About Me                                              
"About Me" ...  A self-centered topic to be sure. Writing a personal webpage is such an egotistical endeavor !
"My webpage" - My this, My that, pictures of ME ... But that is what a personal webpage is for, isn't it ?
And yet, it is also a creative experience. It can be a learning experience; and we learn from each thing we accomplish.

Hrmmm... In general I'm a decently nice guy... or I'd like to think so.

I am a computer geek, eeking out an existence here in California's beautiful Central Coast.
I live in the small town of Arroyo Grande, in the "5 Cities" area about 20 miles south of San Luis Obispo. It is very pretty here, and generally cool all year 'round. I have done computer tech work, and all kinds of computer work, in the past. And, as you can see, I can write webpages. I also have a workshop in my garage, full of old "undead" computers and parts. When I assemble a working computer out of such parts, I call it a "frankencomputer".  8) I have multiple computers running - see "my computers" below. In fact my goal now is to have as many computers working as possible.

I am a geek of both computers and science : so I guess that means I tend to be technical minded, and realistic. I like to solve problems and reach realistic solutions. I am a scientific person and like to learn new things. I like to discuss and argue scientific ideas. Or argue, babble, or pontificate about certain subjects. I find that tends to make a lot of people (mainly non-geeks) run away.  ( I am not the only person who does this, nor the only person who has noticed and written about this strange "flight" behavioral phenomenon in "normal" people.)
Oh - Playing with chemicals can be fun, too.   8)  (My friend John teaches me that.)

But I am also an artistic, creative, and spiritual person, with a liking for the far-out or spacy. I used to be very much an introvert ... but in the last decade or so I have become the extrovert too. I am still quite shy with some things and people, and not outspoken enough at certain times ... but other times I am not at all shy and may be quite outspoken. I like to be with different and interesting people and appreciate the unique things that each person has to offer. Nevertheless I haven't been "extroverted" for most of my life, so I am still very shy (in person) with people I don't know. (As you know, most people are more bold on the computer than they are in person.)  In recent years I've learned some things about psychology, which I always find fascinating. Sometimes I find myself playing amateur counselor to my friends. I don't mind. I like being helpful to people when I can. More recently I've learned to meditate, and am interested in improving in meditation and mental self control. I have finally learned to "suspend disbelief": to look at and for and appreciate the lessons to be learned from various and varied people and belief systems. I have even taken an interest into things metaphysical. It can be fun to "suspend disbelief" for a while and read about some "psychic phenomena". And lately I have learned to believe in magic: at least the first two kinds. Slight of Hand we know about already: "seeing is believing": people tend to believe what they see. The second kind of magic is much more valuable: Slight of Mind: "believing is seeing": people tend to see what they believe. And slight of mind can be used constructively to achieve a reverse/positive self fulfilling prophecy. Just believe in as if . Remember that a way to make something more likely to happen is to act "as if" it has already. This produces a kind of attitude that projects to others. Weak - perhaps. Unrealistic - sometimes. But there is psychology in it ... and magic.

The reasonable man seeks to conform himself to his world.
The unreasonable man seeks to conform his world to himself.
Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

One of the things I've concluded about this life is that people need to be quirky or "eccentric" in some way to be interesting, and all true geniuses are a little insane. Intelligence and a bit of insanity seem to run together.

I'm philosophical too. I love to discuss concepts, and I enjoy a good argument; as long as one can stick to ideas and not get personal, or resort to ad hominum. Yet I am also a romantic. I know it's matters of the heart that matter the most in this life. Honesty and "being real" with people are very important to me. I am very ingenuous.   [ That's ingenuous - not ingenious.  Look it up. I did. Though I'd be flattered if you thought I was ingenious too.   8)  ]

When you get right to the heart of the matter; it's the heart that matters more.

I love Nature and the outdoors : camping, hiking... and just experiencing spending some time out in the Real world, away from this fake world of cities and money that we have created. I always draw strength and calmness from the beauty of nature.

I tend to see our society as Koyaanisqatsi, and believe that the people we displaced had better values than we do. I think Leaver cultures are better than Taker cultures.

I've been described as spacy and laid-back, by some. I'm into Oriental philosophy in general.
In religion I call myself a Taoist, and in philosophy an antinomian, though neither of those is quite exactly right. I think you can learn about Tao from sitting by the lake and dangling your toes in the water.
I'd like to think I'm the type that with sufficient state of mind might wander the streets at noon with a lamp - looking for an honest man. (like Diogenes?)
 YinYang symbol

Hobbies and Other Interests ?

Well, of course computers and things scientific, as I've already said ... I'm also a science fiction fan : I love Babylon 5 and Star Trek. I like reading books by such people as Clarke and Asimov and Heinlein and Piers Anthony and my favorite: Ursula K. Le Guin. (By the way, Ursula has a lot of very good stories that defy classification.)  I also like the fantasy genre; but I'm not as well read there.

