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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dodgers’ Greinke learning about himself and his social anxiety disorder

And he gets along with teammates, even if he doesn’t see the point in idle chit-chat.

“I don’t really want to talk about nothing, or less than nothing,” he said. “If it’s interesting, yeah, I’ll talk. But just, ‘How was your day?’ I’m not interested in that.”

More from the always-refreshing and incomparable Zack Greinke.

Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: February 16, 2013 at 10:16 PM | 155 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: zack greinke

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   1. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: February 17, 2013 at 12:39 AM (#4370909)
I tried using quotes html and it still didn't take. It should be automatic.
   2. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 17, 2013 at 02:38 AM (#4370926)
It didn't work because you were trying to quote chit-chat.
   3. akrasian Posted: February 17, 2013 at 02:46 AM (#4370929)
Is he the Sheldon Cooper of pitching?
   4. Knock on any Iorg Posted: February 17, 2013 at 06:03 AM (#4370937)
This doesn't sound so much like a social anxiety disorder as much as Greinke is just being a common jerk.

I'd go with the Sheldon Cooper analogy if he had referenced a Star Trek character or scenario, though.
   5. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: February 17, 2013 at 09:55 AM (#4370950)
“If it’s interesting, yeah, I’ll talk. But just, ‘How was your day?’ I’m not interested in that.”


THIS. THIS. THIS. SO MUCH ####### THIS!!!
   6. Martin Hemner Posted: February 17, 2013 at 11:18 AM (#4370969)
This doesn't sound so much like a social anxiety disorder as much as Greinke is just being a common jerk.

It's pretty clear that Greinke would be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder if he were growing up today. Most people with ASDs report that idle chit-chat makes their skin crawl. He's not really being a jerk here, but just being honest. IMHO.
   7. Random Transaction Generator Posted: February 17, 2013 at 12:01 PM (#4370981)
I don't have ASD, and I admit to absolutely hating fake small talk.
I can talk for hours with friends and family, but trying to maintain basic communication with individual strangers (or "acquaintances" at work) is something that I despise.
My number one response to "Hey! How's it going?" when I pass someone in the hall is "Hey!" and I keep walking.
My wife is my social connector for parties and gatherings, as I'd rather not just stand around and talk about banal subjects (weather! kids! politics!).
   8. PreservedFish Posted: February 17, 2013 at 12:14 PM (#4370988)
I don't have ASD, and I admit to absolutely hating fake small talk.


Everyone hates fake small talk. Not all small talk is fake. I imagine there's a wealth of academic literature on this.
   9. Greg K Posted: February 17, 2013 at 12:27 PM (#4370990)
I don't hate small talk so much as I dread it. When I'm with someone I know, or I know I have common interest with I'm fine. But if I'm talking with a run of the mill stranger I go into full panic mode and try desperately to come up with something to say, because I'm sure sitting there silently makes me look like a psychopath. At times I'll literally look around for some nearby thing or person to comment on which, coupled with my general hatred of eye contact, probably makes me come off as a bit of a jerk.
   10. Cabbage Posted: February 17, 2013 at 12:37 PM (#4370995)
It looks like to crypto-autistics are gathering here, so perhaps I can offer perspective about life on the other side of the social interaction spectrum.

For some of us, small talk doesn't really exist, because meeting new people or learning about others is REALLY EXCITING. I don't say, "How are you?" Because I'm terrified of silence, but because "hey here is somebody, let's learn about them because people are fun, and then we'll interact because interacting with people is AWESOME and people are interesting and gosh it is exciting to talk to other people, I wonder what we will talk about next maybe they have some cool hobby or interest that we share?!?!?!"

In other words, entering a room full of people is like being a ten year old boy and entering a dinosaur museum.

(Edited for autocorrect)
   11. valuearbitrageur Posted: February 17, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4370996)
My 5 year old is autistic, and made lots of progress the last two years, to the point of being mainstreamed this year. But she doesn't see the point of idle chit chat and I wonder if she ever will. Every "conversation" is merely a means to an end, if she doesn't want something from you, or you from her, she sees no need for talking and eye contact and all that work.
   12. PreservedFish Posted: February 17, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4370997)
There was a guy on my freshman hall that decided to dispense with small talk and to be sincere and interested and deep 100% of the time. He also tried to establish and maintain eye contact during any conversation. It was really creepy and disconcerting. I later learned that he wasn't just like this, it was a kind of experiment or campaign of his, a way of eliminating the phoniness in our lives and establishing deep relationships, or something like that.

With me (and probably some other people) it had the exact opposite of the intended effect - it was a barrier to friendship. Small talk is a useful first step towards more meaningful connections.
   13. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: February 17, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4371002)
Count me among the crypto-autistics then. Greg's post 9 and RTG's post 7 describe me pretty much to a T. Down to the wife doing all of the social coordinating.
   14. Greg K Posted: February 17, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4371007)
Count me among the crypto-autistics then. Greg's post 9 and RTG's post 7 describe me pretty much to a T. Down to the wife doing all of the social coordinating.

That's not too surprising. There is a slim chance that you and I are the same person suffering from an acute personality disorder and posting under different accounts. My parents did name me after a Pope.

It would explain why every now and then I get logged off of BTF.

EDIT: I should add, as per Cabbage, that I find meetinig new people is often a very fulfilling experience. I just really, really suck at it.
   15. McCoy Posted: February 17, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4371008)
Oh goody, found out I was autistic today.
   16. Knock on any Iorg Posted: February 17, 2013 at 01:22 PM (#4371011)
because "hey here is somebody, let's learn about them because people are fun, and then we'll interact because interacting with people is AWESOME and people are interesting and gosh it is exciting to talk to other people, I wonder what we will talk about next maybe they have some cool hobby or interest that we share?!?!?!"

But this is BTF. Please rethink.
   17. valuearbitrageur Posted: February 17, 2013 at 01:28 PM (#4371013)
Oh goody, found out I was autistic today.


We were debating whether to tell you;)

It's funny since my daughter was diagnosed how often I see autistic traits evidenced by my friends, family and obviously myself. It's funny when the traits aren't crippling or overwhelming, and it just makes us socially awkward at times. His traits help make Greinke "quirky" and interesting, but he's still able to function "normally' in society.

