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News from Year Nine

11nov2006: Another Guy Fawke's Day has come and gone. Give or take a few days, that means another anniversary for this website. Entering year nine, I am buried under maladies, onerous duties, and the nagging feeling that it is getting dark too early in the day.

I have stopped keeping separate count for my homepage, but several hundred people a day wander through one or another of these webpages. Nevertheless, I am no longer the go-to site for fecundity, which means I get fewer e-mails than I once did asking for information about the fecundity of freshwater fishes.

16dec2006: The weather is unseasonably warm, and the temperature got up into the 50s several days this week. Even if it were to snow, the ground is warm enough that it would just make things soggy. This is a mixed blessing, since no snow means no prospect of snow bocce.

One of the great things about a big holiday feast is eating leftovers in the days following, but Cristyn and I are both travelling on Boxing Day. As such, we decided to observe Christmas early. Given other obligations, today was the right day to do it. So today is our proxy Christmas or, as we decided to call it, Proximas.

Some of you do not observe Christmas at all, and take umbrage at being wished 'Merry Christmas!' by random shopkeepers and philosophers. Let's generalize the word Proximas to mean whatever December holiday you observe whenever you observe it. It is a portmanteau word already, so we can easily pack Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and Human Light in to it.

Here's wishing ya'll a more or less merry, approximately joyous Proximas.

Hello. 25dec2006: Tomorrow I leave for another APA Eastern, a conference which exists almost entirely because of the philosophy job market. My department is hiring, and I am there to help interview candidates. Since I may not have net access until New Years, here is the the website's year in review: The year before, I started a blog, released a textbook, and launched a webcomic. Other than the occasional Budapest, this year was 'more of same' on all fronts.

Footnotes on Epicycles is updated when the muse strikes, and the muse strikes like thunderball. Forall x has been used for several courses and is due for another update.

As a segue from the philosophical to the frivolous: I gave up on prospects of publishing Philosophy Grudgematch and put it here on the website. It has been downloaded many times, and perhaps someone somewhere has played it.

Ninja Verses went through a dry spell, but it is now back with weekly updates. The comic now sees an average of over 140 visitors a day, as gleaned from the dubious information in the server logs.

In June, I released the Old School collection and foisted copies off on friends and relations. Just in the last week or so, someone actually bought a copy. Self-publishing in this low-cost way has only been possible with the internet. If I had been required to lay down serious money to print a whole run of books, it would worry me that the first sale has taken six months. Instead, I am grimly satisfied. (Memo to self: Don't quit your day job.)

To draw this year in review babbling to a close: Merry Proximas, if you are celebrating it today. Otherwise, best wishes for the new year.

[lyin' like a lion] 27dec2006: Greetings from Washington DC. My hotel room here overlooks a bridge bedecked with stone lions, who as of last night were still decorated for the holidays.

14jan2007: There have been numerous small updates to the site recently. I updated the God-Man Fan Page to reflect two recent adventures and changes in the URLs of some older strips. I fiddled a bit with the brief introduction to me. Over break, I drew a couple of new guest spamusements. And lastly, the following item. I am not sure where to put it, so for now it can leave here among the news:

Update: The comic had a good run at webcomic battle. It lasted 10 days, tying for (what was then) 21st place in the all-time Hall of Fame.

11feb2007: Last weekend, there was enough snow that I was able to tromp around in it and play snow bocce. The weather has turned drier and intermittently warmer, leaving us with only scrofulous patches of greyish snow.

For over a week in early February, forall x was the most accessed item here on the website. It is hard to tell how many of the downloads are distinct users and how many are the same people downloading it anew whenever they want to read a bit. Regardless, resurgent interest in greedo and the priority of his shooting has edged out logic.

[snow falling] 17feb2007: Starting late on Tuesday, we got some real snow. Classes were cancelled on Wednesday and the city pretty much shut down. Nevertheless, we intrepid philosophers had a job candidate in town and we trudged our way through the ongoing blizzard to hear his talk.

We got at least eighteen inches all told. Classes resumed Thursday afternoon, and now the roads and major sidewalks are clear. But still... yay, snow!


3mar2007: I remember when I first started to use e-mail, and it was a great way to keep in touch with people. Now e-mail is a great way to be distracted but never quite get anything done. For one thing, I get a ton of it. And so the messages I ought to respond to scroll down off the first page of recent mail before I do anything about them. For another, much of the e-mail I get is spam. The manageable amount of spam I get is just a shadow of the mountains of spam that I never see, but that is little comfort. (On the other hand: I recently got a frantic phone call from a publisher about e-mails she had sent that, it turns out, had been swallowed by my spam filter.) For a third thing, my computer is almost always on-line with an e-mail client open. Mail arrives in the inbox continuously, so I read it when it comes in and not when I am ready to think about it or reply to it.

