Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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The art and law of storytelling

I recently had a most enlightening experience from a very unlikely source. I was a guest at a law conference, where I was hoping to enjoy a lovely weekend at a resort on the ocean and a couple of luxurious spa treatments. However, I never made it to the spa and barely noticed the ocean view because I got completely caught up in actually attending the sessions. Unbeknownst to me beforehand, the theme of this particular conference was “The Art of Storytelling” – which, when you come to think of it, is an intriguing topic for almost anyone, and on so many levels. I was all in.

And then it got even better. They hired great storytellers to teach the lawyers how to be great storytellers. By that, I mean that they used “actors” to teach real-life lawyers how to be better lawyers. Who would have thought you could hone your real-life craft by learning from great pretenders? It was brilliant! The audience was introduced to actors and screenwriters from some of the great TV shows – some in person (really fun!), and some via numerous clips from law shows.

I grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries and later became a great fan of law-centered TV shows. I remember “Perry Mason,” but my obsession with law shows really kicked in with “L.A. Law,” followed by “The Practice” and “Boston Legal.” I also suffered a brief, shameful dalliance with “Ally McBeal,” which I can barely admit to today.

I didn’t actually realize it at the time, but now I can see that what attracted me the most were the closing arguments. The writing was so compelling. When the defense presented its case, I became convinced it was right. And then the plaintiff would present his or her argument and blow holes in the defense, and I did a 180 and believed that side. I am not a lawyer myself, so I remained oblivious for the most part to the nuances of the actual accuracy in those arguments, but I didn’t care. Great storytelling is great storytelling.

In real life, court cases can drag on for days or months and are often onerous with dry, linear, factual details presented in a running monotone. In the entertainment industry, on the other hand, all of that time is compressed into sound bites that are presented with emotion and compelling hooks that draw you in and make you believe.

As a lawyer, one might want to reject the old approach in favor of using great storytelling that may distort data beyond recognition but produce an “aha” moment in the minds of listeners. Hollywood, of course, has always known this and was now sharing the “how-to” with the people who may need it most.

For those of us who love a great story – whether it’s a book, a movie or a TV show – learning more about how a story is constructed and delivered can enlighten our world, whatever our purpose or profession. I’m just saying … some people may call it “spin,” but it is a kind of magic that, when properly understood and practiced, can enrich many aspects of our lives. And a side perk may be that you become a much sought-after guest at dinner parties, where everyone wants to be seated next to you.

Sharon Lennox-Infante is a Certified Life Coach who lives and works in Los Altos. For more information, visit sharonlennox.com.

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