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  1. #601
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    PART ONE: Children, today we are going to discuss first impressions. Since I presume you are fairly normal, this will be more for entertainment than edification, but for goslings of a different feather, contemplate the advice. (Should you expect a tie-in to primal, you will be unfulfilled. I woke up on the goofy side of my magical bamboo forest, not the one in which I have deep thoughts.)

    There are three types of first impressions: the good, the bad, and the neutral. I leave the last. Uncomfortable in groups, I often find refuge along the wall. I take out my iPhone and pretend to be doing something terribly important for work. In truth, I’m playing a game, simultaneously hoping that someone will talk to me and that everyone will stay away. Yes, I know that I need Remedial Social Skills. I tend to choose noisy, extroverted friends who are able to supply 85% of the conversation. They understand that 15% of the time, I’m going to pipe up with something like sneezing fetishes, and my friends are forgiving people who know that I missed Asperger’s by four points in an online test.

    I can’t walk up to a group of strangers and start talking about the website of Mistress Delilah, Queen of Farts. One has to start with hi-what do you do-where did you go to school? But I don’t care. This is the hallmark of an introvert. I am interested in how your mind works, not your trappings. Yet in order to know your mind, I have to get through your trappings first. Being shy and introverted, (no, they are not synonyms), work against me. I retreat to the wall, leaving neither a good impression with my glittering social graces or a bad one with Mistress Delilah and how one can listen to a variety of free fart clips if one is so inclined.

    Lady Friend will bounce right into that group and make herself at home, leaving a lovely impression on everyone. She’s open and friendly and animated and welcoming, and understands the back-and-forth of initial conversations in a way that I never will. My mind simply does not supply the next logical answer/question in a first meeting, and hers does. Here is the difference in how we work:

    MARVIN: I work in sales for Ball Bearings Incorporated. Most of my time is spent in the air.
    LADY FRIEND: How long have you been in sales?
    GAY PANDA’S EXTERNAL DIALOGUE: Oh.
    GAY PANDA’S INTERNAL DIALOGUE: I would hate sales. Do you hate it? Were you called Marvin the Martian as a child? Or Starvin’ Marvin? No, I can’t ask you any of that. Do you get patted down every time you fly? No, I can’t ask that either. I just met you.

    MARVIN: I’ve been in sales for twenty years.
    LADY FRIEND: Twenty years! You must have started right after college.
    GAY PANDA’S EXTERNAL DIALOGUE: Wow.
    GAY PANDA’S INTERNAL DIALOGUE: I would rather throw myself off a bridge than have your job. I’m not even sure what a ball bearing is. I can’t ask; you’ll think that I’m an idiot. I should look it up on my phone. No, that would be rude. I wonder what TV shows you watch. We have the acceptable shows that we trot out in public, and then our dirty secret shows. (Mine is Drop Dead Diva.) What is your dirty secret show, Marvin? No, that sounds like I’m asking about porn.

    LADY FRIEND: So, where are you from?
    GAY PANDA’S INTERNAL DIALOGUE: How the hell does she know how to keep this going? And it’s so boring. Do you ever wonder what the dirty secret shows of historical figures would have been? Would Lincoln like Desperate Housewives? Would Hannah Montana play on Napoleon’s plasma during his down time while Italy was invaded? As George Washington crossed the Delaware, might he think dammit, I’m missing Glee? Oh no. You’ve been talking this whole time, Marvin, and I forgot to listen. That’s so rude. I’m sorry. I bet if we could go back in time with Spartacus: Blood and Sand to show to real gladiators, they’d yell at the screen that it doesn’t work that way AT ALL. Just like how I used to yell when Baywatch would showcase a lifeguard doing CPR wrong. In your opinion, Marvin, which historical figure would like Baywatch?

  2. #602
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    PART TWO: I don’t speak much because 99.9% of what goes through my mind doesn’t belong in a first conversation. So I leave a neutral impression, not appearing of interest but also not offending anyone. Lady Friend talks and jokes and passes around business cards and leaves a great one. To broaden her horizons, then I sidle up and teach her the terminology I learned from Google about lighting farts. In an instance where one lights a fart and the flames roll up the crack between one’s buttocks, it is called a canyon fire.

    Leaving a good impression is fantastic; neutral is fine. What isn’t fine is leaving a bad one. My interlude with Beetlejuice in college put me in mind of this topic. He was clearly interested in me, but in twenty seconds, he’d made such a bad impression that I fled. Mario Lopez did the same thing. Knowing how much I love to observe people, years ago a friend gave me her dating website password. I spent a month roving personal ads from California to Kuwait.