Today I had a problem with my computer and had to force a reboot. I did not actually lose anything, but Mail got confused and marked all the messages in my inbox as unread. Over two-thousand messages. I have spent the last several hours taking a machete to that jungle of mail, reducing my inbox to a lean two dozen messages. So if I owe you an e-mail but haven't sent it, this is my excuse: I am so exhausted from managing my e-mail that I have no energy left to use it for communicating.

18may2007: Last night I met up with Matt and Karl to play Risk 2210 A.D. I had my doubts about it, because classic Risk can become tedious loggerheads of die rolling. However, this 23rd-century nuclear Risk is a well-crafted condiment pack of awesome sauce. My space offensive allowed me to be the almost-unchallenged king of the moon, and my lucky die-rolling allowed me to hold Afghanistan against incredible odds.

On other fronts, the semester is coming to a close. I spent part of the last few days changing offices, trading up to a bigger one. In the three years I spent in the old office, I managed to accumulate an astonishing amount of crapola.

19may2007: I am sorting through piles of old notes, memos, and papers, so as to stop old messes from propagating into my new office. One scrap of paper says simply, "There is so much work that nothing gets done."

2jun2007: I am back in San Diego, where my allergies are flaring up in odd ways. I am at work on several different papers, one of which was just sent off to a journal. Soon, Cristyn and I will be preparing for the great move. In the meantime, I've updated the gaming stuff here on the site, indexing my game library and HTMLiorating old campaign logs. The latter will come in handy if the group sorts out the logistics for running sessions over the internet.

10jun2007: Preparations for moving are stumbling along fine. We unearthed an old game book and filled in some of it over dinner; to paraphrase the blurb on the back--

If you just heard someone say,

"Every morning, before washing your coffee pot, massage it gently with a/an soldier that has been soaked overnight in a briefcase full of warm bull semen."
you've obviously been playing Mad Libs.

animatronic dean martin 24jun2007: The night before departure from La Jolla, Mad Libs with Jen and Zack produced this line: "If you plan on joining the army, here are some drug-addled hints that will help you become a whoreish soldier."

We have since both departed and arrived, completing a week-long, cross-country road trip. Stopping at my parents' house midway across the country, I cleaned out a closetful of whatzit that I'd left when I moved out over a decade ago. One item was the dayrunner from my trip to Russia in 1994. Most of it was now-insignificant logistics, but the last page had this limerick on it:

There was an old man in St. Ives
who had at once ten different wives.
They spoke to his mother
and discovered each other,
so they served him up garnished with chives.

By this time next week, if all goes according to plan, we'll be homeowners here in Albany. Gah!

[moving] 2007jul10: We have now been homeowners for over a week. Last Wednesday, movers delivered the contents of our apartment from San Diego. Thursday, friends helped us move the major contents of the apartment here in Albany. Since then: unpacking, sweating, and move-in rigamarole.

Today, the DSL went live. And so this update.

Some things I have learned in the new house: Summer squalls can come up very quickly, turning an open window into a faucet. Deglazing a pan is rather more dramatic on a gas stove than on an electric, because a shot of whiskey flames more than one would expect. Thankfully, no harm was done learning either lesson.

My busy life has meant no updates at Ninja Verses, but we did spare an evening for dinner and games with RM and TZ. The choice remark of the night-- "His ovaries are my jackhammer"-- was uttered in the course of a game of Thinkblot, regarding a symmetrical splodge that looked a bit like the female reproductive system and a bit like a power tool. Now it is on the web, where it will lure over some hapless but twisted search engine traffic.

lindenwald 2007sep08: My parents are in town, trying out our guest room. Today the four of us took a day trip down to Lindenwald, the estate of Martin Van Buren. As a point of trivia, Van Buren was the first US president who was born in the United States-- not because prior presidents had been born somewhere else, but because they were born before independence. More interestingly, English was not Van Buren's first language. Growing up in Kinderhook, he learned Dutch first and reportedly spoke with an accent throughout his life.

MF? "This way to the Gender Assignment Center."

We saw this curious, but unrelated-to-Van-Buren statue in Hudson:

skullpture skullpture

jack-o-lantern 2007oct31: Happy Halloween! Kids in our neighborhood get some M&Ms and some Swedish Fish. All ya'll on the internet just get this snapshot of Cristyn's jack-o-lantern.

I did not dress up as anything this year. However, a local costume shop had a nice second-hand tailcoat which I bought as a garment for everyday life.