Printing it up

25 Jul

Photo by Alberto Martinez, AMERICAN-STATESMAN

I rode the shuttle! On Saturday, a story I wrote about San Antonio-based Rackspace Hosting, Inc. and its employee shuttle to from Austin. I’d been meaning to visit Rackspace for a long time, but since we typically focus on Austin-based companies, it got to be one of those back-burner things for a while. But their Austin presence is growing dramatically and this ended up being more about commuter culture and how Austin and San Antonio are getting ever closer.

Reporting the story, though, involved getting up one morning, driving to Austin from New Braunfels, taking the shuttle down to San Antonio, taking it back to Austin, then driving back home to New Braunfels at the end of the day. Then I visited the Austin Rackspace office the following week. And I did a lot of my interviews on the shuttle itself as it was moving, so my handwritten notes were all jangly and messy, even more so than normal.

In Tech Monday, a column I wrote about Austin-based non-profit CLOUD, Inc., continues a series we started this month about online identity. This was material that was originally slated to be part of the Online Reputation story, but it just didn’t fit and it ended up being smart to cut it and spin it off into its own article. It takes a little bit of a running start to explain what CLOUD is trying to do and I’m not exaggerating when I say it took me months to figure out how to write about some of these concepts.

And finally, today is the debut of Digital Savant as a print column in the Austin American-Statesman. The debut column, about Craigslist, is similar to what we ran on the blog last week.

I’m a little scared having a weekly column deadline, but it helps that a lot of the stuff I already do for Digital Savant makes for good column material. The column run Mondays in Life & Arts.

On Saturday, we went to a going-away work party for our former business editor Kathy Warbelow, who accepted a voluntary retirement offer. She was one of the people who hired me when I started at the paper 14 years ago and she always felt to me like a guardian angel, always watching out for me, always happy to have something I wrote in her section and always excited about a juicy bit of industry news she heard about.

We had lots and lots of great conversations over the years and she was the reason I bought my first house. She’d lived in Detroit during the height of housing interest rates and assured me, in late 2001, that I was never going to have a better opportunity to stop being a renter. She was right.

On Sunday, we took the girls to a birthday party for one of Lilly’s classmates at a place of much jumping and bouncy-castle’ing.

It’s impossible to get a phone photo of Carolina that’s not blurry; she’s moving constantly, all over the place, impervious to fatigue or falling on her face against bounce castle encased air.

It was exhausting, great fun.

On the way there and back, I put on Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black album and I wondered if my kids would know her music someday and regard her the way we look back on Hendrix and Joplin or, I guess, Cobain. It’s tough to listen to the album this soon, even beyond the obvious jarring bits like “I died a hundred times” in the lyrics. You can’t really listen to it anymore and just enjoy the music. It’s got bagged-on tragic context now and won’t ever sound the same.

It reminds me of how listening to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill feels to me now. It used to be one of my favorite albums. Now when I hear it, I just think about the follow-up album that never happened and all the years of music we missed while Ms. Hill has been raising kids and figuring her stuff out.

I wonder if I should just be happy with the music and the moments and the memories that do exist and not dwell on what never was.

It’s easy not to dwell at a giant warehouse with five big indoor bounce castles.

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