11/20/02: I have let an inordinate amount of time go by without an update. I've been crafting graphics for my dissertation lately, some of which are more about blowing off steam than about illustrating any deep, philosophical point. Take this tesselation, patterned after a medallion image of the philosopher Thomas Reid. I would like to use a tesselation of my own devising in the dissertation, by I think I will end up using an Escher instead. (Circle Limit IV, in case you're curious.)
The site's entering its fifth year on the web. Thanks to all ya'll for visiting.
11/29/02: It's the day after Thanksgiving in Las Vegas. Bridget cooked the turkey using an arcane ritual of brining, searing, and roasting that produced-- I daresay-- the best turkey we'd all ever tasted. The day concluded with a rousing game of Kill Doctor Lucky. (I managed to get him alone in the Foyer with the Monkey Hand, in case you were wondering.)
Today, I'm puttering around and procrastinating on a host of projects.
12/8/02: On Thursday, I got my first call arranging a job interview at the APA meeting this month. With any luck, more will follow, and the trip to Philadelphia will be a mad flurry interviews.
Cristyn lost her voice-- we've been passing notes and playing charades for over a week now. With any luck, she'll have it back soon. I think she'd burst if she couldn't sing christmas carols.
Here on the site, the feedback web form has crawled its way back from the grave. I removed it after some miscreant exploited the script to spam untold numbers of Mexican AOL customers. The new undead feedback script has promised not to do the bidding of spammers. If you have words to send me, though, it will relay them. (Brains... brains...)
12/22/02: On Friday, Cristyn, several friends, and I walked through a neighborhood decorated for the holidays. We walk through this same neighborhood every year: The pelvic-thrusting animatronic Santa was once again on display. One of the residents served free cider and cookies this year. C and I then had the whole gang over to our apartment for more cider and seasonal refreshments.
Saturday was the white elephant gift exchange with the same crew. I came home with a copy of the Dr Laura board game. It has pawns that I'll cannibalize for use in Cheapass Games, and a strange die that returns 'teach', 'preach', and 'nag' with equal probability.
The hoped for mad flurry of interviews is starting to take shape. There are currently ten schools scheduled to interview me in Philadelphia.
Happy holidays to everyone. Let's pray that fragile peace can outlive dumb bravado.
12/26/02: An excellent Christmas. We went over to Cristyn's parents' for the day to open presents, eat too much, and play games. We played some Dungeonquest. (The first game ended with everybody losing-- there's something cool about a game that doesn't always end with one player beating the others.) I played a couple of games of Tile Chess with her brother and father. (Victory for me. Mwahaha.) The whole family got together for a game of Beyond Balderdash later in the afternoon. (We didn't finish the game because we were all getting too giggly, but Cristyn, her mom, and her dad were neck and neck.) Great fun had by all.
12/31/02: I got back last night from Philadelphia, where I interviewed for academic jobs with schools around the country. All the interviews went well enough that I can't tell exactly how I did. Now I wait to hear back and see who among them want to invite me out for a campus visit. If they do-- and if that goes well-- then the crazy job market hi-jinx will end happily within the next few months. Until then, stress is my co-pilot.
1/2/03: Although I've stopped designing material for Epic Duels as a way to procrastinate, there were several maps I hadn't put on the site. So usher in the new year with the Degobah hut, Endor base, and Shakmat Arena.
1/6/03: Today I've added a page featuring Chad Meserve's How George Lucas Screwed up Star Wars. Top-ten lists are a well-heeled comic trope, but this one's a doozy.
1/8/03: The dry, hot winds of San Diego's freakish weather have me feeling all muddle-headed; this combined with my natural laziness is keeping work at bay. Today's procrastination: A sci-fi solitaire game called One-handed Emoch. I actually developed the game months ago, but it's just now finding its way onto the site. You need S John Ross' Points in Space 1 or a very good imagination to play.
2/2/03: Several weeks have passed without an update, but that's partly because little has changed. I've set a date for defending my thesis-- March 20. This is the same day that my sister-in-law Ceri is defending her thesis in genetics. She and I have been racing to get done as long as I've known her. Since she's in New York, the time difference means that she'll be done defending before I am. Drat.
I had a fever last week, and now I'm fighting not to be overcome by snot. (I give 2 to 1 odds to the snot.)
In other ways, life seems stuck in Pause mode. I haven't been offered a job for next year, so I'm still sending out applications. That activity continues until either someone does offer me a job, or I decide to give up philosophy and become a mime. (E-mail me if you'd like to place side bets about which is more likely.)
2/6/03: I still have a cough, but I'm slowly winning out against the virus. I heard today that a paper of mine has been accepted to the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, a little screed I call `The price of insisting that quantum mechanics is complete.' A draft is available over on my job page.
