Guitar Hero 3

In between working on various projects/assignments today, a friend of mine brought over her projector and we spent a few hours enjoying the new sounds of Guitar Hero 3. I must admit, I was not simply eager to play because it just came out Sunday – but rather because I was invited to a Guitar Hero 3 party this coming Saturday evening. A party of guys who game – who have beaten GH2 with 5 stars on expert… I only started playing the week before Thanksgiving… so I really need the extra practice.

 What struck me the most about this version is the amount of nostalgic ‘tuneage’. You can really see who this game is geared to by simply looking at the play list. Of course my daughter (15) likes the newer tunes, but Pearl Jam, Dead Kennedy’s, Alice Cooper, Metallica … so many high school (and jr. high) memories came flooding back.

For someone who did not master the other versions of the game – I found the slight increase in difficulty on medium to be consistent with the increasing difficulty scale of GH2. I really like the Face off mode – where each guitar lick is a give and take between both players. Although touted as a competitive mode, it still feels ‘cooperative’.  I especially liked the ‘pro-face-off’ mode, where each player has the same notes to play – and are obligated to play at the same level. This – to me – feels like a true competition. I don’t know how many times my ‘win’ on easy over a competitor playing on expert felt a little bit empty.

The new kid on the block – the battle mode – is interesting – for those who can concentrate on messing up their opponent and STILL actually hit their notes. I enjoyed the sudden death mode – as it was the first time that playing guitar really felt like a ‘pure’ game – regardless of the guitar-playing.

Career mode is a bit more laborious – but at least is something to ‘work on’ besides simply trying to complete the most songs at the highest level.

All in all, I have to give GH3 2 HUGE thumbs up – best played on a projected wall with people who aren’t too competitive (at least for my intermediate level of play). I am glad that the game has alot of master tracks, compared to earlier versions – but sometimes, I get sidetracked singing along and forget to hit the notes!

Advertisements

The Power of Community

As I work my way through understanding my role (and the role of my reasearch) in Film Studies, I am reminded again how important a supportive (academic) community is. Over the last two months, I have been reading a fair amount of Film Studies literature, and while all quite interesting from a historical perspective, I have been trying to think of the ways in which the specifics of my work fits into the literature (without taking the psycho-analytic route) or vice versa. At first, I must admit, I was quite discouraged, as I read material on the “state” of the field and did not know who to discuss it with. But as I get farther into the semester, I am starting to enjoy the readings, and starting to see some connections and worthy quotes for future use.

Over the last two months, I must also admit that I have been struggling with my decision to remain in the program. With absolutely no disrespect to those who make up the faculty and administration of my program, I have been having a hard time feeling like I fit in. Although my fellow students have been more that welcoming, I have been feeling like an outsider since the day I arrived. Perhaps coming from a different discipline, and different university (and a different language) perhaps it is in some ways inevitable that the transitional growing pains from Masters to Doctorat are amplified.

After a great gameCODE meeting day (four hours of round table discussions centered on the state of each other’s research) we celebrated the release of Shanly’s book. Dubbed an “un” book launch, we met at a nice lounge/bar and continued the conversations that were started earlier in the day. As we sat around in a circle of couches around a low table, I was reminded of the power of community. As we sat around talking, I realized that even though my transition into my new program was difficult, and even though I feel like an outsider to that particular academic community, I am nonetheless part of my own academic community. A community made up of amazing scholars and friends – from Concordia and other universities, and friendships that developed from conference meetings and after session drinks – these are the people that make up my community – the people who get what I do and challenge my ideas to help make them stronger, to point me in different directions and to give me the intellectual and emotional strength I need at times to believe in what I do and love every minute of it, not to mention inspire me by their work. I am comforted that even when times get rough, I have a fabulous network of people around me. No matter how lost I feel at times in all of the chaos that is academia, it is this power of community that reminds me why I am here.

Blogged: AoIR Presentation

Looking through other people’s blogging about AoIR, I (happily) stumbled upon this imminent summary of our session (Shanly rocked the presentation btw!). We were of the few fortunate people to have a small session (2 presentations) due to the absence of a third person – whereas some sessions had up to 5 presentations for the same allocated time slot of 1.5 hours. The room we were in was also a fortunate set up, as it was a nice roundtable which encouraged discussion. Since we had only prepared for the time-squeezing 12 minutes of formal presentation – a good discussion ensued.

Also quite fortunately, the paper prior to ours talked about the development of software used at Columbia’s Teacher’s College called Pocket Knowledge (check out Phil the Pocket – their mascot/logo!). Their paper was about how to design community building spaces and ours was about the community built in those spaces, so the conversation spoke nicely to both of our presentations.