    What are you thinking, strange goslings of the world? When one is trying to impress, there are certain things that belong in a personal ad, and certain things that do not. For instance, if Gay Panda were trying to think of something to put under hobbies, and since the bare truth that one hobby is reading personal ads is too weird to admit at a first meeting, I would write (falling out of) kayaks. Other hobbies: reading, watching comedies, writing, learning how to cook.

    Do you see what I’ve done? I’ve made myself look normal*. I’m active. I’m intelligent. I enjoy humor. I challenge myself with new activities. I’ve made a funny comment that I like kayaking, but I’m not very good at it. I come across as modest and likeable. The reason that Octomom, the cartoon character of this century, was never offered the TV career she coveted as a child expert was because she was so unlikeable that no one could relate to her. How did she come across in her first interview? To me, she was unbalanced, self-interested, childish, and extremely narcissistic. Would you respect her as a child expert? Would you dream of dating her? Do you care whom she’s voting for in 2012? I’m pretty sure that you don’t. When you are advertising yourself, as you are doing when making a first impression, you HAVE to be seen as likeable.

    A negative impression is your death knell. My favorite example was a man who wanted a lady to call his own, but shot himself in the foot with the hobbies in his personal ad. He had two hobbies: wizards and underpants. It is fine to have hobbies of wizards and underpants, both can be utterly fascinating topics in the right time and place, but this information does not belong in a first contact. If he got a single hit from a real woman, Gay Panda would be surprised.

    Announcing that you love to lick elbows will send people screaming away. I knew someone with an elbow fetish, but she kept it to herself until you knew her better. Saying that you were potty-trained by thirteen months also works against you. Yes, you look advanced beyond your years, but when being asked for your stats, NO ONE means at what age you mastered the can. You are much older than that if you’re hunting dates, and if your biggest accomplishment in the intervening years has failed to surpass early success on the pot, I worry about you. At least I won the science fair twice**.

  3. #603
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gay Panda View Post
    You're fired. The Internet told me that it was a shoulder. Other visitors to Primal With A Side Of FABULOUS told me that it was a shoulder. But YOU, beachrat, tell me that it is ASS. Oh Valhalla. Is it really?
    Naw. Call it a Boston butt, and that should tell you it's ass-backwards, therefore from forefront rather than aft.

    Ham, on the other hand...
    "If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
    "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
    If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman

    beachrat's primal journal

  4. #604
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gay Panda View Post
    There are three types of first impressions: the good, the bad, and the neutral. I leave the last. Uncomfortable in groups, I often find refuge along the wall. I take out my iPhone and pretend to be doing something terribly important for work. In truth, I’m playing a game, simultaneously hoping that someone will talk to me and that everyone will stay away. Yes, I know that I need Remedial Social Skills. I tend to choose noisy, extroverted friends who are able to supply 85% of the conversation. They understand that 15% of the time, I’m going to pipe up with something like sneezing fetishes, and my friends are forgiving people who know that I missed Asperger’s by four points in an online test.

    I can’t walk up to a group of strangers and start talking about the website of Mistress Delilah, Queen of Farts. One has to start with hi-what do you do-where did you go to school? But I don’t care. This is the hallmark of an introvert. I am interested in how your mind works, not your trappings. Yet in order to know your mind, I have to get through your trappings first. Being shy and introverted, (no, they are not synonyms), work against me. I retreat to the wall, leaving neither a good impression with my glittering social graces or a bad one with Mistress Delilah and how one can listen to a variety of free fart clips if one is so inclined.

    Lady Friend will bounce right into that group and make herself at home, leaving a lovely impression on everyone. She’s open and friendly and animated and welcoming, and understands the back-and-forth of initial conversations in a way that I never will. My mind simply does not supply the next logical answer/question in a first meeting, and hers does. Here is the difference in how we work:

    MARVIN: I work in sales for Ball Bearings Incorporated. Most of my time is spent in the air.
    LADY FRIEND: How long have you been in sales?
    GAY PANDA’S EXTERNAL DIALOGUE: Oh.
    GAY PANDA’S INTERNAL DIALOGUE: I would hate sales. Do you hate it? Were you called Marvin the Martian as a child? Or Starvin’ Marvin? No, I can’t ask you any of that. Do you get patted down every time you fly? No, I can’t ask that either. I just met you.
    are we related? or, due to some science fiction event, are we the same person from different, yet parallel, universes who just happen to live in the same one?

