Quote: Dogs and Doors

A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of.

Ogden Nash



Photo by Sylverado

When I moved to southern Virginia, one of the historic cities in the region was not in good shape. Home to a major Navy base, and with a history reaching back to before the Revolution, Norfolk had grown shabby throughout the years. The downtown was stagnant. There were swaths of high-crime area, including the downtown, as I learned when I worked for the police department downtown.

It was a couple of years later than the downtown sprouted a new high-end mall. The area around the mall started to clean up, and that was good. But another shopping venue right on the water struggled and eventually closed. The street that I was working on had mostly empty store fronts. The grocery store, opened to support the new apartments, shut its doors after a couple of years.

Three years ago I worked in downtown again. There was a new library extension going in, and a new hotel. The mall was still going, but there were empty stores, and a new Sephora opening proved not to draw any crowds. There were a few restaurants down there, but they were sparse.

I hadn’t really been back down there until my daughter entered an arts program centered in the city. Walking down the same street with the previously empty store fronts I saw all the little local restaurants, coffee shops and stores. Not big chains…little stores run by locals. There is almost no empty space now, and the choices are everywhere. And the restaurants are hopping, too, even on a Thursday night.

It’s a place I would consider going out of my way to visit now. Before, I would eat at one of the restaurants simply because I wanted to get out of the office at lunch. But now I am looking at places I would like to go to eat in the evenings; and perhaps even walk around the area.

It’s good to see this historic city in a rebirth.

Photo by Sylverado


Photo by schmopinions

I listen to many podcasts during my walking and commuting. I am amazed at how many people can say the same things over and over in different ways (in the same podcast). One striking example of this is a podcast where the main presenter and his guest talk about topics, and it becomes a “yes fest”. One person will say something and the other person will parrot it back in different words, agreeing with the first point.

It’s hard to listen to.

The irony of it is that the podcast is about increasing your productivity, yet the podcast itself is a blather of verbosity that provides little new information.

Brevity without sacrificing clarity is an art form, and it is one that requires practice. Too much of the noise that is part of modern communication is due to lack of brevity, IMO.

I’m not immune. There are blog articles that I go back to and wonder at the stream of consciousness that communicates little.

So what can be done? I think it is just a matter of awareness, and taking action. I can email the podcasters and point out that 1.5 hours is too long to cover a list of 10 bullet points in a productivity podcast. And I can make sure that what I say is concise as well.

Photo by schmopinions

Back to School

Photo by justine warringtonIt’s back to school time. My daughter and my former colleagues start back to school today.

This year I have been missing it…sort of. The idea of having space of my own, to anticipate the teaching, the creativity involved in creating planners and forms and lesson plans. The energy and anticipation of new ideas, new students, fresh pencils.

But I’ve also been having nightmares. Nightmares about the rudeness, the disrespect, the violence. The administrators chastising me for something I had no control over.

Teaching high school wasn’t for me. But I still long to teach. It’s amazing to watch when the concepts come home. When they truly understand, and realize they understand.

But no more high school. I’m putting together an online class right now. And perhaps at some point in the future I will teach at the college level.

Photo by justine warrington