Monday, April 30

I'm A Winner

I got a call from the St. Petersburg Times this evening. I won two tickets to see Christina Aguilera in Tampa this weekend. She's dirrrty, you know.

Friday, April 27

Tales From The Moleskine: Doodle Dandy

Frustrating times has led me to produce a prodigious amount of doodling. Here are some samples from Moleskine No. 11, which I have just retired:

Perhaps I shouldn't call this doodling. It's more like a subconscious effort to obliterate white space.

Footnote: The phrase "All is foreseen and free will is given" is something I learned from my rabbi. It comes from the Talmud. I see it as something of a Jewish koan.

Monday, April 23

Today's Memo: Sheryl Crow

To: Sheryl Crow
From: Dave
Subject: Toilet Paper
Date: Monday, April 23

I love your music. I hate your bathroom suggestions.

Sunday, April 22

At The Zoo, Again

Britt and I went to Lowry Park Zoo this morning. As always, I took pictures of the baby elephant. I tried shooting some video with my still camera, too.

Thursday, April 19

Local News On "The Daily Show"

Once again, Florida produces some fodder for "The Daily Show." I have no opinion about the following video:

Wednesday, April 18

Picnic In The Park

Two weekends ago, when the weather turned cool and breezy, Britt and I had a picnic at Plant Park. I fell asleep and Britt took this picture:

To Thine Own Self Be Confused

Now that I'm mainly covering workplace issues for The Tampa Tribune, I'm developing an article about the different personality types people can encounter in their offices. I'm basing the article on the four "Platinum Grid" archetypes -- the director, socializer, thinker and relater -- that author Tony Alessandra outlined in his 1996 book "The Platinum Rule."

The gist of "The Platinum Rule" is that you shouldn't treat people the way you would like to be treated. That would be the Golden Rule, which is a noble concept but won't necessarily help you get far in your professional and working relationships. No, the Platinum Rule says you should treat people they way they want to be treated. Or, in other words: do unto others as they would do unto themselves.

Boy, there were a lot of italics in that last paragraph, weren't there?

Anyway, Alessandra says that in order to know how other people want to be treated, you need to figure out what kind of personality they have. Directors crave power and results. Socializers are excitable and focus on big-picture issues. Thinkers are guarded, fastidious and deliberate. Relaters are adept problem solvers, but don't deal well with risks or conflict.

Alessandra invited me to take the online assessment at his Web site, (Go ahead and click on the link -- it's free.) He also arranged it so that I could ask friends and coworkers to provide submit their anonymous thoughts on my personality traits.

The results, so far, are puzzling.

When I completed my survey, the Web drew up a chart that placed me among the relaters -- more specifically, among the relaters with some director tendencies. The accompanying report, which was quite lengthy, described me to a tee. Or, at least I thought it did.

On this Platinum Grid, my self-assessment is marked by the S. You'll see me smack-dab in the middle of the "directing RELATER" square.

The other points plotted on the grid show what other people think about my personality. From the results received so far, people see me as a socializer. At work, people generally consider me a socializer with some thinker tendencies -- that's the area on the grid marked with an A. People who know me socially generally describe me as socializer with relating tendencies -- that's the result marked with a B.

Very few people, it seems, see myself the same way I see myself. While I know I often seem excitable and gregarious, I've never thought of myself as a particularly social person.

So here's the $64,000 question: what does it mean that I perceive myself differently than the people around me perceive me?

Could it signify that somehow I am deluding myself -- or I'm deluding the people around me? Or, perhaps, might this just be typical, and many many people taking these kinds of tests reach similar results?

Another thought: which self is more authentic, the self that exists in one's head, or the self that is perceived by others?

I don't have any answers. Perhaps these are the questions that are best left to the philosophers, and not the English majors.

Monday, April 16

Recycled Content: Two Phrases That Simply Haven't Caught On

From Friday, May 10, 2002:

I was talking to Geoffrey Booth at the Urban Land Institute yesterday for a story (which is featured here, at least for the time being no longer online). He used to be a retail developer in Australia, and he taught me two great sayings from Down Under than I plan to spread freely throughout the United States. They are:

The first one, "Get your hand off it, Darryl," is the Aussie equivalent of saying "just leave it alone" or "stop meddling."

The second, and my favorite, is "I'm flat-out like a lizard drinking." It means the same as "I'm busy as hell right now" or — one of my favorite Southern expressions — "I'm up to my armpits in alligators."

