Hi! I'm Isaac. I live in Frederick, Maryland.
Here's a list of ways to get in touch with me and/or see things I'm doing online:
While tilde.club was down today, I felt a strange sort of lament: something as goofy and anachronistic as this can't live long before imploding, but it's amazing that it lives at all. But it's back up now, so let's keep the goof going.
Please read ~ford's entry from today. I'm glad that this whole experiment is proving to be gratifying for him and is, in its own way, furthering his own professional pursuits. Let's do our best not to give him a heart attack in the process.
You know you're a tilde.club addict when you download a SSH app for your phone. Pro tip: your editing choices are Vim or nothing. (Which recalls the situation in the early days of Unix, remarkably enough, when keyboards didn't necessarily have Control or Alt or even directional keys.)
Right now the biggest block to me doing cooler stuff with this page is figuring out how to upload images and the like. My command line knowledge is likely on the far left side of the bell curve 'round these parts, but I've managed to fake it well enough to seem like I'm making it. Fakery only goes so far, however.
There are two kinds of tilde.club users: those who understand the value of whitespace and those who don't. #flamewar
Let's talk mythical creatures, shall we? My avatar on Twitter and Tumblr is the hircocervus, which is—cribbing from Wikipedia here—a half-goat, half-stag creature that dates back to ancient Greece. Plato refers to it in Book VI of the Republic (trans. Jowett):
I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having plunged me into such a hopeless discussion; but now hear the parable, and then you will be still more amused at the meagreness of my imagination: for the manner in which the best men are treated in their own States is so grievous that no single thing on earth is comparable to it; and therefore, if I am to plead their cause, I must have recourse to fiction, and put together a figure made up of many things, like the fabulous unions of goats and stags which are found in pictures. (emphasis added).
Then in On Interpretation (trans. Edghill), Aristotle says:
As there are in the mind thoughts which do not involve truth or falsity, and also those which must be either true or false, so it is in speech. For truth and falsity imply combination and separation. Nouns and verbs, provided nothing is added, are like thoughts without combination or separation; 'man' and 'white', as isolated terms, are not yet either true or false. In proof of this, consider the word 'goat-stag.' It has significance, but there is no truth or falsity about it, unless 'is' or 'is not' is added, either in the present or in some other tense. (emphasis added)
And also in Posterior Analytics (trans. Mure):
To put it another way: how shall we by definition prove essential nature? He who knows what human—or any other—nature is, must know also that man exists; for no one knows the nature of what does not exist—one can know the meaning of the phrase or name 'goat-stag' but not what the essential nature of a goat-stag is.
What's odd is that somewhere along the way—at least since 1579—the figure of the hircocervus mutated into the so-called Trusty Servant, as depicted outside the kitchen of Winchester College in the U.K., with the goal of inspiring virtue in the college's students (or the help, it's not entirely clear which). It also got this fancy poem, which much elaborates on the features of the goat-stag:
A trusty servant's picture would you see, This figure well survey, who'ever you be. The porker's snout not nice in diet shows; The padlock shut, no secret he'll disclose; Patient, to angry lords the ass gives ear; Swiftness on errand, the stag's feet declare; Laden his left hand, apt to labour saith; The coat his neatness; the open hand his faith; Girt with his sword, his shield upon his arm, Himself and master he'll protect from harm.
What I'm curious about is this: How did the hircocervus come to be transformed into this allegorical figure? Alexander Cleveland Coxe, the 19th century American bishop who described the hircocervus in one of his books, said it was "time-honoured," which I suppose it would have been by that time. But there seems to be nothing on the web about the hircocervus before the 1579 painting, nor anything about how that painting came into being.
I don't know why I'm fascinated with this. I guess I have a fondness for things obscure and ancient, much like hand-coding HTML.
I'm taking this Tilde dot Club thing for a spin. My four-month-old son is lying next to me on the couch while I'm doing this. He had his periodic checkup and immunizations today, so he's a tad bedraggled as babies go.
It's pouring rain out. I'm a little bummed that the Nationals lost the first game of the NLDS, but I'm comforted, at least, that they kept it close.
While my experience with the Internet dates back to the early 1990s, this particular aspect—tunneling into remote servers to update web pages with blinking graphics and such—I missed out on. I was always a humanities sort of guy, though that's hardly a barrier to understanding the web. So this is not really nostalgia for me, but more a historical reenactment.
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