I've been doing some re-connecting with people I'd lost touch with over the years, and my first step has generally been to point them toward April's Just the Facts post so I wouldn't have to go through all that exposition each time. But those facts are getting a bit outdated, so I figured it's time advance the exposition a bit.
1. I am a student again
This week, I officially ceased being a pathetic, unemployed slacker and became a pathetic, unemployed Information Architect-in-training. I've enrolled in the graduate certificate program in Information Design at the University of Baltimore. I've been secretly fascinated by the field of information architecture since seeing Paul Kahn give a keynote talk on the subject at Hypertext 01. It was also during that conference, at a cafe overlooking the Århus River, that I had a long, pleasant conversation with Stuart Moulthrop and Nancy Kaplan about what was then a fairly new Doctor of Communications Design program they had launched at Baltimore. Geography was always an obstacle to pursuing the matter any further, but I’ve kept my eye on the program over the years. It is still fairly unique in locating itself squarely at the intersection of the various disciplines that contribute to what I guess we now call UX Design , rather than simply annexing it to a more traditional field like graphic design, library science, or computer science. In my past positions, I have done a fair amount of work that might be considered IA-ish, but it has all been ad hoc and lacking in formal grounding. Also, having spent most of my adult life in academia in one capacity or another, I am woefully unfamiliar with the professional culture of private design work. I am optimistic that this program will help address both of these shortcomings so that I can re-invent myself professionally.
And speaking of professional culture, I am planning on attending the IA Institute's IDEA 2010 conference, which will be taking place in Philadelphia September 30-October 2. I don’t know much about the conference, but with folks like Peter Morville, Jeffrey Zeldman, and Liz Danzico on the program, it certainly looks to be interesting, and with it being almost literally in my back yard, it seemed foolish to pass up the opportunity to check it out.
2. The divorce is final
Yeah, not much to say about this one. I guess the paperwork went through not long after the Just the Facts post went up. To say that I am still trying to come to terms with it would be an understatement. If anything, I am more confused and less inclined to discuss it publicly than I was four months ago. The one good thing I can say about all this is that, despite the distance, I think I am managing to maintain a strong connection with the kids. They were up here for a couple weeks at the beginning of August, and we had a great time, visiting Philly and hanging out at the shore. I give Sylvia a lot of credit for making sure I remain a presence in their lives, and I think we are both resolved not to let them get stuck in the middle of whatever difficulties or disagreements we may be having with each other.
3. Not much else has changed.
Pretty self explanatory. Still living with my parents, which is fine. Still undergoing treatment for my depression, which I guess is nominally under control (it’s hard to tell: since I haven’t really had to function like a normal, adult person—consistently at least—these past six months, I still don’t really know if I am capable of it). Still uncertain about anything having to do with my long-term future, although this certificate program should keep me occupied for the next nine months or so.
Well, this has probably gone on long enough. I have a busy agenda of dicking around on the Internet to attend to, not to mention homework to put off doing. Good night, The Internet.