TMCG: Taking the Bus

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S3EP8-16Feb2009-Wheels on the Bus/Seed Trouble

 

Why does the Man in the Yellow Hat (MYH) ride the bus?

He has a car–I’ve seen it. He drives out to his country house in it.

He has a country house. He owns a bright yellow apartment building. Why does he not have a limousine on retainer, complete with an angry but deferential driver who bows and scrapes dutifully, but dreams of squandering his dead father’s life insurance on a liquor store scam?

Perhaps he wishes to save the environment. Perhaps he likes to pretend to give a shit about the hoi polloi, to rub elbows with the less fortunate and share with them the savage joy of a monkey who ruins lives with the kind of reckless abandon normally reserved for Ponzi-schemers and East African dictators.

Perhaps.

But today, MYH was late for a very important presentation. He had scribbled some drawings, childish representations of pigs and horses and smiling snakes, of which he was proud and about which Curious George was…curious. Professor Wiseman wanted a distinguished colleague–from Paris–to see these drawings, and so she sent word to MYH to meet them at a swanky restaurant.

MYH had ten minutes–the length of an episode–to make it to this restaurant and show off his art.

This bitch decides to take the dadgum bus. Even better, he gives the route map to Curious George and trusts him to plot their journey.

MYH makes it onto the bus. Curious George does not. At the last second, he drops the map and it blows away, so he goes scampering after it.

Nine minutes until presentation. MYH does not stay on the bus. He does not ask the driver for route information. He panics and gets off, shouting for George.

He leaves his bullshit drawings on the bus and it drives away. Seven minutes.

Curious George catches up with the map. Some kid on a bicycle, who is inexplicably fine with a monkey clutching his head and screaming in his ear, takes him on a quest to find the bus, on which MYH most certainly is not.

It is at this point I meet the most put-upon and pathetic creature in George’s universe, a man who did not expect his day to go this way, a man who is simply trying to make a living, a man who managed to live his entire life without tangling himself up with MYH. He is a taxi driver. Brown, because all taxi drivers are brown, but blessed with the kind of Brooklyn accent that dwells upon phrases like “Hey buddy” and “Listen, Mac” as if they were part of a rosary.

MYH gets in his cab. He demands that the taxi driver follow that bus, find a monkey on a bicycle, find his pictures, and get him to a specific downtown restaurant.

Wat. Hey buddy, five minutes.

Taxi driver is confused. “Where to, Mac?” did not produce the desired answer. Instead, taxi driver now has to listen to a diatribe about monkeys and bicycles from a guy that looks like a pencil.

He asks what we are all thinking, “Hey buddy, you want me to follow a bus? Why didn’t you just ride the bus?”

MYH does not wish to give a coherent answer. Three minutes.

Cutscene to Professor Wiseman, sitting with distinguished guy from France in the restaurant. She remarks that MYH has NEVER been THIS LATE for ANYTHING before.

I now believe Professor Wiseman is not at the restaurant. Such an asinine claim could have only been made by a replicant of Professor Wiseman that was built that very morning and did not know what monkeys were.

One minute.

George finds the pictures. He gleefully brachiates through Central Park with the pictures clutched in his feet. He knows he will beat MYH to the restaurant, and he has a few minutes to kill, so he briefly drops down from the trees into a buggy pulled by two horses. The horses freak out and stampede away through the park. The man in charge of the buggy watches his livelihood thunder away, and no doubt wonders how long he will be in prison when the horses accidentally trample somebody.

George returns to the trees, unbeaten and unkilled. Zero minutes, time is up.

Guy from France says he cannot wait any longer, because he has a plane to catch. He leaves. He runs into Curious George outside on the sidewalk. Curious George shows him the pictures.

He loves them. He praises them effusively, especially the one of a spotted snake which is smiling as it contorts itself into the shape of a staircase. They are brilliant and inspired. Matisse should have chopped his hands off. And etc.

MYH comes running up. Taxi driver probably goes off to an AA meeting or something.

