Monthly Archives: June 2007
Heading off to the wonderful east coast of Canada for holidays with my family. Should have some internet connection along the way – but will be AFK most of the month of July.
Enjoy the sun!
From WOXY.com – if their trials and tribulations have not been enough with funding and support – the next axe may be the final one, all across the board of internet radio stations.
The future of Internet radio is in immediate danger. Royalty rates for webcasters have been drastically increased by a recent ruling and are due to go into effect on July 15 (retroactive to Jan 1, 2006!).To protest these rates and encourage you to take action and contact your Congressional representatives, WOXY.com is taking part in the Day of Silence by silencing both our main channel and WOXY Vintage for today. Don’t fret, the rock returns at Midnight EDT this evening.Please call your Congressional Representatives today to ensure the future of Internet radio. Click this link for instructions how. For more background and information, check out KurtHanson.com and SaveNetRadio.org.
CALL YOUR CONGRESSPERSON NOW TO ASK THEM TO CO-SPONSOR H.R. 2060 THE INTERNET RADIO EQUALITY ACT, INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES JAY INSLEE (D-WA) AND DONALD MANZULLO (R-IL)Toll-free Capitol Hill switchboard numbers:
1 (800) 828 – 0498 . 1 (800) 459 – 1887 . 1 (800) 614 – 2803
1 (866) 340 – 9281 . 1 (866) 338 – 1015 . 1 (877) 851 – 6437
As I sit here on yet another night, contemplating Facebook suicide, I am struck with strong feelings of unwanted nostalgia. So much of my Facebook experience has been about ghosts from my life (lives) past resurfacing; from early childhood friends to old party friends and extended family I haven’t spoken to in at least 10 years. I find myself wanting to look up people I have – up to this point – had no interest in ever contacting again; and I must admit – I am not happy with this feeling at all.
As I prepare to click the “deactivate account” button, deleting personal information, likes and dislikes, quotes and notes – I struggle with the desire to broaden this false sense of a personal network contrasted with the desire to walk away from it all – if only for the reason of a lack of ability to define its purpose in my life. For all of my personal disdain of it, I cannot seem to hit the button. Is it the fear of missing out on something? The fear of being ‘network-less’? Is my Facebook profile nothing more than a hyper-personalized version of my blog – where my friends can see who each other are (if they even care)?
For all of the talk (academic and otherwise) surrounding the importance and/or (ir)relevance of social networking sites like FaceBook, all I can think of is that it is really a space of absolute (impersonal) voyeurism in a most acceptable (although not perfect) form. A space created by the subject, yearning for people to look in on their little slice of constructed selves. A space where you can ‘bump’ into (while searching for) old acquaintances and new colleagues without the pretense of a reunion or conference. A purely narcissistic space where I believe (wish?) people care what Kelly is doing 3 times a day.
I am very happy to say that I have just received an email informing me that I have been accepted to Universite de Montreal’s newly minted PhD en “études cinématographiques“. I will be working with Dr. Bernard Perron as my primary advisor. Working with Dr. Perron, I will be able to continue on a Game Studies trajectory, and remain in a close and productive academic community that I have been a part of for the last few years. I barely have the words at the moment to describe how happy I am.
This morning was my MA Convocation ceremony from Concordia University (Montreal, QC) - although about 3 hours long (4 if you count having to be there an hour early), the ceremony was nice, and the air was not too hot. My mother travelled from Nova Scotia to be here for it, and woke me up with a great graduation card. In the front it looks like this:
You can find the card here, along with other great cards and gifts.
Monday is my convocation ceremony, and to celebrate, my mother is coming to visit for a week. It will be the first time in 8 years that she has been to visit. We are excited for her to see our new condo, spend some leisurely summer afternoons on any number of Montreal’s great sidewalk terraces, take in the first night of the International fireworks competition, and of course, make a day out of visiting Ikea, since there are none east of Montreal.
After my mother’s visit, I have a week left in the city, which will mostly be spent getting ready to leave the city for the summer for the east coast (mostly New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island) the summer sun and sandy beaches will do us all some good. Although I will have some internet connection, I imagine posting will become sporadic over the next 7 weeks.
Of course I will still keep reading, working and trying to write. I’ve decided to help me along, I will be moving my “currently reading” list to actual pages so that I can keep notes. What I hope – some day – is that others will add comments to the reading notes – perhaps to spur on a different train of thought I would may have otherwise come to on my own. But if not, at least it will be a good, digital space to save my reading notes.
