Thursday, November 17, 2011

Yes Dude There is a God

So this week I am in Chicago at the FabTech Expo trade show at McCormick Place. I was walking from the Bishop-Wisecarver booth back to the main hall to do a Starbucks run for the gang. Walking by the Lincoln Electric booth I notice a lot of excitement. Then all of a sudden three young men run out in the aisle in front of me. Each has a box containing a really cool welding helmet. They were so excited that they had won something at the show. One guy turns to his friends and says "I'm an agnostic but after winning this maybe there is a God?" Who would have thought that a welding helmet could convert someone!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Scratch That!

Recently my husband and I attended the SEMA show in Las Vegas. We were walking over to the Imperial Palace to have breakfast at the Hash House A Go Go (Home of the best breakfast on the Vegas strip!) as we were walking up to the front of the casino three middle aged women were walking out. As they past us on lady said to the other "Well after two days I just start itching so bad I can't stop". Not sure I even want to know the context of that discussion?!

Monday, April 18, 2011

4/8/2011 - UK, Tiverton Parkway to London Train

As we approach Reading station a young man a few seats in front of me makes a call to his friend. He lets him know he is approaching the station. Then I hear the following “Just tell them that your friend is blind and he has no idea where he is going. He will be totally lost and bumping into things if you don’t leave right now to get him.”

Monday, September 27, 2010

Are You Feeling Pâté The Family?

We like to say that every picture tells a story. Does the same ring true for our food?


I was recently in London. While eating my dinner in the swanky bar lounge of the hotel I was staying in, I overheard bits of conversation from the table across from me. One woman was talking about her experience in working the farmer’s market. She was saying that her normal results for a day was selling around 15 – 20 pâtés. Turns out she was the girlfriend of the owner’s son. She then became the son’s wife. She said once she told people that her father-in law made the pâté then her sales, on average, doubled. When one of her dinner mates asked why that was so, she responded that people like to feel a connection to the person making the food.


I thought that was an interesting concept. Do I exhibit that behavior? I have to say that part of why I like the farmer’s market is because you feel closer to the food, a connection to the source. Do we somehow believe that the food will be better? Do we somehow think the food is more natural or healthy because of the perceived connection to the maker/grower? Do we create a story about the food, making it more fun or intriguing to eat it because we feel a connection?


Thoughts to chew on…


Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm American, Hear Me Roar

So for the last week or so I have been traveling around Europe for work. And I must admit I have noticed an annoying pattern. Let me first state that I was - for a time- a cultural and linguistical anthropology major in college. I have also read several books about the human brain. I understand how most cultures and the brain like to put information into buckets. This is what many people see as a stereotyping. It is really just a way for our brains to deal with all the information was receive on an never ending basis. That being said I understand the need for stereotyping but I never like to buy into them as a general rule.


But one I must report is proving to be true is the need for Americans to be the loudest people in the room, train car, restaurant etc. Why is this? Do we think what we have to say is so important or interesting. that everyone else in the room wants to listen in?  It does make it easy for me to get my snippets but when you perceive the volume difference to Europeans it is quite shocking. In all fairness several of the violators have been Canadian. Are we just that clueless to our surroundings?


It is so amazing. I can be in a cafe or bar working away with really no notice of others in the room. As soon as the American enters, zoom, up goes the noise meter. I really hope I don't behave this way. But I am sure I have been a violator on several occasions. So is one way better than the other? Is it better to dominate the room with your conversation or just slip into the overall chatter?


For now I think I will keep my head down, sip my cider, and just listen in.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Verbal Snippets Offer Insights on Well-Being Amid Separation, Divorce

Of course my alma mater comes to my rescue on my snippet cause!

New data from a UA study reveals how romantically separated people give spoken clues to how they 're coping.

By Jeff Harrison, University Communications September 2, 2010

A new study from the University of Arizona shows that people in the midst of a divorce typically reveal how they are handling things – not so much by what they say but how they say it.

In fact, data revealed that even complete strangers were able to figure out how people were coping with their emotions using relatively small amounts of information.

The study, "Thin-Slicing Divorce: Thirty Seconds of Information Predict Changes in Psychological Adjustment Over 90 Days," published online in the journal Psychological Science, is one of a number of relatively recent person-perception studies that examine interpersonal distress, in this case when a marriage ends.

"We wanted to know how much information people actually need in order to know how another person is coping," said Ashley Mason, a UA doctoral student who conducted the research. "There's been a lot of person-perception research in terms of perceiving a stranger's personality or intelligence. And data have shown that we really don't need much."

Mason's study evolved from a larger study on divorce by the article's co-author, David Sbarra, an assistant professor and director of the clinical psychology program at the UA. The study was funded by grants from the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Men and women who had recently experienced a romantic separation were recruited for the study. They completed questionnaires and also provided audio recordings, stream-of-consciousness thoughts and feelings about their former partner and former relationships. The first 30 seconds of the recordings were saved as sound files and written transcriptions. A number of the subjects repeated the same questionnaire three months later.

Students were recruited into the study to judge the subjects' reactions. Two groups of judges – those who only read transcripts and those who only listened to recordings – evaluated the ability of the subjects to control their emotions, cope with their separations, handle stress and negative aspects of post-separation life and the subjects' thoughts about the relationship. None of the judges had any visual contact with the subjects.

Both groups of judges largely agreed with the subjects' assessments of their separations, based solely on those 30-second audio clips or written statements.

Significantly, though, Mason said, it was the judges who listened to the sound clips, as opposed to those who read the transcripts, who were more likely to accurately predict the psychological adjustments that subjects reported later on.

Mason said the findings held up after accounting for key variables such as length of the relationship, who initiated the end of the relationship and time since the separation at the start of the study.

"It's important to know that it is not about what people are saying. It's how they're saying it that is tipping us off to how they're doing, and more importantly, how they're going to do," Mason said.

"That gives us insight that may affect how we interact with these people," she said. "Do I need to call more often or provide more social support? Should I recommend psychotherapy? Not everyone has an organized social support system, and these data shed light on how we interpret what others need from us."
Et Cetera

* Contact Info
Researcher Contact

Ashley Mason

The Blogger Curse?

OK - so I travel a lot. I have been a United 1K traveler for several years. I travel both domestically and internationally. Over the course of these travels I hear the most interesting, strange and often bizarre bits of conversations - snippets. I often wonder about the entire conversation that is being had. How accurate are my assumptions from the little bits I have just overheard? So I thought it would be great to just start recording all these random snippets - here in this blog.

Well I created this blog months ago. And the travel continues. But now the snippets have stopped? Is there a blogger curse? Have my days of eavesdropping on random bits of conversation ended?

Maybe I can't say they totally stopped. It is just the the latest ones have all been fairly depressing and/or violent. I thought that would be sort of bad mojo to start a blog with, and so I did not post those.

I am off to Europe this week and I hoping my travels finally gain me some blogger worthy snippets. Stay tuned!