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.

October 2004
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
Goin' to Philly
Wednesday, 27 Oct 2004 :-: ["Permalink"]

It's November 2, and I'm heading off to the City of Brotherly Love.

Girard College, founded in Philadelphia during the early 19th century for the education of orphans

For politics? Yes. But not today's politics. I'm going to study the politics of the 1830s-50s. I hope there isn't trouble. People are so disillusioned and full of bile this year. But a little over a hundred years ago, Philadelphia politicians like William McMullen were carrying shotguns to the PA Senate to influence the vote.

We've come a long way, folks. Calm down.

Building the new 30th street in Philadelphia

Will red win? Will blue win?


Lord, may your will be done through who the people elect. I just ask that whatever our choice, we would not be so quick to destroy our noble country in the attempt to control it. Preserve our freedoms; preserve your glory, and preserve our nation. Amen.

Building the Bucky
Sunday, 24 Oct 2004 :-: ["Permalink"]

After working with Dad to design and build the rods and brackets for my geodesic hypertext, we began to build the final version over the weekend.

** * **

Saturday, it was cold, but the halogen work lamp kept the fingers warm.

Warming hands in the shed
** * **

We worked all morning Saturday. Dad fabricated and drilled parts. I shaped them and began screwing them together to form the geodesic structure.

Dad drilling geodesic parts in the shed
** * **

Holding the world on my shoulders is a tough job, but someone has to do it :-). I was very pleased when the structure was completed.

J. Nathan Matias, in a cameo role as Atlas holding the world on his shoulders
** * **

The next day, we started wrapping the sphere with Jute. To help the process, we hung half-spheres from the ceiling. Mom helped pick out the coarse string and wrap it around the metal structure

Wrapping a geodesic sphere with Jute string
** * **

Sunday night, we finished wrapping. The Cat in the hat approves of our efforts.

Geodesic spheres; Cat tested, Matias approved
Music of the Spheres
Tuesday, 19 Oct 2004 :-: ["Permalink"]

Work is proceeding on the geodesic hypertext. I now have decided the contents of each triangle, with the help of Tinderbox and a host of round tacky stickers. Now, I just have to get the final scans of the visual material that goes in each triangle.

Planning a geodesic hypertext in Tinderbox

Tinderbox has made the process much easier. In fact, Tinderbox gave me the idea in the first place. In an upcoming issue of Tekka, I describe how I use Tinderbox to perform historical research and writing. I've been using it for my honors thesis on 19th century Philadelphia ethnic life. As I prepared my materials, I thought about putting together a hypertext from all the reasearch I have done (getting in all the things I must cut from the linear, paper version).

When the opportunity came to do an art-related history project, I jumped at the chance. Now, Tinderbox didn't just help me figure out how to organize the topics on the sphere....

Planning a geodesic hypertext in Tinderbox

... but it is also allowing me to connect the visual content with the audio segments, all pointing back to the original sources I use for the project. Hypertext is too much fun.

** * **

Late last night (ok, early in the morning), I entered part of the hypertext into gZigZag, by Ted Nelson and Tuomas Lukka (and others). At first, I found it cumbersome. But then, I played with some different views. The vTreeWithLines clearly showed what was going on with my data, but the most impressive was the MindSundew view.

This view is usually useless, since it usually shows something that is far too complex. But in this case, it figured out the geometry of my hypertext and began to display my information as a geodesic sphere!

Geodesic Hypertext in gZigZag
** * **

And for kicks, there's always the brilliant Millenium Bookball, by George W. Hart.

Two Guys and a Background
Wednesday, 13 Oct 2004 :-: ["Permalink"]

My brother and I are parliamentarians.

This weekend, we get to train a college's student senate in the proper attitude, philosophy, and operation of parliamentary procedures as explained in Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised 10th Edition(RONR).