And it's why they call it a spectrum, there is a range of behaviors under that umbrella and many of us have one or two. It only becomes awful when you have so many of the traits in a combination that makes communication and life more difficult. And terrifying when it happens to a little child whom you lose the ability to reach.
   18. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: February 17, 2013 at 01:46 PM (#4371017)
1. I moved to the Midwest about a year ago, and discovered that this kind of interaction is valued highly here. This is a problem for me, not because I land somewhere on the autism spectrum, but because I tend to view niceness as dishonesty. In fact, living in a place that places a high social value on small talk and niceness has reenforced this feeling rather than destroyed it.

2. DEAN PELTON: Boys' night!
ABED: I need help reacting to something.
   19.   Posted: February 17, 2013 at 01:50 PM (#4371019)
If idle chit chat makes you annoyed or angry, that's one thing. If idle chit chat makes your heart race and makes you sweat, makes you feel dizzy and/or panicky, then you probably have social anxiety disorder.
   20. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: February 17, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4371021)
Now, I've always pronounced 'Greinke' with a long 'I' sound (like the first part of 'grind'). That said, I share a fantasy league with a team currently named '50 Shades of Greinke' and I think that that is just terrific.

Oh goody, found out I was autistic today.

Please refer to comment #4
   21. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: February 17, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4371022)
The weather is just gorgeous today!
   22. CrosbyBird Posted: February 17, 2013 at 02:07 PM (#4371025)
There was a guy on my freshman hall that decided to dispense with small talk and to be sincere and interested and deep 100% of the time. He also tried to establish and maintain eye contact during any conversation. It was really creepy and disconcerting. I later learned that he wasn't just like this, it was a kind of experiment or campaign of his, a way of eliminating the phoniness in our lives and establishing deep relationships, or something like that.

I tried that once on a first date, just to see what would happen. It didn't work one bit. The eye contact, I think, is the creepiest part; it makes you look like you're interrogating someone.

For some of us, small talk doesn't really exist, because meeting new people or learning about others is REALLY EXCITING. I don't say, "How are you?" Because I'm terrified of silence, but because "hey here is somebody, let's learn about them because people are fun, and then we'll interact because interacting with people is AWESOME and people are interesting and gosh it is exciting to talk to other people, I wonder what we will talk about next maybe they have some cool hobby or interest that we share?!?!?!"

I'm pretty good at small talk and don't particularly dislike it, but it definitely exists for me. My issue is getting from small talk to deep talk with a smooth transition; something interesting comes up and I start geeking out on it.
   23. Swedish Chef Posted: February 17, 2013 at 02:09 PM (#4371027)
The weather is just gorgeous today!

Anyone trying that opener on me must be prepared for a long rant on the awfulness of February in Sweden.

I don't mind small talk much, unless it turns to TV because I watch no shows at all.
   24. Swedish Chef Posted: February 17, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4371028)
If idle chit chat makes your heart race and makes you sweat, makes you feel dizzy and/or panicky, then you probably have social anxiety disorder.

I think I have dating anxiety disorder.
   25. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: February 17, 2013 at 02:17 PM (#4371029)
Another small-talk hater here, and the absolute worst for me has to be when some random stranger (usually quite elderly, so the list is extensive) tries to engage me in small talk over their various infirmities when I'm trapped in a doctor's waiting area. Elevator talk at work about the weather or if I'm "staying busy" runs a close second.
   26. McCoy Posted: February 17, 2013 at 02:17 PM (#4371030)
The eye contact, I think, is the creepiest part; it makes you look like you're interrogating someone.

I believe I read somewhere that a significant portion of the population views eye contact as a form of aggression, an evolutionary trait of ours I would imagine. So the whole looking deep into their eyes thing was something one shouldn't do when trying to make a first impression. The other little tidbits I remember is that touching forms a trust and that you're more likely to get a positive answer if you ask a question while touching someone and to further increase your chances of a positive answer you should talk so that their right ear is the main ear hearing you.

Now trying pulling that off without coming of as a creepy human being.
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 17, 2013 at 02:20 PM (#4371032)
I mean, everyone hates awkward and boring conversations. But if you meet someone new and you find something in common, you can talk about relatively meaningless things (tv shows, neighborhoods in Boston, mole recipes, maybe even baseball!) and have a good time. It's a skill. Obviously for some people it comes easier than others, and for some people it don't come at all, but if I can have a good small conversation, I enjoy it.
   28. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: February 17, 2013 at 02:22 PM (#4371033)
That's not too surprising. There is a slim chance that you and I are the same person suffering from an acute personality disorder and posting under different accounts.

And then we eatssss it, yes?
   29. Knock on any Iorg Posted: February 17, 2013 at 02:33 PM (#4371037)
Now trying pulling that off without coming of as a creepy human being.

The modern definition of creepiness was most likely developed by the generation that exhibits the traits described here. This is enabled by the ability to bury their heads in Facebook pages and text messages or hide behind the earbuds on their iPods while the world goes by. It's a perfect synergy.
   30. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 17, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4371046)
The modern definition of creepiness was most likely developed by the generation that exhibits the traits described here. This is enabled by the ability to bury their heads in Facebook pages and text messages or hide behind the earbuds on their iPods while the world goes by. It's a perfect synergy.

tl;dr

Shorter: Get off my lawn.
   31. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 17, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4371049)
One reason I pay as much attention to college football as I do -- not much at all, but enough to have a clue what people are talking aobut -- is so that I can rather easily engage in casual conversation here in the heart of SEC country.
   32. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 17, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4371056)
I believe I read somewhere that a significant portion of the population views eye contact as a form of aggression,

"HEY, YOU LOOKIN AT ME? YEAH, YOU, ############!"

OTOH I think that's less true if you're already in a conversation. It's eye contact with strangers that's more of a no-no.

The other little tidbits I remember is that touching forms a trust

Definitely true, as long as it's just a touch and you don't keep repeating it. There's a fine line between being an occasional toucher and being a dreaded closetalker.

