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March 14, 2007

What I Am

I handed out a bunch of business cards at SxSW, and only today have I realized that people might actually look at my blog.

And as I retreat back into my shy, introverted cave after too many connections and too many alcoholic beverages this week, I feel this obligation to explain myself. My apology, I guess.

A few years ago, the "100 Things About Myself" thing was the meme sensation sweeping the nation. I thought about doing that, but then, you could get 100 things about me (and write it for me) with a Google search. (Heck, do it for me, please.) But I sense more than one person (my current guess: two) will be coming through here to try and remember who I am.

So, here's a short list.

  1. I am the web producer for the University of Washington School of Public Health, one of sixteen colleges and schools within the UW campus. I've been at this job since 2001, after enduring a six month layoff in the dotcom crash. At times, I love my job. Lately, though, I'm not sure what to do with it.
  2. One of the biggest problems with my job is that while I'm loved and appreciated by my bosses and am one of the highest paid web-only geeks on campus, they don't understand exactly what I do. This has been an ongoing tension within my job, because oftentimes I need them to understand so they can grasp what my greater motivations are with this job.
  3. I'm on the university's web accessibility committee, which has some good people but no clear sense of mission -- and no clear fiat from the president and provost. We have some great web accessibility people on campus, but they're mainly concentrated in one area and not diffused throughout the university, and in all the anarchy, things don't always filter down to the people who need to know about accessibility.
  4. And it's a struggle for me. Love my job. Hate my job. I built the first standards-based website for a public health school. I was the first to start pushing content out with RSS. The school as a whole as been using XML as long as I've been there (thanks to my dot-com days of 2000 when "XML" was the Buzzword Of The Year). I wasn't the first to push podcasting, sadly, but we're one of only four public health schools doing it. And yet... I wish I was doing something else. I wish people understood what I've been doing -- and the path I'm trying to take the school's site on. I'm planning on a complete redesign this year, adding some AJAX-y goodness in strategic spots, and yet trying to see if I can come close to WCAG 2.0 compliance. OTOH, though, I'm wondering if this is the right place for me long-term.
  5. I'm old school. First website: tail end of 1994. I don't have a CS degree (Environmental Studies). Everything I've learned I've picked up through experience, reading (e.g. A List Apart), and tinkering. I'm a web generalist. I'm the last of a dying breed. Apparently the EPA wants to put "protected" status on me and put me in a wildlife refuge.
  6. I complain a lot about work. Honestly, I complain a lot, period. And I have a lot to be thankful for -- decent job with benefits and sick days, wife who tolerates me, beautiful daughter, live in Seattle (which despite its warts is still one of the great cities of this planet), my health is OK. But I keep complaining. I'll be content when I'm dead, I guess.
  7. I talk a lot in metaphors, ones related to American culture and American sports culture. And that gets a lot of confusing looks from people, especially non-Americans.
  8. I used to blog here a lot, but lately my attention has been turned to Seattle Metroblogging. I rant every once in a while. Really drives the traffic.
  9. I go to a lot of baseball games. I've probably been to 100 or so M's games in the last 12 years. Baseball is in the family blood.
  10. I don't read a lot of books. I think I read four last year. Most of my reading is on the net.
  11. Yes, I really do like nectarines.
  12. People apparently think I'm nice. I try not to bite.
  13. This is my favorite poem.
Any questions?

Posted by dylan at 08:44 AM | Comments (4)