I found this little whirly-gig on my harddrive and thought it deserved to be on the site. I designed it in September 2001 when I was teaching myself Flash. The little critters are toves-- I intended to add a sundial, but never got around to it.
3/1/03: I recently bought the book Gilliam on Gilliam at the campus bookstore, and I've been reading a little bit each day after waking up. It's a collection of interviews with Terry Gilliam. I highly recommend it.
Gilliam quips: "[A] question that always came up in these discussions was: are the terrorists real? To which I would always say that I don't know if they are, because this huge organization has to survive at all costs, so if there is no real terrorism it has to invent terrorists to maintain itself-- that's what organizations do. This always came as a big surprise to them, and they wanted answers..."
He's describing how people reacted to the film Brazil, but I'm reading it in times when the country is bouncing back and forth between Orange and Yellow alert. The administration hopes with all its beans and franks that you and I be scared enough of terrorists to give them carte blanche. Synchronicity, baby.
Here on the site, I've added a page with images of a Tarot deck I designed when I was in high school, around the time of the first Gulf War.
3/17/03: I'm counting down to my thesis defense, which is Thursday at 2 PM. Since I've already handed the document itself off to my committee, I don't actually have much preparation to do. Nevertheless, the proximity of the defense seems to overshadow other projects. Perhaps Friday I'll be able to do work again.
I've managed to keep busy by playing Ultima III, in its slick mac incarnation. I was able to pull all the tricks that I remember fondly from the early 80's, like teaching Orcs to fear my Repond and repeatedly stealing every chest in Death Gulch. I started yesterday afternoon, and today I defeated Exodus.
3/30/03: I defended my thesis 10 days ago. It was a nice event, beginning with a brief presentation, continuing with lively discussion, and ending with champagne. I am now Dr. Magnus, more or less. Since I defended during finals week of Winter term, I will be awarded a Spring PhD in June. (That seems rather odd, now that I've typed it out.)
Spring Break has been pleasant. I've done a bit of work here and there. I finished polishing a section of my dissertation that is now ready to be sent around to journals. Yesterday, I cleaned my desk-- the junk mail buried therein was as much as a year and a half old. Tomorrow, the term begins. I have to be in early to give the first lecture for the logic course that I'm teaching. <stifles a yawn>
5/8/03: This week I accepted a one-year position at Bowdoin College, starting next Fall. I'm already planning the new wardrobe demanded by the snowy Maine winter.
5/21/03: I had my Volkswagen Jetta for seven years. I was the second owner, so the car itself was fifteen or so years old. It drove me from Texas to California several times, and it's always been reliable. Nevertheless, I was thinking toward a new car from the great migration to Maine. When the driver's side door handle broke, I decided the new car should be sooner rather than later.
So after an excruciating buying experience, I bought a new Toyota Echo last night. The color is Phantom Gray, which is Toyota-speak for silver. The compelling feature of the Echo was its mileage: 38 in town and 43 highway.
I've also lined up an apartment in Brunswick-- a one-bedroom across the street from campus. Things are falling into place.
6/14/03: Again, I've let several weeks slip by without an update.
I finished grading yesterday. I'll go in Monday to fill in bubble sheets, and then I'll be done with my last official business here at UCSD. I have to go to jury duty this week, then there's another month and a half of noodling around San Diego before the big move. I'm already getting antsy.
6/21/03: Good news! Fortune's Colony has been released. It's a little game of space colonization that I created, published by the nice guys at MicroTactix. This is my first game publication that hasn't been a self-published or magazine-scale game.
In other news, I finally went to see Matrix Reloaded yesterday-- Cristyn and I caught a matinee. It shouldn't have taken me this long, since several friends have been chafing to discuss the movie with me.
The film was simply brilliant. They added a great deal of detail to the world and did it (contrary to what some on the net have said) without contradicting the first movie. There was only one kung fu scene that seemed to drag and this was arguably for effect-- we were meant to believe that the hero himself was tiring of the encounter. If you want to discuss the movie further, write me,
6/25/03: I recently pitched a column idea to RPGnet, and they accepted. It's to be called Planet of the Paper People and will feature a few paper miniatures organized around a different theme each month. The first three months are already in the can, as it were, and tonight I was doodling ideas for future installments. The lady over on the right is the first superhero I've drawn in years-- possibly the first since I moved to San Diego.
Oh. And there's an update to the God-Man Fan Page.
7/9/03: I'm collecting boxes, so that I'll have enough in the right sizes to ship my books to Maine. I don't look forward to testing the post office's proweress at package mutilation, but I'll have to do it soon enough. (The first PPP runs today!)
7/22/03: An increasing number of people are deep linking to images on my website. The most annoying of these have been folks who use an image from my site as their avatar on a web-based discussion board. Everytime anyone browses a thread on the discussion board, the image gets loaded from my site.