One of the best and most interesting people I know has one particular habit that drives everyone up a wall: He keeps recounting his poker games to people who can barely tell a heart from a diamond. My wife and I were out to dinner with him on Friday night, and he went on without stopping about some game he had in Atlantic City for a full fifteen minutes. After we dropped him off, I asked her if she had any idea what the hell he was talking about. "Of course not," she said, "but I didn't want to be rude and tell him that, and it didn't seem to matter to him that I didn't." She is a VERY polite woman.
   33. An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: February 17, 2013 at 03:39 PM (#4371061)
My 5 year old is autistic, and made lots of progress the last two years, to the point of being mainstreamed this year. But she doesn't see the point of idle chit chat and I wonder if she ever will. Every "conversation" is merely a means to an end, if she doesn't want something from you, or you from her, she sees no need for talking and eye contact and all that work."
As you probably know (being a parent of a kid on the spectrum) it varies a lot depending on the person. I dislike small talk, but see it as a necessary evil. Some Aspies dislike it even more than I do and won't take part in it; at the same time I've met a few who actually enjoy it.
   34. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 17, 2013 at 03:40 PM (#4371063)
He keeps recounting his poker games to people who can barely tell a heart from a diamond.

Lots of poker players do this. Lots of fantasy players do this as well. And people whoo used to own bookshops tend to talk about bookshops a lot.
   35. The District Attorney Posted: February 17, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4371069)
Zing!
   36. CrosbyBird Posted: February 17, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4371070)
Definitely true, as long as it's just a touch and you don't keep repeating it. There's a fine line between being an occasional toucher and being a dreaded closetalker.

Killing is too good for closetalkers. They are the worst.
   37. McCoy Posted: February 17, 2013 at 04:14 PM (#4371072)
Lots of poker players do this. Lots of fantasy players do this as well. And people whoo used to own bookshops tend to talk about bookshops a lot.

My biggest problem is that I assume going into the conversation that nobody wants to talk about things that interest me and I don't really care about the things that interest other people. Thus why at times I fear I'm a sociopath.
   38. Dr. Vaux Posted: February 17, 2013 at 04:42 PM (#4371079)
What McCoy said.

I'm really not into anything that most people are. I don't watch television, I don't listen to the typical music (I interact with classical musicians a lot, but I don't listen to their typical music either!), I don't really follow any sport but baseball anymore, and talking about politics is considered impolite. So the only thing to small talk about is the weather, and that only takes a few seconds. What comes next?
   39. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: February 17, 2013 at 04:58 PM (#4371087)
I just ate the most delicious orange.
   40. The Buddy Biancalana Hit Counter Posted: February 17, 2013 at 05:05 PM (#4371091)
My biggest problem is that I assume going into the conversation that nobody wants to talk about things that interest me and I don't really care about the things that interest other people. Thus why at times I fear I'm a sociopath.

My family moved frequently when I was a kid and I felt very similar to this much of the time because I'd tend to immediately reveal the intensity of my interest in a subject should someone raise it. A trait other kids, quite reasonably, found weird. As I grew up and my interpersonal frame of reference widened, I eventually realized that low-level weirdness could be an item of reciprocal interest. Recreational drug use certainly helped me get over myself. I learned I could be as tiresome, on any subject, as anyone else.

Making small talk (or anything on the getting-to-know-you spectrum) is still a conscious effort, but one I generally try to make. I think I've enough personality traits that beg indulgence that I can try and indulge others to a reasonable degree. Though I acknowledge I may just be mirroring behavior and the harmlessness of my sociopathology is merely down to my general lack of ambition.
   41. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 17, 2013 at 05:08 PM (#4371093)
I just ate the most delicious orange.

I find this implausible. Out of trillions of oranges, the odds of that one being the most delicious is infinitesimal.
   42. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: February 17, 2013 at 05:15 PM (#4371097)
I find this implausible. Out of trillions of oranges, the odds of that one being the most delicious is infinitesimal.

There's no sabermetrics for oranges. It really was quite good. Tasted almost like those orange slices candy.

When a real orange tastes almost like artificial orange flavor, you know it's good.
   43. Walt Davis Posted: February 17, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4371101)
tidbits:

mole recipes

Proper pronunciation plays a role here.

There was a guy on my freshman hall that decided to dispense with small talk

He was probably taking Psych or Sociology 101. From Harold Garfinkel's wiki page:

Breaching experiments are experiments where "social reality is violated in order to shed light on the methods by which people construct social reality."[44] In Garfinkel's work, Garfinkel encouraged his students to attempt breaching experiments in order to provide examples of basic ethnomethodology.[45] According to Garfinkel, these experiments are important because they help us understand '"the socially standardized and standardizing, 'seen but unnoticed,' expected, background features of everyday scenes.'"

He'd do stuff like have students go home over break and treat their parents like strangers. "How are you son?" "I am feeling fine, thank you. How are your Mrs. Davis?"

Completely unsurprising to anyone who's human, the reaction to the breaking of social convention is often anger. Garfinkel found this deep and meaningful, I assume most folks just thought he was a jerk.

This can play out in all sorts of settings obviously. I used to help put on avant-garde jazz and other experimental music shows. Sometimes somebody would show up not knowing what they were getting, maybe talked into it by a friend. Certainly the music isn't for everybody so I always expected some folks who showed up to not like it. What I didn't expect was the angry reactions.

My biggest problem is that I assume going into the conversation that nobody wants to talk about things that interest me and I don't really care about the things that interest other people.

Moving to New Zealand and now Australia, I've found it very difficult to make new male friends but have generally had no problem making female friends. I hadn't realized how important sports was to forming new male friendships -- they have no interest in baseball, I have virtually no interest in rugby (I certainly can't talk about it intelligently) and negative interest in cricket. Our conversation can't get out of the starting block. It's doubly worse because a reasonably large number of them do want to talk about "gridiron" but I stopped watching the NFL ages ago.

If it's at a bar, it can be better -- we can talk about beer, women, ##### about work.

   44. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 17, 2013 at 05:26 PM (#4371102)

When a real orange tastes almost like artificial orange flavor, you know it's good

convergent evolution
   45. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 17, 2013 at 05:36 PM (#4371105)
Thus why at times I fear I'm a sociopath.

when i was in the service i was diagnosed as a borderline sociopath and i see few similarities between us

most likely you are just a jerk

//that's meant in jest

//though i did receive that assessment
   46. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: February 17, 2013 at 06:05 PM (#4371112)
I used to help put on avant-garde jazz and other experimental music shows. Sometimes somebody would show up not knowing what they were getting, maybe talked into it by a friend. Certainly the music isn't for everybody so I always expected some folks who showed up to not like it. What I didn't expect was the angry reactions.

I'm a huge Pat Metheny fan and would have to say First Circle is on my very short list of contenders for Best. Song. Ever.