“Oh. So YOU’RE the artist who painted these wonderful pictures? Amazing. Stupendous. I absolutely need these pictures to be displayed in a children’s hospital in Paris. Do you and your monkey want to come to Paris?”

Yes. Yes they do.

 

-Professor Zac Showers

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Monkey Business

An experimenter puts 5 monkeys in a large cage. High up at the top of the cage, well beyond the reach of the monkeys, is a bunch of bananas. Underneath the bananas is a ladder.

The monkeys immediately spot the bananas and one begins to climb the ladder. As he does, however, the experimenter sprays him with a stream of cold water. Then, he proceeds to spray each of the other monkeys.

The monkey on the ladder scrambles off. And all 5 sit for a time on the floor, wet, cold, and bewildered. Soon, though, the temptation of the bananas is too great, and another monkey begins to climb the ladder. Again, the experimenter sprays the ambitious monkey with cold water and all the other monkeys as well. When a third monkey tries to climb the ladder, the other monkeys, wanting to avoid the cold spray, pull him off the ladder and beat him.

Now one monkey is removed and a new monkey is introduced to the cage. Spotting the bananas, he naively begins to climb the ladder. The other monkeys pull him off and beat him.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The experimenter removes a second one of the original monkeys from the cage and replaces him with a new monkey. Again, the new monkey begins to climb the ladder and, again, the other monkeys pull him off and beat him – including the monkey who had never been sprayed.

By the end of the experiment, none of the original monkeys were left and yet, despite none of them ever experiencing the cold, wet, spray, they had all learned never to try and go for the bananas.

This metaphor is used to discuss how upper management could control the atmosphere at work by shooting down any new ideas. Possibly this could cause your coworkers to join in to hinder your chances at trying something new to achieve a goal or bring new results.

Now I don’t have a way to relate to this at work. But, I think we all can relate to this experiment with the way things are in everyday life.

We’ve seen so many people get beat up about their choices to try something different. Have you ever seen someone try something new? Almost every time people can’t wait to jump onboard to gossip or talk bad about them. That’s nothing more than people showing they have insecurities. If you want someone else to fail whether it’s at work, or in their life, it’s 99.9% of the time because you feel so bad about your own performance or your own life, you don’t want anyone else to succeed.

When was it we stopped supporting people? I can’t think of a time someone else’s success made me look bad. Can you? Imagine how much we could do if we supported each other. How we could live with less stress, how things could become so much easier for everyone. How success could be taken to all new levels by having so much support behind it.

We’ve got to do something different. We’ve got to support each other.

The problem is, who’s going to try and climb the ladder first?

My Interesting Friend and Her Podcast!

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I have been obsessed with Psychology for a while now, it is very interesting to me the way people think and interact and why. That’s where my whole “trying to know everything in the world” started. I saw a book called “Subliminal” by Leonard Mlodinow and that was the beginning of my adventure to know all things. Now my book shelf is filled with the writings of; Jonathan Haidt, Sebastian Junger, Susan Cain, Malcolm Gladwell, and Simon Baron-Cohen to name a few. It is an impossible task, to know all things, I am aware, but I am enjoying it.

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I used to live in Houston, Texas when I was younger, and I have a lot of friends from there I keep up with. One of them is Kelly Stewart. Kelly and I went to school together, and after I moved, as it often happens, we didn’t speak as much. A while back, I can’t remember when, I was scrolling through LinkedIn and saw where she posted a podcast about Industrial and Organizational Psychology. So, I immediately subscribed and listened. The I-O Podcast is interesting and informative, and I would recommend it to anyone who is employed and wants to better understand human behavior in the workplace. It features guests such as; Eleni Lobene, Ph.D., S. Morton McPhail, Ph.D., and Talya N. Bauer, Ph.D. Click here to find out about I-O Psychology.

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My friend Kelly Stewart is the Host of “The I-O Podcast” within the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). She has worked as a project manager and assisted organizations like The New Orleans Police Department, LA Tech University, and Medical Clinics in the Louisiana area to develop cost effective solutions for recruitment and retention by analyzing data and research. She went to Texas State University for undergrad and is a I-O Psychology graduate of Louisiana Tech University.

