Milestones, Deadlines and Moving On

Another autumn is drizzling its way by. The sky is dark when we wake up in the morning, and lately, it is getting dark by the time we get home. It is not that my workdays have gotten any longer, but the days are getting shorter. With daylight savings time coming up next week (the 29th fyi), falling back might help waking up in the morning a bit easier the for the short amount of time that I can convince myself that I am going to bed an hour ealier every night. It will be a weird year to remember in terms of milestones – happy ones at least. My mother got remarried in October, and we bought our first piece of property here in the city (sign the papers in November), and sadly, I have had to admit that soft beds are for youngens (bye bye featherbed ‘o mine) … signs of growing up I guess =)

In the wee hours of this morning, I finished my SSHRC application (trying to convince the government that my research is worth funding) due today. Although the chances are slim in winning one, I decided to put in the effort (was shady there for a while but I pulled through thanks to some Spiced Rum and a good friend). With the rising of the sun this morning, I felt the weight of another deadline passing lift off of my shoulders. My grading is done a week in advance for the class i am TA’ing for so that feels good. I am behind on my 12 week thesis plan, but at least I have an infusion of inspiration from the SSHRC application.

Letting go – always a hard thing to do. Whether its your favorite sweater or a project you were really hoping to do, sometimes we just need to let go of lost opportunities and things. Trying to figure out the balance of what is worth fighting for and what is better left alone. It is a tough lesson to learn – one I am always trying to teach my daughters. But it is a very finicky line; one that I am not too clear on more often than not, which usually results in making things worse instead of better. But as I am often reminded, I am but a youngen, I still have many years to learn. (Why can’t I still be young when it comes to my sleeping habits dammit!).

Moving on is as hard as letting go. But with milestones and deadlines, at least the momentum is a forward one. Soon the holidays will be here, my family will be around me again and I can spend time on what really matters to me. My thesis will be submitted in January and I can take stock and re-evaluate in the new year.

The future of my research: Gaming with Mii, myself and I

Last year, I had a conversation with Mike about the role of the avatar, identity and ownership in mmog’s. One suggestion that he had at the time, or question – was why we could not have an avatar that could be playable across games (and I think at that time we were talking platforms as well).

With the introduction of Nintendo’s Wii, the option to create Mii, the player is able to “create a 3-D avatar of yourself and insert it into video games”. Although the representation does not have to be of yourself, the idea is pretty cool (let’s hope they expand their title repertoire to make it appealing). I am sure there are a thousand critiques to the idea or perhaps simply of the execution, but for now, I will hold my breath and see how the community embraces (or rejects) it.

For a while, I had been getting discouraged with my research direction. Not that I had lost any interest, but that the field itself was removing the elements that made my work possible. But over the last few weeks, I have been thinking about my PhD, and with innovations such as this (whether it catches on or fizzles out is irrelevant at this point) there is room to move forward with my research (big sigh ‘o relief).

More on the private use of public space…

Last semester, I wrote a paper that focused on the historical roots of blogging which i traced back to the Greek idea of Huppomenata – thank you Foucault (hopefully it will get published sometime in the future). The essential point is that there are two sides of the blogging coin. For many young people, it is a way to feel important in a world that is constantly bombarding them with dramatic imagery and rich, fantastical stories of celebrity life. Often, these spaces are used explicitly because they are public. We are all familiar with this type of blogging as it is what draws the most media attention when something tragic happens.

The second type of blogging is alot more modest – the familial, ‘keeping in touch’ kind of blog. I think for this sector, the idea of public and private is the most skewed. They know that the space is public because they can share it, but I really don’t think they think about any of the ramifications that come with it. It is almost a ‘non-issue’ to many of this type of bloggers (or flickr users etc.).

Coming back to the idea of posting private pictures in public spaces, sometimes the idea can seem great. This past weekend, I had gone to Nova Scotia to attend my mother’s wedding. Many flashbulbs went off and a great time had been had by all. Myself, I had the honor of playing photographer for my mom, so luckily I am not in many of the shots. But a technically apt uncle of mine passed out business cards with a web address on it, offering to host the pictures from everyone who had taken pictures that evening. A wonderful idea – in theory. I mean, a place where we can see the wedding from different perspectives. But I question the use of the internet in this situation. For anyone who has ever attended a wedding in the Maritimes, the drink flows and the dancing can get pretty funky – even it it is to country music!

How is posting the pictures any different than me writing descriptively about it here? (besides the obvious faces/names etc). I wonder if they see the internet simply as a communication tool – oblivious to the moral and/or ethical questions that surround the idea of posting pictures of 100 people on a website for anyone to persuse.

*For more academic work on blogging, check out “Into the Blogosphere

And they’re back!

WOXY.com is back online – I will do my best to push the station to all my friends who appreciate good music. To give props to those who made it possible for WOXY to be back online, please visit lala.com – a music exchange website, whose owner – dubbed “white knight” heard of WOXY after its demise and contacted the station to see what could be done to bring them back, offering free streams, more lounge acts and a whole lot more.

So here it is, loud and clear – please – if you read this space – please visit both WOXY.com and La La.

Working Through the Words

I have been sitting here, paralyzed for several hours – days actually; maybe even weeks. I wake up at 4am thinking I need to work, and turn the computer on to realize that I just don’t know where to start. Which is a silly thought since I have about 12 or so pages written. I am struggling through my thesis proposal. Which – again is silly for anyone who knows me – since I have been working towards this very moment for the last several years. Each project I have worked on, every paper I have written in the last few years have been done explicitly for my thesis. When anyone has ever asked what my work was about, I would usually warn them prior to my rambling, knowing exactly what it is I am doing, where I am going and what my framework, theorists and goals were.

So why then, can I not actually sit here and write this. It is already (embarrassingly) several months late. I have my answers to that question as well – I think – perhaps – it is the permanence of it all. That once I write this down, print it and submit it, I am committed to it. It has been months that I have been told to stop reading. Put the books down, stop working on new ideas and just work with what I have (which as I am told, is quite a bit in the first place). But beyond fear of commitment – I know that I am also worried about my academic future. My PhD – which, the more that I procrastinate, the less of an issue that stress will be.

And as I write this, I realize that I could have written three paragraphs on my proposal – which I plan on submitting this week come hell or high water to borrow an expression from my mother. /sigh

Giddy as a Schoolgirl

*Mark October 10th on your calendar!

For those of you who read this space and who know me, you know that woxy.com has been the king of my audio experience. Of all the radio stations I have listened to over the years, WOXY has been the most inspirational station of all (and that’s saying alot since I grew up listening to late night CBC show Brave New Waves with Brent Branburry (sp?) boy that man had a voice!)…

Anyways, the point is, I recently lamented the death of WOXY. In their quest to remain an independent station, free of corporate ties, they struggled with the financial side of things. Last night, as I was going to bed, I was thinking I should check out the message boards that remain on the station’s website. What I saw made me very very happy:

WOXY.com lives…
Could it be true? Does lightning strike the same place twice? Apparently it does. It is indeed the real deal — WOXY.com will be back on-the-air soon and better than ever! Seems like we’re proving ourselves to be master escape artists in eluding the icy depths of the deadpool. We’re ready to kick out the jams and hope you are, too. In the meantime, please do join us on the boards, and if you haven’t done so already, make sure you sign up for our email list to the right.
More details very, very soon…
– Mike, Shiv and Bryan Jay