January 20th, 2006

Meetings and Greetings

Had a meeting this afternoon with some folks from Columbia and some folks from NYU, trying to get some kind of game research organization started here in New York. Somehow, despite all the universities here, there hasn’t yet managed to be a critical mass of game students - but with Parsons and NYU and Columbia all starting major game initatives, that’s changing fast. Go us.

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Reading List: The Tarnished Eye

Read: The Tarnished Eye, Judith Guest.

Finally, a book I don’t have a problem writing a very short review of!  This novel takes the feel of a contemporary novel (the inconclusive vignette, the troubled relationship) and mixes it with a police-procedural mystery.  The results aren’t terribly successful.  In what I presume to be the name of “depth,” the author throws one too many red herrings at the investigator-hero.  This strategy just made me not care very much when the final twist was revealed.  On the other hand, I was looking for a fast-reading, amusing mystery when I picked this up, and that’s what I got.  The rural Michigan setting was well-conveyed and the characters certainly were less two-dimensional than in many books of the type.  Overall, it wasn’t bad - but I wouldn’t seek it out to read again, either.

Too Many Books?

This is the time to tell me if I’m writing too much about what I’m reading.  If you folks mind my ranting, I can totally keep those posts private.  So far, though, I’m really enjoying writing about what I read - even if it does mean I’ll read a little less over the course of the year.  Writing is good for me.  I hope it’s good for you too.

Gearoid

I just got an email about a job opening, which mentioned the name of the supervisor: Gearoid Dolan.  I know the name’s probably Irish, not Nocker, but a girl can dream, right?

(If you’re looking for a network admin position in NYC, by the way, the job seems pretty good.  And hey, you’d get to work for a guy named Gearoid!)

I Guess You Can Get Paid For That

Urban Flesh (not work-safe!) is a company which does high-end bodypainting. It seems like an odd career choice - how do you grow up deciding you want to paint stuff on people? - but evidently this guy is making rather a success of it. I particularly like shot #10, for the record.

I Guess You Can Get Paid For That, Too

On the “unexpected career tracks” theme, I just came across Jellio, a company that makes toy-and-game themed furniture and home accessories.  I think it’s a genius idea, actually - why not inject some play into your day to day environment?  And hey, it’s got to be a good business if they can charge $500 for what’s essentially a Star Trek diorama.  Think anyone wants to buy my old Barbies for $750?  For an extra fifty bucks, I can turn them into a lamp pull-cord!

You know, if this whole grad school thing bombs (taking my self-esteem with it), it’s good to know I’ve still got career options.

One Year From Now

Today is the day for filing applications to take the doctoral certification exam here at Columbia.  One year from today, I will be signing up for this exam.  Or Else.

Help hold me to that, okay, people?

Reading List: Everything’s Eventual

Read: Everything’s Eventual, Stephen King.

I bought this collection because I’m a Dark Tower fangirl, not because I’m a Stephen King fangirl.  I do appreciate the man, but his work tends to vary wildly.  As it turns out, that was a pretty good decision, as “The Little Sisters of Eluria,” the Dark Tower story in the volume, gave me my fix.  The other stories weren’t, well, scary.  Some of them were very good, but these days Tim Lebbon is scaring me much more, and much more originally.

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Choosing Classes

Ugh. Spent the last couple of hours alternately passing out (and if anyone wants to know why, note the time of some of the posts I made last night) and trying to figure out what classes I’m taking this semester. I’ve discovered a great, if rather expensive, way of picking classes. I just go to the campus bookstore and see which classes I’m trying to buy the books for! Unfortunately, I didn’t quite stop myself in time and I ended up with a whole bunch of really interesting-looking books on, um, a variety of topics only vaguely related to my research. Even more unfortunately, I bought the books for this class on creativity and creative development, only to find that it’s an “advanced topics” seminar built on the class from last semester, so I don’t think I can take it. Sigh. Well, at least I’ve got lots of reading on creativity for research purposes!

Shopping didn’t work any better; I went to the class on virtual worlds today, which looked great . . . for a beginner. I had hoped that I would be able to use it to work out some of my ideas about social interaction in games and multi-player interaction, but I don’t think the class would be a very supportive environment for me. And anyhow, I have to keep reminding myself that virtual worlds aren’t my main focus - I’m much more interested in micro-multi-player environments.

I definitely have two of my classes down (statistics and a class on amateur media production), and I’m hoping to take an independent study as a third to save my sanity and give me time to write. It’s this fourth class that’s killing me. It doesn’t help that I’m trying to avoid evening classes for sanity purposes, as my brain stops working after 7pm. Oy vey. I’ll keep you guys posted as I figure things out.