That being said, I made it through about 3 tracks of Song X before taking it off my turntable, never to return.
   47. fra paolo Posted: February 17, 2013 at 06:24 PM (#4371114)
Moving to New Zealand and now Australia, I've found it very difficult to make new male friends but have generally had no problem making female friends. I hadn't realized how important sports was to forming new male friendships -- they have no interest in baseball, I have virtually no interest in rugby (I certainly can't talk about it intelligently) and negative interest in cricket.

When I moved to England, I started out as a student, and sports didn't really figure in small-talk with men. Mostly it was about drinking, women and politics. But once I went to work, then I found my lack of interest in football (soccer) was a terrible handicap. I was interested in rugby, a bit, and could talk about Five Nations' internationals, but even though I'd built that interest at university, in the real world the number of rugby fans was much smaller.

But, in addition, another popular topic for small talk was television, either current shows or children's television of one's childhood. Having been brought up in America, I had absolutely no common ground whatsoever on this front either. Nobody had heard of Charlie Brown. Hot Wheels? Forget it. Fortunately, I'd got access to some Gerry Anderson via Thunderbirds, Supercar and Fireball XL5, so that helped, but British viewers of those tended to be a subset with whom I had little else in common. For grown-up television, I tended to watch American imports, which most people did not until the arrival of Friends, a show I never cared for.

I didn't make a new male friend until about ten years after I left university. And things got started between us by talking about rugby.
   48. Greg K Posted: February 17, 2013 at 06:29 PM (#4371116)
#47
My experience of moving to the UK appears to have had two main differences

A) I was actually a big fan of British TV growing up in Canada
and
B) A baseball team started up in Nottingham about 2-3 months after I had moved here. It's done absolute wonders for meeting friends, some of whom I rarely talk about baseball with and some who are no longer on the team, but it was a great gateway. I think I'd pretty much only have university friends if it wasn't for baseball.
   49. fra paolo Posted: February 17, 2013 at 06:49 PM (#4371122)
My experience of moving to the UK

You're not in the bl--dy UK, you're in bleedin' England. You've been there about three years now, and you still haven't worked that one out?
   50.   Posted: February 17, 2013 at 07:32 PM (#4371131)
Whyyy is this happening all of a sudden.
   51.   Posted: February 17, 2013 at 07:32 PM (#4371132)
I think I have dating anxiety disorder.


Anxiety over dating is common. Anxiety that someone might ask you where you're from or how old you are or what you did on the weekend is less-so.
   52. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 17, 2013 at 10:29 PM (#4371167)
What McCoy said.


Yes. I think we all fear he's a sociopath.

In any event,

I just ate the most delicious orange


is of no moment whatsoever (though I suppose I could note that for the past 3 months I've been eating clementines like they're going out of style) compared to my discovery about a week ago that apparently eat apples after all (Crohn's disease seemed to dictate otherwise a couple of years back) as long as I peel them. The only variety I really like is golden delicious, but it I really like.
   53. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: February 17, 2013 at 10:45 PM (#4371171)
One reason I pay as much attention to college football as I do -- not much at all, but enough to have a clue what people are talking aobut -- is so that I can rather easily engage in casual conversation here in the heart of SEC country.


This is/was my situation growing up in such rabid NFL markets. I had almost no interest in the Packers/pro football, but you want to talk about quick ways to brand yourself as a recluse or just weird by the locals, try to go through life not knowing anything about Brett Favre. The first attempt at small talk by another man talking to me, the moment they know where I am calling from, is the local sports team(s), whether you like it or not.

The value of being a skilled small talker (and it really isn't about the small talk itself) is to be able to be engaging to people in a social setting. My career puts me in these situations, daily, with people in all U.S. time zones, most are telephonic, but it is a must to develop the relationships, even if I hate Poker (I do), weather talk, etc.

Kids small talk is the worst with people who have never met them. My kids and your kids are not that interesting to other people. I'd rather be forced to discuss my case of eczema than how good my 4 year old is with spelling people's names.
   54. Ebessan Posted: February 17, 2013 at 10:54 PM (#4371176)
...compared to my discovery about a week ago that apparently eat apples after all (Crohn's disease seemed to dictate otherwise a couple of years back) as long as I peel them.

It's Always Sunny was right!
   55. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: February 17, 2013 at 11:20 PM (#4371177)
I'm a pretty good small talker, but I do tend to have problems in large groups of people and thus try to keep that to a minimum. Not because of anxiety, but because my brain has a weird tendency to not filter out anything, so I tend to hear and notice and think about everything that's going on. As a result, I frequently come off as hyperactive and easily distracted, even if I'm quite focused on and completely understanding something. So I guess I'm something, to some degree.
   56. Walt Davis Posted: February 17, 2013 at 11:20 PM (#4371178)
That being said, I made it through about 3 tracks of Song X before taking it off my turntable, never to return.

And no problem with that. The question is whether you got angry in response ... and not just annoyed that you'd bought a record you didn't like, I mean angry, unstable.

My reaction to Song X was exactly the opposite. I always found Metheny pretty boring but (this was my early 20s), Ornette seemed like a scary avant figure. So I figured I'd go for that one, assuming Metheny would water down Ornette, Ornette would spice Metheny up and maybe it would be something I like. Instead it's an Ornette album beginning to end really ... and I loved it. I think it was the very next day I went to the local jazz record store (those were the days!) and had them hook me up with some Ornette. Now, I can't understand how anybody has a problem with classic Ornette -- it's melodic and bluesy as hell. 70s-80s electric Ornette can be jarring in that everything seems to be sharp and "harsh" so it's a bit harder to get into (Song X being something of an exception).

And if Song X doesn't do it for you, stay away from Metheny's set with Derek Bailey.

On eye contact:

This past semester I taught a woman in full burqa for the first time. She also struggled a bit in the class so we had to meet during my office hours fairly often. I found it rather unsettling and it took me a while to figure out why. It's because, with everything covered, the only place you can look for any sort of reaction/understanding/confusion/boredom is right in the eye. I was quite uncomfortable and I can only imagine how she viewed it from her cultural perspective.

   57. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: February 17, 2013 at 11:21 PM (#4371179)
It's Always Sunny was right!

Just smoke cigarettes, it suffocates the bacteria in your stomach.
   58. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: February 17, 2013 at 11:24 PM (#4371181)
I've been eating clementines like they're going out of style) compared to my discovery about a week ago that apparently eat apples after all (Crohn's disease seemed to dictate otherwise a couple of years back) as long as I peel them.