/Sigh

So I am reading this news article on Yahoo news this morning and as I am reading through it I am astonished at how the article is written. Sure the grammar is fine and the reading flows – but it is the content I am bothered with (and probably a reason why I don’t read very much “international news” these days. The article is supposed to be about two female sailors who were shot on their ship by a colleague (with a third victim in the hospital). The shooting has been cleared of being associated with any act of terrorism. Ok – so we know that this was an “inside” attack – by one of their own. Yet the article dedicates 127 words to the actual news of the deaths and 322 to the history of terroism in the region. I know that perhaps stress due to the environment may or may not have contributed to the deaths, but seeing as it has been ruled out as a terroist act, I find the refocusing on the terroism to be a sad way to divert the attention from the actual crime.

AoIR 8.0: The Aftermath … or Rambling Reflections

It is Saturday early evening and instead of being out making the most of the last few social hours, I am curled up in my pyjamas in my hotel room, looking out at the fantastic view of Vancouver that I have from my 18th floor room. It has been raining since we got here Wednesday evening, and as evening draws nearer, I notice a few spots of blue sky among the clouds – of course, the weather will clear up as we are leaving the city.

On this trip, I learned that I desperately need a new laptop battery. A conference focused on Internet Research, one could only imagine that there were many more laptop plugs than electricity outlets…so, my online time has been limited to my hotel room, and even that was shared equitably with my suite-mate. So, this is my little piece of reflective writing on what was a great conference organized by some very courageous people.

There are alot of other people who blogged the conference, and ‘flickrd’ it, surely many more as during several sessions, I peeked over people’s shoulders to see them blogging. Which, I suppose, brings me to something I have been thinking about over the last 3 days., and some of the blog titles that I saw were not on the list (yet).

In a world where technology is pervasive, lines of what is public and what is private are blurred or redefined (and someone forgot to tell me the new definition), Is it ok to read what everyone and their dog are doing on the laptops over their shoulders in a conference room? So many people were performing quite personal acts in such public spaces. In an auditorium with slanted seating, as I look straight ahead, it is impossible not to see everyone’s screen in my peripheral vision. As a naturally curious person, my eyes sometimes wanders to the content on the screen and I was struck with the fact that many people seemed to think of their screens as a private space (surely I am projecting this, as I did not ask – but to have your personal email open, where anyone can see who has recently sent that person an email, and/or watch the email writing process in live-action time.  Although I know I should not have been looking, I was curious as to why they didn’t think that it was perhaps inappropriate to leave their inbox in full view of everyone behind them.

Which leads me to another interesting (and surely not new to the digital world) observation. When people are using their laptops in meeting spaces (in a place that you are technically supposed to be paying attention) they seem to completely tune out their physical surroundings. No surprise there. Immersion and all that jazz. But what struck me – again – was the way people seemed to have no shame in surfing the net, playing games, emailing or any other non “why I am in this particular space at this particular time” relevant net usage while sitting in the third row – making them in full view of every other person in the room.

Enough with circular ramblings. On with the conference stuff. Met alot of really great people. What I like the most about what I study is the fact that most people who I read and reference are still alive (unlike most of the sociology theory I’ve read over the years) and I often get to meet these fabulous minds at this type of conference. I will not play “fanboi” and talk about the specifics, but I am always honored to be in the presence of people that I met first through their written works.

The sessions I attended were interesting. But what I think I will do – for the sake of not writing a tome in which no one will make it through to the end – I will blog each session (in retrospect of course) and tag it appropriately.

Getting Ready for AoIR

I leave tomorrow afternoon for the AoIR conference in Vancouver (17-21 Oct.). I am excited, as I always am when I get to travel, but the days leading up to boarding that plane always have me doubting my sanity on many levels. Laundry, cleaning, packing, making sure the presentation is (properly) assembled with content in order; appeasing my daughters who never like it when I go away no matter how old they are (15 and 11 and there still aren’t enough hugs and kisses). Making a list for my friend who will be staying with the girls since they are both quite picky and would love the chance to stretch bedtime and alter homework rituals (my partner works night shifts …)

All of this while trying to pack enough clothes so that I can wear what I “feel” like and not simply what I brought – and still fit it into a small suitcase (I hate travelling with alot of luggage). I am comforted in knowing that as many delegates as their are at this conference, there are more than likely the same number of hustle ‘n bustle ‘getting ready’ stories.