This page is ten years old but currently under reconstruction.
Many broken links and missing graphics.

My newest writing efforts are being posted to this blog:

Not Afraid That You'll Hate Me

Welcome to Al's Web Pages

A grab bag of writing and stuff by someone who's still waiting for his fifteen minutes of fame.

New Features

This site currently being reconstructed

Over 13 megabytes of dynamite stuff! (or not)

Almost all completely original and not to be found anywhere else.

Current News:

3/15/2008: I'm working on it! This web site is being reconstructed; most of the pages that were here ten years ago (i.e., while I was in prison) are still here. New material will be added soon, but will always go to my blog first (link at top and bottom of this page). Thanks for stopping by, and thank you for your (presumed) understanding.


Collecting the links to the most useful of my other web pages at this site. Just a reorganization to make the site more accessible.

Movie reviews: not updated since August 2005. Mostly videos, since we won't make the 50-mile drive to a theater very often.

Movie clichés, a short list which you may find amusing; includes highlights from another site.

Books and Authors: Not being updated. A bit about each book I'm reading now or have finished recently, links to my other reviews, and links to my separate pages on half a dozen various authors. Of course, these days I'm focusing on the Great Books.

My Politics, as progressive as they come. Inactive since 2004 election.

Al's Clown Page Clowning ideas and experiences. I've gotten more feedback about this page than anything else here, though nothing in the past six months or so.

Great Books of the Western World--Join "The Great Conversation"! And join "More Great Conversation" by following the same link.

Games page, free new game rules, "How I Play Civ 2," and more.

Sculptures by Alan Nicoll and Oliver Nicoll.

Family Photos

Nicoll's Books & Stuff, our eBay store! Try to control your spending. Wait... never mind.

My resume, in case some rich and not very bright employer happens by. Not updated for a while.

Gift wish list for me, Susan, and Oliver, if you want to buy us stuff.

My Bookmarks. But surely you have your own that are even better, eh?

More There's more below; each section will eventually become a separate page, and this site may someday start looking good. See below for "Fun" Stuff, My Current Activities, Education, Philosophy, Creative Writing, Family Stuff, the Mountain Communities Cooperative Library, Cost of the War, The Tarot Project, and others I'm too lazy to mention.

Current Activities (7/22/05)

Just some quick notes on my current activities.

My full-time job now is buying and selling used goods, mostly books. I sell on Amazon and Ebay; please try the link and spend lots of money, eh? I could use the help. We sold one book for $400.00, but that doesn't stretch very far, and such sales are rare.

I am also shilling for and have added "buy it here" links to my movie reviews page. Anything you buy through that page gets me a tiny percentage.


New Characters in Eliot's Middlemarch. I've stopped reading this about half-way through; see below for why. Two formats: MS Word, and HTML. See also the new Reading Group Page.

Annotated list of web sites worth a visit, all the way down at the bottom of this page.

Guestbook has been deleted from this site--it adds to the advertising popups, and it got too little traffic to justify keeping it.


The above advertising and popup windows are the price we pay for getting a free web page from Angelfire.

I don't make much of an effort to make the web site look spiffy, preferring instead to concentrate on the meat of my words (that is, I'm lazy). There's about twelve megabytes of these (6 MB of photos) here. I welcome your comments and suggestions (see email address below).

Note to Freelance Artists: The Tarot Project
I have in mind a design for a tarot deck which I think could revolutionize the practice, making it possible for untrained persons to get into tarot without undergoing a lengthy training process. If you are an artist and would like to explore this idea with me with the possibility of creating the deck with your images, please send me an email (address below). Here is a link to some details: link

Articles: Education
On Education, two longish posts to The Wisdom Project forum, from late 2004, preserved here for all time.
My Teaching Philosophy: I've long wanted to teach at an elementary level; here's how I would want to do it. See also, "Oliver's Homework," under Family Stuff, below; somewhat redundant, now that he's being UNschooled.
Gorman School: Here's my scathing report of my visit to Gorman School, an elementary school at Gorman, California. It was sent as a letter to the principal of Gorman School. A brief version of this was published in the Mountain Enterprise. Note: I don't plan to run for public office in Frazier Park!

Articles: Philosopy
Quote: This quote from Bertrand Russell, published in 1912, offers a great argument in favor of philosophy.
Essay: Circumcision is still routinely practiced in the U.S. Here's why it should be omitted.
Critical Rationalism: A brief introduction. Not scholarly, but hopefully not stupid, either.
A Freethinker's Ethics, an article I wrote in 1989 and would now write very differently.

