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.

Eating Lunch and This American Life
Wednesday, 7 Apr 2004 :-:

Chicago Skyscrapers -- from the National Collegiate Honors Conference, 2003. View from the Palmer House
Photo Credit:
Kyle Kopko
You are what you eat.

My lunch with Ira Glass is a well-written profile of This American Life's producer, Ira Glass by Rachelle Louise Snyder. She manages to tie everything back to the food experience, and the lunch provides a great jumping-off point for an interesting discussion of Ira's life and work.

Here are a few of the methods she employs...

During the lunch, Ira says something that is representative of his writing style...

"They've chosen, as their medium, food. I love that."

Although Snyder quotes this statement, she doesn't draw attention to it at first. It fulflis an ordinary purpose in the narrative flow, telling us us why Ira likes the restaurant. The quote passes, and other things happen. But later on, during a discussion of Ira's style and interests, she brings it in again...

Glass is a writer's writer, or more aptly a writer's radio host. He understands how narrative works, how to build tension, how to place words within sentences and sentences within paragraphs, how at the end of a story a character must be transformed. Every good writer knows that the most important, most evocative information should come at the end of a sentence or paragraph, and even in conversation he does this. Take his earlier words, for example: "They've chosen, as their medium, food. I love that." He doesn't say: "I love that they've chosen food as their medium." Because he knows -- probably instinctively -- that what comes last will carry the most weight; he knows where inside a sentence the power lies -- or rather where inside a sentence lies the power. And so even in his speech you hear the pregnant pauses, the places where, if he were writing the conversation, he would use colons, semicolons and dashes.

Brilliant. By introducing the idea first and reflecting on it later, she reproduces the process of discovery for the reader. Snyder also picks up on a great symbolic detail/metaphor that works three ways. First, she quotes Glass

I am less adventurous: I'm eating chicken and stuffing, which rivals my grandmother's."The stuffing's always better than the rest," he says after a sampling. "Grease and starch just always win over protein. In food as in so many things. Look around you, that's what our whole country is based on. It's amazing that Michael Jordan can be an iconic figure because he's basically just protein."

By including the quote, Snyder gives us a scene at the table over the food. She tells us what she ate. But she also shows us more of Glass's quirky style. The whole article illustrates Glass's show as a combination of interesting stories, deeper meaning, and artistry. Then, in the last paragraph, Snyder ties everything together: the show, the man, and the food:

It is arguable that Ira Glass may have brewed our latest, greatest example of the marriage between art and humanity. Or, as he himself might put it, a surprisingly perfect concoction of grease, starch, and protein.