Notebook of Sand



Curriculum Vitae

• Recent Publications
• Recent Projects
• Conferences & Speaking
"Comparing Spatial Hypertext Collections"
  ACM Hypertext '09
"Archiving and Sharing Your Tinderbox"
  Tinderbox Weekend London '09
"The Electronic Nature of Future Literatures"
  Literary Studies Now, Apr '09
"The World University Project"
  St. John's Col. Cambridge, Feb '09
"Ethical Explanations,"
  The New Knowledge Forge, Jun '08
Lecture, Cambridge University
  Tragedy in E-Lit, Nov '07
Hypertext '07: Tragedy in E-Lit
Host for Tinderbox Cambridge '07
Keynote: Dickinson State Uni Conf
Upper Midwest NCHC'07: Speaker
eNarrative 6: Creative Nonfiction
HT'05: "Philadelphia Fullerine"
  Nelson award winning paper
NCHC '05:
 Nurturing Independent Scholarship
Riddick Practicum:
  Building Meeting Good Will
NCHC '04:
  Philadelphia Fullerine
  Lecture on American Studies
WWW@10: Nonfiction on the Web
NCHC '03: Parliamentary Procedure
ELL '03 -- Gawain Superstar
• (a)Musing (ad)Dictions:

Ideas. Tools. Art. Build --not buy. What works, what doesn't. Enjoy new media and software aesthetics at Tekka.

Theodore Gray (The Magic Black Box)

Faith, Life, Art, Academics. Sermons from my family away from home: Eden Chapel!

My other home: The Cambridge Union Society (in 2007, I designed our [Fresher's Guide])

The Economist daily news analysis

Global Higher Ed blog

• Hypertext/Writing

Writing the Living Web

Chief Scientist of Eastgate Systems, hypertext expert Mark Bernstein. (Electronic) Literature, cooking, art, etc.

Fabulous game reviews at playthisthing.

• Stats

Chapter I: Born. Lived. Died.

There is a Chapter II.

Locale: Lancaster County Pa, USA

Lineage: Guatemala

Religion: My faith is the primary focus of my life, influencing each part of me. I have been forgiven, cleansed, and empowered by Jesus Christ. Without him, I am a very thoughtful, competent idiot. With him, I am all I need to be, all I could ever hope for. I oppose institutional religious stagnation, but getting together with others is a good idea. God is real. Jesus Christ is his Son, and the Bible is true. Faith is not human effort. It's human choice. I try to be the most listening, understanding, and generous person I can.

Interests: Anything I can learn. Training and experience in new media, computer science, anglophone literature, education, parliamentary debate, democratic procedure, sculpture, and trumpet performance. Next: applied & computational linguistics, probably.

Education: Private school K-3. Home educated 4-12. Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Elizabethtown College in Jan 2006. As the 2006 Davies-Jackson Scholar, I studied English at St. John's College, Cambridge University from 2006 - 2008.

Memberships: Eden Baptist, Cambridge Union Society, ACM, AIP, GPA.

Alum of the Elizabethtown College Honors Program, sponsored by the Hershey Company.

December 2005
2004: Earlier | March | April | May | June | July | Aug | Sept | Oct | Nov | Dec
2005: Jan | Feb | March | April | May | June | July | Aug | Sept | Oct | Nov | Dec
2006: Jan | Feb | March | April | May | June | July | Aug | Sept | Oct | Nov | Dec
2007: Spring | Summer - Summer 2008 | Spring & Summer 2009 | Now
Friday, 30 Dec 2005 :-: ["Permalink"]

Wow. My shoulders hurt.

Thursday, 29 Dec 2005 :-: ["Permalink"]

He looked at me mischeviously.

"So, last night I couldn't sleep," he said.

I bit. "Oh? That's what you get for eating so much last night at dinner."

"Yeah," he conceded. That was odd. He usually never admitted to eating too much.

He continued. "I woke up at 3pm and couldn't get back to sleep."

"What did you do?"

"500 jumping jacks. It didn't help, but I felt great." He avoided my gaze then turned quickly to look at me, grinning widely. His eyes twinkled. It was a challenge.

"All at once?" I countered.

Ten minutes later, I was furiously jumping up and down, flailing my arms up and down to freezepop.






... .