I also like to make candles. I make some nice "squish" candles that have a marbled effect.

I like just about anything creative.

I also play MUD : a Multi User Dungeon computer text adventure game.


Obviously, I like writing web pages. I want to learn more and more and to write more and more. I'd like eventually to make fully interactive web pages with CGI. And to understand E-commerce web applications. So far I'm just doing the HTML and JavaScript, and planning on teaching myself some CGI concepts. If you have any advise for me - especially about linux boxes - feel free to send me E-mail.

See my technical page for technical stuff about my webpages, and about webpages in general.
Why are these pages not all brightly colored pastel-filled rectangles gaudily dancing and flashing themselves over white backgrounds, competing against each other for your attention?  Take a look at my dark page. There's a nifty URL hidden there. And some time try wandering the beach.  8) My "Wandering the Beach" page can be reached through the beach picture, or you may click on the little smiley face above. ) 

Geek!   Yes - I am a coded geek !
I urge all geeks to "come out" and be proud of your geekyness!  Here is my .plan - something only a real geek would include in an HTML document.  It contains my geek code :

     Rhyader         ___|         ~the perfect square has no corners        
     ~~~+~~~       _____|          the highest notes are hard to hear~      
             ___________|                                ______             
          --------------|--------------                  \    /    be       
                        |-----------                      \  /     who      
 He who flys afar       |--------                          \/    you are    
 from the sphere        |-----      reach for the stars                     
 of our sorrow          |---                                                
 is here today          |-                                                  
 and here tomorrow                                                          
 rhyader@surfari.net                       http://www.surfari.net/~rhyader  
Geek Code: GS/CS/O -d+ p-- c++ l(+) u e+* m+ s++ n--@ h f+ g+ w++ t+ r yy+  
Peace, Love, and French Fries to All !                                      

    Like wOw!
I have even defined the term geek in my glossary. You can take a look at it and tell me what you think.
 (  Click the words here for my webpage Glossary or just the word geek for the geek definition. ) 

My Computers

I have many computers. Some people would poo-poo all of them.

My "main" computer is named "Spiff".  Spiff is an undead used-to-be-CTX clone. It was always flaky. Then it got unstable and crashed a lot. Then it crashed continuously. After it's slow, horrible, excruciatingly painful death, I left it in the computer shop with it's feet pointing up in the air. I finally got back the box with everything that was originally in it replaced except the sound card. Advise: do not EVER buy a CTX computer. If they're even still in business. I wouldn't be surprised if they aren't. Now "Spiff" is a 300MHz K6 monster and works - though a lot of little things that used to work don't anymore. (like my favorite old fonts and the mouse wheel) Spiff runs Windows 95-B.  (I refuse to use any Microsoft OS beyond W95B or W95C. Windows 98 is ridiculously confusing and absolutely horrible looking. It's very unprofessional. I don't even want to think about later WinBlows OS's. Maybe my next computer will have to be a Mac??)

My secondary/backup computer is "Diogenes".  (Gee, where did that name come from?)  It's a Pentium 100. Diogenes runs Win95B on one partition and Red Hat Linux on the other. I have the "Gnome" GUI. It looks pretty, but so far I don't know what to do with it. Diogenes is there because I want to learn linux. And because if you rely on having computers running with Microsoft systems, ye best have 3 or 4 of them handy. Diogenes is a "refurbished" computer with a sometimes-flaky floppy controller. But other than that, it performs surprisingly well. It even gets 24 bit color on it's 2 meg video card; and it runs Photoshop 5. Amazing, huh? I've been told that processor clock speed isn't everything and maybe the P-100 has good MIPS. I like my mips with guacamole. This computer is set up the way I want it. I partitioned it's hard drive with linux software, bypassing that asinine microsoft FDISK. With the light of it's dim lantern, Diogenes helps me see just how crappy Microsoft and their evil minion Intel are. But most of the time Diogenes functions as a stereo accessory. It has a sound card but no speakers: it's sound is connected to the stereo's auxiliary input channel. Great for playing CD's.

My newest acquisition is the Toshiba laptop. My rich sister gave it to me.  8)  If it has a name I'll call it Zargon. It's an impressively nice little box. (I think - though the rich people with the new computers would poo poo it.)  It runs Windows 95 A, has a modem and a 256 color LCD screen, and does everything I need it to do. And you can plug in external stuff, like an external mouse, keyboard, or monitor, and IT WORKS! I almost had a heart attack! I have NEVER before seen any machine with Microsoft Windows where everything just works. It even runs the external monitor in true color mode, without even having to click any Windows buttons. It can use a bus mouse and a serial mouse simultaneously. Amazing! If they still make them like that, Toshiba laptops must be good. The laptop lets me take my work with me, write E-Mail while I'm waiting on the car to be fixed, etc. It's great. Now I can be one of the "beautiful people", and hang out in the coffee house wearing black clothing and typing on my laptop while sipping cappuccino. I need to get some little round tinted glasses.

