Thursday, August 18, 2011

Public Failure

I've been watching America's Got Talent, or AGT for short, for a couple of seasons.  Each year contestants compete for $1,000,000 and a chance to headline a show in Las Vegas.  After a couple rounds of performing before the judges, the last 48 contestants compete for a chance to be on of 24 acts in the final rounds.  For these rounds it is the American public that votes via phone or text.  The acts perform before a studio audience and the show is broadcast live to the nation.

The "talent" varies considerably from people dressed like elves to dancers, magicians, singers, and child acts.  One act this season is "The Kinetic King" aka Tim Fort.  Tim creates chain-reaction structures from pop-sickle sticks and other items to create entertaining displays similar to domino layouts that you may have seen others setup and perform.

At last night's performance, when the Kinetic King was introduced, he initiated the structure that he had spent two days creating.  The reaction didn't start.  Tim tried again to trigger the reaction.  After just a few inches the reaction stopped again.  Tim tried several times to start the reaction before giving up and announcing that it wasn't going to work.  His explanation is that humidity affected the wooden pop-sickles causing the pieces of wood to stick together.

Remember that last night's show was live.  Even though he handled it well on stage and in front of the audience, I'm sure the Kinetic King was embarrassed and upset. 

Think about a time you may have been embarrassed.  It really doesn't matter whether it is in front of family, friends, or in public.  It doesn't feel good.  The good news is that people will usually move on to something else and the effects of your embarrassment will only be temporary.  The best thing to do is try to avoid reacting, acknowledge the situation, and move on.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Today I watched the movie Aliens on Netflix.  The sequel to Alien, Aliens is set about 60 years into the future from the time when Aliens occurred.  Aliens begins with the main character, Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, awakening from a medically-induced inter-space coma meant to ease the long travel burdens when traveling to distant galaxies.  Carter Burke, played by Paul Reiser, is one of the first characters to speak with Ripley and tells her that many things have changed in 60 years.

One of those things is that the planet where Ripley successfully battled the alien in the first movie is now a colonized planet with over 70 families living there.  At first, no one believes Ripley's story about her alien encounter, but soon contact is lost with the people currently on the planet.  Burke, who is a representative of "the company" asks Ripley to act as an adviser and accompany a marine expedition to the planet .  Though hesitant at first, Ripley agrees only if the company and Burke agree to kill any extra terrestrials encountered rather than bringing specimens back for research.

Despite his promises, once aliens are encountered - and even after several characters are killed and turned into hosts for the alien hatchlings - Burke attempts to convince Ripley that two of the aliens that remain  alive in research containers should be returned to earth for bio-weapons research.  This would mean millions of dollars that Ripley and Burke could split.  Ripley refuses and further adventures ensue.  If you haven't seen Aliens - and like suspenseful movies - and have an opportunity to watch this classic movie, you will be entertained.

Greed has always been a popular plot in movies and probably always will be.  Aliens is a good reminder that, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and clear danger, some people will try to take advantage of the situation for personal gain at the loss of others.

The desire to be successful, no matter how you define success, is worthy, however not at the expense of others.  If you are honest with others about why you are contributing to a project or working in a certain area, they will be accept your honesty.  Problems usually arise when you present one motive to others and conceal another personal motive. 

What happens is movies is one thing:  how you live real life is another.  Be open and honest in your communication with others.  If your only reason for being involved in a project is personal gain, people may not like it, but they will accept your honesty.