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.

The National Anthem
Thursday, 16 Sep 2004 :-: [soundtrack]

I have been watching a documentary about the War of 1812. I didn't like the beginning, but it got better. They did a pretty bad/sensationalistic job with the burning of Washington D.c. Their retelling of the battle of Baltimore was very good. Their retelling of the battle for New Orleans was rather sensationalist as well. At one point, they mention that the British forces were not the greatest of England's forces. Then, they say that Jackson defeated the best forces in the world. They get too carried away with themselves.

Paul Johnson suggests in A History of the American People that the War of 1812 created the ability for England and America to get along later. This was, according to him, because the treaty of Ghent was equitable to both sides, an unusual document to be sure.

** * **

The story got me thinking about our national anthem.

We never sing the other verses. Why is that? Hmm.

Violence. The first verse is violent enough, but the third verse gets really violent...

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Although I do like parts of the final verse, it could hardly work. No doubt people would take offense to the last verse..

Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Hmm. Critics of the war in Iraq could become very snide after this stanza. Snide or no, I don't like the idea of including conquest into our national song, just or not.

** * **

Some have suggested America The Beautiful for an alternate national anthem. I like this song, but again, we would have to trim the verses of the sadness of experience...

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!

I like the recognition of America's brilliant beauty. But our nation is not a land. America is not, like other places, a place defined only by its location, but rather by the ideas and freedom...

O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife.
Who more than self the country loved
And mercy more than life!

The song would also serve as a reminder to us...

God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

But I suppose many would dislike it for the very reasons I like the song...

America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

Here, Gold is not money, but rather a reference to character and goodness, to generosity and love, those valuable things that reside inside a person's heart, not a person's wallet. I would like to live in an America whose successes can truly be called noble. That day is not here.

But America The Beautiful is not pithy enough for our current time. Any replacement anthem would likely have no more than 5 or 6 lines to be repeated ad nauseum in any arrangement.

I don't think the essence of this amazing place can be captured fully in a song. It has many faults, many flaws -- it's made of humans. But it is exciting to know that freedom truly reigns in America, not a single man, not a single idea, not a party or a weapon, but rather the coming together of many millions of people in cooperative concord. It's a tough world out there, but it's good to know that we can work together.