At this point, he noticed what I was doing and joined in. We faced each other across the room. I sped up. He matched me. I slowed down. He sped up. I tried not to giggle.

Finally, I put on a final burst of speed. He fell behind. Finally, he tired.

I went on. 241. 242. 243. 244. 245. 252.253.





442.443.444.445. 446.447.448.449.450.451 .452.453.454.455.456.457. 458.459.460.461.462.463. 464.465.466.467.468.469. 470.471.472.473.474.475. 476.477.478.479.480.481. 482.483.484.485. 486.487.488.489.490.491.






520.521.522.523.524.525.526.527. 528.529.530.531.532.533.534.535. 536.537.538. 539.540.541.542. 543.544.545.546. 547.548.549.550.


wheeze, sit down

** * **

I love my dad.

I suppose I should go shower now.

Wednesday, 28 Dec 2005 :-: ["Permalink"]

Sharp thinkers bristle with quills and ink.

** * **

After years in the academic environment, I have learned to mistrust, to probe, to pull out the scalpels of scrutiny, and slice ideas into manageable pieces.

** * **

Simmer for twenty minutes on medium, dribble cider vinegar until browned, and serve with wilted sprigs of ambiguity, ambogosity, equivocation, and qualification.

** * **

Why do most people only talk about truth and justice when they're angry?

Is truth only found in the injustice, error, and evil of the world? Or are we afraid of something?

** * **

Truth is a glowing heat, which to the cold dwellers under the mountain, stirs the stale air with trickles of joyful warmth. For eyes which see only dimly, the light is painful. Yet closed eyes cannot lead us to comfort at the source.

No. Truth is a beautiful lover, one to be extolled for all its singular qualities. And yet, the mere discovery, description and praise of truth is not enough. Relationships change us, soften us. Although lovers must sometimes leave and go to battle, they long to return and embrace. The nature of love, beauty, and truth are found in open arms, not firearms.

** * **
In his endless search for the truth, man is condemned to knowledge.
Solaris, by Andrei Tarkovsky

Weary traveler, try to rest. Not all truth is so fierce that it can crack the hard defense that shields you from the onslaught of knowledge.

Open up, and be warmed.

Smaug's Mountain
Tuesday, 27 Dec 2005 :-: ["Permalink"]

I am Smaug.

That is my mountain.

Sad, isn't it? My mountain is not made of gold, jewels, or truesilver filigree.

Just papers and books.

But I must sit and sort, sift and file for now.

** * **

Fresh rainfall flooding over soul and mind. Buckets enough, I hope. No time to show it to you.

Soon, friends, soon.

Rose Windows, Glazed Icing
Thursday, 22 Dec 2005 :-: ["Permalink"]

One gingerbread kit, three people, and a touch of insanity.

Keith Builds the Facade

For more information on Gothic Cathedrals, check out the Discovery Channel's E-Lore page on The Gothic Style in Art and Architecture.

In case you were wondering, the Ultimate Gingerbread Cathedral of life, the universe, and everything, is the confection of St. Joseph's Cathedral done in 2002.

A New Calling in Life
Thursday, 15 Dec 2005 :-: ["Permalink"]

After careful thought and consideration, I have found a new calling in life:

Knitting sweaters for penguins.

(also, overload time)

Wednesday, 14 Dec 2005 :-: ["Permalink"]

A fellow student of mine is a marvelous lecturer in Philosophy. A number of us regularly get together to discuss religion in his dorm block, and he will sometimes walk in and give us random, lucid treatises on the philosophical ideas that relate to our discussion. He has a great way of describing highly complicated things.

This friend would be an awesome philosophy prof. He would love to be a philosophy prof. But he's not going to follow that path.

He loves to teach, but he has very little desire to publish. He's a true dialectician, but he gets bored with the publishing system of prestige and ladder-climbing.

handrwriting on parchment

One more great professor lost for want of a sane academic establishment.

The next 7 Months
Monday, 12 Dec 2005 :-: ["Permalink"]

So, last night, I sent out a boatload of emails to different people I know, giving them the following question to consider: My life for the next 7 months.

** * **

I complete my college education in 1 week. Assuming that it will only take a few more weeks to tie up the loose ends, I will be completely free to do whatever for the next seven months, until I resume my studies.

Here are my criteria:

  • Break even.
  • Do something useful/interesting.
  • Grow spiritually.