I was very happy when a yellow package arrived in my mailbox this morning containing the book Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture by Alexander R. Galloway that I will be reviewing for the Research Center for Cyberculture Studies. I am quite excited, as this is my first formal book review for an item within my ‘field’. I am hoping to be able to be true to the text, in what one of my former MA professors called an “imminent reading”; a write-up that is on the text, about the text, and from the text. In a post-modern world full of opinions and directions, sometimes, it is alot harder than it sounds!
If you liked the Grand Theft Auto series, for the missions and play style, and have a hankering for the life of a mobster, I suggest picking up The Godfather. Same play model, with a stronger storyline. Player actions are tied to the storyline in a more meaningful way and has the potential of altering the gameplay in a way that GTA lacks. The fact that you can buy this game for $20 makes it all the more worth it.
It isn’t that early in the morning, yet I am finding myself struggling with concentration. The air is heavy with humidity and sound travels clearly. Today is the trials for Montreal’s annual Formula 1 races, and all I can hear are the cars zooming around and around – the track is a good 10km away from my house. In a way, it is kind of cool to be able to hear the cars speeding their way around the track – but it does nothing for one’s concentration. If that was not enough, I also get intermittent cries of delight from many children riding the roller coasters at La Ronde; Montreal’s amusement park – only a few km’s away as well.
Regardless of the sounds of summer, I am attempting to bring my brain back to earth after gobbling up a few fiction novels. I started reading Taylor’s Sources of the Self: the making of modern identity (something I think now that I should have read PRIOR to writing my thesis). Taylor writes in a clear, articulate and often entertaining way (something most theorists forget to do), yet I still find myself re-reading the same sentence three of four times. At this rate, I might be done reading the 521 fine print pages by summer’s end.
I am only at the introduction, but it is interesting to think about identity as something that is tied up in some sort of intrinsic morality. An odd thing to think about if we understand morals to be somewhat of a social construction – and identity, according to Bauman, as something that serves political interests (one of his stories of origin anyways). Taylor attempts to disentangle the idea of an intrinsic morality within the object of the human and the concept of morality based on culture and ideology. I am only at the beginning, but it is an interesting project so far.
Over the last few months, I have had vivid dreams about playing games – mmo’s specifically, and even more specifically, some revamped version of EverQuest . The latest one, this morning, I was sitting in a small cubicle room (yet fair size for any actual library), logging into the game – navigating my avatar (oddly, I could never quite see her, much like you rarely see yourself in a dream). This morning’s dream was centered on the music – which I could not turn down for some reason, and I remember commenting to the (elderly male) librarian that although it was great sound surround, I felt bad that it was so loud in a library.
Throughout my play time, I was trying to remember how to send someone a private message. I spent much of the time trying to contact old friends who I knew still played the game often. I remember navigating through what could only have been new zones as I trudged along with a pit of fear in my belly, not knowing where I was going, and what would be on the other side of the inadvertent zone wall I had just crossed. I remember being attacked by a mob, and not being able to remember the sequence of buttons I had to click in order to win; all the while feeling further and further from knowing what I was doing.
I know that alot of this has to do with nostalgia. I can only imagine it is how someone, nearing the end of their lives feels knowing that they used to be good at something, but not quite remembering how or what. When I wake up from these dreams (I have them often, and usually visit the same ‘new’ zones and everything), I have a strong urge to play again. But then I am confronted with so many self-imposed obstacles. I know what makes a good MMO …well, good (personally speaking) – is the community I belong to. For a few years, our guild from EverQuest played other MMO’s together like Dark Age of Camelot, Horizons, Lineage II etc, many guilds do this – but over the years, as people married and had children, their time and money have since been dedicated to other pass times.
I played WoW with some other old EverQuest friends, but never quite got into the more solo nature of the game. Although groups were necessary to complete many of the quests, and the ‘raids’ required a particular amount of people, I never quite got the same ‘community’ feeling I had on my first EQ server; knowing all the major and medium sized guild names; knowing most of the player community if only by name in any of the common areas. I miss the game as well. The graphics, the battles and the often useless skill traces.
Many people will rant about how primitive EQ is/was compared to the current grouping of mmo’s. As I see people moving from WoW to Lord of the Rings Online, and Dungeons & Dragons Online, I get tempted – usually only briefly – to buy the game and make a go of it. But then I wonder how much of the memories of EverQuest, and the other games I mentioned above are really tied to the players I enjoyed them with over the graphics, combat systems and market economies. If what makes an MMO great (or potentially long lasting) is the community (as argued here), then my desire to play another game is not so much a gameplay issue, but a social one. If I accept that, where does that leave me in terms of playing new games let alone my work in Game Studies?