Creative Writing
"Palm-of-the-Hand" stories: Stories written on one page. Seven stories now.
I'll be doing a lot of writing for my new internet business. Stay tuned.

Miscellaneous Reviews
Van Gogh Exhibition: The 1999 exhibition at LACMA: what I came away with (no paintings, darn).

Family Stuff
I have written a number of "Oliver Stories," describing lessons learned in raising my son. I am not willing to put these on the web site because I hope they may someday be worth selling. If you'd like to read them, drop me an email (address below). But here's a sample which is short on story and long on theory: Oliver's Homework.

Oliver, at age 5 yrs 5 months, created this in Paintbrush: Art

Sculptures page, still under construction but featuring three by Alan Nicoll and four by Oliver Nicoll.

Family Photos Page

Here is the text of the wedding ceremony Susan and I wrote for the occasion (6/19/93).

Because my shamelessness knows no bounds, here's my brief autobiography.
Because my self-deprecation also knows no bounds, here's a bit of that called An Unfortunate Comparison.
And, if you're interested, here's my Yahoo profile. Really nothing much to look at there.

Mountain Communities Cooperative Library
The Cooperative Library started as an effort to give away books I couldn't sell to used book stores. I would open my garage to the public on Saturday mornings, inviting one and all to come and get a bag of free books. Response started slow, and tapered off. The one big success was setting up a table at the year 2000 Lilac Festival in Pine Mountain Club, where we distributed about five boxes of books and collected about $100.00 in donations, which about covered our expenses for the Festival. Because I had hoped that the Festival would stimulate further public interest in the project, when this failed to materialize I decided to close the show. The original title of the effort was "Frazier Park Cooperative Library," which led to considerable confusion with the Frazier Park branch of the Kern County Library System.

Californian Article: This is an article Bob Saberhagen wrote for the Bakersfield Californian, published 4/3/2000. I disavow all responsibility for the style of this article! :) Note that the Californian has dropped this article from their site, so I have put it on mine. The copyright is theirs, of course.
Brochure: Here's the original brochure for the Cooperative Library, minus the clip art, in case anyone wants to pursue a similar project or just want to know some of the ideas we had.

Web Sites Worth a Look

Alaskan Alpine Club. Take a look at their "ice wall" pages--astonishing.

Another Alan Nicoll, this fellow apparently is in South Africa. No relation that I know of, and his web site is even less interesting than this one, but I wanted to keep the link.

Kaolin Fire

subterfuge, a blog by "Lamb Chop"

All Hat No Cattle, sharp political humor.

The Rage Diaries, a literate and well-informed look at the world.

Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia to which YOU can contribute. Over 300,000 pages so far.

Elfwood: A truly fabulous sci-fi/fantasy art site. The works of 21,503 artists, with 363,566 images! Some of it is very amateurish, but overall the quality is good.

There's also Deviant Art, worth a look.
See? I can center things!

Short Orange Fish Tank: Hosted by an unnamed teenager (soon to be 20). Site is very rude and very funny, includes an online diary, "The Penis Page" and reviews of (very old?) video games. Currently (8/3/04) being revised.

Nadezdha Amethyst: If you liked S.O.F.T. above, you may like this as well, though this one isn't very funny. Just a curious, personal site that has things to like about it. I cribbed the scrolling marquee from this site.

tourniquet by Vera Brosgol. A quirky, funny, appealing online graphic novel in progress. You'll like it.

Classics in the History of Psychology: I hate to read long texts online, but this site actually seems to have the entire text of William James's Principles of Psychology and MANY other classics. No Fritz Perls, though.

University of Virginia etexts on line is even more impressive, a truly vast site that includes the complete text of James's Varieties of Religious Experience.

Links to Friends
Peter Gullerud, artist extraordinaire!

Other Links
Frazier Mountain web site. Here's stuff about "The Mountain Communities" of Frazier Park, etc., including web cam shots of the weather. Best view of Mt. Pinos is from the Pine Mountain Club web cam.
Kern Medical Center Here's a link to the site where I'm working.

Invisible Pink Unicorn symbol for atheists.

Hits to "Al's Web Page" since 2/11/04:
Accoring to my Angelfire account page I'm getting almost 200 hits per day (8/27/04), but that's a total for all my pages, not just this page (one hopes that the counter is accurate, not that it's making me any money). I'd guess that most of the hits are to the clowning, A. E. van Vogt, and "How I Play Civ 2" pages, and possibly the Russell quotes.

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