Thursday, March 31, 2011

Here's News: I Am Taking A New Job

I've been putting word out via twitter, e-mail and the telephone (yup, still do that sometimes) about a new job I've taken. Starting on April 11, I will be a part of the Delaware Government Information Center, a state agency with a mission of connecting Delaware citizens to government. In practice, that means managing Delaware's web site and helping state agencies use the web and social media to do a better job of communicating with and interacting with the people of the state.

As you may know, this sort of thing is what I really enjoy.

At the same time, a new job means leaving behind the work I've been doing for more than 12 years as GIS Coordinator and Census State Data Center lead for the Delaware Office of State Planning Coordination. This is a time of transition and reflection.

I’ve been around to see the State Planning Office grow into a small, focused, effective service bureau that helps state agencies, local governments, businesses and citizens come together (when that’s possible) on land use planning issues.

I'm very proud of the work done by the Delaware Geographic Data Committee in the time I've been associated with that group. I've made great friends among Delaware's GIS Community and I plan to stay involved, if at a lesser intensity.

I have been honored to be a part of the National States Geographic Information Council, an astonishing group of people from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories who lead GIS efforts in their part of the nation and come together to improve government at all levels.

And I have had the satisfaction of working with the people of the US Census Bureau to help plan for and carry out the decennial census and to distribute data and information from the Census Bureau to people, businesses, and units of government.

Working within state government can be very rewarding. We take our lumps of course -- sometimes rightfully so -- but at its most basic level, public service means helping people. I do that with data and information and sometimes with some modest expertise. I'll keep doing that sort of work in my new job, I enjoy it.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

In Which Two Streams of My Musical Life Meet and Mix

Furthur, the best of the post-Garcia incarnations of the Grateful Dead, played a cover of Train in Vain, originally by The Clash, last night at Radio City Music Hall, in New York City. They didn't do too bad.

The song was originally sung by Mick Jones, the lead guitarist for The Clash.

I'm a Deadhead and I was a huge Clash fan back when they were active. I've written about this before. I think it's really cool that these two streams of music have come together.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

STEM Education Should Be STEAM Education

Mickey Hart has written a nice little Huffington Post column on the importance of the arts in education. He argues that the science, technology, engineering and math approach, known as "STEM," won't work as well without the arts.
Neuroscientists also have shown that the brain is hardwired for music, innovation and creativity, all other human activities follow. No human culture known to historians or anthropologists has ever existed without music and dance. The arts are a necessity for insight: the arts make us human.The energy that you acquire from art and music turns inspiration into invention. This allows an inventor to dream up something never envisioned before and creates new industries and good-paying jobs.
I think he's right.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Last Hours of Winter

I took a short walk this morning on the Junction and Breakwater trail that runs through parts of Cape Henlopen State Park between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. Spring begins this evening at 7:21 p.m., but this morning was cold and clear and the trees remain spare and stark in the weak and watery light.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I Thought She Looked Familiar

This is a couple of years old, but it's new to me. Ann Marie Calhoun and her brother Joe Simpson play the old Grateful Dead tune Ripple. Her performance is remarkable.

I shouldn't be surprised. I'm pretty sure I've seen her work elsewhere. There's been lots of it and it looks like she'll be an interesting artist to watch.

Not least for how musically abandoned she is in her interpretation of what is one of my favorite tunes.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

All It Needs is a Splash of Paint

A space scene? A lightning bolt? Either way.

Here's to Pleasant Surprises

It's been a busy week or two lately. You may have noticed a lack of posting here, but be sure I was busy elsewhere.
Wordle: 2011 NSGIC MidYear Tweets 2
Last week at this time I was starting a short midyear conference of the National State's Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), in Annapolis. I'm communications chair for that group and so spend the conference taking notes and developing an on-line, cloud-based repository of conference stuff.

And when I returned to the office, it was to a release of 2010 Census redistricting data for Delaware, which I am working my way through as lead staff (the entire staff, to be honest) of the Delaware Census state Data Center.

So I was looking forward to this weekend; to a nice dinner out with both our girls and to ferrying daughter #1 back north to Villanova after her mid-term break. But old-lady nature threw me a curve and hit me with a fast-moving sinus infection that settled over the roots of my upper left molars for an effect like an un-ending explosion.

I'm on the mend though. And this morning came across a pleasant surprise in my RSS Reader feed (took me a while to get here, didn't it?). Yesterday I added a new blog, that of the proprietor of a new bookstore that has just opened here in Lewes called biblion. reading back through her entries, I found one from a week ago that included, as a one-off gesture to a friend, an embedded performance by
Rodrigo y Gabriela of their guitar duet Tamacun.

I've been a fan of this pair ever since hearing them interviewed on NPR a few years back. They are from Mexico, where they played heavy-metal rock before dropping out of that scene and travelling around Ireland for a time, where they earned their living playing more traditional music. They play a fusion of folk musics with a rock and roll abandon that I quite like.

This tune is on my iPod and gets much use when I'm writing, the rhythms and fast pace seem to help my fingers keep up with  my brain.