative asked Distant Star last Passover to bring only half a bowl of soup since she was not that hungry, Distant Star could not follow the direction. “BUT- BUT YOU COULD . . . I HAVE TO . . .” The bowls were already filled and how would she get the excess back into the pot? How would she serve everyone else if she had to pour half of the soup back in the pot? And . . . she was serving! She had to serve the soup! “WELL, JUST EAT HALF OF IT THEN.”

                  These tendencies of hers led to great embarrassment for me last spring, and they are why I have worried for months now about Thanksgiving. The Soup Glitch in her brain was outdone at dessert, in which she noticed that I was sharing a small plate of treats with Lady Friend rather than get my own. No one else paid any attention to this uninteresting fact; they were talking or politely listening to Grandpa Simpson’s long, boring story that went absolutely nowhere at all, they were eating their own desserts, and then Distant Star bellowed across the table of fifteen, “GAY PANDA! GAY PANDA! WHY AREN’T YOU HAVING ANY DESSERT?”

                  “I’m fine. We’re just sharing,” I said tightly.
                  “No, I’m okay,” I said while everyone stared at me, at the plate, and back at me. Then the conversation turned to dieting and I wanted to sink through the floor.

                  I have worried about Thanksgiving for months now. Distant Star is nosy as hell, and how my plate is different from hers will be brayed in front of everyone. I am unwilling to engage in a primal tutorial over my Thanksgiving meal, and if I don’t have a huge piece of pie, she will yell it out to everyone. “LOOK AT THAT TINY PIECE OF PIE! DON’T YOU LIKE PIE, GAY PANDA? WE HAVE TRUFFLES AND CAKE AND ICE CREAM-”
                  “No, I’m fine,” I’ve planned to say.
                  “-SORBET AND CANDY AND COOKIES AND-”
                  “All I want is a little pie.”
                  “They don’t make macaroons like they used to,” Grandpa Simpson will start. “See, my mother used to make them but that was wartime so we had to ration sugar and she’d use 7-Up, do they still sell 7-Up any more? I was at the store and they’re selling sodas in bottles again, I used to recycle those for pocket change when I was young and do you watch crime shows on the TV? I don’t watch crime shows, I like to watch-”

                  But I recently received the glorious news that Grandpa Simpson and Distant Star have broken up. How horrible you are, Gay Panda, the readers of this journal are thinking, to take pleasure in the shattering of a relationship. But I am giddy to have avoided a confrontation about how I’m eating. Grandpa Simpson won’t notice, since it doesn’t directly relate to him, and the rest of the people at the dinner will be too polite to say anything even if they do notice. And so I have something to be happy about today, that the dim glow of Distant Star will not fall on my plate this year, and I can eat in peace***.
                  JOIN THE PANDA SHOW!!! Primal With A Side Of FABULOUS and PANDALOONERY!


                  • UPDATE: (in explanation of *, **, and ***)

                    * Just as I typed the word dodging, I realized that I was chewing on the sticker that I had not removed from my apple.

                    ** No, it’s not dementia.

                    *** Well, whatever peace can be had when sharing space with Grandpa Simpson. And for those of you thinking the IV tree story was hyperbole, IT WASN’T. I should subtly record him the next time and write down the transcript here so you also can be bored.
                    JOIN THE PANDA SHOW!!! Primal With A Side Of FABULOUS and PANDALOONERY!


                    • I don't know if you could intentionally bore us.

                      Back to dancing - There's hope for the non-dancers among us. The night I officially fell for Mrs. Griffin we were out bar-hopping (for lack of a better term) with a bunch of friends. I asked Mrs. Griffin to dance. While on the dance floor she actually laughed at the way I dance. 19 years later we're still together, and I'm now telling our children about how well I can dance.

                      They don't believe me.
                      There are two wolves fighting within a man's heart, one is Love, the other is Hate. The one that wins is the one you feed.

                      My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world. - Jack Layton

                      The Primal Adventures of Griffin - Huzzah!


                      • Sounds to me like Grandpa Simpson wasn't in that relationship for the long haul anyway - he was just in it for "entertainment" purposes.


                        • Originally posted by hockeyfan7 View Post
                          Sounds to me like Grandpa Simpson wasn't in that relationship for the long haul anyway - he was just in it for "entertainment" purposes.
                          Maybe Distant Star was "so good in the sack" but Grandpa Simpson wasn't....
                          Live. Grow. Flourish.

                          My Journal/story is at


                          • PART ONE: Gay Panda has not felt full in days.