Then there's Calvin. Calvin still works well, even though it is a "Packard Hell". Calvin works when the other computers don't. It's a Packard Bell 486 DX 100 and runs Winblows 95 A. It makes a great DOS game box; as I can make the sound card work in DOS. Calvin is stable.

I still have Hobbs. It has a 486 DX chip and 8 megs of parity RAM. Hobbs was my main computer when I first discovered webpages and started writing my own. Hobbs is in poor shape now. I think it's MB is bad. 8(   It's very flaky now, and can hardly manage to run Winblows 3.1 without crashing. It's gotten too flakey to run BSD unix anymore. 8(

Then there's my working dinosaur: the original IBM PC, with the IBM 10 meg hard drive, yet. I plan to keep it, thinking it will be valuable someday as a museum piece. It still plays CGA games.

And Then ... there is the MAC SE with the original blazing 68000 processor on which I enjoy games and using Superpaint II - a program I have yet to see equaled by anything in the PC world - unless it is at least a thousand times as big and takes a million times the computing power. I make drawings on the old MAC SE, export them as tiffs, and print them on the IBM with Photoshop. (Yes, you can import tiffs and bitmaps from Mac and OS/2 systems with Photoshop.)

I also have an old industrial strength 386 DX that I'll get running someday, right now it's disassembled down in the garage. An impressively built dinosaur it is - with a full-sized motherboard and the processor on a daughterboard that's shielded with a steel box. It used to be a server, long ago.

And I have a couple of extra XT type computers. Indeed; a menagerie of ancient computerdom.

If you live nearby and would like to have a working old computer, or if you would like to get rid of an old computer (386+, please), or especially if you have any old SIMMS you don't want anymore, then send me some E-Mail.

As you may have guessed, the names "Calvin and Hobbs" come from that comic strip of the same name. And so does "Spiff" : when Calvin turns into "Spaceman Spiff"!   Although Calvin and Hobbs aren't my main computers anymore, I still just love these dancing pictures... so here they are again...

Calvin and Hobbs
Calvin Hobbs


I continue to be addicted to a Multi User Dungeon game.  If you know what MUD is, you understand.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the term - MUD is basically computerized Dungeons and Dragons.  It is TEXT based. So if you're afraid of typing, it's not for you. If you want to look at a MUD; I'd point you to the one I play on. It's called "Realms of Despair" ;  it's the original of its type, and very good. I'll put a link to it on my Weblinks page (when I get around to finishing the web links page). Also I hope to put up a sub-site about my MUD characters sometime. For now, if you're interested, Realms of Despair has a webpage at http://www.game.org  You may take a look at my current MUD pages.  (See the gold button on my "More" page.)

My Family and Friends

See my pages and pictures about family and friends :  my  "Pictures"  page, and  "Family and Friends"  page.
Check on both my  "Home" page and on my  "More" page.   I also have a page on the Wilcher  family.

My Cat

I have a cat now.  I adopted him from my friend John.  He's a naughty cat. He rips the stuffing out of mattresses and drinks out of the toilet.   Name?   I know not what names the cat himself reflects on.*   I'll call him "Tux" because it suits his coloration; and I heard that "Tux" is also the name of the Linux penguin, so that sounds good. For a picture of Tux, click upon his name below. Or see "Kittys" for some more kitty pictures.
[ Tux Picture ]       [ Kittys ]
* :  Cats spend a lot of time pondering their many names. All day long they sit and reflect on their names. And at night, their eyes reflect. ]


Uh Oh.   Here's where I start saying things that some people won't like.
I might even piss you off.   But that's politics, you know. Please don't take anything too personally.

In politics I am a moderate socialist and an "ultra-liberal". I prefer to go with "ultra liberal". (and please don't confuse me with those politically correct "liberals".)

I believe in freedom and equality for all people. And I also believe this does not mean abandoning or disempowering the poor. The benefits of technology and society should be available to everyone, not just those with money or power. I think that's what civilization is for. Otherwise, what good is society?   I don't really espouse any political party.   If I did it might be the Green Party or the Pansexual Peace Party. (see web links page.)  I registered as a Green last time around to help Nader out.  

