What was New?

12/08/98: A list of recent changes to the site, for one thing. Also, there are more of my cartoons, and even a Ninja Verses fan page.

12/10/98: A new home page. An About Me page that looks like the old home page.

12/16/98: A Philosophy page which links to my handiwork at the department web site.

1/24/99: I recently bought a 6x8 Wacom Intuos tablet. It's just the greatest thing for generating images at the computer. I've been playing with it, and presently I'm in an abstract-expressionist phase. I call this one "Composition in Blue and Fish." It makes a creepy desktop pattern, if you're into that sort of thing.

Composition in Blue and Fish

BTW: I've finally gotten a reciprocal link. Any more takers?

1/30/99: I've finally made use of a little JavaScript. See it here.

2/07/99: More Wacom wackiness. My abstract-expressionist phase has given way to the sort of thing I used to do with ink and water colours. See a cow in a muumuu.

2/20/99: Over on the gaming page, I've HTMLiorated some resources from my long-running GURPS Supers universe.

2/28/99: An exciting update: omnicrapulence and fallacies.

3/01/99: A home page is now running at www.fecundity.com. That, in all likelihood, is the future home of this site. Please update your bookmarks accordingly.

3/13/99: Things are on the move. Sometime soon the UCSD site will be razed and Perl-driven effects will propagate across the site.

3/19/99: The move was several days ago now. There are some Perl scripts. Life goes on.

4/4/99: Small changes here at the site, but the real world never ceases to astound me. Today in sunny San Diego was... well... sunny. Yesterday, though, saw rain and hail. Around midnight I heard the staccato song of hailstones on the roof. I looked out the window and there they were, pearl-sized anomolies.

4/9/99: A few new things over on the Gaming page: my character worksheet, more about the cow, and an owl is added to the menagerie.

4/15/99: A large sum of money is mailed to the IRS on the same day a graphical hit-counter of my own devising appears on this page. Coincidence? You decide.

4/26/99: An explanation for my moniker. Although I stopped lying about it years ago, there was I time when I said all sorts of crazy things. "It's quite simple, really. The D is the forefront of an alien invasion force." "No, really... my middle name is 'Frederic' but the F-R-E is silent."

4/29/99: Thrill at the latest adventure of that most super of superheroes: God-Man! Find the link on my duly reverent God-Man Fan Page.

5/9/99: Over on the gaming page, an ovular villain appears on the screen. Shudder.

5/23/99: Vector Heroes have arrived! The biggest file on the site, to be sure, but spiffy nonetheless.

5/25/99: I've added a few more figures to Vector Heroes while reducing the file size.

5/29/99: Another update to Vector Heroes. Five new figures plus refinements of others makes for a page filled to the margins with anthropomorphic goodness.

6/2/99: A revamp of my Links page merges three pages into one. All the links are live and all the target sites running over with link-worthy qualities.

6/13/99: I'm supposed to be grading a final this weekend. It will get done, of course, but only after suitable procrastination. That means new additions to the Obfuxicon. The new words had an emetic effect on Cyber-Studio, which chundered all the content. After juggling some technical details, I added the half a dozen new words with the simpler but less nauseous BB Edit.

6/14/99: I took a moment this evening to tweak the Links page. The muse struck, moving me to revamp it yet again. Although I'm done grading, there are enough things to be done that this too is procrastination.

7/7/99: A whirlwind couple of weeks have come to an end. First Detroit, labouring at this year's MacHack. After just a few days at home, I was off to Texas to visit my parents and celebrate the 4th of July. Finally I'm back, and I'll be home for the rest of the Summer. I've ordered a scanner and a USB card to connect it to my old, beige Mac. I'm not sure what yet, but you can expect additions to this site in the near future.

7/10/99: Putting CGI's to pointless service, I've added a form which allows visitors to e-mail me. Click on any of the e-mail me links, and you'll be given a choice between the form and a mailto: link.

7/16/99: I had jury duty this week. I spent four days at the courthouse downtown, sat on two jury panels, and was peremptorily struck from each case. One of the cases I missed was a nine-week mega-trial regarding alleged collusion in the pricing of eggs between SoCal's major grocery store chains.

When everything finally arrived, the scanner installation was a piece of cake. There's certainly more to come, but for now here's a picture from my trip to New Orleans in December 1990. From left to right: Dan Richmond, John Paul, yours truly, Richard Beaver.

7/17/99: More scanner spawned content over here.

7/28/99: The home page changes. Revel in the new pictures and glorious graphical menu.

8/12/99: Campaign events have prompted me to add some pictures to my Gaming page.

