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.

Thursday, 9 Sep 2004 :-:

I hate false dilemmas. No. I really hate false dilemmas. They are the product of short-sighted people who do not understand reality and see fit to tangle and drag others into false thinking. These people cause false fear. They misunderstand reality. And they choose with false confidence.

When I was growing up, I was subjected to particularly malevolent false dilemma by people at my old church. It even rhymed. It went like this:

"There are only two choices on the shelf: pleasing God or pleasing self."

I now know better. To be a Christian, while it involves the choice to live righteously, is not sour or boorish. Rather, when God works to fill my life with true love, humility, generosity, honesty, and self-control, life is awesome. Life becomes worth living.

* ** *

These days, there's only one real choice for me. Sure, there are plenty of opportunities, plenty of choices to make in a day, but none of the other options match the joy, blessing, love, wisdom, and opportunity of following God. It's impossible to choose to please God and not please one's own self.

I have learned that life isn't about these stupid false dilemmas. We aren't given blindness, that we should fear. Rather, we learn to trust God to lead in a path that brings delight. The rhyming line suggests that pleasing God isn't very pleasant. They're wrong.

Christianity turns life upside-down, because it satisfies the invisible reality of our spiritual needs. It turns the pursuit of happiness into true joy. For those who have been changed by God, talking with a fellow-believer , secretly washing someone's dishes, sitting cross-legged and praying alone high in a forest-tower on Labor Day -- these things are way more fun than watching TV, going to a theme park, or even getting an exciting job. Diversions just occupy our time. At best, they're just a temporary high. But people are spiritual beings. For the Christian, whose life has been unbent by God, the dance of daily life becomes a great song of praise, squeezing the joy of truly full life into every corner of living.

Pleasing God or pleasing self? Ha! Tell me another one.

Update: Some have noted that Christianity does indeed include a renunciation of selfishness. I agree. But I add: it is this renunciation of selfishness which most truly fulfils our needs most properly and most fully.