Welcome to the House of Waffles, Version 2

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Origin

Hello, my name is Paul.  Once upon a time, my cousin Brian randomly started calling me “Pauly Wally,” then “Pauly Wally Waffles.”  He eventually dropped the “Pauly” and simply started calling me “Wally Waffles.”

When I later registered my first ever on-line handle, I couldn't think of anything original that hadn't already been taken by a few thousand people, and I did not want a horrible-looking serialized username like “popular_username12345,” so I chose “WallyWaffles.”  It's original and unique, and it's easy to remember.

I realize that “WallyWaffles” is a silly username, but I still use it because my on-line presence is well established by it, and, as I said above, it's unique and easy to remember.

History

“The Waffle Network” started out on now-defunct GeoCities, where personal websites were organized into themed “neighborhoods,” and free sites were each allocated 8 megabytes if I recall correctly.  In 1997 I built “The House of Waffles” at Tokyo/Pagoda/3542 which was a Japanese-animation-themed neighborhood.  My site was actually devoted to mainly PC games and never had anything to do with “anime” except peripherally, so in February of 1998 I moved my site to TimesSquare/Fortress/1896 which was designated for video games.  A lot of my non-video-game work found its way onto my video game site, so in December of 1998 I built “The Library of Waffles” at Athens/Thebes/2292 to feature my artwork and stories.

In March of 1999 I also built “The Waffle Pod” at Tripod and around that same time I built “The Waffle Xoo” at Xoom.  (Although my webpages were spread across a few free hosting services, that's not to say I was a cheapskate who would only use free services; for at least a year I paid GeoCities for extra space.)

————{ “The Waffle Network” at the Turn of the Century }————

The House of Waffles
The Library of Waffles
The Waffle Pod
The Waffle Xoo

The Waffle Pod was originally intended to house technical manuals for software I never released, but ultimately ended up housing mainly my video pages.

The Waffle Xoo (pronounced “zoo”) was mainly my music site, including a listing of my CD collection, along with my “humorous recordings.”  Xoom offered essentially limitless free hosting of images, which meant I could post “large” images of my CD collection.  I also had there the downloadable add-ons I had made for Duke Nukem 3D and Carmageddon when I didn't have enough room for them at GeoCities.

Development of The Waffle Network halted completely in mid 1999 when I left home to serve a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Saints in Düsseldorf, Germany, although my cousin Brad did manage it in my absence, and then development resumed upon my return in 2001.  I was now fluent in German, so I began the long, arduous task of translating my web pages into German.  I continued to maintain The Waffle Network in English and German throughout college and had translated most of the content into German by the time GeoCities was shut down.  (Here is an interesting essay about the rise and fall of GeoCities.)

After I returned home from Germany, I found out that MS-NBC (Microsoft) had bought out Xoom in early 1999 and soon afterward shut down its free hosting service.  Xoom users were given the option of having their files automatically transferred directly to Homestead, and the service was still available me.  However, Homestead had scaled its service far back from Xoom's generous offerings.

According to the registration confirmation e-mail I got from Homestead, free users were allowed only 8 megabytes of space, and three web pages.  This was ridiculous because not only was The Waffle Xoo about 50 megabytes large, but it's also extremely difficult to create a worthwhile website of static HTML content with only three pages.  Also annoying, the file mover rejected several files for having “invalid filenames” either because they contained hyphens or uppercase file extensions, and then “you have exceeded your disk quota” was declared far short of the supposed 8-megabye limit.  (In 2001 I estimated that only 1 or 2 megabytes had been allowed, but looking back at the “Site Mover Report” Homestead e-mailed me, my 2014 estimate is that about 5 megabytes were allowed.)

Not only did Homestead offer deficient services, but the entire experience was yet another spit-in-the-eye from Microsoft, so I opted to take The Waffle Xoo off-line.  Its content never made it back up on the old Waffle Network, although I did later add a music section of a different nature to the site at TimesSquare/Fortress/1896.

In 1999 GeoCities was acquired by Yahoo.  Ten years later in April of 2009, Yahoo announced that GeoCities would be shutting down services in the United States on October 26, 2009.  (GeoCities Japan continued operation, and presently free users get 100 megabytes of space.)

After the demise of GeoCities, I finally got around to registering my own domain at www.houseofwaffles.net in late 2009, which I then sat on for the next five years as my life had become incredibly busy:  During that time I graduated from college, changed jobs, got married, took on small farm responsibilities consisting of animal care and home repair, and became a father.  (Raising a family on a farm is hard work, but well worth it!)  Most of that time, I was also commuting two hours to work, which was an enormously exhausting time-suck.