8/18/99: Changes both in form and content at the Obfuxicon: several new entries are heralded by a new logo!

I've also retooled FontMonkey, the script (now a module) that assembles the logo on the domain homepage and the counter on this page. You may notice a different font for the counter, but the biggest difference is behind the scenes.

I've also refined my HTML to Semaphore filter, so that it now supports Netscape.

8/26/99: God-Man mixes it up with the forces of critical thinking! News on the God-Man Fan Page.

9/7/99: Yikes! We're a week into September already.

Today's site update increases Lynx compliance. I was reading an argument that some people really do still use that text-only retro browser. I was curious about how my site looked from the ASCII point of view, so I downloaded Mac Lynx and tweaked things to make it look better. This really is keen procrastination, but it's made me acutely aware of my ALT tags.

9/17/99: My birthday was last Sunday, and I thought I should probably mark the end of my first quarter century with some virtual milestone. The day came and went without my making any changes to the site, however. All of you who needed to know knew anyway, I guess.

Events in the game last night prompted today's update, a small addendum to Bogurook's page.

9/20/99: After six months as a member of the Link Exchange, I've nixed the network banner from the Fecundity home page. The chance to display banners on other member sites drew a total of 4 visitors to me, about one for every 275 exposures. I stuck it out when Link Exchange became part of (gasp) the Microsoft network, but finally pulled the plug when I realized that the irritating lags as the page loaded were due almost entirely to their sluggard of a server.

9/26/99: Once again, an update is forced by an act of God-Man.

9/27/99: Today I upgraded to Photoshop 5.5. It has tools specially designed for web-graphics, so it will give me an excuse to spend some time sprucing up the site. I've optimized the banner ads and started renovating the Philosophy page. More to come.

9/29/99: The Blue Room recently featured fractured mistranslations by a web-based translation program. He used Go's translator, but you can throttle similar comedy out of Alta Vista's Babel Fish.

I tried it myself. The Obfuxicon defines love as "lust with manners." Translating to German and back, the translators render this: "desire with way."

Tarrant's story contains the line:

In the meantime, Tarrant's father had died and his mother became possessed by the idea that her only son was still alive.

Translated to Spanish and back, this becomes:

In the half time, the father of Tarrant had died and her mother controlled itself by the idea that his only son still was alive.

To German and back yields the whopper:

Meanwhile father Tarrants had died and its nut/mother by the idea had been possessed, which was still alive their only son.

When I tried a similar thing last year, the translations were jumbled but hardly so wry. Why? Have the translators actually gotten worse?

(I mention as an aside that I intended to chronicle the exercise here. I had even coined the word "linguannihilate", which was to have meant "to translate to another language and back, esp. for the purpose of promoting confusion." Another great idea scooped by S John Ross!)

I suspect that the comedy actually results from the translators being (sort of) better. Babel Fish ignores any words it can't match and leaves them in the original language. When it parsed my semi-literate prose a year ago, it left the tricky bits in English. Translating back, it again left those parts untouched. It mangles much of what it touches and mangles more now because it touches more now. That, I suppose, is progress.

10/17/99: My fellow philosopher EJ writes

In line with the babelfish antics, I've discovered that much fun is to be had with the Ask Jeeves site.

Consider a seeker who has clicked through many links in search of enlightenment. The seeker comes to Jeeves and asks: "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" Showing the mark of a true master and veteran Jeopardy contestant, Jeeves answers with a question: "What is sound?" More questions. Finally: "Where can I find sounds for the Macintosh?"

The seeker considers this, but does not understand. He asks: "Master Jeeves, does the dog have Buddha nature?" There is a pause. The seeker hears only the sound of his own hard drive. Slowly the page loads. Jeeves asks: "Where can I find the dog of the day?" The seeker is puzzled, and almost in answer to his puzzlement the master questions: "What can I ask Jeeves?"

The seeker asks: "What is the Truth?" Jeeves is silent, as the Buddha was in response to the wanderer Vacchagotta.

I conclude the story by reminding you of the venerable koan: If you meet the Buddha on the information superhighway, corrupt his files.

10/28/99: Unspecified naughty behaviour by another client at my web host slagged the server, making my site unavailable for several hours today. I apologize for any inconvenience and have been assured that the right kneecaps are being broken to make sure that it doesn't happen again.

Bigger, more important news:

Vector Heroes, my collection of paper miniatures, has finally made the move from freeware to shareware. The registered version fills four pages and features plenty of new figures.

10/30/99: It's been a trip down memory lane playing D&D again, but D&D was never quite like this. I've added a page for my manic, little vampire: Sam Mercury.