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.

Transitions in Last Night's Fun
Monday, 29 Mar 2004 :-:

From Last Night's Fun, In and Out of Time with Irish Music, by Ciaran Carson...

Similarly, you get to know the various dimensions of window-ledges round the town, where three or four musicianers can wedge themselves and set up an impromptu session. Punters gather in a semi-circle, till from the street the players are invisible; and in this respect, I remember how old punters would perch their antiquated ghetto-blasters on a window-ledge and give the crowd the benefit of their prized recordings of the fiddle competition. From beyond the semi-circle, it looks just like a session, to the extent that I once observed an ethnomusicologist holding her Nagra mike above the appreciatively nodding heads, the ears cocked to one side, while she footered with her levels and her headphones.

It's possible that such a tape of a tape resides, once or twice removed, in the hermetic archive of the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. Not for the first time, I wonder about hte coupling of 'folk' and 'transport', and am reminded that here, 'folk' is mostly 'material culture' -- cottages, a spade mill, stone walls, a schoolhouse, handlooms, churches, and a water-mill. Of particular interest is a bleach-green look-out post built like a birdwatcher's granite sangar, from which the unseen sentry could observe the linen-rustlers, then step out and boldly sound the early-warning system of his pawl-and-ratchet, whirligig-type rattle. It reminds us that Ulster culture resides more in what you do than what you say or sing or play: O linen-weavers, builders of barns, rope-winders, intricate masons! It is but a short step to the vehicle: O makers of motor-bikes and tractors! Builders of the Belfast and Titanic! Constructors of the Harlandic diesel electric locomotive commissioned by the Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway Company! Perfectors of the four-cylinder, triple-expansion, steam-reciprocating engine!

I love how Ciaran does this marvelous transitions in Last Night's Fun. He has clearly been reading a bit of James Joyce -- we sense the stream of consciousness influence here, but there is more.

The obvious transition sentence is this:

It's possible that such a tape of a tape resides, once or twice removed, in the hermetic archive of the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.

This sentence bridges between the scene of the window-ledge session to the archives of the Musem. But it's not just a normal transition. First, it's not transitioning between two obvious scenes. The second scene is more of a catalog of items. It paints a view of the archives, but rather than describing the archives themselves, Ciaran starts talking about the things in the archives. We realize that the scene is not actually the archives, but the metaphysical space of an idea. The place where the ideas of 'folk' and 'transport' come together. So rather than talking about the sights, smells, and events in this scene, Ciaran lists items, puts them together to see what they result in. And we come up with "Ulster culture resides more in what you do than what you say or sing or play", an unusual conclusion for a book about music. But then he brings it back into song by mimicking the style of Carl Sandburg's great poem about Chicago:

O linen-weavers, builders of barns, rope-winders, intricate masons!

But enough about the second scene. The previous scene, while a full scene, with setting, with action, with all of that stuff, is more than a scene. It's a transition setup scene. He's been talking about the experience of finding a place to play for the whole chapter, and he wants to transition to a musem. So he includes an anecdote. The anecdote paints the session scene with Punters and all, not by describing it, but by describing how something similar could be mistaken for it. He then talks about the researcher, setting us up for the transition sentence. As in all good stream of consciousness, he introduces the theme of research, archival, and study, and then trips the lever and we're suddenly on that track, transitioned smoothly and believably. It's ever-so-smooth with Ciaran because he sets us up for it well in advance.

It would be easy to let the section on the museum stand out of place in this chapter, but a few pages later smoothly joins back with the swirl of ideas relating to sessions...

Everything is analogue, and looks like something else. Everything is deja vu.

This final sentence ties everything together, from the confusing night-time mind-game of appearances -- finding a good place to play (or a good place to listen) -- to the steel needles set in plate glass dials on machines in the museum. Even the ethnomusicologist is unwittingly taking part in a comic case of deja vu.