Fires

6 Sep

Evernote's Rich Warwick. Photo by Laura Skelding / Austin American-Statesman

I keep meaning to update here, but over the last week I wrote so much at work in anticipation of vacation this week that I just never had the energy. Late at night, when I usually do updates or catch up on tying up loose ends, I would just go to bed early, exhausted. You know I’m tired when I don’t even have the stamina to stay up till 1 a.m. watching bad TV.

Last week, I had a lot of stories run in the paper and even more on the Digital Savant blog. I haven’t been doing lots of freelance writing lately and that’s partly because the summer head just drained me from wanting to add more stuff to my plate. Also, I actually got to enjoy the summer more this year: more trips to Schlitterbahn, more tubing, more time with the girls. It’s been a good trade-off and I’ve really been enjoying myself.

Monday last week, I broke a little bit of news. Evernote, the company that makes some really good note taking software across lots of different platforms, let us know early that they’re opening an Austin office and doing lots of hiring. Given that most of my stories and columns are planned out pretty far in advance, it’s not often I get a real news scoop, so I was pretty thrilled to have this out there before anyone else.

The same day that story ran, I had a Digital Savant column about McCartney Taylor, a local beekeeper

Photo by me

who has gotten pretty popular on YouTube with his beekeeping videos. He was nice enough to invite me and a photographer out to do a honey tasting and to check out the bees. We weren’t wearing any beekeeper gear (and McCartney wasn’t even wearing gloves), so there were a few moments where I stood perfectly still while a bee sat on my neck. But the honey was totally worth it. In the column, he gives some really good tips for improving your YouTube videos. One of his suggestions, on getting the point more quickly, has already inspired me to want to change the format a little on our Trailers Without Pity videos when we come back from our hiatus in a few months.

This week’s Digital Savant column was a collection of mini-reviews of the MacBook Air (wow, thin, fast), T-Mobile’s Rocket 3.0 Laptop Stick and their 4G Slide Android phone and, lastly, Time Warner Cable’s Wideband Internet service. These were bite-sized versions of much longer reviews of each that I did for the Digital Savant blog. (It’s much easier for me to write long and then cut than to write short and leave tons of questions unanswered.)

And lastly, I had a story reverse-published into the paper about a local meme/website called Stocking is the New Planking. The designers who created it were a lot of fun to talk to and I’m glad they’re getting lots of attention for this very fun thing they’re doing.

As I mentioned, I’m on vacation this week. I don’t have any huge plans. We thought about going to South Padre Island but ended up tabling that until early next year when Carolina is (hopefully) potty trained and we’re a little more prepared for a lengthy road trip. So instead, I’m enjoying New Braunfels stuff this week (like tubing, below; APOLOGIES for the shirtless pic. I will pay your therapy bill if necessary).

It always seems to happen when I go on vacation that a major news story happens and this week, it’s wildfires across Texas. I was offline for a lot of Sunday and Monday, but I caught up in little bits and pieces and by the evening we started getting nervous that these fires were getting close enough to our area that we should start thinking about what we’d do if we needed to evacuate. We pulled together birth certificates, passports, IDs and talked about how we’d pack up the girls, our computer backups and other valuables if we needed to go.

The air has been hazy and we can smell smoke outside. The photos from the fires have been horrifying.

The wildfires aren’t THAT close to our town, but given how dry it’s been, what the winds have been like and how many other people in our area have already either had to take off or watch the news nervously, it never hurts to have some kind of plan.