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We have recently been talking and in the future, we may team up on some things, maybe I’ll be on her podcast, maybe she will write a blog on Generally Specific. Who knows. Either way you should certainly subscribe to her podcast BELOW to be enlightened on topics of interest within or related to the realm of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. As always subscribe to Generally Specific for updates on blogs and have a wonderful day!

SIOP Podcast

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE!

The Sea Nymphs Secret

 

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In red is the route that they took, probably. The thick black circle is where they were “rescued”. and the thin black line is the route from the Hawaiian islands to Tahiti. Source: My iPhone.

If you haven’t heard about this story yet I’ll give you the rundown; 2 Women, Jennifer Appel & Tasha Fuiava, Left Hawaii in May for a 2,600-mile trip to Tahiti in their 50-ft. sail boat named “Sea Nymph”. They were rescued by the Navy the other day, 5 months later, 900 miles off the coast of Japan and 5,000 miles from Tahiti. During their journey the two claimed to have endured 3 major storms, 2 attacks from groups of tiger sharks, and lost function of their motor and normal radio communications. Pictured below are the women, pictured above is a rough diagram of the trip they made.

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Now you might be saying to yourself, “What a harrowing adventure! The grit and determination of these two ladies is noteworthy and I’m so glad that they made it out alive!”. Well I’m saying, “Lemme ponder the many variations of what actually happened because I am bored, and this story seems fishy” (if you’ll pardon the pun).

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First, I’ll give you a breakdown of what I think these women look like. Jennifer Appel looks like if Carrot Top and Willem Dafoe had a child and that child decided to compete on the TV show Survivor. Tasha Fuiava looks like Queen Latifah with a hangover. Although I don’t actually know the nature of their relationship, I would assume because of their appearance and mannerisms in the video (  click here for video  ) of them thanking the Navy, Tasha & Jennifer are familiar with The Game of Flats together in a romantic way. They also had two dogs aboard the boat named Zeus and Valentine, not relevant but cool dog names.

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Initially when they were interviewed about being lost at sea, they said that it was “hopeless and depressing” and on many occasions during the 5 months thought they would die saying, “…there is true humility to wondering if this is your last day or night…”. After further questioning by the Coast Guard and many media affiliates they changed their story stating, “…we never truly felt distressed…” when asked why they did not use their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. Take it away Aretha.

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The women also said that within the first few days at sea, they were met by a fierce storm responsible for most of the issues with the vessel. Which was proved false by the NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE. Yeah, that loud annoying voice that comes on cable television when inclement weather is present, rendering the dialog of your show unintelligible and spiking your heart rate from the volume and alarm of the notification, even though you can clearly see the weather outside and it’s been like this for 2 hours. I imagine that they might know what they’re talking about.

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The Coast Guard may be the inferior branch of The United States Military, wishing it was more like its flamboyant sister branch, The Navy, but it was key in exposing these women for the frauds they are. A modern day “Deepthroat” some are saying (if you’ll pardon the pun). In June, after they claimed to have their radio communications wiped out by the ghost storm, Coast Guard officials contacted the Sea Nymph near Tahiti and records show that our heroic females stated they were A-Okay. Our sea women claimed to have left detailed plans and an itinerary with friends and family of the trip after they meticulously mapped it out. Coast Guard comes back with another slam dunk releasing a statement saying the women, by their own admission, told no one about the trip.

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Other than Discovery Channels Shark Week and Sponge Bob Square Pants, I have no knowledge on sharks or the sea but my dude, George Burgess (the director emeritus of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History) is for sure at least familiar with sharks and stuff. Ole Jen stated that on two separate occasions while stranded that they were vetted, stalked, and attacked by tiger sharks. She said that five 30-foot tiger sharks coordinated an attack, “ramming” their boat and slapping it with their tails, to teach two other smaller sharks in the water how to hunt. All of which lasted for 6 hours.

