Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ramblings, Books, Social Capital and Tourism Missteps

For reasons I can't explain, I've suddenly become attracted to these sorts of jars. I've bought a number of them in the last few weeks - mostly clear - although a scored these amber colored ones recently. And, one of them is very tall. What will I do with it? I have absolutely no idea. I'll get back to you. But it speaks to me.

I have a long history with things "speaking to me." Everything from small crafts at the fair to my house had to "speak to me." You can imagine how much the realtor who was showing me houses appreciated that. At one point she asked me how she would know if it spoke to me. I assured her I would let her know. I think she wanted something more definitive.

When I walked into the house I ended up buying I was barely in the door when I said, loudly, "It speaks to me!" She wheeled around from near the archway between the living room and dining room and said, "Really?" "Yup. Definitely. It speaks to me." She looked dumbfounded and decided there was no reason to question it any further. In her defense, the baby blue carpet with the oil stains and the hideous wallpaper border that was losing its grip in multiple places, combined with the hospital pallor shade of paint on everything didn't show the house off to its best. But it spoke to me. And still does.

Today is a momentous occasion. I have been without the abdominal binder for about 10 hours now. I haven't had it off for more than a short time - well under an hour - since surgery. I woke up with it on and have had it on since except for showering. I'm starting to get used to not having it on, but I'm not quite there yet.

I still haven't been upstairs in my house. Maybe next week. I am being so overly cautious it's not even funny but I so don't ever want to have to do anything involving incisions ever again. Ever.

I'm rambling because it has been a very full work day followed by the excitement of the Russell Brand/Jimmy Fallon twitter experiment and I'm ready to hit the hay soon. My nighttime reading tonight is the new book from Daniel Pink. He will be here this fall for a Dillon Lecture. Another book in my stack is Jacki Lyden's book, Daughter of the Queen of Sheba, because she will be here next month.

I just finished Nancy Pickard's book, the Virgin of Small Plains, that is the Kansas Reads selection - the whole state is reading the same book. I didn't finish it until late last night so I missed last night's book discussion at the library - I didn't want it ruined for me since it's a mystery. But I'm looking forward to seeing her when she's here in a couple of weeks. The book is very good.

Other things on my mind these days... economic development and tourism. I'm always interested in both of those but a couple of things have brought them to the forefront again. I was in a meeting Monday night - by accident - about social capital. I went for a meeting of another group that usually meets in that room and they weren't there but this meeting was going on and since I'm so interested I couldn't resist staying. That got me thinking along these lines again.

Today I was looking through the AAA magazine and thinking about the ads for various towns. Towns make the same mistakes over and over again.

First of all is promoting a town instead of a region - as if people are going to materialize in your town without going through any others - these being towns that don't even have airports.

Second is speaking about things in the local vernacular that means absolutely nothing to people who don't live in the region. A prime example is Kansas towns using "Flint Hills." The first time someone mentioned that to me after I moved here I had no idea what they were talking about. I don't think anyone else does either. But Kansas towns promote the "Flint Hills" as if they're a nationally recognized phenomenon. You could substitute dozens of things for "Flint Hills," I'm just using that as an example.

Third, the entire tourism industry is advertising driven. Those visitor's guides - they're not designed for tourists - they're designed for advertisers and for CVBs to make money from ads or at least to break even. The problem in the tourism industry is that no one is paying any attention to the tourist. People have forgotten who the customer is. Well, actually, they haven't. It's just that their customer is the advertiser and the tourist doesn't seem to be anyone's customer.

Well, I'm too weary to go into economic development tonight... I'll have to save that juicy topic for another time.
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