Greetings, y’all. I hope you’re all starting off the New Year well. I’m not quite ready for my promised post on potential bright spots in 2009, but I wanted to update you with where things are going here at Empire.
2008 was a great year for Empire. I got the politics-writing bug while working in D.C., resurrected a dormant blog and actually kept at it. While I’m not posting once a day like I was in the summer, I think I’ve settled into a regular pattern. And I’m thrilled that we have several fantastic contributors who have been and will continue to post despite their busy lives. I’m hoping to add one or two more contributors in 2009. Once again, a big thanks to iepoch and ftfuchs for their help and their interest in continuing to write for Empire. On a personal note, I’m planning to start up a personal blog in the next few days (it’s really about time). I don’t expect to post a link on Empire, so send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like me to send you the link.
As I’ve mentioned before, at the end of January I’ll be leaving for a semester in Amman, Jordan. That will entail a short break in my posting. But after I settle in and determine how much access I can get to an internet source, I hope to give you my take on what’s going on in the Middle East. That should be all the more interesting considering the events going on in Gaza and a potential visit to the region by Pope Benedict in May, among other things. In the summer, I’m hoping to be either back down in D.C. or working for a member of Congress in a local office and I’ll try to incorporate that into my posts on Empire.
So what will I personally be doing differently in 2009? Glad you asked! Well, I’ve tacked on more than a few extra pounds in 2008 that I’d like to bid farewell to, and I want to in general practice healthier eating. I used to do some really cool hiking and backpacking in my Boy Scout days; there are ample opportunities where I live to do that, so I’d really like to get out and be in the wilderness every once in a while. If I could in Jordan, that would be awesome. I’ve committed myself to learning at least three new facts about the world each day (and not just in politics) and at least one new thing about a friend each week. I’m planning to start keeping a journal and to supplement it by carrying a camera around to take pictures of my life (important and mundane events alike). I’d like to try my hand at writing music (just got some software for that very purpose). In addition, I’ve resolved to listen to at least two new songs from various genres every day – my musical knowledge is not what it should be. I’ve resolved to read more fiction and to watch more movies as well (who said New Years resolutions can’t be fun?). I’d also like to revive my French abilities and expand my skills in Spanish and Italian. Adding more Arabic is a given since I’ll be doing at least three hours a day in class alone while I’m in Amman. I also feel I don’t do enough for others, so I’d like to carve out some time in my schedule for volunteering, and to get involved again in some local events I used to do, like Race for the Cure, that help good causes.
That’s all material for my aforementioned personal blog, of course, but I’ll try to work in a few relevant bits here and there on my Empire posts as well. This is part of my most important goal for Empire in 2009: I will make this blog more fun! So many of my friends (our own iepoch included) have blog-writing styles that make their blogs really enjoyable to read, while I tend to write almost journalistically (made-up word?). This is strange because it’s not at all the way I think about politics. I see politics as an adventurous game which yields strong emotions that range from depressing (e.g., Zimbabwe and Gaza) to truly amusing (e.g., Blago and the Minnesota Senate race). I promise that I’ll still be informative and detailed with my analysis, but I’ll try to due justice to the colorful nature of the subject.
Finally, a great big thank you to everyone who reads or has read The Empire of the Mind, whether you visited once or, in the case of the truly insane, every day. Watching that little ticker on the right that counts Empire’s hits go up means a great deal to me because it means that someone is checking out our experiments in political and news analysis. Whether you love us, hate us, or feel passionate indifference, we appreciate the fact that you’re stopping by, and hope that you’ll continue to do so in 2009.