"Ultra Liberal" :  That means I believe in real freedom - not the illusion of freedom.
I think we have way to many laws.   The only excuse for having a law is that it protects the right(s) of somebody from someone else who would otherwise take that/those right(s) away. (So we need laws against discrimination, but there is no excuse for a law requiring you to wear a helmet or to not smoke pot. People have the right to be stupid if they want to.)  If people could live more according to the Wiccan Creed:  An harm done: Do what thou wilt.  (As long as what you do does not harm others, do what you like.)  Then we wouldn't need so many laws. For example, if you have a problem with what someone else does behind closed doors in their own house, be it wild gay sex or smoking a little harmless weed...  then you have a problem.   As an ultra-liberal, I support free speech and free expression, and oppose the intellectual censorship called "political correctness".  Indeed, freedom of speech is our most important right.  And I know that "affirmative action" and "equal opportunity" are mutually exclusive. "Affirmative action" is discrimination : It is giving some more opportunity than others based on the color of their skin. Discrimination against white males is discrimination too. Two wrongs do not make a right.  I support your rights under the first and second amendments, as well as all the others. I support equal Gay Rights. I believe in freedom and equal rights under the law for all people. Again: Freedom of speech is our most important freedom. I oppose the mental repression of "political correctness", as well as censorship, especially on the net.

Net Freedom and Personal Responsibility

Here's a dichotomy for you : "real-life socialist" and "Net Anarchist" !
I oppose all censorship, laws, or rules of any kind that would restrict the content of what people may express on the internet. I've found that a difficult conviction to stick to, because that means you must allow the bad with the good.  Also because certain corporations and web-engines have made the web an invasion of privacy; they display or give away information about you without your knowledge or permission. Then again - as has been pointed out to me - the information that these corporations make available about you is all public record anyway; and the spamming on the net is no worse than junk mail and telemarketing - and perhaps essentially the same kind of thing. So I'll stick to my convictions and say that if you have a problem with the information that a person or corporation has made available about you in the internet, then go after that person or corporation, not after the vehicle they communicated it by. By the same token, if you have a problem with the content of what someone has made available on the web, take it up with them, not their internet provider, employer, government, wife, father, or chihuahua. I believe in personal responsibility for one's actions, a concept that unfortunately seems to be lacking in today's legal environment.
[ if someone yells "shit" in a restaurant, go after the person who yelled "shit" - don't sue the restaurant. ] 

Spamming and privacy invasion on the internet will continue to be problems, but ones that we must be willing to accept in order to oppose censorship. But a word to the wise: especially if you are using Microsoft programs, give some thought to net-privacy and you. Ask your service provider not to release information about you without your permission, and check to see what kind of information about you your Windows programs send out in your E-Mail headers and/or attachments. No one wants to be spammed. I know there are people out there with the ability to do fancy stuff on the web. I don't want to take any of that away from them. I just want such "ability" too, to keep potential spammers away. I have some limited abilities.

Intellectual Property

Property is a concept. Yes it is. And on a higher level of truth, it is an illusion. No one can possess anything. But here in the world of dust, possession is an illusion we cling to. And I'm all for it. I want my stuff !

Intellectual Property, then, is an extension of the abstract concept of "property".  And I'm all for it. Within reason. Plagiarism is pathetic and criminal. But with the Internet I think that the concept of intellectual property has been stretched too far. People getting ruffled because someone copies a picture off of their webpage is such an example. Wake up, people! Every time you look at ANY picture on the web you have copied it already! Your browser already has automatically copied it into your "cache". All electronic media are by their very nature meant to be copied; and in fact cannot be used without copying them. Get Real. We need more CopyLefts, and less CopyRights. Copy what you want: just don't change it or claim that you created it. Give credit where credit is due. Don't distribute or use things in public without the creator's permission. (What you do in private is none of my business.)

Though most hackers are destructive, I've very glad we have them. Hackers and so-called "Pirates" are the only safeguards we have against a computer world repressed and controlled by the tin-plated gods of authority.

Computers are, as Timothy Leary said, the new printing press. And just as with the old one, there are certain quazi-religious powers that be who don't like such freedom; and want to contain it.

Everything Changes. Yet the more things change, they more they stay the same.
The future will be the same as before - except different.

Think for yourself! --- Question Authority!
(Timothy Leary)

Other Sayings

We are creatures who have the power to create our own reality.
It is through belief that this is accomplished.
Limits are things we make up and impose upon ourselves, because we cannot handle infinity.
 --- Rhyader

What else to say on one's web page ?

I have added pages for philosophical or political comments : they are my "commentaries" under "writings".
I hope to have something interesting there someday.  I hope to have other kinds of writings as well.  And some creative artistic kinda stuff would be nice, too.

Suggestions - anyone?   Questions? Comments? Compliments? Complaints? ... E-Mail 'um.
Licentious proposals?   Offers of money? ... Come on over !  8)

And if you'd like to know more about me, or if you just feel like writing, please communicate by sending me some E-Mail.