Fri10242014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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