                            I do not know what has inspired such a desperate feeling of insatiableness, and I worry that my body has suddenly noticed how much weight I have lost and is setting up its offense to make a play and regain it. Although I am stressed for obvious reasons, this is not an emotional hunger. My body is hungry. After a meal it is still hungry. I woke up hungry this morning when usually my appetite takes hours to kick in. I do not think I’ve been under-eating, nor have I been frenetically exercising, so there is no clear reason for this to be going on. But it is.

                            I have mad fantasies of eating like Cookie Monster, just shoveling it in with crumbs flying in every direction. This grosses me out because it reminds me too much of my siblings in cubhood. Two of the sticky Panda siblings had disgusting behaviors in the matter of food. In truth, they had disgusting behaviors over a variety of topics, and Young Gay Panda marveled at the depths of depravity to which they would sink. I was not a sloppy cub. I took showers with a minimum of fuss. I did not eat anything formed and excavated from my nostrils. I had table manners.

                            This particular twosome of siblings was freshly imported from a poor medieval village in the matter of their hygiene. In fear of demons catching the scent of clean skin, they refused to shower. To keep their teeth warm, toothbrushes were not allowed to break apart the festering greenish coats wrapped about the enamel, with decorative tassels of decayed meat hanging from every groove. The crust within their neck creases would put one in mind of a pirate’s treasure map, ridges for mountains, waves for oceans, speckles for sand. Oil collected in their hair and stained their pillows, and their yellowed toenails stretched out to infinity, splintered peaks above valleys of toe jam.

                            When one touched me, I made sure to wipe myself off afterwards.

                            They shelled Easter eggs over the side of their beds, and the shells would still be there six months later. They took food into their rooms and pushed the stained plates and cutlery under their beds when finished. Their rooms reeked. If a cat vomited on their floor or beds, they stepped around it or slept beside it rather than clean it up. By our late teen years we shared a car, and on a long drive one summer to UC Berkeley, I had to pull over and investigate the source of an appalling smell. One sibling had eaten part of a tuna fish sandwich and dropped the rest under the driver’s seat.
                            JOIN THE PANDA SHOW!!! Primal With A Side Of FABULOUS and PANDALOONERY!


                            • PART TWO: The other had the unappetizing habit of stuffing his mouth so full of food at the table that he would choke and spit it out everywhere. It was nauseating. But this is the level of my hunger now, irrational and dominating, pushing aside manners in its singular quest to be soothed. Last night I gave up on eating my steak nicely with fork and knife, and just ate it with my fingers since the room was dark and Castle was on. I won’t even eat ribs because I don’t like to be messy.

                              What in the world is going on? Have my internal Mr. Magazine Times found a new level on which to battle me? I saw that article on ABC News about hormones making it difficult to keep the weight off, but this was a study of people severely restricting their calories (eating 500 calories a day) for 10 weeks. When tested for their levels of leptin and ghrelin a year later, they were higher than before the study began. I don’t know if I can compare myself to this study; I’m eating much more than 500 calories a day and losing slowly instead of crashing down like they did through semi-starvation.

                              But sweet Valhalla, my body does not feel full and I could eat like a pig from a trough right now. I’m thinking about food (but oddly dreaming about furniture shopping) I’m envisioning food, I’m looking at pictures of food and feeling hateful. That steak did not fill me; I then had a little cheese and a hardboiled egg and then a second egg before I stopped. I could still have eaten, but I was sick of going back and forth to the kitchen. Today maybe I should have as much as I want and glut myself in primal fashion, I shall be as big of a pig as I please, in the hopes that my body will understand there is no famine happening; there is just a panda trying to achieve a healthier weight than 185.

                              Steer clear of my magical bamboo forest today, ducklings. The crumbs are about to fly.
                              Last edited by Gay Panda; 11-10-2011, 10:16 AM.
                              JOIN THE PANDA SHOW!!! Primal With A Side Of FABULOUS and PANDALOONERY!


                              • I have the same thing happen, and I am convinced it is connected to my hormones. In times of stress....any kind of stress, be it from relationships, failing tests, not enough sleep, too much hormones take a nosedive and I get intense cravings and feel hungry all of the time. Plus I get anxiety and depression that seem to exceed the amount of stress that I am truly under. To get it back under control, sleep is critical, stay away from sugar, avoid unneccesary stresses (obviously not easy for you to do currently) and I myself find that adding a little bit of extra good carb/starch from sweet potatoes or rice helps me a lot. I also take my fish oil and vitamin D without fail.
                                I hope you are doing well. You have a lot of stress to deal with currently so take care of yourself!