Please say these phrases as often as possible. These expressions must catch on in the United States and become part of our great and colorful national lexicon, because I said so.

Nearly five years have passed, and no one is saying "Get your hand off it, Darryl," or "I'm flat-out like a lizard drinking." I have failed.

Sunday, April 15

Best. Headline. Ever.

I'm just going to keep my mouth shut on this one. There's nothing I can write that tops this headline:

Here's a close-up so you don't have to squint:

Tasty Tales From The Moleskine

Tuesday, March 23, 2004: "CNN-Reuters says poor Venezuelans catching flamingos for food. Flamingos: The Other Pink Meat."

Tales From The Moleskine: Writers' Block

I spent several fruitless hours attempting to write an economic development story on Wednesday, March 17, 2004, before eventually giving up and asking for a deadline extension. I don't often succumb to writer's block, so I asked several people for advice. I wrote two things down in the Moleskine:

My friend Cherie said, "Yeah, it's really no big deal. Get some sleep tonight and you'll be fresh as a daisy tomorrow. And come in and write early in the day; that usually helps me. If you think Oh no! Writer's block! you will psych yourself out."

My friend Doug's advice: "Don't beat yourself up over it. I've been in this business since before your parents were born. Naturally, it comes easy."

Both Cherie and Doug have since departed the news business. They are much happier, better paid and, I presume, no longer need to worry about writer's block.

I despise them both.

Recent Photos

Photos from yesterday's excursion to Busch Gardens are now online. Visit the gallery here.

Look at these lovely ladies! Aren't they adorable?

In case you've missed them, galleries from Berlin, Budapest and Vienna are online too.

Saturday, April 14

Today's Memo: The Movies

To: The Movies
From: Dave
Subject: New Film
Date: April 14, 2006

I am very disappointed to learn that "Perfect Stranger," in theaters now, is a sexy thriller starring Halle Berry (of "Catwoman") and Bruce Willis (of "Hudson Hawk"), instead of a big-screen remake of "Perfect Strangers," the iconic sitcom featuring Bronson Pinchot and That Other Guy. I believe that there is nothing our great nation needs more at this time than another adventure with crazy immigrant Balki and his level-headed Cousin Larry.

Back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, April 10

Tales From The Moleskine: At The Car Place

Tuesday, April 26, 2005, 7:45 a.m.: At Kuhn Honda — waiting for them to see why my car's "Check Engine" light is on. Gray-haired blob of a woman sitting across from me says "I hate those people" when story about handcuffed 5-year-old girl in Pinellas Co. school comes on TV. She says it's OK to handcuff kids who act up in school. Talks proudly about disciplining her own kids. No one is listening to her.

Monday, April 9

Tales From The Moleskine: An Introduction

Several years ago, I began jotting down my daily activities in a black Moleskine notebook. My goals were pretty simple at first:

1. I wanted to improve my organization skills.
2. I wanted to maintain a running list of story ideas and proposals.
3. I wanted to keep track of my own hours at work, for reasons that are (a) not worth elaborating here; but (b) if I were to elaborate upon them, you would be immediately reminded of the comic strip "Dilbert" or the movie "Office Space."

Anyway, I now have a large stack of black Moleskines sitting on my desk at home. I recently started looking through some of the older ones. Most of the entries are quite mundane. Here's an example:

3/24/2004 2:40 p.m.: Script being checked

3/24/2004 3 p.m.: Downstairs to tape.

3/24/2004 3:25 p.m.: Back at desk; checking United; back to work on C100 story.

Occasionally, hidden deep in the folds of these inane entries, I'm finding little flashes of wit — jokes and observations that I forgot about minutes after I scribbled them down. Starting today, I'm going to lift these entries out of the notebooks and posting them to the Daily Dave. I will call these posts Tales From The Moleskine.

Here are some entries to get the ball rolling:

3/17/2004: Possible new careers: international drug lord, ballerina, fireman, president, elephant caretaker

3/19/2004: Haiku: Rays' Josh Hamilton / Most promising rookie since / Darryl Strawberry

3/29/2004 5:10 p.m.: Ewww. Goopy warm Jell-O

6/6/2004: General statement about nothing in particular: I feel like I'm at the teddy bears' picnic. Except, instead of it being a picnic, it's a demoralizing sweatshop. And, instead of teddy bears, I'm surrounded by idiots.