Who are you?

My name is Tom Hogan. I graduated from Bishop Miege High School and live in Kansas City, Missouri. Presently I'm attending Truman State University in Kirksville, MO. to study Physics and Political Sciences. I'm a little strange, but I think usually that's a good thing. You can find ways to get in contact with me on the Contact Page.

Where'd Brak go?

The Brak Blog was, from quite early on, a four-year mission. Its purpose was to chronicle my ventures into, through, and out of high school. To that end, it was very successful. To close things out, I updated the site a little bit with a few 'farewell' items like the Anthology Mix, all of which are available on the Archive of the Brak Blog. Additionally, an in-depth look at the successes and failures of the Brak Blog is now available. Check out [Hey Buddy: A Retrospective]

Who is Schrödinger, and why do you have his blog?

Erwin Schrödinger was an austrian scientist who made a lot of progress in the field of physics, and actually inspired the pioneering research into DNA. However, he's most famous for his Thought Experiemnt 'Schrödinger's Cat'. The problem is explained like this:
A contraption is rigged so that a radioactive atom is in the detection chamber of a Geiger-counter (an instrument that measures radio active decay), and that there is a 50% change the atom will decay in an hour. The Geiger-Counter is then attached to a can of poison, and connected to a sealed chamber containing a cat. The finished result being: if the atom decays, the Geiger-counter releases the poison, and the cat dies; if it doesn't decay, the cat will be just fine.

Quantum physics dictates that until this radioactive atom is observed at the end of the hour, and it is discovered to either have decayed or not decayed, then it must be treated as both. The term for this is a 'superposition' which means that, mathematically and in all scientific instances, we must treat the atom as simultaneously both decayed and not decayed. It is literally both at the same time.

This is then extrapolated out, by means of the above described apparatus, to the cat. If what we just concluded by quantum physics about the superposition of the atom is true, it must also hold true for the cat whose fate is tied to it. The cat must be assumed to be both alive and dead, at the exact same time.
The point of this exercise by Schrödinger was to illustrate a paradox, one that has been an annoying hangnail in physics for the past couple of decades: the rules of the very very small (quantum physics) make no sense when applied to the world of the very very large (cats, planets, etc.).

The reason I chose to name the blog after this is because
  1. I've got an interest in physics, so it kind of fits.
  2. I get to use umlauts whenever I type 'Schrödinger'
  3. When I don't update, I can always says it's part of the gimmick, and that the blog is 'dead' (kidding!)
Did I just see your name on a T-Shirt?

Maybe? It's hard to explain this without sounding totally full of myself, so I'm not even going to try and be humble about it. A few years ago (sophmore year, I think) there was this sort of running joke that I had a fan club. Friends of mine were supposedly elected to the positions of 'President', 'Vice-President', etc. On the day of that year's Stag Strutt (school fundraiser where we walk for money...) I got a bit of a suprise. Everyone is allowed to dress down, and about ten or fifteen (twenty?!) kids showed up wearing a t-shirt with my name on it!

So there you have it. They were made completely without my knowledge as a kind ploy by my friends to boost my self-esteem. There was briefly a movement to make a second batch, but it never really panned out. Which is probably for the best. But to this day those kids still wear that shirt around, which I think is really kinda cool.

How come your banner keeps changing?

Because I want it to! The random-refresh banners are my little attempt to keep the site dynamic, so it's never really the same each time you visit, and be a little bit clever. They're usually kinda funny, or at least I try. It's also worth noting that every single banner comes from somewhere; it's inspired by something. Here is the list of the 'retired' banners (when they get pulled off the main page) and where they came from.

[Doesn't Anyone Just Talk Anymore?]
There's a poster on the inter-web, somewhere, with Spock mind-melding McCoy. This is the caption beneath it.

[Every Thug Needs A Panda]
Thomas Thorpe sang this song to me once. The lyrics, to my knowledge, are: Every thug needs a panda/ Datin' some girl named Amanda. That's as far as he ever got.

[Give Him The Cup, Gertrude]
If you ever watched our StarWars/Hamlet crossover event of the summer, you'll recall this line towards the end of the act.

[Give In To The Dark Side]
Vader quote; you can't really go wrong.

[I'm A Ninja]
A favorite line of AskANinja.com's Ninja.

"What?!" in Japanese. Cardcaptor Sakura liked to scream this, often times for no reason at all.