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Confirmed by our man George, those were all fabrications. “It sounds like something a 4-year-old would tell you,” he said. “No. No, no and no and no. There’s not an iota of accuracy relative to our knowledge of the tiger shark in any of that.” Tiger sharks are not social, do not teach their young in that way and have never been known to grow that large, he said. When asked, Mr. Burgess added that it was also unlikely that the women were describing another type of shark. “The only one that fits that pattern was the star of the movie ‘Jaws,’” he said. My boy George with the BURN. Comparing their story to the tall tales of 4-year-olds AND referencing Jaws… Man, what a hero.

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Questions & statements I have for these women after reading all the news stories and watching random videos of them talking:

  1. The fact that they didn’t pack toothbrushes for a 2,600-mile trip at sea is not only questionable but deserves a punishment of life in prison.
  2. Why is Jennifer not more sunburnt? You would think after 5 months on the sea with the sun reflecting off the ocean that she would be all red like a strawbrary.
  3. Jennifer said in a video that she was surprised by the Navy’s performance in a foreign situation. THAT IS WHAT THE NAVY DOES LADY NOTHING ABOUT THAT SITUATION WAS FOREIGN TO THE NAVY.
  4. Were the pink Crocs yours or given to you by the Navy? Because the Navy issuing PINK Crocs would make sense. Respect for the brand, a big ole NOPE for the color.
  5. What inspired you to name your 50-ft. sail boat “Sea Nymph”?
  6. What is your obsession with glow sticks all about?
  7. Will you go to sea again?
  8. Why didn’t y’all bring a camera? Or cell phones? And again toothbrushes?!?
  9. If you’re telling the truth, for real, why didn’t you use the Emergency Beacon? But really, Why?

And now for my theories on what ACTUALLY happened:

  1. The wonder of Sharknado has struck in the Pacific.
  2. Pacific Lesbian Fun Cruise gone awry in the form of:
  • Infidelity… Passion murder… Cover up
  • Abuse of psychedelic drugs… Accidental death… Cover up
  • Actually getting stranded… Cannibalism… Cover up
  • Argument about “Lip-stick Lesbians” … Murder… Cover up
  1. Actually made the trip but made up the story in an attempt to get a book/movie deal or become famous
  2. They’re mercenaries and they killed someone out there and made up this elaborate story to cover that up
  3. Killed a rich relative out there to get their fortune
  4. They are North Korean spies
  5. Failed attempt at smuggling any of the following: Dogs, flannel, fanny pack, drugs, Indigo Girls memorabilia, unreleased episodes of Orange is the New Black, corduroy pants
  6. And the least likely, women being bad at sailing

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Listen, if these women actually set sail for Tahiti in May and everything they said is true then they are pretty dope ladies. Although I love the ocean, I don’t imagine I would have lasted any longer than 3 weeks in the same situation. I would have selfishly eaten everything I brought in the first week, hallucinated more food in the ocean and been bitten by a shark trying to retrieve it, pity murdered my dogs because I ate all the food and wouldn’t want them to suffer by starvation, fell into a spiraling depression because of loneliness and remorse for being the reason for my dogs deaths, and succumbed to my shark bite injuries, meeting death just at the moment I remembered about the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon that I drained the battery on trying to connect it to my phone somehow to Tweet: “Sailing is easy, “sea” yall in Tahiti! #ifyoullpardonthepun #itsamansworld #becauseoftheimplications #imonaboat #prestigeworldwide #betterslowdownontheuncrustables” on day 2, and using my last breath to let out a muffled laugh, thinking about Always Sunny and the episode titled; “The Gang Buys a Boat” … But DAMN IT I will pack a toothbrush!

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Build Trust, Listen, and Learn.

One thing that has always intrigued me is the way people interact with each other. I probably should have been an anthropologist or psychiatrist or something because i spend too much time thinking about that kind of stuff. I’ve noticed in my line of work the importance of building rapport and having trusting relationships with the people i see in the streets. I think its important for everyone to have good, trusting relationships regardless of their work.