Around the holidays, I always have a million clementines around. My desk becomes like this storage area for orange peels.

I eat apples with the skin on, but I always cut my apples. I once had a dream that I was biting into an apple and my teeth stayed in the apple, so I like apple wedges/slices. That sounds a little crazy saying that out loud.
   59. smileyy Posted: February 18, 2013 at 12:46 AM (#4371212)

When a real orange tastes almost like artificial orange flavor, you know it's good.


Or that its an orange that's been bred to taste like candy.
   60. Greg K Posted: February 18, 2013 at 05:33 AM (#4371233)
I once had a dream that I was biting into an apple and my teeth stayed in the apple, so I like apple wedges/slices. That sounds a little crazy saying that out loud.

I actually do the same. No dream, but I am convinced my teeth will not survive biting into an apple. Or pear...I eat a lot more pears than apples. Like about two a day for the past year.

As a kid I used to eat a ton of clementines and use the pockets of my winter jacket as a peel depository, because littering is wrong and because I enjoyed the smell. Needless to say keeping my pockets fully stocked was a never-ending battle with my mom.

EDIT: And apologies to Mr. Paolo, I'll try to get the nomenclature right in future. St. George's Day is fast approaching after all!
   61. Howie Menckel Posted: February 18, 2013 at 08:52 AM (#4371242)
I'm giving a 90-minute speech about my job to a crowd of 150 at an adult education class next week. I don't use a teleprompter or any visual aid for these occasional speeches; I just have some basic notes that are really just category headers, and wing it from there.

I also take questions from the audience as they come up - and this class usually will have literally dozens of 'em over the course of the presentation.

This thread suggests to me that maybe not everyone here would sign up for this scenario. Anyone out there who would, or who does? I find it a little challenging due to the length and the amount of ad-libbing, but it's one that I enjoy.
   62. Rants Mulliniks Posted: February 18, 2013 at 09:24 AM (#4371246)
because my brain has a weird tendency to not filter out anything, so I tend to hear and notice and think about everything that's going on. As a result, I frequently come off as hyperactive and easily distracted, even if I'm quite focused on and completely understanding something.


This is me. I don't know how many times I've told my wife, if you have have something very important to tell me that I will be expected to remember tomorrow, the TV/radio has to be OFF. I can't talk on the phone if there is any kind of outside dialogue going on, I get the two streams completely confused.
   63. Rants Mulliniks Posted: February 18, 2013 at 09:26 AM (#4371247)
Give me that Z-O-L-O-F-T
No longer pissed, you don't bother me
I'm makin' it through, I'm givin' my all
When bags are loaded, I'm whackin' the ball

.....maybe this explains why Greinke has such a fondness for hitting.
   64. villageidiom Posted: February 18, 2013 at 09:37 AM (#4371251)
This can play out in all sorts of settings obviously. I used to help put on avant-garde jazz and other experimental music shows. Sometimes somebody would show up not knowing what they were getting, maybe talked into it by a friend. Certainly the music isn't for everybody so I always expected some folks who showed up to not like it. What I didn't expect was the angry reactions.

Plumber: Well, that oughta do it. That'll be $850.

Walt: Wait, do I hear water spraying somewhere?

Plumber: Well, some of it is water. Probably some fecal matter as well.

Walt: WHAT?!

Plumber: Yeah, I tried to use your bathroom as a microcosm for the whole sewage system. I put in these fan blades at the base of your toilet, like what they have at the treatment plant but smaller, and a separate access pipe for maintenance. Turns out the fan knocks some of the toilet outflow back up the maintenance pipe and into the bathroom.

Walt: You... You can't do that!

Plumber: Sure I can. You knew when you hired me that I'm an avant-garde / experimental plumber. I'm not bound by rules, nor am I bound by your expectation that you'll appreciate what I do. It's all part of the journey. Anyway, that'll be $850.

(Fade to black. Voiceover by the plumber: "What I didn't expect was the angry reaction.")
   65. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 18, 2013 at 09:46 AM (#4371253)

This thread suggests to me that maybe not everyone here would sign up for this scenario. Anyone out there who would, or who does? I find it a little challenging due to the length and the amount of ad-libbing, but it's one that I enjoy.


I am uncomfortable in social situations where I don't feel like I have a fair amount of control. Thus my discomfort tends to rise linearly with the number of people in any group I am in. However, if I am in front of an audience, as I am when I lecture in class, it is different as I am in near-total control. Therefore, I do great in that kind of situation. I can talk extemporaneously for long periods in front of an audience. But take us to a bar or restaurant, and I tend to be very quiet and reserved.
   66. villageidiom Posted: February 18, 2013 at 09:53 AM (#4371254)
I'm giving a 90-minute speech about my job to a crowd of 150 at an adult education class next week. I don't use a teleprompter or any visual aid for these occasional speeches; I just have some basic notes that are really just category headers, and wing it from there.

I also take questions from the audience as they come up - and this class usually will have literally dozens of 'em over the course of the presentation.

This thread suggests to me that maybe not everyone here would sign up for this scenario. Anyone out there who would, or who does? I find it a little challenging due to the length and the amount of ad-libbing, but it's one that I enjoy.
I like to do it that way. But I know I tend to speak at great length and detail if I'm interested in the topic and have no particular regard for time. Consequently I usually force myself to work with extensive notes and planning, just to keep myself to a proper pace.

That means I could use far fewer notes to fill 90 minutes than I'd need to fill 40 minutes, on the same topic.
   67. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 18, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4371259)
He keeps recounting his poker games to people who can barely tell a heart from a diamond.

Lots of poker players do this. Lots of fantasy players do this as well. And people who used to own bookshops tend to talk about bookshops a lot.


Trust me, in social settings I long ago learned that most people's interest in bookshops begins and ends with a pretense that they read books, and that by now even that pretense is being replaced by boasts that they don't. And of all the poker players I know, the friend I mentioned is the only one who keeps mentioning his poker adventures in mixed groups. I don't think the problem is about poker players or grandparents per se, as it's about people who are simply oblivious to their immediate surroundings.

And obviously I'm not talking about online groups, where when the discussion turns to bookshops, video games, politics, 1930's movies, the Napoleonic wars, rock music, Murray Chass blogs, Tolkien novels, etc., the concept of a captive audience doesn't apply, except in the mind of Joey B.

