Thursday, March 3, 2011

Update: What I Did On My Winter Vacation

It's been a while since a regular post, so I thought I'd post a quick update on all things PoC.
Most recently, I returned to school this week after the February break. The week has been a hectic mess of classes and sessions and so forth. Rather uninteresting stuff. So... let's talk about what I did on my week off.

1) I played video games. In a scholarly fashion, of course. It is my area after all. Current digital play efforts have been directed towards Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey for the DS, and Resonance of Fate for the X-Box 360. Both are Japanese imports, and both favor a complex and highly customizable combat system over story. In the case of Resonance of Fate particularly, I can't think of another single game where I have paid less attention to the unfolding story. It's gotten to the point where I read books during the cutscenes, because otherwise, I'll just spend 5 straight minutes wondering what's going on.

2) I read scholarly-type books. I didn't have a lot of choice, since three interlibrary loans were due on the same day. I think this is a pretty common pattern around scholars--we find an interesting essay that leads us to a handful of books useful to our subject area, we act on them immediately, and then they all must be read at once. Specifically, I performed a speed read of Evolution of Fantasy Role-playing Games by Michael Tresca, Technics and Time, 1: The Fault of Epimetheus by Bernard Stiegler, Worlds in Play: International Perspectives on Digital Games Research (New Literacies and Digital Epistemologies), Worlds in Play: International Perspectives on Digital Games Research and edited by Jennifer Jenson. And I read Bioart and the Vitality of Media by Robert Mitchell for the class I'm auditing. The Jenson and Tresca books weren't particularly theory-heavy, and the Mitchell book wasn't much worse, so they went easily enough. But for anyone contemplating a speed-read of Stiegler... don't. For the love of French Philosophy and Derrida, don't.

3) I read regular books. And lots of 'em. I read volume 2 of Mome (a quarterly published graphic novel anthology edited by Eric Reynolds). I read Twilight, as regular readers already know. I read Silverborne by Patricia Briggs, which is essentially True Blood meets Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, taking the best elements of both (the action and sharp dialogue of the latter, and the female orientation and world-building of the former). I read Brent Weeks' The Black Prism, which is a 640 paged first book in a new fantasy series--and actually worth reading, which is surprising for a 600+ paged book in general. And I read Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon in one day last Monday because I just realized we were discussing it in my reading group on Wednesday. Whew.

4) I marked 30 student midterm exams. The less said, the better forgotten.

So I actually accomplished quite a bit in a 12 day period. And yet, I now feel more behind than ever. Such is life, I suppose.

Later Days.

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