    a few years ago a friend of mine stopped by to talk a bit and she was driving a guy she knew home after. he was someone i went to grade school with so we did a little chit chat (she was mostly the chit chatter, because i am an awkward kid) when he mentioned that he had recently gotten out of jail for making explosives and blowing up tree trunks

    my eyes immediately lit up. i like things that go boom. so i said 'i have some lye in the house! let's go!'
    (i make soap off and on)

    he got all '*clears throat* well i.. i mean i don't..' and it occurred to me that i made yet another social faux pas. he'd gone to jail for those shenanigans and here i was being all derp about it

    ah well

    but yeah, i think we're somehow interdimensionally related
    beautiful
    yeah you are

    I mean there's so many ants in my eyes! And there are so many TVs, microwaves, radios... I think, I can't, I'm not 100% sure what we have here in stock.. I don't know because I can't see anything! Our prices, I hope, aren't too low!

  5. #605
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    PART THREE: Don’t take a picture of yourself holding your six-month-old, with a cigarette extending from your lips to the baby’s hair. Don’t click while wearing scruffy clothes. If you have facial hair, there should not be crumbs in it. If you have a huge zit, don’t take a close-up of it. If you draw on your eyebrows, make sure that they match. (Honey, half of your face is beneath a grumpy downward slash, and the other half is an arc of surprise.) It’s risky to take your picture with your cell phone in the bathroom mirror. Do you know what I do? I stop looking at you to judge your bathroom. Is it clean? Snazzy tile! Oh, that must be at work. And there are legs under that stall door to your left, some poor dope an unknowing participant in your online personal ad while he/she sits on the toilet taking care of business! Classy.

    I don’t like bathroom shots in general, but it might just be me. I look at the picture and wonder if you came to the bathroom for the express purpose of taking it, or if you had to go and decided to make a two-for-one errand. Did you go before or after the shot? Did you wash your hands? Is the person attached to the legs in the stall peeking out the crack, trying to figure out what the hell you are doing? Is that your boss? Are you on the clock? I just don’t associate the bathroom with meeting someone for the first time; it seems like a private space and there you are, using it for your public image. You are trying to show off your good points, and all I’m thinking about is what age you were potty-trained.

    Personal ads can be boring, because 90% of people write the same thing. You need to stand out, and yet it’s a delicate dance as to how far you can stand out without making yourself a freak. Don’t be fooled by the facelessness of the Internet; it’s just the print version of meeting people, and I doubt that that man from earlier would approach women at a singles mixer to say, “Hi, I’m Joe, and I like wizards and underpants.”*** Nor is it really okay for Gay Panda to relate this story upon meeting someone for the first time. Social functions can also be boring, everyone talking about the same things, and it’s better that I not speak and leave the bad impression that expressing myself would inevitably create.

    Well, I’ve rambled long enough. Be warned, ducklings. Tomorrow is the celebration in which I will be ingesting more carbohydrates than I have since March. If I vanish, you know why. Send out search parties to your local stores and check every corner. It is imperative that I am located and redirected back to primal. If I bite you for taking away my Coke and cinnamon bears and burritos and pizza and ice cream cake, be reassured that I have had all my shots, and I will be very apologetic after I come down from my feral carb high. I will make you a steak and bandage you, and you can tell me what dirty secret TV show that you like. And what do you think Joan of Arc would have watched? I’m thinking South Park.

  6. #606
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    Quote Originally Posted by bloodorchid View Post
    are we related? or, due to some science fiction event, are we the same person from different, yet parallel, universes who just happen to live in the same one?

    but yeah, i think we're somehow interdimensionally related
    One of my grandmothers was originally from Tennessee. Is it possible? If not, then perhaps we can go to Psychic School and let Tim Tim figure out how one soul split into two.

  7. #607
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    UPDATE: (in explanation of *, **, and ***)

    * Cue snickers.

    ** :::continuing to snicker:::

    *** Imagine that you are attending a singles mixer, instructed to mingle and tell people two of your hobbies. You decide on reading and soccer, or movies and travel, or whatever seems to be The Shiniest Parts of You. A man/woman approaches and chimes, “Hi! I’m into wizards and underpants.”

    Would you laugh? Bolt? Tell him/her that that is too much information too soon? Cut this person slack if he/she is really hot? Your assignment for the weekend is to post your reaction, after your pretend-self at the mixer has gone through the mental rigmarole of ‘did I hear that right?’ to ‘I heard that right’ to ‘WTF?’ to ‘Social etiquette dictates that I say/do something now.’

    We shall discuss your ways of handling this situation on Monday when Gay Panda returns with throbbing carb flu, many pounds of water retention, and no will to live. I’ll go first: I think that my reaction would be the flustered blurt, “Good for you!” before fleeing to the wall and behind my iPhone where I am safe.

