Notebook of Sand

• 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.

Destiny's Addiction
Monday, 19 Apr 2004 :-:

Cover of Tracy Kidder's book, The Soul of a New Machine I am immobilized. I don't know what to do. Why did I have to open up the old wound? But it was inevitable. Is this my calling? My destiny, or my addiction?

Today, I give a talk on Tracy Kidder's book The Soul of a New Machine, which won both a Pulitzer Prize and an American Book Award. I love the book. I love this book. I hate this book. I hate the book.

It's not really Kidder's fault, though. He did an amazing job on the book. In fact, I'm talking about it because it's written so well. But the topic is painful. See, when I read about the late nights, the stomach aches, the stress, the wall-kicking co-workers, I get this feeling, a twinge of the intensity of my days as a programmer. I read about the mind-numbing insanity of debugging a complex board, and I remember spending three-four days tracing horribly difficult bugs with another programmer, just to find a new bug in Java. I was really mad that day. But it was a proud anger, to know that I had done things right; I had been vindicated three times over. First, it wasn't our fault. Second, we had found Sun's error. Third, I had been suggesting a workaround for days. It worked. I could have gloated, but it wasn't about gloating. It was about meeting incredibly difficult tasks, and getting them done. It was like (as Kidder suggests) climbing Everest every day, with a group of guys you could juggle with at lunch (when I took lunch).

...could I someday combine real (ie challenging, interesting) programming with my interest in Literature, in Electronic writing, and in nonfiction? Mark Bernstein has Eastgate. Could I do something similar? Could I keep my head doing it?

Every time I read about programming or receive a programming job offer, I am very tempted to return to that life. But I made a choice. It eats me, dissolves my person molecule by molecule, leaving me empty inside. Kidder describes that process. And yet I yearn even for the dissolution, like an addict who needs just one more trip. Oh why did I ever stop programming?

But I did, and I think I am better for it. I think I am a better person for it. For I loved that life too much for it to be. I didn't want to be a thirty-five year old burnout. I was on my way to being a twenty-five year old burnout. Starting to program in elementary school aged me rapidly. I sometimes feel like forty. The other students don't understand. And the compsci students just chuckle. Do they respect me? Do they understand how my skills have deteriorated, my knowledge dissolving with every bit of Virginia Woolf or Faulkner or Kerouac I read? With every academic paper that proceeds out of my brain, do they understand that my knowledge is slipping, that it's two years old, that I'm a dinosaur at twenty?

How I wish to be them.

  • sigh*