   68. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 18, 2013 at 10:52 AM (#4371269)
Random parties full of people I don't know well means I will be very quiet and introverted. Mostly just listen quietly in the background. With people I know or topics I have knowledge/interest in and I can be very much social. I am generally introverted, but can make small talk (I just don't like it).

The eldest boy (on the autism spectrum) can no more make small talk than fly to the moon. After many years he now sometimes remembers to hi and bye to people and occasionally make eye contact (Victory!).

I give a fair number of presentation and talks and have no problem doing it with notes or without (assuming it is something I have some knowledge of). Most presentations drive me crazy because the presenters are TERRIBLE. I often want to stnd up and take over their presentation (Stop just reading the damn bullet points in a monotone!). Anyway much less of a problem than small talk ni a party.

Also as been mentioned before I follow some things a bit (Hockey for example, video games for another) that I otherwise would not just to have a ready supply of small talk.
   69. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 18, 2013 at 10:54 AM (#4371271)
Trust me, in social settings I long ago learned that most people's interest in bookshops begins and ends with a pretense that they read books


I am interested! A friend of mine parents sold their used bookshop a few years back. The slow slide towards death of bookshops makes me sad. But I am the guy who always makes a point to search out bookstores (especially used) everywhere I go (including foreign countries - both Costa Rica and Thailand had some OK used bookshops).
   70. CrosbyBird Posted: February 18, 2013 at 10:58 AM (#4371273)
This thread suggests to me that maybe not everyone here would sign up for this scenario. Anyone out there who would, or who does? I find it a little challenging due to the length and the amount of ad-libbing, but it's one that I enjoy.

I tend to work somewhat like you on the actual day, but I prep fairly intensely the first time I present on a topic even though I end up glancing at my notes here and there just to keep me on track. I also carefully plan any humor I put into my presentations because I have a tendency to push the envelope a little bit if I'm entirely spontaneous. I feel like you own an audience a certain level of structure, especially if you're lecturing rather than in some interactive event.

I'm very comfortable speaking in front of people if I've prepped, but I really don't like winging it unless I'm an expert both in the subject matter and in the understanding of what aspects will be interesting to this particular audience. At this point, I teach certain concepts organically in class, but I still use my notes to make sure I stay on track.

Trust me, in social settings I long ago learned that most people's interest in bookshops begins and ends with a pretense that they read books, and that by now even that pretense is being replaced by boasts that they don't.

If you told me in advance that there would be a poster here that talked about the characters he encountered in pool halls and in his bookstore, I'd have guessed that I'd be bored to read them, but I really like most of your stories. I also don't see how not reading is something to take pride in. (Frankly, I have a lot of sympathy for people who don't read, because reading is fantastic. I used to read between 50-100 books per year, but I'm probably down to 20-30 these days. Smartphones with games and email/internet access have eaten up a lot of those short breaks where I used to pick up a chapter or two.)
   71. Greg K Posted: February 18, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4371274)
This thread suggests to me that maybe not everyone here would sign up for this scenario. Anyone out there who would, or who does? I find it a little challenging due to the length and the amount of ad-libbing, but it's one that I enjoy.

Oddly enough considering my poor social skills this is exactly how I have to give public talks. Preparing a speech verbatim doesn't work as either going by memory or reading just makes me a million times more nervous. I generally have a bunch of notes that consist of "talk about X for a while", "mention Y, and why it's important". I'm only really comfortable if I can treat it like a conversation. These are usually papers delivered at conferences so there are questions afterwards, which I'm usually more comfortable with than the speech (possibly because they are even more like a conversation).

I also find it really difficult to directly transcribe or repeat things. My own work I mean, I can block quote like nobodies business, but if I were to write a paper there's absolutely no way I could read that same paper aloud, I'd have to change the words in some way. The same with notes I take while researching. When I turn those thoughts into a paper I find I can't use the same words I did when I jotted them down in the archives.
   72. Ron J2 Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:00 AM (#4371276)
The weather is just gorgeous today!


The hell it is. It's -19 and windy and ...

EDIT: Perhaps a Tim Hortons coffee instead of a coke for the Swedish Chef.
   73. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:03 AM (#4371277)
15. McCoy Posted: February 17, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4371008)
Oh goody, found out I was autistic today.


Suck it up. We still need you to tell us what the future holds for Mike Leake.
   74. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4371278)
I just ate the most delicious orange.


The second-most-delicious will be pleased to realize that it received a promotion.
   75. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4371279)
Trust me, in social settings I long ago learned that most people's interest in bookshops begins and ends with a pretense that they read books

I am interested! A friend of mine parents sold their used bookshop a few years back. The slow slide towards death of bookshops makes me sad. But I am the guy who always makes a point to search out bookstores (especially used) everywhere I go (including foreign countries - both Costa Rica and Thailand had some OK used bookshops).


Much as it pains me to say this, you're an exception to the rule. In my experience, any conversation among the zombies I have about bookshops usually goes something like this:

Zombie: I hear you own a bookshop. How interesting! I always dreamed of being able to sit around and read books all day.

Me: Well, that's not exactly what.....

Zombie: I just love old books! They've got such a nice smell to them.

Me: Say, how 'bout them Ravens!

   76. Ron J2 Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4371280)
Killing is too good for closetalkers.


I remember reading about a South American and a Brit in conversation. Evidently the normal polite distance for conversation is much closer in South America than it is in England. Basically, Brit kept unconsciously backing away and the other guy kept closing the distance. Neither seemed in any way aware of it, but it looked to others like the Brit was being chased across the room.
   77. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:11 AM (#4371282)
Apples are way better when sliced.

As a result, I frequently come off as hyperactive and easily distracted, even if I'm quite focused on and completely understanding something.

I have the latter, as I don't filter out much either + naturally alternate between not making much eye contact and seeming to stare. (Not an issue with speechifying, that's performance - I don't "perform" when I talk to people.) Disturbingly, those close to me can't seem to suss out when I really am or am not distracted either (or at least when I think I am or am'nt) - I probably should work on this.

I prefer to ad lib, when possible, though it has hurt me on an occasion or two - in particular with a presentation on the job market for impending college grads that I should've turned down on the grounds that I knew nothing about the subject.

