Titular transitions

When I first got serious with my now-fiancee I spent a lot of time with her family. Her niece and nephews took a liking to me, and at one point started calling me “Uncle D,” which I found amusing and flattering.

To avoid offending or pressuring me, my fiancee’s sister told her brood not to call me “uncle,” because I wasn’t one yet, and it could make me uncomfortable. That changed the kids’ tune: to their mother’s chagrin, hey began asking me, “David, when are you going to propose to Amy so we can call you Uncle David again?”

As soon as I got engaged, the game changed. No longer were the children waiting for me to become Uncle David; now it was I who was told to wait. They finally had the upper hand and they knew it.

So now I get cards like this.

On turning thirty

My birthday is Saturday. I will be 30 years old.

My birthday is Saturday. I will be 30 years old. For the most part I’m ignoring it.

Contrary to the custom of the last few years, I am not having a party. I have not requested anything in the way of gifts. My nice family birthday dinner was instead a low-key brunch that included my future in-laws. My fiancee is taking me to Cafe Boulud Saturday night, but it’s her insistence that I do something special more than it is mine.

I don’t mind turning 30. I’m very much ready for it—between business school, engagement, and the progression of life in general, I am prepared for the roll of the odometer.

But when compared to the other big-ticket items in my life’s shopping basket, the milestone birthday just doesn’t rate. I don’t want to think about a party; I don’t want to coordinate two dozen people, or even have someone else do it for me, since I’ll be involved. I have too much else on the brain. See you at the wedding, folks.

I expected this little essay to reveal much more about my feelings as I approach 30. I suppose the lack of excitement says it all.

Past tense

Glasshaus Press closed up shop Friday.

During its brief existence, Glasshaus was a top-notch publisher, releasing books on Web site accessibility, usability and online development that were clear, useful, and enjoyable to read. Their passing is a typical dotcom bust insolvency issue, as far as I can tell, and a sad one.

Glasshaus turned me into an author last year (see right-hand column). I always knew my book would have a short shelf-life; after all, how sites are designed is continually evolving, and today’s epiphanies may be tomorrow’s gaffes. But I expected the book to dwindle on its own terms.

Still, while I’m being shuttled to the archives a little early, that doesn’t take away from the quality output Glasshaus produced in its day, and the joy I felt in participating.

Good luck to Bruce Lawson and his staff, and thank you for your good work.

Mute

I resigned my position as a columnist for Digital Web Magazine today.

I resigned my position as a columnist for Digital Web Magazine today.

For several months my column has been more or less dormant, not unlike this Web site. I have been trying to understand why.

~ Maybe it’s my life and the happy complications of business school.

~ Maybe it’s my job, at which I have been more hands-on than contemplative in recent months, forcing me to learn the nuances of CSS rather than ruminate about the ramifications of using it.

~ Maybe it’s the rather stale nature of Web site design in general. The most recent topic I tried writing was, “Why is the push for standards the only hot

topic in the design community?” I also have a column in my head (likely written elsewhere by now) wondering, “Why do we talk about weblogs so much?” That one is so big it’s hardly worth writing.

The Web design industry has matured. The two largest issues facing online purveyors today are clarifying code for future iterations and making money to keep the future bright. Neither of these issues requires much more discussion than already exists.

My creative juices have flowed into schoolwork and my other keyboard of late—I lead the class rock band at school. Working on chords instead of clauses has been refreshing.

Frankly, there’s not much incentive for me to think about Web publishing on a macro level at the present time. I have three roles in life:

  • Create quality output for my employer
  • Create quality output for my study group and professors
  • Create a happy home
Within that framework, expository writing comes fourth.

I’d post links to favored items here, true-weblog-style, but that’s not a creative or satisfying endeavor (let us mention here that every blog I read checks out the New York Times and kottke.org, just like me, thereby lowering the exploratory threshold several notches).

I can do better than that. I’m not interested in doing worse.

Quoted

“Being different is good. And no intelligent man will ever hold it against you.”

—from Nowhere in Africa