[That Death Star's Operational!]
Admiral Ackbar's other famous quote. I think I've quoted about 2/3 of his speaking lines in Jedi.

[Think Facebook, sans Lame]
I still maintain that Facebook is kindof lame. The blog serves all the purposes of the almighty 'book, but doesn't suck quite as hard.

[This Hand of Mine Is Burning Red]
Thank you, G Gundam for a very silly, but visually awesome quote.

[There... Is... No... Sanctuary...]
Logan 5's subconscious tried to convince the city-central-computer of this fact. It did not end well.

Without getting to much into it, a Woomba is where a woman has two baby-bumps.

[We Are Building it Bigger]
Displayed while I was working on the site. It's a lyric from Cake's Comfort Eagle.

[Where Is My Reality?]
Shinji Ikari wonders this in a mild-panic as he floats endlessly in a world without people.

[What Up, Mon Amie?]
Remember the Juggernaut video on the ol' YouTube? I believe Gambit can be heard saying this. Ethan and I still yell it at the lease appropriate time occasionally.

[You Eat Like A Kaijuu]
Toya, the 'oni-chan' (big brother) of Cardcaptor Sakura, once told her that the ate like a 'kaijuu', or 'monster'.

What do the category icons mean?

These were up for the duration of Schrodinger 1.2's life. I used the "mood" option-slot on Greymatter to place a litle piece of HTML telling it to display one of the below icons. The hard part was though, it was nothing more than superficial. And they got wiped out by people casting Karma votes for whatever reason... I liked them, but they were never fully realized to my satisfaction.

The cateogry system on WordPress is much more powerful than this arrangement ever would be, but for posterity's sake, and because it took me a while to make this little icon set [the donkey was my favorite], I'll leave them up here.

What's up with this RSS Feed thing --><-- ?
What's Greymatter, and why do you use it?

Greymatter is an open-source weblogging utility created by Noah Grey. It's written in PERL, which I vaguely understand (not at all, really...), but it's very useful for complicated web applications. You can learn more about it at the Greymatter Homepage. I used to use it because when I was first loaned some space on a friend's site, he had installed it as a favor (me knowing little about how it worked in the first place). Over time, I've come to know most of the in's and out's of the program, and I really like the way it handles information. It's easy to update, organize, and change the look of the entires, which is something any weblogging program worth its stuff should allow you to do.

As of July, 2007 though, Greymatter and I have since had a falling out. It crashes too easily, and the code really hasn't been updated for about 5 years. Noah Grey doesn't support it anymore, and he even took down the official forums in 2006. When I killed it once more in July, I said, "enough is enough," and so Greymatter and I went out sepparate ways. I'm going to miss it. Each page of the author interface had a quote from a famous author at the bottom. It was really a very clever program, god rest its digital soul.

What's WordPress?

WordPress is the blogging engine I switched to after Greymatter. It's a very powerful utility, based in MySLQ and PHP. This means its very, very dynamic, and easy to make a lot of sweeping changes to the organization of entries. The cost you pay for this though, is that putting together cutsom templates for the visual theme (like I needed to do, to achieve the look of the old blog) is exceedingly difficult. I had to learn a fair bit of PHP and follow several different tutorials before all was said and done.

It did, however, allow me to transfer everything off the old greymatter blog. This continuity of the entires over a changing of the engine diriving the entire blog was a very pleasant suprise, and something I'm very greatful for. WordPress has a lot of powerful features I hope to take advantages of in the future, so the outlook for the blog with this new software is quite good.

Can you explain what exactly the 'Rooftop' is?

The Rooftop, as the banner says, is a Content Portal. In my years of messing around on the internet, I've created a lot of stuff (some of it useful, but most of it not). On the old site, I made a vain attempt to organize all this information on a site called .brak//SIGN, but I was lazy, and the site didn't lend itself to expansion, so it soon overflowed and fell into disaray. With Schrödinger's Blog, I made a focused effort to better organize the way the site stores the random stuff I feel like making. Thus, a Content Portal. Its name, 'The Rooftop', is a remnant of an older site theme that focused on elevators and the places they could take you (the roof being one of them).

Could you host me?

I probably could, and most likely will! The Hosting Application via the Rooftop is the best review of what hosting would include. If you don't need webspace but would simply like a stand-alone e-mail, that can also be arranged.

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