Many people despise parliamentary procedure. When they think, "Robert's Rules," they think of meetings gone bad, ones where the goal of a minority got railroaded through by use of clever procedure. They think of the parliamentary geek (there's usually one in every organization), who insists on using rules that no one knows. They think of horrible meetings, where people argued and bickered, meetings which caused problems and harmed relationships.

When I think of parliamentary procedure, I think about the same things. Except, I'm not blaming them on the rules (as obtuse as RONR may be).

Instead, I see parliamentary authorities as the best panacea to these kinds of organizational decisionmaking problems. The rules aim to create an environment where people are empowered. The rules aim to encourage people to work together, to build consensus, and put their effort toward the good of the assembly.

For example, RONR page 52 makes the following statement about unanimous consent:

"Unanimous consent" does not necessarily imply that every member is in favor of the proposed action; it may only mean that the opposition, feeling that it is useless to oppose or discuss the matter, simply acquiesces. Similarly, when a member responds to the chair's inquiry, "Is there any objection....?"" with "I object," he may not necessarily oppose the motion itself, but may believe that it is wise to take a formal vote under the circumstances.

Who in their right mind would oppose unanimous consent for a proposal they want to pass?

Someone who is concerned for the opinions of those who may oppose it. Someone who is interested in the health of the assembly. RONR is chock-full of little statements like this, remindind people to think beyond the motion they want to adopt, but to think about the health and further continuance of their organization.

** * **

For those who feel intimidated by the hugeness of RONR, you may want to consider Robert's Rules of Order, In Brief, a recent publication by the RONR authorial committee that explains the basics used by most members and provides cross-references to the main compendium. It's very cool.

But my brother and I do not recommend using RONR for your organization (if the main document of your organization already calls for RONR, by all means keep it). We recommend a much easier-to-read, more lucid work called The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure.

** * **

The college wanted to film our presentation. We declined, suggesting audio instead.

I think I cited the mental anguish experienced by viewers after an hour-and-a-half of "two guys and a background".

** * **

I think we have now found the name for the imaginary gospel singing group the two of us have joked about forming. We thought about calling ourselves, "The Ransomed Brothers," but that's already taken.

"Two Guys and a Background" sounds appropriately garage-ey for our tastes. Coming to coffeehouses soon!

Annotating Adornments in Tinderbox
Friday, 8 Oct 2004 :-: ["Permalink"]

Now here's a useful Tinderbox feature. Tinderbox Adornments can be annotated. Just click the adornment and hit the asterisk on the toolbar...

Adornments can be annotated too!

I always disliked the fact that I couldn't include text in adornments. Well, now I can!

I wonder if this is a feature or a bug? Knowing Eastgate, it's probably a thought-through feature, just one that doesn't make it into the the docs.

A Mirror in Text
Wednesday, 6 Oct 2004 :-: ["Permalink"]

Dylan Kinnett, a past intern at Eastgate Systems, was nice enough to mention me in a post about his original plans for his hypertext novella. If you read the novella, To Win, Simply Play, you can see how the structure works. It's much simpler than it looks, but the mirrorlike diagram is cool. It's much easier to think about each page as the center of its own universe, each with its own three outward links.

Hmm, it occurs to me that complex diagrams are often much more useful to the authors of a diagram than they are to someone new to the concept. Perhaps this is because authors can look at small, specific parts of a diagram, whereas someone new is often confused by trying to take it all in at once.

I can then extract the principle: If you're looking at a complex diagram, don't try to figure it out at the macro level. Instead, split it up mentally and examine the individual parts, trying to figure out how they fit together.

This is not a new idea. I bet that this is a maxim among CAD users and mechanical drafters.

An amazing week
Wednesday, 6 Oct 2004 :-: ["Permalink"]

I'm back!

Instead of cluttering this blog with tons of information from the conference, I created a sub-blog hypertext-thing. You can find it at Cars, Trucks, Things that go, and even a smidge of Normal Life all come together to make a memorable time at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.