As for small talk, it's very situationally dependent. I'm bad at parties (dinner/birthday/etc...) and a handful of other social circumstances (namely when I feel like an interloper), but pretty good otherwise. It helps, I think, that I'm interested in (as opposed to knowledgeable about) many things and have a decent sense for the feel of a room or conversation. Haven't thought this out - but it might be that I like my conversations with people to be not that different from how I like conversations on the internet.

Bookshops: I'm interested too! Wouldn't another category for people you deal with be: "I wish I read more, I love to read!, but..." 'Cause that's me, a lazy excusemaker.
   78. Greg K Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4371286)
I also have to plan humour in talks, mostly because while I'm not very good at being humorous, I admire humour tremendously and nothing ruins a good joke like poor delivery. My ideal joke is also one which no one in the audience gets and makes me look like a bit of an idiot.

For instance likening the medieval Italian city-state institution of the Podesta to baseball executive Paul DePodesta to a group of English teenagers who have never seen a baseball game.

Or suggesting that "The Incident" a secret plot in Scotland which set in motion the eventual outbreak of the English Civil War in 1641 was in fact a self-perpetuating event caused by the detonation of a nuclear bomb - which only makes sense, Desmond, being Scottish was probably there and thereby won his immunity to time-shifting.

Thus far the most satisfying one has been comparing Walter Raeligh's attempt to escape from the Tower using the "sick prisoner" trick to Jaime Lannister's. The usual gratifying total silence after a joke has failed to land followed by one person in the back giving a delayed, "ooooh".

One of my greatest fantasies is to give the best man speech at my brother's wedding and fail to land several jokes in a span of a few minutes. I've got a few lined up already that are sure to flop (or even better, have one person laughing amidst a room of silence).
   79. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:18 AM (#4371287)
Zombie: I just love old books! They've got such a nice smell to them.


Well part of it is the smell of used bookstores. One of the best smells ever, just alittle musty, awesome.

As an aside I have discovered it is almost always interesting to talk with someone about something they are truly interested in. The raw enthusiasm is cool. I don't want to hear about specific poker hands or fantasy football teams, but I had a great conversaton once with someone who had a passion for prehistoric lakes (limnology I believe it was) and it was pretty interesting actually (though I might have heard everything interesting there was to hear all in one sitting I guess).
   80. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:19 AM (#4371288)
As a kid I used to eat a ton of clementines and use the pockets of my winter jacket as a peel depository, because littering is wrong and because I enjoyed the smell. Needless to say keeping my pockets fully stocked was a never-ending battle with my mom.


Until 3 months ago, when I was sent out to buy tangerines for a Thanksgiving party at work but found clementines at the store instead, I don't think I had a clue what they were. Sometimes my ignorance astounds me.
   81. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4371290)
If you told me in advance that there would be a poster here that talked about the characters he encountered in pool halls and in his bookstore, I'd have guessed that I'd be bored to read them, but I really like most of your stories.

Thanks. I think that one of the ancillary benefits of having spent so much time in pool halls and used book shops is that you get to meet and know an incredibly wide range of social types, from junkies to future Supreme Court justices and just about every other category in between. I'm not saying those are the only places to run into that wide a range of people, but they're certainly right up there with bartenders, taxi drivers and hookers in terms of opportunity.
   82. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4371291)
or even better, have one person laughing amidst a room of silence


That is me and many members of my family. We are the ones laughing in the silence. Oh well, not my problem they didn't get it or find it funny.
   83. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:25 AM (#4371292)
I'm not saying those are the only places to run into that wide a range of people, but they're certainly right up there with bartenders, taxi drivers and hookers in terms of opportunity.


When I was a banquet bartender at a resort I ran in to a whole pile of folks, it was interesting (and bartending is a pretty good job, though IT pays a whole lot better).
   84. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:25 AM (#4371293)
I'm giving a 90-minute speech about my job to a crowd of 150 at an adult education class next week. I don't use a teleprompter or any visual aid for these occasional speeches; I just have some basic notes that are really just category headers, and wing it from there.

I also take questions from the audience as they come up - and this class usually will have literally dozens of 'em over the course of the presentation.

This thread suggests to me that maybe not everyone here would sign up for this scenario. Anyone out there who would, or who does? I find it a little challenging due to the length and the amount of ad-libbing, but it's one that I enjoy.


as a long-time speaker and also a coach of speech and debate your approach is common and for most people generates dreadful results. they ramble. they interject too many verbal pauses like the dreaded 'um'. their attempts at humor fall flat or offend. most folks need at minimum a good outline with some specifics interspersed.

winston churchill, among the best, would insert his desired physical actions as reminders to himself.

i strongly discourage others from following your process since again, most stink at it without some amount of preparation.
   85. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:29 AM (#4371296)
Bookshops: I'm interested too! Wouldn't another category for people you deal with be: "I wish I read more, I love to read!, but..." 'Cause that's me, a lazy excusemaker.

Well, as someone who made a living from selling books for many years, I couldn't have survived without the hard core customers who would buy a dozen books at a time that they might or might not get around to reading someday. (Hell, I've got about 8,000 of them myself, and make no pretense that I've read even half of them from cover to cover, if that many.) I was sort of like a low-rent variant of a Cadillac salesman I used to know, who had scores of customers who'd trade in for a new model every single year, regardless of whether they'd driven the previous year's car 50,000 miles or 500 miles. The way I look at it is this: If you took people like that out of circulation, our economy would be in the tank in about 72 hours.
   86. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4371298)
My philosophy on buying books is like that of a hypochondriac stocking his medicine chest -- you never know what you might find yourself needing in the middle of the night someday.
   87. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4371300)
Well part of it is the smell of used bookstores. One of the best smells ever, just alittle musty, awesome.

That's funny, but I've never noticed anything particular about the smell of used bookshops, at least once you got out of the old New England or midwestern book barns, which were a whole separate category. But maybe it's just like smokers would never notice the smell of a smoke-filled room.

