Off To London

I am off this evening to London for the Digra: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory conference where I am presenting with my colleague Shanly Dixon on girls and videogames (will post abstract eventually). As always I am rushing around trying to finish up the last bit of packing, trying to find all my papers/articles/books that I will need to tweak and edit our presentation, and a few fun things for the plane. In the spirit of procrastination (because it seems when the clock is ticking, this is what I do!), here is a fun Army of Two: 40th Day trailer filmed here in Montreal.

Depending on internet connections and my access to a proper power adapter, I will try to blog the panels / events that I attend. Have a great week!

Prepping for DiGRA

No matter how long I work on a research project, no matter how many tomes of reading notes and ethnographic synthesis’, I always find myself up against the clock when preparing for any important presentation. This does not help my fear of public speaking. We are speaking on Tuesday, Sept. 02, so technically we are still good on time. I mean, it’s not like we are adding content per se – it is just about organizing everything we amassed into a coherent 20 minute talk wrapped with a pretty little bow. When I look at how much stuff goes into 20 minutes (7 – 10 pages) – hours, books and articles read, notes and hypothesis’ made, it amazes me that we can even whittle it down to anything anyone would actually want to listen to. In an academic world (or at least in the discipline I was intellectually raised in), it is rare to talk off the cuff without references and a solid foundation of validation of new and innovative thoughts. 20 minutes – imagine!

On top of the power point prepping (which is where we are at now), I had to buy a new suitcase. This is a hard thing for me, I mean, a suitcase, if purchased properly, can be a long term investment/commitment. With all the styles out there, it is hard to pick something that you will still like in 5 years and you can be confident is your suitcase at the airport luggage caroussel (I learned that black might have staying power, but be damned if I know which suitcase is mine amid the kazillion other black suitcases!). Don’t even mention packing for 5 days with professional and social events in an unfamiliar climate. I learned that conferences are not places to break in new shoes.

Ok, I have procrastinated enough for now, back to work for me!

Hot Summer Days: Update #729

The first thing that pops into my head is a cheesy ’80’s song New Girl Now …click and laugh if you must, but do not judge – it was 1984 afterall!

The last few days have been scorching hot (30 c + / 80 f + ); and there is at least another week of it to come. I know at the beginning of the summer I had complained that we had barely seen the sun and that  an onslaught of rainy days ruined my holiday. Technically, I should be grateful for such balmy summer weather in the heart of August. The only trouble is – my vacation finished almost 2 weeks ago. I think mother nature got my order backwards this year – who do I complain to? So instead of sipping fruity drinks on a deck by a pool, I am inside (and sometimes outside on my balcony) trying to chip away at my to-do list and pretend I can’t see / feel the hot weather.

I have been getting some work done. Mainly stuff for my play test moderating gig, but also getting a chunk done on our presentation for DiGRA. We are looking at girls and videogames, something I have always shied away from. But at this point, it seems like not only the logical thing to look at, but the right thing (I have two girls, 13 & 17…). While they love to play videogames, and have access to half an EB Games store between my partner and I alone, what they choose to play, and purchase themselves has been provocative. Coupled with what marketing and industry claims girls like / want to play – it is easy to see a few gaps.  While there is alot of work out there on girls videogame preferences and the imbalance between market availability etc, I think what we have been working on brings something to the discussion worth adding. I must say though, digging through the sea of literature on girls and videogames has been eye opening on alot of levels.

I am also working on bits and pieces for an upcoming encyclopedia of video games (will post link when available). I always find encyclopedic / history entries interesting things to write. They take so much time to collect information, check and triple check references and timelines and in the end, after what feels like forever, you write 500 – 1000 words, trying to give the most straightforward and concise information possible without (much) bias or opinion. Of course, as I wrote somewhere on here before, history is indeed socially constructed; the choices an author has to make about what gets in their text and what is omitted is significant. I could ramble on about this, but then, I would never actually get any work done.

The Real Meaning of My “Vacations”

When I tell people that I went on vacation – usually for some exorbiant amount of time (5 weeks this summer – 10 weeks last summer!!) people always look at me enviously and utter how lucky I am. The thing is, while I am technically on vacation, away from home – usually out east, near the coast (with beach and bonfire access), I still have a to-do list the lenght of my arm.

Thank you to Bug-Eyed Bistro for posting this great PhD comic reminding us what an academic “vacation” really means.

Back in the City

Another holiday has come and went, much too fast for my liking. August is a huge month – I will try to actually blog some content of the research that I am doing for a few projects (conference, thesis, etc…) instead of two liner personal updates. Unfortunately, for today, that’s all there is 😉