Linky-links and summer still

22 Aug

Illustration by Don Tate II, Austin American-Statesman

I haven’t done a lot of NPR this summer (but I’m supposed to tomorrow, no, really this time) and except for some CNN assignments that are long past, things have actually slowed down quite a bit. When Pablo and I aren’t doing our little videos, I’ve just been watching lots of TV-on-DVD, playing some video games and spending more time than usual with my daughters. It’s been nice.

Where things have been busier than usual is at work where I’ve had three pretty large-scale, reporting-intensive stories in a row to work on in the summer. I don’t know what your office is like, but in the summer, our office changes quite a bit. There’s lots of people going on vacations, an influx of interns and a flood of summer movies, summer concerts, video games and, for me, lots of smart phones hitting the market.

Feels like I’ve been working harder this summer than usual and there’ve been more opportunities to get on the front page or do big packages for the chunky Sunday paper. In today’s paper, I did a story about e-textbooks, which was an attempt to answer a simple question: “Where are we with electronic textbooks in Texas?” The answer was fairly complicated even though everyone I talked to on the subject for interviews was speaking along the same lines. There’s great potential, but we’re at the very start of what’s going to be a significant change in the way kids learn and interact with materials in the classroom. Obvious, yes, but the law changes in Texas are pretty major and will probably affect the way other states do things as well.

Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez, Austin American-Statesman

In Monday’s paper, I have a shorter, much simpler story for the “There’s a Creator for That” series about an Austin company that did a Mountain Biking Trails app. I really love the photo that went with this one (at right). These app features have been a lot of fun to do and are easy to put together quickly. (Unlike e-textbooks, which took weeks.)

Last week, I had a story appear in the paper about a local Pokémon champ. It was from a blog post on Digital Savant, where I’ve been doing tons of blogging lately.

I mentioned earlier that I’m getting to spend more time with the kids. Lilly turned 3 a week and a half ago and we’re still trying to wrap our brains around having a 3-year-old in the house. She’s getting to be fun and funny and full of questions (some brilliant, others ones we wish she’d ask less frequently). We had a small pizza party for her birthday and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so excited. Today, we took her for an all-day trip to Schlitterbahn and she went on a tube ride that was much scarier than we were expecting. She was terrified the whole way and at one point got separated from me on a tall slide where you have to go one-by-one. My heart was breaking as she got caught up there, without me, starting to cry, but when she came down, after the splashing, she smiled hugely and said, “I did it!” She was so proud that she went down that huge incline alone.

It’s been like that a lot lately. I just watch her grow and conquer and everything feels like it’ll burst inside. It’s been a good summer.

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