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If you take one thing from this blog let it be this; always practice open honest communication with everyone in your life. I know what you’re thinking, there are some things you can keep to yourself. Wrong. Especially in a situation where you’re starting a relationship, whether it be a business, personal, or just a friendship you need to go in with honesty. Make it your duty to make sure that the person knows with clarity and confidence what your intentions are and what you are trying to accomplish. Without them knowing what you want you start off behind. One way people make mistakes is being friends with or starting a relationship with someone for the wrong reasons. In a business setting it’s obvious that there are some times where one side will benefit more than the other, that’s going to happen. As long as both parties are aware of intentions it can be a healthy and trusting relationship that could grow and benefit both sides. People often choose influence or power to start building a relationship, talking about themselves and building up their brand or lifestyle to provide worth. This will do nothing for you, an intuitive person will sniff you out immediately. It may take a while for others but they will eventually realize that you’re using influence and feeding your ego and decide they don’t want anything to do with you or your plan. Try inspiration and facts for long term emotional trust instead of influence and opinion for a short lived positive emotion.

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I know because my wife-to-be told me, You need to be a better listener. Many people will laugh and say this is an obvious thing to do but you would be surprised just how many people are actually listening.  Truly listening to someone involves 2/3 shutting the hell up and 1/3 validation. It is instinctual to immediately have an opinion or statement pop into your head the second someone says something to you. Keep these opinions to yourself unless asked for them, especially if it sheds a negative light on what they said. Instead, ask yourself questions about why you think a certain way and make statements that build on their ideas instead of breaking them down. I realize that sometimes you will disagree with an idea someone has, but instead of immediately showing that disagreement try to understand how they came to that conclusion. Validating someone’s ideas does not mean you agree but it is more like seeking to understand their context to better understand their reasoning and help you with communicating and interacting with them. Try to build habits with listening, scrutinize every interaction you have with people and work off of your experience. In the army after a mission or action we had a thing called an AAR (after action review). It was a structured de-brief where we analyzed what happened, why, and how it can improve next time. Give yourself 3 points to sustain and 3 points to improve to better build your muscle memory to become a better listener. I know it seems like a lot of trouble to just become a better listener but it will improve your relationships tenfold. You can go as far as having labels and meanings for your plans of interaction with people, writing down things repetitively helps as well.

 

Ask positive learning questions. What i mean by this is when you’re interacting with someone you can tell by body language and general mood whether you’re getting anywhere with someone. If you’ve somehow been derailed in conversation and can tell that it is going nowhere fast, reorganize and bring it back to them. Ask questions that are centered around them instead of yourself. People are wired to want to feel valued and affiliated with meaningful groups. If you’ve proven trust and listened then you are a meaningful person to them so feeding that hard wire, by asking specific questions, will bring them back to you. Ask them how they came to a conclusion, or what life experience made them think the way they do. Some people tend to avoid personal conversation in a professional environment, which is understandable, it makes people uncomfortable. Instead, ask someone what they value most or what they consider themselves an expert at. This not only makes people feel valued but is a general topic that comes off as altruistic allowing them to be individualistic. It may seem like you’re being manipulative but it is beneficial for both parties. When you ask someone about their values and life it helps you better understand them. And as long as your agenda is pure and you’ve established your intentions, both parties can know that they are in a trusting atmosphere. The goal here is to make yourself an available asset for the success of everyone, including yourself, by establishing trust, listening, and asking questions to better discover someones context and help them meet their goals while accomplishing your own with solid relationships.

 

Lastly, Be Patient. Not everyone is an open book, and being respectful of peoples boundaries is a good way to build trust. Honoring someones decision to be private and not interact with you betters your chance of creating a relationship with them in the future. They will remember that you were respectful. Giving people the choice to trust or interact with you empowers them in a way, and that is helpful for you and for them. Patience IS a virtue but action and perseverance is a burden. Depending on the type of relationship and the context, patience may not be an option, but its all dependent on your circumstances. People are different, so always make sure your intentions are pure and you aren’t guided by ill-will, and things should work out well.

 

As this world gets more and more difficult to maneuver, socially and professionally, keep in mind that people, your fellow human beings, are important. You need people to achieve goals, and being a resource for someones prosperity means; building trust, listening and learning, to forge a reliable network of contacts to be successful in any aspect of life.