I’ve got an information hangover
You know that really nasty feeling you get when you wake up the morning after the night before when you’ve been consuming too much of a good thing. Yeah, that’s how I feel today… except that “good thing” wasn’t booze or beer, it was information.
For those that don’t know, I’m currently in Berkeley, Calif., studying on a fellowship to the Knight Digital Media Center. The Web 2.0 workshop so far has been absolutely fascinating.
In just one day, I’ve already keyed in on so many things we should be doing in the FLORIDA TODAY newsroom. How to make Facebook more efficient as a news agency? How to connect our readers with our reporters so our reporters don’t feel like their private lives have been violated and so our readers are visiting the reporters’ pages and seeing their frat party photos from 20 years ago (Matt Reed).
I’m also discovering new places to post and link to and a few new philosophies as well (It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas). I’ll be sharing those with the executive staff at the paper upon my return, but I’ve already got plans for at least two of our reporters. (Watch out John Torres and Michelle Spitzer).
In a word, the bottom line from Monday’s session was to make the content on our site: Useful. Readers care far more about utility then they do sentence structure, at least online readers anyway. And, public service pieces should provide some kind of service to the public. That service has to be clearly defined at the start of a package so that we can state to our readers what our intent is before we start cranking out copy.
Video training today (like I haven’t done this before), using final cut. Totally loving the Newsroom lab in the KDMC space in North Gate Hall. Complete Mac lab. Pretty sweet digs.
OK, so it is 8 a.m. local time and I’m meeting my fellow fellows in the hotel lobby in a half an hour. I should probably start getting ready.
I found Hogwarts
I was on my run this morning around the Berkeley campus and found saw this building that was OMG amazing. I’m sure its a “school of” but it looks like it started out as someone’s “home” place is MASSIVE. I’ll see if I can’t get back over there to get a picture before I head out. Fantastic. !!!
Rocky Mountain High
OK, so the second let of my flight to Oakland may not have had a dog in the cabin, but it certainly sounded like there was one in the luggage compartment below.
As flight 1160 from Salt Lake City was taxiing out for take off there was a sound from beneath the plane that truly sounded like someone was sawing the vehicle in half.
Fellow passengers questioned the flight crew:
"What is that sound?"
"Oh, its just the dog"
"Yeah, the one we keep on the wheel down below that makes the motors run."
All humor aside, there were some tense moments en route to take off. As we progressed farther away from the terminal, the sound from below changed from someone sawing the plane to a much more familiar sound. Anyone whose experienced the total seizure of an car’s air conditioner compressor can relate to this sound, the shrill of belts on a pully system that are being moved by one pully while another is frozen.
I tried to focus my nervous flier energy on the view out the window. Having only had a short layover in Salt Lake City, I thought it best to take in as much of the Rocky Mountains as possible.
Strange. My mother made me listen to John Denver over and over and OVER again as a kid. When I was four, the first song I sang wasn’t “The Alphabet Song” or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” No, I was brainwashed into thinking that “Grandma’s feather bed” was a children’s classic. They would make me perform when friends came to visit.
Having said that, I now understand the inspiration to his music. I get (at least a little) that whole “Rocky Mountain High” philosophy that brought Mr. Denver fame and made my mother swoon for him as my wife did for David Cassidy and my daughter does for Justin Bieber (yes, I know. God help us all).
And so I watched as we took flight and the mountains disappeared with the turn of the plane. As for the noise, it stopped sometime time during takeoff.
Why is there a dog on this plane?
So the journey has begun. Though I’d like to say the first leg of the trip out was uneventful… however…
Those of you who know me well, know that I am NOT an animal person. I have to be around an animal for a hefty amount of time before a grow any kind of attachment. People who compare their attachment to their dogs with my attachment to my child should be committed.
Yes, I get it. It cries. You feed it. It poops… well, if you walk it at Gleason Park apparently you just leave a mess for someone else to clean up. Yeah yeah… blah blah blah… I get it. you love your dog. But your dog isn’t a child, you or your spouse didn’t squeeze it out of you… sorry… not the same. Anyway… I’m getting sidetracked.
So you’ll understand my absolute annoyance and frustration when I sat down in my seat on the Delta flight to Salt Lake City and started hearing the “yips” from a small dog seated somewhere behind me.
My first though was it was a child playing. (that’s cute) Then I heard it again and thought I must be hearing things. But no, sure enough seated with her “Mommy”, was a dog. I don’t know breeds it just was. Excuse my anti-caninism… but they all look alike.
And I couldn’t tell you the dog’s name either because “Mommy” never once tried to console or quiet the dog on takeoff… At which time it was discovered there were TWO canines on the flight. Hand to God, it sounded like a freakin’ kennel.
Now my first instinct was to ask the owner to quiet her dog. Luckily, the seats on either side of the aisle next to me are occupied by the understudies for Ronnie and the Situation on “Jersey Shore" … Well on the version of "Jersey Shore" where they haven’t discovered the gym yet… But still.
"Ay, you gonna shut that dowg up?"
"I’m tryin’ to. Now could you shut the dowg the hell up? I’d hate to stain my hand on the colored water in the can ova der tryin flush him."
It was beautiful. It was like Joe Pesci came in from “Good fellas”… “Excuse me? What do I look polite? If you sneeze, do you think I’m gonna bless you? No. Now shut your (bleep)ing dowg up before I put a bullet in him.”
We didn’t hear from the dog again.