One concern here is intellectual property, since these folks never display the image with attribution that says where they found it. Another concern is bandwidth-- a single deep-linked image on a heavily-trafficked site can make for a decent chunk of my total bandwidth usage.
Today I broke down and did something that I've been thinking about doing for a long time. I've changed the file name of images that people have abused in this way and redirected requests for the original image to one that proclaims their status as image stealing doofuses. There's a sample of the replacement image on the right-- it's 2-bit lean and uses up little bandwidth.
I feel petty for having done this, but I think it's time to take a stand. If you'd like to use some image of mine, e-mail me-- I'd almost certainly give you permission. At the very least credit this site when you use it. The Internet gives us a chance to share cool stuff, but that doesn't give any passing moron the right to wear my ass as a hat.
7/26/03: This week marked my second wedding anniversary. Can you believe it? One of the things we did to celebrate was to go out on a hot date, starting with dinner at the Adams Avenue Grill, then moving down the road to Twigg's coffee house where we played a game of Kung Fu 2100. (She won handily.)
8/21/03: Nearly a month has gone by without as update, but for most of that time I haven't had a real net connection. At the beginning of August, Cristyn and I began our cross-country road trip. Starting out from San Diego, we stopped in Las Vegas to spend a few days with Warren and his family, moved on to Fort Worth for a few days with my folks, spent a few days in New Orleans, drove to Washington DC, and then finally through New York to Maine. A few highlights from the trip...
Best food: the Royal Cafe in New Orleans
Worst food: a Cracker Barrel in Tennessee
Best hotel: the Hotel Pronvincial in New Orleans-- nice historic buildings in the middle of the French Quarter
Worst hotel: none really, since we found Motel 6s everywhere else. If I had to pick, I'd say the Motel 6 in Kodak, Tennessee. We'd been looking for a quiet place to stay, but it turns out that Kodak is a hotspot due to its proximity to Dollywood.
Strangest thing we passed on the road: two tiki huts clipping along at 65 mph. (They were in tow behind a tikihutsonline delivery truck.)
We've been in Maine for several days now, and we're starting to get our bearings. I start teaching in a week or two and have a few preparations left to make. I'm also trying to revise a few papers and spend time with Cristyn.
Updates will probably remain sparse for a while. I can get a net connection in my office but won't have one at my apartment for another couple of weeks.
9/17/03: Zoiks how time flies! I've had internet here at the apartment for almost a week. The wireless is functional, but problematic. I've tried one wireless base station, had stability problems that made me try out a different one, had signal strength problems that made me switch back to the first, and am now trying to decide which one goes back to the store.
Cristyn flew back to San Diego on Monday, so I'm trying to sort out how my schedule works without her physical presence. (There's probably room for a descent into madness at some point, but I don't want to jump to that too early.) The weather here is surprisingly warm-- I'm wearing summer-weight slacks and thinking that I might be more comfortable in shorts. It's just mocking me, of course, trying to lull me into a false sense of security before it drops a blizzard on me.
I posted a while back that I was having trouble with people using pictures from this site as their personal avatar images on web-based message boards. I designed a small graphic that identified the offender as an Image Stealing Doofus and redirected the offending requests to that file, all in an attempt to discourage such scurrilous bandwidth theft. Now some jokers have started using the Image Stealing Doofus graphic itself as their avatar image. I don't really have a problem with this, since the ISD graphic was designed to be lean and use little bandwidth. It does strike me as vaguely postmodern, however. You can write your own punchline.
9/26/03: Dar Williams played a great show at the campus theatre tonight. She came without a band, stood with her acoustic guitar, played songs, and told stories. There was a reasonable fraction of the crowd who weren't undergrads, so I didn't feel too much out of place.
I'm presently kicking up my heels, chatting on an assortment of MUDs. I'm alone in a room with Cristyn in one of them. (It's not what you're thinking, if you're thinking what I think you're thinking. We're hanging out talking.)
10/22/03: It's been Bowdoin's Fall Vacation, and I took advantage of the long weekend to fly back to the left coast and spend a few days with Cristyn. The weather in San Diego was oppressively hot, I suppose to provide maximum counterpoint to Maine's Autumn chill. I visited a couple of different hatters while there, looking for a new fedora. No luck.
The philosophy job cycle has begun again, so I'm preening my CV and preparing to send out a few dozen applications. If you need to hire a philosopher, e-mail me. Reasonable rates are available.
In a random update: This a panorama of the Androscoggin River, looking across at Brunswick from the Topsham side. You can see the pedestrian bridge right-of-center and Cristyn on the far right. It's stitched together from ten photos that I took in September; I only got around to downloading and stitching them recently.
A bit, anyway. This morning, we had some flakes that didn't stick. By mid-afternoon, we had flakeless drizzle.