During that half-decade I did think a lot about what I wanted to do next with The House of Waffles.  I've learned a lot about web development since 1997 and used many different frameworks, but I wasn't sure what kind of system would work best for my simple purposes.  My old webpages used common layouts which were accomplished via manually copying and pasting HTML, so my site would definitely have benefited from a framework like CakePHP, but that would have been overkill.  I probably could have found a pre-packaged blogging system to deploy, but the House of Waffles doesn't quite fit into the “blahg” category.

In early 2014 I finally solidified in my mind the solution I needed for the unique nature of the House of Waffles and began the actual coding.  I could only devote a few hours to this personal project each week, but by Fall I was ready to launch The House of Waffles 2.0.

The House of Waffles was officially relaunched on 2014 November 30.

Version 2.0

The House of Waffles is my personal fun site for sharing my creativity with the world.  It doesn't fit into any one category as the content consists of add-ons for old PC games, drawings, short stories, videos, and anything else I feel like posting.  There may be little content early on, but as time permits I will be continuously posting new articles, along with my “lost” pages from GeoCities.

As always before, I will also continue to make an effort to maintain this website in English and German.  Time permitting, I may even translate pages into additional languages.  (There may be a few expressions that I translate literally from English that aren't quite used that way in other languages, but sometimes I've done so intentionally for the humor of it.)

I am trying to keep this website as simple as possible, as it does not need to do fancy things like file taxes, steer an automobile, or provide streaming updates of the bingo championship playoffs.  I've worked on some very complicated commercial websites, and it's a nice breath of fresh air to be able to do something simple.  It does use the jQuery JavaScript framework, but that's the only third-party component I presently plan on using.  (I was going to also use jQuery UI, just for modal dialogs, but the overhead was ridiculously large, plus past experience proved that library's dialogs to be frustratingly flawed, so I wrote my own dialog code which is far more flexible and marginally smaller.)

As one may plainly observe, I'm not a graphic designer; I'm an engineer, so my buttons look like buttons, and my visual designs are unusual.  (I love showing my old websites to graphic designers and seeing their tortured reactions!)

Another important point:  What with this website being non-commercial, I have absolutely no obligation to support out-dated or defective web browsers, therefore I have chosen to put absolutely zero effort into supporting Internet Explorer.  Internet Explorer has always been the belligerent, non-conforming loner, which Microsoft continues to perpetuate even with its much-improved Internet Explorer 11 which tries to fool web servers by intentionally not identifying itself correctly.  (You know a web browser has a really bad reputation when even it doesn't want to be associated with itself!)

About the Author

I hold a degree in Computer Science and am currently working in web development.  I have experience with a broad spectrum of programming languages for both desktop applications and web development, but I actually got my start in programming from a very unusual source:  The Game Genie Game Enhancer for the Sega Genesis.

In the early 90s, experimenting with the Game Genie introduced me to base-8 and 8-bit counting, and I learned how to manipulate the codes to put in any positive integer value I wanted (in most cases).  I also figured out how to manipulate some published codes to discover undocumented similar effects.

In the mid 90s I learned how to read and write the behavior script used by Duke Nukem 3D.  It was soon after that that I started my formal education in programming.

If I weren't a programmer, I probably would have become a writer.  About the time I entered junior high school I was a comic book fanatic and had been reading a lot of comic books, and in seventh grade I started drawing comics and writing super hero stories.  In high school I had a creative writing class, which was one of the funnest classes ever!  To this day I still love to write, although I don't do as much as I used to.

Another profession that I would have held in a parallel universe is interpreter.  People have told me I should be working for the United Nations because of my language skills.  While English is my mother tongue, I also speak fluent German, can converse in Japanese, know a little bit of Chinese and Korean, and I can also sometimes figure things out in Spanish and Dutch.  I'm also good at guessing what region an unfamiliar language is from by it's sound.  In college I also tutored German and Japanese at the university.  I also hold degrees in German Business Language and Japanese.

After college I found and married my eternal companion, and we are now raising our family in the old farmhouse that used to belong to my wife's great grandparents.  We also raise goats, chickens, seasonally turkeys, on rare occasions beef, sometimes pigs, and for a while we even had llamas.  We recently got bees and are experimenting with a Flow Hive.

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Site last updated: 2017-06-20