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December 15, 2008

Filed under: meta»announce

Time Spent

Last week was busy--almost too busy. Here's what I was doing, since I obviously wasn't writing here:

  • My portfolio site hadn't been updated since I joined CQ, a little more than a year ago, so I took the time this weekend to get it caught up. There are three main changes. First, I added a multimedia section (between "code" and "audio," which seemed appropriate) to contain a lot of the projects I've been doing for CQ. I haven't gotten them all in yet, but it's a start. Second, I changed the non-prose sections to use Blosxom flavors instead of static pages, so they can be changed dynamically. Finally, I played with the CSS so that it's a bit more attractive. The page still remains very simple, but it looks a bit more "designed" now, like I meant it to be that way instead of just being lazy.
  • Today the Treasury will release its annual Financial Report of the US Government. It's expected that this report, just as in 2007, will predict that the government's national debt situation is unsustainable, and needs to be fixed. Working with our graphic staff and the editor of CQ Budget Tracker, I put together a multimedia package that complements the editor's story on the debt. You can browse the package here. It includes a video introduction to the package, a podcast explainer of the problem, a reprint of the current budget numbers in both text and graphic form, and a short sidebar on the history of the national debt. Although this took up most of Thursday and Friday, plus some editing on Saturday, I think it turned out very well.
  • I also updated the numbers on the CQ vote studies, so that we now have final 2008 numbers for the House and Senate. Unfortunately, these are embargoed for the public until next week, but they're pretty wonky anyway, and practically speaking nothing has changed since the last set.
  • Volunteer service has never been a strong point of mine, but I began adapting what I've learned at CQ and the Bank about multimedia presentation to some training materials for the non-profit where Belle works, and I'll be donating some time to them over the next few months. I think it'll be a fun shift in topic for me.
  • I played the open mike at Stacy's coffee shop again with a friend. The open mike itself is going through a dry period, so I've been playing there all this month, doing my part to keep it alive. This Wednesday, I'll be there again, this time for the pretentious solo project. I consider open mikes to be really important places for forming musical community, as opposed to spectacles. Unfortunately, in January and February, I won't be able to make it. Hopefully it'll come through the holiday season still kicking.
  • While Belle borrowed the Kindle, I got back to reading paper--I always have a backlog of books that aren't available electronically. This week, I've been working my way through The Many-Headed Hydra: The Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic, by Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker, as recommended by China Mieville in the middle of his fine article on the Freedom Ship. The authors basically recast the Atlantic's history of piracy, insurrection, and rioting from 1600-1800 as a story of politically-aware class struggle, tracing a direct line of revolutionary thought from the movement for unfenced commons in England to the Caribbean pirates who fought the merchant classes to the Founding Fathers (who ultimately betrayed and diluted the democratic, egalitarian ideals that had inspired them). It's a fascinating book, if a bit dry.
  • If it's not too cold, while waiting for the bus, I'm still trying to finish Final Fantasy Tactics A2, in the hope of being able to play Disgaea DS before the end of 2010. Like its predecessors, FFTA2 is not really so much about tactics, but more about grinding and picking the right party members. But even so, it's oddly captivating.
  • And finally, I completed my holiday shopping. The highlight of this was buying a garden plant for a relative, only to realize a few days later that I had left it in the box and (more importantly) that you can't really wrap a living gift until the 25th. Needless to say, that one went out early.

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