  8. #608
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    DJY
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    Hi Gay Panda--

    I'm a primal noob having only read (compliments of iBooks and 9.99 plus tax) PB last week and begun my primal journey as of this past Monday -- day 4..whoo hoo! -- and I have to say that I have had a tremendous time reading your journal. It is the first time I can ever remember being interested enough to stick with someone through 600+ posts and I don't plan on missing any of the new ones. Your wit and writing style are sparkling and I've laughed out loud many times (BTW..I refuse to use "LOL" I think I'm too old for it..but BTW is fine of course). I don't have a lot to say primal-related yet since it is so new to me and I prefer to have lived it for a while so I can at least feel like I have some experience to support any opinion I develop but I do think you should be proud of your weight loss--you're doing great. One thing I do feel like I can comment on is fantasy writing as I've been reading the genre almost exclusively for over 30 years now -- not counting school or professional reading of course. I've hundreds of books in my library and have what I think are pretty refined tastes in this area and like to think I can spot a winner when I read them. You haven't graced us with any of your professional writing yet but I believe your level of success with your fantasy works is unlimited. I'd love to read what you've written if/when you are ready to tell us. LMK (which is in the bucket with BTW as opposed to LOL in case you are keeping track) if you'd care to trade author recommendations as I have some can't miss options for fantasy fans--we'd then of course have to debate the merits of said choices. Can't wait for the next Panda journal installment. Closing note--I'm a male Scorpio so possibly in line for some grief about that based on the responses of the fine folks who follow you and comment here. We're not all bad...really.....

  9. #609
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    Greetings Gay Panda, all the way from the never ever sunny North of England.

    I have happily spent the last 3 afternoons at work being "swamped with work at my desk" reading your journal, and now I am finished I feel I really need to comment. So, here goes...

    Ive been 100% primal for just over a month now and I've lost not one tiny bit of weight. Thats much less than even 1lb a week! (I'm hoping its just some type of "metabolism reprogramming, and I'll wake up half a stone lighter, one day..) Dunno what train I'm on....

    I am Scorpio, and proud. I really believe we are the most unstable and crazy of all the signs. Ands its ace. "Scorpio" also sounds like a comic book evil nemesis, which is cool.

    I also remember every single embaressing thing that I said/did since I was old enough to remember. Ever single time I put my hand up in class and got the answer wrong. Every time I didnt put my hand up but had to answer anyway, and was wrong. Every time people laughed, and they were not supposed to. Sometimes when Im feeling very self critical I'll sit and scroll through these times and remind myself that Im no where near the type of person I dream of being, and no, I shouldnt go out. Yes I should stay in, in my very own giant fleecy jammies (with pictures of little robins on) and watch True Blood episodes back to back while comfort eating (all primal foods, of course.......)

    I also have 2 kitties - one could be a primal coach, and one could not. Looshkin, named after a favourite comic character, is lean, sleek, intelligent and a perfect hunter gatherer. she does not eat bacon, she catches her own. She drinks raw chicken blood, and her response to laziness is a claw in the face. Its kill or be killed, in her world. UNless its frosty outside, and then she will accept a warm and cosy place beneath the duvet.
    Sabre is our non primal feline. shes small, and pretty, and she frolics like a newborn lamb... and meeps at you, and loves cuddles, and crys if she hasnt seen you in over an hour. We refer to her brain as the "Sabre pebble" as it is sure to be small, and smooth.

    Looshkin regards Sabre as the annoying younger sister, who she doesnt deserve to have to put up with. and when Its too rainy to hunt outside, Loosh will hunt Sabre. We dont need ghosts in this house... we have 2 cats. One that wants to kill the other, and the other who just wants to snuggle with the first.

    Anyway, I'm not sure why this would interest you, but I have really enjoyed reading your Journal, and I hope you come back safe and sound after your carb holiday!
    Last edited by englishrose; 10-20-2011 at 08:38 AM.

  10. #610
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    Oh Panda, what an amazing writer you are. I'm a shy introvert too and your descriptions of what goes round in your head when hearing small talk is just spot on. I've been trying to learn how to do it and ask people about their "trappings" only to make a horrendously dull first impression and bore them and myself in the process. Just can't do it. If there was one magic button I could choose to push it would be to make it easier for me to relate to people. I can't even do it online.

    Good luck with the carb-potential celebrations!

    *re: the man with wizards and underpants, I would be extremely curious to hear details of what these entail but would word my question bluntly or make some feeble joke like "What about wizards in underpants?" Either that or I would become paranoid and think they were making fun of me, smile and withdraw. Depending how nice they seemed.

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