The beautiful thing about the next period of my life is that it's totally freeform. I have some flexible employment options. Thus, I don't have to have a job during this entire time. I could work like a madman for the first few months then spend the remainder doing something interesting. Or I could get a part-time job to cover basic roof-food-floor/futon while I do something interesting. Of course, I wouldn't mind finding a useful/interesting job either.

The Criteria

Break Even: roof, food, floor/futon

Useful/Interesting: Something that I can learn from, but which is really focused on others. Ideas so far:

  • Write a young adult nonfiction book on social progress/activism in mid-19th century Philadelphia.
  • Teach college in India
  • Write software for Bible translators
  • Study theology
  • Find parliamentary work

Grow spiritually: preferably be near a good church where I can be really involved.

** * **

Do you have ideas for something I can do? When I spoke with Charles Murray earlier this year, he suggested I do something like he did. After finishing college, he spent several years as a Peace Corps worker in Thailand. He said it was one of the best things he ever did.

I don't have several years, but I have seven months. And even though I'm pretty aware of the world around me, I'm not very aware of the opportunities available for a newly-graduated English literature student with specialities in music performance/instruction, computer programming, multimedia production, parliamentary procedure, graphics design, and nonfiction writing.

Do you have ideas for me? Send me an email.

I'm Blogging This
Saturday, 10 Dec 2005 :-: ["Permalink"]

"What size shirt do you wear?"

One doesn't normally expect random questions like this to appear in the IM window.

A few days later, a friend from college, Jeff Babey, presented me with a T-Shirt from Thinkgeek:

J. Nathan Matias is blogging this

Jeff has been most generous with me over the last few years, using his meal allotment on my behalf, paying for much-needed food after concert band rehearsals. We talk about technology, pop culture (of which he knows much more), broadway, more technology, and sometimes just life. He has, on multiple occasions, tried to teach me how to play Jazz.

I'll miss Jeff. I will miss *all* the interesting people I have known at Elizabethtown College.

I am rapidly trying to see a lot of people for what will probably be the last time. People I wish I knew better. I spoke with one friend for nearly five hours straight last week. We were trying to make up for a year and a half of never having a chance to really talk. It wasn't enough. This pleasant time was good enough just to show me how much I missed out on.

Life is short. Yet mine carries on.

And you? God will look after you all, I pray.

Best wishes.

Tinderbox 3.0.2
Friday, 9 Dec 2005 :-: ["Permalink"]

My iBook is back on track for now, but when I downloaded the latest version of Tinderbox, --3.0.2 --and tried to export The Notebook of Sand , large sections of the weblog disappeared from the website.

Here's what happened: In versions of Tinderbox before 3.0, the include export command would include a note into the page even if the HTMLDontExport setting were true. Now, it must be set to false before Tinderbox will export the note, even on an include. This is a good idea; it allows us to control the exportability of the note within the note itself rather than being required to dig up all references to it in order to remove it from the site.

So if you have been blogging in Tinderbox, and your includes have disappeared, just click on the note you wish to include, select View->New HTML View. Then click the check beside Export.

Voila! Your information appears once again.

** * **

Each release from Eastgate has made Tinderbox a richer application. Tinderbox 3.n contains a feature that I have wanted for two years. We can now do arithmetic in Agent queries and (even more fun) in conditional statements. For example, I can do something like:

The image is too huuuuuuge!
include the image

I am glad they're porting to Windows. The introduction of Tinderbox onto a new platform gives Eastgate a reason to focus on two things:

  • The features that regular users of Tinderbox need
  • Polish

The better Eastgate does at addressing these areas, the happier new Windows users will be, and the happier we OS X users will be.

** * **

Sigh. I really wish there were a good piece of spatial hypertext software for GNU/Linux. MacOnLinux doesn't yet work with OS 10.4.n, and it's killing me. I'm trapped in a foreign country.

Another iBook Crash
Tuesday, 6 Dec 2005 :-: ["Permalink"]

Sorry for the delay in further postings, but my iBook has crashed yet again. After collaboration with the valiant Nathan Eagleson (and the fascinating opportunity to plan a first-year writing course with his sister), the iBook is now working. But now I have to install everything again and get it to work properly. Today is my thesis defense, and I have concerts, etc.. So expect a few more days of delay before the blog gets up and running again.

See you soon!