Monday, March 5, 2007

Is it wrong to share something I wrote myself in my link blog?

So I was just zipping through my feeds in Google Reader, and on an impulse, I clicked "share" on a story that I'd written up for Download Squad. That means it'll show up in the little box on the right-hand side of this page title "link blog." This box is for sharing things I find interesting with all 3 of you who are taking the time to read this blog.

The thing is, of course I find this story interesting, otherwise I wouldn't have taken the time to write it. And on the off chance that you're visiting this blog, but haven't seen Download Squad today, why not promote this story as something you might want to read?

Or maybe I'm suffering from narcissistic personality disorder.

Anyway, this week should be interesting. While I spent all of last week focusing my energy on TV Squad and Download Squad (because I didn't have much else to do), I've now picked up a rather complex radio story about the death penalty in New Jersey. I'm pretty excited about it, and I've got my first interview scheduled for tomorrow.

But I've also got a pretty tight deadline for the story. While it's not due until March 20th, Farrah and I are heading to Paris for our belated honeymoon on March 15th, meaning I've got 9 days to book, conduct, and transcribe all of my interviews, write, edit, voice and produce the feature. That's all perfectly doable, but having not worked in a daily news room for the last year, I get a little bit more antsy about deadlines than I used to, no matter how many times I prove that I'm able to pull a story like this off in two days.

Actually, the hardest part is booking the interviews. Once they're lined up, everything tends to fall in place. But if you want a good, multi-faceted look at an issue like the death penalty, you want to approach it from several different angles. And while I have one of my key interviews scheduled, I'll be a bit on edge until I know that I've got at least two more interviews that will flesh out the story.

And once those fall in place, I can think about relaxing in Paris for a week. We'd initially planned to take our trip in December. Farrah and I got married in December, but decided that we'd have more time for the trip in the winter. Then Farrah applied for her green card, and she wasn't allowed to leave the country without permission (which is frighteningly called "advance parole).

Of course, her advance parole documents came through a few weeks after were were supposed to have come home from Paris. So we had to cancel our trip, pay a hefty fine to the airline to postpone our tickets, and we lost our security deposit on the apartment we were to rent. Fun.

On the bright side, Paris is a lot warmer in March, and we might actually be able to bear wandering around outside.

Ages ago I had started downloading the French Ecole podcast to teach myself some French before we go. Sure, most Parisians speak English better than I do, but I figured it couldn't hurt. At the very least, it'd be nice to have a sense of where we were when looking at street signs.

I've fallen way behind in my lessons, partly because I've never been very good with learning languages, and partly because I don't have a long daily commute anymore. But I highly recommend the podcast if you have any interest in learning French. The lessons are really well planned and executed. Since we have a long flight to Paris and I've got a few spare batteries for my PDA, maybe I'll be able to speak a few words by the time we get there.

That said, I spent the other day using PocketDivXEncoder to cram as many TV shows as I could on my 6GB microdrive. Usually I use BeyondTV to automatically convert television programs I record into 400MB to 500MB files that I can view on my Dell Axim X50v's VGA screen. But since I'm in for the longest flight in my life, I figured I could sacrifice some video quality in order to fit more programs.

At last count, I've got about 40 hours worth of TV to watch, which should be far more than I actually need. I've never been good at sleeping on airplanes.

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