July 7th, 2005

The Good News Is Always Bad News Too

Good news: my paper on role-playing and MMO games got into NRC (the National Reading Conference)! This is evidently a rather hard conference to get into, so I'm excited I even managed to get in. Now, of course, I have to turn my proposal into a realistic and meaningful paper . . . yikes!

The bad news, on the other hand, is that now I have a fourth paper to write in the not-so-far-away future. I've got two that must be done by the end of summer (the "radical play" paper for school, and the virtual worlds in role-playing book chapter for bneuensc). Fortunately I know what I'm writing for the first, it's just a question of finishing the reading that I need to do, and the second is already about halfway done. I'd like to get another two to four participants, though, and that might take some time. Then I've got a journal article (the larger version of my role-playing study, which addresses social and technological issues as well as some of the stuff I'm writing about for Bryn) and this NRC paper (agency and authority in interactive storytelling, including RPGs and MMOGs) to deal with. My friend Bill keeps telling me that we should put in more conference proposals over the summer, but man, I've already got a lot of writing to do. Maybe just one? The nice thing is, if I can figure out a clear argument I can write an outline and hand it off to him. Doing things collaboratively will mean less work for me.

*ponder ponder*

This may not be interesting to you folks, but writing it out helps me figure out what to work on next. :)
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Living Connected

Terrible news from London - and yet, reading it, I couldn't help feeling a sense of relief. Only twelve confirmed dead, I thought to myself. That's not really a bad one. And yet, how can one say "not so bad" to the people who've lost family, friends, lovers, enemies?

I remember living in Jerusalem, wondering every day when I woke up whether there might be another attack, every phone line in the country going busy simultaneously as everyone tried to call everyone else they knew.

I remember a friend showing me the twisted scar down his leg from where hot metal from an exploding bus had sliced him, and another friend walking with a limp from a bullet wound. Not soldiers, these friends - civilians, but wearing forever the scars of their courage.

I remember the doctor picking bits of glass out of my face with tweezers, and then moving to the next girl, shaking his head, sighing, resigned.

These days I live in the secure round of work and writing and home and school, and I sometimes go days at a time without thinking about any concerns beyond those within my horizon. Yes, I take care of my friends, and I do work that I think is important, and I try not to let anyone suffer unnecessarily - but is that enough to live a moral life? We are, cliche as it may sound, all connected in this age of airplanes and e-mail. To live within the bounds of one's own life is selfish and short-sighted - and yet what can one person do besides the task that comes to her hand?

Today, I resolve to remember the dead - not how they died, and not as heroes, but as ordinary, flawed, heartbreaking human beings. Someone on that bus was in love; someone had been betrayed; someone always told awful jokes at parties. Let us not forget, as the terrorists do, that all the causes in the world cannot redeem one life from destruction, nor give back its everyday blessings.

That's all from me right now, my friends.
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And Some People Are Bizarre

As I've mentioned before, I'm hooked into this weird arts-media-technology-hipster community here in New York, which means I occasionally get invited to bizarre events. (My favorite? The guy who wanted me to help him test his jet-engine-powered motorbike. I said no, as I don't want to DIE HORRIBLY. It sounded like a neat project, though.)

Recently, though, I've also been getting invitations from a much swankier set, which just culminated in an invite to what sounds like a party where I would be horribly uncomfortable. The guy is renting out a SoHo loft, catering (with full bar), getting two fairly famous DJs, and putting everything on his company's expense account for what he calls a "small, private, intimate, swank" going-away party. Did I mention he's only leaving for two months? Part of me really wants to go; the other part reminds me that these people are not my tribe, even if part of me kind of wishes I were much hipper and much swankier than I actually am.

The weird part is, I'm not sure why these people are at all interested in me. The art-media-tech folks I can understand - but this organizer of this party dates models and spends his time working the party scene. What he wants with a fairly geeky game designer, I couldn't tell you. Maybe he just knows that I'm super-cutting-edge. (Ha.)
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Giant Raccoon Balls

I can't stop watching this Japanese commercial.

Evidently, raccoon scrotums are very flexible and can extend a huge way; the Japanese used to use it to make gold foil, by hammering a chunk of gold inside a raccoon scrotum until it got really wide and flat.

Bizarre . . . .
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