OTOH (weird festishist alert) I've always been able to differentiate the smells of two particular types of books: Sporting News Baseball Guides and Registers published between 1949 and 1962, and any photographic book published in the former USSR between the 1920's and the 1950's. I know it sounds strange, but it was the type of paper they used during those years that made it stand out.
   88. Howie Menckel Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4371301)
"as a long-time speaker and also a coach of speech and debate your approach is common and for most people generates dreadful results. they ramble. they interject too many verbal pauses like the dreaded 'um'. their attempts at humor fall flat or offend. most folks need at minimum a good outline with some specifics interspersed."

interesting. I don't 'um,' though, and I have some of the Irish gift of gab.
:)
also, the class members anonymously rate the speakers each semester, and I'm told I've rated quite well. And I keep getting invited back, so....
;)

Does your scenario include taking questions as they come? If not 'til the end, absolutely I think that can backfire into rambling. And this class is known for very active engagement. If I had a class that sat on their hands, hmm, I'd have to take a different approach. I'd certainly have more details at the ready.

Thanks for the other responses as well. I would not have guessed that being uncomfortable making small talk in small groups at a party may not correlate with speaking in front of larger groups.
   89. Greg K Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:38 AM (#4371302)
i strongly discourage others from following your process since again, most stink at it without some amount of preparation.

Happily for me stinking is but a small price to pay for not having to do any preparation.
   90. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4371306)
howie

a classroom setting is a bit different in that if you are knowledge subject expert then yes, you can possibly handle that forum without additional prep work.

i don't see it very often though.

i am posting to caution others from following your example. because listening to a bad speaker is an excruciating experience.
   91. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4371310)
Though I said I prefer to ad lib, I'm inclined to agree with you, HW. I'm rarely asked to talk about stuff where I'm not an SME - and I've already mentioned one case where I wasn't one that went pretty badly.
   92. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 18, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4371314)
der k

most people prefer to ad lib. and they are awful at it.

far worse than people who are afraid to speak are those who relish it but do not prep for it in any manner. and because of status or position keep getting asked.

and setting aside the verbal portion are the physical distractions. i was at a board meeting once where the coo during his presentation kept his one hand in his pockets and was clearly touching himself in random fashion. it was quite obvious. no idea if it was an itch or what but for 40 odd minutes he went through his slide deck while his one hand was very busy in his pocket. it was ridiculous.
   93. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 18, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4371320)
91: I don't disagree with any of that.
FWIW, I've seen video where I've prepped extensively (down to physical gestures), ad libbed, and points in between - at this point, I trust that I'll choose the right approach for a given task (which is not at all to say that I'm a great speaker - I just know what I offer, for better and worse).

I'd never heard of clementines until a few years ago. Not a citrus texture guy (I like the flavors/juice), but these are pretty alright.

We are the ones laughing in the silence.

I'm a notoriously tough crowd when it comes to laughing in general (people don't like it when you say 'that's funny'), but I do this as well. Think it's a surprise issue.
   94. Random Transaction Generator Posted: February 18, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4371321)
This thread suggests to me that maybe not everyone here would sign up for this scenario. Anyone out there who would, or who does? I find it a little challenging due to the length and the amount of ad-libbing, but it's one that I enjoy.


As someone who previously admitted hating the small talk, I can say that I have absolutely no fear about talking in front of a small/medium/large audience...if I'm talking about a subject I am familiar with. I've been told I do quite well at public speaking, although if I get too excited about the subject of discussion, I tend to speak a bit faster than I should.

If you hand me a piece of paper with someone else's words to read, then I get REALLY nervous.
   95. Howie Menckel Posted: February 18, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4371325)
"i am posting to caution others from following your example. because listening to a bad speaker is an excruciating experience."

yes, understood.
The topics I speak of are ones well known to the audience, and I have been covering them for anywhere from 5 to 15 years. Many are controversial, which is why I get a lot of questions. Many of the people signing up are a bit exercised for one side or the other (it IS Jersey), so they are eager to have a give-and-take.

P.S. One of my few pages of notes has two words in giant print: SLOW DOWN.
No matter how well it's going, it's helpful to get a constant reminder as I take a moment to shift gears.
   96. McCoy Posted: February 18, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4371367)
I generally make a horrible first impression with people because I am so terrible at small talk and care so little about it. Which is generally why all my friends are usually work related or school related friends. Basically people that are stuck with me and can't choose to get the hell out of there. I've had numerous people come up to me and tell me they've changed their mind on me once we've been around each other for awhile.
   97. CrosbyBird Posted: February 18, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4371368)
Thus far the most satisfying one has been comparing Walter Raeligh's attempt to escape from the Tower using the "sick prisoner" trick to Jaime Lannister's. The usual gratifying total silence after a joke has failed to land followed by one person in the back giving a delayed, "ooooh".

Those are my favorite sort of moments. One of the questions that I cover in my LSAT class is about buying a particular brand of moisturizer because the earth ("the skin of the world") cracks when there's no moisture. The question is a really simple introduction to the idea of a scope shift as a flaw in an argument, and so a student will almost always come up with the correct prediction: your skin is not like the earth. At that moment, I pretty much always say "unless your name is Ben Grimm." There's usually one student who gets the reference (Ben Grimm is The Thing from the Fantastic Four, and his skin is made of orange rock).

I probably drop ten of those sorts of comments throughout the course and get maybe six or seven moments where one person gets the reference, but it's never the same six or seven references so I don't know which ones to drop.
   98. CrosbyBird Posted: February 18, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4371374)
One of my greatest fantasies is to give the best man speech at my brother's wedding and fail to land several jokes in a span of a few minutes. I've got a few lined up already that are sure to flop (or even better, have one person laughing amidst a room of silence).

I think it would be a great gimmick to spend about a minute fumbling around like you decided to just wing the speech, and then just when people are starting to get frustrated, transform into a polished performance. You'd have to be supremely confident in the final product, though. Talk about a joke nobody gets.
   99. The District Attorney Posted: February 18, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4371376)
One of the questions that I cover in my LSAT class is about buying a particular brand of moisturizer because the earth ("the skin of the world") cracks when there's no moisture. The question is a really simple introduction to the idea of a scope shift as a flaw in an argument, and so a student will almost always come up with the correct prediction: your skin is not like the earth. At that moment, I pretty much always say "unless your name is Ben Grimm." There's usually one student who gets the reference (Ben Grimm is The Thing from the Fantastic Four, and his skin is made of orange rock).
Are you implying that Ben Grimm does use moisturizer?
   100. Ron J2 Posted: February 18, 2013 at 02:09 PM (#4371381)
Are you implying that Ben Grimm does use moisturizer?


I'm pretty sure a sizable chunk of his income comes from product testimonials. "Hi my name is Ben Grimm and I don't use Nivea for men."
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